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to make a bold effort either to resist it or to escape it. Her happy conformation, which united the beauty of delicate proportions with healthy vigour and youthful nimbleness; the skilfulness and boldness of her horsemanship, an accomplishment for which she had been celebrated at the court of Paris, stood her in much stead at this moment of disastrous overthrow. Foiled in an attempt to gain Dumbarton Castle, which was garrisoned by her troops, commanded by lord Fleming, she rode on, accompanied by lord Herries, the most tried of her friends, to the abbey of Dundrennan, on the Solway frith, near Kirkudbright, at the distance of sixty miles from the field of battle. At. that monastery, of which lord Herries's son was the abbot, she found a short repose, and hoped for opportunities of escape from the resentment of her people, into a foreign country. But there was neither time, nor calmness, nor, indeed, any subject for long deliberation: unless she preferred the revival of civil war, which held out little prospect of good to her friends, and threatened her with destruction in its most odious form, there was no alternative but a flight to England. Had she tried to reach the rugged territories of Argyle, or the remote domains of Huntly, she must have gone through the disguises, the affronts, the indignities incident to such an attempt; she must patiently have endured the privations, the surprises, the inconveniences, the exposures, the rapid advances, the frequent flights of a mountain war levied by rude and wild tribes, evils from which the nerves of a woman might shrink, without any disparagement to her spirit. It is probable that there was not then a vessel in the Solway frith which would have adventured on a voyage to France, with the chances of capture by Scotch or even English vessels. England, therefore, was the sole asylum. Though Elizabeth had long made common cause with the conquerors, she had shown the utmost displeasure at the extremities which some of them had meditated against the person of their sovereign.
The assurances of Elizabeth, to which Mary afterwards alluded, could not have imported any promise of asylum, the necessity for which could not have been felt, till the moment of need had arrived. Nevertheless, it is probable that Mary considered the late friendly behaviour of her cousin of England as ground enough for expecting a welcome reception. But stern necessity now left her no other choice. However she might then or afterwards represent herself as voluntarily trusting to her royal sister's affection or justice, England was, in truth, her only refuge from pursuers now likely to be uncontrollable and inexorable. Desirous, however, to preserve some appearance of liberty, she directed lord Herries, on Saturday, the 15th of May, to write a letter to Mr. Lowther, the governor of Carlisle, desiring to know whether, if the queen were compelled to seek refuge in England, she might come safely to Carlisle. He answered, that, being without instructions, and in the absence of lord Scroop, the warden of the borders, he could only promise to receive her with due honour at Carlisle, and to keep her in safety till the pleasure of the queen of England was known. She could not, however, wait for the answer; but embarked from Dundrennan on Sunday, with lord Herries and about twenty companions, guarded by a company of soldiers in a fishing boat, which landed them the same evening at Workington, a small town near the mouth of the Derwent, distant about sixteen miles from the place of their embarkation, which must have been either the mouth of the Dee or that of the Nith. At this moment were closed for ever the dignity, the power, the personal liberty of the queen of Scotland; whose early life shone with more unclouded splendour, and whose later years were darkened by more unremitting adversity, than have fallen to the lot of any other royal lady whose fortunes have been the subject of authentic history. The sequel of our undertaking will oblige us to return to her life in England, when her mind, ennobled by calamity, and taught to
feel horror against wrong, by suffering from the vices of others, will be contemplated in a purer light.
The council of Elizabeth were called upon by the arrival of Mary to determine questions of no small moment, of which the decision was rendered difficult by considerations, apparently conflicting, of justice as well as of convenience. The papers of Cecil, which are still extant, contain a careful comparison of the various plans of policy to be adopted towards the illustrious suppliant, under the heads of justice, expediency, necessity, or facility; an enumeration which seems to exhaust every member of the subject under consideration. "The best way for England, but not the easiest," was, "that the queen of Scots might continue to be deprived of the crown, and that the government of that country might remain in the same hands." The second mode was profitable for England, but not so hard;" which was, "that the queen and her son should be jointly vested with the sovereignty, with a truce in Scotland, a meeting of the Scottish parliament, and a limitation of the queen's power in appointments to office, or in measures of state." It was considered as desirable that the young king should be educated in England; that his mother should remain there twelve months, and should not leave that country without licence from Elizabeth. In another paper, dated in May, 1568, he represents it to be essential to ascertain whether there be positive proof of Mary's accession to her husband's murder, with a view to the propriety of acceding to her demand of an interview with Elizabeth ; and in order that, if evidently innocent, she might be restored, or that, even if guilty, she might be guarded against violence; though her restoration must, in the latter case, be accompanied with conditions which
* In an unpublished MS. of Cecil, entitled Zubovλrixn, these heads are presented thus:
· Συγκρισις των
This paper, in the State Paper Office, is not dated, but was probably written on the news of Mary's crossing the Solway, and certainly within a month of that event.
would prevent her from being a tool of the Guisian faction, to the destruction of the Scottish protestants, and of the harmony between Scotland and England. Here, for the first time, we see that Cecil had taken a comprehensive view of all the mixed considerations of policy and justice which arose on that peculiarly debateable ground, on which the safety of a people seems to create a species of moral right, and to justify those acts which are necessary to secure the undisturbed quiet of the state, even when they deviate from rules which are, with reason, deemed inviolable in any but the most extreme and extraordinary cases. The great statesman calmly enquires into the duties of his royal mistress towards her own subjects; towards the adherents of her faith throughout Europe; and more especially to the protestant rulers of Scotland, whom she was bound by honour, as much as she was interested by national policy, to support. Faith between nations depends little on names or forms. It was of no substantial importance to enquire whether the government of Moray was legitimate. It was enough that the Scottish protestants were men who had been encouraged by the acts and words of Elizabeth from the moment of her accession to stake their all upon her power and her will to support them. The interposition of her good offices on behalf of Mary's safety and liberty, during the year which preceded her flight, rather riveted than loosened the obligations which England had so long contracted, to maintain the reformation in Scotland. These obligations were recognised by the ministers of the queen of Scots in negotiating the treaty of Edinburgh; they were founded on circumstances which were not changed; and a firm reliance on these obligations had caused measures to be adopted which it was now impossible to recall. What, then, would be the practical consequence of setting Mary at liberty? or, still more, of restoring her without conditions? If she was allowed to go to France, would not Scotland by that means be surrendered to the house of Lorraine? If she should prefer Spain, would not the
gates of England be thus put into the hands of that more powerful and more bigoted government at the moment of the war against the Netherlands, three years after the league of Bayonne, when reasonable protestants might dread the perpetration of such deeds as were perpetrated so soon afterwards on the day of St. Bartholomew ? If she were immediately allowed to return to Scotland, would not her return give a royal sanction to the revolts of Argyle and Huntly, which had broken out, as it were, to reproach her precipitate flight, and to invite her to re-ascend the throne? Spain, France, Ireland, a party in Scotland, many of the English nobility, who believed her to be the legitimate queen of England, needed only her presence and assent to assert her pretensions with vigour. If Elizabeth were to send a powerful army into Scotland to oppress her friends, she would be justly condemned for perfidy as much as despised for folly. To suffer Mary to return to Scotland, would be, in substance, as decisive an act of hostility to the protestant regency of Scotland, as the invasion of that country by an English army for the like purpose. Elizabeth had also to consider whether it was consistent with her duty to her people, as guardian of the public quiet, to allow a formidable pretender to the English crown to depart freely and unconditionally from the kingdom. Amidst relations so complicated, it was no wonder that duties should appear to be in a state of conflict with each other. Such an unhappy contest may sometimes arise; and in the position of the English queen it would be, perhaps, impossible to point out any course of measures which might not be resented by some parties concerned as a wrong, while it might be hard to determine which of the apparently jarring rules of national justice had the paramount claim to inviolable observance. The perilous question was brought into view, how far the right of the queen and people of England to provide for their own safety, and to retain the means of performing their duties, extended, in the case of an illustrious fugitive, whose unconditional liberty appeared to be incompatible with the secure quiet