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THE FIFTEENTH BOOK
HE King dying in the flower of his age rather of grief than any disease, the tumults of the former times were rather hush’d asleep than compos’d, to that wise men foresaw so great a tempest impending over Scotland as they had never heard of the like in ancient records, nor had themselves seen any like. The King had not so much as ordered his own domestick affairs, but had left a daughter, born about 8 days before his death, heiress to the crown. As for those of the Nobility who had born any sway, either they were kill’d in battel or else were banish’d or taken prisoners by the enemy. And if they had been at home, yet by reason of private animosities or of dissension on the account of religion, which were stifled out of fear during the King’s life, but, now that restraint being taken off, were likely to break forth, they were at discord amongst themselves, so that they were not likely to act like sober men. And besides, they had war abroad against a most puissant King, and how he would use his victory every one spoke severally according to his hope or fear. He that was the second heir and next to the crown, as he was not commonly reported to have much of virtue even for the management of his private life, so he was as little noted for counsel or valour to manage a kingdom. As for the Cardinal, he, thinking that in these publick calamities he might have an opportunity to greaten himself, that he might shew himself somebody both to his order and also to the French faction, undertook an attempt both bold and impudent. For he hired Henry Balfore, a mercenary priest, to suborn a false will of the Kings wherein he himself was nominated to the supream authority with three of the potentest of the Nobility to be his Assessors. He conceived an hope that his project would succeed from the disposition of the Earl of Arran, which was not turbulent, but rather inclinable to quietness and rest. And besides, he was near of kin to him, for he was son to the Cardinal’s aunt. And further, he was one of those three persons who was assum’d into a partnership in the government. Moreover, the opportunity to invade the supream power seem’d to require haste, that he might prevent [anticipate] the return of the prisoners, and of those that were banished, out of England, that so they might have no hand in conferring of his honour upon him, for he was afraid of their power and popularity; neither did he doubt but that their minds were alienated from him upon the score of a different religion.
2. That was the cause that presently after the King’s death he published the edict concerning the chusing of four Governours for the kingdom. He also bribed some of the Nobles by promises and gifts to ingage them to his faction, and especially the Queen, who was somewhat disaffected to the adverse party. But Hamilton, the head of the contrary faction, was a man not ambitious, but rather willing to live in quiet (as was offer’d him), if his kindred would have suffer’d him. But they, studying their own humour and interest rather than his honour, night and day puffed up the mind of the young gentleman with strange hopes, and advised him by no means to let slip so fair an opportunity put in to his hands, for they had rather have things all in a combustion than to live in a fix’d and private condition of life. And besides, the hatred of the Cardinal got them some friends, and the indignity of their bondage under a mercenary priest. They had also some appearance of hope, which, tho uncertain in it self, yet was not inefficacious to stir up mens endeavours, that seeing Hamilton was the next heir, many of them entertained such thoughts as these, that a female so few days old, and which was the only person betwixt him and the crown, might meet with many mischances, either casually or by the fraud of her supervisors, before she came to be marriageable. Thus they laid the foundation of the greatness of the Hamilton’s for a long time after, yet so that it seemed most adviseable to them not to neglect the advantage with the present state of things did offer, and thus to cherish an hope of the future advancement of the Hamilton’s; and if that hope did deceive them, yet it would not be difficult for them to regain the favour, or at least the pardon, of a new princess, who in the beginning of her reign would study to win the respects of all men.
3. Whilst things were at this pass in Scotland, the King of England, out of his extraordinary joy for so unexpected a victory, sent for the chief of the Scotish prisoners up to London, where after they had been imprison’d in the Tower two days, on St. Thomas Day, which was the 20th of December, they were brought all through the City where it was the longest, as if they were to be shown as a publick spectacle to the people, and coming to Whitehal, the King’s court, they were sharply reprov’d by the Chancellor as violators of the league; and after he had made a large discourse concerning the goodness and clemency of his King, who had remitted much of that rigour of justice he might have used towards them, they were distributed into several families, as to a larger prison. There were seven of the Nobility and twenty four of the gentry besides. But when the news came three days after that the King of Scots was dead, and had left one only daughter his heiress, Henry thought it a fit opportunity to conciliate and unite the minds both of Scots and English in a band of concord, by espousing his son to their Queen. Upon this, he recalled the prisoners to Court and imployed some fit persons to feel their pulses in the case, where, being kindly entertained and promising to afford their assistance towards the match as far as they might without any detriment to the publick or their own dishonour, on the first of January at the beginning of the year 1543 they were all released and sent back towards Scotland. When they came to Newcastle and had given hostages to Thomas Howard, Duke of Norfolk, as to other matters they were free, and so returned home. There returned also with them the Douglas’s, two brothers being restored to their country, now fifteen years after their banishment.
4. They were all received with the gratulation of the major part of the people. The Cardinal, who saw that this storm gathered against him, as making no doubt but the prisoners and the exiles would be both his contrariants in the Parliament, had taken care to be chosen Regent before their coming, but he injoy’d not that honour long, for within a few days, his fraud in counterfeiting the King’s will and testament being discovered, he was thrown out of his place, and James Hamilton, Earl of Arran, made Regent. That which occasioned his setting up was because some were willing to curry favour with him as the next heir of the crown. Others foresaw so long before the cruelty of the Cardinal in matters of religion, and therefore provided against it by lessening his power. Their fear was increas’d upon this ground, that there was found amongst the King’s papers after his death a list wherein the names of above 300 of the Nobility were contained as criminals, and, amongst them, he now chosen Regent was first to have been questioned. Whereupon, his election was very grateful to the most, because it seem’d the most probable medium to ease the grievances of many and to curb the pride of the priests. Besides, he himself did willingly read the books that contained controversies about religion, and the quietness and retirement of his former life, far remote from Court-ambition, made many hope that he would be sober and moderate in his government. Besides, being out of the magistracy, he had not yet discovered any unactiveness or sluggishness of mind. In a Parliament which was held in May, Sir Ralph Sadler came embassador from England in order to a marriage and setling a peace. Some of the Nobility he put in mind of their promise; others, as report goes, he tempted with mony. The Queen, Cardinal, and the whole faction of priests were not only against this peace, but, by disturbing some Members and Counsellors and corrupting others, they would not suffer it so much as to be put to the vote, so that by the general consent of almost the whole Parliament the Cardinal was confin’d to his chamber till the question was put. When he was removed out of the way, the agreement was easily made as to the Queen’s marriage, and other articles and hostages were promised to Henry to ratify the agreement. The Cardinal, at the instance of the Queen-Mother, was kept in a loose kind of custody by Seton, so was persuaded for a certain sum of mony a while after to let him go.
5. When peace seemed thus to be setled to the great advantage of both kingdoms after so great a fear of an imminent war, every body thought it would be a lasting one, and therefore the merchants, who for some years before had been hindred from trading, went thick and threefold to sea, and laded very many ships with the best commodities they could procure for the time allotted them so to do. Edinburgh sent out twelve ships; other cities of that circuit (which is the richest part of Scotland) rigg’d out ships, each according to their respective abilities. This fleet, in confidence of the peace with England, some of them drew nearer the shores than they needed to have done, and when the wind was calm there they lay at anchor. Others entred into the ports, open to the injuries of the English if any tumult of war should arise. About the same time, John Hamilton, Abbat of Pasley, and David Painter returned out of France. These men now cast off the vizard wherewith before they had disguised themselves for many years and returned to their true manners, for, as if they had been educated, not in the school of piety, but of profaneness, they were the ring-leaders at Court to all manner of flagitiousness. The Cardinal, being restor’d to his liberty unexpectedly, being also of a proud disposition which was aggravated by the affront he had receiv’d and by the ignominy accruing on the detection of his fraud, sought out all occasions whatsoever to disturb this concord. First of all, he communicated the matter to the Queen Dowager, and they both took it in great indignation that the Douglasses (who for the many benefits they had received from the English must needs be their fast friends) should immediately, after so many years banishment, be admitted into the Parliament-House to debate the weightiest affairs of the kingdom. Besides, they all jointly feared a change of the establish’d religion, the consequent whereof must needs be a breach of the league with France. Hereupon the Cardinal, by the consent of the Queen, summon’d a convocation of priests and extorted from them a great sum of mony, as fearing the universal ruin of the whole Papal Church. Part of this mony was paid to some of the Nobles of the adverse party, and many large promises were made them besides to persuade them not to gave any hostages to the English; and as for those who were newly return’d from their imprisonment and had left their children or kindred as hostages for their return, he desired them not to prefer those (otherwise dear) pledges before the laws, the publick safety, and their ancient religion, whose preservation was turn’d upon this hinge alone, and that they would not run willingly into a perpetual bondage.
6. Besides, he caused the ecclesiasticks to carry it proudly and disrespectfully towards the English embassador, insomuch that the very rabble did reproach and abuse his retinue, and what he said or did was all taken in the worst sense. But the embassador resolv’d to bear all affronts and to tide it out till the day for delivering the hostages did approach, so that he might give no occasion of a rupture on his part. And when the day was come he went to the Regent and complained of affronts which had been offered, not so much to himself, as to his King whom he represented, and how that the law of nations was violated thereby; and moreover, he desired him to give hostages according to the tenor of the league newly made, that so the amity might be kept sacred and inviolate to the mutual advantage of both nations. The Regent, as to the affronts offered, excused himself, and said he was sorry for them, and that he would speedily search into the matter so that the punishment of such petulant offenders should be a sufficient testimony of the love and veneration he had for the English nation. But as to the hostages, he answered that he could not obtain them with the good will of the States, neither was he able to compel them without publick consent. For the government which he bore was such that he received as much law as he gave, and therefore all his measures were disturb’d by the great sedition which, he saw, the Cardinal had raised; that he was, as it were, carried down in the stream of popular fury, and could scarce maintain his own station and dignity. The new hostages being thus deny’d, there was another thing as weighty as that which fell under debate, and that was concerning the Nobles lately taken prisoners of war, who upon their releasement had given hostages and made solemn asseverations that, if there were not a peace concluded, as Henry desired, upon just and fair terms, they would surrender themselves prisoners again. As for them, the Cardinal’s faction and the rest of the ecclesiastical order dealt with them, partly by reasons and partly by examples, not to prefer their estates, kindred, children, or any other thing which might be dear to them before the love of their country. And moreover he threatned them with auxiliaries from France, and that all Europe did conspire for the defence of their ancient rites and religion; and if they acted contrary, they would betray their country, and thereby the ruin of their ancient families would be imminent and at hand. They also desired them in so dangerous a time not to forsake their country, for if that were safe they might hope for more kindred and children, but if that were overthrown then all was gone. Moreover, they discoursed much concerning the inexpiable hatred betwixt the nations, and of the cruelty of the King into whose hands they were to come, thus blending truths and falshoods together. Moreover, they alleged the decree of the Council of Constance, that all pacts, contracts, promises, and oaths made with hereticks ought to be rescinded and made void.
7. The greatest part of those who were concerned in this matter were willing to hearken to any colourable pretence for their fault, only there was one of them who for no pecuniary consideration could be persuaded, no, nor by any threats deterred, from keeping his word, and that was Gilbert Kennedy, Earl of Cassils. He had left two brothers hostages in England, and he openly profess’d that neither for fear nor favour he would redeem his own life with the loss of his brothers, but whatever came of it he would surrender himself back a prisoner, and so, against the will of many, he undertook his journy straight to London. Henry very much commended the resolute faithfulness of the young man, and, to the intent that all might know he had an esteem for vertue, he richly rewarded him and sent him back with his two brothers into Scotland. But Henry’s mind was not more pacified towards Gilbert than his anger was implacable against the rest of the Scots, and thereupon he laid an embargo upon the Scots ships in all English ports and harbours, of which there were a great number, as I said before, and so presently denounced war. His threatnings were great, as against the violators, not only of leagues, but even of the laws of nations. And yet, though Scotland stood in so dangerous a state, the memory of alliances, the common love to their country, and the respect of the publick safety were so far laid aside that the brands of sedition were kindled more fiercely than ever. For the faction of the Cardinal and of the Queen Dowager, who were all for the French, sent over ambassadors thither to tell them that, unless they sent in assistance, the matter was upon the very point that England and Scotland would make a coalition into one government; and how such a conjunction would concern France, the experience of former ages had shewn. But they made it their chief request to the French that they would send back Matthew Stuart, Earl of Lennox, into his own country, who did not only emulate [rival] the family of the Hamiltons, but was also their deadly enemie, being they had slain his father at Linlithgoe. This young man was greatly beloved, not only for his extraordinary beauty and stately garb in the very flower of his youth, but chiefly upon the account of the memory of his father, who was so popular a man, and also because he was a single man, and the extinction of such a noble family, now reduced to a few, was in great hazard; besides, he had many clanships at home, and had also affinity with many other great families. Furthermore, the former King had design’d him to be his next heir and successor if he himself died without issue male, and he would have confirmed that his intention by a decree of the States (who have the sovereign power to order such publick affairs) if his life had been prolonged.
8. Yea, there were some flatterers which did elevate his generous mind, already rais’d up with the expectation of great things but not so well fortified against fraudulent adulation, to larger hopes. For, besides the supreme rule for about twenty years and the domination over his old enemies, they promised him that he should marry the Queen Dowager. And if the young Queen, who had the name only of supreme governess, should miscarry, then, without doubt, he would be the next King; and not only so, but also the lawful heir of James Hamilton lately deceased, seeing the Regent was a bastard, and was so far from any just expectation of the kingdom that he could not lawfully claim the inheritance of his own family. Besides, they urged the promises of the French King, who gave hopes of great assistance in due time. When the plain-hearted and credulous young man was this persuaded, he provided for his voyage into Scotland. Hamilton was not ignorant of any of these things, and to the intent that he might gain an accession of strength to his own party, by the advice of those friends whom he most trusted, he resolved to take away the young Queen from Linlithgo, where she yet was under the power of her mother; for if once he got her, then not only the shadow of the royal name, which is an attractive thing amongst the vulgar, would be of his side, but also he should have the power to bestow her in marriage, and so make himelf arbiter of the kingdom to transfer it whithersoever he pleased. Which if he could obtain, then the King of England might be persuaded, if need were, to join with him. This design was much approved. But, as is usual in civil discords, there are spies on both sides, who, being informed thereof, acquainted the Cardinal therewith. He, gathering together some of the Nobility whom he had corrupted with mony, came to Linlithgo, and, to the great burden of the inhabitants, staid there some days as a guard to the Queen. In the mean time, Lennox arrived out of France and was kindly received by the Regent, each of them dissembling their hate. Then he went to Linlithgo. There he addressed the Cardinal, and then went to his own house, where, in a meeting of friends, he discours’d at large why he came over, at whose command, by whom sent for, and upon what hopes; that he was promised not only the chief magistracy, but also that the heads of the faction, with the Queen Dowager’s consent, had assured him that he should marry her; and that, in order to the effecting thereof, the King of France had encouraged him to expect aid and and assistance from thence.
9. They all assented to his speech and advised him not to be wanting to the occasion that so freely had offer’d it self. And thus with above four thousand men he came to the Queen. Hamilton, who had levied and mustered his men, and with his kinsmen about him, was resolved to issue out of Edinburgh and break thorow to the Queen, now perceiving that his forces were too weak, by the advice of his friends, and out of his own disposition also, which was inclinable to peace, began to treat of an accommodation. Whereupon some prudent persons were chosen on both sides, who met at the town of Liston, almost in the middle way between Edinburgh and Linlithgo, and an agreement was made betwixt them on these terms: that the Queen should be removed to Sterlin, and that four of the prime Nobility, who had engaged themselves in neither faction, should be chosen out to inspect her education. And those were William Graham, John Erskin, John Lindsy,and William Levingston, eminent persons and all heads of illustrious families. They, by the consent of both parties, took the Queen and entred upon the road leading to Sterlin, whilst Lennox stood in arms with his men till they had travell’d far enough to be out of any danger from the contrary faction. And not long after having performed the accustomed ceremonies, she took on her the ensigns of majesty and began her reign at Sterlin August. 21. The Regent, perceiving that the favour of the vulgar, by reason of his inconstancie, was alienated from him, and that his forces were inferiour to those of the contrary faction, began to entertain private conferences with them under-hand; and indeed the Cardinal, who was kin to him by the mothers side, intended only to frighten him so he might bring him over to his party, rather than to subdue him by force of arms, so that, having weakened him before by taking off part of the Nobility from him by his largesses, and thereby rendered him cheaper and of less repute amongst the English, he now, by the intervention of his familiar friends who had more regard to mony than love to truth, compell’d him to an unjust combination, and, persuading him to come to Sterlin, there caused him to recant and change his opinion concerning all the controverted points of religion, not openly, that the infamy of the fact might be lessened amongst the vulgar, but in a convent of the Franciscans in the presence of the Queen Dowager and the chief Nobles of the Court. And for fear of a suit, which the Cardinal threatned to commence against him for his whole estate, he was so obsequious that he put himself wholly under his influences, insomuch that he only retained the shadowy name of a Regent.
10. And by this means the Cardinal obtained without envy what he had coveted by his suborned will, even to enjoy the advantage of the whole government, and that by the mean-spiritedness of the Regent and the avarice of his kindred. There seemed but one thing wanting to establish his power, and that was the removal of Lennox, who was a great block in the way of his designs. At last, the Queen Dowager and Cardinal fixed upon this project, that, till an answer came from France, she should hold the young man’s mind in suspence, giving him some hopes of marrying her. And they had written honourably of Lennox to the French King, as indeed they could do no other, for, next to God, they were indebted to him for restoring them to the liberty they enjoyed. But withal they desired him that, seeing matters were now quieted in Scotland by that King’s liberality and assistance, that he would be pleased to maintain the courtesy he had done them, and to confirm the peace which he had afforded, by calling Lennox back again. For without that things would never long continue in peace, but one or other of the factions must be destroyed. Thus they undermined Lennox privately, but in publick he was entertained with various divertisements by the Queen and Cardinal, insomuch that the Court loosed the reins to luxury and lasciviousness and was wholly given up to plays and feastings. The day was spent in tiltings and such kind of man-like exercises, the nights in balls and dancing. Lennox was inclinable by nature to these recreations, and was, besides, much accustomed to them in the French Court. But now James Hepburn, Earl of Bothwel, started up as his rival, and somewhat spurr’d up his mind, almost ready to languish. This James was banished by King James the Fifth, but presently after his death he return’d home and aspired to the marriage of the Queen by the same arts as Lennox did; and indeed, the indowments of nature and fortune were very eminent in both of them, insomuch that they might be said to be rather like than equal. Bothwel matched him in other things, but in these ludicrous combats and feats of arms being inferiour to him, he left the Court and departed to his own house. Lennox, when his rival was removed, thought now that all was secure on his part, and thereupon she earnestly press’d that the promised made him by the Queen and Cardinal might be performed. But, perceiving at last that he was fraudulently dealt with, and that Hamilton, his enemy, was advanc’d by them to honour, authority, and the supreme power over mens lives and fortunes, his youthful mind, which was not accustomed to ill arts, but judg’d all others like himself, was so inflamed with anger that he brake forth into better expressions and solemnly swore that he would suffer want, banishment, death, yea, anything whatsoever, than such an affront to go unrevenged.
11. Hereupon he retired to Dunbarton, wholly bent on revenge, but as yet uncertain what course to take to accomplish it. There he received 30000 French crowns from the King of France (who had not yet certainly heard how affairs stood in Scotland) to enable him to strengthen his party. That mony did somewhat relieve his diseased mind because it gave him hope that he was not wholly forsaken by the French King. But, being commanded to distribute the mony by the advice of the Queen Dowager and the Cardinal, yet he distributed part of it to his own friends, and part he sent to the Queen. The Cardinal, who had already devoured all that prey in his hope, was grievously troubled not only at his disappointment and loss, but also at his (supposed) disgrace therein, and therefore he advised the Regent presently to levy an army and to march to Glasgow, not doubting by that he might there surprise Lennox, and thereupon he speedily levied 10000 men and above, all of his friends and vassals. that which much facilitated the compleating that number was the indignation of some the the Nobles, who at the beginning, out of love to religion and hatred of the Cardinal, had been the instruments to advance the Regent to that high honour. But now they had chang’d their former good-will into hatred because he had delivered up and, as much as in him lay, betrayed his best-deserving friends, with himself, into the servitude of their most cruel enemy, without so much as giving them any notice thereof. This frame of spirit made a new and scarce credible change in the Scotish affairs, so that, the strength of the parties being intire, only they were headed by other commanders. Hamilton and his kin joined themselves to the Queen Dowager and the Cardinal, but his former friends sided with Lennox. With those forces levied on a sudden, Lennox came to Leith, and sent some into Edinburgh to tell the Cardinal that he needed not to march to Glasgow to fight him, for he would give him opportunity so to do any day when he pleas’d, in the fields between Leith and Edinburgh.
12. The Cardinal, who had drawn the Regent to his party, imagined that the power of the adverse party was so weakned thereby that he hoped none durst look him in the face, now unexpectedly seeing himself challenged by a greater army than he had to defend him, in words did not refuse the combate, but only deferr’d the day of fight upon several pretences and interposals, well knowing that Lennox could not long keep an army together consisting of volunteers without pay or provision made for any long time. In the mean time, he endeavoured by intreaties and promises to work over the minds of those who were most inclinable to his party. Lennox, seeing that the design was to lengthen out the war, and by no means to hazard a fight, and being in no posture to begin a siege for want of conveniencies necessary thereto, and also perceiving that some of his men had secret conferences by night with the enemy, to deliver himself out of these straits (his friends, who had made secret provision for themselves, urging him also thereunto), was forced to capitulate with the Regent. And thereupon he we nt to Edinburgh to him, and they transacted matters some days together as if they had forgot their old hatred and animosity. At length, when he came to Lithlingo, Lennox was advised by his friends that some hidden mischief was brewing against him, so that in the night-time he went privily to Glasgow, and, having fortified the Bishop’s Castle with a garison and sufficiency of provisions, he went to Dunbarton. Therefore he received more certain information that the Douglasses and the Hamiltons were agreed. And, because some suspicions and relicks of old grudges were left betwixt the factions, George Douglas and Alexander Cuningham were given as hostages, the one for the father, the other for the brother, though this was one for a pretence and disguise of a firmer concord, and a promise made that they should speedily be released. Yet notwithstanding, they were detain’d till the coming in of the English army. For the Hamiltons never thought themselves secure until those Nobles who had any interest or courage were removed, that so by the terror of their punishment others might be restrained from risings.
13. Besides, about the same time Lennox was informed that the King of France was alienated from him by the malicious practices of his enemies. In the mean time, Archibald Douglas, Earl of Angus, and Robert Maxwel, chief of noble family, came to Glasgow to accommodate matters (if it were possible) between the Regent and Lennox. But the Regent’s Council persuaded him to apprehend the very mediators for peace, and thus, by a back-way to avoid the tumult of the people, they were carried out and sent prisoners to Hamilton Castle. In this posture of affairs in Scotland, when not only the English, but the chief of the Scots also, were angry with the Regent, Henry of England thought it a fit opportunity for him to punish the violators, not only of the league, but of the law of nations too. Yet before he would attack the Scots by force, he sent letters full of just complaints and threats to Edinburgh, blaming them for refusing his alliance which he had so freely and generously offer’d, so arrogantly as they did; yea, that they had not only rejected that alliance, but, though he had been kind to them, they scattered the seeds of war and had enforc’d him to arm against his will. These letters did no good, whereupon he caused those naval forces which he had ready to waft over against the Boulognois to set sail for Scotland, and to infest Edinburgh and Leith (both which towns had most affronted his ambassadors) and the country round about them with the miseries of war. The ships, arriving there, landed ten thousand foot May the 4th a little above Leith, who, without any resistance, enter the town, for most of the towns-men were absent upon the account of merchandizing. The Regent and Cardinal, being then at Edinburgh and unprovided of all things, knew not what to do, but were so surprized that they presently set at liberty those four eminent persons which they had in durance (as aforesaid), not for any regard to the publick safety, but partly fearing lest otherwise their kinsmen and tenants should refuse to fight, if not join themselves to the enemy, and partly also that they might redeem the good-will of the people, who, they knew, were alienated from them upon many accounts.
14. But they, not daring to commit themselves to the hatred of the citizens and of their enemies too, fled to Linlithgo. The English staid three days at Leith to land their ordnance and baggage, and so prepar’d themselves for the encounter. Having setled other matters, they march to Edinburgh, pillag’d and burnt the city, and then disperst themselves to spoil the neighbouring parts; they ruin’d many villages with some castles and seats of Noblemen. From Edinburgh they return’d to Leith and, having a fair wind, set fire to the houses, and hoist sail and away. About that time, Lennox was certainly inform’d that Francis King of France was wholly alienated from him. For the contrary faction by their frequent letters and messages had persuaded him that ’twas Lennox alone who, by reason of his old enmity against his fathers enemies, did hinder the publick concord of all Scotland, and that he was the head of a faction against the Regent and a favourer of the English, and one who did rather indulge his own private animosities than promote the common cause; and that if the King would recal him into France, peace would easily be made up amongst the rest. When Lennox had received intelligence by his friends what his enemies had inform’d against him, he also writ to Francis informing him in what case he found the affairs of Scotland, and how he and his friends had with a great deal of pains vindicated both Queens to their liberty, and had put them into a posture and capacity to rule, having broken the power of the adverse party; and, out of a turbulent tempest, had brought things to a great tranquillity, and that nothing would be more acceptable to him than to return into France, where he had lived well nigh longer than in Scotland, and so to enjoy the sweet society of his beloved friends. But that he returned into his own country, not of his own accord, but sent by the King, and that he had done nothing there whereof His Majesty or himself need be ashamed. And, if he would not abridge him of his former favour, he would shortly answer, yea, perhaps exceed the hope he had conceived of him; but if he should call him away in the midst of the career of his designs, then he must not only leave the things he had so excellently began unfinish’d, but also expose his friends, kindred, and vassals, whom he had engaged in the publick cause, and who had been almost worn out with toil and labour, to servitude and torment under an impious and cruel tyrant, who, as much as in him was, had sold both Queen and kingdom to the enemy, and who observed the pacts and promises he made to men no more religiously than he did the duties of piety towards God, for within a few years he had changed his religion three times. Neither was it to be wonder’s at in him, who looked upon oaths and promises, not as bonds obliging to faithfulness, but as lurking-holes to hide perfidiousness. And therefore he moved earnestly that the King and those of his Council would consider whether in so great an affair they would believe him, all whose ancestors had devoted themselves, their lives, honours, and fortunes, for the increase of his greatness, and who, indeed, had been honoured and rewarded by him with many benefits, which yet were rather testimonies of their good acceptance than just rewards and compensations of their labours, or else a man who would change his friends and foes at the blast of every wind, and who depended on the arbitrement of fortune alone.
15. Though many were not ignorant that his allegations were true, yet the French King was so influenc’d by the Guise’s, the Queen Dowager’s father and unckle, and who in all things endeavoured to promote her concerns, that his heart and ear were both shut against Lennox’s request, insomuch that he would not permit John Cambel, a man of approved virtue sent by Lennox, to have audience, or so much as to come into his presence, but kept him in the nature of a prisoner, and had spies set upon him to watch him, that so he might not write back any thing of the designs agitated in the French Court. Yet notwithstanding all this their caution, there were some who told him all. When Lennox heard this by the dispatches which were sent him, his troubled mind was variously hurried betwixt anger and shame. She was ashamed to leave his enterprize which he had begun unfinished, and the rather because, he thought, that he was not able to satisfy the love of his friends and kindred, whom he had drawn with him into the same danger, but by the sacrifice of his life. As for the rest, his anger was highly inflamed especially against the Queen-Dowager and the Cardinal, by whose perfidious contumely he was cast into these straits; but he was chiefly offended with the King of France, complaining that he had brought him upon the stage, and now in the midst of his acting had forsaken him and and joined himself with his enemies. Whilst his thoughts thus fluctuated, not knowing where to fix, news was brought him that all the inhabitants on this side Mount Grantzbain who were able to bear arms were commanded by proclamation by such a day to appear at Sterlin, and to bring ten days provision along with them, that they might be ready to march whithersoever the Regent should command them. Whither accordingly they came at the day appointed, and the Regent marched them to Glasgow. There he besieged the Castle ten days, and battered it with his brass-guns, but in vain; yet at last a truce was granted for a day, and the guards tampered with, so that the Castle was surrendered upon quarter and indemnity to the garison-souldiers; yet notwithstanding, all of them but one or two were put to death. In the mean time, Lennox, being forsaken by the French King and also cut off from any hope of other aid, made trial by his friends how the King of England stood affected towards him. And finding it fair weather there, he resolv’d for England. But before he went he had a great mind to perform some notable exploit against the Hamiltons, and, communicating his design to William Cuningham, Earl of Glencarn. They two, at a day appointed, with their tenants and adherents resolved to meet at Glasgow and from thence to make an inroad into the country of Clydsdale, which, almost all, belonged Hamiltons.
16. When the Regent heard of this, he resolved to be before-hand with them, and so to seize upon Glasgow, and thereby prevent the place of meeting. But Cuningham with a great party of his men were entered the town before, and there expected the coming of Lennox. But, hearing of Hamilton’s coming and of his design, he drew out his men into the fields adjoining, and, according to the number of those he had, set them in army. There were about 800 of them, part of his own clanship, and part of the citizens of Glasgow which favoured his cause. And thus, with greater courage than force, he joined battel and fought so valiantly that he beat the first rank of the enemy back upon the second and took the brass-pieces they had brought with them. But whilst the fight was hot about the Regent’s quarter and the matter was in great hazard there, on a sudden Robert Boyd, a valiant and brave man, came in with a small party of horse and thrust himself into the midst of the fight where the hottest service was. He occasioned a greater fear and trepidation than so small a number need to have done, for both armies believed that great assistance was come in to the Hamiltons. This mistake quite changed the fortune of the day, whilst one thought the assistance was come into his party, the other to his enemies. There were slain in the battel about 300 on both sides. The greatest part was of the Cunningham’s, and amongst them two sons of the Earl ’s, gallant men both. Neither was the victory unbloody to the Hamiltons, for they lost considerable persons on their side too. But the greatest mischief fell upon the inhabitants of Glasgow, for the enemy, not contented with the blood of the towns-men which they had killed, nor with the miseries of those who survived, nor yet with the plunder of their houses, they also took away the valves [hinges] and shutters of their gates and windows and their iron-bars. Neither did they forbear any kind of calamity but only the firing of their houses, which were so torn and deformed before. The event of this battel wrought a great change in mens minds, so that Lennox’s friends and kinsmen refused to commit the matter to the hazard of a second encounter, not so much because their enemies force was increased and theirs lessened, nor that, because having lost so many valiant men, they could not speedily gather together a new supply from places so remote, as that they were unwilling to give any new provocation to Hamilton, or by too much obstinacy to offend him, under whose government they knew they must shortly come.
17. Lennox, being thus deserted by the French and the greatest part of the Scots too, made George Sterlin Governour of the Castle of Dumbarton, and he himself with a few in his company sailed for England against the advice of his best friends, who were willing he should have stayed some months in that impregnable Castle, and so waited for a change of affairs, which they did not doubt but shortly would come to pass. But he was resolved for England, where he was honourably received by the King, who, besides his other respects, gave him Margaret Douglas in marriage. She was sister to James, last King of Scotland, begot by the Earl of Angus upon the sister of Henry King of England, a lady in the flower of her age, of great comeliness and beauty. In the mean time, the Queen-Dowager received into her protection that Scotish faction which, by the departure of Lennox, was left without an head, and which did obstinately refuse to come under the power of Hamilton (whose levity they knew before, and now feared his cruelty), for she was afraid that they might be inrag’d in such an hurry of things, and so desperately ingage in some new commotion. The Hamiltons were glad at the departure of so potent an enemy, but, yet not satisfied with the punishments already inflicted, they used their prosperity very intemperately. For in the next Convention held at Linlithgo they condemned him and his friends, confiscated their goods, and banished them the land. A great sum of money was raised out of the fines of those who redeemed their estates out of the exchequer, but not without great disgust and the high offence of all good men. In the midst of these domestick seditions, the English entred Scotland and committed great spoil and desolation on Jedburgh, Kelso, and the country thereabout. From thence they went to Coldingham, where they fortified the church and the tower, as well as they could for the time, by making works and leaving a garison, and so departed. And the garison-souldiers made great havock in all the adjacent parts, partly out of a greediness for plunder and partly that the country thereabouts might not afford provisions to the enemy when they besieged them.
18. Hereupon they who ruled the roast in Scotland, the Queen-Dowager, Cardinal, and Regent, by the advice of the Council, sent forth a proclamation that the Nobles and the most discreet and ablest of the Commons should come in armed with eight days provision to march whither the Regent led them. In a short time about 8000 met together, and in a very sharp winter too, who, having battered the tower of the church of Coldingham with their great guns, stood in their arms all that day and night, to the great wearying of horse and man. The day after, the Regent, either out of tenderness and inability to indure military toil, or fearing the invasion of the enemy (for he was informed from Berwick, a neighbour-town, that the English were upon their march), unknown to his Nobles and with but a few in company, mounted on horse back and with full speed fled back to Dunbar. They who endeavour to excuse the baseness of this flight say that he was afraid lest his army (out of hate preconceived on many accounts) would have given him up to the English. His departure made a great disturbance in the whole army, and the rather because the cause of his flight was unknown, and therefore many thought that ’twas the more considerable and that they had greater reason to fear. Hereupon some were obstinately resolved to run home the nearest way they could and leave their guns behind them. Others, who would seem a little more provident and stout, were for overcharging them, that so they might break in pieces at a discharge and become useless to the enemy. But Archibald Earl of Angus withstood them all, telling them that they should not add so foul an offence to their base flight. But, not being able to retain them either by his authority or entreaty, he burst out into these words with a loud voice so that many might hear him: “As for me (said he), I had rather chuse a noble death than to enjoy my life, tho opulent and secure, after the admission of so foul a fact. You, my friends and fellow-soldiers, consider what you will do; as for me, I will bring back these guns, or else I will never return back hence alive. My honour and my life shall go together.” This speech affected some few whose honour was dearer to them than their lives, but the rest were so disheartened by the shameful flight of the Regent that they broke their ranks and went every one scatteringly home. Douglas sent the guns before, and he with is party followed in good order in the rear, and tho he was prest upon by the English horse (whom the tumult had excited), yet he brought the ordnance safe to Dunbar.
