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A history of Scotland from the Roman occupation (Volume 2) online

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the tortoise peered forth from the shell, Gowrie was taken, after
resistance, at Dundee, by Colonel Stewart. The head had peered
out ; Mar, Angus, and the Master of Glamis had slipped back to
Scotland. After Cowrie's arrest they seized Stirling Castle, Within
two days James and Arran were marching against them at the head


of 12,000 men. The leaders ran away and crossed the Border.
Bowes confessea that he had blundered, and ought to be dismissed
from service. A correspondent of Davison, who was on a mission
to James, " had thought better of Randolph and Bowes," so that
old Randolph seems to have had a finger in the fiasco. Angus and
Mar were told by Walsingham that Elizabeth would do her best for
them. It was the old story of a rising fostered and betrayed by
Elizabeth. The preachers fled with the rest. Mr Andrew Hay,
Mr James Lawson, Mr Walter Balcanquhal, with Mr John Davidson,
that satiric poet, went to join Mr Andrew Melville across the Tweed.
Elizabeth had recently hanged a considerable number of priests,
and Arran was very capable of doing what Morton said needed to
be done to preachers.

It does not seem that the Brethren fled before the execution of
Gowrie. On May 27 Davison from Berwick wrote to Walsingham
an account of the infamous trick by which Arran brought Gowrie
to the block. The story is a partisan statement ; it is told by
Calderwood, but it is much in harmony with a manuscript account
of the trial. ^® Mr Tytler accepts the narrative sent by Davison to
Walsingham on May 27. It is to the effect that Arran and Sir
Robert Melville visited Gowrie, and Arran cajoUed him into writing
a letter of confession to James, so as to secure an interview. Arran
promised that this letter, " his own dittay," or indictment, as he
said, should not be used against him. It was used, and Gowrie
was executed, behaving with great resolution. If the story from
the same sources — that Sir Robert Melville stood as Gowrie's
friend at the block, and with Stewart of Traquair saw to his burial —
is true, Melville can scarcely have been deeply involved in the
treachery of Arran, if treachery there was, though Melville could
play a double game in diplomacy. At the time of Mary's capture
at Carberry (June 1567) he certainly dealt both for the lords, his
employers, and for Mary, to whom he was devoted. But we have
no reason to think that he would betray a friend like Gowrie, or
that, if he did, Gowrie would treat him as a friend on the scaffold.

Gowrie had been in the Riccio murder. He had helped Lindsay
to extort Mary's abdication at Lochleven. According to Nau, he
had insulted her by his lust in the same castle. Throckmorton re-
ported at the moment (July 14, 1567) that Ruthven was removed
from the charge of the queen, " as he began to show great favour to
her and gave her intelligence." *^ Mary revealed his conduct, and


showed a letter of his to Lady Douglas of Lochlev^n, says Nau, so
the laird of Lochleven had him recalled. The evidence of Throck-
morton and Nau tends to the same point. Gowrie had imprisoned
his prince once, had been pardoned, had been trusted even as to the
king's dealings with Guise, and yet had been engaged in this latest
plot. But the method by which his conviction was secured was
deemed "Machiavellian," and revenge may have been the motive of
his son's conspiracy in 1600.

We have perhaps no right to connect Andrew Melville with the
conspiracy now crushed by the death of Gowrie. It was earlier, on
February 15, 1584, that Melville was summoned before the Privy
Council. He was accused of seditious sermons and prayers, and
explained that his words had been misunderstood. He claimed to
be tried, in the first instance, before a court of the Kirk. This
"would, of course, mean an acquittal, and a secular court might fear
to quash the verdict of the spiritual judges. He also protested that
his accuser, one Stewart, was a private enemy. After giving in his
" declinature " he brandished a Hebrew Bible, and asked if any one
could condemn him out of that. He was practically found guilty of
contempt of court, and ordered to go to prison in Blackness. " He
made as if he intended to obey the sentence," says his biographer,
Dr M'Crie, but he fled to Berwick — not without breach of parole, as
some may conceive. Probably he cannot fairly be charged with re-
fusing, as an ordained minister, to submit to a secular court in the
case of a charge of seditious language. His plea rather was that he
should be heard, in the first instance, by spiritual judges.''''^ But then
they would give a verdict in his favour, and how could a secular court
reverse the doom of the prophets ?

As for the other preachers in exile, some, it seems, had withdrawn
after Melville's flight, weeks before the attack on Stirling. The
others looked only for " bloodie butcherie."''^ In these distressing
circumstances a General Assembly, which was asked to reprobate
the Raid of Ruthven, broke up without doing business. It was
when Mar held Stirling, and he wrote a letter to the Brethren, but
the occasion was awkward, and the Brethren did not commit them-
selves, " awaiting a better opportunity." "-

In this condition of the Kirk Patrick Adamson returned from
England. He had bestowed his " feditie " on Mendoza, before that
ambassador was dismissed after Throckmorton's confessions. " He
haunted also Mr Archibald Douglas his companie, and sindrie other


suspect places." He bilked a tailor of jQ']. He borrowed a gown
from the Bishop of London, but did not send it back to that prelate.
He did something even more remarkable, for which he was batoned
by the porter at the palace/^ According to Calderwood, Adamson
must have acted like a less decorous Archbishop Sharp.

The proceedings of James and Arran, on Adamson's return, in-
dicated what proved to be the permanent bent of the young king.
France, in reply to Lord Seton, had advised James to proceed " by
the gentle way " in resettling his realm."* The advice, though dis-
appointing, seemed excellent, but how was it practicable ? To pardon
all the lords conspirators would only breed new conspiracies. To
permit the unbridled licence of the pulpit was no way of bringing
peace. Moreover, Arran wanted the spoils of Gowrie, the Douglases,
and the Hamiltons, who had been hanging about the Border waiting
for the success of the Raid of Stirling. James showed, in these
circumstances, his despotic tendency, his zeal for Episcopacy, his
determination to be the head of the Kirk as well as of the State.
Without dominating the Kirk, indeed, his headship of the State,
and even the State itself, were futile. The time was not ripe for
public opinion to take its due share in the commonwealth, by
parliamentary representation and the open discussion of the plat-
form and the press. The press was represented by clandestine
pamphlets and placards ; the modern House of Commons had its
parallel in the General Assembly, but that, with the pulpit, was one-
sided, and rested on the survival of spiritual privileges and pre-
tensions, and on texts from ancient Hebrew Scriptures. The public
opinion of the puritan middle classes found voice in sermons, but
these perpetually trenched on sedition. Each change of Govern-
ment was the result of armed conspiracy, and impUed executions
and forfeitures.

The course which James took for reinforcing the State was arbi-
trary, unconstitutional, and (in the eyes of the preachers and the
Brethren) blasphemous. But what course was he to take ? On
the return of Adamson a Parliament was held at Edinburgh on
May 18-22.^^ Naturally, and as usual, the Opposition did not
attend. The Lords of the Articles were sworn to secrecy. The
preachers were not represented. In four days the Parliament un-
made much of the Reformation which in 1560 a convention had
made as rapidly, and with as little discussion. Lawson and Bal-
canquhal, from their refuge in Berwick, complained of the revolu-


tionary speed ; but it was the usual method in Scof-.ish parliamentary
proceedings (June 2).'''*^ The Rev. David Lindsay, sent by the
brethren to inquire and remonstrate, vi'as hurried to Blackness.

The Ruthven Raid was again declared treason. James and the
Council, by the "Black Acts" as they were called, were to be
judges in all causes, or to approve of the judges ; and declinature
of jurisdiction (as by Andrew Melville) was to be held treason.
There was to be no more meddling with State affairs in sermons
under penalty of treason, no General Assemblies without James's
express licence. Episcopacy was established. The posterity of
Gowrie was disinherited. The excommunication of Montgomery
was annuUed.'^^ Angus, Mar, Glamis, and others were forfeited.
Colonel William Stewart was made Captain of the Guard. Davison
was in Edinburgh and reported these proceedings to Walsingham
(May 23-27). James had now got what he really wanted, if he
could keep it, and consequently he was at once independent of
Guise, Spain, and the Pope, and had shown them, by establishing
his supremacy in a Church after his own heart, that they could not
hope for his conversion.

Having put his foot on the neck of the Kirk, James could no
longer be expected even to promise to be converted to the Church.
He was in the desirable position of being his own pontiff, like
Elizabeth, after the Parliament of May, and this would bring him
closer to England. For his mother's freedom he had no desire, far
otherwise. James had only needed his mother's aid, as he had
needed that of the Pope. The more noted preachers fled, and
" flyted " from Berwick against Patrick Adamson. Both sides put in
hits, and we learn from Adamson that the General Assemblies were
called "Mackintosh's Courts," which we may conceive to have been
unruly.'^^ Ministers were compelled to subscribe a submission to
their ordinary or withdraw. Lawson and Balcanquhal replied at vast
length. What, had God not given to the preachers " the keys of
binding and losing," and was a mere Parliament to take possession
of these instruments, "and overpass Uzziah in usurping the office of
the priests " ? '^^ " New presbyter," we see, " is but old priest writ
large," and this pretension, at the root of a century of war and
broil, needed to be put down.

The ladies joined the bicker. Mrs Janet Lawson {tiie Guthrie)
and Mrs Margaret Balcanquhal [nee Marjoribanks) rushed into the
fray with a long letter. They quoted Latin, they cited Chaucer,

NOTES. 301

they called Adamson's style metallic (" hard iron style "). They
said, "You lie in your throat!" They called Episcopacy " your
new-devised Popedom." They denied that the Kirk had threatened
to excommunicate the king.^*^

These were remarkable ladies, if their logic, their Latin, and
their manners were all their own. But we are now entered on that
deadlock between Kirk and State which never ended till, wearied
and worn, the Kirk practically surrendered to the Prince of Orange.
Later, Craig told the bullying Arran that he " should be cast down
from his high horse of pride." That was an easy prediction, but
Calderwood thinks it was fulfilled "when James Douglas of Park-
head thrust Arran off his horse with a spear and slew him." ^^ Mr
Froude spares a compliment to the "second-sight" of the preachers.
Indeed their " subliminal premonitions " were ever part of their
power with the populace.


^ Hume Brown, ii. 169, 186. ^ Calderwood, iii. 306, 307,

* Calderwood, iii. 385, 393. ^ Privy Council Register, i. 640.
^ Calderwood, iii. 415; Act. Pari. Scot., Hi. 105, 138.

^ M 'Crie's Andrew Melville, i. 202.

^ Calderwood, iii. 531, 532. ^ LabanoflF, v. 231, 237.

* For example, in the Parliament of November 1581, specially confirming the
Act of Mary's last Parliament of April 1567 (Act. Pari. Scot., iii. 210).

^^ Calderwood, iii. 594, 595.

^1 Mary to Mendoza, January 14, 1582, Spanish State Papers, iii. 205, 206.

12 Watts, apparently, was sent "before September" 1581, while on September
7 Mendoza writes to Philip that the six lords will "send a person of understand-
ing who was brought up in Scotland" ('Edinburgh Review,' vol. 187, p. 324;
Spanish State Papers, iii. 170). Apparently Father Persons sent Watts, the six
lords sent some one else.

^^ Edinburgh Review, vol. 1S7, p. 326.

" Spanish State Papers, iii. 194, 195.

^® Spanish State Papers, iii. 285-288.

^^ Spanish State Papers, iii. 320.

^^ Spanish .State Papers, iii. 330, 331.

^8 Spanish State Papers, iii. 349, 350.

^^ Spanish State Papers, iii. 351.

2'' Spanish State Papers, iii. 371. 21 Calderwood, v. 594.

