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The Scot Abroad
Chapter 2 - Part 1

Personal Anecdotes of the Scots Immigrants— The Wolf of Badenoch’s Son—The Albany and Darnley Stewarts—The Hamiltons and Douglases—Investment of the Scotch Duke of Touraine—Notices of Scotsmen settled in France, and the Families founded by them—The Settlement of the Scots compared with that of the Normans.

THE arrival of the Scots auxiliaries, the battles in which they were engaged, and the formation of the Scots Guard from the remnant, make an episode in history which I have thought it best to keep by itself There were constant migrations, however, of Scotsmen to France, from the commencement of the Hundred Years’ War downwards, and I now propose to give a few characteristics of the men who went thither, of the reception they met with, and of the destinies of their descendants.

King Robert III. had a younger brother Alexander, who was made lieutenant of the northern part of the kingdom. His royal birth and breeding were insufficient to control the temptation of using his opportunities to collect a Highland following, and setting them to their natural work, which was mischief. He became, of course, the terror of all the well-disposed within the district he was set to rule over, and they complimented him with the title of "The Wolf of Badenoch." He set his eye on some lands on the Spey belonging to the Bishop of Moray, and sent a few hundreds of his galley-glasses to take possession. The bishop had recourse to his own peculiar artillery, and excommunicated the Wolf. One would have thought this mattered little; but besides being the wolf beyond the Grampians, Alexander Stewart was prince and courtier at Holyrood, where the condition of excommunication carried with it many social inconveniences, not to speak of the insolence of the prelate, who dared to cast such a slur on a man of his condition. He therefore, to give the bishop a foretaste of what might follow, sent down a few handy lads to the plains of Moray, where they burnt the choir of the church of Forres and the house of the archdeacon. As this had not the desired effect, he collected a larger force of ruffians, and, descending on the Lowland like an avalanche, fell on the episcopal city of Elgin and burned its noble cathedral. This was going rather too far. The Wolf had not only to disgorge, but to propitiate the Church with gifts, and do penance until the Pope set him right by absolution. His ashes repose in the Cathedral of Dunkeld, where may be seen his recumbent effigy, with arms folded, in serene peace looking to another world, while, in a Gothic inscription, the forgiving Church records that here lies Alexander Stewart, Lord of Buchan and Badenoch, of good memory.

This worthy had a favourite illegitimate son, also called Alexander. He, as was natural, followed his father’s footsteps, and collected a troop of barelegged ruffians, who rieved and ravaged far and near. The Lindsays, Ogilvies, and other gentlemen of Angus, resolved to put a stop to this, and collected a body of men-at-arms and Lowland bowmen, a sort of force which held the Highland caterans in utter scorn as a set of rabble to be swept before them. The Wolf cub, however, alighted on the tactic which, in later times, made a Highland force terrible—a concentrated rush on the enemy. This the small body of Lowlanders caught on the rugged banks of the Isla, and they were at once swept away, mail-clad horsemen and all, before the horde of savages they had despised. A little incident in this battle is thus described by a bard who might have been present, and probably had it from an eyewitness. Sir David Lyndsay, trying to make head against the torrent as a mounted man-at-arms, had trodden several of the Highlanders down, and had one of them pinned to the earth with his long lance. Thereupon, in the words of old Wyntoun,

"That man held fast his own sword
Into his nieve, and up thrawing
He pressed him, not again standing
That he was pressed to the earth;
And with a swake there of his sword,
Through the stirrup-leather and the boot
Three ply or four, above the foot,
He struck the Lyndsay to the bone.
That man
no stroke gave but that one,
For there he died."

Nestling in a valley close to the mountain-range where the father and son held rather a roving commission than a right either of property or government, stood the Castle of Kildrummy. As its ruins still attest, it was not one of those grim, gaunt, starved - looking square towers which the impoverished nobility of Scotland were fain to hide themselves in, but a vast and beautiful Gothic fortress erected in the time of the great war of independence, probably by the English. This desirable residence the youth set his eye on; so with his Highland host he stormed and took it. It belonged to the widowed Countess of Mar. The country was not so absolutely without any nominal law that territory could be acquired in this way; at all events, it was prudent to have the military title of conquest fortified by some civil formalities to prevent future cavilling. The victor, therefore, married the widow, obtaining from her a conveyance of her property to himself and his heirs.