19. This expedition, rashly undertaken and as basely performed, discouraged abundance of the Scots and raised up the English to an intolerable height, as drawing the cowardise of the Regent to their praise. And therefore Ralph Evers and Brian Laiton, two brave English cavaleers, overran all Merch, Teviot, and Lauderdale without any resistance, and made the inhabitants of those countries submit themselves, and if any were refractory, they wasted their lands and made their habitations desolate; yea, the undisturbed course of their victories made them so resolute and insolent that they propounded the Bay of Forth to be the boundary of their conquest. And with this hope they went to London and crav’d a reward from Henry for their good service. Their petition was referred to the Council, and in debate thereof Thomas Howard, Duke of Norfolk, who had made many expeditions against the Scots and had done them much mischief, understanding that in that troublesom posture of affairs in Scotland it was no hard matter to over-run naked and unguarded countries, and to compel the commonalty, when they had no other refuge, to take an oath of fealty to them; and withal knowing the constancy of the Scots in maintaining their country and their resolution in recovering it when lost, upon these considerations, ’tis reported, that they advised the King to give them all the land which they could win by the sword, and also to allow them a small force to defend it till the Scots therein were inured to the English government. This gift they willingly receiv’d, and the King as willingly gave, upon which, their vain boasting being as vainly requited, they return’d joyfully to the Borders, having obtain’d 3000 souldiers in pay besides the Borderers, who are wont to serve without any military stipend. Their return mightily disturb’d all the Borderers because they had no hopes of any help from the Regent, in regard he was influenc’d in all his counsels by a priest, especially by the Cardinal. Hereupon Archibald Earl of Angus, being much affected with the publick disgrace and also concerned upon the account of his own private losses (for he had large and fruitful possessions in Merch and Teviotdale), sent to the Regent to prevent it. The Regent deplor’d his own solitude, and complain’d how he was deserted by the Nobility. Douglas told him it was his own, not the Nobilities, fault, for they were willing to spend their lives and fortunes for the good of the publick, but he had slighted their advice and was wholly govern’d by a few sorry priests who were cowardly abroad and seditious at home, for they, being exempted from danger themselves, did abusively spend the fruits of other mens labours on their own pleasures.
20. “This (said he) is the fountain from whence suspicions arise betwixt you and the Nobles, which, in regard you cannot trust one another, is a great hindrance to the publick service. But if you will communicate counsels with them who will not refuse to spend their lives in executing what shall be resolved upon, I do not despair but we may yet perform as noble experiments as any of our ancestors did in times equally, or at least not much less, troublesome than the days we now live in. But if by our own slothfulness we suffer the enemy to conquer by piece-meal, he will quickly force us to a surrender or a banishment, and which of the two is more miserable and flagitious can hardly be determined. As for us two, I know that I am accused by my enemies of treachery, and you of cowardise. But if you would to that speedily which you are not able to avoid, ’tis not a fine-spun oration, but the field and dint of sword shall wipe off both these criminations.” The Regent told him that he would be wholly guided by him and the Nobles, whereupon a Council was summoned about an expedition, and by their advice a proclamation was set forth to all the neighbouring-countries that all the Nobility therein should with all the speed they could repair to the Regent, wheresoever he should be. And they the day thereafter, with their present force, which was not above 300 horse, march’d for England. There came into them some of the Lothianers and Merch-men, but not very many, so that when they came to Mulross upon Tweed they resolv’d to stay there till more forces came up to them. But the English, who were already come as far as Jedburgh, being inform’d by their spies of the paucity of the enemy, march’d with about 5000 men out of Jedburgh directly towards Mulross, not doubting but that they should surprize the Regent and his party unawares, being but few, and they also tyred from their march. But the Scots, being informed by their scouts of the coming of the English, withdrew themselves into the next hills, from thence in safety to behold what course the enemy would take. The English, being thus disappointed of their hope, wander’d up and down in the town and monastery of monks, which were pillag’d a little before, being intent upon what prey they could find, and there they staid until break of day. Assoon as ’twas light they were returning to Jedburgh, and the Scots, having receiv’d a supply of almost 300 of the blades of Fife under the command of Norman Lesly, son to the Earl of Rothes (a young man for all accomplishments hardly to be match’d again in Scotland), grew thereby more incouraged, and so with a slow march they retired to the hills which are about the town of Ancram.
21. There Walter Scot (of whom mention is made before), an active and prudent person, came in to them with but a few in his company, excusing the straitness of time and telling them that his whole party would be speedily with them. His advice was that they should send their horse unto the next hill, and so all of them run equal hazard on foot and wait for the enemy on the low ground, for he did not doubt but that their servants, carrying up their horse to the higher ground, would make the English believe that they were running away, and that would occasion them to hasten their march. And accordingly, lest the Scots should get off without fighting and again to be sought out with a great deal of pains, before the night came the English march’d up to them in three battalions, for they hoped to end the business with one light skirmish. And because their hopes were such, each one exhorted his fellow to make haste, though they had continued their march night and day before under their heavy arms, that so by a short toil they might get long rest, renown, and glory. These exhortations added to their courage as much as the toil of the march abated their strength, so that their first two battalions fell in amongst the Scots, who were prepared for the onset, as into an ambush. Yet, trusting to their number, they stood to their arms and fought stoutly. But two things (wisely foreseen) were a great help to the Scots, for both the sun was almost at west, and darted with his full beams in the faces of the enemy, and also the wind, which was somewhat high, carried back the smoke of the gunpowder upon the battalions behind, insomuch that they could not see their way; and besides, whilst they were panting by reason of their march, it mightily troubled them with its noisom smell. The first battalion of the English fell back upon the second, and the second on the third, where, by their intermixtures one with another and the pressing of the Scots upon them, they all brake their ranks and were driven back, so that all were so full of fear and terror that none knew his own colours or his captain. Thus, whilst every one provided for his own safety, no man remembred the publick danger and disgrace. The Scots followed thick after them, so that now there was no more fighting, but slaying. At night the Scots were called back to their colours, and taking a view of the slain, they lost only two of their own. Of the English, besides commanders, there dyed about 200 souldiers, and amongst them some of note. There were about a thousand prisoners taken, and of them above 80 gentlemen. This victory, happening beyond all men’s expectation, was so much the more acceptable. The fruit of all redounded to the Regent, but almost all the honour to the Douglasses.
22. About this time, by the fraud, as ’tis thought, of George Gordon, Earl of Huntly, a contention arose in which almost all of the family of the Frasers were extinguish’d. There was betwixt them and Mac Rainald an old grudg which had been often manifested to the loss of both parties, and Huntly was inwardly fill’d with indignation that they alone of all the neighbouring families refused to come under his clanship. For when the neighbour islanders gather’d together what strength they could against the Earl of Argile, there was hardly any man in all that tract of the country but bore arms on one side or other. But, the matter being composed without blows, as they were returning sever’d from him another way, the Mac-Rainalds, having notice of it, got their clanships together and set upon them most furiously, and the Frasers, being fewer in number, were overcome and all slain to a man. And thus that numerous family, which had oft so well deserved of their country, had been wholly extinguish’d unless, by God’s good providence (as we have reason to believe) 80 of the chief of the family had left their wives at home great with child, all of which in due time brought forth male-children, and they all lived to man’s estate. At the same time, the King of England heard that his army was beaten and wasted in Scotland, and that an embassador was sent by the Regent to the King of France to acquaint him with the victory and to desire aid of him against the demands and threats of the King of England, and likewise to inform against Lennox in defamation of his departure into England. As for aid, he could scarce obtain any, because the French knew for certain that Henry was about passing over with great forces into France, only they sent 500 horse and 3000 foot, not so much to defend the Scots from the incursions of the English, as to hold them in play that they might fall with their whole strength upon France. Henry, that summer, did not think it fit to send greater forces to the Borders of Scotland, because he was of opinion that the garisons there were sufficient to inhibit the excursions of the Scots; and besides, he knew well enough that the Scots, in such a perplexed state of their affairs, could not raise a great army that year to attack any well-fortified places.
23. The Scotish embassador in France objected some sorry matters against Lennox in his absence, scarce worth the answering, as that he had concealed the mony sent to him; that by reason of his dissensions with the Cardinal the cause of the publick was betray’d; and, as for his departure into England, that he exaggerated most invidiously. The King of France, who by means of false rumors had conceiv’d such an anger against Lennox that he would by no means admit of any compurgation [excuse] or apology against those calumnies, and who also had imprisoned Lennox’ brother, unheard, Captain of his Guards, when the truth began a little to appear, as ’twere in excuse for his temerarious fault, sought for some colour to hide it, and commanded an examination to be made of the crimes objected against Lennox. And the enquiry was committed to James Montgomery of Lorge, commander of the French auxiliaries, a man active and good enough, but a bitter enemy to Lennox. ’Twas put into his hands by the procurement of the Guises, because they were not able to separate the cause of their sister from the perfidiousness of the Cardinal. Montgomery arriv’d with his French auxiliaries (lately mention’d) in Scotland on July the 3rd in the year 1545, where by shewing of letters and declaring the good intentions of the King of France towards them, in the Council he obtained that an army should be levied, but only of the better sort who were able to bear the charges of the war, and they were to meet together upon a short day. And accordingly, at the time appointed there met 15000 Scots at Hadington, and, marching to the Borders, they formed their camp over against Werk, a Castle in England. From thence almost every other day they marched with their colours into England and did obtain great booty. The enemy endeavour’d to resist their incursions, but in vain: they made indeed some light skirmishes, but unprosperously, so that the Scots wasted all the country for six miles round. This they continued during ten days, never going further into the enemies country in the day-time than they could return back to their camp at night. In the interim, Montgomery and George Hume deal earnestly with the Regent that he would remove his camp to the other side of the Tweed, that so they might make freer inrodes upon the parts adjacent and spread the terrour of their army to a greater distance. But their solicitations were in vain, for the Regent and those of the Council about him were against it, because they were destitute of all necessaries for storming of castles, so that they disbanded the army and returned home. The other took up their winter-quarters as every one thought fit, but Montgomery went to Sterlin to the Court.
24. Where, knowing of the calumnies raised against Lennox by his enemies, though he himself did highly disgust him too, yet he grievously rebuked the Cardinal that, without any considerable provocation on Lennox’ part, he had loden so noble and innocent a person with such calumnious imputations, and had compell’d him, even against his will, to join himself with the enemy. And about the same time, inroads were made on both sides on all parts of the Borders, with various events. Robert Maxwel, the son of Robert, a young man of singular valor, was taken prisoner by the English. There was nothing memorable done besides. At the beginning of the following winter, Montgomery return’d to France and the Cardinal carried about the Regent with him through the neighbouring provinces upon pretence to reconcile and heal the seditions and distempers of all parties. First they came to Perth, where four men were punish’d for eating flesh on a day prohibited, and also a woman and her infant were both put to death because she refused to call upon the Virgin Mary for aid in her travel [travail]. Then they applied themselves to the overthrow of all the Reformed universally. They went to Dundee and, as themselves gave out, ’twas to punish such as read the New Testament, for in those days that was counted a most grievous sin, and such was the blindness of those times that some of the priests, being offended at the novelty of the title, did contend that that book was lately written by Martin Luther, and therefore they desired only the Old. There ’twas told them that Patrick Grey, chief of a noble family in those parts, was coming with a great train, and the Earl of Rothes with him. The tumult being appeased, the Regent commanded both of them to come to him the day after, but the Cardinal, thinking it not safe to admit such potent and factious persons with so great a train into that town, which was the only one highly addicted to the Reformed religion, persuaded the Regent to return to Perth. Whereupon they followed him thither, and when they came in sight of the town the Cardinal was so afraid that, to gratify him, the Regent commanded them to enter the city severally and apart. And the next day after, they were both committed to prison. Yet Rothes was soon released, but Grey was delivered with more difficulty afterwards because he was more hated and feared by them.
25. Before they went from thence, the Cardinal thought good to abate the power of Ruven, Mayor of the city, so that the Regent took away the Mayoralty from him and give it to the Laird Kinsans, a neighbour-Laird, Gray’s kinsman. Ruven was envied by the Cardinal because he favour’d the Reform’d religion, and as for Grey, he was not wholly averse from the Reformed neither, nor yet any great friend of the Cardinals. For by this means, the Cardinal did not doubt but, if they two fell out, many of the neighbouring parts would join themselves to each of them, in regard of the illustriousness of their families, and so, the more of them fell on either side, the fewer enemies he should have left alive. Thus the Mayoralty of Perth, which for many years had continued as hereditary in the family of the Ruvens, was translated to Charters, Laird of Kinsans, with the great indignation of the citizens, who took it much amiss that their ancient freedom of voting in their assemblies was taken away. But the new Mayor was sent to compel them to obedience by force if they resisted. His design was to assault the city in two places. Grey, who had taken the whole matter on himself, attack’d it from the bridg over the River Tay. The other party were to carry their guns up the stream, and so to storm the open side of the town. But because the tide hindred them, they came not up in time. Grey made his attempt from the bridg (from which Ruven had purposely withdrawn his guards into the next houses, that so it might seem to the enemy as if it were undefended), and when he saw none in arms to oppose him, he boldly march’d up into the body of the town, whereupon Ruven issued out of the adjoining houses on a sudden, and gave him a brisk charge which routed him and his whole party. But in their flight through narrow passages the one hindred another. For the last, striving to gain the mouth of the passage, gave stop to the first, and in this confusion many were trod under-foot and sixty fell by the sword. The Cardinal, when he knew that Ruven had got the victory, was somewhat sorry for it, yet glad withal that so many of his enemies were destroyed. For, seeing he despaired ever to make them his friends, he counted it a gain to him to see them mutually to destroy one another.
26. The Cardinal, having thus past over as much of Angus as he thought convenient at that time, brought the Regent, after the Winter Solstice, to St. Andrews to indear his mind more unto him, if ’twere possible. For, though he had his son, the Earl of Arran, as a pledge, yet as often as he bent his thoughts to the consideration of the fierceness of the Scotish Nobility, to the strength of the opposite faction, and to the inconstancy of the Regent, he was afraid that he might be persuaded by his enemies, and so wrought over to them with the same levity as he had first joined himself with him. There he entertained him, with a small retinue, with sports and pastimes twenty days at Christmas. He gave him many gifts at present, and promised him more for the future. And after much discourse together concerning the state of the kingdom, he came a little more secure to Edinburgh. There a Convocation of ecclesiastics was held January the 13th. In that assembly many things were canvass’d up and down concerning the retaining of the old liberty of the Church and the punishment of the enormous crimes of some priests, but in the midst of these debates, before they could conclude of any thing, news was brought them that George Wiseheart, a preacher of the Gospel, one very acceptable to the people, was entertained at the house of a noble person called John Cockburn, about seven miles from the city. Thither presently they sent a party of horse to demand the offendor, but Cockburn alleged several things in excuse, on purpose to create some delayes that so he might have an opportunity to convey him away secretly. Of which the Cardinal being inform’d, made hast thither with the Regent, even in the dead time of the night, and beset all the avenues of the house. And yet their promises, flatteries, and threats prevailed not at all till they sent for the Earl of Bothwel out of the next district. He, being the chief of all the Lothianers, did easily obtain that George should be deliver’d up to him. But first he past his word that no harm or damage should come to him. The priests, having now gotten this prey into their hands, carried him from Edinburgh to St. Andrews, and there, about a month after, they assembled a great company of ecclesiasticks of all sorts to determine concerning his doctrine. This was done to blind men’s eyes with the pretence of a judicatory and a legal proceeding, for all men know what they would determine concerning him before-hand. By the consent of them all, the Cardinal by his letters desired the Regent to give out his mandate for a civil judg to sit upon the offendor (for himself, by the Pope’s Canon Law, could not sit upon the life or death of any man), that so he that was already judg’d an heretick by the priests might also be sentenc’d to death by the secular power. The Regent was not likely to have made any scruple in granting his request unless David Hamilton of Preston, his kinsman, had interposed and kept him back, who did both advise, entreat, and sometimes chid him in order to stop the process against George.
27. The sum of his discourse is reported to be this, that he did very much wonder upon what account the Regent should give such a large power to any man against the servants of God, and who had no other crime objected against them besides the preaching of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and especially to such whose flagitious lives and brutish cruelty cared not what torments they put an innocent man to, whose integrity of life his very enemies were forc’d to confess, even against their will; and, for his learning, he himself knew it to be great. That, further, he himself had been formerly a great favourer of him and it. ’Twas by his commendation that he was advanc’d to the supream magistracy. And also that he had given forth edicts to declare his assent to his doctrine publickly, and had undertook to defend it; yea, he had exhorted all in general and each man in particular to read, understand, practice, and exemplify it in their hearts and lives. “Consider therefore with your self (said he) what will men think, what will men say of you. Consider the mercies God Almighty hath bestowed upon you. The King, an active man and your enemy, was taken away, who walk’d in the very same steps you do now tread. They who brought him to ruin by their advice do now also indeavour to destroy you. They have opposed you from the beginning with the weight of all their power, and now they seek by fraudulent counsel to ensnare and undo you. Call to mind, sir, the victory given you over your subjects without blood, and over your enemies too, though having much greater force than your self, to your great renown and their deserv’d ignominy. Remember for whose sake you thus desert God and oppose your and His friends. Awake, I beseech you, and dispel that mist which nefarious persons have cast before your eyes. Remember Saul, King of Israel, how he was raised up from a low to a sovereign estate, and how many blessings he received from God as long as he was obedient to His Law. But when he slighted and turned aside from His Commandments, how miserably was he punished! Compare the success of your affairs, from the beginning to this very day, with his prosperities. And unless you alter the course of your designs, expect no happy issue (nay, rather a worse end than he). For he did design the same projects which you now act, and that to gratify some base varlets who can neither hide their open wickednesses nor do not so much as indeavour to dissemble them.”
28. The Regent was affected at the advice of his friend, and writ back an answer to the Cardinal that he should not precipitate the process, but let the whole matter alone till he came himself. For he was not willing to consent to the condemnation of the man till he had more diligently enquired into his cause. And if the Cardinal did otherwise, the man’s blood should light on his head, for he testify’d by these letters that he himself was free therefrom. The Cardinal was unexpectedly surprized with this answer. He knew well though that, if delays were made in the case, the prisoner would be deliver’d, as being a popular man; and besides he would not suffer the thing to be brought under a debate, partly because, the man having been already condemned by the ecclesiasticks, he would have no recognition [second trial] made, so that he was ragingly angry and persisted in the resolution he had taken. And his reply was that he did not write to the Regent as if he had not sufficient authority independently without him, but for a specious pretence to the vulgar, that his name might not be in the condemnation. Hereupon George was brought out prison, and John Windram, a learned man and an hearty, though secret, favourer of the cause of religion, was commanded to mount a kind of pulpit there erected, and to preach. He took his text out of Matthew 13, which ways that the good seed is the Word of God, but the evil seed is heresy. In his discourse, defining heresy, he said it was a false opinion, evidently repugnant to the Holy Scriptures and maintained with obstinacy, and that ’twas occasioned, and also supported and fostered, by the ignorance of the pastors of the Church, who did not know how either to convince hereticks or to reduce those who were gone astray by the spiritual sword, which is the Word of God. Afterwards he explained the duty of a bishop out of the Epistle to Timothy, and shewed that there was only one way to find out heresy, which was to bring it to the test of the Word of God. At length when he made an end, though what he spoke made against the priests, who were there assembled not to refute heretics, but to punish those who opposed their licentious arrogance, yet, as if all things went well on their side, they hale forth George to a pulpit or scaffold built in the church, that so they might observe their accustomed form in judgment. Over against him there was another pulpit, which John Lauder, a Popish priest, mounted, and the rest stood about him, as ’twere to judge. But there was not the least appearance of a judgment or of a free disputation in the case. For the accuser thundred out many odious and abominable slanders, such as are wont to be commonly forg’d against the preachers of the purest doctrine, with great acerbity of words. And thus having spent some hours, George was brought back again to the Castle and lodg’d in the Governour’s chamber, spending great part of his time that night in prayer.
29. The next morning, the bishops sent two Franciscans to him, to acquaint him that his death was at hand, and to know whether they should confess him, as is usual in such cases. He told hem he had nothing to do with Friars, nor had any mind to discourse them, but if they had a mind to gratify him in the thing, then he desired to confer with that learned man which preach’d yesterday. Whereupon the bishops gave him leave to go to the Castle, and George had a long discourse with Windram, who, after he had ceas’d weeping (which for a while he could not refrain), very friendly demanded of him wither he would receive the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper. “With all my heart (said George), if I may receive it under both kinds of bread and wine according to Christ’s institution.” Windram return’d to the bishops and told them that George did solemnly profess that he was innocent of the crime of which he was accused. Which he spake, not to deprecate his death now at hand, but only to testify his innocency before men, as ’twas sufficiently known to God. The Cardinal was much inraged. “Ay (says he), we know well enough what you are.” Being further demanded whether he would admit him to receive the Sacrament, he talk’d a little with the bishops and, with their consent, made answer that ’twas not fit that a stubborn heretick, condemn’d by the Church, should enjoy any benefits of the Church. That answer was return’d to him, and about nine of the clock the friends and officers of the Governor of the Castle sat down to breakfast. They asked George whether he would eat with them. “Very willingly (said he), and much more than in former times, because I perceive that you are good men and fellow-members with me of the same body with Christ, and because I know that this is the last meal I shall eat on earth. And for you (speaking to the Governor of the Castle), I desire you in the Name of God and for that love which you bear to our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, that you’l sit down a while with us and vouchsafe me the hearing whilst I give you a short exhortation, and so pray over this bread which, as brethren in Christ, we are about to eat, and then I will bid you farewel.”
30. In the interim, the cloth was laid (according to custom) and bread set on, when George made a brief and clear discourse for about half an hour concerning Christ’s Last Supper, His sufferings and death. But above all he exhorted them to lay aside anger, envy, and malice, and to have mutual love impress’d on their minds, that so they might become perfect members of Christ, Who daily intercedes for us with His Father, that our sacrifice might be accepted by Him to eternal life. When he had thus spoken, he gave thanks and then brake the bread and gave to every one a piece; and then the wine, after he himself had drank in the same manner, intreating them to remember the death of Christ now in the last Sacrament with them. As for himself, a bitterer portion was prepared for him for no other reason but his preaching the Gospel. And then, having again given thanks, he returned to his chamber and concluded with prayer. A while after, two executioners were sent to him by the Cardinal. One of them put a black linen shirt upon him, and the other bound many little bags of gunpowder to all parts of his body. In this dress they brought him forth and commanded him to stay in the chamber without the Governour’s. At the same time, they erected a wooden scaffold in the court before the Castle and made up a pile of wood. The windows and forts of the Castle over against it were all hung with tapestry and silk hangings, with cushions for the Cardinal and his train to behold and take pleasure in the joyful sight, even the torture of an innocent man, thus endeavouring to curry favour with the vulgar as the author of so notable a prank. There was also a great guard of souldiers, not so much to secure the execution as for a vain ostentation of his power; and besides, brass guns were plac’d up and down in all convenient places of the Castle. Thus, whilst the trumpets sounded, George was brought forth, mounted the scaffold, and was fastened with a cord to the stake. And, having scarce obtain’d liberty to pray for the Church of God, the executioners fired the wood, which took hold of the power tied about him immediately and blew it up into flame and smoke. The Governor of the Castle, who stood so near that he was sing’d with the flame, exhorted him, in a few words, to be of good chear and to ask pardon of God for his offences. To whom he replied, “This flame occasions trouble to my body, indeed, but it hath in no wise broken my spirit. But he who now proudly looks down upon me from yonder lofty place (pointing to the Cardinal) shall ’ere long be as ignominiously thrown down as he now sits at his ease.” Having thus spoken, they straitned the rope which was tied about his neck and so strangled him. His body in a few hours was consum’d to ashes and the flame, and the Bishop, being yet mad with hate and rage, forbad every body, upon great penalties, to pray for the deceased.
