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The Queen of Scots to Catherine de Medicis.

April 30, 1570. Madame,-The honour that I have had in being nurtured in your family, as your very obedient daughter, and having always wished, all my life, to do you very humble service, makes me confident that in my great need my humble requests will be granted, with every indulgence that it may please you to make, and that you will assure to me the support of the king your son, and take the same care for me, that every good mother ought to do for one of her destitute children, for such I have the boldness to consider myself; and for the love of the late king your son, and the natural affection I have borne to you, which I call on yourself to witness. I shall neither speak of what I desire, nor what I fear; I leave these particulars to Monsieur de la Mothe, not having convenience at present to write, only to tell you that they are sending an army on the way towards the borders, to enter Scotland, if they are not already there, with a proclamation to strengthen my rebels and intimidate my faithful subjects. I have no means, save by you, to maintain the ancient alliance of these two realms, which by my ruin will be lost to the king your son, if prompt succour be not given to those for whom I supplicate, together with the assurance that my servants may rely on being supported by you; nor will this be in vain, for they and I may then be the means of rendering you as good services as my predecessors have formerly done.

I am much grieved that this queen, to whom I am so nearly related, and whom I have never offended, should have so little regard to your prayers; and that, through her, I am compelled to be a trouble to you in the midst of so many important matters, in respect to which, if you are prevented from aiding me as much as you could wish, I entreat you to implore the other allied princes to join with you, for the support and re-establishment of a queen, your daughter and ally. To the king and you, after God, I shall owe the obligation, which I shall endeavour to requite by every means in my power; and in the mean time, I present my very humble recommendations to your good grace, praying God, madame, that he will give you health and every happiness, long life.

From Tutbury, this last of April.

I beseech the king your son to be good and favourable master to his servant and mine, George Douglas, for the services that he has done for me; and also for my ambassador the Bishop of Glasgow, to give him the means to remain near you for my service. The third is for the Bishop of Ross, for he will receive nothing from the Scotch, and is only waiting here for my service, which I cannot omit to notice; and not having the means of giving him any recompence, I entreat you to provide for him some little benefice for his maintenance during his exile and my imprisonment. I pray you to take this, my private request, in good part, for the necessity I am in. Your very

humble and very obedient daughter,


The public press has observed that the two preceding volumes collected by Prince Labanoff bear little if any thing upon the grand question of Mary's guilt or innocence of the death of Darnley, but that remark cannot apply to the present volume. In he first place, the full proof it affords that Darnley was a Catholic leads to the strong inference that he would not be destroyed by the ultra-Catholic party, of which Mary Stuart was the head. Darnley had been brought up a Catholic by his mother, Margaret Douglas, the bosom friend of Mary I., Queen of England, he had tampered with the Calvinistic party of his father, Matthew Stuart, but since his reconciliation with his wife had returned to his early faith, hence his death by the Gunpowder Plot at Kirk-a-field.


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Miss Strickland has translated an Italian document from the papal nuncio at Paris, which fully proves that Mary Stuart and her spouse were one on the great question of religion, and was it likely she should destroy her young, handsome, Catholic husband-although for a time offending-for the sake of a man like Bothwell, who was five-andtwenty before she was born, old, coarse, ugly, and brutal, and moreover, so bigoted against her beloved religion, that nothing could induce him to be present at any of its rites?

The Papal Nuncio at Paris to the Grand Duke of Florence.* [After stating the arrival of Father Edmonds and M. de Morett, the ambassador at Paris, the latter proceeds thus to narrate the murder of Darnley.]

As to the particulars of the death of the king, the said M. de Morett is strongly of opinion, that this poor prince, hearing the rumour of the people round about the house, and that they were trying, with false keys, to open it, rushed out of it by a door that led to the garden, in his shirt, with his pelisse, in order to flee from the peril, and there (i. e. in the garden) was strangled, and then taken out of the garden into a little orchard without the walls of the grounds; and then the house was destroyed by fire (blown up), to kill the rest that remained within, that they might not guess how the king came to be found dead in his shirt, with his pelisse by his side. And some women who dwell in the vicinity of the garden, affirm to have heard the king cry out,

"Ah! brethren, have pity on me for the love of Him who had mercy on all the world!"

And Father Edmonds declared to me, that the king the same morning had, according to his wont, heard mass, and that he had always been brought up by his mother as a Catholic, but, for the desire of reigning, had turned deceptively from the ancient religion. Thus may divine Majesty have mercy on his poor soul. .

Paris, March 16, 1567.

[Collated and certified by the Archivista, 17th of February, 1840.]

To follow Miss Strickland's documents through this most interesting track, we offer these important letters to the consideration of the reader interested in the innocence of the hapless Mary Stuart.

Deathbed Confession of the Earl of Bothwell.*

The confession of my Lord Bothwell before he died, in presence of divers lords of Denmark (being more long in Latin and Danish). The lords present were these: Baron Cowes, of Malinge Castle, Otta Brawe, of Clisinbrouche Castle: Monsieur Guillone Starne, of Fowltostic Castle; the Bishop of Skonen, and four bailies of the town, who desired him that he would declare his conscience, and say nothing but the truth concerning the king and queen of Scotland, with the child.

Imprimis, he did take it upon his death, that the queen never knew nor consented to the death of the king, but he and his friends, by his appointment, divers lords consenting, and subscribing thereunto, which yet was not there present at the deed doing. Their names be Lord Jamy E. of Murray, Lord Morton, Lord Robert, the Bishop of St. Andrews, with divers others, whom he said he could not remember at that present.

Likewise, he said, that all the friendship which he had of the queen, he got

*MS. Cottonian, Titus, c. vii., fol. 39, b. The Danish names seem strangely spelt in this paper. The king means, Darnley, the queen, Mary Stuart, but who the child is, appears dubious, for if meant for James, the term would be prince. It is possible the inquiry was made concerning the infant some have asserted that Mary had by Bothwell.

always by witchcraft,* and the inventions belonging thereunto, specially by the use of sweet water, and that he found means to put away his own wife, to obtain the queen.

Likewise he confessed that he had deceived divers gentlewomen in France, and in England, with many other wild facts and deeds, which he said were long to rehearse, asking God forgiveness thereof. Furthermore, he confessed that he took two lords' daughters out of Denmark into Scotland, and made them believe that he would marry them; and likewise ruined many gentlewomen of Scotland. Item, he did confess that he had deceived two of the burgomaster's daughters of Lubeck, with many like, which he said were long to rehearse, and forgave all the world, and was sorrowful for his offences, and did receive the sacrament, that all the things he spoke were true, and so he died.

(No date.)

Queen Mary to her Ambassador, the Archbishop of Glasgow.†

(Extract of the deciphering of her letter.)

June 1, 1756.

I have advice of the death of the Earl of Bothwell, and how that, before he died, he made an ample confession of all his sins; and among the rest that he owned himself to have been the author, and in fact, likewise guilty of the murder of the late king my husband: and in terms most express, nay, upon the very damnation of his soul, declared me innocent thereof. If this be the real truth, you may easily discern the advantage it would be to me in defeating the false calumnies of my enemies. I pray you, therefore, try all means to come into the precise knowledge of this fact. I am told that the persons who assisted at the emitting this declaration, and which was afterwards signed and sealed by them in the form of a testament, were Otto Braw of the Castle of Cambre; Piers Braw, of the Castle of Vascut; Mr. Gullenstearn, of the Castle of Fulkenstere; the Bishop of Skonen, and four bailiffs of the town.‡

It must always be remembered, that although the crime of witchcraft cannot be committed, it may be attempted with intentions fully as guilty as if successful. Bothwell had been trying tricks of this kind from his boyhood. (See the succeeding letter of La Mothe.) He believed as the whole of his auditors did, that his magical schemes were not only guilty in intention, but mischievous in effect; therefore it ought not to excite surprise that he acknowledged his magic with his murders and other crimes. There is no doubt that he had tried schemes to bewitch the queen and other women; therefore this confession of magic, so true to the costume and manners of this era, does not invalidate the rest of the facts contained in the statement, it merely proves that he made a mistake as to cause and effect. He supposed his power over the queen was the effect of his incantations, because he was turned of fifty, coarse and ugly, when his power really proceeded from his long habit of command, and that personal audacity often successful in partisan warriors.

† Keith's Scotland, b. ii., App. p. 142.

It will be observed, that the account the poor queen had received, from report of this confession, a little varies from the narrative preceding, which was not the original document. It deserves remark, that the King of Denmark and all the witnesses were Protestants, that it was a Protestant bishop who was one of the witnesses, and that Catholicism was a capital crime in Denmark: therefore it was by no means a probable circumstance that so many Protestants should join to perjure themselves to clear the reputation of a Catholic princess, who had been so far from flattering the King of Denmark, or his state, that she refused to consent to her son's alliance with his daughter, because he was only an elective king. (See the Appendix, her conversation with Sommer.) The King of Denmark had besides, joined Queen Elizabeth and the government of Scotland in a Protestant league to support their religion against the Catholic alliance. He was, however, a just man, and sent notice of Bothwell's dying confession to every prince in Europe; more especially he sent it to Queen Elizabeth, who as carefully suppressed it. As all Europe rung with it when it was publicly used in Scotland as evidence against

The Queen of Scots to her Ambassador in France, the Archbishop of Glasgow.

May 2, 1578.

The Countess of Lenox, my mother-in-law, died about a month ago; and the Queen of England has taken into her care her ladyship's grand-daughter. [This, no doubt, is the Lady Arabella Stuart, only child to Charles Earl of Lenox, who died anno 1576.] I would desire those who are about my son to make instances in his name for this succession; not for any desire I have that he should actually succeed unto it, but rather to testify, that neither he, nor I, ought to be reputed or treated as foreigners in England, who are born within the same isle. This good lady was, thanks to God, in very good correspondence with me these five or six years bygone, and has confessed to me, by sundry letters under her hand, which I carefully preserve, the injury she did me by the unjust pursuits, which she allowed to go out against me in her name, through bad information; but principally, she said, through the express orders of the Queen of England, and the persuasion of her council, who also took much solicitude that she and I might never come to good understanding together. But as soon as she came to know of my innocence, she desisted from any further pursuit against me; nay, went so far as to refuse her consent to any thing they should set against me in her name.

Here we see the party most prejudiced against Mary, the bereaved and childless mother of Darnley, a convert to her innocence, which after the confession of Bothwell, attested by the Protestant authorities of Denmark, was really indisputable.

Our limits will not permit us to follow Miss Strickland through the important letters she has here given to the public from the Des Mesmes and Bethune collections, at Paris; the last letter Mary wrote to Elizabeth, after her condemnation, is here translated direct from the French for the first time: it is perhaps the grandest royal letter ever penned, and we know that Mary was wholly unassisted in its composition, as her secretaries were in prison, and her priest kept from her presence. The epistle itself is too long for insertion, but we will gve Miss Strickland's account of it from her ably written introduction.

the Earl of Morton, one of the murderers, if it had been fabricated (as party Scotch writers say it was), how came the Protestant king and prelate of Denmark not to deny it? In the other statement of Bothwell published (vol. ii.), it will be observed that at his first capture he was ready enough to accuse every body besides himself, except the queen. By the above statement, it appears, he continued a course of crime, even after his captivity in Denmark. But at the time of this last confession, he knew he must die, and it was of no use tampering with eternity. The original document was to be seen in the beginning of this century, as the following notice affirms in Mr. Hamilton's "Observations on Buchanan."

"An authentic copy of the confession of Bothwell is extant, and to be seen in St. James's Library in London; it is signed by the governor of the Castle of Melling; by Guilla Brome, governor of the Castle of Altenburgh; Pierrie Braue, of the Castle of Neswell; by Gnillim Strance; by the Bishop of Skonen, and five bailiffs Bothwell declared that Queen Mary never did give consent to her husband's death, or was privy thereto, as he should answer to the eternal God. And being asked the question, "Who were the contrivers of the murder?' he answered, 'Murray the Bastard was the first proposer, but Morton laid the plot, and I accomplished it,' For which he begged God's pardon, and expired."

This document, which exists undoubtedly in some of our archives, is not yet properly brought to light; for our transcript from the Cottonian, printed above, is evidently only an abstract of it, as the account by Mr. Hamilton, just quoted, is but a report from memory from a view of it.

The last and noblest letter written by Mary to Elizabeth (p. 212), December 19th, 1586, the day after sentence of death had been pronounced to her by Lord Buckhurst, has never before been translated, as a whole, from the original French, although portions from Camden's Latin Abstract have been quoted by some historians.

It is worthy of observation that Mary unconsciously falls into the classic language of Polyxena, while preferring her request to Elizabeth, that her body may be delivered to her poor desolated servants, to be laid in holy ground with the other queens of France, her predecessors, especially near the late Queen of Scotland, her mother.

"Refuse me not my last request, that you will permit free sepulchre to this body when the soul is separated; and after all is over, that they (her servants) together, may carry away my poor corpse as secretly as you please, and peedily withdraw."-p. 215.

This beautiful and touching letter concludes with a sentence which is worthy of being engraved on every heart:

"From the first days of our capacity to comprehend our duties, we ought to bend our minds to make the things of this world yield to those of eternity."

"The perusal of this letter," as Leicester informed Walsingham, "drew tears from Elizabeth;" but how far it proceeded in the way of softening her heart, or those of the pitiless junta by whom she was urged to carry the deadly work through, let the startling correspondence between Walsingham, Davison, and Sir Amias Paulet testify (see pp. 224-229), and also Elizabeth's letter to the latter (p. 323).

Mary's worst pang in laying her head on the block, was distrust of her son, which he was very far from deserving, as his letter on her sentence fully proves, written in defiance of all consequences, to the formidable Elizabeth, and now, for the first time, placed in intelligible language before the public (p. 220).

One of the letters written by Mary Stuart on the evening before her execution, will be found in this volume (p. 229); it was addressed by her to De Préau, her almoner, when denied the consolation of receiving the last rites of her church from him, her spiritual director, or even of seeing him, though he was under the same roof; she requests him "to advise her for her soul's health in writing," and tells him, withal, that all her petitions had been denied, even that concerning the disposal of her lifeless remains.

Such are the documents which have to the present hour been dug from the mines of national archives relative to the dark fate of "Scotland's loveliest woman."

Cleansed from the rust and dust of obsolete French, Scotch, Italian and English, they are by the means of female industry presented in an intelligible form to the public eye. That more of these jewels do not remain hidden we will not answer, but it is certain that the publication of these volumes will lead to discovery of the remainder, if such are in existence. At least, the present age cannot be charged with any tendency to destroy historical autographs like the historian, Burnet, whose conduct, as related by Evelyn, is appropriately quoted by Miss Strickland in her introduction.

In conclusion we ought to observe that in Miss Strickland's own

*" And if my dying accents you will hear,

And hearing, grant this last, this little prayer,
No slave, but Priam's daughter I implore,
You to my mother would my corse restore.
Freely restore, and let me not be sold,
Or rites of burial be exchanged for gold."

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