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James the Fifth, who by this sudden
revolution had been delivered from the
thraldom of a successful faction, and
invested with the supreme power, was
still a youth in his seventeenth year.
Even as a boy, he appeared to the dis­
criminating eye of Magnus, Henry’s
ambassador at the Scottish court, to
be brave, manly, impatient of being
treated as a child, and possessed of
good natural talents. As he grew up,
the Douglases neglected his education,
and perverted his disposition by inju­
dicious indulgences. They detected
in him a strong propensity to pleasure,
which they basely encouraged, under
the idea that his mind, becoming
enervated by indolence and sensuality
would resign itself to the captivity in
which they meant him to remain; but
they were not aware of the strength
of the character with which they had
to deal. It did not, indeed, escape the
pollution of such degrading culture;
but it survived it. There was a mental
vigour about the young king, and a
strength of natural talent, which de­
veloped itself under the most unfavour­
able circumstances : he had early felt,
with indignation, the captivity to

which he was doomed, by the ambi­
tion of Angus; but he saw, for some
time, no prospect of redress, and he
insensibly acquired, by the necessity
of his situation, a degree of patience
and self-command, which are rarely
found at his years. Under the restraint
in which he was kept, the better parts
of his nature had, for a while, little
opportunity to display themselves.
But the plot for his escape, and which
appears to have been principally his
own contrivance, having succeeded,
he became at once a free monarch,
and his true character, to the delight
of the nation, was found to be marked

1 Buchanan, xiv. 33. In Mr Pitcairn’s valu­
able collection of Criminal Trials, to which, in
the course of my historical investigations, I
have been under repeated obligations, there
occurs (vol. i. p. 188) an incidental notice,
from which we may pretty nearly fix the
hitherto uncertain date of the king’s escape.
Pinkerton (vol. ii. p. 291) assumes it to have
taken place in July. This, however, is un­
doubtedly incorrect; for we find, on Decem­
ber 1st, 1528, the Lady Glammis was sum­
moned to answer before parliament for the
assistance afforded the Earl of Angus, in con-
vocating the lieges for eight days immediately
preceding June 1, to invade the king’s per­
son. This brings the date of the escape to
the 22d or 23d of May,

346                                    HISTORY OF SCOTLAND.                      [Char IX.

by some of the highest qualities which
could adorn a sovereign. He possessed
a strict love of justice, an unwearied
application in removing the grievances
and promoting the real interests of his
people, and a generosity and warmth
of temper, which prompted him, on
all occasions, to espouse with enthu­
siasm the cause of the oppressed. A
stranger to pride, easy of access, and
fond of mingling familiarly with all
classes of his subjects, he seems to
have gained their affections by relying
on them, and was rewarded by an ap­
pellation, of which he was not unjustly
proud, “the King of the Commons.”

With regard to the principles which
guided his future policy, they arose
naturally out of the circumstances in
which his mind had been nurtured.
The sternest feelings against the Dou­
glases, to whose ambition he had been
made a sacrifice, were mingled with a
determination to recover those rights
of the crown, which had been for­
gotten or neglected during his minor­
ity, and to repress the power of an
overgrown and venal aristocracy. To­
wards his uncle, Henry the Eighth, he
could not possibly experience any other
sentiments than those of indignation
and suspicion. This monarch, through
the exertions of his able minister, Lord
Dacre, had introduced into Scotland a
secret system of corruption, by which
the nobles had become the pensioned
agents of the English government,
which maintained innumerable in­
formers in the court and throughout
the country, and excited such cease­
less commotions and private wars, that
every effort for the maintenance of
order and good government was de­
feated. In his uncle, James had lat­
terly seen nothing but a determination
to support his enemies the Douglases,
with the object of degrading Scotland
from its rank as an independent king­
dom, and, by their aid, administering
it according to his pleasure. To de­
stroy this system of foreign dictation,
which, since the defeat at Flodden,
had been gradually assuming a more
serious aspect, was one great object of
the king; and whilst such a design ren­
dered his policy inimical to England,

it naturally disposed him to cultivate |
the most friendly relations with France.

To the success of these designs,
however, great obstacles presented
themselves; which, although for the
moment overlooked by the sanguine
mind of the king, soon compelled him
to act with moderation. Henry the
Eighth and Francis the First were
now bound together by a strict league,
of which the great object was to
humble the power of the Emperor
Charles the Fifth; and the French
monarch received with coldness every
advance which endangered a union on
which the success of his political
schemes so mainly depended. Nor
was it long of occurring to the Scottish
king, that, with a divided nobility and
his finances impoverished by the havoc
made in the royal revenues during his
minority, it would be wise to pause
before he permitted his individual re­
sentment to hurry the nation into a
war; and that, in the meantime, it
should be his first object to secure his
recent elevation by the immediate pro­
scription of his enemies.

He accordingly proceeded from Stir­
ling to Edinburgh, where a proclama­
tion was issued, prohibiting any Dou­
glas, on pain of death, from remaining
in the capital, and making it treason
to hold intercourse with Angus or his
adherents. It was resolved that a par­
liament should meet in the beginning
of September; the important office of
chancellor was bestowed by the king
upon his preceptor, Gawin Dunbar,
archbishop of Glasgow; Cairncross,
abbot of Holyrood, was made trea­
surer ; the Bishop of Dunkeld privy-
seal;1 the command of the capital,
with the office of provost, intrusted
to Lord Maxwell; and Patrick Sin­
clair was despatched to the English
court with a message to Henry, in­
forming him of the change which had
taken place, and the assumption of
the supreme power by the young
monarch.2 During the rapid adoption

1 Pollock MS. entitled a Diurnal of Occur-
rents in Scotland, p. 11, edited by the Banna-
tyne Club.

2 State Papers, Henry VIII. p. 282. James’s
confidence was ill bestowed on Sinclair, who

1528.]                                               JAMES V.                                                   347

of these measures, the terror of some
sudden attempt by the Douglases had
not subsided. Each night the palace
was strictly watched by the loyal peers
and their armed followers, who now
formed the court; and James himself,
clothed in complete mail, took his
turn in commanding the guard. After
a few days, the king removed to Stir-
ling, and the nobles dispersed to their
estates, with a promise to attend the
ensuing parliament in great force.
Meanwhile, the Earl of Angus had
shut himself up in Tantallon, whilst
his brother, Sir George Douglas, and
Archibald, the late treasurer, after a
feeble attempt to make a diversion in
his favour, were attacked by Maxwell,
and driven from the capital. The
measures which James contemplated
against these powerful delinquents
were not at first so severe as have
been generally represented by our his­
torians. Incensed, as he must have
been, by the long and ignominious
durance in which he had been kept,
the young monarch did not instantly
adopt that stern and unforgiving
policy to which he was afterwards
driven by the Douglases themselves.
The Earl of Angus was commanded
to keep himself beyond the waters of
Spey, and to surrender his brother,
Sir George Douglas, and his uncle,
Archibald Douglas of Kilspindy, as
hostages for his answering to the sum­
mons of treason, which was directed
to be raised against him.1 Both orders
he haughtily disobeyed; he mustered
his vassals, fortified his castles, and
provoked, instead of conciliating, the
royal resentment. Such conduct was
attended with the effects which might
have been anticipated.

On the 2d of September the par­
liament assembled, and an act of at­
tainder was passed against the Dou­
glases,2 who justified the severity, by
convoking their followers, and razing
to the ground the villages of Cranston
and Cowsland.3 The lands of the
arch­offender Angus were divided by
(State Papers, p. 150) was, in 1524, in the pay
of the English government.

1 Acts of the Parliament of Scotland, vol.
ii. pp. 322, 323.
                 2 Ibid. p. 324.

3 Diurnal of Occurrents, p. 11.

James amongst those followers to
whose support he had probably been
indebted for the success of the late
revolution, Argyle, Arran, Bothwell,
Buccleuch, Maxwell, and Hamilton,
the bastard of Arran; whilst to him­
self the king reserved the castle of
Tantallon, a place whose great strength
rendered it dangerous in the hands of
a subject. All this was easy, as the
parliament consisted of such peers and
prelates as were devoted to the king;
but to carry the sentence into execu­
tion was a less practicable matter, and
so formidable was the power of Angus,
that, for a season, he completely de­
fied the royal wrath. In vain did the
young king in person, and at the head
of a force of eight thousand men, com­
mence the siege of Douglas castle; ad­
monished by the strength of the forti­
fications, and the injury to the harvest
which must follow a protracted at­
tempt, he was obliged to disband his
army, and submit to the insult of
having two villages, near his palace of
Stirling, sacked and given to the
flames, by a party of the Douglases;
who, in allusion to his late escape, re -
marked that the light might be use­
ful to their sovereign if he chose
again to travel before sunrise. An
equally abortive display was soon
after made before Coldingham, in
which the royal forces were totally
dispersed ; and, in a third attempt to
reduce Tantallon, the monarch, al­
though supported by a force of twelve
thousand men, was not only compelled
to raise the siege, but endured the
mortification of having his train of
artillery attacked and captured, after
an obstinate action by Angus in per­
son.4 It was on this occasion that
the king, whose indignation was in­
creased by the death of Falconer, the
captain of his guard, and the best
naval officer in the kingdom, burst
into the bitterest reproaches against
Angus, and is said to have declared,
with an oath, that so long as he lived,
no Douglas should find a resting-place
in Scotland. At length, after repeated
failures, and a refusal on the part of
Bothwell to lead the army against the
Lesley, pp. 140,141. Pink., vol. ii. p. 301.

348                                    HISTORY OF SCOTLAND.                      [Chap. IX

formidable rebel, the task of his ex­
pulsion from Coldingham was com­
mitted to Argyle, who, with the as­
sistance of the Homes, compelled him
to fly into England, an asylum from
which he was not destined to return,
till after the death of James.

Under other circumstances than
those in which the English monarch
was now placed, the presence at his
court of so formidable a person as
Angus might have led Henry to an
espousal of his quarrel, and have de­
feated any proposals for a pacification ;
but the present relations of this prince
with the continent, and his strict coa­
lition with Francis the First against
the emperor, made him solicitous for
tranquillity on the side of Scotland;
he contented himself, therefore, with
an earnest request for the restoration
of the rebel peer, and when this was
peremptorily refused by James, ab­
stained from interrupting the negotia­
tions by any cavil or reiteration. The
Scottish king, on the other hand, pro­
fessed his obligations to Henry for
many favours conferred during his
minority,—a sentiment for which we
can scarcely give him the credit of
sincerity; and having despatched his
commissioners to meet with Magnus
and Sir Thomas Tempest, the Eng­
lish ambassadors, at Berwick, a paci­
fication of five years was concluded
between the two countries, and rati­
fied on the 14th of December 1528. To
Angus was granted a remission of the
sentence of death, and a consent that
he might remain in England; but the
forfeiture of his estates was sternly
enforced, and Tantallon, with the other
castles belonging to the Douglases,
delivered into the hands of the king.

Having settled this important mat­
ter, and secured himself on the side
of England, James directed his atten­
tion to the state of the Borders,1 where
In the State-paper office is an original
letter of James to Henry, dated at Jedburgh,
23d July, written on his progress to the Bor­
ders. “ And at this tyme,” says he, “ we ar
in travaile towart oure bordouris, to put
gude ordoure and rewle upon thame, and to
stanche the thyftes and rubbarys committit
be theiffis and tratouris upon the samyn.
And as our besynes takis effect, we sall ad­
vertise zou”

the disorders incident to a minority
had increased to a degree which threat­
ened the total disruption of these
districts. Such excesses were mainly
to be attributed to Angus, the late
warden of the marches, who had se-
cured the friendship of the Border
chiefs, by overlooking their offences,
whilst he had bound them to his in­
terests by those feudal covenants,
named “ bands of manrent,” 2 which
formed one of the darkest features of
the times, compelling the parties to
defend each other against the effects
of their mutual transgressions. The
task, therefore, of introducing order and
respect for legal restraints amongst
the fierce inhabitants of the marches
was one of extreme difficulty. The
principal thieves were the Border
barons themselves, some of whom
maintained a feudal state almost royal;
whilst their castles, often impregnable
from the strength of their natural and
artificial defences, defied every attempt
to reduce or to storm them.

The energy of the young monarch
overcame these difficulties. Having
assembled his parliament at Edin-
ourgh, and ascertained his own strength,
he represented to the three estates the
impossibility of maintaining the laws,
when many of the highest nobles de­
clined or dreaded the task of enforcing
their obedience, and others were no­
torious for their violation of them. A
strong example of rigour was, he said,
absolutely required; and this remark
was instantly followed by the arrest of
the Earl of Bothwell, lord of Teviot-
dale : Home, Maxwell, Ker of Fernie-
hirst, Mark Ker, with the barons of
Buccleuch, Polwarth, and Johnston,
shared his imprisonment;3 and hav-

2   “And howbeit, the said Erle [Angus]
beand our chancellare, wardane of our est and
middil marches, and lieutenant of the samyne,
procurit divers radis to be maid upon the
brokin men of our realme ; he visit our auto-
rite, not against yame, bot against our baronis
and uthers our lieges, yat wald not enter in
bands of manrent to him, to be sa stark of
power, that we suld not be habil to reign as
his prince, or haif dominatioun aboun hym
or our lieges.” MS. Caligula, b. ii. 224. Ar­
ticles and Credence to be shewn to Patrick
Sinclair, July 13, 1528. Signed by James the

3  Lesley, pp. 141, 142,

1528-31.]                                          JAMES V.                                                  349

ing thus secured some of the greatest
offenders, the king placed himself at
the head of a force of eight thousand
men, and traversed the disturbed dis­
tricts with unexpected strength and
celerity. Guided by some of the
Borderers, who thus secured a pardon,
he penetrated into the inmost recesses
of Eskdale and Teviotdale, and seized
Cockburn of Henderland and Scott of
Tushielaw before the gates of their
own castles. Both were led to almost
instant execution; and by a sanguin­
ary example of justice, long remem­
bered on the marches, the famous
freebooter, Johnnie Armstrong, was
hanged, with forty-eight of his retain­
ers, on the trees of a little grove, where
they had too boldly presented them­
selves to entreat the royal pardon.
The fate of this renowned thief, who
levied his tribute, or black mail, for
many miles within the English Bor­
ders, has been commemorated in many
of the rude ballads of these poetic
districts; and if we may believe their
descriptions, he presented himself to
the king, with a train of horsemen,
whose splendid equipments almost put
to shame the retinue of his prince.1

This partial restoration of tranquil­
lity was followed by the news of a for­
midable but abortive attempt to sepa­
rate the Orkneys from the dominion
of the crown. The author of the re­
bellion, whose ambition soared to the
height of an independent prince, was
the Earl of Caithness; but his career
was brief and unfortunate, the majority
of the natives of the islands were
steady in their loyalty, and in a naval
battle, James Sinclair, the governor,
encountered the insurgents, defeated
and slew their leader, with five hun
dred men, and, making captives of the
rest, reduced these remote districts to
a state of peace.2 But whilst tran­
quillity was restored in this quarter of
his dominions, the condition of the
Isles became a subject of serious alarm.
The causes of these renewed disturb­
ances are not to be traced, as in the
former rebellion, to any design in the
Islesmen, to establish a separate and

1 Lesley, pp. 142, 143. Lindsay, p. 226.
Lesley, p. 141.

independent principality under a
prince of their own election; and it
is probable that the imprisonment of
Donald of Sleat, in the castle of Edin-
burgh, extinguished for a season all
ambition of this sort. The sources of
disaffection originated in a fierce family
feud which had broken out between
the Macleans of Dowart and the Earl
of Argyle, who, holding the high office
of governor of the Isles, was frequently
tempted to represent any attack up­
on himself or his adherents as a rebel­
lion against the authority of the sove­
reign. A daughter of the earl, Lady
Elizabeth Campbell, had been given
in marriage to Maclean of Dowart,
and the union proving unhappy, the
ferocious chief exposed her upon a
desolate rock near the isle of Lismore,
which, at high water, was covered by
the sea.3 From this dreadful situation
she was rescued by a passing fishing-
boat; and, not long after, Sir John
Campbell of Calder avenged the
wrongs of his house by assassinating
Maclean, whom he stabbed in his bed,
although the Highland chief had pro­
cured letters of protection and be­
lieved himself secure.4 Other causes

3 Still called the Lady Rock.

4 This murder by Sir John Campbell is al­
luded to in strong terms in an interesting
document, preserved in the State-paper office,
dated August 1545, entitled, “Article pro­
posed by the Commissioners of the Lord of
the Isles to the Privy-council, as the basis of
an agreement to be entered into between
Henry the Eighth and him for the service of
his troops.” The passage is curious, as evinc­
ing the enmity of the Islemen to Scotland :
Quhairfor, your Lordships sall considder we
nave beyne auld enemys to the realme of
Scotland, and quhen they had peasche with
ye kings hienis, thei hanged, hedit, presoned,
and destroied many of our kyn, friendis, and
forbearis, as testifies be our Master, th’ Erie
of Ross, now the king’s grace’s subject, ye
quhilk hath lyin in presoun afoir he was
borne of his moder, and is not releiffit with
their will, bot now laitlie be ye grace of God.
In lykewise, the Lord Maclanis fader was
cruellie murdressit, under traist, in his bed,
in the toun of Edinbruch, be Sir John Camp­
bell of Calder, brudir to th’ Erll of Argyle.
The capitane of Clanranald, this last zeir
ago, in his defens, slew the Lord Lovett, his
son-in-law, his three brethren, with xiii scoir
of men ; and many uther crewell slachter,
burnying, and herschip that hath beyn be-
twix us and the saidis Scottis, the quhilk war
lang to wryte.

350                             HISTORY OF SCOTLAND.                       [Chap. IX.

of jealousy increased the mutual exas­
peration; the Macleans, strengthened
by their union with the clan Ian Mhor,
and led by Alexander of Isla, defied
the authority of Argyle, and carried
fire and sword through the extensive
principality of the Campbells ; whilst
they, on the other hand, retaliated
with equal ferocity, and the isles of
Mull and Tiree, with the wide dis­
trict of Morvern, were abandoned to
indiscriminate plunder.

Such was the state of things, in
these remote districts, during the years
1528 and 1529; about which time
Argyle earnestly appealed to the coun­
cil, and, describing the deplorable con­
dition of the country, demanded more
extensive powers to enable him to re­
duce it under the dominion of the law.
But the sagacity of James suspected
the representations of this powerful
noble ; and, whilst he determined to
levy a force sufficient to overawe the
disaffected districts, and, if necessary,
to lead it against the Isles in person,
he endeavoured to avert hostilities,
by offering pardon to any of the Island
chiefs who would repair to court and
renew their allegiance to their sove­
reign. These conciliatory measures
were attended with success. Nine of
the principal Islesmen, with Hector
Maclean of Dowart, availed themselves
of the royal safe-conduct, and person­
ally tendered their submission; whilst,
soon after, Alexander of Isla repaired
to the palace of Stirling, and in an in­
terview with the monarch, expressed
his contrition for his offences, and was
received into favour. He promised to
enforce the collection of the royal
rents upon the crown lands of the
Isles ; to support the dignity and re­
spect the revenues of the Church; and
to maintain the authority of the laws,
and the inviolability of private pro­
perty. Under these conditions the
monarch reinstated the Island lord
and his vassals in the lands which
they had forfeited by their rebellion.1

In the late negotiations, Henry the
Eighth had alluded to his wishes for

1 These particulars I derive from Mr Gre-
gory’s interesting work, “History of the West­
ern Highlands and Isles,” pp. 132,133, 136.

a matrimonial alliance with Scotland,2
and his ally, Francis the First, whose
interests at this time were inseparable
from those of England, was disposed
to promote the scheme. To Charles
the Fifth, however, their great rival,
whose policy was more profound than
that of his opponents, any match be­
tween James and a daughter of Eng­
land was full of annoyance; and he
exerted every effort to prevent it. He
proposed successively to the youthful
monarch, his sister, the queen of Hun­
gary, and his niece, the daughter of
Christiern, king of Denmark ; and so
intent was he upon the last-mentioned
union, that an envoy was despatched
to Scotland, who held out as a dower
the whole principality of Norway.
But the offer of an offensive and de­
fensive league with so remote a power
as Austria was coldly received by
James and his parliament; whilst the
preservation of peace with England,
and his desire to maintain the alliance
with France, inclined him to lend a
more favourable ear to the now reit­
erated proposals of Henry.

In the meantime his attention was
wisely directed to the best measures
for promoting the security and happi­
ness of his kingdom, still distracted
by the unbridled licentiousness of
feudal manners. Blacater, the baron
of Tulliallan, with some ferocious ac­
complices, among whom was a priest
named Lothian, having assassinated
Sir James Inglis, abbot of Culross,
was seized and led to instant execu­
tion ; whilst the priest, after being de­
graded and placed without the pale
of the ecclesiastical law, was beheaded.3
To secure the commercial alliance be­
tween Scotland and the Netherlands
was his next object; and for this pur­
pose, Sir David Lindsay of the Mount
—a name dear to the Scottish Muses
—and Campbell of Lundie were sent
on an embassy to Brussels, at that
moment the residence of the emperor,
who received them with a distinction
proportioned to his earnest desire to

2  Caligula, b. vii. 121. Copy of a letter
from Magnus to Sir Adam Otterburn, Decem­
ber 5, 1528.

3  Diurnal of Occurrents in Scotland, p. 13.

1531-2.]                                           JAMES V.                                                   351

secure the friendship of their young
master. The commercial treaty, for
one hundred years, originally con­
cluded by James the First, between
his dominions and the Netherlands,
now about to expire, was wisely re­
newed for another century.1

But it was in vain that the king
strengthened his alliances abroad, and
personally exerted himself at home,
whilst a large proportion of his nobles
thwarted every measure for the public
weal. Spoilt by the licence and im­
punity which they had enjoyed under
the misrule of Angus, and trammelled
by bands of manrent amongst them­
selves, or with that powerful baron,
they either refused to execute the
commands of the sovereign, or received
them only to disobey, when removed
out of the reach of the royal displea­
sure ; and in this manner the laws,
which had been promulgated by the
wisdom of the privy-council or parlia­
ment, became little else than a dead
letter. Against this abuse, James was
compelled to adopt decided measures.
The Earl of Argyle was thrown into
prison; Crawford, on some charges
which cannot be ascertained, lost the
greater part of his estates; the dislike
to the house of Douglas, and the de­
termination to resist every proposal
for their return, assumed a sterner
form in the royal mind; and the Earl
of Moray, Lord Maxwell, and Sir
James Hamilton, who had shared for
a while the intimacy and confidence
of their sovereign, found themselves
treated with coldness and disregard.2
On the other hand, many of the clergy
were highly esteemed, and promoted
to the principal offices in the govern­
ment ; nor are we to wonder at the
preference evinced by the monarch,
when it is considered, that in learning,
talents, and acquaintance with the
management of public affairs, the
superiority of the spiritual over the
temporal estate was decided.

It was probably by the advice of
Dunbar, the archbishop of Glasgow,

1  Pinkerton, vol. ii. p. 310.

2  Caligula, b. v. 216. Communicacions
had between th’ Erle ot Northumberland and
th’ Erle Bothwell, December 21, 1531.

who had been his preceptor, and now
held the office of chancellor, that the
king at this time instituted the Col­
lege of Justice, a new court, of which
the first idea is generally said to have
been suggested by the Parliament of
Paris. Much delay, confusion, and
partiality accompanied those heritable
jurisdictions, by which each feudal
baron enjoyed the right of holding his
own court; and although an appeal
lay to the king and the privy­council,
the remedy by the poorer litigant was
unattainable, and by the richer tedious
and expensive. In a parliament, there­
fore, which was held at Edinburgh,
(May 17, 1532,) the College of Justice
was instituted, which consisted of
fourteen Judges, — one-half selected
from the spiritual, and the other from
the temporal estate,—over whom was
placed a President, who was always to
be a clergyman. The great object of
this new court was to remove the
means of oppression out of the hands
of the aristocracy; but, as it was pro­
vided that the chancellor might pre­
side when he pleased, and that on any
occasion of consequence or difficulty,
the king might send three or four
members of his privy-council to influ­
ence the deliberations, and give their
votes, it was evident that the subject
was only freed from one grievance, to
be exposed to the possibility of an­
other,—less, indeed, in extent, but
scarcely more endurable when it oc­
curred.3 It is an observation of Bu­
chanan, that the new judges, at their
first meetings, devised many excellent
plans for the equal administration of
justice, but disappointed the nation
by their future conduct, especially in
their attempts to prevent any en­
croachments upon their authority, by
the provisions of the parliament. We
must not forget, however, that, as he
approaches the period of the Reforma­
tion, impartiality is not the first virtue
of this eminent man : that the cir­
cumstance of one-half of thecourt being
chosen from the spiritual estate had an
effect in retarding the progress of the
reformed opinions cannot be doubted.

3 Acts of the Parliament of Scotland, vol.
ii. pp. 335, 336.

352                            HISTORY OF SCOTLAND.                 [Chap. IX

All Europe was now at peace ; the
treaties of Barcelona and Cambrai had
for a season settled the elements of
war and ambition. Charles was re­
conciled to the Pope, and on friendly
terms with his rival Francis; whilst
Henry the Eighth, under the influ­
ence of his passion for Anne Boleyn,
was about to pursue his divorce, and
become the instigator of that great re­
ligious reformation, in the history of
which we must be careful to distin­
guish the baseness of some of its in­
struments from that portion of the
truth which it restored and estab­
lished: It was in the meantime the
effect of all these events to give a
continuance of peace to Scotland ; but
the intrigues of the Earl of Bothwell,
who had traitorously allied himself
with England;1 the restless ambition
of Angus, whose services against his
native country had also been purchased
by Henry;2 and the spirit of war and

1 In the State-paper Office, Border Corres­
pondence, is an interesting and curious ori­
ginal MS. letter, dated Newcastle, 27th De­
cember 1531, from the Earl of Northumber­
land to the king, giving a full account of a
conference with the Earl of Bothwell, Both-
well first declared the occasion and ground
of his displeasure towards the King of Scots,
—namely, "the giving of his lands to the
Carres of Teviotdale ; the keeping him half
a year in prison, and seeking to apprehend
him and his colleagues, that he might lead
them to execution.” The letter continues
thus,—“and touching the second article in
your most gracious lettres, as to know what
he could do for revenging of his displeasure,
or releving of his hart and stomach against
the Skottes kyng, the said erle doth securely
promise, your higness being his good and
gracious prince and helpyng him to his right,
.... that he should not only serve your
most noble grace in your wars against Skot-
land trewly with a thousand gentlemen, and
sex thousand commons, but also becomes
your highness’s true subject and liegeman.
Thyrdly, to know what lykelihood of good
effect shall ensue ; hereof the said erle doth
say, remembering the banyshment of the
Erle of Anguisse, the wrongfull disinherityng
of the Erle of Crawford, the sore imprison­
ment of the Erle of Argyle, the litill estima-
cyon of the Erle Murray and the Lord Max­
well, the simple regarding of Sir James
Hamilton for his good and paynfull services,
he puts no doubt with his own power and the
Erle of Anguisse’s, seeing all their nobles
hartes afore expressed : be withdrawen from
the king of Skottes, to crown your grace in
the toune of Edinburg within brief tyme.”

2 Caligula, b. v. 216. The object of Both-

plunder which was fomented in un-
extinguishable strength upon the Bor­
ders, combined to distract the king­
dom and defeat the wisest efforts for
the preservation of tranquillity. Mutual
inroads took place, in which the ban­
ished Douglases and Sir Anthony Darcy
distinguished themselves by the extent
and cruelty of their ravages; whilst it
was deemed expedient by James to
divide the whole body of the fighting
men in Scotland into four parts, to
each of which, in rotation, the defence
of the marches was intrusted under
the command of Moray, now recon­
ciled to the king, and created lieuten­
ant of the kingdom. This measure
appears to have been attended with
happy effects; and at the same time,
the Scottish monarch evinced his
power of distressing the government
of Henry, should he persist in encour­
aging his rebel subjects, by raising a
body of seven thousand Highlanders,
under the leading of Maclan, to assist
0’Donnel, the Irish chief, in his at­
tempts to shake off the English yoke.
It appears from a letter of the Earl of
Northumberland to Henry the Eighth,
that the Earl of Argyle, about the
same time, had been deprived of the
chief command in the Isles, which
was conferred upon Maclan,—a cir-
cumstance which had completely
alienated the former potent chief,
and disposed him, with the whole
strength of his vassals and retainers,
to throw himself into the arms of
England. But this dangerous discon­
tent was not confined to Argyle; it
was shared in all its bitterness by the
Earl of Crawford, whose authority in
the same remote districts had been
plucked from his grasp, and placed in
the hands of Maclan.3 Neither was
well, as it appears by the original agree­
ment, was to seek Henry’s assistance, “that,
by his grace, the realme of Skotland sal be
brocht into gud stait agayn, and not the
nobles thereof be kept down as they are in
thralldom, but to be set up as they haif bene
before,” 21st December 1531. Angus bound
himself, as we learn by a copy of the original
writing between him and Henry, Caligula,
b. i. 129, to “mak unto us the othe of allegi-
awnce, and recognise us as supreme Lorde of
Scotland, and as his prince and soveraigne.”
Caligula, b. i. 129. “ The king of Skottis
hath plucked from the Erle of Argile, and

1532-4.]                                            JAMES V.                                                   353

James absolutely secure of the sup­
port of the clergy : they viewed with
jealousy an attempt to raise from their
dioceses a tax of ten thousand crowns,
within the period of a single year;
and so effectually addressed them­
selves to the Pope, that a bull was ob­
tained, which limited the sum, and
extended the period for its contribu­

The mutual hostilities upon the
Borders had now continued with un­
mitigated rancour for more than a
year, each sovereign professing his
anxiety for peace; yet unwilling, when
provoked by aggression, to deny him­
self the triumph of revenge, and the
consolation of plunder. The flames of
towns and villages, the destruction of
the labour of the husbandman, and of
the enterprise and industry of the
merchant; the embittering of the
spirit of national animosity, and the
corruption of the aristocracy of the
country, by the money and intrigues
of England,—all these pernicious con­
sequences were produced by the pro­
traction of the war, which, although
no open declaration had been made by
either monarch, continued to desolate
the country. It was in vain that
Francis the First despatched his am­
bassador to the Scottish court, with
the object of mediating between the
two countries, whose interests were
now connected with his own. James
upbraided him, and not without jus­
tice, with his readiness to forget the
alliance between their two kingdoms,
and to sacrifice the welfare of Scot­
land to the ambition of Henry his
new ally. The negotiation was thus
defeated, but again Francis made the
attempt; Beauvois, a second ambas­
sador, arrived at the Scottish court;
and the monarch relaxed so far in his
opposition, that he consented to a
conference for a truce, which, although
it had been stipulated to commence

from his heires for ever ; the rule of all the
oute Isles, and given the same to Mackayne
and his heires for ever ; and also taken from
the Erle Crawford such lands as he had ther,
and given the same to the said Mackayne :
the whiche hath engendered a grete hatrit in
the said Erle’s harte against the said Skottis


early in June, was protracted by the
mutual disputes and jealousies of the
contracting parties till near the win­

In the meantime the king resolved
to set out on a summer progress
through his dominions, in the course
of which an entertainment was given
to the yet youthful monarch by the
Earl of Athole, which is strikingly
illustrative of the times. This potent
Highland chieftain, who perhaps in­
dulged in the hope of succeeding to a
portion of the power so lately wrested
from Argyle, received his sovereign at
his residence in Athole, with a magni­
ficence which rivalled the creations of
romance. A rural palace, curiously
framed of green timber, was raised in
a meadow, defended at each angle by
a high tower, hung in its various
chambers with tapestry of silk and
gold, lighted by windows of stained
glass, and surrounded by a moat, in
the manner of a feudal fortress. In
this fairy mansion the king was
lodged more sumptuously than in any
of his own palaces: he slept on the
softest down ; listened to the sweetest
music; saw the fountains around him
flowing with muscadel and hippocras;
angled for the most delicate fish which
gleamed in the little streams and lakes
in the meadow, or pursued the pastime
of the chase amid woods and moun­
tains which abounded with every
species of game. The queen-mother
accompanied her son; and an ambas­
sador from the Papal court having ar­
rived shortly before, was invited to
join in the royal progress. The splen­
dour, profusion, and delicacy of this
feudal entertainment, given by those
whom he had been accustomed to
consider barbarians, appeared almost
miraculous, even to the warmth of an
Italian imagination ; and his astonish­
ment was not diminished when Athole,
at the departure of the royal cavalcade,
declared that the palace which had
given delight to his sovereign should
never be profaned by a subject, and
commanded the whole fabric, with its
innumerable luxuries, to be given to
the flames.

Although provoked by the continu-

354                                   HISTORY OF SCOTLAND.                      [Chap. IX.

ance of the Border inroads, which were
carried on with the connivance of the
English monarch, at the moment he
professed an anxiety for peace, James
wisely suppressed his resentment, and
contented himself with a temperate
remonstrance. His situation indeed,
owing to the continued intrigues of
the adherents of the house of Douglas,
and the secret support they received
from England,2 was perilous and har­
assing ; and whatever might be his in­
dividual feelings, it became evident
that peace with that country must be
secured, even at some sacrifice. The
Bishop of Aberdeen and. Sir Adam
Otterburn were accordingly despatched
to the English court with full powers;
and having met with the English com­
missioners, the Secretary Cromwell and
Dr Fox, a pacification was concluded,
which was to last during the lives of
the two monarchs, and to continue for
a year after the death of him who first
deceased. It appears that the Dou­
glases, since their forfeiture, had
gained possession of Edrington castle,
which James, who was jealous of
their retaining even the smallest
property within his dominions, in­
sisted should be restored. On this
condition he agreed that Angus,
Sir George Douglas, his brother, and
Archibald his uncle, might remain un­
molested in England, supported by
Henry as his subjects,—provided, ac­
cording to the Border laws, reparation
was made for any enterprise which
either he or they might conduct
against Scotland. The treaty was
concluded on the 12th of May 1534,
and soon after ratified with circum­
stances of much solemnity and rejoic­
ing by both monarchs.2 The young
king was soon after flattered by the
arrival of Lord William Howard, with
the Order of the Garter from Eng­
land; whilst Francis the First re-

1  In the State-paper Office is a letter from
James to Henry, dated 18th March 1533-4,
in which he complains that, since the depar­
ture of his ambassador towards England, an
incursion had been made by some Borderers
under Sir R. Fenwick into Teviotdale, which
had done more damage than any raid during
the war.

2  Rymer, vol. xiv. pp. 480-537.

quested his acceptance of that of St
Michael; and the Emperor Charles the
Fifth transmitted the Golden Fleece,3
by his ambassador Godeschalco.

James was now in his twenty-second
year, and his marriage was earnestly
desired by his subjects. His fearless­
ness in his constant efforts to suppress
in person the disturbances which agi­
tated his kingdom exposed him to con­
stant danger; he would often, with
no greater force than his own retinue,
attack and apprehend the fiercest ban­
ditti ; riding by night through solitary
and remote parts of his dominions;
invading them in their fastnesses, and
sharing in peril and privations with.
the meanest of his followers. Nor was
he content with this nobler imitation
of his father, but he unhappily in­
herited from him his propensity to
low intrigue, and often exposed his
life to the attacks of the robber or the
assassin in his nocturnal visits to his
mistresses. It was observed that the
Hamiltons, who, next to the Duke of
Albany, (now an elderly man without
children,) had the nearest claim to the
throne, looked upon this courage and
recklessness of the king with a satis­
faction which was scarcely concealed;
and Buchanan has even stated, al­
though upon no certain evidence, that
they had made attempts against his
life. With some probability, there­
fore, of success, the Spanish ambassa­
dor, in the name of his master, pro­
posed a matrimonial alliance with his
niece, the Princess Mary of Portugal;
but the Scottish king evaded the
offer, and dismissed him with general
expressions of esteem. He regretted
at the same time the continued hos­
tility between his uncle and the em­
peror, expressed his sorrow for the vio­
lent measure of his double divorce from
Queen Catherine and the Papal see, and
declared his own determination to sup­
port the religion of his fathers, and to
resist the enemies of the Church.4

3 Diurnal of Occurrents in Scotland, p. 19.
In the State-paper Office is an original letter
from William, bishop of Aberdeen, to Secretary
Cromwell, dated 8th July 1534, promising
that the king his master will soon send his
proxy to be installed Knight of the Garter.

4 Maitland, vol. ii. p. 809.

1534-5.]                                          JAMES V.                                                    355

This resolution he soon after ful­
filled, by encouraging a renewed per­
secution of the Reformers. An eccle­
siastical court was held in the abbey
of Holyrood; Hay, bishop of Ross, pre­
sided as commissioner for the cardinal;
and the king, completely clothed in
scarlet, the judicial costume of the
time, took his seat upon the bench,
and gave unwonted solemnity to the
unholy tribunal. Before it many were
cited to answer for their alleged here­
tical opinions; some recanted and
publicly abjured their errors ; others,
amongst whom were the brother and
sister of Patrick Hamilton, who had
sacrificed his life for his opinions,1 fled
from the country and took refuge in
England; but David Straiton and
Norman Gourlay, a priest, appeared
before the judges and boldly defended
their faith. Straiton was a gentleman
of good family, brother to the Baron
of Laurieston. He had engaged in a
quarrel with the Bishop of Moray on
the subject of his tithes; and in a fit
of indignation had commanded his
servants, when challenged by the col­
lectors, to throw every tenth fish they
caught into the sea, bidding them seek
their tax where he found the stock.
From these violent courses he had
softened down into a more quiet in­
quiry into the grounds of the right
claimed by Churchmen; and frequent­
ing much the company of Erskine of
Dun, one of the earliest and most
eminent of the Reformers, became at
length a sincere convert to their doc­
trines. It is related that listening to
the Scriptures, which was read to him
by the Laird of Laurieston, he came
upon that passage where our Saviour
declares He will deny before His Fa­
ther and the holy angels any one who
hath denied Him before men : upon
which he was deeply moved, and fall­
ing down on his knees, implored God
that, although he had been a great
sinner, He would never permit him,
from the fear of any bodily torment,
to deny Him or His truth.2 And the
trial soon came, and was most cou­
rageously encountered. Death, in one

1 Supra, p. 342.

2 MS. Calderwood. quoted in Pitcairn’s Cri-

of its most terrible forms, was before
him; he was earnestly exhorted to
escape by abjuring his belief; but he
steadily refused to purchase his par­
don by retracting a single tenet, and
encouraged his fellow-sufferer Gour-
lay in the same resolution. Both
were burnt on the 27th of August
1534.3 It was during this persecu­
tion that some men, who afterwards
became active instruments in the Re­
formation, but whose minds were then
in a state of inquiry and transition,
consulted their safety by flight. Of
these the most noted were, Alexander
Aless, a canon of St Andrews, who
became the friend of Melancthon and
Cranmer, and professor of divinity in
the university of Leipsic; and John
Macbee, better known by his classical
surname Machabæus, the favourite of
Christiern, king of Denmark, and one
of the translators of the Danish Bible.4
It was now one great object of
Henry to induce his nephew to imi­
tate his example by shaking off the
yoke of Rome. To this end he
made an earnest proposal for a
marriage between James and his
daughter the princess Mary; he de­
spatched successively, Dr Barlow, his
chaplain, and Lord William Howard
into Scotland, with the suggestion
that a conference should take place
at York between himself and the
Scottish king;5 and he endeavoured
to open James’s eyes to the crimes
and usurpations of the hierarchy of
the Church of Rome. But it was the
frequent fault of the English mon­
arch that he defeated many a wise

minal Trials, vol. i. p. 210*, 211*. Spottis-
wood’s Church History, p. 66.

3  The place of execution was the Rood or
Cross of Grreenside, on the Calton Hill, Edin­

4  Gerdes’ Hist. Evangelii Renovati, vol. iii,
p. 417. M’Crie’s Appendix to Life of Knox,
vol. i. p. 357. Macbee’s true name, as shewn
by Dr M ’Crie, on the authority of Gerdes and
Vinding, was MAlpine, a singular transfor­

5 It appears, from a copy of Henry’s in­
structions to Lord William Howard, pre­
served in the State-paper Office, he not only
proposes a conference at York, but suggests
that James should afterwards accompany him
to Calais, where they would meet the French

356                                     HISTORY OF SCOTLAND.                     [Chap. IX.

purpose by the impetuosity with
which he attempted to carry it for­
ward ; and, in this instance, the keen­
ness of Barlow and the haughtiness of
Howard were ill calculated to manage
so delicate a negotiation. James, acting
by the advice of his privy-council, who
were mostly ecclesiastics, and are de­
scribed by Barlow as “ the Pope’s pes­
tilent creatures, and very limbs of the
devil,” refused to accept the treatise
entitled “ The Doctrine of a Christian
Man,” which had been sent him by
his uncle. The conference, to which,
through the influence of the queen-
dowager, the king had at first consent­
ed, was indefinitely postponed;1 and
the feelings of the sovereign and his
counsellors regarding the marriage
with an English princess, were soon
plainly expressed by the despatch of
an embassy to France for the purpose
of concluding a matrimonial alliance
with that crown.

The death of Clement the Seventh,
which took place in the autumn of this
year, was followed, as is well known, by
the most decided measures upon the
part of Henry the Eighth. The con­
firmation of his supremacy as head of
the Church by the English parliament,
the declared legality of the divorce,
and the legitimacy of the children of
Anne Boleyn, with the cruel impri­
sonment and subsequent execution of
Fisher and More, convinced the new
pontiff, Paul the Third, that he had for
ever lost the English monarch. It only
remained for him to adopt every me­
thod for the preservation of the spiritual
allegiance of his remaining children.
Amongst other missions he despatched
his legate, Antonio Campeggio, into
Scotland, with instructions to use
every effort for the confirmation of
James in his attachment to the pope-
dom, whilst he trusted that the mar­
riage of the second son of Francis
the First to the Pope’s niece, Catherine
de Medici, would have the effect of en­
listing the whole interest of this mon­
arch against the dissemination of the
Lutheran opinions in his dominions.

1 MS. Letter in State-paper Office. Queen
Margaret to Henry the Eighth, dated 12th
December 1535.

To James, Campeggio addressed au ex­
position of the scandalous conduct of
the English king in making his reli­
gious scruples, and his separation from
the Church of Rome, a cloak for the
gratification of his lust and ambition;
he drew a flattering contrast between
the tyranny and hypocrisy which had
guided his conduct, and the attach­
ment of his youthful nephew of Scot­
land to the Holy See, addressing him
by that title of Defender of the Faith,2
which had been unworthily bestowed
upon its worst enemy; and he laid at
his feet a cap and sword which had
been consecrated by the Pope upon
the anniversary of the Nativity. We
are to measure the effects of such
gifts by the feelings of the times, and
there can be little doubt that their in­
fluence was considerable ; but a per­
mission from his holiness to levy
an additional contribution upon his
clergy, was, in the present distressed
state of the royal finances, not the
least efficacious of his arguments.

In the meantime the Scottish am­
bassadors in France had concluded a
marriage between their sovereign and
Marie de Bourbon, daughter of the
Duke of Vendosme; whilst Henry,
jealous of the late Papal embassy, and
aware that such a union must confirm
the attachment of his nephew to the
Roman see, encouraged the discon­
tents amongst the Scottish nobility,
promoted the intrigues of the Dou­
glases for their restoration to their
native country, and even succeeded in
corrupting the fidelity of James’s am­
bassador, Sir Adam Otterburn, who
was afterwards imprisoned for a secret
negotiation, with the partisans of

A parliament was held this summer,
(June 8, 1535,) in which, amid much
that is uninteresting to the historian,

2 It appears, by a letter in the State-paper
Office, that Henry remonstrated against this
title being given to James.

3 In the State-paper Office is a letter from
Otterburn to Cromwell, dated 18th of October,
(probably of the year 1535,) in which he re­
grets that he wa3 not able, from illness, to
pay more attention to the English ambassa­
dors ; and states, that although they could
not agree touching the authority of the Pope,
he would use every effort to preserve the amity

1535-7.]                                 JAMES V.                                        357

there are found some provisions worthy
of attention. It was made imperative
on the Border barons and gentlemen
to restore something like security
to their disturbed districts, by re­
building the towers and “ peels” which
had been razed during the late wars;
“ weapon-schawings,” or armed mus­
ters, were enforced; and the importation
of arms, harness, and warlike ammuni­
tion was encouraged. The act passed
in a late parliament against the im­
portation of the works of “ the great
heretic, Luther,” with his disciples or
followers, was repeated; and the dis­
cussion of his opinions, except with
the object of proving their falsehood,
was sternly prohibited, whilst all per­
sons having any such works in their
possession were commanded to deliver
them up to their Ordinary within
forty days, under the penalty of con­
fiscation and imprisonment. It is evi­
dent that the late cruel exhibitions
had only fostered the principles which
they were meant to eradicate. One
other act relating to the burghs, in
that dark age the little nurseries of
industry and freedom, is striking, and
must have had important consequences.
It appears that a practice had crept in
of electing the feudal barons in the
neighbourhood to the offices in the
magistracy of the burgh ; and the
effects, as might have been anticipat­
ed, were highly injurious. Instead of
industrious citizens occupied in their
respective trades, and adding by their
success to the wealth, the tranquillity,
and the general civilisation of the
country, the provost and aldermen or
bailies were idle, factious, and tyran­
nical; domineering over the indus­
trious burgesses, and consuming their
substance. To remedy this, it was
provided that no man hereafter should
be chosen to fill any office in the ma­
gistracy of the burgh, but such as
were themselves honest and substan­
tial burgesses,—a wise enactment,
which, if carried strictly into execu-
between the two kingdoms. The practices of
Otterburn, and his secret correspondence with
the English, had been of long duration. He
seems to have been one of those busy intri­
guers who, in the minority of James, made a
gain of giving secret information to England.

tion, must have been attended with
the best effects.1

The continued war between Francis
and the emperor made it expedient
for the former monarch to keep on
good terms with Henry; and so effec­
tually was the English interest exerted,
both at the court of France and of
Scotland, in creating obstacles to the
king’s marriage, that James secretly
determined to leave his dominions in
disguise, and overrule every objection
in a personal interview with his in­
tended father-in-law,—a romantic and
somewhat imprudent resolution, in
which, however, it is not improbable
that he may have been encouraged
by some of his confidential advisers
amongst the clergy. The vessel in
which he embarked with his slender
retinue encountered a severe gale; and
the monarch, who had fallen asleep
from fatigue, found himself on awaken­
ing once more close to the coasts of
Scotland,—a result which some of our
historians have ascribed to the jealousy
of his companion, Sir James Hamilton,
who, during the slumber of his master,
seized the helm, and put about the
ship. It is well known that the
Hamiltons, from their hopes of suc­
cession to the crown, were opposed to
the marriage; yet it may be ques­
tioned whether they would thus
publicly expose their ambition.

But the king was not to be so easily
deterred from his design; and his pro­
ject of a voyage in disguise having
failed, he determined to execute his
purpose with suitable deliberation and
magnificence. A regency was appointed,
which consisted of Beaton, the arch­
bishop of St Andrews; Dunbar, arch­
bishop of Glasgow, the chancellor; the
Earls of Eglinton, Montrose, and
Huntly, with the Lord Maxwell; and
the king, having first paid his devo­
tions at the shrine dedicated to our
Lady of Loretto near Musselburgh,
and offered his prayers for a happy
voyage, sailed from Leith with a
squadron of seven vessels, accompanied
by a splendid suite of his spiritual and
temporal nobility. A fair wind brought

1 Acts of the Parliament of Scotland, vol.
ii. p. 349.

358                                   HISTORY OF SCOTLAND.                       [Chap. IX.

them on the 10th day to Dieppe ; and
Francis, whose hopes were at this mo­
ment highly elated by his successes
against the emperor, immediately in­
vited the royal visitor to Paris, and
despatched the dauphin to conduct
him thither. James’s first desire,
however, was to see his affianced bride;
and, repairing in disguise to the palace
of the Duke de Vendosme, he was re­
cognised as he mingled with the gay
crowds that peopled its halls, by his
likeness to a miniature portrait which
he had sent her from Scotland. Marie
de Bourbon is said to have been deeply
captivated by the noble mien and gal­
lant accomplishments of her intended
husband; but the impression was not
mutual: and whether from the ambi­
tion of a higher alliance, or the fickle­
ness of youthful affection, James trans­
ferred his love from the Lady of Ven-
dosme to the princess Magdalen, the
only daughter of Francis, a beautiful
girl of sixteen, but over whose features
consumption had already thrown a
melancholy languor, which was in vain
pointed out to the king by the warn­
ing voice of his counsellors. It is said
by the French historians that the prin­
cess had fallen in love with the Scot­
tish monarch at first sight; and, al­
though her father earnestly and affec­
tionately dissuaded the match, on
account of her extreme delicacy of
constitution, James would hear of no
delay, and on new-year’s day the mar­
riage was celebrated with much pomp
in the church of Notre Dame. The
Kings of France and Navarre, and
many illustrious foreigners, surrounded
the altar; and Rome, as if to confirm
and flatter its youthful champion, lent
a peculiar solemnity to the ceremony
by the presence of seven cardinals.
Feasts, masks, tournaments, and all
the accompaniments of feudal joy and
magnificence succeeded; nor was it till
the spring that the king thought of
his departure with his youthful queen.
An application had been made by
Francis to Henry that the royal couple
should be allowed to pass through
England, but it was refused. The
secret reasons of this ungracious pro­
ceeding, which appear in a minute of

the privy-council, were the discontent
felt by the English monarch at the
refusal of his request for the par­
don of Angus, and a desire to avoid
the expense of receiving his royal
nephew with the honours due to
his rank. Compelled to return by
sea, James embarked at Dieppe, and
arrived with his youthful bride at
Leith on the 19th of May. On de­
scending from the ship, Magdalen
knelt upon the beach, and, taking up
some portion of the sand, kissed it
with deep emotion, whilst she im­
plored a blessing upon her new coun­
try and her beloved husband,—an
affecting incident, when viewed in
connexion with her rapid and early
fate. Meanwhile nothing could exceed
the joy of the people at the return of
their prince; and the graceful and
elegant festivals of France were suc­
ceeded by the ruder, but not less cor­
dial, pageants of his own kingdom.

James had remained in Paris for
nearly nine months, an interval of
no little importance when we consi­
der the great changes which were
so suddenly to succeed his arrival
in his dominions. The causes of
these events, which have hitherto
escaped the notice of our historians,
are well worthy of investigation. Of
these the first seems to be the remark­
able influence which Francis acquired
over the mind of his son-in-law,—an
influence which, notwithstanding the
peace then nominally existing between
Henry and the French monarch, was
unquestionably employed in exciting
him against England. The progress
of the reformed opinions in France,
the violence and selfishness of Henry,
and the dictatorial tone which he was
accustomed to infuse into his negotia­
tions, although for the time it did not
produce an actual breach between the
two monarchs, could not fail to alien­
ate so high-minded a prince as Francis.
The Pope, whose existence seemed to
hang on the result, intermitted no
effort to terminate the disputes be­
tween the French king and the em­
peror, projecting a coalition against
Henry as the common enemy of Chris­
tendom. He had so far succeeded in

1537-8.]                                             JAMES V.                                                  359

1537, as to accomplish a truce con­
cluded at Nice between these two great
potentates, which was extended in the
following year to a pacification of ten
years. From this time the cordiality
between Francis and Henry was com­
pletely at an end, whilst the Pope did
not despair to bring about a combina­
tion which should make the royal in­
novator tremble for his boasted supre­
macy, and even for his throne. It was
with this object that James was flat­
tered by every argument which could
have weight in a young and ardent mind,
to induce him to unite himself cordially
in the league. On the other hand, the
conduct of Henry during the absence
of the Scottish king was little calcu­
lated to ally the feelings of irritation
and resentment which already existed
between them. Sir Ralph Sadler, a
minister of great ability, had been sent
into Scotland to complete the system
of secret influence and intelligence in­
troduced and long acted on by Lord
Dacre. He was instructed to gain an
influence over the nobility, to attach
to his interest the queen-mother, and
to sound the inclinations of the people
on the subject of peace or war—an
adoption of the reformed opinions, or
a maintenance of the ancient religion.
The Douglases were still maintained
with high favour and generous allow­
ances in England; their power, al­
though nominally extinct, was still
far from being destroyed; their spies
penetrated into every quarter, followed
the king to France, and gave informa­
tion of his most private motions ;1 their
feudal covenants and bands of manrent
still existed and bound many of the
most potent nobility to their interest,
whilst the vigour of the king’s govern­
ment, and his preference of the clergy
to the temporal lords, disgusted these
proud chiefs, and disposed them to hope
for a recovery of their influence from
any change which might take place.

All these circumstances were well
known to the Scottish king, and a
more prospective policy might perhaps
have dictated a reconciliation with the
Douglases as the likeliest means of ac-

1 Letter of Penman to Sir G. Douglas. Cali­
gula, b. iii. 293. Paris, 29th October 1536.

complishing his great design for the
maintenance of the Catholic religion
and the humbling the power of Eng­
land ; but the tyranny of this haughty
house, and the injuries which they had
accumulated upon him, were yet fresh
in his memory. He had determined
that, so long as he lived, no Douglas
should ever return to Scotland: he
underrated, probably, the power pos­
sessed by a feudal nobility, and, being
naturally endowed with uncommon
vigour and resolution of mind, deter­
mined to attempt the execution of his
plans, not only without their support,
but in the face of their utmost endea­
vours against him. We may thus dis­
cern the state of parties at the return
of James to his dominions. On the
one hand is seen Henry the Eighth,
the great foe to the supremacy of the
see of Rome, supported in Scotland,
not only by the still formidable power
and unceasing intrigues of the Doug­
lases, but by a large proportion of the
nobles, and the talents of his sister,
the queen-mother. On the other hand
we perceive the King of Scotland,
backed by the united talent, zeal, and
wealth of the Catholic clergy, the
loyalty of some of the most potent
peers, the cordial co-operation of
France, the approval of the emperor,
the affection of the great body of his
people, upon whom the doctrines of
Luther had not as yet made any very
general impression, and the cordial
support of the Papal see. The pro­
gress of events will strongly develop
the operation and collision of these
various parties and interests. We shall
be enabled to observe the slow but
uninterrupted progress towards the
reception of the great principles of the
Reformation, and, amid much indivi­
dual error and suffering, to mark the
sublime manner in which the wrath
and the sin of man are compelled to
work out the predetermined purposes
of a most wise and holy God.

To resume the current of events :
the monarch had scarcely settled in
his dominions, and entered upon the
administration of the government,
when his youthful and beautiful queen
sunk under the disease which had so

360                                   HISTORY OF SCOTLAND].                        [Chap. IX.

strongly indicated itself before her
marriage; and, to the deep sorrow of
her husband and the whole nation, ex­
pired on the 7th of July. The mind
of the sovereign, although clouded for
a season by the calamity, soon shook
off the enervating influence of grief,
and James demonstrated the firmness
of purpose with which he had adopted
his plans, in the decided step which
he took within a few months after this
sad event. David Beaton, bishop of
Mirepoix, and afterwards the celebrated
cardinal, was sent on a matrimonial
embassy to France, accompanied by
Lord Maxwell and the Master of Glen-
cairn, where, with the least possible de­
lay, he concluded the espousals between
Mary of Guise, the widow of the Duke
of Longueville, and his royal master.
Nor was the full year of grief allowed
to elapse before the princess arrived,
and the king celebrated his second
marriage in the cathedral church at
St Andrews.1 The ties which attached
him to France were thus doubly
strengthened, and the consequences of
this union with the house of Guise
may be long detected in those clouds
of dark and complicated misfortune
which were now slowly gathering
around the country.

In the interval between the death
of Magdalen and the union with Mary
of Guise, the life of the monarch had
been twice menaced by secret con­
spiracy ; and there seems to be little
doubt, that both plots are to be traced
to the widely-spreading intrigues of
the house of Douglas; nay, there is a
strong presumption that they were
directly connected with each other.
The first plot, and that which seems
to have attracted least notice, was
headed by the Master of Forbes, a
fierce and turbulent chief, distinguish­
ed, under the government of Albany,

1 Henry the Eighth, as it appears by the
Ambassade de M. Chatillon, Lettres Dec. 10
and 11, had become, by the report of Mr
Wallop, one of his agents, enamoured of the
same lady, chiefly on account of her large and
comely size. He demanded her of Francis,
and took the refusal violently amiss, although
it was stated to him that the contract of mar­
riage between this princess and James the
Fifth had been solemnly concluded. Carte’s
History, vol. iii. p. 152.

for his murder of Seton of Meldrum,
and his subserviency to the schemes
of England. This person was tried,
condemned, and executed on the same
day; but unfortunately, in the ab­
sence of all authentic records, it is
difficult to detect the particulars of
the conspiracy. Having married a
sister of the Earl of Angus, he was
naturally a partisan of the Douglases;
and, upon their fall from power, and
subsequent banishment from Scotland,
he appears to have vigorously exerted
himself in those scenes of private co­
alition and open violence by which
their friends attempted to promote
their interests and accelerate their re­
turn. For the same reason he had
been a decided enemy of Albany dur­
ing his government, and the refusal of
the Scottish lords encamped at Wark
to lead their vassals against England,
was mainly ascribed to his conduct
and counsel,—a proceeding which was,
in the eye of law, an act of treason, as
Albany was then regent by the ap­
pointment of the three estates. There
is no evidence that any notice was
taken of this at the time, but as early
as the king’s journey to France, in
June 1536, Forbes had been accused
by Huntly of a design to shoot the
king as he passed through his burgh
of Aberdeen, and of conspiring the de­
struction of a part of the army of
Scotland,—charges upon which both
himself and his father, Lord Forbes,
were then imprisoned ; nor did the
trial take place till upwards of four­
teen months after. The meagre de­
tails of our early criminal records, un­
fortunately, do not permit us to ascer­
tain the nature of the proofs against
him. He was found guilty by a jury,
against whom Calderwood has brought
an unsupported assertion that they were
corrupted by Huntly,2 but, as far as can
be discovered, the accusation seems un­
just: no bias or partiality can be traced
to any of the jurymen; no previous
animosity can be established against
Huntly, but rather the contrary;3 and the

2 Calderwood Hist. MS. quoted in Pitcairn’s
Criminal Trials, p. 183.

3  Pitcairn’s Collection of Criminal Trials,
pp. 183-187 inclusive.

1538-9.]                                 JAMES V.                                        361

leniency of James, in the speedy libe­
ration of Lord Forbes, in admitting the
brother of the criminal to an office in
his household, and abstaining from the
forfeiture of his estates, prove the ab­
sence of everything like vindictive
feeling. All men rejoiced at the ac­
quittal of the father, and some doubt­
ed whether the crime for which he
suffered was brought home to the son,
but none lamented the fate of one al­
ready stained by murder and spoliation
of a very atrocious description.1 Over
the story of assassinating the king
the obscurity is so deep, that all efforts
to reach its truth, or even its circum-
stances, are baffled; but of the refusal
to invade England, and the endeavour
to compass the destruction and dis­
honour of the Scottish army, there can
be little doubt that Forbes was guilty
in common with many other peers.
Nor is it to be forgotten that Albany,
on his return from this unfortunate
expedition, accused the Scottish nobles
not only of retiring in the face of the
enemy, but of entertaining a secret
design of delivering him to the Eng­
lish.2 It is not improbable that the
secret reason for the long delay of the
trial is to be found in the anxiety of
the king to obtain from Albany, who
was then in France, decisive evidence
against the criminal.

The other conspiracy, of which the
guilt was more certain, and in its
character more dreadful, excited a
deeper interest and sympathy, from
the sex and beauty of the accused.
Janet Douglas, the sister of the ban­
ished Angus, had married Lord Glam-
mis, and, after his death, took to her
second husband a gentleman named
Campbell of Skipnish. Her son, Lord
Glammis, was in his sixteenth year,
and she, a youthful matron, in the ma­
turity of her beauty, had mingled little
with the court since the calamity of

1  Pitcairn’s Criminal Trials, vol. i. pp. 183,
187. See letter Z, in Notes and Illustrations,
on the trial of Lady Glammis.

2  Caligula, b. i. 281. Letter of Queen Mar­
garet to Surrey, “ Bot he thynketh na schame
of it, for he makyth hys excuse that the lords
wold not pass in Ingland with hym ; also that
my lord of Aren, and my lord of Lenos, wyth
other lordys, he sayth, that they wold haf seld
hym in Ingland.”

her house. A week had scarcely
passed since James had paid the last
rites to his beloved queen, and the
mind of the monarch was still ab­
sorbed in the bitterness of recent grief,
when, to the astonishment of all men,
this noble matron, only two days after
the execution of the Master of Forbes,
was publicly arraigned of conspiring
the king’s death by poison, pronounced
guilty, and condemned to be burned.3
She suffered her dreadful fate with
the hereditary courage of her house;
and the sympathy of the people, ever
readily awakened, and unenlightened
by any knowledge of the evidence
brought against her, too hastily pro­
nounced her innocent, ascribing her
condemnation to James’s inveterate
hostility to the Douglases. Her son,
Lord Glammis, a youth in his six­
teenth year, was convicted, upon his
own confession, that he knew and had
concealed the conspiracy; but the
monarch commiserated his youth, and
the sentence of death was changed in­
to imprisonment; Archibald Campbell
of Skipnish, her husband, having been
shut up in the castle of Edinburgh, in
attempting to escape, perished miser­
ably by being dashed to pieces on the
rocks ; John Lyon, an accomplice, was
tried and hanged; whilst Makke, by
whom the poison had been prepared,
and from whom it was purchased,
escaped with the loss of his ears and
banishment.4 It must be confessed
that the circumstances of this remark­
able tragedy are involved in much ob­
scurity; but an examination of the

3 The Master of Forbes was tried, con­
demned, and executed on the 14th of July ;
Lady Glammis was tried, condemned, and
executed on the 17th of the same month.—
Pitcairn’s Criminal Trials, vol. i. pp. 184. 190.
Lord Glammis was tried and found guilty on
the 10th July. His confession was probably
employed as evidence against his mother.

4 Pitcairn’s Criminal Trials, vol. i. pp. 199,
202, 203, John Lyon was found guilty, at
the same time, of an attempt to poison the
Earl of Rothes ; the families of Rothes and
Glammis were connected. The mother ot
John, sixth Lord Glammis, (Lady Glammis’s
husband,) was Elizabeth Grey. On the death
of her first husband, John, fourth Lord Glam-
mis, she married Alexander, third Earl of
Huntly; and on his death she married
George, earl of Rothes. Douglas, vol. ii. pp.
429, 563. Vol. i. pp. 646, 668.

362                                  HISTORY OF SCOTLAND.                     [Chap. IX.

evidence which has been lately pub­
lished, leaves upon the mind little
doubt of her guilt.1

Although James supported his clergy
in their persecution of the Protestant
doctrines, which were now rapidly
gaining ground in the country, it was
not so much with the zeal of a bigot
as with the views of a politician. That
he was not indisposed to a moderate
reformation of the abuses in the Catho­
lic Church is evident from the liber­
ality with which he permitted the
exhibition of the dramatic satire of
Lindsay, and the severity of his cen­
sures upon the excesses of some of the
prelates; but his determination to
humble the power of the nobles, to
destroy the secret influence of Eng­
land, and to reign a free monarch
over an independent kingdom, was, he
thought, to be best accomplished by
the assistance of the great body of the
clergy, whose talents, wealth, and in­
fluence formed the only effectual coun­
terpoise to the weight of the temporal
peers. The impetuosity of the cha­
racter of Henry, and the haughtiness
with which he dictated his commands,
alienated from him the mind of his
nephew, and disposed him to listen
with greater favour to the proposals of
Francis and the wishes of the house
of Guise. The state of England also
encouraged him to hope that the king
would be soon too much engrossed
with his domestic affairs to find leisure
for a continuance of his intrigues with
Scotland. The discontents amongst
his Catholic subjects had become so
deep and general that within no very
long period three insurrections had
broken out in different parts of the
country; various prophecies, songs,
and libellous rhymes, which spoke
openly of the accession of the Scottish
monarch to the English throne, began
to be circulated amongst the people ;

1 See in the Illustrations, a note on the
conspiracy of the Lady Glammis, letter Z.
That this unfortunate lady, by her secret
practices with the Earl of Angus and the
Douglases, had brought herself within the
statute which made such intercourse trea­
son, is certain ; but her participation in any
conspiracy against the king has been much
questioned, as it appears to me, on insuffi­
cient grounds.

and numerous parties of disaffected
Catholics, intimidated by the violence
of Henry, took refuge in the sister
kingdom. James, indeed, in his inter­
course with the English council, not
only professed his contempt for such
“fantastic prophecies,” but ordered
that all who possessed copies of them
should instantly, under the penalty of
death and confiscation, commit them
to the flames;2 yet, so far as they in­
dicated the unpopularity of the king,
it may be conjectured that he re­
garded them with satisfaction. An­
other event which happened about this
time was attended with important con­
sequences. James Beaton, archbishop
of St Andrews, who had long exercised
a commanding influence over the affairs
of the kingdom, died in the autumn
of the year 1539, and was succeeded in
the primacy by his nephew, Cardinal
Beaton, a man far superior in talent,
and still more devotedly attached to
the interests of the Church from which
he derived his exaltation. It was
Beaton who had negotiated the second
marriage of the king with Mary of
Guise ; and such was the high opinion
which his royal master entertained of
his abilities in the management of state
affairs, that he appears soon to have
selected him as his principal adviser
in the accomplishment of those great
schemes which now occupied his mind.
Beaton’s accession to the supreme
ecclesiastical authority was marked by
a renewed persecution of the Reformers.
It was a remarkable circumstance that
however corrupt may have been the
higher orders of the Roman Catholic
Church at this period in Scotland, the
great majority of converts to the prin­
ciples of the Reformation were to be
found amongst the orders of the in­
ferior clergy. This was shewn in the
present persecution. Keillor, a black
friar; Dean Thomas Forret, vicar of
Dollar, and a canon regular of the
monastery of St Colm’s Inch ; Simp-

2 Caligula, b. i. 295. James in an original
letter to the Bishop of Landeth, (Landaff,)
dated 5th of February, in the 86th year of his
reign, informs him that he suspects such
ballads are the composition either of Henry’s
own subjects, or of Scottish rebels residing
in England.

1539.]                                               JAMES V.                                                   363

son, a priest; John Beveridge, also
black friar; and Forrester, a notary in
Stirling, were summoned to appear be­
fore a council held by Cardinal Beaton
and William Chisholme, the bishop of
Dunblane. It gives us a low opinion
of the purity of the ecclesiastical judges
before whom these early disciples of
the Reformation were called when we
find the bench filled by Beaton and
Chisholme—the first notorious for his
gallantry and licentiousness, the second
commemorated by Keith as the father
of three natural children, for whom he
provided portions by alienating the
patrimony of his bishopric.1

Friar Keillor had roused the indig­
nation of the Church by the composi­
tion of one of those plays, or dramatic
“ mysteries,” common in these times,
in which, under the character of the
chief priests and Pharisees who con­
demned our Saviour, he had satirised
the prelates who persecuted his true
disciples. Against Forret, who owed
his conversion to the perusal of a
volume of St Augustine, a more singu­
lar charge was preferred, if we may
believe the ecclesiastical historian.
He was accused of preaching to his
parishioners, a duty then invariably
abandoned to the orders of friars, and
of exposing the mysteries of Scripture
to the vulgar in their own tongue. It
was on this occasion that Crichton,
bishop of Dunkeld, a prelate more cele­
brated for his generous style of living
and magnificent hospitality than for
any learned or theological endowments,
undertook to remonstrate with the
vicar, observing, with much simplicity,
that it was too much to preach every
Sunday, as it might lead the people
to think that the prelates ought to
preach also: “Nevertheless,” continued
he, “ when thou findest any good epistle
or gospel which sets forth the liberty
of the Holy Church, thou mayst read
it to thy flock.” The vicar replied to
this, that he had carefully read through
both the Old and New Testament, and
in its whole compass had not found
one evil epistle or gospel, but if his
lordship would point them out, he
would be sedulous in avoiding them.
Keith’s Catalogue, p. 105.

“ Nay, brother Thomas, my joy, that

I  cannot do,” said the bishop, smiling,

for I am contented with my breviary
and pontifical, and know neither the
Old or New Testament, and yet thou
seest I have come on indifferently well;
but take my advice, leave these fancies,
else thou mayst repent when it is too
late.”2 It was likewise objected to
Forret, upon his trial, that he had
taught his parishioners the Lord’s
Prayer, the Ten Commandments, and
the Creed, in the vulgar tongue; that
he had questioned the right of taking
tithes, and had restored them to the
poorer members of his flock. His
defence, which he grounded on Scrip­
ture, was received with insult; his Bible
plucked from his hand by Lauder, who
denounced as heretical the conclusions
he had drawn from it, and himself and
his companions condemned to the
stake. The sentence was executed on
the Castlehill of Edinburgh, on the
31st February 1538-9.3 But such
cruel exhibitions were not confined to
the capital. In the same year, Ken­
nedy, a youth of eighteen years of age,
and Russel, a gray friar, were found
guilty of heresy, and burnt at Glasgow;
Archbishop Dunbar having, it is said,
in vain interceded with the cardinal
to spare their lives. Kennedy is de­
scribed by Knox as one who possessed
a fine genius for Scottish poetry; and
it is not improbable he may, like
Lindsay and Dunbar, have distin­
guished himself by some of those
satirical effusions against the higher
clergy, which, it is well known, were
not the least efficient weapons in pre­
paring the way for the Reformation.
But the prospect of so cruel a death
shook his resolution, and it was ex­
pected he was about to recant, when
the exhortations of Russel, a meek but
courageous partisan of the new doc­
trines, produced a sudden change.
Falling on his knees, he blessed the
goodness and mercy of God, which had
saved him from impending destruction,
and breaking out into an ecstacy of
triumph, declared he now coveted
death, and would readily endure the

2  MS. Calderwood, Pitcairn, vol i. p. 212*.

3  Diurnal of Occurrents in Scotland, p. 23.

364                                    HISTORY OF SCOTLAND.                      [Chap. IX.

utmost tortures they could inflict.
“ Now,” said Russel, fixing his eyes on
the prelates who presided—“ Now is
your hour, and the power of darkness;
ye now sit in judgment, whilst we
stand before you falsely accused and
most wrongfully condemned. But the
day is coming when we shall have our
innocence declared, and ye shall dis­
cover your blindness—meanwhile pro­
ceed, and fill up the measure of your
iniquities.” 1

The effect of these inhuman execu­
tions was highly favourable to the
principles of the Reformation, a cir­
cumstance to which the eyes of the
clergy, and of the monarch who lent
them his sanction, were completely
blinded; and it is extraordinary they
should not have perceived that they
operated against them in another way
by compelling many of the persecuted
families to embrace the interests of
the Douglases.

The continued and mutual inroads
upon the Borders now called loudly
for redress; and Henry, having de­
spatched the Duke of Norfolk, his
lieutenant in the north, to punish the
malefactors, the Scottish king, in a
letter addressed to that nobleman, not
only expressed his satisfaction with
this appointment, but his readiness to
deliver into his hands all English sub­
jects who had fled into Scotland.2 The
presence of the English earl in the dis­
turbed districts was soon after followed
by the mission of Sir Ralph Sadler to
the Scottish court, an event accelerated
by the intelligence which Henry had re­
ceived of the coalition between Francis
the First and the emperor, and by his
anxiety to prevent his nephew from
joining the confederacy against him.
Of Sadler’s reception and negotiation
we fortunately possess an authentic
account, and it throws a clear light
upon the state of parties in Scotland.
His instructions directed him to dis­
cover, if possible, James’s real inten­
tions with regard to the league by the
emperor and Francis against England;
to ascertain in what manner the mon-

1 MS. Calderwood, Pitcairn’s Criminal
Trials, vol. i. p. 216.
Original letter in the State-paper Office.

arch was affected towards the reformed
opinions, and by an exposure of the
tyranny of the Papal power, the scan­
dalous lives of the majority of the
clergy, and the enormous wealth which
had been engrossed by the Church, to
awaken the royal mind to the necessity
and the advantage of a suppression of
the monasteries, and a rupture with
the supreme pontiff. To accomplish
this more effectually, the ambassador
carried with him certain letters of Car­
dinal Beaton, addressed to Rome,
which had accidentally fallen into
Henry’s hands, and the contents of
which it was expected would awaken
the jealousy of his master, and lead to
the disgrace of the cardinal; whilst
Sadler was to renew the proposal for
a personal conference between the two
princes, and to hold out to his ambi­
tion the hope of his succession to the
crown of England, in the event of the
death of Henry’s infant and only son,
Prince Edward.3

On his arrival in Scotland the am­
bassador was welcomed with cordial­
ity, and although he failed in the main
purpose of his mission, his reception
indicated a desire upon the part of
James to preserve the most amicable
relations with England. This prince
declared, and apparently with sincer­
ity, that if Henry’s conduct corre­
sponded to his professions, nothing
should induce him to join in any
hostile coalition with Charles or Fran­
cis, but he steadily refused to imitate
his example in throwing off his allegi­
ance to the head of the Church, dis­
solving the monasteries, or abjuring the
religion of his fathers. As to the letters
of the cardinal, the king remarked
that he had already seen them; and
he smiled with polite contempt when
Sadler attributed to Beaton a scheme
for the usurping the government of his
realm, and placing it in the hands of
the Pope. He admitted, at the same
time, the profligacy of some of his
clergy, and declared with an oath that

3 It gives us a mean opinion of the wisdom
of the English monarch, to find Sadler in­
structed to remonstrate with James upon his
unkingly mode of increasing his revenue, by
his keeping vast flocks of sheep, and busying
himself in other agricultural pursuits.

1539-40.]                                          JAMES V.                                                   365

he would compel them to lead a life
more suitable to their profession; but
he pronounced a merited eulogium on
their superior knowledge and talents,
their loyalty to the government, and
their readiness to assist him in his
difficulties. When pressed upon the
point of a conference, he dexterously
waved the subject, and, without giving
a refusal, declared his wish that his
ally the King of France should be pre­
sent on the occasion,—a condition upon
which Sadler had received no instruc­
tions. On the whole, the conference
between James and the ambassador
placed in a favourable light the pru­
dence and good sense of the Scottish
monarch, under circumstances which
required the exertion of these qualities
in no common degree.1

He now meditated an important en­
terprise, and only awaited the confine­
ment of the queen to carry it into
effect.2 The remoter portions of his
kingdom, the northern counties, and
the Western and Orkney Islands, had,
as we have already seen, been griev­
ously neglected during his minority;
they had been torn by the contentions
of hostile clans; and their condition,
owing to the incursions of the petty
chiefs and pirate adventurers who in­
fested these seas, was deplorable. This
the monarch now resolved to redress,
by a voyage conducted in person, and
fitted out upon a scale which had not
before been attempted by any of his
predecessors. A fleet of twelve ships
was assembled, amply furnished with
artillery, provided for a lengthened
voyage, and commanded by the most
skilful mariners in his dominions. Of
these, six ships were appropriated to
the king, three were victuallers, and
the remaining three carried separately
the cardinal, the Earl of Huntly, and
the Earl of Arran.3 Beaton conducted

1 Sadler’s State-papers, vol. i. pp. 29, 30.

2 Caligula, b. iii. 219. “Albeit it is said
the kynge of Scottis causes the schippys to be
furnysched and in a redines, and alter the
queene be delivered he will go hymself.” J.
Thompson to Sir Thomas Wharton, Carlisle,
May 4, 1540.

3 “ Ther be preparyt in all twelf shyppys,
whereof thre as is aforesaid for the cardinall
and the two erlys, and thre other shypis for
vytalis only, and six for the kyng and hys

a force of five hundred men from Fife
and Angus; Huntly and Arran brought
with them a thousand, and this little
army was strengthened by the royal
suite, and many barons and gentlemen
who swelled the train of their prince,
or followed on this distant enterprise
the banner of their chiefs. It was one
laudable object of the king in his voy­
age, to complete an accurate nautical
survey of the northern coasts and isles,
for which purpose he carried with him
Alexander Lindsay, a skilful pilot and
hydrographer, whose charts and obser­
vations remain to the present day.4
But his principal design was to overawe
the rebellious chiefs, to enforce obedi­
ence to the laws, and to reduce within
the limits of order and good govern­
ment a portion of his dominions, which,
for the last thirty years, had repeatedly
refused to acknowledge their depend­
ence upon the Scottish crown.

On the 22d of May, to the great joy
of the monarch and his people, the
queen presented them with a prince,
and James, whose preparations were
complete, hoisted the royal flag on
board the admiral’s ship, and favoured
with a serene heaven and a favourable
breeze, conducted his fleet along the
populous coasts of Fife, Angus, and
Buchan, till he doubled the promon­
tory of Kennedar.5 He next visited
the wild shores of Caithness, and cross­
ing the Pentland Firth was gratified
on reaching the Orkneys by finding
these islands in a state of greater im­
provement and civilisation than he had
ventured to expect. Doubling Cape
Wrath the royal squadron steered for
the Lewis, Harris, and the isles of
North and South Uist; they next
crossed over to Skye, made a descent
upon Glenelg, Moidart, and Ardnamur-
chan, circumnavigated Mull, visited
Coll and Tiree, swept along the ro­
mantic coast of Argyle, and passing
the promontory of Cantire, delayed a
while on the shores of Arran, and cast
anchor beside the richer and more

trayne, . . . the said ships ar all weil orda-
nansyd.” Edward Aglionby to Sir Thomas
Wharton, Carlisle, May 4, 1540. Caligula, b.
iii. 217.

4 Harleian MSS. 3996.

5 Probably Kinnaird’s Head is here meant.

366                                    HISTORY OF SCOTLAND.                       [Chap. IX.

verdant fields of Bute. Throughout
the whole progress, the voyage did not
exhibit exclusively the stern aspect of
a military expedition, but mingled the
delight of the chase, of which James
was passionately fond, with the graver
cares and labours of the monarch and
the legislator. The rude natives of
these savage and distant regions flocked
to the shore to gaze on the unusual
apparition, as the fleet swept past their
promontories; and the mountain and
island lords crowded round the royal
pavilion, which was pitched upon the
beach, to deprecate resentment and
proffer their allegiance. The force
which was aboard appears to have been
amply sufficient to secure a prompt
submission upon the part of those
fierce chieftains who had hitherto bid
defiance to all regular government, and
James, who dreaded lest the departure
of the fleet should be a signal for a re­
turn to their former courses, insisted
that many of them should accompany
him to the capital, and remain there
as hostages for the peaceable deport­
ment of their followers.1 Some of the
most refractory were even thrown into
irons and confined on board the ships,
whilst others were treated with a kind­
ness which soon substituted the ties
of affectionate allegiance for those of
compulsion and terror.2 On reaching
Dumbarton, the king considered his
labours at an end, and giving orders
for the fleet to proceed by their former
course to Leith, travelled to court, only
to become exposed to the renewed
enmity of his nobles.

Another conspiracy, the third with-

1 Lesley, p. 157. Maitland, vol. ii. p. 814.

2 The names of the chiefs seized by James
in this expedition may be interesting to some
of my readers. In Sutherland, Donald Mackay
of Strathnaver; in the Lewis, Roderick Macleod
and his principal kinsmen ; in the west of
Skye, Alexander Macleod of Dunvegan, or of
Harris ; in the north of Skye, at Trouterness,
John Moydertach, captain of clan Ranald,
Alexander of Glengarrie, and others who were
chieftains of “ MacConeyllis kin,” by which
we must understand relatives of the late
Donald Gruamach of Sleat, who was under­
stood to have the hereditary claim to the lord­
ship of the isles ; in Kintail, John Mackenzie,
chief of that clan; Cantire and Knapdale,
Hector Maclean of Dowart and James Mac-
connel of Isla.

in the last three years, was discovered,
and its author, Sir James Hamilton,
arrested and brought to trial on a
charge of treason. This baron, who
has been already mentioned as notori­
ous for his cruelty in an age not fas­
tidious in this respect, was the illegiti­
mate son of the Earl of Arran, and had
acquired over the early youth of the
king an influence, from which his
more advanced judgment recoiled.
Such, however, was his power and
wealth, that it was dangerous to at­
tempt anything against him, and as he
was a zealous and bigoted supporter
of the ancient religion, he could reckon
on the friendship of the clergy. His
temper was passionate in the extreme,
and during the king’s minority had
often hurried him into excesses, which,
under a government where the law
was not a dead letter, might have cost
him his head; but he had hitherto
escaped, and latterly had even experi­
enced the king’s favour. Such was
the state of things when the monarch,
who had left the capital to pass over
to Fife, was hurriedly accosted by a
stranger, who demanded a speedy and
secret audience, as the business on
which he had been sent was of im­
mediate moment, and touched the
king’s life. James listened to the story,
and taking a ring from his finger, sent
it by the informer to Learmont, mas­
ter of the household, and Kirkaldy, the
treasurer, commanding them to investi­
gate the matter and act according to
their judgment of its truth and import­
ance.3 He then pursued his journey,
and soon after received intelligence
that Hamilton was arrested. It was
found that his accuser was James
Hamilton of Kincavil, sheriff of Lin-
lithgow, and brother to the early re­
former, Patrick Hamilton, in whose
miserable death Sir James had taken
an active part. The crime of which
he was arraigned was of old standing,
though now revealed for the first time.
It was asserted that Hamilton, along
with Archibald Douglas of Kilspindy,
Robert Leslie, and James Douglas of
Parkhead, had in the year 1528 con­
spired to slay the king, having com-
Drummond, 110. Maitland, 825.

1540.]                                               JAMES V.                                                  367

municated their project to the Earl of
Angus and his brother, Sir George
Douglas, who encouraged the atrocious
design.1 Some authors have asserted
that the intention of Hamilton was to
murder James, by breaking into the
royal bed-chamber,2 but in the want of
all contemporary record of the trial, it
is only known that he was found guilty
and instantly executed. His innocence
he is said to have affirmed to the last,3
but no one lamented the death of a
tyrannical baron, whose hands were
stained by much innocent and un­
avenged blood; and the fate of the
brave and virtuous Lennox who had
been murdered by him after giving up
his sword, was still fresh in the recol­
lection of the people.4

After the execution, the monarch is
represented by some of our historians
as having become a stranger to his
former pleasures, and a victim to the
most gloomy suspicions; his court, the
retreat of elegant enjoyment, was for
a while transformed into the solitary
residence of an anchorite or a misan­
thropist, and awakening to the convic­
tion that he was hated by his nobility,
many of whom had retired to their
castles alarmed at the fate of Hamilton,
he began to fear that he had engaged
in a struggle to which he might fall a
victim. For a while the thought
preyed upon his peace, and disturbed
his imagination. His sleep became dis­
turbed by frightful visions; at one time
he would leap out of his bed, and, calling
for lights, command his attendants to
take away the frightful spectacle which
stood at his pillow, and assumed the
form of his “ Justiciar,” who cursed the
hour he had entered his service; at
another, his chamberlain was awakened
by groans in the royal apartment, and
entering, found the king sitting up in
bed, transfixed with terror, and declar­
ing that he had been visited by the
bastard of Arran, who brandished a
naked sword, and threatened to lop
off both his arms, affirming that he
would return, after a short season, and

1 Acts of the Parliament of Scotland, vol.
ii. p. 423.

2 Anderson, MS. History, in Pitcairn’s
Criminal Trials, p. 229.

3 Lesley, p. 158.             4 Supra, p. 339.

be more fully revenged.5 These stories’
whether we believe or reject them,
were undoubtedly so far founded in
truth, that the king became deeply en­
grossed and agitated by the difficulties
of his situation, and it is no unusual
thing to find the visions of the night
borrowing their gloomy and fantastic
pictures from the business of the day;
but James’s mind, however paralysed
for the moment, was composed of too
strong materials to be shaken by such
ideal terrors, and as it recovered its
strength he soon resumed his wonted

A parliament which assembled in
the month of December, and a second
meeting of the three estates con­
voked in the succeeding March, deli­
berated upon some subjects of great
importance. To preserve the peace
with England, to support the Church,
now hourly becoming more alarmed
by the acknowledged progress of the
reformed opinions, to strengthen the
authority of the crown, and humble
the power of the nobles, were at this
moment the leading features of the
policy adopted by the Scottish mon­
arch : and easy as it is to detect his
errors when we, illuminated by the
light of nearly three centuries of in­
creasing knowledge, look back upon the
past, it would scarcely be just to
condemn that conduct which sought
to maintain the independence of the
kingdom, and the religion of his
fathers against what he esteemed the
attacks of heresy and revolution.
When in France, in 1537, James had
published at Rouen a revocation of
all the grants of lands, which during
his minority had been alienated
from the crown, and he now fo
lowed this up by a measure, upon the
strict justice of which the want of
contemporary evidence precludes us
from deciding. This was an act of
annexation to the crown of all the
isles north and south of the two Can-
tires, commonly called the Hebrides.
That these districts had been the
scenes of constant treason and open
defiance of the laws, must be acknow­
ledged, and at this moment James re-
Drummond, 111,

368                                    HISTORY OF SCOTLAND.                       [Char IX.

tained in various prisons many of
their chiefs whose lives had been par­
doned on their surrender of their per­
sons during his late expedition to his
insular dominions. But whether it
was just or prudent to adopt so vio­
lent a measure as to annex the whole
of the isles to the crown as forfeited
lands may be doubted. To these also
were added the Orkney and Shetland
Isles, the seat of the rebellion of the
Earl of Caithness, with the lordships
of Douglas, Bonkill, Preston, Tan-
tallon, Crawford-Lindsay, Crawford-
john, Bothwell, Jedburgh forest, and
the superiority of the county or earl­
dom of Angus. But this was not all;
Glammis with its dependencies, Lid-
desdale, the property of Bothwell, who
was attached to the Douglases, and
Evandale, the estate of Sir James
Hamilton, increased the growing
power of the crown, and even the
best disposed among the nobility
trembled for themselves when they
observed the unrelenting rigour of the
monarch and the rapid process of the
law. Having thus strengthened his
hands by this large accession of influ­
ence, James attempted to conciliate
the uneasy feelings of the aristocracy
by a general act of amnesty for all
crimes and treasons committed up to
the day of its publication; but unfor­
tunately its healing effects were de­
feated by the clause which excepted
the banished Earl of Angus, his bro­
ther, Sir George Douglas, and the
whole body of their adherents. Nor
was the sternness of regal legislation
confined to the hated Douglases. The
Catholic clergy, whose councils were
gradually gaining influence in the
bosom of the monarch, procured the
passing of many severe statutes against
heresy. To argue against the supreme
authority, or to question the spiritual
infallibility of the Pope, was made a
capital offence ; no person even sus­
pected of entertaining heretical opi­
nions was to be admitted to any office
in the government, whilst those who
had fled from judicial examination
were to be held as confessed, and sen­
tence passed against them. All pri­
vate meetings or conventicles, where

religious subjects were debated, were
declared illegal, rewards were promised
to those who revealed where they were
held; and such was the jealousy with
which the Church provided against
the contamination of its ancient doc-
trines, that no Catholic was to be per­
mitted to converse with any one who
had at any time embraced heretical
opinions, although he had repented of
his apostacy and received absolution
for his errors. It is more pleasing to
notice that in the same parliament the
strongest exhortations were given to
Churchmen, both of high and low de-
gree, to reform their lives and conver­
sation, whilst the contempt with which
the services of religion had been lately
regarded was traced directly to the dis-
honesty and misrule of the clergy, pro­
ceeding from their ignorance in divine
and human learning and the licentious­
ness of their manners. For the more
general dissemination of the know­
ledge of the laws amongst the in­
ferior judges and the great body of
the people, the acts of parliament
were ordered to be printed from an
authentic copy attested by the sign-
manual of the clerk register ; and an
act passed at the same time against
the casting down of the images of
the saints, informs us that the spirit
of demolition, which afterwards ga­
thered such strength, had already
directed itself with an unhappy nar­
rowness of mind against the sacred
edifices of the country.1

Other enactments in a wise spirit
provided for the more universal and
impartial administration of justice by
the sheriffs and temporal judges
throughout the realm. The abilities
of deputies or inferior judges, the
education and election of notaries,
and the ratification of the late insti­
tution of the College of Justice,
form the subjects of some important
changes; various minute regulations
were introduced concerning the do­
mestic manufactures and foreign com­
merce of the country, and to defend
the kingdom against any sudden pro­
ject for its invasion (a measure which

1 Acts of the Parliament of Scotland, vol.
ii. p. 370.

1540-1.]                                 JAMES V.                                         369

the violent temper of Henry rendered
by no means improbable) the strictest
orders were given for the observance
of the stated military musters, and
the arming of all classes of the com­
munity. It was declared that the
army of Scotland should fight on foot,
that the yeomen who brought horses
with them should only use them for
carriages or baggage waggons, and
that none should be permitted to be
mounted in the host except earls,
barons, and great landed proprietors.
Such leaders were directed to be
armed in white harness, light or heavy
according to their pleasure, and with
the weapons becoming their rank;
whilst all persons whose fortune was
below a hundred pounds of yearly
rent, were to have a jack, or a hal-
krick,1 or brigantine, and gloves of
plate, with pesane and gorget; no
weapons being admitted by the mus­
ter officer, except spears, pikes of six
ells length, Leith axes, halberds, hand-
bows and arrows, cross-bows, culverins,
and two-handed swords.

Such in 1540 were the arms of the
Scottish host;2 and these cares for
the increase of the military strength
of his dominions were succeeded on
the part of the king by more decided
demonstrations. A proclamation was
read in the capital, and forwarded to
every part of the country, by which
all persons between sixteen and sixty
years of age were commanded to be
ready on a warning of twenty-four
hours to join the royal banner, armed
at all points ; and a train of sixteen
great, and sixty lesser cannon was or­
dered to be fitted out, to take the field
within twenty days after Easter. It
may be doubted, however, whether
such symptoms of impending hostility
were not rather preventive than pre­
paratory of war. The individual feel­
ings of the sovereign at this moment
appear to have been in favour of a re­
form in the Church, a measure almost
synonymous with a peace with Eng­
land ; he not only permitted, but en­
couraged and sanctioned by his pre-

1  A corslet.

2 Acts of the Parliament of Scotland, vol. ii.
p. 362.


sence, the celebrated play of Lindsay,
which, under the name of a satire on
the three estates, embodied a bitter
attack upon the Catholic clergy; he
remonstrated with the prelates on the
scandalous lives of some of their body;
and if we may give full credit to the
representations of the Duke of Nor­
folk,3 who repeated the information of
an eye-witness, he began to look with
a covetous longing upon the immense
revenues, and meditated, at least so
the clergy dreaded, the appropriation
of a portion of the possessions of the
Church. Yet the same authority pro­
nounces him a decided enemy to the
power and interference of England in
the internal administration of his
kingdom; and the queen, whose in­
fluence over her husband was increased
at this time by the birth of another
prince, was a devoted adherent of
Rome. To counteract the disposition
of the sovereign towards the Reforma­
tion, the great reliance of Beaton and
the prelates was in the prospect of a
war with England ; for the attainment
of this object no industry and no in­
trigues were omitted, no sacrifice con­
sidered too dear; and it unfortunately
happened that the violence of Henry
the Eighth, with the unrelenting en­
mity of the Scottish monarch against
the Douglases, and that large portion
of the nobility connected with them
by alliance or by interest, presented
the two kings with materials of mutual
provocation, of which they well knew
how to avail themselves.

In the midst of these transactions
the queen-mother was taken ill at
Methven, the castle of her husband,
and died after a varied and turbulent
life, during the latter years of which
she had lost all influence in the affairs
of the kingdom. Great violence of
temper, a devotedness to her pleasures,
and a disregard of public opinion,
were qualities in which she strongly
resembled her brother, Henry the
Eighth; and after the attempt to
accomplish a divorce from Methven,
her third husband which for the sake
of decency was quashed by her son,

3 Norfolk to Lord Privy Seal, 29th March
1543. Caligula, b. vii. 228.
2 A

370                                 HISTORY OF SCOTLAND.                          [Chap. IX.

she appears to have been neglected by
all parties. Her talents, had they not
been enslaved to her caprice and
passion, were of a high order, as is
amply proved by that large and curious
collection of her original letters pre­
served in our national archives;1 but
the influence she exerted during the
minority of her son was mischievous,
and her individual character such as
could not long command either affec­
tion or respect. She was interred
with much solemnity and magnificence
in the church of the Carthusians, at
Perth, in the tomb of its founder,
James the First.

The decease of the queen was fol­
lowed by an event which plunged the
court and the people into sincere grief.
Arthur, duke of Albany, the infant
prince whose birth had lately given
such joy to his royal parents, was
suddenly cut off at Stirling by some
infantine disease; and scarcely had he
ceased to breathe, when Prince James,
the eldest born, and heir’to the throne,
was attacked with a similar malady,
which defied all human skill, and
hurried him within a brief period to
share the grave of his brother.2 It
was a blow which fell heavily upon
the affections of the monarch; and, in
a political point of view, its conse­
quences were equally distressing; it
shook the security of a sovereign, who
was at variance with his nobility, and
whose throne needed, on that account,
the support communicated by the
certainty of succession; but James
never permitted his cares and duties
to be long interrupted by an excessive
indulgence in sorrow, and he wisely
sought for alleviation in an attention
to those peaceful arts, which were in­
timately connected with the welfare
of his kingdom. From France and
Flanders, from Spain and Holland, he
invited the most skilful artisans, in
those various branches of manufacture
and industry, wherein they excelled
his subjects, inducing them by pen­
sions to settle in the country; he
improved the small native breed of

1 In the State-paper Office and the British
2 Pinkerton, vol. ii. 371.

the Scottish horses by importations
from Denmark and Sweden;3 and
anxious for the encouragement of use­
ful learning, he visited the University
of Aberdeen in company with his
queen and his court, listened to the
classic declamations of the students,
and enjoyed the dramatic entertain­
ments which were recited, during a
residence of fifteen days, in this in­
fant seat of the Scottish Muses. On
his return, a mission of Campbell of
Lundy to the Netherlands, for the
redress of some grievances connected
with the fisheries, and an embassy of
Beaton and Panter, the secretary of
the king, to Rome, evinced that the
royal mind had recovered its wonted
strength and activity. The avowed
object of the cardinal was to procure
his nomination as Papal legate within
the dominions of his master; but
there can be little doubt that his
secret instructions, which unfortun­
ately have not been preserved, em­
braced a more important design. The
extirpation of heresy from Scotland,
and the re-establishment of the Catho­
lic faith in the dominions of Henry
the Eighth, by a coalition between
Francis, James, the emperor, and the
Papal see, formed, it is probable, the
main purpose of Beaton’s visit. Events,
however, were now in progress, which
counteracted his best laid schemes;
and the rupture which soon after took
place between Francis and the em­
peror, for the present dissolved the
meditated confederacy.

It was this moment which the
English monarch selected for a second
embassy of Sadler to the court of his
nephew; and, had Henry’s instructions
to his ambassador been less violent, a
favourable impression might have been
made; but James, who never forgot
his station as an independent prince,
was not to be threatened into a com­
pliance with a line of policy which, if
suggested in a tone of conciliation, his
judgment might perhaps have ap­
proved; and if the English ambassa­
dor besought him not to “ be as brute

3 Epistolæ Regum Scotorum, vol. ii. p. 36:
—“ Cataphractos aliquot e regno tuo de-

1541-2.]                                           JAMES V.                                                   371

as a stocke,” or to suffer the practices
of juggling prelates to lead him by
the nose, and impose a yoke upon his
shoulders, the spirit of the prince
must have been roused by the in­
solence of such language to a deeper
resentment than he had yet felt against
his uncle.1 Yet, although inimical to
the purposes of the embassy, the re­
quest of Henry, that James should
meet him in a conference to be held
on the Borders, was received with a
less marked opposition; and before
the departure of Sadler, the monarch
appears to have given a reluctant
assent to the interview.2 It, however,
most inopportunely happened, that at
this time the English Borderers, not
only with the approval, but under the
guidance of the wardens, renewed,
with every circumstance of cruelty
and havoc, their invasions of the
Scottish territory; and the king, dis­
gusted with such contradiction and
duplicity, presented a remonstrance,
in which he not only demanded re­
dress, but declined the promised inter­
view till it should be obtained.3
Meanwhile Henry proceeded to York,
in the autumn of the year 1541, and
for six days held his court in that city,
in hourly expectation of the arrival of
his nephew; but he looked for him in
vain, and in deep indignation retraced
his steps to his capital. To act on the
resentment of the moment, and to per­
mit the impatience of personal revenge
to dictate the course of his policy,
was the frequent failing of this
monarch; and there can be no doubt
that, from the instant he found him­
self disappointed of the intended in­
terview at York, war with Scotland
was resolved on. Instructions were
despatched to Sir Robert Bowes, to
levy soldiers and put the east and

1  Pinkerton, vol. ii. p. 374. Caligula, b.
i. 57.

2  Copy of Articles delivered by the Bishops
of Aberdeen and Orkney, December 1541,
promising that James would meet Henry at
York on 15th January next. State-paper

3 Paper in State-paper Office, December
1541. Articles delivered by the King of
Scots to the Bishops of Orkney and Aberdeen,
and Mr Thomas Bellenden, relative to the
depredations by the English Borderers.

middle marches in a state of defence ;
an army was ordered to be raised for
immediate service in the north; the
fortifications of Berwick were in­
spected; and the monarch, having
determined to revive the idle and ex­
ploded claim of superiority, issued his
commands to the Archbishop of York,
requesting him to make a search into
the most ancient records and muni­
ments within his diocese, so as to
ascertain his title to the kingdom of

Some circumstances, however, for a
short season delayed, although they
could not prevent, an open rupture.
James, from a deference to the
opinion of his ecclesiastical council­
lors, had disappointed Henry of the
intended interview at York; but he
despatched an ambassador, who was
commissioned to express his regret on
the occasion, in terms of respect and
conciliation; whilst Beaton’s devices
being somewhat thwarted by the re­
newal of the quarrel between Francis
and the emperor, this ambitious
minister required an interval to
examine his ground, and alter his
mode of attack. An event, however,
which occurred about this time, was
improved by the cardinal and the
clergy, to bring about the desired war.
The king had long maintained an
intercourse in Ireland, not only with
his Scottish subjects, who possessed a
considerable portion of the island, but
with many of the principal chiefs, in
whose eyes the English monarch was
a heretic and a tyrant. Hitherto,
Henry’s predecessors and himself had
been contented to call themselves
lords of that country; but, in a par­
liament of this year, he had assumed
the more august style of King of
Ireland,5—a proceeding so ill received
by its native chiefs, that they sent a
deputation to the Scottish court, in­
viting its monarch to accept their
homage, and making a proffer of the
crown, which had already, in ancient
times, although for a brief period,

4 State-paper Office. Letter from Privy
Council of England, April 28th, 1542, and Sir
Thomas Wriothesley to Sir Robert Bowes,
July 28th, 1542.
             5 Lesley, p. 160.