31. After this fact, the Cardinal was highly commended by his faction, and extolled to the very skies that he alone, when others declined it, had slighted the authority of the Regent and performed so noble an exploit, whereby he had curb’d popular insolency, and had couragiously undertook and as happily manag’d the defence of the whole ecclesiastical order. “If the Church had formerly had (said they) such valiant assertors of its liberties, it would never have been brought to that pass as it as it is at this day, i. e., to truckle under, but it would have given law to all and received it from none.” This luxuriant and superlative joy of the priests for their obtained victory did rather irritate than discourage the minds, not only of the promiscuous vulgar, but even of some great and noble persons also. They fretted that things were come to that pass by their own cowheartedness, so that now some bold thing or other was to be attempted and hazarded, or else they were slaves for ever. Hereupon more company came in to them, whose grief enforc’d them to brake out in complaints against the Cardinal, so that they encouraged one another to rid the Cardinal out of the way and either to recover their liberty or lose their lives. For what hope of thriving, said they, could there be under so arrogant a priest and so cruel a tyrant, who made war against God as well as men, and those not his enemies only , as were all such as had estates or were any way pious, but if he bore but a grudg against a man, he would hale him, as a hog out of a sty, to be sacrific’d to his lusts? And besides, he was a publick encourager and maintainer of war both at home and abroad; and in his private capacity he mixed the love of harlots with lawful marriages. Legitimate weddings he dissolv’d at pleasure. At home he wallowed in lust among his minions, and abroad he ravag’d to destroy the innocent. The Cardinal himself, though he did not distrust his own power, yet knowing how people stood affected towards him and what reports were spread up and down concerning him, thought it his best way to strengthen his power by some new accession or other. Hereupon he went to Angus and married his eldest daughter to the son of the Earl of Crawford. The marriage was solemnized in great state, and (almost) with a royal magnificence. Whilst these things were acting, he received intelligence by his spies that the King of England was making great naval preparations to infest the Scotish coasts, but especially the inhabitants of Fife, whom he threatned most. Whereupon he returned to St. Andrews, and there appointed a day for the Nobility, especially those whose estates lay near the sea, to meet and to consult in common what remedy to apply to the present malady. And to do it more effectually, he determined to take a view of all the sea-coasts together with the owners of the lands, and so in manner to circuit about all Fife and to fortify all convenient places and to put garisons into them.
32. Amongst the rest of the noble mens sons who came in to the Cardinal, Norman Lesly, son of the Earl of Rothes, was one, of whom I have made mention several times before. He had done great and eminent service for the Cardinal, but, on a time, there fell out a dispute between them concerning a private business, which estrang’d them a while one from another. But Norman, upon great promises made to him, quitted his right in the matter contested for. After a few months, coming to demand of the Cardinal the performance of what was promised him, they fell from plain discourse to chiding, and afterwards to downright railing, uttering such reproachful words one to another as were seemly for neither of them. And thus they parted in a great rage one from another, the Cardinal fretting that he was not treated with that deference which was due to his dignity, and Norman full of wrath and rage, as being circumvented by fraud, also that he returned home with thoughts full of revenge and inveighed openly amongst his friends against the intolerable pride of the Cardinal, insomuch that they all agreed to take away his life. An that the matter might pass with the least suspicion, Norman with five only in his company came to St. Andrews and took up his usual inn, that so the design of cutting him off might be concealed by reason of the paucity of his attendants. There were ten more in the town privy to the conspiracy, who all, in several places, expected the watch-word. With this small company did he undertake so great an enterprise, and that in a town which was full of the Cardinal’s train, kindred, and attendants. The days were then very long, as they use to be in those countries towards the end of the spring, viz., about May 7. And the Cardinal was fortifying his Castle for defence in so great hast that the work-men continued at it almost night and day, so that when the porter, early in the morning, opened the gates to let in the workmen, Norman had plac’d two of his men in ambush in a house hard by, who were to seize the porter. And when they had made themselves masters of the gate, they were to give a sign agreed on to the rest. By this means they all entred the Castle without any noise, and sent four of their number to watch the Cardinal’s chamber-door, that no tidings might be carried in to him. Others were appointed to go to the chambers of the rest of the houshold to call them up (for they well knew both the men and the place). Them they rouz’d up, being half asleep, and calling them all by their names, they threatned immediately to kill them if they made but the least outcry, so that they led them all in great silence out of the Castle without during them any hurt at all. When all the rest were put out, then they alone were masters of the Castle, Whereupon those who watched at the Cardinal’s door knocked at it. They within asked them their names. They told them, and then they were let in, having, as some write, past their words that they would hurt no body. And when they were entred they dispatch’d the Cardinal with many wounds.
33. In the mean time, a noise was spread about the whole town that the Castle was taken, insomuch as the Cardinal’s friends, half drunk and half sleeping, started out of their beds and cried out arm. Thus to the Castle they posted, and cald out with minacious [threatening] and opprobrious words for ladders. Other things were also brought, necessary for a storm. They who saw them out of the Castle, that they might blunt the present impetuousness of their minds and call back their mad spirits to consider themselves, crying out to them demanded why they made such a bustle. For the man was dead whom they sought to rescue, and with that word they threw the dead body out in the sight of them all, even out of that very place where before he had rejoicingly beheld the execution of George Wiseheart. Whereupon many did revolve within themselves the inconstancy of human affairs and that unexpected event; many also were affected with the prediction of George Wiseheart concerning his death, which then came into their minds, and many other things also which that holy man had foretold, not without the special inspiration of God’s spirit (as we have cause to believe, and as the event soon after made appear). The Cardinal’s friends and kinsmen, being astonish’d at this unexpected sight, soon sculk’d away. When the matter was divulg’d all over the kingdom, mens minds were variously affected, as they either hated or loved the Cardinal; some thought it a brave, others a nefarious fact. There were many also who, being in a different way of worship from him, were afraid of their lives, and others were offended at his intolerable arrogance. These did not only approve the fact, but came to gratulate the committers of it as the restorers of their ancient liberties, and some of them ventured their lives and fortunes in their quarrel. The Court was grievously affrighted at the news, as having lost part of their Council, but, by the advice of those which were present, they sent forth a proclamation that the murderers should come in within six days to give sureties to answer matters at a day which was to be nominated for that purpose. But they had a strong castle over their heads, and in it all the Cardinal’s mony and housholdstuff; and besides, they had the Regent’s eldest son with them, who was given in hostage to the Cardinal, as is related before, so that they gave no credit to the promises of their enemies, whose levity and perfidiousness they had sufficient experience of before, and therefore they refused to hearken to any conditions of peace, whereupon they were outlawed.
34. Thus the matter was protracted, partly by the threats and vain promises of the one party, and the diffidence of the other, from the month of May till the Nones of November. And then the Regent, by the importunity of the Queen-Mother and the malicious clamors of the priests, took arms and lay three whole months before the Castle battering it with his brass guns. But in the fourth month, almost at the end of winter, he dismiss’d his army without carrying the place, and went to Edinburgh to be present at the Convention of Estates which he had before indicted to be held in February. they who held the Castle, being thus freed from fear of their enemy, did not only make frequent excursions into the neighbouring parts and commit depredations with fire and sword therein, but, as if the liberty gotten by their arms were to be spent in whoredoms, adulteries, and such vices, they ran into all the wickedness which idle persons are subject to. For they measured right and wrong by no other rule but their own lust. Neither could they be reclaimed by John Knox, who then came to them and often warn’d them that God would not be mocked, but would take severe punishments on those who were violators of His Laws, even by those whom they least dream’d of. Yet his exhortations could not stop the course of their flagitiousness. Besides this domestick mischief raging even in the very bowels of the kingdom, there was an accession made by a war with England. For the English had pass’d over the Solway with their forces and made people terribly afraid. They were not contented with the pillage and prey, but they fired some places, took some strong-holds, and put garisons in them. Neither were matters quieter in the other parts of the Borders. Robert Maxwel, upon whom the greatest part of the storm fell, came to Edinburgh to crave aid when almost all was lost. He alleged that the country was desolated, that their garisons were taken and kept by their enemies, that the husbandman was driven away from his habitation and forc’d to live in much want on the charity of his friends, and that they suffered all this because they would not change nor forfeit their fidelity to their King. But if no course were taken for their relief, in some short time their miseries would compel them to give themselves up to the English, and so would their neighbours too, for fear they should undergo the like. Hereupon aid was promised him to recover his own.
35. And the Regent, marching his army thither, formed his camp by the River Meggat. There the Cardinal’s friends earnestly desired of him to call George Lesly, Norman’s father, who was then in the camp, to his answer, and not to carry so potent a man with him as his companion in the war, whose faith was suspected, or rather who was an open enemy. The Earl, though the time and place did not favour it, yet was willing immediately to put himself on the trial. Hereupon the names of the judges or jury were (according to custom, which I have elsewhere mentioned) impanell’d, and none of them were excepted against by the adverse party, yet by all their votes he was acquitted. From thence they marched to the Castle of Langham, from thence they drove out the English. And, as they resolved to attempt other forts, they were call’d back by a sudden message. For news were brought them that a French fleet was seen not far from the promontory of St. Ebb, wherein were one and twenty ships. The Regent, imagining what the matter was, that they were come to besiege the Castle of St. Andrews (as had been agreed between them), march’d joyfully home. There he discoursed Leon Strozy, Admiral of the French fleet, and they both agreed to lay close siege to the Castle, which they did with so much celerity that many of the garison-souldiers which were abroad could not come in, and many country-men, which had no hand in the conspiracie but occasionally came into the Castle about their private affairs could not get out. They planted their brass guns upon the towers of two churches which stood near on both sides the Castle, which did so annoy the whole court within the Castle-walls that the defenders could hardly stir in or out. And afterwards they brought bigger pieces of ordnance and play’d upon part of the wall which stood between the two towers, which were soon batter’d down because the later buildings were not at all compacted with the former, and so it fell down with a mighty noise. Hereupon they within, who before trusted to their fortifications and were ready to expose themselves to stop any breach, now began to be afraid and, calling together a council of war because they fear’d the cruelty of the Regent in revenging the death of his kinsman (fearing the Regent’s cruelty, which is more wont to blaze forth in men of weak character), they surrendered the Castle and themselves to Leon Strozy only upon quarter for life. Leon hereupon sent in his men to pillage the Castle, wherein was found, besides a great quantity of provisions of all sorts, all the Cardinal’s mony and houshold-stuff, and all the wealth of the garison-souldiers, and of many others also who had laid up their goods there as in a place of refuge. There also they found the Regent’s son, who was before given in hostage by his father to the Cardinal, and, when he was slain, was detain’d there. The Castle was demolish’d by advice and order of the Council, and, a few days after, Leon set sail with his prisoners for France.
36. These things fell out in August, 1547. About the same time, news was brought that the English had prepared great forces both by land and sea to invade Scotland, and to demand the performance of the treaty which was made four years before with the Regent concerning the marriage of the Queen of Scotland to the King of England’s son. This sudden report mightily affected the Regent, who was faint-hearted enough of himself, for he had then no foreign aid, neither did he much confide in his own forces. for the Papal faction were offended at his levity, and the friends of exil’d Lennox, having been cruelly intreated [treated] by him, retained the seeds of their old hatred against him. Yet upon his proclamation there came in great numbers to Edinburgh. From thence they march’d to the mouth of the River Esk, which runs through Lothian, and there waited for the coming of the English. In the mean time, the Scotish horse rode up towards the enemy in their march and challenged them to fight, by this means creating some trouble for them in their passage. But the English General, who knew that the Scots were better than his own men at such tumultuary skirmishes, had given command that none of his troops should march out to encounter them. At last, upon the importunity of Grey, commander of the horse, he was persuaded to send out some troops of horse well-armed and of curiasiers, which should suddenly rush in upon them, unprepared for resistance. The Scots, being grown fearless of the enemy, but now astonish’d at the sudden onset, brake their ranks and fled for their lives, and about 800 of them were either slain or taken. Of the English also, who prest too eagerly on the pursuit, several were taken prisoners, amongst whom were some eminent horse-commanders. From that day forward, there was no memorable action performed by the Scotish horse.
