MARY, as we might infer, from Randolph’s intimation to Cecil, did not enjoy much hilarity, when the new year began [1563, in France] the great, continually, urged the mean, to raise disturbances, in order, that they themselves might profit from the crimes of others. The Queen’s uncles, who bore great sway, were naturally, involved in troubles, which were raised, by those, who had ambition, for their ends, and religion, for their means. The grand prior was, mortally wounded, fighting bravely, at the battle of Dreux. And the celebrated Duke of Guise was assassinated, at the siege of Orleans, by Poltrot, a pious Huguenot. Mary, having neither frequent, nor distinct, informations, from France, saw every event, as it were through a mist, especially when misrepresentations came to her, from the delusive tongue of Randolph, the English agent.
The Queen, under such circumstances, endeavoured to elevate her spirits, by slight excursions into the country; because exercise had always the most salutary effects, on her health. With this salutary intention, she went to Castle-Campbell, to be present, at the marriage of the commendator of St. Colm to the Earl of Argyle’s sister, on the 10th of January 1563. On the 14th, she returned to Edinburgh, where she was taken ill. And she now remained at her metropolis, till the 13th of February.
In the mean time, was she endangered, and vexed, by an incident of a very uncommon occurrence. When the Queen arrived from France, there came, in the train of Mons. D’Anville, one Chatelard, a gentleman, by birth, a soldier, by profession, a scholar, from education, and a poet, by choice. He returned with d’Anville, to France, after enjoying, from the rank of his protector, the various amusements of Mary’s court, and feeling the influence of Mary’s manners. Chatelard liked, whom, and what he saw, well enough to visit those various objects again. In November 1562, he arrived, as we have seen, with letters, from d’Anville, and others, for the Queen, and was well received; because he was, favourably recollected, by every one at court, except, by all those, who delighted, in promoting Randolph’s intrigues, and Murray’s views. If we might believe Knox, who constantly thinks, that his motives may justify his means, we ought to be of opinion, that the Queen used such personal freedoms with Chatelard, as to justify him, in using similar freedoms, in return. He proceeded the full length, on the 12th of February 1563, of concealing himself, in the Queen’s bed chamber, when she was about to retire into it, for the night, with his sword, and dagger, beside him. This fact, being concealed, from the Queen, by her female attendants, from prudential motives, till the morning. The Queen commanded Chatelard out of her sight. The Queen, with a part of her train, left Edinburgh on the 13th; and slept, at Dunfermling. On the 14th, she proceeded to Burnt-Island, where she slept. Chatelard, notwithstanding, followed her into Fife, and came to Burnt-Island, on the 14th: And, the Queen having retired into her bed chamber, Chatelard presented himself before her, coming in, immediately, after her; to clear himself, as he said, from the former imputation against his conduct. Astonished at his audacity, “the Queen herself was fain to cry for help:” The Earl of Murray was sent for, when the Queen, amidst her agitations, commanded her minister to put his dagger in him: But Murray thought proper, to send him to ward; reserving this daring, or infatuated miscreant, to the due course of law, which would lay open the whole transaction. The chancellor, the justice clerk, and other counsellors, were sent for to Edinburgh. This wretched enthusiast was tried, in a few days, at St. Andrews; and, on the 22d of February, was executed; “reading over, on the scaffold,” says Brantome,” Ronsard’s hymn on death, as the only preparation, for the fatal stroke.” The Queen perceiving, that her bed chamber was not safe, from such intrusions, adopted the resolution of taking Mary Fleming, to be her bed fellow.” She was one of the daughters of Lord Fleming, and was one of the four Maries, who had gone to France, with her; returned in her train; and continued one of her maids of honour, till she married Mr. Secretary Maitland. The Queen, on the 15th of February, proceeded, from Burnt-Island to Falkland; and on the 16th, she dined at Coupar; and, in the evening arrived at St. Andrews. Here she remained, amusing herself, with the pastimes of the country, till the 18th of March. “The Queen,” said Randolph to Cecil, “is now healthy, and merry, most commonly riding in the fields, as time will serve her: Her care is, continually, great, for her uncles, and her desire wonderful, for the quiet of France.” About the 16th of this month, the Queen heard at St. Andrews, of the death of her uncle, the Duke of Guise, by assassination. Coligni, the rival of that illustrious man, had the generosity to say, that the taking of such a personage, by such means, was a dastardly deed. The Queen wrote letters of condolence to the Queen mother, to her grandmother, to the Duke’s widow, and to her other friends, in France: thus consoling herself, by offering consolation to others. She departed from St. Andrews, on the 18th of March, for Coupar, where she remained a day; and thence proceeded to Falkland. She here tried to dissipate her melancholy, by the pastimes of Falkland, on the 20th, 21st, and 22d. On the morrow, she set out on a short tour, through the neighbouring countries; and returned to St. Andrews, on the 29th of March, where she remained till the 3d of April, when she returned to Falkland. Here, she amused herself, in her usual manner, till the 19th of April, when she removed to Lochleven. Having sent for Knox, to meet her, at Lochleven, he had an interview with her here, on the 13th of April, when she desired him, to endeavour to reconcile the Earl, and Countess of Argyle: On the morrow, he again met the Queen, at the hawking, on the westward of Kinross.
Randolph bore frequent testimony to the salutariness of so much exercise, on horseback, in the open air, for the Queen’s health, and spirits. On the 15th of April 1563, she departed from Lochleven, dined at Strathhenry, and rode to Falkland, in the evening. On the morrow, she dined at Newark, and rode to Coupar, in the evening. On the 17th, she dined at Coupar, and went to St. Andrews, in the afternoon. And she now resided pretty constantly at St. Andrews, where a part of her train joined her, soon after, from Falkland, till the 16th of May. A part of her train left her, on the 16th of May; and went, by Kinghorn, to Edinburgh. She followed, on the 16th; and slept at Coupar. On the 17th, leaving that shire town, she dined at Brunton, near Markinch, and slept, at Brunt-Island. After breakfast, on the morrow, she set sail, for Leith, and arrived, in the evening, at Edinburgh, after an absence of nearly five months.
In the meantime, the Countess of Sutherland, the Earl of Lennox’s sister, came to Edinburgh, to solicit for her husband. The Countess of Huntley, who came to support the cause of her ruined family, could neither get access, nor hope, in her suite. Supported by the preachers, and populace, in Scotland, and by Elizabeth, and Cecil, in England, Murray acted altogether, as dictator. Divers priests were taken, at Easter, saying mass, in secret houses, and in woods: And, some of them were driven to seek shelter, in England. The Archbishop of St. Andrews, the Prior of Whithorn, and the Abbot of Crossraguel, were persecuted upon the same charge. “The Queen,” said Randolph to Cecil, “being desirous to free the archbishop, yet could not, wept to see her authority defied. Well might she weep, to see a tyranny introduced into her kingdom, and her laws set at nought. The proceedings against those religious persons, were like those against the Earl of Huntley, violent and unwarrantable. There was then no law, in Scotland, to support such prosecutions. The proceedings of the convention, 1560, were not legal, till they were legitimized, by the parliament of December 1567. The Queen’s proclamation, for quieting the country, by a toleration, did not repeal the ancient law of the land. Sad is the condition of that nation, where the law is unknown, or uncertain. Wretched is the country, which has not one lawyer, who will raise his voice, for law, and justice.
The time was now fast approaching, when the Parliament was to meet, after its prorogation, in January, for the dispatch of various matters of great weight. The Queen feared, that she should be pressed, at this Parliament, in matters of religion. The expected Parliament assembled, at length, on the 26th of May 1563. The Queen came to Parliament, the same day, in her robes, and was crowned: The Duke carried the crown: Argyle the sceptre; and Murray the sword. The Queen delivered a speech to Parliament, in her native language. On the same day, she gave a feast to the ladies of Scotland, as we learn from her household book. She is said to have been present, at the forfeitures of Huntley, Sutherland, and many of their friends, on whatever proofs. The Parliament now diverged to other affairs of full as much importance. For the affection, which the Queen bore her people, and for the mutual quiet of her subjects, she passed an act of oblivion, for all acts done, from the 6th of March 1558, to the 1st of September 1561. This act, was plainly intended, for burying, in oblivion, the whole violences of the reformation; and the chief reformers were appointed, by the act, for carrying it into effect. Some salutary laws of domestic economy were also passed, during this session. One other act was passed, in that session, which created some disturbances, though it was intended for a different purpose: The act, for preventing any one, from summoning together the Queen’s people, without her consent. But, Knox, holding the law to be inferior to the religion, did summon the Queen’s people, without her assent: and he was brought, in charge, before the privy council. This charge ended, in Knox conjuring the Queen “to forsake her idolatrous religion:” Whereupon, the chancellor, Lord Morton, desired him, to hold his peace, and go away. This case is a strong example, that the government was carried on, much more for the benefit of the minister, than the advantage of the crown.
