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The news of the discomfiture of the
Scottish army at Flodden spread
through the land with a rapidity of
terror and sorrow proportionate to the
greatness of the defeat, and the alarm­
ing condition into which it instantly
brought the country. The wail of
private grief, from the hall to the cot­
tage, was loud and universal. In the
capital were to be heard the shrieks of
women who ran distractedly through
the streets, bewailing the husbands,
the sons, or the brothers, who had
fallen, clasping their infants to their
bosoms, and anticipating in tears the
coming desolation of their country.
In the provinces, as the gloomy tidings
rolled on, the same scenes were re­
peated ; and, had Surrey been inclined,
or in a condition to pursue his victory,
the consequences of the universal panic
were much to be dreaded; but the
very imminency of the public danger

was salutary in checking this violent
outburst of sorrow in the capital.
During the absence of the chief magi­
strates who had joined the army with
the king, the merchants to whom their
authority had been deputed, exhibited
a fine example of firmness and pre­
sence of mind. They issued a pro­
clamation which was well adapted to
restore order and resolution. It took
notice of the rumour touching their
beloved monarch and his army, which
had reached the city, dwelt on its un­
certainty, and abstained from the men­
tion of death or defeat; it commanded
the whole body of the townsmen to
arm themselves at the sound of the
common bell, for the defence of the
city. It enjoined, under the penalty
of banishment, that no females should
be seen crying or wailing in the streets,
and concluded by recommending all
women of the better sort to repair to

296                                    HISTORY OF SCOTLAND.                    [Chap. VII.

the churches, and there offer up their
petitions to the God of battles, for
their sovereign lord and his host, with
those of their fellow-citizens who
served therein.1

It was soon discovered that, for the
moment at least, Surrey had suffered
so severely that he did not find him­
self strong enough to prosecute the
victory, and an interval of deliberation
was thus permitted to the country.
Early in October a parliament assem­
bled at Perth, which from the death
of the flower of the nobility at Flodden,
consisted chiefly of the clergy.2 It
proceeded first to the coronation of
the infant king, which was performed
at Scone with the usual solemnity, but
amid the tears, instead of the rejoic­
ings of the people. Its attention was
then directed to the condition of the
country; but its deliberations were
hurried, and unfortunately no satis­
factory record of them remains. Con­
trary to the customary law, the re­
gency was committed to the queen-
mother, from a feeling of affectionate
respect to the late king. The castle
of Stirling, with the custody of the
infant monarch, was intrusted to Lord
Borthwick; 3 and it was determined,
till more protracted leisure for consul­
tation had been given and a fuller
parliament assembled, that the queen
should use the counsel of Beaton, arch­
bishop of Glasgow, with the Earls of
Huntly and Angus. It appears, how­
ever, that there was a party in Scot­
land which looked with anxiety on the
measure of committing the chief situa­
tion in the government to a female,
whose near connexion with England
rendered it possible that she might
act under foreign influence; and a
secret message was despatched by their
leaders to the Duke of Albany, in
France,—a nobleman who, in the
event of the death of the young king,
was the next heir to the throne,—re­
questing him to repair to Scotland

1 Halles’ Remarks on the History of Scot­
land, chap. viii.

2 Dacre to the Bishop of Durham, 29th Oct.
Brit. Mus. Caligula, b. iii. 11, quoted in Pin-
kerton, vol. ii. p. 112.

3 Dacre to the King’s Highness.—Harbottle,
13th Nov. Caligula, b. vi. 38, d.

and assume the office of regent, which
of right belonged to his rank.4

In the meantime the apprehensions
of the country were quieted by the
intelligence that Surrey had disbanded
his host—a proceeding to which that
able commander was reduced not only
by the loss which he had sustained,
but by the impossibility of supporting
an invading army without the co-
operation of a fleet. It was probably
on his own responsibility that Howard
thus acted, for, on receiving accounts
of the victory, whilst still in France,
Henry appears to have been solicitous
to follow up his advantage, and trans­
mitted orders to Lord Dacre of the
north, warden of the eastern marches,
and Lord Darcy, directing them to
make three principal incursions into
Scotland. These orders were partially
obeyed, and in various insulated in­
roads much devastation was committed
by the English; but the retaliation of
Home, the warden of the Scottish
marches, was equally prompt and de­
structive, whilst the only consequences
from such mutual hostilities, were to
protract the chances of peace by the
exacerbation of national animosity.

The condition of the country, mean­
while, was alarming ; and when men
began to recover from the first im­
pulses of grief, and to consider calmly
the most probable schemes for the
preservation of order, under the shock
which it had received, the prospect on
every side appeared almost hopeless.
The dignified clergy, undoubtedly the
ablest and best educated class in Scot­
land, from whose ranks the state had
been accustomed to look for its wisest
councillors, were divided into feuds
amongst themselves, occasioned by the
vacant benefices. The Archbishop of
St Andrews, the prelates of Caithness
and the Isles, with other ecclesiastical
dignitaries, had fallen in the field of
Flodden, and the intrigues of the
various claimants distracted the Church
and the council. There were evils
also to be dreaded from the character
and the youth of the queen-mother.
Margaret had been married at fourteen,

4 Lesley, Bannatyne edit. p. 97. Pinker-
ton, vol. ii. p. 112.

1513-14.]                                         JAMES V.                                                   297

and was now only twenty-four : her
talents were of so high an order that
they drew forth the unbiassed en­
comium of Surrey, Dacre, and Wolsey;
but there were some traits in her dis­
position which remind us of her
brother, Henry the Eighth. Her re­
sentments were hasty, her firmness
sometimes degenerated into obstinacy,
her passions were often too strong for
her better judgment; her beauty,
vivacity, and high accomplishments,
were fitted to delight and adorn a
court, but imparted an early devotion
to pleasure, too much encouraged by
the example of the late king; and
which his sudden and unhappy fate
rather checked than eradicated. For
a while, however, the excess of grief,
and her situation, which promised an
increase to the royal family, kept her
in retirement, and rendered her an
object of deep interest to the people.

The Duke of Albany had now re­
ceived the invitation from the lords
of his party; and unable instantly to
obey it in person, he sent over the
Sieur d’Arsie de la Bastie,1 the same
accomplished knight whom we have
seen a favourite of James the Fourth,
and who was already personally known
to many of the Scottish nobles. Along
with him came the Earl of Arran, who,
since the unfortunate result of his naval
expedition, by which the late king had
been so deeply incensed, appears to
have remained in France, in command
of that portion of the fleet which was
the property of the crown; the re­
mainder, consisting of merchant vessels
commissioned by government, having
probably long ago dispersed on private
adventure. He was cousin-german to
Albany : the former being the son of
Mary, sister to James the Third; the
latter of Alexander, the brother of
that prince, whose treason, as we have
seen, against the government in 1482,
did not scruple to aim at the crown,
and even to brand the reigning mon­
arch with illegitimacy. Arran still
bore the title of high-admiral, and
brought to Scotland a few ships, the
three largest vessels having been left
behind in France. His high birth and
1 Lesley, p. 97.

near relationship to the royal family
impressed him with the idea that his
interference would be respected; but
his abilities were of an inferior order,
and he found many proud nobles ready
to dispute his authority. Amongst
these, the principal were Home, the
chamberlain; the Earl of Angus, the
recent death of whose father and
grandfather had placed him, when
still a young man, at the head of the
potent house of Douglas; and the
Earls of Huntly and Crawford, who
were the most influential lords in the
north. Between Home and Angus a
deadly feud existed—the lesser nobles
and gentry in the south joining them­
selves to one side or the other, as
seemed most agreeable to their indi­
vidual interests; whilst in Athole, and
other northern districts, bands of rob­
bers openly traversed the country;
and on the Borders the dignities and
revenues of the Church, and the bene­
fices of the inferior clergy, became the
subjects of violent and successful

In the midst of these scenes of
public disorder, repeated attempts
were made to assemble the parlia­
ment; but the selfishness of private
ambition, and the confusion of con­
tradictory councils, distracted the de­
liberations of the national council;
and the patriotic wisdom of the vener­
able Elphinston in vain attempted to
compose their differences.3 It was,
however, determined that for the im­
mediate repressing of the disturbances,
the Earl of Crawford should be ap­
pointed chief justice to the north of
the Forth, and Home to the same
office in the south; whilst, in contem­
plation of the continuance of the war
with England, an attempt was made
to derive assistance from the courts of
Denmark and France. To the sove­
reigns of both these countries Scotland
had readily lent her assistance in
troops and in money : the insurrection
of the Norwegians against the Danish
monarch had been put down by her
instrumentality; and the war with

2 Pinkerton, vol. ii. p. 120.

3 Dacre to the King, 10th March, Caligula,
b. vi. 43, quoted in Pinkerton. vol, ii. p. 219.

298                                   HISTORY OF SCOTLAND.                      [Chap. VII.

England, which had cost the country so
dear, had been undertaken at the insti­
gation of France; yet from neither the
one nor the other did the Scots, in their
day of calamity, receive anything like
an equivalent for her sacrifices. The
present policy of Lewis the Twelfth,
who had been reduced to extremity
by the league formed against him,
rendered this monarch solicitous for
peace with England, and fearful o
any step which might exasperate its
sovereign. He not only, therefore,
refused all active assistance, but un­
generously threw difficulties in the
way of Albany’s departure, pretending
that he could not dispense with the
services of so valuable a subject,—a
mortifying lesson to Scotland upon
the folly of her foreign alliances, but
of which she had not yet the wisdom
to make the proper use.

In the midst of this disturbance at
home, and disappointment abroad, the
queen-mother was delivered of a son,
who was named Alexander, and created
Duke of Ross; whilst a parliament,
which met immediately after her re­
covery, confirmed her in the regency,
and appointed “three wise lords,”
whose names do not appear, to have
the keeping of the young king and his
brother.1 Yet, in spite of every endea­
vour to allay them, the disorders of
the country continued; and whilst the
queen corresponded with her brother,
lamenting the selfish ambition and
fierce independence of Home, who ar­
rogated to himself an almost royal
authority, that monarch ungenerously
abused her information, by directing
his wardens of the Border to repeat
their inroads, and carry havoc and war
into the defenceless country. It was
a miserable feature of feudal Scotland
(it may be said, indeed, of feudal Eu­
rope) that a woman of any wealth or
rank, who was deprived of the protec­
tion of a husband or father, became an
object of attack, liable to be invaded
in her castle and carried off by some
of those remorseless barons, who, in
the prosecution of their daring ends,
little recked the means they used.
The greater the prize, the more certain

1 Margaret to Dacre, Caligula, b. vi. 78.

and alarming was the danger; and as
the possession of the person of the in­
fant monarch gave to any faction which
obtained it the chief influence in the
government, we may easily understand
that the queen-mother, surrounded by
a fierce and ambitious nobility, for the
suppression of whose lawless proceed­
ings the authority with which she had
been intrusted was insufficient, soon
began to long for some more powerful
protector. That Margaret, therefore,
should have thought of a second mar­
riage was by no means extraordinary ;
but when it was declared that, without
any previous consultation with her
council, she had suddenly given her
hand to the Earl of Angus, her best
friends regretted her choice. It was
evidently a match not so much of
policy as of passion, for Angus is de­
scribed by the sagacious Dacre as
“childish young, and attended by no
wise councillors;” but his person and
countenance were beautiful, his ac­
complishments showy and attractive,
whilst his power, as the head of the
house of Douglas, was equal, if not
superior, to that of any baron in the
kingdom. The queen herself was still
in the bloom of her youthful charms ;
and when her affections fixed upon
Angus, she only waited for her reco­
very from childbirth, to hurry into
marriage with a precipitancy which
was scarcely decorous, and certainly
unwise. By the terms of the royal
will, it at once put an end to her re­
gency; and although Angus flattered
himself that his new title, as husband
of the queen, would confer upon him
the tutelage of the infant sovereign,
he was met by an opposition far more
powerful than he anticipated.

The peace between France and Eng­
land was now concluded; and although
Scotland was embraced in the treaty
at the desire of Lewis, the cold and
cautious terms in which that country
was mentioned, might have convinced
her rulers of the folly which had squan­
dered so much treasure, and sacrificed
so much national prosperity, for a
sovereign whose gratitude lasted no
longer than his necessity. It was
stated that if, upon notification of the

1514-15.]                                          JAMES V.                                                  299

peace, the Scots were desirous of being
included, there should be no objection
urged to their wishes;1 but if, after
intimation of these terms, which was
to be made before the 15th of Sep­
tember, any invasions took place on
the Borders, the clause comprehend­
ing that country was to be of no effect.
No invasion of any note did take place,
but minor inroads on both sides dis­
turbed, as usual, the peace of the
marches; and the difficulty of adjust­
ing these in the courts of the wardens,
with the desire to postpone all leading
measures till the arrival of Albany, oc­
casioned a delay of eight months before
Scotland acceded to the treaty.

One of the immediate effects of the
imprudent marriage of the queen seems
to have been the separation of the no­
bility and the country into two great
factions, which took the names of the
English and French parties. At the
head of the former were Angus and
the queen; indeed, if we except the
great power and widely ramifying
vassalage of the house of Douglas,
there were few other permanent sources
of strength on which they could build
their hopes. The latter, the French
faction, embraced almost the whole
nobility, and was supported by the
sympathies of the people. The fatal
defeat at Flodden was yet fresh in
their memory, and revenge, a natural
feeling, to which the principles of the
feudal system added intensity, prompt­
ed them to fruitless desires for a con­
tinuance of the war; a jealousy of the
interference of Henry, a certainty that
the queen-mother had entered into an
intimate correspondence with this mon­
arch, consulting him upon those public
measures which ought to have been
regulated by the council and the par­
liament, and a recollection of the in­
tolerable domination, once exercised
by the house of Douglas, all united
to increase the numbers of the French
faction, and to cause a universal desire
for the arrival of the Duke of Albany.
Nor could this event be much longer
delayed. Lewis had now no pretext
for his detention; the peace with
England was concluded, the sentence
Pinkerton. vol. ii. pp. 121, 122.

of forfeiture, which had excluded the
duke from the enjoyment of his rank
and estates in Scotland was removed,
and the condition of the country called
loudly for some change.

