THE Scotish Queen, certainly arrived, at Brest, on the 13th of August 1548, whatever may have been, contrarily, said, by ignorance.
From Brest, the Queen, with an honourable retinue of her own subjects, as well as of French, journeyed to the royal house of St. Germain en Leye, where she was met by Henry II. The King received her, with all the attention, and affability, which were due to himself, and to her. He resolved to educate her, in all the appropriate accomplishments of the female sex, in order to form a daughter, who might be worthy of her birth, and her adoption. After the Scotish Queen had remained some days at Court, with the King, and Queen, she was conveyed to a monastery of virgins, who were all of the prime nobility of France. There, did she remain, with a great desire, to acquire all the habits, and graces, of her sex, and most of the scholastic knowledge, which are inculcated on the other sex: With all those acquirements, she enjoyed excellent health, the effect of regular discipline, and grew in stature, the effect of healthful exercise. The Scotish historians, reasoning, from the manners of their own times, deplore the education of Mary, in the court of Henry II., one of the most polite, but most corrupt, in Europe. She here, according to them, received every accomplishment, that could add to her charms, as a woman, and contracted many of those prejudices, which occasioned her misfortunes, as a queen. The historians thus show their own prejudices, while they lament, with injudicious regret, the prejudices of the Queen. Had Mary returned to Scotland, at the end of thirteen years, as complete a Huguenot, as Arran, and as determined a Calvinist, as Knox, the same misfortunes had befallen her, while Elizabeth’s dissimulation, governed England; while Murray’s ambition influenced Scotland.
Meantime, Henry II sent notice to the Protector of England of Mary’s arrival, in France, of her affiance with the Dauphin, and of the investiture of her kingdom, which he was now bound to defend. The avowed cause of the war, as far as it related to the acquisition of Scotland, by marriage, was by those means completely removed. All hopes of conquest, either by force, or fraud, were now extinguished. But, insidious intrigue remained, both at home, and abroad, for depriving the Scotish Queen of her crown, even after hostilities had been closed, by treaty. It was a profligate age, resulting from the violent efforts to reform it; and the manners, which then prevailed, in every country, and which attended the change from bad to better, infected the several ministers, in Europe, who were, generally, immoral in their means, and often disgraceful in their ends. HIstory supplies but little instruction which she declaims on the corruptions of any particular people, or court, without investigating the circumstances, under which the several transactions occurred, with the principles of the actors, in the varying scenes.
Whatever might have been the sincere desire of either party; of the Governor, or the dowager Queen, to be reconciled to each other, the intelligent eyes of that princess saw too much of his interested conduct, to be satisfied with his administration. She resolved to visit France: with an intention, no doubt, to see her daughter; but, much more, to obtain the French King’s consent, and aid, in superseding the Governor. With a splendid train of nobles, she sailed, for France, in September 1550, onboard the French fleet. Her voyage was attended with important consequences. Besides seeing that her daughter had greatly improved, in stature, in manners, and in knowledge, she gained the King’s influence, for displacing the Governor: and, it followed of course, that she was to be placed, in his uneasy seat.
While the Queen mother remained, in France, there was an attempt made, by one Stewart, a Scotish archer, in the King’s guards, to take off the young Queen, by poison. He was detected in his guilty purpose; and being convicted, was executed, as in cases of high treason. What could have induced such a man, to attempt such a crime, if it were not fanaticism, or bribery, it is not easy to tell. One Stewart, a Scotsman, shot Mons. Le Président Minard, who had been Mary’s curator, as he returned, on his mule, from the Palace. The same profligate Stewart pistoled the Constable Montmorency, at the battle of St. Denis. And the same Robert Stewart was, probably, the confidential agent of Cecil, at Paris, in 1567. The same Stewart, who had committed so many murders, being taken prisoner, at the battle of Jarnac, in 1569, was put to death, in revenge, for the assassination on Montmorency. It is not easy to conceive a miscreant of a more atrocious character, than one, who seems to have been retained, for taking off particular men of great consideration, who were obnoxious to himself, or to others: and for this end, seems to have gone into the frequent conflicts of civil war.
In the subsequent year, the Queen mother was allowed, by the English government, to return, through England, with hopes, that were never gratified. She was received, with affected civilities, by Edward VI, who renewed, without success, his courtship of the infant Queen, who had been already betrothed to the Dauphin.
It required, however, many intrigues, and much solicitude, before the Queen mother obtained the great object of her ambitious wishes. Henry II. Seeing the procrastination of the Governor, wrote him, in December 1553; desiring that he would relinquish the regency to the dowager Queen. The infant Queen executed, at Meudon, near Paris, on the 22nd of March, 1554, a discharge to the Duke of Chattelherault, of all his intromissions, with her treasure, and other concerns, while Reid, the Bishop of Orkney, her curator, countersigned the same document. The Duke, perceiving that the Queen mother had obtained the general consent of the nobility, resigned his charge, at the Parliament of April 1554, which passed, in his favour, an act of exoneration. The dowager Queen was now Regent, from the 12th of April 1554: But, the Duke’s prodigality left her a debt of 30,000l. which, in the period of five years, her usual prudence completely satisfied. With less providence, she not only changed the character, but the persons, of the administration of the Scotish government. The Regent Queen, by trying to conciliate every party, offended all parties.
The Scotish commissioners arriving, at Paris, in March, 1558, proceeded, immediately, to execute the great objects of the three Estates. They witnessed their Queen’s contract of marriage, on the 19th of April, and saw her married, to Francis, the Dauphin, in the church of Notre-Dame, on Sunday, the 24th of the same month. The King, and Queen of France honoured this solemnity with their presence; not without a great concourse of nobles, and a very crowded appearance of ambassadors. The Queen, immediately, saluted the Dauphin, as King of Scots; the Scotish commissioners imitated her example, and both were accompanied, in their salutations, by the loud acclaims of a numerous audience: These ceremonies were succeeded, by banquets of unbounded expense, and unexampled splendour.
The Queen mother, on her part, caused her daughter’s marriage to be solemnized, in Scotland, with equal rejoicings, though not with equal expenditure. She sent directions to the several towns of Scotland – “to make fyres, and processions general, for the completing, and solemnizing of the marriage, betwixt our sovereign Lady, and the Dauphine of France.”
The commissioners, who had been sent to France, to witness the marriage of their Queen, returning, in October, a Parliament was assembled, on the 28th of November 1558: and, there were now passed a variety of laws, for giving the Queen’s marriage proper effect. The Scotish historians do not mark, with sufficient precision, the several proceedings of the Parliament, resulting from the Queen’s marriage: and, of course, when the same historians, some years after, mention this subject, they write weakly, and speak sophistically. The headstrong violence of Henry VIII., with the imitative folly of the Protector, Somerset, compelled the Scots into those measures of the Queen’s marriage, and its necessary effects. Nor, would the latest posterity of Englishmen, probably, have ceased, from cursing the memories of this Protector, or that King, for all the ruinous consequences: But, happily, for Britain, Mary had no issue, by her marriage, with the Dauphin; the two crowns of Scotland, and of France, were again separated; and through all the complicated artifices of Elizabeth’s reign, who was still aiming, in appearance, at an eternal separation of Scotland, and England, we reached that very point of union of both, which the French vainly attempted, by this marriage, to attain. In this manner will the year 1558 be, always, deemed an important period, in the Scotish history: The marriage of the Queen to Francis II.; the accession of Elizabeth to the throne of England; and the progress of the Reformation, till it was drawn into some apparent form: Such were the events, which were followed, by important consequences. At that Parliament of November 1558, the attainders of two of the most notorious traitors, Crichton, of Branston, and Cockburn, of Ormiston, were reversed. But, the time was at hand, when the Regent Queen found, rom experience, that the policy of opening the door of pardon to the greatest criminals did not contribute to the quiet of her government.
The epoch of the Reformation, has been carried back to 1517 A.D., the year of Luther’s opposition to Leo X.th’s indulgences. The solid reasonings of that leading reformer undermined the papal power: But, it was the criminal passions of Henry VIII. Which induced him to assault the whole fabrick of the papal authority. The corrupt practices of James IV, and still more of his successor James V, in filling the highest offices of the Scotican church, with their bastard children, degraded the ecclesiastical dignities, which they both wished to maintain. The metrical animadversions of Sir David Lyndsey on the corruptions of the clergy, which he sent to the press, from 1528 to 1553, contributed, greatly, to bring not only the persons, but the doctrines, of the clergy into popular odium. From the appearance of Patrick Hamilton, in 1528, to the death of Walter Miln, in 1558, there came out upon the stage of reform, in Scotland, various pretenders to martyrdom, who were rather remarkable, for their power of suffering, than their practice of presbyterianism; and whose punishments were more legal, than either moral, or politic. As early as 1552, the Scotish people are said to have been divided into two parties: The adherents to the ancient establishment, with Archbishop Hamilton, at their head; and the reformers, who had for their leader, Lord James Steuart, one of the many bastards of James V., the youthful commendator of the priory of St. Andrews. Such had been the progress of the reformers, however, opposed by law, or discountenanced by power, that it required all the address, and influence, of the Queen Regent, to prevent them, from petitioning the Parliament of November 1558, for sufferance, perhaps, for superiority.
While the Huguenots of France, could, only, object to Mary the barbarousness of her kingdom; it was observed, by others, of more discernment, that the Scotish Queen, however, elevated, by her marriage, omitted no part of her former attentions, either towards the King, and Queen, or even to others: She practised, now, her innate mildness to her friends, to her attendants, which had adorned her virgin state: and, she, also, attended to those observances, which had instructed her infancy, with the same assiduity as in her girlish days. Though she knew her husband, the Dauphin, to be inferior to herself, in age, in experience, she asked him to all councils, and ventured upon no step, without his privity. In consequence of this conduct, he showed as much deference to his wife, as he had always done to his parents. This remarkable association of minds, and assimilation of manners, were pleasing to king Henry, and his Queen; but were accompanied with a singular prudence in both, Francis and Mary, by their taking no share, in the government of France, except so far as they were asked: so judicious, and so prudent, does Mary herein appear, when her character was viewed, in a reflection, from the mirror of truth. But, while the Scotish Queen was thus admired, in France, for the principles of her heart, and the qualities of her head, Cecil busied himself, in collecting against her matters of charge. It was not enquired, it seems, how far the Scotish Queen partook, in the impertinence of ushers, or in the imprudence of poets, when those offerings were made, at the shrine of vanity.
But, a great change had now taken place, on the 10th of July 1559, when Henry II. demised. On the same day, Francis II., aged fifteen, mounted the throne. He found the court divided into two factions; that of the house of Guise, and that of the Constable Montmorency: After the revolt of the Constable de Bourbon, the princes of the blood did not find themselves in a condition to form a third. The youth, and weakness, of Francis, induced him to leave the cares of government to the Queen, his mother, who thought, that she had prudence, and address, quite equal to such a task: she knew how to balance all parties; but she hated the Constable Montmorency; and fearing the princes of the blood, she preferred the princes of Lorraine: The Cardinal she nominated chief minister, and she placed the Duke of Guise, at the head of the army. Francis was so far happy, that he was married to a wife, who, besides other virtues, dedicated her whole attention to him; resembling more the painful, and solicitous regards of wives in common life, than a queen, by right, as well as by marriage. The people thanked God, for this courteousness, in her: and as every nation, ordinarily, resembles that of their governors, the population of that great kingdom began to hope, for many tranquil years, under a marriage so peaceful, and happy.
But, under the ambition of the great, and the fanaticism of the vulgar, what tranquillity was to be enjoyed long? In 1559, the Prince of Condé assembled the malcontents, in his castle de la Ferté, and laid before them his complaints against the court, with those of the King of Navarre, his brother; the prince declared himself the chief of the proposed revolt: and measures were, at the same time, taken, to reunite, and associate the Huguenots in the same course. All those measures ended, during 1560, in the conspiracy d’Amboise, and other mischiefs. But, as the Scotish Queen did not partake in the government, she had no concern in those measures of prevention, or punishment.
There is, certainly, great similarity, in the events of France, and of Scotland, if the one country did not copy the practices of the other. The peace of Cateau Cambresis, in April 1559, as it comprehended Scotland, put an end to what has been called, in the Scotish annals, the two years war. The Scotish people were thus left free, to engage with more energy in civil contest, while Elizabeth was bound not to mingle in their disputes, political, or religious. The frequent vacillations of the Regent Queen induced even her official servants, including Secretary Maitland, to revolt from her, to her avowed enemies. Yet the domestic war was carried on, for some time, with more show, than reality; owing to the weakness of both parties. On the 25th of June, the insurgents took possession of Perth, a military position of great importance, even from Roman times, which the Regent tried to relieve, by treaty, rather than by force. The abbey of Scone, the scene of so many coronations, was soon after burnt, by the reformers. The religious houses, at Stirling, at Linlithgow, and at Edinburgh met a similar fate, from the same unhallowed fires. The Regent encountered force, by proclamations, which were easily answered by remonstrances. Neither was she much invigorated, by the accession of Francis, and Mary, to the French throne, in July 1559. The Regent continued to act, as if her hands had been fettered with hooks of steel, while the leaders of the reformers were free to follow the dictates of their zeal, or ambition: her slightest motion was deemed a breach of some stipulation of forbearance; while the reformers considered themselves, as unfettered, by any tie. It is easy to perceive, in a struggle, between irresolution and zeal, which party must succeed. As early as the 1st of August 1559, in a meeting of the reformers at Stirling, they resolved “to seek support, from all Christian princes, especially from England, against tyranny, or weakness of the Regent.” They forgot, that they were themselves acting against law, which was the tyrant, that pressed upon them, and not the Regent’s imbecility. Nor was their resolution retarded, by a menacing letter, which was, soon after, brought, from Francis, and Mary, to the commendator of St. Andrews, her bastard brother, who now influenced Scotland.
A reinforcement of a thousand French troops was of far more importance, while the appeal was to physical force, and not of argument. It was immediately resolved, by the Regent, to fortify Leith, the seaport of Edinburgh. She requested greater supplies; assuring the rulers of France, if reinforcements were speedily sent, she would soon reduce the whole kingdom to a quiet state. She strengthened these requests, by intimations, that the reformers had applied, for succours, to England, Denmark, Germany, and even to some persons, in France. But, it was found more easy, to send a legate, from Rome, with doctors, from the Sorbonne, than armies, and fleets.
The insurgents did not apply to England, in vain, whatever treaties might exist, between that country, and France. Secretary Cecil, in considering that application, in August 1559, said: “If the Queen, and Dauphin will not grant certain points: then may the Estates commit the government to the next heir of the crown: If the Queen (Mary) will not comply; then it is apparent, God Almighty is pleased, to transfer from her the rule of the kingdom, for the weal of all.” Beyond this jacobinical reasoning, which defied the established law, Goodwin, and Knox, could not have gone, in their wildest ebullitions of zeal. Cecil, following up this policy of superceding the legitimate government of Scotland, by the presumptive heir, sent Randolph to France, in order to bring the Earl of Arran into Britain; and he directed Sadler, to repair to Scotland, with such instructions, as were analogous to his reasoning.
Incited by the favourable sentiments of the English court, the principal reformers again assembled, at Stirling, on the 10th of September 1559. They, immediately, obtained a great accession to their party, by the junction of the Duke of Chattelherault, the heir presumptive of the crown. This feeble statesman was now gained, by his son, Arran, who had imbibed Huguenoterie, while acting as a colonel, in the French guards. After these accessions, the chief reformers took higher ground. The duke, with other lords, sent remonstrances to the Regent, against fortifying Leith. They affected astonishment, that she should deviate thus early, after the late agreement, by planting a colony of foreigners, so near the metropolis: Wide is the distance, between popular topicks, and solid sense: The French were not foreigners, in Scotland, any more than Scotsmen were foreigners, in France: Neither were the two kingdoms foreign to each other: So it had been settled, in the year before, by the Estates of Scotland, in consequence of the Queen’s marriage. As the reformers were acting against established law; so were they acting against the will of the Estates, on this occasion. They intreated the Regent to desist, from her purpose, of averawing the country, into a tyrannical subjection, lest they should be driven, to seek the concurrence of their fellow subjects, for resisting force, by violence. A war of writing now began, in which the Regent had as much the superiority, as the insurgent lords had the advantage, in a war of tumult. The reasonings of the Regent Queen were not answered then: Neither have the latest historians of the disgraceful transactions of the year 1559, pretended to answer arguments, arising, naturally, out of known facts, and acknowledged law.
As soon as the Regent’s purpose of making Leith a place of arms, was known, then the reformers seized Broughty castle, at the mouth of the Tay, the same commanding station, that had been, corruptly, acquired, by Edward VI. They came to Edinburgh, on the 18th of October, with a resolution to dislodge the Regent’s forces, from Leith. At the same time, she retired, from the insecure palace of Holyrood-house, to the safer garrison of Leith. None of the publications of the Queen Regent seem to have been attended, with more immediate effects, than the charge against the Duke of Chattelherault, with his associated nobles, that they intended to usurp the government. The duke, immediately, made an expurgatory declaration, by sound of trumpet, at the cross of Edinburgh, that neither he, nor his sons, had any intention, to affect pre-eminence, or to usurp the regal authority; and had only joined themselves to the insurgents, to support the cause of religion, and to maintain the liberty of the country; and he might have added, against all law. She now assumed the tone of Regent, within the realm: She caused it to be signified to them, that she considered their letter, rather as the commands of a prince to his subjects, than the requests of subjects to those bearing rule over them; that she wondered how any one could presume, to command her, within that realm, which dreaded not to be conquered, by force, since it had already been acquired, by marriage; that the Frenchmen could not, with any truth, be called strangers; as they had been naturalized, by the legislature; that she could not exclude any person out of Leith, but as she found it expedient: She protested her affectionate regard for the country, wherein she had so long lived: and she commanded the duke, and his coadjutors, to depart, from Edinburgh, under the pain of treason. They were not, however, terrified, by those threats, nor convinced, by those reasonings: The chief reformers opposed both, by an act, deposing the Regent, from the authority, which had been conferred, by the joint authority of the Queen, and the three Estates. They claimed a right to do wrong; to be supreme over the supremest; as born counsellors, to possess more authority than the highest authority; and, they arrogated the privilege of writing, nonsensically, however popularly, and of acting contrary to every principle of religion, and rule of law. The duke, and his coadjutors, thus justified the open declarations of the Queen Regent, “that they designed to usurp the government.” And, in pursuance of this design, they proceeded “to form a council, for the government of the realm, to the use of their sovereign lady.” The effrontery, or the folly, of such conduct is without example; of public men acting, avowedly, against their declarations, and of resisting a sovereign’s authority, for the use of the same sovereign.
But, the force of the usurpers was not equal to their intentions. After summoning the garrison of Leith, they attempted to take it, by escalade, but, without the success, that might have been expected, from their valour, which, indeed, was opposed, by equal valour, and more discipline. A part of the besieging army mutinied, for want of pay. Their leaders tried to raise money, in vain: and, they applied to Elizabeth’s governor of Berwick, who entrusted Cockburn, or Ormiston, to carry them four thousand crowns; but, he was intercepted, by James, Earl Bothwell, who appropriated the plunder to his own use, yet, to their detriment. The men of Dundee attempted to assault Leith: But, the garrison, sallying out, repulsed them to the gates of Edinburgh. The Earl of Arran, and the commendator of St. Andrews, attempting to intercept the garrison, were not only routed, but even effected their escape, with some difficulty. In this untoward state of their affairs, the reformers retired, from Edinburgh, which was so full of danger; and found a safer residence, at Stirling. Here, amidst their despondency, they resolved, to send Maitland, the revolted secretary of the Queen Regent, to Elizabeth’s court, to represent the sad state of their affairs, towards the close of the eventful year 1559.
It did not require the talents, and eloquence, of Secretary Maitland, to persuade Elizabeth, that she had an interest, in supporting the insurgents of Scotland. She assured them, by a messenger, that she would give them assistance, upon such conditions, as commissioners might easily adjust. The afflictive war, in Scotland, continued. These petty hostilities were not suspended, when Admiral Winter cast anchor before Leith, in January 1559-60. The English admiral was not instructed, to make direct war either on the French, or Scots governments: But, to pretend, that he searched for pirates, and at the same time, to harass both, by every vexatious proceeding, without avowing his orders. Such were the artifices of Elizabeth, and Cecil. Elizabeth disavowed any design of a direct attack on Scotland, either by sea, or land; while she supplied the insurgents with money, and protected them, by her fleet. Norfolk came to Berwick, as her lieutenant, on the borders; to watch over the affairs of Scotland; and to countenance the insurgents. He invited the chief reformers to a negotiation, which might enable both parties, to understand each other. And, at Berwick, they entered into a very singular treaty, by which, under various pretences, she took Scotland, under her protection, during the marriage of the Scotish Queen, at the request of her rebellious subjects.
All parties now made preparations, to execute their several designs. A reinforcement of French troops arrived at Leith, which was quite unequal to the occasion. Elizabeth reinforced her fleet, which lay in the Forth: and, she put her army, in motion, from Berwick, early in April, which was to aid the insurgents, in Scotland. The Regent Queen now retired, in despair, into the castle of Edinburgh, which was held, by Lord Erskine, under the authority of the three Estates. Worn out by cares, and infirmities, here, she died, regretted, by the nation, which had been distracted, by the perseverance, and pretensions of the reformers, that were neither opposed, by sufficient firmness, in her, nor gained, nor eluded, by her vacillation. The Queen died, in a state of peace with every one; and she even forgave those nobles, who, for so many years, had opposed her government, and insulted her person. Not so Knox: “Shortly after she finished her unhappy life,” said he, “unhappy, we say, to Scotland, from the first day she entered into it, unto the day, that she departed this life. God, for his great mercy’s sake, rid us, from the rest of the Guisiane blood! Amen! For, of the tyranny of the Guisiane blood, in her, [Mary] that, for our unthankfulness, now reigneth above us, we have had sufficient experience. But, of any virtue, that ever was espied, in King James V. (whose daughter, she is called) to this hour, we have never seen any spark to appear.” For forms of faith, let graceless bigots fight: What is the value of religion, if it do not mollify the heart, to charity; if it do not meliorate the hand, to peace on earth!
The prudence, and economy of the Regent Queen’s administration form a remarkable contrast to the profuse, and selfish government of the Duke, as both appear, in the records. He spent the whole of the treasure, which had been left by James V. in Edinburgh castle: and he accumulated a great mass of debt, before he relinquished the helm, when he left the Queen’s income, in a very unproductive state. When he was about to resign, he made many grants of the casualties of the crown to his natural brother, the archbishop, the treasurer; as there was a balance of super expenditure, in his accounts, of 30,000l. By those numerous grants, he left his successor very scanty funds, to answer the public expenditure. By economical management, she, gradually, improved the Queen’s revenue; and at the end of a few years administration, the public was free of debt, and the income was quite equal to the expenditure, when the insurgents sallied out, in quest of something to blame, and still more something to amend. Henry II., in the meantime, left France 42 millions in debt, which embarrassed the administration of Francis: In fact, before the month of March 1560, the prudent administration of the Cardinal of Lorraine, had discharged this burden on the state; so as to leave it, in a condition to abolish taxes. But, if a kingdom be worth gaining, it must be worth retaining. The Regent Queen, when frequent insurrection required additional expenditure, was obliged to pawn her jewels, while the Cardinal was occupied, in paying off the debts of France. The Lord James expended the whole of his income, ecclesiastical, and civil, within Scotland, and France, in giving pensions, and gratuities, to his numerous partizans, who supported his pretensions, and promoted his views, whatever they were.
During the short war, which ensued, experience evinced, that confidence does not always ensure success. The confederated Scots, and English, after several attempts discovered, that the vigilance of the French was not to be surprised, nor their discipline to be overcome, by whatever valour. The assailants, were repulsed, in their assault, on the 6th of May. The besiegers, perceiving that Leith was not to be soon taken, either by their skill, or bravery, grew weary of warfare. Negotiators were already on the road towards Edinburgh, to treat of pacification. At Berwick, on the 14th of June, they entered into a preliminary treaty, with regard to the modes of conducting the principal negotiation. They now went forward to Edinburgh, where they found no legitimate government, for the Scotish nation. Both France, and England, desired peace, from their necessities. And, upon the 5th of July, they agreed upon a second treaty, for the evacuation of Leith, and the demolition of its fortification. There was much more difficulty occurred, in making what has been emphatically, called the Peace of Edinburgh. There were only two points, which required much consideration, as they were of great delicacy; especially as the powers of the French negotiators were defective, in respect to both: The sixth article, with regard to the titles of the two queens; and the eighth, concerning the insurgents of Scotland. As to the sixth, both the recital, that the kingdoms of England, and of Ireland, do, by right, pertain, to Elizabeth, threw the Scotish Queen too much in the wrong, when she assumed the title of Queen of England and Ireland; Elizabeth claiming the title of Queen of France, about which there could be no doubt, if the law of France, were to decide the title: Upon that recital, it was agreed, and concluded, that the King and Queen of France should, in all times coming, abstain, from using, and bearing the arms, and title, of the kingdoms of England and Ireland: Now; this agreement denuded the Scotish Queen, who was heir presumptive to the crown of England, of all future pretensions to the crown: The stipulation ought to have been, not in all times coming; but during the life of Elizabeth. Considering, moreover, the defective powers of the French negotiators, to treat of a matter of that importance, in addition to the wording of the clause, those circumstances created an insuperable objection to the ratification of such a treaty.
As to article eight, concerning the Scotish insurgents; it appears, that the French negotiators had acceded to certain supplementary petitions, presented, by the nobility, and people, of the said King, and Queen; tending to their honour, and to the benefit of Scotland, as well as the obedience of the people: And such concessions being made, at the intercession, and request of Elizabeth; it was stipulated with her commissioners, that Francis and Mary should fulfil those concessions: If a detail of those concessions had been annexed to this treaty, with Elizabeth, according to the practice of diplomacy, as it ought to have been, there could have arisen not the least difficulty, or question. In that age, there were not two abler diplomatists than Cecil, and Wotton: And by neglecting, to annex those concessions to this treaty, with Elizabeth, as a part thereof, they showed, that some fraudulence was concealed, under that defect. When we throw our eyes around in quest of that detail of concession to the insurgents of Scotland, which is referred to, in the treaty of Edinburgh; and which we may suppose was a grant of pardon for treason. And forgiveness, for failings of duty; what do we find? We see a commission, from Frances and Mary, to the same negotiators, dated at Remorentin, on the 2d of June, in the fifth year of Francis, and the sixteenth of Mary’s reign, instead of the eighteenth. We have already seen, from the circumstances of its first appearance, that this commission was liable to the charge of forgery; and this charge is confirmed, by the anachronism of the date, in the Queen’s reign. When we inspect the treaty, which followed that supposititious power, we find a grant, from the French ambassadors, who had no authority, of the Queen’s sovereignty to the Scotish insurgents; and instead of pardon, and forgiveness, to those unworthy characters, we see the whole constitution changed, in their favour. No one, in Britain, or in France, has ever seen the original treaty; we only perceive a certified copy, by men, who were in the habit of forgery, at the request of Cecil, which is only another name, for artifice. The persons, who thus gave a certified copy of the Scotish branch of the Edinburgh treaty, ought to have deposited the original, in the archives of Scotland. Cecil, and Wotton, stated the substance of its contents, in their letter to Elizabeth, on the 8th of July, 1560, from Edinburgh; and of course, became responsible, for the existence of such a treaty.
Peace was, by those means, restored: But, law, and right, were not re-established: The Queen was denuded of her kingdom, while her government remained, apparently, in the hands of the duke, her presumptive heir, though it was, really, possessed by Lord James, her father’s bastard. Even before the treaty was settled, summonses seem to have been issued, by whatever power, to assemble a Parliament, which met, at Edinburgh, on the 10th of July, four days only after the signature of the treaty. But, this convention, immediately, adjourned to the 1st of August then next. Nor was there any attempt made, before this important meeting, to obtain the Queen’s ratification of a treaty, which deprived her of so much, and left her so little: Neither was it ever ratified, by her, or by any one having authority, from her. In the meantime, reformed ministers were appointed to the several towns, by whatever nomination, however contrary to law.
A convention, under the late adjournment, assembled at Edinburgh, on the 1st of August 1560. A singular scene, for a Scotish convention, now ensued. Some members mentioned, that no Parliament could be called, without the sovereign’s summons: nor could any Parliament sit without the sovereign’s presence, either personally, or by commission. Other members, referring to the late treaty, though not ratified, contended that it might sit, under an article of it, though whether the treaty was genuine or spurious, did not appear; it was by a majority resolved, “that the said article in the treaty, was a sufficient warrant for their present meeting.” The vehemence of the times, and the zeal of members, who had never sat in Parliament before, were deemed sufficient authorities for their irregular meeting. They abolished the established religion: nor would they attend to the claims of the established clergy, though stipulated in their own treaty: and they settled in its room, the Calvinism of Knox. The convention ratified the confession of faith, then professed. It attempted to repeal former laws, in favour of the established church, by deleting them forth of the bukis. The pope’s authority was renounced. An act of oblivion was passed, which left it doubtful, whether those, who acted under lawful authority, were indemnified. They directed a person to repair to Paris, in order to solicit the Queen’s ratification of those acts, and the treaty, whereon they were founded, though it is sufficiently apparent, that the Queen could not listen to such requests, under such circumstances. The last act of this convention, but not the least, was a deputation to Elizabeth, consisting of the Earls of Morton, and Glencairn, and Secretary Maitland; to court that prudish Queen, to accept the Huguenot Arran, for her husband. She declined this offer, which meant more than met the ear, with affected thanks, but real promises of support, to a nation which had so well merited her good will. On this point, the dissemblers, on both sides, agreed: In France, it was not overlooked, that a deputation of dignity had been sent, to court Elizabeth; while a simple knight had been directed to their sovereign, to solicit her approbation of what could not be approved, by any maxim of prudence, or any attention to her dignity.
From the different modes, in which the two Queens were treated, by the convention, we may suppose, that the members hoped for little, from their own sovereign, whatever they expected from the English Queen. Sir James Sandilands was, hardly, admitted to an audience; and he was sent away with reproaches from the French ministers, rather than any ratification, by the Scotish Queen: Neither could the Queen, after her return to her kingdom, ever be prevailed on to acknowledge the legitimacy of that convention: Nor were the proceedings of that meeting ever printed, by any authority, during her reign. Nothing could be expected, in regard to that convention, other than what, actually, happened, both, in France, and in Scotland: The convention was unconstitutional, was illegal, in every view in which it could be regarded. Its proceedings could only be deemed the mere acts of an unlawful assembly. They became legitimate, when the Parliament of December 1567, which was called, by a King, in possession of the crown, declared the convention, and its proceedings, to be constitutional. The solicitations of Elizabeth, for the ratification of the treaty of Edinburgh, were not more successful, though received with more attention. The Scotish Queen saw her interest, more clearly, than the French ambassadors had done, when they gave up her reversionary title to the crown of England, while they admitted, that they had no commission to treat upon the point. As she had been thus badly served, she resisted every request, for the ratification of such a treaty. Elizabeth supposing that she had the advantage, determined to persevere, in her instances. The Scottish Queen resolved, with equal firmness, never to relinquish her pretensions to the crown of England, after the demise of Elizabeth. In this temper, the two Queens continued till an event happened which gave a new turn to the affairs of the Queen of Scots. After lingering some time, Francis II died on the 5th of December, 1560, of an imposthume, in the ear. The Queen of Scots soon perceived, from the altered manner of the Queen mother, that she had little to hope from the French government, however her relations stood: And the Scotish Queen retired to Rheims, and spent the winter, with her aunt, the abbess, and her other relatives.
Meantime, as early as November 1560, the French government despatched certain persons with a commission, from the King and Queen; appointing the Duke, Argyle, Huntley, Bothwell, Athole, the Lord James, and the Archbishop of St. Andrews, or any three of them, to hold Parliaments, in the Queen’s absence. And, Bothwell was sent off, at the same time, to give his assistance in a measure, which was designed, to restore a legitimate administration in Scotland. They arrived at Edinburgh early in the subsequent spring. But, Secretary Maitland, with his usual address, discovered the various objects of this commission, and with his accustomed perfidy, communicated the whole to Secretary Cecil. As the popular party declined to act, under this appointment, since it put an end to their usurpation, the commission was attended with no effect.
The Scotish Queen, thus became a widow at the age of eighteen. And the many ties which connected Scotland and France together, now became unbound. Yet in conducting her affairs, after that event, which separated her interests from those of France, she displayed a clearness of perception, powers of policy, and firmness of purpose, that evinced great capacity, as a sovereign, and uncommon address, as a woman. The solicitation of the one Queen, for the ratification of the Edinburgh treaty, was so often repeated, and so firmly refused, by the other, as evinced the anxiety of Elizabeth, and the address of Mary. The treaty had been already executed, in all its material points, except the informal change, relating to the Scotish Queen’s pretensions to the English crown, after Elizabeth’s demise: If the clause had been worded, according to the real pretensions of both those sovereigns, the Queen of Scots would have had no just cause to reject it.
The notice of the demise of Francis II. Was received, in Scotland, by some, with joy, by others, with apprehension. A convention was called, by those, who had assumed the government, to meet on the 15th of January. The Lord James is said to have been appointed, to repair to the Queen – to persuade her majesty, to return to Scotland: and he was admonished, not to consent, that she should have the mass, in any manner; as if the established church had been abolished, by the acts of a convention, which as yet had no valid authority. Another convention was appointed for the 20th of May. A different party of no small importance, hastened to send the well known Lesley, the Vicar-general of Aberdeen, who is better known, as Bishop of Ross, to offer their duty, and services, to the Queen. Lesley, who sailed, from Aberdeen to the Brill, arrived before the Lord James, who took London, in his way. He appears, to have warned the Queen of the artifices of her brother; and to have persuaded her of the fidelity of a great body of faithful adherents: she commanded him to remain in France, till her return to Scotland: and to assure the nobles, and prelates, whom he represented, of her favour towards them. The Lord James arrived, on the morrow: and, faithfully, promising to serve her to the utmost of his power, assured her, that the whole Scotish nation would obey her, without the aid of foreign force: he appears, even now, to have gained an ascendency over the Queen, which he never lost, after all his aims at her crown: He meantime asked for the earldom of Murray, which she gave him reason to expect; when she became restored to her legitimate government. He seems to have returned somewhat disappointed: He arrived, at Paris, on the 4th of April, 1561, and left it on the 4th of May. As the Lord James was thus playing a double game, between Mary, and Elizabeth, for his own interest, he returned, through London, where he might consult with Cecil, to whom he recommended, as it is said, on sufficient authority, to intercept the Scotish Queen, on her voyage to Scotland.
He certainly brought no power with him, from the Queen, to govern for her, till her arrival, whatever Buchanan may say. The convention of May 1561 acted without any valid authority. The French embassador, de Noailles, coming to Edinburgh, before the Queen had left France; and applying to such a convention, for the renewal of ancient amity, received such an answer, as he might have forseen, to his forward folly. Meantime, Elizabeth renewed her intrigues with the insurgents of Scotland. Randolph, her notorious envoy, was now sent into the north, in order to propagate discontent, amongst every rank, under the present circumstances, and to propose associations against their Queen’s marriage. Cecil, when he drew up the instructions of that intriguer, supposed, that, in obtaining his ends, all means were lawful, and every purpose moral.
Soon after the demise of Francis II., Lord, and Lady Lennox, on pretence of condoling the misfortune of the Scotish queen, began to court Mary, for their son, Darnley: and, considering his relationship, had the highest pretensions to her approbation. This intrigue was carried on by letters, for some time: But, they could not long escape the eagle eyes of Cecil. Upon this discovery, Lord, and Lady Lennox, were put into ward: though their solicitude, for their son’s advancement, was but a pitiful offence.
The unfriendly measures of Elizabeth, in Scotland, were, probably, intended, to facilitate her solicitations of Mary’s acceptance of the treaty of Edinburgh, while she complimented the Scotish Queen, on the recovery of her health. On the 20th of July 1561, when the Queen was on her journey, for Scotland, she fairly met the embassador, Throckmorton, by appointment, to discuss this litigated subject. This is the first display of the Scotish Queen, when she was going nineteen, and without advisers, to discuss, singly, with an experienced Statesman, the fitness of refusing her ratification of the treaty of Edinburgh: and, on this memorable occasion, she exhibited great talents for business, great firmness of resolution, great vigour of head, and still greater sensibility of heart: In the end, she desired to go over the several articles of the treaty, that he might judge, “whether they be not very cogent reasons, which his Queen takes, for vain excuses, and delays: – The 1st article in that treaty, for confirming the truce of Cambray, does not, in the least concern me: the 2d, which relates to the signing the treaty there made, between the English, and Scots, as ratified, by my husband, who is expressly named therein: the 3d, 4th, and 5th articles, are already fulfilled; I have, since my husband’s death, quitted the arms, and titles, of England; to raze, and strike them out of all the moveables, buildings, and charters, in France, is a thing no way, in my power; and it is more than I can do, to send back the Bishop of Valence, and Randan, who are no subjects of mine, into England; to a conference, about the 6th article: as for the last article, I hope my rebel subjects will not complain of any great severity towards them. But your mistress, I perceive, designs to prevent any proofs, I might show of a merciful disposition, towards them, by resolving to hinder my return. What is there now behind, in this treaty, than can any way prejudice the affairs of your mistress? Nevertheless, to give her the fullest satisfaction, I design to write to her about these matters, with my own hand, though she would not vouchsafe me an answer, but by her Secretary. But, I would advise you, who are an ambassador, to act, suitably, to that character; I mean, rather to qualify, and compose matters, than to aggravate, and make them worse.” Such was the display of the Scotish Queen, which evinces her talents, for the affairs of state! Only those men, who are in the habit of public business, could run over the several articles of an intricate treaty; so as to point out the true meaning of each. The whole negotiation shows, that Elizabeth, by urging so much the ratification of this treaty, was quite wrong; while Mary was quite right, in resisting it: Elizabeth seems to have supposed, that the Scotish Queen had not a right to refuse her acceptance of what her ambassadors had no right to discuss; and much less, had no authority to enter into a stipulation, that she never would claim the crown of England, after the demise of Elizabeth. Hard, indeed, would be the conditions of sovereigns, if they could not disallow a treaty, which might have been made, by the ignorance, the folly, or the treachery, of their servants.
The Scotish Queen, finally, departed, from Paris, on her return to her native kingdom, on the 21st of July 1561. While she remained in France, after the decease of Frances II, she was called la Reine blanche. She was accompanied to St. Germains, by the King, and Queen mother, the Duke of Anjou, and the King of Navarre. On the 25th of the same month, she set forward to the sea, attended, by her six uncles, the Duke de Nemours, and Mons. D’Amville, and other nobles of both sexes, who conveyed her to Calais, where two galleys, and four transports, lay ready, to receive her, with her suite, and moveables. The Queen ceased not to direct her looks to the shore of France, until the darkness interrupted her wishful eyes. At the dawn of day, the coast of France was still in sight, the galleys having made but little way in the night. While it remained still in view, she often repeated: Farewell, France! Farewell! I shall never see you more.
In the meantime, Elizabeth sent out her fleet, with whatever orders, into the channel, through which Mary was expected to sail. The chiefs of Murray’s faction, Argyle, Morton, Glencairn, wrote letters to Cecil; offering their services to Elizabeth. Secretary Maitland, who was the organ of that faction, went one step further: in several letters, which he wrote to Cecil, he advised the interception of the Queen. Yet, did the Scotish Queen arrive, safely, at Leith, on the 19th of August, at 9 o’clock, in the morning. When Lady Lennox heard of this event, she fell down on her knees, and with uplifted hands, rendered thanks to God, for Queen Mary’s safe arrival, notwithstanding the English ships. This prayer of Lady Lennox is proof, that it was known to all the well informed persons, in London, that Elizabeth’s fleet had been sent out, to bring in the Scotish Queen.
The Scotish Queen, when she arrived in Scotland, was still in mourning, for her deceased husband. This she long continued, after her arrival. We may perceive how much, and how long she mourned, for Francis II., by the verses, which she wrote, on that occasion; and which have been preserved, in the Anthologie Françoise. Her vindicator, Whitaker, has translated them, in the following manner:-
While, in a tone of deepest wo,
My sweetly mournful warblings flow,
I wildly cast my eyes around,
Feel my dread loss, my bosom wound,
And see, in sigh succeeding sigh,
The finest moments of my life to fly.
Did destiny’s hard hand before,
Of miseries such a store,
Or such a train of sorrows shed
Upon a happy woman’s head?
Who sees her very heart, and eye,
Or in the bier, or in the coffin lie.
Who, in the morning of my day,
And midst my flowers of youth most gay,
Feel all the wretchedness at heart,
That heaviest sorrows can impart;
And can in nothing find relief
But, in the fond indulgence of my grief.
What once of joy could lend a strain,
Is now converted into pain;
The day that shines with fullest light
Is now to me a darksome night;
Nor is there aught of highest joys,
That now my soul will condescend to prize.
Full at my heart and in my eye
A portrait and an image lie,
That figure out my dress of wo,
And my pale face reflected a show,
The semblance of the violets blue,
Unhappy love’s own genuine hue.
To ease my sorely troubled mind,
I keep to no one spot confin’d,
But think it good to shift my place,
In hopes my sadness to efface;
For now is worst, now best again,
The most sequestrate solitary scene.
Whether I shelter in the grove,
Or in the open meadow rove;
Whether the morn is dawning day,
Or evening shoots its level ray;
My heart’s incessant feelings prove
My heavy mourning for my absent love.
If at a time towards the skies,
I cast my sorrow dropping eyes,
I see his eyes sweet-glancing play
Amongst the clouds in every ray;
Then in the cloud’s dark water view,
His hearse display’d in sorrow’s sable hue.
If to repose my limbs apply,
And slumbering on my couch I lie;
I hear his voice to me rejoin,
I feel his body touching mine;
Engaged at work, to rest applied,
I have him still for ever at my side.
No other object meets my sight
However fair it seems of bright,
To which my heart will e’er consent
To yield itself in fond content
And robbed of the perfection be
Of this impassioned mournful sympathy.
But here my song, do thou refrain,
From thy most melancholy strain,
Of which shall this the burden prove;
“My honest heart-full lively love,
“Howe’er I am, by death disjoined,
“Shall never, never diminution find.”
These lines, says the translator of them, have apparently very considerable merit, in the ideas, the imaginations, and the very genius of elegiac poetry: Every reader of taste must admire them, for their mournfulness, as well as fancy, that run through them. To a knowledge of the several tongues, and much other acquaintance of many affairs, the Scotish Queen had a lively taste, and a distinguished talent, for French poetry. See les Mémoires de Brantôme, et les Anecdotes des Reines de France. Mary was not only a poetess herself, but the cause of poetry in others: Many a Vaudeville was written on her departure, from France.