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Full text of "The history of Scotland from the accession of Alexander III. to the union"









F.B.S.E. AND F.A.&. 













MARY'S activity after her marriage, 1 

Mission of Tamworth, ........ 2 

Mary's remonstrances to Elizabeth, 3 

Bothwell's return to Scotland, ...... 7 

Fears of the Protestant party, 8 

Influence of Riccio, .... ... 9 

Moray driven from Scotland, . . . . . . .11 

Elizabeth's public severity to him, . . . . .12 

He u secretly encouraged, . 14 

The Roman Catholic League, 15 

Mary joins it, . . **f' . . . . . . .16 

Origin of the conspiracy against Riccio, . . . . .17 

The plot known to Randolph, .19 

Second stage of the conspiracy, 20 

Co-operation of the Protesf ants, 21 

The plot communicated to Burghley and Elizabeth, . . 24 

The murder of Riccio, ........ 29 

Mary's danger and 1 error ... ... 30 

Moray's return, . . . . . .32 

The queen escapes to Dunbar, . .... 34 

Mary's advance to Edinburgh, and flight of Morton to England, 35 
Mary discovers Darnley's guilt, . . . .37 

Joseph Riccio promoted, 3fi 

Birth of James the Siaili, . .39 


Mary reconciles her nobility, . . . . . .40 

The king's unreasonable conduct, 41 

Rage of the nobles against the king, 44 

Power of Both well, . . . . . . . .46 

Mary's visit to Bothwell at the Hermitage, . . . .47 

Her dangerous illness, 49 

Her great unhappiness, 50 

Secret conference at Craigmillar, 51 

Conspiracy against the king, 52 

"Baud" for the murder of Darnley, 53 

Baptism of the prince, 54 

The king's illness, ......... 57 

Lennox and Darnley's designs against the queen, . . .58 

Joseph Riccio aud Joseph Lutyni, 59 

Return of Morton, 61 

Bothwell, Lethington, and Morton, resolve to murder the king, 62 

Mary meets the king, 63 

She brings him to the Kirk of Field, 65 

Murder of Darnley, 68 

Mary's delay in investigating the murder, . . . .70 
Bothwell continues in favour, ....... 72 

Letter from the Bishop of Glasgow, 75 

Elizabeth sends Killigrew to Scotland, 77 

Trial of Bothwell resolved on, 78 

Elizabeth's message to delay it, ...... 79 

Bothwell's acquittal, 82 

Band of the nobles for his marriage with the queen, . . 84 

Grange's letters against the queen, ...... 87 

Anonymous letter to Cecil, 88 

Bothwell carries the queen to Dnnbar, 89 

BothwelPs divorce, 90 

Robert Melvil's letter to Cecil, 91 

Confederacy against Bothwell, 92 

Communications with Elizabeth, . . . . . .95 

Craig publishes the banns of marriage between Mary and Both- 
well, 96 

Mary's marriage to Bothwell, 97 






General indignation at Mary's marriage, . . . .99 

Coalition of the nobles against Both well, . . . ... 100 

Mary sends the Bishop of Dunblane to France, . . .102 
Robert Melvil sent to Elizabeth, . . . . . . ib. 

Bothwell's letter to the English queen, 103 

Attempt to surprise Both well and Mary at Borthwick castle, . 105 

Their escape to Dunbar, 106 

Advance to Carberry hill, . . . . . . .107 

Mary surrenders to the confederates, 110 

Bothwell suffered to escape, Ill 

Mary carried captive to Edinburgh, 112 

Imprisonment in Lochleven castle, 113 

Alleged intercepted letters 115 

Apprehension of Cullen and Blacater, 117 

Execution of Blacater, ........ ib. 

Convention of the queen's lords at Dumbarton, . . .118 

Knox's return to Edinburgh, 119 

His vigorous exertions, 120 

Mission and transactions of Robert Melvil, .... 122 

Melvil sent to Lochleven, 126 

Mission of Sir N. Throckmorton from Elizabeth, . . . 127 
Elizabeth's secret acknowledgment of her unjust conduct to 

Mary, 130 

Mary's danger and Throckmorton's interference, . . .131 

Mary's conduct, 132 

Violent enmity of the Presbyterian clergy against Mary, . 133 

Robert Melvil sent again to Lochleven, . . . . .134 

His refusal to convey a letter from Mary to Bothwell, . . 1 35 
Meeting of the General Assembly, . . . . . . ib. 

Mary compelled to resign the crown, and Moray chosen regent, 136 

Coronation of the prince her son, 1 39 

Elizabeth's severity to the confederate lords, .... 140 
Treacherous conduct of the faction of the Hamiltons, . .141 



Expected return of Moray from France, 144 

Situation and expected measures of Moray, . 145 

His interview with Elizabeth, 148 

His arrival in Scotland, 149 

Remarkable interview with Mary at Lochleven, . . .161 
He is proclaimed regent, 154 




Interview of Moray and Lethington with Throckmorton, . 155 

Throckmorton leaves Scotland, 158 

Moray's vigorous administration, ib. 

His transactions with Sir James Balfour, . . . .159 

His difficulties as to the king's murder, - . 160 

Submission of Huntley and Her riei , . . 161 

Bothwell escapes to Norway, ....... ib. 

Parliament assembles Lethington's speech, . . . .162 

Its proceedings, . . . . . . . . .163 

Moray's unfair dealing as to evidence of the king's murder, . 167 
Trials of the murderers, . . . . . . . .169 

Discontent of the people, 171 

Moray's difficulties, .... ... 172 

Mary's escape from Locnieven, ...... 174 

Moray's vigour and decision, ....... 176 

Mary sends Beaton to France, 177 

Defeat of the queen at Langside, 181 

Mary's flight into England, 1 82 

Her letters to Elizabeth, 183 

Moray accuses the queen of the king's murder, and offers to prove 

her guilt, 185 

Elizabeth's difficult situation, 186 

Her message to Mary and to Moray, 187 

Mary's spirited answer, 188 

Cautious preliminary inquiries of Moray, . . . .189 

Elizabeth's crafty answers, .190 

Conspiracy against Moray, 191 

Their disputes referred. Mary and the regent to Elizabeth, . 192 

Moray names his commissioners, 195 

The Queen of Scots names her commissioners, . . .196 


Opening of the proceedings at York, . . . . .197 

Mary's complaint and Moray's reply, 198 

Intrigues of Norfolk, 199 

Removal of the conferences to Westminster, .... 203 
Moray's secret offers to Mary, ....... ib. 

Moray comes to London, 204 

His embarrassments. 205 

Conferences at Westminster, 206 

Moray accuses Mary of the king's murder, .... 208 

Reply of Mary's commissioners, 209 

Elizabeth's refusal to hear Mary in person, . . . .210 

Mary's commissioners break off the conferences, . . .211 
Moray produces his proofs, . . . . . . .212 

Elizabeth's proceedings in consequence, . . . . .213 

Mary offers to prove the forgery of the letters, . . .215 

Elizabeth pronounces her decision, . . . . . .216 

Moray's answer to Mary's accusations, 218 

He returns to Scotland, ib. 

Cecil offers Mary copies of the letters, . . . . .219 

General reflections, 220 

Moray's intrigues with Cecil, ....... 222 

His difficulties, 223 

He overreaches Norfolk, 224 

His activity on his return to Scotland, 225 

A convention of the nobility agreed upon, . . . . ib. 

Moray imprisons the Duke and Herries, ..... 227 
He leads an army into the north, ...... 228 

Submission of Huntley and Argyle, ib. 

Projected marriage of Mary and Norfolk, .... 229 

Norfolk's exertions and ambition, 231 

Letters from Elizabeth to Moray, 232 

Throckmorton's letters on the marriage, 233 

Moray's duplicity, 234 

Rejection of all proposals in Mary's favour, .... 235 
Norfolk's secret intrigues discovered, . . . . . ib. 

Moray betrays him, 236 

Norfolk sent to the Tower, 237 

Lethington accused of the king's murder, .... 239 

He is rescued by Kirkaldy of Grange, 240 

Rebellion of Northumberland, ib. 

Rebel earls fly to Scotland, 242 

Lethington's trial delayed, ....... 245 



Moray seizes the Earl of Northumberland, . . . .246 
Proposes to exchange Northumberland for Mary, . . . 247 

Knox's letter on this subject, 248 

Mission of Elphinston to Elizabeth, ib. 

The Bishop of Ross counteracts his schemes, .... 250 

Assassination of the Regent Moray, 252 

Reflections, 254 




State of Scotland on the death of Moray, . 256 

Difficulties of Elizabeth, ...'.... 257 

Cecil's policy and advice, 258 

Lennox's letter to Elizabeth, 259 

Conference between Drury and Morton's party, . . . 260 

Randolph sent into Scotland, 261 

Lethington pronounced guiltless of the king's murder, . . ib. 

Rebellion of Leonard Dacres, 262 

Miserable state of Scotland, 263 

Relative strength of the two factions, 264 

Sir James MelviPs picture of the country, .... 265 

Randolph's intrigues, ........ 266 

Verac arrives from France, ....... 267 

Elizabeth's cruel policy, 268 

The Earl of Sussex invades Scotland, 269 

Lennox co-operates with him, ....... 270 

Correspondence between Sussex and Lethington, . . . 272 
Lennox made Lieutenant-governor of Scotland, . . . 277 
Elizabeth's approval, ........ 278 

Lennox chosen regent, ib. 

Civil war, 279 

Sussex again invades Scotland, 280 

Abstinence, 281 

Elizabeth and Cecil's duplicity, 282 

Exasperation of the two factions, ...... 283 

Randolph's defence of Moray's memory, ..... 284 

Knox's refusal to pray for the queen, 286 

Capture of Dumbarton castle, 28fl 


Execution of the Archbishop of St Andrew's, .... 290 

Cecil's severe letter to Grange, 292 

Morton's return from England, ib. 

Continuation of the civil war, ....... 293 

Wretched state of the country, 294 

Rival parliaments, 295 

Lennox and his party surprised in Stirling, .... 297 
Subsequent failure of the enterprise, ..... 298 

Assassination of Lennox, ib. 

His death, 300 

The Earl of Mar chosen regent, ...... ib. 

Successes of Adam Gordon in the north, . . . . .301 

Execution of Norfolk, 302 

Correspondence between Drury and Grange, .... 303 

Lethington's letter to Cecil, ib. 

Elizabeth's policy, ......... 304 

Ferocious character of the war, 305 

Successes of Mary's friends, 306 

They consent to a truce, ........ 307 

Massacre of St Bartholomew, 308 

Its effects on Elizabeth's policy, 309 

She is openly recommended to put Mary to death, . . .310 
Her public refusal, ......... ib. 

Secret plot of Elizabeth to have Mary put to death in Scotland, 31 1 
Mission of Henry Killigrew to Scotland, . . . . . ib. 

His secret instructions, 312 

His meeting with Morton, 313 

Negotiations of Nicholas Elphinston, . . . . .314 

Burghley's letter, 315 

Killigrew consults Knox, 316 

His description of the Reformer, ...... ib. 

Knox co-operates with Killigrew, 317 

Killigrew's secret letter to Burghley and Leicester, . . . ib. 
Mary not to be permitted to live three hours after she comes to 

Scotland, 318 

Continuation of Killigrew's negotiation, . . . . .319 

Mar consents, .- . 322 

Death of the Regent Mar, 323 

Dismay and agitation of Burghley, ...... 324 

Burghley's letter to Leicester, ...... ib. 

Northumberland's execution, ..... 326 





Elizabeth's measures on the death of Mar, .... 327 

Morton chosen regent, 328 

Killigrew's advices to Burghley, 329 

Illness and death of Knox, 330 

Episcopacy established in Scotland, ...... 337 

Submission of the Duke and Iluutley, 338 

Condition of Mary's party, ....... ib. 

Siege of the castle of Edinburgh, 341 

Grange offers to surrender, 344 

His terms refused, ib. 

Grange and Lethington surrender to the Queen of England, . 345 
Last letter of Grange and Lethington to Burghley, . . . 346 

Death of Lethington, 347 

Efforts made to save Grange's life, . . . . .348 

Execution of Grange, 34S 

Mary's cause desperate, ib. 



I. Historical remarks on Knox's implication in Riccio's 

murder, 353 

II. Plot of Lennox and Darnley against Mary's crown and life, 362 

III. Joseph Riccio and Joseph Lutyni, ..... 364 

IV. Darnley's murder, 369 

V. Bothwell's trial, 372 

VI. Mary's marriage with Bothwell, 376 

VII. Mary's escape from Lochleven, 377 

VIII. Battle of Langside, 380 

IX. An order for Mary's execution in 1569, .... 382 
X. Elizabeth's plot for the secret execution of Maty in Scotland, 384 

XI. Death of Mar, 387 

XII. Death of Grange, .388 




MA R Y. 




England. I France. \ Germany. 
Elizabeth. I Charles IX. Maximilian II. 

Spain. I Portugal. 1 Pope. 
Philip II. I Sebastian. I Pius IV. 

PREVIOUS to her marriage with Darnley, Mary had 
become assured that Moray and his faction were ready 
to rise in rebellion against her government if they met 
with the least encouragement from England; after 
this event, every day convinced her that Randolph the 
English ambassador, was using all his efforts to induce 
her barons to throw off their allegiance, and that 
Elizabeth not only approved of their proceedings, but 
secretly stimulated them to revolt.* 

To prepare for this emergency, the Scottish queen 
summoned her subjects to meet her in arms in the 

* MS. Letter State-paper Office, Earl of Moray to Cecil, Carlisle, Oct. 
14, 15G5. [I may here observe where the words MS. letter occur in this 
volume, the reader may consider the letter to he an original. When I quote 
a copy, the word copy is subjoined.] 



capital.* Her safety lay in promptitude and decision ; 
she resolved to anticipate the movements of her oppo- 
nents before it was possible for them to receive succour 
from England ; and in this her efforts were eminently 
successful. Three days after her marriage, Moray was 
commanded to appear at court, under the penalty of 
being proclaimed a rebel; and having failed, he was 
" put to the horn," as it was termed, that is, his life 
and estates were declared forfeited to the laws : upon 
which Randolph, in a letter addressed to the Queen of 
England, implored her to strengthen the hands of the 
English party in Scotland, and to save them from 
utter ruin.*}* He wrote also to the Earl of Bedford, 
an old and tried friend of Moray, urging him, to use 
his influence to procure instant assistance, and assuring 
him, that if the English borderers could be let loose at 
this crisis, so as to keep their Scottish neighbours em- 
ployed, the queen and Darnley would be reduced to 
great distress. His letters to Elizabeth contained an 
alarming picture of affairs in Scotland. He represented 
religion, by which he meant Protestantism, as in 
danger; and affirmed that the amity between the two 
kingdoms was on the point of being broken : but the 
English queen was slow to credit all his statements, 
and contented herself with despatching Mr Tamworth, 
one of the gentlemen of her bed-chamber, to the Scot- 
tish court, with the vain object of accomplishing a re- 
conciliation between Mary and the Earl of Moray. 
This, however, was now impossible. The Scottish 

* MS. Proclamation, State-paper Office, July 16, 1565. Copy of the time 
endorsed by Randolph. 

t MS. Letter, State-paper Office, Randolph to the Queen. [When in 
the notes to this volume, I use the words " to the Queen," in quoting any 
letter, the Queen of England is meant.] '23d July, 15G5, Edinburgh. 

MS. Letter, State-paper Office, Randolph to Bedford, Edinburgh, 24th 
July, 156.5. 

MS. Letter, State-paper Office, Tamworth and Randolph to Cecil, 
Edinburgh, 10th August, 1565. 

1565. MARY. 3 

queen, convinced that Moray's sole purpose was to re- 
cover tho power which he had lost, allowed her enemies 
no time to concentrate their strength, but at the head 
of a force which defied opposition, compelled them to 
fly from Stirling to Glasgow, and from Glasgow to 
Argyle.* She then returned to Edinburgh, where 
Tamworth had arrived, and this envoy being admitted 
to an audience, was received by Mary with a spirit for 
which he seems not to have been prepared. *}* 

In the letter which Elizabeth sent to this princess, 
she had affected to treat with contempt her pretensions 
to the English throne, and her practices with foreign 
powers, but Mary could express herself as severely, 
though with greater command of temper than her 
sister of England. After defending her marriage, and 
remonstrating against the uncalled-for interference of 
Elizabeth, she turned to the subject of the succession. 
" I am not," said she, " so lowly born, nor yet have I 
such small alliances abroad, that if compelled by your 
mistress to enter into 'practices 1 with foreign powers, 
she shall find them of such small account as she believes. 
The place which I fill in relation to the succession to 
the crown of England, is no vain or imaginary one, 
and by God's grace it shall appear to the world, that 
my designs and consultations shall prove as substantial 
as those which at any time my neighbours have taken 
in hand.":}: 

But although she repelled Elizabeth's haughty and 
sarcastic insinuations, Mary was sincerely desirous of 
peace. To promote this, she promised Randolph all 

* Diurnal of Occurrents, p. 82. Keith, p. 316. MS. Letter, State-paper 
Office, Mary to the Master of Max-well, copy, Edinburgh, '23d August, 1 5(i5. 

+ MS. Letter, State-paper Office, Tamworth and Randolph to Cecil, 
Edinburgh, 10th August, 1565. 

+ MS. State-paper Office, Answers given by the Queen of Scots to 
"Articles" proponed by Mr Tamworth, 12th August, 15(;5. 


that could justly be required. She could not consent 
indeed to renounce her title to a throne to which she 
held her claim to be undoubted, but she was ready to 
come under the most solemn obligation that neither 
she nor her husband should attempt anything to the 
prejudice of the English queen or of her issue, and that 
whenever God called them to the possession of their 
right in England, no alteration should be made in the 
religion, laws, or liberties of that ancient kingdom. In 
return, she insisted on the performance of two condi- 
tions : the first, that Elizabeth, by act of parliament, 
should settle the English crown upon herself and 
Darnley, in the first instance, and, in default of them 
and their children, on the Lady Margaret countess of 
Lennox ; the second, that she should offer no counte- 
nance or assistance to her rebels.* 

In this last stipulation Mary was peremptory ; for 
she had discovered that Randolph the English ambas- 
sador, intrigued with Moray, and she then suspected 
(what is now established beyond a doubt by the origi- 
nal letters of the actors in these unworthy scenes) that 
Elizabeth's advice and encouragement were at the bot- 
tom of the whole rebellion. Without waiting therefore 
for any further communication from England, she 
deemed it proper to take a determined step. The 
English ambassador was informed that he must either 
promise upon his honour to renounce all intercourse 
with her rebels, or be put under the charge of those 
who should take care to detect and restrain his prac- 
tices. Randolph^ reply to the privy-council was more 
a defiance than an answer. " I will promise nothing," 
said he, " either on honour, honesty, word, or writing ; 

* MS. State-paper Office, Offers made by the Queen of Scots to the Queen's 
majesty of Encland ; wholly in Randolph's hand, and endorsed by Cecil, 
13th Autnist. ISM. 

1565. MARY. 5 

and as for guards to attend me, they shall fare full ill, 
unless stronger and better armed than my own ser- 
vants. 1 ' Lethington the secretary, then proposed that 
he should retire to Berwick; but this, too, he per- 
emptorily refused. "Wheresoever the queen your 
mistress keeps her court,"" was his reply, " there, or 
not far off, is my place. If I am driven from this, it 
is easy to see what mind is borne to my sovereign."* 
His insolence encouraged Tamworth to equal arro- 
gance : he refused to give Darnley the royal title, and 
declined accepting a passport, because it bore his sig- 
nature as king : but this ill-judged presumption cost 
him dear. On his way home, a hint having been 
given to the borderers, he was waylaid, maltreated, 
and carried a prisoner to Hume castle, from which he 
addressed a letter to Cecil, detailing his sorrowful 

In the meantime Elizabeth amused the insurgent 
barons by large promises, and small pecuniary ad- 
vances ; and, thus encouraged, Moray, the Duke, and 
Glencairn, at the head of a thousand men, advanced 
to Edinburgh, which they entered on the last day of 
August, t The movement proved to be ill-judged, and 
premature. The citizens received them coldly not a 
man joined their ranks ; it was in vain they endeav- 
oured to excite an alarm that religion was in danger ; 
in vain they addressed a letter to the queen, in which 
they threatened, that if she continued to pursue them, 

* MS. Letter, State-paper Office, Randolph to Cecil, Edinburgh, 20th 
August, 1565. [As these inverted commas may possibly mislead a reader, 
I beg to say, that where they occur, as they do here in reporting any con- 
versation or dialogue, they do not always indicate that the passages are given 
strictly word for word. Sometimes, indeed, the very words are given ; but 
sometimes only the sense.] 

f- MS. Letter, State-paper Office, Tamworth to Cecil, Hume castle, 21st 
August, 1565. 

I MS. Letter, State-paper Office, Randolph to Cecil, Edinburgh, 31st 
August, 1565. Same to the same, 1st September, 1565. 



their blood should be dearly bought,* in vain that they 
despatched urgent entreaties for assistance to Bedford 
and Cecil.-f- Before time was given for reply, Mary 
had marched against them, a cannonade was opened 
from the castle, and they were compelled with precipi- 
tation and dismay, to abandon the capital and retire to 
Dumfries.]: From this place they despatched Robert 
Melvil, brother to the well-known Sir James Melvil, 
to the English court. He was instructed to require 
the immediate assistance of three thousand men, and 
the presence of some ships of war in the Firth. 

With these exorbitant demands Elizabeth could not 
possibly have complied, unless she had been prepared 
to rush into open war : she was now convinced that 
Randolph had misled or deceived her, by overrating 
the strength of the insurgents. She had believed that 
the whole country was ready to rise against the govern- 
ment of Mary and Darnley, and a short time before 
MelviFs arrival, had directed Bedford to assist them 
both with money and soldiers. || On discovering, how- 
ever, the real weakness of Moray's faction, these orders 
were countermanded, arid the insurgents found them- 
selves in the alarming predicament of having risen in 
rebellion, trusting to succours which never arrived.1I 

Nor did Mary give Elizabeth time, even had she so 

* MS. Letter, State-paper Office, contemporary copy. Letter from the 
Lords to the Queen, sent from Edinburgh to Glasgow, 1st September, 

+ MS. Letter, State-paper Office, Border Correspondence ; [henceforth 
to be marked simply by the letters B.C.1 Bedford to Cecil, Berwick, 2d 
September, 1565. State-paper Office, Randolph to Cecil, 2d September, 
1565, Edinburgh. 

JMS. Letter, State-paper Office, Randolph to Cecil, Edinburgh, 4th 
September, 1565. 

MS. State-paper Office, Instructions given to Robert Melvil, 10th Sept. 

|| The Queen to Bedford, September 12, 1565. Appendix to Robertson's 
History of Scotland, vol. i. No. xiii. 

H MS. Letter, State-paper Office, Lords of Scotland to Mr Melvil, 15th 
September, 1565, Dumfries. 

1565. MARY. 7 

determined, to save her friends. Before a company 
of horse, pikes, or bowmen, could have reached the 
Borders, the Scottish queen had swept with her forces 
through Fife; inflicted chastisement on the Laird of 
Grange and other barons who had joined the rebels; 
levied a heavy fine on the towns of Dundee and St 
Andrew's ; seized castle Campbell, and prepared, at the 
head of an army which rendered opposition fruitless, 
to attack the rebel lords at Dumfries. So keen was 
she in the pursuit, that she rode with pistols at her 
saddle bow, and declared to Randolph, that she would 
rather peril her crown than lose her revenge.* 

At this crisis, the Earl of Bothwell returned from 
France, profiting by the disgrace of Moray, whose 
power had expelled him from his country. He was 
favourably received by the queen, although well known 
to be a rash, daring, and profligate man ; but his ex- 
tensive Border estates gave him much power, and the 
circumstances in which Mary was placed made her 
welcome any baron who could bring a formidable force 
into the field.f In his company came David Cham- 
bers, a person of a dark, intriguing spirit, who had long 
been a retainer of this nobleman, and although a lord 
of the session, more likely to outrage than administer 
the law. 

Aware that the arrival of such partisans would be 
followed by the most determined measures, the rebel 
lords made a last effort to alarm Elizabeth on the sub- 
ject of religion. They transmitted to Robert Melvil, 
their envoy in England, a paper entitled " Informations 

* MS. Letter, State-paper Office, Randolph to Cecil, Edinburgh, Sept. 
9, 1565. Ibid, same to the same, Edinburgh, August 27, 1565. Ibid, 
same to the same, Edinburgh, Sept. 4, 1565. 

f MS. State-paper Office, Randolph to Cecil, Edinburgh, September 19 
and 20, 1565. Same to the same, Edinburgh, September 1, 1565. 


to be given to the queen's majesty, in favour of the 
Church of Christ, now begun to be persecuted in the 
chief members of the same."* Even the title of this 
paper contained a misrepresentation of the truth, for at 
this moment, so far from persecution, there was com- 
plete religious toleration in Scotland. Its contents, 
too, were of questionable accuracy ; certainly highly 
coloured. Melvil was directed to assure the English 
queen, that nothing was meant by Mary, and him who 
was now joined with her, but the utter subversion of 
the religion of Jesus Christ within the realm, and the 
erecting again of all papistry and superstition. " The 
cause," said they, " why our destruction is sought, is, 
first the zeal that we bear to the maintenance of the 
true religion ; and secondly, the care that we have to 
redress the great enormities lately crept into the public 
regimen of this miserable commonwealth." The patri- 
mony of the crown was described as so dilapidated, 
that it was impossible the common expenses could be 
borne; and this, they affirmed, had led to the persecu- 
tion of honourable men, and the promotion of crafty fo- 
reigners, chiefly two Italians, David Riceio and Fran- 
cisco, who, with other unworthy persons, occupied the 
place in council belonging to the ancient nobility. As 
to the Earl of Moray, he was hated, they said, because 
he would not support Riccio in his abuses ; whilst a 
stranger, (meaning Darnley,) the subject of another 
realm, had intruded himself into the state, and claimed 
the name and authority of a king, without their con- 
sent, against all order that ever was used in this realm ; 
and now, because they desired redress of these great 

* MS. State-paper Office, Informations given to the Queen's majesty of 
England, and the Council, in favour of religion in Scotland, September,' 22, 

1565. MARY. 9 

enormities, they were persecuted as traitors and ene- 
mies to the commonwealth.* 

Although in some parts exaggerated, these fears and 
accusations were not without foundation. Mary had 
undoubtedly negotiated with the Roman see for an 
advance of money, and the pope had transmitted to 
her the sum of eight thousand crowns in a vessel, which, 
being wrecked on the coast of England, fell a prey to 
the cupidity of the Earl of Northumberland. } 

She was in correspondence also with Philip II., who 
had expressed to the Cardinal Pacheco, the papal 
envoy, his determination to assist her to subdue her 
rebels, maintain the Catholic faith, and vindicate her 
right to the English throne. Nor did the Spanish 
king confine himself to mere promises. He had sent 
a remittance of twenty thousand crowns to Guzman 
de Silva, his ambassador at the court of England, with 
orders to employ it " with the utmost secrecy and 
address, in the support of the Scottish queen and her 
husband." J It was true, also, that Mary had appointed 
Riccio to the place of French secretary. This foreigner, 
who was a Milanese, had come to Scotland in the train 
of Moret, the Savoy ambassador, and his ambition was 
at first satisfied with the humble office of a singer in 
the queen's band ; but, being well educated, he was 
occasionally employed in other matters, and on the 
dismissal of Raulet, her French secretary, Mary re- 
warded his talent with the vacant office. But when 
betrayed, as she had repeatedly been by her own no- 
bility, to whom office, but not fidelity, was transmitted 

* Id : ut supra. t Keith, p. 316. 

J Gonzalez Apuntamientos para la Historia del Rey Felipe II., p. 312, 
published in vol. vii. of the Memoirs of the Historical Society of Madrid. 
The work was pointed out to me by a kind and respected friend to whom 
I am indebted for some valuable papers and references, Mr Howard of Corby 


by birth, it was not wonderful that the queen employed 
those whom she could better trust ; and, on the whole, 
the arguments of the insurgents produced little effect 
upon Elizabeth. She was convinced of the power and 
popularity of the Scottish queen ; the feebleness of 
Moray and his associates, whom she had bribed into 
rebellion, was proved beyond a doubt ; and the moment 
this was discovered, they were abandoned to their fate, 
without pity or remorse. True to her wonted dissi- 
mulation in all state policy, she assured them that she 
still favoured their enterprise, and was moved by their 
distress, but no remonstrances of Moray, who loudly 
declared that desertion was ruin, could extort from her 
either money or troops.* At this moment, Monsieur 
de Mauvissiere, better known as the Sieur de Castel- 
nau, was in England, whither he had been sent by his 
master the French king, to accomplish, if possible, a 
reconciliation between Mary and Elizabeth. By the 
advice of Cecil, Mauvissiere and Cockburn, the last a 
creature of this minister, and known to Mary as an 
archer in the Scottish Guard, repaired to Scotland, and 
made an attempt to procure a pardon for Moray and 
his associates. To both, the queen readily gave au- 
dience, and the picture given by them of the miserable 
and distracted state of her kingdom was so sad and 
true, as to draw many tears from her eyes ;-J- but when 
the terms upon which they proposed to mediate were 
stated, her spirit rose against the imperious dictation 
of Elizabeth, she dismissed the envoys, and proceeded 
instantly against her rebels, who still lay, with a few 
horse, at Dumfries. On advancing at the head of her 

* MS. State-paper Office, An answer for Robert Melvil, October 1st, 156&, 
Entirely in Cecil's band. 

t MS. Letter, State-paper Office, Edinburgh, October 2, 1565, Captain 
Cockburn to Cecil. " She wept wondrous sore." 

1565. MARY. 11 

army, Lord Maxwell, the most powerful baron in these 
quarters, hastened to make his submission ; and Moray, 
with the chiefs of his faction, fled in terror to Car- 

From this city the Scottish earl addressed a letter 
of remonstrance to Cecil, imploring his mistress to 
save them from the wreck of " honour, conscience, and 
estate." On the other hand, Mary, a few days before, 
had written in spirited terms to Elizabeth. It had 
been reported, she said, much to her astonishment, that 
her sister of England intended to protect her rebellious 
subjects who had fled to the Borders. She declared 
her unwillingness to give credit to such tales; but, should 
they prove true, should she make common cause with 
such traitors, she avowed her resolution to denounce 
such wrongful dealings to all the foreign princes who 
were her allies. The English queen was alarmed. The 
French and Spanish ambassadors took Mary's part, 
and accused Elizabeth, in no measured terms, of fo- 
menting civil commotions in other realms that she 
might avert danger from her own. It was her favour- 
ite policy, they affirmed : Scotland proved it ; and at 
this instant the rebels there acted by her encourage- 
ment, and, in their distress, looked to her as their last 

Moray, by this time, was travelling to the English 
court, and Elizabeth found herself in an awkward pre- 
dicament ; but it was necessary to take immediate 
measures, and those which she adopted strongly marked 
her character. An envoy was hurried off to command 
the Scottish earl and his friends, on pain of her dis- 
pleasure, to remain at a distance. This was the public 

* MS. Letter State-paper Office, B.C., Bedford to Cecil, Carlisle, Oct. 
14, 1565. 


message intended to vindicate her fair dealing to the 
world. The messenger encountered and stopped Moray 
at Ware : here the earl remained, and here he soon 
received a secret message, permitting him to come for- 
ward.* He obeyed, and was admitted into the presence 
of the English queen ; but it was to be made an actor 
in a scene which overwhelmed him with confusion. She 
had summoned the French and Spanish ambassadors 
to be present. Moray and the Abbot of Kilwinning 
entered the apartment, fell upon their knees, and im- 
plored her intercession with the queen their mistress. 
"I am astonished," said Elizabeth, "that you have 
dared, without warning, to come before me ; are you 
not branded as rebels to your sovereign ? have you not 
spurned her summons, and taken arms against her 
authority ? I command you, on the faith of a gentle- 
man to declare the truth." Moray repelled the charge 
of treason, lamented that he was encompassed with 
enemies, who made it dangerous for him to come to 
court, and declared that the accusation that he had 
plotted to seize the person of his sovereign, and had 
been encouraged in his rebellion by the Queen of Eng- 
land, was utterly false and ridiculous. The whole pageant 
had evidently been arranged beforehand,-f and Eliza- 
beth's answer was in perfect keeping : turning in 
proud triumph to the foreign ambassadors, she bade 
them mark his words, and then, with an expression of 
anger and contempt, she addressed Moray and the 
Abbot of Kilwinning, still on their knees before her: 
" It is well," said she, " that you have told the truth : 

* MS. Letter, State-paper Office, Moray to the Privy-council, "Ware, Oct. 
21, 1565. MS. State-paper Office, Copy of the speech to the Earl of Moray, 
Oct. 23, corrected throughout and partly written in Cecil's hand. 

\~ MS. State-paper Office, Copy of the Queen's speech to the Earl of 
Moray, before the French ambassador, the Sieur de Mauvissiere, and the 
Queen's council, Oct. 23. Also MelviTa Memoirs, p. 57. 

1565. MARY. 13 

for neither did I, nor any one else in my name, ever 
encourage you in your unnatural rebellion against your 
sovereign ; nor, to be mistress of a world, could I main- 
tain any subject in disobedience to his prince: it might 
move God to punish me by a similar trouble in my 
own realm : but as for you two, ye are unworthy 
traitors, and I command you instantly to leave my 
presence." * 

The earl and his friend were then ignominiously 
driven from court, and care was taken to render as 
public as possible the severe treatment they had received, 
so that the news soon reached the court in Scotland, 
and occasioned great triumph to the party of Mary 
and the king. " All the contrary faction," said Ran- 
dolph, in a letter from Edinburgh, to Cecil, " are dis- 
couraged, and think themselves utterly undone."-f- Nor 
did they want good reason to think so, for the Scottish 
queen summoned a parliament to meet in February, 
and it was publicly declared that the forfeiture of Moray 
and his adherents was the principal business to be 
brought before it.J 

It is scarcely necessary here to repeat, what has been 
apparent from innumerable examples in the course of 
this history, that feudal forfeiture was in these days 
equivalent to absolute ruin ; that it stripped the most 
potent baron at once of his whole estates and authority, 
throwing him either as an outcast upon the charity of 
some foreign country, or exposing him to be hunted 
down by those vassals whose allegiance followed the 
land, and not the lord. 

* MS. State-paper Office, Copy of the Queen's speech to the Earl of 
Moray, before the French ambassador, the Sieur de Mauvissiere, and the 
Queen's council, Oct. 23. 

t MS. Letter, State-paper Office, Randolph to Cecil, Edinburgh, Nov. 8, 

t MS. Letter, State-paper Office, Randolph to Cecil, Edinburgh, Dec. 23, 


To avert this dreadful calamity, Moray exerted him- 
self to the utmost. He interceded with Leicester, he 
wrote to Cecil, imploring him to save him from being 
" wrecked for ever. " * He addressed a letter to Eliza- 
beth, and he even condescended to court Riccio. 

The influence of this Milanese adventurer had been 
gradually increasing. At this moment Maitland of 
Lethington, the secretary of state, was suspected of 
having been nearly connected with the rebellion of 
Moray ;} and, as a trustworthy servant was a prize 
rarely to be found, the queen began to consult her 
French secretary in affairs of secrecy and moment. 
The step was an imprudent one, and soon was attended 
with the worst effects. It roused the jealousy of the 
king, a weak and suspicious youth, who deemed it an 
affront that a stranger of low origin should presume 
to interfere in state affairs ; and it turned Riccio^s 
head, who began to assume, in his dress, equipage and 
establishment, a foolish state, totally unsuited to his 
rank. J In the meantime, his influence was great, and 
Moray bespoke his good offices by the present of a rich 
diamond, with a letter soliciting his assistance. 

Had Mary been left to herself, there is little doubt 
that her rebels would have been pardoned. Her natural 
generosity and the intercession of some powerful friends, 
strongly impelled her to the side of mercy ; || and she 
had already consented to delay the parliament, and to 
entertain proposals for the restoration of the banish- 
ed lords, when an unforeseen circumstance occurred, 

* MS. Letter, State-paper Office, Moray to Cecil, Newcastle, January 9, 
1665-6. Also, MS. Letter, State-paper Office, Moray to Leicester, New- 
castle, Dec. 25, 1565. 

+ MS. Letter, State-paper Office, Randolph to Cecil, Edinburgh, Dec. 1, 

J Spottiswood, p. 193. 

Sir James Melvil's Memoirs, p. 157. Bannatyne Club edition. 

|| Sir J. Melvil, p. 146. 

1565-6. MARY. 15 

which led to unfortunate results. This was the arrival 
of two gentlemen, De Rambouillet and Clernau, on a 
mission from the French court. Their message was 
outwardly one of mere ceremony, to invest the young 
king with the order of St Michael ; but amid the festi- 
vities attendant on the installation, a more important 
and secret communication took place. Clernau the 
special envoy of the Cardinal Lorraine, and Thornton 
a messenger from Beaton, the Scottish ambassador in 
France, who had come to court about the same time, 
informed Mary of the coalition which had been con- 
cluded between France, Spain, and the emperor, for 
the destruction of the Protestant cause in Europe. It 
was a design worthy of the dark and unscrupulous 
politicians by whom it had been planned Catherine 
of Medicis, and the Duke of Alva. In the summer of 
the preceding year, the Queen-dowager of France and 
Alva had met at Bayonne, during a progress, in which 
she conducted her youthful son and sovereign Charles 
IX. through the southern provinces of his kingdom; 
and there, whilst the court was dissolved in pleasure, 
those secret conferences were held which issued in the 
resolution that toleration must be at an end, and that 
the only safety for the Roman Catholic faith was the 
extermination of its enemies.* 

Thornton accordingly brought from the Cardinal 
Lorraine the " Band" or league which had been drawn 
up on this occasion ; it was whispered that some of her 
friends in England were parties to it, and Mary was 
strongly urged to become a member of the coalition. 
Her intention of pardoning Moray and her other rebels 

* Keith, p. 325, Mezerai Abrege Chronologique de L'Histoire de France, 
vol. v. p. 8/-8. Randolph to Cecil, Feb. 7, 1565-6. Robertson's Appendix, 
No. xiv. Also, Bedford to Cecil, 14th February, 1565-6, British Museum, 
Caligula, book x. foL 391. 


was at the same time opposed by these foreign envoys, 
with the utmost earnestness. It was represented as her 
only safe policy to crush, while she had it in her power, 
that busy Protestant faction, which had been so long 
encouraged, and was even at this moment secretly sup- 
ported by Elizabeth, and to join that sacred League to 
which she was united, as well by the bonds of a mutual 
faith as by those of blood and affection. If she adopted 
this method, it was argued, her authority within her 
realm would be placed upon a secure foundation ; if she 
neglected it, her misfortunes, however complicated they 
had already been, were only in their commencement. 
Biccio, who at this moment possessed much influence, 
and was, on good grounds, suspected to be a pensioner 
of Borne, seconded these views with all his power. On 
the other hand she did not want advisers on the side 
of wisdom and mercy. Sir James Melvil in Scotland, 
and Sir Nicholas Throckmorton one of her most power- 
ful friends in England, earnestly implored her to pardon 
Moray, and adopt a conciliatory course. * Mary was 
not naturally inclined to harsh or cruel measures, and 
for some time she vacillated between the adoption of 
temperate and violent counsels. But now the entreaties 
of her uncle the cardinal, the advice of her ambassador, 
the prejudices of her education, and the intolerance of 
the Protestants, and of Elizabeth, by whom she had 
been so often deceived, all united to influence her de- 
cision, and overmaster her better judgment. In an 
evil hour she signed the League, and determined to 
hurry on the parliament for the forfeiture of the rebels. 
This may, I think, be regarded as one of the most 
fatal errors of her life ; and it proved the source of all 
her future misfortunes. She united herself to a bigoted 

* Sir J. MelviPs Memoirs, pp. 141, 144. 

1565-6. MARY. 17 

and unprincipled association, which, under the mask 
of defending the truth, offered an outrage to the plain- 
est precepts of the gospel. She imagined herself a 
supporter of the Catholic Church, when she was giving 
her sanction to one of the worst corruptions of Roman- 
ism ; and she was destined to reap the consequences of 
such a step in all their protracted bitterness. 

The moment the queen's resolution was known, it 
blasted the hopes of Moray, and threw him and all 
Mary's enemies upon desperate courses. If the Estates 
were allowed to meet, the consequence to them was 
ruin ; if the councillors continued unchanged, and 
Riccio's advice was followed, it was certain the Estates 
would meet : what then was to be done ? The time 
was fast running on, and the remedy, if there was to 
be any, must be sudden. Such being the crisis, it was 
at once determined that the meeting of parliament 
should be arrested, the government of the queen and 
her ministers overturned; and that, to effect this, 
Riccio must be murdered. This last atrocious expedi- 
ent was no new idea, for the seeds of an unformed con- 
spiracy against the foreign favourite, had been sown 
some time before ; and of this Moray's friends now 
availed themselves, artfully uniting the two plots into 
one, the object of which was, the return of Moray, the 
dethronement of the queen, and the re-establishment of 
the Protestant leaders in the power which they had lost. 

The origin, growth, and subsequent combination of 
these two conspiracies have never yet been understood, 
although they can be distinctly traced. The first plot 
for the death of Riccio was, strange to say, formed by 
no less personages than the young king and his father 
the Earl of Lennox. It had its rise in the jealousy 
and ambition of these unprincipled men, and the im- 


prudent conduct of Mary. In the early ardour of her 
affection, the queen had promised Darnley the crown 
matrimonial, by which was meant an equal share with 
herself in the government ; but after a few months she 
had the misery to discover, that her love had been 
thrown away upon a husband whom it was impossible 
for her to treat with confidence or respect. He was 
fickle, proud, and suspicious ; ambitious of power, yet 
incapable of business, and the easy dupe of every crafty 
or interested companion whom he met. It became 
necessary for Mary to draw back from her first pro- 
mise. This led to coldness, to reproaches, soon to an 
absolute estrangement ; even in public he treated her 
with harshness ; he became addicted to low dissipa- 
tion,* forsook her company, and threw himself into 
the hands of her enemies. They persuaded him that 
Riccio was the sole author of those measures which 
had deprived him of his due share in the government. 
But this was not all : Darnley had the folly to become 
the dupe of a more absurd delusion. He became jeal- 
ous of the Italian secretary : he believed that he had 
supplanted him' in the affections of the queen ; he went 
so far as to assert that he had dishonoured his bed ; 
and, in a furious state of mind, sent his cousin George 
Douglas to implore Lord Ruthven, in whom he had 
great confidence, to assist him against " the villain 
David." -f* Ruthven was at this moment confined to 
bed by a dangerous sickness, which might have been 
supposed to unfit him for such desperate projects. He 
was, as he himself informs us, " scarcely able to walk 
twice the length of his chamber ;" yet he consented to 

* Drary to Cecil, IGth February, 1565-6. Keith, 329. 

+ This was about the 10th February. Ruthven 's Narrative in Keith, 
Appendix, p. 119 ; and Caligula, book ix. fol. 219. MS. Letter, State-paper 
Office, Ruthven and Morton to Cecil. 27th March, 1566. 

1565-6. MARY. 19 

engage in the murder, and Darnley was sworn to keep 
all secret. But Randolph the English minister, hav- 
ing become acquainted with the plot, revealed it to 
Leicester in a remarkable letter which yet remains. 
He informed him that the king and his father, Len- 
nox, were determined to murder Riccio ; that within 
ten days the deed would be done; that, as to the 
queen, the crown would be torn from her whose dis- 
honour was discovered ; and that still darker designs 
were meditated against her person, which he did not 
dare to commit to writing. From his letter, which is 
very long, I must give this important passage. " I 
know now for certain," said he, " that this queen re- 
penteth her marriage ; that she hateth him [Darnley] 
and all his kin. I know that he knoweth himself, that 
he hath a partaker in play and game with him ; I know 
that there are practices in hand, contrived between the 
father and son, to come by the crown against 'her will. 
I know that if that take effect which is intended, 
David, with the consent of the king, shall have his 
throat cut within these ten days. Many things griev- 
ouser and worse than these are brought to my ears ; 
yea, of things intended against her own person, which, 
because I think better to keep secret than write to Mr 
Secretary, I speak not of them but now to your lord- 

At this time Randolph, who, from the terms in 
which he described it, appears to have had no objec- 
tion to the plot, was banished by Mary to Berwick, the 

* Randolph to the Earl of Leicester, Edinburgh, 13th February, 1565-6. 
This remarkable letter which has never been published, is to be found in. 
the Appendix to a privately printed and anonymous work, entitled " Mait- 
land's Narrative," of which only twenty copies were printed. The book 
was politely presented to me by Mr Dawson Turner, in whose valuable col- 
lection of MSS. the original letter is preserved. See Proofs and Illustra- 
tions, No. II. 


queen having now discovered certain proof of his hav- 
ing encouraged and assisted Moray in his rebellion.* 
To supply his place, Ruthven, who perceived that the 
king's intent to murder the Italian gave him a good 
opportunity to labour for the return of his banished 
friends, called in the Earl of Morton, then chancellor 
of the kingdom. -f- This powerful and unscrupulous 
man proved an able assistant. Under his father, the 
noted George Douglas, he had been early familiarized 
with intrigue : he hated Riccio, and dreaded the as- 
sembling of parliament almost as much as Moray, from 
a report that he was to be deprived of certain crown 
lands, which had been improperly obtained, and to lose 
the seals as chancellor. J Morton, too, was the per- 
sonal friend of Moray ; like him he belonged to the 
party of the reformed Church ; and when Ruthven and 
Darnley solicited his aid, he at once embraced the pro- 
posal for the murder of the secretary, and proceeded to 
complete the machinery of the conspiracy, with greater 
skill than his fierce but less artful associates. 

His first endeavour was to strengthen their hands by 
procuring the co-operation of the party of the reformed 
Church ; his next, to follow out Ruthven's idea, by 
drawing in Moray, and making the plot the means of 
his return to power ; his last to secure the countenance 
and support of Elizabeth and her chief ministers. Cecil 
and Leicester. 

In all this he succeeded. The consent and assistance 

* MS. Letter communicated to me by the Hon. William Leslie Melvil ; 
Mary to Melvil, 17th February, 1565-6, a copy. Mary confronted Randolph 
before the privy-council, with Johnston, the person to whom he had deliver- 
ed the money to be conveyed to Moray ; and the evidence being considered 
conclusive, he received orders to quit the court, and retired to Berwick. 

f Narrative, ut supra. Keith, p. 120, Appendix. MS. Letter, State-paper 
Office, Morton and Ruthven to Cecil, Berwick, 27th March, 1566. 

MS. Letter, State-paper Office, Randolph to Cecil, Berwick, 6th March, 

1565-6. MARY. 21 

of the leading Protestant barons was soon gained, and 
to neutralize any opposition on the part of their chief 
ministers was not found a difficult matter.* They 
were in the deepest alarm at this moment. It was 
known that Mary had signed the Popish League ; it 
was believed that Riccio corresponded with Rome; and 
there was no doubt that some measures for the restora- 
tion of the Roman Catholic religion were in preparation, 
and only waited for the parliament to be carried into 
execution.-f- Having these gloomy prospects before 
their eyes, Knox and Craig, the ministers of Edinburgh, 
were made acquainted with the conspiracy ; * Bellen- 
den the justice-clerk, Makgill the clerk register, the 
Lairds of Brunston, Calder, and Ormiston, and other 
leading men of that party were, at the same time, ad- 
mitted into the secret. It was contended by Morton, 
that one only way remained to extirpate the Romish 
faith, and replace religion upon a secure basis : this 
was, to break off the parliament by the murder of 
Riccio, to imprison the queen, intrust Darnley with 
the nominal sovereignty, and restore the Earl of Moray 
to be the head of the government. Desperate as were 
these designs, the reformed party in Scotland did not 
hesitate to adopt them. Their horror of idolatry, the 
name they bestowed on the Roman Catholic religion, 
misled their judgment and hardened their feelings ; 
and they regarded the plot as the act of men raised up 
by God for the destruction of an accursed superstition. 

* MS. Letter, State-paper Office, Morton and Ruthven to Cecil, 27th 
March, 1566. 

i" Mary's own -words in her letter describing the murder of Riccio, ad- 
dressed to Beaton, her ambassador at the French court, are quite explicit 
upon this point. " The spiritual estate, says she, heing placed therein in 
the ancient manner, tending to have done some good anent restoring the 
avid Religion.' 1 '' Keith, p. 331. 

+ See the evidence on which this fact is now stated for the first time m 
Proofs and Illustrations, No. I. 



The General Fast, which always secured the presence 
of a formidable and numerous band of partisans, was 
near approaching ; and as the murder had been fixed 
for the week in March in which the 'parliament had 
been summoned, it was contrived that this religious so- 
lemnity should be held in the capital at the same time: 
this secured Morton, and enabled him to work with 
greater boldness.* 

Having so far organized the conspiracy, it remained 
to communicate it to Moray ; and for this purpose the 
king's father the Earl of Lennox repaired to England.^ 
It required no great persuasion to induce Moray, now 
in banishment, and over whose head forfeiture and ruin 
were impending, to embrace a plot which promised to 
avert all danger, and restore him to the station he had 
lost. It was accordingly arranged by him, with Grange, 
Ochiltree the father-in-law of Knox, and the other 
banished lords, that as soon as the day for the murder 
was fixed, they should be informed of it, and then order 
matters so that their return to Edinburgh should taka 
place instantly after it was committed.! But this vras 
not all : According to a common but revolting prac- 
tice of this age, which combined the utmost feudal 
ferocity with a singular love of legal formalities, it was 
resolved, that "Covenants'" or contracts for the com- 
mission of the murder, and the benefits to be derived 
from it, should be entered into, and signed by the young 
king himself and the rest of the conspirators. Two 
" Bands," or " Covenants," were accordingly drawn 

* MS. Letter, State-paper Office, Morton and Ruthven to Cecil, 27th 
March, 1566. Knox, History, p. 429, 430, 431. 

t Calderwood, MS. British Museum, Ayscough, 4735, fol. 642. 

MS. Letter, State-paper Office, Edinburgh, 25th February, 1565, i. e. 
1565-6, Randolph to Cecil ; also, Ibid. March 8, 1565-6, Berwick. Bedford 
and Randolph to Leicester and Cecil. Ibid. MS. Letter, Moray te Cecil, 
Newcastle, March 8, 1565-6. 

1565-6. MARY. 23 

up : the first ran in the king's name alone, although 
many were parties to it. It stated that the queen's 
" gentle and good nature" was abused by some wicked 
and ungodly persons, specially an Italian stranger 
called David; it declared his resolution, with the as- 
sistance of certain of his nobility and others, to seize 
these enemies ; and if any difficulty or resistance oc- 
curred, "to cut them off immediately, and slay them 
wherever it happened ; " and solemnly promised, on the 
word of a prince, to maintain and defend his assistants 
and associates in the enterprise, though carried into 
execution in presence of the queen's majesty, and 
within the precincts of the palace.* By whom this 
agreement was signed, besides the king, Morton, and 
Ruthven, does not appear ; but it is certain that its 
contents were communicated, amongst others, to 
Moray, Argyle, Rothes, Maitland, Grange, and the 
Lords Boyd and Lindsay. Of these persons, some 
were in England, and could not personally assist in 
the assassination ; and to them, among others, Morton 
and Ruthven no doubt alluded, when they afterwards 
declared, that the most honest and the most worthy, 
were easily induced to approve of the intended murder, 
and to support their prince in its execution.^ The 
second " Covenant" has been also preserved. It was 
supplementary to the first, its purpose being to bind 
the king on the one hand, and the conspirators on the 
other, to the performance of those conditions which 
were considered for their mutual advantage. The 
parties to it were the king, the Earls of Moray, Argyle, 
Glencairn, and Rothes, the Lords Boyd and Ochiltree, 

* British Museum, Caligula, book ix. fol. 212, copy of the time. Endorsed 
by Randolph. 

t MS. Letter, State-paper Office, Morton and Ruthven to Cecil, Berwick, 
March 27, 1566. Also, Keith, p. 120. 


and their " complices." They promised to support 
Darnley in all his just quarrels, to be friends to his 
friends, and enemies to his enemies ; to give him the 
crown matrimonial, to maintain the Protestant religion, 
to put down its enemies, and uphold every reform 
founded on the Word of God. For his part, the king 
engaged to pardon Moray and the banished lords, to 
stay all proceedings for their forfeiture, and to restore 
them to their lands and dignities.* 

Such was now the forward state of the conspiracy 
for the murder of Riccio, the restoration of Moray, and 
the revolution in the government ; and it appears to 
have assumed this form only a few days previous to 
Randolph's dismissal from the Scottish court. One 
only step remained : to communicate the plot to the 
Queen of England and her ministers, and to obtain 
their approval and support. Randolph was now at 
Berwick with the Earl of Bedford the lieutenant of the 
north ; and from this place these persons wrote on the 
sixth of March to Elizabeth, informing her of "a 
matter of no small consequence being intended in Scot- 
land," referring to a more particular statement which 
they had transmitted to Cecil, adding that Moray 
would thus be brought home ; that Tuesday was the 
last day, and that they looked daily to hear of its exe- 

The other letter from Bedford and Randolph to 
Cecil, written on the same day, was far more explicit. 
It enjoined the strictest secrecy : they had promised, 
they said, upon their honour, that none except the 

* State-paper Office, copy by Randolph from the original : " Conditions 
for the earls to perform to their king," and " Conditions to be performed 
by the King of Scots to the earls." Endorsed in Cecil's hand, Primo 
Martii, 15tio-6. 

t MS. Letter, State-paper Office, Bedford and Randolph to the Queen, 
Berwick, March 6, 1565-6. 

1565-6. MARY. 25 

queen, Leicester, and Cecil himself, should be inform- 
ed of " the great attempt," now on the eve of being 
put in execution ; and they went on thus to describe it : 

" The matter is this : Somewhat we are sure you 
have heard of divers discords and jarrers * between this 
queen and her husband, partly for that she hath re- 
fused him the crown matrimonial, partly for that he 
hath assured knowledge of such usage of herself, as 
altogether is intolerable to be borne, which, if it were 
not overwell known, we would both be very loath to 
think that it could be true. To take away this occasion 
of slander, he is himself determined to be at the ap- 
prehension and execution of him whom he is able mani- 
festly to charge with the crime, and to have done him 
the most dishonour that can be to any man, much more 
being as he is. We need not more plainly to describe 
the person : you have heard of the man whom we 
mean of. 

" To come by the other thing which he desireth, 
which is the crown matrimonial, what is devised and 
concluded upon by him and the noblemen, you shall 
see by the copies of the conditions between them and 
him, of which Mr Randolph assureth me to have seen 
the principals, and taken the copies written with his 
own hand. 

" The time of execution and performance of these 
matters is before the parliament, as near as it is. To 
this determination of theirs, there are privy in Scotland 
these: Argyle, Morton, Boyd, Ruthven, and Lidding- 
ton. In England these : Moray, Rothes, Grange, my- 
self, and the writer hereof. If persuasions to cause the 
queen to yield to these matters do no good, they pur- 
pose to proceed we know not in what sort. If she be 

* Jars. 


able to make any power at home, she shall be withstood, 
and herself kept from all other counsel than her own 
nobility. If she seek any foreign support, the queen's 
majesty our sovereign shall be sought, and sued unto 
to accept his and their defence, with offers reasonable 
to her majesty's contentment. These are the things 
which we thought and think to be of no small impor- 
tance; and knowing them certainly intended, and con- 
cluded upon, thought it our duties to utter the same to 
you Mr Secretary, to make declaration thereof as shall 
seem best to your wisdom. And of this matter thought 
to write conjunctly, though we came severally by know- 
ledge, agreeing both, in one, in the substance of that 
which is determined. At Berwick, sixth March, 1565.* 

I have given this long extract as the letter is of much 
importance, and has never before been known. It proves 
that Elizabeth received the most precise intimation of 
the intended murder of Riccio; that she was made 
fully acquainted with the determination to secure the 
person of the Scottish queen, and create a revolution 
in the government. Moray's share in the conspiracy, 
and his consent to the assassination of the foreign 
secretary, are established by the same letter beyond a 
doubt ; and we see the declared object of the plot was, 
to put an end to his banishment, to replace him in the 
power which he had lost, and, by one decided and 
triumphant blow, to destroy the schemes which were 
in agitation for the re-establishment of the Roman 
Catholic religion in Scotland. It is of great moment 
to attend to the conduct of Elizabeth at this crisis. 

* MS. Letter, State-paper Office, March 6, 1565, Berwick. Earl of Bed- 
ford and Thomas Randolph to Secretary Cecil, endorsed by Cecil's clerk, 
Earl of Bedford and Mr Randolph to my Mr. 

1565-6. MARY. 27 

She knew all that was about to occur : the life of Riccio, 
the liberty perhaps, too, the life of Mary was in her 
hands; Moray was at her court; the conspirators were 
at her devotion ; they had given the fullest information 
to Randolph, that he might consult the queen : she 
might have imprisoned Moray, discomfited the plans 
of the conspirators, saved th life of the miserable victim 
who was marked for slaughter, and preserved Mary, to 
whom she professed a warm attachment, from captivity. 
All this might have been done, perhaps it is not too 
much to say, that even in these dark times it would 
have been done, by a monarch acutely alive to the 
common feelings of humanity. But Elizabeth adopted 
a very different course : she not only allowed Moray 
to leave her realm, she dismissed him with marks of 
the highest confidence and distinction ; and this baron, 
when ready to set out for Scotland, to take his part 
in those dark transactions which soon after followed, 
sent his secretary Wood, to acquaint Cecil with the 
most secret intentions of the conspirators. * 

Whilst these terrible designs were in preparation 
against her, some hints of approaching danger were 
conveyed to the Scottish queen; but she imprudently 
disregarded them. Riccio, too, received a mysterious 
caution from Damiot an astrologer, whom he used to 
consult, and who bade him beware of the bastard, evi- 
dently alluding to George Douglas, the natural son of 
the Earl of Angus, and one of the chief conspirators ; 
but he imagined that he pointed at Moray, then m 
banishment, and derided his apprehensions, -f* Mean- 

* MS. Letter, State-paper Office, March 8tt, 1565-6, Newcastle, Moray 
to Cecil. See also, MS. Letter, State-paper Office, B. C., Bedford to Cecil, 
Berwick, March 8th, 1565-6. Also, MS. Letter, State-paper Office, Bedford 
and Randolph to Leicester and Cecil, Berwick, March 8th, 1565-6. 

J- Spottiswood, p. 194. 


time everything was in readiness ; a large concourse 
of the friends of the Reformed Church assembled at 
Edinburgh for the week of fasting and humiliation : 
directions for prayer and sermons had been previously 
drawn up by Knox and the ministers, and the subjects 
chosen were such as seemed calculated to prepare the 
public mind for resistance, violence, and bloodshed. 
They were selected from the Old Testament alone, and 
included, amongst other examples, the saying of Oreb 
and Zeeb, the cutting off the Benjamites, the fast of 
Esther, the hanging of Haman, inculcating the duty 
of inflicting swift and summary vengeance on all who 
persecuted the people of God. * 

On the third of March the fast commenced hi the 
capital, and on the fourth, parliament assembled. It 
was opened by the queen in person, and the lords of 
the Articles having been chosen, the statute of treason 
and forfeiture against Moray and the banished lords 
was prepared. This was on a Thursday ; and on Tues- 
day, in the following week, the act was to be passed ; 
but it was fearfully arrested in its progress. [ 

On Saturday evening, about seven o'clock, when it 
was dark, the Earls of Morton and Lindsay, with a 
hundred and fifty men bearing torches and weapons, 
occupied the court of the' palace of Holyrood, seized 
the gates without resistance, and closed them against 
all but their own friends. At this moment Mary was 
at supper in a small closet or cabinet, which entered 
from her bed-chamber. She was attended by the 
Countess of Argyle, the Commendator of Holyrood, 

* Knox, pp. 340, 341, Treatise on Fasting, &c., a rare Tract. Edinburgh, 
1565, Lekprevik. Kindly communicated to me by my friend, Mr James 
Chalmers ; and Goodall, "vol. i. pp. 248, 249. 

f- MS. Letter, State-paper Office, Bedford and Randolph to Leicester and 
Cecil, Berwick, 8th March, 1565-6. Ibid. Same to the Queen, 6th March, 

1565-6. MARY 29 

Beaton master of the household, Arthur Erskine cap- 
tain of the guard, and her secretary Riccio. The bed- 
chamber communicated by a secret turnpike-stair with 
the king's apartment below, to which the conspirators 
had been admitted ; and Darnley, ascending this stair, 
threw up the arras which concealed its opening in the 
wall, entered the little apartment where Mary sat, and, 
casting his arm fondly round her waist, seated himself 
beside her at table. A minute had scarcely passed when 
Ruthven, clad in complete armour, abruptly broke in. 
This man had just risen from a sick-bed, his features 
were sunk and pale from disease, his voice hollow, and 
his whole appearance haggard and terrible. Mary, who 
was now seven months gone with child, started up in 
terror, commanding him to begone ; but ere the words 
were uttered, torches gleamed in the outer room, a 
confused noise of voices and weapons was heard, and 
the next moment George Douglas, Car of Faudonside, 
and other conspirators, rushed into the closet.* Ruth- 
ven now drew his dagger, and calling out that their 
business was with Riccio, made an effort to seize him; 
whilst this miserable victim springing behind the queen, 
clung by her gown, and in his broken language called 
out, " Giustizia, Giustizia! sauve ma vie, Madame, 
sauve ma vie !"} All was now uproar and confusion; 
and though Mary earnestly implored them to have 
mercy, they were deaf to her entreaties : the table and 
lights were thrown down, Riccio was stabbed by Douglas 
over the queen's shoulder ; Car of Faudonside, one of 
the most ferocious of the conspirators, held a pistol to 

* Mary to the Bishop of Glasgow, 2d April, 1566. Keith, p. 330. Also, 
Bedford and Randolph to the Council, 27th March, 1566. Ellis, vol. ii. first 
series, p. 207. Morton and Ruthven's Narrative. Caligula, book ix. foL 
219, more full than that in Keith, App. 120, which is a Copy. 

f" BirrePs Diary, p. 5. 


her breast, and whilst she shrieked with terror, their 
bleeding victim was torn from her knees, and dragged 
amidst shouts and execrations through the queen's bed- 
room, to the entrance of the presence chamber. Here 
Morton and his men rushed upon him, and buried their 
daggers in his body. So eager and reckless were they 
in their ferocity, that in the struggle to get at him, 
they wounded one another ; nor did they think the 
work complete till the body was mangled by fifty-six 
wounds, and left in a pool of blood, with the king's 
dagger sticking in it, to show, as was afterwards alleged, 
that he had sanctioned' the murder. * 

Nothing can more strongly show the ferocious man- 
ners of the times than an incident which now occurred. 
Ruthven, faint from sickness, and reeking from the 
scene of blood, staggered into the queen's cabinet, where 
Mary still stood distracted and in terror of her life. 
Here he threw himself upon a seat, called for a cup of 
wine, and being reproached for the cruelty of his con- 
duct, not only vindicated himself and his associates, 
but plunged a new dagger into the heart of the unhappy 
queen, by declaring that her husband had advised the 
whole. She was then ignorant of the completion of 
the murder, but suddenly one of her ladies rushed into 
the room and cried out that their victim was slain. 
"And is it so," said Mary, " then farewell tears, we 
must now think of revenge." *f" 

Having finished the first act of this tragedy, the 
conspirators proceeded to follow out their preconcerted 

* Drury to Cecil, B. C. Berwick, 27th March, 1566, " David had 56 
wounds, whereof 34 was in his back." " Such desire," says Drury, " was 
to have him surely- and speedily, slain, that in jabbing at him so many at 
once,, as some bestowed their daggers where neither they meant it not, nor 
the receivers willing to have it ; as one can, for his own good, now in this 
town, (a follower to my Lord Ruthven,) be too true a testimony, who carries 
the bag in [on] his hand." 

f Morton and Ruthven's Narrative ut supra. Spottiswood, p. 195. 

1565-6. MARY. 31 

measures. The queen was kept a prisoner in her 
apartment, and strictly guarded. The king, assuming 
the sole power, addressed his royal letters, dissolving 
the parliament, and commanding the Estates to leave 
the capital within three hours on pain of treason; orders 
were despatched to the magistrates, enjoining them 
with their city force to keep a vigilant watch, and 
suffer none but Protestants to leave their houses ; and 
to Morton, the chancellor, with his armed retainers, 
was intrusted the guarding the gates of the palace, 
with strict injunction that none should escape from 

This, however, amid the tumult of a midnight mur- 
der, was not so easy a task. Huntley and Bothwell 
contrived to elude the guards. Sir James Balfour 
and James Melvil were equally fortunate ; and as this 
last gentleman passed beneath the queen's window, she 
threw up the sash and implored him to warn the citi- 
zens, to save her from the traitors who had her in their 
power : soon after the common bell was heard ringing, 
so speedily had the message been carried ; and the chief 
magistrate, with a body of armed townsmen, rushed 
confusedly into the palace court, demanding the instant 
deliverance of their sovereign. But Mary in vain 
implored to speak with them ; she was dragged back 
from the window by the ruffians, who threatened to 
cut her in pieces if she attempted to show herself; and 
in her stead the pusillanimous Darnley was thrust 
forward. He' addressed the citizens, assured them 
that both he and the queen were in safety, and, com- 
manding them on their allegiance to go home, was 
instantly obeyed.j- 

* Morton and Ruthven's Narrative, Keith, Appendix, p. 126. 
t Mary to Archbishop Beaton, 2d April, 1565-6, in Keith, 332. Melvil 1 * 
Memoirs, p. 150. 


Thus ended all hope of rescue; but although baffled 
in this attempt, secluded even from her women, trem- 
bling and justly fearing for her life, the queen's courage 
and presence of mind did not forsake her. She remon- 
strated with her husband ; she even condescended 
to reason with Ruthven, who replied in rude and 
upbraiding terms; and at last, exhausted with this 
effort, she would have sunk down had they not called 
for her ladies and left her to repose. Next morning 
all the horrors of her condition broke fully upon her : 
she was a prisoner, in the hands of a band of assassins ; 
they were led by her husband, who watched all her 
motions ; he had already assumed the royal power, 
she was virtually dethroned ; who could tell what dark 
purposes might not be meditated against her person. 
These thoughts agitated her to excess, and threw her 
into a fever, in which she imagined the ferocious Ruth- 
ven was coming to murder her, and shrieking out that 
she was abandoned by all, she was threatened with 
miscarriage. The piteous sight revived Darnley's 
affection ; her gentlewomen were admitted, and the 
danger passed away ; yet so strong was the suspicion 
with which she was guarded, that no lady was allowed 
to pass " muffled" from the queen's chamber.* 

It was now Sunday night, the murder had been 
committed late on Saturday evening ; and, according 
to their previous concert, Moray, Rothes and Ochil- 
tree, with others of the banished lords, arrived in the 
capital and instantly rode to the palace. They were 
welcomed by Darnley ; and so little did Mary suspect 
Moray's foreknowledge of the murder, that she in- 
stantly sent for him, and throwing herself into his 
arms in an agony of tears, exclaimed, " if my brother 

* Morton and Ruthven's Narrative. Keith, Appendix, pp. 127, 128. 

1565-6. MARY. 33 

had been here he never would have suffered me to have 
been thus cruelly handled." The sight overcame him, 
and he is reported to have wept ; but, if sincere, his 
compunction was momentary, for, from the queen he 
repaired to Morton, and in a meeting with the whole 
conspirators, it was resolved to shut up their sovereign 
in Stirling castle, to compel her to give the crown and 
the whole government of the realm to Darnley, and to 
confirm the Protestant religion under the penalty of 
death or perpetual imprisonment.* 

Meanwhile, Mary's spirit and courage revived. She 
perceived that her influence over her husband was not 
at an end, and exerting those powers of fascination and 
persuasive language which she possessed in so high a 
degree, she succeeded in alarming his fears, and awaken- 
ing his love. She represented to him, that he was 
surrendering himself a tool into the hands of her ene- 
mies and his own : if they had belied her honour, if 
they had periled her life, and that of his unborn infant, 
could he believe that, when he alone stood between 
them and their ambition, they would hesitate to destroy 
him. Already he might see they took the power into 
their own hands, and when he sent his servants to her, 
refused to admit them ; and then the flagrant falsehood 
of accusing him as a party to so base a murder, a deed 
which, had he really contemplated, (but this she was 
assured he never had,) must cover him with infamy 
in the eyes of the country, and of the world. Their 
only safety lay in escaping together. If, said she, it 
is your wish, I am ready to forgive, even the bloody 
men whose atrocious act you have just witnessed. 
Go and tell them so but let them treat me as a free 
queen, let them remove their guards, avoid the palace 

* Mary to Beaton. Keith, p. 332. 


which they have polluted with blood, and I will sign 
a written pardon for them on the spot. Darnley was 
won by her arguments, and becoming terrified for the 
consequences of the murder, took refuge in falsehood, 
denied all connexion with the conspiracy, and placed 
himself in the hands of Mary, with the same facility 
which had lately made him the slave of the conspirators. 
Ruthven and Morton, however, were not so easily 
deceived, and insisted that the queen meant only to 
betray them. The king replied, she was a true prin- 
cess, that he would stake his life for her faith and 
honour,* and led the conspirators to her presence, where 
she heard their defence, assured them of her readiness 
to pardon, and sent them away to draw up a writing 
for their security. They did so, delivered the paper 
to Darnley, left the palace, removed the guards, and 
permitted the servants of the household to resume their 
charge. To lull suspicion, the queen retired to rest, 
and Ruthven and his associates deeming all safe, betook 
themselves to the house of Morton the chancellor, as 
we have seen, one of the chief actors in the murder 
but at midnight Mary rose, threw herself upon a fleet 
horse, and, accompanied only by the king and Arthur 
Erskine, fled to Dunbar. The news of her escape flew 
through the land ; her nobles, Huntley, Athole, Both- 
well, and multitudes of barons and gentlemen, crowded 
round her; and in the morning Morton, Ruthven, and 
the rest of the conspirators, awoke only to hear that 
their victim had eluded their grasp, that an army of 
her subjects had already assembled at Dunbar, and 
that the penalties of treason were suspended over their 

* This assertion of Darnley, which gives a direct contradiction to the story 
of Mary's alleged passion for Riccio, rests on the evidence of Lord Ruthven, 
who was present. See his narrative of the murder in Keith, Appendix, p. 

1565-6. MARY. 35 

Mar j thus escaped ; and it is impossible to withhold 
our admiration of the coolness, judgment, and courage 
exhibited by a woman under the dreadful circumstance* 
in which she was called upon to exert these qualities 
If we blame her duplicity, let it be remembered, thai 
her own life, and that of her infant, were in jeopardy; 
that there was nothing unreasonable in the idea that 
the ruffians who had torn her secretary from her knees, 
and murdered him in her chamber, might, before many 
hours were over, be induced to repeat the deed upon 
herself. We may gather, indeed, from the dark and 
indefinite expressions of Randolph in describing the 
approaching assassination, that their intentions, if she 
resisted their wishes, vacillated between murder and 
perpetual captivity. 

Once more free, the queen acted with her usual spirit 
and decision. Having regained her ascendancy over 
the king, she obtained from this weak prince a disclo- 
sure of the chief persons engaged in the conspiracy. 
It would appear, however, that Darnley concealed 
Moray's guilt, and only denounced Morton, Ruthven, 
and other associates. Against them the queen took 
instant steps. She summoned her people to attend 
her in arms, directed a writ of treason to be issued 
against the chancellor, Lethington, and their accom- 
plices, and advanced at the head of a force of eight 
thousand men to the capital.* Aware of this, the 
conspirators fled with the utmost precipitation. Mor- 
ton, Ruthven, Brunston, and Andrew Car, took instant 
refuge in England ; others, scattered hither and thither, 
concealed themselves in their own country. Knox in 
great agony of spirit, and groaning over the Church 
and his flock, buried himself in the friendly recesses of 

* Knox, History, p. 437. 


Kyle, and Lethington hastened to gain the mountain 
fastnesses of Athole. It was remarkable that Craig, 
the colleague of Knox, did not leave the city.* 

To the English queen, and her brother the Earl of 
Moray, Mary had a more difficult part to act, whilst 
she felt equal embarrassment as to the degree of con- 
fidence to be given to the king. We have seen incon- 
trovertible proof that Moray was a party to the murder, 
though not a perpetrator of it ; that Elizabeth was 
accessory to the conspiracy, and that Darnley and his 
father Lennox were the original contrivers of the 
whole : but of all this Mary at this moment was igno- 
rant. Elizabeth, on being informed of the outrage, 
expressed the deepest sympathy and indignation ; 
Moray affected an equal abhorrence of everything that 
had occurred. Darnley not only denounced his former 
friends, but busied himself in bringing them to justice. 
The queen, therefore, without renouncing her resolution 
to punish the murder with the utmost rigour, deemed 
it prudent in the first instance to secure the active 
assistance of Elizabeth, to strengthen her ties with 
France, and to promote a reconciliation amongst her 
nobility, many of whom were at feud with each other: 
Bothwell, who during the late disturbances had vigor- 
ously exerted himself for his sovereign, was the enemy 
of Moray and Lethington ; Athole, with whom Leth- 
ington had taken refuge, was at variance with Argyle ; 
and the differences amongst the leading barons as usual 
extended their ramifications through all their retainers 
and dependants. 

It says much for the judgment of the queen that her 

* MS. Letter, State-paper Office, Randolph to Cecil, Berwick, 21st March, 
1565. M'Crie's Life of Knox, p. 254. I quote from the new and excellent 
edition of this work by Dr Crichton. See also Knox's Prayer, dated 12th 
March, 1565-6, subjoined to his answer to Tyrie. 

1566. MARY. 37 

efforts to compose these fatal differences were success- 
ful. Moray and Bothwell were reconciled, Argyle and 
Athole agreed to suspend their contests, and Mary- 
seemed even disposed to pardon Morton, Lethington, 
and the principal conspirators, if the extension of 
mercy could have brought back peace and security to 
her kingdom.* But this intended leniency only 
brought upon her more sorrow. Her weak and trea- 
cherous husband became alarmed, and more loudly 
denounced his late friends who had murdered Riccio. 
This conduct enraged them to the utmost, and they 
retaliated by again accusing him, in more distinct and 
positive terms than before, of being the sole instigator 
and contriver of the murder. To prove this, they laid 
the " bands," or covenants before the queen, and the 
dreadful truth broke upon her in all its sickening and 
heart-rending force.'f* She now understood for the first 
time that the king was the principal conspirator against 
her, the defamer of her honour, the plotter against her 
liberty and her crown, the almost murderer of herself 
and her unborn child ; he was convicted as a traitor 
and a liar, false to his own honour, false to her, false 
to his associates in crime. At this moment Mary must 
have felt, that to have leant upon a husband whom she 
could trust, might, amid the terrible plots with which 
she was surrounded, have been the means of saving 
herself and her crown ; but on Darnley she could 
never lean again. Can we wonder that her heart was 
almost broken by the discovery that, to use the words 
of Melvil, she should have loudly lamented the king's 

* MS. Letter, State-paper Office, Randolph to Cecil, 2d April, 1566 ; and 
Ibid., Robert Melvil to Cecil, 3d April, 1566, Edinburgh. 

t MS. Letter, State-paper Office, April 4, Berwick, Randolph to Cecil. 
" The queen hath now seen all the covenants and bands that passed between 
the king and the lords. And now findeth that his declaration before her 
and the council, of his innocency of the death of David, was false." 



folly and unthankfulness, that she was compelled to 
withdraw from him all confidence, and in solitary bit- 
terness to act entirely for herself. 

But if such were the queen's feelings towards the 
young king, those of the conspirators whom he had 
betrayed were of a sterner kind. Even in those flagi- 
tious days, there were sanctions, the disregard of which 
covered a man with infamy and contempt, and amongst 
these, one of the most sacred was fidelity to the writ- 
ten "bands" by which the feudal barons were bound 
to each other. To one of these Darnley, as we have 
seen, had become a principal : his fellow-conspirators 
had performed their promise : he had not only broken 
his and denied all accession to the plot, but had be- 
trayed the principal actors, and meanly purchased his 
own safety by their destruction. The consequence 
was the utmost indignation, and a thirst for revenge 
upon the part of Morton, Moray, Lethington, and 
their associates, which, there is reason to believe, in- 
creased in intensity till it was assuaged only in his 
death. These feelings of indignation were not confined 
to the fugitive lords. Mary avoided his company, and 
forbade her friends to give him any countenance. She 
promoted Joseph Eiccio, David's brother, who had 
arrived in the suite of Mauvissiere, the French ambas- 
sador, to the dangerous vacancy caused by the murder;* 
and at last became so impatient and miserable under 
the ties by which she was bound to her husband, that 
she entertained the extraordinary design of retiring to 
France, and intrusting the government of her kingdom 
to a regency, composed of five of her principal lords, 

* MS. Letter, State-paper Office, B.C., Berwick, April 20, 1566, Drury 
to Cecil. Also, same to same, B.C., Berwick, April 26, 1566. See also Sir 
Th. Hoby to Cecil, French Correspondence, State-paper Office, 29th April, 

1566. MARY. 39 

Moray, Mar, Huntley, Athole, and Bothwell.* An- 
other scheme, which at this moment occupied her mind, 
was the possibility of obtaining a divorce, on which 
errand it was reported, she had sent a messenger, 
named Thornton, to Rome.-f 

Her feelings, however, though keen, were not bitter 
or lasting. As the period of her confinement drew near, 
her resentment softened towards the king. At this 
moment her mind had become haunted with the terror 
that Morton and his savage associates, whose hands 
were stained with the blood of Riccio, had determined 
to break in upon her, during her labour : but the as- 
surances of the English queen, who sent her word that 
she had dismissed him from her dominions, (which was 
not strictly true,) restored her to composure. J Uncer- 
tain that she should survive her confinement, she called 
for her nobility, took measures regarding the govern- 
ment of the kingdom, made her will, became reconciled 
to the king, and personally arranged everything either 
for life or death. 

On the nineteenth of June she was delivered of a 
prince in the castle of Edinburgh, and immediately 
despatched Sir James Melvil to carry the news to 
Elizabeth. The English queen received the intelli- 
gence with her usual duplicity. From Cecil, who saw 
her before Melvil was admitted, and whispered the 
unwelcome news in her ear as she was dancing at 

* MS. Letter, copy, Lethington to Randolph, 27th April, 1566. Caligula 
book ix. fol. 244. 

t MS. Letter, State-paper Office, Berwick, April 25, 1566, Randolph to 

J MS. Letter, State-paper Office, Berwick, June 13, 1566, Randolph to 
Cecil. Also, MS. Letter, State-paper Office, Edinburgh, July 4, 1566, Kil- 
ligrew to Cecil. Also, MS. Letter, State-paper Office, Killigrew to Cecil, 
24th June, 1566. 

MS. Letter, State-paper Office, Berwick, Randolph to Cecil, 7th June, 


Greenwich, after supper, she could not conceal her 
feelings. All mirth was at an end, she sat down, leant 
her cheek on her hand, and then burst forth in lamen- 
tations to her ladies, that she was a barren stock, whilst 
the Queen of Scots was the mother of a fair son. 
When Melvil had audience next morning, everything 
was serene. His tidings, she said, gave her the ut- 
most joy, and had cured her of a fifteen days 1 sickness. 
She promised also, in reply to his urgent request, that 
there should be a speedy settlement of the question of 
the succession.* 

Meanwhile Mary recovered, and assured of the con- 
tinuance of amicable relations with England, applied 
herself with her usual energy to heal the dissensions 
amongst her nobles, to conduct internal tranquillity and 
to re-establish a firm government. The great difficulty 
was the conduct to be pursued with Morton and the 
banished lords ; and the queen soon became convinced 
that she must sacrifice her own feelings and adopt a 
lenient course, if she wished to recover her power. 
Amongst her nobility there was no want of talents or 
energy; the difficulty was to attach them to the crown, 
to heal their feuds amongst themselves, to prevent their 
intrigues with England. So long as Lethington was 
in disgrace, and the murderers of Riccio were banished, 
these ends could not be gained. The queen, therefore, 
listened to the intercession of Moray, whom she now 
treated with great confidence. Lethington was recon- 
ciled to Bothwell, and pardoned ; the Lairds of Brun- 
ston, Ormiston, Hatton, and Calder, the leaders of the 
Church party, were received into favour ; but Knox 
still continued in his retreat, and there appears to have 

* MS. Letter, State-r a P er Office, Killigrew to Cecil, 24th June, 1566, 
Melvil's Memoirs, Bannatyne edit. p. 161. 

1566. MARY 41 

been some special rigour manifested against him on 
the part of the queen.* Morton, the arch -conspirator, 
with his assistants, Lindsay and Ruthven, were still 
proscribed ; but Moray, Bothwell, Argyle, Athole, and 
Lethington, who now acted together, exerted them- 
selves unremittingly to procure their restoration, and 
the queen, it was evident, began to think of permitting 
their return, -f* 

This intended mercy enraged the young king, and 
appears to have driven him upon foolish and dangerous 
courses : as his opponents were mostly Protestants, he 
began to intrigue with the Romanists, and went so far 
as to write secretly to the pope, arraigning the conduct 
of the queen, in delaying to restore the mass. When 
his letters were intercepted, and his practices discovered, 
he complained bitterly of the neglect into which he had 
fallen, affirmed that he had no share in the government, 
accused the nobles of a plot against his life, and at last 
formed the desperate resolution of leaving the kingdom, 
and remonstrating to foreign powers against the cruelty 
with which he was treated. { This mad project alarmed 
his father Lennox, who communicated his fears to the 
queen, and Mary made an earnest attempt to restore 
him to his duty. The interview and remonstrances to 
which this led, are of much importance in estimating 
the dark charges afterwards brought against Mary; and 
we fortunately know the whole particulars from the 
Lords of the Council, before whom it took place, and 
also from the French ambassador De Croc, who was 
present. The queen, it appears, had at first affection- 
ately, and in private, implored Darnley to disclose the 

* M'Crie's Life of Knox, p. 254. 

t MS. Letter, State-paper, Office, B.C., Forster to Cecil, September li>, 

I Monsieur de Croc's Letter to Archbishop Beaton, printed by Keith, p. 
345, from the original, then in the Scots College, Paris. 


causes of his grief. " The queen," said the Lords of 
the Council, addressing the queen-mother,* "conde- 
scended so far as to go and meet the king without the 
palace, and so conducted him into her own apartment, 
where he remained all night ; and then her majesty 
entered calmly with him upon the subject of his going 
abroad, that she might understand from himself the oc- 
casion of such a resolution. But he would by no means 
give or acknowledge that he had any occasion offered 
him of discontent. The Lords of the Council, being 
acquainted early next morning that the king was just 
agoing to return to Stirling, they repaired to the queen's 
apartment, and no other persons being present, except 
their lordships, and Monsieur de Croc,whom they prayed 
to assist with them, as being here on the part of your 

The occasion of their meeting together was then, with 
all humility and reverence due to their majesties, pro- 
posed, namely, to understand from the king, whether, 
according to advice imparted to the queen by the Earl 
of Lennox, he had formed a resolution to depart by sea 
out of the realm, and on what ground, and for what 
end? That if his resolution proceeded from some dis- 
content, they were earnest to know what persons had 
afforded an occasion for the same ? That if he could 
complain of any of the subjects of the realm, be they 
of what quality whatsoever, the fault should be imme- 
diately repaired to his satisfaction. "And here," they 
continued, " we did remonstrate to him, that his own 
honour, the queen's honour, the honour of us all, were 
concerned; for if, without just occasion ministered, he 
would retire from the place where he had received so 

* Lords of the Privy-council to the Queen-mother, Get 8th, 1566. Keith, 
p. 347, being a translation from a copy then in the Scots College at Paris. 

1566. MARY. 43 

much honour, and abandon the society of her to whom 
he is so far obliged, that in order to advance him she 
has humbled herself, and from being his sovereign had 
surrendered herself to be his wife ; if he should act 
in this sort, the whole world would blame him as in- 
grate, regardless of the friendship the queen bare him, 
and utterly unworthy to possess the place to which she 
had exalted him. On the other hand, that if any just 
occasion had been given him, it behoved the same to 
be very important, since it inclined him to relinquish 
so beautiful a queen, and noble realm ; and the same 
must have been afforded him either by the queen her- 
self, or by us her ministers. As for us, we professed 
ourselves ready to do him all the justice he could 
demand. And for her majesty, so far was she from 
ministering to him occasion of discontent, that, on the 
contrary, he had all the reason in the world to thank 
God for giving him so wise and virtuous a person, as she 
had showed herself in all her actions." 

