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VOL. n. 




"Xi})'^ r, wm RK'^ 


• BV 

» • 











Talks or ▲ Grandfather. 


Ghaf. XXVI. — The Earl of Angus' Accession to the Go- 
vernment—Ineffectual attempts of Buccleuch and Len- 
nox to rescue the young King from the power of Angus 
—Escape of James — Banishment of Angus, and the rest 

of the Douglasses, ^*r.'<!7».V» 1 

Chaf. XXV II.— Character of James V. — His Expedition 
to punish the Border Freebooters — His Adventures when 
travelling in Di^uise — Rustic Hunting Palace in Athole 
— Institution of the College of Justice^Gold Mines of 
Scotland^Encouragement of Learning, 15 

Chaf. XXVIII. — Abuses of the Church of Rome — Re- 
formation in England — and in Scotland — War with Eng- 
land, and Death of James V., 31 

Chaf. XXIX.— Negotiations for a marriage between the 
young Queen Mary and Prince Edward of England — 
their failure — Invasion of Scotland — Cardinal Beaton's 
Administration and Death— Battle of Pinkie— Queen 
Mary is sent to France, and the Queen-Dowager becomes 
Regent— Prepress of the Reformation— Queen Mary re- 
solves to return to Scotland, 51 

Chaf. XXX.— Queen Mary*s Return to Scotland — Hap« 
py commencement of her Reign— Expedition against 
Huntly-~Negotiations with Elizabeth of England concern* 
ing a second Marriage — Marriage of Mary and Darnley, 87 

Chaf. XXXI — The Run-about Raid — Murder of Rizzio 
—Birth of James VL — Death of Darnley, 102 

Chaf. XXXII. — Marriage of Mary and Both well— Mary '« 
Surrender to the Confederated Lords at Carbernr — He*: 


ImpriMnniMt in LodtUren Catde, and EMtpe thence— 
Battle of Lugtide, and Marjr'e Flight to England— Un- 
joat Conduct of Elisabeth towards the Scottish Queen— 
Regenoj and Murder of Murraj- Ciril Wars in Soot- 
land— Regenoj of Blorton— His Trial and Execution- 
Raid of Ruthren— Affairs of James VI. managed bj 
Stewart Earl of Arran— Disgrace and Death of this Fa- 
▼oorite, ^ 119 

Chaf. XXXUL— ^ererities to which Mary was subjected 
in her Capttvity— Babington*s Conspiracy— Trial of Mary 

—Her Sentence and Execution— Reign of James VI. 

Feuds of the Nobles, and Blood-thirsty Spirit of the 
Times — The Rescue of Kinmont Willie from Carlisle 
Castle by Bucdeuch— The Oowrle Conspiracy — James's 
Acoesaion to the Throne of England, 17I 


Dedication, , 213 

Chap. XXXIV— Progress of Gvilisation in Society,.'..!. 216 
Chap. XXXV.— Infirmities and ill temper of Elisabeth in 
her latter years — Accession of James VL acceptable on 
that account to the English — Resort of Scotchmen to the 
Court at London— Quarrels between them and the Eng- 
lish — Herbert and Ramsay — Duelling— Duel of Stewart 
and Wharton^ Attempt by Sir John Ay res to assassinate 
Lord Herbert— Murder of Turner, a Fencing Master, 
by two Followers of Lord Sanquhar, and execution of 

the three Murderers — Statute against stabbing, 235 

Chap. XXXVL^Attempt of James to reduce tiie Insti- 
tutions of Scotland to a state of Uniformity with those of 
England— Commissioners appointed to effect this — the 
Project fails— Distinctions between the Forms of Church 
Government in the two Countries — Introduction of Epis- 
copacy into the Scottish Church — Five Articles of Perth 
— Diwatisfaction of the People with these innovations,... 260 
Chap. XXXVIL-^Disorderly State of the Borders— 
Charaeterutic Example of Border Match-making- 
Deadly Feud between the Maxwells and Johnstones 

Battie of Dryfe Sands— James's power of enforcing the 
Laws mcreased after his accession to the English Throne 
-^Measures for restraining the Border Mamoders — The 
Clan Graham removed from the Debateable Land to Ulster 



in Ireland^ Leyiet of Soldiers to Serve in Foreign Parts 
-—Mutual Bonds among the Chiefs for the Preservatiop 
of good order — Severe Prosecution of offenders— The 
Town of Berwick-upon-Tweed an independent Juris- 
diction, 277 

Chap. XXXVIIL— Wild State of the Western Islands- 
Suffocation by smoke of the Inhabitants of Eigg in a 
Cave — Story of Allan-a-Sop — Dreadful Death by Thirst 
—Massacre of Lowlanders, in Lewis and Harris — The 
Western Islesi excepting Skye and Lewis, offered for 
L.800 to the Marquis of Huntly, 294 

Chap. XXXIX. — Contempt of the Highlanders for the 
Arts of Peace — Story of Donald of the Hammer— Exe- 
cution of the Laird of Macintosh by order of the Mar- 
chioness of Huntly — Massacre of the Farquharsons— 
Race of the Trough — Execution of the Earl of Orkney, 311 

Chap. XL. — Injiirious effects to Scotland of the Removal 
of the Court to London — Numerous Scotsmen employed 
in Foreign Military service — and as Travelling Merchants, 
or Packmen, in Germany — Exertions of the Presbyterian 
Clergy to put an end to Family Feuds, and to extend 
Education — Establishment, by their means, of Parochial 
Schools — James VI. *s Visit to Scotland in 1617 — his 
death— his Children, 831 

Chap. XLI. — Discontents excited during James's Reign- 
increased under Charles — Introduction of the English 
Liturgy into the Scottish Church— Riots in consequence 
^National Covenant— The Scottish army enters Eng- 
land — and defeats the King s Forces at Newburn — Con- 
cessions of the King to the Long Parliament, upon which 
the Scottish Army returns home— Charles visits Scot- 
land, and gains over the Marquis of Montrose to the 
Royal Cause— The Two Parties of Cavaliers and Round- 
heads—Arrest of Five Members of the House of Com- 
mons—Civil War in England, 345 

Chap. XLII.— A Scottish Army sent to assist that of the 
English Parliament— Montrose takes advantage of their 
absence, and being joined by a Body of Irishmen, raises 
the Royal Standard in Scotland^Battle of Tibbermuir, 
and Surrender of Perth — Affair of the Bridge of Dee, 
and Sack of Perth— Close of the Campaign, 376 



The Marl of Angm* Accession to the Govemmerd — In^ 
effectual attempts ofBuccleuch and Lennox to rescue the 
ifoung King from the power of Angus — Escape of James 
^^Banishment of Angus^ and the rest of the Douglasses, 

[1524— 152aj 

Queen Margaret, who hated her husband Angus, 
as I have told you, now combined with his enemy 
Arran, to call James V., her son (though then only 
twelve years old), to the management of the public 
a£birs ; but the Earl of Angus, returning at this 
crisis from France, speedily obtained a superiority 
in the Scottish councils, and became the head of 
those nobles who desired to maintain a friendly 
alliance with England rather than to continue that 
league with France, which had so often involved 
Scotland in quarrels with their powerful neighbour. 
Margaret might have maintained her authority, 
for she was personally much beloved ; but it was 


2 TALB8 OF A GRANDFATHER. [scotlawo. 

the fate or tlie folly of that Queen to form rash 
marriages. Like her brother Henry of England, 
who tired of his wires, Marg^et seems to have 
been addicted to tire of her husbands ; but stie had 
not the power of cutting the he»ds from the spouses 
whom she desired to be rid of. Haring obtained 
a diTorce from Angus, she married a young man of 
little power and inferior rank, named Henry Stew- 
art, a younger son of Lord Erandale. She lost 
her influence by that ill-advised measure.' Ang^s, 
therefore, rose to the supreme authority in Scot- 
land, obtained possession of the person of the King, 
transacted every thing in the name of James, but 
by his own authority, and became in all respects 
the regent of Scotland, though without assuming 
the name. 

The talents of the Earl of Angus were equal to 
the charge he had assumed, and as he reconciled 
himself to his old rival the Earl of Arran, his power 
seemed founded on a sure basis. He was able to 
accomplish a treaty of peace with England, which 
was of great advantage to the kingdom. But, 
according to the fashion of the times, Angus was 
much too desirous to confer all the great offices, 

' ['* Henry, her brother, now perhaps rerolving hit own 
dirorce from Catherine of Arragon, could not reprobate the 
example, while he despised the meanness of her nuptials. Yet 
James, incensed at Stuart's presumption, the marriage having 
been private, and the royal consent not requested, sent Lord 
Erskine with a body of men to the castle of Stirling, where his 
mother resided with her new husband, and Margaret surrender- 
ing him, ha was imprisoned for a time." — Pimkkrtom, vol. ii. 
p. 276.] 


lands, and other advantages in the disposal of the 
crown, npon his own friends and adherents, to the 
exclusion of all the nobles and gentry, who had 
either taken part against him in the late struggle 
for power^ or were not decidedly his partisans* 
The course of justice also was shamefully perverted, 
by the partiality of Angus for his friends, kinsmen^ 
and adherents. 

An old historian says, " that there dared no man 
strive at law with a Douglas, or y<h; with the adhe- 
rent of a Douglas ; for if he did, he was sure to 
get the worst of his lawsuit.^ And," he adds^ 
<< although Angus travelled through the country 
under the pretence of punishing thieves, robbers, 
and murderers, there were no malefactors so great 
as those which rode in his own company.** 

The King, who was now fourteen years old, 
became disgusted with the sort of restraint in which 
Angus detained him, and desirous to free himselt 
from his tutelage. His mother had doubtless a 
natural influence over him, and that likewise was 
exerted to the earl's prejudice. The Earl of 
Lennox, a wise and intelligent nobleman, near in 
blood to the King, was also active in fostering his 

* [Pittoottie, p. ai9. " The tyranny of the house of Douglas 
became every day more intolerable to the nation. To bear the 
name was esteemed sufficient to cover the most atrocious crime, 
even in the streets of the capital ; and during the sitting of par- 
liament, a baron who had murdered his opponent on the.threshold 
of the principal church, was permitted to walk openly abroad, 
solely because he was a Douglas ; and no one, by his arrestment, 
dared to incur the vengeance of its chief.** — Tvtlkr, vol. v. p. 
207 ; PiNKERTOM, vol. ii. p. 282.] 


displeasure against the Douglasses, and scbemea 
began to be agitated for taking the person of the 
King out of the hands of Angus* But Angus was 
80 well established in the government, that his 
authority could not be destroyed except by military 
force ; and it was not easy to bring such to bear 
against a man so powerful, and of such a martial 

At length it seems to have been determined to 
employ the agency of Sir Walter Scott of Bnc- 
cleuch, a man of great courage and military talent, 
head of a numerous and powerful clan, and pos- 
sessed of much influence on the Border. He had 
been once the friend of Angus, and had even scaled 
the walls of Edinburgh with a g^eat body of his 
clan, in order to render the party of the Earl upper- 
most in that city. But of late he had attached 
himself to Lennox, by whose counsel he seems to 
have been guided in the enterprise which I am 
about to give you an account of. 

Some excesses had taken place on the Border, 
probably by the connivance of Buccleuch, which 
induced Angus to march to Jedburgh, bringing the 
King in his company, lest he should have made his 
escape during his absence. He was joined by the 
clans of Home and Ker, both in league with him, 
and he had, besides, a considerable body of chosen 
attendants. Angus was returning from this expe- 
dition, and had passed the night at Melrose. The 
Kers and Homes had taken leave of the Earl, who 
with the King and his retinue had left Melrose* 
when a band of a thousand horsemen suddenly 


appeared on the side of an eminence called Halidon- 
hill, and, descending into the valley, interposed 
between the Earl and the bridge, by which he must 
pass the Tweed on his return northward. 

'* Sir," said Angus to the King, " yonder comes 
Bucclench, with the Border thieves of Teviotdale 
and Liddesdale, to interrupt your grace's passage. 
I TOW to God they shall either fight or fly. Yon 
shall halt upon this knoll with my brother George, 
while we drive o£P these banditti, and clear the road 
for your grace.** 

The King made no answer, for in his heart he 
desired that Buccleuch's undertaking might be 
successful ; but he dared not say so. 

Angus, mean time, despatched a herald to charge 

Buccleuch to withdraw with his forces. Scott re* 

plied, *< that he was come, according to the custom 

of the Borders, to show the King his clan and 

followers, and invite his grace to dine at his house.** 

To which he added, <* that he knew the King's 

mind as well as Angus.*' The Earl advanced^ 

and the Borderers, shouting their war-cry of 

Bellenden, immediately joined battle, and fought 

stoutly ; but the Homes and Kers, who were at no 

great distance, returned on hearing the alarm, and 

coming through the little village of Darnick, set 

upon Buccleuch*s men, and decided the fate of the 

day. The Border riders fled, but Buccleuch and 

his followers fought bravely in their retreat, and 

turning upon the Kers, slew several of them ; in 

particular, Ker of Cessford, a chief of the name, 

who was killed by the lance of one of the Elliots, a 


retainer of Baccleucli. His death oceasioned a 
deadly feud between the clans of Seott and Ker, 
which lasted for a century, and cost much blood. 
This skirmish took place on the 25th of July, 1526. 
About eighty Scotts were slain on the field of 
battle, and a sentence was pronounced against 
Buccleuch and many of his clan, as guilty of high 
treason. But after the King had shaken o£P the 
yoke of the Douglasses, he went in person to 
Parliament to obtain the restoration of Buccleuch, 
who, he declared on his kingly word, had come t<i 
Melrose without any purpose of quarrel, but merely 
to pay his duty to his prince, and show him the 
number of his followers. In eridence of which the 
King said that the said Wat was not clad in armour, 
but in a leathern coat (a buff-coat, I suppose), with 
a black bonnet on his head. The family were re-' 
stored to their estates accordingly ; but Sir Walter 
Scott was long afterwards murdered by the Kers, 
at Edinburgh, in revenge of the death of the Laird 
of Cessford. 

The Earl of Lennox, being disappointed in pro- 
curing the King's release by means of Buccleuch, 
now resolred to attempt it in person. He re- 
ceived much encouragement from the Chancellor 
Beaton (distinguished at the skirmish called Clean- 
the- Cause way), from the Earl of Glencairn, and 
other noblemen, who saw with displeasure the 
Earl of Angus confining the young King like a 
prisoner, and that all the administration of the 
kingdom centered in the Douglasses. Lennox 
assembled an army of ten or twelve thousand men. 


and advanced upon Edinbargli from Stirling* 
Angas and Arran, who were still closely leagaed 
together, encountered Lennox, with an inferior 
force, near the village of Newliston. The rumour 
that a battle was about to commence soon reached 
Edinburgh, when Siif George Douglas hastened to 
call out the citizens in arms, to support his brother, 
the Earl of Angus. The city bells were rung, 
trumpets were sounded, and the King himself was 
obliged to mount on horseback, to give countenance 
to the measures of the Douglasses, whom in his 
soul he detested. James was so sensible of his 
sitnatipn, that he tried, by every means, in his 
power, to delay the march of the forces which were 
mustered at Edinburgh. MHien they reached the 
Tillage of Corstorphine, they heard the thunder of 
the guns ; which inflamed the fierce impatience of 
George Douglas to reach the field of battle, and 
also increased the delays of the young King, who 
was in hopes Angus might be defeated before his 
brother could come up. Douglas, perceiving this, 
addressed the King in language which James never 
forgot nor forgave ;— " Your grace need not think 
to escape us," said this fierce warrior ; *< if our ene- 
mies had hold of you on one side, and we on the 
other, we would tear you to pieces ere we would 
let you go.* 

Tidings now came from the field of battle that 
Lennox had been defeated, and that Angus had 
gained the victory. The young King, dismayed 
at the news, now urged his attendants to gallop 
forward, as much as he had formerly desired them 


to hang back. He charged them to prerent slaagh« 
ter, and save litres, especially that of Lennox* Sir 
Andrew Wood, one of the King's cup-bearers, 
arrived in the field of battle time enoogh to save 
the Earl of Glencaim, who was still fighting gal- 
lantly by assistance of some strong ground, though 
he had scarce thirty men left alive; and Wood 
contrived to convey him safe out of the field. But 
Lennox, about whose safety the King was so anx- 
ious, was already no more. He had been slain, in 
cold blood, by that bloodthirsty man. Sir James 
Hamilton of Draphane, who took him from the 
Laird of Pardivan, to whom he had surrendered 
himself. This deed seemed to flow from the brutal 
nature of the perpetrator, who took such a pleasure 
in shedding blood, that he slashed with his own 
hand the faces of many of the prisoners* Arran, 
the father of this ferocioqs man, bitterly lamented 
the fate of Lennox, who was his nephew. He was 
found mourning beside the body, over which he had 
spread his scarlet cloak. *< The hardiest, stoutest, 
and wisest man that Scotland bore," he said, " lies 
here slain." 

After these two victories, the Earl of Angus 
seemed to be so firmly established in power, that 
his followers set no bounds to their presumption, 
and his enemies were obliged to fly and hide them- 
selves. Chancellor Beaton, disguised as a shep- 
herd, fed sheep on Bogrian-knowe, until he made 
his peace with the Earls of Angus and Arran, by 
great gifts, both in money and in church lands. 
Angus established around the King's person a 


guard of a handred men of his own choice, com* 
manded by Douglas of Parkhead ; he made his 
brother George, whom James detested, Master of 
the Royal Household ; and Archibald of Kilspin* 
die, his ancle. Lord Treasurer of the Realm. But 
the close restraint in which the King found himself, 
only increased his eager desire to be rid of all the 
Douglasses together. Force having failed in two 
instances, James had recourse to stratagem. 

He prevailed on his mother. Queen Marg^et, 
to yield up to him the castle of Stirling, which was 
her jointure-house, and secretly to put it into the 
hands of a governor whom he could trust. This 
was done with much caution. Thus prepared with 
a place of refuge, James watched with anxiety an 
opportunity of flying to it ; and he conducted him- 
self with such apparent confidence towards Angus, 
that the Douglasses were lulled into security, and 
concluded that the King was reconciled to his state 
of bondage, and had despaired of making his 

James was then residing at Falkland, a royal 
palace conveniently situated for hunting and hawk- 
ing, in which he seemed to take great pleasure. 
The Earl of Angus at this period left the court for 
Lothian, where he had some argent business — 
Archibald Douglas of Kilspindie went to Dundee, 
to visit a lady to whom he was attached — and 
George Douglas had gone to St Andrews, to ex- 
tort some farther advantages from Chancellor 
Beaton, who was now archbishop of that see, and 
primate of Scotland. There was thus none of the 

10 TALBS OF A GRANDFATHER, [scotlamd. 

Dongliitset left about the King^s perton, except 
Parkhead, with his guard of one hundred men, in 
whose vigilance the others confided. 

The King thought the time favourable for hig 
escape. To lay all suspicion asleep, he pretended 
he was to rise next morning at an early hour, for 
the purpose pf hunting the stag. Douglas of Park- 
head, suspecting nothing, retired to bed after 
placing his watch. But the King was no sooner 
in his private chamber, than he called a trusty page, 
named John Hart : — ** Jockie," said he, ** dost thou 
love me ? " 

^' Better than myself," answered the domestic 

^* And will you risk any thing for me?" 

** My life, with pleasure," said John Hart. 

The King then explained his purpose, and dres- 
sing himself in the attire of a groom, he went with 
Hart to the stable, as if for the purpose of getting 
the horses ready for the next day's hunt. The 
guards, deceived by their appearance, gave them 
no interruption. At the stables three good horses 
were saddled and in readiness, under charge of a 
yeoman, or g^oom, whom the King had intrusted 
with his design. 

James mounted with his two servants, and gal- 
loped, during the whole night, as eager as a bird 
just escaped from a cage. At daylight 

1528 ^® reached the bridge of Stirling, which 
was the only mode of passing the river 
Forth, except by boats. It was defended by gates, 
which the King, after passing through them, order- 
ed to be closed, and directed the passage to be 


watched. He was a weary man when he reached 
Stirling castle, where he was joyfully received by 
the governor, whom his mother had placed in that 
strong fortress. The drawbridges were raised, the 
portcnllises dropt, guards set, and every measnre * 
of defence and precaution resorted to. But the 
King was so much afraid of again falling into the 
hands of the Douglasses, that, tired as he was, he 
would not go to sleep until the keys of the castle 
were placed in his own keeping, and laid underneath 
his pillow. 

In the morning there was great alarm at Falk- 
land. .Sir George Douglas had returned thither, 
on the night of the King's departure, about eleven 
o'clock. On his arrival, he enquired after the 
King, and was answered by the porter as well as 
the watchmen upon guard, that he was sleeping in 
his chamber, as he intended to hunt early in the 
morning. Sir George therefore retired to rest in 
full security. But the next morning he learned 
different tidings. One Peter Oarmichael, bailie of 
Abernethy, knocked at the door of his chamber, 
and asked him if he knew *' what the King was 
doing that morning ?'' 

** He is in his chamber asleep," said Sir George. 

** Yon are mistaken," answered Oarmichael ; " he 
passed the bridge of Stirling this last night." 

On hearing this, Douglas started up in haste, 
went to the King's chamber, and knocked for 
admittance. When no answer was returned, he 
caused the door to be forced, and when he found 
the apartment emptyt he cried, ** Treason I — The 


King it gone, and none knows whither." Then he 
•ent pott to his brother, the Earl of Angas, and 
despatched messengers in every direction, to seek 
the King, and to assemble the Douglasses. 

When the truth became known, the adherents 
of Angutf rode in a body to Stirling ; bat'the King 
was so far from desiring to receive them, that he 
threatened, by sound of trumpet, to declare any of 
the name of Douglas a traitor who should approach 
within twelve miles of liis person, or who should 
presume to meddle with the administration of 
government. Some of the Douglasses inclined to 
resist this proclamation ; but the Earl of Angus 
and his brother resolved to obey it, and withdrew 
to Linlithgow. 

Soon afterwards, the King assembled around 
him the numerous nobility, who envied the power 
of Angus and Arran, or had suffered injuries at 
their hands ; and, in open parliament, accused them 
of treason, declaring, that he had never been sure 
of his life all the while that he was in their power. 
A sentence of forfeiture was, therefore, passed 
against the Earl of Angus, and he was driven into 
exile, with all his friends and kinsmen. And thus 
the Red Douglasses, of the house of Angus, shared 
almost the same fate with the Black Douglasses, 
of the elder branch of that mighty house ; with this 
difference, that as they had never risen so liigh, so 
they did not fall so irretrievably ; for the Earl of 
Angus lived to return and enjoy his estates in 
Scotland, where he again played a distinguished 
part. But this was. not till after the death of 



James V., who retained, daring his whole life, an 
implacable resentment against the Douglasses, and 
never permitted one of the name to settle in Scot* 
land while he lived, 

James persevered in this resolution even under 
circumstances which rendered his unrelenting re« 
sentment ungenerous. Archibald Douglas of Kil- 
spindie, the Earl of Angus's uncle, had been a 
personal favourite of the King before the disgrace 
of his family. He was so much recommended to 
Jsimes by his great strength, manly appearance, 
and skill in every kind of warlike exercise, that he 
was wont to call him his Graysteil, after the name 
of a champion in a romance then popular.^ Archi- 
bald, becoming rather an old man, and tired of his 
exile in England, resolved to try the King's mercy. 
He thought that as they had been so well acquaint* 
ed formerly, and as he had never offended James 
personally, he might find favour from their old 
intimacy. He, therefore, threw himself in the 
King's way one day as he returned from hunting 
in the park at Stirling. It was several years since 
James had seen him, but he knew him at a great 
distance, by his firm and stately step, and said, 
** Yonder is my Graysteil, Archibald of Kilspin- 
die." But when they met, he showed no appear- 
ance of recognising his old servant. Douglas 
turned, and still hoping to obtain a glance of 
favourable recollection, ran along by the King's 

^iSee a reprint of ** The History of Sir Eger, Sir Graham*, 
and Sir Gray Steil,'* in a volume of ** Early Metrical Talet, 
ISmo, W. & D. Laing, Edin., 1826*'*] 

[ l^ 


Character ofJamet V.-^His Expedition to puniih the Bor- 
der Freebootert^'His Adventures when travelling in Dis- 
guise — Rustic Hunting Palace in Athole— Institution of 
the College of Justice^' Gold Mines of Scotland — Eii' 
couragement of Learning, 


Freed from the stern control of the Douglas 
family, James V. now began to exercise the go- 
Yernment in person, and displayed most of the 
qualities of a wise and good prince. He was hand- 
some in his person, and resembled his father in 
the fondness for military exercises, and the spirit 
of chiTalrous honour which James IV. lored to 
display. He also inherited his father's lore of 
justice, and his desire to establish and enforce wise 
and equal laws, which should protect the weak 
against the oppression of the great. It was easy 
enough to make laws, but to put them in vigorous 
exercise was of much greater difficulty ; and in his 
attempt to accomplish this laudable purpose, James 
often incurred the ill-will of the more powerful 
nobles. He was a well-educated and accomplished 
man ; and like hit ancestor, James I., was a poet 
and a musician. He had, however, hi^ defects. 
He avoided his father's failing of profusion, having 

16 TALB8 OF A ORANDFATHER. [scoilakb. 

no hoarded treasures to employ on pomp and show ; 
bat he rather fell into the opposite >faalty being of 
a temper too parsimonioos ; and though he loTed 
state and display, he endearonred to gratify that 
taste as economically as possible, so that he has 
been censured as rather close and coTetous. He 
was also, thongh the foibles seem inconsistent, fond 
of pleasure, and disposed to too much indulgence, 
ft must be added, that when proToked, he was 
unrelenting even to cruelty ; for which he had some 
apology, considering the ferocity of the subjects 
over whom he reigned. But, on the whole, James 
V. was an amiable man, and a good sovereign. 

His first care was to bring the Borders of Scot- 
land to some degree of order. These, as you were 
formerly told, were inhabited by tribes 
*^' ' of men, forming each a different clan, as 
they were called, and obeying no orders, save those 
which were given by their chiefs. These chiefs 
were supposed to represent the first founder of the 
name, or family. The attachment of the clansmen 
to the chief was very great: Indeed, they paid 
respect to no one else. In this the Borderers 
agreed with the Highlanders, as also in their love 
of plunder, and neglect of the general laws of the 
country. But the Border men wore no tartan 
dress, and served almost always on horseback, 
whereas the Highlanders acted always on foot. 
You will also remember that the Borderers spoke 
the Scottish language, and not the Graelic tongpie 
used by the mountaineers. 

The situation of these clans on the frontiers ex* 


po»ed them to constant war ; so that they thought 
of nothing else but of collecting bands of their A>1- 
lowers together,, and making incursions, without 
much distinction, on the English, on the Lowland 
(or inland) Scots, or upon each other. They paid 
little respect either to times of truce or treaties of 
peace, but exercised their depredations without 
regard to either, and often occasioned wars betwixt 
England and Scotland which would not otherwise 
have taken place. 

It is said of a considerable family on the Bor- 
ders, that when they had consumed all the cattle 
about the castle, a pair of spurs was placed on the 
table in a covered dish, as a hint that they must 
ride out and fetch more. The chiefs and leading 
men told down their daughters' portions according 
to the plunder which they were able to collect in 
the course of a Michaelmas moon, when its pro- 
longed light allowed them opportunity for their 
freebooting excursions. They were very brave in 
battle, but in time of peace they were a pest to 
their Scottish neighbours. As their insolence had 
risen to a high pitch after the field of Flodden had 
thrown the country into confusion, James V. re- 
solved to take very severe measures against them. 

His first step was to secure the persons of the 
principal chieftains by whom these disorders were 
privately encouraged. The Earl of Bothwell, the 
liord Home, Lord Maxwell, Scott of Buccleuch, 
Ker of Fairniehirst, and other powerful chiefs, who 
might have opposed the King's purposes, were 



seiied, and imprisoned in separate fortresses in the 
inland country. 

James then assembled an army, in which warlike 
purposes were united with those of silran sport ; 
for he ordered all the gentlemen in 
' ' the wild districts which he intended to 
visit, to bring in their best dogs, as if his only 
purpose had been to hunt the deer in those desolate 
regions. This was intended to prevent the Bor- 
derers from taking the alarm, in which case they 
would have retreated into their mountains and 
fastnesses, from whence it would have been diffi- 
cult to dislodge them. 

These men had indeed no distinct idea of the 
o£Pences which they had committed, and conse- 
quently no apprehension of the King's displeasure 
against them. The laws had been so long silent 
n that remote and disorderly country, that the 
outrages which were practised by the strong against 
the weak, seemed to the perpetrators the natural 
course of society, and to present nothing that was 
worthy of punishment. 

Thus, as the King, in the beginning of his 
expedition, suddenly approached the castle of 
Piers Cockburn of Henderland, that baron was 
in the act of providing a great entertainment to 
welcome him, when James caused him to be sud- 
denly seized on, and executed. Adam Scott of 
Tushielaw, called the King of the Border, met the 
same fate. But an event of greater importance, 
was the fate of John Armstrong of Gilnodcie, near 


Tbis freebooting chief had risen to great conse- 
quence, and the whole neighbouring district of 
England paid him black maily that is, a sort of 
tribute, in consideration of which he forbore plun- 
dering them. He had a high idea of his own 
importance, and seems to have been unconscious of 
having merited any severe usage at the King's 
bands. On the contrary, he came to meet his 
sovereign at a place about ten miles from Hawick, 
called Carlinrigg chapel, richly dressed, and 
having with him twenty-four gentlemen, his con- 
stant retinue, as well attired as himself* The 
King, incensed to see a freebooter so gallantly 
equipped, commanded him instantly to be led to 
execution, saying, ^ What wants this knave, save 
a crown, to be as magnificent as a king ? " John 
Armstrong made great oflFers for his life, o£Fering 
to maintain himself, with forty men ready to serve 
the King at a moment's notice, at his own expense ; 
engaging never to hurt or injure any Scottish 
subject, as indeed had never been his practice ; 
and undertaking, that there was not a man in 
England, of whatever degree, duke, earl, lord, or 
baron, but he would engage, within a short time, 
to present him to the King, dead or alive. But 
when the King would listen to none of his o£Fers, 
the robber-chief said, very proudly, *' I am but a 
fool to ask grace at a graceless face ; but had I 
guessed you would have used me thus, I would 
have kept the Border-side, in despite of the King 
of England and you both ; for I well know that 
King Henry would give the weight of my best 

20 TALBS OF A GRANDFATHER, [scotlano. 

horse in gold to know that I am sentenced to die 
thig day." 

John Armstrong was led^to execution, with all 
his men, and hanged without mercy. The people 
of the inland counties were glad to be rid of him ; 
but on tlie Borders he was both missed and mourn- 
ed, as a brave warrior, and a stout man-at-arais 
against England. 

Such were' the effects of the terror struck by 
these general executions, that James was said to 
have made *^ the rush bush keep the cow ; " that is 
to say, that even in this lawless part of the coun- 
try, men dared no longer make free with property, 
and cattle might remain on their pastures un- 
watched. James was also enabled to draw profit 
from the lands which the crown possessed near the 
Borders, and is said to have had ten thousand sheep 
at one time grazing in Ettrick Forest, under the 
keeping of one Andrew Bell, who gave the King 
as good an account of the profits of the flock, as if 
they had been grazing in the bounds of Fife, then 
the most civilized part of Scotland. 

On the other hand, the Borders of Scotland were 
greatly weakened by the destruction of so many 
brave men, who, notwithstanding their lawless 
course of life, were true defenders of their conn- 
try ; and there is reason to censure the extent to 
which James carried his severity, as being to a 
certain degree impolitic, and beyond doubt cruel 
and excessive. 

In the Uke manner James proceeded against the 
Highland chiefs; and by executions^ forfeitures^ 


and other severe measures, he brought the North- 
ern mountaineers, as he had already done those of 
the South, into comparative subjection. He then 
set at liberty the Border chiefs, and others whom 
he had imprisoned, lest they should have o£Fered 
any hinderance to the course of his justice. 

As these fiery chieftains, after this severe chas- 
tisement, could no longer as formerly attack each 
other's castles and lands, they were forced to vent 
their deadly animosities in duels, which were fre- 
quently fought in the' King's presence, his royal 
permission being first obtained. Thus, Douglas of 
Drumlanrig and Charter is of Amisfield did battle 
together in presence of the King, each having ac« 
cased the other of high treason. They fought on 
foot with huge two-handed swords. Drumlanrig 
was somewhat blind, or shortsighted, and being in 
great fury, struck about him without seeing where 
he hit, and the Laird of Amisfield was not more 
successful, for his sword broke in the encounter ; 
upon this, the King caused the battle to cease, and 
the combatants were with difficulty separated. 
Thus the King gratified these unruly barons, by 
permitting them to fight in his own presence, in 
order to induce them to remain at peace else- 

James V., like his father James IV., had a cus- 
tom of going about the country disguised as a 
private person, in order that he might hear com- 
plaints which might not otherwise reach his ears, 
and, perhaps, that he might enjoy amusements 
which he could not have partaken of in his avowed 


rojral character. This is also said to have been a 
custom of James I V^ his father, and several adven- 
tures are related of what befell them on such occa* 
sions. One or two of these narratives may help 
to enliven our storjr- 

When James V. travelled in disguise, he used a 
name which was known only to some of his princi- 
pal nobility and attendants. He was called the 
Goodman (the tenant, that is) of Ballengiech. 
Ballengiech is a steep pass which leads down behind 
the castle of Stirling. Once upon a time, when 
the court was feasting in Stirling, the King sent 
for some venison from the neighbouring hills. The 
deer was killed, and put on horses' backs to be 
transported to Stirling. Unluckily they had to 
pass the castle gates of Arnpryor, belonging to a 
chief of the Buchanans, who chanced to have a eon* 
siderable number of guests with him. It was late, 
and the company were rather short of victuals, 
though they had more than enough of liquor. The 
chief, seeing so much fat venison passing his very 
door, seized on it ; and to the expostulations of the 
keepers, who told him it belonged to King James, 
he answered insolently, that if James was King in 
Scotland, he, Buchanan, was king in Kippen ; being 
the name of the district in which the castle of Arn- 
pryor lay. On hearing what had happened, the 
King got on horseback, and rode instantly from 
Stirling' to Buchanan's house, where he found a 
strong fierce-looking Highlander, with an axe on 
his shoulder, standing sentinel at the door. This 
grim warder refused the King admittance, saying. 


that the laird of Arnprjror was at dinner, and 
would not be disturbed. ** Yet go up to the com- 
pany, my good friend," said the King, ^ and tell 
him that the Croodman of Ballengiech is come to 
feast with the King of Kippen.'' The porter went 
gprnmbling into the house, and told his master that 
there was a fellow with a red beard at the gate, 
who called himself the Goodman of Ballengiech, 
who said he was come to dine with the King of 
Kippen. As soon as Buchanan heard these words, 
he knew that the King was come in person, and 
hastened down to kneel at James's feet, and to ask 
forgireness for his insolent behaviour. But the 
King, who only meant to give him a fright, forgave 
him freely, and, going into the castle, feasted on 
his own venison which Buchanan had intercepted. 
Buchanan of Ampryor was ever afterwards called 
tlie King of Kippen. 

Upon another occasion. King James, being alone 
and in disguise, fell into a quarrel with some g^p* 
sies, or other vagrants, and was assaulted by four 
or five of them. This chanced to be very near the 
bridge of Oramond ; so the King got on the bridge, 
which, as it was high and narrow, enabled him to 
defend himself with his sword against the number 
of persons by whom he was attacked. There was 
a poor man thrashing corn in a barn near by, who 
came out on hearing the noise of the scuffle, and 
teeing one man defending himself against numbers, 
gallantly took the King's part with his flail, to such 
good purpose, that the gipsies were obliged to fly. 
The husbandman then took the King into the barui 


brought him a towel and water to wash the blood 
from his face and hands, and finally walked with 
him a little way towards Edinburgh, in case he 
should be again attacked. On the way, the King 
asked his companion what and who he was. The 
labonrer answered, that his name was John Howie- 
son, and that he was a bondsman on the farm of 
Braehead, near Cramond, which belonged to the 
King of Scotland. James then asked the poor 
man, if there was any wish in the world which he 
wonld particularly desire should be gratified ; and 
honest John confessed, he should think himself the 
happiest man in Scotland were he but proprietor 
of the farm on which he wrought as a labourer. 
He then asked the King, in turn, who he was ; and 
James replied, as usual, that he was the Goodman 
of Balleng^ech, a poor man who had a small appoint- 
ment about the palace ; but he added, that if John 
Howieson would come to see him on the next Sun- 
day, he would endeavour to repay his manful assis- 
tance, and, at least, give him the pleasure of seeing 
the royal apartments. * 

John put on his best clothes, as you may 
suppose, and appearing at a postern gate of the 
palace, enquired fur the Groodman of Ballengiech. 
The King had given orders that he should be 
admitted ; and John found his friend, the grood- 
man, in the same disguise which he had formerly 
worn. The King, still preserving the character 
of an inferior officer of the household, conducted 
John Howieson from one apartment of the palace 
to another, and was amused with his wonder and 


his remarks. At length, James asked his visitor 
if he should like to see the King ; to which John 
replied, nothing would delight him so much, if he 
could do so without giving offence. The Grood- 
man of Ballengiech, o^ course, undertook that the 
King would not he angry. ** But," said John, 
'* how am I to know his grace from the nobles who 
will be all about him ? " — ** Easily," replied his 
companion ; *' all the others will be uncovered— 
the King alone will wear his hat or bonnet." 

So sneaking, King James introduced the coun- 
tryman into a great hall, which was filled by the 
nobility and officers of the crown. John was a 
little frightened, and drew close to his attendant ; 
but was still unable to distinguish the King. *< I 
told you that you should know him by his wearing 
his hat," said the conductor. " Then," said John, 
after he had again looked around the room, **)t 
must be either you or me, for all but us two are 

The King laughed at John's fancy ; and that the 
good yeoman might have occasion for mirth also, 
he made him a present of the farm of Braehead, 
which he had wished so much to possess, on con- 
dition that John Howieson, or his successors, should 
be ready to present an ewer and basin for the King 
to wash his hands, when his Majesty should come 
to Holyrood palace, or should pass the bridge of 
Oramond. Accordingly, in the year 1822, when 
Qeorge IV. came to Scotland, the descendant of 
John Howieson of Braehead, who still possesses 
the estate which was given to his ancestor, appeared 


26 TALES OF A GRANDFATHER, [sootlamo. 

nt a solemn festival, and offered his Majesty water 
from a silver ewer, that he might perform the 
service by which he held his lands. 

James V. was very fond of hunting, and, when 
he pursued that amusement in the Highlands, he 
used to wear the peculiar dress of that country^ 
having a long and wide Highland shirt, and a 
jacket of tartan velvet, with plaid hose, and every 
thing else corresponding. The accounts for these 
are in the books of his chamberlain, still preserved. 
On one occasion, when the King had an ambas- 
sador of the Pope along with him, with various 
foreigners of distinction, they were splen- 
didly entertained by the Earl of Athole 
in a huge and singular rustic palace. It was built 
of timber, in the midst of a gpreat meadow, and 
surrounded by moats, or fosses, full of the most 
delicate fish. It was enclosed and defended by 
towers, as if it had been a regular castle, and had 
within it many apartments, which were decked 
with flowers and branches, so that in treading them 
one seemed to be in a garden. Here were all 
kinds of game, and other provisions in abundance, 
with many cooks to make them ready, and plenty 
of the most costly spices and wines* The Italian 
ambassador was greatly surprised to see, amongst 
rocks and wildernesses, which seemed to be the 
very extremity of the world, such good lodging 
and so magnificent an entertainment. But what 
surprised him most of all, was to see the Highlan- 
ders set fire to the wooden castle as soon as the 
hunting was over, and the King in the act of 


departing. '' Such is the constant practice of our 
Highlanders," said James to the ambassador; 
** however well they may be lodged over night, 
they always barn their lodging before they leave 
it.** By this the King intimated the predatory 
and lawless habits displayed by these moun- 

The reigpfi of James V. was not alone distin- 
guished by his personal adventures and pastimes, 
bnt is honourably remembered on account of wise 
laws made for the government of his people, and 
for restraining the crimes and violence which were 
frequently practised among them ; especially those 
of assassination, burning of houses, and driving of 
cattle, the usual and ready means by which power- 
ful chiefs .avenged themselves of their feudal ene- 

For the decision of civil questions, James V. in- 
vented and instituted what is called the College of 
Justice, being the Supreme Court of Scotland in 
civil afPairs. It consisted of fourteen judges (half 
clergy, half laity), and a president, who heard and 
decided causes. A certain number of learned men, 
trained to understand the laws, were appointed to 
the task of pleading the causes of such as had law- 
suits before these judges, who constituted what is 
popularly termed the Court of Session. These men 
were called advocates ; and this was the first esta- 
blishment of a body, regularly educated to the law, 
which has ever since been regarded in Scotland as 
an honourable profession, and has produced many 
gpreat men. 

28 TALES OF A OBANDPATHBR* [scotlavo. 

James V. used great diligence in improving 
his navy, and undertook what was, at the 

'^' ' time, rather a perilous task, to sail in 
person ronnd Scotland, and cause an accurate sur- 
vey to be made of the various coasts, bays, and 
islands, harbours, and roadsteads of his kingdom, 
many of which had been unknown to his predeces- 
sors, even by name» 

This active and patriotic Prince ordered the mi- 
neral wealth of Scotland to be also enquired into. 
He obtained miners from Germany, who extracted 
both silver and gold from the mines of Leadhills, in 
the upper part of Clydesdale. The gold was of fine 
quality, and found in quantity sufficient to supply 
metal for a very elegant gold coin, which, bearing 
on one side the head of James V. wearing a bon- 
net, has been thence called the Bonnet-piece. It 
is said, that upon one occasion the King invited the 
ambassadors of Spain, France, and other foreign 
countries, to hunt with him in Crawford Moor, the 
district in which lie the mines I have just mention- 
ed. They dined in the castle of Crawford, a rude 
old fortress. The King made some apology for 
the dinner, which was composed of the game they 
had killed during the hunting and hawking of the 
day, but he assured his guests that the dessert 
would make them some amends, as he had g^ven 
directions that it should consist of the finest fruits 
which the country afforded. . The foreigners look- 
ed at each other in surprise, on hearing the King 
talk of fruits being produced amidst the black 
moors and t>arren mountains around them. But 


the dessert made its appearance in the shape of a 
number of covered saucers, one of which was 
placed before each guest, and being examined was 
found full of gold bonnet- pieces, which they were 
desired to accept as the fruit produced by the 
mountains of Crawford Moor. This new sort of 
dessert was no doubt as acceptable as the most de- 
licate fruits of a southern climate. The mines of 
the country are now wrought only for lead, of 
which they produce still a very large quantity. 

Although, as we have mentioned, James was a 
good economist, he did not neglect the cultivation 
of the fine arts. He rebuilt the palace of Linlith- 
gow, which is on a most magnificent plan, and made 
additions to that of Stirling. He encouraged seve- 
ral excellent poets and learned men, and his usual 
course of life appears to have been joyous and happy. 
He was himself a poet of some skill, and he per- 
mitted great freedom to the rhymers of his time, 
in addressing verses to him, some of which con- 
veyed severe censure of his government, and others 
satires on his foibles.^ 

James also encouraged the sciences, but was 
deceived by a foreigner, who pretended to have 
knowledge of the art of making gold. This per- 
son, however, who was either crack-brained or an 
impostor, destroyed his own credit by the fabrica- 

' [** The two excellent comic songs, entitled ' The Gaher- 
luQcie Man,* and * We*ll gae nae mair a roving/ are said to 
have been founded npon the success of his amorous adventures 
when travelling in the disguise of a beggar. The latter is per- 
haps the best comic ballad in any language.* — Note^ Canto vi. 
Zady of the Lake,'^^ 

28 TALES OF A GRANDFATHER. [scotlavd. 

James V. used great diligence in improving 
his navy, and undertook what was, at the 

'^' ' time, rather a perilous task, to sail in 
person round Scotland, and cause an accurate sur- 
vey to be made of the various coasts, bays, and 
islands, harbours, and roadsteads of his kingdom, 
many of which had been unknown to his predeces- 
sors, even by name. 

This active and patriotic Prince ordered the mi- 
neral wealth of Scotland to be also enquired into. 
He obtained miners from Germany, who extracted 
both silver and gold from the mines of Leadhills, in 
the upper part of Clydesdale. The gold was of fine 
quality, and found in quantity sufficient to supply 
metal for a very elegant gold coin, which, bearing 
on one side the. head of James V. wearing a bon- 
net, has been thence called the Bonnet-piece. It 
is said, that upon one occasion the King invited the 
ambassadors of Spain, France, and other foreign 
countries, to hunt with him in Crawford Moor, the 
district in which lie the mines I have just mention- 
ed. They dined in the castle of Crawford, a rude 
old fortress. The King made some apology for 
the dinner, which was composed of the game they 
had killed during the hunting and hawking of the 
day, but he assured his guests that the dessert 
would make them some amends, as he had given 
directions that it should consist of the finest fruits 
which the country afforded. . The foreigners look- 
ed at each other in surprise, on hearing the King 
talk of fruits being produced amidst the black 
moors and t>arren mountains around them. But 



the dessert made its appearance in the shape of a 
number of covered saucers, one of which was 
placed before each guest, and being examined was 
found full of gold bonnet- pieces, which they were 
desired to accept as the fruit produced by the 
mountains of Crawford Moor. This new sort of 
dessert was no doubt as acceptable as the most de- 
licate fruits of a southern climate. The mines of 
the country are now wrought only for lead, of 
which they produce still a very large quantity. 

Although, as we have mentioned, James was a 
good economist, he did not neglect the cultivation 
of the fine arts. He rebuilt the palace of Linlith- 
gow, which is on a most magnificent plan, and made 
additions to that of Stirling. He encouraged seve- 
ral excellent poets and learned men, and his usual 
course of life appears to have been joyous and happy. 
He was himself a poet of some skill, and he per- 
mitted great freedom to the rhymers of his time, 
in addressing verses to him, some of which con- 
veyed severe censure of his government, and others 
satires on his foibles.^ 

James also encouraged the sciences, hut was 
deceived by a foreigner, who pretended to have 
knowledge of the art of making gold. This per- 
son, however, who was either crack-brained or an 
impostor, destroyed his own credit by the fabrica- 

' [** The two excellent comic song*, entitled ' The Gaher- 
luncie Man,* and ' We*ll gae nae mair a roving,* are aaid to 
have been founded upon the success of his amorous adventures 
when travelling in the di^^uise of a beggar. The latter is per- 
haps the best comic ballad in any language.* — Ncte^ Canto vi. 
Xarfy ofth€ Lahe.'^^ 

30 TALBS OF A GRANDFATHER, [scotlakb. 

tion of a pair of wings, with which he proposed to 
fly from the top of Stirling castle. He actoaUy 
made the attempt, but as his pinions would not 
work easily, he fell down the precipice, and broke 
his thigh-bone. 

As the kingdom of Scotland, except daring a 
very short and indecisive war with England, re- 
mained at peace till near the end of James's reign, 
and as that monarch was a wise and active prince, 
it might have been hoped that he at least would 
have escaped the misfortunes which seemed to 
haunt the name of Stewart. But a great change, 
which took place at this period, led James V. into 
a predicament, as unhappy as attended any of his 

CHAV. xzfiii.] CHURCH OF ROME. 33 

believed by all Christian men, as much as if the 
same had been enjoined in the Holy Scripture 
itself. Wo shall notice two or three of these inno- 

Some good men, in an early age of Christianity, 
had withdrawn from the world to worship God in « 
desert and desolate places. They wrought for 
their bread, gave alms to the poor, spent their lei- 
sure in the exercise of devotion, and were justly 
respected. But by degrees, as well-meaning 
persons bestowed great sums to support associa- 
tions of such holy men, bequeathed lands to the 
monasteries or convents in which they lived, and 
made them wealthy, the Monks, as they were cal- 
led, departed from the simplicity of their order, 
and neglected the virtues which they undertook to 
practise. Besides, by the extravagant endowments 
of these convents, great sums of money and large 
estates were employed in maintaining a useless set 
of men, who, under pretence of performing devo- 
tional exercises, withdrew themselves from the 
business of the world, and from all domestic duties. 
Hence, though there continued to be amongst the 
monks many good, pious, and learned men, idle- 
ness and luxury invaded many of the institutions, 
and corrupted both their doctrines and their 

The worship also of saints, fw which Scripture 
gives us no warrant whatever, was i^^roduced in 
those ignorant times. It is natural we should 
respect the memory of any remarkably good man, 
and that we should value any thing which has be- 


32 TALCS OF A ORANDFATHGR. [scotlano. 

who succeeded, as they said, the apostle in his 
office, claimed an authority oyer all others in Chris- 
tendom. Grood and well-meaning persons, in their « 
reverence for the religion which they had adopted* 
admitted these pretensions without much scrutiny. 
As the Christian religion was more widely received, 
the emperors and king^ who embraced it, thought 
to distinguish their piety by heaping benefits on the 
church, and on the bishops of Rome in particular, 
who at length obtained great lands and demesnes 
as temporal princes ; while, in their character of 
clergymen, they assumed the title of Popes, and 
the full and exclusive authority over all other cler- 
gymen in the Christian world. As the people of 
those times were extremely ignorant, any little 
knowledge which remained was to be found among 
the clergy, who had some leisure to study ; while 
the laity, that is, all men who were not clergymen, 
learned little, excepting to tilt, fight, and feast. 
The Popes of Rome, having established themselves 
as heads of the church, went on, by degrees, intro- 
ducing into the simple and beautiful system deli- 
vered to us in the gospel, other doctrines, many of 
them inconsistent with, or contradictory of, pure 
Christianity, and all of them tending to extend the 
power of the priests over the minds and consciences 
of other men. It was not difficult for the popes to 
make these alterations. For as they asserted that 
they were the visible successors of Saint Peter, 
they pretended that they were as infallible as the 
apostle himself, and that all that they published in 
their ordinances, which they called Bulls, must be 

CHAV. xzfiii.] CHURCH OF ROME. 33 

believed by all Christian men, as modi as if the 
same had been enjoined in the Holy Scripture 
itself. Wo shall notice two or three of these inno- 

Some good men, in an early age of Christianity, 
had withdrawn from the world to worship Grod in . 
desert and desolate places. They wrought for 
their bread, gave alms to the poor, spent their lei- 
sure in the exercise of devotion, and were justly 
respected. But by degrees, as well-meaning 
persons bestowed great sums to support associa- 
tions of such holy men, bequeathed lands to the 
monasteries or convents in which they lived, and 
made them wealthy, the Monks, as they were cal- 
led, departed from the simplicity of their order, 
and neglected the virtues which they undertook to 
practise. Besides, by the extravagant endowments 
of these convents, great sums of money and large 
estates were employed in maintaining a useless set 
of men, who, under pretence of performing devo- 
tional exercises, withdrew themselves from the 
business of the world, and from all domestic duties. 
Hence, though there continued to be amongst the 
monks many good, pious, and learned men, idle- 
ness and luxury invaded many of the institutions, 
and corrupted both their doctrines and their 

The worship also of saints, fw which Scripture 
gives us no warrant whatever, was i^^roduced in 
those ignorant times. It is natural we should 
respect the memory of any remarkably good man, 
and that we should value any thing which has be- 


S4 TALKS OF A ORANDFATHfiR. [scotlakb. 

longed to him. The error lay in carrying tliis 
natural veneration to extremity — in worshipping 
the relics of a saintly character, such as locks of 
hair, bones, articles of clothing, and other trumpery, 
and in believing that such things are capable of 
curing sickness, or of working other miracles shodc- 
ing to common sense. Yet the Roman Church 
opened the way to this absurdity, and imputed to 
these relics, which were often a mere imposture, 
the power, which Grod alone possesses, of altering 
those laws of nature which his wisdom has appoint- 
ed. The popes also encouraged and enjoined the 
worship of saints, that is, the souls of holy men 
deceased, as a sort of subordinate deities, whose 
intercession may avail us before the throne of God, 
although the Gospel has expressly declared that 
our Lord Jesus Christ is our only Mediator. And 
in virtue of this opinion, not only were the Virgin 
Mary, the apostles, and almost every other person 
mentioned in^the Gospels, erected by the Roman 
Catholics into the office of intercessors with the 
Deity, but numerous others, some of tliem mere 
names, who never existed as men, were canonized, 
as it was called, that is, declared by the pope to 
be saints, and had altars and churches dedicated 
to them. Pictures also and statues, representing 
these alleged holy persons, were exhibited in 
churches, and received the worship, which ought 
not, according to the second commandment, to be 
rendered to any idol or graven image. 

Other doctrines there were, about festing on 
particular days, and abstaining from particular kinds 

CHAP, xzriii.] CHURCH OF ROME. 35 

of food, all of which were gradually introduced into 
the Roman Catholic faith, though contrary to the 

But the most important innovation, and that by 
which the priests made most money, was the belief, 
that the church, or, in other words, the priest, had 
the power of pardoning such sins as were confessed 
to him, upon the culprit's discharging such penance 
as the priest imposed on him. Every person was, 
therefore, obliged to confess himself to a priest, if 
he hoped to have his sins pardoned ; and the priest 
enjoined certain kinds of penance, more or less 
severe, according to the circumstances of the offence. 
But, in general, these penances might be; excused, 
providing a corresponding sum of money were paid 
to the church, which possessed thus a perpetual 
and most lucrative source of income, which was yet 
more increased by the belief in Purgatory. 

We have no right, from Scripture, to believe in 
the existence of any intermediate state betwixt that 
of happiness, which we call Heaven, to which good 
nien have access immediately after death, or that 
called Hell, being the place of eternal punishment, 
to which the wicked are consigned with the devil 
and his angels. But the Catholic priests imagined 
the intervention of an intermediate state, called Pur- 
gatory. They supposed that many, or indeed that 
most people, were not of such piety as to deserve 
immediate admission into a state of eternal happi- 
ness, until they should have sustained a certain 
portion of punishment ; but yet were not so wicked 
as to deserve instant and eternal condemnation 


For the benefit of these, they invented the inter- 
mediate situation of Purgatory, a place of punish- 
ment, to which almost every one, not doomed to 
Hell itself, was consigned for a greater or less 
period, in proportion to his sins, before admission 
into a state of happiness. But here lay the stress 
of the doctrine. The power was in the church to 
obtain pardon, by prayer, for the souls who were 
in Purgatory, and to have the g^tes of that place of 
torture opened for their departure sooner than 
would otherwise have taken place. IVIen, there- 
fore, whose consciences told them that they deserved 
a long abode in this place of punishment, left liberal 
sums to the church to have prayers said for the 
behoof of their souls. Children, in like manner, 
procured masses (that is, a particular sort of devo- 
tional worship practised by Catholics) to be said 
for the souls of their deceased parents. Widows 
did the same for their departed husbands — husbands 
for their wives. All these masses and-prayers could 
only be obtained by money, and all this money went 
to the priests. 

But the pope and his clergy carried the matter 
still farther ; and not only sold, as they pretended, 
the forgiveness of Heaven, to those who had com- 
mitted sins, but also granted them (always for 
money) a liberty to break through the laws of 
Grod and the church. These licenses were called 
indulgences, because those who purchased them were 
indulged in the privilege of committing irregulari- 
ties and vices, without being supposed answerable 
to the divine wrath. 

CHAr. xxTiu.] CHURCH OF ROME. 37 

To support this extraordinary fabric of snpersti- 
tion, the pope assumed the most extensive powers, 
even to the length of depriving kingps of their 
thrones, by his sentence of excommunication, which 
declared their subjects free from their oath of alle- 
giance, and at liberty to rise up against their sore- 
reign and put him to death. At other times the 
pope took it upon him to give the kingdoms of the 
excommunicated prince to some ambitious neigh- 
bour. The rule of the church of Rome was as 
severe over inferior persons as over princes. If a 
layman read the Bible, he was accounted guilty of 
a great offence ; for the priests well knew that a 
perusal of the sacred Scriptures would open men's 
eyes to their extravagant pretensions. If an indi- 
vidual presumed to disbelieve any of the doctrines 
which the church of Rome taught, or to entertain 
any which were inconsistent with these doctrines, 
he was tried as a heretic, and subjected to the hot- 
rid punishment of being burnt alive ; and this 
penalty was inflicted without mercy for the slightest 
expressions approaching to what the Papists called 

This extraordinary and tyrannical power over 
men's consciences was usurped during those ages 
of European history which are called dark, because 
men were at that period without the light of learn- 
ing and information. But the discovery of the art 
of printing began, in the fifteenth century, to open 
men's minds. The Bible, which had been locked 
up in the hands of the clergy, then became common, 
and was generally read ; and wise and good men 


in Germany and Switzerland made it their stndy 
to expose the errors and corruptions of the see of 
Rome. The doctrine of saint-worship was shown 
to be idolatroas^>that of pardons and indulgences) 
a foul encouragement to yice— that of Purgatory^ 
a cunning means of extorting money — and the pre- 
tensions of the Pope to infallibility, a blasphemous 
assumption of the attributes proper to God alone* 
These new opinions were termed the doctrines of 
the Reformers, and those who embraced them 
became gradually more and more numerous. The 
Roman Catholic priests attempted ta defend the 
tenets of their church by argument ; but as that 
was found difficult, they endeavoured, in most 
countries of Europe, to enforce them by violence. 
But the Reformers found protection in various 
parts of Germany. Their numbers seemed to 
increase rather than diminish, and to promise a 
great revolution in the Christian world. 

Henry VIII., the King of England, was pos- 
sessed of some learning, and had a great disposition 
to show it in this controversy. Being,' in the 
earlier part of his reign, sincerely attached to the 
church of Rome, he wrote a book in defence of its 
doctrines, against Martin Luther, one of the prin- 
cipal reformers. The Pope was so much gratified 
by this display of leal, that he conferred on the 
King the appellation of Defender of the Faith ; a 
title which Henry's successors continue to retain, 
although in a very different sense from that in 
which it was granted. 

Now Henry, you must know, was married to a 


very good princess, named Catherine, who was a 
daughter of the King of Spain, and sister to the 
Emperor of Germany. She had been, io her 
youth, contracted to Henry's elder brother Arthur ; 
but that prince dying, and Henry becoming heir 
of the throne, his union with Catherine had taken 
place. They had lived long together, and Cath^ 
rine had borne a daughter, Mary, who was the 
natural heir apparent of the English crown. But 
at length Henry VIII. fell deeply in love with a 
beautiful young woman, named Ann BuUen, a maid 
of honour in the Queen's retinue, and he became 
extremely desirous to get rid of Queen Catherine, 
and marry this young lady. For this purpose he 
applied to the Pope, in order to obtain a divorce 
from the good Queen, under pretence of her having 
been contracted to his elder brother before he was 
married to her. This, he alleged, seemed to him 
like marrying his brother's wife, and therefore he 
desired that the Pope would dissolve a marriage, 
which, as he alleged, gave much pain to his con- 
science. The truth was, that his conscience would 
have given him very little disturbance, had he not 
wanted to marry another, a younger and more 
beautiful woman. 

The Pope would have, probably, been willing 
enough to gratify Henry's desire, at least his pre- 
decessors had granted greater favours to men of 
less consequence ; but then Catherine was the sister 
of Charles V., who was at once Emperor of Ger- 
many and King of Spain, and one of the wisest 


as well at the mott powerfol, prinoet in Christen- 
dom. The Pope, who depended moeh on Charles' 
assistance for checking the Reformation, dared not 
gire him the great offence, which would hare been 
occasioned by enceoraging his sister's dirorce. 
His holiness, therefore, eraded giring a precise 
answer to the King of England from day to day, 
week to week, and year to year. Bot this led to 
a danger which the Pope had not foreseen. 

Henry VIII., a hot, fiery, and impatient prince 
as ever lived, finding that the Pope was trifiing 
with him, resolved to shake off his authority en- 
tirely. For this purpose he denied the authority 
of the Pope in England, and declared, that he him- 
self was the only Head of the English Church, 
and that the Bishop of Rome had nothing to do 
with him, or his dominions. Many of the bishops 
and clergymen of the English church adopted the 
reformed doctrines, and all disowned the supreme 
rule, hitherto ascribed to the Pope. 

But the greatest blow to the papal authority 
was the dissolution of the monasteries, or religi- 
ous houses, as they were called. The King seized 
on the convents, and the lands granted for their 
endowment, and, distributing the wealth cf the 
conrents among the great men of his court, broke 
up for erer those great establishments, and placed 
an insurmountable obstacle in the way of the 
Catholic religion being restored, after the interest 
of so many persons had been concerned in its be- 
ing exchided. 


The motire of Henry VI 1 1. 'a conduct was by 
no means praiseworthy, bat it produced the most 
important and salutary conseqaences ; as Enghind 
^ was for ever afterwards, except during the short 
reign of his eldest daughter, freed from all depend^ 
ence upon the Pope, and from the superstitious 
doctrines of the Roman Catholic religion. 

Now here, returning to Scottish history, you 
must understand that one of Henry's principal 
wishes was to prevail upon his nephew, the young 
King of Scotland, to make the same alteration of 
religion in his country, which had been introduced 
into England. Henry, if we can believe the Scot- 
tish historians, made James the most splendid offers, 
to induce him to follow this course. He proposed 
to give him the hand of his daughter Mary in mar- 
riage, and to create him Duke of York ; and, with 
a view to the establishment of a lasting peace 
between the countries, he earnestly desired a per- 
sonal meeting with his nephew in the North of 

There is reason to believe that James was, at 
one period, somewhat inclined to the Reformed 
doctrines ; at least, he encouraged a Scottish poet, 
called Sir David Lindsay of the Mount, ' and also 
the celebrated scholar, George Buchanan, in com- 
posing some severe satires against the corruptions 
of the Roman Catholic religion ; but the King 

' ['* LiDdsaj,** says Dr M'Crie, "had long lashed the vices of 
the dergy, and exposed the absurdity and superstitions of popery 
in the most popular and poignant satires, being protected by 
James V., who retained a strong attachment to the companion of 


was, notwithstanding, by no means disposed alto- 
irether to fall o£F from the Church of Rome. He 
dreaded the power of England, and the roagh, 
violent, and boisterous manners of Henry, who 
disgusted his nephew by the imprudent violence 
with which he pressed him to imitate his steps. 
But, in particular, James found the necessity of 
adhering to the Roman Catholic faith, from the 
skill, intelligence, and learning of the clergy, which 
rendered them far more fit to hold offices of state, 
and to assist him in adminisfering the public busi- 
ness, than the Scottish nobility, who were at once 
profoundly ignorant, and fierce, arrogant, and ambi- 
tious in the highest degree. 

The Archbishop Beaton, already mentioned, and 
his nephew David Beaton, who was afterwards 
made a cardinal, rose high in James's favour ; and, 
no doubt, the influence which they possessed over 
the King's mind was exerted to prevent his fol- 
lowing the example of his uncle Henry in religions 

The same influence might also induce him' to seek 
an alliance with France, rather than with England ; 
for it was natural that the Catholic clergy, with 
whom James advised, should discountenance, by 
every means in their power, any approaches to an 
intimate alliance with Henry, the mortal enemy of 
the Papal See. James V. accordingly visited 
France, and obtained the hand of Magdalen, the 

his early sports, aod the poet who had often amused his Idsurt 
hours."— Zt/e o^iTnox, voL i. p. 60.] 


daughter of Francis I., witli a large portion. Much 

joy was expressed at the landing of this princess 

at he'itW and she was receired with as 

great splendour and demonstration of {k^V^ 

welcome, as the poverty of the country 

would permit* But the young Queen was in a bad 

state of health) and died within forty days after her 


After the death of this princess, the King, still 
inclining to the French alliance, married Mary of 
Guise, daughter of the Duke of Guise, 
thus connecting himself with a family, 
proud, ambitious, and attached, in the most bigoted 
degree, to the Catholic cause. This connexion 
served, no doubt, to increase James's disinclination 
to any changes in the established Church. 

But whatever were the sentiments of the Sove- 
reign, those of the subjects were gradually tending 
more and more towards a reformation of religion 
Scotland at this time possessed several men of 
learning who had studied abroad, and had there 
learned and embraced the doctrines of the great 
reformer Calvin. They brought with them, on 
their return, copies of the Holy Scripture, and 
could give a full account of the controversy be- 
tween the Protestants, as they are now called, and 
the Roman Catholic Church. Many among the 
Scots, both of higher and lower rank, became con- 
verts to the new faith. 

' [" At landing, the Queen upon her knees, kiased the ground, 
and thanking God for her tafety, prayed for happiness to th« 
country and its people."— Pitscottii, p. 373; Druhmomi), 
fol. 104.] 


The Popish ministers and counsellors of the 
King ventared to have recourse to Tiolence, in 
order to counteract these results. Several persona 
were seized upon, tried before the Spiritual Courts 
of the Bishop of St Andrews, and condemned to 
the flames. The modesty and decency with which 
these men behaved on their trials, and the patience 
with which they underwent the tortures of a cruel 
death, protesting at the same time their belief in 
the doctrines for which they had been condemned 
to the stake, made the strongest impression on the 
beholders, and increased the confidence of those 
who had embraced the tenets of the Reformers. 
Stricter and more cruel laws were made against 
heresy. Even the disputing the power of the 
Pope was punished with death ; yet the Reforma* 
tion seemed to gain ground in proportion to every 
efibrt to check it. 

The favours which the King extended to the 
Catholic clergy, led the Scottish nobility to look 
upon them with jealousy, and increased their incli- 
nation towards the Protestant doctrines. The 
wealth of the abbeys and convents, also, tempted 
many of the nobles and gentry, who hoped to have 
a share of the church-lands, in case of these insti- 
tutions being dissolved, as in England. And 
although there were, doubtless, good men as well 
as bad among the monks, yet the indolent, and 
even debauched lives of many of the order, ren- 
dered them, generally, odious and contemptible to 
the common people. 

The popular discontent was increased by an 



accident which took place in the year 1537. A 
matron of the highest rank, Jane DouglaS) sister of 
the banished Earl of Angus, widow of John 
Lyon Lord of Glamis, and wife of Archibald 
Campbell of Kepneith, was accused of having 
practised against the life of James, by the imagi- 
nary crime of witchcraft, and the more formidable 
means of poison. Her purpose was alleged to be 
the restoration of the Douglasses to Scotland, and 
to their estates and influence in that country* 
This lady was burnt aliye on the Castle-hill of 
Edinburgh ; and the spectators, filled with pity for 
her youth and beauty, and surprised at the courage 
with which she endured the sentence did not fail 
to impute her execution less to any real crime, than 
to the King's deep-rooted hatred against the house 
of Douglas. Another capital punishment, though 
inflicted on an object of general dislike, served to 
confirm the opinion entertained of James's severity, 
not to say cruelty, of disposition. We hare men- 
tioned Sir James Hamilton of Draphane, called 
the Bastard of Arran, as distinguished on account 
of the ferocity of his disposition, and the murders 
which he committed in cold blood. This man had 
been made Sheri£F of Ayr, and had received other 
favours from the King's hand. Notwithstanding, 
he was suddenly accused of treason by a cousin 
and namesake of his own ; and on that sole testi- 
mony, condemned and executed. Upon this occasion 
also, public opinion charged James with having 
proceeded without sufficient evidence of guilt. 
In the mean time, Henry continued to press the 

46 TALES OF A ORANDFATRBR. [^cotland. 

King of ScoUandy by letters and negotiations, to 
enter into common measures with him against the 
Catholic clergy. He remonstrated with his ne- 
phew upon his preferring to improve liis royal 
revenue by means of herds and flocks, which he 
represented as an unprincely practice, saying, that 
if he wanted money, he, his kind uncle, would let 
him have what sums he pleased ; or, that the wealth 
of the Catholic convents and monasteries was a 
fund which lay at his command whenever he liked 
to seize it. Lastly, the English ambassador. Sir 
Ralph Sadler, insisted, as directed by his instruc- 
tions, upon the evil doctrines and vicious lives 
of the clergy against whom he urged the King to 
take violent measures. 

Much of this message was calculated to aflpront 
James, yet he answered temperately. He acknow- 
ledged that he preferred living on his own revenue, 
such as it was, to becoming dependent upon an- 
other king, even though that king was his uncle. 
He had no pretext or motive, he said, to seize the 
possessions of the clergy, because they were always 
ready to advance him money when he had need of 
it* Those among them who led vicious lives, he 
would not fail, he added, to correct severely ; but 
he did not consider it as just to punish the whole 
body for the faults of a few. In conclusion, King 
James suffered a doubtful promise to be extracted 
from him that he would meet Henry at York, if 
the affairs of his kingdom would permit. 

The King of Scotland was now brought to a 
pasfUng alternative, being either obliged to comply 

_,__n^_^_ . ,. 


with his ancle's wishes, break o£F his alliance with 
France, and introduce the Reformed religion into 
his dominions, or, by adherinf^ to France and to 
the Catholic faith, to ran all the hazards of a war 
with England. The churchmen exercised their 
full authority over the mind of James at this crisis. 
The gold of France was not spared to determine 
his resolution ; and it may be supposed that th« 
young Queen, so nearly connected with the Catho- 
lic house of Guise, gave her influence to the same 
party. James at length determined to disappoint 
his uncle ; and after the haughty Henry had re- 
mained six days at York, in the expectation of 
meeting him, he excused himself by some frivolous 
apology. Henry was, as might have been expected, 
mortally o£Fended, and prepared for war. 

A fierce and ruinous war immediately com- 
menced. Henry sent numerous forces to ravage 
the Scottish Border. James obtained success in 
the first considerable action, to his unutterable 
satisfaction, and prepared for more decisive hosti- 
lity. He assembled the array of his kingdom, and 
marched from Edinburgh as far as Fala, on his 
way to the Border, when tidings arrived, Ist 
November, 1542, that the English general had 
withdrawn his forces within the English frontier. 
On this news, the Scottish nobles, who, with their 
vassals, had joined the royal standard, intimated to 
their sovereign, that though they had taken up 
arms to save the country from invasion, yet they 
considered the war with England as an impolitic 
measure, and only undertaken to gratify the clergyi 

48 TALES OF A GRANDFATHER. [scotland. 

and that, therefore, the Euglish having retired, 
they were determined not to advance one foot into 
the enemy's country. One Border chieftain alone 
offered with his retinae to follow the King where- 
ever he chose to lead. This was John Scott of 
Thirlstane, whom James rewarded with an addi- 
tion to his paternal coat-of-arms, with a bunch of 
sfpears for the crest, and the motto, ** Ready^ aye 

James, finding himself thus generally thwarted 
and deserted by the nobility, returned to Edin- 
burgh, dishonoured before his people, and in the 
deepest dejection of mind. 

To retaliate the inroads of the English, and 
wipe out the memory of Fala moss, the King 
resolved that an army of ten thousand men should 
invade England on the Western Border ; and he 
imprudently sent with them his peculiar favourite, 
Oliver Sinclair, who shared with the priests the 
unpopularity of the English war, and was highly 
obnoxious to the nobility, as one of those who 
engrossed the royal favour to their prejudice. 

The army had just entered English ground, at a 
place called Sol way moss, when this Oliver Sin- 
clair was raised upon the soldiers' shields to read 
to the army a commission, which, it was afterwards 
said, named Lord Maxwell commander of the 
expedition. But no one doubted at the time that 
Oliver Sinclair had himself been proclaimed 
commander-in-chief; and as he was generally dis« 
liked and despised, the army instandy fell into a 
slate of extreme confusion. Four or five hundred 

CHAP, xxviii.] DEATH OF JAMES V. 49 

English Borderers, commanded by Thomas Dacre 
and John Musg^ave, perceived this fluctaation, and 
charged the numerous squadrons of the invading 
army. The Scots fled without even attempting to 
fight. Numbers of noblemen and gentlemen suf- 
fered themselves to be made prisoners, rather than 
face the displeasure of their disappointed sove- 

The unfortunate James had lately been assaulted 
by various calamities. The death of his two sons, 
and the disgrace of the defection at Fala, had made 
a deep impression on his mind, and haunted him 
even in the visions of the night. He dreamed he 
saw the fierce Sir James Hamilton, whom he had 
caused to be put to death upon slight evidence. 
The bloody shade approached him with a sword, 
and said, " Cruel tyrant, thou hast unjustly mur- 
dered me, who was indeed barbarous to other men, 
but always faithful and true to thee; wherefore 
now shalt thou have thy deserved punishment." 
So saying, it seemed to him as if Sir James Hamil- 
ton cut ofi^ first one arm and then another, and then 
left him, threatening to come back soon and cut his 
head off. Such a dream was very likely to arise 
in the King's mind, perturbed as it was by misfor- 
tunes, and even perhaps internally reproaching 
himself for Sir James Hamilton's death. But to 
James the striking off his arms appeared to allude 
to the death of his two sons, and he became con- 
vinced that the ultimate threats of the vision pre- 
saged his own death. 

The disgraceful news of the battle, or rather th^ 



rout of Solway, filled up the measure of the King's 
despair and desolation. He shut himself up in the 
palace of Falkland, and refused to listen to any 
consolation. A burning ferer, the consequence of 
his grief and shame, seiied on the unfortunate 
monarch. They brought him tiding»8 that his wife 
had g^ven birth to a daughter ; but he only replied, 
*< Is it so ? ** reflecting on the alliance which had 
placed the Stewart family on the throne ; ** then 
God's will be done. It came with a lass, and it 
will go with a lass." With these words, presaging 
the extinction of his house, he made a signal of 
adieu to his courtiers, spoke little more, but turned 

his face to the wall, and died of the most 
'^J,^ meUocholy of all dW.. a broken heart. 

He was scarcely thirty-one years old ; in 
the rery prime, therefore, of life. If he had not 
su£Fered the counsels of the Catholic priests to 
hurry him into a war with England, James V. 
might hare been as fortunate a prince as hk many 
good qualities and talents deservod. 

L 51 J 


Negotiations for a marriage between the young Queen Mary 
and Prince Edward of England-^their failure-^ Invasion 
of Scotland-^ Cardinal Beaton's Administration and 
Death^Battle of Pinkie-^ Queen Mary is sent to 
France, and the Queen- Dowager becomes Regent-^ Pro^ 
gress of the Reformation — Queen Mary resolves to return 
to Scotland, 


The evil fortunes of Mary Stewart, who suc- 
ceeded her father in the crown of Scotland, com- 
menced at her very birth, and could scarce be 
considered as ceasing during the whole period of 
her life. Of all the unhappy princes of the line of 
Stewart, she was the most uniformly unfortunate. 
She was born 7th December, 1542, and, in a few 
days after, became, by her father's death, the infant 
queen of a distracted country. 

Two parties strove, as is usual in minorities, to 
obtain the supreme power. Mary of Guise, the 
Queen-Mttther, with Cardinal David Beaton, were 
at the head of that which favoured tha alliance with 
France. Hamilton, Earl of Arran, the nearest 
male relation of the infant Queen, was chief of the 
other, and possessed more extended popularity; 
for the nobles dreaded the bold and ambitions cha- 

52 TALES OF A GRANDFATHER* {•coilavd. 

racter of the cardinal, and the common people 
detested him, on account of hin cruel per- 

*I5«!* *«c"^»on of the Reformers. The Earl of 

Arran, however, was but a fickle and 

timid man, with little, it would seem, to recommend 

him, besides his high birth. He was, however, 

preferred to the office of Regent. 

Henry VIII. is said to have expressed much 
concern for the death of his nephew, saying, there 
would never again reign a King in Scotland so 
nearly related to him, or so dear to him, and bla- 
ming, not the late James V., but his evil counsellors, 
for the unfortunate dispute between them. At the 
same time, Henry formed a plan of uniting the 
kingdoms of England and Scotland, by a marriage 
betwixt the infant Queen of Scotland and his only 
son, Edward VI., then a child. He took into his 
counsels the Earl of Glencairn and other Scottish 
nobles, made prisoners in the rout of Sol way, and 
ofiered to set them at liberty, provided, on their 
return to Scotland, they would undertake to for- 
ward the match which he proposed. They were 
released accordingly, upon giving pledges that 
they would return in case the treaty should not be 

Archibald, Earl of Angus, with his brother. Sir 
George Douglas, took the same opportunity of re- 
turning into Scotland, after fifteen years' exile. 
They had been indebted to Henry for support and 
protection during that long space of time. He had 
even admitted them to be members of his Privy 
Connelly and by the countenance he afforded them, 


had given great offence to the late King James. 
Wlien, therefore, the influence of the Douglasses^ 
naturally attached tp him by gratitude, was added 
to that of Glencairn and the others, who had been 
made prisoners at Sol way, and to the general 
weight of the Protestants, favourable, of course, to 
an alliance with England, Henry most be consi- 
dered as having a party in Scotland in every way 
favourable to his views. 

But the impatient temper of the English mo- 
narch ruined his own scheme. He demanded the 
custody of the young Queen of Scotland till she 
should be of age to complete the marriage to be 
contracted by the present league, and he insisted 
that some of the strongest forts in the kingdom 
should be put into his hands. These proposals 
alarmed tKe national jealousy of the Scots, and the 
characteristic love of independence and liberty 
which we find that people have always displayed. 
The nation at large became persuaded that Henry 
yill., under pretence of a onion by marriage, 
nourished, like Edward I. in similar circumstances, 
the purpose of subduing the country. The exiled 
lords who had agreed to assist Henry's views, 
could be of no use to him, in consequence of the 
extravagance of his propositions. They told Sir 
Ralph Sadler, the English ambassador, frankly, 
that the nation could not endure the surrender of 
the Queen's person to Henry's charge — ^that their 
own vassals would not take arms for them in such 
a cause — ^that the old women of Scotland, with 


roat of Solway, filled up the measare of the King's 
despair and desolation. He shut himself up in the 
palace of Falkland, and refused to listen to any 
consolation. A burning fever, the consequence of 
his gprief and shame, seized on the unfortunate 
monarch. They brought him tiding^ that his wife 
had g^ren birth to a daughter ; but he only replied, 
<< Is it so ? '^ reflecting on the alliance which had 
placed the Stewart family on the throne ; ** then 
Qod*B will be done. It came with a lass, and it 
will go with a lass." With these words, presaging 
the extinction of his house, he made a signal of 
adieu to his courtiers, spoke little more, but turned 

his face to the wall, and died of the most 
1542 ^ melancholy of all diseases, a broken heart. 

He was scarcely thirty-one years old ; in 
the Tery prime, therefore, of life. If he had not 
suffered the counsels of the Catholic priests to 
hurry him into a war with England, James V. 
might hare been as fortunate a prince as his many 
good qualities and talents deserved. 

L 51 J 


Negotiations for a marriage between the young Queen Mary 
and Prince Edwardof England—their failure--' Invasion 
of Scotland— Cardinal Beatcm's Administration and 
Death— Battle of Pinkie — Queen Mary is sent to 
France, and the Queen- Dowager becomes Regent — Pro^ 
gress of the Reformation — Queen Mary resolves to return 
to Scotland, 


The evil fortunes of Mary Stewart, who suc- 
ceeded her father in the crown of Scotland, com- 
menced at her very hirth, and could scarce he 
considered as ceasing during the whole period of 
her life. Of all the unhappy princes of the line of 
Stewart, she was the most uniformly unfortunate. 
She was horn 7th December, 1542, and, in a few 
days after, became, by her father's death, the infant 
queen of a distracted country. 

Two parties strove, as is usual in minorities, to 
obtain the supreme power. Mary of Guise, the 
Queen-M«ther, with Cardinal David Beaton, were 
at the head of that which favoured the. alliance with 
France. Hamilton, Earl of Arran, the nearest 
male relation of the infant Queen, was chief of the 
other, and possessed more extended popularity; 
for the nobles dreaded the bold and ambitions cha- 


racter of the cardinal, and the common people 
detested him, on account of h\» cruel per- 

^IM^ *®^"*'®" ®^ '^® Reformers. The Earl of 

Arran, however, was but a fickle and 

timid man, with little, it would seem, to recommend 

him, besides his high birth. He was, however, 

preferred to the office of Regent. 

Henry VIII. is said to have expressed much 
concern for the death of his nephew, saying, there 
would never again reign a King in Scotland so 
nearly related to him, or so dear to him, and bla- 
ming, not the late James V., but his evil counsellors, 
for the unfortunate dispute between them. At tlie 
same time, Henry formed a plan of uniting the 
kingdoms of England and Scotland, by a marriage 
betwixt the infant Queen of Scotland and his only 
son, Edward VL, then a child. He took into his 
counsels the Earl of Glencairn and other Scottish 
nobles, made prisoners in the rout of Sol way, and 
offered to set them at liberty, provided, on their 
return to Scotland, they would undertake to for- 
ward the match which he proposed. They were 
released accordingly, upon giving pledges that 
they would return in case the treaty should not be 

Archibald, Earl of Angus, with his brother. Sir 
George Douglas, took the same opportunity of re- 
turning into Scotland, after fifteen years' exile. 
They had been indebted to Henry for support and 
protection during that long space of time. He had 
even admitted them to be members of his Privy 
Councili and by the countenance he afforded them, 


had giren great offence to the late King James. 
W]ien, therefore, the influence of the Douglassesy 
naiturally attached tp him hy gratitude, was added 
to that of Glencairn and the others, who had been 
made prisoners at Sol way, and to the general 
weight of the Protestants, fayourable, of course, to 
an alliance with England, Henry must be consi- 
dered as having a party in Scotland in every way 
favourable to his views. 

But the impatient temper of the English mo- 
narch ruined his own scheme. He demanded the 
custody of the young Queen of Scotland till she 
should be of age to complete the marriage to be 
contracted by the present league, and he insisted 
that some of the strongest forts in the kingdom 
should be put into his hands. These proposals 
alarmed the national jealousy of the Scots, and the 
characteristic love of independence and liberty 
which we find that people have always displayed. 
The nation at large became persuaded that Henry 
VIII., under pretence of a union by marriage, 
nourished, like Edward I. in similar circumstances, 
the purpose of subduing the country. The exiled 
lords who had agreed to assist Henry's views, 
could be of no use to him, in consequence of the 
extravagance of his propositions. They told Sir 
Ralph Sadler, the English ambassador, frankly, 
that the nation could not endure the surrender of 
the Queen's person to Henry's charge — that their 
own vassals would not take arms for them in such 
a cause— that the old women of Scotland, with 

54 TALES OF A GRANDFATHER, [scotland. 

their distaffs, nay, the very stones in the streets, 
would arise and fight against it.^ 

Henry was with difficulty prevailed upon to defer 
the time for giving to him the custody of Queen 
Mary's person, until she should be ten years 
old. But even this modified proposition excited 
the greatest jealousy ; and Sir George Douglas, 
Henry's chief advocate, only ventured to recom- 
mend acquiescence in the King's proposal, as a 
means of gaining time. He told the Scottish nobles 
of a certain king, who was so fond of an ass, that 
he insisted his chief physician should teach the 
animal to speak, upon pain of being himself put to 

' [Sir George Douglas protested, from the beginning, against 
this rash assumption of King Henry. *' I assure you/' said he, 
** it is impossible to be done at this time : for, there is not so 
little a boy, but he will hurl stones against it, and the wives will 
handle their distaffs, and the commons universally will rather die 
in it, yea, and many noblemen and all the clergy be fully i^ainst 
it." — Sir Ralph Sadler's State Papers and Letters^ vol. i* 
p. 70. Of an after conference with Sir Adam Otterburne, pro* 
vost of Edinburgh, Sir Ralph relates ; *' * If,' said Sir Adam, 
* yohr lad were a las, and our las were a lad, wold you thi>n be 
so ernest in this matier ; and coulde you be content that our lad 
should mary your 1a8> and so be King of England ? ' I answered, 
that considering the great good that might ensue of it, I shouldc 
not show myself zelous to my country if I shoulde not consent 
unto it. Well, said he, if you had the las and we the lad, we 
coulde be well content with it ; but I cannot beleve that your 
nacyon coulde agree to have a Scotte to be Kyng of England. 
And lykewise I assure you, said he, that our nacyon being a stout 
nacyon, will never agree to have an Engli^man to be King of 
Scotland. And though the hale nobilite of the realme wolde 
consent unto it, zet our comen people and the stenes in the strete 
wolde ryse and rebelle against it." — Ibid, voL ii. p. 660.] 



death. The physician consented to undertake the 
case, but gave the King to understand that it wonld 
be ten years before the operation of his medicines 
could take effect. The king permitted him to set 
to work accordingly. Now, one of the physician's 
friends seeing him busy about the animal, expressed 
his wonder that so wise a man should undertake 
what was contrary to nature ; to which the physi- 
cian replied, — *•* Do you not see I hare gained ten 
years* advantage? If I had refused the King's 
orders, I must hare been instantly put to death ; 
but as it is, I hare the advantage of a k>ng delay, 
during which the king may die, the ass may die, 
or I may die myself. In either of the three cases, 
I am freed from my trouble." — " Even so," said Sir 
George Doug^, *^ if we agree to this treaty we 
avoid a bloody and destructive war, and have a 
long period before us, during which the King of 
England, his son Prince Edward, or the infant 
Queen Mary, may one of them die, so that the 
treaty will be broken off." Moved by such reasons, 
a Parliament, which consisted almost entirely of 
the lords of the English party, consented to the 
match with England, and the Regent Arran ako 
agreed to it. 

But while one part of the Scottish nobles adopt- 
ed the resolution to treat with King Henry dn his 
own terms, the Queen- Mother and Cardinal Bea- 
ton were at the head of another and still more nu- 
merous faction, who adhered to the old religion, 
and to the ancient alliance with France, and were, 
of course, directly opposed to the English match. 

54 TALES OF A GRANDFATHER, [scotland. 

their distaffs, nay, the very stones in the streets, 
would arise and fight against it.^ 

Henry was with difficulty prevailed upon to defer 
the time for giving to him the custody of Queen 
Mary's person, until she should be ten years 
old. But even this modified proposition excited 
the greatest jealousy ; and Sir George Douglas, 
Henry's chief advocate, only ventured to recom- 
mend acquiescence in the King's proposal, as a 
means of gaining time. He told the Scottish nobles 
of a certain king, who was so fond of an ass, that 
he insisted his chief physician should teach the 
animal to speak, upon pain of being himself put to 

' [Sir George Douglas protested, firom the beginning, against 
this rash assumption of King Henry. *' I assure you,*' said he, 
** it is impossible to be done at this time : for, there is not so 
little a boy, but he will hurl stones against it, and the wives will 
handle their distaffs, and the commons universally will rather die 
in it, yea, and many noblemen and all the clergy be fully against 
it." — Sir Ralph Sadler's State Papert and jLetters, toI. i* 
p. 70. Of an after conference with Sir Adam Otterburne, pro* 
vost of Edinburgh, Sir Ralph relates : *' * If,' said Sir Adam, 
* yobr lad were a las, and our las were a lad, wold you thi>n be 
so ernest in diis matier ; and coulde you be content that our lad 
should mary yonr las^and so be King of England ? ' I answered, 
that considering the great good that might ensue of it, I shoulde 
not show myself zelous to my country if I shoulde not consent 
unto it. Well, said he, if you had the ks and we the lad, we 
coulde be well content with it ; but I cannot beleve that your 
nacyon coulde agree to have a Scotte to be Kyng of England. 
And lykewise I assure you, said he, that our nacyon being a stout 
nacyon, will never agree to have an Englishman to be King of 
Scotland. And though the hale nobilite of the realme wolde 
consent unto it, set our comen people and the stenes in the stret« 
wolde ryse and rebelle against it." — Ibid, voL ii. p. 660.] 


death. The physician consented to undertake the 
case, bat gave the King to understand that it wonld 
be ten years before the operation of his medicines 
could take effect. The king permitted him to set 
to work accordingly. Now, one of the physician's 
friends seeing him busy about the animal, expressed 
his wonder tbait so wise a man should undertake 
what was contrary to nature ; to which the physi- 
cian replied, — ** Do you not see I have g^ned ten 
years* advantage? If I had refused the King's 
orders, I must hare been instantly put to death ; 
but as it is, I hare the advantage of a k>ng delay, 
during which the king may die, the ass may die, 
or I may die myself. In either of the three cases, 
I am freed from my trouble." — " Even so," said Sir 
George Douglas, *^ if we agree to this treaty we 
avoid a bloody and destructive war, and have a 
long period before us, during which the King of 
England, his son Prince Edward, or the infant 
Queen Mary, may one of them die, so that the 
treaty will be broken off." Moved by such reasons, 
a Parliament, which consisted almost entirely of 
the lords of the English party, consented to the 
match with England, and the Regent Arran ako 
agreed to it. 

But while one part of the Scottish nobles adopt- 
ed the resolution to treat with King Henry dn his 
own terms, the Queen-Mother and Cardinal Bea- 
ton were at the head of another and still more nu- 
merous faction, who adhered to the old religion, 
and to the ancient alliance with France, and wore, 
of course, directly opposed to the English match. 

56 TALES OF A GRANDFATHER. [scotlakv. 

The fickle temper of the Regent contributed to 
break o£F the treaty which he had subscribed. 
Within a fortnight after he had ratified the condi- 
' tions of the match with England, he reconciled 
himself to the cardinal and Queen- Mother, and 
joined in putting a stop to the proposed marriage. 

The English King, if he could hare been watch- 
ful and patient, might perhaps have brought the 
measure, which was alike important to both coun- 
tries, once more to bear. But Henry, incensed at 
the Regent's double dealing, determined for imme- 
diate war. He sent a fleet and army into the frith 
of Forth, which landed, and, finding no opposition^ 
burnt the capital of Scotland, and its seaport, and 
plundered the country around. Sir Ralph Even, 
and Sir Brian Latoun, were, at the same time, em- 
ployed in making inroads on the Border, which 
were of the fiercest and most wasteful description. 
The account of the ravage is tremendous. In one 
foray they numbered 192 towers, or houses of de- 
fence, burnt or razed; 403 Scots slain, and 816 
made prisoners ; 10,386 cattle, 12,492 sheep, 1296 
horses, and 850 bolls of corn, driven away as spoil. 
Another list gives an account of the destruction of 
seven monasteries, or religious houses ; sixteen 
castles or towers ; ^ye market-towns, two hundred 
and forty-three villages, thirteen mills, and three 
hospitals, all pulled down or burnt. 

The exploits of the English leaders might 
gratify Henry's resentment, but they greatly 
injured his interest in Scotland, for the whole 
kingdom became united to repel the invaders; 


and even those who liked the proposed match with 
England best, were, to use an expression of the 
time, disgusted with so rough a mode of wooing. 
The Douglasses themselves, bound to Henry by 
so many ties, were obliged, on seeing the distress 
and devastation of the country, to take part in the 
war against him, and soon found an opportunity to 
do so. 

It seems Henry had conferred upon his two suc- 
cessful leaders, Evers and Latoun, all the lands 
which they had conquered, or should be able to 
conquer upon the Border, and, in particular, the 
fine counties of Merse and Teviotdale. ** I will 
write the instrument of possession upon their own 
bodies, with sharp pens, and in blood-red ink," said 
the Earl of Angus, *' because they destroyed the 
tombs of my ancestors at the abbey of Melrose." 
He accordingly urged Arran, the regent, or gover- 
nor, as he was called, to move towards the frontiers, 
to protect them. Arran was with difficulty pre- 
vailed on to advance southward to Melrose, with 
scarce so many as fiv^ hundred men in his company. 
The English leaders were lying at Jedburgh with 
five thousand men. Three thousand of these were 
regular soldiers, paid by the King of England ; the 
rest were Borderers, amongst whom there were 
many Scottish clans who had taken the red cross, 
and submitted themselves to the dominion of Eng- 
land. With these forces E?ers and Latoun made 
a sudden march, to surprise the governor and his 
handful of men ; but they failed, for the Scoto 

58 TALES OF A GRANDFATHER. [scotland. 

retreated beyond the Tweed, to the hills near 

The English then prepared to retire to Jedburgh, 
and the governor, acting by Angus's adrice, follow- 
ed them, and watched their motions. In the mean 
time, succours began to come in to the Scottish 
army. A bold young man, Norman Leslie, the 
master of Rothes, was the first to come up with 
three hundred horse, from Fife, gallantly armed* 
Afterwards the Lord Buccleuoh joined them with 
a few of his clan, who arrived at full speed, and 
assured them that the rest of the Scotts would be 
presently on the field. This Border chieftain was 
a man of great military sagacity, and knew the 
ground well. He advised the governor and Angus 
to draw up their men at the foot of a small emi- 
nence, and to send their horses to the rear. The 
English, seeing the horses of the Scots ascend the 
hill, concluded they were in flight, and turned has- 
tily back to attack them, hurrying in confusion, as 
to an assured conquest. Thus they came in front 
of the Scottish army, who were closely and firndy 
drawn up, at the Very moment when they them- 
selves were in confusion from their hasty advance. 
As the Scots beg^n to charge, the Earl of Angus, 
seeing a heron arise out of the marsh, cried out, 
<< Oh, that I had my white hawk here, that we 
might all join battle at once I** The English, sur- 
prised and out of breath,— .(and having besides, the 
wind in their face, which blew the smoke of the 
gunpowder, — and the sun in their eyes, were com- 
pletely defeated, and compelled to take to flight.) 


The ScottishBorderers, who had joined them during 
their prosperity, perceiving their own countrymen 
to be victorious, threw away their red crosses (tlie 
distinction which they had assumed as subjects of 
£ngland), and fell upon the English, for Uie pur* 
pose of helping those against whom they had come 
to the field, and making amends for their desertion 
of the Scottish cause. These renegades made a 
pitiful slaughter, and the Scots in general, provok- 
ed, probably, by the late ravages of the English, 
showed themselves so cruel to the vanquished, that 
they seemed to deserve the severe blow which the 
nation soon afterwards received. Tradition says, 
that a beautiful young maiden, called Lillyard, 
followed her lover from the little village of Maxton, 
and wheu she saw him fall in battle, rushed herself 
into the heat of the fight, and was killed, after slay- 
ing several of the English. From this female, 
they c^l the field of battle Lillyard's Edge' to this 

This battle was fought in 1545. A thousand 
Englishmen were killed, together with their two 

1 [** The spot on which it was fought is so called from an 
Amazonian Scottish woman of that name, "Wbo is reported, by tra- 
cUtion, to have distinguished herself in the same manner as Squire 
Witherington.— (See Chevy Cha$e,^ The old people point out 
her monument, now broken and defaced. The inscription is said 
to have been legible witbin this century, and to have run thus : 

" Fair Midden Lillyard lies undir this stane. 

Little was her stature* but greiit was her fame; 

Upon the English louns she laid mony thumps. 

And when her legs were cutted afl^ she fuught upon her stumps.** 

Note, Eve of St John, Sir Walter Scoft's Poetical Workh 
vol. iv. p. 199.] 

60 TALES OF ▲ GRANDFATHER. [scotlaho. 

leaders, of whom Evers was baried in the abbey 
of Melrose, which he had repeatedly plundered, and 
finally burnt. A great many prisoners were made. 
One was Thomas Read, an alderman of the city of 
London, whom we are surprised to meet with in 
such a predicament. This worthy citizen had, we 
are informed, refused to pay his share of a benevo- 
lence, as it was called, that is, of a sum of money, 
which Henry demanded from the citizens of Lon- 
don. It seems that though the power of the King 
could not throw the alderman into jail until he paid 
the money, yet he could force him to serve as a 
soldier ; and there is a letter to Lord Evers, di- 
recting that Read should be subjected to all the 
rigours and hardships of the service, that he might 
know what soldiers suffered when in the field, and 
be more ready another time to assist the King with 
money to pay them. It is to be supposed that the 
alderman had a large ransom to pay to the Scots- 
man who had the good luck to get him for a pri- 

Henry VIII. was extremely offended at this 
defeat of Lillyard's Edge, or Ancram-moor, as it 
is frequently called, and vented his displeasure in 
menaces against the Earl of Angus, notwithstand- 
ing their connexion by the earl's marriage with the 
King's sister. Angus treated the threats of the 
English monarch with contempt. '* Is our royal 
brother-in-law," he said, " angry with me for being 
a good Scotsman, and for revenging upon Ralph 
Evers tlie destruction of my ancestors' tombs at 
Melrose ? They were better men than Evers, and 


I could in honour do no less. And will my royal 
brother-in-law take my life for that ? Little docs. 
King Henry know the skirts of Cairntable" (a 
mountain near Douglas castle) ; '* I can keep myself 
there against all his English host." 

The truth is, that at no period of their history 
had the Scottish people ever been more attached to 
France, and more alienated from England, than 
now; the proposed match between the young 
Queen and the English Prince of Wales being 
generally regarded with an abhorrence, which was 
chiefly owing to the vindictive and furious manner 
in which Henry conducted the war. Of ail the 
Scottish nobles who had originally belonged to the 
English party, Lennox alone continued friendly to 
Henry ; and he being obliged to fly into England, 
the King caused him to marry Lady Margaret 
Douglas, daughter of his sister Margaret, by her 
second husband the Earl of Angus, and of course 
the King's niece. Their son was the unhappy 
Henry Lord Darnley, of whom we shall have much 
to say hereafter. 

The King of France now sent a powerful body 
of auxiliary troops to the assistance of the Scots, 
besides considerable supplies of money, which en- 
abled them to retaliate the English ravages, so that 
the Borders on both sides were fearfully wasted. 
A peace at length, in June 1546, ended a war in 
which both countries suffered severely, without 
either attaining any decisive advantage. 

The Scottish affiiirs were now managed almost 
entirely by Cardinal Beaton, a statesman, as we 

62 TALES OF A GRANDFATHER. [scotlano. 

before obserred, of g^eat abilities, but a bigoted 
Catholic, and a roan of a severe and cruel temper. 
He had gained entire influence over the Regent 
Arran, and had prevailed upon that fickle noble- 
man to abandon the Protestant doctrines, reconcile 
himself to the church of Rome, and consent to the 
persecution of the heretics, «as the Protestants 
were still called. Many cruelties were exercised ; 
but that which excited public feeling to the high- 
est degree, was the barbarous death of George 

This martyr to the cause of Reformation was a 
roan of honourable birth, great wisdom and elo- 
quence, and of primitive piety. He preached the 
doctrines of the Reformed religion with zeal and 
with success, and was for some time protected 
against the efforts of the vengeful Catholics by the 
barons who had become converts to the Protestant 
faith. At length, however, he fell into the hands 
of the cardinal, being surrendered to him by Lord 
Bothwell, and was conveyed to the castle of St 
Andrews, a strong fortress and palace belonging to 
the cardinal as archbishop, and there thrown into 
a dungeon. Wishart was then brought to a public 
trial, for heresy, before the Spiritual Court, where 
the cardinal presided. He was accused of preach- 
ing heretical doctrine, by two priests, called Lauder 
and Oliphant, whose outrageous violence was 
strongly contrasted with the patience and presence 
of mind shown by the prisoner. He appealed to 
the authority of the Bible against that of the 
church of Rome ; but his judges were little dis- 


posed to listen to his arguments, and he was con- 
demned to be burnt alive. The place of execution 
was opposite to the stately castle of the cardinal) 
and Beaton himself sat upon the walls, which were 
hung with tapestry, to behold the death of his he- 
retical prisoner. The spot was also carefully choseOy 
that the smoke of the pile might be seen as far as 
possible, to spread the greater terror. 
Wishart was then brought out, and *i545' 
fastened to a stake with iron chains. He 
was clad in a buckram garment, and several bags 
of gunpowder were tied round his body, to hasten 
the operation of the fire. A quantity of fagots 
were disposed around the pile. While he stood 
in expectation of his cruel death, he cast his eyes 
towards his enemy the cardinal, as he sat on the 
battlements of the castle enjoying the dreadful 

*' Captain,'' he said to him who commanded the 
guard, ** may God forgive yonder man, who lies so 
proudly on the wall — within a few days he shall 
be seen lying there in as much shame as he now 
shows pomp and vanity." ^ 

* [" The cardinal seems to have been sensible, tbat the minds 
of men would be mucb agitated by tbe fate of this amiable snfl. 
ferer, and wen to have apprehended that some attempt might 
be made to rescue him from the flames. He commanded all the 
artillery of the fortress to be .pointed towards the scene of execu- 
tion ; and either to watch the ebullitions of popular indignation, 
to display his cont«npt of the reformers, or to satiate himself by 
contemplating the destruction of a man, in whose grave he hoped 
that their prindples would be buried, he openly, with the prelatea 
who accompanied lum, witnessed the melancholy spectacle.'*— 
Dr GooK*B HUtory of the Erfcrmaium, ▼. i. p. 291.] 

64 . TALES OF A GRANDFATHER. [scotlano. 

The pile was then fired, the powder exploded 
the flames arose, and Wishart was dismissed by a 
painful death to a blessed immortality in the next 

Perhaps the last words of Wishart, which seemed 
to contain a prophetic spirit, incited some men to 
revenge his death. At any rate, the barning of 
that excellent person greatly increased the public 
detestation against the cardinal, and a daring man 
stood forth to gratify the general desire, by putting 
him to death. This was Norman Leslie, called 
the Master of Rothes, the same who led the men 
of Fife at the battle of Ancram-moor. It appears, 
that besides his share of the common hatred to the 
cardinal as a persecutor, he had some prirate feud 
or cause of quarrel with him. With no more than 
sixteen men, Leslie undertook to assault the cardi- 
nal in his own castle, amongst his numerous guards 
and domestics. It chanced that, as many workmen 
were still employed in labouring upon the fortifi- 
cations of the castle, the wicket of the castle-gate 
was open early in the morning, to admit them to 
their work. The conspirators took advantage of 
this, and obtained possession of the entrance. 
Having thus gained admittance, they seized upon 
the domestics of the cardinal, and turned them one 
by one out of the castle, then hastened to the cardi- 
nal's chamber, who had fastened the door. He 
refused them entrance, until they threatened to 
apply fire, when, learning that Norman Leslie was 
without, the despairing prelate at length undid the 
doory and asked for mercy. Melville, one of the 


conspirators, told him he shoald onjy have such 
mercy as he had extended to George Wishart, and 
the other servants of God, who had been slain by. 
his orders. He then, with his sword pointed to 
his breast, bid the cardinal say his prayers to God, 
for his last hour was come. The conspirators now 
proceeded to stab their victim, and afterwards 
dragged the dead body to the walls, to show it to 
the citizens of St Andrews, his clients and depen- 
dents, who came in fury to demand what had 
become of their bishop. Thus his dead body really 
eame to lie with open shame upon the very battle- 
ments of his own castle, where he had sat in triumph 
to behold Wishart's execution.^ 

Many persons who disapproved of this most 
unjustifiable action, were yet glad that this proud 
cardinal, who had sold the country in some measure 
to France, was at length removed. Some indivi- 
duals, who assuredly would not have assisted in 
the slaughter, joined those who had slain the cardi- 
nal, in the defence of the castle. The Regent 
hastened to besiege the place, which, supplied by 
England with money, engineers, and provisions, 
was able to resist the Scottish army for five months. 
France, however, sent to Scotland a fleet and an 
army, with engineers better acquainted with the 

' [*' It may now be prcmounoed, without fear of eontradie- 
tion, th«t the assassination of Beaton was no sudden event, 
arising simply out of indignation for the fate of Wishart, but an 
act of long projected murder, encouraged, if not originated, by 
the English monarch ; and, so far as the principal conspirators 
were concerned, committed from private and mercenary conaid^v 
rations." — Tttleb, vol. t. p. 480.] 


60 TALES OF A GRANDFATHER. [scovlako. 

art of attacking strong places than those of the 
Scottish nation. The castle was, therefore, sur- 
rendered. The principal defenders of it were sent 
to France, and there for some time employed as 
gpaUey-slaves. The common people made a song 
upon the event, of which the harden was*- 

" Priest!, emtent ye now, 
And, priests, content ye now. 
Since Norman sod his company 
Hare fiU'd the galleys fon." > 

Shortly after this tragical incident. King Henry 
yill. of England died. But his impatient and 
angry spirit* continued to influence the counsels of 
the nation under the Lord Protector Somerset, 
who resolved to take the same violent measures to 

* Knox, folio 77. 

' [*' The savage temper of Henry VIII. no where more 
strongly appears than in the directions, which, on the lOth of 
April, 1543-4, he transmitted through a despatch of the Privy 
Council to the Earl of Hertford. After observing that the grand 
attempt on Scotland was delayed for a season, they command 
him, in the mean time, to make an inroad into Scotland, * there 
to put all to fire and sword, to bum Bdinbui^ town, and to rase 
and deface it, when yon have sacked it, and gotten what you can 
out of it, as that it may remain for ever a perpetual memory of 
the vengeance of God lighted upon it for their falsehood and 
disloyalty. Do what yon can, out of hand, and without loi^ 
tarrying, to beat down and overthrow the castle, sack Holyrood 
house, and as many towns and villages about Edinburgh as ye 
conveniently can ; sack Leith, and bum and subvert it, and all 
the rest, putting many tMrnum, and ehUd to fire and swordt 
without exception, when any resistance shall be made against 
you ; and this done, pass over to the Fife land, and extend like 
extremities and destractions in all towns and villages whereunto 
ye may reach conveniently, not forgetting, amongst all the rest, 
so to spoil and tum upside down the cardinal's town of St An- 
drews, ai the iipper ttone map be the nether, and not one stick 


compel the Scots to give their young Queen in 
marriage to Edward V I., of which Henry had set 
an example. A chosen and well-disciplined army 
of eighteen thousand men, well supplied with all 
necessaries, and supported by an armed fleet, 
invaded Scotland on the eastern frontier. The 
Scots assembled a force of almost double the num- 
ber of the invaders, but, as usual, unaccustomed to 
act in union together, or to follow the commands of 
a single general. Nevertheless, the Scottish leaders 
displayed at the commencement of the campaign 
some military skill. They posted their army 
behind the river Esk, near Musselburgh, a village 
about six miles from Edinburgh, and there seemed 
determined to await the advance of the English. 

The Duke of Somerset, Regent of England, and 
general of the invading army, was now in a state 
of difficulty. The Scots were too strongly posted 
to be attacked with hope of success, and it is pro- 
bable the English must have retreated with dis- 
honour, had not their enemies, in one of those fits 
of impatience which caused so many national cala- 
mities, abandoned their advantageous position. 

Confiding in the numbers of his army, the Scot- 
tish Regent (Earl of Arran) crossed the Esk, and 
thus gave the English the advantage of the ground, 
they being drawn up on the top of a sloping emi- 
nence. The Soots formed in their usual order, a 
close phalanx. They were armed with broad- 

ttadd bj anotiier, tparing no creature alive within tbe same, tpt- 
dally such m either in friendship or blood be allied to the cardi- 
nal. ** — MS. Hamilton Papen, pp. 44, 45, apud Tttlsk, toL 
y. pp. 473-4.] 

68 TALES OF A GRANDFATHER, [scotlako. 

8words of an admirable form and temper, and a 
coarse handkerchief was worn in doable and triple 
folds round each man's neck, — ** not for cold/' says 
an old historian,* " bat for catting." Especially, 
each man carried a spear eighteen feet long. 
When drawn up, they stood close together, the 
first rank kneeling on one knee, and pointing their 
spears towards the enemy. The ranks immediately 
behind stooped a little, and the others stood upright, 
presenting their lances over the heads of their 
comrades, and holding them with the but-end placed 
against their foot, the point opposed to the breast 
of the enemy. So that the Scottish ranks were so 
completely defended by the close order in which 
they stood, and by the length of their lances, that 
to charge them seemed to be as rash as to oppose 
your bare hand to a hedgehog's bristles. 

The battle began by the English cavalry, under 
the Lord Gray, rushing upon the close array of the 
Scots. They stood fast, menacing the horsemen 
with their pikes, and calling, " Come on, ye here- 
tics !" The charge was dreadful ; but as the spears 
of the English horse were much shorter than those 
of the Scottish infantry, they had greatly the worst 
of the encounter, and were beaten off with the loss 
)f many men. The Duke of Somerset commanded 
Lord Gray to renew the charge, but Gray replied, 
he might as well bid him charge a castle- wall. By 

1 [** The Ezpedicion into Sootlade, of the Most Woortheley 
Fortunate Prince, Edward, Duke of Soomerset, &c By W. 
Patten, Londoner," p. 58, ap. Dalzell*8 Fragments of Seoi' 
tish Hittoryt 4to. Edin. 1798.] 

eHAP. zziz.] BATTLE OF PINKIE. 69 

the advice of the Earl of Warwick, a body of 
archers and musketeers was employed instead of 
horsemen. The thick order of the Scots exposed 
them to insufferable loss from the missiles now 
employed against them, so that the Earl of Angus, 
who commanded the vanguard, made an oblique 
movement to avoid the shot ; but the main body of 
the Scots unhappily mistook this movement for a 
flight, and were thrown into confusion. The van 
then fled also, and the English horse returning to 
the attack, and their infantry pressing forward, the 
victory was gained with very little trouble. The 
Scots attempted no farther resistance, and the 
slaughter was very great, because the river Esk lay 
between the fugitives and any place of safety. 
Their loss was excessive. For more than five 
miles the fields were covered with the dead, and 
with the spears, shields, and swords, which the 
flying soldiers had cast away, that they might run 
the faster. The day was equally disgraceful and 
disastrous ; so that the field of Pinkie, as it was the 
last great defeat which the Scots received from the 
English, was also one of the most calamitous. It 
was fought on 10th September, 1547. 

It seemed to be decreed in those unhappy na- 
tional wars, that the English should often be able 
to win great victories over the Scots, but that they 
should never derive any permanent advantage from 
their successes. The battle of Pinkie, far from 
paving the way to a marriage between Queen Mary 
and Edward VI., which was the object of Somer- 
set's expedition, irritated and alarmed the Scots to 

70 TALES OF A GRANDFATHER. [scotlakb. 

such a degree, that they resolved to prevent the 
possibility of such a union, by marrying their 
young mistress with the Dauphin, that is, the eldest 
son of the King of France, and sending her to be 
bred up at the French court. A hasty assent of 
the Scottish Parliament was obtained to this, partly 
by the influence of gold, partly by the appearance 
of the French soldiers, partly, according to the 
reformer Knox, by the menaces of the Lord of 
Bucclench, whom he describes as " a bloody man, 
who swore, with many 4eadly oaths, that they who 
would not consent should do what they would like 


By the match with France the great object of 
the English government was rendered unattain- 
able : But the Scots had little occasion for triumph. 
The union with France, which they so hastily and 
rashly adopted, brought a new and long series of 
ruinous consequences upon the country. 

Scotland, however, enjoyed the immediate ad- 
vantage of a considerable auxiliary force of French 
soldiers, under an officer named I)'Ess6, who ren- 
dered material assistance in recovering several forts 
and castles which had fallen into the hands of the 
English after the battle of Pinkie, and in which 
they had left garrisons. The presence of these 
armed strangers gave great facilities for carrying 
into accomplishment the treaty with France. The 
Regent was gratified by the Dukedom of €ha- 
telherault, conferred on him by the French King, 
with a considerable pension, in order to induce 
him to consent to the match. The young Queen 


was embarked on board the French galleys in 
Jnly 1548, accompanied by four young ladies of 
quality of her own age, destined to be her play- 
fdlows in childhood, and her companions when she 
grew up. They all bore the same name with their 
mistress, and were cidled the Queen's Maries.^ 

The infant Queen being thus transferred to 
France, her mother, Mary of Guise, the widow of 
James V., had the address to get herself placed at 
the head of affiiirs in Scotland. The Duke of 
Chatelhertfult, as we must now t^rm the Earl of 
Arran, always flexible in his deposition, was pre- 
vailed upon to resign the ofllce of Regent, which 
was occupied by the Queen Dowager, who dis- 
played a considerable degree of wisdom and caution 
in the administration of the kingdom. Most men 
wondered at the facility with which the Duke of 
Chatelherault, himself so near in relation to the 
throne, had given place to Mary of Guise i but 
none was so much offended as the duke's natural 
brother, who had succeeded Beaton as ar<^bishop 
of St Andrews. He exdaimed with open inde- 
cency against the mean spirit of his brother, who 
had thus g^ven away the power of Regent, when 

' [" T1i« Queen's Mariee were four young ladies of b^b £gani- 
ties in Soodand, vis. Livingston, Fleming, Seatoun and Beatoun. 
Alter tbeir return with tbe Queen to Scotland, one of tbem be- 
came ^e subject of a tragic ballad, irbicb baa 

" Yestreen the Queen had four Maries, 
The night she'll hae but three.** 

See The Border Minstreby, Sir W. Scon's Poetieai W^ki, 
rtA. iii. p. 294, et teq*"} 

72 TALES OF A GRANDFATHER. [bcotlavii. 

there was but a '< squalling girl" betwixt him and 
the crown. 

The Queen Regent, thus placed in authority, 
endeavoured to secure herself by diminishing the 
power of the Scottish nobles, and increasing that 
of the cro^. For this purpose, she proposed that 
a tax should be levied on the country at large, to 
pay hired soldiers to fight, instead of trusting the 
-defence of the country to the noblemen and their 
retainers. This proposal was exceedingly ill re- 
ceived by the Scottish Parliament. ** We will fight 
for our families and our country,'' they said, " bet- 
ter than any hirelings can do— Our fathers did so, 
and we will follow their example." The Earl of 
Angus being checked for coming to Parliament 
with a thousand horse, contrary to a proclamation 
of the Queen Regent, that none should travel with 
more than their usual household train, answered 
jestingly, ** That the knaves would not leave him ; 
and that he would be obliged to the Queen, if she 
could put him on the way of being rid of them, for 
they consumed his beef and his ale." She had 
equally bad success, when she endeavoured to per- 
suade the earl to give her up his strong castle of 
Tantallon, under pretence of putting a garrison 
there to defend it against the English. At first he 
answered indirectly, as if he spoke to a hawk which 
he held on his wrist, and was feeding at the time, 
"The devil," said he, " is in the greedy gled [kite I] 
Will she never be full ?" The Q(i66n> "o^ choosing 
to take this hint, continued to urge 'her request 
about the garrison. " The castle, madam," he 


replied, " is yours at command ; but, by St Bride 
of Douglas, I must be the captain, and I will keep 
it for you as well as any one yon will put into it."^ 
The other nobles held similar opinions to those of 
Angus, and would by no means yield to the pro- 
. posal of levying any hired troops, who, as they 
feared, might be employed at the pleasure of the 
Queen Regent to diminish the liberties of the 

The prevalence of the Protestant doctrines in 
Scotland strengthened the Scottish nobles in their 
disposition to make a stand against the Queen 
Regent's desire to augment her power. Many 
great nobles, and a still greater proportion of the 
smaller barons, had embraced the Reformed opi- 
nions ; and the preaching of John Knox, a man of 
great courage, zeal, and talents, made converts daily 
from the Catholic faith. 

* [*' They tell also how the Queen-Regent, when she was dis- 
coursing with Angus, told him how the Earl of Huntly had done 
her very good service, for which she intended to advance him, and 
make him a duke : To which he answered, * Why not, madam ? 
We are happy that have such a princess, that can know and 
will acknowledge men's service, and is willing to recompense it. 
But, by the might of God (this was his oath when he was se- 
rious and in anger, at other times it was by Saint Bride of 
Douglas) if he be a duke, I will be a drake/* (The common 
people of Scotland at this day pronounce the female duck as 
dukcy the male being, as in England, termed the drake). His 
meaning was, that in matters of state, he would be above and 
before him. * Our predecessors,' says he, ' have done as good 
service as he or his, for which they have the privilege to be the 
first of the nobility after those of the blood-royal, and I will 
not lose it in my time upon any such pretext' So she de- 
sisted from further prosecuting of that purpose. "c^^GoDScaoir, 
p. 275.] 


there was but a " squalling girl" betwixt, him and 
the crown. 

The Queen Regent, thus placed in authority, 
endeavoured tb secure herself by diminishing the 
power of the Scottish nobles, and increasing that 
of the croVrn. For this purpose, she proposed that 
a tax should be levied on the country at large, to 
pay hired soldiers to fight, instead of trusting the 
defence of the country to the noblemen and their 
retainers. This proposal was exceedingly ill re- 
ceived by the Scottish Parliament. ** We will fight 
for our families and our country," they said, " bet- 
ter than any hirelings can do— Our fathers did so, 
and we will follow their example." The Earl of 
Angus being checked for coming to Parliament 
with a thousand horse, contrary to a proclamation 
of the Queen Regent, that none should travel with 
more than their usual household train, answered 
jestingly, ^ That the knaves would not leave him ; 
and that he would be obliged to the Queen, if she 
could put him on the way of being rid of them, for 
they consumed his beef and his ale." She had 
equally bad success, when she endeavoured to per- 
suade the earl to give her up his strong castle of 
Tantallon, under pretence of putting a garrison 
there to defend it against the English. At first he 
answered indirectly, as if he spoke to a hawk which 
he held on his wrist, and was feeding at the time, 
"The devil," said he, " is in the greedy gled [kite I] 
Will she never be full ?" The Queen, not choosing 
to take this hint, continued to urge 'her request 
about the garrison. " The castle, madam," he 


replied, ** is yours at command ; bat, by St Bride 
of Douglas, I must be the captain, and I will keep 
it for you as well as any one you will put into it.**^ 
The other nobles held similar opinions to those of 
Angus, and would by no means yield to the pro- 
, posal of levying any hired troops, who, as they 
feared, might be employed at the pleasure of the 
Queen Regent to diminish the liberties of the 

The prevalence of the Protestant doctrines in 
Scotland strengthened the Scottish nobles in their 
disposition to make a stand against the Queen 
Regent's desire to augment her power. Many 
great nobles, and a still greater proportion of the 
smaller barons, had embraced the Reformed opi- 
nions ; and the preaching of John Knox, a man of 
great courage, zeal, and talents, made converts daily 
from the Catholic faith. 

* [*' They tell also how the Queen-Regent, when she was dis- 
coursing with Angus, told him how the Earl of Huntly had done 
her very good service, for which she intended to advance him, and 
make him a duke : To which he answered, * Why not, madam ? 
We are happy that have such a princess, that can know and 
will acknowledge men's service, and is willing to recompense it. 
But, by the might of God (this was his oath when he was se- 
rious and in anger, at other times it was by Saint Bride of 
Douglas) if he he a duke, I will be a drake I ' ( The common 
people of Scotland at this day pronounce the female duck as 
duhe, the male being, as in England, termed the drake). His 
meaning was, that in matters of state, he would be above and 
before him. * Our predecessors,* says he, ' have done as good 
service as he or his, for which they have the privilege to be the 
first of the nobility after those of the blood-royal, and I will 
not lose it in my time upon any such pretext' So she de- 
sisted from further prosecuting of that pttrpoM."-«Goi>scaofT, 
p. 275.] 

74 TALES OF A ORANDFATHEB. [scotlavb. 

The Queen Regent, though herself a sEealouf 
Catholic, had for some time tolerated, and even 
encouraged, the Protestant party, because they 
supported her interest against that of the Hamil- 
tons ; but a course of politics had been adopted in 
France, by her brothers of the House of Guise, 
which occasioned her to change her conduct in this 

You may remember, that Edward VI. of Eng- 
land succeeded to his father Henry. He adopted 
the Protestant faith, and completed the Reforma- 
tion which his father began. But he died early, 
and was succeeded by his sister Mary of Eng- 
land, daughter of Henry VIII. by his first wife, 
Catherine of Arragon, whom he divorced under 
pretext of scruples of conscience. This Mary 
endeavoured to bring back the Catholic religion, 
and enforced the laws against heresy with the 
utmost rigour. Many persons were burnt in her 
reign, and hence she has been called the Bloody 
Queen Mary. She died, however, after a short 
and unhappy reign, and her sister Elisabeth ascended 
the throne, with the general assent of all the peo- 
ple of England. The Catholics of foreign countries, 
however, and particularly those of France, objected 
to Elizabeth's title to the crown. Elizabeth was 
Henry's daughter by his second wife, Anne BuUen. 
Now, as the Pope had never consented either to 
the divorce of Queen Catherine, or to the marriage 
of Anne Bullen, the Catholics urged, that Eliza- 
beth must be considered as illegitimate, and as 
having, therefore, no lawful right to succeed to 


tlie throne, whidi, as Henry VIII. had no other 
child, mast, they contended, descend upon Queen 
Mary of Scotland, as the grand-daughter of Mar- 
garet, Henry's sister, wife of James IV* of Scot- 
landy and the next lawful heir, according to their 
argument, to her deceased grand-uncle. 

The court of France, not considering that the 
English themselves were to be held the best 
judges of the title of their own Queen, resolved, 
in an evil hour, to put forward this claim of the 
Scottish Queen to the English crown. Money 
was coined, and piate wrought, in which Mary, 
with her husband Francis the Dauphin, assumed the 
style, title, and armorial bearings of England, as 
well as Scotland ; and thus laid the first foundation 
for that deadly hatred between Elizabeth and 
Mary, which, as you will hear by and by, led to 
such fatal consequences. 

Queen Elizabeth, finding France was disposed 
to challenge her title to the crown of England, 
prepared to support it with all the bravery and 
wisdom of her character. Her first labour was to 
re-establish the Reformed religion upon the same 
footing that Edward VI. had assigned to it, and 
to destroy the Roman Catholic establishments, 
which her predecessor Mary had endeavoured to 
replace. As the Catholics of France and Scot- 
land were her natural enemies, and attempted to 
set up the right of Queen Mary as preferable to 
her own, so she was sure to find friends in die 
Protestants of Scotland, who could not fail to en- 
tertain respect) and even afi^ection, for a PrincesSf 

76 TALES OF A GRANDFATHER. [scotland. 

who was justly regarded as the protectress of the 
Protestant cause throughout all Europe. 

When, therefore, these changes took place in 
England, the Queen Regent, at the instigation of 
her brothers of the House of Guise, began once 
more to persecute the Protestants in Scotland ; 
while their leaders turned their eyes to Elizabeth 
for protection, counsel, and assistance ; all of which 
she was easily disposed to render to a party whose 
cause rested on the same grounds with her own. 
Thus, while France made a vain pretence of claim- 
ing the kingdom of England in the name of Mary, 
and appealed for assistance to the English Catholics, 
Elizabeth far more effectually increased the inter- 
nal dissensions of Scotland, by espousing the cause 
of the Protestants of that country. 

These Scottish Protestants no longer consisted 
solely of a few studious or reflecting men, whose 
indulgence in speculation had led them to adopt 
peculiar opinions in religion, and who could be 
dragged before the spiritual courts, fined, impri- 
soned, plundered, banished, or burnt, at pleasure. 
The Reformed cause had now been adopted by 
many of the principal nobility ; and being the cause, 
at once, of rational religion and legitimate freedom, 
it was generally embraced by those who were most 
distinguished for wisdom and public spirit. 

Among the eonrerts to the Protestant faith, 
was a natural son of the late King James V., who, 
being designed for the Church, was at this time 
called Lord James Stewart, the Prior of St An- 
drews, but was afterwards better known by the title 


of the Earl of Murray. He was a young nobleman 
of great parts, brave and skilful in war, and in 
peace a lover of justice, and a friend to the liber- 
ties of his country. His wisdom, good moral con- 
duct, and the zeal he expressed for the reformed 
religion, occasioned his being the most active per- 
son amongst the Lords of the Congregation, as 
the leaders of the Protestant party were now 

The Queen Regent, more in compliance with 
the wishes of her brothers than her own inclina- 
tion, which was gentle and moderate, began the 
quarrel by commanding the Protestant preachers 
to be summoned to a court of justice at Stirling, 
on 10th May, 1559; but such a concourse of friends 
and favourers attended them, that the Queen was 
glad to put a stop to the trial, on condition that 
they should not enter the town. Yet she broke 
this promise, and had them proclaimed outlaws for 
not appearing, although they had been stopped by 
her own command. Both parties then prepared 
for hostilities; and an incident happened, which 
heightened their animosity, while it gave to the 
course of the Reformation a peculiar colour of 
xealous passion. 

The Protestants had made their headquarters 
at Perth, where they had already commenced the 
public exercise of their religion. John Knox, 
whose eloquence gave him great influence with the 
people, had pronounced a vehement sermon against 
the sin of idolatry, in which he did not spare those 
reproaches which the Queen Regent deserved for 

78 TALES OF A GRANDFATHKR. [sootlamd. 

her late breach of faith. When his discourse was 
finishedy and while the minds of the hearers were 
still agitated by its effects, a friar produced a little 
glass case, or tabernacle, containing the images of 
saints, which he required the bystanders to wor- 
ship. A boy who was present exclaimed, '* That 
was g^ross and sinful idolatry!" The priest, as 
incautious in his passion as ill-timed in his devo- 
tion, struck the boy a blow ; and the lad, in re- 
renge, threw a stone, which broke one of the 
images. Immediately all the people began to cast 
stones, not only at the images, but at the fine 
painted windows, and, finally, pulled down the 
altars, defaced the ornaments of the church, and 
nearly destroyed the whole building. 

The multitude next resolved to attack the splen- 
did convent of the • Carthusians. The prior had 
prepared for defence his garrison, consisting of the 
Highland tenants belonging to some lands which 
the convent possessed in the district of Athole. 
These men were determined to make the most of 
the occasion, and demanded of the prior, that since 
they were asked to expose their lives for the good 
of the Church, they should be assured, that if they 
were killed, their families should retain possession 
of the lands which they themselves enjoyed. The 
prior impolitically refused their request. They 
next demanded refreshments and good liquor, to 
encourage them to fight. But nothing was served 
out to them by the sordid churchman, excepting 
salted salmon and thin drink ; so that they had 
neither heart nor will to fight when it came to ihB 


push, and made little defence against the multi- 
tude, hj whom the stately convent was entirely 

The example of the Reformers in Perth was 
followed in St Andrews and other places ; and we 
have to regpret that many beautiful buildings fell a 
sacrifice to the fury of the lower orders,' and were 
either totally destroyed, or reduced to piles of 
shapeless ruins. 

The Reformers of the better class did not coun- 
tenance these extremities, although the common 
people had some reason for the line of riolence 
they pursued, besides their own natural indination 
to tumultuary proceedings. One gpreat point in 
which the Catholics and JProtestants di£Pered was, 
that the former reckoned the churches as places 
hallowed and sacred in their own character, which 
it was a highly meritorious duty to ornament and 
adorn with erery species of studied beauty of 
architecture. The Scottish Protestants, on the 
contrary, regarded them as mere buildings of 
stone and lime, having no especial claim to re- 
spect when the divine service was finished. The 
defacing, therefore, and even destroying, the 
splendid Catholic churches, seemed to the early 
Reformers the readiest mode of testifying their 
seal against the superstitions of Popery. There 

' [" Of the demolitions at Perth, Knox sayi that they were the 
acts of * the haill multitude conyenit — not of the gentilmen, for 
the maitt parte war gane to denner, nouther of thame that war 
emest professouris, hot of the ra$eatt nmltitude, who finding no- 
thing to do in that chur6he, did rin without deliberatioun to the 
Ofay and Black Freirii.* " itc—Hiitorie, p. 128.] 

80 TALES OF A GRANDFATHER* [scoclakd. 

was a degree of policy in pulling down the ab- 
beys and monasteries, with the cells and lodg- 
ings made for the accommodation of the monks. 
" The true way to banish the rooks," said John 
Knox, " is to pull down their nests, and the rooks 
will fly off." But this maxim did not apply to 
the buildings used for public worship. Respect- 
ing these at least, it would have been better to 
have followed the example of the citizens of Glas» 
gow, who drew out in arms, when the multitude 
were about to destroy the High Church of that 
city, and, while they agreed with the more zeal- 
ous in removing all the emblems of Popish worship, 
insisted that the building itself should remain un- 
injured, and be applied to the uses of a Protestant 


On the whole, however, though many fine build- 
ings were destroyed in Scotland, in the first fury 
of the Reformation, it is better that the country 
should have lost these ornaments, than that they 
should have been preserved entire, with the reten- 
tion of the corrupt and superstitious doctrines which 
had been taught in them. 

The demolition of the churches and sacred build- 
ings augmented the Queen Regent's displeasure 
against the Lords of the Congregation, and at 
length both parties took the field. The Protest- 
ant nobles were at the head of their numerous fol- 
lowers ; the Queen chiefly relied upon a small but 
select body of French troops. The war was not 
very violently carried on, for the side of the Re- 
formers became every day stronger. The Duke 


of Cbatelherault, the first nobleman in Scotland, a 
second time espoused the cause of the Congprega- 
tion ; and Maitland of Lethington, one of the 
wisest statesmen in the kingdom, took the same 
course. At the same time, although the Lords 
found it easjto bring together large bodies of men, 
yet they had not the money or means necessary to 
keep them together for a long time, while the 
French veteran soldiers were always ready to take 
advantage when the Reformed leaders were obli^ 
ged to diminish their tturces. Their difficulties 
became gpreater when the Queen Regent showed 
her design to fortify strongly the town of Leith 
and the adjacent island of Inch- Keith, and placed 
her French soldiers in garrison there; so that, 
being in possession of that seaport, she might at 
all times, when she saw occasion, introduce an ad- 
ditional number of foreigners. 

Unskilled in the art of conducting sieges, and 
totaUy without money, the Lords of the Congre- 
gation had recourse to the assistance of England : 
and for the first time an English fieet and army 
approached the territories of Scotland by sea and 
land, not with the purpose of invasion, as used to 
be the case of old, but to assist the nation in its 
resistance to the arms of France, and the religion 
of Rome. 

The English army was soon joined by the Scot- 
tish Lords of the Congregation, and advancing to 
Leith, laid siege to the town, which was most va- 
lorously defended by the French soldiers, who 


82 TALES OF A GRANDFATHER, [scotlavdw 

displayed a degpree of ingenuity in their defence 
which for a long time resisted every effort of the 
besiegers. They were, however, blockaded by the 
English fleet, so that no provisions could be re- 
ceived by sea ; and as on land they were surroand- 
ed by a considerable army, provisions became so 
scarce, that they were obliged to feed upon horse- 

In the mean time, their mistress, the Queen 
Regent, had retired into the castle of Edinburgh, 
where grief, fatigue, and disappointed expecta- 
tions, threw her into an illness, of which she died 
on 10th of June, 1560. The French troops in 
Leith were now reduced to extremity, and Fran- 
cis and Mary determined upon making peace in 
Scotland at the expense of most important conces- 
sions to the Reformed party. They agreed that, 
instead of naming a new Regent, the administra- 
tion of affairs should be devolved upon a council 
of government chosen by Parliament ; they passed 
an act of indemnity, as it is called, that is, an act 
pardoning all offences committed during these 
wars ; and they left the subject of religion to be 
disposed of as the Parliament should determine, 
which was, in fact, giving the full power to the 
Reformed party. All foreign troops, on both sides, 
were to be withdrawn accordingly. 

England, and especially Queen Elizabeth, gained 
a great point by this treaty, for it recognised, in 
express terms, the title of that Princess to the 
throne of England ; and Francis and Mary bound 
themselves to lay aside all daim to that kingdom. 


together with the arms and emblems of English 
sovereignty which they had assumed and borne. 

The Parliament of Scotland being assembled, it 
was soon seen that the Reformers possessed the 
power and inclination to direct all its resolutions 
upon the subject of religion. The)i condemned 
unanimously the whole fabric of Popery, and adopt- 
ed, instead of the doctrines of the Church of Rome, 
the tenets contained in a confession, or avowal, of 
Faith, drawn up by the most popular of the Pro- 
testant divines. Thus the whole religious consti- 
tution of the Church was at once altered. 

There was one particular in which the Scottish 
reformers greatly differed from those of England. 
The English monarch, who abolished the power of 
the Pope, had established that of the crown as the 
visible Head of the Church of England. The mean- 
ing of this phrase is, not that the King has the power 
of altering the religious doctrines of the church, but 
only that he should be the chief of the government 
in church affairs, as he was always in those of the 
State. On the contrary, the Reformed ministers 
of Scotland renounced the authority of any inter- 
ference of the civil magistrate, whether subject or 
sovereigpi, in the afiairs of the Church, declaring it 
should be under the exclusive direction of a court 
of delegates chosen from its own members, assisted 
by a certain number of the laity, forming what is 
called a General Assembly of the Church. The 
Scottish Reformers disclaimed also the division of 
the clergy into the various ranks of bishops, deans, 
prebendaries, and other classes of the clerical order. 

84 TALES OF A GRANDFATHER, [scotland. 

They dncarded this subordination of ranks, though 
retained in the English Protestant Church, main- 
taining that each clergyman intrusted with a charge 
of souls was upon a level in every respect with the 
rest of his brethren. They reprobated, in particu- 
lar, the order of bishop, as holding a place in the 
National Council, or Parliament ; and asserted, that 
meddling in secular afikirs was in itself improper 
for their office, and naturally led to the usurpation 
over men's consciences, which had been the chief 
abomination of the Church of Rome. The laity of 
Scotland, and particularly the gpreat nobility, saw 
with pleasure the readiness of the ministers to 
resign all those pretensions to worldly rank and 
consequence, which had been insisted upon by the 
Roman Catholic clergy, and made their self-deny- 
ing abjuration of titles and worldly business a 
reason for limiting the subsistence which they were 
to derive from the funds of the Church, to the 
smallest possible sum of annual stipend, whilst they 
appropriated the rest to themselves without scruple. 
It remained to dispose of the wealth lately en- 
joyed by the Catholic clergy, who were supposed 
to be possessed of half of the revenue of Scotland, 
so far as it arose from land. Knox and the other 
Reformed clergy had formed a plan for the decent 
nairttenance of a National Church out of these 
extensive funds, and proposed, that what might be 
deemed more than sufficient for this purpose should 
be expended upon hospitals, schools, universities, 
and places of education. But the Lords, who had 
•eised the revenues of the church, were determined 


liot to part with the spoil they had obtained ; and 
those whom the preachers had found Hiest active 
in destroying Popery, were wonderfully cold when 
it was proposed to them to surrender the lands 
they had seized upon for their own use. The 
plan of John Knox was, they said, a ^< derout 
imagination," a visionary scheme, which showed the 
goodness of the preacher's intentions, but which it 
was impossible to carry into practice. In short, 
they retained by force the greater part of the church 
revenues for their own advantage. 

When Francis and Mary, who had now become 
King and Queen of France, heard that the Scot- 
tish Parliament had totally altered the religion, and 
changed the forms of the National Church from 
Catholic to Protestant, they were extremely angry ; 
and had the King lived, it is most likely they would 
have refused to consent to this great innovation, 
and preferred rekindling the war by sending a new 
army of French into Scotland. But if they medi- 
tated such a measure, it was entirely prevented by 
the death of Francis II., on the 5th of December, 

During her husband's life, Mary had exercised 
a great authority in France, for she possessed un- 
bounded influence over his mind. After his death, 
and the accession of Charles his brother, that influ- 
ence and authority were totally ended. It must 
have been painful to a lofty mind like Mary's thus 
to endure coldness and neglect in the place where 
she had met with honour and obedience. She 
retired, therefore, from the Court of France, and 

86 TALES OF A GRANDFATHER, [scotlamo. 

determined to return to her native kingdom of 
Scotland ; a resolution most natural in itself, but 
which became the introduction to a long and melan- 
choly tale of misfortunes. 

[ 87 ] 


Queen Mary's Return to Scotland — Happy commencement 
of her Reign-^Expedition against Huntly — Negotiations 
with Elizabeth of England concerning a second Mar- 
riage — Mcarriage of Mary and Damley, 


Mary Stewart, the Queen Dowager of France 
and the hereditary Queen of Scotland, was, with- 
out any exception, the most beautiful and accom- 
plished woman of ber time. Her countenance was 
lovely ; she was tall, well-formed, elegant in all her 
motions, skilled in the exercises of riding and 
dancing, and possessed of all the female accom- 
plishments which were in fashion at that period. 
Her education in France had been carefully attend- 
ed to, and she had profited by the opportunities of 
instruction she enjoyed. She was mistress of se- 
veral languages, and understood state-affairs, in 
which her husband had often used her advice. The 
beauty of Mary was enhanced by her great con- 
descension, and by the good-humour and gaiety 
which she sometimes carried to the verge of excess. 
Her youth, for she was only eighteen when she 
returned to Scotland, increased the liveliness of her 
Jispoaition. The Catholic religion, in which she 


had been strictly educated, was a gpreat blemish in 
the eyes of her people; but on the whole the 
nation expected her return with more hope and 
joy, than Mary herself entertained at the thought 
of exchanging the fine climate of France and the 
gaieties of its court, for the rough tempests and 
turbulent politics of her native country. 

Mary set sail from France 15th August, I56L 
The English fleet were at sea, and there is great 
reason to believe that they had a purpose of inter- 
cepting the Queen of Scots, as a neighbour whose 
return was dreaded by Elizabeth. Occupied with 
anxious forebodings, the Queen remained on the 
deck of her galley, gaiing on the coasts of France. 
Morning found her in the same occupation ; and 
when they vanished from her eyes, she exclaimed 
in sorrow, " Farewell, farewell, happy France ; I 
shall never see thee more !" 

She passed the English fleet under cover of a 
mist, and arrived at Leith on the 19th August, 
where little or no preparation had been made for 
her honourable reception. Such of the nobles as 
were in the capital hastened, however, to wait up- 
on their young Queen, and convey her to Holy- 
rood, the palace of her ancestors. Horses were 
provided to bring her and her train to Edinburgh ; 
but they were wretched ponies, and had such 
tattered furniture and accoutrements, that poor 
Mary, when she thought of the splendid palfreys 
and rich appointments at the court of France, coidd 
not forbear shedding tears. The people were^ 
however, in their way, rejoiced ta see her; and 

CHAF. zzx.] mart's return TO SCOTLAND. 89 

aboat two hundred citisens of Edinburgh, each 
dtoing his best upon a three-stringed fiddle, played 
under her window all night, by way of welcome — 
a noisy serenade, which deprived her of sleep after 
her fatigue. She took it as it was meant, never- 
theless, and expressed her thanks to the perpetra- 
tors of this mistuned and mistimed concert. Mary 
had immediately after her arrival a specimen of the 
religions zeal of her Reformed subjects. She had 
ordered mass to be performed by a Popish eccle- 
siastic in her own chapel, but the popular indigna- 
tion was so much excited, that but for the inter- 
ference of her natural brother, the Prior of St 
Andrews, the priest would have been murdered on 
his own altar.^ 

Mary behaved with admirable prudence at this 
early period of her reign. She enchanted the 
common people by her grace and condescension, 
BSkd while she sate in council, usually employed in 
some female work, she gained credit for her wis- 
dom among the statesmen whom she consulted. 
She was cautious of attempting any thing contrary 
to the religion of her subjects, though different 
firom her own ; and using the assistance of the 

1 [In a month afterwards, ** on Sunday 14th of September,** 
•ays Randolph to Cecil, ** in the Chapel Royal, at Stirling, when 
her Grace's devout chaplain would, by the good device of Arthur 
Erskine, have sung a high mass, the Earl of Argyle, and the Lord 
James, so disturbed the quire, that some, both priests and clerks, 
left their places, with broken heads and bloody ears : It was a 
sport alone for some that were there to behold it ; others ther« 
were that shed a tear or two, and made no more of the matter.*' 
— Kwth's Histon/t p. 190.] 

90 TALES OF A GRANDFATHER, [scotlamo. 

Prior of St Andrews, and of the sagacious Mait- 
land, she made a rapid progress in the affections of 
her people. She conferred on the Prior of St 
Andrews, who had giren up thoughts of the 
church, the title and the earldom of Mar, which 
had been frequently bestowed on branches of the 
royal family. 

With similar prudence, the Queen maintained 
all the usual intercourse of civility with Elisabeth ; 
and while she refused to abandon her title to the 
crown of England, in the case of Elizabeth dying 
without heirs of her body, she expressed her anxious 
wish to live on the best terms with her sister sove- 
reign, and her readiness to relinquish, during the 
life of the English Queen, any right of inheritance 
to the English crown which she might possess to 
her prejudice. Elizabeth was silenced, if not satis- 
fied ; and there continued to be a constant commu- 
nication of apparent friendship between the two 
sovereigns, and an exchange of letters, compliments, 
and occasionally of presents, becoming their rank, 
with much profession of mutual kindness. 

But there was one important class of persons to 
whom Mar/s form of religion was so obnoxious, 
that they could not be gained to any favourable 
thoughts of her. These were the preachers of the 
Reformed faith, who, recollecting Mary's descent 
from the family of Guise, always hostile to the 
Protestant cause, exclaimed against the Queen 
even in the pulpit, with an indecent violence unfit- 
ting that place, and never spoke of her but as one 
hardened in resistance to the voice of true Chris- 


tian instruction. John Knox himself introduced 
such severe expressions into his sermons, that 
Queen Mary condescended to expostulate with 
him personally, and to exhort him to use more 
mild language in the discharge of his duty. Ne< 
vertheless, though the language of these rough 
Reformers was too vehement, and though their 
harshness was impolitic, as tending unnecessarily 
to increase the Queen's dislike of them and their 
form of religion, it must be owned that their suspi- 
cions of Mary's sincerity were natural, and in all 
probability well founded. The Queen uniformly 
declined to ratify the religious system adopted by 
the Parliament in 1560, or the confiscation of the 
church lands. She always seemed to consider the 
present state of things as a temporary arrangement, 
to which she was indeed willing to submit for the 
present, but with the reservation, that it should be 
subjected to alterations when there was opportu- 
nity for them. Her brother, the newly created 
Earl of Mar, however, who was at this time her 
principal counsellor, and her best firiend, used his 
influence with the Protestant clergy in her behalf, 
and some coldness arose between him and John 
Knox, on the subject, which continued for more 
than a year. 

The first troublesome affair in Queen Mary's 
reign seems to have arisen from her attachment to 
this brother and his interest. She had created him 
Earl of Mar, as we have said ; but it was her 
purpose to confer on him, instead of this title, that 
of Earl of Murray, and with it great part of the 

92 TALES OF A ORANDFATUBR. [scotlavo. 

large estates belonging to that northern earldom, 
which had become vested in the crown after the 
extinction of the heirs of the celebrated Thomas 
Randolph, who enjoyed it in the reign of the g^eat 
Robert Bruce. The earldom of Murray had after- 
wards been held by a brother of the Earl of Don* 
glas, but had again been forfeited to the crown on 
the fsdl of that gpreat family in James the Second's 

This exchange, however, could not be made, 
without giving offence to the Earl of Huntly, ofiten 
mentioned as head of the most powerful family in 
the North, who had possessed himself of a conside- 
rable part of those domains which had belonged to 
the earldom of Murray. This Earl of Huntly wa^ 
a brave man, and possessed of very great power in 
the Northern counties. He was one of the few 
remaining peers who continued attached to the 
Catholic religion, and, after the family of Hamil- 
ton, was the nearest in oonnexion to the royal 

It was believed, that if the Queen, instead of 
coming to Leith, had chosen to have landed at 
Aberdeen, and declared herself determined to 
reinstate the Catholic religion, the earl had offered 
to join her with twenty thousand men for accom- 
plishing that purpose. Mary, however, had de- 
clined his proposal, which must have had the 
immediate consequence of producing a g^eat civil 
war. The Earl of Huntly was, therefore, consi- 
dered as hostile to the present government, and to 
the Earl of Mar, who had the principal manage* 


ment of affairs ; and it was to be supposed, that 
possessed as Huntly was of great power, and a 
very numerous body of dependents and retainers, 
he would not willingly surrender to his political 
enemy any part of the domains which he possessed 
belonging to the earldom of Murray. 

The Earl of Mar was, on his part, determined 
to break the strength of this great opponent ; and 
Queen Mary, who appears also to have feared 
Huntly's power, and the use which he seemed 
disposed to make of it, undertook a personal jour- 
ney to the North of Scotland, to enforce obedience 
to her commands. About the same time. Sir John 
Gordon, the Earl of Huntly's son, committed some 
feudal outrage, for which he was sentenced to 
temporary confinement. This punishment, though 
slight, was felt as another mark of disfavour to the 
house of Gordon, and increased the probability of 
their meditating resistance. It is difficult, or rather 
impossible, to say whether there were good grounds 
for suspecting Huntly of entertaining serious views 
to take arms against the Crown. But his conduct 
was, to say the least, incautious and suspicious. 

The young Queen advanced northward at the 
head of a small army, encamping in the fields, or 
accepting such miserable lodgings as the houses of 
the smaller gentry afforded. It was, however, a 
scene which awoke her natural courage, and, march- 
ing at the head of her soldiery, such was her spirit, 
that she publicly wished she had been a man, to 
sleep all night in the fields, and to walk armed 
with a jack and skull-cap of steel, a good Glasgow 


bockler at her back, and a broadsword by her 

Huntly seems to have been surprised by the 
arrival of his sovereign, and undecided what to do. 
While he made all offers of submission, and endea- 
voured to prevail on the Queen to visit his house 
as that of a dutiful subject, a party of his followers 
refused her admission into the royal castle of In- 
verness, and attempted to defend that fortress 
against her. They were, however, compelled to 
surrender, and the governor was executed for 

Mean time, Sir John Gordon escaped from the 
prison to which the Queen had sentenced him, and 
placed himself at the head of the vassals of his house, 
who were now rising in every direction ; while his 
father, the Earl of Huntly, considering the Queen 
as guided entirely by his enemy, the Earl of Mar, 
at length assumed arms in person. 

Huntly easily assembled a considerable host, and 
advanced towards Aberdeen. The purpose of his 
enterprise was, perhaps, such as Buccleuch had 
entertained at the field of Melrose, — an attack 
rather upon the Queen's counsellors than on her 
person. But her brother, who had now exchanged 
his title of Mar for that of Murray, was as brave 
and as successful as Angus upon the former occa- 
sion, with this advantage, that he enjoyed the con- 
fidence of his Sovereign. He was, however, in a 
state of great difficulty. The men on whom he 
' could with certainty rely were few, being only 
those whom he had brought from the midland coun- 


ties. He smninoneci, indeed, the northern barons 
in his neighbourhood, and they came; but with 
doubtful intentions, full of awe for the house of 
Gordon, and probably with the private resolution 
of being guided by circunastances. 

Murray, who was an excellent soldier, drew up 
the men he could trust on an eminence called the 
hill of Fare, near Corrichie. He did not allow the 
northern clans to mix their doubtful succours with 
this resolute battalion, and the event showed the 
wisdom of his precaution. Huntly approached, and 
encountered the northern troops, his allies and 
neighbours, who offered little or no resistance. 
They fled tumultuously towards Murray's main 
body, pursued by the Gordons, who threw away 
their spears, drew their swords, and advanced in 
disorder, as to an assured victory. In this tumult 
they encountered the resistance of Murray's firm 
battalion of spearmen, who received the attack in 
close order, and with determined resolution. The 
Gordons were repulsed in their turn ; and those 
clans who had before fled, seeing they were about 
to lose the day, returned with sprigs of heather in 
their caps, which they used to distinguish them, fell 
upon the Gordons, and completed Murray's victory. 
Huntly, a bulky man, and heavily armed, fell from 
horseback in the flight, and was trodden to death, 
or, as others say, died afterwards of a broken heart. 
This battle was fought 28th October, 1562. The 
body of Huntly, a man lately esteemed one of the 
bravest, wisest, and most powerful in Scotland, was 
afterwards brought into a court of justice, meanly 

96 TALES OF A GRANDFATHER, [scotlavd. 

arrayed in a doublet of coarse canvass, that the sen- 
tence of a traitor might be pronounced over the 
senseless corpse. 

Sir John Gordon, the son of the vanquished 
Earl, was beheaded at Aberdeen, three days after 
the battle. Murray was placed in possession of the 
estates belonging to his new earldom, and the 
Queen returned, after having struck general terror 
into the minds of such barons as might be thought 
refractory, by the activity of her measures, and the 
success of her arms. 

Thus far the reign of Mary had been eminently 
prosperous ; but a fatal crisis approached, which 
was eventually to plunge her into the utmost 
misery. She had no children by her deceased hus- 
band, the King of France, and her subjects were 
desirous that she should marry a second husband, 
a purpose which she herself entertained and en- 
couraged. It was necessary, or politic at least, to 
consult Queen Elizabeth on the subject. That 
Princess had declared her own resolution never to 
marry, and if she should keep this determination, 
Mary of Scotland was the next heir to the English 
crown. In expectation of this rich and splendid 
inheritance, it was both prudent and natural, that 
in forming a new marriage, Mary should desire to 
have the advice and approbation of the Princess to 
whose realm she or her children might hope to 
succeed, especially if she could retain her favonr. 

Elizabeth of England was one of the wisest and 
most sagacious Queens that ever wore a crown, and 
the English to this day cherish her memory with 


well-deserved respect and attachment. Bnt her 
conduct towards her kinswoman Mary, from begin- 
ning to end, indicated a degree of envy and deceit 
totally unworthy of her general character. Deter- 
mined herself not to marry, it seems to have been 
Elizabeth's desire to prevent Mary also from doing 
so, lest she should see before her a lineage, not her 
own, ready to occupy her throne immediately after 
her death. She therefore adopted a mean and 
shuffling policy, recommending one match after 
another to her kinswoman, but throwing in obsta- 
cles whenever any of them seemed likely to take 
place. At first she appeared desirous that Mary 
should marry the Earl of Leicester, a nobleihan 
whom, though by no means distinguished by talents 
or character, she herself admired so much for his 
personal beauty, as to say, that except for her vow 
never to marry, she would have chosen him for her 
own husband. It may be readily believed, that she 
had no design such a match as she hinted at should 
ever take place, and that if Mary had expressed 
any readiness to accept of Leicester, Eliiabeth 
would have found ready means to break off the 

This proposal, however, was not at all agreeable 
to Queen Mary. Leicester, if his personal merit 
had been much greater, was of too low a rank to 
pretend to the hand of a Queen of Scotland, and 
Queen Dowager of France, to whom the most 
powerful monarchs in Europe were at the same 
time paying suit. 

The Archduke Charles, third son of the Em- 



peror of Grermany, was proposed on one side ; the 
hereditary Prince of Spain was offered on another; 
the Duke of Anjou, who became afterwards Henry 
II. of France, also presented himself. Dot if 
Mary had accepted the hand of a foreign prince, 
she would in so doing have resigned her chance of 
succeeding to the English crown: nay, considering 
the jealousy of her Protestant subjects, she might- 
have endangered her possession of that of Scotland. 
She was so much impressed by these considera- 
tions, that she went so far as to intimate that she 
might consent to the match with the Earl of Lei- 
cester, provided that Elisabeth would recognise her 
as next heir to the English crown, in case of her 
own decease without children. This, however, did 
not suit Elizabeth's policy. She did not desire 
Mary to be wedded to any one, far less to Leices- 
ter, her own personal favourite ; and was therefore 
extremely unlikely to declare her sentiments upon 
the succession (a subject on which she always ob- 
served the most mysterious silence), in order to 
bring abopt the union of her rival with the man 
she herself preferred. 

Mean time, the views of Queen Mary turned 
towards a young nobleman of high birth, nearly 
connected both with her own family and that of 
Elizabeth. This was Henry Stewart, Lord Darn- 
ley, eldest son of the Earl of Lennox. You may 
recollect, that after the battle of Flodden, the Earl 
of Angus married the Queen Dowager of Scotland; 
and, in the tumults which followed, was compelled 
to retire for a season to London. While Angus 


resided in England, his wife bore him a daughter, 
called Lady Margaret Douglas, who, when her 
parents returned to Scotland, continued to remain 
at the ^English court, under the protection of. her 
uncle, King Henry. Again you must remember, 
that during the regency of the Duke of Chatelhe- 
rault, the Earl of Lennox attempted to place him- 
self at the head of the English party in Scotland ; 
but his efforts failing through want of power or of 
conduct, he also was compelled to retire to Eng- 
land, where Henry VIIL, in acknowledgment of 
his unavailing aid, bestowed on him the hand of 
his niece, Lady Margaret Douglas, who, in right of 
her mother Margaret, had a claim of inheritance to 
the English crown. 

The young Lord Darnley's father being of such 
high rank, and his parents having such pretensions, 
Mary imagined that in marrying him she would 
gratify the wishes of ElisBabeth, who seemed to 
point out, though ambiguously, a native of Britain, 
and one not of royal rank, as her safest choice, and 
as that which would be most agreeable to herself. 
Elixabeth seemed to receive the proposal favour- 
ably, and suffered the young man, and his father 
Lennox, to visit the court of Scotland, in the hope 
that their presence might embroil matters farther ; 
and thinking that, in case the match should be 
likely to take place, she might easily break it off 
by recalling them as her subjects; a command which 
she supposed they would not dare to disobey, as 
enjoying all their lands and means of living in Eng- 

^-' ^ 


Yonng Darnley was remarkably tall and hand- 
some, perfect in all external and showy accomplish- 
ments, but unhappily destitute of sagacity, prudence, 
steadiness of character, and exhibiting only doubt- 
ful courage, though extremely violent in his pas- 
sions. Had this young man possessed a very 
moderate portion of sense, or even of gratitude, we 
might have had a different story to tell of Mary's 
reign — as it was, you will hear a very melancholy 
one. Mary had the misfortune to look upon this 
young nobleman with partiality, and was the more 
willing to gratify her own inclinations in his favour, 
that she longed to put an end to the intrigues by 
which Queen Eliiabeth had endeavoured to impose 
upon her, and prevent her marriage. Indeed, while 
the two Queens used towards each other the lan- 
guage of the most affectionate cordiality, there was 
betwixt them neither plain dealing nor upright 
meaning, but great dissimulation, envy, and fear. 

Darnley, in the mean time, endeavouring to 
strengthen the interest which he had acquired in 
the Queen's affections, had recourse to the friend- 
ship of a man, of low rank, indeed, but who was 
understood to possess particular influence over the 
mind of Mary. This was an Italian of humble 
origin, called David Rixzio, who had been pro- 
moted from being a menial in the Queen's family, 
to the confidential office of French secretary. His 
talents for music gave him frequent admission to 
Mary's presence, as she delighted in that art ; and 
his address, and arts of insinuation, gained him a 
considerable influence over her mind. It was almost 


necessary that the Qoeen should have near her 
person some confidential officer, skilled at once in 
languages and in business, through whom she might 
communicate with foreign states, and with her 
friends in France in particular. No such agent 
was likely to be found in Scotland, unless she had 
chosen a Catholic priest, which would have given 
more offence to her Protestant subjects, than even 
the employment of a man like Rizzio. Still the 
elevation of this person, a stranger, a Catholic, and 
a man of mean origin, to the rank of a minister of 
the crown — and, yet more, the personal familiarity 
to which the Queen condescended to admit him, 
and the airs of importance which this low-born 
foreigner pretended to assume, became the subject 
of offence to the proud Scottish nobles, and of 
vulgar scandal among the common people. 

Darnley, anxious to strengthen his interest with 
the Queen on every hand, formed an intimacy with 
Rizzio, who employed all the arts of flattery and 
observance to gain possession of his favour, and 
unquestionably was serviceable to him in advancing 
his suit. The Queen, in the mean while, exerted 
herself to remove the obstacles to her union with 
Darnley, and with such success, that, with the 
approbation of far the greater part of her subjects, 
they were married at Edinburgh on the 29th 
July, 1565. 

[ 102 ] 


The Run about Raid^^Murder of Rizzio — Birth of 
James VL — Death of Damley, 


When Elizabeth received news that this union 
was determined upon, she gave way to all the 
weakness of an envious woman. She remonstrated 
against the match, though, in fact, Mary could 
scarcely have made a choice less dangerous to 
England. She recalled Lennox and his son Darn- 
ley from Scotland — a mandate which they refused, 
or delayed, to obey. She committed the Countess 
of Lennox, the only one of the family within her 
reach, a prisoner to the Tower of London. Above 
all, she endeavoured to disturb the peace of Scot- 
land, and the government of Mary and her new 
husband, by stirring up to insurrection those among 
the Scottish nobility to whom the match with 
Darnley was distasteful. 

The Queen's brother, the Earl of Murray, was 
by far the most able and powerful of those who 
were displeased by Mary's marriage. Darnley 
and he were personal enemies ; and besides, Mur- 
ray was the principal of the Lords of the Congre- 
gation, who affected to see danger to the Protestant 


religion in Mary's choice of Darnley for a husband, 
and in the disunion which it was likely to create 
betwixt Scotland and England. Murray even 
laid a plan to intercept Darnley, seise his person, 
and either put him to death, or send him prisoner 
to England* A body of horse was for this purpose 
stationed at a pass under tlie hill of Bennartey, 
near Kinross, <^dled the Parrot- well, to intercept 
the Queen and Darnley as they returned from a 
ConyentioB of Estates held at Perth ; and they 
only escaped the danger by a hasty march, com- 
menced early in the morning. 

After the marriage, Murray and his confederates, 
who were the Duke of Chatelherault, Glencairn, 
Argyle, Rothes, and others, actually took up arms. 
The Queen, in this emergency, assembled her sub- 
jects around her. They came in such numbers as 
showed her popularity. Darnley rode at their head 
in gilded armour, accompanied by the Queen 
herself, having loaded pistols at her saddle-bow. 
Unable to stand their ground, Murray and his ac- 
complices eluded the pursuit of the royal army, and 
made a sudden march on Edinburgh, where they 
hoped to find friends. But the citizens not adopt- 
ing their cause, and the castle threatening to fire 
on them, the insurgents were compelled to retreat, 
first to Hamilton, then to Dumfries, until they 
finally disbanded their forces in despair, and the 
leaders fled into England. Thus ended an insur- 
rection, which, from the hasty and uncertain man- 
ner in which the conspirators posted from one part 

104 TALBS OF A GRANDFATHER, [scotlanb. 

of the kingdom to another, obtained the popidar 
name of the Run-about Raid (or ride). ^ 

Elizabeth, who had encouraged Murray and his 
associates to rise against Mary, was by no means 
desirous to hare the discredit of having done so^ 
when she saw their attempt was unsuccessful. She 
caused Murray and the Abbot of Kilwinning to 
appear before her in presence of the ambassadors 
of France and Spain, who, interfering in Mary^s 
behalf, had accused Elizabeth of fomenting the 
Scottish disturbances. " How say you," she ex- 
claimed, *^ my Lord of Murray, and you his com- 
panion ? Have you had advice or encouragement 
from me in your late undertaking?" The exiles, 
afraid to tell the truth, were contented to say, how- 
ever falsely, that they had received no advice or 
assistance at her hands. *' There you indeed speak 
truth," replied Elizabeth ; << for neither di^ I, nor 
any in my name, stir you up against your Queen ; 
your abominable treason may serve for example 
to my own subjects to rebel against me. There- 
fore get out of my presence ; you are but unworthy 
traitorp !" Mortified and disgraced, Murray and 
his companions again retired to the Border, where 
Queen Elizabeth, notwithstanding her pretended 
resentment, allowed them privately means of sup- 
port, until times should permit them to return into 
Scotland, and renew disturbances there. 

Mary had thus overcome her refractory subjects, 
but she soon found that she had a more formidable 
enemy in the foolish and passionate husband whom 


she had chosen. This headstrong yonng man be- 
haved to his wife with great disrespect, both as a 
voman and as a queen, and habitually indulged 
himself in intoxication, and other disgraceful vices. 
Although already possessed of more power than 
fitted his capacity or age, for he was but nineteen, 
he was importunate in his demands for obtaining 
what was called in Scotland the Crown Matriroo- 
nial ; that is, the full equality of royal right in the 
crown with his consort. Until he obtained this 
eminence he was not held to be King, though called 
so in courtesy. He was only the husband of the 

This crown matrimonial had been bestowed on 
Mary's first husband, Francis, and Damley was 
determined to be possessed of the same rank. But 
Mary, whose bounty had already far exceeded his 
deserts, as well as his gratitude, was resolved not 
to make this last concession, at least without the 
advice and consent of the Parliament. 

The childish impatience of Darnley made him 
regard with mortal, hatred whatever interfered 
with the instant execution of his wishes ; and his 
animosity on this occasion turned against the Ita- 
lian secretary, once his friend, but whom he now 
esteemed his deadly foe, because he supposed that 
Rizzio encouraged the Queen in resisting his hasty 
ambition. His resentment against the unhappy 
stranger arose to such a height, that he threatened 
to poniard him with his own hand ; and as Riawio 
had many enemies, and no friend save his mistress, 
Darnley easily procured instruments, and those of 


no mean rnnk, to take the execution of bis revenge 
an themselves. 

The chief of Darnley's accomplices, on this nn* 
happy occasion; was James Douglas, Earl of Mor> 
ton, chancellor of the kingdom, tutor and uncle to 
the Karl of Angus (who chanced then to be a ml- . 
nor), and administrator, therefore, of all the power 
of the great house of Douglas. He was a noble- 
man of high military talent and political wisdom ; 
bat althongb a pretender to sanctity of life, his ac- 
tioiiK show him to have been a wicked and unscrupu- 
loDS man. AJtbough chancellor of the kingdomi and 
dierefore bound peculiarly to respect the laws, he 
did not hesitate to enter into the young King's 
crnel aad unlawful purpose. Lord Ruthven, a 
man whose frame was exhausted by illness, never- 
thele«s undertook to buckle on his armour for the 
enterprise ; and they had no difficulty in finding 
other agents. 

It would haTB been easy to have seized on Ris- 
zio, and disposed of him as ibe Scottish peers at 
the bridge of Lauder used the favourites of James 
III.' But this would not have accomplished the 
revenge of Dainley, who complained that the Queen 
showed this mean Italian more civility than she 
did to himself, and therefore took the barbarous 
resolution of seizing him in her very presence. 
This plan was the more atrocious, as Mary was at 
this time with child ; and the alarm and agitation 
oh such an act of violence was likely to pro- 

■ [aMa>i*t, mi. xiiL p. SaS.J 


duce, might endanger her life, or that of her un- 
born oflPspring. 

Whilst this savage plot was forming, Rizzio 
received several hints of what was likely to hap- 
pen. Sir James Melville was at pains to explain 
to him the danger that was incurred by a stranger 
in any country, who rose so high in the favour of 
the prince, as to excite the disgust of the natives 
of the land. A French priest, who was something 
of an astrologer, warned the secretary to beware 
of a bastard. To such counsels, he replied, " that 
the Scots were more given to threaten than to 
strike ; and as for the bastard (by whom he sup- 
posed the Earl of Murray to be meant), he would 
take care that he should never possess power 
enough in Scotland to do him any harm." Thus 
securely confident, he continued at court, to abide 
his fate. 

Those lords who engaged in the conspiracy did 
not agree to gratify Darnley's resentment against 
Rizzio for nothing. They stipulated, as the price 
of their assistance, that he should in turn aid them 
in obtaining pardon and ^restoration to favour for 
Murray, and his accomplices in the Run-about 
Raid ; and intimation was despatched to these 
noblemen, apprizing them of the whole undertaking, 
and desiring them to be at Edinburgh on the night 
appointed for doing the deed* 

Queen Mary, like her father, James V., was 
fond of laying aside the state of a sovereign, ainl 
indulging in small private parties, quiet, as she 
termed them, and merry On these occasions, she 


admitted her favoorite domestics to her table, and 
Riszio seems frequently to have had that honour. 
On the 9th of March, 1566, six persons had par- 
taken of supper in a small cabinet adjoining to the 
Queen's bedchamber, and haying no entrance save 
through it. Rizzio was of the number. About 
seven in the evening, the gates of the palace were 
occupied hy Morton, with a party of two hundred 
men ; and a select band of the conspirators, headed 
by Darnley himself, came into the Queen's apart- 
ment by a secret staircase. Darnley first entered 
the cabinet, and jitood for an instant in silence, 
gloomily eyeing his victim. Lord Ruthven fol- 
lowed in complete armour, looking pale and ghast- 
ly, as one scarcely recovered from long sickness. 
Others crowded in after them, till the little closet 
was full of armed men. While the Queen de- 
manded the purpose of their coming, Rizsio, who 
saw that his life was aimed at, got behind her, and 
clasped the folds of her gown, that the respect due 
to her person might protect him. The assassins 
threw down the table, and seized on the unfortu- 
nate object of their vengeance, while Darnley him- 
self took hold of the Queen, and forced Rizzio and 
her asunder. It was their intention, doubtless, to 
have dragged Rizzio out of Mary's presence, and 
to have killed him elsewhere ; but their fierce im- 
patience hurried them into instant murder. George 
Douglas, called the postulate of Arbroath, a natu- 
ral brother of the Earl of Morton, set the example^ 
by snatching Darnley's dagger from his belt, and 
striking Rizzio with it. He received many other 


blows. They dragged him through the bedroom 
and antechamber, and despatched him at the head 
of the staircase, with no less than fifty-six wounds. 
Rnthven, after all was over, fatigued with his ex- 
ertions^ sate down in the Queen's presence, and, 
begging her pardon for the liberty, called for a 
drink to refresh him, as if he had been doing the 
most harmless thing in the world. 

The witnesses, the actors, and the scene of this 
cruel tragedy, render it one of the most extraordi- 
nary which history records. The cabinet and the 
bedroom still remain in the same condition in which 
they were at the time ; and the floor near the head 
of the stair bears visible marks of the blood of the 
unhappy Riszio. The Queen continued to beg his 
life with prayers and tears ; but when she learned 
that he was dead, she dried her tears* — << I will 
now," she said, " study revenge.* 

The conspirators, who had committed the cruel 
action entirely or chiefly to gp*atify Darnley, rec- 
koned themselves, of course, secure of his protec- 
tion. They united themselves with Murray and 
his associates, who were just returned from England 
according to appointment, and agreed upon a course 
of joint measures. The Queen, it was agreed, 
should be put under restnunt in Edinburgh castl)e, 
or elsewhere ; and Murray and Morton were to 
rule the state under the name of Darnley, who was 
to obtain the crown matrimonial, which he had so 
anxiously desired. But all this scheme was ruined 
by the defection of Darnley himself. As fickle as 
he was vehement, and as timorous as he had shown 

110 TALES OF A GRANDFATHER. [icotlano, 

himself cruel, Rizzio was no sooner slain than 
Darnley became terrified at what had been done, 
and seemed much disposed to deny having g^ven 
any authority for the crime. 

Finding her weak-minded husband in « state 
between remorse and fear, Mary prevailed on him 
to take part against the very persons whom he had 
instigated to the late atrocious proceeding. Darn- 
ley and Mary escaped together out of Holyrood- 
house, and fled to Dunbar, where the Queen issued 
a proclamation which soon drew many faithful fol- 
lowers around her. It was now the turn of the 
conspirators to tremble. That the Queen's con- 
quest over them might be more certain, she par- 
doned the Earl of Murray, and those concerned 
in the Run-about Raid, as guilty of more venial 
offences than the assassins of Rizzio; and thus 
Murray, Glencairn, and others, were received into 
favour, while Morton, Ruthven, and his comrades, 
fled in their turn to England. No Scottish subject, 
whatever his crime, could take refuge there with- 
out finding secret support, if not an open welcome. 
Such was Elizabeth's constant policy. 

Queen Mary was now once more in possession 
of authority, but much disturbed and vexed by the 
silly conduct of her husband, whose absurdities and 
insolences were not abated by the consequences of 
Rizzio's death ; so that the royal pair continued to 
be upon the worst terms with each other, though 
disguised under a species of reconciliation. 

On the 19th of June, 1566, Mary was delivered 
of a son, afterwards James VI. When news of 


this event reached London, Queen Elizabeth was 
merrily engaged in dancing ; but apon hearing 
what had happened, she left the dance, and sate 
down, leaning her head on her hand, and exclaim- 
ing passionately to her ladies, ** Do you not hear 
how the Queen of Scots is mother of a fair squ, 
while I am but a barren stock l" But next morn- 
ing she had recovered herself sufficiently to main- 
tain her usual appearance of outward civility, re* 
ceived the Scottish ambassador with much seeming 
favour, and accepted with thanks the office of god- 
mother to the young Prince, which he proffered to 
her in Queen Mary's name.' 

After a splendid solemnity at christening the 
heir of Scotland, Queen Mary seems to have turn- 
ed her mind towards settling the disorders of her 

' [" The next morning,*' sajt Sir Jamet MeWine, " was appoint- 
ed for me to get audience. At what time my brother and I 
went by water to Greenwich, and were met by some friends who 
told us how sorrowful her Majesty was at my news ; but that she 
had been advised to shew a glad and cheerful countenance ; which 
she did, in her best apparel, saying, ' that the joyful news of the 
Queen her sister's delivery of a fair son, which I had sent her by 
Secretary Cedl, had recovered her out of a heavy sickness which 
she had lyen under for fifteen days.' Therefore she welcomed 
me with a merry volt, and thanked me for the diligence I had 
used in hasting to give her that welcome intelligence. All this 
she said before I had delivered unto her my letter of credence. 
Then I requested her majesty to be a gossip to the Queen ; to 
which she gladly condescended. ' Your Majesty,* said I,* will now 
have a ftdr occasion to seethe Queen, whereof I have heard your 
Majesty so oft desirous;* whereat she smiled, saying she wished 
that her estate and afFairt* might permit her. In the mean time 
she promised to send both honorable lords and ladies to suppljr 
her room.*' — Memoirs, pp. 136, 139.] 

1 12 TALES OF A GRANDFATHER, [scotlano. 

nobility ; and, sacrificing her own justifiable resent- 
ment, she yielded so far as to grant pardon to all 
those concerned in the murder of Rizzio. Two 
men of low rank, and no more, had been executed 
for that crime. Lord Rutbven, the principal actor, 
had died in England, talking and writing as com- 
posedly of ^< the slaughter of David," as if it had 
been the most indifferent, if not meritorious, action 
possible. George Douglas, who struck the first 
blow, and Ker of Faldonside, another ruffian who 
offered his pistol at the Queen's bosom in the fray, 
were exempted from the general pardon. Murton 
and all the others were permitted to return, to j^lan 
new treasons and murders. 

We are now come, my dear child, to a very 
difficult period in history. The subsequent events, 
in the reign of Queen Mary, are well known ; but 
neither the names of the principal agents in those 
events, nor the motives upon which they acted, are 
at all agreed upon by historians. It has, in parti- 
cular, been warmly disputed, and will probably 
long continue to be so, how far Queen Mary is to 
be considered as a voluntary party or actor in the 
tragical and criminal events of which I am about 
to tell yon; or how far, being innocent of any 
foreknowledge of these violent actions, she was an 
innocent victim of the villany of others.' Leaving 
yon, my dear child, when you come to a more ad- 
vanced age, to study this historical point for your- 
self, I shall endeavour to give yon an outline of 
the facts, as they are admitted and proved on all 


James Hepburn, Earl of Bothwell, a man in 
middle age, had for several years played a conspi*' 
cuous part in those troubled times. He had sided 
with the Queen Regent against the Reformed 
party, and was in general supposed to be attached 
rather to the reigning Queen, than to any of the 
factions who opposed her. He was head of the 
powerful family of Hepburn, and possessed great 
influence in East^Lothian and Berwickshire, where 
excellent soldiers could always be obtained. In 
his morals Bothwell was wild and licentious, irre- 
gular and daring in his ambition ; and although 
his history does not show many instances of per- 
sonal courage, yet in his early life he had the 
reputation of possessing it. He had been in danger 
on the occasion of Rizzio's murder, being supposed, 
from his regard for the Queen, to have been desir- 
ous of preventing that cruel' insult to her person 
and authority. As this nobleman displayed great 
seal for Mary's cause, she was naturally led to 
advance him at court, until many persons, and 
particularly the preachers of the Reformed religion, 
thought that she admitted to too great intimacy a 
man of so fierce and profligate a character ; and a 
numerous party among her subjects accused the 
Queen as being fonder of Bothwell than she ought 
to have been, he being a married man, and herself 
a married woman. 

A thoughtless action of Mary's seemed to con- 
firm this suspicion. Bothwell, among other offices 
of authority, held that of Lord Warden of all the 
Marches, and was residing at the castle of Her- 


114 TALES OF A GRANDFATHER, [scotlavs. 

mitage, a royal fortress which belonged to that 
office, in order to suppress some disorders on the 
Border. In October 1566, attempting with his 
own hand to seize a Border freebooter called John 
Elliot of the Park, he was severely wounded in 
the hand. The Queen, who was then at Jedburgh 
holding a court of justice, hastened through woods, 
morasses, and waters, to pay a visit to the wound- 
ed warden ; and though the distance was twenty 
English miles, she went and returned from Her- 
mitage castle in the same day. This excur8io^ 
might arise solely from Mary's desire to learn the 
cause and particulars of a great outrage on her 
lieutenant; but all those who wished ill to her, 
who were a numerous body, represented it as ex- 
pressing her anxiety for the safety of her lover. ^ 

In the mean time, the dissensions between 
Darnley and the Queen continued to increase; 
and while he must have been disliked by Mary 
from their numerous quarrels, and the affronts he 
put upon her, as well as from his share in the 
murder of Rizzio, those who had been concerned 
with him in that last crime, considered him as a 
poor mean-spirited wretch, who, having engaged 
his associates in so daring an act, had afterwards 
betrayed and deserted them. His latter conduct 
showed no improvement in either sense or spirit. 
He pretended he would leave the kingdom, and 
by this and other capricious resolutions, hastily 
adopted and abandoned, he so far alienated the 

' [See Introductioii to the Border Minstrelsj. Sir Waltkk 
Scon's Poetical Works, toL L, pp. 133-185.] 


affections of the Queen, that many of the anscrupul- 
OU8 and plotting nobles by whom she wajs surround- 
ed, formed the idea, that it would be very agreeable 
to Mary if she could be freed from her union with 
this unreasonable and ill-tempered young man. 

The first proposal made to her was, that she 
should be separated from Darnley by a divorce. 
Bothwell, Maitland, Morton, and Murray, are said 
to have joined in pressing such a proposal upon 
Queen Mary, who was then residing at Craigmil- 
lar castle, near Edinburgh; but she rejected it 
steadily. A conspiracy of a darker kind was then 
agitated, for the murder of the unhappy Darnley ; 
and Bothwell seems to have entertained little 
doubt that Mary, thus rid of an unacceptable hus- 
band, would choose himself for his successor. He 
spoke with the Earl of Morton on the subject of 
despatching Darnley, and represented it as an 
enterprise which had the approbation of the Queen. 
Morton refused to stir in a matter of so great con- 
sequence, unless he received a mandate under the 
Queen's hand. Bothwell undertook to procure 
him such a warrant, but he never kept his word. 
This was confessed by Morton at his death. When 
it was asked of him by the clergyman who re- 
ceived his confession, why he had not prevented 
the conspiracy, by making it public? he replied, 
that there was no one to whom he could confess it 
with safety. ** The Queen,** he said, " was her- 
self in the plot ; and if I had told Darnley, his 
folly was so great that I am certain he would have 
betrayed it to his wife, and so my own destruction 

116 TALES OF A GRANDFATHER, [scorukim. 

woald have been assured.** Bot thoogh he did not 
acknowledge more than I have told you, Morton 
was always supposed to have been one of the active 
conspirators ; and it was universally believed that 
a daring and profligate relation of his, called Ar- 
chibald Douglas, parson of Glasgow, was one of 
the actual murderers.^ While these suspicions 
hung over Morton himself, he seems to have had 
no reason for believing Mary's guilt, excepting 
what Bothwell told him ; while he admits that 
Both well never showed him any warrant under the 
Queen's hand, though he promised to do so. It 
seems probable that Maitland of Lethington also 
knew the fatal and guilty secret. Morton and he, 
however, were both men of deep sagacity. They 
foresaw that Bothwell would render himself, and 
perhaps the Queen also, odious to the nation by the 
dark and bloody action which he meditated ; and 
therefore they resolved to let him run on his course, 
in the hope that he would come to a speedy fall, 
and that they themselves might succeed to the 
supreme power. 

While these schemes were in agitation against 
his life, Darnley fell ill at Glasgow, and his indis- 
position proved to be the small-pox. The Queen 
sent her physician, and after an interval went her- 
self to wait upon him, and an apparent reconciliation 
was effected between them. They came together 

' [Douglas was twenty years afterwards brought to trial for 
his sUeged participation in the murder of Damley» and acquitted. 
•"-See an account of the procedure thereon, in Abvqt's Crmi" 
nal Trialt, 4to, pp. 7-20. ] 


to Edinburgh on the 31st January, 156fr-67. The 
King was lodged in a religious house called the 
Kirk of Field, jost without the walls of the city."^ 
The Queen and the infant Prince were accommo- 
dated in the palace of Holyrood. The reason as- 
signed for their living separate was the danger of 
the child catching the small-pox. But the Queen 
showed much attention to her husband, visiting 
him frequently ; and they never seemed to have 
been on better terms than when the conspiracy 
against Darnley's life was on the eve of being exe- 
cuted. Mean while Darnley and his g^oom of the 
chamber were alone during the night time, and 
separated from any other persons, when measures 
were taken for his destruction in the following 
horrible manner : — 

On the evening of the 9th February, several 
persons, kinsmen, retainers, and servants of the 
Earl of Both well, came in secret to the Kirk of 
Field. They had witli them a great quantity of 
gunpowder ; and by means of false keys they ob- 
tained entrance into the cellars of the building, 
where they disposed the powder in the vaults un- 
der Darnley's apartment, and especially beneath 
the spot where his bed was placed. About two 
hours after midnight upon the ensuing morning, 
Bothwell himself came disguised in a riding-cloak, ' 
to see the execution of the cruel project. Two of 
his ruffians went in and took means of firing the 
powder, by lighting a piece of slow-burning match 

' [The Kirk of Field stood on part of the site of the College 
of Edinburgh.] 

118 TALES OF A GRANDFATHER. [scotland, 

at one end, and placing the other amongst the gun- 
powder. They remained for some time watching 
the event, and Bothwell became so impatient, that 
it was with difficulty he was prevented from enter- 
ing the house, to see whether the light had not 
been extinguished by some accident. One of his 
accomplices, by looking through a window, ascer- 
tained that it was still burning. The explosion 
presently took place, blew up the Kirk of Field, 
and alarmed the whole city. The body of Damley 
was found in the adjoining orchard. The bed in 
which he lay had preserved him from all action of 
the fire, which occasioned a general belief that he 
and his chamber-groom, who was found in the same 
situation, had been strangled and removed before 
the house was blown up. But this was a mistake. 
It is clearly proved, by the evidence of those who 
were present at the event, that there were no 
means employed but the gunpowder — a mode of 
destruction sufficiently powerful to have rendered 
any other unnecessary. 


L iw ] 


Mamage of Mary and Boihwell^^Mny^s Surrender to 'le 
Confederated Lords ai Carberry — Her Impriionment in 
Loddeven Castle, and Escape thence^-Battle of Lang" 
side, and Mary's Flight to England^^ Unjust Conduct 
of Elizabeth towards ihe Scottish Qjueen — Regency and 
Murder of Murray — Civil Wars in Scotland — Regency 
of Morton — His trial and Execution — Raid of Ruthven 
^^Affairs of James VI. managed by Stetcart Earl of 
Arran — Disgrace and Death of this Favourite, 


The horrible murder of the uDhappy Damley 
excited the strongest suspicions, and the greatest 
discontent, in the city of Edinburgh, and through 
the whole kingdom. Bothwell was pointed out by 
the general voice as the author of the murder ; and 
as he still continued to enjoy the favour of Mary, 
her reputation was not spared. To have brought 
this powerful criminal to an open and impartial 
trial, would have been the only way for the Queen 
to recover her popularity ; and Mary made a show 
of doing this public justice, but under circumstances 
which favoured the criminal. 

Lennox, father of the murdered Darnley, had, as 
was his natural duty, accused Bothwell of the mur- 
der of his son* But he received little countenance 

120 TALES OF A GRANDFATHER, [scotlamd. 

in prosecuting the accused. Everjr thing seemed 
to be done as hastily as if it were determined to 
defeat the operations of justice. Lennox received 
information on the 2Bth of March, that the 12th of 
April was appointed fbr the day of trial ; and, at so 
short warning as fourteen days^ he was summoned, 
as nearest relation of the mnrdered monarch, to 
appear as accuser, and to support the charge he had 
made against Both well. The Earl of Lennost com- 
plained that the time allowed him to prepare the 
charge and evidence necessary for convicting so 
powerful a criminal, was greatly too short ; but he 
could not prevail to have it extended. 

It was a usual thing in Scotland for persone 
accused of crimes, to come to the bar of a court of 
justice attended by all their friends, retainers, and 
dependents, the number of whom was frequently 
so great, that the judges and accusers were over- 
awed, and became afraid to proceed in the investi- 
gation ; so that the purposes of justice were for the 
time frustrated. Bothwell, conscious of guilt, was 
desirous to use this means of protection to the 
utmost. He appeared in Edinburgh with full ^ve 
thousand attendants. Two hundred chosen mus- 
keteers kept close by his side, and* guarded the 
doors of the court as soon as the criminal had 
entered. In such circumstances, there could be no 
chance of a fair trial. Lennox did not appear, 
saving by one of his vassals, who protested against 
the proceedings of the day. No charge was made, 
— no proof of innocence, of course, was required,— 
and a jury, consisting of nobles and gentlemen of 

CHAP, xxxil] trial op BOTHWELL. 121 

the first rank, acquitted Bothwell of a crime of 
which all the world believed him- to be guilty. 

The public mind remained dissatisfied with this 
mockery of justice ; but Both well, without regard- 
ing the murmurs of the people, hurried forward 
to possess himself of the situation which he had 
made vacant by the murder of Darnley. He con- 
vened a number of the principal nobility, ,q , ,. ., 
at a feast given in a tavern, and prevailed 
on them to sign a bond, in which they not oply de- 
dared Bothwell altogether innocent of the King's 
death, but recommended him as the fittest 'person 
whom her Majesty could choose for a husband. 
Morton, Maitland, and others, who afterwards were 
Mary's bitter enemies and accusers, subscribed this 
remarkable deed ; either because they were afraid 
of the consequences of a refusal,or that they thought 
it the readiest and safest course for accomplishing 
their -own purposes, to encoin'age Bothwell and the 
Queen to run headlong to their ruin, by completing 
a marriage which must be disgustful to the whole 

Murray, the most important person in Scotland, 
had kept aloof from all these proceedings. He 
was in Fife when the King was murdered, and, 
about three days before Both well's trial, he ob- 
tained leave of his sister the Queen to travel to 
France. Probably he did not consider that his 
own person would be safe, should Bothwell rise to 
be King. 

The £arl of Bothwell, thus authoriied by the 
apparent consent of the nobility, and, no doubt. 


thinking himgelf secure of the Qneen's approba- 
tion, suddenly appeared at the bridge of Cramond, 
with a thousand horse, as Mary arrived there on 
her return from Stirling to Edinburgh. Both well 
took the Queen's horse by the bridle, and surround- 
ing and disarming her attendants, he led her, as 
if by an appearance of force, to the strong castle 
of Dunbar, of which he was governor. On this 
occasion Mary seems neither to have attempted to 
resist, nor to have expressed that feeling of anger 
and shame which would have been proper to her 
character as a queen or as a woman. Her attend- 
ants were assured by the officers of Bothwell,. 
that she was carried off in consequence of her own 
consent ; and considering^that such an outrage was 
offered to a sovereign of her high rank and bold 
spirit, her tame submission and silence under it 
seem scarce otherwise to be accounted for. They 
remained at Dunbar ten days, after which they 
again appeared in Edinburgh, apparently recon- 
ciled ; the earl carefuUy leading the Queen's 
palfrey, and conducting her up to the castle of 
Edinburgh, the government of which was held by 
one of his adherents. 

Whilst these strange proceedings took placet 
Bothwell had been able to procure a sentence of 
divorce against his wife, a sister of the Earl of 
Huntly. On the I2th of May, the Queen made 
a public declaration, that she forgave Bothwell the 
late violence which he had committed, and that, 
although she was at first highly displeased with 
him, she was now resolved not only to grant him 


her pardon, bat also to promote him to further 
honours. She was as good as her word, for she 
created him Duke of Orkney ; and, on the 1 5th of 
the same month, did Mary, with unpardonable in- 
discretion, commit the great folly of marrying this 
ambitious and profligate man, stained as he was 
with the blood of her husband.^ 

The Queen was not long in discovering that by 
this unhappy marriage she had gotten a more ruth- 
less and wicked husband, than she had in the 
flexible Darnley. Bothwell used her grossly ill, 
and being disappointed in his plans of getting the 
young Prince into his keeping, used such upbraid- 
ing language to Mary, that she prayed for a knife 
with which to stab herself, rather than endure his 
ill treatment. 

In the mean time, the public discontent rose 
high, and Morton, Maitland, and others, who had 
been themselves privy to the murder of Darnley, 
placed themselves, notwithstanding, at the head of 
a numerous party of the nobility, who resolved to 
revenge his death, and remove Bothwell from his 
usurped power. They took arms hastily, and had 
nearly surprised the Qneen and Bothwell, while 
feasting in the castle of the Lord Berth wick, from 
whence they fled to Dunbar, the Queen being 
concealed in the disguise of a page. 

The confederated lords marched towards Dun- 
bar, and the Queen and Bothwell, having assem- 

' [" At a sad presage of what was qnickly to follow, this phrase 
tif Ovid was found affizt on the palace gate, the night orche 
marriage, — * Mmte mahis Maio nubere mJgus ait** *' — Kxitb, 
p. 386.] 

124 TALES OF A GRANDFATHER. [scotlakd. 

bled an army, advanced to the encounter, and met 
them on Carberry hill, not far from the place 
where the battle of Pinkie was fought. This was 
on the 15th of June, 1567. Mary would haye 
acted more wisely in postponing the threatened 
action, for the Hamiltons, in great force, were on 
their way to join her. But she had been accus- 
tomed to gain advantages by rapid and ready 
movements, and was not at first sufficiently aware 
what an unfavourable impression existed against 
her even in her own army. Many, if not most, of 
those troops who had joined the Queen, had little 
inclination to fight in BothweU's cause. He him- 
self, in a bravado, offered to prove his innocence of 
Darnle/s murder, by a duel in the lists with any 
of the opposite lords who should affirm his guilt. 
The valiant Kirkaldy of Grange, Murray of Tulli- 
bardin,and Lord Lindsay of the Byres, successively 
undertook the combat ; but Both well found excep- 
tions to each of them, and, finally, it appeared that 
this wicked man had not courage to fight with any 
one in that quarrel. In the mean time, the Queen's 
army began to disband, and it became obvious that 
they would not fight in her cause, while they con- 
sidered it as the same with that of Bothwell. She 
therefore recommended to him to fly from the field 
of action ; an advice which he was not slow in 
following, riding to Dunbar as fast as he could, 
and from thence escaping by sea. 

Mary surrendered herself, upon promise of re- 
spect and kind treatment, to the laird of Grange, 
and was conducted by him to the headquarters of 

CHAP xxxii.] Mary's surrender. 125 

the confederate army. When she arrived there» 
the lords received her with silent respect ; but some 
of the common soldiers hooted at and insulted her, 
until Grange, drawing his sword, compelled them 
to be silent. The lords adopted the resolution of 
returning to the capital, and conveying Mary thi- 
ther, surrounded by their troops. 

As the unhappy Queen approached Edinburgh, 
led as it were in triumph by the victors, the most 
coarse and insulting behaviour was used towards 
her by the lower classes. There was a banner pre- 
pared for this insurrection, displaying, on the one 
side, the portrait of Darnley, as he lay murdered 
under a tree in the fatal orchard, with these words 
embroidered, *^ Judge, and avenge my cause, O 
Lord !" and on the other side, the little Prince on 
his knees, holding up his hands, as if praying to 
Heaven to punish his father's murderers. As the 
Queen rode through the streets, with her hair loose, 
her garments disordered, covered with dust, and 
overpowered with grief, shame, and fatigue, this 
fatal flag was displayed before her eyes, while the 
voices of the rude multitude upbraided her with 
having been an accomplice in Darnle/s murder. 
The same cries were repeated, and the same in- 
sulting banner displayed, before the windows of 
the Lord Provost's house, to which she was for a 
few hours committed as if a prisoner. The better 
class of craftsmen and dtiiens were at length 
moved by her sorrows, and showed such a desire 
to take her part, that the lords determined to re 
move her ft'om the city, where respect to her birth 

126 TALES OF A GRANDFATHER, [scotlakis. 

and misfortunes seemed likely to create partisans, 
in spite of her own indiscretions, and the resent- 
ment of her enemies. Accordingly, on the next 
evening, being 16th June, 1567, Mary, in disguised 
apparel, and escorted by a strong armed force, was 
conveyed from Holyrood to the castle of Lochleyen» 
which stands on a little island, surrounded by the 
lake of the same name, and was there detained a 

The insurgent Lords now formed themselves ^ 
into a Secret Council, for managing the afiairs of 
the nation. Their first attention was turned to 
securing Bothwell, although, perhaps, there may 
have been some even among their own number, — 
Morton, for example, and Maitland, — who had been 
participant with him in the murder of Darnley, who 
could not be very desirous that he should be pro- 
duced on a public trial. But it was necessary to 
make a show of pursuing him, and many were sin- 
cerely desirous that he should be taken. 

Kirkaldy of Grange followed Bothwell \fith two 
vessels, and had nearly surprised him in the harbour 
of Lerwick, the fugitive making his escape at one 
issue of the bay, while Grange entered at another ; 
and Bothwell might even then have been captured, 
but that Grange's ship ran upon a rock, and was 
wrecked, though the crew escaped. Bothwell was 
only saved for a more melancholy fate. He took 
to piracy in the Northern Seas, in order to support 
himself and his sailors. He was in consequence 
assaulted and taken by some Danish ships of war. 
The Danes threw him into the dungeons of the 

CHAP, xxxxi.] Mary's IMPRISONMENT. 127 

ca8tle of Malmay, where he died in oaptivity, about 
the end of the year 1576. It is said, that this atro- 
cious criminal confessed at his death, that he had 
conducted the tnurder of Darnley, by the assistance 
of Murray, Maitland, and Morton, and that Mary 
was altogether guiltless of that crime. But there 
is little reliance to be placed on the declaration of 
so wicked a man, even if it were certain he had 
made it. 

' Mean time, poor Mary reaped the full consequen- 
ces of Bothweirs guilt, and of her own infatuated 
attachment to him.^ She was imprisoned in a rude 
and inconvenient tower, on a small islet, where 
there was scarce room to walk fifty yards ; and not 
even the intercession of Queen Elizabeth, who 
seems for the time to have been alarmed at the suc- 
cessful insurrection of subjects against their sove- 
reign, could procure any mitigation of her captivity 
There was a proposal to proceed against the Queen 
as an accomplice in Darnle/s murder, and to take 
her life under that pretence. But the lords of the 
Secret Council resolved to adopt somewhat of a 
gentler course, by compelling Mary to surrender 
her crown to her son, then an infant, and to make 
the Earl of Murray regent during the child's mi- 
nority. Deeds to this purpose were drawn up, and 
sent to the castle of Lochleven, to be signed by the 
Queen. Lord Lindsay, the rudest, most bigoted, 
and fiercest of the confederated lords, was deputed 
to enforce Mary's compliance with the commands 
of the council. He behaved with such peremptory 
brutality as had perhaps been expected, and was so 



and misfortunes seemed likely to create partisans, 
in spite of her own indiscretions, and the resent- 
ment of her enemies. Accordingly, on the next 
evening, being 16th June, 1567, Mary, in disgoised 
apparel, and escorted by a strong armed force, was 
conveyed from Holyrood to the castle of Lochleven, 
which stands on a little island, surrounded by the 
lake of the same name, and was there detained a 

The insurgent Lords now formed themselves 
into a Secret Council, for managing the afiairs of 
the nation. Their first attention was turned to 
securing Bothwell, although, perhaps, there may 
have been some even among their own number, — 
Morton, for example, and Maitland, — who had been 
participant with him in the murder of Darnley, who 
could not be very desirous that he should be pro- 
duced on a public trial. But it was necessary to 
make a show of pursuing him, and many were sin- 
cerely desirous that he should be taken. 

Kirkaldy of Grange followed Bothwell \fith two 
vessels, and had nearly surprised him in the harbour 
of Lerwick, the fugitive making his escape at one 
issue of the bay, while Grange entered at another ; 
and Bothwell might even then have been captured, 
but that Grange's ship ran upon a rock, and was 
wrecked, though the crew escaped. Bothwell was 
only saved for a more melancholy fate. He took 
to piracy in the Northern Seas, in order to support 
himself and his sailors. He was in consequence 
assaulted and taken by some Danish ships of war. 
The Danes threw him into the dungeons of the 

CHAP, xxxxi.] mart's IMPRISONMENT. 127 

ca8tle of Malmay, where he died in oaptivity, about 
the end of the year 1576. It is said, that this atro- 
cious criminal confessed at his death, that he had 
conducted the murder of Darnley, by the assistance 
of Murray, Maitland, and Morton, and that Mary 
was altogether guiltless of that crime. But there 
is little reliance to be placed on the declaration of 
so wicked a man, even if it were certain he had 
made it. 

Mean time, poor Mary reaped the full consequen- 
ces of BothwelFs guilt, and of her own infatuated 
attachment to him.^ She was imprisoned in a rude 
and inconvenient tower, on a small islet, where 
there was scarce room to walk fifty yards ; and not 
even the intercession of Queen Elizabeth, who 
seems for the time to have been alarmed at the suc- 
cessful insurrection of subjects against their sove- 
reigpi, could procure any mitigation of her captivity 
There was a proposal to proceed against the Queen 
as an accomplice in Darnle/s murder, and to take 
her life under that pretence. But the lords of the 
Secret Council resolved to adopt somewhat of a 
gentler course, by compelling Mary to surrender 
her crown to her son, then an infant, and to make 
the Earl of Murray regent during the child's mi- 
nority. Deeds to this purpose were drawn up, and 
sent to the castle of Lochleven, to be signed by the 
Queen. Lord Lindsay, the rudest, most bigoted, 
and fiercest of the confederated lords, was deputed 
to enforce Mary's compliance with the commands 
of the council. He behaved with such peremptory 
brutality as had perhaps been expectedi and was so 

128 TALES OP A GRANDIfATHBR. [scotland. 

unmanly as to pinch with his iron glove the arm of 
the poor Queen, to compel her to sabscribe the 

If Mary had any quarter to which, in her disas- 
trous condition, she might look for love and favour, 
it was to her brother Murray. She may have been 
criminal — she had certainly been grossly infatuated 
— ^yet she deserved her brother's kindness and com- 
passion. She had loaded him with favours, and 
pardoned him considerable offences. Unquestion- 
ably she expected more favour from him than she 
met with. But Murray was ambitious ; and am- 
bition breaks through the ties of blood, and forgets 
the obligations of gratitude. He visited his im- 
prisoned sister and benefactress in Lochleven castle, 
but it was not to bring her comfort : on the con- 
trary, he pressed all her errors on her with such 
hardhearted severity, that she burst into floods of 
tears, and abandoned herself to despair. 

Murray accepted of the regency, and in doing 
so broke all remaining ties of tenderness 

1567/ ' bct^^^ himself and his sister. He was 
now at the head of the ruling faction, 

* [" The signature of the three instruments by the Queen*** 
says Chalmers, ** whether voluntary or involuntary, was not, it 
seems, deemed sufficiently constitutional without the Privy Seal* 
The same brutal Lord Lindsay brought these instruments to 
Thomas Sinclair, who acted as deputy-keeper of that seal, from 
1565 to 1574, and who appears to have been, in a vicious, age, 
an honest and spirited man. He refused to affix the seal to such 
instruments, the Queen being in ward. Lord Lindsay, therefore, 
with a company of folks, eompeUed Sinclair to affix the seal, the 
officer protesting against this violence which he could not resist." 
— Life of Queen Mary, 4to. vol. i. pp. 248-9.] 

CHAP, xxxii.] MARY*8 ESCAPE. 129 

oonsisting of what were called tlie King's Lords ; 
while such of the nohility as desired that Mary, 
being now freed from the society of Bothwell, 
should he placed at liberty, and restored to the 
administration of the kingdom, were termed the 
Queen's Party. The strict and sagacious govern- 
ment of Murray imposed silence and submission for 
a time upon this last-named faction ; but a singular 
incident changed the face of things for a moment, 
and gave a gleam of hope to the unfortunate 

Sir William Douglas, the Laird of Lochleven, 
owner of the castle where Mary was imprisoned, 
was a half-brother by the mother's side of the Re- 
gent Murray. This baron discharged with severe 
fidelity the task of Mary's jailer ; but his young- 
est brother, George Douglas, became more sen- 
sible to the Queen's distress, and perhaps to her 
beauty, than to the interests of the Regent, or of 
his own family. A plot laid by him forthe Queen's 
deliverance was discovered, and he was expelled 
from the island in consequence. But he kept up 
a correspondence with a kinsman of his own, called 
Little Douglas, a boy of fifteen or sixteen, who 
had remained in the castle. On Sunday, the 2d 
May, 1568, this little William Douglas contrived 
to steal the keys of the castle while the family 
were at supper. He let Mary and her attendant 
out of the tower when all had gone to rest — blocked 
the gates of the castle to prevent pursuit — placed 
the Queen and her waiting- woman in a little skifii 


130 TALES OF A ORANDFATHBR. [scotlaito. 

and rowed them to the shore, throwing the keys 
of the castle into the lake in the course of their 
passage. Just when they were about to set oat 
on this adventurous voyage, the youthful pilot had 
made a signal, by a light in a particular window 
visible at the upper end of the lake, to intimate that 
all was safe. Lord Seaton and a party of the 
Hamiltons were waiting at the landing-place. The 
Queen instantly mounted, and hurried off to Nid- 
dry, in West Lothian, from which place she went 
next day to Hamilton. The news flew like light- 
ning throughout the country, and spread enthu- 
siasm every where. The people remembered Mary'H 
gentleness, grace, and beauty — they remembered 
her misfortunes also — and if they reflected on her 
errors, they thought they had been punished with 
sufficient severity. On Sunday, Mary was a sad 
and helpless captive in a lonely tower. On the 
Saturday following, she was at the head of a power- 
ful confederacy, by which nine earls, nine bishops, 
eighteen lords, and many gentlemen of high rank, 
engaged to defend her person and restore her 
power. But this gleam of success was only tem- 

It was the Queen's purpose to place her person 
in security in the castle of Dunbarton, and her 
army, under the Earl of Argyle, proposed to carry 
her thither in a species of triumph. The Regent 
was lying at Glasgow with much inferior forces ; 
but, with just confidence in his own military skill, 
as well as the talents of Morton, and the valour of 



Kirkaldy and other experienced soldiers, he de- 
termined to meet the Queen's Lords in their pro- 
posed march, and to give them battle. 

On Idth May, 1568, Murray occupied the vil- 
lage of Langside, which lay full in the march of 
the Queen's army. The Hamiltons, and other 
gentlemen of Mary's troop, rushed forth with ill- 
considered valour to dispute* the pass. They 
fought, however, with obstinacy, after the Scottish 
manner ; that is, they pressed on each other front 
to front, each fixing his spear in his opponent's 
target, and then endeavouring to bear him down, 
as two bulls do when they encounter each other. 
Morton decided the battle, by attacking the flank 
of the Hamiltons, while their column was closely 
engaged in the front. The measure was decisive, 
and the Queen's army was completely routed. 

Queen Mary beheld this final and fatal defeat 
from a castle called Crookstane, about four miles 
from Paisley, where she and Darnley had spent 
some happy days after their marriage, and which, 
therefore, must have been the scene of bitter re- 
collections. It was soon evident that there was no 
resource but in flight, and, escorted by Lord 
Herries and a few faithful followers, she rode 
sixty miles before she stopped at the Abbey of 
Dundrennan, in Galloway. From this place she 
had the means of retreating either to France or 
England, as she should ultimately determine. In 
France she was sure to have been well received ; 
but England afibrded a nearer, and, as she thought, 
an equadly safe place of refuge. 

132 TALES OF A GRANDFATHER. [«cotlakd. 

Forgetting, therefore, the yarious caases of 
emulation which existed betwixt Elisabeth and 
herself, and remembering only the smooth and flat- 
tering words which she had received from her 
sister sovereign, it did not occur to the Scottish 
Queen that she could incur any risk by throwing^ 
herself upon the hospitality of England. It may 
also be supposed, that poor Mary, amongst whose 
faults want of generosity could not be reckoned, 
judged of Elizabeth according to the manner in 
which she would herself have treated the Queen 
of England in the same situation. She therefore 
resolved to take refuge in Elizabeth's kingdom, in 
spite of the opposition of her wiser attendants.^ 
They kneeled and entreated in vain. She enter- 
ed the fatal boat, crossed the Solway, and delivered 
herself up to a gentleman named Lowther, the 
English deputy-warden. Much surprised, doubt- 
less, at the incident, he sent express to inform 

I [(( This resolution unwisely taken, Lord Herries wrote on 
Saturday the 15th of May, to Lowther, the deputy-captun of 
Carlisle, iaforming him of the Queen*s misfortune, and desiring 
to know, if she should be reduced to the necessity of seeking 
refuge in England, site might come safely to Carlisle. Lowther 
wrote a doubtful answer, saying that Lord Scroope, the warden 
of that march, was at London, to whom he had written ; but if 
the Queen should be pressed by necessity to pass the Borders, 
he would meet and protect her till his mistress*! pleasure were 
known. Without waiting, however, for this answer, which was 
promptly written, the Queen, with sixteen attendants, the chief 
of whom was the galUnt Lord Herries, embarked in a fishing 
boat, and on the evening of Sunday. 16th May, 1568, arrived 
safe at Workington. On this occasion the unfortunate Queen 
had not a second habit^nor a shilling in her pocket.'* — Chal- 
KSRS, vol. i. p. 281.] 

CHAP, xxxji.] Mary's flight to England. 133 

Qaeen Elizabeth; and receiving the Scottish 
Queen with as much respect as he had the means 
of showing, lodged her in Carlisle Castle. 

Queen Elissabeth had two courses in her power, 
which might be more or less generous, but were 
alike just and lawful. She might iiave received 
Queen Mary honourably, and afforded her the suc- 
cour she petitioned for ; or, if she did not think 
that expedient, she might have allowed her to re- 
main in her dominions, at liberty to depart from 
them freely, as she had entered them voluntarily. 

But Elizabeth, great as she was upon other oc- 
casions of her reign, acted on the present from 
mean and envious motives. She saw in the fngi • 
tive who implored her protection, a princess who 
possessed a right of succession to the crown of 
England, which, by the Catholic part of her subjects 
at least, was held superior to her own. She re- 
membered that Mary had been led to assume the 
arms and titles of the English monarchy, or rather, 
that the French had assumed them in her name, 
when she was in childhood. She recollected, that 
Mary had been her rival in accomplishments ; and 
certainly she did not forget that she was her supe- 
rior in youth and beauty ; and had the advantage, 
as she had expressed it herself, to be the mother of 
a fair son, while she remained a barren stock. 
EUzabeth, therefore, considered the Scottish Queen 
not as a sister and friend in distress, but as an 
enemy, over whom circumstances hatl given her 
power, and determined upon reducing her to the 
(condition of a captive. 

134 TALES OF A GRANDFATHER. [bcotlano. 

In pursuance of the line of conduct to whicli tliis 
mean train of reasoning led, the unfortunate Mary 
was surrounded by English guards ; and, as Eli- 
zabeth reasonably doubted that if she were left 
upon the Border, the fugitire Queen might obtain 
aid from her adherents in Scotland, she was remov* 
ed to Bolton castle, in Yorkshire. But some pre* 
text was wanting for a conduct so violent, so un- 
generous, and so unjust, and Elizabeth contrived 
to find one. 

The Regent Murray, upon Mary's flight to Eng- 
land, had endeavoured to vindicate his conduct in 
the eyes of Queen Elizabeth, by alleging that his 
sister had been accessory to the murder of her hus- 
band Darnley, in order that she miight marry her 
paramour Bothwell. Now, although this, supposing 
it to be true, was very criminal conduct, yet Elizabeth 
had not the least title to constitute herself judge in 
the matter. Mary was no subject of hers, nor, 
according to the law of nations, had the English 
Queen any right to act as umpire in the quarrel 
between the Scottish sovereign and her subjects. 
But she extorted, in the following manner, a sort 
of acquiescence in her right to decide, from the 
Scottish Queen. 

The messengers of Queen Elizabeth informed 
Mary, that their mistress regretted extremely that 
she could not at once admit her to her presence, 
nor give her the affectionate reception which she 
longed to afford her, until her visiter stood dear, in 
the eyes of the world, of the scandalous accusations 
of her Scottish subjects. Mary at once undertook 

CHAP. XXXII.] Elizabeth's unjust conduct. 135 

to make her innocence erident to Elizabeth's satis- 
faction ; and this the Queen of England pretended 
to consider as a call upon herself to act as umpire 
in the quarrel betwixt Mary and the party by 
which she had been deposed and exiled. It was 
in vain that Mary remonstrated, that, in agreeing 
to remove Elizabeth's scruples, she acted merely 
out of respect to her opinion, and a desire to conci- 
Jiate her favour, but not with the purpose of consti* 
tuting the English Queen her judge in a formal 
trial. Elizabeth was determined to keep the 
advantage which she had attained, and to act as if 
Mary had, of her full free will, rendered her rival 
the sole arbiter of her fate. 

The Queen of England accordingly appointed 
commissioners to hear the parties, and consider the 
evidence which was to be laid before them by both 
sides. The Regent Murray appeared' in person 
before these commissioners, in the odious character 
of the accuser of his sister, benefactress, and sove- 
reign. Queen Mary also sent the most able of 
her adherents, the Bishop of Ross, Lord Henries, 
and others, to plead the case on her side. 

The Commission met at York in October 1568. 
The proceedings commenced with a singular at- 
tempt to establish the obsolete question of the 
alleged supremacy of !l^ngland over Scotland. 
'' You come hither," said the English- commis- 
sioners to the Regent and his assistants, *^ to submit 
the differences which divide the kingdom of Scot- 
land to the Queen of England, and therefore I 
first require of you to pay her grace the homage 


due to her." The Earl of Murray bludied and 
was silent. But Maitknd of Lethington answered 
with spirit-—*' When Elisabeth restores to Soot- 
land the earldom of Huntingdon^ with Cumber- 
landi Northumberland, and such other lands ae 
Scotland did of old possess in England, we will do 
soch homage for these territories as was done by 
the ancient sovereigns of Scotland who .enjoyed 
them. As to the crown and kingdom of Scotland* 
they are more free than those of England, which 
lately paid Peter-pence to Rome." 

This question being wared* they entered on the 
proper business of the Commission. It was not 
without hesitation that Murray was induced to 
state his accusation in explicit terms, and there was 
still greater difficulty in obtaining from him any 
evidence in support of the odious charge of ma- 
trimonial infidelity, and accession to the murder of 
her husband, with which that accusation charged 
Mary. It is true, the Queen's conduct had been 
ung^oarded and imprudent, but there was no arguing 
from thence that she was guilty of the foul crime 
charged. Something like proof was wanted, and 
at length a box of letters and papers was produced, 
stated to have been taken from a servant of Both- 
well, called Dalgleish. These letters, if genuine, 
certainly proved that Mary was a paramour of 
Bothwell while Darnley was yet alivei, and that 
she knew and approved of the murder of that, ill- 
fated young man. But the letters were alleged 
by the Queen's.commissioners to be gross forgeries, 
devised for the purpose of slandering their mistress. 


1% is mosl remarkable, that Dalgleish had been 
condemned and executed without a word being 
asked him about these letters, even if it had been 
only to prove that they had been found in his 
possession. Lord Herries and the Bishop of Ross 
did not rest satisfied with defending the Queeli i 
they charged Murray himself with having confe- 
derated with Bothwell for the destruction of 

At Uie end of five mondis' investigation, the 
Queen of England informed both parties that she 
had, on the one hand, seen nothing which induced 
her to doubt the worth and honour of the Earl of 
Murray, while, on the other hand, he liad, in her 
opinion, proved nothing of the criminal charges 
which he had brought against his Sovereign. She 
was therefore, she said, determined to leave the 
afiairs of Scotland as she had found them. 

To have treated both parties impartially, as her 
sentence seemed intended to imply her desire t6 do, 
the Queen ought to have restored Mary to liberty. 
* But while Murray was sent down with the loan of 
a large «um of money, Mary was retained in that 
captivity which was only to end with her life. 

Murray returned to Scotland, having had all the 
advantage of the conference at York. His coffers 
were replenished, and his power confirmed, by the 
favour of Queen Elisabeth ; and he had little diffi-- 
culty in scattering the remains of the Queen's 
Lords, who, in fact, had never been able to make 
head since the battle of Langside, and the flight of 
their mistress. 


In the mean time some extraordinary events took 
place in England The Doke of Norfolk had form- 
ed a plan to restore Queen Mary to liberty, and 
was in recompense to be rewarded with her hand 
in marriage. The Regent Murray had been ad- 
mitted into the secret of this plot, although it may 
be supposed the object was not very acceptable to 
him. Many of the great nobles had agreed to join in 
the undertaking, particularly the powerful Earls of 
Westmoreland and Northumberland. The plot of 
Norfolk was discovered and proved against him» 
chiefly by the declarations of Murray, who meanly 
betrayed the secret intrusted to him ; and he was 
seised upon, committed to confinement, and, a few 
months afterwards, upon the discovery of some new 
intrigues, was tried and executed. 

But before this catastrophe, Northumberland and 
Westmoreland rushed into a hasty rebellion, which 
they were unable to conduct with sufficient vigour. 
Their troops dispersed without a battle before the 
army which Queen Elizabeth sent against them. 
Westmoreland found a secure refuge among the 
Scottish Borderers, who were favourable to the 
cause of Mary. They assisted him in his escape to 
the sea-coast, and he finall y made his way to Flanders, 
and died in exile. Northumberland was less fortu- 
nate. A Borderer, named Hector Armstrong of 
Harlaw, treacherously betrayed him to the Regent 
Murray, who refused . indeed to deliver him up to 
Queen Elizabeth, but detained him prisoner in that 
same lonely castle of Lochleven, which had been 
lately the scene of Mary's captivity. 



All these successive erents tended to establish 
the power of Murray, and to diminish the courage 
of such lords as remained attached to the opposite 
party. But it happens frequently, that when men 
appear most secure of the object they have been 
toiling for, their views are suddenly and strangely 
disappointed. A blow was impending over Murray 
from a quarter, which, if named to the haughty 
Regent, he would probably have despised, since it 
originated in the resentment of a private man. 

After the battle of Langside, six of the Hamil* 
tons, who had been most active on that occasion, 
were sentenced to die, as being guilty of treason 
against James V I., in having espoused his mother's 
cause. In this doom there was little justice, con- 
sidering how the country was divided between the 
claims of the mother and the son. But the decree 
was not acted upon, and the persons condemned 
received their pardon through the mediation of 
John Knox with the Regent. 

One of the individuals thus pardoned was Hamil- 
ton of Bothwellhangh, a man of a fierce and vindic- 
tive character. Like others in his condition, he was 
punished by the forfeiture of his property, although 
his life was spared* His wife had brought him, as 
her portion, the lands of Woodhou8elee,nearRoslin, 
and these were bestowed by Murray upon one of 
his favourites. This person exercised the right so 
rudely, as to turn Hamilton's wife out of her own 
house undressed, and unprotected from the fury of 
the weather. In consequence of this brutal treat- 
ment, she became insane, and died. Her husband 

140 TALES OF A GEANDFATHER. [acotlaiib). 

rowed rerenge, not on the actual author of his 
misfortune, but upon the Regent Murray, whom 
he considered as the original cause of it, and whom 
his family prejudices induced him to regard as the 
usurper of the sorereign power, and the oppressor 
of the name and house of Hamilton. There is little 
doubt that the Archbishop of Saint Andrews, and 
some others of his name, encouraged Bothwell- 
haugh in this desperate resolution. 

The assassin took his measures with every mark 

of deliberation. Having learned that the Regent 

was to pass through Linlithgow on a cer- 

iA7o"' ^*'" ^^y* ^^ secretly introduced himself 
into an empty house belonging to the 
Archbishop of St Andrews, which had in front a 
wooden balcony looking upon the street. Both- 
wellhaugh hung a black cloth on the wall of the 
apartment where he lay* that his shadow might not 
be seen from without, and spread a mattrass on the 
floor, that the sound of his feet might not be heard 
from beneath. To secure his escape he fastened a 
fleet horse in the garden behind the house, and 
pulled down the lintel stones from the posts of the 
garden door, so that he might be able to pass tlirough 
it on horseback. He also strongly barricaded the 
front door of the house, which opened to the street 
of the town. Having thus prepared all for con* 
cealment until the deed was done, and for escape 
afterwards, he armed himself with a loaded carabine, 
shut himself up in the lonely chamber, and waited 
the arrival of his victim. 

Some friend of Murray transmitted to him a 


hint of the danger which he might incor, in pass- 
ing through the street of a place in which he was 
known to have enemies, and adrised that he should 
avoid it by going round on the outside of the town ; 
or^ at least, by riding hastily past the lodging 
which was more particularly suspected, as belong* 
ing to the Hamiltons. But the Regent, thinking 
that the step recommended would have an appear- 
ance of timidity, held on his way through the 
crowded street. As he came opposite the fatal 
balcony, his horse being somewhat retarded by the 
number of spectators, Bothwellhaugh had time to 
take a deliberate aim. He fired the carabine, and 
the Regent fell, mortally wounded. The ball, 
after passing through his body, killed the horse of 
a gentleman who rode on his right hand. His at- 
tendants rushed furiously at the door of the house 
from which the shot had issued ; but Bothwell- 
haugh's precautions had been so securely taken 
that they were unable to force their entrance till he 
had mounted his good horse, and escaped through 
the garden gate. He was notwithstanding pur- 
sued so closely, that he had very nearly been 
taken ; but after spur and whip had both failed, 
he pricked his horse with his dagger, compelled 
him to take a desperate leap over a ditch^ which 
his pursuers were unable to cross, and thai made 
his escape. 

The Regent died in the coarse of the night, 
leaving a character, which has been, perhaps^ too 
highly extolled by one dass of aatfaorsy and too 


moch depreciated by another, according as his 
conduct to his sister was approved or condemned. 

The marderer escaped to France. In the civil 
wars of that country, an attempt was made to en- 
gage him, as a known desperado, in the assassina- 
tion of the Admiral Colig^i ; bat he resented it at 
a deadly insult. He had slain a man in Scotland, 
he said, from whom he had sustained a mortal in- 
jury ; but the world could not engage him to at- 
tempt the life of one against whom he had no per- 
sonal cause of quarrel. 

The death of Murray had been an event ex- 
pected by many of Queen Mary's adherents. The 
very night after it happened, Scott of Buccleuch 
and Ker of Fairniehirst broke into England, and 
ravaged the frontier with more than their wonted 
severity. When it was objected by one of the 
sufferers under this foray, that the Regent would 
punish the party concerned in such illegal violence, 
the Borderer replied contemptuously, that the 
Regent was as cold as his bridle-bit. This served 
to show that their leaders had been privy to Both- 
wellhaugh's action, and now desired to take ad- 
vantage of it, in order to give grounds for war be- 
tween the countries. But Queen Elizabeth was' 
contented to send a small army to the frontier, to 
burn the castles and ravage the estates of the two 
dans which had been engaged in the hostile in- 
road ; a service which they executed with much 
severity on the clans of Scott and Ker, without 
doing injury to those other Borderers against 
whom their mistress had no complaint. 


Upon the death of Murray, Lennox was chosen 
Regent. He was the father of the murdered 
Darnley, yet showed no excessive thirst of ven- 
geance. He endeavoured to procure a union of 
parties, for the purpose of domestic peace. But 
men's minds on both sides had become too much 
exasperated against each other. The Queen's 
party was strengthened by Maitland of Lething- 
ton and Kirkaldy of Grange joining that faction, 
after having been long the boast of that of the 
King. Lethington we have often mentioned as 
one of the ablest men in Scotland, and Kirkaldy 
was certainly one of the bravest. He was, be- 
sides. Governor of Edinburgh castle, and his de- 
claring that he held that important place for the 
Queen gave great spirit to Mar/s adherents. 
At the same time, they were deprived 
of a stronghold of scarcely inferior ^ * 
consequence, by the loss of Dunbarton castle in 
the following extraordinary manner. 

This fortress is one of the strongest places in the 
world. It is situated on a rock, which rises almost 
perpendicularly from a level plain to the height of 
several hundred feet. On the summit of this rock 
the buildings are situated, and as there is only one 
access from below, which rises by steps, and is 
strongly guarded and fortified, the fort might be 
almost held to be impregnable, that is, impossible 
to be taken. One Captain Crawford of Jordan- 
hill, a distinguished adherent of the King's party, 
resolved, nevertheless^ to make an attempt on this 
formidable castle. 


144 TALES OF A GRANDFATHER. [scotlahd. 

He took advantage of a mistj and moonless 
night to bring to the foot of the castle-rock the 
scaling-ladders which he had proTided, choosing 
for hb terrible experiment the place where the 
rock was highest, and where, of course, less pains 
were taken to keep a regular g^ard. This choice 
was fortanate ; for the first ladder broke with the 
weight of the men who attempted to meant, and 
the noise of the fall must have betrayed them, had 
there been any sentinel within hearing. Crawford, 
assisted by a soldier who had deserted from the 
casde, and was acting as his gfuide, renewed the 
attempt in person, and baring scrambled ap to a 
projecting ledge of rock where there was some 
footing, contrired to make fast the ladder, by tying 
it to the roots of a tree, which grew abont midway 
up the rock. Here they found a small flat i>arface, 
sufficient, however, to a£Pord footing to the whole 
party, which was, of course, very few in num- 
ber. In scaling the second precipice, another 
accident took place : — One of the party, subject 
to epileptic fits, was seized by one of these 
attacks, brought on perhaps by terror, while he 
was in the act of climbing up the ladder. His ill- 
ness made it impossible for him either to ascend 
or descend. To have slain the mnn would have 
been a cruel expedient, besides that the fall of his 
body from the ladder might have alarmed the gar- 
rison. Crawford caused him, therefore, to be tied 
to the ladder ; then all the rest descending, they 
tamed the ladder, and thus mounted with ease over | 
the belly of tlie epileptic person. When the party 



gained the summit, they slew the ^ntinel ere he 
had time to give the alarm, and easily surprised tbe 
slomhering garrison, who had trusted too much to 
the security of their castle to keep good watch. 
This exploit of Crawford may compare with any 
thing of the kind which we read of in history. 

Hamilton, the Archbishop of Saint Andrews, 
was made prisoner in Dunbarton, where he had 
taken refuge, as he was particularly hated by the 
King's party. He was now in their hands, and, as 
they had formerly proclaimed him a traitor, they 
now without scruple put him to death as such. 
This cruel deed occasioned other violences, by way 
of retaliation, which, in turn, led to fresh acts pf 
bloodshed. All natural ties were forgotten in the 
distinction of Kingsmen and Queensmen ; and, as 
neither party gave quarter to their opponents, the 
civil war assumed a most horrible aspect. Fathers, 
and sons, and brothers, took opposite sides, and 
fought against each other. The very children of 
the towns and villages formed themselves into bands 
for King James or Queen Mary, and fought inve- 
terately with stones, sticks, and knives. 

In the midst of this confusion, each party called 
a Parliament, which was attended only by the 
Lords of their own side. The Queen's Parliament 
met at Edinburgh, under protection of the castle, 
and its governor Kirkaldy. The King's faction 
had a much more numerous assembly, assuming 
the same denomination, at Stirling, where they 
produced the young King, to give authority to their 



praoeedings. The boy, with natural ehildbbness* 
taUng notice of a rent in the carpet which covered 
the taUe at which the clerks sate, observed, ^ there 
was a hd^ in the Parliament**' These words were 
remarked afterwards, as if they had contained a 
sort of prophecy of the following singular erent u— 
Kirkaldy devised an enterprise, by which, if 
sncoessful, he wotdd hare put a complete stop to 
the proceedings of the King's Parliament, nay, to 
the civil war itself. He sent for Buccleuch and 
Faimiehirst, already noticed as aealons partisans of 
Mary, desiring them to bring a large party of their 
best horsemen, and joined with them the Lord 
Claud Hamilton, with a detachment of infiintry. 
The whole was guided by a man of the name of 
Bell, who knew the town of Stirling, being a native 
of that place. On the 4th of September, 1571, he 
introduced the party, consisting of about five hun- 
dred men, into the middle of the town, at four in 
the morning, without even a dog barking at them. 
They then raised the alarm, crying out, << God and 
the Queen I think on the Archbishop of Saint An- 
drews ! all is our own I" According to the direc- 
tions they had received, they sent parties to the 
different houses of which the King's lords had taken 
possession, and made them prisoners without resist- 
ance, except on the part of Morton, whose obsti- 
nate valour obliged them to set fire to his lodgings. 
He then reluctantly surrendered himself to Bno- 
dench, who was his near connexion. But his, 
resistance had gained some time, and the assailants 
had scattered themselves in quest of plunder. At 

■^^»1BW".^H-^ " .*- J .U 


this moment. Mar brought a party of musketeers 
out of the castle, and placing them b^nd the walls 
of a house which he had commenced building on 
the castle-hill, he opened a heavy and unexpected 
fire upon the Queensmen. These being already in 
disorder, were struck with panic in the moment of 
victory, and began to fly. The scene was now com- 
pletely changed, and they who had beeu triumphant 
the moment before, were glad to surrender to their 
own captives* Lennox the Regent Imd been 
mounted behind Spens of Wormeston, who had 
made him captive. He was a particular, object of 
vengeance to the Hamiltons, who longed to requite 
the death of the Archbishop of Saint Andrews. 
He was killed, as was believed, by Lord Claud 
Hamilton's orders, and Spens, who most honour- 
ably endeavoured to protect his prisoner, was slain 
at the same time. The Queen's party retreated 
out of Stirling without much loss, for the Border** 
ers carried off all the horses, upon which the oppo- 
site party might have followed the chase. Kirkaldy 
received the news of the Regent's death with much 
dissatisfaction, abusing those who commanded the 
party as disorderly beasts, who neither knew how 
to gain a victory, nor how to use it. Had he placed 
himself at the head of the detachment, as he had 
earnestly desired to do, it is probable that the Raid 
of Stirling might hare ended the war. As it fell 
out, the quarrel was only embittered, if possible, by 
the death of Lennox. 

The Earl of Mar was named Regent on the 
King's side. He was a man of fair and moderate 

148 TALES OF A GRANDFATHER. [scoruillB. 

Views, and so honourably desirous of restoring the 
blessing of peace to his country, that the impossi- 
bility of attaining his object is said to have shorten- 
ed his life. He died 29th October, 1572, having 
been Regent little more than one year.^ 

The Earl of Morton was next made Regent. 
We have seen that this nobleman, however respect- 
able for courage and talents, was nevertheless of a 
fierce, treacherous, and cruel disposition. He had 
'been concerned in Rizzio's murder, and was at 
least acquainted with that of Darnley. It was to 
be expected that he would continue the war with 
the same ferocious cruelty by which it had been 
distinguished, instead of labouring, like Mar, to 
diminish its violence. This fell out accordingly. 
Each party continued to execute their prisoners ; 
and as skirmishes were daily fought, the number 
of persons who fell by the sword, or died upon the 
gibbet, was fearfully great. From the family name 
of Morton, these were called the Douglasses' wars. 

After these hostilities had existed for about five 
years, the Duke of ChatelKerault, and the Earl of 
Huntly, the two principal nobles who had supported 
the Queen's cause, submitted themselves to the 
King's authority, and to the sway of the Regent. 
Kirkaldy of Grange, assisted by the counsels of 

' [" He was, perhaps, the only person in the kingdom who 
eould have enjoyed the office of Regent without envy, and have 
left it without loss of reputation. Notwithstanding tlieir mutual 
animosities, both parties acknowledged his views to be honour- 
able, and his integrity to be uncorrnpted.*'—* Wood's Petragt, t. 
ii. p. 212.3 


Maitland of Lethington, continued to maintain the 
castle of Edinburgh against Morton. But Queen 
Elizabeth, who became now desirous of ending the 
Scottish dissensions, sent Sir William Drury from 
Berwick with a considerable number [1500 J of 
regular forces, and, what was still more needful, a 
large train of artillery, which formed a close siege 
around the castle of Edinburgh. The garrison 
were, however, much more distressed for provisions 
than by the shot of the English batteries. It was 
not till after a valiant defence, in the course of 
which one of the springs which supplied the fortress 
with water was dried up, and the other became 
choked with ruins, that the gallant Kirkaldy was 
compelled to capitulate. 

After a siege of thirty- three days he surrendered 
to the English general, who promised that his mis- 
tress should intercede with the Regent for favour- 
able treatment to the governor and his adherents. 
This might the rather have been expected, because 
Morton and Kirkaldy had been at one time great 
friends. But the Regent was earnest in demanding 
the life of his valorous opponent ; and Elizabeth, 
with little regard to her general's honour or her own, 
abandoned the prisoners to Morton's vengeance. 
Kirkaldy and his brother were publicly executed, 
to the great regret even of many of the King's 
party themselves. Maitland of Lethington, more 
famed for talents than integrity, despaired of ob- 
taining mercy where none had been extended to 
Kirkaldy, and put a period to his existence by tak- 
ing poison. Thus ended the civil wars of Queen 



150 TALES OF A GIIAN DFATHER. [icotlavb. 

Mary^s reign, with the death of the brayest soldier^ 
and of the ablest statesman, in Scotland ; for such 
svere Kirkaldy and Maitland. 

From the time of the surrender of Edinburgh 
oastle^ 29th May, 1573, the Regent Morton was 
in complete possession of the supreme power in 
Scotland. As Queen Elizabeth had been his con- 
stant friend during the civil wars, he paid devoted 
attention to her wishes when he became the undis- 
puted ruler of the kingdom. 

Morten even went so far as to peld up to the 
justice, or the revenge, of the English Queen, 
that unfortunate Earl of Northumberland, who, as 
I formerly mentioned, had raised a rebellion in 
England, and flying into Scotland, had 
been confined by the Reg^ent Murray in 
Lochleyen castle. The surrender of this unfor- 
tunate nobleman to England was a gpreat stain,* 
not only on the character of Morton, but on that 
of Scotland in general, which had hitherto been 
accounted a safe and hospitable place of refuge for 
those whom misfortune or political faction had ex- 
iled from their own country. It was the more 
particularly noticed, because when Morton himself 
had been forced to fly to England, on account of 
hb share in Rizsio's murder, he had been courte- 
ously received and protected by the unhappy no- 
bleman whom he had now delivered up to his fate. 
It was an additional and aggravating circumstance, 
that it was a Douglas who betrayed a Percy ; and 
when the anmds of their ancestors were considered, 
il was found that while they presented many acts 

c«Ar. zzxii.] REGENCY OP MORTON. 151 

of open hostility, many instances of close and firm 
alliance, they never till now had afforded an ex- 
ample of any act of treachery exercised by the one 
family against the ether. To complete the iniklny 
of the transaction, a snra of money was paid to the 
Regent on this occasion, which he divided with 
Dong^as of Lochleven. Northamberland was be- 
headed at York, 1572. 

In other respects, Scotland derived great ad- 
vantage from the peace with England, as some 
degree of repose was highly necessary to this dis- 
tracted country. The peace now made continued, 
with little interraption, for thirty years and up- 

On one occasion, however, a smart action took 
place betwisa the Scots and English, which, though 
of little consequence, I may here tdl you of, chiefly 
« because it was the last consideraUe skirmish— -with 
the exception of a deed of bold daring, of which I 
shall speak by and by-»which the two nations had, 
or, it is to be hoped, ever will have, with eadi 

It was the course adopted for preserving peace 
upon the Border, that the wardens on each «de 
used to meet on da3rs appointed, and deliver up to 
each other the malefactors who had committed ajgp- 
gressions upon either country, or else make pecu- 
niary reparation for the trespasses which they had 
done. On the 7th July, 1575, Carmichael, as war- 
den for the Scottish Middle Marches, met Sir John 
Foster, the English officer on the opposite fnm- 
tACTt each being, as usual, accompanied by the 

152 TALBS OF A GRANDFATHER. [scotlavo. 

guards belonging to their office, as well as by the 
armed dans inhabiting their jurisdiction. Foster 
was attended by the men of Tynedale; in greater 
numbers than those of the Scottish Borderers, all 
well armed with jack and spear, as well as bowa 
and arrows. The meeting was at first peaeefd. 
The wardens commenced their usual business of 
settling delinquencies ; and their attendants began 
to traffic with each other, and to engage in sports 
and gaming. For, notwithstanding their habitual 
incursions, a sort of acquaintance was always kept 
up between the Borderers on both sides, like that 
which takes place betwixt the outposts of two con* 
tending armies. 

During this mutual friendly intercourse, a dispute 
arose between the two wardens, Carmiehael de- 
siring delivery of an English depredator, for whom 
Foster, on the other hand, refused to be respon- 
sible. They both arose from their seats as the de- 
bate grew warm, and Sir John Foster told Car- 
miehael, contemptuously, he ought to match himself 
with his equals. The English Borderers imme- 
diately raised their war-cry of " To it, Tynedale !" 
and without further ceremony, shot a flight of 
arrows among the Scots, who, few in number, and 
surprised, were with difficulty able to keep their 
ground. A band of the citizens of Jedburgh ar- 
rived just in time to support their countrymen, and 
turn the fate of the day ; for most of them having 
fire-arms, the old English long-bow no more pos- 
sessed its ancient superiority. After a smart ac- 
tiouy the English were driven from the field ; Sir 


John Foster, with many of the English gentlemen, 
being made prisoners, were sent to be at the Re- 
gent Morton's disposal. Sir George Heron of 
Chipchase, and other persons of condition, were 
slain on the English side. The Scots lost but one 
gentleman of name. 

Morton, afraid of Queen Elizabeth's displeasure, 
though the o£Fence had been given by the English, 
treated the prisoners with distinction, and dismissed 
them, not only without ransom, but with presents 
of falcons, and other tokens of respect. *^ Are you 
not well treated ?" said a Scotsman to one of these 
liberated prisoners, " since we give you live hawks 

for dead herons ?" 

This skirmish, called the Raid of the Redswair,* 

took place on the mountainous ridge of the Carter. 
It produced no interruption of concord between 
the two countries, being passed over as a casual 
afiray. Scotland, therefore, enjoyed the blessings 
of peace and tranquillity during the greater part of 
Morton's regency. 

But the advantages which the kingdom derived 
from peace, were in some measure destroyed by 
the corrupt and oppressive government of Morton, 
who turned his thoughts almost entirely to amas- 
sing treasure, by every means in his power. The 
extensive property, which formerly belonged to 
the Roman Catholic Church, was a mine out of 
which the Regent and the other great nobles con- 
trived to work for themselves a great deal of 

> [See « The Raid of die fieidtwtre," Sir Waltir Scott*i 
J^oetieal Worki^ toL ii. pp. 15-^1.] 

154 TALBS OF A GRANDFATHBR. [8Cotlami>* 

wealth. This they did chiefly by dealing with 
those who were placed in the room of the abbots 
and priors as commendators, by which word the 
Soots distinguished a layman who obtained posses- 
sion of an ecclesiastical benefice. To these com- 
roendators the nobles applied, and, by fair means 
or force, compelled them to make over and transfer 
to them the property of the abbacies, or at least to 
grant it to them in long leases for a trifling rent^ 
That you may understand how this sort of busi- 
ness was managed, I will give you a curious instance 
of it :— 

In August, 1570, Allan Stewart, commendator 
of the abbacy of Crossraguel, in Ayrshire, was 
prevailed on to visit the Earl of Cassilis, who con- 
veyed him, partly against his will, to a lonely 
tower, which overhangs the sea, called the Black 
Vault of Denure, the ruins of which are yet visible. 
He was treated for some time kindly ; but as his 
arms and servants were removed froni him, he soon 
saw reason to consider himself less as a friendly 
guest than as a prisoner, to whom some foul play 
was intended. At length, the earl conveyed his 
guest into a private chamber, in which there was 
no furniture of any kind excepting a huge clumsy 
iron grate or gridiron, beneath which was a fire of 
charcoal. ** And' now, my lord abbot,"^ said the 
Earl of Cassilis, ** will you be pleased to sign these 
deeds ? " And so saying, he laid before him leases 
and other papers, transferring the whole lands of 
the abbacy of Crossraguel to the earl himself. 
The commendator refiu(ed to yield op the property 



or to sabscribe the deeds. A party of ruffians then 
entered, and seizing the unhappy man, stripped 
him of his clothes, and forcibly stretched him on 
the iron bars, where he lay, scorched by the fire 
beneath, while they basted him with oil, as a cook 
bastes the joint of meat which she roasts upon a 
spit. The agony of such torture was not to be 
endured. The poor man cried pitifully, begging 
they would put him to instant death, rather than 
subject him to this lingering misery, and o£Fered 
his purse, with the money it contained, to any who 
would in mercy shoot him through the head. At 
length he was obliged to promise to subscribe 
whaterer the earl wished, rather than endure the 
excessive torture any longer. The letters and 
leases being then presented to him, he signed them 
with his half-roasted hand, while the earl all the 
while exclaimed, with the most impudent hypo- 
crisy, *^ Benedicite ! you are the most obstinate man 
I ever saw, to oblige me to use you thus : I never 
thought to have treated any one as your stubborn- 
ness has made me treat you.** The commendator 
was afterwards delivered by a party commanded 
by Hamilton of Bargany, who attacked the Black 
Vault of Denure for the purpose of his liberation.^ 
But the wild, savage, and ferocious conduct of the 
earl shows in what manner the nobles obtained 
grants of the church lands from those who had 
possession of them for the time. 

The Earl of Morton, however, set the example 

* [See Note to *• Ivanhoe,** Waverhy Novtb^ rol. xri, 
, pp. 829.337.] 


of another and less violent mode of appropriating^ 
church revenues to his own purposes. This was 
by reviving the order of bishops, which had beeo 
discarded from the Presbyterian form of church 
government. For example, on the execution of the 
Archbishop of Saint Andrews, he caused Douglas, 
Rector of Saint Andrews, to be made archbishop 
in his place ; but then he allowed this nominal pre- 
late only a small pension out of the large revenues 
of the bishopric, and retained possession of all the 
rest of the income for his own advantage, though 
the rents were levied in the bishop's name. 

These and other innovations gave great distress 
to John Knox, the bold and inflexible father of the 
Scottish Reformation. He saw with pain that the 
Protestant nobles were likely to diminish even the 
scanty subsistence which had hitherto been supplied 
to the Scottish clergy, out of the ample funds be- 
longing originally to the Church of Rome. He 
was also jealous of the republican equality of the 
clergy, when he beheld the Church of Scotland in- 
novated upon by this new introduction of bishops, 
though with limited incomes and diminished power. 
For these and other reasons he had more than once 
bitterly rebuked the Regent Morton ; but when 
this remarkable man died, the Regent, 

1672. ' ^^^ attended his funeral, pronounced over 
his coffin an eulog^nm never to be forgot- 
ten. — ^* There lies he," said Morton, " who never 
feared the face of man." 

In the state as in the church, the Regent display- 
ed symptoms of a vindictive, avaricious, and corrupt 


disposition. Although the civil wars were ended, 
he resolved to avenge upon the Hamiltons the con- 
tinued support which that powerful family had 
given to the Queen's party, and the obstacles which 
they had thrown in the way of his own exaltation. 
He proceeded to act against them as public enemies, 
drove them out of Scotland, and seized upon their 
estates. The Earl of Arran, eldest brother of the 
family, to whom the estates actually belonged, was 
insane, and in a state of confinement ; but this did 
not preyent Morton from declaring that the earl- 
dom and the lands belonging to it were forfeited, 
— an abuse of law which scandalized all honest 

It was not only by confiscation that Morton en- 
deavoured to amass wealth. He took money for 
the offices which he had it in his power to bestow. 
Even in administering justice, his hands were not 
pure from bribes ; although to dispense the behests 
of law from favour or love of gain, is one of the 
greatest crimes of which a public man can be 

It is told of Earl Morton, in a history of the 
family of Somerville, that a nobleman of that house 
having a great and important cause to be decided, 
in which the influence of the Regent might assured- 
ly occasion it to be determined as he himself should 
think fit, he followed, by the advice of an ancient 
and experienced acquaintance of the Regent, the 
following singular course :-^Lord Somerville wait- 
ed on the Earl of Morton, and recommended his 
case to his favourable opinion,—- a kind of personal 

158 TALES OF k GRANDFATHER* [scotlavd. 

tolicitalion which was then much in use. Hayings 
spoken with the Regent for a short time, he tamed 
to depart, and, opening his parse, as if to take out 
some money to give to the ushers and attendants, 
as was the custom upon such occasions, he left the 
purse on the table as though he had forgot it. 
Morton called after him,— -*< My lord, your purse-* 
you have forgotten your purse T— hut Lord Somer- 
ville hastened away without tumiug back. He 

heard nothing more of the purse, which he 
1577. ' ^^ taken care should be pretty full of 

gold ; but Lord Morton that day decided 
the cause in his favour.^ 

Instances of such greedy profligacy by degrees 
alienated from Morton even the affection and in- 
clination of his best friends,' and his government at 
length became so unpopular, that a universal wish 
was entertained that the King would put an end to 
the Regency by assuming the government into his 
own hands. 

These opinions prevailed so generally, that Mor- 
ton, on the 12th March, 1578, resigned his office of 
Regent, and retired to reside in his castle of Dal- 

' rMemorie of the SomervillM, ▼. i. pp. 449-453.] 
* [Godscroft, tiie partial historian of the house of Douglas 
adooSts, *'that many of Morton's public measures were rather 
pretexts for extortii^g; money than for any other good use or end,*' 
and adds, *< his attendants were not altogether void of envie, for 
their great wealth, nor of hatred, in regard of the way men 
thought they got it, which was by receiving and taking bribes 
from such as had suites to him, for obtaining accesse to him, or 
his favour, by their means, and some such indirect wayes.'*—- 
Higtary, fol. 335-1 

cuAr. xxzxi.] CHARACTER OF JAMBS VI. 159 

keith, as a private man, leaving the government to 
be administered by a ooancil of nobles, twelve in 
number. But accustomed to be at the head of the 
government, he could not long remain inactive. 
He burst from his seclusion in the gloomy fortress, 
which the people called the Lion's Den, and using 
a mixture of craft and force, expelled the new coun- 
sellors; and once more, after the old Douglas' 
fashion, obtained the supreme management of pub^^ 
lie affairs. But the sovereign was no longer a child. 
He was now beginning to think and act for him- 
self; and it is necessary you should know something 
of his character. 

James VI. was but an infant when he was placed 
on the throne of his mother. He was now only a 
boy of fourteen, very good-natured, and with as 
inuch learning as two excellent schoolmasters eould 
cram him with. In fact, he had more learning than 
wisdom ; and yet, in the course of his future life, it 
did not appear that he was without good sense so 
much, as that he was destitute of the power to form 
manly purposes, and the firmness necessary to 
maintain them. A certain childishness and mean- 
ness of mind rendered his good sense useless, and 
his learning ridiculous. Even from his infancy he 
was passionately addicted to favourites, and already, 
in his thirteenth or fourteenth year, there were two 
persons so high in his good graces that they could 
bring him to do any thing they pleased. 

The first was Esme Stewart of Aubigny, a 
nephew of the late Earl of Lennox, and his heir. 
The King doI only restored this young man to the 


oonjectnred that the fear of some one of the Hamil- 
tODS accomplishing that prophecy had made him the 
more actively violent in destroying that family. If 
MOf his own tyrannical oppression only opened the 
way for the creation of an Arran di£Perent from 
those whom he had thought of* 

The trial of Morton appears to hare been con- 
ducted with no attention to the rules of impartial 
justice; for the servants of the accused person 
were apprehended, and put to the torture, in order 
to extort from them confessions which might be 
fatal to their master. Morton protested against 
two or three persons who were placed upon his 
jury, as being his mortal enemies ; but they were 
nevertheless retained. Tliey brought in a verdict» 
finding that he wa» guilty, art and part, of the 
murder of Henry Darnley. A man is said to be 
art and part of a crime, when he contrives the 
manner of the deed, and concurs with and encou- 
rages those who commit the crime, although he 
does not put his own hand to the actual execu- 
tion. Morton heard the verdict with indignation, 
and struck his staff against the ground as he re- 
peated the words, << Art and part I art and part I 
God knoweth the contrary." On the morning after 
his sentence he awoke from a profound sleep*- 
" On former nights, " he said, " I used to lie 
awake, thinking how I might defend myself; but 
now my mind is relieved of its burden.'' Being 
conjured by the clergymen who attended him to . 
confess all he knew of Henry Darnley's murder, 
he told them, as we have noticed elsewhere, that a 


proposal had been made to liim by Bothwell to be 
accessary to the deed, but that he had refused to 
assent to it without an order under the Queen's 
hand, which Bothwell promised to procure, but 
could not, or at least did not^ do so. Morton 
admitted that he had kept the secret, not knowing, 
he said, to whom to discorer it : For if he had 
told it to Queen Mary, she was herself one of the 
conspirators ; if to Darnley, he was of a disposition 
so fickle that the Queen would work it out of him, 
and then he, Morton, was equally undone. He 
also admitted, that he knew that his friend, depen* 
dent, and kinsman, Archibald Douglas, was present 
at the murder, whom, notwithstanding, he never 
brought to justice, but, on the contrary, continued 
to favour. Upon the whole, he seems to allow, 
that he sn£Pered justly for concealing the crime, 
though he denied having given counsel or assist- 
ance to its actual execution. <* But it is all the 
same," he said; ^* I should have had the same 
doom, whether I were as innocent as St Stephen^ 
or as guilty as Judas.'' 

As they were about to lead the earl to execution, 
Captain Stewart^ his accuser, now Earl of Arran, 
came to urge. his subscribing a paper containing the 
purport of his confession. Morton replied, " I 
pray you trouble me not ; I am now to prepare for 
death, and cannot write in the state in which I am.*' 
Arran then desired to be recondled to him, pre- 
tending he had only acted from public and con- 
scientious motives. '^ It is no time to count qpar- 

1'62 TALES OP A GRANDFATHER, [scotlaitd. 

conjectured that the fear of some one of the Hamil- 
tons accomplishing that prophecy had made him the 
more actively yiolent in destroying that family. If 
sOy his own tyrannical oppression only opened the 
way for the creation of an Arran di£Perent from 
those whom he had thought of. 

The trial of Morton appears to have been con- 
ducted with no attention to the rules of impartial 
justice; for the servants of the accused person 
were apprehended, and put to the torture, in order 
to extort from them confessions which might be 
fatal to their master. Morton protested against 
two or three persons who were placed upon his 
jury, as being his mortal enemies ; but they were 
nevertheless retained. They brought in a verdict» 
finding that he wa» guilty, art and part, of the 
murder of Henry Darnley. A man is said to be 
art and part of a crime, when he contrives the 
manner of the deed, and concurs with and encou- 
rages those who commit the crime, although he 
does not put his own hand to the actual execu- 
tion. Morton heard the verdict with indignation, 
and struck his staff against the ground as he re- 
peated the words, <' Art and part I art and part I 
God knoweth the contrary." On the morning after 
his sentence he awoke from a profound sleep*- 
*^ On former nights," he said, << I used to He 
awake^ thinking how I might defend myself; but 
now my mind is relieved of its burden." Being 
conjured by the clergymen who attended him to . 
confess all he knew of Henry Darnley's murder» 
he told them, as we have noticed elsewhere, that a 


proposal had been made to liim by Bpthwell to be 
accessary to the deed, but that he had refused to 
assent to it without an order under the Queen's 
hand, which Bothwell promised to procure, but 
could not, or at least did not^^ do so. Morton 
admitted that he had kept the secret, not knowing, 
he said, to whom to discover it : For if he had 
told it to Queen Mary, she was herself one of the 
conspirators ; if to Darnley, he was of a disposition 
so fickle that the Queen would work it out of him, 
and then he, Morton, was equally undone. He 
also admitted, that he knew that his friend, depen- 
dent, and kinsman, Archibald Douglas, was present 
at the murder, whom, notwithstanding, he never 
brought to justice, but, on the contrary, continued 
to favour. Upon the whole, he seems to allow, 
that he su£Pered justly for concealing the crime, 
though he denied having g^ven counsel or assist- 
ance to its actual execution. ** But it is all the 
same," he said; " I should have had the same 
doom, whether I were as innocent as St Stephen^ 
or as guilty as Judas.'' 

As they were about to lead the earl to execution, 
Captain Stewart^ hi« accuser, now Earl of Arran, 
came to urge, his subscribing a paper containing the 
purport of his confession. Morton replied, ** I- 
pray you trouble me not ; I am now to prepare for 
death, and cannot write in the state in which I am." 
Arran then desired to be reconciled to him, pre- 
tending he had only acted from public and con- 
scientious motiyes- ** It is no time to count quar- 


rels now;" said the earl—" I forgive you and all 

This celebrated man died by a machine called the 
Maiderif whxch he himself had introduced into Scot- 
land from Halifax, in Yorkshire. The 

^^581** c'**"™*"^! w^><^ suffered by this engine, was 
adjusted upon planks, in a prostrate state, 
his neck being* placed beneath a sharp axe, heavily 
loaded with lead, which was suspended by a rope 
brooght over a pulley. When the signal was given, 
the rope was cast loose, and the axe, descending on 
the neck of the condemned person, severed, of 
course, the head from the body. Morton submit- 
ted to his fate with the most Christian fortitude ; 
and in him died the last of those terrible Douglasses, 
whose talents and courage rendered them the [Mride 
of their country, but whose ambition was often its 
scourge. No one could tell what became of the 
treasures he had amassed, and for the sake of which 
he sacrificed his popularity as a liberal, and his 
conscience as an honest, man. He was, or seemed 
to be, so poor, that, when going to the scaffold, he 
borrowed money from a friend, that he might 
bestow a parting alms upon the mendicants who 
solicited his charity. Some have thought that his 
'mass of wealth lies still concealed among the secret 
vaults of his castle of Dalkeith, now belonging to 
the Duke of Buccleuch. But Hume of Godscroft, 
who writes the history of the Douglas family, says 
that large sums were expended by the Earl of 
Ang^s, the nephew of Morton, in maintaining a 


number of exiles, who, like the earl himself, were 
banished from Scotland, and at length, when paying 
away some money for this purpose, he was heard 
to say, ** The last of it is now gone, and I never 
looked that it should have done so much good." 
This Godscroft believed to allude to the final ex- 
penditure of the treasures of the Regent Morton. 

After the death of Morton, his faults and crimes 
were in a great measure forgotten, when it was 
observed that Arran (that is. Captain Stewart) 
possessed all the late Regent's vices of corruption 
and oppression, without his wisdom or his talents. 
Lennox, the King's other favourite, was also unpo- 
pular, chiefly because he was unacceptable to the 
clergy, who, although he avowedly professed the 
Protestant religion, were jealous of his retaining an 
attachment to the Catholic faith. This suspicion 
arose from his having been educated in France. 
They publicly preached against him as << a great 
Champion called his Grace, who, if he continued to 
oppose himself to religion, should have little grace 
in the end." 

A plot was formed among the discontented nobles 
to remove the King's favourites from the court; 
and this was to be accomplished by forcibly seizing 
on the person of the King himself, which, during 
the minority of the prince, was the ordinary mode 
of changing an administration in the kingdom of 

On the 2dd August, 1582, the Earl of Gowrie 
invited the King to his castle at Ruthven, under 
pretext of hunting ; he was joined by the Earl of 



166 TALES OF A GRANDFATHER, [scotlavo. 

Mar, Lord Lindsay, the Tutor of Glamis, and 
other noblemen, chiefly such as had been friendly 
to the Regent Morton, and who were, like him, 
attached to Queen Elizabeth's faction. When the 
King saw so many persons gather round him whom 
he knew to be of one way of thinking, and that 
hostile to his present measures, he became appre- 
hensive of their intentions, and expressed himself 
desirous of leaving the castle. 

The nobles gave him to understand that he 
would not be permitted to do so ; and when James 
rose and went towards the door of the apartment, 
the Tutor of Glamis, a rude stem man, placed his 
back against it, and compelled him to return. Af- 
fronted at this act of personal restraint and vio- 
lence, the King burst into tears. " Let him weep 
on," said the Tutor of Glamis, fiercely ; " better 
that bairns (children) weep, than bearded men.** 
These words sank deep into the King's heart, nor 
did he ever forget or forgive them. 

The insurgent lords took possession of the go- 
vernment, and banished the Duke of Lennox to 
France, where he died broken-hearted at the fall of 
his fortunes. James afterwards recalled his son to 
Scotland, and invested him with his father's for- 
tune and dignities. Arran, the King's much Jess 
worthy favourite, was thrown into prison, and 
closely guarded. The King himself, reduced to a 
state of captivity, like his grandfather, James V., 
when in the hands of the Douglasses^ temporized, 
and watched an opportnnity of escape. His guards 
consisted of a hundred gentlemen, and their com- 


«BAP. xxxii.] THB HAID OF RUTHVEN. 167 

mander. Colonel Stewart, a relation of the dis- 
graced and imprisoned Arran, was easily engaged 
to do what the King wished* 

James, with the purpose of recovering his free- 
dom, made a visit to Saint Andrews, and, when 
there, affected some curiosity to see the 
castle. But no sooner had he entered it 1533*'''^' 
than he 'Caused the.gates to be shut, and 
excluded from his presence the nobles who had 
been accessary to what was called the Raid of 

Hie Earl of Gowrie and his accomplices, being 
thus thrust out of office, and deprived of the custody 
of the King's person, united in a fr'esh plot for re- 
gaining the power they had lost, by a new insur- 
rection. In this, however, they were unsuccessful. 
The King advanced against them with considerable 
forces ; Gowrie was made prisoner, tried and exe- 
cuted at Stirling, 4th May, 1584.^ Angus and the 
other insurgents fled to England, the ordinary re- 
fuge of Scottish exiles. The execution of Gowrie 
gave rise long afterwards to that extraordinary 
event in Scottish history, called the Gowrie Con- 

* [" Sentence was given that he should be taken to the market- 
cross, have his head cut off, and be dismembered as a traitor. 
The last part thereof was dispensed, and he in the evening be- 
headed. This was the end of that nobleman who, in his life, was 
much honoured and employed in the chief offices of court ; a man 
wise, but said to have' been too curious, and to have consulted 
with wizards touching iAke state of things in future times.*' — "• He 
was heard to make that common regret which many great men 
have done in such misfortunes, * That if he had served God as 
fai^fully as he had done the King, he had not come to that end.' " 
— Sporsvoon, p. 332-3.] 


spiracy, of which I shall give ypa an accoant by 
and by. 

The upstart Earl of Arran was now restored to 
power, and indeed raised higher than ever, by that 
indiscriminate affection which on this and other oc- 
casions induced James to heap wealth and rank 
without bounds upon his farourites* This worth- 
less minister governed every thing at court and 
throughout the kingdom ; and, though ignorant as 
well as venal and profligate, he was raised to the 
dignity of Lord Chancellor, the highest law-office 
in the state, and that in which sagacity, learnings 
and integfrity, were chiefly required. 

One day when the favourite was bustling into 
the Court of Justice, at the head of his numerous 
retinue, an old man, rather meanly dressed, chanced 
to stand in his way. As Arran pushed rudely 
past him, the man stopped him, and said, *< Look 
at me, my lord, — I am Oliver Sinclair I" Oliver 
Sinclair, you remember, was the favourite of James 
v., and had exercised during his reign as absolute 
a sway in Scotland as Arran now enjoyed under 
his grandson, James VI. In presenting himself 
before the present favourite in his neglected condi- 
tion, he gave Arran an example of the changeful 
character of court favour. The lesson was a stri- 
king one ; but Arran did not profit by it. 

The favourite's government became so utterly 
intolerable,^ that, in the year 1585, the banished 

* I" The public,*' says Dr Robertson, "beheld with astonish- 
ment and indignation, a man educated as a soldier of fortune, 
ignorant of law, and a contemner of justice, appointed to preside 


CHAK xxzll.] DlSaRACE OF ARRAlT. 1<$9 

lords foand a welcome reception in Sootland, and 
inarching- to Stirling at the head of ten thousand 
men, compelled James to receive them into his 
counsels ; and, by using their victory with modera- 
tion, were enabled to maintain the power which 
they, had thus gained. Arran, stripped of his 
earldom and ill-gotten gains, and banished from 
the court, was fain to live privately and miserably 
among the wilds of the north-west of Ayrshire, 
afraid of the vengeance of his numerous enemies. 

The fate which he apprehended from their en- 
mity befell him at length ; for, in 1596, seeing, 
or thinking he saw, some chance of regaining the 
King's favour, and listening, as is said, to the words 
of some idle soothsayer, who pretended that his 
head was about to be raised higher than ever, Stew* 
art (for he was an earl no longer) ventured into the 
southern county of Dumfries. Here he received a 
hint to take care of his safety, since he was now in 
the neighbourhood of the Douglasses, whose great 
leader, the Earl of Morton, he had been the means 

ill Parliament, in the Privy Council, in the Coort of Session, mhI 
intrusted with the supreme disposal of the property of his fellow 
•ubjeets. He was at the same time, governor of the castlet of 
Stirling and Edinburgh, the two principal forts in Scotland ; 
Provost of the city of Edinburgh ; and, as if by all these accumu- 
lated dignities his merits were not sufficiently recompenced, he 
had been created Lieutenant- General over ^e whole kingdom. 
His venality as a judge was scandalous— his rapaciousness as a 
minister was insatiable— -his spies and informers filled the whole 
country. The nearest neighbours distrusted and feared each 
other. AH familiar society was at an end. There is not perhaps 
la history an example of a minister so universally detestable to a 
nation, or who more justiy deserved its detestation." — HUtoryt 
chap, vii.] 


of destroying ; and in particular, he was advised to 
beware of James Douglas of Tortborwald, the 
earFs near kinsman [nephew]. Stewart replied 
haughtily, he would not go out of his road for him 
or all of the name of Douglas. This was reported 
to Torthorwald, who, considering the expression as 
a defiance, immediately mounted, with three ser* 
vants, and pursued the disgraced faTourite. When 
they overtook him, they thrust a spear through his 
body, and killed him ^ on the spot, without resist- 
ance. His head was cut off, placed on the point of 
a lance, and exposed from the battlements of the 
tower of Torthorwald ; and thus, in some sense, 
the soothsayer's prophecy was made good, as his 
head was raised higher than ^before, though not in 
the way he had been made to hope. His body was 
left for several days oti t^e place where he waskilled, 
and was mangled by dogs and swine. So ended 
this worthless minion, by a death at once bloody 
and obscure. 

' [*' Sir James Douglas was killed on the High Street of Edin- 
burgh, 1608, by Captain William Stewart, a nephew of the ehatt- 
eellor, who run him through the body to revenge his onde'e 
dMih.'*~Wooo, V. i. p. 183.] 

[ 171 ] 


Severities to tvkich Mary tuas iubjected in her Captivity'^ 
Babington*s Conspiracy — TricUqfMary — Her Sentence 
and Execution-" Beign of James VL — Feuds of the 
Nobles, and Blood-thirsty Spirit of the Times — The 
Rescue of Kinmont Willie from Carlisle Castle by Buc* 
cleuch — The Gowrie Conspiracy ^Jameis Accession to 
the Throne of England, 

LI 586— 1603.] 

I DARE say you are wondering all this time what 
became of Queen Mary. We left her, you know, 
in the hands of Queen Elizabeth, who had refused 
to decide any thing on the question of her guilt or 
innocence. This was in 1568-9, and undoubtedly, 
by every rule of law or justice, Mary ought then 
to have been set at liberty. She had been accused 
of matters which Elizabeth herself had admitted 
were not brought home to her by proof, and of 
wliich, even if they had been proved, the Queen of 
England had no right to take cognizance. Never- 
theless, Elizabeth continued to treat Mary as guilty, 
though she declined to pronounce her so, and to 
use her as her subject, though she was an independ- 
ent sovereign, who had chosen England for a re- 
treat, in the hope of experiencing that hospitable 
protection which would have been given to the 

172 TALES OF A GRANDFATHER. [scotland. 

meanest Scottish subject, who, flying from the laws 
of his own country, sought refuge in the sister 
kingdom. When you read English history, yon 
will see that Elizabeth was a great and glorious 
Queen and well deserved the title of the Mother 
of her country ; but her conduct towards Queen 
Mary casts a deep shade over her virtues, and leads 
us to reflect what poor frail creatures even the 
wisest of mortals are, and of what imperfect mate* 
rials that which we call human virtue is found to 

Always demanding her liberty, and always hav- 
ing her demand evaded or refused, Mary was tran- 
sported from castle to castle,^ and placed under the 
charge of various keepers, who incurred Elizabeth's 
most severe resentment, when they manifested any 
of that attention to soften the rigours of the poor 
Queen's captivity, which mere courtesy, and com- 
passion for fallen greatness, sometimes prompted. 
The very furniture and accommodations of her 
apartments were miserably neglected, and the ex- 
penses of her household weresupplied as grudgingly 
as if she had been an unwelcome guest, who could 
depart at pleasure, and whom, therefore, the enter- 
tainer endeavours to get rid of by the coldness and 

^ [On her own soliciting, towards recovery of health* Mary 
was allowed visits to Buxton ; but all the while a prisoner ; the 
waters there were of little avail when air, exercise, and amuse- 
ment were denied. Her forced removals were, in 1 566, from 
Carlisle to Bolton,— 1669, to Tutbury, Wingfield, Tutbury, 
Ashby-de-la-Zouche, Coventry, — 1570, to Tutbury, Chats- 
worth, Sheffield, — 1577, to Chatsworth,— 1578, to Sheffield,^ 
1584, to Wingfield,— 1685, to Tutbury, Chartley, Tixhall, 
Chartley, — 1586 (25th September) to Fotheringay.] 


discomfort of the reception afforded. It was, upon 
one occasion, with difficulty that the Queen Dowa- 
ger of France, and actual Queen of Scotland, ob- 
tained the accommodation of a down bed, which a 
complaint in her limbs, the consequence of damp 
and confinement, rendered a matter of needful ac- 
commodation rather than of luxury. When she 
was permitted to take exercise, she was always 
strongly guarded, as if she had been a criminal ; 
and if any one offered her a compliment, or token 
of respect, or any word of comfort, Queen Eliza- 
beth, who had her spies everywhere, was sure to 
reproach those who were Mary's guardians for the 
time, with great neglect of their duty, in permit- 
ting such intercourse. 

Daring this severe captivity on the one part, and 
the greatest anxiety, doubt, and jealousy, on the 
other, the two Queens still kept up a sort of cor- 
respondence. In the commencement of this inter- 
course, Mary endeavoured, by the force of argu- 
ment, by the seductions of flattery, and by appeals 
to the feelings of humanity, to soften towards her 
the heart of Elisabeth. She tried also to bribe her 
rival into a more humane conduct towards her, by 
offering to surrender her Crown and reside abroad, 
if she could but be restored to her personal free- 
dom. But Elisabeth had injured the Queen of 
Scotland too deeply to venture the consequences 
of her resentment, and thought herself, perhaps, 
compelled to continue the course she had com- 
menced, from the fear, that, once at liberty, Mary 
might have pursued measures of revenge and that 

174 TALES OF A GRANDFATHER, [scotlavh. 

she herself would find it impossible to devise any 
mode of binding the Scottish Queen to perform, 
when at large, such articles as she might consent 
to when in bondage. 

Despairing at length of midcing any favourable 
impression upon Elizabeth, Mary, with more wit 
than prudence, used her means of communicating 
with the Queen of England, to irritate and provoke 
her ; yielding to the not unnatural, though certainly 
the rash and impolitic purpose, of retaliating some 
part of the pain to which she was herself subjected, 
upon the person whom she justly considered as the 
authoress of her calamities. 

Being fbr a long time under the charge of the 
Earl of Shrewsbury, whose lady was a woman of 
a shrewish disposition, Mary used to report to 
Eliaabeth, that the countess had called her old and 
ugly ; had said she was g^own as crooked in her 
temper as in her body, with many other scandalous 
and abusive expressions, which must have g^ven 
exquisite pain to any woman, and more especially 
to a Queen so proud as Elizabeth, and desirons, 
even in old age, of being still esteemed beautiful. 
Unquestionably, these reproaches added poignancy 
to the hatred with which the English Sovereign 
regarded Queen Mary. 

But, besides these female reasons for detesting 
her prisoner, Elizabeth had cause to regard the 
Queen of Soots with fear as well as envy and 
hatred. The Catholic party in England were still 
very strong, and they considered the claim of Mary 
to the throne of England as descended from the 

CHAP, xxziii.] THE CATHOLICS. 175 

Princess Margaret, daughter of Henry V 11^ to be 
preferable to that of the existing Queen, who was, 
in their judgment, illegitimate, as being the heir of 
an illegal marriage betwixt Henry VIII. and Anne 
Bullen. The Popes also, by whom Elizabeth was 
justly regarded as the great prop of the Reformed 
religion, endeavoured to excite agaipst her such of 
her subjects as still owned obedience to the See of 
Rome. At length, in 1570-71, Pius V., then the 
reigning Pope, published a bull, or sentence of 
excommunication, by which he deprived Queen 
Elizabeth (as far as his sentence could) of her 
hopes of heaven, and of her kingdom upon earth, 
excluded "her from the privileges of Christians, and 
delivered her over as a criminal to whomsoever 
should step forth to vindicate the Church, by put- 
ting to death its greatest enemy. The zeal of the 
English Catholics was kindled by this warrant from 
the Head of their Church. One of them [named 
Felton] was found bold enough to fix a copy of the 
sentence of excommunication upon the door of the 
Bishop of London, and various plots were entered 
into among the Papists for dethroning Elizabeth, 
and transferring the kingdom of England to Mary, 
a sovereign of their own religion, and in their eyes 
the lawful successor to the crown. 

As fast as one of these conspiracies was discover- 
ed, another seemed to form itself;, and as the 
Catholics were promised powerful assistance from 
the King of Spain, and were urged forward by the 
impulse of enthusiasm, the danger appeared every 
day more and more imminent. It cannot be doubt* 

176 TALES OF A GRANDFATHER, [scotlahd. 

ed that several of these plots were commonicated to 
Mary in her imprisonment ; and, considering what 
grounds she had to complain of Elisabeth, it would 
have been wonderful if she had betrayed to her 
jailer the schemes which were formed to set her at 
liberty. But these conspiracies coming so closely 
the one after the other, produced one of the most 
extraordinary laws that was ever passed in Eng- 
land ; declaring, that if any rebellion, or any at- 
tempt against Queen Elizabeth's person, should be 
meditated by, or for, any person pretending a right 
to the crown, the Queen might grant a commission 
to twenty-five persons, who should have power to 
examine into, and pass sentence upon, such o£Fences ; 
and, after judgment given, a proclamation was to 
be issued, depriving the persons in whose behalf 
the plots or rebellion had been made, of all right 
to the throne ; and it was enacted, that they might 
be prosecuted to the death. The hardship of this 
enactment consisted in its rendering Mary, against 
whom it was levelled, responsible for the deeds of 
others, as well as for her own actions ; so that if the 
Catholics arose in rebellion, although without war- 
rant from Mary, or even against her inclination, 
the was nevertheless rendered liable to lose her 
right of succession to the crown, and indeed to for- 
feit her life. Nothing short of the seal of the 
English Grovernment for the Reformed religion^ 
and for the personal safety of Elizabeth, could have 
induced them to consent to a law so unjust and so 

This act was passed in 1585, and in the follow? 


iog year, a pretext was found for making it the 
ground of proceedings against Mary. Anthony 
Babington, a young gentleman of fortune and of 
talents, but a zealous Catholic, and a fanatical en- 
thusiast for the cause of the Scottish Queen, had 
associated with himself five resolute friends and 
adherents, all men of condition, in the desperate 
enterprise of assassinating Queen Elizabeth, and 
setting Mary at liberty. But their schemes were 
secretly betrayed to W^ingham, the celebrated 
minister of the Queen of England. They were 
suffered to proceed as far as was thought safe, then 
seized, tried, and executed. 

It was next resolved upon, that Mary should be 
brought to trial for her life, under pretence of her 
having -encouraged Babington and his companions 
in their desperate purpose. She was re- 
moved to the castle of Fotheringay, and i^^^^' 
placed under two keepers, Sir Amias 
Paulet and Sir Drew Drury, whose well-known 
hatred of the Catholiereligion was supposed to ren- 
der them inclined to treat their unfortunate captive 
with the utmost rigour. Her private cabinet was 
broken open and stripped of its contents, her most 
secret papers were seized upon and examined, 
her principal domestics were removed from her per- 
son, her money and her jewels were taken from her. 
Queen Elizabeth then proceeded to name Com- 
missioners, in terms of the Act of Parliament which 
I have told you of. They were forty in number, 
of the most distinguished of her statesmen and no- 
bility, and were directed to proceed to the trial of 

VOL. xxui. M 

178 TALES OP A GRANDFATHER, [scotlamo. 

Mary for her alleged accession to Babington's 

On the 14th October, 1586^ these Commissioners 
held their court in the great hall of Fothering^y 
castle. Mary, left to herself, and having coansel 
of no friend, advocate, or lawyer, made, neverthe- 
less, a defence becoming her high birth and distin- 
guished talents. She refused to plead before a 
court composed of persons who were of a degree 
inferior to her own; and when at length she agreed 
to hear and answer the accusation brought against 
her, she made her protest . that stie did so, not as 
owning the authority of the court, but purely in 
vindication of her own character. 

Tile attorney and solicitor for Queen Elizabeth 
stated the conspiracy of Babing^n, as it unques- 
tionably existed, and produced copies of letters 
which Mary was alleged to have written, approv- 
ing the insurrection, and even the assassination of 
Elizabeth. The declarations of Naue and Curie, 
two of Mary's secretaries, went to confirm the fact 
of her having had correspondence with Babington, 
by intervention of a priest called Ballard. The 
confessions of Babington and his associates were 
then read, avowing Mary's share in their criminal 

To these' charges Mary answered, by denying 
that she ever had any correspondence with Ballard, 
or that she had ever written such letters as those 
produced against her. She insisted that she could 
only be afiected by such writings as bore her own 
hand and seal, and not by copies. She urged that 

OBAP.xxxiii.] TRIAL OP MARY. 179 

the declarations of her secretaries were given in 
private, and probably under the influence of fear of 
torture, or hope of reward, of which, indeed, there 
is every probability.^ Lastly, she pleaded that the 
confessions of the conspirators could not afi^ect her, 
since they were infamous persons, dying for an 
infamous crime. If their evidence was designed 
to be used, they ought to have been pardoned, and 
brought forward in person, to bear witness against 
her. Mary admitted that, having for many years 
despaired of relief or favour from Queen Elizabeth, 
she had, in her distress, applied to other sovereigns, 
and that she had also endeavoured to procure some 
favour for the persecuted Catholics of England ; 
but she denied that she had endeavoured to pur- 
chase liberty for herself, or advantage for the 
Catholics, at the expense of shedding the blood of 
any one ; and declared, that if she had given con- 
sent in w<»rd, or even in thought, to the murder of 
Elizabeth, she was willing, not only to submit to 
the doom of men, but even to renounce the mercy 
of God. 

The evidence which was brought to convict the 
Queen of Scotland was such as would not now 
affect the life of the meanest criminal ; yet the 
Commission had the cruelty and meanness to declare 
Mary guilty of having been accessary to Babing* 
ton'« conspiracy, and of having contrived and 

' [" Whether these secretaries were bribed to confess this/' 
Mith CamdeD, ** 1 caiinot say ; but it is certain,*' he adds, ** that 
Walsingham had made them promises; and their credit was 
impeached by the Scottish Queen, as they had taken a previous 
oath of fidelity to her." — Chauisrs, vol. i. p. 489.] 



teidable invasion, by diminishing the risk which 
• rmt** the Armada might incur from the English fleet. 
,-f*^' It therefore seems probable, that had James 
^, ««' himself been very serious in his interposition, or 
, ^ 000^ had his ambassador been disposed to urge the inter- 
ference committed to his charge with due firmness 
and vigour, it could scarce have failed in being 
,^jrjif** successful, at least for a time. But the Master of 
j.jiP^ Gray, as is now admitted, privately encouraged 
0100** Elisabeth and her ministers to proceed in the cruel 
^jojggi^ path they had chosen, and treacherously gave them 
^ f^i* reason to believe, that though, for the sake of de- 
^0 cency, James found it necessary to. interfere in his 
,^# mother's behalf, yet, in his secret mind, he would 
g^00 not be very sorry that Mary, who, in the eyes of a 
^00* part of his subjects, was still regarded as sovereign 
^j^ of Scotland, should be quietly removed out of the 
/|^V way. From the intrigues Of this treacherous am- 

g^iifi bassador, Elizabeth was led to trust that the resent- 

,jg^^ ment of the King for his mother's death would 

^$10 neither be long nor violent; and, knowing her 

Iftil^ own influence with a great part of the Scottish 

0^^ nobility, and the zeal of the Scots in general for 

fki^ the Reformed religion, she concluded that the 

motives arising out of these circumstances would 
prevent James from making common cause against 
001'* England with the King of Spain. 

'(^ At any other period in the English history, it is 

'd^ probable that a sovereign attempting such an action 

'l ' as Elizabeth meditated, might have been interrupted 

^/^ by the generous and manly sense of justice and 

^^ humanity peculiar to a free and high-minded people, 

180 TALES OF A GRANDFATHER, [icotlamd. 

endeavoured tlie death of Queen Elisabeth^ gout 
jtrary to the statute made for security of the 
Queen's life. And the Parliament of England 
approved of and ratified this iniquitous sentence. 

It was not perhaps to be expected that James 
y I. should have had much natural aflPection for hit 
mother, whom he had never seen since his infancy, 
and who had, doubtless, been represented to him as 
a very bad woman, and as one desirous, if she 
could have obtained her liberty, of dispossessing 
him of the crown which he wore, and resuming it 
herself. He had, therefore, seen Marjr's captivity 
with little of the sympathy which a child ought to 
feel for a parent. But, upon learning these pro- 
ceedings against her life, he must have been desti- 
tute of the most ordinary feelings of human nature, 
and would have made himself a reproach and 
scandal throughout all Europe, if he had not inter- 
fered in her behalf. He therefore sent ambassa- 
dors, first, Sir William Keith, and after him the 
Master of Gray, to intercede with Queen Elisa- 
beth, and to use both persuasion and threats to 
preserve the life of his mother. The friendship of 
Scotland was at this moment of much greater im- 
portance to England than at any previous period 
if her history. The King of Spain was in the act 
.»f assembling a vast navy and army (boastingly 
called the Invincible Armada), by which he pro- 
posed to invade and conquer England ; and if 
James VI. had been disposed to open the ports 
and harbours of Scotland to the Spanish fleets and 
armies, he might have greatly facilitated this for- 

CHAP, xxxiu.] TRIAL OF MARY. 181 

teidable invasion, by diminishing the risk which 
the Armada might incur from the English fleet. 

It therefore seems probable, that had James 
himself been very serious in his interposition, or 
had his an>bassador been disposed to urge the inter- 
ference committed to his charge with due firmness 
and vigour, it could scarce have failed in being 
successful, at least for a time. But the Master of 
Gray, as is now admitted, privately encouraged 
Elisabeth and her ministers to proceed in the cruel 
path they had chosen, and treacherously gave them 
reason to believe, that though, for the sake of de- 
cency, James found it necessary to. interfere in his 
mother's behalf, yet, in his secret mind, he would 
not be very sorry that Mary, who, in the eyes of a 
part 0i his subjects, was still regarded as sovereign 
of Scotland, should be quietly removed out of the 
way. From the intrigues Of this treacherous am- 
bassador, Elizabeth was led to trust that the resent- 
ment of the King for his mother's death would 
neither be long nor violent; and, knowing her 
own influence with a g^eat part of the Scottish 
nobility, and the zeal of the Scots in general for 
the Reformed religion, she concluded that the 
motives arising out of these circumstances would 
prevent James from making common cause against 
England with the King of Spain. ^ 

At any other period in the English history, it is 
probable that a sovereign attempting such an action 
as Elizabeth meditated, might have been interrupted 
by the generous and manly sense of justice and 
humanity peculiar to a free and high-minded people, 


like those of England. But the despotic reign of 
Henry VIII. had too mach familiarised the Eng- 
lish with the sight of the blood of g^eat persons, 
and even of Qneens, poured forth by the blow of 
the executioner, upon the slightest pretexts ; and 
the idea that Elizabeth's life could not be in safety 
while Mary existed, was, in the deep sentinient of 
loyalty and affection which they entertained for 
their Queen (and which the general tenour of her 
reign well deserved), strong enough to render 
them blind to the gross injustice exercised upon a 
stranger and a Catholic. 

Yet with all the prejudices of her subjects in 
her own favour, Elizabeth would fain have had 
Mary's death take place in such a way as that she 
herself should not appear to have any hand in it. 
Her ministers were employed to write letters to 
Mary's keepers, insinuating what a good service 
they would do to Elizabeth and the Protestant 
relig^ion, if Mary could be privately assassinated. 
But these stern guardians, though strict and severe 
in their conduct towards the Queen, would not 
listen to such persuasions ; and well was it for 
them that they did not, for Elizabeth would cer- 
tainly have thrown the whole blame of the deed 
upon their shoulders, and left them to answer it 
with their lives and fortunes. She was angry 
with them, nevertheless, for their refusal, and 
called Paulet a precise fellow, loud in boasting of 
his fidelity, but slack in giving proof of it. 

As, however, it was necessary, firom the scruples 
of Paulet and Drury, to proceed in all form, Eliza- 

CHAr. xxxiu] EXECUTION OF MARY. 183 

beth signed a warrant for the execution of the 
sentence pronounced on Queen Mary, and gave it 
te Davison, her secretary of state, commanding 
that it shoidd be sealed with the g^eat seal of 
England. Davison laid the warrant, signed by 
Elizabeth, before the Privy Council, and next day 
the great seal was placed upon it. Elizabeth, upon 
hearing this, affected some displeasure that the 
warrant had been so speedily prepared, and told 
the secretary that it was the opinion of wise men 
that some other course might be taken with Queen 
Mary. Davison, in this pretended change of mind, 
saw some danger that his mistress might throw the 
fault of the execution upon him after it had taken 
place. He therefore informed the Keeper of the 
Seals what the Queen had said, protesting he 
would not venture farther in tho matter. The 
Privy Council, having met together, and conceiv- 
ing themselves certain w)iat were the Queen's real 
wishes, determined to save her the pain of expres- 
sing them more broadly, and resolving that the 
blame, if any might arise, should be common to 
them aU, sent off the warrant for execution with 
their clerk Beale. The Earls of Kent and Shrews- 
bury, with the High Sheriff of the county, were 
empowered and commanded to see the fatal man- 
date carried into effect without delay. 

Mary received the melancholy intelligence with 
the utmost firmness. " The soul,** she said, " was 
undeserving of the joys of Heaven, which would 
shrink from the blow of an executioner. She had 
not," she added, <* expected that her kinswoman 


would have consented to her death, but sabmitted 
not the less willingly te her fate." She earnestly 
requested the assistance of a priest ; bat this favour, 
which is gpranted to the worst criminals, and upon 
which Catholics lay particular weight, was cruelly 
refused. The Queen then wrotie her last will, and 
short and affectionate letters of farewell to her 
relations in France. She distributed among her 
attendants such valuables as had been left her, and 
desired them to keep them' for her sake. This 
occupied the evening before the day appointed for 
the fatal execution. 

Oti the 8th February, 1587, the Queen, still 
maintaining the same calm and undisturbed ap- 
pearance which she had displayed at her pretended 
trial, was brought down to the great hall of the 
castle, where a scaffiild was erected,<m which were 
placed a block and a chair, the whole being covered 
with black cloth. The Master of her Household, 
Sir Andrew M elviUe, was permitted to take a last 
leave of the mistress whom he had served long 
and faithfully. He burst into loud lamentations, 
bewailing her fate, and deploring his own in being 
d^tined to carry such news to Scotland. " Weep 
not, my good Melville," said the Queen, <^ but 
rather rejoice ; for thou shalt this day see Mary 
Stewart relieved from all her sorrows." She 
obtained permission, with some difficulty, that her 
maids should be allowed to attend her on the 
scaffold. It was objected to, that the extravagance 
of their grief might disturb the proceedings ; she 
engaged for them that they would be silent. 



eBAP. xxxiii.] EXECUTION OF MART. 18& 

When the Queen was seated in the fatal chair, 
^e heard the death warrant read by Beale, the 
derk to the Privy Coilnci], with an appearance of 
indi£Ference } nor did she seem more attentive to 
the -devotional exercises of the Dean of Peterbo- 
rongh, in which, as a Catholic, she could not con- 
scientiously join. . She implored the mercy of 
Heaven j after the form prescribed by her own 
church. * She theu prepared herself for execution, 
taking off such parts of her dress as might interfere 
with the deadly blow. The executioners offered 
their assistance, but she modestly refused it, say- 
ing, she had neither been accustomed to undress 
before so many spectators, nor to be served by such 
gprooms of t4ie chamber. She quietly chid her maids, 
who were unable to withhold their cries of lamen- 
tation, and reminded them that she had engaged 
for their silence. Last of all, Mary laid her head 
on the block, which the executioner severed from 
her body with two strokes of his axe. The heads- 
man held it up iu his hand, and the Dean of Peter- 
borough cried out, ** So perish all Queen Elizabeth's 
enemies !" No voice, save that of the Earl of Kent, 
could answer Amen: the rest were choked with 
sobs and tears. 

Thus died Queen Mary, aged a little above forty- 
four years.^ She was eminent for beauty, for talents, 
and accomplishments, nor is there reason to doubt 
her natural goodness of heart, and courageous man- 
liness of disposition. Yet she was, in every sense, 
one of the most unhappy Princesses that ever lived, 
from the moment when she came into the world. 

186 TALES OF A GRANDFATHER. [icotlamd. 

in an hoar of defeat and danger, to that in which 
a bloody and violent death closed a weary captivi- 
ty of eighteen years. 

Qneen Elizabeth, in the same spirit of hypocrisy 
which had characterised all her proceedings towards 
Mary, no sooner knew that the deed was done, than 
she hastened to deny her own share in it. She 
pretended, that Davison had acted positively against 
her command in laying the warrant before the 
Privy Council ; and that she might seem the more 
serious in her charge, she caused him to be fined 
in a large sum of money, and deprived him of his 
offices, and of her favour for ever. She sent a spe- 
cial ambassador to King James, to apologise for 
** this unhappy accident," as she chose to term the 
execution of Queen Mary. 

James at first testified high indignation, with 
which the Scottish nation was well disposed to 
sympathize. He refused to admit the English en- 
voy to his presence, and uttered menaces of revenge. 
When a general mourning was ordered for the de- 
parted Queen, the Earl of Argyle appeared at the 
court in armour, as if that were the proper way of 
showing the national sense of the treatment which 
Mary had received. But James's hopes and fears 
were now fixed upon the succession to the English 
crown, which would have been forfeited by engag- 
ing in a war with Elizabeth. Most of his ances- 
torsy indeed, would have set that objection at de- 
fiance, and have broken into the English frontier at 
the head of as large an army as Scotland could raise; 
but James was by nature timorous and anwarlike. 


He was conscious, that the poor and divided coun- 
try of Scotland was not fit, in its own strength, to 
encounter a kingdom so wealthy and so unanimous 
as England. On the other hand, if James formed 
an alliance with the Spanish monarch, he consider- 
ed that he would probably hare been deserted by 
the Reformed part of his subjects ; and, besides, 
he was aware that Philip of Spain himself laid claim 
to the Crown of England ; so that to assist that 
prince in his meditated invasion, would have been 
to rear up an important obstacle to the accomplish- 
ment of his own hopes of the English succession. 
James, therefore, gradually softeningto wards Queen 
Elizabeth, a£Pected to believe the excuses which she 
offered ; and in a short time they were upon as 
friendly a footing as they had been before the death 
of the unfortunate Mary. 

James was now in full possession of the Scot- 
tish kingdom, and showed himself to as much, or 
greater advantage, than at any subsequent period 
of his life. After the removal of the vile James 
Stewart from his counsels, he acted chiefly by the 
advice of Sir John Maitland, the Chancellor, a 
brother of that Maitland of Lethington whom we 
have so often mentioned. He was a prudent and 
good minister ; and as it was James's nature, in 
which there was a strange mixture of wisdom and 
of weakness, to act with sagacity, or otherwise, ac- 
cording to the counsels which he received, there 
now arose in Britain, and even in Europe, a more 
general respect for his character, than was after- 
wards entertained when it became better known. 


Besides, Jameses reign in Scotland was marked 
with 80 many circumstances of difficulty, and even 
of danger^ that he was placed npon his gnard, and 
compelled to conduct himself with the strictest at- 
tention to the rules of prudence ^ for he had little 
chance of overawing his turbulent nobility, but by 
maintaining the dignity of the royal character. If 
the King had possessed the ability of distributing 
largesses among his powerful subjects, his influence 
would have been greater $ but this was so far from 
being the case, that his means of supporting his 
royal state, excepting an annuity allowed to him 
by Elizabeth of five thousand pounds yearly, were 
in the last degpree precarious. This was owing in 
a g^eat measure to the plundering of the revenue 
of the crown during the civil wars of his minority, 
and the. Regency of the Earl of Morton. The 
king was so dependent, that he could not even give 
an entertainment without begging poultry and 
venison from some of his more wealthy subjects ; 
and his wardrobe was so ill furnished, that he was 
obliged to request the loan of a pair of silk hose 
from the Earl of Mar, that he might be suitably 
appareled to receive the Spanish ambassador. 

There were also peculiarities in James's situa- 
tion which rendered it embarrassing. He had ex- 
treme difficulty in his necessary intercourse with 
the Scottish clergy, who possessed a strong in- 
fluence over the minds of the people, and some- 
times used it in interference with public affairs 
Although they had not, like the bishops of Eng- 
land and other countries, a seat in Parliament, yet 

CHAT, xxxxii.] JAMES YI/S REIGN. 199 

they did not the less intermeddle with politics, and 
often preached from the p«lpit against the king and 
his measures. They nsed this freedom the more 
boldly, because they asserted that they were not 
answerable to any civil court for what they might 
say in their sermons, but only to the spiritual 
courts, as they were called.; that is, the Synods and 
General Assemblies of the Church, composed 
chiefly of clergymen like themselves, and who, 
therefore, were not likely to put a check upon the 
freedom of speech nsed by their brethren. 

Upon one occasion, which occurred 17th Decem- 
ber, 1596, dit$putes of this kind between tlie King 
and the Church came to such a height, that the 
rabble of the city, inflamed by the yiolence of some 
of the sermons which they heard, broke out into 
tumult, and besieged the door of the Tolbooth, 
where James was sitting in the administration of 
justice, and threatened to break it open. The 
King was saved by the intervention of the better 
disposed part of the inhabitants, who rose in arms 
for his protection. Nevertheless he left Edinburgh 
the next day in great anger, and prepared to take 
away the privileges of the city, as a punishment 
for the insolence of the rioters. He was appeased 
with much difficulty, and, as it seemed, was by no 
means entirely satisfied ; for he caused the High 
Street to be occupied by a g^eat number of the 
Border and Highland clans. The citizens, terri- 
fied by the appearance of these formidable and 
lawless men, concluded that the town was to be 
plundered, and the alarm was very great. Bat 

190 TALES OF A GRANDFATHER, [scotlanv. 

the King, who only desired to frighten them, made 
the magistrates a long harangue upon the excesses 
of which he complained, and admitted them to 
pardon, upon their submission. 

Another great plague of James the Sixth's 
reign, was the repeated insurrections of a turbu- 
lent nobleman, called Francis Stewart, Earl of 
Bothwell, — a different person, of course, from 
James Hepburn, who bore that title in the reign 
of Queen Mary. This second Earl of Bothwell 
was a relation of the King's, and made several 
violent attempts to get possession of his person, 
with the purpose of governing the state, as the 
Douglasses did of old, by keeping the King pri- 
soner. But although he nearly succeeded on one 
or two occasions, yet James was always rescued 
from his hands, and was finally powerful enough to 
banish Bothwell altogether from the country. He 
died in contempt and exile.^ 

But by far the greatest pest of Scotland at that 
time, was the deadly fends among the nobility and 
gentry, which eventually led to the most bloody 

'{The Earl of Bothwell wat attainted in Parliament 12th 
July, 1592. ** He b took himself to his usual lurking placfs in 
the north of England, but Elizabeth, in compliance with James's 
remonstrances, obliged him to quit his retreat. Abandoned by 
the Queen of England, excommunicated by the church, and 
deserted in his distress by his followers, he was obliged to fly for 
safety to France* and thence to Spain and Italy, where, after 
renouncing the Protestant faith, he lived many years an obscure 
and indigent life, remarkable only for a low and infamoos 
debauchery.'* — Wood's Peerage^ vol. i. pp. 232, 233. In 1 594 
several persons were executed for receiving and entertaining t!itf 
Earl of BothweU. — Birkell's Diary t pp. 33, 34.] 

CBAP. zxxui.] JAMBS Tl/S REION. 191 

oonseqaences, and were perpetuated from father to 
son ; while the King's good-nature, which ren- 
dwed him very ready to g^ant pardons to those 
who had committed such inhuman outrages, made 
the evil still more frequent. The foUowing is a 
remarkable instance : — 

The Earl of Huntly, head of the powerful family 
of Gordon, and the man of greatest consequence 
in the North of Scotland, had chanced to have some 
feudal difPerences with the Earl of Murray, son-in- 
law of the Regent- earl of the same name, in the 
course of which, John Gordon, a brother of Gor- 
don of Cluny, was killed by a shot from Murray's 
castle of Darnoway. This was enough to make 
the two families irreconcilable enemies, even if 
they had been otherwise on friendly terms. Mur- 
ray was so handsome and personable a man, that 
he was generally known by the name of the Bonnie 
Earl of Murray. About 1591-2, an accusation was 
brought against Murray, for haying given some 
countenance or assistance to Stewart, Earl of Both- 
well, in a recent treasonable exploit. James, with- 
out recollecting, perhaps, the hostility between the 
two earls, sent Huntly with a commission to bring 
the Earl of Murray to his presence. Huntly pro- 
bably rejoiced in the errand, as giving him an 
opportunity of avenging himself on his feudal 
enemy. He beset the house of Dunnibirsel, on the 
northern side of the Forth, and summoned Murray 
to surrender. In reply, a gun was fired, which 
mortally wounded one of the Gordons. The as- 
sailants proceeded to set fire to the house ; when 


in, but would have been twice as welcome to have 
passed by. Grordon of Buckie, when a long period 
had elapsed, avowed his contrition for the guilt he 
had incurred. 

Soon afterwards, three lords, the Earls of Hunt- 
ly and Errol, who had always professed the Catho- 
lic religion, and the young Earl of Angus, who had 
become a convert to that faith, were accused of 
corresponding with the King of Spain, and of de- 
signing to introduce Spanish troops into Scotland 
for the restoration of the Catholic religion. The 
story which was told of this conspiracy does not 
seem very probable. However, the King ordered 
the Earl of Argyle to march against the Popish 
lords, with the northern forces of Lord Forbes and 
others, who were chiefly Protestants, and entered 
into the war with the religious emulation which 
divided the Reformers from the Catholics. Ar- 
gyle likewise levied great bands of the Western 
Highlanders, who cared but little about religion, 
but were extremely desirous of plunder. 

The army of Argyle, about ten thousand strong, 
encountered the forces of Huntly and Errol at 
Glenlivat, on the 3d of October, 1594. The shock 
was very smart. But the Grordons and Hays, 
though far inferior in numbers, were gentlemen, 
well mounted, and completely armed, and the fol- 
lowers of Argyle had only their plaids and bonnets. 
Besides, the two earls had two or three pieces of 
cannon, of which the Highlanders, unaccustomed 
to any thing of the kind, were very apprehensive. 
The consequence of the encounter was, that though 


194 TALES OF A GRANDFATHER. [scotland. 

the cavalry had to charge op a hill, encambered 
with rocks and stones, and although the Highland- 
ers fought with great courage, the small body of 
Huntly and Errol, not amounting to above fifteen 
hundred horse, broke, and dispersed with great 
loss, the numerous host opposed to them. On the 
side of Argyle there was some treachery; the 
Grants, it is said, near neighbours, and some of 
them dependents, of the Gordons, joined their old 
friends in the midst of the fray. The Chief of 
MacLean and his followers defended themselves 
with great courage, but were at length completely 
routed. This was one of the occasions on which 
the Highland irregular infantry were found infe- 
rior to the compact charge of the cavaliers of the 
Lowland counties, with their long lances, who beat 
them down, and scattered them in every direction. 

Upon learning Argyle's defeat, the King him- 
self advanced into the north with a small army, 
and restored tranquillity by punishing the insurgent 

We have before mentioned, that in those wild 
days the very children had their deadly feuds, 
carried weapons, and followed the bloody example 
of their fathers. The following instance of their 
early ferocity occurred in September, 1595. The 
scholars of the High School of Edinburgh, having 
a dispute with their masters about the length of 
their holidays, resolved to stand out for a longer 
vacation. Accordingly, they took possession of 
the school in that sort of mutinous manner, which 
in England is caUed Sarrin^'Outf and resisted the 

CHAP, xxxiii.] FEUDS OF THE NOBLES, 195 

admission of the masters. Such foolish things 
have often occarred in pnblic schools elsewhere ; 
but what was peculiar to the High School boys of 
Edinburgh was, that they defended the school 
with sword and pistol, and when Bailie MacMor- 
ran, one of the magistrates, gave directions to 
force the entrance, three of the boys fired, and 
killed him on the spot. There were none of them 
punished, because it was alleged that it could not 
be known which of them did the deed ; but rather 
because two of them were gentlemen's sons. So 
you see the bloodthirsty spirit of the times de- 
scended even to children. 

To do justice to James VI., he adopted every 
measure in his power to put an end to these fatal 
scenes of strife and bloodshed. Wise laws were 
made for preventing the outrages which had been 
so general ; and in order to compose the feuds 
amongst the nobles, James invited the 
principal lords, who had quarrels, to a \^ue^* 
great banquet, where he endeavoured to 
make them agree together, and caused them to 
take each other^s hands and become friends on the 
spot. They obeyed him ; and proceeding himself 
at their head, he made them walk in procession to 
the Cross of Edinburgh,^ still hand in hand, in 
token of perfect reconciliation, whilst the provost 

* [** A eoUatioii of wine and sweetmeftte wu prepared at tht 
public Crosi, and there they, King and nobles, drank to each 
other with all the signa of reciprocal forgiveneas and of future 
friendship.'*— RoBsnxsoK, c m] 

196 TALES OF A GRANDFATHER, [scotlakd. 

and magistrates danced before them for joy, to see 
auch a prospect of peace and concord. Perhaps 
this reconciliation was too hasty to last long in 
every instance ; but upon the whole, the authority 
of the law gpradually gained strength, and the pas- 
sions of men gprew less fierce as it became more 
unsafe to indulge them. 

I must now fulfil my promise, and in this place, 

u i&dfi tell* you of another exploit on the Bor- 
' ders, the last that was performed there, 
but certainly not the least remarkable for valour 
and conduct. 

The English and Scottish Wardens, or their de- 
puties, had held a day of truce for settling Bor- 
der disputes, and, having parted friends, both, 
with their followers, were returning home. At 
every such meeting it was the general rule on the 
Borders that there should be an absolute truce for 
twenty -four hours, and that all men who attended 
the Warden on either side to the field should have 
permission to ride home again undisturbed. 

Now, there had come to the meeting, with other 
Border men, a notorious depredator, called Wil- 
liam Armstrong, but more commonly known by 
the name of Kinmont Willie. This man was 
riding home on the north or Scottish side of the 
Liddell, where that stream divides England and 
Scotland, when some of the English who had 
enmity against him, or had su£Fered by his incur- 
sions, were unable to resist the temptation to attack 
him. They accordingly dashed across the river, 


pursued Kinmont Willie more than a mile within 
Scotland) made him prisoner, and brought him to 
Carlisle castle. 

As the man talked boldly and resolutely about 
the breach of truce in his person, and demanded 
peremptorily to be set at liberty, Lord Scrope told 
him, scoffingly, that before he left the castle he 
should bid him << farewell," meaning, that he should 
not go without his leave. The prisoner boldly 
answered, ** that he would not go without bidding 
him good-night." 

The Lord of Buccleuch, who was Warden, or 
Keeper, of Liddesdale, demanded the restoration of 
Kinmont Willie to liberty, and complained of his 
being taken and imprisoned as a breach of the 
Border-laws, and an insult done to himself. Lord 
Scrope refused, or at least evaded, giving up his 
prisoner. Buccleuch then sent him a challenge, 
which Lord Scrope declined to accept, on the ground 
of his employment in the public service. The Scot- 
tish chief, therefore, resolved to redress by force 
the insult which his country, as well as himself, had 
sustained on the occasion. He collected about three 
hundred of his best men, and made a night march 
to Carlisle castle. A small party of chosen men 
dismounted, while the rest remained on horseback, 
to repel any attack from the town. The night be- 
ing misty and rainy, the party to whom that duty 
was committed approached the foot of the walls, 
and tried to scale them by means of ladders which 
they had brought with them for the purpose. But 
the ladders were found too short. They then, with 

198 TALES OF A GRANDFATHER, [scotlaitd. 

mining instruments which they had providedi burst 
open a postern, or wicket-door, and entered the 
castle. Their chief had given them strict orders to 
do no harm save to those who opposed them, so 
that the few guards, whom the alarm brought to- 
gether, were driven back without much injury. 
Being masters of the castle, the trumpets of the 
Scottish Warden were then blown, to the no small 
terror of the inhabitants of Carlisle, surprised out 
of their quiet sleep by the sounds of invasion at so 
early an hour. The bells of the castle rang out ; 
those of the Cathedral and Moot-hall answered ; 
drums beat to arms ; and beacons were lighted, to 
alarm the warlike country around. 

In the meanwhile, the Scottish party had done 
the errand they came for. They had freed Kin- 
mont Willie from his dudgeon. The first thing 
Armstrong did was to shout a good-night to Lord 
Scrope, asking him, at the same time, if he had any 
news for Scotland. The Borderers strictly obeyed 
the commands of their chief, in forbearing to take 
any booty. They returned irom the castle, bring- 
ing with them their rescued countryman, and a 
gentleman named Spenser, an attendant on the con* 
stable of the castle. Buccleuch dismissed him, with 
his commendations to Salkeld the constable, whom 
he esteemed, he said, a better gentleman than Lord 
Scrope, bidding him say it was the Warden of 
Liddesdale who had done the exploit, and praying 
the constable, if he desired the name of a man of 
honour, to issue forth and seek arevenge. Buccleuch 
then ordered the retreat, which he performed with 


great leisure, and re-entered Scotland at sanrise 
in honour and safety. ** There had never been a 
more gallant deed of vassalage done in Scotland,** 
says an old historian^ *< no, not in Wallace's days/* 

Queen Elizabeth, as you may imagine, was dread- 
fully angry at this insult, and demanded that Buc- 
deuch should be delivered up to the English, as he 
had <M)mmitted so great an aggression upon their 
frontier during the time of peace. The matter was 
laid before the Scottish Parliament. King James 
himself pleaded the question on the part of Eliza- 
beth, willing, it may be supposed, to recomoaend 
himself to that Princess by his tameness and doci- 
lity. The Secretary of State replied in defence of 
Bucdeuch ; and the Scottish Parliament finally 
voted that they would refer the question to com- 
missioners, to be chosen for both nations, and would 
abide by their decision. But concerning the pro- 
posed surrender of Buccleuch to England, the Pre- 
sident declared, with a loud voice, that it would be 
time enough for Buccleuch to go to England when 
the King should pass there in person. 

Buccleuch finally ended the discussion by going 
to England at the King's personal request, and on 
the understanding that no evil was to be done to 
him. Queen Elizabeth desired to see him per- 
sonally, and demanded of him how he dared com- 
mit such aggression on her territory. He answered 
undauntedly, that he knew not that thing which a 
man dared not do. Eliktbeth admired the answer, 
and treated this powerful Border chief with dis- 


tinction daring the time he remiuned in England, 
which was not long. 

Bat the strangest adventure of James's reig^ 
was the event called the Gowrie Conspiracy, over 
which there hangs a sort of mystery, which time 
has not even yet completely dispelled. Yoa mast 
recollect that there was an Earl of Gowrie con- 
demned and executed, when James was bat a boy. 
This nobleman left two sons, bearing the family 
name of Rathven, who were well educated abroad, 
and accounted hopeful young men. The King 
restored to the eldest the title and estate of Growrie, 
and favoured them both very much. 

Now, it chanced in the month of August, 1600, 
that Alexander Ruthven, the younger of the two 
brothers, came early one morning to the King, who 
was then hunting in the Park of Falkland, and told 
him a story of his having seized a suspicious-look- 
ing man, a Jesuit, as he supposed, with a large 
pot of gold under his doak. This man Ruthven 
said he had detained prisoner at his brother's house, 
in Perth, till the King should examine him, and 
take possession of the treasure. With this story 
he decoyed James from the hunting-field, and per- 
suaded him to ride with him to Perth, without any 
other company than a few noblemen and attend- 
ants, who followed the King without orders. 

When they arrived at Perth, they entered 
Growrie-house, the mansion of the Earl, a large 
massive building, having gardens which stretched 
down to the river Tay. The Earl of Growrie was, 


or seemed surprised, to see the King arrive so 
unexpectedly, and caused some entertainment to 
be hastily prepared for his Majesty's refreshment. 
After the King had dined, Alexander Ruthven 
pressed him to come with him to see the prisoner 
in private ; and James, curious by nature, and 
sufficiently indigent t« be inquisitive after money, 
followed him from one apartment to another, until 
Ruthven led him into a little turret, where there 
stood — ^not a prisoner with a pot of gold — but an 
armed man, prepared, as it seemed, for some 
violent enterprise. 

The King started back, but Ruthven snatched 
the dagger which the man wore, and pointing it 
to James's breast, reminded him of his father the 
Earl of Gowrie's death, and commanded him, upon 
pain of death, to submit to his pleasure. The King 
replied that he was but a boy when the Earl of 
Growrie suffered, and upbraided Ruthven with 
ingratitude. The conspirator, moved by remorse 
or some other reason, assured the King that his 
life should be safe, and left him in the turret with 
the armed man, who, not very well selected to aid 
in a purpose so desperate, stood shaking in his 
armour, without assisting either his master or the 

Let us now see what was passing below, during 
this strange scene betwixt the King and Ruthven. 
The attendants of James had begun to wonder at 
his absence, when they were suddenly informed by 
a servant of the Earl of Gowrie, that the King had 
mounted his horse, and had set out on his return to 

202 TALES OF A GRANDFATHER, [sootlaiis. 

Falkland. The noblemen and attendants rathed 
into the courtyard of the mansion, and called for 
their horses, the Earl of Gowrie at the same time 
hurrying them away. Here the porter interfered, 
and said the King could not have left the house, 
since he had not passed the gate, of which he had 
the keys. Gowrie, on the other hand, called the 
man a liar, and insisted that the King had departed. 

While the attendants of James knew not what 
to think, a half smothered, yet terrified voice, was 
heard to scream from the window of a turret above 
•their heads, — " Help ! Treason ! Help ! my Lord 
of Mar!'' They looked upwards, and beheld 
James's face in great agitation pushed through 
the window, while a hand was seen grasping his 
throat, as if some one behind endeavoured by vio- 
lence to draw him back. 

The explanation was as follows: — The King, 
when left alone with the armed man, had, it seems, 
prevailed upon him to open the lattice window. 
This was just done when Alexander Ruthven 
again entered the turret, and, swearing that there 
was no remedy, but the King must needs die, he 
seized on him, and endeavoured by main force to 
tie his hands with a garter. James resisted, in the 
extremity of despair, and dragging Ruthven to the 
window, now open, called out to his attendants in 
the manner we have described. His retinue hast- 
ened to his assistance. The greater part ran to 
the principal staircase, of which they found the 
doors shut, and immediately endeavoured to force 
them open. Mean time a page of the King^s, called 

CHAP, xxxui.] 60WRIB CONSPIRACY. 203 

Sir John Ramsay, discorered a back stair which 
led him to the turret, where Ruthven and the King 
were still struggling. Ramsay stabbed Ruthven 
twice with his dagger, James calling to him to 
strike high, as he had a doublet of proof on him. 
Ramsay then thrust Ruthven, now mortally 
wounded, towards the private staircase, where he 
was met by Sir Thomas Erskine and Sir Hugh 
Herries, two of the royal attendants, who despatch- 
ed him with their swords. His last words were, — 
'< Alas ! I am not to blame for this action." 

This danger was scarcely over, when the Earl 
of Gowrie entered the outer chamber, with a 
drawn sword in each hand, followed by seven at- 
tendants, demanding vengeance for the death of 
his brother. The King's followers, only four in 
number, thrust James, for the safety of his person, 
back into the turret-closet, and shut the door ; and 
then engaged in a conflict, which was the more 
desperate, that they fought four to eight, and Her- 
ries was a lame and disabled man. But Sir John 
Ramsay having run the Earl of Gowrie through 
the heart, he dropped dead without speaking a 
word, and his servants fled. The doors of the 
great staircase were now opened to the nobles, who 
were endeavouring to force their way to the King's 

In the mean time a new peril threatened the King 
and his few attendants. The slain Earl of Gowrie 
was provost of the town of Perth, and much be- 
loved by the citizens. On hearing what had hap- 
pened, they ran to arms, and surrounded the man- 

204 TALES OF A GRANDFATHER, [scotland. 

sionohouse, where this tragedy had been acted, 
threatening, that if their provost were not delivered 
to them safe and sound, the King's g^een coat shoold 
pay for it. Their violence was at last quieted by 
the magistrates of the town, and the mob were 
prevailed on to disperse. 

'The object of this strange conspiracy is one of 
the darkest in history, and what made it stranger, 
the armed man who was stationed in the turret 
could throw no light upon it. He proved to be 
one Henderson, steward to the Earl of Growrie, 
who had been ordered to arm himself for the pur- 
pose of taking a Highland thief, and was posted in 
the turret by Alexander Ruthven, without any in- 
timation what he was to do ; so that the whole 
scene came upon him by surprise. The mystery 
seemed so impenetrable, and so much of the narra- 
tive rested upon James's own testimony, that many 
persons of that period, and even some historians of 
our own day, have thought that it was not a con- 
spiracy of the brothers against the King, but of the 
King against the brothers ; and that James, having 
taken a dislike to them, had contrived the bloody 
scene, and then thrown the blame on the Ruthvens, 
who suffered in it. But, besides the placability 
and gentleness of James's disposition, and besides 
the consideration that no adequate motive can be 
assigned, or even conjectured, for his perpetrating 
such an inhospitable murder, it ought to be remem- 
bered that the King was naturally timorous, and 
could not even look at a drawn sword without 
shuddering ; so that it is contrary to all reason and 


probability to suppose that he could be the deviser 
of a scheme, in which his life was repeatedly ex- 
posed to the most imminent danger. However, 
many of the clergy refused to obey James's order 
to keep a day of solemn thanksgiving for the King's 
deliverance, intimating, without hesitation, that 
they greatly doubted the truth of his story. One 
of them being pressed by the King very hard, said — 
** That doubtless he must believe it, since his 
majesty said he had seen it ; but that, had he seen 
it himself, he would not have believed his own 
eyes.** James was much vexed with this incre- 
dulity, for it was hard not to obtain credit after 
having been in so much danger.^ 

Nine years after the affair, some light was 
thrown upon the transaction by one Sprot, a no- 
tary-public, who, out of mere curiosity, had pos- 
sessed himself of certain letters, said to have been 
written to the Earl of Gowrie by Robert Logan of 
Restalrig, a scheming, turbulent, and profligate 
man. In these papers, allusion was repeatedly 
made to the death of Gowrie's father, to the re- 
venge which was meditated, and to the execution of 

^ [Five ministers of Edinburgh, who refused compliance, 
were commanded to remove from the city within forty-eight 
hours, and prohibited preaching within the King's dominions, 
under, pain of death. Four of that number acknowledging their 
fault, were pardoned and remitted. But Mr Robert Bruce, 
taking a course by himself, and saying, '* he would reverence hi* 
Majesty** reports of that accident^ hut could not say he was per- 
suaded oftlw truth of it,** was banished the King's donSinioni and 
went into France. Sfotswood, p. 462.^ 

206 TALES OF A GRANDFATHER. [scotland. 

some great and periloas enterprise. Lastly, there 
was intimation that the Ruthvens were to bring a 
prisoner by sea to Logan's fortress of Fastcastle, a 
very strong and inaccessible tower, overhanging 
the sea, on the coast of Berwickshire. This place 
he recommends as suitable for keeping some im- 
portant prisoner in safety and concealment, and 
adds, he had kept Both well there in his utmost dis- 
tresses, let the King and his council say what they 

All these expressions seem to point at a plot, 
not affecting the King's life, but his personal li- 
berty, and make it probable, that when Alexander 
Ruthven had frightened the King into silence and 
compliance, the brothers intended to carry him 
through the gardens, and put him on board of a 
boat, and so conveying him down the frith of Tay, 
might, after making a private signal, which Logan 
alludes to, place their royal prisoner in security at 
Fastcastle. The seizing upon the person of the 
King was a common enterprise among the Scottish 
nobles, and the father of the Ruthvens had lost his 
life for such an attempt. Adopting this as their 
intention, it is probable that Queen Elizabeth was 
privy to the attempt ; and perhaps having found 
so much conveniency from detaining the person of 
Mary in captivity, she might have formed some 
similar plan for obtaining the custody of her son. 

I must not conclude this story without observing, 
that Logan's bones were brought into a court of 
justice, for the purpose of being tried after death. 


and that he was declared guilty, and a sentence of 
forfeiture pronounced against him. But it has not 
heen noticed that Logan, a dissolute and extrava- 
gant man, was deprived of great part of his estate 
hefore his death, and that the King, therefore, could 
have no lucrative object in following out this ancient 
and barbarous form of process. The fate of Sprot, 
the notary, was singular enough. He was con- 
demned to be hanged for keeping these treasonable 
letters in his possession, without communicating 
them to the government; and he suffered death 
accordingly, asserting to the last that the letters 
were genuine, and that he had only preserved them 
from curiosity. This fact he testified even in the 
agonies of death ; for, being desired to give a sign 
of the truth and sincerity of his confession, after he 
was thrown off from the ladder, he is said to have 
clapped his hands three times. Yet some persons 
continued to think, that what Sprot told was un- 
true, and that the letters were forgeries; but it 
seems gpreat incredulity to doubt the truth of a 
confession, which brought to the gallows the man 
who made it ; and, of late years, the letters produ- 
ced by Sprot are regarded as genuine by the best 
judges of these matters. When so admitted, they 
render it evident that the purpose of the Cowrie 
conspiracy was to make King James a prisoner in 
the remote and inaccessible tower of Fastcastle, 
and perhaps ultimately to deliver him up to Queen 

We now approach the end of this collection of 

208 TALBS OF A GRANDFATHER, [scotlakd. 

Tales. King James VI. of Scotland married the 
daughter of the King of Denmark, called Anne of 
Denmark. They had a family, which recommended 
them very much to the English people, who were 
tired of seeing their crown pass from one female to 
another, without any prospect of male succession. 
They began, therefore, to turn their eyes towards 
James as the nearest heir of King Henry VIII., 
and the rightful successor, when Queen Elizabeth 
should fail. She was now old, her health broken, 
and her feelings painfully agitated by the death of 
Essex, her principal favourite. After his execu- 
tion, she could scarcely be said ever to enjoy either 
health or reason. She sat on a pile of cushions, 
with her finger in her mouth, attending, as it 
seemed, to nothing, saving to the prayers which 
were from time to time read in her chamber. 

While the Queen of England was thus strug- 
gling out the last moments of life, her subjects were 
making interest with her successor, James, with 
whom even Cecil himself, the Prime Minister of 
England, had long kept up a secret correspon- 
dence. The breath had no sooner left Elizabeth's 
body, than the near relation and godson of the 
late Queen, Sir Robert Carey, got on horseback, 
and, travelling with a rapidity which almost 
equalled that of the modern mail-coach, carried to 
the Palace of Holyrood the news, that James was 
King of England, France, and Ireland, as well as 
of his native dominions of Scotland. 

James arrived in London on the 7th of May, 


1603, aDd took possession of hit new realms with- 
out the slightest opposition ; and thns the island of 
Great Britain, so long divided into the separate 
kingdoms of England and Scotland, became subject 
to the same prince Here, therefore, must end the 
Tales of your Grandfather, so far as they 
relato to the History of Scotland, considered as a 
distinct and separate kingdom. 



^mitt i^txitU. 

[16(»-1 707.1 



My dear Child, 

I NOW address to you three volumes of Scot- 
tish Stories, which bring down the History of 
that Country from the period when England 
and Scotland became subject to the same ELing 
until that of the Union, when they were finally 
united into one Kingdom. That you, and 
children of your age, may read these little 
books with pleasure and improvement, is the 
desire and hope of. 

My dearest Child, 

Your very affectionate Grandfather, 


Abbotsford, ) 
15M October, 1828. j 


ifteccnttr ttxiti. 


Progrea of CtwlUaiion in Society. 

The kind reception which the former Tales, 
written for your amusement and edification, have 
met with> induces me, my dear little boy, to make 
an attempt to bring down my historical narrative 
to a period, when the union of England and Soot- 
land became as complete, in the intimacy of feel- 
ings and interests, as law had declared and intend- 
ed them to be, and as the mutual advantage of both 
countries had long, though in vain, required. The 
importance of events, however, and the desire to 
state them clearly, have induced me for the present 
to stop short at the period of the Union of the 

We left ofi^, you may recollect, when James, the 
sixth of that name who reigned in Scotland, sue- 


eeededy by the death of Queen Elizabeth, to the 
throne of England, and thus became Sovereign of 
the whole Island of Britain. Ireland also belonged 
to his dominions, having been partly subdued by 
the arms of the English, and partly surrendered to 
them by the submission of the natives. There had 
been, during Elizabeth^s time, many wars with the 
native lords and chiefs of the country ; but the 
English finally obtained the undisturbed and undis- 
puted possession of that riqh and beautiful island. 
Thus the three kingdoms, formed by the Britannic 
Islands, came into the possession of one Sovereign, 
who was thus fixed in a situation of strength and 
security, which was at that time the lot of few 
inonarchs in Europe. 

King Jameses power was the greater, that the 
progress of human society had greatly augmented 
the wisdom of statesmen and counsellors, and given 
strength and stability to those laws which preserve 
the poor and helpless against the encroachments of 
the wealthy and the powerful. 

But Master Littlejohn may ask me what I mean 
by the Progress of Human Society; and it is my 
duty to explain it as intelligibly as I can. 

If you consider the lower order of animals, such 
as birds, dogs, cattle, or any class of the brute crea- 
tion, you will find that they are, to every useful 
purpose, deprived of the means of communicating 
their ideas to each other. They have cries, indeed, 
by which they express pleasure or- pain — fear or 
hope— but they have no formed speech, by which^ 
like men, they can converse together. God Al- 


mighty, who called all creatures into existence in 
such manner as best pleased him, has imparted to 
those inferior animals no power of improving their 
situation, or of communicating with each other. 
There is, no doubt, a difference in the capacity of 
these inferior classes of creation. But though one 
bird may build her nest more neatly than one of a 
di£Perent class, or one dog may be more clever and 
more capable of learning tricks than another, yet> 
as it wants language to explain to its comrades the 
advantages which it may possess, its knowledge 
dies with it ; thus birds and dogs continue to use 
the same general habits proper to the species, which 
they have done since the creation of the world. In 
other words, animals have a certain limited degree 
of sense termed instinct, which teaches the present 
race to seek their food, and provide for their safety 
and comfort, in nearly the same manner as their 
parents did before them since the beginning of time, 
but does not enable them to communicate to their 
successors any improvements, or to derive any 
increase of knowledge from the practice of their 
predecessors. Thus you may remark, that the 
example of the swallow, the wren, and other birds, 
which cover their nests with a roof to protect them 
against the rain, is never imitated by other classes, 
who continue to construct theirs in the same ex- 
posed and imperfect manner since the beginning of 
the world. 

Another circumstance, which is calculated to 
prevent the inferior animals from rising above the 
rank in nature which they are destined to hold, is 

218 TALES OF A GRANDFATHER, [scotland. 

the short time daring which they remain under the 
care of their parents. A fevr weeks gires the young 
nestlings of every season, strength and inclination 
to leave the protection of the parents ; the tender 
attachment which has subsisted while the young 
bird was unable to provide for itself without as- 
sistance is entirely broken off, and in a week or 
two more they probably do not know each other. 
The young of the sheep, the cow, and the horse, 
attend and feed by the mother's side for a certain 
short period, during which they are protected by 
her care, and supported by her milk ; but they have 
no sooner attained the strength necessary to defend 
themselves, and the sense to provide for their 
wants, than they separate from the mother, and all 
intercourse between the parent and her offspring 
is closed for ever. 

Thus each separate tribe of animals retains ex- 
actly the same station in the general order of the 
universe which was occupied by its predecessors ; 
and no existing generation either is, or can be, 
much better instructed, or more ignorant, than that 
which preceded or that which is to come after it. 

It is widely different with mankind. God, as 
we are told in Scripture, was pleased to make man 
after his own image. By this you are not to un- 
derstand that the Creator of heaven and earth has 
any visible form or shape, to which the human 
body bears a resemblance ; but the meaning is, that 
as the God who created the world is a spirit invi- 
sible and incomprehensible, so he joined to the 
human frame some portion of an essence resem- 


bling bis own, which is called the human soul, and 
which, while the body lives, continues to animate 
and direct its motions, and on the dissolution of 
the bodily form which it has occupied, returns to 
the spiritual world, to be answerable for the good 
and evil of its works upon e«rth. It is therefore 
impossible, that man, possessing this knowledge of 
right and wrong, proper to a spiritual essence re- 
sembling those higher orders of creation whom we 
call angels, and having some affinity, though at an 
incalculable distance, to the essence of the Deity 
himself, should have been placed under the same 
limitations in point of progressive improvement 
with the inferior tribes, who are neither responsible 
for the actions which they perform under directions 
of their instinct, nor capable, by any exertion of 
their own, of altering or improving their condition 
in the scale of creation. So far is this from being 
the case with man, that the bodily organs of the 
human frame bear such a correspondence with the 
properties of his soul, as to give him the means, 
when they are properly used, of enlarging his 
powers, and becoming wiser and more skilful from 
hour to hour, as long as his life permits ; and not 
only is this the case, but tribes^nd nations of men 
assembled together for the purpose of mutual pro- 
tection and defence, have the same power of altera- 
tion and improvement, and may, if circumstances 
are favourable, go on by gradual steps from being 
a wild horde of naked barbarians, till they become 
a powerful and civiliied people. 

The capacity of amending our condition by in- 

220 TALES OF A GRANDFATHER, [scotlakd. 

crease of knowledge, which, in fact, a£Pords the 
means by which man rises to be the lord of crea* 
tion, is gproonded on the peculiar advantages pos- 
sessed by the human race. Let as look somewhat 
closely into this, my dear boy, for it involves some 
troths equally curious and important. 

If man, though possessed of the same immortals 
essence or soul, which enables him to choose and 
refuse, to judge and condemn, to reason and oon- 
dude, were to be without the power of communi- 
cating to his feUow-men the conclusions to which 
his reasoning had conducted him, it is clear that 
the progress of each individual in knowledge, 
could be only in proportion to his own observation 
and his own powers of reasoning. But the gift of 
speech enables any one to communicate to others 
whatever idea of improvement occurs to him, and 
thus, instead of dying in the 'bosom of the indivi- 
dual by whom it was first thought of, it becomes 
a part of the stock of knowledge proper to the 
whole community, which is increased and render* 
ed generally and effectually useful by the accession 
of further information, as opportunities occur, or 
men of reflecting and inventive minds arise in the 
state. This use of spoken language, therefore, 
which so gloriously distinguishes man from the' 
beasts that perish, is the primary means of intro- 
ducing and increasing knowledge in inflEmt com- 

Another early cause of the improvement in hu- 
man society is the incapacity of children to act 
for themselves, rendering the attention and pro* 


tection of parents to their ofispring necessary for 
so long a period. Even where the food which 
the earth affords without cultivation, such as fruits 
and herbs, is most plentifully supplied, children 
remain too helpless for many years to be capable 
of gathering it, and providing for their own sup- 
port. This is still more the case where food must 
be procured by hunting, fishing, or cultivating 
the soil, occupations requiring a degree of skill 
and personal strength, which children cannot pos- 
sess until they are twelve or fourteen years old. 
It follows, as a law of nature, that instead of leav- 
ing their parents at an early age, like the young 
of birds or quadrupeds, the youth of the human 
species necessarily remain under the protection of 
their father and mother for many years, during 
which they have time to acquire all the knowledge 
the parents are capable of teaching. It arises also 
from this wise arrangement, that the love and 
affection between the ofispring and the parents, 
which among the brute creation is the produce of 
mere instinct, and continues for a very short time, 
becomes in the human race a deep and permanent 
feeling, founded on the attachment of the parents, 
the gratitude of the children, and the effect of long 
habit on both. 

For these reasons, it usually happens, that children 
feel no desire to desert their parents, but remain 
inhabitants of the same huts in which they were 
bom, and take up the task of labouring for subsist- 
ence in their turn, when their fathers and mothers 
are disabled by age. One or two such families 

222 TALES OF A GRANDFATHBR. [scotlaiis. 

gradually unite together, and arail themselves of 
each other's company for mntoal defence and assist- 
ance. This is the earliest stage of human society ; 
and some savages have heen found in this condition 
so very rude and ignorant, that they may be said 
to be little wiser or better than a herd of animals. 
The natives of New South Wales, for example, 
are, even at present, in the very lowest scale of hu- 
manity, and ignorant of every art which can add 
comfort or decency to human life. These unfortu- 
nate savages use no clothes, construct no cabins or 
huts, and are ignorant even of the manner of cha- 
sing animals or catching fish, unless such of the lat- 
ter as are left by the tide, or which are found on 
the rocks ; they feed upon the most disgusting sub- 
stances, snakes, worms, maggots, and whatever trash 
MU in their way. They know indeed how to 
kindle a fire — in that respect only they have step- 
ped beyond the deepest ignorance to which man 
can be subjected — ^bnt they have not learned how 
to boil water ; and when they see Europeans per- 
form this ordinary operation-, they have been known 
to run away in great terror. Voyagers tell us of 
other savages who are even igpnorant of the use of 
fire, and who maintain a miserable existence by 
subsisting on shell-fish eaten raw. 

And yet, my dear boy, out of this miserable and 
degraded state, which seems worse than that of the 
animals, man has the means and power to rise into 
the high place for which Providence hath destined 
him. In proportion as opportunities occur, these 
savage tribes acquire the arts of civilised life ; they 


tionstract hats to shelter them against the weather; 
they invent arms for destroying the wild heasts by 
which they are annoyed, and for killing those whose 
flesh is adapted for food ; they domesticate others, 
and ase at pleasure their milk, flesh, and skins ; and 
they plant frnit-trees and sow grain as soon as they 
discover that the productions of nature most neces- 
sary for their comfort may be increased by labour 
and industry. Thus, the progress of human society, 
unless it is interrupted by some unfortunate circum- 
stances, continues to advance, and every new gene- 
ration, without losing any of the advantages already 
attained, goes on to acquire others which were un- 
known to the preceding one. 

For instance, when three or four wandering fa- 
milies of savages have settled in one place, and be- 
g^n to cultivate the ground, and collect their huts 
into a hamlet or village, they usually agree in choos- 
ing some chief to be their judge, and the arbiter of 
their disputes in time of peace, their leader and 
captain when they go to war with other tribes. 
This is the foundation of a monarchial government. 
Or, perhaps, their public afiairs are directed by a 
council, or senate, of the oldest and wisest of the 
tribe^-this is the origin of a republican state. At 
all events, in one way or other, tJiey put themselves 
under something resembling a reg^ular government, 
and obtain the protection of such laws as may pre- 
vent them from quarrelling with one another. 

Other important alterations are introduced by 
time. At first, no doubt, the members of the com- 
munity store their fruits and the produce of the 

224 TALES OF A GRANDFATHER, [fcan^im. 

chase in oommon. Bat shortly after, reason toadi- 
es them that the indiTidnal who has bestowed labour 
and trouble upon any thing so as to render it pro- 
dnctive^ acquires a right of property^ as it is caUedf 
in the produce, which hit efforts have in a manner 
called into existence. Thus, it is soon acknow- 
ledged, that he who has planted a tree has the sole 
right of consuming its fruit ; and that he who has 
sown a field of corn has the exclusive title to gather 
in the grain. Without the labour of the planter 
and husbandman, there would have been no apples 
or wheat, and therefbrci these are justly entitled to 
the fruit of their labour. In like manner, the state 
itself is conceived to acquire a right of property in 
the fields cultivated by its members, and in the 
forests and waters where they have of old practised 
the rights of hunting and fishing. If men of a dif- 
ferent tribe enter on the territory of a neighbouring 
nation, war ensues between them, and peace b made 
by agreeing on both sides to reasonable conditions. 
Thus a young state extends its possessions ; and 
by its communications with other tribes lays the 
foundation of public laws for the regulation of 
their behaviour to each other in peace and in war. 
Other arrangements arise not less important, 
tending to increase the difference between man- 
kind in their wild and original state, and that which 
they assume in the progress of civilisation. One 
of the most remarkable is the separation of the eiti- 
■ens into different classes of society, and the intro- 
duction of the use of money. I will try tp render 
these great changes intelligible to you. 


In the earlier stages of societyy every member 
«f the community may be said to supply all his 
wants by his own personal labour. He acquires 
his food by the chase-^he sows and reaps his own 
grain^he gathers his own fruit*— he cuts the skin 
which forms his dress so as to fit his own person- 
he makes the sandals or buskins which protect his 
feet. He is, therefore, better or worse accommo- 
dated exactly in proportion to the personal skill 
and industry which he can apply to that purpose. 
But it is discovered in process of time, that one 
man has particular dexterity in hunting, being, we 
shall suppose, young, active, and enterprising ; 
another, older and of a more staid character, has 
peculiar skill in tilling the ground, or in managing 
cattle and flocks ; a third, lame perhaps, or infirm, 
has a happy talent for cutting out and stitching 
together garments, or for shaping and sewing shoes. 
It becomes, therefore, for the advantage of all, that 
the first man shall attend to nothing but hunting, 
the second confine himself to the cultivation of the 
land, and the third remain at home to make clothes 
and shoes. But then it follows as a necessary con- 
sequence, that the huntsman must give to the man 
who cultivates the land a part of his venison and 
skins, if he desires to have grain of which to make 
bread, or a oow to furnish his family with milk ; 
and that both the hunter and the agriculturist must 
give a share of the produce of the chase, and a 
proportion of the grhin, to the third man, to obtain 
firom him clothes and shoes. Each is thus accom- 
modated with what he wants a great deal better, 


226 TALBS OF A GRANDFATHER, [scotlakd. 

and more easily, by every one following a separate 
occupation, than they could possibly have been, had 
each of the three been hunter, farmer, and tailor, 
in his own person, practising two of the trades 
awkwardly and unwillingly, instead of confining 
himself to that which he perfectly understands, 
and pursues with success. This mode of accom* 
raodation, is called barter, and is the earliest kind 
of traffic by which men exchange their property 
with each other, and satisfy their wants by parting 
with their superfluities. 

But in process of time, barter is found incon- 
venient. The husbandman, perhaps, has no use 
for shoes when the shoemaker is in need of corn, 
or the shoemaker may not want furs or venison 
when the hunter desires to have shoes. To re- 
medy this, almost all nations have introduced the 
use of what is called money ; that is to say, they 
have fixed on some particular substance capable of 
being divided into small portions, which, having 
itself little intrinsic value applicable to human use, 
is nevertheless received as a representative of the 
value of all commodities. Particular kinds of shells 
are used as money in some countries ; in others^ 
leather, cloth, or iron, are employed ; but gold 
and silver, divided into small portions, are used 

for this important purpose almost all over the 

That you may understand the use of this circu- 
lating represent^ative of the value of commodities, 
and comprehend the convenience which it affords, 
let us suppose that the hunter, as we formerly said. 


Vanted a pair of shoes, and the shoemaker had no 
occasion for venison, but wanted some corn, while 
the husbandman, not desiring to have shoes, stood 
in need of some other commodity. Here are three 
men, each desirous of some article of necessity, or 
convenience, which he cannot obtain by barter, be- 
cause the party whom he has to deal with does not 
want the commodity which he has to o£Fer in ex- 
change. But supposing the use of money intro- 
duced, and its value acknowledged, these three 
persons are accommodated by means of it in the 
amplest manner possible. The shoemaker does 
not want the venison which the hunter offers for 
sale, but some other man in the village is willing 
to purchase it for five pieces of silver — the hunter 
sells his ^commodity, and goes to the shoemaker, 
who, though he would not barter the shoes for the 
venison which he did not want, readily sells them 
for the money, and, going with it to the farmer, 
buys from him the quantity of corn he need$ ; while 
the farmer, in his turn, purchases whatever he is in 
want of, or if he requires nothing at the time, lays 
the pieces of money aside, to use when he h^ oc- 

The invention of money is followed by the gra- 
dual rise of trade. There are men who make it 
their business to buy various articles, and sell them 
again for profit ; that is, they sell them somewhat 
dearer than they bought them. This is conve- 
nient for all parties ; since the original proprietors 
are willing to sell their commodities to tho^e 
store-keepers, or shopkeepers, at a low rate> to be 

228 TALES OF A GRANDFATHER, [scotlamd. 

saved the troable of hawking them about in search 
of a customer; while the public in general are 
equally willing to buy from such intermediate 
dealers, because they are sure to be immediately 
supplied with what they want. 

The numerous transactions occasioned by the 
introduction of money, together with other cir- 
cumstances, soon destroy the equality of ranks 
which prevails in an early stage of society. Some 
men hoard up quantities of gold and silver, become 
rich, and hire the assistance of others to do their 
work ; some waste or spend their earnings, become 
poor, and sink into the capacity of servants. Some 
men are wise and skilful, and, distinguishing them- 
selves by their exploits in battle and their counsels 
in peace, rise to the management of public affairs* 
Others, and much greater numbers, have no more 
valour than to follow where they are led, and no 
more talent than to act as they are commanded. 
These last sink, as a matter of course, into obscu- 
rity, while the others become generals and states- 
men. The attainment of learning tends also to 
increase the difference of ranks. Those who 
receive a good education by the care of their 
parents, or possess so much strength of mind and 
readiness of talent as to educate themselves, become 
separated from the more ignorant of the com- 
munity, and form a distinct class and condition of 
their own ; holding no more communication with 
the others than is absolutely necessary. 

In this way the whole order of society is changed, 
and instead of presenting the uniform appearance 


of one large family, each member of which has 
nearly the same rights, it seems to resemble a con- 
federacy or association of different ranks, classes, 
and conditions of men, each rank filling up a certain 
department in society, and discharging a class of 
duties totally distinct from those of the others. 
The steps by which a nation advances from the 
natural and simple state which we have just de- 
scribed, into the more complicated system in which 
ranks are distinguished from each other, are called 
the progress of society, or of civilisation. It is 
attended, like all things human, with much of evil 
as well as good ; but it seems to be a law of our 
moral nature, that, faster or slower, such alterations 
must take place, in consequence of the inventions 
and improvements of succeeding generations of 

Another alteration, productive of consequences 
not less important, arises out of the gradual pro* 
gress towards civilisation. In the early state of 
society, every man in the tribe is a warrior, and 
liable to serve as such when the country requires 
his assistance ; but in progress of time the pursuit 
of the military art is, at least on all ordinary occa- 
sions, confined to bands of professional soldiers, 
whose business it is to fight the battles of the state, 
when required, in consideration of which they are 
paid by the community, the other members of 
which are thus left to the uninterrupted pursuit of 
their own peaceful occupations. This alteration is 
attended with more important consequences than 
we can at present pause to enumerate. 

230 TALES OF A GRANDFATHER, [scotlawd. 

We have said that those mighty changes which 
bring men to dwell in castles and cities instead of 
hats and caves, and enable them to cultivate the 
sciences and subdue the elements, instead of being 
plunged in ignorance and superstition, are owing 
primarily to the reason with which God has gra- 
ciously endowed the human race ; and in a second 
degree to the power of speech, by which we enjoy 
the faculty of communicating to each other the 
result of our own reflections. 

But it is evident that society, when its advance 
is dependent upon oral tradition alone, must be 
liable to many interruptions. The imagination of 
the speaker, and the dulness or want of comprehen- 
sion of the hearer, may lead to many errors : and 
it is generally found that knowledge makes but 
very slow progress until the art of writing is dis- 
covered, by which a fixed, accurate, and substan- 
tial form can be given to the wisdom of past ages. 
When this noble art is attained, there is a sure 
foundation laid for the preservation and increase of 
knowledge. The record is removed from the in- 
accurate recollection of the aged, and placed in a 
safe, tangible, and imperishable form, which may 
be subjected to the inspection of various persons, 
until the sense is completely explained and compre- 
hended, with the least possible chance of doubt or 

By the art of writing, a barrier is fixed against 
those violent changes so apt to take place in the 
early stages of society, by which all the fruits of 
knowledge are frequently destroyed, as those of 


the earth are hy a hurricane* Suppose, for example, 
a casBf which freqaeVitly happens in the early his- 
tory of mankind, that some nation which has made 
considerable progress in the arts, is invaded and 
subdued by another which is more powerful and 
numerous, though more igpiorant than themselves. 
It is clear, that in this case, as the rude and igno- 
rant victors would set no value on the knowledge 
ef the vanquished, it would, if intrusted only to the 
memory of the individuals of the conquered people, 
be gradually lost and forgotten. But if the useful 
discoveries made by the ancestors of the vanquished 
people were recorded in writing, the manuscripts 
in which they were described, though they might 
be neglected for a season, would, if preserved at all, 
probably attract attention at some more fortunate 
period. It was thus, when the empire of Rome, 
having reached the utmost height of its grandeur, 
was broken down and conquered by numerous 
tribes of ignorant though 'brave barbarians, that 
those admirable works of classical learning, on 
which such value is justly placed in the present day, 
w«re rescued from total destruction and obliyion by 
manuscript copies preserved by chance in the old 
libraries of churches and convents. It may indeed 
be taken as an almost infallible maxim, that no 
nation can make any great progress in useful know- 
ledge or civilisation, until their improvement can 
be rendered stable and permanent by the invention 
of writing. 

Another discovery, however, almost as import- 
ant as that of writing, was made during the fif- 

232 TALBS OF A GRANDFATHER, [scotlaitdw 

teenth century. I mean the invention of printing. 
Writing with the hand must he always a slow, 
difficult) and expensiTe operation; and when the 
manuscript is finished, it is perhaps laid aside among 
tiie stores of some great library^ where it may be 
neglected by students, and must, at any rate, be 
accessible to rery few persons, and subject to be 
destroyed by numerous accidents. But the ad- 
mirable invention of printing enables the artist to 
make a thousand copies from the original manu- 
script, by baring them stamped upon paper, in far 
less time and with less expense than it would cost 
to make half a doaien such copies with the pen. 
From the period of this glorious discovery, know- 
ledge of every kind may be said to have been 
brought out of the darkness of cloisters and uni- 
versities, where it was known only to a few scho- 
lars, into the broad light of day, wh^re its trea- 
sures were accessible to all men. 

The Bible itself; in which we find the rides of 
eternal life, as well as a thousand invaluable lessons 
for our conduct in this world, was, before the in- 
vention of printing, totally inaccessible to all, save 
the priests of Rome, who found it their interest to 
discourage the perusal of the Scriptures by any 
except their own order, and thus screened from 
discovery those alterations and corruptions, which 
the inventions of ignorant and designing men had 
introduced into the beautiful simplicity of the gos- 
pel. But when, by means of printing, the copies 
of the Bible became so numerous, that every one 
above the most wretched poverty, could, at a cheap 


price, possess himself of a copy of the Messed role 
of life, there was a general appeal from the errors 
and encroachments of the Chnrch of Rome, to the 
Divine Word on which they professed to he found • 
ed ; a treasure formerly concealed from the public, 
bat now placed within the reach of every man, 
whether of the clergy or laity. The consequence 
of these enquiries, which printing alone could have 
rendered practicable, was the rise of the happy 
Reformation of the Christian church. 

The same noble art made knowledge of a tem- 
poral kind as accessible as that which concerned 
religion. Whatever works of history, science, 
morality, or entertainment, seemed likely to in- 
struct or amuse the reader, were printed and dis- 
tributed among the people at large by printers and 
booksellers, who had a profit by doing so. Thus, 
the possibility of important discoreries being for- 
gotten in the course of years, or of the destruc- 
tion of useful arts, or elegant literature, by the loss 
of the records in which they are preserved, was in 
a great measure removed. 

In a word, the printing-press is a contrivance 
which empowers any one individual to address his 
whole fellow- subjects on any topic which he thinks 
important, and which enables a whole nation to 
listen to the voice of such individual, however ob- 
scure he may be, with the same ease, and greater 
certainty, of understanding what he says, than if 
a chief of Indians were haranguing the tribe at his 
council-fire. Nor is the important difference to 
be forgotten, that the orator can only speak to the 

234 TALES OF A GRANDFATHER* [•cotlamd. 

persons present, while the author of a book ad- 
dresses himself, not only to the race now in exist- 
ence, bat to all succeeding generations, while his 
work shall be held in estimation. 

I have dins endeavoured to trace the steps by 
which a general civilisation is found to take place 
in nations with more or less rapidity, as laws and 
institutions, or external circumstances, favourable 
or otherwise, advance or retard the increase of 
knowledge, and by the course of which man, en- 
dowed with reason, and destined for immortality, 
gp'adually improves the condition in which Provi- 
dence has placed him ; while the inferior animals 
continue to live by means of the same, or nearly 
the same, instincts of sel^preservation, which have 
directed their species in all its descents since the 

I have called your attention at some length to 
this matter, because you will now have to remark, 
that a material change had gradually and slowly 
taken place, both in the kingdom of England, and 
in that of Scotland, when their long quarrels were 
at length, in appearance, ended, by the accession of 
James the Sixth of Scotland to the English crown, 
which he held under the title of James the First of 
that powerful kingdom* 

r 235 J 


Infirmities and ill temper of Elizabeth in her latter yeart'-m 
Accession of James VI. acceptable on that account to the 
English — Resort of Scotchmen to the Court at London'^ 
Quarrels between them and tlie English^^ Herbert and 
Ramsay — Duelling — Duel of Stetuart and Wharton — 
Attempt by Sir John Ayres to assassinate Lord Herbert 
— Murder of Turner^ a Fencing- Master, by two Fol- 
lowers of Lord Sanquhar^ and Execution of the three 
MurdererS'^~Slatute against Stabbing, 


The whole island of Great Britain was now 
united under one king, though it remained in effect 
two separate kingdoms, governed by their own 
separate constitutions, and their own distinct codes 
of laws, and liable again to be separated, in case, by 
the death of King James without issue, the king- 
doms might have been claimed by different heirs. 
For although James had two sons, yet there was a 
possibility that they might have both died before 
their father, in which case the sceptres of England 
and Scotland must jiave passed once more into dif- 
ferent hands. The Hamilton family would, in that 
case, have succeeded to the kingdom of Scotland, 
and the next heir of Elizabeth to that of Eng- 
land. Who that heir was, it might have been 
found difficult to determine. 


It WB§ in these circamstances to be apprehended^ 
that James, the sovereign of a poor and barren 
kingdom, which had for so many ages maintained 
an almost perpetual war with England, would have 
met with a prejudiced and unpleasant reception 
from a nation long accustomed to despise the 
Scotch for their poverty, and to regard them with 
enmity on account of their constant hostility to the 
English blood and name. It might have been sup- 
posed also, that a people so proud as the English, 
and having so many justifiable reasons for their 
pride, would have regarded with an evil eye the 
transference of the sceptre from the hand of the 
Tudors, who had swayed it during ^ve successive 
reigns, to those of a Stewart, descended from the 
ancient and determined enemies of the English 
nation. But it was the wise and gracious pleasure 
of Providence, that while so many reasons existed 
to render the accession of James, and, in conse- 
quence, the union of the two crowns, obnoxious to 
the English people, others should occur, which not 
only balanced, but for a time completely over- 
powered those objections, as well in the minds of 
men of sense and education, as in the judgment of 
the populace, who are usually averse to foreign 
rulers, for no other reason than that they are sueh.^ 

' [" It 18 seldom tbat the accession of a foreigner is tranquil, 
and James was peculiarly obnoxious, from his birth-place, to the 
antipathy of a people among whom his mother had suffered an ig- 
nominious deaUi. But his accession was promoted by the expec- 
tations of every religious, and the interests of almost erery politi- 
cal party in England. The Puritans, who had experienced his 
friendly mtereesMon with Elizabeth, anticipated a reformation in 


Queen Eliiabeth, after along and glorious reign, 
had, in her latter days, become mnch more cross and 
uncertain in her temper than had been the case in 
her youth, more wilful also, and more inclined to 
exert her arbitrary power on slight occasions. One 
peculiar cause of offence given to her people was 
her obstinate refusal to gratify their anxiety, by 
making, as the nation earnestly desired, some ar- 
rangement for the succession to the throne after 
her own death. On this subject,^ indeed, she 
nursed so much suspicion and jealousy, as gave 
rise to more than one extraordinary scene. The 

the church, if not the downfall and deetniction of the hierarcbj, 
from a prince whose professed religion was congenial to their own. 
The established clergy had examined his character with more 
anxious attention ; and discovered, both in his conduct and in his 
controversial discourses, a strong predilection for the episcopal 
order. The Catholics, then a numerous and powerful party, ex- 
pected greater indulgence in their religion ; and entertained a per- 
suasion, that its doctrines and its votaries were secretly not indif- 
ferent to a monarch, tbe pretensions of whose family they had 
first supported, and whose mother thf y regarded as a martyr to 
their cause. But his peaceful and undisturbed accession must be 
ascribed to the absence of every competitor, by whom his title 
could be contested, or the aiftfctions of the people pre-occupied or 
divided." — History of Scotland from the Union of the Crowns^ 
to the Union of the Kingdoms By Ma lcolm Laino, Esq., 
1800. Vol.i. pp. 2, a."! 

' f ** A short time before her death,'* says Robertson, '* she 
broke the silence which she had so long preserved on that subject, 
and told Cecil and the Lord Admiral * that her throne was the 
throne of Kings ; that she would have no mean person to ascend 
it, and that her cousin the King of Soots should be her succeesor." 
This she confirmed on her death. bed.'* B. viii. The continiui* 
tor of Sir James M'Intoth's history adds, ** She was thentpeecih- 
lets* Cecil asked her to answer by a sign, and the joined both 
her hands above her head.** VoL iv. p. 145.] 

238 TALES OF A GRANDFATHER. [scotland. 

following ig a whimsical initance, among others, of 
her unwillingness to hear of any thing respecting 
old age and its consequences. 

The Bishop of St David's, preaching in her Ma- 
jesty's presence, took occasion from his text, which 
was Psalm xc. ▼. 12, *^ So teach us to number onr 
days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom," 
to allude to the Queen's advanced period of life, 
she being then sixty-three, and to the consequent 
infirmities attending upon old age ; as, for example, 
when the grinders shall be few in number, and 
they wax dark who look out at windows — when 
the daughters of singing shall be abased, and moro 
to the like purpose. With the tone of these admo- 
nitions the Queen was so ill satisfied, that she flung 
open the window of the closet in which she sate, 
and told the preacher to keep his admonitions to 
himself, since she plainly saw the greatest clerks 
(meaning scholars) were not the wisest men. Nor 
did her displeasure end here. The bishop was 
commanded to confine himself to his house for 
a time, and the Queen, referring to the circum- 
stance some time afterwards, told her courtiers how 
much the prelate was mistaken in supposing her to 
be as much decayed as perhaps he might feel him- 
self to be. As for her, she thanked God, neither 
her stomach nor her strength — her voice for sing- 
ing, nor her art of fingering instruments, were any 
whit decayed. And to prove the goodness of her 
eyes, she produced a little jewel, with an inscrip- 
tion in very small letters, which she offered to Lord 
Worcester and Sir James Crofts to read. They 


from experiencing the extremity of her indignation. 
Cecil, in particdar, was at one time on the point 
of rnin. A post from Scotland delivered into hit 
hands a private packet from the Scottish King, 
when the secretary was in attendance on Elizabeth. 
'* Open your despatches," said Elizabeth, " and let 
us hear the news from Scotland/' A man of less 
presence of mind would have been ruined ; for if 
the Queen had seen the least hesitation in her mi- 
nister's manner, her suspicions would have been 
instantly awakened, and detection must have fol- 
lowed. But Cecil recollected the Queen's sensitive 
aversion to any disagreeable smell, which was 
strengthened by the belief of the time, that infec- 
tious diseases and subtile poisons could be com- 
municated by means of scent alone. The artful se- 
cretary availed himself of this, and while he seemed 
to be cutting the strings which held the packet, he 
observed it had a singular and unpleasant odour ; 
on which Elizabeth desired it might be taken from 
her presence, and opened elsewhere with due pre- 
caution. Thus Cecil got an opportunity to with- 
draw from the packet whatever could have betray- 
ed his correspondence with King James.^ Cecil's 
policy and inclinations were very generally follow- 
ed in the English Court ; indeed, there appeared 

* [Tbe eorrevpondeoce alluded to was conducted on the part of 
Cecil hy Lord Henry Howard, afterwards Earl of Northampton : 
The eon6dantt employed by King Jamea were the Earl of Mar, 
and Mr Edward Bruce of Kinlosa. Notwithstanding the anxi- 
ous and repeated injunctions of Cecil ** to destroy every letter,** 
great part of this correspondence has been presenred, and was 
for tlie irtt time publiihed by Lord HaUes, Edinburgb. 1766.] 


240 TALES OF A GRANDFATHER, [scotlamd. 

Robert Cecil, afterwards Earl of Salisbury, were 
turned to the King of Scotland as next heir to the 
crown. He was a Protestant prince, which assu- 
red him the favour of the Church of England, and 
of the numerous and strong adherents to the Pro- 
testant religion. As such, Cecil entered into a 
secret correspondence with him, in which he pointed 
out the line of conduct proper on James's part to 
secure his interest in England. On the other hand, 
the English Catholics, on whom Queen Elizabeth's 
government had imposed many severe penal laws, 
were equally friendly to the succession of King 
James, since from that prince, whose mother had 
been a strict Catholic^ they might hope for ^Eivour, 
to the extent at least of some release from the va- 
rious hardships which the laws of England imposed 
on them. The Earl of Northumberland con- 
ducted a correspondence with James on the part of 
the Catholics, in which he held high language, and 
o£Fered to assert the Scottish King's right of suc- 
cession by force of arms.^ 

These intrigues were kept by James as secret 
as was in his power. If Elizabeth had discovered 
either the one or the other, neither the services of 
Cecil, nor the high birth and power of the great 
Earl of Northumberland, could have saved them 

* [" Nor did tke King himself believe he should have eome in 
with a sheathed sword, which appeared by that letter he pro- 
duced of the Earl of Northumberland, that if he made any doubt 
hereof, he would bring him forty thousand Catholics* who should 
conduct him into England.*'— Sir Avthomt Wsldon, apud 
Secret Hithry, vol. ii., p. 70. Edinburgh, 1811. SdiUA 
by Sir W, Scott.] 


from experiencing the extremity of her indignation. 
Cecil, in particuJar, was at one time on the point 
of ruin. A post from Scotland delivered into his 
hands a private packet from the Scottish King, 
when the secretary was in attendance on Elizabeth. 
** Open your despatches," said Elizabeth, ** and let 
us hear the news from Scotland." A man of less 
presence of mind would have been ruined ; for if 
the Queen had seen the least hesitation in her mi- 
nister's manner, her suspicions would have been 
instantly awakened, and detection must have fol- 
lowed. But Cecil recollected the Queen's sensitive 
aversion to any disagreeable smell, which was 
strengthened by the belief of the time, that infec- 
tious diseases and subtile poisons could be com- 
municated by means of scent alone. The artful se- 
cretary availed himself of this, and while he seemed 
to be cutting the strings which held the packet, he 
observed it had a singular and unpleasant odour ; 
on which Elizabeth desired it might be taken from 
her presence, and opened elsewhere with due pre- 
caution. Thus Cecil got an opportunity to with* 
draw from the packet whatever coiild have betray- 
ed his correspondence with King James.^ Cecil's 
policy and inclinations were very generally follow- 
ed in the English Court ; indeed, there appeared 

* [Tbe eorrespondeoce alluded to was conducted on the part of 
Cecil by Lord Henry Howard, afterwards Earl of Northampton : 
The con6dant8 employed by King Jamea were the Earl of Mar, 
and Mr Edward Bruce of Kinloss. Notwithstanding the anxi- 
ous and repeated injunctions of Cecil ** to destroy every letter,** 
great part of this correspondence has been presenred. and was 
for tlie irtt time publiihed by Lord Hailes, Edinburgh. 1766.] 


242 TALES or A GRANDFATHER, [icotland. 

no heir to the crown, male or female, whose right 
could be placed in competition with that of James* 

It may be added to this general inclination in 
James's fiiTonr, that the defects of his character 
were of a kind which did not attract much atten- 
tion while he occupied the throne of Scotland. 
The delicacy of his situation was then so great, 
and he was exposed to so many dangers from die 
dislike of the clergy, the feuds of the nobles, and 
the tumultuous disposition of the common people, 
that he dared not indulge in any of those childish 
freaks of which he was found capable when his 
motions were more completely at his own disposaL 
On the contrary, he was compelled to seek ont 
the sagest counsellors, to listen to the wisest ad- 
vice, and to put a restraint on his own natural dis- 
position for encouraging idle favourites, parasites, 
and flatterers, as well as to suppress his inward 
desire to extend the limits of his authority farther 
than the constitution of the country permitted. 

At this period James governed by the advice of 
such ministers as the Chancellor Maitland, and 
afterwards of Home, Earl of Dunbar, men of 
thought and action, of whose steady measures and 
prudent laws the King naturally obtained the credit. 
Neither was James himself deficient in a certain 
degree of sagacity. He possessed all that could be 
derived from learning alloyed by pedantry, and 
from a natural shrewdness of wit, which enabled 
him to play the part of a man of sense, when either 
acting under the influence of constraint and fear, or 
where no temptation oocorred to induce him 4o be 


gailty of some folly. It was by these specious 
accomplishments that he acquired in his youth the 
character of an able and wise monarch, although 
when he was afterwards brought on a more conspi- 
cuous stage, and his character better understood, he 
was found entitled to no better epithet than that 
conferred on him by an able French politician, who 
called him, ** the wisest fool in Christendom." 

Such, however, as King James was, England 
now received him with more universal acclamation 
than had attended any of her princes on their as- 
cent to the throne. Multitudes, of every descrip- 
tion, hastened to accompany him on his journey 
through England to the capital city. The wealthy 
placed their gold at his disposal, the powerful 
opened their halls for the most magnificent enter- 
tainments, the clergy hailed him as the head of the 
Church, and the poor, who had nothing to offer but 
their lives, seemed ready to devote them to his 
service. Some of the Scottish retinue, who were 
acquainted with James's character, saw and feared 
the unfavourable effect which such a change of cir- 
cumstances was likely to work on him. *' A plague 
of these people l** said one of his oldest domestics ; 
** they will spoil a good king.'' 

Another Scot made an equally shrewd answer 
to an Englishman, who desired to know from him 
the King's real character. ** Did you ever see a 
jackanapes ?** said the Scotchman, meaning a tame 
monkey ; ** if you have, you must be aware that if 
you hold the creature in your hands you can 

244 TALES OF A GRANDFATHER, [scotlamtu 

make him bite me, and if I hold him io my handd, 
I can make him bite you." 

Both these sayings were shown to be true in 
course of time. King James, brought from poverty 
to wealth, became thoughtless and prodigal, indo- 
lent, and addicted to idle pleasures. From hearing 
the smooth flatteries of the clergy of England, who 
recognised him as head of the church, instead of 
the rude attacks of the Presbyterian ministers of 
Scotland, who had hardly admitted his claim to be 
one of its inferior members, he entertained new and 
more lofty pretensions to divine right. Finally^ 
brought from a country where his personal liberty 
and the freedom of his government were frequent- 
ly placed under restraint, and his life sometimes in 
danger, he was overjoyed to find himself in a con- 
dition where his own will was not only unfettered, 
as far as he himself was concerned, but appeared 
to be the model by which all loyal subjects were 
desirous to accommodate theirs; and he seemed 
readily enough disposed to strietcfa to its utmost 
limits the power thus presented to him. Thus, 
from being a just and equitable monarch, he was 
inspired with a love of arbitrary power ; and from 
attending, as had been his custom, to state busi- 
ness, he now minded little save hunting and fes- 

In this manner James, though possessing a large 
stock of pedantic wisdom, came to place himself 
under the management of a succession of unwor- 
thy favourites, and although particularly good- 
natured, and naturally a lover of justice, was often 


hurried into actions and measares, which, if they 
could not be termed absolutely tyrannical, were 
nevertheless illegal and unjust. It is, however, of 
his Scottish government that we are now to treat, 
and therefore I am to explain to you, as well as I 
can, the consequences of the union with England 
to the people and country of Scotland. 

If the English nation were at first delighted to 
receive King James as their sovereign, the Scot- 
tish people were no less enchanted by the prospect 
of their monarch's ascent to this wealthy and pre- 
eminent situation. They considered the promo- 
tion of their countryman and prince, as an omen of 
good fortune to their nation ; each individual 
Scotchman expected to secure some part of the 
good things with which England was supposed to 
abound, and multitudes hurried to court, to put 
themselves in the way of obtaining their share. 

James was shocked at the greediness and im- 
portunity of his hungry countrymen, and scanda- 
lized besides at the poor and miserable appearance 
which many of them made among the rich English- 
men, which brought discredit on the country to 
which he himself, as well as they, belonged. He 
sent instructions to the Scottish Privy Council to 
prevent such intruders from leaving their country, 
complaining of their manners and appearance, as 
calculated to bring disgrace upon all the natives 
of Scotland. A proclamation was accordingly 
issued at Edinburgh, setting forth that g^eat num- 
bers of men and women of base sort and condition, 
and without any certain trade, calling, or depen- 

246 TALES OF A GRANDFATHER, [scoilakd. 

dence, repaired from Scotland to coort, which was 
almost filled with them, to the great annoyance of 
his Majesty, and to the heavy disgrace of the Scot- 
tish nation ; for these suitors being, in the judg- 
ment of all who saw them, but '* idle rascals, and 
poor miserable bodies," their importunity and num- 
bers raised an opinion that there were no persons 
of good rank, comeliness, or credit in the country 
which sent forth such a flight of locusts. Further, 
it was complained that these unseemly supplicants 
usually alleged that the cause of their repairing 
to court was to desire pajrment of old debts due by 
the King, '< which, of all kinds of importunity," 
says the proclamation, with great simplicity, *' is 
the most unpleasing to his Majesty." Therefore, 
general proclamation was directed to be made at 
all the market crosses in Scotland, that no Scottish 
person should be permitted to travel to England 
without leave of the Privy Council; and that ves- 
sels transporting individuals, who had not obtained 
due license, should be liable to confiscation. 

But although the King did all that was in his 
power to prevent these uncouth suitors from repair- 
ing to his court, yet there were many other natives 
of Scotland of a higher description, the sons of men 
of rank and quality, who, by birth and condition, 
had the right of attending his court, and approach- 
ing his presence, whom he could not prohibit firom 
doing so, without positively disowning all former 
afi^ecttonS) national feeling, and sympathy or grati- 
tude for past services. The benefits which he con- 
ferred on these were ill construed by the English, 


wlio seem to have accounted erery thing as tdcen 
irom themselves which was hestow«d on a Scotch- 
man. The King, though it does net appear that 
he acted with any anjust parpose, was hardly 
judged, both by his own cenntrjTRien and the Eng« 
lish. The Soots, who had been his friends in his 
inferior situation, and, as it might be caHed, his 
adversity, naturally expected a share of his bounty, 
when he was advanced to such high prosperity; 
while the English, with a jealousy for which much 
allowance is also to be made, regarded these north- 
em suitors with an evil eye. In short, the Scot- 
tish courtiers thought that their claims of ancient 
services^ of allegiance tried under difficult circum- 
stances, of favour due to countrymen, and perhaps 
even to kindred, which bo people carry so far, 
entitled them to all the advantages which the 
King might have to bestow ; while the English, 
on the other hand, considered every thing given to 
the Scots as conferred at their expense, and used 
many rhymes and satirical expressions to that pur- 
pose, such as occur in the M song : 

Bonny Scot, all witness can, 
England has made tkee a gentleman. 

Thj bl«e bonnet, when thou came hither, 
Would scarcely Iceep out the wind or weather ; 
But now it is tum'd to a hat and a feather — 
The bonnet is blown the devil knows whither. 
The sword at thy haunch waa a hi^e black Made, 
With a great basket*hilt, of iron made ; 
But now a long rapier doth hang by his sida, 
And huffingly doth this bonny Scot ride. 


Another rhyme, to the same purpose, described a 
Scottish courtier thas : — 

In Scotland he was bom and bred» 
And, though a beggar, must be fed.' 

It is said, that when the Scots complained to the 
King of this last aspersion, James replied, '' Hold 
your peace, for I will soon make the English as 
poor as yourselves, and so end that eontroTorsy."' 
But as it was not in the power of wit to appease 
the feud betwixt the nobility and gentry of two 
proud nations, so' lately enemies, all the e£Forts oi 
the King were unequal to prevent bloody and des- 
perate quarrels between his countrymen and his 
new subjects, to the great disquiet of the court, and 
the distress of the good-natured monarch, who, 
averse to war in all its shapes, and even to the 
sight of a drawn sword, suffered grievously on such 

There was one of those incidents Which assumed 
A character so formidable, that it threatened the 
destruction of all the Scots at the court and in the 
capital, and, in consequence, a breach between the 

* [Ritson*s North Country Chorister. — la reference to tiia 
quatrain which follows, Osborne remarks, *' In the mean time 
Ihis nation was rooted up hy those Caledonian bores, as these 
homely verses do attest, which were every where posted, and do 
tontain as many stories as lines. 

They beg ear lands, our goods, our liTes* 
They switch our nobles, • . • . 
They pinch our gentry, and send for our benchers. 
They stab oar sergeants, and pistoll oar fencMfs.** 

^Secret Siatoiy, voL i. p. S17.] 
[Ibid, vok K p, 371.] 


kingdoms so lately and happily broughV ^^^ 

ance. At a public horse-race at Croydon^^y up. 
Herbert, an Englishman of high birth, thoogb|^to 
it fortunately chanced, of no degree of corresponds 
ing spirit, received, in a quarrel, a blow in the 
face by a switch or horse-whip, from one Ramsay, 
a Scottish gentleman, in attendance on the court. 
The rashness and violence of Ramsay was con- 
strued into a national point of quarrel by the Eng- 
lish present, who proposed revenging themselves 
on the spot by a general attack upon all the Scott 
on the race-ground. One gentleman, named Pinch- 
beck, although ill fitted for such a strife, for he had 
but the use of two fingers on his right hand, rode 
furiously through the multitude, with his dagger 
ready drawn, exhorting all the English to imitate 
him in an immediate attack on the Scots, exclaim- 
ing, '* Let us breakfast with those that are here, 
and dine with the rest in London." But as Her- 
bert did not return the blow, no scuffle or assault 
actually took place ; otherwise, it is probable, a 
dreadful scene must have ensued. James, with 
whom Herbert was a particular favourite, rewarded 
his moderation or timidity by raising him to the 
rank of Knight, Baron, Viscount, and Earl of 
Montgomery, all in one day. Ramsay was banished 
the court for a season ; and thus the immediate 
affiront was in some degpree alleviated. But the 
new Earl of Montgomery remained, in the opinion 
of his countrymen, a dishonoured man ; and it is 
said his mother, the sister of Sir Philip Sidney, 
wept and tore her hair when she heard of his having 




lit offered by Ram- 
in a beaatifiil epi- 
ied as 

fe*i mothor; 

i*d aa she, 

ert under the insult was 
a gpreat national misfor- 
tune, for wiuvto, . uw arier condnct had not given 
tokens of an abject spirit, he might hare been prai- 
sed as a patriot, who had preferred the good of his 
oonntry to the gratification of his own immediate 

Another offence given by the haughty and ira- 
scible temper of a Scotchman, was also likely to 
have produced disastrous consequences. The Inns 

> [Osborne apud Secret History, toL L pp. 218-225. Sir 
Walter Scott, editor of this work, adds, ** Philip Earl of Pem- 
broke and M<m^;omery had no qualitiea to recommend him aa a 
rojal ftvonrite saving two ; any one of which, however, would 
have rendered him acceptable to James I. These were comelineaa 
of person, and indefatigable seal in banting. His character waa 
that of Squire Western, choleric, boisterous, illiterate, selfish, 
absurd, and cowardly. He was, besides, a profligate, a gambler, 
and, above all, an ungrateful rebel to the son of the prince who 
raised him, as he adhered with great vehemence to the cauae of 
the parliament, and afterwards to that of Cromwell.'*-.-iVb^ 
Jhid, p. 218,] 

' [<* One thing was then remarkable at Croydon Field,** laya 
Osborne, ** that none but Sir Bdward Sackville. of the Bnglidi, 
went on the Scots side (and he, out of love to the Lord Bruce, 
whom after he killed in a duel), which was so ill taken by his 
countrymen, as divers protested, that if the fray had succeeded 
he waa the first likely to have fallen.** — Stergi Sitiorpt vol. i. 
p. 227.] 

CHAF. zxtT.] QUARRELS. 251 

of Court are tbe places of resort and study ap- 
pointed for those young men who are destined to 
the profession of the law in England, and they are 
filled with students, men often of high family and 
accomplishments, and who, living together in the 
sort of colleges set apart for their residence, have 
always kept up the ideas of privilege and distinc- 
tion, to which their destination to a highly honour- 
able profession, as well as their own birth and 
condition, entitles them. One of these gentlemen, 
by name Edward Hawley, appeared at court on 
a public occasion, and probably intruded farther 
than his rank authorized ; so that MaxweU, a 
Scotchman, much favoured by James, and an usher 
of his chamber, not only thrust him back, but ac- 
tually pulled him out of the presence-chamber by a 
black ribband, which, like other gallants of the 
time, Hawley wore at his ear. Hawley, who was 
a man of spirit, instantly challenged Maxwell to 
fight ; and his second, who carried the challenge, 
informed him, that if he declined such meeting, 
Hawley would assault him wherever they should 
meet, and either kill him or be killed on the spot. 
James, by his royal interference, was able to solder 
up this quarrel also. He compelled Maxwell to 
make an apology to Hawley ; and for the more 
full accommodation of the dispute, accepted of a 
splendid masque and entertainment ofiered on the 
occasion by the students of Gray's Inn Lane, the 
society to which the injured gentleman belonged. 

We may here remark a gpreat change in the man- 
ners of the gallants of the time» which had taken 

252 TALES OF A GRANDFATHER, [scotlamb. 

place in the progress of civilisation, to which T for- 
merly alluded. The ancient practice of trial by 
combat, which made a principal part of the feudal 
law, and which was resorted to in so many cases, 
had now follen into disuse. The progress of reason, 
and the principles of justice, concurred to prove 
that a combat in the lists might indeed show which 
of two knights was the best rider and the stoutest 
swordsman, but that such an encounter could afibrd 
no evidence which of the two was innocent or 
guilty ; since it can only be believed in a very igno- 
rant age that Providence is to work a miracle in 
case of every chance combat, and award success to 
the party whose virtue best deserves it. The trial 
by combat, therefore, though it was not actually 
removed from the statute-book, was in fact only 
once appealed to after the accession of James, and 
even then the combat, as a mode of trial unsuited 
to enlightened times, did not take place. 

For the same reason the other sovereigns of 
Europe discountenanced these challenges and com- 
bats, undertaken for pure honour or in revenge of 
some injury, which it used to be their custom to 
encourage, and to sanction with their own presence. 
Such rencounters were now generally accounted 
by all sensible persons an inexcusable waste of 
gallant men's lives for matters of mere punctilio ; 
and were strictly forbidden, under the highest 
penalties, by the King^ both of England and France, 
and, generally speaking, throughout the civilised 
world. But the royal command could not change 
the hearts of those to whom it was addressed, nor 


could the penalties annexed to the breach of the 
law intimidate men, whom a sense of honour, 
though a false one, had already induced to hold 
life cheap. Men fought as many, perhaps even 
more, single combats than formerly ; and although 
such meetings took place without the publicity and 
formal show of lists, armour, horses, and the attend- 
ance of heralds and judges of the field, yet they 
were not less bloody than those which had been 
formerly fought with 'the observance of every point 
of chivalry. * 

According to the more modem practice, comba- 
tants met in some solitary place, alone, or each 
accompanied by a single friend called a second, who 
were supposed to see fair play. The combat was 
generally fought with the rapier or small sword, a 
peculiarly deadly weapon, and the combatants, to 
show they wore no defensive armour under their 

* [*' Lady Mary Wortley Montague baa vaid, with equal 
truth and taste, that the moat romantic region of every country 
ia that where the mountains - unite themselves with the plaina or 
lowlands. For similar reasons, it may be in like manner said, 
that the most picturesque period of history is that when the an> 
cient rough and wild manners of a barbarous age are just becom- 
ing innovated upon, and contrasted by, the illumination of in- 
creased or revived learning, and the instructions of renewed or 
reformed religion. The reign of Jamea. I. of England poaaesaed 
thia advantage in a peculiar degree. Some beams of chivalry, 
although its planet had been for aome time aet, continued to ani- 
mate and gild the horiaon ; and although probably no one acted 
precisely on ita Quixotic dictates, men and women atill talked the 
chivalrous language of Sir Philip Sydney's Arcadia ; and the eer •• 
monial of the tilt-yard waa yet exhibited, though it now only flou* 
fiahed as a Place de Carroutel.** — Introdvctum to the Foriunu 

254 TALKS OF A GRANDFATHER. [scotlaito. 

dothety threw off their ooats and waistcoats* and 
foQght in their shirts* The duty of the seconds* 
properly interpreted, was only to see fair play; 
hat as Uiese hot-spirited young men felt it difficult 
to remain oool and inactive when they saw their 
friends engaged, it was yery common for them* 
though without even the shadow of a quarrel, to 
fight also ; and, in that case, whoever first despatch- 
ed his antagonist, or rendered him incapable of 
further resistance, came without hesitation to the 
assistance of his comrade, and thus the decisive 
superiority was brought on by odds of numbers, 
which contradicts all our modem ideas of honour 
or of g^lantry. 

Such were the rules of the duel, as these single 
combats were called. The fashion came from 
France to England, and was adopted by the Scots 
and English as the readiest way of settling their 
national quarreb, which became very numerous. 

One of the most noted of these was the bloody 
and fatal conflict between Sir James Stewart, eld- 
est son of the first Lord Blantyre, a Scottish Knight 
of the Bath, and Sir George Wharton, an English- 
man, eldest son of Lord Wharton, a Knight of the 
same order. These gentlemen were friends ; and, 
if family report speaks truth. Sir James Stewart 
was one of the most accomplished young men of his 
time. A trifling dispute at play led to uncivil ex- 
preuions on the part of Wharton, to which Stewart 
answered by a blow. A defiance was exchanged 
on the spot, and they resolved to fight next day at 
an appointed place near Waltham. This fatal ap- 


pointment made, they carried tbeir resentment witb 
a show of friendship, and drank some wine together ; 
after finishing which, Wharton observed to his op- 
ponent, ** Oar next meeting will not part so easily.** 
The fatal rencounter took place ; both gentlemen 
fought with the most determined courage, and botti 
fell with many wounds, and died on the field of 

Sometimes the rage and passion of the gallants 
of the day did not take the fairest, but the shortest, 
road to revenge; and the courtiers of James I., 
men of honourable birth and title, were, in some 
instances, known to attack an enemy by surprise, 
without regard to the previous appointment of a 
f4ace of meeting, or any regulation as to the num- 
ber of the combatants. Nay, it seems as if, on oc- 
casions of special provocation, the English did not 
disdain to use the swords of hired assassins in aid 
of their revenge, and all punctilios of equality of 
arms or numbers were set aside as idle ceremonies. 

Sir John Ayres, a man of rank and fortune, en- 
tertained jealousy of Lord Herbert of Cherbury, 

* [** The letters that passed betwixt Sir James Stewart and Sir 
George Wharton previous to the duel, are printed in the Gentle- 
man's Magazine, November 1800. The challenge was sent by 
Sir George and accepted by Sir James, who wrote, ' To that end 
I have sent you the length of my rapyer, which I will use with 
a dagger, and so meet you at the Airther end of Islington, at three 
of the clocke in the afternoon.* — They fought the duel at Isling- 
ton, 8th November, 1609, were both killed on the spot, and were 
interred in one grave in the churdiyard there, 10th November.** 
— Wood's PssnAOX, v. i. p. 214. The old ballad on the duel 
states it to have been fought at Walthanu^See it in TkeBortkr 
MintirtUy, New Edit. v. iu. p. 77.] 

256 TALB8 OF A ORANDFATHBR. [tcoTi.Ajr». 

celebrated as a •oldier and philosopher, from hay- 
ing discovered that his wife, Lady Ayres, wore 
around her neck the picture of that high-spirited 
and acconi[^ished nobleman* Incensed hj the sus- 
picions thus excited, Sir John watched Liord Her- 
bert, and, meeting him on his return from court, 
attended by only two servants, he attacked him 
furiously, backed by four of his followers with 
drawn weapons, and accompanied by many others, 
who, though they did not directly unsheath their 
swords, yet served to lend countenance to the as- 
sault Lord Herbert was thrown down under his 
horse ; his sword, with which he endeavoured to 
defend himself, was broken in his hand ; and the 
weight of the horse prevented him from rising. One 
of his lacqueys ran away on seeing his master at- 
tacked by such odds ; the other stood by him, and 
released his foot, which was entangled in the stir- 
rup. At this moment Sir John Ayres was stand- 
ing over him, and in the act of attempting to plunge 
his sword into his body ; but Lord Herbert, catch- 
ing him by the legs, brought him also to the ground ; 
and, although the young lord had but a fragment 
of his sword remaining, he struck his unmanly an- 
tagonist on the stomach with such force as deprived 
him of the power to prosecute his bloody purpose ; 
and some of Lord Herbert's friends coming up, the 
assassin thought it prudent to withdraw, vomiting 
blood in consequence of the blow he had received. 
This scuffle lasted for some time in the streets of 
London, without any person feeling himself called 
upon to interfere in behalf of the weaker party ; 


and Sir John Ayres seems to have entertained no 
shame for the enterprise, but only regret that it 
had not succeeded. Lord Herbert sent him a chal- 
lenge as soon as his wounds were in the way of 
being cured ; and the gentleman who bore it^ placed 
the letter on the point of his sword, and in that 
manner delivered it publicly to the person whom 
lie addressed. Sir John Ayres replied, that the 
injury he had received from Lord Herbert was of 
such a nature, that he would not consent to any 
terms of fair play, but would shoot him from a 
window with a musket, if he could find an oppor- 
tunity. Lord Herbert protests, in his Memoirs, 
that there was no cause given on his part for the 
jealousy which drove Sir John Ayres to such des- 
perate measnres of revenge. 

A still more noted case of cruel vengeance, and 
which served to embitter the general hatred against 
the Scots, was a crime committed by Lord San- 
quhar, a nobleman of that country, the representa- 
tive of the ancient family of Creichton. This 
young lord, in fencing with a man called Turner, 
a teacher of the science of defence, had the mis- 
fortune to be deprived of an eye by the accidental 
thrust of a foil. The mishap was, doubdess, both 
distressing and provoking ; but there was no room 
to blame Turner, by whom no injury had been in- 
tended, and who greatly regretted the accident. 
One or two years after this, Lord Sanquhar being 
at the court of' France, Henry IV., then king, asked 
him how he had lost his eye. Lord Sanquhar, not 
wishing to dwell on the subject, answered in gene- 


258 TALB8 OF A GRANDFATHER, [tcari^iis. 

ral termty that it was by the throat of a award. 
** Does the man who did the injury atiU lire ? " 
asked the King; and the unhappy qaestion im- 
prewed it inddibly upon the heart of the infatuated 
Lord Sanquhar that his hononr required the death 
of the poor fencing- master. Acccnrdingly, he des- 
patched his page and another of his followers, who 
pistolled Turner in his own school. The murderers 
were takm, and aduiowledged they had been em- 
ployed to do the deed by their lord, whose com- 
mands, they said, they had been bred up to hold as 
indisputable warrants for the execution of whatever 
he might enjoin. All the culprits being brought 
to trial and condemned, much interest was made 
for Lord Sanquhar, who was a young man, it is 
said, of eminent parts. But to haye pardoned him 
would haye argued too gross a partiality in James 
towards his countrymen and original subjects. He 
was hanged, therefore, along with his two asso- 
ciates ; which Lord Bacon termed the most exem- 
plary piece of justice in any king's reign.^ 

To sum up the account oi these acts of yiolenoe, 
they gaye occasion to a seyere law, called the sta- 
tute of stabbing. Hitherto, in the mild spirit of 
English jurisprudence, the crime of a person slay- 

' [Se«th« State Triali, toI. riL p. 86. Otborae my^ 
*' By the death of Lord Sanquhar the King latUfied in part the 
people, and wholly himself; it bebg thought he hated him for 
hie love to &e King of France, and not making any reply when 
he [die Freneh king] laid in hii pretence, to one that caUed our 
Jamet a second Solomon, that he hoped he was not the eon of 
Oayid the fiddler.** '—&ere< History, toI. i. p. 231.] 

s CRluio.'' 



ing another without premeditation enly amounted 
to the lesser denomination of murder which the 
law calls manslaughter, and which had been only 
punishable by fine and imprisonment. But, to 
check the use of short swords and poniards, wea- 
pons easily concealed, and capable of being sudden- 
ly produced, it was provided, that if any one, 
though without forethought or premeditation, with 
sword or dagger, attacked and wounded another 
whose weapon was not drawn, of which wound the 
party should die within six months after receiving 
it, the crime should not be accounted homicide, but 
rise into the higher class of murder, and be as such 
punished with death accordingly. 

[ 260 ] . 

t. ' ; 

■ • 



Attempt ofJantes to reduce the Irutitidiotu of Scotland to a 
state of Uniformty tnth those of England -^Commisnon' 
ers appointed to effect this^the Project fails — Distinct 
tions between the Forms of Church Government in the two 
Countries — Introduction of Episcopacy into the Scottish 
Churchy-Five Articles of Perth — Dissatisfaction of the 
People vfith these Innovations. 


While the quarrels of the English and Scottish 
nobility disturbed the comfort of James the First's 
reign, it mast be admitted that the monarch applied 
himself with some diligence to cement as much as 
possible the union of the two kingdoms, and to 
ih[ipart to each such advantages as they might be 
found capable of borrowing from the other. The 
love of power, natural to him as a sovereign, com- 
bined with a sincere wish for what would be most 
advantageous to both countries — ^for James, when 
not carried off by his love of idle pleasures, and 
the influence of unworthy favourites, possessed the 
power of seeing, and the disposition to advance, 
the interests of his subjects — ^alike induced him to 
accelerate, by every means, the uniting the two 
separate portions of Britain into one solid and in- 
separable state, for which nature designed the in- 


habitants of the same island. He was not negligent 
in adopting measures to attain so desirable an ob- 
ject, though circumstances deferred the accomplish- 
ment of his wishes till the lapse of a century. To 
explain the nature of his attempt, and the causes 
of its failure, we must consider the respective con- 
dition of England and Scotland as regarded their 
political institutions. 

The long and bloody wars between the houses 
of York and Lancaster, who, for more than thirty 
years, contended for the throne of England, had, 
by slaughter in numerous battles, by repeated pro- 
scriptions, public executions, and forfeitures, redu- 
ced to a comparatively inconsiderable number, and 
to a much greater state of disability and weakness, 
the nobility and great gentry of the kingdom,' by 
whom tjie crown had been alternately bestowed on 
one or other of the contending parties. Henry the 
Seventh, a wise and subtle prince, had, by his suc- 
cess in the decisive battle of Bosworth, attained a 
secure seat upon the English throne. He availed 
himself of the weak state of the peers and barons, 
and the rising power of the cities and boroughs, to 
undermine and destroy the influence which the 
feudal system had formerly given to the aristocracy 
over their vassals ; and they submitted to this 
diminution of their authority, as men who felt that 
the stormy independence possessed by their ances- 
tors had cost them very dear, and that it was better 
to live at ease under the king, as a common head 
of the state, than to possess, each on his own do- 
roainsy the rninouf power of petty sovereig^s^ 


making war npooy and nuning olhera^ and incorring 
destruction themselyet. They therefore relinquish- 
ed, without much open diioontent, most of their 
oppressive rights of sovereignty over their vassals, 
and were satisfied to be honoured and respected 
masters of their own lands, without retaining the 
power of princes over those who cultivated them. 
They exacted rents from their tenants instead of 
service in battle, and attendance in peace, and be- 
came peaceful and wealthy, instead of being great 
and turbulent. 

As the nobles sunk in political consideration, the 
citizens of the towns and seaports, and the smaller 
gentry and cultivators of "the soil, increased in ini- 
portance as well as in prosperity and happiness. 
These commoners felt, indeed, and sometimes mur- 
mured against, the ascendance acquired by the 
King, but were conscious, at the same time, that 
it was the power of the crown which had relieved 
them from the far more vexatious and frequent 
exactions of their late feudal lords; and as the 
burden fell equally on all, they were better con- 
tented to live under the sway of one king, who 
imposed the natiional burdens on the people at 
large, than under that of a number of proud lords. 
Henry VI I. availed himself of these favourable 
dispositions, to raise large taxes, which he partly 
hoarded up for occasions of emergency, and partly 
expended on levying bands of soldiers, both foreign 
Wid domestic, by whom he carried on such wars 
as he engaged in, without finding any necessity to 
call out the feudal array of the kingdom. In this 


manner he avoided rendering himself dependent 
on his nobles. 

Henry VIII. was a prince of a very different 
temper, and yet his reign contributed greatly to 
extend and confirm the power of the Epglish 
crown. He expended, indeed, lavishly, the treasures 
of his father ; but he replenished them, in a g^eat 
measure, by the spoils of the Roman Catholic Church, 
and he confirmed the usurpation of arbitrary author- 
ity, by the vigour with which he wielded it. The 
tyranny which he exercised in his family and court, 
was unfelt by the citiiens and conunon people, with 
whom he continued to be rather popular horn his 
splendour, than dreaded for his violence. His power 
wrested from them, in the shape of compulsory 
loans and benevolences, large sums of money which 
he was not entitled to by the grant of Parliament ; 
but though he could not directly compel them to 
pay such exactions, yet he could exert, as in the 
case of Alderman Read,^ the power of sending the 
refusing party to undergo the dangers and hard- 
ships of foreign service, which most wealthy citi- 
sens thought still harder than the alternative of 
paying a sum of money. 

The reign of the English Queen Mary was 
short and inglorious, but she pursued the arbitrary 
steps of her father, and in no degree relax:ed the 
power which the crown had acquired since the 
accession of Henry VII. That of Elisabeth tend- 
ed considerably to increase iu The success of the 

^ [Sm ante, p. 60.'] 


wise measnres which she adopted for maintaining' 
the Protestant religion, and making the power of 
England respected hj foreign states, flattered the 
yanity, and conciliated the a£Fection, of her sub- 
jects. The wisdom and economy with which she 
distributed the treasures of the state, added to the 
general disposition of her subjects to place them 
at her command ; and the arbitrary authority which 
her grandfather acquired by subtlety, which her 
father maintained by violence, and which her sister, 
preserved by bigotry, was readily conceded to 
Elizabeth by the love and esteem of her people. 
It was, moreover, to be considered, that, like the 
rest of the Tudor family, the Queen nourished 
high ideas of royal prerogative ; and, when thwart- 
ed in her wishes by any opposition, not unfre- 
quently called to lively recollection, both by ex- 
pression and action, whose daughter she was. 

In a word, the almost absolute authority of the 
House of Tudor may be understood from the single 
circumstance, that although religion is the point on 
which men do, and ought to think their individual 
feelings and sentiments particularly at liberty, yet, 
at the arbitrary will of the sovereign, the Church 
of England was disjoined from th^t of Rome by 
Henry the Eighth, was restored to the Roman 
Catholic faith by Queen Mary, and again dedared 
Protestant by Elizabeth; and on each occasion 
the change was effected without any commotion or 
resistance, beyond such temporary tumults as were 
soon put down by the power of the Crown. 

Thosy on succeeding to the English throne. 

eUAt. zxxvi.] PROPOSAL OF UNION. 265 

Jaroes found himself at the head of a nobility who 
had lost both the habit and power of contesting 
the pleasure of the sovereign, and of a wealthy 
body of commons, who, satisfied with being liber- 
ated from the power of the aristocracy, were little 
disposed to resist the exactions of the Crown. 

His ancient kingdom of Scotlaiid was in a di- 
rectly different situation. The feudal nobility had 
retained their territorial jurisdictions, and their sig- 
norial privileges, in as full extent as their ancestors 
had possessed them, and therefore had at once the 
power and the inclination to resist the arbitrary 
will of the sovereign, as James himself had felt 
on more occasions than one. Thus, though the 
body of the Scottish people had not the same pro- 
tection from just and equal laws, as was the happy 
lot of the inhabitants of England, and were much 
less wealthy and independent, yet the spirit of the 
constitution possessed *all the freedom which was 
inherent in the ancient feudal institutions, and it 
was impossible for the monarch of Scotland so 
to influence the parliament of the country, as to ac- 
complish any considerable encroachment on the 
privileges of the nation. 

It was therefore obvious, that besides the nume- 
rous reasons of a public nature for uniting South 
and North Britain under a similar system of go- 
vernment, James saw a strong personal interest for 
reducing the turbulent nobles and people of Scot- 
land to the same submissive and quiet state in 
which he found England, but in which it was not 
his good fortune to leave it. With this view he 

366 TALB8 or k GRAMDFilTHBR. [scon^VB. 

proposed, that the Legklatare of each nation should 
appoint Gommtssioners, to consider of the terms 
on which it might be possible to onite both under 
the same constitation* With some difficalty on 
both sides, the Parliament of Bngland was pre- 
vailed on to name forty*four Commissioners, while 
the Scottish Parliament appointed thirty-six, to 
consider this important subject 

The very first conferences showed how impos- 
sible It was to accomplish the desired object, until 
time should have removed or sofitened those preju- 
dices, which had existed during tiie long state of 
separation and hostility betwixt the two nations. 
The English Commissioners demanded, as a pre- 
liminary stipulation, that the whole system of Epg- 
lish law should be at once extended to Scotland. 
The Scots rejected the proposal with disdain, just- 
ly alleging, that nothing less than absolute con* 
quest by force of arms could authorize the s^bj«c- 
tion of an independent nation to the customs and 
laws oi a foreigpi country. The treaty, therefore* 
was in a great degree shipwrecked at the very com- 
mencement-^-the proposal for the union was suffer- 
ed to fall asleep, and the King only reaped from 
his attempt the disadvantage of having excited the 
suspicions and fears of the Scottish lawyers, who 
had been threatened with the total destruction of 
their national system of Jurisprudence. This im<- 
pression was the deeper, as the profession of the 
law, which must be influential in every govern- 
ment, was particularly so in Scotland, it being' 


chiefly practised in thai kingdom by the sons of 
the higher class of gentry. 

Though in a great measure disappointed in his 
eflbrts for efl^ecting a general union and corres* 
pondence of laws between the two nations, James 
remained extremely desirous to obtain at least an 
ecclesiastical conformity of opinion, by bringing 
the form and constitution of the Scottish Church 
as near as possible to that of England. What he 
attempted and accomplished in this respect^ con* 
stitutes an important part of the history of his 
reign, and gave occasion to some of the most re- 
markable and calamitous events in that of his suc- 

I must remind you, my dear child, that the Re- 
formation was e£Fected by very different agency in 
England, from the causes which produced a similar 
change in Scotland. The new plans of church 
government adopted in the two nations did not in 
the least resemble each other, although the doc- 
trines which they teach are so nearly alike, that 
little distinction can be traced, save what is of a 
very subtle and metaphysical character. But the 
outward forms of the two churches are totally 

You must remember that the Reformation of the 
Church of England was originally brought about 
by Henry VIII., whose principd object was to 
destroy the dependence of the clergy upon the 
Pope, and transfer to himself, whom he declared 
head of the Church in his own regal right, all the 
authority and influence which had formerly been 

268 TALES OF A GEANDFATHEll. [8C0tt.aiiii. 

enjoyed by the Papal See. When, therefore, 
Henry had destroyed the monastic establishments, 
and confiscated their possessions, and had reformed 
such doctrines of the church as he judged to re- 
quire amendment, it became his object to preserve 
the general constitution and hierarchy, that is the 
gradation of superior and inferior clergy, by whom 
her functions were administered. The chief dif- 
ference therefore was, that the patronage exercised 
by the Pope was, in a great measure, transferred 
to the Crown, and distributed by the hands of the 
King himself, to whom, therefore, the inferior 
clergy must naturally be attached by hope of pre- 
ferment, and the superior orders by gratitude for 
past favours, and the expectation of farther ad- 
vancement. The order of bishops, in particular, 
raised to that rank by the crown, and enjoying 
seats in the House of Lords, must be supposed, on 
most occasions, willing to espouse the cause, and 
forward the views of the King, in such debates as 
might occur in that assembly. 

The Reformation in Scotland had taken place 
by a sudden popular impulse, and the form of 
church government adopted by Knox, and the other 
preachers under whose influence it had been ac- 
complished, was studiously rendered as diflerent 
as possible from the Roman hierarchy. The Pres- 
byterian system, as I said in a former chapter, was 
upon the model of the purest republican simplicity ; 
the brethren who served the altar claimed and 
allowed of no superiority of ranks, and of no influ- 
ence but what individuals might attach to them* 


selves by superior worth or superior talent. The 
representatives who formed their ehurch courts, 
were selected by plurality of votes, and no other 
Head of the church, visible or invisible, was ac- 
knowledged, save the blessed Founder of the 
Christian Religion, in whose name the church 
courts of Scotland were and still are convoked and 

Over a body so constituted, the King could have 
little influence or power; nor did James acquire 
any by his personal conduct. It was, indeed, partly 
by the influence of the clergy that he had been in 
infancy placed upon the throne ; but, as their con- 
duct in this was regarded by James, in his secret 
soul, as an act of rebellion against his mother's 
authority, he gave the Kirk of Scotland little thanks 
for what they had done. It must be owned the 
preachers made no attempt to conciliate his favour ; 
for, although they had no legal call to speak their 
sentiments upon public and political a£Fairs, they 
yet entered into them without ceremony, whenever 
they could show that the interest of the church 
gave a specious apology for interference. The 
Scottish pulpits rang with invectives against the 
King's ministers, and sometimes against the King 
himself; and the more hot-headed among the clergy 
were disposed not only to thwart James's inclina- 
tions, and put the worst construction upon his in- 
tentions, but even publicly to insult him in their 
sermons, and favour the insurrections attempted by 
Stewart Earl of Bothwell, and others, against his 
authority. They often entertained him with vio- 


lent inyectiTes againtt his mother't memory ; and, 
it it Mid, that on one occasion, when the King, 
losing patience, commanded one of these zealots 
either to speak sense or come down from the pul- 
pit, the preacher replied to this reqoest, which one 
would hare thought a very reasonable one, ** I tell 
thee, man, I will neither speak sense nor come 

James did not see that these acts of petulance 
and contumacy arose, in a gpreat measure, from the 
suspicions which the Scottish clergy justly enter- 
tained of his desiring to innovate upon the Pres- 
byterian model ;^ and hastily conduded, that their 
refractory conduct, which was the result of mutual 
jealousies, was essential to the character of the 
peculiar form of church government, and that the 
spirit of Presbytery was in itself inimical to a mo- 
narchial establishment. 

* [<< K. Jamet havmg gone to Edmbargb, atteoded wonliip 
in the High Church. BalcanqnhaU, in the ooune of his •ermon» 
adranoed iomething which waa derogatory to the ai^ority ot 
biahopt ; upon which Jamet rote from hit leat, and interrupting 
the preacher, aaked him what Scripture he had for that assertion. 
Baleanquhall said, he could bring sufficient proof from Scripture 
for all Uiat he had asserted. The King denied this, and pledged 
his kingdom that he would prove the contrary ; adding, that it 
was the practice of the preachers to busy themselres about such 
causes in the pulpit, but he was a^vare of their intentions, and 
would look after Uiem. This interlude continued upwards of a 
quarter of an hour, to the great edification of the audience ; after 
which James resumed his seat, and heard the sermon to the end. 
Bat he was not satisfied with this skirmish. The preacher was 
sent for to the palace, where his majesty had the satisfaction ol 
engaging him in close combat for more than an hour.".— >i9efif3r 
Wkldring^ to Secretary Waltinghamf ap. M'Caiz's Lift 
ofMdvW^ ToL i. p. 944.] 


As soon, therefore, as the King obtained the 
high increase of power which arose from his acces- 
sion to the English throne, he set himself g^radnally 
to new-model the Scottish Church, so as to bring 
It nearer to that of England, and to obtain for the 
crown some preponderating influence in its coun- 
cils. But the suspicions of the Presbyterian clergy 
were constantly alive to their sovereign's intentions* 
It was in vain he endeavoured to avail himself of 
the institution of an order of men called Superin- 
tendents, to whom the Book of Discipline, drawn up 
by Knox himself, had assigned a sort of presidency 
in certain cases, with power of inspecting the merits 
of the clergy. By re-establishing superior offices 
among the clergy, James endeavoured to introduce 
a sort of permanent presidents into the several 
presbyteries. But the ministers clearly saw his 
ultimate object. ** Busk (dress), busk him as bon- 
nily as you can," cried Mr John Davidson^ <* bring 
him in as fairly as you will, we see the horns of his 
mitre weel enough ;** and the horns of the mitre 
were, to their apprehension, as odious as the horns 
of the Pope's tiara, or those of Satan himself. At 
last the King ventured on a decisive stroke. He 
named thirteen bishops, and obtained the consent 
of Parliament for restoring them to the small re- 
mains of their dilapidated bishoprics. The other 
bishoprics, seventeen in number, were converted 
into temporal lordships. 

It cannot be denied that the leaders of the 
Presbyterian clergy showed the utmost skill and 
courage in the defence of the immunities of their 


choreh. They were endeared to the people by the 
parity of their lires, by the depth of learning 
possessed by some, and the powerful talents ex- 
hibited by others ; abore all, perhaps, by the wil- 
lingnesi with which they tabmitted to deprivation 
of office, accompanied by poverty, penalties, and 
Danishment, rather than betray the cause which 
they considered as sacred. The King had in 1605 
openly asserted his right to call and to dissolve the 
General Assemblies of the Church. Several of the 
clergy, however, in contempt of the monarch, 
summoned and attended a General Assembly at 
Aberdeen independent of his authority. This 
opportunity was taken to chastise the refractory 
clerg^ymen. Five of their number were punished 
with banishment. In 1606, the two celebrated 
preachers named Melville were summoned before 
the Council, and upbraided by the King with their 
resistance to his will. They defended themselves 
with courage, and claimed the right of being tried 
by the laws of Scotland, a free kingdom, having 
laws and privileges of its own. But the elder 
Melville furnished a handle against them by his 
own imprudence. 

In a debate before the Privy Council, concerning 

a Latin copy of verses, which Andrew Melville 

had written in derision of the ceremonies of the 

^ Church of England,^ the old man gave way to 

> [On the 29th September 1600, Melville and his nephew, by 
command of the Kbg, attended the feetiyal of St Michael in the 
Royal Chapel ; where, on the altar, were placed two that books, 
two empty chalices, and two candlesticks with onKghted candles. 


indeoent yiolenee, seiztd the ArghbishoR of Can- 
terbary by the lawn sleeves, which he shoek, call- 
ing them Romkh rags, and charged the prelate ag 
a breaker of the Sabbath, the makitiuner of an 
aBti-^christkiB hierarchy, the persecutor of true 
preachers, the enemy of reformed chnrohes, and 
proclaimed himself his mortid enemy tO' the last 
drop of his bbod. This, indiscretion and violence 
afforded a pretext for committing the hot old 
Presbyterian divine to the Tower; and he waa 
afterwards exiled, and dwd at Sedan. The younger 
Melville was confined to Berwick, several other 
clergymen were banished from their parishes to 
remote parts, and the Kirk of Scotland was for the 
time reduced to xelnctant submission to the King's 
will. Thus the order of bishops was once more 
introduced into' the Scottish Church. 

James's projects of innovation were not entirely 
accomplished by the introduction of prelacy. The 
Churdi of En^and, at the Reformation, had re* 

On retumiag, to Hit lodging!, MdviUe compoied the ft^owiog 
epigram on the ceremonials he had just witnessed :-« 

«< Cur stant clansi Anglis Ubri duo regia in ara. 

Lamina c»oa duo, pallnbra sicca dno f 
Nam sensom eultnmque Dei tenet AngUa cla»am« 

Lomlne c»ca sno, sorde sepiilta saa ? 
Romano an ritn dam regalem instmit aram9 

Pnipnream pin^^t relligiosa lopam f *' 

in diose days rendered— 

•< Wbf stand tliere on the royal altar hie 
Two closed books* blind lights, two basins drle f 
DothBagland hold God^mindand^orshlprdeilt 
Blind of her sight, and buried in her dross t 
Doth she, with chapel pat in Romish dressa 
The pnrple w4ior« rel%ioaAly eEpresa f **1 



tained tome particular rites in obserTance^ which 
had decency at least to recommend them, hot 
which the headlong opposition of the Presbjrteriaat 
to erery thing approaching to the Popish ritaal 
indoced them to reject with horror. Fiyo of these 
were introduced into Scotland, by an enactnaent 
passed by a parliament held at Perth [1618]]» and 
thence distinguished as the Five Articles of Perth. 
In modern times, when the mere ceremonial part 
of divine worship is supposed to be of little conse- 
quence, compared with the temper «nd spirit in 
which we approach the Deity, the Fire Artidea of 
Perth seem to involve matters which might be dis- 
pensed or complied with, without being considered 
as essential to salvation. They were as follows : — 
I. It was ordained that the communion should be 
received in a kneeling posture, and not sitting, as 
hitherto practised in the Scottish churches. II. 
That, in extreme cases, the communion might be 
administered in private. III. That baptism also 
might, when necessary, be administered in private. 
IV. That youth, as they grew up, should be con- 
firmed, as it is termed, by the bishop; being a 
kind of personal avowal of the engagements entered 
into by godfathers and godmothers at the time of 
baptism. Y. That four days, distinguished by 
events of the utmost importance to the Christian 
religion, should be observed as holidays. These 
were — Christmas, on which day our Saviour was 
bom ; 'Good Friday, when he su£Pered death ; 
Easter, when he arose from the dead ; and Pen- 
tecost, when the Holy Spirit descended on the 


But, DOtwithstaDding the moderate character of 
these innovations, the utmost difficulty was found 
in persuading even those of the Scottish dergy 
who were most favourable to the King to receive 
ihem into the church, and they only did so on the 
assurance that they should not be required to adopt 
any additional changes. The main body of the 
churchmen, though terrified into sullen acquies- 
cence, were unanimous in opinion that the new re- 
gulations indicated a manifest return towards Po- 
pery. The common people held the same opinion ; 
and a thunder-storm, of unusual violence, which 
took place at the time the Parliament was sitting 
in debate upon the adoption of these obnoxious ar- 
ticles, was considered as a declaration of the wrath 
of Heaven against those, who were again introdu- 
cing the rites and festivals of the Roman Church 
into the pure and reformed Kirk of Scotland. In 
short, this attempt to infuse into the Presbyterian 
model something of the principles of a moderate 
prelacy, and to bring it, in a few particulars, into 
conformity with that of the sister kingdom, was 
generally unacceptable to the church and to the na- 
tion ; and it will be hereafter shown, that an en- 
deavour to extend and heighten the edifice which 
his father had commenced, led the way to those acts 
of violence which cost Charles I. his throne and 

> [** When Cowper was made Bishop of Galloway, an old wo- 
man, who had been one of hit pariahionen at Perth, and a favou- 
rite, eould not be peranaded that her minister had deserted the 
Presbyterian cause, and resolved to satisfy herself. She paid him a 
riiit in the Canongate, where he had his residence as dean of the 


ChaftH RopL Tbt rttmnt of Mmnti throng which she pa«ed 
■U f g wtd die good woman't eonfidence ; tad, on being ushered 
into the room where the hidiop est in ttit^ the ezefaumod, ** Oh» 
dr! what's this? And ye hM reiUjr left the gnid ennse, and 
tvned ptelale r—« Janet," ssid the bishm, « I have got new 
light opon thoM things."—** So I see, sir, replied Janet ; ** for 
i^ben ye was at Perth, ye had bat ae ean^e, and now j9*re got 
twa before ye— that's a' year arar fi^"— M*Obxb^ L^k rf 
MUtUk, ToL iL p. S79.] 


castle of his conqueror, when the lady enqnired 
•of her vict<Nrion8 husband, ** what he intended 
to do with his captiye ? "— « I design,** said the 
fierce baron, ^* to hang him instantly, dame, as a 
man taken red-hand in the act of robbery and yio- 
lence." — *< That is not like your wisdom, Sir 
Gideon," answered his more considerate lady. " If 
you put to death this young gentleman, you will 
enter into deadly feud with his numerous and 
powerful dan. You must therefore do a wiser 
thing, and, instead of hanging him, we will cause 
him to marry our youngest daughter, Meg with 
the meikle mouth, without any tocher " (that is, 
without any portion). The laird joyfully con- 
sented ; for this Meg with the large mouth was so 
ugly, that there was very little chance of her get- 
ting a husband in any other circumstances ; and, 
in fact, when the alternative of such a marriage, or 
death by the gallows, was proposed to the poor 
prisoner, he was for some time disposed to choose 
the latter ; nor was it without difficulty that he 
could be persuaded to save his life at the expense 
of marrying Meg Murray. He did so at last, 
hewever ; and it is said, that Meg, thus forced 
upon him, made an excellent and affectionate wife ; 
but the unusual size of mouth was supposed to re*^ 
main discernible in their descendants for several 
generations.^ I mention this anecdote, because it oc- 

^ [See in James Hog^g'i Mountain Bard{^ Edit. pp. 67-66) 
a metrical ▼ertion of thii narrative, entitled ** The Frajr of Eli- 
bank, with notei.'— The verses conclude, 

<• So Willie took Meg to the forest sae fair. 
An* they liv'd a most happy an' social life s 

278 TALES OF A GRANDFATHER, [•corukwiw 

peace around left them no enemies either to fight 
with or plunder. 

These Borderers were» as I hare elsewhere told 
you, divided into families, or clans, who followed a 
leader supposed to be descended from the original 
father of the tribe. They lived in a great ineasiire 
by the rapine which they exercised indiscriminate- 
ly on the English, or their own countrymen, the 
inhabitanto of the more inland districts, or by Uie 
protection-money which they exacted for leariDg 
them undisturbed. This kind of plundering was 
esteemed by them in the highest degree honourable 
and praiseworthy ; and the following, as well as 
many other curious stories, is an example of 

this : — 

A young gentleman,* of a distinguished family 

belonging to one of these Border tribes, or clans, 
made, either from the desire of plunder, or from 
revenge, a raid, or incursion, upon the lands of 
Sir Gideon Murray of Elibank, afterwards deputy- 
treasurer of Scotland, and a great favourite of 
James V I. The Laird of Elibank, having got hh 
people under arms, engaged the invaders, and, 
encountering them when they were encumbered 
with spoil, defeated them, and made the leader 
of the band prisoner. He was brought to the 

1 [(< Wmiam (afterirards Sir Williun) Scott, eldest eon of Wal. 
ter Soott of Harden, and of liis lady, the celebrated Mary Scott, 
* tlie Flower of Yarrow,' of whose way of limg it is mentioned 
that when the last bullock was killed and devoured, it was the 
ladj't custom to place on the table a dish, which, on being un- 
covered, was found to contain a pair of clean spurs ; a hint to 
the riders that they must shift for their next meal.'*— 'Note, 
Border Minttrdty^ New Edit. rol. i. p. 211.] 


castle of his conqueror, when the lady enquired 
of her victOTions husband, " what he intended 
to do with his captiye ? '*— « I design," said the 
fierce baron, << to hang him instantly, dame, as a 
man taken red-hand in the act of robbery and vio- 
lence."—" That is not like your wisdom, Sir 
Gideon," answered his more considerate lady. " If 
you put to death this young gentleman, you will 
enter into deadly feud with his numerous and 
powerful clan. You must therefore do a wiser 
thing, and, instead oi hanging him, we will cause 
him to marry our youngest daughter, Meg with 
the meikle mouth, without any tocher " (that is, 
without any portion). The laird joyfully con- 
sented ; for this Meg with the large mouth was so 
ugly, that there was very little chance of her get- 
ting a husband in any other circumstances ; and, 
in ^ct, when the alternative of such a marriage, or 
death by the gallows, was proposed to the poor 
prisoner, he was for some time disposed to choose 
the latter ; nor was it without difficulty that he 
could be persuaded to save his life at the expense 
of marrying Meg Murray. He did so at last, 
hewever ; and it is said, that Meg, thus forced 
upon him, made an excellent and^flfectionate wife ; 
but the unusual size of mouth was supposed to re*^ 
main discernible in their descendants for several 
generations.^ I mention this anecdote, because it oc- 

> [See in Jamee Hcgg's Mountain Bard{Sd Edit. pp. 67-66) 
a metrical ▼ertion of thii narrative, entitled ** The Fray of Eli- 
bank, with notes.'— The verses condnde, 

" So WUlie took Meg to the forest sae fair* 
An* they liv'd a most happy an' social life ; 


corrod during James tbe Sixth's reign, and 8hows> 
in a striking maimer, how little the Borderers had 
improred in their sense of nHNHtity, or extinctions 
between right and wrong. 

A more important, but not more characteristic 
event, which happened not long afterwards, shows, 
in its progress, the ntter lawlessness and contempt 
of legal anthority which prevailed on the Borders 
in the commencement of this reigpi, and, in its 
condnsiony the increased power of the monarch 
after the Union of the Crowns. 

There had been long and deadly fend, on the 
West Borders, betwixt the two great famUies of 
Maxwell and Johnstone. The former house was 
the most wealthy and powerful family in Dumfries- 
shire and its vicinity, and had great influence 
among the families inhabiting the more level part 
of that county. Their chieftain had the title of 
Lord Maxwell, and claimed that of Earl of Mor- 
ten. The Johnstones, on the other hand, were 

The langer he kead her* he lo*ed her the mair. 
For a pmdent* a Tlrtaotu* and honourable wife. 

An muckle gndB bloile free that vnlon hat flowed* 
An* mony a brare fellow^ an' mony a brare feat» 

I dtamtaJuH $ajf ikey are a* mfuekh fnou*d. 
But they rather have $Htt a gude luck for their meaL"^T, 81. 

The union contracted imder such uogular dreninattnecvgBTe 
birth to 1. Sir Winiam Scott the leoond^ who carried on the line 
of the family of Harden — 2. Sir Gideon Scott of High Chester, 
wfaoM son was created Earl of Tarras on his marriage with Agnes 
Countess of Bucdeuoh, hut having no issue, the honours and 
estate of Buocleuch devolved upon her jounger sister Anne, 
married the unfortunate Duke at Monmouth«-8. Walter Seott 
of Raehurn, progenitor of our author — 4. John, of whom are 
4eseended the Scotts of Wool] 

•vww^w ^n^fWHHi^nvtfi 


neither equal to the Maxwells in numbers nor in 
power I but they were a race of uncommon hardi- 
hood, much attached to each other and their chief- 
tain, and who, residing in the strong and mountain- 
ous district of Annandale, used to sally from thence 
as from a fortress, and return to its fastnesses afiter 
having accomplished their inroads. They were, 
therefore, able to maintain their ground against 
the Maxwells, though more numerous than them- 

So well was this known to be the case, that when, 
in 1585, the Lord Maxwell was declared to be a 
rebel, a commission was given to the Laird of 
Johnstone to pursue and apprehend him. In this, 
however, Johnstone was unsuccessful. Two bands 
of hired soldiers, whom the Government had sent 
to his assistance, were destroyed by the Maxwells ; 
and Lochwood, the chief house of the laird, was 
taken and wantonly burnt, in order, as the Max- 
wells expressed it, that Lady Johnstone might 
have light to put on her hood. Johnstone himself 
was subsequently defeated and made prisoner. 
Being a man of a proud and haughty temper, he 
IS said to have died of grief at the disgrace which 
he incurred; and thus tiiere commenced a long 
series of mutual injuries between the hostile dans. 

Shortly after this catastrophe. Maxwell, being 
restored to the King's favour, was once more placed 
in the situation of Warden of the West Borders, 
and an alliance was made betwixt him and Sir 
Janies Johnstone, in which they and their two dans 
agreed to stand by each other against all the world* 

282 TALES OF A GRANDFATHER. [bcoylahb. 

This agreement being entered into, the clan of 
Johnstone coneladed they had little to apprehend 
from the justice of the new Lord Warden, eo long 
as they did not plunder any of the name of Maxwell 
They accordingly descended into the valley of the 
Nith, and committed great spoil on the lands be- 
longing to Douglas of Drumlanrig, Creichton Lord 
Sanquhar, Grierson of Lagg, and Kirkpatrick of 
Closebum, all of them independent barons of high 
birth and great power. The injured parties pur- 
sued the depredators with forces hastily assembled, 
but were defeated with slaughter in their attempt 
to recover the prey. The despoiled and injured 
barons next carried their complaints to Maxwell 
the warden, who alleged his late alliance with 
Johnstone as a reason why he could not yield tfaem 
the redress which his office entitled them to expect 
at his hands. But when, to make up for such risk 
as he might incur by renewing his enmity with the 
Johnstones, the barons of Nithsdale offered to 
bind themselves by a bond of manrent, as it was 
called, to become the favourers and followers of 
Lord Maxwell in all his quarrels, excepting against 
the King, the temptation became too strong to be 
overcome, and the ambitious warden resolved to 
sacrifice his newly formed friendship with Johnstone 
to the desire of extending his authority over ao 
powerful a confederacy. 

The secret of this association did not long re- 
main concealed from Johnstone, who saw that his 
own destruction and the ruin of his clan were the 
objects aimed at, and hastened to apply to hta 


neighbours in the east and south for assistance. 
Baccleach, the relative of Johnstone, and by fai 
his most powerful ally, was then in foreign parts. 
Bat the Laird of Elibank, mentioned in the last 
story, bore the banner of Buccleuch in person, and 
assembled five hundred men of the clan of Scott, 
whom our historians term the greatest robbers and 
fiercest fighters among the Border clans. The 
Elliots of Liddesdale also assisted Johnstone ; and 
his neighbours on the southern parts, the Grahams 
of the Debateable Land, from hopes of plunder and 
ancient enmity to the Maxwells, sent also a consi* 
derable number of spears. 

Thus prepared for war, Johnstone took the field 
with activity, while Maxwell, on the other part, 
hastily assembling his own forces, and those of his 
new followers, the Nithsdale barons, Drumlanrig, 
Lagg, Closeburn, the Creichtons, and others, in- 
vaded Annandale with the royal banner displayed, 
and a force of upwards of two thousand men. 
Johnstone, unequal in numbers, stood on the defen- 
sive, and kept possession of the woods and strong 
ground ; waiting an opportunity of fighting to ad- 
vantage ; while Maxwell, in contempt of him; 
formed the siege of the castle or tower of Locker- 
by, the fortress of a Johnstone, who was then in 
arms with his chief. His wife, a woman of a mas- 
culine disposition, the sister or daughter of the 
laird who had died in Maxwell's prison, defended 
his place of residence. While Maxwell endea- 
voured to storm the castle, and while it was brave- 
ly defended by its female captain, the chief received 

284 TALES OP A GRANDFATHER, [scotlaxd. 

information that the Laird of Johnstone was ad- 
vancing to its relief. He drew off frora the siege* 
marched towards his feudal enemy, and caused it 
to be published through his little army that he 
would give a << ten-pound land," that is, land rated 
in the ces8*books at that yearly amount, ** to any 
one who would bring him the head or hand of the 
Laird of Johnstone." When this was reported to 
Johnstone, he said he had no ten-pound lands to 
offer, but that he would bestow a five-merk land 
upon the man who should bring him the head or 
hand of Lord Maxwell. 

The conflict took place close by the river Dryfe ' 
near Lochmaben, and is called the Battle of Dryfe 
Sands. It was managed by Johnstone with con- 
siderable military skill. He showed at first only a 
handful of horsemen, who made a hasty attack upon 

* [The Dryfe rises in the northern end of Button perish, and 
runs a course directly south about eleren miles ; passing through 
the parish of Dryfesdale for about three miles on the N. W. part» 
it empties itself into the Annan in a direct line between the 
market town of Lockerbie and the royal burgh of Lochmaben. 
It is said that in the year 1670, Dryfe swept away the original 
diurch and burying-ground then in the middle of the holm, now 
called the Sand Btd, In 1671, the late church and burial- 
ground was established at a small distance, upon the skirt of the 
present glebe, thought to be perfectly secure from the swellings 
<^ Dryfe ; but the water in process of time approached the new 
burying-ground, carrying a good deal of it away ; and threaten- 
ing the church itself, as if to rerify the old saying or prophecy 
of Thomas the Rhymer, 

" Let spades and shools do what they may, 
Dryfe will have Dry'sdale kirk away.** 

The parish church now stands upon an eminence at the north 
end of the town of Lockwhy,^ Statistical Account.^ 


Maxwell's army, and then retired in a manner which 
induced the enemy to consider them as defeated, 
and led them to pursue in disorder with loud ac- 
clamations of victory. The Maxwells and their 
confederates were thus exposed to a sudden and 
desperate charge from the main body of the John- 
stones and their allies^ who fell upon them while 
their ranks were broken, and compelled them to 
take to flight. The Maxwells and the confedera- 
ted barons suffered grievously in the retreat — 
many were overtaken in the streets of Lockerby, 
and cut down or slashed in the face by the pur- 
suers ; a kind of blow, which to this day is called 
in that country a '^ Lockerby lick.'' 

Maxwell himself, an elderly man and heavily 
armed, was borne down from his horse in the be* 
ginning of the conflict ; and, 219 he named his name 
and offeared to surrender, his right hand, whidi he 
stretched out for mercy, was cut from his body. 
Thus far history; but fimuly tradition adds the 
following circumstance: The Lady of Loekwby, 
who was besieged in her tower as afaready men- 
tioned, had witnessed from the battlements the 
approach of the Lmrd of Johnstone, and as soon as 
the enemy withdrew from the blodcade of the for- 
tress, had sent to the assistance of her chief the 
few servants who had assisted in the defence. 
After this she heard the tumult of battle, but as 
she could not from the toweer see the pkiee where 
it was fimght» she remained in an agony of sus- 
pcBMO^ nntO, as the noise seemed to pass away in 

286 TALES OP A GRANDFATHER. [scotlavs. 

a westerly direction, she ooidd endare the niioer- 
tainty no longer, but sallied out from the tower, 
with only one female attendant, to see how the 
day had gone. As a measare of precaution, she 
locked the strong oaken door and the iron-g^te 
with which a Border fortress was commonly secu- 
red, and knitting the large keys on a thong, took 
them with her, hanging on her arm. 

When the Lady of Lockerby entered on the 
field of battle, she found all the relics of a bloody 
fight ; the little valley was covered with slain men 
and horses, and broken armour, besides many 
wounded, who were incapable of further effort for 
saving themselves. Amongst others, she saw lying 
beneath a thorn-tree a tall, grey-haired, noble- 
looking man, arrayed in bright armour, but bare- 
headed, and bleeding to death from the loss of his 
right hand. He asked her for mercy and help 
with a faltering voice ; but the idea of deadly fead 
In that time and country closed all access to com- 
passion even in the female bosom. She saw before 
her only the enemy of her clan, and the cause of 
her father's captivity and death ; and raising the 
ponderous keys which she bore along with her, the 
Lady of Lockerby is commonly reported to have 
dashed out the brains of the vanquished Lord 

The battle of Dryfe Sands was remarkable as 
the last great dan battle fought on the Borders, 
and it led to the renewal of the strife betwixt the 
Maxwells and Johnstones, with every circumstance 


of ferocity which could add horror to civil war* 
The k8t distinguished act of the tragedy took 
place thug :-» 

The son of the slain Lord Maxwell invited Sii 
James Johnstone to a friendly conference, to which 
each chieftain engaged to bring one friend only. 
They met at a place called Auchmanhill, on the 
6th August, 1608, when the attendant of Lord 
MaxweU, after falling into bitter and reproachful 
language with Johnstone of Gunmanlie, who was 
in attendance on his chief, at length fired his pistol. 
Sir James Johnstone turning round to see what 
had happened. Lord Maxwell treacherously shot 
him through the back with a pistol charged with 
a brace of poisoned bullets. While the gallant old 
knight lay dying on the ground, Maxwell rode 
round him with the view of completing his crime, 
but Johnstone defended himself with his sword till 
strength and life failed him. 

This final catastrophe of such a succession of 
bloody acts of revenge, took place several years 
after the union of the crowns, and the consequences, 
so different from those which ensued on former 
occasions, show how effectually the King's autho- 
rity, and the power of enforcing the course of equal 
justice, had increased in consequence of that desi- 
rable event. You may observe, from the incidents 
mentioned, that in 1585, when Lord Maxwell 
assaulted and made prisoner the Laird of John* 
stone, then the King's warden, and acting in his 
name, and committed him to the captivity in which 
he died, James was totally unequal to the task of 

288 TALIS OF A ORAKDFATHBR. [soimjkn. 

vuidioitiiig his royal aatborit]^ and saw himself 
oempelled to reeeire Maxwell IbIo fiivoHr and 
trust, as if he had done nothing oontrwry to the 
laws. Nor was the royal authority more effeetaal 
in 1598, whea MaxweU, acting as royal warden, 
and having the King's banner displayed, was in 
his turn defeated and slain, in so melancholy and 
cruel a manner, at Dryfe Sands. On the contrary. 
Sir James Johnstone was not only pardoned, bvt 
restored to fiMremr and tmst by the King* But 
there was a conspicaoas diflerence in the coaee- 
quences of the murder which took place at Anoh- 
manhill in 1608. Lord Maxwell, finding no refoge 
in the Border coantry, was obliged to escape to 
France, where he resided for two or three years ; 
but afterwards venturing to return to Scotland, he 
was appreheaded in the wilds of Caithness, aod 
brought to trial at Ediabnrgh* James> desirous on 
this occasion to strike terror, by a salutary warnings, 
into the factious nobitity and disorderly Borderers, 
caused the criminal to be publicly beheaded on 21 el 
May, laid.^ 

Many instanoes might be added to show that 
the coarse of justice on the Border began, after the 
accession of Janses to the English throne, to flow 

1 [<' Huu," ityi Sir Waltw 8eott, « wm fbaHy aadMl by a 
nltttarj example of newenty, the * £oul debtte ' betwixt the Mitx- 
welli tnd Johnitonei, in the eourie of which each family loit two 
chiflAana; one dying of a broken heart, one in the field of bat* 
tie, one by a aeaaei n a t ion, and one by the aword of the «iaen«> 
tioner.**»i^ NbieM to the battadt of ** Lord MaxweWt Good 
Night,'* and ** Tht Ladt of Wanihrap," Border Mmtrday, 
Nmo JBdkkm, vol. il pp 188*158.] 

fMA9. xzxnx.] 8TATB OF THB 30RDBRS. 289 

with a le88 interrapted streamy even where men of 
rank and power were concerned. * 

The inferior dass of freebooters was treated 
with much less ceremony. Proclamations were 
made, that none of the inhabitants of either side of 
the Border (except noblemen and gentlemen of 
unsuspected character) should retain in their pos- 
session armour or weapons, offensive or defensive* 
or keep any horse above the value of fifty shillings. 
ParticnlMT clans, described as broken men, were 
especially forbid the use of weapons. The cele* 
brated dan of Armstrong had, on the very night 
in which Queen Elizabeth's death became public, 
concluding that a time of such misrule as that in 
which they had hitherto made their harvest was 
again approaching, and desirous of losing no time, 
made a fierce incursion into England, extending 
their ravages as far as Penrith, and done much 
mischief. But such a consequence had been fore- 
seen and provided against. A strong body of sol- 
diers, both English and Scots, swept along the 
Border, and severely punished the marauders, 
blowing up their fortresses with gunpowder, de- 
stroying their lands, and driving away their cattle 
and flocks. Several of the prindpal leaders were 
taken and executed at Carlisle. The Armstrongs 
appear never to have recovered their consequence 
after this severe chastisement ; nor are there many 
of this celebrated clan now to be found among the 
landholders of Liddesdale, where they once pos- 
sessed the whole district' 

* [For an Mcomit of the Afmstroogt, mo tin Bordor Mill* 
•treby. New edit. VoL i. pp. 392-406.] 


200 TALES OF A GRANDFATHER* [scotlaitii. 

The Graliamsy long the inhabitants of the De- 
bateable Land which was claimed boUi by England 
and Scotland, were still more severely dealt with. 
They were very brave and active Borderers at- 
tached to England, for which country, and parti- 
cnlarly in Edward VL's time, they had often done 
good service. But they were also very lawless 
plunderers, and their incorsions were as modi 
dreaded by the inhabitanto of Comberland as by 
those of the Scottish frontier. Thus their conduct 
was equally the subject of complaint on both aides 
of the Border ; and the poor Grahams, seeing no 
alternative, were compelled to sign a petition to the 
King, confessing themselves to be unfit persons to 
dwell in the country which they now inhabited, and 
praying that he would provide the means of trans- 
porting them elsewhere, where his paternal good- 
ness should assign them the means of subsistence. 
The whole clan, a very few individuals excepted, 
were thu« deprived of their lands and residences, 
and transported to the county of Ubter, in Ireland, 
where they were settled on lands which had been 
acquired from the conquered Irish. There is a list 
in existence, which shows the rate at which the 
county of Cumberland was taxed for the exporta^ 
tion of these poor Borderers, as if they had been 
so many bullocks.^ 

1 [See Enay on Border Antiqnitiet, antep vol. vii. pp. 86— 
134. '* The spaee betwixt the (waters oQ JEik and the Sark^*' 
■ays Pennant, ** bounded on the third tide by the nuireh dike, 
which crotset from one rirer to the other, seemi properly to be- 
long to Seotluid ; but havbg been diipvted by both erowni, was 

cUAf. xxxvu.] STATB OF THE BORDERS. 291 

Another efficient mode of getting rid of a war- 
like and disorderly population, who, though an ad- 
mirable defence of a country in time of war, mutt 
have been great scourges in time of the profoand 
peace to which the Border districts were consigned 
after the close of the English wars, was the levying 
a large body of soldiers to serve in foreign coun- 
tries. The love of military adventure had already 
carried one legion of Scots to serve the Dutch in 
their defence against the Spaniards, and they had 
done great service in the Low Countries, and par- 
ticularly at the battle of Mechline, in 1578 ; where, 
impatient of the heat of the weather, to the asto-* 
nisbment of both friends and enemies, the Scottish 
auxiliaries flung o£F their upper garments, and 
fought like furies in their shirts. The circumstance 
is pointed out in the plan of the battle, which is to 
be found in Strada's history,^ with the explanation, 
" Here the Scots fought naked." 

Buccleuch levied a large additional force from 
the Border, whose occupation in their native coun- 
try was gone for ever. These also distinguished 
themselves in the wars of the Low Countries. It 
may be supposed that very many of them perished 

styled the DAattabU Zand, In the reign of K. James VI. Sir 
Richard Graham, obtaining from the Earl of Cumberland (to 
whom it was granted by Queen Elisabeth) a lease of this tract, 
bought it from the needy monarch, and had interest enough to get 
it united to the county of Cumberland, it being indifferent to 
James, then in possesuon of both kingdoms, to which of them it 
was annexed." — Tour in Seoiiand, vol. ii. p. 82.] 

* [De Hello Belgieo. Of the Belgie War ; translated into Eng- 
lish by Sir Robert Stapleton. Folio. Lond. 1660.] 

292 TALES OF A GRANDFATHER. [scotlahd. 

in the field, and the descendants of others still sur- 
vive in the Netherlands and in Germany. 

In addition to the relief afforded by such an oat- 
let for a snperflaoas military popolation, whose 
numbers greatly exceeded what the land could hare 
supplied with food, and who, in fact, had only lived 
upon plunder, bonds were entered into by the men 
of substance and family on the Borders, not only 
obliging themselves to abstain from depredations, 
but to stand by each other in putting down and 
preventing such evil doings at the hand of others, 
and in making common cause against any clan, 
branch, or surname, who might take offence at any 
individual for acting in prosecution of this engage- 
ment. They engaged ako to the King and to each 
other, not only to seize and deliver to justice such 
thieves as should take refuge in their grounds, bat 
to discharge from thehr families or estates all per- 
sons, domestics, tenants, or others, who could be 
suspected of such offences, and to supply their plac^ 
with honest and peaceable subjects. I am possessed 
of such a bond, dated in the year 1612, and sub- 
scribed by about twenty landholder^ chiefly of the 
name of Scott. 

Finally, an unusually severe and keen prosecu- 
tion of all who were convicted, accused, or even 
suspected, of offence agidnst the peace of the Bor- 
der, was set on foot by George Home, Earl of 
Dunbar, James's able but not very scrupulous 
minister ;^ and these judicial measures were con- 

' [** A man of deep wit,** lajs Spotiwoode, *' of few words, 
and in hie Ifajestie'i semce no lest fiiithfal than fortunate. The 


ducted so severely as to give rise to the proyerb of 
Jeddart (or Jedburgh) jastice, by which it is said 
a criminal was hanged first and tried afterwards : 
the trath of which is affirmed by historians as a 
well-known fact, occurring in namerous instances. 

Cruel as these measures were, they tended to 
remedy a disease which seemed almost desperate. 
Rent, the very name of which had till that period 
scarcely been heard on the Border, began to be 
paid for property, and the proprietors of land turn- 
ed their thoughts to rural industry, instead of the 
arts of predatory warfare. But it was more than 
a century ere the country,. so long a harassed and 
disputed frontier, gained the undisturbed appear- 
ance of a civilized land. 

Before leaving the subject of the Borders, I 
ought to explain to you, that as the possession of 
the strong and important town of Berwick had been 
long and fiercely disputed between England and 
Scotland, and as the latter country had never sur- 
rendered or abandoned her claim to the place, 
though it had so long remained an English posses- 
sion, James, to avoid giving ofienceto either nation, 
left the question undecided ; and since the union 
of the Crowns the city is never spoken of as part 
of England or Scotland, but as the King's Good 
Town of Berwick-upon-Tweed ; and when a law 
is made for North and South Britain, without 
special and distinct mention of this ancient town, 
that law is of no force or avail within its precincts. 

most difficile afimirt he compassed without any noise, and never 
returned when he was employed without the work performed that 
he was sent to do.**^?. 516.] 

[ 294 ] 


Wild State of the Western Itlandt^-Suffocaiion by tmoke 
of the Inhabitants ofEigg in a Cave — Story of Allan-a^ 
Sop-^Dreadful Death by Thirst — Massacre of Low^ 
landers^ in Lewis and Harris — The Western Isles, er« 
cepting Skye and Lewis^ offered for Xr.800 to the Moor* 
guis of Htmtly, 

Thb Highlands and Western Islands were in no 
respect so much a£Pected by the union of the Crowns 
as the inhabitants of the Borders. The accession 
of James to the English throne was of little conse- 
quence to them, unless in so far as it rendered the 
King more powerful, and gave him the means of 
occasionally sending bodies of troops into their for- 
tresses to compel them to order ; and this was a 
measure of unusual rigour, which was but seldom 
resorted to. 

The Highland tribes, therefore, remained in the 
same state as before, using the same dress, wield- 
ing the same arms, divided into the same clans, each 
governed by its own patriarch, and living in all re- 
spects as their ancestors had lived for many cen- 
turies before them. Or if there were some marks 
of softened manners among those Gaelic tribes who 
resided on the munland, the inhabitants of the 

CBAP. zxxTiii.] TH£ WESTERN ISLES. 295 

Hebrides or Western Isles, adjacent to the coast of 
Scotland, are described to us as utterly barbarous. 
A historian of the period says, ** that the Highland- 
ers who dwell on the mainland, thongh sufficiently 
wild, show some shade of civilisation ; but those in 
the islands are without laws or morals, and totally 
destitute of religion and humanity.'' ^ Some stories 
of their fends are indeed preserved, which go far to 
support this general accusation. I will tell you 
one or two of them. 

The principal possessors of the Hebrides were 
originally of the name of MacDonald, the whole 
beingunderthe government of a succession of chiefs, 
who bore the name of Donald of the Isles, as we 
have already mentioned, and were possessed of au- 
thority almost independent of the King^ of Scot- 
land. But this great fannly becoming divided into 
two or three branches, other chiefs settled in some 
of the islands, and disputed the property of the 
originid proprietors. Thus, the MacLeods, a power- 
ful and numerous clan, who had extensive estates 
on the mainland, made themselves masters, at a 
very early period, of a great part of the large island 
of Skye, seized upon much of the Long Island, as 
the Isles of Lewis and Harris are called, and fought 
fiercely with the MacDonalds, and other tribes of 
the islands. The following is an example of the 
mode in which these feuds were conducted. 

* [," Insiilaiii oeddentales, immanitate barVati, feritate, ifnaTia, 
kziiria, superbia, deterrimi— Korninet agreates, sine legibw, 
rine moribus, sine urbinm cultu, ae prope omnia hnmanitatii et 
religionet ezpertea.*' — Johmtoni Hititaria, i^ud Laxmo, ▼. i 
p. 46.] 


