Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 31.djvu/216

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serve her majesty for the like pension he had formerly in England whenever she pleases; and, whether in England, the Low Countries, or here, says he shall have good intelligence of the affairs of Scotland and France by his intimacy with those of both nations’ (Cal. State Papers, For. Ser. 1553–8, p. 277). In another letter Wotton writes that Kirkcaldy is ‘either a very great dissembler or else bears no goodwill at all to the French, and next to his own country has a good mind to England’ (ib. p. 290). Mary refused his services, but the act of forfeiture against him and other murderers of Beaton was rescinded and he returned to Scotland about June 1557.

The severe treatment of his cousin, John Kirkcaldy, who had been taken prisoner by the English in a border skirmish, caused a breach in his friendly relations with England. To avenge his kinsman he challenged to a duel Lord Rivers, the English commander at Berwick, and it was subsequently accepted by Rivers's brother, Sir Ralph Rivers. The combat, according to Pitscottie, took place in sight of the English garrison of Berwick and the Scottish garrison of Eyemouth, Kirkcaldy running his adversary through the shoulder and unhorsing him. Subsequently Kirkcaldy had a principal share in the negotiations which resulted in the conclusion of the peace with England in May 1559. After its conclusion he, at the instigation of Knox (Works, ii. 22), entered into communication with Cecil to secure the support of England for the furtherance of the Reformation in Scotland. Even then he had taken no active steps against the queen-regent, but on 26 July Croft writes to Cecil that Kirkcaldy had now plainly declared himself a supporter of the protestants (Cal. State Papers, For. Ser. 1558–9, entry 1073). At the skirmish of Restalrig in the following November Kirkcaldy with a number of horsemen rendered important service in checking the French advance. The campaign was then transferred to Fife, where in the following spring the French burnt Kirkcaldy's mansion of Grange to the ground. Learning soon afterwards that Captain le Battu with a hundred Frenchmen had left Kinghorn to forage, he and the Master of Lindsay surrounded them in a village. After a desperate fight fifty of the Frenchmen with their commander were slain and the remainder taken prisoners (Knox, ii. 11; Buchanan, History, bk. xvi.) The unremitting zeal of Kirkcaldy in annoying the enemy in Fife is highly lauded by Knox, who states that at Lundie he was shot under the left breast (vi. 106–8). On the arrival of the English fleet, Kirkcaldy by a rapid march succeeded in breaking down the bridge across the Devon at Tullibody, with the view of hindering the French retreat westwards to Stirling, but the French cleverly repaired it by the use of material from the roof of the parish church. Regarding the part played by Kirkcaldy in the subsequent events of the war there is no information.

In the autumn of 1562 Queen Mary, after reaching Aberdeen, sent for Kirkcaldy to take the command of forces for the capture of Sir John Gordon, and protect her during her progress against the possible designs of Huntly (Cal. State Papers, For. Ser. 1562, entries 718 and 823). He doubtless rendered not unimportant aid in winning the battle of Corrichie. At the parliament held in May of the following year he was formally restored to his estates. He opposed the marriage of Mary to Darnley in 1565, and, disobeying the summons to appear at court after the marriage, was put to the horn. Thereupon he joined the Earl of Moray and others in their attempt to seize Edinburgh, but being received with a severe cannonade from the castle they retired, and, recognising that the sympathy of the nation was with the queen, they in October took refuge in England. Kirkcaldy was privy to the plot against Rizzio (Bedford to Cecil, 6 March 1566; Cal. State Papers, For. Ser. 1566–8, entry 162). On the night after the murder he arrived in Edinburgh along with Moray, and he took part in the subsequent deliberations in regard to the disposal of the queen. After the queen's escape to Dunbar he was, along with Moray, nominally restored to favour. He appears to have held aloof from the intrigues connected with the murder of Darnley. At this time he was a confidential correspondent of the English government, but his main purpose was probably to serve Moray and the protestant party. On 20 April 1567 he informed Bedford that ‘if the Queen of England will pursue for the revenge of the late murder she shall win the hearts of all the honest men of Scotland again’ (ib. 1119). He is the authority for the famous declaration of Mary that she would ‘follow Bothwell to the world's end in a white petticoat’ (ib.), and he also attributed the so-called ‘ravishment’ by Bothwell to the queen's own instigation (ib. 1131). With the bond in Bothwell's favour in Ainslie's tavern Kirkcaldy had no connection, and he explains that it had been signed by the majority ‘in fear of their lives,’ and ‘against their honour and conscience’ (ib. 1181). He affirmed that he was ‘so suited to enterprise the revenge’ that he ‘must either take it on hand or else leave the country.’ At first he deter-