372                           HISTORY OP SCOTLAND.                  [Chap. IX.

been placed upon the head of a
Scottish prince.1 It is not probable
that the offer was ever viewed by
James in a serious light; yet his as­
sumption of the title of Defender of the
Faith, with which the Pope had conde­
scended to flatter him, the gracious
reception which he gave to the Irish
chiefs, and his warlike preparations,
which could not be concealed, excited
the jealousy, and increased the resent­
ment of the English king to so high a
pitch, that it was evident war could
not be long averted.

Under such circumstances nothing
seemed wanting but a slight spark to
ignite the mass which had been ac­
cumulating for many years; and this
was soon furnished by the restless
Borderers. Upon whose side hostilities
began seems uncertain; the Scottish
monarch in one of his letters insisted
that before his subjects retaliated
they had been provoked by two
English invasions; whilst the mani­
festo of Henry broadly imputed the
first aggression to his nephew. Mutual
incursions were probably succeeded
by a mutual wish to throw the odium
of an infraction of the peace upon
each other; and, at the moment when
Sir James Learmont had proceeded
with a message of regret and concilia­
tion to the English court, Sir James
Bowes, captain of Norham, and warden
of the east marches, broke across the
Border; and, with a body of three
thousand horse, penetrated into Teviot-
dale. He was accompanied by the
banished Earl of Angus, Sir George
Douglas, and a large body of their
retainers; but the Earl of Huntly
encountered him with a strong force
at Hadden-Rig, and with the assist­
ance of Lord Home, who joined the
host with four hundred lancers, ob­
tained a complete victory. Six hun­
dred prisoners of note fell into the
hands of the enemy, amongst whom
were the lord warden himself and his
brother. Angus was nearly taken,
but slew his assailant with his dagger,
and saved himself by flight.2

Open and determined war appeared

1 Maitland, vol. ii. 826.

2 Maitland, vol. it p. 831. Lesley, p. 162.

now inevitable; and Henry, having
sent orders to the Duke of Norfolk to
levy a force of forty thousand men,
this able leader, who had obtained
from his master the name of the
Scourge of the Scots, proceeded by
rapid marches towards York. Along
with him, each leading their respective
divisions, came the Earls of Southamp­
ton, Shrewsbury, Derby, Cumberland,
Rutland, and Hertford, with Angus,
and some of his Scottish adherents;
but on their march they were arrested
by a deputation of commissioners, in­
structed by James to make a final
effort for averting a war. Whether the
Scottish king was sincere in this, or
merely used it as an expedient to gain
time, does not appear; but, as the sea­
son was far advanced, even a short
delay was important, and, in all pro­
bability, he had become convinced of
the fatal effects which the dissatisfac­
tion of his nobility with his late mea­
sures might produce upon the issue of
the campaign. He accordingly pre­
vailed on Norfolk to halt at York, and
amused him for a considerable period
with proposals for a truce, and a per­
sonal interview, which had long been
the great object of the English king.

It was now, however, too late; the
conferences conducted to no satisfac­
tory conclusion; and Henry, issuing
imperative orders to his lieutenant to
advance into Scotland, published at
the same moment a manifesto, in
which he stated his reasons for en­
gaging in war; his nephew, he affirmed,
supported some of his chief rebels
within his dominions; his subjects
had invaded England when a treaty of
peace was in the course of negotiation;
he was refused the possession of some
districts to which he affirmed he had
established an unquestionable title;
and lastly, James had disappointed him
of the promised interview at York.
These trifling causes of quarrel were
followed up by a revival of the claim
of superiority over Scotland, and a
tedious enumeration of the false and
exploded grounds upon which it was

The winter had now commenced;
yet Norfolk, aware of the impetuosity

1542.]                                               JAMES V.                                                   373

of his master’s temper, penetrated into
Scotland, and finding no resistance,
gave many of the granges and villages
on the banks of the Tweed to the
flames; whilst James, becoming more
aware of the secret indisposition of his
nobles to a contest with England, once
more despatched Learmont and the
Bishop of Orkney to request a confer­
ence, and carry proposals of peace.1
All negotiation, however, was in vain;
and commanding a force under Huntly,
Home, and Seton, to watch the opera­
tions of Norfolk, the Scottish king
himself assembled his main army, con­
sisting of thirty thousand men, on the
Borough-muir, near Edinburgh.2 But,
though strong in numbers and equip­
ment, this great feudal array was
weakened by various causes. It was
led by those nobles who had regarded
the late conduct of the king with senti­
ments of disapproval, and even of in­
dignation. Many of them favoured
the doctrines of the Reformation, some
from a conscientious conviction of
their truth, others from an envious
eye to those possessions of the Church,
which, under the dissolution of the
English religious houses, they had seen
become the prey of their brethren in
England; many dreaded the severity
of the new laws of treason, and trem­
bled for their estates, when they con­
sidered they might thus be rendered
responsible for the misdeeds of their
deceased predecessors; others were
tied by bands of manrent to the in­
terests of the Douglases; and a few,
who were loyal to the king, were yet
anxious to adopt every honourable
means of averting a war, from which
they contended nothing could be ex­
pected, even should they be victorious,
but an increase of those difficulties
which perplexed the councils of the
government. It appears also to have
been a rule amongst these feudal
barons which, if not strictly a part of
the military law, had been established
by custom, that they were not bound
to act offensively within the territories
of a foreign state, although their feudal
tenure compelled them, under the pen-

1 Lesley, p. 161.

2 Herbert, in Kennet, vol. ii. p, 232.

alty of forfeiture, to obey the royal
command in repelling an enemy who
had crossed the Borders, and encamped
within the kingdom.

Such were the sentiments of the
Scottish nobles when James lay with
his army on Fala Muir, a plain near
the western termination of the Lam-
mermuir Hills; and intelligence was
suddenly brought to the host that
Norfolk, compelled by the approach of
winter and the failure of his supplies,
had recrossed the Border, and was in
full retreat. It was now the end of
November; and such was the scarcity
of provisions, produced by the recent
devastation of the English, that, hav­
ing consumed the allowances which
they brought along with them, the
Scottish army began to be severely
distressed.3 Yet, the opportunity for
retaliation appeared too favourable to
be lost, and the monarch eagerly pro­
posed an invasion of England, when he
was met with a haughty and unanimous
refusal. The crisis recalls to our minds
the circumstances in which James the
Third was placed at Lauder Bridge ;
and it is even insinuated by some of
our historians that the nobles, who had
been long secretly dissatisfied with the
conduct of the king, meditated a re­
petition of the ferocious scenes which
then occurred; but they had to do
with a more determined opponent, and
contented themselves by a steady re­
fusal, alleging as their reason the ad­
vanced period of the year, and the
impossibility of supporting so large a
force. Yet this was enough to arouse
to the highest pitch the indignation of
the king. He alternately threatened
and remonstrated; he implored them,
as they valued their honour as knights,
or esteemed their allegiance as sub-
jects, to accompany him against the
enemy; he upbraided them as cowards
and poltroons, who permitted Norfolk
to burn their villages, and plunder
their granges under their eyes, with­
out daring to retaliate. But all was
in vain, — the leaders were immov­
able; the feudal feeling of loyalty

3 Letter from the Duke of Norfolk to the
Privy-Council, dated 3d November 1542.
State-paper Office, B. C,

374                                    HISTORY OF SCOTLAND.                      [Chap. IX.

to their prince, and revenge against
their enemies, seemed to be extin­
guished by a determination to seize
the opportunity to shew their own
strength, and use it for the redress of
their grievances; and the king, over­
whelmed with disappointment and
chagrin, disbanded the army and re­
turned to his capital.1

Yet, although thus abandoned by a
great majority of his nobles, the mon­
arch was not without some supporters
amongst them; the opulent body of
the clergy were unanimous in his
favour, and a few peers making an
effort to recall their brethren to their
duty, resolved to muster the army for
a second time, under what it was hoped
would be more favourable auspices.
For this purpose Lord Maxwell offered
his services, and a force of ten thou­
sand men having been assembled with
great expedition and secrecy, it was
determined to break into England by
the western marches ; whilst the mon­
arch, with the sanguine and energetic
temper by which he was distinguished,
shook off the anguish which preyed on
his mind, and eagerly awaited at Caer-
laverock the result of the invasion.
He had given secret orders that his
favourite, Oliver Sinclair, should take
the command of the little army so
soon as it reached the Esk; and
scarcely had the soldiers encamped
on English ground when a halt was
ordered, and this minion of the king,
as he is termed in a contemporary do­
cument, was raised on a platform sup­
ported on the shoulders of the troops,
whilst the royal commission appoint­
ing him generalissimo was read aloud
by a herald. The intelligence was re­
ceived with murmurs of disapproba­
tion: many of the ancient nobility
declared they could not serve without
degradation under such a leader; their
clansmen and retainers adopted their
feelings; and whilst Maxwell and a
few of the most loyal peers attempted
to overcome their antipathy, the whole
army became agitated with the discus­
sion, presenting the spectacle of a dis­
orderly mob tossed by conflicting

1 John Car to My Lord of Norfolk, 1st No­
vember 1542. State-paper Office.

sentiments, and ready to fall to pieces
on the slightest alarm. It was at this
crisis that Dacre and Musgrave, two
English leaders, advanced to recon­
noitre, at the head of three hundred
horse, and, approaching the Scottish
camp, became sensible of its situation,
nor did they delay a moment to seize
the opportunity, but charged at full
speed with levelled lances, and in a
compact body. In the panic of the
moment they were believed to be the
advance of a larger force; and such
was the effect of the surprise, that the
rout was instantaneous and decisive.
Ten thousand Scottish troops fled at
the sight of three hundred English
cavalry, with scarce a momentary re­
sistance; and a thousand prisoners
fell into the hands of the enemy,
amongst whom were the Earls of Cas-
sillis and Glencairn, the Lords Somer-
ville, Maxwell, Gray, 01iphant, and
Fleming, the Masters of Erskine and
Rothes, and Home of Ayton.2

The intelligence of this second ca­
lamity fell like a thunderbolt upon the
king; he had awaited at Caerlaverock,
in the most eager expectation, the
first intelligence from the army; he
trusted that the success of the in­
vasion would wipe away, in some de­
gree, the dishonour of the retreat from
Fala; and he anticipated, with san­
guine hope and resolution, the re­
newal of the war, and a restoration of
the feelings of cordiality and attach­
ment between himself and his barons.
In an instant every prospect of this
kind was blasted; and in the first
agony of the moment he embraced an
idea which overthrew the balance of
his mind, and plunged him into des­
pair : he became convinced that his
nobility had entered into a conspiracy
to betray him to England, to sacri­
fice their own honour, and the in­
dependence of the kingdom, to the
determination to gratify their revenge
against the crown, and their personal
hatred to himself.3 At Fala they
had disgraced him by an open con-

2  Hall, p. 856. Maitland, vol. ii. p. 833.
Lodge’s Illustrations, vol. i. pp. 44-54 inclu­
sive. 2d edition.

3 Lesley, p. 165.

1542.]                                                JAMES V.                                                   375

tempt of his command; at Solway
they had followed up the blow by an
act which exposed themselves, their
sovereign, and the Scottish name, to
ridicule and contempt. James had
often borne misfortune; but his mind
was too proud and impatient to endure
dishonour, or to digest the anguish of
reiterated disappointment; and, al­
though in the vigour of his strength
and the flower of his age, with a con­
stitution unimpaired and almost un-
visited by disease, he sunk under this
calamity, and seems truly to have died
of a broken heart. From the moment
the intelligence reached him, he shut
himself up in his palace at Falkland,
and relapsed into a state of the deepest
gloom and despondency; he would sit
for hours without speaking a word,
brooding over his disgrace; or would
awake from his lethargy, only to strike
his hand on his heart, and make a con­
vulsive effort, as if he would tear from
his breast the load of despair which
oppressed it. Exhausted by the vio­
lence of the exertion, he would then
drop his arms by his side, and sink
into a state of hopeless and silent
melancholy. This could not last: it
was soon discovered that a slow fever
preyed upon his frame; and having its
seat in the misery of a wounded spirit,
no remedy could be effectual. When
in this state, intelligence was brought
him that his queen had given birth
to a daughter.1 At another time it
would have been happy news; but now
it seemed to the poor monarch the last
drop of bitterness which was reserved
for him. Both his sons were dead.
Had this child been a boy, a ray of
hope, he seemed to feel, might yet have
visited his heart; he received the mes­

1 Mary queen of Scots was born at Linlith-
gow on the 7th December 1542.

senger and was informed of the event
without welcome, or almost recogni­
tion; but wandering back in his
thoughts to the time when the daugh­
ter of Bruce brought to his ancestor
the dowry of the kingdom, observed,
with melancholy emphasis, “ It came
with a lass, and it will pass with a
lass.”2 A few of his most favoured
friends and councillors stood round
his couch; the monarch stretched out
his hand for them to kiss; and regard­
ing them for some moments with a
look of great sweetness and placidity,
turned himself upon the pillow and
expired.3 He died (13th December
1542 4) in the thirty-first year of his
age, and the twenty-ninth of his reign;
leaving an only daughter, Mary, an in­
fant of six days old, who succeeded to
the crown; and amongst other natural
children, a son James, afterwards the fa­
mous Regent Moray. There were some
striking points of similarity between
the character and destiny of this prince
and his great ancestor, James the First.
To the long captivity of the one, we
find a parallel in the protracted minor­
ity of the other; whilst, in both, we
may discover that vigour, talent, and
energetic resolution to support the
prerogative against the attacks of their
nobility, to which we can trace the
assassination of the first, and the pre­
mature death of the fifth James. Both
were accomplished princes, and exhi­
bited in a rude and barbarous age a re­
markable example of literary and poeti­
cal talent; whilst they excelled in all
those athletic and military exercises,
which were then considered the only
proper objects of aristocratic ambition.

2 A lass ; a girl, or young maiden.
Lesley, pp. 165, 166. Drummond, p. 114.
Maitland, vol. ii. p. 834. Lindsay, pp. 176,177.
Keith, p. 22.

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