-^ Calderwood, iii. 579, 580. 23 Calderwood, iii. 597.

^ Calderwood, iii. 623. 25 Tytler, iv. 47. 1864.

-® Calderwood, iii. 663, 664. ^7 Bowes, pp. 176-178.

302 NOTES.

-^ See Calderwood, iii. 643, for another version. Cf. Spottiswoode, ii. 290.

'^ Spanish State Papers, iii. 407; Froude, xi. 283. 1875.

'" Calderwood, iii. 637-640. ^^ Bowes, p. 181.

^- Calderwood, iii. 644. ^ Thorpe, i. 426.

** Also Bowes to Cecil ; Bowes, p. 1S2.

■* Hume Brown, ii. 192. *^ Spanish State Papers, iii. 399.

^ Mary to Cliateauneuf, December 8, 15S5 ; Labanoff, vi. 239; Spanish
Calendar, iii. 400; Spottiswoode, ii. 311, 312.

•'^ Bowes, pp. 267, 268. ^^ Spanish State Papers, iii. 438.

*> Spanish State Papers, iii. 438, 439. *^ Calderwood, iii. 674.

••- Bowes, pp. 236, 240, 253, 265. ^ Teulet, ii. 538-546.

•" Thorpe, pp. 437, 439. March- April 15S3.

■*■' James to Elizabeth, April I ; Thorpe, i. 438. ^^ Thorpe, i. 440.

'*'' Thorpe, i. 443. ^ Bowes, pp. 404-406 ; Thorpe, i. 446.

*^ Thorpe, i. 445. ^ Bowes, pp. 425-431.

^ Calderwood, iii. 716. ^^ M'Crie's Melville, i. 284-291.

^^ Calderwood, iii. 718.

*^ Teulet, iii. 352-355 ; Spanish State Papers, iii. 487, 488.

^•' See a letter from St Andrews to Mainville, July 13, Spanish State Papers,
iii. 48S-491.

^ Teulet, iii. 355-361.

'^ Teulet, iii. 362-365 ; Spanish State Papers, iii. 502, 503.

^* Calderwood, iii. 722, 723. ^^ Thorpe, i. 458, 459.

^ Spottiswoode, ii. 303. ^^ Calderwood, iii. 731-747.

^■- Act. Pari. Scot., iii. 330, 331.

^ Bowes to Walsingham ; Thorpe, i. 464.

^ Thorpe, i. 464. ^^ Thorpe, i. 465.

"^ Thorpe, i. 466. ^ Spanish State Papers, iii. 518, 519.

^ Caligula, C viii. fol. 29. The references for the plot and its failure are in the
documents calendared by Thorpe, i. 466-470. The Bannatyne Miscellany, i,
91-107 ; Spottiswoode, ii. 309-314. Papers relating to William, Earl of Gowrie.

^^ Bain, ii. 350 ; Xau, p. 59.

"' There is a disquisition on the point in M'Crie's 'Andrew Melville,' i.

'^^ Calderwood, iv. 44. "^ Calderwood, iv. 37.

^ Calderwood, iv. 49-62. ^* Teulet, ii. 659.

" Act. Pari. Scot., iii. 290 et ?eq. "® Calderwood, iv. 73.

"^ Spottiswoode, ii. 314, 315 ; Calderwood, iv. 62-64 ; Act. Pari. Scot., iii. 296.

^8 Calderwood, iv. 87. "^ Calderwood, iv. 99.

