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Scotland, directing him to leave no means untried in his efforts to bring his nephew round. In obedience to his instructions the statesman began by describing, if that indeed were possible, the feelings of the King of England, when he hears that his good nephew 'rears numbers of sheep, and such other vile and mean things, . . . wherewith to advance his revenue;' and though Henry, 'considering that the things may be profitable, yet as the kind of profit might be a mean to cause his subjects conceive that their livings should be by the great personages taken from them,' his Highness of England has devised a method: his good nephew must perceive 'that the monks, and such other of that kind, occupy a great part of his realm, to the maintenance of their voluptie, and the continual decay of his estate and honour;' now his Highness would advise his good nephew, by good and politic means, to increase his revenue, by 'taking of their houses and possessions . . . and with the same he might easily establish his estate, in such wise as he should be able to live like a king, and yet meddle not with sheep, those mean things.' To these arguments James gracefully replied: 'In good faith I have no sheep. ... I thank God I am able to live well enough of that which I have. . . . There is a good old man in France, my good father, the King of France, that will not see me want anything. And most heartily I thank the King's grace, mine uncle, for his advice; but in good faith I cannot do so; for methinks it against reason and God's law to pull down the abbeys and religious houses, which have stand thir many years, and God's service keeped in the same. And what need I to take them to increase my livelyhood? I am sure there is not an abbey in Scotland, at this hour, but we may have of them whatever we will desire.' 'Sir,' quoth Sadler, 'they are a kind of unprofitable people, that live idly upon the sweat and labours of the poor.' 'Oh, God forbid that if a few be not good, for them all the rest should be destroyed!' replied the King of Scots.1 Indeed, James v. had no desire to quarrel with his clergy. He had unwisely kept apart from the temporal nobility, and had deprived them of state employment, but in certain of the lords spiritual he found sagacious and trustworthy counsellors. From 1537 to 1540 there were plots against the King's life. The Lady Glamiss, a sister of Angus, was burned on the Castle Hill of Edinburgh, and the Master of Forbes and James Hamilton, a natural brother of the Earl of Arran, were beheaded as chief conspirators. In 1540 James went with a goodly fleet to visit Orkney and the Hebrides. This was not only for the sake of the pleasant tour, but the King, who had proved an excellent ruler, was desirous of making arrangements for the administration of the laws in these remote regions, and of quelling certain disturbances among the island chiefs.
Two sons were born to James by his second wife, but in 1541 the heir to the throne and his infant brother died.2 Shortly after Henry VIII., who had been bullying and interfering excessively in Scottish affairs, arranged that he would hold a conference with his nephew at York. He himself arrived there in due time, but no King of Scots came. Whereupon Henry took mortal offence, and declared war with Scotland. In the autumn of 1542 the Duke of Norfolk entered the country at the head of an army, and a series of hostilities ended in the rout of the Scots, led by Oliver Sinclair, an unpopular favourite of the King's, at Solway Moss. It was then that the consequences of the King's past policy with his nobles became strikingly apparent. He had, it is said, mortally offended them by his syste
1 Sadler, Stale Papers, vol. i. pp. 30, 31.
'' Queen Margaret died at Methven in the same year.
matic neglect . 'It was now their turn to make him feel the weight of their resentment. ... At Solway Moss they not only refused to obey the leader he had appointed to command them, but they laid down their arms without striking a blow to a few hundred English troops.'1 The death of his sons had told heavily on James, but after this disaster the vigorous constitution of the man of thirty years gave way, and his life was blighted. He shut himself up in Falkland Palace, and lay in bed murmuring vacantly,' Och! fled Oliver? Is Oliver tane? All is lost! Is Oliver tane?' Nothing could rouse him, and when on the 7th of December a messenger arrived to announce that a daughter was born to him at Linlithgow, he only murmured sadly, 'It. came with a lass; it will go with a lass.\» Seven days after, as Sir David Lindsay of the Mount, the Archbishop of St. Andrews, and other statesmen were standing by, he kissed his hand to them all, and with feeble smiles expired.
Archbishop James Beaton died in 1539, and was succeeded by his nephew, David Beaton, a cardinal priest Among the many dark but unauthenticated stories wherewith our historians have clouded the life of this politician, there is one that describes him taking his dying King's hand in his own, and guiding the trembling fingers to trace a signature to a will of his own making, wherein he is himself appointed governor of the kingdom. The nobility shoved aside the Cardinal, and raised to the head of the Regency the Earl of Arran, the next in blood to the crown, who, being 'a very gentle creature, and a simple man easily to be ruled,' * was more acceptable to them.
1 Mary Queen of Scots and her Accusers, by John 11 osack, vol. i. p. 8.
* In allusion to the throne coming to the Stuarts by a daughter of Bruce. * Sadler, State Papers, vol. i. p. 75.
A few months only elapsed when Henry VIII. began his 'boisterous courtship,' for the Prince of Wales, of the baby Queen, the poor 'eternal enigma of history,' who lay in her cradle in the pleasant palace of Linlithgow, unconscious of his precipitate overtures. Mary had barely completed her ninth month when she was taken from her cradle, enveloped in regal robes, and borne from her nursery jby her lord-keepers and presented to her people to be publicly recognised by the Three Estates as Sovereign Lady of Scotland and the Isles. She was crowned in the church of Stirling; and many forebodings filled the hearts of the spectators, for the poor little one wept during the whole ceremony. Henry had in his confidence Angus, the late King's stepfather, and amongst the illustrious prisoners taken at Solway Moss were the Lords Cassilis, Glencairn, Fleming, Maxwell, Somerville, and Oliphant, and Sir George Douglas, the brother of Angus. These are known as the 'assured lords,' and they were sent home on the understanding that they would strenuously exert themselves to further the King of England's matrimonial designs. In March 1543 Sir Ralph Sadler, the great English statesman, had an audience of the queen's mother, Marie of Lorraine. The subtle woman, who, as a Catholic, a Frenchwoman, and a Queendowager of Scotland, loathed the English match, assured Sir Ralph that the world might justly note her to be the most unnatural and unwise woman that lived if she should not heartily desire and rejoice of the same; ... for she knoweth not throughout the world such a marriage could be found so proper, so beneficial, and so honourable as this is. There being an ill-natured rumour that the child was not likely to live, her mother took Sir Ralph to the royal nursery to see if he thought so; and the results of his visit there were that he assured his Majesty of England that' it is as goodly a child of her age as I have seen, and as like
to live, with the grace of God.'1 'Address and delicacy' were arts of which it has been truly said Henry VIII. was utterly ignorant. His proposals now were, that the Queen of Scotland should be immediately committed to his custody, and that during her minority he should govern Scotland. 'There is not so little a boy,' said Sir George Douglas to Sir Ralph Sadler, with very different manners from Mary of Lorraine's diplomatic civility, 'but he will hurl stones against it; and the wives will handle their distaffs, and the commons universally will rather die.' A marriage treaty was however effected, but it was considered dishonourable to the nation, and was broken off by the Queen-mother, and by that vigorous genius and brave upholder of national liberty, Cardinal Beaton. The wrath of Henry was ungovernable. The nation that had presumed to slight him should be scourged by fire and sword. The Earl of Hertford was sent with an army to Scotland, with instructions to burn Edinburgh, so that'it may remain for ever a perpetual memory of the vengeance of God;' to 'beat down and overthrow the Castle, sack Holyrood House, and as many towns and villages about Edinburgh as ye conveniently can ; sack Leith, . . . putting man, woman, and child to fire and sword without exception . . . and this done, pass over to the Fife land, and extend like extremities and destructions in all towns and villages whereunto ye may reach conveniently; not forgetting, amongst all the rest, so to spoil and turn upside down the Cardinal's town of Saint Andrews, as the upper stone may be the nether, and not one stick stand by another, sparing no creature alive within the same, specially such as either in friendship or blood be allied to the Cardinal.'2
1 Sadler, State Papers, vol. i. p. 86.