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LL the time which immediately followed the death of the last Regent, although it were free from blood-shed, yet was embroyled with the various attempts of the factions. Before the murder the Hamiltons in great numbers had met at Edinburgh, under the pretence of prevailing with the Regent to release James Hamilton, the head of their kin or tribe, who was yet kept prisoner in the Castle. But after the murder was perpetrated they sent some from amongst them to the rest of the Hamiltons, who were to dissuade the other clans (for so they would have made people believe) from joining with or protecting the publick parricides. But, as very many suspected, it was to bid them be prepared and ready for all occasions. for the next night after the murder, Walter Scot and Thomas Carr of Farnihest, entring into England, did ravage over all places with fire and sword, and that with somewhat more cruelty than was used in former times. Neither was it so much the desire of prey or revenge which mov’d them to this unusual crueltie as that it was long before resolved by the Bishop of Saint Andrews and the rest of the heads of the faction to incense the English against the Scots. And, if they could provoke them no other way to take up arms, then by injuries to draw them, tho unwillingly, into a war.
2. The Governour of the Castle, although convinced [convicted] by many evidences, so that alls mens eyes and discourse were upon him by way of reflection, as yet continued in his former counterfeited loyalty to the King. ’Twas upon his account that William Maitland was delivered out of prison. For when he had in many words pleaded his innocency before the Council, the Nobles then present attesting that it did not with any certainty appear to them that he was guilty of those crime which were laid to his charge (for he was accused to have been privy to the King’s and Regent’s murders, and also to be the author of the civil war that was lately raised in England), he was at last dismissed, yet so that the matter seem’d to be deferred till another time rather than absolutely to be decided at that. He also, protesting his innocency upon oath, did promise to appear whensoever the King’s kindred would set a day for his trial. Afterwards when, upon consulting about the state of the kingdom they had almost agreed that those whom the Queen before she abjured her government had nominated Tutors to the King, he that would take it, provided he had not afterwards revolted to the adverse faction, should have the chief administration of affairs, Maitland, now contriving the disturbance of matters, brought it so about that it should be again signified to the absent Lords that they might, if they pleased, be present in the Parliament of the Regent, to be assembled at a set day, lest they might afterwards complain that so great an affair was hastily rash’d up in their absence. Athol with a few others consented, neither did the rest refuse it, more that they would take away all occasion of detraction and calumny from their adversaries than that they had any hopes that this delay of the Parliament would bring any profit to the publick.
3. After these things Thomas Randolph, the English embassador, had audience. For that Queen, the Regent being yet alive, had sent her embassadors to demand those English exiles who, after Howard’s conspiracy was detected and he punished, for fear of punishment had escaped thither. The Regent, giving these embassadors audience at Sterlin, put them off till his arrival at Edinburgh, and after his death, things being in confusion, they departed without an answer. But when they conven’d about choosing a Regent, Randolph (who for some years had been in Scotland), for that he was thought to be well read in the affairs and in the men of that nation, and that his former embassies had been also advantagious to both nations, was in dear esteem of all that were good like himself. He, being introduc’d into the Council, having declared how great his Queen’s good-will had always been towards the Scots, that as she had not formerly been wanting to them in their disturbances, so she would not fail them now. Then he rehearsed their incursions into England, the slaughters, rapines, burnings of late days committed, adding that she knew well enough that none of these things were acted by the publick Council. Therefore that at present her kindness and friendship towards them was the same it ever was, so that, although she had been grievously and without any cause provoked, yet she did not, as she might justly do, repeat matters nor publickly require reparation, nor for the fault of a few seek punishment of all. That indeed she was not ignorant what a great disturbance of affairs was risen of late. Yet she was not doubtful of the good-will of honest men towards her. That in favour of them she did not only free the publick from any guilt, but if by reason of domestick troubles they could not compel the disturbers of the peace to resettle matters, that she would join her forces with theirs, that so by common consent they might exact punishment of those violators of leagues and truces. But if they were not able to that, that then she would revenge their injuries with her own souldiers. That her army should pass peaceably through the country without the least damage to it. That none that had not been guilty of the crimes should be concerned in the punishment.
4. The remaining heads of his embassy contained admonitions ever profitable in all legal assemblies, but now, as the present posture of affairs was, very necessary, viz., that they should first of all, with all care and vigilance, have regard to religion, which alone teaches us our duty both towards God and towards Man. That, seeing no common-wealth at discord with itself can long subsist, they should bend their cheifest endeavours and strive with utmost force that at home among fellow-subjects and countrymen peace and concord might be religiously observed. And, seeing God, the Framer of the universe, had indulged them with a kingly government, it was just for them to honour and obey their Kings and to yield all observance and obedience to them. That peace, concord, and friendship with all men, as much as possible, are most acceptable to God, and quench, or at least lessen, the thirst of shedding human blood (which wickedness God especially detests). That they increase the riches of all in general, and render a people more formidable to their enemies. That justice is the preserver of the publick safety, of which the chief part not to be made use of is the punishment of offenders, seeing that treason is most hateful to every lawful government. Its abettors, to what part of the earth soever they retreated, should have neither mercy, favour, nor indulgence shewed them. Thus far Randolph, whose advice seemed both pious, wholsom, and reasonable. But because none was yet chosen Regent, he could not have any certain answer, and therefore was put off till the first of May.
5. Last of all, William and Robert Douglas, brothers by the mother’s side to the late murdered Regent, petition’d that the villainous death of their brother, suffer’d upon no private, but the common-wealth’s, account, should be revenged. Herein the opinions were various, although all agreed that the murderers were to be punished. Some thought fit that a day should be set for those suspected of the murder to appear (and many of their names were given in). Others were of opinion that court-days were not to be waited for against those who were now in arms, to maintain by force that fact which they had wickedly committed. And that it was fit not only to take up arms forthwith against them, but likewise against all those who were sentenced by the last Parliament. To this opinion the knights of shires were most inclined, yet they could not obtain their purpose, by the dissuasion chiefly of Athol, who said they ought to expect a more numerous Assembly of Nobles, and of Morton, who thought, should they join more crimes together, the revenge of the Regent’s death would miscarry and a civil war break out, because all those who dreaded the peace would join with the murderers. Therefore that their crimes should be separated and affairs, if possible, acted by law, and nothing innovated before the first of May (which was the day appointed for their meeting). And so that session was dissolved, most part of the people condemning this delay of the Nobility, because (said they) all things are acted as the King’s enemies please, who had occasion’d these delays purposely that in length of time the odium of the murder might diminish and the opposite faction that while gain strength.
6. This opinion of the peoples was confirmed not only by some preceding accidents, but also by very many which followed. For presently, when the Regent’s murder was yet hardly divulged, James Hamilton, upon a mortgage of his lands, procures mony of John Sumerval of Camnethen, which together with another sum borrowed of his friends he sends to his complices to hire souldiers with, having warned them before to be ready for all essays, because of the sudden alteration which had happen’d upon their having rid themselves of their capital enemy. And after that, the Queen’s party ceased not to have meetings at many and distant places. About the 15th of February almost all the chiefs of the rebellious faction met together at Glasgow, whence Argyle and Boyd wrote to Morton that they, because as yet they knew not who were the actors in, or privy to, the Regent’s murder, would willingly communicate their counsel with the rest of the Nobility, as well for the discovery of the punishment of that murder, but that they would not come to Edinburgh. But if the King’s part would be persuaded to meet them at Linlithgo, at Falkirk, or at Sterlin, they would without delay come thither. This business being communicated to Maitland by Morton (for so the letter requested), came to nothing. About the same time Thomas Car wrote to his father-in-law, the Governour of the Castle, from Linlithgo that if the Queen of England would be prevailed withal to lay by her resentment of the late incursions, he would endeavour that for the future the Borders should be quieted and kept in due order, but that if she should refuse these offers, he would continue in the design he had begun, not doubting but that his honest country-men who yet retained their fealty to their Queen would join with him, and that the French auxiliaries would speedily come also.
7. About the third of March, the Hamiltons with Argyle and Boyd met at Linlithgo, but the killing of one common souldier, begetting a tumult, disturbed all their counsels, which made the Archbishop of St. Andrews carry home the Hamiltons with him. The rest of the rebels, chiefly Huntly, Athol, Crawford, Ogilby, also of those on this side Forth Hume, Seton, and Maitland, met at Edinburgh, in which city Morton was, accompanied but with few till the Earls of Glencarn and Marr with their followers came to him. About the fourth of March, the heads of the factions met to consult about the main, but this consultation went but slowly on by reason of Argyle’s absence, whose power and authority was then very great. Huntly goes to him, undertaking to persuade him to join with the rest of that faction, but returns without success by the treachery of Maitland (as most men thought), who desired to drill on [draw out] affairs, that amidst the confusions of the kingdom he might have the fitter opportunity for innovations. Argyle also in all his undertakings had another impediment which hindred that his power was not so great as it was found to be formerly, which was that, though he himself was a most eager favourer of the Queen’s cause, yet his friends and clients, no, nor his very brother, could not be prevailed with to follow him against the King. The night following, a sudden terror, without any apparent cause, did so seize upon all the factions that they watch’d in their armour till it was day-light, and in the morning they as fearfully departed from Edinburgh. All the time of this convention the chief thing controverted was by what authority the Scots might at that time choose a Regent. Some, according to the Queen’s letters-patents, by which she had designed eight of the Nobility that out of them one or more, as should be thought fit, might be nominated as Tutors to her son, would have one of that number placed at the helm. Others were of opinion that those letters were now useless, since that a Regent was already chosen according to their appointment, and that all thoughts of them should be laid aside as being not made to be always in force, but for that one juncture of time only.
8. Some there were who would have the whole affair deferred until the general Convention of the Nobility, but these were mostly of Maitland’s faction, which expected that a great distraction in affairs would follow, which, in a great multitude without a Governour, is easily rais’d but not so easily laid. The third opinion condemned both the others. The first, for that now there ought to be less account to be made of the Queen’s letters-patent, since (if the matter of law were considered) the were from their beginning of little or no force, the other for that a prorogation would both draw much danger along with it and also a greater delay than the present condition of affairs could well permit. And therefore they would have all those to meet who at first had advised the King to enter upon the government and had constantly adhered to him ever since. These, according to the sense of this party, were to take the best care they could for the publick-weal, and speedily appoint such a Regent who was both able and willing to provide for the safety of King and kingdom both. But this opinion was rejected also, and so, before any thing was concluded upon, the convention was broke up. So many meetings having been tried in vain, the rebels again return to the old seminary of the English war, thereby to draw the populace to their faction, and send out the same captains of the freebooters which were sent before, who left nothing of cruelty uncommitted, even to the utmost extremity. And in the mean time, the heads of their faction bespatter the Queen of England with all manner of reproaches. And also they maliciously accuse the Scottish Nobles as pensioners to the English, commonly giving out, in a way of threatning, that if their adversaries did call in the English to their aid they would have recourse to the French and Spanish succours.
9. About this time, Mr. Le Verac, one of the King of France’s Bed-Chamber-Men, came from France to Dumbritton, who with his large promises somewhat raised up their courage. Hereupon the Hamiltons appointed a meeting of their people to be held the 9th of April at Linlithgo, where, when the Queen’s faction was gathered together in great numbers, they began openly to treat of that which they had long before meditated in their private cabals, that if a war against England could be made, thereby private injuries and actions, either about the King’s or Regent’s murder, in that universal disturbance of affairs would either grow out of remembrance or at least the resentment of them much abate. These things having been transacted at Linlithgo by the associates of the conspiracy only, who having not yet plainly unmasked their intentions, that they might have more shew of authority, they determine to meet at Edinburgh on the 11th of April, and thereby, besides the other conveniencies which the place would afford them, draw the citizens, of whom they always made great account either way, to their party. This seemed no hard matter, since they had already gained William Kircady, the Governour both of the city and Castle, to their side. But because they understood that watch and ward was kept there, and that the common people were more inclined to their adversaries, they thought fit to send to the citizens first to know whether no it was their pleasure that they should meet there. The citizens answer was that they would exclude no person that was desirous of the publick peace and obedient to the King, but that they would admit neither the English exiles nor the Hamiltons into their city lest they should either highly displease the Queen of England, in whose kingdom they had great traffick, or seem to join in counsel with those that were guilty of that horrid murder; nor likewise would they endure the proposal of any new edicts which might tend to the lessening of the regal authority, or that their souldiery should be forc’d (as the custom was) to run to their arms by sound of drum. Upon these conditions, how hard soever they seemed, they notwithstanding came into the city in hopes, by degrees, to gain upon the unwary multitude, and by soothing them up with fair speeches at last to bring them all to their beck. But, for all this, they could not prevail with the citizens to deliver up their keys to them or to cease their usual watch, though Kircady, Governour of the Castle and city, join’d his utmost endeavours with them that they should do so.
10. All that time they visited Maitland, who (if he did not dissemble deeply) was troubled with the gout, every day, and in such numbers that his house was commonly named a school and he a schoolmaster. Athol, the whilst, incessantly passing from one place to another that he might draw those of the contrary faction to this meeting at Edinburgh. But they all with one accord refused to come before May 1 (which was the day generally agreed on by all) unless they were satisfied of the necessity of coming before. If any thing of moment had happen’d which would admit of no delay, they would have them acquaint the Earl of Morton with it, who was at his house but four miles off, and he would tell the rest of it. Athol at last appoints a day on which some of either faction should meet at Morton-Hall, which is in Dalkeith, but this place did not please the Queen’s faction, not that they dreaded any treachery, but out of a conceit that it would be an undervaluing to their authority if they should come to Morton rather than he come to them. Therefore after many attempts, and that nothing proceeded to their satisfaction, they were forc’d to break up the meeting. For, seeing that, being desirous to rid the city of their adversaries, they could not prevail with the citizens to join with them, in order to it they resolved to call in a greater number of their friends dwelling nearest, that in spite of the inhabitants they might get all things into their own power. The Governour of the Castle facilitated this very much, who set at liberty those persons whom he had in custody (and they were well nigh all the heads of the Queen’s faction). But a sudden rumour that the English army was come to Berwick startled all their resolutions. Alexander Hume and John Maxwel, lately let out of prison without any publick authority, betook themselves to their own homes to look to their own concerns. And Hume had part of the mony (gathered for raising of souldiers) given him to fortify his own Castle Hume.
11. Thomas Carr and Walter Scot, who, by the instigation chiefly of the Archbishop of St. Andrews, had made incursions into England, foreseeing that from this beginning a war would be kindled between the two kingdoms, being deserted by their neighbours and doubtful of their own strength, send to the heads of their faction of aid, or, if that could not be done, that at least they would come as far as Lauder (a neighbouring town) and from thence make a shew of war. Therefore, when they could neither obtain their request in this, nor yet the least portion of their common stock for the publick advantage, and being highly incensed to be thus betrayed and forsaken by those very men that had put them upon the war, every one of them betakes himself to take care for his own safety, their hopes for the time to come being all blasted, so that, so many accidents unexpectedly falling out at one and the same time quite and clean disturbed all their plots and machinations. But the sudden approach of the English army was it which most surprized them, and therefore to see if they could put a stop to it they make use of two embassies into England, the one to Thomas Earl of Sussex to desire a truce till such time as they had laid open the state of their affairs to the Queen of England, the other embassador carried letters to the Queen containing many things as well for their own cause as against the King’s faction, especially by making their brags of greater forces than they had in reality and vilifying those of their adversaries thereby covertly threatning the English with a war. For Maitland had made them believe that that Queen, a woman naturally timorous, would do any thing rather than be brought to a war when both the French and Spaniard were for many reasons at enmity with her and her affairs at home were scarce setled. The rebels desired that by the English Queens arbitrement all the ordinances of the last two years should be called in, although many amongst them had subscribed them, and that all things, being, as it were, acted de novo, a new ordinance should by a general consent be made. And that they might better set for the the potency of their faction, their letters had all the great mens names that were of their party subscribed to it, and also, for the greater ostentation of their multitude, they set to it the names of many as well of the adverse faction, as of those that were neuters, in hopes that the English (by reason of the great distance and their ignorance of things done so far off, and that their letters to the Queen would be exposed to the view but of few persons) would hardly be able to detect their fraud.
12. About that time an accident happened, as they thought, very advantagious to their affairs, as hoping that it would make the English less forward and also terrify the Scotch populacie, viz., the arrival of a certain French-man, however of a mean condition, who, as being Lansack’s menial servant, was for his master’s sake entertained at Court. This man brought a great many letters, all of the same purport, from the French King, not only to the heads of the Queen’s faction, but likewise to many who had not declared themselves for either faction, in which great thanks were given to every one of them for their having hitherto taken the Queen’s part, the King desiring them constantly to persist in so doing. And he would soon send them aid even greater than they had desired of him, as soon as ever he could do it with conveniencie. He also that brought the letters adds, as from himself, that all things were now at quiet in France, Jaspar Colligny and the other rebels being reduced to such terms as to promise to depart from France lest their presence should be a hindrance to the publick peace. And that he doubted not but that the souldiers which were to be sent to assist them would all be raised before his return. The wiser sort, although they knew that these things were mostly nothing but vain reports, yet permitted the common sort to be deluded by them. When therefore the minds of may people became by these means to be erected, their joy was lessened by the unsuccessful return of their embassadors. For Sussex could not by any conditions they could offer him be induced to think it to be for the English interest either to maintain an army to idle their time away in truces, or wholly to desist from the war. And the Queen having after perusal caused their letter to be sent back, which was done that the expectation of an answer from her should cause delay in affairs and there fraud be easily found out. And, for that their letter contained nothing but vain boasting, and that the English were not ignorant of any thing that had been transacted in Scotland, their embassadors, grievously abashed with reproaches, were forced to return.
13. Therefore, being disappointed of that hope and affrightned by the so sudden drawing near of the English army to their very borders, and those who were to have assisted them being gone to defend their own homes, having also no small confidence in the citizens, and knowing that their enemies would come to Edinburgh on the first of May, they therefore departed thence and went to Linlithgo, holding that place to be very commodious for the sending for those of their party from the most distant places of the kingdom, as also for the hindring the journies of the others that were going to the Assembly and for bringing about of those other things which were lately discussed at their consultations. From this place the Hamiltons with their friends and vassals made the whole road leading to Edinburgh very unsafe for passengers. And, knowing that John Erskin, Earl of Marr, was to come that way, they placed themselves on the neighbouring hills to hinder his journy. But he, knowing how the way was beset, passed the river about two miles above, and so April 29 in the evening he came safe to Edinbburgh. After that day, the King’s party abode at Edinburgh and the Queen’s at Linlithgo, mutually charging and criminating one another as the causes and rise of these civil combustions. But those at Edinburgh informed their contrariants that they were willing to come to an easy agreement upon other heads, as that if they had done any man wrong they would give him just satisfaction as indifferent arbitrators should award, provided always that the King’s authority might be secured and that both parties might join to revenge the murder of the last King and of the Regent. To this proposal they at Linlithgo gave no satisfactory answer, but instead thereof made an edict that all subjects should obey the Queen’s Commissioners, and the three Earls of Arran, Argyle, and Huntly indicted an assembly to be held at Linlithgo August 3. Whereupon the other party sent Robert Petcarn their embassador to the Queen of England to treat with her about suppressing the common enemy, and, to shew how well-affected the Scots stood towards her, he was to inform her that they would chuse such a Regent as she should please to recommend or approve.
14. Thus, whilst each party was crossing one another’s design, the English enter Teviotdale and spoil the towns and villages belonging to the families of the Cars and of the Scots (who had violated the peace by making excursions into England and giving harbour to such English fugitives as fled to them for shelter), wasting and burning their country. The Earl of Sussex, their General, besieged Hume-Castle, where the owner of it had laid up much provision, and all the neighbourhood had brought in their best goods to that fort as into a place of safety. It was valiantly defended by the garison within, and the English, the next day after, were about to raise the siege, when lo! letters were brought to the garison-souldiers written a while before by Alexander, owner of the Castle, which disturbed all their measures. For therein he commanded them to obey the orders of William Drury, an English knight, and to do what he commanded them without any dispute. Drury acquainted Sussex herewith, whereupon the Castle was surrendred and plundered, and Sussex, placing a garison of English therein, with a great booty returned to Berwick. Thus Hume, who was so far from being afraid of the English that rather he thought them his very friends, as knowing that Drury and Sussex both did secretly favour Howard’s affairs, did almost undo himself by his own credulity, for, at last, being forsaken of all his friends and kindred, who were mostly royalists, he came with one or two in his company to Edinburgh and shut up himself as a recluse in the Castle there. On the other side of the Borders, Scroop, an English commander, entred Annandale and ransack’d the lands of one Johnston (who also had made incursions into England), but Johnston himself with a few of his companions, being well acquainted with the passes of the country, made a shift to escape from the horse that pursued him. John Maxwel, how had gathered together 3000 men out of the neighbourhood, yet durst not adventure to come in to his aid, but only stood upon his own guard. A while after, the English that were at Berwick, having received hostages and thinking that matters would have carried with fidelity towards them, sent in 300 horse and a 1000 foot under the command of Drury against the common enemy.
15. Upon the bruit of their march, the Hamiltonians went to Glasgow, resolving to demolish the castle of the Arch-Bishop there that it might not be a receptacle to the Earl of Lennox, then returning out of England, and so that country be made a seat of war. They knew that it was kept but by a few raw souldiers, that the Governor was absent, and that it was unprovided of necessaries, so that they thought to surprize it by their sudden approach. For they flew into the town in such haste that they shut out a good part of the garison-souldiers from entring the Castle. But, being disappointed of their hope, they began to batter and storm violently, and were as valiantly repulsed. For the garison souldiers (which were but 24) did so warmly receive them for several days that they slew more of the assailants than they themselves were, and the rest they beat off sorely wounded. Of their own, they lost but one man, and none of the rest received so much as a wound. But the Hamiltonians, hearing that the English were already at Edinburgh and that John Erskin was come to Sterlin with a design speedily to relieve the Castle, though they had received some additional force even from the remote parts of the kingdom, yet towards evening they raised their seige and in great fear pack’d away. Hamilton and Argyle himself posted into Argyle’s country. Huntly went home over the almost impassable mountains. The rest shifted for themselves and ran several ways to save their lives. But the English, two days after they came to Edinburgh, went to Glasgow, and in their passage through Clydsdale they wasted all the lands of the Hamiltons and any others that had consented to the death of the Regent, as also of those who had harbour’d the English fugitives and drove great preys from them, making havock in all the country. When the engines to beat down the castle that was scituated near a village called Hamilton were bringing to Sterlin, Drury, who privately favoured the English rebels, had almost rendred the whole expedition fruitless. For he was so far from quieting the English, who mutinied because their pay was not paid them at the day (whereupon they threatned immediately to lay down their arms), that ’twas through by many he himself was the author of the mutiny. But the souldiers were appeased upon receiving their pay down upon the nail, and, the great guns being planted and playing against it, the castle was surrendred in a few hours.
16. Amongst the booty, some there were that knew the apparel and other houshold-stuff of King James the 5th, that the owner of the Castle, when he resign’d up his Regency, had so solemnly sworn he had none of. The Castle was left half demolish’d, and the town, together with the stately mansion of the Hamiltons therein, the wild common souldiers burnt to the ground against the will of their commanders. Whereupon the army march’d back, the English to Berwick and the Scots each to their own home. Drury interceded for the garison that they should march away in safety, who, being dismiss’d, took Robert Semple prisoner, the chief of his family, out of the house of his son-in-law, who was quietly returning home as if the service had been ended, which passage greatly increas’d the suspicion on Drury. These matters were scarce finish’d before Petcarn return’d from his embassy out of England, and brought this answer, that the Queen wonder’d they never made her acquainted with the state of their affairs till now, four months after the death of the Regent, and by reason of this delay she was uncertain in her hopes concerning them. In the mean time, that she had been often solicited by the importunity of the French and Spanish embassadors in the name of their Kings, and that she was even tired out with the daily complaints of the Scots Queen. That she had promis’d them audience, but upon condition that the Queen of Scots should write to her party for a cessation of arms till the conference was ended. That those innovations which they had attempted by their publick edicts they should revoke by other edicts contrary to the former, and so suffer things to stand as they were then the Regent was slain. That the English exiles should be given up without fraud, and if, upon the conference, matters were accorded betwixt them, hostages and other pledges should be given on both sides for the faithful performance of agreements. Upon these conditions a conference was promised and, having oblig’d her self in such circumstances, she could not join with them in their design of making a new Regent lest she might seem to condemn their Queen without hearing her. But in general she said that she had a great affection for them and their affairs. In the mean time, she desir’d that they would abstain from arms and from making a Regent, and she would take care that such a small delay should be no damage to them.