At this crisis, by the death of the
venerable and patriotic Elphinston,
bishop of Aberdeen, was removed the
only man who seemed to possess autho­
rity in the state, an occurrence which
increased the struggles of ecclesiastical
ambition.2 It was the intention of the
queen to have appointed Elphinston
to the archbishopric of St Andrews,
but on his death she nominated to that
see the celebrated Gawin Douglas, her
husband’s uncle,—a man whose genius,
had this been the only requisite for the
important dignity, was calculated to
bestow distinction upon any situation.
Hepburn, however, Prior of St An­
drews, a churchman of a turbulent
and factious character, had interest
enough with the chapter to secure his
own election ; whilst Forman, bishop
of Moray, the personal favourite of the
late king, whose foreign negotiations
and immense wealth gave him great
influence at the court of Rome, was
appointed to fill the vacant see by a
Papal bull, which he for a while did
not dare to promulgate. An indecent
spectacle was thus exhibited, which
could not fail to lower the Church in
the eyes of the people : the servants of
Douglas, supported by his nephew and
the queen, had seized the archiepisco-
pal palace, but were attacked by Hep­
burn, who carried the fortress, and
kept possession of it, although threat­
ened by Angus with a siege. Forman,
however, had the address to secure the
interest of Home, the chamberlain, and
a treaty having been entered into, in
which money was the chief peacemaker,
it was agreed that Hepburn should sur­
render the castle, on condition of retain­
ing the revenues which he had already
collected, and receiving for his nephew
the rich priory of Coldingham.3

These ecclesiastical commotions, how­
ever, were surpassed in intensity by the
feuds amongst the nobles, who traversed

2 Lesley, p. 100.

3 Ibid. p. 101. Coldingham is in Lammer-
muir, near St Abb's Head.

300                                     HISTORY OF SCOTLAND.                     [Chap. VII.

the country at the head of large bodies
of their armed vassals, and waged pri­
vate war against each other with a fero­
city which defied all interference. The
Earl of Arran, encouraged by the pro­
tracted delay of Albany, aspired to the
regency; and being joined by the Earls
of Lennox and Glencairn, declared war
against Angus, who narrowly escaped
falling into an ambuscade which was
laid for his destruction. The castle of
Dumbarton was seized by Lennox; and
Erskine, the governor, who held it for
the queen, was expelled from his place.
Dunbar, the most important fortress
in the kingdom, was delivered to the
French knight, De la Bastie, who
claimed it as that part of the earldom
of March which belonged to his mas­
ter, Albany. Beaton, archbishop of
Glasgow, a prelate of a selfish and in­
triguing temper, keenly supported the
interests of the French party; whilst
the Earl of Huntly, one of the most
powerful barons in the north, threw
his influence into the scale of the queen
and Angus, which was supported also
by Lord Drummond and the Earl Mar­

Under this miserable state of things,
Henry the Eighth, by means of his
able minister, Lord Dacre, who enter­
tained many Scottish spies in his pay,
kept up a regular correspondence with
the queen, and availed himself of their
confusion, to acquire a paramount in­
fluence over the affairs of the country.
He even carried his intrigues so far as
to make a secret proposal to Margaret
for her immediate flight with the in­
fant monarch and his brother into Eng­
land, a scheme which amounted to no­
thing less than treason : the agents in
this plot were Williamson, one of the
creatures of Dacre, an English eccle­
siastic resident in Scotland, and Sir
James Inglis, the secretary of the
queen. Margaret, in reply, regretted
that she was not a private woman,
able to fly with her children from the
land where she was so unhappy, but
a queen, who was narrowly watched;

1 Orig. Letter, quoted by Pinkerton, vol. ii.
p. 126, Sir James Inglis to Williamson, 22d
Jan 1515. Caligula, b. i. 22; also b. vi. 114.
Adam Williamson to the Bishop of Dunkeld.

whilst any failure in such an attempt
might have cost her servants their
heads, and herself her liberty. It is,
perhaps, not extraordinary that such
a, scheme should be regarded with no
very strong feeling of revolt by the
youthful queen, to whom Henry art­
fully held out the inducement of her
son being declared heir-apparent to the
English throne. But that Angus and
his uncle Douglas should have enter­
tained the proposal, that they should
rather have declined it as dangerous
and not strictly honest, than cast it
from them as an insult to their feel­
ings of national honour and individual
integrity, presents the principles of
these eminent persons in no favourable
light. Meanwhile, although baffled in
the perpetration of this project, the
intrigues of Dacre contributed greatly
to strengthen the English faction, and
Home, whose formidable power and
daring character rendered his accession
no light matter, embraced the party of
the queen.

Albany, who had long delayed his
voyage, now began to think in earnest
of repairing to Scotland. The death
of Lewis the Twelfth, which had been
followed by the accession of Francis
the First, was accompanied by no
material change in the policy of his
kingdom towards her ancient ally;
and an embassy was despatched to in­
duce the Scottish government to de­
lay no longer accepting those terms
by which they were comprehended in
the peace between France and Eng­
land. In a letter from the Council of
State, this request was complied with,
on the ground that, although not so
far weakened by their recent disaster
as to doubt they should be soon able
to requite their enemies, yet, for the
love they bore to France, and their
zeal for the crusade against the infidels,
which was then in agitation, they
would be sorry that Scotland should
oppose itself to a general peace.2

Scarce had Le Vaire and Ville-
bresme, the French ambassadors, re­
ceived this favourable answer, when,
on the 18th of May, the Duke of Al­
bany, with a squadron of eight ships,
Rymer, vol. xiii. p. 509.

1515.]                                                JAMES V.                                                  301

came to anchor at Dumbarton.1 His
arrival had been anxiously expected :
he landed amidst the unaffected joy of
all who desired the re-establishment
of good government in the country;
and he was soon after installed in the
office of regent;2 but the task of re­
storing order was one of no easy exe­
cution; and even to a statesman of
far superior talents, some of the dif­
ficulties which presented themselves
would have been almost insurmount­
able. The intrigues of Henry the
Eighth, conducted with much skill
and judgment by Lord Dacre, had
separated from his party some of the
most potent of the nobility, who at a
former period anxiously requested his
presence; and many good men, who
anxiously desired a continuance of
peace, and deplored the calamities
which an unnecessary war had already
entailed upon the country, dreading
the politics of Albany, which soon
disclosed an unreasonable animosity
to England, threw their influence into
the faction which opposed him: others,
indeed, resented the interference of
England in the Scottish councils,
deeming it impolitic and unnatural,
that the monarch who had slain the
father, and shed with unexampled
profusion the noblest blood in the
land, should be selected as the favoured
counsellor of the infant successor and
his widowed mother. To assert their
independence as a kingdom, and to
cherish a hope of revenge, were the
principles which actuated no incon­
siderable party; nor is it to be doubt­
ed, that amongst the great body of the
people these feelings were regarded
with applause. Of this numerous
class the new regent might have easily
secured the support, had he not ali­
enated them by a too servile devotion
to France; whilst the English party
brought forward very plausible argu-

1  These vessels appear to have been the
remains of that fleet which James had des­
patched, under the Earl of Arran, to the as­
sistance of the French monarch, and whose
building and outfit had cost the country so
large a sum. Lesley, p. 102,

2  He was made regent on the 10th July.
Dacre to the Council. Caligulas, b. ii. 341.
Kirkoswald, 1st August.

ments to shew the danger of intrust­
ing the government of the kingdom,
or the custody of the sovereign and
his brother, to one so circumstanced
as Albany. From his father, who had
traitorously attempted to seize the
crown, and to brand the royal family
with the stain of illegitimacy, he
was not likely, they said, to imbibe
very loyal ideas ; whilst the late in­
stance in England, of the crimes of
Richard the Third, would not fail to
suggest a lesson of successful usurpa­
tion and murder to a Scottish usurper,
between whom and his title to the
throne there stood only the slender
lives of two infants. Even setting
aside these weighty considerations,
they contended that he evinced no­
thing of the feelings or national in­
dependence of a Scotsman. He was
ignorant of the constitution, of the
language, of the manners of the coun­
try : his loyalty to the French king,
whom he constantly styled his master;
his ties to that kingdom, where his
life had been spent, his honours won,
and his chief estates were situated;
his descent from a French mother,
and marriage with the Countess of
Auvergne, were all enumerated, and
with much plausibility, as circum­
stances which incapacitated him from
feeling that ardent and exclusive in­
terest in Scotland which ought to be
found in him to whom the regency
was committed. When to all this it
is added, that Albany was passionate
in his temper, and sometimes capri­
cious and wavering in his policy, it
was not expected that his government
would be attended with much success.

Yet these prognostications were not
verified, and his first measures con­
tradicted such surmises by the steady
determination which they evinced to
put down the English party, and to
curb the insolence of power which had
been shewn by the supporters of
Angus and the queen. Lord Drum­
mond, grandfather to Angus, and con­
stable of Stirling castle, was committed
prisoner to the castle of Blackness, for
an insult offered to Lion herald in the
queen’s presence.3 Soon after, Gawin

3 Acts of the Parliament of Scotland, vol.

302                                   HISTORY OF SCOTLAND.                     [Chap. VII.

Douglas, the talented and learned
Bishop of Dunkeld and uncle to
Angus, was shut up in the sea tower
of St Andrews, on a charge of having
illegally procured his nomination to
that see by the influence of Henry the
Eighth with the Papal court: it was
in vain that the queen implored, even
with tears, the pardon and delivery of
her councillors, — the first, recom­
mended by his venerable age, aud
steady attachment to the royal family,
the other by his distinguished talents.
Albany was unmoved; and the sup­
porters of the queen, with the excep­
tion of Home and Angus, shrunk from
an alliance which exposed them to so
severe a reckoning.1

But the most important affair, and
one which required immediate atten­
tion, was the custody of the young
monarch and his brother. These
princes were still under the charge of
their mother, the queen-dowager. The
negotiations, however, into which she
had entered with Henry the Eighth,
and in the course of which Williamson
and Dacre had almost prevailed on her
to deliver the royal children to Eng­
land, proved clearly that since her new
connexion with Angus, she was un­
worthy to remain their protector.
The regent, therefore, wisely judged
that no time ought to be lost in re­
moving them from her charge; and
for this purpose a parliament was as­
sembled at Edinburgh. The measures
which were adopted appear to have
been framed with as much attention
to the feelings of the mother, as was
compatible with the security of the
princes. Eight lords were nominated
by the parliament, out of which num­
ber four were to be chosen by lot;
and from these Margaret was to select
three, to whose custody the king and
his brother were to be committed.
This having been done, the three peers
proceeded to the castle of Edinburgh,
where the commands of the parlia­
ment were to be carried into effect;

ii. p. 284. Caligula, b. vi. 105. Remembrance
of an Informacion by me, Margaret, Quene of

1 Queen Margaret’s Remembrance. Cali­
gula, b. vi 105.

but nothing was further than obedi­
ence from the mind of the queen.
When the nobles approached, the
gates of the fortress were thrown
open, disclosing to the populace, who
rent the air with their acclamations,
their royal mistress standing at the
entrance, with the king at her side,
his hand locked in hers, and a nurse
behind, who held his infant brother in
her arms.2 The sight was imposing;
nor was its effect diminished, when,
with an air of dignity, and a voice,
whose full tones all could distinctly
hear, she bade them stand and declare
their errand. On their answer, that
they came in the name of the parlia­
ment to receive from her their sove­
reign and his brother, the princess
commanded the warder to drop the
portcullis, and that massive iron bar­
rier having instantly descended be­
tween her and the astonished dele­
gates, she thus addressed them :—“ I
hold this castle by the gift of my late
husband, your sovereign, who also in­
trusted to me the keeping and govern­
ment of my children, nor shall I yield
them to any person whatsoever; but
I respect the parliament, and require
a respite of six days to consider their
mandate.” Alarmed for the conse­
quences of this refusal, which, if per­
severed in, amounted to treason,
Angus, who stood beside the queen,
entreated her to obey the order of the
parliament, and took a notarial instru­
ment on the spot, that he had con­
sented to the surrender of the children;
but Margaret was firm, and the peers
retired to acquaint the regent with
their ill success.3

Meanwhile their mother removed
them from Edinburgh castle, which
she dreaded could not be defended
against the forces of the parliament,
to Stirling, a city more completely de­
voted to her interest. She then trans­
mitted her final answer to the regent:
it proposed that the children should
be committed to the custody of Angus,

2   Dacre to the Council. Caligula, b. ii.
341; an interesting original letter, first
opened by the research of Pinkerton, vol. ii.
p. 137.

3  Caligula, b. ii. 341, b. 2.

1515.]                                               JAMES V.                                                  303

Home, the Earl Marshal, and Lauder
of the Bass,—all of them, with the ex­
ception of the Marshal, devoted to her
interest, and in intimate correspond­
ence with England.1 This evasion,
which was nothing more than a reiter­
ation of her refusal to obey the orders
of parliament, rendered it necessary
for Albany to adopt decisive measures.
He accordingly collected an armed
force, summoned all the lords, on their
allegiance, to lend their assistance in
enforcing the orders of the supreme
council of the nation; directed Ruth-
ven and Borthwick to blockade the
castle of Stirling, so that no provisions
should be permitted to enter; and
commanded Home, who was then pro­
vost of Edinburgh, to arrest Sir George
Douglas, the brother of Angus, that
peer being himself in the Mearns; whilst
his uncle held Douglas castle. Home
indignantly refused, and, under cover
of night, fled to Newark, a Border
tower upon the Yarrow; whilst Angus,
who had received orders to join the
host at the head of his vassals, kept
himself within his strength, in his own
country, and concentrated his power for
the storm which he saw approaching.
A proclamation was now issued
against such persons as illegally re­
tained the castle of Stirling; and
Albany, at the head of seven thousand
men, and attended by all the peers
except Home and Angus, marched
against that fortress, and summoned
it to an immediate surrender. Re­
sistance was hopeless; and the queen
had already carried her obstinacy be­
yond all prudent bounds; her party,
which chiefly consisted of friends re­
tained in her service by the money of
England, deserted her when the dan­
ger became imminent; and requesting
an interview with the regent, she de­
livered the keys of the castle to the
infant monarch, who placed them in
the hand of Albany, and only added
her hope, that the royal children, her­
self and Angus, would be treated with
favour. The answer of the regent as­
sured the princess that, to herself and
his infant sovereign, he was animated
by no feelings but those of devoted
Caligula b ii. 341, b. 2.

loyalty; but for Angus, whose oppo­
sition to the will of parliament, and
dangerous correspondence with Eng­
land, amounted, he declared, to trea­
son, he would promise nothing, so long
as he and his followers were banded
together in open rebellion.2 The king
and his infant brother were then com­
mitted to the custody of the Earl
Marshal, (a nobleman who had been
nominated on a former occasion by the
royal mother herself,) along with the
Lords Fleming and Borthwick, whose
fidelity to the crown was unsuspected.
John Erskine was appointed governor
of the fortress; a guard of seven hun­
dred soldiers left in it; and the queen
conducted with every mark of respect
to Ediuburgh, where she took up her
residence in the castle. The Earl of
Home, on being informed of this de­
cided success, no longer hesitated to
throw himself into the arms of Eng­
land ; and in a private conference with
Dacre, concerted measures of resistance
and revenge. To this meeting Angus
was not admitted, by the sagacity of
the English warden; his youth and
versatility of purpose being dreaded;
but Home continued to work on the
husband of the queen, and the strength
of Teviotdale was raised to resist the
alleged tyranny of the regent, and
avert the destruction which hung over
the English party in Scotland.3

In this emergency the conduct of
Albany was marked by prudence and
decision; he summoned the force of
the kingdom; but, before proceeding
to hostilities, transmitted a message
to the queen, in which he expressed
his earnest desire for a pacification, and
proposed articles of agreement, which
were more favourable than the con­
duct of her party deserved. He en­
gaged to support her and her husband
in all their just and equitable actions;
to put her in full possession of her
jointure lands, and maintain her in
the state and dignity befitting her
rank, under the condition that she

2 Dacre to the Council, Harbottle, 7th
August. Caligula, b. ii. 369. Diurnal of
Occurrents, p. 6. See Notes and Illustrations,
letter Y.

