James II.king of Scotland, only son of the preceding and of Joanna Beaufort, born in 1430, killed in 1460. Being but a child when he became king, his mother was appointed to take charge of his person during his minority, and the earl of Douglas lieutenant general of the kingdom. The government was really in the hands of Sir "William Crichton, who had been made chancellor by James I.; and next to him was Sir Alexander Livingston, another of the late king's statesmen. These two were rivals, and their quarrels added to the troubles of the country. Archibald of Douglas died, and was succeeded by his son, Earl William, an arrogant youth, who allowed his followers great license; and he and his brother David were put to death by Crichton's orders. The power of Crichton and Livingston was finally ended through the successes of another earl of Douglas in 1446, the king having assumed supreme power in 1444. The internal condition of the country was very bad, through the feuds of the nobles; but Douglas upheld its dignity in the wars with England. A truce for nine years had been made with England, but in 1448 the English entered Scotland, and were defeated by Douglas, whose brother Or-mond soon after won the battle of Sark. The truce was then renewed. The power of Douglas was now on the decline.
The king, whose intellect matured early, was jealous of him, and, aided by Crichton and by Kennedy, archbishop of St. Andrews, he asserted his authority with extraordinary vigor, punishing many of the nobles and their adherents. In 1449 James married Mary, daughter of the duke of Gueldres. Douglas made a pilgrimage to Rome, and during his absence the king took measures for the curtailment of his power, but on his return he received marks of royal favor. He soon left the court, and lived as an independent sovereign in his own territories, perpetrating many acts of lawless cruelty, and setting the royal authority at defiance. Too powerful to be encountered openly, Douglas now became the object of conspiracy. A reconciliation was effected, and the earl visited Stirling castle, where, in spite of his safe-conduct, he was stabbed by James, and then slain by the royal attendants. In the wars that followed the king triumphed, though not without encountering great resistance, and the main branch of the Douglas family was destroyed. The king sought to improve the condition of the people, and the legislative measures of his reign were often as liberal as the character of the age would allow.
The disputes between the houses of York and Lancaster in England, which had now openly commenced, affected Scotland. In 1459, in a treaty between James II. and Henry VI., the former agreed to support the Lancastrians, in consideration of receiving in return portions of the north of England, including Durham and Northumberland. James entered England at the head of 60,000 men, but his army committed such ravages that Henry prevailed upon him to withdraw. In 1460 he renewed the war, not with England, but with the Yorkists, and laid siege to . the frontier fortress of Roxburgh, which the English had held since the defeat of David Bruce at Durham. While the king was examining a battery, one of the guns burst, and a fragment struck him in the groin, causing immediate death. This event occasioned great grief, and the soldiers, listening to the appeal of his widow, persevered in the siege, carried Roxburgh by assault, and razed it to the ground.