Check all the Clans that have DNA Projects. If your Clan is not in the list there's a way for it to be listed. Electric Scotland's Classified Directory An amazing collection of unique holiday cottages, castles and apartments, all over Scotland in truly amazing locations.

Click here to get a Printer Friendly Page

The Scottish Nation
Albany


ALBANY, duke of, a title formerly given to a prince of the blood-royal of Scotland,—Albany, Albion, or Albinn, being the ancient Gaelic name of North Britain, and until the time of Caesar the original appellation of the whole island. The Scottish Highlanders denominate themselves ‘Gael Albinn,’ or Albinnich, or Albainach. The name Albany is evidently derived from the Pictish word Alban, "the superior height," and is now applied to the extensive mountainous district comprising Appin and Glenorchy in Argyleshire, Athol and Breadalbane in Perthshire, and a part of Lochaber in Inverness—shire. The title of duke of Albany was first conferred on the regent Robert, earl of Fife, son of Robert II. Since the Union, it has always been borne by the king’s second son, by creation, and was last held, as a secondary title, by the late duke of York, son of George III. The history of Scotland mentions four dukes of Albany who made a figure in their time; whom, in consequence of their relation to the royal family of Scotland, we insert here, rather than under the family name of Stuart.

ALBANY, ROBERT, first duke of, the third son of Robert II. the first of the Stuarts, by his first wife, Elizabeth, daughter of Sir Adam Mure of Rowallan in Ayrshire. He was born in 1339, He obtained the earldom of Menteith by his marriage with Margaret, countess of Menteith, and afterwards in 1371 that of Fife, on the resignation of that earldom into the king’s hands in his favour by Isobel, countess of Fife, the widow of his eldest brother Walter, who had died young, without issue. He was accordingly thereafter styled earl of Fife and Menteith. In the years 1371 and 1372, he presided at the courts of redress for settling differences on the marches. In 1383 he was appointed great chamberlain of Scotland, which office he resigned in 1408, in favour of his son John, earl of Buchan.

      In 1385, accompanied by the earl of Douglas, and John de Vienne, admiral of France, who was then in Scotland, and a body of French auxiliaries, he marched with an army of 30,000 men towards Roxburgh, at that time in the hands of the English. Proceeding into England they took the castle of Wark in Northumberland, and ravaged the country from Berwick to Newcastle; but on the approach of the duke of Lancaster, they resolved to return to Scotland. On their way back, they sat down before Roxburgh, but were obliged soon to raise the siege.

      On the invasion of Scotland by the English, the earls of Fife and Douglas, and Archibald lord of Galloway, made an incursion on the west borders, as far as Cockermouth, spoiling the rich country between the Fells of Cumberland and the sea, and returned with several prisoners and abundance of plunder. The talents of the earl of Fife, it is stated, were so highly prized, that the principal youth of Scotland flocked eagerly to his standard. In the summer of 1388, when Douglas invaded England on the east, and fell at Otterbourne, the earl of Fife, with his brother the earl of Strathearn entered that kingdom on the west, and after passing towards Carlisle, returned by Solway, without sustaining any loss.

      In 1389, in consequence of the advanced age of the king his father, and the bodily infirmity of his elder brother, the earl of Carrick, afterwards Robert III., who had been rendered lame in early youth by the kick of a horse, the earl of Fife was, by the three estates of the realm, appointed governor of the kingdom. Desirous of signalizing the commencement of his administration, he raised an army, and advanced against the earl of Nottingham, marshal of England, warden of the east marches, who, after the battle of Otterbourne, had boasted that he hoped to conquer the Scots, even though opposed by a force double his own numbers. On the approach of the regent and the new earl of Douglas, however, instead of giving battle, he posted his men in a secure and inaccessible place, and refused to stand the hazard of a fight; and the Scots army, after waiting half-a-day, with banners displayed in sight of the foe, returned home, wasting and destroying the country. truce was agreed to the same year, 1389.

      In April of the following year his father died, and his elder brother John succeeded to the throne, when he took the name of Robert III., that of John being considered inauspicious. The new king, besides being lame, was of a quiet disposition and had no strength of mind, and the management of public affairs was continued in the hands of the earl of Fife. His nephew, however, Prince David, earl of Carrick, conceiving that, as heir-apparent to the crown, he was entitled, in preference to his uncle, to be at the head of the administration, had the address to compel his retirement from the office of governor, and to get himself named regent in his place, under the condition that he should act by the advice of a council, of whom his uncle was the principal.

      In March 1398 Albany and his nephew Prince David had a meeting at a place called Haudenstank, with John of Gaunt, duke of Lancaster, and other English commissioners, for settling mutual differences; and it is supposed that, on this occasion, Lancaster, from his superior title of duke, claimed some precedence not relished by the prince and his uncle; for this year the first introduction of the ducal title into Scotland took place, the earl of Carrick, the king’s son, being created duke of Rothesay, and the earl of Fife, the king’s brother, duke of Albany. According to For-dun, these titles were conferred in a solemn council held at Scone, April 28, 1398.

      In 1400, when Henry IV. of England invaded Scotland, Albany assembled an army to oppose that monarch. Henry took Haddington and Leith, and laid siege to the castle of Edinburgh, at which time William Napier of Wrightshouses was constable of the castle. With the aid of Archibald, earl of Douglas, and the duke of Rothesay, at this time governor of the kingdom, he maintained that important fortress against the whole English army, which was numerous and well appointed. In accordance with the chivalrous custom of the times, Rothesay, who was not wanting in courage, though frequently charged with imprudence, sent King Henry a knightly challenge to meet him where he pleased, with a hundred nobles on each side, and so to determine the quarrel, but the English king was not disposed to give him this advantage, and sent back an equivocating verbal reply. He then sat down with his numerous host before the castle, till cold and rain, and the want of provisions, as the inhabitants had, as usual in those days, taken care to remove every thing that the invaders could lay their hands on from their reach, compelled him to raise the siege and hastily recross the Border, without his visit being productive of much injury either in his progress or retreat. On his part the duke of Albany, whose ambition was equal to his ability, desirous of having the government to himself, permitted the enemy to withdraw without molestation, and obtained much praise from them for his clemency to all who surrendered.

      Two years afterwards occurred the tragic death of the duke of Rothesay, which left a dark cloud of suspicion on his uncle’s name, and the mystery attendant on which has never been satisfactorily cleared up. The circumstances of his death are related by Boece, who attaches the guilt of murder distinctly to Albany, but the love of the marvellous which is so prominent in this writer as to make even Tytler call him the most apocryphal of Scottish historians, may be supposed to have led him to give a high colouring to his narrative, which the subsequent unpopularity of Albany and the disfavour into which his memory fell with the Scottish court, would not diminish. After mentioning the death of the young duke’s mother, Queen Annabella Drummond, his narrative thus proceeds:

      "Be quhais deith, succedit gret displeseir to hir son, David, duk of Rothesay; for, during hir life, he wes haldin in virtews and honest occupatioun, eftir hir deith, he began to rage in all maner of insolence; and fulyeit virginis, matronis, and nunnis, be his unbridillit lust. At last, King Robert, informit of his young and insolent maneris, send letteris to his brothir, the duk of Albany, to intertene his said son, the duk of Rothesay, and to leir (learn) him honest and civill maneris. The duk of Albany, glaid of thir writtingis, tuk the duk of Rothesay betwixt Dunde and Sauct Androis, and brocht him to Falkland, and inclusit (enclosed) him in the tour thairof, but (without) ony meit or drink. It is said, ane woman, havand commiseratioun on this duk, leit meill fall down throw the loftis of the toure; be quilkis, his life wes certane dayis savit. This woman, fra it wes knawin, wes put to deith. On the same maner, ane othir woman gaif him milk of hir paup, throw ane lang reid; and wes slane with gret cruelte, fra it wes knawin. Than wes the duk destitute of all mortall supplie; and brocht, finalie, to sa miserable and hungry-appetite, that he eit, nocht allanerlie (not only) the filth of the toure quhare he wes, bot his awin fingaris; to his great marterdome. His body wes beryit in Lundoris, and kithit miraklis mony yeris eftir; quhil (till), at last King James the First began to punis his slayeris; and fra that time furth, the miraclis ceissit."

      The melancholy death of the duke of Rothesay forms one of the most effective incidents in Sir Walter Scott’s popular novel of ‘The Fair Maid of Perth,’ in which the characters of the young prince, of his weak-minded father Robert the Third, and of his uncle the regent duke of Albany, are drawn with great faithfulness and power.

