The History of England in Three Volumes, Vol.I., Part D. - From Elizabeth to James I.
by David Hume
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{1565.} A parliament was summoned at Edinburgh for attainting them; and as their guilt was palpable and avowed, no doubt was entertained but sentence would be pronounced against them. It was by a sudden and violent incident, which, in the issue, brought on the ruin of Mary herself, that they were saved from the rigor of the law.

The marriage of the queen of Scots with Lord Darnley was so natural, and so inviting in all its circumstances, that it had been precipitately agreed to by that princess and her council; and while she was allured by his youth, and beauty, and exterior accomplishments, she had at first overlooked the qualities of his mind, which nowise corresponded to the excellence of his outward figure. Violent, yet variable in his resolutions; insolent, yet credulous and easily governed by flatterers; he was destitute of all gratitude, because he thought no favors equal to his merit; and being addicted to low pleasures, he was equally incapable of all true sentiments of love and tenderness.[*] The queen of Scots, in the first effusions of her fondness, had taken a pleasure in exalting him beyond measure; she had granted him the title of king; she had joined his name with her own in all public acts; she intended to have procured him from the parliament a matrimonial crown; but having leisure afterwards to remark his weakness and vices, she began to see the danger of her profuse liberality, and was resolved thenceforth to proceed with more reserve in the trust which she should confer upon him. His resentment against this prudent conduct served but the more to increase her disgust: and the young prince, enraged at her imagined neglects, pointed his vengeance against every one whom he deemed the cause of this change in her measures and behavior.

* Melvil, p. 63. Keith's Append. p. 176.

There was in the court one David Rizzio, who had of late obtained a very extraordinary degree of confidence and favor with the queen of Scots. He was a Piedmontese, of mean birth, son of a teacher of music, himself a musician; and finding it difficult to subsist by his art in his own country, he had followed into Scotland an ambassador, whom the duke of Savoy sent thither to pay his compliments to Mary, some time after her first arrival. He possessed a good ear, and a tolerable voice; and as that princess found him useful to complete her band of music, she retained him in her service after the departure of his master. Her secretary for French despatches having some time after incurred her displeasure, she promoted Rizzio to that office, which gave him frequent opportunities of approaching her person, and insinuating himself into her favor. He was shrewd and sensible, as well as aspiring, much beyond his rank and education; and he made so good use of the access which fortune had procured him, that he was soon regarded as the chief confidant, and even minister of the queen. He was consulted on all occasions; no favors could be obtained but by his intercession; all suitors were obliged to gain him by presents and flattery; and the man, insolent from his new exaltation, as well as rapacious in his acquisitions, soon drew on himself the hatred of the nobility and of the whole kingdom.[*] He had at first employed his credit to promote Darnley's marriage; and a firm friendship seemed to be established between them; but on the subsequent change of the queen's sentiments, it was easy for Henry's friends to persuade him that Rizzio was the real author of her indifference, and even to rouse in his mind jealousies of a more dangerous nature. The favorite was of a disagreeable figure, but was not past his youth;[**] [8] and though the opinion of his criminal correspondence with Mary might seem of itself unreasonable, if not absurd, a suspicious husband could find no other means of accounting for that lavish and imprudent kindness with which she honored him.

* Keith, p. 282, 302, Crawford's Memoirs, p. 5. Spotswood, p. 193.

** See note H, at the end of the volume.

The rigid austerity of the ecclesiastics, who could admit of no freedoms, contributed to spread this opinion among the people; and as Rizzio was universally believed to be a pensionary of the pope's, and to be deeply engaged in all schemes against the Protestants, any story to his and Mary's disadvantage received an easy credit among the zealots of that communion. Rizzio, who had connected his interests with the Roman Catholics, was the declared enemy of the banished lords; and by promoting the violent prosecutions against them, he had exposed himself to the animosity of their numerous friends and retainers. A scheme was also thought to be formed for revoking some exorbitant grants made during the queen's minority, and even the nobility, who had seized the ecclesiastical benefices, began to think themselves less secure in the possession of them.[*] The earl of Morton, chancellor, was affected by all these considerations, and still more by a rumor spread abroad, that Mary intended to appoint Rizzio chancellor in his place, and to bestow that dignity on a mean and upstart foreigner, ignorant of the laws and language of the country.[**] So indiscreet had this princess been in her kindness to Rizzio, that even that strange report met with credit, and proved a great means of accelerating the ruin of the favorite. Morton, insinuating himself into Henry's confidence, employed all his art to inflame the discontent and jealousy of that prince; and he persuaded him, that the only means of freeing himself from the indignities under which he labored, was to bring the base stranger to the fate which he had so well merited, and which was so passionately desired by the whole nation. George Douglas, natural brother to the countess of Lenox, concurred in the same advice; and the Lords Ruthven and Lindesey, being consulted, offered their assistance in the enterprise; nor was even the earl of Lenox, the king's father, averse to the design.[***] But as these conspirators were well acquainted with Henry's levity, they engaged him to sign a paper, in which he avowed the undertaking, as tending to the glory of God and advancement of religion, and promised to protect them against every consequence which might ensue upon the assassination of Rizzio.[****] All these measures being concerted, a messenger was despatched to the banished lords, who were hovering near the borders; and they were invited by the king to return to their native country.

* Keith, p. 326. Melvil, p. 64.

** Buchanan, lib. xvii. c. 60. Crawford, p. 6. Spotswood, p. 194. Knox, p. 393. Jebb, vol. i. p. 456.

*** Crawford, p. 7.

**** Goodall, vol. i. p. 266. Crawford, p. 7.

This design, so atrocious in itself, was rendered still more so by the circumstances which attended its execution. Mary, who was in the sixth month of her pregnancy, was supping in private, and had at table the countess of Argyle, her natural sister, with Rizzio, and others of her servants. The king entered the room by a private passage, and stood at the back of Mary's chair: Lord Ruthven, George Douglas, and other conspirators, being all armed, rushed in after him; and the queen of Scots, terrified with the appearance, demanded of them the reason of this rude intrusion. They told her, that they intended no violence against her person; but meant only to bring that villain, pointing to Rizzio, to his deserved punishment. Rizzio, aware of the danger, ran behind his mistress, and seizing her by the waist, called aloud to her for protection; while she interposed in his behalf, with cries, and menaces, and entreaties. The impatient assassins, regardless of her efforts, rushed upon their prey, and by overturning every thing which stood in their way, increased the horror and confusion of the scene. Douglas, seizing Henry's dagger, stuck it in the body of Rizzio, who, screaming with fear and agony, was torn from Mary by the other conspirators, and pushed into the ante-chamber, where he was despatched with fifty-six wounds.[*]

* Melvil, p. 64. Keith, p. 330, 331. Crawford, p. 9.

The unhappy princess, informed of his fate, immediately dried her tears, and said, she would weep no more; she would now think of revenge. The insult, indeed, upon her person; the stain attempted to be fixed on her honor; the danger to which her life was exposed, on account of her pregnancy; were injuries so atrocious and so complicated, that they scarcely left room for pardon, even from the greatest lenity and mercy.

The assassins, apprehensive of Mary's resentment, detained her prisoner in the palace; and the king dismissed all who seemed willing to attempt her rescue, by telling them, that nothing was done without his orders, and that he would be careful of the queen's safety. Murray and the banished lords appeared two days after; and Mary, whose anger was now engrossed by injuries more recent and violent, was willingly reconciled to them; and she even received her brother with tenderness and affection. They obtained an acquittal from parliament, and were reinstated in their honors and fortunes. The accomplices also in Rizzio's murder applied to her for a pardon; but she artfully delayed compliance, and persuaded them, that so long as she was detained in custody, and was surrounded by guards, any deed which she should sign would have no validity. Meanwhile she had gained the confidence of her husband by her persuasion and caresses and no sooner were the guards withdrawn, than she engaged him to escape with her in the night-time, and take shelter in Dunbar. Many of her subjects here offered her their services; and Mary, having collected an army, which the conspirators had no power to resist, advanced to Edinburgh, and obliged them to fly into England, where they lived in great poverty and distress. They made applications, however, to the earl of Bothwell, a new favorite of Mary's; and that nobleman, desirous of strengthening his party by the accession of their interest, was able to pacify her resentment; and he soon after procured them liberty to return into their own country.[*]

The vengeance of the queen of Scots was implacable against her husband alone, whose person was before disagreeable to her, and who, by his violation of every tie of gratitude and duty, had now drawn on him her highest resentment. She engaged him to disown all connections with the assassins, to deny any concurrence in their crime, even to publish a proclamation containing a falsehood so notorious to the whole world;[**] and having thus made him expose himself to universal contempt, and rendered it impracticable for him ever to acquire the confidence of any party, she threw him off with disdain and indignation.[***]

* Melvil, p. 75, 76. Keith, p. 334. Knox, p, 398.

** Goodall, vol. i. p. 280. Keith, Append. p. 167.

*** Melvil, p. 66, 67.

As if she had been making an escape from him, she suddenly withdrew to Allca, a seat of the earl of Marre's; and when Henry followed her thither, she suddenly returned to Edinburgh and give him every where the strongest proofs of displeasure, and even of antipathy. She encouraged her courtiers in their neglect of him; and she was pleased that his mean equipage and small train of attendants should draw on him the contempt of the very populace. He was permitted, however, to have apartments in the Castle of Edinburgh, which Mary had chosen for the place of her delivery. She there brought forth a son; and as this was very important news to England, as well as to Scotland, she immediately despatched Sir James Melvil to carry intelligence of the happy event to Elizabeth. Melvil tells us, that this princess, the evening of his arrival in London, had given a ball to her court at Greenwich, and was displaying all that spirit and alacrity which usually attended her on these occasions: but when news arrived of the prince of Scotland's birth, all her joy was damped: she sunk into melancholy; she reclined her head upon her arm; and complained to some of her attendants, that the queen of Scots was mother of a fair son, while she herself was but a barren stock. Next day, however, at the reception of the ambassador, she resumed her former dissimulation, put on a joyful countenance, gave Melvil thanks for the haste he had made in conveying to her the agreeable intelligence, and expressed the utmost cordiality and friendship to her sister.[*] Some time after, she despatched the earl of Bedford, with her kinsman George Gary, son of Lord Hunsdon, in order to officiate at the baptism of the young prince; and she sent by them some magnificent presents to the queen of Scots.

The birth of a son gave additional zeal to Mary's partisans in England;[**] and even men of the most opposite parties began to cry aloud for some settlement of the succession. These humors broke out with great vehemence in a new session of parliament, held after six prorogations. The house of peers, which had hitherto forborne to touch on this delicate point, here took the lead; and the house of commons soon after imitated the zeal of the lords. Molineux opened the matter in the lower house, and proposed, that the question of the succession and that of supply should go hand in hand; as if it were intended to constrain the queen to a compliance with the request of her parliament.[***] The courtiers endeavored to elude the debate: Sir Ralph Sadler told the house, that he had heard the queen positively affirm, that for the good of her people she was determined to marry. Secretary Cecil and Sir Francis Knollys gave their testimony to the same purpose; as did also Sir Ambrose Cave, chancellor of the duchy, and Sir Edward Rogers, comptroller of the household.[****]

* Melvil, p. 69, 70.

** Camden, p. 397.

*** D'Ewes, p. 129.

**** D'Ewes, p. 124.

Elizabeth's ambitious and masculine character was so well known, that few members gave any credit to this intelligence; and it was considered merely as an artifice, by which she endeavored to retract that positive declaration which she had made in the beginning of her reign, that she meant to live and die a virgin. The ministers, therefore, gained nothing further by this piece of policy, than only to engage the house, for the sake of decency, to join the question of the queen's marriage with that of a settlement of the crown; and the commons were proceeding with great earnestness in the debate, and had even appointed a committee to confer with the lords, when express orders were brought them from Elizabeth not to proceed further in the matter. Cecil told them, that she pledged to the house the word of a queen for her sincerity in her intentions to marry; that the appointment of a successor would be attended with great danger to her person; that she herself had had experience, during the reign of her sister, how much court was usually paid to the next heir, and what dangerous sacrifices men were commonly disposed to make of their present duty to their future prospects; and that she was therefore determined to delay, till a more proper opportunity, the decision of that important question.[*] The house was not satisfied with these reasons, and still less with the command prohibiting them all debate on the subject. Paul Wentworth, a spirited member, went so far as to question whether such a prohibition were not an infringement of the liberties and privileges of the house.[**] Some even ventured to violate that profound respect which had hitherto been preserved to the queen; and they affirmed, that she was bound in duty, not only to provide for the happiness of her subjects during her own life, but also to pay regard to their future security, by fixing a successor; that by an opposite conduct she showed herself the step-mother, not the natural parent of her people, and would seem desirous that England should no longer subsist than she should enjoy the glory and satisfaction of governing it; that none but timorous princes, or tyrants, or faint-hearted women, ever stood in fear of their successors; and that the affections of the people were a firm and impregnable rampart to every sovereign, who, laying aside all artifice or by-ends, had courage and magnanimity to put his sole trust in that honorable and sure defence.[***] The queen, hearing of these debates, sent for the speaker; and after reiterating her former prohibition, she bade him inform the house, that if any member remained still unsatisfied, he might appear before the privy council, and there give his reasons.[****]

* D'Ewes, p. 127, 128.

** D'Ewes, p. 128.

*** Camden, p. 400.

**** D'Ewes, p. 128.

As the members showed a disposition, notwithstanding these peremptory orders, still to proceed upon the question, Elizabeth thought proper, by a message, to revoke them, and to allow the house liberty of debate.[*] They were so mollified by this gracious condescension, that they thenceforth conducted the matter with more calmness and temper, and they even voted her a supply, to be levied at three payments, of a subsidy and a fifteenth, without annexing any condition to it.

{1567.} The queen soon after dissolved the parliament, and told them, with some sharpness in the conclusion, that their proceedings had contained much dissimulation and artifice; that, under the plausible pretences of marriage and succession, many of them covered very malevolent intentions towards her; but that, however, she reaped this advantage from the attempts of these men, that she could now distinguish her friends from her enemies. "But do you think," added she, "that I am unmindful of your future security, or will be negligent in settling the succession? That is the chief object of my concern; as I know myself to be liable to mortality. Or do you apprehend that I meant to encroach on your liberties? No: it was never my meaning; I only intended to stop you before you approached the precipice. All things have their time; and though you maybe blessed with a sovereign more wise or more learned than I, yet I assure you that no one will ever rule over you who shall be more careful of your safety. And therefore, henceforward, whether I live to see the like assembly or no, or whoever holds the reins of government, let me warn you to beware of provoking your sovereign's patience, so far as you have done mine. But I shall now conclude, that, notwithstanding the disgusts I have received, (for I mean not to part with you in anger), the greater part of you may assure themselves that they go home in their prince's good graces."[**]

Elizabeth carried further her dignity on this occasion. She had received the subsidy without any condition; but as it was believed that the commons had given her that gratuity with a view of engaging her to yield to their requests, she thought proper, on her refusal, voluntarily to remit the third payment; and she said, that money in her subjects' purses was as good to her as in her own exchequer.[***]

* D'Ewes, p. 130.

** D'Ewes, p. 116, 117.

*** J Camden, p. 400.

But though the queen was able to elude, for the present, the applications of parliament, the friends of the queen of Scots multiplied every day in England; and besides the Catholics, many of whom kept a treasonable correspondence with her, and were ready to rise at her command,[*] the court itself of Elizabeth was full of her avowed partisans. The duke of Norfolk, the earls of Leicester, Pembroke, Bedford, Northumberland, Sir Nicholas Throgmorton, and most of the considerable men in England, except Cecil, seemed convinced of the necessity of declaring her the successor. None but the more zealous Protestants adhered either to the countess of Hertford, or to her aunt, Eleanor, countess of Cumberland; and as the marriage of the former seemed liable to some objections, and had been declared invalid, men were alarmed, even on that side, with the prospect of new disputes concerning the succession. Mary's behavior, also, so moderate towards the Protestants, and so gracious towards all men, had procured her universal respect;[**] and the public was willing to ascribe any imprudences into which she had fallen to her youth and inexperience. But all these flattering prospects were blasted by the subsequent incidents; where her egregious indiscretions, shall I say, or atrocious crimes, threw her from the height of her prosperity and involved her in infamy and in ruin.

The earl of Bothwell was of a considerable family and power in Scotland; and though not distinguished by any talents either of a civil or military nature, he had made a figure in that party which opposed the greatness of the earl of Murray and the more rigid reformers. He was a man of profligate manners; had involved his opulent fortune in great debts, and even reduced himself to beggary by his profuse expenses;[***] and seemed to have no resource but in desperate counsels and enterprises.

* Haynes, p. 446, 448.

** Melvil, p. 53, 61, 74.

*** Keith, p. 240.

He had been accused more than once of an attempt to assassinate Murray; and though the frequency of these accusations on all sides diminish somewhat the credit due to any particular imputation, they prove sufficiently the prevalence of that detestable practice in Scotland, and may in that view serve to render such rumors the more credible. This man had of late acquired the favor and entire confidence of Mary; and all her measures were directed by his advice and authority. Reports were spread of more particular intimacies between them; and these reports gained ground from the continuance, or rather increase, of her hatred towards her husband.[*] That young prince was reduced to such a state of desperation by the neglects which he underwent from his queen and the courtiers, that he had once resolved to fly secretly into France or Spain, and had even provided a vessel for that purpose.[**] Some of the most considerable nobility, on the other hand, observing her rooted aversion to him, had proposed some expedients for a divorce, and though Mary is said to have spoken honorably on the occasion, and to have embraced the proposal no further than it should be found consistent with her own honor and her son's legitimacy,[***] men were inclined to believe, that the difficulty of finding proper means for effecting that purpose, was the real cause of laying aside all further thoughts of it. So far were the suspicions against her carried, that when Henry, discouraged with the continual proofs of her hatred, left the court and retired to Glasgow, an illness of an extraordinary nature, with which he was seized immediately on his arrival in that place, was universally ascribed by her enemies to a dose of poison, which, it was pretended, she had administered to him.

* Melvil, p. 66, 77.

** Keith, p. 345-348.

*** Camden, p. 404. Goodall's Queen Mary, vol. ii. p. 317.

While affairs were in this situation, all those who wished well to her character, or to public tranquillity, were extremely pleased, and somewhat surprised, to hear that a friendship was again conciliated between them, that she had taken a journey to Glasgow on purpose to visit him during his sickness, that she behaved towards him with great tenderness, that she had brought him along with her, and that she appeared thenceforth determined to live with him on a footing more suitable to the connections between them. Henry, naturally uxorious, and not distrusting this sudden reconciliation, put himself implicitly into her hands, and attended her to Edinburgh. She lived in the palace of Holyrood House; but as the situation of the palace was low, and the concourse of people about the court was necessarily attended with noise, which might disturb him in his present infirm state of health, these reasons were assigned for fitting up an apartment for him in a solitary house at some distance, called the Kirk of Field. Mary here gave him marks of kindness and attachment; she conversed cordially with him; and she lay some nights in a room below his; but on the ninth of February, she told him that she would pass that night in the palace, because the marriage of one of her servants was there to be celebrated in her presence. About two o'clock in the morning, the whole town was much alarmed at hearing a great noise; and was still more astonished, when it was discovered that the noise came from the king's house, which was blown up by gunpowder; that his dead body was found at some distance in a neighboring field; and that no marks, either of fire, contusion, or violence appeared upon it.[*]

No doubt could be entertained but Henry was murdered; and general conjecture soon pointed towards the earl of Bothwell as the author of the crime.[**] But as his favor with Mary was visible, and his power great, no one ventured to declare openly his sentiments; and all men remained in silence and mute astonishment. Voices, however, were heard in the streets, during the darkness of the night, proclaiming Bothwell, and even Mary herself, to be murderers of the king; bills were secretly affixed on the walls to the same purpose; offers were made, that, upon giving proper securities, his guilt should be openly proved; but after one proclamation from the court, offering a reward and indemnity to any one that would discover the author of that villany, greater vigilance was employed in searching out the spreaders of the libels and reports against Bothwell and the queen, than in tracing the contrivers of the king's assassination, or detecting the regicides.[***]

The earl of Lenox, who lived at a distance from court in poverty and contempt, was roused by the report of his son's murder, and wrote to the queen, imploring speedy justice against the assassins; among whom he named the earl of Bothwell, Sir James Balfour, and Gilbert Balfour his brother, David Chalmers, and four others of the queen's household; all of them persons who had been mentioned in the bills affixed to the walls at Edinburgh.[****]

* It was imagined that Henry had been strangled before the house was blown up. But this supposition is contradicted by the confession of the criminals; and there is no necessity to admit it in order to account for the condition of his body. There are many instances that men's lives have been saved who had been blown up in ships. Had Henry fallen on water, he had not probably been killed.

** Melvil, p. 78. Cabbala, p. 136.

*** Anderson's Collections, vol. ii. p. 38; vol. iv. p. 167, 168. Spotswood, p. 200. Keith, p. 374.

**** Keith, p. 372. Anderson, vol. ii. p. 3.

Mary took his demand of speedy justice in a very literal sense, and allowing only fifteen days for the examination of this important affair, she sent a citation to Lenox, requiring him to appear in court, and prove his charge against Bothwell.[*] This nobleman, meanwhile, and all the other persons accused by Lenox, enjoyed their full liberty;[**] Bothwell himself was continually surrounded with armed men; [***] took his place in council;[****] lived during some time in the house with Mary;[v] and seemed to possess all his wonted confidence and familiarity with her. Even the Castle of Edinburgh, a place of great consequence in this critical time, was intrusted to him, and under him, to his creature, Sir James Balfour, who had himself been publicly charged as an accomplice in the king's murder.v Lenox, who had come as far as Stirling with a view of appearing at the trial, was informed of all these circumstances; and reflecting on the small train which attended him, he began to entertain very just apprehensions from the power, insolence, and temerity of his enemy. He wrote to Mary, desiring that the day of trial might be prorogued; and conjured her, by all the regard which she bore to her own honor, to employ more leisure and deliberation in determining a question of such extreme moment.[v**] No regard was paid to his application: the jury was enclosed, of which the earl of Caithness was chancellor; and though Lenox, foreseeing this precipitation, had ordered Cunningham, one of his retinue, to appear in court, and protest in his name against the acquittal of the criminal, the jury proceeded to a verdict.[v***] The verdict was such as it behoved them to give, where neither accuser nor witness appeared; and Bothwell was absolved from the king's murder. The jury, however, apprehensive that their verdict would give great scandal, and perhaps expose them afterwards to some danger, entered a protest, in which they represented the necessity of their proceedings.[v****]

* Keith, p. 373.

** Keith, p. 374, 375.

*** Keith, p. 405.

**** Anderson, vol. i. p. 38, 40, 50, 52.

v Anderson, vol. ii. p. 274.

v* Spotswood, p. 201.

v** Keith, p. 375. Anderson, vol. i. p. 52.

v*** Keith, p. 376. Anderson, vol. ii. p. 106. Spotswood, p. 201.

v**** Spotswood, p. 201. Anderson, vol. i p. 113.

It is remarkable, that the indictment was laid against Bothwell for committing the crime on the ninth of February, not the tenth, the real day on which Henry was assassinated.[*] The interpretation generally put upon this error, too gross, it was thought, to have proceeded from mistake, was, that the secret council by whom Mary was governed, not trusting entirely to precipitation, violence, and authority, had provided this plea, by which they insured, at all adventures, a plausible pretence for acquitting Bothwell.

Two days after this extraordinary transaction, a parliament was held; and though the verdict in favor of Bothwell was attended with such circumstances as strongly confirmed, rather than diminished, the general opinion of his guilt, he was the person chosen to carry the royal sceptre on the first meeting of that national assembly.[**] In this parliament a rigorous act was made against those who set up defamatory bills; but no notice was taken of the king's murder.[***] The favor which Mary openly bore to Bothwell kept every one in awe; and the effects of this terror appeared more plainly in another transaction, which ensued immediately upon the dissolution of the parliament. A bond or association was framed; in which the subscribers, after relating the acquittal of Bothwell by a legal trial, and mentioning a further offer which he had made, to prove his innocence by single combat, oblige themselves, in case any person should afterwards impute to him the king's murder, to defend him with their whole power against such calumniators. After this promise, which implied no great assurance in Bothwell of his own innocence, the subscribers mentioned the necessity of their queen's marriage, in order to support the government; and they recommended Bothwell to her as a husband.[****] This paper was subscribed by all the considerable nobility there present. In a country divided by violent factions, such a concurrence in favor of one nobleman, nowise distinguished above the rest, except by his flagitious conduct, could never have been obtained, had not every one been certain, at least firmly persuaded, that Mary was fully determined on this measure.[v] [9] Nor would such a motive have sufficed to influence men, commonly so stubborn and untractable, had they not been taken by surprise, been ignorant of each other's sentiments, and overawed by the present power of the court, and by the apprehensions of further violence from persons so little governed by any principles of honor and humanity. Even with all these circumstances, the subscription to this paper may justly be regarded as a reproach to the nation.

