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Alexander III. was only nine Alexander III.
years of age when he was crowned. Ambassadors were sent to London to demand Henry's daughter in marriage for the young king. This was easily granted. Buth the courts met at York.
The ceremony was performed with great ponip. Alexander did homage to Henry for his English possessions, among which particular mention is made of Lowthian.
Henry next pressed his son-in-law to perform homage for his crown. The young king, though entirely in the power of Henry, declined ; and Henry honourably dropped all claim of superiority, confirming his assurances with a charter.
On his return to Scotland, Alexander found the Cumyns had formed a strong party against him, while they and their followers exclaimed, that Scotland was now no better than a province of England. Henry received intelligence that the nobility kept their king and queen as two state prisoners.
He privately dispatched the earl of Gloucester and his favourite John Monsel, with a band of trusty followers to gain admission into the castle of Edinburgh, which was then held by John Baliol and Robert de Ross, noblemen of great interest in England, as well as Scotland.
The earl and Mansel being disguised got admittance into the castle, on pretence of their being tenants to Baliol or de Ross; their followers also obtained access without suspicion.
The queen immediately joined them, and disclosed all the tyranny in which she and her husband were held. Beside other particulars, she declared that her jailors obliged her to lie in a bed apart from her husband. The English being masters of the castle, ordered the king and queen to be accommodated with one bed that very night.
When Henry heard of the success of his party, he sent a safe conduct for the royal pair to meet him at Alnwic. The Cumyns were removed from the council board, and others substituted in their places. In order to avoid giving offence to the Scots, Henry bound himself, that what he then did should never be drawn into a precedent.
The party of Cumyns endeavoured 10 recover their power, and between the two factions the kingdoms was a scene of confusion.
Alexander at length assumed the exercise of regal power, when a storm was ready to break in another quarter.
Haco, of Norway, came with a mighty fleet against the western coasts of Scotland. He landed with 20,000 men in Ayrshire. Alexander marched against him, and came up with the enemy at Largo.
The battle that ensued was uncommonly bloody. Victory at last declared in favour of the Scots. Of the Norwegians no fewer than 16,000 are said to have perished in the field. Haco with difficulty escaped to the Orkneys, where he died of grief. Magnus, successor of Haco, renounced all right to the Hebudæ and the Isle of Man. Alexander undertaking at the same time to pay Magnus 1000 marks of silver in two years, and 100 marks yearly for ever after. *As a cement of friendship, a treaty of marriage was concluded between Margaret, Alexander's daughter, then
age, and Eric, son and heir to Magnus.
The Scottish clergy refused a demand made by the papal legate, of four marks from every parish church, and six from every cathedral. The legate was refused admittance into the kingdom. Nor would the clergy attend him in England, but assembled a national council at Perth, and enacted canons for the government of their church.
A tenth of the church revenues was again and again demanded for the relief of the holy land. The Scots preferred an expedition at their own charges. The earls of Athol and Carric, with other barons, went, and perished.
The king saw himself bereft of all his children, except Margaret, who was given in marriage to Eric of Norway. In the third year after her marriage she died likewise, leaving only an infant daughter, on whom the crown of Scotland was settled.
Alexander was thrown from his horse over a precipice on the shore, and perished in the fall.
From Margaret of Norway to the Death of Bruce. FROM this period the course of our history
will conduct us through a long series of divided councils, contested sovereignty, wars, subjugation, and massacres.
Margaret was an infant, and in a foreign country. Faction and
anarchy anarchy distracted the kingdom. Edward, one of the most valiant and politic monarchs that ever sat on the English throne, was ambitious of adding Scotland to the dominions of his crown.
He applied to the court of Rome, to authorise a marriage between his son and his grand-niece, and having gained the consent of Eric, he ina trigued with the Scottish nobles to obtain their concurrence. Every thing seemed to favour his views, when one fatal event rendered his well concerted plan entirely abortive.
The child sickened on the passage from Norway, was brought on shore in Orkney, and there languished and died.
The consternation of the Scots can be more easily imagined than described, they saw full before them the unhappy prospect of a disputed succession ; war with England and intestine discord. The anarchy attending an interregnum rendered the exigency pressing; it was evident, that if the decision was left to the claimants, the sword alone must determine the dispute. In order, therefore, to avoid the miseries of a civil war Edward was chosen umpire, and both parties agreed to acquiesce in his decree.
The chief, or rather the only competitors for the crown, were Bruce' and Baliol, both descendants of David, earl of Huntingdon, who was brother to the two kings, Malcolm and William. Bruce was the grandson, and Baliol the great grandson of David. But Bruce was descended of the younger, and Baliol of the elder sister. Both had considerable property in England, and each bad his adherents in Scotland.
Edward carrying with him a great army adVOL. XXI.
vanced to the frontiers, whither he invited the nobility and all the competitors to attend him. He opened the conferences, by informing thens, that he was come to determine the right among the competitors to the crown, not in virtue of the reference made to him, but in quality of superior, and liege lørd of the realm.
He then produced his proofs of this superiority, and required of them an acknowledgment of it. The Scotch deputies, astonished at so new a pretension, answered only by their silence. One bolder than than the rest at last replied" that, concerning this claim of feudal supremacy, no determination could be made while he throne should be vacant."
By holy Edward, whose crown I wcar,” said the monarch with stern impatience, “I will vindicate my just rights, or perish in the attempt.”
At their request he granted them a delay till the morrow, in order that they might deliberate. Next day the deputies declined giving any answer to a question which could only be decided by the whole community. In consequence of this remonstrance Edward gave them a further delay of three weeks for taking the sense of their constituents. On the 2d of June following, the assembly resumed its session.
Robert Bruce was the first to acknowledge the superiority of Edward, in which he was followed by all the competitors. Burnel, on the part of Edward, protested that, although now the acknowledged lord paramount of Scotland, he did not finally relinquish his right to the immediate sovereignty of that kingdom. One hundred and four commissioners were nominated to examine the several claims against the ensuing year.