17. This answer, being reported to the Scots, did variously affect them. On the one hand, the necessity of the time requir’d them to steer their counsels so as they might be pleasing to the Queen of England. And on the other, they knew of that concernment it was to the publick that one chief magistrate should be set up to whom all complaints might be made. And, for want of creating one some months already past, the enemy had improv’d the delay to gather forces, to make new courts of justice, daily to set forth new edicts, and to usurp all the offices of a King. On the other side, the royalists were dejected, and a multitude, without one certain person whom to obey, could not long be kept in obedience. After the embassadors return, news came that there was a new insurrection in England, and that in London the Popes Bull was fastned on the church doors to exhort the English partly to cast off the unjust yoke of the Queen’s government, and partly to return to the Popish religion. And it was thought that the hand of the Queen of Scots was in all this. These things, tho kept private, yet came to be known by letters from the Earl of Sussex, and also the same Thomas Randolph had in presence confirm’d it, yet they could hardly be restrain’d from chusing a Regent. But at last a middle way prevail’d that they might have the appearance of a chief magistrate, to set up an Inferior Regent or Deputy-Governour to continue till the 12th of July, in which time they might be further inform’d of the Queen of England’s mind. They judg’d that she was not averse from their undertaking, especially upon this ground, that she had put it into the Articles of Capitulation that the rebels should give up all the exil’d English. If that were done, they might easily understand that the spirits of all the Papists about England were alienated from the Queen of Scots. If it were denied, then the conference or treaty would break off, and the suspicions which made the commonalty averse would daily increase. For they saw that other things would not easily be agreed upon when a greater danger was imminent over the English than the Scots upon the deliverance of their Queen. And if other things were accorded, yet the Queen of England would never let her go without giving hostages; neither was she able to give any such who would make a sufficient warranty.
18. These considerations gave them some encouragement, so that they proceeded to create Matthew Stuart, Earl of Lennox, the King’s grandfather, to be Vice-Regent for the time. Whilst this new Vice-Roy, by the advice of his Council, was busied in rectifying things which had been disorder’d in the late tumults, letters came opportunely from the Queen of England July the 10th, wherein she spake much of her affection to the King and kingdom of Scotland, and freely offer’d them her assistance; withal, she deprecated the naming of a Regent, which was a title invidious of it self and of no good example to them. Only, if they ask’d her advice, she thought none was to be preferr’d to that high office before the King’s grandfather, none being of greater faithfulness to the King, yet a pupil, and who now for the same reasons was made Deputy-Governour of the kingdom. These letters incourag’d them, by the joint suffrages of all the Estates, of a Vice-Roy to make him Regent. Assoon as ever he was created and had taken an oath (according to custom) to observe the state of religion and the laws and customs of his country, first of all he commanded that all which were able to bear arms should appear at Linlithgo August the 2nd to hinder the convention which the seditious had there indicted in the name of the Queen. Then he himself summon’d a Parliament in the name of the King, to be held the 10th day of October. He also sent to the Governour of the Castle of Edinburgh (who as yet pretended great friendship to the King’s party, tho his words and actions did very much disagree) to send some brass-guns, carriages, and other apparatus for the managing of them. This he did rather to try him than in hopes to obtain his desires. He promis’d very fair at first, but when the day was coming on that the Parliament was to meet, when he was desir’d to perform his promise he peremptorily refus’d, alleging that his service should be always ready to make up an agreement between, but not to shed the blood of his country-men.
19. Nevertheless, the Regent came at the day appointed to Linlithgo with 5000 arm’d men in his company. But hearing that the enemy did not stir, only that Huntly had placed 160 souldiers at Brechin and had sent out an order commanding the Brechinians to get in provision for some thousands of men by the 2nd of August. The garison there plac’d by him did rob not only the inhabitants, but all travellers also when they were wearied with their journy. Whereupon the Regent, by the advice of his Council, resolv’d to march thither and to seize on the place, which would be of great advantage to him, before Huntly’s coming, and, if occasion were offer’d, there to fight him before his partners came up with their force, and so to overthrow that party of musqueteers which was all he had. And by that means he might catch some of the leaders of the faction, as the Earl of Crawford, James Ogilby, and James Balfure, who, he heard, were there. Whereupon he commanded Patrick Lindsy and William Ruven, chief officers, and James Haliburton, Governor of Dundee, to take what souldiers they could raise at Dundee and St. Johnstons, and to make haste thither to prevent the news of their coming. They made all the speed that ever they were able, the next thing horsing their foot for greater expedition. Yet as they drew near the place they march’d slowly, that the might get some refreshment before they charg’d the enemy, so that the alarum was taken at Brechin that the enemy was a-coming. Whereupon Ogilby and Balfure, who chanc’d to be there, got the souldiers presently together and, incouraging them as well as they could for the time, they told them that they and Huntly would return again in 3 days, and so they got an horseback and made haste away over the mountains. The souldiers that were left catch’d up what was next at hand, and about 20 of them got to the tower of a church that was near. The rest fled into the house of the Earl of Marr, which was seated on a hill near thereto; it was like a castle and commanded the town. James Douglas, Earl of Morton, with 800 horse went a further march about and came not in till the day after.
20. The Regent sent home the Lennoxians and the Renfroans to guard their own country if Argyle should attempt any thing against it. But he himself in 3 days overtook those whom he had sent before to Brechin. At the noise of his coming the neighbour Nobility came in, so that now he muster’d 7000 men effective. Whereupon they who were in the church tower surrendred themselves. The rest, having stoutly defended themselves for a few days, killing and wounding some, surrendred also at mercy to the Regent. He hang’d up 30 of the obstinatest of them, many of them having been taken and releas’d before; the rest, being very feeble, he dismist. Huntly was then about 20 miles off endeavouring to gather more force, but in vain (for most men when they had free liberty to declare themselves, did abhor so foul a cause). Whereupon he was forc’d in fear to provide for his safety, and with a small party retired into the remote countries. Whereupon the Regent return’d to Edinburgh to be present at the Parliament there summon’d, and by the advice thereof to settle the present disturbances. The rebels, perceiving that by the agreement of all the Estates there was no hope left them, especially they who were guilty of the King’s murder and of the death of the Regent, dealt with the Queen of England that, because she had promis’d the French and Spanish embassadors that she would hear both parties and compose things if she could, that therefore now new decree should be made in the mean time. This delay being obtain’d (for nothing was done in that Assembly, only the election of the Regent was confirm’d), the rebels never ceas’d to solicite the French and Spaniard to send aid into Britain to restore the Queen.
21. And because they affirm’d that the restitution of the Popes, or the old, religion depended on her, therefore they made means [application] to the Pope also that, tho he were far remote, yet he might help them with mony. Whereupon he sent an agent into Scotland to enquire into the present state of things there, who giving him an account that the Popish party there was very weak and that all the rebels, neither, were not unanimous in the restoring of Popery, he refus’d to intermeddle with the business. But in the mean time he endeavour’d to raise up some commotion in England by his execrations and curses hung upon church doors by night, by his indulgences, and by his promise of indemnity for what was past. For there, he thought, his faction was the strongest. The Regent, having appointed the Parliament to be held the 25th of January (for within that time he hoped to satisfy all foreign embassadors) to compose things legally and judicially as well as he could, return’d to Edinburgh. The rebels, having renew’d the truce by means of the Queen of England till the embassadors of both parties had been heard before her, yet, contrary to the peace desir’d by them, were very busy to attempt alterations, encourag’d (as ’tis thought) by the favour of the Earl of Sussex, who then commanded the army of the English in Northumberland. For he, either not altogether despairing of the business of the Duke of Norfolk, or else induc’d by the promises of the exiled Queen, of whose return he had some hopes, was somewhat inclinable to the rebels. Which the Scots taking notice of, were more sparing in communicating counsels with him. The winter being thus spent in the reviving of the truce, the Parliament summon’d on the 25th of January was deferr’d till May. In the mean time, the Hamiltons, having in vain suborn’d many men to kill the Regent, at last seiz’d upon the tower of Pasley, driving out the garison-souldiers therein, thinking they might do such a thing with impunity whilst mens minds were imploy’d in greater matters.
22. The Regent appointed the Earl of Morton, Robert Petcarn, and James Macgil his embassadors to England to reason the matter with the embassadors of other princes and sent them away February the 5th, and he himself march’d to Pasley, where he summon’d in the neighbour-Nobility that were of his party and attempted the Castle. The besieg’d, he having cut off their water, were forc’d to a surrender. Afterwards, when Gilbert Kennedy infested the royalists with his plundering incursions in Carrick, he went to Aire, and assoon as Kennedy hear of the approach of a few troops, being also afraid of his clanships, who had been always loyal to the King and his party, he gave in his only brother for an hostage and appointed a day to come to Sterlin and subscribe the capitulation agreed on. Hugh Montgomery, Earl of Eglington, and Robert Boyd follow’d his example, and, surrendring themselves to the Regent, were by him receiv’d into favour. During all this time that the Regent was quelling the seditious and Morton was absent in his embassy in England, they that held Edinburgh Castle, being freed from the fear of their enemies near at hand, ceas’d not to list souldiers, to put garisons in the most convenient places of the city, to take away provisions which merchants had brought to Leith, and to provide all things necessary to endure a siege till their expected relief from foreign parts might come.
23. The Regent was sorely bruis’d by a fall from his horse and therefore return’d to Glasgow, where a common souldier came to him and gave him some hopes of surprizing Dunbarton. He had been a garison-souldier in the Castle there, and his wife, coming often to visit him, had been accus’d and whipt for theft by Flemming, the Governour. Her husband, being an uxorious man and judging his wife to have been wrongfully punish’d, departed from the Castle, and from that day forward imployd’ all his thoughts how he might do Flemming a mischief. Whereupon he breaks the business to Robert Douglas, kinsman to the Regent, and promises him that if he would assign a small party to follow him, he would shortly make him master of that Castle. Robert acquainted John Cuningham with the design, who was to enquire diligently of him how so great an attempt could be accomplish’d. He, being a blunt rude souldier, perceiving that they boggled at him because he could not well make out how to accomplish what he had promised, “Since (said he) you do not believe my words, I’le go on my self the first man in the service. If you will follow me, I will make you masters of the place, but if you be dastards and scoundrels, then let it alone.” When his speech was told to the Regent, though the thing it self, being great, had somewhat excited their minds and made them willing enough to have it done, yet the author (though they judg’d him faithful) seem’d not a fit instrument to effect so great a matter. Whereupon Thomas Crawford, a valiant man and a good souldier, was made acquainted with the project, and ’twas agreed betwixt them rather to try the hazard of so great and casual a proffer than slothfully to neglect such an opportunity. Whereupon a few days were allotted to provide ladders and other necessaries, and the plot was to be executed on the first of April. For then the truce granted the rebels by the mediation of the Queen of England would expire. In the mean time, no talk at all was to be made about it.
24. Before I declare the event of this piece of service, give me leave to tell you the nature and situation of the castle of Dunbarton. From the confluence of the Rivers Clyde and Levin there is a plain champaign of about a mile extended to the foot of the adjoining mountains, and in the very angle where the two rivers meet there stands a rock with two cops or heads. The one branch, or cop, which is the highest, respects the west, and in the very top of it there is a watch-tower from whence there is a large prospect to all parts thereabouts. The other cop is lower and looks towards the east. Between the two cops, that side that turns towards the north and the fields hath stairs ascending obliquely by the rock, cut out by mens hands, where hardly a single man can go up at once. For the rock is very hard, and scarce malleable by any iron-tool. But if any part of it be broken off by force or falls down of it self, it emits a smell, far and near, like sulphur. In the upper part of the Castle there is a huge stony rock of the nature of a load-stone, but so closely cemented and fastned to the rest of the rock that no joint at all or commissure doth appear. Where the River Clyde runs by to the south, the rock (naturally steep in other parts) is somewhat bending, and, stretching out its arms on both sides, takes in some firm land, which is so inclosed, partly by the nature of the place and partly by human industry, that in the overthwart or transverse sides thereof it affords place for many houses, and also, in the river, a road for ships, very safe for the inhabitants by playing brass-guns from thence, but unsafe for an enemy, and small boats therein may come up almost to the very Castle gate. The middle part of the rock by which you go up, being full of buildings, makes, as it were, another castle, distinct and secluded from the higher one. Besides the natural fortification of the rock, the two rivers, Levin to the west and Clyde to the south, make a kind of graff and trench about it. On the east side, when the tide is in, the sea washes the very foot of the rock; when ’tis out, the place is not sandy (as usually shores are), but muddy, the fat soil being dissolv’d into dirt. This strand is also intercepted and cut by many torrents of water which tumble down from the mountain adjacent. The other side turns towards a plain field full of grass. The Castle hath three fountains in it, always running, besides springs of fresh water in many other places. The ancient Britains, as Bede says, call’d the place Alcuith, but the Scots, which were heretofore sever’d from the Britains by the River Levin, because that fort was built on the borders of the Britains, call’d it Dumbritton, now Dunbarton.
25. There is a little town hard by, of the same name, upon the bank of the River of Levin about a mile distant from the meeting of the rivers. This Castle was accounted impregnable, and in all foreign and civil wars was of great advantage to them that held it, and as prejudicial to their enemy. At that time, John Flemming was Governor of it by commission from the banish’d Queen. He, though he consented not to the King’s murder, yet, having not a force sufficient to defend himself against the royalists, sided with the parricides, and for four years last past had kept up the garison at the charge of the King of France (whom he had persuaded that almost all the Scots had secretly confederated with the Queen of England); yea, he had made a boast to him, like a bragadochio as he was, that he did, as it were, hold the fetters of Scotland in his own hands, and when ever the French had leisure from other wars, if they would but send him a little assistance he would easily clap them on and bring all Scotland under their power. And the French King was as vain in feeding his senseless humor, for he sent him some military provisions by one Monsieur Verac, whom he commanded to stay there and to give him an account of all Scotish affairs. Besides, the insolencie of the Governor was increas’d by the treachery of the garison-souldiers of Edinburgh-Castle, who had lately revolted from the King; and also he was somewhat animated by the sickness of the Regent, who was almost kill’d with a fall from his horse and had now the gout too, and moreover he was incouraged by the truce which the Queen of England had obtained for them till the end of March. These things made him and his garison-souldiers so secure and negligent that they went often to be merry into the town, and would lie there all night, as if they had been lull’d in the very bosom of peace.
26. Matters standing in this posture, and preparation being made for the expedition as much as the present haste would permit, John Cuningham was sent before with some horse to stop all passengers, that so the enemy might have no intelligence of their coming. Thomas Crawford followed after with the foot. They were appointed to meet together at Dumbeck, an hill about a mile or two from the Castle, about midnight. At that place Crawford (as he was commanded) told the souldiers what the design was they were to go upon, and how they were to effect it. He shew’d them who was to lead them on, and promised to scale the walls first, and then he and those commanders that would be noticed for their valour were to follow. The souldiers were easily persuaded to follow their leaders. Whereupon the ladders were carried and other things to storm the Castle, and the foot, a little before day, march’d on towards it. The horse were commanded to stay in the same place to expect the issue, whether good or bad. As they were approach thing the Castle they met with two rubs or checks. One was that the bridg over the brook that runs between the fields was broken, and next a fire, appearing suddenly near it, occasioned a suspicion lest the bridg was broken on purpose to stop the enemy and the fire kindled by the garison-soulders to discover and prevent the enemies approach. But this fear was soon dispell’d by their repairing the bridg as well they could in such haste and making it passable for the foot, and also the scouts were sent out to the place where the fire was seen and they could find no sign of any fire at all, so that the fire was of a meteorous nature like those fires which are bred in the air and sometimes pitch on the ground and presently vanish away.
27. But they had a greater cause of fear, lest the heaven, which was all bespangled with stars, and the approach of the day should discover them to the sentinels that watch’d above. But behold! on a sudden a thick mist covered the heavens, yet so that it reach’d not beyond the middle rock of the Castle, but the upper part of it was so dark that the guards in the Castle could see nothing of what was done below. But as the mist came seasonably, so there was another misfortune which fell out unluckily and had almost marr’d the whole business. For, many ladders being required to get up that high rock, and the first were unmanageable by reason of their length, they, being over-loden with the weight of those who went hastily up, and being not well fastened at foot in a slippery soil, fell suddenly down with those that were upon them. The accident cast them into a great consternation at present, but when they found that no body was hurt in the fall, they recollected their spirits, which were almost desponding, and, as if God Almighty had favoured their design, they went on upon that dangerous service with greater alacrity, so that they set the ladders up again more cautiously, and when they came to the middle of the rock, there was a place reasonably convenient where they might stand, and there they found an ash shrub casually growing amongst the stones, which did them great service. For they tied ropes to it and let them down, by which means they lifted up their fellows that were left below, so that at one and the same time some were drawn up by the ropes to the middle of the rock and others, by setting other ladders, got up to the top thereof.
28. There also they met with a new and unexpected misfortune which had almost spoiled all their measure. For one of the souldiers, as he was in the middle of the ladder, was suddenly taken with a kind of fit of an apoplexy, so that he stuck fast to the ladder and could not be pluck’d therefrom, but stopp’d the way to those that would ascend. This danger was also overcome by the diligence and alacrity of the souldiers, for they bound him to the latter so that when he recovered out of his fit he could not fall, and then in great silence, turning the ladder, the rest easily ascended. When they came to the top of the rock there was a wall built by hand, to which they were to put their third ladders to get over it. Alexander Ramsy, who with two files of musqueeters got upon it. The sentinel presently spied him, gave the alarm, and cast down stone upon him and his men. Alexander, being assaulted with this unusual kind of fight, as having neither stones to throw again nor a shield to defend him, yet leap’d down from the wall into the Castle and was there set upon by three of the guard. He fought it out valiantly with them till his fellow-souldiers, being more solicitous for his danger than their own, leapt down after him, and presently dispatch’d the three sentinals. In the mean time, the rest made what haste they could, so that, the wall being old, loose, and overcharged with the weight of those who made haste to get over it, fell down to the ground. And by its fall there was a breach made for the rest to enter, so the ruins made the descent more easy through the rock that was very high and rugged within the Castle. Whereupon they entred in a body, crying out with a great noise For God and King, and often proclaiming the name of the Regent also, so that the guards were amazed and forgot to fight, but fled every one to shift for himself as well as he could.
29. Some kept themselves within doors till the first brunt of the souldiers fury was over. Flemming escaped the danger by slipping down through the oblique rock, having but one in his company, who was knock’d down and fell, but he, descending a by-way, was let out at the gate and so got into a vessel on the river, which, by reason of the tides being in, came up to the walls of the Castle, and so fled into Argyle. The sentinels of the lower Castle and twenty five more of the garison-souldiers, who had been drinking and whoring in the town all night, taking the alarum, never offered to fight but fled every one which way he could. There were taken in the Castle John Hamilton, Arch-Bishop of St. Andrews, John Flemming of Bogal, a young English gentlemen that had fled from the last insurrection in England, Verac the French man, who a good while before had been sent to them with some warlike furniture and provisions and had staid there in the name of his King to acquaint the French King with the state of Scotish affairs. Alexander, the son of William Levingston, endeavoured to escape by changing his habit, but was discovered and brought back. The Regent, being inform’d of the taking the Castle, before noon came thither. 1st he highly commended the souldiers, then he comforted Flemming’s wife and gave her not only her own furniture, plate, and all her houshold-stuff and utensils, but also assigned an estate, part of her husband’s, which had long before been forfeited into the King’s exchequer, to maintain her self and children. The rest of the booty was allowed the souldiers.
30. Having setled things thus, he had leisure to take a view of the Castle, and coming to the rock by which the souldiers got up, it seem’d so difficult an ascent to them all that the souldiers themselves confess’d, if they had foreseen the danger of the service, no reward whatsoever should have hired them to undertake it. Verac was accused by the merchanes that, whereas they came into the Bay of Clyde he had robb’d them in an hostile manner. Whereupon many of the Council were of opinion he should have been indicted as a pirate or robber, but the empty name of an embassador prevailed more with the Regent, which yet he himself had violated by his flagitious actions. Wherefore, that the despoil’d persons might be kept in some hope (at least) of satisfaction from him, he was kept seemingly for a trial, and lodg’d in an house at St. Andrews whose owner was inclined to the rebels; whence he was taken away, as ’twere by force, which was the thing aim’d at, and so he speedily departed. The English-man, though many suspicions were fix’d upon him, and besides, the commendatory letters of John Lesly, Bishop of Ross, to Flemming, which were found after the Castle was taken, did convict him, yet he was sent home. But after he was gone ’twas found that he was suborn’d by the Norfolkians to poison the king of Scots. Bogal was kept prisoner. There was one prisoner more, which the Governour most desired to have punish’d. That was the Bishop of St. Andrews. He, in former times while his brother was Regent, had advised him to many cruel and avaricious practices, and under the Queen also he bore the blame of all miscarriages. The Regent feared, if he should delay his punishment, the Queen of England would intercede for him, and the Arch-Bishop’s friends were in great of hopes of it. And, lest straitness of time should prevent them, the Arch-Bishop earnestly desired he might be tried by the legal way of the country, for that would occasion some, though not much, delay.
31. But these interposals were over-ruled, it being alleged that there was no need of any new process in the Arch-Bishops case, for it had been already judg’d in the Parliament. Wherefore he, being plainly convicted as guilty of the King’s murder, and of the last Regents also, was hang’d at Sterlin. There was then new evidence brought in against him, for the greatest part thereof had been discovered but lately. The Arch-Bishop of St. Andrews, who lodg’d in the next house when the proposition of killing the King was made to him, willingly undertook it both by reason of old feuds between their families and also an hope thereby to bring the kingdom nearer to his family. Whereupon he chuses out six or eight of the most flagitious [criminal] of his vassals and commended the matter to them, giving them the keys of the King’s lodgings. They then enter very silently into his chamber and strangle him when he was asleep, and when they had so done they carried out his body through a little gate (of which I spake before) into an orchard adjoining the walls, and then a sign was given to blow up the house. The discovery of this wickedness was made by John Hamilton, who was a chief actor therein, upon this occasion. He was much troubled in his mind day and night, his conscience tormenting him for the guilt of the fact, and not only so, but, as if the contagion reach’d to his body too, that also was miserably pained and consumed by degrees. Endeavouring all ways to ease himself, at last he remembered that there was a school-master at Pasley, no bad man, who was yet at Papist. To him he confesses the whole plot and the names of those who joined with him in perpetrating the murder. The priest comforted him what he could, and put him in mind of the mercy of God. Yet because the disease had taken deeper root than to be expiable by such slight remedies, within a few days he was overwhelmed with grief and died.
32. The priest was not so silent in the thing but that some inkling of it came to the King’s friends. They, many months after the murder was committed, when Matthew Earl of Lennox was Regent and when Dunbarton was taken and the Bishop brought to Sterlin, caused the priest to be sent for thither. He then justified what he had spoken before about the King’s murder. Whereupon, being ask’d by Hamilton how he came to know it, whether ’twere revealed to him in auricular Confession, he told him. Yes. “Then (said Hamilton) you are not ignorant of the punishment due to those who reveal the secrets of Confessions,” and made no other answer to the crime. After fifteen months or more, the same priest was taken saying Mass the third time, and, as the law appointed, was led out to suffer. Then also he publickly declared all that he had before affirm’d in the thing in plainer and fuller words, which were so openly divulged that now Hamilton’s vassals fell out amongst themselves, and one of them charged another with the King’s death. In the mean while, the rebels had procured some small matter of mony from France by the means of the brother of him who commanded Edinburgh-Castle. And moreover, Morton was returned from his English embassy, and in a Convention of the Nobles held at Sterlin declar’d the effect thereof in these words:
33. “When we came to London February 20, we were put over to seven of the Council chosen out for that purpose, who, after much dispute betwixt us, at last insisted upon two points, first, that we would produce the clearest and best arguments we had to evidence the justness of those actions which had pass’d in Scotland both formerly and now, that so the Queen might be satisfied in the equity of them, and thereby know how to answer those who demanded a reason for them. If we could not do that, yet the Queen would omit nothing which might conduce to our safety. In answer to which, we have in a memorial to them to this effect. The crimes wherewith at first our King’s mother alleged that she was falsly charged with have been so clearly prov’d by the Earl of Murray and his associates in that embassy that both the Queen her self and those who were delegated by her to hear the cause could not be ignorant of the author of the King’s murder, which was the source of all our other miseries. To repeat them again before the Queen, who, we doubt not, is therein sufficiently satisfied already, we think it is not necessary. And besides, we our selves are unwillingly drawn into the task of repeating the memory of so great a wickedness. But they who cannot deny that this fact was cruelly and flagitiously perpetrated yet do calumniate the resignation of the kingdom and the translation of the government from the mother to the son to be a new and grievous thing, extorted from her by mere force. First, as for the matter of fact, in punishing our princes the old custom of our ancestors will not suffer it to be called new; neither can the moderateness of the punishment make it invidious. ’Tis not needful for us to reckon up the many Kings whom our forefathers have chastis’d by imprisonment, banishment, yea, death it self; much less need we confirm our practice by foreign examples, of which there are abundance in old histories.
34. “The nation of the Scots, being at first free, by the common suffrage of the people set up Kings over them conditionally, that, if need were, they might take away the government by the same suffrages that gave it. The footsteps [traces] of this law remain to this very day, for in the circumjacent islands and in many places of the continent [mainland] too, which have retained the ancient speech and customs of our fore-fathers to this day, the same course is yet observed in creating their magistrates. Moreover, those ceremonies which are used in the inauguration of our Kings themselves have an express representation of this law, by which it easily appears that the kingly government is nothing else but a mutual stipulation [contract] betwixt King and people, and the same is most clearly evidenced by the inoffensive tenor of the old law, which hath been observed ever since there was a King in Scotland, even unto this present time, no man having ever attempted to abrogate, abate, or diminish this law in the least. ’Tis too long to enumerate how many Kings our ancestors have put by their kingdoms, have banish’d, have imprison’d, have put to death; neither is there the least mention made of the severity of this law, or the abrogating thereof, and that on good grounds. For ’tis not of the nature of such sanctions, which are subject to the mutations of time, but in the very original of mankind ’twas ingraven in mens hearts, approv’d by the mutual consent of almost all nations, and, together with Nature it self, was to remain inviolate and sempiternal, so that these laws are not subject to the empire of any men, but all men subject to the dominion and power of them. This law prescribes to us in all our actions, ’tis always before our eyes and minds whether we will nor no. It dwells in us. Our ancestors followed it in repressing the violence of tyrants by armed force.
35. “’Tis a law not proper to the Scots only, but common to all nations and people in well-instituted governments. To pass by the famous cities of Athens, Sparta, Rome, Venice, who never suffer’d this right to be taken from them but with their liberty it self, even in those times wherein oppression and tyranny were most triumphant in the Roman government, if any good man were chosen Emperour, he counted it his glory to confess himself inferiour to the whole body of the people and to be subject to the law. For Trajan, when he delivered a sword to the Governour of a certain city (according to custom) is reported to say, ‘Use it either for me or against me, as I deserve.’ Yea, Theodosius, a good Emperour in bad times, would have it left recorded amongst his sanctions and laws as a speech worthy of an Emperour, yea, grater than his empire it self, to confess that he was inferiour to the laws. Yea, the most barbarous nations, such as were most remote from all civility, had a sense and knowledg hereof, as the history of all nations and common observation shews. But, not to insist on obsolete examples, I will produce two in our own memory. Of late, Christiern of Denmark, for his cruelty, was driven out of the kingdom with all his lineage, a greater punishment than eve our people exacted for any of their Kings, for they never punish’d the sins of the fathers upon their children. As for him, he was deservedly punish’d after a singular manner as the monster of his age for all kind of wickedness. But what did the mother of the Emperour Charles the Fifth do as to deserve perpetual imprisonment? She was a woman in her flourishing age, and her husband died young, even in the prime of his age, it was reported. She had a mind to marry again. She was not accus’d for any wickedness, but for a certain allowable intemperance (as the severe Cato’s of the age speak), and, as the publick manners now are, of an honest copulation, approved by God’s and Man’s law both.
36. “If the calamity of our Queen be compared with Christiern’s of Denmark, she is not less an offender (to say no more), but she hath been more moderately proceeded against and punish’d. But if she be compared with Joan of Austria, Charles his mother, what did that poor lady do but desire, as far as lawfully she might, a pleasure allowed by the law, and a remedy necessary for her age? Yet, being an innocent woman, she suffer’d that punishment of which our Queen, convict of the highest wickedness, doth now complain. The murder of her lawful husband and her unlawful marriage with a publick parricide have now those same deprecators who, in killing the King, did inflict the punishment due to wicked men on the innocent. But here they remember not what the examples of their ancestors do prompt them to do, neither are they mindful of that eternal law which our noble progenitors, even from the first beginnings of kingdoms having followed, have thereby restrain’d the violence of tyrants. And in our present case what have we done more than trod in the steps of so many kingdoms and free nations, and so bridled that arbitrariness which claim’d a power above law? And yet, we have not done it with that severity neither as our ancestors have us’d in the like kind. For they would never have suffer’d any one who had been found guilty of such a notorious crime to escape the punishment of the law. If we had imitated them, we had been free from fear of danger, and also from the trouble of calumniators. And that may be easily known by the postulations of our adversaries. How often have they criminated and arraigned us before our neighbour-princes? What nations do they not solicite and stir up against us? What do they desire by this importunity? Is it only that the controversy may be decided by law and equity? We never refused that condition, and they would never accept of it, though ’twere often offer’d them. What, then, do they desire? Even this, that we should arm tyrants by publick authority who are manifestly guilty of the most notorious wickedness, who are stuff’d with the spoils of their subjects, besmear’d with the blood of Kings, and aim at the destruction of all good men. Shall we set them up over our lives, who are found actors in the parricide, and shrewdly suspected to be the designers of it, without acquitting themselves in a judiciary way?
37. “And yet we have gratified their request more than the custom of our country, the severity of the law, or the distribution of equal justice would allow. There is nothing more frequently celebrated, no more diligently handled by the writers of our history than than our punishment of evil Kings. And amongst so many peccant Governours, who ever felt the like lenity of angry subjects in inflicting punishment as we have used in punishing our King’s mother, though evidently guilty of a most atrocious crime? What ruler standing convict of murder had ever power given to substitute a son or kinsman in his or her place? To whom, in such circumstances, also was the liberty ever granted to appoint what guardians they pleas’d to the succeeding King? And in the very abjuration of the kingdom who can complain of any hard usage? A young woman, unable to undergo the burden, and toss’d by the storms of unsettled affairs, sent letters to the Nobility to free her from that government which was as burdensome to her as it was honourable. It was granted her. She desir’d the government might be transferr’d from her to her son. Her request was assented to. She also desir’d to have the naming of the guardians who might manage the government till her son came of age. It was done as she desir’d. And that the thing might have more authority the whole matter was referr’d to the the Estates in Parliament, who voted that all was rightly done and in good order, and they confirm’d it by an Act, than which there cannot be a more sacred and firmer obligation.
38. “But ’tis alleged what was done in prison is to be taken not as done willingly, but forc’d by durance for fear of death. And so many other things which men are inforc’d to do for fear are wont, as they ought, to go for nothing. Indeed this excuse for fear, as sometimes it is, is not without reason admitted by the judges, so it does not always infer a just cause for abolishing a publick act once made in a suit of law. If a man strike a fear into his adversary for ones own advantage, and so the plaintiff extorts more from the defendant than he could ever obtain by the equity of the law. Those remedies are most rightfully and deservedly provided against such as are either terrified by compulsion or inforc’d by fear to do what is prejudicial to themselves. But ’tis otherwise if a guilty conscience creates a fear of it self out of an expectation of a deserved punishment, to avoid which he assents to some certain conditions. This fear carries with it no just cause to rescind publick acts, for otherwise the wickeder a person is, so much the easier retreat he might have to the sanctuary of the law. And then the remedies found out for the relief of the innocent would be transferred to indemnify the nocent [guilty]. And the laws themselves, the avengers of wrongs, would not be a refuge to good men when vex’d by the improbity of the bad, but an unjust shelter to the evil when they fear deserv’d punishment. But that fear, let it be what it will, wherein hath it made the condition of the Queen the worse? The title of kingly dignity and the power of government was long since taken from her by Parliament, and, being reduc’d to her privacy, she lived a precarious life upon the account of the peoples mercy, not her own innocency. When therefore she was put by the kingdom, what did she lose but her fear? Her dominion was ended before, she only cast away the empty name of ruler and that which might lawfully have been extorted from her against her will she parted with of her on accord, and so redeem’d the residue of her life, the sentiment of her infamy, the perpetual fear of imminent death, which is worse than death it self, only by the laying down the shadow or a mere title and name.
39. “And therefore I wonder that on this head no body discovers the prevarication of the Queen’s delegates and of her embassadors. For they who desire that this what was done in prison by the Queen made be undone ask this also that she may be restor’d to that place from which she complains she was ejected through fear. And what is that place to which they so earnestly desire she should be restor’d? She was remov’d from governing the kingdom before, all publick administration was taken away from her, and she was left to the punishment of the law. Now these goodly advocates, forsooth, would have her restor’d to that place, as to plead for her self in a cause which is as manifest as ’tis foul and detestable, or rather, it being already prov’d that she should suffer just punishment for the same. And whereas now she injoys some ease in the compassion of her kindred and, in so foul an offence, is not in any of the worst cases, they would again cast her into the tempestuous hurry of a new judgment, she having no better hope of her safety than she can gather from the condemnation of so many former Kings who have been called before judges to answer for themselves. But because our adversaries do seditiously boast, to trouble the minds of the simpler sort, that the majesty of good Kings is impair’d and their authority almost vilifi’d if tyrants be punish’d, let us see what weight there is in this pretence. We may rather contrarily judge that there is nothing more honourable for the societies and assemblies of the good than if the are freed from the contagion of the bad. Who ever thought that the Senate of Rome incurr’d any guilt by the punishment of Lentulus, Cethegus, or Catiline? And Valerius Asiaticus, when the souldiers mutinied for the slaughter of Caligula and cry’d out to know who was the author of so audacious a fact, he answer’d from an high and lofty place where he stood, ‘I wish I could truely say I did it,’ so much majesty there was in that free speech of one private man that the wild comon souldiers were presently dissipated and quieted thereby. When Junius Brutus overthrew the conspiracy made for bringing back Kings into the city, he did not think that his family was stained by a nefarious slaughter, but that by the blood of his children the stain was rather wiped away from the Roman Nobility. Did the imprisonment of Christiern of Denmark detract any thing from the commendation of Christiern, the next King? What hindred by that he might have been accounted the best of Kings in his time? For a noble mind that it is supported by his own virtue doth neither increase by the glory, nor is lessened by the infamy, of another.
40. “But to let these things pass, let us return to the proof of the crime. I think we have abundantly satisfi’d the Queen’s request. Her desire was that we should shew her such strengthning and convincing proofs for what we have done that she might be satisfied in the justness of our cause, and also to be able to inform others who desir’d to hear what we could say for our selves. As for the King’s murder, the, author, the method, and the causes thereof have been so fully declar’d by the Earl of Murray and his fellows in that embassy that they must needs be clear to the exact judgments of the Queen and those others delegated by her to hear that affair. As for what is objected to us as blame-worthy after that time, we have shewn that ’tis consentaneous [agreeable] to the divine law and also the law of Nature, which too is, in a sort, divine. Moreover, ’tis consonant to our country-laws and customs. Neither is it different from the usage of other nations who have the face of any good and just government amongst them. Seeing, then, that our cause is justifi’d by all the interpreters of divine and human laws, seeing the examples of so many ages, the judgments of so many peoples, and the punishments of tyrants do confirm it, we see no such novelty (not to say injustice) in our cause, but that Queen her self might readily subscribe to it; yea, and persuade others that in this matter they should be no otherwise opiniated of us but that we have carried out selves like good subjects, and Christians too.
41. “These were the allegations which we thought fit to make to justify our cause, which we committed to writing and read them the last day of February before those grave and learned persons whom the Queen had appointed to confer with us on this subject. And the next day, which was March the first, we went again in the morning to Court to learn how she relish’d out answer and what judgment she made of the whole cause. But because that day when she was going to her country-house called Greenwich, about three miles below London, we had no opportunity to speak with her. What was next to that, we went to the chief of the Council who at first were appointed to hear and transact with us. They told us that the Queen (though he had very little spare time, in regard of that journy and other business yet) had read our memorial, but she was not yet so fully persuaded that our cause was so just that she could approve it without scruple. And therefore she desired us to go to the second thing at first proposed by us, which was to find out some way whereby this dispute might be ended upon some moderate or handsom conditions. Whereunto we replied that we were not sent from home with an unbounded commission, but one circumscribed within certain limits, so that we had no freedom to enter into any debate at all of which might in the lest diminish the authority of our King. And if such a liberty had been offered us, yet we should have been unwilling to accept it or to make use of it if accepted.
42. “Matters standing thus, the Queen being at Greenwich and we at London, we sent some of our number to her to know whether she had any thing more to say to us; if not, that we might have liberty to depart home, there to consult, what we could, the good of our country and our own private concerns. And if there were any thing we might gratify Her Majesty in, we were willing to shew our obsequiousness and respect therein; yea, we should take more opportunity to shew it at home than we could have now in anothers dominions. This demand procur’d us a summons to appear at Court the 5th of March. When we were come into her presence, she mightily blam’d our stiffness in maintaining our conceiv’d opinion, and that we so pertinaciously shun a dispute, or rather a consultation, about a matter so much concerning our security. She also added a large declaration of her mind and will anent the King and those who maintain’d his cause. We urg’d that the justness of our cause had been clearly enough declar’d before. She answer’d that she was not satisfi’d in her mind with the examples and arguments produc’d by us. ‘Neither (said she) am I wholly ignorant of such disputes, as having spent some of my former time in the study of the law. But (says she) if you will be fully determin’d to make no other proposal for you King’s safety and your own, yet I would have you at least enter upon another conference with the chief of my council who treated with you about these things before.’ We answer’d that were not at all so stiffly wedded to our opinions as not to be willing to hear any good expedient that might be offer’d by her or her Counsellors, always with this proviso, that no alteration be made in the present state of the kingdom, nor any diminution at all of the King’s authority. For upon these two heads we neither could or would admit the least consultation or debate. The day after, we went down again to the Queen’s Palace (as we agreed)and entred into a conference with her Counsellors, where many proposals were made by them to decide the controversy between mother and son concerning the title to the government. We, because the reasons were many and concerning matters of such great moment on both sides, desir’d that we might have them given to us in writing and time allowed us to consider of things of such great consequence. They were very ready to do it, having first consulted the Queen. When we had ran them all over in order, the matters propos’d seem’d so difficult to us, and also so derogatory to the power of the King, and withal so exceeding the bounds of our embassy and commission, that we neither would, could, nor durst touch up on them.
43. “The day after, Robert Petcarn was sent to Court with this answer, that such matters did belong to the decision of all the Estates and were not to be disputed by so small a number of persons as we were. He also carried our answer to them, who the day before, viz., the 4th of March, had desir’d to have all in writing. Further, he earnestly desir’d the Queen that, seeing they had executed all the points within the bounds of their commission, they might have leave to return home. Ten days after, we had liberty to attend the Queen. These delegates of the Council who from our first coming were appointed to treat with us were very urgent that we would yet treat with them about finding out some remedies to compose things. They us’d many arguments to that purpose, telling us that if war from abroad should be added to our troubles at home, our labours, dangers, and difficulties would be doubled, especially being not able to extricate our selves by our own forces. But we persisted in our resolution and would hearken to no model of accommodation which lessened the King’s authority, and so that day ended. The next day, which was the 20th of March, we were sent for again to Court, and being commanded to come to the Queen, she spake to us for this purpose, that she and her Council had weigh’d our answers, by which she understood that none but a supream Council or Parliament of Scotland, consisting of all the Estates, could give a certain answer to her demands, and thereupon she had found out a way how to leave the matter intire as she found it, and with an honest pretence too.
44. “She was inform’d that there was shortly to be a convention of all the Estates in Scotland. Thither we should go, and God speed us well, and therein we should endeavour that an equal number of both factions should be chosen to examine the grounds of the difference betwixt them. And that she should also send her embassadors thither, which should join endeavours with those to promote a peace. In the mean time, she desir’d that the pacification might be renew’d till the matter was brought to some issue. She also said that she would confer with the Queen of Scots embassadors and persuade them, if she could, to the same. But when ’twas mov’d to them, they excus’d themselves, saying that they could determine nothing on that head without consulting the Queen, but that they would write to her to know her pleasure in the case. Yet we prest hard to have our convoy [passport] to return, as was promised us, but were desir’d to have a little patience till an answer was return’d from the Scots Queen to the Bishop of Ross and the rest of her embassadors, and then we should have our dismission. We urg’d our return still, but without effect, though we told her we had nothing to do with the Bishop of Ross, neither was our embassy to him. We had ended what we came for, and did much wonder why the Bishop of Ross should retard our journy, especially since so many tumults were rais’d in our absence, to the great inconvenience of the King’s party. But, though our importunity was almost shameless, yet we could not prevail, for the matter was deferr’d from day to day till the last of March, and then the Queen return’d to London. The things which were acted in Parliament for 3 days after did so take up the Queen that she had no leisure to debate foreign matters. But the 4th of April she sent for us and excus’d the delay. She told us that our King’s mother had by her letters grievously chid her embassadors for their presumptious confidence in descending to debate her cause after that that fashion, ‘and therefore (says the Queen), seeing they are so averse from the way of concord which I propose, I will detain you no longer. But if she hereafter repent of her present sentiment (of which I have some hope) and take the course chalkt out by me, I do not doubt but you for your part will perform your duty.’ Thus we were lovingly and kindly dismist, and on the 8th day of April began our journy towards our own country.”
45. This account was given at Sterlin by the embassadors before the Convention of the Estates. Whereupon the care and diligence of the embassadors was unanimously approv’d. Other matters they referr’d to the first of May, a Parliament being summon’d against that time. In the mean time, both parties bestir themselves, one to promote, the other hinder the assembling thereof. The wisest Senators were of opinion that the Queen of England would never let the Scots Queen depart, as foreseeing how dangerous her delivrance would be to all Britain. In the interim, mention was made by some of demanding the Scots King as an hostage for his mother, rather in hopes to hinder a concord than to establish it, for she was well assur’d that the Scots would never yield to it. But there were some potent men in her Council who did secretly favour the Duke of Norfolk’s faction. These were desirous that the Queen of Scots should be deliver’d, and thereby the adverse faction might in tract of time be broken and diminish’d, that so they might obtain that point from her by necessity which they say they could not otherwise do; neither did they doubt but that matters would come to that pass if the rebels were assisted with mony and other furniture of war from France. And the royalists had their eye only on the Queen of England, who had at the beginning largely promis’d them, upon understanding the flagitious act of the Queen, that she would take a special care of the King and kingdom of Scotland. Neither could the French King well compass his designs. He was willing the Scots Queen should be deliver’d, but not that the King should be put into English hands. And, hearing how strong the Norfolk faction was, which was all for innovations, he did not despair but that the Scots Queen might, in time, escape out of prison privately or be deliver’d by his means.
46. Thus stood the state of Britain at that time. Morton, having given a laudable account of his embassy to the Convention at Sterlin, return’d to his own house abut 4 miles from Edinburgh. He had a company of 100 foot and a few horse to guard his house and to defend himself, if the townsmen should attempt to make any excursion, till more forces might come in. In the mean time, the Queen’s faction were masters of the town and set guards and all convenient places, and levell’d all their designs to exclude the Regent and hinder the Parliament which was indicted to be held at Edinburgh. Whereupon Morton was commanded by the Regent, with 20 horse and about 70 foot (for the rest had passes to go abroad for forage) to march to Leith, who was to make a publick proclamation there (for they had garrison’d Edinburgh already) that no man should assist the rebels by land or sea either with provision, arms, or any other warlike furniture; they that did so were to undergo the same punishment with them. They, knowing themselves to be inferior to the town-souldiers, sent their foot another way about, which was cover’d by an hill from the sight of the city (commonly call’d Arthur’s Seat), and the horse past near the walls and gates of the city, not a many of the enemy stiring out. When they had done what they were commanded to do at Leith, they had not the same fortune at their return. For the foot refus’d to march back the same way that they came, but return’d, against the will of the horse, near the gates of the city, and so pass’d with them under the walls with an intent to try what metal themselves were made of, and their enemies too. When, lo, on a sudden a sally was made out against them from two of the gates. At first they fought manfully, so that the oppidans [townsmen] were driven back in disorder into the town, with no great loss, ’tis true, yet it easily appear’d that they were inferior in valour though superior in number.
47. The Regent, having nothing in readiness to assault the town, and having no time neither by reason of the sudden sitting of the Parliament to bring any great guns thither, thought it better to desist from force and to hold the Parliament without the gate of Edinburgh. For, that city being stretch’d out mostly in length, they who first compassed it with a wall left a great part of it in the suburbs, yet so that the inhabitants of that part had the full priviledg of citizens as well as those within the walls. There the Convention was held, for the lawyers gave their opinions that ’twas no great matter in what part soever of the city it met. In this Parliament these were declar’d traitors, viz., the chief of them who held out the Castle, especially those who out of consciousness of their guilt of the King’s and Regent’s murders had avoided tryal, The rebels being thus condemn’d by an Act of Parliament (the judgment of which court is of very great authority), lest the commonalty, which ordinarily is at the beck of the Nobility, should be alienated from them. The also, of the number which they had there, made up a Convention, such as it was. Few appear’d there who had any lawful right to vote; and of them some came not into the Assembly at all, some presented themselves but as spectators only, abstaining from all judiciary actings, so that they, having neither a just number of voices, nor were they assembled either in due time or according to ancient custom, yet, that they might make a shew of a lawful sufficient number, two bishops and some others which were absent (a thing never heard of before) sent in their votes in writing at hap-hazard, as being doubtful of the event of the Assembly. At this time, the Castle continually plaid with great guns upon the place where the Nobles were assembled, and though the bullets often fell amongst crouds of people, yet the neither hurt nor kill’d so much as one man.
