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An Outline of the Relations between England and Scotland (500-1707)
Chapter VIII - The Parting of the Ways 1542 - 1568


Mary of Guise, thus for the second time a widow, was left the sole protector of the infant queen, against the intrigues of Henry VIII and the treachery of the House of Douglas. Fortunately, Margaret Tudor had predeceased her son in October, 1541, and her death left one disturbing element the less. But the situation which the dowager had to face was much more perplexed than that which confronted any other of the long line of Scottish queen-mothers. During the reign of James V the Reformed doctrines had been rapidly spreading in Scotland. It was at one time possible that James V might follow the example of Henry VIII, and a considerable section of his subjects would have welcomed the change. His death added recruits to the Protestant cause; the greater nobles now strongly desired an alienation of Church property, because they could take advantage of the royal minority to seize it for their private advantage. The English party no longer consisted only of outlawed traitors; there were many honest Scots who felt that alliance with a Protestant kingdom must replace the old French league. The main interest had come to be not nationality but religion, and Scotland must decide between France and England. The sixteenth century had already, in spite of all that had passed, made it evident that Scots and English could live on terms of peace, and the reign of James IV, which had witnessed the first attempt at a perpetual alliance, was remembered as the golden age of Scottish prosperity. The queen-mother was, by birth and by education, committed to the maintenance of the old religion and of the French alliance. The task was indeed difficult. Ultimate success was rendered impossible by causes over which she possessed no kind of control; a temporary victory was rendered practicable only by the folly of Henry VIII.

The history of Henry's intrigues becomes at this point very intricate, and we must be content with a mere outline. On James's death he conceived the plan of seizing the Scottish throne, and for this purpose he entered into an agreement with the Scottish prisoners taken at Solway Moss. They professed themselves willing to seize Mary and Cardinal Beaton, and so to deprive the national party of their leaders. Then came the news that the Earl of Arran had been appointed regent in December, 1542. He was heir-presumptive to the throne, and so was unlikely to acquiesce in Henry's scheme, and the traitors were instructed to deal with him as they thought necessary. But the traitors, who had, of course, been joined by the Earl of Angus, proved false to Henry and were falsely true to Scotland. They imprisoned Beaton, but did not deliver him up to the English, and they came to terms with Arran; nor did they carry out Henry's projects further than to permit the circulation of "haly write, baith the new testament and the auld, in the vulgar toung", and to enter into negotiations for the marriage of the young queen to the Prince of Wales, afterwards Edward VI. The conditions they made were widely different from those suggested by Henry. Full precautions were taken to secure the independence of the country both during Mary's minority and for the future. Strongholds were to be retained in Scottish hands; should there be no child of the marriage, the union would determine, and the proper heir would succeed to the Scottish throne. In any case, no union of the kingdoms was contemplated, although the crowns might be united. These terms were slightly modified in the following May. Beaton, who had escaped to St. Andrews, did not oppose the treaty, but made preparations for war. The treaty was agreed to, and the war of intrigues went on, Henry offering almost any terms for the possession of the little queen. Finally, in September, Arran joined the cardinal, became reconciled to the Church, and left Henry to intrigue with the Earl of Lennox, the next heir after Arran.

Hostilities broke out in the end of 1543, when the Scots, enraged by Henry's having attacked some Scottish shipping, declared the treaty annulled. In the spring of 1544, the Earl of Hertford conducted his expedition into Scotland. The "English Wooing", as it was called, took the form of a massacre without regard to age or sex. The instructions given to Hertford by Henry and his council read like quotations from the book of Joshua. He was to leave none remaining, where he encountered any resistance. Hertford, abandoning the usual methods of English invaders, came by sea, took Leith, burned Edinburgh, and ravaged the Lothians. Lennox attempted to give up Dumbarton to the English, but his treachery was discovered and he fled to England, where he married Margaret, the daughter of Angus and niece of Henry VIII, by whom he became, in 1545, the father of Henry Stewart, Lord Darnley, who thus stood within the possibility of succession, in his own right, to both kingdoms. Angus and his brother, Sir George Douglas, seized the opportunity given them by the misery caused by the English atrocities to make a move against Arran and Beaton, and seized the person of the queen-mother. But their success was brought to an end by the meeting of a Parliament, summoned by Arran, in December, 1544, and the Douglases were reconciled and restored to their estates, deeming this the most profitable step for themselves. Their breach with Henry was widened by the events of the next two months. A body of Englishmen, under Sir Ralph Eure, defeated Arran at Melrose, and desecrated the abbey, the sepulchre of the Douglas family. In revenge, Angus, along with Arran, fell upon the English at Ancrum Moor in Roxburghshire, and inflicted on them a total defeat. This was followed by a second invasion of Hertford (this time by land). He ravaged the borders in merciless fashion. A counter-invasion by an army of Scots and French auxiliaries had proved futile owing to the incompetence or the treachery of Angus, who almost immediately returned to the English side. About the same time a descendant of the Lord of the Isles whom James IV had crushed made an agreement with Henry, but was of little use to his cause. Beaton, after some successful fighting on the borders, in the end of 1545, went to St. Andrews in the beginning of 1546. On the 1st March, George Wishart, who had been condemned on a charge of heresy, was hanged, and his body was burned at the stake. On May 29th the more fierce section of the Protestant party took their revenge by murdering the great cardinal in cold blood. We are not here concerned with Beaton's private character or with his treatment of heretics. His public actions, as far as foreign relations are concerned, are marked by a consistent patriotic aim. He represented the long line of Scottish churchmen who had striven to maintain the integrity of the kingdom and the alliance with France. He had shown great ability and tact, and in politics he had been much more honest than his opponents. But for his support of the queen-dowager in 1542-43, and but for his maintaining the party to which Arran afterwards attached himself, it is possible that Scotland might have passed under the yoke of Henry VIII in 1543, instead of being peacefully united to England sixty years later. With him disappeared any remaining hope of the French party. "We may say of old Catholic Scotland", writes Mr. Lang, "as said the dying Cardinal: 'Fie, all is gone'."

Though Beaton was dead, the effects of his work remained. He had saved the situation at the crisis of December, 1542, and the insensate cruelty of Henry VIII had made it impossible that the Cardinal's work should fall to pieces at once. It seemed at first as if the only difference was that the castle of St. Andrews was held by the English party. Ten months after Beaton's death, the small Protestant garrison was joined by John Knox, who was present when the regent succeeded, with help from France, in reducing the castle in July, 1547. Its defenders, including Knox, were sent as galley-slaves to France. Henry VIII had died in the preceding January, but Hertford (now Protector Somerset) continued the Scottish policy of the preceding reign. In the summer of 1547 he made his third invasion of Scotland, marked by the usual barbarity. In the course of it, on 10th September, was fought the last battle between Scots and English. Somerset met the Scots, under Arran, at Pinkiecleuch, near Edinburgh, and by the combined effect of artillery and a cavalry charge, completely defeated them with great slaughter. The English, after some further devastation, returned home, and the Scots at once entered into a treaty with France, which had been at war with England since 1544. It was agreed that the young queen should marry the dauphin, the eldest son of Henry II. While negotiations were in progress, she was placed for safety, first in the priory of Inchmahome, an island in the lake of Menteith, and afterwards in Dumbarton Castle. In June, 1548, a large number of French auxiliaries were sent to Scotland, and, in the beginning of August, Mary was sent to France. The English failed to capture her, and she landed about 13th August. The war lingered on till 1550. The Scots gradually won back the strongholds which had been seized by the English, and, although their French allies did good service, serious jealousies arose, which greatly weakened the position of the French party. Finally, Scotland was included in the peace made between England and France in 1550.

All the time, the Reformed faith was rapidly gaining adherents, and when, in April, 1554, the queen-dowager succeeded Arran (now Duke of Chatelherault) as regent, she found the problem of governing Scotland still more difficult. The relations with England had, indeed, been simplified by the accession of a Roman Catholic queen in England, but the Spanish marriage of Mary Tudor made it difficult for a Guise to obtain any help from her. She continued the policy of obtaining French levies, and the irritation they caused was a considerable help to her opponents. Knox had returned to Scotland in 1555, and, except for a visit to Geneva in 1556-57, spent the rest of his life in his native country. In 1557 was formed the powerful assembly of Protestant clergy and laymen who took the title of "the Congregation of the Lord", and signed the National Covenant which aimed at the abolition of Roman Catholicism. Their hostility to the queen-regent was intensified by the events of the year 1558-59. In April, 1558, Queen Mary was married to the dauphin, and her husband received the crown-matrimonial and became known as King of Scots. Scotland seemed to have passed entirely under France. We know that there was some ground for the Protestant alarm, because the girl queen had been induced to sign documents which transferred her rights, in case of her decease without issue, to the King of France and his heirs. These documents were in direct antagonism to the assurance given to the Scottish Parliament of the maintenance of national independence. The French alliance seemed to have gained a complete triumph, while the shout of joy raised by its supporters was really the swan-song of the cause. Knox and the Congregation had rendered it for ever impossible.

Nor was it long before this became apparent. In November, 1558, Mary Tudor died, and England was again Protestant. Henry II ordered Francis and Mary to assume the arms of England, in virtue of Mary's descent from Margaret Tudor, which made her in Roman Catholic eyes the rightful Queen of England, Elizabeth being born out of wedlock. The Protestant Queen of England had thus an additional motive for opposition to the government of Mary of Guise and her daughter. It was unfortunate for the queen-regent that, at this particular juncture, she was entering into strained relations with the Reformers. Hitherto she had succeeded in satisfying Knox himself; but, in the beginning of 1559, she adopted more severe measures, and the lords of the congregation began to discuss a treasonable alliance with England, which proved the beginning of the end. The Treaty of Cateau-Cambresis set the French government free to pay greater attention to the progress of Scottish affairs, and Mary of Guise forthwith denounced the leading Protestant preachers as heretics. It was much too late. The immediate result was the Perth riots of May and June, 1559, which involved the destruction of the religious houses which were the glory of the Fair City. The aspect of affairs was so threatening that the regent came to terms, and promised that she would take no vengeance on the people of Perth, and that she would not leave a French garrison in the town. The regent kept her word in garrisoning the town with Scotsmen, but her introduction of a French bodyguard, in attendance on her own person, was regarded as a breach of her promise. The destruction of religious buildings continued, although Knox did his endeavour to save the palace of Scone. The Protestants held St. Andrews while the regent entered into negotiations which they considered to be a mere subterfuge for gaining time, and, on the 29th June, they marched upon Edinburgh. In July, 1559, occurred the sudden death of Henry II; Francis and Mary succeeded, and the supreme power in France and in Scotland passed to the House of Guise. The Protestants who had been making overtures to Cecil and Elizabeth declared, in October, that the regent had been deposed. This bold step was justified by the help received from England, and by the indignation caused by the excesses of the regent's French troops in Scotland. So far had religious emotion outrun the sentiment of nationality that the Protestants were willing to admit almost any English claim. The result of Elizabeth's treaty with the rebels was that they were enabled to besiege Leith, by means of an English fleet, while the regent took refuge in Edinburgh Castle. The English attack on Leith was unsuccessful, but the dangerous illness of the queen-mother led to the conclusion of peace. A truce was made on condition that all foreign soldiers, French and English alike, should leave Scotland, and that the Scottish claim to the English throne should be abandoned. On the 11th June, 1560, Mary died. The wisdom of the policy of her later years may be questioned, but her conduct during her widowhood forms a strange contrast to that of her Tudor mother-in-law in similar circumstances. It is probable that her intentions were honest enough, and that the Protestant indignation at her "falsehoods" was based on invincible misunderstanding. Her gracious charm of manner was the concomitant of a tolerance rare in the sixteenth century; and she died at peace with all men, and surrounded by those who had been in arms against her, receiving "all her nobles with all pleasure, with a pleasant countenance, and even embracing them with a kiss of love".

