An Outline of the Relations between England and Scotland (500-1707) eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 218 pages of information about An Outline of the Relations between England and Scotland (500-1707).
a suzerain punishing a vassal who had refused to appear when he was summoned.  The English ravaged the county of Roxburgh in 1542; the Scottish nobles declined to cross the border in what they asserted to be a French quarrel; and in November a small Scottish force was enclosed between Solway Moss and the river Esk, and completely routed.  The ignominy of this fresh disaster broke the king’s heart.  On December 8th was born the hapless princess who is known as the Queen of Scots.  The news brought small comfort to the dying king, who was still mourning the sons he had lost in the preceding year. “‘Adieu,’ he said, ’farewell; it came with a lass and it will pass with a lass.’  And so”, adds Pitscottie, “he recommended himself to the mercy of Almighty God, and spake little from that time forth, but turned his back unto his lords, and his face unto the wall.”  Six days later the end came.  With “a little smile of laughter”, and kissing his hand to the nobles who stood round, he breathed his last.


[Footnote 60:  Gregory Smith, p. 123.]




Mary of Guise, thus for the second time a widow, was left the sole protector of the infant queen, against the intrigues of Henry VIII and the treachery of the House of Douglas.  Fortunately, Margaret Tudor had predeceased her son in October, 1541, and her death left one disturbing element the less.  But the situation which the dowager had to face was much more perplexed than that which confronted any other of the long line of Scottish queen-mothers.  During the reign of James V the Reformed doctrines had been rapidly spreading in Scotland.  It was at one time possible that James V might follow the example of Henry VIII, and a considerable section of his subjects would have welcomed the change.  His death added recruits to the Protestant cause; the greater nobles now strongly desired an alienation of Church property, because they could take advantage of the royal minority to seize it for their private advantage.  The English party no longer consisted only of outlawed traitors; there were many honest Scots who felt that alliance with a Protestant kingdom must replace the old French league.  The main interest had come to be not nationality but religion, and Scotland must decide between France and England.  The sixteenth century had already, in spite of all that had passed, made it evident that Scots and English could live on terms of peace, and the reign of James IV, which had witnessed the first attempt at a perpetual alliance, was remembered as the golden age of Scottish prosperity.  The queen-mother was, by birth and by education, committed to the maintenance of the old religion and of the French alliance.  The task was indeed difficult.  Ultimate success was rendered impossible by causes over which she possessed no kind of control; a temporary victory was rendered practicable only by the folly of Henry VIII.

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An Outline of the Relations between England and Scotland (500-1707) from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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