A board of trade was erected by the king in 1622.[*] One of the reasons assigned in the commission is, to remedy the low price of wool, which begat complaints of the decay of the woollen manufactory. It is more probable, however, that this fall of prices proceeded from the increase of wool. The king likewise recommends it to the commissioners to inquire and examine, whether a greater freedom of trade, and an exemption from the restraint of exclusive companies, would not be beneficial. Men were then fettered by their own prejudices; and the king was justly afraid of embracing a bold measure, whose consequences might be uncertain. The digesting of a navigation act, of a like nature with the famous one executed afterwards by the republican parliament, is likewise recommended to the commissioners. The arbitrary powers then commonly assumed by the privy council, appear evidently through the whole tenor of the commission.
The silk manufacture had no footing in England: but, by James's direction, mulberry-trees were planted, and silk-worms introduced.[**] The climate seems unfavorable to the success of this project. The planting of hops increased much in England during this reign.
* Rymer tom, xvii. p. 410.
Greenland is thought to have been discovered about this period; and the whale fishery was carried on with success: but the industry of the Dutch, in spite of all opposition, soon deprived the English of this source of riches. A company was erected for the discovery of the north-west passage; and many fruitless attempts were made for that purpose. In such noble projects, despair ought never to be admitted, till the absolute impossibility of success be fully ascertained.
The passage to the East Indies had been opened to the English during the reign of Elizabeth; but the trade to those parts was not entirely established till this reign, when the East India company received a new patent, enlarged their stock to one million five hundred thousand pounds,[*] and fitted out several ships on these adventures. In 1609, they built a vessel of twelve hundred tons, the largest merchant ship that England had ever known. She was unfortunate, and perished by shipwreck. In 1611, a large ship of the company, assisted by a pinnace, maintained five several engagements with a squadron of Portuguese, and gained a complete victory over forces much superior. During the following years, the Dutch company was guilty of great injuries towards the English, in expelling many of their factors, and destroying their settlements: but these violences were resented with a proper spirit by the court of England. A naval force was equipped under the earl of Oxford,[**] and lay in wait for the return of the Dutch East India fleet. By reason of cross winds, Oxford tailed of his purpose, and the Dutch escaped. Some time after, one rich ship was taken by Vice-admiral Merwin; and it was stipulated by the Dutch to pay seventy thousand pounds to the English company, in consideration of the losses which that company had sustained.[***]
* Journ. 26th Nov. 1621.
** In 1622.
*** Johnstoni Hist. lib. xix.
But neither this stipulation, nor the fear of reprisals, nor the sense of that friendship which subsisted between England and the states, could restrain the avidity of the Dutch company, or render them equitable in their proceedings towards their allies. Impatient to have the sole possession of the spice trade, which the English then shared with them, they assumed a jurisdiction over a factory of the latter in the Island of Amboyna; and on very improbable, and even absurd pretences, seized all the factors with their families, and put them to death with the most inhuman tortures. This dismal news arrived in England at the time when James, by the prejudices of his subjects and the intrigues of his favorite, was constrained to make a breach with Spain: and he was obliged, after some remonstrances, to acquiesce in this indignity from a state whose alliance was now become necessary to him. It is remarkable, that the nation, almost without a murmur, submitted to this injury from their Protestant confederates; an injury which, besides the horrid enormity of the action, was of much deeper importance to national interest, than all those which they were so impatient to resent from the house of Austria.
The exports of England from Christmas, 1612, to Christmas 1613, are computed at two millions four hundred and eighty-seven thousand four hundred and thirty-five pounds; the imports at two millions one hundred and forty-one thousand one hundred and fifty-one: so that the balance in favor of England was three Hundred and forty-six thousand two hundred and eighty-four.[*] But in 1622, the exports were two millions three hundred and twenty thousand four hundred and thirty-six pounds; the imports two millions six hundred and nineteen thousand three hundred and fifteen; which makes a balance of two hundred and ninety-eight thousand eight hundred and seventy-nine pounds against England.[**] The coinage of England from 1599 to 1619 amounted to four millions seven hundred and seventy-nine thousand three hundred and fourteen pounds thirteen shillings and fourpence:[***] a proof that the balance, in the main, was considerably in favor of the kingdom. As the annual imports and exports together rose to near five millions, and the customs never yielded so much as two Hundred thousand pounds a year, of which tonnage made a part, it appears that the new rates affixed by James did not, on the whole, amount to one shilling in the pound, and consequently were still inferior to the intention of the original grant of parliament. The East India company usually carried out a third of their cargo in commodities.[****] The trade to Turkey was one of the most gainful to the nation. It appears that copper halfpence and farthings began to be coined in this reign.[v] Tradesmen had commonly carried on their retail business chiefly by means of leaden tokens. The small silver penny was soon lost, and at this time was nowhere to be found.
* Misselden's Circle of Commerce, p. 121.
** Misselden's Circle of Commerce, p. 121.
*** Happy Future State of England, p. 78.
**** Munn's Discourse on the East India Trade.
v Anderson, vol. i. p. 477.
What chiefly renders the reign of James memorable, is the commencement of the English colonies in America; colonies established on the noblest footing that has been known in any age or nation. The Spaniards, being the first discoverers of the new world, immediately took possession of the precious mines which they found there; and, by the allurement of great riches, they were tempted to depopulate their own country, as well as that which they conquered; and added the vice of sloth to those of avidity and barbarity, which had attended their adventurers in those renowned enterprises. That fine coast was entirely neglected which reaches from St. Augustine to Cape Breton, and which lies in all the temperate climates, is watered by noble rivers, and offers a fertile soil, but nothing more, to the industrious planter. Peopled gradually from England by the necessitous and indigent, who at home increased neither wealth nor populousness, the colonies which were planted along that tract have promoted the navigation, encouraged the industry, and even perhaps multiplied the inhabitants of their mother country. The spirit of independency, which was reviving in England, here shone forth in its full lustre, and received new accession from the aspiring character of those who, being discontented with the established church and monarchy, had sought for freedom amidst those savage deserts.
Queen Elizabeth had done little more than given a name to the continent of Virginia; and, after her planting one feeble colony, which quickly decayed, that country was entirely abandoned. But when peace put an end to the military enterprises against Spain, and left ambitious spirits no hopes of making any longer such rapid advances towards honor and fortune, the nation began to second the pacific intentions of its monarch, and to seek a surer, though slower expedient, for acquiring riches and glory. In 1606, Newport carried over a colony, and began a settlement; which the company, erected by patent for that purpose in London and Bristol, took care to supply with yearly recruits of provisions, utensils, and new inhabitants. About 1609, Argal discovered a more direct and shorter passage to Virginia, and left the track of the ancient navigators, who had first directed their course southwards to the tropic, sailed westward by means of the trade winds, and then turned northward, till they reached the English settlements. The same year, five hundred persons, under Sir Thomas Gates and Sir George Somers, were embarked for Virginia. Somers's ship, meeting with a tempest, was driven into the Bermudas, and laid the foundation of a settlement in those islands. Lord Delawar afterwards undertook the government of the English colonies: but, notwithstanding all his care, seconded by supplies from James and by money raised from the first lottery ever known in the kingdom, such difficulties attended the settlement of these countries, that, in 1614, there were not alive more than four hundred men, of all that had been sent thither. After supplying themselves with provisions more immediately necessary for the support of life, the new planters began the cultivating of tobacco; and James, notwithstanding his antipathy to that drug, which he affirmed to be pernicious to men's morals, as well as their health,[*] gave them permission to enter it in England; and he inhibited by proclamation all importation of it from Spain.[**] By degrees, new colonies were established in that continent, and gave new names to the places where they settled, leaving that of Virginia to the province first planted. The Island of Barbadoes was also planted in this reign.
* Rymer, tom. xvii. p. 621.
** Rymer, tom. xvii. p. 621, 633.
Speculative reasoners, during that age, raised many objections to the planting of those remote colonies; and foretold that, after draining their mother country of inhabitants, they would soon shake off her yoke, and erect an independent government in America: but time has shown, that the views entertained by those who encouraged such generous undertakings, were more just and solid. A mild government and great naval force have preserved, and may still preserve during some time, the dominion of England over her colonies. And such advantages have commerce and navigation reaped from these establishments, that more than a fourth of the English shipping is at present computed to be employed in carrying on the traffic with the American settlements.
Agriculture was anciently very imperfect in England. The sudden transitions, so often mentioned by historians, from the lowest to the highest price of grain, and the prodigious inequality of its value in different years, are sufficient proofs, that the produce depended entirely on the seasons, and that art had as yet done nothing to fence against the injuries of the heavens. During this reign, considerable improvements were made, as in most arts, so in this, the most beneficial of any. A numerous catalogue might be formed of books and pamphlets treating of husbandry, which were written about this time. The nation, however, was still dependent on foreigners for daily bread; and though its exportation of grain forms a considerable branch of its commerce, notwithstanding its probable increase of people, there was, in that period, a regular importation from the Baltic, as well as from France and if it ever stopped, the bad consequences were sensibly felt by the nation. Sir Walter Raleigh, in his Observations, computes that two millions went out at one time for corn. It was not till the fifth of Elizabeth, that the exportation of corn had been allowed in England; and Camden observes, that agriculture from that moment received new life and vigor.
The endeavors of James, or, more properly speaking, those—of the nation, for promoting trade, were attended with greater success than those for the encouragement of learning. Though the age was by no means destitute of eminent writers, a very bad taste in general prevailed during that period; and the monarch himself was not a little infected with it.
On the origin of letters among the Greeks, the genius of poets and orators, as might naturally be expected, was distinguished by an amiable simplicity, which, whatever rudeness may sometimes attend it, is so fitted to express the genuine movements of nature and passion, that the compositions possessed of it must ever appear valuable to the discerning part of mankind. The glaring figures of discourse, the pointed antithesis, the unnatural conceit, the jingle of words; such false ornaments were not employed by early writers; not because they were rejected, but because they scarcely ever occurred to them. An easy, unforced strain of sentiment runs through their compositions; though at the same time we may observe, that, amidst the most elegant simplicity of thought and expression, one is sometimes surprised to meet with a poor conceit, which had presented itself unsought for, and which the author had not acquired critical observation enough to condemn.[*]
* The name of Polynices, one of OEdipus's sons, means in the original "much quarrelling." In the altercations between the two brothers, in AEschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides, this conceit is employed; and it is remarkable, that so poor a conundrum could not be rejected by any of these three poets, so justly celebrated for their taste and simplicity. What could Shakspeare have done worse? Terence has his "inceptio est amentium, non amanthim." Many similar instances will occur to the learned. It is well known that Aristotle treats very seriously of puns, divides them into several classes, and recommends the use of them to orators.
A bad taste seizes with avidity these frivolous beauties, and even perhaps a good taste, ere surfeited by them: they multiply every day more and more in the fashionable compositions: nature and good sense are neglected: labored ornaments studied and admired: and a total degeneracy of style and language prepares the way for barbarism and ignorance. Hence the Asiatic manner was found to depart so much from the simple purity of Athens: hence that tinsel eloquence which is observable in many of the Roman writers, from which Cicero himself is not wholly exempted, and which so much prevails in Ovid, Seneca, Lucan, Martial, and the Plinys.
On the revival of letters, when the judgment of the public is yet raw and unformed, this false glitter catches the eye, and leaves no room, either in eloquence or poetry, for the durable beauties of solid sense and lively passion. The reigning genius is then diametrically opposite to that which prevails on the first origin of arts. The Italian writers, it is evident, even the most celebrated, have not reached the proper simplicity of thought and composition; and in Petrarch, Tasso, Guarini, frivolous witticisms and forced conceits are but too predominant. The period during which letters were cultivated in Italy was so short, as scarcely to allow leisure for correcting this adulterated relish.
The more early French writers are liable to the same reproach. Voiture, Balzac, even Coraeneille, have too much affected those ambitious ornaments, of which the Italians in general, and the least pure of the ancients, supplied them with so many models. And it was not till late, that observation and reflection gave rise to a more natural turn of thought and composition among that elegant people.
A like character may be extended to the first English writers; such as flourished during the reigns of Elizabeth and James, and even till long afterwards. Learning, on its revival in this island, was attired in the same unnatural garb which it wore at the time of its decay among the Greeks and Romans. And, what may be regarded as a misfortune, the English writers were possessed of great genius before they were endowed with any degree of taste, and by that means gave a kind of sanction to those forced turns and sentiments which they so much affected. Their distorted conceptions and expressions are attended with such vigor of mind, that we admire the imagination which produced them, as much as we blame the want of judgment which gave them admittance. To enter into an exact criticism of the writers of that age, would exceed our present purpose. A short character of the most eminent, delivered with the same freedom which history exercises over kings and ministers, may not be improper. The national prepossessions which prevail, will perhaps render the former liberty not the least perilous for an author.
If Shakspeare be considered as a man, born in a rude age, and educated in the lowest manner, without any instruction either from the world or from books, he may be regarded as a prodigy: if represented as a poet, capable of furnishing a proper entertainment to a refined or intelligent audience, we must abate much of this eulogy. In his compositions, we regret that many irregularities, and even absurdities, should so frequently disfigure the animated and passionate scenes intermixed with them; and at the same time, we perhaps admire the more those beauties, on account of their being surrounded with such deformities. A striking peculiarity of sentiment adapted to a singular character, he frequently hits, as it were by inspiration; but a reasonable propriety of thought he cannot for any time uphold. Nervous and picturesque expressions, as well as descriptions, abound in him; but it is in vain we look either for purity or simplicity of diction. His total ignorance of all theatrical art and conduct, however material a defect, yet, as it affects the spectator rather than the reader, we can more easily excuse, than that want of taste which often prevails in his productions, and which gives way only by intervals to the irradiations of genius. A great and fertile genius he certainly possessed, and one enriched equally with a tragic and comic vein; but he ought to be cited as a proof, how dangerous it is to rely on these advantages alone for attaining an excellence in the finer arts.[*] And there may even remain a suspicion, that we overrate, if possible, the greatness of his genius; in the same manner as bodies often appear more gigantic, on account of their being disproportioned and misshapen. He died in 1616, aged fifty-three years.
* Invenire etiam barbari solent, disponere et ornare non nisi eruditus.—PLIN
Jonson possessed all the learning which was wanting to Shakspeare, and wanted all the genius of which the other was possessed. Both of them were equally deficient in taste and elegance, in harmony and correctness. A servile copyist of the ancients, Jonson translated into bad English the beautiful passages of the Greek and Roman authors, without accommodating them to the manners of his age and country. His merit has been totally eclipsed by that of Shakspeare, whose rude genius prevailed over the rude art of his contemporary. The English theatre has ever since taken a strong tincture of Shakspeare's spirit and character; and thence it has proceeded, that the nation has undergone, from all its neighbors, the reproach of barbarism, from which its valuable productions in some other parts of learning would otherwise have exempted it. Jonson had a pension of a hundred marks from the king, which Charles afterwards augmented to a hundred pounds He died in 1637, aged sixty-three.
Fairfax has translated Tasso with an elegance and ease, and at the same time with an exactness, which, for that age, are surprising. Each line in the original is faithfully rendered by a correspondent line in the translation. Harrington's translation of Ariosto is not likewise without its merit. It is to be regretted, that these poets should have imitated the Italians in their stanza, which has a prolixity and uniformity in it that displeases in long performances. They had, otherwise, as well as Spenser, who went before them, contributed much to the polishing and refining of the English versification.
In Donne's satires, when carefully inspected, there appear some flashes of wit and ingenuity; but these totally suffocated and buried by the harshest and most uncouth expression that is any where to be met with.
If the poetry of the English was so rude and imperfect during that age, we may reasonably expect that their prose would be liable to still greater objections. Though the latter appears the more easy, as it is the more natural method of composition, it has ever in practice been found the more rare and difficult; and there scarcely is an instance, in any language, that it has reached a degree of perfection, before the refinement of poetical numbers and expression. English prose, during the reign of James, was written with little regard to the rules of grammar, and with a total disregard to the elegance and harmony of the period. Stuffed with Latin sentences and quotations, it likewise imitated those inversions, which, however forcible and graceful in the ancient languages, are entirely contrary to the idiom of the English. I shall indeed venture to affirm, that, whatever uncouth phrases and expressions occur in old books, they were chiefly owing to the unformed taste of the author; and that the language spoken in the courts of Elizabeth and James, was very little different from that which we meet with at present in good company. Of this opinion, the little scraps of speeches which are found in the parliamentary journals, and which carry all air so opposite to the labored: rations, seem to be a sufficient proof; and there want not productions of that age, which, being written by men who were not authors by profession, retain a very natural manner, and may give us some idea of the language which prevailed among men of the world. I shall particularly mention Sir John Davis's Discovery. Throgmorton's, Essex's, and Nevil's letters. In a more early period, Cavendish's life of Cardinal Wolsey, the pieces that remain of Bishop Gardiner, and Anne Boleyn's letter to the king, differ little or nothing from the language of our time.
The great glory of literature in this island during the reign of James, was Lord Bacon. Most of his performances were composed in Latin; though he possessed neither the elegance of that, nor of his native tongue. If we consider the variety of talents displayed by this man, as a public speaker, a man of business, a wit, a courtier, a companion, an author, a philosopher, he is justly the object of great admiration. If we consider him merely as an author and philosopher, the light in which we view him at present, though very estimable, he was yet inferior to his contemporary Galilaeo, perhaps even to Kepler. Bacon pointed out at a distance the road to true philosophy: Galilaeo both pointed it out to others, and made himself considerable advances in it. The Englishman was ignorant of geometry: the Florentine revived that science, excelled in it, and was the first that applied it, together with experiment, to natural philosophy. The former rejected, with the most positive disdain, the system of Copernicus: the latter fortified it with new proofs, derived both from reason and the senses. Bacon's style is stiff and rigid: his wit, though often brilliant, is also often unnatural and far-fetched; and he seems to be the original of those pointed similes and long-spun allegories which so much distinguish the English authors: Galilaeo is a lively and agreeable, though somewhat a prolix writer. But Italy not united in any single government, and perhaps satiated with that literary glory which it has possessed both in ancient and modern times, has too much neglected the renown which it has acquired by giving birth to so great a man. That national spirit which prevails among the English, and which forms their great happiness, is the cause why they bestow on all their eminent writers, and on Bacon among the rest, such praises and acclamations as may often appear partial and excessive. He died in 1626, in the sixty-sixth year of his life.
If the reader of Raleigh's history can have the patience to wade through the Jewish and rabbinical learning which compose the half of the volume, he will find, when he comes to the Greek and Roman story, that his pains are not unrewarded. Raleigh is the best model of that ancient style which some writers would affect to revive at present. He was beheaded in 1618, aged sixty-six years.
Camden's history of Queen Elizabeth may be esteemed good composition, both for style and matter. It is written with simplicity of expression, very rare in that age, and with a regard to truth. It would not perhaps be too much to affirm, that it is among the best historical productions which have yet been composed by any Englishman. It is well known that the English have not much excelled in that kind of literature. He died in 1623, aged seventy-three years.
We shall mention the king himself at the end of these English writers; because that is his place, when considered as an author. It may safely be affirmed, that the mediocrity of James's talents in literature, joined to the great change in national taste, is one cause of that contempt under which his memory labors, and which is often carried by party writers to a great extreme. It is remarkable, how different from ours were the sentiments of the ancients with regard to learning. Of the first twenty Roman emperors, counting from Caesar to Severus, above the half were authors; and though few of them seem to have been eminent in that profession, it is always remarked to their praise, that by their example they encouraged literature. Not to mention Germanicus, and his daughter Agrippina, persons so nearly allied to the throne, the greater part of the classic writers whose works remain, were men of the highest quality. As every human advantage is attended with inconveniencies, the change of men's ideas in this particular may probably be ascribed to the invention of printing; which has rendered books so common, that even men of slender fortunes can have access to them.
That James was but a middling writer, may be allowed: that he was a contemptible one, can by no means be admitted. Whoever will read his Basilicon Doron, particularly the two last books, the true law of free monarchies, his answer to Cardinal Perron, and almost all his speeches and messages to parliament, will confess him to have possessed no mean genius. If he wrote concerning witches and apparitions; who, in that age did not admit the reality of these fictitious beings? If he has composed a commentary on the Revelations, and proved the pope to be Antichrist; may not a similar reproach be extended to the famous Napier; and even to Newton, at a time when learning was much more advanced than during the reign of James? From the grossness of its superstitions we may infer the ignorance of an age; but never should pronounce concerning the folly of an individual, from his admitting popular errors, consecrated by the appearance of religion.
Such a superiority do the pursuits of literature possess above every other occupation, that even he who attains but a mediocrity in them, merits the preeminence above those that excel the most in the common and vulgar professions. The speaker of the house of commons is usually an eminent lawyer; yet the harangue of his majesty will always be found much superior to that of the speaker, in every parliament during this reign.
Every science, as well as polite literature, must be considered as being yet in its infancy. Scholastic learning and polemical divinity retarded the growth of all true knowledge. Sir Henry Saville, in the preamble of that deed by which he annexed a salary to the mathematical and astronomical professors in Oxford, says, that geometry was almost totally abandoned and unknown in England.[*] The best learning of that age was the study of the ancients. Casaubon, eminent for this species of knowledge, was invited over from France by James, and encouraged by a pension of three hundred pounds a year, as well as by church preferments.[**] The famous Antonio di Dominis, archbishop of Spalatro, no despicable philosopher, came likewise into England, and afforded great triumph to the nation, by their gaining so considerable a proselyte from the Papists. But the mortification followed soon after: the archbishop, though advanced to some ecclesiastical preferments.[***] received not encouragement sufficient to satisfy his ambition; he made his escape into Italy, where he died in confinement.
* Rymer, tom. xvii. p. 217
** Rymer, tom. xvii. p. 709.
*** Rymer, tom. xvii. p. 96.
[Footnote 1: NOTE A, p. 10. The parliament also granted the queen the duties of tonnage and poundage; but this concession was at that time regarded only as a matter of form, and she had levied these duties before they were voted by parliament. But there was another exertion of power which she practiced, and which people in the present age, from their ignorance of ancient practices, may be apt to think a little extraordinary. Her sister, after the commencement of the war with France, had, from her own authority, imposed four marks on each tun of wine imported, and had increased the poundage a third on all commodities. Queen Elizabeth continued these impositions as long as she thought convenient. The parliament, who had so good an opportunity of restraining these arbitrary taxes when they voted the tonnage and poundage, thought not proper to make any mention of them. They knew that the sovereign, during that age, pretended to have the sole regulation of foreign trade, and that their intermeddling with that prerogative would have drawn on them the severest reproof, if not chastisement. See Forbes, vol. i. p. 132, 133. We know certainly, from the statutes and journals, that no such impositions were granted by parliament.]
[Footnote 2: NOTE B, p. 20. Knox, p. 127. We shall suggest afterwards some reasons to suspect, that perhaps no express promise was ever given. Calumnies easily arise during times of faction, especially those of the religious kind, when men think every art lawful for promoting their purpose. The congregation, in their manifesto, in which they enumerate all the articles of the regent's mal-administration, do not reproach her with this breach of promise. It was probably nothing but a rumor spread abroad to catch the populace. If the Papists have sometimes maintained that no faith was to be kept with heretics, their adversaries seem also to have thought, that no truth ought to be told of idolaters.]
[Footnote 3: NOTE C. p. 23. Spotswood, p. 146. Melvil, p. 29. Knox, p. 225, 228. Lesley, lib That there was really no violation of the capitulation of Perth appears from the manifesto of the congregation in Knox, p. 184, in which it is not so much as pretended. The companies of Scotch soldiers were, probably, in Scotch pay, since the congregation complains, that the country was oppressed with taxes to maintain armies. Knox, p, 164, 165. And even if they had been in French pay, it had been no breach of the capitulation, since they were national troops, not French. Knox does not say, (p. 139,) that any of the inhabitants of Perth were tried or punished for their past offences, but only that they were oppressed with the quartering of soldiers; and the congregation, in their manifesto, say only that many of them had fled for fear. This plain detection of the calumny with regard to the breach of the capitulation of Perth, may make us suspect a like calumny with regard to the pretended promise not to give sentence against the ministers. The affair lay altogether between the regent and the laird of Dun; and that gentleman, though a man of sense and character, might be willing to take some general professions for promises. If the queen, overawed by the power of the congregation, gave such a promise in order to have liberty to proceed to a sentence, how could she expect to have power to execute a sentence so insidiously obtained? And to what purpose could it serve?]
[Footnote 4: NOTE D, p. 24. Knox, p. 153, 154, 155. This author pretends that this article was agreed to verbally, but that the queen's scribes omitted it in the treaty which was signed. The story is very unlikely, or rather very absurd; and in the mean time it is allowed, that the article is not in the treaty; nor do the congregation, in their subsequent manifesto, insist upon it. Knox, p. 184. Besides, would the queen regent, in an article of a treaty, call her own religion idolatry?]
[Footnote 5: NOTE E, p. 25. The Scotch lords, in their declaration, say, "How far we have sought support of England, or of any other prince, and what just cause we had and have so to do, we shall shortly make manifest unto the world, to the praise of God's holy name, and to the confusion of fell those that slander us for so doing; for this we fear not to confess, that, as in this enterprise against the devil, against idolatry and the maintainers of the same, we chiefly and only seek God's glory to be notified unto men, sin to be punished, and virtue to be maintained; so where power faileth of ourselves, we will seek it wheresoever God shall offer the same." Knox, p. 176.]
[Footnote 6: NOTE F, p. 61. This year, the council of Trent was dissolved, which had sitten from 1545. The publication of its decrees excited anew the general ferment in Europe, while the Catholics endeavored to enforce the acceptance of them, and the Protestants rejected them. The religious controversies were too far advanced to expect that any conviction would result from the decrees of this council. It is the only general council which has been held in an age truly learned and inquisitive; and as the history of it has been written with great penetration and Judgment, it has tended very much to expose clerical usurpations and intrigues, and may serve us as a specimen of more ancient councils. No one expects to see another general council, till the decay of learning and the progress of ignorance shall again fit mankind for these great impostures.]
[Footnote 7: NOTE G, p. 69. It appears, however, from Randolfs Letters, (see Keith, p. 200,) that some offers had been made to that minister, of seizing Lenox and Darnley, and delivering them into Queen Elizabeth's hands. Melvil confirms the same story, and says that the design was acknowledged by the conspirators, (p. 56.) This serves to justify the account given by the queen's party of the Raid of Baith, as it is called. See farther, Goodall, vol. ii. p. 358. The other conspiracy, of which Murray complained, is much more uncertain, and is founded on very doubtful evidence.]
[Footnote 8: NOTE H, p. 73. Buchanan confesses that Rizzio was ugly: but it may be inferred, from the narration of that author, that he was young. He says that, on the return of the duke of Savoy to Turin, Rizzio was "in adolescentiae vigore;" in the vigor of youth. Now, that event happened only a few years before, (lib. xvii. cap. 44.) That Bothwell was young, appears, among many other invincible proofs, from Mary's instructions to the bishop of Dumblain, her ambassador at Paris; where she says, that in 1559, only eight years before, he was "very young." He might therefore have been about thirty when he married her. See Keith's History, p. 388. From the appendix to the Epistolae Regum Scotorum. it appears, by authentic documents, that Patrick, earl of Bothwell, father to James, who espoused Queen Mary, was alive till near the year 1560. Buchanan, by a mistake which has been long ago corrected, calls him James.]
[Footnote 9: NOTE I, p. 84. Mary herself confessed, in her instructions to the ambassadors, whom she sent to France, that Bothwell persuaded all the noblemen, that their application in favor of his marriage was agreeable to her. Keith, p. 389. Anderson, vol. i. p. 94. Murray afterwards produced, to Queen Elizabeth's commissioners, a paper signed by Mary, by which she permitted them to make this application to her. This permission was a sufficient declaration of her intentions, and was esteemed equivalent to a command. Anderson, vol. iv. p. 59. They even asserted that the house in which they met was surrounded with armed men. Goodall, vol. ii. p 141.]
[Footnote 11: NOTE K, p. 108 Mary's complaints of the queen's partiality in admitting Murray to a conference was a mere pretext, in order to break off the conference. She indeed employs that reason in her order for that purpose, (see Goodall, vol. ii. p. 184;) but in her private letter, her commissioners are directed to make use of that order to prevent her honor from being attacked. Goodall, vol. ii. p. 183. It was therefore the accusation only she was afraid of. Murray was the least obnoxious of all her enemies. He was abroad when her subjects rebelled, and reduced her to captivity. He had only accepted of the regency, when voluntarily proffered him by the nation. His being admitted to Queen Elizabeth's presence was therefore a very bad foundation for a quarrel, or for breaking off the conference, and was plainly a mere pretence.]
[Footnote 12: NOTE L, p. 110. We shall not enter into a long discussion concerning the authenticity of these letters. We shall only remark in general, that the chief objections against them are, that they are supposed to have passed through the earl of Morton's hands, the least scrupulous of all Mary's enemies; and that they are, to the last degree, indecent, and even somewhat inelegant, such as it is not likely she would write. But to these presumptions we may oppose the following considerations: 1. Though it be not difficult to counterfeit a subscription, it is very difficult, and almost impossible, to counterfeit several pages, so as to resemble exactly the handwriting of any person. These letters were examined and compared with Mary's handwriting, by the English privy council, and by a great many of the nobility, among whom were several partisans of that princess. They might have been examined by the bishop of Ross, Herreis, and others of Mary's commissioners. The regent must have expected that they would be very critically examined by them; and had they not been able to stand that test, he was only preparing a scene of confusion to himself. Bishop Lesley expressly declines the comparing of the hands, which he calls no legal proof. Goodall, vol. ii. p. 389. 2. The letters are very long, much longer than they needed to have been, in order to serve the purposes of Mary's enemies; a circumstance which increased the difficulty, and exposed any forgery the more to the risk of a detection. 3. They are not so gross and palpable as forgeries commonly are, for they still left a pretext for Mary's friends to assert that their meaning was strained to make them appear criminal. See Goodall, vol. ii. p. 361. 4. There is a long contract of marriage, said to be written by the earl of Huntley, and signed by the queen, before Bothwells acquittal. Would Morton, without any necessity, have thus doubled the difficulties of the forgery, and the danger of detection? 5. The letters are indiscreet; but such was apparently Mary's conduct at that time. They are inelegant; but they have a careless, natural air, like letters hastily written between familiar friends. 6. They contain such a variety of particular circumstances as nobody could have thought of inventing, especially as they must necessarily have afforded her many means of detection. 7. We have not the originals of the letters, which were in French. We have only a Scotch and Latin translation from the original, and a French translation, professedly done from the Latin. Now it is remarkable that the Scotch translation is full of Gallicisms, and is clearly a translation from a French original; such as make fault, faire des fautes; make it seem that I believe, faire semblant de le croire; make brek, faire breche; this is my first journey, c'est ma premiere journee; have you not desire to laugh? n'avez vous pas envie de rire; the place will hold unto the death, la place tiendra jusqu'a la mort; he may not come forth of the house this long time, il ne peut pas sortir du logis de long-tems; to make me advertisement, faire m'avertir; put order to it, metire ordre a cela; discharge your heart, decharger votre coeur; make gud watch, faites bonne garde, etc. 8. There is a conversation which she mentions between herself and the king one evening; but Murray produced before the English commissioners the testimony of one Crawford, a gentleman of the earl of Lenox, who swore that the king, on her departure from him, gave him an account of the same conversation. 9. There seems very little reason why Murray and his associates should run the risk of such a dangerous forgery, which must have rendered them infamous, if detected: since their cause, from Mary's known conduct, even without these letters, was sufficiently good and justifiable. 10. Murray exposed these letters to the examination of persons qualified to judge of them: the Scotch council, the Scotch parliament, Queen Elizabeth and her council, who were possessed of a great number of Mary's genuine letters. 11. He gave Mary herself an opportunity of refuting and exposing him, if she had chosen to lay hold of it. 12. The letters tally so well with all the other parts of her conduct during that transaction, that these proofs throw the strongest light on each other. 13. The duke of Norfolk, who had examined these papers, and who favored so much the queen of Scots, that he intended to marry her, and in the end lost his life in her cause, yet believed them authentic, and was fully convinced of her guilt. This appears, not only from his letters, above mentioned, to Queen Elizabeth and her ministers, but by his secret acknowledgment to Bannister, his most trusty confidant. See State Trials, vol. i. p. 81. In the conferences between the duke, Secretary Lidington, and the bishop of Ross, all of them zealous partisans of that princess, the same thing is always taken for granted. Ibid. p. 74, 75. See, further, MS. in the Advocates' library, A. 3, 28, p. 314, from Cott. lib. Calig. c. 9. Indeed, the duke's full persuasion of Mary's guilt, without the least doubt or hesitation, could not have had place, if he had found Lidington or the bishop of Ross of a different opinion, or if they had ever told him that these letters were forged. It is to be remarked, that Lidington, being one of the accomplices, knew the whole bottom of the conspiracy against King Henry, and was, besides, a man of such penetration, that nothing could escape him in such interesting events. 14. I need not repeat the presumption drawn from Mary's refusal to answer. The only excuse for her silence is, that she suspected Elizabeth to be a partial judge. It was not, indeed, the interest of that princess to acquit and justify her rival and competitor; and we accordingly find that Lidington, from the secret information of the Duke of Norfolk, informed Mary, by the bishop of Ross, that the queen of England never meant to come to a decision; but only to get into her hands the proofs of Mary's guilt, in order to blast her character. See State Trials, vol. i p. 77. But this was a better reason for declining the conference altogether, than for breaking it off, on frivolous pretences, the very moment the chief accusation was unexpectedly opened against her. Though she could not expect Elizabeth's final decision in her favor, it was of importance to give a satisfactory answer, if she had any, to the accusation of the Scotch commissioners. That answer could have been dispersed for the satisfaction of the public, of foreign nations, and of posterity. And surely after the accusation and proofs were in Queen Elizabeth's hands, it could do no harm to give in the answers. Mary's information, that the queen never intended to come to a decision, could be no obstacle to her justification. 15. The very disappearance of these letters is a presumption of their authenticity. That event can be accounted for no way but from the care of King James's friends, who were desirous to destroy every proof of his mother's crimes. The disappearance of Morton's narrative, and of Crawford's evidence, from the Cotton library, (Calig. c. I,) must have proceeded from a like cause. See MS. in the Advocates' library, A. 3, 29, p. 88.
