Изображения страниц

the removal of its head; and hence the issuing of the
Commission for the trial of Mary for complicity in Babing-
ton's plot, and her sentence to death. Even after this,
Elizabeth's respect for her relative, or, perhaps, her feeling
of the divinity which should "hedge a king," prevented her
from affixing her name to the warrant for Mary's execution
for several months, and it is even doubtful whether she ever
did sign it at all. The circumstances are too long to be
detailed minutely; suffice it to say that Davison, one of the
Secretaries of State, says she did sign it, and told him to
keep it secret.* Miss Strickland gives an account of the
existence of a minute of a Star Chamber investigation in
1606, twenty years after Mary's death, in which it is stated,
under deposition of two witnesses, "that the late Thomas.
Harrison, a private and confidential secretary of the late Sir
Francis Walsingham, did voluntarily acknowledge to them
he was employed by his said master,
Sir Francis Walsingham, to forge Queen Elizabeth's
signature to the death warrant of the Queen of Scots, which
none of her ministers could ever induce her to sign."+

There are, however, extant two manuscript accounts of Davison's trial for "misprison and contempt," and from these it would appear that the Queen's Attorney-General, who conducted the prosecution, acknowledged the signature of the warrant by the Queen, and only blamed Davison for ssuing it after he had been told expressly to keep it secret, but to have it in readiness so that it could be acted upon when wanted. It was directly after the signature that the correspondence ensued between Davison and Walsingham and Sir Amias Paulet, which leaves an indelible stigma on the names of the former, and, if Davison is to be believed, on that of the Queen also, for the letter undoubtedly presses

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

Life of W. Davison, by Sir Harris Nicholas. London, 1823. p. 232. + Cotton MS., quoted in Lives of the Queens of Scotland, vii, 465.

[ocr errors]

on Sir Amias the desirability of putting Mary to death in an informal way. * On the refusal of Sir Amias to fall in with this suggestion-a refusal couched in a manly letter, too long to quote-Davison called the Council together, and laid the matter before them. Having the signature they had long wanted, they gave orders to have the warrant acted upon at once, without further reference to the Queen, who appears to have been ignorant of the consummation of the act for some days afterwards. When she received the information, she at once had Davison arrested, and shortly afterwards she wrote to King James of Scotland a letter respecting a treaty, the completion of which had been delayed by the death of his mother, which James euphemistically calls "yone unhappy fact," in which she says, "that so unhappyly to my harts grife was delaied and differd, assuring you on the faith of a Christian and worde of a King, that my hart cannot accuse my conscience of one thoght that might infringe our friendship, or let so good a worke. God the chersar of all harts euer so have misericorde of my soule as innocencye in that mattar deserveth, and no otherwise; wiche invocation wer to dangerous for a gilty conscience." This statement, made with much more vigour of language than correctness of spelling, seems to have been satisfactory in its effect, for King James expressed his belief in the asseverations of Elizabeth, and she subsequently writes, "I am greatly satisfied, my dear brother, that I find by your owne graunt that you bilive the trothe of my actions, so manifestly openly proved."

I must now proceed to the Journal of M. Bourgoing, and I shall select a few passages from it which will give

* Letter Books of Sir Amias Paulet, p. 359.

+ Letters of Queen Elizabeth and King James VI of Scotland (Camden Society's Publications), p. 48.

Ibid, p. 50.

some idea of the difficulty of managing a prisoner at once so bold and so indefatigable in mischief-working as Mary.


The diary opens with the removal of Mary from Chartley to Tixall, concerning which Miss Strickland says, in one of her admirable histories, "the particulars of the journey, the deportment of the Royal prisoner, together with her sayings and doings by the way, would, doubtless, have added a page of no ordinary interest to her personal history.' The story, according to the diary, is as follows:-Mary was at Chartley with a large suite, in charge of Sir Amias Paulet, and on August 11, 1586, she sent her secretary to say she wished to go out after dinner, to which Sir Amias replies that she can do so if she wishes, but if she likes to wait till the morrow, Sir Walter Aston has "promised to give them the pleasure of hunting a stag, which he wished her to kill with her own hands, as she had done some time before." Mary, delighted at the prospect, willingly accepted the invitation, and then made some difficulty because of its being Friday, though she would rather go than sacrifice so good an opportunity, fearing it might not be offered again if she refused it. The Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday not being available, either from the state of the weather or for other reasons, Mary sends word on Tuesday (16th August), and they all start for the hunt, which it would appear from the sequel had been arranged by Sir Amias to get them all out of the house; for Walsingham had sent instructions to that effect, which were faithfully carried out. The diary proceeds" Her Majesty, mounted on her horse, rode fully a mile with such speed that, without noticing, we allowed Sir Amias to join some others, who, it is to be supposed, were hidden near. The Queen, having been informed by M. Nau


Lives of the Queens of Scotland, &c., vii, 423.

+ Letter Books, p. 253.

(her secretary) that they were so near, stopped till they came up, wishing to be specially courteous to Sir Amias, and probably to thank him for the unusual entertainment he was giving them. After some conversation

Sir Amias advanced to the Queen, and said, 'Madame, here is one of the servants of my mistress, the Queen, who has a


message to deliver to you from her.'" Mary sat still on her horse, and received from Sir Thomas Gorges the following startling message: Madame, the Queen, my mistress, thinks it very strange that, contrary to the agreement and pact that you made, you have conspired against her estate; which she never would have believed had she not seen it with her own eyes. As she is aware that some of your attendants are chargeable with and guilty of this offence also, you will not think it ill if she separates them from you." To this Mary made the customary protestations of her innocence, and stated that the Queen, her "good sister and kind friend," had been misinformed. Sir Thomas then remounted, and, after some scuffling on the part of the secretaries, who evidently wished to have a word or two with their mistress, the servants were all separated, disarmed, and taken away to different houses in the neighbourhood, some of them being sent to London for examination. Bourgoing, however, appears to have been left with the Queen, and he continues-" As we commenced to return, surrounded by the troop of new comers, before we had gone more than a mile or two at a great pace, it appeared to me, who kept as close as I could to the Queen, and followed her always, that we were not returning by the road we had come, and I informed her that we were being taken to some other place; upon which Her Majesty called to Sir Amias, who went gently before us. She said, 'We are not going to the house?' He replied, 'No.' Her Majesty said, 'Where are you taking me?' He said, 'Not far;' but Her Majesty told.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

him she should return to his house, and that she would not go anywhere else.

"On this conversation, Her Majesty dismounted, and, much disturbed, was unable either to walk or ride. She sat down first on the ground, and afterwards in the lap of Mrs. Curle, one of the ladies of her bedchamber. She then asked Sir Amias where he was taking her, to which he replied it was to a good place, prettier than his own, and that she could not return to his house. It was labour lost, he added, to remain where she was, or to resist him. On her saying that she would rather die there, he threatened to send for her carriage, and put her into it, and he told one of his people to go for it. He was informed, in reply, that there were no horses for it, as M. Nau had one, and Bastien the other. Meanwhile, those who went before, never looking back, were in a short time so far off as to be out of sight, and we saw them no more. Sir Amias remained with us, with about eight or ten of his people, who were walking behind, and who were much surprised, not knowing what it



Her Majesty, sitting in this manner, weeping and grieving, said it was a great pity she was taken about thus. She who was a free princess and a foreigner; that it was a treacherous invasion of her rights; that they had given Sir Amias the office of gaoler, because no honest man would undertake such a post. Speaking as haughtily as she could, she said that she was as much a queen as Elizabeth, and of as good a family; that she was only treated thus at the suggestion of those who desired but her ruin; she did not know why these things should be done; she had never done anything that she should be thus driven about; she did not think the Queen of England intended it, but her wicked Council was her enemy; but they must take good care what they were doing, or they would find that this act would be

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »