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HIS was the state of affairs in Scotland when John Duke of Albany arrived at Dunbarton on the 20th day of May in the year of our salvation 1515, with the exceeding gratulation of all good men. For under his government they hoped for more quiet times and an equal distribution of justice. In a full Assembly of the Nobility called in his name he had a large revenue settled upon him. He was made Duke of Albany, Earl of Merch, and Regent till the King came to be of age. Moreover, James, the natural son of the late King, was made Earl of Murray, a young man of such virtuous endowments that he far exceeded all the hopes men had conceived of him. There was also one fact which much enhaunsed the estimation of John, and it was done almost in the face of the Assembly, and that was the punishment of Peter Muffat. He was a notable thief, who, after many cruel and nefarious pranks plaid by him in the two last licentious years, arrived at length to that audaciousness that he appeared openly at Court. His unexpected punishment made such a suddain change of things that criminals began to withdraw for shelter. The minds of the good were erected, and the face of things began soon to be changed from a stormy tempest to a suddain tranquillity. In the mean time, John Hepburn had so insinuated himself into the Regent by the help of his friends whom he had privately greased in the fist, and afterwards by his obsequiousness and pretence of knowing the old customs of the country he got his ear, who of himself was ignorant of Scotish affairs, insomuch that none was credited in matters of great moment but he alone.
2. He was sent abroad with commission by the Regent all over Scotland, to inquire into their offences who oppressed the vulgar and made them as their slaves. He obtained that office principally upon these grounds: first of all, he acquainted the Regent what new discords and old fewds there were in every county, and also what factions there were, and who were their respective heads. Hitherto his relations were true, for the things were known to all. But if any occasion were offered to speak of Hume, he stirr’d up some to complain of his enormity, so that by the imputation, partly of true, and partly of feigned crimes, the Regent’s ears were shut against all defence he could make. But when he had almost gone over the whole kingdom and expresly declared the alliances, affinities, and leagues which had interceded between each several family, and had persuaded the Regent that no man of power, tho’ a criminal, could be punished without the offence of his clans, and that not so much for the enmity and conspiracies of their kindred, as that, the punishments reaching to a few, yet the example would extend to a great many more, whom a similitude of faults and a like fear of punishments, out of enemies would make friends, so that these great and large spreading factions were not able to be punished by the force of Scotland only, and therefore it was adviseable to desire an auxiliary strength from the King of France to break this know of contumacious offenders; and that his would be of use to France as much as to Scotland. In the mean time, the heads of the factions were to be kept under and (if that were possible) taken off, yet with that prudence that they might not think too many of them to be aimed at at once.
3. The heads of the factions at present were three. Of them, Archibald Douglas was wonderfully popular, insomuch that the vulgar doted on him. His name was much adored by reason of the great merits of his ancestors; besides, he was in the flower of his youth and relied so much on his affinity with England that he bore a spirit for a private man. As for Hume, he was formidable of himself, and yet rendred more so because he was confirmed in his power by length of time. Neither did he stop here, but made an invidious commemoration of what the Hume’s had acted against the Regent’s father and uncle, of all which, tho’ the Hepburns were partakers, yet he cast the odium upon the Hume’s only. He often mentioned his cowardise in the last battel against the English, and the talk abroad about the King’s death reflecting upon him, together with the repairing of Norham Castle, which was done by his connivance. These things he repeated with great earnestness before the Regent.
4. As for Forman (says he), ’tis true he was not to be feared upon any account of his kindred, or any nobleness of descent, yet he would make a great accession of strength to what party soever he inclined, because all the wealth of the whole kingdom was gathered together (as it were) into one house, for he was able to supply the present want of the party he sided with mony, or else by his promises (all things being then in his power) he could draw many into the partnership of the same design with himself. This was Hepburn’s speech to the Regent. The noted fewds that had passed between Hepburne and Forman were the cause that Hepburne was not so much believed in that part. And besides, his estate was not so much to be envied, for he rather loved to lay it out than hord it up. Neither was he so munificent to any as to the French that waited on the Regent; and besides, his desire was more to join all parties in an universal concord than to addict himself to any one faction.
5. But the suspicion of the Lord of the Marches sunk deeper into the Regent’s mind, which was manifest by the aversion of his mind from him, and because his countenance was not so friendly to him as before, so that after a few months Alexander Hume, perceiving that he was not entertained by the Regent answerable to his hope, began to have secret meetings with the Queen and her husband. In those congresses Hume grievously lamented the state of the publick, that the King, in that age wherein he could not understand his own misery, had fallen into the hands of an exile, one born and brought up in that condition, who by a wicked ambition had endeavoured to rob his elder brother of the kingdom. And, he being the next heir, who did not see that all his endeavours were to settle other things according to his mind, and then to pack the innocent child out of the world that he might translate the kingdom to himself, that so what his father had impiously designed he himself might as wickedly accomplish? There was but one remedy in the case, and that was for the Queen to retire with her son into England, and there to put her self and concerns into the protection of her brother. These things, being brought to the Regent’s ears, were easily believed by him, but, being a man of an active spirit and of quick dispatch in business, with those forces which he had ready about him he prevented their design. For he took the Castle of Sterlin and the Queen in it. He took the oath of allegiance to the King publickly by the decree of the Nobles. The Queen and the Douglasses were removed, and three of the Nobility, of great estimation for their faithfulness and integrity, were joined with John Erskin, governor of the Castle, to preside over the education of the young King. They were to succeed one another by turns, and he allowed them a guard for their security. Upon this, Hume and his brother William fled into England. And Douglas and his wife staid no longer behind them, but till they knew Henry’s mind, who commanded them to stay at Harbottle in Northumberland till his pleasure was further known.
6. John the Regent was very much concern’d at all their departures, and therefore he presently sent embassadors into England to acquit himself before Henry, that he had done nothing why the Queen should fear him or be in the least disaffected towards him; neither had he acted any thing against those who accompanied her in her flight and departure, but that they might enjoy their country, their freedom, and, if they pleased, their estates. Thus publickly he wrote to the King. But besides that, he did not omit secretly to promote the return of the Hume’s and Douglas by the mediation of their friends; he made them many large promises till he had brought them over to his will. Whereupon the rest returned home, but the Queen, being big and near the time of her delivery, was constrained to stay there, where she brought forth a daughter named Margaret, of whom in due place. But as soon as she was able to travel, she had a royal accommodation and retinue sent from London to bring her up thither, where he was honourably and nobly received by Henry her brother and Mary her sister (who upon the death of her husband Lewis of France had a little before returned into her own country). And yet the suspicions before raised in Scotland were not much abated either by the departure of the Queen or by the return of some of her retinue. For Gawin Douglas, uncle to the Earl of Angus, Patrick Pantar, Secretary of State to the former King, and John Drummond, chief of his family, were sent to several prisons and banished. And Alexander Hume was summon’d to appear before the Assembly of Estates on the 12th day of July in the year of Christ 1516, but he, not appearing, was condemned and his goods confiscate. He was inraged by this contumelious wrong (for so it was in his eye), and to drive out one fear by another he either sent in, or else encouraged, tories [thieves] to commit great outrages upon the neighbourhood. Whereupon the Stated order’d the Regent to raise ten thousand horse and foot to repress those insolencies, and either to take Hume or else drive him out of the country. But before it came to blows, Hume, by the persuasion of his friends, surrendred himself to the Regent, and so was conveyed to Edinburgh to be a prisoner under James Hamilton, Earl of Arran, his sister’s husband, who was to be esteemed as a traitor if he suffer’d him to escape.
7. But the issue of that matter fell out otherwise than any body expected, for Hume persuaded Hamilton to escape away with him and to make a party, and so to enter on the government himself, he being the next heir after the former King’s children, in regard he was born of a sister of James the Third, and therefore it was more equitable that he should enjoy the next place to the King than John, who, ’tis true, was also the son of a brother, but born in his banishment, and in all other things a perfect foreigner, one who could not so much as speak the Scotish language. When the Regent heard of this, he went to take in Hamilton’s castle, and, placing his brass-guns against it, had it surrendred in two days. In the mean time, Hume made excursions out of Merch and pillaged the country about, and at length burnt down a great part of the town of Dunbar. These were the transactions of that year. At the beginning of the spring, John Stuart, Earl of Lennox, whose mother was Hamilton’s sister, join’d himself with a great many of his friends and vassals to the rebels. These seiz’d upon the Castle of Glasgoe, and there they staid with Hamiliton himself, expecting the Regent’s coming. The Regent had called a council of the Nobles of his party at Edinburgh, and there rais’d a suddain force and entred Glasgoe Castle, One gunner, a French-man, was punish’d as a deserter; the rest were pardon’d by the intercession of Andrew Forman, who was then a mediator for peace between them. The Earl of Lennox, a few days after, was receiv’d into favour, and from that day forward carry’d it with great faithfulness and observance towards the Regent. And not long after, first Hamilton, and then the Hume’s, return’d to Court and had an amnesty for what was past. It was granted to Hume with greater difficulty than to the rest because he had rebelled so often, and an express condition was added, that if he offended another time after that, the memory of his old crimes should be again reviv’d and charged upon him.
8. Peace being thus setled, the Regent retired to Falkland, where he staid some months; but, hearing of great suspicions against Hume, he returned to Edinburgh, and on the 24th day of September held a Council of the Nobility, where he endeavoured, by his friends, to draw Hume to Court. Large promises were made to intice him so to do, but many of his party dissuaded him; or, if he himself were resolved to go, yet he should leave his brother William (who by his valour and munificence had almost obtained as great, or a greater authority than himself) at home, in regard the Regent would be afraid to use any high severity against him as long as his brother was alive. But he, being, as it were, hurried on by a fatal necessity, slighted the advice of his friends and with his brother William and Andrew Car of Farnihurst came to Court, where presently they were all clapt up in several prisons, and, by the advice of the Council, a few days after were tried for their lives after the country custom. And yet there was no new fact urged against them. Prince James, Earl of Murray, accused him for the death of his father, who came alive off the field, as many witnesses did prove. This fact was strongly urged, but the proofs were weak, so that they gave it over and insisted only on his private crimes and the many former rebellions were objected, of all which Alexander was either the author or at least partaker in them; and moreover, ’twas alleged that he did not to his duty in the battel of Flodden. Hereupon the Hume’s were condemned. Alexander had his head struck off the 11th of October, and his brother the day after. Both of their heads were set up on an high place as a terror to others, and their estates were confiscate. This was the end of Alexander Hume, the powerfullest man in Scotland of his time. He in his life-time had raised up the hatred and envy of a great many men against him, yet, those prejudices in time abating, his death was variously spoke of, and so much the more because he fell not for the perpetration of any new crime, but merely by the calumnies (as ’twas thought) of John Hepburn the Abbat. For he, being a factious man and eager of revenge, bore an implacable hatred against Hume, because by his means alone he was disappointed of the Archbishoprick of St. Andrews, so that, tho he had stifled his old hatred for a time, yet, ’twas believ’d, he push’d on the Regent (who of himself was suspicious enough of, and disaffected to, the Hume’s) to the greater severity against him, by telling him how dangerous it would be to the King and all Scotland if he at his going into France should leave so fierce an enemy alive behind him. For what would he not attempt in his absence, who had despised his authority when present? So that the contumacy of the man, which could not be lenified [moderated] by rewards, honours, nor by frequent pardons, had need be conquered by the axe if he would ever keep Scotland in quiet.
9. These and such like insinuations, upon pretence of consulting the publick safety, being buzz’d into the ears of a man disaffected to them before, contributed more to the destruction of the Hume’s (in the judgment of many) than any of their crimes. When the Hume’s were put to death, Andrew Car obtained the respite of one night to provide for his souls health, but, by means of his friends, and especially a French-man his keeper, it was suspected upon payment of a good sum of money down upon the nail, he made his escape. Alexander Hume left three brothers behind him, who all met with various misfortunes in those days: George, for a murder he had committed, lay private as an exile in England; John, Abbat of Jedburgh, was banished beyond the Tay; David, the youngest, Prior of Coldingham, about two years after the execution of his brothers, being called forth by James Hepburn, his sisters husband, upon pretence of a conference, fell into an ambush laid purposely for him, and was slain, being much pityed by all that an innocent young man of so great hopes should be betrayed so unworthily by one who had little reason so to do. When severities and punishments had thus ranged over the whole family of the Hume’s, at last it fell to their enemies share, and especially to John Hepburn’s, who had been so severe an exactor of the unjust punishment of others. Yet the destruction of one family, once so powerful, brought such a pannick fear upon all the rest that matters were the quieter a great while after. The next December the Regent brought the King from Sterlin to Edinburgh, and then he desired leave of the Nobility of Scotland to return into France. Every one, almost, was against the motion, so that he was forced to stay till late in the spring, and then took shipping, promising speedily to return in case any more than ordinary commotion should arise which required his presence. For the government of the kingdom in his absence, he left the Earls of Angus, Arran, Argyle, and Huntly, the Arch-Bishops of St. Andrew’s and Glasgoe, to whom he added Anthony Darcy, a French-man, Governour of Dunbar, who was injoined to correspond with him and to inform him of all passages in his absence. And that no discord might arise out of an ambitious principle between such great and noble personages by reason of their parity in the government, he allotted to each of them their several provinces. Darcy the French-man, the rest condescending thereunto, had the chief place amongst them, Merch and Lothian being appointed to be under his government. The other provinces were distributed to the rest according to each man’s particular conveniency.
10. Mean while, the Queen, about a year after she had been in England, near the end of May returned to Scotland and was attended by her husband from Berwick. But they lived not together so lovingly as before. The Regent at his departure, to prevent the budding and growth of sedition in his absence, had carryed along with him either the heads of the noblest families, or else their sons and kindred (upon a pretence of doing them honour, but, indeed, as pledges) into France. And he had sent others of them into different and remote parts of the kingdom, where they had as ’twere but a larger prison. He had also placed French Governors in the Castles of Dunbar, Dunbarton, and Garvy, yet a commotion arose upon a slight occasion, whence it was least feared or dreamt of. Anthony Darcy had carried it with a great deal of equity and prudence in his government, especially in restraining of robberies. The first tumult in his province which tended to any thing of a war was made by William Cockburn, uncle to the Lord of Langton. He had driven away the guardians of the young ward and had seized upon the Castle of Langton, relying principally on the power of David Hume of Wederburn, whose sister Cockburn had married. Thither Darcy marched with a sufficient guard, by they within refused to surrender the Castle; and moreover, David Hume with some few nimble horse riding up to him, upbraided him with the cruel death of his kinsman Alexander. The French-man, partly distrustring his men and partly confiding in the swiftness of the horse he rode upon, fled towards Dunbar, but, his horse falling under him, his enemy overtook and slew him, and set up his head in an eminent place on Hume-Castle. He was slain the 20th of September in the year 1517. Whereupon the other Governours had a meeting, and, fearing a greater combustion after this terrible beginning, they made the Earl of Arran their President, and committed George Douglas (brother to the Earl of Angus, upon suspicion of his being privy to the murder newly committed) prisoner to Inse Garvy Castle. They also sent to the Regent in France to call him back into Scotland as soon as ever he could.
11. About the same time, some seeds of discord were sown between the Earl of Angus and Andrew Car of Farnihurst, by reason of the jurisdiction over some lands which did belong to the Earl, but Andrew alleged he had power to keep courts in them. The rest of the family of the Car’s sided with the Earl, but the Hamilton’s took part with Andrew, which they did more out of hate to the Douglas’s than for any justice Car had for his pretensions, so that both parties provided themselves against the court-day, to run a greater hazard than the matter they strove about was worth. And John Somerval, a noble and high-spirited young man of the Douglas’s faction, set upon James, the natural son of the Earl of Arran, on the way, and slew five of his retinue, putting the rest to flight; he also took above thirty of their horses. When an Assembly was summoned to be held at Edinburgh April the 29th, 1520, the Hamiltons alleged that they could not be safe in that city where Archibald Douglas was Governour. Whereupon Douglas, that he might not impede publick business, about the end of March resigned up his Government of his own accord, and Robert Logan, a citizen of Edinburgh, was substituted in his place. The Nobility of the west part of Scotland, of which there were very many, had frequent meetings in the house of James Beton the Chancellor. Their design was to apprehend the Earl of Angus, for they alleged that his power was too great and formidable to the publick; that, as along as he was at liberty, they should have no freedom for debate or resolution. And opportunity seemed to favour their design, for he, having now but a few of his vassals about him, might be easily surprized before his kindred came in to his assistance. When he perceived what was agitated against him, he sent his uncle Gawin, Bishop of Dunkelden, to them to pacify them, whom, he said, he had provoked with no injury, and to desire them to manage the dispute without force of arms. For if they could make out any just complaint against him, he was willing, in equity, to give them all due satisfaction.
12. But his speech profited not, for being made to men prepossessed, fierce, puissant, and greedy of revenge. And therefore Gawin could obtain no good terms from them, but returned to Angus and acquainted him with the arrogance of his enemy, and then caused his whole family to follow the Earl. He himself, being a priest, and inform too by reason of age, retired to his own lodging. Some think he did this to upbraid the unseasonable pride of the Chancellor, who, when he ought to have been a promoter of the peace, flew armed up and down like a fire-brand of sedition. Douglas, seeing there was no hopes of agreement, exhorted his men rather to die valiantly than, like dastards, to hide themselves in their lodgings, from whence (to be sure) they would soon be pluck’d out by the ears to their deaths. For their enemies had stopp’d all avenues and passages, so that not a man of them could get out of the city. All that were there present assented to what he had spoken, and thereupon he and his party, being clad in their armour, seized upon the broadest street in all the town. He had about fourscore in his train, but all stout resolute men and of known valour. They divided themselves into the most convenient places, and so set upon their enemies as they came out of several narrow alleys, at once; the first they slew, and drove the rest back, tumbling one upon another with a witness. The Earl of Arran, who commanded the opposite party, with his son James got to a ford and made their escape by the North-Lough. The rest ran several ways for shelter to the Convent of the Dominicans. Whist these things were acting, there was a mighty combustion all over the town, and in the midst of the bustle William, Angus’s brother, enters the city with a great party of his clan-ship. When Douglas had got this accession to his former strength, tho there were abundance of his enemies in the town, yet he made a proclamation by a trumpeter that none should dare to appear in the streets with arms about them but his friends and party. Those that desired passes to depart quietly had them easily granted. There went out, in one company, about 800 horse (besides those who had taken their flight before), with greater ignominy than loss. For there fell not above 72, but amongst them were men of note, as the brother of the Earl of Arran and Eglington’s son. This was done the 30th day of April 1520. To revenge this disgrace, the Hamilton’s besieged Kilmarnock (a castle in Cuningham). Robert Boyd, a friend of the Douglas’s, commanded it, but they soon left it without effecting any thing. The next year, Douglas came to Edinburgh on the 20th of July, bringing with him the Hume’s which had been banished, and there he took down the heads of Alexander and William Hume, which had been set up on poles.
13. The whole five years that the Regent was absent were very full of tumults, there was no end of pillaging and killing till his return, which was October 30, 1521. Upon his arrival, he resolved to abate the power of the Douglas’s in order to the quieting of those seditions which had hapned in his absence. The Earl of Angus, head of that family, he sent into France. He caused the Pope to call over his uncle, the Bishop of Dunkelden, to Rome to purge himself there from some imputed crimes, who, the year after, in his journy to Rome fell sick of the plague in London and died. His virtues were such that he was very much lamented; for, besides the splendor of his ancestry and the comeliness of his personage, he was master of a great deal of learning (as for those times), and, being a also a man of high prudence and singular moderation, even in those troublesome times, he was much esteem’d in point of faithfulness and authority, even by contrary factions. He left behind him considerable monuments of his ingenuity and learning, written in his mother-tongue. The next year after the return of the Regent a Parliament was held and an army levyed, pointed to rendevouz at Edinburgh on a set day, whither they came accordingly and pitch’d their tents in the fields near Rosselin, none knowing upon what service they were to be put. But at last an herauld proclaim’d that they were to march towards Annandale, a great punishment being denounced on those who refused so to do. The rest of the army marched obediently enough to the River Solway, the boundary of Scotland. Only Alexander Gordon and his party staid behind three miles backward further from England. When the Regent heard of it, he came back to him the next day and brought him up to the camp. There he called the Nobles and chief commanders together, and shewed them many great and weighty reasons why he invaded England on that side. But a great part of the Nobility, by the instigation of Gordon, who was their senior and of greater authority than them all, wholly refused to set foot on English ground, whether out of disaffection to the Regent, or else (as they pretended) that ’twas not for the interest of Scotland so to do.
14. The specious pretences cast abroad amongst the soldiers pleased them well enough. For if they had levyed an army in favour of the French lest the English might bring their whole strength against them, it was sufficient for that purpose only to make a shew of war. But if the interest of Scotland were considered, matters were not well setled at home, and their King was but a child, so that ’twas most adviseable for them, at that time, only to be on the defensive and to keep their country in quiet. For, if they should march forward, the blame, even of fortuitous miscarriages, might be laid to their charge, and an account of such their misfortunes might be required at their hands in a very short time. Lastly, tho they were never so willing to march forward against the enemy, and so to slight the common danger as well as to overlook their own concerns at home, yet they were afraid that the Scots would not be obedient to command in an enemies country. Great heed therefore was to be taken lest, by emulation, envy, or late disgusts, some notable affront or shameful loss might be received. The Regent, perceiving it in vain to oppose, was fain to yield; yet, that he might not seem to have acted a pageantry only with such vast preparations in marching as far as the Solway, he suborned a fit person who used to traffick into England, to acquaint Dacres, then Lord Warden of English Marches, that some good might be done if he did treat with John the Regent. He willingly hearkned to the proposal because he was unprovided for defence, never imagining that the Scots would have made an irruption into England on that side, nor indeed scarce believing that they would have made any such attempt at all. Whereupon he sent an Herauld of Arms and had a passport to come and go with safety into the camp. The next day, Thomas Dacres and Thomas Musgrave with about twenty more breve cavaliers came to the Regent’s tent, where they had private discourse together all alone, each having their interpreters. Dacres, being taken unprovided, was not averse from a peace, and the Regent, not being able to effect any thing without the consent of his army, clapt up a truce, and thus an hopeful introduction to a peace was made, and so they parted. Those of the Scots who were the greatest hinderances of the action, to avert the blame from themselves, spread abroad reports that Dacres had bought a peace from the Regent for a sum of money, of which part was in hand paid, the rest promised but never paid. Thus they endeavoured to disparage the conference amongst the vulgar.
15. The Regent went again, on the 25th of October, into France, but promised to return before August the first next ensuing, yet he kept not his day, because he was informed that the English had a fleet to intercept his passage; however he sent 500 foot in the month of June, both to incourage the Scots and also as an earnest of his speedy return. They never saw the face of an enemy in all their voyage till they came near the Isle of May, which is scituate in the Firth of Forth. There they fell among the English ships who lay in wait in those straits to stop their passage. There they had a sharp fight, and the French boarded their enemies ships, but with the loss of their Admiral. When he was slain, the sea-men would not obey the Captains of the Foot, and the land-souldiers, being ignorant of sea-affairs, could not command the mariners, so that, after a great slaughter of the English, they could scarce be forced back into their own ships. In the absence of the Regent, Thomas Howard, Earl of Surry, was sent with ten thousand men and a great many voluntiers into Scotland. His advantage was that the Scots were at discord and they were under no certain command, so that he march’d over Merch and Teviotdale and took the castles of both shires, to the great loss of the Nobles, yea, and of the Commons too (who used upon sudden invasions to secure themselves and their goods into those forts). But Scotland did then labour with such intestine discords that no man thought his neighbours calamity did at all belong to him. The English march’d up and down for several months where they listed without any opposition, and when at length they retreated, the adjacent Scots endeavoured, in some sort, to revenge themselves for their losses received, and thereupon daily incursions were made by them into Northumberland, and great booties gained from thence, so that Howard was sent against them a second time, who took Jedburgh (a town unfortified, as the Scots custom is), but it cost him some toil and loss of men.
16. Whilst these things were acting in Teviotdale, the horses of the English army were so terrified in the night (’tis not known upon what occasion) that about 500 of them broke their bridles, running up and down the camp and overturning all that were in the way. Some of the soldiers they trampled down and trod upon, and then ran out into the open field, as if they had been mad, and so became a prey to such of the country Scots as could take them up. Hereupon there was a great consternation in the whole camp, all crying out arm, arm, neither could the tumult be appeased till the next morning. Three days after, the English, without making any further attempt, disbanded their army and returned home. The Duke of Albany, knowing that all the ports on the French shore were way-laid by the English, to intercept him in his return, being inferior in strength, resolv’d to piece it out by stratagem. Whereupon he kept not his navy together in any one port, but so dispersed them into several harbours (here one ship, there another) that there was no appearance at all of any warlike preparation. And besides, he quartered his soldiers in the in-land country, that no body could imagin he designed to ship them, so that the Admiral of the English fleet, who waited to disturb his passage till the 13th of August, was weary to rove up and down in the sea any longer to no purpose, and, understanding by his spies that there was neither fleet nor army on all the French coasts, he withdrew his fleet, as supposing John would not wag till the next spring. The Duke of Albany, being informed of the departure of the English, presently drew together his navy of 50 ships, abord of which there were 3000 foot and an 100 curiasiers, and after the autumnal Aequinox he set sail from France, and by the 24th of September made the Isle of Arran in Scotland, which happened to be the same day wherein the English burnt Jedburgh.
17. I shew’d before how miserable the state of affairs in Scotland was the last summer. The Nobles were at variance one with another; the English wasted all the countries near them; they were masters of the sea, and thereby all hopes of foreign aid were cut off. The design of the enemy herein was to take down the pride of the Scot, and by sufferings to incline him to a pacification. Neither were those Scots that were adverse to the French faction less addicted thereto, for they earnestly desired a perpetual peace with England, of which faction the Queen was the chief. For when Hume was taken off, Douglas pack’d away, and the other Nobles were judg’d rather fit to follow than to lead in the management of matters, all those that were not favourers of the French interest applyed themselves to the Queen. She, on the other side, to gratify her brother, and also to draw the power into her own hands, dissembled her private ambition and exhorted them, saying that now was the time to free their young King, who was almost of age, from the bondage of a stranger, and also to deliver themselves from the same yoke. For the Queen now laboured to strengthen her party against her husband, whom she long before began to disgust [dislike]. Besides, the King of England sent frequent letters stuft with large promises to the Nobles of Scotland, desiring them to promote his sisters designs. He told them it was not his fault that there was not a perpetual amity between the two neighbouring kingdoms, and that he, with others, did much desire it at this time, not for any private end of his own, but to make it appear that he bore a respect to his sister’s son, whom he was resolved to support and gratify as much as ever he was able. And if the Scots would be persuaded to break their league with France and to strike it with England, they should quickly find his aim was not ambition, but love and concord only. That Mary, his only daughter, being married to James, by that affinity the Scots would not come over to the government of the English, but the English to that of the Scots. That enmities as great as theirs had intervened betwixt nations hitherto which yet by alliances, mutual commerce, and interchangeable kindnesses had been wholly abolish’d and extinct. Moreover, he reckon’d up the advantages or inconveniencies which might accrue to either nation by this union with each other rather than with the French, as that they were one people, born in the same island, brought up under the same climate, agreeable one to another in their language, manners, laws, customs, countenance, colour, and in the very lineaments of their bodies, so that they seemed rather to be one nation than two. But as for the French, they differed from them not only in climate and soil, but also in the whole course of their conversations. Besides, if France were an enemy, she could do no great damage to Scotland; and if a friend, yet she could not be highly advantageous As for the assistance of England, that was near at hand, but French aid was much more remote, there was no passage for it but by sea, and therefore it might be prevented by enemies or else hindered by storms. They were therfore desired to consider how inconvenient it was for the management of affairs, and how unsafe for the publick, to hang the hopes of their and the kingdoms safety upon so unconstant and variable a thing as a blast of wind. How much they might expect from absent friends against present dangers may be easily perceived by the actions of the last summer, wherein the Scots not only felt, but even saw with their eyes how the English did baffle them, being forsaken by their friends, and came upon them with all their strength, ready to devour them. But the French aid, so long looked for, was kept back by the English navy in their own harbours.
18. These were the allegations for a peace with England. And not a few, being convinced thereby, inclined thereunto. But others argued to the contrary, for there were many in that Assembly whom the French had brib’d, and some, who had got great estates out of the publick losses, for fear they would lose them did abhor the thoughts of peace. There were others who suspected the readiness and facility of the English in making such large promises, especially since matters in England were manag’d, for the most part, at the will and pleasure of Thomas Woolsey, a Cardinal, a man wicked and ambitious, who referr’d all his designs to his own private advantage and the inlargements of his power and authority, and therefore he accommodated them to every turn of the wheel of Fortune, as men say. All these did equally favour a league with France, tho induced thereunto on different grounds. There alleged that the sudden liberality of the English was not free and gratuitous, but done out of design, and that this was not the first time that they had us’d such arts to intrap the unwary Scots. For Edward the First (said they) when he had sworn and obliged himself by all the bonds of law and equity to decide the thing in dispute, and therefore was chosen arbitrator by the Scots, had most injuriously made himself King of Scotland. And of late Edward the 4th had betrothed his daughter Cicely to the son of James the 3rd, but when the young lady grew up to be marriageable and the day of consummation thereof almost appointed, he took the opportunity of a war which arose upon the account of our private discords, and so broke off the match. And that the English King aim’d at nothing else now but to cast the tempting bait of rule before them, that so he might make them really slaves, and, when they were destitute of foreign aid, might subdue them at his pleasure and unawares, with all his force. Neither was that position a true one wherein the contrary party did pride themselves, that an allyance near at hand was better than one farther off. For causes of dissension would never be wanting among those which were near, which were often produc’d even by sudden chances, and sometimes great men would promote them upon every light occasion, and then the laws of concord will be prescrib’d by him who hath the longest sword. That there was never such a firm and sacred bond of friendship between neighbouring kingdoms which, upon occasions offer’d or sought for, was not often violated. Neither could we hope that the English would more refrain now from violating such a league than they formerly did against so many Kings of their own blood. ’Tis true, the sanctity of leagues and the religion of an oath for the faithful performance of pacts and agreements are firm bonds and ingagements to good men, but amongst those which are bad they are but as so many natures and gins [traps], and give only opportunity to deceive. And such an opportunity is most visible in a propinquity of borders and habitations, in the sameness of a language, and in a similitude of conversation. But if all these things were otherwise, yet (proceeded they) there are two things to be regarded and provided for. First, that we reject not our old friends even without an hearing, who have so oft well deserv’d of us. The other, that we do not here spend our time in quarrels and disputes, especially about a business wherein nothing can be determin’d but an Assembly of all the Estates of the kingdom.
19. Thus stood the inclinations of those of the French faction, and so they obtain’d that no determination should be made till they receiv’d certain news of the French supplies. When the return of the Regent was made known, it mightily rejoiced his friends, strengthened the wavering, and kept back many who favour’d the league with England from complying with it. He sent his warlike provisions up the River Clyde to Glasgoe, and there muster’d his army. He also publish’d a proclamation that the Nobility should attend him at Edinburgh, where he made an elegant speech to them, commending their constancy in maintaining their ancient league and their prudence in rejecting the perfidious promises of the English. He highly extolled the goodwill, love, and liberality of Francis, the French King, towards the Scots, and exhorted them to lay aside their private animosities and fewds, and, seeing foreign aid was come in to them, to revenge their wrongs and to repress the insolence of their enemy by some notable blow. Hereupon, after his souldiers had refresh’d themselves and the Scots forces had joined them, he marched towards the Borders, whither he came the 22nd of October. But, being about to enter England and having already sent part of his forces over a wooden bridg which was at Mulross, the Scots made the same pretences as they did in the former expedition at Solway, and refus’d to enter England, so that he was forc’d to recall that party which he had commanded over, and, pitching his tents a little below on the left side of the Tweed, endeavour’d to storm the Castle of Werke, scituated over against him on the right side of the river. In the mean time, the horse that had pass’d over the river beset all passages, that no relief could come to the besieged. They also ravaged with fire and sword against all the country thereabouts. The description of Werke Castle is this. In the inner court of it there is a very high tower, well fortifi’d, it is incompass’d with a double wall. The outward wall incloses a large space of ground (whither the country-people were wont to fly in time of war, and to bring their corn and cattle with them for safeguard). The inner wall is narrower, but trench’d round about and better fortifi’d with towers built thereon. The French took the outward court by storm, but the English set fire to the barns and the straw that was in them, which made such a smoke and flame that they drave them out again. For the next two days they batter’d the inner wall with their great guns, and after they had made a breach wide enough for entrance, the French again attempted the matter and valiantly storm’d at the breach they had made. But they in the inner Castle, being yet safe, darted down all sorts of weapons upon them, and they lay expos’d to every blow, so that, having lost some few of their men, they were beat back to their army, and so returned over the river.
20. The Regent, perceiving that the minds of the Scots were averse from action, and also hearing for certain that the English were coming against them with a numerous army (their own writers say no less than 40000 fighting men, and besides that 6000 more were left to defend Berwick, a neighbour-town), the 11
th of November he removed his company to a nunnery called Eccles, about six miles distant from his present encampment. Thence at the 3rd watch he marched by night to Lauder. Both horse and man were much incommoded in their march by the sudden fall of a great snow. The same storm occasion’d the English also to disband and return home without effecting any thing. The rest of the winter was quiet enough. At spring, the Regent in an Assembly of the Nobles told them the causes why he must needs go again into France, but he promised them to return before the 1st of September next following. And moreover, he desired them that during his absence the King might remain at Sterlin, and that they would make no peace or truce with the English before his return, as also that they would innovate nothing in the government. They promised him faithfully to obey his commands, and thus on the 14th of May he and his retinue set sail for France. In his absence the reins were let loose, every man’s will was his law, and a great deal of havock was made and mischief done without any punishment at all. Whereupon the King, though but a child, by the advice of his mother and the Earls of Arran, Lennox, Crawford, and many other of the prime Nobility, came from Sterlin to Edinburgh, and on the 29th of July, by the counsel of his Nobles whom he had convened at his palace of Holy-Rood-House, he took upon him the government of the Kingdom, and the next day caused them all to swear fealty to him a second time. And to shew that he had actually assumed the administration of matters into his own hands, he discharged all publick officers, but a few days after he restored them to their places again. There was a great Assembly of the Nobles held on the 20th day of August, that so he might vacate the power of the Regent, which he had now taken upon himself, and so went in great pomp (as the manner is) into the publick hall of the town. Only the Bishops of St. Andrews and Aberdene dissented, alleging that they ought to stay till the first of September, at which time the Regent had promis’d to return, whereupon they were imprison’d. But they reveng’d themselves with their own Church-weapons, and excommunicated all of their diocesses. However, in about a month or two after, they were reconcil’d to the King and restor’d to the same place in his favour which they held before.
21. About the same time, Archibald Douglas, who, as I have said before, was sent into France, sent Simon Penning, an active man and much trusted by him, to the King of England to persuade him to give him the liberty of returning home through his dominions, which was granted. For Henry was well enough pleased at the diminution of the authority of so active a person as the Duke of Albany and at the change which was made in Scotland, so that he entertained the Earl courteously and dismiss’d him very honourably. But his return did variously affect the minds of the Scots. For, seeing all publick business was transacted under the conduct of the Queen and the Earl of Arran, a great part of the Nobility, the heads whereof were John Stuart, Earl of Lennox, and Calen Cambel, Earl of Argyle, taking it in great distaste that they were not admitted to any part of the publick administration, received Douglas with high expressions of joy, as hoping by his aid either to gain over the power of the adverse faction to themselves, or at least to abate their pride. On the other side, the Queen, who, as I said before, was disaffected towards her husband, was much troubled at his coming, and sought by all means to undermine him. And moreover Hamilton, out of the relicks of his old hatred, was none of his friend; besides, he fear’d lest Douglas, who he knew would not be content with a second place, should mount the saddle and make him truckle under, so that he strove to maintain his own dignity and opposed him with all his might. They kept themselves within the Castle of Edinburgh, and tho they knew very well that many of the Nobility affected alterations, yet, trusting to the strength of the place and the authority of the kingly name (tho it were but a sorry defence in those circumstances), they thought themselves secure from force. The adverse party had a great meeting of the Nobles, where they chose three of their own party to be Guardians of King and kingdom, Archibald Douglas, Earl of Angus, John Stuart, Earl of Lennox, and Calen Cambel, Earl of Argyle. They made great haste in their business. First, they passed the Forth and caused James Beton, a prudent man, to join with them, who, perceiving the strength of the party, durst not resist. From thence they went to Sterlin and conferr’d all publick offices and employments on the men of their own faction only, and from thence they came to Edinburgh, which they entred without force, for it was not fortified at all. They cast up a small trench against the Castle and besiedg’d it. The defendants had made no provisions for a siege, and therefore soon surrendered up both it and themselves. All but the King were sent away, so that now the whole weight of the government lay upon the shoulders of those three associates, who agreed among themselves that they would mange it by turns, each of them attending four months apiece on the King.
22. But this conjunction was not hearty [sincere], neither did it last long. Douglas attended the first four months who brought the King into the Archbishop of St. Andrews house and made use of all the Bishop’s houshold stuff and other accommodations as if they had been his own (for he had a little before revolted from their faction), and to engage the King to him the more, he suffer’d him to wallow in all kind of pleasure, and yet he obtain’d not his end neither, in regard the King’s domesticks were corrupted by the adverse faction headed by the Queen and Hamilton. The first grudges at Court brake forth upon the account of distributing ecclesiastical preferments, for the Douglasses drew all to themselves. George Creighton was translated to the Bishoprick of Dunkelden. The Abby of Holy Rood in the suburbs, which was left by him, Douglas gave to his brother William, who had now for 5 years forcibly held that of Coldingham, about six miles from Berwick, after the murder of Robert Blacketer, the former Abbat. For Robert Blaceter, Robert’s cousin-german, had the Abby bestowed on him by the Pope, with the consent of John the Regent. He had also commenced a suit against John Hume, an intimate of the Earl of Angus’s and husband to his sister’s daughter, about the whole ancient estate of the Blacketers. And therefore Patrick, being unable to cope with the Douglasses, suffer’d his estate to be made a prey to his enemies, and reserv’d himself for better times amongst his mother’s kindred, far from those counties which were obnoxious to the faction of the Douglasses. They, on the other side, though they did not much value Patrick, yet having the supreme power in their hands and being unwilling to incur the blot of invading other mens rights by mere force, made use of friends to proffer him some kind of amends and satisfaction, he, shewing himself inclinable to an agreement, even tho he remitted part of his right, had thereupon a pass and the publick faith given him by Douglas to come to Edinburgh which he did only with a small retinue and unarm’d. And not far from the gates of the city he was set upon by John Hume, who lay in ambush for that purpose, and slain. As soon as the noise of the fact was spread over the city, many mounted their horses and pursued the murderers some miles in order to their apprehension. But, understanding that George Douglas, brother to the Earl, was in their company, and many more of Douglas’s faction with the kindred of Hume, not knowing with what intent they came out, whether to catch or to defend the murderers, they desisted from their pursuit.
23. Whereupon strange reports were divulged abroad concerning the Douglasses. As for Calen Cambel, he had already withdrawn himself from the triumvirate, and the Earl of Lennox, though he followed the King, yet, in regard the Douglasses drew all offices of publick advantage to themselves, he gave many testimonies of his dislike, and that his mind was quite alienated from them. But they, being confident of their power, slighted the reports and ill-will of others. Mean while, the King, though he were us’d more indulgently than was fit, that so his infirm spirit might be the longer in subjection to them, yet notwithstanding, by little and little grow weary of their government, being also alienated from them by his domesticks, who laid to their charge actions, some true, some false, and interpreted the doubtful in the worst sense. Whereupon he held secret cabals with such as he could trust concerning vindicating himself into his freedom and liberty. Neither was he afraid to open the secrets of his heart to John Earl of Lennox, one of his Nobles. For, besides his other virtues of mind and body, he was an honest and fine-spoken man, and excellently compos’d to conciliate and win upon men by a natural sweetness of manners and deportment. Him he made privy to his designs, and whilst they were consulting concerning the time, place, and manner of its accomplishment, Douglas was making many expeditions against the banditty, but with no great success. At length, about the end of July, he resolv’d to carry the King into Teviotdale, as supposing that his presence would be advantageous by striking a terror into the licentious. Thus, an Assembly being held at Jedburgh, the King call’d together all the heads of the chief families round about, and commanded them to apprehend those criminals, every one within his own precinct, of which he then gave them a list. They willingly and industriously obey’d this command, so that the heads of the thieves were many of them put to death, and others were spared in hopes of amendment. Thus, whilst the minds of all were very merry and jocund, they who had a design to free the King from the pupillage of the Douglasses thought that a good opportunity to effect it, because one Walter Scot, living not far from Jedburgh, had great clanships in the counties thereabouts. The manner of the accomplishing their project was thus laid: Walter was to invite the King to his house and there he was to remain with his own good liking till greater forces came in at the noise of the thing. But their design seem’d to be discovered, either by chance or upon some private intimation. Whereupon the King was carried back to Mulross. Yet Walter was not discouraged, but proceeded on strait in his journy to the King. When he was but a little way off, frightful news were brought to the Douglasses that Walter was at hand, well-arm’d, and had a great troop of arm’d men accompanying him, so that there was no doubt to be made that he, being a factious man and withal good at his weapon, did intend some mischief, insomuch that they all presently ran to their arms.
24. Douglas, tho inferior in number, yet knowing that the men he had of his own were choice ones, and besides that, he had several valiant persons of the family of the Carrs and Humes’s in his train, with John Hume and Andrew Carr their principals, resolv’d to put it to a battel. In the very nick of time, George Hume had almost spoil’d all, who, when Douglas commanded him to alight from his horse and manage his part in the fight, answered he would not do so, no, not but if the King himself commanded him. They fought eagerly and couragiously on both sides, as men who had their King (the price of the combat) their spectator. John Stuart stood near the King without striking a stroke, only as a spectator of the fight. After a sharp encounter, Walter was wounded, and then his men gave ground. But the joy of the Douglasses victory was much allayed by the loss of Andrew Carr, who for his singular virtues was equally lamented by both parties. Upon the account of his being slain, there ensued a perpetual feud between the families of the Carrs and the Scots, which was not ended without blood. From that time forward, John Stuart, who carried himself as a neuter in the fight, being afore suspected by the Douglasses, was now accounted their open enemy, so that he departed from the Court. These things were acted July 23 in the year 1521. The Douglassians, perceiving themselves subject to the envy of many, sought to strengthen their faction by new acquists [acquisitions], and therefore they made up the old breach betwixt them and the Hamiltons, a family much abounding in wealth, power, and number, but remote from Court. Them he admitted into part of the government. On the other side, John Stuart had the advantage of being highly favoured by most people, and, having also privately obtain’d the King’s letter to the chief of the Nobility, who, he thought, would have kept his counsel, he mightily strengthened his party. And therefore in a convention of his faction at Sterlin, where were also present James Beton, some other bishops, and many heads of the noblest families, he openly propounded to them the design of asserting the King to his liberty. This was unanimously agreed to, and tho the day for mustering their forces was not yet come, yet, hearing that the Hamiltons were gathered together at Linlithgow to intercept their march, it was judged adviseable to attack them before they join’d with the Douglasses. And accordingly with the present force which he had he marched directly towards them. But the Hamiltons, having intelligence that John would march out of Sterlin that day, early in the morning had called the Douglassians out of Edinburgh to their assistance before. But the King, besides other obstacles, did somewhat retard them by pretending himself not well, so that he rose later out of his bed that day than ordinary; and besides he march’d very slowly, and upon the way would often turn aside to ease nature, as if he had been troubled with a lask [flux].
25. And when George Douglas had in vain flattered him to make more haste, at last he brake forth into this menacing expression, “Sir (said he), rather than our enemies should take you from us, we will lay hold on your body, and if it be rent in pieces we will be sure to retain part thereof.” These words struck a deeper impression on the King’s mind than is usual in one of his age, insomuch that when the Douglasses were banish’d many years after, and he had some inclination to recal the rest of them, he could not endure to hear any body speak of a reconciliation with George. The Hamiltons, betwixt fear of their enemy approaching and hope of aid at hand, had set themselves in array at the bridg of the River Aven, which is about a mile from Linlithgoe. They plac’d a small guard at the bridg, and the rest of their forces on the brow of the hills which they knew the enemy must pass. Lennox, seeing that his passage over the bridg was stoppd, commanded his men to pass over a small river a little above, by a nunnery call’d Manuel, and so to beat the Hamiltonians from the hills before Douglas’s forces had join’d them. The Lennoxians made towards their enemies through thick and thin, as we say, but by casting down of stones from the hills they were much prejudiced, and when they came to handy blows the word was given that the Douglasses were at hand. And indeed they from their march ran in hastily into the fight and soon carry’d the day, so that Lennox’s men were grievously wounded and put to flight. The Hamiltonians, especially James the Bastard, used their victory with a great deal of cruelty. William Cunningham, son to the Earl of Glencarn, receiv’d many wounds, but his life was saved by the Douglasses his kinsmen. John Stuart was slain, much lamented by the Earl of Arran his uncle, and also by Douglas himself, but most of all by the King. For he had sent Andrew Wood of the Largs, his favourite, before (as soon as ever he had heard of the fight by the clashing of the armour) to save Lennox’s life, if possible, but he came, as we say, a day after the fair. After this victory, the Douglasses, to keep down the faction of their enemies and make them subject to their will, proceeded in the law against those who had taken up arms against their King, as they phrased it, so that for fear of a trial many were forc’d to compound with them for mony; some put themselves into the clanship of the Hamiltons, others with the Douglasses; but the most obstinate were called to the bar. Among whom was Gilbert Earl of Cassils, who, when he was press’d by James Hamilaton the Bastard to shrewd [shroud] himself under the protection of the Hamiltons, out of the greatness of his spirit made this answer, that there was an old league of friendship made between both their grandfathers, in which his grandfather was always named first as the more honourable. And now he would not so far degenerate from the dignity of his family, or the glory of his ancestors, as to put himself under the patronage (which was but one degree below plain slavery) of that family whose chief, in an equal alliance, was always content with the second place.
26. So that when Gilbert was call’d to his answer at a day appointed, Hugh Kennedy, his kinsman, made answer for him, that he had not taken up arms against the King, but for him, for he was commanded by the King to be at that fight, and, if it were needful, he proferred to produce the King’s letters to that purpose. The Hamiltons were much troubled at his boldness, for indeed the King had wrote to Gilbert when he went from Court, as well as to others, that he should take part with John Stuart. But seeing the battel was at hand, insomuch that he could have no time to call together his clanship and kindred, as he was upon the way, he turn’d aside with those of his family that were with him, to Sterlin. The violence of the Hamiltons was somewhat abated by this trial, but James the Bastard burnt with a mortal hatred against Kennedy, and a few days after, as he was returning home, he caus’d him to be murther’d upon the way by means of Hugh Cambel, Laird of Air. This Hugh, the same day the murder was committed (which he had commanded his vassals to execute, that so he might avert all suspition of so horrid a fact from himself) went to John Erskin’s house, whose wife was sister to Gilbert Kennedy’s wife. She, as soon as ever she heard of this cruel murther, did not cease to upbraid him most grievously therewith to his very face. Thus the noble family of the Kennedy’s was almost quite extinguished. The son of the Earl, after his father was slain, being but a child, fled to his kinsman Archibald Douglas, who was then Lord Treasurer, and put himself and his family under his protection. He lovingly receiv’d him, and such was the ingenuity of his promising years that he designed him for his son-in-law. Hugh Cambel was summon’d to appear, but, his crime being manifest, he fled out of the land. Neither did the Douglasses exercise their revenge and hatred less fiercely upon James Beton, for they led their forces to St. Andrews, seized upon, pillaged, and ruined his castle, because they accounted him the author of all the projects the Earl of Lennox had undertaken. But he himself went under frequent disguises, because no man durst entertain him openly, and so escaped. And with the like kind of dissimulation and solitude the Queen herself made her retirement, that so she might not fall into the hands of her husband, whom she hated. At the beginning of the next spring, Douglas made an expedition into Liddisdale, where he slew many of the thieves, falling upon them unawares in their hutts before they could gather themselves together for defence. Twelve of them he hang’d up, and twelve more he kept as hostages. But because their fellow did not forbear their old trade of robbing, a few months after he put them to death also.
27. At his entrance into that expedition, there happened a matter very memorable, which for the novelty of the thing I shall not pretermit. There was an under-groom or helper belonging to the stables of John Stuart, of mean descent, and therefore used in a mean employment to dress horses. When his lord and master was kill’d by the Hamiltons, he wander’d up and down for a time, not knowing what course to take. At last he took heart and resolved to attempt a fact far superior to the rank and condition he had been born and brought up in. For he undertook a journey to Edinburgh with an intent to revenge the death of his lord who was slain. And there he casually lighted upon a man of the same family and fortune with himself. He demanded of him whether he had seen James Hamilton the Bastard in the city. Who answer’d him he had. “What (said he), thou ungratefullest of men, hast thou seen him and would’st thou not kill him who slew so good a master as we both had? Get thee gone with a witness, all misery betide thee.” And thereupon he presently hastned on his designed voyage, and came directly to Court. There were then in a large court, which is before the palace in the suburbs, about 2000 arm’d men of Douglasses and Hamilton’s dependants, ready prepared for the expedition I spake of before. He, seeing them, past by all the rest and fix’d his eye and mind on Hamilton, who was then coming out of the court-yard in is cloak without his armor. When he saw him in a pretty long gallery (and somewhat dark) which is over the gate, he flew at him and gave him six wounds: one of them almost pierc’d to his vitals, others of them he pretty well avoided by the flexure of his body and by warding them off with his cloak which he held before him. And then the groom presently mixt himself among the croud. Immediately a great hubbub was raised, and some of the Hamiltons suspect that the Douglasses had done so horrid a fact out of the relicks of their old feuds, so that those two factions had almost like to go together by the ears. At last, when their fear and surprise were allayd’, they were all commanded to stand in single ranks by the walls which were round about the court-yard. There the murderer was discovered, as yet holding the bloody knife in his hand. Being demanded what he was, and whence and for what he came thither, he made no ready answer. Upon which he was dragg’d to prison and put to the rack, and then he confess’d immediately that he had undertaken the fact in revenge of his good lord and master, and that he was sorry for nothing but that so famous an attempt did not take effect. He was tortur’d a long time but dicover’d no body as privy to his design. At last, he was condemned and carried up and down the city, and every part of his naked body was nipp’d with iron pinchers red hot, and yet neither in his speech nor in his countenance did he discover the least sense of pain. When his right hand was cut off, he said that it was punish’d less than it had deserved for not sufficienty seconding the dictates of so stout a spirit.
28. Moreover, the same year Patrick Hamilton, son to a sister of John Duke of Albany, and of a brother of the Earl of Arran’s her husband, a young man of great judgment and singular learning, by a conspiracy of the priests was burnt at St. Andrews. And not long after his suffering men were much terrified at the death of Alexander Cambel: he was of the Order of the Dominicans, a man also of good ingenuity and accounted one of the most learn’d of all those who follow’d the sect of Thomas Aquinas. Patrick had often conference with him concerning the meaning of the Holy Scripture, and at last he brought the man to confess and acknowledge that almost all the articles which were then counted heterodox were really true. And yet this Alexander, being more desirous to save his life than to hazard it for truths sake, was persuaded by his friends to prefer a publick accusation and charge against him. Patrick, being a man of a zealous spirit, cold not brook this desire of vainglory in the ambitious man, but brake forth into this expression openly: “O thou vilest of men (says he), who art convinc’d that the tenents [tenets] which thou now condemneth are most certainly true, and not long since didest confess to me that the were so, I do therefore cite thee to the tribunal of the living God.” Alexander was so astonished at that word that he was never himself from that day forward, and not long after he died in a fit of madness. All this time and for a great part of the year ensuing, the Douglasses, being severally intent upon other matters and concerns, were secure as to the King’s departure from them, because they believed that now his mind was fully reconciled to them by those blandishments and immoderate pleasures they had indulg’d him in. And besides, they thought, if he had a mind to remove, there was no faction strong enough to oppose them, neither was there any strong garison whither to retire, but on Sterlin Castle, which was allotted to the Queen for her habitation. But then it was deserted for a time by the Queen’s officers when she hid her self for fear of the Douglasses, and when the tumult was a little appeased, ’twas somewhat fortified, but rather for a shew than for any real defence. The King, having obtained some small relaxation, saw that this must be his only refuge, and therefore he bargain’d with his mother privately to exchange that Castle and the land adjoyning for other lands as convenient to her, and, providing all other requisites as secretly as he could, the Douglasses not being so intent as formerly in their watch over him, he retired by night with a few in his company from Falkland to Sterlin, whither he soon sent for some of the Nobles to come to him, and others, hearing the news, came in of their own accord, so that now he seemed sufficiently secured against all force.
29. There, by the advice of his Nobles, he published a proclamation that the Douglasses should abstain from all administration of publick affairs. And moreover, that none of their kin by blood or marriage, or of their dependants, should come within twelve miles of the Court; he that did otherwise was to lose his life. When the edict was served upon the Douglasses as they were coming to Sterlin, many were of opinion that they should go on in their journy, but the Earl and his brother George thought it best to obey the edict. Thus they went back to Linlithgo, resolved to stay there till they heard some more news from the Court. In the mean time, the King, with great diligence, sent messengers even to the furthest parts of the kingdom to call in all the Nobles who had a priviledg of voting to an Assembly at Edinburgh to be celebrated September the 3rd next ensuing. In the interim, he at Sterlin, and the Douglasses ad Edinburgh, gathered forces about them, but it was rather to defend themselves than offend one another. At length, July the 2nd, the Douglasses departed out of the city, and the King, with his forces and banners display’d, enter’d in. But by the mediation of friends deprecating the King on their behalf, conditions were offer’d to them, which were that the Earl of Angus should be banished beyond the Spey; that George his brother and Archibald his uncle should be kept in hold in the Castle of Edinburgh; if they submitted to these terms then there was hopes of the King’s mercy, otherwise not. These terms being rejected by them, they were commanded by an herauld to attend the Parliament that was to be held at Edinburgh the 3rd of September. In the mean time, their publick offices were taken from them, and Gawin Dunbar, the King’s tutor, was made Chancellor instead of the Earl: he was a good and a learned man, but some thought him a little defective in politicks. And Robert Carncross was made Treasurer in the place of Archibald, one more known for his wealth than his virtue. The Douglasses, being now driven to their last shifts, endeavoured to seize upon Edinburgh, which was void by the King’s departure, and accordingly they sent Archibald thither with some troops of horse. Their design was to keep out the King, and so to dissolve the Parliament. But (on the 7th of the Calends of September) Robert Maxwell with his vassals had by the King’s command prevented them and kept them from entring the city; yea, the guards and sentinels were mounted and disposed so carefully in all convenient places that things were kept there in great tranquillity till the Parliament’s time of meeting. Douglas, being disappointed of this hope, retired to his Castle of Tantallon, about fourteen miles distant from the city. The same day that the King came out of Sterlin, there fell such mighty showers of rain from the heavens, and the brooks and rivers did so overflow their banks, that the King’s retinue was scatter’d into many parties, so that they came much harassed, and late in the night, to Edinburgh. They were so mightily batter’d with the violence of the storm that a very few horse, if they had charged them, might have done them a great deal of mischief.
30. In that Parliament the Earl of Angus, George his brother, Archibald his uncle, and Alexander Drummond of Carnock (their intimate friend) were out-lawed and their goods confiscate. This edict or clause was also added to their condemnation, that whoever did harbor them in their houses or give them any other assistance should incur the same punishment. That which most of all moved the Court to condemn them was this, because the King had confirmed upon oath that as long as he was in the power of the Douglasses he was afraid of his life. He also profess’d that his fear was heightned, and made a deeper impression on him, after George had given him such cutting menaces before mention’d. There was only one man found in this Assembly, by name John Bannatine, a vassal of the Douglasses, who was so bold as to make a publick protestation against all that was acted against the Earl, because (as he alleged) his non-appearance at the day limitted [determined] was occasion’d by his just fear. A few days after, William, another brother of the Earl’s, Abbat of the monastery of Holy Rood, died of sickness, trouble of mind, and grief for the present posture of affairs. Robert Carncross, one meanly descended but well monyed, bought that preferment of the King, who then wanted mony, eluding the law against Simony by a new kind of fraud. The law was that ecclesiastical preferments should not be sold, but he laid a great wager with the King that he would not bestow upon him the next preferment of that kind that fell, and by that means lost his wager but got the Abbacy. Thus the Douglasses, seeing that all hope of pardon was cut off, betook themselves to open force and to the only comfort they had left, which was in revenge. For they used great extremity and committed all sorts of outraged upon the lands of their enemies. They burnt Cousland and Cranston, and every day skirted by the gates of Edinburgh with their horse, so that the city was almost besieged and the poor were made to suffer for the offences of the great ones. During these hurly burlies, on the 11th of the Calends of December, a ship called the Marina, a brave vessel in those days and richly laden, by stress of weather was forc’d upon the shore of Enverwick. Part of the lading was pillaged by Douglasses horse, who rang’d up and down in those parts. The rest was taken away by the country-men, who were so ignorant of the price of it that they thought the cinnamon therein to be but a low-priz’d bark, and so sold it to make fire with, yet the whole envy of the matter fell upon the Douglasses. Upon this change of affairs, the tories [robbers], who had a long time refrain’d their depredations for fear of punishment, came forth out of their lurking holes and grievously infested all the circumjacent countries. And though many pranks were plaid by others up and down, yet all the murders and robberies every where committed were charg’d upon the score of the Douglasses by those courtiers who thought they humour’d the King by so doing, that so they might make the name of that family, otherwise popular, invidious to the vulgar.
31. And in the beginning of winter, the King march’d to Tantallon, a castle of the Douglasses, by the sea side to take it in, that so no refuge might be left for the exiles. And that he might take the place with less labour and cost, he was supplied with brass-guns and powder from Dunbar. That castle was distant from Dunbar six miles, and it was garison’d by the souldiers of John the Regent, because it was part of his patrimony. He continued the siege for some days, wherein some of the besiegers were slain, others wounded, and some blown up with gun-powder, but none at all of the besieged were lost, so that he raised his siege and retreated. In his return, David Falkner, who was left behind with some foot-souldiers to carry back the brass-ordnance, was set upon by Douglasses horse (who were sent out to snap up the stragglers in the rear) and slain. His death did so inrage the young King, who was incens’d enough before, that he solemnly swore in his passion that, has long as he liv’d, the Douglasses should never have the sentence of their banishment revoked. And as soon as he came to Edinburgh, to straiten them the more, by the advice of his Council he order’d that a party of souldiers should be continually kept at Coldingham, which was to be rather an active or flying, than a numerous one, to prevent the pillaging of the country by them. The charge of doing it was commended by the King to Bothwel, one of the greatest persons for authority and puissance in Lothian, but he refused the imployment, either out of fear of the power of the Douglasses, which, not long since, all the rest of Scotland was not able to cope with, or else because he would not have the disposition of the young King, who was eager and over-violent of his own accord, to be inur’d to such cruelty as totally to destroy a noble family. And whereas the King had no great confidence in the Hamiltons, as being friends to his enemies, and he did also disgust them upon the account of the slaughter of John Stuart, Earl of Lennox, and besides, there being none of the Nobility of the adjacent parts that had power or interest enough for that service, at last he resolved to send Calen Cambel with an army against the rebels, a person living in the furthest parts of the kingdom but a prudent man of approv’d valour, and upon the account of his justice very popular. The Douglassians, when the Hamiltons and the rest of their friends failed them, were reduced to great straits, so that they were compell’d by Calen and by George, chief of the Humes, to retire like exiles into England.
32. In the month of October, two eminent persons came embassadors from the King of England about a peace, which tho earnestly desir’d by both Kings, yet they could scarce find out the way to make it up. For Henry, being about to make war upon Charles the Emperor, was willing to leave all safe behind his back, and with the same labour to procure the restitution of the Douglasses. As for James, he did much desire to have Tantallon Castle in his power, but his mind was very averse to restore the Douglasses. And for that reason the matter was canvassed to and fro for some days, and no temper for accommodation could be found out. But at last they came to this, that Tantallon Castle should be surrendred to James and a truce be granted for five years, and their other demand, the King was to promise the granting of it under his signet. The Castle was surrendred accordingly, but the other demands were not as punctually performed, save only that Alexander Drummond had leave given him to return home for Robert Brittain’s sake. For some months before James Colvill and Robert Carncross, upon suspicion of their favouring the Douglasses, were removed from Court and their offices bestowed on Robert Brittain, who then was in high favour at Court and had great command there. After this, tho matters were not quite settle abroad (for the English had burnt Arn, a town in Teviotdale, before their embassadors return’d), yet the rest of the year was more quiet. But the insolence of the banditti was not quite suppressed, whereupon the King caus’d William Cockburn of Henderland and Adam Scot, noted robbers, to be apprehended at Edinburgh, and for a terror to the rest he put them to death. The next year, in the month of March, the King sent James Earl of Murray, whom he had made Deputy-Governour of the whole kingdom, to the Borders, there to have a meeting with the Earl of Northumberland in order to settle a peace, and to treat about mutual satisfaction for losses. But a contention arose betwixt them about expiating the murder of Robert Car. The one pleaded that the process ought to be form’d in Scotland according to the law; the other would have it in England. In the interim, each of them sent messengers to their several Kings to know their minds in the case. On the 17th of the Calends of May, there was held a Council of the Nobility, where, after a long debate which lasted till night, ’twas concluded that the Earl of Bothwel, Robert Maxwel, Walter Scot, and Mark Carr should be committed prisoners to Edinburgh Castle, and that the Earls and chief men of Merch and Teviotdale should be sent prisoners to other places, it being supposed that they privately scatter’d abroad the seeds of a war against England. And in July, the King levied about 8000 men and marched out against the robbers, and that with so much speed that he quickly pitch’d this tents by the River Ewse.
