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required the whole lords temporal and spiritual, as well as the commissaries of the burghs, to give their bonds of adherence and fealty to the Queen before returning to their homes * It may, perhaps, be inferred from this that James had already causes for distrust and suspicion, but this is conjectural.
The truce with England still continued, and the government of Henry the Sixth, alarmed by the successes of the Maid of Orleans, who had wrested from the English a great portion of their French conquests, became anxious for the conclusion of a lasting peace between the two countries. To purchase this, the English Regency declared themselves ready to deliver Berwick and Roxburgh into the hands of the Scots, and the King having assembled a Parliament, the proposal appeared to the temporal barons and the majority of the prelates far too advantageous to be declined. There appears, however, to have been a strong party, headed by the Abbots of Scone and Inchcolm, which, from their attachment to the interests of France, contended that it was impossible to go into these proposals without breaking the late treaties of alliance and marriage between that country and Scotland; and such was the force of the arguments they employed, that the Parliament at first delayed their answer, and finally rejected the overtures of peace t. This appears to have led to a renewal of hostilities upon the borders, and a wanton infraction of the truce by Sir Robert Ogle, one of those stirring feudal knights who
* Acts of Parliament, vol. ii., p. 292. Fordun a Hearne, vol, iv., pp. 1309, 1310
languished under any long continuance of peace. Breaking across the marches at the head of a strong body of men at arms, and without any object but plunder and defiance, he was met by the Earl of Angus, Hepburn of Hailes, and Ramsay of Dalhousie, near Piperden, and completely defeated, himself taken prisoner, and almost the whole of his party cut to pieces.
It was now time to send the Princess Margaret, who had reached her tenth year, to her consort the Dauphin. A small squadron of three ships and six barges was fitted out, and placed under the command of the Earl of Orkney, High Admiral of Scotland. A guard of a hundred and forty youthful squires, selected from the noblest families in the land, and a thousand men at arms, attended the bride; and the Bishop of Brechin, Ogilvy the High Treasurer, Sir John Maxwell, Sir John Wischart, and many other barons and knights, accompanied her to France. Anxious by every method to prevent an alliance in which they saw an increase of the hostility of Scotland, and a dangerous accession of strength to France, the English Regents fitted out a large fleet, which was anchored off Brest, with the object of intercepting and seizing the Princess on her passage to her husband. It was impossible that the Scottish monarch should be unmoved at an insult like this, committed in a time of truce, and which reminded him of the parallel treachery of which he had himself been the victim. The scheme, however, fortunately failed, the little fleet of the Princess, having escaped the vigilance of the English, entered the port of Rochelle, where she was received by the Archbishop of Rheims, and a brilliant train of French nobility, and the marriage was afterwards celebrated with great magnificence at Tours. The character of the French Prince, to whom she was united, and who became afterwards known as Lewis the Eleventh, is familiar to most readers, and her lot as his wife was singularly wretched.
The late infraction of the truce, and this unworthy attempt to intercept the Princess, effectually roused the King, and he determined to renew the
It is not improbable that there were other motives : James may have deemed a renewal of hostilities the best method of giving employment to many discontented spirits, who in peace were likely to be more mischievously engaged. But the army which he assembled, although numerous, was weakened by disaffection ; and after having for fifteen days laid siege to Roxburgh, the campaign concluded in an abrupt and mysterious manner. The Queen suddenly arrived in the camp, and although the place was not expected to hold out many days longer, the King, with a haste which inferred some secret cause of danger and alarm, disbanded his army and precipitately returned to his capital * This was in August. Two months after a Parliament assembled at Edinburgh, in which nothing transpired or was enacted which throws light upon these suspicions. The probability is that discontentment, perhaps conspiracy, continued to exist; but we have no clue to unravel it, and events for a short space seemed to reassume their ordinary tenor.
* Fordun a Goodal, vol. ii., p. 502.
*We are now arrived at that gloomy period when a reign, hitherto more than commonly prosperous, and in which the Monarch carried through his schemes with an energy and ability which seemed to promise a long career, was destined to close with an appalling suddenness. It is to be regretted that, at this interesting moment, the accounts of our contemporary historians, and the evidence of our national records, are both extremely indistinct and unsatisfactory, so that the causes of the conspiracy against James the First are involved in much obscurity. In the feelings indeed of a great proportion of persons in the country, any daring individuals desirous of effecting a revolution, might have discovered ample ground for hope and encouragement. The rigour with which the King carried on the administration, whilst it gave a happy interval of comfort and security to the people, was displeasing to a large portion of the nobility ; and the contrast between the feudal license and privileged disorder of the government of Albany, with the rigid justice and severity of James, was deplored by many fierce spirits to whom rapine had become a trade and a delight. To these, any prospect of a change could not fail to be acceptable, and it must be remembered, that, according to the miserable principles of the feudal system then in full force in Scotland, the disaffection of any baron was sure to draw along with it the enmity of the whole body of his followers.
But in accounting for the designs against this Monarch, it is also to be remembered, that there must have been many, and these of the highest rank, who were animated by a still deeper enmity. The impression made upon the numerous connexions of the unfortunate Albany and Lennox, by the unmeasured severity of their punishment, was not to be easily eradicated. Revenge was a feudal duty, and such were the dark principles of this iron time, that the longer it was delayed the more fully and the more unsparingly was the debt of blood exacted. These circumstances, however, are to be considered not as the causes, but the encouragements, of a conspiracy, the actual history of which is involved in obscurity. The great actors in the plot were Sir Robert Graham, Walter, Earl of Athole, a son of Robert the Second, and his grandson, Sir Robert Stewart, Chamberlain to the King. In Graham, the motives which led to his mortal enmity against the King have been clearly ascertained. At the time of the execution of Albany this baron had been imprisoned, in common with other adherents of that powerful family, but, in addition to this cause of quarrel, the conduct of James in seizing, or resuming the Earldom of Strathern, had created a determined purpose of revenge. David, Earl of Strathern, was the eldest son of Robert the Second, by his second marriage with Euphemia Ross. This David left an only child, a daughter, who married Patrick Graham, son of Sir Patrick Graham of Kincardine, and, in right of his wife, by the acknowledged law of Scotland, which allowed the transmission of feudal dignities through females, Earl of Strathern. To her eldest son, by the same law, the estates and the dignity of this earldom unquestionably belonged; but the King contended that it was a male šef, and that,