Thursday, December 9, 2010

Malcolm IV of Scotland

'In Malcolm's reign the lords of the Hebridean islands, who were in a state of independence, scarcely acknowledging even a nominal allegiance either to the crown of Scotland or that of Norway, though claimed by both countries, began to give much annoyance to the western coasts of Scotland, to which their light-armed galleys or birlins, and their habits of piracy, gave great facilities. Somerled was at this time lord of the isles, and a frequent leader in such incursions. Peace was made with this turbulent chief in 1153; but in 1164, ten years after, Somerled was again in arms, and fell, attempting a descent at Renfrew.

Malcolm IV. 's transactions with Henry of England were of greater moment. Henry (second of the name) had sworn (in 1149) that if he ever gained the English crown he would put the Scottish king in possession of Carlisle, and of all the country lying between Tweed and Tyne; but, when securely seated on the throne, instead of fulfilling his obligation, he endeavored to deprive Malcolm of such possessions in the northern counties as yet remained to him, forgetting his obligations to his great-uncle David, and his relationship to the young king his grandson. The youth and inexperience of Malcolm seem on this occasion to have been circumvented by the sagacity of Henry, who was besides, in point of power, greatly superior to the young Scots prince. Indeed, it would appear that the English sovereign had acquired a personal influence over his kinsman, of which his Scottish subjects had reason to be jealous. Malcolm yielded up to Henry all his possessions in Cumberland and Northumberland; and when it is considered that his grandfather David had not been able to retain them with any secure hold, even when England was distracted with the civil wars of Stephen and Matilda, it must be owned that his descendant, opposed to Henry II. in his plenitude of undisputed power, had little chance to make his claim good. He also did homage for Lothian, to the great scandal of Scottish historians, who, conceiving his doing so affected the question of Scottish independence, are much disposed 3

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