* Keith, p. 375. Anderson, vol. ii. p. 93. Spotswood, p. 201.

** Keith, p. 78. Crawford, p. 14.

*** Keith, p. 389.

**** Keith, p. 381.

v See note I, at the end of the volume.

The subsequent measures of Bothwell were equally precipitate and audacious. Mary having gone to Stirling to pay a visit to her son, he assembled a body of eight hundred horse, on pretence of pursuing some robbers on the borders; and having waylaid her on her return, he seized her person near Edinburgh, and carried her to Dunbar, with an avowed design of forcing her to yield to his purpose. Sir James Melvil, one of her retinue, was carried along with her, and says not that he saw any signs of reluctance or constraint; he was even informed, as he tells us, by Bothwell's officers, that the whole transaction was managed in concert with her.[*] A woman, indeed, of that spirit and resolution which is acknowledged to belong to Mary, does not usually, on these occasions, give such marks of opposition to real violence as can appear any wise doubtful or ambiguous. Some of the nobility, however, in order to put matters to further trial, sent her a private message, in which they told her, that if in reality she lay under force, they would use all their efforts to rescue her. Her answer was, that she had indeed been carried to Dunbar by violence, but ever since her arrival had been so well treated that she willingly remained with Bothwell.[**] No one gave himself thenceforth any concern to relieve her from a captivity which was believed to proceed entirely from her own approbation and connivance.

This unusual conduct was at first ascribed to Mary's sense of the infamy attending her purposed marriage, and her desire of finding some color to gloss over the irregularity of her conduct. But a pardon, given to Bothwell a few days after, made the public carry their conjectures somewhat further. In this deed, Bothwell received a pardon for the violence committed on the queen's person, and for "all other crimes;" a clause by which the murder of the king was indirectly forgiven. The rape was then conjectured to have been only a contrivance, in order to afford a pretence for indirectly remitting a crime, of which it would have appeared scandalous to make openly any mention.[***]

* Melvil, p. 80.

** Spotswood, p. 202.

*** Anderson, vol. iv. part ii. p. 61.

These events passed with such rapidity, that men had no leisure to admire sufficiently one incident, when they were surprised with a new one equally rare and uncommon. There still, however, remained one difficulty which it was not easy to foresee how the queen and Bothwell, determined as they were to execute their shameful purpose, could find expedients to overcome. The man who had procured the subscription of the nobility, recommending him as a husband to the queen, and who had acted this seeming violence on her person, in order to force her consent, had been married two years before to another woman; to a woman of merit, of a noble family, sister to the earl of Huntley. But persons blinded by passion, and infatuated with crime, soon shake off all appearance of decency. A suit was commenced for a divorce between Bothwell and his wife; and this suit was opened at the same instant in two different, or rather opposite courts; in the court of the archbishop of St. Andrew's, which was Popish, and governed itself by the canon law; and in the new consistorial or commissariot court, which was Protestant, and was regulated by the principles of the reformed teachers. The plea advanced in each court was so calculated as to suit the principles which there prevailed; in the archbishop's court, the pretence of consanguinity was employed, because Bothwell was related to his wife in the fourth degree; in the commissariot court, the accusation of adultery was made use of against him. The parties, too, who applied for the divorce, were different in the different courts: Bothwell was the person who sued in the former; his wife in the latter. And the suit in both courts was opened, pleaded, examined, and decided, with the utmost precipitation; and a sentence of divorce was pronounced in four days.[*]

* Anderson, vol. ii. p. 280.

The divorce being thus obtained, it was thought proper that Mary should be conducted to Edinburgh, and should there appear before the courts of judicature, and should acknowledge herself restored to entire freedom. This was understood to be contrived in a view of obviating all doubts with regard to the validity of her marriage. Orders were then given to publish in the church the banns between the queen and the duke of Orkney; for that was the title which he now bore; and Craig, a minister of Edinburgh, was applied to for that purpose. This clergyman, not content with having refused compliance, publicly in his sermons condemned the marriage, and exhorted all who had access to the queen, to give her their advice against so scandalous an alliance. Being called before the council to answer for this liberty, he showed a courage which might cover all the nobles with shame, on account of their tameness and servility. He said that, by the rules of the church, the earl of Bothwell, being convicted of adultery, could not be permitted to marry; that the divorce between him and his former wife was plainly procured by collusion, as appeared by the precipitation of the sentence, and the sudden conclusion of his marriage with the queen; and that all the suspicions which prevailed with regard to the king's murder, and the queen's concurrence in the former rape, would thence receive undoubted confirmation. He therefore exhorted Bothwell, who was present, no longer to persevere in his present criminal enterprises; and turning his discourse to the other counsellors, he charged them to employ all their influence with the queen, in order to divert her from a measure which would load her with eternal infamy and dishonor. Not satisfied even with this admonition, he took the first opportunity of informing the public, from the pulpit, of the whole transaction; and expressed to them his fears that, notwithstanding all remonstrances, their sovereign was still obstinately bent on her fatal purpose. "For himself," he said, "he had already discharged his conscience; and yet again would take heaven and earth to witness that he abhorred and detested that marriage as scandalous and hateful in the sight of mankind; but since the great, as he perceived, either by their flattery or silence, gave countenance to the measure, he besought the faithful to pray fervently to the Almighty that a resolution, taken contrary to all law, reason, and good conscience, might, by the divine blessing, be turned to the comfort and benefit of the church and kingdom." These speeches offended the court extremely; and Craig was anew summoned before the council, to answer for his temerity in thus passing the bounds of his commission. But he told them, that the bounds of his commission were the word of God, good laws, and natural reason; and were the Queen's marriage tried by any of these standards, it would appear infamous and dishonorable, and would so be esteemed by the whole world. The council were so overawed by this heroic behavior in a private clergyman, that they dismissed him without further censure or punishment.[*]

* Spotswood, p. 203. Anderson, vol. ii. p. 280.

But though this transaction might have recalled Bothwell and the queen of Scots from their infatuation, and might have instructed them in the dispositions of the people, as well as in their own inability to oppose them, they were still resolute to rush forward to their own manifest destruction. The marriage was solemnized by the bishop of Orkney, a Protestant, who was afterwards deposed by the church for this scandalous compliance. Few of the nobility appeared at the ceremony: they had most of them, either from shame or fear, retired to their own houses. The French ambassador, Le Croc, an aged gentleman of honor and character, could not be prevailed on, though a dependent of the house of Guise, to countenance the marriage by his presence.[*] Elizabeth remonstrated, by friendly letters and messages, against the marriage.[**] The court of France made like opposition; but Mary, though on all other occasions she was extremely obsequious to the advice of her relations in that country, was here determined to pay no regard to their opinion.

The news of these transactions, being carried to foreign countries, filled Europe with amazement, and threw infamy, not only on the principal actors in them, but also on the whole nation, who seemed, by their submission and silence, and even by their declared approbation, to give their sanction to these scandalous practices.[***] The Scots who resided abroad met with such reproaches, that they durst nowhere appear in public; and they earnestly exhorted their countrymen at home to free them from the public odium, by bringing to condign punishment the authors of such atrocious crimes. This intelligence, with a little more leisure for reflection, roused men from their lethargy; and the rumors which, from the very beginning,[****] had been spread against Mary, as if she had concurred in the king's murder, seemed now, by the subsequent transactions, to have received a strong confirmation and authority.

* Spotswood, p. 203. Melvil, p. 82.

** Keith, p. 392.

*** Digges, p. 14.

**** Melvil, p. 82. Keith, p. 402. Anderson, voL i. p. 128, 134, Crawford, p. 11. Keith, Pref. p. 9.

It was every where said, that even though no particular and direct proofs had as yet been produced of the queen's guilt, the whole tenor of her late conduct was sufficient, not only to beget suspicion, but to produce entire conviction against her: that her sudden resolution of being reconciled to her husband, whom before she had long and justly hated; her bringing him to court, from which she had banished him by neglects and rigors; her fitting up separate apartments for him; were all of them circumstances which, though trivial in themselves, yet, being compared with the subsequent events, bore a very unfavorable aspect for her: that the least which, after the king's murder, might have been expected in her situation, was a more than usual caution in her measures, and an extreme anxiety to punish the real assassins, in order to free herself from all reproach and suspicion: that no woman who had any regard to her character, would allow a man, publicly accused of her husband's murder, so much as to approach her presence, far less give him a share in her councils, and endow him with favor and authority that an acquittal, merely in the absence of accusers, was very ill fitted to satisfy the public; especially if that absence proceeded from a designed precipitation of the sentence, and from the terror which her known friendship for the criminal had infused into every one: that the very mention of her marriage to such a person, in such circumstances, was horrible; and the contrivances of extorting a consent from the nobility, and of concerting a rape, were gross artifices, more proper to discover her guilt than prove her innocence: that where a woman thus shows a consciousness of merited reproach, and instead of correcting, provides only thin glosses to cover her exceptionable conduct, she betrays a neglect of fame, which must either be the effect or the cause of the most shameful enormities: that to espouse a man who had, a few days before, been so scandalously divorced from his wife, who, to say the least, was believed to have a few months before assassinated her husband, was so contrary to the plainest rules of behavior, that no pretence of indiscretion or imprudence could account for such a conduct: that a woman who, so soon after her husband's death, though not attended with any extraordinary circumstances, contracts a marriage which might in itself be the most blameless, cannot escape severe censure; but one who overlooks for her pleasure so many other weighty considerations, was equally capable, in gratifying her appetites, to neglect every regard to honor and humanity: that Mary was not ignorant of the prevailing opinion of the public with regard to her own guilt, and of the inferences which would every where be drawn from her conduct; and therefore, if she still continued to pursue measures which gave such just offence, she ratified by her actions, as much as she could by the most formal confession, all the surmises and imputations of her enemies: that a prince was here murdered in the face of the world; Bothwell alone was suspected and accused; if he were innocent, nothing could absolve him, either in Mary's eyes or those of the public, but the detection and conviction of the real assassin: yet no inquiry was made to that purpose, though a parliament had been assembled; the sovereign and wife was here plainly silent from guilt, the people from terror: that the only circumstance which opposed all these presumptions, or rather proofs, was the benignity and goodness of her preceding behavior, which seemed to remove her from all suspicions of such atrocious inhumanity; but that the characters of men were extremely variable, and persons guilty of the worst actions were not always naturally of the worst and most criminal dispositions; that a woman who, in a critical and dangerous moment, had sacrificed her honor to a man of abandoned principles, might thenceforth be led blindfold by him to the commission of the most enormous crimes, and was in reality no longer at her own disposal: and that, though one supposition was still left to alleviate her blame; namely, that Bothwell, presuming on her affection towards him, had of himself committed the crime, and had never communicated it to her; yet such a sudden and passionate love to a man whom she had long known, could not easily be accounted for, without supposing some degree of preceding guilt; and as it appeared that she was not afterwards restrained, either by shame or prudence, from incurring the highest reproach and danger, it was not likely that a sense of duty or humanity would have a more powerful influence over her.

These were the sentiments which prevailed throughout Scotland: and as the Protestant teachers, who had great authority, had long borne an animosity to Mary, the opinion of her guilt was by that means the more widely diffused, and made the deeper impression on the people. Some attempts made by Bothwell, and, as is pretended, with her consent, to get the young prince into his power, excited the most serious attention; and the principal nobility, even many of those who had formerly been constrained to sign the application in favor of Bothwells marriage, met at Stirling, and formed an association for protecting the prince, and punishing the king's murderers.[*]

* Keith, p. 394.

The earl of Athole himself, a known Catholic, was the first author of this confederacy, the earls of Argyle, Morton, Marre, Glencairne, the lords Boyd, Lindesey, Hume, Semple, Kirkaldy of Grange, Tulibardine, and Secretary Lidington, entered zealously into it. The earl of Murray, foreseeing such turbulent times, and being desirous to keep free of these dangerous factions, had some time before desired and obtained Mary's permission to retire into France.

Lord Hume was first in arms; and leading a body of eight hundred horse, suddenly environed the queen of Scots and Bothwell, in the Castle of Borthwick. They found means of making their escape to Dunbar; while the confederate lords were assembling their troops at Edinburgh, and taking measures to effect their purpose. Had Bothwell been so prudent as to keep within the fortress of Dunbar, his enemies must have dispersed for want of pay and subsistence; but hearing that the associated lords were fallen into distress, he was so rash as to take the field, and advance towards them. The armies met at Carberry Hill, about six miles from Edinburgh; and Mary soon became sensible that her own troops disapproved of her cause, and were averse to spill their blood in the quarrel.[*] After some bravadoes of Bothwell, where he discovered very little courage, she saw no resource but that of holding a conference with Kirkaldy of Grange, and of putting herself, upon some general promises, into the hands of the confederates. She was conducted to Edinburgh, amidst the insults of the populace; who reproached her with her crimes, and even held before her eyes, which way soever she turned, a banner, on which were painted the murder of her husband and the distress of her infant son.[**] Mary, overwhelmed with her calamities, had recourse to tears and lamentations. Meanwhile Bothwell, during her conference with Grange, fled unattended to Dunbar; and fitting out a few small ships, set sail for the Orkneys, where he subsisted during some time by piracy. He was pursued thither by Grange, and his ship was taken, with several of his servants; who afterwards discovered all the circumstances of the king's murder, and were punished for the crime.[***] Bothwell himself escaped in a boat, and found means to get a passage to Denmark, where he was thrown into prison, lost his senses, and died miserably about ten years after; an end worthy of his flagitious conduct and behavior.

* Keith, p. 402. Spotswood, p. 207.

** Melvil, p. 83, 84.

*** Anderson, vol. ii. p. 165, 166, etc.

The queen of Scots, now in the hands of an enraged faction met with such treatment as a sovereign may naturally expect from subjects, who have their future security to provide for, as well as their present animosity to gratify. It is pretended that she behaved with a spirit very little suitable to her condition, avowed her inviolable attachment to Bothwell,[*] and even wrote him a letter, which the lords intercepted, wherein she declared, that she would endure any extremity, nay, resign her dignity and crown itself, rather than relinquish his affections.[**] The malecontents, finding the danger to which they were exposed in case Mary should finally prevail, thought themselves obliged to proceed with rigor against her; and they sent her next day under a guard to the Castle of Lochlevin, situated in a lake of that name. The mistress of the house was mother to the earl of Murray; and as she pretended to have been lawfully married to the late king of Scots, she naturally bore an animosity to Mary, and treated her with the utmost harshness and severity.

* Keith, p. 419.

** Melvil, p. 84.

Elizabeth, who was fully informed of all those incidents, seemed touched with compassion towards the unfortunate queen; and all her fears and jealousies being now laid asleep, by the consideration of that ruin and infamy in which Mary's conduct had involved her, she began to reflect on the instability of human affairs, the precarious state of royal grandeur, the danger of encouraging rebellious subjects; and she resolved to employ her authority for alleviating the calamities of her unhappy kinswoman. She sent Sir Nicholas Throgmorton ambassador to Scotland, in order to remonstrate both with Mary and the associated lords; and she gave him instructions, which, though mixed with some lofty pretensions, were full of that good sense which was so natural to her, and of that generosity which the present interesting conjuncture had called forth. She empowered him to declare[*] in her name to Mary, that the late conduct of that princess, so enormous, and in every respect so unjustifiable, had given her the highest offence; and though she felt the movements of pity towards her, she had once determined never to interpose in her affairs, either by advice or assistance, but to abandon her entirely, as a person whose condition was totally desperate, and honor irretrievable.

* The reality of this letter appears somewhat disputable; chiefly because Murray and his associates never mentioned it in their accusation of her before Queen Elizabeth's commissioners.

That she was well assured that other foreign princes, Mary's near relations, had embraced the same resolution; but, for her part, the late events had touched her heart with more tender sympathy, and had made her adopt measures more favorable to the liberty and interests of the unhappy queen: that she was determined not to see her oppressed by her rebellious subjects, but would employ all her good offices, and even her power, to redeem her from captivity, and place her in such a condition as would at once be compatible with her dignity and the safety of her subjects: that she conjured her to lay aside all thoughts of revenge, except against the murderers of her husband; and as she herself was his near relation, she was better entitled than the subjects of Mary to interpose her authority on that head; and she therefore besought that princess, if she had any regard to her own honor and safety, not to oppose so just and reasonable a demand: that after those two points were provided for, her own liberty and the punishment of her husband's assassins, the safety of her infant son was next to be considered; and there seemed no expedient more proper for that purpose, than sending him to be educated in England: and that, besides the security which would attend his removal from a scene of faction and convulsions, there were many other beneficial consequences, which it was easy to foresee as the result of his education in that country.[*]

* Keith, p. 411, 412, etc

The remonstrances which Throgmorton was instructed to make to the associated lords, were entirely conformable to these sentiments which Elizabeth entertained in Mary's favor. She empowered him to tell them, that whatever blame she might throw on Mary's conduct, any opposition to their sovereign was totally unjustifiable, and incompatible with all order and good government: that it belonged not to them to reform, much less to punish, the maleadministration of their prince; and the only arms which subjects could in any case lawfully employ against the supreme authority, were entreaties, counsels, and representations: that if these expedients failed, they were next to appeal by their prayers to Heaven, and to wait with patience till the Almighty, in whose hands are the hearts of princes, should be pleased to turn them to justice and to mercy. That she inculcated not this doctrine because she herself was interested in its observance, but because it was universally received in all well-governed states, and was essential to the preservation of civil society: that she required them to restore their queen to liberty; and promised, in that case, to concur with them in all proper expedients for regulating the government, for punishing the king's murderers, and for guarding the life and liberty of the infant prince: and that, if the services which she had lately rendered the Scottish nation, in protecting them from foreign usurpation, were duly considered by them, they would repose confidence in her good offices, and would esteem themselves blameworthy in having hitherto made no application to her.[*]

Elizabeth, besides these remonstrances, sent by Throgmorton some articles of accommodation, which he was to propose to both parties, as expedients for the settlement of public affairs; and though these articles contained some important restraints on the sovereign power, they were in the main calculated for Mary's advantage, and were sufficiently indulgent to her.[**] The associated lords, who determined to proceed with greater severity, were apprehensive of Elizabeth's partiality; and being sensible that Mary would take courage from the protection of that powerful princess,[***] they thought proper, after several affected delays, to refuse the English ambassador all access to her. There were four different schemes proposed in Scotland for the treatment of the captive queen: one, that she should be restored to her authority under very strict limitations: the second, that she should be obliged to resign her crown to the prince, be banished the kingdom, and be confined either to France or England; with assurances from the sovereign in whose dominions she should reside, that she should make no attempts to the disturbance of the established government: the third, that she should be publicly tried for her crimes, of which her enemies pretended to have undoubted proof, and be sentenced to perpetual imprisonment: the fourth was still more severe, and required that, after her trial and condemnation, capital punishment should be inflicted upon her.[****] Throgmorton supported the mildest proposal; but though he promised his mistress's guaranty for the performance of articles, threatened the ruling party with immediate vengeance in case of refusal,[v] and warned them not to draw on themselves, by their violence, the public reproach which now lay upon their queen, he found that, excepting Secretary Lidington, he had not the good fortune to convince any of the leaders.

* Keith, p. 414, 415, 429.

** Keith, p. 416.

*** Keith, p. 427.

**** Keith, p. 420.

v Keith, p. 428.

All counsels seemed to tend towards the more severe expedients; and the preachers, in particular, drawing their examples from the rigorous maxims of the Old Testament, which can only be warranted by particular revelations, inflamed the minds of the people against their unhappy sovereign.[*]

There were several pretenders to the regency of the young prince after the intended deposition of Mary. The earl of Lenox claimed that authority as grandfather to the prince: the duke of Chatelrault, who was absent in France, had pretensions as next heir to the crown: but the greatest number of the associated lords inclined to the earl of Murray, in whose capacity they had entire trust, and who possessed the confidence of the preachers and more zealous reformers. All measures being therefore concerted, three instruments were sent to Mary, by the hands of Lord Lindesey and Sir Robert Melvil; by one of which she was to resign the crown in favor of her son, by another to appoint Murray regent, by the third to name a council, which should administer the government till his arrival in Scotland. The queen of Scots, seeing no prospect of relief, lying justly under apprehensions for her life, and believing that no deed which she executed during her captivity could be valid, was prevailed on, after a plentiful effusion of tears, to sign these three instruments; and she took not the trouble of inspecting any one of them.[**] In consequence of this forced resignation, the young prince was proclaimed king, by the name of James VI. He was soon after crowned at Stirling, and the earl of Morton took in his name the coronation oath; in which a promise to extirpate heresy was not forgotten. Some republican pretensions, in favor of the people's power, were countenanced in this ceremony;[***] and a coin was soon after struck, on which the famous saying of Trajan was inscribed, Pro me; si merear, in me; "For me; if I deserve it, against me."[****] Throgmorton had orders from his mistress not to assist at the coronation of the king of Scots.[v]

* Keith, p. 422, 426.

** Melvil, p. 85. Spotswood, p. 211. Anderson, vol. iii. p. 19.

*** Keith, p. 439, 440.

**** Keith, p. 440. Append, p. 150.

v Keith, p. 430

The council of regency had not long occasion to exercise their authority. The earl of Murray arrived from France, and took possession of his high office. He paid a visit to the captive queen, and spoke to her in a manner which better suited her past conduct than her present condition. This harsh treatment quite extinguished in her breast any remains of affection towards him.[*] Murray proceeded afterwards to break, in a more public manner, all terms of decency with her. He summoned a parliament; and that assembly, after voting that she was undoubtedly an accomplice in her husband's murder, condemned her to imprisonment, ratified her demission of the crown, and acknowledged her son for king, and Murray for regent.[**] The regent, a man of vigor and abilities, employed himself successfully in reducing the kingdom. He bribed Sir James Balfour to surrender the Castle of Edinburgh: he constrained the garrison of Dunbar to open their gates; and he demolished that fortress.

But though every thing thus bore a favorable aspect to the new government, and all men seemed to acquiesce in Murray's authority, a violent revolution, however necessary, can never be effected without great discontents; and it was not likely that, in a country where the government, in its most settled state, possessed a very disjointed authority, a new establishment should meet with no interruption or disturbance. Few considerable men of the nation seemed willing to support Mary, so long as Bothwell was present; but the removal of that obnoxious nobleman had altered the sentiments of many. The duke of Chatelrault, being disappointed of the regency, bore no good will to Murray; and the same sentiments were embraced by all his numerous retainers. Several of the nobility, finding that others had taken the lead among the associators, formed a faction apart, and opposed the prevailing power; and besides their being moved by some remains of duty and affection towards Mary, the malecontent lords, observing every thing carried to extremity against her, were naturally led to embrace her cause, and shelter themselves under her authority. All who retained any propensity to the Catholic religion were induced to join this party; and even the people in general, though they had formerly either detested Mary's crimes or blamed her imprudence, were now inclined to compassionate her present situation, and lamented that a person possessed of so many amiable accomplishments, joined to such high dignity, should be treated with such extreme severity.[***]

* Melvil, p. 87. Keith, p. 445.

** Anderson, vol. ii. p. 206, et seq.

*** Buchanan, lib. xviii. c. 53.

Animated by all these motives, many of the principal nobility now adherents to the queen of Scots, met at Hamilton, and concerted measures for supporting the cause of that princess.

{1568.} While these humors were in fermentation, Mary was employed in contrivances for effecting her escape; and she engaged, by her charms and caresses, a young gentleman, George Douglas, brother to the laird of Lochlevin, to assist her in that enterprise. She even went so far as to give him hopes of espousing her, after her marriage with Bothwell should be dissolved on the plea of force; and she proposed this expedient to the regent, who rejected it. Douglas, however, persevered in his endeavors to free her from captivity; and having all opportunities of access to the house, he was at last successful in the undertaking. He conveyed her in disguise into a small boat, and himself rowed her ashore. She hastened to Hamilton; and the news of her arrival in that place being immediately spread abroad, many of the nobility flocked to her with their forces. A bond of association for her defence was signed by the earls of Argyle, Huntley, Eglington, Crawford, Cassilis, Rothes, Montrose, Sutherland, Erroi, nine bishops, and nine barons, besides many of the most considerable gentry.[*] And in a few days, an army, to the number of six thousand men, was assembled under her standard.

Elizabeth was no sooner informed of Mary's escape, than she discovered her resolution of persevering in the same generous and friendly measures which she had hitherto pursued. If she had not employed force against the regent during the imprisonment of that princess, she had been chiefly withheld by the fear of pushing him to greater extremities against her;[**] but she had proposed to the court of France an expedient, which, though less violent, would have been no less effectual for her service: she desired that France and England should by concert cut off all commerce with the Scots, till they should do justice to their injured sovereign.[***]

* Keith, p. 475.

** Keith, p. 463. Cabala, p. 141.

*** Keith, p. 462.

She now despatched Leighton into Scotland to offer both her good offices, and the assistance of her forces, to Mary; but as she apprehended the entrance of French troops into the kingdom, she desired that the controversy between the queen of Scots and her subjects might by that princess be referred entirely to her arbitration, and that no foreign succors should be introduced into Scotland.[*]

But Elizabeth had not leisure to exert fully her efforts in favor of Mary. The regent made haste to assemble forces; and notwithstanding that his army was inferior in number to that of the queen of Scots, he took the field against her. A battle was fought at Langside, near Glasgow, which was entirely decisive in favor of the regent; and though Murray, after his victory, stopped the bloodshed, yet was the action followed by a total dispersion of the queen's party. That unhappy princess fled southwards from the field of battle with great precipitation, and came with a few attendants to the borders of England. She here deliberated concerning her next measures, which would probably prove so important to her future happiness or misery. She found it impossible to remain in her own kingdom: she had an aversion, in her present wretched condition, to return into France, where she had formerly appeared with so much splendor; and she was not, besides, provided with a vessel which could safely convey her thither: the late generous behavior of Elizabeth made her hope for protection, and even assistance, from that quarter;[**] and as the present fears from her domestic enemies were the most urgent, she overlooked all other considerations, and embraced the resolution of taking shelter in England. She embarked on board a fishing-boat in Galloway, and landed the same day at Workington, in Cumberland, about thirty miles from Carlisle, whence she immediately despatched a messenger to London, notifying her arrival, desiring leave to visit Elizabeth, and craving her protection, in consequence of former professions of friendship made her by that princess.

Elizabeth now found herself in a situation when it was become necessary to take some decisive resolution with regard to her treatment of the queen of Scots; and as she had hitherto, contrary to the opinion of Cecil, attended more to the motives of generosity than of policy,[***] she was engaged by that prudent minister to weigh anew all the considerations which occurred in this critical conjuncture.

* Keith, p. 473, in the notes. Anderson, vol. iv. p, 26.

** Jebb's Collection, vol. i. p. 420.

*** Cabala, p. 140.

He represented, that the party which had dethroned Mary, and had at present assumed the government of Scotland, were always attached to the English alliance, and were engaged, by all the motives of religion and of interest, to persevere in their connection with Elizabeth: that though Murray and his friends might complain of some unkind usage during their banishment in England, they would easily forget these grounds of quarrel, when they reflected, that Elizabeth was the only ally on whom they could safely rely, and that their own queen, by her attachment to the Catholic faith, and by her other connections, excluded them entirely from the friendship of France, and even from that of Spain: that Mary, on the other hand, even before her violent breach with her Protestant subjects, was in secret entirely governed by the counsels of the house of Guise, much more would she implicitly comply with their views, when, by her own ill conduct, the power of that family and of the zealous Catholics was become her sole resource and security: that her pretensions to the English crown would render her a dangerous instrument in their hands; and, were she once able to suppress the Protestants in her own kingdom, she would unite the Scottish and English Catholics, with those of all foreign states, in a confederacy against the religion and government of England; that it behoved Elizabeth, therefore, to proceed with caution in the design of restoring her rival to the throne; and to take care, both that this enterprise, if undertaken, should be effected by English forces alone, and that full securities should beforehand be provided for the reformers and the reformation in Scotland: that, above all, it was necessary to guard carefully the person of that princess; lest, finding this unexpected reserve in the English friendship, she should suddenly take the resolution of flying into France, and should attempt by foreign force to recover possession of her authority: that her desperate fortunes and broken reputation fitted her for any attempt; and her resentment, when she should find herself thus deserted by the queen, would concur with her ambition and her bigotry, and render her an unrelenting, as well as powerful enemy to the English government: that if she were once abroad, in the hands of enterprising Catholics, the attack on England would appear to her as easy as that on Scotland; and the only method, she must imagine of recovering her native kingdom, would be to acquire that crown to which she would deem herself equally entitled: that a neutrality in such interesting situations, though it might be pretended, could never, without the most extreme danger, be upheld by the queen; and the detention of Mary was equally requisite whether the power of England were to be employed in her favor, or against her: that nothing, indeed, was more becoming a great prince than generosity; yet the suggestions of this noble principle could never, without imprudence, be consulted in such delicate circumstances as those in which the queen was at present placed; where her own safety and the interests of her people were intimately concerned in every resolution which she embraced: that though the example of successful rebellion, especially in a neighboring country, could nowise be agreeable to any sovereign, yet Mary's imprudence had been so great, perhaps her crimes so enormous, that the insurrection of subjects, after such provocation, could no longer be regarded as a precedent against other princes: that it was first necessary for Elizabeth to ascertain, in a regular and satisfactory manner, the extent of Mary's guilt, and thence to determine the degree of protection which she ought to afford her against her discontented subjects: that as no glory could surpass that of defending oppressed innocence, it was equally infamous to patronize vice and murder on the throne; and the contagion of such dishonor would extend itself to all who countenanced or supported it: and that if the crimes of the Scottish princess should, on inquiry, appear as great and certain as was affirmed and believed, every measure against her, which policy should dictate, would thence be justified; or if she should be found innocent, every enterprise which friendship should inspire would be acknowledged laudable and glorious.

Agreeably to these views, Elizabeth resolved to proceed in a seemingly generous, but really cautious manner with the queen of Scots; and she immediately sent orders to Lady Scrope, sister to the duke of Norfolk, a lady who lived in the neighborhood, to attend on that princess. Soon after, she despatched to her Lord Scrope himself, warden of the marches, and Sir Francis Knolles, vice-chamberlain. They found Mary already lodged in the Castle of Carlisle; and after expressing the queen's sympathy with her in her late misfortunes, they told her, that her request of being allowed to visit their sovereign, and of being admitted to her presence, could not at present be complied with: till she had cleared herself of her husband's murder, of which she was so strongly accused, Elizabeth could not without dishonor show her any countenance, or appear indifferent to the assassination of so near a kinsman.[*]

* Anderson, vol. iv. p. 54, 66, 82, 83, 86.

So unexpected a check threw Mary into tears: and the necessity of her situation extorted from her a declaration, that she would willingly justify herself to her sister from all imputations, and would submit her cause to the arbitration of so good a friend.[*] Two days after, she sent Lord Herreis to London with a letter to the same purpose.

This concession, which Mary could scarcely avoid without an acknowledgment of guilt, was the point expected and desired by Elizabeth: she immediately despatched Midlemore to the regent of Scotland; requiring him both to desist from the further prosecution of his queen's party, and to send some persons to London to justify his conduct with regard to her. Murray might justly be startled at receiving a message so violent and imperious; but as his domestic enemies were numerous and powerful, and England was the sole ally which he could expect among foreign nations, he was resolved rather to digest the affront, than provoke Elizabeth by a refusal. He also considered, that though that queen had hitherto appeared partial to Mary, many political motives evidently engaged her to support the king's cause in Scotland; and it was not to be doubted but so penetrating a princess would in the end discover this interest, and would at least afford him a patient and equitable hearing. He therefore replied, that he would himself take a journey to England, attended by other commissioners, and would willingly submit the determination of his cause to Elizabeth.[**]

Lord Herreis now perceived that his mistress had advanced too far in her concessions: he endeavored to maintain, that Mary could not, without diminution of her royal dignity, submit to a contest with her rebellious subjects before a foreign prince: and he required either present aid from England, or liberty for his queen to pass over into France. Being pressed, however, with the former agreement before the English council, he again renewed his consent; but in a few days he began anew to recoil; and it was with some difficulty that he was brought to acquiesce in the first determination.[***] These fluctuations, which were incessantly renewed, showed his visible reluctance to the measures pursued by the court of England.

