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THE NINTH BOOK
DAVID II, THE NINETY EIGHTH KING
HE Nobles of Scotland, having performed the funeral obsequies for the late King, assoon as they could conveniently, did indict a convention of the Estates for the electing of a Regent, where the inclinations of the publick easily pitched on Thomas Randolf, Earl of Murray, for even in the Kings life time he had for some years managed that office and the King at his death had also recommended him to the people by his last will and testament. The coronation of the King was deferred till the eighth of the Calends of December the next year following, that so by the permission of the Pope he might be anointed, and that new ceremony be performed more augustly amongst the Scots. Assoon as the Regent was chosen, he first of all ratified the peace made with the English. Afterward he applied his mind to settle quiet at home, and to suppress publick robberies. In order whereto, he kept a strong guard of armed men abut him which were ready on all occasions, so that when news was brought him as he was going to Wigton (which is a town in Galway) that there was a strong band of thieves who beset the highways and robbed travellers in that country, he sent out his guard against them even as he was in his progress, who took them every man, whom he caused to be put to death. He was inexorable against all murderers, so that he caused a certain man to be apprehended who had obtained the Popes Bull of a pardon for his offence and thereupon thought himself secure to be apprehended, alleging that the Pope might pardon the soul-guilt, but the body-punishment belonged to the King. To prevent robberies, which were yet too frequently committed by reason of the remaining contagion of the wars, he made a law that the country men should leave all their iron tools and plough-gear in the field all night, and that they should not shut their houses nor their stalls. If any thing were stollen, the loss was to be repaired by the Sheriff of the county, and the Sheriff was to be reimbursed by the King, and the King was to be satisfied out of the estates of the thieves when they were taken. There was one country man, either over-greedy of gain or else judging that caution to be in vain and frivolous, who hid his plough iron in the field and came to the Sheriff to demand satisfaction as if it had been stollen. The Sheriff paid him presently, but inquiring further into the matter and finding that he was the author of the theft himself, he caused him to be hanged and his goods to be confiscate. He restrained the loose pack of drolling vagabonds and minstrellers from wandering up and down the country, under most grievous penalties. If any one assaulted a travellor or any publick officer in performing his office, he made it lawful for any body to kill him, so that when thirty assailants had been slain by the companions of a certain publick minister at a village called Halydon, he pronounced that the fact was just and indemnified the committers of it.
2. This domestick severity made him formidable to flagitious persons at home, as his valour did to his enemies abroad. And therefore the English, who upon Roberts death watched all occasions to revenge themselves, perceiving that they could attempt nothing by open force as long as Randolph was living, turned their thoughts to secret fraud and stratagem. The speediest way to be rid of their enemy seemed to be by poysoning him. Neither wanted there a fit minister to attempt it, which was a certain monk of that class which are idly brought up and, for want of masters toteach them better, they do many times pervert good wits to evil arts and practices. There were two professions joyned in him, viz., monkship and the profession of physick. The first seemed proper to gain him admittance, the second rendred him fit to perpetrate the wickedness. Hereupon he comes into Scotland, giving out in all places that, as he had skil in all other parts of physick, so especially in curing the stone, by which means he obtained an easy access to the Regent. And, being employed to cure him, he mixed a slow-working poyson with his medicine, and then, taking a few days provision with him, he returned into England as if he had gone only to get and prepare more drugs and medicine. There he makes a solemn asservation before Edward that Randolf would die by such a certain day. In hopes whereof, Edward levied a great army and, marching to the Borders, found there as great an army of Scots ready to receive him, not far from his camp. Whereupon he sent a trumpeter to them upon pretence to demand reparation for damages, but he was enjoyned to inquire who commanded the Scots forces. Randolph, his disease growing on and the monk not returning at the day appointed, suspected all things for the worse, and therefore, dissembling his grief as much as he could, he sate in a chair before his tent, royally apparelled, and gave answer to the demands of the Herald of Arms as if he had been a man perfectly healthy and sound. The Herald, at his return, acquainted the King with what he had seen and heard, so that the monk was punished as a lying cheat, and Edward marched back his army, only leaving a guard on the Borders to prevent incursions. Randolph also was hindred from marching forward by the violence of his disease, but, returning, he disbanded his army, and at Musselborough, about four miles from Edinburgh, departed this life in the year of our salvation 1331 and the 13th of the Calends of August, having managed the regency two years after Robert’s death. He was a man no whit inferiour to any of our Scotish Kings in valour and skill in military affairs, but far superiour to them in the arts and knacks of peace. He left two sons behind him, Thomas and John, both worthy of so great a father.
3. When Randolf, Guardian of the kingdom (for so they then called him) was dead, Duncan Earl of Marr was chosen in his place, the 4th of the Nones of August, the King being ten year old. On which day a sad message was brought to Court that the day before the Calends of that month Edward Baliol was seen in the Firth of Forth with a navy very numerous. To make all things more plain concerning his coming, I must go a little back. When King Robert died, there was one Laurence Twine, an English man of the number of those who, having received lands in Scotland as a reward of their military service, dwelt there. He was of a good family but of a wicked life. He, conceiving hope of greater liberty upon the death of one King and immature age of another, gave himself up more licentiously to unlawful pleasures, so that, being often found in adultery, and admonished by the judge of the ecclesiastical court, yet not desisting, he was at last excommunicated by the Official (as they called him) of the Bishop of Glasgow. Whereupon he, as if he had received a great deal of wrong, way-laid the judge as he was going to Air and kept him so long a prisoner until upon the payment of a sum of money he had absolved him. Twine, being informed that James Douglas was extremely angry with him for this fact, and that he sought for him to have him punished, for fear of his power he fled into France, and there he addressed himself to Edward Baliol, son to John (who had been King of Scotland some few years), informing him of the state of affairs of Scotland, and withal advising him by no means to omit so fair an opportunity of recovering his fathers kingdom. For (said he) their King was now but a child, and he had many enemies about him, and readier to be avengers of the hatred towards his father than his friends. The fathers of some were slain in a publick convention at Perth, others were banished and lost of a great part of their lands; and besides, many of the English race who were deprived of the lands given them by his father would be his companions in the expedition; yea, that there were men enough, needy and criminal, who either for hope of gain or to avoid the punishment of the law, being desirous of change and innovation, wanted nothing but a leader to begin a disturbance. And moreover, James Douglas being killed in Spain and Randolf by reason of his sickness being unfit for the government, there was not a man besides to whose authority the giddy and disagreeing multitude would as soon submit as to his.
4. Baliol knew that what he had spoken was for the most part true, and hearing also that Edward of England was sending great forces into Scotland, thereupon the crafty impostor easily persuaded him (who of himself was desirous of empire and glory) to get what ships he could together, and so to bear a part in that expedition. But before the coming of Baliol into England Edward had disbanded his army. Nevertheless, the exiled Scots and those English who had been dispossessed of their lands in Scotland flocked into him, and so he made up no inconsiderable army. Some say that he had but 600 men accompanying him in so great an attempt, which seems not very probable. I rather think their speech is more agreeable to truth who write that the English assisted him with 6000 foot. And they were all more encouraged in their designed expedition when they heard that Randolf was dead whilst they were making their preparations, for that mightily erected their minds as a good omen of their future success. With his navy he came to Kinghorn, and there landed his naval forces in the Calends of August. The land forces were led by David Cumins, heretofore Earl of Athole, and also by Mowbray and Beaumont, and the forces of the English by Talbot. At the news of the arrival of his fleet, Alexander Seton, a Nobleman who happened to be in those parts at that time, strove to oppose them, thinking that upon their disorderly landing some opportunity of service might be offered. But in regard few of the country came in to him, he and most of his men were cut off. Baliol allowed some few days to his soldiers to refresh themselves after their troublesome voyage, and then marched directly towards Perth and pitched his tents by the watermills not far from the water of Earn. The Regent was beyond, and Patrick Orders on this side the river, each of them with great forces, their camps being five miles distant one from another. Baliol tho, upon the coming in of many to him on the bruit of his good success, he made up an army of above ten thousand men; yet, being between two armies of his enemies and fearing to be crushed in the midst, he thought it best to attack them severally, and that on a sudden when they least expected any such thing, and he resolved to set upon Marr the Regent first, because it was likely that he, being most remote from his enemy, would be less watchful, and so more liable to a surprize. He got Andrew Murray of Tullibardin to be his guide, who, not daring to joyn himself openly with the English, in the night fastned and stuck up a pole or stake in the river where it was fordable, to shew Baliol’s men the way over. They, being covered with the woods which grew on the other side of the river, came near the enemy before they aware, where they understood that they kept but a thin watch and slender guard, and passed the night as in no expectation of an enemy at all. Upon the account of this their negligence they marched by their camp in great silence, thinking to make an assault on the adverse part thereof, where, they supposed, they should find them more secure [careless].
5. But it happened that in that part where they presumed the greatest negligence, was <where> that Thomas Randolf, Earl of Murray, Robert Bruce, Earl of Carrick, Murdo Earl of Monteath and Alexander Frazer kept their guard and watch. They, gathering a lusty band of their friends together, received the first charge and onset of the enemy very valiantly upon the edge of a ditch which the falling down of the rain-water had made. In the mean time, a great noise and tumult was made in the camp, each one hastening to his arms and running in to the conflict, but rushing in rashly in no order and without their colours. First they broke the ranks of their own men who bore the brunt of the Baliolans, and so the last push’d on the first, who falling into the ditch, they also in a ruinous manner fell down upon them. There many were slain by the enemy, but more, both of horse and men, pressed to death by their fall, and the most part were so weakened that they had hardly strength enough left either to fight or fly. There fell of the Scots 3000. Many of those that escaped fled to Perth, but they being few and generally without arms or guides, were easily taken by the pursuing English, together with the city itself. The next day, Dunbar, hearing of the overthrow of the other army and that Perth was taken, and being informed also of the paucity of the English, marched directly towards the town with an intent to besiege it and destroy the enemy whilst they were yet in want of all things. But, the matter being debated amongst his chief commanders, each one excused himself, and so they departed without effecting any thing. Baliol, having performed so great matters in so short a time, even beyond his hope, was encouraged to attempt the rest of the Scots, either to win them by favour or to conquer them by force. And, there being such a mighty concourse of people made to him, he now thought it seasonable to declare himself King. That advice was safer to him because the greatest part of the slaughter had fallen upon the families adjoyning to Perth. For there were slain in the battel, besides the Regent, Robert Keith with a great number of his kindred and tenants. There fell eighty of the family of the Lindseys, and amongst them Alexander, the chief of the sept. The name of the Hays would have been quite extinguished in this fight if William, the chief of the family, had not left his wife big with child behind him. Moreover, Thomas Randolfe, Robert Bruce, Murdo Earl of Monteath, William Sinclare, Bishop of the Caledonians, and Duncan Macduff, Earl of Fife, made prisoners by him, and being thus in such a desperate posture, were enforced to take an oath of obedience to him.
6. <EDWARD> BALIOL, THE NINETY NINTH KING
Hereupon Baliol, trusting to his present fortune, went to the neighbouring Abby of Scone, and there entred upon the kingdom in the year of our Lord 1332, the eighth of the Calends of September. By this wound and loss the power of David Bruce was much weakened in Scotland, yet his friends, not broken in their spirits by this calamity, took care to secure him from the danger of war, he not being yet fit to manage the government, and therefore they sent him and his wife to his fathers friend Philip, King of France, to be there out of harms way. In the mean time they prepare themselves for all hazards, being resolved to dye honourably or else return their country to its former state. And first of all they set up Andrew Murray, an eminent person, son of the sister of Robert Bruce, as Regent in the place of Duncan. Then they sent messengers into all parts of the kingdom, partly to confirm and fix their old friends, and partly to spur up the more remiss to thoughts of revenging their wrongs. The first who took arms, as being excited by their grief for the loss of their parents and kindred at Duplin, were Robert Keith, James and Simon Frazer, who about the autumnal aequinox besieged Perth. The siege lasted longer than they expected, yet in three months they took it. Macduff, Earl of Fife, who held the town for Baliol, was sent prisoner with his wife and children to Kildrum, a castle in Marr. Andrew Murray of Tullibardin, who discovered the ford over the River Earn to the English, was put to death. The Black Book of Pasley says that the walls of the town were demolished, which seems more probable to me than that it should be made a garison, as others write, especially in so great a want of faithful friends and soldiers. At the same time, Baliol was at Annandale, very busie in receiving the homage of the Nobles, who were so much surprized and astonished at the suddain thing that even Alexander Bruce, lord of Carrick and Galway, despairing of the retrieve of his kinsman David’s affairs, came in to him.
7. After this prosperous success he despised his enemy and grew more negligent and regardless of him. When the Regent heard thereof by his spyes, he sent Archibald Douglas, brother to James who was lost in Spain, that if there were any opportunity for action, he should lay hold upon it. He took with him William Douglas, Earl of Liddisdale, John Randolfe, the son of Thomas, and Simon Frazer with a thousand horse, and so came to Mauset, where, having sent out scouts to see that the coast was clear, he marched in the night and set upon Baliol as he was asleep, and put his army into so great a fright and consternation that Baliol himself, half naked, was fain to get upon an horse neither bridled or sadled, and so fled away; many of his intimate friends were slain. Alexander Bruce was taken prisoner, and obtained his pardon by the means of his kinsman John Randolfe. Henry Baliol got great credit that day, by his valour, amongst both parties, who in so confused a flight defended some of his men whom their persuers pressed upon, he wounded many and killed some of his enemies, and at last was slain fighting valiantly. There fell also the chief of the English faction, John Mowbray, Walter Cumins, and Richard Kirke. These things were acted the eighth of the Calends of January in the year 1332. The Brucian party were somewhat relieved by these successes, to that they came in great numbers to Andrew Murray the Regent, to consult about the main chance. They made no doubt but that Baliol sought the kingdom not for himself, but for the English, by whom he was guided and influenced in every thing. Wherefore they resolved to declare the King of England their enemy, and accordingly they prepared all things necessary for the war with great diligence, as against a very powerful enemy. They made the garison of Berwick very strong, for they thought the English would assault that first. They made Alexander Seton, a worthy knight, Governor of the town, and Patrick Dunbar of the Castle and the adjoyning precincts. William Douglas, Earl of Liddisdale, whose valour and prudence was highly commended in those times, was sent into Annandale to defend the western coasts. Andrew Murray went to Roxburgh, where Baliol kept himself.
8. Thus their several governments being distributed at home, John Randolfe was sent into France to visit David and to make an address to Philip of France, informing him of the state in Scotland and desiring some aid from him against the common enemy. Murray at his coming to Roxburgh had a sharp encounter with Baliol at a bridge without the city, and whilst he pressed to eagerly after the English, who were retreating over the bridge into the town, he was intercepted from his men and taken prisoner, whereby a victory almost quite obtained slipt out of his hands. At the same time, in a contrary province, William Douglas of Liddisdale in a fight with the English was wounded and made prisoner, whose disaster so troubled his men that they also were put to flight. This inconstancy and variableness of fortune divided Scotland again into two factions, even as love, hatred, hope, fear, or each man’s private concern inclined him. The King of England, presuming that by reason of the dissensions he had a fit opportunity to seize upon Scotland, received Baliol into his protection (for he was too weak to support himself by his own strength), and took an oath of obedience from him; yea, nothing regarding his right of affinity with Bruce, nor reverencing the sanctity of leagues, nor of religion of an oath, so that he might satisfie his immoderate ambition he at once denounced and also made war on the Scots, at that time destitute of a King and also at variance amongst themselves. And to give a colourable pretence of justice to his war, he sent embassadors to demand Berwick, which town his father and grandfather had held many years, and he presently followed with an army. The Scots answered the ambassadors, that Berwick always belonged to Scotland till his grandfather Edward had injuriously seized upon it. At length, when Robert Bruce, their last King, had recovered the rest of Scotland, he took away that town from Edward (father of him who now requires the reddition [return] of it), and reduced unto its ancient rightful possessor and form of government; yea, not long ago Edward himself, by the advice of his Parliament, had renounced all right which he or his ancestors might pretend to have over all Scotland in general, or any of the towns and places therein in particular. From that time, they were not conscious to themselves that they had acted any thing against the league so solemnly sworn to and confirmed by alliance of a marriage. Why then within the compass of a few years were they assaulted by secret fraud and by open war? These things being so, they desired the embassadors to incline the mind of the King to equity, and that he would not watch his opportunity to injure and prejudice a young King in his absence, who was both innocent and also his own sisters husband. As for themselves, they would refuse no conditions of peace, provided they were honourable, but if he threatened them with an unjust force, then, according to the tutelage of the King committed to them, they resolved rather to dye a noble death than to consent to a peace prejudicial to themselves or the kingdom.
9. This was the answer of the Council of Scotland. But the King of England sought not peace, but victory. And therefore, having encreased his great army with foreign aid also, he besieged Berwick by sea and land, neither did he omit any thing which might to contribute to the taking of it. For, having a multitude of men, he gave his enemy no rest night nor day. Neither were the besiegers behind hand with them, but valorously sallied out upon them every day. They threw fire into the ships which anchored in the river and burnt many of them. In which skirmish William Seaton, the Governors bastard son, was lost, much lamented by all for his singular valour. For whilst he endeavoured to leap into an English ship, his own being driven too far off by the waves, he fell into the sea, neither in that exigent [need] could any relief come to him. And besides, another son of Alexanders begot on his lawful wife, who out of eagerness to fight proceeded too far in a sally, was taken by the English. But the siege, which was begun in the Ides of April, had now lasted three months, and the defendants, besides their toil and watchings, were also in great want of provisions, so that they seemed hardly able to hold out the town any longer, but made an agreement with the English that, unless they were relieved by the third of the Calends of August, they would surrender up the place. And for this Thomas, Alexanders eldest son, was given in hostage. While these things were acting at Berwick, the Scots indicted an assembly to consult about their affairs, and in regard the Regent was prisoner at Roxburgh, that they might not be without a General they chose Archibald Douglas Captain-General. They also voted that he should have an army to march into England, that so by foraging the neighbouring countrys he might draw off the King of England from the siege. Douglas, according to this order and decree, marched towards England, but hearing of the agreement which Alexander had made, he changed his mind and, tho against the advice of his most prudent commanders, he marched directly towards the English, and on the even of Mary Magdalen came in sight of them and was beheld both by friends and enemies. The King of England, tho’ the day was not come wherein it was agreed that the town should be surrendred, yet when he saw the Scots forces so near, had sent an herald into the town to acquaint the Governor that unless he presently surrendred up his garison, he would put his son Thomas to death, the Governor alleging that the day appointed for the surrender was not yet come and that he had given his faith to stay till the time allowed by their paction was expired. But all was in vain. Hereupon love, piety, fear, and duty towards his country did variously exercise his paternal and afflicted mind, and the English, to drive the terror more home, had set up a gallows in a place easily visible to the besieged, whither he caused the Governors two sons, one the hostage, the other a prisoner of war, to be brought forth to execution.
10. At this miserable spectacle his fatherly mind was at a great stand, and in this fluctuation of his thoughts his wife, the mother of the young men, a woman of a manly courage, came to him and put him in mind of his faithfulness towards his King, his love towards his country, and the dignity of his noble family, upon all which grounds she endeavoured to settle his wavering mind. “If these children be put to death (said she), you have others remaining alive; and besides, we are neither of us past age, you to beget, and I to bear more. If they escape death, yet it will not be long but that by some sudden casualty or else by maturity of age they must yield to fate. But if any blot of infamy should stick upon the family of the Seatons, it would remain to all posterity and be a foul blot even to their innocent offspring.” She further told him that she had heard often those men much commended in the discourses of the wise who had given up themselves and their children as a sacrifice for the safety of their country; but if he should give up the town committed to his trust he would betray his country, and yet be never the more certain of his childrens lives neither. For how could he hope that a tyrant who violated his faith now would stand upon his word for the future? And therefore she entreated him not to prefer an uncertainty and (if it should be obtained) a momentary convenience before a certain and perpetual ignominy. By this discourse she somewhat settled his mind, and that he might not behold so dismal a spectacle she carried him to another place, from whence it could not be seen. The English King, after this punishment inflicted, which was not very acceptable neither to some of his own men, removed his camp to Halidon Hill near Berwick, and there waits his enemies coming. Douglas, who before would not hearken to the advice of his grave counsellors as to foraging in the English counties and so averting the siege, now was inflamed with raging wrath, and withal presuming that if, after the perpetration of so horrible a wickedness almost before his eyes, he should draw off without fighting, it might be said that he was afraid of his enemy, was resolved to fight at any rate, and so marched directly towards the enemy; and, because the English kept their ground and would not come down into the champion, he placed all the Scots army on a contrary part of the hill. This his rash counsel and project had the like event, for as with great difficulty they were getting up the hill, the enemy with their darts and the hurling down of stones did wound them way sore before they came to handy blows, and when they came near, they rushed upon them in such close bodies that they tumbled them headlong over the steep precipices. There fell that day about ten, some say fourteen, thousand of the Scots. Almost all such who escaped out of the unhappy battel of Duplin were lost here. The chief of them whose names are recorded were Archibald himself, the General; James, John and Alan Stuart, uncles to Robert, who reigned next after the Brucians; Hugh, Kenneth and Alexander Bruce, the several and respective Earls of Ross, Sutherland and Carrick; Andrew, John and Simon, three brothers of the Frazers. This overthrow of the Scots happened on St. Mary Magdalens Day in the year 1333.
11. After this fight all relief was despaired of, so that Alexander Seaton surrendred up the town to the English, and Patrick Dunbar the Castle, upon condition to march out with all their goods. Both of them were forced to swear fealty to the English, and Patrick Dunbar was further enjoyned to re-edifie [rebuild] the Castle of Dunbar at his own charge, which he had demolished that might not be a receptacle to the English. Edward, having staid there a few days, commended the town and the reliques of the war to Baliol, and he himself retired into his own kingdom, leaving Edward Talbot in Scotland, a noble person and very prudent, with a few English forces to assist Baliol in subduing the rest of Scotland. And indeed it seemed no great task so to do, in regard that almost all the Nobility were extinct, and of those few that remained some came in to the conqueror, others retired either into desert or else fortified places. The garisons which remained faithful to David were very few, as on this side the Forth, an island in a logh whence the River Down flows, scarce big enough to bear a moderate castle, and Dumbritton beyond the Forth, a castle scituate on Lough Leven, and also Kildrummy and Urchart. The next year ambassadors came from the Pope and from Philip, King of France, to end the disputes between the Kings of Britain. The English were so puft up with the prosperous course of their affairs that the King would not so much as admit the ambassadors into his presence, for he thought that the hearts of the Scots were so cowed, and their strength so broken, that for the future they durst not, neither were they able again, to rebel.
12. But this great tranquillity was soon changed into a most grievous war, and that upon a very light occasion where it was least expected, viz., upon a discord arising amongst the English themselves at Perth. James Mowbray had lands given to his ancestors in Scotland by Edward the First, but they being lost by the various changes of the times, he recovered them again when Edward Baliol was King. He dying without issue male, Alexander their uncles commenced a suit against his daughters for those lands. Those of the English faction that maintained the cause of the females were Henry Beaumont, who had married one of them, also Richard Talbot and David Cummins, Earl of Athole. Baliol took Alexanders part and decided or adjudged the lands to him, which so offended his adversaries that they openly complained of the injustice of the decree, and, seeing that complaints availed nothing, they left the Court and went every one to his own home. Talbot was going for England, but, being apprehended, was carried to Dunbarton. Beaumont garisoned Dundury, a strong Castle of Buchan, and took possession not only of the lands which were in controversie but also of all the neighbouring country. Cumins went to Athole, where he fortified some convenient places and prepared to defend himself by force if he were attacked. Baliol, being afraid of this conspiracy of such potent persons, altered his decree and gave the lands in question to Beaumont; he also reconciled Cumins by giving him many fertile lands which belonged to Robert Stuart, the next King. Alexander, being concerned at this injurious affront, joyns himself with Andrew Murray, Regent of the Scots, who had lately ransomed himself from the English for a great sum of money. These things were acted at several times, yet I have put them together that the whole course of my history might not be interrupted. In the mean time, Baliol in another part of the country attacked all the forts about Renfrew; some he took, others he battered down and demolished. Having settled matters there according to his own mind, he sailed over into the island Bote and there fortified the Castle of Rothsay, of which he made Alan Lisle Governour, whom he had before made Chief Justice for matters of law, He diligently sought after Robert Stuart his nephew or grandchild to put him to death, but he by the help of William Heroit and John Gilbert was wafted over in a small vessel into the continent on the other side, where horses stood ready for him which carried him to Dunbarton to Malcolm Fleming, Governour of that Castle. Baliol, having setled things at Bote, at his return took Dunnoon, a Castle seated in Coval, the neighbouring continent, whereupon the Nobility of the vicinage were struck with so great fear that they almost all submitted to him.
13. Marching from thence the next spring, he bent all his care to besiege the Castle of Logh Levin, but this project seeming too slow, he left John Sterlin, a powerful knight of his party, to besiege the Castle, to whom he joyned Michael Arnold, David Weemes and Richard Melven with part of his army. They built a fort over against it where the passage was narrowest, and having in vain tried all ways to subdue it by force. Alan Wepons and James Lambert, inhabitants of St. Andrews, making such a vigorous resistance, at length they endeavoured to drawn it by stopping up the passage of the river. For the River Levin goes out from the lake or loch with a narrow girt or neck and an open rock. This place they essayed to stop up by making a wall or bank of stones and turfs heaped upon one another. But the work proceeded on very slowly because, as the heat did incommode the labourers, so the brooks which flowed into the lake were then almost dry and the water, being far spread abroad, received an increase by moderate additions. By this means the siege was lengthened out to the month of July, when there was an holy day kept in remembrance of St. Margaret, heretofore Queen of Scotland, on which day there used to be a great concourse of merchants at Dumferlin, where the body of that saint is reported to be buried. Thither went John Sterlin with a great part of his men, some for merchandizing, some for religion, leaving his camp and the wall but slenderly guarded, for they thought themselves secure from the enemy in regard they knew that none of the opposite faction were in all the neighbouring parts except those few which were shut up in the Castle. But the besieged, being made acquainted with the absence of Sterlin and the weakness of his camp, assoon as the evening came shipt that furniture which they had before prepared to peirce through the wall, and whilst the watch was a-sleep made many holes in it in several places. The water, having gotten some small passages, widened the orifices of them by degrees and at last brake forth with such a violence that it tumbled down all that was before it. It overflowed all the plains and carried away with it tents, huts, men half a-sleep, and horses, with a mighty rushing noise, into the sea. And they which were in the ships, running in with a great shout upon the frightened soldiers, added a second terrour to the first, so that upon such a double surprize every man minded nothing but how to save himself. Thus shifting way, they fled as every man could, and left the prey to their enemy. Alan at his leasure carried into the Castle not only the spoils of their camp, but provisions also, prepared for a long siege. Moreover, in another sally made against the guards which were at Kinross, there was a happy success, the guards were routed and taken and the siege raised.
14. At about the same time that these things were acting in Fife, the English entred Scotland with great forces both by sea and land. When the ships came into the Forth, their admiral [flagship] struck upon the rocks and the rest were grievously turmoiled, so that they returned home with greater loss than booty. But the land-forces pierced as far as Glasgoe, where Edward called a council of his own faction, and finding that there was neither General nor army on foot of the contrary party, he thought his presence was no longer necessary, so that he returned into England, taking Baliol with him, whom he somewhat distrusted, and leaving David Cumins, Earl of Athole, to command in Scotland. He first of all seizes upon the large estates of all the Stuarts, which contained Bote, Arran, the lands of Renfrow, and a great part of Kyle and Cuningham. He confirms Alan Lisle Chief Justice of Bote, which some call Sheriff, others Seneschal, and also commanded the neighbouring countreys to obey him. Then he himself marched into another part of the country, where he reduces the provinces of Buchan and Murray. And though he were now grown almost beyond the rate of a private man, yet he sent forth all his proclamations and publick edicts in the name of both Kings, Edward and Baliol. At that time there was not a man in Scotland that durst profess that Bruce was King: only waggish boys would sometimes do it, as it were, in sport and pastime. Yet Robert Stuart, who then lay hid in Dunbarton, judging that something might be attempted in the absence of Cumins, made the Cambels, a powerful family of Argyle, acquainted with his proposal. Calen, the chief of them, met him at Dunnoon, a Castle in Coval with about 400 men, and presently surprizes it. At the noise thereof the islanders of Bote, who were divided but by a narrow sea, generally rise and hasten to their old masters. Alan gathered what united force he could to stop their march, whereupon the poor people, being for the most part unarmed, and who had assembled rather in a fit of passion than by any solid advice, being struck with a panick fear ran to the next hill, where they found a great company of stones, which they threw down like showres of hail-stones upon their enemies, who, in contempt of their paucity, rashly adventured to assault them. The greatest part of them were thus rudely treated before they came to blows, but as they retreated they so pressed upon them that the valiantest of their enemies with Alan Lisle himself were slain and John Gilbert, Governor of the Castle of Bote taken prisoner, so that they armed many of their men with the spoils of the slain. Thus not unbloody victory was followed by the surrender of the Castle of Bote.
15. When the rumour of these things was spread abroad, Thomas Bruce, Earl of Carrick, with his neighbours and allies out of Kyle and Cuningham, as also William Carruder of Annandale, who always had withstood the government of the English, with his friends and kinsmen crept out of his hole and came in to Stuart. And besides, John Randal, Earl of Murray, being returned out of France gave some hopes of foreign assistance, whereupon, being encouraged in their minds to higher attempts, they made up an army by the assistance of Godfrey Ross, Sheriff of Air, and in a short time drew all Carick, Kyle and Cuningham to their party. Also the Renfroans came to their old masters the Stuarts, uninvited. The vassals of Andrew Murray, following their example, drew in the rest of Clydsdale, part willingly and part against their wills, into their cause. Their confidence being increased by these happy beginnings, that there might be some representation of a publick state amongst them, they called together the chief of their party and made two Regents, viz., Robert Stuart, though a young man yet one who in these lesser expeditions had given a great pledge of his good-will towards his country, and John Randolfe, a person worthy of his father and brother, both eminent patriots. Randolfe being sent with a strong party into the northern countrys, there flocked in to him all those who were weary of the heavy yoke of the English, so that David Cumins, being amazed at this inclination and change of mens minds, fled into Loch Abyr, whither he followed him and, driving up into a nook and being also in great want of provisions, he forced him to yield; but upon his swearing fealty to Bruce he dismissed him, and withal gave so much credit to his promises that at his departure he made him his deputy, and indeed afterwards he was not backward in Bruce his cause. In the mean time Randolfe, returning into Lothian, joined his old friend William Douglas, who, being released and newly come out of England, did revenge the noisomness of his long imprisonment with a great slaughter of his enemies. Andrew Murray returned also, who was taken prisoner at Roxburgh, so that, there being commanders enough, the Regent indicted an assembly at Perth to be held in the Calends of April, where, when abundance of the Nobility met together, they were not able to effect any thing by reason of the great feud betwixt William Douglas and David Cumins. The cause thereof was pretended to be that Cumins was the occasion why Douglas was not sooner released by the English. Stuart favoured Cumins, but almost all the rest Douglas. Moreover, Cumins alleged that he came with a more than ordinary train unto the assembly by reason of that feud, for he had brought so many of his friends and tenants along with him that he became formidable to all the rest, and besides his disposition (which was various and mutable), his vast mind and the noyse of the coming of the English, with whom every one knew that Athole would join, increased their suspicions with him.
16. And indeed, not long after Edward invaded Scotland with great forces both by sea and land, bringing Baliol along with him. His navy, consisting of 160 sail, entred the Forth. He himself marched by land as far as Perth, spoiling the country as he went along, and there waited for Cumins. In the mean time, Randolfe went to John, who challenged [claimed] the Aebudae as his own; and, not being able to draw him to his party, he was content, in so troublesome a posture of affairs, to make a truce with him for some months, and thereafter, returning to Robert the other Regent, he found him dangerously sick, so that it was as bad a time as could be for all the burden to be cast upon his own shoulders, and therefore he durst not fight the English in a set battel, but divided his force that so he might attack them by parties. And, hearing that a strong party of Gueldrians were coming through England to join the English in Scotland, he waited for their coming on the Borders. Where also Patrick Earl of March and William Douiglas of Liddisdale met him, together with Alexander Ramsay, one of the most experienced soldiers of that age. All these waited for the said Gueldrians in the fields near Edinburgh. Assoon as ever they came in sight one of another, they fell to it immediately, and after a sharp conflict the Gueldrians were overcome and fled to the next hill, where there was an old ruinous castle. The next day, having no provision, they surrendred themselves only upon quarter for life. Randolfe, out of respect to Philip Valois, who was their singular good friend (as was then said), did not only freely release them, but accommodated them with provisions for their march; yea, he himself undertook to be their convoy. In his march he was taken by an ambush of the English party, and so brought to the King, who was then besieging Perth with a powerful army. At the same time, David Cumins, who steered all his counsels according to the inclinations of fortune, being glad of the distress of his enemy, comes to the King of England and promises him in a very short time to drive all the Brucians out of the kingdom, and the truth is he was as active in performing his promise. For Perth being surrendered and the walls thereof demolished, the King prepared to return to England because provision for his army came but slowly in, in regard that all the Scots upon notice of his coming were advised to drive their cattle into the mountains; as for their other provisions, they should either convey them to some fortified places far remote, or, if they could not do so, they should spoil them altogether. Neither did his fleet, on which he most relied for bread for his army, much relieve him. For as soon as it arrived at the Forth and had destroyed a monastery of monks in the isle of Inch-colm, as it rode at anchor in the open sea it was grievously turmoiled and suffered great losses by a tempestuous storm, so that part of the ships could hardly get to Inch-Keith, a desolate island near adjoining. Others were carried further by the winds, but as soon as they could recover themselves they imputed the cause of the tempest to the anger of St. Columb because they had avaritiously and cruelly destroyed a monastery of his, and therefore whatever prey or plunder they had got they carried it thither as an expiation for their offence; neither was any memorable act performed by that fleet the whole year.
17. Though these causes did much incline the King of England to return, yet that which did most accelerate it was his propension to the French war, which was then most in his thoughts. And therefore he marched back his army, and took Baliol with him as if the Scotish war had been almost at and end, and left Cumins as Regent to perfect the remainder thereof. He, to ingratiate himself to both Kings and to avenge himself on his enemy , was extraordinarily cruel in his proceedings, which severity of his was the more resented because that lately he himself obtained his pardon so easily when he was reduced to the lowest ebb not many months before. There was scarce above three of all the Scotish Nobility whom neither promises could entice, nor dangers enforce to submit to the English yoke, and those were Patrick Earl of Merch, Andrew Murray and William Douglas. These joined their forces and march to Kilblane Forest against Cumins, who was besieging Kildrummy Castle. With him they had a sharp fight. Cumins was more in number, and a few might easily be snapt by a great many, but the coming in of John Craig, Governor of the Castle, with 300 fresh men decided the controversy and gave an undisputed victory to the Brucians. All the valiantest of Cumins his army were slain either in the fight or in the pursuit. Many were saved in a neighbour castle called Cameron belonging to Robert Meinze. But, seeing there were not provisions for so great a multitude pent up in so narrow a room, the next day it was surrendred and the defendants, upon their submission confirmed by an oath, pardoned. There fell in this fight, besides the General himself, Robert Brady and Walter Cumins, two of his intimate friends. Thomas his brother, being taken prisoner, was the next day put to death. Upon this victory, in regard Randolfe was a prisoner and Stuart was sick, the name and power of Regent was confirmed on Andrew Murray by military suffrage. For when letters came from the King of France concerning a truce, the Nobles of the Brucian party, being forced to receive them, did by unanimous consent restore that former honour to Murray which his calamitous misfortune had deprived him of.
18. He, after the truce for a few months was ended, made siege to the Castle of Lochindores, which was held by the wife of David Cumins. She, foreseeing what would happen, had craved aid of the English, who shortly after landed some forces in Murray and raised the siege. They also pierced as far as Elgin (a town situate by the River Lossy), wasting all as they went with fire and sword. As they were marching to Perth they burnt Aberdene and garison’d the castles in all Merss, Dunoter, Kinness and Laureston. They laid a command on the six adjoining monasteries to repair the walls of Perth, which were demolished, and then committing the affairs of Scotland to Edward Baliol, who was returned thither, they went back for England. Upon the departure of the English and the low condition of the Scots, Henry Beaumont thought it a fit opportunity for him to stir to revenge the death of his son in law the Earl of Athole, and therefore he killed all that he could take, without any distinction, who had been in the fight of Kilblane, in a very cruel manner. Andrew Murray besieged him in Dungarg and enforced him to a surrender, and upon taking his oath that he would return no more into Scotland in an hostile manner, he was dismissed. Thus by one continued course of victory he took all the strong holds on the further side of the Forth (besides the Castle of Cowper and the town of Perth) and, casting out their garisons, he wholly demolished them. Afterwards he entred England, where he got great booty and somewhat relived the spirits of his soldiers, who had suffered much by reason of want in their own country. For in regard Scotland had been harassed that year by the injuries of war and wasted by the daily incursions of both parties, the fields lay untill’d, and there was such a famine that the English were enforced to desert the strong Castle of Cowper for want of provisions. And a Scotish seaman who had been abused by them, being employed to transport the garison-soldiers by night to Lothian, landed them upon a bank of sand which was bare when the tide was out. They, thinking it had been the continent, went a little way and then met with sea again, which made them call again for the vessel, but in vain, for they all perished there.
19. The next year, which was 1337, the English besieged the Castle of Dunbar. It was defended by Agnes, the wife of the Earl of Merch, who was commonly sirnamed The Black, a woman of a manly spirit. The besiegers were the Earls of Salisbury and Arundel. The siege lasted longer than any body thought it would, so that two divers supplies were sent into Scotland to relieve Baliol, the one led by Monfort, the other by Richard Talbot. Lawrence Preston undertook Monfort, and in a fight slew him and routed his army, but he himself dyed soon after of the wounds he there received, which caused his soldiers to wreck their fury for the loss of their General on the prisoners, whom they inhumanly slew. Talbot was taken prisoner by William Keith and his army routed, yet the siege of Dunbar continued still. And the sea being stopped by the English, the besieged were driven to so great a want of victuals that without doubt if must have been surrendred if Alexander Ramsay by a seasonable tho bold attempt had not relieved it. He in the dead time of the night slipp’d b the watch, which in gallies of Genoa kept the sea-coast side, and came up to the Castle, where he landed forty choice men and a great quantity of provisions. And then, joyning part of the garison with his own men in the cover of the night, he rushed in with such a noise on the English guard that he made a great slaughter amongst them; for they little expected a sally from an enemy whom they looked upon as almost conquered. And so the next night he returned back as securely as he came. Thus after six months the siege of Dunbar was raised. For Edward called back his forces to the French war after they had wearied themselves and tryed all ways to become masters of the place. Andrew Murray, his country being then almost freed from foreign soldiers, attempted to reduce first Stirling, then Edinburgh, but was fain to depart from them both without carrying them. Yet he subdued all Lothian and brought it under the King’s subjection. In the mean time, to give his wearied mind a little relaxation, he went to see his lands and possessions beyond the mountains, where he fell sick and dyed. He was buried at Rosmark, much lamented and desired by all good men. For in those two years and an halfe whilst he sate at the helme he performed such great atchievements as might seem sufficient for the whole life of one of the greatest captains of the world. After him, Stuart was made Regent till the return of David out of France. He, being yet but young, did that year get the better of the English in many light skirmishes which were managed under the conduct of William Douglas, yet not without the great hazard and danger of Douglas himself, who as often wounded. He drove the English out of Teviotdale. He took the Castle of Hermitage in Liddisdale and, surprizing great store of provision belonging to the enemy at Mulross, he fortified it too. He had such a sharp and obstinate encounter with Berclay that he himself with but three in his company hardly escaped, and that by the benefit of the night too. He overthrew the forces of John Sterling in a bloody onset, yet he himself was, a while after, like to be taken by him, but, recovering himself after a fierce encounter, he put Sterling to flight, slew thirty of his companions, and took forty of them prisoners. He so pressed upon William Abernethy, by whom he had been worsted five times in one day, that before night he slew all his men and brought him prisoner along with him. And he had as great felicity in conquering Lawrence Vaux, a stout enemy. At last he sailed over to King David in France to acquaint him with the state of Scotish affairs.
20. The next year, which as 1339, Stuart, hoping to follow on his good fortune, levied an army and divided it into four parts, and so attempts to reduce Perth, but the English defended it so valiantly that he was wounded and beaten off. After the siege had lasted three months, Douglas came to their assistance when they almost despaired of success. He brought with him five pyratical ships which he hired, wherein there were some soldiers and warlike engines. Part of the soldiers were landed, but the rest were sent in their ships to keep the mouth of the River Tay. Douglas himself went to recover the Castle of Cowper, which, being deserted by the English, was seized on by the Scots, and William Bullock, an English priest who was Treasurer also made Governor. Douglas agreed with him that he should have lands in Scotland, and so come over to his party. He was the more easily persuaded to it because he could expect no aid from England, and he had much confidence in the Scots who were in garison with him. This man was afterwards very faithful to the Scots and of great use to them. The siege of Perth had now lasted four months, and would have continued much longer unless the Earl of Ross had drained the water out of the trench by mines and subterraneous passage, so that by this means the assailants came to the very walls and threw the defendants off their works by the darts sent, principally, from the engins, so that the English were forced to surrender upon terms to march out bag and baggage whither they pleased. In a little time after, Sterlin, being besieged, was also surrendred on the same terms, and Maurice Murray, the son of Andrew, was made Governor of the Castle. Baliol was so terrified at this suddain mutation of affairs that he left Galway, where he usually abode, and went for England.
21. A while after, the Castle of Edinburgh was taken, not by force, but stratagem. Walter Curry, a merchant who then chanced to have a ship laden with provisions in the bay or firth of the River Tay at Dundee, was sent for by William Douglas into the Forth. There he and Bullock agreed that Curry should fain himself to be an Englishman and should carry to bottles of his best wine and some other presents to the Governor of the Castle, desiring his leave to sell the rest of his provision in the garison, and withal to inform him that if he or the garison stood in any need of his service he would gratifie them as far as ever he was able. Hereupon the Governor commanded him to bring some hogsheads of wine and certain number of biskets, and promised him free admittance whenever he came. He, for fear of the Scots (forsooth), who often made incursions into the neighbouring parts, promises (happy be lucky) to come betimes the next morning. That night, Douglas with twelve select men accompanying him clad themselves in mariners attire under which their armour was hid, and so carried provision into the Castle. And as for his soldiers, he laid them in ambush, commanding them to wait for the signal to be given. Douglas and Simon Frazer went before and commanded the rest to follow them at a moderate distance. When they were let by the porter into the fort, which was made of beames before the gate of the Castle, they observed that the keys of the doors hung on his arms. Him therefore they killed, and so opened the castle-gate, and then (as they had before agreed) they gave the signal to their fellows by blowing an horn, the noise whereof was a sign to the one that the Castle was entred by their friends; to the other, that it was surprized by their enemies. Both parties made all the haste they could. The Scots cast down their burdens in the very passage of the gate lest the doors might be shut, and so they kept them out from their fellows, who could march but slowly up on so steep an ascent. Here there happened a sharp dispute with loss on both sides. At length the garison-soldiers had the worst, who were all slain except the Governor and six more.
22. It was this self same year, or (as some say) the next that Ramsay (the most experienced soldier of all the Scots) made his expedition into England. Men had so great an opinion of his skil in military affairs that every body was accounted but a fresh-water soldier who had not been discplin’d under him. And therefore all the young fry came into him as the only school where the art of war was to be taught. He having before made many prosperous expeditions into his enemies country, tho with but small forces, their affairs being now at a low-ebb in Scotland, took heart to attempt greater matters, so that, gathering together an handsom army of his tenants and friends, he spoiled and harassed Northumberland. And upon his retreat the English drew forth all their force from the country and garisons, and so followed him with a very great army. What was to be done in this case? Alexander could not avoid fighting, and yet he perceived that his soldiers were somewhat crest-fallen by reason of the multitude of the enemy. In these circumstances he sent away his booty before and placed his foot in ambush, and commanded his horse to straggle abroad as if they were flying, and when they came to the place of ambush, then to rally again at sound of trumpet. The English, imagining that the horse had fled in good earnest, pursued them as disorderly, and when the signal was given to come together again, they in a moment turned back upon them, the foot also skipping out of their ambushes, which struck such a consternation and terrour into the English that they fled back faster than before they had pursued. Many of them were slain, many taken, and the prey carried home safe. Amongst the prisoners there was the Governor of Roxburgh, who had drawn out almost all his garison to follow him, so that Alexander, knowing the town to be empty, assaulted and easily took it at the first onset, and when he had taken the lower part of the Castle the remainders of the garison-soldiers fled up into a strong tower therein; but, being vigorously assaulted and having no hope of relief, they surrendred up themselves. Some say that the Earl of Salisbury was there taken and exchanged for John Randolf. But most writers, whom I am rather inclined to follow, affirm that Salisbury was taken prisoner in France, and that by French troops. Randolf, going into Annandale, took his castle, which was seated by Loch-Maban, from the English. And the three Governors of the Borders, Alexander Ramsay of the east, William Douglas of the mid-Border, and Randolf of the west, drove the English beyond their old bounds which they had in the reign of Alexander the Third, and left them no footing at all in Scotland but only Berwick. Some say that Roxburgh was taken by Ramsay in the night, who set ladders to the walls when the watch as asleep in the year 1342, the 30th day of March, and The Black Book of Pasley says so too.
23. The same year, on the 4th of the Nones of July, David Bruce and his wife arrived at Ennerbervy, nine years after his departure. His coming was the more acceptable because the affairs of Scotland were then at such a low ebb. For Edward, having made a truce for three years with Philip, King of France, at Tournay, and so being freed of his French war, determined to invade Scotland with all his force. He had then in his army forty thousand foot and six thousand horse, and he had also equipp’d out a gallant navy of ships to carry provisions for his foot soldiers that there might be no want that way. They set sail in the month of November, but were encountred by so fierce a tempest that after a long distress at sea they were cast upon the Belgick and German shores, and so were of no use to him in the present war. In the interim, Edward and his land forces staid about New-Castle upon Tine in great want of victuals. Thither embassadors came to him from Scotland desiring a pacification of four months, which they obtained upon condition that, if David came not to them before the Calends of June, all the Scots would become subjects to Edward. But David, hearing of the preparation of the English, had set sail before the coming of embassadors to him. Amongst those who flocked in to gratulate the King at his return (as many did from all parts of the kingdom), there came Alexander Ramsay also, who, being eminent both for the splendid atchievements of his former life, and especially for his late and yet reaking conquests, was received with a great deal of favour and had the government of Roxburgh bestowed on him; yea, and the Sheriff-wick of all Teviotdale was also added to his authority. William Douglas took this mighty heinously that Ramsay was preferred before him in that honour, for, seeing he had expelled the English from almost all Teviotdale, he had sometimes presided over the publick assembly there, tho without the Kings command; yet, relying upon his merits towards his country, the nobleness of his stock, and the power of his family, he hoped that no man would have been is competitor for that office. Whereupon, being wholly bent on revenge, he at present dissembled his anger, but in three months after he met with his adversary holding an assembly in the church of Hawick, and unawares assaulted and wounded him, having also slain three of his followers who endeavoured to rescue him, and so set him upon an horse and carried him to the Castle of Hermitage, where he starved to death. About the same time William Bullock, a man of singular loyalty to the King, was put to the same kind of death by David Berclay. These two savage and cruel facts filled almost the whole kingdom with seditions and distracted it into several parties. These things did mightily exercise the King, who was yet but young and not accustomed to men of rough and military dispositions; yet though he used great diligence to find out Douglas to bring him to condign punishment, he, by means of friends (of which he had procured many by his noble exploits for the liberty of his country), and especially of Robert Stuart, the King’s son by his sister, obtained his pardon. And indeed, the magnificent yet true report of his famous actions did much facilitate the obtaining thereof, together with the present conjuncture of the time, wherein, there being but an uncertain peace abroad and seditions at home, military men were to be respected, yea, and honoured too. Upon which account he was not only pardoned, but preferred also to the government of Roxburgh and of Teviotdale too, a clemency which, perhaps, in the present circumstances of things might be useful, but certainly of very ill example for the future.
24. David, having thus settled matters at home the best he could denounces war against England, the greatest part of the Nobility dissuading him from that expedition by reason of the great scarcity of provisions. Yet he listed an handsom army and made Thomas Randolfe General thereof. He himself accompanied him, but in disguise, that he might not be known to be the King. This army, having wasted Northumberland for about two months time, returned home with great booty. Within a few days after, he made another inrode into the enemies country, but then he did not disguise, but openly professed himself, both King and General. The English being inferior in strength, would not venture to give a set battel whilst their King was absent in France, but skirmished their enemies with their horse, and so kept them from plundering much by a close march. Five of the chief Nobility whom David had lately raised to that honour, straggling too far from their men, were taken prisoners, their followers being also killed or put to flight, so that David, to spend no more time there in vain, returned with his army. He also made a third expedition with what force he could privately [secretly] levy, to that he might fall upon the enemy unawares. But, entring England in a stormy autumn, the small brooks were so swollen with large showres that they made all the country unpassable and also hinder’d the carriage of provision, so that home he came again; yet that he might not seem to have taken so much pains to no purpose he demolished a few castles. Not long after, embassadors were sent to and fro in order to obtain a truce for two years, which the Scots consented to upon condition that Philip, King of France, gave his consent, so that was one article in the treaty between the Scots and the French that neither of them should make truce or peace with the English without the other’s consent. For those two years Scotland was quiet. About the fourth year after David’s return, the French were overcome in a great battel and Calais, a town of the Morini, was besieged by them, so that Philip pressed the Scots by his ambassadors to invade England and so draw away some of their force from him. Hereupon an army was commanded to meet at Perth. Thither they came in a great abundance, and there David, Earl of Rosse, waylaying Reginald, Lord of the Aebudae, his old enemy, fell upon him in the night and slew him with seven Nobles in his company. This murder did much weaken the army, for the kindred and tenants of both parties, yea, the neighbouring inhabitants, fearing a civil war between two such potent families, returned to their own homes. And therefore William Douglas of Liddisdale earnestly persuaded the King to desist from his present expedition and to compose matters at home.
