Pagina-afbeeldingen
PDF
ePub

II.

BOOK and had refused to relinquish the right, and never had renounced it. At this juncture, the papal plans were in full activity to overthrow the reformed religion in every country in Europe; and were now directed on both Scotland and England. No event could more advance their progress, than the actual residence of a princess, with such pretensions, in the dominions to which they applied, if she was treated with regal honors, and permitted to have free intercourse with all who chose to have access to her. Such estimation and liberty would be an invitation to disaffection, and give a secret facility to conspiracy, which would excite and nourish it. And altho her depreciated character would repel the honorable of all religions from such an association; yet it would present her as a more convenient head to those who desired the traitorous combination; because it would exhibit her as likely to be but little restrained by any moral principle or delicacy, from joining in such schemes. Hence it became difficult for the English cabinet to determine how such a fugitive queen and kinswoman, seeking an asylum, ought to be treated, with a due regard to the peace and welfare of the nation, and to the security and honor of its reigning queen. The great

3

3 Cecil has left us several state papers in his own handwriting on this perplexing subject. His considerations upon the external and internal dangers to England, when he first heard of her escape from Lochleven, are in Anderson, v. 4. p. 24-26 His notes of the Things to be considered.' upon her coming to England in May, are in the same volume, p. 34-38. Those on the dangers, if she passed into France, p. 39, and if she returned to Scotland, p. 42. On her being in England, he remarks, If she remain with liberty to practise with whom she will, she will employ herself to increase her party, from her intention to have the crown of England without waiting to succeed, whensoever she shall find her opportunity to seize it. She will increase the boldness of all evil subjects, both in causes of religion and all other.' ib. p. 41-2.

6

XXIV.

attractions of her vivacity and familiar manners in- CHAP. creased the danger of her unexpected presence, and preceding competition.

Mary wrote several very earnest letters to Elizabeth, on arriving in England, from whom, without any recollection of her own previous conduct, she expected an instantaneous welcome, and even a speedy auxiliary army to overpower those from whom she had fled. Lord Scrope and sir Francis Knollys visited her at Carlisle, to refuse her request of passing into France, which greatly disappointed her." They expressed their sense of the difficulties of the case. The next day she inveighed against Murray,' till they were forced to remind her of what had occurred to cause his opposition. In the ensuing

6

Some of these are in Anderson, vol. 4. One dated 17 May 1568, from Workington, in Cumberland, on her first landing in England, p. 29; another of 28 May, from Carlisle, in French, p. 46; and of 29 May to Cecil, p. 51.

They described the interview: 'We found her in her answers to have an eloquent tongue and discreet head; and it seemeth by her doings that she hath stout courage and a liberal heart adjoined thereunto. After our delivery of your highness's letters, she fell into some passion, with the water in her eyes, and therewith she drew us with her into her bed-chamber, where she complained to us that your highness did not answer her expectations, of admitting her into your presence forthwith.' Lett. 29 May. And. 4. p. 54.

6

6 She cannot be kept so rigorously as a prisoner, with your highness's honor, but with devices of towels or ties at her chamber window, or else, in the night, a body of her agility and spirit may escape soon, being so near the border. And surely to have her carried further into the realm is the high way to a dangerous sedition.' ib. 57.

7 When she was but nine days old, they had a reverent and obedient care of her; but now, says she, that I am 24 years old, they would exclude me from government, like disobedient rebels.' Lett. 30 May, 58.

The question is, whether your grace deserved to be put from the government or not, for, if your grace should be guilty of any such odious crime as deserveth deposal, then, said I, how should they be blamed that have deposed you? Hereupon her grace beginning to clear herself after her accustomed manner, the tears yet fell from her eyes. Then I said, your highness would be the gladdest in the world to see her grace well purged of this crime.' Lett. ib. p. 58, 9. She explicitly affirmed, that both Lyddyngton and lord Morton

"

II.

BOOK month, sir Francis Knollys drew her character with some additional features, which do not shew her to have been the timid and delicate female, which our young imaginations may have pourtrayed." She amused herself here as she pleased," and displayed so much of the powers of a vigorous equestrian, as to alarm her cautious superintendents." The anxious deliberations of sir William Cecil, upon the

were assenting to the murder of her husband, altho they would now seem to prosecute the same.' ib. 55. But to Middlemore, in June, she said, Who can compel me to accuse myself? and yet, if I would say any thing of myself, I would say of myself to her, [Elizabeth,] and to none other.' Her lett. of 14 June, p. 87.

This lady and princess is a notable woman. She seemeth to regard no ceremonious honor beside the acknowleging of her estate royal. She showeth a disposition to speak much; to be bold; to be pleasant; and to be very familiar. She showeth a great desire to be avenged of her enemies, and a readiness to expose herself to all perils in hope of victory. She desireth much to hear of hardiness and valiancy; commending by name all approved, hardy men of her country, altho they be her enemies; and she concealeth no cowardice even in her friends. The thing that most she thirsteth after is victory ; and it seemeth to be indifferent to her to have her enemies diminished either by the sword of her friends, or by the liberal promises and rewards of her purse, or by division and quarrels raised among themselves. So that for victory's sake, pain and peril seem pleasant unto her. Compared with victory, wealth and all things seem to her contemptuous and vile. Now, what is to be done with such a lady and prince, I refer to your judgment.' Lett. to Cecil from Carlisle, 11 June 1568; And. v. 4. p. 71, 2. In another, of 13th June, he mentions her French dowry as bringing her 12,000l. a year. p. 79.

6

10 Knollys thus described her pastimes: Yesterday her grace went out at a postern, to walk on the playing green towards Scotland; and we with twenty-two halberdiers, with divers gentlemen, and other servants, waited upon her. About twenty of her retinue played at football before her for the space of two hours, very strongly, nimbly, and skilfully, without any foul play offered, the smallness of their ball occasioning their fair play. Lett. 15th June, MS. Brit. Mus. cited by Chalm. p. 448.

11 Before yesterday, she has been but twice out of the town; once to the like play of football in the same place, and once she rode out hunting the hare, she galloping so fast, upon every occasion, and her whole retinue being so well horsed, that we, upon experience thereof, doubted that upon a set course, some of her friends out of Scotland might invade and assault us upon the sudden, to rescue and take her from us. We mean hereafter, if any such riding pastimes be required that way, so much [to pretend] to fear the endangering of her person by some sudden invasion of her enemies, that she must hold us excused in that behalf.' Lett. ib.

government's right conduct towards her, appears from his own manuscript papers, reviewing the considerations in her favor," and then surveying the adverse circumstances.

12 On the 20 June 1568, he penned these contrasted views of the reasons in her behalf, and against her :

'Pro Regina Scotorum.

'She is to be helped, because she came willingly into the realm upon trust of the queen's majesty.

She trusted upon the queen's majesty's help, because she had in her trouble received many messages to that effect.

She is not lawfully condemned, because she was first taken by her subjects by force, kept in prison, put in fear of life, charged with murder of her husband, and not admitted to answer thereto, neither in her own person, nor by advocate before them which in parliament did condemn her.

She is a queen and monarch, subject to none, nor yet found by her laws to answer to her subjects, otherwise than her own conscience shall lead her. She offer'd if she may come to the Q. majesty's presence, to acquit herself of the crime objected against her.

No private person coming into the realm for refuge ought to be condemned, if he require to be heard, without hearing.

'She offer'd to charge her subjects that have deposed her, with the crime wherewith she is charged.

'She alleged great matters against them, as things moving them for their own gain and greatness to proceed as they have done, as that they procured in her minority great possessions for themselves, which she, at her coming to majority, did secretly revoke.' And. v. 4. p. 99. 13 His reasons against her were

'Contra Reginam Scotorum.

6

She procured the murdering of her husband, whom she had constituted king, and so he was a public person, and her superior; and therefore the subjects of the realm, of their duties towards God and their country, which was defamed therewith, were bound to search out the offenders, and punish them.

When they proceeded so to do, the earl Bothwell, the chief murderer, was protected by the queen, and a confederacy made by her solicitation and countenance, with sundry others of the realm, to defend him in all causes and quarrels, so as justice could not proceed against any of the murderers; but contrarywise, the earl Bothwell kept evil company with the queen, led her and trained her to places dishonorable, accompanied with the parties to the murder, who were known pirates, robbers, and such like.

'She also procured the earl Bothwell to be by force colorably acquitted, and devised that his indictment was falsely conceived, to further the judgment to be reputed for true. For the supposal of the crime wherewith he was charged was, that he murdered the king upon the 9th day of [February,] and he was known to be murdered indeed the 10th day.

CHAP.

XXIV.

BOOK
II.

Mary remained at Carlisle, till the privy council thought that the liberty and comforts which Elizabeth had determined to allow her,1 could not be safely continued to her there; and upon lord Scrope's advising a more interior residence to be appointed, on account of the great concourse of her friends who came to her, and in order that her conveniences might not be lessened," the stately mansion of Tut

'She also procured him to be divorced from his lawful wife, upon a charge of himself that he lived in frequent advoutrie, specially with lady Reress, who also was the principal instrument betwixt the queen and him.

She after this fained herself to be forcibly taken by him, and carried away, to color her conversation with him. She after this married this principal murderer. She gave him great estates and lands, and that larger than ever she gave to her own husband.

She gave also to the parties that executed the murder, lands and offices, being persons known of infamy before. She committed all authoritie singularly to him and his companions, who exercised such cruelty, as none of the nobility that were counsel of the realm durst abide about the queen.

The said earl also did notoriously evil use the queen, keeping her as a prisoner in Dunbar; and though the discords betwixt them both grew very notorious, yet by means of such lewd persons as the said earl had planted about the queen, he always recovered atonements.

·

After this, the nobility of the realm assembling themselves to consult how to proceed in punishing of the murder, the earl Bothwell and his complices assembled a force, and carried the queen into the field to invade the nobility, where they meeting, and the queen being humbly requested to let the earl be removed from her, she would not consent, but devised that the said earl should secretly flee.' And. v. 4. p. 100-2.

14 It was ordered that she should, with her train, be entertained with all honor and courtesy; and free liberty given to any of her servants or subjects to come to Carlisle and speak with her, and to return into Scotland. Whereupon it followed, that the resort was so great, that Carlisle being a frontier town, and having no special garrison to keep it, in case of any sudden enterprise, it was thought by the lord Scrope to be not without some danger to suffer such multitude of Scottish men to have a free concourse into that town, and thereto to continue.' Cecil's notes, Anders. 1. p. 5.

15 Therefore the lord warden, and other of the wiser sort of that frontier, advertised the queen's majesty, that seeing she was so earnestly disposed to show the queen of Scots, amongst other favors, that all her servants and subjects should have such a free access to her as would not be without peril, it might please her majesty to order that the said queen might remove further into the realm, where she might have better air and large provision for her diet, and greater

[ocr errors]
« VorigeDoorgaan »