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Old and New Edinburgh Vol. I


the permanent and undisputed capital of Scotland. Sorrow and indignation spread over all the realm when the fate of James was heard, and no place seemed to afford such security to the royal person as the impregnable Castle of Edinburgh j thus Queen Jane, ignorant of the ramifications of that .conspiracy by which her princely husband was ,slain (actually in her arms), instantly joined her .son James II., who since his birth had dwelt there. It was then in the hands of William Baron .of Crichton-a powerful, subtle, and ambitious statesman, who was Master of the Household. with every solemnity, on the 25th of March, 1437. The queen-mother was named his guardian, with an allowance of 4,000 merks yearly, and Archibald the great Earl of Uouglas and Angus (Duke of Touraine) was appointed lieutenant-general of the kingdom. During the two subsequent years the little king resided entirely in the Castle under the custody of Crichton, now Lord Chancellor, greatly to the displeasure of the queen and her party, who found him thus placed completely beyond their control or influence. In short, it was no longer the queen-mother, RUINS OF THE WELL-HOUSE TOWER. (~m a D7awifirb W ~ Z Z ~ ~ X . paton, R.s.A.) Within forty days nearly all concerned in the imurder of the late king were brought to Edinburgh, where the ignoble were at once consigned to the hangman; but for the Earl of Athol and bother titled leaders were devised tortures worthy .alone of Chinese or Kaffir ingenuity. Crowned by a red-hot diadem as " King of Traitors," at the Market Cross, after undergoing three days of un- .exampled agonies in sight of the people and the Papal Nuncio, afterwards Pius II., the body of the earl was dragged nude through the streets ; it was then beheaded and quartered. On the assembly of the Lords of Parliament, -their first care was the coronation of James II., -who was conducted in procession from the Castle $0 the church of Holyrood, where he was crowned, but the crafty Crichton, who had uncontrolled custody of the little sovereign, and who thus was enabled to seize the revenues, and surround him by a host of parasites, who permitted neither her, nor the Regent, Sir Alexander Livingstone of Callender, to have any share in the government A bitter feud was the consequence, and Scotland again was rent into two hostile factions, a state of matters of which the English could not, as usual, make profit, as they were embroiled among themselves. The queen remained with the regent at Stirling, while her son was literally a prisoner at Edinburgh ; but, womanlike, the mother formed a plan of her own to outwit the enemy. Visiting the Castle, she professed a great regard for the Chancellor, and a desire to be with her son,
Volume 1 Page 29
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