3 Dacre to the Council. Caligula, b. ii. 369.

304                                    HISTORY OF SCOTLAND.                    [Chap, VII.

should accede to the wishes of the
parliament, co-operate in those mea­
sures which were esteemed best for
the security and independence of the
state, and renounce all secret connex­
ion with other realms, especially with
England. When Henry’s schemes for
the removal of the king and his brother,
and the intrigues by which Dacre con­
trived to defeat every attempt to re­
duce the country to order and good
government are taken into view, these
proposals appear wise and conciliatory.
Yet such was the unhappy infatuation
of the queen, that she rejected them
without hesitation, and to make a
merit of her firmness, transmitted
them privately to Dacre.1 To Home,
the chamberlain, Albany was less leni­
ent : he insisted that he should leave
Scotland; and the haughty chief at
once justified the severity by address­
ing a message to the English warden,
in which he requested the assistance
of an English army, and held out the
inducement to Henry, that the coun­
try lay open to invasion. The crisis,
he said, only required immediate
activity and vigour, by which the
monarch might destroy his enemies,
and new model the government ac­
cording to his interest and wishes.2
These offers were strongly seconded
by Dacre, who advised an invasion;
whilst the chamberlain, assured of the
support of England, assembled a power­
ful force, and commenced the war by
retaking the castle of Home, which
had been seized by the regent; and
securing the strong tower of Blacater,
situated on the Borders, within five
miles of Berwick.3 To this safchold
the queen, who had continued her
secret correspondence with Henry,
now resolved to retire, finding herself,
as she represented, in a sort of cap­
tivity at Edinburgh, whilst her friends
were imprisoned, and her resources
impoverished by the injustice of the
regent. Dacre had recommended Bla-
cater from its proximity to England,

1 Caligula, b. vi. 83, 84.

2 Ibid. b. ii. 186. Lord Home to Dacre,
Pinkerton, vol. ii. p. 145.

3 Franklin to the Bishop of Durham, Nor-
ham, 29th August. Caligula, b. iii. 133. Bla-
cateris situated on a stream of the same name.

and the facility she would enjoy of
support and communication with her
royal brother, — shrewdly observing,
also, that, being within the Scottish
Borders, her enemies could not allege
that she had forfeited her rights by
deserting the country. She accord­
ingly found means to join Lord Home,
who, at the head of an escort of forty
soldiers, conveyed her in safety to
Blacater, from whence, if danger be­
came imminent, she could secure a
rapid and easy retreat into England.4

Nothing could be more imprudent
than such a proceeding. Henry, al­
though professing peace, was at this
moment the worst enemy of Scotland.
Having been baffled in his attempt to
get the young king into his hands, it
became his object to increase the ne­
cessary evils of a minority, by thwart­
ing every measure which promised to
restore tranquillity to that country.
By means of his indefatigable agent,
Lord Dacre, he had not only corrupted
some of its leading nobility, but so suc­
cessfully fomented dissensions amongst
them, that every effort of the regent
to re-establish the control of the laws
was rendered abortive by the preval­
ence of private war. To league her­
self, therefore, with England, against
the independence of that country of
which her son was sovereign, whilst
Albany, with much earnestness and
sincerity, offered her a complete re­
storation to all those rights and
revenues, as queen-dowager, which she
had not forfeited by her marriage, was
an excess of blindness and pertinacity
difficult to be understood, and which
drew after it the most calamitous con­

The conduct of Albany had been
marked hitherto by a laudable union
of firmness and moderation; and so
completely was it seconded by the ap­
proval of the nobles and the clergy,
that, although on other points at vari­
ance amongst themselves, all appear
to have united in support of his deter­
mination to enforce obedience to the
parliament, and restore some degree of

4 Credence to Lord Dacre and Thomas
Magnus, by the Queen of Scots. Caligula,
b. vi, 85.

1515.]                                                JAMES V.                                                  305

stability to the government. He found
little difficulty, therefore, in raising an
army of forty thousand men: but
anxious that his intentions should be
clearly understood—that none should
mistake his resolution to reduce an
internal rebellion, which was headed
by disaffected subjects, for the desire
of foreign war—he despatched Sir
William Scott and Sir Robert Lauder
to meet Henry’s commissioners, Dacre
and Dr Magnus, and to labour for
the satisfactory adjustment of all dis­
putes upon the Borders. At the same
time, John Duplanis, a French envoy,
was commissioned to renew the terms
for an agreement, which had been for­
merly offered to the queen, and which
this ill-advised princess once more in­
dignantly repelled.

The regent instantly advanced to
the Borders, where it was expected
the ’Earl of Home would be able to
make some serious resistance; but
the power of this dreaded chief melted
away before the formidable array of
Albany: he was taken prisoner; com­
mitted to the charge of the Earl of
Arran; found means to seduce his
keeper, not only to favour, but to ac­
company his escape; and fled to Eng­
land, whither he was soon after fol­
lowed by the queen and Angus.1 No
step could have been adopted more
favourable to the intrigues of Henry;
and the fugitives were received by
Lord Dacre with open arms. The
queen, shortly before this, had ad­
dressed a letter to Albany, in which
she attempted a vindication of her
conduct; necessity had compelled her,
she asserted, to forsake her country,
not without fears for her life; she
protested against the conduct of the
regent, and claimed, as a right con­
ferred on her by the will of the late
king, her husband, (a deed which had
received the Papal confirmation,) the
government of the kingdom, and the
tutelage of the infant monarch.2 The

1 Dacre and Dr Magnus to Henry the
Eighth, Harbottle, 18th October. Caligula,
b. vi. 110.

2 Caligula, b. vi. 119. The Queen of Scots
to the Duke of Albany, 10th October. Har-


first pretence was ridiculous; for since
his arrival in Scotland, Margaret had
been treated by Albany with in­
variable respect. To the second re­
quest the council of Scotland returned
the answer, that by her second mar­
riage, Margaret, according to the terms
of the royal will, had forfeited all right
to the tutelage of her son; whilst the
disposal of the government could
neither be affected by the will of a
deceased monarch, nor the sanction of
a living Pope, but belonged to the
three estates, who had conferred it
upon the Duke of Albany.3

That nobleman, notwithstanding the
infatuation of the mother of his sove­
reign, was still anxious to make a last
effort for a compromise; he addressed
two letters to her on the same day :
the first, a manifesto from the council;
the other, a private communication,
written with his own hand. The
terms of both were moderate, and
even indulgent. The council implored
her to awake to her duty; declared
their aversion to all rigorous measures;
besought her to come back amongst
them; and, as an inducement, pro­
mised that she should enjoy the dis­
posal of all benefices within her dowry
lands, a benefice to her late councillor,
Gawin Douglas; and, lastly, the guar­
dianship of her children, if she would
solemnly promise that they should
not be carried out of the kingdom.
These proposals the queen imprudently
rejected; for what reasons, does not
clearly appear. An acute historian4
pronounces them too specious to be
honest; but Albany’s whole conduct
shews them to have been sincere,
although Margaret, acting under the
influence of Angus, Home, and Arran,
had been taught to regard them with
suspicion. Immediate acceptance of
them was indeed impossible, for within
eight days after she had taken refuge
in England the queen bore a daughter
to Angus, the Lady Margaret Douglas,
the future mother of the weak and
unfortunate Darnley; at the same

3 Council of Scotland, 13th October 1515.
Caligula, b. vi. 120. “ Madame, we com­
mend our humyle service to your grace,”

4 Pinkerton, vol. ii. p. 151.


306                                   HISTORY OF SCOTLAND.                      [Chap. VII.

time her husband entered into a
private bond with Home and Arran,
by which they engaged, for themselves,
their vassals, and supporters, to resist
the regent, and to deliver their infant
sovereign from the suspected guar­
dianship in which he was held by
those who then ruled in Scotland.
This agreement, which was dated
15th of October 1515, although it bears
no express reference to England, ap­
pears to have been concluded under
the direction of Lord Dacre.1

Nothing now remained for Albany
but to exercise with firmness the
authority which had been committed
to him; yet, although the conduct of
those who leagued themselves against
the government compelled him to
measures of just severity, he evinced
an anxiety for conciliation. The flight
of Arran rendered it necessary for
him to seize the castles of a rebel;
but when, at Hamilton, his mother
presented herself before the regent,
and passionately interceded for her
son, he received the matron, who was
a daughter of James the Second, with
the respect due to her royal descent,
and assured her of forgiveness, could
she prevail on him to return to his
allegiance; nor was he forgetful of
his promise, for Arran, a nobleman of
a weak and vacillating, though ambi­
tious character, renounced the league
with Angus as precipitately as he had
embraced it, and was immediately
received into favour. At this moment
the Duke of Ross, the infant brother
of the king, was seized with one of
the diseases incident to his early
years, and died at Stirling,—a circum­
stance which, it was to be expected,
would not be lost upon the queen,
who instantly fulminated against Al­
bany an accusation of poison. So
atrocious a charge fell innoxious upon
the upright character of the regent,
who, although the nearest heir to the
crown, had felt enough of its thorns
to make him rather dread than desire
the kingdom; and the future conduct

1 Caligula, b. vi. 124. Copie of the Bande
made betwixt the Erles of Angus and Arran,
and the Chamberlane of Scotland. Cold-
stream, 15th October 1515.

of Angus and Home, from whose fac­
tion the calumny proceeded, demon­
strates its falsehood. Yet the enmity
of Gawin Douglas, the accomplished
Bishop of Dunkeld, did not hesitate,
in 1522, to repeat the story.

These events were followed by a
renewal of the alliance with France ;
and to evince that the governor was
animated by a sincere desire for that
tranquillity which could alone afford
him leisure to compose the troubles
of the country, Duplanis, the French
ambassador, and Dunbar, archdean of
St Andrews, were sent to meet the
English commissioners at Coldingham
for the negotiation of a peace between
the two countries. At this moment
Henry earnestly desired such an event;
the success of Francis the First, at the
battle of Marignano, had given to this
prince the whole Milanese, and roused
the jealousy of Wolsey, who now
directing, but with no profound policy,
the councils of England, prevailed on
his master and the emperor to enter
into a league for the expulsion of the
French from Italy. It was necessary,
therefore, to be secure on the side of
Scotland; and although a general
peace could not be then concluded,
the truce between the kingdoms was
renewed.2 Home and Angus, whose
conduct had been dictated by the
selfishness of disappointed ambition,
were awakened by these prudent
measures to the desperate state of
their affairs; and soon after, with­
drawing themselves from the queen,
who lay dangerously ill at Morpeth,
they retired into Scotland, where, re­
stored once more to their hereditary
possessions, they for a time abstained
from all opposition to the government.
The facility with which these nobles
appear to have procured their pardon,
was in the regent perhaps more gene­
rous than prudent; but it evinces the
sincerity of his desire for the welfare
of the country, and seems completely
to refute those charges of insatiate
avarice and profuse dissipation raised
against him by the malice of his ene­
mies, and too hastily retailed by a

2 Rymer, vol. xiii. p. 549.

1515-16.]                                         JAMES V.                                                   307

historian of this period.1 For the
conduct of Home, the queen found
some excuse, but to be thus deserted
at her utmost need by a husband for
whom she had sacrificed her royal
pomp and power, was an ungrateful
return for her love, which Margaret’s
proud spirit never forgave. She
waited only for her recovery to fly to
the English court, where she loaded
Albany and Angus with reproaches,
imploring her royal brother to inter­
fere for the preservation of her son,
and her restoration to those rights
which in truth had been forfeited
solely by her own imprudence.

Nor was Henry deaf to her en­
treaties; overlooking the conciliatory
principles which marked the govern­
ment of Albany, and which, in spite
of the bribery and intrigues of Dacre,
had received the support of the people,
this monarch directed a letter to the
three estates, in which, in no mea­
sured terms, he called upon them not
only to remove that nobleman from
the regency and the care of the king’s
person, but to expel him from the
kingdom; upon the ground that, as
the nearest heir to the throne, he was
the most suspicious person to whom
so sacred a charge could be committed.
To this extraordinary epistle, which
was laid before them in a parliament
assembled at Edinburgh, on the first
of July 1516, the estates returned
a decided answer. They reminded
Henry that the Duke of Albany was
governor by their own deliberate
choice, expressed in a general council
of the nation held immediately after
the coronation of their youthful sove­
reign. He had undertaken, they said,
this high and responsible office, which,
by the canon law, belonged to him as
nearest relative to the infant king,
not from his own wishes, but at their
earnest request. He had left the ser­
vice of France, and his estates and
honours in that country, with reluct­
ance ; he had fulfilled its duties with

1 Pinkerton, (vol. ii. p. 155,) who without
considering its suspicious tenor, gives im­
plicit belief to the Memorial of Gawin Doug­
las, (Caligula, b. iii. 309,) and to the “Wrongs "
of the queen, (Caligula, b. ii. 211:) an original
signed by “ Margaret.”

much talent and integrity; and they
declared that, so essential did they
consider his remaining at the head of
affairs to the national happiness, that,
were he willing, they would not permit
him to escape his duties, or to leave
the country. With regard to the
anxiety expressed for the safety of the
infant monarch, they observed that it
appeared wholly misplaced in the pre­
sent instance, as the person of the
sovereign was intrusted to the keeping
of the same lords to whose care he
had been committed by his mother
the queen; whilst they concluded
with great firmness and dignity, by
assuring the English monarch that it
was their determination to resist with
their lives every attempt to disturb
the peace of the realm, or endanger
the security of the present govern­

This spirited epistle might have con­
vinced Henry of the folly of his ambi­
tion to become the chief ruler in the
kingdom of his nephew; but although
the haughtiness with which he had
disclosed his intentions had for the
moment defeated his design, and united
against him the discordant elements of
the Scottish aristocracy, it was not
long before the intrigues of his minis­
ter, Lord Dacre, succeeded in creating
distrust and disturbance, and once
more reinstating in its strength the
English faction in Scotland. The.
means and agents by which this was
effected were as base as they were suc­
cessful. From an original letter of the
warden himself, addressed to Wolsey,
we learn that he had in his pay four
hundred Scots, whose chief employ­
ment was to distract the government
of Albany by exciting popular tumults,
encouraging private quarrels, and re­
kindling the jealousy of the higher
nobles. “I labour and study all I
can,” says he, “ to make division and
debate to the intent that, if the duke
will not apply himself, that then de­
bate may grow that it shall be impos­
sible for him to do justice; and for
that intended purpose I have the Mas­
ter of Kilmaurs kept in my house
secretly, which is one of the greatest
Rymer, Fœdera, vol. xiii. p. 550.

303                                    HISTORY OF SCOTLAND.                     [Chap. VII.

parties in Scotland. . . . And also,”
he adds, “ I have secret messages from
the Earl of Angus and others, . . .
and also four hundred outlawes, and
giveth them rewards that burneth and
destroyeth daily in Scotland, all being
Scotsmen that should be under the
obedience of Scotland,”1 Such was
the commencement by Dacre of that
shameful system for the fostering of
internal commotions, by the agency of
spies and the distribution of bribes
amongst the nobles, which was con­
tinued by Sir Ralph Saddler, and after-
wards brought to perfection by Lord
Burleigh under Elizabeth. It is to
this cause, and not, as has generally
been believed, to any fault or gross
mismanagement upon the part of the
regent, that we must ascribe the misery
of the country. Albany was sup­
ported by the affection and confidence
of the middle classes, and the great
body of the nation; but their influ­
ence was counteracted, and his efforts
completely paralysed, by the selfish
rapacity of the clergy, and the insolent
ambition of the aristocracy.2 Scarcely
had Arran returned to his allegiance,
when he entered into a new combina­
tion with Lennox, Glencairn, Mure of
Caldwell, and other barons, with the
apparent object of wresting from the
regent that share of the government
to which Arran not unjustly deemed
himself entitled, by his affinity to the
royal family, but for which his vacil­
lating character totally incapacitated
him. The rebellion at first assumed a
serious aspect: the castle of Glasgow,
belonging to Beaton, archbishop of
that see, and which was important
from its being the depôt of the king’s
artillery, was stormed and plundered
by Mure, who enriched himself by the
spoil, and retained it for Arran; 3 but
the promptitude and energy of Albany,

1 Letter, Dacre to Wolsey, 23d August
1516. Caligula, b. i. 150, published by Sir
Heniy Ellis, in his valuable Collection of
Letters, vol. i. p. 131, first series.

2 To this observation there were a few ex­
ceptions, but these had little influence where
the majority were corrupted.

3 Mure of Caldwell had married Lady Jane
Stewart, sister to the Earl of Lennox. MS.
document, in possession of William Mure,
Esq. of Caldwell.

who instantly assembled an army and
marched to the spot, overawed the
conspirators and compelled them to
submit to terms. The fortress was
surrendered. Beaton the primate em­
ployed his influence to obtain the par­
don of Arran with his associate earls;
and Albany, who often erred on the
side of leniency, once more received
them to the peace of the king; whilst
Mure, an able and turbulent baron,
who was nearly connected with Len­
nox, profiting by the commotion, con­
tinued to excite disturbances in the
west country.

It had been under the condition of
his renouncing all secret intercourse
with Henry the Eighth, and residing
peaceably on his estates, that Albany
had extended forgiveness to Home.
But it soon became apparent that the
attempt to secure his adherence to the
government was hopeless. His corre­
spondence with Dacre was renewed;
bands of hired marauders, known to
be followers of the Scottish earl, and in
the pay of England, broke across the
marches, and ravaged the country with
unexampled boldness and ferocity.
Murders, rapine, fire-raising, and every
species of outrage, threatened the
total dissolution of society; and it be­
came necessary either to vindicate the
laws by an example of instantaneous
severity, or weakly to abandon the
government to the anarchy by which
it was invaded. Under these circum­
stances, Home and his brother, either
trusting to Albany’s ignorance of their
correspondence, or inveigled by his
promises, imprudently visited the
court, and were instantly apprehended.
Much obscurity hangs over the trial
which followed; and if we may believe
some of our historians, the charge of
having excited the late commotions
against the regent, was mingled with
a more atrocious accusation of being
accessary to the defeat at Flodden, and
the death of the late king. That this
last imputation was unfounded, seems
to be proved by sufficient evidence;
but the truth of the first was notori­
ous, and could be established by a
multiplicity of witnesses. The lord
chamberlain was accordingly found

1516.]                                        JAMES V.                                              309

guilty : against his brother the same
sentence was pronounced; and both
were executed without delay, their
heads being afterwards exposed above
the Tolbooth, or public prison of the
capital.1 Ker of Ferniehirst,2 one of
their chief followers and a baron of
great power on the marches, was also
tried and condemned, but respited by
the regent, who instantly led a power­
ful force to Jedburgh, and, by a judi­
cious severity, reduced the unquiet
districts on the Border to a state of
temporary repose. The office of cham­
berlain was bestowed upon Lord Flem­
ing, a nobleman of tried fidelity, whilst
the French knight, De la Bastie, who
was much in the confidence of the re­
gent, and possessed of equal courage
and experience, became warden of the
east Borders,—an appointment deeply
resented by the friends of Home, who
secretly meditated, and at length ac­
complished a cruel revenge.

On his return to Edinburgh, Albany
assembled the parliament. Its princi­
pal business was the disposal of a
singular claim presented by his step­
brother Alexander Stewart, which,
had it been supported by the three
estates, must have excluded him from
the regency. Stewart was the eldest
son of Alexander, duke of Albany, the
regent’s father, by his first marriage
with a daughter of the Earl of Orkney;
but it was now declared that this
marriage had been pronounced unlaw­
ful by a vote of a former parliament,
and on this ground the title of Albany,
the eldest son by a second marriage,
was confirmed as the second person in
the realm, and nearest heir to the
crown.3 Not long after, Francis de
Bordeaux, ambassador from the court
of France, arrived in Scotland; and
the expectations of the regent and the
parliament were sanguine as to the as­
sistance about to be derived from this
country against the continued efforts
of Henry the Eighth. It was soon,

1 Lesley, Hist. Bannatyne edit. p. 107.
The chamberlain suffered on the 8th, and his
brother on the 9th of October 1516.

2 The castle of Ferniehirst is on the river Jed.

3 Acts of the Parliament of Scotland, vol. ii.
p. 283. Keith’s Catalogue of Bishops, p. 83.
Pinkerton, vol. ii. p. 161,

however, discovered that the policy of
that kingdom towards Scotland had
undergone a considerable change. The
treaty of Noyon, concluded on the
26th of August 1516, between Francis
the First and the King of Spain, had
secured to the former monarch his
conquests in Italy : the Emperor Maxi­
milian, after an ineffectual attempt to
wrest from him the Duchy of Milan,
had been compelled to retire and ac­
cede to its provisions; whilst to France
the single difficulty remained of re­
moving the enmity of Henry the
Eighth. It is this object which ex­
plains the coldness of Francis to his
ancient allies, the Scots. They had
claimed a restitution of the county
of Xaintonge, originally assigned by
Charles the Seventh to James the First
in 1428; but their demand was evaded ;
they had requested the aid of France
against England ; it was not only re­
fused, but an advice added, recom­
mending the regent to conclude a peace
with that country upon the first occa­
sion which offered; nay, not content
with this startling dereliction of those
principles upon the permanence of
which Albany had too securely rested,
the French monarch refused to ratify
the alliance between France and Scot­
land, which had been renewed by his
ambassador Duplanis and the Scottish
council of regency within a year after
the death of James the Fourth.

We are not to wonder that such
conduct increased, in no small degree,
the difficulties which already embar­
rassed the regent. His conduct in his
high office had been marked by ability
and disinterestedness. He had main­
tained the independence of Scotland
by resisting the rude dictation of
Henry; but he shewed every desire
to cultivate peace with England upon
a fair basis : he had punished, with a
severity to which he was compelled by
their frequent repetition, the treasons
of Home, and the excesses of the
Borders; he had shewn the utmost
anxiety to recall the queen-mother to
her country and her duties, provided
such an event could be accomplished
without endangering the safety of the
young monarch; and the confidence in

310                                     HISTORY OF SCOTLAND.                    [Chap. VII.

his administration which was expressed
by parliament, had given a decided re­
futation to the injurious attacks of his
enemies. But these enemies were still
powerful: the money of England and
the intrigues of Dacre continued to
seduce many venal persons amongst
the Scottish nobles : their vassals were
encouraged to weaken the government
by spoliations, private feuds, and every
species of unlicensed oppression; whilst
every attempt to introduce into the
great body of the aristocracy a princi­
ple of cordial union, which might at
once secure the integrity of the coun­
try and promote their own interests,
was broken by the selfishness and ra­
pacity of their leaders. Under such
disheartening circumstances, the regent
had looked to the support of France,
as a counterpoise to the concealed at­
tacks of England ; but this was now
about to be withdrawn;1 and in the
parliament which assembled in Novem­
ber 1516, to deliberate upon the com­
munication of the French ambassador,
Albany, with much earnestness, re­
quested permission of the three estates
to revisit France for a short period.

From all who were interested in the
welfare of the country, this proposal
met with a vigorous opposition. They
contended, and with plausibility, that
the absence of the governor would be
the signal for the return of the anar­
chy and confusion which had preceded
his arrival, and that, having accepted
the regency under an act of the three
estates which declared him the nearest
heir to the throne, it was his duty to
remain in the country, to share the
labour and responsibility of that sta­
tion : they hinted that, should he now
leave Scotland, his return to the office
of regent could not, and perhaps ought
not to be guaranteed to him; and they
anticipated the renunciation of the al­
liance with France, and the certain
triumph of the English faction.2 In
such predictions there was much wis­
dom ; yet Albany, who was intent on
revisiting his foreign estates, a pro­
ceeding to which he was invited by a

1 Epistolæ Reg. Scot. vol. i. pp. 243, 248.
Calig. b. vi. 138. “ Clarencieux,” to “ My
Lord Cardinal; dated Alnwick,” 31st Nov.

private message brought by La Fay-
ette from the French king, at length
extorted an unwilling consent from
the parliament. His leave of ab­
sence, however, extended only to four
months, and in this interval the ma­
nagement of the government was in­
trusted to a council of regency, con­
sisting of the prelates of St Andrews
and Glasgow, with the Earls of Hunt-
ly, Argyle, Angus, and Arran. The
young king was brought to Edinburgh
castle, and intrusted to the keeping of
Lord Erskine and the Earl Marshal.
Prior to his departure, the Bishop of
Dunkeld, and Panter, the secretary,
were despatched on an embassy to the
French court; and he himself, eager
to revisit the land which was endeared
to him by all the recollections of his
former life, embarked at Dumbarton
on the 7th of June.3

Some time before this it had been
arranged in parliament that the queen-
mother should be permitted to revisit
Scotland, under the condition that she
should abstain from all interference
with the authority of Albany; and
this princess, whose intrigues and am­
bition had occasioned so much distress
to the country, the moment she heard
of the arrival of the governor in France,
set out for the Scottish capital, ac­
companied by a slender train, more
befitting her misfortunes than her
rank. At Lamberton Kirk, the same
familiar spot where, fourteen years be­
fore, she had been received by the
Scottish nobles, the blooming bride
of her sovereign, she was met by An­
gus, Morton, and De la Bastie; but on
her arrival in Edinburgh was not per­
mitted to visit her son the king. It
was soon after understood that the
plague had made its appearance in the
capital, and his guardians took the
precaution of removing the young mo­
narch to Craigmillar, where, relaxing
in their rigour, his mother was in­
dulged with occasional interviews; but
a report having arisen that a secret
project had been formed for his being
carried into England, (an attempt
which the former conduct of the
queen rendered it exceedingly likely
Lesley, p. 109. Caligula, b. vi. 107.

1517.]                                                JAMES V.                                                  311

would be repeated,) it was thought
proper once more to restore him to
the security of his original residence.1
To insure, if possible, the contin­
uance of quiet to the country during
his absence, Albany had carried along
with him, as hostages, the eldest sons
of many of the noblest families, whilst
he had committed the principal com­
mand upon the Borders, at all times
the most distracted and lawless por­
tion of the country, to the chivalrous
and polished De la Bastie, whose tal­
ents in the field and in the cabinet
were still higher than his accomplish­
ments in the lists. The title of lieu­
tenant, or deputy of the governor, was
likewise conferred on him, and he was
intrusted with the invidious and deli­
cate task of transmitting to the absent
regent reports upon the conduct of the
Scottish Border chiefs. The friends
and vassals of the Earl of Home, men
familiar with blood, and who esteemed
revenge a sacred duty, had never for­
given Albany the execution of this
powerful and popular rebel, and they
now determined, the moment an occa­
sion offered, that De la Bastie, the
deputy of the governor, should suffer
for the crime of his master. Nor was
this opportunity long of occurring :
keeping his state as warden in the for­
tress of Dunbar, La Bastie exerted
himself with indefatigable diligence
in repressing disorder. On the first
intelligence of any commotion he was
instantly in person on the spot; and
it was out of this fearless activity that
his enemies contrived his ruin. A
plot to entrap him was laid by Home
of Wedderburn, and other Border
chiefs; and, to draw their unsuspect­
ing victim into it, they pretended to
besiege the tower of Langton.2 On
receiving intelligence of this outrage,
De la Bastie, with some French knights
in his train, galloped towards the scene
of commotion, and ere he was aware

1 Lesley, Hist. p. 109.

2 I have heard that there is a curious MS.
history of the family of Wedderburn, at Wed-
derburn House, which gives some minute and
interesting particulars regarding the murder
of De la Bastie. He was slain by John and
Patrick Home, younger brothers of the Laird
of Wedderburn.

found himself surrounded by the un­
relenting Borderers. Conscious of the
cruel fate which awaited him, he
pushed his horse to speed, and, from
the extraordinary fleetness of the ani­
mal, had nearly escaped, when his ig­
norance of the country unfortunately
led him into a marsh. Every effort
entangled him more deeply; it was in
vain that he struggled to extricate
himself—in vain that he besought his
merciless pursuers, as they valued their
honour as knights, to spare his life and
accept his submission: the only reply
was, insult and mockery ; and, throw­
ing themselves upon him, he was
cruelly murdered. The ferocious Lord
of Wedderburn, exulting in the com­
plete though tardy vengeance, cut off
his head, tied it by its long and plaited
tresses to his saddlebow, and, gallop­
ing into the town of Dunse, affixed the
ghastly trophy on the market-cross.
He then threw himself into his castle,
where for a season he defied the utmost
efforts of the laws.3

The death of La Bastie was a serious
blow to the maintenance of the autho­
rity of Albany; but, although unable
instantly to arrest the perpetrators,
the regents exerted themselves with
considerable vigour. It was suspected
that Angus, or at least his brother, Sir
George Douglas, had been involved in
the guilt of the Homes; and on this
ground Arran, the next in power
amongst the nobles, was appointed
warden of the marches. Without de­
lay he seized Douglas and his accom­
plice, Mark Ker : measures also were
taken for the trial of the Homes, whose
escape might have produced the worst
consequences; and a parliament hav­
ing assembled at Edinburgh on the
19th of February, sentence of forfeit­
ure was passed against all concerned in
the assassination of La Bastie. The
more difficult task remained in the
apprehension of the culprits; but Ar-
ran having assembled a powerful force,
accompanied by the king’s artillery,
an arm of war which the nation owed
to the late monarch, marched against
the insurgents. Ere he had advanced
many miles, however, the rebels be-

3 Lesley, p. 110. Pinkerton, vol. ii. p. 170.

312                                     HISTORY OF SCOTLAND.                    [Chap. VII.

sought his mercy. The keys of the
castle of Home were delivered to him
at Lauder, the fortified houses of Lang-
ton and Wedderburn thrown open, and
the warden, with perhaps too great a
leniency, extended even to the princi­
pal murderers a pardon.