** Calderwood, iv. 126-141. ^^ Calderwood, iv. 199.





The result of the execution of Gowrie ; of the exile of Angus,
Mar, and the Master of Glamis ; of the flight to England of the
more extreme of the preachers, and of the restoration of royal
authority with that of Episcopacy, was to leave James in his
favourite position of "free king" (May 1584). The freedom, how-
ever, was merely subjection to his favourite Minister, Arran, with
his aivaricious wife, who ran a career of rapine unlikely long to
endure. James, having attained what he wanted in the way of
religion — namely, control over the Kirk — was no longer tempted
to dally with Guise and the Pope, who could only do great things
for him at the price of his change of creed. There was probably
no moment when James really contemplated return to the ancient
faith, and he had a dread of foreign aid, as dangerous to his own
mdependence He knew his subjects too well, and was too proud
of the via media discovered by his own theological acumen, to
adopt Catholicism. At the same moment the Catholic Powers,
from Philip of Spain to Guise, slackened in their eagerness to
assist him, and the discovery of Throckmorton's plot to kill
Elizabeth, with his execution later, depressed the English Catholics,
on whom James began to see that he could not depend as the
means of securing for him the English succession. All these con-
siderations inclined him to break off the long-contemplated asso-
ciation with his mother, to leave her to her fate, and to rely on
Elizabeth. This part of James's reign, the space of about a year
and a half in which Arran held power, was of very evil omen. It


was really a kind of reign of terror. Ministers were persecuted
merely because they prayed for their exiled brethren. Hume of
Argathy and his brother were executed for communicating with
one of the exiles on a matter of private business.^ Rewards were
offered to informers, and Douglas of Mains and Stewart of Drum-
quhassel were later executed (1585) on a charge of conspiracy,
which was believed to be derived from an informer in collusion
with the Government, while Edmonstone of Duntreath was to
confess, falsely, to being concerned in the plot, and was to be
pardoned. Though many of these misdeeds may have been due
to Arran's initiative, the king was no longer a child. His per-
secution of the preachers took forms which he was to renew,
deliberately, in his maturity. Already he was playing the tyrant
as opportunity served, and unendurable as spiritual tyranny is, it
was matched in odiousness, or excelled by the conduct of the

AVhile he waged a war of pamphlets and letters with the banished
preachers, especially with James Melville, who was with the exiled
lords at Newcastle, he was turning towards a league, or an exchange
of good services, with England. The Spanish diplomatists believed
that James was still running their course, and Philip sent him 6000
ducats.^ What James and Arran desired above everything was
the extradition of Angus, Mar, and the rest, or at least their ex-
pulsion from England. While they dwelt on the frontier, and
paraded Berwick in armed companies, now encouraged, now de-
pressed by the caprices of Elizabeth, neither Arran nor James had
an hour of security. The English Ambassador to Holyrood,
Davison, was intriguing and conspiring with these busy exiles.
He was especially fomenting a plot to seize Edinburgh Castle, then
under the command of Alexander Erskine, of the ]\Iar family.
This appears from Davison's letters to Walsingham of July 4, July
14, and other despatches.^ But while Walsingham was backing
Davison in this treachery, and inclined to release Mary (who was
expected to plead for the exiled lords), Cecil was running a " bye-
course." His idea was to send Lord Hunsdon on a private mission
to meet Arran at Faulden Kirk, on the Border. The two might
arrange a modus vivendi with James, which would leave Mary de-
serted. Hunsdon had an interest of his own, a marriage between
James and a lady of his family. Arran hoped to gain from
Elizabeth the expulsion or extradition of the exiled lords, and


security against the sermons of the exiled preachers. In return
he could offer the abandonment of Mary by her son, and a com-
plete revelation of the Catholic conspiracies against Elizabeth.
These would be betrayed by the Master of Gray, a young man
of great beauty, a favourite of James, a Catholic, and lately a
trusted agent of Mary's at Paris. In the March of 1584 the
Master had sheltered in his house at Edinburgh Father Holt, the
captured Jesuit whom James had favoured, conversed with, and
secretly released.* At that time the Master had recently returned
from Paris, where he dealt with the Due de Guise in Mary's and
James's interests. From Paris he had earlier conveyed " great store
of chalices, copes, and other things belonging to the mass, to spread
abroad in Scotland." ^ But the events which left James a free
king, and the delays of Philip and Guise, had turned the Master
into a new course. He would betray Mary, ally himself with
Arran, and, when his hour came, would betray Arran in turn
and attain power.

While Cecil and Hunsdon were thus working behind the backs of
Walsingham and Davison, while Davison was conspiring against the
king to whom he was accredited, while Arran was designing to
abandon Mary, and Gray was preparing to betray both of them, an
agent of Mary's was in Scotland, Fontaine, or Fontenay, the brother
of her French secretary, Claude Nau. His mission was to speed
the execution of Mary's old enemy, Lord Lindsay, then a prisoner,
and to complete the "association" between mother and son.''

Fontaine at Holyrood was in an unenviable position. He and
his brother Claude Nau, Mary's secretary, were disliked and dis-
trusted by the Due de Guise, and by Mary's ambassador in France,
Archbishop Beaton. They were no less detested by the Master of
Gray. This astute young man had obviously discovered the vanity
of the Catholic plottings in which he had been initiated. They
were mere cobwebs spun by priests to whom the foreign statesmen
never seriously trusted. Cecil had spies everywhere, and on the
rack the captured intriguers told all they knew, and more. Gray
found Arran and the king turning to Elizabeth : he turned with
them. James, to be sure, accepted a sword sent by Mary and
declared himself her knight. The axe, she hoped, would soon be
red with the blood of her old enemy, the Lindsay of Carberry Hill,
of Lochleven, one of the envoys who exposed the casket letters.
But James's words were only part of his genial dissimulation : he

VOL. II. u


was never so affectionate as when he was tteacherous ; he never
betrayed but with a kiss. Moreover, Gray had taught him distrust
of Archbishop Beaton, and of the Jesuits. The Master told Fon-
taine that Father Holt, his confessor, had refused him absolution
unless he revealed all that he knew of Mary's affairs, and that ever
since he had " hated Jesuits like the devil." The dislike was
mutual. There was a Father Edmund Hay (he who with others
advised Mary to exterminate Murray, Lethington, Argyll, and
others, just before Darnley's murder), and about Father Edmund,
Gray later wrote thus to Archibald Douglas : " Of late, being in
Stirling with his majesty, a gentleman, to you well enough known,
brought to me a man who confessed that Mr Edmund Hay, the
Jesuit, had dealt with him to take my life. I offered him 20
angels to get trial of it, and after I had gotten trial, 500 marks.
He received the angels, and brought me a letter, whereof receive
copy." Three schemes had been laid to shoot Gray. We hear
no more of what was probably a mere plan by the informant to get
the angels.^

Meanwhile Gray, said Fontaine, had been bought by England :
Fontaine saw the gold, angels and rose nobles to the value of
5000 crowns. To Nau, Fontaine was even more explicit than
to Mary. James was very clever, he said, but immeasurably
conceited, timid, rustic and mannerless in dress, bearing, and in
the society of ladies. Bodily he was weak, but not unhealthy.
Hunting and favourites were his delight ; in business he was indol-
ent, though capable of bursts of energy. " Like a horse with a
turn of speed, but no staying power," is a modern rendering of
James's own description of himself. He could never be still in
one place, but wandered vaguely up and down the room — the
James of ' The Fortunes of Nigel.' ^

The treachery of James towards his mother might answer Mac-
namara's question to Prince Charles (1753), "What has your
House done, sir, that Heaven should pursue them with a curse ? "
The callous dissimulation and perfidy of James may furnisJi-the
reply. He was now eighteen : his whole life had been passed
under terrorism ; he had again and again been captured, his exist-
ence threatened ; menaces against him had rained from the pulpits.
He could trust nobody : the ambassadors of his cousin and god-
mother, Elizabeth, had been, and still were, his dangerous foes.
Even Mary he could not confide in : his natural selfishness was


whetted by the prize of the English succession : his high notions
of prerogative were inflamed by his own condition of slavery.
From infancy he had resorted to dissimulation, the weapon of the
weak. Hunsdon, later, wrote, as to James and Arran, that they
might be trusted " yf they be nott worse than dyvelis."

Online LibraryAndrew LangA history of Scotland from the Roman occupation (Volume 2) → online text (page 32 of 60)