Imagens das páginas
PDF
ePub

youred to renew the negotiation with them, which, during the life of his predecessor, had been bro, ken off by his own artifices. But Kirkaldy knew Morton's views and system of government to be very different from those of the former regent. Maitland considered him as a personal and impla. cable enemy. They received repeated assurances of protection from France. And though the siege of Rochelle employed the French arms at that time, the same hopes, which had so often deceived the party, still amused them, and they expected that the obstinacy of the Hugonots would soon be subdued, and that Charles would then be at liberty to act with vigour in Scotland. Meanwhile, a supply of money was sent, and, if the castle could be held out till Whitsunday, effectual aid was promised. Maitland's genius delighted in forming schemes that were enterprising and dan, gerous ; and Kirkaldy possessed the intrepidity necessary for putting them in execution. The castle, they knew, was so situated that it might defy all the regent's power. Elizabeth, they hoped, would not violate the treaty with France, by sending forces to his assistance. And if the French should be able to land any considerable body of men, it might be possible to deliver the queen from captivity, or at least to balance the infuence of France and England in such a manner, as to rescue Scotland from the dishonourable dependence on the latter, under which it had fallen. This splendid, but chimerical project, they preferred to the friendship of Morton. They encouraged the negotiation, however, because it served to gain time; they proposed, for the same purpose, that the whole of the queen's party should be comprehended in it, and that Kirkaldy should retain the command of the castle six months after the treaty was signed. His interest prompted the

[graphic]

regent to reject the former ; his penetration sug gested the danger of complying with the latter and all hopes of accommodation vanished.

As soon as the truce expired, Kirkaldy began to fire on the city of Edinburgh, which, by the return of the inhabitants whom he had expelled, was de voted as zealously as ever to the king's cause. The regent having set on foot a treaty with Chatelherault and Huntly, for a reconciliation with them, succeeded in withdrawing them from the interest of the queen. But Kirkaldy, though abans doned by his associates, who neither discovered solicitude, nor made provision for his safety, did not lose courage nor entertain any thoughts of accommodation. Though all Scotland had now submitted to the king, he still resolved to defend the castle in the queen's name, and to wait the arrival of the promised succours. The regent was in want of every necessary thing for carrying on a siege. But Elizabeth, who determined, at any rate, to bring the dissentions in Scotland to a period, before the French could find leisure to take part in the quarrel, soon afforded him sufficient supplies. Sir William Drury marched into Scotland, with fifteen hundred foot, and a considerable train of artillery. The regent joined him with all his forces; and trenches were opened and approaches regularly carried on against the castle. Kirkaldy, though discouraged by the loss of a great sum of money, remitted to him from France, and which fell into the-regent's hands, through the treachery of Sir James Balfour, the most corrupt man of that age, defended himself with bravery, augmented by despair. Three-and-thirty days he resisted all the efforts of the Scots and English, who pushed on their attacks with courage and with emulation. Nor did he demand a parly till the fortifications were battered down, and one of the wells in the

castle dried up, and the other choaked with rubbish. Even then, his spirit was unsubdued, and he determined rather to fall gloriously behind the last intrenchment, than to yield to his inveterate enemies. But his garrison was not animated with the same heroic or desperate resolution, and, rising in a mutiny, forced him to capitulate. He surrendered himself to Drury, who promised, in the name of his mistress, that he should be favourably treated. Together with him, James Kirkaldy, his brother, lord Home, Maitland, Sir Robert Melvil, a few citizens of Edinburgh, and about one hundred and sixty soldiers were made prisoners.

Kirkaldy and his associates remained in Drury's custody, and were treated by him with great humanity, until the queen of England, whose prisoners they were, should determine their fate. * Morton insisted that they should suffer the punishment due to their rebellion and obstinacy; and declared that as long as they were allowed to live, he did not reckon his own person or authority secure ; and Elizabeth, without regarding Drury's honour, or his promises in her name, abandoned them to the regent's disposal. He first confined them to separate prisons; and, soon after, with Elizabeth's consent, condemned Kirkaldy and his brother to be hanged at the cross of Edinburgh.

EARL OF HUNTLY.

GEORGE GORDON, earl of Huntly, having been one of the nobles who conspired against James III. and who raised his son James IV. to the throne, enjoyed a great share in the confidence of that ge

8

nerous prince. By his bounty, great accessions of wealth and power were added to a family already opulent and powerful. On the death of that monarch, Alexander the next earl, being appointed lord lieutenant of all the counties beyond Forth, left the other nobles to contend for offices at court; and having retired to the north, where his estate and influence lay, resided there in a kind of princely independence. The chieftains in that part of the kingdom dreaded the increasing dominion of such a dangerous neighbour, but were unable to prevent his encroachments. Some of his rivals he secretly undermined, others he subdued by open force, His estate far exceeded that of any other subject, and his superiorities and jurisdictions extended over many of the northern counties. With

power and possessions so immense, under two long and feeble minorities, and amidst the shock of civil commotions, the earls of Huntly might have indulged the most elevated hopes. But happily for the crown, an active and enterprising spirit was not the characteristic of that family, and whatever object their ambition might have in view, they chose rather to acquire it by political address, than to seize it openly, and by force of arms.

The conduct of George, the present earl, during the late commotions, had been perfectly suitable to the character of the family in that age, dubious, variable, and crafty. While the success of the lords of the congregation was uncertain, he assisted the queen-regent in attempting to crush them. When their affairs put on a better aspect, he pretended to join them, but never heartily favoured their cause. He was courted and dreaded by each of the contending parties; both connived at his encroachments in the north ; and, by artifice and force,

[ocr errors]

which he well knew how to employ alternately, and in their proper places, he added every day to the exorbitant power and wealth which he possessed.

He observed the growing reputation and authority of the prior of St. Andrew's with the greatest jealousy and concern, and considered him as a rival who had engrossed that share in the queen's confidence, to which his own zeal for the popish religion seemed to give him a preferable title. Personal injuries soon increased the misunderstanding occasioned by rivalship in power. The queen determining to reward the services of the prior of St. Andrew's, by creating him an earl, made choice of Mar, as the place from which he should take his title; and, that he might be better able to support his new honour, bestowed upon him at the same time the lands of that name. These were part of the royal demesnes, but the earls of Huntly had been permitted, for several years, to keep possession of them. On this occasion the earl not only complained, with some reason, of the loss which he sustained, but had real cause to be alarmed at the intrusion of a formidable neighbour into the heart of his territories, who might be able to rival his power, and excite his op, pressed vassals to shake off his yoke. - An incident which happened soon after, increased and confirmed Huntly's suspicions.

Sir John Gordon, his third son, and lord Ogilvie, had a dispute about the property of an estate. This dispute became a deadly quarrel. They happened unfortunately to meet in the streets of Edinburgh, and being both attended with armed followers, a scuffle ensued, in which lord Ogilvie was dangerously wounded by Sir John.

The magistrates apprehended both the offenders, and the queen commanded them to be closely confined. Under any regular government, such a breach of public

« AnteriorContinuar »