Some formalist having probably put him up to the notion that the transaction, as it stood, was still open to question, a second deed bears record how that the husband resigned the whole property back to the wife, and in token thereof approached the castle, and humbly placed the key in her hand, telling her to take possession of the castle, the furniture therein, and the title-deeds of the domain; whereupon she gave the whole back to be enjoyed by her husband and the heirs of the marriage. Still again the dread of the red-tapism of the day haunted the prudent marauder, and a scene occurred which must have been exceedingly amusing to all concerned. In presence of the Bishop of Ross and of the feudatories of the domain, assembled in general council in the fields beyond the walls of the Castle of Kildrummy, the Countess again executed an investiture of her husband in all her estates and properties, especially including those of which she was unjustly deprived, a gift which opened up indefinite fields of enterprise to so active a husband. The deed is so profuse in its attestations of the perfect freedom and absence of all restraint and intimidation wherewith the Countess acted, that one’s suspicion would naturally be raised even without a knowledge of the antecedents.

Such was the career of one who afterwards made a brilliant figure at the Court of France. His reception there, or rather the position he took up, is recorded in his homely rhymes by the contemporary Wyntoun; and as M. Michel adopts his account, so may we. Here it is, with the spelling a little modernised, as in the preceding passage from the same rather wordy chronicle :—

"The Earl of Mar passed in France,
In his delight and his pleasance,
With a noble company
Well arrayed and daintily,
Knights and squires—great gentlemen,
Sixty or more full numbered there,
Men of council and of virtue,
Of his court and retinue.
In Paris he held a royal state
At the Syngne, knowen the Tynny Plate,

All the time that he was there
Biding, twelve weeks full and mare,
Door and gate both gart he
Aye stand open, that men might se (so)
Enter all time at their pleasance
Til eat or drink, or sing or dance."

The Earl of Mar—for he was now firmly established in that dignified position—took part with some cornpanions-at-arms of the best blood in Scotland, at the battle of Liege, fought on the 14th of September 1407: it was one of the contests in which the Duke of Burgundy had to back the Prince-Bishop against the powerful corporation of that almost sovereign city. M. Michel cites an old French chronicle; a good pendant to Wyntoun, who, after Messieurs Guillaume Hay, and Jacques Scringour, and Helis de Guenemont, expands concerning the feats of other heroes, whose names, slightly disguised, will readily be recognised by their countrymen.

"Sire Alexandre en son droit nom
De Connech, qui ot cuer entier,
Ce jour y fut fait chevalier,
Et Messire Andrien Stievart
Fu chevalier de belle part.
De Hay sire Guillebert
Fut ce jour en arrnes appert,
Com bon et hardi cornbattant.
Sire Jehan de Sidrelant
Doy bien en honneur rnettre en cornpte,
Car il est fiz d’un noble conte.
Sire Alexandre d’Iervin,
Qui le cuer ot hurnble et benin,
En ce jour monstra hardie chiere;
Et cil qui porta la baniere
Du conte qui est tant prisiez
Ce fu sire Jehan de Miniez."

Here are many familiar Scots names, some of them, it is true, a little disguised. Guenemont is Kinninmond, the name of a good old stock sometime decayed, and now, it is believed, unrepresented in Scotland, though it is supposed to be alive both in Sweden and France. Sidrelant is Sutherland, and Miniez Menzies, the laird of that territory which bears the queer-sounding name of Pitfoddles. De Commech is puzzling, but M. Michel boldly transposes it into Keith. Alexandre d’Iervin, who represents the true knight of chivalry—a lamb at home, a lion in the field—is the same who gets like praise in the rude Scots ballad which details so accurately the great battle of Harlaw

"Gude Sir Alexander Irvine,
The much-renowned Laird of Drum,
Nane in his days was better seen,
When they were sembled all and some,
To praise him we should not be dumb,
For valour, wit, and worthyness,
To end his days he there did come,
Whose ransome is rerneediless."

The same companions-at-arms, indeed, who fought with him in Flanders, followed Mar to victory in the great battle of Harlaw. The Continental campaign had therefore a great influence on British history. There, doubtless, the Scots knights obtained that consciousness of the prowess of trained, mail-clad men-at-arms, which prompted them with confidence and success to fight a host many times as large as their own. That critical day brought to an end what our common historians call the Rebellion of Donald of the Isles. The question it really decided was, whether the representative of the Norse race, which had founded an empire in the islands and western Highlands, should continue to be an independent monarch, ruling Scotland as far as the Forth,—and perhaps as far as the English border.

Here the roystering leader of ragamuffins, coming home with his foreign experience, became a mighty general and sage statesman; and like many others who pass from disreputable into creditable and profitable courses, he achieved the suppression of those who, while he was sowing his wild oats, were his companions and tools.

Most conspicuous and illustrious among the emigrants to France were those who belonged to the royal race of Stewart: and here let me offer an explanatory protest for spelling the name in this unfashionable manner. It is the old Scots spelling, the other—namely, Stuart—having been gradually adopted in deference to the infirmity of the French language, which is deficient in that sinewy letter— a half-breed between vowel and consonant—which we call W. This innovation stands in the personal nomenclature of our day, a trivial but distinct relic of the influence of French manners and habits over our ancestors.

For all their illustrious birth, these Stewarts went forth like the others, wandering unfortunates, with no hold upon the world but that which their heads and bands, and perhaps the lustre of their descent, gave them, and in the end they rooted themselves as landed Lords and Princes. John Stewart, Earl of Buchan, the High Constable, whose deeds and fate have been already recorded, was a son of the Regent Albany, and grandson of King Robert II. Alexander Stewart, Duke of Albany, a brother of James III., cuts a rather ugly figure in the history of his own country. He set up as king, calling himself Alexander IV., and agreed to do homage and acknowledge the old supremacy of England if Edward IV. would assist him, and make his nominal title a reality. After a rather adventurous life he went over to France. His antecedents did not in the least prejudice the tolerant heart of Louis XI. against him; on the contrary, he was a man very much after that monarch’s own heart. He acquired great lordships in France, and thoroughly assimilated himself to the Continental system. He married Anne de la Tour, daughter of the Count of Auvergne and Eoulogne, of a half-princely family, which became afterwards conspicuous by producing Marshal Turenne, and at a later period the eccentric grenadier, Latour d’Auvergne, who, in homage to republican principles, would not leave the subaltern ranks in Napoleon’s army, and became more conspicuous by remaining there than many who escaped from that level to acquire wealth and power.

The sister of Anne de la Tour married Lorenzo de Medici, Duke of Urbino. From this connection Albany was the uncle of Catherine de Medici, the renowned Queen of France, and, in fact, was that nearest relation, who, as folks used to say in this country, "gave her away" to Henry II. On this occasion he got a cardinal’s hat for Philip de la Chambre, his mother’s son by a second marriage. He lived thoroughly in the midst of the Continental royalties of the day, and had the sort of repute among them that may be acquired by a man of great influence and connection, whose capacity has never been tried by any piece of critical business— a repute that comes to persons in a certain positions by a sort of process of gravitation. Brave he seems to have been, like all his race, and he sometimes held even important commands. He accompanied his friend, Francis I., in his unfortunate raid into Italy in 1525, and was fortunately and honourably clear of that bad business, the battle of Pavia, by being then in command of a detachment sent against Naples. His son, a thorough Frenchman, became afterwards Regent of Scotland; but though he acted in the way of legitimate business, he was not, as we shall find, a much better friend to his country than his father had been. Well scolded as they have been through all legitimate history, it has been the fortune of M. Michel to show that to the Albanies Scotland owes a boon which would have gone far to retrieve their character a century ago — the use of and taste for French wines. This specialty as a national taste is not even yet dead; for every Englishman who gets at good tables in Scotland, remarks on the preference for the French wines over those of Spain and Portugal, although, until the other day, the duties, which in old Scotland had been greatly in their favour, were rather against the French. The following details about the commerce of the Scots in France seem interesting.

"During his residence in France, the Duke of Albany occupied himself actively, as it would appear, in favour of the Scotch merchants trading in our country, all the more that they were undoubtedly commissioned by the nobility. His efforts were crowned with success; and Francis I. gave at Amboise, in the month of May 1518, an order to free these foreigners from the dues to which foreign merchandise was subjected at Dieppe, the usual place of their disembarkation; which, however, did not prevent fresh demands on the part of Scotland some years after.

"What commodities could the Scotch bring to our country?

"Probably the same which they sent to Flanders, and of which we have a list in the great book of Andrew Halyburton, one of the first merchants of his time, who filled the high office of Conservator of the Privileges of the Scottish Nation in the Low Countries—or, as we should now say, Scottish Consul—at Middleburg. There was, in the first place, salmon, which came even to the inland towns, such as Reims, where a municipal order of 1380 regulated the sale of it; then herrings, cod, and other fish, for the common people; lastly, wool, leather, and skins.

"Afterwards this catalogue increased so much that a rhymer of the seventeenth century could say to a courtier—

‘Tury, vous quittez done la cour,
Pour vous jeter dans le negoce:
Ce n’est plus celui de l’amour,
Mais celui d’Espagne ou d’Escosse.’

Spain and Scotland, it seems, were the countries in which commerce was most lucrative, as there also seems reason to believe that the Spaniards and the Scotch were the foreigners best known in France, when we find another poet make an actor say—

‘Je passe quand je veux, bien que je sois Français,
Tantôt pour Espagnol, tantôt pour Escossois.’

"In exchange for the goods which they brought us, the Scotch received from us the products of a more advanced civilisation, not only by regular commerce, but by diplomacy, the agents of which, as it seems, had the privilege of bringing in goods free of tax. On the 8th May 1586, Henry IlI. wrote to M. de Chateauneuf, his ambassador at the Court of Elizabeth: ‘I beg of you also to mention to her the depredation which some of her subjects have committed near Dieppe on a Scotch vessel, which was returning to Scotland, in which there were, to the value of sixteen hundred crowns, wines, silken cloths, sugar, spices, and other things which the said Sire Esneval had caused to be purchased, and was having carried for his use into Scotland, by one of his people named Captain James. They had the cruelty to remove the sails of the said vessel, and to leave it and also another Scotch vessel at the mercy of the wind and sea; but God helped them so much that they were thrown up on the coast by the reflux of the tide there, where they were known and succoured.’

"The place occupied by wines in this enumeration of goods destined for Scotland shows the importance of the consumption of them by our allies in the sixteenth century. Even in the thirteenth, Henri d’Andeli describes the Scotch and some other Northern nations as drinking abundantly of the wines of La Rochelle; and in the following century Froissart shows us their ships coming into the port of Bordeaux to load with wine, at the risk of being captured in going out of the river, as happened under rather singular circumstances related by Cleirac, who supposes the master of a Scotch vessel, laden with wine for Calais, in connivance with Turkish pirates. A letter of James IV. to the first president of the parliament of Bordeaux—recommending to him the affair of his subject George Wallace, master of the ship Volant, seized for theft imputed to Robert Gardiner and Duncan Campbell—tells us that in 1518 the Scotch continued to come in quest of our wines, and did not always behave themselves in an exemplary manner.

"We know by President de Thou, that in his time, towards the end of the sixteenth century, Scotch wine-merchants came annually to Bordeaux; and we have a decree of the Council of State of the 3d June 1604, granting indemnification of 18,000 livres to John Anderson and John Williamson, Scotch merchants, from whom they had confiscated two hundred tons of wine at Havre."

The Darnley branch of the Stewarts had a destiny in France which belongs to European history. Sir John Stewart of Darnley was one of Buchan’s heroes, and fought at Baugé and Crevant, where he was wounded and taken. He was exchanged for the Earl of Suffolk’s brother, Lord Pole. He was rewarded with the lands and lordships of Aubigny, Concressault, and Evereux, with the privilege of quartering the arms of France on his achievement.

In 1427 he visited his own poor country in great state, with no less a function than that of ambassador from the Court of France. His mission was to negotiate a marriage between Louis the Dauphin and Margaret of Scotland. A year afterwards he and his brother were both killed in battle before Orleans, and were laid together in the cathedral of that memorable city. John Stewart’s representatives merged all their other titles in that of Lennox, which his marriage brought to the family. The fifth in descent from him, Mathew Earl of Lennox, who succeeded to the title in 1526, served under the French banner in the Italian wars, and though he hardly reached historic fame, is recorded in the books of genealogy as that respectable personage "a distinguished officer." Coming to Scotland in all his foreign finery, he made love to Mary of Guise, the widow of James V., a pursuit in which, by the oddest of all coincidents, he was the rival of the father of that Bothwell who settled all questions of small family differences by blowing his son into the air. This Lennox achieved, as every one knows, a more fruitful alliance with royalty through a daughter of Margaret, the sister of Henry VIII.

Returning to Sir Alexander Stewart, we find that his second son, John, founded a great house in France. The titles of John’s son and representative, Bernard, were, "Viceroy of Naples, Constable of Sicily and Jerusalem, Duke of Terra Nova, Marquis of Girace and Squillazo, Count of Beaumont, D’Arcy, and Venassac, Lord of Aubigny, and Governor of Melun." He commanded the army of Charles VIII. which invaded Naples, and gained the victory of Séminara, an achievement which Sismondi thus describes :— "D’Aubigny, who commanded in Calabria, resolved to arrest the progress which King Ferdinand was making in his territories, seconded by Gonzalvo of Cordova; and although he could not collect more than 400 mounted men-at-arms, twice the number of light cavalry, and a small body of Swiss infantry, he crossed the river between Terra Nova and Séminara before the enemy, and attacked them on the opposite bank, although their number was at least three times as great as his. The Calabrians, who had forced Ferdinand and Gonzalvo to accept the battle, did not wait for the full attack, but fled as soon as they saw the French advance. Ferdinand would have been taken had not John of Altavilla given him his horse, at the sacrifice of his own life: he was killed shortly after Gonzalvo, Hugh of Cordova, Emmanuel Bénavides, Peter de la Paz, Spanish captains who all, at a later period, became famous at the expense of the French, would have been taken prisoners the following night in Seminars, if D’Aubigny, who was enfeebled by the Calabrian fevers, and sick all the time during which he was fighting, had been able to attack that town immediately. The gates were opened to him the next day." 

Seven years later he was overpowered by numbers, and had to capitulate on the same spot; so that there is occasional confusion in history about the battle of Séminara, which is sometimes spoken of as a victory by, and sometimes as a defeat of, the French. Between these two conflicts there were many gallant feats of which he was the hero; and he was as renowned for gentleness as for bravery. He was the companion of Bayard, and his rival in fame as a chivalrous soldier. He died at Corstorphine, near Edinburgh. One of the recumbent stone figures in the picturesque little Gothic church of that village is reputed by tradition to represent the great Lord of Aubigny, Marischal of France; but heraldry does not confirm this.

Next to the royal family of Scotland in France were the houses of Hamilton and of Douglas, who at times almost rivalled them at home. The French dukedom of Chatelherault is a name almost as familiar in history as the home title of the Hamiltons. By the side of the Scottish Constable of France rode a countryman scarcely less powerful—the lord of the vast province of Touraine, which had been conferred on the gallant Douglas. It may interest some people to read an official contemporary account of the pomps and ceremonies, as also of the state of public feeling, which accompanied the investiture of the territory in its new lord. It is clear from this document that the people of Touraine took with signal equanimity the appointment of a foreigner from a distant land to rule over them.

"Four days after the date of the letters-patent, the news of the change which they celebrated reached Tours. Several ecclesiastics, burghers, and inhabitants assembled in alarm in the presence of Jehan Simon, lieutenant of the Bailli of Touraine, William d’Avaugour, and charged Jehan Saintier, one of their representatives, and Jehan Gamier, King’s Sergeant, to go to Bourges, to William de Lucé, Bishop of Maillezais, and to the Bailli, to learn whether the King intended to give and had actually given the Duchy of Touraine to the Earl of Douglas, of the country of Scotland; and, if it was true, to beg of them to advise the said churchmen, burgesses, and. inhabitants, what course they ought to pursue, and what was to be done in the circumstances, for the honour and advantage of this town of Tours and country of Touraine.

"The which Jehan Saintier and Gamier brought back for answer, that the said nobles above mentioned said to them that it was true that the King has given the said Duchy of Touraine to the said Earl of Douglas, and that they should not be at all alarmed at it, and that the people of the said Tours and country of Touraine will be very gently and peaceably governed; and that before the said Earl of Douglas shall have, or shall go to take possession of the said Duchy, the King will send letters to the said churchmen, burgesses, and inhabitants, and each of his officers commissioned to make over to him the said possession, and that my Lord Chancellor and the said Bailli would in a short time be in the said town, the which would tell them at greater length what they had to do in the circumstances, and the causes by which the King had been moved to give him the said Duchy; and also the said Saintier and Gamier brought the copy of the letter of gift of the said Duchy to the said Earl.

"As soon as they knew at Tours that the King had given the Earl of Douglas the Duchy of Touraine, and that the new Duke was preparing to set out to take possession of it, they assembled at the Hotel de Ville to consider whether they would go to meet this stranger and whether they would make him the customary presents, which consisted of six pipes, that is twelve barrels, of wine, six measures of oats, fifty sheep, four fat oxen, and a hundred pounds of wax in torches.

"They deputed two churchmen and four of the most considerable citizens to go to Loches to compliment the Duke in name of the town, and they formed a company of mounted burghers to go to meet him. Having found him at a certain distance from the town, it accompanied him till his arrival at Tours, into which he made his entry on the 7th of May, by the gate of Noire Dame Ia Riche. There he was received by the four representatives of the town, and by all the burgesses, in arms. Martin d’Argouges, principal representative, spoke on presenting him the keys, and begged of him to maintain the inhabitants in their privileges, franchises, and liberties. The Duke promised, and the representatives took note of his consent, by three notaries, whom they had brought for the purpose. The Duke having then taken the keys, restored them immediately to the first representative. Then he entered the town, where he was received by the people with acclamation. The streets were hung with tapestry and strewed with flowers. He went straight to the cathedral, at the great door of which he found the archbishop and all the canons in canonicals. The dean presented to him a surplice, an amice, and a breviary. The Duke, having taken the oaths at his hands, was received as a canon, and installed in the choir in presence of Louis of Bourbon, Count of Vendome, grand chamberlain of France; of John of Bourbon, his brother, Prince of Carency; of Francis of Grigneux; and of several other noblemen. Next day he went to the church of St Martin, where he was similarly received as honorary canon. After these ceremonies he established his cousin, Adam Douglas, governor of the town and castle of Tours, according to his letters of the 27th May. The inhabitants, after deliberation by their representatives, made a present to the new governor of two pipes of wine and a measure of oats."

So ends the history of the public inauguration of Douglas in his Duchy of Touraine, the extent of which one may see by looking at any old map of France in Provinces. Another ceremony, however, awaited him ere long. He paid for his honours with his gallant blood. He and the Constable Buchan were laid down together in one grave in the chancel of the cathedral church of Tours, the capital of his domain.

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