I find an objection made to the authenticity of the letters, drawn from the vote of the Scotch privy council, which affirms the letters to be written and subscribed by Queen Mary's own hand; whereas the copies given in to the parliament, a few days after, were only written, not subscribed. See Goodall, vol. ii. p. 64, 67. But it is not considered, that this circumstance is of no manner of force. There were certainly letters, true or false, laid before the council; and whether the letters were true or false, this mistake proceeds equally from the inaccuracy or blunder of the clerk. The mistake may be accounted for; the letters were only written by her; the second contract with Bothwell was only subscribed. A proper accurate distinction was not made; and they are all said to be written and subscribed. A late writer, Mr. Goodall, has endeavored to prove that these letters clash with chronology, and that the queen was not in the places mentioned in the letters on the days there assigned. To confirm this, he produces charters and other deeds signed by the queen, where the date and place do not agree with the letters. But it is well known, that the date of charters, and such like grants, is no proof of the real day on which they were signed by the sovereign. Papers of that kind commonly pass through different offices. The date is affixed by the first office, and may precede very long the day of the signature.
The account given by Morton of the manner in which the papers came into his hands, is very natural. When he gave it to the English commissioners, he had reason to think it would be canvassed with all the severity of able adversaries, interested in the highest degree to refute it. It is probable, that he could have confirmed it by many circumstances and testimonies; since they declined the contest.
The sonnets are inelegant; insomuch that both Brantome and Bonsard, who knew Queen Mary's style, were assured, when they saw them, that they could not be of her composition. Jebb, voL ii p. 478. But no person is equal in his productions, especially one whose style is so little formed as Mary's must be supposed to be. Not to mention, that such dangerous and criminal enterprises leave little tranquillity of mind for elegant poetical compositions.
In a word, Queen Mary might easily have conducted the whole conspiracy against her husband, without opening her mind to any one person except Bothwell, and without writing a scrap of paper about it; but it was very difficult to have conducted it so that her conduct should not betray her to men of discernment. In the present case, her conduct was so gross as to betray her to every body; and fortune threw into her enemies' hands papers by which they could convict her. The same infatuation and imprudence, which happily is the usual attendant of great crimes, will account for both. It is proper to observe, that there is not one circumstance of the foregoing narrative, contained in the history, that is taken from Knox, Buchanan, or even Thuanus, or indeed from any suspected authority.]
[Footnote 13: NOTE M, p. 111. Unless we take this angry accusation, advanced by Queen Mary, to be an argument of Murray's guilt, there remains not the least presumption which should lead us to suspect him to have been anywise an accomplice in the king's murder. That queen never pretended to give any proof of the charge; and her commissioners affirmed at the time, that they themselves knew of none, though they were ready to maintain its truth by their mistress's orders, and would produce such proof as she should send them. It is remarkable that, at that time, it was impossible for either her or them to produce any proof; because the conferences before the English commissioners were previously broken off.
It is true, the bishop of Ross, in an angry pamphlet, written by him under a borrowed name, (where it is easy to say any thing,) affirms that Lord Herreis, a few days after the king's death, charged Murray with the guilt, openly to his face, at his own table. This latter nobleman, as Lesley relates the matter, affirmed, that Murray, riding in Fife with one of his servants, the evening before the commission of that crime, said to him among other talk, "This night, ere morning, the Lord Darnley shall lose his life." See Anderson, vol. i. p. 75. But this is only a hearsay of Lesley's concerning a hearsay of Herreis's, and contains a very improbable fact. Would Murray, without any use or necessity, communicate to a servant such a dangerous and important secret, merely by way of conversation;[**?] We may also observe, that Lord Herreis himself was one of Queen Mary's commissioners, who accused Murray. Had he ever heard this story, or given credit to it, was not that the time to have produced it? and not have affirmed, as he did, that he, for his part, knew nothing of Murray's guilt. See Goodall, vol. ii. p. 307.
The earls of Huntley and Argyle accuse Murray of this crime; but the reason which they assign is ridiculous. He had given his consent to Mary's divorce from the king; therefore he was the king's murderer. See Anderson, vol. iv. part 2, p. 192. It is a sure argument, that these earls knew no better proof against Murray, otherwise they would have produced it, and not have insisted on so absurd a presumption. Was not this also the time for Huntley to deny his writing Mary's contract with Bothwell, if that paper had been a forgery?
Murray could have no motive to commit that crime. The king, indeed, bore him some ill will; but the king himself was become so despicable, both from his own ill conduct and the queen's aversion to him, that he could neither do good nor harm to any body. To judge by the event, in any case, is always absurd; especially in the present. The king's murder, indeed, procured Murray the regency; but much more Mary's ill conduct and imprudence, which he could not possibly foresee, and which never would have happened, had she been entirely innocent.]
[Footnote 14: NOTE N, p. 111. I believe there is no reader of common sense, who does not see, from the narrative in the text, that the author means to say, that Queen Mary refuses constantly to answer before the English commissioners, but offers only to answer in person before Queen Elizabeth in person, contrary to her practice during the whole course of the conference, till the moment the evidence of her being an accomplice in her husband's murder is unexpectedly produced. It is true, the author, having repeated four or five times an account of this demand of being admitted to Elizabeth's presence, and having expressed his opinion, that as it had been refused from the beginning, even before the commencement of the conferences, she did not expect it would now be complied with, thought it impossible his meaning could be misunderstood, (as indeed it was impossible;) and not being willing to tire his reader with continual repetitions, he mentions in a passage or two, simply, that she had refused to make any answer. I believe, also, there is no reader of common sense who peruses Anderson or Goodall's collections, and does not see that, agreeably to this narrative, Queen Mary insists unalterably and strenuously on not continuing to answer before the English commissioners, but insists to be heard in person, by Queen Elizabeth in person; though once or twice, by way of bravado, she says simply, that she will answer and refute her enemies, without inserting this condition, which still is understood. But there is a person that has written an Inquiry, historical and critical, into the Evidence against Mary Queen of Scots, and has attempted to refute the foregoing narrative. He quotes a single passage of the narrative, in which Mary is said simply to refuse answering; and then a single passage from Goodall, in which she boasts simply that she will answer; and he very civilly, and almost directly, calls the author a liar, on account of this pretended contradiction. That whole Inquiry, from beginning to end, is composed of such scandalous artifices; and from this instance, the reader may judge of the candor, fair dealing, veracity, and good manners of the inquirer. There are indeed three events in our history, which may be regarded as touchstones of party-men. An English whig, who asserts the reality of the Popish plot, an Irish Catholic, who denies the massacre in 1641, and a Scotch Jacobite, who maintains the innocence of Queen Mary, must be considered as men beyond the reach of argument or reason, and must be left to their prejudices.]
