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THE SEVENTH BOOK
have declared in the former Book how eagerly Kennethus and his son Malcolm did strive to settle the succession to the crown in their families that the eldest son might succeed the father. But what the success thereof was will appear in the sequel. This is certain, that the publick benefit which was promised to the whole kingdom, nor yet the private advantage alleged to arise to our Kings thereby, were not at all obtained by this new law. An universal good to all was pretended in thus settling the succession, that seditions, murders and treacheries might be prevented amongst those of the blood; and also that ambition, with the other mischiefs accompanying it, might be rooted out from amongst the Nobles. But, on the contrary, when I enquire into the causes of publick grievances and compare the old with the modern, it seems to me that all those mischiefs which we would have avoided by this new law are so far from being extinguished by the antiquating of the old that they rather receive a great in crease therefrom. For, not to speak of the plots of their kindred against those who are actually in the throne, nor of a present King’s evil suspitions of those whom nature and the law would have accounted as most dear to him, I say, omitting these things, which in the series of our history will be further explained, all the miseries of former ages may seem light and tolerable if compared with those calamities which followed upon the death of Alexander the Third. Neither will I insist upon the particulars following, viz., that that law doth enervate the force of all public councils without which no lawful government can subsist. That it doth willingly and by consent create those evils to our selves which others who have interest in publick governments do chiefly, if not only, deprecate, viz., to have Kings over whom other governors must be appointed. And so the people are to be universally committed into their power who have no power over themselves, insomuch that those persons who are hardly brought to obey wise, prudent and experienced Kings, are now required to yield obedience, as it were, to the very shadow of a King, by which means we willingly precipitate our selves into those punishments which God threatens to those who despise and contemn His holy majesty, namely that children, male or female, may reign over us, whom the law of nations, and even nature it self (the mother of all laws) hath subjected to the rule of others. As for the private benefit that Kings aim at by this law, i. e., that they may perpetuate their name and stock, how vain and fallacious that pretence is, the examples of the ancients, yea even nature it self, might inform them, if they had but considered by how many laws and rewards the Romans endeavoured to perreniate [make enduring] the mighty names of their families, of which yet no one footstep remains at this day, no not in any part of the world which they had conquered.
2. Which disappointment doth deservedly attend those who fight even against nature it self by endeavouring to cloath a fading, frail thing, subject to momentany alterations and blasts of fortune, with a sort of perpetuity, and to endow it with a kind of eternity which they themselves neither are partakers of, nor can be; yea, they strive to effect it by those mediums which are most cross to their purpose. For what is less conducive to perpetuity than tyranny? Yet this new law makes a great step thereto, for a tyrant is, as it were, the white [target] or mark exposed to the hate of all men, insomuch that he cannot long subsist, and when he falls all his fall with him. It seems to me that God doth sometimes gently chastize and disappoint this endeavour of foolish men, and sometimes He doth expose it even to publick scorn, as if it were emulous of His own power. There can be no clearer or fitter example of Gods will and pleasure than that which we have now under our hands. For Malcolm, who so much laboured to confirm the law (which was almost forcibly enacted by his father) by common suffrage and consent, for the Kings children to be substituted in the room of their deceased parents, even he left no male-child behind him, but he had two daughters, one called Beatrix, whom he married to a Nobleman named Grimus, the Thane of the western islands and the chief of all other Thanes, and therefore styled in that age Abthane; the other, named Doaca, he married to the Thane of Angus, by whom he begot Mackbeth or Macbeda, of whom in his place.
3. DONALDUS VII, THE EIGHTY FOURTH KING
Malcolm being slain, as hath been related, Donaldus, his nephew by his daughter Beatrix, succeeded him, a prince of great courtesy, and of more indulgence to his own kindred than became a King. For he was a mild and inclineable disposition, and from his youth he gave forth omens of his popularity. For in the most difficult times, when he was made Governor of Cumberland by his grandfather and could not come to the King (by reason of the Danish troops which swarmed over the country and stopped all passages) to swear to the laws, yet he faithfully took part with the English until Canutus, having had the rest of England surrendred to to him, made an expedition against him, and then he submitted himself to the Danes on the same conditions under which he obeyed the English before. This also was popular in him, that he administered justice with great equity, and every year he visited the provinces to hear the complaints of the poor, and, as much as he could, he would not suffer the great men to oppress them. But as these virtues did endear him to the good, so they lessen’d his authority among the lovers of sedition, so hat his clemency to the former occasioned the rage of wicked men against him. The beginning of lessening and despising his government hapned in Loch-Abyr upon the account of one Bancho, Thane of that country, a strict lover of impartial justice. Some ill men, not enduring his severity in punishments, made a conspiracy against him, plundered him of his goods, and drove him away, being wounded and almost dead. As soon as ever his wounds permitted him to endure the jogging of his body, he took a journy and complained to the King. The King sent a publick officer to do justice upon the offenders, but he was grievously affronted and afterwards slain by them, so great security did they fancy to themselves by reason of the lenity (but, as they interpreted it, sloth) of a good King. The chief of that faction which raised the rebellion was named Mac-duald, who, despairing of a pardon, prepares himself for an open war. He called in the islanders to his assistance (who were always prone to sedition) and also the forwardest of the Irish, in hopes of prey. The told them that under an effeminate and slothful King, who was fitter to rule monks than warriors, there was no fear of punishment, but there might be great hopes of advantage, and that he did not doubt but that the Scots, who were, was it were, fettered with the chains of a long peace under the former King, when an alarm was sounded to the war, would come in to recover their ancient liberty.
4. These exhortations were seconded with a succesfull beginning which much heartned the party. There was one Malcolm, of the prime Nobility, sent by the King against them with some forces, but his army was presently overthrown by them and he himself, being taken prisoner, had his head cut off by them. The King, being troubled at this overthrow, called a council together to consult of what was fit to be done. Some were very slow in delivering their opinions, but Mackbeth, kinsman to the King, laid the blame of the misfortune on the sluggishness of former times, withal promising that if the command or generalship were bestowed on him and Bancho, who was well acquainted with that country, he would quickly subdue all and quiet things. This Mackbeth was of a very sharp wit and of a very lofty spirit, and, if moderation had accompanied it, he had been worthy of a command, tho’ an eminent one. But in punishing offenders he was so severe that, having no respect to the laws, he seemed soon likely to degenerate into cruelty. When the chief command of the army was conferred upon him, many were so terrified that, casting aside their hopes which they had conceived by reason of the Kings slothful temper, they hid themselves in holes and corners. The islanders and the Irish, their flight being stopp’d, were driven into great despair, and in a fierce fight were every one of them slain. Macduala himself with a few others flying into a neighbour castle, being past all hopes of pardon, redeemed himself and his from the opprobriousness of his enemies by a voluntary death. Mackbeth, not content with that punishment, cut off his head and sent it to the King at Perth, and hung up the rest of his body for all to behold in a conspicuous place. Those of the Red-shanks [the islanders] which he took he caused to be hanged.
5. This domestick sedition being appeased, a far greater terror succeeded and seized on him, occasioned by the Danes. For Sueno, the powerful King of the Danes, dying, left three kingdoms to his three sons, England to Harold, Norway to Sueno, and Denmark to Canutus. Harold dying soon after, Canutus succeeded him in the realm of Scotland Sueno (or Swain), King of Norway, being emulous of his brothers glory, crossed the seas with a great navy and landed in Fife. Upon the bruit [rumor] of his coming Mackbeth was sent to levy an Army, Bancho, the other General, staying in the interim with the King.’ Duncanus or Donald, as if he had been rouzed from a fit of sluggishness, was forced to go meet the enemy. They fought near Culross with such obstinate courage that as one party was scarce able to fly, to the other had no heart to pursue. The Scots, who look’d upon themselves as overcome rather by the incommodiousness of the place than by the valour of their enemies, retreated to Perth and there staid with the relicts of their conquered forces, waiting for the motions of the enemy. Swain, thinking that if he pressed eagerly on them all Scotland would speedily be his own, made towards Perth with all his forces to besiege Duncan. His ships he sent around by the Tay to meet him there. Duncan, tho’ he much confided in the present posture of affairs because Mackbeth was very near him with a new supply of force, yet being counselled by Bancho to piece out his force by stratagem, he sent messengers, on to Mackbeth to desire him to stop were he was, and another to Swain to treat about the surrender of the town. The Scots desired that upon the surrender they and theirs might have liberty to depart in safety. Swain, supposing their request proceeded from the very bottom of despair, would hear of nothing but surrendring at mercy. Upon this, he sent other messengers with unlimited instructions and a command to delay time in making conditions; who to ingratiate themselves the more, told the Norwegians that, whilst the conditions of peace were propounding and setling, their King would send abundance of provisions into their camp, as knowing that they were not over-plentiful in victuals. That gift was acceptable to the Norwegians, not so much on the account of the Scots bounty or their own penury as that they thought was a sign their spirits were cowed out and quite broken. Whereupon a good deal of bread and wine was sent, both wine pressed out of the grape and also strong drink made of barly-malt mixed with the juice of a poysonous herb whereof abundance grows in Scotland called Somniferous Night-shade. The stalk of it is above two foot long and in its upper part spreads into branches. the leaves are broadish, acuminated on the outside and faintly green. The berrys are great and of a black colour when they are ripe, which proceed out of the stalk under the bottom of the leaves. Their taste is sweetish and almost insipid. It hath a very small seed, as little as the grains of a fig. The virtue of the fruit, root, and especially of the seed, is soporiferous, and will make men mad if they be taken in too great quantities.
6. With this herb all the provision was infected, and they that carried it, to prevent all suspition of fraud, tasted of it before and invited the Danes to drink huge draughts thereof. Swain himself in token of good will did the same, according to the custom of his nation. But Duncan, knowing that the potion would reach to their very vitals whilst they were asleep, had in great silence admitted Mackbeth with his forces into the city by a gate which was furthest off from the enemies camp, and, understanding by his spies that the enemy was fast asleep and full of wine, he sent Bancho before, who well knew all the avenues both of that place and of the enemies camp too, with the greatest part of the army, placing the rest in ambush. He, entring their camp and making a great shout, found all things in a greater posture of negligence than he imagined before. There were a few raised up at the noise, who running up and down like mad-men were slain as they were met. The others were killed sleeping. Their King, who was almost dead drunk, wanting not only strength but sense also, was snatcht up by some few who were not so much overcome with wine as the rest, and laid like a log or beast upon an horse which they casually lighted on, and so carried to the ships. There their case was almost as bad as in the camp, for almost all the seamen were slain ashore, so that there could scarce be got together so many of them as were sufficient to guide one ship. Yet by this means the King escaped to his country. The rest of the ships by stress of weather fell foul upon one another and were sunk, and by the accession of sand and other trash which the water carries heaped up together, there was made an hillock dangerous to sailers, which the vulgar call Drumilaw-sands. While the Scots were joyous for this victory, obtained without blood, news was brought that a fleet of Danes rode at King-horn, which was sent by Canutus to help Swain. The soldiers and passengers, landing, did seize upon and carry away the goods of the Fifans without any resistance. Bancho was sent with forces against them, who, assaulting the foremost, made a great slaughter amongst them. These were the principal men of the nation, the rest were easily driven back to their ships. Bancho is reported to have sold the burying places for the slain for a great deal of money. Their sepulchres, they say, are yet to be seen in the isle Aemona. ’Tis reported that the Danes, having made so many unlucky expeditions into Scotland, bound themselves by a solemn oath never to return as enemies thither any more.
7. When matters thus prosperously succeeded with the Scots both at home and abroad, and all things flourished in peace, Mackbeth, who had always a disgust at the un-active slothfulness of his cousin, and thereupon had conceived a secret hope of the kingdom in his mind, was further encouraged in his ambitious thoughts by a dream which he had. For one night, when he was far distant from the King, he seemed to see three women whose beauty was more august and surprizing than bare womens useth to be, of which one saluted him Thane of Angus, another Thane of Murray, and a third King of Scotland. His mind, which was sick betwixt hope and desire, was mightily encouraged by this dream, so that he contrived all possible ways by which he might obtain the kingdom, in order to which a just occasion was offered to him, as he thought. Duncan begat two sons on the daughter of Sibert, a petty King of Northumberland, Malcolm Cammorus (which is as much as jolt-head [blockhead]) and Donaldus, sirnamed Banus, i. e., white. Of these he made Malcolm, scarce yet out of his childhood, Governor of Cumberland. Mackbeth took this matter mightily hainously in regard he look’d upon it as an obstacle of delay to him in his obtaining the kingdom. For having arrived at the enjoyment of his other honours promised him by his dream, by this means he thought that either he should be secluded altogether from the kingdom, or else should be much retarded in the enjoyment thereof, in regard the government of Cumberland was always look’d upon as the first step to the kingdom of Scotland. Besides, his mind, which was feirce enough of it self, was spurred on by the daily importunities of his wife (who was privy to all his counsels). Whereupon, communicating the matter to his most intimate friends, amongst whom Bancho was one, he got a fit opportunity at Innerness to way-lay the King, and so slew him in the seventh year of his reign, and gathering a company together went to Scone, and under the shelter of popular favour made himself King. Duncan’s children were astonished at this sudden disaster. They saw their father was slain, the author of the murder in the throne, and the snares laid for them to take away their lives, that so by their deaths the kingdom might be confirmed to Mackbeth. Whereupon they shifted up and down and hid themselves, and thus for a time escaped his fury. But perceiving that no place could long secure them from his rage, and that, being of a feirce nature, there was no hope of clemency to be expected from him, they fled several ways, Malcolm into Cumberland and Donald to the kindred of his father in the Aebudae islands.
8. MACKBETH, THE EIGHTY FIFTH KING
Mackbeth, to confirm the ill-gotten kingdom to himself, procured the valour of the Nobles by great gifts, being secure of the Kings children because of their age, and of his neighbouring princes in regard of their mutual animosities and discords. Thus having engaged the great men, he determined to procure the favour of the vulgar by justice and equity, and to retain it by severity if nothing else would do. Whereupon he determined with himself to punish the free-booters or thieves who had taken courage from the lenity of Duncan, but foreseeing that this could not be done without great tumults and much ado, he devised this project, which was to sow the seeds of discord amongst them by some fit men for that purpose, that thereupon they might challenge one another, and so some of them might fight in equal and divided numbers one with another. All this was to be done on one and the same day, and that in the most remote parts of Scotland too. When they all met at the time appointed, they were taken by an ambush which he had laid for that purpose. Their punishment strook a terrour into the rest. Besides, he put to death the Thanes of Caithnes, Ross, Sutherland and Narn, and some others of the clans, by whose fewds the commonalty was miserably harassed before. Afterwards he went into the Aebudae islands and used severe justice there. After his return from thence, he once or twice summoned Macgill or Macgild, the powerfullest man in all Galway, to appear, but he refused so to do rather out of fear for being of Malcolm’s faction than for the guilt of the crimes objected to him, whereupon he sent forces against him, who overthrew him in battel and cut off his head. The publick peace being thus restored, he applied his mind to make laws (a thing almost wholly neglected by former Kings), and indeed he enacted many good and useful ones, which are now either wholly unknown or else lie unobserved, to the great damage of the publick. In a word, he so managed the government for ten years that, if he had not obtained it by violence, he might have been accounted inferior to none of the former Kings.
9. But when he had so strengthened himself with the aid and favour of the multitude that he feared no force to disturb him, the murder of the King (as ’tis very probable) hurried his mind into dangerous precipices, so that he converted his government, got by treachery, into a cruel tyranny. He vented the first shock of his inhumanity upon Bancho, who was his companion in the Kings parricide. Some ill men had spread a kind of prophecie abroad among the vulgar that hereafter his posterity should enjoy the kingdom, whereupon, fearing lest he, being a powerful and active man and also of the blood royal, should imitate the example proposed by himself, he courteously invited him and his son to supper, but in his return he caused him to be slain, as if a sudden fray and tumult had arisen. His son Felanchus, being not known in the dark, escaped the ambush, and being informed by his friends how his father was treacherously slain by the King and that his life was also sought after, he fled secretly into Wales. Upon the murder, so cruelly and perfidiously committed, the Nobles were afraid of themselves, insomuch that they all departed to their own homes and came but few of them, and those very seldom, to Court, so that the Kings cruelty being partly discovered by some, and partly vehemently suspected by all, mutual fear and hatred sprung up betwixt him and the Nobility. Whereupon, seeing the matter could no longer be concealed, he broke forth into open tyranny, and the rich and powerful, for light, frivolous, and many times but pretended causes, were put to death. Their confiscated goods helped to maintain a band of debauchees which he had about him under the name of a guard. And yet the thought that his life was not sufficiently secured by them neither, so that he resolved to build a castle on the top of the hill Dunsinnan where there was a large prospect all over the country, which work proceeding but slowly on by reason of the difficulty of carriage of materials thither, he commanded in all the Thanes of the whole kingdom, and so dividing the task amongst them, they themselves were to oversee that the labourers did their duty.
10. At that time, Mackduff was the Thane of Fife, a very powerful man in his country. He, being loth to commit his life unto the Kings hands, went not himself, but sent thither many workmen, and some of them his intimate friends, to press on the work. The King, either out of a desire (as was pretended) to see how the building proceeded, or else to apprehend Mackduff (as he himself feared), came to view the structure, and by chance spying a teem of Mackduff’s oxen not able to draw up their load against a steep hill, he took thence a willing occasion to vent his passion against the Thane, saying that he knew well enough before his disobedient temper, and therefore was resolved to punish it, and to make him an example he threatened to lay the yoke upon his own neck, instead of his oxen. Mackduff, hearing of it, commended the care of his family to his wife, and without any delay fitted up a small vessel, as well as the streights of time permitted, and so passed over into Lothian, and from thence into England. The King, hearing that he intended to fly, made haste into Fife with a strong band of men to prevent him, but, he being departed before, the King was presently admitted into his castle, where he poured out all his fury upon the Thane’s wife and children who were there present. His goods were confiscated, he himself was proclaimed traitor, and a grievous punishment was threatened to any who dared to converse with or entertain him. He exercised also great cruelty against others, if they were either noble or rich, without distinction. For now the Nobility was despised by him and he managed the government by domestick counsels. In the mean time Macduff, arriving in England, found Malcolm there, royally treated by King Edward. For Edward, when the Danes power was broken in England, being recalled form banishment, did favour Malcolm, who was bright to him by Sibert (his grandfather by his mothers side) for many reasons, as either because his father and grandfather, when Governors of Cumberland, had always favoured the concerns of his ancestors as much as the times would permit them to do; or else because the similitude of events and the remembrance of dangers did assimilate their minds, for each King had been unjustly banished by tyrants; or lastly because the affliction of Kings doth conciliate and move the minds even of the greatest strangers to pity and favour them. Whereupon the Thane, as soon as he had opportunity to speak with Malcolm, in a long discourse declared to him the necessity of his unhappy flight, the cruelty of Mackbeth against all ranks of men, with the universal hatred of the people conceived against him, so that he advised him in an accurate harangue, as he was a son, so to endeavour the recovery of his fathers kingdom, especially seeing he could not, without incurring a great deal of guilt, leave the murder of his father to pass unrevenged, nor neglect the miseries of the people which God had committed to his charge, nor, finally, ought he to shut his ears against the just petitions of his friends. Besides, he told him that King Edward was so gracious a prince that he would not be wanting to him, his friend and suppliant; that the people did also favour him and hated the tyrant; in fine, that God’s favour would attend the good against the impious, if he were not wanting to himself.
11. Malcolm, who had often before been persuaded and solicited to return by messengers secretly sent to him from Mackbeth, that he might not be ensnared before he committed so great a concern to fortune, resolved to try the faithfulness of Mackduff, and therefore he framed his answer thus. “I know (says he) that all what thou hast said is true, but I am afraid that you who invite me to undertake the regal government do not thoroughly know my disposition. For those vices which have already destroyed many Kings, viz., lust and avarice, do almost reign even in me too, and tho now my private fortune doth hide and disguise them, yet the liberty of a kingdom will let loose the reins thereunto. And therefore (said he) pray have a care that you invite me not rather to my ruin than to a throne.” When Macduff had replyed thereto that the lust and desire of many concubines might be prevented by a lawful marriage, and that avarice might be also bounded and forborn when the fear of penury (as it must be upon a throne) is removed, Malcolm subjoyned that he had rather now make an ingenious [ingenuous, frank ] confession to him to him as a friend than to be found guilty hereafter to the great damage to them both. “For my self, I do deal plainly with you (said he), there is no truth nor sincerity in me. I confide in no body living, but I change my designs and counsels upon every blast of suspition, and thus from the inconstancy of my own disposition I use to make a judgment of other mens.” Whereupon Mackduff replied, “Avant (says he) thou disgrace and prodigy of the royal name and stock, worthier to be sent into the remotest desert than to be called to a throne.” And in a great anger he was about to fling away. Then Malcolm took him by the hand and declared the cause of this his dissimulation to him, telling them that he had been so often assaulted by the wiles of Mackbeth that he did not dare lightly to trust every body. But now he saw no cause to suspect any fraud in Macduff in respect either of his lineage, his manners, fame, nor fortune. Thus they, plighting their faith one to another, consulted concerning the destruction of the tyrant, and advised their friends of it by secret messages. King Edward assisted him with ten thousand men, over whom Malcolm’s grandfather by the mother’s side was made General. At the report of this armies march there was a great combustion in Scotland, and many flock’d in daily to the new King. Mackbeth, being deserted by almost all his men in so suddain a revolt, not knowing what better course to take, shut himself up in the castle of Dunsinnan and sent his friends into the Aebudae and into Ireland with money to hire soldiers. Malcolm, understanding his design, makes up directly towards him, the people praying for him all along as he went, and with joyful acclamations wishing him good success. His soldiers took this as an omen of victory and thereupon stuck up green boughs in their helmets, representing an army triumphing rather than going to fight. Mackbeth, being terrified at the confidence of his enemy, immediately fled, and his soldiers, forsaken by their leader, surrendred themselves up to Malcolm. Some of our writers to here record many fables which are like Milesian tales and fitter for the stage than a history, and therefore I omit them. Mackbeth reigned seventeen years. ln the first ten he performed the duty of a very good King, in the last seven he equalled the cruelty of the worst of tyrants.
12. MALCOLM III, THE EIGHTY SIXTH KING
Malcolm, having thus recovered his fathers kingdom, was declared King at Scone the 25th day of April in the year of our redemption 1057. At the entrance of his reign he convened an assembly of the Estates at Forfar, where the first thing he did was to restore to the children their father’s estates who had been put to death by Mackbeth. He is thought by some to have been the first that introduced new and foreign names as distingishments of degrees in honour, which he borrowed from his neighbor-nations, and are no less barbarous than the former were, such as Dukes, Marquesses, Earls, Barons, Riders or Knights. Mackduff, the Thane of Fife, was the first who had the title of Earl conferred upon him, and many others afterwards according to their respective merits were honoured with new titles. Some write that at that the Noblemen began to be sirnamed by their lands, which, I think, is false, for that custom is not yet received amongst the ancient Scots, and besides, then all Scotland used their ancient rights and customs, but, instead of a sirname, after the manner of the Greeks they added their fathers name to their own, or else adjoyned a word taken from some event, or from some mark of body or mind. And that this custom did then obtain amongst the Gauls is plain by those royal sirnames of Crassus, Calvus, Balbus [The Fat, The Bald, The Stammerer], and also by the sirnames of many noble families in England, especially such as followed William the Conqueror and fixed their habitations there. For the custom of taking sirnames from lands was received but lately amongst the other Gauls, as appears from Frossard’s history, no mean author.
13. Mackduff had three request granted to him as a reward for his services, one that his posterity should place the King who was to be crowned in the chair of state; another that they should lead the van of the Kings armies; and a third that if any of his family were guilty of the unpremeditated slaughter of a Nobleman he should pay four and twenty marks of silver as a fine, if of a plebeian, twelve marks, which last law was observed till the days of our fathers, as long as any of that family were in being. Whilst these things were acted at Forfar, they who remained of the faction of Mackbeth carried his son Luthlac to Scone (who was sirnamed Fatuus from his disposition) and there he was saluted King. Malcolm assaulted him in he valley Bogian, where he was slain three months after he had usurped the name of King. Yet out of respect to his kingly race, his and his fathers bodies were buried in the royal sepulchres in Ionia. Afterwards he reigned four years in peace. Then word was brought him that a great troop of robbers were nested in Cockburn-Forest, and that they infested Lothian and Merch to the great damage of the husbandmen. Patric Dunbar with some trouble overcame them, losing forth of his own men in the onset and killing 600 of them. Forty more of them were taken prisoners and hanged. Patric for this exploit was made Earl of Merch. The kingdom was now so settled that no open force could hurt the King, yet he was assaulted by private conspiracies. The whole plot was discovered to him, whereupon he sent for the head of the faction, and after much familiar discourse he led him aside into a secret valley, commanding his followers to stay behind. There he upbraided him with the former benefits bestowed on him, and declared to him the plot he had contrived against his life, adding further, “If thou hast courage enough, why dost thou not now set upon me, seeing we are both armed, that so thou mayst obtain thy desire by valour, not by treachery?” He, being amazed at this sudden discovery, fell down on his knees and asked pardon of the King, who being a merciful as well as valiant prince, easily forgave him. Matthew Paris makes mention of this passage.
14. In the mean time Edgar, to whom next to Edward the crown of England belonged, being driven by contrary winds came into Scotland with his whole family. What I am to speak concerning this person, that it may be the better understood, I shall fetch things a little higher. Edmond, King of England, being slain by the treachery of his subjects, Canutus, the Dane who reigned over part of the island, presently seized upon the whole. At first, he nobly treated Edward and Edmond, the sons of the deceased Edmond, when they were brought to him. Afterwards, being edged on by wicked ambition, he, desirous to confirm the kingdom to his posterity by their destruction, sent them away privately to Valgar, Governour of Svedland, to be murdered there. Valgar, understanding their noble stock and considering also their age and innocence, withal taking compassion of their condition and fortune, sent them to Hungary to King Salomon, pretending to Canutus that he had put them to death. There they were royally educated, and so much grateful towardliness appeared in Edward that Salomon culled him out of all the young Nobles to give him his daughter Agatha to wife. By her he had Edgar. Margaret and Christiana. In the mean time, Canutus dying, Hardicanute succeeded him. When he was slain, Edward was recalled from Normandy, whither he was before banished together with his brother Alured. Earl Godwyn, a powerful man of English blood, but who had married the daughter of Canutus, was sent to fetch him home. He, being desirous to transfer the kingdom into his own family, caused Alured to be poysoned. As for Edward, he was preserved rather by Gods providence than by any human counsel, and reigned most devoutly in England, But, wanting children, his chief care was to recall his kinsman out of Hungary to undertake the government, alleging that when Edgar returned he would willingly surrender up all to him, but his modesty outdid the Kings piety, for he refused to accept of the kingdom as long as he was alive. At length, upon Edwards death. Harald, Godwyns son, invaded the throne, yet he dealt kindly with Agatha, the Hungarian, and her children. But he being also overthrown by William the Norman, Edgar, to avoid Williams cruelty, resolved with his mother and sisters to return into Hungary. But by a tempest he was driven into Scotland. There he was courteously entertained by Malcolm, who made him his kinsman also by the marriage of his sister Margaret. William, then reigning in England, upon every light occasion was very cruel against the Nobles either of English or Danish extraction. But understanding what was a-doing in Scotland, and fearing a tempest might arise from thence, he sent an herald to demand Edgar, denouncing war against Scotland unless he were surrendred up.
15. Malcolm looked upon it as a cruel and faithless thing to deliver up his suppliant, guest and kinsman (and one against whom his very enemies could object no crime) to his capital enemy to be put to death, and therefore resolved to suffer any thing rather than so to do. And thereupon he not only detained and harboured Edgar, but also gave admission to his friends, who in great numbers were banished from their own homes, and gave them lands to live upon, whose posteritys were there propagated into many rich and opulent families. Upon this occasion, there followed a war betwixt the Scots and English, wherein Sibert, King of Northumberland favouring Edgar, joyned his forces with the Scots. The Norman, being puff’d up with the good success of his affairs, made light of the Scotish war, and thinking to end it in a short time, he sent one Roger, a Nobleman of his own country, with forces into Northumberland and slew some who thought to stop him from plundering. But as he was returning with a great booty Malcolm and Sibert set upon him, slew and took many of his army, and recovered the prey. When his army was recruited, Robert, William’s son, was sent down thither, but he made no great earnings of it neither, only he pitched his camp at the River Tine, and he rather kept off than made or inferred [inflicted] the war. In the mean time he repaired Newcasle, which was almost decayed by reason of its antiquity. William being thus wearied with a war more tedious than profitable, his courage being somewhat cooled, applied himself to thoughts of peace, which was made on these conditions: that in Stanmore, i. e. a stony heath (a name imposed on it for that very cause) lying between Richmond-shire and Cumberland, the bounds of both kingdoms should be fixed; and that in the boundary a cross of stone should be erected which should contain the statues and arms of the Kings of both sides (that cross as long as it stood was called Kings Cross); that Malcolm should enjoy Cumberland upon the same terms as his his ancestors had held it. Edgar was also received into William’s favour and endowed with large revenues, and that he might prevent all occasion of suspition of his innovating things he never departed from the Court. Voldiosus also, the son of Silbert, was to have his fathers estate restored to him. And besides, he was admitted into affinity with the King by marrying a neice of his born of his daughter.
16. Intestine tumults did succeed this external peace, for the men of Galway and of the Aebudae did ravage and commit murders over all their neighbouring parts, and the Murray-men, with those of Ross, Caithness and their allies, made a conspiracy and, assuming their neighbour islanders to their aid, gave an omen of greater war. Walter, the nephew of Bancho by his son Fleanchus, who was before received into favour with the King, was sent against the Galway-men, and Macduff against the other rebels whilst the King himself was gathering greater forces. Walter slew the head of that faction, and so quell’d the common souldiers, that the King at his return made him Lord Steward of all Scotland for his good service. This magistrate was to gather in all the Kings revenues; also, he had a jurisdiction such as the Sheriffs of counties have, and he is the same as that which our ancestors called a Thane. But now a days, the English speech getting the better of our country language, the Thanes of counties are in many places called Stewards, and he which was anciently called Abthane is now the Lord High Steward of Scotland. Yet in some few places the name of Thane doth yet remain. From this Walter the family of the Steuarts, who have so long reigned over Scotland, took its beginning. But Macduff, warring in another province, when he came to the borders of Marr, the Marrians promised him a sum of money if he would not enter into their province. And he, fearing the multitude of the enemy, did protract the time in proposals and terms of a pretended peace till the King arrived with greater forces. When they came to the village Monimuss they joined camps, and the King, being troubled at the bruit of the enemies numbers, promised to the devote the village whither he was going to St. Andrew the Apostle, the tutelary Saint of Scotland, if he returned victor from that expedition. After a few removes he came to the River Spey, the violentest current in all Scotland, where he beheld a greater number of soldiers than he thought could have been levied out of those countries, standing on the other side of the river to hinder his passage. Whereupon the, the standard bearer making an halt and delaying to enter the river, he snatch’d the standard out of his hand and give it to one Alexander Carron, a knight of known valour, whose posterity had ever afterwards the honour of carrying the Kings standard in the wars. And, in stead of Carron, the name of Scrimger was given him because he, being full of true valour though ignorant of the modes and niceties of war, had out-done one who was a master in handling of arms and who valued himself highly upon that account. As the King was entring the river, the mitred priests with their mitres on their heads prevented him; who by his permission having passed over to the enemy before had ended the war without blood. The Nobles surrendred themselves upon quarter for life. Those who were the most seditious and the authors of the rising were tryed, had their goods confiscated, and themselves condemned to perpetual imprisonment.
17. Peace being thus by his great industry obtained both at home and abroad, he converted his pains to amend the publick manners, for he lived devoutly and piously himself and provoked others by his example to a modest, just and sober life. It is thought that he was assisted herein by the counsel and monitions of his wife, a choice woman and eminently pious. She omitted no office of humanity towards the poor or the priests, neither did Agatha, the mother, or Christiana, the sister, come behind the Queen in any religious duty. For, because a nuns life was then accounted the great nourisher and maintainer of piety, both of them, leaving the toilsome cares of the world, shut themselves up in a monastery appointed for virgins. Then the King to the four former Bishopricks of St. Andrews, Glasgow, Whithorn and Murthlack (where the old discipline, by the bishops sloth and default, was either remitted or laid quite aside) added that of Murray and Caithness, procuring men pious and learned, according to the rate of those times, to fill the Sees. And whereas also luxury began to abound in those days, in regard many English came in and great commerce was had with foreign nations, and also many English exiles were entertained and scatt’red almost all over the kingdom, he laboured, though to little purpose, to restrain it. But he had the hardest task of all with the Nobles, whom he endeavoured to reclaim to the practice of their ancient parsimony. For they, having once swallowed the bait of pleasure, did not only grow worse and worse, but even ran headlong into debauchery; yea, they laboured to cover that foul vice under the name of neatness, bravery and gallantry. Malcolm, forseeing that such courses would be the ruin not only of religion but also of military discipline, did first of all reform his own family very exactly; afterwards he made most severe sumptuary laws, denouncing great punishment against the violators of them. Yet by those remedies he rather stopp’d than cured the disease. Nevertheless as long as he lived he employed all his endeavours to work a thorough reform therein. It is also reported that his wife obtained of him that, whereas the Nobles had gradually obtained a priviledge to lye the first night with any married bride by the law of Eugenius, that custom should be altered and the husband have liberty to redeem it by paying half a mark of silver, which payment is yet called marcheta mulerium.
18. Whilst Malcolm was thus busied in reforming the publick manners, William, King of England, dies. His son William Rufus succeeded him. Peace could not long be continued between two Kings of such different dispositions. For the King of Scots chose that time to build two temples or cathedrals, one at Durham in England, the other at Dumferling in Scotland, upon both which piles he bestowed great cost, so that he endeavoured to retrieve Church-affairs, which then began to flag and decay. And withal he translated Turgot, Abbat of the monks at Durham, to the Bishoprick of St. Andrews. This he did whilst Rufus was plucking down towns and monasteries and making forests that he might have the more room to hunt in. And when Anselme the Norman, then Arch-bishop of Canterbury, did with freedom rebuke him for the same, he banished him the land. He also sought for an occasion of war against the Scots. And thereupon he surprized the castle of Alnwick in Northumberland, having slain the garison which was therein. Malcolm, having demanded restitution but in vain, besieged the castle with a great army. They therein, being reduced to great extremity and want, talk’d of surrendering it, and desired the King to come and receive the keys with his own hand. Which as he was doing, being tendred to him on the point of a spear, the solder run him into the eye and killed him. And his son Edward also, being forward to revenge his fathers death and thereupon more negligent of his own safety, made any unwary assault upon the enemy, wherein he received a wound of which he died soon after. The Scots, being afflicted and troubled at this double slaughter of two of their Kings, broke up the siege and returned home. Margaret did not long survive her husband and son, but died of grief. The bodies of the Kings, which at first were buried at Tinmouth (a monastery at the mouth of Tine), were afterwards brought back to Dumferling. Malcolm held the kingdom thirty and three years, being noted for no vice but famous to posterity for his great and many virtues. He had six sons by his wife Margaret, of whom Edward was slain by the English in the siege of Alnwick castle; Edmond and Etheldred were banished into England by their uncle Donald, where they died. The other three, Edgar, Etheldred and David, succeeded in the kingdom one after another. He also had two daughters, the elder, Maud, sirnamed the Good, married Henry, King of England; the younger, named Mary, had Eustace, Earl of Bologn, for her husband. Several prodigies hapned in those days, and in particular there was such a mighty and unusual an inundation of the German Ocean that it did not only drown the fields and country, and choked them up with sand, but also overthrew villages, towns and castles. And besides, there were great and terrible thunders, and more were killed with thunderbolts than were ever recorded to have perished by that death in Britain before.
19. DONALDUS VIII, SIRNAMED BANUS, THE EIGHTY SEVENTH KING
Upon the death of Malcolm, Donaldus Banus, i. e., The White, his brother, who for fear of Mackbeth had fled into the Aebudae, was with great facility declared King. for he had promised all the islands to Magnus, King of Norway, if by his assistance he might enjoy the kingdom of Scotland. And in this his obtaining of the kingdom those were most assistant to him who did falsely accuse the former King for corrupting the discipline of his ancestors, and withal who stomached [were angry] that the banished English should enjoy the estates of Scots in Scotland. Edgar, in such a suddain mutation of things being afraid and solicitous for his sisters children, which were yet but young, caused them to be transported to him into England. But this piety of the good man was calumniated by some. For Orgarus, an Englishman seeking to curry favour with King Rufus, accused him that he had secretly boasted that he and his kindred were lawful heirs to the crown. The accuser was not able to make good his allegation by any witnesses, and therefore the matter was adjudged to be decided by a duel, wherein the accuser was overcome by another Englishman who offered him the combate instead of Edgar, who was now grown old and also sickly. All good men who had a veneration for the memory of Malcolm and Margaret hated Donald, who by foreign aid in conjunction with those of his own faction had seized on the kingdom. And he by his rashness did much increase the hatred conceived against him, and by severe threats which he uttered amongst his familiars against the Nobles who would not swear allegiance to him. And therefore they sent for Duncan, a base-born son of Malcolm’s, who had served long, with credit, in the wars under William Rufus, to oppose Donald. At his coming many revolted from Donald, so that he was diffident of his own state, and therefore fled into the Aebudae about six months after he had usurped the throne.
20. DUNCAN, THE EIGHTY EIGHTH KING
Neither did Duncan reign long, for he, being a military man and not so skilful in the arts of peace, carried it more imperiously than a peaceable and civil government required, so that he quickly fell into the hatred of the major part of his subjects. When Donaldus, who observed all his motions, heard thereof in his banishment, he corrupted Macpendir, Earl of Mern, and by him caused Duncan to be slain in the night in Monteath, a year and six months after he began to reign. As for Donald, he governed a troublesom kingdom for about three years; good men rather tolerated him (for want of a better) than approving him. The English on the one side, and the islanders on the other, in his time much molested Scotland. The envy also against him was heightned in that Magnus, King of Norway, had seized on the western islands, which though he seemed to have been done by force, yet all men smelt out the cheat in regard Donald did not so much as stir at so great an affront. And at last the publick indignation waxed hotter against him when the vulgar understood that it was done by a secret agreement and paction betwixt him and Magnus.
21. EDGAR, THE EIGHTY NINTH KING
Upon those disgusts secret messengers were dispatched to Edgar, Malcolm’s son, that he would come over and be General in order to obtain the kingdom; and as soon as he appeared upon the Borders they promised to flock into him. And they were as good as their words. for Edgar, being assisted with a small force by Rufus at the instance of Edgar his uncle, had scarce entred Scotland before Donald, being forsaken of his men, fled away; but being pursued and taken, was brought back to Edgar, who committed him to prison, where he died soon after. Edgar, having recovered the kingdom by the general suffrage of all the Estates, first of all he made peace with William, King of England, and he dying without children, he renewed it with Henry his brother. He gave him Maud his sister to wife, sirnamed the Good from her virtuous manners (as I said before). By her he had William, Richard, Eufemia and Maud. Edgar reigned nine years and six months in great peace, reverenced and beloved by good men, and so formidable to the bad that in all his reign there were no civil tumults or seditions, nor any fear of a foreign enemy. One monument of his praise was the monastery of Coldingham, dedicated to St. Ebb the virgin, which he built in the seventh year of his reign, though afterwards it was transferred into the name of Cuthbert.
22. ALEXANDER I, THE NINETIETH KING
Edgar dying without issue, his brother Alexander, sirnamed Acer, or The Fierce, succeeded him. In the very beginning of his reign some youngsters that loved to fish in troubled waters, imagining that he would be a peaceable (or, as they interpreted it, a sluggish) King, as his brother was, conspired to take away his life, that so they might rob and plunder with more freedom. The matter being discovered to him, he pursued the conspirators unto the furthest part of Ross. When they came to the River Spey they thought to stop the Kings pursuit by the rapidness of the river. And besides, the Kings friends would not suffer him to enter the river because, the tide coming in, they judged it unpassable. Yet he set spurs to his horse and was about to pass over, the rest, lest they might seem to forsake their King in a danger so great, following him. But his own men (as I said) drew him back, so that he sent over part of his army under the command of Alexander Carron, the son of that Alexander I mentioned before, whose miraculous boldness in passing the river with his forces struck such a terrour into the enemy that they presently betook themselves to their heels. Many were slain in the pursuit. Their leaders were then taken, or else afterwards brought to the KIng, and were all hanged up. This expedition procured him peace, even to the end of his life. As he was returning through Mern, a poor woman met him, grievously complaining that her husband had been scourged with a whip of thongs by the Earl of Marn’s son, because he had sued him for a debt. The King, hearing it, presently in great disdain leapt from his horse and would not stir from the place till the offender had received condign punishment. Then he went to Envergoury, or, as some write, to Ballegary, Edgar’s town. Some write that the sirname of Acer was given for those exploits, but others say it had a more tragick original, viz., that some thieves, having corrupted one of his bed-chamber, were privately admitted thereinto whilest he was asleep, and, their suddain rushing in awakening him, he first slew his treacherous servant, and afterwards six of the thieves. Whereupon an hubbub was raised in the Court and the rest fled, but Alexander pursued them so fiercely that most of them were slain.
23. Afterwards he turned his thoughts to the works of peace. He built Michael’s Church in Scone from the very ground. The college of priests which was there he turned into a monastery for monks. Being once carried by tempest into the isle Aemona, he was there reduced to great want and hunger, for neither he nor his companions could procure any food for some days but what they got from those that lived solitary lives, vulgarly called hermits. He built also a church there in memory of St. Columb, supplying it with Canons, as they call them, and lands to maintain them. He also gave great guifts and largesses, and settled revenues on St. Andrews, which was rich enough before. He finished the church at Dumferling which his father had begun, and endowed it with revenues. After these transactions in peace and war, when he had reigned seventeen years, he departed this life, leaving no children by Sibyl, his wife, daughter of William the Norman.
23. DAVID I, THE NINETY FIRST KING
His brother David succeeded him in the kingdom in the year of Christ 1124. He, seeing that his brothers reigned successively one after another in Scotland, stayed with his sister Maud in England, There he married Maud, his niece, a woman of great beauty, wealth and nobility. For Voldiosus of Northumberland was her father, and her mother was Judith, niece to William the Norman. On her he begot a son named Henry, in whom both his father’s and mother’s disposition did presently appear. By this marriage his revenues were much encreased by the accession of Northumberland and Huntington-shire thereto. Thus with the universal gratulation of his subjects he came into Scotland to possess the kingdom. ’Tis true the memory of his parents was of great force to procure him the favour of the people, yet his own virtue was such that he stood in no need of any adventitious help. For as in other virtues he equalled other good Kings, so in this condescention to hear the causes of the poor he was much superior to them. As to the complaints of the rich, he heard them himself, and if a false judgment had been given he would not rescind it, but compelled the judge himself to pay the damages awarded. He restrained luxury, which then began to spread, according to the example of his father. He banished Epicures, and such as studied arts to provoke the appetite, out of the kingdom. He far exceeded the beneficence of his parents and allies (which were worthy rather of pardon than praise) in increasing the revenues of the Church. He repaired monasteries, whether decayed by age or ruined by the wars, and he also built new ones from the ground. To the six Bishopricks before he added four more, Ross, Brechin, Dunkelden and Dunblain. He almost impoverished the succeeding Kings to endow them, for he bestowed upon them a great part of the royal revenue. Johannes Major, who when I was but a youth was famous for his theological studies, having highly praised this King for his other actions, yet blames his profuse lavishness in endowing monasteries in a solemn (and, I wish, it had been an undeserved) oration. And I the more wonder at this immoderate profusion of the publick stock and patrimony because in those very times St. Bernard sharply reproves the priests and monks in his invective and severe sermons for their excessive luxury and expence, which yet, if compared with that of our age, seems but moderate. And the fruits which followed these donations shew that the design was not well grounded. For, as in bodies too corpulent the use of all the members ceases, so the sparks of wit, oppressed by luxury, did thereby languish in abbies. The study of learning was extinct, piety degenerated into superstition, and the seeds of all vices sprung up in them as in an unplowed field.
24. All the time of his reign he had but one commotion, and that was rather a tumult than a war. And it was quickly ended in the slaughter of Aeneas, Earl of Murray, with a great number of his followers. Malcolm Mackbeth, endeavouring to raise a new sedition, was committed prisoner to the castle of Roxburgh. Other matters succeeded according to his desire, but yet a twofold distress, or rather calamity, seized him, one from the untimely death of his wife, the other of his son. As for his wife Maud, she was a woman of high descent, of exquisite beauty and most accomplished manners. He loved her passionately whilst she lived, and the loss of her in the flower of her age did so affect him that for twenty years after he lived a widower, neither did he touch any other woman all the while. And yet the greatness of his sorrow was no hindrance to him from managing the publick offices and concerns both of peace and war. Concerning his son I will speak in due place. David thus addicted himself to the arts of peace, but some troublesom matters in England drew him unwillingly into a war. The occasion, this: all the off-spring of King Henry of England, besides his daughter Maud, were drowned in their passage out of France into England, which misfortune did so grieve him that (it is reported) he never laughed after. Maud, who only survived and escaped that calamity, married the Emperor Henry the Fourth. Her husband dying without children, she returned into England to her father. He was willing to settle the succession on her, and in order thereto, because she was a widow and childless, if he himself should die he caused all the Nobility to swear an oath of fealty to her, and in hopes that she might have children he married her to Geoffry Plantagent, Earl of Anjou. Five years after that marriage Robert, Duke of Normandy, and King Henry died, and Geoffry of Anjou, falling into a dangerous disease, lay bedrid. In the meantime Stephen, Earl of Bologne, in this want of royal issue took heart to attempt the crown of England. Neither did he look upon it as a design of any great difficulty, both by reason of the weakness of the adverse party, and also because he himself had some royal blood running in his veins. For he was born of a daughter of William the Norman which had married the Earl of Bloys. He himself has also married Maud, daughter of the former Earl of Bologne and cousin-german to Maud the Empress, and begotten upon Mary, sister to David, King of Scotland.
25. And to make his way clearer, without any conscience or regard of his oath which he and th’other kindred had taken to Queen Maud, he drew in by great promises the bishops of England, who had also taken the same oath, into his unlawful design, and especially William, Arch-bishop of York, who was the first that swore allegiance to Queen Maud, and Roger, Bishop of Salisbury, who had not only taken the oath himself but had also read the words of it to the other Nobles when they swore. Upon this confidence, even before his uncle Henry was buried he stept into the throne, and the two first years reigned peaceably enough. Whereupon, growing insolent, he began to neglect his agreement made with the English, and also to deal harshly with strangers. After he had compelled all the English, partly by fear, partly by fair promises, to take an oath of allegiance to him, he sent embassadors to David King of Scots, to put him in mind to take the same oath for the counties of Cumberland, Northumberland and Huntingdon, which he held of him. David returned answer that he, together with Stephen himself and the other Nobles of England, had not long since bound themselves by an oath to obey Maud their lawful Queen, and that he ought not, nor would acknowledge any other King as long as she was alive. When this answer was brought to Steven, presently a war began. the English entred upon the adjacent Scots, the Scots doing as much for them. The next year, an army of Scots under the conduct of the Earls of Merch, of Menteith and of Angus, entred England and met the English at the town of Allerton, whose General was the Earl of Glocester. A sharp battel was there fought with equal slaughter on both sides as long as the army stood to it. At last, the English being overthrown, many perished in the flight and many of the Nobility were taken prisoners, amongst whom was the Earl of Glocester himself. Stephen, being much concerned at this overthrow, lest the friends and kindred of the captive Nobles might be alienated from him, refused no conditions of peace. The terms were these: that the English prisoners should be released without ransom; that Stephen should quit all the claim which as chief lord he pretended to have over Cumberland. But Stephen observed these conditions no better than he did the oath formerly taken to Maud his kinswoman. For before the armies were quite disbanded and the prisoners released, he privately surprized some castles in Northumberland, and by driving away booties from the Scots countrys renewed the war. The Scots, gathering a sudden army together out of the neighbour countrys and despising the English whom they had overthrown in battel the self same year, did rashly run on to the conflict at the River Tees, where they paid for their folly in undervaluing the enemy by receiving a great overthrow, and were also enforced to quit Northumberland. David, to retrieve this loss and ignominy, gathered as great an army as ever he could together and came to Roxburgh. Thither Turstan or (as William of Newberry calls him) Tustinus Archbishop of York was sent by the English to treat concerning a pacification, and, there being some hope of agreement, a truce was made for three months upon condition that Northumberland should presently be restored to the Scots.
26. But this promise, which was made by Stephen only to have the army disbanded, was not performed, so that David drove away a great booty out of that part of Northumberland which obeyed Stephen, and Stephen, gathering a great force together, pierced as far as Roxborough. But understanding that the Nobility were averse and complained that they were intangled in an unjust and unnecessary war, without performing any memorable exploit he retired into the heart of his kingdom. And the next year, fearing some intestine sedition, he sent his wife Maud to David her uncle to treat of peace. Upon her mediation it was accorded that David from Newcastle, where he commonly aboad, and Stephen from Durham should send arbitrators for composing of matters to the town of Chester in the Street, scituate in the midway equally distant from both places. David sent the Arch-bishops of St. Andrews and Glasgoe, Stephen the Arch-bishops of Canterbury and York. Both parties were the more inclineable to peace because Stephen feared war from abroad and seditions at home, and the Scots complained that they were forced to bear the shock of war made in the behalf of another, whereas Maud, for whose sake it was commenced, did nothing at all in it. The peace was made on these conditions: that Cumberland, as by ancient right, should be possessed by David, and that Northumberland unto the River Tees (as William of Newberry, the Englishman, writes) and Huntingtonshire should be enjoyed by Henry, Davids son, upon the account of his mothers inheritance; and that he should do homage to Stephen for the same. When things were thus composed, David retired into Cumberland and Stephen into Kent. This peace was made in the year of our Lord 1139. In which year Maud, being returned into England, sent her son Henry, afterward King of England, to Carlisle to David his great uncle that he might be instructed in feats of arms and also be made knight by him, who without doubt was the excellentest warrior of his time, which matter in those days was performed with a great deal of ceremony.
27. At that time there was so great a disturbance in England by reason of domestique discords that no part of it was free from a civil war but that which David the King of Scots held. And that he alone might not plead exemption from the public calamity, within three years after his son, the only heir (in hope) of so much power and felicity, dyed in the flower of his age, leaving three sons and as many daughters behind him. He left so great a love behind for him, both from the Scots and English, that, besides the publick loss, every one lamented his own private misfortune also at his death. For so great a sincerity and moderation of mind shined forth in him, even in that age wherein youth is accustomed to wantonize, that every body expected most rare and singular fruits from his disposition when it was ripened by age. His fathers grief was also further increased by reason of the tender age of his nephew and the ambition and restless disposition of Stephen; and if he dyed, he was troubled at the fierceness of Henry’s spirit, then in the fervor of his youth, who, being the son of Maud, was to succeed in the kingdom. When the thoughts of so many foreseen mischiefs did assault his diseased and feeble mind, insomuch that all men imagined he would have sunk under them, yet he bore up so stoutly that he invited some of the prime Nobility (who were solicitous for him lest he should be too much afflicted, as well they might) to supper, and there he entertained them with a discourse, rather like a comforter than a mourner.
28. He told them that no new thing had hapned to him or to his son. That he had long since learned from the sermons of learned and holy men that the world was governed by the providence of Almighty God, Whom it was a foolish and impious thing to endeavour to resist. That he was ignorant his son was born on no other terms but that he must also dye, and so pay that debt to nature which he owed even at his very birth. And when men were always ready to pay that debt, ’twas no great matter when God, their Creditor, called upon them for it. That if only wicked men were subject to death, then a man might justly grieve at the decease of his kindred; “But when we see good men also dye, all Christians (said he) ought to be throughly setled in this persuasion that no evil can happen to the good, either alive or dead, and therefore why should we be so much troubled at a short separation, especially from our kindred, who have not so much left as us they have gone before us to our common country, whither we also, tho we should live never so long, must yet at last follow? As for my son, if hath undertaken this voyage before us that so he might visit and enjoy the fellowship of my parents and brethren, those precious men, beforehand, if we are troubled at it, let us take heed that we seem not rather to envy his happiness than to mourn for our own loss. As for you, worthy lords, as I am beholding to you for so many office of respect, so both I and my son (for I shall undertake also for him) are much obliged for your loves to me and your grateful and pious memory of him.” This greatness of mind in the King, as it added much to his own veneration, so it increased the sense of the loss of his son in the minds of all, when they considered what a prince they and their children were deprived of. And David, that he might make use of the only way of consolation which was left him, caused his nephews and his sons children to be brought to him and to be trained up in Court-discipline, which was then most pious. In fine, he provided for their security as far as human counsel could foresee. He commended Malcolm, the eldest of the three, to the care of the whole Nobility, and particularly of Mackduff Earl of Fife, a very powerful and prudent man, and he caused him to carry him all over the land that so he might be received as the undoubted heir of the kingdom. William, the next son, he made Earl of Northumberland, and sent him presently to take possession of that country. David, the third son, he made Earl of Huntington in England, and of Garioch in Scotland. He made the more haste to prefer them because, being sick of a mortal disease, he foresaw his time could not be long in this world. He dyed in the year of Christ 1153, the ninth of the Calends of June. He was so well beloved that all men thought they had lost rather a father in him, yea, the best of fathers, than a King. For tho his whole life was so devout as no history records the like, yet for some few years before his death he devoted himself to the preparation for his later end, so that his deportment then did much increase mens veneration for the former part of his life. For tho he equalled former Kings who were most praise-worthy in the art of war, and excelled them in the study of peace, yet now, leaving off contending with others for superiority in virtue, he maintained a combat with himself alone, wherein he advanced so much that, if the highest and most learned wits should endeavour to give the idea or pattern of a good King, they could never comprehend in their thoughts such an exemplary prince as David shewed himself in his whole life to be. He reigned 29 years, 2 months and 3 days.
29. MALCOLM IV, THE NINETY SECOND KING
His nephew Malcolm succeeded him, who, tho yet underage, gave great hopes of his future ingenuity. For he was so educated by his father and grandfather that he seemed to resemble them as much in the virtues of his mind as in the lineaments of his body. In the beginning of his reign a great famine raged all over Scotland, whereby great numbers of men and cattle also were destroyed. At that time, one Somerled was Thane of Argyl, whose fortune was above his family, and his mind above his fortune. He, conceiving some hopes to enjoy the kingdom by reason of the King’s non-age and the present calamity, gathered a band of his confidents together and invaded the adjacent countries. Yea, the havock he made was spoken of far and neer, and the fear of him spreading itself further, many bad men coming in to him and some good being forced to joyn with him too, in a short time he made up a vast army. Upon the report of this tumult, Donald also, the son of Malcolm Macbeth, made another bustle, but, being taken at Whithorn in Galway and sent to the King, he was committed to the same prison with his father; but soon after the King was reconciled to them and they were both released. Gilchrist, Earl of Angus, was sent with an army against Somerled, who defeated and killed many of his men and caused him with some few more to fly into Ireland. This victory, thus unexpectedly and suddainly obtained, produced tranquillity at home but envy abroad. For Henry, King of England, an ambitious prince and desirous to inlarge his own dominions, resolved with himself to curb the growing greatness and power of Malcolm. But he could not well make open war upon him out of conscience of that pact and oath which he had sworn to him. For when he received the military girdle (as the custom is) from King David, Malcolm’s grandfather, at Carlisle, he promised and took an oath on it (as William of Newberry, besides our own writers, says), that he would never go about to deprive either David himself or any of his posterity of any part of those possessions which David then held in England. He being somewhat bound up by this oath, that he might find out some colour for his calumniations he resolved to try the Kings patience in a lesser matter.
30. When John, Bishop of Glascow, was dedicating churches, shaving priests, and performing the other parts of his episcopal office (as then they were judged to be) all over Cumberland, Henry, by Trustine, Archbishop of York, sent a new bishop into that country called the Bishop of Carlisle. John was so moved at the injury that, seeing no sufficient safeguard neither in the King nor in the law, he left his bishoprick and retired into the monastery of Tours in France. Whence he returned not until the Pope, at Malcolm his request, drew him unwillingly out of his cell and made him return to his own country. Malcolm bore the wrong better than some hoped, so that, not thinking it a sufficient cause for a war, he went to Chester in the Street, there to quiet suspicions and to cut off occasions of discord. Being arrived there, by the fraud of Henry he was circumvented and made to take an oath of fidelity to him, whereas it was not the King himself but his brothers who had lands in England according to an old agreement, who were to take that oath. But this was craftily and maliciously devised by the English King to sow the seed of discord amongst brethren, which the following year did more fully appear when he cokes’d Malcolm out of Northumberland, which was his brother William’s patrimony. For he sent him to London that, according to the examples of his ancestors, he in a publick assembly might acknowledge himself his feudatary for the lands which he held in England. He under covert of the publick faith came speedily thither, but without doing any thing of that for which his journey was pretended. He was inforced against his will, with that little retinue which he had, to accompany Henry into France. Henry’s design herein was partly that the Scots might not attempt any thing against him in his absence, and partly to alienate the mind of Lewis, King of France, from him. Thus Malcolm was compelled for fear of a greater mischief to go against his old friend, and was not suffered to come back to his own country till King Henry, having made no great earnings in the French war, returned home also. Then Malcolm obtained leave to return to Scotland, where in a convention of the Nobility he declared to them the adventure of his travels; but he found a great part of them very much incensed that he had joyned with a certain enemy against an old and trusty friend, and did not foresee the artifices by which Henry had gulled him. The King, on the other side, alleged that he was haled unwillingly into France by a King in whose power he was, and to whom he dared to deny nothing at that time, and therefore he did not despair but the French would be satisfied and appeased when they understood he was hurried thither by force and carried none of his country forces along with him. This harangue, without much ado, quieted the sedition for the present, which was almost ready to break out.
31. But Henry, who had spies every where, knew that the tumult was rather suspended than that the minds of men were reconciled to him, and therefore he summoned Malcolm to come to a convention at York. There he was accused of a pretended crime, that the English had been worsted in France principally by his means, and therefore it was referred to the assembly whether he ought not to lose all the countries which he held in England. Though he answered all the objected crimes and fully cleared himself, yet he found all their ears shut against him as being prepossessed by the fears or favour of their King, so that a decree was made in favour of Henry. Neither was he contented with this injury, but he also suborned some persons fit for his purpose to bruit it abroad that Malcolm had freely and of his own accord quitted his interest in those countries. At which his subjects the Scots were so incensed that at his return home they besieged him in Perth and had almost taken him. But by the intervention of some great men their anger was somewhat abated, when he had informed the Nobility how unjustly and fraudulently Henry had despoiled him of his ancient patrimony. Whereupon they unanimously agreed upon a war, that so he might recover by just arms what was unlawfully taken from him by force. Thus a war was decreed, denounc’d [declared], and waged, not without great inconveniencies to both nations. At last both Kings came to a conference not far from Carlisle, and after much dispute pro and con Henry took away Northumberland from Malcolm, leaving him Cumberland and Huntington-shire. Henry had no other pretence for his ambitious avarice than this, that he could not suffer so great a diminution to be made of his kingdom. But, seeing no respect to justice and right, no pacts, covenants, no nor the religion of an oath could hinder the unsatiable avarice of Henry, Malcolm, being a man of low spirit and too desirous of peace upon any conditions whatever, accepted of his terms, sore against the minds of the Scots Nobility, who denied that the King could alienate any part of his dominions without the general consent of the Estates. After this, the King began to be despised by his subjects as not having fortitude or prudence enough to weild the scepter. Neither did any thing bridle their fierce minds from rising in arms but a greater fear from Henry, who (they knew) did aim at the conquest of the whole island, being encouraged thereunto by the simplicity of Malcolm and by his hopes of foreign aid.
