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thedral, retired into the neighbouring woods without hazarding an attack. They were now summoned to surrender on pain of excommunication. On their refusing to yield, James Carmichael, with a detachment of the bishop's adherents, obtained possession of the cathedral, partly by force and partly by stratagem. Those who defended the palace being intimidated by this occurrence, demanded that for the space of a few hours a truce might be granted, and the sentence of excommunication suspended. Having obtained this request, they still persisted in their refusal to surrender: but at length, through the interference of the regent", Douglas gained possession without the effusion of blood". This circumstance " was certainly very acceptable to the good bishop, who in all the actions of his life discovered a gentle and merciful disposition, regulating the warlike and heroic spirit that was natural to his family by the excellent laws of the Christian religion."
After these events Stewart hastened to court, accompanied by his brother the Earl of Athole. Douglas esteemed it prudent to follow his example: and their cause was immediately represented to the Duke of Albany and the Lords of the Council. It was at length agreed that Stewart
should relinquish his pretensions to the see of Dunkeld, but should retain the revenues which he had already collected, and be confirmed in the possession of the churches of Alyth and Cargil, on condition of yielding to the bishop a certain annual contribution of grain'. Such was the mode of establishing prelates in the sixteenth century!
Although sentence of banishment had been pronounced against Douglas for the crime of receiving bulls from Rome, yet the regent did not scruple to apply to the pope for a ratification of this agreement. In a letter dated September 28, 1516, he entreats his Holiness that all defects of law or deed may be removed, and the contract rendered valid by his sanction".
Having thus obtained possession of the office, he was soon called from the discharge of its duties. In 1517, an ambassador arriving from the court of France with a proposition for the renewal of the ancient league, the Duke of Albany, Bishop Douglas, and Patrick Panther, were appointed to visit that country in the same capacity. The negotiation being brought to a satisfactory issue, Douglas was employed to convey the earliest intelligence to Scotland'.
? Myln, Vita Episcoporum Dunkeldensium; MS.
Pinkerton's Hist. of Scotland, vol. ii. p. 165.
His pastoral duties seem to have been again interrupted during some part of the following year. In the Cotton Library is an original letter signed by the Earl of Angus and others, and recommending him to King Henry as a proper agent for adjusting certain articles in contemplation".
Though in this manner exposed to occasional distractions, he yet presided over his diocese with exemplary piety and virtue. The various troubles in which he was formerly involved had not only prevented him from accumulating riches, but had even encumbered him with debts: yet his native benevolence of disposition prompted him to perform many acts of charity and munificence.
In the year 1520 he was presented with another opportunity of exercising his Christian meekness. When the regent was about to visit France, he delegated his authority to the Archbishops of St Andrews and Glasgow, and to the Earls of Arran, Angus, Argyle, and Huntley. The power of Angus however excited the apprehensions or the jealousy of his colleagues; and they resolved with united force to diminish the influence of so dangerous a rival. On the twenty-ninth of April, Arran with many others of the Western nobility assembled at Edinburgh in the house of Archbishop Beaton. They formed the immediate re
Pinkerton's List of the Scotish Poets, p. XCV.
solution of apprehending the Earl of Angus ; whose power, they alleged, was so exorbitant, that while he continued at large, the liberty of his fellow-subjects was insecure. When he was apprized of their hostile intentions, he dispatched the Bishop of Dunkeld to endeavour to mitigate their resentment, and persuade them to submit the cause to legal arbitration. But this proposal was addrest to men ferocious from their numbers, confident of victory, and thirsting for revenge*. He first accosted Beaton, whom he found in Black-Friars Church; and entreated him to perform his duty by assuming the character of a peace-maker. But the dissembling and turbulent prelate protested that he was at once ignorant of their designs, and unable to prevent them from being carried into execution. And sealing his asseveration with an oath, he made a solemn appeal to his conscience : but having too rashly struck his right hand against his breast, he discovered to his indignant companion that his clerical habit concealed a coat of mail.“ My Lord,” exclaimed Douglas, “ I perceive your conscience is not good; for I hear it clatter.” He next sought Sir Patrick Hamilton, and requested him to interpose with his brother the Earl of Arran. This gentleman seemed inclined to peaceable measures : but the earl's bastard son Sir James, a
man of a ferocious disposition, rudely upbraided him with cowardice. “ Bastard smaik!” rejoined Sir Patrick," thou liest falsely: I shall fight this day where thou dare not be seen.” And having drawn his sword, he rushed furiously into the street, where the Earl of Angus and his retainers were standing in a posture of defence. Perceiving him advance at a considerable distance before the rest of the assailants, the earl called aloud to his followers to save Sir Patrick Hamil. ton's life: but that gentleman and the Master of Montgomery were immediately slain. A fierce encounter now commenced. The victory at length fell to the Earl of Angus, after seventytwo of his antagonists had perished in the contest. During the action the pious bishop had retired to his chamber, and continued to pour out his soul in fervent prayer to the disposer of human events. But when the enemies of his family were put to flight, he hastened to prevent the wanton effusion of blood. Beaton, who appears to have been personally engaged, had now taken refuge behind the altar of Black Friars Church; but the sanctuary was without scruple violated by his enraged pursuers. The rochet was torn from his consecrated shoulders, and he had already begun to despair of his life, when Douglas interceded so effectually in his behalf, that they with