Open main menu

Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 29.djvu/152

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
James IV
of Scotland
146

gow in the middle of August, and they presented him with a sword and dagger, probably those afterwards taken at Flodden, and still preserved in the English Heralds' College. They received in return six hundred crowns. The object of the embassy, which had already negotiated a marriage between Arthur, the eldest son of Henry VII, and the Princess Katherine, was by a similar offer to detach Scotland from the French alliance; but De Puebla, its chief, exceeded his instructions, offering James the hand of an infanta instead of an illegitimate daughter of Ferdinand of Aragon, for which he was reprimanded, yet told to ‘put off the Scotch king with false hopes’ lest he should renew the French alliance.

James kept his Yule in 1489 at Edinburgh. By a prudent policy the leaders of the recent rebellion, Lennox, Huntly, the Earl-Marischal, Lyle, and Forbes, were pardoned. During the same year his attention was directed to the defence of the east coast from the attacks of English pirates, and found in Andrew Wood [q. v.] of Largo, who became one of his chief counsellors, an admiral able to cope with the marauders. The king saw the political importance of the navy, and throughout his reign the equipment of vessels of war and the encouragement of trading and fishing craft were kept steadily in view. On 3 Feb. 1490 parliament met at Edinburgh, by which the principal rebels were forfeited, though afterwards pardoned. A mutilated document in the English records of that year casts light on a plot otherwise unknown for the delivery of the persons of ‘James, king of Scotland, now reigning, and his brother, at least the king,’ to Henry VII. The parties to this plot, which was in the shape of a bond for payment of 266l. 13s. 4d., were Sir John Ramsay, Patrick Hepburn, Lord Bothwell [q. v.], and Sir Thomas Todd, a Scottish knight.

In the parliament which met on 28 April 1491 important acts were passed for ‘wapenschaws,’ or musters of the forces, in each shire, the practice of archery, the holding of justice ayres, and the reform of civil and criminal procedure. But the king's marriage chiefly interested the parliament. Embassies were despatched to find a wife in France, Spain, or any other part. The envoys paid repeated visits to France without result, and subsequently the Emperor Maximilian was requested to bestow on James his daughter Margaret, but as the lady was already betrothed to the infant of Spain, that negotiation failed. James was, perhaps, not so eager for a marriage as his advisers. His illegitimate connections were numerous. His intrigue with Marion Boyd, daughter of Archibald Boyd of Bonshaw, commenced soon after his accession, for its result was the birth, at least as early as 1495, of Alexander Stewart, afterwards archbishop of St. Andrews, as well as of a daughter, Catherine. Marion Boyd appears to have been succeeded as royal mistress-in-chief by Janet, daughter of John, lord Kennedy, and a former mistress of Archibald Douglas, fifth earl of Angus [q. v.], who became, by the king, the mother of James, born in 1499, and created earl of Moray on 20 June 1501. This connection lasted at least till 1 June 1501, when the castle and forest of Darnaway were granted to her for life, under certain conditions. She received grants from the king down to 1505 (Exchequer Rolls, pp. xii, xliii). In February 1510 she surrendered lands conveyed to her in 1498 by her earlier lover Angus, receiving in exchange all the lands of Bothwell under a decree arbitral confirmed by the king (ib. p. xlviii). This transaction perhaps gave rise to the assertion, which appears scarcely credible, that she married Angus after being discarded by the king. The best beloved of the king's mistresses was Margaret, daughter of Lord Drummond, who was high in his favour from May 1496 to 1501, the date of her death [see Drummond, Margaret]. In 1497 her only child, Lady Margaret Stewart, was born. The poem of ‘Tayis Banks,’ if the work of her royal lover, is proof of James's affection. Masses were at the king's cost sung for her soul at Cambuskenneth and other places till the close of the reign. A fifth lady of noble birth, Isabel Stewart, daughter of Lord Buchan, is mentioned as the mother of a daughter, Jean, by James, while Dunbar, who entreated the king to release himself by marriage from such entanglements, hints at more vulgar and forgotten amours.

In the autumn of 1493 James visited the Western Isles and received the homage of the chiefs, whose head, John, lord of the Isles, had been forfeited in the parliament which met in May of that year. He was at Dunstaffnage in August, and on his return south made the pilgrimage to Whithern in Galloway, which became an annual custom. In October he paid his first visit to St. Duthac's at Tain, which divided with Whithorn the honour of being the principal resort of the royal pilgrim. His frequent pilgrimages to these and other shrines, as well as his external devotion to the offices of religion, have been cited as proof that he was a good catholic. Like the penance of the iron belt, his admission to the offices of a lay canon of the cathedral of Glasgow, and a lay brother of the Friars Observant at Stirling, and his