      It would appear that the duke of Rothesay, who was of a wild and thoughtless disposition, and little qualified for a charge so important as that of regent of the kingdom, had alienated the affections of all whom he ought to have courted and conciliated. He had in early life been affianced to his own cousin, the beautiful Euphemia de Lindsay, sister of Sir William de Lindsay of Rossie and of David earl of Crawford,—he slighted her for Elizabeth Dunbar, sister of the earl of March and Dunbar, to whom he was solemnly contracted,—and her again for Marjory Douglas daughter of the brave but unfortunate Archibald earl of Douglas surnamed the Tineman,—whom he ultimately married. The consequence was the deadly enmity of the earl of March and Sir William Rossie, the latter—in absence of the earl of Crawford in Spain—the representative of the house of Lindsay. More recently he had offended his father-in-law, the earl of Douglas, by personal affronts and neglect of his daughter, and by his shameful debaucheries and vicious courses with other women. He had disgusted and insulted one of his own immediate followers, Sir William Ramorgny, a man of highly polished manners, but of a revengeful heart. He conceived a strong desire to effect the overthrow of Albany, which he was at no pains to conceal, and was guilty of repeated excesses which rendered his being placed under some restraint a matter of necessity.

      On his suspension from the office of governor, it was suggested by Sir William Lindsay and Ramorgny to the prince, in order to facilitate his capture, that he should ride to St. Andrews—the bishop of which had just died,—and keep the castle for the king’s interest. He set off with a small train, but was intercepted by them, and conveyed a prisoner to the castle. Albany, and his father-in-law Douglas, then at Culross, presently arrived, and after holding a council of the regency, it was decided to transport the unfortunate prince to Falkland, where he was placed under the custody of two individuals called Wright and Selkirk. The rest of the story we have given in the words of Boece.

      The tale contains matter that is fabulous and untrue as well as revolting and improbable. All the parties named by the tradition as the murderers in chief we know to have died a natural death, except the gallant Douglas, who fell at the battle of Verneuil. If the remains of the prince could have wrought miracles at all, there was no truth therefore in the reason assigned why the faculty had ceased. After a life so dissipated, it is not improbable that the account given by Bower, the continuator of Fordun, may have had foundation, namely, that the young prince really died of dysentery, and to this view of the case the filthy details of Boece would rather seem to give some countenance. It is singular that Wyntoun, the earliest narrator of the event, says nothing whatever of the alleged murder. At the time of his death, he was in his 29th year, having been born in 1373.—See ROTHESAY, duke of.

      The mysterious death of the heir to the crown having excited great attention, a parliament met at Edinburgh on the 16th May after, to investigate the matter, when Albany and the earl of Douglas acknowledged having imprisoned the duke of Rothesay, but denied being guilty of his death, attributing it to divine providence. These statements appear to have induced the parliament to declare him innocent of the murder, while at the same time he sought to make himself legally secure by taking out a remission under the great seal for the imprisonment, both for himself and for Douglas. This remission, which is in Latin, was first printed by Lord Hailes, but it does not follow from the concluding remark of his comment, as Pinkerton says, that he considered the prince as having been murdered; namely, "The duke of Albany and the earl of Douglas obtained a remission in terms as ample as if they had actually murdered the heir apparent."

      On the capital of the pillar of the old chapel of St. Giles’ cathedral at Edinburgh are still to be seen sculptured the arms of Robert duke of Albany, and those of Archibald, fourth earl of Douglas, the father-in-law of Rothesay, the former on the south and the latter on the north side, and the author of ‘Memorials of Edinburgh in the Olden Time’ infers from this fact that this chapel had been founded and endowed by them, as an expiatory offering for the murder of the duke of Rothesay, and its chaplain probably appointed to say masses for their victim’s soul. (Wilson’s Memorials of Edinburgh, vol. ii. page 168.) The friendship which subsisted between Albany and Douglas seems a more likely reason why their arms should have been thus placed together, than any thing in connection with the death of the young and wilful prince, that could be imprinted to either of them.

      Soon after the death of Rothesay, Albany, in order to turn the attention of the nation into another channel, gave his consent for the renewal of hostile operations against England. Two Scottish armies were successively marched across the Borders, but both were defeated and dispersed, the first at the battle of Nesbit Moor, fought on the 22d June 1402, and the other at Homeldon hill, on the 14th September of that year, when the celebrated Hotspur gained the victory. In the latter the leaders of the Scots, Murdoch earl of Fife, eldest son of the regent Albany, with the earl of Douglas, his friend and supposed accomplice in the death of Rothesay, and eighty knights, and a crowd of esquires and pages, were taken prisoners, while not only among those slain but in the list of the captives, were many of that party which supported the king and his young son Prince James, against the encroaching power of Albany, whom they believed to be the murderer of his nephew the duke of Rothesay.

      Soon after the battle of Homeldon, the Percies, who by this time had become dissatisfied with the monarch whom they had placed upon the English throne, began to organize that famous rebellion which terminated with the defeat and death of Hotspur in the battle of Shrewsbury, in which they were aided by their prisoner the earl of Douglas. As a pretext for assembling an army they pretended an invasion of Scotland, and the duke of Albany, influenced probably by the example and advice of Douglas, and hoping that the kingdom would benefit by their services, readily gave in to their designs At the head of a large army Percy advanced across the Border, but had only marched a few miles into Scotland, when he commanded his forces to halt before the insignificant border-tower of Cocklaws, but the officer commanding the tower having entered into an agreement to capitulate in six weeks if not relieved, the whole English army retired. On receiving information of this, Albany assembled the principal of the nobility, and having explained to them the circumstances, advised an immediate expedition into England.

      The Scottish barons, who had been amazed at Albany’s former lukewarmness and inactivity, when the capital had been invaded by Henry IV. in person and the principal castle of the kingdom was in danger of falling into his hands, were now overwhelmed with astonishment at the sudden blaze of bravery which seemed to animate his breast when a paltry Border fortress was threatened by the English. "All were of opinion," says Bower, "without a single dissentient voice, that, upon so trivial an occasion it would he absurd to peril the welfare of the kingdom; but Albany starting up, and pointing to his page, who held his horse at a little distance; ‘You, my lords,’ said he, 'may sit still at home; but I vow to God and St. Fillan that I shall be at Cocklaws on the appointed day, though no one but Pate Kinbuck, the boy yonder, should accompany me.’"

      The warlike resolution of the governor was hailed with great joy. "Never," says the historian, "did men more joyfully proceed to a feast, than they to collect their vassals." At the head of an immense army, Albany advanced to the Borders, but on his march, a messenger from England brought the intelligence of the result of the battle of Shrewsbury and the termination of the rebellion in England. This, however, did not deter him from pushing on to Cocklaws, and surrounding the fortalice with his troops, and after causing it to be proclaimed by a herald that the Percies had been utterly defeated, and so relieved the fortress, he returned, without entering England, with his army, which he immediately disbanded.

      In the meantime, the afflicted monarch, Robert III., resolved to send his second son James, then in his eleventh year, to France for greater security; but the vessel in which he sailed having been driven by a storm on the coast of England, was taken by an English cruiser, and the youthful prince, although there was a truce at the time between the two kingdoms, was ungenerously detained a prisoner by Henry IV. for nineteen years.

      Robert III. died of a broken heart, 4th April, 1406, and the duke of Albany, in the absence of James, was, by a parliament which met at Perth, confirmed in the regency. He was then approaching his seventieth year, but vigorous, politic, and ambitious as ever. During his regency occurred the famous battle of Harlaw, which was fought in 1411, between his nephew Alexander, earl of Mar, and Donald lord of the Isles, the cause of which was ostensibly the earldom of Ross, to which the lord of the Isles laid claim in right of his wife, but there can be no doubt that this claim and his subsequent invasion of the district of Ross, formed merely a pretext, which was intended to conceal his ulterior views on the throne itself.

      It appears that the male line of the possessors of this earldom had become extinct, and the succession had devolved upon a female, Euphemia Ross, the wife of Sir Walter Lesley, by whom she had a son, Alexander, who succeeded as earl of Ross, and a daughter, Margaret, married to Donald of the Isles. The countess of Ross, on the death of her husband, married Alexander earl of Buchan, fourth son of King Robert II. Her son by her first marriage, Alexander earl of Ross, married Lady Isabel Stewart, eldest daughter of the regent Albany, and the only issue of this marriage was a daughter, also named Euphemia, countess of Ross, at her father’s death. This lady became a nun, and committed the government of her earldorn to Albany, with the intention, as it is conjectured, of resigning it in favour of her uncle, John Stewart, earl of Buchan, the second son of the regent. As the countess Euphemia, by becoming a nun, was regarded as dead in law, her next heir was her aunt Margaret, the only sister of the deceased Alexander, earl of Ross, and the wife of Donald lord of the Isles. That chieftain accordingly asserted her right to the earldom, and demanded to be put in possession of it. The claim and the demand were both rejected by the regent, "whose principal object," says Skene, "appears to have been to prevent the accession of so extensive a district to the territories of the lord of the Isles, already too powerful for the security of the government, and whose conduct was more actuated by principles of expediency than of justice." (History of the Highlanders, vol. ii. p. 72.)

      Resolved to maintain his claims by force of arms, and show his scorn of the authority of the regent, Donald formed an alliance with Henry IV. of England, and at the head of ten thousand men, which he had raised in the Hebrides and in the earldom of Ross itself, suddenly invaded the district in dispute, by the inhabitants of which he was not opposed, and speedily obtained possession of the earldom. On his arrival at Dingwall, however, he was encountered by Angus Dow Mackay of Farr, or Black Angus, as he was called, at the head of a large body of men from Sutherland. After a fierce attack the Mackays were completely routed, and their leader taken prisoner, while Angus’ brother Roderick was killed. Donald took possession of the castle of Dingwall, and seized the island of Skye, contiguous to his own extensive territories.

      Flushed with success, he now resolved, in accordance with his secret design of overturning the government, to carry into execution a threat he had often made to burn the town of Aberdeen. He ordered the army to assemble at Inverness, and gathering as he proceeded all the men capable of bearing arms to his standard, he swept through Moray without opposition, and penetrated into Aberdeenshire. In Strathbogie, and in the district of Garioch, which belonged to the earl of Mar, he committed great excesses. To arrest his progress, the earl of Mar, the nephew of the regent, and Sir Alexander Ogilvy, the sheriff of Angus, hastily raised as many forces as they could collect in the counties north of the Tay, consisting of most of the retainers of the ancient families of these counties, the Ogilvies, the Lyons, the Maules, the Carnegies, the Lindsays, the Leslies, the Murrays, the Straitons, the Irvings, the Arbuthnots, the Leiths, the Burnets, and others, led by their respective chiefs. The two armies met at the village of Harlaw, in the parish of Chapel of Garioch, upwards of fifteen miles from Aberdeen.

      Although the earl of Mar’s army was inferior in point of numbers to that of the lord of the Isles, it was composed of Lowland gentlemen, better armed and disciplined than the wild and disorderly hordes that followed Donald, who was assisted by Mackintosh and Maclean, and other Highland chiefs, all bearing the most deadly hatred to their Saxon foes. This memorable battle was fought on the 24th July, 1411, "upon the issue of which," says Skene, "seemed to depend the question of whether the Gaelic or Teutonic part of the population of Scotland were in future to have the supremacy." (History of the Highlanders, vol. ii. page 73.)

      The disastrous result of this battle was one of the greatest misfortunes which had ever happened to the numerous respectable families in Angus and the Mearns. The earl of Mar lost five hundred men, among whom were several gentlemen of distinction. Besides Sir James Scrymgeour, constable of Dundee, Sir Alexander Ogilvy, the sheriff of Angus, with his eldest son, George Ogilvy, Sir Thomas Murray, Sir Robert Maule of Panmure, Sir Alexander Irving of Drum, Sir William Abernethy of Saltoun, Sir Alexander Straiton of Laurieston, Sir Robert Davidson, provost of Aberdeen, and a number of the inhabitants of that city, were among the slain.

      A gentleman, named Leslie of Balquhain, whose residence was in the neighbourhood of the field of battle, with six of his sons, was killed. On the side of the lord of the Isles nine hundred men were slain, including the chiefs of Maclean and Mackintosh. Neither party gained the victory, and each, on reckoning its loss, considered itself vanquished, but the lord of the Isles felt himself so much weakened that he was compelled to abandon the contest. The earl of Mar and those of his companions who survived were so much exhausted with fatigue that they passed the night on the field of battle, expecting a renewal of the attack next morning, but at daydawn they discovered that Donald and the remains of his force had retired during the darkness, without molestation, retreating first to Ross, and then to the Isles. Immediately after the battle, the regent, anxious to follow up the check which the Highland force had received, collected an army, and marched to the castle of Dingwall, which he took and garrisoned towards the end of autumn.

      In the following summer he sent three separate forces to invade the territories of Donald. The haughty lord of the Isles was obliged to relinquish his claims to the earidom of Ross, to make personal submission, and to give hostages for indemnification and for the future observance of peace. The instrument by which the earldom of Ross was resigned by Euphemia the nun in favour of her grandfather is dated in 1415, just four years after the battle of Harlaw. The battle itself, as has been well remarked, "from the ferocity with which it was contested, and the dismal spectacle of civil war and bloodshed exhibited to the country, appears to have made a deep impression on the national mind. It fixed itself in the music and the poetry of Scotland; a march, called ‘The Battle of Harlaw,’ coutinued to be a popular air down to the time of Drummond of Hawthornden, and a spirited ballad on the same event is still repeated in our age, describing the meeting of the armies, and the deaths of the chiefs, in no ignoble strain." (Laing’s Early Metrical Tales, page 229.) For a long time after, it was customary for schoolboys to arrange themselves into opposite parties, and fight the battle of Harlaw over again, for recreation. The ballad of the Battle thus concludes:

There was not, sin’ King Kenneth’s days,
Sic strange intestine cruel strife
In Scotlande seen, as ilk man says,
Where monie likelie lost their life;
Whilk made divorce tween man and wife,
And monie children fatherless,
Whilk in this realm has been full rife;
Lord help these lands! our wrangs redress!
In July, on Saint James his evin,
That four-and-twenty dismal day,
Twelve hundred, ten score, and eleven
Of years sin’ Christ, the soothe to say;
Men will remember, as they may,
When thus the veritie they knaw;
And monie a ane will mourne for aye
The brim battle of the Harlaw.

      In the year last mentioned, namely 1415, the regent obtained from Henry V. the liberation of his son Murdoch, in exchange for Henry Percy, the son of Hotspur. In 1416 he sent his second son, John earl of Buchan, ambassador to England, to endeavour to procure the release of James I. from the captivity in which he was held by the English monarch. With a strange perversity, the writers of Scottish history have alniost unanimously charged the regent Albany with "being in no hurry to obtain the release of his nephew," as Sir Walter Scott gently phrases it—nay, they even go farther, and accuse him of treasonably intriguing with the English king to retain his sovereign in prison, that his own power might not be interrupted; but here is one instance where Albany intrusted his son, the earl of Buchan, one of the bravest and most accomplished knights of his age, with a mission to England to endeavour to procure the liberation of James.

      In 1417, when King Henry V. was in France, prosecuting his wars there, the regent, with a large army invaded England, and after beginning the siege of Roxburgh, immediately retreated in all haste on learning that an English force, under the dukes of Bedford and Exeter, was on the way to meet him. This was long popularly remembered as the "Foul Raid." In 1419 he despatched his son, the earl of Buchan, with a chosen army of 7,000 men, into France, to assist the dauphin against the English king. Neither this invasion of England, nor this assistance sent to France, would have taken place had Albany desired to keep on those good terms with Henry which implied a mutual understanding as to the retention of James from his kingdom.

      This son, the earl of Buchan, was the offspring of Albany’s second marriage with Muriella, the daughter of Sir William Keith, marshal of Scotland. He was born about 1380. When his father became regent in 1406, after the death of his brother Robert III., he resigned, in favour of his son, the office of great chamberlain. In 1408 Albany, as regent, created him earl of Buchan. Five years afterwards Buchan married Lady Elizabeth, daughter of Archibald earl of Douglas. While engaged on the dauphin’s side against the English in France, the earl of Buchan, on the 22d March 1421, defeated the duke of Clarence, the brother of Henry V., at Bauge in Anjou, and slew him with a battle axe, after he had been pierced with a spear by Sir William Swinton. To recompense this signal victory the dauphin conferred upon him the high office of constable of France.

      In 1422 he revisited Scotland, with the view of inducing his father-in-law, the earl of Douglas, to join his arms. Douglas consented, and was created duke of Touraine in France by the dauphin. Both Douglas and the earl of Buchan, constable of France, were slain at the battle of Verneuil in Normandy, 17th August 1424.          

      The duke of Albany continued to administer the affairs of the kingdom till his death, which took place at Stirling castle, on the 3d of September 1420, at the age of 81. His body was interred in the Abbey church of Dunfermline. Our historians generally have given a very unfair view of Albany’s character. Pinkerton thus depicts it : "His person was tall and majestic; his countenance amiable. Temperance, affability, eloquence, real generosity, apparent benignity, a degree of cool prudence, bordering upon wisdom, may be reckoned among his virtues. But the shades of his vices are deeper; an insatiate ambition, unrelenting cruelty, and its attendant cowardice, or, at least, an absolute defect of military fame, a contempt of the best human affections, a long practice in all the dark paths of art and dissimulation. His administration he studied to recommend, not by promoting the public good, but by sharing the spoils of the monarchy with the nobles, by a patient connivance at their enormities, by a dazzling pomp of expenditure, in the pleasures of the feast, and in the conciliation of magnificence.

      As fortune preserved his government from any signal unsuccess, so it would be an abuse of terms to bestow upon a wary management which only regarded his own interest the praise of political wisdom." In this same strain all our historians follow one another in their estimate of Albany’s character, but I am not disposed to agree with them entirely. Nothing could be wiser or more calculated for the public good, than his resistance to Donald of the Isles, whose object was by the aid of England to destroy the Scottish kingdom to his own aggrandisement; and whatever may be the motives imputed to Albany, or the objects assigned as the moving springs of his administration, surely it cannot be denied that the public good was indeed promoted by his policy, and by his judicious and vigorous measures on all occasions.

      During his regency justice was regularly administered. He took great care not to lay any taxes on the people, and especially he steadily and successfully opposed the levying of a tax of two pennies on every hearth in the kingdom, which had been proposed in parliament for the purpose of defraying the expense of demolishing Jedburgh castle. "Even in his time," says Sir Walter Scott, "it would seem that the extent of writings used for the transference of property, had become a subject of complaint. When upon this subject, Albany used often to praise the simplicity and beauty of an ancient charter by King Athelstan, a Saxon monarch. It had been granted to the ancient Northumbrian family called Roddam of Roddam, and had fallen into the hands of the Scots on some of their plundering excursions." The duke of Albany, it is quite certain, was one of the most popular and most able governors that the kingdom ever possessed. He enjoyed to a high degree the confidence of both king and nobles, while the people placed the utmost reliance on the justice and firmness of his government. At right is an impression of his seal, taken from the Diplomata Scotiae.

      Robert duke of Albany was twice married: first to Margaret, countess of Menteith; and secondly to Muriella, eldest daughter of Sir William Keith, great marischal of Scotland, and had issue by both marriages—Douglas’ Peerage, vol. i.—Pinkerton’s History of Scotland, vol. i. p. 85.

ALBANY, MURDOCH, second duke of, son of the preceding, succeeded him both as duke and regent. At first he bore the title of earl of Fife. He had a grant from Robert III. in the third year of his reign, of a hundred merks sterling annually from the customs of Aberdeen. He was Justiciary of Scotland benorth the Forth, and designed of Kinclevyne when taken prisoner at the battle of Homeldon in 1402. Henry IV. presented him in full parliament on 20th October, and he was allowed to be at large on his parole of honour.

      By a letter from his father to Henry the Fourth, dated Falkland, June 2, 1405, he seems to have received much kindness from that monarch during his stay in England, as he thanks him for his good treatment of his son Murdoch, and the favourable audience given to Rothesay herald. In 1415 he was exchanged for Henry Percy of Northumberland, the son of Hotspur, who, since the battle of Shrewsbury, had remained in Scotland. He does not appear to have possessed the same degree of energy as his father, but the accounts of him given by our historians are manifestly partial and exaggerated. It is stated that on his father’s death in 1419, he assumed the office of governor of Scotland, just as if he had naturally and legitimately succeeded to it as a matter of hereditary right, and that he did not think it necessary even to obtain the sanction of parliament, but supported by the feudal nobility at once usurped the government. This is not likely to have been the conduct of a person of the indolent, incapable, and unambitious character which Duke Murdoch’s is universally represented to have been. In the commission preserved in the chapter of Westminster, and of which a copy is given in Anderson’s Diplomata, No. 64, it is expressly stated that the parties therein named, being the bishop of Glasgow, chancellor of Scotland, James Douglas of Balvany, brother-in-law of Duke Murdoch, the earl of March, the abbot of Balmerinoch amid others, empowered to negotiate for the deliverance of James from his captivity in England, were so appointed with the knowledge and by the deliberate council of the three estates of the realm (ex certa scientia et deliberato concillo trium statuum regni), which must have been assembled at the time, and probably for the purpose. This document bears date 19th August 1423, and is stated to have been passed in the third year of Murdoch’s government.

      As, however, his father died in 1419, it is impossible that it could have been so expressed had he then assumed the government; for it would, in that case, have been stated to have been done in the fourth and not the third year of his regency; and it is but reasonable to infer that the post of governor remained vacant after the death of his father, till it could be legitimately conferred on Murdoch by an act of some parliament, of the proceedings of which, as well as of the one referred to in the commission, no trace is now to be found in history. It is said that Murdoch’s conduct as regent created so much dissatisfaction in the nation that some persons refused to accept of the most profitable offices, and others resigned theirs; while the loss of place was accounted a proof of men’s honour and integrity. But in the commission referred to, men of the highest rank and character are mentioned as being in possession of some of the chief offices in the kingdom. It is certain, however, that during Murdoch’s government, the affections of the people became more intensely fixed upon their absent sovereign; and the greatest desire was manifested for his return; to which Murdoch was induced to accede.

      A traditionary story, in which we place no faith, is related that he was driven to this by his son Walter having savagely wrung the neck of a favourite falcon which he coveted, on its being refused to him, as Murdoch set out one day to enjoy the recreation of hawking. Provoked by his conduct, the regent said to the youth, "Since thou canst not find in thy heart to obey me, I will bring in another whom both of us shall be forced to obey." Ambassadors being despatched to negociate with the English court, after some delay the duke of Bedford, then protector of England, agreed to deliver up the king of Scotland, on payment of £40,000, within six years by half-yearly payments, hostages being given for payment of the same. The am bassadors who went to England, to concert measures about the payment of this sum, were the bishops of Aberdeen and Dunblane and Mr. Thomas Myreton.

      The arrangement for the release of the king was finally adjusted by the Scottish commissioners, who proceeded to London for that purpose, on the 9th of March, 1424. In the following April James returned to Scotland, after having married the Lady Jane Beaufort, a daughter of the earl of Somerset, of the blood royal of England. At his coronation, Murdoch, duke of Albany, as earl of Fife, performed the ceremony of installing the sovereign on the throne, and amidst the rejoicings on the occasion, the king conferred the honour of knighthood on Alexander Stewart, the second son of the duke of Albany, and twenty-four others of his principal nobility and barons. An act had been passed in the first parliament after James’ return, ordering the sheriffs to enquire what lands had belonged to the crown during the three preceding reigns, and empowering the king to summon the holders to show their charters.

      There had, probably, been some demur, which roused James to adopt vigorous measures, and to have recourse to the cruel expedient of cutting off his own cousin and his family as the authors of it. He first ordered the arrest of Waiter, eldest son of Murdoch, duke of Albany, the late regent, with that of Malcolm Fleming of Cumbernauld, and Thomas Boyd of Kilmarnock; and in a parliament held at Perth, 25th March 1425, he ordered the arrest of Murdoch himself, his second son, Sir Alexander Stewart, the earls of Douglas, Angus, and March, and twenty other gentlemen of note. His view, it is probable, in arresting so many was to prevent an insurrection. Murdoch was committed a close prisoner to Caerlaverock castle, while his duchess, Isabella, was sent to Tantallon, and the king immediately took possession of Albany’s castles of Falkland in Fife, and Doune in Menteith.

      Immediately after the arrest of the duke of Albany and the other nobles, the king adjourned the parliament for two months. It reassembled in the palace of Stirling, on the 24th of May, when the king presided in person, at the trial of Duke Murdoch, his two sons, and his  father-in-law, the aged earl of Lennox. No known record specifies their crime, and our historians have conjectured that the charge was one of high treason, for the alleged usurpation of the government on the part of Albany. Walter Stewart, the eldest son, was first tried, on the 24th of May, and being found guilty was instantly beheaded iu front of the castle. On the following day, the duke of Albany, Alexander his second son, and the earl of Lennox, were tried by the same jury, and being convicted were immediately executed. None of the noblemen and others arrested with them were brought to punishment. Seven of them even sat on the jury of twenty-six persons who found the duke and his companions guilty on their trial. Alexander, lord of the Isles, who succeeded Donald, whom Duke Murdoch’s father had humbled (see. p. 37), was also one of the jury, whose verdict sent him and his sons and his father-in-law to the block. Upon this Alexander of the Isles, the earldom of Ross, with extensive possessions in the Western Islands, was bestowed by James: an impolitic act, which afterwards brought much evil upon the kingdom. The scene of the execution was a rising ground in front of the castle of Stirling, which is still known by the name of the Heading Hill.

      "Amongst the people," says Tytler, "the shedding of so much noble blood excited a sympathy and commiseration for which James was not prepared. Albany and his two sons, Walter and Alexander Stewart, were men whose appearance and manners, in a feudal age, were peculiarly fitted to command popularity. Their stature was almost gigantic; their countenances cast in the mould of manly beauty; and their air so dignified and warlike that when the father and the two Sons ascended the scaffold, it was impossible to behold the scene without a feeling of involuntary pity and admiration. Behind them came the earl of Lennox, a venerable nobleman in his eightieth year; and, when he laid his head upon the block, and his grey hairs were stained with blood, a thrill of horror ran through the crowd, which, in spite of the respect or terror for the royal name, broke out into expressions of indignation at the unsparing severity of the vengeance."

      From the place of his execution Duke Murdoch might see in the distance the fertile territory of Menteith, which formed part of his family estates, and even distinguish the stately castle of Doune, which had been his own vice-regal residence. (This magnificent edifice is shown in a woodcut at right.)

      The title and possessions of the duke of Albany were forfeited, and the latter annexed to the crown. To obtain these was, no doubt, the cause of his death. A contemporary narrative of the murder of King James, preserved in the General Register House, and printed by Pinkerton, represents the general impression to have been that "the kyng did rather that rigorous execucion upon the lordes of his kyne for the covetise of thare possessions and goodes, thane for any rightful cause; althoe he fonde colourabill wayes to serve his intent yn the contrarye." (Pinkerton’s Hist. vol. 1. p. 463.) The estates of the earl of Lennox, his father-in-law, were allowed to remain unforfeited. Duke Murdoch’s marriage to Isabella, the eldest daughter of Duncan, earl of Lennox, who had been left a widower without male issue, took place in 1391. By the marriage contract, it was agreed that should the earl of Lennox marry again, and have an heir male, the latter should marry Duke Murdoch’s sister.

      The earl did not marry again, and had no heir male of his body who might fulfil the condition of a marriage with the regent’s daughter.

      Of the marriage of Murdoch and Isabella, four Sons were born, Robert, who died early, Walter, Alexander, and James. The latter, who was the fourth son, when his father, grandfather, and two brothers were seized and executed, was the only male member of the family who escaped. Resolving to succour his kindred or avenge their fate, with a body of armed followers, as desperate as himself, he carried fire and sword into the town of Dumbarton, and put to death the king’s uncle, John Stewart, called the Red Stewart of Dundonald, with thirty-two others of inferior note. The king pursued him with such determined animosity that he was compelled to fly with his abettor, the bishop of Argyle, to Ireland.—See AVANDALE, lord, p. 169. (Napier’s History of the Partition of the Lennox, p. 10.)

      Duke Murdoch’s widow was allowed to retain her estates and titles, and to reside till her death upon her earldom of Lennox. She lived in the castle of Inchmurrin on Loch Lomond, the chief messuage of the earldom, and there granted charters to vassals as countess of Lennox. She survived to hear of the assassination of him whose inflexible sentence had cut off her father, her husband, and her two sons. On one of the pillars of St. Giles’ church, Edinburgh, are the arms of Isabella, duchess of Albany and countess of Lennox, who, in 1450, founded the collegiate church of Dumbarton and largely endowed other religious foundations. She died about 1460. See LENNOX, family of. (Douglas’ Peerage.—Tytler’s Lives of Scottish Worthies, Life of James I.)

      The physical strength and imposing appearance of the descendants of Robert the first duke of Albany have been frequently mentioned by historians. Murdoch’s half-brother, the earl of Buchan, constable of France, slain at Verneuil in Normandy, in 1424 (see ante, page 39,) of whom a portrait is extant, seems to have possessed all the qualities of his race in this respect. Of this portrait, which was discovered about the middle of the last century by Sir George Seton of Garleton, of the noble family of Winton, in the gallery of M. Fiebet, at his seat near Chambord in France, an engraving is given in Pinkerton’s Portrait Gallery (see woodcut at right).

ALBANY, ALEXANDER, third duke of, was the second son of King James II. His first titles were earl of March and lord of Annandale, but he was about 1456 created duke of Albany, a title which had been forfeited to the crown when Duke Murdoch was beheaded. Having been sent to France to complete his education, he was in 1464, on his voyage homeward from his uncle, the duke of Gueldres, towards Scotland, captured by the English, but soon released, a herald having been sent to England to declare war in case of his being detained.

      In February 1478 his brother James III., a prince of a weak and irresolute temper, and fond of mean favourites, on the sinister information of some of these, ordered his arrest, and imprisoned him in Edinburgh castle. Soon after, his younger brother, the earl of Mar, was also arrested by the king’s orders. Both of these princes were popular with the nobility and people, and had incurred the king’s suspicion and the hatred of his favourites. As lord warden of the east frontiers, Albany had besides restrained and disobliged the Homes and Hepburns and others of the Border clans, and in revenge they bribed Cochrane, the king’s principal adviser, to set the king against him. Marr was taken out of his bed and sent prisoner to Craigmillar castle, and shortly thereafter, being accused by the king’s favourites of consulting with sorcerers and witches to take the king’s life, he was sentenced to have a vein in his leg opened, and in a bath to bleed to death, which was executed in the Canongate in 1479. (Balfour’s Annals, vol. 1. p. 203.)

      Albany was committed prisoner to the castle of Edinburgh, but effected his escape, and proceeded to his castle of Dunbar, from whence, after victualling and providing it with all manner of munitions of war, he sailed for France. (Ibid. vol. i. p. 202.) He was forfeited 4th October 1479, and troops were sent to besiege his castle of Dunbar, which soon yielded, the garrison escaping in boats to England. On arriving at Paris, the duke met with an honourable reception from Louis XI. He remained in France till 1482, when he proceeded to England, and entered into an agreement with Edward IV., by which the English king obliged himself to aid him in invading Scotland, and to place him on the throne; in return for which he consented to surrender Berwick, to acknowledge himself the vassal of England, to renounce all alliance with Louis of France, and to marry one of Edward’s daughters.

      In consequence of this Albany assumed the title of king, declaring his brother to be a bastard. An English army amounting to 40,000 men, under the duke of Gloucester, afterwards Richard III., accompanied by Albany, marched to Berwick, and invested that town. The town speedily surrendered, but the castle held out. In the meantime King James having assembled his nobility, marched towards the Borders to meet the enemy.

      As he lay encamped near Lauder, his nobles, highly exasperated at their sovereign’s conduct, headed by Archibald Douglas, earl of Angus, commonly called, after this event, "Bell-the-Cat," after securing the chief favourite Robert Cochrane, burst into the royal tent during the night, and seized the rest of the king’s minions, all of whom, with Cochrane, they hanged over the bridge of Lauder. They then carried the king to Edinburgh, and shut him up in the castle, under the care of his uncles the earls of Athol and Buchan.

      The road to the capital was now open, and the dukes of Gloucester and Albany, with their forces, advanced, in the month of July, towards Edinburgh. The archbishop of St. Andrews, the bishop of Dunkeld, with Lord Avandale, the chancellor, and the earl of Argyle, hastily collected a small army, and posted themselves at Haddington, to impede the advance of the enemy. At the same time they entered into negociations with Albany, and on the 2d of August a treaty of peace was concluded. Albany engaged to be a true and faithful subject to King James, on his titles and estates, with Dunbar castle, and the possessions of the late earl of Mar, his brother, being restored to him, and the office of king’s lieutenant of the realm being conferred on him. Two heralds were commanded to pass to the castle to charge the captain to open the gates and set the king at liberty. In Balfour’s Annals of Scotland, (vol. i. p. 207,) it is stated that the duke of Albany and the lord chancellor then governed all the realm, and that with several of the nobility Albany went to Stirling to visit the queen and prince, and after his return he laid siege to Edinburgh castle, which he took, when the king and such servants as were with him were set at liberty.

      According to Lindsay of Pitscottie, (vol. i. p. 200), the king, on recovering his freedom, "lap on a hackney to ride down to the abbay; but he would not ride forward, till the duik of Albanie his brother lap on behind him; and so they went down the geat to the abbey of Hallyraid hous, quhair they remained ane lang time in great mirrines ;" and, as Abercromby adds, he "would needs make him a partner in his bed, and a comrade at his table," that being considered in those days the best proof of a perfect reconciliation. Albany immediately concluded a truce with the duke of Gloucester, and on the 23d of August 1482 surrendered to him the fortress of Berwick, after it had been in possession of the Scots for twenty - one years. Notwithstanding the favour which was now shown to him by the king, Albany, in the following year, engaged in another secret treaty with Edward IV., for depriving his brother of the throne, and securing it to himself.

      His designs being detected by the nobles, he was obliged to fly to England, having previously placed his castle of Dunbar in the hands of the English. In consequence of this traitorous proceeding, he was formally accused of treason, and summoned to stand his trial; but failing to appear, he was condemned to death as a traitor and to have his estates confiscated. Having assembled a small force, he joined the earl of Douglas, who was likewise an exile in England, and made an inroad into his native country, but was routed near Lochmaben, 22d July 1484, when Douglas was taken prisoner, but Albany escaped by the fleetness of his horse. A truce for three years was then agreed upon between the two countries, and Albany, finding that he could obtain no farther protection in England, retired to France, where he was well received by Charles VIII. He was accidentally killed at Paris in November 1485, by the splinter of a lance, while an onlooker at a tournament between the duke of Orleans and another knight, and, by act of parliament 1st October 1487, all his lands and possessions in Scotland were annexed to the crown.

      According to the description given of him by an ancient Scottish author, the duke of Albany was well-proportioned, and tall in stature, and comely in his countenance; that is to say, broad-faced, red-nosed, large-eared, and having a very awful countenance when displeased. Like his younger brother, the unfortunate earl of Mar, who was of a milder temper and manners, he excelled in the military exercises of tilting, hunting, hawking, and other personal accomplishments, for which his brother James III. had no taste. He had married first Lady Catherine Sinclair, eldest daughter of William earl of Orkney and Caithness, but a divorce took place, 2d March 1478, on account of propinquity of blood. By her he had one son, Alexander, who was declared illegitimate by act of parliament, 13 November 1516, and who was made bishop of Moray and abbot of Scone, in 1527. He married, secondly, in February 1480, Anne de la Tour, third daughter of Bertrand, Count d’Auvergne and de Bouillon, and by her he had one son, Duke John, the subject of the following notice.— Douglas’ Peerage.—Histories of the Period.

ALBANY, JOHN, fourth duke of, son of the preceding, was born about 1481. In 1505, he married his cousin, Anne, or Agnes, de la Tour, countess d’Auvergne and de Laurajais, by whom he got large possessions. On the death of James IV., in 1513, his son James V. being then only in his second year, the queen mother was appointed regent of the kingdom, but at a convention of the estates held soon after at Perth, it was agreed, at the urgent suggestion of the venerable Elphinston, bishop of Aberdeen, seconded by the Lord Home, that the duke of Albany, then in France, and who after the infant king was next heir to the throne, should be invited to Scotland to be governor of the kingdom, during James’ minority. This election was ratified by a public meeting of the estates held at Edinburgh soon after, and Lyon king at arms, with Sir Patrick Hamilton, was sent to France to notify the appointment to the duke.

      In the meantime, the sentence of forfeiture which had excluded him from the enjoyment of his rank and estates in Scotland was annulled, and his arrival impatiently looked for by the people, as the queen mother had married the earl of Angus, and, being opposed by the nobility, nothing but anarchy and disorder prevailed in the kingdom. On the 18th May, 1515, the duke arrived at Dumbarton, Balfour says at Ayr, with a squadron of eight ships; and soon after he was installed into the office of regent. "He wes ressaueit," says a chronicler of the period, "with greit honour, and convoyit to Edinburgh with ane greit cumpany, with greit blythnes, and glore, and thair wes constitute and maid governour of this realme; and sone thairefter held ane parliament, and ressauit the homage of the lordis and thre estaittis; quhair thair wes mony things done for the well of this countrey."

      His inauguration into the regency was attended with great splendour. A sword was delivered to him, and a crown placed upon his head, while the peers made solemn obeisance. He was declared governor of the kingdom till the king attained the age of eighteen years. The duke took up his residence at Holyrood, and seems to have immediately proceeded with the enlargement of the palace, in continuation of the works which James IV., the late king, had carried on till near the close of his life.

      Albany, unfortunately, was ignorant not only of the constitution, the laws and the manners, but even of the language of Scotland. He was in fact more French than Scotch. His mother was a Frenchwoman, and so was his wife. His chief estates were in France, where the greater part of his life had been spent, and his loyalty to the French king was so undisguised that he constantly styled him master. When it is added to this that his temper was passionate, that every corner of the kingdom was filled with spies and agents in the pay of England, and that the powerful houses of Home and Douglas swayed the faction that were opposed to him, it was hardly to be expected that he would be successful in restoring peace to the country.

      The infant king and his brother were still under the care of the queen-mother; and a parliament which assembled at Edinburgh, nominated eight lords, four of whom were to be chosen by lot, and from these four the queen-mother was to select three who were to have the charge of the two infant princes. The queen, however, was not disposed to part with her children, and when the peers proceeded to the castle of Edinburgh, to notify to her the commands of parliament, her majesty, who was then no more than twenty-four years of age, and in the full bloom of her beauty, was seen standing under the archway at the entrance, with the little king at her side, holding her hand, while a nurse stood behind with his infant brother, the duke of Ross, in her arms. In a loud voice, and with a dignified air, she desired them to stand and declare what they wanted. They answered that they came in the name of the parliament to receive their sovereign and his brother, on which the queen commanded the warder to drop the portcullis, and this being instantly done, she thus addressed the astonished lords: "I hold this castle by the gift of my late husband, your sovereign, nor shall I yield it to any person whatsoever; but I respect the parliament, and require six days to consider their mandate, for most important is my charge; and my councillors, alas! are now few."

      Apprehensive, however, that she would not be able to hold the castle of Edinburgh against the forces of the parliament, she soon removed, with the young king and his brother, to Stirling castle. Albany immediately collected an armed force, and proceeded in person to Stirling, where the queen finding her adherents deserting her, was soon obliged to surrender. The young princes were then committed to the care of the earl Marshal and the lords Fleming and Borthwick, while the queen was conducted with every mark of respect to Edinburgh, where she took up her residence in the castle.

      On the success of the regent, Lord Home, one of the queen’s principal adherents, at once commenced to intrigue with England, and concerted measures with Lord Dacre, the English warden, of resistance and revenge. Albany summoned the whole force of the kingdom to the aid of the government, and transmitted proposals to the queen-mother, offering her a complete restoration of all the rights and revenues which she had not forfeited by her marriage, if she would accede to the wishes of the parliament, and renounce all secret correspondence with England. These proposals she indignantly rejected, whereupon Albany proceeded against the insurgents, and took the castle of Home.

      The queen sent Albany’s proposals privately to Lord Dacre, while Home requested the assistance of an English army, and retook the castle of Home. He also secured the strong tower of Blackater, situated within the Scottish border, about five miles from Berwick, to which place the queen immediately fled. The regent followed her with a considerable army, and surprising Home in the house to which he had hastened for refuge, made him prisoner, and committed him to the custody of the earl of Arran, governor of the castle of Edinburgh. Arran disliked Albany and his measures, and was easily persuaded by Home to retire with him to the Borders, where they actively commenced hostilities. Home and his brother were again proclaimed rebels, and Ar-ran was required to surrender himself within fifteen days. At the same time the regent, at the head of a select body of troops, and a small train of artillery, proceeded to invest the castle of Cadzow, near Hamilton, Arran’s principal fortress.

      Arran’s mother, who was the daughter of James the Second, at that time resided there, and ordering the gates to be opened, she came out to meet the regent, and as she was his aunt by the father’s side, and greatly respected by him, he was easily prevailed upon to listen to her solicitations in favour of her son. Terms of accommodation were soon agreed to, and Arran was allowed to return and resume possession of his estates.

      In the meantime Home had fled to England, whither he was soon followed by the queen and her husband Angus. Negotiations for peace between the two countries were set on foot, and Angus, to whom the queen had recently, at Harbottle castle in England, borne a daughter, the Lady Margaret Douglas, the mother of Darnley, husband of Mary Queen of Scots, withdrew from his wife, who lay dangerously ill at Morpeth, and with Home returned into Scotland. They both made their peace with the regent, who restored them to their hereditary possessions, and for a time they abstained from disturbing the government.

      Queen Margaret on her recovery proceeded to the court of her brother Henry VIII., where she inveighed bitterly against both Angus and Albany, but especially the latter, whom she accused of having poisoned her second son, the duke of Ross, who had died, at Stirling, of one of the many diseases incident to childhood. Henry, anxious to have Arran regent, directed a letter to be written to the three estates of Scotland, commanding them to expel the regent Albany from the kingdom, as, from his being the nearest heir of the throne, he was the most dangerous person to have the charge of the young king, his nephew.

      The Scottish parliament, which assembled at Edinburgh on the first of July 1516, replied with becoming spirit. They reminded the English king that they themselves had elected Albany to the office of regent, to which he had a right as nearest relative to their infant king, that he had fulfilled its duties with much talent and integrity, and that the person of their infant sovereign was intrusted to the keeping of the same lords to whose care he had been committed by the queen-mother. They concluded by assuring Henry of their determination to resist to the death any attempt to disturb the peace of their country, or to overthrow the existing government. Notwithstanding this spirited reply, the intrigues of Henry’s minister, Lord Dacre, soon succeeded in creating distrust and disturbance, and once more reinstating in its strength the English faction in Scotland.

      On the 23d August Dacre wrote from Kirkoswald to Cardinal Wolsey, informing him that he had in his pay four hundred Scots, whose chief employment was to distract the government of Albany, by exciting popular tumults, encouraging private quarrels, and rekindling the jealousy of the feudal nobility. In Scotland at this time Albany’s administration was rather popular than otherwise. He was "supported," says Tytler, "by the affection and confidence of the middle classes, and the great body of the nation; but their influence was counteracted, and his efforts completely paralysed by the selfish rapacity of the clergy, and the insolent ambition of the aristocracy."

      A new insurrection soon broke out, headed by the earl of Arran, who associated himself with the earls of Glencairn, Lennox, Mure of Caldwell, and the majority of the noblemen and gentlemen of the west. They met at Glasgow to the number of 12,000 men, and seized on the royal magazines there. Understanding that some French ships, with supplies of arms and ammunition for Albany, had appeared in the Clyde, they sent a body of troops to take possession of them. The vessels, however, had sailed before their arrival, but they seized a quantity of gunpowder and other ammunition which had been landed, and which they conveyed to Glasgow. Lest it might fall into the hands of their enemies the powder was thrown into a drawwell. By a stratagem Arran made himself master of the castle of Dumbarton, and expelled Lord Erskine the governor.

      In the meantime the regent having collected an army, advanced upon Glasgow, when an accommodation was once more brought about, chiefly through the means of Beaton, archbishop of Glasgow, who was high in favour with the regent. Lord Home, (see vol. ii. p. 473,) on his part, soon violated the conditions on which the regent had consented to pardon him. He renewed his treasonable correspondence with Dacre, and employed bands of marauders to break across the border and ravage the country. Determined to put an end to the anarchy created by the rebellious proceedings of this fierce opposer of his government, the regent allured the earl, who held the office of lord chamberlain, and his brother Alexander, to the court at Holyrood, where they were instantly arrested. They were immediately tried, on a charge of treason, for having excited the late commotions against the regent, of having been accessory to the defeat at Flodden, and being concerned in the assassination of James IV. after the battle. Being found guilty, they were both beheaded, on the 8th of October 1516, and their heads placed above the tolbooth of Edinburgh. Soon after the duke of Albany, in a convention of the estates of the realm held at Edinburgh, was declared heir apparent to the crown.

      Anxious to procure assistance from the French king, and to revisit his estates in France, the regent, in the parliament which assembled in November 1516, requested leave of absence for a short period. The parliament accorded an unwilling consent for four months, and in June 1517 he embarked at Dumbarton, leaving the government in the hands of a council, consisting of the archbishops of St. Andrews and Glasgow, the earls of Huntly, Argyle, Angus, and Arran, and carrying with him the eldest sons of many of the great barons as hostages for the peace of the country.

      To each of the six persons mentioned was assigned the charge of that part of the country contiguous to his own estates, while to a brave and accomplished French knight, whose real name was Anthony D’Arcie, but whose handsome person procured for him the distinguishing title of Seigneur de la Beaute (absurdly called de la Bastie in all our histories) was intrusted the government of the eastern and middle marches, with the command of the important castles of Home and Dunbar. The young king was brought from Stirling to Edinburgh castle, and placed under the charge of Lord Erskine, the earl Marshal, and the lords Borthwick and Ruthven.

      Fresh tumults broke out on the borders, and the vassals of the late Lord Home, out of revenge at his fate, surprised and murdered the Sieur de la Beaute, who had distinguished himself by the activity and diligence with which he punished and repressed disorder. Sir David Home of Wedderburn, whose wife was the sister of Angus, the husband of the queen-mother, galloped into the town of Dunse, with the head of the unfortunate Frenchman knit to his saddlebow, by the fine long hair which he wore in accordance with the fashion of the age, and after fixing it on the market-cross, took shelter in his strong castle of Edington, on the banks of the Whiteadder. For this outrage the estates of the laird of Wedderburn and his associates were forfeited.

      After this the kingdom became a scene of disorder, anarchy, and confusion, the rival factions of Douglas and Hamilton everywhere contending for the mastery. The earl of Arran had been elected by the council of regency their president, and at this time had the chief direction of affairs, but he was, upon all occasions, opposed by the earl of Angus, who still had great influence, and the private animosity which subsisted between these two powerful noblemen kept the country in a continual state of excitement and disturbance.

      As soon as the queen-mother heard of Albany’s departure, she returned to Scotland. Her arrival was at a time of such universal confusion and strife that even Albany himself, unwilling to leave France, wrote to her, advising her that, if she could unite the factions, she should resume the regency. Margaret, however, wished to have the office of regent conferred on her husband, the earl of Angus, to whom she had been lately reconciled, but this neither the council nor the majority of the nobles would agree to. Her jealousy, however, soon caused a fresh quarrel with her husband, and as her brother Henry VIII. took the part Angus, she forsook the English interests, and entered into a correspondence with the duke of Albany, urging him to return and take the regency once more into his own hands.

      During Albany’s absence the famous street battle at Edinburgh, between the rival factions of the Douglasses and the Hamiltons, commemorated under the name of "Cleanse-the-Causeway," was fought 30th April 1520, the result of which was that the Hamiltons were defeated, and the earl of Angus got possession of the capital.

      The next year Albany returned to Scotland after an absence of five years. He arrived in the Gareloch on the third of December 1521, and was met at Stirling by the queen-mother, accompanied by several lords and gentlemen. It is stated that Margaret, who was very changeable in her affections, and by no means careful of her conduct, received him with transports of joy, and with such familiarity as excited scandalous rumours. Lord Dacre, in a letter to his sovereign, King Henry, says that, not satisfied with being with him during the day, she was closeted the greater part of the night with Albany, taking no heed of appearances. The earl of Arran and others of the nobility hastened to Stirling to welcome his arrival, and on the 9th he entered the capital, accompanied by the queen and the chancellor and a numerous attendance of peers and gentlemen.

      Proceeding to the castle, he was admitted to an interview with the young king, on which occasion the captain delivered the keys of the fortress into his hands. These the regent laid at the feet of the queen-mother, and she again presented them to Albany, saying that she considered him the person to whose tried fidelity the care of the monarch ought to be intrusted. On the regent’s approach the earl of Angus and his party precipitately left the city, and fled to the Border. In a parliament held at Edinburgh, on the 26th day of December, Angus and his adherents were cited to appear before it, to answer for various crimes and misdemeanours, but they paid no attention to the summons, and had already renewed their negotiations with the English king.

      The regent now endeavoured to reconcile the factions, and to procure a peace with England. But it did not suit the ambitious projects of the English court that Albany should continue at the head of affairs, or that peace and order should be restored to Scotland. Lord Dacre, Henry’s unscrupulous agent, in the letters which he wrote to Henry, represented that the life of the young king was in danger, and that his mother was anxious to obtain a divorce from Angus, that she might marry Albany, who, on his nephew’s death, would become king. He distributed money among the factious nobles, and did every thing that he could to stir up war between the two countries.

      Henry, on his part, as he had done once before, addressed a letter to the Scottish estates, demanding the dismissal of Albany, and received a similar answer to the former, being sharply told by the Scottish parliament that they had themselves freely chosen Albany to the regency, and would not dismiss him at the request of his grace, the king of England, or of any other sovereign prince whatever. Upon this Henry, in the spring of 1522, sent the earl of Shrewsbury with a large force to invade Scotland. He advanced as far as Kelso, giving up the country everywhere to havoc and spoliation, until he was encountered and driven back into England, with considerable loss, by the bold borderers of Teviotdale and the Merse.

      Albany having, with consent of parliament, declared war, and mustered the whole force of the kingdom for an invasion of England, at the head of eighty thousand men, and with a formidable train of artillery, advanced towards the English borders, and encamped at Annan. The queen-mother at this time, with her characteristic fickleness, had cooled in her attachment to the regent, and not only intrigued with a party of the Scottish nobles to support her views, but betrayed all Albany’s secrets and plans to the English warden, Lord Dacre. The regent, ignorant of this, with his large army crossed the borders and advanced to Carlisle. When within five miles of that city Dacre opened negotiations with him, and succeeded in prevailing upon him to agree to a cessation of hostilities for a month, in order that ambassadors might treat for peace. As the English king, then engaged in a war with France, had wisely departed from his demand for Albany’s dismissal from the regency, the nobles who had joined in the expedition saw no further cause for continuing in arms, and Albany himself, desirous of peace with England, disbanded his army, and returned to Edinburgh, without striking a blow.

      Finding the difficulties of his situation increase, with the view of soliciting assistance from the French king, Albany, in October 1522, retired for the second time to Fiance, after appointing a council of regency, consisting of the earls of Huntly, Arran, and Argyle, to whom he added Gonzolles, a French knight, in whom he had much confidence. He promised to return in ten months on pain of forfeiting his office. During his absence, in the spring of 1523, the English renewed the war by a vast inroad into Scotland. The earl of Surrey, the victor of Flodden, at the head of 10,000 men, broke into the Merse, reduced its places of strength, and advancing to Jedburgh, burnt that town, and left its beautiful abbey a heap of ruins.

      Lord Dacre, after reducing the castle of Ker of Fernihurst, and taking that celebrated border chief prisoner, sacked and depopulated Kelso and the adjoining villages, while the marquis of Dorset, the warden of the east marches, made an incursion into Teviotdale, giving its villages to the flames, and carrying off its grain and beeves. Albany returned from France in September 1523, with a fleet of eighty-seven small vessels, and a force of four thousand foot, five hundred men at arms, a thousand hagbutteers, six hundred horse, and a fine train of artillery, which had been furnished to him by the French. He landed in the island of Arran, Balfour says "at Kerkubright," having eluded the enemy’s fleet, which was sent out to intercept him, and immediately proceeded to Edinburgh.

      The embarrassment of his position at this crisis was greater than ever. He found that the queen-mother was no longer on his side, but deeply engaged in intriguing against him. That fickle, passionate, and unprincipled woman, whose character somewhat resembled that of her imperious brother, Henry VIII., was now as anxious to promote the English interests as she had formerly been the French, and had entered into negotiations with Surrey and Dacre, with the view of recovering the regency to herself. The nobles, though willing to assemble an army for the defence of the Borders, were totally averse to an invasion of England, while they were jealous of the foreign auxiliaries which the regent had brought with him.

      The parliament assembled without delay, and a proclamation was issued for a muster of the whole force of the kingdom on the 20th of October. Albany summoned together the principal nobility, and urged them to carry the war into England, to avenge the disastrous defeat at Flodden and the late excesses on the Borders. He had brought with him a large supply of gold from France, and as he liberally dispensed it, he won over some of the more venal of the nobles, and even the queen herself was so charmed by his presents, that she wrote to the earl of Surrey, that unless her brother Henry remitted her more money, she might be induced to abandon the English interest, and co-operate with Albany.

      On the day appointed a force of about 40,000 men assembled on the Borough-muir near Edinburgh, at the head of which the regent set forward towards the Borders. But never had general commenced an aggressive march under such discouraging circumstances. Most of the leaders who had answered the summons to arm had taken the gold of England, and bound themselves not to cross the Borders, while others, such as Argyle, Huntly, and the master of Forbes, did not appear at all at the muster. The expedition was nationally unpopular, and as the Scots soldiers did not conceal their dislike of the foreign auxiliaries, indications of disorganization soon became but too evident. Added to this, the season was now far advanced, and much time was lost in dragging the cumbersome artillery over the rude and difficult roads of those days; which had been rendered still more wretched by recent falls of snow and rain. Albany arrived at Melrose on the 28th of October. When he reached the wooden bridge at that place, a large portion of his army refused to cross the Tweed, and those divisions of the troops which had already passed over, turned back, and in spite of all his entreaties and reproaches, recrossed the bridge to the Scottish side.

      The regent remained in the neighbourhood of Melrose two days, after which he marched down the Tweed, and arrived at Eccles, on the side of the river opposite to Wark. The Scottish army encamped near Coldstream, while Albany lodged in Home castle. He ordered part of the artillery to be conveyed to Berwick, but afterwards he laid siege to Wark castle, chiefly with his foreign troops and artillery. The historian, George Buchanan, who was a volunteer in his army, gives a highly valuable account of his operations in this his last campaign in Scotland. An attempt to storm the castle was bravely met by the garrison, who poured a destructive fire from the ramparts upon the besiegers, and on the approach of night, the latter were compelled to retire. It was proposed, however, to renew the assault next day, but during the night there was a heavy fall of rain and snow, which so flooded the river that all retreat was threatened to be cut off. It was known that the Earl of Surrey was advancing from Alnwick with a formidable force. Under these circumstances Albany, on the 4th of November, withdrew his artillery, and the assaulting party recrossed the Tweed, leaving three hundred killed, mostly Frenchmen, and once more joined the main army. Balfour says that with the latter portion of his troops he had spoiled all Glendale and Northumberland to the walls of Alnwick, and returned with a great booty. [Annals, vol. i, page 252.] The regent retired to Eccles, and thence marched rapidly towards Edinburgh, apprehensive all the way of being seized by some of the lords with him, and delivered up to the English.

      His retreat had all the appearance of a flight, the disorder of which was increased by a severe snowstorm. On reaching Edinburgh, he assembled a parliament, and ascribed the failure of the expedition to the nobles refusing to march into England, while they, on their part, accused him of being the cause of the disgrace. Notwithstanding the presence of the English army, under Surrey, on the Borders, and the inclemency of the season, some of the peers insisted on his instantly dismissing the foreign auxiliaries. Thus compelled to embark, the French were by a storm driven out of their course, and a considerable number of them were shipwrecked and drowned among the western Isles. Soon after, having obtained three months’ leave of absence, Albany, in the end of 1523, retired in disgust and despair to France, after taking an affectionate leave of the young king, then at Stirling, and returned no more to Scotland.

      He afterwards, in 1524, attended Francis I. in his unfortunate expedition into Italy; but before the fatal battle of Pavia, fought 24th February 1525, he was detached with part of the French army against Naples. It was the absence of this large portion of his troops, amounting to 16,000 men, which caused Francis to lose the battle, when attacked by the emperor Charles. In 1533 Albany conducted his wife’s niece, Catherine de Medici, into France, on her marriage with Henry II. of that kingdom. He was governor of the Bourbonnois, d’Auvergne, de Forest, and de Beaujolais. He died at his castle of Mirefleur, 2d June 1536. By his duchess he had no issue. By Jean Abernethy, a Scotswoman, he had a natural daughter, Eleonora, who, after being legitimated, was in 1547 married at Fontainebleau, in presence of the French king, to the count de Choisy.

      This duke of Albany was a man of elegant and graceful manners and high accomplishments, and very gay and sprightly in conversation,—qualities which made him a personal favourite with Francis I. of France, but were little appreciated in Scotland, where his vanity, of which he had a large share, and evident partiality for French officers and confidents, soon disgusted the haughty and rapacious nobility. In Pinkerton’s Scottish Gallery, there is a fine portrait, supposed to be that of Albany, of which a woodcut is annexed. It is on the same engraving with one of Queen Margaret.

      The title of duke of Albany was bestowed in 1540 on Arthur, second son of James V. and his spouse Mary of Guise, a prince who died in 1541. It was afterwards given to Henry Stewart, lord Darnley, or Dernely, by Queen Mary, shortly before their marriage in 1565. Charles I. was created duke of Albany, on his baptism at Dunferniline in 1600, his elder brother Henry, who died in 1612, being duke of Rothesay, the title of the king’s eldest son. The following is a fac simile of the autograph and motto of this ill-fated prince, written in an album in the Sloane MSS. No. 3415, as duke of Albany, in 1609, before he had completed the ninth year of his age:

Albany king at arms was one of the secondary heralds in Scotland, when Scotland was an independent kingdom. Prince Charles Edward Stuart, in the latter years of his life, styled himself count of Albany.


Return to The Scottish Nation Index Page

 


This comment system requires you to be logged in through either a Disqus account or an account you already have with Google, Twitter, Facebook or Yahoo. In the event you don't have an account with any of these companies then you can create an account with Disqus. All comments are moderated so they won't display until the moderator has approved your comment.

comments powered by Disqus

Quantcast