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peace and order would expose the person offending to certain punishment. At this time some severity was necessary, in order to vindicate the queen's authority from an insult, the most heinous which had been offered to it since her return into Scotland. But, in an age accustomed to license and anarchy, even this moderate exercise of her power, in ordering them to be kept in custody, was deemed an act of intolerable severity; and the friends of each party began to convene their vassals and dependents, in order to overawe, or to frustrate the decisions of justice. Meanwhile Gordon making his escape out of prison, and flying into Aberdeenshire, complained loudly of the indignity with which he had been treated ; and as all the queen's actions were, at this juncture, imputed to the earl of Mar, this added very much to the resentment which Huntly had conceived against that nobleman.
At the very time when these passions fermented, with the greatest violence in the minds of the earl of Huntly and his family, the queen happened to set out on a progress into the northern parts of the kingdom. She was attended by the earls of Mar and Morton, Maitland, and other leaders of that party. The presence of the queen, in a country where no name greater than the earl of Huntly's had been heard of, and no power superior to his had been exercised for many years, was an event of itself abundantly mortifying to that haughty nobleman. But while the queen was entirely under the direction of Mar, all her actions were more apt to be misrepresented, and construed into injuries ; and a thousand circumstances could not but occur to awaken Huntly's jealousy, to offend his pride, and to inflame his resentment. Amidst the agitations of so many violent passions, some eruption was unavoidable.
On Mary's arrival in the north, Huntly employed his wife, a woman capable of executing the commission with abundance of dexterity, to sooth the queen, and to intercede for pardon to their son. But the queen peremptorily required that he should again deliver himself into the hands of justice, and rely on her clemency. Gordon was persuaded to do so; and being enjoined by the queen to enter himself prisoner in the castle of Stirling, he promised likewise to obey that command. Lord Erskine, Mar's uncle, was at that time governor of this fort. The queen's severity, and the place in which she appointed Gordon to be confined, were interpreted to be new marks of Mar's rancour, and augmented the hatred of the Gordons against him.
Meantime Sir John Gordon set out towards Stirling; but, instead of performing his promise to the queen, made his escape from his guards, and returned to take the command of his followers, who were rising in arms all over the north. These were destined to second and improve the blow, by which his father proposed, secretly and at once, to cut off Mar, Morton, and Maitland, his principal adversaries. The time and place for perpetrating this horrid deed were frequently appointed; but the executing of it was wonderfully prevented, by some of those unforeseen accidents which so often occur to disconcert the schemes, and to intimidate the hearts, of assassins. Huntly's own house at Strathbogie was the last and most convenient scene appointed for committing the intended violence. But, on her journey thither, the queen heard of young Gordon's flight and rebellion, and refusing, in the first transports of her indignation, to enter under the father's roof, by that fortunate expression of her resentment saved her ministers from unavoidable destruction.
The ill success of these efforts of private reveng precipitated Huntly into open rebellion. Asth queen was entirely under the direction of his riva it was impossible to work their ruin, without lating the allegiance which he owed his soverei On her arrival at Inverness, the commanding cer in the castle, by Huntly's orders, shut the gates against her. Mary was obliged to lodge in the town, which was open and defenceless; but this too was quickly surrounded by a multitude of the earl's followers. The utmost consternation seized the queen, who was attended by a very slender train. She every moment expected the approach of the rebels, and some ships were already ordered into the river to secure her
escape. The loyalty of the Monroes, Frazers, Macintoshes, and some neighbouring clans, who took arms in her
efence, saved her from this danger. By their assistance she even forced the castle to surrender, and inflicted on the governor the punishment which his insolence deserved.
This open act of disobedience was the occasion of a measure more galling to Huntly than any the queen had hitherto taken. Lord Erskine having pretended a right to the earldom of Mar, Stewart resigned it in his favour; and at the same time. Mary conferred upon him the title of earl of Mur- .. ray, with the estate annexed to that dignity, which had been in the possession of the earl of Huntly since the year 1548. From this he concluded that: his family was devoted to destruction; and dreading to be stripped gradually of those possessions: which, in reward of their services, the gratitude of the crown had bestowed on himself, or his ances-, tors, he no longer disguised his intentions, but, in. defiance of the queen's proclamation, openly took arms. Instead of yielding those places of strength
which Mary required him to surrender, his followers dispersed or cut in pieces the parties which she despatched to take possession of them; and he himself advancing with a considerable body of men towards Aberdeen, to which place the queen was now returned, filled her small court with consternation. Murray had only a handful of men in whom he could confide. In order to form the appearance of an army, he was obliged to call in the assistance of the neighbouring barons : but as most of these either favoured Huntly's designs, or stood in awe of his power, from them no cordial or effectual service could be expected.
With these troops, however, Murray, who could gain nothing by delay, marched briskly towards the enemy. He found them at Corrichie, posted to great advantage ; he commanded his northern associates instantly to begin the attack; but on the first motion of the enemy, they treacherously turned their backs; and Huntly's followers, throwing aside their spears, and breaking their ranks, drew their swords, and rushed forward to the pursuit. It was then that Murray gave proof, both of steady courage and of prudent conduct. He stood immoveable on a rising ground, with the small but trusty body of his adherents, who presenting their spears to the enemy, received them with a determined resolution, which they little expected. The highland broad sword is not a weapon fit to encounter the Scottish spear. In every civil commotion, the superiority of the latter has been evident, and has always decided the contest. On this occasion the irregular attack of Huntly's troops was easily repulsed by Murray's firm battalion. Before they recovered from the confusion occasioned by this unforeseen resistance, those who had begun the flight, willing to regain their credit with the victorious party, fell upon them, and completed the rout. Huntly himself, who was extremely corpulent, was trodden to death in the pursuit. His sons, sir John and Adam, were taken, and Murray returned in triumph to Aberdeen with his prisoners.
The trial of men taken in actual rebellion against their sovereign was extremely short. Three days after the battle, sir John Gordon was beheaded at Aberdeen. His brother Adam was pardoned on account of his youth. Lord Gordon, who had been privy to his father's designs, was seized in the south, and upon trial found guilty of treason; but, through the queen's clemency, the punishment was remitted. The first parliament proceeded against this great family with the utmost rigour of law, and reduced their power and fortune to the lowest ebb.
After the death of the regent Murray, it was natural, says our historian, to commit the government of the kingdom to the earl of Lennox, during the minority of his grandson. His illustrious birth, and alliance with the royal family of England, as well as of Scotland, rendered him worthy of that honour. His resentment against Mary being implacable, as his estate lay in England, and his family residing there, Elizabeth considered him as a man who, both from inclination and from interest, would act in concert with her, and ardently wished that he might succeed Murray in the office of regent. But, on many accounts, she did not think it prudent to discover her own sentiments, or to favour his pretensions too openly. It became necessary for her to act with some reserve, and not to appear avowedly to countenance the choice of a regent, in