Open main menu

Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 29.djvu/149

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
James III
of Scotland

France. He was received with favour by Louis XI of France, he married Anne de la Tour, daughter of the Count of Boulogne and Auvergne, and subsequently came over to England. Edward IV had, in violation of the existing truce, shown himself the active enemy of Scotland. In June 1481 he concluded an alliance with the Lord of the Isles and Donald Gorme, another highland chief, and showed marked favour to the exiled Earl of Douglas [see Douglas, James, (1426–1488)]. In the Scottish parliament of March 1482 extensive preparations were authorised for the defence of the kingdom against Edward, who retaliated by a treaty with Albany, and conferred on him the dishonourable title of ‘Alexander, King of Scotland by the gift of the King of England.’

To carry out this treaty, Gloucester, with an English army, accompanied by Albany, and secretly abetted by the Earl of Angus and other Scottish nobles, marched to the border. In July, James, having assembled his feudal army, to the number of about fifty thousand, at the Borough Muir of Edinburgh, marched to Lauder, where mutiny broke out. The barons hanged Cochrane and other favourites, and sent the king to Edinburgh Castle.

Meantime, the town, and in August 1482 the castle, of Berwick was retaken by the English army. The border burgh never again became Scottish. Gloucester and Albany at once marched to Edinburgh. Then, by a sudden and inexplicable change, Albany and James were reconciled, through the mediation of the Archbishop of St. Andrews and Lord Avondale, the chancellor. Albany received a remission for his treasonable treaty with Edward IV, and in the parliament of December 1482 was appointed lieutenant-general of the kingdom. Gloucester was ignored and returned home. Edward IV was offered the restoration of the dowry, so far as paid, of the Princess Cecilia; but this was never carried out, and fruitless negotiations were set on foot for the marriage of Princess Margaret of Scotland with Anthony, lord Rivers. On 11 Feb. 1483 Edward entered into a new treaty with Albany to aid him in acquiring the Scottish crown, and promised him one of his daughters in marriage. This fresh treason became known to James and his Scottish council, but instead of leading, as might have been anticipated, to proceedings against Albany, an indenture was entered into between him and the king, signed at Dunbar on 19 March 1483, by which, among other provisions, James granted Albany a full remission for all ‘treason and other misdeeds.’ Albany renounced his obligations to Edward IV, engaged not to come within six miles of the king without special leave, and surrendered his office of lieutenant-general, retaining that of warden of the middle marches. He further promised to endeavour to procure peace with England.

Albany, however, with the aid of Lord Crichton, instead of carrying out the provisions of this agreement, fortified Dunbar Castle, and sent Sir James Liddale to renew his alliance with the English king. The death of Edward IV, on 9 April 1483, did not put a stop to Albany's treasonable plots, and on 27 June he was at last forfeited by parliament, and a similar doom was then, or shortly after, pronounced against Liddale, Crichton, and others of his followers. Preparations were at once made by James for the siege of Dunbar, and the siege was begun, though it was prosecuted slowly. Richard III on his accession at first favoured Albany, but the security of his own crown made it necessary for him to temporise by receiving at the end of 1483 an embassy sent by James, which succeeded in concluding a truce for three years, at Nottingham, on 21 Sept. 1484. On St. Magdalene's day (22 July of the latter year) Albany and the banished Earl of Douglas made an unsuccessful raid on Lochmaben. Douglas was taken prisoner and sent to London, and Albany himself with difficulty escaped to France, where he was killed in a tournament in 1485. In or before June 1486 Dunbar surrendered. The same year, probably on 14 July, Queen Margaret died, and her death facilitated the plot by which the leading nobles, who had never become really friendly to the king, procured his son (afterwards James IV) as the head of the rebellion, in Albany's place.

The death of Richard III, on 22 Aug. 1485, led to a treaty in November 1487 by which the new monarch, Henry VII, engaged to marry one of the sisters of his queen to the Scottish heir-apparent, another to his brother, the Marquis of Ormonde, and the widow of Edward IV to James himself. Once more these matrimonial projects miscarried, owing, it is said, to James's demand of the surrender of Berwick as a condition of his assent. But the quarrel, which had now reached a crisis, between him and his own nobles is a more probable cause. James had continued to favour men of inferior rank, his chief favourites now being Hommyl the tailor and Ramsay, lord Bothwell. He had depreciated the currency, and had wasted money over building, particularly at Stirling, where a royal hall was built and a royal chapel endowed on a scale of more than ordinary magnificence. To obtain funds for this James procured the pope's sanction to the annexation