JAMES V., after a thousand amours, which were as discreditable to himself, as injurious to his family, and dangerous to his kingdom, married, in May , Magdalene of France, the sickly daughter of Francis I. She only survived her arrival, in Scotland, forty days of weakness. And the Scotish poets were thus obliged, to change their nuptial songs into premature laments, for the loss of a princess, whose usual amenities had already captivated an admiring people.
The King now espoused, for his second wife, Mary of Guise, the widowed Duchess of Longueville, the eldest daughter of Claude, Duke of Guise, by Antoinette de Bourbon, a princess of the blood. Mary arrived, at Fifeness, on the 10th of June 1538. She thence proceeded to St. Andrews, where she was welcomed, by the King, who carried her to the new palace, within the Abbey. Here, did the King, and Queen, remain forty days, with great merriness, saith the contemporary Pitscottie: “Such as justing, running at the lists, archery, hunting, and hawking, with singing, and dancing, in masking, and playing at all other princely games, according to a king and queen.” Similar sports, and rejoicings, took place, in various other parts of Scotland, which show, at once, the hilarity of the people, and the manners of the age.
Francis I. assigned to the Duchess of Longueville, on her marriage, with James V., an annuity of 20,000 livres. There were assigned her, for dower, Orkney, and Zetland, and the Earldom of Ross. To the king, who had thus endowed her, she gave a son, on the 22d of May 1540, at St. Andrews, who was baptised, at the same place, on the 26th of the month, by the name of James. She brought him a second son, in April 1541, who was baptised Arthur. The nation partook in her misfortunes, when she lost both her sons, soon after the birth of the second. She had the consolation, however of bringing her husband, while he was dying of an afflicted spirit, a daughter, on the 7th of December 1542, in the palace of Linlithgow. James V. died, on the 14th of the same month, in the palace of Faukland; and was buried, in the chapel of Holyrood-house, on the 9th of January 1543.
The Queen was scarcely born, when calumny began to misrepresent her as a sickly child, who could not live. The Queen mother, who possessed the masculine spirit of her family, ordered the nurse to unswaddle the infant, before Sir Ralph Sadler, the English embassador, who wrote to his impatient master, that the Queen was, as goodly a child, as he had ever seen of her age. The goodly Queen appears to have been baptised in January 1543. And, she was crowned, at Stirling, on Sunday, the 9th of September, in the same year, by Beaton, the Cardinal Archbishop of St. Andrews; the Earl of Arran, as next in blood, bearing the crown.
Considering the circumstances of the times, when every effort was made, by a too powerful neighbour, to obtain possession of the Queen’s person, either by force, or fraud: reflecting, also, that the whole power of Scotland had been worsted, on Pinkiefield, on the 10th of September 1547; it was deemed prudent, to remove the Queen, from Stirling castle, to an inaccessible isle, in the lake of Menteith, wherein were a castle, and a monastery. It was the dowager Queen, who inspired the Scotish councils, with persevering resolution, after so great a disaster, as a battle lost. It was owing to that intelligent princess, also, that a peculiar plan of education was adopted, for her daughter, who is said to have had an excellent understanding, from nature: She combined, in the instruction of her daughter, play, and emulation, the benefit of which, prices seldom have the happiness to enjoy, during their infant years: The dowager Queen chose from the most respectable families, four girls of her daughter’s age, and of the same name, who played with her, and were educated with her. Under this discipline, and in that recess, did they remain, till the Queen was carried to Dunbarton castle, in February 1548, as preparatory, for her departure to France.
Meanwhile the Queen was hardly a month old, when Henry VIII began his boisterous courtship of the heiress of Scotland, for his infant son. Corruption and threats, wars and devastation, were the odious means of that intemperate sovereign, to gain his wished-for object. Every one must approve of what the Earl of Huntley said, while he was a prisoner, in England, when he was asked, for his support: I mislike not so much the match, said he, as the way of wooing. In pursuance of Henry’s passion, gross as it was, treaties of peace, and marriage, were made, at Greenwich, on the first of July 1543. With his usual violence, Henry violated the recent treaties, by seizing the Scotish ships, before those treaties were ratified. A war with England now began, which endured, for six years; and which was noted for the vileness of its means, the barbarity of its conduct, and the futility of its conclusion.
The Scotish king dying of grief, and being even indifferent to the birth of an heiress, left his family, and his people, without the appointment of any formal government. Whatever were the pretensions, to the rule of Scotland, which had been formed, by the dowager Queen, or by Cardinal Beaton, in concert with her, were disappointed. The Parliament on the 13th of March 1543, declared the Earl of Arran, one of the weakest of men, the next heir to the crown, governor of the kingdom, and tutor to the Queen. James, the second Earl of Arran, who was thus elevated, by his relationship to the Queen, rather than his own merit, married, in September 1532, one of the daughters of the distracted family of the Earl of Morton. The Countess of Arran, however, brought her husband two sons, and two daughters: and, her second child was born, about the year 1535; who was known, as James, master of Hamilton, till he became Earl of Arran, by his father’s elevation to a French dukedom. This boy, who was destined to make his lovesuit to the two British Queens, was sent in September 1543, to the University of St. Andrews: But, whether he resided, in Cardinal Beaton’s house is very doubtful; considering the enmity of the Governor, and the Cardinal: There can be, nevertheless, no doubt, whether he were sent to that learned seminary, for his scholastic education. Here, the Master resided; studying Despauter’s Grammar, and Æsop’s Fables, when the assassins of Cardinal Beaton on the 29th of May 1546, seized him, as lawful prize, upon the same principle, on which they put the Cardinal to death, contrary to every precept of religion, and axiom of morals. While the master remained in such desperate hands, the Parliament declared him disqualified, from succeeding to the crown. When the assassins, however, were taken in the Cardinal’s castle, in July 1547, by the French gallies, the master was relieved from his dangerous imprisonment. Scotland, as we have just seen, was not a very tranquil residence, for students, in that barbarous age. In May 1548, the master was sent to France, under the care of James Hamilton, of Orbieston. The master was, soon after, appointed colonel of the Scots guards, in France. We shall, in our progress, see this young colonel brought, from France, and sent to Scotland, under the fortunate auspices of Mr. Secretary Cecil, for the benefit of the religion, the same colonel having become a furious Huguenot, and of course, an useful helpmate to John Knox.
The treaties with England had, scarcely, been relinquished, by the Estates of Scotland, when the Governor began to think, the Scotish Queen would make a convenient wife, for his son, the master. This project of selfish folly did not long escape the vigilant penetration of the dowager Queen. And they both began to intrigue, for their several objects, among a corrupt nobility. The Queen mother even attempted, in November 1544, to deprive the Governor of his high office, for which he had shewn himself unworthy. On the 8th of November 1544, the Governor, by the advice of Parliament, appointed commissioners to treat with the dowager Queen, and her nobles, for the adjustment of differences. This measure produced a convention of both parties, at Stirling on the 18th of November; when an agreement was concluded, for annulling the proceedings against the Governor; and for giving indemnity to the persons, who were engaged with the Queen mother, in those measures, for suspending the Governor. This proceeding was duly ratified, in the Parliament of February 1552. Thus divided was the nation, during the Queen’s infancy, when there ought to have been the greatest unanimity, from every consideration of prudence, and motive of policy.
In this state of distraction, though not of dismay, Mons. D’Essé, with five, or six thousand French troops, arrived, in Scotland. The representations of the dowager Queen had obtained, from the wisdom of Henry II. [of France], this aid, at a critical moment. The English had seized, and fortified Hadington. And, the presence, of the French troops enabled the Queen mother to obtain the unanimous assent of the Estates, for offering their sovereign in marriage to the Dauphin, as well as, her personal residence, in France. To effectuate those purposes, the Governor assembled a Parliament, in the abbey of Hadington, on the 7th of July 1548. In this meeting of the Estates, in which the Queen dowager was present, they “all in one voice,” adopted the beforementioned resolutions. The French gallies, which then lay in the harbour of Leith, were ordered to proceed round to the Clyde; pilots being collected, from the eastern ports of Scotland, for conducting them, through an intricate navigation, on this deceptive voyage.
At Dunbarton castle, the Queen, who was, then, in the fifth year of her age, was delivered to Mons. De Breze, who had been sent by Henry II., to receive her. She was attended, by Lady Fleming, her relation, being the natural daughter of James IV. [Mary’s grandfather]: and, she was accompanied by her four Marys: These were her schoolfellows, and playmates, at present; they were designed, to be her attendants, and friends, through life; endeared to her, by the recollection of their youthful hours having been passed, in a happy communion together. They attended upon her, even after her marriage; and they returned with her to her distracted kingdom. Her two Governors, Lord Erskine, and Lord Livingston, continued to perform that trust, by attending her to France, with her two subordinate instructors, the Prior of Inchmahome, and the Parson of Balmaclellan. The Queen was, also, accompanied, by three natural brothers: Robert, commendator of Holyrood-house; by John, commendator of Coldingham; and above all, by the Lord James, the commendator of St. Andrews, who had a numerous attendance of writers, statesmen, and warriors, while he was not yet seventeen. The gallies of France, with those illustrious passengers, did not sail, from the Clyde, till towards the end of July 1548. This fleet arrived, at Brest, on the 13th of August 1548, after losing one of the gallies, which was taken, by an English ship.