25. His counsel was refused, and the King (his friendship to Philip overcoming his love to his country) marches forward into England and destroyed all as he went by fire and sword. And thus in sixteen days he came into the County of Durham, where the English, partly levied by Percy and partly sent back from the siege of Calais, made a great body and shewed themselves to the enemy in battel-array sooner than ever the Scots could have imagined. David, who feared nothing less than the coming of the enemy, and therefore had sent abroad Douglas to forage the neighbouring country, gave a signal of battel to his souldiers. Douglas fell unawares amongst his enemies, and, having lost five hundred of his men, was put to flight and returned in great fear to the camp. And the end of the conflict was as unhappy as the beginning. For, the fight being sharply begun, John Randolfe’s men were routed at the first onset, and he himself slain. The main battel [the van], in which the King was, was assaulted by two brigades of the English, one that had conquered before, and another that was intire and had not yet charged, who shattered it and cut it off quite, they being resolved to die, and therein almost all the Scottish Nobility was utterly lost, and the King himself, after his arms were taken away, was taken prisoner by John Copeland, but he struck out two of his teeth with his fist, though he himself was sorely wounded with two arrows. The third wing, commanded by Robert Stuart and Patrick Dunbar, perceiving the slaughter of their fellow-souldiers, withdrew themselves with little loss. The Nobility were so destroyed in this fight that immediately after it Roxburgh, Hermitage and many other castles were surrender’d to the English, and the Scots were enforced to quit their claim to all the lands they held and England, and also to Merch, Teviotdale, Liddisdale and Lauderdale, and the bounds and borders of the English were inlarged to Cockburns-Path, as they call it, and Soltra-Hill. Baliol, not contented to have recovered the possessions of his ancestors in Galway, marched over Annandale and Liddisdale and all the country lying near the Clyd, and destroyed all by fire and sword. He also, by the assistance of Percy of England, made the like havock in Lothian; neither could there a sufficient army be raised against them in Scotland for some years.
26. As an addition to this misery, there hapned also a grievous plague which swept away almost the third part of the people. And yet in such an afflicted state of things men did not abstain from domestick mischiefs. David Berclay, a noble knight who before had slain Bullock, was at this time also present at the murder of John Douglas at Dalkeith. William Douglas of Lissidale (who was taken prisoner by the English at the battel of Durham, and was not yet released) caused him to be slain by the hands of his tenants, and after he himself was released and returned into Scotland he did not long survive him. For as he was hunting in the wood of Attic, he was killed by William Douglas, the son of Archibald, newly returned from France, in revenge for his murder of Alexander Ramsay. Neither did the clans of the ancient Scots, as impatient to be quiet, abstain from injuring one another. In the midst of these calamities, which pressed in on every side, William Douglas gathered together a band of his vassals and tenants and recovered Douglas, the patrimony of his ancestors, having driven the English out of it; and afterwards, upon this little success, mens minds being more inclined to him, he reduced a great part of Teviotdale also. In the mean time, John, King of France, heir to his father Philip both in his kingdom and in his wars, fearing lest the Scots, being broken by so many misfortunes, should quite succumb under so puissant an enemy, sent Eugenius Garanter to them with forty gallant cavaleers in his train, to desire of them to make no peace with England without his consent. He brought with him forty thousand French crowns to press [recruit] soldiers, and, besides, by large promises he wrought over the Nobility to his side and opinion. They received the money and divided it among themselves, but levied no soldiers, only they carried on the war by light incursions as they were wont to do. Assoon as the English heard of this, they almost wasted all Lothian, which had been sorely harassed before. To revenge this wrong, Patrick Dunbar and William Douglas gathered a good strength together as privately as they could, and placed themselves in ambush, but sent out David Ramsay of Dalhouse, a noted and valiant soldier, with part of the army to burn Norham, a populous town upon the banks of Tweed. When Ramsay had accomplished his design the English were trained on to the ambush, where some were surprized and slain; at last, being not able to resist so great a multitude, the English surrender themselves. The major part of the English were captured.
27. This success heartned the Scots, and therefore, the same commanders uniting their forces together, Thomas Stuart, Earl of Angus, resolves to attack Berwick. And to do it privately he hired vessels, ladders and other implements used in scaling the walls of the town wherever he could procure them. He acquaints Patrick with his coming, he meets him at the hour appointed, and, creeping to the walls with as little noise as they could. Yet the sentinels espied them, whom after a sharp conflict they repulsed, and so became masters of the town, but not without loss on their own side. The Castle was still kept by the English, which they assaulted, but in vain. When the King of England heard how matters went in Scotland, he gathered together a puissant army, and in swift marches hastned thither. The Scots, hearing of his coming, and not being provided with materials for a long siege, spoiled and burnt the city and so returned home. Edward employed all kind of workmen and artificers to repair what the flames had consumed; in the interim he himself quartered at Roxburgh. Thither Baliol comes and surrenders up the kingdom of Scotland to him, desiring him earnestly not to forget the injuries offered him by the Scots. Edward, as it were in obsequiousness to his desires, invades Lothian by land and sea, and makes a further devastation of what was left after the former ruin. He determined in that expedition so to quell all Scotland that they should never recover strength to rebel again. But his purpose was disappointed by reason of a most grievous tempest, which so shattered and tore his shops that carried his provisions that very few of them ever met in one port, so that he was enforced to return home for want of provision; only he vented his spleen upon Edinburgh, Hadington, and other towns of Lothian. Edward and his army being gone for England, Douglas drove the English out of Galway; Roger Kirk-Patrick, out of Nithisdale; and John Stuart, son of the Regent, out of Annandale, so that these three countries were recovered by the Scots. At about the same time, John, King of France, was overthrown by the English in a great battel in Poictou, and he himself taken prisoner. Edward, having two Kings as his prisoners at once, passed the winter merrily amongst the gratulations of his friends, so that the Scots, thinking that his mind, being sated with glory, might be more inclined to equity, they sent ambassadors to him to treat about the release of their King. Bruce, that the Scots might have easie access to him, was sent to Berwick, but in regard they could not agree about the conditions, he was carried back to London. Not long after, the Popes Legates were sent, who took great pains to make a peace betwixt the English and French. They also transacted the same for Scotland upon the promise of the payment of an hundred (as our writers say), or (as Frossard) of five hundred thousand marks of English money to them, part of which was to be paid in hand, the rest by parcels. To make up that sum, the Pope gave the tenths of all benefices, for three years. In the mean time, a truce was made, and many young Nobles given for hostages, who died almost all in England of the plague.
28. Hereupon David returned the eleventh year after he was taken prisoner. The first thing he did was to punish those who had been the forwardest to fly in the battel of Durham. From Patrick Dunbar he took away a great part of his lands. He cut off all hope from Robert Stuart, his eldest sisters son, of succeeding in the kingdom, and substituted Alexander, son of the Earl of Sutherland by his youngest sister, and made the Nobles to swear fealty to him. This young mans father distributed large and fruitful lands amongst the Nobles to engage them more firmly to his son. But, Alexander drying soon after, he was reconciled to Robert Stuart, and in a full assembly of the Estates he was by a general suffrage named heir presumptive of the crown. But this was done some years after. The King spent the next five years in appeasing the discords at home, at which time there happened two great calamities. One reached but to a few, by an inundation of water. For the heavens sent down so much rain that Lothian seemed to be all a-float; yea, the force of the water was such that it carried away bridges, water-mills, country houses, with their owners and cattle into the sea; it rooted up trees, and almost quite destroyed the towns which stood near the banks of rivers. This misery was seconded by another, namely a grievous pestilence which consumed many of all ranks and ages. In the year 1363 the state of things grew calmer, and then in the assembly of the Estates, the King propounded to the Lords of the Articles that the King of England, or else his son, might be sent for into Scotland to undertake the kingdom, if he should chance to die. This he did either by his weariness of war, or foreseeing that it would be for the good of both kingdoms, or (as others think) because of his oath which the English had made him swear. But his speech was so unacceptable and offensive to them all, that, before every ones vote could be asked in order, they all confusedly cried out upon it as an abominable propose, and it almost come to that, they who had most freely spoken against it, fearing his displeasure, were meditating a revolt. But he, understanding their fears, abated his anger and received them into favour. When he had quieted all things elsewhere, yet the Highlanders continued still in arms, and did not only commit outrages upon one another, but also made havock of the adjacent countries. The King tried all probable means to bring them to a mutual concord, but, being not able to do it, his next plot was to suborn some crafty fellows to foment and heighten their dissensions, that so when the feircest of them had destroyed one another, the rest might become more tractable and pliant. The King, having performed these exploits both at home and abroad, departed this life in the Castle of Edinburgh on the seventh day of June in the forty seventh year of his age, about the thirty ninth of his reign, and of our Lord 1370. He was certainly a man eminent in all kind of virtue, but especially in justice and clemency, and, though he had been exercised with good and bad events alternately, yet still his fortune seemed to fail him, rather than his industry.
29. ROBERT II, THE HUNDREDTH KING
After David’s decease the Nobles met together at Linlithgo to congratulate Robert at the beginning of his reign, who had before been designed King by his uncle. But here the ambition of William Douglas had almost cast things into a sedition and uproar. For he demanded the kingdom as his hereditary right, in regard he was descended from Baliol and the Cumins’s. But, finding that his suit was unacceptable to them all, and especially to his most intimate friends, as the two brothers George and John Dunbar, of which one was Earl of Merch and the other of Murray, as also to Robert Erskin, Governor of the three well-fortified Castles of Dunbarton, Sterling and Edinburgh, he desisted and promised to obey Robert as his liege King, and the King, to oblige him in a more strict bond of friendship, espoused his daughter to Earl William’s son. This year the truce made for fourteen years was broken by the English. There was a great fair usually kept the third of the Ides of August, whither huge numbers of both nations, even from very remote places, used to resort. Thither came the inhabitants of Merch, and it happened that one of George Dunbar’s familiar friends was slain there. George, according to the law which was observed among the Borderers, sent heralds to demand the murderers to be given up to him, or else that they would punish them themselves. But, perceiving that favour did outvy equity, he dissembles the affront, and against the next day appointed for the fair he secretly prepared a band of men, and, setting upon the town unexpectedly, he slew all the youngsters, burnt the houses, and returned home with a great booty. The English, to revenge this injury, did with like cruelty ravage over all the lands of John Gordon, a noble knight, and not long after Gordon entred England and took away a great prey of men and cattle. But as he was returning home John Lilburn met him with a far greater force than he had. A terrible fight began betwixt them, and victory seemed a long time to flutter over both parties with doubtful wings. But at last she inclined to the Scots. The commander of the English forces was taken prisoner with many of his allies and tenants. Henry Percy, Earl of Northumberland, a man of a great spirit, being then Lord Warden or Governour of the Eastern Marches or Borders, took this overthrow of his countrymen in great disdain, and thereupon gathered together a body of above 7000 men and encamped at a village called Duns, remarkable for being the birth place of John Scotus, sirnamed Subtilis, rather than for any thing else. There the countrymen and shepherds gathered themselves together, having no other arms but such rattles and gimcracks wherewith they frighten stags and other cattle which do pasture there up and down without any keeper. And so by night they placed themselves on some risings of the Lamermore Hills, which were near to the said village of Duns. The form of the gimcrack is this. On the top of a long spear or pole they fasten some staves or hoops of wood made crooked and bent into a semicircle; all over them they stretched a skin after the same form as the lanterns which the vulgar Parisians call falots are made; into these lanterns or concavities they put small stones but very hard ones, which when they are stirred and tumbled up and down make such a rattling noise as drives away the beasts and cattle from the corn. With these rattling instruments they made a mighty noise on the hills hanging over Duns, wherewith the English horse were so affrighted that they broke the headstalls they were tied with and ran up and down the fields, and so were taken by the countrymen. And in the whole army there was such a tumultuous bustle that they cried out arms, arms, and, thinking the enemy had been at their heels, they passed that night without sleep. But in the morning, perceiving their mistake, in regard they had lost many of their baggage horses as well as those for service, they retreated six miles (for that place is so far distant from England) on foot, leaving their baggage behind them, almost in the posture of such as fly away.
30. The same day that Percy retired back from Duns, Thomas Musgrave, Governor of Berwick, had issued out of his garison with some troops to join Percy. John Gordon had notice of his march and laid an ambush for him, into which he fell, and, imagining his enemy to be more numerous than he was, he sought to fly, but was taken with his party in the pursuit and brought back again. Moreover, in the western Borders John Johnston carried it so that he obtained both honour and booty too, for he so exercised his neighbouring foes with small but frequent incursions that he did them as much mischief as a great army would have done. Thus all things succeeded prosperously with Robert for the first two years of his reign. But in his third year, Eufemia, daughter to Hugh Earl of Ross, dyed. The king had three children by her, Walter, afterwards made Earl of Strathearn; David, Earl of Athol; and Eufemia, whom Robert Douglas married, as I said before. Robert, not so much for the impatience of his widow’d and unmarried estate as for the love of the children which he had before begot on the body of Elizabeth More, took her to wife. This woman was exceeding beautiful, the daughter of Adam More, an illustrious knight. The King fell in love with her when he was young, and had three sons and two daughters by her, and he bestowed her in marriage on one Gifard, a Nobleman in Lothian. It happened that Eufemia, the Queen, and Gifard, Elizabeth’s husband, died about one and the same time. Whereupon the King, either induced by the old familiarity he had with her, or else (as many writers report) to legitimate the children she had born to him, took their mother to wife, and presently advanced her sons to riches and honour. John, the eldest son, was made Earl of Carrick, Robert, of Menteith; and Alexander, of Buchan, to which Badenock was adjoined. Neither was he content with this munificence, but he prevailed upon the Assembly of Estates, met at Scone, to pass by the children of Eufemia and to observe the order of age in making his son King after him; which matter was, in aftertimes, almost the utter ruin of that numerous family.
31. During the next two years there was neither assured peace nor open war, but light incursions, or rather plunderings, on both sides. In the mean time, Edward the Third died and Richard the Second, his grandchild by his son Edward, born at Bourdeaux, succeeded him, being eleven years of age, at which time ambassadors were sent by Charles the Fifth, King of France, into Scotland. The cause of their embassy was to renew the ancient league with Robert, and to desire him to invade England with an army, and so to take off the stress of the war from France. In the interim, whilst they were treating with the Assembly, Alexander Ramsay (as the English writers report out of Frossard), being accompanied with forty young fellows, in the middle of the night when the sentinel was asleep, took the Castle of Berwick, all that were in it being either killed or made prisoners. The townsmen, being amazed at this suddain surprize, send for Percy, who came and said siege to the Castle with ten thousand men. When the news hereof was brought to the Assembly of the Estates at Scone, Archibald Douglas, being concerned for the danger his kinsman was in, took with him a flying body of 500 horse only and speeded thither, but all passages to the besieged were intercluded and stopp’d, so that he was forced to return again without any action. And the Castle, after a valiant defence for some days, was at length taken by storm and all put to the sword except Alexander alone. Thus the English. But our writers say that the Castle was taken by the help of six country people of Merch, who, not being able to keep it, were fain to desert it. Not long after the assembly, James, the first Earl of Douglas, gathered together an army of twenty thousand men and entered England, and coming unawares to a town called Penrith on a fair-day, he took, plundered and burnt it, and then marched his army back again in safety, laden with spoil. But withal he brought the pestilence home with him, which was greater than any before, so that it raged over all Scotland for the space of two years. The English, to cry quits with the Scots, passed over the Solway and entred Scotland. Talbot, a fierce general, led them, being 15000 men, with which number he made a great desolation far and near. And as his army was returning back laden with spoil, he pitch’d his tents in a narrow valley not far from the borders of England. About 500 Scots came upon them in those streights, being secure, unprovided, and generally without their arms, and at the first assault they killed all who were in their way, so that, the tumult and fear diffusing it self, they were wholly put to flight. Many were slain upon the place, 250 taken prisoners, and a great number, in such a sudden trepidation taking the river, were drowned. The rest left their prey behind them and ran home the nearest way they could.
32. In the mean time, the English carried on a fierce war both by sea and land against the French; and besides part of their forces were sent into Portugal, so that it was resolved by their Parliament that John Duke of Lancaster, the King’s uncle, should be sent embassador into Scotland to treat about a peace, that so they, being engaged in so many wars, might have quiet on that side at least which lay most exposed and open. The Scots, being made acquainted with his coming by an herald, appointed James Earl of Douglas and John Dunbar, Earl of Murray, to treat with him. A truce was made for three years. But whilst they were treating about a peace there, a most grievous civil war broke out in England. The first author of it is said to be one John Ball, a priest. He, perceiving that the commonalty was grievously offended because poll-money of four English pence an head was imposed on them, first of all obliquely and in private confessions, discourses and meetings, inflamed the minds of the Commons against the Nobility; and, perceiving that his speech was well entertained, then he discoursed it openly. Besides this new occasion, there was also another more ancient once, viz., that the greatest part of the Commons were made little better than slaves to the great ones. A great many tradesmen and day-labourers came in to them, and others also who, in point of estate or credit, had nothing to lose, insomuch that they raised so great a tumult and combustion that the main chance seemed greatly to be hazarded and to lie at stake. These things were known at the meeting of the embassadors, yet both of them dissembled the matter till they had treated and made a pacification. Then Douglas told John of Lancaster that he knew from the beginning in what state the affairs of England stood, but they were so far from laying hold on the opportunity either to make a war or to hinder a good peace that they offered him, even then, to stay securely in Scotland till the tumults in England were appeased; or, if he would return, that he should have 500 Scots horse for his convoy. Lancaster gave them great thanks, yet he hoped at present that he had no need to accept of either of the conditions. But as he was returning home the Governor of Berwick shut him out of the town, so tat he, upon the publick faith given, returned into Scotland and there kept himself till the sedition of the Commons was quelled in England.
33. When the three years truce was ended in the year 1384, June the 4th, Archibald Douglas of Galway, with the assistance of James Earl of Douglas and George Earl of Merch, laid siege to the Castle of Loch-Maban, situate near a lake of the same name, and from whence daily inroads were made upon the neighbouring country. The Governor of the Castle, being affected at this suddain misfortune, articled with the enemy that, unless he were relieved in eight days, he would surrender the Castle, whereupon, after the Scots had endured great trouble by reason of the winter-storms and continual showres, even from the 4th day of February, the Castle was surrendered according to covenant on the ninth day. They who lived near Roxburgh, fearing lest that Castle might also be taken, took care that one Grastock, a noble and wealthy person and much famed for his warlike skill, should be made Governour thereof; whereupon, as he was sending in great provisions thither, and also all his houshold goods, imagining that they could no where be better kept from his enemies use or secured for his own, Dunbar, being informed by his spies of the day of his march and the way he has to go, laid his ambushes in convenient places and so suddainly assaulted a long confused train made of soldiers, waggoners, and a promiscuous multitude, and without any fighting took the prey and the owner of it too, and presently retreated back. The English, in revenge for their losses and to prevent future incursions by some memorable exploits, send Lancaster into Scotland with great forces both by sea and land. Lancaster himself came through Merch and Lothian as far as Edinburgh. His fleet was sent to waste the maritime parts of Fife. The soldiers were desirous to burn down Edinburgh, but he, remembring that but a few years before he had been liberally and bountifully entertained there when he was excluded by his own people, forbad them so to do. But his fleet shewed not the same civility, for, entring into the isle of Inch-colm, they robbed a monastery of monks and burnt it, using the like cruelty in all places where they landed till Nicholas and Thomas Erskins, Alexander Linsay and William Cuningham met them, killed many, took some, and forced the rest to fly in such fear to their ships that, besides the other loss received by their hasty flight, they suffered forty of their own men who, being upon one of the ships ropes, after the rope was cut, to be drowned before their eyes.
34. Lancaster was scarce returned home before William Douglas trode almost on his heels, partly sacking, partly demolishing all the castles which the English held in Scotland after the battel of Durham. He reduced all Teviotdale except Roxburgh to the Scots obedience, and restrained robberies, which the licentiousness of the wars had multiplied and encouraged, and he himself did not long outlive these exploits, but dyed of a feaver in the Castle of Douglas. His son William Douglas succeeded him, one every way worthy of so great and virtuous a father. In the mean time, when an annual truce was made betwixt the French, English and Scots near Bologne in Belgium, and the French, who were commanded to give the Scots notice thereof had neglected so to do, the English Nobles who bordered upon Scotland, thinking now they had a fit opportunity to give their enemy some notable and unexpected overthrow and not leave them any time for revenge, they, before the truce was published, gathered together ten thousand horse and six thousand archers, and so entring Scotland under the command of the Earls of Northumberland and Nottingham, they made a vast havock of the country, especially on the lands of the Douglasses and Lindsays. The Scots, who upon the noise of a truce had laid aside all thoughts of war, were exceedingly offended both at their own negligence and at the perfidiousness of the enemy, and resolved upon revenge assoon as they could. In the interim, the noise of the English invasion of Scotland did alarm the French, who were to give notice of the truce, and put them in mind of their slackness therein. They, endeavouring by a late festination [haste] to make amends for their former omission, came to London, even in the very height of the invasion, where they were bountifully and nobly entertained and detained so long by kind and friendly invitations till it was known that the English were returned out of the enemies country. Then they were dismissed and came into Scotland, where they declared their message as they were commanded. Whereupon almost all the Nobility, especially those who had felt the loss sustained by the late inroad, did murmure, storm and cry out that this mockery of the English was not to be endured. The King did in vain endeavour to pacifie them, for he was willing to observe the truce, but they so long debated on and delayed the matter till their friends had privately levied almost 15000 horse, and then on an appointed day Douglas, Lindsay, and Dunbar depart secretly from the Court and, joyning their countrymen, invade England with a powerful army. They wasted Northumberland even unto Newcastle and, returning thro the lands of the Earl of Nottingham and the Mowbrays, they spoiled all by fire and sword that they could not carry away. Then and not before they returned home with a great booty and many prisoners, and presently caused the truce to be proclaimed.
35. About the end of the truce, in the year 1385, Monsieur John de Vienne, Admiral of the French navy, was sent over by the King of France with about 2000 auxiliaries, of which an hundred were curiassiers armed cap-a-pie, and 200 which flung darts out of engines called cross-bows in after ages; the rest were foot of a promiscuous kind. They brought with them money for six months pay, besides many gifts and presents, and amongst the rest 400 suits of compleat armour to be divided between the most valiant commanders. Having first waited on the King, he and James Douglas entred Northumberland and, having demolished three castles, they would have proceeded further but there was so much rain fell that autumn that they were forced to return. Moreover, they heard a report that Richard the Second of England was coming against them, which hastened their retreat. His anger was more enflamed now against the Scots than ever, because they had not only made a desolating war upon his kingdom themselves, but had also sent for foreigners to aid them, and that in such a conjuncture of time when the French themselves designed also to land a vast army in England. Whereupon he gathered a very puissant army together, consisting, as the English writers say, of 60000 foot and 8000 horse. With this force he resolved so to tame the Scots that they should not in many years after be able to levy any considerable army. Besides, he rigged out a great navy which were to bring provisions into the Forth. For he knew that part of Scotland wherein he was to make his descent had been harassed for many years by continual wars, and, if any provisions were left in it, that the inhabitants would convey them away into the neighbouring or other remote places. Add hereto, he was secure of the French, for he knew that they would not put to sea in a stormy winter. With those forces he entred Scotland, sparing no place neither sacred nor profane, no, nor any age or degrees of men if they were capable to bear arms. In the mean time, Monsieur Vien, being more mindful of his Kings commands to him at this parting from him than of the present posture of affairs in Scotland, was earnest with Douglas to come to a battel. He still answered him that the Scots forbore to engage, not out of any alienation of mind from the French, but being conscious of their own weakness. And thereupon he took him up into an high place from whence he might safely take a view of the enemy. He, then perceiving the long train of the English in their march, quickly turned to be of his opinion.
36. Whereupon they both concluded that in the present circumstances the best and only way for them to incommode the enemy was to gather together what force they could and so to invade England. Thereupon they entred, far from the Kings army, into Cumberland and made a great havock therein and in the neighbouring counties. The English, winter being now at hand and the country of Lothian being spoiled by the war (for they durst not go far from their ships, lest provisions should fail them), consulted about their return. Some were of opinion that it was best to follow after the Scots in the rear, and in their return to compel them to fight whether they would or no. But those who knew the ways better through which they were to march replyed on the contrary, that there would be great difficulty in passing over such marshes and mountains, and sometimes narrow places, wherein there was also so much want of all things that a very few men, and those nimble ones too, could carry provisions enough with them, tho but for a few days, to finish the march; and besides, if they should overcome those difficulties, yet the next country which was to receive them was not over-fruitful of itself, and also it had been wasted by the war. Again, if they should wade through all those inconveniences, yet they had to do with a nimble and shifting enemy whom it would be more difficult to find and to bring to a battel than to overcome; and if they could find him out, yet he would not be compelled to fight but in his own places of advantage. That Edward the Third his grandfather had experience hereof, to the great damage of his own and little inconvenience of the Scots army. Upon hearing of this, as also casting in their minds what miseries they might suffer in an enemies country in a cold winter, and in the mean time leave their wives, children, and what else was dear to them desolate at home, they changed their minds and marched back directly the same way that they came. Thus both armies had a free time of plundering in their enemies country, and each of them returned home again without seeing any enemy. The Scots, well knowing that the English could not attempt another expedition till the next summer, resolved to attack Roxburgh, a neighbour town, and the garison there, which was greatly annoyous to the country thereabout.
