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Stuart dynasty

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20 The Stuart Dynasty.
Public indignation against Albany rising fast, a Parlia-
ment was called at Holyrood in May 1402, before which
assembly Albany and Douglas were examined and acquitted,
but in language which did not clear their characters from
the foulest suspicions. It is declared by the Parliament
" that the young prince died by the visitation of Provi-
dence," Albany and Douglas being indemnified, and
persons furbidden to repeat calumnious rumours regarding
them.*
Unfortunately the dictum of a Scotch Parliament at this
period is open to two objections. In the first place, each
gathering was determined by the needs of Government to
enable them to proceed in their executive task, or remove
some present difficulty, rather than by reason of any legal
obligation to discuss the affairs of the nation, and it was a
recurrence to such a state of things which injured the Stuart
prospects so sorely when they ruled England in the seven-
teenth century. Secondly, the assemblage of barons, Church-
men, and commoners holding of the King, which made up
Parliament in Scotland, sat in a single chamber, and no
second House could check its proceedings in any way.
Hence its rulings were always liable to the suspicion of having
been prompted by some great noble whose royal favour
enabled him to gain a majority, and for this reason men
will continue to look askance on the conduct of Kobert Duke
of Albany and the famous fighting Douglas (who was
afterwards taken prisoner at Shrewsbury) regarding the
Duke of Rothesay, although the amount of provocation, and
the measure of danger which the country encountered through
the wild levities of the heir-apparent, should be weighed
in the balance. As, to the King himself, historians are
at one in absolving him from any complicity in his son's
death; although the pliability which led him to listen to
Douglas and Albany was unfortunate in the same propor-
tion as were the monarch's disabilities, natural and acquired,
which prevented him from fulfilling the rough duties of
his position.f
* Burton's 'History of Scotland,' new edition, vol. ii. p. 381. The late
historiographer for Scotland thought this matter very obscure.
t Tradition, in Edinburgh at least, is adverse to the Duke of Albany in this
matter, for a graceful chapel in St. Giles's, which takes the name of Albany's
Aisle, is said by Dr. Cameron Lees, historian of that cathedra], to have been
erected by the Regent in expiation of Rothesay's murder. — 'St. Giles's
Church and Cathedral, Edinburgh,' by J. Cameron Lees, D.D. (W. & R.
Chambers, 1889.)

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