32. This general disaffection to the King did much lessen the reverence of his government. A rebellion was first begun by Angus, or rather Aeneas, of Galway, a potent man yet more encouraged by the Kings sloth than his own power. Gilchrist was sent against him, who overthrew him in three fights and compelled him to take sanctuary in the monastery of White-horn, out of which it was not counted lawful to pull him by force, and therefore, after a long siege, being driven to the want of all necessities, he was forced to capitulate. He was to lose part of his estate for his punishment and his son was to be given as an hostage for his good behaviour for the future. But he, being of a lofty spirit and not able to endure his abatement of his former greatness, turn’d monk, shaved himself, and shut himself up in a monastery near Edinburgh to avoid the shame and scorn of men. Neither was there peace in other parts of the realm, for the Murray-men, being always given to mutinying, rose in arms under Gildo, or rather Gildominick, their captain, and did not only spoil the circumjacent counties, but when Heralds of Arms were sent from the King they most barbarously slew them. Gilchrist was sent out against them also with a greater army, but with unlike success. for the valour of an adversary, which is wont to be a terrour to other rebels, drove those wicked persons, conscious of their own demerits, to desperation, and therefore, endeavouring to sell their lives as dear as they could, they routed the opposite army and became conquerors. Malcolm upon this overthrow recruited his old army and marched into Murray, and met the Murray-men at the mouth of the River Spey; who, though they knew that the Kings forces were encreased and theirs diminished in the late fight, yet, being encouraged by the opportunity of their place and their newly obtained victory, they resolved to adventure a battel. The fight was carried on with great resolution and no less slaughter, for the Moravians gave not back till the Kings forces, being wearied, had new releif from reserves sent them. Then the Moravians were broken and there was no more fighting, but killing. The fury of the soldiers spared nor age nor rank of men. In this fight the old Moravians were almost all slain, which punishment, though cruel, seemed not to be undeserved, and the greatness of the revenge was allayed and made excuseable by the savage cruelty of that perfidious people against others. Hereupon new colonies were sent into the lands of the slain.
33. Nor did Sumerled in this hurly burly think it fit to set still. He (as I said before) after his overthrow fled into Ireland, and from that time forward exercised pyracy upon the coasts of Scotland. But now judging that, a great part of the military men being slain in battel, he might either get a rich booty from those who would shun the hazard of fighting, or else an easie victory from them who would stand to it, gathered a great band of roysters [roisterers, unruly men] together and, arriving at the Firth or bay of the River Clyde, there made a descent. And fortune at first favouring his design, he penetrated as far as Renfreu. But there, whilst he was more intent on plunder than on the safety of his men, he was surprized by a far less number than his own and lost all his soldiers, he himself being saved and brought alive to the King for further scorn and punishment, though some say that both he and his son too were slain in the battel. These things were acted about the year of Christ 1165. The kingdom being thus quieted from all tumults, an assembly of all the estates was indicted at Scone, where many things were decreed for the confirmation of the state of the kingdom, and amongst the rest the whole assembly unanimously made it their request to the King that he would think of marriage, in regard he was now fit for it, as being above twenty two years of age, and by that means he might beget children to succeed him. They told him it was a publick debt due to the kingdom, as well as a private one to his family, and that he ought to mind not only the present time, but to have a prospect to the tranquillity of future ages too. His answer was that ever since he had been capable to order and direct his own life, he had solemnly vowed to God to live a continent and a batchelor’s life. “Which vow (said he) I think was the more acceptable to God both because He gave me the strength to perform it, and also because He hath prepared heirs already to succeed me, so that I am not compelled to break my vow, neither by any weakness of my own spirit nor by any other publick necessity.” Thus dismissing the Parliament, having peace abroad, he applied his mind to the arts of his forefathers, i. e., building of churches and donations on monks, wherein he would have exceeded his ancestors if God had given him a longer life. For he died not long after, on the fifth of the Ides of December, in the twenty fifth year of his age, and a little more than the twelfth year of his reign, and in the year of our redemption 1165.
34. WILLIAM, THE NINETY THIRD KING
His brother William succeeded him, who entred upon the kingdom fifteen days after Malcolm’s death. He would transact no publick or private business of any weight till he had craved of Henry of England the restitution of Northumberland. Henry commanded him to come to London to do him homage for the counties of Cumberland and Huntington according to custom, which he did, not unwillingly, yet desisted not from pressing to have Northumberland restored. Henry gave him an ambiguous answer, saying that in regard Northumberland was taken away from Malcolm and given to him by the States of the kingdom, he could not part from it without their consent, but he should come to the next Parliament and there expect justice to be done. William, though he expected no good from the Parliament, yet, to cut off all occasions of calumny from his adversary, resolved to wait in England for the convening and opening of it, and in the mean time he accompanied Henry, though against his will, to the war in France. There he profited nothing by his daily solicitations, and forseeeing that the King would not speedily return into England, with much ado he obtained a convoy and returned into Scotland. After his return the first thing he did was to repress the insolencies of thieves and robbers by punishing and clearing the country of the offenders. Then he erected castles and placed garisons in convenient places to prevent suddain invasions. At last he sent ambassadors into England to demand Northumberland, denouncing war in case of refusal. Henry, being intangled in the French war, yielded up to him that part of Northumberland which William’s great grandfather held. William took it, but upon this condition, that he would not remit his right in, or claim to, the rest. The English King took this very heinously, and being sorry he had parted with any of Northumberland before the controversie was decided, he made incursions into the Scots Borders and thus sowed the seeds of a new war. And by this means he hoped to have taken away also the other lands which he would have brought into dispute. When right was claimed by the Wardens of the Marches according to custom, the English complained that their Borders were molested by Scotish robbers, so that the ambassadors were sent away without obtaining the thing they came for; yea, almost without an answer. The Scots, to obtain that by force which they could not do by fair means, levied an army and entred upon and wasted the bordering lands of the English with fire and sword. This being about harvest, the English, in the absence of their King, were content only to stand upon the defensive what they could, but then levied no army. Yet, the winter following, some actions passed and many incursions were made.
35. The next summer William listed a great army and marched into the enemies country. The English, having few or no forces ready to withstand them, send ambassadors to their camp proffering a great sum of money for a truce; which if they could obtain, they gave hopes that all things would be accorded to content [done in such a way as to content him]. William, being a plain-hearted man and willing to preserve peace (if obtainable upon reasonable conditions) before a war, though a just one, gave credit to their fallacious promises. The English spent all the time of the cessation in preparations for war, but in the mean time they plied the Scots with ambassadors who made large promises, though their true errand was to discover their enemies camp. And finding the Scots, on confidence of the truce, re-miss and negligent, and the greatest part of their army scattered to get in forage, they returned and gave their army notice that now was a fair opportunity for action, which they urged them not to omit. Whereupon, placing the greatest part of their army in ambush, about four hundred nimble horsemen, in the third watch a few hours before sun-rising, marched directly to Alnwick, where the Scots camp was pitcht. There, finding all things in greater security [carelessness] than they expected, they set upon the King who was riding up and down with sixty horse only, as if there had been a setled peace, and before they could well be discerned whether they were friends or enemies (for they disguised themselves with Scots arms and ensigns that they might pass for Scots) they took him prisoner in the nineth year of his reign. Some few were rouzed up at the hubbub and pursued scatteringly; divers of them rushed amongst their enemies, as not being willing to forsake their King, and so were made prisoners also. William was carried to Henry, then warring in France. The English, being elated with this unexpected success, invaded Cumberland, thinking to carry it without blows. But Gilchrist and Rolland, two Scots commanders, did so entertain them that, being repuls’d, they made a truce and were content to enjoy Northumberland only as long as the Scots King was a prisoner, and to leave Cumberland and Huntington-shire to the free possession of the Scots. In the mean time David, the brother of William, Earl of Huntington in England and of Garioch in Scotland, who then fought under the English banners, received a convoy and returned into Scotland, where, having setled things for the present, he sent embassadors into England about the redemption of his brother, who was then kept prisoner at Falise, a town in Normandy. The King gave fifteen hostages to the English and surrendred up four castles, viz., the castle of Roxburgh, of Berwick, of Edinburgh, and of Sterling, and then he was permitted to return home in the Calends of February. But then he was called upon by the English to appear at York with his Nobles and bishops on the 18th of the Calends of September. Neing arrived there, he and all his followers (who were the chief Nobility) took an oath of obedience to King Henry and gave up the kingdom of Scotland into his guardianship and patronage. These conditions, to very hard, yet the Scots were willing to accept of, that so they might have the best of Kings restored to them, as the English writers say. Thomas Walsingham of England writes that this surrender was not made at York, but at Constance. Yet some say that this interview of both Kings was not in order to the surrender of the kingdom, but for the payment of certain pecuniary pensions, and that the castles were put into the hands of the English as cautionaries only till the money was paid. This opinion seems to me most probable, as appears by the league renewed by Richard, Henrys son, of which in its due place.
36. William at his return, in a few months, by Gilchrist his General, quelled the insurrections made in his absence in Galway. On the fourth of the Calends of February there was an assembly indicted at Norham by Tweed. Thither William came, where the English laboured extreamly that all the Scots bishops should acknowledge the Archbishop of York for their Metropolitan. The Popes Legate also concurred with them in their desire, and earnestly pressed that it might be so enacted. After a long dispute the Scots answered that at present few of their country men were there, and that they could not bind the absent to obey their decree, if they should consent to any. Hereupon the matter was deferred to another time, and shortly after the Scots bishops sent agents to Rome to justify their cause before Alexander the Third, by whose decree the bishops of Scotland were freed from the yoke of the English, and so the messengers returned joyfully home. Not long after, Gilchrist, whom I have often mentioned before, slew his wife, who was the King’s sister, because she had committed adultery. Whereupon he was summoned to appear on a certain day, but, not coming, was banished for ever. His houses were demolished and his goods confiscate. About the same time the castle of Edinburgh was restored to the Scots, one of the pensions having been paid, and to make the concord between both Kings more firm a law was made that neither King should harbour the enemy of each other. Upon this law, Gilchrist, who lived banished in England, was forced to return, and, shifting from place to place as a stranger amongst strangers and unknown, he passed his miserable life in great penury and want. In the interim William prepared for an expedition into Murray to suppress the the thieves of the Aebusae, whose captain was Donald Bane, i. e., The White, who derived his pedigree from the Kings and had also assumed the name of King. He made his descent from his ships in many places and spoiled not only the maritime parts but, his boldness increasing by reason of his impunity, those places also which were very remote from the sea. The King sent out ships to sail about and burn his fleet whilst he with a land army attacqued them, and, so doing, he put them almost all to the sword. In his return, as he was near Perth, he found three countrymen which yet seemed to be more than so, had it not been for their shabby and uncouth habit, who seemed to avoid meeting any company. But the King caused them to be brought to him, and, viewing them intently, was very intent to know what manner of creatures they were. Gilchrist, being the elder of them, fell down at the King’s feet and, making a miserable complaint of his misfortunes, tells who he was. Upon which, the memory of his former life, which he had passed with so much splendour, did so passionately affect all that were present that they could not chuse but to fall a-weeping. Whereupon the King commanded him to rise from the ground, and restored him to his former dignity and the same degree of favour he had before. These things fell out about the year 1190, at which time Richard, who the year before had succeeded Henry his father in the realm of England, prepared for an expedition into Syria. He restored the castles to the King of Scots and sent back the hostages, freeing him and his posterity from all pacts, either extorted by force or obtained by fraud, made with the English, and suffered him to enjoy the realm of Scotland by the same right, and within the same limits as Malcolm or any former Kings had held it. Matthew Paris makes mention of these conditions.
37. William, on the other side, that he might not be ungrateful to Richard, upon his going to war into a strange country gave him 10000 marks of silver and commanded David his brother, who was declared Earl of Huntington, to follow him into Syria. This David in his return from thence had his navy scattered by tempest, was taken prisoner by the Aegyptians, redeem’d by the Venetians, and at last, being known at Constantinople by an English merchant, after four years time he returned into Scotland and was received with the general gratulation of all men, especially of his brother. Boetius thinks that the town where this David was landed in safety, before-named Alectum, was called Deidonum [God’s Gift], but because the name of Alectum is found in no author but only Hector Boetius, I rather think it was called Taodunum, a word compounded of Tay and Dun, i. e., Dundee. Not long after, Richard, after many hazards and misfortunes, returned also from the same voyage. William and his brother came to congratulate him upon his return and have him 2000 marks of silver as a largess, being moved thereunto either out of remembrance of his former bounty to him or on the consideration of his present want. Neither were ever the Scots and English more gracious than at that time, as many judge. There William fell very sick, and a rumour of his death being noised abroad caused new combustions in Scotland. Harald, Earl of the Orcades and of Caithness, hated the Bishop of Caithness because (as he alledged) he was the obstacle that he could not obtain what he desire of the King; and therefore he took him prisoner, cut out his tongue, and also put out his eyes. The King, returning home, overthrew Harald in several skirmishes and destroyed most of his forces. Harald himself was taken in his flight and brought back to the King, who when eyes also were first put out by way of retaliation was afterwards hanged, his whole male-stock was gelded, the rest of his kin and companions of his wickedness were deeply fined. These things are thus related by Hector Boetius, and common report confirms them; yea, the hill receiving its name from testicles gives credit to the relation, so that it seems truer than what others write in this matter. These things happened in the year of our salvation 1198, in which year the King had a son named Alexander born to him, and Richard of England dying, his brother John succeeded him.
38. Whereupon the King of Scots went into England to take his oath to him for the lands which he held in England, and in the beginning of John’s new reign his coming was not more acceptable than his departure displeasing, because he refused to follow John in his expedition into France against Philip his old friend. So that, as soon as John returned out of France, he sought occasion for a war with the Scots and began to build a fort over against Berwick. William, having in vain complained of the injurie by his embassadors, gathered a company together and demolished what was built thereof. Upon which, armies were levied on both sides, but when their camps were near to one another peace was made by the intervention of the Nobles, on these terms: that William’s two daughters should be given in matrimony to John’s two sons, assoon as ever they were marriageable. A great dowry was promised, and caution made that no fort should be built, and hostages also were given in the case. William at his return fell into an unexpected danger. The greatest part of the town of Berth was swept away in the night by an inundation of the River Tay. Neither was the King’s palace exempted from the calamity, but his son, an infant, with his nurse and 14 more were drowned, the rest hardly escaping. The King, perceiving the water had overwhelmed the greatest part of the ground on which the city stood, and that almost every house in the town had suffered thereby, caused a new city to be built a little below in a more commodious place on the same River, and, making some small variation of the name, called it Perth, in memory (as some say) of one Perth, a Nobleman who gave the King the land on which the city was built. About the same time the King took Gothered Makul, captain of the rebels in the North, who was betrayed to him by his own men. When he was prisoner, he constantly abstained from all food to prevent, as ’tis thought, a more heavy punishment.
39. This was in a manner the last memorable fact of William’s, which yet, in regard of his unwieldy age, was acted by his captains. For he dyed soon after, in the 74th year of his age and the 49th of his reign, A. D. 1214. Not long before his death leagues were renewed with John, King of England, almost every year. For he, being a man desirous to enlarge his dominions, tho he had war with the French abroad, with the Romanists at home, and moreover was never on sure terms of peace with the Irish or Welsh, yet did not break off his inclination to invade Scotland, which had then an old man for their King and the next heir to him a child. Frequent conferences happened on this occasion, rather to try what might be obtained than in hopes of any good issue. At length the matter broke out into open suspicion, and after many leagues made between them at last William was called to Newcastle upon Tine. Whither he came, but there falling into a dangerous disease, he returned home without doing any thing. In fine, a little before his death he was invited to Norham on the Tweed, and when his sickness would not permit him to go, his son was desired to come in his stead, which yet by the advice of the Council was refused. The leagues established in those interviews I shall not particularly mention, for they almost all contain the same things, having in them nothing new save that in one of them it was articled that the Scotish Kings should not swear nor be feudataries to the Kings of England themselves for the English lands they held, by their children only. The mention of these things is wholly omitted by the English writers also, I believe for this very cause.
40. ALEXANDER II, THE NINETY FOURTH KING
William was succeeded by Alexander his son, begot on Emergard, who was kinswoman to the King of England and daughter to the Earl of Beaumont. He was but sixteen years of age when he began to reign. Entring upon the government in troublesom times, he composed and setled things more prudently than could be expected from one of his years. First of all he indicted a publick convention of the Estates, and therein by a decree he confirmed all the acts of his father, that good and prudent prince. His first expedition was into England, not out of any private ambition, but to bridle the tyranny of John, and it was then said that he was sent for by the ecclesiasticks of that kingdom. He left Norham upon certain conditions when he had begun to besiege it, and, piercing further into the kingdom, he carried it very severely against all the royalists. Upon his return home, John invaded Scotland quickly after. He made a mighty devastation in Dunbar, Hadington, and all the neighbouring parts of Lothian; and to spread the war and ruin further, he determined to return another way. Alexander, being very desirous to decide it by a battel, pitcht his tents between the Pentland Hills and the River Eske, which way, as it was bruited, he would return, but John, to avoid fighting, marched along by the sea and burnt the monastery of Coldingham. He also took and burnt Berwick, which was then but meanly fortified. As he thus marched hastily back, Alexander followed him as fast as he could and, making great havock all over Northumberland, came as far as Richmond. But John by speedy marches having retreated into the heart of England, Alexander returned by Westmorland and laid all waste to the very gates of Carlisle. The city it self he took by force and fortified it. The next year Lewis, the son of Philip, King of France, was sent for by those who favoured the ecclesiastical faction to London, that so he, upon the proscription of John, might possess the kingdom, and so was King Alexander of Scotland too, who came to aid his old friend. But John, being forsaken by his subjects and assaulted also by foreign arms, upon the payment of a great sum of money at present, and the promise of a perpetual pension, and moreover transferring the right of the kingdom of England to the Pope, so that the Kings of England for the future were to be his feudatories, was received into favour, so that he obtained letters from Rome by Cardinal Galo, a man of known avarice, wherein the Scots and French were with great threats forbid to meddle with a people which were tributaries to the Holy See. Upon this sudden change of things, Lewis returned into France and Alexander into Scotland, but his return home was not so quiet as his entrance into England was. For the English, pressing upon the rear of his retiring army, took many of the stragglers prisoners. And besides, John had broken down all the bridges on the Trent and had fastned sharp pikes or palisadoes in all its fords, removing away all ships and boats, so that it seemed to be so great an impediment unto him that he could not avoid it, but must certainly be destroyed.
41. In the mean time, John was poysoned by an English monk at Newark, a town seated on the Trent, and being carried in a litter, died in two days. That casualty [event] opened the way for Alexander’s march. Then, blaming and punishing his men for their former carelessness, he marched on more circumspectly, but not without the great damage of those through whose countrys he passed. for whatsoever could be driven away or carried he took with him, and so returned home with a great booty. Galo, the Popes Legat, when he had setled Henry, the son of John, in the throne, mulcts the Nobles of England in a great some of money, and then received them into favour. And to give them some recompence for their loss by the like calamity of their enemies, he excommunicates Lewis of France and Alexander of Scotland in hopes to obtain some prey from them also. The Scots were interdicted all divine offices, for he imagined that his thundring curses would prevail more amongst the simple vulgar than with the Kings. But at last peace was made between the two Kings: the Scots were to restore Carlisle and the English Berwick, and the ancient bounds at Kings-Cross were to be observed by them both. Alexander and his subjects were released from their censures by the English bishops, who were authorized thereunto. Hereupon Galo was much enraged that so great a prey should be taken out of his hands, so that he turned his anger on the bishops and the rest of the clergy in Scotland, as his own peculiar [personal subjects] with whom Kings had nothing to do. He summoned them to appear at Alnwick. Whither when they came, the more fearful appeased his wrath with money; the more resolute were cited to Rome. But there, having also received many letters from some of the English bishops and abbats directed to the Pope concerning the sordid spirit of the ambassador or Legat, made grievous complaints against him, calling him the firebrand of all mischief because he studied not the publick good, but his own avarice, and did chaffer [bargain] for and sell peace and war amongst princes at his own pleasure. Galo, not being able to acquit himself of the crimes laid to his charge, was fined by the Pope in the loss of the money he had got, which was to be divided amongst his accusers. Hereupon they returned home, loaden with large promises but with empty purses.
42. A few years after, Henry of England, being now grown ripe both in years and judgment, came to York. There he agreed with Alexander in the presence of Pandulphus, the Popes Legat, to take Joan, Henry’s sister, to wife, by whom yet, because of her untimely death, he had no children. From that time there was peace between both Kings as long as they lived. There he also solemnly promised and swore before the same Pandulphus that he would bestow the two sisters of Alexander in honourable marriages according to their dignity, as his father had promised before. But one of them returned home unmarried, one only being bestowed in marriage. The next year, viz., 1220, the Cardinal of St. Giles came into England to fish for money for the Holy War, and accordingly having scraped together a great sum in both kingdoms, which by his impostures he gulled persons too credulous of, he luxuriously spent it in his journy, so that he came empty to Rome, falsely alleging that he was robed by thieves in the way. Another Legat presently succeeded him, but men, having been twice cheated by Roman fraud, by a publick decree forbad him to set his foot on land. Alexander was busied to suppress vices at home, which sprung up by the licentiousness of war, and he travelled over the whole kingdom with his Queen to do justice, whilst Gilespy, a Rossian, spoiled Ross and the neighbour countries. For, passing over the River Ness, he took and burnt the town of Enverness. He cruelly slew all those that refused to obey him. John Cumin, Earl of Buchan, was sent against him, who took him and his two sons as they were shifting up and down and changing their quarters to secure themselves, and cut off their heads, and so sent them to the King. About this time, the Caithnesians entred by night into the bedchamber of Adam their Bishop, and there killed a monk who was his usual companion (for he had been before Abbat of Mulross) and one of his bedchamber. As for the Bishop himself, they grievously wounded him, and, dragging him into the kitchen, there they burnt him and the house he was in. The cause of their great cruelty was (as ’tis reported) because the Bishop was more severe than in former times in exacting his tithes. The offenders were diligently sought out and most severely punished. The Earl of Caithnes, though he were not present at the fact, yet was somewhat suspected, but afterward being brought privately to the King in the Christmas holy-days, which the Scots call Saturnalia, he humbly begg’d pardon of the King and obtained it.
43. About this time Alan of Galway, the powerfullest man in Scotland, departed this life. He left three daughters behind him, of whom I shall speak hereafter. Thomas, his bastard son, despising their age and sex, sets himself as lord of the family, and not contented herewith, he gathers 10000 men together, kills all that oppose him, and drives booties far and near from all the neighbouring countries. At last the King sent an army against him, who slew 5000 of the rebels with their General. The same year, Alexander with his wife went for England to allay the tumults, as much as he could, raised against Henry, and to reconcile him to the Nobility. Whilest he was busie about this at York, his wife went with the Queen of England a pilgrimage to Canterbury, but at her return she fell sick, died, and was buried at London. Not long after her death the King, being childless, married Mary, the daughter of Ingelram, Earl of Coucy in France, in the year of Christ 1239, by whom he had Alexander, who succeeded his father in the Kingdom. Two years after, viz., in 1242, whilst the King was hastening to England to visit that King, newly returned from France, and refreshed himself a while at Hadington in Lothian with horse-races, the lodging or inn of Patrick of Gallway, Earl of Athol, was set on fire, wherein he and two of his servants were burnt, the fire spreading it self a great way further. It was not thought to have casually happened, because of the noted fewds between Patrick and the family of the Bizets. And though William, the chief of that family, was at Forfar, above 60 miles from Hadington, the same night that the fire happened, as the Queen could testifie in his behalf, yet because the adverse party, being the kindred of Patrick, pleaded that many of his servants and tenants were seen at Hadington at that time, William was summoned to appear. He came to Edinburgh at the day prefixed, but, not daring to stand to his tryal because of the potency of his adversaries, which were the Cumins’s, he would have tryed the matter in a duel. But that not being accepted, he and some of his sept banished themselves into Ireland, where he left a noble family of his name and house. There was also another seditious tumult in Argyle, raised by Sumerled son of the former Sumerled, but he was soon suppressed by Patrick Dunbar, and, submitting to the Kings mercy, obtained pardon for all his past offences. The King not long after fell sick and died in the 51 year of his age, the 35 of his reign, and of our Lord 1249.
