Изображения страниц

upon unjustifiable pretences, fome of the Scottish nobles, and the carrying of others prifoners into England. He remonstrates against the unneceffary delay of redrefs, after the peremptory appointment of the last meeting on the marches for effecting it; and to prove, that it was the view of the English to difappoint the profeffed purpose of that meeting, he affirms, that they had arrefted no malefactor, to be produced before it. James farther loudly complains of Henry's having refused a fafe conduct to an ambaffador whom he had lately proposed to fend to him, at the defire of Dr. West, his own ambaffador. Finally, he infills on the bonds of friendship, and natural relation, that connected him with the French king and the duke of Gueldre; who were the perfons to whom he was to look for aid in his neceffities; and on whom the unprovoked attacks of the king of England gave him too much caufe to dread the worst for himself.


This letter of the Scottish king was delivered by his herald to Henry while lying before Terouenne, and at the time when he was just expecting the arrival of his ally the emperor Maximilian, to receive his pay and fight under his banner. So flattering a fituation of affairs, concurring with the infolence of youth and natural heat of the king's temper, prompted him to give an answer in fuch harsh and paffionate expreffions, as the herald refufed to repeat to his mafter. A letter was therefore delivered to him, wherein the ftrain of abuse and reproach feems not to have been moderated. Henry in his letter charges James with the evident tendency of his complaints and allegations, all which, he affirms, had already been fully answered, to break that peace which he had folemnly fworn to obferve; a thing which could be no occafion of wonder to any who reflected how much hi progenitors had been addicted to the like perfidy. He reproaches James with behaving difhonourably in taking advantage of his ab, fence, which it was evident he had waited for; as, in none of his writings that preceded Henry's departure from his kingdom, he had ever mentioned his taking part with the French. But as the fragility of his faith, and the tenor of his paft behaviour, had given too much ground of fufpicion, Henry informs him of the precautions he had talen for the defence of his kingdom, before he left it, which he trufted would be fufficient; and, in just requital of his unnatural behaviour, he threatens the exclufion of James himself and his defcendants from fucceeding to the crown of England, on which he alleges that James had fixed his eye. He fets before him the fate of the king of Navarre; who, by adhering to France, was now a king without a kingdom: and, affirming that fufficient anfwers had been formerly given to all other articles of complaint, he pofitively denies that he had refufed a lafe-conduct to an ambaffador from Scotland; and afferts, that the Scottish herald, in making that report, had violated the truth. Finally, he refufed, with difdain, to own James as a judge in his quarrel with the French king; or, on his requifition, to defift from the war he was now carrying on in France. This anfwer, compared with the letter of the Scottish king, affords an authentic illuftration of the grounds of the quarrel between the princes, but could have no effect on the meafures of the king of Scotland; his herald, through the want of a ship, being detained in Flanders, fo as not to arrive in his own country until after the death of his master.


On the fame day that James difpatched his herald to Henry, a Scottish fleet, commanded by James Gordon, fon of the earl of Huntley, with a body of land-forces on board, failed to the aid of the French king; and on the 13th of the following month, the lord Hume, chamberlain of Scotland, and warden of all the marches, made an inroad into England, at the head of about three thousand horsemen, his kindred and retainers. This incurfion of Hume had been preceded, at a fmall interval of time, by one made into the Scottish borders by a party of English, who had carried off a confiderable booty. Hume, in the beginning, purfued his revenge profperously; by burning feven villages nigh the march, and collecting a great load of fpoils from thefe villages and the adjacent country, Sir William Bulmer, whom the earl of Surrey had fent forward from Doncaller with two hundred archers on horseback, to lie in the castles and fortreffes of the frontiers, called to his aid the gentlemen of the English march; who, after joining themselves and followers to Bulmer's archers, did not make up a thousand men. Thefe placed themfelves in ambush among tall broom in the plain of Milfield, nigh the way by which the Scots were to pafs; and while the latter were returning fecure with their plunder, the English fuddenly attacked them. The Scots made a brave refiftance, but could not long bear the sharp and regular fhot of the English archers. They were put to the rout, with the lofs of five or fix hundred killed, and more than four hundred taken prifoners. The prey, among which was a great number of English geldings, was recovered. The lord Hume was obliged to fly, having loft his banner; and his brother Sir George was made a prifoner.