About the aad of the sucte«ith centory, a boat, 
Menned by one or two of the MaeLeods, landed is 
Bigg, a mall island^ peq)ied by the MacDonalds. 
TlMy were at first hospitably reeeired ; bat baring 
been gniky of some raeiTility to the young women 
on the laland» it was so much resented by tbe in- 
habitants» that they tied the MacLeods hand and 
§o(Af and putting them on board of their own boat» 
towed it to sea, and set it adrif^ leariag the wretdi- 
ed men, bound as they were, to perish by famine^ 
or by the winds and waves, as cfaanee should de- 
termine. Bnt fiite so ordered it, that a boat be- 
Imiging to the Laird of MacLeod feH in with that 
which had the captives on board, and brought them 
in safety to the laird's eastle of Donvegan in Skye, 
ifhace they complained of the injury which they 
had sustained from the MacDonalds of Eiiggi, 
MacLeod, in a great rage, pot to sea with his gal- 
leys, manned by a large body of his people, which 
the men of Eigg could not entertain any rational 
hqra of resisting. Learning that their incensed 
enemy was approaching with superior forces, and 
deep vows of revenge, the inhabitants, who knew 
they had no mercy to expect at MacLeod's hands, 
resolved, as the best chanee of safety in their po wer» 
to conceal themselves in a large cavern on the sea- 

This place was particularly well calculated for 
that purpose. The entrance resembles that of a 
fox-earth, being an opening so small that a man 
cannot enter save by creeping on hands and knees. 
A rill of water falk from the top of the rock, and 


serves, or rather served at the period we speak of, 
wholly to conceal the aperture. A stranger, even 
when apprized of the existence of such a cave, 
would find the greatest difficulty in discovering the 
entrance. Within, the cavern rises to a g^eat height,^ 
and the floor is covered with white dry sand. It 
is extensive enough to contain a great ni|mber of 
people. The whole inhabitants of Eig^,* who, 
with their wives and families, amounted to nearly 
two hundred souls, took refuge within its precincts. 
MacLeod arrived with his armament, and landed 
on the island, but could discover no one on whom 
to wreak his vengeance — all was desert. The 
MacLeods destroyed the huts of the islanders, 
and plundered what property they could discover ; 
but the vengeance of the chieftain could not be 
satisfied with such petty injuries. He knew that 
the inhabitants must either have fled in their boats 
to one of the islands possessed by the MacDonalds, 
or that they must be concealed somewhere in Eigg. 
After making a strict but unsuccessful search for 
two days, MacLeod had appointed the third to 
leave his anchorage, when, in the grey of the 
morning, one of the seamen beheld from the deck 

' [" Uamba Fhraine (the cave of Francb), remarkable not only 
for its form, but also for the murder of the inhabitants of this 
island by Alistiar Crelocb, Laird of M'Leod. The entrance of 
this care is so small that a person must creep on four for about 
12 feet; it then becomes pretty capacious, its length being 213 
feet, breadth 22, and height 17 feet" — Statiitieal Aeeotmt, 
▼ol. zvii. p. 288.] 

s [The Rer. D. M'Lean, minister of Eigg* tays, " except- 
ing Uiree, who took other places of refuge, and a boat*8 crew 
then ir Glasgow.** — Ibid,'} 


of hit galley the figure of a man on the ielaad. \ 
Thtf was a spy whom the MaeDonalds, impatieat 
of their eonfinement in the carern, had improdentlf 
sent out to tee whether MacLeod had retired or 
no. The poor fellow, when he saw himself dit- 
corered, endeavoured, hy donhling, after the man- 
ner of f hare or fox, to obliterate the track of hb 
footsteps on the snow, and prevent its being dis- 
covered where he had reentered the cavern. Bat 
all the arts he coold ose were fruitless, the inva- 
ders again landed, and tracked him to the entrance 
of the den. 

MacLeod then summoned those who were with- 
in it, and called upon them to deliver up the indi- 
viduab who had maltreated his men, to be disposed 
of at his pleasure. The MacDonalds, still confi- 
dent in the strength of their fastness, which no 
assailant could enter but on hands and knees, re- 
fused to surrender their clansmen. 

MacLeod next commenced a dreadful work of 
indiscriminate vengeance. He caused his people, 
by means of a ditch cut above the top of the rock, 
to turn away the stream of water which fell over 
the entrance of the cavern. This being done, the 
MacLeods collected all the combustibles which 
could be found on the island, particularly turf and 
quantities of dry heather, piled them up against 
the aperture, and maintained an immense fire for 
many hours, until the smoke, penetrating into the 
inmost recesses of the cavern, stifled to death 
every creature within. There is no doubt of the 
truth of this story, drefulful as it is. The cavern 

/ • 

CHAr. uxTiu.] STORY OF ALLAN-A-SOP. 299 

U often visited by straDgers ; and I have myself 
Aeen the place where the bones of the mnrdered 
MacDonalds still remain, lying as thick on the 
floor of the cave as in the charnel-house of a 

The MacLeanS) in like manner, a bold and hardy 
race, who, originally followers of the Lords of the 
Isles, had assumed independence, seized upon great 
part both of the isle of Mull and the still more 
valuable island of Hay, and made war on the Mac 
Donalds with various success. There is a story 
belonging to this clan, which I may tell you, as 
giving another striking picture of the manners of 
the Hebrideans. 

The chief of the dan, MacLean of Duart, in the 
isle of Mull, had an intrigue with a beautiful young 
woman of his own clan, who bore a son to him. In 
consequence of the child's being, by some accident, 
born on a heap of straw, he received the name of 
AUan-a-Sop, or Allan of the Straw, by which he 
was distinguished from others of his dan. As his 
father and mother were not married, Allan was of 

' ['* In the confined air of ihii care the bones are still prettj 
fresh (1796), some €if the skulls entire, and the teeth in their 
sockets. Abore 40 skulls hare been lately nnmbered here. It 
is probable a greater number was destroyed, and that their neigh- 
bouring friends carried them off for burial in consecrated ground/* 
— Statutieal AeeomU, vol. zvii. p. 289. — In the journal of his 
Voyage to the Hebrides, August, 1814, Sir Walter Scott says, 
** I brought off, in spite of the prejudices of our sailors, a skull 
from among the numerous specimens of mortality which the 
cavern afforded. **~&e Note^ '• Z^W o/ the Islet,** Poetical 
Works, vol. X. pp. 822-4.] 

300 TALBS OF A GRANDFATHER, [scotlaitd. 

coarse a bast^, or natural son, and had no inhe- 
ritance to look for, save that which he might win 
for himself 

But the beauty of the bo3r's motiier having cap- 
tivated a man of rank in the elan, called MacLean 
of Torloisk, he married her, and took her to reside 
with him at his castle of Torloisk, situated on the 
shores of the sound, or small strait of the sea, 
which divides the smaller island of Ulva from that 
of Mull. Allan-a-Sop paid his mother frequent 
visits at her new residence, and she was naturally 
glad to see the poor boy, both from affection, and 
on account of his personal strength and beauty, 
which distinguished him above other youths of his 
age. But she was obliged to confer marks of her 
attachment on him as privately as she could, for 
Allan's visits were by no means so acceptable to 
her husband as to herself. Indeed, Torloisk liked 
so little to see the lad, that he determined to put 
some a£Eront on him, which should prevent his re- 
turning to the castle for some time. An opportu- 
nity for executing his purpose soon occurred. 

The lady one morning, looking from the win- 
dow, saw her son coming wandering down the hill, 
and hastened to put a girdle cake upon the fire» 
that he might have hot bread for breakfast. Some- 
thing called her out of the apartment after making 
this preparation, and her husband, entering at the 
same time, saw at once what she had been about, 
and determined to g^ve the boy such a reception as 
should disgust him for the future. He snatched 
the cake from the girdle, thrust it into his step- 


CHAF. xxxviu.] STOEY OF ALLAN-A-SOP. 301 

son's bands, which he forcibly closed on the scalding 
bread, saying, ^ Here, AUan — here is a cake which 
your mother has got ready for year breakfast.'' 
Allan's hands were severely bornt ; and, being a 
sharp-witted and prood boy, he resented this mark 
of his step-father's ill-will, and came not again to 

At this time the western seas were covered with 
the vessels of pirates^ who, not unlike the Sea-Kings 
of Denmark at an early period, sometimes settled 
and made conquests on the islands. Allan-a- Sop was 
young, strong, and brave to desperation. He entered 
as a mariner on board of one of these ships, and in 
process of time obtained the command, first of one 
galley^ then of a small flotilla, with which he sailed 
round the seas and collected considerable plunder, 
until his name became both feared and famous. 
At length he proposed to himself to pay a visit to 
his mother, whom he had not seen for many years ; 
and setting sail for th» purpose, he anchored one 
morning in the sound of Ulva, and in front of the 
house of Torloisk. His mother was dead, but his 
step-father, to whom he was now as much an ob- 
ject of fear as he had been formerly of aversion, 
hastened to the shore to receive Ms formidable 
step-son, with great affectation of kindness and in- 
terest in his prosperity ; while AUan-a-Sop, who, 
though very rough and hasty, does not appear to 
have been sullen or vindictive, seemed to take his 
kind reception in g^d part. 

The crafty old man succeeded so well, as he 
thought, in securing Allan's friendship, and oblite- 


rating all recollectioiis of the former affront put on 
him, that lie began to think it possible to eaqiloy 
his step-son in executing his own private reveng^e 
upon MaoQuarrie of Ulva,^ with whom, as was 
usual between such neighbours, he had some feud. 
With this purpose, he o£fered what he called the 
following good advice to his son-in-law : ^^ My 
dear Allan, yon have now wandered over the seas 
long enough; it is time you should have some 
footing upon land, a castle to protect yourself in 
winter, a village and cattle for your men, and a 
harbour to lay up your g^eys. Now, here is the 
island of Ulva, near at hand, which lies ready for 
your occupation, and it will cost you no trouble, 
save that of putting to death the present proprie- 
tor, the Laird of MacQuarrie, a useless old carle, 
who has cumbered the world long enough* 

Allan-a-Sop thanked his step-father for so happy 
a suggestion, which he declared he would put in 
execution forthwith. Accordingly, setting sail the 
next morning, he appeared before MacQuarrie's 
house an hour before noon. The old chief of 
Ulva was much alarmed at the menacing appari- 
tion of so many galleys, and his anxiety was not 
lessened by the news that they were commanded 
by the redoubted AUan-a-Sop. Having no effdc- 
tual means of resistance, MacQuarrie, who was a 
man of shrewd sense, saw no alternative save that 

* By an error unpardonable in one who bad read Botwell's 
tour to the Hebridet, and seen the late venerable Laird of Mac- 
Quarrie, the name of MacKinnon was inserted in the former 
editions. 18S0. 



of receiving the invaders, whatever might be their 
purpose, with all ontward demonstrations of joy 
and satisfaction ; the more especially as he recol- 
lected having taken some occasional notice of 
Allan during his early youth, which he now 
resolved to make the most of. Accordingly, Mac- 
Qnarrie caused immediate preparations to be made 
for a banquet as splendid as circumstances admit- 
ted, hastened down to the shore to meet the rover, 
and welcomed him to Ulva with such an appear- 
ance of sincerity, that the pirate found it impos- 
sible to pick any quarrel, which might afford a 
pretence for executing the violent purpose which 
he had been led to meditate. 

They feasted together the whole day ; and, in 
the evening, as AUan-a-Sop was about to retire to 
his ships, he thanked the laird for his hospitality, 
but remarked, with a sigh, that it had cost him 
very dear. ** How can that be," said MacQuarrie, 
^ when I bestowed this entertainment upon you in 
free good- will ?" — *^ It is true, my friend," replied 
the pirate, ** but then it has quite disconcerted the 
purpose for which I came hither ; which was to 
put you to death, my good firiend, and seise upon 
your house and island, and so settle myself in the 
world. It would have been very convenient for 
me this island of Ulva ; but your friendly recep- 
tion has rendered it impossible for me to execute 
my purpose : so that I must be a wanderer on the 
seas for some time longer.** Whatever MacQuar- 
rie felt at learning he had been so near to destruc- 
tion, he took care to show no emotion save surprise, 

304 TALES OF A GRANDFATHER, [scotlakd. 

and replied to his visitor, — ** My dear Allao, who 
was it that pat into yoar mind so unkind a purpose 
towards your old friend ; for I am sore it never 
arose from your own generous nature ? It must 
have been old Torloisk, who made such an indif- 
ferent husband to your mother, and such an on- 
Ariendly step-father to you when you were a 
helpless boy ; but now, when he sees you a bold 
and powerhil leader, he desires to make a quarrel 
betwixt you and those who were the friends of 
your youth. If you consider this matter rightly, 
Allan, you will see that the estate and harbour of 
Torloisk lie to the full as conveniently for you as 
those of Ulva, and that, if you are disposed (as is 
very natural) to make a settlement by force, it is 
much better it should be at the expense of the old 
churl, who never showed you kindness or counte- 
nance, than at that of a friend like me, who always 
loved and honoured you." 

Allan-a*Sop was struck with the justice of this 
reasoning; and the old offence of his scalded 
fingers was suddenly recalled to his mind. '* It is 
very true what you say, MacQuarne," he replied, 
*< and, besides, I have not forgotten what a hot 
breakfast my step-father treated me to one morn- 
ing. Farewell for the present; you shall soon 
hear news of me ^m the other side of the sound.'* 
Having sard thus much, the pirate got on board, 
and, commanding his men to omnoor the galleys, 
sailed back to Torloisk, and prepared to land in 
arms. MacLean hastened to meet him, in expec- 
tation to hear of the death of his enemy, Mac- 

CVAP. xxxniL] DBATfl BY THIRST* 905 

Qaarrie. Bat Allan greeted him in a very di£ferent 
manner from what he expected. '< You hoary old 
traitor," he said, ** yon instigated my simple good- 
nature to murder a better man than yourself! But 
have you forgotten how you scorched my fingers 
twenty years ago, with a burning cake ? The day 
is come that that breiJcfast must be paid for." So 
saying, he dashed out the old man's brains with a 
battle-axe, took possession of his castle and pro- 
perty, and established there a distinguished branch 
of the clan of MacLean. 

It is told of another of these western chiefs, who 
is said, upon the whole, to have been a kind and 
good-natured man, that he was subjected to re- 
peated risk and injury by the treachery of an 
ungrateful nephew, who attempted to surprise his 
castle, in order to put his unde to death, and 
obtain for himself the command of the tribe. Being 
detected on the first occasion, and brought before 
his unde as a prisoner, the chief dbmissed him 
unharmed ; with a warning, however, not to repeat 
the ofience, since, if he did so, he would cause him 
to be put to a death so fearful that all Scotland 
should ring with it. The wicked young man per- 
serered, and renewed his attempts against his 
unde's castle and life. Falling a second time into 
the hands of the offended chieftain, the prisoner 
had reason to term him as good as his word. He 
was confined in the pit, or dungeon of the castle, a 
deep dark vault, to which there was no access save 
through a hole in the roof. He was lef^ without 
food, till his appetite grew voracious ; the more so, 


I ^fW 


at he had reason to apprehead that it was uitended 
to starre him to death* Bat the Teogeanee of his 
nnole was of a more refined character. The atone 
which covered the aperture in the roof was liftedy 
and a quantity of salt beef let down to the prisoner, 
who doToored it eagerly. When he had glutted 
himself with this food, and expected to be siqpplied 
with liqnor, to quench the raging thirst which the 
diet had excited, a cup was slowly lowered down, 
which, when he eagerly grasped it, he found to be 
empty ! Then they rolled the stone on the open- 
ing in the vault, and left the captive to perish by 
thirst, the most dreadful of all deaths. 

Many similar stories could be told you of the 
wild wars of the islanders ; but these may suffice at 
present to give you some idea of the fiercenesa of 
their manners, the low value at which they hdd 
human life, the cruel manner in which wrongs were 
revenged, and the nnscrupulous violence by which 
property was acquired. 

The Hebrideans seem to have been accounted 
by King James a race whom it was impossible to 
subdue, conciliate, or improve by civilisation ; and 
the only remedy which occurred to him was to 
settle Lowlanders in the islands, and drive away 
or extirpate the people by whom they were inha- 
bited. For this purpose, the King authorized an 
association of many gentlemen in the county of 
Fife, then the wealthiest and most civilized part of 
Scotland, who undertook to make a settlement in 
the isles of Lewis and Harris. These undertakers, 
as they were called, levied money, assembled sol- 


diers, and manned a fleet, with which they landed 
on the Lewis, and effected a settlement at Storno- 
way in that country, as they would have done in 
establishing a colony on the desert shores of a dis- 
tant continent. 

At this time the property of the Lewis was dis- 
puted between the sons of Rory MacLeod, the last 
lord, who had two families by separate wives. 
The undertakers, finding the natives thus quar- 
relling among themselves, had little difficulty in 
building a small town and fortifying it ; and their 
enterprise in the beginning assumed a promising 
appearance. But the Lord of Kintail, chief of the 
numerous and powerful clan of MacKenzie, was 
little disposed to let this fair island fall into the 
possession of a company of Lowland adventurers. 
He had himself some views of obtaining it in the 
name of Torquil Connaldagh MacLeod, one of the 
Hebridean claimants, who was closely connected 
with the family of MacB^nzie, and disposed to act 
as his powerful ally desired. Thus privately en- 
couraged, the islanders united themselves against 
the undertakers ; and, after a war of various for- 
tune, attacked their camp of Stornoway, took it by 
storm, burnt the fort, slew many of them, and made 
the rest prisoners. They were not expelled, you 
may be sure, without bloodshed and massacre. 
Some of the old persons still alive in the Lewis, 
talk of a very old woman, living in their youth, 
who used to say, that she had held the light while 
her countrymen were cutting the throats of the 
Fife adventurers. 

308 TALES OF A GRANDFATHER, [scori^vo. 

A hdjf the wife of one of the principal gentle- 
men in Uie expedition, fled from Uie scene of vio- 
lence into a wild and pathless desert of rock and 
morass> called the Forest of Fannig. In this wil- 
derness she became the mother of a child. A 
Hebridean, who chanced to pass on one of the 
ponies of the country, saw the mother and infont 
in the act of perishing with cold, and being strock 
with the misery of their condition, contrired a 
strange manner of preserving them. He killed his 
pony, and opening its belly, and removing the en- 
trails, he pnt the new-bom infiint and the helpless 
mother into the inside of the carcass, to have the 
advantage of the warmth which this strange and 
shocking receptacle for some time afibrded. In 
this manner, Mrith or without assistance, he con- 
trived to bear them to some place of security, where 
the lady remained till she could get back in safety 
to her own country. 

The lady who experienced this remarkable 
deliverance, became afterwards, by a second mar- 
riage, the wife of a person of consequence and 
inflnence in Edinburgh, a judg^, I believe, of the 
Court of Session. One evening, while she looked 
out of the window of her house in the Canongate, 
just as a heavy storm was coming on, she heard a 
man in the Highland dress say in the Craelic lan- 
guage, to another with whom he was walking, 
** This would be a rough night for the forest of 
Fannig.** The lady's attention was immediately 
attracted by the name of a place which she had 
such awful reasons for remembering, and, on look- 


ing attentivelyat the man who spoke, she recognised 
her preserver. She called him into the house, re- 
ceived him in the most cordial manner, and finding 
that he was come from the Western Islands on 
some law business of great importance to his fa- 
mily, she interested her husband in his favour, by 
whose influence it was speedily and successfully 
settled ; and the Hebridean, loaded with kindness 
and presents, returned to his native island, with 
reason to congratulate himself on the humanity 
which he had shown in so singular a manner. 

After the surprise of their fort, and the massacre 
of the defenders, the Fife gentlemen tired of their 
undertaking; and the Lord of Kintail had the 
whole advantage of the dispute, for he contrived 
to get possession of the Lewis for himself, and 
transmitted it to his ftonily, with whom it still 

It appears, however, that King James did not 
utterly despair of improving the Hebrides, by 
means of colonization. It was supposed that the 
powerful Marquis of Huntly might have been able 
to acquire the property, and had wealth enough to 
pay the Crown something for the grant. The 
whole archipelago was offered to him, with the 
exception of Skye and Lewis, at the cheap price of 
ten thousand pounds Scots, or about L.800; but 
the marquis would not give more than half the 
sum demanded, for what he justly considered as 
merely a permission to conquer a sterile region, 
inhabited by a warlike race.^ 

> [To thtte eonditioDt, the marquis answers, " 1st, His lord* 



310 TALB8 OF A GRANDFATHER, [scotlava. 

Soch was the ineffectual result of the efibrts to 
introduce some civilisation into these islands. In 
the next chapter we shall show that the improre- 
roent of the Highlanders on the mainland was not 
much more satisfactory. 

ship offers to tak in hand the terrice and settlings of the haill 
north yles under his Majestie's obedience, except the Sky and 
Lewis, without a lieutenand, and that he shall put an end to that 
service be extirpation of the barbarotu people thairof, witkin the 
ipace of one year. Item, His lordship offers yearly to his Ma- 
jestie for the sud yles, L.400 Scots, viz. iii^ lb. for the Ust, and 
i^ lb. for the rest of the yles, nomine feudifirme ; and craves 
only ane suspension fra the payment for the space of ane year.' 
— Account of the Clan JtfocdloiiaU— Edin. 1819, 8vo, pf 


I 311 ] 


Contempt of the Htgkianders for the Arts of Peace'^ Story 
of Donald of the Hammer — Execution of the Laird of 
Macintosh by order of the Marchioness of Hunify-' 
Massacre of the Farquharsons — Race of the Trough'^ 
Execution of the Earl of Orkney • 

The sise and position of the Highlands of Scot- 
land rendered them much less susceptible of im- 
provement than the Border districts, which, far 
less extensive, and less difficult of access, were 
now placed between two civilised and peaceful 
countries, instead of being the frontier of two hos- 
tile lands. 

The Highlanders, on the contrary, continued 
the same series of wars among themselves, and 
incursions upon their Lowland neighbours, which 
bad dbtinguished them ever since the dawn of their 
history. Military adventure, in one form or other, 
was their delight as well as their employment, 
and all works of industry were oonsidered as un- 
worthy the dignity of a mountaineer. Even the 
necessary task of raising a scanty crop of barley, 
was assigned to the aged, and to the women and 
children. The men thought of nothing but hunt- 
ing and war. I wiU give you an account of a 
Highland diiefiain, in character and practice not 

312 TALBS OF A GRANDFATHER, [scotlakow 

very different from that of AUan-a-Sop, the He- 

The Stewarts, who inhabited the district of 
Appin, in the West Highlands, were a numerous 
and warlike ckn. Appin is the title of the chief 
of the dan. The second branch of the family 
was that of Invemahyle. The founder, a second 
son of the house of Appin, was called by the un- 
common epithet of Saioleach, or the Peaa^fiU, One 
of his neighbours was the Lord of DnnstafPnage, 
called Cailen Uaine, or Green Colin, from the 
green colour which predominated in his tartan. 
This Green Colin surprised the peaceful Laird of 
Invemahyle, assassinated him, burnt his house, and 
destroyed his whole family, excepting an infant 
at the breast. This infant did not owe its safety to 
the mercy of Green Colin, but to the activity and 
presence of mind of its nurse. Finding she could 
not escape the pursuit of that chiefs attendants, the 
faithful nurse determmed to provide for the safety 
of her foster-child, whose life she knew was aimed 
at, in the only manner which remuned. She there- 
fore hid the infant in a small fissure^ or cave, of a 
rock, and, as the only means she had of supplying 
him with subsistence, hung by a string round his 
neck a large piece of lard, in the faint hope that 
instinct might induce the child to employ it as a 
means of subsistence. The poor woman had only 
time to get a little way from the place where she 
had concealed her charge, when she was made pri- 
soner by the pursuers. As she denied any know* 
ledge where the child was, they dismissed her as 


a person of bo consequence, but not until they had 
kept her two or three days in close confinennent, 
menacing her with death unless she would discover 
what she had done with the infant. 

When she found herself at liberty and unob- 
served, she went to the hole in which she had con- 
cealed her charge, with little hope save of finding 
such relics as wolves, wild-cats, or birds of prey 
might have left after feasting upon its flesh, but 
still with the pious wish to consign the remains of 
her dauUf or foster-child, to some place of Chris- 
tian burial. But her joy and surprise were extreme 
to find the infant still alive and well, having lived 
during her absence by sucking the lard, which it 
had reduced to a very small morsel, scarce larger 
than a hazel nut. The delighted nurse made all 
haste to escape with her charge to the neighbouring 
district of Moidart, of which she was a native, being 
the wife of the smith of the clan of MacDonald, to 
whom that country belonged. The mother uf the 
infant thus miraculously rescued had also been a 
daughter of this tribe. 

To ensure the safety of her foster-child, the 
nurse persuaded her husband to bring it up as their 
own son. The smith, you must remark, of a High- 
land tribe, was a person of considerable consequence. 
His skill in forging armour and weapons was usually 
united with dexterity in using them, and with the 
strength of body which his profession required. If 
I recollect right, the smith usually ranked as third 
officer in the chief's household. The young Donald 
Stewart, as he grew up, was distinguished for great 

314 TALBS OF A GRANDFATHER. [scotlavd. 

personal strength. He became skilful in his foster- 
father's art, and so powerful, that he could, it is 
said, wield two fore-hammers, one in each hand, 
for hoars together. From this circamstance, he 
gained the name of Donuil nan Ord, that is, Donald 
of the Hammer, by which he was all his life dis- 

When he attained the age of twenty-one, 
Donald's foster-father, the smith, obserring' that 
his courage and enterprise equalled his personal 
strength, thought fit to discover to him the secret 
of his birth, the injuries which he had received from 
Green Colin of DunstafPnage, and the pretensions 
which he had to the property of Invemahayle, now 
in the possession of the man who had slain bis 
father, and usurped his inheritance. He condaded 
his discovery by presenting to his beloved foster- 
child his own six sons to be his followers and 
defenders for life and death, and his assistants in 
the recovery of his patrimony. 

Law of every description was unknown in the 
Highlands. Young Donald proceeded in his en- 
terprise by hostile measures. In addition to his 
six foster-brethren, he got some assistance from his 
mother's kindred, and levied among the old adhe- 
rents of his father, and his kinsmen of the house of 
Appin, such additional force, that he was able to 
give battle to €hreen Colin, whom he defeated and 
slew, regaining at the same time his father's house 
and estate of Invernahyle. This success had its 
dangers ; for it placed the young chief in feud with 
all the families of the powerful clan of Campbdl, 

CHAP, zzziz.] DONALD OF THE HAlfMBR. 315 

to which the slain Dunstaffnage belonged by alli- 
ance at least; for Green Colin and his ancestors 
had assumed the narae, and ranked themselves 
under the banner, of this formidable clan, although 
originally they were chieftains of a di£Ferent and 
independent race. The feud became more deadly, 
when, not satisfied with revenging himself on the 
immediate authors of his early misfortune, Donald 
made inroads on the Campbells in their own do- 
minions ; in evidence of which his historian quotes 
a verse to this purpose — 

*' Donald of the Smithy, Uie Son of the Hammer, 

Filled the banks of Lochawe with mouraiog and damoor." 

At length the powerful Earl of Argyle resented 
the repeated injuries which were o£Fered to his 
clansmen and kindred. The Stewarts of Appin 
refused to support their kinsman against an enemy 
, so formidable, and insisted that he should seek for 
peace with the earl. So that Donald, left to him- 
self, and sensible that he was unable to withstand 
the force which might be brought against him by 
this mighty chief, endeavoured to propitiate the 
earl's favour by placing himself in his hands. 

Stewart went, accordingly, with only a single 
attendant, towards Inverary, the castle of Argyle, 
and met with the earl himself at some distance in 
the open fields. Donald of the Hammer showed 
on tUs occasion that it was not fear which had in- 
duced him to this step. Being a man of ready wit, 
and a poet, which was an accomplishment high in 
the estimation of the Highlanders, he opened the 
conference with an extempore verse, which inti- 


mated a lort of defiancet rather like the lang^nage 
of a man that cared not what might befall him, than 
one who craved mercy or asked forgivenesa. 

** Son of dark Colin, thou dangerous earl, 
Small is the boon that I craTe at thy hand ; 

Enough, if in safety from bondage and peril. 
Thou Iet*st me return to my kindred and land.*' 

The earl was too generous to avdl himself of 
the advantage which Invernahyle's confidence had 
a£Forded him, bnt he conld not abstain from main- 
taining the conversation thus begun, in a gibing 
tone. Donuil nan Ord was harsh-featnred, and had 
a custom, allied to his mode of education, and the 
haughtiness of his character, of throwing back hb 
head, and laughing loudly with his mouth wide 
open. In ridicule of this peculiarity, in which 
Donald had indulged repeatedly, Argyle, or one of 
his attendants, pointed out to his observation a rock 
in the neighbourhood, which bore a singular resem- 
blance to a human face, with a large mouth much 
thrown back, and open as if laughing a horse-laugh. 
** Do you see yonder crag ?" said the earl to 
Donald of the Hammer ; *' it is called Gaire 
Grandoy or the Ugly Laugh!* Donald felt the 
intended gibe, and as Argyle's lady was a hard- 
favoured and haughty woman, he replied, without 
hesitation, in a verse like the following: 

*< Ugly the sneer of yon cliff of the hill. 

Nature has stamp*d the grim laugh on the plaoe ; 

Would yon seek for a grimmer and uglier still, 
Yon will find it at home in your countess's fitee." 

Argyle took the raillery of Donald in good part, 
but would not make peace with him, until he agreed 


to make two creaghsy or inroads, one on Moidart^ 
and one on Athole. It seems probable that the 
purpose of Argyle was to engage his troublesome 
neighbour in a fend with other clans to whom he 
bore no good-will ; for whether he of the Hammer 
fell or was successful, the earl, in either event, 
would gain a certain advantage. Donald accepted 
peace with the Campbells on these terms. 

On his return home, Donald communicated to 
MacDonald of Moidart the engagement he had 
come under ; and that chieftain, his mother's kins- 
man and ally, concerted that Invernahayle and his 
band should plunder certain villages in Moidart, 
the inhabitants of which had o£Fended him, and on 
whom he desired chastisement should be inflicted. 
The incursion of Donald the Hammerer punished 
them to some purpose, and so far he fulfiUed his 
engagement to Argyle, without making an enemy 
of his own kinsman. With the Athole men, as 
more distant and unconnected with him, Donald 
stood on less ceremony, and made more than one 
successful creagh upon them. His name was now 
established as one of the most formidable marau- 
ders known in the Highlands, and a very bloody 
action which he sustuned against the family of 
the Grahams of Monteith, made him still more 

The Earls of Monteith, you must know, had a 
castle situated upon an island in the lake, or loch, 
as it is called, of the same name. But though this 
residence, which occupied almost the whole of the 
islet upon which its ruins still exist, was a strong 


and safe place of abode, and adapted accordingly 
to SQch perilous times, it had this inconvenience^ 
that the stables, cow-houses, poultry-yard, and 
other domestic offices, were necessarily separated 
from the castle, and situated on the mainland, as 
it would have been impossible to be constantly 
transporting the animals belonging to the esta- 
blishment, to and fro from the shore to the island. 
These offices, therefore, were constructed on the 
banks of the lake, and in some sort defenceless. 

It happened upon a time that there was to be a 
great entertainment in the castle, and a number of 
the Grahams were assembled. The occasion, it is 
said, was a marriage in the family. To prepare 
for this feast, much provision was got ready, and 
in particular a great deal of poultry had been col- 
lected. While the feast was preparing, an un 
happy chance brought Donald of the Hammer to 
the side of the lake, returning at the head of a 
band of hungry followers, whom he was conducting 
homewards to the West Highlands, after some of 
his usual excursions into Stirlingshire. Seeing so 
nmch good victuals ready, and being possessed of 
an excellent appetite, the Western Highlanders 
neither asked questions, nor waited for an invita- 
tion, but devoured all the provisions that had been 
prepared for the Grahams, and then went on their 
way rejoicing, through the difficult and dangerous 
path which leads from the banks of the Loch of 
Monteith, through the mountains, to the side of 
Loch Katrine. 

The Grahams were filled with the highest iodig- 


nation. No one in those fierce times was so con- 
temptible as an individual who would snfier him- 
self to be plundered without exacting satisfaction 
and revenge, and the loss of their dinner probably 
aggravated the sense of the insults entertained by 
the guests. The company who were assembled at 
the castle of Monteith, headed by the earl himself, 
hastily took to their boats, and, disembarking on 
the northren side of the lake, pursued with all 
speed the marauders and their leader. They 
came up with Donald's party in the gorge of a 
pass, near a rock, called Craig- Vad, or the Wolfs 
Cliff. Here the Grahams called, with loud insults, 
on the Appin men to stand, and one of them, in 
allusion to the execution which had been done 
amongst the poultry, exclaimed in verse — 

** They're brave gallants, these Appin men, 
To twist the throat of cock and hen ? " 

Donald instantly replied to the reproach — 

'* And if we be of Appin's line, 
We'll twist a goose's neck in thine." 

So saying, he shot the unlucky scoffer with an 
arrow. The battle then began, and was continued 
with much fury till night. The £arl of Mon- 
teith and many of his noble kinsmen fell, while 
Donald, favoured by darkness, escaped with a 
single attendant. The Grahams obtained, from 
the cause of the quarrel, the nickname of Gra- 
rooch an Garrigh, or Grahams of the Hens: al- 
though they certainly lost no honour in the en- 
counter, having fought like game-cocks. 

Donald of the Hammer was twice married. Hiii 

320 TALES OF A GRANDFATHER. [scotlakb. 

second marriage was highly displeasioj^ to his eld- 
est son, wliom he had by his first wife. This 
yoang man, whose name was Dancan, seems to 
have partaken rather of the disposition of his 
grandfather, Alister Saoilecushy or the Peacefol, 
than of the turbulent spirit of his father the Ham- 
merer. He quitted the family mansion in dis- 
pleasure at his father's second marriage, and went 
to a farm called Inverfalla, which his father had 
bestowed upon his nurse in reward for her eminent 
services. Duncan took up his abode with this 
valued connexion of the family, who was now in 
the extremity of old age, and amused himself with 
attempting to improve the cultivation of the 
farm ; a task which not only was considered as be- 
low the dignity of a Highland gentleman, bat even 
regarded as the last degree of degradation. 

The idea of his son's occupying himself with 
agricultural operations, struck so much shame and 
anger into the heart of Donald the Hammerer, that 
his resentment against him became ungovernable. 
At length, as he walked by his own side of the 
river, and looked towards Inverfalla, he saw, to his 
extreme displeasure, a number of men employed in 
digging and levelling the soil for some intended 
crop. Soon after, he had the additional mortifica- 
tion to see his son come out and mingle with the 
workmen, as if giving them directions ; and, finally, 
beheld him take the spade out of an awkward fel- 
low's hand, and dig a little himself, to show him 
how to use it. This last act of degeneracy drove 
the Hammerer frantic ; he seized a curragh, or boat 



covered with hides, which was near, jumped into 
it, and pushed across the stream, with tihe determina- 
tion of destroying the son, who had, in his opinion, 
brought such unutterable disgrace upon his family. 
The poor agriculturist, seeing his father approach 
in such haste, and having a shrewd guess of the 
nature of his parental intentions, fled into the house 
and hid himself. Donald followed with his drawn 
weapon ; but, deceived by passion and darkness, 
he plunged his sword into the body of one whom 
he saw lying on the bed-clothes. Instead of his 
son, for whom the blow was intended, it lighted on 
the old foster-mother, to whom he owed his life in 
infancy and education in youth, and slew her on 
the spot. After this misfortune, Donald became 
deeply affected with remorse; and giving up all 
his estates to his children, he retired to the Abbey 
of St Columbus, in lona, passed the remainder of 
his days as a monk, and died at the age of eighty- 

It may easily be believed, that there was little 
peace and quiet in a country abounding with such 
men as the Hammerer, who thought the practice of 
honest industry on the part of a gentleman was an 
act of degeneracy, for which nothing short of death 
was an adequate punishment; so that the disor- 
derly state of the Highlands was little short of that 

' [The subetanee of the preceding narratiye was first published 
ia Mr Robert Jameson's Introduction, pp. bdy-lxxYi, to his re- 
print of Burt's Ziettersfrom the North of Scotland ; 2 toIb* 8vo, 
1822 — <* From an Authentic Account of the Family of Inver- 
nahyle, a MS. communicated bj Sir Walter Scott, Bart, to Ihe 



of the Ides. Still» howerer, many of the prininpal 
chiefr attended oocaiionany at the eoort ci Seot- 
land ; othen were freqaendy obfiged to send their 
tons to he edoeated there, who were retained at 
hostages for the peaceable behaTioiir of the dan ; 
•o that by degrees they came to improre with the 
increasing cirilisation of the times. 

The anthority also of the great nobles, who held 
estates in or adjacent to the Highlands, was a means, 
though a rongh one, of making the district over 
which they exercised their power, submit, in a cer^ 
tain degree, to the occasional influence of the laws. 
It is true, that the great Earls of Handy, Argyle, 
Sutherland, and other noUes, did not enforce the 
Lowland institutions upon their Highland nissals 
out of mere seal for their civilisation, but rather 
because, by takmg care to secure the power of the 
sorereign and the laws on their own side, they 
could make the infraction of them by the smaller 
chiefe the pretext for brealdng down the independ- 
ent dans, and making them submit to theur own 

I will give you an example of the manner in 
which a noble lady diastised a Highland chief in 
the reign of James the Sbcth. The head of the 
House of Gordon, then Marquis of Huntly, was 
by hr the most powerfd lord in the northern coun- 
ties, and exercised great influence over the High- 
land dans who inhdl>ited the mountains of Bade- 
noch, which lay bdiind his extensive domains. 
One of the most ancient tribes situated in and near 
that district is that of Macintosh, a word which 


means Ckild of the Thsne, as they boast their des- 
cent from MacDafF, the celebrated Thane of Fife. 
This haughty race hairing fallen at variance with 
the Grordons, William Macintosh^ their chief, car- 
ried his enmity to so great a pitch, as to surprise 
and burn the castle of Auchindown, belonging to 
the Gordon family. The Marquis of Huntly vowed 
the severest vengeance. He moved against the 
Macintoshes with his own followers ; and he let 
loose upon the devoted tribe, all such neighbouring 
clans as would do any thing, as the old phrase was, 
for his love or for his fear. Macintosh, after a 
short struggle, found himself unequal to sustain the 
conflict, and saw that he must either behold his clan 
totally exterminated, or contrive some mode of 
pacifying Huntly^s resentment. The idea of the 
first alternative was not to be endured, and of the 
last he saw no chance, save by surrendering him- 
self into the power of the marquis, and thus per- 
sonally atoning for the offence which he had com- 
mitted. To perform this act of generous devotion 
with as much chance of safety as possible, he chose 
a time when the marquis himself was absent, and 
asking for the lady, whom he judged likely to prove 
less inexorable than her husband, he presented 
himself as the unhappy Laird of Macintosh, who 
came to deliver himself up to the Gordon, to answer 
for his burning of Auchindown, and only desired 
that Huntly woukl spare his elan. The marchio- 
ness, a stem and haughty woman, had shared deeply 
in her husband's resentment. She regarded Mac- 
intosh with a keen eye, as the hawk or eagle con- 

324 TALES OF A GRANDFATHER. [scotlavo. 

templates the prey within its clutch, and having 
spoken a word aside to her attendants, replied to 
the snppliant chief in this manner :— ** Macintosh, 
you have offended the Grordon so deeply, that 
Huntly has sworn by his father's soul, that he wiU 
never pardon you, till he has brought your neck to 
the block.'' — *' I will stoop even to that haroiliation, 
to secure the safety of my father's house," said 
Macintosh. And as this interview passed in the 
kitchen of the castle at Bog of Gicht, he undid the 
collar of his doublet, and kneeling down before the 
huge block on which, in the rude hospitality of the 
time, the slain bullocks and sheep were broken up 
for use, he laid his neck upon it, expecting, doubt- 
less, that the lady would be satisfied with this token 
of unreserved submission. But the inexorable 
marchioness made a sign to the cook, who stepped 
forward with his hatchet raised, and struck Mac- 
Intosk's head from his body. 

Another story, and I will change the subject. 
It is also of the family of Gordon $ not that they 
were by any means more hard-hearted than other 
Scottish barons, who had feuds with the High- 
landers, but because it is the readiest which occurs 
to my recollection. The Farquharsons of Dee- 
side, a bold and warlike people, inhabiting the 
dales of Braemar, had taken offence at, and slain, 
a gentleman of consequence, named Crordon of 
Brackley. The Marquis of Huntly summoned 
his forces, to take a bloody vengeance for the death 
of a Grordon ; and that none of the guilty tribe 
might escape, communicated with the Laird of 


CHAP, xxxix.] HUNTLY AND GRANT. 325 

Grant, a very powerful chief, who was an ally of 
Huntly, and a relation, I believe, to the slain Baron 
of Brackley. They agreed, that, on a day appoint- 
ed. Grant, with his clan in arms, should occupy the 
upper end of the vale of Dee, and move from 
thence downwards, while the Gordons should 
ascend the river from beneath, each party killing, 
burning, and destroying, without mercy, whatever 
and whomever they found before them. A terri- 
ble massacre was made of the Farqnharsons, taken 
at unawares, and placed betwixt two enemies. 
Almost all the men and women of the race were 
slain, and when the day was done, Huntly found 
himself encumbered with about two hundred orphan 
children, whose parents had been killed. What be- 
came of them yon shall presently hear. 

About a year after this foray, the Laird of Grant 
chanced to dine at the Marquis's castle. He was, 
of course, received with kindness, and entertained 
with magnificence. After dinner was over, Huntly 
said to his guest, that he would show him some 
rare sport. Accordingly, he conducted Grant to 
a balcony, which, as was frequent in old mansions, 
overlooked the kitchen, perhaps to permit the lady 
to give an ^occasional eye to the operations there. 
The numerous servants of the marquis and his 
visitors had already dined, and Grant beheld the 
remains of the victuals which had furnished a 
plentiful meal, flung at random^ into a large trough, 
like that out of which swine feed. While Grant 
was wondering what this could mean, the master 
cook gave a signal with his silver whistle ; on which 

326 TALB8 OF A QRANDFATHBR. [scori^so. 

a halch, like that of a dog kennely was raised* and 
there rushed into the kitchen, some shridung^, some 
shoutingy sone yelling— not a pack of hounds^ 
which, in namh«r, noise, and tamiilt, they greatly 
resembled, but a huge mob of children, hdf naked, 
and totally wild in their manners, who threw them- 
selres on the eontents of the trough, and fought, 
struggled, bit, scratched, and clamoured, each to 
get the largest share. Grant was a man of hu- 
manity, and did not see in that degrading scene all 
the amusement which his noble host had intended 
to afibrd him. ** In the n^e of Heaven,** he said, 
" who are these unfortunate creatures that are fed 
like so many pigs?**— ^ They are the children of 
those Farquharsons whom we slew last year on 
Dee-side," answered Hundy. The laird feh more 
shocked than it would have been prudent or polite 
to express. ^ My lord," he said, ^ my sword helped 
to make these poor children orphans, and it is not 
fair that your lordship should be burdened with all 
the expense of maintaining them. You hare sup- 
ported them for a year and day — allow me now 
to take them to Gastle-Ghrant, and keep them for 
the same period at my cost." Huntly was tired of 
the joke of the pig-trough, and willingly consented 
to hare the undisciplined rabble of children taken 
off his hands. He troubled himself no more about 
them ; and the Laurd of Grant, carrying them to 
his castle, had them dispersed among his clan, and 
brought up decently, giving them his own name of 
Grant; but it is said their descendants are still 
called the Race of the Trough, to distinguish them 


CHAr. xxxix.] EARL OF ORKNEY. 327 

from the families of the tribe into which they were 

I These are instances of the severe authority ex- 

' ercised by the great barons over Uieir Highland 

] neighbours lind vassak. Still that authority pro- 

' doced a regard to the laws, whidi they would not 

' otherwise have received. These mighty lords, 

' though possessed of great power in their jurisdic- 

' tiens, never effected entire independence, as had 

' been done by the old Lords of the Isles, who made 

' peace and war with England, without the consent 

' of the King of Scotland. On the contrary, Ar- 

gyle, Huntly, Murray, and others, always used at 
' least the pretext of the King's name and authority, 

and were, from habit and education, less apt to 
practise wild stretches of arbitrary power than the 
native chiefs of the Highlands. In proportion, 
therefore, as the influence of the nobles increased, 
the country i^proached more nearly to civilisa- 

It must not here be forgotten, that the increase 
of power acquired by the sovereign, in the person 
of James VI., had been felt severely by one of his 
great feudal lords, for exercising violence and op- 
pression, even in the most distant extremity of the 
empire. The Earl of Orkney, descended from a 
natural son of James V., and of course a cousin- 
german of the reigning monarch, had indulged 
himself in extravagant excesses of arbitrary autho- 
rity amongst the wild recesses of the Orkney and 
Zetland islands. He had also, it was alleged, shown 
some token of a wish to assume sovereign power, 


mod had omsed his natural son to defend the castJe 
of Kirkwall, by force of arms» against the King's 
troops. Mr Littlejohn is now something of a Xjatin 
^ scholar, and he will understand, that this ^picked 
Emtl of Orkney's ignorance of Uiat language ex- 
posed him to two disgraceful blunders* When he 
had built the great tower of Scalloway in Zet- 
land, he asked a clergyman for a motto, who sup- 
plied him with the following Latin words :^ 

" Cujut fanduneii Momm ett, domm Ola mandnt 
StabUia ; et coirtra, m nt arena, pent." 

The earl was highly pleased with this mottOy not 
understanding that the secret meaning impHed, 
that a house, raised by honourable and yirtoons 
means, was as durable as if founded upon a rock ; 
whereas one like his new castle of ScaJloway, con- 
structed by injustice and oppressive means, was 
like one founded on the faithless sands, and would 
soon perish. It is now a waste ruin, and bears 
the defiiced inscription as if prophetic of the event. 
A worse error was that which occurred in the 
motto over another castle on the island of Birsa, 
in Orkney, built by his father and repaired by him- 
self. Here he was pleased to inscribe his father's 
name and descent thus : — Robertus Stuartus, 
FiLius Jacobi quinti. Rex Scotorum, hoc 
Edificium Instruxit. Sic fuit, est, et erit. 
It was probably only the meaning of this inscrip- 
tion to intimate, that Earl Robert was the son of 
James V. King of Scotland, which was an unde- 
niable truth ; but putting Rex in the nominative 
instead of Regis, in the genitive, as the construction 


required) Ear) Patrick aeemed to atate that hit 
fatLer had been die King of Scotland, and was 
gravely charged with high tretaon for atserting 
such a propoaition. 

If thii waa rather a severe pnaiihinent for false 


•nch (error amoBg the aristocracy, as made eren 
those great lords, whose power lay 

^^ \6U^' ^^ ^^ ^^^ ^^^^"^ ^^ inaccessible 
places of Sootland, disposed to be 

amenable to the rojral authority. 

Having thus discussed the changes effected by 

the union of the crowns on the Borders, Higii- 

lands, and Isles, it remains to notice the efibcts 

produced in the Lowlandsy or more cirilised parts 

of the kingdom. 

332 TALES OF A GRANDFATHER, [scoti^vd 

tition for viiiting foreign parts. The celebrated 
Thirty Years' War, as it was called, was now 
raging in Grermany, and a large national brigade of 
* Scots was engaged in the service of Gastavus 
Adolphas, King of Sweden, one of the most soc- 
cessful generals of the age. Their total numbers 
may be guessed from those of the superior officers, 
which amounted to thirty-four colonels, and Gfty 
lieutenant-colonels. The similarity of the religion 
of the Scots with that of the Swedes, and some 
congenial resemblances betwixt the two nations, as 
well as the high fame of Gustavus, made most of 
the Scots prefer the service of Sweden ; but there 
were others who went into that of the Emperor of 
Austria, of France, of the Italian States, — ^in short, 
they were dispersed as soldiers throughout all 
Europe. It was not uncommon, when a party of 
Scots was mounting a breach, for them to hear 
some of the defenders call out in the Scottish 
language, " Come on, gentlemen ; this is not like 
gallanting it at the Cross of Edinburgh!" and 
thus learn that they were opposed to some of their 
countrymen engaged on the opposite side. The 
taste for foreign service was so universal, that 
young gentlemen of family, who wished to see the 
world, used to travel on the Continent from place 
to place, and from state to state, and defray their 
expenses by engaging for a few weeks or months 
in military service in the g^rison or guards of the 
state in which they made their temporary residence. 
It is but doing the Scots justice to say, that while 
thus acting as mercenary soldiers, they acquired a 

cH.r il] SCOTSMEN ABROAD. 333 

high character for courage, military skill, and » 
faithful adherence to their engagements.' The 
Scots regiments in the Swedish service were the 
first troops who employed platoon firing, by which 
they contributed greatly to aclueve the victory in 
the decisive battle of Lutsen.* 


if the boyer did not choose to take that trouble, lie 
molt wait till some pedlar, who earried his go€^ 
on horseback, in a small wain, or perhaps in a ptuk 
apon his shoulders, made his wandering joamej 
through the country. It has been made matter of 
ridicale against the Scots, that this traffic fell into 
their hands, as a frugal, patient, provident, and 
laborious people, possessing some share of educa- 
tion, which we shall presently see was now becom- 
ing general among them. Bat we cannot think 
that the business which required such attribates to 
succeed in it, could be dishonourable to those who 
pursued it ; and we believe that those Scots who, 
in honest commerce, supplied foreigners with the 
goods diey required, were at least as well employed 
as those who assisted them in killing each other.^ 

While the Scots thus continued to improve their 
condition by enterprise abroad, they gradually 

* [In the Fortunes of Nigel, King Jamef it introduced u 
Myiiig,.»*< It would be u unseemly for a packmrnn, or pedlar, me 
ye edU a traTelliBg-Bierehant, whOk it a trade to wliieh our natnre 
•ulijecti of Scotliuid are tpeoiaUy addicted, to be blanng hie 
genealogf in the facet of ihote to whom he telle a bawbee's 
worth of ribbon, at it would be to him to hare a beaver on his 
head, and a rapier by hit side» when the pack was on his shoal- 
ers. Na, na^-lhe hings his sword on the deek, lays his bearer 
on the shelf, puts his pedigree into his pocket, and gsngs ss 
doucely and cannily about his pedling craft at if hit blood wts 
nae better than ditch-water ; but let our pedlar be tranifiirmed, 
at I have kend it happen mair than aince, into a bein thriving* 
merchant, then ye thall have a trantformation, my ladt. 

• In nova Csrt animus motaCas dlcere format.' 
Out he pulls hit pedigree, on he bucUea his sword, gives his 
beafver a bmih, and eocks it in the face of all creation. *'«-Vol. iL 
p. 376.] 


936 TALES OF A ORANDFATHBR. [scotlakb. 

therefore, laws wbidi were awantiog to restrain 
violence, bat the regular and due execution of such 
at existed* An ancient Scottish statesman and 
judge, who was also a poet, has alluded to the 
means used to save the guilty from deserved pn- 
nishment. <* We are allowed some skill," he says, 
" in making good laws, but God knows how ill 
they are kept and enforced ; since a man accused 
of a crime will frequently appear at the bar of the 
court to which he is summoned, with such a com- 
pany of armed friends at his back, as if it were bis 
purpose to defy and intimidate both judge and 
jury." The interest of great men, moreover, ob- 
tained often by bribes, interposed between a crimi- 
nal and justice, and saved by court favour the life 
which was forfeited to the laws. 

James made great reformation in these particu- 
lars, as soon as his power, increased by the union 
of the two kingdoms, gave him the means of doing 
so. The laws, as we have seen in more cases than 
one, were enforced with greater severity ; and the 
assistance of powerful friends, nay, the interposi- 
tion of courtiers and favourites, was less successful 
in interfering with the course of justice, or obtain- 
ing remissions and pardons for condemned crimi- 
nals. Thus the wholesome terror of justice gpra- 
dually imposed a restraint on the general violence 
and disorder which had followed the civil wars of 
Scotland. Still, however, as the barons held, by 
means of their hereditary jurisdictions, the exclusive 
right to try and to punish such crimes as were com- 
mitted on their own estates ; and as they often did 

CHA^p. «..] STATE OF THE LAWS. 337 

not choose to do 80» either because the action had 
been committed by the barota's own direction ; or 
that the midefactor was a strong and active parti- 
san, of whose service ^e Iwd might have .need ; 
or because the judge and criminal stood in some 
degree of relationship to each other ; in all such 
cases, the culprit's escape from justice was a neces- 
sary consequence. Nevertheless, viewing Scot- 
land generally, the progress of public justice at the 
commencement of the seventeenth century was 
much purer, and less liable to interruption, than in 
former ages, and the disorders of the country were 
fewer in proportion. 

The law and its terrors had its effect in prevent* 
ing the frequency of crime ; but it could not have 
been in the power of mere human laws, and the 
punishments which they enacted, to eradicate from 
the national feelings the proneness to violence, and 
the thirst of revenge, which had been so long a 
general characteristic of the Scottish people. The 
heathenish and accursed custom of deadly feud, or 
the duty, as it was thought, of exacting blood for 
blood, and perpetuating a chance quarrel, by hand- 
ing it down to future generations, could only give 
place to those pure religious doctrines which teach 
men to practise, not the revenge, but the forgive- 
ness of injuries, as the only means of acquiring the 
favour of Heaven. 

The Presbyterian preachers, in throwing away 
the external pomp and ceremonial of religious wor- 
ship, had inculcated, in its place, the most severe 
observation of morality. It was objected to themi 


838 TALES or A GRANDFATHER. [socvniurv. 

indeed, that, as in their model of ehurch g^TMm« 
ment, the Scottish clergy claimed an nndoe influence 
oTer state affiurs, so, in their professions of doctrine 
and practice, they verged towards an ascetic system, 
in which too much weight was laid on yenial trans- 
gressions, and theopinions of other Christian chnrch- 
es were treated with too little liberality. But no 
one who considers their works, and their history, 
can deny to those respectable men the merit of prac- 
tising, in the most rigid extent, the strict doctrines 
of morality which they taught. They despised 
wealth, shunned even harmless pleasures, and ac- 
quired the love of their flocks, by attending to their 
temporal as well as spiritual diseases. They preach- 
ed what they themselves seriously believed, and 
they were believed because they spoke with all the 
earnestness of conviction. They spared neither ex- 
ample nor precept to improve the more ignorant of 
their hearers, and often endangered their own lives 
in attempting to put a stop to the feuds and frays 
which daUy occurred in their bounds. It is record- 
ed of a worthy clergyman, whose parish was pecu- 
liarly distracted by the brawls of the quarrelsome 
inhabitants, that he used constantly to wear a stout 
steel head-piece, which bore an odd appearance con- 
trasted with his clerical dress. The purpose was, 
that when he saw swords drawn in the street, which 
was almost daily, he might run between the com- 
batants, and thus separate them, with less risk of 
being killed by a chance blow. So that his ven- 
turous and dauntless humanity was perpetually 
placing his life in danger. 


The clergy of thai day were frequently respect- 
able from their birth and connexions, often from 
their learning, and at all times from their character. 
These qualities enabled them to interfere with ef- 
fecty even in the feuds of the barons and gentry ; 
and they often brought to milder and more peace- 
ful thoughts, men who would not have listened to 
any other intercessors. There is no doubt, that 
these good men, and the Christianity which they 
taught, were one of the principal means of correct- 
ing the furious temper and revengeful habits of the 
Scottish nation, in whose eyes bloodshed and deadly 
vengeance had been till then a virtue. 

Besides the precepts and examples of religion 
and morality, the encouragement of general infor- 
mation and knowledge is also an effectual mode of 
taming and subduing the wild habits of a military 
and barbarous people. For this also the Lowlands 
of Scotland were indebted to the Presbyterian mi- 

The Catholic clergy had been especially instru- 
mental in the foundation of three universities in 
Scotland, namely, those of Glasgow, St Andrews 
and Aberdeen ; but these places of education, from 
the very nature of their institutions, were only 
calculated for the education of students designed 
for the church, or of those youUis from among the 
higher classes of the laity, whom their parents de- 
sired should receive such information as might 
qualify them for lawyers and statesmen. The more 
noble view of the Reformed Church, was to extend 
the blessings of knowledge to the lower, at well 
H9 the higher classes of society. 

340 TALES OP A GRANDFATHER, [scotlavd. 

The pretchert of the Refonnalioii had appealed 
to the Scriptures m the mie of dieir doctrine, and 
it was their hononnihle and liberal wish, that the 
poorest, as well as the ridiest man, shoald ha^e an 
opportunity of judging, by his own perosal of the 
samd Tolnme, whether diey had interpreted the 
text tmly and faithfully. The inrention of print- 
ing had made the Scriptures accessible to every 
one, and the derg^ desired that the meanest peasant 
should be capable of reading them. John Knox, 
and other leaders of the Congregation, had, from 
the Tery era of the Reformation, pressed the doty 
of reserring from the confiscated revenues of the 
Romish Church the means of providing for the 
clergy with decency, and of establishing c^Ueges 
and schools for the education of youth ; but their 
wishes were for a long time disappointed by the 
avarice of the nobility and gentry, who were deter- 
mined to retain for their own use the spoils of the 
Catholic establishment, and by the stormy com- 
plexion of the times, in which litUe was regarded 
sare what belong^ to politics and war. 

At length the l^^islatore, chiefly by the influence 
of the clergy, was induced to authorize the noble 
enactment, which appoints a school to be kept in 
erery parish of Scotland, at a low rate of endow- 
ment indeed, but such as enables every poor man 
within the parish to procure for his children the 
knowledge of reading and writing ; and afibrds an 
opportunity for those individuals who show a deci- 
ded taste for learning, to obtain such progress in 
classical knowledge, as may fit them for college 


Studies. There can be no donbt that the opportn- 
nity a£Forded of procuring instruction thus easily, 
tended, in the course of a generation, greatly to 
civilize and humanize the character of the Scottish 
nation ; and it is equally certain, that this general 
access to useful knowledge, has not only given rise 
to the success of many men of genius, who other- 
wise would never have aspired above the humble 
rank in which they were born, but has raised the 
common people of Scotland in general, in know- 
ledge, sagacity, and intelligence, many degrees 
above those of most other countries. 

The Highlands and Islands did not share the 
influence of religion and education, which so es- 
sentially benefited their Lowland countrymen, 
owing to their speaking a language different from 
the rest of Scotland, as well as to the difficulty, o^ 
rather at that time the impossibility, of establishing 
churches or schools in such a remote country, and 
amongst natives of such wild manners. 

To the reign of James VI. it is only necessary 
to add, that in 1617 he revisited his ancient king- 
dom of Scotland, from the same instinct, as his 
Majesty was pleased to express it, which induces 
salmon, after they have visited the sea, to return to 
the river in which they have been bred. 

He was received with every appearance of af- 
fection by his Scottish subjects; and the only 
occasion of suspicion, doubt, or quarrel, betwixt the 
King and them, arose from the partiality he evin- 
ced to the form and ritual of the Church of Eng- 
land. The true Presbyterians groaned heavily at 

342 TALES OF A GRANDFATHER, [scotlav*. 

seeing choristers and singing boys arrayed in white 
*snrplices, and at hearing them chant the service of 
the Chorch of England ; and they were in despair 
when they saw his Majesty's private chapel adorned 
with pictures representing scriptural snbjects. All 
this, and erery thing like an established and pre- 
scribed form in prayer, in garb or decoration, was, 
in their idea, a greater or less approximation to the 
practices of the Chorch of Rome. This was, in- 
deed, mere prejudice, but it was a prejudice of 
little consequence in itself, and James ought to 
have rather respected than combated feelings con- 
nected with much that was both moral and religi- 
ous, and honoured the right which his Scottish 
subjects might justly claim to worship Grod after 
their own manner, and not according to the rnleis 
and ceremonies of a foreign country. His obsti- 
nacy on this point was, however, satisfied with 
carrying through the Articles of Perth, already 
mentioned, which were finally admitted in the year 
after his visit to Scotland. He left to his successor 
the task of endeavouring to accomplish a complete 
conformity, in ritual and doctrine, between the 
churches of South and North Britain — and very 
dear the attempt cost him. 

James died at Theobalds on the 27th March, 
1025, in the fifty-ninth year of his age, and the 
twenty-second after his accession to the throne of 
England. He was the least dignified and accom- 
plished of all his family ; but, at the same time, the 
most fortunate. Robert II., the first of the Stewart 
family, died, it is true, in peace ; but Robert III. 


iitd Hunk under the family loues whJcb he had 
Biutained; James I. was murdered; James II. 
killed hr the bursUnK of a cannon ; James III. 

344 TALES OP A GRANDFATHER. [tcoriJiii^. 

amoogit hit coottiiiportriM, and beqneadied as a proUem to Ib- 
Inr* bklarMBt. Ht was detply Uaraed, without powiaaiiig use- 
fal knowUd^ ; tagadout in manj indiTidual caaet, without hav- 
iBg raal wiadom ; fond of his power, and desirout to maintain and 
auguMot it» ytt willing to raaign ^e direction of that, and of 
hinaatf^ to the moat unworthy £iT0urite9 ; a big and boM aaeertor 
of his rights in words, yet one who tamely saw Uiem trampled on 
in deeds; a lorer of n^otiations, in whidihe wasahraya outwit- 
ted ; and one who feared war, when eonijuest m^ht have been 
easy. He was fond of his dignity, whUe he was perpetually de- 
grading it by undue familiari^ ; capable of much public labour, 
yet (tften Delecting it for Uie meanest amusement ; a wit, though 
a pedant ; and a adiolar, though fond of the conrersation of die 
ignorant and die unedncaUed. Even hk timidity of temper waa 
not uniform ; and there were momentB of his life, and those cri- 
tical, in which he showed the spirit of his ancestors. He was 
laborious in trifles, and a trifler where serious labour was requi- 
red ; deTout in his sentiments, and yet too ohiBn profime in his 
language ; joit and beneficent by nature, he yet gave way to the 
iniquitiea and <qppression of others. He wss penurious respect- 
ing money which he had to give from his own hands, yet incon- 
siderately and unboundedly profose ^ that which he did not aee. 
In a word, those good qualities which displayed themsdyes in par- 
ticular cases and occasions, were not of a nature suJQSciently firm 
and comprehensive to regulate his general conduct ; and, showing 
themselves as they occasionally did, only entitled Jamea to th« 
diavaoter beetowed on him by Sully— dtat be was the wisest fool 
m Oiristendom.**— iV^ vol. i. pp. 96-7.] 

t 34» ] 

346 TALES OF A GRANDFATHBR. [sootlamo. 

the intention to role hit people justly and merciful- 
ly, in place of enforcing the ancient feudal thraldom. 
Bnt, on the other hand, he entertained extravagant 
ideas of the regal power, feelings which, being pe- 
culiarly unsuitable to the times in which he lived, 
occasioned his own total ruin, and, for a time, that 
of his posterity. 

The English people had been now, for a century 
and more, relieved from the severe yoke of the 
nobles, and had forgotten how severely it had 
pressed upon their forefathers. What had galled 
them in the late reign, were the exactions of 
King James, who, to indulge his prodigal liberality 
to worthless favourites, had extorted from Parlia- 
ment large supplies, and having misapplied these, 
had endeavoured to obtain others in an indirect and 
illegal manner by granting to individuals, for sums 
of money, exclusive rights to sell certain commodi* 
ties, which the monopolist immediately raised to a 
high rate, and made a large fortune, while the 
King got little by the bribe which he had received, 
and the subjects suffered extremely by the price of 
articles, perhaps necessaries of life, being unduly 
advanced. Yet James, finding that a spirit of 
opposition had arisen within the House of Com- 
mons, and that pecuniary grants were obtained 
with difficulty, could not be induced to refrain 
from such indirect practices to obtain money from 
the people without the consent of their represen- 
tatives in Parliament. 

it was James's object also to support the royal 
power in the full authority, which, by gradual en* 


croachments, it had attained during the reign of 
the Tudors ; and he was disposed to talk high of 
his prerogative, for which he stated himself to be 
accountable to God alone ; whereas it was the just 
principle of the House of Commons, that the power 
of the King, like every other power in the consti- 
tution, was limited by the laws, and was liable to 
be legally resisted when it trespassed beyond them* 
Such were the disputes which James held with his 
subjects. His timidity prevented him from push- 
ing his claims to extremity, and although courtly 
divines and ambitious lawyers were ready to have 
proved, as they pretended, his absolute and inde- 
feasible right to obedience, even in unconstitution- 
al commands, he shrunk from the contest, and left 
to his son the inheritance of much discontent which 
his conduct had excited, but which did not imme- 
diately break out into a flame. 

Charles held the same opinions of his own rights 
as a monarch, which had been infused into him by 
his father's instructions, and he was obstinate and 
persevering where James had been timid and 
flexible. Arbitrary courts of justice, particularly 
one termed the Star-chamber, afibrded the King the 
means of punishing those who opposed themselves 
to the royal will ; but the violent exertion of au- 
thority only increased the sense of the evil, and a 
general discontent against the King's person and 
prerogative began to prevail throughout England. 

These menacing appearances were much in- 
creased by religious motives. The Church of 
England had been since the Reformation gradually 

348 TALKS OF ▲ ORANDFATHBR. [icotlakik 

dividing into two parties, one of which, warmly 
approved of by King Jahiet, and yet more keenly 
patronised by Charles, was pecoliarly attached to 
the rites and ceremonies of the church, the strict 
obsenranoe of particular forms of worship, and the 
nse of certain pontifical dresses when divine ser- 
vice was performed. A numerous party, called 
the Paritans, although they complied with the 
model of the Church of England, considered these 
peculiar rites and formalities, on which the High 
Charchmen, as the opposite party began to be call- 
ed, laid such stress, as remains of Popery* and 
things therefore to be abolished* 

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Land, a 
man of talents and learning, was devotedly at- 
tached to the High Church interest, and, coun- 
tenanced by Charles, he resolved to use all the 
powers, both of the civil and spiritual courts, to 
subdue the refiraotory spirit of the Puritans, and 
enforce their compliance with the ceremonies 
which he thought so essential to the well-being 
of the church. If men had been left to enter- 
tain calm and quiet thoughts on these points, 
they would in time have discovered, that, having 
chosen what was esteemed the most suitable rules 
for the national church, it would have been more 
wise and prudent to leave the consciences of the 
hearers to determine whether they would conform 
to them, or assemble for worship elsewhere. But 
prosecutions, fines, pillories, and imprisonments, 
employed to restrain religious opipions, only make 
thera bum the more fiercely ; and those who suh« 


mitted to tuch sofferinga with patience, rather 
th»n renonnce the doctriDea they had eiponaed, 
were conated aa martyrt, and followed accordingly. 
These diswoaioni in church and State continaed 
to agitate Elngland from year to year; bnt it was 


gentry of Scotland got grants of these tithes from 
the crown, engaging to take upon themselves tbe 
support of the clergy, whom they paid at as low a 
rate as posnible. Those nobles and gentry who 
held sncii gifts were called titolars of tithes, an- 
swering to the English phrase of impropriators. 
They used the privileges which they had acquired 
with great rigour. They would not suffer the 
fanner to lead a sheaf of com from the field until 
the tithe had been selected and removed, and in 
this way exercised their right with far more 
severity than had been done by the Roman 
Catholic derg^, who usually accepted a certain 
reasonable sum of money, as a modification or 
composition for their claim, and thus left the 
proprietor of the crop to manage it as he would, 
instead of actually taking the tithes in kind. But 
the titulars, as they used their privilege with 
rigour and to the utmost, were equally tenacious 
in retaining it. 

When assembled in Parliament, or, as it was 
termed, the Convention of Estates, the Scottish 
lords who were possessed of grants of tithes 
determined that, rather than yield to the revo- 
cation proposed by the Earl of Nithsdale, who was 
the royal commissioner, they wonld massacre him 
and his adherents in the face of the assembly. 
This purpose was so decidedly entertained, that 
Lord Belhaven, an old blind man, placed himself 
close to the Earl of Dumfries, a supporter of the 
intended revocation, and keeping hold of his 
neighbour with one hand, for which he apologised, 


CHAF.xu.] TITHES. 351 

as being necessary to enable him to support him- 
selfy he held in the other the hilt of a dagger con- 
cealed in his bosom, that, as soon as the general 
signal should be given, he might play his part in 
the tragedy by plunging it into Lord Dumfries's 
heart. Nithsdale, learning something of this des- 
perate resolution, gave the proposed measure of 
revocation up for the time, and returned to court. 

The King, however, was at length able, by the 
assistance of a convention of the clergy summoned 
together by the bishops, and by the general cla- 
mour of the land-owners, who complained of the 
rigorous exactions of the titulars, to obtain a 
partial surrender of the tithes into the power of 
the crown. The power of levying them in kind 
was suppressed ; the landholder was invested with 
a right to retain every season's tithe upon paying 
a modified sum, and to purchase the entire right 
from the titular (if he had the means to do so) at 
a rate of purchase restricted to seven years* rent. 

These alterations were attended with the great- 
est advantages to the country in process of time, 
but they were very oflFensive to the Scottish no- 
bility, whom they deprived of valuable rights at 
an inadequate price. 

Charles also made an attempt to Reverse some of 
the attainders which had taken place in his father's 
time, particularly that of Stewart, Earl of Both- 
well. Much of this turbulent nobleman's forfeited 
property had fallen to the lot of the Lords of Buc- 
cleuch and Cessford, who were compelled to sur- 
render a part of their spoils. These proceedings, 


as well at the reroeatton of the grants of tithes, 
highly irritated the Scottish nobility, and some 
wild proposals were held among them for deUiro- 
ning Charles, and placing the Marquis of Hamilton 
on tile throne. 

The only remarkable consequence of this in- 
trigfue, was a trial in the long forgotten Court of 
Chivalry, the last, it may be supposed, that will 
ever take place. Donald Lord Reay affirmed, that 
Mr David Ramsay had used certain treasonable 
expressions in his, the said Donald's, hearing. 
Both were summoned to appear before the High 
Constable of England. They appeared accordingly, 
in gre&t pomp, attended by their friends. 