48. There were but few condemn’d in either Convention, and both parties appointed another Convention to be held in August, one at Sterlin, the other at Edinburgh. When the Assembly was dismist, neither party issued out one upon other, so that there was a kind of truce between them. Thereupon the greatest part of the souldiers that were with Morton, being press’d men, slipt away to their own homes. They who kept the town knew that Morton had but a small party for his guard, and being willing also to cry quits for their former ignominious repulse, they sent out 220 musqueteers and 100 horse. They carried two brass field-pieces along with them, intending either to burn the town of Dalkeith, where Morton then was, or, if that succeeded not, to frighten the enemy and keep him within the town, and if they could thus put him into a fright they intended to make their braggs thereof all over the country. They shewed themselves, well accoutered, on an hill over against Dalkeith. Whereupon they at Dalkeith, being alarm’d, cry’d presently, arm, arm. The Mortonians drew out immediately, being 200 foot and about 60 horse, and mounted a little an opposite hill, and then, again descending into the valley and plain, they stood over against them ready to fight. Some archers picqueted and skirmished on both sides, and there was a light onset. But the rebels, who expected to find their enemies unprepared, being disappointed of their hope, march’d back in as entire a body as they could to recover the city. And thus, some pressing upon others in the eagerness of their retreat, they came to Cragmiller-Castle, scituate almost in the mid-way between Edinburgh and Dalkeith. There a few of Morton’s foot, which past by the Castle privately on the other side, rose from their ambush and assaulted the enemies body in the straight passage of the way which was between them, and so disorder’d their ranks and put them to flight. They who kept garison in the Castle of Edinburgh, perceiving from the higher ground that their men were flying toward them, sent out 80 horse and 30 foot to relieve them. With this supply they charg’d again, and the King’s horse, being fewer in number by half and not able to indure the brunt, fled back in as much haste as they had pursued before.
49. The foot was in a manner useless on both sides because of a great shower that fell suddenly from the clouds. In the pursuit of the Mortonians there were but two slain, more were wounded, and about 26 taken prisoners. Of the rebels there were more slain, but fewer prisoners taken. But one accident did almost equal the loss of both parties. They which came from Edinburgh brought with them a barrel of gun-powder, and as the souldiers in haste and carelesly went to take out some powder, a spark of fire light into it and blew it up, insomuch that the horse which carried it, James Melvil, the commander of the foot, and many other souldiers were so scorch’d and burnt that the most part of them, in a few days after, died. Whilst these things wee acting about Edinburgh, victory inclining to neither side, one troop of the Scots, who some years before had serv’d in Denmark under Michael Weems, a noble, virtuous, and learn’d young man, return’d into their own country and offer’d their service to the King, against the desires of the townsmen, who would willingly have drawn them over to their party. They had a little time allow’d them to visit their friends, and, coming together at the day appointed, they were inform’d that some ships were mann’d out by the rebels to intercept them. Morton himself was aware of the plot, and therefore, taking what force he could on a sudden make, without acquainting any body with his design he same so hastily to Leith that he had almost catch’d them before the went a-shipbord. Sixteen of the loiterers, who did not make such haste to lanch out their boat, he took prisoners on the shore. The next day he provided ships either to follow them (he could not do it sooner because of the tide) or to intercept them in their return. The Regent also was made acquainted with it the same night, who, speedily gathering some tumultuary force, hastned to the left shore of the fort to set upon the rebels when they landed. But the speed of the Danish souldiers rendred those endeavours needless, for the greatest part of them got aboard a large vessel and so past safely over. The rest, who were in a smaller skiff, were taken not far from Leith, and, being about twenty six, were brought prisoners to the Castle.
50. After this action, the Regent returned to Sterlin. Morton, being overladen with labour and watching, and troubled with the cholick too, fell sick at Leith. Drury, the English-man, who had transacted for a truce between the factions for so many days, could finally effect nothing. For the Regent would yield to no other terms but that the places which were seized on during the former truce should be restored. When Drury was about to depart, the rebels, as ’twere in testimony of respect and complement to him, drew forth all the strength that ever they could make, supposing that whilst Morton was sick they should either put their enemies into a terrible fright, who were inferior in number to themselves, or else, if they durst fight with the force they had, without their General, they might do some considerable execution upon them toward the ending of the war. Morton, being inform’d hereof by his guard of horse, rose presently out of his bed, and buckles on his armor, and brings up all his men into a neighbour-hill where he kept them ready for the onset about 400 paces from the enemy. Drury rode between both armies and earnestly desired both to return home, and not to brake off all hope of accommodation by over-rash and hasty counsels. Whereupon they both agreed to retreat, only the dispute was who should turn about their colours first. Drury endeavoured to compound this difference also, and desired of both that when he, standing in the middle between both armies, gave a sign, they should both retreat in one and the same moment. Morton was willing, but the rebels threatned that unless he retreated first of his own accord they would beat him shamefully out of the field. And indeed, they could hardly be kept from advancing their bodies toward him. When Morton heard this answer, he supposed he had satisfied Drury and the English, whom at this time he was unwilling to offend, but would rather have them witnesses of his moderation. Whereupon he presently drew forth against the enemy. First the horse made a brisk charge and routed the enemies wings. The foot attempted to charge, but were routed also. When the gate of the next street, being narrow, could not admit so many at once in their thick and hasty flight, many were there slain, many trodden under foot, many taken, none making any resistance but only a party of foot who, having the advantage of the next church-yard, rallied again, and yet at the first charge were a second time put to flight.
51. Their flight into the city was so confused that the guard left the gates and all fled into the Castle, so that, if the enemy that pursued had not been intent on the prey, they might have entred also the town pell-mell with them, as being unguarded. About 50 of the rebels were slain, and about 150 taken. Alexander Hume had a slight wound with a fall from his horse and was taken. Gawen Hamilton was killed. James Culen, Huntly’s kinsman, a commander of foot, hid himself in a poor woman’s pantry, but was discovered and brought to Leith. The common people, when they saw him, made such a shout that it plainly appeared they would not be satisfied but by his death. For in the former civil wars he had been a cruel and avaritious plunderer. He was infamous in his military imployment in France, and when the Kings of Denmark and Sweden were at odds he promised to serve them both, and accordingly had mony to raise souldiers from either, but couzen’d them both. And he, being thus taken, at length (as I said) to the great joy of all was led forth to his execution. After a few days rest, the towns men recruited their forces and then shewed themselves again in arms. After that, there were light skirmishes past betwixt the parties almost every day, with various events. The King’s parry were more valorous, but the rebels had places more convenient for ambushes; and besides, they had an high Castle from whence they might see all the motions of their enemies, neither would they ordinarily venture an onset any further than their ordnance out of the Castle could command. The Regent kept himself at Leith watching all their sallies and stopping all provisions by sea, for he could not do it by land by reason of the largeness of the city and inconvenience of the adjacent places, in the surrounding whereof many opportunities of service were lost.
52. Whilst these things were acting about the city, a French ship was taken that brought gun-powder, iron bullets, small brass-guns, and some mony to the rebels. The mony went to pay the souldiers, but the bullets, powder, and part of the guns being sent with little or no guard to Sterlin against the tide, the rebels, having intelligence thereof, procured some vessels from other havens and surprized them. But, not being able to carry their booty to the Castle, they sunk it in the river. About the same time, another ship was also taken, in which there was little else but letters and large promises of assistance speedily to be sent from France. For during the two whole last past years wherein, at times, there was war in Scotland, the Queen of England on behalf of the royalists, the King of France and the English Papists on behalf of the rebels, did send in some smallglemblets of mony, but loaded them with more promises, as rather studying that their side might not be conquer’d rather than conquer, respectively. Both of the were willing matters should be to that pinch of necessity. The Queen of England’s design was that the Scots, being worn out by their divisions, might be willing to send their King into England, and so seem to depend wholly on her. The French did it that the rebels might surrender Dunbarton and Edinburgh to him, and, by those two commanding garisons from both seas, he would keep the Scots always in fear of his arms. But, despairing of the Queen’s delivery, and Dunbarton Castle being lost, he mov’d but slowly in the cause of the rebels. His aim only was that, the kingdom being exhausted with domestick sedition, he might undertake a new and unnecessary war for the sake of one castle only. It was enough, he thought, at present if it did not fall into the enemies hands. The Scots were fully resolved not to give up their King to the English upon the account of old controversies, and also because the English Papists were so strong, who plac’d all their hopes in his death. For, if he were taken out of the way, the Queen of England would not only seem weaker, seeing it was the life of one King only that delayed their hopes, but also the Queen of Scots was the undoubted heir of the whole kingdom, who by her marriage might gratify whom she pleased with the realm, and so bear a great figure in the change of the state of religion through all Europe. And in the English Court there were some no mean men who preferred the hope of novelty before ancient courtesies; yet if, as long as the King of Scots was alive, they should cut off Elizabeth, may of those of the Queen’s Privy-Council feared lest the known wickedness of the Scots Queen might diminish her authority and increase her son’s power, and so for fear of tyranny endear him more to the English. Whereupon the English rebels were willing to destroy the Queen of England and King of Scots both, and, not succeeding in doing it openly, they resolved upon poison.
53. Matters standing thus in Scotland, both factions prepared themselves against the approaching sitting of the Parliament. The rebels had only three of the Lords voting with them, of which two were the Proctors or Commissioners to the Convention to be held in the Queen’s name. The third, Alexander Hume, was the only man who had right to vote. And of the ecclesiastical order two bishops, the one banish’d thither a few months before by the Regent, and, the state of the city being changed, not daring to depart without a convoy, he staid there against his will; the other was a bankrupt who, having spent his estate, was driven thither by necessity. By their votes above 200 were condemned, some of them being children under age. Moreover, the malapert [overconfident] souldiers, as if they had already got the victory, divided other mens patrimonies among themselves, and so put many quiet and innocent persons (and by that means more liable to injuries) into the roll of the confiscate. The Regent went to Sterlin, where he had a great Convention of the Nobles. Therein about thirty of the obstinatest of the Queen’s party were condemn’d; the rest were put off in hopes of pardon. The rebels thought this a fit opportunity for them to attempt something in the absence of the Nobility, and thereupon they drew all their forces out of the city, and, to make a greater show, the townsmen with them. The set them in battel-array, that so, as in former times, by light skirmishes they might draw the King’s forces out of Leith. In the mean time, while the enemy were kept in play by them, they resolved to send the rest privately to march about, and, when the garison was drawn out, to enter in at the opposite gates and so burn the down. Patrick Lindsy was Governour of Leith, a wise and valiant person. He drew forth his forces, having sufficiently provided against their treachery, and marched directly towards the enemy. They fought stoutly at first. At last he gave the revels a round salvo and so beat them back, yet not without loss, to the gates of the town. A great many prisoners were brought off, but the most part of them were townsmen. Alexander Hume was taken once, but reliev’d again by his own side.
54. In the evening, as the King’s party was retreating, joyous for the victory, James Haliburton, a good man and a skilful souldier who commanded all the foot, being too far from his body, was taken by a troop of horse in the twilight, when he could not discern of whose party they were in the high-way, and so carried prisoner into the city. Upon this loss the rebels took heart to make another attempt, as full of danger and boldness, so more likely, if it had succeeded, to put an end to the whole war. For, having receiv’d intelligence by their spies that the Nobility of the contrary faction at Sterlin were so careless and remiss that in an open town they had not so much as a night-guard, as if it had been a time of perfect peace, they took 300 foot and 200 horse and march’d thither. To ease the foot, who were hastily called forth, they took away all the country-mens horses who came to market the day before, and if they occasionally lighted on any other horses by the way, they took them also. The captains in that expedition were George Gordon, Claud Hamilton, and Walter Scot. They were much encouraged by the undertaking by George Bell, an ensign of a foot-company who was born at Sterlin. He knew all the convenient passages and accesses into the town, and was made acquainted in writing with all the Noble mens lodgings. He have them assured hopes that they would quickly master all, insomuch that they were so confident of success in their march as to appoint whom to kill and whom to save alive.
55. They came to the town early in the morning and found things in profound security; not so much as a dog opened his mouth against them. So they silently enter’d the town and, without any resistance, went up to the market-place. They set guards at all the passes thither, and then went to the Noblemens lodgings. The rest were easily taken, only James Douglas, Earl of Morton, put some stop to them in his lodging. When they could not break in upon him by force they set fire to the house. One or two of his servants who stoutly defended the passes were slain, and he himself, when all was a-fire, hardly escaping out of the flames, surrendred himself to Walter Scot, his kinsman, then near at hand. Moreover, the Regent was taken prisoner at the same time. His men did not stand it out valiantly in his defence, but he was forc’d to defend himself alone, and at last was taken prisoner. Alexander Earl of Glencarn and Hugh Earl of Englington were reserv’d under a guard for execution. For Claud Hamilton told his men they should kill all the Nobles of the contrary faction as soon as ever they pass’d out of the gates, without any distinction. All things thus succeeding beyond expectation, the common souldiers scattered themselves all over the town to get plunder. Thereupon John Erskin, Governour of the Castle, who had before tried to break through the enemy in the market-place, but in vain, they were so strongly posted, sent a party of musqueteers into his own new house, which was then a-building and not quite finish’d, from whence there was a prospect into the whole market-place. This house, because it was uninhabited and not compleated, was neglected by the enemy and afforded a safe post to the royalists whence to play on their enemies. When the rebels saw that they were shot at from an high place garison’d against them, with unequal weapons, they presently turn’d their backs and ran away in such fear that, when they came to the narrow way leading to the gate, they trod down one another.
56. That which saved them was there were but few to pursue, for they who had driven them out of the market-place could come out but one by one through the gate of the new house, which was but one neither, and that half-shut too, towards the town. But a few came forth from other houses where they stood armed, ready for all events. Thus the whole souldiery, which the day before had attempted so desperate a piece of service and had almost successfully finish’d it, were driven out of the town in such fear and confusion that they left their prisoners and every one shifted for himself. In this onset there was only one man of note slain, and that was George Ruven, a young gentleman of great hopes, who, pressing too eagerly upon the thickest of the enemies, lost his life. And Alexander Stuart of Gairlice, when he was led away prisoner, was killed; ’tis not known whether by his own men or the enemy. In this great trepidation and affrightment, they who before kept within their own doors for fear now came abroad. They who had taken James Douglas and Alexander Cuningham prisoners, seeing no hopes to escape, surrendred themselves up to their captives. David Spence, captain of horse amongst the rebels, was leading away the Regent. He knew that many lay in wait for his life and therefore he defended him with all the care he could, insomuch that, when the ruffians aim’d at and shot the Regent, they hit him too and he died the same day to the great grief of both parties, for he was an accomplished young man in all endowments both of body and mind, and inferiour to no man of his age in Scotland. After his decease, the enemies horse never did any memorable service. Two of the Regent’s murderers were put to death, not being able to escape. The rest fled in such fear that the prisoners whom they had taken escap’d out of their hands. For certain, the whole of the enemies party might have been destroyed if there had been troops enow of horse to have pursued. But the tories [bandits] of Teviotdale at their first entrance into the town had plundered all the horses, that saved them. The slain of both sides were almost equal. Of the royalists, not a man was carry’d away prisoner; of the other side, many, most of which were intent upon the prey and so were taken in the houses which they were a-rifling.
57. The Regent died the same day of his wounds. His funerals were celebrated in haste, as well they could in such an hurry, and then the Nobles which were there assembled to create another Regent to succeed him. They chose three out of their own numbers, having first given them an oath to stand by the decision of the Nobility, and thus as candidates they were to expect the issue of the next Assembly. The three were Gilespy Cambel, Earl of Argyle, James Douglas, Earl of Morton, and John Erskin, Earl of Marr. All the votes pitched on John Erskin. H
is first attempt was to assault Edinburgh, there having been an army appointed to be levy’d by the former Regent against the first of October, but this sudden change of affairs made it to be deferred till the 15th of the same month. That delay was a great hindrance to business, for it gave liberty to the townsmen, who wrought night and day to perfect their works, so that the early, winter, the long nights, the bad weather in those cold countries, the difficulty of conveying provisions, and his want of military accommodations caused him to return without carrying the place. For some months succeeding sallies were made, but of no great advantage to either side. For the prospect of the Castle, being free and open to all parts, gave opportunity to the rebels that they would never come to handy-blows, nor yet fall into any ambush. For by a signal given from an high place in the Castle they were easily warn’d to retreat in time. Yet once, when all the horse and foot issu’d out of the town to intercept a few of the royalists, and they present upon them who pretended hastily to fly away, when they in the Castle saw the colours of some companies start up from a neighbour-valley, presently they sounded a retreat to them. Whereupon the rebels, before they came to the place of ambush, retreated back in great fear, and their flight was so much the more confus’d because, though they were advis’d of their danger before-hand, yet they did not know what, or from whence, it was, nor could they so much as suspect it. Those few horsemen which before counterfeited to fly away did so press upon their rear that they caus’d the foot to break their ranks, and every one ran to the city as fast as ever he could. Many were wounded and taken, and among them some captains and cornets of horse.
58. Whilst matters were thus slowly carried on about the city, in the country towards the North there was a great loss receiv’d upon this occasion. There were two families of great power in those parts, the Gordons and the Forbes’s. The Gordons liv’d in great concord amongst themselves and, by the King’s commission, had for many years presided over the neighbouring countries and so increas’d their ancient power and authority. On the other side, the Forbes’s were always at difference and continually weakned one another, but neither of them had now for many years made any attempt upon the other, there being rather a secret emulation than an open breach betwixt them. In the family of the Forbes’s there was one Arthur, a witty and an active man, and who from the beginning of the following out had always been on the King’s side. He thought ’twas then time for him to set up his own name and his families, and also to advance the power of the party which he followed. He first then endeavour’d to reconcile all of his own family. If he could effect that, he fear’d not any power that could be rais’d against him in those parts. When a day was appointed for that purpose, Adam Gordon, brother to the Earl of Huntly, by all means endeavour’d to hinder it, and therefore, giving private notice to his friends and vassals, there came a great number of them to the place. There were two troops of the Forbes’s in sight, but before they could join he set upon one of them and kill’d Arthur presently. At his fall, the rest were scatter’d and put to flight. Some eminent men were slain, many were taken, the rest some days after dar’d not stir for fear lest those they had taken prisoners should suffer for it. And their fear was increas’d by the burning of Alexander Forbes’s house with his wife, great with child, his children, and servants in it. Arthur Forbes’s elder brother, who was chief of the sept, after his house was taken and plunder’d, hardly escapt and came to Court. There, tho they were somewhat strained themselves, yet there were 200 foot granted to him and to the Nobles that follow’d his party; and withal letters were written to the neighbour-Nobility to join with him.
58. When they were thus join’d with the rest of the Forbes’s and some near families, they thought themselves secure enough from force, but they wanted a chief commander over them, for the heads of the families were most young men and there was scarce one more eminent than another amongst them, so that, they being unresolv’d in their counsels, John Keith with 500 horse went home to his own house, which was not far distant. Alexander Forbes and his vassals with 200 foot march’d to Aberdeen to drive Adam Gordon from thence and to refresh his men after their march. Adam, receiving intelligence that his enemy was advancing with but a small party, draws his men out of the town and, to make a show of a greater multitude, compell’d the towns-men to draw forth with them, so that there was a sharp conflict in the field near the town. The King’s foot, out of eagerness to fight, followed the Gordonians too far, and, having no reserves, were repuls’d and put to flight, principally by the archers. There were not many of them kill’d because the fight lasted till dark night, but several taken, and amongst them Alexander Forbes himself, after he had stoutly defended himself against them a long time.
60. This success in the North did mightily incourage the rebels to attempt greater matters. Whereupon, in a different part of the country, they resolv’d to attaque Jedburgh, a town, as the country custom was, unfortfi’d, but the inhabitants were very valiant and some years before had stoutly resisted the rebels. Thomas Carr of Farnihest and Thomas Scot liv’d near the town. They, besides their own clans, which were numerous enough, had associated to them the three neighbour countries Liddisdale, Ewesdale, and Eskdale, places always given to robbery, but then, in regard of the licentiousness of the civil war, they rang’d for booty uncontrollably, even a great way off. And besides, in Teviotdale it self there were some great families noted for robbing and pillaging, either being infected by their neighbours or because they had been customably used to drive preys out of their enemies country. Neither did they only come in, but some of the neighbouring English, in hopes of booty, join’d themselves with them; and besides, they sent for 120 musqueteers from Edinburgh, select men out of all the foot companies. The Jedburgians knew that they were aim’d at, and therefore they sent in haste to the Regent to acquaint him with their danger. They only desir’d a few light harnessed souldiers from him. In the mean time, they were not wanting to do their best. They sent for Walter Carr of Sesford and levy’d a reasonable number of souldiers out of the neighbourhood, and fortifi’d their town as the time would permit. Both parties were also inform’d at the same time that William Ruven was come as far as Driburgh with 120 horse and foot, part of which he had brought with him, and part he rais’d in the neighbour-county of Merch. But the rebels, being confident of their number, as being 3000 men, march’d to the town early in the morning to prevent the coming in of their relief. Ruven suspected they would do so, and therefore march’d speedily after them and made some attempts upon their rear. And moreover Walter Carr join’d the townsmen to his souldiers and drew forth directly towards the enemy. They, seeing this, that they might not be enclos’d before and behind too, presently retreated to places of greater advantage.
61. The robbers or tories who came in for hopes of plunder, seeing the town fortifi’d and the royalists ready for the encounter, return’d the nearest way they could to their own homes, and the rebels with their vassals and a company of foot retreat to Hawick, never thinking that the enemy would in the least attempt any thing against them there. And their hopes were increas’d by the winter-season, which was sharper than ordinary by reason of a great quantity of snow lately fallen which cover’d all the ground. But Ruven intended to make use of the opportunity, and in the third watch drew out his party and march’d so speedily towards Hawick that he was in a mile of it before the enemy took the alarum.
They at Hawick were so amaz’d that there was no room for counsel left, but foot and horse were immediately drawn out and, following the current of the next river, endeavour’d to retreat to a place of more safety. But the swiftness of their pursuers prevented them. The horse knew the country and made a shift to escape, but the foot were left for a prey. They possest themselves of a small wood on a rock near the river. There they were surrounded by the horse and, not adventuring to stay till the foot came up, they all surrendred themselves at mercy. But seeing that other dangers were to be prevented, and they could not be carried up and down in so sharp a winter, having past their words to return at an appointed day and leaving some hostages to that purpose, they were sent home without their arms. When they were discharged, Kircade made sleeveless [feeble] pretences to elude their promises, and so hinder’d them from returning at the time appointed. The rest of the winter and the following spring was wholly spent in light skirmishes wherein few fell, but more of the rebels than royalists. for the rebels, when they saw an advantage, would draw out on the hills near the city, and, before they had scarce begun a skirmish, would retire, sometimes, again into the city.
62. In the interim, frequent embassies came from England to reconcile the
factions, but without effect. For the Queen of England, tho she most favour’d the King’s party, yet she was willing to make peace as to ingage both parties to her. But the French were wholly inclin’d to the Queen’s cause, and therefore by large promises hindered peace and advis’d to continue the war. Some mony they sent at present, not enough to do the business but only to feed hope, and a great part of what was sent was still nibbled away by those that brought it. In the mean time, light skirmishes past for some months betwixt the parties, but not at all contributing to the main chance. Neither were other parts of the kingdom free from plunderings and firings. Adam Gordon gather’d a party and, entring Angus, besieg’d Douglas’s House of Glembervy, and, finding that himself was absent, they miserably burnt and destroy’d all that he had left behind, which struck such a fear into those of Dundee that they call’d in the garisons from the adjoining parts of Fife to their assistance. They were enemies to the Gordonians, as having been highly faithful, continually, to the King’s cause. About this time, Blackness was betray’d by the Governor thereof to the Hamiltons. ’Tis a Castle that hinders commerce betwixt Leith and Sterlin. The Regent broke down all the mills about Edinburgh, he also garison’d all the Noble men’s houses about it and stopt all passages into the city. Many prisoners were taken on both sides. Archibald Douglas, one of Morton’s familiar friends, was apprehended on suspicion, which was increas’d upon him by the baseness of his former life, and also by some letters found about him; yea, after he was taken entercourse of letters past betwixt him and the enemy which evidenc’d that he had assisted the rebels by advice and action too, as having transmitted to them both mony and arms.