44. ALEXANDER THE III, THE NINETY FIFTH KING
Alexander the third, his son, was crowned King at scone the same year, a child not past eight years old. The power of all things was mostly in the faction of the Cumins’s. For they turned the publick revenue to the enrichment of themselves, oppressed the poor, and by false accusations cut off some of the Nobles who were averse to their humours and desires, and dared speak freely of the state of the kingdom; and being condemned, their goods were confiscated and brought into the Kings exchequer, from whence they (who rather commanded than obeyed the King) received them back again for their private emolument. A convention of the Estates being held, the chief matter in agitation was to pacify the King of England, lest in such a troublesome time he should make any attempts upon them. And to do it more easily, an affinity was proposed. This way seemed more commodious to the anti-Cuminian party to undermine their power, than openly to oppugn it. Whereupon embassadors were sent to England, who were kindly received and munifcently rewarded by that King, who granted them all their desires. The next year, which was 1251, both Kings met at York, the 8th of the Calends of December. There on Christmas day this Alexander was made knight by the King of England, and the day after, the match was concluded betwixt him and Margarite, Henrys daughter. A peace was also renewed betwixt them, which as long as Henry lived was inviolably observed. And because Alexander was yet but a child and under age, it was decreed by the advice of this friends that he should consult his father-in-law as a guardian in all matters of weight. Some of the prime men, being accused by virtue of this decree, secretly withdrew themselves. When the King returned home, Robert, Abbat of Dumferling, Chancellor of the kingdom, was accused because he had legitimated the wife of Alane Durward, who was but the natural or base-born daughter of Alexander the Second, that so, if the King dyed without issue, she might come in as heiress. Upon this fear, the Chancellor, as soon as ever he returned home, surrendered up the Seal to the Nobles. Gamelin, afterwards Bishop of St. Andrews, succeeded him in this office.
45. The next three years they who were the King’s Council did almost every one of them carry themselves as Kings. Whatever they catched was their own, so that the poor commonalty was left destitute and miserably oppressed. The King of England, being made acquainted therewith, out of his paternal affection to his son in law, came to Werk castle, scituate on the Borders of Scotland, and sent for his son in law Alexander and his Nobles thither. There by his advice many advantageous alterations were made, especially of those magistrates by whose defaults insurrections had been made at home. An also many profitable statues were enacted for the future. The King returned to Scotland with his wife, and having an English guard to convey him home, he resolved to dwel in the castle of Edinburgh. Walter Cumins, Earl of Monteath, kept the castle, who was disaffected because of the change of the publick state made by the King of England, yet he was compelled to surrender it by Patrick Dunbar with the assistance of the English forces. The greatest part of the Nobility and of the ecclesiasticks were offended in regard their power was somewhat abridged by those new statutes, which they looked upon as a yoke imposed on them by the English and a beginning of their servitude; yea, they proceeded to that height of contumacy that, being summoned to give a legal account of their management of affairs in former times, they made light of the summons. The same persons who were the principal actors in disturbing things before were now the chief incouragers to disobedience. They generally the clans of the Cumins’s, Walter Earl of Monteath, Alexander Earl of Buchan, John Earl of Athol, William Earl of Marr and other considerable men of the same faction. They dared not to put their cause on a legal tryal, as being conscious to themselves of the many wrongs done to the poor and meaner sort, yea, to the King himself, and therefore they resolved to out-face justice by their impudent audacity. For being informed that the King was but lightly guarded and lived securely [carelessly] at Kinross, as in a time of peace, they immediately gathered a band of their vassals abut them, seized him as he was asleep, and carried him to Sterling; and, as if there were no force in this case but they had been rightfully elected, they discharged his servants, took new, and managed all things at their own will and pleasure, so that now the terror and consternation was turned upon the former Counsellors. But this sedition was allay’d by the death of Walter Cumins, who was poysoned, as it is thought, by his wife, an English woman. The suspicion thereof was encreased on her because, tho she were wooed by many Nobles, yet she married John Russel her gallant, a young English spark. She was accused of witchcraft too, and cast into prison, but she bought out her liberty. Russel and his wife obtained letters from the Pope permitting them to commence an action of the case against their adversaries for the wrong done them before the Pope’s Legate. But it was to no purpose, because the Scots urged an ancient privilege exempting them from going out of the kingdom when they were to plead there causes. When the King was of age, upon the humble petition of the Cumins’s he pardoned them, as if all their offences had been expiated by the death of Walter.
46. He was induced so to do (as some say) by reason of the greatness of their family, and also because he feared foreign wars when matters were so unsetled at home. But that war began not so soon as men thought it would. In the year of Christ 1263 on the Calends of August, Acho King of Norway, with a fleet of 160 sail, came to Air, a maritime town of Coil, where he landed 20000 men. The cause of the war, as he pretended, was that some islands which were promised to his ancestors by Mackbeth were not yet put in his hands, viz., Bote, Aran and both the Cumbras’s, which were never reckoned amongst the Aebudae. But it was enough for him, who sought a pretence for a war, that they were called islands. Acho took two of the greatest of them and reduced their castles before he could meet with any opposition. Being lifted up by this success, he makes a descent into Cuningham, the next continent [mainland] over against Bote, in that part of it which they call the Largs. There he met with two misfortunes almost at one and the same time. first, he was overcome in fight by Alexander Stuart, the great grandfather him who first of that name was King of Scotland, and being almost taken by the multitude of his enemies, he hardly escaped in great fear to his ships. The other was that his ships, being tossed in a mighty tempest, hardly carried him with a few of his followers, who escaped into the Orcades. There were slain in that battel sixteen thousand of the Norwegians and five thousand of the Scots. Some writers say that King Alexander himself was in this fight, yet they also make honourable mention of the name of this Alexander Stuart. Acho died of grief for the loss of his army, and of his kinsman too, a valiant youth whose name is not mentioned by writers. His son Magnus, who was lately come to him, perceiving things in a desperater posture than he ever thought they would be brought to, especially having no hopes of recruit from home before the spring, and also finding the minds of the islanders alienated from him, and that he was forsaken of the Scots too, in confidence of whose aid his father had undertaken that war; these things considered, he easily inclined to terms of peace. The spirit of the young man was quailed both by the unlucky fight and also by his fear of the islanders. For Alexander had then recovered, by sending about some ships, the Isle of Man, situate almost in the midst between Scotland and Ireland, upon these conditions: that the King thereof should send in ten gallies to the Scots as oft as there was occasion; and that the Scots should defend him from a foreign enemy. When Magnus saw that the rest of the islands inclined to follow the example of the Manks-men, he sent ambassadors to treat of peace, which Alexander refused to make unless the Aebudae were restored. At last, by the diligence of the commissioner, it was agreed that the Scots should have the Aebudae, for which at present they were to pay 1000 marks of silver, and 100 marks an year; and moreover that Margarite, Alexanders daughter, being then but four years old, should marry Hangonan, the son of Magnus assoon as she was fit for marriage.
47. About this time the King of England, being infested with civil war, had five thousand Scots sent him for his assistance under the command of Robert Bruce and Alexander Cumins, whom the English writers call John. The greatest part of them were slain in fight, and Cumins with the English King himself and his son and a great part of the English Nobility of the Kings party, were taken prisoners. Moreover the Scots King was much troubled at the arrogance of the priests and monks in his kingdom, who, being enriched by former Kings, began to grow wanton in a continual peace; yea, they endeavoured to be equal, if not superior, to the Nobility, whom they excelled in wealth. They young Nobility, repining at it and taking it in great disdain, used them coursly. Whereupon complaints were made by them to the King, who, imagining either that their wrongs were not so great as they represented them, or else that they suffered them deservedly, neglected their pretended grievances, whereupon they excommunicated all but the King and in great wrath determined to go to Rome. But the King, remembering what great commotions Thomas Becket, the prime promoter of ecclesiastical ambition, had lately made in England, called them back from their journy and caused the Nobility to satisfie, not only their avarice, but even their arrogance too. And indeed they were the more inclinable to an accord with the King because he had lately undertaken the patronage of the ecclesiastical orders against the avarice of the Romanists. For a little while before Ottobon, the Popes Legate, was come into England to appease the civil discourse, but, not being able to effect the thing he came for, he omitted the publick care and studied his own private gain and lucre. He indicted an ecclesiastical assembly of the English, Procters from Scotland being also called thereunto. In the mean time he endeavoured to exact four marks of silver from every parish in Scotland and six from all cathedrals, for the expence of procurations. This contribution or tax was scarce refused when news was brought that another Legate was arrived in England, intending also for Scotland, on pretence to gather up money for the Holy War, and besides that procurable by indulgences and other lime-twigs, to catch money he endeavoured to wrest from all bishops, abbats and parish priests (as judging them to be immediately under Papal jurisdiction) the tenth part of their yearly revenues, that so Edward and Edmond, sons of the King of England, might go more nobly and numerously attended to the war in Syria. The Scots judged this tax to be very grievous and unjust, especially because the English seemed to be so forward to have it granted, as if Scotland were not sui iuris or an absolute kingdom, but dependent on England. Moreover, they were afraid lest the Legat should riotously mispend the money designed for the war, as was done some years before. Whereupon they forbad him to enter their borders, but sent him word that they themselves, without his presence, would gather money for, and send souldiers to, the Syrian war, and indeed they sent souldiers under the command of the Earls of Carick and Athol, two of the chief Nobility, to Lewis King of France; and to the Pope, lest he might think himself altogether disesteemed, they sent 1000 marks of silver.
48. The year after, Henry, King of England, died and his son Edward the First succeeded him, at whose coronation Alexander and his wife were present. She, returning, died soon after; yea, David the Kings son and also Alexander, being newly married to the daughter of the Earl of Flanders, followed her a little time after by their continued funerals. Margarita also, the Kings daughter, departed this life, who left a daughter behind her begot by Hargonanus, King of Norway. Alexander being thus in a few years deprived both of his wife and children too, took to wife Joleta, the daughter of the the Earl of Dreux, and within a year he fell from his horse and broke his neck not far from Kinghorn in the year of our Lord 1285 and <on> the fourteenth of the Calends of April. He lived forty five years, and reigned thirty seven. He was more missed than any King of Scotland had been before him, not so much for the eminent virtues of his mind and the accomplishments of his body as that people foresaw what great calamities would befal the kingdom upon his decease. Those wholesome laws which he made are antiquated by the negligence of men and the length of time, and their utility is rather celebrated by report than experienced by trial. He divided the kingdom into four parts, and almost every year he travelled them all over, staying well near three months in each of them to do justice and to hear the complaints of the poor, who had free access to him all that time. Assoon as he went to an assize or sessions, he commanded the Prefect or Sheriff of that precinct to meet him with a select number of men, and also to accompany him at his departure to the end of his bailywick till the next precinct, where he was guarded by another like company. By this means he became acquainted with all the Nobility and was well known to them, and the people, as he went, were not burthen’d with a troop of courtiers, who are commonly imperious and given to avarice where they come. He commanded the magistrates to punish all idle persons who followed no trade nor had any estates to maintain them, for his opinion was that idleness was the source and fountain of all wickedness. He reduced the horse-train of the Nobles, when they travelled, to a certain number because he thought that the multitude of horses which were unfit for war would spend too much provision. And whereas by reason of unskilfulness in navigation or else by mens avarice in committing themselves rashly to sea, many shipwracks had happened, and the violence of pyrates making an accession thereto, the company of merchants were almost undone, he commanded they should traffick no more by sea. That order lasted about an year, but being accounted by many of a publick prejudice, at length so great a quantity of foreign commodities were imported that in Scotland they were never in the memory of Man more, or less cheap. In this case, that he might study [pursue] the good of the merchants-company, he forbad that any but merchants should buy what was imported by whole sale, but what every man wanted, he was to buy it at second hand, or by retail, from them.
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