37. When they were gone thither, a dissension arose betwixt the Scots and the French about the town even before it was taken, the French alleging that, seeing by a large experience in wars at home they were more skilled in the methods of taking towns than the Scots, and moreover that they had spent a great deal of money in the war, they therefore thought it but just that, if the town were carried, it should be theirs and remain under the jurisdiction of France. On the contrary, the Scots urged that it was very unjust that auxiliaries should reap the reward and benefit of the whole war; and for what expences they had been at, it had been spent rather on themselves than the Scots, it being in order to distract and divide the forces of England and so to avert part of the war from France; and if the friendly offices on both sides were put in the ballance, the Scots might upon juster grounds demand the charge of whole war of the French than the French could challenge any reward for their assistance, especially such a reward as no history in the memory of Man doth relate either to have been demanded or given by allies one to, or amongst, another; yea, the unjustness of their demand appeared by this, that the Scots might have sate still in peace without being prejudiced by the English, and so might have been spectators only of the wars betwixt two potent Kings, but the French could not have obtained the same quiet unless they would have yielded up a good part of their country. Neither could they see of what use that town would be to the French if they had it, save only to be as a bridle, that so the arbitrement of war or peace might be at their dispose; and if that were their intent, it were more for the profit, yea, and for the credit too, of the Kings of Scotland to be without the town than on a trivial occasion to give up themselves to a voluntary servitude. But if by so unequal a postulation they thought to excuse their return home, which they sometime before attempted, there was no need at all of such a blind [ruse], for as they freely came, so they had liberty always at their pleasure freely to depart; neither was it adviseable to the Scots to stay them, in regard they might easily foresee their service would be but small if they were detained against their wills. Hereupon they retreated from Roxburgh without attaquing it, and whereas there had grievous complaints been made betwixt both parties before, so (if matters should still continue at that pass) open enmity did seem likely to arise. The original of the dissension arose from the different custom and carriage of either nation in managing of a war. For the Scots and English soldiers pay honestly for what they take at their quarters, and carry it amongst their countrymen as moderately and soberly in war as in peace. But the French otherwise: where-ever they march, all’s their own, as if they had publick permission to rob and spoil. For they, having been accustomed to this kind of life, think they might lawfully do that which custom hath inured them always to do heretofore. And therefore before that time there had often quarrels, and sometimes blows, happened betwixt the Scots and the French, these endeavouring to practise their wonted rapacity, and the other not submitting to such an accustomed servility, so that as one snatcht away what was none of his, the other laboured to defend his own. After this disgust and alienation of minds at Roxburgh, the French commissaries used greater licentiousness than ever before in gathering in provisions, as intending shortly to depart, and the countrymen, disdaining to be made a prey to a few men, and those strangers too, many times took away their baggage and their horses, and the officers and straggling soldiers sent out to forage were sometimes wounded, sometimes slain outright by them. When complaints hereof were brought to the Council, the countrymen answered with one consent that they were treated more coursly and robbed by the French, who called themselves friends, than by the English, their professed enemies; and therefore they resolved that they should not depart the land till they had made them recompence for their losses. Neither could this obstinate humour of theirs be stopt by the Douglasses, tho they were the most popular men of that age. Hereupon the army was sent back, but the General was detained till full payment was made.
38. The French set sail in the Calends of November. The Scots, either tired with the military toil of the last year, or satiated with the spoils of so many prosperous expeditions, sate still all that winter. But the next spring William Douglas, the son of Archibald Earl of Galway, sailed over into Ireland to revenge at present the often [frequent] descents of the Irish upon the coasts of Galway, and also to restrain them for the future. This William was a young man, the eminentest in all virtues both of body and mind amongst all the Scots. He was a big-bodied man and had strength accordingly, and his comely beauty was accompanied with a manly and graceful dignity of presence (which seldom happens in bodies of that bulk). And moreover, his successfull exploits in war did much recommend him, for he oft-times, with a few, would assault a greater number of his enemies and come off a conquerour. Neither was he ever employed in any expedition but he gave evident proofs of his valour. These excellencies, which in some are matter of envy, yet in him, by reason of his affability, complaisance and courteous modesty, were acceptable to all. And upon the account of those virtues, tho’ the King knew him to be base-born, yet he bestowed his daughter Aegidia upon him in marriage, a woman of the rarest beauty in those times, and one who had been courted by many of the noblest youngsters of the Court. With her he gave Nithisdale, the next country to Galway, as a dowry. He landed his men at Corlingford, a rich town in that country, and the suddenness of the thing struck such terrour into the townsmen that they presently sent out to him to treat about conditions of surrender. Douglas entertained them courteously, and in the mean time, as secure of the enemy, he sent out Robert Stuart, Laird of Disdeir, with 200 soldiers to bring in provisions into his ships. The townsmen, having gotten this time for consultation, send for aid from Dundalk. Five hundred horse were sent, with whose help they divided themselves into two bodies and so drew forth against their enemy, for, because they were so much superior to them in number, they thought presently to kill them all and so to become masters of their ships too. But both their bodies were routed, the town taken, plundered and burnt. Fifteen ships which rode in the harbour were laded with the spoils of the city, and in his return home he plundered the Isle of Man by the way, and so arrived at Lough-Rian, which divides part of Galway from Carrick. There Douglas heard that his father was gone in an expedition against England. Whereupon he hastned after him as fast as he could.
39. That expedition was undertaken chiefly upon this ground. Richard of England, having entred Scotland the year before and spared nothing either sacred or profane, at his return home met with a domestick sedition which had changed the state of his whole kingdom. To heal this mischief he transfer’d the government of the provinces and the management of lesser matters (as is usually done in such cases) from one to another, and by this means the fires of hatred was not so much quenched as covered in the ashes and likely soon after to break out again. But, on the contrary, Scotland enjoyed a great but yet uncertain tranquillity. For it was full of young soldiers fit for war, and as fruitful and well-stored with good commanders as ever before, so that the Nobility were desirous of a war, and in all their assemblys and meetings they still muttered that so gallant an opportunity to be revenged upon the English for their old injuries was not to be neglected, and that the English would never have omitted it in reverence to Scotland, if the affairs thereof had been in the like perturbation. But King Robert, being a man of a quiet disposition, and moreover by reason of his growing and unwieldy age not so forward for war, seemed not to be sufficiently concerned at the publick injuries, and his eldest son John was naturally slow, and besides lame with the stroke of an horse, so that he was not well able to endure the hardships of a camp. And therefore the Nobles made their addresses to Robert, the next son, Earl of Fife, to whom they complained of the deplorable state of the publick, and they all presently concluded that the wrong lately received was to be revenged, and therein every one promised his chearful assistance, so that it was agreed that a levy of soldiers should be made against the Nones of August next, but so secret that neither King, either Scots or English, should know thereof. But the English were quickly advertised by their spies of the time and place of meeting, so that they resolved to prevent their enemy with the same surprize. For they advised the rest of the Nobles with all their followers to be in a readiness, not to any one day, but whenever there was need, that they might draw on their colours. Matters being thus resolved on, when they heard that the Scots, to the number of 30000 or, as Frossard will have it, of 40000, were met together in Teviotdale, not far from the Borders, they resolved further that (seeing they were not able to encounter so great a multitude) they would attempt nothing before the coming of the enemy upon them. In the mean time, to conceal their project the better, every man was to stay at his own home till they saw upon what country so great a storm would fall, and then, according to the enemies motion, they would steer their course and (as the Scots had done the autumn before in reference to England) so now they would enter into Scotland another way and repay loss for loss.
40. In the interim they sent a spy to inform themselves fully of the enemies advance, who was now so near them. For they counted it highly conduceable to their affairs to know not only the design, but even the very last words, resolves and actions of their enemies. He that was sent differed nothing in speech, habit or armour from the rest, and so was easily taken for a Scots man, so that, having found out every thing which he desired to know, he was going to a tree where he had tied his horse to fetch him, and so to be gone. But he found that some body had stollen and carried him away before, so that he was fain in his boots, spurs and riding-apparel to undertake his journey on foot. Hereupon the matter began to be suspected, and when he was gone a great way some horsemen were sent after to bring him back as a runagate [renegade]. When they came up to him and demanded who or what he was and why he went from his colours in that fashion, he not being able to give a ready answer, they brought him back to the chief officers of the army, to whom, for fear of a greater punishment, he discovered all the designs of the English. When the Scots heard this they also changed the order of their designs. They divided their army so that the greatest part of it should march towards Carlisle and that the Kings two sons, the Earls of Fife and Strathern, should command them, to whom were joyned Archibald Douglas of Galway and the Earls of Marr and Sutherland. The other part was to enter Northumberland under the command of James Douglas and the two brethren Dunbar, George and John, the one Earl of Murray, the other of Merch. Their party consisted of 300 horse and 2000 foot, besides servants and attendants on the horse. For every horseman hath at least one servant, who, being lightly armed, can run almost as fast as an horse and, when occasion is offered, can with his fellows encounter an enemy. When their forces were thus divided, they who marched towards Cumberland and Carlisle carried all before them by reason of the numerousness of their army, and met with no enemy at all. But Douglas, in the devastations which he made and in the other circuit, had not the same fortune, for he had so ordered the course of his expedition as to take great and yet secret marches, and so passing over Tine to pierce as far as Durham before he gave his army leave to spoil and plunder. This he did with such secrecy and speed that the English did not know where their enemies were but by the smoke of the fires they had made.
41. Percy the elder was the greatest man in Northumberland and the adjacent countrys, both for wealth and power. When the news was brought to him, he sends two of his sons, Henry and Ralph, very active young men both, before to New-Castle, commanding the rest to follow them thither. His intent was to stop the Scots in their retreat and to keep them from returning. But they, having spoiled the wealthy county of Durham, returned home with a great prey, and repass’d the Tine about three miles above New-Castle. There the commanders, being nobly descended in their own country, as also desirous of glory, and besides, lifted up with their present success, such as it was, thought it an inglorious thing in them to strike terrour only into rusticks and plebeians, if they did not also affright cities. Whereupon they marched to New-Castle and, threatning to besiege it, they endeavoured by contumelies and big words to draw out the enemy. When they had staid there two days and some light skirmishes, with various success, had passed betwixt them, there was one combat which, towards the evening of the last day, attracted the eyes of all the beholders. And that was a duel betwixt the two Generals. For they, being, in a sort, equally matched in respect of lineage, power, age and courage, had a mind to encounter each other in the sight of both armies. Hereupon a challenge was sent and they both, James Douglas and Henry Percy, entred the lists and ran at one another with their spears. Percy was unhorsed at first brush, and Douglas got his spear, but he could not touch his person because the English came in to his assistance. He shook the spear and cryed out aloud so as he might easily be heard, that he would carry that as a trophy into Scotland. So, the combat being ended, the Scots kept a very diligent watch in regard they were near a city, well-peopled and full of enemies. The day after, they retired towards Scotland, but very slowly, as being laden with booty. As their prey moved leisurely on, they themselves assaulted a neighbour-castle of the enemies, carried and demolished it, and from thence they marched to Ottorborn, about three miles distant from Newcastle. Thee they took counsel concerning the rest of the march. The major part were of opinion to march towards Carlisle to meet the other army, and so not to fight singly (as was at first agreed), but to wait the conjunction of both armies. But Douglas was minded to stay two or three days in that place, that so he might make a real confutation of the vaunts of Percy, who had boasted that they should never carry his lance into Scotland. In the mean time, that they might not be idle, they would attaque the neighbouring Castle. This opinion, though it was judged by many none of the best, yet for Douglas his sake they all submitted to it. And therefore they fortified their camp for the present occasion, which on one side was sufficiently guarded by marishes, and then proceeded on to take the Castle.
42. But Percy, being of a fierce nature, that he might blot out the ignominy he had received, would have followed him presently upon their retreat with those forces which he had about him. But the graver sort detained him for fear of an ambush, for they did not think it probable that so small a number of Scots would have appeared before so strong a town unless they had more forces near at hand, hid in some secret places. That day and the next they were busie in making discoveries, but finding that there was no danger of the greater army, as being far distant from Douglas his party, thereupon Percy immediately, with ten thousand fighting men, put himself upon the march without staying for the Bishop of Durham, who that very night was expected with some forces. For he thought he had force enough to overcome his enemies, who were not half as many as he. When the English came in sight, some of the Scots were at supper; others, being wearied at the taking of the Castle, had composed themselves to rest, but presently an alarming word was given to your arms. Whilst the rest were arming themselves the major part of the foot and many of the horse-mens servants, making use of that slender fortification they had, bore the brunt of the English assault. But the horse had a great advantage, in that they were sensible of the thing before. For, disputing among themselves how they should entertain the enemy when he assaulted him (for an assault they expected), they saw that a neighbour hill would be of great conveniency to them. Thither therefore they trooped about, and whilst the English were assaulting the passage into the camp they fell in upon their left flank and made a great slaughter, but a greater noise. Yet the English, having men enough, brought up their reserves and quickly made good their ranks again. Yet that disorder did this good to the Scots, that the fight before the camp was managed more remissly so that they had liberty to draw out and range their army in order of battel. When these things were doing, the night drew on, but it was a short one, as it useth to be in July in the northern countries especially, and the weather also chanced to be fair, so that, the moon shining all night, it was as bright as day. The fight was maintained gallantly as between two noble champions who were more solicitous for their honour than for their lives. Percy endeavoured to redeem his credit, and Douglas to redeem his, by a new atchievement, so that there was as much eagerness on the one side as on the other, though their numbers were unequal, and so the fight continued till it was late at night. And then the moon began to be clouded, that friend could not be discerned from foe, whereupon the rested a while to take a little breath. And assoon ass the moon brake forth from the clouds, the English pressed hard upon the Scots, so that they gave ground and Douglas his standard was like to be lost. When the two Patrick Hepburns, father and son, saw this, they hastened from the other wing and brake through the ranks of their own soldiers, and so pierced to the front where the main danger was, and there they began so fierce an assault that they gave and received many wounds, and in fine brought back their men to their former ground from whence they had been driven.
43. Neither was Douglas content therewith, but with his two friends and followers Robert Hart and Simon Glenduning his kinsman he rushed in amongst the midst of his enemies, and being of a stout spirit as well as strong body, made a great slaughter wherever he came. His friends strove earnestly to come up to him, yet before they could do so he was mortally wounded in three places and lay upon the ground. Hart lay dead by him, having a great many wounds about him, and the priest who had accompanied him in all his hazards, when he fainted, defended his body from injury. In this condition, John Linday and the two Sinclares, John and Walter, found him and asked him how he did. “Very well (said he), for I am a-dying, yet I do not die like a sluggard upon my bed, but as almost all my ancestors have done; and I have three, my last, requests to make to you, first that you would conceal my death both from friends and foes. Secondly, that you would not suffer my standard to be taken down. Thirdly, that you would revenge my death. And if you will do this, I shall bear the rest more contentedly.” Whereupon they in the first place covered his body with a cloak that it might not be known, and then they set up his standard and cried out (as the custom is) a Douglas, a Douglas. At that cry there was such a concourse made, and they ran in upon the enemy with such alacrity and courage that they drove him far away from the place of battel. For at the name of Douglas not the common soldiers only, but John Earl of Murray came in, as thinking things to be there in the greatest danger. For they had before routed that part of the enemies army they fought with and taken Percy the younger, who was much wounded, and sent by them into the camp to be dressed of his wounds, so that, the service not being so hot in other parts of the army, the Duglassians which had run in to the standard routed the English, who were wearied with their day-toil and night fight, and in the brunt Henry Percy, their General, was taken prisoner. When he was lost, the rest betook themselves to a confused flight. There were slain of the English in that battel 1840, about 1000 wounded and 1040 taken prisoners. Of the Scots, there were 100 slain and 200 taken prisoners, in regard a few in pursuit followed a greater number of their enemies.
44. James Lindsay, perceiving Matthew Redman, Governor of Berwick, to be one of the straggling flyers, judging him by the goodness of his armor to be one of the principal commanders, made presently after him. When he had fled three miles, his horse being weary, he thought he could not escape by riding and so he dismounted and ran away on foot. Lindsay did the same. At last, after some skirmish betwixt them, the Englishman, not being so good at that kind of weapon, yielded himself to Lindsay, who sent him home, having first taken his oath that he would return in 20 days. This was then the courtesy of the neighbour nations towards their prisoners, to which to this day is punctually observed amongst the Borderers. And if a man do not return at the day appointed, this is his punishment. In the meetings which are made for reparations of mutual damages, he that complains how he was deceived holds up the shape of an hand or glove on a long spear that it may be seen of all. That is counted the highest brand of infamy upon any man, sot hat he who hath thus violated his faith becomes thereby detestable to his own friends and kindred, to such a degree that no man of any quality will eat, or drink, or talk with him, or so much as harbour him in his house. Lindsay, having dismissed his prisoner on the forementioned terms, perceived a great body of men before him and trooped up to them. He knew them not to be enemies till he was so near that he could not retreat, but was taken prisoner. These were the forces of the Bishop of Durham, who, coming late to Newcastle and not being able to overtake Percy, not thinking that he would engage till the next day, made an halt to refresh his men, and after they had supped he renewed his march. But he had not gone far from the town before those that run away informed him of the loss of the day. Whereupon he returned into the town and advised with his tenants concerning his following the Scots. The resolve was that before day-break they should all be in arms. And so in the morning there were ten thousand horse and foot from neighbouring places, a promiscuous multitude which came in. They encouraged the Bishop to march the nearest way to the enemy and to give him battel, alleging that he was so wearied with his yesterdays fight, and so many were wounded, and the rest secure by reason of their late victory, that he might obtain an easie conquest over them. The Earl of Murray, upon whom the eyes of all were fixed when Douglas was gone, was advertised of his coming by his scouts, whereupon he consulted with his chief commanders about his prisoners. To kill them in cold blood after they had given them quarter seemed cruel, and to save alive a number of enemies almost equal with their own seemed dangerous. The resolve was that they should all swear not to stir whilst the battel was fought, and though their friends might relieve them, yet they should continue and own themselves as prisoners still. Upon these terms they were left in the camp with a small guard, who were commanded to fall upon them all if any one did stir.
45. This matter thus settled, the Scots, being full of courage by reason of their former victory, marched out with their army, being fortified and secured with marshes, and on the right and left with trees which they cut down, and moreover, the word of command was given that as soon as the enemy drew near every man should blow his horn which he carried behind him on his back, which would make such a might noise and sound as was terrible of it self, but, being multiplied by the repercussion and eccho of the neighbouring hills, gave forth the representation of a greater force than indeed they were. The English had marched very fast, and moreover were to fight amongst the dead bodies of their own men, being astonished at that horrible noise and also at the alacrity of their enemies, who stood in good order over against them, and besides, having no skilful commander over so tumultuary a body, and also the commander not much confiding on such a raw soldiery, they presently turned their colours and marched back as they came. In the mean time Lindsay, who, as I have said, was taken prisoner and left at Newcastle, being seen and known by Redman, was courteously treated by him and set at liberty without ransom. The Scots, having passed over this sudden brunt so easily, resolved to return home. But before, they dismissed Ralfe Percy, who was much wounded so that he could not endure the jogging of an horse, and sent him to Newcastle to be healed of his wounds upon his promise that, as soon as ever he was able to ride, he would wait on the Earl of Murray where he pleased to appoint. And engaging his faith thereto, as the manner is, he departed. Seven hundred other prisoners followed his example and were released on their parol upon the same terms. Many of the common soldiers, who were like to be more burdensom than beneficial, was dismissed gratis. Of the nobler sort, Henry Percy and almost 400 more were detained and carried into Scotland, and shortly after, upon payment of a ransom set upon their heads, they were all set at liberty, so that in that age, as Ennius says, men did not huckster out a war, but fought it out as contending mainly for liberty and glory. Three days after, the bodies of Douglas and the other great commanders that fell were carried to Mulross, and there magnificently interred. When the tidings of these matters were brought to the other army which was wasting Cumberland, it disturbed all their mirth, so that the joy conceived for their good success was turned into bitter mourning. The loss of Douglas did so affect all military men that not only that army which followed him, but this other also returned home in silence and sadness, as if they had not been conquerors, but conquered. The publick sentiment was also further increased that he died without children and in the flower of his age, and that almost he alone was deprived of the fruit of the victory which he had gotten. His estate fell to Archibald Earl of Galway, sirnamed The Austere, who also was a brave cavalier in his days. This is that memorable fight of Otterborn, remarkable not only for the magnanimity and hardiness of the commanders and soldier therein, and their modesty in victory, but also for the various and changeable event of it: that the conqueror, in the highest expectation of his glory, was taken off by death and could not enjoy the fruit of his own labour, and the conquered General, though then discomfited and made a prisoner, yet outlived this battel many years in great glory and splendour. It was fought the 12th of the Calends of August in the year of our Lord 1388.
46. By this victory matters were composed and quiet both at home and abroad. But in regard the King, by reason of his age, was not fit to manage business, and withal, understanding of the reflection that was made upon him by reason of the late expedition, which was undertaken without him, and his eldest son John was of a slow nature and addicted more to ease than to difficult enterprizes, he therefore indicted an assembly of the Estates and made Robert Earl of Fife deputy of the kingdom by the name of Governor; yet they who managed that office before him were usually called Custodes, i. e., Keepers. When Henry Percy, eminent in stock and prowess, was prisoner in Scotland, the Earl of Merch, commonly called Earl Mareschal, a man fiercer in his words than actions, was put in his place. He, undervaluing the Scots valour in the fight at Otterborn and also grievously blaming the cowardize of the English, did thereby incur the hatred of both nations. And indeed Robert, Vice-King of Scotland, was offended at his boasting insolence that he thought it a just cause to make an expedition against him. Hereupon he entred the enemies country and with Archibald Douglas, then Earl of Douglas, marches directly towards the enemy, who was reported to stay for him with a great army. When he came near him, he gave him an opportunity to engage, which he declining, he sent at trumpeter to him to desire him to try it out in a plain field. But the Mareschal kept himself in his fastnesses and places unaccessible, so that Robert, after he had shewed his army some hours to the enemy, sent them forth to pillage in the neighbourhood, and he ransacked those places especially which the Mareschal was wont to have his residence in, and afterwards he marched them back, laden with booty, without any fight at all. This expedition, though undertaken upon slight grounds, yet was very pleasing both to the English and the Scots, who both rejoyced to see the vanity of the man to be confuted. But he, to excuse the matter, as often as mention was made of it did allege that he did it for the love of his countrymen, as being unwilling to expose them to needless danger.
47. At this very time a truce was made and hopes of peace between France and England, by the mediation of the Pope and the neighbouring princes, on this condition, that the allies of both might be comprehended by name, viz., the Portugals of the English side, the Scots and Spanish Castilians of the French’s. King Robert, against the advice of his Counsel, gave his single assent thereunto, but upon no solid ground, for he was able to make neither peace nor war but by the publick advice of the Estates, neither could he promise any firm truce without their decree in the case. Neither could the Nobility conceal any longer that hidden grief and disgust which they had conceived against the French, who had only done them this courtesie (the backward way), that when they were to service against an enemy, they would strike the weapons out of their hands, and so take away the fruit of a former victory and also the hopes of a new. At last, after much dispute and quarrelling, the French ambassador gained this point, but with much ado, that the Scots should send ambassadors into France about the matter, so that the hopes of a peace so near at hand might not be hindred by their obstinacy. Robert the King lived not long after, but departed this life in his Castle called Dundonald in the year of Christ 1390, the 13th of the Calends of May. He lived 74 years and reigned 19 years and 24 days. This King managed wars by his deputies, and usually with good success. He was present in few battels himself, which some impute to his age, others to his cowardize, but all say that he was a very good man and in the arts of peace easily comparable with the best of Kings. He administered justice diligently and impartially to all; he severely punished robberies. In his actions he was constant, in his words, faithful. He undertook the kingdom in troublesome times, yet he setled things at home, appeased discords, and governed with great equity and justice, and he got such conquests over his enemy that he reduced all the castles they had but three. After his death, tumults arose where they were least expected. Alexander, Earl of Buchan, the youngest of the Kings sons by Elizabeth More, fell into a deadly fewd with the Bishop of Murray upon a light occasion, and when he could not come at him to kill him, he wrecked his fury upon the church of Elgin (which was then one of the fairest in all Scotland) and burnt it down to the ground. The same year, William Douglas, Earl of Nithisdale (who, as I said before, for his valour was made the Kings son in law) was slain at Danzick on the Vistula by some ruffians who were sent to perpetrate the murder by Clifford of England. For Douglas, when matters were quieted at home, that he might not lye lazie and idle, intended for the Holy War, and in Borussia he gave such proof of his valour that he was made Admiral of the whole fleet, which was a great and magnificent one, and withal well accommodated. But a quarrel arising between him and Clifford, grounded upon old emulations, because he grudged him that honour he sent him a challenge to fight with him hand to hand. But the challenger, perceiving into what an hazardous adventure he had run himself by that challenge, before the set time came caused him to be slain by hired assassins.
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