The four months’ absence permitted
by the parliament to Albany had now
expired: but they had been passed in
such unquietness, and the collision of
opposite factions had so much in­
creased, that he preferred the security
and comfort of France to the precari­
ous and thankless power of the re­
gency, and wrote earnestly to the
queen-mother, recommending her, if
she could obtain the concurrence of
the nobles, to resume her former sta­
tion as head of the government.1 But
Margaret, with female weakness, in­
sisted that her husband, Angus, to
whom she had been lately reconciled,
should be nominated regent; a pro­
posal which the Earl of Arran, and the
whole body of the Scottish nobles who
had experienced his insolence and
weakness, resolutely opposed. The
chief power, therefore, continued in
the hands of the regency, and a re­
newal of the truce with England 2
gave some leisure to attend to the
healing of the wounds which still
deeply rankled in the country. Of
these one of the chief was to be found
in the condition of the Isles, where
the rude inhabitants had lately sig­
nalised themseives by unusual violence
and disorder. Under the latter years
of the reign of James the Fourth, these
districts had been unusually tranquil.
It had not been the sole policy of that
monarch to overawe the seditious by
the severity of his measures : he had
endeavoured to humanise them by
education, and to introduce a know­
ledge of the laws, and a respect for
their sanctions; not through the sus-
pected medium of Lowlanders, but by
supporting Highland scholars at the
universities, and afterwards encourag­
ing them to reside permanently within
the bounds of the Isles. It was as an

1 Caligula, b. i. p. 247. Margaret to Lord
Dacre, Lithgow, 13th October.
Rymer, Foedera, vol. xiii, p. 599.

additional means for the accomplish­
ment of this enlightened purpose that
this monarch was ever anxious to get
into his power the sons of the High­
land chiefs, whom he educated at
court; hoping thus to attach them to
his service, and to employ them after­
wards as useful instruments in the
civilisation of their country. With
this view he had secured, in some of
his northern expeditions, the youthful
sons of Sir Alexander Macdonald of
Lochalsh;3 and the eldest of these be­
came a favourite of the monarch. He
restored part of his paternal estate,
conferred on him the distinction of
knighthood, and permitted him fre­
quently to visit the Isles.4 Upon the
death of this sovereign it was soon dis­
covered that these favours had been
thrown away, for scarcely had the
chieftains escaped from the carnage
at Flodden and returned home, when
a rebellion was secretly organised, of
which the object was to restore the
ancient principality of the Isles in the
person of Sir Alexander Macdonald of
Lochalsh. At the head of this insur­
rection was Maclean of Dowart,5 com­
monly called Lauchlan Cattanach, and
Macleod of Dunvegan, who seized the
castles of Carnelreigh and Dunskaich,
and threatened with the extremity of
fire and sword all who resisted the au­
thority of the new Lord of the Isles.
It needed not this fresh source of dis­
organisation to weaken the adminis­
tration of Albany; and although a
commission to put down the insurrec­
tion was early given to the Earl of Ar-
gyle, and his efforts were seconded by
the exertions of Mackenzie of Kintail,
Ewen Alanson, and Monro of Foulis,
the rebellion against the government
spread through Lochaber and western
Ross. Many of the most powerful
families, especially those of Maclean
and Macleod, with the clan Ian Mhor
of Isla, persisted in their resolution to
establish an independent sovereignty;
and it was not till after a considerable

3  An extensive district in Ross-shire.

4 Gregory’s Hist, of the West Highlands
and Isles, p. 106. He was known in the
Highlands by the name of Donald Galda, or
Donald the Foreigner.

5 Dowart Castle in Mull,

1513-19.]                                         JAMES V.                                                   313

interval of tumult and predatory war­
fare that the exertions of Argyle suc­
ceeded in reducing the insurgents, who
were treated with uncommon leniency.
Under assurances of safety, the prin­
cipal leaders repaired to court, and the
chief of Lochalsh procured for himself
and his followers favourable terms of
reconciliation.1 Scarce, however, had
he returned to his remote dominions
when, owing to a feud which he had
long maintained against MacIan of
Ardnamurchan, the flames of civil dis­
cord were again kindled in the Isles,
and the ferocity of private warfare
soon assumed the more serious shape
of rebellion against the state. Ample
powers were again granted to Argyle,
as lieutenant-general over the Isles;
and Maclean of Dowart, lately the chief
supporter of Sir Donald, having pro­
cured a remission for all the crimes
committed by himself and his adher­
ents during the insurrection, not only
deserted his cause, but engaged in hos­
tilities against him with a violence
which declared that nothing but the
utter destruction of the “wicked blood
of the Isles” would restore tranquillity
to the government of his sovereign, or
security to the inhabitants of these re­
mote districts. There seems reason to
believe, however, that the extensive
power granted by the council to Ar-
gyle and Maclean was more nominal
than real; for although broken in his
strength, the indefatigable claimant of
the throne of the Isles remained un­
subdued; and having united his forces
to those of the Macleods and Alex­
ander of Isla, he was strong enough
to attack and entirely defeat his mor­
tal enemy Maclan, at Craiganairgid,
in Morvern. Maclan himself, with
his two sons, were amongst the slain :
the ferocious Islanders, who had a
heavy arrear of blood to settle with
this powerful chief, exulted in the
ample vengeance by which he had
been overtaken; and the consequences
of this victory might have proved seri­
ous had not the rebellion been brought
to an unexpected close by the death
of Sir Donald of Lochalsh, who left no

1 Gregory’s History of the West Highlands,
pp. 114-117.

descendants to dispute the claims of
the throne to the lordship of the Isles.
From this period till the assumption of
the supreme power by James the Fifth,
the principality of the Isles remained
in comparative tranquillity, owing prin­
cipally to the exertions of the Earl of
Argyle, whose activity and loyalty are,
perhaps, to be traced as much to his
ambition of family aggrandisement, as
to any higher patriotic motive.

Although tranquillity was thus re­
stored in these remote districts, the
country continued disturbed. Much
of the disorder was to be traced to the
violence and ambition of Angus, whose
feudal power was too great for a sub­
ject, and whose disappointment in
being refused the regency, delighted
to vent itself in an open defiance of
the laws. For a while his reconcilia­
tion with the queen, to whom, as the
mother of their sovereign, the nation
still looked with affection, imparted a
weight to his faction, which rendered
him a formidable opponent to the re­
gency ; but the fickleness of his attach­
ment, his propensity to low pleasures,
and the discovery of a mistress whom
he had carried off from her friends and
secluded in Douglasdale, once more re­
kindled the resentment of the proud
princess whom he had deserted, and
an open rupture took place. She as­
sumed a high tone, violently upbraided
him for his inconstancy, reminded him
that with misplaced affection she had
even pawned her jewels to support
him in his difficulties, and concluded
by expressing her determination to
sue for a divorce.2

As soon as this resolution, in which
the queen was supported by the most
powerful of the nobles, became known
in England, Henry, who foresaw in its
being carried into effect a deathblow
to his influence in Scotland, opposed it
with his characteristic impetuosity.
He despatched Chatsworth, a friar
who filled the office of minister-gene­
ral of the Observantines in England,
with letters to his sister, and enjoined
him at the same time to remonstrate
against the divorce,—a commission

2 Caligula, b. i. 275. Pinkerton, vol. ii. p.

314                                     HISTORY OF SCOTLAND.                  [Chap. VII.

which he fulfilled with much violence,
declaring that the measure was illegal,
that she was labouring under some
damnable delusion; and insinuating, in
no measured terms, that a strict ex­
amination of her own conduct might
provoke from Angus a counter­charge
of adultery. It is easy to see in all
this a proof that Henry considered
Angus as the head of the English fac­
tion, and that the queen, with the
principal nobles, Arran, Argyle, Len­
nox, Fleming, and Maxwell, had be­
come aware of the importance of a
more cordial union against the intrigue
and domination of England. Such,
however, was the effect of this remon­
strance, that Margaret, if not convinced,
was intimidated; and, against the ad­
vice of her councillors, a reconciliation
took place between her and Angus,
which was as insincere as it was pre­

From these domestic dissensions the
attention of the regency was drawn to
a mission from Christiern the Second,
the Danish king, who earnestly peti­
tioned from his Scottish allies a sub­
sidy of a thousand Highland soldiers,2
to assist him in his Norwegian wars.
With more wisdom, however, than
their late regent, the three estates
eluded the request, on the ground that,
from the uncertain dispositions of Eng­
land, they could reckon little on the
continuance of peace at home, and that
the internal state of their own country
could not at present spare its defenders.
A few years after this, however, the
reiterated requests of the Danish mo­
narch were met by the grant of a
small body of troops, under the com­
mand of Stewart of Ardgowan,3 but
the tyranny of Christiern, and the
piracies of the Danish privateers upon
the fleets of their merchantmen, effec­
tually cooled the zeal of their allies,
and no further auxiliaries appear to
have left the country to the assistance
of the unpopular monarch.

On his return to France, Albany

1 Caligula, b. ii. 333. Dacre to Wolsev,
Harbottle, 22d Oct. Caligula, b. vi. 194.
Chatsworth to the Queen.

2   " Mille Silvestres Scotos.” Epistolæ
Regum Scot. vol. i. p. 302.

3  Ibid. vol. i. pp. 317, 318.

carried with him an authority from
the parliament to superintend the fo­
reign affairs of Scotland; and it is to
his credit that, in the disposal of bene­
fices, at that period one of the most
lucrative sources of peculation, his ap­
plications to the Pope were, without
exception, in favour of natives,—a cir­
cumstance which affords a satisfactory
answer to the accusations which his
enemies have brought against him of
a blamable love of money, and a want
of national feeling. The continued
change in the policy of the French
king now caused the renewal of the
peace with England; and Francis hav­
ing included his allies, the Scots, in
the treaty,4 provided they agreed to its
terms, La Fayette and Cordelle ar­
rived as ambassadors in England, from
whence, in company of Clarencieux
herald, they proceeded into Scotland.
It was now found that without a par­
liament the powers of the council of
regency were insufficient to conclude
this transaction; and the three estates
having assembled, the French ambas­
sador intimated, in no unequivocal
terms, that if this treaty were rejected,
in which his master considered the
prosperity of his kingdom to be in­
volved, his northern allies must no
longer look for the support of France,
—a consideration of such weight that
it was not judged prudent to delay its
acceptance;5 and the prolongation of
the truce between England and Scot­
land, to the 30th November 1520, was
proclaimed at Stirling in presence of
the regents and the French and Eng­
lish ambassadors.

To these wise proceedings the only
opposition which was offered came
from the Earl of Angus. As this
haughty noble, whose great estates and
numerous vassalry rendered him at all
times formidable, increased in years,
his character, throwing off the excesses
of youth, discovered a power and talent
for which his opponents were not pre­
pared, and his ambition, which had

4 Rymer, Fœdera, vol. xiii. p. 627. Octo­
ber 2, 1518.

5 Margaret to Wolsey, Stirling, 26th Dec.
Caligula, b. vi. 270. Pinkerton, vol. ii. p.
178, gives the substance of the queen’s letter,
but misdates it Dec. 17.

1519-20.]                                         JAMES V.                                                   315

hitherto only given occasional distress,
became systematically dangerous to the
government. His faction was nume­
rous, embracing the Earls of Crawford
and Errol, the Lord Glammis, the pre­
lates of St Andrews, Aberdeen, Ork­
ney, and Dunblane, with many other
dignitaries and partisans. On the ar­
rival of the French ambassadors at the
capital, he had made an ineffectual
effort to intrude into the place of
Arran, and undertake the management
of the treaty; but this being peremp­
torily declined, he intercepted them
on their return to England, at the head
of a formidable array of his vassals,
and rudely upbraided them for their
alleged contempt of his authority.1

In the capital his intrigues amongst
the citizens were more successful, and
led to sanguinary results. Arran had
been chosen provost of Edinburgh,—a
situation which was at this period an
object of contest amongst the highest
nobles, and he confidently looked to
his re-election. But on repairing from
Dalkeith, where the court was then
held, to the metropolis, he found the
gates shut against him, and Archibald
Douglas, the uncle of Angus, installed
in the civic chair.2 The partisans of
the lieutenant-general, the title now
given to Arran, attempted to force
their entrance, but were repulsed with
bloodshed; and Gawin, a carpenter,
the friend of Angus, and the principal
leader of the tumult, was slain by Sir
James Hamilton, commonly called the
bastard of Arran. About the same
time, Home of Wedderburn, whose
wife was the sister of Angus, and whose
hands had been recently stained by the
blood of De la Bastie, added the guilt
of sacrilege to murder by assassinating
the Prior of Coldingham, with six of
his family, and thus making way for
the intrusion of William Douglas, the
brother of Angus, who instantly seized
the priory. When such were the steps
of ecclesiastical promotion, and such
the character of the dignitaries who
ascended them, we are scarcely to

1 Lesley, Bannatyne edit. p. 114. 21 Cali-
gula, b. ii. 264. Dacre to Wolsey, 10th Dec.

2 Dacre to Wolsey. 10th Dec. Ibid.

wonder that respect for the hierarchy
did not form a feature in the age.
But to this censure it must be allowed
that there were eminent exceptions;
and a remarkable one is to be found in
the learned, pious, and venerable Dun-
bar, bishop of Aberdeen, who, living
himself in primitive simplicity, refused
to expend the minutest portion of his
revenues upon his personal wants, and
entirely devoted them to works of pub­
lic utility and extensive charity.3

Amid much intestine commotion,
Arran and the lords of the regency
vainly attempted to exercise their pre­
carious authority, and it would be
fruitless to enumerate the individual
excesses which were constantly occur­
ring in a country torn by contending
factions, and groaning under the mise­
ries incident to a feudal minority.
But, upon the meeting of a parliament
which had been summoned for the
healing of these disturbances, a scene
occurred which is too characteristic to
be omitted. The capital, where the
estates were to assemble, had been
partially abandoned by the partisans
of Angus, who retained as a body­
guard only four hundred spearmen;
whilst, in consequence of a recom­
mendation transmitted by Albany the
late regent, which wisely directed that,
for the public peace, no person of the
name of Hamilton or Douglas should
be chosen provost, Archibald Douglas
had resigned that dignity, and Robert
Logan had been elected in his place.
The party of Angus were thus greatly
weakened in the city, and Arran, the
governor, mustered in such strength,
that his friends, of whom Beaton, the
archbishop of Glasgow and chancellor
of the kingdom, was the principal,
deemed that the opportunity of reduc­
ing the overgrown power of Angus was
too favourable to be neglected. For
the discussion of their designs a coun­
cil of the principal leaders was held in
the church of the Black Friars, where
Gawin Douglas, the celebrated Bishop
of Dunkeld, appeared as a peacemaker
between the contending factions. Ad­
dressing himself to Beaton, the pri­
mate, who wore a coat of mail under
Lesley, History, p. 112.

316                                    HISTORY OF SCOTLAND.                     [Chap. VII.

his linen rocquet, he earnestly remon­
strated against their intention of ar­
resting Angus, and so warmly urged
his entreaty, that Beaton, suddenly
striking his hand on his breast, de­
clared on his conscience that they had
no hostile intentions, or at least that
he was ignorant of their existence.
“ Alas, my lord,” said Douglas, as the
steel plates of Beaton’s armour rang
to the blow, “ I perceive your con­
science clatters.” The spirited appeal
of Douglas, however, had nearly suc­
ceeded, and Sir Patrick Hamilton, the
brother of the governor, had agreed to
become umpire, when Hamilton of
Finnart, a man distinguished for his
ferocity, upbraided him with coward­
ice in declining the combat; and
pointed to the spearmen of Angus,
who, being joined by a band of Bor­
derers, under Home of Wedderburn,
had arrayed themselves in a formidable
phalanx upon the causeway. It was a
reproach which the proud spirit of
Hamilton could not bear. “ Bastard
smaik”l said he, “ I shall fight this
day where thou darest not be seen.”
Upon which he rushed into the street,
followed by a few of his retainers, and
threw himself, sword in hand, upon the
ranks of the spearmen, whilst Angus
pressing forward slew him on the
spot, and fiercely assaulted his follow­
ers, most of whom fell pierced by the
long pikes of the Borderers : all for­
bearance was now at an end; and the
conflict becoming general, the party of
Arran, after a fierce resistance, were
entirely routed, the chief himself being
chased out of the city, and Beaton
compelled to fly for safety behind the
high altar of the church of the Domi­
nican convent.2 Even this sanctuary
was not enough to screen him from
the ferocity of the soldiers, who tore
off his rocquet, and would have slain
him on the spot, but for the timely
interference of his rival prelate, the
Bishop of Dunkeld.

1 Smaik, a silly mean fellow.

2 “ Considering that th’ Erle of Anguisse
slew Sir Patrick Hamilton, brother to the
said Erle of Arayn (with) his own hand, in­
tending also to have killed him if he could.”
Letter, Wolsey to the Duke of Norfolk. Cali-
gula, b. i. 326, 327.

Angus now remained master of the
capital, and for some months appears
to have ruled its proceedings with a
boldness which defied the authority
of the governor and the restraint of
the laws. The heads of Home and
his brother, which, since their execu­
tion, had remained exposed on the
front of the public prison, were re­
moved, masses said for their souls,
and their obsequies celebrated with
great solemnity.3 A sudden attempt
was soon after made to seize the
governor and the chancellor, who,
with some of their party, had deter­
mined to meet at Stirling, but receiv­
ing intelligence of their danger, they
hastily dispersed; and Angus, whose
private affairs required his presence in
the extensive district which owned
his authority, by retiring thither
gave a temporary respite to the coun­

It was still the interest of Francis
the First to cultivate the amity of
England. His influence with Wolsey
had already procured the restitution
of Tournay, and his hopes were high
that the more important city of Calais,
might, ere long, be restored to France,
—a policy which affords a key to his
transactions with Scotland. Stuart,
lord of Aubigny, and Duplanis were
despatched as his ambassadors to that
country, and the advice which, by
their master’s orders, they tendered
to the Scottish estates, was strikingly
at variance with the former policy of
France, and the feelings of a great
proportion of the Scottish nobles.
The necessity of maintaining peace
with England, the prolongation of the
truce, and the evil consequences which
would result from the return of Albany,
were earnestly insisted on. It was
added that Francis could never con­
sent to his leaving France, and once
more rekindling, with all their ancient
intensity, the flames of internal dis­
cord in Scotland, whilst no effort was
left untried by the ambassadors to
reconcile the differences between the
French and English parties, and to
re-establish the peace of the coun-

3 Lesley, Hist. p. 116. Lindsay, Hist. pp.
120, 121. Buchanan, xiv, 12.

1520-1.]                                 JAMES V.                                        817

try.1 To effect this, however, exceeded
the skill of these French diplomatists.
The hatred of the queen-dowager to
her husband Angus, was now too deep
to admit even the semblance of a re­
conciliation; her temper, which par­
took of her brother’s violence, resented
his imperious mandates; and as Dacre
and Wolsey, who regarded Angus as
the pillar of the English interest, be­
gan to treat her with coldness, Mar­
garet, not unnaturally, was induced to
look to France, in whose policy towards
England a very sudden revolution now
took place, in consequence of the elec­
tion of Charles the Fifth to the im­
perial throne. The political treachery
of Wolsey, whose personal ambition
had become incompatible with the
continuance of his devotion to Francis,
is well known to the student of Euro­
pean history ; and one of its immediate
effects was the reconciliation of Albany
and the queen-dowager, who, by a
letter under her own hand, entreated
his return to Scotland,2 anticipating,
by a union of their parties, the com­
plete submission of the kingdom to
their authority. It was even rumoured
that Albany had employed his interest
at the Papal court to procure the
queen’s divorce from Angus, with the
design of offering her his hand; whilst
a still more ridiculous report was cir­
culated, of which it is difficult to trace
the origin, that the young king had
been conveyed to England, and that
the boy to whom royal honours were
then paid in Stirling was a plebeian
child, which had been substituted in
his place.

In the meantime, Angus, whose
nomination as one of the regents gave
him a title to interfere in the govern­
ment, effectually counteracted the
superior authority of Arran; and,
strong in his partisans and vassals, he
gained a weight in the councils of go­
vernment, which was maintained with
much arrogance. All things, there­
fore, seemed to urge upon the queen’s
party the necessity of immediate
action; and as the open accession of

1 Caligula, b. vi. 140. Instructions à Monr.
Robert Estuard, Seigneur d’Aubigny.
Caligula, b. ii. 105. Margaret to Dacre.

Henry the Eighth to the interests of
the emperor, by dissolving the ties
between that monarch and the French
king, had removed every impediment
to the departure of Albany, this noble­
man set sail from France, and arrived
in Scotland on the 19th of November,
disembarking from the Gareloch in
Lennox; from thence he proceeded to
Stirling,3 where he was immediately
joined by the queen, and welcomed by
that princess, whose affections were as
violent as her resentments, with an
indiscreet familiarity, which gave rise
to reports injurious to her honour.
Lord Dacre, in a letter to his sovereign,
represents her as closeted with Albany,
not only during the day, but the
greater part of the night, and careless
of all appearances; whilst he refers
his majesty to the Bishop of Dunkeld,
then at the English court, for a con­
firmation of the intimacy which existed
between them.4 Whatever truth we
are to attach to these accusations, to
which the character of the queen
gives some countenance, the immedi­
ate effects of Albany’s arrival were
highly important. It was an event
which reunited the discordant fac­
tions, and gave the promise of some­
thing like a settled government. The
nobility crowded to the palace to wel­
come his arrival, and he soon after
entered the capital, accompanied by
the queen and the chancellor, and
with such a show of strength, that the
party of Angus precipitately deserted
the city; he then proceeded to the
castle, where he was admitted to an
interview with the young king, on
which occasion the captain delivered
the keys of the fortress into his hands;
these, the regent with much devotion,
laid at the feet of the queen-dowager,
and she again presented them to
Albany, intimating, that she con­
sidered him the person to whose tried
fidelity the custody of the monarch
ought to be intrusted.5

Albany, thus once more reinstated,

3 Caligula, b. vi. 204, dorso. Instructions
and Commission for my Lord of Dunkeld.

4 Caligula, b. vi. 204, 205, dorso.

5 Instructions. Angus to Dunkeld. Cali­
gula, b. vi. 204. Pinkerton, vol. ii. p. 188,

318                                    HISTORY OF SCOTLAND.                     [Chap. VII.

after an interval of five years, in the
precarious honour of the regency,
summoned a parliament to meet
within a short period at Edinburgh,
and fulminated a citation against the
Douglases to appear in that assembly,
and reply to the weighty charges to be
brought against them; but although
determined to put down with a firm
hand these enemies of the state, the
regent was anxious for peace with
England. The principles of his go­
vernment, of which the venality of the
Scottish nobles, and the intrigues of
Dacre, the minister of Henry, alone
prevented the development, were, to
maintain the ancient independence of
Scotland, and, whilst he dismissed all
dreams of conquest or glory, to resist
that secret influence, by which the
English monarch, for his own ambitious
designs, sought to govern a kingdom,
in whose administration he had no
title to interfere. The means by
which he sought to accomplish these
ends were, to reunite the discordant
elements of the Scottish aristocracy,
to persuade the queen-mother that her
interest and those of her son the king
were one and the same, and to open
immediately a diplomatic correspon­
dence with England, in which he
trusted to convince that power of the
uprightness and sincerity of his inten­

But the difficulties which presented
themselves, even on the threshold of
his schemes, were great. Dacre, one
of the most crafty diplomatists in the
political school of Henry the Eighth,
had no intentions of renouncing the
hold he had so long maintained for his
master over the Scottish affairs ; he
reckoned with confidence on the im­
petuous temper and capricious affec­
tions of the queen-dowager, he was
familiar with the venality of the nobles,
and he knew that the means he pos­
sessed of disturbing the government
were many and powerful.1 He there-

1 In a letter from Wolsey to Henry, Novem­
ber 1521, the secret and insidious policy of
Henry towards Scotland is strikingly laid
down. " Nevertheless, to cause him not only to
take a more vigilant eye to the demeanour of
the Scots, as well within Scotland as without,
and to be more diligent, hereafter, in writing

fore entered into a correspondence
with Albany and the queen, with con­
fident anticipations of success; but
for the moment he was disappointed;
he had not reckoned on the strength
of their united parties, and, baffled in
his efforts, his anger vented itself in
accusations of the grossest and darkest
nature against the governor. In the
letters addressed to his royal master
and to Wolsey, he represented the re-
gent’s intimacy with the queen as
scandalous and adulterous; it was re­
ported, he said, that they had endea­
voured, by a high bribe, and in con­
templation of their marriage, to induce
Angus to consent to a divorce; that
Albany evidently looked to the throne;
and that some men did not scruple to
affirm that the life of the young mon­
arch was in danger. It may be con­
jectured that, although Dacre repeats
these as the rumours which had be­
gun to circulate amongst the people,
he was himself the principal author
from whom they emanated.

Such were the secret practices by
which this busy political agent, and
the creatures whom, on another occa­
sion, he mentions as being in his pay,
endeavoured to bring into disrepute
the government of Albany; but for
the present they were too gross to be
successful. The only portion of truth
which was to be found in them related
probably to the governor’s intrigue
with the queen, which the licentious
manners of the times, and the well-
know gallantries of that princess, ren­
dered by no means an improbable
event. That Albany had any design
of marriage, that he was ambitious of
the royal power, or that he contem­
plated the atrocious crime by which
he must have ascended the throne, are
calumnies refuted by the whole tenor
of his former and subsequent life.

to your grace and me, but also favourably to
entertain the Homes and other rebels, after
his accustumable manner, so that they may
continue the divisions and sedition in Scot­
land, whereby the said Duke of Albany may,
at his coming hither, be put in danger ; and
though some money be employed for the en­
tertainment of the said Homes and rebels, it
will quit the cost at length.”—State Papers,
published by Government, p. 91.

1521-2.]                                           JAMES V.                                                   319

The best practical answer, indeed,
to these imputations was the success
and popularity of his government.
Angus, whose power had been too in­
tolerable for the council of regency,
with his adherents, Home and Somer-
ville, were compelled to fly for secu­
rity to the kirk of Steyle, a retreat
whose obscurity denotes the contempt
into which they had fallen. From
this place they engaged in a negotia­
tion with Henry, which was managed
by the celebrated Douglas, bishop of
Dunkeld, a keen and unscrupulous
partisan of his nephew Angus.1 This
prelate was empowered to visit Dacre
on his journey to England, and after­
wards, in a personal interview with
Henry, to explain to that monarch the
political state of Scotland, and the al­
leged excesses of the regent. These,
there is reason to believe, he had every
disposition to exaggerate; and in con­
sulting the original papers which he
has left, and the diplomatic correspon­
dence of Lord Dacre, the historian
who is anxious to arrive at the truth,
must recollect that he is perusing the
evidence of partisans who were entirely
devoted to the English interest, and
whose object it was to reduce the
country under the complete control
of the English monarch. It is, there­
fore, with some distrust that we must
listen to the accusation brought against
the regent of a profligate venality in
the disposal of ecclesiastical patronage,
when we recollect his different con­
duct at a time when his actions could
be closely watched, and the tempta-

1 “The Instructions and Commission for
my Lord of Dunkeld to be shewen to the
king’s grace of England “ is a curious docu­
ment. It is preserved in the British Museum,
[Caligula, b. vi. 204,J and commences with
the following startling accusation:—“Item
first, ye shall shaw how the Duk of Albany is
com to Skotland, and throw his pretended
title that he has to the crown, it is presumed,
he havand the kepand of the king our soveran
lord, your nephew, and the reull of his realme
and subjects, [there] is grete suspicion and
danger of his person; wherefore, without
hasty assistance, and help of the king’s grace
of England, it is thought to us that our sove-
rain lord forsaid stands in gret jeapardie of
his life.” See also the valuable volume of
State Papers published by Government, part
i. pp. 17,18. Wolsey to Henry VIII, July

tion was, perhaps, greater. To Dacre,
Albany strongly remonstrated against
the infractions of the truce, and the
encouragement held out by Henry to
those rebellious chiefs in Scotland,
who had been cited to answer for their
treasons before the great council of
the nation; whilst the English warden,
withholding from Albany his title of
regent, and addressing him simply as
one of the council, retorted a com­
plaint against the conduct of Lord
Maxwell, who had refused to proclaim
the peace, and permitted an invasion
of the English Borders. There can be
no doubt that the accusations on both
sides were well founded, as, in these
times, from the ferocious habits of the
Borderers, nothing could be more dif­
ficult than to enforce the observation
of a truce ; but the regent, who seems
to have been sincere in his desire of
peace, promised immediate redress,
whilst Dacre, although he recommend­
ed his master the king to abstain from
any abrupt declaration of war, craftily
suggested a plan by which, through
pensions granted to the English nor­
thern lords on condition of their in­
vading the Scottish Borders, he might
distress the country even more than
by avowed hostilities.2 He excited
the animosity of the English king at
the same time by informing him that,
to the prejudice of the title of his
royal nephew, the regent had assumed
the style of majesty; and he insinu­
ated, from some expressions which had
been used by the Scottish governor,
that his zeal in the office of lord
warden might not improbably expose
him to attempts against his life.3 In
the meantime the Bishop of Dunkeld
proceeded on his secret mission to
Henry, and the strength of Albany
became so great, that after an ineffec­
tual endeavour to abide the tempest
which awaited them, Angus and his
partisans deemed it prudent to escape
into England.

It is unfortunate that the principal
original records which remain of these
troubled times, and from which we
must extract the history of the second

2  Caligula, b. vi. 205, 206.

3  Pinkerton, vol. ii. p. 190.

320                                     HISTORY OF SCOTLAND.                    [Chap. VII.

regency of Albany, are so completely
the composition of partisans, and so
contradictory of each other, that to
arrive at the truth is a matter of no
little difficulty. But in examining the
impetuous measures adopted by Henry,
the violent accusations against the
government of Albany which pro­
ceeded from Dacre and the Bishop of
Dunkeld, and the animated, though
partial, defence of his and her own con­
duct, which is given by the queen,
it is clear, I think, that the views pre­
sented of the character of the regent
by Pinkerton, and some later writers,
are unjust and erroneous.

Soon after the flight of Angus, his
uncle, the Bishop of Dunkeld, addressed
a memorial to the English king, in
which he bitterly arraigned the con­
duct of the regent, accusing him of
reiterated acts of peculation, and al­
leging that his avarice had proceeded
so far as to have converted the royal
robes and tapestries into dresses for
his pages; the young king, he affirmed,
was kept in a state not only of dur­
ance, but of want; the fortresses of
the kingdom were garrisoned by
Frenchmen; the ecclesiastical bene­
fices shamelessly trafficked for gold;
and the crown lands dilapidated by a
usurper, who, he maintained, had no
title to the regency—it having been
expressly declared by the parliament,
that should Albany remain more than
four months in France, he should for­
feit that high office. Margaret, on the
other hand, despatched an envoy to
her brother, to whom she gave full in­
structions, written with her own hand,
in which she contradicted, in the most
pointed terms, the distorted represen­
tations of the Bishop of Dunkeld.
She described the conduct of the re­
gent as respectful and loyal; he had
in nothing interfered, she said, with
the custody of the king her son, who,
by the permission of the lords whom
the parliament had appointed his
guardians, resided with herself in the
castle of Edinburgh. She entreated
Henry not to listen to the scandal
which had been raised against her by
a traitorous and unworthy prelate,
who had forfeited his bishopric, of

which the governor had given her the
disposal; and she besought her brother
not to imitate, in his present answer,
the sternness of a former message,
but to give a favourable audience to
her envoy, and a friendly construction
to her remonstrances.1

Nothing, however, could be further
from the mind of this monarch, who,
giving himself up completely to the sel­
fish policy of Wolsey, had resolved upon
a war both with France and Scotland;
he denounced his sister as the para­
mour of the governor, declared that
he would listen to no terms until he
had expelled this usurper from Scot­
land; accused him of having stolen
out of France, in defiance of the oath
of the French king, which guaranteed
his remaining in that country; he de­
spatched Clarencieux herald with a
severe reprimand to the queen, and
addressed, at the same moment, a
message to the Scottish estates, which
gave them no choice but the dismis­
sal of Albany, or immediate hostilities
with England. To this haughty com­
munication the Scottish parliament
replied with firmness and dignity.
They derided the fears expressed by
Henry for the safety of his nephew
the king, and the honour of his sister,
as idle, entreating him to refuse all
credit to the report of such Scottish
fugitives as abused his confidence ;
they reminded him that Albany had
been invited by themselves to assume
the regency; that he had conducted
himself in this office with all honour
and ability, as clearly appeared by his
discovering and defeating the iniquit­
ous designs of those traitors who had
conspired to seize their youthful king,
and transport him out of the realm;
and they declared that, however soli­
citous for peace, they would never so
far forget themselves or their duty to
their sovereign, as to remove that

1 Caligula, b. vi. 208. 6th January 1521-2.
An original in the queen’s hand. “And far­
ther,” says Margaret, “ye shall assure his
grace, in my name, of my lord governor, that
his mind is aluterlie to haif peace, and for the
weill of this realme, without ony other thought
or regard, and his coming here, is alanarlie
to kepe his aith and promise, and for na other
causs. And without his coming it had been
impossibil to me to haf bidden in this realme.”

1522.]                                               JAMES V.                                                   321

governor whom they had chosen, and
once more abandon the commonwealth
to those miserable intestine divisions
to which it had been exposed during
his absence. Here it is our pleasure,
said they, that he shall remain, during
the minority of our sovereign, nor
shall he be permitted or enjoined to
depart from this realm, at the request
of your grace, or any other sovereign
prince whatever. And if, they con­
cluded, “for this cause we should
happen to be invaded, what may we
do but trust that God will espouse
our just quarrel, and demean ourselves
as our ancestors have done before us,
who,’in ancient times, were constreyned
to fight for the conservation of this
realm, and that with good success and
honour.” 1

Meanwhile, Angus, a fugitive on the
English Borders, yet little trusted by
Henry, grew impatient of his obscurity
and inaction; and although still unre­
conciled to his wife, so far prevailed
on her latent affection, as to induce
her to intercede on his behalf with
Albany, who, on the condition that he
and his brother, George Douglas, should
retire into a voluntary exile, consented
that the process of treason and for­
feiture should not be carried into exe­
cution against him. He accordingly
passed into France, where he appears
to have devoted himself to such stu­
dies as rendered him, on his return, a
more formidable opponent than he had
ever yet been.2

Whilst the estates replied in this
spirited manner to the proposal of
Henry, neither they nor the governor
could shut their eyes to the injurious
consequences of a war with England.
Repose and good government were
the only means by which their coun­
try, worn out by long intestine com­
motions, could revive; they were, in­
deed, once more the allies of France,
and the French monarch, against whom
the emperor and Henry had now de­
clared war, was anxious by every
method to employ their arms in his
favour; but their eyes were now open
to the sudden changes which were

1 Rymer, Fœdera, vol. xiii. pp. 761, 763.
Lesley, p. 117. Pinkerton, vol. ii. p. 201.

perpetually taking place in European
politics, and they had not forgotten
the facility with which, on a late occa­
sion, Francis had abandoned their in­
terests when they became incompatible
with his own views of ambition. It
was determined, therefore, to assemble
an army, but to act on the defensive,
and to make the best provision for the
preservation of peace, by assuming the
attitude of war.

To these calm and wise counsels, the
violent conduct of Henry offered a
striking contrast. He published a sen­
tence of confiscation and banishment
against all French and Scottish sub­
jects who were resident in England,
and insisted that the Scots should be
driven from his dominions on foot,
with a white cross affixed to their
upper garments. He commanded the
Earl of Shrewsbury to raise the power
of the northern counties; and this
leader, suddenly penetrating as far as
Kelso, gave that beautiful district to
the flames, but was repulsed with con­
siderable loss, by the Borderers of
Merse and Teviotdale. About the
same time an English squadron ap­
peared in the Forth, and, after ravag­
ing the coast, returned without oppo­
sition to the Thames,—a proof that,
during this calamitous minority, the
naval enterprise of the Scots had de­
clined. It was impossible, however,
that these outrages, which might be
only preludes to more serious hostili­
ties, could be overlooked; and Al­
bany having assembled a parliament
at Edinburgh, it was resolved that
war should be instantly declared
against England. The young king,
now in his eleventh year, was removed
from the capital to Stirling castle,
Lord Erskine, a peer of tried fidelity,
being appointed his sole governor;
and letters were issued for the array
of the whole feudal force of the king­
dom. At this moment, whether in­
duced by the promises of Dacre, or
actuated by that capricious mutability
in her affection, which Margaret seems
to have possessed in common with her
brother Henry, the queen suddenly
cooled in her attachment to the inter­
ests of the regent, and betrayed the

322                                 HISTORY OF SCOTLAND.                 [Chap. VII.

whole secrets of his policy to the Eng­
lish warden; becoming an earnest ad­
vocate for peace, and intriguing with
the chiefs and nobles to support her

It was now the period which had
been appointed for the muster of the
Scottish host, and Albany, at the head
of a numerous and well-appointed
army, eighty thousand strong, and
with a formidable train of artillery,
advanced towards the English Bor­
ders, and encamped at Annan. Neither
party, however, were sincere or earnest
in their desire of war. Henry wished
to avoid it, from his anxiety to con­
centrate his undivided strength against
France; the Scottish governor, from
a conviction that a war of aggression,
although favourable to the interests of
Francis, was an idle expenditure of the
public strength and the public money.
On commencing hostilities, therefore,
both belligerents appear to have mutu­
ally intimated the condition on which
they considered that the war might
be speedily concluded. Henry had so
far altered his tone as to insist simply
on the stipulation that the King of
Scots should be placed in the hands of
faithful guardians, without adding a
word regarding the necessity of Al-
bany’s departure from the realm;
whilst the regent declared that he was
ready to stay the march of his army,
under the single condition that France
should be included in the treaty to be
negotiated by the belligerents. The
Scottish force, however, advanced to
Carlisle; and as the flower of the Eng­
lish army was with their sovereign in
France, a universal panic seized the
northern counties, which seems to
have communicated itself to the de­
sponding despatches of Wolsey; but
Dacre, who knew from the queen-
dowager the aversion of the leaders to
the war, and the pacific desires of the
regent, immediately opened a corre­
spondence with the governor, and, by
a course of able negotiations, suc­
ceeded in prevailing upon him to agree
to an abstinence of hostilities for a
month, for the purpose of sending am­
bassadors into England. He then dis­
banded his army, without striking any

blow of consequence.1 It has been
the fashion of the Scottish historians
to arraign the conduct of Albany on
this occasion, as singularly pusillani­
mous and inglorious; but a little re­
flection will convince us that the
accusation is unfounded. It had been
the advice of Bruce, a master in the
art of Scottish war, from whose judg­
ment few will be ready to appeal, that,
in maintaining their independence, the
Scots should abstain from any length­
ened or protracted expedition against
England; that they should content
themselves with harassing the enemy
by light predatory inroads, and never
risk a pitched battle, which, consider­
ing the inferior resources of the coun­
try, might, even in the event of a vic­
tory, be ultimately fatal. By this coun­
sel the regent was now wisely guided;
and it ought not to be forgotten that
the obstinate neglect of it, in opposi­
tion to the remonstrances of some
of James’s ablest commanders, had
brought on the defeat of Flodden, and
the subsequent calamities of the coun­
try. Dacre and Shrewsbury were in­
deed unprepared to meet the Scots
with a force at all equal to that which
they led against him ; and had they
been combating, as in the days of
Bruce, for their national existence, it
might have been a question, whether
they ought not to have taken advan­
tage of the opportunity, by wasting
the country, in a rapid inroad; but
now the circumstances were entirely
changed. Albany, the queen, and the
Scottish nobles, were all equally de­
sirous of peace. Aware of the folly of
sacrificing their country to the ambi­
tion of France, the peers had declared
to Dacre, that “ for no love, favour, or
fair promises of the French king,
would they in any wise attempt war
against England, or invade that coun­
try :2 nothing but Henry’s command
that they should dismiss the regent
from the country, and submit to his
dictation, having compelled them to

1 Lesley, Bannatyne edit. p. 123. State
Papers, p. 107. Wolsey to Henry the Eighth.

2 Caligula, b. vi. 256, dorso. Instructions
by the king’s highness to Clarencieux king­

1522-3.]                                           JAMES V.                                                   323

take arms.” From this demand he
now departed. Dacre, in an altered
tone, only stipulated that measures
should be taken for the security of
the young king; he promised an im­
mediate truce, and to stay the advance
of the English army ; to command a
cessation of all hostilities on the Bor­
ders, and to procure a safe conduct
for the Scottish ambassadors to the
court of England. It would have been
unwise to have sacrificed such favour­
able terms to any idle ambition of
conquest or invasion; and the writers
who have accused the regent, on this
occasion, of weakness and infatuation,
must have given an imperfect examin­
ation to the peculiar and trying cir­
cumstances in which he was placed :
whilst it appears, however, that the
conduct of Albany was undeserving
the severity of the censure with which
it has been visited, it is not to be
denied that Lord Dacre acted through­
out with great political ability. I
have digressed thus far in examining
the conduct of the regent, because our
more ancient historians have attributed
the sudden peace to dissensions in the
Scottish host, whilst Pinkerton, and
those who have followed his steps,
trace it solely to the pusillanimity of
Albany, both opinions being founded,
as it appears to me, on erroneous

On the dismissal of his army, Al­
bany returned to the capital, and re­
sumed the anxious labours of his
regency: the queen, at the same time,
with characteristic caprice, continued
her private correspondence with Dacre,
betraying the secrets of the governor,
and thus enabling him to defeat
his measures by sowing dissensions
amongst the nobles; whilst the nego­
tiations for continuance of the truce
were brought to an abrupt termination
by Henry’s decided refusal to include
France within its provisions. Nothing,
indeed, could be more irksome or com­
plicated than the duties which on every
side pressed upon the governor. His
engagements to France prompted him
to hostilities with England; his own
opinion, and his attachment to his
nephew the king, convinced him that

peace was to be preferred, for the best
interests of the kingdom committed
to his care : he had none beside him
upon whom he could place implicit
reliance in the discussion of state
affairs, or the execution of his designs.
Many of the nobles were corrupted by
the money of England : if he attempted
to punish or detect them, they re­
belled ; if he shut his eyes to their
excesses, his indulgence was inter­
preted into weakness; and the queen-
dowager, by the junction of whose
party with his own he had so lately
succeeded in putting his enemies to a
precipitate flight, was not to be trusted
for a moment.

It was, perhaps, the difficulties of
his situation, and the impossibility of
reconciling these various parties and
interests, which now induced him to
meditate a visit to France for the
purpose of a conference with Francis
the First, in which he was no doubt
solicitous to vindicate what must have
appeared to that monarch the culpa­
bility of his late inaction. About the
same time the Earl of Shrewsbury,
whose age incapacitated him for the
activity of a military command, was
removed, and Surrey, a nobleman of
great vigour and ability, appointed
chief warden of the Borders ; whilst
the Marquis of Dorset, and the expe­
rienced Dacre, acted under him as
wardens of the east and west marches.1
The governor now appointed a council
of regency, which consisted of the
Archbishop of Glasgow, chancellor,
with the Earls of Huntly, Arran, and
Argyle, to whom he added Gresolles,
a French knight, much in his con­
fidence ; he bound them by oath to
attempt nothing which should weaken
his authority ;2 and promising to re­
turn within ten months, under the
penalty of forfeiting his regency, he
sailed for France, where he was re­
ceived by the king with much respect
and kindness.

1 Lesley, p. 123.

2 Caligula, b. ii. 327. Dacre to Wolsey.
“The same lordes are bodely sworne, and ob-
lisshed to do nothing contrary to the said
duke’s office of tutory unto his retourne.”—
31st October 1522, at Harbottle,

324                                 HISTORY OF SCOTLAND.                [Chap. VII.

During his absence, the war, not­
withstanding the assurances of Dacre,
and the promises of Henry to preserve
peace, continued to rage with undi-
minished violence on the Borders.
The conduct of the English monarch,
indeed, must have appeared intolerable
to every one who contrasted it with
his hollow professions of love to the
person and government of his nephew.1
Dorset, the warden of the east marches,
with Sir William Bulmer, and Sir
Anthony Darcy, made an incursion
into Teviotdale, and sweeping through
the country, left its villages in flames,
and robbed it of its agricultural
wealth. Surrey, who commanded a
force of ten thousand men, broke in­
to the Merse, reduced its places of
strength, and afterwards assaulted
Jedburgh, which he burnt to the
ground, destroying, with sacrilegious
barbarity, its ancient and beautiful
monastery : Dacre reduced the castle
of Fernyhirst, took prisoner the cele­
brated Dand Ker, a Border chief of
great military skill, and afterwards led
his host against Kelso, which, with
the adjacent villages, he entirely sacked
and depopulated. Yet Henry had but
lately declared, by Clarencieux, whom,
on the retirement of Albany, he had
despatched into Scotland, that he con­
sidered the war unnatural, and was
earnestly desirous to live at peace
with his royal nephew.

It was scarcely to be expected that
the intimation of such violent pro­
ceedings should not have incensed Al­
bany ; and, although out of the king­
dom, and aware of the difficulty of
persuading its divided nobility to any
union, he determined to make a last
effort to repel the insult offered to his
government, and save the kingdom
from being alternately wasted as a
rebellious district, or administered as

1 Pinkerton, vol. ii. p. 212. State Papers,
p. 115. “Wherefore, ray lords, the king’s
highness, my sovereign lord, bering tender
zele to the good of peax, and specially with
his derest nephew, and the Queen of Skot-
land hath sent me to know whether ye per-
sever and continew in your vertuous intente
and mynde towards the establissment of good
peax betwix both the realms.” Instructions
to Clarencieux, an original corrected by the
cardinal. Caligula, b. vi. 254. Ibid. 261.

a province of England.2 To this he
was the more inclined, as the extreme
cruelty with which the country had
been wasted, had, for the moment,
roused the resentment of the nobles ;
and anxious to profit by these feelings,
the governor returned to Scotland with
a fleet of eighty-seven small vessels
and a force of four thousand foot, to
which were added five hundred men-
at-arms, a thousand hagbutteers, six
hundred horse, of which one hundred
were barbed, and a fine park of artil­
lery.3 It was reported he was to be
followed by an illustrious pretender to
the crown of England, Richard de la
Pole. His claim as a descendant of a
sister of Edward the Fourth, had been
supported by Francis the First, and
it was now, with the object of dis­
turbing the government of England,
espoused by Albany.4

On his arrival, the condition in
which the regent found his affairs was
far from encouraging. His former
ally, the queen-dowager, had com­
pletely embraced the English interest,
and was eagerly engaged in a negotia­
tion with Dacre and Surrey, which
threatened to change the whole aspect
of affairs. It was proposed, with the
object of flattering the princess, that
her son, the young king, should
solemnly assume the supreme power,
whilst she, at the head of a council,
should conduct the government; and
the correspondence upon this subject,
although at this moment not con­
ducted to a favourable termination,
was not long after resumed with com­
plete success. When Albany looked
to the nobles, he discovered that, al­
though willing to assemble an army
for the defence of the Borders, they
were totally averse to an invasion upon
a great scale, or to a war of continued
aggression, in which they argued that,
for the sole object of obliging France,
they could gain nothing, and might
hazard all; whilst, on turning to Sur-

2  Letter of Wolsey to Sampson and Jer-
ningham, 31st August 1523, in App. to
Fiddes’ Life of Wolsey, p. 137.

3  Caligula, b. iii. 58. Copy of the Lord

4 Carte, vol. iii. p. 55. State Papers, 122-

1523.]                                     JAMES V.                                        325

rey, the English commander, he found
him with peace, indeed, upon his
lips, yet, by his whole conduct, shew­
ing a determination for immediate
war. We know, by a letter of this
stern leader to Wolsey, that he had
resolved to conduct such an invasion
as should lay waste the Scottish
Border to the breadth of twelve miles,
and reduce it for ever after to the
state of an uninhabited desert.1

To these difficulties, which pressed
him on every side, must be added the
circumstance that the regent had
little experience in the peculiar sys­
tem of Scottish war, but had been
trained in the military school of Italy;
and that any designs which he at­
tempted to form for the conduct of
the campaign, were communicated to
Surrey by the queen, whose conduct
had made her contemptible in the
eyes of both parties. With such com­
plicated embarrassments, ultimate suc­
cess could scarcely be expected ; but,
for the moment, Albany, whose cof­
fers had been recently filled, and were
liberally opened, found the venality
of the Scottish nobles a sure ground
to work upon ; and even the queen,
who at first had thoughts of retreat­
ing to England, was so dazzled by his
presents, and won by his courtesies,
that her allegiance to that country be­
gan to waver; nor did she scruple to
inform the Earl of Surrey that Henry
must remit more money, else she
might be induced to join the French

It was of material consequence to
the regent that hostilities should in­
stantly commence, as the foreign auxi­
liaries were maintained at a great ex­
pense, and the dispositions of the no­
bility were not to be trusted for any
length of time. A parliament was as­
sembled without delay; a proclama­
tion issued for an array of the whole
force of the kingdom on the 20th of
October; whilst Albany, surrounded
by the principal nobles, made an im­
posing display of his foreign troops,

1 Pinkerton, vol. ii. p. 217. Caligula, b.
vi. 318-320.

2 Pinkerton, vol. ii. p. 223. Caligula, b.
vi. 3S0. The Queen of Scots to Surrey.

exercised his park of artillery, ha­
rangued the peers upon the still un­
avenged defeat of Flodden, and joy­
fully received their assurances of at­
tachment to his service, many falling
on their knees, and with earnest pro­
testations, declaring their readiness to
obey his orders.3 Nothing, however,
was further from their intention; their
secret determination, as the result
soon shewed, was to decline a battle
and not advance a step into England;
whilst these hollow professions were
merely used to secure the pensions
which they were then receiving from
France. For the selfishness and ve­
nality of such conduct, little excuse
can be pleaded; and it is unfortu­
nately too frequently to be found in
the preceding and subsequent history
of the Scottish aristocracy.

Meanwhile, all looked fair for the
moment. On the clay appointed, the
army mustered in considerable strength
on the Borough-muir, near Edinburgh.
Argyle, indeed, delayed at Glasgow, for
the purpose of assembling the High­
landers and Islesmen ; the Master of
Forbes did not hesitate to speak openly
against the expedition; and Huntly,
one of the most powerful of the peers,
excused himself by feigning indisposi­
tion ; yet a respectable force assem­
bled, amounting, in effective num­
bers, to about forty thousand men,
not including camp followers, which,
on such occasions, were always nume­
rous. With this army, Albany ad­
vanced towards the Borders ; whilst
symptoms of an early winter darkened
around him, and his march was im­
peded by dragging his train of artil­
lery through the rude and heavy roads
of a country totally dissimilar from
that in which they had been accus­
tomed to act. The Scottish soldiers
and their leaders became jealous of
the foreign auxiliaries, who required
much attendance and consumed the
best of everything; whilst the towns
and burghs complained of the neces­
sity imposed on them to furnish tran­
sports for their baggage. Owing to

3 Caligula, b. iii. 57. Sir William Eure to
Surrey. Bedelston, 19th Oct. Pinkerton,
vol. ii. p. 224.

326                                    HISTORY OF SCOTLAND.                      [Chap. VII.

these causes the march was slow, and
indications of disorganisation early
began to exhibit themselves.

Meanwhile tidings arrived that Sur­
rey had assembled his host, which out­
numbered Albany by a thousand men;
whilst the confidence they expressed
in their leader, and the unanimity and
discipline by which they were ani­
mated, offered a striking contrast to
their enemies. The whole army was
eager to engage in hostilities; but, till
Albany commenced an offensive war,
it was reported that Henry’s orders
confined their commander to defen­
sive operations. This last rumour
appears to have revived amongst the
Scottish peers their former indisposi­
tion to invade England, and suggested
the notion that the war might be yet
avoided. It happened that the cele­
brated Buchanan was at this moment
a volunteer in the army; and the
account of such an eye-witness is
highly valuable. On arriving at Mel-
rose, where a wooden bridge was then
thrown across the Tweed, murmurs
of discontent began to break forth,
which all the entreaties and remon­
strances of Albany could not remove ;
and these gathering force, soon pro­
ceeded to an open refusal to advance.
It was with the greatest difficulty that
the regent, putting himself at their
head, prevailed upon part of the van
of the army to cross the bridge; the
rearward obstinately refused to fol­
low;1 and soon after, the divisions
which had passed over turned their
backs, and returned to the Scottish
side. To struggle against such a de­
termination was impossible; and Al­
bany, disgusted and incensed with the
treachery of men whose solemn pro­
mises were so easily forgotten, adopted
perhaps the only other alternative, and
encamping at Eccles, on the left bank of
the Tweed, laid siege to Wark castle with
his foreign troops and artillery. The
description given by Buchanan of this
Border fortress is valuable, as, with
little variation, it presents an accurate
picture of the Scoto-Norman castles of
this period. It consisted of a high tower

1 Buchanan’s Hist, of Scotland, b. xiv. c.

placed within an inner court, and sur­
rounded by a double wall. The outer
wall enclosed a large space, within
which the country people in time of
war sought refuge with their cattle;
whilst the inner embraced a narrower
portion, and was defended by a fosse
and flanking towers. With their cha­
racteristic spirit and ready valour, the
French easily carried the first court;
but the English, setting fire to the
booths in which they had stowed their
farm produce, smoked the enemy out
of the ground they had gained. The
artillery then began to batter the inner
wall, and effected a breach, through
which the men-at-arms charged with
great fury; and had they received
support from the Scots, there is little
doubt the fortress would have been
stormed; but, on effecting a lodge­
ment within the court, so destructive
a fire was poured in upon them from
the ramparts, shot holes, and narrow
windows of the great tower, which was
still entire, that it was difficult for
such a handful of men to maintain
their ground. The assault, neverthe­
less, was continued till night, and
when darkness compelled them to de­
sist, it was proposed to renew it next
day.2 But it was now the 4th of No­
vember, the winter had set in, and a
night of incessant snow and rain so
flooded the river, that all retreat was
threatened to be cut off. The assault­
ing party, therefore, recrossed the
Tweed with the utmost speed, leav­
ing three hundred slain, of which the
greater number were Frenchmen, and
once more joined the main body of the

While these events occurred, Surrey
was at Holy Island; and, on hearing
of the attack on Wark castle, he issued
orders for his army to rendezvous
at Barmore Wood, within a few miles
of Wark. The news of his speedy ap­
proach confirmed the Scottish nobles
in their determination not to risk a
battle. So completely had the majo­
rity of them been corrupted by the

2 Caligula, b. vi. 304-306. Surrey to the

3 Buchanan, book xiv. c. xxi. xxii. Les­
ley, Bannatyne edit. p. 125.

1523-4.]                                     JAMES V.                                             327

money and intrigues of Dacre and the
queen-dowager, that Albany did not
venture to place them in the front; but,
on his march, formed his vanguard of
the French auxiliaries,—a proceeding
rendered the more necessary by the
discovery of some secret machinations
amongst the peers for delivering him,
if he persisted in urging hostilities,
into the hands of the enemy.1 To
attempt to encounter Surrey with his
foreign auxiliaries alone, would have
been the extremity of rashness; and to
abide the advance of the English earl
with an army which refused to fight,
must have exposed him to discomfi-
ture and dishonour. Under such cir­
cumstances, the regent, whose per­
sonal courage and military experience
had been often tried on greater fields,
adopted, or rather had forced upon
him, the only feasible plan which re­
mained. At the head of his artillery
and foreign auxiliaries, the single por­
tion of the army which had behaved
with spirit, he retreated to Eccles,
a monastery six miles distant from
Wark; and, little able or anxious to
conceal his contempt for those nobles
who, almost in the presence of the
enemy, had acted with so much faith­
lessness and pusillanimity, he permit­
ted them to break up and disperse
amid a tempest of snow,—carrying to
their homes the first intelligence of
their own dishonour.2 Such was the
result of that remarkable expedition
which a historian, whose opinion has
been formed upon imperfect evidence,
has erroneously represented as reflect­
ing the utmost disgrace upon the cou­
rage and conduct of Albany. When
carefully examined, we must arrive at
an opposite conclusion. The retreat
of Albany is only one other amongst
many facts, which establish the venal­
ity and selfishness of the feudal aristo­
cracy of Scotland, and the readiness
with which they consented, for their

1 Caligula, b. i. 281. Queen Margaret to
Surrey;, Stirling, 14th November 1523.

2 Buchanan, b. xiv. c. xxii. p. 228. Ellis’s
Letters, vol. i. First Series, p. 234. Lord
Surrey indulges in somewhat unnecessary
triumph on Albany’s cowardice and fear in
this retreat—as if a general could fight when
his officers and soldiers are in mutiny.

own private ends, to sacrifice their in­
dividual honour and the welfare of the
country. Nor, in this point of view,
is it unimportant to attend to some re­
markable expressions of Surrey, which
occur in a letter addressed to his sove­
reign. They furnish not only an in­
structive commentary on Henry’s al­
leged anxiety for the welfare of the
kingdom of his nephew, but demon­
strate the folly of those ideas which, it
is probable, guided some of the Scot­
tish leaders,—that an abstinence from
hostilities upon their part would be at­
tended by a corresponding moderation
on the side of Surrey. That earl ob­
serves, that in this expedition he had
so much despoiled the south of Scot­
land, that seven years would not repair
the damage;3 whilst he estimates the
English losses sustained by the pre­
sence of Albany’s army at ten pounds.
On his return to the capital, the
governor assembled a parliament, of
which the proceedings were distracted
by mutual accusations and complaints.
The peers accused the regent of
squandering the public treasure, al­
though the greater part of the money
which he had brought from France
had found its way in the shape of
pensions into their own coffers, or had
been necessarily laid out in the support
of the foreign auxiliaries. They in­
sisted on dismissing the French troops,
whose further residence was expen­
sive; and, notwithstanding the incle­
ment season of the year, compelled
them to embark,—an ungenerous pro­
ceeding, which led to the wreck of the
transports on the shores of the Western
Isles, and the loss of great part of their
crews.4 To Albany, such conduct was
mortifying in the extreme; it con­
vinced him that every effort must fail
to persuade such men to adopt the
only line of conduct which was likely
to render the government respected,
and to free the country from the dic­
tation of England. He determined,
therefore, once more to retire to

3 “And hath made suche waste and spoil in
his own countre, that they shall not recover
these seven years.”—Surrey to Henry the
Eighth. Belford. Caligula, b. vi. p. 306.

4 Caligula, b. i. 5. Dacre to Wolsey. Mor-
peth, 28 th January.

328                            HISTORY OF SCOTLAND.               [Chap. VIII.

France; and, in a conference with the
nobility, requested three months’ leave,
in which he might visit that kingdom,
and discover what further assistance
might be expected from the French
king in carrying on the war with Eng­
land. His demand, after much oppo­
sition, was granted, under the condi­
tion that, if he did not return on the
31st of August, the league with France
and his own regency should be consi­
dered at an end:1 but the various
advices and injunctions to which he
desired their attention in his absence
were received with much distrust, the
queen-mother declaring that, if he left
the kingdom, she must needs act for
herself, and the barons replying in
nearly the same terms. A loan of
forty thousand crowns was positively
refused him, and the lords consented
with an ill grace to the high and con­
fidential office of treasurer being given,

during his absence,2 to Gresolles, the
same knight who had been added to
the council of regency in 1522. These
arrangements being completed, and
having prevailed on the parliament to
intrust the keeping of the king’s per­
son to the Lords Cassillis, Fleming,
Borthwick, and Erskine, he took an
affectionate leave of his youthful sove­
reign, and sailed for the continent, com­
mitting the chief management of affairs
to the chancellor, with the Bishop of
Aberdeen, and the Earls of Huntly
and Argyle.3 On quitting the king­
dom, Albany asserted that his absence
would not exceed three months; but
it is probable that his repeated reverses
in a thankless office had totally dis­
gusted him, both with Scotland and
the regency, and that, when he em­
barked, it was with the resolution,
which he fulfilled, of never returning
to that country.

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