The king of Scotland, eager to revenge the defeat fuftained by his warden, haftened his march into England; which he entered on the 22d of Auguft at the head of a numerous army. He encamped that night at Wefilham, near the river of Till, and probably remained there the two following days: for on the 24th, by advice of the lords in his company, an act was made, dated at Twifel-haugh in Northumberland; ordaining, that the heirs of all who should be killed, or mortally wounded, by the enemy, or who should die in the army during the term of their fervice in it, fhould be freed from the burdens of ward, relief, or marriage, due to the king. This act was, not improbably, in imitation of one of like import made by the leginature of England, previous to the war wherein that nation was now engaged with France. From the mouth of Till the Scots army moved down the fide of Tweed, to lay fiege to the castle of Norham. Of this the outworks were foon gained, one of its towers beat down, and feveral of the garrifon killed; whereupon the captain entered into a capitulation to furrender the place, if not relieved on or before the 29th, by the earl of Surrey, who was then approaching with an army levied in the northern counties. No relief appearing within the time limited, the caftle was delivered up to the Scots, who demolished a great part of it. They alfo took, and in part cast down, the castles of Wark, Etall, and Ford. They ravaged the adjacent country, collected much booty, and took many prifoners. With thefe fpoils great numbers of the Scottish army forfook their colours, and returned to their homes: and the defertion was farther



promoted by a beginning fcarcity of provifions, and the continual feverity of the weather; not many hours paffing without rain, during the whole expedition. But the king met with an entanglement at the castle of Ford, from the art of the lady of that place, and the charms of her daughter, that is faid to have been more pernicious to him than all other circumstances. A propofal was made, that he fhould attempt the reduction of Berwick, which was known to be ill prepared for undergoing a fiege: but the king and his flatterers agreed, that this undertaking ought not to divert the army from its victorious progrefs towards the interior parts of England; for Berwick would be an easy conquest, on their return. Mean while, no progress was made for fome days in any other direction; the amorous king being held in the chains of the foft paffion, while the spirits of his army fubfided, and its numbers diminished.

While the king thus wafted his time, the earl of Surrey was leading towards him an army of twenty-fix thoufand men. This commander, in paffing through Durham, obtained from the prior of the convent the banner of St. Cuthbert to be displayed, for the purpofe of animating the zeal and courage of his northern troops. On the 30th of August he arrived at Newcastle, where he was joined by lord Dacres and fome others of chief rank and intereft in the north': in concert with whom he refolved to take the field at Bolton in Glendale, on the fourth of the following month. He arrived at Alnwick, diftant about five miles from the place of rendezvouz, on the third; but the heavy rains had marred the road, fo as to retard the arrival of his foldiers, and to oblige him to remain at Alnwick all the fourth. On that day he was joined by his fon Thomas, now the lord admiral, and brother to the late gallant Sir Edward, accompanied with a confiderable body of good forces, which he had brought by fea to Newcaftle. Immediately after this junction, the difpofition of the whole army was fettled, and Surrey, thinking his ftrength fufficient to encounter the Scots, and defirous to bring matters to the decision of a battle, on account of the difficulty of fubfifting in a barren defolated country, and during a fevere feafon, dispatched an herald (Rouge Croix) from Alnwick, on Sunday the 4th of September, offering the king battle on the Friday following. The herald had orders at the fame time to charge the king with the breach of the league of perpetual peace between the nations, of his own oath confirming it, and the many iniquitous deeds of violence and rapine committed on the places and fubjects of England, fince his holtile entrance into that kingdom. The lord Thomas alfo required the herald to certify the king of his prefence in the English army; and that having come by fea, where he had fought the Scottish fleet in vain, he had refolved to land, that he might have the opportunity of juftifying the death of Andrew Barton, which he had been often fummoned to anfwer for on the days of truce; that he would be in the van of the battle; and as he expected no quarter from his enemies, fo he would give none, anlefs to the king himself, if he should fall into his hands. These fierce challenges anfwered the purpose for which they appear to have been fent. The king thought it would wound his honour to refufe them; and therefore immediately difpatched one of his own heralds (Ilay) to inform Surrey, that to meet him in the field of battle was fo much


his with, that although he had been then at Edinburgh, he would, in order to meet him there, have left all other business. He allo fent by his herald a fhort declaration in writing, containing an an fwer to Surrey's accufation of his breach of faith. In this he affirmed, that his brother the king of England was under equal obligation with himself to obferve the league; that when he last fwore, before the English ambaffadors, in prefence of his council, he particularly expressed in his oath, that he would keep the peace with his brother of England, if his brother kept it to him, and not otherwife. He alfo now declared, with all the folemnity of an oath, that his brother first broke faith to him, for which he had frequently demanded redrefs; and lately had given him notice of his refolution to proceed to the hoftilities which he had now commenced; which was more than his brother had done to him. On the equity of these proceedings he refted his quarrel; which, by God's help, it was his purpose to maintain with his arms, on the day that Surrey had named."

