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to appoint seven noblemen to exercise the powers of government until the return of the earl of Moray, who, in case of his refusal of the regency, were to be continued in power; by the second she resigned her regal authority to her son; and by the third she appointed the earl of Moray to be regent of the realm on his arrival from France, and after his regular acceptance of that high office.
The messenger and the errand were harsh. But the insurgent lords, as they believed their cause of war against the queen to be just, and considered themselves as justified by necessity in proceeding to inflict that highest punishment which they regarded as due to her offences, viewed every measure which was short of that extremity as an act of lenity and a remission of perfect though rigorous right. Where they deemed themselves authorised to depose her, they did not conceive it to be unlawful to extort a resignation from her.
On the 29th of July the young prince was crowned at Stirling by the title of James VI. king of Scots. warrant for the apprehension of Bothwell had been issued by the privy council a few days after the surrender of the queen and the seizure of her correspondence with him. But in the distracted state of the kingdom, castle of Dunbar held out against the government till the end of September.* Bothwell had escaped in July to the Orkney and Shetland islands, which formed the dukedom bestowed on him by the queen. In the latter group of islands he hired some vessels in order to transport him to Denmark, whence he professed an intention to proceed to France. Kirkaldy of Grange and Murray of Tullibardine were despatched with four armed vessels in pursuit of him. They surprised and took four of his vessels in an inlet of the Shetland islands called Bressey Sound, while the masters and crew were on shore. Bothwell's own vessel and that which pursued her most closely both struck on a sunk rock, where the course of the latter was stopped, but the former escaped. The Scotch pursued him with the remaining three vessels
Cecil to Norris, 9th October, 1567. Cabala,
in a running fight of about three hours, at the end of which time a cannon ball dismasted his best vessel. At that moment a heavy gale from the south-west drove him on the coast of Norway, where Oldburgh the captain of a Danish vessel demanded his passport. Bothwell alleged that on account of his unsuitable dress he was unwilling to discover himself, but gave the Danish officer to understand that in the hurry and peril of an escape from Scotland he had been unable to provide himself with foreign papers. Oldburgh having prevailed on the principal part of Bothwell's crew to come on board his own ship under pretence of furnishing them with provisions, he detained them in confinement, and summoned the peasants of the neighbourhood to aid in securing the vessels of certain freebooters, who navigated the Danish seas without authority from any prince or state. They were conducted prisoners to Berghem, where Rosencratz the viceroy of Norway, treated them with hospitality.* He was examined by Danish commissioners, before whom he appeared in the old torn and patched clothes of a boatswain; and being asked who he was, he answered that he was the husband of the queen of Scotland. They required his passport. He answered them with scorn, asking of whom he was to receive papers or credentials, being himself the supreme ruler of the land? It seemed extraordinary that, his vessel being armed and manned for fight, he should have no letters of marque, passport, or ship's papers; and as it appeared that his ship had before been commanded by one Daniel Cooth, a reputed pirate, the suspicions that he was himself a freebooter were increased. Soon after, however, a portfolio was found hidden in one of his vessels, containing his patent as duke of Orkney, proclamations of the Scottish government, offering rewards for his ap
The above narrative is taken from the statement made by himself to the Danish government on his arrival at Copenhagen, the original manuscript of which was lately discovered in the royal Swedish collection at Drottningholm. It is comprised in a publication entitled "Les Affaires du Comte de Bothwell." Edin. 1829. pp. 22-27.
prehension as a tyrannical robber and murderer, who had killed his king, together with a letter written to him with the queen's own hand, complaining of her own lot, and that of her friends.*. In consequence, it should seem, of this new discovery, he was sent to Copenhagen, whence, on the 28th day of December, he was sent prisoner to Malmö, in the Swedish province of Schonen or Scaniat, at that time part of the Danish dominions, where he died in a state of frenzy in 1576. He whom Throgmorton in 1560 had styled "the vainglorious, rash, and hazardous earl of Bothwell §," now closed his flagitious life by a death probably more horrible than that which public justice would have inflicted on him. The government of Scotland had claimed his surrender, that he might be brought to justice ||, and Elizabeth, as the ally of that government, seconded these requests.¶ The answers were evasive.**
Mora arrived from France about the 11th of August, and on the 15th, accompanied by Athol, Morton, Glencairn, Mar, Semple, Lindsay, and Lethington, visited his sister in her prison at Lochleven. She burst into tears at seeing him, and drew him aside from his companions; and from his account to Throgmorton †† of their secret conversation, it appears that he, who had then read the intercepted letters, and received exact information of all that had passed, was unable to resume that familiar frankness which was wont to prevail in their interviews. In a second interview, after supper, he plainly, and without disguise, discovered his opinion of her misgovernment, and freely laid before her the disorders which touched her honour and conscience. "Sometimes the queen wept bitterly, sometimes she acknowledged her misgovernment; some things she did confess plainly, some things she did excuse, some things
*From the Danish commissioners' report of Bothwell's examination. Id. Appendix, p. xxvii.
Les Affaires du Comte de Bothwell, Appendix, p. xli. † Thuan. Hist.
In a letter to Elizabeth of 28th Nov.
By letters dated 31st Sept.
In 1569, 1570, and 1571. Laing, ii. 323-340. ** Ibid.
++ Throgmorton to Elizabeth, 20th Aug. 1567. Keith, 444.
she did extenuate. In conclusion, he left her nothing save God's mercy." Next morning, "he used some words of consolation, saying that he would assure her of her life, and, as much as in him lay, of the preservation of her honour. As for liberty it lay not in his power, neither was it good for her to seek it, nor presently to have it. Whereupon she took him in her arms and kissed him."
Nor was this first impulse of her feelings unwarranted by reason. It became a brother to awaken her to a sense of her misdeeds, and it was the part of an adviser to discover to her the opinion entertained by all Europe of them. At that moment nothing could have been more dangerous to her than liberty. He appears never to have countenanced designs against her life; and he laboured with difficulty to spare her good name, until he was driven from that course by the duties of the supreme magistracy, and by the safety of the protestant party, of whom he was the chosen leader. "You will be put in peril," he said to her, "by attempts to escape; by practices against the quiet of the realm, and the authority of your son; by your exciting France or England to war against Scotland; and by your own persisting in the inordinate affection with the earl of Bothwell. You should show a disposition to detest your former life, to adopt a more modest behaviour, and to make it appear that you abhor the murder of your husband, and mislike your former life with Bothwell."* Mary, profuse in friendly professions, entreated Moray to accept the government. On the 22d of August, he was proclaimed regent of Scotland by order of the privy council. The proclamation professedly took for its basis the resignation of the crown, and the commission of regency executed by the queen; with somewhat of that politic regard for words and forms which was employed, perhaps excusably, in England, before and after, to give the colour of legality to a revolution. The governments of England and France, desirous of
* Keith, 446.
avoiding the exposure of Mary's faults, and of restoring her to some decent appearances of authority, dreading the example of rebellion, and jealous of whatever touched the personal safety of princes, which seldom survives the outward show of their dignity, endeavoured to compose the Scotch disorders by expedients not offensive to moderate men of either party. Throgmorton, the English minister, and Lignerolles, the French ambassador, represented the necessity of enlarging the queen, and urgently desired to be admitted into her presence. They were told, in answer, that it had been found necessary to make an order that no foreigner should see her majesty till the apprehension of Bothwell; and that until that event her enlargement could not be taken into consideration. In the discussions which occurred at this critical juncture, Lethington signalised his great powers of expression and insinuation, and spoke with as much eloquence as could be reconciled with the quiet of a diplomatic conversation:- "We are far," said he, "from meaning any harm to the queen. But at present she is no more to be satisfied than a sick person in an extreme disease is to be indulged in his inordinate appetites. We have been hitherto content to be called by foreign princes, and especially by the queen of England, traitors and rebels, ungrateful and cruel: all which we suffer, because we will not justify ourselves by proceeding in what might touch our sovereign's honour. But if this defamatory language should threaten to oppress us, we shall be compelled to deal otherwise with our queen than we intend, or than our neighbouring princes desire. We would rather endure the fortune of a war with you than set our 'queen at liberty in her present mood, when she is resolved to retain and strengthen Bothwell, to hazard the life of her son, and to confiscate the estates of the nobility." Throgmorton then appealed to Moray, who, having been abroad, was not responsible for the revolt and deposition. Moray answered, "Sir Nicholas, I think you have heard reason from the laird *Throgmorton to Elizabeth, 20th Aug. as above.