Jealousy of English Influence

The peace of Scotland was for many years after this interrupted by that natural jealousy of England, so likely to rise in a kingdom its equal in the sense of independence, although its inferior in national strength. Henry, too, adopted measures not calculated to secure the confidence of the Scottish people. He sent into Scotland, under the name of guardian to the king, Geoffry de Langley, a rapacious noble, who was immediately expelled. He procured Innocent the Fourth to grant him a twentieth of the ecclesiastical revenues of that kingdom, nominally for the aid of the Holy Land, but really for his own uses; and he despatched Simon de Montfort, the Earl of Leicester, on a mission, described as secret in his instructions, but the object of which may be conjectured from the increasing animosity of the disputes between the Scottish nobility. Many English attendants, some of them persons of rank and consequence, accompanied Margaret into her new kingdom; and between these intruders and the ancient nobility of Scotland, who fiercely asserted their privileges, disputes arose, which soon reached the ears of the English court. The young queen, accustomed to the indulgence and superior refinement of her father's court, bitterly lamented that she was immured in a dismal fortress, without being permitted to have her own attendants around her person, or allowed to enjoy the society of her husband, the king.

These complaints, which appear to have been highly exaggerated, and a still more horrid report that the queen's physician had been poisoned by the same party because he ventured to remonstrate against the confinement of his mistress, were not lost upon Alan Durward, the late justiciar. He had accompanied Henry in his expedition to Guienne, where, by his courage and address, he regained the confidence of that capricious monarch; and he now prevailed upon the king to despatch the Earl of Gloucester and MaunseU his chief secretary, to the Scottish court, for the purpose of dismissing those ministers who were found not sufficiently obsequious to England.

In sending these noblemen upon this mission, Henry solemnly engaged to attempt nothing against the person of the Scottish king, and never to insist upon his being disinherited, or upon the dissolution of the marriage settlement; promises, the particular history of which is involved in much obscurity, but which strongly, though generally, demonstrate, that the English king had been accused of designs inimical to the honour and independence of Scotland. At the head of the party which steadily opposed the interested schemes of Henry, was Walter Comyn earl of Menteith, whose loyalty we have seen insisting on the speedy coronation of the young king, when it was attempted to be deferred by Alan Durward. Many of the principal nobility, and some of the best and wisest of the clergy, were found in the same ranks.

The Earl of Gloucester and his associates accordingly repaired to Scotland; and, in concert with the Earls of Dunbar, Strathern, and Carrick, surprised the castle of Edinburgh, relieved the royal couple from the real or pretended durance in which they were held, and formally conducted them to the bridal chamber, although the king was yet scarcely fourteen years of age.English influence appears now to have been predominant; and Henry, having heard of the success of his forerunners Maunsell and Gloucester, and conceiving that the time was come for the reduction of Scotland under his unfettered control, issued his writs to his military tenants, and assembled a numerous army. As he led this array towards the borders, he took care to conceal his real intentions, by directing, from Newcastle, a declaration, that in this progress to visit his dear son Alexander, lie should attempt nothing prejudicial to the rights of the king, or the liberties of Scotland. In the meantime, the Comyns collected their forces, and the opposite faction suddenly removed the king and queen to Roxburgh, in which castle Alexander received Henry, who conducted him, with pomp and acclamation, to the Abbey of Kelso. The government of Scotland was there remodelled; a new set of counsellors appointed; and the party of the Comyns, with John Baliol and Robert de Ross, completely deprived of their political influence. In the instruments drawn up upon this occasion, some provisions were inserted, which were loudly complained of as derogatory to the dignity of the kingdom; the abettors of England were stigmatized as conspirators, who were equally obnoxious to prelates, barons, and burgesses; and the Bishop of Glasgow, the Bishop elect of St Andrews, the chancellor, and the Earl of Menteth, indignantly refused to affix their seals to a deed, which, as they asserted, compromised the liberties of the country.

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