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fairly bear that interpretation which expositors in league with Rome labour to put upon them. This work of Cranmer's was translated into English, with some additions, during the Marian times, by one of those pious exiles who fled to the continent, in order to avoid the fierceness of that persecution which the triumphant traditionists were maintaining in England.
While theologians were thus intent upon enlightening the public mind, more active spirits found employment in watching the course of political events. The Scots, now that the sceptre of South Britain had fallen into the hands of a minor king, considered the superior resources of their English neighbours as much less formidable than heretofore, and hence they freely gave indulgence to that partiality for a French alliance which had so long prevailed among them. Somerset viewed this increasing alienation of the northern kingdom with much uneasiness, and when he found that the artifices of party were likely to prevent that marriage between the two young monarchs of Britain, which had formed one of King Henry's latest cares, he lost no time in preparing for war. As a pretext for commencing hostilities he resolved to bring forward once more that claim of feudal superiority which had so often galled the pride of a high-minded people, and had served as the harbinger of slaughter and rapine through the fairest portions of their country. Bishop Tunstall,
. Strype, Mem. Cranm. 228.
accordingly, was instructed to search among the records of his see for proofs of the authority exercised by England over her northern neighbour. Among other documents, the prelate discovered a record of the homage rendered by William of Scotland to Henry II. of England, in which it appeared, that a very unqualified submission had then been made by the Scots to the English crown. A doubt has, however, been started respecting the genuineness of this instrument, upon the ground of that disposition to forge papers, according with their own prejudices, or the interest of their patrons, known to have prevailed among the monkish scribes, and registrars, of the dark ages'. But the character of this instrument is not, and never was of any importance; as the parade of searching for proofs to establish an obsolete claim was merely a pretext to justify the English government in assuming a hostile attitude. Tunstall was, indeed, instructed to meet, in company with Sir Robert Bowes, some Scottish commissioners, on the 4th of August, on the borders of the two kingdoms, and to take with him the documentary evidence which he had collected; but then he was to abandon that, and every other ground of discussion, if he should find the Scots disposed to enter upon the matrimonial treaty. This was a point, unfortunately, upon which the northern commissioners came provided with no instructions, and, therefore, all hope of an amicable arrangement
Burnet, Hist. Ref. II. 51.
having failed, both nations looked to a field of battle as the arbiter of their respective differences'.
The truth appears to be, that the Scots, having made very formidable preparations for resisting any attack upon them, were little inclined even to make a shew of abandoning that line of policy which was most popular in the country. The Protector, being apprised of this, travelled towards the end of August to Newcastle, and assumed the personal command of an army awaiting there orders to commence hostilities. This force, consisting of sixteen thousand men, soon after entered unopposed the Scottish territory. The English, indeed, found the roads broken up, and some small castles to bid them a temporary defiance : but the dryness of the season prevented them from suffering much inconvenience from the former cause, and their great numerical superiority soon compelled the surrender of the petty garrisons which pretended to impede their progress. At length an advanced party of the Scots was encountered at Falside, and defeated with great loss, after a protracted struggle. The main body of the enemy, thirty thousand strong, well supplied with artillery, and ably commanded, was now in sight; and the English generals could not contemplate the prospect before them without great uneasiness. Indeed the Scottish army was formidable from the spirit which pervaded it, as well as from its numbers and appointments. The national pride was fired by a report, industriously spread abroad, that
· Ibid. 50.
the Protector aimed at carrying away by force their infant Queen; and in order to maintain confidence among the troops it was asserted, that twelve gallies, with fifty other vessels, having already set sail from France, might be expected every day to land ample reinforcements upon the Scottish shore. Fully aware of the situation in which he stood, Somerset tried the effect of a pacific overture. He begged the Scots to consider, that both parties as Christians were bound to prevent as much as possible the effusion of blood; that the war was undertaken by the English only for the purpose of uniting in perpetual peace two communities already one people by identity of language, contiguity of territory, and insular separation from all the world besides; that an unexceptionable opportunity for extinguishing the hostile spirit, ever plunging into trouble the two nations, was now offered by means of a marriage between the two young sovereigns, an arrangement calculated to benefit importantly both kingdoms, but especially the northern one. In the event of these representations being found to fail in bringing about a ratification of the matrimonial treaty, it was even proposed to withdraw the English army, and to compensate all who had suffered by the invasion, if the Scots would only stipulate to educate the Queen in her own country, and not to affiance her to any suitor before she should be of sufficient age to make her own election. Confident in their superiority of numbers, and aware, that a want of provisions was apprehended by
the enemy, the Scottish leaders refused to treat upon these equitable terms. They would not even allow the purport of the English overtures to be known through the camp, lest it should damp the ardour of their troops. It was merely resolved among a few officers of distinction, who deliberated upon Somerset's proposals, that if the English were disposed to withdraw, they should be allowed an unmolested passage into their own country. The bearer of this reply also related that he had heard the Earl of Huntley express a wish to be allowed an opportunity, in company with ten or more of his countrymen, to meet Somerset, attended by an equal number of Englishmen, and to have the disputes between the two nations decided by the issue of a combat between these chosen champions. The Protector, however, would not consent to render his administration contemptible at the outset by retreating ingloriously into England, and as for Huntley's reported challenge, he observed, that the quarrel being not personal, but national, it demanded no attention. Somerset's mode of treating this affair displeased the Earl of Warwick, and he sent an intimation to Huntley of his willingness to give him the meeting which he was understood to desire. The northern peer replied, that he had never spoken the words imputed to him, and both parties, finding negociation hopeless, prepared for the frightful realities of war: