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SIR ANDREW BARTON.
believe that the Scottish demands were too high, and that sufficient cause for recrimination had already been afforded. The Bartons not only enriched themselves, but, "in some degree supplied, by Portugueze captures, the want of distant trade; and, when they felt their own strength, they seem, with little scruple, to have considered ships of any nation as their fair prize. * Complaints came against them from the Netherlands; and, in whatever character they may have appeared to their countrymen, it is certain that other nations regarded them as pirates. Henry VIII. was at Leicester, in the summer of 1511, when tidings were brought to him that Andrew Barton robbed every nation, under the pretext that James, his master, was at war with the Portugals that he stopped the king's streams, so that no merchants almost could pass; and saying, when he took Englishmen's goods, that they were Portugueze property, he "haunted and robbed at every haven's mouth." Henry's position at that time with regard to France, made him unwilling to break with Scotland; and the complaints of the merchants were but coldy received, till the earl of Surrey, then treasurer and marshal of England, declared at the council board, that while he had an estate that could furnish out a ship, or
"In conformity," says Charnock (i. 360.), "with what had been the general conduct of all northern countries some centuries earlier, and what, in all probability, would still have continued to be so, had not the increasing power of the southern nations prevented it, the Scots were rather addicted to that indiscriminate, partial, and predatory warfare named piracy, than to general acts of naval hostility. In their national character as seamen they were skilful, and the tempestuous latitude under which they lived of necessity caused them to be so. Their situation was so remote as almost to bid defiance to any attack from the southern nations of Europe; and the vessels which private individuals thought proper to equip for this species of service were always of such force, and so well manned, according to the custom and practice of the times, as almost to treat opposition with contempt. England was too much harassed by intestine contests to attempt the punishment of what might be considered private enormities. France was their ally. The northern countries possessed no naval force capable of contending with them; so that, according to the trite remark of every nation in the world, by turns, acquiring an ascendency over its neighbours, the Scottish ships were permitted to continue their depredations, nearly without opposition, for more than a century; till the rising consequence of Henry VII, with the more permanent and enlarged establishment of the English navy in the reign of his son and successor Henry VIII., closed at once all the exertions of Scotland towards the creation of a
a son that was capable of commanding one, the narrow seas should not be so infested.
Surrey had two sons capable of such a charge, sir Thomas and sir Edward Howard. Two ships were immediately made ready, at their or at their father's expense, it is supposed, but with the king's knowledge and consent, though not by his special commission or immediate authority. The two brothers lost no time in putting to sea they were separated by chance of weather. The same chance separated sir Andrew Barton's two ships, with which he was then infesting the Channel, the Lion, which was his own vessel, and the Jenny Perwin, or Bark of Scotland* ; and sir Thomas, as he lay in the Downs, descried the former making towards its own country. Immediately he gave chace, and sped so well that he overtook it, "and there was a sore battle. The Englishmen were fierce, and the Scots defended them manfully, and ever Andrew blew his whistle to encourage his men: yet for all that the lord Howard and his men, by clean force, entered the main deck. Then the English entered on all sides, and the Scots fought sore on the hatches; but, in conclusion, Andrew was taken, being so sore wounded that he died there, and then all the remnant of the Scots were taken, with their ship." Meantime sir Edward Howard had
*Their strength is thus described in the old ballad, by a merchant whom sir Andrew had just robbed, and who relates his tale to sir Thomas Howard:
The ballad, however, is but apocryphal authority; it sinks the pinnaces, and makes the old English gunner, Peter Simon,
-"put in chain full nine yards long
and kills a thousand men with one shot.
fallen in with the Bark of Scotland, "laid him on board," and, though the Scots defended themselves like “hardy and well-stomached men," carried it by boarding. Both prizes* were brought to Blackwall; and the prisoners, 150 in number, being all that were left alive (so bloody had the action been), were sent to Whitehall, which was then the archbishop of York's palace, there to be kept at the king's charge, till other directions should be taken for them. The bishop of Winchester, and certain other of the king's council, were deputed to deal with them there; and the bishop rehearsed to them, says the chronicler, that, though there was peace between England and Scotland, they, contrary to that, as thieves and pirates, had robbed the king's subjects within his streams, wherefore they had deserved to die by the law, and to be hanged at the lowwater mark. Then said the Scots, 'We acknowledge our offence, and ask mercy, and not the law :' and a priest, which was also a prisoner, said, 'My lord, we appeal from the king's justice to his mercy.' Then the bishop asked if he were authorised by them to say thus, and they all cried, 'Yea, yea!' 'Well, then,' said the bishop, you shall find the king's mercy above his justice; for, where you were dead by the law, yet by his mercy he will revive you. You shall depart out of this realm within twenty days, on pain of death if ye be found after the twentieth day: and pray for the king.'" James is said to have been wonderful wroth at the death of sir Andrew, and the loss of his two ships. He sent letters, requiring restitution, according to the league between the two kingdoms; but Henry, replying, "with brotherly salutation," represented "the rob
SIR ANDREW BARTON.
* Pinkerton says that "Barton's ship, the Lion, had the honour of being the second ship of war in the English navy, the Great Harry, built in 1504, having been the first; for, till that time, only merchant vessels had been oc casionally used in warlike affairs," p. 71. But Charnock (ii. 28.) says that the Great Harry was built by Henry VII., and launched a little before his death; and it has been seen that ships-royal were mentioned from the beginning of this reign. King's ships, indeed, are spoken of in earlier documents; and Charnock affirms, that, even before the reign of Edward III, certain ships appear to have been built and employed solely in the public service, i. 362. He refers to a memoir in the Archæologia, by Mr. Willet, read before the Society of Antiquaries in 1793.
beries and cruel doings of Andrew Barton, and said it became not a prince to charge his confederate with breach of peace for doing justice upon a pirate and thief." The case, indeed, was so flagrant, that the claim for restitution could not be insisted on ; yet it left behind it so deep a feeling of resentment, that the war which speedily ensued, and which, by the early death of the Scottish king, prepared the way for the union of the two crowns, is believed to have originated chiefly in this
The Scottish parliament, in the reign of the preceding king, had passed an act forbidding any ship freighted with staple goods from putting to sea during the three winter months, under a penalty of five pounds.† But so widely had their views changed in the course of one generation, that great exertions were made for training seamen and raising a maritime force. An act was passed in 1493, whereby, considering the great innumerable riches that were lost for want of ships and busses to be employed in fishing, and the policy and gain that might be had thereby, and for the sake of making idle men and vagabonds labour for their living, to the eschewing of vice and idleness, and for the common profit and universal weal of the realm, it was ordained that ships and busses, the least to be of twenty tons, should be made in all burghs and towns within the realm, and fitted out according to the substance of each town, and provided with mariners, nets, and other gear for the taking of great fish and small. The officers in every burgh of regality were to make all the stark idle men within their bounds go on board these vessels, and serve there for their wages, or, in case of their refusal, banish them from the burgh. In the burghs of barony which were near upon the sea, the sheriff was to pursue the same course: and the officer or sheriff who neglected the duty should pay a fine of twenty pounds in the royal exchequer.
This act appears to have produced no effect: the
*Hall, 525. Holinshed, 565. Pinkerton, 69-71. Campbell, i. 264.
Acts of the Parl, of Scotland, ii. 87. A. D. 1467. The term fixed was from the Feast of St. Simon and St. Jude to the Purification.
+ Pinkerton, ii. 21, 22. Acts of the Parl. of Scotland, ii. 235.
people were in too lawless a state for any such enactment to be enforced. What, however, could be effected by the king's will was done. James IV. built a ship, called the Great Michael, which, according to Scottish writers, was larger than any that had ever sailed from England or France, and of superior strength. "The ship," they say, was of so great stature, that she wasted all the oak forests of Fife, Falkland only excepted;" but it must be remembered that the Scots were at that time little less barbarous than the Irish, and that, in the constant feuds between families and clans, the woods had been destroyed, by some to prevent the danger of ambuscades, by others to cut off the possibility of refuge. Timber for this ship was also brought from Norway; and, though all the wrights in Scotland, and many others from foreign countries, were busily employed upon it by the king's command, it was a year and a day before it was completed. It is described as twelve-score feet in length, and thirty-six feet within the sides, the sides being ten feet thick, so that no cannon-shot could go through them. "This great ship cumbered Scotland to get her to sea. From the time that she was afloat, and her masts and sails complete, with anchors offering thereto, she was counted to the king to be thirty thousand pounds expense, by her artillery, which was very costly." She had 300 mariners to sail her, six score of gunners to use her artillery, and a thousand men of war, captains, skippers, and quarter-masters. Sir Andrew Wood and Robert Barton were two of the officers, "that this large body," says Pinkerton, "might not be without a soul."
THE GREAT MICHAEL.
* Pinkerton, ii. 68. Charnock, i. 359. The former says that the authenticity of the description appears incontestable, because it was from Wood and Barton that Lindsay the historian derived it. He knows not whether the larger cannon were sixty-four in number or thirty-two. The official account says that "she bare many cannon, six on every side; with three great bassels, two behind on her deck, and one before; with three hundred shot of small artillery, that is to say, myand and batterd1 falcon, and quarter falcon, flings, pestilent serpentens and double dogs, with hagtor and culvering, corsbows and handbows."
1 Query, bastard ?