Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 15.djvu/289

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

demning the raid of Ruthven. The nobles who had been concerned in it thought the time ripe for another coup d'état, and though their intrigues were suspected and Gowrie apprehended at Dundee, Glamis and Mar succeeded on 17 April 1584 in seizing the castle of Stirling. Angus, who had already come south to Brechin, joined them and summoned his vassals to meet him. But the success of the rebellion, for such it really was, was momentary. Several of those expected to take part in it hesitated. The king collected a force of twelve thousand men, and the lords, including Angus, unable to cope with it, fled from Stirling across the border to Berwick. Hume of Argaty, who had been left in charge of the castle of Stirling, surrendered without conditions on 25 April and was executed. Archibald Douglas, formerly constable of Edinburgh, was taken prisoner and shared the same fate. Gowrie also, though he had attempted to make terms for himself, and was distrusted by Angus, was tried for treason and beheaded on 2 May. A parliament hastily summoned towards the end of that month restored episcopacy, and another in August forfeited the nobles who had taken part in or favoured the seizure of Stirling. Angus was attainted and his estates forfeited on 22 Aug. Elizabeth at this juncture supported the exiles, who represented the English as opposed to the French interest in Scotland, and the protestant as opposed to the catholic party. At Newcastle, to which Angus and other of the Scotch exiles went from Berwick, they were joined by James Melville and other leading presbyterian ministers. Melville had come at the request of Angus, and Mar set on foot a presbyterian congregation in that town, and wrote a declaration setting forth the abuses of the episcopal church in Scotland. Angus was a zealous presbyterian, and the ministers regarded him as their best ally. Melville describes him as ‘Good, godly-wise, and stout Archibald, earl of Angus.’ A series of negotiations and counter-negotiations between the different parties in Scotland and the English court occupied the year from the autumn of 1584 to the winter of 1585. Arran felt the necessity of dissociating himself from the charge of complicity with the papists, who were then busy with the plots which culminated in the Armada. He had a personal interview with Lord Hunsdon, Elizabeth's envoy, on the borders, and the Master of Gray was sent as his agent to England to give assurance of the desire of James and his advisers to be on good terms with Elizabeth. With this was coupled a request that the exiled Scottish lords should remove from Newcastle to Cambridge. Arran was specially afraid of the influence of Angus, and there was even a suspicion, though the evidence is not altogether trustworthy, that his life was threatened.

The queen ostensibly complied with the request of Arran and Angus, and his fellow-exiles came south in February to Norwich, and in April to London. When there, they defended themselves to the satisfaction of the queen from a charge made by Arran, which Bellenden, the lord justice clerk, had been sent to urge that they were plotting against the life of James Elizabeth, and the able diplomatists in her service, knew that these lords were her real friends, and could be trusted better than Arran. Sir Philip Sidney came to them with an assurance of her ‘good affections.’ A plot was devised which, though it did not include the deposition of James, aimed at the overthrow of Arran and the restoration of the banished lords to the government. Its chief authors were Walsingham and Sir Edward Wotton, ambassador to Scotland. Angus and his confederates Mar and Glamis were reconciled to Lords John and Claud Hamilton, who had been also driven from Scotland through enmity to Arran, who had taken possession of the Hamilton estates. The Master of Gray, with objects of his own, joined in the intrigue, and so did Bellenden after his return to Scotland. In October Lord Maxwell raised the standard of rebellion on the borders, and on the 17th of that month Angus and the other banished lords returned to Berwick, where they were met by Wotton. They marched rapidly, raising troops by the way, to Lanark, where they were joined by the Hamiltons and Lord Maxwell. On 2 Nov. they issued a proclamation from St. Ninians, close to Stirling, declaring they had only come to release the king from the domination of Arran. Arran, who still retained his ascendency, issued a counter-proclamation; James also tried his personal influence on the Earl of Bothwell, one of the leaders of the opposite party. But Arran had few friends. The presbyterian ministers were to a man against him, and carried with them the citizens of the towns. Of the leading nobles, only Crawford and Montrose still supported the king. The surrender of the town on the 2nd was followed by that of the castle of Stirling on 4 Nov., almost without a blow, and with the single condition that the lives of the nobles on the king's side should be spared. James had an interview with Angus, Hamilton, and Mar, restored their estates, and placed the government in their hands. The office of chancellor was offered to but declined by Angus,