" Then her majesty," so the letter goes, "was pleased 
to enter into the discourse, and spoke affectionately to 
him, beseeching him, that seeing he would not open 
his mind in private to her the last night, according to 
her most earnest request, he would, at least, be pleased 
to declare, before these lords, where she had offended 
him anything. She likewise said, that she had a clear 
conscience, that in all her life she had done no action 
which could any way prejudge either his or her own 
honour ; but nevertheless, that as she might perhaps 
have given him offence without design, she was willing 
to make amends as far as he should require, and there- 
fore prayed him not to dissemble the occasion of his 
displeasure, if any he had, nor to spare her in the least 
matter. But though the queen and all others that 


were present, together with Monsieur de Croc, used all 
the interest they were able, to persuade him to open 
his mind, yet he would not at all own that he intended 
any voyage, or had any discontent, and declared freely 
that the queen had given him no occasion for any."* 
Such is the account given of this important interview 
by the Lords of the Council ; and Monsieur de Croc, 
in writing a week afterwards to the Archbishop of 
Glasgow, Mary's ambassador in France, was equally 
explicit in describing the affectionate conduct of the 
queen, and the strange and wayward proceedings of 
Darnley. He then added this remarkable sentence : 
" It is in vain to imagine that he shall be able to raise 
any disturbance ; for there is not one person in all this 
kingdom, from the highest to the lowest, that regards 
him any farther than is agreeable to the queen. And 
I never saw her majesty so much beloved, esteemed, and 
honoured ; nor so great a harmony amongst all her 
subjects, as at present is, by her wise conduct ; for I 
cannot perceive the smallest difference or division."^ 
Yet neither the temperate conduct of the queen, the 
remonstrances of the council, nor the neglect into which 
he found himself daily sinking, produced any amend- 
ment in Darnley. He persisted in his project of leaving 
the kingdom; denounced Lethington, the justice-clerk 
Bellenden, and Makgill the clerk-register, as principal 
conspirators against Riccio; insisted that they should 
be deprived of their offices ; and became an object of 
dislike and suspicion not only to Mary, but to all that 
powerful and now united party, by whom she was sur- 

* Lords of the Privy-council to the Queen-mother. Keith, p. 347. The 
letter is dated Oct. 8, 1566. 

f Letter from Monsr. de Croc to Archbishop Beaton, dated Oct. 15, 1566, 
published by Keitn, p. 346, being a translation from the original then in the 
Scots College, Paris. 

1566. MARY. 45 

rounded.* Its leaders, Moray, Lethington, Argyle, 
and Bothwell, saw in him the bitter opponent of Mor- 
ton's pardon. The faction of the Church hated him 
for his intrigues with Rome; -J- Cecil, and the party of 
Elizabeth, suspected him of practices with the English 
Roman Catholics ; J the Hamiltons had always looked 
on him with dislike, as an obstacle between them and 
their hopes of succession ; and the queen bitterly re- 
pented that she was tied to a wayward and intemperate 
person, who had already endangered her life and her 
crown, and was constantly thwarting every measure 
which promised the restoration of tranquillity and good 

When such was the state of matters between the 
king and queen, disturbances broke out upon the 
Borders, and rendered it necessary for Mary to repair 
in person to these districts, for the purpose of holding 
courts for the trial of delinquents. Her lieutenant, 
or warden of the Borders, at this time, was the Earl 
of Bothwell; and him she despatched, at the head of a 
considerable force, to reduce the Elliots, Armstrongs, 
and other offenders, to something like subjection, before 
she herself repaired to the spot. Sofaras this taskwent, 
Bothwell was well fitted for it. He was of high rank, 
possessed a daring and martial spirit, and his unshaken 
attachment to her interests, at a time when the queen 
had suffered from the desertion of almost every other 
servant, made him a favourite with a princess who 
esteemed bravery and fidelity above all other virtues. 

* MS. Letter, State-paper Office, B.C. Forster to Cecil, May 16, 1566, 
Alnwick. Also, MS. Letter, State-paper Office, Randolph to Cecil, May 13, 
1566, Berwick. 

t Knox's History, p. 348. Glasgow edition, by M'Gavin, 1832. 

J MS. Letter, State-paper Office, Rogers to Cecil, July 5, 1566, Oxford. 

MS. Letter, State-paper Office, B.C. Scrope to Cecil, Carlisle, Oct. 6, 
1566. Also, Ibid. B.C. Same to the same, Oct. 8, 1566. 


But, unfortunately for Mary, he possessed other and 
more dangerous qualities.* His ambition and audacity 
were unbounded. He was a man of notorious gallantry, 
and had spent a loose life on the continent, from which, 
it was said, he had imported some of its worst vices. 
In attaining the objects of his ambition he was perfectly 
unscrupulous as to the means he employed, and he had 
generally about him a band of broken and desperate 
men, with whom his office of Border warden made him 
familiar ; hardened and murderous villians, who were 
ready on the moment to obey every command of their 
master. In one respect, Bothwell was certainly better 
than many of his brother nobles. There seems to have 
been little craft or hypocrisy about him, and he made 
no attempt to conceal his infirmities or vices under the 
cloak of religion. It is not unlikely, that for this 
reason, Mary, who had experienced his fidelity to the 
crown, was more disposed to trust him in any difficulty, 
than those stern and fanatical leaders, who, with religion 
on their lips, were often equally indifferent as to the 
means which they employed. It is certain, that from 
this time she began to treat him with great favour, and 
to be guided by a preference so predominant, that it was 
not unlikely to be mistaken for a more tender feeling. 
This partiality of the queen for Bothwell, was early 
detected by Moray, Lethington, and their associates : 
they observed that his vanity was flattered by the favour 
shown him by his sovereign ; they artfully fanned the 
flame, and encouraged an ambition, already daring 
enough, to aspire to a height which he had never dreamt 
of; and it is the opinion of Sir James Melvil, who 
spoke from personal observation, that Bothwell's plot 

* MS. Letter, State-paper Office, Randolph to Cecil, Edinburgh, Sept. 20, 

1566. MARY. 47 

for the murder of his sovereign, and the possession of 
the queen's person, had its origin about this time, when 
she despatched him to suppress the disturbances in 
Liddesdale. * 

After the singular scene before the privy-council and 
the French ambassador, the king left the court; and 
the queen, accompanied by her ministers and the 
officers of her household, set out on her progress to 
the Borders. At this moment these districts were in 
a state of great disorder; a feud raged between the 
Armstrongs and the Johnstons, two of the fiercest and 
most numerous septs in that part of the country .-f- The 
arrival of Bothwell, the queen's lieutenant, with a com- 
mission to reduce them to obedience, rather increased 
the disturbances, and in an attempt to apprehend Elliot 
of Park, a notorious marauder, the earl was grievously 
wounded, and left for dead on the field. An account 
of the sanguinary skirmish in which this happened, 
was immediately sent by Lord Scrope to Secretary 
Cecil. " I have," said he, " presently gotten intelli- 
gence out of Scotland, that the Earl of Bothwell, being 
in Liddesdale for the apprehension of certain disordered 
persons there, had apprehended the Lairds of Mangerton 
and Whitehaugh, with sundry other Armstrongs of 
their surname and kindred, whom he had put within 
the Hermitage.^ And yesterday, going about to take 
such like persons of the Elliots, in pursuit of them his 
lordship being foremost, and far before his company, 
encountered one John Elliot of the Park, hand to hand, 
and shot him through the thigh with a dag, upon 

* Melvil's Memoirs, pp. 170, 173. Melvil, who wrote probably from 
memory, erroneously places the baptism of the prince, before the skirmish 
in Liddesdale, when Bothwell was wounded. 

t MS. Letter, State-paper Office, B.C. Scrope to Cecil, Carlisle, Oct. 6, 

1 A strong castle in that district. A pistol 


which wound the man feeling himself in peril of death, 
with a two handed sword assailed the earl so cruelly, 
that he killed him ere he could get any rescue or succour 
of his men. 1 '* Bothwell, however, though severely 
wounded, was not slain as at first reported, but having 
revived, was carried off the field to his castle of the 

This accident happened on the seventh of October, 
and on the next day, the eighth, the queen arrived at 
Jedburgh, and opened her court, -f- The proceedings 
against the various delinquents who were brought be- 
fore it, occupied her uninterruptedly until the fifteenth, 
on which day she rode to the Hermitage, and visited 
the Earl of Bothwell, who lay there confined by his 
wounds. The object of the visit appears to have been 
to hold a conference with the earl on the state of that 
disturbed district of which he was the governor. Mary 
was accompanied by Moray and others of her officers, 
in whose presence she communicated with Bothwell : 
afterwards, on the same day, she returned to Jed- 
burgh ;J and Lord Scrope, who immediately informed 
Cecil of the visit, added the precise information, that 
she had remained two hours at the castle, to BothwelFs 
great pleasure and contentment. 

* MS. Letter, State-paper Office, B.C. Lord Scrope to Cecil, Carlisle, 
Oct. 8, 1566. Also MS. Letter, Ibid. Sir John Forster to Cecil, Oct. 23, 
1566, Berwick. 

+ Chalmers, vol. i. p. 190, 4to edition. 

J Caligula, B. iv. 104, dorso. Fragment of a contemporary history of 
Mary Queen of Scots in French. * 

MS. Life of Mary Queen of Scots. " Sa majeste fut requise et conseille' 
d'aller visiter en une maison appelle Hermitage, pour entendre de luy 1'estat 
des affaires de pays de quel le dit Sieur [Both well J estait gouverneur here- 
ditairement. Pour ceste occasion elle y alia en diligence, accompagne du 
Conte de Murray, et autres seigneurs, en presence desquelles elle communiqua 
avec le dit Sieur Compte, et s'en retourna le mesme jour a Jedwood, ou le 
lendemain elle tomba malade." * * Caligula, B. iv. 104, dorso. 

Laing in his account of this visit, and the arguments he deduces from 
it, has implicitly adopted the mistakes of Buchanan, and derides the account 
of my grandfather in his Vindication of Queen Mary, which is far nearer the 

1566. MARY. 49 

Such a visit was undoubtedly a flattering mark of 
regard paid by a sovereign to a subject; but he was of 
high rank and in high office, he had nearly lost his life 
in the execution of his duty, and he was a favourite 
with the queen. 

Immediately after her return, Mary was seized with 
a dangerous fever, which ran its course with an alarm- 
ing rapidity, and for ten days caused the physicians 
to despair of her life. Its origin was traced by some, 
to the fatigue of her long ride to the Hermitage ; but 
her secretary Lethington, with greater probability, in 
a letter written to Beaton the Scottish ambassador in 
France, ascribed her illness to distress of mind, oc- 
casioned by the cruel and ungrateful conduct of the 
king.* " The occasion of the queen's sickness," said 
he, " so far as I can understand, is caused of thought 
and displeasure ; and I trow, by what I could wring 
further of her own declaration to me, the root of it is the 
king. For she has done him so great honour without 
the advice of her friends, and contrary to the advice 
of her subjects, and he, on the other hand, has recom- 
pensed her with such ingratitude, and misuses himself 
so far towards her, that it is a heartbreak to her to 
think that he should be her husband, and how to be free 
of him she has no outgait."^ 

During this alarming sickness, Mary believed herself 
dying, and an interesting account of her behaviour has 
come down to us from her confidential servants, who 
were present, Secretary Lethington, the Bishop of 
Ross, and the French ambassador de Croc. She ex- 
truth than his own. The letter of Lord Scrope to Cecil, written at the mo- 
ment, and not known to either of these authors, gives us the whole truth. 

* Sloan MSS., British Museum, 3199. fol. 141. Lethington to ArcL- 
bishop Beaton, Oct. 24, 1566. 

f Ibid. Out-gait way of getting out. 


pressed her entire resignation to the will of God, she 
exhorted her nobility in pathetic terms to remain in 
unity and peace with each other, employing their ut- 
most diligence in the government of the kingdom and 
the education of her son ; she sent her affectionate 
remembrances by De Croc to the French king, and her 
relatives in that country, and declared her constant 
mind to die in the Catholic faith.* To the great joy 
of those around her at this moment, she recovered, and 
although much weakened, proceeded in her progress 
to Kelso, and thence by Dunbar to Craigmillar, near 

But if there was a recovery of bodily health, there 
was no return to peace of mind. During the height 
of her illness, the king had never come to see her, and 
a visit which he made when the danger was past, pro- 
duced no effect in removing their unhappy estrange- 
ment, -f* At this moment her condition, as described 
by an eye-witness, Monsieur de Croc, was pitiable and 
affecting. She seemed to have fallen into a profound 
melancholy. " The queen," said this ambassador, 
writing to the Archbishop of Glasgow, on the second 
December, " is for the present at Craigmillar, about a 
league distant from this city. She is in the hands of 
the physicians, and I do assure you is not at all well, 
and I do believe the principal part of her disease to 
consist of a deep grief and sorrow. Nor does it seem 
possible to make her forget the same. Still she repeats 
these words, * I could wish to be dead.' You know 
very well, that the injury she has received is exceeding 

* Letter, Lesley bishop of Ross to the Archbishop of Glasgow, Jedburgh, 
Oct. 27, 1566. Keith, Appendix, No. xiv. p. 134. Also MS. Letter, State- 
paper Office, Oct. 24, 1566, Lethington to Cecil ; also the Council to Arch- 
bishop Beaton, Oct. 23, 1566. Keith, Appendix, No. xiv. p. 133. 

f- Extract in Keith, p. 352, from a letter of De Croc, dated 24th October, 

1566. MARY. 51 

great, and her majesty will never forget it. The king 
her husband came to visit her at Jedburgh, the very 
day after Captain Hay went away. He remained there 
but one single night, and yet in that short time I had 
a great deal of conversation with him. He returned 
to see the queen about five or six days ago ; and the 
day before yesterday he sent word to desire me to speak 
with him half a league from this, which I complied 
with, and found that things go still worse and worse. 
I think he intends to go away to-morrow, but in any 
event, I am much assured as I have always been, that 
he won't be present at the baptism. To speak my 
mind freely to you, (but I beg you not to disclose what 
I say in any place that may turn to my prejudice,) I 
do not expect, upon several accounts, any good under- 
standing between them, unless God effectually put to 
his hand. I shall only name two : the first reason is, 
the king will never humble himself as he ought ; the 
other is, the queen can't perceive any one nobleman 
speaking with the king, but presently she suspects some 
contrivance among them."* 

At this moment, when matters between the king 
and queen were in so miserable a state, the faction 
opposed to Darnley, which was led by Moray, Leth- 
ington, and Bothwell, held a consultation with Huntley 
and Argyle at Craigmillar, and there proposed a scheme 
to Mary for putting an end to her sorrows. This was, 
to unite their efforts to procure a divorce between her 
and her husband, stipulating as a preliminary that she 
should pardon the Earl of Morton and his accomplices 
in the murder of Biccio. When their design was first 
intimated by these noblemen to the queen, she professed 

* Translation by Keith, from part of an original letter of Monsieur de 
Croc, dated 2d December, 1566, preserved at that time amongst the MSS. 
of the Scots College at Paris. Keith, p. vii. of his Prefatory matter. 


her willingness to consent to it, under the conditions 
that the process of divorce should be legal, and that its 
effect should not prejudice the rights of her son. It 
was remarked that, after the divorce, Darnley had bet- 
ter live in a remote part of the country, at a distance 
from the queen, or retire to France. Upon which 
Mary relenting, drew back from the proposal, expressed 
a hope that he might return to a better mind, and pro- 
fessed her own willingness to pass into France and 
remain there till he acknowledged his faults. To this 
Maitland the secretary made this remarkable reply, 
hinting darkly that, rather than subject their queen 
to such an indignity as retiring from her kingdom, it 
would be better to substitute murder for divorce : 
" Madam," said he, " soucy * ye not we are here of 
the principal of your grace's nobility and council, that 
shall not find the mean-f- well to make your majesty 
quit of him without prejudice of your son ; and albeit 
that my Lord of Moray, here present, be little less 
scrupulous for a Protestant nor [than] your grace is 
for a Papist, I am assured he will look through his 
fingers thereto, and will behold our doings, and say 
nothing thereto. 11 ! This speech alarmed the queen, 
who instantly replied, that it was her pleasure nothing 
should be done by which any spot might be laid upon 
her honour ; " better, 1 ' said she, " permit the matter 
remain in the state it is, abiding till God in his good- 
ness put remedy thereto, [than] that ye believing to 
do me service may possibly turn to my hurt or dis- 
pleasure. 11 To this Lethington replied, " Madam, let 
us to guide the business among us, and your grace 

* French, mind ye not, se soucier. 
f* In original the moyen. 

$ Anderson's Collections, vol iv. p. ] 92 ; and contemporary copy, State- 
paper Office. 

1566. MARY. 53 

shall see nothing but good, and approved by parlia- 

Such was this extraordinary conversation, and it is 
certainly difficult to determine its precise import. It 
appears to me that the first part alluded solely to the 
divorce, and that the second proposition hinted at the 
murder, though darkly, yet in terms which could 
scarcely have been misunderstood by any who were 
present. -f" It is certain that the queen commanded 
Moray, Bothwell, and their associates to abandon all 
thoughts of any such design ; but it had been glanced 
at, she was put upon her guard, and difficult or im- 
possible as it might have been at once to dismiss these 
leading nobles from her councils, precautions might 
have been taken to defeat their abominable purpose. 
It is possible, however, that Mary considered her ex- 
press command sufficient. 

This, however, was but a feeble barrier in these cruel 
times. The conspiracy proceeded ; and, in the usual 
fashion of the age, a band or agreement for the murder 
of Darnley was drawn up at Craigmillar, of which in- 
strument Bothwell kept possession. It was said to 
have been written by James Balfour, afterwards Pre- 
sident of the Supreme Court, and then a daring and 
profligate follower of this nobleman ; it was signed by 
Lethington, Huntley, Argyle, and Sir James Balfour ; 
it declared their resolution to cut off the king as a 
young fool and tyrant, who was an enemy to the no- 
bility, and had conducted himself in an intolerable 
manner to the queen, and stipulated that, according to 

* Anderson's Collections, vol. iv. p. 188, from a copy. Cotton, MS. Bri- 
tish Museum, Caligula, C. i. f. 282. Protestation of the Earls of Huntley 
and Argyle, touching the murder of the King of Scots. There is a contem- 
porary copy, varying in a few words, in the State-paper Office. 

+ Instructions and Articles, by the Lords Huntley, Argyle, &c., to John 
bishop of Ross, Robert lord Boyd, &c., Goodall, vol. ii. p. 359. 



feudal usage, they should all stand by each other and 
defend the deed as a measure of state, resolved on by 
the chief councillors of the realm, and necessary for 
the preservation of their own lives.* 

Soon after this, the Earl of Bedford arrived from 
England, to attend the baptism of the young prince ; 
and it was remarked, that although Bothwell was a 
Protestant, the arrangement of the ceremony was com- 
mitted to him.-}* The Scottish queen had requested 
Elizabeth to be godmother to her son ; and this prin- 
cess having appointed the Countess of Argyle to be 
her representative, J despatched Bedford with a font 
of gold, which she expressed some fear that the little 
prince might have overgrown. " If you find it so," 
said she, " you may observe that our good sister has 
only to keep it for the next, or some such merry 

On the seventeenth of December, the baptism of the 
young prince took place with much magnificence at 

* The existence of a Bond for the murder of the king is proved by Ormis- 
ton's confession, (Pitcairn's Criminal Trials, pp. 511, 512,) -who says he saw 
the Bond in Bothwell's hands, and describes its contents, affirming that it 
was signed by Huntley, Argyle, Lethington, and Sir James Balfour, and that 
Bothwell told him many more had promised their assistance. This contract 
was, he adds, devised by Sir James Balfour, and subscribed by them all a 
quarter of a year before the deed was done. Ormiston in another part of his 
confession, observes, that Bothwell broke to him the purpose for the murder 
on the Friday before ; and when he expressed reluctance to have any con- 
cern in it, he said, " Tush, Ormiston, ye need not take fear of this, for the 
whole lords have concluded the same lang syne, in Craigmillar, all that was 
there with the queen.'" The same bond is minutely alluded to in a contem- 
porary life of Mary, written in French, apparently by one of her domestics, 
who, although biassed, seems to have had good opportunities of observation. 
Caligula, book i v. folio, 1 04, dorso. See also Answer of Lord Berries at York 
to Moray's " Elk," or Additional Accusation. Goodall, Appendix, vol. ii. 
p. 212. 

+ MS. Letter, State-paper Office, B.C., Sir John Forster to Cecil, llth 
December, 1566, Berwick. 

MS. State-paper Office, ult. October, 1566, Minute in Cecil's hand, from 
the Queen's Majesty to the Countess of Argyle. 

Instructions to Bedford, November 7, 1566, Caligula, book x. 384, a 

1566. MARY. 55 

Stirling. The ceremony was performed according to 
the Roman ritual, by the Archbishop of St Andrew's, 
and the royal infant received the names of Charles 

Mary upon this occasion exerted herself to throw off 
the melancholy by which she was oppressed, and re- 
ceived the foreign ambassadors and her noble guests 
with those winning and delightful manners, of which 
even her enemies felt the fascination ; but the secret 
grief that preyed upon her could not be concealed. 
" The queen," said De Croc, writing to Beaton the 
Scottish ambassador at the French court, " behaved 
herself admirably well all the time of the baptism, and 
showed so much earnestness to entertain all the goodly 
company in the best manner, that this made her for- 
get in a good measure her former ailments. But I am 
of the mind that she will give us some trouble as yet ; 
nor can I be brought to think otherwise so long as she 
continues so pensive and melancholy. She sent for 
me yesterday, and I found her laid on a bed weeping 
sore, and she complained of a grievous pain in her 

From the baptism of his son the king absented him- 
self, although he was then living in the palace. The 
causes of this strange conduct were no doubt to be 
found in his sullen and jealous temper ; the coldness 
between him and the queen, and the ill-disguised hos- 
tility with which he was regarded by Both well, Moray, 
and the ruling party at court, who were now busy la- 
bouring for the recall of Morton, so recently Darnley's 
associate in the murder of Riccio, but now his most 

* Letter from De Croc to the Archbishop of Glasgow, Stirling, 23d De- 
cember, 1566, Keith, p. vii. of his Prefatory matter. 

t Keith, Preface, p. vii, De Croc to Beaton ; from the original in the 
Scots College, Paris. 


bitter enemy. De Croc the French ambassador, in 
his letter to Bishop Beaton, describing the baptism, 
observed that the king's conduct at this time was so 
incurable, that no good could be expected of him. It 
is of importance to mark his expressions. "The king," 
said he, " had still given out that he would depart two 
days before the baptism, but when the time came on he 
made no sign of removing at all, only he still kept close 
within his own apartment. The very day of the bap- 
tism he sent three several times, desiring me either to 
come and see him or to appoint him an hour that he 
might come to me in my lodgings. So that I found 
myself obliged at last to signify to him, that seeing he 
was in no good correspondence with the queen, I had 
it in charge from the most Christian king, to have no 
conference with him. And I caused tell him likewise, 
that as it would not be very proper for him to come to 
my lodgings, because there was such a crowd of com- 
pany there, so he might know that there were two 
passages to it ; and if he should enter by the one, I 
should be constrained to go out by the other. His bad 
deportment is incurable, nor can there be any good 
expected from him for several reasons, which I might 
tell you, was I present with you. I can't pretend to 
foretell how all may turn, but I will say that matters 
cannot subsist long as they are, without being accom- 
panied with sundry bad consequences."* 

It had long been evident that Mary's enmity to the 
Earl of Morton and his associates, who had been 
banished for the murder of Riccio, was much softened; 
and soon after the baptism she consented to pardon 
them at the earnest entreaty of Moray, Bothwell, and 

* De Croc to Beaton, Stirling, December 23, 1566, quoted by Keith in 
bit Prefatory matter, p. vii. 

1566-7. MARY. 57 

their associates.* She excepted, indeed, from this act 
of mercy two marked delinquents, George Douglas, 
who had stabbed Riccio over her shoulder, and Andrew 
Car of Faudonside, who had presented a pistol to her 
breast ; but Morton, Lindsay, Ruthven, and seventy- 
six other persons were pardoned ; and so highly did 
the king resent and dread their return, that he abruptly 
left the court and took up his residence with his father 
Lennox, at Glasgow. Soon after this he was seized 
with a disease which threw out pustules over his body ; 
and a report arose that he had been poisoned. The 
rumour cannot excite wonder when we recollect the 
bond for the murder of the unhappy prince, which had 
been entered into at Craigmillar, and which its authors, 
who occupied the chief places about the queen, only 
awaited a safe opportunity to execute. But in the 
present case rumour spoke false, for the disease proved 
to be the small pox, and the queen immediately de- 
spatched her own physician to attend him.-f- It was 
impossible, however, that he should receive much sym- 
pathy either from Mary or her ministers. His actions 
lately had been marked by continued perversity and 
weakness. Whilst the queen had been exerting her- 
self for some months to reconcile her nobles, to secure 
the amity of England, and, by a judicious extension of 
mercy to Morton and his friends, to restore tranquillity 
and peace to the country, Darnley appears to have been 
occupied with perpetual intrigues and plots. Not con- 
tented with his secret correspondence with Rome, and 
the Roman Catholics in England, he was reported to 
entertain a project for crowning the young prince and 
seizing the government ; and he exhibited, with his 

* Bedford to Cecil, original, State-paper Office, December 30, 156'6. 
t MS. Letter State-paper Office, Bedford to Cecil, January 9, 1566, f. e. 


father Lennox, a fixed resolution to thwart all the 
measures of the queen, and give her perpetual vexa- 
tion and alarm.* In all these enterprises there was 
so much inconsistency and jealousy so evident an in- 
ability to carry any plot into successful execution, and 
yet such a perverse desire to create mischief that the 
queen, in addressing her ambassador in France at this 
moment, expressed herself towards him with much 
severity. " As for the king our husband," said she, 
" God knows always our part towards him ; and his 
behaviour and thankfulness to us is equally well known 
to God and the world, especially our own indifferent 
subjects see it, and in their hearts we doubt not con- 
demn the same. Always we perceive him occupied, 
and busy enough to have inquisition of our doings ; 
which, God willing, shall always be such as none shall 
have occasion to be offended with them, or to report of 
us any ways but honourably, however he, his father, 
and their fautors speak, which we know want no good 
will to make us have ado, if their power were equiva- 
lent to their minds. But God moderates their forces 
well enough, and takes the means of the execution of 
their pretences from them : for, as we believe, they 
shall find none or very few approvers of their councils 
and devices imagined to our displeasure and mislik- 


When this letter was written, the king, as we have 
seen, lay at Glasgow; J and, much about the same time, 

* Examination of William Rogers, original, State-paper Office, 16th Jan. 
1566-7. Keith, p. 348, quoting Knox in note 6. Also Mary's letter to 
Beaton, January 20, 1566-7, in Keith's Prefatory matter, p. viii. 

+ Mary to Bishop Beaton, 20th January, ut supra, Keith, p. viii. Preface. 

J Bedford to Cecil, Berwick, original, State-paper Office, 9th January, 
1566-7. " The estate of all things there [Scotland] is as it was wont to be, 
and the agreement between the queen and her husband nothing amended, 
as you shall hear further when I come. The king is now at Glasgow with 
his father, and there lyeth full of the small pocks, to whom the queen hath 
sent her physician." 

1566-7. MARY. 59 

an incident occurred at Berwick, which appears to me to 
connect itself with the conspiracy to which he soon after 
fell a victim. In Mary's service there were two Italians, 
Joseph Riccio and Joseph Lutyni. Joseph Biccio was 
brother to the unhappy secretary David. He had ar- 
rived in Scotland soon after his brother's murder, and 
had been promoted by Mary to the office which it left 
vacant.* All that we know regarding him is, that the 
queen treated him with favour ; and Lennox, after the 
assassination of his son the king, publicly named him 
as one of the murderers. Of Lutyni we know nothing, 
except that he was a gentleman in the queen's house- 
hold, and an intimate friend of Joseph Riccio. This 
Lutyni, Mary now sent on a mission to France, (sixth 
January, 1566-7 ;) but he had only reached Berwick, 
when she despatched urgent letters, directing that he 
should be instantly apprehended, and brought back to 
Scotland, as he was a thief, and had absconded with 
money. -f- Sir William Drury marshal of Berwick, to 
whom these letters were addressed, on examining him, 
appears to have found upon his person, or someway to 
have got possession of, a letter written to him by his 
friend Joseph Riccio ; and its contents convinced 
Drury that the Scottish queen dreaded the disclosure 
of some important secret of which Lutyni had possess- 
ed himself. Alluding to Mary's letter, and the dis- 
crepancy between the slight reasons assigned for his 
apprehension and her great anxiety to have him again 
in her hands, Drury observed to Cecil, " And there- 
fore giveth me to think, by that I can gather as well 

* MS. Letter, State-paper Office, Randolph to Cecil, April 25, 1666. 

f- Lutyni's passport is dated 6th January, 1566-7, contemporary copy from 
original, State-paper Office, sent by Drury to Cecil, referred to in a MS. Let- 
ter, State-paper Office, B.C., dated January 23, 1566, t. . 1566-7. He was 
ordered to be arrested by a letter from Mary, dated January 17, 1566-7. 
Transcript from original, State-paper Office, and copy of passport. 


of the matter as of the gentleman, that it is not it 
[the money] that the queen seeketh so much, as to 
recover his person ; for I have learned the man had 
credit there, and now the queen mistrusteth lest he 
should offer his service here in England and thereby 
might, with better occasion, utter something either 
prejudicial to her, or that she would be loath should 
be disclosed but to those she pleaseth." * 

Riccio's letter was certainly fitted to rouse these 
suspicions. He told Lutyni, that they were both ve- 
hemently blamed, that they were accused of acting a 
double part, and that Lutyni in particular was railed 
at as having been prying into the queen's private pa- 
pers ; and he implored him when examined on his return, 
as he valued his own safety and his friend's life, to 
adhere to a certain story, which he (Riccio) had already 
told the queen. On interrogating Lutyni, Drury found 
him in the greatest alarm, affirming, that if he were 
sent back to Scotland, it would be to "a prepared 
death. "} Upon this he consulted Cecil, and received 
orders not to deliver him up, but to detain him at 
Berwick. The whole circumstances are exceedingly 
obscure ; but it appears to me certain, from Riccio's 
letter, that Lutyni had become acquainted through 
him with some secret, the betrayal of which was a 
matter of life or death ; that Mary suspected that he 
had stolen or read some of her private papers ; that she 
had determined to examine him herself upon this point; 
and that everything depended on his deceiving the 
queen on his return, by adhering to the tale which had 
been already told her. In what other way are we to 
understand these expressions of Riccio to Lutyni ? 

* MS. Letter, State-paper Office, B.C., Drury to Cecil, 23d January, 
1566-7, Berwick, 
t MS. Letter State-paper Office, B.C., Drury to Cecil, Feb. 7, 1566-7. 

1566-7. MARY. 61 

* * Se voi dite cosi come vi mando sarete scusato, e 
io ancora. La Regina vi manda ci pigliare per parlar 
con voi, pigliate guardia a voi che voi la cognoscete 
pigliate guardia che non v^abuzzi delle sue parole come 
voi sapete bene ; e ni'ha detto che vuol parlare a voi 
in segreto e pigliate guardia delli dire come vi ho scritto, 
e non altramente, a fin che nostra parola si confront! 
Tuna a Taltra, e ne voi ne io non saremo in pena nes- 
suna, * * e vi prego di aver pieta di me, e non voler 
esser causa della mia morte. * When it is considered 
that at this moment Bothwell, Lethington, and their 
accomplices, had resolved on the king's death ; when 
we recollect the conference at Craigmillar, in which 
they had hinted their intentions to the queen, and had 
been commanded by her to do nothing that would 
touch her honour; when we know that Bothwell, who 
was at this time in the highest favour with Mary, was 
the custodiar also of the written bond for the murder 
of Darnley, there appears to me to be a presumption 
that Joseph Riccio, who must have hated the king as 
the principal assassin of his brother, had joined the 
plot ; that his terrors arose out of his having revealed 
to Lutyni the conspiracy for Darnley's murder, and 
that the queen, suspecting it, had resolved to secure 
his person. This, however, is only presumption, and 
the letter might relate to some other state secret. But 
we shall again meet with Lutyni and Riccio : and 
meanwhile I proceed to those dreadful scenes which so 
soon followed the baptism of the prince and the pardon 
of the Earl of Morton. 

When this nobleman returned in the 'beginning of 
January, 1566-7, from his banishment in England, 

* See the whole Letter in Proofs and Illustrations, No. III. It is in the 
State-paper Office. Endorsed in Cecil's own hand, " Joseph Riccio, Queen 
of Scots' servant." 


Darnley still lay in a weakly state of health at Glasgow. 
On his road to Edinburgh, Morton took up his resi- 
dence at Whittingham, the seat of Archibald Douglas, 
his near relative, and soon after was joined there by the 
Earl of Bothwell and Secretary Lethington. * The 
object of this visit was immediately explained by Both- 
well, who, in the presence of Archibald Douglas, ac- 
quainted Morton with their determination to murder 
the king; and added, as an inducement for him to join 
the plot, that the queen had consented to his death. 
The atrocious proposal was declined by Morton, not 
influenced by any feelings of horror, which, from his 
character, he was not likely to give way to, but on 
other grounds. He was unwilling, he said, to meddle 
with new troubles, when he had scarcely got rid of an 
old offence, "f* Archibald Douglas then earnestly ex- 
horted him to join the plot ; and Bothwell, in a second 
interview, to which Lethington was admitted, reiterated 
his arguments, and insisted that all was done at the 
queen's desire. Bring me then, said Morton, the 
queen's hand-writ for a warrant, and you shall have 
my answer. Upon this Douglas accompanied Leth- 
ington and Bothwell to Edinburgh, and soon after he 
received an order from Lethington to return to Whit- 
tingham, and tell Morton that the queen would receive 
no speech of the matter appointed unto him . J Douglas 
complaining of the brevity and obscurity of this mes- 
sage, Lethington replied, that Morton would have no 
difficulty in comprehending it ; and it appears to me 

* Morton to Cecil from Berwick. MS. Letter, State-paper Office, 10th 
Jan. 1566-7. MS. Letter, B.C. Drary to Cecil, Jan. 23, 1566-7. Morton 
arrived at Whittingham some time between the 9th and the 23d of January. 

j- Morton's Confession in Bannatyne's Memorials, p. 317. Bannatyne 

Morton's Confession before his death ; printed in Bannatyne's Memorials, 
. 318. Archibald Douglas's letter to Queen Mary, April, 1568 ; printed 
from the Harleian, by Robertson, Appendix, No. xlvii. 

1566-7. MARY. 63 

certain, that it related to the same subject already 
talked of between them, the king's murder, and the 
written warrant which Morton had required from the 

These secret interviews and conversations took place 
at Whittingham and Edinburgh in the latter part of 
the month of January, and on the twenty-second of 
the same month, Mary set out on a visit to the king at 
Glasgow. Darnley was now partially recovered from 
his late sickness, but he had received some private in- 
telligence of the plots against him. He was aware of 
the return of Morton, who regarded him as the cause 
of all his late sufferings ; he knew, that amongst his 
mortal enemies, who had never forgiven him his deser- 
tion of them in the conspiracy against Riccio, were 
some of the highest nobility who now enjoyed the 
confidence of the queen. He had recently heard from 
one of his servants, that Mary had spoken of him with 
much severity, * and her visit, therefore, took him by 
surprise. Under this feeling the king sent Crawford 
one of his gentlemen to meet the queen, with a message, 
excusing himself for not waiting upon her in person. -f- 
He was still infirm, he said, and did not presume to 
come to her until he knew her wishes, and was assured 
of the removal of her displeasure. To this, Mary briefly 
replied, that there was no medicine against fear ; and 
passing forward to Glasgow, came into Darnley's bed- 
chamber, when, after greeting and some indifferent talk, 
the subjects which had estranged them from each other 
were introduced. Darnley professed a deep repentance 
for his errors, pleaded his youth, and the few friends 

* Thomas Crawford's Deposition. MS. State-paper Office. Endorsed by 
Cecil, but without date. 

t Anderson, vol. iv. pp. 168, 169, and MS. State-paper Office. Thomas 
Crawford's Deposition. 


he now had, and declared to her his unalterable affec- 
tion. Mary reminded him of his complaints and sus- 
picions, spoke against his foolish plan of leaving the 
kingdom, and recalled to his mind the " purpose of 
Hiegate,"a name given to a plot which Darnley affirmed 
he had discovered, and of which he was himself to be 
the victim. The queen demanded who was his informer. 
He replied the Laird of Minto, who had told him that 
a letter was presented to her in Craigmillar, made by 
her own device, and subscribed by certain others, who 
desired her to sign it, which she refused. * Darnley 
then added, that he would never think that she, who 
was his own proper flesh, would do him any hurt ; and 
if any others should do it, they should buy it dear, 
unless they took him sleeping. He observed, however, 
that he suspected none; and only entreated her to bear 
him company, and not, as she was wont, to withdraw 
herself from him. Mary then told him, that as he was 
still little able to travel, she had brought a litter with 
her to carry him to Craigmillar, and he declared his 
readiness to accompany her, if she would consent that 
they should again live together at bed and board. She 
promised it should be as he had spoken, and gave him 
her hand; but added, that before this, he must be 
thoroughly cleansed of his sickness, which she trusted 
he shortly would be, as she intended to give him the 
bath at Craigmillar. The queen also requested him 
to conceal the promises which had now passed between 
them, as the suddenness of their agreement might give 
umbrage to some of the lords ; to which he replied, 
that he could see no reason why they should mislike it. 
When Mary left him, Darnley called Crawford to 
him, and informing him fully of all that had passed at the 

* "CrawfonTs Deposition, ut supra. 

1566-7. MARY. 65 

interview, bade him communicate it to his father the 
Earl of Lennox. He then asked him what he thought 
of the queen's taking him to Craigmillar? She treats 
your majesty, said Crawford, too like a prisoner. Why 
should you not be taken to one of your own houses in 
Edinburgh? It struck me much the same way, answered 
Darnley; and I have fears enough, but may God judge 
between us, I have her promise only to trust to ; but 
I have put myself in her hands, and I shall go with 
her, though she should murder me. * It is from Craw- 
ford's evidence, taken on oath, which was afterwards 
produced, and still exists, endorsed by Cecil, that we 
learn these minute particulars ; nor have I been able to 
discover any sufficient ground to doubt its truth, j* 

Soon after this interview, the queen carried her 
husband, by slow journeys, from Glasgow to Edinburgh, 
where she arrived on the last day of January.J It had 
been at first intended, as we have seen, that Darnley 
should have taken up his residence at Craigmillar, but 
this purpose was changed ; and as the palace of Holy- 
rood was judged from its low situation to be unhealthy, 
and little fitted for an invalid, the king was brought 
to a suburb called the Kirk of Field, a more remote 
and airy site, occupied by the town residence of the 
Duke of Chastelherault, and other buildings and gar- 
dens. On their arrival here, the royal attendants were 
about to proceed to the duke's lodging as it was called, 

* MS. State-paper Office. Thomas Crawford's Deposition. Crawford, 
a gentleman of the Earl of Lennox, was examined on oath before the com- 
missioners at York, December 9, 1568, and then produced a paper which he 
had written immediately after the conversations between himself, and the 
queen and king. Wherein he did write what had taken place as nearly word 
for word as his memory would serve him. Anderson, vol. iv. p. 169. This 
paper is the Deposition, endorsed by Cecil, from which I have taken the 
narrative in the text. 

f Cecil's Diary. Anderson, vol. ii. p. 271. 

MS. Letter, State-paper Office, B.C. Drury to Cecil, Jan. 26, 1566-7. 
Cecil's Diary. Anderson, vol. ii. p. 272. 


but on alighting, Mary informed them, that the king's 
apartments were to be in an adjoining house, which 
stood beside the town wall, not far from a ruinous 
Dominican Monastery, called the Black Friars.* To 
this place she led Darnley, and making every allowance 
for the rudeness of the domestic accommodations of these 
times, it appears to have been an insecure and confined 
mansion. "f Its proprietor was Robert Balfour, a 
brother of that Sir James Balfour, whom we have 
already known as the deviser of the bond for the mur- 
der which was drawn up at Craigmillar, and then a 
dependant of BothwelPs. This earl, whose influence 
was now nearly supreme at court, had recently returned 
from Liddesdale ; and when he understood that Mary 
and the king were on their road from Glasgow, he met 
them with his attendants, a short way from the capital, 
and accompanied the party to the Kirk of Field. J 

At this moment the reconciliation between the queen 
and her husband seemed to be complete. She assidu- 
ously superintended every little detail which could add 
to his comfort. She treated him not only with at- 
tention but tenderness, passed much of the day in his 
society, and had a chamber prepared for herself imme- 
diately below his, where she slept. The king was 
partially reassured by these marks of affection. He 
knew that plots had been entertained against his life, 
and, as we have seen, suspected many of the nobles 
to be his enemies. Yet he trusted to the promises of 
the queen, and, no doubt, believed that if she remained 
beside him, they would find it impossible to accomplish 

* Evidence of Thomas Nelson. Anderson, vol. iv. p. 165. 

\- See a minute description of it in the Deposition of Nelson, printed in 
Anderson. Vol. iv. p. 165. 

MS. Letter, State-paper Office, B.C. Scrope to Cecil, Jan. 28, 1566-Z- 

Nelson's Evidence. Anderson, vol. iv. p. 166. 

1566-7. MARY. 67 

their cruel purpose. But when he indulged these 
hopes, the miserable prince was on the very brink of 

Since their recent meeting at Whittingham, Both- 
well, Morton, Lethington, and Sir James Balfour, had 
fully determined on the murder. The Earls of Hunt- 
ley, Argyle, and Caithness, Archibald Douglas, with 
the Archbishop of St Andrew's, and many others of 
the leading lords and legal officers in the country had 
joined the conspiracy ; and some who did not choose 
directly to share in the plot, deemed it dangerous or 
impolitic to reveal it. Of this neutral sort, the greatest 
was Moray, whom, from the evidence that yet remains, 
it is impossible to believe ignorant of the resolutions 
of his friends, but whose superior sagacity enabled him 
to avoid any direct connexion with the atrocious design 
which they now hurried on to its accomplishment. 

On Sunday the ninth of February, Bastian, a fo- 
reigner belonging to the household of the queen, was 
to be married at Holyrood. The bride was one of her 
favourite women, and Mary, to honour their union, 
had promised them a masque. The greatest part of 
that day she passed with the king. They appeared 
to be on the most affectionate terms, and she declared 
her intention of remaining all night at the Kirk of 
Field. It was at this moment, when Darnley and 
the queen were engaged in conversation, that Hay of 
Tallo, Hepburn of Bolton, and other ruffians whom 
Bothwell had hired for the purpose, secretly entered 
the chamber which was under the king's, and depo- 
sited on the floor a large quantity of gunpowder in 
bags. They then laid a train, which was connected 
with a " hint," or slow match, and placed everything 
in readiness for its being lighted. Some of them now 


hurried away, but two of the conspirators remained on 
the watch ; and in the meantime Mary, who still sat 
with her husband in the upper chamber, recollected 
her promise of giving the masque at Bastian's wedding, 
and taking farewell of Darnley, embraced him and left 
the house with her suite.* 

Soon after, the king retired to his bed-chamber. 
Since his illness there appeared to have been a great 
change in him. He had become more thoughtful, and 
thought had brought with it repentance of his former 
courses. He lamented there were few near him whom 
he could trust, and at times he would say, that he knew 
he should be slain, complaining that he was hardly 
dealt with ; but from these sorrows he had sought re- 
fuge in religion, and it was remarked, that on this night, 
his last in this world, he had repeated the 55th Psalm, 
which he would often read and sing.-f* After his de- 
votion, he went to bed and fell asleep, Taylor, his page, 
being beside him in the same apartment. This was 
the moment seized by the murderers, who still lurked 
in the lower room, to complete their dreadful purpose; 
but their miserable victim was awakened by the noise of 
their false keys in the lock of his apartment, and, rush- 
ing down in his shirt and pelisse, endeavoured to make 
his escape, but he was intercepted and strangled after 
a desperate resistance, his cries for mercy being heard 
by some women in the nearest house ; the page was 
also strangled; and their bodies were carried into a small 
orchard, without the garden wall, where they were found, 
the king in his shirt only, and the pelisse by his side. J 

* Nelson's Evidence. Anderson, vol. iv. p. 167. 

+ MS. Letter, State-paper Office, B.C. Drary to Cecil, about 18th April, 

J See the Account of M. de Moret. Appendix, No. IV. MS. Letter, 
State-paper Office, B.C. Drury to Cecil. Feb. 12, 1566-7. Ibid. Same to 
came, about 18th April, 1567. 

1566-7. MARY. 69 

Amid the conflicting stories of the ruffians who 
were executed, it is difficult to arrive at the whole 
truth. But no doubt rests on the part acted by Both- 
well, the arch-conspirator. He had quitted the king's 
apartments with the queen, and joined the festivities 
in the palace, from which about midnight he stole 
away, changed his rich dress, and rejoined the mur- 
derers who waited for him at the Kirk of Field. His 
arrival was the signal to complete their purpose : the 
match was lighted, but burnt too slow for their breath- 
less impatience ; and they were stealing forward to 
examine it, when it took effect. A loud noise, like the 
bursting of a thunder cloud, awoke the sleeping city ; 
the king's house was torn in 'pieces and cast into the 
air; and the assassins, hurrying from the spot, under 
cover of the darkness regained the palace. Here 
Bothwell had scarcely undressed and gone to bed, when 
the cry arose in the city, that the Kirk of Field had 
been blown up, and the king murdered. The news 
flew quickly to Holyrood, and a servant rushing into 
his chamber imparted the dreadful tidings. He started 
up in well-feigned astonishment, and shouted " Trea- 
son ! " He was joined next moment by Huntley, a 
brother conspirator ; and immediately these two noble- 
men, with others belonging to the court, entered the 
queen's apartments, when Mary was made acquainted 
with the dreadful fate of her husband.* She was 
horror-struck, shut herself up in her bed-chamber, and 
seemed overwhelmed with sorrow.-f- 

The murder had been committed on Monday, about 
two in the morning, and when day broke, multitudes 

* Declaration of William Pourie. Anderson, vol. ii. p. 170. 

f* Examinations and Depositions of William Pourie, George Dalgleish, 
John Hay, younger of Tallo, and John Hepburn of Bolton, concerning the 
murder of the king. Anderson, vol. ii. pp. 165, 192, inclusive. 


crowded to examine the Kirk of Field. Any length- 
ened scrutiny, however, was not permitted; for Both- 
well soon repaired to the spot with a guard, and the 
king's body was carried to a neighbouring house, where 
it lay till it was produced before the privy-council. In 
the brief interval, however, it had been noted that the 
bodies, both of Darnley and of his page, were unscathed 
by fire or powder, and that no blood wound appeared 
on either.* 

This gave rise to innumerable contradictory reports 
and conjectures; but all agreed, that instant inquiry 
promised the only hope of discovery; and men watched 
with intense interest the conduct of the queen and her 
ministers. Two days, however, elapsed before any 
step was taken, -f- but. on the Wednesday after the 
murder, a proclamation offered two thousand pounds 
reward, to any who would come forward with informa- 
tion ; and scarce was this made public, when a paper 
was fixed during the night, on the door of the Tolbooth, 
or common prison. It denounced the Earl of Bothwell, 
Mr James Balfour, and David Chambers, as guilty of 
the king's slaughter. Voices, too, were heard in the 
streets at dead of night, arraigning the same persons ; 
and as the fate of the king had excited the deepest 
indignation in the people, Mary's friends looked with 
the utmost anxiety to the conduct she should pursue. 
To their mortification, it was anything but satisfactory. 
Instead of acting with that spirit, promptitude, and 
vigour which she had so recently exhibited under the 
most trying emergencies, she betrayed a deplorable 
apathy and remissness. After keeping her chamber 
for some days, she removed to the seat of Lord Seaton, 

* MS. Letter, State-paper Office, B.C. Feb. 11, 1566-7. Enclosure by 
Drury to Cecil. 
+ MS. Letter, State-paper Office, B.C. Drury to Cecil, Feb. 12, 1566-7. 

1566-7. MARY 71 

at a short distance from the capital, accompanied by 
Bothwell, Argyle, Huntley, the Archbishop of St 
Andrew's, and Secretary Lethington.* On the pre- 
ceding day, Darnley had been buried in the chapel 
of Holyrood, but with great privacy. None of the 
nobility attended the ceremony ; and it was remarked 
that, of the officers of state, the Justice-clerk Bellenden 
was alone present. 

Meantime, whilst the queen was at Seaton, placards 
accusing Bothwell were openly exposed in the capital. 
The first of these appeared on the seventeenth, another 
repeated the denunciation on the nineteenth, and on 
the succeeding day, the Earl of Lennox, father to the 
murdered king, commenced a correspondence with the 
queen, in which he implored her to apprehend the sus- 
pected persons, and to lose no time in investigating 
the circumstances of his son's slaughter.-f- She replied 
that the placards contradicted each other, and that she 
was at a loss on which to proceed. He returned for 
answer, that the names of the persons suspected, were 
notorious to the world, and marvelled they should have 
been kept from her majesty's ears; but to prevent all 
mistakes, he should repeat them : the Earl Bothwell, 
Mr James Balfour, Mr David Chambers, and black 
Mr John Spens were denounced, he said, in the first 
placard ; in the second, Signor Francis, Bastian, John 
de Bordeaux, and Joseph, David's brother; and he 
finally besought the queen in the most earnest and 
touching terms, to take order for their immediate ap- 
prehension. But he besought her in vain. J At the 

* MS. Letter, State-paper Office, Drury to Cecil, Berwick, February 17, 
1566, i. e. 1566-7. 

t MS. Letter, State-paper Office, B.C. Drury to Cecil, Feb. 19, 1566-7, 
Berwick. Also Ibid, same to same, Berwick, Feb. 28, 1566-7. Cabala, p. 
126. Norris to Cecil. Anderson's Collections, vol. i. p. 40. 

J Anderson, vol. i. pp. 40, 44, 47, 48. Also Enclosure in MS. Letter, 
B.C. State-paper Office. Forster to Cecil, 28th February, 1566-7. 


moment he was writing, Bothwell continued in high 
favour, and enjoyed the most familiar intercourse with 
Mary. Although the reports of his guilt as the prin- 
cipal assassin became daily stronger ; nay, as if to 
convince Lennox, that all remonstrances would be in- 
efficacious, Sir James Balfour, the very man who was 
named as his fellow-murderer, was suffered to be at 

It was at this time that Lutyni the Italian, Joseph 
Riccio^s companion, was sent back by Drury to the 
Queen of Scots. Riccio himself, as we have just seen, 
had been accused as one of the murderers of the king; 
but that Lutynfs secret, of which Riccio so much 
dreaded the discovery, related to the plot, can only be 
conjectured. On his arrival, the queen did not see 
him, (it was scarce a week after Darnley's death,) but 
directed that he should be examined by Bothwell. This 
baron was apparently satisfied with the reasons which 
he gave for his flight, and after a courteous interview, 
permitted him to return to Berwick. The queen, at 
the same time, sent him a present of thirty crowns ; 
and he soon after left the country, expressing the ut- 
most satisfaction at his escape.* 

Had the queen entertained any serious idea of dis- 
covering the perpetrators of the murder, the steps to 
be pursued were neither dubious nor intricate. If she 
was afraid to seize the higher delinquents, it was, at 
least, no difficult matter to have apprehended and ex- 
amined the persons who had provided the lodging in 
which the king was slain. The owner of the house, 

* Whether guilty or no, Lutyni had been so well tutored by his friend, 
that no suspicion was raised. It is evident, however, that fears were felt 
for him, as Drury had procured a promise from Mary and Lethington, that 
he should be dismissed in safety ; and sent a gentleman of the garrison with 
him, to see that it was fulfilled. MS. Letter, State-paper Office, Drury to 
Cecil, B.C., Feb. 19, 15G6-7. Same to same, B.C., Feb. 28, 1566-7. 

1566-7. MARY. 73 

Robert Balfour, was well known; her own servants 
who had been intrusted with the keys, and the king's 
domestics who had absented themselves before the ex- 
plosion, or were preserved from its effects, were still 
on the spot, and might have been arrested and brought 
before the privy-council. * But nothing of this kind 
took place; and in this interval of delay and apparent 
indecision, many persons from whom information might 
have been elicited, and some who were actually accused, 
took the opportunity of leaving the country. On the 
nineteenth of February, only nine days after the ex- 
plosion, Sir W. Drury addressed an interesting letter 
to Cecil from Berwick, in which he mentioned that 
Dolu the queen's treasurer, had arrived in that town 
with eight others, amongst whom was Bastian, one of 
those denounced in the placards. Francis the Italian 
steward, the same person whose name had been also 
publicly posted up as engaged in the murder, was ex- 
pected, he added, to pass that way within a few days, 
and other Frenchmen had left Scotland by sea.'f' 

In the midst of these events, the Earl of Bothwell 
continued to have the chief direction of affairs, and to 
share with Lethington, Argyle, and Huntley, the con- 
fidence of the queen. The Earls of Moray and Morton, 
who were absent from the capital at the time of the 
murder, showed no disposition to return ; and Lennox, 
when requested by Mary to repair to court, dismissed 
her messenger without an answer, j 

Meanwhile, rumour was busy, and some particulars 
were talked of amongst the people, which, if any real 
solicitude on the subject had existed, might have still 

* Laing, p. 52. 

t State-paper Office, B.C., Berwick, Drury to Cecil, Feb. 19, 1566-7. 
Ibid. Drury to Cecil, Berwick, Feb. 19, 1566-7. 
J Ibid. Same to same, Feb. 19, 1566-7. 


given a clue to trace the assassins. A smith was spoken 
of in a bill fastened on the Tron,* who had furnished 
the false keys to the king's apartment, and who, on 
due security, promised to come forward and point out 
his employers.^ A person was said to be discovered 
in Edinburgh, from whom Sir James Balfour had pur- 
chased a large quantity of powder; and other placards 
and drawings appeared, in which the queen herself and 
Bothwell were plainly pointed at. But the only effect 
produced by such intimations, was to rouse this daring 
man to a passionate declaration of vengeance. Accom- 
panied by fifty guards, he rode to the capital from 
Seton, and with furious oaths and gestures declared 
publicly, that if he knew who were the authors of the 
bills or drawings, he would " wash his hands in their 
blood, j" It was remarked, that as he passed through 
the streets, his followers kept a jealous watch, and 
crowded round him as if they apprehended an attack, 
whilst he himself spoke to no one, of whom he was not 
assured, without his hand on the hilt of his dagger. 
His deportment and fierce looks were much noted by 
the people, who began, at the same time to express 
themselves openly and bitterly against the queen. 
It was observed that Captain Cullen and his company 
were the guards nearest her person, and he was well 
known to be a sworn follower of Bothwell's ; it was 
remarked, that whilst all inquiry into the murder 
appeared to be forgotten, an active investigation took 
place as to the authors of the placards ; [| and minuter 
circumstances were noted, which seemed to argue a 

* A post in the public market, where goods were weighed. 

t MS. Letter, State-paper Office, B.C., Drury to Cecil, Feb. 28, 1566-7. 

Ibid. Berwick. 

MS. Letter, Drury to Cecil, Feb. 28, 1566-7. 

U Keith, p. 374. 

1566-7. MARY. 75 

light and indifferent behaviour, at a time when her 
manner should have been especially circumspect and 
guarded. It did not escape attention, that scarce two 
weeks after her husband's death, whilst in the country 
and in the city all were still shocked at the late occur- 
rences, and felt them as a stain on their national char- 
acter, the court at Seton was occupied in gay amuse- 
ments. Mary and Bothwell would shoot at the butts 
against Huntley and Seton ; and, on one occasion, after 
winning the match, they forced these lords to pay the 
forfeit in the shape of a dinner at Tranent. * On the 
evening of the day in which the earl had exhibited so 
much fury in the streets of the capital, two more 
placards were hung up : on the one were written the 
initials, M. R., with a hand holding a sword ; on the 
other, Bothwell's initials, with a mallet painted above, 
an obscure allusion to the only wound found upon the 
unhappy prince, which appeared to have been given by 
a blunt instrument. 

These symptoms of suspicion and dissatisfaction were 
not confined to the people. Movements began to be 
talked of amongst the nobles. It was reported that 
Moray and some friends had held a meeting at Dun- 
keld, where they were joined by Caithness, Athole, 
and Morton ;-f- and as this nobleman had absented him- 
self from court, and kept aloof amongst his dependants, 
the queen became at length convinced that something 
must be done to prevent a coalition against her, and 
to satisfy the people that she was determined to insti- 
tute a public inquiry into the murder. 

To this, indeed, she had been urged in the most 
solemn and earnest terms by Bishop Beaton, her am- 
bassador at Paris. The day after Darnley's death, she 

* MS. Letter, State-paper Office, B.C., Drury to Cecil, Berwick, Feb. 28. 
1566-7. tlbid. 


had written to this prelate, giving a brief description 
of the late dreadful events, and lamenting that his 
affectionate warning, to beware of some sudden danger, 
had arrived too late. In his answer he had implored 
her to lose no time in prosecuting its authors, and 
vindicating herself in the eyes of the world. He had 
even gone so far as to repeat the common opinion then 
current in France, that she was herself the principal 
cause of the king^s death, and that nothing had been 
done without her consent. His expressions upon this 
point were very remarkable. " Of this deed, if I should 
write all that is spoken here, and also in England, of 
the miserable estate of [the] realm by the dishonour 
of the nobility, mistrust and treason of your whole 
subjects, yea, that yourself is greatly and wrongously 
calumniated to be the motive principal of the whole, 
and all done by your command, I can conclude nothing 
besides that which your majesty writes to me yourself, 
that since it hath pleased God to preserve you to take 
a rigorous vengeance thereof, that rather than it be not 
actually taken, it appears to me better, in this world, 
that you had lost life and all. * * * Here it is needful 
that you show forth now, rather than ever before, the 
great virtue, magnanimity, and constancy, which God 
has granted you ; by whose grace I hope you shall 
overcome this most heavy envy and displeasure of the 
committing thereof, and preserve that reputation in all 
godliness which you have acquired long since ; which 
can appear no ways more clearly than that you do such 
jusfice as the whole world may declare your innocence, 
and give testimony for ever of their treason that have 
committed, without fear of God or man, so cruel and 
ungodly a murder."* 

* Keith, Preface, p. ix. Extract from the original in the Scottish College, 

1566-7. MARY. 77 

This honest letter was written on the eighth of 


March, about a month after the king's murder; and on 
the same day Mary received a message of condolence 
and advice from Elizabeth. It was brought by Sir 
Henry Killigrew, who, on his arrival, after dining 
with Bothwell, Morton, Lethington, and Argyle, (all 
of them, as was afterwards proved, participated in this 
cruel deed,) was admitted to the queen. To see her 
face was impossible, for the chamber was dark, but, by 
her voice and manner, she seemed in profound grief; 
and not only assured the envoy of her desire to satisfy 
the Queen of England's wishes regarding the treaty of 
Leith and the matters of the Borders, but promised 
him that the Earl of Bothwell should be brought to a 
public trial.* 

During his stay in the capital, which lasted but a 
few days, Killigrew found the people clamorous for 
inquiry into the assassination, which they regarded as 
a shame to the whole nation; whilst the preachers 
solemnly exhorted all men to prayer and repentance, 
and in their pulpits appealed to God, that he would be 
pleased " to reveal and revenge. "*f Scarce, however, 
had this envoy departed, when the queen seemed to 
have forgotten her good resolutions ; and, infatuated in 
her predilection for Bothwell, admitted him to greater 
power and favour than ever. The Earl of Mar was 
induced to give up the castle of Edinburgh, and it was 
given to Bothwell. Morton, after a secret and mid- 
night interview with his royal mistress, received the 
castle of Tantallon and other lands which he had for- 
feited by his rebellion ; and it was remarked, that in 

* MS. Letter, State-paper Office, Killigrew to Cecil, 8th March, 1566-7. 
Also, MS. Letter, State-paper Office, B.C.. 30th March, 1567, Drury to 
Cecil, Berwick. 

t MS. Letter, State-paper Office, Killigrew to Cecil, ut supra. 


return for this, his whole power and interest were as- 
sured to Bothwell. The castle of Blackness, the Inch, 
and the superiority of Leith, were conferred on the 
same favourite ; and so completely did he rule every- 
thing at court, that Moray, although he judged it 
prudent to keep on friendly terms, became disgusted 
with the inferior part he now acted, and requested per- 
mission to leave the kingdom. * 

In the midst of these transactions, it was observed 
that the queen was wretched. She attended a solemn 
dirge for the soul of her husband; and they who were 
near her on this occasion, remarked a melancholy 
change from her former health and beauty. Nor were 
these feelings likely to be soothed by the letters which 
she now received from France, in which the queen- 
mother, and the cardinal her uncle, addressed her with 
bitter reproaches, and declared, that if she failed to 
avenge the death of the king their cousin, and to clear 
herself from the imputations brought against her, they 
would not only consider her as utterly disgraced, but 
become her enemies. { 

Urged by these repeated appeals, she at last resolved 
that Bothwell should be brought to a public trial ; but 
the circumstances which attended this tardy exhibition 
of justice were little calculated to justify her in the 
opinion of her people. He had now become so powerful 
by the favour of the crown, and the many offices con- 
ferred upon him, that it was evident, as long as he 
remained at large and ruled everything at court, no 
person dared be so hardy as accuse him. His trial 

* MS. Letter, State-paper Office, Drury to Cecil, B.C., 17th March, 
1566-7. Same to same, 14th March, 1566-7, B.C. Same to same, B.C., 
21st March, 1567. Same to same, 29th and 30th March, 1567, B.C. See 
also MS. Letter, State-paper Office, B.C., Drury to Cecil, 4th April, 1567. 

t Drury 's letter to Cecil, MS. Letter. State-paper Office. 29th March. 
1567, B.C. 

1567. MARY. 79 

accordingly was little else than a mock ceremonial, 
directed by himself, and completely overruled by his 
creatures. The Earl of Lennox, who at an earlier 
period had in vain implored the queen to investigate 
the murder, and to collect, whilst it was attainable, 
such evidence as might bring the guilt home to its 
authors, now as earnestly and justly pleaded the neces- 
sity of delay. He had been summoned to appear and 
make good his accusation against Bothwell ; but he de- 
clared that it was in vain to expect him to come singly, 
opposed to a powerful adversary, who enjoyed the royal 
favour, and commanded the town and the castle. He 
conjured the queen to grant him some time, that he 
might assemble his friends ; he observed, that when 
the suspected persons were still at liberty, powerful at 
court, and about her majesty's person, no fair trial 
could take place ; and, when all was in vain, he applied 
to Elizabeth, who wrote to Mary in the strongest 
terms, and besought her, as she hoped to save herself 
from the worst suspicions, to listen to so just a request. 
It was forcibly urged by the English queen, that Len- 
nox was well assured of a combination to acquit Both- 
well, and to accomplish by force what could never be 
attained by law ; and she advised her, in the manage- 
ment of a cause which touched her so nearly, to use 
that sincerity and prudence which might convince the 
whole world that she was guiltless.* 

It is not certain that the Scottish queen received 
this letter in time to stay the proceedings, for it was 
written only four days previous to the trial ; and the 
Provost-marshal of Berwick, to whom its delivery was 
intrusted, arrived at the capital early in the morning 
of the twelfth of April, the very day on which the trial 

* MS. Letter, State-paper Office, B.C., Drury to Cecil, 4th April, 1567. 


took place. The state in which he found the city soon 
convinced him that his message would be fruitless. 
When he entered the palace, the friends of the Earl 
of Bothwell were assembled. They and their followers 
mustered four thousand men, besides a guard of two 
hundred hagbutters. This formidable force kept 
possession of the streets, and filled the outer court of 
the palace ; and as the castle was at his devotion, it 
was evident that Bothwell completely commanded the 

It was scarcely to be expected that a messenger 
whose errand was suspected to be a request for delay 
should be welcome ; and although he announced him- 
self to be bearer of a letter from Elizabeth, he was 
rudely treated, reproached as an English villain, who 
had come to stay the " assize,"* and assured that the 
queen was too busy with the matters of the day, to 
attend to other business. At that moment Bothwell 
himself, with the Secretary Lethington, came out of 
the palace, and the provost-marshal delivered the Queen 
of England^ letters to the secretary, who, accompanied 
by Bothwell, carried them to Mary. No answer, how- 
ever, was brought back; and after a short interval, the 
earl and the secretary again came out, and mounted 
their horses, when he eagerly pressed forward for his 
answer. Lethington then assured him that his royal 
mistress was asleep, and could not receive the letter ; 
but the excuse was hardly uttered, before it was proved 
to be false, for at this moment, a servant of De Croc 
the French ambassador, who stood beside the English 
envoy, looking up, saw, and pointed out the queen and 
Mary Fleming, wife of the secretary, standing at a 

* The trial by a jury. MS. Letter, State-paper Office, B.C., 1.5th April, 
1567, Berwick, Drury to Cecil. See Proofs and Illustrations, No. Y. 

1567. MARY. 81 

window of the palace ; nor did it escape their notice 
that, as Bothwell rode past, Mary gave him a friendly 
greeting for a farewell. The cavalcade then left the 
court, and proceeded to the Tolbooth, where the trial 
was to take place, BothwelPs hagbutters surrounding 
the door, and permitting none to enter who were sus- 
pected of being unfavourable to the accused.* 

From the previous preparations, the result of such a 
trial might have been anticipated with certainty. The 
whole proceedings had already been arranged in a 
council, held some little time before, in which Both- 
well had taken his seat, and given directions regarding 
his own arraignment. *f The jury consisted principally, 
if not wholly, of the favourers of the earl ; the law 
officers of the crown were either in his interest, or 
overawed into silence ; no witnesses were summoned ; 
the indictment was framed with a flaw too manifest to 
be accidental; and his accuser the Earl of Lennox, who 
was on his road to the city, surrounded by a large force 
of his friends, had received an order not to enter the 
town with more than six in his company. J All this 
showed too manifestly what was intended; and Lennox, 
as might have been anticipated, declined to come for- 
ward in person. When summoned to make good his 
accusation, a gentleman named Cunningham appeared, 
and stated, that he had been sent by the earl his mas- 
ter to reiterate the charge of murder, but to request 
delay, as his friends, who had intended to have ac- 
companied him, both for his honour and security, had 

* MS. Letter, State-paper Office, Drury to Cecil, April 15, 1567, Berwick, 
B.C. Also a fragment, MS. Letter. State-paper Office, undated, Drury to 
Cecil, April, 1567. 

f Anderson's Collections, vol. i. p. 50. 

t Anderson, vol. ii. p. 98. MS. Letter, State-paper Office, B.C., Forster 
to Cecil, 15th April. 1S67. MS. Letter, Stat-paper Office. Drunr to CeciL 
15th April, 1567; 


changed their resolution.* On this being refused to 
Lennox's envoy, he publicly protested against the 
validity of any sentence of acquittal, and withdrew. 
The jury were then chosen : the earl pleaded not guilty ; 
and, in the absence of all evidence, a unanimous verdict 
of acquittal was pronounced. Bothwell then by a pub- 
lic cartel challenged any gentleman who should still 
brand him with the murder. On hearing of this defi- 
ance, Sir William Drury requested Cecil to intercede 
with Elizabeth that he might be permitted to accept 
it, professing himself absolutely convinced of the earl's 
guilt ; and next day a paper was set up, declaring, that 
if a day were fixed, a gentleman should appear but as 
no name was given the matter dropped. -f 

It was evident to all the world, that this famous trial 
was collusive, nor could it well be otherwise : Argyle, 
Morton, Huntley, and Lethington, were all more or 
less participant in the king's murder, they were the 
sworn and leagued friends of Bothwell, and they con- 
ducted the whole proceedings. It has been argued by 
Mary's advocates, that she was a passive instrument 
in the hands of this faction, and could not, even if 
willing, have insisted on a fair trial. But, however 
anxious to lean to every presumption in favour of in- 
nocence, I have discovered no proofs of this servitude; 
and such imbecility appears to me inconsistent with 
the vigour, decision, and courage, which were striking 
features in her character. 

The acquittal, although countenanced by the nobles, 
was loudly reprobated by the common people ; and as 

* MS. Letter, State-paper Office, B.C., Sir John Forster to Cecil, April 
15, 1567, Alnwick. Anderson's Collections, vol. ii. p. 107. 

t MS. Letter, State-paper Office, a fragment, Drury to Cecil, April, 1567. 
Anderson's Collections, vol. ii. p. 158. 

1567. MARY. 83 

rumours began to rise of a divorce between Botliwell 
and his countess, a sister of Huntley, their indignation 
and disgust were strongly expressed. Even in the 
public streets, and in the queen's presence, these feel- 
ings betrayed themselves; and the market women, as 
Mary passed, would cry out, " God preserve your 
grace, if you are saikless* of the king's death."" It 
was noted too, that this daring man had insulted the 
general feeling by riding to his trial on Darnley's fa- 
vourite horse ; it was reported to Drury that the queen 
had sent him a token and message during the proceed- 
ings ;[ and everything must have united to show Mary 
that her late conduct was viewed with the utmost sor- 
row and indignation. Yet, instead of opening her eyes 
to the perils of her situation, she seems to have resigned 
herself to the influence of one strong and engrossing 
passion ; and her history at this moment hurried for- 
ward with something so like an irresistible fatality, as 
to make it currently reported amongst the people that 
Bothwell was dealing in love philtres, and had em- 
ployed the sorceries of his old paramour, the Lady 

Immediately after the trial parliament assembled ; 
and the queen, irritated, perhaps, at the open censures 
of the city, declined the ancient custom of being guard- 
ed by the magistrates and trained bands, preferring a 
company of hagbutters. The acquittal of Bothwell 
was then confirmed by the three Estates, the conduct 
of the jury was approved of, the estates of Huntley and 
his friends restored, a rigid inquiry instituted against 
the authors of all bills in which Bothwell had been 

* Saikless ; innocent. 

t Drury to Cecil, MS. Letter, State-paper Office, B.C., 10th April, 1567. 
and April 19, 1567. Also, April, 1567. No date of the day is given, but 
the month is certain. 


accused ; and, as if to complete his triumph, Mary 
now selected him to bear the crown and sceptre before 
her when she rode to parliament.* It is worthy of 
remark also, that in this same parliament the Roman 
Catholic partialities of the queen seemed to be modified; 
and it is by no means improbable, that, owing to the 
influence of Bothwell, who was a Protestant, the re- 
formed party were treated with greater favour than 
before. Mary willingly agreed to abolish all laws 
affecting the lives of her subjects, on the score of their 
religion ; she passed an act securing a provision to the 
poorer ministers ; and it is likely more would have 
been granted if their Assembly had refrained from re- 
commending a rigid inquiry into the king's murder, 
which she resented and declined.*!* 

So completely did she espouse the cause of her pro- 
fligate favourite, that although all already dreaded his 
power, he now received from her the lordship and castle 
of D unbar, with an enlargement of his office of High- 
admiral ; and it was evident that, by the favour of the 
crown, and his " Bands'" with the greater nobles, he 
had shot up to a strength which none would dare to 
resist.]: Moray, from his power 'and popularity, was 
the only man who could have opposed him, but he now 
shunned the contest. We have already seen, that he 
had abstained from implicating himself in the bond for 
the king^s murder : the very day that preceded it he 
had left the capital. Since that time he seldom attended 
the meetings of the council ; and shortly previous to 
the trial, with the queen's permission, he retired to 

* Keith, p. 378. 

+ MS. Letter, State-paper Office, Sir W. Kirkaldy to Bedford, April 20, 
1567. Ibid. MS. Letter, same to same, 8th May, 1567. 

t MS. Letter, State-paper Office, Drury to Cecil, B.C., April 19, 1567; 
also, same to same, April 27, 1567. 

1567. MARY. 85 

France.* The friends, indeed, with whom he had long 
and intimately acted, Morton, Argyle, Huntley, Leth- 
ington, and their associates, were all of them conspir- 
ators in the king's death ; -f and they now appeared 
firm adherents of Bothwell ; but, in the meantime, it 
is certain, that for some time all open intercourse be- 
tween them and Moray was suspended. 

After his departure the events of every day exhibited 
some new proofs of the infatuated predilection of the 
queen. Happy had it been for this unfortunate prin- 
cess, had she listened for a moment to the calm and 
earnest advice of her ambassador, at the court of 
France, when he implored her to punish her husband's 
murderers, and warned her in such solemn terms, that 
the eyes of Europe were fixed upon her conduct ; but 
his letter appears to have made little impression : the 
collusive trial of Bothwell gave a shock to her best 
friends, and the extraordinary events which now ra- 
pidly succeeded confirmed the worst suspicions of her 

On the evening of the day on which the parliament 
rose, (April nineteenth,) Bothwell invited the principal 
nobility to supper, in a tavern kept by a person named 
Ansley. They sat drinking till a late hour ; and during 
the entertainment a band of two hundred hagbutters 
surrounded the house and overawed its inmates. J 
The earl then rose and proposed his marriage with the 
queen, affirming that he had gained her consent, and 
even (it is said) producing her written warrant em- 
powering him to propose the matter to her nobility. 

*_MS. Letter, State-paper Office, B.C., Drury to Cecil, April 9 and 10, 

t This was afterwards clearly established. 

J Anderson, vol. iv. p. 60, Elizabeth's Commissioners to the Queen, llth 
October, 1568, from Caligula, C. i. fol. 198. 



Of the guests some were his sworn friends, others were 
terrified and irresolute ; and in the confusion one 
nobleman, the Earl of Eglinton, contrived to make his 
escape ; but the rest, both Papist and Protestant, were 
overawed into compliance, and affixed their signatures 
to a bond, in which they declared their conviction of 
BothwelFs innocence, and recommended " this noble 
and mighty lord", as a suitable husband for the queen, 
whose continuance in solitary widowhood they declared 
was injurious to the interests of the commonwealth. 
The most influential persons who signed this disgrace- 
ful instrument were the Earls of Morton, Argyle, 
Huntley, Cassillis, Sutherland, Glencairn, Rothes, and 
Caithness; and of the lords, Herries, Hume, Boyd, 
Seton, and Sinclair.* 

The perfection to which the system of paid informers 
was now carried in Scotland, and the rapid communi- 
cation of secret intelligence to England and the conti- 
nent, have been already frequently remarked in the 
course of this history ; but at no time did Elizabeth 
possess more certain information than at the present. 
She knew and watched with intense interest every step 
taken by Mary ; her far-reaching and sagacious eye 
had, it is probable, already detected the ruin of her 
beautiful and envied rival, in that career of passion 
upon which it was now too apparent to all that she 
had entered ; and her ministers, Cecil and Bedford, 
who managed the affairs of Scotland, availed themselves 
with indefatigable assiduity of every possible source of 
information. Nor did they want assistants in that 

* Anderson, vol. i. p. 107, from a copy in the Cottonian Library, Caligula, 
C. i. fol. 1. Keith, p. 381. There is a contemporary copy of the Bond in 
the State-paper Office, it is dated April 19, 1567, and bears this endorsement 
in Randolph's hand, " Upon this was grounded the accusation of the Earl 

1567. MARY. 87 

country, where a party was now secretly organizing 
for the protection of the prince and the government, 
against the audacious designs of Bothwell. 

Of this confederacy the most powerful at this moment 
were Argyle, Athole, Morton, and Sir William Kir- 
kaldy, or, as he was commonly called, the Laird of 
Grange, a person of great influence, reputed the best 
military leader in Scotland, intimately acquainted with 
the politics of England and the continent, and, as we 
have already seen, strongly attached to the Protestant 
cause. The audacity and success of Bothwell naturally 
roused such a man, and all who professed the same 
principles; they justly believed, that he who had mur- 
dered the father would have little scruple in removing 
the son ; they were aware of the infamous Bond for 
the queen's marriage, some of them indeed had signed 
it; and they asserted that the unhappy princess, who 
should have watched over the preservation of her child, 
was no longer mistress of her own actions. To declare 
themselves prematurely would have been ruin, consi- 
dering the power of their opponent ; they therefore 
secretly collected their strength, and gave warning to 
their friends, but determined to take no open step till 
they had consulted the wishes of Elizabeth. 

For this purpose Grange addressed a letter to the 
Earl of Bedford on the day after Ansley's supper. He 
informed him of the miserable servitude of the nobles, 
and the infatuation of the queen, but assured her in 
strong terms, that even now, if Elizabeth would assist 
him and his friends, the murder of their sovereign 
should not long be unavenged. He enlarged on the 
imminent danger of the prince, and predicted Mary's 
speedy marriage to Bothwell, of whom he added, she 
had become so shamelessly enamoured that she had 


been heard to say, " she cared not to lose France, Eng- 
land, and her own country, for him, and shall go with 
him to the world's end in a white petticoat, before she 
leave him." He concluded his letter in these severe 
words, " Whatever is unhonest reigns presently in our 
court : God deliver them from their evil."* 

This letter from Grange was soon after followed by 
a still more remarkable anonymous communication. 
Whilst Mary and Bothwell believed their secret plans 
were safe, their confidential agents had betrayed them 
to this informer, by whom instant intelligence was sent 
to England, that the Countess of Bothwell, Huntley's 
sister, was about to divorce the earl; and that the 
queen had projected with her favourite, that seizure of 
her person, in which she was to be carried with a show 
of violence to Dunbar. The letter which was probably 
.addressed to Cecil, is too remarkable to be omitted. 

" This is to advertise you, that the Earl Bothwell's 
wife is going to part with her husband ; and a great 
part of our lords have subscribed the marriage between 
the queen and him. The queen rode to Stirling this last 
Monday and returns this Thursday. I doubt not but 
you have heard how the Earl of Bothwell has gathered 
many of his friends, and, as some say, to ride in Lid- 
desdale, but I believe it is not, for he is minded to 
meet the queen this day called Thursday, and to take 
her by the way and bring her to Dunbar. Judge you 
gif } it be with her will or no ? but you will hear at 
more length on Friday or Saturday, if you will find 
it good that I continue in writing as occasion serves. 
I wald ye reif this J after the reading ; this bearer 
knows nothing of this matter. There is no other thing 

* MS. Letter, State-paper Office, Grange to Bedford, 20th April, 1567. 
J- If. J " I would have you tear this." 

1567. MARY. 89 

presently to write of; but after all you will please re- 
ceive my heartly commendations by him that is yours, 
that took you by the hand. At midnight."* 

The intelligence given in this letter proved true. 
Mary, on Monday the 21st April, repaired to Stirling 
to visit the prince her son, and was much offended with 
the Earl of Mar, his governor, who, from some suspi- 
cion which he entertained, refused to allow the queen 
to enter the royal apartments with more than two of 
her ladies. }* In the mean season Bothwell had as- 
sembled his friends to the number of eight hundred 
spears ; and meeting her at Almond Bridge, six miles 
from Edinburgh, he suddenly surrounded her atten- 
dants, and with a show of violence conducted her to 
Dunbar, his own castle, which he had prepared for her 
reception. J In the royal cavalcade thus surprised, 
were Lethington, Huntley. Sir James Melvil, and 
some others. The three last were carried prisoners 
to Dunbar with the queen, the rest were suffered to 
pursue their journey ; but when Melvil remonstrated 
against such usage, he was informed by Captain Bla- 
cater, a confidential servant of Bothwell, that all had 
been done with the queen's own consent. And it 
cannot be denied, that everything which now happened 
seemed strongly to confirm this assertion. 

On the twenty-sixth of April, only two days after 
the event, Grange addressed this indignant letter to 
Bedford : 

* MS. Letter, State-paper Office ; this Letter, though undated, contains 
internal proof that it -was written on Thursday, the 24th April, at midnight, 
the day Bothwell carried off the queen to Dunhar. Cecil's Journal in An- 
derson, vol. ii. p. 275. Keith, p. 383. 

+ MS. Letter, State-paper Office, Drury to Cecil, B.C. 27th April, 1567. 

t MS. Letter, State-paper Office, B.C. Drury to Cecil, 27th April, 1567. 
Ihid. same to same, B.C. 25th April, 1567. Ibid. B.C. same to same, 30th 
April, 1567. 

Melvil's Memoirs, p. 177. Bannatyne edit. 


" This queen will never cease unto such time as she 
have wrecked all the honest men of this realm. She 
was minded to cause Bothwell ravish her,* to the end 
that she may the sooner end the marriage whilk she 
promised before she caused Bothwell murder her hus- 
band. There is many that would revenge the murder, 
but they fear your mistress. I am so suited to for to 
enterprise the revenge, that I must either take it upon 
hand, or else I man-f- leave the country, the whilk J 
I am determined to do, if I can obtain licence ; but 
Bothwell is minded to cut me off, if he may, ere I ob- 
tain it, and is returned out of Stirling to Edinburgh. 
She minds hereafter to take the prince out of the Earl 
of Mar's hands, and put him in his hands that mur- 
dered his father, as I writ in my last. I pray your 
lordship let me know what your mistress will do, for 
if we will seek France, we may find favour at their 
hands, but I would rather persuade to lean to England. 
This meikle in haste, from my house, the twenty-sixth 
of April." || 

Mary was now swept forward by the current of a 
blind and infatuated passion. A divorce between Both- 
well and his countess, Lady Jane Gordon, was procured 
with indecent haste ; and it was suspected that the re- 
cent restoration of his consistorial rights to the Arch- 
bishop of St Andrew's, had been made with this object. 
The process was hurried through the court of that 
prelate, and the commissariat or reformed court, in two 
days. IT After a brief residence at Dunbar, under the 

* Used here in the sense of forcibly to seize rapio. 

t Must. I Which. Much. 

|| MS. Letter, State-paper Office. Copy of the time, hacked in the hand- 
writing of Cecil's clerk, " Copy of the Laird of Grange's letter to the Earl 
of Bedford." 

ff Keith, p. 383. Also, Original State-paper Office, B.C. Drury to Cecil 
2d May, 1567. 

1567. MARY. 91 

roof of the man accused of the murder of her husband, 
and the forcible seizure of her person, the queen and 
Bothwell rode to the capital. * As she entered the 
town, his followers cast away their spears, to save 
themselves, as was conjectured, from any charge of 
treason ; and their master, with apparent courtesy, 
dismounting, took the queen's bridle, and led her into 
the castle under a salvo of artillery, -f- It was a sight 
which her friends beheld with the deepest sorrow, and 
her enemies with triumph and derision. 

A few days after this, Sir Robert Melvil, who had 
joined the coalition for the revenge of the king's mur- 
der and the delivery of the queen, wrote secretly to 
Cecil. His object was to warn the English minister 
that France was ready to join the lords against Both- 
well, and to excuse, as far as he possibly could, the 
unaccountable conduct of his mistress. They were 
resolved, he said, never to consider their sovereign at 
liberty so long as she remained in the company of that 
traitor, who had committed so detestable a murder, 
whatever he might persuade or compel her to say to 
the contrary. " I understand,' 1 said he, " that the 
nobility are of mind to suit assistance of the queen 
your mistress, in consideration that the king, who is 
with God, as well as the queen our sovereign, and the 
prince her son, are so near of blood to her highness. I 
believe easy help shall obtain the queen's liberty, and 
in like manner have the murderers of the king punished. 
Thus far I will make your honour privy of, that France 
has offered to enter in band with the nobility of the 
realm, and to enlist the company of men-at-arms, and 
to give divers pensions to noblemen and gentlemen of 
their realm, which some did like well ; but the honest 

* On the 3d of May. -j- Anderson, voL ii. p. 276. 


sort has concluded, and brought the rest to the same 
effect, that they will do nothing which may offend your 
sovereign, without the fault be in her majesty; and it 
appears both Papist and Protestant join together with 
an earnest affection for the weal of their country." * * 
He then added, that Bothwell, as all thought, would 
soon end the marriage, and pass to Stirling to seize the 
prince. He entreated Cecil to consider the queen his 
sovereign's conduct, as rather the effect of the evil 
counsel of those about her, than proceeding from her- 
self ; and lastly begged him to destroy his letter. * 

Next day Grange wrote on the same subject to 
Bedford, and in still more striking terms: "All such 
things," said he, " as were done before the parliament, 
I did write unto your lordship at large. * * At that 
time the most part of the nobility, for fear of their 
lives, did grant to sundry things both against their 
honours and consciences, whosincehave convened them- 
selves at Stirling, where they have made a 'band' to 
defend [each] other in all things that shall concern the 
glory of God and commonweal of their country. The 
heads that presently they agreed upon is, first, to seek 
the liberty of the queen, who is ravished and detained 
by the Earl of Bothwell, who was the ravisher, and 
hath the strengths, munitions, and men of war at his 
commandment. The next head is the preservation and 
keeping of the prince. The third is to pursue them 
that murdered the king. For the pursuit of these three 
heads, they have promised to bestow their lives, lands, 
and goods. And to that effect their lordships have 
desired me to write unto your lordship, to the end they 
might have your sovereign's aid and support for sup- 

* MS. Letter, State-paper Office, Melril to Cecil, 7th May, 1567. Dated 
Kerny in Fife. 

1567. MARY. 93 

pressing of the cruel murderer Bothwell, who, at the 
queen's last being in Stirling, suborned certain to have 
poisoned the prince ; for that barbarous tyrant is not 
contented to have murdered the father, but he would 
also cut off the son, for fear that he hath to be pun- 
ished hereafter. The names of the lords that con- 
vened in Stirling was the Earls of Argyle, Morton, 
Athole, and Mar. Those forenamed, as said is, have 
desired me to write unto your lordship to the end that 
I might know by you, if your sovereign would give 
them support concerning these three heads above writ- 
ten. * * * Wherefore I beseech your lordship, who 
I am assured loveth the quietness of these two realms, 
to let me have a direct answer, and that with haste; 
for presently the foresaid lords are suited unto by 
Monsieur de Croc, who ofiereth unto them in his master 
the King of France's name, if they will follow his advice 
and counsel, that they shall have aid and support to 
suppress the Earl Bothwell and his faction. * * * 
Also he hath admonished her [Mary] to desist from 
the Earl Bothwell, and not to marry him ; for if she 
do, he hath assured her, that she shall neither have 
friendship nor favour out of France, if she shall have 
to do : * but his saying is, she will give no ear. * * * 
"There is to be joined with the four forenamed lords, 
the Earls of Glencairn, Cassillis, Eglinton, Montrose, 
Caithness ; the Lords Boyd, Ochiltree, Ruthven, 
Druminond, Gray, Glammis, Innermeith, Lindsay, 
Hume, and Herries, with all the whole West Merse 
and Teviotdale, the most part of Fife, Angus, and 
Mearns. And for this effect the Earl of Argyle is 
ridden in the west, the Earl of Athole to the north, 
and the Earl of Morton to Fife, Angus, and Montrose. 

* If she shall have to resist her enemies. 


The Earl of Mar remaineth still about the prince; 
and if the queen will pursue him, the whole lords 
have promised, upon their faiths and honour, to re- 
lieve him. * * * 

" In this meantime the queen is come to the castle 
of Edinburgh, conveyed by the Earl Bothwell, where 
she intendeth to remain until she have levied some 
forces of footmen and horsemen, that is, she minds to 
levy 500 footmen, and 200- horsemen. The money that 
she hath presently to do this, which is five thousand 
crowns, came from the font your lordship brought unto 
the baptism; the rest is to be reft and borrowed of 
Edinburgh, or the men of Lothian. * * * 

"It will please your lordship also to haste these other 
letters to my Lord of Moray, and write unto him to 
come back again into Normandy, that he may be in 
readiness against my lords write unto him."* 

These important letters of Melvil and Kirkaldy, 
hitherto quite unknown, establish some new facts in 
this portion of our history. We see clearly from them 
that the formidable coalition against the queen, which 
our historians describe as arising after the marriage 
vrith Bothwell, was fully formed nearly a month before 
that event ; that its ramifications were extensive and 
deep ; that Sir Robert Melvil, in whom the Scottish 
queen reposed implicit confidence, had joined the con- 
federacy, in the hope of rescuing his royal mistress 
from what he represents as an unwilling servitude ; that 
the plot was well known to Monsieur de Croc the French 
ambassador, who, after having in vain remonstrated 
with Mary against her predilection for Bothwell, gave 
it his cordial support; and lastly, that it had been 

* Copy of the time, State-paper Office, 8th May, 1567, Grange to Bedford. 
Also, MS. Letter, State-paper Office, B.C., Bedford to Cecil, May 11, 1567. 

1567. MARY. 95 

communicated to Elizabeth, whose assistance was ear- 
nestly solicited. 

But the English princess cherished high and peculiar 
ideas of prerogative ; and while she blamed in severe terms 
the conductof the Scottish queen, she was incensed at the 
bold and scurrilous tone in which Grange had dared to 
arraign the proceedings of his sovereign . Upon this point 
a remarkable conversation took place between her and 
Randolph in the palace garden, of which, fortunately, 
this minister, on the same day that it occurred, wrote 
an account to Leicester. His expressions are forcible: 
" These news," said he, (meaning Mary's intended mar- 
riage,) "it pleased her majesty to tell me this day, [May 
tenth,] walking in her garden, with great misliking of 
that queen's doing, which now she doth so much detest, 
that she is ashamed of her. Notwithstanding, her majesty 
' doth not like that her subjects should by any force with- 
stand that which they do see her bent unto; and yet doth 
she greatly fear, lest that Both well having the upper 
hand, he will rein again with the French, and either 
make away with the prince, or send him into France ; 
which deliberation her majesty would gladly have 
stayed, but it is very uncertain how it may be brought 
to pass. 

" Her majesty also told me that she had seen a writ- 
ing sent from Grange to my Lord of Bedford, despite- 
fully written against that queen, in such vile terms as 
she could not abide the hearing of it, wherein he made 
her worse than any common woman. She would not 
that any subject, what cause soever there be proceeding 
from the prince, or whatsoever her life and behaviour 
is, should discover that unto the world ; and thereof 
so utterly misliketh of Grange's manner of writing and 
doing, that she condemns him for one of the worst in 
that realm, seeming somewhat to warn me of my famili- 


arity with him, and willing that I should admonish him 
of her misliking. In this manner of talk it pleased her 
majesty to retain me almost an hour."* 

It is now time that we return to the extraordinary 
course of events in Scotland, which fulfilled the predic- 
tions of Melvil and Grange. The Church was ordered 
to proclaim the banns of the queen's marriage. This 
they peremptorily refused. Craig, one of the ministers, 
Knox being now absent, alleged, as his excuse, that 
Mary had sent no written command, and stated the 
common report that she had been ravished, and was 
kept captive by Bothwell. Upon this the Justice-clerk 
brought him a letter signed by the queen herself, as- 
serting the falsehood of such a story, and requiring his 
obedience. He still resisted, demanded to be confronted 
with the parties ; and, in presence of the privy-council, 
where Bothwell sat, this undaunted minister laid to 
his. charge the dreadful crimes of which he was sus- 
pected, rape, adultery, and murder. To the accusation, 
no satisfactory answer was returned ; but Craig, having 
exonerated his conscience, did not deem himself entitled 
to disobey the express command of his sovereign. He 
therefore proclaimed the banns in the High Church; 
but from the pulpit, and in presence of the congrega- 
tion, added these appalling words : " I take heaven 
and earth to witness, that I abhor and detest this mar- 
riage, as odious and slanderous to the world; and I 
would exhort the faithful to pray earnestly, that a union 
against all reason and good conscience may yet be over- 
ruled by God, to the comfort of this unhappy realm." { 

* This Letter has never before been published, but is printed in the Ap- 
pendix to the anonymous privately printed work already mentioned, entitled 
" Maitland's Narrative." The Appendix consists of letters and other papers 
relating to the history of Mary queen of Scotland. 

t Anderson, vol. iv. p. 280. MS. Letter, State-paper Office, B.C. Drury 
to Cecil, May 14, 1567. Also Original, State-paper Office, May 12, 156/, 
B.C., Drury to Cecil 

1567. MARY. 97 

This solemn warning, with the deep and general 
detestation of Bothwell, appeared to produce so little 
effect upon the queen, that the people considered the 
whole events as strange and supernatural : the report 
revived of this abandoned man having employed witch- 
craft, no uncommon resource in that age ; and it was 
currently asserted, that the marriage day had been 
fixed by sorcerers.* 

On the twelfth of May, Mary came in person into 
the high court at Edinburgh, and addressed the chan- 
cellor, the judges, and the nobility whom she had 
summoned for the occasion. Having understood, she 
said, that some doubts had been entertained by the 
lords, whether they ought to sit for the administration 
of the laws, their sovereign being detained in captivity 
at Dunbar by Lord Bothwell, she informed them that 
they might now dismiss their scruples ; for although at 
first incensed at the conduct of that nobleman in the 
seizure of her person, she had forgiven him his offence 
in consequence of his subsequent good conduct, and 
meant to promote him to still higher honour.-f- On the 
same day, accordingly, he was created Duke of Orkney 
and Shetland, the queen with her own hands placing 
the coronet on his head ; J and on the fifteenth of May, 
the marriage took place at four in the morning in the 
presence chamber at Holyrood. It was remarked that 
Mary was married in her mourning weeds. The cere- 
mony was performed after the rite of the Protestant 
church by the Bishop of Orkney ; Craig the minister 
of Edinburgh, being also present. In the sermon which 

* MS. Letter, State-paper Office, B.C., Drury to Cecil, 12th or 13th May, 
J567. See also, MS. Letter, State-paper Office, B.C., same to same, 20th 

F Anderson, vol. i. p. 87. 

J MS. Letter, State-paper Office, B.C., Drury to Cecil, Hth May, 1567, 
Berwick, with its enclosure. 


he preached on the occasion, the bishop professed Both- 
well's ^penitence for his former evil life, and his reso- 
lution to amend and conform himself to the church.* 
Few of the leading nohilit j were present, the event was 
unattended with the usual pageants and rejoicings, the 
people looked on in stern and gloomy silence ; and next 
morning, a paper, with this ominous verse, was found 
fixed to the palace gates. 

Mense malas Maio nubere vulgus ait.f 

* MS. Letter, State-paper Office, B.C., Drury to Cecil, May 16, 1567. 
Also, B.C., same to the same, Berwick, 20th May, 1567. 
f The line is from Ovid. Fastorum, Lib. 1. 490. 

1567. MARY. 






England. I France. \ Qermany. I Spain. I Portugal. \ Pope. 
Elizabeth. I Charles IX. | Maximilian II. I Philip II. I Sebastian. | Pius V. 

IT was not to be expected that the late appalling events 
would be regarded with indifference by the people, the 
reformed clergy, or the more honest part of the nobility. 
Bothwell was universally reputed the principal mur- 
derer of the king ; he was now the husband of their 
sovereign ; and it was commonly reported that he had 
already laid his schemes to get possession of the young 
prince, who was kept at Stirling castle, under the go- 
vernance of the Earl of Mar. Nor are we to wonder 
if men even looked with suspicion to the future conduct 
of the queen herself. She had apparently surrendered 
her mind to the dominion of a passion which rendered 
her deaf to every suggestion of delicacy and prudence, 
almost of virtue. She had refused to listen to the 
entreaties and arguments of her best friends : to Lord 
Herries, who, on his knees, implored her not to marry 
the duke; to DeCroc the French ambassador, who urged 
the same request ; to Beaton her own ambassador ; 


to Sir James Melvil, whose remonstrances against 
Bothwell nearly cost him his life.* In the face of all 
this she had precipitated her marriage with this daring 
and wicked man ; and public rumour still accused her 
of being a party to the murder. Of this last atrocious 
imputation, indeed, no direct proof was yet brought or 
offered ; but even if we dismiss it as absolutely false, 
was any mother who acted such a part worthy to be 
intrusted with the keeping and education of the heir 
to the throne ? 

So deeply felt were these considerations, that, as we 
have seen, a coalition for the destruction of Bothwell, 
and the preservation of the prince, was now widely or- 
ganized in Scotland. Of this confederacy Lethington 
was secretly a member, although he still remained at 
D unbar with the queen. Becoming suspected by 
Bothwell, however, this baron and his associate Hunt- 
ley had resolved on his death ; when Mary threw her- 
self between them, and declared, that if a hair of his 
head perished, it should be at the peril of their life and 
lands. Thus preserved, he continued his intrigues, and 
only waited a favourable opportunity to make his escape 
and join his friends.-f- The plans of the associated lords 
had been communicated to Moray, then in France; 
they were sure to meet with the sanction of the Re- 
formed Church, and the sympathy of the people. 
France encouraged them; and Robert Melvil and 
Grange, two leading men in the confederacy, had in- 
formed Cecil and Elizabeth of their intentions. Her 
answer was now anxiously expected. 

But this princess, at all times jealous of the royal 

* Melvil's Memoirs, pp. 176, 177. 

f MS. Letter, State-paper Office, B.C., Drury to Cecil, 6th May, 1667. 
Melvil's Memoirs, p. 170. 

1567. MARY. 101 

prerogative, was startled when she understood that 
the combined lords had not only resolved to prosecute 
Bothwell for the murder, and to rescue the queen from 
his thraldom, but to crown the prince.* In reply to the 
picture they drew of the violent restraint put upon 
their sovereign, she informed them, that if Mary's 
own letters to herself were to be trusted, she was in no 
thraldom, but had consented to all that had happened ; 
she observed that "to crown her son during his mother's 
life was a matter, for example's sake, not to be digested 
by her or any other monarch ;" but she added, that if 
they would deliver the young prince into her hands to 
be kept in EngUnd, she felt inclined to support them. 
In the meantime the Earl of Bedford was ordered to 
hasten northward, that he might have an eye on their-f- 
movements, and afford them some encouragement; whilst 
Cecil, her indefatigable minister, had so craftily laid 
his spies about the court, that he received instant in- 
formation of the minutest movements of Mary and 
Bothwell, of the French intrigues carried on by De 
Croc, andof every step taken by the Lords of the Secret 
Council. For a brief season after their marriage, the 
queen and the duke appeared to forget that they had 
an enemy ; and when Mary was informed of the pri- 
vate meetings of her opponents, she treated them with 
contempt; "Athole," said she, "is but feeble; for 
Argyle, I know well how to stop his mouth ; as for 
Morton, his boots are but new pulled off (alluding to 
his recent return from banishment) and still soiled, he 
shall be sent back to his old quarters." t 

In the meantime pageants and tourneys were got up 

* MS. Letter, State-paper Office, B.C., Drury to Cecil, 6th May, 1567. 
t MS. Letter, State-paper Office, B.C., Bedford to Cecil, llth May, 1567, 
ind copy, EJizabeth to Bedford, 17th May, 1567. 
J MS. Letter, State-paper OtEce, B.C., Drury to Cecil, 20th May, 1567. 



to amuse the people ; who observed that their queen, 
casting off her " mourning weed," assumed a gay dress, 
and frequently rode abroad with the duke, making a 
show of great contentment. Bothwell too was studio us 
to treat her with respect, refusing to be covered in her 
presence, which she sometimes playfully resented, 
snatching his bonnet and putting it on his head;* 
but there were times when his passionate and brutal 
temper broke through all restraint ; and to those old 
friends who were still at court, and saw her in private, 
it was evident, that though she still seemed to love 
him, she was a changed and miserable woman. On 
one occasion, which is recorded by Sir James Melvil 
and De Croc, who were present, his language was so 
bitter and disdainful, that in a paroxysm of despair 
she called for a knife to stab herself.-f 

About a fortnight after the marriage she despatched 
the Bishop of Dunblane to France and Rome; his 
instructions, which have been preserved, were drawn 
up with much skill, and contained a laboured but un- 
satisfactory apology for her late conduct. J It was 
necessary that an envoy should be sent on the same 
errand to Elizabeth ; and here the choice of the queen 
was unfortunate, for she selected Robert Melvil, the 
secret but determined enemy of Bothwell, and one of 
the principal associates in the confederacy against him 
and herself. It is possible that this gentleman, who 
bore an honourable character in these times, may 
have considered, that in accepting this commission he 
should be able to serve his royal mistress ; and whilst 

* MS. Letter, State-paper Office, B.C., Drury to Cecil. Berwick, 25th 
May, 1567. Id. Ibid. B.C., Drury to Cecil, 20th May, and 27th May, 1567. 

f Melvil's Memoirs, Bannatyne edit. p. 180. 

J Keith, p. 388. Also MS. Letter, State-paper Office, B.C., 27th May, 
1567, Drury to Cecil. Also same to same, 20th May, 1567. 

Declaration of Robert Melvil. Hopetoun MSS. 

I567c MARY. 103 

he appeared the active agent of her enemies, might 
secretly check the violence of their designs and labour 
for her preservation. But whatever may have been 
his motives, it is certain that he availed himself of the 
confidence with which he was treated, to reveal her 
purposes to his confederates, and in the execution of 
his mission acted for both parties. He received letters 
from Mary and Bothwell to Elizabeth and Cecil ; he 
was instructed, as he has himself informed us, to ex- 
cuse his mistress's recent marriage, and to persuade 
Elizabeth not to expose her to shame or declare herself 
an enemy ; * and at the same moment he carried letters 
to the English queen, from the lords of the coalition, 
who accused her of the murder of her husband, and 
now meditated her dethronement. So completely was 
he judged to be in their interest, that Morton, the 
leader of the enterprise, described him to Elizabeth as 
their trusty friend, whom they had commissioned to 
declare their latent enterprise to her majesty.^ 

Bothwell's letter, which he sent by this envoy to 
Elizabeth, is worthy of notice. It is expressed in a 
bold, almost a kingly tone ; he was aware, he said, of 
the queen's ill opinion of him, but he protested that 
it was undeserved, declared his resolution to preserve 
the amity between the two kingdoms, and professed his 
readiness to do her majesty all honour and service. 
Men of greater birth, so he concluded, might have been 
preferred to the high station he now occupied ; none, 
he boldly affirmed, could have been chosen more zealous 
for the preservation of her majesty's friendship, of 
which she should have experience at any time it might 

* MS. Declaration of Robert Melvil. Hopetoun MSS. 

t MS. Letter, State-paper Office, Maitland to Cecil, 21st and 28th June, 
1567. MS. Letter, State-paper Office, B.C., Morton and the lords to Elizar 
beth, Edinburgh, 26th June, 1567. 


be her pleasure to employ him. The style was differ- 
ent from the servility which so commonly ran through 
the addresses to this haughty queen, and marked the 
proud character of mind which, as much as his crimes, 
distinguished this daring man.* 

Melvil now left Scotland (June fifth) on his mission 
to the English court ; and during his absence, the com- 
bined lords rapidly arranged their mode of attack and 
concentrated their forces. It was judged time to de- 
clare themselves ; and the contrast between their former 
and their present conduct was abundantly striking. 
They who had combined with Bothwell in the conspi- 
racy for the king's murder, and had signed the bond 
recommending him as a suitable husband for their 
queen, were now the loudest in their execration of the 
deed and their denunciations of the marriage. It was 
necessary for them, however, from this very circum- 
stance, to act with that caution which accomplices in 
guilt must adopt when they attempt to expose and 
punish a companion. If Morton, Argyle, Huntley, 
Lethington and Balfour, possessed evidence to convict 
Bothwell and his servants of the murder of the king, 
it was not to be forgotten that Bothwell could recrimi- 
nate, and prove, by the production of the bond, that 
they had consented to the same crime. We know, too, 
that he had shown this bond to some of the actual 
murderers ; and unless they were slain in hot blood, or 
made away with before they had an opportunity of 
speaking out, the whole dark story might be revealed. 
These apprehensions, which seem to me not to have 

* MS. Letter, State-paper Office, Both well to Elizabeth, 5th June, 1567. 
Bothwell at the same tiiae wrote to Cecil and Sir N. Throckmorton, by 
Robert Melvil. His letter to Cecil is in the State- paper Office, dated June 5, 
that to Throckmorton in the possession of Mr Road, bookseller, Great New- 
port Street 

1567. MARY. 105 

been sufficiently kept in mind, account for the extra- 
ordinary circumstances which soon after occurred. 

Mary had summoned her nobles to attend her with 
their feudal forces on an expedition to Liddesdale, but 
most of them had already left court, and neglected the 
order. Huntley, who had been much in her confidence, 
corresponded with her enemies.* Lethington, the 
secretary, whom we have seen carried prisoner to Dun- 
bar, pretended still to be devoted to her service, but 
betrayed all her purposes to the confederate lords ; and 
at length, finding a good opportunity, suddenly left 
the court. Moray, it was said, had come to England, 
and taken a decided part against her, and Hume, one 
of the most warlike and powerful Border lords, was 
active in his opposition. ^ No army therefore could 
be assembled ; so detested indeed was Bothwell, that 
even the soldiers whom he had in pay incurred his 
suspicion; and it was reported he only trusted one 
company, commanded by Captain Cullen, a man sus- 
pected to be deeply implicated in the king's murder. J 

Under these circumstances of discouragement, the 
queen and the duke had retired to Borthwick castle, a 
seat of the Laird of Crookstorrs, about ten miles from 
Edinburgh, when the confederates, led by Hume and 
the other Border chiefs, made a rapid night march, and 
suddenly surrounded the place. They were nearly a 
thousand strong ; and along with him were Morton, 
Mar, Lindsay, Grange, and their followers, who deem- 
ed themselves sure of their prize; but Bothwell escaped 
through a postern in the back wall, to Haddington. 

* MS. Letter, State-paper Office, Drury to Cecil, B.C., 20th May, 1567. 

t MS. Letter, State-p iper Office, 7th June, 1567, B.C., Drury to Cecil. 
Also MS. Letter, State-paper Office, 16'thMay, 1567, B.C., Drury to Cecil. 
Also MS. Letter, State-paper Office, Drury to Cecil, B.C., '25th May, 1567. 

J MS. Letter, State-paper Office, Drury to Cecil, B.C., 31st May, 1567, 
with an undated Letter, probably an enclosure. 


Here he remained a day in concealment, and then 
reached Dunbar, where he was next day joined by the 
queen, who fled in man's apparel, booted and spurred, 
from Borthwick, and thus eluded notice.* Disap- 
pointed in their first attempt, the confederates marched 
to the capital, which they reached at four in the morning, 
broke open the gates, took possession of the city, and 
published a proclamation, declaring that they had risen 
in arms to revenge the death of the king, and the for- 
cible abduction of their sovereign.-f Here they were 
soon after joined by the Earl of Athole and the noted 
Lethington, a man who had belonged to all parties, 
and had deserted all, yet whose vigour of mind, and 
great capacity for state affairs, made him still welcome, 
wherever he turned himself. High wages were now 
offered to any volunteers who would come forward, and 
to give greater publicity to the cause for which they 
fought, a banner was displayed, on which was painted 
the body of the murdered king, lying under a tree as 
he had been first found, with the young prince kneel- 
ing beside it, and underneath the motto " Judge and 
avenge my cause^ Lord" The sight of this, and the 
tenor of their proclamation, produced a strong effect ; 
and the confederates had the satisfaction to find, not 
only that the common people and the magistrates 
warmly espoused their cause, but that Sir James Bal- 
four, who enjoyed the highest confidence with Both- 
well, and commanded the castle, was ready to join 
them. This infamous man had, as we have seen, been 
deeply implicated in the murder, and was reported to 

* Sloane MSS. Ayscough, 3199, British Museum, copy, John Beaton to 
Hs brother, llth to 17th June. Printed by Laing, vol. ii. p. 106. MS. 
Letter, State-paper Office, B.C., Drury to Cecil, Berwick, 12th June, 1567. 

t Anderson, vol. i. p. 131. MS. Letter, State-paper Office, B.C., 12th 
June, 1567, B.C., Drury to Cecil. B.C., MS. Letter, State-paper Office, 
same to same, B.C., 14th June, 1567. 

1567. MARY. 107 

have some secret papers regarding it in his keeping. 
His anticipated defection, therefore, gave new spirit to 
the party.* 

Whilst such was the state of things in the city, 
Mary and Bothwell had assembled their followers at 
Dunbar, and such was the effect of the royal name, that 
many of the Border barons and gentry deserted Hume, 
and joined the queen's camp. Along with them came 
the Lords Seton, Yester, and Borthwick, so that 
within a short time her force amounted to about 
2000 men. With these Mary and the duke instantly 
marched against the enemy, leaving Dunbar on the 
fourteenth June, and advancing that night to Seton. 
Next morning she caused a proclamation to be read to 
the army, in which her opponents were arraigned as 
traitors, who for their private ends had determined to 
overturn the government. They pretended, she said, 
to prosecute the duke her husband, for the king's mur- 
der, after he had been already fully acquitted of the 
crime; they declared their resolution to rescue her- 
self from captivity, but she was no captive, as they 
who had themselves recommended her marriage with 
the duke well knew ; they had taken arms, as they 
affirmed, to defend the prince her son but he was in 
their own hands, and how then could they think him 
in danger 2 in short all was a mere cover for their trea- 
son, and this she trusted soon to prove, by the aid of 
her faithful subjects, on the persons of these unnatural 
rebels. } Her next step was to intrench herself on 
Carberry hill, within the old works which had been 

* Beaton to his brother, from Sloane MSS. 3199. Laing, Append, vol, ii. 
p, 106. Also, MS. Letter, State-paper Office, Scrope to Cecil, B.C., Car- 
lisle, June 16, 1567. 

t Spottiswood, p. 206, Beaton to his brother. Laing, vol. ii. pp. 106, 110. 
MS. Letter, State-paper Office, Drury to Cecil, B.C., 14th June, 1567. 


thrown up by the English army previous to the battle 
of Pinkie. 

Mary here awaited her opponents, who showed no 
less alacrity to engage, marching from Edinburgh on 
the morning of Sunday the fifteenth, and taking the 
route to Musselburgh, which soon brought them in 
sight of their adversaries. Monsieur de Croc the 
French ambassador, was then with the queen. He 
had disapproved of her marriage ; and we have seen 
that he had even encouraged the confederates, with a 
view of having the prince sent to France ; * but he 
now made an attempt at mediation, and carried a mes- 
sage to Morton and Glencairn, assuring them of their 
sovereign's disposition to pardon the past, on condition 
that they returned to their duty. " We have not come 
here, 1 ' said Glencairn, when he heard this proposal, 
" to solicit pardon for ourselves, but rather to give it 
to those who have offended." " We are in arms," added 
Morton, "not against our queen, but the Duke of 
Orkney, the murderer of her husband. Let him be 
delivered up, or let her majesty remove him from her 
company, and we shall yield her obedience."^ 

It was evident from this reply that there was little 
hope of peace, and the confederate lords were the more 
determined, as an indisposition to fight was beginning 
to be apparent in the royal troops, some men at that 
moment stealing over to the enemy. Observing this, 
Bothwell, who was never deficient in personal courage, 
rode forward, and, by a herald, sent his defiance to any 
one that dared arraign him of the king's murder. His 

* MS. Letter, State-paper Office, Drury to Cecil, B.C., 9th June, 156". 
Also, same to same, MS. Letter, State-paper Office, 31st May, 1567. Also, 
15th June, 1567, Bedford to Leicester, MS. Letter, State-paper Office, B.C. 

f Keith, p. 401. MS. Letter, State-paper Office, Scrope to Cecil, Car- 
lisle, 17th June, 1567, B.C. Also, MS. Letter, State-paper Office, B.C. 
Drury to Cecil, Berwick, 18th and 19th June, 1567. 

1567. MARY. 109 

gage was accepted by James Murray of Tullibardine, 
the same baron who had, it was said, affixed the de- 
nunciation to the Tolbooth gate ; but Bothwell refused 
to enter the lists' with one who was not his peer, and 
singled out Morton, who readily answered, that he 
would fight him instantly on foot and with two-handed 
swords. Upon this, Lord Lindsay of the Byres in- 
terfered. The combat, he contended, belonged of right 
to him, as the relative of the murdered king, and he 
implored the associate lords by the services he had 
done, and still hoped to do, that they would grant him 
the courtesy to meet the duke in this quarrel. It was 
deemed proper to humour Lindsay ; and Morton pre- 
sented him with his own sword, a weapon well known 
and highly valued, as having been once wielded by his 
renowned ancestor, Archibald Bell-the-Cat. Lindsay 
then proceeded to arm himself ; and kneeling down be- 
fore the ranks, audibly implored God to strengthen his 
arm to punish the guilty, and protect the innocent. 
Bothwell too seemed eager to fight, but at this critical 
juncture, Mary interfered, and resolutely forbade the 

By this time it was evident that desertion was 
spreading rapidly in her army, nor had her remon- 
strances the least effect : she implored them to advance, 
assured them of victory, taunted them with cowardice, 
but all to so little purpose, that when Grange, at the 
head of his troops, began to wheel round the hill so as 
to turn their flank, the panic became general, and the 
queen and Bothwell were left with only sixty gentle- 

* Copy of the time, State-paper Office, Haryson to Cecil, probably June 
16, 1567. The name is scored out but readable. Also, MS. Letter, State- 
paper Office, B.C., Drury to Cecil, June 19, 156V, with enclosure. Calder- 
wood, MS. History, Ayscough, 4735, p. 668. Also, Spottiswood, p. 207. 


men, and the band of hagbutters.* It was his design 
to throw himself between Dunbar and this little force, 
thus cutting off Bothwell's escape ; but Mary perceived 
it, and sent the Laird of Ormiston to demand a parley. 
This was immediately granted, and when Grange rode 
forward, he assured his sovereign of their readiness to 
obey her, if that man who now stood beside her, and was 
guilty of the king^s murder, were dismissed. To this 
she replied, that if the lords promised to return to their 
allegiance, she would leave the duke and put herself in 
their hands. He carried this message to his brethren, 
and came back with a solemn assurance that, on such 
conditions, they were ready to receive and obey her as 
their sovereign. Hearing this, the queen, ever too 
credulous and apt to act on the impulse of the moment, 
held a moments conversation aside with Bothwell. 
What passed can only be conjectured ; he appeared to 
waver, and remonstrate, but when she gave him her 
hand, he took farewell, turned his horse's head and 
rode off the field, none of the confederates offering the 
least impediment, f It was the last time they ever 

Mary now waited for some time till he was out of 
danger, and then, coming forward, exclaimed: "Laird 
of Grange, I surrender to you on the conditions you 
have specified in the name of the lords." That baron 
then took her hand, which he kissed ; and holding her 

* MS. Letter, State-paper Office, B.C., Scrope to Cecil, June 17, 1567. 

) Raumer, quoting De Croc's Despatches, pp. 100, 101. De Croc says in his 
letter to Catherine de Medici, " Bothwell became greatly alarmed, and at 
last asked the queen whether she would keep the promise of fidelity which 
she had made to him. She answered yes, and gave him her hand upon it. 
He then mounted his horse, and fled with a few attendants." All this, how- 
ever, must, as I have said, be conjecture. De Croc was not present : after 
his unsuccessful attempt at jnediation, he had retired to Edinburgh. Spot- 
tiswood, p. 207. 

1567. MARY. Ill 

horsed bridle, conducted her down the hill to the con- 
federates. On reaching the lines, she was met by the 
nobles, who received heron their knees. "Here, madam," 
said Morton, "is the true place where your grace should 
be, and here we are ready to defend and obey you as 
loyally as ever nobility of this realm did your progeni- 
tors." So fully felt was this sentiment, that when some 
of the common soldiers began to utter opprobrious 
language, Grange drew his sword and compelled them 
into silence. 

Such was the extraordinary scene which led to the 
escape of Bothwell, and it demands a moment's reflec- 
tion. The confederate nobles had declared that their 
object in taking arms was, to bring this infamous man 
to justice, as the murderer of the king ; yet, at the 
moment when they had him in their power, he was 
permitted to escape. Nothing could appear more in- 
consistent ; and yet, perhaps, looking to the motives 
which have been already pointed out, it will not be 
found unnatural. He, indeed, was the principal mur- 
derer, but Morton, Huntley, Lethington, and Argyle, 
were aware, that if driven to his defence, he could bring 
them in as accomplices. They allowed him to escape, 
because he was infinitely more easily dealt with as a 
fugitive than as a prisoner. 

But to return to Mary. Encouraged by the first 
appearances of courtesy, she declared her wish to com- 
municate with the Hamiltons, who, the night before, 
had advanced in considerable strength to Linlithgow. 
This was peremptorily refused, upon which she broke 
into reproaches, appealed to their promise, and demand- 
ed how they dared to treat her as a prisoner ! Her 
questions and her arguments were unheeded, and she 
now bitterly repented her precipitation. Her spirit, 


however, instead of being subdued, was rather roused 
by their baseness. She called for Lindsay, one of the 
fiercest of the confederate barons, and bade him give 
her his hand. He obeyed. " By the hand, 11 said she, 
" which is now in yours, Fll have your head for this. 11 * 
Unfortunate princess ! When she spoke thus, little 
did she know how soon that unrelenting hand, which 
had been already stained with Riccio^ blood, would 
fall still heavier yet upon herself. 

It was now evening, and the queen, riding between 
Morton and Athole, was conducted to the capital, where 
she awoke to all the horrors of her situation. -j- She 
was a captive in the hands of her worst enemies : the 
populace, as she rode through the streets, received her 
with yells and execrations; the women pressing round, 
accused her in coarse terms as an adultress stained with 
her husband's blood ; and the soldiers, unrestrained by 
their officers, kept constantly waving before her eyes 
the banner on which was painted the murdered king, 
and the prince crying for vengeance. At first they 
shut her up in the provosfs house, where she was 
strictly guarded. It was in vain she remonstrated 
against this breach of faith ; in vain she implored them 
to remember that she was their sovereign : they were 
deaf to her entreaties, and she was compelled to pass 
the night, secluded even from her women, in solitude 
and tears. But the morning only brought new hor- 
rors. The first object which met her eyes was the 
same dreadful banner, which, with a refinement in 
craelty, the populace had hung up directly opposite 
her windows. The sight brought on an agony of de- 

* MS. Letter, State-paper Office, Drury to Cecil, B.C., June 18, 1567. 
Also, copy, State-paper Office, probably June 16, 1567, Haryson to Cecil. 

t Letter of John Beaton to his brother, Sloane MSS. Ayscough, 3199, 
printed by Laing, vol. ii. p. 106. 

1567. MARY. 113 

spair and delirium, in the midst of which she tore the 
dress from her person, and, forgetting that she was 
almost naked, attempted in her phrenzy to address the 
people.* This piteous spectacle could not be seen 
without producing an impression in her favour ; and 
the citizens were taking measures for her rescue, when 
she was suddenly removed to Holyrood. Here a hur- 
ried consultation was held, and in the evening she was 
sent a prisoner to Lochleven, a castle situated in the 
midst of a lake, belonging to Douglas, one of the con- 
federates, and from which escape was deemed impossible. 
In her journey thither, she was treated with studied 
indignity, exposed to the gaze of the mob, miserably 
clad, mounted on a sorry hackney, and placed under 
the charge of Lindsay and Ruthven, men of savage 
manners, even in this age, and who were esteemed pe- 
culiarly fitted for the task.~f* Against this base con- 
duct, it is said, that Grange loudly remonstrated, and 
that, to silence his reproaches, the lords produced an 
intercepted letter, written by the queen from her prison 
in Edinburgh to Bothwell, in which she assured him, 
that she would never desert him. The story is told 
by Melvil, but I have found no trace of it ; and Grange 
had already manifested such bitter hostility to his so- 
vereign, that his sincerity may be questioned, especially 
as he continued to act with his former associates.]: 

Thus far the measures of the confederates were 
crowned with success. The queen was a prisoner in 
their hands ; they were possessed of the person of the 
heir- apparent, who had been committed to the gover- 

* John Beaton to his hrother, 17th June, 1567, Laing, vol. ii. Appendix, 
p. 106. 

t Id. Ibid. Also, MS. Letter, State-paper Office. Drury to Cecil, B.C., 
June 18, 1567. 

J Melvil's Memoirs, Bannatyne edition, p. 185. 


nance of Mar, one of their principal leaders ; Bothwell 
was a fugitive, and they were sustained in everything 
they had done by the support of the ministers of the 
Reformed Church, and by the general voice of the 
people. For the present, therefore, all was deemed 
secure ; and, on considering their future policy, they 
determined to pause till it was seen with what feelings 
the late events were regarded by England and France. 
With this view they lost no time in despatching let- 
ters, first to Elizabeth, and after a little interval to the 
King of France. To the English queen they declared 
that their only motive in taking up arms had been the 
punishment of the king's murder ; they assured her, 
that so soon as this was accomplished, their sovereign 
should be restored to freedom ; and as for the corona- 
tion of the young prince, that such an idea had never 
been contemplated. In conclusion, they expressed a 
hope that she would consider their want of money, and 
send them the sum of three or four thousand crowns to 
hire soldiers, in return for which they were ready to 
refuse the offers of France, and submit to be wholly 
guided by England.* 

To France their letters were full of amity, but more 
general and guarded. De Croc the ambassador, had 
at once perceived the advantage of securing the friend- 
ship of the successful party. Although pretending a 
great zeal for Mary's service, he really favoured the 
confederates, and had not only proposed that the young 
prince should be brought up under the care of the king 
his master, but advised them to keep the Queen of 

* MS. Letter, State-paper Office, B.C., Sir John Forster to Cecil, June 
20, 1567. The messenger's name was John Rede, with Instructions enclosed. 
Also, State-paper Office, Drury to Cecil, June 20, 1567. Also, MS. Letter, 
State-paper Office, B.C., Bedford to Cecil, June 23, 1567. 

1567. MARY. 115 

Scots securely, now that they had her in their hands.* 
To him the confederates gave fair words, but prudently 
determined not to commit themselves, till they heard 
more definitively from England. They at the same 
time entered into communication with Moray and the 
Earl of Lennox, whose presence they required in Scot- 

At this crisis, (June twentieth,) according to the 
evidence of Cecil's journal, which has been, on insuf- 
ficient grounds, I think, suspected of forgery, the Lords 
of the Secret Council, through the treachery of a ser- 
vant of Bothwell's, became possessed of a box or casket, 
which was said to contain some private letters and 
sonnets addressed by the queen to the duke. This was 
that celebrated silver casket, which afterwards made so 
much noise, and in which, as asserted by the enemies 
of Mary, were found decided proofs of her guilt. The 
whole details connected with the story are suspicious, 
nor is it the least suspicious of these circumstances, 
that in the confidential letters of Drury to Cecil, writ- 
ten at this period from day to day, and embracing 
the most minute information of everything which pass- 
ed, there is no allusion to such a seizure. It is, how- 
ever, to be remembered that Morton, Lethington, and 
Sir James Balfour, the three great leaders of the 
confederacy, were themselves deeply implicated in the 
assassination of Darnley, and that they would be ex- 
ceedingly likely to suppress such a discovery, till the 
contents of the casket were rigidly examined. They 
knew that Bothwell was in possession of the bond for 
the king's murder, and the casket might contain it, 

* MS. Letter. State-paper Office, Drary to Cecil, B.C., June 20, 1567. 

f MS. Letter, State-paper Office, Drary to Cecil, B.C., July 9, 1567. Also, 
MS. Letter, State-paper Office, B.C., July 12. Same to same, and July 19, 
Scrope to Cecil. 


or other papers equally conclusive. It is certain that, 
on the day of this reported discovery, (June twentieth,) 
Morton and his associates despatched George Douglas, 
one of the most confidential of their number, on a 
secret mission to the Earl of Bedford, and it is possible 
his message may have related to it.* In this myste- 
rious state we must leave the matter at present. 
On hearing of the late extraordinary events in Scot- 


land, Elizabeth's feelings were of a divided kind. Her 
ideas of the inviolability of the royal prerogative, were 
offended by the imprisonment of the queen. However 
great were Mary's faults, or even her guilt, it did not 
accord with the high creed of the English princess, 
that any subjects should dare to expose or punish them ; 
and we have seen that, in a former conversation with 
Randolph, she alluded to Grange's letters to Bedford 
in terms of much bitterness, -f- But notwithstanding 
this,- she was fully alive to the necessity of supporting 
a Protestant party in Scotland; and she well knew that 
nothing could so effectually promote her views, as to 
induce the confederate lords to refuse the offers of 
France, and deliver to her the young prince to be 
educated in Protestant principles at the court of Eng- 
land. Nor was she ignorant that the able and crafty 
men who directed their proceedings, had determined 
to refuse every petition for the restoration of their 
sovereign to liberty, an event probably as much depre- 
cated by Elizabeth as by themselves. } It was perfectly 
safe for the English queen, therefore, to give fair pro- 
mises to Mary, and to remonstrate with the confede- 

* MS. Letter, State-paper Office, Bedford to Cecil, B.C., June 23, 1567. 
Also,MS. Letter, State-paper Office, Morton and the Lords to Bedford, June 
20, 1567. 

( Randolph to Leicester, May 10, 1567. See supra, p. 95. 

Gonzalez Apuntamientos, p. 322. Memories de la Real Acad. de la 
Historia, vol. vii. 

1567. MARY. 117 

rates upon this subject. Such being her views, she 
despatched Eobert Melvil, who was then in England, 
with a letter to his mistress ; and ordered Sir Nicholas 
Throckmorton, one of her ablest diplomatists, to hold 
himself in readiness to proceed on a mission to Scotland. 

Meanwhile the Lords of the Secret Council, who 
had suffered the principal actor in the king's murder 
to escape, became active in their search for inferior 
delinquents. Captain Cullen, a daring follower of 
BothwelFs, had been seized on their first advance to 
Edinburgh, and soon after two others, Captain Blacater, 
and Sebastian de Villours, were apprehended. The 
foreigner was soon discharged, but Blacater was tried 
for the murder, convicted, and executed before an im- 
mense concourse of spectators, who eagerly surrounded 
the scaffold. To their disappointment he died solemnly 
calling God to witness his innocence, and revealed no 
particulars. * Of Cullen, who, it was reported, on his 
apprehension, had discovered the whole details of the 
conspiracy, we hear no more. It is possible, he may 
have been commanded to say nothing, because he might 
have told too much. 

These efforts of the confederates to bring the guilty 
to justice, did not satisfy the people ; it was suspected, 
that amongst their leaders were some who dreaded 
any strict examination ; and Morton and Lethington, 
distrusting the fickle nature of the lower classes, began 
to dread a reaction in the queen's favour. This was 
the more alarming, as the rival faction of the Hamiltons 
had recently mustered in great strength. The head 
of this party was nominally the Duke of Chastelherault, 
now in France, but really his brother the Archbishop 

* MS. Letter, State-paper Office, Drury to Cecil, B.C., June 25; also, B.C., 
June 27, 1567. Same to same. Also, Historic of James the Sext, p. 15. 
Bannatyne edition. 



of St Andrew's. Failing Mary and her son, the Duke 
was next heir to the throne ; and he and his advisers 
had acuteness enough to penetrate into the views of 
Morton and his party. They saw clearly, that the 
consequence of the continued captivity of their sove- 
reign, must be the coronation of the young prince, his 
protection by Elizabeth, and the establishment of a 
regency, under which Lennox, Morton, or Moray, would 
engross the whole power of the state. Having been 
generally opposed to Mary and her marriage, her cap- 
tivity was not in itself a matter which gave them any 
very deep concern ; but in weighing the two evils, its 
continuance and a regency, or her restoration and a 
third marriage, they chose what they thought the least, 
and determined to make an effort for her restoration. 
For this purpose a convention of the lords of their 
party was held at Dumbarton, (June twenty-ninth,) 
and proclamation made for all good subjects to be ready, 
on nine hours 1 warning, to take arms for the delivery 
of the queen. * They were here joined by Argyle and 
Huntley, who had deserted the confederates ; by Her- 
ries, a baron of great power and vigour of character ; 
and by Crawford, with the Lords Seton and Fleming; 
whilst the Archbishop of St Andrew's, and the celebrated 
Lesley bishop of Ross, directed their councils. -f- Their 
deliberations were watched and reported to his court 
by De Croc the French ambassador, who found them, 
as was to be anticipated, more inclined to France than 

* MS. Letter, State-paper Office, B.C., Drury to Cecil. He states that 
" the confederates are very anxious for Lennox's return into Scotland, to 
beard the ffamiltons." June 20, 1567. Also, same to same, June 25, 1567. 
State-paper Office, B.C. Also, same to same, MS. Letter, State-paper Office, 
B.C., June 29 ; and same to same, July 1, 1567, B.C. 

f Bond signed by the Convention at Dumbarton, June 29, 1567, copy, 
State-paper Office, and printed by Keith, p. 436. 

MS. Letter, State-paper Office. Drury to Cecil, B.C., June 29, 1567. 

1567. MARY. 119 

It was not to be expected that the Lords of the 
Secret Council could view such proceedings without 
anxiety, and they thought it prudent to strengthen 
themselves by a more intimate union with the party 
of the Reformed Church. Here, indeed, was their 
strongest hold ; for the Reformed clergy were sternly 
opposed to the queen, they firmly believed that she 
was participant in the king's murder, and they possessed 
the highest influence with the people. 

On their taking possession of the capital, immediately 
after their unsuccessful attempt at Borthwick, Glen- 
cairn, one of the fiercest zealots of these times, had 
signalized his hatred of Popery by an attack upon the 
royal chapel at Holyrood, in which he demolished the 
altar, and destroyed the shrines and images. This 
attack, although condemned by some of the party, was 
not unwelcome to the ministers, and on the twenty- 
fifth of June, an assembly of the Church was held 
at Edinburgh. In this meeting of his friends and 
brethren, John Knox reappeared. This great leader 
of the Reformed Church, had fled, as we have seen, * 
from the capital, immediately after the assassination 
of Riccio, and had deemed it unsafe to return, till the 
queen was imprisoned in Lochleven. Of his history 
in this interval, we know little ; he probably resided 
chiefly with his relatives in the neighbourhood of Ber- 
wick, and he was in England at the time of the king's 
murder ;*f- but about a month after that event, he again 
entered into communication with Bedford and Cecil : J 
and now that all fear from the animosity of the queen 
was at an end, and the chief power in the government 
once more in the hands of his friends, he again took 
his part in the discussions which agitated the country. 

* Supra, p. 35. 

t M'Crie's Life of Knox, p. 259. 

MS. Letter,State-paperOffice,B.C.,Bedford to C<!cil, March 11, 1566-7. 


In his retirement, he appears to have lost nothing 
of his wonted fire. He was animated by the same 
stern, uncompromising, and unscrupulous spirit as 
before, and the crisis appeared to him to be highly 
favourable for the complete demolition of Popery, and 
the permanent establishment of the Protestant faith. 
Henceforward we must regard him as the leader of the 
Reformed Church ; and upon certain conditions he de- 
clared himself ready to give his cordial assistance to the 
confederates. He stipulated that they should recognise 
the parliament held at Edinburgh in 1560, and its acts 
as laws of the realm. It will be recollected, that this 
was the famous parliament in which Popery had been 
overthrown, and the reformed religion established ; 
and that, notwithstanding all the efforts of Elizabeth 
and the Protestants, Mary had never given her consent 
to its decrees. The confederates, who were mostly, if 
not all, Protestants, of course experienced no such 
scruples, but embraced the proposal at once, and en- 
tered into the strictest union with Knox and his party. 
Nor was this all. They agreed to restore the patri- 
mony of the church, which had been seized and devoted 
to civil uses ; to intrust the education of youth in all 
colleges and public seminaries to the reformed clergy; 
to put down idolatry (so they denominated the Roman 
Catholic faith) by force of arms, if necessary; to watch 
over the education of the prince, committing him to 
some godly and grave governor ; and to punish to the 
uttermost the murderers of the king.* In return for 
this, Knox adopted the cause of the Lords of the Secret 
Council (such was the title by which the confederacy 
against Mary and Bothwell was now known) with all 
the energy belonging to his character. From former 

* Knox, History, p. 449. Spottiswood, p. 210. MS. Letter, State-paper 
Office, Drury to Cecil, B.C., Berwick, June 25, 1567. Also MS. Letter, 
B.C., Jane 27, 1567, same to the same. 

1567. MARY. 121 

experience, none knew better than this extraordinary 
man the strength of popular opinion when once roused, 
and few understood better how to rouse it by that style 
of pulpit eloquence which he had adopted : earnest, 
sententious, satirical, colloquial, often coarse, but always 
to the point, and always successful. There can be little 
doubt, I think, that the great secondary cause of the 
establishment of the Reformation in Scotland was the 
force of popular opinion, roused, directed, and kept in 
continual play, by the sermons and addresses of the 
clergy. Such an engine was not permitted in England 
by Elizabeth and her ministers : Knox regretted it, 
and repeatedly requested licence to preach at Berwick, 
but he was invariably refused. 

An attempt was made at this time to bring over the 
Hamiltons and their associates to the confederates,* 
and letters were written in the name of the Church to 
Argyle, Huntley, Herries, and others, requesting their 
presence at Edinburgh on the twentieth July, to which 
day they had adjourned their Assembly. To enforce 
this, Knox, with three colleagues, Douglas, Row, and 
Craig, waited upon them, and urged the necessity of 
their attendance, that they might labour for the re- 
establishment of the policy and patrimony of the 
Church. But the Hamiltons suspected the overtures ; 
and the Secret Council, who dreaded lest delay should 
give strength to their enemies, determined to compel 
the queen to abdicate the government in favour of the 
prince her son. 

The known character of Mary, however, rendered 
this daring resolution a matter of no easy accomplish- 
ment. Her confinement in Lochleven had been ae- 

* MS. Letter, State-paper Office, B.C., Berwick, Drury to Cecil, June 
25, 1567. 


companied with circumstances of great rigour; she was 
there placed under the charge of Lindsay and Ruthven, 
men familiar with blood, and of coarse and fierce 
manners. The lady of the castle, Margaret Erskine, 
daughter of Lord Erskine, had been mistress to the 
queen's father, James the Fifth, and was mother to 
the Earl of Moray. She had been afterwards married 
to Sir Robert Douglas ; and their son, William Dou- 
glas, who was proprietor of the castle, had early joined 
ti.e confederacy. She herself is said to have been a 
woman of a proud and imperious spirit, and was ac- 
customed to boast that she was James's lawful wife, 
and her son Moray, his legitimate issue, who had been 
supplanted by the queen.* 

Under such superintendents, Mary could not expect 
a lenient captivity; but her spirit was unbroken, though 
Villeroy, a gentleman sent to her by the king of France, 
was denied all access, and it became impossible for her 
to receive advices of the proceedings of the Hamiltons, 
from the strictness with which all communication was 
cut off.-f She had sent, as we have seen, Robert Mel- 
vil on a mission to the English queen soon after her 
marriage. During his stay in England those sad ca- 
lamities had occurred with which we are acquainted ; 
and now that she was a prisoner, shut out from all 
friendly intercourse, and fed only with the deferred 
hopes that sicken -the heart, she looked anxiously for 
his return. 

But this servant had, as we have seen, become the 
envoy of her enemies. During his stay in England, 
he had acted as the secret agent of the confederate lords, 
who had imprisoned her; he solicited money to support 

* Keith, p. 403, note 6. 

t MS. Letter, State-paper Office, B.C., Drury to CecU,27th June, 1567. 
Also Id : same to same, June 20, 1567. 

1567. MARY. 123 

them in their enterprise ; he received orders from them 
to supply himself out of this sum when it was advanced 
by Elizabeth; he was cautioned against declaring him- 
self too openly, as something had come to the ears of 
the French ambassador:* he proposed te the English 
queen the project for Mary's " demitting the crown" 
in favour of her son, with which the lords who had 
imprisoned her, had made him acquainted ; and, on his 
arrival in Edinburgh, his first meeting was neither with 
his own sovereign nor the friends who had combined 
for her delivery, but with the Lords of the Secret Coun- 
cil. He assured them of the support of the English 
queen, in the " honourable enterprise, 11 in which they 
had engaged ; he informed them that Elizabeth had 
agreed to Mary's resignation of the crown, provided 
it came of her own consent; and he then, before visiting 
his mistress in her prison at Lochleven, addressed a 
letter to Cecil, from which, as it contains his own ac- 
count of his negotiation, I think it right to give this 
extract : " It may please your honour, 11 says he, " to 
be advertised, I came to this town [Edinburgh] upon 
the twenty-ninth of June, and have^f* imparted the 
queen's majesty's good disposition in the assisting and 
partaking with the lords to prosecute the murderers 
of the king, and to preserve the prince in the custody 
of the Earl of Mar. Whereof the said lords most 
humbly thank her highness. The whole particularities 
that I had your honour's advice in, according to the 
queen your sovereign's meaning, is not at this present 
resolved on, by reason the most part of noblemen are 

* MS. Letter, State-paper Office, Melvil to Cecil, 1st July, 1567 ; also 
MS. Letter, Melvil to Cecil, June, 1567 ; and MS. Letter, in cipher -with 
the decipher affixed, David Robertson to Melvil, June 26, 1567 ; also MS. 
Letter, State-paper Office, Earls of Athole, Morton, and others, to Elizabeth, 
26th June, 1567. 

f In Orig. " has." 


gone to their houses, to repose them and their friends, 
except the Earls of Morton and Athole, with my Lord 
Hume, my Lord Ledington, Sir James Balfour captain 
of the castle, who is daily in council with them, and 
Mr James Makgill and the justice-clerk. The cause 
of their going from this town is by some bragging of 
the Hamiltons, with the Earl of Huntley, minding to 
convene their forces and make their colour [pretence] 
for the delivery of the queen ; albeit, it be credibly 
reported, that they fear the king's murder to be laid 
to some of their charges ; I mean the Bishop qf St 
Andrew's: wherefore, it was thought most convenient 
that the noblemen and gentlemen should in the mean- 
time have their friends in readiness. 

" Before my .coming, the lords did write divers in- 
structions unto me, besides a letter written to the 
queen's majesty,* subscribed by them. The effect 
whereof was, that as they did understand by me of the 
good inclination [of] your mistress and council being 
addicted to help them in their most need, so, for their 
parts, their goodwill to do her majesty service, before 
all other, with time shall be declared. As for their 
dealing with France, they have used them so discreetly, 
as neither France may have any just cause to be of- 
fended, and the queen your sovereign be well pleased. 

u The lords presently needs but money, for they 
have already listed divers men of war, and is taking up 
more. The Hamiltons is judged to be maintained by 
the queen's -f- substance, and countenanced by France 
to have money, seeing France is in doubt to persuade 
our noblemen. Wherefore, sir, it is most needful, that 
with all expedition money maybe procured of the queen 
your sovereign, and sent thither with Sir Nicholas 

* Elizabeth. f Mary's. 

1567. MARY. 125 

Fragmarton,* or by some of the Borders, for that 
necessity that they will be prest to, will be within eight 
or ten days, which I thought meet to advertise your 
honour of; and what order shall be taken for my going 
to the queen is not agreed upon, by reason the most 
part of lords are not present ; and my Lord Ledington 
being greatly empesched with affairs, might not have 
leisure to concur at length, but is glad to understand 
of the care your honour has, that we should do all 
things by justice and moderation. And that the queen 
your sovereign may be content with your conference 
with me, he does well like of your advice in divers 
heads ; always, there is matter enough probable^ to 
proceed upon that matter we first agreed upon, and 
farther is thought expedient. Ye shall with diligence 
be advertised ; and refers the rest to my Lord of Led- 
ington's letter, who does repose himself upon the care 
he hopes your honour will continue in, for to set for- 
ward their honourable enterprise ; and the lords, for 
their part, will accord with your ambassador to keep 
the prince : and to her highness 1 desire will put him 
in the custody of her majesty, if at any time hereafter 
they shall be minded to suffer him go in any other 
country. The whole novels J here I refer to my Lord 
of Ledington's letter; and as I learn further your 
honour shall be advertised. * * * At Edinburgh, 
the first of July. R. Melvil." 

This letter sufficiently explains itself, and proves, 
that Melvil, although nominally the envoy of Mary, 
was now acting for the confederates. It unveils, also, 
the real intentions of Elizabeth: it shows that her 

* Sir N. Throckmorton. 

"\" Probable here used in the sense of proveable. J Novels news. 

MS. Letter, State-paper Office, Robert Melvil to Cecil, Edinburgh, 1st 
July, 1567. 


object in despatching her ambassador, Sir Nicholas 
Throckmorton, was professedly to procure the queen's 
liberty ; but really to encourage the confederates, to 
attach them to her service, to obtain possession of the 
prince if possible, to induce the captive queen to resign 
the crown, and to hold out to Moray, with whom she, 
Melvil, and the Lords of the Secret Council, were now 
in treaty, the hope of returning to his country and 
becoming the chief person in the government.* It 
appears to me also, (but this is conjecture,) that the 
mysterious sentence^ in which Melvil informs Cecil 
that Lethington liked his advice, and that at any rate 
they had proof enough to proceed on the matter first 
agreed upon, related to the scheme of compelling their 
sovereign to agree to their wishes by a threat of bring- 
ing her to a public trial for the murder of the king. 

On the same day on which this letter was written 
(July first) Melvil repaired to Lochleven, and was 
admitted to an interview with Mary, in which he 
delivered to her the letter of the Queen of England. 
At this conference Lindsay, Ruthven, and Douglas, 
insisted on being present, according to the orders which 
they had received from the Lords of the Secret Council. 
The queen was thus cut off from all private conference 
with her servant, and she complained bitterly of such 
rigour, but could obtain no redress. Eight days after- 
wards, however, Melvil was again sent by them to 
Lochleven, and permitted to see his royal mistress 
alone. In this interview he endeavoured (according 
to his own declaration) { to persuade Mary to renounce 

* MS. Letter, State-paper Office, R. Melvil to Cecil, July 8, 1567. Kerny 
in Fife. 

j- " He [Lethington] does well like of your advice in divers heads; always 
there is matter enough probable [proveable] to proceed upon that matter we 
first agreed upon, and farther is thought expedient." 

J Robert Melvil's Declaration, Hopetonn, MSS. Also, MS. Letter, State- 
paper Office, Sir James Melvil to Drury, Edinburgh, 8th July, 1567. 

1567. MARY. 127 

Botliwell, but this she peremptorily refused; and her 
obduracy upon this point excited the utmost indignation 
in the lords and the people. Knox, now all powerful 
with the lower ranks, thundered out, as Throckmorton 
expressed it to Cecil, cannon-hot against her ; and so 
thoroughly convinced were his party, and some of the 
leaders, of her guilt, that it became generally reported 
she would be brought to a public trial. So much was 
this the case, that, early in July, Lord Herries held 
a meeting with Lord Scrope, in which, when the Eng- 
lish warden attempted to detach him from Mary's 
interests, he declared, that if Morton and his faction 
would set his mistress at liberty, he was ready to assist 
them in prosecuting the king's murder, but if they 
intended to bring the queen to her trial by open assize, 
he would defend her, though forsaken by all the world.* 
In the meantime, Sir Nicholas Throckmorton, Eliza- 
beth's ambassador, left the English court on his mission 
to Scotland. We have seen that the English queen, 
in her message to Morton and his confederates, by 
Robert Melvil,had encouraged them in their enterprise, 
and promised them her support ; but her instructions 
to Throckmorton, although severely worded, were more 
favourable to the captive queen. He was directed, 
indeed, to express her grief and indignation that decided 
steps had not been taken for the punishment of the 
king's murder, to point out the mortal reproach she 
had incurred by her marriage, and to assure her, that 
at first she had resolved to give up all farther communi- 
cation with one who seemed by her acts so reckless of 
her honour ; but he was instructed to add, that the 
late rebellious conduct of her nobles had softened these 

* MS. Letter, State-paper Office, Scrope to Cecil, B.C. Carlisle, 9th 
July, 1667. 


feelings. Whatever had been Mary's conduct, it did 
not (she said) belong to subjects to assume the sword, 
or to punish the faults of the prince ; and so much did 
she commiserate and resent her imprisonment, that 
she was prepared to compel her nobles to restore her 
to liberty. At the same time, she was ready to lend 
her countenance and assistance for the prosecution of 
the king's murder, and the preservation of the young 
prince. In conclusion, Throckmorton was enjoined to 
declare to the Scottish queen the charges with which 
she was loaded by her subjects, and to hear her answers 
and defence. * 

On crossing the Border, the ambassador was met 
by Lethington the secretary, at Coldingham, who con- 
ducted him to Fastcastle, a strong fortalice overhang- 
ing the German Ocean, -f- Here he was received by 
Hume the lord of the castle, with Sir James Melvil ; 
and in a conference held with the Scottish secretary, 
it was "soon apparent that he had to deal with those 
who were as crafty, cautious, and diplomatic as himself 
or his mistress. On the same day he wrote to Cecil, 
and informed him that the Scottish lords dreaded Eliza- 
beth's caprice. They assured themselves, he said, "that 
if they ran her fortune, she would leave them in the 
briars, 1 ' and desert them after they had committed 
themselves. Already they complained that she had 
departed from her first promises to Robert Melvil, and 
had sent a cold answer to their last letter ; and as for 
her proposal to set their sovereign at liberty, if sincere 
in this, it was plain (they said) that the Queen of Eng- 

* British Museum, Cotton MSS. Caligula, C. i. f. 3, 6, 8. Copy, Instruc- 
tions to Sir N. Throckmorton, 30th June, 1567. 

) Robertson's Appendix, No. xxii. Throckmorton to Cecil, 12th July, 
1567. Fastcastle is described by him as "very little and very strong: a 
place fitter to lodge prisoners than folks at liberty.'" 

1567. MARY. 129 

land sought their ruin ; for were Mary once free, it 
would be absurd to talk of the prosecution of the mur- 
der, or, indeed, of any other condition. 

Touching their intended policy to France, a subject 
upon which Elizabeth was exceedingly jealous, Throck- 
niorton found them resolved to hold, for the present, 
the same cautious course which they pursued to Eng- 
land, neither positively refusing nor accepting the over- 
tures of the French king. These, indeed, as Lethington 
reported them to the English ambassador, were of an 
extraordinary description; and if Mary owed little 
gratitude to Elizabeth, she was certainly still less 
obliged to her royal relatives at that court, whose ex- 
ertions at this moment were strenuously devoted to 
the setting up a party in Scotland composed of her 
enemies, the confederate lords. In accomplishing this, 
they were ready to sacrifice the captive queen. It was 
suggested that the government and the young prince 
should be managed by a council of the lords, acting, 
of course, under French influence ; and as for the 
queen herself, De Croc the ambassador proposed to rid 
them of her altogether, and shut her up in a French 
convent. * 

It is probable that the Scottish secretary had not 
exaggerated these intentions of France, for we find, 
that at this very time the greatest exertions were made 
by the French king to secure the services of the Earl 
of Moray, then at his court. *f- These splendid bribes 

* Robertson's Appendix, No. xxii. Throckmorton to Cecil, Fastcastle,12th, 
July, 1567. 

\- MS. Letter, State-paper Office, French Correspondence, Norris to Eliza- 
beth, Poissy, 2d July, 1567. Same to Cecil, MS. Letter, Poissy, 2d July, 
1567. Also, MS. Letter, State-paper Office, Norris to Cecil, Paris, 16th 
July, 1567. " * * Great is the travel and pain that hath been here taken 
to win the Earl of Moray, offering both the Order, and great augmentation 
of living; which, as he hath sent me word, he hath refused, lest, by taking 
gifts, he should be bound where he is now free." 


he steadily rejected ; but on the other hand, he was so 
far from embracing the interests of Morton and his 
associates, that he despatched one of his servants, 
Nicholas Elphinston, on a mission to the Scottish 
queen, assuring her of his devotion to her service. 

Elphinston arrived in London a few days after 
Throckmorton's departure for Scotland. He was there 
admitted to a secret interview with Elizabeth, which 
lasted for an hour, and his communication had the effect 
of rendering her more favourable to Mary, and more 
hostile to the confederate lords. There is a curious 
piece of secret history connected with the interview 
between this envoy of Moray and Elizabeth, which is 
to be found in a letter of Mr Heneage, a gentleman of 
the court, to Cecil. This person was in waiting in the 
antechamber of the palace, when Elizabeth, after dis- 
missing Moray's messenger, called him hastily and sent 
him to Cecil. He was directed by her to inform the 
prime minister, that Moray had despatched his servant 
with letters to the Queen of Scotland, expressive of his 
attachment, and offering his service ; that they were 
to be delivered to her own hands, and not to be seen 
by the confederates : and that he had in charge also to 
remonstrate with them for their audacity in imprison- 
ing their sovereign. But this was not all : the rest 
of the commission given by the English queen to 
Heneage, is still more interesting in furnishing us with 
an admission, from her own lips, of that insidious deal- 
ing which so often marked her policy. Tell Cecil, said 
she, that he must instantly write a letter, in my name, 
to my sister, to which I will set my hand, for I cannot 
write it myself, as I have not " used her well and faith- 
fully in these h'oken matters that be past. The pur- 
port of it must be, to let her know that the Earl of 

1567. MARY. 131 

Moray never spoke diffamedly of her for the death of 
her husband ; never plotted for the secret conveying of 
the prince to England ; never confederated with the 
lords to depose her : on the contrary, now in my sister's 
misery let her learn from me the truth, and that is, 
that she has not a more faithful and honourable ser- 
vant in Scotland. 1 '* At this date, therefore, (July 
eighth,) if we are to believe this evidence, and there 
seems no good reason to question it, Moray was no 
party to the schemes of the confederates. On the 
contrary, he had declared himself against them, and 
was resolved to support and defend the queen his 

But to return to Throckmorton. This ambassador 
proceeded from Fastcastle to the capital, accompanied 
by Lord Hume, and an escort of four hundred horse. 
The day after his arrival (July thirteenth) there was 
a solemn fast held by the Reformed Church, the leaders 
of which were decided enemies of the Scottish queen ; 
and his first impressions gave him little hope, either 
that he would be permitted to visit the royal captive, 
or be able to do her much good."f* Nor did the con- 
federate lords seem in any haste to have a conference 
with him ; and when he accidentally met their leader 
Morton, he excused himself from entering upon busi- 
ness, as the day was devoted to sacred exercises. 
Lethington, however, came to him in the evening, and 
from the tone of his conversation, it was apparent to 
the ambassador, that they were determined he should 
not be allowed to see Mary. They had already, he 
said, refused the French ambassador, and in the pre- 

* MS. Letter, State-paper Office. Mr T. Heneage to Cecil, From the court, 
8th July, 1567. 

t Throckmorton to the Queen, Edinburgh, 14th July, 1567, Robertson, 
Appendix, No. xxii. 


sent state of things, they did not choose to irritate 

As to the probable fate of the unhappy prisoner, 
Throckmorton found all things looking gloomily. Her 
chief supporters, the party of the Hamiltons, were di- 
vided in their councils, and almost equally treacherous 
in their intentions with her more open enemies. Being 
next heirs to the crown, it was generally believed that 
they would have been glad to have got rid both of 
Mary and the prince ; and if we may credit Throck- 
morton, they only " made a show of the liberty of the 
queen, that they might induce these lords to destroy 
her, rather than they should recover her by violence 
out of their hands." * Argyle was tampering with the 
Lords of the Secret Council. Herries, though more 
attached to her service, was not to be trusted when his 
own interests came in the way ; the French king and 
the queen-mother were ready to desert her, if they 
could gain the confederates ; and, singular as the fact 
may appear to those who have given credit to the at- 
tacks of his opponents, her only true friend, at this 
moment, was the Earl of Moray. He had despatched 
Elphinston, as we have seen, to visit Mary and assure 
her of his services, and this envoy arrived in the capital 
much about the same time with Throckmortoii. But 
when he requested to have access to the queen, and 
deliver his letters, he received a peremptory denial. 
It has been often asserted, and very commonly believed, 
that from the first rising of the lords against Mary and 
Bothwell, Moray was one of their party, in active cor- 
respondence with them ; yet how are we to reconcile 
this with his present attachment to Mary's interests, 

* Throckmorton to Elizabeth, 18th July, 1567. Also same to same, July 
14, 1567. Both letters in Robertson's Appendix, No. zxii. And same to 
same, June 19, 1567, Caligula, C. i. fol. 18. 

1567. MARY. 133 

his rejection of the offers of France, and the jealousy 
with which she was regarded by the confederates. But 
of all the enemies of the miserable queen, the most bit- 
ter were the Presbyterian clergy and the people. In 
the midst of their austerity and devotional exercises, 
the ministers expressed themselves with deep indig- 
nation against her, and looked forward with anxious 
interest to their great ecclesiastical council, which was 
to be held in eight days, and in which they had deter- 
mined that the whole matter connected with the mur- 
der and her imprisonment should be debated. 

The more that Throckmorton investigated the state 
of parties during this interval, the more he became 
convinced of the hopelessness of his own interference, 
and the imminent peril of Mary. So far were the 
people from listening with any patience to the doctrines 
of passive obedience, which Elizabeth had instructed 
him to inculcate, that they took their stand on the 
very opposite ground the responsibility of the prince, 
and the power of the nation, to call their sovereign to 
account for any crimes she might have committed. 
" It is a public speech among all the people," (so wrote 
the ambassador to Elizabeth,) " that their queen hath 
no more liberty nor privilege to commit murder nor 
adultery than any other private person, neither by 
God's laws nor by the laws of the realm. 1 "* These 
popular principles were now for the first time openly 
and powerfully preached to the commons. Knox, 
Craig, and the other ministers of the Reformed Church, 
considered the pulpit and the press as the lawful 
vehicles of their political as well as their religious 
opinions; and the celebrated Buchanan, who had joined 

* Throckmorton to Elizabeth, July 18, 1567, Robertson, Appendix, No. 



the confederates, enforced the same doctrines with 
uncommon vigour and ability. Their arguments were 
grounded on the examples of wicked princes in the Old 
Testament who were deposed and put to death for their 
idolatry, and on alleged but disputable precedents in 
their own history of similar severity exercised by sub- 
jects against their sovereigns.* In consequence of all 
these efforts, the few friends who had at first ventured 
to defend the Scottish queen were silenced and intimi- 
dated, and the public mind became inflamed to such a 
state of madness and fury, that she began to think of 
saving her life by retiring to a nunnery in France, or 
living with the old Duchess of Guise.-f 

At this moment Robert Melvil was for the third time 
sent by the confederates to Lochleven, instructed to 
make a last effort to prevail upon his mistress to re- 
nounce Bothwell. By him Throckmortou found an 
opportunity to convey a letter, in which he strongly 
urged Mary to the same course. } But the mission 
was completely unsuccessful : the queen, who believed 
herself to be with child, declared her firm resolution 
rather to die than desert her husband, and declare her 
child illegitimate. She requested Melvil, at the same 
time, to deliver a letter to the lords which implored 
them to have consideration of her health, and to change 
the place of her imprisonment to Stirling, where she 
might have the comfort of seeing her son. She was 
willing, she said, to commit the government of the 
realm, either to the Earl of Moray alone, or to a council 
of the nobility ; and proposed that, if they would not 

* Throckmorton to Elizabeth, July 18, 1567, Robertson, Appendix, No 

t State-paper Office, Throckmorton to the Queen, July 16, 1567. Printed 
by Laing, vol. ii. p. 122. 

Robert Melvil's Declaration, Hopetoun MSS. Throckmorton to the 
Queen, July 18, 1567, Robertson, Appendix, No. xxii. 

1567. MARY. 135 

obey her as their queen, they should regard her with 
some favour as the mother of their prince, and the 
daughter of their king. To this interview between 
Mary and Melvil no one was admitted, and before he 
took his leave she produced a letter, requesting him to 
convey it to Bothwell. This he peremptorily refused, 
upon which she threw it angrily into the fire.* 

On his return to the capital, he found the animosity 
against the queen at its height, and the English am- 
bassador in despair of being able to restrain it from 
some fatal excess. Many openly declared that no 
power, either within or without the realm, should pre- 
serve her from that signal punishment which her 
notorious crimes deserved. Others, more moderate, 
proposed to restore her to the royal dignity, if she con- 
sented to divorce Bothwell ; some advised that she 
should resign in favour of the prince, who might govern 
by a council, whilst she retired for life to France. This 
was A thole's scheme, and not disliked by Morton, but 
to the majority of the privy- council it was unacceptable. 
They deemed it indispensable that Mary should be 
publicly arraigned and condemned to perpetual impri- 
sonment as guilty of the king's murder, whilst some 
went so far as to insist that she should not only be 
condemned and degraded, but put to death. ^f* 

When such was the state of public feeling, the 
General Assembly of the Church convened in Edin- 
burgh. | The Protestant clergy had already entered 
into a strict coalition with Morton and the Lords of 
the Secret Council, who now held the whole power of 

* Melvil's Declaration, Hopetoun MSS. 

t Caligula, C. i. fol. 18, MS. Letter, Throckmorton to Elizabeth, July 
19, 1567. 

t MS. Letter, State-paper Office. Robert Melvil to Elizabeth Edinburgh, 
July 29, 1567. 


the government ; and the proceedings of their ecclesi- 
astical tribunal partook of the rigorous and uncompro- 
mising character of Knox and Buchanan, its leaders. 
It was argued that the queen was guilty of crimes for 
which she ought to forfeit her life, and there seemed 
to be every probability that this dreadful result was 
about to take place, had it not been for the interference 
of Throckmorton, who, with the utmost earnestness, 
remonstrated against such an extremity.* After 
violent debates, a more moderate course was adopted. 
Mary had (as we have seen) already intimated her 
readiness to resign the government to the Earl of 
Moray. It was now resolved to follow up the idea ; 
and for this purpose Lord Lindsay, who had left Loch- 
leven to attend the General Assembly, was despatched 
thither in company with Robert Melvil. From this 
nobleman, one of the fiercest zealots of his party, Mary 
had everything to dread : her passionate menace to him 
on the day she was taken prisoner at Carberry had not 
been forgotten, and he was now selected as a man whom 
she would hardly dare to resist. He carried with him 
three instruments drawn up by the lords in their sove- 
reign's name. By the first she was made to demit the 
government of the realm in favour of her son, and to 
give orders for his immediate coronation ; by the second, 
she, in consequence of his tender infancy, constituted 
her " dear brother," the Earl of Moray, regent of the 
realm ; and by the third, she appointed the Duke, with 
the Earls of Lennox, Argyle, Athole, Morton, Glen- 
cairn, and Mar, regents of the kingdom till the return 
of Moray from France, with power to continue in that 
high office, if he refused it.^ 

* MS. Letter, State-paper Office, Robert Melvil to Elizabeth, Edinburgh, 
29th July, 1567. 

f Anderson, vol. ii. p. 208-220, inclusive. 

1567. MARY. 137 

Before Lindsay was admitted, Melvil had a private 
interview with the queen, and assured her that her 
refusal to sign the papers would endanger her life. Nor 
was this going too far. It is certain that, had she 
proved obstinate, the lords were resolved to bring her 
to a public trial ; that they spoke with the utmost 
confidence of her conviction for the king's murder, and 
affirmed that they possessed proof of her guilt in her 
own handwriting.* These threats and assertions were 
in all probability communicated to his royal mistress 
by Melvil ; and he insinuated that she ought to be the 
less scrupulous, as any deed signed in captivity, and 
under fear of her life, was invalid. He brought a mes- 
sage to the same purpose from Athole and Lethington, 
and a letter from Throckmorton. 

It was a trying moment for Mary ; and for a short 
time she resisted every entreaty, declaring passionately 
that she would sooner renounce her life than her crown ; 
but when Lindsay was admitted, his stern demeanour 
at once terrified her into compliance. He laid the in- 
struments before her; and with eyes filled with tears, 
and a trembling hand she took the pen and signed the 
papers without even reading their contents.^ It was 
necessary, however, that they should pass the privy-- 
seal ; and here a new outrage was committed. The 
keeper, Thomas Sinclair, remonstrated, and declared 
that the queen being in ward, her resignation was in- 
effectual; Lindsay attacked his house, tore the seal 
from his hands, and compelled him by threats and 
violence to affix it to the resignation, j 

* MS. Letter, Throckmorton to Cecil, 25th July, 1567.' Caligula, C. i. 
fol. 22. 

f Spottiswood, p. 211. 

* We owe the discovery of this fact to Mr Riddell, in a paper published 
in " Black-wood's Magazine," for October, 1817. 


Having been so far successful, the lords hurried on 
the consummation of their plans, and resolved without 
delay to crown the prince, requesting Throckmorton's 
presence at the ceremony, and despatching Sir James 
Melvil to invite the Hamiltons. The English ambas- 
sador, however, gave a peremptory refusal. Their 
whole proceedings, he said, had been contrary to the 
advice, and in contempt of the remonstrances of his 
mistress.* The Hamiltons also declined; not, as they 
commissioned Melvil to inform the confederate lords, 
on the ground of their being enemies so far from this 
they thanked them for their gentle message but simply 
because, from the first, they had been made no party 
to their intentions. It was their wish also, they said, 
to present a protest, that this coronation should not 
be prejudicial to the title of the Duke of Chastelherault 
as next heir to the crown ; and their request having 
been granted, they professed to offer no opposition.^ 

It was' determined that the coronation should be held 
in the High Church at Stirling, and thither the con- 
federate lords repaired; but on their arrival a collision 
took place between the new and old opinions. The 
clergy, of whom Knox was the great leader, insisted that 
the king should not be anointed, but simply crowned, 
anointing being a Jewish rite, and abrogated by the 
gospel dispensation. Against this notion it was argued 
that the custom was not a superstitious relic, but an 
ancient solemnity recognised by the general usage of 
Christendom; and after a bitter contest, the objection 
was overruled, and the ceremonial proceeded, every 

* Tbrockmorton to Elizabeth, Edinburgh, 26ih July, 1567. Stevenson's 
Selections, illustrating the reign of Mary queen of Scotland, p. 251. The 
Original is in the State-paper Office. 

) Throckmorton to Elizabeth, Edinburgh, 31st July, 1567. Stevenson'* 
Selections, p. 258. 

1567. MARY. 139 

endeavour having been made on the part of the lords 
to make it as solemn and magnificent as possible. In 
the procession Athole bore the crown, Morton the 
sceptre, and Glencairn the sword, whilst Mar, his go- 
vernor, carried the infant prince in his arms into the 
church. The deeds of resignation by the queen were 
read ; and Lindsay, and Ruthven, did not scruple to 
attest upon oath that which they knew to be false, that 
Mary's demission was her own free act. Knox then 
preached the sermon ; the crown was placed on the 
king's head by the Bishop of Orkney ; Morton, laying 
his hand on the Gospels, took the oaths on behalf of 
his sovereign, that he should maintain the reformed 

O ' 

religion and extirpate heresy ; the lords swore alle- 
giance, placing their hands on his head ; the burgesses 
followed ; and, in conclusion, the Earl of Mar lifted the 
monarch from the throne and carried him back to his 
nursery in the castle.* At night, in the capital, the 
blaze of bonfires, and universal mirth and dancing, at- 
tested the joy of the people.^ 

A more extraordinary revolution was perhaps never 
completed without bloodshed, and apparently with such 
disproportionate means. A small section of the nobles 
and the gentry, unsupported by foreign aid, with a 
handful of soldiers, J at no time exceeding four hundred 
men, opposed by the highest of the aristocracy, and 
threatened with the hostility of England and France, 
were seen to rise with appalling suddenness and 
strength : they dispel their enemies ; they imprison 
their sovereign ; they hesitate whether she shall not 
be openly arraigned and executed; they compel her to 

* Throckmorton to Elizabeth, Edinburgh, 31st July, 1567, Stevenson, 
p. 257. Calderwood, MS. Hist. p. 684, Ayscough, 4735. 
f Throckmorton to Elizabeth, July 31, 1567. 
J By " soldiers," is here meant regular waged troops. 


resign her regal authority ; and they now, finally, 
place the crown on the head of her son, an infant of a 
year old, and possess themselves of the whole power of 
the government. If we look for the cause of this ex- 
traordinary success, it is to be traced chiefly, if not 
altogether, to the unhappy infatuation and imprudence 
of the queen. It was this that separated her friends, 
strengthened the hands of her enemies, gave ample 
field for the worst suspicions, and alienated from her 
the hearts and sympathy of the people. But to re- 

The first intelligence of these events was received 
with the utmost indignation by Elizabeth. She had 
already instructed Throckmorton to remonstrate with 
the lords ; she had warned him to beware of giving his 
presence or countenance to the coronation : she now 
interdicted him from holding any farther intercourse, 
as her ambassador, with men who had treated her with 
such discourtesy and contempt, and declared " that she 
would make herself a party against them to the revenge 
of their sovereign, and an example to all posterity.""* 
When her letters were delivered, the principal leaders, 
Morton, Mar, Glencairn, Hume, and Lethington, had 
come to Edinburgh, to await the arrival of Moray, to 
whom they had despatched an envoy, informing him 
of his having been chosen regent. Throckmorton, in 
obedience to his mistress's commands, kept aloof; but 
Tullibardine the comptroller, and brother-in-law to the 
Earl of Mar, one of the interim regents, volunteered a 
visit ; and, in the course of conversation on the late 
events, unveiled a' scene of treachery upon the part of 
the Hamiltons, who had hitherto supported the queen, 

* Orig. Draft, State-paper Office, Instructions to Sir N. Throckmorton, 
27th July, 1567. It is corrected in Cecil's hand. 

1567. MARY. 141 

which filled him with horror. The two great leaders 
of this party were the Archbishop of St Andrew's 
and the Abbot of Kilwinning ; and when the English 
ambassador remonstrated upon the violence of the re- 
cent proceedings, and threatened the Lords of the 
Secret Council with hostility upon the part of Eliza- 
beth, he was solemnly assured that a perseverance in 
such a course, was the certain way to shorten Mary's 
life. " Within the last forty-eight hours," said the 
comptroller, " the Archbishop of St Andrew's, on the 
part of the Hamiltons, has proposed to us to put the 
queen to death. They have recommended this course 
as the only certain method of reconciling all parties ; 
and on our consenting to adopt it, they are ready to 
join us to a man, and to bring Argyle and Huntley 
along with them." 

Throckmorton at first expressed his utter disbelief 
that any men, who had hitherto borne a fair character, 
could be guilty of such atrocious and cold-blooded 
treachery. He argued also on the point of expediency, 
that more profit might be made of the queen's life than 
of her death. She might be divorced from Bothwell 
and afterwards marry a son of the Duke's, or a brother 
of Argyle's. To this, Tullibardine's answer was re- 
markable. " My lord ambassador," said he, " these 
matters you speak of have been in question amongst 
them, but now they see not so good an outgait* by 
any of those devices as by the queen's death. For she 
being taken away, they account but the little king 
betwixt them and home,-f- who may die. They love 
not the queen, and they know she hath no great fancy 
to any of them ; and they fear her the more, because 

* Outgait outlet. 

( The Hamiltons were nearest heirs to the crown, failing Mary and her 
son. Home here means the succesion to the throne. 


she is young and may have many children, which is 
the thing they would be rid of."* Throckmorton, 
however, persevered in his incredulity, and that same 
evening the secretary Lethington held a secret confer- 
ence with him, in whichhe assured him that Tullibardine 
had stated nothing but the truth. I think it right, as 
these are new facts in this part of our history, involving 
a charge of unwonted perfidy even in this age, to give 
the particulars of this extraordinary conversation in 
the words of the ambassador to Elizabeth. " The same 
day," said he, (he is describing the events of the seventh 
of August,) " the Lord of Lethington came to visit me 
on behalf of all the lords. He demanded of me when 
I heard from your majesty, and what was the matter 
why I had sent to Stirling for audience. * * I an- 
swered, to let the lords and him understand what your 
majesty did think of their rash proceedings, finding 
the matter very strange in this hasty sort to proceed 
with a queen, their sovereign, being a prince anointed, 
not having imparted their intent to your majesty. * * 
"For answer, the Laird of Lethington said, 'My 
Lord Ambassador, these lords did think their cause 
could suffer no delays; and as for imparting their pur- 
poses to the queen's majesty your sovereign, they 
doubted that neither she would allow that which was 
meet for them to do, neither could take any of their 
doings in good part. And where you have charged 
us with deprivation of the queen from her royal estate, 
it doth .appear by such instruments as I sent you from 
Stirling, that we have not denuded the queen of her 
regality, but she hath voluntarily relinquished the same 
to her son.' I asked him," continued Throckmorton, 

* MS. Letter, State-paper Office, Throckmorton to Elizabeth, Edinburgh, 
9th August, 1567. 

1567. MARY. 143 

" what free will there might be, or uncompulsory con- 
sent, for a prisoner, and such a one as every day looked 
for to lose her life ? ' Yea,' said he, ' it is you that 
seek to bring it to pass, what show soever the queen 
your mistress, or you, do make to save her life, or set 
her at liberty. For the Hamiltons and you concur 
together; you have nothing in your mouths but liberty, 
and nothing less in your hearts. My Lord Ambassa- 
dor, (he continued,) I have heard what you have said 
unto me; I assure you, if you should use this speech 
unto them, which you do unto me, all the world could 
not save the queen's life three days to an end; and as 
the case now standeth, it will be much ado to save her 
life. 1 

" I said, ' My Lord of Lethington, if you remember, 
I told you, at my first coming hither, when I under- 
stood you minded the coronation of her son, that when 
you had touched her dignity, you would touch her life 
shortly after. 1 * * * ' Well, my Lord, 1 said he, 
' I trust you do not take me to be one that doth thirst 
my sovereign's blood, or that would stain my conscience 
with the shedding of the same ? You know how I have 
proceeded with you since your coming hither. I have 
given you the best advice I could to prevent extremity ; 
and either the queen your sovereign will not be ad- 
vised, or you do forbear to advise her. I say unto you, 
as I am a Christian man, if we which have dealt in 
this action would consent to take the queen's life from 
her, all the lords which hold but and lie aloof from us, 
would come and conjoin with us within these two days. 
This morning the Bishop of St Andrews and the Abbot 
of Kilwinning have sent a gentleman unto us for that 
purpose. And likewise the Earl of Huntley hath sent 
Duncan Forbes, within this hour, to conclude with us 


upon the same ground: and, to be plain with you, there 
be very few amongst ourselves which be of any other 
opinion.' " 

Throckmorton then began to use persuasions to dis- 
suade them from such a fearful extremity. Upon which 
Lethington assured him, that, as far as he himself was 
concerned, there needed no argument but he added, 
emphatically, " ' How can you satisfy men that the 
queen shall not become a dangerous party against them 
in case she live and come to liberty f I said, ' Divorce 
her from Bothwell.' He said, 'We cannot bring it to 
pass ; she will in no wise hear of the matter. 1 " The 
conversation was then broken off by Sir James Balfour 
coming in to carry Lethington to the council, who were 
waiting for him.* 

It is clear, then, that at this moment the Hamiltons . 
instead of being friends to the unhappy queen, as they 
are represented in our popular historians, were acting 
towards her with treachery and cruelty; they were 
ready to sacrifice her to their own dreams of ambition,*}- 
and the life of Mary was in the most imminent peril. | 
The remonstrances and arguments of Throckmorton, 
however, so far prevailed, that it was agreed the fatal 
blow should be suspended till the arrival of the Earl 
of Moray. 

To this remarkable man, on whose movements so 
much depended, all eyes were now turned, and his 
future conduct became the subject of much discussion. 

* MS. Letter, State-paper Office, Throckmorton to Elizabeth, 9th August, 

f MS. Letter, State-paper Office, Throckmorton to Leicester, Edinburgh, 
9th August, 1567. 

Keith, p. 436, has fallen into the error of representing the band or agree- 
ment of the party of the Hamiltons at Dumbarton, as having been entered 
into about the 29th July, instead of the 29th June, which is its true date, as 
seen on the original instrument in the State-paper Office. In Mr Dawson 
Turner's volume of MS. Scottish letters, there is a copy of the same deed, 
with the correct date, 29th June. 

1567. MARY. 345 

He had been elected regent. Would he accept this 
high office, which, considering the divided state of 
parties, brought with it so many difficulties? What 
were his sentiments as to the extraordinary events 
which had lately taken place? The deposition and 
captivity of his sovereign, the coronation of the prince, 
the remonstrances of England, the efforts of France, 
above all, the guilt and punishment of the queen, now 
so strongly urged by that party of the Reformed Church 
with whom he had hitherto acted ? All this was field 
for fearful conjecture to some for anxious speculation 
to all; and Moray's was a character not easily fathomed, 
which often concealed purposes of great weight and 
determination under a blunt and open manner. He had 
now been absent from Scotland for nearly four months, 
and it is certain that, when Morton and the Lords of the 
Secret Council first planned that revolution, (fourteenth 
May,) which ended so fatally to Mary, they had se- 
cretly communicated with him. The exact nature of 
that communication we know not, but it was reported 
that he approved of their designs ; and a month later, 
after the imprisonment of the queen, they again entered 
into correspondence with him; once more, about a 
fortnight later ; and once again, after the resignation 
of the queen, this correspondence was renewed. These 
facts are undoubtedly calculated to excite suspicion, 
and we are not to be surprised if, in the heat of the 
controversy which has agitated this portion of our 
history, it has been argued from them that Moray not 
only approved of, but directed all the plans of the con- 
spirators. But the inquirer after truth dares notadvance 
so rapidly. All that is proved amounts to the fact, 
that the lords of the confederacy against Mary, from 
the first, were anxious to gain him. Indeed, his election 


to the regency showed how far they were ready to go 
to secure him : but of his answers to their letters we 
know nothing. It is also worthy of remark, that on 
the only occasion when we can detect a message sent 
to them by Moray, it was hostile to his reputed friends. 
Elphinston, whom we have seen deputed by him to 
communicate with his imprisoned mistress and her 
captors, brought an assurance of such comfort and 
loyalty to Mary, and so severe a remonstrance to the 
lords, that they interdicted him from seeing the queen 
until they had made up their minds to depose her or 
to put her to death. Such a message could not have 
proceeded from an associate. 

On being informed of his election to the regency, 
Moray prepared to leave France, and his intentions at 
this moment formed an object of the deepest interest 
to the court of England, and the Tuilleries. Elizabeth 
was naturally anxious to preserve the influence she had 
hitherto exerted in the affairs of Scotland. She con- 
sidered her hold over the measures of that country as 
an essential part of the great system for the support 
of Protestantism in Europe. At the same time, how- 
ever, she was highly incensed at the Lords of the Secret 
Council for their deposition of their sovereign : their 
conduct, in her opinion, was insulting to the majesty 
of the crown, and destructive of all principles of good 
government; and as she had determined to exert her- 
self to procure the liberty of the captive queen, she 
was anxious to secure Moray in the same service. Such 
were the feelings of Elizabeth. 

The court of France, on the other hand, was equally 
anxious to preserve, or rather to recover, the influence 
it once held over Scotland ; and at first the king de- 
clared that he would strain every effort to have Mary 

1567. MARY. 147 

and the prince brought into his kingdom : but this idea 
was soon abandoned. The Scottish queen had never 
been a favourite with the queen-mother; and provided 
they gained the confederate lords, in whose hands at 
this moment was the whole power of the government, 
and enlisted Moray in their interest, the French soon 
came to care little whether the queen remained a cap- 
tive or was set at liberty. High bribes were offered 
him before his departure, and when he resisted these 
entreaties, and it began to be rumoured that he leant 
to the side of England, every impediment was thrown 
in the way of his return. * But such difficulties were 
overcome by his prudence and firmness. Without 
binding himself to France in any specific agreement, 
he assured the king of his desire to use every exertion 
for the deliverance of his sovereign; and left the court 
with Monsieur de Lignerolles, who was ordered to 
accompany him. Of this person the avowed object 
was to carry a message from the French king to the 
Lords of the Secret Council ; but his real errand was 
to watch the proceedings of the regent-elect, and hurry 
him on to Scotland, without giving him time to com- 
municate with Elizabeth, -f 

At this moment, when on the eve of leaving France, 
Moray was informed, probably by Elphinston, his own 
servant, of the alleged proofs of Mary^ guilt, which 
had been discovered by her enemies in Scotland; his 
informant stating, that he had seen and read a letter 
of the Scottish queen to Bothwell, which proved that 

* MS. Letter, State-paper Office, Norris to Cecil, Poissy, 2d July, 1567, 
French Correspondence. MS. Letter, original, State-paper Office, Norris to 
Cecil, July 16, 1567, French Correspondence. Also Norris to Elizabeth, 
July 23, 1567. Stevenson's Selections, p. 243. 

t MS. Letter, State-paper Office. French Correspondence, Norris to Cecil, 
Paris, July 16, 1567. 


she was privy to her husband's murder. * Hitherto 
the accusations against his sovereign had been vague 
and unsupported by proof; but if this were true, and 
if she still obstinately refused to renounce Bothwell, 
it appeared clear to him that her immediate restoration 
to liberty was impossible. At the same time, this 
intelligence necessarily worked a change in Moray's 
feelings more favourable to the confederate lords, and 
more severe towards his sovereign ; so that, on his 
arrival at the English court, his -interview with the 
queen was angry and unsatisfactory : Elizabeth ex- 
pressed herself determined to restore the imprisoned 
queen, and to punish the audacious subjects w r ho had 
dethroned her. Against this dictatorial tone, Moray's 
spirit rose, and the queen, who expected implicit obe- 
dience, upbraided him with such severity, that she shook 
his affection towards England, a result much deplored 
by Bedford and Throckmorton. These able persons, 
and her chief minister Cecil, who were intimately ac- 
quainted with the state of the two parties, had earnestly 
enforced on the queen the necessity of leaving Mary 
to her fate, and encouraging the lords who had deposed 
her : they considered her cause to be desperate ; and 
they believed such a course to be the only likely way 
to prevent these men from throwing themselves into 
the arms of the French king, who had made them 
flattering advances, and was ready to desert the Scot- 
tish queen. It was to the honour of Elizabeth that 
she repudiated this advice, refused to abandon the 
cause of the captive princess, and perceiving the 

* Gonzalez Apuntamientos. p. 323. From a letter of Norris to Cecil, 
MS. State-paper Office, 23d July, 1567, French Correspondence, it appears 
that Moray left the French court at that time. Also Throckmorton to Cecil, 
August 2, 1567. Stevenson's Selections, p. 263. 

1567. MARY. 149 

change in Moray's mind, dismissed him with no kindly- 
feeling. * 

On the eighth of August he reached Berwick, ac- 
companied by De Lignerolles. Here he was the guest 
of Bedford, his ancient friend and associate ; and was 
met by two envoys from the lords of the confederacy, 
Sir James Makgill lord clerk-register, and the well- 
known Sir James Melvil : the first was the representa- 
tive of that section who were most determined against 
the queen; the other was deputed by that more moderate 
class who wished to spare her life, and contemplated 
the possibility of her restitution. Both of these were 
fully able to inform him of the state of parties ; and 
Makgill, who had been a principal actor in the deposi- 
tioa of his sovereign, and knew all that could be urged 
against her, explained to him their whole proceedings, 
and urged the absolute necessity of his accepting the 
regency. Moray, however, refused to commit himself; 
and, pursuing his journey, was met at the Bound Rode, 
the line which separates the two countries, by a troop 
of four hundred noblemen and gentlemen who had 
assembled to honour his arrival. From thence he rode 
to Whittingham. 

It was only a year and a half before, that in this 
fatal house the conference had been held between Leth- 
ington, Bothwell, and Morton, in which the king^s 
murder was determined. Bothwell was now a fugitive 
and an outlaw ; but his associates in guilt, the same 
Lethington and Morton, now received Moray at Whit- 
tingham, and cordially sympathized with him, when 
he expressed his horror for the crime, and his resolu- 
tion to avenge it. 

* MS. Letter, State-paper Office, B.C., Bedford to Cecil, 10th Aug. 1567. 
Also, 13th August, 1567, B.C., Bedford to Cecil. Also, MS. Letter, State- 
paper Office, B.C., 1st August, 1567, Bedford to Cecil. 



After a night's rest, the regent-elect proceeded to 
the capital, which he entered next day, surrounded by 
the nobility, and amid the. acclamations of the citizens. 
Here for two days he employed himself unremittingly 
in examining the state of the two factions, holding 
consultations with his friends, and acquiring the best 
information as to the difficulties he might have to en- 
counter in accepting the high office which was offered 
him. He had already held an interview with Throck- 
morton the English ambassador, who met him for this 
purpose a few miles from Edinburgh; and to this able 
judge, who had no interest to blind him, Moray ap- 
peared to be acting with sincerity and honour. He 
was already aware of the general nature of De Ligne- 
rolles' message to the lords of the confederacy ; and in 
the secret consultations which he held with these per- 
sons, the whole history of their proceedings must have 
been laid before him. From them he now learnt the 
full extent of Mary's infatuation and alleged guilt ; the 
proofs and letters which, as they asserted, convicted 
her of participation in her husband's murder, were now, 
no doubt imparted to him ; and he was made aware of 
the stern determination which many of them had em- 
braced, of bringing her to a public trial, and, if con- 
victed, putting her to death. As to the difficulties of 
his situation, the faction of the Hamiltons and the 
hostility of Elizabeth were the principal obstacles in 
his way ; but the first were divided in their councils, 
and the English queen would soon, he trusted, be in- 
duced by Cecil to remove her opposition. On the whole, 
he felt almost resolved to accept the regency, but one 
point made him still hesitate. The demission of the 
crown, the deeds which nominated himself, and sanc- 
tioned the coronation of the prince, were said to have 

1567. MARY. 151 

been extorted from Mary. If true, this would vitiate 
his title to the office, and he requested permission to 
see the queen in Lochleven, before he gave his final 
answer. This demand startled the lords, and some 
thought it would be injudicious to grant it. To Throck- 
morton the English ambassador, he had expressed 
himself with great commiseration towards the captive 
princess, and they dreaded the consequences of his pity 
or sympathy. 

At last, however, they consented ; and, on the fifteenth 
of August, Moray, in company with Morton, Athole, 
and Lord Lindsay, visited the queen in her prison. 
It was a remarkable and affecting interview. Mary 
received them with tears, and passionately complained 
of her wrongs. Then taking Moray aside, before sup- 
per, she eagerly questioned him as to the intentions of 
the lords, and in vain endeavoured to fathom his own. 
Contrary to his usual open and frank demeanour, he 
was gloomy, silent, and reserved. When the bitter 
meal had past, she again spoke to him in private; and, 
torn by fear and suspense, pathetically described her 
sufferings. He was her brother, she said, her only 
friend, he must know her fate, for he was all-powerful 
with her enemies ; would he now withhold his counsel 
and assistance in this extremity of her sorrow? What 
was she tp look for? She knew some thirsted for her 
blood. In the end, she implored him to keep her no 
longer in doubt, but to speak out ; and, even were it 
to criminate her, to use all freedom and plainness.* 

Thus urged, Moray, without mitigation or disguise, 
laid before her the whole history of her misgovernment ; 
using a severity of language, and earnestness of rebuke, 
more suited (to use a phrase of Throckmorton's) to a 

* Throckmorton to the Queen, Aug. 20, 1567. Keith, p. 444. 


ghostly confessor, than a counsellor: her ill-advised 
marriage with Darnley, her hasty love, her sudden 
estrangement, the dark scene of his murder, the mani- 
fest guilt of Bothwell, his pretended trial, his unjust ac- 
quittal, her infatuated passion, her shameless marriage, 
her obstinate adherence to the murderer, the hatred of 
her subjects, her capture, her imprisonment, the allega- 
tions of the lords that they could convict her by her 
own letters of being accessory to the murder, their 
determination to bring her to a public trial, and to put 
her to an ignominious death ; all these points were 
insisted on, with a severity and plainness, to which the 
queen had seldom been accustomed, and the dreadful 
picture plunged the unhappy sufferer into an agony of 
despair. Throughout the dismal recital, she-interrupted 
him by extenuations, apologies, confessions, and some- 
times by denials. The conversation had been prolonged 
till past midnight ; and Mary, weeping and clinging 
to the nope of life, again and again implored her bro- 
ther's protection : but Moray was unmoved, or, at least, 
he judged it best to seem so, and retired to his chamber, 
bidding her seek her chief refuge in the mercy of God.* 
Next morning, at an early hour she sent for him, 
and perceiving the impression he had made, he assumed 
a milder mood, threw in some words of consolation, 
and assured her that, whatever might be the conduct 
of others, to save her life he was ready to sacrifice his 
own ; but, unfortunately, the decision lay not with 
him alone, but with the lords, the church, and the 
people. Much also depended on herself; if she at- 
tempted an escape, intrigued to bring in the French or 
the English, and thus disturbed the quiet government 
of her son, or continued in her inordinate affection to 

* Ibid, ut supra. 

1 567. MARY. 153 

Bothwell, she need not expect to live ; if she deplored 
her past sins, showed an abhorrence for the murder of 
her husband, and repented her former life with Both- 
well, then might he hold out great hope that those in 
whose power she now lay would spare her life. As to 
her liberty he said, in conclusion, that was at present 
out of the question. He had, as yet, only a single 
voice in the state, like other nobles ; it was therefore 
not in his power to procure it, nor would it be for her 
interest at this moment to desire it. It was Mary's 
weakness (in the present case we can hardly call it 
such) to be hurried away by impulses. She had passed 
the night under the dreadful conviction that her fate 
was decided, that she had but a short time to live. She 
now discerned a gleam of hope, and, starting from her 
seat, took Moray in her arms, and urged him to accept 
the regency, as the best and safest course for herself, 
her son, and her kingdom. He declined it, she again 
pressed it on him ; he gave his reasons against undertak- 
ing so arduous a task. She replied, and insisted, that 
the service of his sovereign and his country ought to 
outweigh every selfish motive. He at last assented ; 
the queen then suggested that his first efforts should 
be directed to get all the forts into his hands, and re- 
quested him to take her jewels, and other articles of 
value, into his custody, as her only way of preserving 
them. On taking leave, she embraced and kissed him 
with tears, and sent by him her blessing to her son. 
Moray then turned to Lindsay, Ruthven, and Loch- 
leven, and recommending them to treat their royal 
mistress with all gentleness, left the castle. * 

Having thus effected his purpose, with much address 

* Throckmorton to the Queen, Aug. 20, 166*7. British Museum, Caligula, 
C. i. fol. xxviii. Printed by Keith, p. 444. 


and some little duplicity, Moray and his companions 
repaired to Stirling to 'visit the prince. Here they 
remained until the evening of the nineteenth of August, 
when they returned to the capital ; and, on the twenty- 
second, he was solemnly declared regent. The ceremony 
of his inauguration was held in the council-chamber 
within the Tolbooth, where, in presence of the Lords 
of the Secret Council, the nobility, spirituality, and 
commissioners of burghs, the instruments granted by 
the queen were publicly read. After this, the earl 
delivered an oration, in which he alluded to his own 
unfitness for so high an office, accepted the charge, and 
took the oath with his hand upon the Gospels. He 
swore that, to the utmost of his power, he would serve 
God, according to his holy Word revealed in the New 
and Old Testament ; that he would maintain the true 
religion as it was then received within that realm; 
that he would govern the people according to the an- 
cient and loveable laws of the kingdom ; procure peace, 
repress all wrong, maintain justice and equity, and root 
out from the realm all heretics and enemies to the true 
Church of God.* He was then proclaimed, amid uni- 
versal acclamations, at the cross of Edinburgh, and 
throughout all the counties and burghs of the kingdom. 
Information of this event was instantly sent to the 
Earl of Bedford at Berwick, who next day communi- 
cated it to Cecil, -f* 

* Anderson's Collections, vol. ii. pp. 252, 253. 

t Bedford to Cecil, MS. Letter, State-paper Office, B.C., Aug. 23, 1567, 
Berwick. Also, Throckmorton to Cecil, August 23, 1567. Stevenson's 
Selections, p. 289. 

1 567. REGENCY OF MORAY. 155 




England. I France. 
Elizabeth. 1 Charles IX. 

Maximilian II. 

Spain. 1 Portugal. \ Pope. 
Philip II. | Sebastian. 1 Pius V. 

IMMEDIATELY after his acceptance of the government, 
Moray invited Throckmorton to a conference. He 
obeyed, and found the regent and Secretary Lethington 
sitting together, upon which he conveyed to them "in 
as earnest and vehement a form as he could set it forth," 
the queen his mistress 1 severe disapproval of their recent 
conduct. To this remonstrance Maitland made a bold 
reply. He renounced, for himself and his colleagues, 
all intention of harm to the person and honour of his 
royal mistress in their late proceedings. " So far from 
it," said he, " Mr Ambassador, that we wish her to be 
queen of all the world ; but now she is in the state of 
a person in the delirium of a fever, who refuses every- 
thing which may do her good, and requires all that 
may work. her harm. Be assured nothing will be more 
prejudicial to her interest, than for your mistress to 
precipitate matters. It may drive us to a strait, and 
compel us to measures we would gladly avoid. Hitherto 
have we been content to be charged with grievous and 
infamous titles ; we have quietly suffered ourselves to 


be condemned as perjured rebels and unnatural traitors, 
rather tban proceed to anything that might touch our 
sovereign's honour. But beware, we beseech you, that 
your mistress, by her continual threats and defama- 
tions, by hostility, or by soliciting other princes to 
attack us, do not push us beyond endurance. Think 
not we will lose our lives, forfeit our lands, and be 
challenged as rebels throughout the world, when we 
have the means to justify ourselves. And if there be 
no remedy but your mistress will have war, sorry 
though we be, far rather will we take our fortune, than 
put our queen to liberty in her present mood, resolved 
as she is to retain and defend Bothwell, to hazard the 
life of her son, to peril the realm, and to overthrow her 

" For your wars," he continued, " we know them 
well : you will burn our Borders, and we shall burn 
yours :, if you invade us, we do not dread it, and are 
sure of France; for your practices to nourish dissension 
amongst us, we have an eye upon them all. The Ha- 
miltons will take your money, laugh you to scorn, and 
side with us. At this moment we have the offer of 
an agreement with them in our hands. The queen, 
your mistress, declares she wishes not only for our 
sovereign's liberty, and her restoration to her dignity, 
but is equally zealous for the preservation of the king, 
the punishment of the murder, and the safety of the 
lords. To accomplish the first, our queen's liberty, 
much has been done ; for the rest, absolutely nothing. 
Why does not her majesty fit out some ships of war, 
to apprehend Bothwell, and pay a thousand soldiers 
to reduce the forts and protect the king ? When this 
is in hand, we shall think her sincere ; but for her 

* Throckmorton to Elizabeth, Aug. 22, 1567. Keith, p. 448. 

1567. REGENCY OF MORAY. 157 

charge to set our sovereign forthwith at liberty, and 
restore her to her dignity, it is enough to reply to such 
strange language, that we are the subjects of another 
prince, and know not the queen's majesty for our sove- 

As soon as Lethington had concluded, Throckmorton, 
turning to Moray, expressed a hope that such senti- 
ments would at least not meet his approval. He was 
not "banded" with these lords, he had committed none 
of their excesses. But Moray was now secure : he had 
little to fear from Elizabeth, nothing from France, and 
his answer was as decided, though more laconic than 
the secretary's. " Truly, my lord Ambassador," said 
he, " methinks you have had reason at the Laird of 
Lethingtons hands. It is true, that I have not been 
at the past doings of these lords, yet I must commend 
what they have done ; and seeing the queen my sove- 
reign and they have laid on me the charge of the 
regency, a burden I would gladly have avoided, I 'am 
resolved to maintain their action, and will reduce all 
men to obedience in the king's name, or it shall cost 
me my life."-f- 

The ambassador had been long aware that his further 
stay in Scotland would be totally useless. He had 
earnestly solicited his recall ; and Elizabeth now agreed 
to it, but ordered him first to make a last remonstrance 
in favour of the captive queen, and to request to be 
admitted to her presence. This, as he had looked for, 
was peremptorily refused by Moray. They had ex- 
cluded De Lignerolles, the French ambassador, he said, 
who had so lately left them ; and it was impossible to 
admit him : for the rest of his message from the Queen 

* Throckmorton to Elizabeth, August 22, 1567, printed by Keith, p. 448, 
from original, Caligula, C. i. fol. xxxii. 
f Ibid, ut supra. 


of England, the regent, after his usual fashion, replied 
to it with great brevity : as to his acceptance of the 
government the deed was done ; for calumny he cared 
little, and would use none other defence than a good 
conscience and a sincere intention; to satisfy the queen 
that his mistress had consented, he could only say, 
that he had her own word and signature ; for her 
liberty, its being granted depended upon accidents ; and 
as to her condition after Bothweirs apprehension, it 
would be idle, he said, to bargain far the bear's skin 
before they had him. The ambassador, before he took 
his leave, was pressed to accept a present of plate in 
the name of the king. This was declined in strong 
terms, and on the twenty-ninth of August, he left the 
capital for England. 

Moray now addressed himself with characteristic de- 
cision and courage to the cares of government ; and, to 
use Throckmortons expressive phrase, "-went stoutly 
to work, resolved rather to imitate those who had led 
the people of Israel than any captains of that age." * 
He instantly despatched the Laird of Grange, and 
Murray of Tullibardine, with three armed ships, in pur- 
suit of Both well, who, after lurking in the north, and 
in vain attempting to make a party in these remote 
districts, had fled to Orkney and turned pirate, -f* 
He next employed the most vigorous measures to com- 
pel the whole kingdom to acknowledge the king's 
government ; to secure himself against attack if Eliza- 
beth should meditate it, and to keep up pacific relations 
with France, which, from the tone all along assumed 

* Throckmorton to Cecil, August 20, 1567, in Stevenson's Selections, p. 

+ Throckmorton to Cecil, August 26, 1567, Stevenson's Selections, p. 
294. Also MS. Letter, State-paper Office, B.C., Bedford to Cecil, Berwick, 
September 11, 1567. 

1567. REGENCY OF MORAY. 159 

by De Lignerolles, he was assured would not be difficult. 
The Hamiltons had made some feeble attempts to pre- 
vent the regent being proclaimed within their bounds ; 
but they acted with no fixed plan, had no leader of 
ability, and gave him little anxiety.* 

A large proportion of the nobles who had hitherto 
been hostile or neutral now sent in their adherence to 
his government ; and Sir James Balfour, the governor 
of the castle of Edinburgh, delivered that fortress into 
his hands. This infamous man was the intimate friend 
of Bothwell, and a principal actor in the king's murder. 
It might have been expected that Moray, who had 
lately expressed so much horror for that deed, and so 
determined a resolution to avenge it, would have been 
the last to overlook the crime in one of the principal 
conspirators ; but, like other ambitious men, he could 
make his conscience give way to his interest, as the 
treaty in question completely proved. Its first stipu- 
lation was, that Balfour should have an ample remission 
as an accomplice in the murder ; the next, that before 
he gave up the keys of the castle, five thousand pounds 
should be paid down ; the last, that he himself should 
have the Priory of Pittenweem, and his son an annuity. 
All this was agreed to, apparently without difficulty, 
and only two days after his assuming the regency, 
Moray in person took possession of the castle.-f- 

As if to cover the shame of this transaction, the 
regent made unusual exertions to seize some of the 
inferior delinquents. Previous to his arrival in Scot- 
land, Captain Blacater had been taken and executed : 
he now apprehended John Hay of Tallo, a page of the 

* Throckmorton to the Queen, Aug. 23, 156 7, Stevenson's Selections, p. 291. 
j- MS. Letter, State-paper Office, Throckmorton to Cecil, August 26, 1567. 
History of James the Sext, p. 18. 


king's called Durham, black John Spens, John Bla- 
cater, and James Edmonson.* The guilt of Tallo, as 
a principal agent in the murder, was completely proved, 
but his examination threw Moray into great perplexity, 
for, to use Bedford's words to Cecil, he not only " opened 
the whole device of the murder," but " declared who 
were the executioners of the same, and went so far as 
to touch a great many, not of the smallest." -f- We 
have already seen that Lethington, Morton, and Ar- 
gyle, three of the most powerful men in Scotland, were 
either accomplices in the assassination, or consenting 
to its perpetration ; and there can be no doubt that they, 
amongst others, were implicated in Tallo's confession. 
But in what manner was Moray to proceed ? It was 
these very men who had placed him in the regency ; 
with them he now acted familiarly and confidentially : 
their cause could not with safety be separated from his 
own. He might indeed attempt to seize and punish 
them, but such was their strength, that it would be at 
the risk of being plucked down from his high office by 
the same hands which had built him up. The truth, 
however, probably was, that Moray had been long 
aware of the true character of the persons by whose 
successful guilt he now profited, and had determined 
to favour the higher culprits, whilst he let loose the 
vengeance of the law upon the lesser delinquents. He 
could not prevent the people, however, and all the more 
honest part of the nation, from arraigning such inter- 
ested conduct ; but he little heeded these murmurs ; and 
for the present Hay's examination was suppressed, and 

* MS. Letter, State-paper Office, B.C., Bedford to Cecil, September 5, 
1567. And same to same, September, 11, 1567. 

t MS. Letter, State-paper Office, B.C., Bedford to Cecil, September 16', 

1567. REGENCY OF MORAY. 161 

his trial indefinitely postponed : Durham the king's 
page also was kept in prison in irons.* 

The regent now summoned the castle of Dunbar, 
which was still held for Bothwell by one of his retainers. 
Its governor affected to resist, but Moray bombarded 
it in person, and in a few days the garrison capitulated. 
A last effort of the Hamiltons to get up a resistance 
was only made to be abandoned ; Argyle, who had 
encouraged it, submitted, bringing with him Boyd, 
Livingston, and the Abbot of Kilwinning. This last 
person was deputed by the Archbishop of St Andrew's, 
the leader of the Hamiltons, to make his peace ; 
Huntley and Herries, much about the same time, gave 
in their adherence to the king's government ; and the 
regent, on the fifteenth of September, informed his 
friend Cecil that the whole realm was quiet.-f- 

In the midst of these transactions, Grange returned 
unsuccessful from his pursuit of Bothwell. He had 
boasted to Bedford, that he would either bring back 
the murderer or lose his life in the attempt ; but, in 
giving chase, Grange's ship, one of the largest in the 
Scottish navy, struck upon a sand-bank, and although 
he boarded and brought home with him one of Both- 
well's vessels, the earl himself, in a lighter craft, escaped 
to Norway. In one respect the expedition was impor- 
tant, as Hepburn of Bolton, an accomplice in the king's 
murder, was seized in the ship, and, by his confession, 
threw additional light on that dark transaction. For 
the present, however, his revelations were not suffered 
to be known. J 

* MS. Letter, State-paper Office, September 17, 1567, Occurrents out of 

t MS. Letter, State-paper Office, B.C., Bedford to Cecil, IGth September, 
1 567. MS. Ibid, proceedings of the Hamiltons, 1 7th September, J 567. Also 
MS. Letter, State-paper Office, Moray to Cecil, 15th September, 1567. 

J MS. Letter, State-paper Office, 1 1th September, 1567. Moray to Cecil. 


Moray now summoned a parliament, (December fif- 
teenth,) the proceedings of which evince the new re- 
gent's complete connexion and sympathy with the party 
of the Reformed Church, and demand especial attention. 
It has been asserted that it was thinly attended, but the 
remark can only apply to the bishops, who represented 
the ecclesiastical estate, of whom but four appeared, 
Moray, Galloway, Orkney, and Brechin. There were 
present, however, fourteen abbots, twelve earls, sixteen 
lords and masters, the name given to lords 1 eldest sons, 
and twenty-seven commissioners of burghs.* The 
discussions were opened in a speech by Lethington, of 
which a copy still remains in his own handwriting, and 
it were to be wished that its truth and sincerity had 
been equal to its talent. He alluded to the vast im- 
portance of the crisis in which they met, and the sub- 
jects upon which they were about to legislate, any one 
of which would, he said, have been enough to have 
occupied a parliament. These were, the establishing 
a uniform religion ; the acknowledgment of the just 
authority of the king in consequence of the queen's free 
demission of the crown in his favour ; the sanction to 
be given to the appointment of a regent chosen to act 
in the king's minority; the reuniting the minds of 
the nobility ; the punishment of the cruel murder of 
the late king, their sovereign's father; and many other 
disorders requiring the grave consideration of their 
lordships. Upon these heads, he said, he would not 
dilate, but two points he must not omit, both tending 
to their great comfort, and calling for deep gratitude. 
The first was, the success which, in matters of religion, 

Also Melvil's Memoirs, p. 186. Also 16th September, MS. Letter. B.C., 
Bedford to Cecil. 

* Anderson, vol. ii. pp. 228, 229, 230. Abo MS. State-paper Office, 
December 15, 1567. 

1567. REGENCY OF MORAY. 163 

had followed such comparatively small beginnings ; 
the second, their happy fortune in having in the regent 
a nobleman so excellently qualified to carry their or- 
dinances into execution, whether they related to the 
church or the commonwealth. "As to religion," said 
he, " the quietness you presently enjoy, declares suffi- 
ciently the victory that God by his Word has obtained 
among you, within the space of eight or nine years ; 
how feeble the foundation was in the eyes of men, how 
unlikely it was to rise so suddenly to so large and huge 
a greatness, with what calmness the work has proceeded, 
not one of you is ignorant. Iron has not been heard 
within the house of the Lord, that is to say, the whole 
has been builded, set up, and erected to this greatness, 
without bloodshed. Note it, I pray you, as a singular 
testimony of God's favour, and a peculiar benefitgranted 
only to the realm of Scotland, not as the most worthy, 
but chosen out by His providence from among all na- 
tions, for causes hid and unknown to us, and to fore- 
show His almighty power, that the true religion has 
obtained a free course universally throughout the whole 
realm, and yet not a Scotsman's blood shed in the 
forthsetting of the whole quarrel. With what nation 
in the earth has God dealt so mercifully ? Consider the 
progress of religion from time to time in other countries 
Germany, Denmark, England, France, Flanders, 
or where you please : you shall find the lives of many 
thousands spent before they could purchase the tenth 
part of that liberty whereunto we have attained, as it 
were sleeping upon down beds."* 

When we recollect the events of the few last years 
the rising of Moray against the queen's marriage, 

* MS. State-paper Office. An Oration of the Lord of Lethington, at the 
Parliament of Scotland, December 1567, in Lethington's own hand. 


the murder of Riccio, the flight of Morton, the assas- 
sination of Darnley, the confederacy against Bothwell, 
and the imprisonment of the queen, all of them events 
more or less connected with the establishment of the 
Reformation in Scotland and remember also that 
Lethington was deeply engaged in them all, it is 
certainly difficult which most to condemn the gross 
inaccuracy of this picture, or the hardihood evinced 
by its coming from his lips. 

But to return to the proceedings of the parliament. 
The committee of the Lords of the Articles having 
been chosen,* the three Estates sanctioned the queen's 
demission of the crown, the king's coronation, and the 
appointment of Moray to the regency. The Pope's 
authority was next abolished, the Act to that effect 
passed in the disputed parliament of 1560, being so- 
lemnly ratified. All laws repugnant to the Word of 
God were annulled ; and the " Confession of Faith,"" 
which had been already read and approved of in a for- 
mer parliament, was 'sanctioned and published. All 
heretics and hearers of mass were made liable to punish- 
ment, confiscation of moveables being declared the 
penalty for the first offence, banishment for the second, 
and death for the third. Such persons as opposed the 
Confession of Faith, or refused to receive the sacra- 
ments after the Presbyterian form, were declared to be 
no members of the Church of Christ. The examination 
and admission of ministers was declared a prerogative 
inherent in the Church, but to lay patrons was con- 
tinued the power of presentation, with an appeal to the 

* It was composed of the Bishops of Moray, Galloway, and Orkney ; the 
Abbots of Dunfermline, Melrose, Newbottle, Balmerino, St Colm's Inch, 
Pittenweem, and Portmoak ; the Earls of Huntley, Argyle, Morton, Athole, 
Glencairn, Mar, and Caithness ; the Lords Hume, Lindsay, and Sempil ; with 
the Provosts of Edinburgh, Dundee, Montrose, Aberdeen, St Andrew's, 
Cupar, Stirling, and Ayr. 

1567. REGENCY OF MORAY. 165 

General Assembly, if their nomination of a qualified 
person was not sustained by the superintendents and 
ministers; and, lastly, all kings, at their coronation, or 
princes, or magistrates acting in their place, were bound 
to take the oath for the support of the true Church and 
the extirpation of heresy.* 

So far everything succeeded to the wishes of the 
reformed clergy; but their endeavour to repossess them- 
selves of the patrimony of the Church was not so 
fortunate. They pleaded a former promise to this 
effect, and, if we may credit Bishop Spottiswood, the 
regent showed an anxiety to fulfil it ; but the laymen, 
who had violently seized the property of the Church 
when it was in the hands of the Roman Catholic clergy, 
manifested the same violence now that their own min- 
isters proposed to resume possession, and, with difficulty, 
consented to restore to them a third of the benefices.-f* 
It was next ordered that a reformation should be made 
in all schools, colleges, and universities, and that no 
teachers were to be admitted but such as had been 
examined and approved by the appointed visitors and 
superintendents ; and lastly, that, as far as concerned 
the preaching of the Word, the reformation of manners, 
and the administration of the sacraments, no other 
ecclesiastical powers should be acknowledged than those 
which were now claimed by the Presbyterian Church, 
to which they gave the title of the Immaculate Spouse 
of Christ. J 

A keen debate arose when the subject of the queen's 
imprisonment came before the Assembly, which was 
greatly divided in opinion. Many, who were convinced 

* Spottiswood, p. 214. Maitland, vol. ii. p. 1006. Black Acts, fol. 1-5, c. 1. 2. 

f Maitland, vol. ii. p. 1007. j Ibid. 



of their sovereign"^ guilt, and who had adopted the 
views lately promulgated by the ministers in their 
pulpit addresses, contended that she should be brought 
to a public trial, and, if the crime was proved, punished 
by the laws like any other subject of the realm. To 
this it was objected that the monarch was the source 
of all authority; that she could not, without absurdity 
and contradiction, be made amenable to an inferior 
jurisdiction, but was accountable for her conduct to 
God alone. It was replied, that extraordinary crimes 
required extraordinary remedies ; but this doctrine was 
not generally acceptable. The discussion concluded 
in a resolution th* tLe imprisoment of the queen should 
be continued, and an act of parliament passed for the ex- 
oneration of those noblemen and barons who had risen 
in arms for the prosecution of the murder. The terms 
of this act, which were nearly similar to a previous re- 
solution of the privy-council, require a moment's notice, 
as it is in it that we find the first public mention of 
those letters of Mary to Bothwell, which, it was after- 
wards contended, completely proved her guilt. It 
declared the conduct and transactions of these lords, 
from the tenth of February (the day of Darnley's 
murder) till the present time, to be lawful and loyal ; 
that they should never be subjected to any prosecution 
for what they had done, because, if the queen were 
confined, it was solely in consequence of her own fault 
and demerit, seeing that, by several of her private 
letters, written wholly with her own hand, and sent 
by her to Bothwell, and by her ungodly and pretended 
marriage with him, it was most certain that she was 
cognizant, art and part, of the murder of the king her 
husband. This declaration of the Estates having been 

1567. REGENCY OF MORAY. 167 

signed and sealed, and ordered to be printed along with 
the other statutes, the parliament was dissolved.* 

It appears, by an act of privy-council, dated the 
sixteenth September, 1568, that the Earl of Morton 
had, at that time, { delivered to the regent the little 
box or coffer, with the letters and sonnets which it 
contained. It was to these letters that the act now 
quoted referred ; and the partial and unjust conduct 
of Moray and the parliament need hardly be pointed 
out. Such documents might or might not be originals ; 
but by every principle of justice, the queen ought not 
to have been condemned, nor should these letters have 
been received as evidence of the justice of that condem- 
nation, until she had enjoyed in person, or by her 
counsel, an opportunity of examining the proofs pro- 
duced against her. This injustice, however, was little 
in comparison with another proceeding of Moray's, who, 
having now tasted the sweets of absolute power, and 
being determined, at all hazard, to retain it, became 
little scrupulous of the means which he employed. Sir 
James Balfour, as we have seen, had been the confidant 
of Bothwell, and was the depositary of the bond or 
contract which was drawn up for the murder of the 
king. It had been seen by one of the accomplices in 
the murder, named Ormiston, who affirmed that Both- 
well pointed out certain signatures, which he declared to 
be those of Argyle, Huntley, Lethington, and Balfour 
himself. J This profligate adherent of Both well's kept 
the bond, along with the queen's jewels and other pro- 
perty of value, in the castle of Edinburgh, which for- 

* Goodall, voL ii. pp. 62, 69. The words in the Black Acts. Anderson, 
"ol. ii. p. 221, are, "divers her privie letters written halelie [wholly] with 
her own hand." The words of the act of Privy-council are, " divers her 
privie letters, written and suhscribed with her own hand." 

t Anderson, vol. ii. p. 257. 

J Supra, p. 54. 


tress the Duke had committed to his charge ; but he 
betrayed the place, as we have seen, to Moray ; and, 
on its delivery, the regent, now all-powerful, might 
have stipulated for the delivery of all the evidence 
which threw light upon so foul a plot. In estimating 
his moral character, which has been highly extolled 
by some writers, it is instructive to mark in what way 
he appears to have proceeded. The letters alleged to 
be written by the queen were preserved, exhibited to 
the council, and quoted to the parliament as proofs of 
her guilt. Her jewels and other apparel were delivered 
up by Balfour* to Moray, but the " Bond" which 
connected his friends with the murder, was appropriated 
by Lethington, committed to the flames, and destroyed 
for ever. We learn this important fact, which is new 
in the controversy, from a letter addressed by Drury 
to Cecil, on the twenty-eighth of November, a short time 
before the meeting of the parliament. " The writings," 
said he, " which did comprehend the names and con- 
sents of the chief for the murdering of the king, is 
turned into ashes, the same not unknown to the queen ; 
and the same that concerns her part kept to be shown, 
which oflends her." It is true there is here no asser- 
tion that the regent himself threw the bond into the 
fire, and it was Lethington's and Balfour's interest, 
as it criminated themselves, to have it destroyed; but 
that Moray consented to its destruction, whilst he 
preserved the evidence against the queen, the whole 
circumstances appear to me to demonstrate. Drury, 
in the same letter to Cecil, observed, " that Moray 
made fair weather with Mary, and was dealing very 

* MS. Letter, State-paper Office, B.C., Bedford to Cecil, Berwick, 5th 
September, 1567. Ibid, same to same, llth September, 1567. Also MS. 
Letter, State-paper Office, Randolph to Cecil, October 15, 1570, and MS. 
Letter, State-paper Office, Drury to Cecil, November 28, 1567. 

1567. REGENCY OF MORAY. 169 

soundly and uprightly." Sir William's ideas as to 
upright conduct, unless the expression was used solely 
with reference to the safety assured by the regent to 
his own associates, must have been peculiar. 

Of this partial dealing, he now gave another signal 
instance in the trial of those delinquents who were 
in custody for the king's murder. Their names were 
Hay of Tallo, John Hepburn of Bolton, George Dal- 
gleish a page or chamberlain, and William Powrie a 
servant of Bothwell. It was well known at the time 
of his being apprehended, that Hay, the confident of 
Bothwell, had not only given a full detail of the murder, 
but had accused some of the highest nobility of being 
accomplices in it.* It' was equally notorious that 
Captain Cullen, who had been employed in his most 
secret concerns by the chief murderer, had revealed 
the whole circumstances,-}- and that the lords and the 
regent must have been in possession of his confession. 
So general was the expectation of these disclosures 
being made public, that Sir William Drury, in writing 
to Cecil upon the subject, informed him that Tallo's 
life had been spared for a little only, until some of the 
great persons who were acquainted with the cruel deed 
were apprehended. All therefore looked with intense 
anxiety to the trial of these men, and it was confidently 
demanded, that as so much pains had been taken in 
the recent parliament to criminate the queen, the same 
care should be employed to discover who else were 
guilty, that, by the publication of the confessions of 
Cullen, Tallo, and Hepburn, the regent would at length 

* Bedford to Cecil, MS. Letter, State-paper Office, B.C., September 16, 
1567. Also Drury to Cecil, MS. Letter, State-paper Office, B.C., September 
30, 1567. 

t MS. Letter, State-paper Office, B.C., Drury to Cecil, June 14, 1567, 
Berwick. Scrope to Cecil, June 16, 1567, Carlisle, MS. Letter, State- 
paper Office, B.C. 


reveal the names of those great accomplices who had 
hitherto escaped. But Moray had neither the power, 
nor the will, to make this exposure. The trials were 
shamefully hurried over. The culprits were arraigned, 
convicted, and executed in one day (January 3.) Al- 
though Hepburn of Bolton, in his speech on the scaffold, 
directly asserted that Argyle, Huutley, and Lethington 
had subscribed to the bond for the murder, no arrest 
of these persons followed; the judicial confessions which 
were made by him and his accomplices were suppressed 
at the time ; and, when subsequently brought forward 
to be exhibited in England, it was found that they had 
been manifestly tampered with, and contained evidence 
against no one but themselves and Bothwell.* 

These proceedings told strongly against the regent, 
and, making every allowance for the miserable state of 
the law in these times, it is impossible to exculpate him 
from the charge of having lent himself to a plan for 
the defeat of justice. Nor does it need any great dis- 
cernment to discover both the means by which the 
truth was suppressed, and the motive for such base 
conduct. Argyle was Lord Justice-general, the head 
and fountain of the criminal jurisprudence of the coun- 
try. By his deputy the trials were conducted, and 
Argyle was a principal accomplice in the king's mur- 
der. The confessions were made before the Lords of 
the Privy-council, and amongst these lords were Mor- 
ton, Huntley, Lethington, and Sir James Balfour, all 
of them parties to the murder. Lastly, Moray was 
regent of the realm, but he had been placed in the high 
office by these very men, and his tenure was still so 

* MS. Letter, State-paper Office, B.C., Drury to Cecil, January 4, 1567-8. 
MS. Letter, State-paper Office, B.C., Drury to Cecil, January 7,' 1567-8. 
Ibid. Forster to Cecil, Alnwick, 1 1th January, 1567-8. Ibid. Drury to Cecil, 
Berwick, 21st January, 1567. 

1567-8. REGENCY OF MORAY. l7l 

insecure, that a new coalition might have unseated 

Such conduct, although politic so far as his own 
greatness was concerned, disappointed the people, and 
was loudly condemned. Handbills and satirical poems, 
which upbraided his partiality, were fixed to the doors 
of the privy-council and of his own house. Of these 
one was in the following pithy terms : 

" Quceritur. 

"Why John Hepburn, and John Hay of Tallo, are 
not compelled openly to declare the manner of the 
king's slaughter, and who consented thereunto?"* 

Another was a pasquinade, of which the truth was 
more striking than the poetry. It bore the title of a 
letter sent by Madde unto my Lord Regent, and the 
whole Estates, and strongly insinuated that Hay and 
Hepburn were about to be hurried out of life and their 
confessions suppressed, lest they should discover the 
principal subscribers of the bond for the king's death.-f- 

By his partial conduct, Moray not only estranged 
the people, but it was soon apparent that, notwith- 
standing all his efforts, he could not long keep his 
party together. Even in the parliament, his legislation 
on the subject of religion had been condemned by 

* MS. State-paper Office, B.C., Questions to be absolved by the Lords of 
the Articles, 4th January, 1567-8. 

t MS, State-paper Office, 4th Jan. 1567-8. A letter sent by Madde to 
My Lord Regent and the haill Estates : 

My lordes all, the king is slain, 

Revenge his cause in hand, 
Or else your doing is all but vain, 
For all your general Band. 

If ye shall punish but simple men, 

And let the principal pass, 
Then God and man shall you misken, 

Air 4 , make you therefore base. 


Athole, Caithness, and the Bishop of Moray; and the 
provision for the ministers of the Church was an un- 
popular measure with a majority of the lords. He had 
endeavoured, indeed, to secure the support of the chief 
nobility and barons by rewards and favours. Lething- 
ton had received the sheriffship of Lothian, Hume that 
of Lauderdale, Morton the promise of the Lord High- 
admirars place, vacant by the forfeiture of Bothwell ; 
Kirkaldy of Grange had been made governor of Edin- 
burgh castle, and Huntley and Argyle were courted 
by the prospect held out to them of a matrimonial 
alliance with the regent's daughter and sister-in-law.* 
But even these prizes and promises sometimes failed 
in their effect, every one being ready to magnify his 
own merit, and to anticipate a higher distinction than 
was bestowed. Nor did it escape observation, that his 
conduct since his elevation had become haughty and 
distant to those proud nobles who had so recently been 
his equals; whilst he was open to flattery, and suffered 
inferior men to gain his confidence. Even the vigour 
with which he punished the riot and lawlessness of the 
Border district failed to increase his popularity, the 
kingdom having been so long accustomed to a more 
relaxed rule, that justice was construed into tyranny. 
Owing to such causes, it was apparent that Moray's 
government, soon after the dissolution of parliament, 
was in a precarious state. The Hamiltons hated him; 
to Lethington intrigue and change seemed to be the 
only elements in which he could live; Herries and the 
Melvils were strongly suspected ; Balfour, who knew 
many secrets, and was capable of any treachery, had 
left court in disgust; Athole was beginning to beluke- 

* MS. Letter, State-paper Office, B.C., Berwick, Drury to Cecil, Jan. 4, 
1 567-8. Huntley 's son was to marry his daughter ; Argyle's brother, his 

1568. REGENCY OF MORAY. 173 

warm ; * the friends of the Catholic religion resented 
his late conduct ; and the people, never long in one 
mind, began to pity the protracted and rigorous im- 
prisonment of the queen. "J* All these circumstances 
were against him ; but they were trivial to the blow 
which now fell upon him, for it was at this very crisis 
that Mary effected her escape in a manner that almost 
partakes of romance. 

Since her interview with Moray, the captive queen 
had exerted all the powers of fascination, which she so 
remarkably possessed, to gain upon her keepers. The 
severe temper of the regent's mother, the lady of the 
castle, had yielded to their influence ; J and her son 
George Douglas, the younger brother of Lochleven, 
smitten by her beauty, and flattered by her caresses, 
enthusiastically devoted himself to her interest. It 
was even asserted that he had aspired to her hand, 
that his mother talked of a divorce from Bothwell, and 
that Mary, never insensible to admiration and solicitous 
to secure his services, did not check his hopes. How- 
ever this may be, Douglas for some time had bent his 
whole mind to the enterprise, and on one occasion, a 
little before this, had nearly succeeded ; but the queen, 
who had assumed the dress of a laundress, was detected 
by the extraordinary whiteness of her hands, and 
carried back, in the boat which she had entered, to her 
prison. || 

* MS. Letter, State-paper Office, B.C., Drury to Cecil, Berwick, Jan. 4, 
1567-8. Also, MS. Letter, State-paper Office, B.C., Drury to Cecil, Berwick, 
Jan. 21, 1567-8. Ibid. Same to same, Berwick, Feb. 2, 1567-8. Also, Ibid. 
Same to same, Berwick, April 2, 1568. 

t MS. Letter, State-paper Office, B.C., Drury to Cecil, 2d April, 1568. 

J MS. Letter, State-paper Office, B.C., Drury to Cecil, Berwick, Sept. 
30, 1567. MelviPs Memoirs, p. 199. 

MS. Letter, State-paper Office, B.C., Drury to Cecil, April 2, 1568. 
Also, MS. Letter, State-paper Office, to Cecil, May 9, 1568. 

II Keith, 470. 


This discovery had nearly ruined all, for Douglas 
was dismissed from the castle, and Mary more strictly 
watched ; but nothing could discourage her own enter- 
prise, or the zeal of her servant. He communicated 
with Lord Seton and the Hamiltons ; he carried on a 
secret correspondence with the queen ; he secured the 
services of a page who waited on his mother, called 
Little Douglas, and by his assistance at length effected 
his purpose. On the evening of the second of May, 
this youth, in placing a plate before the castellan, con- 
trived to drop his napkin over the key of the gate of 
the castle, which, for security, was always placed beside 
him when at supper, and carried it off unperceived : he 
hastened to the queen, and hurrying down to the outer 
gate, they threw themselves into the little boat which 
lay there for the service of the garrison. At that mo- 
ment Lord Seton and some of her friends were intently 
observing the castle from their concealment on a neigh- 
bouring hill ; a party waited in the village below, while, 
nearer still, a man lay watching on the brink of the 
lake.* They could see a female figure, with two 
attendants, glide swiftly from the outer gate. It was 
Mary herself, who, breathless with delight and anxiety, 
sprung into the boat, holding a little girl, one of her 
maidens, by the hand ; while the page, by locking the 
gate behind them, prevented immediate pursuit. In a 
moment her white veil with its broad red fringe (the 
concerted signal of success) was seen glancing in the 
sun ; the sign was recognised and communicated ; the 
little boat, rowed by the page and the queen herself, 
touched the shore ; and Mary, springing out with the 
lightness of recovered freedom, was received first by 

* Proofs and Illustrations, No. VII., from the MSS. of Prince Labanoff; 
and Letter of Kirkaldy to Lochleven, Morton MSS. 

1568. REGENCY OF MORAY. 175 

George Douglas, and almost instantly after by Lord 
Seton and his friends. Throwing herself on horseback, 
she rode at full speed to the Ferry, crossed the Firth, 
and galloped to Niddry, having been met on the road 
by Lord Claud Hamilton, with fifty horse. Here she 
took a few hours 1 rest, wrote a hurried despatch to 
France, despatched Hepburn of Riccarton to Dunbar, 
with the hope that the castle would be delivered to her, 
and commanded him to proceed afterwards to Denmark, 
and carry to his master, Bothwell, the news of her 
deliverance.* Then, again taking horse, she galloped 
to Hamilton, where she deemed herself in safety. 

The news of her escape flew rapidly through the 
kingdom, and was received with joy by a large portion 
of her nobility, who crowded round her with devoted 
offers of homage and support. The Earls of Argyle, 
Cassillis, Eglinton, and Rothes; the Lords Somerville, 
Yester, Livingston, Herries, Fleming, Ross, Borth- 
wick, and many other barons of power and note crowded 
to Hamilton. Orders were sent by them to put their 
vassals and followers in instant motion, and Mary soon 
saw herself at the head of six thousand men. 

She now assembled her council, declared to them 
that her demission of the government, and consent to 
the coronation of her son, had been extorted by the 
imminent fear of death, and appealed for the truth of 
the statement to Robert Melvil, who stood beside her 
and solemnly confirmed it. An act of council was then 
passed, declaring all the late proceedings by which 
Moray had become regent, treasonable and of none 

* Proofs and Illustrations, No. VII. MS. Letter, State-paper Office, B.C., 
Drury to Cecil, April 2, 1568. Also, MS. Letter, Copy, State-paper Office, 

to Cecil, May 9, 1568. MS. Letter, State-paper Office, B.C., Drury 

to Cecil, May 26, 1568. Also Memoir towards Riccartoun, MS. State-paper 
Office. Also, MS. Letter, State-paper Office, Willok to Cecil, 31st May, 1568. 


effect ; and a bond drawn up by the nobility for the 
defence of their sovereign, and her restitution to her 
crown and kingdom, which, in the enthusiasm of the 
moment, was signed by nine earls, nine bishops, eighteen 
lords, twelve abbots and priors, and nearly one hundred 
barons. But the queen, though encouraged by this 
burst of loyalty, felt a desire to avoid the misery of a 
civil contest, and in this spirit sent a message to Moray 
with offers of reconciliation and forgiveness. * 

The regent was in Glasgow, a city not eight miles 
from Mary's camp at Hamilton, engaged in public 
business, and attended only by the officers of the law 
and his personal suite, when almost at the same instant 
he received news of the queen's escape and her over- 
tures for a negotiation. It was a trying crisis one 
of those moments in the life of a public man which test 
his judgment and hiscourage. Already the intelligence, 
though but a few hours old, had produced an unfavour- 
able effect upon his party. Some openly deserted, and 
sought the queen's camp ; others silently stole away ; 
many wavered ; and not a few, whilst they preserved 
the show of fidelity, secretly made preparations for 
joining the enemy. 

Under these difficult circumstances Moray exhibited 
that rapid decision and clearness of judgment which 
mark a great man. When, counselled to retire, he 
instantly rejected the advice. " Retreat," said he, 
" must not for a moment be contemplated. It is cer- 
tain ruin ; it will be construed into flight, and every 
hour's delay will strengthen the queen and discourage 
our adherents. Our only chance is in an instantaneous 

* Keith, p. 475. Also, MS. Letter, State-paper Office, 8th May, 1568. 
Endorsed in Cecil's hand, " Band of 9 Earls, 9 Bishops, 18 Lords, and others 
for defence of the Queen of Scots." MelviTs Memoirs, p. 200. Also, Drury 
to Cecil, May 7, 1568. Keith, p. 474. 

1568. REGENCY OF MORAY. 177 

attack, before Huntley, Ogilvy, and the northern men, 
have joined the royal force. " Pretending, however, to 
deliberate upon the offers of negotiation, he gained a 
brief respite : this he used to publish a proclamation, 
in which he declared his determination to support the 
king's government; and sending information to the 
Merse, Lothian, and Stirlingshire, was rapidly joined 
by a considerable body of his friends. Morton, Glen- 
cairn, Lennox, and Semple, lost no time, but marshalled 
their strength and advanced by forced marches to Glas- 
gow :* Mar despatched reinforcements and cannon 
from Stirling; Grange, whose veteran experience in 
military affairs was of infinite value at such a moment, 
took the command of the horse ; and Moray had the 
good sense to intrust to him the general arrangements 
for the approaching battle. Hume, also a skilful soldier, 
not only foiled Hepburn of Riccarton in his attempt 
to seize Dunbar for the queen, "f- but kept the Merse- 
men from declaring for her, and soon joined the regent 
with six hundred men, whilst Edinburgh beat up for 
recruits and sent a small force of hagbutters. The 
effects which so in variably follow decision and confidence 
were soon apparent, and in ten days Moray commanded 
an army of four thousand men.J 

Amid these preparations Mary sent her servant, 
John Beaton, to England and the French court, soli- 
citing support. In return, the English queen resolved 
to despatch Dr Leighton into Scotland with her warm 

* Drury to Cecil, May, 7, 1568. Keith, p. 474. MS. Letter, State-paper 
Office, B.C., Drury to Cecil, Berwick, May 10, 1568. Proclamation of the 
King of Scots, May 7, 1568, broadside, State-paper Office ; printed by Lek- 
previk. Also, Ibid. MS. Proclamation of the Regent for the gathering of 
the country, May 3, 1568. 

f- Drury to Cecil, May 6, 1568. Keith, p. 474. 

J MS. State-paper Office, Advertisements of the Conflict in Scotland, May 


congratulations, and an assurance, that if her sister 
would submit the decision of her affairs to his royal 
mistress and abstain from calling in any foreign aid, 
she would speedily either persuade or compel her sub- 
jects to acknowledge her authority.* It happened, too, 
that shortly previous to her escape, Monsieur de Beau- 
mont, an ambassador from Henry, had arrived from 
France to solicit, as he affirmed, an interview with the 
captive princess, which had been positively refused. 
Some suspected that he came to urge the expediency 
of a divorce from Bothwell, and a marriage between 
Mary and the Lord of Arbroath, second son of the 
Duke of Chastelherault. Others affirmed that, like 
De Lignerolles, his secret instructions were more favour- 
able to the regent than the queen ; but, however this 
may be, he now resorted to the camp at Hamilton, and 
apparently exerted himself* to procure a reconciliation 
between the two factions.^ 

We haye already seen, that this was agreeable to 
Mary's own wishes. Her inclination from the first 
had been to avoid a battle, to retire to Dumbarton, a 
fortress which had been all along kept for her by Lord 
Fleming, and to regain by degrees her influence over 
her nobility and her people. In this wise and humane 
policy she was opposed by the ambition and fierce im- 
patience of the Hamiltons, who, seeing themselves the 
strongest party, deemed the moment favourable to 
crush Moray for ever, and to obtain an ascendancy 
over the queen and the government. J 

So far, however, Mary's influence prevailed, that 

* MS. State-paper Office, -wholly in Cecil's hand, " Instructions for Mr 
Thomas Leighton, sent into Scotland." 

t MS. Letter, State-paper Office, B.C., Forster to Cecil, Alnwick, April 
30, 1568. Also, MS. State-paper Office, Advertisements of the Conflict in 
Scotland, Keith, p. 478. 

Memoirs of James the Sext, p. 25. MelviTs Memoirs, p. 200. 

1568. REGENCY OF MORAY. 179 

they consented to march from Hamilton to Dumbar- 
ton; and Moray, congratulating himself upon their 
resolution, immediately drew out his little army on 
the Burghmuir of Glasgow, resolved to watch their 
movements, and, if possible, bring them to an engage- 
ment. For this purpose Grange had previously ex- 
amined the ground, and the moment he became aware 
that the queen's army kept the south side of the river, 
the regents camp being on the opposite bank, he mount- 
ed a hagbutter behind each of his horsemen, rapidly 
forded the Clyde, and placed them advantageously 
amongst some cottages, hedges, and little yards or 
gardens which skirted each side of a narrow lane, 
through which the queen's troops must defile. * 

Whilst this manoeuvre was successfully performing, 
Moray, who led the main battle, and Morton, who 
commanded the vanguard or advance, crossed the river 
by a neighbouring bridge and drew up their men ; a 
movement which was scarcely completed when the 
queen's vanguard, two thousand strong, and commanded 
by Lord Claud Hamilton, attempting to carry the lane, 
was received by a close and deadly fire from the hag- 
butters in the hedges and cottage gardens. This killed 
many, drove them back, and threw their ranks into 
confusion ; but, confident in their numbers, they pressed 
forward up the steep of the hill, so that the men were 
already exhausted when they suddenly found them- 
selves encountered. by Moray's advance, which was well 
breathed, and in firm order. It was composed of the 
flower of the Border pikemen. Morton, who led it, 
with Hume, Ker of Cessford, and the barons of the 
Merse, all fought on foot ; and when the first charge 
took place, Grange's clear voice was heard above the din 

* Melvil's Memoirs, pp. 200, 20L 


of battle, calling to them to keep their pikes shouldered 
till the enemy had levelled theirs, and then to push on.* 
They obeyed him, and a severe conflict took place. It 
was here only that there was hard fighting ; and Sir 
James Melvil, who was present, describes the long pikes 
as so closely crossed and interlaced, that, when the 
soldiers behind discharged their pistols, and threw them 
or the staves of their shattered weapons in the faces of 
their enemies, they never reached the ground, but re- 
mained lying on the spears. -f- 

For some time the conflict was doubtful, till Grange, 
perceiving the right wing of the regents advance (con- 
sisting of the Renfrewshire barons) beginning to give 
way, galloped to the main battle, and brought Lindsay, 
Lochleven, Sir James Balfour, and their followers, to 
reinforce the weak point. This they did effectually, 
and their attack was so furious that it broke the queen's 
ranks and threw all into confusion. Moray, who had 
hitherto stood on the defensive, contenting himself with 
repulsing the enemy's cavalry, which was far superior 
in numbers and equipment to his ovvn, now seized the 
moment to charge with the main battle, and the flight 
became universal. J At this instant, too, the chief of 
the Macfarlanes, and two hundred of his highlanders, 
broke in upon the scattered fragments of the army with 
the leaps and yells peculiar to their mode of fighting, 
and the pursuit would have been sanguinary, but for 
the generous exertions of the regent, who called out 
to save the fugitives, and employed his cavalry, with 

* Melvil's Memoirs, p. 201. MS. State-paper Office, Advertisements of 
the Conflict in Scotland, May 16, 1568. 

f- Melvil's Memoirs, p. 201. 

J Ibid. Also, History of James the Sext, p. 26. Also, Calderwood's 
Account in Keith, p. 480. 

MS. State-paper Office, May 16, 1568. Advertisements of the Conflict 
in Scotland. 

1568. REGENCY OF MORAY. 181 

Grange who commanded them, not as instruments of 
slaughter but of mercy. This decisive battle lasted 
only three quarters of an hour. On the queen's side 
there were but three hundred slain some accounts say 
only half that number. * On the regent's only a single 
soldier fell. Ten pieces of brass cannon were taken, 
and many prisoners of note. Amongst the rest, the 
Lords Seton and Ross ; the masters, or eldest sons 
of the Earls of Eglinton and Cassillis ; the sheriff of 
Ayr; the Sheriff of Linlithgow, a Hamilton, who bore 
their standard in the vanguard ; the Lairds of Preston, 
Innerwick, Pitmilly, Balwearie, Boyne, and Trabrown ; 
Robert Melvil and Andrew Melvil ; two sons of the 
Bishop of St Andrew's, and a son of the Abbot of 
Kilwinning. It was reported that Argyle was made 
prisoner, but purposely suffered to escape. On the 
regent's side, Hume^ Ochiltree, and Andrew Car of 
Faudonside, were severely wounded.*!* Previous to 
the conflict Mary had taken her station upon an emi- 
nence half a mile distant, which commanded a view 
of the field. She was surrounded by a small suite, 
and watched the vicissitudes of the fight with breathless 
eagerness and hope. At last, when the charge of Moray 
took place, witnessing the total dispersion of her army, 
she fled in great terror and at full speed in the direc- 
tion of Dumfries, nor did she venture to draw bridle 
till she found herself in the abbey of Dundrennan, sixty 
miles from the field. J 

On arriving at this place, which was on the confines 
of England, the queen declared her intention of retreat- 
ing into that country and throwing herself upon the 

* MS. Original, State-paper Office, Advertisements of the Conflict in Scot- 
land, May 16', 1568. Also, Melvil's Memoirs, p. 202. 

t MS. State-paper Office, Advertisements of the Conflict in Scotland, 
16th May, 1568. J Ibid. 



protection of Elizabeth. It was a hasty and fatal re- 
solution, adopted against the advice of those faithful 
servants who had followed her in her flight, and must 
have been dictated more by the terror of her own sub- 
jects, than by any well grounded confidence in the 
character of Elizabeth. Lord Herries, who accom- 
panied her, had taken the precaution of writing to 
Lowther, the deputy-governor of Carlisle, desiring to 
know whether his royal mistress might come safely to 
that city ; but such was her impatience, that before 
any answer could be returned she had taken a boat 
and passed over in her riding dress and soiled with 
travel, to Workington, in Cumberland. Here she was 
recognised by the gentlemen of the country, who con- 
veyed her to Cockermouth, from which Lowther con- 
ducted her with all respect and honour to Carlisle. * 
Amongst her attendants were the Lords Herries, Flem- 
ing, and Livingston. 

While still at Workington, the Queen of Scots had 
written, to Elizabeth describing the wrongs she had 
endured from her rebellious subjects, alluding to the 
recent defeat at Langside, and expressing her confident 
hope that the queen would protect and assist her against 
her enemies. She concluded with these pathetic words, 
"It is my earnest request that your majesty will send 
for me as soon as possible, for my condition is pitiable, 
not to say for a queen, but even for a simple gentle- 
woman. I have no other dress than that in which I 
escaped from the field ; my first day's ride was sixty 
miles across the country, and I have not since dared 
to travel except by night. w -f* 

* MS. Letter, State-paper Office. Papers of Mary Queen of Scots. Low- 
ther to Cecil, 17th May, 1568. Also, MS. State-paper Office, Advertise- 
ments out of Scotland, 18th May, 1568. 

t Anderson, TO!, iv. pp. 29, 3o. The original letter is in French, Caligula, 
C. i. fol. 68. 


On receiving this letter, Elizabeth felt that Mary- 
was at last in her power, and she did not hesitate to 
avail herself of the fatal error which had been commit- 
ted. Her first orders to the sheriffs on the nineteenth 
of May, sufficiently show this. She commanded them 
to treat the Scottish queen and her suite with honour 
and respect, but to keep a strict watch, and prevent all 
escape.* At the same time, Lady Scrope, sister to 
the Duke of Norfolk, was sent to wait upon her, and 
Sir Francis Knolly s arrived with letters of condolence ; [ 
but impatient under these formalities, and anxious for 
a personal interview, Mary addressed a second letter 
to Elizabeth, in which she entreated, that as her affairs 
were urgent, she might be permitted instantly to see 
the queen, to vindicate herself from the false aspersions 
which had been cast upon her by her ungrateful sub- 
jects, and to dispel the doubts which she understood 
were entertained. She had sent up Lord Herries, she 
said, to communicate with her sister, and Lord Fleming 
to carry a message to France ; but, she entreated, if 
any resolution had been formed against assisting her, 
(a decision which must surely come from others, not 
from Elizabeth's own heart,) leave might be given her 
as freely to depart from her dominions as she had freely 
entered them. Nothing could so much injure her cause 
as delay, and already had she been detained in the state 
of a prisoner for fifteen days, a proceeding, which, to 
speak frankly, she found somewhat hard and strange. 
In conclusion, she reminded Elizabeth of some circum- 
stances connected with the ring, which she now sent 
her. It bore the emblem of a heart, and had probably 

* Copy, State-paper Office, by the Queen to the Sheriffs, Justices of 
Peace, &c., of Cumberland. 

t Anderson, vol. iv. part i. pp. 52, 53. Lord Scrope and Knollys to th 
Queen, Carlisle, 29th May, 1568. 


been a gift of the English queen. " Remember,"" said 
she, " I have kept my promise. I have sent you my 
heart in the ring, and now I have brought to you both 
heart and body, to knit more firmly the tie that binds 
us together."* 

The offer in this letter to vindicate herself in person 
before Elizabeth, was earnestly pressed by Mary in her 
first interview with Scrope and Knollys. Her engag- 
ing manner, and the spirit and eloquence with which 
she defended herself, made a deep impression on both. 
She openly declared, that Morton and Lethington 
were cognizant of the king her husband's murder; and 
Knollys confessed, that although he began by accusing 
her of that dreadful crime, the sight of her tears soon 
transformed him into a comforter. } 

Meanwhile Moray lost no time in following up the 
advantage which he had gained, and after the retreat 
of the queen, having made an expedition northward, 
at the head of a large force, and for the moment put 
down opposition, he returned to the capital, to let 
loose the vengeance of the laws against those who had 
resisted his government. Notwithstanding the accu- 
sations of his enemies, no instance of cruelty or revenge 
can be proved against him : whether it was that his 
nature was really an enemy to blood, or that he found 
fines and forfeitures a more effectual way of destroying 
his opponents and enriching his friends, t These oc- 
cupations at home, however, did not prevent his cares 
for his safety on the side of England. As soon as he 
heard of Mary's retreat to Carlisle, and her offer to 
vindicate herself before Elizabeth, he sent up his 

* Anderson, vol. iv. part i. pp. 48, 49, 50. History of James the Sext, 
pp. 27, 28. 

f Id. Anderson, voL iv. pp. 68, 59, Knollys to Elizabeth, Carlisle, 30th 
May, 1568. 

MS. Letter, State-paper Office, B.C., Drury to Cecil, May 26, 1568. 

1568. REGENCY OF MORAY. 185 

secretary or confidential servant Wood, to express his 
readiness instantly to appear in person with the Earl 
of Morton, to answer any charges brought against him ; 
to produce evidence to justify his conduct and that of 
his companions, and, as Drury expresses it, to enter 
himself prisoner in the Tower of London, if he did not 
prove her guilty in the death of the king her husband.* 

This proposal of both parties to vindicate themselves 
before the Queen of England, and to make her the 
arbiter of their mutual wrongs, came very opportunely 
to Elizabeth, as she was at that moment engaged with 
her council in a deliberation on the proper course to be 
pursued, in consequence of the flight of the Scottish 
queen. Knollys had already warned her of the im- 
pression made upon the Roman Catholics in the North 
by her arrival, and had urged the necessity either of 
granting her assistance, or, if that was held too much, 
restoring her to liberty. Rumours and speeches, so 
he wrote, were already blown about the country, ex- 
posing, in strong language, the ungratefulness of her 
detention ; and indeed so manifest a wrong was com- 
mitted by her imprisonment, it involved so flagrant a 
breach of the common principles of law and justice, 
that Knollys, an honourable nobleman, felt impatient 
that he should be made a " Jailor," so he expressed it, 
in such a cause.-}* 

Of all this, Elizabeth and her ministers were well 
aware ; but in that unscrupulous and accommodating 
school of politics for which the times were conspicuous, 
when principle and expediency were found at variance, 
there was seldom much hesitation which should give 

* MS. Letter, State-paper Office, B.C., Drury to Cecil, May 22, 1568. 
Also MS. Letter, State-paper Office, B.C., Drury to Cecil, June 17, 1568. 

t Knollys to Cecil, Carlisle, 2d June, 1568. Anderson, vol. iv. part L. 
p. 61. 


way ; and it was resolved that, in this instance, honour 
and justice should be sacrificed to necessity. And here, 
although I must strongly condemn the conduct of the 
English queen, it is impossible not to see the difficulties 
by which she was surrounded : the party which it was 
her interest to support, was that of Moray and the 
Protestants ; she looked with dread on France, and 
the resumption of French influence in Scotland ; within 
her own realm, the Roman Catholics were unquiet and 
discontented, and in Ireland constantly on the eve of 
rebellion if such a word can be used to the resistance 
of a system too grinding to be tamely borne. All these 
impatient spirits looked to Mary as a point of union 
and strength. Had she been broken by her late re- 
verses, had she manifested a sense of the imprudence 
by which she had been lately guided, or evinced any 
desire to reform her conduct, or forgive her subjects 
who had. risen against the murderer of her husband 
more than against herself, the queen might have been 
inclined to a more favourable course. But the very 
contrary was the case : her first step after her escape 
had been to resume her correspondence with Bothwell;* 
his creatures, Hepburn of Riccarton and the two 
Ormistons, blotted as accomplices in his crime, had 
frequent access to her. In her conversations with 
Knollys and Scrope, she could not repress her antici- 
pations of victory and purposes of vengeance, if once 
again a free princess. She declared, that rather than 
have peace with Moray, she would submit to any ex- 
tremity, and call help from Turkey before she gave up 
the contest ; and she lamented bitterly that the delays 
of Elizabeth emboldened the traitors who had risen 

* MS. Letter, State-paper Office, B.C., Drury to Cecil, Berwick, 26th May, 
1568 ; also MS. Letter, State-paper Office, Mr John Willok to Cecil, Edin- 
burgh, 31st May, 1568. 

1568. REGENCY OF MORAY. , 187 

against her.* Was the Queen of England at such a 
crisis, and having such a rival in her power, to dismiss 
her at her first request, and permit her to overwhelm 
her friends and allies, to re-establish the Roman Ca- 
tholic party, and possibly the Roman Catholic religion 
in Scotland ? After such conduct, could it be deemed 
either unlocked for, or extraordinary, should she fall 
from the proud position she now held, as the head of 
the Protestant party in Europe 2 So argued the far- 
sighted Cecil, and the queen his mistress followed, or 
it is probable in this instance anticipated, his counsel. 

It was determined to detain Mary a prisoner, to 
refuse her a personal meeting, to support Moray in 
the regency, and to induce him to make public the 
proofs which he possessed of the guilt of his sovereign 
the Queen of Scots. 

With this view, Elizabeth wrote to the regent, and 
soon after despatched Mr Middlemore with a message 
both to him and to the Scottish queen. She informed 
him in her letter, that he was accused by his sovereign 
of the highest crimes which a subject could commit 
against his prince rebellion, imprisonment of her per- 
son, and her expulsion from her dominions by open 
battle. She admonished him to forbear from all hos- 
tility ; and as her royal sister, who would observe the 
same abstinence, was content to commit to her the 
hearing arid ordering of her cause, she required him to 
bring forward his defences against the crimes of which 
he was accused. *f- 

Before repairing to Moray in Scotland, Middlemore 
was admitted to an interview with Mary, at Carlisle. 
He informed her, that his mistress disclaimed all idea 

* Anderson, vol. iv. part i. pp. 71 , 791. Knollys to Cecil, 1 1th June, 1568. 

Bishop of Durham to Cecil, '27th June, 1568. MS. State-paper Office, B.C. 

f Elizabeth to Moray, June 8, 1568. Anderson, vol. iv. part i. pp. 68, 69 


of keeping her a prisoner, her present detention at 
Carlisle having no other object than to save her from 
her enemies. As to a personal interview that was 
at present impossible. She was accused of being an 
accomplice in a foul and horrible crime, the murder 
of her husband. She had made choice of the Queen 
of England to be the only judge of her cause, and care 
must be taken not to prejudice her defence, and give 
a handle to her enemies by admitting her to her pre- 
sence, before trial had been made of her innocency. 

At these words judge and trial, which escaped Mid- 
dlemore, Mary's spirit rose, and she at once detected and 
exposed the artful diplomacy of which she was about to 
be made the victim. It was God, she exclaimed, who 
could alone be her judge, as a queen she was amenable 
to no human tribunal. Of her own free will, indeed, she 
had offered to make Elizabeth the confidant of her 
wrongs, to defend herself against the falsehoods brought 
against her, and to utter to her such matters, as had 
never yet been disclosed to any living being, but none 
could compel her to accuse herself; and as to Moray, 
and those rebels who had joined him, her sister was 
partial. She was contented, it appeared, that they 
should come to her presence to arraign her, whilst she, 
their sovereign, was debarred from that indulgence in 
making her defence. Who ever heard that subjects 
and traitors should be permitted to plead against their 
prince ? And yet, said she, if they must needs come, 
bid the queen, my sister, call up Morton and Lething- 
ton, who are said to know most against me confront 
me with them let me hear their accusations, and then 
listen to my reply. But, she added significantly, I 
suspect that Lethington would be loath of such an 

* Anderson, vol. iv. part L p. 90. Middlemore to Cecil, 14th June, 1M>8. 

1568. REGENCY OF MORAY. 189 

It had been Mary's idea, from some expressions used 
by Scrope and Knollys in their first interview,* that 
the English queen would be induced to restore her 
without inquiry, or at least by an inquiry so regulated 
as to criminate her subjects without permitting them 
to reply ; but the mission of Middlemore dispelled this 
notion. She found that not only was she to be refused 
an interview with the English queen, but that Moray 
had been already called upon to repair to England, and 
to justify his conduct by bringing forward his proofs 
against his sovereign. Against this she loudly pro- 
tested, and at once declared, that she would endure 
imprisonment, and even death, sooner than submit to 
such indignity ,*f Such conduct was, no doubt, com- 
pletely consonant to her feelings and her rights as a 
free princess, and may have been quite consistent with 
her complete guiltlessness of the charges brought against 
her ; but it seems to me, that complete innocence would 
have been impatient to have embraced even the oppor- 
tunity of an imperfect defence, rather than endure the 
atrocious aspersions with which she was now loaded. 

Moray in the meantime acted with his accustomed 
calmness and decision. Having received Middlemore's 
message at Dumfries, hostilities against Mary's parti- 
sans were suspended at the request of the English 
queen, and he professed his readiness to repair to Eng- 
land in person, accompanied by Morton, rather than 
that the truth should not be fully investigated ; J but 
previous to this, there was one point upon which he 
desired to be satisfied. It was evident, he said, that 
in a cause involving such grave results, nothing could 
be more ruinous for him than to accuse the queen, the 

* Anderson, vol. iv. part i. p. 55. Scrope and Knollys to Elizabeth. 29th 
May, 1568. 

+ Mary to Elizabeth, 13th June, 1568. Anderson, vol. iv. p. 97, part i. 
$ MS. Letter, State-paper Office, B.C., Drury to Cecil, 17th June, 1568. 


mother of his sovereign, and afterwards, as he expressed 
it, " to enter into qualification with her. 11 * Again, if 
the accusation should proceed, and he was able to prove 
his allegations, he was solicitous to know what was 
likely to follow. As to such letters of the Queen of 
Scots as were in his possession, he had already sent 
translations of them by his servant Wood ; and he 
would gladly understand whether, in the event of the 
originals agreeing with these translations, their con- 
tents would be judged sufficient to establish her acces- 
sion to the murder.^ 

This preliminary inquiry, so artful in its object, for 
it is evident it enabled the regent to arrange or amend 
his proofs according to the instructions which he might 
receive from England, was intrusted to Middlemore, 
who, on his return to the English court, reported it to 
Elizabeth, and at the same time informed her of Mary's 
resolution to decline the intended investigation. Cecil's 
answer was framed with the evident view of being com- 
municated by Lord Herries, who was then at the 
English court, to his sovereign. It informed the regent 
that Elizabeth neither meant to promote any accusation 
of the Scottish queen, nor to proceed to any condem- 
nation ; that her single purpose was to settle all 
disputes, to allow of no faults in her sister, to bring 
the controversy to a happy conclusion with surety to 
all parties, and to esteem no proof sufficient till both 
parties were heard.J 

Such a declaration must have startled Moray, and 
had he believed it, it is evident from the cautious tone 
of his previous inquiries that no accusation of the 

* MS. State-paper Office, Moray to Cecil, with enclosure, 22d June, 1568. 
f Goodall, vol. ii. p. 75, Moray's answer to Middlemore, 22d June, 1568. 
I Goodall, vol. ii. p. 89. Answer by Cecil to the Earl of Moray's pro- 
posals, 31st June, 1568. 

1568. REGENCY OF MORAY. 191 

Queen of Scots was to be looked for from him. But 
Elizabeth at this moment exerted all the powers of that 
state craft in which she was so great an adept, to blind 
both Moray and Mary. It was her object to persuade 
the regent, that whatever might be her assurances to 
Mary, she really intended to try the cause, and if he 
could prove her guilty, to keep her where she was, in 
prison ; it was her purpose on the other hand, to con- 
vince Mary that she would never permit Moray to 
bring forward any accusation, but quashing all odious 
criminations, promote a reconciliation with her sub- 
jects, and restore her to her dignity. The negotiations 
were conducted on the part of the Scottish queen by 
Lord Herries, who was then at the English court ; and, 
by Cecil's directions, such only of this nobleman's 
proposals as it was deemed expedient Moray should 
know were communicated to the regent,* whilst from 
Mary we may believe the same concealment was made 
of Moray's entire messages. 

These artful transactions occupied nearly a month, 
and were interrupted, not only by the suspicions and 
delays of both parties, but by the state of Scotland. 
In that country Moray's unpopularity was now exces- 
sive, whilst the queen's friends were daily rising into 
confidence and strength. The severity of the regent, 
and the terrors of an approaching parliament, in which 
the dismal scenes of forfeiture and confiscation were 
expected to be renewed, had so estranged his supporters 
and united his enemies, that he began to be alarmed 
not only for his government, but for his life. A con- 
spiracy for his assassination was discovered, at the head 
of which were the comptroller Murray of Tullibardine 

* MS. Letter, State-paper Office Moray to Cecil, June 22, 1568, -with 


and his brother, the same persons who had acted so 
bold a part in arraigning Bothwell.* The regent was 
taunted, and not unjustly, with his former activity in 
prosecuting the king's murder, and his present luke- 
warnmess ; and people pointed ironically to his asso- 
ciate, Sir James Balfour, a man universally detested, 
by his own confession one of the murderers, and now 
employed by Moray in the most confidential affairs of 
the government.^ 

To such a height had these discontents arisen, that 
Argyle, Huntley, and the Hamiltons, uniting their 
strength in favour of the queen, held a convention at 
Largs, (July twenty-eighth,) in which they resolved 
to let loose the borderers upon England, and wrote to 
the Duke of Alva, requesting his assistance in the most 
earnest terms. J Notwithstanding the delays produced 
by this miserable state of things, Mary and the regent 
at last agreed to have their disputes settled by the 
English queen ; and Lord Herries, having arrived at 
Bolton castle, to which place the Scottish queen had 
been removed, informed his mistress, in the presence 
of Scrope and Knollys, of Elizabeth's proposals, and 
received her formal acquiescence. As some controversy 
has arisen upon this point, it is right to give his very 
words. He told Mary that Elizabeth had commanded 
him to say unto her, " that if she would commit her 
cause to be heard by her highness 1 order, but not to 
make her highness judge over her, but rather as to her 
dear cousin and friend to commit herself to her advice 
and counsel, that if she would thus do, her highness 

* MS. Letter, State-paper Office, B.C., July 20, 1568, Drury to Cecil. 
Also Id. Ibid, same to same, July 31, 1568. Also Id. Ibid, same to same, 
3d August, 1568. 

t MS. Letter, State-paper Office, B.C., Drury to Cecil, July 10, 1568. 

MS. Letter, State-paper Office, B.O, Drury to Cecil, 3d August, 1568. 
MS. State-paper Office, Lords of -Scotland to Duke of Alva. 

1568. REGENCY OF MORAY. 193 

would surely set her again in her seat of regiment, and 
dignity regal, in this form and order: first, her high- 
ness would send for the noblemen of Scotland that be 
her adversaries, to ask account of them, before such 
noblemen as this queen herself should like of, to know 
their answer, why they have deposed their queen and 
sovereign from her regiment ; and that if, in their 
answers, they could allege some reason for them in 
their so doing, (which her highness thinks they cannot 
do,) that her highness would set this queen in her seat 
regal conditionally, that those her lords and subjects 
should continue in their honours, estates, and dignities 
to them appertaining. But if they should not be able 
to allege any reason of their doings, that then her 
highness would absolutely set her in her seat regal, and 
that by force of hostility, if they should resist. 1 ' To 
this promise, which is quite clear and explicit, Eliza- 
beth annexed as conditions, that Mary should renounce 
all claim to the crown of England, during the life of 
the queen, or her issue ; that she should forsake the 
league with France, and, abandoning the mass, receive 
the Common Prayer after the form of England.* This 
last stipulation was added with a view of encouraging 
some symptoms of a disposition to be converted to the 
Church of England, which had recently appeared in 
Mary, who had received an English chaplain, and "had 
grown to a good liking of the Common Prayer. "*f 

These proposals the Queen of Scots embraced after 
some hesitation, and commissioners would have been 
immediately appointed for the trial of this great cause, 
but for the melancholy state of Scotland. In this 
country, Huntley and Argyle kept the field at the 
head of a large force ; and, having completely reduced 

au. UL at jLdigo luiue , turn, iia/viiiii uuu 

Anderson, vol. iv. part i. pp. 109, 110. 
Knollys to Cecil, 2}jth July. Anderson, vol. iv. 

part i. p. 113. 


iinder tha queen's power the northern and western parts 
of the kingdom, were rapidly advancing to the south. 
Their object was to crush Moray before he could hold 
the parliament, in which they expected the vengeance 
of the laws to be let loose against themselves ; but their 
march was arrested by letters from their sovereign, who 
commanded her friends to desist from hostilities, in- 
forming them that Elizabeth would compel the regent 
to the same course. * This order, on Mary's side, was 
obeyed ; on Moray's, if indeed ever sent by the Eng- 
lish queen, it was openly violated ; for scarce were his 
rivals dispersed, than the parliament met, (eighteenth 
August,) and, had it not been for the remonstrances 
of Lethington, not a baron who had espoused the cause 
of the queen would have been left unproscribed. As 
it was, all his efforts could not save the Archbishop of 
St Andrew's, Lord Claud Hamilton, the Bishop of 
Ross, and many others, who were declared traitors, and 
forfeited. "f* It was in vain that the lords of Mary's 
party complained of this cruel and unjust conduct, and 
prepared for revenge. Moray, forgetful of his promises, 
anticipated their attack, hastily levied a force, overran 
Annandale and Galloway, and would have reduced all 
opposition by fire and sword, had not his progress been 
interrupted by a peremptory message from Elizabeth, 
who commanded him instantly to lay down his arms, 
and send commissioners to York to answer for his con- 
duct to his sovereign. If this was delayed or resisted, 
she declared her resolution instantly to set Mary at 
liberty, and assist her against her enemies ; adding, 
that his refusal would convince her of his mistress's 
innocence and his own guilt.j 

* Anderson, vol. iv. part i. pp. 125, 126. } Ibid. 

J Gamden, apud Kennet, vol. ii. p. 412. 

] 568. REGENCY OF MORAY. 195 

This mandate Moray did not dare to disobey, 
whatever may have been his wishes and regrets. He 
distrusted Elizabeth ; he dreaded increasing his unpo- 
pularity with the nobles, by openly bringing forward 
so odious an accusation against his sovereign ; he saw 
that success was doubtful failure absolute ruin ; and 
when he proposed to select commissioners, all shrunk 
from so invidious an office. But he had advanced too 
far to retract ; and, digesting as he best could the mor- 
tification of being arrested in the course of his victories, 
he determined to appear personally at York, and ap- 
pointed four commissioners to accompany him. These 
were the Earl of Morton, the Bishop of Orkney, Lord 
Lindsay, and the Commendator of Dunfermline. To 
them he added some assistants, the most noted of whom 
were Lethington the secretary, whom he had begun to 
suspect of a leaning to the queen's cause, and dreaded 
to leave behind him, the celebrated Buchanan, and Mr 
James Makgill. Elizabeth now directed the Duke of 
Norfolk, the Earl of Sussex, and Sir Ralph Sadler, to 
appear upon her part ; and nothing remained but for 
Mary to appoint her commissioners.* 

Previous to this, she desired to have a consultation 
with Lesley the bishop of Ross ; and, on his repair to 
Bolton, this able and attached servant expressed his 
sorrow that she had agreed to any conference wherein 
her subjects should beaccused,as Moray andhis friends, 
he said, would undoubtedly utter all they could for their 
defence, although it were to her dishonour and that of 
the whole realm ; it was vain, he added, to expect that 
they would openly acknowledge themselves to be ill 
subjects, and she a good princess ; and it would, in his 
opinion, be far better to endeavour to bring about an 

* Goodall, vol. ii. p. 109. 


amicable arrangement without any accusation on either 
side. To this, Mary^s answer, as reported by Lesley 
himself, was remarkable. She declared there was no 
such danger to be apprehended as he supposed, since 
the judges would be favourable to her, and. she was 
already assured of the good will of the Duke of Nor- 
folk, who had sent her a message to Bolton, expressive 
of his attachment to her interests. * 

At this moment, Robert Melvil arrived at Bolton 
with important despatches from Lethington to Mary. 
He stated that Moray was determined to utter every- 
thing he could against her, and had carried with him 
to York the "letters which he had to produce in proof 
of the murder ; " he sent her, by the same messenger, 
copies of these letters which he had clandestinely pro- 
cured ; he assured her, that nothing but a desire to do 
her service had induced him to come into England, and 
begged her to send word by Melvil to York, what she 
thought it best for him to do. Mary, after having 
carefully -examined these letters, which were only the 
translations from the original French into the Scottish 
language, sent her answer to Lethington. It is worthy 
of note, that it contained no assertion as to the forgery 
or interpolation of these letters, now, as it appears, 
communicated to her for the first time. It simply 
requested him to use his efforts to stay the rigorous 
accusations of Moray, to labour with the Duke of Nor- 
folk in her favour, and to give full credit to the Bishop 
of Ross.-f 

Having concluded her consultation with Lesley and 
Melvil, she chose her commissioners. They were the 
Bishop of Ross, Lords Herries, Boyd, and Livingston, 

* Examination of the Bishop of Ross at the Tower. Miirdin, p. 52. 
t Murdin, pp. 52, 5i 

1568. REGENCY OF MORAY. 197 

the Abbot of Kilwinning, Sir John Gordon of Loch- 
invar, and Sir James Cockburn of Skirling. * These 
persons having received their instructions, proceeded 
to York, where they met the regent, the Duke of Nor- 
folk, and the rest of the judges. 

So far Elizabeth had been successful, and the position 
in which she had placed herself was certainly most 
solemn and imposing. Before her pleaded the Queen 
of Scots, so late her rival and her opponent, now her 
prisoner awaiting her award, and acknowledging, that 
if restored to her dignity, she would owe all to her 
interference. On the other hand, stood the regent, the 
representative of the majesty of his sovereign, and the 
governor of a kingdom, but now receiving the law from 
her lips whose superior power he did not dare to resist. 
To hear the cause were assembled the noblest and the 
wisest in both countries ; and besides this, the misfor- 
tunes of Mary had created so great and universal a 
sensation, that it is no exaggeration when we say, the 
eyes not only of England and Scotland, but of Europe, 
were fixed upon the conferences now opening at York. 

The commissioners, accordingly, having assembled, 
the proceedings began ; but, on the very threshold, a 
sharp dispute arose when Norfolk observed, that the 
regent, having consented to plead before Elizabeth, 
must first do homage to the English crown. The pro- 
position was received as an insult; and Moray, red with 
anger, was hesitating how to answer it, when the cooler 
Lethington took up the word, and sarcastically re- 
marked, that when the Scottish monarchs received 
back again the counties of Northumberland and Cum- 
berland, with the manor of Huntingdon, it would be 
time to talk of homage ; but, as to the crown and king- 

* Goodall, vol. ii. p. 109. 


dom of Scotland, both were more free than their own 
England had recently been, when she paid Peter's pence 
to Rome. * The mention of the point, however, ren- 
dered some notice of it necessary, and after the oaths 
had been administered, mutual protestations weYe 
taken. { The commissioners of the Scottish queen 
then gave in their complaint. It stated, in clear and 
energetic language, the history of the rebellion against 
Mary, her deposition and imprisonment, the usurpation 
of the regency by Moray, her escape, defeat, and flight 
into England, and her confident hope, that, by the 
mediation of Elizabeth, she might be restored to the 
peaceable enjoyment of her kingdom. J 

All now looked with eagerness for Moray's reply, 
confidently expecting that he would bring forward, as 
his defence, the accusation of his sovereign, and the 
promised proofs of her accession to the murder of the 
king; but, to the surprise and disappointment of Eliza- 
beth, he was seized with a repetition of his former fears^ 
and, instead of proceeding to any accusation, requested 
a preliminary conference with the English commis- 
sioners. Being admitted to it, he desired to know 
whether they would grant him an assurance that their 
mistress would pronounce the Queen of Scots guilty or 
not guilty, according to the proofs which he laid before 
them ; and, in the event of the conviction of the murder, 
whether the Queen of England would sanction his pro- 
ceedings, maintain the government of the king, and 
support him in his office of regent. These questions 
being remitted by the commissioners to Elizabeth, he 

* Melvil's Memoirs, p. 206. Lesley's Negotiations, Anderson, vol. iii. p. 
15. Also, Norfolk to Cecil, Oct. 9, 1568. Anderson, vol. iv. fait ii. p. 42. 
f 1 Anderson, voL iv. part ii. pp. 49, 50. 
Goodall, vol. ii. pp. 123, 126. 
Ibid. voL ii. p. 130, 131. Oct. 9th, pp. 126, 127. 

1568. REGENCY OF MORAY. 199 

gave in his defence, which produced new astonishment. 
It rested solely on Mary's marriage with Bothwell, 
and detailed the shameful circumstances by -which it 
was accompanied, with the necessity of rising in arms 
to defend the prince, and of subjecting the queen to a 
temporary imprisonment, during which she voluntarily 
resigned the crown. It added not a syllable, directly or 
indirectly, accusing Mary of being an accomplice in the 
murder, and did not even contain a hint or an allusion, 
from which it could be gathered that the regent ever 
entertained such a suspicion, (October tenth.)* 

It was difficult to account for this sudden and un- 
expected moderation upon the part of Moray. A few 
weeks only had elapsed since he had been loud in his 
accusations, and testified the utmost eagerness to bring 
forward his proofs. He was now silent on the subject ; 
his defence was general, almost to feebleness; and when, 
after a few days 1 interval, it was replied to by Mary's 
commissioners, who urged, forcibly and triumphantly, 
the coalition between Bothwell and the lords, his trial 
and acquittal, and their subsequent recommendation of 
him as a husband to the queen, he sat down apparently 
dispirited and confuted, and declined saying another 
word upon the subject. 

A secret intrigue, of which we have already had some 
slight intimation from Mary's conversation with the 
Bishop of Ross, furnishes us with a key to all this 
mystery. It originated in the ambition of the Duke 
of Norfolk, a nobleman then, perhaps, the most power- 
ful subject in England, and who had long been a favourer 
of Mary's title to the crown. There seems, too, to be 
little doubt, that for some time Norfolk had entertained 

* Goodall, vol. ii. pp. 139, 144 ; and Depeches de la Motte Fenelon, pub- 
lished by Mr P. Cooper, voL i, pp. 17, 18, a very valuable work. 


the idea of a marriage with the Scottish queen, and 
that he deprecated the present proceedings against her 
in the strongest manner, although he dared not refuse 
the task imposed upon him bj Elizabeth. These feel- 
ings, which he had secretly imparted to the Scottish 
queen through his sister, Lady Scrope, who waited on 
her, she had, as we have seen, communicated to Leth- 
ington and the Bishop of Ross ; and Lethington, on 
his arrival at York, procured a secret interview with 

On this occasion the duke expressed his astonish- 
ment that he and Moray should so far forget their 
honour as to accuse their sovereign before Elizabeth 
as if they thought that England was entitled to be 
a judge or a superior over the kingdom of Scotland. 
Lethington warmly deprecated the idea, blamed the 
weakness of the regent, whose own feelings were against 
the accusation; declared, for his own part, that he was 
there, as- Moray well knew, rather as the friend than 
the enemy of his sovereign, and professed his readiness 
to exert every effort to quash the accusation.^ Nor- 
folk then asked, whether he thought in this matter 
Moray could be trusted, and the secretary affirming 
that he might, the duke took the regent aside and 
remonstrated with him on the folly and impolicy of his 
present conduct. " The English queen, his mistress," 
he said, "was resolved during her life to evade the 
question of the succession careless what blood might 
be shed, or what confusion might arise upon the point ; 
as to the true title, none doubted that it lay in the 
Queen of Scots and her son, and much he marvelled 
that the regent, whom he had always reputed a wise 

* Examination of the Bishop of Ross. Murdiu, p. 53. 
t Melvil's Memoirs, p. 206. 

1568. REGENCY OF MORAY. 201 

and honourable man, should come hither to blacken his 
mistress, and, as far as he could, destroy the prospect 
of her and her son's succession.* Besides," added he, 
"you are grievously deceived if you imagine the Queen 
of England will ever pronounce sentence in this cause. 
We are sent here, no doubt, as commissioners, but we 
are debarred from coming to a decision, and Elizabeth 
has fully resolved to arrive at none herself. Do you 
not see that no answers have been returned to the 
questions which upon this point were addressed by 
you to us, and forwarded to the queen 2 Nay, you can 
easily put the matter to a more certain proof : request 
an assurance, under the queen's hand, that when you 
accuse your sovereign and bring forward your proofs, 
she will pronounce sentence. If you get it, act as you 
please ; if it is not given, rest assured my information 
is correct, and all that will come of your accusation will 
be repentance for your own folly ."[ 

This conversation made a deep impression on Moray, 
already sufficiently alive to the dangerous part he was 
playing; and when he imparted it in confidence to 
Lethingtonand Sir James Melvil, both of them strongly 
confirmed him in the views stated by Norfolk, t From 
his brother commissioners, Morton and Makgill, and 
his secretary Wood, who had drawn up the proofs 
against the Scottish queen, the regent carefully con- 
cealed what had happened, but he determined to follow 
Norfolk's advice, and bring forward no public accusa- 
tion till he was assured of the course to be followed 
by Elizabeth. Such is the secret history of Moray's 

* Melvil's Memoirs, pp. 206, 207. 

j* MelviPs Memoirs, pp. 207, 208, 4to edit. Melvil's authority here is 
unquestionable, as he was not only present at York, hut the regent made 
him privy to this secret interview. Also Depeches de la Motte Fenelon, 
vol. i. p. 17. 

J Melvil's Memoirs, p. 208. 


sudden change, and the present moderation of his con- 
duct towards the queen his sovereign. 

But whilst a regard for his own interest prevented 
him from assuming the character of a public accuser, 
the regent privately exhibited to Norfolk, Sussex, and 
Sadler the alleged proofs of Mary's guilt, consisting of 
various bonds or contracts and other papers,, besides 
some letters and love sonnets addressed by her to Both- 
well, with a contract of marriage in the handwriting 
of the Earl of Huntley. These letters had been found, 
as the Scottish commissioners affirmed, in a little silver 
casket or coffer; it had been given by the queen to 
Bothwell, and was afterwards with its contents seized 
by Morton, and they offered to swear that the letters 
were written in Mary's own hand. Having carefully 
inspected them, and drawn up a summary of their 
contents, Norfolk transmitted it in a letter to Elizabeth, 
requesting her judgment whether she considered them 
sufficient to convict the queen of the murder of her 
husband. He added, at the same time, his own opi- 
nion and that of his brother commissioners, that the 
proof was conclusive against her, if the letters were 
really written with her own hand.* 

This, however, was confidential, and unknown to 
the world, so that if matters had terminated here the 
result of the inquiry must have been considered highly 
favourable to Mary. She had triumphantly confuted 
Moray, and, after his boastful speeches, he had shrunk 
from any open accusation. But Elizabeth was not to 
be so easily defeated. She had resolved that Moray 
should publicly accuse his sovereign of the murder, she 
was convinced that such an event would be of the 

* The Commissioners to Elizabeth, 1 1th October, 1568. Anderson, voL 
IT. part ii. pp. 58, 63. 

1568. REGENCY OF MORAY. 203 

greatest service to England whether the Scot jish queen 
was to be restored to her dignity or detained a prisoner; 
and with this view she suddenly removed the confer- 
ences to Westminster, affirming that York was too 
distant to allow of a speedy settlement of the contro- 
versy, and taking particular care that neither Mary 
nor her commissioners should suspect any sinister 
intention upon her part.* How artfully this was 
managed appears by the original draft of the English 
queen's letter, still preserved, and partly in Cecil's 
handwriting. In it Norfolk and his companions were 
instructed to be especially careful that the Queen of 
Scots' commissioners should gather no suspicion of the 
ill success of her cause, but imagine that this new 
measure was solely intended to accelerate their mis- 
tress's restoration to her dignity on safe and honourable 
terms, both for herself and her subjects. "f 

It happened that at this moment Moray had made 
a secret overture to Mary, which rendered this queen 
less likely to dread any disadvantage to her cause from 
the removal of the conferences to London. He had 
sent Robert Melvil to Bolton, to propose a scheme, by 
which all necessity for accusing his sovereign should 
be removed, and an amicable compromise take place. 
The Scottish queen was to ratify her demission of the 
crown, which had been made in Lochleven, the regent 
was to be confirmed in his government, and Mary was 
to tarry in England, under the protection of Elizabeth, 
and with a revenue suitable to her royal dignity. On 
these conditions Moray was contented to be silent ; and 
although at first the captive princess professed much 
unwillingness to agree to such terms, she was at length 

* La Motte Fenelon, vol. iv. p. 18. 

f Original draft, State-paper Office, Papers of Marj ^uen of Scots, Oct. 
16, 1568, Elizabeth to her Commissioners. 


convinced by the arguments of Melvil, that such a 
settlement of the controversy was the best for her 
interest and honour. She therefore despatched Melvil 
to carry her consent to Moray;* she wrote to the 
English queen, expressing her entire satisfaction that 
her cause and her honour were now placed in her hands, 
where she most wished them to be^and she despatched 
four of her commissioners, Boyd, Herries, the Bishop 
of Ross, and the Abbot of Kilwinning, to London. 

On their arrival Elizabeth admitted them to an 
audience; assured them that she had carefully weighed 
all that had been done at York ; that the enemies of 
the Queen of Scots appeared to her to have entirely 
failed in their defence, as far as they had yet pleaded; 
and that their only course was to acknowledge their 
offences, return to their allegiance, and intercede for 
pardon, which she would labour to procure them. For 
this purpose she had removed the conferences to Lon- 
don, and to make the settlement more solemn had joined 
some other commissioners to those already named. 
Nothing now remained but to proceed with the busi- 
ness, first ascertaining whether Moray had anything 
further to say in his defence.]: 

When the regent repaired along with Lethington 
and Makgill to London, it was with a determination 
not to accuse Mary, but to remain true to his agree- 
ment to Norfolk; and if anything should occur to 
render its execution difficult or impossible, to fall back 
upon his scheme for Mary's demission of the crown, 
which he had so lately proposed, and to which she had 

* MS. Declaration of Robert Melvil, Hopetoun MS. ; also MS. Letter, 
State-paper Office, Knollys to Cecil, 25th October, 1568. 

+ Mary to Elizabeth, 22d Oct, 1568. Anderson, vol. iv. part ii. p. 95. 

+ Anderson, vol. IT. part ii. p. 95. Lesley's Negotiations, Anderson, vol. 
iii. pp. 25, 26. 

1568. REGENCY OF MORAY. 205 

consented. But an interview with Elizabeth alarmed 
and perplexed him ; he found, to his dismay, that she 
was perfectly aware of his intrigues with Norfolk. The 
whole transactions had been betrayed by a confidant 
of Mary to Morton ; he had indignantly revealed it 
to Cecil, and from him it reached the queen. Nor were 
his difficulties lessened by a message from Mary her- 
self, who informed him that the Duke of Norfolk had 
forbid her to resign the crown ; and without his con- 
sent she could not abide by her agreement.* Nothing 
could be more embarrassing than his situation. On 
the one hand Elizabeth did not conceal her anxiety, 
that he should accuse the Scottish queen and bring 
forward his proofs of the murder. She had everything 
in her power ; she already hinted that, in case of his 
refusal, it might be found necessary to bring forward 
the Duke of Chastelherault, whose claim to the regency 
was superior to his own ; and it is scarcely matter of 
wonder that Moray faltered in his resolution. Yet, 
should he consent to the wishes of the Queen of Eng- 
land, he must bear the disgrace of betraying Norfolk. 
On the other hand, if he remained true to this noble- 
man, his fellow commissioners were ready to arraign 
him of treachery to them and to the cause of his sove- 
reign. Under these embarrassments he adopted a 
middle course, and resolved to prepare the accusation, 
but not to make it public until he had a positive assur- 
ance that the Queen of England would pronounce 

Meanwhile Mary became alarmed at some private 
intelligence which she received from Hepburn of Ric- 
carton, a follower of Bothwell's, who was now in London, 
and who assured her that so far from being favourable, 

* Melvil's Declaration. Hopetoun MS. 


Elizabeth was decidedly hostile to her, and would 
probably succeed in compelling Moray to desert Nor- 
folk and accuse his sovereign.* To meet such an 
emergency she sent additional instructions to her 
commissioners, by which their powers were limited to 
the single act of extending her clemency to her dis- 
obedient subjects. She added, that if they found any 
encouragement given to her adversaries to accuse her, 
they were instantly to demand her personal admission 
to the presence of Elizabeth, and if this was refused 
to break up the negotiation.*}- 

The conferences were now opened in the chamber, 
called the Camera depicta at Westminster, the com- 
missioners of the Scottish queen having declined to 
meet in any place where a judicial sentence had been 
pronounced. They protested against anything which 
was now done being interpreted against the rights of 
their mistress, who, as a free princess, acknowledged 
no judge or superior on earth ; and they required, that 
as Moray "had been admitted to the presence of Eliza- 
beth, and had calumniated his sovereign, the English 
queen should grant the same privilege to the Queen 
of Scots, and listen to her defence from her own lips. 
To this Elizabeth replied, that it was far from her 
intention to assume the character of a judge, or in 
anything to touch their sovereign's honour; but, that 
to admit her into her presence was impossible till the 
cause was decided. J 

With this answer they were compelled to be content; 
and having retired, Moray and his friends were called 
in, when, being informed that the defences recently 

* MS. Letter, State-paper Office, Papers of Mary queen of Scots, Znollys 
to Cecil, 21st November, 1568. 

f Goodall, vol. ii. pp. 185, 186, 187. 
J Ibid. pp. 188, 189, November 23, 1568, 

1568. REGENCY OF MORAY. 207 

made by them at York were considered inconclusive, 
they were required to say whether they could urge 
anything further in their behalf. To encourage them 
to speak openly, Sir Nicholas Bacon, the lord-keeper, 
assured the regent, in reply to the demands made at 
York, that if the Queen of Scots should be proved 
guilty of the murder of her husband, she should either 
be delivered into his hands, her life being sufficiently 
secured, or be kept in England ; and he added, that 
if found guilty, Moray should be continued in the 
regency, till it was shown that another had a superior 

By this declaration Moray was somewhat reassured. 
He had prepared his accusation, and the paper which 
contained it was at that moment in the possession of 
John Wood his secretary, who sat beside him at the 
stable, and for greater security kept it in his bosom. 
The regent now rose and declared how unwilling he 
and his friends had ever been to touch the honour of 
their sovereign, or to publish to strangers what might 
eternally defame her; how readily, had it been possible, 
they would have secured her reputation and preserved 
their prince, even at the price of their own exile ; and 
he solemnly protested, that if at last they were com- 
pelled to pursue a different course, the blame was not 
to be imputed to them, but rested with their enemies, 
who constrained them to adopt it in their own defence, 
and dragged into light the proofs which they had hither- 
to concealed.-f- Having delivered this protest in writing, 
Moray prepared to give in his accusation; but before he 
took this last and fatal step, he required an assurance, 
under the English queen's hand, that she would pro- 

* Goodall, vol. ii. p. 201, 202, November 26, 1568. 
f Anderson, vol. iv. part ii. pp. 115, 118. 


nounce a judgment. To this Cecil replied, that he had 
ample assurance already; and it ill became him to 
suspect or doubt the word of their royal mistress. 
Where, added he, is your accusation? It is here, said 
Wood, plucking it from his bosom, and here it must 
remain till we see the queen's handwrit ; but as he 
spoke the paper was snatched from him by Bothwell 
the bishop of Orkney, who sprung to the table pursued 
by Wood, and, mid the ill-suppressed laughter of the 
English commissioners, laid it before them. The scene, 
as it is described by Melvil, must have been an extra- 
ordinary one. The regent was deeply mortified, and 
Cecil, smiling triumphantly, enjoyed his confusion ; 
Lord William Howard, a rough seaman, shouted aloud, 
and commended the activity of Bishop Turpy, a nick- 
name of Orkney ; and Lethington, who was the saddest 
of the company, whispered in Moray's ear, that he had 
ruined his cause for ever. * 

The die, however, was cast, and the charge which 
had been so long withheld, was now preferred in the 
broadest terms. The regent stated, that as Bothwell 
was the chief executor of the horrible murder of their 
late sovereign, so he and his friends affirmed that the 
queen his wife had persuaded him to commit it ; that 
she was not only in the foreknowledge of the same, but 
a maintainer of the assassins, as she had shown by 
thwarting the course of justice, and by marrying the 
chief author of that foul crime, -f* To give additional 
force and solemnity to this proceeding, the Earl of 
Lennox, father to the murdered king, at this moment 
presented himself before the commissioners ; and, having 
bewailed in pathetic terms the miserable fate of his son, 

* Melvil's Memoirs, pp. 210, 211. 
f Anderson, vol. iv. part iL p. 119. 

1568. REGENCY OF MORAY. 209 

delivered to them a paper, in which he accused Mary 
in direct terms of conspiring his death.* 

When informed of this proceeding, the deputies of 
this princess expressed the utmost indignation; they 
declared that nothing could be more false and calumni- 
ous than such a statement ; that some of those persons 
who now with shameless ingratitude sought to blacken 
their sovereign, were themselves deeply implicated in 
the murder; and they required an immediate audience 
of Elizabeth, -f- When admitted to her presence, they 
complained in strong terms of the manner in which she 
had conducted the proceedings ; they reminded her, how 
carefully it had been provided, that in the absence of 
their royal mistress, nothing should be done which 
might affect her honour and royal estate ; this, they 
declared, had been directly infringed; she had admitted 
her subjects into her presence ; they had been encou- 
raged to load her with the most atrocious imputations ; 
it was now, therefore, their duty, as custodiars of their 
mistress's honour, to demand that, in common justice, 
she should also be heard in person ; and to beseech her 
to arrest the authors of such slanderous practices, till 
they should answer the charges which should be brought 
against them. J 

This demand perplexed Elizabeth. It was a just and 
spirited assertion on the part of the Scottish commis- 
sioners of their mistress's undoubted right ; but the 
English queen had not the slightest intention of ac- 
quiescing in it. She had now gained her first point, 
Moray having at last publicly arraigned Mary of the 
murder; but another and greater object remained: she 
was desirous of getting possession of the proofs of her 

* Anderson, vol. iv. part ii. p. 122. 

f Goodall, Appendix, vol. ii. p. 209-213, inclusive. 

J Ibid. p. 213-219. La Motte Fenelon, vol. i. p. 38-51. 


guilt ; of exhibiting them to her council ; and either 
publishing them to the world, or employing them in 
intimidating her unhappy prisoner into an acceptance 
of any terms she dictated. Her mode of accomplishing 
this was artful and politic. It was, no doubt, quite 
reasonable, she said, addressing the commissioners of 
the queen, that their mistress should appear to defend 
herself against so heinous an imputation as the murder 
of her husband, a crime of which she never had believed 
her guilty. As for a personal interview, the only reason 
why she had refused this was, on account of the com- 
mon slander against her; and now, since the accusation 
had been publicly made, it would be inconsistent, alike 
with her honour and that of their mistress, to consent 
to any compromise or agreement, until the regent and 
his friends had been called upon to prove their allega- 
tions. She, therefore, had resolved to send for them 
and demand their proofs, after which she would will- 
ingly hear- their mistress.* 

The commissioners remonstrated against the manifest 
partiality and injustice of such a proceeding: they ob- 
served, that her majesty must, of course, act as she 
pleased ; but, for their part, they would never consent 
that their sovereign's rebellious subjects should be 
further heard, till she herself were admitted to declare 
her innocence ; and they ended, by solemnly protesting 
that nothing done hereafter should in any way affect 
or prejudge her rights.-f So far, everything on their 
part was consistent and agreeable to the indignant feel- 
ings of a person unjustly accused; but their next step 
is perplexing, and seems not so easily reconcileable with 
Mary's perfect innocence ; for, on the same day, they 

* Goodall, vol. 15. p. 221, December 4. 
f Ibid. vol. iL p. 223. 

1568. REGENCY OF MORAY. 211 

made a final proposalfor a compromise, by whichMoray, 
notwithstanding his accusation, might still once more 
be admitted to the favour of his sovereign, and the 
disputes between her and her subjects be settled.* They 
added that this scheme seemed to them most consonant 
to the first intentions of both the queens. It was re- 
jected, however, by Elizabeth : any compromise, she 
said, would now affect Mary's honour; better far would 
it be to summon her accusers, to reprimand and chastise 
them for the defamation of their sovereign. She would 
not call for proofs ; but if they persisted in their charge 
it would be proper to hear what they could allege in 
their defence, -f- 

Such a proposal for a compromise would certainly 
tell strongly against the innocence of the Scottish 
queen, had it proceeded from herself, after the accusa- 
tion brought forward by Moray; but this was not the 
case. It came from her commissioners alone, and, as 
they afterwards asserted, without any communication 
with their mistress. When at last they found it de- 
clined, and perceived that Elizabeth had formed a re- 
solution to hear from Moray the alleged proofs of their 
sovereign's guilt, before she was suffered to open her 
lips in her defence, they resolved to be equally per- 
emptory : as soon, therefore, as the regent was sum- 
moned before the English commissioners, the Bishop 
of Ross and his associates demanded admission ; and, 
coming forward, at once dissolved the conference. They 
declared, that since the Queen of England was deter- 
mined to receive from the regent the proofs of his in- 
jurious allegations against their sovereign, before she 
was heard in her presence, they were compelled to 

* Se Anderson, vol. iv. part ii. pp. 135, 137, for the particulars of thia 
last proposal. 

fid. Ibid. pp. 139, 140. 


break off all proceedings, and they delivered a written 
protest, that nothing done hereafter should prejudice 
the honour or estate of their royal mistress. Cecil and 
the commissioners declined to receive this paper, affirm- 
ing, that it misrepresented the answer of the English 
queen ; but the Scottish deputies withdrew, repeating 
that they would neither treat nor appear again. * 

From this moment the conferences were truly at an 
end, but Elizabeth^ object was still to be attained ; 
Moray, therefore, was charged with having defamed 
his sovereign by an unfounded accusation, and required 
to defend himself. He did so, by the production of 
those celebrated letters and sonnets, which Elizabeth 
had already secretly examined, and of which he now 
produced both the originals and the copies. Of these, 
the originals have long since disappeared, and the gar- 
bled state of the copies which now exist, and which 
appear to have been tampered with, certainly renders 
their evidence of a suspicious nature. At this time, 
however, both originals and copies were laid before the 
commissioners, after which the depositions of some 
servants of the late king, and the confessions of Powrie 
and others, executed for the murder, were produced. 

Having proceeded thus far, and the English commis- 
sioners being in possession of the whole proofs against 
the Scottish queen, it might have been expected that 
some opinion would have been pronounced by them. 
Nothing of this kind, however, took place, neither did 
Elizabeth herself think it then expedient to say a word 
upon the subject ; but, after a short season of delay, she 
resolved to bring the cause before a more numerous tribu- 
nal. With this view, the chief of her nobility were sum- 
moned to attend a meeting of the privy-council. There 

* Anderson, voL iv. part ii. pp. 145, 146, December 6, 1568. 

1568. REGENCY OF MORAY. 213 

came, accordingly, the Earls of Northumberland, West- 
moreland, Shrewsbury, Worcester, Warwick, and 
Huntingdon, and from some expressions dropt by Cecil, 
in a letter to Norris,* it may be gathered, that it was 
intended, with their advice, to come at last to some 
important and final decision. Yet this third solemn 
preparation ended, like the rest, in nothing. After 
the lords had been sworn to secrecy, the whole evidence 
against the Queen of Scots was laid before them ; and 
instead of a judgment upon the authenticity of the 
proofs, and the alleged guilt of the accused, these noble 
persons contented themselves with a vague allusion to 
the "foul matters they had seen," and a general ap- 
proval of the course adopted by their sovereign. Eliza- 
beth next sent for the Scottish commissioners ; and, in 
reply to their demand so recently made for the admis- 
sion of their royal mistress to defend herself in her 
presence, informed them that, from the turn matters 
had taken, it had become now more impossible than 
ever to listen to such a request. It was easy, she said, 
for Mary either to send some confidential person to 
court with her defence, or to permit the English queen 
to despatch some noblemen to receive it, or to authorize 
her deputies to reply to the English commissioners. 
If she still refused to adopt any one of these methods 
to vindicate herself, she must not be surprised if so 
obstinate a silence should be interpreted into an admis- 
sion of guilt.-}* 

These specious offers and arguments did not impose 
upon the Bishop of Ross and his colleagues. They 
remonstrated loudly against the injustice with which 
their royal mistress had been treated; they insisted 
that since she was denied the common privilege of a 

* Cabala, p. 155. f Goodall, vol. ii. pp. 257, 260, 263, 264. 



personal defence, she should be permitted to return as 
a free princess to her own kingdom, or, if she preferred 
it, to retire to France; and at the same time, as their 
services were no longer necessary, they requested their 
dismissal from court.* The queen replied, they might 
go to Bolton and consult with their mistress, but should 
not leave England till the conference was at an end. 
She then addressed to Mary a letter, of which the ob- 
ject seemed to be, to intimidate her into a defence; but 
so perplexed and capricious was Elizabeth's mind at 
this moment, that on the next day she changed her 
measures ; and, in a private communication to Knollys 
the vice-chamberlain, who then had charge of the 
Scottish queen, declared her anxiety to proceed no 
farther in her cause. It appeared to her, she said, a 
far better method to endeavour to persuade Mary to 
resign the government into the hands of Moray ; whilst 
the prince her son, for his safety, should be brought 
into England. She herself, too, it was added might 
continue in that country, and this whole cause of hers, 
wherewith she had been charged, be committed to per- 
petual silence, -j* 

Knollys was directed to manage matters so that this 
proposal might proceed from herself: but whilst Eliza- 
beth was thus tossed about by so many intricate and 
contradictory schemes, Mary had transmitted directions 
to her commissioners which defeated this last artifice. 
She informed them, that although she still insisted 
on her right to be heard in person, and adhered to her 
protestation, it was not her intention to pass over in 
silence the atrocious calumnies with which she had been 
assailed ; that Moray and his accomplices in accusing 

* Goodall, vol. ii. p. 267, 268. 

t Ibid. vol. ii. p. 279, Dec. 22, 1568. 

1568. REGENCY OF MORAY. 215 

her had been guilty of a traitorous falsehood, and had 
imputed to her a crime of which they were guilty them- 
selves. She then enjoined them to demand inspection 
both of the copies and the originals of the letters which 
had been produced against her, and she engaged to 
give sucji an answer as should triumphantly establish 
her innocence. 

This spirited appeal, which was made by the Scottish 
commissioners in peremptory terms,* threw Elizabeth 
into new perplexity, and it required all the skill of 
Cecil to evade it. Recourse was had to delay, but it 
produced no change ; and on the seventh January, the 
Bishop of Ross required an audience, in which he re- 
peated the demand in still stronger language. His 
royal mistress, he said, was ready to answer her calum- 
niators, and once more required, in common justice, to 
see the letters, or at least the copies of the letters which 
had been produced by her enemies, that she might 
prove them to be themselves the principal authors of 
the murder, and expose them to all Christian princes 
as liars and traitors. ~f* This fair and moderate request 
Elizabeth evaded. It appeared to her better, she said, 
that Mary should resign the crown in favour of her 
son ; that, on the ground of being weary of the govern- 
ment, she should remain privately in England, and 
make a compromise with her enemies.]: Itwas instantly 
answered by Ross, that he had his mistress's command 
to declare that to such a condition she would never 
agree : if the letters were produced, and she was per- 
mitted to see the evidence against her, she was prepared 
to defend herself. She was ready also to entertain any 
honourable proposal by which a pardon might be ex- 

* Goodall, vol. ii. pp. 288. 289. 
f Id. Ibid. p. 297, 299. 

Ibid. p. 300. 


tended to her disobedient subjects, notwithstanding the 
greatness of their offences; but to resign her crown 
would be to condemn herself; it would be said, she 
was afraid of a public accusation, and shrunk from in- 
quiry : this, therefore, she would sooner die than con- 
sent to, and the last words she uttered should be those 
of a Queen of Scotland.* 

Elizabeth struggled violently against this determi- 
nation, and was unwilling to receive it. She entreated 
Ross again to write to his mistress, but this he steadily 
refused. She required him and his colleagues to con- 
fer with her council. They did so, but it was only to 
reiterate Mary's final resolution.^ 

It was now become absolutely necessary that the 
Queen of England should either grant this last request, 
or refuse it, and pronounce a final judgment. Moray 
earnestly urged the necessity of a return to his govern- 
ment. From Mary no change of mind was to be ex- 
pected. - The regent was accordingly summoned before 
the privy-council, and Cecil delivered to him and his as- 
sociates the definitive sentence of Elizabeth. Its terms 
were most extraordinary : he stated, on one hand, that 
as Moray and his adherents had come into England, 
at the desire of the queen's majesty, to answer to an 
accusation preferred by their sovereign, she was of 
opinion that nothing had as yet been brought forward 
against them which impaired their honour or allegiance. 
He declared, on the other hand, with regard to Mary, 
that nothing had been produced or shown by them 
against the queen their sovereign, which should induce 
the Queen of England, for anything yet seen, to con- 
ceive an ill opinion of her good sister ; and he concluded 

* Goodall, vol. ii. p. 301. 

t Id. Ibid. p. 304, January 9, J 568-9. 

1568-9. REGENCY OF MORAY. 217 

by informing Moray, that he should immediately re- 
ceive permission to return to his government. * From 
this judgment, which was virtually an acquittal of Mary, 
it seems an inevitable inference, that the English queen, 
after having had the most ample opportunities of ex- 
amining the letters which had been produced, either 
considered them to be forgeries by the other party, or 
found that they had been so interpolated, garbled, and 
tampered with, as to be unworthy of credit ; for no one 
can deny, that if the letters were genuine, the Queen of 
Scots was guilty of the murder. 

But if Mary was acquitted, Moray also was found 
guiltless ; and these two conclusions, so utterly incon- 
sistent with each other, Elizabeth had the hardihood 
to maintain. When we consider the solemnity of the 
cause, the length of the conferences, the direct accusa- 
tion of Moray and his associates, the recrimination of 
the queen, the evidence produced, and the impossibility 
that both parties could be innocent, the sentence of 
Elizabeth is perhaps the most absurd judicial opinion 
ever left upon record. 

It was followed by a scene no less remarkable. A 
privy-council was called at Hampton Court, on the 
eve of Moray's departure. It included the Duke of 
Norfolk, the Earls of Pembroke, Derby, Bedford, and 
Leicester, with Sir William Cecil, and Sir Walter 
Mildmay. Before it were summoned the Bishop of 
Ross and Lord Herries, on the one side ; on the other 
came Moray, Morton, Lethington, Makgill, Orkney, 
Balnaves, and Buchanan ; and when they were met, 
Cecil, rising up, delivered a message from the queen 
his mistress. She had determined, he said, to give 
the Earl of Moray and his adherents permission to 

* Goodall, voL ii. p. 305. January, 10, 1568-9. 


depart for Scotland ; but a rumour having arisen that 
they were concerned in the murder of the king, Moray 
had desired to be confronted with the deputies of the 
Queen of Scots, and he now came there to know 
whether they would accuse him or his adherents, in 
their mistress's name or in their own.* 

To this challenge the Queen of Scots' commissioners 
immediately answered, that in their own name they 
had affirmed, and would affirm, nothing; but, with 
respect to the queen their mistress, they had received 
her written instructions to accuse the Earl of Moray 
and his adherents as the principal authors, and some 
of them the actual perpetrators of the murder. They 
had communicated, they said, their sovereign's letters 
on this point to the Queen of England they had 
publicly preferred their accusation, they had constantly 
adhered to it they had offered to defend the innocence 
of their mistress, they had demanded in vain an in- 
spection of the letters produced against her, and even 
now, if exact copies were furnished, they would under- 
take her defence, and demonstrate, by convincing 
proofs, what persons were indeed guilty of the murder 
of the king.-f- Moray strongly asserted his innocence, 
and offered to go to Bolton and abide in person the 
arraignment of his sovereign. It was answered, that 
such a step was wholly unnecessary, as her written 
accusation had been produced to the Queen of Eng- 
land. Both parties then left the council, and next day 
the regent received permission to return to Scotland, 
(January 12.)J 

It remained to dismiss their antagonists with an 
appearance of liberality, and being once more called 
before the privy-council, Cecil intimated to them his 
* Goodall, vol. it p. 307. t Ibid. p. 308. J Ibid, p. 309. 

1568-9. REGENCY OF MORAY. 219 

mistress's consent, that the Queen of Scots should have 
copies of the letters, (the originals having been rede- 
livered to Moray,) 1 but he first required them to procure 
a declaration, under her seal and signature, that she 
would reply to the charges which they contained. It 
was answered, that Elizabeth had already two writings 
of the precise tenor required, under the queen's hand; 
to seek for more was only a vexatious delay. The 
whole proceedings, from first to last, had been partial 
and unjust. If the regent and his adherents were 
permitted to depart, why was their royal mistress, why 
were they themselves debarred from the same privilege? 
If the Queen of England were really solicitous that 
she should enter upon her defence, let her adversaries 
be detained until it was concluded. To this spirited 
remonstrance, it was coldly and briefly replied, that 
Moray had promised to return when called for; as for 
the Scottish commissioners, they also would probably 
be allowed to depart, but for many reasons the Queen 
of Scotland could not be suffered to leave England. 
Against this iniquitous sentence, no redress was to be 
hoped for ; the deputies could only protest that nothing 
done by her in captivity should prejudge her honour, 
estate, or person, and having taken this final precaution, 
they left the council.* 

It is difficult from the conferences at York and 
Westminster, to draw any certain conclusion as to 
the probability of Mary's guilt or innocence. Both 
Elizabeth and the Queen of Scots acted with great art ; 
and throughout the discussions neither the professions 
of the one or of the other were sincere. Thus the 
English queen, whilst she affected an extreme anxiety 
to promote a reconciliation between Mary and her sub- 

* Goodall, vol. ii. pp. 310, 313. 


jects, was really desirous that the breach should be 
made irreconcileable, by the accusation of Moray, and 
the production of the letters. Nor does there seem to 
be any doubt that Norfolk's assertion was correct, when 
he assured Lethington she had no intention of pro- 
nouncing a decision. On the other hand, it is clear 
that, during the first part of the conferences, both Mary 
and her advisers, Ross, Herries, and Lethington, were, 
from whatever motive, anxious to suppress Moray's 
charge; that they deprecated the production of his 
evidence ; and were only induced to go into the in- 
vestigation from the hope which Elizabeth held out 
that she would not permit an accusation, but exert 
herself, under all' circumstances, to promote a recon- 
ciliation between the Scottish queen and her subjects, 
and restore her to the throne. It must have struck the 
reader, that whenever, by means of the private letters 
which have been preserved, we get behind the scenes, 
and are admitted to Mary's secret consultations with 
her commissioners, or to their own opinion on the 
conduct of the cause, we meet with no assertion of the 
forgery of the letters ; and it seems to me difficult to 
reconcile her agreement to resign the crown, and sup- 
press all inquiry, a measure only prevented by the 
interference of Norfolk, with her absolute innocence. 
On the other hand, there are some circumstances, 
especially occurring during the latter part of the con- 
ferences, which tell strongly in her favour. The 
urgency with which, from first to last, she solicited a 
personal interview with Elizabeth, and promised if it 
were granted to go into her defence ; the public and 
oft-repeated assertion of the forgery of the letters, and 
the offer to prove this if copies were furnished to her 
commissioners ; Elizabeth's evasion of this request ; 

1568-9. REGENCY OF MORAY. 221 

her entire suppression of these suspicious documents ; 
their subsequent disappearance ; and the schemes of 
Norfolk for a marriage with Mary ; these are all cir- 
cumstances which seem to me exceedingly irreconcile- 
able with her being directly guilty of the murder of 
her husband. Upon the whole, it appears to me, that 
in the present state of the controversy, we are really 
not in possession of evidence sufficient to enable any 
impartial inquirer to come to an absolute decision. I 
have already pointed out, as the circumstances occurred, 
such moral evidence against the queen as arose out of 
her conduct both before and after her marriage with 
Bothwell. The discussions at York and Westminster 
do not materially affect this evidence, either one way 
or the other ; and, so far as we judge of these confer- 
ences by themselves, they leave the mind under the 
unsatisfying and painful impression that the conduct 
of the Scottish queen throughout the whole investiga- 
tion, was that of a person neither directly guilty, nor 
yet wholly innocent. 

But, whilst animadverting on the proceedings of 
Elizabeth and Mary in these celebrated conferences, 
the conduct of the regent must not be forgotten. He 
was then perfectly aware of the accession of both Leth- 
ington and Morton to the murder of the king : this 
both prior and subsequent events proved ; yet did he 
not scruple to bring these two accomplices to England, 
and employ Morton as his assistant in the accusation of 
his sovereign. Such a course, which could be dictated 
only by the ambition of retaining the whole power of the 
government in his hands, seems unworthy of the man 
who was the leader of the Reformation in Scotland, and 
professed an extraordinary regard for religion : it was 
cruel, selfish, and unprincipled. Nor is this all : making 


every allowance for the defective justice of the times, 
it is impossible to defend Moray's management of the 
evidence against Mary. There can be little doubt, I 
think, that some letters addressed by this unfortunate 
princess to Both-well, did really fall into the, hands of 
her enemies ; but the regents refusal to produce the 
originals to the accused, and the state in which the 
copies have descended to our times, evidently garbled, 
altered, and interpolated, throws on him the utmost 
suspicion, and renders it impossible for any sincere 
inquirer after the truth to receive such evidence. If 
the only proofs of Mary's guilt had been these letters 
produced at Westminster, the task of her defenders 
would have been comparatively an easy one.* It is 
the moral evidence arising out of her own conduct, 
which weighs heaviest against her. But to return. 

Upon the conclusion of the conferences, the Scottish 
queen exerted herself to rouse her partisans in Scotland, 
and animate them to a vindication of their independence 
against the practices of Elizabeth. Acting by the 
advice of Cecil her chief minister, the Queen of England 
had formed a scheme by which, under the nominal 
regency of Moray, she would herself have managed 
the whole affairs of the country. The project, drawn 
up in the handwriting of its astute author, still exists ; 
the- young prince was to be delivered up by Moray, 

* I have purposely abstained from quoting or entering into the arguments 
of the writers in the controversy which has arisen on the subject of these 
letters, and of Mary's guilt or innocence. My object has been to attempt, 
from original and unquestionable evidence, to give the facts ; not to overload 
the narrative with argument or controversy. The reader who may wish to 
pursue the points farther, will find ample room for study in the volumes of 
Goodall, of Tytler my venerated grandfather, of Laing, Whitaker, and Chal- 
mers. Upon the whole, my grandfather's " Historical and Critical Enquiry," 
as it appears in the 4th Edition, London, 1790, may still I think be appealed 
to, not only as the best defence of Mary, but, in a controversy which has been 
deformed by much coarse and bitter invective, as the most pleasing and 
elegant work which has appeared on the subject. It is, throughout, the 
production of a scholar and a gentleman. 

1568-9. REGENCY OF MORAY. 223 

and educated in England under the eye of Elizabeth ; 
the regent was to be continued in his office, receiving, 
of course, his instructions from the Queen of England, 
on whom he was to be wholly dependent; and the 
Queen of Scots was to be persuaded to remain where 
she was by arguments which Cecil minutely detailed.* 
These insidious proposals were discovered by Mary, 
and being communicated to her friends, exaggerated 
by her fears and indignation, raised the utmost alarm 
in Scotland. The regent, it was said, had sold the 
country, he was ready to deliver up the principal for- 
tresses, he had agreed to acknowledge the superiority 
of England, he looked himself to the throne, and was 
about to procure a deed of legitima/tiony by which he 
should be capable of succeeding if the young prince 
died without issue. Such reports flew from one end 
of the country to the other; and as he was not on the 
spot to contradict them, and cape with his adversaries, 
their effects were highly favourable to the captive 

In the meantime, although he had received per- 
mission to return to his government, Moray found 
himself very unpleasantly situated. He was deeply 
in debt, and although he had lent himself an easy tool 
in the hands of the Queen of England, she refused to 
assist him. If, indeed^ we may believe Sir James 
Melvil, who had an intimate personal acquaintance 
with the history of these times, she really despised 
him for his subserviency, and enjoyed his distresses. 
This was not all : the Duke of Norfolk was enraged 
at his late conduct ; he had broken all the promises 
made to this nobleman ; and, as Norfolk commanded 
the whole strength of the northern counties, through 

* MS. British Museum, Caligula, C. i. fol. 273, 22d December, 1568. 


which lay Moray's route homeward, he dreaded being 
way-laid before he crossed the Border. Nor was such 
an apprehension without good foundation, as a plot 
for his assassination, of which it is said both Norfolk 
and Mary were cognizant, was actually organized, and 
the execution of it committed to the Earl of Westmore- 
land.* Under these difficulties Moray had recourse 
to dissimulation. With much address he procured a 
reconciliation with Norfolk, expressed deep contrition 
for the part he had been compelled to act against his 
sovereign, and declared, that his feelings upon the 
subject of the marriage between her and the duke 
remained unaltered : it was still his conviction, he said, 
that such a union would be eminently beneficial to 
both kingdoms, and he was ready to promote it by 
every means in his power. To prove his sincerity 
he opened the matter to the Bishop of Ross, he sent 
Robert Melvil to propose it to Mary herself, he pro- 
mised to use his influence for its furtherance with the 
Scottish nobles, and in the end he so completely reas- 
sured the duke, that this nobleman procured the regent 
a loan of five thousand pounds from Elizabeth, and 
sent the strictest injunctions to his adherents not to 
molest him in any way upon his return.^ 

With Mary herself, his artifices did not stand him 
in less stead. Her friends in Scotland were at this 
time mustering in great strength. She had appointed 
the Duke of Chastelherault and the Earls of Argyle 
and Huntley her lieutenants. The two earls com- 
manded the north ; the Duke was ready to rise with 
the whole strength of the Hamiltons ; Lord Boyd and 
other powerful nobles were preparing for action, and 

* Murdin's State Papers, p. 51. 

f* Lesley's Negotiations in Anderson, vol. iii. p. 40. 

1568-9. REGENCY OF MORAY. 225 

had these combined forces been brought into the field, 
Moray must have been overwhelmed. But at this 
crisis the queen and Norfolk were deceived by his pro- 
fessions of repentance ; and Mary, trusting to his 
expressions of devotion to her interest, commanded 
her adherents to abstain from all hostilities. They 
reluctantly obeyed, and the regent congratulating 
himself on his own address and the credulity of his 
opponents, returned secure and unmolested to his 

On his arrival in Scotland Moray dropped the mask, 
and exerted himself with energy against his opponents. 
He held a convention of the nobility, clergy, and com- 
missaries of the burghs at Stirling; he procured an 
approbation of his conduct, and a ratification of his 
proceedings in England; and lastly he gave orders for 
a general muster of the force of the kingdom.* 

On the other hand, the Duke, Cassillis, and Lord 
Herries, as soon as they came home, assumed a bold 
tone ; issued a proclamation, in which the regent was 
branded as a usurper ; mustered their strength, forti- 
fied their houses, and showed a determination to put 
all to the arbitrement of the sword. But the rapidity 
with which Moray assembled his army disconcerted 
them. It was evident, that although willing to enter 
into terms, he was better prepared than his opponents 
to act upon the offensive ; and after a personal con- 
ference with the regent at Glasgow, (March thirteenth,) 
they concluded a treaty of peace.-f- It was agreed, 
that a convention of the nobility should be held upon 

* MS. Letter, State-paper Office, Moray to Cecil, 8th February, 1568-9. 
Ibid, same to same, 17tb February, 1568-9. Ibid, same to same, 25th Feb- 
ruary, 1568-9. Ibid. B.C., Moray to Sir John Forster, 15th March, 1568-9. 

t Diurnal of Occurrents, p. 141. MS. Letter, State-paper Office, 13th 
March, 1568-9. Heads of the communing between the Earl of Moray on 
the one part, and the Earl of Cassillis and others on the other part. 


the tenth of April for the settlement of the affairs of 
the country, and that in the mean season there should 
be a suspension of hostilities. Moray simply insisted 
that Chastelherault and his adherents should acknow- 
ledge the authority of the king. The Duke agreed to 
this, on condition that all who had been forfeited for 
their obedience to the queen, should be restored, that 
such measures should be taken for the maintenance of 
her honour and welfare as were consistent with the 
sovereignty of the king, and that a committee selected 
from the nobles on both sides should meet at Edinburgh 
to deliberate upon a general pacification. It embraced 
the regent himself, the Duke, and the Earls of Huntley, 
Argyle, Morton, Mar, Athole, Glencairn, and Lord 
Herries. For his part, Moray stipulated that these 
noblemen should repair to Edinburgh and return to 
their estates in security, whilst they agreed to disband 
their forces and surrender themselves or their eldest 
sons as a security for the performance of the treaty.* 
A temporary tranquillity being thus restored, the 
leaders of both parties repaired to Stirling, where the 
Archbishop of St Andrew's, the Earl of Cassillis, and 
Lord Herries, placed themselves in Moray's hands as 
hostages ; and the regent, in return, released the pri- 
soners taken at the battle of Langside. It was expected 
that he would next disband his force ; but, seizing this 
moment of leisure, he led them against the Border 
mafauders, who, from the long interruption of justice 
in these districts, were become formidable to both king- 
doms. His expedition was successful, and it was a 
politic stroke, for it afforded him a good excuse for 
keeping up his forces, and it taught them confidence 
in themselves and their leader. When he returned 

MS. Letter, State-paper Office, March 15, 1568-9. Moray to Sir J. Ferster 

1569. REGENCY OF MORAY. 227 

to the capital, it was with spirits animated by victory, 
and with a secret determination never to lay down his 
arms till he had compelled his enemies to submit to 
such terms as he was pleased to dictate. / 

The tenth of April, being the day for the convention 
of the nobles, now arrived; and, according to agreement, 
the Duke, Cassillis, Herries, and other nobles who com- 
posed the committee, (Huntley and Argyle excepted,) 
met at Edinburgh. Two points of much difficulty, 
and almost irreconcileable with each other, were to be 
settled the continuance of the king's government, and 
the restoration and return of the captive queen ; but 
Moray had no serious intention of entering into dis- 
cussion upon either. When, therefore, the counsellors 
were assembled, he rose, and haughtily handing a paper 
to the Duke of Chastelherault, desired him and his asso- 
ciates, before proceeding farther, to sign an acknowledg- 
ment of the king's authority. The Duke remonstrated : 
the demand, he said, was unjust and premature, as the 
regent well knew. The object of this conference, was 
to deliberate on the measures to be adopted towards 
their captive sovereign : let him propose such measures 
himself, or listen to him and his friends when they 
brought them forward. If both parties were agreed 
upon them, he and his adherents were ready to sub- 
scribe to the king's authority ; they had observed every 
article of the late treaty; they had trusted themselves 
in the regent's power; their hostages were in his hands ; 
their lives and their lands at his disposal ; but they had 
relied upon his honour, most solemnly pledged and 
signed, nor could they believe that he would disgrace 
himself by an act of fraud and tyranny. To this spirited 
remonstrance Moray did not vouchsafe an answer, but 
ordered his guards instantly to apprehend the Duke 


and Lord Herries. The last nobleman being the most 
formidable, was hurried a prisoner to the castle of 
Edinburgh without a moment's delay ; the Duke next 
morning shared the same fate. * 

This outrage was beheld with deep indignation by 
the country, and estranged from the regent some of his 
best friends ; but it intimidated his opponents, and 
rendered Argyle and Huntley more inclined to an 
accommodation. These noblemen wielded the whole 
power of the northern districts, and had refused to sign 
the pacification at Glasgow. So deep was their enmity 
to Moray, that they had accused him in a public paper, 
presented during the conferences at Westminster, of 
being accessory to the murder of the king ; and since 
that time they had left nothing undone to support the 
interests of their sovereign, and destroy the authority 
of the regent. But the late scenes in the capital had 
alarmed them ; they saw him supported by England; 
at the head of a large force ; his opponents in prison ; the 
southern part of the kingdom reduced to obedience ; and 
they deemed it prudent to enter into an accommodation. 
Argyle consented to acknowledge the king's authority, 
and was immediately received into favour. With Hunt- 
ley, who had acted more independently for the queen, 
and granted commissions in her name, the arrangement 
was more difficult. But, at last, all was settled in a 
meeting at St Andrew's, and the northern lord sub- 
scribed his adherence to the government, surrendered 
his artillery, and delivered hostages for his peaceable 
behaviour, (tenth May.)"f* To secure his advantage, 
the regent immediately led his army into the north, 

* Mel vil's Memoirs, p. 219. History of James the Sext, pp. 39, 40. MS. 
Letter, State-paper Office, Herries to Elizabeth, 5th July, 1569. 

t MS. Letter, State-paper Office, B.C., Lord Hunsdon to Cecil, May 19, 
1669, and Spottiswood, p. 229. 

1569. REGENCY OF MORAY. 229 

reduced the country, levied heavy fines on all who had 
risen in favour of the queen, compelled the clans to 
swear allegiance, and returned, enriched and confident, 
to hold a great convention of the nobility, which he 
had appointed to meet at Perth on the twenty-fifth of 

To explain the object of this assembly, we must look 
back for a moment, and recall to mind the intrigues 
which had taken place between Moray, Lethington, 
and the Duke of Norfolk, to bring about a marriage 
between this nobleman and the Scottish queen. The 
project had originated in the busy and politic brain of 
Lethington, it had been encouraged and furthered by 
the regent, and its success was ardently anticipated 
by the duke, who carried on a correspondence with 
Moray upon the subject, and trusted in the end to pro- 
cure the consent of his own sovereign. A secret of this 
kind, however, is difficult to keep in a court ; and some- 
thing coming to Elizabeth's ears, she broke forth with 
much passion, and attacked the duke, who saved him- 
self by his address. He would admit, he said, that 
proposals had been made to him on the subject by some 
noblemen. These he could not have prevented, but he 
had never seriously entertained them, and, indeed, ho 
was not likely to do so, as he loved to sleep upon a safe 
pillow.-J- His earnestness reassured Elizabeth; and 
Norfolk, believing that he had lulled all her suspicions, 
had the rashness and folly to continue his correspon- 
dence with Mary. 

After some time, the scheme assumed a definite form, 
and was secretly supported by a large party of the 
nobility in both countries. Leicester earnestly pro- 

* MS. Letter, State-paper Office, Moray to Cecil, Aberdeen, July 7, 1569. 
t Trial of the Duke of Norfolk, Jardine, vol. i. p. 162. 



moted it, the Earls of Arundel, Pembroke, Bedford, 
Shrewsbury, Northumberland, and Westmoreland, 
gave it their full concurrence. Sir Nicholas Throck- 
morton laboured warmly in the cause ; even the cau- 
tious Cecil, to whom it was early communicated, con- 
tributed his advice. * 

In Scotland the plan was managed by Lethington, 
the regent, and his secretary Wood ; whilst the Bishop 
of Ross, and the Lord Boyd, communicated with Mary, 
who corresponded with the duke, and professed her 
readiness to be divorced from Bothwell. Nothing, in 
short, was wanting, but the consent of Elizabeth, and 
the concurrence of the Scottish nobility. To conciliate 
and convince the English queen, Leicester proposed 
that Lethington should repair to England. To ensure 
the second, it was resolved that the matter should be 
brought before that convention of the whole nobility, 
which was to meet at Perth on Moray's return from 
the north. 

In the meantime, whilst these secret transactions 
were carefully concealed, the Bishop of Ross, who re- 
mained in England, carried on an open negotiation for 
his mistress's restoration. To this Elizabeth, with the 
desire of keeping a check over Moray, affected to listen; 
and Lord Boyd was despatched with some proposals 
on this subject, to be communicated first to Mary her- 
self, and afterwards, when she had given her consent, 
to be broken to the Scottish nobility. These articles, 
Camden affirms, were drawn up by Leicester.-f- They 
stipulated that the Scottish queen, on condition of being 
reinstated in the government of her kingdom, should 
enter into a perpetual league with England, establish 

* Lesley's Negotiations, Anderson, voL iii. pp. 51, 61, 62. Camden'i 
Elizabeth, Kennet, vol. ii. p. 420. 
f Camden's Elizabeth. Kennet, vol. ii. p. 419-420. 

1569. REGENCY OF MORAY. 231 

the Protestant religion, receive to favour her rebellious 
subjects, and give assurance to Elizabeth that neither 
she nor her issue should be molested by any claims 
upon the English throne. Another article was added 
on the marriage with Norfolk, but was carefully con- 
cealed from the English queen. It recommended this 
union, as the only measure which was likely to restore 
tranquillity to both kingdoms ; and, to enforce it more 
effectually, Leicester and his friends despatched a special 
messenger, Mr Candish, who accompanied Lord Boyd 
to Tutbury, and carried letters and costly presents to 
Mary.* To some of the conditions she immediately 
consented, on others she demurred and requested time 
to consult her foreign allies ; as to the projected mar- 
riage, her sorrowful experience, she said, inclined her 
to prefer a solitary life ; yet, if the remaining condi- 
tions were settled to her satisfaction, she was not indis- 
posed to Norfolk, provided Elizabeth were consulted, 
and her consent obtained, -f 

On receiving this favourable reply, Norfolk became 
impatient to complete his ambitious project. He courted 
popularity, kept open house, strengthened himself by 
every possible means, and communicated his design to 
the French and Spanish ambassadors, who, after con- 
sulting their courts, gave him their encouragement and 
support. Nor did he neglect the Scottish regent, with 
whom he kept up a close correspondence, and who as- 
sured him of his continued fidelity and devotion to his 
service. It may seem strange that Norfolk should have 
so long delayed to sound Elizabeth upon his great 
design, but Leicester, in whom he chiefly confided, 
strongly dissuaded him from any premature disclosure; 

* Lesley's Negotiations. Anderson, vol. iii. pp. 51,52. 
t Ibid. pp. 53, 54. 


and the deeper he and his confederates were engaged 
in their secret intrigues, the more they shrunk from 
the dreaded task of revealing them to a princess whose 
violence and severity held them in constant awe. 

Meanwhile, though kept in the dark as to the mar- 
riage, the English queen was urged to conclude an 
agreement for the restoration of Mary, on the ground 
of those articles which had been submitted to her by 
the Bishop of Ross ; and, after a conference with her 
privy-council, Lord Boyd was despatched upon this 
business into Scotland. * This nobleman carried with 
him letters to the regent from Elizabeth, Mary, the 
Duke of Norfolk, and Sir Nicholas Throckmorton ; and, 
meeting Moray at Elgin, on his return from his northern 
expedition, he immediately laid before him hisdespatches 
and instructions. -f- The letters of Elizabeth contained 
three propositions in Mary's behalf, and she intimated 
her desire thatoneorthe other of them should be adopted. 
She might be restored, she said, fully and absolutely 
to her royal estate ; or, secondly, she might be united 
in the government with her son, and retain the title of 
queen, whilst theadministration continued in the regent 
till the prince had attained the age of seventeen ; or, 
lastly, she might return to Scotland, as a private per- 
son, and be honourably maintained in quiet and retire- 
ment. In Mary's own letter, which was brought by 
Lord Boyd, she briefly intimated her desire that judges 
should be appointed to decide upon the lawfulness of 
her marriage with Bothwell ; and, should it be pro- 
nounced illegal, her request was, that sentence of nullity 
should be pronounced, so that she might be free to 
marry where she pleased. This request evidently pointed 
to the projected union with Norfolk, and the subject 

* Lesley's Negotiations, Anderson, vol. iii. pp. 54, 55. f Ibid. p. JO. 

1569. REGENCY OF MORAY. 233 

was insisted on in the letters of the duke himself and 
Sir N. Throckmorton. Norfolk, in addressing the 
regent, contented himself with warm professions of 
friendship, and assured him that, as to his marriage 
with the queen his sister, he never meant to recede 
from his promise, having proceeded so far that he could 
not go back without dishonour. He referred him to 
Lord Boyd, who was fully instructed by Mary and 
himself to reply to any doubts which he might entertain, 
and begged him to believe that he felt for him the affec- 
tion not only of a faithful friend, but a natural brother.* 

Throckmorton's letters were addressed both to Moray 
and to Lethington. To the regent he observed, that 
the time was come when he must give up all his con- 
scientious scruples and objections : the match was now 
supported by a party too powerful and too numerous 
to be resisted ; if he opposed it, his overthrow was 
inevitable ; if he promoted it, no man's friendship 
would be so highly prized, no man's estimation be 
greater or more popular. In his letter to Lethington, 
Throckmorton urged the necessity of his hastening to 
court for the purpose of breaking the affair to Elizabeth. 
Of her consent, he said, he need have no doubt. She 
was too wise a princess to risk the tranquillity of her 
government, her own security, and the happiness of 
her people, for the gratification of her own fancy, or the 
passions of any inconsiderate individual ; and he con- 
cluded by assuring him, that the wisest, noblest, and 
mightiest persons in England were all engaged upon 
their side. 

On receiving thes"e letters, the regent, as we have 
seen, summoned a convention of the nobility at Perth, 
on the twenty-fifth of July ; an assembly of the Church 

* Ilaynes, p. 520. 


was held at the same time in the capital, and commis- 
sioners deputed from it to the meeting of the nobles. 
It was impossible so acute a person as Moray should 
fail to perceive that the queen's restoration and the 
proposed marriage, if carried into effect, must be a death- 
blow to his power ; and, whilst he affected to fulfil his 
engagements to the duke with scrupulous fidelity, he 
secretly persuaded his partisans to oppose the match 
with their utmost influence.* 

When Boyd delivered his letters at the convention, 
containing Elizabeth's three proposals, the effect of this 
disingenuous dealing was perceived : Mary's full re- 
storation to her dignity was refused ; her association 
with the young king in the government was also de- 
clared dangerous and impossible; but the third scheme 
for her restoration to liberty, and being reduced to a 
private condition within her dominions, appeared to 
them more likely to succeed. The assembly, however, 
arrived at'no definite resolution ; and when the queen's 
letter, regarding a divorce from Bothwell, w r as laid 
before them, a violent debate arose between Lething- 
ton and his friends, who secretly supported the intended 
marriage with Norfolk, and Makgill the clerk-register, 
with the leaders of the Presbyterian party. It was 
argued by the secretary, between whom and Moray 
there had recently been great coldness, that the divorce 
might be concluded without injury or disrespect either 
to the king or the church. To this Makgill answered, 
that Mary's own letters confuted him, and insulted 
their sovereign. The king was their only head and 
master, yet she still addressed them as her subjects, 
and subscribed herself their queen. The Bishop of 

* Lesley's Negotiations, Anderson, vol. iii. p. 71, MS. State-paper Office. 
Names of the noblemen, &c., assembled at Perth, 28th July, 1569. 

1569. REGENCY OF MORAY. 235 

St Andrew s was a heretic, a member cut off from the 
true vine, an obstinate rebel and papist, yet she wrote 
to him as the head of the Church. To vouchsafe an 
answer to such an application, would be, in some mea- 
sure, to admit its justice ; to grant it, nothing less 
than treason and blasphemy. It was in vain that 
Lethington attempted a reply, and sarcastically insi- 
nuated that they who were so recently anxious for the 
queen's separation from Bothwell, had now altered their 
tone with unaccountable versatility. He was inter- 
rupted by Richardson the treasurer, who started from 
his seat, calling the assembly to witness that the secre- 
tary had argued against the king's authority, and pro- 
tested that any who dared to support him should be 
accounted traitors and dealt with accordingly. This 
appeal finished the controversy, and Mary's proposal 
for a divorce was indignantly rejected.* The assembly 
then broke up with mutual expressions of contempt 
and defiance, the queen's deliverance appearing still 
more distant than before. 

But if the affairs of this unfortunate princess were 
thus unsuccessful in her own dominions, an event which 
now happened in England overwhelmed her with fresh 
affliction. The renewed intrigues of the Duke of Nor- 
folk were discovered, and Elizabeth's suspicions being 
once awakened, she never rested till, by the assistance 
of Cecil, her indefatigable and vigilant minister, the 
whole plot was unravelled.^* These discoveries were 
made when the duke scarcely suspected it, till he was 
awakened from his security by some dark speeches of 
the queen, who taunted him with his high hopes, and 
bade him beware on what pillow he leant his head. J 

* MS. Letter, State-paper Office, Lord Hunsdon to Cecil, Berwick, 5th 
August, 1569. History of James the Sext, p. 41. 

t Maitland, vol. ii. p. 1090. J Spottiswood, p. 231. 


But this moderate tone of reprehension was short-lived, 
for on ascertaining the extent to which the plot had 
been carried under her own eye, by her principal nobi- 
lity, and without a pretence of soliciting her consent, 
Elizabeth's fury was ungovernable. Leicester and his 
associates hastened to propitiate her resentment by a 
full discovery, and basely purchased their own security 
with the betrayal of Norfolk. His example was fol- 
lowed by Moray, who with equal meanness, on the first 
challenge of the English queen, delivered up the whole 
of his secret correspondence with Norfolk, and excused 
himself by declaring that a fear of assassination had 
compelled him to join a conspiracy of which he secretly 
disapproved.* He pleaded also, and with some reason, 
that Elizabeth's own conduct was enough to mitigate 
her resentment. If she had adopted a decided part 
against Mary, they would have known how to receive 
Norfolk's proposals ; but her vacillating policy, and 
the favour with which the captive queen was treated, 
created, he said, an equal uncertainty in his mind, and 
that of his supporters.^ 

As for the unfortunate duke himself, he appears to 
have acted with that indecision which, in matters of 
this kind, and with such an adversary as Elizabeth, 
is commonly fatal. His friends admonished him to 
throw off the mask and take the field at once, and had 
he followed their advice his popularity was so great 
that the consequences might have been serious ; but 
he rejected their advice, and in an apology addressed 
to the queen, assured her that it had been his fixed 
resolution throughout the whole course of the negotia- 

* MS. Letter, State-paper Office, Moray to Cecil. Hawick, 22d October, 
1569, Trial of the Duke of Norfolk, in Jardine, vol. i. p. 157-160. 

+ MS. Letter, State-paper Office, Moray to Cecil, Dumfries, 29th October, 

1569. REGENCY OF MORAY. 237 

tions never to marry the Queen of Scots without the 
consent of his sovereign. His guilt lay in the delay, 
but his allegiance was untainted, and his devotion to 
her service as entire as it had always been. This letter 
was sent from Kenninghall, his seat in Norfolk, to 
which he had precipitately retired on his first suspicion 
of a discovery. Elizabeth's reply was an immediate 
summons to the court. The duke did not venture to obey 
without first consulting Cecil. The secretary assured 
him that he was safe. He complied, and was instantly 
arrested and lodged in the Tower.* 

The discovery was followed by a more rigorous con- 
finement of the Scottish queen, who was now removed 
from Winkfield to Tutbury; her repositories were 
ransacked for letters ; and she was committed to the 
custody of the Earl of Huntingdon, a nobleman par- 
ticularly obnoxious to her, who was associated in this 
charge with Shrewsbury her former keeper.^ Her 
most trusty domestics were dismissed, the number of 
her attendants diminished, her letters intercepted and 
conveyed to the Queen of England, and all her actions 
so rigorously watched, that it became impossible for her 
to communicate even in the most common affairs with 
her friends. J 

Nothing can more strongly mark the sudden and 
extraordinary changes of these times than an event 
which soon after occurred in Scotland the arraign- 
ment of Lethington. The regent, since the discovery 
of his intrigues with Norfolk, had fallen into suspicion 
with Elizabeth. His secretary Wood, also, who had 
been intrusted with his negotiations at the English 
court, by his duplicity and false dealing had incurred 

* Haynes, pp. 528, 533. + Ibid. p. 526-527. 

J Lesley's Negotiations, Anderson, vol. iii. p. 78. 


her resentment ; and although Moray hastened to 
appease her, by a delivery of the letters which convicted 
the duke, she was aware that Lethington still intrigued 
upon the subject, and suspected that the regent, from 
their long habits of intimacy, might be induced to 
favour his designs. Her fears, indeed, on this point 
proved to be unfounded, for Moray, as we learn from 
Melvil, had recently forsaken his old friends and suf- 
fered himself to be surrounded by a circle of base and 
needy parasites. But of this estrangement Elizabeth 
was ignorant. She therefore directed Cecil to keep a 
vigilant eye upon the operations of the regent ; Lord 
Hunsdon, the governor of Berwick, received the same 
instructions ; the proceedings of the convention at 
Perth and the subsequent conduct of the Scottish go- 
vernor were severely criticised; and Moray found to his 
mortification, that whilst he had incurred extreme 
odium by the betrayal of Norfolk, he was himself an 
object of suspicion. 

Whilst Elizabeth, however, only suspected Moray, 
she was incensed to the highest degree against Leth- 
ington, whom she now discovered to be the originator of 
the marriage plot and the greatest partisan of Norfolk, 
This restless and indefatigable politician, since his 
unsuccessful efforts in the convention at Perth, had 
sought security in Athole, where he was surrounded 
by his friends, and continued to incite them to renew 
their exertions in favour of the Scottish queen ; and 
Moray, who like other victims of ambition, had become 
sufficiently unscrupulous in the means which he adopted 
to consolidate his power, resolved to recommend him- 
self to Elizabeth by the ruin of his former associate. 

Under the pretence of requiring his immediate as- 
sistance at Stirling, in the business of the government, 

1569. REGENCY OF MORAY. 239 

he requested the secretary to leave his retreat in Athole 
and return to court. Suspicious of some intrigue, he 
obeyed with reluctance, and scarce had he taken his 
seat at Council, which was attended by Moray, Mar, 
Morton, Athole, and Semple, when word was brought 
that Crawford, a gentleman from the Earl of Lennox, 
requested audience on business of moment. He was 
admitted, and falling down on his knees, demanded 
justice to be done on William Maitland of Lethington, 
and Sir James Balfour, as the murderers of their 
sovereign.* Amongst the councillors, the only one 
who heard this sudden accusation unmoved was the 
secretary himself. With a smile of calm contempt he 
observed, that his long-continued services might have 
exempted him from so foul and false a charge, preferred, 
too, by so mean a person^ but he was ready to find 
surety to stand his trial on any day which was ap- 
pointed, and he had no fears for the verdict. Crawford, 
however, still kneeling, warmly remonstrated against 
his being left at large. He, a gentleman, and a ser- 
vant of the late king, -f- had publicly arraigned that 
guilty man of treason ; he was ready to prosecute and 
adduce his proofs, and under such circumstances he 
appealed to the council whether bail could possibly be 
accepted. After a violent debate it was determined, 
that the secretary should be committed ; and Moray, 
who secretly congratulated himself on the issue of his 
intrigue, carried him to the capital and confined him 
in the house of Forrester one of his own dependants. 
At the same time a party of horse were despatched to 
Fife, who surrounded Balfour's residence at Monimail, 

* MS. Letter, State-paper Office, B.C., Lord Hunsdon to Cecil, New- 
castle, September 7th, 1569. Diurnal of Occurrents, pp. 147, 148. 
t Supra, p. 65. 


and brought him and his brother George prisoners to 

The arrest of Lethington increased the unpopularity 
of the regent ; but his victim had scarcely fallen into 
his hands ere he was again torn from him ; for the 
secretary's old associate Grange, dreading some new 
treachery of Moray and Morton, now closely leagued 
together, attacked the house in which he was confined, 
and, by a mixture of stratagem and courage,^ carried 
him off in triumph to the castle. This rescue deeply 
mortified Moray, who believed that in securing Leth- 
ington he was not only performing an acceptable service 
to Elizabeth, but removing the most formidable oppo- 
nent of his own government. He dissembled his 
indignation, however; and as the secretary still declared 
his readiness to answer the accusation, contented him- 
self with appointing the twenty-second of November 
as the day of trial. 

Meanwhile England became disturbed by a rebellion 
in the northern counties, which at first assumed a for- 
midable appearance. Its leaders were the Earls of 
Northumberland and Westmoreland, its object no 
less than the restoration of the Roman Catholic faith, 
the destruction of the Protestant constitution of that 
country, and the delivery of the Scottish queen. So 
imminent did the danger at first appear, that Elizabeth 
issued an order under the great seal for Mary's execu- 
tion, which seems only to have been arrested by the 
sudden and total failure of the insurrection.! It arose 

* MS. Letter, State-paper Office, Moray to Cecil, Stirling, September 
5th, 1569. Also Lord Hunsdon to Cecil, Alnwick September 8th, 1569. 
Diurnal of Occurrents, p. 1 47-8. 

)[ Melvil's Memoirs, p. 218. It is stated by Robert Melvil, that Grange, 
to forward his purpose, forged an order under the handwriting of the regent. 
MS. Declaration of Robert Melvil in the Hopetoun Papers. 

See Proofs and Illustrations, No. IX. Letter of Leicester to Cecil, com- 
municated by Mr Bruce. 

1569. REGENCY OF MORAY. 241 

from the intrigues of the Duke of Norfolk and the 
hopes excited amongst the English Catholics by the 
anticipated restoration of Mary. Amongst Norfolk's 
most powerful friends were the Earls of Northumber- 
land and Westmoreland, two peers of ancient lineage, 
powerful connexions, and steady attachment to the 
Church of Rome. They commanded the strength of 
the northern counties ; and had Norfolk chosen to have 
bid defiance to Elizabeth, they were ready to have 
risen in arms in his defence. His submission and 
imprisonment broke, but did not put an end to, their 
intrigues ; and, irritated at his desertion, they sought 
the support of the king of Spain, and secured the ser- 
vices of the Duke of Alva and the Bishop of Ross. 

This prelate, a man of great talents and restless 
intrigue, was the ambassador and confidential minister 
of the Scottish queen, and by his secret negotiations 
his mistress, who in her first imprisonment at Bolton 
had kept up a correspondence with Northumberland, * 
became involved in these new commotions. Alva 
promised to assist the two earls with a large body of 
men, and sent over the Marquis Vitelli, one of his best 
officers, under the pretence of a mission to Elizabeth, 
but really to forward the rebellion. Before, however, 
these preparations were completed, Elizabeth obtained 
a knowledge of the plot, and instantly summoned both 
to court. Whilst they hesitated, intelligence arrived 
that Sussex, the queen's lieutenant in the north, had 
^ received orders to arrest them, and scarce was this 
^nessage delivered when Northumberland's castle was 
beset by a body of horse. He escaped with difficulty, 
joined the Earl of Westmoreland, and, as the only 
chance now left them, they dropped the mask and 

* Haynes, p. 594-595. 


broke into rebellion. An enterprise thus prematurely 
forced on, could scarcely be successful. In their pro- 
clamation the two earls professed a devoted attach- 
ment to the queen's person, and declared their only 
object to be the restoration of the faith of their fathers, 
the dismissal of false councillors, and the liberation of 
Norfolk. They had confidently looked to being joined 
by the large body of the English Roman Catholics all 
over the country, but their utmost strength never 
amounted to six thousand men, and these soon melted 
away into a more insignificant force. Sir John Forster, 
the Warden of the Middle Marches, made himself 
master of Northumberland's castles of Alnwick and 
Warkworth, and by taking possession of the principal 
passes, effectually cut off all communication between the 
earl and his vassals in those parts. Thence marching 
to Newcastle, and being joined by Sir. Henry Percy, 
Northumberland's brother, he speedily reduced the 
rebels in the northern parts of Durham, so that when 
Sussex took the field with seven thousand men, the 
rebellion was already expiring.* 

The two rebel earls, with a force which diminished 
every hour, retired first upon Hexham, and afterwards 
fell back upon Naworth castle, in Cumberland. Here 
they suddenly dispersed their little army, and fled with 
a handful of horse into Scotland. Westmoreland took 
refuge with the Lairds of Buccleugh and Fernyhirst, 
two of the most powerful chiefs in those parts ; whilst 
Northumberland, in company with black Ormiston, a 
traitor who was present at the king's murder, the Laird's 
Jock, and other Border banditti, threw himself into 
the Harlaw, a stronghold of the Armstrongs.^ These 

* Lingard, vol. viii. pp. 52, 58. Camden, in Kennet, vol. ii. pp. 421 , 422. 

\- Copy of the time, State-paper Office, Instructions for Mr George Gary. 

Signed by Sussex, Hunsdon, and Sadler, 22d December, 1569. Also MS. 

1569. REGENCY OF MORAY. 243 

events passed with so much rapidity, that Moray, who, 
on the first intelligence of the insurrection, had pro- 
fessed his readiness to assist Elizabeth with the whole 
forces of the realm, was scarcely able to muster his 
strength before he heard that assistance was unneces- 

From such commotions in England, so intimately 
connected with the fortunes of the captive queen, we 
must turn to the condition of her partisans in her own 
country. Of these the great leaders were Lethington 
and Grange. Grange was in possession of the castle 
of Edinburgh, within which now lay his friend Leth- 
ington, Lord Herries, the Archbishop of St Andrew's, 
and others who supported the cause of Mary, professing, 
at the same time their attachment to their prince, and 
an earnest desire for the pacification of the country. 

Opposed to them was the regent, supported by Eng- 
land and the party of the Kirk, who kept up a constant 
correspondence with Cecil, Elizabeth's minister, and 
whose measures were entirely dictated and overruled 
by English influence. 

Since his accession to the chief power in the state, 
but more especially since the termination of the con- 
ferences at Westminster, Moray's popularity had been 
on the decline. Men blamed his conduct to his sove- 
reign, his treachery to his associates, his haughtiness 
to his own countrymen, his humility and subserviency 
to a foreign power, as England was then considered. 
They accused him of being surrounded by troops of 
low and needy flatterers, who prospered upon the ruin 

Letter, State-paper Office, copy of the time, Moray to Sussex. Peebles, 22d 
December, 1569! 

* For a more detailed and interesting account of this insurrection in 1569, 
the reader is referred to a valuable -work recently published by my respected 
friend Sir Cuthbert Sharpe, entitled, Memorials of the Rebellion of 15C9. 
Nichols : London, 1840. 


of the ancient nobility, and persuade* him to betray 
his former friends, by whose efforts he had been placed 
in the regency. They declared, and with some truth, 
that having once sold himself to England, he had be- 
come insensible to every suggestion of honour and good 
faith. Hence his betrayal of Norfolk, his imprison- 
ment of Herries and the Duke of Chastelherault, his 
treacherous accusation of Lethington, his threatened 
severity to Northumberland all this weighed strongly 
against him; and those who had been most willing to 
anticipate the happiest results from his administration, 
were now ready to acknowledge their mortification and 
disappointment.* Yet, although thus fallen in public 
estimation, and surrounded by enemies, Moray, natu- 
rally daring and intrepid, showed no symptoms of 
decreasing energy ; and as the time approached when 
Lethington was to stand his trial for the murder of 
the king, he appeared fully determined to insist on the 

When the day arrived, however, a scene presented 
itself very different from the pacific solemnities of 
public justice ; Lord Home, at an early hour, occupied 
the city with a large body of horse. He was speedily 
followed by multitudes of the secretary's friends, all 
armed and surrounded by their retainers ; and as every 
hour was increasing the concourse, Morton, a principal 
accuser of Lethington, refused to risk his person within 
the city. Amidst this warlike concourse, Clement 
Little, an able advocate of the time, entered where 
the council had assembled, and protested, that, as his 
client, the secretary, was ready to stand his trial, and 
no prosecutor had appeared, he was entitled to a ver- 
dict of acquittal. Moray, however, who had taken care 

* Melvil's Memoirs, p. 220. 

1569. REGENCY OF MORAY. 245 

to be strongly guarded, rose up, and declared, that as 
long as the town was occupied by armed troops, no 
trial should take place, and no verdict be pronounced. 
He had been placed, he said, by their unsolicited suf- 
frages, in the first office in the state; he had given his 
solemn oath to administer justice ; they had promised 
to obey the king, and assist him in maintaining the 
law. What, then, meant this armed assembly? Was 
it thus they fulfilled their promise ? or did they think 
to intimidate him into their opinion ? That, at least, 
he should show them was a vain expectation; and 
therefore he now prorogued the trial till quiet was 
restored, and they were prepared, having laid aside 
their arms, to resume the demeanour of peaceable 
subjects. Such was Moray's speech, as reported by 
himself in a letter written next day to Cecil ; but we 
learn, from the same source, that the regent was daily 
expecting a communication from Elizabeth, containing 
her instructions how to conduct himself in Lethington's 
case, and that he delayed the trial to give time for 
their arrival : an additional proof of his entire subser- 
viency to England.* 

He concluded the same letter by an allusion to the 
recent rebellion in the north : " I have offered," said 
he, " already to Mr Marshal of Berwick, (he meant 
Sir William Drury,) to take such part in her highness' 
cause and quarrel with the whole power of this realm, 
that will do for me, as he shall advertise me ; * * * 
and since the matter not only touches her highness 1 
obedience, but that we may see our own destruction 
compassed, who are professors of the Gospel, let not 

* MS. Letter, State-paper Office, Moray to Cecil, Edinburgh, 22d Nov. 
1569, endorsed in Cecil's hand, " Earl of Murray to me concerning the day of 
law for Lydington." 



time drive, but with speed let us understand her 
majesty's mind."* 

Moray followed up this offer by summoning the 
whole force of the kingdom to meet him in arms at 
Peebles on the twentieth December, for the defence of 
their native country, the preservation of their wives 
and children, and the liberty of the true religion.-f- He 
had received early intelligence from Sussex of the flight 
of the rebel earls into Scotland, and immediately de- 
spatched messengers to the seaports to keep a strict 
look-out, lest any should take shipping and escape. 
But his chief reliance lay in his own activity; and march- 
ing rapidly towards Hawick, he beset the Harlaw, a 
tower in which Northumberland had found shelter from 
Hecky, or Hector Armstrong, a Border thief. This 
villain, bribed by the regent's gold, sold the English 
earl to Moray, who carried him to Edinburgh, and 
soon after imprisoned him in Lochleven. { 

Although this new act of severity and corruption 
increased the regent's unpopularity in Scotland, it 
being suspected that he meant to give up his captive 
to Elizabeth, his zeal and activity completely restored 
him to the good opinion of this princess, and he had 
the satisfaction to learn, that she had warmly com- 
mended him to his ambassador the Abbot of Dunferm- 
line. This emboldened him to make a proposal on 
which he had long meditated, and for which the English 
queen was by no means prepared. It was no less than 
that she should surrender Mary into his hands to be 

* MS. Letter, State-paper Office, Moray to Cecil, Edinburgh, 22d Novem- 
ber, 1569. 

t MS. State-paper Office, copy, the Regent's Proclamation, Edinburgh, 
18th December, 1569. 

J Diurnal of Occurrents, p. 154. Lesley's Negotiations, p. 83. Anderson, 
vol. iii. Hence a Border proverb, " To take Hecky's cloak," to betray a 
friend. Percy's Reliques, vol. i. p. 3. song iv. 

1569. REGENCY OF MORAY. 247 

kept safely in Scotland, a solemn promise being given 
by him, " that she should live her natural life, without 
any sinister means taken to shorten the same."* It 
was added that a maintenance suitable to her high 
rank should be provided for her ; and the arguments 
addressed to Elizabeth upon the subject, in a paper 
intrusted to Nicholas Elphinston, who was sent with 
the request to the English court, were drawn up with 
no little art and ability. After an enumeration of the 
late miseries and commotions in England, it stated, 
that "as Mary was notoriously the ground and fountain 
from whom all these tumults, practices, and daily dan- 
gers did flow," and as her remaining within the realm 
of England undoubtedly gave her every opportunity 
to continue them, there was no more certain means to 
provide a remedy, and bring quiet to both countries, 
than to bring her back into Scotland, thus removing 
her to a greater distance from foreign realms, and daily 
intelligence with their princes or their ambassadors."^ 
In this petition Moray was joined by Morton, Mar, 
Glencairn, Lords Lindsay, Buthven, and Semple, with 
the Masters of Marshal and Montrose. At the same 
time Knox addressed a letter to Cecil. He described 
himself as writing with one foot in the grave, alluded 
to the late rebellion, and recommended him to strike 
at the root, meaning Mary, if he would prevent the 
branches from budding again. It appears to me that 
the expressions of this great Reformer, whose stern 
spirit was little softened by age, go as far as to urge 

* Copy of the " Instrument," MS. State-paper Office, but without date. 
On the back are these names in Cecil's hand, 





f MS. Copy, Ibid, ut supra. 

248 HISTORY OF SCOTLAND. 1569-70. 

the absolute necessity of putting Mary to death, but 
his words are somewhat dark and enigmatical. The 
letter, which is wholly in his own hand, is too remark- 
able to be omitted. 

" Benefits of God's hands received, crave that men 
be thankful, and danger known would be avoided. If 
ye strike not at the root, the branches that appear to 
be broken will bud again, and that more quickly than 
men can believe, with greater force than we would 
wish. Turn your een* unto your God : forget yourself 
and yours, when consultation is to be had in matters 
of such weight as presently ly upon you. Albeit I have 
been fremedlyf* handled, yet was I never enemy to the 
quietness of England. God grant you wisdom. In 
haste, of | Edinburgh, the second of Janur. Yours 
to command in God, 

" John Knox, with his one foot in the grave. 

" Mo || days than one would not suffice to express 
what I think." 

Moray despatched Elphinston on the second of Janu- 
ary, and as Knox's letter was dated on the same day, 
and related to the same subject, it is probable he carried 
it w r ith him. IT The envoy, who was in great confidence 
with the regent, and a man of talent, received full in- 
structions for his secret mission, which fortunately have 
been preserved. He was directed to impress upon Eliza- 
beth, in the strongest manner, the difficulties with which 
Moray was surrounded; the daily increasing power of 
his and her enemies, who supported the cause of the 
captive queen both in England and Scotland ; the per- 

* Eyes. t Strangely. At. 

MS. Letter, State-paper Office, John Knox to Cecil, Edinburgh, 2d 
January, 1569-70. Endorsed by Cecil's clerk, " Mr Knox to my Mr." 
H More. 
*, MS. Letter, State-paper Office, Moray to Cecil, January 2, 1569-70. 

1569-70. REGENCY OF MORAY. 249 

petual tumults and intrigues of the Spanish faction of 
the Catholics in England, and their brethren of the 
same faith in Scotland; their intercourse with Philip of 
Spain and the Pope, who were animating them at that 
very moment to new exertions ; the succours hourly 
looked for from France ; and the utter impossibility 
of the regent keeping up the struggle against his op- 
ponents, if Mary was permitted to remain in England, 
and Elizabeth did not come forward with more prompt 
and effectual assistance. 

It was necessary, he said, to prevent the ruin of the 
cause, that the Queen of England and his master should 
distinctly understand each other. She had lately urged 
him to deliver up her rebel the Earl of Northumber- 
land, to pay the penalty of a traitor. It was a hard 
request, and against every feeling of honour and hu- 
manity, to surrender a banished man to slaughter ; but 
he was ready to consent, if, in exchange, the Queen of 
Scots were committed into his hands, and if, at the 
same time, Elizabeth would support the cause of his 
young sovereign, and the interests of true religion, by 
an immediate advance of money, and a seasonable pre- 
sent of arms and ammunition.* If this were agreed 
to, then he was ready to continue his efforts for the 
maintenance of the government in Scotland against the 
machinations of their enemies ; he would not only pre- 
serve her amity, but "would serve her majesty in Eng- 
land, as they are accustomed to do their native princes 
in Scotland, and out of England, upon reasonable 
wages." If she would not consent to this, then he 
must forbear any longer to venture his life as he had 
done, and it would be well for her to consider what 

* MS. State-paper Office, a Note of the principal matters in Nicholas 
Elphinston's Instructions. Wholly in Cecil's hand, January 19, 1569-70. 

250 HISTORY OF SCOTLAND. 1569-70. 

dangers might ensue to both the realms, by the increase 
of the factions which favoured papistry and the Queen 
of Scots' title. Above all he entreated her to remem- 
ber, (alluding, as it appears to me, to the subject of 
Knox's letter,) that the heads of all these troubles 
were at her commandment ; that this late rebellion was 
not now ended, but had more dangerous branches, for 
which, if she did not provide a remedy, the fault must 
lie upon herself.* 

These secret negotiations were detected by the vigi- 
lance of the Bishop of Ross, and he instantly presented 
a protest to the Queen of England against a proposi- 
tion, which, if agreed to, was, he said, equivalent to 
signing Mary's death-warrant. He solicited also the 
ambassadors of France and Spain to remonstrate against 
it, and La Motte Fenelon addressed an earnest letter 
to the queen-mother upon the subject. -f- Some little 
time, too, was gained by the refusal of the Scottish 
nobles to deliver up Northumberland, and Elizabeth 
had despatched Sir Henry Gates and the Marshal of 
Berwick with a message to the regent, when an appall- 
ing event suddenly interrupted the treaty. This was 
the murder of Moray himself in the town of Linlithgow, 
by James Hamilton of Bothwellhaugh. 

The assassination is to be chiefly traced to the in- 
fluence of private revenge ; but there is no doubt also, 
that the author of the deed was the tool of a faction 
which had long determined on Moray's destruction. 
He was a gentleman of good family, had been made 
prisoner at Langside, and with others was condemned 

* MS. State-paper Office, a Note of the principal matters in Nicholas 
Elphinston's Instructions, January 19, 1569-/0. 

f Lesley's Negotiations, p. 84. Anderson, voL iii. Also, Depeches ]D 
la Motte Fenelon, vol. ii. pp. 389, 390. 

1569-70. REGENCY OF MORAY. 251 

to death ; but the regent had spared his life, and been 
satisfied with the forfeiture of his estate. 

His wife was heiress of Woodhouselee, a small pro- 
perty on the river Esk, to which she had retreated 
under the mistaken idea that it would be exempted 
from the sentence of outlawry, which affected her hus- 
band's estate of Bothwellhaugh. But Bellenden the 
justice-^elerk, a favourite of Moray's, who had obtained 
a grant of the escheat,* violently occupied the house 
and barbarously turned its mistress, during a bitterly 
cold night, and almost in a state of nakedness, into the 
woods, where she was found in the morning furiously 
mad, and insensible to the injury which had been in- 
flicted on her. If ever revenge could meet with sym- 
pathy, it would be in so atrocious a case as this ; and 
from that moment Bothwellhaugh resolved upon 
Moray's death, accusing him as the chief author of 
the calamity. It is affirmed by Calderwood, that he 
had twice failed in his sanguinary purpose, when the 
Hamiltons, who had long hated the regent, encouraged 
him to make a third attempt, which proved successful.-}* 

Nothing could be more deliberate than the manner 
in which he proceeded. Moray, who was at Stirling, 
intended to pass through Linlithgow, on his way to 
Edinburgh; In this town, and in the High Street, 
through which the cavalcade generally passed, was a 
house belonging to the archbishop his uncle. Here he 
took his station in a small room or wooden gallery, 
which commanded a full view of the street. To prevent 
his heavy footsteps being heard, for he was booted and 
spurred, he placed a feather bed on the floor; to secure 
against any chance observation of his shadow, which, 

* * The forfeited property. 

f MS. Calderwood, Ayscough, 4735, pp. 746, 747. 

252 HISTORY OF SCOTLAND. 1569-70. 

had the sun broke out, might have caught the eye, he 
hung up a black cloth on the opposite wall ; and, having 
barricaded the door in the front, he had a swift horse 
ready saddled in the stable at the back. Even here his 
preparations did not stop, for, observing that the gate in 
the wall which enclosed the garden was too low to admit 
a man on horseback, he removed the lintel stone, and 
returning to his chamber, cut in the wooden panel, im- 
mediately below the lattice window where he watched, 
a hole just sufficient to admit the barrel of his caliver.* 
Having taken these precautions he loaded the piece 
with four bullets and calmly awaited his victim. 

The regent had received repeated warnings of his 
danger ; and, on the morning of the murder, John 
Hume, an attached follower, implored him not to ride 
through the principal street, but pass round by the 
back of the town, promising to bring him to the very 
spot where they might seize the villain who lay in wait 
for him.-f- He agreed to take his advice, but the crowd 
of the common people was so great, that it became im- 
possible for him to alter his course. The same cause 
compelled him to ride at a slow pace, so that the as- 
sassin had time to take a deliberate aim ; and as he passed 
the fatal house, he shot him right through the lower 
part of the body : the bullet entering above the belt of 
his doublet, came out near the hipbone, and killed the 
horse of Arthur Douglas, who rode close beside him.* 
The very suddenness and success of this atrocious" action 
produced a horror and confusion which favoured the 
murderer's escape ; and, mounting his horse with the 

* History of King James the Sext, p. 46. 

f MS. Letter, State-paper Office, B.C., Hunsdon to Cecil, Berwick, 26th 
January, 1569-70. 

MS. Letter, State-paper Office, B.C., Hunsdon to Cecil, Berwick, 24th 
January, 1569-70 Also, Ibid, same to same, 26th January, 1569-70. 

1569-70. REGENCY OF MORAY. 253 

weapon of his revenge still warm in his grasp, he waa 
already many miles from the spot; whilst the people, 
infuriated at the sight of their bleeding governor, were 
in vain attempting to break open the door of the lodg- 
ing from which the shot proceeded. A few, however, 
caught a sight of him as he fled, and, giving chase, 
observed that he took the road to Hamilton.* Here 
he was received in triumph by the Archbishop of St 
Andrew's, the Lord Arbroath, of whom Bothwellhaugh 
was a retainer, and the whole faction of the Hamiltons. 
They instantly assembled in arms, declared Scotland 
once more free from the thraldom of an ambitious tyrant, 
who had been cut off at the very moment when he was 
plotting against the life of his sovereign.; and resolved 
instantly to proceed to Edinburgh to join with Grange, 
liberate their chief the Duke of Chastelherault, and 
follow up the advantage they had won.^f- 

All these events took place with a startling rapidity, 
of which the slow progress of written description can 
convey but a faint idea: in the meantime the unhappy 
regent, though bleeding profusely, had strength enough 
to walk to the palace, where at first the surgeons gave 
hopes of his recovery. Mortal symptoms, however, 
soon appeared, and when made acquainted with them, 
he received the information with his usual calm de- 
meanour. When his friends bitterly lamented his fate, 
remarking that he might long since have taken the 
miscreant's life, and observing that his clemency had 
been his rain, Moray mildly answered, that they would 
never make him repent of any good he had done in his 
life ; and after faintly, but affectionately, commending 

* MS. Letter, State-paper Office, B.C., Copy endorsed by Hunsdon him- 
self. Hunsdon to Elizabeth, Berwick, 30th January, 1569-70. 

{ MS. State-paper Office, Information anent the punishment of the 
Regent's murder. 

254 HISTORY OF SCOTLAND. 1569-70. 

the charge of the young prince to such of the nohility 
as were present, he died tranquilly a little before mid- 

I will not attempt any laboured character of this 
extraordinary man, who, coming into the possession of 
almost uncontrolled power, as the leader of the reformed 
party, when he was little more than a youth, was cut 
off in the midst of his greatness before he was forty 
years old.f Living in those wretched times, when the 
country was torn by two parties which mortally hated 
each other, he has come down to us so disfigured by 
the prejudices of his contemporaries that it is difficult 
to discern his true features. As to his personal intre- 
pidity, his talents for state affairs, his military capacity, 
and the general purity of his private life, in a corrupt 
age and court, there can be no difference of opinion. It 
has been recorded of him, that he ordered himself and 
his family in such sort, that it did more resemble a 
church than a court ; J and it is but fair to conclude 
that this proceeded from his deep feelings of religion, 
and a steady attachment to a reformation, which he 
believed to be founded on the Word of God. But, on 
the other hand, there are some facts, especially such 
as occurred during the latter part of his career, which 
throw suspicion upon his motives, and weigh heavily 
against him. He consented to the murder of Riccio : 
to compass his own return to power, he unscrupulously 
leagued himself with men whom he knew to be the 
murderers of the king ; used their evidence to convict 
his sovereign ; and refused to turn against them till 
they began to threaten his power, and declined to act 
as the tools of his ambition. If we regard private faith 

* Spottiirwood, p. 233. t- He -was bom in 1530, and slain in 1569-70. 
J Spottiswood, p. 233. 

1569-70. REGENCY OF MORAY. 255 

and honour, how can we defend his betrayal of Norfolk, 
and his consent to deliver up Northumberland ? If we 
look to love of country, a principle now, perhaps, too 
lightly esteemed, but inseparable from all true great- 
ness, what are we to think of his last ignominious offers 
to Elizabeth? If we go higher still, and seek for that 
love which is the only test of religious truth, how diffi- 
cult is it to think that it could have a place in his heart, 
whose last transaction went to aggravate the imprison- 
ment, if not to recommend the death, of a miserable 
princess, his own sister and his sovereign. 

All are agreed that he was a noble-looking personage, 
of grave and commanding manners. His funeral, which 
was a solemn spectacle, took place on the fourteenth 
of February, in the High Church of St Giles, at Edin- 
burgh, where he was buried in St Anthony's aisle. 
The body had been taken from Linlithgow to Stirling, 
and" thence was transported by water to Leith, and 
carried to the palace of Holyrood. In the public pro- 
cession to the church it was accompanied by the magis- 
trates and citizens of Edinburgh, who greatly lamented 
him. They were followed by the gentlemen of the 
country, and these by the nobility. The Earls of 
Morton, Mar, Glencairn, and Cassillis, with the Lords 
Glammis, Lindsay, Ochiltree, and Kuthveh, carried the 
body ; before it came the Lairds of Grange, and Colvil 
of Cleish ; Grange bearing his banner, with the royal 
arms, and Cleish his coat armour. The servants of 
his household followed, making great lamentation, as 
Randolph, an eye-witness, wrote to Cecil. On entering 
the church the bier was placed before the pulpit, and 
Knox preached the sermon, taking for his text, " Blessed 
are the dead that die in the Lord.' 1 * 

* MS. Letter, State-paper Office, Randolph to Cecil, Edinburgh,, 22d 
Feb. 1569-70. Diurnal of Occurrents, p. 158. 

256 HISTORY OF SCOTLAND. 1569-70. 





England. I France. I Germany. I Spain. I Portugal. I Pope. 
Elizabeth. | Charles IX. | Maximilian EL I Philip n. I Sebastian. | Pius V. 

THE death of Moray was a serious blow to Elizabeth. 
Its consequences threatened to unite closely the party 
which favoured the restoration of Mary, and were 
solicitous for a general pacification. The Hamiltons, 
Lethington, Herries, Huntley, and Argyle had vigour- 
ously resisted the measures of the regent, and felt 
impatient under the ascendancy of English influence, 
which Moray, Morton, and their faction had introduced. 
That " inestimable commodity,"* an English party in 
Scotland, which Elizabeth's ministers described as 
having been so difficult to attain, and so invaluable in 
its effects, was now threatened with destruction ; and 
Lord Hunsdon, the very day after Moray's death, wrote 
in anxious terms, requiring the queen's immediate 
attention to the state of Scotland, Important matters, 
he said, depended and would fall out by this event, and 
much vigilance would be required to watch " the great 
faction which remained, who were all French."^ 

* Anderson's Collections, vol. iv. part i. p. 104. 

t MS. Letter, State-paper Office, B.C., Hunsdon to Cecil, Jan. 24, 1569-70. 

1569-70. INTERREGNUM. 257 

Nor were these apprehensions exaggerated. If Eliza- 
beth looked to her own realm, it was full of discontented 
subjects, and on the very eve of another rebellion. If 
to Scotland, Mary's adherents were in a state of high 
elatedness and hope ; * the Hainiltons had already 
taken arms, the castles of Edinburgh and Dumbarton 
were in the hands of her friends, succours had arrived 
in the Clyde from France ; and, on the morning after 
the regent's death, Scott of Buccleugh, and Ker of 
Fernyhirst, two of the mightiest of the Border chiefs, 
broke into England, and in a destructive " raid," let 
loose their vengeance. In their company was Nevil, 
the banished Earl of Westmoreland, a rough soldier 
and devoted friend of Mary, who, as Hunsdon wrote 
Cecil, had testified his joy on hearing of Moray's death, 
by casting his hat into the fire replacing it no doubt 
by a steel bonnet. 

All this was ground for much anxiety at home, and 
the prospect was not more encouraging abroad. In 
France the news of Moray's assassination produced a 
paroxysm of joy, and was followed by active prepara- 
tions to follow up the advantage.^ In Spain no less 
interest was felt ; and at that moment Douglas, a mes- 
senger from the Duke of Alva, employed by the Bishop 
of Ross, was in Scotland. He had brought letters to 
the friends of Mary, sewed under the buttons of his 
coat, had twice supplied them with money, and warmly 
exhorted them to keep up the contest until assistance 
arrived from Philip.J 

These were all alarming indications, and the papers 

* MS. Letter, State-paper Office, B.C., Hunsdon to Cecil, Berwick, Jan. 
30, 1569-70. Also Id. Information anent the punishment of the Regent's 

+ MS. Letter, State-paper Office, French Correspondence, Norris to Cecil, 
February 17, 1569-70, Angiers. Id. Norris to Cecil, February 25, 1569-70. 

J MS. Letter, State-paper Office, Hunsdon to Cecil, January 26, 1569-70. 



of Elizabeth's vigilant and indefatigable minister Cecil, 
contain ample proof that he was not insensible to the 
importance of the crisis. In an able but somewhat 
Machiavelian memorial on the state of the realm, 
drawn up on the very eve of Moray's murder, and the 
arguments in which were greatly strengthened by that 
event,* he stated the perils both in respect of persons 
and matters to be many, great, and imminent; pointed 
out the increasing strength of the Romish party all 
over Europe ; the decay and probable extinction of 
the Protestant power in France and Flanders ; the 
weakening of all those counter forces which his mistress 
had hitherto been successful in raising against it; and 
the well known resolution of the court of Rome, and 
the three great powers of Spain, Austria, and France, 
never to intermit their efforts until they had destroyed 
England, and placed its crown upon the head of the 
Scottish queen. In the same paper he called her at- 
tention to that unceasing encouragement to intrigue 
and rebellion, which was held out by Mary's presence 
in England, and the growing unanimity and power of 
her party at home. 

All this, it was evident, called for immediate exer- 
tion ; and, in Cecil's opinion, there was but one way 
to provide a remedy, or at least to arrest the evil in its 
progress. Scotland was the field on which Elizabeth's 
domestic and foreign enemies were uniting against her. 
The strength of that country lay in the union of its 
various factions, which previous to Moray's death had 
been nearly accomplished by the efforts of Lethington 
and jrange, and which this event threatened to accel- 
erate. Her policy, then, must be, to prevent a pacifi- 
cation, keep up an English party, and find her own 

* Haynes, p. 579. 

1569-70. INTERREGNUM. 250 

peace in the dissensions and misery of her neighbour. 
For this end two instruments were necessary, and 
must instantly be procured : the first an ambassador, 
who, under the mask of a peacemaker, might sow the 
seeds of disquiet and confusion ; the second a regent, 
who would submit to her dictation. She found the 
one in Sir Thomas Randolph, an accomplished master 
in political intrigue, whom she despatched to Scot- 
land only three days after the death of Moray.* For 
the second, she chose the Earl of Lennox, father of 
the unhappy Darnley, who had long been a pensioner 
upon her bounty, and whose moderate abilities and 
pliant disposition promised the subserviency which she 

Immediately after the regent's death, this nobleman 
had addressed a "supplication 11 to Elizabeth represent- 
ing the great danger in which it left the infant king, his 
grandson, her majesty ""s near kinsman, and suggesting 
the propriety of extending her protection to the " little 
innocent, 11 by getting him delivered into her own 
hands.-}- This had been always a favourite project of 
the queen's, and disposed her to think favourably of 
Lennox; but another cause recommended him still 
more strongly : there had long existed a deadly hatred 
between the two great houses of Hamilton and Lennox, 
and no more effectual method to kindle a flame in 
Scotland could have been adopted, than the elevation 
of this nobleman to the first rank in the government. J 

In the meantime Elizabeth received a letter from 

* MS. Letter, draft, State-paper Office, entirelyln Cecil's hand. Minute of 
the Queen's majesty's letter, January 29, 1569-70. Melvil's Memoirs, p. 227 j 
also 230, 231. " He" (Randolph,) says this author, "was deliberately di- 
rected secretly to kindle a fire of discord between the twa stark factions Ja 
Scotland, quhilk could not be easily quenched." 
_ f Haynes, p. 576. J Melvil's Memoirs, p. 227. 




Lord Hunsdon, the governor of Berwick, which in some 
degree quieted her apprehensions, and gave her better 
hopes than he had at first held out. A week after 
the regent's murder, the Earl of Morton requested a 
meeting at Edinburgh with Sir Henry Gates and Sir 
William Drury, who had come to Scotland on a mission 
to the regent, and were in that country when he died. 
It was held in Gates's lodging ; and there, besides Morton, 
the envoy met Grange, Lindsay, Sir James Balfour, 
Makgill the justice-clerk, Bellenden the clerk-register, 
with the lairds of Pitarrow and Tullibardine. 

The conference was opened by Makgill, who assured 
the English envoys of their continued devotion to 
Elizabeth, and betrayed an evident terror lest she 
should set their queen at liberty and send her home 
amongst them. They spoke of an approaching con- 
vention of the nobility, but declared, that if the Queen 
of England would accept their services, secure their re- 
ligion, and aid them to resist the intrusion of foreigners, 
they would run with her the same course which Moray 
had done, and decide on nothing till they knew her 
pleasure : as to a regent, her majesty would do well, 
they said, to think of the Earl of Lennox, a Stewart 
by birth, a Douglas by marriage, and at that time 
within her majesty's realm. If she would send him, 
they were ready to make him the head of their faction; 
and should she wish him to be accompanied by any 
confidential person whose advice he might use, they 
would gladly receive him also. In the concluding 
passage of Hunsdon's letter to the queen, he entreated 
her when such " good stuff was offered," not to hesitate 
about its acceptance adding, that if the Hamiltons 
were allowed to bear the chief sway, the French would 
not be long absent. Lastly, he implored her to watch 

1569-70. INTERREGNUM. 261 

the Bishop of Ross, and take good heed to the Scottish 

Randolph soon after arrived in the capital, and not- 
withstanding the encouraging assurances of Morton 
and his friends, found things in an unsettled state. ^ 
Yet this was far from ungratifying to a minister who 
considered that the strength of his royal mistress lay 
in the dissensions of her neighbours. A messenger had 
been sent from Argyle and the Hamiltons, who warned 
their opponents not to acknowledge any other authority 
than the queen's ; declaring that, as her lieutenants 
in Scotland,:}; they were ready to punish the regent's 
murder, but ridiculing the idea that the whole race of 
Hamilton were guilty because the murderer bore their 
name. To this the reply was a public proclamation 
interdicting any one from holding communication with 
that faction, under the penalty of being esteemed ac- 
complices in their crimes. Soon after, Lethington, who 
till now had remained in a nominal captivity in the 
castle, was summoned, at his own request, before the 
privy-council, where he pleaded his innocence of the 
king^ murder, complained of the grievous calumnies 
with which his name had been loaded, and professed 
his readiness to stand his trial, and reply to any who 
dared accuse him. This, as it was well known, no one 
was prepared to do ; and the council immediately 
pronounced him guiltless, reinstating him in his accus- 
tomed place and office " as a profitable member of the 
commonwealth," and one who had been an excellent 

* MS. Letter, a copy by Hunsdon himself. State-paper Office, 30th Jan. 
1569-70. Hunsdon to Elizabeth. 

t He arrived on the 9th February, 1569-70. 

J Diurnal of Occurrents, p. ] 57. MS. Letter, State-paper Office, Edin- 
burgh, '22d February, 1569-70, Randolph to Cecil. Also MS. State-paper 
Office, copy, Proclamationbythe Lords of the Secret Council, Feb. 1569-70. 



instrument in the " forth-setting of God's glory ."^ 
Of his accession to the murder there is not the slight- 
est doubt, and as little of Morton's guilt, who on this 
occasion took the lead as chancellor of the kingdom. 
The whole transaction was an idle farce, and deceived 
no one ; but the party required Lethington's able head, 
and imagined they could thus secure his assistance. 

At this meeting Randolph communicated his in- 
structions, and assured the council of his royal mistress's 
support, on condition that they would remain true to 
the principles of the late regent. For her part, he 
said, she would increase the rigour of Mary's confine- 
ment, and support them both with money and soldiers; 
from them she expected that they would watch over 
the young king, prevent his being carried to France, 
maintain religion, preserve peace, and deliver up the 
rebel Earls of Northumberland and Westmoreland.^ 
A convention of the whole nobility of the realm was 
summoned for the fourth of March, to take these offers 
into consideration, and proceed to the election of a 
regent. J Letters were written to Lennox, requesting 
his immediate presence^ and Randolph, with an evident 
alacrity, recommenced his intrigues with all parties. 

In the midst of this, a new rebellion broke out in 
the north of England. It was led by Leonard Dacres, 
a Roman Catholic gentleman, of noble family, bred 
up in the bosom of Border war, who had been associated 
in the enterprises of Westmoreland and Northumber 
land, but was kept bade by his friends at that time 

* Diurnal of Occurrents, p. 158, MS. State-paper Office, copy, endorsed by 
Randolph. Declaration of the Lord of Liddington's innocence of the king's 

t MS. Draft, State-paper Office, in Cecil's hand. Minute of the Queen's 
majesty's Instructions given to Mr Randolph, 29th January, 1569-70. 

J MS. State-paper Office, endorsed by Randolph. Letters sent by the 
Lords for the Assembly, 17th February, 1 569-70. 

Second son of Lord Dacres of Gillesland. 

1569-70. INTERREGNUM. 263 

from any open demonstration. When still brooding 
over his projects, the law adjudged the rich family 
estates, of which he deemed himself the heir, to the 
daughters of his elder brother ; and, stung with this 
imagined injury, he at once broke into rebellion, seized 
the castles of Naworth, Greystock, and other places 
of strength, collected three thousand men, and bid 
defiance to the government. It was an alarming 
outbreak, and greatly disturbed Elizabeth ; but the 
flame was extinguished almost as soon as kindled, for 
Lord Hunsdon instantly advanced from Berwick with 
the best soldiers of his garrison there, and Sir John 
Forster, warden of the middle marches, meeting him 
with the Border militia, they encountered the fierce 
insurgent on the banks of the little river Gelt, in 
Cumberland, and after a sanguinary battle entirely 
defeated him. Dacres and his brother fled into Scot- 
land, where his presence, along with Westmoreland and 
Northumberland, formed a just subject of complaint 
and jealousy to, the English queen.* 

Scotland in the meantime presented a melancholy 
spectacle: torn between two factions, one professing 
allegiance to the captive queen, the other supporting 
the king's authority ;. both pretending an equal desire 
for the peace of their country, but thwarted in every 
effort to accomplish it by their own ambition and the 
intrigues of England. Of these two parties, the friends 
of the captive queen were the strongest, and must soon 
have triumphed over their opponents, but for the as- 
sistance given their opponents by Elizabeth. They 
included the highest and most ancient nobility in the 
country : the Duke of Chastelherault and the whole 

* MS. Letter, State-paper Office, B.C., Hunsdon to the Queen, 20th Feb. 
1 569-70. Also M S. Letter, State-paper Office, same to same, 27th February, 
1569-70. Lingard, vol. viii. p. 60. 

264 HISTORY OF SCOTLAND. 1569-70. 

power of the Hamiltons, the Earls of Argyle, Huntley, 
Athole, Errol, Crawford, and Marshal ; Caithness, 
Cassillis, Sutherland, and Eglinton ; the Lords Hume, 
Seaton, Ogilvy, Ross, Borthwick, Oliphant. Yester, 
and Fleming; Herries, Boyd, Somerville, Innermeith, 
Forbes, and Gray,* The mere enumeration of these 
names shows the power of that great party in the state 
which now anxiously desired the restoration of the 
queen, and resisted the hostile dictation, whilst they 
still entreated the good offices of Elizabeth. They 
possessed the castles of Edinburgh and Dumbarton, 
the first commanding the capital of the country, the 
second its strongest fortress, and, from its situation on 
the Clyde, affording a port by which foreign succours 
could be easily introduced into Scotland. But their 
chief strength lay in Kirkaldy of Grange, and Maitland 
of Lethington the secretary; Grange being universally 
reputed the bravest and most fortunate soldier, and 
Maitland the ablest statesman in the country. 

It was generally believed that, with two such heads 
to direct them, Mary's party would be more than a 
match for their opponents. Yet these were formidable 
enough. Their great leader, and the soul of every 
measure, was the Earl of Morton, a man bred up from 
his infancy in the midst of civil commotion, " nusselled 
in war and shedding of blood," (to use a strong phrase 
of Cecil's,)"!- and so intensely selfish and ambitious, that 
country, kindred, or religion, were readily trampled on 
in his struggle for power. His interest had made him 
a steady Protestant. By his professions of attachment 

* MS. State-paper Office, Petition to Elizabeth, 16th April, 1570. En- 
dorsed by Cecil, Duke of Chastelherault, and his Associates, to the Queen's 

T Haynes' State Papers, p. 581. The phrase is applied by Cecil to the 
Duke of Anjou. 

1570. INTERREGNUM. 265 

to the Reformation, he gained the powerful support 
of Knox and the Church, and he was completely de- 
voted to England. His associates were Lennox, Mar 
the governor of the infant king, Glencairn, and Buchan, 
with the Lords Glammis, Euthven, Lindsay, Cathcart, 
Methven, Ochiltree, and Saltoun.* 

Such was the state and strength of the two parties 
when Randolph returned to Scotland as ambassador 
from Elizabeth ; and, acting under the directions of 
Cecil, exerted himself with such success to increase 
their mutual asperity, that every attempt at union 
or conciliation proved unsuccessful. The miserable 
condition of the country at this moment,, has been 
strikingly described by Sir James Melvil,. an eye- 
witness, and an old acquaintance of Randolph. " Now,"" 
says he, " the two furious factions being framed in this 
manner, the hatred and rage against each other grew 
daily greater. For Master Randolph knew the diver- 
sities that were among the noblemen, and the nature 
of every one in particular, by his oft-coming and long 
residence in Scotland. Among the ladies he had a 
mother, and a mistress, to whom he caused his queen 
oft send communications and tokens. He used also 
his craft with the ministers, f and offered gold to divers 
of them. One of them that was very honest, refused 
his gift, but he told that his companion took it as by 
way of charity. I am not certain if any of the rest 
took presents, but undoubtedly he offered to such as 
were in meetest rowmes, J to cry out against factions 
here and there, and kindle the fiercer fire, so that the 
parties were not content to fight and shed each other's 
blood, but would flyte with injurious and blasphemous 

* MS. Copy of the time, State-paper Office, Instructions given by the 
Lords of Scotland to the Commendator of Dunfermline, 1st May, 1570. 
f The Clergy. J Offkc,. Scold. 


words, and at length fell to the down-casting of each 
other's houses, whereunto England lent their help." 
* * * Then, as Nero stood up upon a high 
part of Rome, to see the town burning which he had 
caused set on fire, so Master Randolph delighted to 
see such fire kindled in Scotland, and, by his writings 
to some in the court of England, glorified himself to 
have brought it to pass in such sort, that it should not 
be got easily slokenit* again, which, when it came to 
the knowledge of Sir Nicholas Throckmorton, he wrote 
in-J- Scotland to my brother and me, and advertised 
us how we were handled, detesting both Master Cecil 
as director, and Master Randolph as executor."J 

In such a state of things repeated attempts were 
tnade to hold that Convention of the nobility, which 
had been appointed to meet early in March ; but all 
proved ineffectual; and Argyle, in a conference with 
Morton and Lethington at Dalkeith, bitterly reproached 
Randolph as the chief cause of their miseries. He ap- 
pears to have taken the attack with great composure, 
and contented himself with writing ahumorous satirical 
letter to Cecil, in which he amused the English secre- 
tary with a portrait of his Scottish brother : " The 
Lord of Lethington," said he, " is presently at Seton, 
to air himself before this convention. His wits are 
sharp enough, and his will good enough to do good, 
but fearful and doubtful to take matters in hand. He 
doubteth some thunder-clap out of the south, (an allu- 
sion to Lennox's threatened coming,) for he hath spied 
a cloud somewhat afar off, which, if it fall in this coun- 
try, wrecketh both him and all his family. * * * 
I doubt nothing so much of him as I do of the length of 

* Extinguished with water. f Into. 

J Melvil' Memoirs, pp. 233, 234. 

1570. INTERREGNUM. 267 

his life. He hath only his heart whole, and his stomach 
good, [with] an honest mind, somewhat more given to 
policy than to Mr Knox's preachings. His legs are clean 
gone, his body so weak that it sustaineth not itself, 
his inward parts so feeble that to endure to sneeze he 
cannot for annoying the whole body. To this the blessed 
joy of a young wife hath brought him." * 

On the day this letter was written, the populace of 
Edinburgh, by whom the late regent had been much 
beloved, were highly excited by the display, in the open 
street, of a black banner, on which he was painted lying 
dead in his bed, with his wound open ; beside him the 
late king under the tree, as he was found in the garden 
of the Kirk of Field ; and at his feet the little prince, 
kneeling and imploring God to avenge his cause. Many 
poems and ballads, describing Moray's assassination, 
and exhorting to revenge, were scattered amongst the 
people, and the exasperation of the two parties became 
daily more incurable. [ 

The failure of the great assembly appointed for 
March was followed by busy preparations. Every 
baron assembled his vassals ; armed conventions of the 
king's and queen's lords, as the two rival factions were 
now termed, were held in various quarters ; and Morton 
and Mar, who had been encouraged by the message 
from Elizabeth, J having assembled their friends in 
great strength in the capital, were eagerly pressing for 
the return of Lennox, when the arrival of Monsieur 
Verac from the court of France gave a. sudden check 
to their hopes. He brought letters of encouragement 

* MS. Letter, State-paper Office, Randolph to Cecil, 1st March, 1569-70. 

j" State-paper Office ; printed Broadsides, in black letter, by Lekprevik. 

J MS. Letter, State-paper Office, Mar to the Queen of England, Edin- 
burgh, 14th March, 1569-70. 

Copy of the time, State-paper Office, Lethington to Leicester, 29th 
March, 1570. Also, MS. Letter, State-paper Office. John Gordon to Eliza- 
beth, Berwick, 18th April, 1570. 


and ample promises of succour to Mary's friends; and, 
as they had received similar assurances from Spain, 
they concentrated their whole strength, advanced to 
Edinburgh, consulted with Grange the governor of the 
castle, restored the Duke of Chastelherault and Lord 
Herries to liberty,* compelled Randolph to fly from 
the scene of his intrigues to Berwick, and summoned 
a general convention of the whole nobility at Linlith- 
gow. Its declared object was to return an answer to 
France, and deliberate upon the best means of restoring 
peace to their unhappy country ; at the same time they 
addressed a petition to Elizabeth, in which they ear- 
nestly implored her to put an end to the miserable 
divisions of Scotland by restoring the Scottish queen. ^ 
Very different thoughts, however, from peace or 
restoration, were then agitating the English queen. 
The intrigues of Norfolk, the successive northern re- 
bellions, the flight of the disaffected into Scotland, the 
invasion of- Buccleugh and Fernyhirst, the fact that 
this "raid" had been especially cruel, and that its 
leaders had shown a foreknowledge of Moray's death, 
besides the perpetual alarm in which she was kept by 
the dread of French intervention and Spanish intrigue, 
had roused her passion to so high a pitch, that she 
commanded Sussex, her lieutenant in the north, to 
advance into Scotland at the head of 7000 men. The 
pretext was, to seize her rebels ; the real design was, 
to let loose her vengeance upon the friends of Mary, 
to destroy the country by fire and sword, and to incite 
the different factions to actual hostilities. J 

* Diurnal of Oecurrents, p. 1 67. 

f MS. Letter, State-paper Office, Duke of Chastelherault and his Asso- 
ciates to the Queen's Majesty, written towards the end of March, 1570, de- 
spatched from Edinburgh, 16th April. 

J MS. Letter, draft by Cecil, State-paper Office, the Queen to Mr Ran- 
dolph, 18th March, 156&70. Melvil's Memoirs, p. 227. 

1570. INTERREGNUM. 269 

On being informed of this resolution, the queen's 
lords exerted their utmost efforts to prevent the ad- 
vance of a force which they were wholly unprepared 
to resist. * In England the Bishop of Ross and the 
French ambassador, warmly remonstrated with the 
queen ; Lethington, too, assured Leicester that a de- 
monstration of hostilities would infallibly compel them 
to combine against her, and three several envoys suc- 
cessively sought the camp of Sussex to deprecate his 
advance. But Elizabeth was much excited ; Randolph, 
at this moment, had warned her of a conspiracy against 
her life, and hinted that Mary was at the bottom of 
it, "f whilst Morton blew the flame by accounts of the 
hostile activity of Lethington, the total desertion of 
Grange, and the warlike preparations of their oppo- 

No one that knew the English queen expected that 
she would have the magnanimity or the humanity to 
arrest her arms. Under such provocation the storm 
burst with terrific force. Sussex, entering the beauti- 
ful district of Teviotdale and the Merse, the country 
of Buccleugh and Fernyhirst, destroyed, at once, fifty 
castles or houses of strength, and three hundred vil- 
lages.} In a second inroad, Home castle, one of the 
strongest in the country, was invested and taken ; 
about the same time the western Border was invaded 
by Lord Scrope, a country particularly obnoxious as 
the seat of Herries and Maxwell ; and the tract of the 
English army was marked by the flames of villages and 
granges, and the utter destruction of the labours of the 

* Copy of the time, endorsed by Cecil, State-paper Office, Instructions for 
the Laird of Trabroun, 15th April, 1570. Also, MS. Letter, State-paper 
Office, 18th April, 1570, John Gordon to the Queen's Majesty. 

t MS. Letter, State-paper Office, 14th April, 1570. Randolph to Cecil. 

J Murdin, p. 769. Lesley's Negotiations, Anderson, voL iii. p. 90. 


husbandman.* To follow up this severity, Elizabeth 
despatched Lennox, her intended regent, and Sir 
William Drury the Marshal of Berwick, at the head 
of twelve hundred foot and four hundred horse. This 
little army included the veteran companies, called the 
old bands of Berwick,^ and had orders to advance to 
the capital, and avenge the death of the regent upon 
the house of Hamilton. 

To Lennox no more grateful commission could be 
intrusted ; and, making all allowance for the recollec- 
tion of ancient injuries, it is difficult to regard the in- 
tensity of his vengeance without disgust. His letters 
addressed to Elizabeth and Cecil are unfavourable spe- 
cimens of his character full of abject expressions of 
implicit submission, unworthy of his country and his 
high rank. J He appears to have been wretchedly poor, 
entirely dependent for his supplies upon the bounty 
of the English queen; and although on his march a 
grievous sickness had brought him to the brink of the 
grave, his first thoughts on returning health were, as 
he boasted to Cecil, " that he should soon pull the 
feathers out of the wings of his opponents." This he 
and his colleague, the Marshal of Berwick, performed 
very effectually ; for having advanced to Edinburgh, 
and formed a junction with Morton and his friends, 
they dispersed the queen's faction who were besieging 
the castle of Glasgow, and commenced a pitiless devas- 
tation of Clydesdale and Linlithgowshire, razing their 
castles, destroying their villages, and making a desert 
of the whole territory. In this expedition the palace 

* Spottiswood, p. 237. 

f Diurnal of Occurrents, p. 1 76. 

j MS. Letter, State-paper Office, Lennox to Cecil, 16th April, 1570. Sam* 
to same, 27th April, 1570. Same to same, 8th May, 1570. 

MS. Letter, State-paper Office, Lennox to Cecil, April 27, 1570. Ibid. 
Same to same, 8th May, 1570. 

1570. INTERREGNUM. 271 

of Hamilton, belonging to the Duke of Chastelherault, 
with his castles of Linlithgow and Kinneil, and the 
estates and houses of his kindred and partisans were 
so completely sacked and cast down, that this noble 
and powerful house was reduced to the very brink of 

Having achieved this, Lennox wrote in an elated 

O ' 

tone to Cecil, glorying in the flight of their enemies, 
recommending the English to reduce Dumbarton, and 
imploring Elizabeth to pity his poverty and send him 
more money. "f* From Lethington the English minister 
received a letter in a different and more manly strain. 
"It was his astonishment," he said, "and a mystery 
to him, that the Queen of England had renounced the 
amity of a powerful party in Scotland, consisting of 
the best and noblest in the realm, for the friendship of 
a few utterly inferior to them in degree, and whose 
strength he might judge of by their being only able to 
muster two hundred horse. In their mad attempts 
they had thought nothing less than that they might 
have carried off the ball alone, and have haled the devil 
without impediment; but he had thrown a stumbling- 
block in their way, and although they would fain make 
him odious in England, he trusted Leicester and Cecil 
would give as little heed to their aspersions as he did 
to their threats : meanwhile, he was still ready to unite 
with them in all good offices, and whatever happened 
would not be Lot's wife. As for Randolph, he feared, 
he had been but an evil instrument, and would never 
believe the queen could have followed the course she now 
adopted, if truly informed of the state of Scotland."]: 

* Diurnal of Occurrents, p. 177. Murdin, p. 769. 

t MS. Letter, State-paper Office, Lennox to Cecil, 17th May, 1570, Edin. 
MS. Letter, Ibid. The Lords to Sussex, 16th May, 1570, Edinburgh. 

Copy, State-paper Office, Lethington to Cecil, 17th May, 1570. I have 
ventured to state the letter from internal evidence to be addressed to Cecil. 
It is a copy, and does not bear any superscription. 


These remonstrances of Lethington were repeated 
and enforced in England by the French ambassador 
and the Bishop of Ross, and Elizabeth began to have 
misgivings that her severity would unite the whole 
country against her. She instantly wrote to Sussex, 
described her interview with the French ambassador, 
declared she had justified the expedition as well as she 
could, by asserting that she was only pursuing her 
rebels, but that she was sorry he had taken so decided a 
part, and would not hear of his besieging Dumbarton.* 
At the same time she commanded Randolph to return 
from Berwick to Edinburgh, and inform the two fac- 
tions that, having " reasonably" chastised her rebels, 
she had yielded to the desire of Mary's ambassador, 
the Bishop of R*>ss, and was about to open a negotiation 
for her restoration to her dominions. In the meanwhile 
Sussex was directed to correspond with Morton and his 
party. Ross repaired to Ghatsworth to deliberate with 
his royal mi&tress, and her offers for an accommodation 
were carried into Scotland by Lord Livingston and 
John Beaton. The English army then retired, and 
Elizabeth assured both factions of her earnest desire 
for the common tranquillity.^ 

These transactions occupied a month,, and led to no 
pacific result ; a matter of little surprise to those who 
were assured of the hollowness of the professions on 
the side of the English queen and Morton. The one 
had not the slightest intention of restoring Mary; the 
other deprecated such an event as absolute ruin ; and, 
having humbled his enemies, looked forward to a rich 
harvest of forfeiture and plunder. 

A correspondence between Sussex, the leader of the 

* MS. Letter, State-paper Office, Minute by Cecil of the Queen's Letter 
to Sussex, May 22, 1570. 

t MS. State-paper Office, Draft by Cecil. Queen to the Lords of Scot- 
land, May 31, 1570. 

1570. INTERREGNUM. 273 

late cruel invasions, and Lethington, was the only 
remarkable feature in the negotiations. The English 
earl had been a commissioner in the conferences at 
York ; he was familiar with the services of Moray, 
Lethington, and Morton, during their days of fellow- 
ship, and was selected by Elizabeth to remonstrate 
with Maitland on his desertion of his old friends. To 
his letters the secretary replied by some bitter remarks 
on his recent cruelties, and he exposed also the infam- 
ous conduct of the king's faction to their queen and 
their native country. Sussex answered, that he would 
be glad to know how Lethington reconciled his doings 
at York, when he came forward and accused his sove- 
reign of murder, with this new zeal in her defence. 
" Your lordship," said he, addressing the Scottish 
secretary, "must call to remembrance that your queen 
was by you and others, then of the faction of Scotland, 
and not by the queen my sovereign, nor by her know- 
ledge or assent, brought to captivity, deprived of her 
royal estate, to which she was by God's ordinance born 
lawful inheretrix, condemned in parliament, her son 
crowned as lawful king, the late Earl of Moray ap- 
pointed by parliament to be regent, and revoked from 
beyond the seas ; yourself held the place of secretary 
to that king and state ; and after she escaped from her 
captivity, from the which the queen my sovereign had 
by all good means sought to deliver her, and had been 
the only means to save her life while she continued 
there, yourself and your faction at that time came into 
England, to detect her of a number of heinous crimes, 
by you objected against her; to offer your proofs, which 
to the uttermost you produced, to seek to have her 
delivered into your own hands, or to bind the queen's 
majesty to detain her in such sort, as she should never 


return into Scotland, and to persuade her majesty to 
maintain the king's authority. Now, my lord, to re- 
turn to my former questions, which be but branches 
from those roots and cannot be severed from them, I 
do desire to know by what doctrine you may think 
that cause to be then just, which you now think to 
be unjust? [how] you may think your coming into 
England, your detecting her of crimes by you objected, 
your proofs produced for that purpose, your requests 
delivered to the queen my sovereign to deliver her 
into your custody, or to promise to keep her as she 
return not to Scotland; and to maintain her son's 
authority, (then allowed always by you to be your 
lawful king,) by what doctrine, I say, may ye think 
the causes hereof to be then just, which you now think 
to be unjust ? 

" I would be glad to admit your excuse, that you 
were not of the number that sought rigour to your 
queen, although you were with the number, if I could 
do it with a safe conscience. But as I will say, ' Non 
est meum accusare, aliud ago, 1 and therefore I will 
not enter into those particularities, so can I not make 
myself ignorant of what I saw openly delivered by 
word and writing, with a general assent of the late regent ; 
and all that were in his company, which tended not to 
a short restraint of your queen's liberty, but was direct- 
ly either to deliver her captive into your own custody, 
or to bind the queen my sovereign to detain her in such 
sort, as she should never after trouble the state of Scot- 
land ; wherein, if her perpetual captivity or a worse 
matter were meant, and not a restraint for a time, God 
and your own consciences, and others that dealt then with 
you, do know. It may be you dealt openly on the one 
side and secretly on the other, wherein how the queen 

1570. INTERREGNUM. 275 

ray sovereign digested your doings I know not ; but 
this I know well, that if her majesty would have di- 
gested that which was openly delivered unto her by 
the general assent of your whole company, in such 
sort as you all desired, devised, and earnestly (I will 
not say passionately) persuaded. her at that time to do 
for her own surety, the benefit of Scotland, and the 
continuing of the amity between both the realms, there 
had been worse done to your queen, than either her 
majesty or any subject of England that I know, whom- 
soever you take to be least free from passions, could 
be induced to think meet to be done. 11 * 

This cutting personal appeal, from one so intimately 
acquainted with the secrets of these dark transactions, 
was evaded by Lethington, under the plea that if he 
went into an exculpation, it must needs " touch more 
than himself, " glancing, probably, at his royal mistress ; 
but Sussex in a former letter having assumed to him- 
self some credit for revoking the army, the Scottish 
secretary observed, that they, no doubt, wouldneed some 
repose after their exertions, and ironically compliment- 
ed him for his activity in the pursuit of his mistress's 

"When your lordship," said he,, "writeth, that you 
intend to> revoke her majesty^ forces, I am glad thereof 
more than I was at their coming in,; and it is not amiss 
for their ease to have a breathing time, and some rest 
between one exploit and another. This is the third 
journey they have made in Scotland since your lord- 
ship came to the Borders, and [you] have been so well 
occupied in every one of them, that it might well be 
said, * * they have reasonable well acquitted them- 

* MS. Letter, State-paper Office, copy of the time, Sussex to Ledington, 
29th Jnly, 1570. 


selves of the duty of old enemies, and have burno and 
spoiled as much ground within Scotland as any army 
of England did in one year, these hundred years by- 
past, which may suffice for a two month's work, al- 
though you do no more."* 

At the same time Randolph, in a letter from Ber- 
wick, to his old military friend Grange, bantered him 
on his acceptance of the priory of St Andrew's, a rich 
gift, with which it was reported Mary had secured his 
services. " Brother William, 1 " said he, " it was indeed 
most wonderful unto me, when I heard that you should 
become a prior. That vocation agreeth not with any- 
thing that ever I knew in you, saving for your religious 
life led under the cardinal's hat, when we were both 
students in Paris. "-f- 

It would have been well if these little attacks and 
bickerings, which I have given as illustrating the char- 
acter of some of the leading actors in the times, had 
been the only weapons resorted to during this pretended 
cessation of hostilities; but such was far from being the 
case. On the contrary, the country presented a miser- 
able spectacle of intestine commotion and private war, 
and it was in vain that all good men sighed and struggled 
for the restoration of order and tranquillity; the king's 
authority was despised, the queen remained a captive, 
there was no regent to whom the poor could look for 
protection; every petty baron, even every private citizen, 
found himself compelled to follow a leader, and, under 
the cessation of agriculture and national industry, the 
nation was rapidly sinking into a state of pitiable weak- 
ness and bankruptcy. In the meantime, the Bishop 

* Copy of the time, State-paper Office, Ledington to Sussex. 2d June, 
1570, Dunkeld. 

t Copy of the time, State-paper Office, May 1, 1570. Thomas Randolph 
to the Laird of Grange. 


of Ross and the Lord of Livingston, continued their 
negotiations for Mary ; * Cecil and the privy-council 
deliberated, and the poor captive, languishing under 
her lengthened imprisonment, refused no concession 
which she deemed consistent with her honour; but 
every effort failed, from the exasperation of the two 

Morton and Lennox had despatched the Abbot of 
Dunfermline to carry their offers to Elizabeth,, and 
were thrown into deep anxiety by her doubtful replies.^ 
She had stimulated them to take arms, and now, as 
they had experienced on former occasions, she appeared 
ready to abandon them, when to advance without her 
aid was impossible, aiid to recede would be absolute 

In this difficulty, a decided step was necessary, and 
they determined to raise Lennox to the regency. It 
was a measure imperatively required, as the only means 
of giving union and vigour to their party; and v as they 
acted with the advice of Randolph the English ambas- 
sador, they were well assured that, although Elizabeth 
affected neutrality for the moment, such a step would 
not be unacceptable to her. But in deference to her 
wishes for delay, they proceeded with caution. In a 
convention of the lords of the king's faction, held at 
Stirling on the sixteenth of June, they conferred upon 
Lennox the interim office of Lieutenant-governor under 
the king, until the twelfth of July. This choice they 

* MS. State-paper 1 Office, B.C., Minute of the Queen's letter to Sussex, 
a draft by Cecil, July 29, 1570. Lesley's Negotiations, Anderson, vol. iii. 
p. 91. 

H* Copy of the time, State-paper Office, Instructions of the Lords of Scot- 
land to the Abhot of Dunfermline, May 1, 1570. Also, copy, State-paper 
Office, the Lords of Scotland to the Queen's majesty, June 1, 1570, Edin- 
burgh, by the Abbot of Dunfermline. Also, MS. Letter, State-paper Office, 
Lennox, Morton, and the Lords to the English Privy-council, 24th June, 



immediately imparted to the English queen, and ear- 
nestly entreated her advice as to the appointment of a 
regent.* Her reply was. favourable ; the disorders of 
the country now called loudly, she said, for some settled 
government; and, whilst she disclaimed all idea of dic- 
tation, and should be satisfied with their choice wherever 
it fell, it appeared to her that her cousin the Earl of 
Lennox, whom they had already nominated their lieu- 
tenant, was likely to be more careful of the safety of 
the young king than any other. -f- Thus encouraged, 
a convention was held at -Edinburgh on the twelfth of 
July, in which Lennox was formally elected regent. 
Lethington was then in Athole ; Huntley, whom Mary 
had invested with the office of her lieutenant-governor,* 
remained at Aberdeen, concentrating the strength of 
the north ; and the other lords, who supported the 
queen^s authority, were busily employed arming their 
vassals in their various districts. Of course none of 
these appeared at the convention ; and Grange, who 
commanded in the castle, and might have battered the 
Tolbooth, where the election took place, about the ears 
of the new governor, treated the whole proceedings 
with the utmost contempt. He refused to be present, 
would not even hear the letter of Elizabeth read by 
Randolph, and issued orders that no cannon should be 
fired after the proclamation. Upon this Sussex told 

* MS. Letter, State-paper Office, Lennox, Morton, and the Lords to the 
Privy-council, June 24, 1570. The names show the truth of Lethington's 
observations, as to the weakness of the king's party, both in the ancient 
nobility and in numbers, in comparison with the Queen'*. They are Earls 
Lennox, Morton, Mar, Glencairn, Angus ; Lords Glammis, Lindsay, Ruth- 
ven, Ochiltree, Borthwick, Cathcart, and Graham the master of Montrose. 
Of the clergy, Robert (Pitcairn) abbot of Dunfermline, and Robert bishop of 

( Spottiswood, p. 241. 

MS. Letter, State-paper Office, B.C., Sussex to Cecil, July 15, 1570, 

Copy of the time, State-paper Office, B.C., Sussex to Cecil, 19th July, 
1570, Alnwick. 


Cecil, that he had written "roundly" to him, but so 
little impression was made by his remonstrances, that 
the queen's lords declared their determination to hold 
a parliament at Linlithgow, on the fourth of August, 
and publicly avowed their resolution never to acknow- 
ledge Lennox as regent.* 

Both parties now prepared for war, and the new 
governor, aware that his only chance of success rested 
on the support of England, despatched Nicholas Elphin- 
eton to urge the immediate advance of Sussex with 
his army, and the absolute necessity of having supplies 
both of money and troops. Without a thousand foot- 
men, it would be impossible for him to make head, he 
said, against the enemy : Huntley was moving forward 
to Brechin with all his force ; the Hamiltons were mus- 
tering in the west ; Argyle and his highlanders and 
islemen, were ready to break down on the lowlands ; 
and, at the moment he wrote, Lord Herries and the 
Lairds of Lochinvar, Buccleugh, Fernyhirst, and John- 
ston, were up in arms and had begun their havoc.-f- 
These representations alarmed Elizabeth. It was her 
policy that the two factions should exhaust each other, 
but that neither should be overwhelmed, and with this 
view she directed Sussex to ravage the west Borders 
" very secretly," and under the cloak of chastising her 
rebels the Dacres, who were harboured in these quar- 
ters. | At the same time that she thus herself kept up 
the war, she publicly upbraided both parties with the 
ceaseless rancour of their hostilities, and with much 

* Copy of the time, State-paper Office, Instructions by Lennox to Nicho- 
las Elphinston, July 23, 1570. 

j* MS. Letter, State-paper Office, Lennox to Randolph, Stirling, July 31, 
1570. Ibid. Instructions to Nicholas Elphinston, July 23, 1570. 

Draft by Cecil, State-paper Office, July 26, 1570, Queen's majesty to 


apparent anxiety encouraged Lord Livingston and the 
Bishop of Ross, in negotiating a treaty for Mary's re- 

But whilst nothing but professions of peace and 
benevolence were on her lips, Scotland was doomed to 
feel the consequences of such cruel and ungenerous 
policy in a civil war of unexampled exasperation and 
atrocity. To prevent any parliament being convened 
by the queen's lords at Linlithgow, Lennox assembled 
his forces, with which he joined the Earl of Morton, 
and advancing against Huntley, stormed the castle 
of Brechin, and hung up thirty-four of the garrison 
(officers and soldiers) before his own house.* These 
exploits were communicated by Randolph to Sussex, 
now busy with his preparations for his expedition 
against the West, and he informed him at the same 
time that, in the negotiations then proceeding in Eng- 
land, the Scottish queen had, it was said, behaved with 
uncommon spirit. Elizabeth, before she restored her 
to liberty, having insisted on being put in possession 
of the castles of Edinburgh and Dumbarton, Mary, on 
the first mention of such conditions by the Bishop of 
Ross, indignantly declared, that the matter needed not 
an instant's consideration. Elizabeth might do to her 
what she pleased, but never should it be said, that she 
had brought into bondage that realm of which she was 
the natural princess. -|* 

Sussex, at the head of four thousand men, now burst 
into Annandale, and advanced in his desolating progress 
to Dumfries. His own letter to the Queen of England, 
the mediatrix between the two countries, will best 

* Copy of the time, State-paper Office, Randolph to Sussex, 14th August, 


describe the nature of his visit. " I repaired," said he, 
" with part of your majesty's forces to Carlisle, and, 
receiving no such answer from the Lord Herries as I 
expected, * * * I entered Scotland the twenty-second 
of this present, and returned thither the twenty-eighth, 
in which time I threw down the castles of Annand and 
Hoddom, belonging to the Lord Herries ; the castles 
of Dumfries and Carleverock, belonging to the Lord 
Maxwell; the castles of Tynehill and Cowhill, belong- 
ing to the Lairds of Tynehill and Cowhill ; the castles 
of Arthur Greame and Richies George Greame, ill 
neighbours to England and of Englishmen sworn, now 
Scots, and some other piles where the rebels have been 
maintained."* He observed, in a separate letter to 
Cecil, " That he had avoided as much as he might the 
burning of houses or corn, and the taking or spoiling 
of cattle or goods, to make the revenge appear to be 
for honour only;" and yet, he complacently adds, as if 
afraid lest his royal mistress should misunderstand his 
leniency, "I have not left a stone house to an ill neigh- 
bour within twenty miles of this town."^ It is diffi- 
cult to recount these transactions of Sussex, without 
expressing abhorrence of the cruel and nefarious policy 
by which they were dictated. 

This invasion was followed by an abstinence of two 
months, during which the negotiations for Mary's re- 
storation were continued ; but, after repeated and pro- 
tracted deliberations between the commissioners of 
Elizabeth, the Scottish queen, and the regent, the issue 
demonstrated the hollowness and insincerity of the 
whole transaction upon the part of the English queen, 

* MS. Letter, State-paper Office, B.C., Carlisle, 29th Aug., 1570, Sussex 
to the Queen's majesty. 

t MS. Letter State-paper Office, B.C., Carlisle, Sussex to Cecil, 29th 
August, 1570. 


and the faction which she supported. Secretary Cecil 
and Sir Walter Mildmay had repaired to Mary at 
Chatsworth : they had proposed to her the conditions 
of an accommodation; and after taking the advice of her 
commissioners, and communicating with the king of 
France and the Duke of Alva,* whose answers she 
received, she had declared her acquiescence. All mat- 
ters appeared to be upon the eve of a speedy arrange- 
ment, and it only remained for the English and Scottish 
commissioners to have a final discussion, when new 
demands, to which it was impossible for the Scottish 
queen to submit, were started by Elizabeth ; and Morton 
for the 'first time declared, that his instructions were 
limited to a general authority to treat of the amity of 
the kingdoms, and that he and his colleagues had 110 
power to receive their queen into Scotland, or to give 
up to Elizabeth the person of their infant sovereign.-f- 
This declaration, Lesley the bishop of Ross, with a 
pardonable" warmth, characterized as an unworthy sub- 
terfuge, complained that his mistress had been deceived, 
and insisted that, if there was any sincerity upon the 
part of the English queen, the treaty for the restoration 
of the Queen of Scots might be terminated upon terms 
of perfect honour and safety. J But the appeal was 
addressed to ears determined to be shut against it. 
Morton's conduct appears to have been the result of a 
previous correspondence with Cecil and Sussex ; he was 
well assured his declaration would be nowise unaccept- 
able to Elizabeth herself; and the result justified his 
expectation. The English deputies, in giving a final 
judgment, observed, that as the representatives of Mary, 

* Lesley's Negotiations, Anderson, vol. iii. pp. 109, 120, 121, 122, 123. 
- t Ibid, pp. 125, 127, 130, 131, 133. 
' J Ibid. pp. 134, 137, 139. 


and those of the king and the regent, could not come 
to an agreement, they considered their commission at 
an end, and must break off the negotiations.* 

During all this time the regent, although professing 
to observe the abstinence, continued a cruel persecution 
of his opponents, and determined to assemble a parlia- 
ment in which he might let loose upon them all the 
vengeance of feudal forfeiture. Against this Elizabeth 
remonstrated, but in such measured and feeble terms 
that her interference produced little effect.*}* It was 
not so, however, with Sussex, a cruel soldier, but a 
man of honour, who, on hearing a report that a sen- 
tence of treason was about to pass upon Lethington, 
wrote this sharp letter to Randolph. 

"Master Randolph, I hear that Lethington is put 
to the horn, his lands and goods confiscated and seized ; 
if it so be, it doth not accord with the good faith the 
queen's majesty meant in the articles accorded between 
her highness and the Bishop of Ross, nor with the 
writing I subscribed : and therefore I have written to 
the regent and others in that matter. * * * And 
although I, for my part, be too simple to be made a 
minister in princes' causes, yet truly I weigh mine own 
honour so much, as I will not oe made a minister to 
subscribe to anything wherein my good faith and true 
meaning should be abused to my dishonour, or any 
person trusting to that he shall accord in writing with 
me, should thereby be by fraud deceived.'^ 

At this moment nothing could exceed the exasper- 
ation of the two parties, who employed every method 

, 139. 

, r _ r ,25th September, 1570, 

Minute of the Queen's majesty's letter to Sussex. 

J Copy of the time, State-paper Office, 8th October, 1570, Sussex to Ran- 
dolph. Also Diurnal of Occurrents, p. 193. 


they could devise to blacken each other. The regent 
was branded by Huntley, the lieutenant for the queen, 
as a stranger and alien; a man sworn to the service of 
England, supported by foreign power, and dead to 
every honourable and patriotic feeling. Huntley and 
his friends, on the other hand, were attacked as traitors 
to the government, enemies to religion, band-breakers, 
assassins of the late virtuous and godly regent, and 
associates in that infamous band for the murder of their 
sovereign, which many had seen and well remembered. 
They replied, that if they were guilty or cognizant of 
the murder, their opponents were not less so, and pro- 
duced the band itself signed by Moray the regent, 
amongst other names. It was answered, that this was 
not the true contract for the king's murder, which 
Lethington had abstracted and now produced another 
in its place. The disputes became public, and Ran- 
dolph, who felt indignant at the attack upon his old 
friend the regent Moray, addressed a remarkable letter 
to Cecil in his defence. " Divers," said he, "since the 
death of the late regent, some to cover their own doings, 
(how wicked soever they have been,) some to advance 
their own cause grounded upon never so much injustice 
and untruth, seek to make the late regent odious to 
the world, spreading, after his death, such rumours of 
him as they think doth make most to their advantage 
towards their innocency in crimes that they are bur- 
dened with, and would fain be thought guiltless of; 
which is not only daily done here among themselves, 
but spread so far abroad as they think to find any man 
that will give credit either to their word or writing." 

He then continued, " to name such as are yet here 
living, most notoriously known to have been chief con- 
senters to the king's death, I mind not, only I will say, 


that the universal bruit cometh upon three or four 
persons, which subscribed into a * band,' promising to 
concur, and assist each other in doing the same. This 
band was kept in the castle, in a little coffer or desk, 
covered with green; and, after the apprehension of the 
Scottish queen at Carberry hill, was taken out of the 
place where it lay by the Laird of Liddington in pre- 
sence of Mr James Balfour, then clerk of the register, 
and keeper of the keys where the registers are. This 
being a thing so notoriously known, as well by Mr 
James Balfour's own report, as the testimony of others 
that have seen the same, is utterly denied to be true, 
and another band produced, which they allege to be it, 
(containing no such matter, at the which, with divers 
other nobleman's hands, the regent's was also,) made 
a long time before the band of the king's murder was 
made ; and now [they] say, that if it can be proved 
by any band, that they consented unto the king's 
death, the late regent is as guilty as they ; and for 
testimony thereof, as I am credibly informed [they] 
have sent a band to be seen in England, which is either 
some new band made among themselves, and the late 
regent's hand counterfeited &L the same, (which in some 
other causes I know hath been done,) or the old band, 
at which his very own hand is, containing no such 

"Wherefore, (continued Randolph to Cecil,) knowing 
so much of his innocency in so horrible a crime, besides 
the honour of so noble and worthy a personage, so dear 
a friend to the queen's majesty my sovereign, I am 
loath that, after his death, his adversaries should, by 
false report, abuse the honest and godly, especially her 
majesty, with such writings as they may either frame 
themselves, or with such reports as are altogether void 


of truth. With this I am bold myself to trouble your 
honour, and wish that the truth hereof were as well 
known to all other, as I am assured myself that he was 
never participant of the king's death, how maliciously 
soever he be burdened therewith."* 

Amidst these mutual heartburnings and accusations, 
Uie party of the Church, still led by Knox, warmly 
espoused the cause of the regent and the interests of 
Elizabeth. He had bitterly deplored the loss of Moray, 
and, aware of Mary^s application for succour to the 
courts of Spain and France, two powers connected, in 
his mind, with everything that was corrupt and idola- 
trous, he denounced her intrigues in the pulpit, and 
inveighed against her as a murderer and an adultress, 
in his usual strain of passionate and personal invective. 
" It has been objected against me," said he, " that I 
have ceased to pray for my sovereign, and have used 
railing imprecations against her. Sovereign to me she 
is not, neither am I bound to pray for her in this place. 
My accusers, indeed, term her their sovereign, and 
themselves the nobility and subjects professing her 
obedience ; but in this they confess themselves traitors, 
and so I am not bound to answer them. * * * 
As to the imprecations made against her, I have 
willingly confessed, that I have desired, and in my 
heart desire, that God of his mercy, for the comfort of 
his poor flock within this realm, will oppose his power 
to her pride, and confound her and her flatterers, and 
assisters in their impiety. I praise my God, he of his 
mercy hath not disappointed me of my just prayer: let 
them call it imprecation or execration, as pleases them. 
It has oftener than once stricken, and shall strike in 

* MS. Letter, State-paper Office, Edinburgh, 15th October, 1570, Ran- 
dolph to Cecil. 


despite of man, maintain and defend her whoso list. 
I am farther accused," he continued, " that I speak of 
their sovereign (mine she is not) as that she were re- 
probate, affirming that she cannot repent ; whereto, I 
answer that the accuser is a calumniator and a manifest 
liar, for he is never able to prove that, at any time, I 
have said that she could not repent ; but I have said, 
and yet say, that pride and repentance abide not in one 
heart of any long continuance." " What I have spoken 
against the adultery, against the murders, against the 
pride, and against the idolatry of that wicked woman, 
I spake not as one that entered into God's secret 
counsel, but being one, of God's great mercy, called to 
preach, according to his blessed' will revealed in his 
Holy Word, I have oftener than once pronounced the 
threatenings of his law against such as have been of 
counsel, knowledge, assistance, or consent, that inno- 
cent blood should be shed. And this same thing I 
have pronounced against all and sundry that go about 
to maintain that wicked woman, and the band of those 
murderers, that they suffer not the death according to 
his Word, that the plague may be taken away from 
this land, which shall never be, so long as she and they 
remain unpunished, according to the sentence of God's 

To enter into the minute details of that miserable 
civil war, by which the country was daily ravaged, and 
the passions of the two rival factions wrought up to 
the highest pitch of exasperation, would be a sad and 
unprofitable task. Notwithstanding some assistance 
in arms and money from France and Spain,-f- and the 
incessant exertions of Grange and Lethington to keep 

* Bannatyne's Journal, pp. 109, 112, inclusive. 
f History of James the Sext, pp. 62, .64. . 


up the spirit of the queen's friends, it was evident that 
they were becoming exhausted under the long-protracted 
struggle ; and the capture of Dumbarton castle by the 
regent, which occurred at this time, gave a severe shock 
to their fortunes. 

This exploit, for its extraordinary gallantry and 
success, deserves notice. The castle, as is well known, 
is strongly situated on a precipitous rock, which rises 
abruptly from the Clyde, at the confluence of the little 
river Leven with this noble estuary. It was com- 
manded by Lord Fleming, who, from the beginning of 
the war, had kept it for the queen; and its importance 
was great, not only from its strength, which made 
many pronounce it impregnable, but because its situ- 
ation on the Clyde rendered it at all times accessible to 
foreign ships, which brought supplies. 

Captain Crawford of Jordanhill, to whom the attack 
was intrusted, had been long attached to the house of 
Lennox. He was the same person whose evidence was 
so important regarding the death of Darnley, and who 
afterwards accused Lethington of participation in the 
murder, since which time he appears to have followed 
the profession of arms. In the enterprise he was 
assisted by Cunningham, commonly called the Laird, 
of Drumwhassel, one of the bravest and most skilful 
officers of his time, and he had been fortunate in se- 
curing the assistance of a man named Robertson, who, 
having once been warder in the castle, knew every step 
upon the rock familiarly, and for a bribe consented to 
betray it. 

With this man, Crawford and his company marched 
from Glasgow after sunset. He had sent before him 
a few light horse, who prevented intelligence by stop- 
ping all passengers, and arrived about midnight at 


Dumbich, within a mile of the castle, where he was 
joined by Drumwhassel and Captain Hume, with a 
hundred men. Here he explained to the soldiers the 
hazardous service on which they were to be employed, 
provided them with ropes and scaling ladders, and 
advancing with silence and celerity, reached the rock, 
the summit of which was fortunately involved in a 
heavy fog, whilst the bottom was clear. But on the 
first attempt all was likely to be lost. The ladders 
lost their hold, whilst the soldiers were upon them ; 
and had the garrison been on the alert the noise must 
inevitably have betrayed them. They listened, how- 
ever, and all was still ; again their ladders were fixed, 
and this time their steel hooks catching firmly in the 
crevices, they gained a small jutting-out ledge, where 
an ash tree had struck its roots, which assisted them, 
as they fixed their ropes to its branches, and thus 
speedily towed up both the ladders and the rest of their 

They were still, however, far from their object. 
They had reached but the middle of the rock, day was 
breaking, and when, for the second time, they placed 
their ladders, an extraordinary impediment occurred. 
One of the soldiers in ascending was seized with a fit, 
in which he convulsively grasped the steps so firmly, 
that no one could either pass him or unloose his hold. 
But Crawford's presence of mind suggested a ready 
expedient ; he tied him to the ladder, turned it, and 
easily ascended with the rest of his men. They were 
now at the bottom of the wall, where the footing was 
narrow and precarious; but, once more fixing their 
ladders in the copestone, Alexander Ramsay, Craw- 
ford's ensign, with two other soldiers, stole up, and 
though instantly discovered on the summit by the 


sentinel, who gave the alarm, leapt down and slew him, 
sustaining the attack of three of the guard till he was 
joined by Crawford and his soldiers. Their weight and 
struggles to surmount it, now brought down the old 
wall and afforded an open breach, through which they 
rushed in, shouting, " a Darnley, a Darnley," Craw- 
ford's watch-word, given evidently from affection for 
his unfortunate master, the late king. The garrison 
were panic-struck, and did not attempt resistance ; 
Fleming the governor, from long familiarity with the 
place, managed to escape down the face of an almost 
perpendicular cleft or gully in the rock, and passing 
through a postern, which opened upon the Clyde, 
threw himself into a fishing-boat and passed over to 

In this exploit the assailants did not lose a man, and 
of the garrison only four eoldiers were slain. In the 
castle were taken prisoners, Hamilton the Bishop of 
St Andrew's, who was found with his mail shirt and 
steel cap on;-f- Verac the French ambassador, Fleming 
of Boghall, and John Hall, an English gentleman, 
who had fled to Scotland after Dacre's rebellion. Lady 
Fleming, the wife of the governor, was also taken, and 
treated by the regent with great courtesy, permitted 
to go free, and to carry off with her her plate and fur- 
niture ; but Hamilton the primate, was instantly 
brought to trial for the murder of the king and the 
late regent, condemned, hanged, and quartered, without 
delay. Of his being not only cognizant, but deeply 
implicated in both conspiracies, there seems little 

* Diurnal of Occurrents, p. 203. Buchanan, Book xx. cap. 28 to 32. 
Historie of James the Sext, pp. 70, 71. Also MS. Letter, State-paper Office, 
B.C., Drury to the Privy-council, 3d April, 1571. Also MS. Letter, State- 
paper Office, B.C., Drury to the Council, 9th April, 1571. 

t MS. Letter, State-paper Office, B.C., Drury to the Council, 9th April, 


doubt;* but the rapidity with which the legal proceed- 
ings were hurried over, and the feeling of personal 
vengeance which mingled with the solemn judgment of 
the law, caused many who were assured of his guilt to 
blame his death. The reformed clergy pointed to his 
fate as a judgment from heaven ; the people, who were 
aware of his corrupt life and profligate principles, 
rejoiced over it; and this distich was fixed to the 
gallows on which he suffered : 

" Cresce diu felix arbor, semperque vireto 
Frondibus, qui nobis talia poma feras." 

The loss of Dumbarton was a severe shock to the 
queen's cause. It gave a death-blow to all hopes of 
foreign aid ; and the regent advanced to Edinburgh 
with the determination of holding a parliament, col- 
lecting his whole force, and at once putting an end to 
the struggle. } Grange, however, still held out the 
castle, keeping the citizens of the capital who favoured 
the king's faction in constant terror, and affording a 
rallying point to the queen's friends. During the late 
abstinence, he had been guilty of many excesses, and 
on one occasion had broken 'che common prison, and 
rescued one of his soldiers who had stabbed a gentleman 
in (the street. It was said, also, that he had carried 
off at the same time a woman, suspected of being cog- 
nizant of the late regent's murder. Upon hearing of 
the outrage, Cecil, his old friend, recently created Lord 
Burghley, remonstrated in indignant terms, expressing 
his horror, that one in his high command, and who had 
in former years of their intimacy been a professor of 

* Copy of the time, State-paper Office, B.C., LordHerries to Lord Scrope, 
10th April, 1571. Also MS. Letter, State-paper Office, Lennox, regent, to 
Burghley, 14th May, 1571. 

t MS. Letter, State-paper Office, Resent to Cecil, (now Lord Burghley.) 
Mth May, 1571, Leith. 


the Gospel, should be guilty of so flagrant a contempt 
of its dictates. The concluding portion of his letter is 
remarkable : " How you will allow my plainness,"" 
said he, " I know not ; but surely I should think 
myself guilty of blood, if I should not thoroughly 
mislike you ; and to this I must add, that I hear, but 
yet am loath to believe it, that your soldiers that broke 
the prison have not only taken out the murderer, your 
man, but a woman that was there detained as guilty 
of the lamentable death of the last good regent. 

" Alas ! my lord, may this be true ? and with your 
help may it be conceived in thought that you, you, I 
mean, that was so dear to the regent, should favour 
his murderers in this sort. Surely, my lord, if this 
be true, there is provided by God some notable work 
of his justice to be showed upon you ; and yet 1 trust 
you are not so void of God's grace : and so for mine 
old friendship with you, and for the avoiding of the 
notable slander of God's word, I heartily wish it to be 
untrue. * * * I pray you commend me .to my 
Lord of Ledington, of whom I have heard such things 
as I dare not believe of him, and yet his deeds make 
me afraid of his well doing."* 

This eloquent appeal of the English minister would 
have been well calculated to recall Grange to his duty, 
had he and Lethington not been aware that there were 
occasions when deeds of violence, and even assassina- 
tion, did not excite, in his placid temper, such extreme 
feelings of abhorrence. 

In the meantime Morton, Makgill, and the Abbot 
of Dunfermline returned from their negotiations in 
England ;-f- and, on rejoining the regent, it was deter- 

* Copy, State-paper Office, endorsed by Cecil himself. " Copy of Taj 
letter to the Laird of Grange. 10th January, 1570-1." 
f 19th April. 


mined to resume hostilities with vigour. Lennox issued 
a summons for the whole force of the realm to meet 
him at Linlithgow on the nineteenth of May, and 
Morton concentrated at Dalkeith the troops which 
were in regular service and pay.* Grange on his part 
was nothing intimidated. He had received money 
from Mary, who, although in captivity, contrived to 
keep a secret intercourse with her supporters ; about the 
same time a seasonable supply of a thousand crowns, 
with arms and ammunition, arrived from France. } 
The Duke joined him with three hundred horse and 
one hundred hagbutters. Lord Herries and Lord 
Maxwell entered the capital with two hundred and 
forty horse, Fernyhirst soon followed them, and the 
castle was so strong in its garrison and its fortifications, 
that he regarded the motions of his opponents with 
little anxiety. 

On the ninth of May, Lennox and Morton, having 
united their forces, encamped at Leith, and erected a 
small battery on a spot called the Dow Craig, J above 
the Trinity Church, with the object of commanding the 
Canongate, a principal street of the city. Here, whilst 
the cannon of the castle opened upon them, they as- 
sembled to hold their parliament, which was numerously 
attended, and fulminated a sentence of forfeiture against 
Lethington, his brother Thomas Maitland, and others 
of the most obnoxious of their opponents. Having 
hurried through these proceedings, they broke up their 
assembly, and abandoned the siege, whilst Grange im- 
mediately held a rival parliament in the queen's name, 
and attacked his enemies with their own weapons. 

* Diurnal of Occurrents, p. 209. f Ibid. p. 211. 

t The Pigeon's Rock. 

Diurnal of Occurrentg, p. 215. Historic of James the Sext, p. 87. 


It is impossible to conceive a more miserable specta- 
cle than that presented at this moment by the coun- 
try and the capital : the country torn and desolated 
by the struggles of two exasperated factions, whose 
passions became every day more fierce and implacable, 
BO that the very children fought under the name of 
king's and queen's men ; * the capital in a state of siege, 
whilst the wretched citizens, placed between the fires 
of the castle and the camp of the regent, were compelled 
to intermit their peaceful labours, and either to serve 
under the queen's banner, or to join Lennox, and 
have their property confiscated. Two hundred chose 
this last severe alternative, and fled to the camp at 
Leith, upon which, Grange passionately deposed the 
provost and magistrates, and placed Kerr of Ferny- 
hirst, a fierce and powerful Border chief, in the civic 
chair, with a council of his retainers to act as bailies.^ 

Amid these transactions, Sir William Drury the 
Marshal of Berwick, had been sent by Elizabeth to 
open negotiations with the leaders of the two factions, 
and, if possible, to bring about a pacification. Such, 
at least, was the avowed object of his mission; but the 
court of England have been accused by Sir James Mel- 
vil of acting at this moment with great duplicity : * 
the various ministers whom they sent into Scotland, 
if we may believe this writer, a man of character, and 
intimately acquainted with the times and the actors, 
were instructed to widen rather than to heal the wounds 
of the country ; and it is certain that Drury 's con- 
ferences with Kirkaldy, Morton, and Lennox, were 
followed by fiercer struggles than before. Nor were 

* Crawford, p. 179. f Diurnal, p. 226. 

J Melvil's Memoirs, p. 240. MS. Letter, State-paper Office, Morton to 
Elizabeth, Leith, 23d August, 1571. 


English intrigue, and the jealous or selfish passions of 
the rival factions, the only causes of the continuance 
of this unhappy state of things : fanaticism added her 
horrors to the war; and the reformed clergy, by a 
refusal to pray for the queen, inflamed the resentment 
of her friends, and gave an example of rancour to the 
people. Knox, their great leader, had some time before 
declared his determination never to acknowledge her 
authority, and no longer to supplicate God for her 
welfare. * On the entry of his enemies the Hamiltons 
into the capital, he had been compelled to a precipitate 
retreat ;*f* but his flight was followed by more resolute 
measures on the part of the Kirk and the clergy, an as- 
sembly being convoked some time after at Stirling, which 
confirmed his judgment and reiterated their refusal. J 
Grange now determined to hold a parliament in 
Edinburgh, whilst the regent and the king's lords re- 
solved to assemble the three Estates in Stirling. On 
the queen's side, sentences of forfeiture and treason 
were pronounced against Lennox the regent, Morton, 
and Mar, the Lords Lindsay, Hay, Cathcart, Glam- 
mis, Ochiltree, Makgill clerk-register, the Bishop of 
Orkney, and a long list of the king's faction, amount- 
ing nearly to two hundred persons. The assembly, 
however, which was only attended by two of the spiritual 
and three of the higher temporal lords, was scarcely 
entitled to the name of a parliament. || On the other 
hand, their opponents,' with a greater attendance of 
the nobility, and a more solemn state, met at Stirling. 

* Diurnal of Occurrents, p. 225. Historic of James the Sext, p. 93. Ban- 
natyne's Journal, p. 98. 

t Historie of James the Sext, p. 75. Bannatyne's Journal, p. 118. 

J Historie of James the Sext, p. 80. 

Diurnal, pp. 236, 242, 243. 

|| Spottiswood, p. 256. MS. State-paper Office, August, 1571. The speech 
of the king in the Tolbooth. 


Here the young king, then an infant of five years, was 
invested in his royal robes, and carried from the palace 
to the parliament by his governor the Earl of Mar, 
where he read a speech which had been prepared for 
him.* The doom of treason was then pronounced 
upon the Duke of Chastelherault, the Earl of Huntley, 
Sir William Kirkaldy of Grange, Lord Claud Hamil- 
ton, the Abbot of Arbroath, Sir James Balfour, Robert, 
afterwards Sir Robert Melvil, and many others; whilst 
it was determined to despatch immediately an embassy 
to Elizabeth for the purpose of concluding a more in- 
timate alliance, and assuring her of their speedy triumph 
over the faction of the Scottish queen.-f Before the 
parliament separated a slight circumstance occurred 
which was much talked of at the time. The little 
king, in a pause of the proceedings, turning to his 
governor, asked him, what house they were sitting in? 
On being answered that it was called the parliament 
house, he looked up to the roof, and pointing to a small 
aperture which his quick eye had detected, observed, 
that there was a hole in that parliament. People 
smiled, but the superstitious declared that it augured 
disaster to the regent, whose death occurred only five 
days after, J in an enterprise which seemed likely at 
first to have brought the war on Grange's side to a 
fortunate and glorious conclusion. 

This able soldier, having learnt the insecurity with 
which the regent and his friends were quartered at 
Stirling, concluded that it would not be difficult, by a 
rapid night march, to surprise the city. Huntley, Lord 

* MS. Letter, State-paper Office, John Case to Drury, Stirling, August 
29, 1571. 

f MS. State-paper Office, August, 1571. Persons forfeited in Scotland. 
Maitland, vol. h. 1124. Diurnal of Occurrents, p. 245. 

J Historic of James the Sest, p. 88. 


Claud Hamilton, Buccleugh, Spens of Wormiston, one 
of the bravest and most successful captains who had 
been bred in these wars, Kerr of Fernyhirst, and two 
officers named Bell and Calder, were the leaders whom 
he selected. Their force consisted of sixty mounted 
hagbutters and three hundred and forty Border horse; 
and as Bell had been born in Stirling, and knew every 
lane and alley, no better guide could have been chosen. 
This little force rode out of Edinburgh in the evening 
of the third of September, some horsemen having been 
previously sent to the ferry and other parts between 
Stirling and the capital, to arrest all passengers and 
prevent any information being carried there. * They 
first took the road towards Peebles, and it was reported 
in the enemy's camp at Leith, that they meditated an 
attack upon Jedburgh. Favoured by the night, how- 
ever, they wheeled off in the direction of Stirling, and 
having left their horses about a mile from that city, 
entered it on foot by a secret passage in the gray of 
the morning before the inhabitants were stirring. So 
complete was the surprise, that they occupied every 
street without difficulty;*^ broke up the noblemen's 
houses; and in an incredibly short time took prisoners 
the regent himself, the Earls of Morton, Glencairn, 
Argyle, Cassillis, Eglinton, Montrose, and Buchan, 
with the Lords Semple, Cathcart, and Ochiltree. These 
were placed under a guard in their houses, and at this 
moment, had the Borderers kept together, the victory 
was complete ; but the Liddesdale men went to the 
spoil, emptied the stables of their horses, broke up the- 

* MS. Letter State-paper Office, from Scotland, a spy to Lord Burghley, 
5th September, 1571. Also, MS. Letter, State-paper Office, Grange and 
Lethington to Sir William Drury, 6th September, 1571. 

t MS. Letter, State-paper Office, Grange and Maitland to Drury, 6th 
September, 1571. 


merchants'" booths, encumbered themselves with booty, 
and dispersed in the lanes instead of watching the 
prisoners. It happened here, too, as is often the case 
in an action of this kind, that a few minutes are often 
invaluable. Morton, before he was taken, had blockaded 
his house, and refusing to surrender till it was set on 
fire, his resistance gave the townsmen time to recover 
themselves. Mar, in the meantime, rushing from the 
castle with forty soldiers, commenced a fire from an 
unfinished lodging, which still fronts the High Street, 
and drove Huntley and Buccleugh with their prisoners 
from the market-place to another quarter, where they 
were assailed by the citizens on all sides ; whilst Len- 
nox, Morton, and the rest of the noblemen, so lately 
captives, snatched up such weapons as were at hand 
in the confusion, and soon put their enemies to flight. 
In the midst of this confusion and struggle, Captain 
Calder, rendered furious by the disappointment, de- 
termined that- the regent, at least, should not escape, 
and coming up behind, shot him through the back. 
Lennox had been made prisoner by Spens of Wormis- 
ton; and this brave and generous man, perceiving 
Calder's cruel intention, threw himself between them, 
and received the same shot in his body, and was then 
hacked to pieces by the soldiers, Lennox faintly im- 
ploring them to spare one who had risked his life in 
his defence. Calder afterwards confessed that he was 
instigated to this savage deed by Lord Claud Hamilton 
and Huntley, before they took the town, in revenge for 
the death of the Archbishop of St Andrew's, whose 
ignominious execution the Hamiltons had sworn to 
visit to the uttermost upon the regent. A swift ven- 
geance, however, overtook his assassin, for lie and 
Bell, the chief leader of the enterprise, having fallen 


into the hands of the enemy, were instantly executed; 
Bell being hanged, having first been put to the torture, 
and Calder broke upon the wheel. * 

Buccleugh was taken, only nine of the queen's party 
slain, and sixteen made prisoners. The loss would 
have been much greater, but that the Liddesdale and 
Teviotdale Borderers had stolen every hoof within the 
town, and not a horse could be found to give the chase. 
It was certainly, even with its half success, a daring 
exploit ; and Grange, in a letter written a few days 
after, whilst he deplored the fate of the regent, could 
not refrain from some expressions of exultation. "In 
their parliament time, (said he,) when all their lords, 
being twenty earls and lords spiritual and temporal, 
were convened in their principal strength, wherein 
there were above two thousand men, three hundred of 
ours entered among them, were masters of the town 
at least for the space of three hours, might have slain 
the whole noblemen if they had pleased, and retired 
themselves in the end with a rich booty, and without 
any harm. 1 '^ The unfortunate regent was able to 
keep his seat on horseback till he entered the castle of 
Stirling, but the first view of his wound convinced 
every one that it was mortal ; and his own feelings 
telling him he had but a few hours to live, he begged 

* Second examination of Bell, State-paper Office, 6th September, 1571. 
" George Bell * * being put to pains, declares he came running down the 
gate for Huntley and Claud, and cried ' shoot the regent ! the traitor is 
coming upon us, and ye will not get him away. ' Declared also that Claud 
inquired of this deponer where is the regent ? who answered again, he is 
down the gait, who gave commandment to him to follow, and gar slay him, 
and so past down and bad shoot him, as he else said. In the meantime, 
Wannestoun bad seek a horse to carry him away." There is also in the 
State-paper Office, the examination of Captain Calder or Gadder, who con- 
fesses that he shot the regent ; and before coming to Stirling, that he had 
received orders from Huntley and Lord Claud Hamilton, to shoot both the 
regent and the Earl of Morton. MS. State-paper Office, 6th September, 

f MS. Letter, State-paper Office, Drury to Burghley, 13th Sept. 1571. 


the chief nobles to come to his bed-side. Here he 
recommended the young king, his grandson, to their 
affectionate care, reminded them that as he had been 
faithful to his office, and had sealed his services with 
his blood, so he trusted they would fill his place by a 
man that feared God and loved his country. For his 
servants, they knew he had been cut off before he could 
reward them, so he must leave their recompense to his 
friends ; for himself, he would only ask their prayers ; 
and for my poor wife Meg, said he, turning to Mar 
and wringing his hand, you, my lord, must remember 
me lovingly to her, and do your best for her comfort.* 
He died that same evening, the fourth of September, 
and on the succeeding day the Earl of Mar, governor 
to the young king, was chosen regent. His competi- 
tors for the office were Argyle, whom Morton had in- 
duced to join the king's faction, and Morton himself, 
who was supported by English influence ; but the 
majority declared for Mar, whose character for honesty 
in these profligate times stood higher than that of any 
of the nobles, -jp 

On his accession to the supreme power, Mar con- 
fidently hoped that, by a judicious mixture of vigour 
and conciliation, he should be able to reduce the op- 
posite faction, and restore peace to the country ; J but 
the difficulties he had to contend against were infinitely 
more complicated than he anticipated. On the one 

* MS. Letter, State-paper Office, Druiy to Burghley, Berwick, Sept. 10, 
1571. Spottiswood, p. 257. 

{ MS. Letter, State-paper Office, Sept. 14, Berwick, Drury to Burghley. 
Also, .Spottiswood, p. 257. In a letter of Drury's to Burghley, MS. State- 
paper Office, B.C., September 5, 1571, he says, speaking of Lennox's reported 
death, " if it he true, the queen's majesty hath received a great loss, the like 
in affection she will never find of a Scottish man born person." 

MS. Letter, State-paper Office, Berwick, September 14, 1571, Drury 
to Burghley. Drury gives Mar a high character as "one of the best nature 
in Scotland, and wholly given to quietness and peace." 

1571. REGENCY OF MAE. 301 

hand Grange's position was strong, and his military 
resources far from being exhausted, as the regent him- 
self soon experienced ; for, after an attempt to bombard 
the city, first on the east side, and afterwards by a 
strong battery on the south, in a spot called the Pleas- 
ance, the name it still bears, he was silenced in both 
quarters, and forced to retire on Leith.* On the other 
hand, every attempt at negotiation was defeated by 
the unreasonable and overbearing conduct of Morton, 
who had entirely governed the late regent, and deter- 
mined either to rule or to overwhelm his successor. 
This daring and crafty man, who was the slave of 
ambition, knew well that his best chance of securing 
the supreme power, lay in keeping up the commotions 
of the country; and in this perfidious effort he received 
rather countenance than opposition from the govern- 
ment of England. So successful were his efforts, that 
for some months after Mar's accession to the regency, 
and during the siege of the capital, the war assumed 
an aspect of unexampled ferocity. 

In the midst of all this nrsery, the supporters of 
the captive queen were generally successful. Mar had 
been compelled to abandon the siege of Edinburgh, and 
BOW sent an earnest petition for assistance from Eliza- 
beth, -f In the north, Adam Gordon of Auchendown, 
Huntley's brother, defeated the king's adherents in 
repeated actions, and brought the whole of the country 
under Mary's obedience. J Gordon's talents for war 
were of the first order, and in his character we find a 
singular mixture of knightly chivalry, with the ferocity 

* MS. Letter, State-paper Office, Berwick, 9th October, 1571, Drury to 
Burghley. MS. Letter, State-paper Office, Hunsdon to Burghley, Berwick, 
November 4, 1571. 

f MS. Letter, State-paper Office, endorsed by Cecil, Cunningham's de- 
mands, October 1, 1571. 

Historic of James the Sext, pp. 109, 113, inclusive. 


of the highland freebooter. Of the first he exhibited 
a striking instance at Brechin, where, after a total 
defeat given to the Earl of Buchan, he generously dis- 
missed nearly two hundred prisoners, most of them 
gentlemen, without ransom or exchange. Of his ven- 
geance, a dreadful example was given in his burning 
the castle of Towie, with its unfortunate mistress 
the Lady Forbes, and. her whole household, thirty- 
seven in number. In her husband's absence, she had 
undertaken its defence, and too rashly defied him from 
the battlements. Such a combination as that exhibited 
by Gordon was no unfrequent production in these 
dark and sanguinary times.* 

Meanwhile, in England, was discovered a new in- 
trigue of the Duke of Norfolk for his marriage with 
the Scottish queen. This nobleman had been liberated 
from the Tower, under the most solemn promises to 
forsake all intercourse with Mary ; but his ambition 
overmastered both prudence and honour, and he had 
again embarked deeply with the Bishop of Ross and 
other 'friends of the captive princess, in their schemes 
for her restoration and marriage. It was not to be 
expected that the English queen should again pardon 
so dangerous an attempt ; and her animosity was roused 
to the highest pitch, when she discovered the skill with 
which the plot had been carried on : its ramifications 
with her own Roman Catholic subjects, its favourable 
reception by the courts of France and Spain, and the 
undiminished spirit and enterprise of Mary. Norfolk 
was accordingly tried and executed, the Bishop of Ross 
sent to the Tower, and a determined resolution em- 

* Historic of James the Sext, pp. 97, 111. Crawford in his Memoirs, p. 
213, attempts to defend Gordon from the exploit, because it was executed 
by one of his captains named Ker ; but gives no proof that it was done with- 
out Gordon's orders. 

1571. REGENCY OF MAR. 303 

braced and openly declared by Elizabeth, that hence- 
forth she would forsake all thoughts of the Scottish 
queen's restoration, and compel a universal obedience 
to the government of the king her son. 

To obtain this, however, she was unwilling to incur 
the expense of an army, or the risk of a defeat. And 
by her orders, Sir William Drury the Marshal of 
Berwick, and Lord Hunsdon the governor, began a 
correspondence with Grange, with the object of bringing 
him to terms. Lord Burghley, also, after a silence of 
two years, sent a friendly message to Lethington, and 
the secretary seemed rejoiced that their intercourse 
was renewed. He lamented their interrupted friend- 
ship, expressed satisfaction that some seeds of love yet 
remained, and trusted they would still produce either 
flower or fruit. To go into all the history of these sad 
times, he said, or of his conduct in them, would be as 
tedious as to declare, " Bellum Trojanum ab Ovo." 
But this he would say, that since the beginning of 
their acquaintance, he had reverenced him as a father, 
and followed his counsels as of the dearest friend he 
had. As to Drury's messages, the matters they had 
to treat of were such as related to honour, duty, and 
surety, no light subjects. They proposed, therefore, 
to send a special messenger to the queen's majesty, 
to inform her particularly of their intentions, and, in 
return, expected, that she would grant a commission, 
either to Drury or some other person, who should be 
empowered to conclude a treaty with them.* 

This high tone appears to have disgusted Elizabeth; 
Drury's letters led to no satisfactory result; and Lord 
Hunsdon, after a tedious correspondence, was equally 

* MS. Letter, State-paper Office, Lethingtou to Burghley, castle of Edin- 
burgh, 26th October, 1571. 


unsuccessful. He was instructed to bring over the 
queen's faction either by negotiation or by force ; but 
when Grange discovered that he had no commission 
from his royal mistress to bind her by any positive 
agreement, he wisely rejected his offers ; and as the 
force of which he talked did not appear to be forth- 
coming, totally disregarded his threats. There is, 
indeed, every reason to believe that Elizabeth's chief 
object at this moment in the negotiations with Mary's 
supporters was, to ascertain their exact strength and 
the practicability of reducing the kingdom under the 
king's obedience.* 

Meanwhile, owing to the season of the year, for 
winter was commencing, she determined to delay all 
hostilities and permit the rival factions to exhaust each 
other, confident that her interest would not materially 
suffer by the delay. Nor were her hopes in this dis- 
appointed. For many miserable months Scotland 
presented a sight which might have drawn pity from 
the hardest heart : her sons engaged in a furious and 
constant butchery of each other ;^ every peaceful or 
useful art entirely at a stand ; her agriculture, her com- 
merce and manufactures neglected; nothing heard from 
one end of the country to the other but the clangour 
of arms and the roar of artillery ; nothing seen but 
villages in flames, towns beleaguered by armed men, 
women and children flying from the cottages where 
their fathers or husbands had been massacred, and even 

MS. Letter, State-paper Office, 10th November, 1571, Berwick, Hnns- 
don to the Lairds of Lethington and Grange ; and also copy of the time, 
State-paper Office, Grange and Lethington to Hunsdon, Edinburgh castle, 
9th December, 1571. 

+ MS. Letter, State-paper Office, Randolph and Drury to Leicester and 
Burghley, Leith, February 23d, 1571-2. Also Ibid, same to Hunsdon, Leith, 
February 26th, 1571-2. Also MS. Letter, Randolph and Drury' to Lord 
Hunsdon, Leith, 10th April, 1572. 

1571-2. REGENCY OF MAR. 305 

the pulpit and the altar surrounded by a steel-clad 
congregation which listened tremblingly with their 
hands upon their weapons. Into all the separate facts 
which would support this dreadful picture I must not 
enter, nor would I willingly conduct my reader through 
the shambles of a civil war: prisoners were tortured or 
massacred in cold blood, or hung by forties and fifties 
at a time ; countrymen driving their carts, or attempt- 
ing to sell their stores in the city, were hanged or 
branded with a hot iron; women coming to market 
were seized and scourged, and, as the punishment did 
not prevent repetition of the offence, one delinquent 
who ventured to retail her country produce, was bar- 
barously hanged in her own village near the city.* 
These are homely details, but they point to much 
intensity of national misery, and made so deep an 
impression, that the period, taking its name from 
Morton, was long after remembered as the days of the 
" Douglas wars." 

When we consider the aggregate of human misery 
and guilt which such a state of things supposes, it is 
impossible to withhold our abhorrence at the cold- 
blooded policy which, for its own ends, could foster its 
continuance. Yet at this moment Elizabeth appears 
to have secured the services of Morton by a pension, 
and these services were wholly directed to oppose every 
effort made by the regent to restore peace to the coun- 
try.-j- His principle was, never to sheath the sword 
till his enemies had unconditionally surrendered, and 
the cause of the captive queen should be rendered 
utterly hopeless. 

* The village of West Edmonston. Diurnal of Occurrents, p. 296. His- 
torie of James the Sext, p. 103. 

. f MS. Letter, State-paper Office, Instruction by Morton, given to Sir "Wil- 
liam Drury to communicate to the Queen's majesty. Ahout 28th Nov. 1571. 


Such a consummation, however, seemed still distant. 
The efforts of Gordon in the north, and Kirkaldy and 
Lethington in the capital, exhibited no signs of feeble- 
ness. Even the shocking severities I have mentioned of 
Morton produced little other feelings than execrations 
against their author; and, before the middle of summer, 
1572, the affairs of the queen were once more in a pros- 
perous condition. Gordon had completely triumphed 
in the north ;* her supporters were masters of the prin- 
cipal city and the strongest fortress in the kingdom ; 
they had been repeatedly supplied with money, arms, 
and ammunition, by France and Spain, and of the 
continued assistance of the latter at least had no reason 
to despair.-f- They had defeated Lord Semple in the 
west ; their arms under Fernyhirst had carried all 
before them in the south; it was evident from her 
long delays that the Queen of England had some 
invincible repugnance to send any force to bombard 
the castle of Edinburgh, and if she did they were in 
want of nothing for their defence ; whilst their gar- 
risons of Niddry, Livingston and Blackness, J amply 
supplied them with provisions. 

At this crisis Elizabeth, who looked with alarm upon 
the increasing strength of her opponents, proposed an 
abstinence for two months, preparatory, as she said, 
to the conclusion of a general peace, on terms which 
should secure the honour and safety of the queen's 
supporters. The negotiations were managed by Sir 
William Drury and the French ambassador De Croc, 

* MS. Letter, State-paper Office, Drury to Lord Hunsdon, Restalrig, 9th 
Tuly, 1572. 

f MS. Letter, State-paper Office, Randolph and Drury to Lord Hunsdon, 
26th February, 1571-2. Also MS. Letter, State-paper Office, Mar to Burgh- 
ley, April 30, 1572. 

MS. Letter, State-paper Office, Drury and Randolph to Hunsdon, 17th 
April, 1572. 

1572. REGENCY OF MAR. 307 

whose services, from the league recently entered into 
between France and England, were not so cordially 
given to the captive queen as on former occasions. It 
seems strange, that so able a statesman as Lethington, 
and one so intimately acquainted with the duplicity 
of the English queen, should on this occasion have been 
prevailed upon to consent to a measure which ulti- 
mately proved the ruin of his mistress's cause.* But 
he and Grange had been branded by their opponents 
as men of blood, who had obstinately refused to give 
a breathing time to their bleeding and exhausted coun- 
try, and to confute the aspersion they agreed to the 
abstinence. It was signed on the thirtieth of July, 
and contained an express provision, that, as soon as 
might be, the nobility and Estates of the realm should 
assemble to deliberate upon a general peace. On the 
same day the truce was proclaimed in the capital, amid 
the shouts and joy of the inhabitants, and the now 
harmless thunder of the ordnance of the castle. 

Having thus suffered themselves to be overreached 
by their crafty opponents, Klrkaldy and Lethington 
were not long allowed to be ignorant of their fatal 
blunder. Mar the regent was indeed sincere, but he 
was completely controlled by Morton. This ambitious 
man now ruled the council at his will ; he successfully 
thwarted every effort to assemble the Estates, or deli- 
berate upon a general pacification; and, unfortunately 
for Scotland, a calamity occurred at this moment which 
struck all Europe with horror, and produced the most 
fatal effects upon any negotiations with which Mary 

* MS. Letter, State-paper Office, Edinburgh castle, 13th July, 1572, 
Lethington and Grange to my Lord Ambassador of England. MS. Letter, 
State-paper Office, Drury to Burghley, Resterwick, (Restalrig,) 18th July, 
1572. Ibid, copy of the time, 30th July, 1572 ; Abstinence of hostility, 
signed by the Castilians. 


and her supporters were connected.* This was the 
massacre of St Bartholomew, an event exhibiting, in 
dreadful reality, the result of Popish principles and 
intrigue ; and which, though applauded in those dark 
times, is now happily regarded alike by Romanists and 
Protestants with unmingled feelings of execration and 
disgust. Five hundred Protestant gentlemen and men 
of rank, and about ten thousand of inferior condition, 
were butchered in cold blood ; the greater part in the 
capital of France, where the king himself, it was re- 
ported, directed the assassins, looking from the windows 
of his palace upon the miserable victims who fled from 
their assailants.-f- In the provinces the same dreadful 
scenes were repeated ; and when the news arrived in 
England, communicated by Walsingham, Elizabetli's 
ambassador at the court of Charles the Ninth, the 
suddenness of the shock electrified the whole country. 
Grief, pity, and indignation, shook the national mind 
as if it had been that of one man. When Fenelon, 
the French ambassador, presented himself at the palace, 
he found the queen and the court clad in mourning. 
He was received in silence ; the stillness of the grave, 
as he himself described it, seemed to reign in the apart- 
ments; the queen indeed endeavoured to preserve her 
equanimity; and, although deeply sorrowful, received 
him without complaint ; but the courtiers, fixing their 
eyes on the ground, refused to notice his greeting. 
Instead of a palace, he seemed to have entered a cham- 
ber of death, where men were met to mourn for their 
dearest friends. J 

But sorrow and indignation were not the only, or 

* MS. Letter, State-paper Office, B.C., Sir William Drury to Lord Burgh- 
ley, 15th September, 157z. 

-f Turner's Elizabeth, vol. iv. History of England, p. 322. 
J Carte, vol. iii. p. 522. Lingard, vol. viii. pp. 113, 114. 

1572. REGENCY OF MAR. S09 

even the strongest, feelings excited on this occasion in 
the breast of Elizabeth. She had indeed recently 
concluded a league with France ; yet this, though it 
restrained the outward violence, did not diminish the 
intensity of her feelings. Fears for her own life, and 
terror for the result of those dark plots, which she had 
already repeatedly detected and severely punished, 
perpetually haunted her imagination, and shook even 
her strong and masculine mind. Of these conspiracies 
Mary was the centre ; she was engaged in a perpetual 
correspondence with the court of Rome ; with France, 
whose name could not now be uttered without calling 
tip images of horror; with Spain, where Philip and 
the Duke of Alva, men hated by the Protestants, had 
recently lent her the most effectual assistance; and, 
what was more alarming to Elizabeth than all, the 
recent trial of Norfolk, and the confessions of the Bishop 
of Ross, now a prisoner in the Tower, had convinced 
her, that as long as the Scottish queen remained in 
England, the minds of her Roman Catholic subjects 
would be kept in perpetual agitation ; that no perma- 
nent tranquillity could be reasonably expected, and 
that, judging by the recent excesses in France, her own 
life might not be secure. 

It is impossible to blame such feelings or such con- 
clusions. They were natural and inevitable; yet here 
let it not be forgotten, that the terrors of the English 
queen are to be traced to an act of flagrant injustice. 
She had seized and imprisoned Mary, contrary to every 
principle of the law of nations, to the promises she had 
given, to the commonest feelings of humanity ; and 
her present thorny anxieties for her life and crown were 
a just retribution for such conduct: making, however, 
every allowance for the fears of her council and her 



people, and the attachment of her great minister 
Burghley, we are scarcely prepared for the calmness 
with which the death of the Scottish queen was recom- 
mended by the House of Commons, and strongly urged 
by Cecil. Elizabeth, however, would not listen to their 
arguments, and at last peremptorily put an end to their 
consultations.* She had already publicly declared, 
that there had been no sufficient evidence exhibited 
against Mary by those who accused her of the death 
of her husband ; and to bring her to trial in England, 
or to cause her to be publicly put to death without 
trial, would, she felt, be equally unjust and odious. 
She accordingly contented herself, after the death of 
Norfolk, with sending Lord de la Ware, Sir R. Sadler, 
and Bromley her Solicitor-general, to interrogate the 
Scottish queen regarding her political connexion with 
that unfortunate man, and to remonstrate against any 
continuation of her intrigues.-f- On this 1 occasion 
Mary, although plunged in grief for the recent execu- 
tion of the duke, was roused by the harshness of the 
messengers to a spirited vindication of her rights as a 
free princess. Some of the allegations she admitted, 
some she palliated, others she peremptorily denied, and 
the interview led, and was probably intended to lead, 
to no definite result. 

But if Elizabeth abandoned all thoughts of bringing 
her royal prisoner to a public trial, and putting her to 
death in England, it was only to embrace a more dark 

* The English bishops, in answer to a question of Burghley's, had given 
it as their opinion, that Elizabeth might lawfully put Mary to death, and 
justified their sentence by reasons of Scripture taken from the Old Testa- 
ment. See British Museum, Caligula, C. ii. fol. 524, and D'Ewes' Journal, 
p. 507. Also Lingard, vol. viii. p. 106-108. 

f Camden, p. 442. MS. State-paper Office, Papers of Mary queen of 
Scots. The Lord De la Ware's and the rest of the commissioners' proceedings 
with the Scottish queen, June llth, 1572. Also MS. draft by Cecil, State- 
paper Office, Minute to the Scottish queen by the Lord De la Ware, &c. 

1572. REGENCY OF MAR. 311 

and secret expedient, and what she judged a surer 
mode of getting rid of her hated and dangerous prisoner. 
The plot was an extraordinary one, and its details, 
upon which I now enter, are new to this part of our 

Previous to the massacre of Saint Bartholomew, and 
after the failure of the negotiations for peace in Scot- 
land, which were conducted by the French ambassador 
De Croc, and Sir William Drury, Elizabeth had re- 
solved to send a new envoy to that country, with the 
object of watching over the English interests. When 
the dreadful news arrived from France, Burghley and 
Leicester pressed upon the English queen the necessity 
of instant attention to her safety on the side of Scot- 
land, and Mr Henry Killigrew was selected to proceed 
thither. * He was instructed to negotiate both with 
Mar the regent, and the opposite faction led by Leth- 
ington and Grange ; to exhort both sides to observe 
the late abstinence ; to give them the details of the 
late horrible massacre, expressing the queen's convic- 
tion that it was premeditated, and to implore them to 
be on their guard. 

Such was his public mission, but shortly before he 
set out, Killigrew was informed that a far greater 
matter was to be intrusted to his management, that it 
was to be conducted with the utmost secrecy, and was 
known to none but Elizabeth, Leicester, and Burgh- 
ley.^ In an interview with the queen herself, to which 
none were admitted but these two lords, he received 
his instructions, which remain drawn up by Cecil in 

* MS. Letter, State-paper Office, copy, August, 1572, Instructions to 
Henry Killigrew touching the troubles in Scotland, being sent thither after 
the Great Murder that was in France. 

+ MS. Letter, State-paper Office, Killigrew to Burghley and Leicester, 
November. 23, 1572. 


his own hand.* It was explained to him, that it had 
at last become absolutely necessary to execute the 
Scottish queen, and that, unless the realm were de- 
livered of her, the life of Elizabeth was no longer safe. 
This might, indeed, be done in England, but for some 
good respects, it was thought better that she should be 
sent to Scotland, and delivered to the regent and his 
party, " to proceed with her by way of justice."^ To 
accomplish this must depend, it was said, upon his 
skilful management. He must frame matters so, that 
the offer must come from them, not from the English 
queen. This would probably not be difficult, for they 
had already many times before, under the former re- 
gents, made proposals of this nature. If such an offer 
were again made, he was now empowered to agree to it; 
but it must be upon the most solemn assurance, that 
she should be put to death without fail, and that neither 
England nor Scotland should be endangered by her 
hereafter: for otherwise, it was added, to have her and 
to keep her, would be of all other ways the most danger- 
ous.]: If, however, he could contrive it so that the 
regent or Morton should secretly apply to some of the 
lords of the English council, to have her given up, now 
was the best time ; only, it was repeated, it must be 
upon absolute surety that she should receive what she 
deserved, and that no further peril could ever possibly 
occur, either by her escape, or by setting her up again. 

Murdin, p. 224. 

f Dr Robertson notices the paper in Murdin, and severely condemns this 
proposal of Elizabeth. This eminent writer interprets it, as if the queen 
had desired the Scottish regent to bring Mary to a public trial, and, if con- 
demnation followed, to execute her. It seems to me clear, however, that 
the words, "proceed with her by way of justice,'''' when taken with the con- 
text, can bear but one meaning, the same meaning in which Leicester em- 
ploys the phrase, in his letter in the Proofs and Illustrations, No. IX., that of 
executing her summarily and without delay. See Dr Lingard, voL viii. p. 
118. J Murdin, p. 224. 

1572. REGENCY OF MAR. 313 

To make certain of this, hostages must be required by 
him, and those, of the highest rank, that is to say, 
children or near kinsfolk of the regent and the Earl 
of Morton. Last of all, he was solemnly reminded 
that the queen's name must not appear in the transac- 
tion; and Elizabeth herself, in dismissing him, bade 
him remember that none but Leicester, Burghley, and 
himself, were privy to the great and delicate charge 
which was now laid upon him, adding a caution, that 
if it " came forth" or was ever known, he must answer 
for it. To this, Killigrew replied, "that he would 
keep the secret as he would his life ; " and immediately 
set out on his journey. * 

On entering Scotland, his first visit was to Tantal- 
lon, Morton's castle, where that nobleman was confined 
by sickness ; but the ambassador received from him the 
strongest assurances of devotedness to the young king 
his sovereign, and to Elizabeth, whose interests he 
believed to be the same. Knox had returned again to 
Edinburgh, and the recent news of the massacre in 
France was producing the strongest excitement. On 
repairing to Stirling to meet the regent, he passed 
through the capital, and encountered there his old 
friend Sir James Melvil, from whom he understood 
something of the state of the Castilians,^ as the queen's 
party were now called ; and, in his subsequent inter- 
view with Mar, he found him expressing himself de- 
cidedly against any intimate alliance with France, and 
determined, so long as he had any hope of effectual 
assistance from England, never to connect himself with 
a foreign power. So far all was favourable, but it was 

* MS. Letter, State-paper Office, Killigrew to Burghley and Leicester, 
November 23, 1572. 

*h MS. Letter, State-paper Office, Killigrew to Burghley and Leicester, 
September 14, 1572. 


evident to Killigrew, that, without additional forces, 
which he well knew Elizabeth would be unwilling to 
send, the regent could never make himself master of 
the castle. 

These, and similar particulars connected with his 
public mission, he communicated, as he had been pre- 
viously instructed, to the secretary of state ; but his 
proceedings in the other great and secret matter touch- 
ing Mary, were contained in letters addressed to Cecil 
and Leicester jointly, and he appears to have lost no 
time in entering upon it. He informed them in a 
despatch on the nineteenth of September, that he had 
already "dealt with a fit instrument, and expected 
that the regent and the Earl of Morton would soon 
break their minds unto him secretly."* The instru- 
ment thus selected to manage the secret and speedy 
execution of the unhappy Mary was Mr Nicholas 
Elphinston, a dependant of the late Regent Moray, 
and who, from an expression of Killigrew, appears to 
have been on a former occasion employed in a similar 
negotiation. Matters, however, were not expedited 
with that rapidity which Burghley deemed necessary; 
and this minister, although assured by his agent that 
he could not for his life make more speed than he had 
done, determined to urge him forward. For this pur- 
pose he addressed to him a letter jointly from himself 
and Leicester. In reading it as it still exists in the 
original draft in Cecil's hand, with its erasures and cor- 
rections, it is striking to remark the contrast between 
its cold and measured style, and the cruel purpose 
which it advocates. It was written from Windsor, 
and ran thus : 

* MS. Letter, British Museum, Caligula, C. iii. foL 365, Killigrew to 
Burghley, September 19, 1572. 

1572. REGENCY OF MAR. 315 

"After our hearty commendations, we two have 
received your several letters directed to us, whereof 
the last came this last night, being of the twenty-fourth 
of September, and as we like well the comfort you 
give us of the towardness in the special matter com- 
mitted to you, so we do greatly long to receive from 
you a further motion with some earnestness, and that 
both moved to you and prosecuted by them of valour, 
as we may look for assurance to have it take effect ; 
for when all other ways come in consideration, none 
appeareth more ready to be allowed here by the best, 
than that which you have in hand. Wherefore we 
earnestly require you to employ all your labours, to 
procure that it may be both earnestly and speedily 
followed there, and yet also secretly as the cause re- 
quireth : and when we think of the matter, as daily, 
yea hourly, we have cause to do, we see not but the 
same reasons that may more us to desire that it take 
effect, ought also to move them, and in some part the 
more, considering both their private sureties, their 
common estate, and the continuance of the religion; 
all which three points are in more danger from [for] 
them to uphold than for us. The causes thereof we 
doubt not, but you can enlarge to them, if you see that 
they do not sufficiently foresee them. We suspend all 
our actions only upon this, and, therefore, you can do 
no greater service than to use speed. 

" Your loving friends, 


"From Windsor, the 29th of Sept. 1572." 

In the interval between this letter and Killigrew's 
last despatch, the English envoy had not been idle. 
He had assured himself of Morton's cordial co-operation 

* MS. British Museum, Caligula, C. iii. fol. 394. This letter being a first 
draft by Cecil, is signed only by him. 


in the scheme for having Mary secretly executed; and, 
according to the instructions received from his own 
court, he had availed himself of the deep and general 
horror occasioned by the late murders in France to 
excite animosity against the Papists, and to convince 
all ranks, that without the most determined measures 
of defence, their lives and their religion would fall a 
sacrifice to the fury of their enemies.* He also had 
seen and consulted with Knox, who, although so feeble 
that he could scarce stand alone, was as entire in intel- 
lect and resolute in action as ever. The picture given 
of this extraordinary man by Killigrew, in a letter 
addressed to Cecil and Leicester, written on the sixth 
of October, in reply to theirs of the twenty -ninth of 
September, is very striking. " I trust," said he, " to 
satisfy Morton, and as for John Knox, that thing, you 
may see by my despatch to Mr Secretary, is done, and 
doing daily ; the people in general well bent to Eng- 
land, abhorring the fact in France, and fearing their 
tyranny. John Knox (he continued) is now so feeble 
as scarce can he stand alone, or speak to be heard of 
any audience; yet doth he every Sunday cause himself 
to be carried to a place, where a certain number do 
hear him, and preacheth with the same vehemency and 
zeal that ever he did. He doth reverence your lord- 
ship much, and willed me once again to send you word, 
that he thanked God he had obtained at his hands, 
that the gospel of Jesus Christ is truly and simply 
preached through Scotland, which doth so comfort him, 
as now he desireth to be out of this miserable life. He 
further said, that it was not of your lordship's^ that 

* MS. Letter, State-paper Office, Edinburgh, Sept. 29, 1572. Killigrew 
to Burghleyand Leicester. 

f The meaning is, I think, "that it was from no fault of your lordship's :" 
that is, of Burghlej. 

1572. REGENCY OF MAR. 317 

he was not a great bishop in England ; but the effect 
grown in Scotland, he being an instrument, doth much 
more satisfy him. He desired me to make his last 
commendations most humbly unto your lordship, and 
withal, that he prayed God to increase his strong spirit 
in you, saying, that there was never more need."* 

It was, no doubt, by Knox?s advice that proclama- 
tion was made on the third of October for a convention 
of the "professors of the true religion," to consult upon 
the dangers resulting from the conspiracies of the Pa- 
pists. To the sheet on which it was printed, there 
were added certain heads or articles, said to be extracts 
from the secret contract between the pope, the emper- 
or, and the Kings of Spain and Portugal, for the 
extirpation of the Protestant faith ; -f- and Killigrew 
believed that all these preliminaries would prepare the 
mind of the people for any extremities that might be 
used against their unhappy sovereign. 

Meanwhile, his tool, the Abbot of Dunfermline, was 
secretly trafficking with Morton and the regent, and so 
far succeeded, that on the nin^h of October a conference 
on the proposed execution of Mary was held at Dalkeith, 
in Morton's bed-chamber, he being still confined by 
sickness. None were present but the Regent Mar, 
and Killigrew, who immediately communicated the 
result to Cecil and Leicester in the following letter : 

"My singular good lords What has past here 
since my last, touching the common cause, I have writ- 
ten to Mr Secretary at length. 

" Now for the great matter ye wot of. At my being 

* MS. Letter, British Museum, Caligula, C. iii. fol. 370, 6th Oct., Killi- 
grew to Burghley and Leicester. 

) Broadside, State-paper Office, entitled "Proclamation for a convention 
of the professors of the true religion." October 3, 1572 ; printed by Lek- 
previk, at St Andrew's, A.D. 15/2. 


at Dalkeith with my Lord Regent's grace, the Earl of 
Morton and he had conference, and both willing to do 
the thing you most desire ; howbeit, I could have no 
answer there, but that both thought it the only way 
and the best way to end all troubles, as it were, in 
both realms. They told me, notwithstanding, the 
matter was dangerous, and might come so to pass, as 
they should draw war upon their heads ; and in that 
case, or rather to stop that peril, they would desire her 
majesty should enter in league defensive, comprehend- 
ing therein the cause of religion also. 

" We came (he continued) to nearer terms, to wit, 
that her majesty should, for a certain time, pay the 
sum that her highness bestoweth for the keeping of 
her in England, to the preservation of this crown, and 
take the protection of the young king. All this I 
heard, and said, if they thought it not profitable for 
them, and that if they meant not to will me to write 
earnestly as their desire, I would not move my pen 
for the matter; whereat the Earl of Morton raised 
himself in his bed, and said, that both my Lord Regent 
and he did desire it, as a sovereign salve for all their 
sores : howbeit, it could not be done without some man- 
ner of ceremony, and a kind of process, whereunto the 
noblemen must be called after a secret manner, and 
the clergy likewise, which would ask some time. Also, 
that it would be requisite her majesty should send such 
a convoy with the party, that in case there were people 
would not like of it, they might be able to keep the field; 
adding farther, that if they can bring the nobility to 
consent, as they hope they shall, they will not keep the 
prisoner three hours alive, after he come into the 
bounds of Scotland.* But I, leaving of these devices, 

* Sic in original. 

1572. REGENCY OF MAR. 319 

desired to know, indeed, what they would have me 
write ; and it was answered, that I should know farther 
of my Lord Regent's grace here. So, as this morning, 
a little before dinner, going to take my leave of him, 
as he was going towards Stirling, he told me, touching 
that matter, which was communed upon at Dalkeith, 
he found it very good, and the best remedy for all 
diseases, and willed me so to write unto your honours; 
nevertheless, that it was of great weight, and therefore 
he would advise him of the form and manner how it 
might best be brought to pass, and that known, he 
would confer more at length with me in the same. 
Thus took I my leave of him, and find him, indeed, 
more cold than Morton, and yet seemed glad and de- 
sirous to have it come to pass. 1 "* 

Killigrew proceeded to say, in the same letter, that 
some were of opinion the queen could not be executed 
without the meeting of parliament, which might be 
called suddenly, and under pretence of some other busi- 
ness. The reason assigned was, that the Scottish queen 
had only been condemned as worthy of deposition on 
the ground of her accession to the murder of her hus- 
band; she had not yet been judged to die.-f- This 
proposition met with no encouragement from the Eng- 
lish envoy; a clear proof that a secret and speedy 
death was the object desired by Elizabeth. The pro- 
posal was, as he hinted, an excuse to delay time, and 
to agree to it, would have been to act contrary to his 
instructions. The conclusion of his letter I must give 
in his own words : 

" Although there be, that do assure me that the 

* MS. Letter, Caligula, C. iii. fol. 373, 374, Killigrew to Burghley and 
Leicester, 9th October, 1572. 

t MS. Letter, British Museum, Caligula, C. iii. fol. 374, 375, Killigrew 
to Lords Burghley and Leicester, October 9, 1572. 


regent hath, after a sort, moved this matter to nine of 
the best of their party, to wit, that it were fit to make 
a humble request to the queen's majesty, to have hither 
the cause of all their troubles and to do, etc., who have 
consented to him, and that I am also borne in hand, 
that both he and the Earl of Morton do, by all dexterity, 
proceed in the furtherance thereof, yet can I not assure 
myself of anything, because I see them so inconstant, 
so divided * * *. I am also told, that the hostages 
have been talked of, and that they shall be delivered 
to our men upon the fields, and the matter despatched 
within four hours, so -as they shall not need to tarry 
long in our hands ; but I like not their manner of 
dealing, and therefore leave it to your wisdom to con- 
sider if you will have me continue to give ear, and 
advertise [if] I shall : if not, I pray your lordships let 
me be called hence."" * 

In this last sentence it is impossible not to see that 
the emphatic "to do, et cetera; 11 the delivery of the 
Scottish hostages for the performance of the agreement 
upon the fields ; and the " despatching the matter, 11 
that is, having the queen put to death, " within four 
hours; 11 all show that both the regent and Morton 
had given their full consent to the proposal. Measures 
were to be taken to have the sentence pronounced, (if, 
indeed, any ceremony of a sentence was seriously con- 
templated,) and the execution hurried over with the 
utmost expedition and economy ; and the only cause 
of delay on the part of the regent and his brother earl, 
was the selfish wish of making the most profit of this 
cruel bargain. 

Four days after this, on the thirteenth of October, 

* MS. Letter, British Museum, Caligula, C. iii. fol. 375, KUligrew to 
Burghley and Leicester, October 9, 1572. 

1572. REGENCY OF MAR; 321 

Killigrew sent another secret packet to Leicester and 
Burghley. He had again been at Dalkeith, and found 
not only Morton " very hot and earnestly bent in the 
matter," but " the two ministers" equally eager in the 
business. From the cautious manner in which the 
English envoy wrote, the names* of these two ministers 
are suppressed, and in such a case conjecture is un- 
satisfactory. We know that Mr Nicholas Elphinston, 
and Pitcairn the Abbot of Dunfermline, were the in- 
struments, already employed by Morton and Killigrew 
in this dark negotiation, and it is possible that they 
are here meant. Two other facts also are certain, from 
a letter of the English envoy: the one that Cecil had 
enjoined him to avail himself of the co-operation of the 
Kirk in accomplishing the objects of his negotiation; 
the other, that he had already consulted John Knox, 
who, even in " extreme debility," and as he describes 
it, " with one foot in the grave," was in mind as active 
as ever. From a letter already quoted, we have seen 
his convictions of Mary's guilt, and wishes for her 
execution ; he may, therefore, have been one of the 
ministers to whom allusion was made. But this is 
speculation ; and, after all, it might be argued, that 
from the words of Killigrew, the matter he spoke of 
to Knox was not the execution of Mary, as the former 
private interview may have solely related to the best 
method of exciting the people against France and the 
Catholic faction in Scotland. 

However this may be, the English ambassador was 
informed by Morton, that if Mar showed coldness, 
or delayed to execute the matter, it should be done 
without him ; and he added, that as he was Lieu- 
tenant-general of the whole kingdom on this side Tay, 


he had power to carry it into execution.* He hinted, 
however, that if Elizabeth hoped to gain this great 
object, she must be more cordial in her support, and 
more generous in her advances. Her refusal to assist 
them, and her coldness, had already, he said, alienated 
some hearts, though not his. To this, Killigrew shrewd- 
ly replied, that if Morton could, at this moment, have 
given some good assurance that Mary should be exe- 
cuted, or, as he expressed it in his dark language, for 
the performance " of the great matter" then he might 
safely reckon on the Queen of England for the satisfy- 
ing his desires : but he must recollect, that its accom- 
plishment was the sole ground on which a defensive 
league between the two countries could be negotiated. 
Without it " a man could promise nothing. "} 

From the ambassador's next letter, however, any 
anticipated coldness or disinclination on the part of 
Mar appears to have entirely vanished. It was written 
from Stirling, and informed Burghley and Leicester, 
that the regent, after some general observations on the 
subject of the peace, began to speak, "touching the 
great matter, wherein,"" said he, " I found him very 
earnest." "He had sent," he said, "his resolute mind 
to the Lord Morton by the abbot, and desired him 
(Killigrew) to write speedily to Burghley and Leices- 
ter, that they might further the same by all possible 
means, as the only salve for the cure of the great sores 
of the commonwealth.'" " I perceive," added Killigrew, 
" that the regent's first coldness grew rather for want 
of skill how to compass so great a matter, than for lack 

* MS. Letter, British Museum, Caligula, C. iii. foL 376, Killigrew to 
Burghlev and Leicester, 13th October, 1572. 
f Ibid. 

1572. REGENCY OF MAR. 323 

of good will to execute the same. He desired me also 
to write unto your honours to be suitors unto your 
majesty for some relief of money towards the payment 
of his soldiers. 1 '* 

It is very striking, that in the midst of these dark 
practices, and when he had not only consented to 
Mary's death, but pressed that it should be speedy, 
Mar was himself struck with mortal sickness, and died 
at Stirling, (on the twenty-eighth of October,) within 
ten days after his interview with the English ambas- 
sador.'f* Previous to this event, however, he and 
Morton had sent to Killigrew by the Abbot of Dun- 
fermline, the conditions on which they were ready to 
rid Elizabeth of her rival. They stipulated that the 
Queen of England should take the young king their 
sovereign under her protection ; they demanded a 
declaration from the English parliament, that his 
rights should not be prejudged by any sentence or 
process against his mother ; they required that there 
should be a defensive league between England and 
Scotland: and that the Earls of Huntingdon, Bedford, 
or Essex, accompanied with two or three thousand of 
her-majesty's men of war, should assist at the execution. 
These troops were afterwards to join the young king's 
forces in reducing the castle of Edinburgh. This for- 
tress, when recovered from the enemy, was to be de- 
livered to the regent, and all arrears then due to the 
Scottish forces were to be paid by England. 

With these conditions Killigrew was grievously 
disappointed. He instantly, however, sent them by 
Captain Arrington, a confidential messenger, to Burgh- 

* MS. Letter, State-paper Office, Killigrew to Burghley and Leicester, 
19th October, 1572, Stirling. 

t See Proofs and Illustrations, No. XI., Letter of Killigrew on the death 
of Mar. 


ley, accompanied by a letter, in which he mentioned 
Mar's extreme danger, but gave some little hope of life. 
At the moment, however, when this was written at 
Edinburgh, the regent had expired at Stirling, and 
Burghley received the account of his death, and the 
" Articles of agreement, touching the great matter," 
almost at the same instant. Although commonly 
of a calm and collected temper, his agitation on the 
present occasion seems to have been extreme. The 
articles themselves were such as he had little expected 
the price of blood demanded by the Scottish earls was 
unreasonably high; and he felt indignant at Killigrew, 
that he should ever have received such proposals. But, 
even if it had not been so, the death of Mar rendered 
it impossible to carry them into execution with the 
speed the necessity required ; and he immediately 
wrote to Leicester, informing him of the total failure 
of their Scottish project, and emphatically remarking, 
that the queen must how fall back upon her last re- 
source for the safety of herself and her kingdom . What 
this was, he shrunk from stating in express words ; but 
he knew that Leicester could supply them, and there 
is not the slightest doubt that he alluded to the exe- 
cution of Mary in England. His letter, however, is 
too characteristic to be omitted*. It is wholly in his 
own hand. 

" My Lord, This bearer came to me an hour and- 
a-h[alf] after your departure. The letters .which he 
brought me are here included. I now see the queen's 
majesty hath no surety but as she hath been counselled, 
for this way that was meant for dealing with Scotland 
is, you may see, neither now possible, nor was by their 
articles made reasonable. If her majesty will continue 
her delays, for providing for her own surety by just 

1572. REGENCY OF MAR. 325 

means given to her by God, she and we all shall vainly 
call upon God when the calamity shall fall upon us. 
God send her majesty strength of spirit to preserve 
God's cause, her own life, and the lives of millions of 
good subjects, all which are most manifestly in danger, 
and that only by her delays : and so consequently she 
shall be the cause of the overthrow of a noble crown 
and realm, which shall be a prey to all that can invade 
it. God be merciful to us."* 

Thus was Burghley and Leicester's project for Mary's 
secret execution by the hands of her own subjects de- 
stroyed by the death of Mar, at the moment he had 
consented to it ; and the scheme which these cruel and 
unscrupulous politicians conceived themselves to have 
so deeply laid, on which they pondered, as Cecil owned, 
" daily and almost hourly," entirely discomfited and 
cast to the winds. 

Mary in the meantime was herself unconscious of 
the danger she had escaped ; and indeed it is worthy 
of observation, that so well had the English ambassador 
kept his counsel, and so true were the conspirators to 
their secret, that after a concealment of nearly three 
centuries, these dark intrigues, with all their ramifica- 
tions, have now for the first time been made a portion 
of our national history .-f* Another base transaction 

* MS. Letter, British Museum, Caligula, C. iii. fol. 386, Burghley to 
Leicester, 3d November, 1572. 

t Dr Robertson not having access to the State-paper Office, had not seen 
the letters of Killigrew and Burghley, which unveil this part of Mary's his- 
tory. He consequently falls into the error of stating, that Mar, from his 
honourable feelings, instantly rejected Killigrew's proposal of bringing Mary 
to her trial in Scotland, pronouncing her guilty, and executing her. All 
subsequent historians, amongst the rest the acute and learned Lingard, have 
been misled by this view of the transaction. Killigrew's and Burghley's 
Letters have at length given us the truth. No trial, it appears to me, was 
ever contemplated ; although, to use Morton's words, " a kind of process" 
was to be used after a secret manner, (supra, p. 31 8 ;) and Mar, though at 
first cold in the matter, at last, gave his full consent to Mary's being put to 
death as speedily and secretly as possible. 





stains the history of this year. During Morton's exile 
in England the Earl of Northumberland had been his 
kindest friend : Northumberland himself was now a 
captive in Scotland, under the charge of Morton ; but, 
instead of a return of benefits, this base and avaricious 
man sold his unhappy prisoner to Elizabeth, who 
shortly after had him executed at York. * 

* MS. Letter, State-paper Office, Hunsdon to Burghley, 1st May, 1572. 
Ibid. Mar to Hunsdon, 23d May, 1572. Also Ibid. Hunsdon to Burghley, 
'29th May, 1572. Camden, p. 445. Gonzalez, p. 376. 





^England. 1 France. I Germany. I Spain. I Portugal. I Popet. 
Elizabeth. | Charles IX. | Maximilian U. | Philip II. I Sebastian. I Gregory XIIL 

THE death of Mar, over which there hung some sus- 
picion of poison, threw Killigrew, the English ambas- 
sador, into much perplexity;* and Burghley, who had 
received the news as early as the third of November, 
wrote on that day to Walsingfram, the English am- 
bassador at the French court, in much anxiety. "The 
twenty-eighth of the last," said he, " the good Regent 
of Scotland is dead, as I think by a natural sickness, 
and yet the certainty is not known. This will make 
our causes the worse in Scotland, for I fear the con- 
veyance away of the king; and yet there is care taken 
for his surety; but I can almost hope for no good, seeing 
our evils fall by heaps, and why the heaps fall not upon 
ourselves personally, I see no cause to the let thereof 
in ourselves. God be merciful to us. * *""f" 
Elizabeth, who felt the importance of the event, and 

* MS. Letter, Caligula, B. viii. fol. 302, Killigrew to Leicester, begun. 28th 
October, finished 31st October, 1572. 

f MS. Letter, Vespasian, F. vi.fol. 181 d. Burghley to Walsingham, 3d 
November, 1572. 


dreaded the success of French money and intrigues in 
Scotland, lost not a moment in taking measures to 
preserve her party. She wrote to the Countess of 
Mar, recommending her to watch over the safety of 
the young prince, her dear relative, in whose welfare 
she took the deepest interest; and she sent a flattering 
letter to the Earl of Morton, in which, with unusual 
condescension, she addressed him as if already regent, 
calling him her well-beloved cousin, commending the 
wisdom with which he had governed himself in times 
past in seasons of great difficulty, and expressing her 
hope that he and the nobility would take measures for 
the safety of the young king, and the repose of the 
realm. For more particulars she referred him to 
Killigrew, her ambassador; and alluding to the neces- 
sity of appointing a new regent, trusted that the election 
would not disturb the quiet of the country. * 

These were politic s.teps, as Morton was undoubtedly 
at this time the most able and powerful of the nobility. 
Even under Mar he had regulated every public mea- 
sure; and when it was certain that the regent was on 
his death-bed, the whole administration of affairs seems 
naturally to have devolved on him.-f- He was sup- 
ported by the great majority of the nobles, by the 
influential party of the Church, and by the friendship 
of England. Against such influence the Castilians 
and their friends could do little ; and, after a feeble 
opposition, he was chosen regent in a parliament held 
at Edinburgh on the twenty-fourth of November, and 
proclaimed next day with the usual solemnity. J 

* Copy, State- paper Office, 4th November, 1572, Elizabeth to Morton. 

t MS. Letter, Caligula, B. viii. fol. 300. Killigrew to Burghley, and 
Leicester, 29th October, 1572. 

Copy, State-paper Office, Killigrew to the Queen, 2d December, 1572 
See MS. State-paper Office, 19th November, 1572, Noblemen, and others, 
met at the convention in Edinburgh. 


At this parliament Elizabeth's letters to the Scottish 
nobilit y were publicly read ; and although these were 
not so decided in their language as her partisans had 
desired, there can be little doubt that the knowledge 
of her favour to Morton produced the greatest influence. 
On in forming his royal mistress and her minister Burgh- 
ley of the late events, Killigrew earnestly advised 
some more effectual assistance to be sent to the new 
regent. He had in vain endeavoured to induce the 
two factions to refer their controversies to Elizabeth. 
The Castilians were still confident in the strength of 
their fortress, and looked to speedy aid from France ; 
Morton on the other hand, although he admitted the 
desirableness of peace, had invariably asserted, that to 
storm the castle and utterly subdue the king's enemies 
would be the only means to establish a firm government, 
and restore security alike to Scotland and England. 
But it was evident that this could not be done without 
some effectual assistance. The regent and the nobles 
were too poor to maintain any sufficient body of troops 
on their own resources, and the danger seemed to be, 
that if not supported by Elizabeth, they would look to 

"This regent," said Killigrew, in his letter to Burgh- 
ley, " is a shrewd fellow, and I fear little Douglas be 
not come home out of France without some offers to 
him among others; howbeit, hitherto I can perceive 
nothing at all, for he assureth me still to run the 
course of England as much as ever regent did. Not- 
withstanding I see not how he can make war till the 
parliament be ended, though he had aid of money, and 
that for two reasons : the one, the parliament is ap- 
pointed in this town, which cannot well be holden, 
because of the castle, if it were war, and the parliament 


must of necessity be holden for many weighty reasons; 
the other is the regent's indisposition, as he is not like 
to travel for a month or two, but rather to keep his 
bed or chamber under the surgeon's care for a disease 
that hath much troubled him this five or six years. 1 '* 

A few days after the despatch of this letter, Killi- 
grew made a rapid journey to Berwick to hold a con- 
ference with Sir William Drury on Scottish matters, 
and obtain his advice and assistance. He was recalled 
suddenly, however, to Edinburgh, by a report of Mor- 
ton's extreme danger, but found him much recovered, 
and soon after had the satisfaction of receiving an 
assurance from England, that the queen had determined 
to give effective support to the new regent both in 
money and troops.^ Of the money, part was instantly 
paid down, and, by Elizabeth's directions, two skilful 
engineers, Johnson and Fleming, repaired to Edin- 
burgh and examined the strength of the castle. They 
reported that, with a proper force and battering trains 
it might be taken in twenty days, and it was resolved, 
as soon as the season of the year permitted, to begin 
the siege. 

It was in the midst of these transactions, and on the 
very day on which Morton was chosen regent, that 
the celebrated reformer Knox died, in his house at 
Edinburgh. J He was scarcely to be called an aged 
man, not having completed his sixty-seventh year, but 
his life had been an incessant scene of theological and 


* MS. Letter, State-paper Office, Killigrew to Burghley, December 10, 
1572, Edinburgh. 

f MS. Letter, State-paper Office, B.C., Sir William Drury to Burghley, 
21st December, 1572. Great secrecy was to be used in the delivery of the 
money to Morton. The sum was 2500, to be defrayed in extraordinary 
causes. Original, State-paper Office, B.C., Sir Valentine Brown to Iord 
Burghley, 2Gth December, 1572. 

Bunnatyne's Memorials, p. 280. 


political warfare, and his ardent and restless intellect 
had worn out a frame which at no period had been a 
strong one. 

There is perhaps no juster test of a great man, than 
the impression which he has left, or the changes he has 
wrought upon his age ; and, under this view, none is 
more entitled to this appellation than Knox, who has 
been deservedly regarded as the father of the Refor- 
mation in Scotland. The history of his life is indeed 
little else than the history of this great religious revolu- 
tion ; and none can deny him the praise of courage, 
integrity, and indefatigable exertion in proclaiming 
that system of truth which he believed to be founded 
upon the Word of God. To this he was faithful to 
the last ; and although it appears to me, that on many 
occasions he acted upon the principle, (so manifestly 
erroneous and anti-Christian,) that the end justified the 
means, on no one occasion do we find him influenced 
by selfish or venal motives. In this respect he stands 
alone, and pre-eminent over all the men with whom 
he laboured. To extirpate a syt>tem which in its every 
part he believed to be false and idolatrous, and to re- 
place it by another of which he was as firmly persuaded 
that it was the work of God, seem to have been the 
master passion of his mind. In the accomplishment of 
this, none who has studied the history of the times, or 
his own writings, will deny that he was often fierce, 
unrelenting, and unscrupulous ; but he was also disin- 
terested, upright, and sincere. He neither feared nor 
flattered the great ; the pomp of the mitre or the 
revenues of the wealthiest diocese had no attractions in 
his eyes ; and there cannot be a doubt of his sincer- 
ity, when, in his last message to his old and long-tried 
friend Lord Burghley, he assured him that he counted 


it higher honour to have been made the instrument 
that the Gospel was simply and truly preached in his 
native country, than to have been the highest prelate 
in England. 

During his last illness, his time was wholly occupied 
in offices of devotion, and in receiving the visits of a 
few religious friends, who affectionately assisted his 
family in the attendance which his feeble and helpless 
condition required. A few days before his death, he 
sent for Mr David Lindsay, Mr James Lawson, and 
the elders and deacons of the church,* and raising 
himself in his bed, addressed them in these solemn 
words : " The time is approaching for which I have 
long thirsted, wherein I shall be relieved of all cares, 
and be with my Saviour Christ for ever. And now 
God is my witness, whom I have served with my spirit 
in the Gospel of his Son, that I have taught nothing 
but the true and solid doctrine of the Gospel ; and that 
the end I proposed in all my preaching, was to instruct 
the ignorant, to confirm the weak, to comfort the con- 
sciences of those who were humbled under the sense 
of their sins, and bear down, with the threatenings of 
God's judgments, such as were proud and rebellious. 
I am not ignorant that many have blamed, and yet 
do blame, my too great rigour and severity ; but God 
knows, that in my heart I never hated the persons of 
those against whom I thundered God's judgments. 1 
did only hate their sins, and laboured at all my power 
to gain them to Christ. That I forbore none of what- 
soever condition, I did it out of the fear of my God, 
who had placed me in the function of the ministry, and 
1 knew would bring me to an account. Now, brethren, 

* Bannatyne's Memorials, pp. 264, 283. 


for yourselves, I have no more to say, but that you 
take heed to the flock over whom God hath placed you 
overseers, and whom he hath redeemed by the blood of 
his only begotten son. And you, Mr Lawson, [this 
was his successor,] fight a good fight. Do the work 
of the Lord with courage and with a willing mind, and 
God from above bless you and the church whereof you 
have the charge. Against it, so long as it continueth 
in the doctrine of truth, the gates of hell shall not 
prevail." * 

During his illness, he continued to exhibit all his 
wonted interest in public affairs, often bewailed the 
defection of Grange, one of his oldest friends, and sent 
a message to him which at the time was regarded as 
almost prophetic. "Go,"" said he, addressing Lindsay 
the minister of Leith, " to yonder man in the castle, 
whom you know I have loved so dearly, and tell him 
that I have sent you yet once more to warn him, in 
the name of God, to leave that evil cause. * * * 
Neither the craggy rock in which he miserably confides, 
nor the carnal prudence of that man [meaning the se- 
cretary Lethington] whom he esteems a demi-gpd, nor 
the assistance of strangers shall preserve him; but he 
shall be disgracefully dragged from his nest to punish- 
ment, and hung on a gallows against the face of the 
sun, unless he speedily amend his life and flee to the 
mercy of God."^ 

It appears to me, that in this and other similar 
predictions, the dying Reformer, who was not only 
intimately acquainted with, but personally engaged in 
the secret correspondence between his party and Eng- 
land, availed himself of this knowledge to fulminate 

* Spottiswood, pp. 265, 266. Bannatyne's Memorials, p. 283. 

f M'Crie's Life, by Crichton, pp. 300, 302. MelviTs Diary, p. 27. 


his threats and warnings, which he knew the advance 
of the English army was so soon likely to fulfil. 

During this time his weakness rapidly increased, and 
on Friday the twenty-first of November he desired his 
coffin to be made. The succeeding Saturday and Sun- 
day were spent by him almost uninterruptedly in 
meditation and prayer, in pious ejaculations, and ear- 
nest advices addressed to his family and friends. On 
Monday the twenty-fourth these sacred exercises were 
resumed till he was exhausted and fell into a slumber, 
from which he awoke to have the evening prayers read 
to him. " About eleven o'clock (I use the words of 
his excellent biographer) he gave a deep sigh, and said, 
' Now, it is come ; ' upon which Richard Bannatyne, his 
faithful servant and secretary, drew near, and desired 
him to think of those comfortable promises of our 
Saviour Christ which he had so often declared to 
others ; and perceiving that he was speechless, requested 
him to give them a sign that he heard them, and died 
in peace. Upon this he lifted up one of his hands, and 
sighing twice, expired without a struggle. 1 "* The 
Reformer was twice married. By his first wife, Mrs 
Marjory Bowes, he left two sons, Nathanael and 
Eleazar, who were educated in England, and both died 
without issue : it is remarkable that Eleazar entered 
the English Church. By his second marriage with 
Margaret Stewart the daughter of Lord Ochiltree, he 
left three daughters, Martha, Margaret, and Elizabeth, 
all of whom married, but the research of his able bio- 
grapher has not detected any descendants. { 

The death of Knox was followed by the complete 
recovery of Morton and the renewal of the war after a 

* M'Crie's Life, by Cricht^, p. 309. Bannatyne, p. 289. 
f Life of Knox, pp. 326, 327. 


vain attempt to prolong the abstinence.* But although 
hostilities recommenced, a parliament assembled in the 
capital, the house where it met being protected from 
the fire of the castle by a bulwark; and in this, after 
the election of the regent had been confirmed by the 
three Estates, all measures adopted since the coronation 
of the young king were ratified, and every proceeding 
conducted in the name of the captive queen declared 
invalid and treasonable. Measures also were taken to 
urge forward a reconciliation between the regent and 
such of the nobility as had not yet acceded to his 
government. Of these the greatest were the Duke of 
Chastelherault, the whole of the Hamiltons, Argyle, 
Huntley, and his gallant brother Sir Adam Gordon, 
who still maintained his ascendancy in the north. 
With a view to facilitate an accommodation, it was 
secretly resolved, that for the present no inquiry into 
the murder of the late king should take place, nor any 
prosecution be instituted against such persons as were 
suspected of this crime. The regentwas also empowered 
to pardon all persons accessary to the death of the Earl 
of Lennox. 

The object of all this was quite apparent. Morton 
himself, Huntley, Argyle, and Sir James Balfour, 
(who had lately deserted his friends in the castle,) 
were all of them -concerned in the murder of Darnley; 
whilst the assassination of Lennox the late regent was 
as certainly the work of the Hamiltons. Any resolu- 
tion to prosecute the perpetrators of either crime must 
have at once put an end to the hopes of a reconciliation, 
and it was determined for the present to say and do 
nothing upon either subject. *f* 

* MS. Letter, State-paper Office, Jan. 1, 1572-3, Killigrew to Burghley. 
f MS. Letter, State-paper Office, Jan. 26, 1572-3. Notes and titles of Acts 
as were passed in the parliament began at Edinburgh, Jan. 15, 1572. 


During the first sitting of the parliament Killigrew 
was absent at Berwick, whither he had gone for the 
purpose of consulting with Sir William Drury and 
expediting the preparations for the approaching siege 
of the castle. Before his departure, however, he had 
a meeting with Nicholas Elphinston on the "great 
matter," or, to speak more plainly, the secret project 
for having Mary executed a subject which, although 
interrupted by Mar's decease, appears to have been 
resumed on the election of Morton. It seemed, how- 
ever, that this dark design of Elizabeth, by which she 
hoped to rid herself of her enemy without her hand 
appearing in the transaction, was invariably destined 
to be thwarted. We have just seen, that, for the 
security of Huntley, Argyle, and the regent himself, 
it had been resolved to accuse no person of the murder, 
and the same prudent considerations made it expedient, 
at this moment, to say and do nothing against the 
queen. In a letter addressed at this time by Elphin- 
ston to Killigrew, this is clearly explained. " The 
other matter,"" said he, " I doubt not, you know per- 
fectly well, cannot nor may not at this time be touched, 
because presently the murder may not be spoken of, 
seeing some suspected thereof to be in terms of ap- 
pointment, as I shall at meeting cause you more clearly 
to understand ; but of this matter I trust hereafter 
shortly to see a good beginning."* 

In this parliament a conference took place between 
the Kirk and certain commissioners appointed by the 
three Estates, in which an important ecclesiastical 
measure was carried. This was the confirmation of 
that order for the election of bishops, which had been 

* MS. Letter, State-paper Office, N. Elphinston to Killigrew, January 
17, 1572-3. 

1572-3. REGENCY OF MORTON 337 

drawn up in the Book of Discipline, devised at Leith 
many years before. The change amounted to nothing 
less than the establishment of Episcopacy in the Scot- 
tish Church. It was decided, that the title and office of 
archbishop and bishop should be continued as in the time 
which preceded the Reformation, and that a spiritual 
jurisdiction should be exercised by the bishops in their 
respective dioceses. It was determined that all abbots, 
priors, and other inferior prelates who were presented to 
benefices, should be tried by the bishop or superinten- 
dent of the diocese concerning their fitness to represent 
the Church in parliament, and that to such bishopricks 
as were presently void, or which should become vacant, 
the king and regent should take care to recommend 
qualified persons, whose election should be made by 
the chapters of their cathedral churches. It was also 
ordered, that all benefices with cure under prelacies 
should be disposed of to ministers, who should receive 
ordination from the bishop of the diocese upon their 
taking an oath to recognise tb*> authority of the king, 
and to pay canonical obedience to their ordinary. * 

In the midst of these proceedings Killigrew returned 
to Edinburgh, and on the succeeding day was admitted 
to an audience of the parliament. The message which 
he delivered, and the assurances he conveyed of the 
determination of his royal mistress to protect the young 

* Spottiswood, p. 260. Mr David Lindsay, a minister and commissioner, 
communicated these important measures to Killigrew in a letter written 
during the sitting of the Conference, and when the guns of the castle were 
thundering in their ears. Its concluding sentence is worthy of notice, as it 
seems to show that Killigrew had still in view such measures as he judged 
necessary for the prosecution of the "great matter" confided to him. " The 
article which your lordship desired me to remember, touching the murder, 
is not like to pass, lest it should hold back some that are willing to come to 
composition. I cannot tell how long the parliament shall last, but I suppose 
all will be ended this next Wednesday at the farthest. This day the castle 
has declared their ill will with great shooting and. little harm." * * * 
MS. Letter, State-paper Office, David Lindsay to Mr Killigrew, Leith, IGtb. 
January, 157'2-3. 


king and support the government of the regent, pro- 
duced an immediate effect, and a convention for a 
general pacification was soon after held at Perth, be- 
tween commissioners appointed by the regent on the 
one side, and Huntley and the Lord of Arbroath as the 
representative of the Duke of Chastelherault on the 
other. It was attended by the English ambassador, 
in whose lodging the conferences took place, and who 
exerted himself so successfully to compose all subjects 
of difference, that at last a complete reconciliation was 
effected. "And now," said the successful diplomatist 
to Lord Burghley, " there remaineth but the castle to 
make the king universally obeyed, and this realm united, 
which, peradventure, may be done without force after 
the accord ; notwithstanding, in my simple opinion, 
which I submit unto your honour's wisdom, it standeth 
with more reason and policy for her majesty to hasten 
the aid rather now than before this conference. I mean, 
so that it may be ready, if need require, to execute 
otherwise not." * 

At this moment, the fortunes of the Castilians (so 
Grange and the queen's party were called) seemed 
reduced to the lowest ebb, and disaster after disaster 
threatened to bring total ruin upon their cause. Verac, 
who had been commissioned to bring them relief from 
the French king, was driven by a tempest into Scar- 
borough, and detained in England. Sir James Kirk- 
aldy, Grange's brother, who had landed at the castle 
of Blackness, with a large supply of money, arms, and 
military stores, was betrayed and seized : whilst the 
castle itself fell into the hands of the regent : + the 
example of Huntley and the Hamilton's, in acceding 

* MS. Letter, State-paper Office, 18th Feb., 1572, Killigrew to Burghley. 
f* Historic of James the Sext, p. 127. It was betrayed to the enemy bj 
the treachery of the wife of Sir James Kirkaldy. 

1572-3. REGENCY OF MORTON. 339 

to the king's authority, was speedily followed by the 
submission of the Lords Gray, Oliphant, the Sheriff 
of Ayr, and the Lairds of Buccleugh and Johnston ; 
whilst in the north Huntley undertook to bring over 
to terms his gallant brother, Sir Adam Gordon, who, 
during the conferences at Perth, had surprised and 
routed the kinsfs adherents at Aberdeen. With this 


view the indefatigable Killigrew had hurried from 
Perth to the capital, where he obtained the regent's 
signature to the articles of pacification.* 

Even, under all these gloomy appearances, the spirit 
of Grange was unbroken, and the resources of Lething- 
ton undiminished. A long experience of the parsimony 
of Elizabeth had persuaded them that she would never 
submit to the expense of sending an army and a bat- 
tering train into Scotland. They looked with confi- 
dence to the arrival of assistance from France, and 
trusted that, even if long delayed, the strength of their 
walls would still bid defiance to the enemy. -J- 

For a brief season these sanguine anticipations seemed 
to be realized ; and the Queen of England, at the mo- 
ment when Burghley imagined he had convinced her 
of the necessity of sending her forces into Scotland, 
began to waver. She dreaded bringing on a war with 
France ; represented to her council the great expense 
and hazard of the siege ; and asserted that Morton 
ought to be able to reduce it without her assistance. 
Killigrew was in despair. He wrote instantly, that if 
the expedition were abandoned, Scotland would be lost 
to them, and as surely united in a league with France. 
Everything, he contended, proved this. Lord Seton 

* MS. Letter, State-paper Office, Killigrew to Burghley, 23d February, 
1572-3. " God so blessed this treaty, as this day, being the 23d aforenoon, 
the Articles of Accord and Pacification were signed. " 

f Copy of the time, State-paper Office, 23d February, 1572-3. Lord of 
Lethington and Grange to the Earl of Huntley. 


had been already negotiating with the regent to win 
him to France. What had been Verac's late commis- 
sion ? To corrupt the garrison of Dumbarton, to bribe 
the governors of the young king, and to convey him 
out of Scotland. What was Stephen Wilson's message 
out of France, when he was lately seized, and his letters 
to the captain of the castle of Edinburgh intercepted? 
Did he not bring assurances from the French king and 
the Bishop of Glasgow, Mary's ambassador in Paris; 
and had he not confessed the Pope's designs, and that 
of the rest of the Romish league, to be mainly directed 
against England and Scotland? Nay, were not the 
papal coffers already unlocked, and the man's name 
known who was shortly to bring the money, and begin 
the attack ? And would her majesty shut her eyes to 
all this, and this too at the very crisis when a decided 
effort, and no very great sum, might enable her to con- 
found these plans and secure her ground in Scotland ? 
Would she countermand her army^ and abandon tHe 
advantages which were within her reach, or rather 
which she had already secured ? " If so," said the 
ambassador, in the end of an eloquent letter to Burgh- 
ley, "God's will be done. For mine own part, if 
this castle be not recovered, and that with expedition, 
I see, methinks, the beginning of sorrows, and her 
majesty's peaceable reign hitherto, decaying as it were 
in post, which God of his mercy defend. The reasons 
be so apparent, as I need not to trouble your honour 
with them, whose shoulders, next her majesty's, shall 
not carry the least burthen, and therefore I pray God 
send you strength to overcome."* 

These arguments produced the desired effect ; Eliza- 
beth's parsimonious fears gave way under the alarming 

* MS. Letter, State-paper Office, 9th March, 1572-3, Killigrew to Burghley. 


arguments of her ambassador; and orders were de- 
spatched to Sir William Drury, who had been chosen 
to command the enterprise, to have everything in 
readiness for the march of the army and the transport 
of the cannon at a moment's notice. A last attempt 
to bring the Castilians to terms was now made by the 
Earl of Rothes, but it led to no result. Kirkaldy and 
Lethington declared that, though deserted by all their 
friends, they would keep the castle to the last ; and, on 
the twenty-fifth of April, the English army, consisting 
of five hundred hagbutters, and a hundred and forty 
pikemen, entered the capital. They were joined by 
seven hundred soldiers of the regent - r and the battering 
train having at the same time arrived by sea, the opera- 
tions of the siege commenced. 

In the midst of these martial transactions, the regent 
assembled a parliament,, which, confirmed the league 
with England, ratified the late pacification, restored 
Huntley and Sir James Balfour to their estates and 
honours, and pronounced a sentence of treason and 
forfeiture against the Castilians. A summons of sur- 
render was then sent to Grange in the name of Morton 
and of the English general,* and operations for the 
undermining the " Spur," or Blockhouse, and erecting 
the batteries on the principal spots which commanded 
the walls, proceeded with little interruption from the 
besieged. Their obstinacy, indeed, was surprising, 
and can only be accounted for by the extraordinary 
influence which Lethington possessed, and his fatal 
conviction that succours would yet arrive from France. 
His power over Kirkaldy was described by Killigrew 

* Copy, State-paper Office, 25th April, 1573, Sir "W. Drury's Summons. 
Also Ibid., the Regent's Summons, MS. Letter, State-paper Office, Killi- 
grew to Burghley, 27th April, 1573. Also MS. Ibid., Acts of the Parliament, 
30th April, 1573. 



as something like enchantment; and although Robert 
Melvil, Pitarrow, and other leading men, would fain 
have come to terms ; though they argued that their 
powder and ammunition were exhausted, their victuals 
and supply of water on the point of failing, and their 
distress increasing every moment ; still the governor 
declared he would hold the castle till he was buried in 
its ruins. 

On the second of May, Killigrew, who himself as- 
sisted in the trenches, wrote thus to Burghley. "Yes- 
terday I did advertise your honour of the end of the 
parliament. This day Sir Henry Ley, with his com- 
pany dined with the regent ; and upon Monday, the 
fourth of this month, the general doth intend to begin 
to plant his batteries. They within make good show, 
and fortify continually to frustrate the first battery, 
although the regent and others here be of opinion, that 
they will never abide the extremity. Their water will 
soon be taken from them when the ordnance shall be 
laid both within and without. Hope of succour there 
is none, and therefore their obstinacy must needs be 
vain. I send your lordship the roll of their names 
within, both tag and rag; and, as I am informed, 
eighteen of the best of them would fain be out."* All 
such hopes of escape, however, were now utterly vain, 
for Drury perceived his advantage, and Morton had 
determined to receive nothing but an unconditional 
surrender. In England, the result of the siege was 
regarded with deep interest, and many young cavaliers, 
amongst whom was Thomas Cecil, Burghley's eldest 
son, repaired from the English court to join the army 
and work in the trenches. 

On the seventeenth of May the batteries were com- 

* MS. Letter, State-paper Office, 2d May, 1573, Killigrew to Burghley. 


pleted, and, beginning to play upon the principal bastion, 
named David^s Tower, were answered by a long and 
loud shriek from the women in the castle, which was 
distinctly heard in the English camp. " This day," 
(seventeenth May,) said Killigrew in one of his journal 
letters to Burghley, " at one of the clock in the after- 
noon, some of our pieces began to speak such language 
as it made both them in the castle, I am sure, think 
more of God than they did before, and all our men, and 
a great many others, think the enterprise not so hard 
as before they took it to be. * * I trust, to be short, 
that after the battery shall be outlaid, which as they 
say will be ready by the twenty-first of this month, 
the matter will be at a point, before the end of the 
same. * * Thanks be to God, although it be long- 
some, it hath hitherto been with the least blood that 
ever was heard in such a case, and this conjecture we 
have to lead as, that they want store of powder within, 
for they have suffered us to plant all the ordnance, and 
to shoot yesterday all the afternoon without any harm 
from them. * * "* 

From this time till the twenty-third, the cannon 
played incessantly upon the castle, the guns of the 
garrison were silenced, and in the afternoon of that 
day the southern wall of David's Tower fell with a 
great crash ; next day its east quarter, the portcullis 
and an outer bastion named Wallace Tower, were 
beaten down ; and on the twenty-sixth the English, 
with little resistance, stormed the " Spur" or Block- 
house. "f* Preparations were now made for a general 
assault ; and Morton, who had determined to lead the 

* MS. Letter, State-paper Office, Edinburgh, Killigrew to Burghley, 17th 
May, 1573. Also Drury to Burghley, 18th May, 1573. " After the first 
tyre of ordnance great cries and shouts was made by the women of the castle, 
terming the day and hour black." 

f MS. Letter, State-paper Office, Drury to Burghley, 28th May, 1573. 


Scottish forces, was exulting in the near prospect of 
laying hands upon his victims, when to his mortification 
Grange presented himself on the wall with a white rod 
in his hand, and obtained from his old friend and fellow- 
soldier Drury, an abstinence of two days, preparatory 
to a surrender. This was in the evening, and a meeting 
immediately took place between Grange and Robert 
Melvil, on the part of the Castilians, Killigrew and 
Drury for the Queen of England, and Lord Boyd for 
the regent. Kirkaldy's requests were, to have surety 
for their lives and livings, not be spoiled of their goods 
within the castle, to have license for Lord Hume and 
Lethington to retire into England, and himself to be 
allowed to remain unmolested in his own country.* 

To these conditions Drury would probably have 
agreed, but they were scornfully rejected by Morton. 
As to the great body of the garrison, he said, he was 
ready, if they came out singly without arms, and sub- 
mitted to his mercy, to grant them their lives, and 
permit them to go where they pleased; but there 
were nine persons who must be excepted from these 
conditions : Grange himself, William Maitland of Leth- 
ington the secretary, Alexander lord Hume, Robert 
Melvil of Murdocairny, the Bishop of Dunkeld, and 
the Lairds of Restalrig, Drylaw, and Pitarrow. These 
must submit themselves unconditionally, and their fate 
be determined by the Queen of England, according to 
the treaty already made between her majesty and his 

* MS. Letter, State-paper Office, Killigrew to Burghley, 27th May, 1573. 
Also Ibid. Sir William Drury to Burghley, 28th May, 1572, in which Drury 
Bays, " I will not harken unto the request of the Castilians, further than the 
regent and our ambassador shall allow of." 

+ Copy of the time, State-paper Office, " The regent's answer to the 
Castilians," May '28, 1573. Hso, State-paper Office, copy, "Conditions of 
rendering the castle." 


This stern reply made it evident to these unfortunate 
men, that the regent would be contented with nothing 
but their lives ; and, convinced of this, they rejected 
his terms, and declared their resolution to abide the 
worst. But this was no longer in their power, for 
the soldiers began to mutiny, threatened to hang the 
secretary over the walls within six hours if he did 
not advise a surrender, and were ready to deliver the 
captain and his companions to the enemy. * In this 
dread dilemma an expedient was adopted,- suggested 
probably by the fertile brain of Lethington. Grange, 
after refusing the terms in open conference, sent a secret 
message to Drury, in consequence of which two com- 
panies of the besieging force were admitted within the 
walls on the night of the twenty-ninth, and to them 
in the morning he and his companions surrendered ; 
expressly stating, that they submitted, not to the Re- 
gent of Scotland, but to the Queen of England, and 
her general, Sir William Drury. They were accord- 
ingly carried to his quarters ; and, notwithstanding some 
remonstrances upon the part of the regent, received 
with courtesy. }* Morton, however, was not thus to 
be baulked of his prey. He instantly wrote to Burgh- 
ley, warning him that the chief authors of all the 
mischief were now remaining without condition in the 
hands of Elizabeth's ministers, entreating the queen's 
immediate decision upon their fate, and requesting 
them to be delivered to him, that they might suffer 

* MS. Letter, State-paper Office, Killigrew to Burghley, 20th June. 1573. 

} MS. Letter, State-paper Office, Sir William Drury to Burghley, Leith, 
June 5, 1573. There is a passage in his letter which is curious. He says, 
"By computation there hath heen near 3000 great shot bestowed against the 
castle in this service, and the bullets of all or the most part recovered, and 
brought again, part by our own labours, and part by the Scots, paying to the 
Scottish people a piece of their coin called a bawbee for every bullet, which 
IB in value English, one penny and a quarter." 


for their crimes.* Killigrew, too, had the barbarity 
to advise their execution ; and Drury anxiously awaited 
his next orders. At this trying moment, Grange and 
Lethington addressed the following letter to one who 
had once been knit to them in ties of the strictest 
friendship, the Lord Treasurer Burghley. 

" My Lord The malice of our enemies is the more 
increased against us, that they have seen us rendered 
in the queen's majesty's will, and now to seek refuge 
at her highnesses hands. And, therefore, we doubt 
not, but they will go about by all means possible to 
procure our mischief; yea, that their cruel minds shall 
lead them to that impudency to crave our bloods at 
her majesty's hands. But whatsoever their malice be, 
we cannot fear that it shall take success ; knowing with 
how gracious a princess we have to do, which hath 
given so many good proofs to the world of her clemency 
and mild nature, that we cannot mistrust, that the 
first example of the contrary shall be shown upon us. 
We take this to be her very natural, Parcere subjectis, 
el debellare superbos. 

" We have rendered ourselves to her majesty, which 
to our own countrymen we would never have done, for 
no extremity [that] might have come. We trust her 
majesty will not put us out of her hands to make any 
others, especially our mortal enemy, our masters. If 
it will please her majesty to extend her most gracious 
clemency towards us, she may be as assured to have 
us as perpetually at her devotion as any of this nation ; 
yea, as any subject of her own, for now with honour 
we may oblige ourselves to her majesty farther than 
before we might, and her majesty's benefit will bind 

* MS. Letter, British Museum, Caligula, C. iv. foL 85. dorso, Morton 
to Burghley, 31st May, 1573. 


us perpetually. In the case we are in we must confess 
we are of small value ; yet may her majesty put us in 
case, that perhaps hereafter we will be able to serve 
her majesty's turn, which occasion being offered, as- 
suredly there shall be no inlack of good will. Your 
lordship knoweth already what our request is ; we pray 
your lordship to further it. There was never time, 
wherein your lordship's friendship might stand us in 
such stead. As we have oftentimes heretofore tasted 
thereof, so we humbly pray you let it not inlack us 
now, in time of this our great misery, when we have 
more need than ever we had. Whatsoever our deserv- 
ings have been, forget not your own good natural. If, 
by your lordship's mediation, her majesty conserve us, 
your lordship shall have us perpetually bound to do 
you service. * * Let not the misreports of our 
enemies prevail against us. When we are in her 
majesty's hands she may make us what pleaseth her. 
* * * From Edinburgh, the first June, 1573."* 

This letter produced no effect. Elizabeth, indeed, 
did not instantly decide,, and requested particular in- 
formation to be sent her of the " quality and quantity 
of the prisoners' offences ; " but Killigrew and Morton 
so strongly advised their execution, that the queen com- 
manded them to be delivered up to the regent, to be 
dealt with as he pleased. This, as she must have known, 
was equivalent to signing their death-warrant. Before, 
however, the final order arrived, Lethington died in 
prison. It was reported that he had swallowed poison ; 
but the rumour was uncertain, and was treated by 
many as an invention of his enemies.^ Ten days 

* MS. Letter, British Museum, Caligula, C. iv. fol. 86, Lethington and 
Grange to Lord Burghley, 1st June, 1573. 

f- British Museum, Caligula, C. iv. fol. 97, copy, Elizaheth to Mecton, 
9th June, 1573. Ibid. fol. 101. Killigrew to Burghley, 12th June, 1573. 
Also, MS. Letter, State-paper Office, Killigrew to Burghley, June 20,1573. 


after this, Drury reluctantly complied with the orders 
of Elizabeth, and delivered Grange, Hume, John 
Maitland, (Lethington's younger brother,) and Robert 
Melvil, to the regent ; * Grange's brother Sir James 
Kirkaldy, being already in Morton's hands. 

Much interest was now exerted to save the life of 
Grange, but without success. He had made himself 
too conspicuous, and his talents for war were much 
dreaded by his adversaries. A hundred gentlemen, his 
friends and kinsmen, offered for his pardon to become 
perpetual servants to the house of Angus and Morton 
in " Bond of Manrent," a species of obligation well 
known in those times, and to pay two thousand pounds 
to the regent, besides an annuity of three thousand 
merks ; but although Morton's prevailing vice was 
avarice, he was compelled to resist the temptation, in- 
fluenced, as he stated in a letter to Killigrew, by the 
" denunciations of the preachers," } who cried out that 
God's plague would not cease till the land were purged 
with blood. They were aware of the prediction of 
Knox so recently uttered upon his death-bed, that 
Grange should be shamefully dragged from the rock 
wherein he trusted, and hanged in the face of the sun. 
The success of Drury had fulfilled the first part, and 
the violence with which the ministers opposed every 
intercession for mercy, affords a melancholy proof of 
their determination that the second head of the reputed 
prophecy should be as punctually accomplished. 

Nor were they disappointed. On the third of August, 
Sir William Kirkaldy and his brother were brought 
from Holyrood to the cross of Edinburgh, and executed 

* MS. Letter, State-paper Office, Drury to Burghley, Leith, 18th June, 

f MS. Letter, State-paper Office, Morton to Killigrew, August 5, 1573. 
See Proofs and Illustrations, No. XII. Diurnal of Occurrents, p. 336. 


in the presence of an immense concourse of spectators. 
They were attended on the scaffold by Mr David Lind- 
say, a martial clergyman of those times, to whose hands, 
if we may believe Melvii, it was difficult to say whether 
the Bible or the hagbut were most congenial instru- 
ments. Grange received his ministrations with grati- 
tude, and expressed on the scaffold deep penitence for 
his sins and unshaken attachment to his captive sove- 

Thus died the famous Laird of Grange, a gentleman 
who, although his character will not bear examination 
if we look to consistency and public principle, was 
justly reputed one of the best soldiers and most accom- 
plished cavaliers of his time."f* 

The year 1573 was thus fatal to the cause of Mary, 
whose last hope expired with the execution of this brave 
man, and the surrender of the castle of Edinburgh. In 
England she had seen all her plans blasted by the 
death of Norfolk and the imprisonment of the Bishop 
of Ross ; to France she could no longer look for active 
interference in her behalf, for Elizabeth had recently 
entered into the defensive treaty of Blois, with that 
kingdom ; and Catherine of Medicis was negotiating 
a marriage between the English queen and her son the 
Duke D'Alen^on, a proposal hollow indeed, and in- 
sincere on both sides, yet, for the time, rendering all 
interference with Scotland on the part of France un- 
advisable. Even Spain she could no longer regard with 
any confidence. The Duke of Alva was the friend and 

* MS. Letter, State-paper Office, Killigrew to Burghley, August 3, 1573. 
Melvil's Diary, pp. 26, 27, 28. 

)* Melvil's Memoirs, p. 257. His character of Grange is very expressive. 
" He was," says he, " humble, gentle, and meek, like a lamb in the house, 
but a lion in the field ; a lusty, stark, and well proportioned personage, and 
of a hardy and magnanimous courage." See also Melvil's Diary, p. 28. 




secret correspondent of Burghley and Elizabeth ; and 
although the Roman Catholic refugees in Flanders 
were incessant in their intrigues, and Philip himself 
seemed disposed to annoy her on the side of Ireland 
and Scotland, the influence of this minister effectually 
counteracted any decided enterprise.* With the death 
of Kirkaldy, therefore, the reign of Mary properly 
terminates; for immediately after that event, her last 
intrepid supporter, Sir Adam Gordon of Auchendown, 
retired to France; and from that period till her death, 
no subject dared to acknowledge her as his sovereign. 

* Gonzalez, pp. 370, 371. 







No. I. 
Historical Remarks on Knox's implication in Riccio's Murder,^. 21. 

IT has long been known, that some of the principal supporters of the 
Protestant cause in Scotland were implicated in the assassination of 
Riccio ; but it has hitherto been believed that their great ecclesiastical 
leader Knox was not privy to this murder. From the language in 
which the event is told in his history, it might be inferred, indeed, 
that he did not condemn the assassination of one whom he regarded 
as a bitter enemy to the truth.* " After this manner above specified," 
says he, " to wit, by the death of David Rizzio, the noblemen were 
relieved of their trouble, and restored to their places and rowmes,f 
and likewise the Church reformed, and all that professed the Evangel 
within this realm, after fasting and prayer, were delivered : " but in 
weighing this passage it is to be remembered that, although the Fifth 
Book of Knox's history was probably composed from notes and collec- 
tions left by the Reformer, it was not written by him.J The late Dr 
M'Crie, his excellent biographer, has this sentence upon the subject, 
which, from the authority deservedly attached to his life of Knox, may 
be taken as the present popular belief upon the point : " There is no 
reason to think that he [Knox] was privy to the conspiracy which 
proved fatal to Riccio ; but it is probable that he had expressed his 
satisfaction at an event which contributed to the safety of religion and 
of the commonwealth, if not also his approbation of the conduct of 
the conspirators."! 

As Dr M'Crie had not the advantage of consulting those letters 
upon this subject which I have found in the State-paper Office, and 
by which the whole secret history of the conspiracy against Riccio has 

* Knox's History, p. 344. + Offices. 

M'Crie's Life of Knox by Dr Crichton, pp. 250, 416, and Prefatory 
Notice to Bannatyne's Memorials, p. 20. 
Life of Knox, p. 253, edited by Dr Crichton, 


been developed, we are not to wonder that he should have spoken so 
decisively of Knox's innocence of any previous knowledge of the plot. 
I shall now state, as clearly as I can, the evidence upon which I have 
affirmed in the text that he was precognizant of the intended murder, 
adding, at the same time, some letters which may be quoted in his defence. 

The reader is already aware that Riccio was assassinated on the 
9th of March, 1565-6 ; that Ruthven, Morton, and Lethington, fled on 
the queen's escape, and meditated advance to Edinburgh, (March 
1 8th ;) and that, while other accomplices secreted themselves in Scot- 
land, Morton and Ruthven took refuge in England. Such being the 
state of things, on the 21st of March the Earl of Bedford, then at 
Berwick, of which he was governor, thus wrote to Cecil : 

" You shall understand that the Lord Ruthven is come hither for 
his own safety, who, passing through Tiviotdale, came to Wark castle, 
and being troubled with sickness, and therefore weak, tarried the 
longer upon the way thence, afore he came here. I received him, 
(as I have learned that the ancient order is in like cases,) and so 
mean to do such other as shall for like purpose come. He keepeth 
most commonly his bed for that small time that he hath as yet tarried 
here, and therefore is not so likely to depart hence of some good time. 

" The Earl Morton is gone towards Carlisle, and from thence will 
take his way towards Newcastle, and so hitherward for some time, 
to talk with the Lord Ruthven. The Lord Lindsay and the Laird of 
Liddington are both gone to the Earl of Athole for their safeguard : 
Liddington, as I hear, will come hither if by any means he can, 
whereof, as it cometh to pass, you shall further understand. 

" The Earls of Argyle, Glencairn and Rothes, have received their 
dress,* and so are in quiet, or, at the least, in hope they shall be quiet. 
The Earl of Moray, the Lairds of Grange and Patarro, and the Tutor 
of Pitcur, have refused the like dress as the other have received, 
seeming thereby the less willing to receive the dress offered them, for 
that these lords their friends were excluded out of the favour and 
pardon, and so hardly put at ; yet it is thought they will receive it, 
for so in any wise have these lords now abroad desired them. 

"Their king remaineth utter enemy to these lords now abroad, 
notwithstanding his former doings with them. Hereof, and for that 
Mr Randolph writeth also more at large of the names of such as now be 
gone abroad, I shall not trouble you therewith, "f * * * 

This letter was written from Berwick eleven days after the murder, 
and about a week after the flight of the conspirators, here called 
" those that be gone abroad ;" and we see that, in the last sentence, 

* Pardon. 

t MS. Letter, State-paper Office, B.C., Bedford to Cecil, Berwick, thia 
21st March, ] 565. 


Bedford mentions to Cecil, that he will not trouble him with any 
farther details, as Mr Randolph was at that very time writing to him, 
and would send in his letter the names of the conspirators who had 
gone abroad. 

This letter of Randolph is, accordingly, in the State-paper Office, 
and pinned to it I found the promised list of names.* I shall first give 
the letter, and then the "list." The letter, which is addressed to 
Cecil, is wholly in Randolph's hand ; the list is in the hand of a clerk 
who I find at that time was employed by Bedford in his confidential 
correspondence. The letter, which is addressed to Cecil, is as fol- 
lows : 


Berwick, 21s< March, 1565-6. 
" May it please your honour, 

" Since Mr Carew's departure hence, this hath happened. The 
queen, to be revenged upon the lords that gave the last attemptate 
and slew David, is content to remit unto the former lords, with whom 
she was so grievously ofiended, all that they had done at any time 
against her ; who, seeing now their liberty and restitution offered 
unto them, were all content, saving my Lord of Moray, to leave the 
other lords that were the occasion of their return, and took several 
appointment as they could get it, of which the first was the Earl of 
Glencairn, next Rothes, Argyle, and so every one after other, saving, 
as I said, my Lord of Moray, with him Patarro and Grayne [Grange,] 
who, standing so much upon their honours and promise, will not leave 
the other, without some likelihood to do them good. 

" The lords of the last attemptate, which were these : Morton, 
Ruthven, Lindsay and Leddington, finding these men fall from them, 
whom they trusted so much in, and for whose cause they had so far 
ventured themselves, found it best to save themselves in time ; and, 
therefore, upon Sunday last/f every one of the four above named 
departed their several way, my Lord of Morton towards the west 
Borders, my Lord Ruthven through Tividale, and so came to Wark, 
and yesterday to this town ; the Lord Lindsay into Fife, Liddington 
to Athole, to my L. there, either to be saved by him, or to purchase 
his pardon of the Q,. which is thought will be so hard as may be, and 
therefore is he looked for very shortly to be in this country, if he can 

" Besides these that were the principal takers in hand of this mat- 
ter, there are also these : the Laird of Ormiston, Hawton his son-in- 
law, Cawder his nephew, Brunston, Whyttyngham, Andrew Car of 

* This list is now bound up with the volume. See the handwriting of 
letter, State-paper Office, B.C., Bedford to Cecil, 27th March, 1568. 
f i.e. Sunday, 17th March. 


Fawlsyde, Justice-clerk brother, George Douglas, and some other ; 
of the town of Edinburgh divers : so that, as I judge, there are as 
many like to take hurt in this action, as were in the former. What 
is become of any of these I know not as yet, saving Andrew Car that 
came to this town with the L. Ruthven and his son. 

"The Q. upon Monday last,* returned to Edinburgh. In her com- 
pany the Earls Bothwell, Huntley, Marshal, Hume, Seton, with as 
many as there [they] were able to bring with them. Where she was 
wont to be carried in a chair by four of her guard, she is yet able to 
ride upon a horse, though by her own account she hath not six weeks 
to her time. She lodgeth not in the abbey, but in a house in the town 
in the High Street. Her husband hath disclosed all that he knew of 
any man ; and yet hath given his hand, and subscribed divers bands 
and writings, testifying that to be his own deed, and done by his 
commandment. It is said, that he gave him one blow himself; and, 
to signify that the deed was his, his dagger was left standing in his 
body after he was dead. Their mind was to have hanged him, but 
because business rose in the court between the Earl Bothwell and 
such as were appointed to keep the house, they went the next way to 
work with him." * * * At Berwick, the 21st March, 1565. 

This letter explains itself, and needs no comment. The list of the 
names which was pinned to it is as follows. It bears this endorse- 
ment in the hand of Cecil's clerk. 

"Martii, 1565. 

K Names of such as were consenting to the death of David." 






ORMISTON. JOHN KNOX, ) Preachers 4. 



* f. e. Monday, 18th March, 
j" Spelt thus in original : 











u All these were at the death of Davy and privy thereunto, and are 
now in displeasure with the Q,. and their houses taken and spoiled." * 

The inference from all this seems to me inevitable ; namely, that 
in an authentic list sent to Secretary Cecil by Bedford and Randolph, 
the name of John Knox is given as one of those who were privy and 
consenting to the death of David Riccio. Now that these two persons, 
the Earl of Bedford and Randolph, were intimately acquainted with 
the whole details of the conspiracy, has been proved in the text, f 
To the proof there given I shall merely add part of a letter of Bed- 
ford to Cecil, written, it is to be observed, on the llth of March, the 
unhappy man having been murdered on the evening of the 9th of 

" After my hearty commendations yesterday, in the morning, the 
Earl of Moray and the other lords, and the rest, entered into Scot- 
land, and went that night to Edinburgh. * * These lords make 
account to find great aid in Scotland, so as shortly things will fall 
out in more open sort than as yet, whereof from time to time you 
shall be advertised. * * Since the writing hitherto, certain adver- 
tisement is come that David is despatched and dead. That it should 
be so you have heard before. The manner and circumstances thereof 
I will not now trouble you withal. By my next I hope I shall have 
somewhat else to say, and then will I write more at large. * * * 

"From. Berwick this llth March, 1565." 

The evidence, therefore, is direct and clear, and comes from those 
who must be esteemed the best witnesses in such a case. But there 
are other circumstances which strongly corroborate it, as far as Knox 
is concerned. The Reformer was then the great leader and adviser 
of the party of the Kirk. Riccio was regarded as its bitter enemy, 
an opponent of God, an oppressor and tyrant over God's people ; J and 
we know that Knox conceived it lawful for private individuals to put 
such persons to death, provided all redress in the ordinary course of 
justice was rendered impossible. " The truth is," says Dr M'Crie 
in his reflections upon the death of Beaton, "he [Knox] held the 
opinion, that persons who, by the commission of flagrant crimes, had 
forfeited their lives, according to the law of God, and the just laws 

* It is certain that this cannot mean that all whose names are to be found 
in this list were personally present at the act of the murder ; it should be 
understood to mean that " all these were at the murder of Davy or privy 

J- See p. 24 et seq. 

J M'Crie's Life of Knox. by Dr Crichton. p, 253. 

Ibid. pp. 25, 101, 1/1,242. 



of society, such as notorious murderers and tyrants, might warrant 
ably be put to death by private individuals, provided all redress in 
the ordinary course of justice was rendered impossible, in consequence 
of the offenders having usurped the executive authority, or being 
systematically protected by oppressive rulers."* 

Now, keeping this in mind, we find Morton and Ruthven, the lead- 
ing conspirators, informing Cecil in a letter from Berwick, written on 
the 27th March, that the great end proposed by them in the murder 
of Riccio, was to prevent the universal subversion of religion within 
Scotland ; and they add this remarkable sentence, "and to the exe- 
cution of the said enterprise, the most honest and most worthy were 
easily induced to approve, and fortify the king's deliberation in the 
premises ; howbeit, in action and manner of execution, more were 
followed of the king's advice, kindled by an extreme choler, than we 
deliberated to have done."f Who, then, were these persons named 
here "the most honest and most worthy ?" Evidently none else than 
the heads of the Protestant party, Morton and Ruthven, Lethington, 
Lindsay, and Ochiltree, the Barons of Ormiston, Brunston, Calder, 
Hatton, Lochleven, and others in Scotland, with Cecil himself, and 
Bedford and Randolph, the great supporters of the Protestant cause 
in England ; and here it is to be noted that these Barons of Ormiston, 
Brunston, Calder, and Hatton, were dear and intimate personal friends 
of Knox, whilst Ochiltree was his father-in-law. The Reformer, also, 
as we have seen, was the confidential correspondent of Bedford and 
Cecil, the associate in the common cause for the support of religion 
with Morton and Lethington, and undoubtedly the most powerful and 
influential of all the ministers or leaders of the Kirk. If called upon, 
therefore, to believe that the list which implicates him is a forged 
document, and that he had no foreknowledge of the murder of Riccio, 
we are to believe, that in a plot formed by the party of which he was 
the leader, in which all his friends were implicated, the object of 
which was to support that form of faith which was dearer to him than 
life, by the commission of an act, of which, from his avowed principles, 
they knew that he would not disapprove ;+ they studiously declined 
his assistance, concealed all that was to happen, and preferred, for 

* M'Crie's Life of Knox by Dr Crichton, p. 27. 

+ MS. Letter, State-paper Office, 27th March, 1565, Morton and Ruthven 
to Cecil. 

Dr M'Crie, in noticing Knox's flight from Edinburgh, after the murder, 
states, that " it is probable he had expressed his satisfaction at an event 
which contributed to the safety of religion and the commonwealth, if not 
also his approbation of the conduct of the conspirators." M'Crie's Life of 
Knox, by Dr Crichton, pp. 253, 254. 


the first time in their lives, to act without him. This supposition 
seems to me, I confess, untenable ; and when I find Bedford and 
Randolph transmitting his name as one of the conspirators to Cecil, 
I cannot escape from giving credit to their assertion. 

Another corrohoration of his accession to this conspiracy was his 
precipitate flight from Edinburgh with the rest of the conspirators, 
upon the threatened advance of the queen to the city. His colleague 
Craig, it is to be observed, who was afterwards accused by his parish- 
ioners as being too much a favourer of the queen, remained in the 
city ; but Knox fled precipitately, and in extreme agony of spirit, to 
Kyle ; and, as we have already seen, did not venture to return till 
the noblemen rose against the queen after the death of Darnley.* If 
he was not implicated, why did he take guilt to himself by flight ? 

There is a passage to be found in the manuscript history of Calder- 
wood, which is worth noticing upon this point. It has been quoted 
by Dr M'Crie,f and is as follows : "King James the Sixth, having 
found great fault with Knox for approving of the assassination of 
Riccio, one of the ministers said, that the slaughter of David, as far 
as it was the work of God, was allowed by Mr Knox, and not other- 
wise." Calderwood, MS. ad annum 1591. " Knox himself," adds Dr 
M'Crie, "does not make this qualification, when he mentions the 
subject incidentally." It is not clear, however, whether this sentence 
refers to Knox's allowance, or approval of the murder before or after 
the deed. It is, lastly, to be remembered that Riccio was a Roman 
Catholic, consequently in Knox's eyes an Idolater; and that the Re- 
former and his party held, that Idolatry might justly be punishable 
by death. " Into this sentiment they were led," says Dr M'Crie, "in 
consequence of their having adopted the untenable opinion, that the 
judicial laws given to the Jewish nation were binding upon Christian 
nations, as to all offences against the moral law."J 

Such is the evidence which appears to me conclusive in support of 
the fact stated in the text. Let me now mention two circumstances 
which may be quoted in defence of Knox, and in proof of his innocence 
of this charge. 

The first list, including Knox's name as one privy to Rjccio's death, 
is, as we have seen, preserved in the State-paper Office, attached to 
a letter, dated 21st March. But there is another list in the British 
Museum, dated the 27th of March, which does not include the Refor- 
mer's name, or that of Craig his colleague. It is in the handwriting 

* See his prayer added to his Answer to Tyrie, quoted in M'Crie'a life, 
Note G to period 8th. 

t M'Crie's Life of Knox, by Dr Crichton, p. 254. 
J Ibid. p. 246. 


of Randolph, and is entitled, " The names of such as were doers, and 
of council, in the late attempt for the killing of the secretary David 
at Edinburgh, 9th March, 1566 ; as contained in the account sent to 
the Council of England, by the Earl of Bedford lieutenant of the North, 
and Sir Thomas Randolph, ambassador from England to Scotland at 
the time, dated at Berwick, 27th March, 1566." This account or 
letter of the 27th of March has been printed from the original in the 
Cotton collection,* by Sir Henry Ellis, vol. ii. p. 207, along with the 
list of the names. 

The second circumstance is this : when Morton and Ruthven fled 
to Berwick, and sent to Bedford a vindication of their proceedings 
with the intent that he should communicate it to Cecil and Elizabeth, 
they positively denied that any of the ministers of Scotland were art 
and part in the conspiracy, and accused the Papists of having raised the 
report. "It is come to our knowledge (they say) that some Papists 
have bruited that these our proceedings have been at the instigation 
of the ministers of Scotland. We assure your lordship upon our hon- 
our, that there were none of them art nor part of that deed, nor were 
participate thereof." f 

And now it may be asked, Why do you reject the evidence of this 
eecond list, and why are we not to believe this solemn declaration 
absolving the ministers of Scotland, and of course Knox with them, 
from all participation in the murder ? To this I answer, that there 
is no evidence to raise doubt that the list given on the 21st March was 
written in good faith, while the event was yet new, after the arrival 
of Lord Ruthven, and without any object but that of transmitting 
information to Cecil; while that of the 27th March, sent to the council 
of England, was carefully prepared after the failure of the conspiracy 
by the escape of the queen, and when the cautious and politic Morton 
had reached Berwick. That these lords would have an especial object 
in keeping the names of Knox and Craig out of the list is evidenced 
by the above extract, and that they would have little scrtiple to such 
a suppression is clear from the manner in which they submit their 
narrative to Cecil, to be amended and qualified at his pleasure. That 
the Secretary of Elizabeth did modify and recast the story after the 
failure of the conspiracy, and with the approbation, or by the directions 
of Elizabeth, is expressly asserted by one who appears to have had 
an intimate acquaintance with the whole plot against Riccio. " La 
Regina d'Inghilterra," says he, " quale era stata causa del tntto, 

* Caligula, B. x. fol. 337. 

J- Harleian, No. 289, fol. 96, endorsed in Cecil's handwriting, Copy 01 
Instructions to my Lord of Bedford, from the Lords of Morton and Rewnen, 
(Ruthven,) 156(7. This date of the year is not in Cecil's hand. 


intendendo la pace fra il Re e Regina di Scotia, s'attristo molto e fece 
scrivere per il suo Secretario Cecille, per tutto il regno, che la causa 
di tutto il suddetto, era perche il Re haveva trovato il detto Ricciolo 
a dormire con la Regina. II che non fu mai vero. * The extent to 
which this modification and alteration was not only permitted, but 
invited, to be carried, may be gathered from a passage in a letter of 
Morton and Ruthven to Secretary Cecil, sending him their account of 
the conspiracy and murder .f " If (say they, alluding to their enclosed 
narrative) there be anything that be hardly written, that might have 
been cuthit% in gentler terms, we will most humbly request your 
hpnour to supply us therein, to amend and qualify as your wisdom thinks 
good, anything that you think extreme or rudely handled. It is our 
meaning after the return of your honour's answer with this copy cor- 
rected, if so you find good, to send copies of that matter in France, 
Scotland, and such other places needful, as shall be thought necessary 
for staying of false and untrue reports and rumours." And lastly, it 
is quite evident, from a passage in Bedford's and Randolph's letter 
of the 27th March, giving the account of the murder, and sending the 
list of the names, that the chief authorities consulted, for both account 
and list, were Morton and Ruthven, whose object it was to suppress 
the names of the ministers which appeared in the first list. 

So far then as to the preference given of the first list to the second ; 
but then comes the question, Why not believe Morton, when he states, 
upon his word of honour, that none of the Ministers of Scotland were 
art and part of that deed ? I answer, because according to Morton's 
notions, being art and part, or participate in any action or crime, was 
a totally different thing from being privy to it, or cognizant of it before 
it was committed. Morton, according to the distinction which he made 
on his own trial, might have asserted with perfect honour, that neither 
Knox nor any of the ministers were participate in Riccio's murder, 
and yet he may have been perfectly aware that Knox was privy to 
the murder, knew that it was about to be committed, and, according 
to the expression used to the king by one of their number, allowed of 
it, that is, gave a silent consent to it, so far as he considered it to be 

* Awisi di Scotia, See postea, p. 364. 

) MS. Letter, State-paper Office, Morton and Ruthven to Cecil, Berwick, 
2d April, 1566. Endorsed by Cecil's clerk, Earl Morton and Lord Ruthven 
to my Mr, with the Discourse touching the killing of David. 

J Expressed. 

Bedford and Randolph say, " Having conferred the reports from abroad, 
which came to our knowledge, with the sayings of those noblemen, the Lord 
Morton, and the Lord Ruthven that are present, and of them all, that which 
we have found nearest to the truth, or, as we believe, the truth itself, have 
here put them in writing." 27th March, 1566. Ellis, vol. ii. 


the work of God, for the destruction of an enemy of the truth and an 
idolater. I say confidently, Morton made this distinction, because ha 
tells us so himself in his own trial and subsequent confession. "When," 
says Spottiswood,* " the Earl of Montrose, Chancellor of the Assize, 
declared him [Morton] convicted of counsel, concealing, and being 
art and part, of the king's murther, at these last words he showed 
himself much grieved, and beating the ground once or twice with a 
little staff he carried in his hand, said, 'Art and part, art and parti 
God knoweth the contrary.' " " Then it was said to him, apparently, 
my Lord, ye cannot justly complain of the sentence that is given against 
you, seeing that with your own mouth ye confess the foreknowledge 
and concealing of the king's murder. He answered, I know that to 
be true, indeed; but yet they should have considered the danger that 
the revealing it would have brought to me at that time. * * And 
howbeit they have condemned me of art and part, foreknowledge, and 
concealing of the king's murder, yet, as I shall answer to God, / nerer 
had art or part, red or counsel, in that matter. I foreknew indeed and 
concealed it, because I durst not reveal it to any creature for my life."t 
It is perfectly clear, therefore, that Morton's declaration, that none 
of the ministers of Scotland were art and part of Riccio's murder, does 
not necessarily imply any declaration that Knox had not a foreknow- 
ledge of the murder ; on the contrary, it is quite consistent with his 
having known it, and, according to the term used by one of his brethren 
to James, allowed of it.J 

No. II. 

Plot of Lennox and Darnley against Mary's Crown and Life, p. 19. 

In the letter from Randolph to the Earl of Leicester, which is quoted 
in the text, p. 19, the reader is aware that he alludes darkly to a plot 
of the king, and the Earl of Lennox his father, to deprive the queen 
of her crown, perhaps of her liberty and life. "I know," says he, "these 
practices in hand contrived between the father and son to come by 
the crown against her will. * * I know, that if that take effect 
which is intended, David shall have his throat cut within these ten 
days. Many things grierouser and worse than these are brought to my 
ears, yea, of things intended against her own person, vhich, because I 
think it better to keep secret than write to Mr Secretary, I speak not 
of them but now to your Lordship." 

It is of great importance in the question of Mary's guilt or inno- 

* Spottiswood, p. 313. { Banna tyne's Memorials, p. 319. 

J M'Crie's Life of Knox, by Dr Crichton, p. 254. 


cence, to ascertain the truth of the existence of such a plot against 
her crown and life by her husband the king, and his father, and I 
have found amongst the valuable collections of Prince Labanoff, a 
paper copied from the Archives of the House of Medici, which strongly 
corroborates it. I give it here with kind permission. It is thus en- 

AVVISI DI SCOTIA, DELLI 11, 13, & 28, DI MARZO, 1566. 

Li Ribelli di Scotia che stavano in Inghilterra, col consenso del nove 
Re di Scotia ritornorno a casa loro, e trattavano co il Re suddetto di 
darli la Corona hereditale, accio che lui restasse Re absolute, ancora 
che la Regina morisse senza figlioli. 

Detto Re persuadendosi simil fatto, eonsentita alia morte delict 
Regina sua moglie, e gia aveva consentito alia Morte De David Riccio 

10 Secretario de delta Regina, et lei aveva fatto riserrar in una camera, 
con guardia d'Heretici, accio che li Cattolici non la potessero soccor- 
rere, e fra tanto attendevano detti Hereteci, a far che il stato tutto 
consentisse alia incoronazione di detto Re, et alia privazione del Go- 
verno di detta Regina. Al che non consentendo il Populo, e avendo 

11 Re la mala persuasione fatta a gli da quelli tristi ribaldi, si pente 
dell' errore, e seno ando dalla Regina, alia quale dopo averla salutata 
amorevolmente raconto tutto il successo, e gl'adimando perdona del 
animo suo tristo hauto contra di lei, la quale con piu buon animo, e 
lieta fronte che puote lo ricevette, dicendoli che non credeva che egli 
havesse mai hauto simile intentione contra di lei, et che se forse fosse 
incorso in qualche mancamento di fede, che pregava Iddio gli perdon- 
asse, et lei non solamente gli perdonava ma etiam perdonava a tutti 
gli altri, che la persequitavano, e cosi subito tutti due si raconsiliorno 
et cercorono via di salvarsi. 

Stando il Re con la Regina gli Heretici credevano che lui tratasse, 
accioche lei sotto scrivesse certi Capitole che essi adimandavano sopra 
la perdonanza, et retributione de suoi beni, il che dicendo il Re alia 
Regina che cosi aveva promesso di fare, Lei subito diede modo al Re, 
che se ritornasse da loro con dirgli, che Irt Regina voleva fare ogni 
cosa, che a dimandavano, e cosi se ne ando il Re da essi heretici et 
lettoli il proposito che fu da loro creduto, gli exorto a mettere la Re- 
gina in liberta, promettendo lui di guardarla, che non potesse fuggire, 
al che loro per compiacere al Re consentivono, e se ne partirono las- 
ciando la Regina in mano del Re suo marito. 

Parliti gli heretici, il Re e la Regina mandorono subito per un 
Capitauo loro confidente, il quale vinne con buon numero di soldati 


Catolici per una parte segreta, che non furono veduti dalli inimici, 
gionte da lore maestra se ne fuggirono, a una Fortezza chiamata Don 
Bar, dove arrivorono al alba del giorno, et ivi aspettorono il soccorso 
di nove mille fanti Cattolici, con quali andorono contra detti Ribelli, 
et gli schacciarono di quel suo Regno, et sono ritornati detti Heretic! 
in Inghilterra. 

Ritornate il Re et la Regina a Lisleborgo, dove successe il snddetto, 
fecero tagliar la testa a cinque principal! di quolla Citta author! et 
inventor! di simile impresa. 

La Regina d'Inghilterra, quale era stata causa del tutto intendendo 
la pace fra il Re et Regina di Scotia, s'attristo molto et fece scrivere 
per il suo Secretario Cecille, per tutto il Regno, che la causa di tutto 
il suddetto, era perche il Re haveva trovato il detto Ricciolo a dormire 
con la Regina il che non fu mai vero* * * .* 

It is evident that these Advices from Scotland were given by a 
person on the spot, and intimately acquainted with the object and cir- 
cumstances of the plot against Riccio ; and the statement it contains 
of Darnley's consent to the queen's death is of great importance for 
this fact once admitted, and discovered by Mary, her position in refer- 
ence to a husband whom she knew had plotted against her own life 
was materially altered. 

No. III. 
Joseph Plccio and Joseph Lutyni, p. 61. 

JOSEPH RICCIO, the brother of David Riccio, came into Scotland 
with Monsieur de Mauvissiere early in April 1566 j-f* on the 26th April 
he was made secretary in his brother's place ; and on the 20th June 
Drury informed Cecil that he was growing apace into favour. JOSEPH 
LUTYNI was a gentleman in the Scottish queen's service, an intimate 
friend of Joseph Riccio.J 

On the 23d January 1566-7, Sir William Drury addressed the fol- 
lowing letter to Cecil : 


"23d January, 1566, Berwick. 

" Right Honourable, As this bearer Mr Throckmorton hath, by 
Borne necessary business of his own, occasion to repair to the court, 

* Filza 3 de Carteggio e affari con la Corte d'Inghilterra. Collated and 
certified by the Archivista, G. Tanfani. 

t MS. Letter, State-paper Office, B.C., Drury to Cecil, April 20, 1566. 
. J MS. Letter, State-paper Office, B.C., Drury to Cecil, June 20, 1566. 


eo have I something not unmeet to advertise, which is, that at my 
arrival here, my Lord of Bedford being departed, I found here one 
'Joseph [Lutyni] an Italian, and a gentleman who had served the 
Queen of Scots, and depeschedwith her good favour and license towards 
France, about certain of her grace's affairs, as by the copy of his pass- 
port, accompanied herewith, may appear; who taking this town in his 
way, through weak constitution of health, made his stay here for his 
better recovery ; in which meantime I received a letter from the 
Queen of Scots, purporting a request to apprehend and stay him, for 
that he had, against the laws, taken goods and money from some of 
his fellows, as by the copy of the letter sent herewith your honour may 
be informed at length, which since, as appeareth by one that pursueth 
him, the queen's tailor, is but upon some old reckoning between them; 
and, therefore giveth me to think, by that I can gather as well of the 
matter as of the gentleman, that it is not it that the queen seeketh so 
much as to recover his person. For, as I have learned, the man had 
credit there ; and now the queen mistrusteth lest he should offer his 
service here in England, and thereby might, with better occasion, utter 
something either prejudicial to her, or that she would be loath should 
be disclosed but to those she pleaseth. Whereupon I have thought 
good to stay the man till such time as the queen's majesty's pleasure, 
or my lords of the council, be signified unto me, which the sooner it 
be, the more shall the poor stranger be eased. 

" The occurrents are, the Lord Darly lyeth sick at Glasgo of the 
small pocks, unto whom the queen came yesterday : that disease be- 
ginneth to spread there. The Lord Morton lyeth at the Lord of 
Whytinghames, where the Lord Bodwell and Ledington came of late 
to visit. He standeth in good terms for his peace. Here we look for 
Ledington or Melvyn very shortly to repair. This evening arrived 
here the ambassador of Savoy, Monsieur de Morett. The return this 
way of Monsieur le Croc, is also looked for here. Thus having nothing 
farther to trouble your honour, I humbly take my leave. From Ber- 
wick this 23d January, 1566.* 


Endorsed by Cecil's clerk, Mr Drury marshal of Berwick, to my 
3f r . 23d January, 1566. 

We hear no more of this Italian till the 7th February, 1566-7, when 
Drury wrote as follows to Cecil on the subject. 

* State-paper Office, B.C., Drury to Cecil. 



"Berwick, 7th February, 1566-7- 

" It may please your honour to be advertised. This day, immedi- 
ately after my letter despatched to the L. Lethington in answer of 
one of the queen's and another of his tending both to one effect, for 
the delivery of the Italian Joseph, the very copy whereof I send here- 
with, I received even then one from your H. of the last of January, 
mentioning some direction of answer concerning the said Italian." 
Drury proceeds to state, that he had not been able to find out from 
the stranger any matter of much moment. He then adds, " He (the 
Italian) doubteth much danger ; and so affirmeth unto me, that if he 
return he utterly despaireth of any better speed than a prepared 

On the 19th of February, 1566-7, Drury again thus wrote touching 
the same Italian to Cecil. 


"Berwick, February, 19, 1566-7. 

u It may please your H. to be advertised, that I have received your 
letter of the 13th the 18th of this present, I having before returned 
the Italian to the queen, sending a gentleman with him, as well to 
see him safely delivered unto her as to put the L. of Ledington in 
mind both of the queen's promise, whereof I doubted not, as of his own, 
that, satisfying the debt, he should be in safety returned or restored 
to his liberty." f * * * * 

Lastly, on the 28th February, 1566-7, Drury addressed a letter to 
Cecil, giving in its first paragraph, which follows, the sequel of the 
Italian's story, his return to Scotland, his examination by Bothwell, 
and his courteous dismissal. 


u It may please your honour to be advertised, that the Italian here 
stayd, which the Queen of Scots by her letters required, I did send 
him unto her by a lieutenant of this garrison. She saw him not, but 
caused the Earl Bodwell to deal with him, who offered him fair speech 
to have him to tarry, which he would not yield unto ; he satisfied 
such debt as the tailor could demand of him, others demanding of 
him nothing. The queen willed to give him 30 crowns, and hath re- 
turned him again unto me, who minds to-morrow to take his journey 

* MS. Letter, State-paper Office, B.C., Drury to Cecil, 7th Feb. 1566-7. 
t MS. Letter, State-paper Office, B.C., Feb. 19, 1566-7. 


towards London, very well contented, as he seemeth, to hare left 
Scotland* * * ."* 

Having thus given all the letters which relate to this obscure matter, 
in order that the reader may form his own opinion, I conclude this 
note by the letter of Joseph Riccio to Joseph Lutyni, the Italian in 
question, part of which has been quoted in the text. It is endorsed 
by Cecil thus, " Joseph Riccio, the Queen of Scots' servant" 



lo ho ditto a la Regina e a Thimoteo che voi mTiavete portato 
via i miei denari, e la causa che io lo ditto e per quel, che voi inten- 

Quando noi fumo tornati di Starlino Thimoteo domando dove erano 
i vostri cavalli e le vostre robbe. Io li dissi che le vostre robbe erano 
drento il vostro coffano, e Lorenso Cagnoli li disse che voi havevi 
portato tutto con voi, insieme coni vostri cavalli, e che voi 1'havete 
ditto, "io ho bene abuzato il segretario perche pensa che le miei 
robbe siano drento il mio coffano, ma non ve niente. " 

Quando Thimoteo intese questo comincio a dire, " Cosi m'havete 
abuzato, Mr Segretario, la regina me ne fara la' ragione," e cosi trova 
Bastia e lo fa dire a la Regina, ch'io 1'havevo assicurato, che voi eri 
andato per suoi affari, e che su quello m'haveva prestato cento scudi, 
e tutti cominciorno a dire che li era qualche cattivaria, e chio la 
sapeva e che voi havevi buttato le mani nelli pappieri della Regina ; 
e io, che non voleva esser suspessionato, comincio a dire che voi 
m'havevi portato via sei Portoghese, e cinque nobili, e che m'havete 
promisso di mi lassare i vostri cavalli, e la Regina subbito mi dimanda 
" Dove sono i miei braccialetti ? " e io li dissi che voi li havevi portati 
conesso voi, e che erano drento la borsa con i miei denari, e Bastia 
comincia a dire che voi li dovevi sesanta franchi, e cominciano a dire 
tutti, bisogna mandarli appresso, e fanno tanto, che la Regiiia comanda 
a Ledinton di fare una lettera per vi fare arrestare per camino. 

In questo mezo, Monsieur di Moretta e arrivato qui, il quale dice 
che voi li havete ditto, che io ero causa, che voi fate questo viaggio. 
Pigliate guardia come voi havete parlato, perche se voi dite per 
quello che andavi, noi saremo tutti dui in gran pena. Io ho sempre 
ditto che voi eri andato per pigliar denari, e per lassar passar la collera 
della regina che 1'haveva contra di voi, e chio vi haveva consigliato 
cosi, e chio vi haveva prestato denari per far questo viaggio, la somma 
di sesanta scudi e due Portoghese, perche ancora voi potrete dir cosi, 
e io o ditto che i denari che voi m'havete portato, per che voi me li 

* MS. Letter, State-paper Office, B.C., 28th February, 1566-7. 


avette resi quando voi fussi tomato di francia ; e cosi voi et io saremo 
tutti due scusati. E se voi fate altramente voi sarcte causa della 
mia ruuina, e penso che voi non mi vorreste vedere in ruuina. Per 
1'amor di dio fate come s'io fussi vostro figluolo, e vi prego per 1'amor 
di dio e della buona amisitia che voi m'havete portata et io a voi, di 
dire come io vi mando, coe di fare questo viaggio per ritirare i vostri 
deuari, e per lassar passar la collera a la Regina, e la sospittio che 
ella haveva di voi, e che i denari che io o ditto che voi m'havete pigli- 
ato, che voi ITiavete pigliati per paura che nonvene mancasse per fare 
il vostro viaggio, e che voi me li haveste resi quando voi fussi tomato, 
e che non bisognava che io v'havessi fatto un tal brutto,* e che voi 
Bete homo da bene, e che non li vorreste haver pigliati, sensa render- 
meli, a causa che io ero tanto vostro compagno, voi non havette mai 
pensato che io ne havessi fatto un tal brutto. Et vi prego di non 
volere esser causa della mia ruuina, e se voi dite cosi come vi mando 
sarete scusato, e io ancora. 

La regina vi manda ci pigliare, per parlar ; con voi pigliate guardia 
a voi, che voi la conoscete, pigliate guardia che non v'abbuzi delle sue 
parole, come voi sapete bene ; e m'ha detto che vuol parlare a voi in 
segreto, e pigliate guardia delli dire come vi ho scritto, e non altra- 
mente, a fin che nostra parola, si confronti 1'una e Paltra, e ne voi ne 
io non saremo in pena nessuna, e vi prego di fare quanto v'ho scritto 
e non altramente. Fatemi intendere innanzi che voi siete qui, la 
vostra volunta, et vi prego de haver pieta di me e non voler esser 
causa della mia morte, e facendo come io vi mando non sarete niente 
in pena ne io ancora, e io vene saro sempre obligate, e troverete chio 
Io conoscero d'una maniera, che voi vene contenterete di me, e vi 
prego di mi volere scrivere quello che voi volete dire, a fin che io non 
sia piu in questa pena che io sono innanzi che voi ariviate qui, per 
homo espress. 

Altra cosa non vo da scrivere per adesso, perche velo diro quando 
sarete qui, e vi prego di haver pieta di me, e di voi, perche se voi 
dite altramente di quel che io v'ho scritto, sarete in pena si ben come me. 

Pregando dio che vi dia contentezza di ed lilemburgh questa dome- 

Vro come buon fratello, 

Vi prego di brugiar la littera appresso che voi 1'havete letta.f 

* Sic in original. 

f State-paper Office. The letter is thus endorsed in Cecil's hand, Joseph 
Biccio the Queen of Scots 1 servant. 


No. IV. 
Darnley's Murder, p. 68. 

I have stated the fact of the king having been strangled, and have 
added some new particulars regarding the murder, not only on the 
authority of a letter of Drury to Cecil, but from what I consider a 
still more unexceptionable piece of evidence, the assertion of Morett 
the Savoy ambassador, who was on the spot, and had an opportunity 
of making himself acquainted with all the circumstances. As this 
point has been controverted, and some obscurity still hangs over the 
mode in which the murder was completed, I am happy to be able to 
publish the following curious and authentic extract from a letter dated 
at Paris, 1 6th March, 1567. It forms part of the collections of Prince 
Labanoff, the original being amongst the Medici papers, to which the 
prince had access. The letter was written by the Papal Nuntio at 
Paris to the Grand Duke ; and after stating the arrival of Father 
Edmonds and Monsieur de Morett the ambassador at Paris, with 
some other particulars, which I need not mention, it proceeds thus : 

" Quanto al particular della morte du quel Re, il detto Signor di 
Moretta ha ferma opinione, che quel povero Principe, sentendo il 
rumore delle genti che attorniavano la casa, e tentavano con le chiave 
false apprir gl'usci, volse uscir per una porta che andava al giardino, 
in camicia, con la peliccia, per fuggire il pericolo, e quivi fu affogato, 
e poi condotto fuori dal giardino, in un piccolo horto fuori dalla 
muraglia della Terra, e che poi con il fuoco ruinassero la casa per 
amazzar il resto ch'era dentro, di che se ne fa conjettura percio che 
il Re fu trovato morto in camicia, con la peliccia a canto, et alcune 
donne che allogiavano vicino al giardino, affermano d'haver udito 
gridar il Re : ' Eh fratelli miei habbiate pieta di me per amor di colui, 
che ebbe misericordia di tutto il mondo,' et il P. Edmondo m'afierma, 
che il Re questa mattina,haveva secondoil suo solito udita lamessa, 
e che era stato sempre allevato della madre Cattolicamente ma che 
per desiderio di regnare alle volte dissimulava 1'antica religione, se, 
cosi e'degni sua divina maesta haver misericordia di quella povera 
anima." * * * 

"Parigi, 16 de Marzo, 1567." 

Collated and certified by the Archivista, G. Tanfani, 17th February, 

The following letters, from Drury to Cecil, give us some additional 
particulars relative to the murder of the king, and Bothwell's trial 
and conduct after it : 



"Berwick, February 28, 1566-7. 

"May it please your honour, &c. * * * 

"There hath been other bills bestowed f upon the church doors, 
as upon a tree called the Tron, wherein they speak of a smith who 
should make the key, and offers, (so there might be assurance of the 
living that by proclamation was offered,) he and others will with their 
bodies approve these to be the devisers, and upon the same venture 
their lives. 

" There was at the meeting at Dunkeld, the Earls Moray, Morton, 
Athole, and Caithness, the L. Oglebie, the L. Glammis, Lindsay, and 
others. John Hepburn, sometime Captain under the Earl Bodwell 
of the Hermitage, is thought to be one of the executors of this cruel 
enterprise ; there is one Hughe Leader also suspected. I am pro- 
mised to understand the certainty. His servant Sandy Duram, a 
Scottish man, is thought also to know some part. I will not write of 
BO much as the Scots speak themselves, and some of them of credit. 

" Standen and Nelson, with some others that served the Lord 
Darnley, as I hear, are referred for their wages to the Provost of 
Edinburgh. The Lord of Craigmillar, and the Earl Bodwell, hath 
promised to give Standen a horse. Hudson, a man of good years, 
with the rest of the musitianers, came this other day to Seton, to the 
queen, and required her license that they might repair into their 
country. She dissuaded them to the contrary, saying unto them, you 
have lost a good master, but if you will tarry you shall find me not 
only a good mistress, but a mother. But they mind again to move 
her, and, as I hear, minds to return. There is with her at Seton, 
Argyle, Huntley, Bodwell, and Livingston ; the Lord Seton is gone 
to Newbottle, having left the whole house to the queen ; so she is 
there of her own provision, and minds, as I am advertised, to tarry 
there till near unto Easter. There is in hand to have the lords as- 
semble in Edinburgh. She hath twice sent for the Earl of Moray, 
who stayeth himself by my ladie in her sickness. It is said that the 
Lord Fleming shall be the Earl BodwelPs deputy at Anwick for 
suppression of the rebels of Liddesdale, and that certain of the soldiers 
are gone from Edinburgh to the Hermitage there to remain. 

" There was a rich ship of Shetland, bound to Flanders, lost this 
last week at Holy Island, receiving a leak, coming from Leith. She 
was laden with fells, hides, and leaden ore. The Frenchmen that 

* State-paper Office, B.C. + Sic in original. 


I wrote of in my last letters, that took shipping at Leith, have been 
put in by weather into the Holy Island, and there have remained 
these eight days past. 

" Edward Collingwood, one of this garrison horsemen, is returned 
from the Earl Bodwell, having remained with him in Scotland this 
quarter of this year. I have upon respects committed him to ward : 
by my next letters your honour shall understand more. The gates 
of Seton are very straitly kept. Captain Cullen, with his company, 
have the credit nearest her person. 

" The Earl of Bodwell was on Thursday at Edinburgh, where hi 
openly declared, affirming the same by his oath, that if he knew who 
were the setters up of the bills and writings he would wash his hands 
in their blood. His followers, who are to the number of fifty, fol- 
low him very near. Their gesture, as his, is of the people much noted. 
They seem to go near and about him, as though there were that would 
harm him ; and his hand, as he talks with any that is not assured unto 
him, upon his dagger, with a strange countenance, as the beholders 
of him thinks. Even as the L. Darnley, and his servant William 
Taylor, lay in the house in distance one from the other, even so, as 
also otherwise,* were they found together. Signior Francis, as I hear, 
minds to pass this way within six or eight days. 

" I send your lordship here the copy of some of the bills set up, 
whereby you may see how undutifully the doers of the same doth 
behave themselves against their sovereign. I have thought it my 
part as well to send to you this, as I have done in the rest, for that 
I would, if you should so think it meet, that her majesty my sovereign, 
should understand all that comes to my knowledge of the proceedings 
in these parts. The Lady Bodwell is, I am by divers means informed, 
extremely sick, and not likely to live. They will say there, she is 
marvellously swollen. Even now is brought me that the queen came 
upon Wednesday at night to the Lord Whawton'sf house, seven miles 
off this side ; dined by the way at a place called Tranent, belonging 
to the Lord Seton, where he and the Earl of Huntley paid for the 
dinner, the queen and the Earl Bodwell having, at a match of shoot- 
ing, won the same of them. There is a proclamation made in Edin- 
burgh, forbidding all persons for raising up any of the stones or timber 
at the house where the L. Darnley was murdered. There is one of 
Edinburgh that affirms how Mr James Bafourde bought of him powder 
as much as he should have paid three score pounds Scottish, but he 
must parformej it with oyle to that value. Bafourde came to Edin- 

* Sic. in original. There must be some mistake in Drury's mode of ex- 
pressing himself, as the text implies a contradiction, 
f Probably Hawton. J Parfume. 


burgh upon Wednesday at night, accompanied to the Tower with 
thirty horsemen. When he was near unto the Tower, he lighted, and 
came in a secret way ; [one] is now come to me of this Tower that 
saw him when he came : he is hateful to the people. This person of 
this Tower assures me also, that yesterday, being Thursday, before 
he departed thence, he saw a bill, having been set up the night before, 
where were these letters written in Roman hand, very great, M. R. 

" With a sword' in a hand near the same letters j then an L. B. with 
a mallet near them, which mallet, they, in their writing, called a mell. 
These being even now brought me, and affirmed by him that saw it, I 
have also thought it my part to advertise your honour of, that her 
maj. my sovereign, may know all that passes, as much as comes to 
my knowledge, wherein I think I do my duty ; which, if I understand 
from you that it be not so taken, I shall cease from it, and do accord- 
ing to your direction ; for I only desire from your honour that I may 
from time to time receive your advice, how best I may here employ 
my time to deserve her majesty's favour and liking. How I have 
spent my time sithence my last coming, in remedying of things needful 
for her highness's service, your honour may by others understand. 

" I have received divers requests made unto me by them that hath 
come from Scotland for the receiving of Standen and his company. 
I have answered, I will neither advise them to come, nor promise 
them any favour ; and minds if they come to commit them to ward 
till I understand from you her majesty's pleasure, which it may please 
you to signify unto me. 

" The L. of Cessford and Fernyhirst, with the chief of both par- 
ties are now at Edinburgh for the continuance of the agreement 
amongst them ; which agreement, as it is thought, will breed no great 
good to the queen's maj. my sovereign her subjects upon the Borders; 
for the being agreed, they will rob and spoil faster by their reding.* 
* * &c. 



Bothwett's Trial, p. 80. 
The following is the letter to Cecil, alluded to in the text : 


\Zth April, 1567. 

" RightHonble. Thequeen's majesty'sletter,directed to the Queen 
of Scots, I received the 1 1th hereof, at x of the clock, which forthwith 

* By their reding, i. e., by their agreement : in consequence of their agree- 
ment they will be able to rob the faster. f State-paper Office, B.C. 


1 discharged by the Provost Marshal here, who in mine opinion was 
not the unmeetest I could choose for the purpose. 

" He arrived at the court the 12th, at six in the morning, and then 
used his diligence immediately to deliver his letter, which he had in 
charge, to the queen, attending some good space in court, procuring 
all that he might by the means of such as were near her person, who 
told him it was early, and that her majesty was asleep, and therefore 
advised him to tarry some time thereabouts, till she arose ; which he 
did, going out of the court into the town, and shortly after returned, 
she being not yet risen, and therefore walked about till 9 or almost 10 
o'clock, when all the lords and gentlemen were assembled taking their 
horse ; and then thinking his opportunity aptest, going into the court 
as a little before he did, (the contents of the letter he brought, being 
conjectured and bruted to be for stay of the assize,) was denied pas- 
sage into the court in very uncourteous manner, not without some 
violence offered ; which seeing he could not be permitted to have re- 
course as all other persons, whatsoever they were, he requested that 
some gentleman of credit would undertake faithfully to deliver hia 
letter, from the Queen's majesty of England, to the queen their sove- 
reign, which none would seem to undertake. 

" Upon this came unto him the Parson of Oldhamestock, surnamed 
Hepborne, who told him that the Earl Bodwell had sent him with 
this message, 'that the earl understanding he had letters for the queen, 
would advise him to retire him to his ease, or about some other his 
business, for the queen was so molested and disquieted with the busi- 
ness of that day, that he saw no likelihood of any meet time to serve 
his turn, till after the assize.' 

" Then came the Lord of Skirling, who asked him, if his letter were 
either from the Council or the queen's majesty : he told him from the 
queen's majesty only. Then, said he, ye shall be soon discharged ; 
and so returning into the court, desired the said person to keep him 
company at the gate,which he did; and there with espying a Scottish 
man whom he had for his guide, took occasion to reprehend and 
threaten him of hanging, for bringing English villains as sought to and 
procured the stay of the Assize, with words of more reproach. 

" In this instant Ledington was coming out, and Bodwell with him, 
at the which all the lords and gentlemen mounted on horseback, till 
that Ledington came to him demanding him [of] the letter, which he 
delivered. Then Bodwell and he returned to the queen, and stayed 
there within half an hour, the whole troop of lords and gentlemen still 
on horseback, attending for his coming. Ledington seemed willing 
till have passed by the Provost without any speech ; but he pressed 
towards him, and asked him if the queen's majesty had perused the 
VOL. VII. 2 A 


letter, and what service it would please her majesty to command him 
back again. 

" He answered, that as yet the queen was sleeping, and therefore 
had not delivered the letters, and thought that there would not be any 
meet time for it till after the assize, wherefore he willed him to attend ; 
so giving place to the [throng] of people that passed, which was great, 
and by the estimation of 'men of good judgment above 4000 gentlemen 
besides others. The Earl Bodwell passed with a merry and lusty 
cheer, attended on with all the soldiers, being 200, all harkebuzers, 
to the Tolbooth, and there kept the door, that none might enter but 
Buch as were more for the behoof of the one side than the other. The 
assize began between x and xi, and ended vii in the afternoon. 

" The Earl of Argyle and Huntley [/were] chief judges. What 
particularly was done or said there, I cannot yet learn, more than 
that there were two advocates called Crawford and Cunningham, for 
the Earl of Lennox, who accused the Earl Bodwell for the murder of 
the king, alleging certain documents for the same, and desiring forty 
days' term longer, for the more perfect and readier collection of his 

There is another original letter of Drury's written about this time, 
which is a fragment, and without the date of month or day. It con- 
sists of disjointed pieces of news sent from Scotland by some one of 
those many spies from whom Drury received information. " The guard," 
says he, " of the soldiers of Bodwell, he going to be tried by the assize, 
and their keeping of the door, is much misliked of." " Bothwell, 
immediately after the trial, set up a cartel of defiance; he would fight 
any one (except a defamed person) who accused him of the king's 
death. If I thought it might stand with the queen my sovereign her 
favour, I would answer it and commit the sequel to God. I have for 
me sufficient to charge him with, and would prove it upon his body, 
as willingly as I would receive the obtaining of my sute, required of 
the queen's majesty. I have here caused the draught of a letter to 
her majesty, humbly craving your honour's judgment of it. The mar- 
riage of the queen to Bodwell, and the death of the prince, is presently 
looked for. I send you here inclosed the ploughman's bill, if your 
honour shall think it good to show it to her majesty. There is another 
worse, which I am promised. 

" The cardinal did send a very gentle letter to the Lord of Moray 
by Clarenock, also credit by mouth, craving pardon for the past, for 
that he had borne him evil will ; but now, finding that, though his 
religion were contrary to his, yet his honest, honourable doings, and 
the care that he was now surely persuaded he hath tofore had of this 
queen here, and his sound dealing with her, ever moved him now to 


think himself beholden unto him. Monsieur de Croc seems much to 
mislike the earl's departure, and says so to the queen. She answered, 
he went away for debt ; but she wept at his departure, wishing he 
were not so precise in religion. She wished him to go to Flanders, 
and to visit neither England nor France. 

" It was Captain Cullen's persuasion, for more surety, to have the 
king strangled, and not only to trust to the train of powder, affirming 
he had known many so saved. Sir Andro Carr, with others, was on 
horseback near unto the place, for aid to the cruel enterprise if need 
had been. The Lady Coldingham, now wife to the young Mr of 
Caithness, and sister to the Earl Bodwell, is in credit, and in the 
place of the Lady Renes, now out of court. Suspicion banished the 
one and placed the other. I dare not say, as others that knows more 

" Great means was used to have had the Earl of Moray staid in the 
town till the cruel deed had been done. The Bishop of Glasco, Am- 
bassador for Scotland in France, hath written to the queen, and to 
others which the queen hath understanding of, that nothing likes her, 
of the death of the king. * * The king was long of dying, and to 
his strength made debate for his life. The Lord David, son to the 
Duke, is mad, and Arbroath, his brother, hath already had a show 
of the same disease. * * There accompanied the Earl of Moray 
to the boundary, his brother the Lord of Holyrood-house, the Lord 
Hume, and the chief of the gentlemen of the March, and some of 
Lothian, as Brymstone and others. The king would often read and 
sing the 55th Psalm, and went over it a few hours before his death. 
There were not many that he would of his griefs deal with, but to 
some he would say he should be slain, and complain him much of his 
being hardly dealt with. Even now by the under-marshal I received 
this more. His own evil handling. He only kept out of the court 
pushed out as it were by force, thrust upon the breast with extremity, 
in the sight of divers gentlemen, which seemed much to mislike there- 

" A bill set up, ' Farewell gentyll Henry, but a vengeance of Mary.' 
The queen sent a token and message to Bodwell being at the assize.* 
The queen, upon Thursday last, past through the street unto the 
market, where there were women sitting that had to sell. They rysse 
as she came near, crying aloud, ' God save your grace, if you be sake- 
less of the king's deade [of the king's death.]' The queen's advocates, 
that should have inveighed against Bodwell, are much condemned for 

* By Drury to Cecil, Border Correspondence, 24th April, 1567. 


their silence. The like at an assize hath not been used. * * Bod- 
well rode upon the courser that was the king's, when he rode to the 
assize. The nobility long tarried his coming a horseback, to accom- 
pany him. There was that followed him above iiii thousand, whereof 
the greatest part were gentlemen, besides they that were [in] the 
streets, which were more in number. The streets were full from the 
Canongate to the castle. 

" Ledington and others told the under-marshal that the queen was 
asleep, when he himself saw her looking out at a window, showed 
him by one of La Croke's servants, a Frenchman, and Ledington's wife 
with her ; and Bodwell, after he was a horseback, looked up, and 
she gave him a friendly nod for a farewell ; for till it was known the 
under-marshal's errand as the contents of the letter, he had liberty 
.in court ; but not after, when he was once out, suffered to go in again." 

No. VI. 

Mary's Marriage with Bothwell, p. 102. 

It is remarked in the text, p. 102, that the queen, although making 
a show of contentment, was really wretched. The following letter 
of De Croc, the French ambassador, was written three days after her 
marriage with Bothwell, but recounts an interview which the ambas- 
sador had with Mary on her marriage day. It is taken from the 
MSS. Collections of Prince Labanoff. The original is in the Biblio- 
theque Royale at Paris. Collection de Harlay, No. 218. 

Depeehe de Monsieur de Croc a Catherine de Medicis, du!8 
Mai, 1567. 

Madame, Les lettres que j'escript a V. M. par le dit Evesque (de 
Dumblane) sont pour estre leues ; Vous pouvez penser que je ne me 
fye a lui quoi que je vous escrive. Vos Majcstes ne sauraient mieux 
faire que de luy faire mauvaise chere, et trouvez bien mauvaise le man- 
age, car il est tres malheureux, et desja Ton n'est pas a s'en repenter. 
leudi, Sa majeste m'envoya querir, on je m'apperceus d'une estrange 
fa9on entre elle et son Mary, ce que elle me voullut excuser, disant que 
si je la voyois triste, c'estoit pour ce qu'elle ne voulloit se rejouyr comme 
elle dit ne le faire jamais,ne desirant que la mort.* 

* This conversation, it is to be particularly noted, occurred on the very day 
of Mary's marriage to Bothwell the 15th of May. 


'Hier estant renfermez tous deux dedans un cabinet avec le Compte 
de Bodwell, elle cria tout hault, que on luy baillast ung couteau pour 
se tuer. Ceulx qui estoient dedans la chambre, dans la piece qui 
precedoit le Cabinet, Pentendirent. Us pensent que si Dieu luy aide 
qu'elle se desespera. Je 1'ay conseille et comforte'e de mieux que j'ay 
peu ces trois fois que je 1'ay veu. 

Son Mary ne la fera pas longue, car il est trop hay en ce royaume 
et puis Ton ne cessera jamais que la mort de Roy ne soyt seue. II 
n'ya ici pas un seul Seingneur de Norn, que le dit Compte de Bodwell, 
et le Compte de Craffort ; les autres sont mandes, et ne veullent point 

Elle a envoys' qu'ils s'assemblent en quelque lieu nomme, et je les 
aille trouver pour leur parler au nom du Roy, et voir si je y pourrez 
faire quelque chose. Sil advient j'y ferez tout ce qu'il me sera pos- 
sible, et apres, le meilleur est de me retirer, et comme je vous ayt 
mander, les laisser jouer leur jeu. II n'est point scant que je y sois 
au nom du Roy; Car si je favorise la Poyne 1'on pensera en ce Roy- 
aume, et en Angleterre, que le Roy tient la main a tout ce qui se fait, 
et si ce n'eust este le commandement que V. M. me feyrent, je fust 
party huict jours devant les nopces. Si est ce que j'ay parlez bieii 
hault, dequoy tout ce royaume est assez abberuvez,* et je ne me suis 
point voullu brasser f a ses nopces ; ni depuis ne 1'ay point voullu 
recongnoistre comme Mary de la Royne. Je crois qu'il escrira a V. 
M. par le dit Evesque de Dumblane ; Vous ne luy debvez point faire 
de responce, &c. &c. 

No. VII. 
Mary's Escape from LoMecen, pp. 174, 175. 

The following minute account of the queen's escape from Lochleven, 
which is my authority for the new and interesting circumstances given 
in the text,, was communicated by John Beaton, brother of the Arch- 
bishop of Glasgow, to the King of France, and transmitted by Petrucci, 
the envoy or ambassador of the Grand Duke, Cosmo de Medicis, to 
his master, in a letter dated at Paris, 21st of May, 1568. It is taken 
from the MS. Collections of Prince Labanoff, who found the original 
in the secret archives of the House of Medici. Beaton, it will be 
observed, was on the spot watching at Kinross for the queen on the 
evening she made her escape. He was a principal contriver of the 
escape, and an eye-witness and ear-witness of all. 

* Instruit. f Participer. 




Advisato detta Regina di Scotia Monsignor di Seton suo confiden- 
tissimo Cattolico et molto valoroso cavaliere, per via d'un putto di 
casa, il quale non ritorno poi, egli si condusse per il giorno diterminato 
con circa 50 cavalli, presso al Lago di Loclevin, dove la Regina era 
tenuta prigioniera, restando pero egli con 40 di loro, fra certe mon- 
tagne poco loutano per non essere scoperti da quelli del Castello del 
lago, e piu presso si fecero gli altri dieci, che smontarono in un Tilaggio 
vicino al lago, mostrando esservi per transito, uno de quali ando in 
ripa al lago prossimo, et stava col corpo disteso in terra per non esser 
veduto, aspettando, che la Regina uscisse, secondo 1'ordine. 

Alia porta del Castello, si facevano le guardie continuati, giorno 
e notte, eccetto che rnentre ci cenava, nel qual tempo, si chiudeva 
la Porta con una chiave, andando ogniuno a cena, e la chiave stava 
sempre sulla tavola, dove il Castellano mangiava, e davanti a lui. II 
Castellano e fratello uterine del Conte de Murray Regente de Scozia, 
fratello naturale della Regina, e suo mortal niinico. 

La Regina doppo provato di calarsi da una finestra, e non li era 
riuscito, fece tanto che un paggio del Castellano, il quale essa haver 
a cio disposto, portando la seconda sera di Maggio un piatto in tavola, 
con una servietta innanzi al padrone, le misse sopra la chiave, e quella 
tolse e porto via che alcuno non s'en'accorse, andato subito dalla 
Regina le disse il tutto, e ella che tra tanto s'era messe le vesti della 
maggior di quelle due cameriere, che le havevano lassate, menando 
seco per mano la miuore, che puo essere una figlia di 10 anni, n'ando 
col paggio chetamente alia porta et aperta se n'usci con lui, e con la 
putta, e serrata la per di fuori con la medcsima chiave, senza laquale 
non si poteva aprire, ne anco di dentro, entra in un piccol batello, che 
quivi si teneva per servizio del Castello, e spiegato un suo velo bianco, 
con un fiocco rosso, fe il segno concertato, a chi Pattendeva che ella 
veniva, al quale segno quello che era disteso in terra su la ripa del 
lago, levato si, e con un altro segno advisati li Cavaliere del Vilaggio 
(fra qnali era principale, quello che e venuto qua a dar conto di questo 
fatto a questi Maesta, che e fratello del Ambasciatore di Scotia qua,) 
e da loro advisati poi quelli della Montagna furono subito al lago, e 
la Regina che col paggio remando al meglio che poteva, di la con la 
Dio gratia s' era condotta ; racolsero con infinita allegrezza e messa 
la a cavallo, col paggio e con la putta, la menarono al Mare 5 miglia 
indi discosto, per cio che 1'andare sempre per terra, dove havevano 
disegnato earia stato loro di manifesto pericolo. 


Imbarcatisi tutti la condussero a Nidri luogo ti Monsignore di Seiton 
e di la poi a Amilton, Castello del Duca di Sciatelero, la dove Mon- 
signore d' Arcivescovo di Santa Andrea suo fratello, con altri principali 
de quelle parte 1'accolsero e rivererono come Regina. Amilton e 
luogo forte per battaglia di mano e vicino a Don Bertran porto e 
Castello fortissimo 4 leghe, ma la Regina non si retira la' si perche e 
ben sicura in Amilton, comandando a tutta quella contrada, Monsignor 
S' Andrea sudetto, e non altri, si per poter recover meglio quei che 
anderano ad-adjutarla la, che in una fortezza forse non saria cosi, alia 
quale pero in ogni caso si puo condurre da una sera, a un altra ac- 

Tutto quel regno e in moto, chi per la Regina, chi contro di lei col 
Conte di Moray Ella ha mandato questo Gentilhuomo* a domandar 
per hora mille archebusieri a queste Maesta, ma che se vorra ricup- 
erare, Edinburg, citta principale, e 1'altre fortezze occupate da ribelli, 
hara bisogno d'esser adjutata da ogni banda, e ha scritta una lettera 
al Cardinale di Loreno che moveria ogni cuore duro a compassione 
di lei, et le prime linee sono che ella domanda perdona a Dio et al 
Mondo di gli errori passati della sua giovinezza, che ricognosci la sua 
liberazione solo da sua divina Maesta, e che le ne rendeva, humilis- 
sime gratie, che le habbia dato tanto spirito in queste sue afflitioni, 
che non si sia mai punto mossa dal suo fermo proponimento di voler 
vivere e morir Cattolica, come intende hora de voler far piu che mai. 

Collated and signed by L'Archivista, G. Tanfani. 
Dal Archimo Mediceo, le 17 Febbrajo, 1840. 

In a letter, preserved amongst the Morton MSS., from Sir William 
Kirkaldy to the Laird of Lochleven, dated June 1st, 1568, there is 
the following passage. 

" Seeing that all thir three taik no effect, this last was tane in hand 
and executed, devised by the queen's self, George, and the lad Willie, 
and Cursell was on the counsel, who received all writings, messages, 
and tokens from Willie sent by George to the queen. I can try no 
more of your servants to have been on this counsel. * * As to 
them that came in company with the L. Seton, I need not to tell you 
their names ; but James Wardlaw was the guide, and laid them 
quietly in the hill, where they might see the going in and out of the 
boat. When I know farther, ye shall understand it," &c. 1st June, 

* Namely, John Beaton. 


No. VIII. 
Battle of Langside, p. 181. 

The following account of this battle is taken from an original in the 
State-paper Office, entitled, 


[The blanks are left in consequence of the original being in thos 
places injured.] 

, 1568. 

" The queen's number was six thousand. 

" The Earl of Argyle her Lieutenant-General. 

" The company of the Lords was esteemed to be four thousand. 

u The Hamiltons had the vauntgarde of the queen's part, assisted 
with others, to the number of two thousand. Both companies did 
strive for ahill nigh adjoining where theymet. Their meeting together 
was in a strait passage through a village. The Lord Hume, the Lord 
Semple, and the Lord Morton, had the vauntgarde on that side. The 
fight endured, at the least, three quarters of an hour without giving 
back. The queen's party first gave way, and then pursued * 
at the beginning of which chase Th' Earl of Moray willed and required 
all his to spare for shedding of more blood. Otherwise as many as 
were on foot, which were the greatest number, had been in their 
enemy's will, for the h . . whereof the Lord Haris was general, 
fled and . . . within the horses of them that were lighted of 
the company. 

" The queen beheld this conflict within half a mile distant, standing 
upon a hill, accompanied with Lord Boyd, the Lord Fleming, and the 
Lord Harris' son, with thirty others, who, seeing the company over- 
thrown, took the way to f [Dumbarton, who was so near pursued that 
she could not take the boat that should bring her into Dumbarton, 
but was driven to take the way to Dumfries, where she as yet re- 
maineth.] The estimation of the number that was slain in the place 
where they fought, by the view of them that have skill, is judged to 
be six or seven score, besides those have died since being brought into 
the town, and other places, which daily die. And taken prisoners of 
that side to the number of 300 aad more, whereof the Lord Seton, 
the Lord Ross, Sir James Hamilton, the Mr Montgomery, the Mr 

* Sic. in Original. 

t The passage enclosed with [ ] is scored through in the original. 


Cassillis, the Sheriff of Ayr, the Sheriff of Lithgow who bore the 
Hamilton's standard in the vantgarde, himself being a Hamilton, the 
young Laird of Preston, the Laird of Innerwick, the Laird of Pitmilly, 
and the Laird of Baweirg, Andro Melvin, the Laird of Boyne, and 
Robert Melvin, Captain Anstruther, the Laird of Trabrowne, two sons 
to the Bishop of St Andrew's, if one of them not slain, a son to the 
Abbot of Kylwinnon. The rest of the number that is taken of the 
three hundred is all of the surname of the Hamiltons and their allya. 
Alexr. Stewart a captain of footmen slain. 

** John Hamilton of Millbourne, Mr of the household to the Duke, 
also slain. John Hamilton of Ormiston slain. 

" The prisoners for the most part are all put in the castle of Glas- 
gow. Of the Lords' side never a man of name slain. Divers sore 
hurt. The Lord Hume hurt in the leg and face, and overthrown, 
and relieved by his own men. The Lord Ochiltree sore hurt and in 
danger of his life, at the skirmish on horseback in the morning, re- 
ceiving his chief wound with a sword in his neck, given by the Lord 
Harris, whose son, in the revenge of his father's hurt, had slain the 
Lord Seton, had not the Earl of Moray saved him after his being 
yielded. Andro Kar of Fawdonside likewise hurt in danger of his 
life, with divers others gentlemen sore hurt. 

" The Earl of Argyle, even as they were joining, as it is reported, 
for fault of courage and spirit, swooned. There were divers of the 
queen's part taken and not brought in, for there was the father against 
the son, and brother against brother, as namely, three of the Melvyna 
of the Lords' side, and two of the queen's, which was Robert and 
Andro. After the fight had long continued, a gentleman of the high- 
land, called Macfarlane, who not xx days before for his misbehaviour 
was condemned to die, and yet at the suit of the Countess of Moray, 
had his pardon, and now accompanied with two hundred of his coun- 
trymen was a wing to the vauntgarde of th' east side, and came in 
and executed great slaughter by whom the victory was not thought 
least to be atchieved. 

" The Earl of Huntley was coming to the queen with 

with great speed, untill 

got the warst, and then . . of field pieces of brass there 
was x, which the Lords also wan. And the Mr Gunner, with a great 
piece from the Lords' side. 

" The day following, being the 14th, the earl sent to summon the 
castle of Hamilton. The answer respaited till the next morning, and 
he that had the charge thereof came to Glasgow and offered the keys 
to the Earl of Moray upon his knees, and said, that if it pleased to 
send any thither to receive it, he should ; and he answered that he 


would go himself, and so did, and took it that day himself about 12 
hours ; and within few hours afterwards went to Draffen, but how he 
hath therein prevailed, I yet know not, but shall at the return of those 
two that I have yet remaining there. 

"The Earl of Athole, notwithstanding his promise made to the 
lords, neither he nor any of his came. The Laird of Grange had the 
charge of the horsemen of the Lords' side, who that day played his 
part. The French ambassador was either at Hamilton or in the field 
the day of their meeting. The Earl of Eglinton, being of the queen's 
side, bestowed himself in a house, and there covered with straw till 
the night, and then escaped. 

" The noblemen that were with the queen : the Earl of Argyle, th' 
Earl of Eglinton, the Earl of Cassillis' brother, with his friends. The 
Earl of Rothes, the Lord Boyd, the Lord Fleming, the L. Levyston, 
the Lord Seton, the Lord Ross, the Lord Yester, the Lord Borthwick, 
the Lord Claud, son to the Duke, Sir James Hamilton, . 
the Sheriff of Lithgow, the L. and of Garleys, the 

L. Weemys of Fife, with all the whole force of Galloway and Liddes- 

" That day the Earl of Moray went to receive the castle of Hamil- 
ton, certain of his horsemen ran a foray, and got many naggs, where- 
upon the poor people made a great lamentation, and immediately 
thereupon he caused proclamation to be made that their goods should 
be delivered again and no spoil to be made." 

No. IX. 

An Order for Mary's Execution In 1569, p. 240. 

The following is the letter of Leicester referred to in the text. It 
was politely communicated to me by John Bruce Esq., a well-known 
and able antiquary, and Secretary to the Camden Society. He con- 
jectures that it was written to Secretary Walsingham, but the address 
does not appear on the letter. It is preserved in a MS. volume belong- 
ing to Frederick Ouvry, Esq., by whose permission it is now printed. 
The volume was written, as Mr Bruce conjectures, about the beginning 
of the seventeenth century, and contains transcripts of many letters 
written by Leicester, from the Low Countries. I have in vain searched 
for the original of this letter in the State-paper Office. The fact 
which it mentions, that a great seal was sent for Mary's executioa 
of a sudden, at the time of Northumberland and Westmoreland's 
rebellion, is, as far as I know, new. 



* KM October, 1585. 

" I have written very earnestly, both to her majesty and my Lord 
Treasurer, and partly also to yourself and Mr Vice Chamberlain, for 
the furtherance of justice in [on] the Queen of Scots ; and believe me 
if you shall defer it, either for a parliament or a great session, you 
will hazard her majesty more than ever ; for time to be given is that 
the traitors and enemies to her will desire. 

" Remember, how upon a less cause, how effectually all the council 
of England once dealt with her majesty for justice to be done upon 
that person, for being suspected and infamed to be consenting with 
Northumberland and Westmoreland in the rebellion. You know the 
Great Seal of England was sent then, and- thought just and meet, upon 
the sudden for her execution. Shall now her consent and practice for 
the destruction of her majesty's person be used with more [regard] 
to her danger than the less found fault ? Surely I tremble at it ; for 
I do assure myself of a new more desperate attempt if you shall fall 
to such temporising solemnities ; and her majesty cannot but mislike 
you all for it ; for who can warrant these villains from her if that 
person live, or shall live any time ? God forbid ;. and be you all stout 
and resolute in this speedy execution, or be condemned of all the 
world for ever. It is most certain, if you will have her majesty safe, 
it must be done ; for justice doth crave it, besides policy. It is the 
cause I send this poor lame man, who will needs be the messenger for 
this matter ; he hath bidden such pain and travel here, as you will 
not believe. A faithful creature he is to her majesty as ever lived. 
I pray you let her not* retain him still now, even to save his life, for 
you know the time of the year is past for such a man to be in the field ; 
yet will he needs be so, and means to return, and you must procure 
his stay as without my knowledge, or else I lose him for ever ; but 
if he come hither, it is not like if he can continue ; he deserves as 
much as any good heart can do be his good friend 1 pray you, and so 
God bless you Hast written in my bed upon a cushion, this 10th, 
early in the morning. 

" Your assured. 

" I pray you let not Candish know I wrote for his stay, but yet 
procure it in any wise." 

* Sic. in original, but it seems incorrect. It should be, I think, " let her 
retain him still now." 


Elizabeth's Plot for the Secret Execution of Mary in Scotland, p. 312. 

The following are the Letters which contain the secret history of 
Killigrew's missioy. 


"Leith, Uth September, 1572. 

" May it please your good lordships, I arrived at Berwick the llth 
of this present ; and after I had some conference with Mr Marshal 
touching my charge, I came to Tantallon, where the Earl Morton had 
lain sick ten days before. He caused me to stay there all night, by 
reason whereof many speeches passed, which now for haste I cannot 
enlarge ; but, in sum, it may please your honour to know, that he 
assured me, that for his part he was the same man he always professed 
himself to be,both for the king his master's service, and the doing of all 
good offices to continue the amity with the queen's majesty, my sove- 
reign ; that he knew of no pensions offered by Monsieur de Croc, nor any 
practices for conveying the king, etc. La Croc, he seemed not to like, 
because hitherto he did not acknowledge the king's authority ; but a 
driver of time in this treaty, which I think will hardly be brought to 
a good peace without further trouble, for the great jealousy the one 
party hath that the other meaneth but drift of time. He * is the 
king's lieutenant-general on this side Stirling. 

* The news of France doth make them and others startle, and here 
methinks doth greatly alienate their minds from that king. Where 
their day of meeting was appointed to be the 10th day of this month, 
certain of both sides convened together and put it off till the 20th of 
this month, at which time the regent, and the Earl of Morton, with 
the king's friends, do meet here in Leith. In this meanwhile, passing 
towards my Lord Regent to Stirling, I thought good, having met Mr 
James Melvin by chance in this town, to let them of the castle know 
of my coming, and of the cause, and of the charge I have to deliver 
them as soon as I shall have been with the regent. It seemeth I am 
not misliked of the other party, and therefore I hope some good will 
grow, even in the matter I am chiefly sent for, whereof, as soon a? I 
may be able with reason I shall advertise your honours ; and in this 
meantime, most humbly beseech you to pardon this rude scribbling. 

" John Knox is again in Edinburgh ; the town guarded ; and this 

* i. e. Morton. 


also, which is somewhat fortified and in defence, with the king's 
soldiers. From Leith, this 14th of September, in the morning.* 
" Your honours' most bounden, 



"19th October, 1572, Stirling. 

u May it please your good lordships to be advertised. I came hither 
the 16th of this present, at night, and the next day I was bidden to 
dinner with the regent, and saw the king, who seemed to me a very 
toward prince of his age, both in wit and person. 

" I pressed my Lord Regent's grace to command some good and 
reasonable answers to be made unto the form of surety demanded by 
the Castilians to the end that this abstinence be not neglected as the 
other was, without doing anything for the peace until it was too late ; 
and in this motion I used some speeches to sound his inward liking 
and devotion to the peace indeed, which I found him to my judgment 
most desirous thereof ; and weary, as it were, in respect of the burden, 
charge, and trouble sustained by the regiment, because he findeth not 
the assistance he looked for, neither at home, nor yet from abroad. 

" Touching my motion, his grace said, that he had given order to 
the Abbot of Dunfermline to deliver me, at my return to Edinburgh, 
such answer as his grace and the council had caused to be framed to 
the Castilian's demands, the which, he hoped, I should find to be 
reasonable ; and in case there were anything to their misliking, his 
grace and the council were contented to be ruled therein by the advice 
of her majesty, wherein they nothing doubted the care her majesty 
had, both of the preservation of their young king and his estate. And 
by occasion of this speech his grace said moreover to me, how he had 
sent his resolute mind unto my Lord of Morton by the said abbot 
touching the great matter; wherein I found him now very earnest, 
insomuch that he desired me to write speedily unto both your honours 
to further the same by all the good means you might, as the best, and as 
it were, the only salve for the cure of the great sores of this common- 
wealth. I am also put in good hope of the said abbot that I shall 
receive a good answer of my Lord of Morton's touching the circum- 
stances, et cetera, which I omit to write till the despatch of my 
courier, by whom I shall be able to satisfy your honours more at 
length, having only written thus much, as it were, by the way. 

" I perceive the regent's first coldness grew rather for want of skill 

* State-paper Office. 


how to compass so great a matter, than for lack of good-will to exe- 
cute the same. He desired me also to write unto your honours to be 
suitors unto her majesty for some relief of money towards the pay- 
ment of his soldiers, without the which he shall not be able to do his 
master that service he desireth." * * * 
The rest of the letter is unimportant.* 


November 23, 1572. 

** My bounden duty most humbly remembered. 

" Your honours' letters by Captain Arrington, who brought her 
majesty's pacquet, I received the 22d of this present, in the which 
your honours do earnestly charge me with two great, yea, very great 
faults one that I should have passed my commission in the handling 
of the great cause, the other, for that I showed myself willing to re- 
ceive so absurd and unreasonable requests as I sent your honours. 

" To the first I answer, with all humbleness, under the correction 
of your good lordships, that whatsoever cause my confounded manner 
of writing gave your honours so to think, yet if it shall be proved 
ever hereafter that I used her majesty's name therein, or passed the 
bounds of my commission, I will never desire more favour of your 
honours, but rather that ye would do justice upon me to the example 
of others. 

" I forget not, my lords, the great charge her majesty gave me at 
my coming hither, saying, that no more was privy to this matter but 
your honours and I, and that if it came forth, the blame should fall 
thereafter. I could but promise her majesty it should be to me as 
my life, which I trust I have kept, insomuch that when I was adver- 
tised that my Lord Keeper, after his coming to the court, was also 
made acquainted with the matter, I durst never direct my letters to 
him, with your lordships, but thought best to leave the same to your 
wisdoms. And this is absolute to the first point, whatsoever my 
Cornish English hath occasioned your honours to gather to the con- 
trary, that I never used her majesty's name, nor that I would make 
any motion for them here, but to your honours alone. 

u Now, touching the receiving of the Articles, and transcription of 
them, I did it not without protestation to the Abbot of Dunfermline, 
how I utterly misliked them, assuring him farther, that I took them 
not to any other end, but to know of my Lord of Morton, whether 
they were according to his meaning. Whereupon I remember the 

* State-paper Office. + Original, State-paper Office. 


abbot replied, alleging certain causes why he thought her majesty 
would never agree to any such thing, therefore that this was a mean 
to feel your lordships' judgments, which saying of his I did insert as 
near as I could remember them in the letter and after the 'Articles.' 

" I humbly beseech your honours to consider that this was done at 
such time as the late regent lay a-dying, which matter and the sequel 
thereof did so occupy my head and hand, that I was fain to send those 
Articles with a confused letter, as it were rather to let your honours 
see the manner of their dealing (whereof I had given warning before 
in my other letters,) than that I did allow or like of them, and there- 
fore I advertised your honours how I had told my Lord of Morton 
plainly, that I had not sent them, but only received them of the abbot 
(who was gone over the water,) to know whether they were as his 
Lordship meant them who, taking the copy which I had in my hand 
to show him, after he had read them, said, that the abbot had missed 
in something, and desired me not to send the Articles. I answered, 
he need not desire me, for though he would give me never so much, 
I would not do it, and in the end made him see that it was rather a 
mockery than otherwise. 

* This your honours may trust to is true, although the time were 
such then as I could not write all circumstances; and since that time, 
although I heard some time a glance of the matter, I would never 
give great ear to it. * * * And truly, my Lords, I was stricken 
with such sorrow upon the reading of your letters, I was not able 
since to brook anything I took for sustenance. * * * 
u By your honours' bounden, 


No. XI. 

Death of Mar, p. 323. 

On the day the Regent Mar died at Stirling, namely October 28, 
1572, Killigrew the ambassador wrote this letter to the Lords Burgh- 
ley and Leicester : 

"May it please your good Lordship, I wrote yesterday to Mr 
Secretary of the great danger my Lord Regent was in of his life, but 
since, he having been let blood, is somewhat amended. My Lord of 
Morton told me the same day that he had received a letter from Alexander 
Areskine, the regent's brother, that there was no hope of life in him, 
and willed him to provide accordingly, which he did, as your honours 
shall understand by Captain Arrington, who shall depart hence to- 

* State-paper Office. 


morrow at the farthest, both with their opinions here for the peace, 
as also for the matter ye wot of, which in mine opinion will nothing 
satisfy your expectation, unless it may be squared and framed to a 
better and more reasonable proportion, as I think it will upon your 
answers. I look this night for a man I sent to Stirling, and there- 
fore shall peradventure stay a little the longer, that I may send you 
perfect word of the regent's estate. And thus referring all things 
to Capt. Arrington's letters, I most humbly take my leave of your 
honours.* * * * 


No. XII. 

Death of Grange, p. 349. 

"Holyrood-house, Aug. 5, 1573. 

" After my most hearty commendations, I received your letter from 
Captain Cockburn as I returned from Stirling towards this town upn 
the 29th of July, wherein I find a loving continuance of your care and 
gude will towards the amity of thir-f- countries, and friendship to 
myself. Of the quhilkj I heartily thank you. 

" Upon Monday the 3d of August, Grange, his brother Mr James, 
with Mossman and Cockky, the goldsmiths that made the conterfeit 
money in the castle, were executed, according to the judgment of the 
law pronounced against them. And further execution is no yet made. 
What offers were made on Grange's behalf for safety of his life, I 
send you herewith the copy, which, as you may consider are large, as 
meikle as possibly might have been offered. Yet, considering what 
has been and daily is spoken by the preachers, that God's plague will 
not cease quhill || the land be purged of blood, and having regard that 
such as are interested by the death of their friends, the destruction 
of their houses, and away taking of their goods, could not be satisfied 
by any offer made to me in particular, quhilk I accepting, should 
have been cassinlJ in double inconvenience, I deliberated to let justice 
proceed as it has done. * * * 

" I have written to my Lady Lennox, to crave of the Marshal of 
Berwick, the king my sovereign's jewels that are in his hands, which 
he is obliged in honour, and by indenture and promise made at the 

* State-paper Office, Killigrew to Burghley and Leicester, 28th October, 

+ These. J The which. As much. 

|| Until. U Thrown. 


incoming of the queen's majesty's forces, to deliver in my hands to 
the king's use. It may be that he will use them liberally now at 
court, and make friends by them. Therefore, I pray you give advice 
to my Lady Lennox in what order it is best that she handle this 
matter.* * "* 

* State-paper Office. 








Tytler, Patrick Fraser 

The history of Scotland 
New eti.