37. The English had their camp in the town of Preston, a little more than a mile from them. From thence they might behold the number of the Scotish army from the high ground, and, perceiving them to be more than they thought, they advised what course to take and resolved to send letters to the Scots, that so, if just and equal conditions might be agreed on, the matter might be compos’d rather by treaty than by force. The contents of the letters were, they earnestly desired the Scots to remember that both armies profess’d the Christian religion, to whom (unless they did renounce their profession) nothing ought to be more dear than peace and tranquillity, and nothing more to be abhorr’d than unjust arms and war. That the cause of the present war was not covetousness, hatred, or envy, but a desire of perpetual peace which could no ways so firmly coalesce as by a marriage, which had been already promised by the publick decree and consent of all the Estates and ratified by a league, and that on such conditions as were more advantageous to the Scots than the English, not to reduce them into an estate of servitude, but to a joint society of life, and participation, and communion of all their fortunes. Which marriage would be so much the more beneficial to the Scots than English because the weaker might expect advantage from the stronger, as being possess’d with a greater fear, lest he might be wrong’d by him. And, at the present, in casting up accounts of things, you are first to consider the case that it is very necessary your Queen should marry, that necessity was inevitable, and that it was a difficult thing to moderate it, and that the sole power of chusing her an husband was left to the Estates. If they would chuse a family upon the account of dignity and publick advantage, whom could they pitch upon better than a neighbour King, born in the same island, ally’d in blood, instituted in the same laws, educated in the same manners and language, and superior, not in power alone, but in all external ornaments and accessions of dignity? And besides, this marriage would bring with it a perpetual concord and an oblivion of all old grudges. But if they had thoughts to bring in a stranger amongst them to undertake the kingdom, that differ’d from them in language, laws, and customs, they should consider how many inconveniencies lodg’d in the belly of that design, which they might easily foresee by the examples of other nations, and ’twere better so to do than to learn it by trial and feeling the smart thereof. As for themselves, if they found the spirits of the Scots not wholly averse from an agreement, they were ready to remit something of the rigour of law and right. And that they would be content the young Queen should be educated under Scotish supervisors till she came to be marriageable and fit, by the advice of the Nobles, to chuse an husband for her self. And till that time came, both sides should abstain from war and rapine. And that the Queen should not be transported beyond sea, nor that any treaty should be intertain’d by the Scots concerning her marriage with the French, or any other foreign, prince. If the Scots would faithfully promise this, they would presently depart and withdraw their forces, and as for what damage they had done since they entred Scotland, they would make restitution as indifferent men should award.
38. These letters were brought to the Regent, who communicated them to his brother John, Archbishop of St. Andrews, whom he had assum’d into the place and authority of the Cardinal, and to some few others. They, in hopes of a sure victory, gave him advice to suppress them. For they were afraid that if the equity of the proposals were made known the Scots would be taken off and hearken to terms of peace, and therefore they gave out through the whole army that the English were come on purpose to take away their Queen by force, and to reduce the land to their own subjection. And the Regent, being naturally unactive, had chosen four, no more versed in military affairs than himself, who did turn and wind all things at their pleasure. Those were his three kinsmen and allies John, his brother, Archbishop of St. Andrews and Abbat of Dumfermlin, George, Alexander Beton. And the 4th was Hugh Rigg, a lawyer noted more for his big body, corpulency, and bulky strength, than for any military skill. These men did so puff up the Regent with a vain hope of victory that, being of himself inconstant and variable in his designs at every blast of wind, he shut his ears against the advice of all others. Hereupon, when the Regent’s privadoes had caus’d the report which they themselves had raised to be spred all over the army, they all ran hastily to their arms. Archibald Douglas, Earl of Angus, led the van. George Gordon, Earl of Huntly, brought up the rear. Each of them had 10000 fighting men and the Regent had about the same number in the main battel. In this posture, a report was suddenly rais’d that the English were fled away, and it was not altogether without ground. For they, wanting provision and not being able to fetch it from far nor to forage for it in the neighbour-hood, which was so unfurnish’d afore, thought it the best way to preserve themselves if they left their baggage behind them and march’d long marches backward. But having so many arm’d men ready to ingage, seeing they durst not come down into the campagn nor could deceive the enemy by going about, they waited his coming on the higher ground. On the other side, the Regent was impatient of delay and sent one to Douglas to march on with speed. But he, knowing that the English could not long keep that ground for want of provision, and so waited to fall on the rear, made no great haste till he was stirr’d up by another messenger from the Regent. Then and not before he past over the river. The main battel and the rear followed at a great distance after.
39. The English, who were about to depart, perceiving Douglas to draw towards them upon the speed, sent out Grey, commander of the horse, with his whole body to meet him and stop his carreer till the foot had possess’d themselves of a neighbour-hill; or, if he saw cause, he was to disturb them in their ranks. For, seeing the major part of them were arm’d after the French mode, they thought the Scots would never be able to bear the brunt of their charge. But a brigade of the Scots, marching in close order together, holding forth their stand of long pikes before them as a fence, received the assault. There the van of the English, running in upon and intangling themselves amongst the pikes, the rest thought themselves ambuscado’d, and so returned to their body, telling them that the Scots ranks could no more be broken than if they charg’d against a wall. Hereupon the English horse were about to leave the foot and fly, but by the persuasion of their commanders and their mutual encouraging one another, and withal all hoping for a more advantageous ground to fight in, they were retain’d and renew’d their ranks. The Scots were held from marching forward to the opposite hill chiefly upon this account, because they perceived Jambo, a Spaniard with some troops of his country-men, harquebuisiers, to come down obliquely from the hill as if he would fall upon their flank. And therefore, that no sudden emergency might cause them to divide their brigade, and also that they might not be attack’d on their flanks, they wheeled about leisurely from the right ascent of the hill. The main battel, when they way the van to leave their station, thought that they were running away, so that that they also broke their ranks and betook themselves to their heels. The English, seeing this from the high grounds, send out their horse and trod many of them under foot in the pursuit. During all this march from Esk to the English camp, the English navy plaid upon the flank of the Scots out of their ships and did them much mischief. All the way were strow’d with arms by reason of the great slaughter which was made, and many also were drown’d in the river. The English were most severe against the priests and the monks (for those of that tribe who were lusty and able to bear arms came into the field).
40. And there were many who imputed the loss of the day to them who had arrogantly refused honest conditions of peace, and who, if they had the victory, would have used it as cruelly against their own countrymen as their enemies. In the first charge the English lost about 200 horse, but of the Scots there fell the prime of all the noblest families with their relations and tenants, who counted it a flagitious thing to desert them. Many were taken in the pursuit. The High-landers gathered themselves together in a round body, kept their ranks, and returned safe home. For at first they march’d through craggy places and inconvenient for horse, and if they were sometimes necessitated to descend into the plains, yet the English horse, who followed the pursuit scatter’dly, durst not attack them. This battel, amongst a few others, was very calamitous to the Scots. It was fought the 10th of September, in the year 1547. The English, having got the victory, which was so much the more joyful because it was unexpected, march’d five miles further with all their forces, and there they staid eight days, sending out parties every day six miles round who burnt and destroy’d all within that compass. They attempted nothing more considerable besides, saving the fortifying the desolate islands of Inch-Keith and Inch-Colm in the Bay of Forth. And in the Bay of Tay they took the Castle Brockty, and in their return by land they took by surrender the Castles of Fascastle and Hume, which the garisons out of fear gave up. And they raised forts, one at Lauder and another in the ruins of Roxborough Castle.
41. Their sudden departure gave some relief to the Scots, and a breathing-time for them to meet together to consult about the main chance. The Regent presently after the fight came with that part of the Nobles which were with him to the two Queens at Sterlin, and to the Nobility attending there. The Regent and his brother were very sad and dejected for the calamity which happen’d by their default, and the Queen Dowager gave forth many outward signs of grief in her speech and countenance, but they which knew her heart did judg that she was not much troubled to see the arrogance of the Hamiltons so curbed. But to be joyous in a publick calamity, they who use to cover the faults of princes under honest disguises are wont to call greatness of mind. Besides, the Dowager, ever since the death of the Cardinal, had used all ways and means to throw the Regent out of his office and to invest the supream authority in her self, but she knew she could never effect it as long as they were uppermost and had all fortified places in their hands. In her discourse she heighten’d the fear she had from the English, and complained of the weakness of their own domestick forces, and propounded the dangers imminent from the civil dissensions amongst them. She communicated her design to those who she knew were ill affected towards the Hamiltons. When the Nobles were in consultation about the grand affairs of the kingdom, a decree was made that the Queen should retire to Dumbarton whilst the Nobility did debate concerning the estate of the kingdom. John Erskin was made Governour of it, an unquestionable favourer of the Queens’s faction, and William Levingston, a friend to the Hamiltons, was join’d in commission with him. Embassadors were also sent into France to demand aid of their King Henry against their common enemy, according to the league made with him. Hopes was also given them that the Queen would come over into France and marry the Dolphin, but the French were intent upon their own affairs and therefore their auxiliaries were slower than the present danger required. In the mean time, the English entred Scotland on both sides of the Borders.
42. The Earl of Lennox, as if he had been sent for by his friends, came to Dumfries, for his father-in-law Angus and his old friend Glencarne had promised him two thousand horse and foot of the neighbouring parts to assist him if he would leave the English and come over to them. But when he came at the place appointed there were hardly three hundred come together, and those too of such who used to live on robberies. These and some other things of the like nature, being very suspicious, and specially the wavering mind of John Maxwel, who had already given hostages to the English, made Lennox believe that he was betrayed, and therefore he resolved to circumvent his enemies with the like fraud. He retained with him Glencarn, John Maxwel, and other chief men of the Scots who had treated with him concerning his transition and return into his own country, and in the middle of the night march’d towards Drumlanerick with six hundred horse, part of the English and part of the Scots who had yielded to them. When they came to the appointed place, he sent out five hundred to commit what spoil they could in the neighbouring parts, that so he might draw out James Douglas, owner of the Castle, into his ambush. He, imagining such a thing, kept within his hold till ’twas day and then, being out of fear of treachery, he marched out with his men and passed over the River Nith, and press’d straglingly upon the plunderers, charging their rear as they were retreating. They, having got a convenient time and place to rally, turn’d back upon him with great violence and struck such a terror into them in the straits of a ford that they disordered their ranks, killed some, and took many considerable prisoners. This light expedition struck such a terror into the greatest part of Galway that they strove which of them should yield first to the English, partly to gratify Lennox, and partly fearing lest, being forsaken by their neighbours, they should lie open to all affronts. The Scotish Regent, fearing lest in such a general hurly-burly if he did attempt nothing he should altogether dispirit his men, who were discourag’d enough before, besieg’d the Castle of Brickty, and having laid before it almost three months without performing any thing considerable, he drew off his men, leaving only an hundred horse under the command of James Halyburton, an active young man, to infest the neighbouring places and to hinder any provisions from being carried in by land to Brockty, or to the garison which the English had plac’d on an hill adjoining.
43. These matters pass’d at the end of that year. In the beginning of the next, which was 1548, the English fortified Hadington, a town in Lothian upon the Tine, and burned the villages and plundered the country about, which was the richest part of Scotland, and they form’d another garison at Lauder. Lennox, about the end of February, having pass’d over the west-Border, hardly escap’d an ambush laid for him part of those who had yielded themselves. But, returning to Carlisle, he revenged himself by punishing some of the hostages, especially John Maxwel, the chief author of the revolt according to the contents of some letters he had receiv’d from the King of England. During these transactions, Henry of France, who succeeded his father Francis, sent forces to the sea to be transported into Scotland, about six thousand men, of which three thousand were German foot commanded by the Rhine-Grave, about two thousand French, and one thousand of divers nations, all horse. They were all commanded to obey Mounsieur Dessy, a French man who had been a commander in France some years, and had done good service there. They landed at Leith, and were ordered to quarter at Edinburgh till they had recovered their sea-sickness. The Regent and the forces with him marched to Hadington, where they beset all passages and laid a close siege to the place. He sent out a proclamation into all parts, in pursuance whereof in a short time there came to him about eight thousand Scots. There the Nobility assembled, and the consultation was renewed concerning the Queen’s going into France and marrying the Daulphin. A Council was called in a monastery of monks without Hadington, in the very camp.
44. In that Convention there were various disputes. Some said that if they sent away the Queen they must expect perpetual war from England, and bondage from the French. Others were of opinion that, by reason of agreement in religion and the condition of the present times, it was best to embrace the terms offered by the English, which were a ten years peace with no bad covenants or obligations on the Scots. For the whole of the league was that, if the King of England or Queen of Scotland died within ten years, all things should be, on both sides, as they were before; and though no fortuitous event should happen between, yet the kingdom might be hereby freed from its present pressures, which had almost broke its strength; and the souldiery, which were almost all lost in the late battel, might have time to grow up and increase in a long continued peace, and that, intestine discord being laid asleep, they might more maturely consider of the grand affairs than they could do amongst drums and trumpets; and in such consultations delays were oftentimes of great advantage, and rash festination [haste] was attended with speedy repentance. Thus they. But the Papists favoured the French, and some others too, whom French bounty had either forestalled or else had rais’d up to great hopes of advantage. Amongst whom was the Regent. He had an yearly revenue of 1200 French pistols promised him, and the command of an 100 curiassiers, so that the most voices carried it for the Queen’s going into France. The fleet which was to convey her rode at Leith, and, making as if they would go away, they sailed about all Scotland and came to Dunbarton, where the Queen went on ship-board (having staid some months for its arrival) in the company of James her brother, John Erskin, and William Levingston. She was tossed with much foul weather and contrary winds, but at last landed in Bretaign, a peninsule in France, and by easy journies went to Court.
45. In Scotland, whilst the war stopp’d at Hadington, yet the common people in several places were not wanting to the present occasion. For, the garisons of Hume and Fascastle doing great hurt to the neighbourhood, the Scots, observing that Hume was negligently guarded by night, got up to the top of a rock where the confidence of the unaccessibleness of the place made those within less watchful, and so they killed the sentinels and took the Castle. And not long after, when the Governor of Fascastle had commanded the country thereabouts to bring in a great quantity of provisions into the Castle at a certain day, the country upon this occasion came numerously in and, unlading their horses, they took up the provision on their backs to carry them over a bridg made betwixt two rocks, into the Castle. Assoon as ever they were entred they threw down their burden and, upon a sign given, slew the guards and, before the rest of the English could come in, they seized on their arms and placed themselves in the avenues, and thus, setting the gates open for their whole party to enter, they made themselves master of the Castle. In the mean time, the naval force of the English was not idle, for, the whole stress of the land-war lying upon Hadington, their commanders thought that the neighbouring parts were weakened and spoiled of all defence, so that they resolved to land in Fife. And accordingly they pass’d by some sea-towns which were well inhabited, and came to St. Minnans Kirk, a place peopled well enough, that from thence they might march by land to greater towns but less fortified, where the pillage might be more worth their labour. James Stuart, the Queen[’s brother, receiving the alarum, with the people of Saint Andrews and a few of the country-men which were left at home made towards them, and in his way many of the neighbourhood struck in with him. The English were already landed, and about 1200 of them stood ready in their arms for the encounter. The great guns which they had landed struck such a fear into the country-men that they quickly fled, but James, after he had a little stopp’d their fear, charged the enemy so briskly that, though he had but a raw and tumultuous band along with him, he soon routed them and drove them toward the sea, killing many upon the place and many in the pursuit. Not a few of them were drowned in hastening to their ships. One boat with all its passengers was sunk whilst they endeavoured, some in throngs, to get on board. ’Tis reported that there were 600 slain in the fight and 100 taken prisoners.
46. Whereupon the fleet presently sailed to Mern, a country less inhabited. Their design was to surprise Monross, a town not far from the mouth of the River Dee. They resolved to land in the night, and therefore they staid at anchor out of sight of land as long as there was any light in the sky. But as they were making to shoar in the dark, they discovered themselves by their own imprudency, by hanging out lights in every boat. John Erskin of Downe, Governour of the town, commanded his men to arm without making any noise, and he divided them into three bodies. He placed some behind an earthen bank which was rais’d on the shoar to hinder their landing. He with some archers lightly arm’d made directly towards the enemy, and a third band of servants and promiscuous vulgar he plac’d behind a neighbour hill, adding a few souldiers to them to govern the rabble. Matters being thus order’d, he with his archers fell upon the enemy in their descent and maintain’d a sharp dispute with them till in a tumultuary kind of fight he had drawn them on to the banks. There he join’d his other party, who stood ready at their arms, and they all fell on the enemy. Yet they had not given ground unless the last body had shewn themselves with colours flying from the next hill. Then they made such haste to their ships that of about 800 which came on shoar hardly the third part escaped to their ships. In the mean time, great salleys were made about Hadington, not with loss on either side, but most of the English. Whereupon they, being in some want of provisions and fearing a greater, and perceiving also that the relief prepared came slowly on and that they were so weakned as to be hardly able to admit of the delay, in the interim two brave souldiers, Robert Bovy and Thomas Palmer, were commanded to march thither from Berwick with 1000 foot and 300 horse and to make all the speed they could. These all fell into an ambush laid for them, and scarce a man of them escaped alive. The English resolved to send more aid, but the French, discovering their design, beset the narrow passages by which they were to march. But Dessius, being deceived by one of the enemies scouts which he had taken, who told him that the English were far off and were marching another way to relieve the besieged, left the straits he had possess’d and went to another place. In the interim, the English marched thorow to their intended post without any hindrance. They brought with them 300 fresh men, powder and bullet, and such other provision as the garison stood in most need of.
47. Whilst these things were acted at Hadington, which did not all make to the main of the war, news was brought that the English had levied a compleat army to raise the siege. Whereupon Dessius, knowing that he was not able to encounter the forces which were a-coming, removed his leaguer [camp] further off from the town and sent back his great guns, all but six small field-pieces, to Edinburgh. Upon the coming of the English army, the siege was raised, because the Scots commanders would not hazard the state of the kingdom upon a single battel, so that the Scots marched every one the next way home. The French also, though much press’d upon by the English, yet got well off. The French souldiers in their return slew the Governour of Edinburgh and his son together with some of the citizens who joined with them, because they refused to admit them into the town with all their forces, in regard they knew they could scarce keep them from plundering. Dessius, in the interim, lest the sedition should increase, drew off, and withal supposing that the enemy would be more secure at Hadington because of their good success, resolved to make an attempt to surprize it on a sudden. Thither he marched all that night, and by break of day slew the sentinels and came up to the walls. They took the fort before the gate, kill’d the watch, some endeavoured to break open the gate. They also seized upon the granaries of the English. In this hurry, the noise of those who were breaking open the gates and the huzza’s of the French crying out victory, victory rous’d up the English from their sleep which they had newly fallen into. In this great hurly-burly, a souldier set fire to a brass gun placed casually against the gate, that he might in a present danger make trial of a doubtful remedy. The bullet broke through the gate and made a lane in the thick ranks of the French, so that, what between the exclamations of the souldiers crying out victory and the noise of the gates which were broken, such a confused clamor was carried to the rear that they were surprized with fear, not knowing the cause, and so fled, which occasioned the rest to follow after.
48. The French, being thus repuls’d with loss, march’d into Teviotdale, which the English had done great damage to. There, under the conduct of Dessius, they drove the enemy from Jedburgh and made many inrodes into English ground, not without considerable advantage. At length, when they had wasted all the country, besides their daily duty, they were also in great want, and the commonalty pitied them the less because of their prank at Edinburgh, for they looked upon that seditious attempt as a step to tyranny. And from that time forward the French did nothing worth speaking of. The King of France was made acquainted by letter from the Regent and Queen Dowager how Dessius spent much time on light expeditions and unprofitable ones, and that he was more injurious to his friends than enemies, and that the French souldiers were grown so insolent since the tumult at Edinburgh that, by reason of the intestine discord, all was like to be ruined. Whereupon Dessius was called back and Monsieur Paul Termes, a good souldier and prudent commander, was sent with new supplies from Scotland. Dessius thought it would be for his honour to recover the island Keith, which was taken a few days before, and was begun to be fortified, so that he got together a fleet at Leith and went aboard with a select company of Scots and French. The Queen Mother was a spectator of the action, and egging them on, sometimes particularly, sometimes all in general, after he had landed in the island he drove the English into the highest angle thereof, kill’d almost all their commanders, and compell’d them to a surrender, but not without blood. This was his last noble piece of service in Britain, and then he surrendred up his army to Termes. Termes drew forth the army out of their winter-quarters and commanded them to march towards the northern shires. He himself, Dessius being dismiss’d, followed soon after and laid siege to the fort of Brockty, and in a short time took it, and also the Castle adjoining, from the English, putting almost all of both garisons to the sword.
49. When he was returned into Lothian his great care was to hinder provisions from being carried to Hadington, when lo, upon a suddain a great army of English and Germans shewed themselves ready for the encounter. Whereupon he drew his men backward till he came to a place of greater safety. In the interim, the Scots cavalry, which skirted upon the enemy on every side, perceiving the German baggage to be unguarded, plunder’d them in a moment. In the mean time, provisions were carried into Hadington without any opposition. During these matters, Julian Romerus with a troop of Spaniards was taken securely in his quarters, as if all had been at peace, and almost all his whole party was destroyed. Termes, when the English forces were march’d home, resolv’d to return to the taking in of Hadington. They were stout men that defended the town, but in regard the country was wasted all thereabouts, and provision could not be brought from far but with great hazard and sometimes certain loss, and besides, the English were troubled with great seditions at home, and were further press’d upon by a war with France, hereupon the garison of Hadington, having no hope of relief, burnt the town and on the 1st of October, 1549, march’d away for England. And moreover, the garison at Lauder was almost ready to surrender, as being in great distress for want of necessaries, when lo, news was brought on a sudden of an agreement made between the English and the French, which was published in Scotland April the first, 1550. And the May following all the French souldiers were transported back into France.
50. That peace, as to a foreign war, lasted about three years, but it was as troublesom and pernicious as the hottest war. For they who sat at the helm, the Regent and his brother the Archbishop of St. Andrews, were both extreamly cruel and avaritious, and the Archbishop very licentious in his conversation also, for, as if the reins lay wholly loose on his neck, his own will was his law. The first presage of the ensuing tyranny was the suffering the murder of William Creighton, an eminent person, to go unrevenged. He was slain by Robert Semple in the Regent’s own Palace, and almost in his sight, and yet the murderer was exempted from punishment by the intercession of the Archbishop’s concubine, who was daughter to Semple. This Archbishop, as long as the King liv’d, was one of his confidents, and pretended a great zeal for the Reformed religion. But when the King was dead he ran headlong into all flagitious courses and, amongst the rest of his mistresses, he took away this young Madam Semple from her husband, who was his country-man and ally, and kept her almost in the place of a lawful wife, though she were not handsom, nor of good report neither, but only noted for wantonness. After this followed the death of John Melvil, a noble-man of Fife, who was a great intimate of the last King’s. Some letters of his were intercepted, written to a certain Englishman in the behalf of his friend, a prisoner there, and though there could be no suspicion of treason in the case, yet the author of them had his head cut off. And that which made the matter more foul was that his estate was given to David, the Regent’s youngest son. The loss arising by these wicked practices reach’d but a few, but the envy of them extended to many, and the bad example almost to all. This unskilfulness of the Regent’s managing the government, together with the sluggishness of all his former life, did mightily offend the Commons, so that he every day more cheap than other, especially after the suffering of George Wiseheart, for most did impute the following calamities to the death of the religious man, especially they who knew the purity of doctrine which George held forth and admired the unblamableness of his life, and, moreover, who look’d upon him as divinely inspired because of the many and true predictions which he had made.
51. Hereupon the authority of the Regent grew every day less than other, and soon after these followed another, and that a more spreading, mischief, which drew a general complaint, not at all to be hid, against him. There were juridical conventions appointed to be held throughout the whole kingdom. The pretence was to suppress robberies, but the event shewed that ’twas nothing else but to cover oppression under a plausible name. For mony was extorted from all, good and bad, as much from honest men as thieves, and both were punish’d, not according to greatness of crime, but of estate. Neither could he keep off his cruelty and avarice from the Reformed, though he himself had formerly profess’d to be one of the party, and now he had not the Cardinal as a blind [cover] for his crimes; yea, the money thus basely got in the name of the Regent was as profusely and unadvisedly spent by the lust of his brother.
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