Her death set the lords of the congregation free to carry out their ecclesiastical programme. In August Roman Catholicism was abolished by the Scottish Parliament and the celebration of the mass forbidden, under severe penalties. There remained the question of the ratification of the Treaty of Edinburgh, the final form of the agreement by which peace had been made. The young Queen of Scots objected to the treaty on the ground that it included a clause that "the most Christian King and Queen Mary, and each of them, abstain henceforth from using the title and bearing the arms of the kingdom of England or of Ireland".[61] She interpreted the word "henceforth" as involving an absolute renunciation of her claim to the English throne, and so prejudicing her succession, should she survive Elizabeth. Cecil had suggested to the Scots that it might be advisable to raise the claim of the Lord James Stewart, an illegitimate son of James V, and afterwards Earl of Moray, to the throne, or to support that of the House of Hamilton. The Scots improved on this suggestion, and proposed that Elizabeth should marry the Earl of Arran, the eldest son of the Duke of Chatelherault, who might succeed to the throne. There were many reasons why Elizabeth should not wed the imbecile Arran, and it may safely be said that she never seriously considered the project although she continued to trifle with the suggestion, which formed a useful form of intrigue against Mary.

The situation was considerably altered by the death of Francis II, in December, 1560. That event was, on the whole, welcome to Elizabeth, for it destroyed the power of the Guises, and Mary Stuart[62] had now to face her Scottish difficulties without French aid. She was not on good terms with her mother-in-law, Catherine de Medici, who now controlled the destinies of France, and it was evident that she must accept the fact of the Scottish Reformation, and enter upon a conflict with the theocratic tendencies of the Church and with the Scottish nobles who were the pensioners of Elizabeth. On the other hand, although Francis II was dead, his widow survived, young, beautiful, charming, and a queen. The dissolution of her first marriage had removed an actual difficulty from the path of the English queen, but, after all, it only meant that she might be able to contract an alliance still more dangerous. As early as December 31st, 1560, Throckmorton warned Elizabeth that she must "have an eye to" the second marriage of Mary Stuart.[63] The Queen of England had a choice of alternatives. She might prosecute the intrigue with the Earl of Arran, capture Mary on her way to Scotland, and boldly adopt the position of the leader of Protestantism. There were, however, many difficulties, ecclesiastical, foreign, and personal, in such a course. Arran was an impossible husband; Knox and the lords of the congregation made good allies but bad subjects; and the inevitable struggle with Spain would be precipitated. The other course was to attempt to win Mary's confidence, and to prevent her from contracting an alliance with the Hapsburgs, which was probably what Elizabeth most feared. This was the alternative finally adopted by the Queen of England; but, very characteristically, she did not immediately abandon the other possibility. On the pretext that Mary refused to confirm the Treaty of Edinburgh, her cousin declined to grant her request for a safe-conduct from France to Scotland, and spoke of the Scottish queen in terms which Mary took the first opportunity of resenting. "The queen, your mistress," she remarked to the English ambassador who brought the refusal, "doth say that I am young and do lack experience. Indeed I confess I am younger than she is, and do want experience; but I have age enough and experience to use myself towards my friends and kinsfolk friendly and uprightly; and I trust my discretion shall not so fail me that my passion shall move me to use other language of her than it becometh of a queen and my next kinswoman."[64]

When, in August, 1561, Mary did sail from France to Scotland, Elizabeth made an effort to capture her. It was characteristically hesitating, and it succeeded only in giving Mary an impression of Elizabeth's hostility. Some months later Elizabeth imprisoned the Countess of Lennox, the mother of Darnley, for giving God thanks because "when the queen's ships were almost near taking of the Scottish queen, there fell down a mist from heaven that separated them and preserved her".[65] The arrival of Mary in Scotland effectually put an end to the Arran intrigue, but the girl-widow of scarcely nineteen years had many difficulties with which to contend. As a devout Roman Catholic, she had to face the relentless opposition of Knox and the congregation, who objected even to her private exercise of her own faith. As the representative of the French alliance, now but a dead cause, she was confronted by an English party which included not only her avowed enemies but many of her real or pretended friends. Her brother, the Lord James Stewart, whom she made Earl of Moray, and who guided the early policy of her reign, was constantly in Elizabeth's pay, as were most of her other advisers. Her secretary, Maitland of Lethington, the most distinguished and the ablest Scottish statesman of his day, had, as the fixed aim of his policy, a good understanding with England. Furthermore, she was disliked by all the nobles who had seized upon the property of the Church and added it to their own possessions. Up to the age of twenty-five she had, by Scots law, the right of recalling all grants of land made during her minority, and her greedy nobles knew well that the victory of Roman Catholicism meant the restoration of Church lands. Her relations with France were uncertain, and the Guises found their attention fully occupied at home. As the next heir to the throne of England, she was bound to be very careful in her dealings with Elizabeth. United by every tie of blood and sentiment to Rome and the Guises, she was forced, for reasons of policy, to remain on good terms with Protestantism and the Tudor Queen of England. The first years of Mary's reign in Scotland were marked by the continuance of good relations between herself and her half-brother, whom she entrusted with the government of the kingdom. In 1562 she suppressed the most powerful Catholic noble in Scotland, the Earl of Huntly. The result of this policy was to raise an unfounded suspicion in England and Spain that the Queen of Scots was "no more devout towards Rome than for the sustentation of her uncles".[66] The indignation felt at Mary's conduct among Roman Catholics in England and in Spain may have been one of the reasons for Elizabeth's adopting a more distinctly Protestant position in 1562. In the Act of Supremacy of that year the first avowed reference is made to the authority used by Henry VIII and Edward VI, _i.e._ the Supreme Headship of the Church. It at all events made Elizabeth's position less difficult, because Spain and Austria were not likely to attack England in the interests of a queen whose orthodoxy was doubtful.

