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country agaiost the desultory war carried on by small parties, who made sudden irruptions into particular districts, laid all
waste, and returned loaded with spoil. If the waste committed by " the English armies was more widely extended and more generally ' ivflicted, the continual and unceasing raids of the Scottish Bor
derers were scarcely less destructive.' The greater wealth of the country, also, was a stronger incitement to the Scottish freebooters, than revenge was to their southern adversaries. These plundering parties were so secret and so active in their movements, and so perfectly acquainted with all local facilities for passage or concealınent, in a rough and diversified country, as to render in a great measure uuavailing the special and elaborate defensive arrangements of the English warden of the marches, Lord Wbarton, who,
established a line of communication along the whole line of the Border, from Berwick to Carlisle, from east to west, with setters and searchers, sleuth-hounds, and watchers by day and night. Such fords as could not be conveniently guarded, were, to the number of thirty-nine, directed to be stopped and destroyed, meadows and pastures were ordered to be inclosed, that their fences might oppose some obstacle to the passage of the marauders, and narrow passes by land were appointed to be blocked up, or rendered impassable.'
Mr. Scott gives an ample and spirited delineation of the character, and the economy, if it may be so called, of these border barbarians, with a variety of curious anecdotes.
• Contrary to the custom of the rest of Scotland, they almost always acted as light-horsemen, and used small active horses accustomed to traverse morasses, in which other cavalry would have been swallowed up. Their hardy mode of life made them indifferent to danger, and careless about the ordinary accommodations of life. The uncertainty of reaping the fruits of their labour, deterred them from all the labours of cultivation ; their mountains and glens afforded pasturage for their cattle and horses, and when these were driven off by the enemy they supplied the loss by reciprocal depredation. Living under chiefs by whom this predatory warfare was countenanced, and sometimes headed, they appear to have had little knowledge of the light in which their actions were regarded by the legislature; and the various statutes and regulations made against their incursions, remained in most cases a dead letter. It did indeed frequently happen that the kings, or governors of Scotland, when the disorders upon the border reached to a certain height, marched against these districts with an overpowering force, seized on the persons of the chiefs, and sent them to distant prisons in the centre of the kingdom, and executed, without mercy, the inferior captains and leaders.
Such acts of justice, however, tended to alienate the attachment, and the services for national war and defence, of a race as brave as they were lawless; and contributed to confirm them in that anomalous political state in which, on both sides of the
Border, they were come to regard the whole system of warfare and depredation as a business of their own, and independent of the interests of the two kingdoms and the wars between them, in wbieh they no longer took any patriotic share. Under this annibilation of allegiance and national interest, the trade or possession of plunder acquired, by a kind of tacit convention between the respective borderers, a certain regulation of form and principle, according to which they were to avoid as much as possible all personal violence, and confine themselves, in their iuroads, to the honourable business of marauding. Another feature of the system, and which shews how completely it had taken place of all national feeling, was, that they made no scruple, on either side, of exercising their vocation upon the goods and chattels of any separate district of their own country.
• The men of Tynedale and Reedsdale, in particular, appear to have been more frequently tempted by the rich vales of the Bishopric of Durham, and other districts which lay to the southward, than by the rude desolation of the Scottish hills." · And more than even this, the bands of both Borders would combine in plans of rapine against either country, indifferently, on the occasion of any strong irruption of the national force, which offered an advantage for their predatory enterprises ; and would at the next turn conjointly accompany for the saine purpose, the opposite national force, if it succeeded in repelling and retaliating the invasion. It was no uncommon thing for women to share, and signalize themselves in, the daring exploits of these worthy freemen. Apd' the Borderers,' says our Author,' me
rited the devoted attachment of their wives, if, as we learn,
one principal use of the wealth they obtained by plunder, was to bestow it in ornamenting the persons of their partners.' Every thing in the human shape appears to have been kept in willing preparation to kill and slay on all fitting occasions; to avoid it, in any instance, was matter of policy rather than of taste. It was an especial dictate of this policy, to make prisoners rather than victims. These, when they were persons of any account, were worth money, and they were sure to bring it. Nor was it, beyond this consideration of expense, any great calamity to be captured. If the prisoner was taken away, he was treated with civility till ransomed. But he was often set at large immediately, on giving his word to be a true prisoner, with an engagement to appear at a certain time and place, to treat of his ransom.
* If they were able to agree, a term was usually assigned for the payment, and security given ; if not, the prisoner surrendered himself to the discretion of his captor. But where the interest of both parties pointed so strongly to the necessity of mutual accommodation, it rarely happened that they did not agree upon terms.
Thus, even in the encounters of these rude warriors on either side, the nations maintained the character of honour, courage, and generosity, assigned to them by Froissart, Englishmen on the one party, and Scotchmen on the other party, are good men of war ; for when they meet then is a hard fight without sparing; there is no hoo (i. e. cessation for parley) between them, as long as spears, swords, axes, or daggers, will endure; but they lay on each upon other, and when they be well beaten, and that the one party hath obtained the victory, they then glorify so in their deeds of arms, and are so joyful, that such as be taken they shall be ransomed ere they go out of the field; so that shortly each of them is so content with other, that at their departing courteously, they will say, 'God thank you.' But in fighting one with another, there is no play nor sparing."
That there should be poetry and legends among such people is not wonderful ; but then, for religion! That, too, was sure to have a place among their notions and observances; and it was in a form not much out of barmony with the feeling which could invoke God' to 'thank' men for their gallantry and exultation among swords, daggers, axes, and dead bodies. They 6 never,' says our Author, told their beads, according to Lesley, 6 with such devotion as when they were setting out upon a
marauding party, and expected a good booty as the recompense of their devotions.' In several Scottish districts which he names, he says there were no resident ecclesiastics to celebrate the rites of the Church. "A monk from Melrose, called, from • the porteous or breviary which he wore in his breast, a book
a-bosom, visited these forlorn regions once a year, and so• lemnized marriages and baptisms.' It was no question for the monk how they came by the means of paying for his services; por would he have besitated to visit them at shorter intervals, if their spoils and wills had allowed an adequate remuneration. Uncanonical customs, some of which are noticed, could not fail to arise, and to acquire an appearance of sanction, under this iofrequency of the regular offices of the Church. Parts of the English Border were better supplied with really authorized, or self-appointed churchmen, many of whom 'attending the free• booters as Friar Tuck is said to have done upon Robin Hood, partook in their spoils, and mingled with the reliques of bar
barism the rites and ceremonies of the Christian Church.' These ghostly abettors' of theft and rapine are exposed, with emphatic censure, in a pastoral admonition of Fox, Bishop of Durham, dated about the end of the fifteenth century, and cited by our Author, as descriptive also of the general savage mode of life, which it is charged upon the nobles, and even the king's
officers,' that they likewise patronized and participated. The barbarous customs were found remaining in full prevalence, by the venerable Bernard Gilpin, some of the remarkable and romantic anecdotes of whose life are here very properly repeated.
Mr. Scott seems to admit, not without some reluctance, that
non-conforming presbyterian preachers were the first who brought this rude generation to any sense of the benefits of religion.' To this sentence he subjoins, in a note, as a quotation from a history of · Scottish Worthies,' a curious passage in the life of Richard Cameron, who gave name to the sect of Cameronians.
• After he was licensed, they sent him at first-to preach in Annandalc. He said, How could he go there? He knew not what sort of people they were.
But Mr. Welch said, Go your way, Ritchie, and set the fire of hell to their tails. He went, and the first day he preached upon that text, How shall I put thee among the children, &c. ? In the application he said, Put you among the children! the offspring of robbers and thieves. Many have heard of Annandale thieves. Some of them got a merciful cast that day, and told it afterwards, that it was the first field-meeting that ever they attended; and that they went out of curiosity to see how a minister could preach in a tent, and people sit on the ground.'
The remainder of this historical Introduction consists of a statement, considerably at large, and containing a variety of curious details and anecdotes, of the measures of government adopted by the two States, for keeping the Borders in some degree of order. The predominant comprehensive institution was, the appointment and residence of officers of high rank, holding
special commissions from the crown of either country, and entitled wardens, or guardians of the marches, sometimes two, often three, on each side of the boundary, with sometimes a lord-warden-general to superintend their conduct.
• The duties committed to the charge of the wardens were of a two-fold nature, as they regarded the maintenance of law and good order amongst the inhabitants of their jurisdiction themselves, and as they concerned the exterior relations betwixt them and the opposite frontier.
• The abodes of the Scottish wardens were generally their own castles on the frontiers, such as we have described them to be; and the large trees, which are still to be seen in the neighbourhood of these baronial strong-holds, served for the ready execution of justice or revenge on such malefactors as they chose to doom to death.'
The mention of revenge' as a principle operating and so proumptly gratified in the administration of these guardians, may suggest how very imperfectly the institution could have answered its proper end. In truth, though it did prevent an entire anarchy, it not only often failed in the repression and redress of wrong, but was sometimes directly perverted to the perpetra. tion of it. The Scottish monarchs were not sufficiently powerful in their southern territories, to dare confer the office on any but the proud nobles who were already, in virtue of their own possessions and influence, a kind of regents in the border tracts. This was the case also with the English kings till the time of Henry VIII., when the power of the government became sufficiently established to appoint to the office men in dependent of the northern nobility, and who, sustained by the immediate authority of the Court, could act in defiance of them. It is obvious what mischief must have inevitably resulted from investing with all the weight of a royal and extensive commission, the lords of the Border, who had their own local selfish interests, their ambition, their competitious, their quarrels, and their arrears of revenge, combined with a feudal ascendency in their respective districts. It was infallibly certain that they would, as they often in fact did, avail themselves of their commission, and the military and fiscal force assigned to them for its execution, to gratify their rapacity or revenge, by acts of flagrant injustice against their personal rivals and enemies.
In the hands of independent, upright, and intelligent men, such as some of the English wardens in the later reigns, the authority of the office was exerted to a highly beneficial effect; but among 50 many fierce wild animals, existing in sections ill affected to one another, and continually coming in hazardous contact with the rival irregularity and fierceness of the opposite Borderers, the wardens liad often, as our Author's account of the rules and expedients of their administration, and his amusing interspersion of unlucky incidents, may serve to illustrate, a most difficult exercise for all their resolution and prudence. Sir Robert Cary, whose Memoirs were published a few years since, was an example of this hard exercise of these qualities, and of its general efficacy.
There is considerable interest, obsolete as the whole matter is, in reading the lively detail of the formalities, chivalrous or grotesque, of the administration of the warden's government. Curious as some of them were in themselves, they were peculiarly liable, from the character of the people, to become quite fantastic in the practice, by accompanying incidents, comical, tragical, or both at once. The very phraseology of an oath of purgation seems to speak the wild peculiarity of the popular character. “ You shall swear by leaven above you, bell be“ neath you, by your part of paradise, by all that God made in “six days and seven nights, and by God himself, you are whart “ out sackless of art, part, way, witting, ridd, kenning, having, " or recetting of any of the goods and cattels named in this “ bill, So help you God.”
With the mere banditti, the moss-troopers, when they were caught in the fact, the process of justice was very summary and conclusive.
• The Border marauders had every motive to exert their faculties