Page images


Murdoch of Albany, his son Clan Gilliequhatan (Clan Chattan) Montgomery, and his secretary, Chattan burned a church, with Clan

and Clan Cameron : next year Clan Alexander of Otterburn, were


Cameron in it." the only persons arrested in the 1425 Parliament,-not, as With so light a touch does has been widely circulated, six- Mr Lang outline the events of and-twenty chevaliers also, who this grimly grotesque age that had been knighted on Corona- one might suspect him of being tion Day. But parliamentary superficial, but in truth he is far life under James I. was full of from that. He has the knowhazard. Every session was a ledge and fortitude to weigh trap for the Opposition; the evidence; and ballads. Government whips enjoyed dearer and better known to enviably effective means for him than to most of us, are keeping a majority. In 1427 sometimes put in the balance (Mr Lang has forgotten to and found wanting. A hundred mention the year) Parliament years later than the bloody Parwas summoned to meet in liament of Inverness, another Inverness. An earlier Parlia- James, fifth of the name, made ment had recorded with dis- an equally vigorous attempt to approval that “Hieland men establish law and order in ancommonly reft and slew ilk ane other part of his realm. Havuther,” and the cow left to the ing laid up the chief lords of protection of a bracken - bush the Marches safely in ward, might have been discounted at James proceeded to deal in peronce in beef-steaks for some- son with the riding lairds. The body else. How James applied chief incident in his progress the remedy of strong govern- was the hanging of Johnnie ment and with what effect is Armstrong of Gilnockie on the told by Mr Lang in a couple ash-trees of Carlanrig, together of delicious paragraphs :

with his followers to the num“Donald of Harlaw had been suc

ber of thirty or forty; and the ceeded in the lordship of the Isles by allegation borne by a tablet his son Alastair, who sat in the court recently erected at the place, that condemned the Albanys. He to the effect that Gilnockie came in response to the summons, as did his defeated foe, Angus Dubh

came in ” relying on the king's Mackay, with Kenneth Mòr Mac- word for his safety, has been kenzie, James Campbell, and all the supported by successive hisnorth. Campbell had previously been torians. Even the scrupulous sent to bring Johın Mòr, Alastair's

that Gilnockie uncle, before the king, and had incidentally slain him. . . . Some of the

Some of the “was most basely betrayed ”;

“ ; chiefs, who came trusting to James's and nobody seems to have honour, were promptly and perfidi- doubted it till last year, when ously seized, imprisoned, or hanged. Mr Hume Brown stirred some

James Campbell, the slayer of John Mòr, was among those executed. indignation by observing coldly Alastair was released after a short that the method of Gilnockie's imprisonment, and showed how he capture had “not been satisliked his treatment by burning Inver: factorily explained.” Mr Lang ress (1429). James pursued him with 11 army, and came up with him in goes further: he shows that Lochaber. Alastair was deserted by the utmost which can be proved

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

Pitcairn says


[ocr errors]

from contemporary evidence is upon the king's honour, only that Gilnockie was enticed into increases


upon the presence of the king by a him as a faithful guide through device of his servants, and he' the murky maze of Stewart suggests that historians have history. Nobody can doubt been beguiled by the glamour that he is of one mind with of the famous ballad. Of the those “monie Scottis menne king's treachery he pronounces who, as Pitscottie says, “heavthe evidence to be “late, erron- ilie lamented Johne Armstrang, eous in detail, and Protestant, Laird of Kilnockie, for he was therefore hostile." Lindsay of ane doubtit [redoubtable) man, Pitscottie was alive at the time, and als gude ane Christane and, hotly Protestant though as evir was vpoun the Borderis. he was, makes no direct charge And albeit he was

ane lous against James's honour.

leivand sloose living] man, and So when he [Gilnockie) entred in sustained the number of xxiiij befoir the king, he cam verrie richlie weill-horsed able gentlemen with apparelled, trusting that in respect he him, yitt nevir molested no had cum to the kingis grace willinglie Scottis man.” and voluntarlie, not being tain nor Reverting for a moment to apprehendit be the king, he would obtain the mair favour."

the reign of the fourth James

the dark story of Flodden is But Mr Lang cannot cite well told : the excellent sketchPitscottie in defence of James, map of the battlefield greatly refusing all credit to his author- assists the understanding of ity by reason of the many what brought about the diserroneous statements and dates aster, and tempts one to wish he has detected in that charm- that other battlefields had been ing writer, “although for quaint illustrated in like manner. interest he is the Herodotus of Especially of Bannockburn Scotland." Certainly it would would a plan have been innever do to hang a cat upon structive, were it only to show Pitscottie's unsupported allega- how fatally James IV.'s tactics tion, and it would be rash to differed from those of Bruce. acquit a king thereon. Indeed There is a curious physical it strikes one that King James resemblance between these dismust have been either incredibly tant fields. In both, the Scotsimple or uncommonly crafty, tish army took up a position if, when he saw the culprit on rising ground to the left of riding with forty followers into their camp; in both, the front the trap, he abstained from of that position was protected inquiring what means had been by a

morass with

a single employed to bring him there. narrow crossing. As Bruce It seems almost certain that did at Bannockburn “James Gilnockie must have received might have sat still on Flodden assurance, direct or indirect, Ridge and awaited Surrey's

, before running his head into attack, if attack he did. James such a noose. That Mr Lang, was well provisioned; not so with all his love for ballad Surrey, who could not have lore, rejects the imputation long maintained his position

[ocr errors]

or kept his men together." Gordons, instead of betaking But, unlike Bruce, James was themselves to plunder Edward badly served by his outposts Howard's broken column, James, and scouts. He knew nothing hewing his way to Surrey and of the English whereabouts the English standard, might till their advanced-guard came have condoned his unpardonin view. Then, still more un- able daring by success, and the like Bruce, he set fire to his sun of Bannockburn have been camp,

and descended from dimmed in the newer splendour Flodden to give battle. Sur- of Flodden field. rey's generalship was so im- About the scandal concerning perfect, his supplies so deficient, the Scottish king's_dealings his communications so badly with Lady Heron of Ford, and kept, that there ought to have the useful information she is been no difficulty in inscribing alleged to have sent to Surrey, Flodden upon the roll of Scot- Mr Langis discreetly and tish victories.

charitably indefinite. Know“The saddest circumstance is that ing James's temperament and the English had been deprived of habits, he is careful not to probeer for three days, and could hardly nounce it impossible that the have endured another day of drought; lady "gave him some encouragewhile it is melancholy to think that

ment if the Scots on Flodden side had sat

and he also knows

; still, drinking their beer, which the enough about ladies to think it learned bishop (of Durham] highly not improbable that she concommends, the force of Surrey, un- veyed some useful information victualled, would have melted like a

to Surrey; but the details rest mist.”

upon nothing less suspicious After all, there is an element than the testimony of Buchanan in the turn of battles which and Pitscottie. Every one lies beyond all material causes. knows how impossible it is to James was foolhardy and over- probe such stories. Scott was chivalrous; he threw away his positive that during the Hunchances and the lives of his dred Days Fouché employed a good soldiers. But he was not lady to give the Duke of Welmore foolhardy than Bruce had lington false information about been when he accepted in person Napoleon's movements, and de Bohun's challenge on St much of the course of the John's Eve in 1314. The risk Waterloo campaign has been was not nearly so great. If, at explained upon the hypothesis Bannockburn, de Bohun's spear of such a correspondence. It had found its mark, as the fits the exigencies of the puzzle odds were that the

spear very neatly, and accounts for accomplished a jouster would Wellington's persistent refusal find it, then had Bruce never to believe that Napoleon's aplived to deal that back-hand pearance on

the Sambre was blow which riveted his king- more than a feint. Yet Welship and won a realm. At lington, who was as fond of Flodden, on the other hand, dealing with pretty ladies as if Home's Border spears had was James IV., afterwards destood

rightly by Huntly's clared explicitly that neither

of so


directly nor indirectly had he treachery of Lord Maxwell,

, held any communication what- leader of the Lutheran party. ever with Fouché during the If Maxwell and the other nobles time in question.

