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CHA P. ftore her to the throne E; and Murray, reflecting on XL. fome past measures of the English court, began to apprehend, that there were but too juft grounds for these ex1568. pectations. He believed, that Mary, if he would agree to conceal the most violent part of the accusation against her, would fubmit to any reasonable terms of accommodation; but if he once proceeded fo far as to charge her with the whole of her guilt, no composition could afterwards take place; and fhould the ever be restored, either by the power of Elizabeth, or the affiftance of her other friends, he and his party must be exposed to her severe and implacable vengeance F. He refolved, therefore, not to venture rafhly on a measure, which it would be impoffible for him ever to recal; and he paid privately a visit to Norfolk and the other English commiffioners, confessed his fcruples, laid before them the evidence of the queen's guilt, and defired to have fome fecurity for Elizabeth's protection, in cafe these evidences fhould, upon examination, appear entirely fatisfactory. Norfolk was not fecretly displeafed with thefe fcruples of the regent G. He had ever been a partizan of the queen of Scots: Secretary Lidington, who began alfo to incline to that party,' and was a man of fingular addrefs and capacity, had engaged him to embrace farther views in her favour, and even to think of efpousing her: And though that duke confeffed, that the proofs against Mary feemed to him unquestionable, he encouraged Murray in his prefent refolution not to produce them publicly in the conferences before the English commiffioners I.
NORFOLK, however, was obliged to tranfmit to court the queries propofed by the regent. Thefe queries confifted of four particulars: Whether the English commiffioners had authority from their fovereign to pronounce fentence against Mary, in cafe her guilt fhould be fully proved before them? Whether they would promife to exercife that authority, and proceed to an actual fentence? Whether the queen of Scots, if fhe was found guilty, fhould be delivered into the hands of the regent, or, at leaft, fo fecured in England, that fhe never fhould be able to disturb the tranquillity of Scotland? and, Whether
E Anderson, vol. iv. part 2. p. 45. Goodall, vol. ii. p. 127. F Anderson, vol. iv. part 2. p. 47, 48. Goodall, vol. ii. p. 159. G Crawford, p. 92. Melvil, p. 94. 95. Haynes, P. 574. 57, 77.
I Ibid. p.
H Anderfon, vol. iv. part 2. P. 77.
State Trials, vci. i. p. 76.
ther Elizabeth would also, in that cafe, promise to ac- CHA P.
ELIZABETH, when thefe queries, with the other 1568. tranfa&tions, were laid before her, began to think, that they pointed towards a conclufion more decifive and more advantageous than she had hitherto expected. She determined, therefore, to bring the matter into full light; and under pretext that the distance from her person retarded the proceedings of her commiffioners, fhe ordered them to come to London, and there continue the conferences. On their appearance, fhe immediately joined in commiffion with them fome of the moft confiderable of her council; Sir Nicholas Bacon, lord keeper, the earls of Arundel and Leicester, lord Clinton, admiral, and Sir William Cecil, fecretary L. The queen of Scots, who knew nothing of thefe fecret motives, and who expected, that fear or decency would still restrain Murray from proceeding to any violent accufation against her, expreffed an entire fatisfaction in this adjournment; and declared, that the affair, being under the immediate infpection of Elizabeth, was now in the hands where she most defired to reft it M. The conferences were accordingly continued at Hampton-Court; and Mary's commiffioners, as before, made no fcruple to be prefent at them.
THE queen, meanwhile, gave a fatisfactory anfwer
Anderfon, vol. iv. part 2. p. 55. 1 Anderfon, vol. iv. part 2. p. 99. all, vol. ii. p. 177, 179.
Goodall, vol. ii. p. 130.
CHA P. fination of the king °. The earl of Lenox too appeared before the English commiffioners; and imploring vengeance for the murder of his fon, accufed Mary as an accomplice with Bothwel in that enormity P.
WHEN this charge was so unexpectedly given in, and copies of it were transmitted to the bishop of Ross, lord Herries, and the rest of Mary's commiffioners, they abfolutely refused to return an answer; and they grounded their filence on very extraordinary reafons: They had orders, they said, from their mistress, if any thing was advanced that might touch her honour, not to make any defence, as she was a fovereign princess, and could not be fubject to any tribunal; and they required, that she fhould previously be admitted to Elizabeth's prefence, to whom, and to whom alone, she was determined to justify her innocence They forgot, that the conferences were at first begun, and were ftill continued, with no other view than to clear her from the accufation of her enemies; that Elizabeth had ever pretended to enter into them only as her friend, by her own consent and approbation, not as affuming any fuperior jurifdiction over her; that this princefs had frorn the beginning refused to admit her to her prefence, till she should vindicate herself of the crimes imputed to her; that she had therefore discovered no new figns of partiality by her perfeverance in that refolution; and that though the had granted an audience to the earl of Murray and his collegues, she had previously conferred the fame honour on Mary's commiffioners R; and her conduct was fo far entirely equal to both parties 3.
