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of Angus commanded the east. This appointment shows how high Dernely then stood in the King's favour, and ranked in the realm, and how absurd it is to suppose that, had the earldom of Lennox ever been specially bestowed upon him, or that had he, in taking it up as his inheritance, been supported by a shadow of right, he would at this time have been only styled Lord Dernely.
In the year 1482 the conspiracy broke out against the King and his favourites, and, in the ranks of the conspirators, noblemen are found who had hitherto been the most loyal supporters of the Crown. Lord Avandale, for the first time and apparently the last, turns against the sovereign who had heaped upon him wealth and honours, and whose chancellor he had been for twoand-twenty years. Angus, warden of the east march, headed the conspiracy, and Dernely warden of the west joined him. To this faction the chancellor added the weight of his talents, and a double portion of ingratitude. That both Avandale and Dernely had upon this occasion deserted their sovereign is stated by Pitscottie, and confirmed by the records. Upon the 22d July 1482, the King was conveyed to Edinburgh Castle a prisoner, and in the hands of rebels, though respectfully guarded. Upon the second of August thereafter, as recorded in Rymer, a deed of obligation was entered into by the following " Magnates Scotia?," William Archbishop of St Andrews, James Bishop of Dunkeld, Andrew Lord Avandale, chancellor, and Colin Earl of Argyle, for the protection and indemnity of Alexander Duke of Albany, (the King's brother and most insidious enemy) " being in Ingland, and tending to the Trone of Scotland." The
our Sovereign Lord has ordained that the Lord Dernely be warden in the west borders." It will also be observed that he is not styled Earl of Lennox.
noblemen who sign this deed declare that they and the other nobles of the realm, " sall cause our soverane lord frely to gif and grant" to the Duke of Albany " all his landis, heritagis, strenthis, houses, and offices quhilk he possessit the day of his last parting furth of the realm of Scotland."* This ingratitude on the part of the chancellor appears to have been punished by the King to the utmost extent of his constrained power. Upon the 25th of the same month in which the above deed is dated, a charter passed the Great Seal of James III., the first witness to which is John Laing Bishop of Glasgow, " chancellario."t We have thus precisely the period, and probably the cause, of Avandale's deprivation of that high office, by which for so many years he held sway in the state4
* Fcedera, xii. 160. t Mag. Sig. x. 88.
t Mr Tytler, Vol. iv. p. 276, speaking of these events, says, " There was no difficulty in effecting a full reconcilement between Albany and the King's party, which washeaded by the Chancellor Evandale," &c. But surely the deed to which our historian alludes, and in which those noblemen engage to cause the King to restore Albany to all his " strengthis," is evidence that they favoured the faction opposed to the King. Again, speaking of the siege of Edinburgh Castle, which occurred 29th September 1482, and the result of which was to give the Duke of Albany the custody of the King, Mr Tytler observes; " The unhappy King, thus transferred from one prison only to fall into a durance more intolerable, had yet left to him a few friends, in the Archbishop of St Andrews, the Chancellor Evandale, and the Earl of Argyle; but for the present it was impossible for them to make any effectual stand against the power of Albany, and they fled precipitately to their estates; Evandale was in consequence deprived of the chancellorship, which was conferred upon Laing Bishop of Glasgow." P. 278. But, with deference, it seems impossible to adopt this theory. Albany was appointed Lieutenant-General of the Kingdom only in December 1482. Now the records prove that Avandale had been deprived of the chancellorship between
In the following month (29th September) the memorable siege of the Castle of Edinburgh (in which the King was confined) occurred. And now the fiery and fickle Dernely seems suddenly to have separated himself from the conspirators, in order to become the body guard of that sovereign whose favourites he had lately assisted to hang over the bridge of Lauder. There is a charter under the sign manual of James, and dated 19th October 1482, which narrates that, at the King's particular desire, Lord Dernely, and others about his royal person remained with him day and night in Edinburgh Castle, to protect him from personal injury, and from certain nobles and other disaffected persons who had conspired his death; and moreover, Dernely and his compatriots are declared to be true lieges, and absolved from all previous charges of treason, a clause of indemnity very necessary under the circumstances.*
In the following year, 1483, the Albany faction was subdued, and in the next completely crushed. Lord A vandale was not restored to the chancellorship, but he appears to have regained the confidence of the facile monarch to the extent of being employed in council and foreign negotiation. Dernely is named immediately after Lord Avandale in the roll of domini (not comites) to whom the powers of Parliament are committed on the 27th June 1483.
the 2d and the 25th of August preceding. The deprivation, then, was before the siege of Edinburgh Castle by Albany, and not after, as Mr Tytler records it; and could not therefore have been "in consequence" of Albany's partial success. Besides, were Mr Tytler's view correct, the King, who regained his power very soon afterwards, would have restored Avandale to the chancellorship.
* See Appendix to Andrew Stewart's History, where the deed is printed.
But that turbulent nobleman, whose whole life seems to have consisted in sudden changes and lawless commotion, though warmly attached, it is said, to the person of James III., would never evince his affection by steady allegiance; and at the hour of that monarch's fall he was found among the ranks of his destroyers.*
Immediately after the date of the conflict of Sauchie, which took place on the 11th June 1488, Lord Dernely still retained that minor style and title, though Lord Avandale was recently dead, and his liferent grant no longer burdened theLennox.f Upon the 12th July 1488, one month after the death of James III., Elizabeth Menteith, relict of John Napier of Merchiston, obtains a decree of the Lords of Council to secure obedience to her in her quarter of the Lennox. Among the Lords who compose the sederunt upon this occasion is John Stewart, who sits as " Dernle" and not as Levenax.J Of the same date letters pass the privy-seal of James IV., in terms of this decree, in favour of Elizabeth Menteith; and the first witness to their proclamation is Alexander Stew
* There are letters of safe-conduct, recorded both in the Foedera and Rotuli Scotia, of date 5th May 1488, the month preceding the battle of Sauchie, from Henry VIII. "Ambassiatoribus Scotia." Among these is " Mathew Stewart, Magistrum de Dernely." These were the ambassadors of the faction against James III. Ridpath, in his Border History, p. 457, notices this safe-conduct, and puts the question, "Was Mathew Stewart of Dernlee son to the Earl of Lennox?" The answer is, he was son to Lord Dernely, that nobleman not resuming the title of Earl until the Parliament of July following, when James IV. commenced his reign.
t One of the witnesses to a charter of James III. dated 11th March 1487, being the close of that year, is " Andrea Domino Avandale."—Mag. Sig. x. 136. I cannot discover his name in any record, public or private, beyond this month of March 1487-8.
X Acta Dom. Con.
art of Avandale.* Obviously this proceeding of the lady of Rusky (as she was generally styled) was in consequence of Lord Avandale's liferent having lapsed, and as a preliminary step towards the securing her own peaceable possession and full enjoyment of the lands.
The conduct of this lady with regard to her patrimonial rights, supposing her to have been the eldest coheiress of the Lennox, appears to have been dictated by prudence and spirit, though controlled by necessity. She appears to have made no struggle for the dormant earldom, but at the same time fortified her right to a fourth part of the lands by every form of law requisite to protect her possession. But she was a widow, her eldest son was a minor, and her husband and his father had never swerved from that loyalty to James III. which was apt to be construed into treason at the commencement of the reign of his son.t Lord Dernely, on the other hand, was now a distinguished leader among the popular party which surrounded the young King, and, accordingly, the records instruct that he actually took his seat as Earl of Levenax in the first Parliament of James IV. held at Edinburgh upon the 6th October 1488, just four months after the battle of Sauchie. His pretension, though based upon nothing but the fact that the period was most favourable for his usurpation, rises at once to the loftiest pitch. Upon the 10th of the same month in which the Parliament met he obtains, under the style of Earl of Levenax, a royal commission, bestowingupon him and his son and heir,MathewStewart, the important custody of the Castle of Dunbarton ; and by the eighth act of the Parliament 1489, the Earl of Levenax, the Lord Lyle, and Mathew Stewart, are named
* Merchiston Papers. t See Memoirs of Merchiston.