Page images

before. Thus, with the univerfal gratulation of his fubjects, he came into Scotland, to poffefs the kingdom. It is true, the memory of his parents was of great force to procure him the favour of the people; yet his own virtue was fuch, that he stood in need of no adventitious help: for, as in other virtues he equalled other good kings, fo in his condefcenfion to hear the caufes of the poor, he was much fuperior to them. As for the complaints of the rich, he heard them himself; and if a falfe judgment had been given, he would not fet it afide, but compelled the judge himself to pay the damages awarded. He reftrained luxury, which then began to fpread, according to the example of his father. He banished Epicures, and fuch as ftudied arts to provoke the appetite, out of the kingdom. He far exceeded the beneficence of his parents and kindred, which were worthy rather of pardon than praife, in increafing the revenues of the church. He repaired monaftries, whether decayed by age, or ruined by the wars; and he alfo built new ones from the ground. To the fix bifhopricks which he found, he added four more; Rofs, Brechin, Dunkeld, and Dumblain. He almost impoverished the fucceeding kings, to endow them; for he bestowed upon them a great part of the crown-lands. John Mair, who, when I was but a youth, was famous for his Theological ftudies, having highly praifed this king for his other actions, yet he blames his profufe lavishness in endowing monaftries, in a folemn (and I wish it had been an undeferved) oration. And I the more wonder at

this immoderate profufion of the publick money and patrimoney, becaufe, in thofe very times, St. Barnard fharply reproves the priests and monks in his fevere fermons, for their exceffive luxury and expence; which yet, if compared with that of our age, seems but moderate. The fruits which followed these donations, fhew, that the defign was not wellgrounded: for as in bodies too corpulent, the ufe of all the members ceafes; fo the sparks of wit, oppreffed by luxury, languished in the abbies. The ftudy of learning was quite left off, piety degenerated into fuperftition, and the feeds of all vices fprung up in them, as in an uncultivated field. All the time of his reign he had but one domeftick commotion; and that was rather a tumult, than a civil war; and it was quickly ended, in the flaughter of Eneas Earl of Murray, with a great number of his followers. Malcolm Macbeth, endeavouring to raise a new fedition, was committed prifoner to the caftle of Roxburgh. Other matters fucceeded according to his defire: but yet a double calamity fell upon him; onefrom the untimely death of his wife; the other of his fon. As for his wife Maud, fhe was a woman of high defcent, of exquifite beauty, and most accomplished manners: he loved her paffionately whilst she lived; and the lofs of her, in the flower of her age, did fo affect him, that, for twenty years after, he lived a widower, neither did he touch any other woman all that while; and yet the greatness of his forrow was no hinderance to him from managing the publiek offices and concerns both of peace and war.

A 2


DAVID thus addicted himself to the arts of peace; but fome troublesome matters in England, drew him unwillingly into a war. The occafion was this: All the offspring of Henry of England, except his daughter Maud, were drowned in their paffage from France into England; which misfortune fo grieved him, that, it is reported, he was never seen to laugh after that time. Maud, who only furvived, and efcaped that calamity, married the Emperor Henry IV. Her Husband dying, without children, the returned into England to her father. He was willing to fettle the fucceffion on her; and in order to it, because she was a widow and childlefs, and confidering his own mortality, he caused all the nobility to fwear an oath of fealty to her; and, in hopes that she might have children, he married her to Geoffry Plantagenet, Earl of Anjou. Five years after that marriage, Robert Duke of Normandy and King Henry died; and Geoffry of Anjou falling into a dangerous disease, lay


In the mean time, Stephen Earl of Bologne, in this want of royal iffue, took heart to affume the crown of England; neither did he look upon it as a defign of any great difficulty, both by reafon of the weakness of the adverfe party, and alfo becaufe he himself had fome royal blood running in his veins; for he was born of a daughter of William the Norman, which had married the Earl of Bloys. He himself had alfo married Maud, daughter of the former Earl of Bologne, and cousingerman to Maud the Emprefs, and born of Mary, fifter to David King of Scotland. Upon


the confidence of fo great alliances, by reafon of the abfence of Maud the Queen, and the fick nefs of Geoffry, he thought he might easily obtain the crown of England. And to make his way clearer, without any confcience or regard of his oath, which he and the other kindred had taken to Queen Maud, he drew in, by great promises, the bishops of England, who had alfo taken the fame oath, into his unlawful defign; and especially Turftan Archbishop of York, who was the firft that fwore allegiance to Queen Maud; and Roger Bishop of Salisbury,. who had not only taken the oath himself, but. had alfo read the words of it to the other nobles when they took it..

UPON this confidence, even before his uncleHenry was buried, he ftept into the throne,. and the two first years reigned peaceably e-nough; whereupon, growing infolent, he began to neglect his agreement made with the English, and alfo to deal arrogantly with his neighbours. After he had compelled all the English, partly by fear,, and partly by fair promifes, to take an oath of allegiance to him, he fent anbafadors to David King of Scots, to put him in mind to take the fame eath, for the counties of Cumberland, Nor-thumberland, and Huntington, which he held of him. David returned anfwer, that he, together with Stephen himself, and the other nobles of England, had, not fong fince, bound themfelves by an oath to obey Maud, their law.. ful Queen; and that he ought not, nor would acknowledge any other monarch, as long as the was alive. When this anfwer was brought to Stephen, prefently a war began. The En-A 3


[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

glish entered upon the adjacent Scots, with fire and fword; the Scots doing as much for them. The next year an army of Scots, under the conduct of the Earls of March, of Monteith, and of Angus, entered England, and met the English at the town of Allerton, whofe General was the Earl of Gloucefter. A fharp battle was there fought, with equal flaughter on both fides, as long as both armies flood to it. At laft the English being overthrown, many perifhed in the flight, and many of the nobility were taken prifoners; amongst whom was the Earl of Gloucefter himself. Stephen, very much concerned at this overthrow, and fearing it might otherwife alienate from him the affections of the friends and kindred of the captive nobles, refufed no conditions of peace. The terms were thefe: "That the English pri"foners fhould be released without ranfom: "that Stephen fhould quit the claim which, as "Chief Lord, he pretended to have over Cum"berland." But Stephen obferved thofe conditions no better than he did the oath formerly taken to Maud, his kinfwoman: for before the armies were quite difbanded, and the prifoners released, he privately furprised some castles in Northumberland, and, by driving away booties from the Scots countries, renewed the war. The Scots gathering a fudden army together of the neighbouring provinces, and, defpifing the English, whom they had overthrown in battle the felf-fame year, run rafhly on to the conflict at the river Teife; where they paid for their folly of undervaluing the enemy, and received a fignal overthrow; they were likewife compelled to quit Northumberland.

« PreviousContinue »