33. Not far from thence lived one John Armstrong, chief of one faction of the thieves, who had struck such a fear into all the neighbouring parts that even the English themselves for many miles about bought their peace by paying him a certain tribute; yea, Maxwel was also afraid of his power, and therefore endeavoured his destruction by all possible ways. This John was enticed by the King’s officers to make his repair to the King, which he did, unarm’d, with about fifty horse in his company. But, having forgot to obtain the King’s pass and safe conduct for his security, he fell into an ambush, who brought him to the King as if he had been taken prisoner by them, so that he and most of his followers were trussed up. They who were the causers of his death gave forth that he had promised to bring that part of Scotland for some miles under the obedience of the English, if himself might be well considered for that service. But, on the other side, the English were glad of his death, for they were thereby freed of a dangerous enemy. Six of his surviving companions the King kept as hostages, but in regard their fellows were no way deterred thereby from committing the like insolencies, in a few months they were hanged also. And the King took new hostages of those two staid at home, for the Liddisdale men left their homes and passed over in troops to England, making daily incursions and great spoil in the neighbouring parts. Not long after, hate King restor’d the noble men to their liberty, having first taken hostages from them. Of these, Walter Scot, to gratify the King, killed Robert Johnson, a noted tory amongst the thieves which bred a deadly feud between the two families, to the great loss and prejudice of them both.
34. The next year, which was 1531, there happened a matter very memorable. Neither did the obscurity of the author nor the curiosity of the time, which made a strict enquiry thereinto, abate any thing of mens admiration of the novelty thereof. One John Scot, a man of no learning, nor of any great experience in business, neither had he a subtil wit of his own to impose tricks upon men, being overthrown in a law-suit and not having ability to pay damages, hid himself some days in the sanctuary of the monastery of Holy-Rood-House without eating or drinking any thing at all. When the thing was known and related to the King, he commanded that his apparel should be chang’d and diligently search’d, and so caus’d him to be kept apart from all company in the Castle of Edinburgh, where every day bread and water was set before him, but he voluntarily abstained from all human food for thirty two days. After that time, as if he had been sufficiently tried, he was brought forth naked into publick view, where, the people flocking around him, he made them a long but sorry speech, in which there was nothing memorable but that he affirm’d he was assisted by the virgin Mary to fast as long as himself pleased. This answer savouring of simplicity rather than craft, he was released from his imprisonment and went to Rome, where he was also imprison’d by Pope Clement until he had fasted long enough to convince him of the truth of the miracle. Then they clothed him with the habit that priests say Mass in, and bestowed many presents on him, and gave him a testimonia under the leaden-seal, which is of great authority amongst the Papists. Whereupon he went to Venice, where he also confirm’d their belief by his miraculous fasting, and, alleging that he was obliged by a vow he had made to visit Jerusalem, he receiv’d of them fifty ducats of gold for his charges on the way. At his return, he brought back some leaves of palm-trees and a bag full of stones, which, she said, were taken out of the pillar which Christ was tied to when He was scourg’d. In his return he past through London and mounted the pulpit in Paul’s church-yard, and, in a great audience of people, preached much about the divorce of King Henry from his Queen and of his defection from the See of Rome. His words were bitter, and if he had been looked upon of any repute for wisdom, he must have eaten them again. But, being imprisoned for some time and having wholly abstained from food for almost fifty days together, he was dismiss’d. When he came back to Scotland, he would have joined himself to one Thomas Doughty, who about that time came from Italy and had built a church dedicated to the Virgin Mary out of the alms the people had given him, and had got great gain by his feigned miracles. But the life of this Thomas was sufficiently known to be very wicked, and the cheats of his pretended miracles were discovered, yet no man durst openly gainsay him for fear of the bishops, who by this their new Atlas sought to prop up the pile of their Purgatory, then a-tottering. And he, to requite them for their courtesy, when any of the richer sort of priests came to the place where he was to say Mass, had still one beggar or other ready at hand to counterfeit himself mad or diseased in body, that so (forsooth) by his Massing he might be recovered and healed. But Thomas rejected John Scot because he was not willing to admit any other into the society of his gain, and thereupon he hired an obscure cell in the suburbs of Edinburgh, and there, having erected an altar and furnished according to his ability, he set up his own daughter, who was young and very beautiful, with wax-tapers lighted about her, to be adored instead of the Virgin Mary. But, this way of gain not answering his expectation, he returned to his old course of life, having gain’d nothing by all his preposterous dissimulation of sanctity but to let all men know that he wanted not a will, but ability rather, to become an errand [errant] cheat.
35. At the beginning of the following year, which was 1532, the Earl of Bothwel was committed prisoner to Edinburgh-Castle, January 16, because he had taken a private journy into England, and there had secret conference with the Earl of Northumberland. John Sunderland, a knight, by reason of the great prudence, integrity, and authority which he had amongst all good men, even beyond his state and degree, was sent to Hermitage (a castle of Liddisdale) to restrain the incursions of thieves and robbers. Of ancient time, there had been no fix’d days, nor any set place, appointed for matters of nisi prius to be handled by the judges, until John Duke of Albany had obtained of the Pope that a yearly sum of mony, as much as was sufficient to pay a salary to a few judges, should be charged on the ecclesiastical order, and ’twas to be levied on every one according to the value of his benefice. Gawin Dunbar, Bishop of Aberdene, hereupon made his appeal to the Pope in the behalf of himself and other priests. The controversy held from the 11th of March to the 24th of April, and then there was a College of Judges settled at Edinburgh. At their first sitting they devised many advantageous projects for the equal distribution of justice, yet the hoped event did not follow. For seeing in Scotland there are almost no laws, but decrees of the Estates, and many of them too made not for perpetuity, but temporarily, and the judges hinder the enacting of laws when they can, the estates of all the subjects were committed to the pleasure of fifteen men who were to have a perpetual power and even a tyrannical government, for their wills were the laws. In favour of the Pope, they were very severe against the Lutherans, And the Pope, on the contrary, to gratify a King so well deserving at his hands, gave him the tithes of all parsonages for the next three years following.
36. This year, the English perceived that the state of affairs in Scotland grew every day more quiet than other, but yet that they were destitute of foreign aid because they themselves had joined with the French against Charles the Emperor. Hereupon they sought out an occasion for a war. In April they made an expedition out of Berwick and spoiled Coldingham, Douglas, and many other neighbouring towns, and drove away great booty. They had no apparent provocation, neither did they denounce war before-hand. How eager they were upon war appears by that King’s proclamation soon after publish’d, wherein ’twas said that the garison of Berwick was provoked by some licentious and contumelious words which the Scots had let fall. But the words mentioned in the proclamation carry no contumely in them at all. But, this cause not seeming just enough for a war, they demanded Canabie, a small village in the Borders with a poor monastery in it, as if it belonged to them, which they never pretended to before and likewise that the Douglasses might be restor’d. For the King of England, perceiving his aid was absolutely necessary to the French King, so that he could by no means want it, and also knowing that he had him fast in a league wherein the interest of Scotland was not considered, hereupon he thought it no hard matter to bring the Scots to what conditions he pleased. Moreover, because the Emperor was alienated from him by the peace with France and the divorce with his aunt, and the Pope of Rome did raise up wars amongst all Christian princes, he thought he should omit a great opportunity at home for innovating of things if he neglected against this storm. The King of Scots, that he might not be unprovided against this storm, by a publick proclamation made all over the kingdom appointed his brother, the Earl of Murray, to be his Viceregent, and because the Borderers of themselves were not able to cope with the English, who had also a great number of auxiliaries with them, he divided the kingdom into four parts and commanded each of them to send out the ablest men amongst them with their clans and provision for fourty days. These forces, thus succeeding one another by turns, made great in the towns and castles of those parts, so that the King of England was frustrated in his expectation, seeing the war was likely to be drawn out in length and other concerns were also to be cared for by him, and therefore he was willing to hearken to a peace, but would have it sought for at his hands. for he thought it was not for his honour either to offer it or to seek of it himself. And therefore it seem’d most convenient to transact the matter by the King of France, the common friend to both nations. Whereupon the French King sent his embassador, Stephen D’Aix, into Scotland to enquire by whose default such a war was commenced between the two neighbour-Kings.
37. The King of Scots clearly acquitted himself from being any cause of the war. He also made a complaint to him how long his ambassadors had been detained in France without hearing. And at the ambassador’s departure he sent letters by him to his master, desiring him to observe the ancient league which was renewed by John the Regent at Roan. He also sent David Beton into France to answer the calumnies of the English, and besides, to treat concerning the keeping of the old league and to contract a new affinity between France and Scotland. He also sent letters by him to the Parliament of Paris, very bitter and full of complaints concerning those matters which had been transacted and agreed between Francis their King and John, Regent of Scotland; how that ancient friendships, pacts, and agreements were slighted in behalf of those who were once their common enemies. His ambassador Beton was commanded, if he saw that the things he had in command did not succeed well in France, to deliver those letters to the Council of the Judges, and presently to withdraw himself into Flanders, with an intent (as it might be conjectured) to make a league, agreement, and affinity with the Emperor. In the meantime, war was waged in Britain and disputes were manag’d at New-castle concerning the lawfulness thereof. When the embassadors sent from both nations could not agree on terms of peace, Monsieur Guy Flower was sent over by the King of France to compose matters. The Scotish King told him that he would gratify his master, as far as ever he was able, and also he had some communication with him, as much as was seasonable at that time, concerning the conjugal affinity about which he had sent embassadors before, which were then in France. Flory, or Flower, being thus the umpire for peace, the garisons were withdrawn on both sides from the Borders and a truce was made, which was afterwards followed with a peace. When the peace was settled, the King, having for some years last past transacted business with the King of France and with the Emperor by his embassadors about a matrimonial contract, now being freed from other cares, his thoughts were more intent that way than ever. For, besides the common causes which might incline him to some potent alliance, he was thoughtful how to perpetuate his family by issue of his body, he himself being the last male that was left alive, insomuch that his next heirs had already conceived a firm hope in their minds of the kingdom, which did not a little trouble him, who was otherwise suspicious enough of himself. And indeed, things did very much concur to raise them up that hope, as for instance their own domestick power, the King being a batchelor, his venturousness in slighting all danger, so that he would not only stoutly undergo all hazards, but often court and invite them. For with a small party he would march against the fiercest thieves, and, tho they were superior in number, yet he would either prevent them by his speed, or else fright them by the reverence of his name, and so force them to a surrender. He would sit night and day on horse-back in this employment, and if he did take any refreshment or food, ’twas that which he lighted on by chance, and but little of that neither.
38. These circumstances made the Hamiltons almost confident of the succession, yet it seem’d to them a long way about to stay for either fortuitous or natural dangers, and therefore they studied to hasten his death by treachery. A fair opportunity was offer’d them to effect it by his night-walkings to his misses [mistresses], having but one or two in his company. But, all these things not answering their expectation, they resolved to cut off the hope of lawful issue by hindring his marriage what they could, although John, Duke of Albany, when he was Regent seemed to have made sufficient provision against that inconvenience, for when he renewed the ancient league between the French and Scots at Roan, he had inferred one article that James should marry Francis’ eldest daughter. But there were two impediments in the way which almost broke off and cut this league asunder. For Francis, being freed out of the hand of the Spaniard by the industry and diligence principally of Henry the 8th, had entred into so strict a league with the English that the Scotish league was much intrenched upon thereby; and besides, the eldest daughter of Francis was deceas’d a while before, and therefore James desired Magdalen, his next daughter, to wife, and sent embassadors over to that purpose. But her father excused the matter, alleging that his daughter was of so weak a constitution of body that there was little hopes of children by her; no, nor hardly any likelihood of her life it self for any long time. About the same time, there was an affinity treated of with Charles the Emperor by embassadors, and at length, the 24th day of April 1534, the Emperor sent Godscalk Ericus that the matter might be carry’d with greater secrecy, from Toledo in Spain through Ireland to James. After he had declared the commands he had in charge from the Emperor concerning the wrongs offer’d to his aunt Catharine and her daughter by King Henry, concerning the calling of a general Council, concerning the rooting out of the sect of the Lutherans, and concerning contracting an affinity. The Emperor by his letters gave the King a choice of three Marys, all of them of his blood. They were Mary, sister to Charles, a widow ever since the death of her husband Lewis of Hungary, who was slain in battel by the Turks; Mary of Portugal, the daughter of his sister Leonora; and Mary of England, his niece by his aunt Catharine. And because Charles knew that King James was more inclineable to this last match, he also shewed a greater propension thereunto, that so he might take of James from his valuing of, and adhering to, the league with Francis, and at the same time might set him at ods with Henry.
39. James made answer that the marriage with England was indeed in many respects most advantageous, if it could be obtained, but ’twas a business of uncertain hope but of great danger and toil, and would be encumber’d with so many delays that his single life, he being the last of his family, could hardly bear it. And therefore of all of Caesar’s neices, he told him, that the daughter of Christiern King of Denmark was most convenient for him, who was begotten upon Isabel, the sister of Charles. A while after, Charles answered to this demand from Madrid, that she was already promised to another, and, though Caesar by offering conditions seem’d rather to prolong the matter than really to bring it to pass, yet the treaty was not wholly laid aside. Matters being quiet at home, James resolved to go a-ship-board to take a view of all his dominions round about, and to curb the stubborn spirits of the Islanders and make them more obedient. First he sailed to the Orcades, where he quieted all disorders by apprehending and imprisoning a few of the Nobility. He garison’d two castles there, his own and the Bishops. Afterwards he visited the rest of the islands and sent for the chief men to come to him. Those that refus’d he seiz’d by force. He laid a tax on them, took hostages, and carried away with him those who were most likely to be incendiaries, and, clapping some of his own train into their castles, he sent the leading men of them, some to Edinburgh, and some to Dunbar, prisoners. For about that time John Duke of Albany had surrendred up Dunbar to the King, which till then had been kept by a French garison. In the next month of August, great severity was used against the Lutherans. Some were compelled to make a publick recantation; others, refusing to appear upon summons, were banished. Two were burnt, of which one named David Straiton was free enough from Lutheranism, but he was accused thereof because he was somewhat refractary in payment of tithes to the collectors of them, and so was put to death only for a supposed crime. In an Assembly which the King caused to be convened at Jedburgh, in order to the suppressing of the robbers thereabouts, Walter Scot was condemned of high reason and sent prisoner to Edinburgh Castle, where he remained as long as the King lived.
40. The same month of August, when Francis (as
I said before) had excused his daughters marriage on account of her health, but withal had offer’d him any other of the blood royal, the King sent embassadors into France, James Earl of Murray, Vice-Roy of the kingdom, and William Stuart, Bishop of Aberdene (those two went by sea), and John Erskin by land, because he had some commands to deliver to Henry of England by the way. To them be added a forth, i. e., Robert Reed, a good man and highly prudent. There Mary of Bourbon, the daughter of Charles Duke of Vendosme, a lady of the blood, was offer’d to them as a fit wife for their King. Other points were accorded easily enough, but the embassadors, fearing that this marriage would not please their master, would make no espousal till they had acquainted him therewith. In the mean time, Henry of England, to trouble a matter which was upon the point of concluding, in November sent the Bishop of St. Davids into Scotland, who brought James some English books containing the theses’s of the Christian religion, desiring James to read them and diligently to weigh what was written therein. But he gave them to some of his courtiers, who were most addicted to the sacerdotal order, to inspect. They, before ever they had scarce look’d on them, condemn’d them as heretical; and moreover, they highly gratulated the King that he had not polluted his eye (so they phrased it ) with reading such pestiferous books. This was the cause of their embassy according to the common vogue [report], yet some say that they brought some other secret messages to James. Afterward, the same Bishop (together with William Howard, brother to the Duke of Norfolk) came so unexpectedly to Sterlin that they almost surprized the King before he heard any news of their coming. Their errand was that Henry desir’d James to appoint a day of interview wherein they might confer together, for he had at that meeting things of high concernment and of mighty advantage to both nations to propound to him. In that message he gave great hope, if other matters could be well accorded, that he would bestow his daughter in marriage upon him and leave him King after his decease. And that he might give more credit to his promises, he would make him for the present Duke of York and Vice-Roy of the kingdom of England.
41. James willingly assented to such large and alluring promises, and accordingly fixt a day for the interview. But there were two factions which resolved to oppose his journy for England. First, the Hamiltons, who secretly laboured to keep the King from marrying, that so, they being the next heirs, he might have no children to exclude them from the succession. And next, the priests also were mightily against it. And their pretences were seemingly just and honest, as first, the danger he would run if, with a small retinue, he should put himself in the power of his old enemy, for then he must comply with his will, though it were never so much against his own. They also recited the examples of his ancestors, who, either by their own credulity or else by the perfidiousness of the enemy, were drawn into a nouse, and from flattering promises of friendship had brought home nothing but ignominy and loss. They also urg’d the unhappy mistake of James the First, who in a time of truce, landing, as he thought, in his friends country, was there kept prisoner eighteen years, and at last had such conditions imposed upon him which he neither lawfully could nor ought to have accepted; and then, said they, he was avariciously sold to his own subjects. Moreover, first Malcolm, after him his brother William, Kings of Scotland, were brought on the stage, who were inticed to London by Henry the 2
nd and then carried over into France to make a shew of assisting in a war there against the French King, their old ally. “But (say they) if it be objected Henry the 8th will do none of these things,” they answered, first, “How shall we be assured of that?” Next, “Is it not a point of high imprudence to venture ones fortune, life, and dignity, which are now in ones own power, into the hands of another?” Besides, the priests saw that all their concerns were now at stake, and therefore they must, now or never, stand up for them. In order whereto they caused James Beton, Arch-Bishop of St. Andrews, and George Creighton, Bishop of Dunkelden, two old decrepit men, to come to Court, there to baul it out that religion would be betrayed by this meeting and interview, even that religion (said they) which had been observed so many ages by their ancestors, and which had all along preserved its defenders till now. The ruin of which would be attended with the total destruction of the kingdom also. To forsake that religion upon every light grounds, especially in such a time wherein the whole world doth conspire together with arms in their hands for its preservation, could not be done without great danger at present, and infamy for future; yea, it would be a thing of great wickedness and impiety also. With these engines they battered James’ mind, which of it self was inclined though to superstition; and moreover, they corrupted those courtiers who could do most with him, desiring them, in their names, to promise him a great sum of mony; so that hereby they wholly turned away his mind from the thoughts of an interview.
42. Henry took his disappointment in great disdain (as indeed he had reason so to do), and thus the seeds of dissension were again sown between the two Kings. In the mean time, the King was weary of his single life, and by reasons of foreign embassies and his Court-distractions at home, was variously agitated in this thoughts. All pretended the publick good, but some aimed at their own private advantage under that vail, and though many persuaded him to an affinity with Charles, in regard of the flourishing estate of the Empire at that time, yet he rather inclined to an alliance with France. And therefore, seeing the matter could not be ended by embassadors, he himself resolved to sail over into France, and accordingly, rigging out a small navy, the best he could fit in so short a time, on the 26th of July he set sail from Leith, none knowing whither he would go. Many were of opinion that his design was for England to visit his uncle and to ask him pardon for disappointing the interview agreed on the year before. But a tempest arising, and being also toss’d with contrary winds, the pilot ask’d him what course he should steer. “If there be a necessity (said he), land me any where but in England.” Then his mind was understood. He might have return’d home, but he was willing rather to sail round Scotland and to try the western ocean. There also he had very bad weather, and by the advice of a few of his domesticks as he was asleep, he was carried back again. When he was awake he took the matter in such great indignation that for ever after he bore an implacable hatred against James Hamilton (whom he also disgusted before upon the account of the killing of the Earl of Lennox), neither was he well pleased with the rest of the authors of that counsel ever after. And there were some, who, in compliance with the King’s angry humour, buzz’d him in the ears that the Hamiltons, under pretence of a serviceable attendance and duty, had accompany’d him on purpose to undermine his voyage. However, he put to sea again with a great train of Nobles September the 1st, and in ten days arrived at Diep in Normandy.
43. From thence, that he might prevent the news of his arrival, he went disguis’d and in great speed to the town of Vendosme, where the Duke then was, and saw his daughter, which pleased him not, so that he presently made haste to Court. He came unexpectedly upon Francis and the whole Court, and yet was honourably recei’vd by him, and on the 26th, almost against will, he bestow’d in marriage his daughter Magdalene upon him. For her father (as I related before), judging his eldest daughter by reason of her sickly temper unfit to bear children, offer’d him his youngest, or any other woman of the French Nobility, for a wife. But James and Magdalene had contracted a friendship by messengers, which was confirmed by the mutual sight, meeting, and discourse one with another, so that neither of them could be diverted from their purpose. The marriage was celebrated January the 1st in the year 1537, to the great joy of all, and they both arrived in Scotland the 28th of May, being attended by a French navy. She lived not long after, but died of an hectick feaver July the 7th, to the great grief of all except the priests, for they feared that her life would have put an end to their luxury and ambition, because they knew she was educated under the discipline of her aunt the Queen of Navar. As for others, they conceiv’d such a grief for her death that then (I think) mourning garments began first to be used in Scotland, which yet after forty years do scarce continue to be worn, though the publick manners do decline and seem to require it. Ambassadors were presently sent into France, Cardinal David Beton and Robert Maxwel, to bring over Mary of the House of Guise, widow to the Duke of Longoville, for the King, presaging the loss of his wife, had cast his eye upon her. This same year, the Earl of Bothwel, because he had past over secretly into England, and also had private cabals with the English in Scotland, was banish’d out of England, Scotland and France.
44. Moreover, about the same time, many persons were accused and condemned for high treason. John Forbes, an active young man, the head of a great family and faction, was brought to his end, it was thought, by the emulation of the Huntly’s. For there was one Straughan, a man fit for any flagitious enterprize, who was many years very familiar with Forbes, and was either privy to, or else partaker or author of, all his bad actions. He, being not as much respected by him as he thought he deserv’d, deserted him and apply’d himself to his enemy Huntly, and before him accused Forbes of treason, or (as many think) he there plotted the accusation with Huntly himself against him, viz., that Forbes, many years before, had a design to kill the King. The crime was not sufficiently prov’d against him, nor by fit and unexceptionable witnesses, neither was the plot of his adversaries the Huntlys against his life hid in the process, yet on the 14th of July the judges, who were most of Huntly’s faction, condemn’d him, and he had his head struck off. His punishment was the less lamented because, though men believed him guiltless as to the crime he suffered for, yet they counted him worthy of death for the flagitiousness of his former life. Straughan, the discoverer, because he had concealed so foul an offence so long, was banish’d Scotland and liv’d many years after in France, so deboistly [shabbily] and filthily that men thought him a fit instrument for any wicked prank whatsoever. The King, not long after, as if he had repented of his severity against Forbes, took another brother of the Forbes’s into his family, and another he advanced to a rich match, restoring to them their estate which had been confiscate. A few days after, there was another trial, which, on the account of the family of the accused parties, the novelty of the wickedness charged on them, and the heinousness of the punishment was very lamentable. Joan Douglas, sister to the Earl of Angus and wife to John Lyons, Lord of Glames, also her son, and later husband Gilespy Cambel, John Lyons, kinsman to her former husband, and an old priest were accused for endeavouring to poison the King. All these, tho they lived continually in the country far from Court, and their friends and servants could not be brought to witness any thing against them, yet were put on the rack to make them confess, and so were condemn’d and shut up in Edinburgh-Castle. The fifth day after Forbes was executed, Joan Douglas was burnt alive with the great commiseration of all the spectators. The nobleness both of her self and husband did much affect the beholders; besides, she was in the vigour of her youth, much commended for her rare beauty, and in her very punishment she shewed a manlike fortitude. But that which people were most concern’d for was that they thought the enmity against her brother, who was banish’d, did her more prejudice than her own (objected) crime. Her husband endeavoured to escape out of the Castle of Edinburgh, but, the rope being too short to let him down to the foot of the rock, he brake almost all the bones of his body in the fall, and so ended his days. Their son, a young man and of greater innocent simplicity than to have the suspicion of such a wickedness justly charged upon him, was shut up prisoner in the Castle, and after the King’s death was released and recovered the estate which had been taken away from his parents. Their accuser was William Lyons. He afterwards, perceiving that so eminent a family was like to be ruined by his false information, repented when it was too late, and confess’d his offence to the King, and yet he could not prevail to prevent the punishment of the condemned, or to hinder their estates from being confiscate.
45. The next year following, on the 12th of June, Mary of the House of Guise arrived at Balcomy, a castle belonging to James Laird of Lermont, from whence she was conveyed by land to St. Andrews. And there, in a great Assembly of the Nobility, she was married to the King. In the beginning of the year following, which was 1539, many persons were apprehended, as suspected of Lutheranism. And about the end of February five were burnt, nine recanted, but many more were banish’d. Among the sufferers of this class was George Buchanan, who, when his keepers were asleep, made his escape out of the window of the prison to which he was committed. This year the Queen brought forth a son at St. Andrews, and the next year another in the same place. Also this year and the former, matters were rather somewhat hushed than fully composed, some men wanting rather a leader than an occasion to rebel. For, tho many desired it, yet no man durst openly avow himself head of any insurrection. And now the King, having heirs to succeed him, and thereby becoming more confident of his settledness and establishment, began to slight the Nobility as a sluggish and unwarlike generation and not likely to attempt any thing against him, whose family was now rivetted and confirmed by issue-male, so that he applied his mind to sumptuous and unnecessary buildings. He stood in need of mony for that work, and, in regard he was as covetous as he was indigent, both factions of Nobles and priests were equally afraid, and each of them indeavoured to avert the tempest from falling upon them, that it might light on the other. And therefore whenever the King complain’d of the lowness of his exchequer amongst his friends, one party would extol the riches of the other, as if it were a prey ready for the seisure, and the King harkned sometimes to the one, and sometimes to the others, and so kept both in suspence between hope and fear, so that when ambassadors came at that time out of England to Court to desire the King to give his uncle a meeting at York, promising some mighty advantages by that interview and making a large harangue concerning the love and good-will of their King towards him, the faction which was adverse to the priests persuaded him by all means to meet at the time and place appointed. When the sacerdotal party heard of this, they thought their order would be quite undone if they did not hinder that meeting, and so disturb the concord by casting in seeds of discord betwixt the King and his Nobles. And, considering of all the ways how to effect it, no remedy seemed more ready at hand for the present malady than to attempt the King’s mind, which was not able to resist offers of mony, by the promises of large subsidies. Whereupon they set before his eyes the greatness of the danger, the doubtful and uncertain credit of an enemies promise; that he might have a great sum of mony at home, and more easily procurable. First of all, they promised to give him of their own 30000 ducats of gold year by year, and all the rest of their estates also should be at his service; besides, enough to obviate future emergencies, if any hapned.
46. And as for those who rebelled against the authority of the Pope and the King’s, and so endeavoured to trouble the peace of the Church by new and wicked errors, and thereby would subvert all piety, overthrow the rights of magistracy, and cancel laws of so long standing, out of their estates he might get above an hundred thousand ducats more yearly into his exchequer by way of confiscation, if he would permit them to nominate a Lord-Chief-Justice in the case, because they themselves could not, by law, sit in capital causes to condemn any man. And that in the managing of the process against them there would be no danger nor any delay in passing sentence, seeing so many thousand men were not afraid to take the Books of the Old and New Testament into their hands, to discourse concerning the power of the Pope, to contemn the ancient ceremonies of the church, and to detract from that reverence and observance which was due to religious persons consecrated to God’s service. This they urged upon him with such vehemency that he appointed them a Judg according to their own hearts, and that was James Hamilton, base brother to the Earl of Arran. H
im they had oblig’d by great gratuities before; and besides, he was resolv’d to conciliate the King’s favour (who long since had been offended with him) with the perpetration of some atoning fact, though never so cruel. About the same time, there came into Scotland James Hamilton, Sheriff of Linlithgow and cousin-german to the former James. He, after a long banishment, when he had commenced a suit against James the Bastard, and had obtained leave to return for a time to his own country, understanding in what danger he and the rest of the favourers of the Reformed Doctrine were in, sent his son in a message to the King as he was about to pass over into Fife; and having gotten him opportunely, before he went aboard, he filled his head, which was naturally suspicious, with fearful presages that this commission granted to Hamilton would be a capital matter and pernicious to the whole kingdom, unless he did prevent this sophistry by another wile. The King, who was then hastning into Fife, sent the young man back to Edinburgh to the Court called the Exchequer-court, where he also commanded to assemble James Lermont, James Kircaldy, and Thomas Erskin, of whom one was the Master of the Houshold, the other Lord High Treasurer, neither of them averse from the Reformed Religion; the Third was highly of the Popish faction, and his Secretary. These were all ordered to meet, and the King commanded them to give the same credit to the messenger as they would to do to himself if he were present, and so took the ring off his finger and sent it to them as a known token between them. They laid their heads together and apprehended James just after he had dined, and had fitted himself for his journy, and committed him prisoner to the Castle.
47. But having intelligence by their spies at Court that the King was pacified and that he would be released, besides the public danger, they were afraid also for their particular selves, lest a man, factious and potent, being released after he had been provoked by so great an affront and ignominy, should afterwards study a cruel and bitter revenge against them. Whereupon they speedily hastned to Court and informed the King of the imminency of the danger, of the naughty disposition, fierceness, and power of the man, all which they augmented to raise the greater suspicion upon him, so that they persuaded the King not to suffer so crafty, and withal so puissant a person, being also provoked by this late disgrace, to be set at liberty without a legal trial. Whereupon the King came to Edinburgh, and from thence to Seton, where he caused James to be brought to this trial, and in a court legally constituted according to the custom of the country he was condemned and had his head struck off. His body was cut up after his execution, and his quarters hanged up in the publick places of the city. The crimes objected against him in behalf of the King were that on a certain day he had broke upon the King’s bed-chamber and had designed to kill him, and that he had driven on secret designs with the Douglasses, who were declared publick enemies. Few were grieved for his death (because of the wickedness of his former life) save only his own kindred and the sacerdotal order, who had placed all the hopes of their fortunes, in a manner, upon his life only. From that time forward, the King increased in his suspicions against the Nobility; and besides, he was exercised with sundry distracting cares, insomuch that his unquiet mind was much troubled with dreams in the night. There was one more remarkable than the rest, which was much talked of, that in his sleep he saw James Hamilton running at him with his drawn sword, and that he first cut off his right arm, then his left, and threatned him shortly to come and take away his life, and then disappeared. When he awoke in a fright and pondered many things about the event of his dream, at last word was brought him that both of his sons departed this life almost at one and the same moment of time, one at St. Andrews, and the other at Sterlin. In the mean while, there was not a certain peace, nor yet an open war, with the King of England, who was alienated and offended afore, insomuch that, without any denunciation of a war, preys were driven from the Borders of Scotland. Neither would the English, when called upon to make restitution, give any favourable answer, so that all men saw that Henry was in an high indignation because of the frustration of the interview at York.
48. And James, tho he knew that war was certainly at hand, and therefore had made levies for that purpose and had appointed his brother the Earl of Murray to be General of all his forces, and had also made all necessary preparation for a defence, yet he sent an ambassador to the enemy, if ’twere possible, to compose matters without blows. In the mean time, George Gordon was sent to the Borders with a small force to prevent the pillaging incursions of the enemy. The English despised the paucity of the Gordonians and therefore hasten to burn Jedburgh. But George Hume with 500 horse interpos’d and charg’d them briskly, and after a short fight, when they saw the Gordons a-coming, they were put into a fright and so fled away scatteringly to escape their enemies: there were not many slain, but several taken prisoners. James Lermont, who was treating about a peace at New-Castle, had scarce received his answer, but that the war might be carry’d on the more cunningly, he was commanded to return in company of the English army. Moreover, John Erskin and […] were sent ambassadors from Scotland to meet the said army at York, where they were detained by Howard, the General, and never dismissed till they came to Berwick. James, being assured by his spies, before the return of his ambassadors, of the marching on of the English army, formed his camp at Falkirk, about 14 miles from the Borders, and sent George Gordon before with ten thousand men to prevent the plunderings of the English, yet he did nothing considerable, and had not so much as a light skirmish with the enemy. The King of Scotland was mightily earnest to give battel, but the Nobility would not hear of it by any means, to that he was full of wrath and brake forth in a rage against them, calling them cowards and unworthy of their ancestors, ever and anon telling them that, seeing he was betrayed by them, he himself and his own family would do that which they had cowardly refused to do. Neither could he be appeased, tho they came about him and told him that he had done enough for his honour, that he had not only kept the English army, which was so long time a-levying, and that had assaulted Scotland on a sudden (and that with threats to do great matters) from wandring up and down for depredation, but also, for the space of 8 days that it remained in Scotland, had so pent them up that they marched above a mile from the Borders. For after they drew out of Berwick they went as far as Kelso up against the stream, and there, being informed of the march of the Scotish army, they pass’d over the ford, being so fearful to ingage that they rush’d ito the river clatteringly and in no order at all, and as every one pass’d over, they left their colours and hastn’d home the nearest way they could, Gordon, in the mean time, who saw this afar off, not stirring at all nor making any attempt upon them in their rear.
49. For which the King conceived against him an implacable hatred. Maxwel, to appease the King’s anger as much as he could, promised if he might have ten thousand men to march into England by the Solway and to do some considerable service, and he would have been as good as his word unless the King, being angry with his Nobles, had given secret letters and a commission to Oliver Sinclare, brother to the Laird of Rosselin, which he was not to open till such a prefixt time. The contents were that the whole army should acknowledg him for their General. James’s design therein was that, if his army had the better, the glory of the victory might not redound to the Nobles. When they were come into their enemies country and about 500 English horse appeared on the neighbour-hills. Oliver Sinclare was lifted up on high by those of his faction and, leaning upon two spears, caused the King’s command to be read. At which, the whole army was so offended, and especially Maxwel, that they broke their ranks and ran in, higly piggly, one upon another. Their enemies, tho accustomed to wars, yet never hoped for so great an advantage, when from the upper ground they beheld all things in such a confusion amongst them, ran in upon them with a great shout (as their manner is) and so assaulted them as they were in a fright and hovering between the design of flying or fighting, and thus horse, foot, and baggage were all driven confusedly into the next marshes, where many were taken by the English, more by the Scotish moss-troopers, and sold to the English. When this loss of his army was brought to the King, who was not far off, he was moved beyond measure with indignation, anger, and grief, insomuch that his mind was distracted two ways, sometimes to take revenge of the perfidiousness of his own people (as he called it), and sometimes to make preparation for a new war and retrieval of his affairs. But in that almost desperate state of things it seemed the best way to make a truce with the English and to call back Archibald Douglas, Earl of Angus, on the best conditions he could. But, his body being worn out with watching and fasting, and his mind overwhelmed with cares, he dyed a few days after, on the 13th of December, leaving his daughter his heiress, a child of about five days old.
50. He was buried the 19th of January in the monastery of Holyrood, near his first wife Magdalene. In his life-time, his countenance and the make of his body were very comly, his stature indifferent tall, but his strength above the proportion of his body. His wit was sharp, but not sufficiently cultivated with learning through the fault of his times. His diet was sparing, he seldom drank wine, he was most patient of labour, cold, heat, and hunger. He would often sit on horse-back night and day in the coldest winter, that so he might catch the thieves unawares, and his nimbleness struck such fear into them that they abstained from their ill pranks as if he had always been present amongst them. He was so well acquainted with the customs of his country that he would give just answers concerning weighty matters even on the high-way as he rode on a journy, with a great deal of readiness and prudence. He was of easy access, even to the poorest. But his great virtues were almost equalled by as many vices, yet they had this alleviation, that they seemed imputable rather to the time he lived in than to his own disposition and nature. For such an universal licentiousness had over-run all that publick discipline could not be retrieved but with a great deal of severity and strictness. That which made him so covetous of money was that when he was under the tutelage of others he was educated in great parsimony, and as soon as ever he came of age he entered into an empty palace, for all his houshold-stuff was embezill’d, so that all the rooms of his house were to be new-furnish’d at once, and his guardians had expended his own proper patrimony on those uses which he wholly disapproved; besides, the instructors of him in his youth made him more inclinable to women, because by that means they hoped to have him longer under their tuition. A great part of the Nobility did not much lament his death, because he had banished some of them and kept many others in prison, and many for fear of his severity (a fresh disgust being now added to their former contempt) chose rather to surrender themselves to the English King their enemy than to commit themselves to the anger of their own King.

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