Изображения страниц


to conform to the Protestant faith, and to abolish Popery throughout the realm; a series of dark plots and intrigues followed; but in the end Mary found herself surrounded by such a strong party that she created Darnley Duke of Albany, caused him to be proclaimed King, and married him on the 29th of July, 1565. She was twenty-three, he twenty years old.

11. The Murders of Rizzio and Darnley. Murray and his associates, aided by English money, immediately flew to arms; but the Queen surprised them before they were prepared, and drove them out of the country. They proceeded to London; but Elizabeth refused to see them, until they acknowledged publicly that she had not encouraged their rebellion. At this juncture, the Holy League, between France and Spain, was formed at Bayonne (September, 1565), for the purpose of exterminating the heretics; rumours were circulated that Mary had joined it, and the reformers everywhere were greatly excited, while the invectives of Knox made them furious. A sudden and violent incident tended still further to embroil the Queen's affairs. This was the murder of David Rizzio, a young Italian musician, who acted as Mary's foreign secretary. Darnley, Morton, Ruthven, and others, were the murderers; they were joined, after the crime had been committed, by Murray and Maitland, and a conspiracy was hatched for the purpose of imprisoning Mary in Stirling Castle. Darnley revealed the plot, and Mary escaped to Dunbar; and, in a few days, returned to Edinburgh with such a force, that the conspirators fled again to England. Elizabeth did not again receive them; but while she openly ordered them to leave the country, she privately intimated to them that they had nothing to fear from her if they kept quiet.

The conduct of Darnley in these terrible transactions made him an object of scorn and aversion to all parties, and his late companions in crime conspired to destroy him. Murray, Maitland, Bothwell, Argyle, and Huntley, the friends of the murderers, were now again in power; and they proposed to Mary, at Craigmillar Castle (December 2nd, 1566), that she should be divorced from Darnley. She agreed to this; the five lords then withdrew, and all, except Murray, secretly bound themselves to assassinate Darnley, and to repute "the deed his own," by whomsoever it might be done. Bothwell undertook the dreadful task; and he and Maitland met Morton at Whittingham, near the Lammermuir Hills, to make the necessary arrangements (January 20th, 1567).*

At this time Darnley was ill of the small-pox, at Glasgow. * Ling. VII., 359-60; Sir Walter Scott, I.. 285-86; Bell's Life of Mary, Queen of Scots.


Mary, hearing of it, caused him to be removed to a house outside Edinburgh, called "The Kirk of Field," for the benefit of the air, and paid him the most affectionate attention. On the 9th of February, 1567, she visited him as usual, and returned late at night to Holyrood House, where she was giving a ball in honour of the marriage of one of her servants. About two o'clock the next morning, a tremendous explosion was heard; and, when day dawned, it was discovered that the Kirk of Field had been blown up, and Darnley's dead body carried to a little distance from it, where it was found without any external marks of violence. Whether Mary was privy and consenting to this tragical event has never been clearly proved; but her conduct after this was such as brought upon her terrible suspicion, and she was publicly accused of the crime. Bothwell was tried for it, and acquitted; but he was the actual murderer, nevertheless.

12. Mary expelled from Scotland. Bothwell was too powerfully supported by the ministers, his confederates, for justice to be executed upon him; he entertained them, and the leading members of parliament, at the feast called "Ainslie's Supper," where they not only declared him innocent of the king's murder, but recommended him as the fittest person whom the Queen could take as her husband; and they pledged themselves to advance this marriage at the risk of life and goods. All, except Murray, signed this disgraceful bond, which was soon afterwards executed, by the forced marriage of Mary with Bothwell (May 15th, 1567). Mary's misfortunes now followed each other in rapid succession. Bothwell was driven from the kingdom by the very men who had hitherto encouraged him; the miserable Queen was imprisoned in Lochleven Castle, and there compelled to resign the crown in favour of her infant son James; and Murray, who had gone to France in the meanwhile, returned, and was made regent (July, 1567). At length, Mary escaped from her prison, but her troops were defeated at Langsyde (May 13th, 1568); and, in despair, she crossed the Solway Frith, and sought an asylum in England. She landed at Workington, whence she was removed to Carlisle.

13. Her reception in England., Three courses of treatment respecting the royal refugee lay open to Elizabeth, and council. were discussed in her councils.

Policy of

the English

1. To restore Mary by force or mediation; which would have been the most generous, and, perhaps, the most judicious course, because it would have made the Scottish Queen the dependant of England. Mary's reputation was certainly an objection to the adoption of this policy.

2. To permit Mary's retreat to France: an impartial, but a very dangerous


course; although France, distracted as she then was, could not have gained much advantage by it.

3. To detain Mary in perpetual captivity: a most unjust proceeding, but that which Cecil adopted as the only one which he considered expedient for the safety of Elizabeth's throne and English Protestantism.*

ferences at

The intentions of the English council were carefully kept from Mary, and it was intimated to her that she must clear herself of all suspicions before she must expect the protection of Elizabeth; for which purpose a conference was appointed to be held at York, ostensibly for the trial of Mary's enemies, but really to The condamage her character. The English commissioners York. appointed were the Duke of Norfolk and the Earl of Sussex, secretly in favour of Mary, and Sir Ralph Sadler, the known confidant of Cecil. Mary, who was now at Bolton Castle, was represented by Leslie, Bishop of Ross, Lord Herries, her tried and faithful friend, and four others; Murray, Morton, Maitland, Buchanan, the famous poet and historian, were her accusers.

The conference opened on the 4th of October, 1568. Mary's agents complained of the facts which we have narrated-the revolt, her imprisonment, dethronement, and expulsion from the realm. Murray and his friends made a weak defence, professing they had taken up arms, not against Mary, but against Darnley's murderer. But they had secretly laid before the English commissioners a casket which they had taken during the war, containing Mary's correspondence with Bothwell, and full of the strongest proofs of her guilt. Copies of these letters were sent to Cecil, and laid before the council; and it was resolved that the conference should be adjourned to Westminster, and that Mary should be removed to Tutbury Castle. The commissioners, therefore, proceeded to London, and there Murray openly accused Mary of the murder of her husband; and he produced the original letters in support of this charge. Mary's commissioners declared the letters to be forgeries; and they undertook And at to prove that Murray and his associates were the actual minster. murderers. But it was not the intention of the English ministers to decide the matter at all; they sought only to cover the captive Queen with disgrace and suspicions; and, as they had now completely effected their purpose, the conferences, which Mary had latterly been held at Hampton Court, were broken removed to off (January 10th, 1569). The Queen of Scots was removed to Tutbury a few days afterwards, and then transferred to Wingfield manor-house (April 22nd).

* Hallam, I., 131-132; Hume, V., 129.








of the two


14. Anxieties of Elizabeth's cabinet about the succession to the throne. The revolutions of Scotland formed the highest object of English policy during the first ten years of Elizabeth's reign; for, until a reformed government was firmly established among the Scots, Britain could not, in a military point of view, be regarded as an island, and Elizabeth's throne was not safe so long as the allies of the Holy League possessed such a vantage ground as that of Scotland, under a Catholic Queen.* Elizabeth's contemporaries, alluding to her domestic administration, called these ten years "her halcyon days;" and they certainly were comparatively calm and serene, the only disturbance being a Conspiracy conspiracy of the two Poles, nephews of the cardinal, in 1562, in favour of Mary of Scotland. This plot was attributed to the Catholics, and it was the immediate provocation of the statute 5 Elizabeth (1562), "for the assurance of the Queen's royal power over all estates and subjects within her dominions;" which enacted that all who were engaged in the law or the church, or belonged to the universities, should take the oath of supremacy, under the heaviest penalties if they refused.† The statute, however, was not severely enforced, though numerous Beginning persons were continually harassed for not conforming to the of the rites of the English Church. Others were dragged before persecution ecclesiastical commissioners for harbouring priests, or for sending money to those who had fled beyond sea; and the students of the Inns of Court, where popery prevailed at this time, were examined in the Star Chamber, and those who did not give satisfactory answers as to their religion were imprisoned in the Fleet. Yet the greater number of the English Catholics attended the Protestant worship, some of them not deeming it to contain anything contrary to their religion, though it was defective; and others excusing their formal obedience to the civil power by the private observance of their own rites. For the old priests travelled the country in various disguises, and were to be found in every county, serving as chaplains in private families, and celebrating their solemn services by stealth, in the dead of night, in private chambers, and in the secret lurking-places of an illpeopled country. This persecution could not but excite a spirit * Mackintosh, III., 123. + Hallam's Const. Hist., I., 116,



of disloyalty in the adherents of the ancient faith, and hence arose all the fears of Elizabeth's counsellors, and of her parliaments, concerning the succession to the throne.*



There were two families in whom this succession lay, viz.:the house of Suffolk, which, by the statute 35 Henry VIII,, c. 1, was entitled to the crown after Elizabeth; and the persecution Queen of Scots, who had the hereditary right after of Suffolk. Elizabeth. The presumptive heiress to the crown, by Henry's statute, was Lady Catherine Grey, the younger sister of Lady Jane Grey. In the very first year of her reign, without any better motive than her own jealous and malignant humour,"† Elizabeth had imprisoned her in the Tower, because she had secretly married the Earl of Hertford, son of the Protector Somerset. Her husband was also imprisoned; they had one child before their imprisonment, and another while they were in the Tower; on which Elizabeth appointed a commission, and, because they were unable to produce proofs of their marriage in time, their children were declared illegitimate; they were condemned to perpetual imprisonment, and Hertford was fined £15,000. The injured lady sunk under this hardship and indignity; she was never permitted to see her husband again, and she died 27th January, 1567, after a captivity of more than six years. Nearly half a century afterwards, her memory was relieved from imputation by the verdict of a jury, which established the validity of her marriage. So long as Elizabeth remained

Lord = Jane. Guildford Dudley.

* Hallam's Const. Hist., I., 117-122. + Ibid, 127. Genealogical Table of the Suffolk family, to whom Henry VIII. devised the crown in preference to the Scottish house. Henry VII.

Henry VIII. Margaret, Louis XII.=Mary Charles Brandon,
Queen of of France.
Duke of Suffolk.

Frances Grey, Marquis
of Dorset,
created Duke
of Suffolk by
Edward VI.

Catherine Seymour,

Earl of
Lord Beauchamp.

Earl of = Eleanor, Cumber- 1547. land.


Margaret Earl of

Duke of Somerset.*

* This branch had the right to the throne on the death of Elizabeth, according to the statute. But its legitimacy was questioned. Charles II. restored to Lord Beauchamp's son the title of the Seymours-Duke of Somerset. See Dugdale's Baronage.

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »