« ElőzőTovább »
removed their other property to the distant mountains and wildernesses; so that the English army, after suffering much distress for want of provisions, was obliged to make a painful retreat through a desolated country. The Scots followed close upon their rear, entered Cumberland, and retaliated with merciless fury the work of devastation.
A more formidable invasion of England was made in 1388. The Earl of Fife, with thirty thousand men, crossed the western border, and advanced upon Carlisle; while the Earl of Douglas, with ten thousand men, made a rapid march through Northumberland, burnt and plundered the rich Bishopric of Durham, and returning homeward with much spoil
, halted at Newcastle, where, in a personal encounter with Henry Percy, better known as the famous Hotspur, Douglas won Percy's pennon, and cried out that he would plant it on his castle of Dalkeith. “ That,” cried Percy, “no Douglas shall ever do.” “Well,” replied Douglas, "your pennon shall this night be placed before my tent-come and win it if you can.” Next day Douglas leisurely continued his march homewards. Sir Henry Percy and his brother Ralph hastily collected eight or ten thousand men, and overtook the Scots at Otterbourne (twelve miles from Newcastle), where a desperate battle ensued, in which Douglas, clearing his way with his battle-axe in both hands through the English ranks, received three mortal wounds. When his friends came up to the place where he lay, he ordered them to conceal his death, to cry his war-cry, and avenge his fall. The Scots, not knowing the loss they had sustained, continued the battle, defeated the English, and took the two Percys prisoners.
Robert II. died in 1389, at his castle of Dundonald in Ayrshire, at the advanced age of seventy-five, having reigned nineteen years. Written for the present Work.
The feeble John, weak in mind and lame in body, succeeded his father under the title of Robert III., the of John being considered inauspicious. Robert, Duke of Albany, the third son of the late king, had been appointed regent in the reign of his infirm father, and he continued to have the principal share of the government under his imbecile brother. He was a man of no great talent, but of immoderate ambition; and he scrupled not to commit the most atrocious crimes for the purpose of securing the continuance of his own power.
During this reign the country was a prey to domestic dissension; and the contending chiefs and nobles, whom Albany sought to conciliate rather than to repress, prosecuted their feuds unchecked, spreading oppression
and bloodshed through both highlands and lowlands. To " stanch these disorders,” the dispute between the clan Chattan and the clan Kay, was decided by a combat between thirty men on each side, fought before the king, in the North Inch of Perth, a beautiful meadow by the side of the Tay. The clan Kay fell all but one man, who escaped by swimming the Tay, and those of the clan Chattan that survived were all severely wounded.
Henry IV. invaded Scotland in 1400, and laid siege to the castle of Edinburgh, which the young Duke of Rothsay, the king's eldest son, aided by his
father-inlaw, the Earl of Douglas, gallantly defended. The melancholy fate of this prince darkens his father's reign, and leaves an indelible stain on the character of his infamous uncle. Albany, misrepresenting or exaggerating some irregularities of the prince, obtained from the weak-minded king a warrant to arrest him, on the pretext of restraining his profligacy by a temporary confinement. His unnatural kinsman confined him in a dungeon in Falkland castle, and starved him to death.
A battle was fought in 1402, at Homildon, a hill within a mile of Wooler, in which Sir Henry Percy (the celebrated Hotspur) took many prisoners of distinction, among them the Earl of Douglas, Murdoch, son of the Regent Albany, with the Earls of Murray and Angus.
1405. Prince James, the only surviving son of the poor infirm old king, being now eleven years of
age, was taken prisoner by the English whilst on his voyage to France, whither his father had been advised to send him for the purpose of being educated, and also to protect him from the treacherous schemes of his ambitious uncle. The old king, laden with years and infirmities, died in 1406 ; but his death made no change in the ad
ministration, now completely in the hands of the Duke of Albany. Chiefly Abridged from Sir Walter Scott.--Cabinet Library.
VIII.-REGENCY OF THE DUKE OF ALBANY.-1406-1419;
AND OF HIS SON MURDOCH.--1419-1424. The Duke of Albany, an unprincipled politician, and a soldier of suspected courage, was nevertheless a popular ruler, and in high esteem with the clergy and nobles, both of whom he gratified with large grants at the expense of the crown.
The events during his government are not of a very momentous character. It was at this period that the doctrines of Wickliffe first appeared in Scotland, and that the flames of religious persecution were first kindled in the country. John Resby, an Eng. lish priest who had imbibed the doctrines of this great reformer, and in whose remarkable writings are to be found the seeds of almost every doctrine of Luther, had passed into Scotland; where he continued for some time to propagate his doctrines, till at length their boldness and novelty attracted the notice of the jealous church
He was tried before a council of the clergy, where he was accused of denying the authority of the Pope as the successor of St Peter-of condemning penances and auricular confessions of maintaining that a holy life was necessary in any one who dared to call himself the Vicar of Christ—and of sundry other heresies. His able defence made no impression on his bigoted judges; he was condemned to the flames, and suffered at the stake in the town of Perth, in the year 1405, his books and writings being consumed in the same fire with their master. In this first example of martyrdom for religious opinions which is recorded in our annals, the inevitable effects of persecution were distinctly visible. The little pamphlets of this early reformer were eagerly sought after, and many proselytes, though they dared not openly profess their belief in the new doctrines, yet met, read, and debated in secret; so that, after the lapse of a few years, the converts were not only numerous, but they displayed a zeal and resolution that defied all the efforts of the clergy to restore them to the bosom of the Church.
led an army
In 1411, Donald of the Isles, who acted as an independent sovereign, claimed the earldom of Ross.
He of ten thousand Hebrideans and Highlanders into that county, and, after seizing the castle of Dingwall, ravaged the country as far as Garioch. This wild and savage army received a severe check from the Lowlanders under the Earl of Mar, who encountered them at Harlaw near Garioch, and compelled them to retreat after a bloody battle, in which many fell on both sides. Donald was afterwards brought to submission.
Albany made no serious effort to obtain the liberty of the young king, an event which would have put an end to his own power; and Henry IV. knew well that he was gratifying the regent by refusing to deliver up the prince. It is even said, that Albany had in his keeping the person of Richard II., or of some one strongly resembling the deposed king of England (reported to have been murdered at Pontefract); so that these crafty rulers had each of them in custody one, who, if set at liberty, could not fail to endanger the government of the other.
Albany died at the advanced age of eighty in the palace of Stirling in 1419, having governed Scotland for thirty-four years; twenty of these as prime minister of his father and brother, and fourteen as Regent in behalf of his nephew James I. He was succeeded in the regency by his son Murdoch, Earl of Fife, who possessed neither the ambition nor the political talent of his intriguing father. Under his feeble administration, the nobles broke through all restraints, and the country soon became one scene of violence and anarchy. So far from being able to control the rude and haughty barons, Duke Murdoch could not even rule his own family. Having refused to give a favourite falcon to Walter his eldest son, the irreverent youth snatched the bird from his father's wrist, and twisted its neck. “Since," said the father, “you
will pay me no respect or obedience, I will bring home one whom all of us must obey.” After a disorderly government of five years, he applied in sincerity for the freedom of his sovereign, and James returned to Scotland after an absence of twenty years.
Abridged from Tytler'i History.
IX.-JAMES I.-1424-1437. SCOTLAND now received a monarch whose natural talents were of the highest order, and whose education in England had given him acquirements which he could not have attained in his own rude and ignorant realm. He found the country in a state of the utmost disorder, the haughty barons being in a great measure independent of the crown. To curb these, and restore law and justice, was no easy task, but James set about it with an able and determined spirit. Having conciliated the clergy, and secured the support of a certain part of the nobles, he summoned a parliament to meet at Perth in March 1425, and during its sitting arrested in one day Duke Murdoch and his second son Alexander, the Earls of Douglas, Angus, and March, and about twenty others of his most powerful subjects. Walter, the eldest son of Albany, had been previously placed under arrest, as well as Sir Robert Grahame, a man of a ferocious and revengeful temper, who afterwards murdered his sovereign under circumstances of appalling atrocity. Duke Murdoch and his two sons, with the aged Earl of Lennox, their maternal grandfather, were executed at Stirling on that fatal eminence known by the name of the Heading Hill. Perhaps in this there was some severity. Duke Robert, the great offender of the house of Albany, to whom the King owed his long and galling captivity, had already been called to a higher tribunal; and if the weak Duke Murdoch had inherited, he had also renounced, the treasonable usurpations of his father. James, the only son of Albany who escaped, seeing the total ruin of his family, collected a band of Catherans, with whom he sacked and burned the town of Dumbarton, butchering the King's uncle Sir John of Dundonald, and thirty of the other inhabitants of the town, after which he returned to his fastnesses in the north. From these he was dislodged by the hot pursuit of the King's troops, and forced to take refuge in Ireland ; and five of his band who were captured, were torn to pieces by wild horses.
James continued his efforts to repress the lawless violence of his subjects. Having in 1427 summoned a