⚫ This refolution of the king is faid to have been contrary to the declared fentiments of the greatest part of his nobles. They infifted on the grievous diminution of their own army, and the great fuperiority of numbers on the fide of the English; that by the exploits already atchieved, the king had acquired abundant honour; that his expedition into England had been of the greatest utility to his ally the French king, by detaining at home a numerous body of English forces; that his returning into Scotland would oblige the English either to retire or difperfe, as it was impoffible they should fubfift in a country laid wafte by the calamities of war; that if they fhould prefume to follow him, he would fight them within his own kingdom with far greater advantages on his fide; finally, that the lofs of a battle, wherein the king and all the chief men of Scotland were prefeat, could not fail to produce the moit fatal confequences. Thefe topics are faid to have been preffed with fo much vehemence by the old earl of Angus, that the king told him, if he was afraid, he might go home; and the earl, judging it repugnant to his honour to fight under the standard of a prince from whom he had received fo great an affront, requested and obtained his difiniflion: but, as pledges of his loyalty and good affection, left behind him two of his fons, and a confiderable body of his name and kindred.

But although these remonftrances of James's nobles availed nothing to shake the king's refolution of awaiting his enemies, yet his fenfe of the inferiority of his numbers, and the reluctance of his great men against advancing any farther into England, determined him to make choice of an advantageous fituation for his army, in the neighbourhood of Ford. This was the hill of Flodden, lying overagainst that place on the other fide of the Till, weftward. It is the laft and loweft of thofe eminences, that extend on the north-east of the great mountain of Cheviot, towards the low grounds on the fide of the Tweed; from which river Flodden is distant about four miles, The afcent to the top of it, from the fide of the river Till, where it runs in a northerly direction, juft by the foot of the declivity on which the castle and village of Ford ftands, is about half a mile; and over the Till, at that place, there is a bridge. On the fouth of Flodden lies the extenfive and very level plain of Milfield, having

[ocr errors][ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

on its west fide high hills, the branches of Cheviot, on the north Flodden and other moderate eminences adjoining to it, on the fouth and cast a tract of rifing grounds, nigh the foot of which is the flow and winding courfe of the Till. The neareft approach of the Eng lish army towards Flodden was through this plain, in every part whereof they would have been in full view of the Scots; and the lat ter had a great advantage in poffeffing an eminence which, on the fide towards the English, had a long declivity, with hollow and marshy ground at its foot; while the top of it was fuch an extent of almoft level ground as would have fufficed for drawing up in good order the forces that occupied it. Surrey, fenfible of thefe advantages on the part of his enemies, and being now encamped on Wooller-haugh, to which he had marched on Tuesday the fixth of September, in order of battle, from Bolton, fent by an herald a letter to the Scottish king, fubfcribed by himself, his fon Thomas, and the rest of the lords and principal captains of his army. Having fac ceeded in his former experiment of piquing the honour of the gallant monarch, he was refolved to make a farther trial of the fame kind. In this letter therefore he put the king in mind of the readiness wherewith he had accepted the offer fent to him of a battle, to be fought on the Friday following; but added, that, inftead of abiding, according to his promife, in the place where the English herald had found him, he had removed into a fituation more like a fortrefs or camp than an equal field for the engagement of armies. He therefore defired the king to come down from his heights, and to be with his army on the day following, on the fide of Milfield-plain nearest to his prefent fituation; promifing, for his part, to be in readiness with his own army, on the part of the plain next to himself, to join battle, between twelve o'clock and three in the afternoon; provided the king fhould, by eight or nine of the next morning, fend by the return of the herald advertisement of his intention to meet him. He defired farther, that, as he and the noblemen of his company did now bind themselves, by fubfcribing this letter, to keep the time above-mentioned, the king would in like manner, by letters fubfcribed with his own hand, give them affurance of complying with their defire; and that he would difpatch the purfuivant immediately; as "they "thought that the long delay of fo honourable a journey would found "to the king's dishonour."

This meffage failed of the effect that Surrey hoped for. The Quixotifm of the king that prompted him to embrace fo eagerly the former challenge, was either abated by fucceeding cooler reflections, or an infuperable bar was put by the oppofition of his nobles to his abandoning his prefent advantageous fituation. He refused to admit Surrey's herald to his presence; but having fent one of his fervants to receive his meffage, he answered by the fame fervant, that it became not an earl to behave in that manner to á king; but that he himself would use no finifter arts of conquering, nor did he traft to the advantage of any ground. Surrey having received this anfwer, and his army being reduced to great traits for want of provifions, was obliged to try another method of bringing the Scots to a battle. With this view, having paffed the Till near the place where he encamped, he marched through difficult grounds on the eaft fide of its


« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »