Page:A biographical dictionary of eminent Scotsmen, vol 6.djvu/231

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SIR JAMES MELVILLE. 25


wounded and taken prisoner, and himself *' being evil hurt with a stroke of a mass upon the head, was mounted again by his servant upon a Scots gelding, that carried him home through the enemies who were all bettveen him and home ; and two of them struck at his head with swords, because his head piece was tane off after the first rencounter that the mass had enforced, and the t\vo were standing between him and home, to keep prisoners in a narrow strait ;" but Melville's horse ran between them *' against his will," as he candidly telU, and saved his master by clearing a wall, after which he met his friend Harry Killigrew, who held the steed, while its master entered a barber's shop to have his wounds dressed. Melville appears to have attended the constable in his captivity, and along with him was present at the conference of Chateau Cam- bresis, the consequence of which he states to be " that Spayne obtained all their desires: the Constable obtained liberty: the Cardinal of Lorraine could not mend himself, no more than the commissioners of England." After the peace, the king, at the instigation of the constable, formed the design of sending Mel- ville to Scotland to negotiate its terms with reference to this country, and to check the proceedings of Murray, then prior of St Andrews, and the rising in- fluence of the Lords of the Congregation. The cardinal of Lorraine, however, had influence sufficient to procure this office for Monsieur De Buttoncourt, a person whose haughty manner, backed with the designs of the " Holy alliance " he represented, served to stir up the flame he was sent to allay, and the more prudent Melville, whose birth and education certainly did not qualify him to conduct such a mission with vigour, or even integrity to his employers, was sent over with instructions moderate to the ear, but strong in their import A war for mere religion was however deprecated ; the constable shrewd- ly observing, that they had enough to do in ruling the consciences of their own countrymen, and must leave Scotsmen's souls to God. Melville was instructed " to seem only to be there for to visit his friends." He found the queen regent in the old tower of Falkland, in bitterness of spirit from the frustration of her ambitious designs. Quietly and stealthily the emissary acquired his secret infor- mation. The ostensible answer he brought with him to France was, that the prior of St Andrews did not aspire to the crown ; a matter on which the bearings were probably sufficiently known at the court of France without a mission. Such, however, is the sum of what he narrates as his answer to the constable, who ex- hibited great grief that the accidental death of Henry, which had intervened, and his own dismission, prevented a king and prime minister of France from reaping the fruit of 31elvi lie's cheering intelligence. Scotsmen becoming al that time unpopular in France, Melville obtained the royal permission to travel through other parts of the continent. With recommendations from his friend the constable, he visited the court of the elector Palatine, where he was advised to remain and learn the Dutch tongue, and was courteously received. At the death of Francis II., he returned to France as a messenger of condolence for the departed, and congratulation to the successor, from the court of the Palatine. He returned to the Palatine, with " a fair reward, worth a thousand crowns;" whether to the Palatine or himself, is not clear. When Melville per- ceived queen Mary about to follow the advice of those who recommended her return to Scotland, he called on her with the offer of his " most humble and dutiful service;" and the queen gave him thanks for the opinions she heard of his affection towards her service, and desired him, when he should think fit ti leave Germany, to join her service in Scotland. The cardinal of Lorraine s among his other projects, having discovered the propriety of a marriage betwixt Mary and the archduke Charles of Austria, brother to Maximilian, Melville was deputed by secretary Maitland to discover what manner of man this Charles

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