Nonfiction > Henry Craik, ed. > English Prose > Vol. I. Fourteenth to Sixteenth Century
Henry Craik, ed.  English Prose.  1916.
Vol. I. Fourteenth to Sixteenth Century
Conspiracies against King James the Fifth
By George Buchanan (1506–1582)
From the Admonition to the True Lords

FIRST after the death of King James the fourth, Johne duke of Albany chosen by the nobility to govern in the king’s les-age, 1 the Hamiltons thinking that he had been as wickit as they, and sould to his awn advancement put down the king, being of tender age for the time and by the decease of his brother left alone, and that they wald easily get their hand beyond the duke, being ane stranger and without succession of his body, held them quiet for a season, thinking that other men’s action should be their promotion. But seeing that the duke, as a prince baith wise and virtuous, to bring himself out of sic suspicion, put four lords esteemit of the maist true and virtuous in Scotland in that time, to attend on the king’s grace (to wit, the Earl Marschall, the Lords Erskyn, Ruthven, and Borthick) the Hamiltons being out of hope of the king’s putting down by the duke of Albany, and out of credit to do him ony harm by themselves, made ane conspiracy with certain lords, to put the said duke out of authority, and tak it on themselves: that all things put in their power, they micht use the king, and the realm at their awn pleasure.
  To that effect they took the castle of Glasgow, and there made ane assembly of their faction, the whilk was dissolvit by the hasty coming of the duke of Albany with ane army: for fear of the whilk, the earl of Arran, chief of that company, fled to his wife’s brother the Lord Hume, being then out of court.  2
  The second conspiracy was after the duke’s last departing (the foresaid lords separate from attending on the king) devysit by Sir James Hamilton, bastard son to the said earl of Arran, wha conspirit the king’s deith, then being in his house in the abbey of Halyroodhouse: whilk conspiracy after mony years reveallit, the said Sir James sufferit death for it.  3
  The third conspiracy (that come to our knowledge) was, that the king’s grace riding oft times betwix Striviling and the Down of Menteith, to visit ane gentle woman of his mother’s, making residence in the Down, and commonly accompanyit with ane, or twa horse by nicht, the said Sir James proponit to certain gentlemen the slauchter of him, and assayit it not, because the executors wald take na thing on hand without himself had been present.  4
  Thir conspiracies not being execute, Sir James perseverit in his evil intention, and by secret means in court socht always that the king sould not marry, that for lack of his succession, the Hamiltons micht come to their intents. For the king was young, lusty, and ready to aventure his person to all hazards, baith by sea and land, in down-putting of theifis, and up-setting of justice. The Hamiltons lookit on when sickness, through excess of travail, or some other reckless aventure sould cut him off without children: and destitute of this hope, first he stoppit the king’s meeting with his uncle the king of England, wha at that time having but ane dochter, was willing to have marryit her with the king of Scotland, and made him king of the haill isle after him, and to have enterit him at that present time in possession of the duchy of York. But the said Sir James ever having eye to his awn scope, hinderit this purpose by some of the king’s familiars, that he had practised with, by gifts, and specially by the bishop of Saint Andrews James Betoun, uncle to the earl of Arran’s mother, and great uncle to Sir James’ wife, and raisit sic suspicion betwix the twa kings, that brocht baith the realms in great business.  5
Note 1. les-age = minority. [back]

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