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independent of both England and Scotland, and in acts of parliament applicable to England and Wales, the good town of Berwickon-Tweed' was always added. But this practice has been abolished, and Berwick, with its liberties, now forms part of the county of Northumberland. In consequence of this circumstance, the boundary-line between the two countries at its eastern extremity leaves the German Ocean about three miles to the north of the Tweed, and proceeding in a south-westerly direction, strikes the river about three miles from the sea. From this point the Tweed forms the line of demarcation as far as Carham, four miles west from Coldstream, when the boundary proceeds southward, inclining to the east for a distance of fifteen or sixteen miles; it afterwards turns towards the south-west, in which direction it continues nearly the whole of the remaining distance. For forty or fifty miles the dividing line runs through a wild and mountainous country, and along the highest ridges of the Cheviot Hills-the waterbreak, as it is called, being understood as the proper boundary. A large extent of the district through which this part of the line runs was formerly in the condition of a forest, and now consists of extensive sheep-walks. On leaving the mountain ridges which divide Northumberland from Roxburghshire, the line takes the bottom of a valley, along by a stream called the Kershope (a branch of the Liddel), and afterwards along the river Liddel, till about four miles north of Longtown, when it strikes off abruptly from the course of this stream in a direction due west, being marked by an old ditch and embankment called the Scots Dike. This dike is four miles in length, and terminates on the banks of a stream called the Sark, which flows in a southerly direction towards the Solway, and forms the boundary of the two countries between the place where the Scots Dike touches it and its efflux into the Solway. The Solway Firth, which separates Cumberland from the Scottish counties of Dumfries and Kirkcudbright, may be considered as forming the remaining portion of the boundary between the two kingdoms. In ordinary conversation it is customary to speak of the Tweed as the great dividing line of England and Scotland; but it will be observed from the above that the Tweed really forms a comparatively small part of the boundary, by far the larger portion being an ill-marked track across a mountainous country.
From the indistinctness of the line in many parts of its course, there are, in different places, disputed or debatable lands, claimed by opposite jurisdictions ; but these being desolate pastoral tracts, no practical inconvenience ensues.
In consequence of the mutual discord which long unhappily subsisted between England and Scotland, as well as from the feebleness of the administrative law on both sides, the tract of country along the Borders, extending to a length of seventy or eighty miles, by an irregular breadth of from ten to thirty or forty, was distinguished as the scene of almost perpetual disturbance. Apart from that of England and Scotland, the Borders may be said to have a history of their own ; for while the two conterminous nations were at peace, this central district was often engaged in its own family wars and predatory forays, over which the monarchs on either side had no vigorous control.
To remedy this state of things as far as possible, the Borders were divided into east, west, and middle marches, which were placed under the charge of officers of high rank, holding special commissions from the crown, and entitled wardens or guardians of the marches. The persons who filled this important office were usually noblemen or chiefs possessed of great personal influence in the districts committed to their jurisdiction. The duties intrusted to their charge were of a very extensive nature, comprehending the maintenance of law and good order among the inhabitants of their own districts; the control and administration of all the crown manors within their jurisdiction ; and the power of apprehending and inflicting suminary punishment on those who had been guilty of march treason and felony, or of violating any of the ancient rules and customs of the marches. In time of war, the warden was captain-general within his district, with full powers to call out all 'the fencible men,' for the purpose either of defending their own territory, or of invading that of the enemy. In time of peace, he had the difficult duty committed to him of maintaining the amicable relations between the two countries, and of redressing the various grievances arising out of the continual incursions of the mosstroopers on both sides.
The weakness of the Scottish monarchs usually compelled them to confer the office of warden on some of the chiefs of the great Border clans, who appear, without any scruple, to have employed their authority to crush their private enemies, rather than to preserve the public peace, or to secure the impartial administration of justice. The extensive power of these turbulent chieftains made it almost equally dangerous to withhold or to grant whatever boons they chose to exact. Their numerous and devoted clansmen and allies were ever ready to obey their commands, even in opposition to the royal authority; and a combination of these formidable barons, on more than one occasion, proved too strong for the reigning sovereign.
BORDER CLANS AND FEUDS. The system of clanship existed at a very early period on the Borders, and continued to flourish there until the union of the crowns. The frontier provinces of England and Scotland were inhabited in ancient times by several tribes of Britons or Celts, and the patriarchal form of government-a leading feature of Celtic other peculiar usages of the ancient inhabitants, and in despite of the feudal system, with which it was often at variance. According to this simple mode of government, which was universal among the ancient Celtic nations, the chief of the clan was supposed to be the immediate representative of the common ancestor whose name they usually bore, and from whom, it was alleged, they were all descended. He was their counsellor in peace, and their leader in war. His authority over them was absolute, and they paid the most unlimited obedience to his commands. Indeed, they respected no other authority : and so completely were they devoted to the service of their chief, that they were at all times ready to follow him against the king himself. In return for this devoted attachment to his person and interest, the clansmen looked up to their chief for advice, subsistence, protection, and revenge. He was expected to display the most profuse hospitality, and to expend his means of subsistence in the service of his clan. He seems to have had little that he could properly call his own, except his horses and his arms. However extensive his domains, he derived no advantage from them, save only from such parts as he could himself cultivate or occupy. The rest of his territories were distributed among his friends and principal followers, who repaid him by their personal service in battle, their assistance in labouring the land retained in his own possession, the payment of the various feudal casualties, and probably by a share of their plunder. Payment of rent was unknown on the Borders till after the union of the crowns. The revenues of the chieftains were therefore almost exclusively derived from their extensive flocks and herds, and from the black-mail which they exacted from their neighbours in payment of the protection afforded them from plunder.
As the clansmen were expected to exhibit the deepest devotion to the interests of their chief, so, in return, he was expected to extend to them his protection under all circumstances, and by all means, legal or illegal. The authority of the feudal superior was greatly inferior to that of the chief; for, in the acts regulating the Borders, we find repeated mention of 'clannes having captaines and chieftaines, on whom they depend, oft-times against the willes of their landeslordes. Consequently, these laws looked to the chieftain rather than to the feudal superior for the restraint of the disorderly tribes; and it is repeatedly enacted that the head of the clan should be first called upon to deliver those of his sept who should commit any trespass; and that on his failure to do so, he should be liable to the injured party in full redress. Hence, in accordance with the ancient Celtic usages, the chief not unfrequently made atonement for the murders or acts of aggression committed by his clan, by the payment of such a fine, or assythement,' as it was called, as might make up the feud. Oftener, however, the chieftains not only connived at the misconduct of their clansmen and allies, but protected
them in all their deeds of rapine and bloodshed; and as the offended clan considered it a sacred duty to avenge the death of any of their number, not only upon the homicide, but, in the phrase of the time, upon all his name, kindred, maintainers, and upholders,' deadly feuds were of frequent occurrence, and the most savage acts of cruelty were remorselessly committed. Speaking of this custom of blood-revenge, which it justly terms most heathenish and barbarous, the statute (1594) expressly declares that the 'murders, ravage, and daily oppression of the subjects, to the displeasure of God, dishonour of the prince, and devastation of the country,' were occasioned partly by the negligence of the landlords and territorial magistrates within whose jurisdiction the malefactors dwelt, but chiefly by the chieftains, and principal leaders of the clans and their branches, who bore deadly quarrel, and sought revenge for the hurt or slaughter of any of their unhappy race, although done in form of justice, or in recovery of stolen goods. So that the said chieftains, principals of branches, and householders worthily may be esteemed the very authors, fosterers, and maintainers of the wicked deeds of the vagabonds of their clans or surnames.'
Of the inveterate determination of the Borderers to act vengefully, we have a striking example in the case of Sir Robert Kerr, warden of the middle marches in the year 1511, who was slain at a Border meeting by three Englishmen-Heron, Starhead, and Lilburn. The English monarch delivered up Lilburn to justice in Scotland ; but the other two escaped. Starhead fled for refuge to the very centre of England, and there lived in secrecy and upon his guard. Two dependants of the murdered warden were deputed by Andrew Kerr of Cessford to revenge his father's death. They travelled through England in various disguises till they discovered the place of Starhead's retreat, murdered him in his bed, and brought his head to their master, by whom, in memorial of their vengeance, it was exposed at the Cross of Edinburgh. Heron would have shared the same fate, had he not spread abroad a report of his having died of the plague, and caused his funeral obsequies to be performed. A deadly feud of this kind, attended with all the circumstances of horror peculiar to a barbarous age, raged between the powerful families of Johnstone and Maxwell about the close of the sixteenth century. In the year 1593, Lord Maxwell, who was then warden of the west marches, armed with the royal authority, assembled all the barons of Nithsdale, and displaying his banner as the king's lieutenant, invaded Annandale at the head of two thousand men, with the purpose of crushing the ancient rival and enemy of his house. The Johnstones, however, assisted by the Scotts, Elliois, and other clans, boldly stood their ground; and in a desperate conflict which took place at the Dryfe Sands, not far from Lockerby, gained a decisive victory. Lord Maxwell was struck from his horse, mutilated
Maxwell's Thorn.' His followers suffered grievously in the retreat. Many of them were slashed in the face by the pursuers; a kind of blow which to this day is called in that district a Lockerby lick.'
So feeble was the royal authority, that the king not only found himself unable to exact any vengeance for this outrage, but was even constrained to bestow on Johnstone the wardency of the middle marches. The feud between the Maxwells and Johnstones was carried on with every circumstance of ferocity which could add horror to civil war. The son of the slain Lord Maxwell vowed the deepest revenge for his father's death. With this view he invited Sir James Johnstone to a friendly conference, under the pretence of a desire to terminate the feud between their clans. They met, each with a single attendant, at a place called Auchmanhill, on the. 6th of August 1608—fifteen years after the battle of Dryfe Sandswhen Lord Maxwell, availing himself of a favourable opportunity, treacherously shot Sir James Johnstone through the back with a brace of bullets. The gallant old chief died on the spot, after having for some time bravely defended himself against the traitorous assassin, who endeavoured to strike him with his sword while he lay dying on the ground. 'A fact,' says Spottiswood, 'detested by all honest men, and the gentleman's misfortune severely lamented, for he was a man full of wisdom and courage.'
The murderer, finding no refuge in the Borders, made his escape to France; but, having ventured to return to Scotland after the union of the crowns, he was apprehended, and brought to trial at Edinburgh; and the royal authority being now much strengthened, the king caused him to be publicly executed, 21st May 1613. Thus, says Sir Walter Scott, was finally ended, by a solitary example of severity, the “foul debate” betwixt the Maxwells and Johnstones, in the course of which each family lost two chieftains-one dying of a broken heart, one in the field of battle, one by assassination, and one by the sword of the executioner.
In cases of deadly feud, vengeance was sought not only against the offender, but against all who were in any way connected with him. Of this the tragical fate of Anthony d'Arcy, Sieur de la Bastie, affords a melancholy example. After the execution of Lord Home by the Regent Albany in 1516, De la Bastie was appointed to succeed him as warden of the east marches. It does not appear that this gallant knight, whose talents were equally high in the cabinet and in the field, had the least concern in Lord Home's execution ; but he was a friend of the regent, and that was enough to expose him to the vengeance of the ferocious Borderers, who burned to avenge the death of their chief. A plot, contrived by Home of Wedderburn and other friends of the late earl, drew De la Bastie towards Langton in the Merse. Here, ere he was aware, he found himself surrounded by his unrelenting enemies. He attempted to save himself by the fleetness of his horse ; but his ignorance of the country unfortunately