[Footnote 15: NOTE O, p. 129. By Murden's state papers, published after the writing of this history, it appears that an agreement had been made between Elizabeth and the regent for the delivering up of Mary to him. The queen afterwards sent down Killigrew to the earl of Marre, when regent, offering to put Mary into his hands. Killigrew was instructed to take good security from the regent that that queen should be tried for her crimes, and that the sentence should be executed upon her. It appears that Marre rejected the offer, because we hear no more of it.]
[Footnote 16: NOTE P, p. 130. Sir James Melvil (p. 108, 109) ascribes to Elizabeth a positive design of animating the Scotch factions against each other; but his evidence is too inconsiderable to counterbalance many other authorities, and is, indeed, contrary to her subsequent conduct, as well as her interest, and the necessity of her situation. It was plainly her interest that the king's party should prevail, and nothing could have engaged her to stop their progress, or even forbear openly assisting them, but her intention of still amusing the queen of Scots, by the hopes of being peaceably restored to her throne. See, further Strype, vol. ii. Append. p. 20.]
[Footnote 17: NOTE Q, p. 187. That the queen's negotiations for marrying the duke of Anjou were not feigned nor political, appears clearly from many circumstances; particularly from a passage in Dr. Forbes's manuscript collections, at present in the possession of Lord Royston. She there enjoins Walsingham, before he opens the treaty, to examine the person of the duke; and as that prince had lately recovered from the small-pox, she desires her ambassador to consider, whether he yet retained so much of his good looks, as that a woman could fix her affections on him. Had she not been in earnest, and had she only meant to amuse the public or the court of France, this circumstance was of no moment.]
[Footnote 18: NOTE R, p. 203. D'Ewes, p. 328. The Puritanical sect had indeed gone so far, that a book of discipline was secretly subscribed by above five hundred clergymen; and the Presbyterian government thereby established in the midst of the church, notwithstanding the rigor of the prelates and of the high commission. So impossible is it by penal statutes, however severe, to suppress all religious innovation. See Neal's Hist. of the Puritans, vol. i. p. 483. Strype's Life of Whitgift, p. 291.]
[Footnote 19: NOTE S, p. 205. This year, the earl of Northumberland, brother to the earl beheaded some years before, had been engaged in a conspiracy with Lord Paget for the deliverance of the queen of Scots. He was thrown into the Tower; and being conscious that his guilt could be proved upon him, at least that sentence would infallibly be pronounced against him, he freed himself from further prosecution by a voluntary death. He shot himself in the breast with a pistol. About the same time the earl of Arundel, son of the unfortunate duke of Norfolk, having entered into some exceptionable measures, and reflecting en the unhappy fate which had attended his family, endeavored to depart secretly beyond sea, but was discovered and thrown into the Tower. In 1587, this nobleman was brought to his trial for high treason; chiefly because he had dropped some expressions of affection to the Spaniards, and had affirmed that he would have masses said for the success of the armada. His peers found him guilty of treason. This severe sentence was not executed; but Arundel never recovered his liberty. He died a prisoner in 1595. He carried his religious austerities so far, that they were believed the immediate cause of his death.]
[Footnote 20: NOTE T, p. 216. Mary's extreme animosity against Elizabeth may easily be conceived, and it broke out about this tune in an incident which may appear curious. While the former queen was kept in custody by the earl of Shrewsbury, she lived during a long time in great intimacy with the countess; but that lady entertaining a jealousy of an amour between her and the earl, their friendship was converted into enmity; and Mary took a method of revenge, which at once gratified her spite against the countess and that against Elizabeth. She wrote to the queen, informing her of all the malicious, scandalous stories which, she said, the countess of Shrewsbury had reported of her: that Elizabeth had given a promise of marriage to a certain person, whom she afterwards often admitted to her bed: that she had been equally indulgent to Simier, the French agent, and to the duke of Anjou: that Hatton was also one of her paramours, who was even disgusted with her excessive love and fondness: that though she was on other occasions avaricious to the last degree, as well as ungrateful, and kind to very few, she spared no expense in gratifying her amorous passions: that notwithstanding her licentious amours, she was not made like other women; and all those who courted her in marriage would in the end be disappointed; that she was so conceited of her beauty, as to swallow the most extravagant flattery from her courtiers, who could not, on these occasions, forbear even sneering at her for her folly: that it was usual for them to tell her that the lustre of Her beauty dazzled them like that of the sun, and they could not behold it with a fixed eye. She added that the countess had said, that Mary's best policy would be to engage her son to make love to the queen; nor was there any danger that such a proposal would be taken for mockery; so ridiculous was the opinion which she had entertained of her own charms. She pretended that the countess had represented her as no less odious in her temper than profligate in her manners, and absurd in her vanity: that she had so beaten a young woman of the name of Scudamore, as to break that lady's finger; and in order to cover over the matter, it was pretended that the accident had proceeded from the fall of a candlestick: that she had cut another across the hand with a knife, who had been so unfortunate as to offend her. Mary added, that the countess had informed her, that Elizabeth had suborned Rolstone to pretend friendship to her, in order to debauch her, and thereby throw infamy on her rival. See Murden's State Papers, p. 558. This imprudent and malicious letter was written a very little before the detection of Mary's conspiracy; and contributed, no doubt, to render the proceedings against her the more rigorous. How far all these imputations against Elizabeth can be credited, may perhaps appear doubtful; but her extreme fondness for Leicester, Hatton, and Essex, not to mention Mountjoy and others, with the curious passages between her and Admiral Seymour, contained in Haynes, render her chastity very much to be suspected. Her self-conceit with regard to beauty, we know from other undoubted authority to have been extravagant. Even when she was a very old woman, she allowed her courtiers to flatter her with regard to her "excellent beauties." Birch, vol. ii. p. 442, 443. Her passionate temper may also be proved from many lively instances; and it was not unusual with her to beat her maids of honor. See the Sidney Papers, vol. ii. p. 38. The blow she gave to Essex before the privy council is another instance. There remains in the Museum a letter of the earl of Huntingdon's, in which he complains grievously of the queen's pinching his wife very sorely, on account of some quarrel between them. Had this princess been born in a private station, she would not have been very amiable; but her absolute authority, at the same time that it gave an uncontrolling swing to her violent passions, enabled her to compensate her infirmities by many great and signal virtues.]
[Footnote 21: NOTE U, p. 226. Camden, p. 525. This evidence was that of Curie, her secretary, whom she allowed to be a very honest man; and who, as well as Nau, had given proofs of his integrity, by keeping so long such important secrets, from whose discovery he could have reaped the greatest profit. Mary, after all, thought that she had so little reason to complain of Curie's evidence, that she took care to have him paid a considerable sum by her will, which she wrote the day before her death. Goodall, vol. i. p. 413. Neither did she forget Nau, though less satisfied in other respects with his conduct. Id. ibid.]
[Footnote 24: NOTE X, p. 226. The detail of this conspiracy is to be found in a letter of the queen of Scots to Charles Paget, her great confidant. This letter is dated the 20th of May, 1586, and is contained in Dr. Forbes's manuscript collections, at present in the possession of Lord Royston. It is a copy attested by Curie, Mary's secretary, and endorsed by Lord Burleigh. What proves its authenticity beyond question is, that we find in Murden's Collection, (p. 516,) that Mary actually wrote that very day a letter to Charles Paget; and further she mentions, in the manuscript letter, a letter of Charles Paget's of the 10th of April. Now we find by Murden, (p. 506,) that Charles Paget did actually write her a letter of that date.
This violence of spirit is very consistent with Mary's character. Her maternal affection was too weak to oppose the gratification of her passions, particularly her pride, her ambition, and her bigotry. Her son, having made some fruitless attempts to associate her with him in the title, and having found the scheme impracticable on account of the prejudices of his Protestant subjects, at last desisted from that design and entered into an alliance with England, without comprehending his mother. She was in such a rage at this undutiful behavior, as she imagined it, that she wrote to Queen Elizabeth, that she no longer cared what became of him or herself in the world; the greatest satisfaction she could have before her death, was, to see him and all his adherents become a signal example of tyranny, ingratitude and impiety, and undergo the vengeance of God for their wickedness. She would find in Christendom other heirs, and doubted not to put her inheritance in such hands as would retain the firmest hold of it. She cared not, after taking this revenge, what became of her body. The quickest death would then be the most agreeable to her. And she assured her that, if he persevered, she would disown him for her son, would give him her malediction, would disinherit him, as well of his present possessions as of all he could expect by her; abandoning him not only to her subjects to treat him as they had done her, but to all strangers to subdue and conquer him. It was in vain to employ menaces against her: the fear of death or other misfortune would never induce her to make one step or pronounce one syllable beyond what she had determined. She would rather perish with honor, in maintaining the dignity to which God had raised her, than degrade herself by the least pusillanimity, or act what was unworthy of her station and of her race. Murden, p. 566, 567.
James said to Courcelles, the French ambassador, that he had seen a letter under her own hand, in which she threatened to disinherit him, and said that he might betake him to the lordship of Darnley; for that was all he had by his father. Courcelles' Letter, a MS. of Dr. Campbell's. There is in Jebb (vol. ii. p. 573) a letter of hers, where she throws out the same menace against him.
We find this scheme of seizing the king of Scots, and delivering him into the hands of the pope or the king of Spain, proposed by Morgan to Mary. See Murden, p. 525. A mother must be very violent to whom one would dare to make such a proposal; but it seems she assented to it. Was not such a woman very capable of murdering her husband, who had so grievously offended her?]
[Footnote 25: NOTE Y, p. 227. The volume of state papers collected by Murden, prove, beyond controversy, that Mary was long in close correspondence with Babington, (p. 513, 516, 532, 533.) She entertained a like correspondence with Ballard, Morgan, and Charles Paget, and laid a scheme with them for an insurrection, and for the invasion of England by Spain (p. 528,531.) The same papers show, that there had been a discontinuance of Babington's correspondence, agreeably to Camden's narration. See Slate Papers, (p. 513,) where Morgan recommends it to Queen Mary to renew her correspondence with Babington. These circumstances prove, that no weight can be laid on Mary's denial of guilt, and that her correspondence with Babington contained particulars which could not be avowed.]
[Footnote 26: NOTE Z, p. 227. There are three suppositions by which the letter to Babington may be accounted for, without allowing Mary's concurrence in the conspiracy for assassinating Elizabeth. The first is, that which she seems herself to have embraced, that her secretaries had received Babington's letter, and had, without any treacherous intention, ventured of themselves to answer it, and had never communicated the matter to her. But it is utterly improbable, if not impossible, that a princess of so much sense and spirit should, in an affair of that importance, be so treated by her servants who lived in the house with her, and who had every moment an opportunity of communicating the secret to her. If the conspiracy failed, they must expect to suffer the severest punishment from the court of England; if it succeeded, the lightest punishment which they could hope for from their own mistress, must be disgrace, on account of their temerity. Not to mention, that Mary's concurrence was in some degree requisite for effecting the design of her escape. It was proposed to attack her guards while she was employed in hunting; she must therefore concert the time and place with the conspirators. The second supposition is, that these two secretaries were previously traitors; and being gained by Walsingham, had made such a reply in their mistress's cipher, as might involve her in the guilt of the conspiracy. But these two men had lived long with the queen of Scots, had been entirely trusted by her, and had never fallen under suspicion either with her or her partisans. Camden informs us, that Curle afterwards claimed a reward from Walsingham, on pretence of some promise; but Walsingham told him that he owed him no reward, and that he had made no discoveries on his examination which were not known with certainty from other quarters. The third supposition is, that neither the queen nor the two secretaries, Nau and Curle, ever saw Babington's letter, or made any answer; but that Walsingham, having deciphered the former, forged a reply. But this supposition implies the falsehood of the whole story, told by Camden, of Gifford's access to the queen of Scots' family, and Paulet's refusal to concur in allowing his servants to be bribed. Not to mention, that as Nau's and Curle's evidence must, on this supposition, have been extorted by violence and terror, they would necessarily have been engaged, for their own justification, to have told the truth afterwards; especially upon the accession of James. But Camden informs us, that Nau, even after that event, persisted still in his testimony.
We must also consider, that the two last suppositions imply such a monstrous criminal conduct in Walsingham, and consequently in Elizabeth, (for the matter could be no secret to her,) as exceeds all credibility. If we consider the situation of things, and the prejudices of the times, Mary's consent to Babington's conspiracy appears much more natural and probable. She believed Elizabeth to be a usurper and a heretic. She regarded her as a personal and a violent enemy. She knew that schemes for assassinating heretics were very familiar in that age, and generally approved of by the court of Rome and the zealous Catholics. Her own liberty and sovereignty were connected with the success of this enterprise; and it cannot appear strange, that where men of so much merit as Babington could be engaged by bigotry alone in so criminal an enterprise, Mary, who was actuated by the same motive, joined to so many others, should have given her consent to a scheme projected by her friends. We may be previously certain, that if such a scheme was ever communicated to her, with any probability of success, she would assent to it; and it served the purpose of Walsingham and the English ministry to facilitate the communication of these schemes, as soon as they had gotten an expedient for intercepting her answer, and detecting the conspiracy. Now, Walsingham's knowledge of the matter is a supposition necessary to account for the letter delivered to Babington.
As to the not punishing of Nau and Curle by Elizabeth, it never is the practice to punish lesser criminals, who had given evidence against the principal.
But what ought to induce us to reject these three suppositions is, that they must all of them be considered as bare possibilities. The partisans of Mary can give no reason for preferring one to the other. Not the slightest evidence ever appeared to support any one of them. Neither at that time, nor at any time afterwards, was any reason discovered, by the numerous zealots at home and abroad who had embraced Mary's defence, to lead us to the belief of any of these three suppositions; and even her apologists at present seem not to have fixed on any choice among these supposed possibilities. The positive proof of two very credible witnesses, supported by the other very strong circumstances, still remains unimpeached. Babington, who had an extreme interest to have communication with the queen of Scots, believed he had found a means of correspondence with her, and had received an answer from her. He, as well as the other conspirators, died in that belief. There has not occurred, since that time, the least argument to prove that they were mistaken; can there be any reason at present to doubt the truth of their opinion? Camden, though a professed apologist for Mary, is constrained to tell the story in such a manner as evidently supposes her guilt. Such was the impossibility of finding any other consistent account, even by a man of parts, who was a contemporary!
In this light might the question have appeared even during Mary's trial. But what now puts her guilt beyond all controversy is the following passage of her letter to Thomas Morgan, dated the 27th of July, 1586: "As to Babington, he hath both kindly and honestly offered himself and all his means to be employed any way I would; whereupon I hope to have satisfied him by two of my several letters since I had his; and the rather for that I opened him the way, thereby I received his with your aforesaid." Murden, p. 533. Babington confessed that he had offered her to assassinate the queen. It appears by this that she had accepted the offer; so that all the suppositions of Walsingham's forgery, or the temerity or treachery of her secretaries, fall to the ground.]
