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of hills, on the English side, to give them warning if at any time any power of men should come to surprise them. The three ambushes were safely laid, without being discovered, and, about four o'clock in the morning, there were three hundred horse, and a thousand foot,' that came directly to the place where the scoutes lay. They gave the alarm; our men brake down as fast as they could into the wood. The outlawes thought themselves safe, assuring themselves at any time to escape; but they were so strongly set upon, on the English side, as they were forced to leave their goodes, and betake themselves to their passages towards Scotland. There was presently five taken of the principal of them. The rest, seeing themselves, as they thought, betrayed, retired into the thicke woodes and bogges, that our men durst not follow them, for fear of loosing themselves. The principall of the five that were taken, were two of the eldest sonnes of Sim of Whitrum. These five they brought to mee to the fort, and a number of goodes, both of sheep and kine, which satisfied most part of the country that they had stolen them from.
1 From this it would appear, that Carey, although his constant attendants in his fort consisted only of 200 horse, had upon this occasion, by the assistance, probably, of the English and Scottish royal garrisons, collected a much greater force.
"There are now no trees in Liddesdale, except on the banks of the rivers, where they are protected from the sheep. But the stumps and fallen timber, which are everywhere found in the morasses, attest how well the country must have been wooded in former days.
"The five, that were taken, were of great worth and value amongst them; insomuch, that for their liberty, I should have what conditions I should demand or desire. First, all English prisoners were set at liberty. Then had I themselves, and most part of the gentlemen of the Scottish side, so strictly bound in bondes to enter to mee, in fifteen dayes warning, any offendthat they durst not for their lives break any covenant that I made with them; and so, upon these conditions, I set them at liberty, and was never after troubled with these kind of people. Thus God blessed me in bringing this great trouble to so quiet an end; wee brake up our fort, and every man retired to his own house."-CAREY's Memoirs, p. 151.
The people of Liddesdale have retained, by tradition, the remembrance of Carey's Raid, as they call it. They tell, that while he was besieging the outlaws in the Tarras, they contrived, by ways known only to themselves, to send a party into England, who plundered the Warden's lands. On their return, they sent Carey one of his own cows, telling him, that, fearing he might fall short of provision during his visit to Scotland, they had taken the precaution of sending him some English beef. The anecdote is too characteristic to be suppressed.
From this narrative, the power and strength of the Armstrongs, at this late period, appear to have been very considerable. Even upon the death of Queen Elizabeth, this clan, associated with other banditti of
the West Marches, to the number of two or three hundred horse, entered England in a hostile manner, and extended their ravages as far as Penrith. James VI., then at Berwick, upon his journey to his new capital, detached a large force, under Sir William Selby, captain of Berwick, to bring these depredators to order. Their raid, remarkable for being the last of any note occurring in history, was avenged in an exemplary manner. Most of the strongholds upon the Liddel were razed to the foundation, and several of the principal leaders were executed at Carlisle; after which we find little mention of the Armstrongs in history. The precautions adopted by the Earl of Dunbar to preserve peace on the Borders, bore peculiarly hard upon a body of men long accustomed to the most ungoverned license. They appear, in a great measure, to have fallen victims to the strictness of the new enactments.-RIDPATH, p. 703.-STOW, 819.-LAING, vol. i. The lands, possessed by them in former days, have chiefly come into the hands of the Buccleuch family, and of the Elliots; so that, with one or two exceptions, we may say, that in the country which this warlike clan once occupied, there is hardly left a landholder of the name.
One of the last Border reivers was, however, of this family, and lived within the beginning of the last century. After having made himself dreaded over the whole country, he at last came to the following end :One a man of large property, having lost twelve
cows in one night, raised the country of Teviotdale, and traced the robbers into Liddesdale, as far as the house of this Armstrong, commonly called Willie of Westburnflat, from the place of his residence, on the banks of the Hermitage water. Fortunately for the pursuers, he was then asleep; so that he was secured, along with nine of his friends, without much resistance. He was brought to trial at Selkirk; and, although no precise evidence was adduced to convict him of the special fact, (the cattle never having been recovered,) yet the jury brought him in guilty on his general character, or, as it is called in our law, on habit and repute. When sentence was pronounced, Willie arose; and, seizing the oaken chair in which he was placed, broke it into pieces by main strength, and offered to his companions, who were involved in the same doom, that, if they would stand behind him, he would fight his way out of Selkirk with these weapons. But they held his hands, and besought him to let them die like Christians. They were accordingly executed in form of law. This incident is said to have happened at the last Circuit Court held at Selkirk. The people of Liddesdale, who (perhaps not erroneously) still consider the sentence as iniquitous, remarked, that the prosecutor, never throve afterwards, but came to beggary and ruin, with his whole family.
Johnie Armstrong, of Gilnockie, the hero of the following ballad, is a noted personage, both in history and tradition. He was, it would seem from the ballad, a
brother of the Laird of Mangertoun, chief of the name. His place of residence (now a roofless tower) was at the Hollows, a few miles from Langholm, where its ruins still serve to adorn a scene, which, in natural beauty, has few equals in Scotland. At the head of a desperate band of freebooters, this Armstrong is said to have spread the terror of his name almost as far as Newcastle, and to have levied black-mail, or protection and forbearance money, for many miles round. James V., of whom it was long remembered by his grateful people that he made the "rush-bush keep the cow," about 1529, undertook an expedition through the Border counties, to suppress the turbulent spirit of the Marchmen. But before setting out upon his journey, he took the precaution of imprisoning the different Border chieftains, who were the chief protectors of the marauders. The Earl of Bothwell was forfeited, and confined in Edinburgh Castle. The Lords of Home and Maxwell, the Lairds of Buccleuch, Fairniherst, and Johnston, with many others, were also committed to ward. Cockburn of Henderland, and Adam Scott of Tushielaw, called the King of the Border, were publicly executed.-LESLEY, p. 430. The King then marched rapidly forward, at the head of a flying army of ten thousand men, through Ettrick Forest and Ews dale. The evil genius of our Johnie Armstrong, or, as others say, the private advice of some courtiers, prompted him to present himself before James, at the head of thirty-six horse, arrayed in all the pomp of Border