Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 50.djvu/39

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

of Gowrie belonging to the monastery of Scone were erected into an earldom, and bestowed on him by charter under the great seal (Reg. Mag. Sig. Scot. 1580–93, No. 258). On 14 Dec. he had also a grant of the lordship of Abernethy (ib. p. 296).

In the dispute between James Stewart or Stuart, earl of Arran, and the Duke of Lennox, in regard to their right to bear the crown at the opening of parliament as next of kin to the crown, Gowrie sided with Arran, and subsequently he signed a band with other protestant nobles against Lennox; they were led to take action mainly by information conveyed to them by Bowes, the English ambassador, that Lennox had determined to seize them, and charge them with meditated treason against the king (Bowes, Correspondence, Surtees Soc. p. 170). Thereupon Gowrie and other conspirators immediately devised the plot now known as the ‘Raid of Ruthven,’ by which the king on 23 Aug. 1582 was induced or compelled to leave the town of Perth, and go to Gowrie's seat at Ruthven, where he was practically placed under the custody of the conspirators. Arran and his brother, Colonel Stewart, on learning that the king was at Ruthven, determined to effect a rescue, but Colonel Stewart, with a strong body of horse, was defeated by Mar; and Arran, who had galloped by a nearer way to Ruthven, was promptly seized and placed under a guard. It was only the interposition of Gowrie that saved him from being slain by the conspirators (Melville, Memoirs, p. 281), but it was finally agreed that he should be placed under the charge of Gowrie in Stirling.

After the ‘Raid of Ruthven’ the English ambassador, at the request of Elizabeth, was directed to use every means to obtain possession of the silver casket containing the letters of Mary Queen of Scots to Bothwell, which it was stated that Morton had delivered into the keeping of Gowrie (Bowes to Walsingham, 8 Nov. 1582, in Bowes's Correspondence, Surtees Soc. p. 236); but Gowrie, while declaring that the lords had determined to keep them in vindication of their conduct, declined at first to state whether they were in his possession or not (ib. p. 240); then, while practically admitting that they were in his possession, he affirmed that he could not give them up without the king's privity (ib. p. 254), and finally he insisted that it was necessary to keep their whereabouts secret from the king, as the Duke of Lennox had sought earnestly to get possession of them (ib. p. 265). Their custody cannot be traced further.

On 17 Dec. 1582, at a convention of certain of the lords with the ministers of Edinburgh, Gowrie earnestly desired that he might be allowed to set Arran at liberty, ‘so that the good action had no hurt thereby,’ but it was determined that he should be retained in confinement (Calderwood, iii. 693). All that Gowrie would, however, agree to was that he should be kept in confinement until it was certainly known that Lennox had left the country (Bowes, Correspondence, p. 222). It was thought Gowrie was privy to the king's escape from Falkland to St. Andrews on 27 June 1583 (Melville, Memoirs, p. 284; Calderwood, History, iii. 715); in any case, on making his appearance at St. Andrews, he was permitted to enter the presence of the king, received from him a formal pardon, and was nominated one of his new privy council. On 23 Dec. the king also under the great seal granted full remission both to him and his servants for their share in the Ruthven raid (Reg. Mag. Sig. Scot. 1580–93, No. 648).

Gowrie opposed a proposal of the king that Arran should be permitted to visit the court; but on the king's assurance that he merely wished Arran to come and kiss his hand and then return, Gowrie withdrew his opposition (Melville, Memoirs, pp. 292–3). Arran, however, took advantage of his visit to regain his old influence over the king, and remained at the court as his chief adviser. Gowrie and Arran were then nominally reconciled, but in February 1583–4 Gowrie was, at the instance of Arran, commanded to leave the country. He made various excuses for delay in obeying the command, and meanwhile he concerted with Angus, Mar, and others a plot for the capture of Stirling Castle. Ultimately he came to Dundee on the pretence of intending to take ship there, but in reality to be in readiness to concert measures with the other conspirators. His purpose was, however, fathomed by Arran, and on 13 April Colonel Stewart was sent by sea to Dundee with one hundred men, charged by a royal warrant, written by Arran, to bring Gowrie to Edinburgh. On the arrival of Stewart on the 15th, Gowrie immediately went to his lodgings, which he barricaded and resolved to hold, with the aid of his servants; but finding that the townspeople, through the influence of the Earl of Crawford, sided with Stewart, he finally surrendered. His capture upset the plans of the other conspirators, who took refuge in England. He was brought to Edinburgh on the 18th, thence to Kinkell on the 25th, and five days thereafter to Stirling, to be put upon his trial. Although the delay of Gowrie in leaving the country was suspicious, there