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of politeness, but it was at least consistent, for how could they look with complacency on an official entertainment, given to the representative of a court, any connexion with which they were daily deprecating, as the most cruel misfortune that could befall their country.
Mary, as was natural for a mother, when indistinct reports reached her of her son's confinement, felt all the bitterness of her unfortunate situation with double force, and in a passionate letter to Elizabeth, inveighed against the cruelty of her own imprisonment, and entreated her to interfere on behalf of her son, nor allow him also to be overwhelmed by his rebellious subjects; but Elizabeth knew not the feelings of a parent. The letter was neglected, and the unhappy queen left to brood in solitude, and with anxiety, over the misfortunes of herself, and to her, the doubtful fate of her child.
superstition abroad, and that the ashes of the Romish fires were scarcely cool at home; when we recollect the unsettled state of the government, and of the country, the conduct of the ministers, in decidedly and publicly marking their disapprobation of any convivial intercourse with the representative of the French court, does not appear so very reprehensible. Spotswood, whose account, however, is liable to the charge of exaggeration, says, "To impede this feast, the ministers did, on the Sunday preceding, proclaim a fast, to be kept on the same day on which the feast was appointed; and to detain the people at church, the three ordinary preachers did, one after another, make sermon in St. Giles' church without any intermission of time." Calderwood tells us,
the people met between 9 and 10 o'clock in the forenoon, and continued till two afternoon, to signify their misliking," which would allow a sufficient time for the city banquet after all. Besides, it was not the deed of the pres bytery, for Calderwood adds, " If there was any errour committed, it is to be imputed to the particular session of the kirk of Edinburgh.”.
HISTORY OF SCOTLAND.
NOTWITHSTANDING the apparent acquiescence of James, he was by no means satisfied with his situation, he sighed after liberty, while, with the most consummate art, he dissembled his uneasiness, and appeared to the lords as cheerful and content; and so well did he counterfeit, that they, now freed from all dread of Lennox, and Arran being at a distance from court, and hated for his violence, began to relax in watching the king, and the greater part withdrew to their own castles. In the meantime, colonel Stuart, and Mr. John Colville, who had been sent to England, upon an embassy, to demand the restitution of the estates in that kingdom, which had belonged to the king's grandfather, the earl of Lennox, acquaint the queen with the state of affairs in Scotland, and arrange a number of other matters in dispute, having returned with discordant answers, the king, imagining some advantage might be made of this circumstance, consulted with Stuart, who commanded the band of gentlemen forming his body guard, respecting the best method of emancipating himself from his thraldom, when it was resolved to call a convention of the estates at St. Andrews, under pretence of consulting about the relations with England, but to invite only such persons as he thought would be favourable to his design. Previously to the day of meeting, Stuart advised the king to send for some of his most experienced counsellors in this emergency, and in consequence, Sir James Melville, who had retired from court, received his majesty's commands to repair to Falkland. He endeavoured to dissuade the king from his undertaking, as rash and danger
ous, but finding him resolute, he advised him, if successful in making his escape, to proclaim a general amnesty, free, full, and without reserve; to accede to the requests of the church, and choose for his counsellors, the most virtuous and discreet of the nobility and gentry, all which, the king, with his usual facility, readily promised.
In order to avoid suspicion, some days previous to the meeting of the convention, he set out for St. Andrews, under the pretext of visiting his grand uncle, the earl of March. At first he lodged in an open inn, but some of the lords, who had heard of his sudden departure from Falkland, arriving at St. Andrews with armed followers, he became alarmed, and entered the castle. Next morning, the earls of Argyle, Huntly, Crawford, Montrose, and the rest of the lords who were invited, arrived, but unarmed, which induced the others to hope they might yet regain possession of the king's person, but being outnumbered, by the defection of the earl of Gowrie from their cause, they made no serious attempt, and the king retained complete possession of the castle, and the freedom of once more choosing his own advisers. In the commencement, he appeared as if inclined to perform the promises he had made to Sir James Melville, and having assembled all the lords, together with the Fife barons, the chief magistrates of the towns upon the coast, the ministers of St. Andrews, and the masters of the college, he in their presence declared:— That although he had been unwillingly detained for some time, yet he meant not to impute this as a crime to any person; it was his intention, to bury in oblivion all that had passed during his minority, to satisfy the demands of the church, endeavour to heal the dissentions which existed, and show impartial favour to all his subjects without distinction, as he knew what had been done, did not proceed from any disaffection to his person, but from the unhappy partialities of the times. After this declaration, and to show his impartiality, he ordered two of each faction to retire from court for a while, the earls of Angus and Bothwell on the one side, and Huntly and Crawford on the other. He then made choice of the earls of March, Argyle, Gowrie, Montrose, Marischal, and Rothes, as his permanent council, and to evince the sincerity of his
reconciliation, he paid a visit to the earl of Gowrie, at Ruthven castle, and again granted him a full pardon.
