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1520, the Douglases and the Hamiltons met at Edinburgh to attend a parliament. The Hamiltons gathered in the palace of James Beaton, Archbishop of Glasgow, at the bottom of Blackfriars Wynd, and so dangerous seemed their numbers and the plots they were hatching, that Angus thought it right to send over to the palace his uncle, Gavin Douglas, Bishop of Dunkeld. The Bishop remonstrated with Beaton on his unpriestlike position and behaviour. 'Upon my conscience,' said the Archbishop, 'I cannot help what is going to happen,' and as he emphasized this asseveration by striking his hand on his heart, a great clatter ensued, for beneath his cassock he had prudently put on a coat of mail. 'Ha, my lord !' said the Bishop of Dunkeld, 'I perceive that your conscience is not sound, as appears from its clatters! For me,' he continued in deep reproof, 'I will to my chamber and pray for you.' Soon after, the Hamiltons had rushed like a hurricane into the streets. The Douglases had barricaded the heads of the closes issuing into the High Street with carts and barrels, and as their enemies were scrambling over them, they fell upon them and speared them before they were extricated. The day was the Douglases' when Sir David Home appeared with eight hundred men, and entered the city by breaking open the gates with sledge-hammers. The rout of the Hamiltons was complete; and the affair got the name of the battle of 'Cleanse-the-Causeway.' The Douglases were now masters of the city, and Angus might have risen to supreme power, but for his domestic afflictions. His wife was tired of him, and her behaviour was creating public scandal.
In November 1521, Albany returned from France, and fresh troubles began. Henry VIII., whose policy it was to keep Scotland in a ferment, threatened war if Albany (with whom he said his sister was living in adultery) was not immediately sent away, and if the Scots did not adopt his policy with the Continental powers. The King of England's interference was declined by Scotland; and in anticipation of his wrath, a host of eighty thousand men was despatched to the Borders. It returned, however, without drawing sword. Albany went again to France, and in 1523 brought over fifty vessels full of soldiers. Another army left Scotland for England, but in consequence, it was said, of the Regent's incompetent generalship, it was as unfruitful of results as the first. At length, in May 1524, unable to endure ' cold, uncomfortable Scotland' any longer, Albany left it to settle its own interminable quarrels as best it could, and returned finally with his retinue to the gay capital of France. After his departure, the Earl of Angus was at the head of public affairs for four years.
In the month of August 1524, the royal faction, headed by the Queen, brought about the ' erection of the King ;' that is, he became monarch no longer represented by a Regent. Most men were sick of the miserable regency, and the boy of twelve years was 'weel content to leave correction at the schools, and pass to his lords at libertie." About this time Henry VIII. became very busy in his endeavours to make a match between his daughter ' the lady Princess,' afterwards Mary, Queen of England, and the King of Scots, and however praiseworthy his desire for the union of the nations in this way, a deep intriguing spirit accompanied his overtures, and far-seeing statesmen were uneasy about his affectionate solicitude for the welfare of the realm of his 'good nephew.'
In 1528 Margaret obtained her heart's desire, in a divorce from Angus. She then married Henry Stewart, a younger son of Lord Evandale. In the same year a desperate struggle ensued between the King and his stepfather. Angus took flight over the Borders: the Red Douglases, as
1 Pitscottie, vol. ii. p. 312.
his branch of the house was called, to distinguish it from the older branch, known as the Black Douglases, thus fell for the time, and although Angus ultimately recovered his estates, so long as James lived no one of the name was permitted to settle in Scotland. This achieved, the reign of James v. really began. In after life he defaced his fair character by immorality and profane swearing, but among the many excellent qualities, on which our old historians dwell, were firmness in punishment, readiness in relieving the feeble and oppressed, and a winning manner with his subjects in the farm and the cottage, which gained him the title of the King of the Commons; patience when exposed to hunger and thirst, heat and cold, as he went through the kingdom discharging his duty; special attention to the navy, which having been also cared for by his two predecessors, now began to flourish; the cultivation of art and poetry, and the encouragement of athletic sports. He early undertook the humiliation of the aristocracy, which had been the dangerous task of his predecessors. He broke up, with passionate determination, the immensely powerful border family of the Armstrongs; and he endeavoured to bring the Borders and Highlands generally into subjection, by executions and forfeitures, which have been considered even by his great admirers excessive. During his minority, ' slaughters, murders, thefts, refts, depredations,' had been 'daily and hourly committed;' and for the better administration of justice James instituted, in 1532, the College of Justice. It consisted of fourteen judges (half clergy, half laity) and a president, who heard and decided causes. A certain number of learned men, trained to understand the laws, were appointed to the task of pleading the causes of such as had law-suits before these judges, who constituted the Court of Session. These men were called advocates, and this was the first establishment of a body regularly educated to the law: that
profession which our country has always honoured and reputed, and which has produced so many great men.1
James delighted in the chase, and Pitscottie describes an expedition which he made to the Highlands of Athole with his mother and a Papal ambassador. The Earl of Athole made great preparations for his illustrious visitors, and erected a palace of rustic architecture on a meadow. The walls of this beautiful shooting lodge were hung with fine tapestry, and there were glass windows, and the floor was strewn with flowers. 'The King was verrie weel intertained in this wilderness the space of three days, with all sic delicious and sumptuous meattis as was to be had in Scotland—fleschis, fisches, and all kinds of fine wine, and spices, requisite for ane prince. . . . This Pope's ambassador, seeing so great ane triumph in ane wilderness, quhair thair was no toun near be twentie miles, he thought it ane great marvell that sich ane thing sould be in Scotland: that is, so Court-like and delicious intertainment in the Highlands of Scotland, quhair he saw nothing but woodis and wildernes. But most of all, this ambassador, when the King was cumeing back from the huntis, marvelled to see the Highlanderis sett all this palace on fire. . . . Then the ambassador said to the King, "I marvell, Sir, ye latt burne yon palace, quherein ye war so weel eased." The King answerit, "It is the use of our Highland men, that be they never so weel lodged all the night, they will burne the same on the morne." ... It is said at this time, in Athole and Stratherdaill boundis, thair was slaine threttie score of hart and hynd, with other small beastis, sich as roe and roebuck, wolf, fox, and wild cattis, etc'i James frequently went through the country in disguise, and many were his picturesque adventures, as the 'Good
1 Tales of a Grandfather, p. 95.
man of Ballangeich,' with all classes of his subjects. Tradition calls him the people's poet, and attributes to him, among other productions, the comic poem of'The Gaberlunzie Man.' In 1535 a marriage treaty was effected between James v. and Marie, daughter of the Duke of Vendome, of the Bourbon branch of the royal family of France ; and in September 1536 the King sailed from Kirkcaldy1 in Fifeshire, to fulfil his engagement. He visited his intended bride at the ducal chateau of Vend&me, and then proceeded in disguise to Paris. Here he was not particularly successful in his endeavour to pass as a private person, for we are told that he 'ordered himself so foolishly, running up and down the streets of Paris, with a servant or two, buying every trifle himself; he weened no man knew him, although every carter pointed with his finger, saying, "La voila le Roy d'Ecosse !"'2 At the court of Francis I. he met Magdalene, the eldest Princess of the blood-royaL She was dying of consumption, and the chroniclers of both countries tell us how she fell in love with 'le beau Rot d'Ecosse,' and how he, fascinated by the transparent beauty of 'the pleasant Magdalene,' 'the sweet flower of France,' forgot Marie of Vend6me; and how, despite the forebodings of King Francis, who knew that the climate of Scotland would take away any chance of life his child might yet possess, they were married with extraordinary pomp and magnificence in the Cathedral of Notre Dame, on the 1st of January 1537. Towards the middle of May, betrayed by the splendour of a
1 Some time before, the King had set sail alone, as a romantic adventurer, to visit Mademoiselle de Vend6me. A squall arose, however, and instead of making the voyage to France, he steered along the coast, and landed at home in the Firth of Clyde.
* Letter of John Penman to Sir George Douglas, Oct. 1536, printed in Pinkerton, vol. ii. Appendix xxiv.