As soon as Regent Albany was dead, his son Murdoch
began to rule, instead of sending to the King of England and asking him to
allow Prince James to come back to his kingdom. Murdoch was not so crafty
and treacherous as his father, but he was weak and simple, and the barons
became more powerful than ever, and more unwilling to submit to rule and
Regent Albany had always tried to be friends with the
English King, because he wanted him to keep Prince James a prisoner. But
many of the Scottish nobles did not care for the friendship of England, and
some of them would have been glad to see their Prince free. So these now
sailed across the sea to help the French against the English. For Henry of
England had claimed the crown of France, and as the French King would not
give it up there was war between them. The first battle of the Scots in
France was at a village called Baugé.
The English were led by the Duke of Clarence, brother
of the King of England. He was just sitting down to dinner when news was
brought to him that the Scots army was near. 'On them, gentlemen,' cried the
Duke, springing up. 'let the men mount and follow me at once.' And leaping
upon his horse, he rode to meet the enemy.
The Scots were not thinking of battle, because there
was a three days' truce at the time. They were amusing themselves playing
football when they heard that the English were advancing. Quickly they left
their play and prepared to fight.
Between the Scots and the English there flowed a river
which was crossed only by a narrow bridge. Clarence pressed eagerly on and
some of his soldiers passed over the bridge. But the Scottish knights
charged down upon them before they could form again, and won the battle much
as Wallace had won Stirling Bridge.
The Duke, riding first and cheering on his men, was
easily known by his splendid armour and by the glittering band of gold and
jewels, which he wore over his helmet As he rode, one of the Scottish
knights dashed upon him with his lance. So great was the shock that the Duke
was thrown to the ground. There another noble killed him with his
Many a brave English knight fell upon the field; many
more were taken prisoner. Of the Scots and French very few were killed or
The King of France was so pleased when he heard of
this victory that he made the Scottish leader High Constable, which was one
of the highest titles of France. Many of the knights he rewarded with French
After this, still more Scots joined the French, among
them the Douglas. But this Douglas was an unlucky man, lie was called
'Tine-man,' which means Lose-man, because he always lost the battles in
which he fought. When he joined the Scots in France they seemed to become
unlucky too, and they lost battles instead of winning them.
The English King now took Prince .James with him to
France, hoping that the Scots would not help the French any more when they
knew that their own Prince was in the English camp. Henry even asked James
to command the Scots to go home. But James would not. 'Set me free,' he
said, 'then they will obey me. How could they acknowledge as their King one
who is in the power of another man?'
Henry was very angry at this answer, and once when lie
took some Scots prisoner, he hanged them all, saying that they deserved no
better fate, for they had fought against their own King. This was not true,
for James was only in the English camp because he was forced to be there.
At last, in a battle against John of the Leaden Sword,
as Douglas called the Duke of Bedford, who now ruled France for the English
King, the Douglas and nearly all of the Scots were killed.
The King of France made the few Scots who remained
into a Royal Guard, and for many years the French King's Scots Guard was
famous. But some people say that the French Scots Guard had been formed
hundreds of years before, in the days of King Achaius the friend of
No more Scottish soldiers went to fight in France.
They had now a reason for staying at home. Their King had been set free, and
he had promised not to help the French.
Regent Murdoch had proved to be so weak a ruler that
far from being able to govern the country, he was not even able to govern
his own sons. They were wild and wicked. They set their father at defiance,
and would obey neither the laws of God nor of man. At last they became so
insolent that Murdoch cried out one day in passion, 'Since you will not obey
me, I will fetch one home whom we must all obey.'
From that day, he began to pray the English to release
Prince James, and in May 1424 A.D., after having been eighteen years in
prison, he returned home.
Murdoch's rule had lasted only five years.