were indeed hearty in their serIn “the terrible and hitherto vice, then have their descenalmost inexplicable disaster of dants at this day much occasion Solway Moss,” Mr Lang relies to blush for the unsoldierlike confidently upon Wharton's handling of their men. Scotofficial despatches, lately pub- land paid dearly for their blunlished from the Longleat MSS., ders and carelessness in presence and is able to disprove Froude's of such a good soldier as Wharallegation that James's expedi- ton. Many a time had she tion was a piece of secret Catho- mourned for the Flowers of the lic strategy. It was not purely Forest lying in sheaves, stark Catholic, inasmuch as the names and bloody, on the stricken field; of many Scottish nobles present but it had ever been their eagerwere inscribed on the roll of ness to close that drove them to three hundred and sixty notable their doom, their disdain of heretics which James V. had in English arrows, and their faith his pocket : it was no surprise in Scottish pikes. But at Solto the English, for Dacre, as way Moss the national scutcheon is known from the Hamilton took a grievous smirch ; droves Papers, had bought the secret of prisoners, only half reluctant, from a Scot for twenty nobles, were driven across the Border and had given timely warning by Wharton's force, which was to the Warden. The author not a third in number of that of cares not to conceal his gratifi- James. Well might the heartcation (why should he?) in broken, shame - stricken king confuting Knox's elaborate nar- repeat wearily as he lay dying rative, “with Biblical paral- -"Fie, fled Oliver!” lels," upon which Froude relied, As one follows the narrative and in showing that the issue of the kingdom through the of that day was no proof that wasteful and bloody centuries, Providence is exclusively Prot- it touches one to note the wistestant. Wharton makes no par- ful longing for peace and good ade of Providence, but attrib- government never absent from utes his success to early infor- the thoughts of those purer mation, careful reconnoitring, and keener intellects that could and the judicious use to which sink private ambition or inhe put his excellent cavalry. terest. Most of the shameful Mr Lang makes light of the and often stupid treason which alleged discontent of the Scot- stained the record of almost tish nobles with the new com- every family of repute may be mander of the forces, Oliver accounted as the working of Sinclair, an ordinary gentleman sheer greed of power and place. of cloak and sword. He quotes, It seems very shocking to us, in with neutral comment, the story these days of etiolated passions, of the Venetian Secretary in Newcastle and other

proEngland, who lays the whole grammes, when it would be as blame of the rout upon the gross an outrage to suspect any Liberal Minister of pro- the las,” said Otterburn, quoted moting a particular measure by Sadleyr, the English amfrom a desire to catch votes as bassador at Holyrood, “and we it would be to impute to a Tory the lad, we coulde be well cona desire to "dish the Whigs. tent with it; but I cannot Politicians of all parties, devoid beleve that your nacyon coulde of any

wish to murder the agree to have a Scotte to be Queen, to kidnap the Prince Kyng of England; and lyke

; of Wales, or to hand over wise I assure you that our the country to the Emperor nacyon, being a stout nacyon,

, William, may with all pro- will never agree to have an priety stand and pray thus Englishman to be King of with themselves : God, we Scotland; and though the thank Thee that we are not as whole nobilite of the realme these Douglases were, or these wolde consent unto it, yet our Homes, or these Maxwells.". comen people and the stones Yet a great many of these per- in the streete wolde ryse and petual conspiracies must have rebelle agenst it." had their birth in sheer despair; Therefore the old condition things seemed past mending, of things was to go on-burnand must be ended; men, we ings and raidings, driving of may be sure, persuaded them- cattle, slaying and capturing selves that they were acting as of men—till the mills of God patriotically in dethroning a should grind out a new destiny king or putting an obnoxious for the “nacyons,” and men of peer out of the way as those

the same race and language who now spend so much money should at length find that it and diligence in turning out was possible to dwell on differthe Government. Modern me- ent sides of an imaginary line, thods may be less reprehensible without perpetually flying at and, on the whole, better for each other's throats. Mr Lang's

, society at large, but they budget is a great deal too full won't furnish material for such to permit him to stuff it with a readable chronicle as Mr many details; but to illustrate

; Lang's.

the character of the warfare to The idea of a united king- which generation after gener

a dom-one crown, one island- ation of English and Scots grew was never abandoned by the up, a brief extract may


perfar-sighted. But the project, so mitted here from one of the near accomplishment when the reports made by the English frail life of the Maid of Nor- Warden to his Government. way ebbed away on the grey It is headed “Exploits doon northern sea, was almost driven uppon the Scottis," and shows out of practical politics by the “bag" from 1st July to James V.'s choice of a queen

30th November 1544. from Catholic France instead of the heiress of Protestant

Touns [farmhouses), towers, England. After James's death stedes, barnekyns, parish

churches, bastell - houses the boot was on the other leg,

(spoyled and burnt]

192 as the saying is. had Scots slain


[ocr errors]

“ If you

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »