BOOK THE king was taken by the queen, not to the palace of Holyrood House, her own regal residence, but to a private mansion, at some distance from it.' They reached it on Thursday the 31st of January 1567:2 and on the tenth morning afterwards, about two hours after the midnight of Sunday the 9th of February, the citizens of Edinburgh were roused from their sleep by the noise and concussion of a sudden explosion. Search being made as to the place and cause, the house wherein the king had been reposing, was found to be blown up; and his body, without any mark of violence, was seen near the corpse of one of his attendants, lying dead in the adjoining

This was the mansion of the provost of the collegiate church of St. Mary in the fields, which belonged to Robert Balfour, the provost.' I Chalm. 315. Clernaut stated, that The king was lodged at one of the ends of the city, and the queen at the other.' 2 Chalm. 445. Kirk-o-field was about half a mile from the palace. The University of Edinburgh now stands upon the spot.

See before, p. 99, note 166.




Mary's letter of 11 February thus describes it: This night past, being 9 February, a little after two hours after midnight, the house wherein the king was lodged was in one instant blown in the air, he lying sleeping in his bed, with such vehemency, that of the whole lodging, walls and other, there is nothing remained. No, not a stone above another; but all, either carried away or dung in dross to the very ground stone.' Lett. Keith's preface, viii.


garden. Of the circumstances which had occurred CHAP. between his arrival and this catastrophe, we know nothing but from the deposition of his own servant, Nelson," from the confession of the queen's domestic, Hubert Paris, and from the examination of Bothwell's followers and agents, by whom the transaction had been immediately managed.' As the certainty

'Keith, 364. 'So that he was reckoned to have been suffocated and carried out by the hands of men before the powder had taken fire.' ib. Melville mentions that Bothwell told him the next morning, that lightning had burnt the house; that he had himself found the king lying dead at a little distance from the house under the tree, and willed me to go and see him, how there was not a hurt nor a mark in all his body.' Melv. Mem. 174.

Thomas Nelson, who described himself as servant in the chamber to king Henry, was on 6 Dec. 1566 produced by earl Murray to the commissioners at Westminster. 'After this the earl of Murray required, that one Thomas Nelson, late servitor to the king that was murdered, who did lie in the king's lodging the same night that he was murdered, and escaped by reason of a great stone wall betwixt the king's chamber and that place wherein he did lie, might be heard upon his oath to report his knowlege therein. Who, being produced, did present a writing in form of an answer of himself to an examination; which being read to him, he did by a corporal oath affirm the same to be true.' Anders. v. 4. p. 164. His evidence follows, 'marked with secretary Cecil's hand.' ib. 165.

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* On 10 August 1569, two years and a half after the murder, N. Hubert, called Paris, was examined at St. Andrew's, in the presence of the celebrated G. Buchanan, John Wood, senator of the college of justice, and Robert Ramsay, writer of his declaration, and servant to the earl Murray. It was sent up by the regent to his ambassador to Elizabeth, on 15 October 1569, with the other documents that had been produced before the commissioners at York and Westminster, with this remark,

If further proof be required, we have sent you the depositions of N. Hubert, alias Paris, a Frenchman; one that was present at the committing of the said murder, and of late executed for the same.' 2 Good. 88. The originals of Murray's letter of instructions, and of the depositions of Paris, are in the State Paper Office. A copy of the deposition certified by Hay is in the British Museum, MS. Cal. C. 1. The first part of it is printed in Goodall, 1. p. 137; the second in Anders. v. 2. p. 192–205.


Of these, the depositions of William Powry, a servitor of Bothwell, taken at Edinburgh, 23 June 1567, are in Anderson, v. 2. p. 165-173. That of George Dalgish, servand in the chamber' to Bothwell, made 26 June 1567, in p. 173-7. Hay, of Talos, a servant of Bothwell, on 13 Sept. 1567, in. p. 177-183. J. Hepburn, or Bowton, on 8 Dec. 1567, p. 183-8. They were all tried, sentenced to be hung, and executed, p. 191.

BOOK 11.

of the facts which they narrate, depends upon the veracity of each, which those who desire to believe the unblemished innocence of Mary, estimate differently from those who are less partial or more satisfied that she participated in the fore-knowlege of the crime, we will transfer the main circumstances of these depositions to our notes, that the text of this History may not stand pledged to any thing of a controversial character."


NELSON stated, That it was devised in Glasgow, that the king should have lain first at Craigmillar; but because he had no will thereof, the purpose was altered, and the conclusion taken that he should lie beside the Kirk-o-field. At this time he passed directly to the duke's house, thinking it to be the lodging prepared for him; but the contrary was then shewn to him by the queen, who conveyed him to the other bouse.

In the laich chamber under the king she lay two nights, the Wednesday and Friday before his murder; the key of it, with the key of the passage towards the garden, were delivered to Archibald Betoun, usher of the queen's chamber door. The said keys were never delivered again to the king's servants.

Before the time of the queen's lying in the king's lodging the two nights above named, she caused the outer door to be taken down, which closed the passage toward both chambers; and caused the same door to be used as a cover to the bath vessel, wherein he was bathed. So there was nothing left to stop the passage into the said chambers, but only the portal doors.

'At his coming thereto, a new bed of black fringed velvet was standing therein. She caused this to be taken down, saying, it would be sullied with the bath, and in the place thereof set up an old purple bed that was accustomed to be carried.

She set up a green bed for herself in the said laich chamber, wherein she lay the said two nights, and promised also to have abiden there upon the Sunday at night.

'After she had tarried long, and entertained the king very familiarly, she took purpose, as if it had been on the sudden, and departed, as she said, to give the mask to Bastian, who was that night married. The said Archibald Betoun, and one Paris a Frenchman, having the keys of her chamber, wherein her bed stood, as also of the passage that passed toward the garden.

When the queen was there, her servants had the keys of the whole house and doors at their command, for at night she used with the lady Reres to go forth to the garden, and there to sing and use pastime.

"The queen being departed toward Holyrood House, the king within the space of an hour passed to bed, and William Taylor lay in the chamber with him. This deponent and E. Symons lay in the little gallery that went direct to south out of the king's chamber, having a

The transaction created an universal sentiment of CHAP. horror; and it is to this moment inexplicable, why


window in the gavel thro the town wall. Beside them lay W. Taylor's boy. They never knew of any thing till the house was fallen about them. Out of the which, as soon as this deponent could be rid, he stood upon the ruinous wall, while the people convened, and till he got clothes, and so departed.

'On the Monday afternoon he was called and examined; and among other things, was inquired about the keys of the lodging. This deponent shewed that Boukle had the key of the cellar, and the queen's servants the keys of her chamber; which the laird of Tullibardine hearing, said, 'Hold there! here is one ground.' After which words spoken, they left off and proceeded no further in the inquisition.'

These were the only facts to which Nelson spoke. It is the most unimpeached of the depositions, and there is an air of truth and minute reality about it, and an abstinence from all marked imputations on any one, beyond what naturally arises from the simplest mode of stating such circumstances, which give it great credibility.

HUBERT, or PARIS.-He confessed on 9 August 1569, that upon Wednesday or Thursday before the Sunday of the king's murder, he was in the queen's chamber at Kirk-o-field, with others, awaiting her coming from the king, and that lord Bothwell took him to a more private place. That Paris thanking him for causing him to be made a chamber child of the queen's chamber,' Bothwell told him that was not enough, he would do more for him; and after charging him on pain of his life to keep it secret, told him that as the king would be both masterful and cruel if he got on his feet over us, lords of this realm, therefore among us we have concluded to blow him up with powder within this house.' Paris advised him against it, but Bothwell mentioned the lords who were favorable to it, as before quoted in p. 91; and that the lord of Murray will neither hinder us nor help us;' and ordered Paris to take the key of the queen's chamber door.


'He stated, that on the Sunday night, long after supper, Hepburn and Hay brought in the powder, and laid it in the midst of the room. That the queen went towards the abbey to Bastian's wedding. That Bothwell afterwards changed his clothes in her chamber, and taking out Paris and the Taylor, went into the garden; and as they stood by the wall, Hay and Hepburn came to them, and as soon as they had spoken with him, the great thunder clap or explosion took place.' Goodall inserts this from Calderwood's MS. History, vol. 1, p. 137


On the next day, 10th August, he declared that the queen had sent him from Glasgow with letters to Bothwell and Maitland, and to inquire of the latter if it would be best to lodge the king at Craigmillar or Kirk-o-field, to have good air, for if he lodged at the abbey, the prince might catch his disease. He describes the two familiar messages which he took from the queen to the earl, and from him to her; and that she sent to Bothwell a letter and a ring by a servant of his.

"That the night on which Bothwell had mentioned to him his design of murdering the king, the queen slept at Kirk-o-field. That as he was making the bed for her there under the king's room, Bothwell

BOOK such a public and revolting mode of death should have been chosen by the murderers, who could with



bade him not to do so, because he meant to put the powder there, but he did make it. The queen said to me, 'Fool that you are, I do not wish my bed to be in that place,' and made him take it away. 'By these words, I thought in my mind that she knew of the deed; and thereupon I took the boldness to say to her, that Bothwell has ordered me to take to him the keys of your chamber, because he desired to do something there.' 'Do not talk to me of that at this moment,' said she; do in this what you will.' On that night the queen urged him to talk of Bothwell and his wife, and other things, and laid down, and could not sleep, but wrote a letter to Bothwell, which Paris took to him about midnight, and brought back his answer, with this message: Tell the queen that I will not sleep till I have finished my undertaking, tho I should drag a pike all my life for love of her.' When he related this to her in the morning, she said, laughing, 'Well, Paris! he will never come to that point.'

That having the keys of the chamber, and being absent with them when the usher Beltoun asked for them, as the queen wished to go into the garden, she was angry; and when Paris returned, asked him why he had taken them away; that he afterwards said to her apart, 'Madam, why did you say before all the world that I had taken the keys of your chamber, when you knew well the why. Ah! said she, Paris! it is all one. Don't mind it; don't mind it.' That he thinks the queen slept in the king's house this Friday also, and sent him again with letters to Bothwell.

That on the Saturday after dinner, Bothwell bade him take the key of the queen's chamber; he did not wish to do so, but as the queen left the room, she looked at him, and bade him take it. In the evening, Bothwell having retired to his chamber with Paris, Mr. de Huntley came and spoke to him in his ear. When he was gone, Bothwell told Paris that Huntley had offered to go with him, but he would not let him.

'On the Monday morning (after the explosion) when he entered the queen's chamber, it was close shut up; her bed was spread with black, as mourning, and candles were burning. Bothwell came and spoke to her secretly under the curtain. Next day she got up, and said to Paris, 'Ne te chaille Je te ferai bon visage. No one will dare to say a word to you.' Anders. 192–202.

On these confessions of Paris I would only remark, that if they had been falsely or factitiously made, as at that time the public mind from other evidence had for two years been indignantly settled against Mary, there seems no sufficient reason why they should not have been made more directly criminatory of her. Forged or false evidence is usually explicit and decisive, but true testimony not going beyond the facts known to the individual, cannot extend further, and is therefore, like these depositions of Paris, often imperfect and not clearly convicting.

The confessions of Bothwell's servants describe several of the minute circumstances attending the perpetration of the deed in which they assisted, and Bothwell's co-operation, but state nothing which implicates the queen.

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