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held, though with some reluctance, the meditated blow'.
Albany retvrned to Scotland in 1521, after an absence of upwards of four years. His first step was to reduce the overgrown power of the Douglasses. Angus and his principal adherents, being summoned to answer for the different outrages which they had committed, fled for refuge to the Kirk of Steyle. Bishop Douglas, aware of the regent's contempt for justice, hastened to find an asylum in England”. He had been cited to appear at Rome; and, according to his own declaration, he intended to obey the pontifical mandate”. At the gorgeous court of Henry the Eighth, where his poetical talents had undoubtedly procured him many admirers, he experienced a most gracious reception: and his eminent merit, which in his native country had only procured him envy, was here rewarded by the grant of a liberal pensions. Various acts of munificence evinced this monarch a patron of literature: and it is with some justice that Erasmus represents his palace as the abode of learning.
| Lindsay's History of Scotland, p. 188.- Lindsay refers this event to the year 1515; but our other historians, with greater probability, add five
years to the number. 2 Leslæus de Rebus Gestis Scotorum, p. 378. a Pinkerton's Hist. of Scotland, vol. ii. p. 194. b Holinshed's Chronicles, vol. üi. p. 872.
C«O vere splendidam vestrz Britanniæ regiam, sedem et arcem optimorum studiorum ac virtutum! Et vobis, mi Pacee, gratulor talem
But the fate of Surrey and of More, had he been free from other crimes, would have been sufficient to brand his name with everlasting, infamy.
At London Douglas contracted a friendship with Polydore Virgil, who was then engaged in composing a history of England. The publication of Mair's history of Scotland, in which he ventured to expose the Egyptian fables of his predecessors, had excited the indignation of such of his countrymen as delighted to trace their origin to the daughter of Pharaoh. Douglas was studious to warn his new friend against adopting the opinions of this writer; and presented him with a brief commentary in which he pursued the fabulous line of our ancestry from Athens to Scotland. This tractate, which was
principem, et principi gratulor, cujus regnum tot ingeniorum luminibus illustratur,”
ERASMI Epistolæ, f. ii. a. Paris. 1525, 8vo. d “ Nuper enim,” says Polydore Virgil, “Gavinus Douglas Doncheldensis episcopus, homo Scotus, virque summâ nobilitate et virtute, nescio ob quam causam, in Angliam profectus, ubi audivit dedisse me jampridem ad historiam scribendam, nos convenit : amicitiam fecimus: postea summe rogavit, ut ne historiam paulò antè à quodam suo Scoto divulgatam sequerer, in rebus Scoticis explicandis; pollicitusque est, se intra paucos dies missurum commentariolum de his neutiquam negligendum, id quod et fecit.” (Polydori Virgilii Anglica Historia, p. 52. edit. Basil. 1556, fol.) This writer has inserted the substance of the historical scheme which he received from Douglas. “Ego statim ut ista legi,” he subjoins, “ visus sum videre ursam parientem, quemadmodum in proverbio est. Post hæc, ut solebamus, cùm animi gratiâ unà essemus, Gavinus sententiam meam rogavit. Respondi, me de origine nihil contendere, &c. Ab hac sententia Gavinus vir sane honestus tam minime abhorruit, quàm ratio ipsa ei visa est cum veritate maxime consentire."
probably written in Latin, seems to have shared the common fate of the writings entrusted to Polydore; who in order to secure the faults of his work from the danger of detection, is said to have destroyed many invaluable monuments of antiquity. Vossius affirms that Douglas wrote a history of Scotland consisting of several booksf: but Bishop Bale, to whose authority he refers, only mentions a single books; and it is evident that the historical composition to which they, as well as Dempster", allude, is the identical summary quoted by Polydore Virgil.
While he was thus employed in vindicating what he deemed the honour of his native country, a process was in his absence instituted against him, and an unjust sentence of prescription
Polydore Virgil was a learned Italian who came to reside in England for the purpose of collecting the papal revenues. He was appointed Archdeacon of Wells; and enjoyed his preferment till the accession of Edward the Sixth. Besides his history of England, a work of little esti. mation, he wrote a treatise De Prodigiis, and another De Rerum Inventoribus.
e Peacham’s Compleat Gentleman, p. 51. edit. Lond. 1634, 400.Bishop Nicolson remarks that “he is said to have borrowed books out of the publick library at Oxford, without taking any care to restore them : Upon which the university (as they had good reason) declined lending any more, till forced to it by a mandate which he made a shift to procure from the king. In other places he likewise pillaged the libraries at his pleasure ; and, at last, sent over a whole ship-load of manuscripts to Rome.” (English Historical Library, p. 70.)
f Vossius de Historicis Latinis, p. 686.
Dempster. Hist. Ecclesiast. Gent. Scotor. p. 221.
issued in the name of the king and the three estates. Its tenor is as follows:
“ Whereas Gavin Douglas, Bishop of Dunkeld, not only without the permission and licence of the King's Grace, his tutor the governor of the kingdom, and the three estates of the realm, but even contrary to the express command of the said governor, has entered England with an intention to remain there, and, after the declaration of war against that nation, has devoted himself to the service of the English monarch, for the purpose, as may be conjectured from manifest indications, of betraying this kingdom; by which conduct he has infringed the parliamentary statutes enacted against the crime of high treason: and in order that no indulgence may be granted to those who by such unwarrantable proceedings render themselves guilty of rebellion : it is hereby enacted, that a royal mandate be issued to the Vicar General of St Andrews, the metropolitan see being at this time vacant, commanding him, as ordinary of the foresaid bishop, to sequestrate the revenues of the cathedral of Dunkeld; and that none of the lieges, under pain of being held guilty of trea. son, shall afford the foresaid bishop pecuniary aid, or maintain with him any correspondence either by letters or messengers. And since the interest of a private individual ought not to be more prevalent with our most holy master the pope and his sacred conclave of cardinals, than
the sincere devotion of the King's Grace, his illustrious tutor, and the three estates of the realm, it is hereby decreed by, the advice of the said estates, that a letter shall be addrest to our most holy master the pope, beseeching him that he will not, contrary to the privileges of this realm formerly granted by the sovereign pontiffs, nominate or recommend the traitor Gavin Douglas to the archbishopric of St Andrews and the abbacy of Dunfermline, or to either of those benefices. And lest that letter should be deemed'the mere suggestion of private sentiment, another to the same effect shall be written by the said three estates of the realm, and delivered along with the present proclamation under the great seal of the King's Grace
Beaton, being determined at all hazards 'to secure the archbishopric of St Andrews and the abbacy of Dunfermline, each the most ample endowment of its kind, reflected that in Douglas he might experience a powerful competitor : and in order to blast the reputation of the man who had formerly saved his life, he, as chancellor of the realm, addressed a letter to the King of Denmark, in which he besought him to represent Douglas to the sovereign pontiff as a person altogether unworthy of his favour or protection'. The various artifices which were thus employed
i Epistolæ Regum Scotorum, vol. i. p. 328.
į Ibid. vol. i. p. 333.