Page images
PDF
EPUB

succeeded. The succession as settled at the parliament at Ayr was to run in David and his heirs, and failing him, prince Edward Bruce, king Robert's brother, and the heirs male of his body, he died without issue, before the king,--failing these, Marjory Bruce, married to Walter great steward of Scotland, and her heirs, whether male or female. In 1329, David II. succeeded to the throne ; he married Jane of England, daughter of Edward III., by whom he had no issue ; at her death he married Margaret Logie, daughter of Sir John Logie, by whom he had no issue. He died 22nd February, 1371 ; and was succeeded by his nephew Robert Stewart, son of his eldest sister Marjory, according to the order of the succession settied by Robert Bruce and the three estates of parliament.

Before continuing the descent of the crown, we will give a brief account of the origin of the illustrious house of Stewart. Banquo and his son Fleance, mentioned by Shakspeare in his tragedy of Macbeth, were powerful thanes of Lochaber, and “ bore their faculties so meekly," and conducted themselves with such prudence and public virtue, that they rose to considerable eminence in the reign of the gracious Duncan :” after whose murder, and the usurpation of Macbeth, that cruel and crafty tyrant planned the murder of them both ; he succeeded in cutting off the father, but Fleance escaped and took refuge in England, and afterwards in Wales, where he married the prince's daughter: unfortunately the name of this prince is not given. By this Welsh princess he had a son named Walter, surnamed Banquo. This Walter returned into Scotland on the downfall of Macbeth, and the restoration of the right line, " and fought valiantly for his king against the island rebels and the savages of Scotland.” In recompense for his extraordinary services, he was created great steward, and treasurer of the royal household. In which capacity, he served the crown with so much fidelity and integrity, that the surname of Stewart was bestowed upon him and all his posterity: he was also exalted to the rank of an earl. His son and successor, Allan Stewart, went to the holy land under the duke of Lorraine and Robert duke of Normandy, son of William the Conqueror. He was succeeded by his son Alexander Stewart, whose son Walter Stewart divided the family into two distinct branches, in the persons of his two sons, Alexander and Robert Stewart.

Robert, the youngest son, married the heiress of Crookston, from whom are descended the ancient earls and dukes of Lennox, and the barons of Darnley. Of Alexander, the eldest son, descended John and James Stewart, of whom descended the earls of Athol and Buchan, Inverness, and others. Athol bore the full arms of Banquo, the patriarch of the family.

John Stewart, the eldest son of Alexander, the second of the name, left but one daughter, Jane Stewart, who married the earl of Bute; and of this marriage sprang Walter Stewart, third of the name, who married Marjory Bruce, daughter of Robert I. Majory died before her father ; but her son

Robert Stewart succeeded to the crown by the title of Robert II., on the demise of David Bruce without issue of either sex.

Many circumstances conspired to augur prosperity to Robert II.'s reign. The family of Baliol relinquished their just pretensions to the throne ; Edward the III. was old, and indifferent about resuming his pretensions to the supremacy usurped by his grandfather over the crown of Scotland ; Robert himself was in the full vigour of his age at the period of his accession, and the father of a numerous family. While a subject and steward of the kingdom, Robert received a papal dispensation to enable him to espouse Elizabeth the daughter of Adam Muir of Rowallan ; and by her he had four sons, John, Walter, Robert, and Alexander, and several daughters. Elizabeth his wife died before his accession, and he married Euphemia Ross, daughter of the earl of Ross, by whom he had two sons, David and Walter, and a daughter, whom he bestowed after his accession on a son of the earl of Douglas. Robert II. and his queen Euphemia, were crowned at Scone by the bishop of Aberdeen, in the year 1372. Old age and bodily infirmities rendered Robert II. unequal to the cares of government, and prince John, his eldest son, being lame, in consequence of a kick on the thigh from an unruly horse, and unfit for exertion, he appointed Robert earl of Fife, whom he also created duke of Albany, regent of the kingdom, into whose hands he resigned the whole power of the state. The king died in his castle of Dundonald, in the month of April, in the year 1390, in the seventyfifth year of his

age

and the nineteenth of his reign. John, earl of Carrick, succeeded to the crown on the death of Robert II., the first of the dynasty of the Stewarts. He married Anabella Drummond, who with himself was solemnly crowned at Scone, the 15th August, 1390. On his accession, he was persuaded to adopt the name of Robert III., because the misfortunes of the house of Baliol had rendered his name odious to his subjects, and the superstition of the times induced them to think that the name was fatal to the kingdom. Besides, his great-grandfather, the ever-memorable and heroic Bruce, had shed a lustre round the name of Robert, which rendered that name dear to the nation. The infirmity already noticed, and a corresponding indolence, compelled Robert III. to continue the duke of Albany at the head of government. The king's eldest son Robert, duke of Rothsay, was married to a daughter of Archibald the grim, earl of Douglas, after having been engaged to marry a daughter of the earl of March. The guilty ambition of the duke of Albany induced him to murder his nephew, the heir apparent of the crown, which he did by the cruel and lingering death of starvation, in the castle of Falkland. Robert became alarmed for the safety of his surviving son James; he regarded Albany with abhorrence and dread, as the enemy of the lives of his children, as the murderer of his son, and yet as being too potent for punishment, or even for removal from the dangerous height

to which he had attained. His second son James was too young to guard his own life against his uncle's arts, if Albany should aspire to the crown. Trembling under these apprehensions, he secretly determined to send the young prince to the court of France, where he might prosecute his studies, and find protection in the court of a faithful ally. At the command of the king, therefore, Sinclair earl of Orkney, secretly prepared, with a suitable number of attendants, to conduct the young prince to France. They sailed, but alas ! they fell in with an English ship of war, who captured their vessel, and carried the prince with his attendants prisoners into Flamborough head, contrary to all the rules of war, for at the time a truce existed between the nations. The news of this disaster filled up the cup of his afflictions, and the good old man died of grief at his castle of Rothsay, in the isle of Bute, in 1406, and sixteenth year of his reign.

The king's death made no alteration in the government; it was still administered by the duke of Albany as regent, and the rude nobles yielded him an outward obedience ; nevertheless, every one lived in his own castle, in a state of perfect independence. James the first still continued a prisoner in England, and Albany made no efforts to procure his release. At length, however, the regent died in the year 1419, and was buried at Dunfermline, “ the sacred storehouse of his ancestors.”

His eldest son Mordac succeeded him as regent ; a weak man, but who made no effort to redeem his sovereign, who still continued to languish in captivity, where he might have died, but for one of those trifles which the providence of God makes subservient to his own purposes. Mordac had a favourite falcon, which his eldest son Walter, a man of violent and ungovernable temper, had often solicited his father in vain to bestow upon him. At last the ungracious youth, resolved that his father should not enjoy what he refused to his importunities, snatched the falcon from his father's wrist and wrung its neck before his eyes. This excited the most violent passion in the old man, and he instantly vowed to recall his imprisoned sovereign, in revenge of his son's insolence. The angry resolution of the regent fortunately concurred with the earnest desire of the people, who had with one accord turned their eyes toward England and their captive sovereign. An embassy was accordingly despatched into England to negotiate his release. The ministers of Henry VI. during his minority were happily well disposed to listen to proposals for James's freedom. One hundred thousand merks partly paid, and partly promised, with the security of some of the young nobility, procured his release from captivity. During his imprisonment, James himself had impressed his captors with the most favourable expectations of his talents and virtues, and persuaded them that he was cordially attached to their country, their arts and manners, and devoted to their political interests.

Before leaving England, James married Jane Beaufort, daughter of the

duke of Somerset, and in name of her dowry one half of the ransom was remitted. James and his queen were conducted to the borders of his own kingdom by cardinal Beaufort, the queen's uncle, and the earl of Somerset, her brother. He was received with transports of joy by his people. He was met at Scone by the prelates, nobles, and commons of the kingdom, who were summoned to attend a parliament, and where he was soleinnly crowned by Trail, archbishop of St Andrews, and placed on the throne by his cousin the duke of Albany. James was in the twenty-seventh year of his

age when he thus sat down in peace on the throne of his fathers, in the year of grace one thousand four hundred and twenty-four. By Jane Beaufort he had twin sons, born in October, 1430, Alexander and James ; the former died in infancy. By her he had also six daughters. The lady Margaret of Scotland was married to the Dauphin of France, afterwards Lewis XI. Eleanor married Sigismund, archduke of Austria. The third daughter married the count of Zealand ; the fourth, the duke of Bretagne ; the fifth, the earl of Huntly ; and the sixth, the earl of Morton. On the night of the 21st February, 1437, James was treacherously murdered while at supper, by the earl of Athol and seven other accomplices, after wounding his queen, who exposed her person to their daggers, in defence of her husband and sovereign.

