ePub 版

duke of Somerset, and in name of her dowry one half of the ransom was remitted. James and his queen were conducted to the borders of his own kingdom by cardinal Beaufort, the queen's uncle, and the earl of Somerset, her brother. He was received with transports of joy by his people. He was met at Scone by the prelates, nobles, and commons of the kingdom, who were summoned to attend a parliament, and where he was solemnly crowned by Trail, archbishop of St Andrews, and placed on the throne by his cousin the duke of Albany. James was in the twenty-seventh year of his age when he thus sat down in peace on the throne of his fathers, in the year of grace one thousand four hundred and twenty-four. By Jane Beaufort he had twin sons, born in October, 1430, Alexander and James; the former died in infancy. By her he had also six daughters. The lady Margaret of Scotland was married to the Dauphin of France, afterwards Lewis XI. Eleanor married Sigismund, archduke of Austria. The third daughter married the count of Zealand; the fourth, the duke of Bretagne ; the fifth, the earl of Huntly; and the sixth, the earl of Morton. On the night of the 21st February, 1437, James was treacherously murdered while at supper, by the earl of Athol and seven other accomplices, after wounding his queen, who exposed her person to their daggers, in defence of her husband and sovereign.

James II. succeeded to the throne at the early age of seven. The estates of the kingdom appointed Sir Alexander Livingston of Callander, regent of the kingdom, and the chancellor, Sir William Crighton of Crighton, tutor to the king. In his fifteenth year, James married Mary, daughter of the duke of Guelders, by whom he had three sons; James, prince and steward of Scotland, Alexander duke of Albany, and John earl of Marr; and two daughters, Mary, who married James Hamilton earl of Arran, and Cecilia. James espoused the side of the usurping house of Lancaster; and in prosecution of their war with the house of York, James laid siege to the castle of Roxborough, which appears to have been then in the hands of the partisans of York, and was there killed by the bursting of a cannon, a fragment of which wounded him so severely on the thigh, that he died almost immediately on the spot, in the year 1460, the thirtieth year of his age and the twenty-fourth of his reign.

James III. was only seven years of age when his father's death placed him on the throne, and plunged the kingdom into all the miseries consequent on the disputes and intrigues of rival factions. James married Margaret, daughter of Christiern king of Denmark, Sweden, and Norway; who brought with her as a marriage portion the cession, on the part of Denmark of all its claims to tribute from the crown of Scotland on account of the Hebridian isles, and to the feudal superiority of the Orkney and Shetland islands. James was more attached to the arts of peace, than was consistent in the rude notions of the period with the kingly dignity. The nation

were apt to make comparisons, disadvantageous to the character of the sovereign, between him and his brothers, Albany and Marr, which excited his jealousy; to which horrible passion the earl of Marr fell a victim, and Albany saved himself by fortifying himself in the castle of Dunbar. He fled into France, where he married the duchess of Boulogne, by whom he had a son, who was afterwards regent of Scotland. James roused himself from his peaceful pursuits and showed that he possessed both courage and conduct. A party of his nobles rebelled against him; and getting possession of his eldest son, prince James, they defeated the king in a desperate battle at Torwood in Stirlingshire. James fled at full speed; and his horse, suddenly startled at some object, leapt over the Carron and threw his rider. He was carried into the miller's house of Bannockburn, and there treacherously murdered by a partisan of the rebels, who recognized the fallen monarch, on the 11th June, 1488, in the twenty-ninth year of his reign and the thirtysixth of his age. Besides his successor, James left two sons, Alexander duke of Ross, and John earl of Marr, and one daughter.

James IV. was proclaimed at Linlithgow by the rebel army which had defeated and murdered his father; but the barons who had been loyal to James III. mustered a new force, and carried the bloody shirt worn by the late king on the point of a spear. These were defeated with great slaughter, and the kingdom gradually submitted to the sovereignty of the young king, who at the time of his accession was in his fifteenth year, and a youth of great promise. James, assuming the title of the laird of Ballengeich, would often disguise himself in the humble garb of a beggar, or gaberlunzie man, and wander unknown through the kingdom, inquiring into the conduct of his officers, and listening to the opinions and comments of even the lowest of his people concerning the character of their king. But above all, the diversions of the tournament, that mimic representation of war, were especially agreeable to his magnificent taste, and the generous gallantry of his spirit. His fame as a chivalrous knight spread all over Europe; and the most accomplished knights, proud to distinguish their prowess in arms, resorted to the court of Holyrood in every knightly art James excelled almost all his contemporaries. James sent an embassy to the court of England, to solicit the hand of the princess Margaret, eldest daughter of Henry VII., which was readily bestowed, and the marriage celebrated by proxy in the cathedral of St Paul's. Henry accompanied his daughter a considerable way on her journey, the earls of Surrey and Northumberland, with a numerous train of ladies, accompanied her into Scotland. James met her in the Lammermoor; and in a church there, the actual marriage of the parties took place: a happy marriage, which introduced an English influence into the councils of Scotland, which entirely extirpated the baneful councils of France, and was the immediate means of consolidating two nations formed by nature to be but one people. James terminated his

earthly career on the fatal field of Flodden, on the 9th September, 1513, in r the thirty-ninth year of his age, and the twenty-fourth of his reign; leaving two infant sons, James prince of Scotland, and Alexander duke of Ross who died soon after his father.

At his accession to the throne, James V. was only seventeen months old. The first effects of the terror occasioned by their defeat at Flodden, was to constitute the dowager queen Margaret regent of the kingdom, in order to propitiate the wrath of Henry VIII. Margaret, however, was young and beautiful, and surrounded by the impetuous young nobility let loose from paternal restraint by the slaughter of their fathers at the last fatal battle. Archibald Douglas, now earl of Angus, persuaded Margaret to become his wife, without consulting the estates of the kingdom, or her brother Henry. This rash step naturally excited the jealousy of the nobility, who viewed with anxious jealousy, the sudden elevation of one of their own equals to the supreme power. The party who favoured the interests of France, proposed the recall of the son of the late duke of Albany from France, and to commit the regency of the kingdom, and the tuition of its infant sovereign to his care. He arrived, and governed with a stern impartiality; but insurrections and conspiracies drove him out of the kingdom, when Margaret and her husband again acquired the reins of government; the enemies of Angus and his royal wife soon concurred in again inviting Albany to return and assume the regency. Among Angus's most implacable enemies was now his own wife, stimulated by jealousy; and besides, she herself had formed a new attachment in the person of Stewart, brother of the lord Ochiltree. On the return of Albany, she induced him to solicit for her, at the venal court of Rome, a divorce from her husband, whom she now most cordially hated. At the age of twelve years, James assumed the administration of the government, and Albany finally took his departure for France. Angus seized the person of the king, and usurped the government, from whose custody at Falkland the young king escaped, some years afterwards, and being instantly attended by those of the nobility who were loyal to his person, again assumed the government. He created his mother's husband Henry Stewart, lord of Methven. James sailed round the whole coast of his kingdom, and was the only prince who ever set foot on the Shetland islands. He went to France in quest of a bride, and there espoused Magdalene of France, daughter of Francis I., who died on the fortieth day after her arrival at Holyrood house. He married again Mary of Lorraine, daughter of Claudius of Lorraine, duke of Guise, and widow of the duke of Longueville, in the year 1530,-a lady in the prime of her years of distinguished beauty, whom James had himself seen and admired when he visited France. Of this marriage was born prince James in 1538, and prince Arthur, born in 1540; both of whom died in one day: also Mary, born in 1542. During this king's reign the Reformation commenced, and


many horrid cruelties were practised on those who came out of the spiritual Sodom of the Romish communion. James the V. died on the 13th December, 1542, and left his kingdom to a long minority, and an infant daughter of a week old, of whose birth when he was informed on his death bed, he said, “Alas! the kingdom came with a maiden, and it will go with one;" he turned himself in his bed and never spoke again.

Mary Stewart succeeded to the throne on the seventh day of her birth, and after much intrigue the earl of Arran was chosen regent; but cardinal Beaton gaining the ascendency in the kingdom, he induced Arran to resign in favour of the dowager, queen Mary. She had the address to gain the consent of her parliament to send her daughter Mary to France, to be educated with the view of marrying the Dauphin of France,-to the great disappointment of the court of London and the English party in Scotland, who were anxious to have espoused her to Edward VI. She married the dauphin, afterwards Francis II.; who dying without issue, she returned a widow to Scotland in the year 1561, and afterward married her own cousin, Henry Darnley. To account for their consanguinity, it will be necessary to return to the widow of James IV., the daughter of Henry VII. After king James's death she married Archibald Douglas, earl of Angus, to whom she had a daughter, lady Margaret Douglas. This lady, the niece of Henry VIII., was educated at his court, and was by him at an early age given in marriage to the earl of Lennox. This nobleman was in the next degree after the Hamiltons allied to the crown of Scotland, and at that time was an exile on account of his unsuccessful exertions to promote the interest of England. In consequence of this marriage, the children of Lennox and lady Margaret Douglas, were next after the house of Hamilton, the collateral heirs of the crown of Scotland, and next after Mary herself collateral heirs of the crown of England. The eldest son of Lennox and lady Margaret Douglas was Henry lord Darnley. He was the queen's cousin, and they were married in the chapel royal, Holyrood house, by the dean of Restalrig, on the 29th July, 1565, and the name of Henry was by proclamation associated with the queen in all the written deeds of the government. The issue of this marriage was an only son, James duke of Rothsay, who was born in Edinburgh castle on the 19th June, 1566; and in consequence of the rebellion of her subjects, was even in infancy exalted to sit upon her throne. The earls of Moray, Morton, and Bothwell, entered into a conspiracy to destroy the king consort, which they accomplished by blowing him up in the Kirko-field with gunpowder, on the 9th February, 1567. By the confession of all the conspirators as recorded in history, Mary is entirely and triumphantly acquitted of having had any previous knowledge, or participation in this atrocious deed. Afterwards Bothwell seized Mary's person and carried her off to his castle of Dunbar, where he first committed a rape upon her person, and next compelled her to accept himself in marriage, all the while


keeping her a close prisoner. No sooner had Bothwell's guilt been crowned with the desired success, than those very nobles who had recommended him to Mary as a proper husband, combined to overthrow his power, and having treacherously seized Mary near Musselburgh, they confined her in Lochleven castle, with the ill disguised intention of taking away her life. From thence she escaped, and her friends drawing together, fought a pitched battle with the rebels, at Langside hill, near Glasgow, under the command of the regent Moray, her bastard brother. Her forces were defeated and she herself escaped to Dundrinnan Abbey in Galloway, from whence she unhappily put herself into the power of her remorseless enemy Elizabeth, who, against all the laws of nations and humanity, kept her a close prisoner for more than eighteen years, and then cruelly murdered her by a judicial sentence and decapitation in the year 1587, in the forty-fifth year of her age, and also of her reign.

At the age of one year, James, duke of Rothsay was elevated by the rebel barons to the throne of his mother, not yet vacant, by the title of James VI. The kingdom was miserably governed by four regents till the year 1578, when Morton was disgraced, and James assumed the reins of government, and soon after Morton terminated his guilty career on the scaffold. James was chaste in his conduct, and had not disgraced his youth by any of those vices which had characterized many of his predecessors, and his people became exceedingly anxious that he should form a matrimonial alliance. A splendid embassy was accordingly despatched to the court of Denmark, and Anne the Danish monarch's second daughter was granted to his wishes. Storms however delayed the arrival of his expected bride, but impatient of delay he sailed to Denmark, and consummated his marriage. In one of his letters to chancellor Maitland he good humouredly says, we spend our time here drinking and driving ower, just as we do at hame." After spending some months there in festivity, he returned in safety and was joyfully received by his affectionate people.


Queen Elizabeth of England died on the 24th March, 1603, in the seventieth year of her age, and forty-fifth of her reign. A little before her death, the lord keeper inquired who she willed to be her successor : her answer was, "None but my cousin, the king of Scots." James was accordingly proclaimed king, first at the palace of Whitehall, and afterwards at the cross in Cheapside. On the third day after, the news was brought by Sir Robert Cary. The privy council of England, in their letter to James, acknowledged that "to his right the lineal and lawful succession of all our late sovereign's dominions doth justly and only appertain : wherein we presume to profess this much, as well for the honour, which will thereby remain to our posterity; as for your majesty's security of a peaceable possession of your kingdoms, that we had never found, either of those of the nobility, or of any other of the estates of this realm, any divid

« 上一頁繼續 »