*' Lord Reay," says an eyewitness, << was clothed 
in black velvet, embroidered with silver, carried his 
sword in a silver embroidered belt, and wore around 
his neck his badge as a Baronet of Nova Scotia. 
He was a tall, black, swarthy man, of a portly and 
stout demeanour.** The defender was next ushered 
in, a fair man, and having a head of ruddy hair so 
bushy and long, that he was usually termed Ramsay 
Redhead. He was dressed in scarlet so richly 
embroidered with gold, that the doth could scarcely 
be discerned, but he was totally unarmed. While 
they fixed tJi^ir eyes on each other sternly, the 
diarge was read, stating that Ramsay, the defend- 
ant, had urged him, Lord Reay, to engage in a con- 
spiracy for dethroning the King, and placing the 
Marquis of Hamilton upon the throne. He added, 
that iip Ramsay should deny this, he would prove 
him a villain and a traitor by dint of sword. Ram- 


say, for answer, called Reay ^* a liar and abarbar- 
oas villain, and protested he should die for it/* 
They exchanged gloves. After many delays, the 
Court named a day of combat, assignmg as the 
weapons to be used, a spear, a long sword, and a 
short sword or a dagger. The most minute cir- 
cumstances were arranged, and provision was even 
made at what time the parties might have the 
assistance of armourers and tailors, with hammers, 
nails, files, scissors, bodkins, needles, and thread. 
But now, when you are perhaps expecting, with 
curiosity, a tale of a bloody fight, I have to ac- 
quaint you that the King forbade the combat,^ and 
^e a£Pair was put to sleep. Times were greatly 
changed since the days when almost every species 
of accusation might be tried in this manner. 

Charles visited his native country of Scotland in 
1633, for the purpose of being crowned. He was 
received by the people at first with great apparent 
affection; but discontent arose on its being observed, 
that he omitted no opportunity of pressing, upon 
the bishops, who had hitherto only worn plain black 
gowns, the use of the more splendid vestments of 
the English Church. This alteration of habit 
grievously ofiended the Presbyterians, who saw in 
it a farther approximation to the Romish ritual ; ' 

> [See King Charles* letter to that effect, May 8, 1632, Bur- 
net's Memoirs of the Duke of Hamilton, p. 14.] 

' ['* The reception of Charles in Scotland was affectionate and 
sbcere. The nobility vied with the English in the most profuse 
hospitality, and in the ruinous consequence of their present waste, 
historians have discovered a cause of their future disquiet. The 
coronation was performed by the Archbishop of St Andrews, 


wlifle Aa nobilitj, rememberings that tbey liad been 
partly deprhred of their tithes, and timt their pos- 
senioo of the charch lands was in dang^, saw with 
great i^easmw the ohnoidons prektes, ibr whcMe 
sake the rerocation had been madey inenr the odina 
of the people at large. 

It was teft for Archbishop Land to bring aD tills 
slumbering discontent into actioti, by an attempt to 
introduce into the dirine serrioe of the Church of 
Scotland a Fortn of Commoii Prayer and Liturgy 
similar to that used in England. This, howey«r 
reasonable an institution in itself, was at variance 
with the character of Presbyterian worship, in 
which the dergymaii always addressed the Deity 
in extemporaneons prayer, and hi no preicnbed, or 
regular fbrm of words. King Jlrines himself, -when 
courting the fiiTOur of the Presbyterian parly, had 
called the English serrice an iU-mnmbled mass t 
forgetting that the objectioti to the mass applies^ 
not to the prayen, which must be exoelleint, since 
they are chiefly extracted from Scripture, but to 
the worship of the Eucharist, which Protestants 

bot m tploAdid tnd r^giout etremony wii rtnderad Ims impret* 
ore by th« introdaotieii of tn altar, and of unaceuttomed rites, 
vhieh the paople vitwed with abhorrence, and were unable to dia. 
criminate from the Romish masi. These innovationi were 
ascribed to Laud, a priest without private rices or public rirtaes, 
whose ascendency over Charles b^^an to be perceptible, and bis 
inteference in ecd^astica] transactions oftenriTe to the nafioo* 
It was observed at the coronation, that he displaced the Arch- 
bishop of Glasgow with the most indecent riolence from the King*s 
side, because that moderate prdate scrupled to officiate in tire 
embroidered habits prescribMl for his ordet.'''«^LAnro, voL i* 
pp. 100, 101.] 


think idc^atrons, and to the serrice heing in a 
foreigpi ktng^age. Neither of these objections 
applies to the English form of prayer ; but the ex- 
pression of the King was not forgotten, and he was 
reminded of it far more frequently than was agree- 
able to him. 

Upon the whole, this new and most obnoxious 
change in the form of public worship, throughout 
Scotland, where the nobility were known to be in 
a state of great discontent, was very ill-timed. 
Right or wrong, the people in general were pre- 
judiced against this innovation, in a matter so se- 
rious as the form of devotion ; and yet, such a change 
was to be attempted, without any other authority 
than that of the King and the bishops ; while both 
the Parliament, and a General Assembly of the 
Church of Scotland, had a right to be consulted in 
a matter so important. Nor is it less extraordi- 
nary that the Govemment seems to have been 
totally unprovided with any sufficient force to over- 
come the opposition which was most certain to take 

The rash and fatal experiment was made, 2dd 
July, 1637, in the High Church of St Giles, Edin- 
burgh, where the dean of the city prepared to read 
the new service before a numerous concourse of 
persons, none of whom seem to have been favour- 
ably disposed to its reception. As the reader of 
the prayers announced the Collect for the day, an 
old woman, named Jenny Greddes, who kept a green 
stall in the High Street, bawled out—" The deil 
colick in the wame of thee, thou false thief! dost 

356 TALB8 OF ▲ GRANDFATHER. [Scotland. 

thoa say the mats at my lag ?** With that she 
flong at the dean*8 head the stool upon which she 
had heen sitting» and a wild tumolt instantly com- 
menced. The women of lower condition [|insti- 
gated, it is said, by their superiors] flew at the dean, 
tore the surplice from his shoulders, and drove 
him out of the church.^ The Bishop of Edinburgh 
mounted the pulpit, but he was also assailed with 
missiles, and with vehement exclamations of ** A 
Pope! a Pope! Antichrist! pull him down, stone 
him I** while the windows were broken with stones 
flung by a disorderly multitude from without. 
This was not all: the prelates were assaulted in 
the street, and misused by the mob. The life of 
the bishop was with difficulty saved by Lord Rox- 
burghe, who carried him home in his carriage, sur- 
rounded by his retinue with drawn swords. 

This tumult, which has now something ludicrous 
in its details, was the signal for a general resistance 
to the reception of the Service-book throughout the 
whole country. The Privy Council of Scotland 

^ [" On the Sunda/ morning, when the bishop and his -dean 
in the great church, and the Bishop of Argjie in the Greyfriars, 
began to officiate, incontinent the serving-maids began such a 
tumult as was never heard of since the ReformatioD in our nation. 
However, no wound was given to any ; yet such were the contu- 
melies, in words, in clamours, runnings, and flinging of stones 
in the eyes of the magistrates, and chancellor himself, that a 
little opposition would have infallibly moved that enraged people 
to have rent sundry of the bishops in pieces. The day thereafter 
I had occasion to be in the town ; I found the people nothing 
settled I but if that service had been presented to them again, 
resolved to have done some mischief.** — Pkimcifal Baillii'i 
Letters, r. i. pp. 5, 6.] 


were lukewarm, or rather cold, in the cause. They 
wrote to Charles a detailed account of the tumults, 
and did not con ceal, that the opposition to the mea- 
sure was spreading far and wide. 

Charles was inflexible in his purpose, and so 
greatly incensed that he showed his displeasure 
even in trifles. It was the ancient custom, to have 
a fool, or jester, maintained at court, privileged to 
break his satirical jests at random. The post was 
then held by one Archie Armstrong, who, as he 
saw the Archbishop of Canterbury posting to court, 
in consequence of die mortifying tiding^ from Scot- 
land, could not help whispering in the prelate's ear 
the sly question, ** Who's fool now, my lord ?" 
For this jest, poor Archie, having been first severely 
whipped, was disgraced and dismissed from court, ^ 
where no fool has again been admitted, at least in 
an avowed and official capacity. 

But Archie was a more accessible object of 
punishment than the malecontents in Scotland. It 
was in vain that Charles sent down repeated and 
severe messages, blaming the Privy Council, the 
Magistrates, and all who did not punish the rioters, 
and enforce the reading of the Service-book. The 

* [" In more modern timet,*' sayt Sir Walter Soott, '* he 
might have found a court in which hit Tirtuea would have en- 
titled him to a lugher atation. He waa diamiiaed in disgrace in 
the year 1637« for hit insolent wit, of which the following may 
serve as a specimen. One day, when Archbishop Laud was just 
about to say grace before dinner, Archie bq^ed permission of the 
King to perform that office in his stead ; and having received it, 
said, ** All praise to God, and little Laud to tibe devil.*'— 
Border Mimtreiey, voL iv. p. 381.] 


rowtmce to ibe meware* whick wm at first temid- 
taoM» and the worii of the lower orders, had now 
at— led quality and eoMWtency. More than thirty 
peers, and a rerj great proportion of the gentry 
of Scotland, together wkh the greater part of the 
royal burghs, had, before the month of December, 
i^preed not merely to oppose the Serriee-book, bat 
to act together in resisting the farther intrasions 
of Prdacy. They were kept in anion and directed 
by representadves appointed iroHi among them- 
selres, and forming separato Committees, or, as 
they were termed. Tables or Boards of manage- 

Under the auspices of these Tables, or Commit- 
tees, a species of engagement, or declaration, was 
drawn up, the principal (4>ject of which was, the 
eradication of Prelacy in all its modifications, and 
the establishment of Presbytery on its purest and 
most simple basis. This engagement was called 
die National Covenant, as resembling those cove- 
nants which, in the Old Te^ament, God is said to 
hare made with the people of Israel. The terms 
of this memoraUe league professed the Reformed 
faith, and abjured the ntee and doctrines of the 
Romish Church, with which were classed the newly 
imposed Liturgy and Canons.^ This covenant, which 

I [<* The Utnrgy wu a transcript from the English, transposed 
or diversified widi some slight alterations. Unfortunately, in 
receding from the English senrice, these minute alterations ap- 
proached proportionably to the Romish missal. The communion- 
table, where the alms of the congregation were presented as an 
offertory, was decorated with a carpet and placed in the eMt. 
The presbyter, for the derivative appeBation of priest waa sup* 


had for its shjeet to amial all of prdatie innoYatiop 
that James's policy, and his son's violence, had been 
aUa to introdnce into the Presbyteriim Church, was 
sworn tp hj hundreds, thousands, and 
hundreds of thottsands, of every age and ^*\e38^ * 
description, vowing, with uplifted hands 
and weeping eyes, that, with the Divine assistance, 
they would dedicate life and fortune to maintain 
the object of their solemn engagem^at 

Undoubtedly, aatany persons who thus subscribed 
the National Covenant, did not seriously feel any 
apprehension that Prelacy would introdn^ Popery, 
or that the Book of Common Prayer was in itself 
a grievance which the people of Scotland did well 
or wisely to o^^ose; but they were convinced, 
that in thus forcing a matter of conscience upon a 
whole nation^ the King disregarded the right9 and 
liberties of his subjects, and foresaw, that if not 
now willistood, he was most likely to make himself 
abaoluto mast^ of their rights and privileges in 
secular as well as religious afiairs. They therefore 
joined in such measures a» procured a general re- 
sistance to the arbitrary power so rashly assumed 
by King Charles. 

Meim tiBEie, while the King negotiated and pro- 
crastinated, Scotland, though still declarii^ attach- 

pressed, passed successively in officiating at the eueharist, from 
the north side to the icont of this altar, with his back to the 
congregation. The conaecEatiop of the elements was a prayer 
ezprassive of the real presentee, and their elevation from the altar 
of an actual oblation. Thanks were given for departed saints, 
of whom the calendar received a large addition appropriated to 
Scodaad/'-^LAuio, wtA. i. pp. 1J{», Ua.] 

360 TALB8 OF A ORANDFATHBR. [scotlaitb. 

ment to his person, was nearly in a state of genend 

The CorenanterSy as they began to be called, 
held a General AssemUy of the Church, at which 
the Marqnis of Hamilton attended as Lord Com- 
missioner for the King. This important meeting 
was held at Glasgow. There all the 

1638. * i^cM^u^OB pointed at by the Corenant 
were carried fully into effect. Episco- 
pacy was abolished/ the existing bishops were de- 
prived of their power, and eight of them excom- 
municated for divers alleged irregularities. 

The Covenanters took arms to support these 
bold measures. They recalled to Scotland the 
numerous officers who had been trained in the wars 
of Germany, and committed the command of the 
whole to Alexander Lesley, a veteran general of 
skill and experience, who had possessed the friend- 
ship of Gustavus Adolphus. They soon made 
great progress ; for the castles of Edinburgh, Dal- 
keith, and other national fortresses, were treacher- 
ously surrendered to, or daringly surprised, by the 

King Charles, mean time, was preparing for the 
invasion of Scotland with a powerful army by 
land and sea. The fleet was commanded by the 
Marquis of Hamilton, who, unwilling to commence 
a civil war, or, as some supposed, not being on 
this occasion peculiarly lealous in the King's ser- 
vice, made no attempt to prosecute the enterprise. 
The fleet lay idle in the frith of Forth, while 
Charles in person, at the head of an army of 


twenty-three tlioiisand men, gallantly eqmpped by 
the English nobility, seemed as much determined 
upon the sabjngation of his ancient kingdom of 
Scotland, as ever any of the Edwards or Henrys 
of England had been. Bat the Scottish Cove- 
nanters showed the same determined spirit of 
resistance, which, displayed by their ancestors, 
had frustrated so many invasions, and it was 
now mingled with much political discretion. 

A great degree of military discipline had been 
introduced into the Scottish levies, considering 
how short time they had been on foot. They lay 
encamped on Dunse Law, a gently sloping hill, very 
favourable for a military display.^ Their camp 
was defended by forty field-pieces, and their army 
consisted of twenty-four or twenty-five thousand 
men. The highest Scottish nobles, as Arg^le, 
Rothes, Cassilis, Eglinton, Dalhousie, Lindsay, 
Loudoun, Balcarras, and others, acted as colonels; 
their captains were gentlemen of high rank and 
fortune ; and the inferior commissions were chiefly 
bestowed on veteran officers who had served 
abroad. The utmost order was observed in their 
camp, while the presence of numerous clergymen 
kept up the general enthusiasm, and seemed to 
give a religious character to the war.' 

' [Dnnie Law is a beautiful little bill, dote bjtbe town of tbe 
•ame name. It rises in a gradual ascent till it terminates in a 
plain of nearly tbirtj acres, and still bears on its broomy top 
marks of tbe encampment of tbe Covenanters.] 

' [" At tbe door of eacb captain's tent a new colour was dis- 
played, upon wbicb were tbe arms of Scotland, and in golden 
letters tbe words, < For Cbr»t*s Crown and CoTenant.' Tb« 

362 TALES OP A aRANDPATHBR. [scotlaks. 

In tUi erirify whm a dedshre battle wag to ha/re 
been esfeetedtOBlyonevmry slight action Cookplace, 
when a few English cavalry, retreating 
^^639** hastily,aad in disorderyfromastill smaller 
ttwnber of Scots, seemed to show that the 
inTaders had not their hearts engaged in the com- 
bat. The Kng was surrounded by many oomi- 
eellon» who had no interest to encourage tiie wmr ; 
and the whde body of English Puritans considered 
the resistance of Scotland as the triumph of the 
good cause over Popery and Prelacy. Charies a 
own courage seems to have failed him» at the idea 
of encountering a force so well provided, and so 
enthnsiastic, as that of the Covenanters, with a 
dispirited anny acting under divided coundls. A 
treaty was entered into, though of an insecure 
character. The King granted a declaration, in 
which, without confirming the acts of the Assem- 
bly <tf Glasgow, whidi he would not acknowledge 
as a lawful one, he agreed that all matters concern- 
ing the rogulation of church-government should 
be 1^ to a new Convocation of the Church. 

Such an agreement could not be lasting. Tlie 
Covenanting Lords did, indeed, disband their 

molt popular miiiitten, in militiu'y array, (liouglii exempted from 
all duty inconsUtent with their profession, frequented the camp ; 
aermonti calculated to animate and inflame, were regularly de- 
livered ; prayers were offered to God for the success of what wu 
styled his own cause ; the audience were assured that hitherto 
they had heen conduoted hy a divine hand; and from these reli- 
gious exensses they retired with that intrepid fortitude n^ch 
glowed ill the breaati of the martyrs for th9 truth.'*.— Dr Coos's 
Mtioty ffih4 Charch iff Scotland, y^l. 11 p. 485.] 



forces, and restore to the King's troops the strong 
places which they had occupied; hot ihey h^d 
themselves ready to take arms, and seize upon 
them again, on the slightest notice ; neither was 
the King able to introduce any considerable de- 
gree of disunion into so formidable a league. 

The General Assembly of Ihe Church, convened 
according to the treaty, failed not to confirm all 
that had been done by their predecessors at Glas- 
gow ; the National Cov^iant was renewed, and 
the whole conclusions of the body were in favour 
of pure and unmingled Presbytery. The Scottish 
Parliament, on their part, demanded several pri* 
vileges, necessary, it was said, to freedijm of 
debate, and required that the Estates of tbe king- 
dom should be convened at least once every three 
years. On receiving these demands, Charles 
thought he beheld a formed scheme for under- 
mining his royal authority, and prepared to renew 
the war. 

His determination involved, however, conse- 
quences more important than even the war with 
Scotland. His private economy had enabled the 
King to support, from the crown lands and other 
funds, independent of parliamentary grants, the 
ordinary expenses of the state, and he had been 
able even to sustain the charges of the first army 
ndsed to invade Scotland, without having recourse 
to the House of Commons. But his treasures were 
now exhausted, and st became indispensable to 
convoke a parliament, and obtain from the Com- 
mons a grant of money to support the war. The 

364 TALES OF A GRANDFATHER. [icotlakd. 

Parliament met, but were too mach occupied by 
their own grievances, to take an immediate interest 
in the Scottish war, which they onljr viewed as 
a£Farding a favourable opportunity for enforcing 
their own objects. They refused the supplies 
demanded. The King was obliged to dissolve 
them, and have recourse to the ud of Ireland, to 
the convocatioQ of the Church, to compulsory loans, 
and other indirect methods of raising money, so 
that his resources were exhausted by the effort. 

On hearing that the King was again collecting 

his army, and had placed himself at its head, the 

Parliament of Scotland resolved on re-assembUng 

theirs. It was done with such facility, and so 

speedily, tJiat it was plain they had been, during 

the short suspension of arms, occupied in preparing 

fiw a new rupture. They did not now wait till 

the King should invade Suotland, but boldly crossed 

the Tweed, entered England, and advancing to the 

banks of the Tyne, found Lord Conway posted at 

■M — V — _:.i, g[j( thonsandmen, having batteries 

I front, and prepared to dispute the 

i^rer. On 28th Aagust, 1640, the 

nm was fought. The Scots, after 

iillery by their superior fire, entered 

deep, and made their way across 

a English fled with a speed and dis- 

r of their national reputation. 

nrprised at this defeat, and justly 

I taMk of many who were in his 

his person, directed his forces tv 

orkshire, where he had arrived iu 


person ; and again, with more serious intentions of 
abiding by it, commenced a negotiation with his 
insurgent subjects. At the same time, to appease 
the growing discontent of the English nation, be 
resolved again to call a Parliament. There were, 
no doubt, in the royal camp, many persons to whom 
the presence of a Scottish army was acceptable, as 
serving to overawe the more violent royalists ; and 
the Scots were easily induced to protract their stay, 
when it was proposed to them to receive pay and 
provisions at the expense of England. 

The meeting of that celebrated body called, in 
English history, the Long Parliament, took place 
on 3d November, 1640. The majority of the mem- 
bers were disaffected with the King's government, 
on account of his severity in matters of religion, 
and his tendency to despotism in state affairs. 
Tkese malecontents formed a strong party, deter- 
mined to diminish the royal authority, and reduce, 
if not altogether to destroy, the hierarchy of the 
church. The negotiations for peace being trans- 
ferred from Ripponto London, the presence of the 
Scottish commissioners was highly acceptable to 
those statesmen who opposed the King ; and the 
preaching of the clergymen by whom they were 
accompanied, appeared equally instructive to the 
citizens of London and their wives. 

In this favourable situation, and completely suc- 
cessful over the royal will (for Charles I. could 
not propose to contend at once with the English 
Parliament and with the Scottish firmy), the pe- 
remptory demands of the Scots were neither light, 

Bor euily gratified. Thejrreqntred that the King 
thonld eoaSrm erery act of tiie Scottish Conren- 
tioD of Estates with which he had been at war, 
recall all the prodamations which he had sent out 
against them, place the fbrtresaea of Scotland in 
the bands of such officers as the CoDTention should 
i4>proTe of, pay all the expenses of the war, and, 
latt and bitterest, they itipnlated, that those of the 
King's counsellors who had adTised the late hosti- 
lities, should he punished as incendiaries. While 
the Scots were discossing these severe conditions, 
they remuned in their qnarten in England modi 
at their ease, OTOrawing hy their presence the 
King, and those who might he disposed to join 
him, and affording to the opposition party in the 
English Parliament an opportunity of obtaining 
redress for the grievances of which they, in their 
torn, complained. 

The King, thus circumstanced, was compelled 
to give way. The oppressive courts in which ar- 
bitrary proceedings had taken place, were abolish- 
ed ; every species of contrivaoce by which Charles 
had endeavoured to levy money without consent 
of Parliament, a subject on which the people of 
England were jngtly jealons, was declared unlaw- 
ful ; and it was provided, that Parliaments should 
be summoned every three years. 

Thus the power of the King was redoced within 
the boundaries of the constitution : but the Parlia- 
ment were not satisfied with this general redress 
of grievances, though including all that had hither- 
to been openly complained of. A strong party 


among the members was deteraiined to be satisfied 
with nothing short of the abolition of Episcopacy 
in England as well as in Scotland t and many, who 
did not aim at that faronrite point, entertained 
fears, that if the King were le^ in possession of 
stteh powers as the constitution allowed him, he 
wottld find means of re-establishing and perpetua- 
ting the grievances which, for the time, he had 
consented to abolish. 

Gratified with a donation of three hundred thou- 
sand pounds, g^ren under the delicate name of 
brotherly assistance, the Scottish army at length 
retired homeward, and left the King and Parlia- 
ment of England to settle their own afiiiirs. The 
troops had scarcely returned to Scotland and dis- 
banded, when Charles proposed to hunself a visit 
to his jiative kingdom. He arrived in Scotland on 
the 12th of August, 1641. There can be little 
doubt that the purpose of this royal progress was 
to enquire closely into the causes which had ena- 
bled the Scottish nation> usually divided into fac- 
tions and quarrels, to act with such unanimity, and 
to try whether it might not be possible for the 
King to attach to his royal interest and person 
some of the prinmpal leaders, and thus form a party 
who might not only prevent his English dominions 
from being again invaded by an army from Scot- 
land, but might be disposed to serve him, in case 
he should come to an open rupture with his English 
Parliament For this purpose he dispensed dig- 
nities and gifts in Scotland with an unsparing hand ; 
made General Lesley Earl of Leven, raised the 

868 TALES OF A GRANDFATHER. [scoti^amd. 

Lordi London and Lindsay to the same rank, and 
received into hb administration several nobles who 
had been active in the late invasion of England. 
On roost of these persons, the King's benefits pro- 
duced little effect. They considered him only as 
giving what, if he had dared, he would have with- 
held. But Charles made a convert to his interests 
of one nobleman, whose character and actions have 
rendered him a memorable person in Scottbh his- 

This was James Graham, Earl of Montrose ; a 
man of high genins, glowing with the ambition 
which prompts great actions, and conscious of cou- 
rage and talents which enabled him to aspire to 
much by small and inadequate means. He was a 
poet and a scholar, deeply skilled in the art of war, 
and possessed of a strength of constitutipn and 
activity of mind, by which he could sustain every 
hardship, and find a remedy in every reverse of 
fortune. It was remarked of him by Cardinal du 
Reti, an unquestionable judge, that he resembled 
more nearly than any man of his age those great 
heroes, whose names and history are handed down 
to us by the Greek and Roman historians. As a 
qualification to this high praise, it must be added, 
that Montrose's courage sometimes approached 
to rashness, and that some of his actions arose 
more from the dictates of private revenge, than 
became his nobler qualities. 

The young earl had attended the court of Charles 
when he came home from his travels, but not meet- 
ing with the attention or distinction which he was 

C9AP.ZLI.] MARQUIS OF MONTBX)$fi. . .. 369 

conscious of deserving, he withdrew into Scotland, 
and took a zealous share in forining and forwarding 
the National Corenant. A man of such talent could 
not fail to be employed and distinguished. Mon- 
trose was sent by the confederated lords of the 
Covenant to chastise the prelatlc town. of Aber- 
deen, and to disperse the Gordons, who were 
taking arms for the King under the Marquis of 
HnnUy, and succeeded in both commissions. When 
the army of the Scottish Parliament entered Eng- 
land, he was the first man who forded the Tweed. 
He passed alone under the fire of the English, to 
ascertain the depth of the water, and returned to 
lead over the regiment which he commanded. Not- 
withstanding these services to the cause of the 
Covenant, Montrose had the mortification to see 
that the Earl of Argyle (the ancient feudal enemy 
of his house) was preferred to him by the heads of 
the party, and chiefiy by the clergy. There was 
something in the fiery ambition, and unyielding 
purpose of Montrose, which startled inferior minds ; 
while Argyle, dark, close, and crafty — a man well 
qualified to afiect a complete devotion to the ends 
of others, when he was, in fact, bent on forwarding 
his own,^-^tooped lower to court popularity, and 
was more successful in gaining it. 

The King had long observed that Montrose was 
dbsatisfied with the party to which he had hitherto 
adhered^ and found no difficulty in engaging his 
services for the future in the royal cause. The 
noble convert set so actively about inducing others 
to follow his exaHiple, that even daring the course 

VOL. xxiu. 2 A 

374 TALX8 or A GRANDFATHIR. [tcorx^ 

olhMwiae» oertain lafiinnalkMi thmlfiTe of the lead* 
uig maberi of the Honte of Commons had been 
gvOty of holding toeh intimate oommonication with 
the ScoU when in armty at might authoriie a charge 
of high treaaon against them, he formed the hig^hly 
rash and colpable intention of going to the House 
of CoBUBons in person, with an armed tnun of at- 
tendants, and cansing the accnsed members to be 
arrested. By this ill-adrised measure, Charles 
Jsdbllsss expected to strihe terror into the oppo- 
site party; hot it proTed altogether ineffectaal. 
The ive measbers had receired private information 
of the blew to be aioned at them, and had fled into 
the CSty, where they Ibnnd numbers willing to 
conosal, or defend them. The King, by his visit 
to the Hottse of Coaunons, only showed that he 
cesdd sto^ to act ahnost in the capacity of a com- 
■wn csnstabig, or catApok ; and that he disregard- 
ed the respect dne to the representatives of the 
British people, in meditating such an arrest of their 
mcwbsn in the presence of that body. 

After ^is Tery rash step on the part of the King, 
every chance ai reconciliation seemed at an end. 
The Commons r^ected all amicable proposals, un- 
less the King wonld surrender to them, for a time 
al loast, the command of the militia or armed force 
of the kingdom ; and that would have been equiva- 
lent to laying his crown at their feet. The Bang 
reinaed to surrender the command of the militia, 
even lor an instant ; and both parties prepared to 
take up arms. Charles left London, where the 

cRir. xLi.] Charles's return to England. 371 

both. Bat as he did not feel that he possessed a 
party in Scotland strong enough to contend with 
the great majority of the nobles of that country, he 
judged it best to pass over all further notice of the 
Incident for the time, and to leare Scotland under 
the outward appearance at least of mutual concord. 
He was formally congpratulated on departing a con- 
tented king from a contented people— a state of 
things, which did not last long. 

It was, indeed, impossible that Scotland should 
remain long tranquil, while England, with whom 
she was now so closely connected, was in such dread- 
ful disorder. The King had no sooner returned 
from Scotland, than the quarrel betwixt him and 
his Parliament was renewed with more violence 
than ever. If either party could have reposed con- 
fidence in the other's sincerity, the concessions made 
by the King were such as ought to have gratified 
the Parliament. But the strongest suspicions were 
entertained by the prevailing party, that the King 
considered the grants which he had made, as hav- 
ing been extorted firom him by violence, and that 
he retained the steady purpose of reassuming, in 
its full extent, the obnoxious and arbitrary power 
of which he had been deprived for a season, but 
which he still considered as part of his royal right. 
They therefore resolved not to quit the ascendency 
which they had. attained, until they had deprived 
the King, for a season at least, of a large portion of 
his remaining prerogative, although bestowed on 
him by the constitution, that they might thus pre- 
vent his employing it for the recovery of those ar- 


bitntry privileges wlueh had been usurped by tbe 
tkroae during tbe retga •£ the Tudors. 

While the Parliamentary leaders argued thus, 
the Kingy on his nde, eonplained that no coaces- 
ftioB, however larg«v was found adequate to satisfy 
the deauuMls of bis diseoniented subjects. " He 
had already,'* he urged, ** resigned all the points 
which had been disputed between them, yet they 
continued as ill satisfied as before.^ On theoe 
grounds the partisans of the Crown were alarmed 
with the idea that it was the purpose of Parliament 
altogether to abrogate the royal authority, or at 
least to depose the reigpiing King. 

On the return of Gharies to London, the Pat- 
liament greeted him with a remonstrance, tn which 
he was upbraided with all the real and 
' supposed errers of his reign. At the same 
time, a genend disposition to tumult showed itself 
throughout the city. Great mobs of apprentices 
and citisens, not alwa]^ of the lowest rank, came in 
tumult to Westminster, under the pretence of peti- 
tioning the Houses of Parliament ; and as they 
passed Whitehall, they insulted, with loud shouts, 
the guards and servants of the King. The parties 
soon cane to blows, and blood was spilt between 

Party names, too, were assumed to distinguish 
the friends of the King from those who favoured 
the Parliament. The former were chiefly gay 
young men, who, according to the fashion of the 
times, wore showy dresses, and cultivated the 
growth of long hair, which, arranged in ringlets, 


fell over their sheolders. They were called Cava- 
liers. In distmction, those who adhered to the 
Parliament, assumed, in their garb and deportment, 
a serionsness and gravity which rejected all orna- 
ment. They wore their hair, in particular, crop- 
ped short around the head, and thence gained the 
name of Roundheads. 

But it was the difference in their ideas of reli- 
gion, or rather of church government, which chiefly 
widened the division betwixt the two partres. The 
King had been bred up to consider the preservation 
of the Church of England and her hierarchy, as a 
sacred point of his royal duty, since he was recog- 
nised by the constitution as its earthly head and 
superintendent. The Presbyterian system, on the 
contrary, was espoused by a large proportion of the 
Parliament ; and they were, ibr the time, seconded 
by the other numeroa» classes of Dissenters, all of 
whom desired to see the destruction of the Church 
of England, however unwilling they might be, in 
their secret mind, that a Presbyterian church go- 
vernment )shonld be set up in its stead. The ene- 
mies of the English hierarchy greatly predominat- 
ing within the Houses of Parliament, the lords 
spiritual, or bishops, were finally expelled from 
their seats in the House of Lords, and their remo- 
val was celebrated as a triumph by the London 

While matters were in this state, the King com- 
mitted a great imprudence. Having conceived that 
he had acquired from Montrose's discovery, or 

374 TALES OF A GRANDFATHER, [scotlans. 

Otherwise* certain information thatfiye of the lead* 
ing members of the Hoose of Commons had been 
guilty of holding such intimate communication with 
the Soots when in arms, as might authorize a charge 
of high treason against them, he formed the highly 
rash and culpable intention of going to the House 
of Commons in person, with an armed train of at- 
tendants, and causing the accused members to be 
arrested. By this ill-advised measure, Charles 
doubtless expected to strike terror into the oppo- 
site party; but it proved altogether ineflPectual. 
The five members had received private information 
of the blow to be aimed at them, and had fled into 
the City, where they found numbers willing to 
conceal, or. defend them. The King, by his visit 
to the House of Commons, only showed that he 
could stoop to act almost in the capacity of a com- 
mon constable, or catchpole ; and that he disregard- 
ed the respect due to the representatives of the 
British people, in meditating such an arrest of their 
members in the presence of that body. 

After this very rash step on the part of the King, 
every chance of reconciliation seemed at an end. 
The Commons rejected all amicable proposals, un- 
less the King would surrender to them, for a time 
at least, the command of the militia or armed force 
of the kingdom ; and that would have been equiva- 
lent to laying his crown at their feet. The King 
refused to surrender the command of the militia, 
even for an instant ; and both parties prepared to 
take up arms. Charles left London, where the 



power of the Parliament was predominant, assem- 
bled what friends he could gather at Nottingham* 
and hoisted the royal standard there, as the signal 
of civil war, on 25th Augfost, 1642. 

The hostilities which ensued, over almost all 
Cngland, were of a singular character. Long 
accustomed to peace, the English had but little 
knowledge of the art of war. The friends of the 
contending parties assembled their followers, and 
marched against each other, without much idea of 
taking strong positions, or availing themselves of 
able manoeuvres, but with the simple and down- 
right purpose of meeting, fighting with, and de- 
feating those who were in arms on the other side. 
These battles were contested with great manhood 
and gallantry, but with little military skill or dis- 
cipline. It was no uncommon thing, for one wing 
or division of the contending armies, when they 
found themselves victorious over the body opposed 
to them, to amuse themselves with chasing the 
vanquished party for leagues off the field of battle 
where the victory was in the mean while lost for 
want of their support. This repeatedly happened 
through the precipitation of the King's cavalry ; a 
fine body of men, consisting of the flower of the 
English nobility and gentry ; but as ungovernable 
as they were valorous, and usually commanded by 
Prince Rupert, the King's nephew, a young man 
of fiery courage, not gifted with prudence corres- 
ponding to his bravery and activity. 

In these unhappy civil contentions, the ancient 
nobility and gentry of England were chiefly du- 


posed to Che service of the King ; and the farmeni 
And enlttVBtors of the soil followed them as their 
natural leaders. The eanse of the Parfianent was 
supported by London, with dl its wealth and its 
numbers^ arid by the other targe towns^ seaports, 
and mamiftuitaring districts, threughont the coan- 
try. At die comnieneement of the war, the Par« 
Ttament, being in possession of most of the fortified 
places in England, with the magasines of arms and 
anmianition which they contained, baring alss 
numbers of men prepared to obey their sMimon^ 
and with power to raise large sums of money to 
pay them, seemed to possess great advantages over 
the party of Charles. But the gallantry of the 
King's foDowers was able to restore the balance, 
and proposals were made for peace on e<yiiai terms, 
which, had all parties been as sincere iit seeking it^ 
as the good and wise of each side certainly wer^ 
might then hate been ssrCisfactorily concluded. 

A treaty was set on foot at Oxford in the win- 
ter and spring of 1643^ and the Scottish Parlia- 
ment sent to England a committee of the persons 
employed as conservators of the peace between 
the kingdoms, to negotiate, if possible, a paeifica^ 
tion between the King and his Parliament^henoiir*- 
able for the crown, satisfactory for tiie liberty of 
the sufrject, and sectfre for both* But the King 
listened to the warmer and more passionate coun- 
sellors, who pointed out to him thait the Scots 
would, to a certainty, do their utmost to root oat 
Prelacy in any system of accommodation which 
they might assist in framing ; and that having, in 



fact, been the first who had set the example of a 
successfiil resistance to the Crown, they could not 
now be expected to act as friends to the King in 
any negotiation in which his prerogative was con- 
cerned. The result was, that the Scottish Com- 
missioners, finding themselveg treated with cold- 
ness by the King, and with menace and scorn by 
the more vehement of his followers, left Oxford 
still more displeased with the Royal cause than 
they were when they had come thither. 

C 378 ] 


A ScoHUh Amiy sent to auut that of the English Pariia^ 
ment'-Momtroie takes advantage of their absence^ and^ 
being joined by a Body of Irishmen, raises the Royal 
Standard in Scotland'^Battle of TUfbermuirt and Sur^ 
render of Perth-^Affair at the Bridge of Dee^ and Sack 
of Pcrth^- Close of the Campaign, 


In 1643, when the adyance of spring permitted 
the resumption of hostilities, it was found that the 
state of the King's party was decidedly superior 
to that of the Parliament, and it was generally be- 
lieved that the event of the War would be decided 
in the Royal favour, could the co-operation of the 
Scots be obtained. The King privately made 
great o£Fers to the Scottish nation, to induce them 
to declare in his favour, or at least remain neuter 
in the struggle. He called upon them to remem- 
ber that he had g^tified all their wishes, without 
exception, and reminded them that the late peace 
between England and Scotland provided, that 
neither country should declare war against the 
other without due provocation, and the consent of 
Ptirliament. But the members of the Scottish 
Tonvention of Estates were sensible, that if they 


should assist the King to conqner the English Par- 
liament, for imitating their own example of insur- 
rection, it would be naturally followed bj their 
undergoing punishment themselves for the lesson 
which they had taught the English. They feared 
for the Presbyterian system,— some of them, no 
doubt, feared for themselves,-— and all turned a 
deaf ear to the King's proposals. 

On the other hand, a deputation from Parlia*- 
ment pressed upon the Scottish Conyention another 
clause in the treaty of peace made in 1641, namely, 
that the Parliament of either country should send 
aid to each other to repel invasion or suppress 
internal disturbances. In compliance with this 
article, the English Commissioners desired the 
assistance of a body of Scottish auxiliaries. The 
country being at this time filled with disbanded 
officers and soldiers who were eager for employ- 
ment, the opportunity and the invitation were 
extremely tempting to them, for they remembered 
the free quarters and good pay which they had 
enjoyed while in England.' Nevertheless, the 

* [" For tbe 80uldi«ri tbeir part, they had been imployed in 
two former expiditionei, and wer now loytering at home (except 
aome few imployed againat the Iriah rebeUea), Uiese wer ready to 
6ght for ther wages, and never tpear (aak) the quanrell. Half- 
ane-croune to eat ther dinner* (as I was certanely informed by 
one that receaved it himself and is yet alyye) waa no contempt- 
able pay to a foot souldier. By this we may conjecture what the 
officers did make by ther pay and purchase, if they were cour- 
tours.** — MemorU of the SomtrvUlt, y. ii. p. 217. 

* ** I presume,** adds Sir Walter S«tott, " this i-xorbitaot considera- 
tion was paid by those on whom the military adventurers of Srotland 
were quartered when on the south of the Tweed. "^Nolr, iMdl 


leading membera of tbe Conrenticm of Estates 
were aware, that to embraee the party of the Piar- 
liament of England, and despatch to their assist- 
ance a large body of auxiliary forces sdected, as 
they must be, from their best levies, would 
necessarily expose their andiority in Scotland to 
considerable danger ; for the King's friends who 
had joined in the bond with Montrose, were men 
of power and influence, and, having the wilt, only 
waited for the opportunity, to act in his behalf; 
and might raise, perhaps, a formidable insurree- 
tion in Scotland itself, when relieved from the 
superiority of force which at present was so great 
on the side of the Convention. But the Ei^ish 
Gonunissioners held out a bait which the Conven- 
tion found it impossible to resist. 

From the success which the ruling party had 
experienced in establishing the Church of Scot- 
land on a Presbyterian* model, and from tlie great 
influence which the clergy had acquired in the 
councils of the nation by the late coarse of events, 
both the clergy and laity of Uiat persvasion had 
been induced to cherish the ambitious desire of 
totally destroying the hi^rarohy of the Churdi of 
England, and of introducing into that kingdom a 
form of church government on the Presbyterian 
model. To accomplish this favourite object, the 
leading Presbyterians in Scotland were willing to 
run every risk^ and to make every exertion. 

The Commissioners of England were most ready 
to join with this idea, so far as concerned the de- 
struction of Prelacy ; bat they knew that the 


English Parliament party were greatly diFided 
among themaelvefl on the propriety of substituting 
the Presbyterian system in its place. The whole 
body of Sectarians, or Independents, were totally 
opposed to the introduction of any national church 
government whatever, and were averse to that of 
Presbytery in particular, the Scottish clergy hav- 
ing, in their opinion, shown themselves disposed 
to be as absolute and intolerant in their church 
judicatories as the bishops had been while in 
power. But, with a crafty policy, the Commis- 
sioners conducted the negotiation in such a man- 
ner as to give the Scottish Convention reason to 
believe, that they would accomplish their favourite 
desire of seeing the system which they so much 
admired acknowledged and adopted in Ekigland, 
while, in fact, idiey bound their constituents, the 
English Parliament, to nothing specific on the 

The Commissioners proposed to join with the 
Scottish nation in a new edition of the Covenant, 
'which had before proved such a happy bond of 
union among the Scots themselves. In this new 
bond of religious association, which was called the 
Solemn League and Covenant, it was provided, 
that the church government of Scotland should be 
supported and maintained on its present footing ; 
but with regard to England, the agreement was 
expressed with studied ambiguity — ^the religious 
system of England, it was provided, should be 
reformed *< according to the word of €rod, and the 
example of the best reformed churches.*' The 

382 TALBS OF A GRANDFATHER. [scotlaits. 

Soott) nsnally more caatiofis in their transactionsy 
neyer allowed themselyes to doobt for a moment, 
that the role and example to be adopted under this 
clause must necessarily be that of Presbytery, and 
under this conviction, both the nobles and the 
clergy hastened with raptures, and even with tears 
of joy, to subscribe the proposed League. But 
several of the English Commissioners enjoyed in 
secret the reserved power of interpreting the clause 
otherwise^ and of explaining the phrase in a sense 
applicable to their own ideas of emancipation from 
church government of every kind. ' 

The Solemn League and Covenant was sworn 
to in Scotland with general acclamation, and was 
received and adopted by the English Parliament 
with the same applause, all discussion of the dubi- 
ous article being cautiously avoided. The Scots 
proceeded, with eager haste, to send to the assist- 
ance of the Parliament of England a well-disci- 
plined army of upwards of twenty thousand men, 
under the command of Alexander Lesley, Earl of 
Leven. An officer of character, named Baillie, was 
Leven's lieutenant, and David Lesley, a man of 
greater military talents than either, was his major- 
general. Their presence contributed greatly to a 

decisive victory which the Parliament 
^164/* forces gained at Marston Moor; and, 

indeed, as was to be expected from their 
numbers and discipline, quickly served to give that 
party the preponderance in the field. 

But while the Scottish auxiliaries were actively 
serving the common cause of the Parliament in 

CBAF. xui.] Montrose's plans. 983 

England, the coarageous and romantic enterprise 
of the Earl of Montrose, advanced by the King to 
the dignity of marquis, broke out m a train of 
success, which threatened to throw Soodaod itself 
into the hands of the King and his friends. This 
nobleman's bold genius, when the royalist party in 
Scotland seemed totally crushed and dispersed, de- 
vised the means of assembling them together, and 
of menacing the Convention of Estates with the 
destruction of their power at home, even at the 
moment when they hoped to establish the Presby- 
terian Church in both kingdoms, by the success of 
the army which they had despatched into England. 
After obtaining his liberation from imprisonment, 
Montrose had repaired to England, and suggested 
to the King a plan of operations to be executed by 
a body of Irish, to be despatched by the Earl of 
Antrim from the county of Ulster, and landed in 
the West Highlands. With these he 'proposed to 
unite a force collected from the Highland dans, 
who were disinclined to the Presb]rterian govern* 
ment, great enemies to the Marquis of Argyle, and 
attached to the Royal cause, because they regarded 
the King as a chieftain whose clan was in rebellion 
against him, and who, therefore, deserved the sup- 
port of every faithful mountaineer. The promise 
of pay, to which they had never been accustomed, 
and the certainty of booty, would, as Montrose 
judiciously calcidated, readily bring many chief- 
tains and clans to the Royal Standard. The 
powerful family of the Gordons, in Aberdeenshire, 
who, besides enjoying almost princely authority 


384 TAI,ES OF A GRANDFATHER, [scotlakii. 

over the niimeroafl gentlemen of their family, had 
exteaiive ii^nence among the mountain tribes in 
thetr neighbomrhood, or, in the Scottish phrase, 
'< ooald command a great Highland following,* 
might also be reckoned upon with certainty ; as 
they had been repeatedly in arms for the King, 
had not been put down without a stoat resistance, 
and were stall warmly disposed towards the Royal 
cause. The support of many of the nobility and 
gentry in the north, might also be regarded as 
probable^ should Montrose be able to collect a con- 
siderable force. The Episcopal establishment, so 
odious to the lords and barons of the southern and 
western parts of Scotland, was popular in the north. 
Th^ northern barons were displeased with the ex- 
treme strictness of the Presbyterian clergy, and 
dissatisfied with the power they had often assumed 
of interfering with the domestic arrangements of 
£ftmilie8, under pretext of maintaining moral disci- 
pline. Finally, there were in all parts of Scotland 
active and daring men disappointed of obtaining 
employment or preferment under the existing go- 
rernment, and therefore willing to join in any 
enterprise, however desperate, which promised a 

All this was known to the Convention of Es- 
tates ; but they had not fully estimated the magni- 
tude of the danger. Montrose's personal talents 
were, to a certaim extent, admitted ; but ordinary 
men were incapaUe of estimating such a character 
as his ; and he was generally esteemed a vain, 
though aUe youog man> whose remarkable ambi- 

CH^p. xLii.] CONrRAST OF TH£ AKMIES* 385 

lion was capable of urging him into rash and im- 
practicable undertakings. The great power of the 
Marquis of Argyle was relied upon as a sufficient 
safeguard against any attempt on the West High- 
lands, and hie numerous, brave, and powerful dan 
had long kept all the other tribes of tiiat oomitry 
in a species of awe, if not of subjection. 

But the character of the Highlanders was esti* 
mated according to a sort of calculation, which 
time had rendered very erroneous. In the former 
days of Scotland, when the Lowlands were tnha* 
bited by men as brave, and muck better armed and 
disciplined than the mountaiBeers, the latter kad 
indeed often shown themselves alert as light troops, 
unwearied in predatory excursions ; but had been 
generally, from their tumultuary charge, liable to 
defeat, either from a steady body of spearmen, who 
received their onset with lowered lances, or from 
an attack of the feudal chivalry of the Lowlands, 
completely armed and well mounted. At Harlaw, 
Corrichie, Glenlivat, and on many other occasions, 
the ii;regular forces of the Highlands had been 
defeated by an inferior number of their Lowland 

These reoolleetions nigkt lead the governors of 
Scotland, during the civil war, to hold a Highland 
army m low estimation. But, if such was then* 
opinion, it was adopted without considering that 
half a century of uainterrupted peace kad ren- 
dered the Lowlander much less warlike, while the 
Highbinder, wko always went armed, was famifiar 
with the use of the weapons which he oonttaotlY 

VOL. xxiu. 2 B 

386 TALKS OF A GRANDFATHER. [scotlahd. 

wore, and had a greater love for fighting than the 
Lowland peasant, who, called from the peaceful 
occQpations of the farm, and only prepared by a 
few days' drill, was less able to encounter the un- 
wonted dangers of a field of battle. The burghers, 
who made a formidable part of the array of the 
Scottish army in former times, were now still 
more un warlike than the peasant, being not only 
without skill in arms, and little accustomed to 
danger, but deficient also in the personal habits of 
exercise which the miitic had preserved. This 
gpreat and essential di£ference between the High- 
lander and Lowlander of modern days, could 
scarcely be estimated in the middle of the seven- 
teenth century, the causes by which it was brought 
about being gradual, and attracting little attention. 
Montrose's first plan was to coUect a body of 
royalist horse on the frontiers of England, to burst 
at once into the centre of Scotland at their head, 
and force his way to Stirling, where a body of 
cavaliers had promised to assemble and unite with 
him. The expedition was disconcerted by a sort 
of mutiny among the English horse who had 
joined him ; in consequence of which, Montrose 
disbanded his handful of followers, and exhorted 
them to make their way to the King, or to the 
nearest body of men in arms for the royal cause, 
while he himself adopted a new and more despe- 
rate plan. He took with him only two friends, and 
disguised himself as the groom of one of thenii 
whom he followed, ill mounted and worse dressed, 
and leading a spare horse. They called them 


selres gendemeii belonging to Leren's anny ; for, 
of course, if Montrose had been discovered by the 
Covenanting party, a rigorous captivity was the 
least be might expect At one time he seemed on 
the point of being detected. A straggling soldier 
passed his two companions, and coming up to Mon- 
trose; sainted him respectfully by his name and 
title. Montrose tried to persuade him that he was 
mistaken ; but the man persisted, though with the 
utmost respect and humility of deportment. << Do 
I not know my noble Lord of Montrose?" he 
said ; << But go your way, and God be with yon." 
The circumstance alarmed Montrose and his com- 
panions;* but the poor fellow was faithful, and 
never betrayed his old leader. 

In this disguise he reached the verge of the 
Highlands, and lay concealed in the house of his 
relation, Graham of Inchbraco, and -afterwards, for 
still greBtev safety, in an obscure hut on the High- 
land frontier, while he despatched spies in every 
direction, to bring him intelligence of the state of 
the Royalist party. Bad news came from all quar- 
ters. The Marquis of Huntly had taken arms 
hastily and imprudently, and had been defeated and 
compeUed to fly ; while Crordon of Haddow, the 
most active and gallant gentleman of the name, 
was made prisoner, and, to strike terror into the 
rest of the clan, was publicly executed by order of 
the Scottish Parliament. 

Montrose's spirit was not to be broken even by 
this disappointment ; and, while anxiously awaiting 
further intelligence, an indistinct rumour reached 


« ^ .^» % K«%.s ^iMMn from Ir^lniid had landed 
^ .^ m ^iNi ^iclMMMk iumI were wandering in tkte 
^K ijr^» Tx. Mii^wW and watched by Argyle with 
% >«**««^ MKT ef his dan. Shortly afiter, he learned, 
^ % <»W!L!Xnyr despatched on pniiMM^ thai tkia 
^i4K( «)w» yw w n i ae d body of aiixilian«6 $Mit to 
«tv«wi lister by the Earl of Antrim. Tlieir 
hiwkIw was Alaster MaoDonald> m Suttin^Iraib^ 
•MMW I briieTe» of the Antrim haeSkf, He wqik 
««IM OeU Kittoch, or Colkitto, ftom Ins beour 
Wft kandgd ; a rery brave and daring inan» femt 
Taki asd e pi n lo ^ ati Te, and wholly ignorant of regm- 
htt wwt&ie% J^fontrose sent orders to hiai to maRib 
wilb aU speed into the district of Athole, and dem^ 
IMtidied emissaries to raise the gentlemen of that 
inMinlry in arms* as tbey were generally well af- 
<«<ied to tbe King^s canse^ He himself set oot to 
jiom this littie band, attiied in an ordinary High- 
land girbi and acoompanied only by Incbbraeo as 
bis guide. The Irish were surprised and disap- 
pointed In see their expected general appear ao 
poorly dressed and attended ; nor had Meatroae 
Ipreater reason to congratulate hiflraelf on the ap- 
pearance of his army. The force wbidi was aflwm- 
bM did not exceed fifteen hundred Irish, inatend 
^ ibe dmosands pronrised, and these were baa 
indiMrnntly armed and appointed, while only n 
f^w ffigblanders finom Badenoeh were yet come t*" 
ibe appointed rendeiTous. 

Tbeae M^ve momitain warriors, howoTer, Hew 
•s tbey wero^ bad, n day or two before, come to 
biowa * wM tbe OeireQantars. Macpbersoa of 


Cluny, chief of his name, had sent out a party ot 
men, under MacPherson of Inrereshie, to look out 
for Montrose, who was anxiously expected in the 
Hig^hlands. They beheld the approach of a de- 
tached body of horse, which they concluded was 
the escort of their expected general. But when 
they drew nearer, the Macphersons found it to be 
several troops of the cavalry of the Covenanters, 
commanded by Colonel Henries, and quartered in 
Glencairn, for the purpose of keeping the High- 
landers in check. While the horsemen were 
advancing in formidable superiority of numbers, 
In vereshie, who was drawing up his Highlanders for 
action, observed one of them in the act of stooping ; 
and as he lifted his stick to strike him for such 
conduct in the fBce of the enemy, the Highlander 
arose, and proved to be MacPherson of Dalifour, 
one of the boldest men of the clan. Much sur- 
prised, In vereshie demanded how he, of all men, 
could think of stooping before an enemy. *^ I was 
only fastening a spur on the heel of my brogue," 
said Dalifour, with perfect composure. " A spur ! 
flnd for what purpose, at such a time and place as 
tiiis ? " asked Inver^shie. " I intend to have a good 
horse before the day is over,'' answered the clans- 
man with the same coolness. Dalifour kept his 
word ; for the Lowland horse, disconcerted by a 
smart fire, and the broken nature of the ground, 
being worsted in the first onset, he got possession 
of a charger, on which he followed the pursuit, and 
bronght in two prisoners. 

The report of this skirmish gave a good speci- 

390 TALES OF A GRANDFATHER, [scotlakd. 

nieQjto Montrose of the mettle of the mountaineers, 
whii^ the subsequent appearance of the A thole- 
men, eight hundred strong, and the enthusiastic 
shouts with which they received their general, soon 
gave confidence to the light-hearted Irishmen. 
Montrose instantly commenced his march upon 
Strathern, and crossed the Tay. He had scarce 
done so, whan he discovered on the hill of Bu- 
chanty a body of about four hundred men, who, he 
had the satisfaction to learn by his scouts, were 
commanded by two of his own particular friends. 
Lord Kilpont and Sir John Drummond. They 
had taken arms, on hearing that a body of Irish 
were traversing the country ; and learning that 
they were there under Montrose*s command, for 
the King's service, they immediately placed them- 
selves and their followers under his orders. 

Montrose received these succours in good time, 
for while Argyle pursued him with a large body 
(»f his adherents, who had followed the track of 
the Irish, Lord Elcho, the Earl of Tullibardine, 
and Lord Drummond, had collected an army of 
Lowlanders to protect the city of Perth, and to 
fight Montrose, in case he should descend from the 
hills. Montrose was aware, that such an enter- 
prise as he had undertaken could only be supported 
by an excess of activity and decision. He there- 
fore advanced upon the forces of Elcho, whom he 
found, on Ist September, 1644, drawn up in good 
order in a large plain called Tibbermuir, within 
three miles of Perth. They were nearly double 
Montrose's army in number, and much encouraged 


by numerous ministerB, who exhorted them to fight 
valiantly, and promised them certain yictory. 
They had cannon also, and cavalry, whereas Mon- 
trose had no artillery, and only three horses, in his 
army. After a skirmish with the cavalry of his 
opponents, who were beaten off, Montrose charged 
with the Highlanders, under a heavy fire from his 
Irish musketeers. They burst into the ranks of 
the enemy with irresistible fury, and compelled 
them to fly. Once broken, the superiority of num- 
bers became useless, as the means of supporting a 
main body by reserves was not then known or 
practised. The Covenanters* fled in the utmost 
terror and confusion, but the light-footed High- 
landers did great execution in the pursuit.^ Many 
honest burghers, distressed by the extraordinary 
speed which they were compelled to exert, broke 
their wind, and died in consequence. Montrose 
sustained little or no loss. 

The town of Perth surrendered, and for this act 
a long string of reasons were given, which are ra- 
ther amusingly stated in a letter from the mini- 
sters of that town ; but we have only space to 
mention a few of them. First, it is alleged, that 
out of Elcho's defeated army, only about twelve of 
the Fifeshire men offered themselves to the ma- 

* [Wishart says, *' Most of the cavalry saved themselves by 
the fleetness of their horses ; but there was a very great slaughter 
among the foot, the conquerors pursuing for about six or seven 
miles. The number of the slain was computed to be about two 
thousand, and many more were taken prisoners.**-— Afemotrt i^f 
Montrou, |>. 81.] 


g^strate9 in defenoe of the town, anarmed, and 
most of them were pot-valiant from liquor. Se- 
condly, it is affirmed, that the citizens had concealed 
themselves in cellars and vaults, where they lay 
panting in vain endeavours to recover the breath 
which they had wasted in their retreat, scarcely 
finding words enough to tell the provost '' that 
their hearts were away, and that they would fight 
no more though they should be killed.'' Thirdly, the 
letter states, that if the citizens had had the incli- 
nation to stand out, they had no means of resist- 
ance, most of them having flung away their weapons 
in their flight. Finally, the courage of the defend- 
ers was overpowered by the sight of the enemy, 
drawn up like so many hellhounds before the gates 
of the town, their hands deeply dyed in the blood 
recently shed, and demanding, with hideous cries, 
to be led to further slaughter.^ The magistrates 
perhaps deserve no blame, if they capitulated in 
such circumstances, to avoid the horrors of a storm. 
But their conduct shows, at the same time, how 
much the people of the Lowlands had degenerated 
in point of military courage. 

Perth consequently opened its gates to the victor. 
But Argyle, whose northern army had been aug- 

> [** The paper abore referred to, found among the Wodrov 
MSS. in the AdvocateB* Library of Edinburgh, had been given 
in either to the Parliament or the Committee of Estates, by 
Messrs John Robertson, and George Halyburton, ministers of 
Perth ; the latter of whom, in spite of all the Obvenanting fer- 
▼our displayed in that curious document, deserted his party at the 
Restoration, and was consecrated Bishop of Dunke^d ** — See it in 
The Scots Magazine for November, 1817.] 


mented by a considerable body of caralry, was now 
approaching with a force, against which Montrose 
could not pretend to defend an open town. He 
abandoned Perth, therefore, and marched into 
Angns-shire, hoping he might find adherents in 
that county. Accordingly, he was there joined by 
the old Earl of Air He and two of his sons, who 
never forsook him in success or disaster. 

This accession of strength was counterbalanced 
by a shocking event. There was a Highland gen> 
tleman in Montrose's camp, named James Stewart 
of Ardvoirlich, whose birth had been attended with 
some peculiar circumstances, which, though they 
lead me from my present subject, I cannot refrain 
from noticing. While his mother was pregnant, 
there came to the house of Ardvoirlich a band of 
outlaws, called Children of the Mist, Macgregors, 
some say, others call tliem Macdonalds of Ardna* 
murchan. They demanded food, and the lady 
caused bread and cheese to be placed on the table, 
and went into the kitchen to order a better meal Ut 
be made ready, such being the unvarying process 
of Highland hospitality. When the poor lady re- 
turned, she saw upon the table, with its mouth 
stuffed full of food, the bloody head of her brother, 
Drummond of Drummondernoch, whom the out- 
laws had met and murdered in the wood* The 
unhappy woman shrieked, ran wildly into the 
forest, where, notwithstanding strict search, she 
could not be found for many weeks. At length 
she was secured, but in a state of insanity, which 

394 lALKS OF A GKANJ>FATU£R. [scorLAMiv. 

doubtless was partly communicated to the infant of 
whom she was shortly after delivered. The lad» 
however, grew ap. He was an uncertain and 
dangerous character, but distinguished for his 
muscular strength, which was so gpreat, that he 
could, in grasping the hand of another person, 
force the blood from under the nails. This man 
was much favoured by the Lord Kilpont, whose 
accession to the King's party we lately mentioned ; 
indeed, he was admitted to share that young noble- 
man's tent and bed. It appears that Ardvoirlich 
had disapproved of the step which his friend had 
taken in joining Montrose, and that he had soli- 
cited the young lord to join him in deserting from 
the royal army, and, it is even said, in murdering 
the general. Lord Kilpont rejected these propo- 
sals with disdain ; when, either o£Fended at his 
expressions, or fearful of being exposed in his 
treacherous purpose, Ardvoirlich stabbed his con- 
fiding friend mortally with his dagger. He then 
kiUed the sentinel who kept g^ard on the tent, and 
escaped to the camp of Argyle, where he received 
preferment. Montrose was awaked by the tumult 
which this melancholy event excited in the camp, 
and rushing into the crowd of soldiers, had the 
unhappiness to see the bleeding corpse of his noble 
friend, thus basely and treacherously murdered 
The death of this young nobleman was a gpreat loss 
to the royal cause.^ 

' [This narrative forms the ground work of J%e Legend of 
Montrose, where, as in the text above, the AuUior had proceeded 


Montrose, so mach inferior in nambers to his 
raemies, could not well form any fixed plan of 
operations. He resolved to make up for this, by 
moving with the most extraordinary celerity from 
one part of the country to another, so as to strike 
severe blows where they were least expected, and 
take the chance of awakening the drooping spirit 
of the Royalists. He therefore marched suddenly 
on Aberdeen, to endeavour to arouse the Gordons 
^to arms, and defeat any body of Covenanters 
which might overawe the King's friends in that 
country. His army was now, however, greatly 
reduced in , numbers ; for the Highlanders, who 
bad no idea of serving for a whole campaign, had 
roost of them returned home to their own districts, 
to lodge their booty in safety, and get in their 
harvest. It was, on all occasions, the greatest 
inconvenience attending a Highland army, that 
after a battle, whether they won the day or lost 
it, they were certain to leave their standard in 
great numbers, and held it their undoubted right 
to do so ; insomuch, that a victory thinned their 
ranks as much 9A a defeat is apt to do those of 
other armies. It is true, that they could be ga- 
thered again with equal celerity ; but this humour, 
of deseiting at their pleasure, was a principal rea- 

upon the authority of Dr Wishart's Memoin of Montrose^ in 
relation to the murder of Lord Kilpont. After the publication of 
Tales of a Grandfather, Sir Walter Scott received from the 
present Robert Stewart of Ardvoirlich, a communication, of date 
Idth January, 1830t in which he impugns the statement of 
Wishart. — See Postscript^ Introduetkm to the Legend of 

396 TAI.BS OP A GRANDFATHER, [scotlanh, 

son why the brilliant riotories of Montrose were 
productive of few decided results.^ 

On reaching Aberdeen, Montrose hastened to 
take possession of the bridge of Dee, the principal 
Approach to that town, and having made good this 
important point, he found himself in front of an 
army commanded by Lord Burleigh. He had the 
mortification also to find, that part of a large body 
of horse in the Covenanting army were Gordons, 
who had been compelled to take arms in that 
cause by Lord Lewis Grordon, the third son of 
the Marquis of Huntly, a wild and wilful young 
man, whose politics differed from those of his 
father, and upon whom he had once committed a 
considerable robbery.^ 

>[" Even 80 late as the year 1746-6,*' s ys Sir Walter 
Scott, '' when the Chevalier Charles Edward, by way of making 
an example, caused a soldier to be shot for desertion, the High- 
landers who composed his army were affected as much by indig- 
nation as by fear. They could not conceive any principle of 
justice upon which a man*s life could be taken, for merely going 
home when it did not suit him to remain longer with the army. 
Such had been the uniform practice of their fathers. When a 
battle was over, the campaign wiu, in their opinion, ended ; if 
it was lost, they sought safety in their mountains — if won, they 
returned there to secure their booty. At other timet they had 
their cattle to look after, and their harvests to sow or reap, without 
which their families would have perished for want This circum- 
stance serves to show, even if history had not made us acquaint- 
ed with the same fact, that the Highlanders had never been ac- 
customed to make war with the view of permanent conquest, hut 
only with the hope of deriving temporary advantage, or deciding 
some immediate quarrel." — Legend of Mimtrost, chap, xv.j 

» [" About this time" (February 1641), says Spalding, <« Lewis 
Gordon, being with his father, the Lord Marquis of Huntly, at 
London, upon some alleged miscontentment, left his father's com- 
pany, without his knowledge, and to his great grief ; for ho nn« 


Finding Mmself gi^atiy inferior in borse, of 
which he had not fifty, Montrose interiaingled 
with his cavalry some o£ Jus moflketears, who^ for 
breath and speed, could keep up with the move* 
mentt of such horse as he possessed. The Gc»*- 
dons, not perhaps very fmvonrable to the side on 
which they ranked, made an ineffectual attack 
upon the hone of Montrose, which was repelled. 
And when the mingled musketeers and cavalry in 
their torn advanced on than. Lord Lewis's men 
fied, in spite of his own personal exertions ; and 
Montrose, we are informed, found it possible to 
move his handful of cavalry to the other wing of 
his army, and to encounter and defeat the horse 
of the Covenanters on boUi flanks sneoessTrely, 
with the same wearied party of riders. The ter- 
ror struck into his o[^>onents by the novelty of 
mixing musketeers with cavalry, contributed not 
a little to this extraordinary success. While this 
was passing, the two bodies of infantry cannonaded 
each other, for Montrose had in the field the guns 
which he took at Tibbermnir. The Covenanters 
had the superiority in this part of the action, but 
it did not damt the Royalists. The gaiety of an 

^fiscdy earrMdawiT vi^ln Uifatfaw'i haiU JMr^tia » enbimt, 
being of great worth, and to HoUand goes he, leaving his father 
lanimM for his bwd iiiia«arriiig«, wb^ aoio^it the Teet of hit 
jioMM, IwbilwvdlpBtaentlf totoffir, alliMM^hehadnotgrMt 
«tore iiwmiik lyisf bwide him at the tioMb ibr mainteaaooe of 
liit Bobie n^k.**-^ffutorp of Afte TroMtt, &«. 8vo» f. SSS. 
This Loid Uwia «fieriiw4i beoamt third JlarfaU «f Hiatly. 
and died in 1659 Wood, v. i. pp. €52, 6M.] 

398 TALBS OF A GRANDFATHER, [icotlavih 

Irishman, whose leg was shot off by a cannon- 
bally so that it hang only by a bit of skin, gare 
spirit to all around him^— << Go on," he cried, 
^ this bodes me promotion; as I am now dis- 
abled for the foot service, I am certain my lord 
the marqnis will make me a trooper." ^ Montrose 
left the coorage of his men no time to subside—he 
led them daringly up to the enemy's teeth, and 
succeeded in a desperate charge, routing the Co- 
venanters, and pursuing them into the town and 

through the streets. Stormed as it was 
^^^44^^^ by such a tumultuary army, Aberdeen 

and its inhabitants suffered greatly. 
Many were killed in the streets ; and the cruelty 
of the Irish in particular was so great, that they 
compelled the wretched citizens to strip themselves 
of their clothes before they killed them, to prevent 
their being soiled with blood I The women durst 
not lament their husbands or their fathers slaugh- 
tered in tlieir presence, nor inter the dead, which 
remained nnburied in the streets until the Irish 
departed. Montrose necessarily gave way to acts 
of pillage and cruelty, which he could not prevent, 
because he was unprovided with money to pay hb 
half-barbarous soldiery. Yet the town of Aber- 
deen had two reasons for expecting better treat- 

' [** So tayingf he took a knife from hie poeket, and with his 
own hand, cut asunder the skin without the imallest shrink or 
emotion, and delivered his 1^ to one of his companions to bur j 
it. Being recovered of his wound, he was afterwards actually 
made a trooper, and always behaved with great fidelity and cou- 
rage. ''—Wish art, pp. 90, 91.} 


ment: — First, that it had always inclined to the 
King's party ; and, secondly, that Montrose him- 
self had, when acting for the Covenanters, heen 
the agent in oppressing for its loyalty the very 
city which his troops were now plundering on the 
opposite score. 

Argyle always continued following Montrose 
with a superior army, but, it would appear, not 
with a very anxious desire to overtake him. With 
a degree of activity that seemed incredible, Mon- 
trose marched up the Spey, hoping still to raise 
the Gordons. But that clan too strongly resented 
his former conduct towards them, as General for 
the Covenant, besides being sore with recollections 
of their recent check at the Bridge of Dee ; and, 
on all these accounts, declined to join him. On the 
other hand, the men of Moray, who were very 
zealous against Montrose, appeared on the northern 
bank of the Spey to oppose his passage. Thus 
hemmed in on all sides, and headed back like an 
animal of chase from the course he intended to 
pursue, Montrose and his little army showed an 
extremity of courage. They hid their cannon in a 
bog, destroyed what they had of heavy baggage, 
entered Badenoch, where the Clan Chattan had 
shown themselves uniformly friendly, and descend- 
ed from thence upon Athole, and so on to Angus- 
shire. After several long and rapid marches, Mon- 
trose returned again into Strathbogie, re-crossing 
the great chain of the Grampians ; and, clinging 
still to the hope of being able to raise the gentle- 
men of the name of Grordon, who were naturally 


dispoiied to join the royal 8tandard» again repaired 
to Aberdeenshire. 

Here this bold leader narrowly escaped a great 
danger. His army was considerably dispersed, 
and he himself lying at the castle of Fyvie, when 
he found himself at once threatened, and nearly 
surrounded, by Argyle and Lothian, at the head of- 
very superior forces. A part of the enemy had 
already occupied the approach to Montrose's posi- 
tion by means of ditches and enclosures, through 
which they had insinuated themsdves, and his own 
men were beginning to look out of countenance, 
when Montrose,>disguiginghis apprehensions, called 
to a gay and g^ant young Irish officer, as if lie 
had been imposing a trifling piece of duty, — 
*' What are you doing, (^Kean ? can you not chase 
these troublesome rascals out of the ditches and 
endosures ?" O'Kean obeyed the command in the 
spirit in which it was given ; and, driving the enemy 
before him* got possession of some of their gun- 
powder, which was much needed in Montrose's 
army* The remark of the Irishman on this occa- 
sion, who heavily complained of the neglect of the 
enemy in omitting to leave a supply of ball, corre* 
spending to the powder^ showed the confidence 
with which MEiMitirote had been able to inspite his 

The Earl of Lothian, on the other side, cave 
with five troops of horse upon Montrose's handful 
of cavalry, amomiting scarcely to fifity men. But 
Montrose had, on the present occasion, as at the 
Bridge of Dee, i nstaioed his troopers by mingling 


then) with musketry. So that Lothian's men, re- 
ceiving an unexpected and galling fire, wheeled 
about, and could not again be brought to advance. 
Many hours were spent in skirmishing, with ad- 
vantage on Montrose's part, and loss on that of 
Argyle, until at length the former thought it most 
advisable to retreat from Fyvie to StraUibogie. 

On the road he was deserted by many Lowland 
gentlemen who had joined him, and who saw his 
victories were followed with no better results than 
toilsome marches among wilds, where it was nearly 
impossible to provide subsistence for man or horse, 
and which the approach of winter was about to 
render still more desolate. They left his army, 
therefore, promising to return in summer ; and of 
all his Lowland adherents, the old Earl of Airlie 
and his sons alone remained. They had paid 
dearly for their attachment to the Royal 
cause, Argyle having plundered their 
estates, and burnt their principal mansion, the 
<< Bonnie house of Airlie," situated on the river 
Isla, the memory of which conflagration is still pre- 
served in Scottish Song. 

But the same circumstances which wearied out 
the patience of Montrose's Lowland followers, ren- 
dered it impossible for Argyle to keep the field ; 
and he sent his army into winter quarters, in full 
confidence that his enemy was cooped up for the 
season in the narrow and unprovided country of 
Athole and its neighbourhood, where he might be 
suffered to exist with little inconvenience to the 

VOL. xxin. 2 c