James II. succeeded to the throne at the early age of seven. The estates of the kingdom appointed Sir Alexander Livingston of Callander, regent of the kingdom, and the chancellor, Sir William Crigliton of Crighton, tutor to the king. In his fifteenth year, James married Mary, daughter of the duke of Guelders, by whom he had three sons ; James, prince and steward of Scotland, Alexander duke of Albany, and John earl of Marr; and two daughters, Mary, who married James Hamilton earl of Arran, and Cecilia. James espoused the side of the usurping house of Lancaster ; and in prosecution of their war with the house of York, James laid siege to the castle of Roxborough, which appears to have been then in the hands of the partisans of York, and was there killed by the bursting of a cannon, a fragment of which wounded him so severely on the thigh, that he died almost immediately on the spot, in the year 1460, the thirtieth year of his age and the twenty-fourth of his reign.

James III. was only seven years of age when his father's death placed him on the throne, and plunged the kingdom into all the miseries conse-quent on the disputes and intrigues of rival factions. James married Margaret, daughter of Christiern king of Denmark, Sweden, and Norway ; who brought with her as a marriage portion the cession, on the part of Denmark of all its claims to tribute from the crown of Scotland on account of the Hebridian isles, and to the feudal superiority of the Orkney and Shetland islands. James was more attached to the arts of peace, than was consistent in the rude notions of the period with the kingly dignity. The nation

were apt to make comparisons, disadvantageous to the character of the sovereign, between him and his brothers, Albany and Marr, which excited his jealousy ; to which horrible passion the earl of Marr fell a victim, and Albany saved himself by fortifying himself in the castle of Dunbar. He fled into France, where he married the duchess of Boulogne, by whom he had a son, who was afterwards regent of Scotland. James roused himself from his peaceful pursuits and showed that he possessed both courage and conduct. A party of his nobles rebelled against him; and getting possession of his eldest son, prince James, they defeated the king in a desperate battle at Torwood in Stirlingshire. James fled at full speed; and his horse, suddenly startled at some object, leapt over the Carron and threw his rider. He was carried into the miller's house of Bannockburn, and there treacherously murdered by a partisan of the rebels, who recognized the fallen monarch, on the 11th June, 1488, in the twenty-ninth year of his reign and the thirtysixth of his age. Besides his successor, James left two sons, Alexander duke of Ross, and John earl of Marr, and one daughter.

James IV. was proclaimed at Linlithgow by the rebel army which had defeated and murdered his father; but the barons who had been loyal to James III. mustered a new force, and carried the bloody shirt worn by the late king on the point of a spear. These were defeated with great slaughter, and the kingdom gradually submitted to the sovereignty of the young king, who at the time of his accession was in his fifteenth

year,

and youth of great promise. James, assuming the title of the laird of Ballengeich, would often disguise himself in the humble garb of a beggar, or gaberlunzie man, and wander unknown through the kingdom, inquiring into the conduct of his officers, and listening to the opinions and comments of even the lowest of his people concerning the character of their king. But above all, the diversions of the tournament, that mimic representation of war, were especially agreeable to his magnificent taste, and the generous gallantry of his spirit. His fame as a chivalrous knight spread all over Europe ; and the most accomplished knights, proud to distinguish their prowess in arms, resorted to the court of Holyrood : in every knightly art James excelled almost all his contemporaries. James sent an embassy to the court of England, to solicit the hand of the princess Margaret, eldest daughter of Henry VII., which was readily bestowed, and the marriage celebrated by proxy in the cathedral of St Paul's. Henry accompanied his daughter a considerable way on her journey, the earls of Surrey and Northumberland, with a numerous train of ladies, accompanied her into Scotland. James met her in the Lammermoor ; and in a church there, the actual marriage of the parties took place : a happy marriage, which introduced an English influence into the councils of Scotland, which entirely extirpated the baneful councils of France, and was the immediate means of consolidating two tations formed by nature to be but one people. James terminated his

а

« EelmineJätka »