* Anderson, vol. iv. p. 10, 55, 87.

** Anderson, vol. iv. p. 13-16.

*** Anderson, vol. iv. p. 16-20.

The queen of Scots discovered no less aversion to the trial proposed; and it required all the artifice and prudence of Elizabeth to make her persevere in the agreement to which she had at first consented. This latter princess still said to her, that she desired not without Mary's consent and approbation to enter into the question, and pretended only as a friend to hear her justification: that she was confident there would be found no difficulty in refuting all the calumnies of her enemies; and even if her apology should fall short of full conviction, Elizabeth was determined to support her cause, and procure her some reasonable terms of accommodation; and that it was never meant, that she should be cited to a trial on the accusation of her rebellious subjects; but, on the contrary, that they should be summoned to appear, and to justify themselves for their conduct towards her.[*] Allured by these plausible professions, the queen of Scots agreed to vindicate herself by her own commissioners, before commissioners appointed by Elizabeth.

During these transactions, Lord Scrope and Sir Francis Knolles, who resided with Mary at Carlisle, had leisure to study her character, and to make report of it to Elizabeth. Unbroken by her misfortunes, resolute in her purpose, active in her enterprises, she aspired to nothing but victory; and was determined to endure any extremity, to undergo any difficulty, and to try every fortune, rather than abandon her cause, or yield the superiority to her enemies. Eloquent, insinuating, affable, she had already convinced all those who approached her, of the innocence of her past conduct; and as she declared her fixed purpose to require aid of her friends all over Europe, and even to have recourse to infidels and barbarians, rather than fail of vengeance against her persecutors, it was easy to foresee the danger to which her charms, her spirit, her address, if allowed to operate with their full force, would expose them.[**] The court of England, therefore, who, under pretence of guarding her, had already in effect detained her prisoner, were determined to watch her with still greater vigilance. As Carlisle, by its situation on the borders, afforded her great opportunities of contriving her escape, they removed her to Bolton, a seat of Lord Scrope's in Yorkshire; and the issue of the controversy between her and the Scottish nation was regarded as a subject more momentous to Elizabeth's security and interests than it had hitherto been apprehended.

* Anderson, vol. iv. p. 11, 12, 13, 109, 110.

** Anderson, vol. iv. p. 54, 71, 72, 74, 78, 92.

The Commissioners appointed by the English court for the examination of this great cause, were the duke of Norfolk, the earl of Sussex, and Sir Ralph Sadler; and York was named as the place of conference. Lesley, bishop of Ross, the lords Herreis, Levingstone, and Boyde, with three persons more, appeared as commissioners from the queen of Scots. The earl of Murray, regent, the earl of Morton, the bishop of Orkney, Lord Lindesey, and the abbot of Dunfermling were appointed commissioners from the king and kingdom of Scotland. Secretary Lidington, George Buchanan, the famous poet and historian, with some others, were named as their assistants.

It was a great circumstance in Elizabeth's glory, that she was thus chosen umpire between the factions of a neighboring kingdom, which had during many centuries entertained the most violent jealousy and animosity against England; and her felicity was equally rare, in having the fortunes and fame of so dangerous a rival, who had long given her the greatest inquietude, now entirely at her disposal. Some circumstances of her late conduct had discovered a bias towards the side of Mary: her prevailing interests led her to favor the enemies of that princess: the professions of impartiality which she had made were open and frequent; and she had so far succeeded, that each side accused her commissioners of partiality towards their adversaries.[*] She herself appears, by the instructions given them, to have fixed no plan for the decision; but she knew that the advantages which she should reap must be great, whatever issue the cause might take. If Mary's crimes could be ascertained by undoubted proof, she could forever blast the reputation of that princess, and might justifiably detain her forever a prisoner in England: if the evidence fell short of conviction, it was intended to restore her to the throne, but with such strict limitations, as would leave Elizabeth perpetual arbiter of all differences between the parties in Scotland, and render her in effect absolute mistress of the kingdom.[**]

* Anderson, vol. iv. part ii. p. 40.

** Anderson, vol. iv. part ii. p. 14, 15, etc. Goodall, vol. ii p. 110.

Mary's commissioners, before they gave in their complaint, against her enemies in Scotland, entered a protest, that their appearance in the cause should nowise affect the independence of her crown, or be construed as a mark of subordination to England: the English commissioners received this protest, but with a reserve to the claim of England. The complaint of that princess was next read, and contained a detail of the injuries which she had suffered since her marriage with Bothwell: that her subjects had taken arms against her, on pretence of freeing her from captivity; that when she put herself into their hands, they had committed her to close custody in Lochlevin; had placed her son, an infant, on her throne; had again taken arms against her after her deliverance from prison; had rejected all her proposals for accommodation, had given battle to her troops; and had obliged her, for the safety of her person, to take shelter in England.[*] The earl of Murray, in answer to this complaint, gave a summary and imperfect account of the late transactions: that the earl of Bothwell, the known murderer of the late king, had, a little after committing that crime, seized the person of the queen and led her to Dunbar; that he acquired such influence over her as to gain her consent to marry him, and he had accordingly procured a divorce from his former wife, and had pretended to celebrate his nuptials with the queen; that the scandal of this transaction, the dishonor which it brought on the nation, the danger to which the infant prince was exposed from the attempts of that audacious man, had obliged the nobility to take arms, and oppose his criminal enterprises; that after Mary, in order to save him, had thrown herself into their hands, she still discovered such a violent attachment to him, that they found it necessary, for their own and the public safety, to confine her person during a season, till Bothwell and the other murderers of her husband could be tried and punished for their crimes; and that during this confinement she had voluntarily, without compulsion or violence, merely from disgust at the inquietude and vexations attending power, resigned her crown to her only son, and had appointed the earl of Murray regent during the minority.[**]

* Anderson, vol. iv. part ii. p. 52. Goodall, vol. ii. p. 128. Haynes, p. 478.

** Anderson, vol. iv. part ii. p. 64, et seq. Goodall, vol. ii. p. 144.

The queen's answer to this apology was obvious: that she did not know, and never could suspect, that Bothwell, who had been acquitted by a jury, and recommended to her by all the nobility for her husband, was the murderer of the king; that she ever was, and still continues desirous, that, if he be guilty, he may be brought to condign punishment; that her resignation of the crown was extorted from her by the well-grounded fears of her life, and even by direct menaces of violence; and that Throgmorton, the English ambassador, as well as others of her friends, had advised her to sign that paper, as the only means of saving herself from the last extremity, and had assured her, that a consent, given under these circumstances, could never have any validity.[*]

So far the queen of Scots seemed plainly to have the advantage in the contest; and the English commissioners might have been surprised that Murray had made so weak a defence, and had suppressed all the material imputations against that princess, on which his party had ever so strenuously insisted, had not some private conferences previously informed them of the secret. Mary's commissioners had boasted that Elizabeth, from regard to her kinswoman, and from her desire of maintaining the rights of sovereigns, was determined, how criminal soever the conduct of that princess might appear, to restore her to the throne;[**] and Murray, reflecting on some past measures of the English court, began to apprehend that there were but too just grounds for these expectations. He believed that Mary, if he would agree to conceal the most violent part of the accusation against her, would submit to any reasonable terms of accommodation; but if he once proceeded so far as to charge her with the whole of her guilt, no composition could afterwards take place; and should she ever be restored, either by the power of Elizabeth or the assistance of her other friends, he and his party must be exposed to her severe and implacable vengeance.[***] He resolved, therefore, not to venture rashly on a measure which it would be impossible for him ever to recall; and he privately paid a visit to Norfolk and the other English commissioners, confessed his scruples, laid before them the evidence of the queen's guilt, and desired to have some security for Elizabeth's protection, in case that evidence should, upon examination, appear entirely satisfactory. Norfolk was not secretly displeased with these scruples of the regent.[****]

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