When James had regained his liberty, the earl of Arran, who, by favour of the lords, had been permitted to reside upon his estate of Kinneil, was extremely anxious to be admitted into the royal presence, and the king, who continued to cherish his affection for the worthless favourite, notwithstanding his repeated professions to the contrary, was no less anxious to see him. The nobility in vain opposed his return, and Sir James Melville, with as little effect, pointed out the mischievous consequences of his recall, and entreated that the king would not receive him into confidence. The king promised that he would not admit him to his confidence, that he only wished a single interview, and would not suffer him to remain; but the earl was admitted, and all the king's professions and promises were speedily forgotten. No sooner had Arran regained the ascendency, than moderation was cast aside, and every regard to truth and common honesty banished the king's counsels. His most solemn declarations were disregarded, and measures, the very opposite of those he had promised to follow, were most unblushingly pursued. An insidious proclamation was issued, offering pardon to such as were concerned in the Raid of Ruthven, provided they showed symptoms of real penitence, asked forgiveness in time, and did not by their future conduct, awaken the remembrance of that treason. Such a proclamation, so different from the full, free freedom, and act of indemnity, so repeatedly promised, when the king was under no restraint, plainly warned the nobles of their fate, if they ventured to confide in the word of a king, or the mercy of an unprincipled, now an exasperated favourite. They therefore began to take measures to secure their safety, while the king, with his usual duplicity, pretended to be both ignorant of the extent, and grieved at the nature of Arran's proceedings.
When Elizabeth was informed of the revolution that had taken place in the Scottish court, she wrote James a severe letter, reproaching him with his breach of faith, and reminding him of the account he himself had written her of the dangerous course the duke of Arran was pursuing; "and yet,”
she adds, "you would make them guilty who delivered you therefrom! I hope you more esteem your honour than to give it such a stain, since you have so oft protested that you was resolved to notice these lords as your most affectionate subjects, in the full persuasion, that all they had done was by them intended for your advantage;" and concludes by requesting him to proceed no further, till she should send a trusty messenger to advise with him. James, in an humble, shuffling answer, professes to take her "sharp admonition at this time, as proceeding from a sisterly love;" and after thanking her for her friendly attempts to procure his liberty, excuses his conduct from "the time," being "unfit to dispute too precisely upon circumstances that were determined by those who were masters of him and the state," and meekly ends thus:"When you desire that I proceed no further, until a trusty messenger may come from you, I intend to stay from doing any thing, till then, that you may be justly offended with." The trusty messenger, promised by Elizabeth, was the secretary Walsingham, the minister, next to Burleigh, on whom the English queen most depended. He came attended by a magnificent train of upwards of "six score horsemen," but travelled gently in a coach, on account of his age and the infirm state of his health.
While the English minister was slowly prosecuting his journey, Arran was rashly pursuing his violent measures. The lords who prudently declined trusting Arran, and had withdrawn from court, were required, by a new proclamation, to surrender themselves prisoners, or, as the expression of the day was, put themselves in ward; but they all refusing, except the earl of Angus, were denounced rebels. Arran, whose aim it was to engross the whole power of the kingdom, and
* I cannot conceive how Dr. Robertson, book vi. should represent James, on this occasion, as replying with "becoming dignity," for he refers to the very letters I quote, and their account certainly comports but very little with dignity. Spotswood, indeed, p. 326, mentions a conversation with Walsingham, in which he makes James use language similar to what Dr. R. represents as the contents of the letter, but Melville is, I think, in this instance, from having been personally employed, the preferable authority.-Melville, p. 279, 283.