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This sacrilegious murder was committed at Perth, where the court had been celebrating the festival of Christmas. After midnight, Graham, with a gang of Highlanders, forced open the doors where the King was lodged. Alarmed at the noise and at the blaze of torches, the unfortunate Monarch, anticipating the event, tore up a board of the flooring with the fire-irons; and, letting himself down, fastened the board above him. His concealment was discovered, and he was instantly murdered. He died in -A.D. the forty-fourth year of his age, and the thirteenth of his 1437. reign.*

Not satisfied with the blood-of the King, the regicides eagerly sought the Queen, to put her to death. Their apprehensions of her resentment were not groundless. In a few weeks, the leaders of the conspiracy were seized, tried, and executed. James left one son and five daughters.

The following are the most remarkable statutes enacted during this reign, besides those already noticed. That no private wars be allowed; that no chief be permitted to travel with a greater number of attendants than he can maintain; that no mendicants be allowed to beg, except such as wear a badge of permission from the local magistrates; that public inns be erected in towns and on the highways; that hospitals for the poor and sick be instituted at the expense of Government; that all idle dependants shall be apprehended, and obliged, under pain of imprisonment, to find employment within forty days; that every menial servant employed in husbandry shall dig at least seven square feet daily; and that the lawsuits of the poor shall be conducted gratuitously.


James the Second. The Queen Regent. Truce with England. Dissentions. Douglas assassinated. James assumes the government. Hostilities. King's marriage. Domestic affairs. Murder of Douglas. Disorders. University of Glasgow founded. Rebellion. Jame's killed.


A. D. AMES the SECOND.James the Second, a child of six 1437. years of age, succeeded his father, and was crowned at Scone. A very judicious Parliamentary enactment was promulgated,

* James and his Queen were interred in the church of the Carthusians at Perth. In the monastery, was long preserved the dress in which the King was murdered, and which was shown to the devout.

revoking all alienations of lands or other property belonging to the Crown, since the death of the late King, except what had been sanctioned by the Estates; and interdicting all future alienations, unless sanctioned by the Parliament.

The affairs of Scotland during this reign are partially involved in obscurity, from the scarcity of authentic historical materials, It is probable that James the First had, by a testamentary deed, appointed the Queen Regent of the kingdom, with a chosen council; of which, Sir William Crichton the Chancellor, and Sir Alexander Livingstone, appointed guardian of the young King, were intrusted with the chief direction of affairs.

Being a native of England, the Queen was suspected of a dangerous partiality for that country: She therefore tacitly withdrew from the govern ment,-leaving the Chancellor and the guardian to maintain their dangerous elevation, against the turbulent aristocracy.

The state of the kingdom imperatively required that the hostilities commenced before the late King's death should be discontinued. A truce for nine years was concluded with England. An unhappy rivalship between Crichton and Livingstone, for the a scendancy, weakened the authority of the Government. The nobles, no longer restrained by the stern authority of the Monarch, relapsed into their former feuds. Joan, the Queen dowager, married Sir James Stewart, commonly called the Black Knight of Lorn; as the barbarism of the age rendered it unsafe for a woman of rank to be without the protection of a warlike husband.

The house of Douglas had been aggrandized by an accession of possessions and titles of honour. Galloway, Annandale, and other domains in Scotland, with the dutchy of Touraine and the lordship of Longueville in France, yielded to the chief of that fa mily a yearly revenue greater probably than that of the Scottish Monarch. William Earl of Douglas, a young nobleman of sixteen, was inexperienced, haughty, and ostentatious; maintaining a train of one thousand horse. In the arrogance of youth, he even created knights, and held courts in imitation of Parliaments. The Chancellor, apprehensive of danger from Douglas's exorbitant power, or perhaps instigated by envy and resentment, adopted an impolitic and execrable expedient to destroy him. He invited the Earl, and his brother into the castle of Edinburgh; 1440. S where, after the semblance of a trial, they were beheaded.


James Lord of Abercorn succeeded to the estates and titles of Douglas; and transmitted them to his son, who married Margaret, commonly called the Fair Maid of Galloway, and the sister of the late murdered Earl of Douglas. Thus, by a concurrence of events, the house of Douglas was raised to its former influence and splendour. The King's ministers were the first to feel the resentment of a nobleman whose power became formidable even to the throne. Having attained his fourteenth year, James was persuaded to assume the government in person. Douglas insinuated himself into his favour and confidence, and procured the dismissal of the late administration. Crichton and Livingstone were soon after denounced as rebels, and their estates confiscated. Their 1445. S castles were taken, and their demesnes ravaged. In revenge, the Chancellor, who had shut himself up in the castle of Edinburgh, made occasional excursions thence, and wasted the estates of Douglas. A royal army, under the King, invested Edinburgh castle. After a tedious siege, it was surrendered upon terms highly favourable to the Chancellor and the garrison. Douglas was created lieutenant-general of the kingdom. He immediately resolved upon and partially accomplished the ruin of Sir Alexander Livingstone and his house.


Several irruptions of the English and Scottish Borderers attracted the attention of the Governments of both kingdoms. The Earl of Huntingdon and Lord Percy entered Scotland with fifteen thousand men. They were met and defeated by a force of six thousand Scots, under Douglas. The Earl of Salisbury, lord lieutenant of the North of England, raised an army of sixty thousand, to revenge the dishonour of his countrymen; but his menaces were unavailing: Thirty-two thousand Scots attacked him by surprise, routed his army, and ravaged the North of England.

An embassy under the Chancellor Crichton proceeded to France, to renew the ancient league between the countries; which was confirmed in the most ample and solemn manner. The embassy were likewise instructed to select a suitable bride for James, now in his eighteenth year. They accordingly entered upon a matrimonial engagement with Mary, daughter of the Duke of Guelderland. The bride landed at Leith; where she was welcomed by an immense concourse of people, who, to her polished attendants, seemed almost barbarians. The nuptials were celebrated with much barbaric pomp.


A very happy change was speedily effected in the King's councils, by the good sense and influence of the Queen. He abandoned the intemperate advice of Douglas, and availed himself of the experience and sagacity of the Chancellor.

A truce of a new and singular kind was concluded with England, which might be violated by either party, upon giving a notice of one hundred and eighty days. Sir Alexander Livingstone, who had been discarded, was again received into favour,—an ominous event to the house of Douglas. The native energies of LA. D. James's character were now developed. He assembled a .1450. § Parliament at Edinburgh, and enacted a variety of statutes which evince his wisdom and beneficence. He aimed at a thorough reformation of the domestic policy of his country; but his means were not the most eligible or effective: It was then unknown that education only can root out national prejudices, reform the manners, and rectify the judgment.

Mortified by the decay of his influence, Douglas withdrew from court, and passed to Rome, with a train of knights, gentlemen, and attendants, to witness the celebration of the jubilee. Upon his return home, he sent a submissive message to the King, which was graciously received. His Sovereign's forbearance was ungratefully repaid: Douglas persevered in his disorderly and treasonable conduct; he attempted to assassinate the Chancellor; he formed an offensive and defensive league with the Earls, of Crawford and Ross, the Lord of the Isles, whose authority was indisputable in the North.

Several incidents of a less important character served to exhibit the cruelty of Douglas and exasperate the King; who, with the secret advice of his council, determined upon private revenge. The Earl was invited to visit the court, at the castle of Stirling. After supper, the King, taking him apart into a private chamber, mildly desired him to dissolve his illegal combination: But the Earl proudly refused, and upbraided the King as the cause of the confederacy. Such an outrageous contempt of his authority was beyond endurance: James, transported with fury, exclaimed, with an oath, “If you will not break this league, I shall !" and instantly stabbed him with his dagger. An attendant struck the 1452. Earl with a battle-axe, and he fell mortally wounded.


Crawford, who was one of Douglas's confederates, upon hearing of his fate, rose in arms. He was met near Brechin, by Huntly,

and defeated with great slaughter. The four brothers of the unfortunate Douglas threatened the King with vengeance. They had the temerity to make an insulting proclamation at the gates of Stirling castle. They afterwards burned the town. James's forbearance and authority induced them to return to their duty.

The interval of domestic tranquillity which succeeded, is memorable for the institution of the university of Glasgow, by William Turnbull, bishop of that see; who conferred very ample privileges upon it, and procured a bull from Pope Nicholas the Fifth, confirming its establishment.

There is an obscurity over the subsequent part of this reign, oc casioned by the incoherence and discrepancy of the historians of that period. The most prominent transaction was the final ruin of the house of Douglas. Earl James, the chief of that family, had entered, as is alleged, into a treasonable engagement with Richard Duke of York, who directed the councils of England, and even superseded Henry the Sixth, reduced as he was to a state of mental imbecility. The King of Scots was the sincere and constant friend of Henry, and therefore displeased with the usurpations of York; who necessarily availed himself of the alliance with Douglas to retaliate upon James, and prevent his interference in the affairs of England.


A.D. Upon discovering the designs of Douglas, James sum→ moned him, by a herald, to appear at court. The Bark not only disobeyed, but caused placards to be stuck upon the doors of the churches of Edinburgh, charging the King with the murder of the two late chiefs of the house of Douglas. An army was immediately mustered, and sent to ravage the lands of the contumacious Earl, and to besiege his castle of Abercorn. Douglas, alarmed at first at the magnitude and imminent danger of the enterprise, retired to the Border, and applied for aid to his English ally; who sent him a pecuniary remittance. The infatuated chief was now reduced to the necessity of making a desperate effort to subvert the throne, or of becoming a melancholy spectator of the ruin of his house. He speedily resolved to raise all his vassals and adherents; whom he summoned to meet him in arms, with twenty days' provision, to pass with him to Abercorn, to rescue that fortress, and give the King battle, or expel him from the kingdom. At this daring resolution, the King was reasonably alarmed. His opponent mustered forty thousand men, inured to action, and hence

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