Pagina-afbeeldingen
PDF
ePub

BOOK
II.

yet how could Mary be tranquil? If she was innocent of any participation, she knew that she was suspected of it. If she had incurred this guilt, to no one could the energetic lines of Juvenal, which so many myriads have in every age verified, be more fully and more painfully applicable:" for, notwithstanding her deviations, Mary had an exciteable sensitivity both of mind and frame which forbad that intellectual serenity, which consistent and persevering virtue can alone ensure.30

31

The queen had expressed the most determined resolution to discover and punish the perpetrators of the crime, and had been urged to do so as the only means of vindicating her own innocence.32 Nine days after this becoming resolution, the father of the victim solicited her to assemble her parliament, and to take such good order, that the bloody and cruel actors of this deed shall be manifestly

6

'Yet why must they be thought to scape, who feel

Those rods of scorpions, and those whips of steel,
Which CONSCIENCE shakes; when she, enraged, controls,
And spreads dismaying terror thro our souls.'

Sat. 13. This moral sensitivity seems to be universal; but the mind of each grows up into such a peculiar sensibility of its own, that the degree and effect of the interior impression varies with every individual ; yet altho often very slight and scarcely perceptible on many ordinary occasions, it assumes a power on greater exigencies which the stoutest and most hardened have been unable to repress. The most incredulous of its existence have repeatedly found it to be inextinguishable and invincible.

£9

30 Of the authors, Killigrew only could say, 'I find great suspicions, and no proof, nor appearance of apprehensions; yet I am made to believe I shall, ere I depart hence, receive some information.' Lett. Chalm. 324.

6

31 Her words in her letter to her ambassadors, on the day after the murder, were those to which he had alluded. She says she had been preserved to the end that we may take a rigorous vengeance of that mischievous deed, which, ere it should remain unpunished, we had rather lose life and all.' Lett. 11th Feb. in Keith, pref. viii.

32 See before, notes 12 and 13.

She wrote from Seaton an assent to his CHAP.

XXIII.

known.'33

request; 34 he answered her almost immediately, by informing her of the two tickets which had been put on the Tolbooth in answer to her proclamations, which charged Bothwell and others with the crime; and desired that the persons therein mentioned might be apprehended, and put in sure keeping, to be tried by the parliament.35 Mary shrunk from this probing request.36 Lennox then enumerated specifically the individuals who had been named, and declared his suspicion of their criminality;" and the queen assured him that they should be put upon their trial. She kept her word so far, that on the fourth day afterwards, her privy council, of which Bothwell was one, appointed the 12th April for the judicial investigation." On 11th April, Lennox wrote to her, that he was so ill that he could not travel, and requested the trial to be postponed for a reasonable time.40 This petition became an immediate test of Mary's real mind and feelings, as well as of her judgment. It was seconded by the impressive recommendation of Elizabeth, on the sound and irresistible reason, that the postponement

38

Letter of earl Lennox, of 20th February to Mary, in Anderson, v. 1, p. 40. 34 Mary's lett. 21st Feb. ib. 42. 35 Lett. of Lennox, 26th Feb. p. 44. He had received her's on the 24th. ib. 43.

36 See her answer of 1st March. She said as to remitting the trial to the time of a parliament, we meant not that, but rather would wish that it might be suddenly and without delay tried; for the sooner the better.' And as to the tickets, there is so many, that we know not upon what ticket to proceed.' ib. 45, 46.

37 Lett. 17th March, p. 47, 8.

38 Mary's lett. 24th March, p. 49.

39 Official act, 28th March 1567. Anders. p. 50.

40 Letter from Stirling, 11 April, p. 54.

BOOK
II.

was necessary, in order to place her above suspicion. The general feeling of all the parties and characters in England was earnest that the penal justice should be strictly and zealously enforced.42 The queen, however, braving all conclusions, did not defer the trial. Bothwell attended the court, supported by Morton and Maitland with an imposing force; and as no prosecutor appeared, and no one adduced any evidence, he was necessarily acquitted. On such an investigation as a means of discovering or punishing the guilty, it is superfluous to remark. Every one who can observe and reason, will make his own inferences from it. Such

43

41 On 8 April, Elizabeth's letter to her in French, expressed-' I understand that an edict has been published by you, that every one who will judicially prove the murderers of your late husband, should come to do it on the 12th of this month. The father and friends of the dead gentleman have asked to request you to prolong the time, because they know that the guilty persons have combined to do by force what by right they cannot do Therefore for the love of yourself, who are most concerned, and for the comfort of the innocent, I cannot but exhort you to grant their request. For if this be denied, it would put you greatly into suspicion, more than I expect, or think, or would willingly hear of. Exert, madam! such sincerity and prudence in a case which touches you so nearly, that all the world may have reason to deliver you, as innocent, from a crime so enormous. If you do not this, you will be blotted out of the rank of princesses; and become, not without cause, the opprobrium of the vulgar.' Lett. in Pap. Off. Robert. app. 233.'

42 The letter from England, on 23d May, strongly expressed the impression in this country: There was not one papist or protestant which did not consent that justice should be done, by the queen my sovereign's aid and support, against such as had committed that abominable ill murder in your country. I never knew no matter of state proposed which had so many favorers of all sorts of nations as this had; no man promoted the matter with greater affection than the Spanish ambassador. Sure I am, that no man dare openly be of any other mind, but to affirm that whosoever is guilty of this murder, handfasted with adultery, is unworthy to live.' Rob. app. 237. 43 Keith the proceedings, p. 375-7. On his death bed, in 1577, he acknowleged that he, with his relations and some of the nobility, were the authors of it, but affirmed the queen to be innocent of it. See the document in Keith's appendix, 144.

acquittals may give legal safety, but never relieve CHAP. the reputation from the charge which impeaches it.

XXIII.

46

Three days before this theatrical trial, Murray had left Edinburgh for France." On 21st April, Mary visited her son at Stirling; and on her return shortly afterwards, was met by Bothwell at the head of eight hundred horsemen; and, with Huntley, Maitland and sir James Melville, was taken to Dunbar Castle.45 On 29th April he brought her to Edinburgh ;" and then began a suit of divorce against his own wife, to enable him to wed another." The queen signed the written declaration of the peers in his favor: 48 and a minister of the church was ordered to publish banns of marriage between Bothwell and the queen. The clergyman hesitated and refused, but at last obeyed, yet marking his official act with his public reprobation of the nuptials." On 12th May, Mary appeared

441 Chal. 330.

Melv. 178.

45 Keith's History, p. 383. Between Linlithgow and Edinburgh, the earl Bothwell was in her road, with a great company, and took her majesty by the bridle.' Melv. 177.

46 Ib. 337.

47 Keith, 383. The divorce was finished in a very few days.' ib. Robertson has printed, in his appendix, the sentence of it. On 29th April 1567, the application was made in his wife's name against him, on a charge of adultery with her servant; and on Saturday 3d May, the divorce was ordered. Rob. app. 234-6.

48 This strange instrument is dated 19th April 1567, at Edinburgh, by which they undertook to defend Bothwell against any charge for the murder, and to further his marriage with the queen, in case she should humble herself to it. See it in Anderson, v. 1. p. 107-111. And Mary's underwritten promise on 14th May, not to accuse the subscribers for it. ib. p. 111.

49 Craig, the clergyman applied to, when examined about it by the general assembly, stated, that he had refused, because he had not her handwriting, and had heard that she was in captivity. On Wednesday the chief justice brought him her written declaration, that she was not in captivity, and charging him to proclaim the banns. On Friday he publicly mentioned it, with his objections, and again on Sunday, declaring that he abhorred and detested it. For this on the following Tuesday he was called before the state council and rebuked, and on

MOD, HIST. VOL. IV.

I

II.

BOOK in the court of sessions, and made a public declaration of her good mind toward Bothwell.50 Creating him duke of Orkney, she two days afterwards entered into a formal contract of marriage with him :51 and on the next morning the nuptial ceremony was publicly performed in the great hall of the palace, after the sermon; 52 and she sent off envoys to France and England to communicate the tidings.53 These events need no comment. They are not calculated to lessen any disadvantageous impression against Mary, which the anterior facts produce on the unprejudiced judgment; and wherever they are not felt to be unfavorable, no argument or observation will produce the adverse feeling.

Nor can any moral condemnation be necessary, when the result of such transactions became so signally admonitory both of their character and consequences. The Scottish nobles, who, from common foresight and prudence, could not desire or submit

Wednesday proclaimed the marriage with his further remarks. And. 2. p. 278-82. So that the banns were publicly canvassed for eight days, and were therefore neither secret nor hurried.

50 Anderson has printed the record of her personal appearance, dated 12th May, v. 1. p. 87. Nothing could be more public or free. It enumerates the chancellor, five bishops, the provost, five lords, and fourteen other persons as the lords of session then present. The pretext of her acting on compulsion when she could thus make her public appearance and avowal seems highly unreasonable.

51 Chal. 1. p. 338. Melville mentions, that having received a letter from England, stating the report that the queen was going to marry Bothwell, the murderer of her husband, and that if she did so she would destroy her reputation; he shewed this to the queen, who read it, but only called Maitland, and told him that it was a device of his to injure Bothwell. 176.

52 Melv. 179. The bishop of Orkney performed the service, ib.; for which he was afterwards deprived by the act of the assembly. This act is in And. v. 2. p. 284. Keith, 386. So that all supposition of Mary's compulsion or aversion appear to be unfounded.

53 Anderson, v. 1. p. 89–107. They contain long panegyrics on Bothwell.

« VorigeDoorgaan »