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Murdoch of Albany, his son Montgomery, and his secretary, Alexander of Otterburn, were the only persons arrested in the 1425 Parliament,-not, as has been widely circulated, sixand-twenty chevaliers also, who had been knighted on Coronation Day. But parliamentary life under James I. was full of hazard. Every session was a trap for the Opposition; the Government whips enjoyed enviably effective means for keeping a majority. In 1427 (Mr Lang has forgotten to mention the year) Parliament was summoned to meet in Inverness. An earlier Parliament had recorded with disapproval that "Hieland men commonly reft and slew ilk ane uther," and the cow left to the protection of a bracken - bush might have been discounted at once in beef-steaks for somebody else.
How James applied the remedy of strong government and with what effect is told by Mr Lang in a couple of delicious paragraphs :
"Donald of Harlaw had been succeeded in the lordship of the Isles by his son Alastair, who sat in the court that condemned the Albanys. He came in response to the summons, as did his defeated foe, Angus Dubh Mackay, with Kenneth Mor Mackenzie, James Campbell, and all the north. Campbell had previously been sent to bring John Mòr, Alastair's uncle, before the king, and had incidentally slain him. Some of the chiefs, who came trusting to James's honour, were promptly and perfidiously seized, imprisoned, or hanged.
James Campbell, the slayer of John Mor, was among those executed. Alastair was released after a short imprisonment, and showed how he liked his treatment by burning Inverness (1429). James pursued him with army, and came up with him in Lochaber. Alastair was deserted by
Clan Gilliequhatan (Clan Chattan) and Clan Cameron: next year Clan Chattan burned a church, with Clan Cameron in it."
With so light a touch does Mr Lang outline the events of this grimly grotesque age that one might suspect him of being superficial, but in truth he is far from that. He has the knowledge and fortitude to weigh evidence; and even even ballads, dearer and better known to him than to most of us, are sometimes put in the balance and found wanting. A hundred years later than the bloody Parliament of Inverness, another James, fifth of the name, made an equally vigorous attempt to establish law and order in another part of his realm. ing laid up the chief lords of the Marches safely in ward, James proceeded to deal in person with the riding lairds. The chief incident in his progress was the hanging of Johnnie Armstrong of Gilnockie on the ash-trees of Carlanrig, together with his followers to the number of thirty or forty; and the allegation borne by a tablet recently erected at the place, to the effect that Gilnockie "came in" relying on the king's word for his safety, has been supported by successive historians. Even the scrupulous Pitcairn that Gilnockie was most basely betrayed"; and nobody seems to have doubted it till last year, when Mr Hume Brown stirred some indignation by observing coldly that the method of Gilnockie's capture had "not been satisfactorily explained." Mr Lang goes further: he shows that the utmost which can be proved
from contemporary evidence is that Gilnockie was enticed into the presence of the king by a device of his servants, and he suggests that historians have been beguiled by the glamour of the famous ballad. Of the king's treachery he pronounces the evidence to be "late, erroneous in detail, and Protestant, therefore hostile." Lindsay of Pitscottie was alive at the time, and, hotly Protestant though he was, makes no direct charge against James's honour.
"So when he [Gilnockie] entred in befoir the king, he cam verrie richlie apparelled, trusting that in respect he had cum to the kingis grace willinglie and voluntarlie, not being tain nor apprehendit be the king, he would
obtain the mair favour."
But Mr Lang cannot cite Pitscottie in defence of James, refusing all credit to his authority by reason of the many erroneous statements and dates he has detected in that charming writer," although for quaint interest he is the Herodotus of Scotland." Certainly it would never do to hang a cat upon Pitscottie's unsupported allegation, and it would be rash to acquit a king thereon. Indeed it strikes one that King James must have been either incredibly simple or uncommonly crafty, if, when he saw the culprit riding with forty followers into the trap, he abstained from inquiring what means had been employed to bring him there. It seems almost certain that Gilnockie must have received assurance, direct or indirect, before running his head into such a noose. That Mr Lang, with all his love for ballad lore, rejects the imputation
upon the king's honour, only increases our reliance upon him as a faithful guide through the murky maze of Stewart history. Nobody can doubt that he is of one mind with those "monie Scottis menne who, as Pitscottie says, "heavilie lamented Johne Armstrang, Laird of Kilnockie, for he was ane doubtit [redoubtable] man, and als gude ane Christane as evir was vpoun the Borderis. And albeit he was ane lous leivand [loose living] man, and sustained the number of xxiiij weill-horsed able gentlemen with him, yitt nevir molested no Scottis man."
the reign of the fourth James— Reverting for a moment to the dark story of Flodden is well told: the excellent sketchmap of the battlefield greatly assists the understanding of what brought about the disaster, and tempts one to wish that other battlefields had been illustrated in like manner. Especially of Bannockburn would a plan have been instructive, were it only to show how fatally James IV.'s tactics differed from those of Bruce. There is a curious physical curious resemblance between these distant fields. In both, the Scottish army took up a position on rising ground to the left of their camp; in both, the front of that position was protected by a morass with a single narrow crossing. As Bruce did at Bannockburn "James might have sat still on Flodden Ridge and awaited Surrey's attack, if attack he did. James was well provisioned; not so Surrey, who could not have long maintained his position.
or kept his men together." Gordons, instead of betaking themselves to plunder Edward Howard's broken column, James, hewing his way to Surrey and the English standard, might have condoned his unpardonable daring by success, and the sun of Bannockburn have been dimmed in the newer splendour of Flodden field.
But, unlike Bruce, James was badly served by his outposts and scouts. He knew nothing of the English whereabouts till their advanced-guard came in view. Then, still more unlike Bruce, he set fire to his camp, and descended from Flodden to give battle. Surrey's generalship was so imperfect, his supplies so deficient, his communications so badly kept, that there ought to have been no difficulty in inscribing Flodden upon the roll of Scottish victories.
"The saddest circumstance is that the English had been deprived of beer for three days, and could hardly have endured another day of drought; while it is melancholy to think that if the Scots on Flodden side had sat
still, drinking their beer, which the learned bishop [of Durham] highly commends, the force of Surrey, unvictualled, would have melted like a mist."
After all, there is an element in the turn of battles which lies beyond all material causes. James was foolhardy and overchivalrous; he threw away his chances and the lives of his good soldiers. But he was not more foolhardy than Bruce had been when he accepted in person de Bohun's challenge on St John's Eve in 1314. The risk was not nearly so great. If, at Bannockburn, de Bohun's spear had found its mark, as the odds were that the spear of so accomplished a jouster would find it, then had Bruce never lived to deal that back-hand blow which riveted his kingship and won a realm. At Flodden, on the other hand, if Home's Border spears had stood rightly by Huntly's
About the scandal concerning the Scottish king's dealings with Lady Heron of Ford, and the useful information she is alleged to have sent to Surrey, Mr Lang is discreetly and charitably indefinite. Knowing James's temperament and habits, he is careful not to pronounce it impossible that the lady "gave him some encouragement ; and he also knows enough about ladies to think it not improbable that she conveyed some useful information to Surrey; but the details rest upon nothing less suspicious than the testimony of Buchanan and Pitscottie. Every one knows how impossible it is to probe such stories. Scott was positive that during the Hundred Days Fouché employed a lady to give the Duke of Wellington false information about Napoleon's movements, and much of the course Waterloo campaign has been explained upon the hypothesis of such a correspondence. It fits the exigencies of the puzzle very neatly, and accounts for Wellington's persistent refusal to believe that Napoleon's appearance on the Sambre was more than a feint. Yet Wellington, who was as fond of dealing with pretty ladies as was James IV., afterwards declared explicitly that neither
directly nor indirectly had he held any communication whatever with Fouché during the time in question.
In "the terrible and hitherto almost inexplicable disaster of Solway Moss," Mr Lang relies confidently upon Wharton's official despatches, lately published from the Longleat MSS., and is able to disprove Froude's allegation that James's expedition was a piece of secret Catholic strategy. It was not purely Catholic, inasmuch as the names of many Scottish nobles present were inscribed on the roll of three hundred and sixty notable heretics which James V. had in his pocket it was no surprise to the English, for Dacre, as is known from the Hamilton Papers, had bought the secret from a Scot for twenty nobles, and had given timely warning to the Warden. The author cares not to conceal his gratification (why should he?) in confuting Knox's elaborate narrative, "with Biblical parallels," upon which Froude relied, and in showing that the issue of that day was no proof that Providence is exclusively Protestant. Wharton makes no parade of Providence, but attributes his success to early information, careful reconnoitring, and the judicious use to which he put his excellent cavalry. Mr Lang makes light of the alleged discontent of the Scottish nobles with the new commander of the forces, Oliver Sinclair, an ordinary gentleman of cloak and sword. He quotes, with neutral comment, the story of the Venetian Secretary in England, who lays the whole blame of the rout upon the
treachery of Lord Maxwell, leader of the Lutheran party. If Maxwell and the other nobles were indeed hearty in their service, then have their descendants at this day much occasion to blush for the unsoldierlike handling of their men. Scotland paid dearly for their blunders and carelessness in presence of such a good soldier as Wharton. Many a time had she mourned for the Flowers of the Forest lying in sheaves, stark and bloody, on the stricken field; but it had ever been their eagerness to close that drove them to their doom, their disdain of English arrows, and their faith in Scottish pikes. But at Solway Moss the national scutcheon took a grievous smirch; droves of prisoners, only half reluctant, were driven across the Border by Wharton's force, which was not a third in number of that of James. Well might the heartbroken, shame - stricken king repeat wearily as he lay dying "Fie, fled Oliver!"
As one follows the narrative of the kingdom through the wasteful and bloody centuries, it touches one to note the wistful longing for peace and good government never absent from the thoughts of those purer and keener intellects that could sink private ambition or interest. Most of the shameful and often stupid treason which stained the record of almost every family of repute may be accounted as the working of sheer greed of power and place. It seems very shocking to us, in these days of etiolated passions, Newcastle and other programmes, when it would be as gross an outrage to suspect
any Liberal Minister of promoting a particular measure from a desire to catch votes as it would be to impute to a Tory a desire to "dish the Whigs.' Politicians of all parties, devoid of any wish to murder the Queen, to kidnap the Prince of Wales, or to hand over the country to the Emperor William, may with all priety stand and pray thus with themselves : God, we thank Thee that we are not as these Douglases were, or these Homes, or these Maxwells." Yet a great many of these perpetual conspiracies must have had their birth in sheer despair; things seemed past mending, and must be ended; men, we may be sure, persuaded themselves that they were acting as patriotically in dethroning a king or putting an obnoxious peer out of the way as those who now spend so much money and diligence in turning out the Government. Modern methods may be less reprehensible and, on the whole, better for society at large, but they won't furnish material for such a readable chronicle as Mr Lang's.
The idea of a united kingdom-one crown, one islandwas never abandoned by the far-sighted. But the project, so near accomplishment when the frail life of the Maid of Norway ebbed away on the grey northern sea, was almost driven out of practical politics by James V.'s choice of a queen from Catholic France instead of the heiress of Protestant England. After James's death the boot was on the other leg, as the saying is. "If you had
the las," said Otterburn, quoted by Sadleyr, the English ambassador at Holyrood, "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 that our nacyon, being a stout nacyon, will never agree to have an Englishman to be King of Scotland; and though the whole nobilite of the realme wolde consent unto it, yet our comen people and the stones in the streete wolde ryse and rebelle agenst it."
Therefore the old condition of things was to go on-burnings and raidings, driving of cattle, slaying and capturing of men-till the mills of God should grind out a new destiny for the "nacyons," and men of the same race and language should at length find that it was possible to dwell on different sides of an imaginary line, without perpetually flying at each other's throats. Mr Lang's budget is a great deal too full to permit him to stuff it with many details; but to illustrate the character of the warfare to which generation after generation of English and Scots grew up, a brief extract may be permitted here from one of the reports made by the English Warden to his Government. It is headed "Exploits doon uppon the Scottis," and shows the "bag" from 1st July to 30th November 1544.