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invitation to Douglas to come and confer with him at Stirling, sending him at the same time a safe-conduct, signed by himself, his ministers, and chief nobility. It would seem that the King really hoped by personal conference to set matters straight, and persuade the Earl to dissolve his confederacy with Ross and Crawford. At any rate, Douglas came, with his four brothers and (for them) a small retinue, who were lodged in the town, while their lord went up to the castle, was well received, dined with the King, and was invited both to dinner and supper for the next day.
Supper was at seven; and after it the King led Douglas into an inner room, where were only old Crichton, Sir Patrick Gray, and a few other of his privy-councillors, and began to walk up and down with him, remonstrating with him on the evil his violence was doing to peace and good government. The earlier part of the conversation does not seem to have been audible; but as the two young hot-tempered men became more eager, James was heard insisting that the Earl should break his band with Ross and Crawford; and Douglas bursting forth into a passionate reply, that he heeded not the foolish brand of treason, that he could not break his band with his friends, and if he could, he would not to please the idle fancy of a king.
Then James's voice broke out, ‘False traitor! if you will not, THIS shall !'
This—which flashed for a moment in the air-was James's dagger, and as he spoke it was in the proud earl's throat, the next instant in his breast, and Sir Patrick Gray, springing up as he fell, struck him on the head with a pole-axe. The corpse was thrown from the window; and about 1780, a skeleton was found in the earth of the court below, so that it was probably buried there at once. The murder was truly a terrible one, and flagrantly against the safe-conduct. If it were premeditated treachery, it was one of the foulest crimes that ever dyed a monarch's hand; but there is every reason to believe that the deed was provoked at the instant, by the Earl's own fierce and insolent demeanour towards the passionate young king of twenty-two, whom he persisted in treating as a foolish lad. Had James intended the deed, he would certainly have taken his measures better, for with the morning he was beleaguered in Stirling Castle by the four Douglas brothers, who with sound of five hundred horns and trumpets proclaimed King James a false and perjured knave, nailed up his safe-conduct to the market-cross, and then dragged it about the town at the tail of the meanest horse they could find. They then pillaged and burnt the town, but being unable to take the castle, they went off to Annandale; while James took horse and proceeded to Perth.
Half Scotland was in arms against the King James is said to have been for a moment appalled at the might of the league against him, and to have even doubted whether he should not flee to France, and leave the realm to James of Douglas; but Bishop Kennedy is said to have
reassured him, by the old fable of the bundle of arrows, impossible to break when all together, but easily destroyed singly. Accordingly James sent the Earl of Huntley, who had no small cause to hate the Lindsays, to deal with the Tiger Earl of Crawford ; and there was a great battle near Brechin, where, though Huntley's two brothers and five other barons were slain on his side, the Tiger Earl was totally defeated, with the loss of his brother, and of no less than sixty barons, and of course, of hosts of meaner condition. One of the yeomen of Huntley's following, becoming too heedless in the pursuit, was carried along in the stream of fugitives, and actually entered Finhaven Castle with Crawford and those who took refuge there. He heard the Tiger calling for a cup of wine ere alighting in the court, and, with volleys of oaths and blasphemy, declaring that he would willingly roast for seven years in hell for the sake of such a victory as the Setons had that day gained; a story which the yeoman was able to take home with him when he escaped unrecognized from the castle. The Tiger consoled himself with harrying the lands of all who, as he considered, ought to have joined his banner.
Moreover, there was division among the Douglases themselves. The first Earl had married the heiress of Angus, and while their eldest son had been Earl of Douglas, the second had become Earl of Angus; and his descendants, who were commonly called the Red Douglases, were at present hostile to the elder branch, the Black Douglases of Douglasdale. Their great strongholds were Tantallon Castle, at the entrance of the Firth of Forth, and Dalkeith. The Black Douglases were so furious at Angus's refusal to join the league, that they burnt and harried all the country round Dalkeith, binding themselves by a great oath never to leave the castle till they had levelled it with the ground; but the strength of the castle, and the constancy of the governor, forced them to break their oath.
The new Earl of Douglas sent his mother to England to strengthen his cause. It was when the Duke of York was Protector, and he willingly entered into negociations. A meeting was held between Douglas on the one hand, and Salisbury, Henry Percy, and the Bishop of Carlisle, where a treaty of mutual alliance was entered into, by which Douglas actually undertook to swear allegiance to the King of England, thus becoming, in his lust of revenge, a recreant to all the traditions of his family.
The night before the Parliament met on the 12th of June, 1452, at Edinburgh, a defiance signed by the four Douglas brothers, and by Lord Hamilton, renouncing their allegiance to King James as a perjurer and murderer of his guest, was nailed to the door of the House of Parliament. But this open defiance and the English alliance disgusted the greater part of the kingdom; severe measures were enacted against the rebels, and so ready was the nation to carry them out, that the King was soon at the head of thirty thousand men on Pentland Moor, all well armed and equipped. However, there was no battle; only the two parties made horrible devastation of each other's crops; and Douglas, finding himself the weaker, sued for mercy, and obtained pardon and reconciliation for all his offences. James even assisted him in procuring from the Pope a dispensation for his marriage with his brother's young widow, Margaret of Galloway, on the plea that she had been a mere child at the time of her marriage and widowhood. She was now the most beautiful woman in Scotland; but from both William and James Douglas she met with nothing but harsh and cruel treatment.
Old Earl Beardie had been so thoroughly discomfited by Lord Huntley, that he presented himself before the King, clad in rags, and with bare head and feet, to implore his pardon, which was readily granted, and he remained loyal for the short remainder of his life. He died in 1453 ; and the Chancellor Crichton did not survive a year.
The Douglas treasons were not, however, checked. In 1454, when their friends, the Yorkists, had gained the supremacy at the first battle of St. Albans, the Earl sent Lord Hamilton to make a treaty with him, and renew his offer of homage to the English crown, provided forces were supplied to him for another rebellion. However, before this treason could be accomplished, James was down upon Annandale, he took the castles, seized and imprisoned Hamilton, and dispersed all Douglas's following; and when, the next year, this fierce family again attempted to make head against the King, they were totally defeated by the Earl of Angus at Arkinholme, where one of the brothers was killed in battle, and another taken and instantly beheaded. The first intelligence the King received of the battle, was the arrival of a soldier with the head of the first of these, so disfigured that he could not at first tell to whom it had belonged.
The Earl himself fled to England, where he was kindly received and pensioned by the Duke of York; and when James wrote to warn the King what a traitor he was entertaining, a most insolent letter was returned, in the name of Henry VI., abusing him for insolence and confident boasting, and scarcely granting him the merest courtesy due to a king.
However, James knew that this was merely the voice of York; and he himself was attached to his Beaufort connexions, who had come into power again, so he took little notice of the challenge. However, in 1457, Douglas, with the Earl of Northumberland, made a terrible inroad into the Merse; but was again routed by his cousin of Angus, and his power so entirely crushed, that the saying was, that the Red Douglas had put down the Black.
The Earl remained a fugitive in England; and his wife threw herself upon James's mercy. Her marriage having been irregular, it was dissolved, and she was given to the King's half-brother, his mother's son by the Black Knight of Lorn.
The Earl of Ross had likewise been forced into submission; and by the year 1457, James II. was really a king, respected and looked up to, and triumphant over his turbulent nobility. The Universities of St. Andrew's and Glasgow were in course of foundation, good laws were made and enforced, trade was advancing, and Scotland was in a better state than it had seen since the death of Alexander III., and this under a : king of only twenty-six years old, under whom a long course of prosperity might reasonably be expected.
(To be continued.)
MEDIEVAL SEQUENCES AND HYMNS.
(Felix dies mortalibus)
When by His Blood, for sinners given,
Through the long-closed gates of heaven.
Whither our Head and Guide hath gone,
His members we will follow there;
With us His glory He will share.
He went, yet leaves us not alone;
Still present, He His Spirit gives,
Through all His mystic Body lives.
But O that day of gloom and fear,
That day of terrible distress,
The Avenger of unholiness.
Sinless, by sinners sentenced,
He then the Judge's seat shall take,
Shall His unrighteous judges quake.
Death of His own free will He sought;
Those whom God's Death shall profit nought.
Let those o'erwhelmed in mortal sin
Avert the anger of their Lord,
To quench the flames of their reward.
Jesu, Thou future Judge of earth,
Father, and Holy Ghost, to Thee Ascribe we glory, praise, and worth, Now and throughout eternity.
TRANSLATED FROM MANZONI.
O MOTHER of the saints of God,
And symbol of their home on high, Preserver of the taintless blood,
Eternal, and eternally ;Thou who hast battled years on years, And fought thy fight in prayers and tears, Whose tents are spread from sea to sea, Shelter of all who trust in thee;
Church of the true and living God!
Where didst thou hide on tender wing, That day, when, up the mountain road,
Traitors and cowards dragged thy King? When, from the altar of His pain, The earth drank in a crimson stain, And from the wounds by which He hung, The drops of life were slowly wrung?
Where wert thou then, when all Divine,
He passed from out the garden-gloom, His resurrection-life and thine
Arising with Him from the tomb? When from His feet He shook away The dust of death, wherein He lay, And with the pardon in His Hand, Ascended to His Fatherland ?
Where wert thou, partner of His grief,
Sharing the secrets of His heart,
Immortal daughter that thou art ?