As the queen of Scots' commiffioners refufed to give in any answer to Murray's charge, the neceffary confequence feemed to be, that there could be no farther proceedings in the conference. But though this filence might be interpreted as a prefumption against her, it did not fully answer the purpose of thofe English minifters, who were enemies to that princess. They still defired to have in their hands the proofs of her guilt; and in order
o Anderson, vol. iv. part 2. p. 115, & feq. Goodall, vol.
S See note
to draw them with decency from the regent, a judicious C H A P. artifice was employed by Elizabeth. Murray was called before the English commiffioners; and reproved by them, in the queen's name, for the atrocious imputations, which he had the temerity to throw upon his fovereign : But though the earl of Murray, they added, and the other commiffioners, had fo forgot the duty of allegiance to their prince, the queen never would overlook what she owed to her friend, her neighbour, and her kinfwoman; and she therefore defired to know what they could fay in their own juftification T. Murray, thus urged, made no difficulty of producing the proofs of his charge against the queen of Scots; and among the rest, fome love-letters and fonnets of her's to Bothwel, written all in her own hand, and two papers, one written in her own hand, another infcribed by her, and written by the earl of Huntley; each of which contained a promife of marriage with Bothwel, made before the pretended trial and acquital of that nobleman.
ALL thefe important papers had been kept by Bothwel in a filver box or cafket, which had been given him by Mary, and which had belonged to her first husband, Francis; and though the princefs had enjoined him to burn the letters as foon as he had read them, he had thought proper carefully to preferve them, as pledges of her fidelity, and had committed them to the custody of Sir James Balfour, deputy-governor of the castle of Edinburgh. When that fortrefs was befieged by the affociated lords, Bothwel fent a fervant to receive the cafket from the hands of the deputy-governor. Balfour delivered it to the meffenger; but as he had at that time received fome difguft from Bothwel, and was fecretly negociating an agreement with the ruling party, he took care, by conveying private intelligence to the earl of Morton, to make the papers be intercepted by him. They contained inconteftible proofs of Mary's criminal correfpondence with Bothwel, of her confent to the king's murder, and of her concurrence in that rape, which Bothwel pretended to commit upon her ". Murray fortified this evidence by fome teftimonies of correfponding facts x; I 2 and
T Anderson, vol. iv. part 2. p. 147. Goodall, vol. ii. p. 233. U Anderfon, vol. ii. p. 115. Goodall, vol. ii. p. 1. derson, vol. ii. part 2. p. 165, &c. Goodall, vol. ii. p. 243.
CHA P. and he added, fome time after, the dying confeffion of one Hubert, or French Paris, as he was called, a fervant of Bothwel's, who had been executed for the king's 1568. murder, and who directly charged the queen with her being acceffary to that criminal enterprize Y.
MARY'S commiffioners had ufed every expedient to ward this blow, which they faw coming upon them, and against which, it appears, they were not provided of any proper defence. As foon as Murray opened his charge, they endeavoured to turn the conferences from an enquiry into a negociation; and though informed by the Englifh commiffioners, that nothing could be more dishonourable for their mistress, than to enter into a treaty with such undutiful subjects, before she had justified herself from those enormous imputations, which had been thrown upon her, they ftill infifted, that Elizabeth fhould fettle terms of accommodation between Mary and her enemies in Scotland Z. They maintained, that, till their mistress had given in her answer to Murray's charge, his proofs could neither be called for nor produced A: And finding, that the English commiffioners were still determined to proceed in the method which had been projected, they finally broke off the conferences, and never would make any reply. These papers, at least translations of them, have been fince published. The objections made to their authenticity, are in general of fmall force: But were they ever fo fpecious, they cannot now be hearkened to; fince Mary, at the time when the truth could have been fully cleared, did, in effect, ratify the evidence against her, by recoiling from the enquiry at the very critical moment, and refusing to give an anfwer to the accufation of her enemies B.
BUT Elizabeth, though fhe had feen enough for her own fatisfaction, was determined, that the most eminent perfons of her court should also be acquainted with these tranfactions, and should be convinced of the equity of her proceedings. She ordered her privy-council to be affembled; and that the might render the matter more folemn and authentic, fhe added to them the earls of Northumberland,
Y Anderfon, vol. ii. p. 192. Goodall, vol. ii. p. 76. 7 Anderson, vol. ii. part 2. p. 135, 139. Goodall, vol. ii. P. 224. A Anderson, vol. iv. part 2. p. 139, 145. Goodall, vol. it. P. 228. B See note at the end of the volume.