Meanwhile Elizabeth was directing all her efforts to prevent Mary from contracting a second marriage, and, at all hazards, to secure that she should not marry Don Carlos of Spain or the Archduke of Austria. Her persistent endeavours to bribe Scottish nobles were directed, with considerable acuteness, to creating an English party strong enough to deter foreign princes from "seeking upon a country so much at her devotion".[67] She warned Mary that any alliance with "a mighty prince" would offend England[68] and so imperil her succession. Mary, on her part, was attempting to obtain a recognition of her position as "second person" [heir presumptive], and she professed her willingness to take Elizabeth's advice in the all-important matter of her marriage. The English queen made various suggestions, and found objections to the mall. Finally she proposed that Mary should marry her own favourite, Leicester, and a long correspondence followed. It was suggested that the two queens should have an interview, but this project fell through. Elizabeth, of course, was too fondly attached to Leicester to see him become the husband of her beautiful rival; Mary, on her part, despised the "new-made earl", and Leicester himself apologized to Mary's ambassador for the presumption of the proposal, "alleging the invention of that proposition to have proceeded from Master Cecil, his secret enemy".[69] While the Leicester negotiations were in progress, the Earl of Lennox, who had been exiled in 1544, returned to Scotland with his son Henry, Lord Darnley, a handsome youth, eighteen years of age. As early as May, 1564, Knox suspected that Mary intended to marry Darnley.[70] There is little doubt that it was a love-match; but there were also political reasons, for Darnley was, after Mary herself, the nearest heir to Elizabeth's throne, and only the Hamiltons stood between him and the crown of Scotland. He had been born and educated in England, as also had been his mother, the daughter of Angus and Margaret Tudor, and Elizabeth might have used him as against Mary's claim. That claim the English queen refused to acknowledge, although, in the end of 1564, Murray and Maitland of Lethington tried their utmost to persuade her to do so.

On the 29th July, 1565, Mary was married to Darnley in the chapel of Holyrood. Elizabeth chose to take offence, and Murray raised a rebellion. There are two stories of plots: there are hints of a scheme to capture Mary and Darnley; and Murray, on the other hand, alleged that Darnley had entered into a conspiracy to kidnap him. It is, at all events, certain that Murray raised a revolt and that the people rallied to Mary, who drove her brother across the border. Elizabeth received Murray with coldness, and asked him "how he, being a rebel to her sister of Scotland, durst take the boldness upon him to come within her realm?"[71] But Murray, confident in Elizabeth's promise of aid, knew what this hypocritical outburst was worth, and the English queen soon afterwards wrote to Mary in his favour. The motive which Murray alleged for his revolt was his fear for the true religion in view of Mary's marriage to Darnley, nominally a Roman Catholic; but his position with regard to the Rizzio Bond renders it, as we shall see, somewhat difficult to give him credit for sincerity. It is more likely that he was ambitious of ruling the kingdom with Mary as a prisoner. About Elizabeth's complicity there can be no doubt.[72]

Mary's troubles had only begun. On the 16th January, 1566, Randolph, the English ambassador, wrote from Edinburgh: "I cannot tell what mislikings of late there hath been between her grace and her husband; he presses earnestly for the matrimonial crown, which she is loth hastily to grant". Darnley, in fact, had proved a vicious fool, and was possessed of a fool's ambition. Rizzio, Mary's Italian secretary, who had urged the Darnley marriage, strongly warned Mary against giving her husband any real share in the government, and Darnley determined that Rizzio should be "removed".[73] He therefore entered into a conspiracy with his natural enemies, the Scottish nobles, who professed to be willing to secure the throne for this youth whom they despised and hated. The plot involved the murder of Rizzio, the imprisonment of Mary, the crown-matrimonial for Darnley, and the return of Murray and his accomplices, who were still in exile. The English government was, of course, privy to the scheme.[74] The murder was carried out, in circumstances of great brutality, on the night of the 9th March. Mary's condition of health, "having then passed almost to the end of seven months in our birth", renders the carrying out of the deed in her presence, and while Rizzio was her guest, almost certainly an attempt upon the queen's own life. There were numberless opportunities of slaying Rizzio elsewhere, and the ghastly details--the sudden appearance of Ruthven, hollow, pale, just risen from a sick bed, the pistol of Ker of Faudonside,--are so rich in dramatic effect that one can scarcely doubt what _denouement_ was intended. The plot failed in its main purpose. Rizzio, indeed, was killed, and Murray made his appearance next morning and obtained forgiveness. The queen "embracit him and kisset him, alleging that in caice he had bene at hame, he wald not have sufferit her to have bene sa uncourterly handlit". But the success ended here. Mary won over her husband, and together they escaped and fled to Dunbar. Darnley deserted his accomplices, proclaimed his innocence, and strongly urged the punishment of the murderers. They, of course, threw themselves on the hospitality of Queen Elizabeth, who sent them money, and lied to Mary,[75] who did not put too much faith in her cousin's assurances. On June 19th, a prince was born in Edinburgh Castle, but the event brought about only a partial reconciliation between his unhappy parents. Mary was shamefully treated by her worthless husband, and in the following November her nobles suggested to her the project of a divorce. Darnley, however, was not doomed to the fate which overtook his descendants, the life of a king without a crown. He had awakened the enmity of men whose feuds were blood-feuds, and the Rizzio conspirators were not likely to forgive the upstart youth whose inconstancy had foiled their plan for Mary's fall, and whose treachery had involved them in exile. Darnley had proved useless even as a tool for the nobles, he had offended Mary and disgusted everybody in Scotland, and there were many who were willing to do without him. At this point a new tool was ready to the hands of the discontented barons. The Earl of Bothwell, whether with Mary's consent or not, aspired to the queen's hand, and devised a plan for the murder of Darnley. On the night of the 10th February, 1566-67, the wretched boy, not yet twenty-one years of age, was strangled,[76] and the house in which he had been living was blown up with gunpowder. Public opinion accused Bothwell of the murder; he was tried and found innocent, and Parliament put its seal upon his acquittal. On the 24th April he seized the person of the queen as she was travelling from Linlithgow to Edinburgh, and Mary married him on the 15th May. _Mense malum Maio nubere vulgus ait._ The nobles almost immediately raised a rebellion, professedly to deliver the queen from the thraldom of Bothwell. On June 15th she surrendered at Carberry Hill, and the nobles disregarded a pledge of loyalty to the queen given on condition of her abandoning Bothwell, alleging that she was still in correspondence with him. They now accused her of murdering her husband, and imprisoned her in Lochleven Castle. The whole affair is wrapped in mystery, but it is impossible to give the Earl of Morton and the other nobles any credit for honesty of purpose. There can be little doubt that they used Bothwell for their own ends, and, while they represented the murder as the result of a domestic conspiracy between the queen and Bothwell, they afterwards, when quarrelling among themselves, hurled at each other accusations of participation in the plot, and their leader, the Earl of Morton, died on the scaffold as a criminal put to death for the murder of Darnley. This, of course, does not exclude the hypothesis of Mary's guilt, and while the view of Hume or of Mr. Froude could not now be seriously advanced in its entirety, it is only right to say that a majority of historians are of opinion that she, at least, connived at the murder. The question of her implication as a principal in the plot depends upon the authenticity of the documents known as the "Casket Letters", which purported to be written by the queen to Bothwell, and which the insurgent lords afterwards produced as evidence against her.[77]

Moray had left Scotland in the end of April. When he returned in the beginning of August he found that the prisoner of Lochleven, to whom he owed his advancement and his earldom, had been forced to sign a deed of abdication, nominating himself as regent for her infant son. On the 15th August he went to Lochleven and saw his sister, as he had done after the murder of Rizzio, when she was a prisoner in Holyrood. Till an hour past midnight, Elizabeth's pensioner preached to the unfortunate princess on righteousness and judgment, leaving her "that night in hope of nothing but of God's mercy". It was merely a threat; Mary's life was safe, for Elizabeth, roused, for once, to a feeling of generosity, had forbidden Moray to make any attempt on that. Next morning he graciously accepted the regency and left his sister's prison with her kisses on his lips.[78]

On the 2nd May, 1568, Mary escaped from Lochleven, and her brother at once prepared a hostile force to meet her. Her army, composed largely of Protestants, marched towards Dunbarton Castle, where they desired to place the queen for safe keeping. The regent intercepted her at Langside, and inflicted a complete defeat upon her forces. Mary was again a fugitive, and her followers strongly urged her to take refuge in France. But Elizabeth had given her a promise of protection, and Mary, impelled by some fateful impulse, resolved to throw herself on the mercy of her kinswoman.[79] On the 16th day of May, her little boat crossed the Solway. When the Queen of Scots, the daughter of the House of Guise, the widow of a monarch of the line of Valois, set foot on English soil as a suppliant for the protection which came to her only by death, the last faint hope must have faded out of the hearts of the few who still longed for an independent Scotland, bound by gratitude and by ancient tradition to the ally who, more than once, had proved its salvation.

FOOTNOTES:

[Footnote 61: Cf. the present writer's "Mary, Queen of Scots" (Scottish History from Contemporary Writers).]

[Footnote 62: The spelling "Stuart", which Queen Mary brought with her from France, now superseded the older "Stewart".]

[Footnote 63: Foreign Calendar: Elizabeth, December 31st, 1560.]

[Footnote 64: _Cabala, Sive Scrinia Sacra_, pp. 345-349.]

[Footnote 65: Foreign Calendar, May 7th, 1562.]

[Footnote 66: Foreign Calendar, June 8th, 1562.]

[Footnote 67: Foreign Calendar, March 31st, 1561.]

[Footnote 68: Foreign Calendar, 20th August, 1563.]

[Footnote 69: Sir James Melville's _Memoirs_, pp. 116-130 (Bannatyne Club).]

[Footnote 70: Laing's _Knox_, vi, p. 541.]

[Footnote 71: Laing's _Knox_, vol. ii, p. 513. Melville's _Memoirs_, p. 134.]

[Footnote 72: Foreign Calendar, July-December, 1565.]

[Footnote 73: The evidence for the scandal which associated Mary's name with that of Rizzio will be found in Mr. Hay Fleming's _Mary, Queen of Scots_, pp. 398-401. It is very far indeed from being conclusive.]

[Footnote 74: Foreign Calendar, March, 1566.]

[Footnote 75: Mary to Elizabeth, July, 1566. Keith's History, ii, p. 442.]

[Footnote 76: It is almost certain that Darnley was murdered before the explosion.]

[Footnote 77: Mary's defenders point out that her 25th birthday fell in November, 1567, and that it was necessary to prevent her from taking any steps for the restitution of Church land; and they look on the plot as devised by Bothwell and the other nobles, the latter aiming at using Bothwell as a tool to ruin Mary. On the question of the Casket Letters,see Mr. Lang's _Mystery of Mary Stuart_.]

[Footnote 78: Keith's History, ii, pp. 736-739.]

[Footnote 79: In forming any moral judgment with regard to Elizabeth's conduct towards Mary, it must be remembered that Mary fled to England trusting to the English Queen's invitation.]


 

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