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the truth and perfect regularity of which process is never questioned at any period.
8. Agnes Menteith remains in non-entry; but in 1475 her husband returns from his embassy and reduces Lord Dernely's service, still, however, without assuming the title of Earl of Lennox, either in virtue of his own charter, or in right of his wife.
9. For thirteen years thereafter, being the remainder of the reign of James III., no Earl of Lennox appears upon record. But the Chancellor Avandale continued to enjoy possession of the lands so long as he lived, which was until the year 1488.
HISTORY OF JOHN LORD DERNELY's SECOND USURPATION OF
THE HONOURS OF LENNOX HIS CONTRACTS OF EXCAMBION
WITH THE OTHER COHEIRS FINAL PARTITION AND SETTLEMENT OF THE FIEF.
The last ten years of the reign of James III. are turbid with civil broils, increasing to the deadliest pitch of civil war, and concluding in 1488 with the battle of Sauchieburn, on his flight from which the monarch was murdered. Of this turbulent period the prominent features are, the slaughter of the King's favourites by the disaffected nobles at the bridge of Lauder,—the temporary usurpation of the crown of Scotland by Alexander, Duke of Albany, the King's brother,—and lastly, an insurrection whose crisis, at the battle above-mentioned, brought a young Prince under the standard of rebellion against his own father, and construed loyalty to the old monarch as treason to the new.
Amid these stirring events, neither the chancellor Avandale, nor Lord Dernely, were idle; and the power of the latter seems to have increased as that of the former was on the wane. Upon the 11th of April 1481, Dernely was appointed to the high and important office of warden of the west march,* while the Earl 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.
* Mr Tytler, in his History, Vol. iv. p. 265, and under the year 1481, says, " The wardenry of the east marches was committed to the Earl of Angus, that of the west to Lord Cathcart." But I have followed the Parliamentary records of the period, which bear, " Item, 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.
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 Scotise," 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 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 GreatSeal 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
* Feeder a, xii. 160.
t Mag. Sig. x. 88.
i Mr Ty tler, 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 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.
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 Albanyfaction was subdued, and in the next completely crushed. Lord Avandale 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.
* See Appendix to Andrew Stewart's History, where the deed is printed.