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Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 29.djvu/148

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James III
of Scotland
142

of sixty thousand Rhenish florins, for which the Orkney and Shetland Isles, at the time nominally under Denmark's suzerainty, were pledged to James. The ambassadors returned with the bride, and the marriage was celebrated with great pomp at Holyrood in July 1469. During Arran's absence the Boyds, his kinsmen, had fallen into discredit. Arran fled to Denmark with his wife. His father, Lord Boyd, escaped to England. In the parliament of Edinburgh in November 1469 the queen was crowned, the Boyds were forfeited for treason, and their lands annexed to the principality of Scotland. Although only in his eighteenth year, and his bride in her twelfth, James now undertook the government, and there is nothing to show that any one of the nobles or bishops acquired a controlling influence.

In the autumn of 1470 James and the queen went north, by way of Aberdeen, as far as Inverness. On 6 May 1471 he held a parliament in Edinburgh, which passed acts prohibiting the procuring of Scottish benefices at Rome, and making provision for the defence of the kingdom. The queen's jointure was settled, and William Sinclair, earl of Caithness, received a grant of Ravenscraig in Fife, in compensation for the cession of his rights in Orkney, which, with Shetland, was annexed to the crown. In 1474 Edward IV proposed the betrothal of James's infant son, afterwards James IV [q. v.], with his daughter Cecilia [q. v.] The English king agreed to pay a dowry of twenty thousand marks, as well as five hundred more as compensation for Bishop Kennedy's great barge, the St. Salvator, which had been plundered when wrecked on the sands of Bamborough. In 1474 James proposed that his sister Margaret should marry the Duke of Clarence, and his brother Albany the widowed Duchess of Burgundy, sister of Edward IV. But Edward, on making terms with France, waived these proposals, and stopped the instalments of his daughter's dowry. At the parliament of Edinburgh on 1 Dec. 1475, the Earl of Ross, whose share in the rebellion of 1462 remained unpunished, was forfeited for treason in absence, appeared before James in parliament at Edinburgh on 15 July 1476, and surrendered all his estates, but received them back, with the important exception of the earldom of Ross. He was also created a lord of parliament, with the title of Lord of the Isles, and the succession to his estates was settled, failing legitimate, on his illegitimate children. On 7 Feb. 1478 James, who had now reached what the Scots, following the Roman law, called the perfect age of twenty-five, revoked, as was usual, all alienations of crown property to its prejudice, and specially of any of the royal castles. He also entrusted the queen with the custody of the prince and of Edinburgh Castle for a period of five years.

Up to this time James's reign had been singularly fortunate. The civil wars in England had enabled him to recover Berwick and Roxburgh. His marriage had completed the boundaries of Scotland by the addition of the northern islands. The fall of the Boyds had brought into the hands of the crown Arran and Bute, as well as their Ayrshire estates. The highlands had been reduced by the submission of the Lord of the Isles and the annexation of the earldom of Ross. The skilful diplomacy of Patrick Graham [q. v.], the successor of Kennedy in the see of St. Andrews, had procured for Scotland the coveted archiepiscopal pall, which freed the Scottish church from the claims of supremacy asserted by the Archbishop of York over the southern sees, and by the Archbishop of Drontheim over the sees of Orkney and the Western Isles.

It is difficult to fix the exact date or the precise causes of the misfortunes which followed. Like his contemporary, Louis XI, James adopted as favourites new men from the lower ranks; but he had none of the tenacity of purpose which enabled the French king to succeed in this policy. The earliest of his favourites appears to have been William Schevez [q. v.], his physician and an astrologer, who was installed in the archbishopric of St. Andrews in 1478. Another favourite was Robert Cochrane [q. v.], well known as an architect. The royal family was divided against itself. His brothers—Albany, who was three, and Mar, who was six years his junior—were more popular than James. They took part in the martial exercises of the period, which James neglected for the more effeminate pursuits of music, literature, and architecture. The estates seem from the first to have distrusted James. In the parliament of July 1476 a committee, consisting of the king's brothers, Albany and Mar, most of the prelates, great barons, and representatives of the burghs, were invested with almost regal powers. The king's jealousy of Albany and Mar led, in 1479, to the arrest of Mar, whose death, it was suspected through foul play, quickly followed. Cochrane succeeded to the vacant earldom. The accusation of witchcraft made against Mar, and the burning of several witches who were charged with melting a wax image of the king, are among the first references to this crime in Scottish history. Albany was arrested soon after Mar, and placed in the castle of Edinburgh, from which he escaped to Leith, and thence to