[Footnote 27: NOTE AA, p 231 This parliament granted the queen a supply of a subsidy and two fifteenths. They adjourned, and met again after the execution of the queen of Scots; when there passed some remarkable incidents, which it may be proper not to omit. We shall give them in the words of Sir Simon D'Ewes, (p. 410, 411,) which are almost wholly transcribed from Townshend's Journal. On Monday, the 27th of February, Mr. Cope, first using some speeches touching the necessity of a learned ministry, and the amendment of things amiss in the ecclesiastical estate, offered to the house a bill and a book written; the bill containing a petition, that it might be enacted, that all laws now in force touching ecclesiastical government should be void; and that it might be enacted, that the Book of Common Prayer now offered, and none other, might be received into the church to be used. The book contained the form of prayer and administration of the sacraments, with divers rites and ceremonies to be used in the church; and he desired that the book might be read. Whereupon Mr. Speaker in effect used this speech: For that her majesty before this time had commanded the house not to meddle with this matter, and that her majesty had promised to take order in those causes, he doubted not but to the good satisfaction of all her people, he desired that it would please them to spare the reading of it. Notwithstanding the house desired the reading of it. Whereupon Mr. Speaker desired the clerk to read. And the court being ready to read it, Mr. Dalton made a motion against the reading of it, saying, that it was not meet to be read, and it did appoint a new form of administration of the sacraments and ceremonies of the church, to the discredit of the Book of Common Prayer and of the whole state; and thought that this dealing would bring her majesty's indignation against the house, thus to enterprise this dealing with those things which her majesty especially had taken into her own charge and direction. Whereupon Mr. Lewkenor spake, showing the necessity of preaching and of a learned ministry, and thought it very fit that the petition and book should be read. To this purpose spake Mr. Hurleston and Mr. Bainbrigg; and so, the time being passed, the house broke up, and neither the petition nor book read. This done, her majesty sent to Mr. Speaker, as well for this petition and book, as for that other petition and book for the like effect, that was delivered the last session of parliament, which Mr. Speaker sent to her majesty. On Tuesday, the 28th of February, her majesty sent for Mr. Speaker, by occasion whereof the house did not sit. On Wednesday, the first of March, Mr. Wentworth delivered to Mr. Speaker certain articles, which contained questions touching the liberties of the house, and to some of which he was to answer, and desired they might be read. Mr. Speaker desired him to spare his motion until her majesty's pleasure was further known touching the petition and book lately delivered into the house; but Mr. Wentworth would not be so satisfied, but required his articles might be read. Mr. Wentworth introduced his queries by lamenting that he, as well as many others, were deterred from speaking by their want of knowledge and experience in the liberties of the house; and the queries were as follows: Whether this council were not a place for any member of the same here assembled, freely and without controlment of any person or danger of laws, by bill or speech to utter any of the griefs of this commonwealth whatsoever, touching the service of God, the safety of the prince, and this noble realm? Whether that great honor may be done unto God, and benefit and service unto the prince and state, without free speech in this council that may be done with it? Whether there be any council which can make, add, or diminish from the laws of the realm, but only this council of parliament? Whether it be not against the orders of this council to make any secret or matter of weight, which is here in hand, known to the prince or any other, concerning the high service of God, prince, or state without the consent of the house? Whether the speaker or any other may interrupt any member of this council in his speech used in this house tending to any of the forenamed services? Whether the speaker may rise when he will, any matter being propounded, without consent of the house or not? Whether the speaker may overrule the house in any matter or cause there in question, or whether he is to be ruled or overruled in any matter or not? Whether the prince and state can continue, and stand, and be maintained, without this council of parliament, not altering the government of the state? At the end of these questions, says Sir Simon D'Ewes, I found set down this short memorial ensuing; by which it may be perceived both what Serjeant Puckering, the speaker, did with the said questions after he had received them, and what became also of this business, viz.: "These questions Mr. Puckering pocketed up, and showed Sir Thomas Henage, who so handled the matter, that Mr. Wentworth went to the Tower, and the questions not at all moved. Mr. Buckler of Essex herein brake his faith in forsaking the matter, etc., and no more was done." After setting down, continues Sir Simon D'Ewes, the said business of Mr. Wentworth in the original journal book, there follows only this short conclusion of the day itself, viz.: "This day, Mr. Speaker being sent for to the queen's majesty, the house departed." On Thursday, the 2d of March, Mr. Cope, Mr. Lewkenor, Mr. Hurleston, and Mr. Bainbrigg were sent for to my lord chancellor and by divers of the privy council, and from thence were sent to the Tower. On Saturday the 4th day of March, Sir John Higham made a motion to this house, for that divers good and necessary members thereof were taken from them, that it would please them to be humble petitioners to her majesty for the restitution of them again to this house. To which speeches Mr. Vice-chamberlain answered, that if the gentlemen were committed for matter within the compass of the privilege of the house, then there might be a petition; but if not, then we should give occasion to her majesty's further displeasure; and therefore advised to stay until they heard more, which could not be long. And further, he said, touching the book and the petition, her majesty had, for divers good causes best known to herself, thought fit to suppress the same, without any further examination thereof; and yet thought it very unfit for her majesty to give any account of her doings. But whatsoever Mr. Vice-chamberlain pretended, it is most probable these members were committed for intermeddling with matters touching the church, which her majesty had often inhibited, and which had caused so much disputation and so many meetings between the two houses the last parliament.
This is all we find of the matter in Sir Simon D'Ewes and Townshend; and it appears that those members who had been committed, were detained in custody till the queen thought proper to release them. These questions of Mr. Wentworth are curious; because they contain some faint dawn of the present English constitution, though suddenly eclipsed by the arbitrary government of Elizabeth. Wentworth was indeed by his Puritanism, as well as his love of liberty, (for these two characters, of such unequal merit, arose and advanced together,) the true forerunner of the Hambdens, the Pyms, and the Hollises, who in the next age, with less courage, because with less danger, rendered their principles so triumphant. I shall only ask, whether it be not sufficiently clear from all these transactions, that in the two succeeding reigns it was the people who encroached upon the sovereign, not the sovereign who attempted, as is pretended, to usurp upon the people?]
[Footnote 28: NOTE BB, p. 259. The queen's speech in the camp of Tilbury was in these words. "My loving people, we have been persuaded, by some that are careful of our safety, to take heed how we commit ourselves to armed multitudes for fear of treachery; but assure you, I do not desire to live to distrust my faithful and loving people. Let tyrants fear: I have always so behaved myself that, under God, I have placed my chiefest strength and safeguard in the loyal hearts and good will of my subjects. And therefore I am come amongst you at this time, not as for my recreation or sport, but being resolved in the midst and heat of the battle to live or die amongst you all; to lay down, for my God, and for my kingdom, and for my people, my honor and my blood; even in the dust. I know I have but the body of a weak and feeble woman, but I have the heart of a king, and of a king of England too; and think foul scorn that Parma or Spain, or any prince of Europe, should dare to invade the borders of my realms; to which rather than any dishonor should grow by me, I myself will take up arms. I myself will be your general, judge, and rewarder of every one of your virtues in the field. I know already, by your forwardness, that you have deserved rewards and crowns; and we do assure you, on the word of a prince, they shall be duly paid you. In the mean time, my lieutenant-general shall be in my stead; than whom never prince commanded a more noble and worthy subject; not doubting, by your obedience to my general, by your concord in the camp, and your valor in the field, we shall shortly have a famous victory over those enemies of my God, of my kingdom, and of my people."]
[Footnote 29: NOTE CC, p. 264. Strype, vol. iii. p. 525. On the 4th of September, boon after the dispersion of the Spanish armada, died the earl of Leicester, the queen's great but unworthy favorite. Her affection for him continued to the last. He had discovered no conduct in any of his military enterprises, and was suspected of cowardice; yet she intrusted him with the command of her armies during the danger of the Spanish invasion; a partiality which might have proved fatal to her, had the duke of Parma been able to land his troops in England. She had even ordered a commission to be drawn for him, constituting him her lieutenant, in the kingdoms of England and Ireland; but Burleigh and Hatton represented to her the danger of intrusting such unlimited authority in the hands of any subject, and prevented the execution of that design. No wonder that a conduct so unlike the usual jealousy of Elizabeth, gave reason to suspect that her partiality was founded on some other passion than friendship. But Elizabeth seemed to carry her affection to Leicester no farther than the grave; she ordered his goods to be disposed of at a public sale, in order to reimburse herself of some debt which he owed her; and her usual attention to money was observed to prevail over her regard to the memory of the deceased. This earl was a great hypocrite, a pretender to the strictest religion, an encourager of the Puritans, and founder of hospitals.]