The Parliament being thus ended on the 4th of June, without reforming dress, the Queen, said Randolph to Cecil, hath made her highland apparel, for her journey into Argyle. According to Spottiswoode, the rest of this summer, the Queen spent, in hunting in the countries of Athol, and Argyle. Spottiswoode, however, is quite mistaken, in supposing, that the Queen went, on that occasion, into Athol: From Inverary, she turned to the westward. The Queen remained, at Edinburgh, till the 29th of June; making, however, short excursions, in the neighbourhood; dining with Morton, at Dalkeith, on the 9th, and sleeping on the same night, at Melville. On the 29th of June, she dined, at Edinburgh, and slept, at Linlithgow. On the subsequent day, she rode from Linlithgow, to Dunypace, where she spent the night. This, then, was the first stage of a very extensive excursion, which she made, through the west, and southwest of Scotland, during the two subsequent months.On the 1st of July she rode from Dunypace to Glasgow, near which she remained till the 13th; visiting Hamilton, and Paisley. On the 14th, after dining at Glasgow, she rode to Dunbarton, where she slept. On the morrow, she rode to Rossdu, on Lochlomond, where she passed the 16th: And on the 17th, she returned to Dunbarton. She passed the 18th at Dunbarton: But, on the next day, she went to Currie, where she slept, and remained even on the 20th: On the 21st, she rode to Inverary: The Countess of Argyle, who entertained her, was her natural sister, being the daughter of James V., and the wife of the Earl of Argyle. She was present with the Queen, at supper, in her closet, when the King, and the other conspirators, entered, and assassinated Rizzio, in their presence. The Countess had the honour to represent Queen Elizabeth, at the baptism of King James; for which the preachers made her do penance, in the church. The Queen left Inverary, on the 26th of July; and instead of passing to the eastward, over the heights of Albin, into Athol, she turned to the westward, to Strone, where she slept, and passed the following day. On the 29th, she rode to Toward, on the promontory of Toward, being the south point of Cowel, projecting into the frith of Clyde opposite to Rothsay, in Bute. She dined, at Toward, and passed, from thence, the frith of Clyde to the coast of Cuningham, and slept at Southannan. Here she dined, on the morrow, and rode to Eglington. The household book, from which this interesting itinery was taken, is unfortunately wanting, for the month of August 1563.
It appears, however, that the Queen remained, about a fortnight, in Ayrshire; that she passed, from Carrick into Galloway; spent some days, at the abbey of St. Mary isle, near Kirkudbright, whereof her Treasurer, Richardson, was commendator; and proceeded thence to Dumfries, on the eastward. Soon after the Queen’s return, her minister, with his two bastard brothers, went into the land of Moray, as far as Inverness, where they held justice courts, and besides punishing thieves, and murderers, in an evil hour, burnt two of the weird sisters, of the classic ground of Forres, who, by their incantations, however, cast disease, and death, on the Lord John of Coldingham, who died at Inverness.
Randolph returned to the Queen, in September, with fresh powers, and new projects, which led on to important consequences. He had been called to London, for the usual purpose of personal conference: and, he returned, with a body of instructions from Elizabeth, which turned almost altogether, on the marriage of her sister. Secretary Cecil had exerted all his powers of disquisition, in forming a discourse on the proper marriage of a Queen, which was embodied into instructions, for the resident Randolph, to woo a Queen to wed, who was very capable of laughing, at such a proposal of marriage, without an offer, even, for the man in the moon; to promote, or retard, whatever pretender to the hand of Mary, who transferred a share of this goodly negotiation to her minister, Murray, and her secretary, Maitland.
Meantime, a new treaty had been entered into with Elizabeth’s wardens of the marches, which, as caprice did not interpose, was easily settled, for ensuring the quiet of the conterminous borders. The Queen now began to feel, that she had courted Elizabeth too much, and the Queen mother of France too little. The payment of Mary’s dowry, in that country, was stopped, by an unwarrantable act; the duke was deprived of his duchy; and the captain of the Scots guards, which belonged, by a sort of right, to the Prince of Scotland, was given to a Frenchman. To those causes of mortification, from abroad, the Queen had to sustain a deeper wound, at home. It was, from Knox, and his faction, said Randolph to Cecil, “who intended, by a mutinous assembly, convened by his letter, to have rescued two of their brethren, from the course of law, for an outrage upon a priest, saying mass in the Queen’s chapel, in Holyrood-house.” Knox was caressed, by Cecil, as an instrument, to disturb Mary’s quiet: And Murray had indulged Knox till he placed himself above the law, and set his patron, at defiance; who yet dared not to punish him. Such was the state of domestic matters, at the end of 1563. It was thus natural, for the Queen, to abstract herself, from Edinburgh, which had been reformed into fanaticism, and raised into faction, which were aggravated, by the hypocrisy of her minion, who converted every incident to his own interest, but to the Queen’s disadvantage.
At the end of this year 1563, the Queen’s attention was wholly engaged, with the lovers, whom Elizabeth had found for her: Many were importunate to know, what person Elizabeth meant: Whether Lord Ambrose Dudley, whether the Earl of Leicester, whether Lord Darnley. It was, no doubt, excellent Christmas pastime, to decypher the enigmas of Elizabeth, who was the greatest enigmatist of her age. The Queen mother of France, and the Cardinal of Lorraine, meantime, urged the Scotish Queen “that it was not safe to trust Elizabeth’s council in her marriage, who means, merely, to serve her own turn.” And the French government, seeing that intercourse, between the two British kingdoms, endeavoured to restore the ancient league; gave fresh assurances, for the payment of her dowry: the Scots guards were to be restored, and given to her brother, the Lord Robert; and the Scotish nation, were to be restored to their former privileges. Thus was the Scotish Queen, for the moment, caressed, by the two Queens of England, and of France. Yet, was her life, constantly, embittered, by the seditious conduct of Knox, who was yet protected, by Murray, her brother, and minion, who would sacrifice nothing to her, but covert every incident to his own aggrandizement. She was now out of humour with both: But, throughout her whole life, she never could see, and understand, that Murray’s whole conduct was adverse, from her stability, or ease.
The Queen remained, at Edinburgh, throughout the month of January 1564, as we learn, from her household book: She continued there the most of February, as we know, from events. In January, and February, down to the 14th, the Queen gave great entertainments, to the lords; and in return, the lords gave great banquets to the Queen. In the meantime, Murray seemed to approve of the match, with Lord Robert Dudley; but, dared not to propose it; being full of difficulties. The Duke sheweth himself an earnest friend to the protestants. The Queen, by missing her attempt, to have Knox banished, for his sedition, perceived, that there would be difficulty to attain her own desire; the power of the faction being so strong. Under such circumstances, the Queen found it more invigorating to her health, and exhilarating to her spirits, to prefer the country to her metropolis. On the 6th of March she left Edinburgh, and proceeded to Perth, where she remained till the 24th, when she rode to Falkland. At this noble seat of her progenitors, she remained till the 4th of April, when she made an excursion to St. Andrews. She returned to Falkirk, on the 6th, where she remained till the 16th, when she again repaired to Perth, the favourite seat of James I., who was there assassinated: And here she remained till the end of April, except that she visited Ruthven, on the 25th. She now remained, at Perth, till beyond the middle of May, when she returned to Edinburgh; as we know from the Privy-seal Register.
In the meantime, Randolph intrigued in vain, for Elizabeth’s unknown lover, on unknown principles. Proposals of marriage, from the man in the moon, are not, however, very acceptable to any lady. The Scotish Queen was not much delighted, with the enigmatical courtship of her enigmatical sister. The Scotish Queen commanded Randolph, “to signify to her sister, her affection; judging better of her meaning than her words: Princes have not at all times their will; but her heart is her own; and she desired, that their enemies may rather envy the kindness between them, than to be able to remove mutual affection.” The great object of this amatory epistle was, to incite the candour of Elizabeth, at least, for a moment. Elizabeth now saw, that her silence would only produce distrust; and that she must name the happy man, who was honoured with her recommendation: Randolph, not long after, acquainted the Scotish Queen with the person, whom Elizabeth offered to her sister, Mary, as the fittest match. Strange to tell! she named her own paramour, the Earl of Leicester. The Emperor was still a suitor to the Cardinal of Lorraine, the Queen’s uncle, for his son, the Archduke, to marry the Scotish Queen: He offered 2,000,000 franks, yearly; and, after his death, 3,000,000. The Scotish Queen heard, with patience, the Earl, mentioned; but, deferred any resolution, said Randolph to Cecil.
The Queen, however, opened her mind very fully, not long after. She said, that one of the three advisers, which the Queen of England sent her, for her choice, was to regard her honour; and can that be for my honour, said she, to marry a subject? Randolph answered, Yes: For, by means of him, you are like to inherit a kingdom: Not so, replied the Scotish Queen, for my sister may have children, or may outlive me: It does not, added she, conform to her promise, to use me as a sister, or daughter, and to marry me to her subject, although I hear well of the gentleman. I said, it might well stand, with her promise, for there was not a worthier man to be found in her kingdom: And this will secure peace, enrich your country, and advance justice, between the two kingdoms. It is, sufficiently, apparent, that Randolph did not answer the Queen’s objections. He had, however, a similar conversation, the same day, with Murray, Argyle, and Maitland, by the Queen’s appointment; and they resolved to have a meeting, and conference, at Berwick: Now: the Scotish Queen well approved Lord Bedford to be one of the commissioners, though the time was not yet fixed. What the Queen of Scots, had so anxiously wished for, a peace between England, and France, was settled, at Troys, in Champaigne, during April 1564.
Early in April 1564, Bedford arrived at Berwick, in order to discuss the point, which had been resolved, for the conference, at that renowned town. The Scotish Queen did not approve of Leicester. Elizabeth did not want to part with him: And, of course, the commissioners had very little to settle, by conference. Whatever disappointment, Lord Robert Dudley may have sustained, by being rejected by a Queen, whom he did not court, was amply made up, by Elizabeth, who raised him, and his brother, to higher honours. He was created Earl of Leicester, on the 29th of September 1564. The commissioners seemed to have diverged to a former proposal of the two Queens, a meeting in England: But, the Queen of Scots seems to have declined, to meet Elizabeth, unless her eventual right to the succession of England, were first settled, by Parliament.
With a view to those discussions, as to her presumptive title to the crown of England, the Scotish Queen, as early as May 1564, gave the Earl of Lennox leave, to come into Scotland, for the recovery of his forfeited rights.
So much has been said of pretensions, and of titles, to the crown, that it may be proper here, to add a few words, on those perplexing topicks. The two roses, the symbols of the families of York, and Lancaster, were conjoined, by the marriage of Henry VII., with Elizabeth of York: Of this marriage was born Henry VIII., and the Lady Margaret. Henry VIII. left three legitimate children; Edward VI. who succeeded him, and died, in July 1553. Mary, who succeeded him, and died in November 1558; Elizabeth, who was born, on the 7th of September 1533, and succeeded her sister Mary, began to be rather old maidish, when the Parliament wooed her to wed, in 1566.
The pretensions of the Scotish Queen arose, in this manner: The Lady Margaret, the eldest daughter of Henry VII., married James IV., who died, in 1513; leaving, by her, James V., who was the father of Mary, by the Duchess of Longueville. The Lady Margaret married, 2dly, after the demise of James IV., Archibald, Earl of Angus: By this marriage, there was a daughter, Lady Margaret Douglas. Matthew, Earl of Lennox, who was himself related to the royal family of Scotland, during the minority of Mary, acted in such a manner, that he could neither return to France, from whence he came, nor remain, in Scotland, where he was forfeited. Lennox now fled into England, where he was received into the protection of Henry VIII., who gave him his niece, the Lady Margaret Douglas, in marriage, with lands, amounting to fifteen hundred marks, a year: Of this marriage was Lord Darnley, the grandson of the Lady Margaret, and the great grandson of Henry VII.: Lady Lennox was, plainly, the cousin german of Queen Elizabeth.
We may now perceive, the prudence of the Scotish Queen, when she invited Lennox, to Scotland, with a view to repeal the acts of his forfeiture. Cecil, meantime, busied himself, in collecting documents, in order to prove Elizabeth’s cousin, Lady Lennox, a bastard; owing to some informality, in the marriage of her father, with the Princess Margaret, who was divorced, from Angus. In those irregular times, there were few escutcheons, in which the malignant diligence of Cecil, to gratify Elizabeth’s jealousy, might not have discovered some blot. Lady Lennox had, moreover, pretensions on the earldom of Angus, which the Queen, also settled out of her own estates, though those, who were the most benefitted, were not the most grateful.
On the 25th she dined, at Kincardin; and in the evening rode forward to Perth. At this agreeable town, she remained till the 31st of July. From Perth, she proceeded to Athol, “to the hunting.” And from this amusive region, she passed the Alpine heights, which separate Athol, and the Tay, from Badenoch, and the Spey: she now went through the intervening highlands to Inverness; and from thence to the canonry of Ross. The object of that distant journey, which was far more dangerous, and difficult, than Randolph’s terrible journey to Inverness; was not then known, and cannot be completely ascertained: As she knew, that Lennox was arrived, in Scotland, and Darnley expected: As, amidst the various courtships, that had distressed her, she had resolved, secretly, to marry Darnley, if she should like his person, and conversation; the Queen, probably, went to Ross-shire, to enquire, without the knowledge of the statesmen, at Edinburgh, what was the value of the earldom of Ross, which she meant to settle on Darnley, before their marriage, wishing in case of any accident to her, to leave him an Earl, with a large estate, and a great following, which was so sought for, in those times, when men were of more value than money. Having thus satisfied her own mind, without the knowledge of others, she resolved to return along the eastern road, by Aberdeen to Edinburgh. She now repassed, through the country of the Gordons, which had once been held out, as so frightful: she remained a night, at Gartley, where there is still a ruined castle; and the parish whereof belongs even now to the Duke of Gordon. She rode forward to Aberdeen; without seeing Huntley’s Ghost: And went thence to Dunoter, where she remained a night: And thence proceeding along the coast road to Dundee, she there crossed the Tay into Fife; and diverging for a few days to St. Andrews, she returned to Edinburgh, about the 26th of September, after an absence of two months. Randolph, in the meantime, had returned to London, and was sent back to the Scotish Queen, early in October. Meanwhile, Lennox arrived at Edinburgh, on the 4th of September; and finding the Queen absent, went forward to Athol, to visit the Earl, who had been gained, by secretary Maitland: But, as soon as he heard, from St. Andrews, that the Queen had departed for Holyrood-house, he repaired thither, and was, graciously, received, on the 27th of the same month. He now presented to her Elizabeth’s letter of good offices. The Scotish Queen’s answer of the 28th of September is preserved, in Keith; and is conceived with great elegance, and is executed with remarkable happiness, though somewhat debased, by the vulgar language of that age: “Besydis,” said she, to her good cousin, “that we intend to deal so favourabillie with him, and our said cousin, his wyff, in all thair suitis, and caussis, reasonabill, that thai sall haif gude occasioun to acknaulege thameselffis bund unto zow [themselves bound unto you], for the benefyte thai sall receave at oure handis.” We shall perceive, in our progress, that Mary dealt, indeed, very favourably with the whole family of Lennox.
Randolph set out from London, for Edinburgh, with fresh instructions, upon the stale topick of courtship, in favour of their old lover, Leicester, the proposal of whom Elizabeth now thought to have been received, by Mary, with more sharpness, than the subject, or the proposer, merited. Leicester himself was aware, as we have seen, that he had been proposed, by the malignity of Cecil, to involve the man, whom he hated, in a difficult predicament, between the two Queens; and Elizabeth, to gratify her own envy, persevered in her purpose, to embarrass, and mortify Mary. The Scotish Queen was, in no haste, however, to appoint commissioners, to treat of such foolery; and she was not very well pleased, that the English ambassador, at Paris, had made this treaty of marriage mere matter of town-talk: This was, no doubt, owing to Cecil’s artifice, who wished that Mary’s courtship, by Leicester, might mortify the great personages, who had made sincere pretensions to the Scotish Queen: The whole matrimonial negotiation was, probably, instituted by Elizabeth, with the insidious design, of disappointing Mary’s splendid suitors, from abroad, as well as gratifying her own spleen.
The commissioners, who were to settle this courtship, which Elizabeth meant, sincerely, assembled, at length, at Berwick, on the 19th of November: Bedford, and Randolph, on the side of Elizabeth; and Murray, and Maitland, on the part of Mary. The English commissioners proposed inviolable amity, perpetual peace, and assured hope of succession, if the Scotish Queen would marry Leicester. For, upon this condition, Elizabeth had promised, to declare her, by act of Parliament, her adopted daughter, or sister, as soon as she should be married. The Scotish commissioners, maintained, that it stood not with the dignity of a Queen, who had been sought unto, by so many princes, to condescend to the marriage of a new created earl, a subject of England, upon hope only, without dowry; neither stood it with the Queen of England’s honour, to commend such a husband to so great a princess, her kinswoman: But, it would be a most certain argument of her love, if she would permit their mistress to choose, for herself, a proper personage at her pleasure, which would embrace peace with England, and withal assign unto her some annual pension, and confirm the title of succession, by act of Parliament. Thus ended this conference, on a very serious subject, without any fruitful issue. And thus, was Elizabeth disappointed, in her dubious purpose, of marrying the Scotish Queen to the noble, without whom she could not live: in the hope of perplexing the Queen whom she hated: But, without obtaining her object, if such it were, she exhibited her own dissimulation to the eyes of those, who, from their situation, could not but see, that she did not mean honestly.
In the meantime, Mary remained, at Edinburgh, making only slight excursions, to the southward. On the 12th of November, she gave, at Holyrood-house, a great feast, as we know, from her household book. On the 25th she returned to Edinburgh, from her excursion, where she remained throughout this, and the subsequent month, for the convenience of the important affairs, which she had now before her. Meanwhile, Lennox not only had obtained the Queen’s favour; but had endeavoured, to secure the good opinion of her council. He gave to the Queen, and to most of her counsellors, jewels: The Countess of Lennox sent Murray a diamond; and Maitland was amply satisfied with gifts. A parliament was, accordingly, convened, on the 2d of December 1564. On the subsequent, day, in pursuance of the established form, the Queen made a speech to Parliament; recommending the reversal of the Earl of Lennox’s forfeiture. Secretary Maitland, who supplied the chancellor’s place, by the Queen’s command, in an eloquent oration, explained the policy of the Queen’s recommendation. And, on the same day, an act was passed, for restoring Lennox to his estate, and honours. The earldom of Moray was confirmed to the Queen’s minister, who had obtained great objects, by illegitimate means. The attending of mass, except in the Queen’s chapel, was now made punishable, with loss of goods, lands, and life. The Queen was declared of perfect age, at one and twenty years, as her predecessors had been. And there was granted to the wishes of the reformed clergy, an act for the security of the kirklands, which had not been confirmed, by the King, or Pope, before the year 1558, the epoch of the Scotish reformation. The proceedings of this Parliament seem to have been settled, by a sort of compromise, between the Queen, and her ministers, who had their own interest to care for.
Those various proceedings, necessarily tended to calm some perturbations, and to raise others. The preachers were somewhat satisfied, for the moment. The restoration of Lennox, however, incited some apprehensions. Argyle returned to him what he had in his possession, which had belonged to that expatriated noble. The Queen commanded the Duke, and Lennox, to abstain from quarrel. The Duke supposed, that Lennox was called home, for his destruction, especially, if the Queen should marry Darnley. The Queen, meantime, was not well pleased with her uncle, the Cardinal, for meddling with her marriage, more for his own convenience, than for her advantage. The earldom of Angus was now confirmed to the young earl, by Lady Lennox, which was more, for her interest, than to be declared illegitimate, which was endeavoured, under Cecil’s influence, with whatever design; as we know, from documents, in the Paper Office.
Worn out, with all those solicitudes, the Queen resolved to retire, from the intrigues of Edinburgh, to the quiet of the country. She remained, in her metropolis, till the 19th of January: as we learn from her household book. With only a part of her train, she departed, from Edinburgh, to Fife, on the 19th of January 1565; as we also know, from that curious record. Randolph, about the 1st of February 1565, followed her thither; and presented to her Elizabeth’s letters; desiring her answer to the propositions, which had been discussed, at Berwick. Enough had been said, and done, at Berwick, to satisfy her reasonable doubts, whether the Queen of Scots would marry Leicester, upon the inefficient terms, then made to the Scotish commissioners. But, the passion of Elizabeth, for such intrigues, was insatiable, She felt her own powers of dissimulation. And she doubted not, whatever Mary might resolve, upon this delicate point, but she could turn it to her own advantage, and her cousin’s vexation: So malignant a woman was Elizabeth! Besides, Elizabeth enjoyed, from this management, a gratification, in which she delighted, through life, the wish of intermeddling with other people’s affairs; especially a courtship, which gives rise to so many hopes, and fears; attended with so many elevations, and depressions; with agreements, and disagreements.
The following, then, is the Scotish Queen’s answer to Elizabeth’s desires, as it was written by Randolph, the English agent, to the English Queen. He draws such a descriptive contour of Mary, and places it, in so many lights, as to give a new cast to her character, charming as it was. The Queen of Scots was then just turned of two and twenty; and seemed to be in good health, and spirits, animated, perhaps, with the hope of having an end, ere long of the solicitudes, which had so long, and so fully occupied her heart. To have abridged, or abstracted, such, a document, would have deprived it of its full effect, on the reader’s judgement.
“May it please your majesty,” said Randolph to Elizabeth: “Immediately after the receipt of your letter to this Queen, I repaired to St. Andrews. So soon as time served, I did present the same, which being read, and as appeared, in her countenance, very well liked, she said little to me, for that time. The next day she passed, wholly, in mirth; nor gave any appearance to any of the contrary; nor would not, as she said, openly; but be quiet, and merry. Her grace lodged, in a merchant’s house; her train were very few; and there was small repair, from any part. Her will was that, for the time, that I did tarry, I should dine, and sup, with her. Your majesty was oftentimes dranken unto, by her, at dinners, and suppers. Having, in this sort, continued with her grace, Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday, I thought it time, to take occasion, to utter unto her grace, that which last I received, in command, from your Majesty, by Mr. Secretary’s letter, which was to know her grace’s resolution, touching those matters, propounded, at Berwick, by my Lord of Bedford, and me, to my Lord of Murray, and Lord of Liddington.1 I had no sooner spoken these words, but she saith, I see now well, that you are weary of this company and treatment. I sent for you, to be merry, and to see how like a Bourgeois-wife, I live, with my little troop; and you will interrupt our pastime, with your great, and grave, matters. I pray you, sir, if you be weary here, return home to Edinburgh; and keep your gravity, and great embassade, until the Queen come thither; for I assure you, you shall not get her here, nor I know not myself, where she is become; You see neither cloth of estate, nor such appearance, that you may think, that there is a Queen here; nor, I would not, that you should think that I am she, at St. Andrews, that I was, at Edinburgh. I said, that I was very sorry for that, for that at Edinburgh, she said, that she did love my mistress, the Queen’s majesty, better than any other, and now I marvelled how her mind was altered: It pleased her, at this, to be very merry, and called me, by more names, than were given me, in my christendom. At these merry conceits, much good sport was made: But, well, sir, saith she, that which then I spoke in words shall be confirmed to my good sister, your mistress, in writing. Before you go out of this town, you shall have a letter unto her, and for yourself, go where you will, I care no more for you. The next day, I was willed to be at my ordinary table, and being placed the next person, saving (worthy Beton)2 to the Queen’s self. Very merrily she passeth her time. After dinner, she rideth abroad. It pleased her, the most part of the time, to talk with me. She had occasion to speak much of France, for the honour she received there, to be wife unto a great king, and for friendship, shewn unto her, in particular, by many, for which occasions, she is bound to love the nation; to shew them pleasure; and to do them good. Her acquaintance is not so forgotten there; nor her friendship so little esteemed, but yet it is divers ways sought, to be continued. She hath of her people many well affected, that way, for the nourriteur, that they have had, there, and the commodity of service, as those of the guard, and men at arms, besides privileges great, for the merchants, more than ever were granted to any nation. What privately, of long time hath been sought, and yet is, for myself, to yield unto, their desires in my marriage; your majesty cannot be ignorant, and you have heard: To have such friends, and to see such offers, without assurance of as good, nobody will give me advice, that loveth me. Not to marry, you know, it cannot be, for me. To deffer it long, many incommodities ensue. How privy to my mind your mistress hath been herein; you know how willing I am, to follow her advice; I have shewn many times; and yet can I find in her no resolution, nor determination. For nothing I cannot be bound unto her; and to France, my will against hers, I have of late given assurance to my brother of Murray, and Liddington, that I am loath, and so do now shew unto yourself, which I will you to bear in mind, and to let it be known to my sister, your mistress: and, therefore, this I say, and trust me I mean it, if your mistress will, as she hath said, use me, as her natural born sister, or daughter, I will take myself either as one, or the other, as she please, and will shew no less readiness to oblige her, and honour her, than my mother or eldest sister; but, if she will repute me always but as her neighbour Queen of Scots; how willing soever I be to live, in amity, and to maintain peace; yet, must she not look, for that at my hands, that otherwise I would, or she desireth. To forsake friendship offered, and present commodity, for uncertainty, no friend will advise me, nor your mistress self approve my wisdom. Let her, therefore, measure my case, as her own, and so I will be hers. For these causes, until my sister, and I, have further proceeded, I must apply my mind to the advice of those, that seem to tender most my profit, that shew their care over me, and wish me most good. I have now disclosed unto you (saith she) all my mind, and require you to let it be known to your sovereign. My meaning unto her is plain, and so shall my dealings be. I know how well she is worthy: and so, , do esteem her; and, therefore, I will thus much say more, that as there is none nearer of kin unto her, than I am; nor none more worthy, to whom I may submit myself; so is there none, to whom with better will, I desire to be beholden unto, than unto her, or to do any thing, that may be with my honour. To this long discourse of hers, I did not much reply. For her affection towards France, thus much I was bold to say, that whatsoever her grace had found herself, her country hath felt the smart. I approved, greatly, in her, those good words, she spoke of your majesty, and by many tokens, from the beginning shewed the like mind, in your grace towards her. For those matters, that you stood upon, they were so great, that they could not soon be resolved of, and much better it were, to attend a time, than over hastily, to press at them; and rather to let them come of themselves, than to seem, to urging them out by force. When, saith she, heard you me speak of these matters before? I said, no, of herself, but her ministers bore always her mind, and in their words, uttered that, which she would. I gave unto them charge, saith she, to consider what is fittest for me, and I find them all together bent towards you, and yet not so, but, I believe, they will advise me for the best. But, so your mistress may be, that I will leave their advices, and all others, and follow her’s alone. I liked so well these words, that I wished it might so be, which I trusted, should be much to both their contentments, and weal of your realms. Remember, said she, what I have said, this mind, that now I am of, cometh not upon the sudden, it is more than a day, or two, that I have had this thought, and more than this too, that you shall not know. I desired her grace not to cut off her talk there, it was so good, so wise, so well framed, and so comfortable unto me, as nothing could be more so, than to hear that mind, in her, towards your majesty. I am a fool, saith she, thus long to talk with you; you are too subtle, for me, to deal with. I protested upon my honesty, that my meaning was only to nourish a perpetual amity, between your majesty, and her, which could not be done but by honest means. How much better were it, saith she, that we two being Queens, so near of kin, neighbours, and being in one isle, should be friends and live together, like sisters, than, by strange means, divide ourselves to the hurt of us both: and, to say, that we may for all that live friends, we may say, and prove, what we will, but it will pass both our powers. You repute us poor; but, yet you have found us cumbersome enough. We have had loss, ye have taken scathe. Why may it not be between my sister, and me, that we living in peace, and assured friendship, may give our minds, that some as notable things may be wrought, by us, women, as by our predecessors have been done before. Let us seek this honour against some other, than fall to debate amongst ourselves. I asked here, her grace, whether she would be content, one day, whenever it were, to give her assistance for the recovery of Calais? At this question she laughed; and said many things must pass, between my good sister, and me, before I can give you answer; but, I believe to see the day, that all our quarrels should be one, and assure you, if we be not, the fault shall not be in me.
“Your majesty hath heard the effect of much long talk, that passed, between this Queen, and me, not so well answered, in every point, by me, as it was spoken by her. I commend her good mind, her desire, and opinion, of your majesty, and in this matter, so, ended with her, that no small matter shall make her think otherwise than well, that nothing should make her over hasty, in her determination, either to enter, in league, with any, or to match herself, in marriage, further than either drift of time should be found, in your majesty, or hasty request of her subjects, or necessity, to provide for her estate, did press her. I requested her grace, humbly, that forasmuch as I had moved her majesty by your highnesses commandment to let her mind be known, how well she liked of the suit of my Lord Robert, Earl of Leicester, that I might be able somewhat to say, or write touching that matter unto your majesty. My mind, towards him, is such, as it ought to be of a very noble man, as I hear say, by very many. And such one, as the Queen, your mistress, my good sister, doth so well like, to be her husband, if he were not her subject, ought not to mislike me to be mine. Marry, what I shall do, it lieth in your mistress’s will, who shall wholly guide me, and rule me. I made myself not well to understand those words, because I would have the better hold of them. She repeated the self same words again, and I shewed myself fully contented with her speech; desired that I might hastily return to your majesty, whilst they were fresh in memory. My mind is not that you shall so hastily depart. At Edinburgh we may commune further; there shall be nothing forgotten, or called back, that hath been said. I have received, said she, a very loving letter, from my good sister, and this night, or to-morrow, will write another, which you must send away. I offered all kind of service, that lied, in my power, reserving the duty to your majesty. I made a general rehersal, after, of this whole conference, to my Lord of Murray, and Lord of Liddington; they were very glad that I had heard so much spoken of herself, whereby, they might be encouraged, to proceed further; but without that principal point, whereupon your majesty is to resolve, saith they, neither dare, earnestly, press her, nor yet of themselves are willing, for that, in honour, otherwise they see not how she can accord to your majesty’s advice, nor so to bend herself unto you, as they are sure she will; and therein offer their service to your majesty, to the uttermost of their powers. The Lord of Liddington doubteth, that your majesty hath conceived some evil opinion of him. I do assure him to the contrary, and find his dealing, hitherto, honest. Your majesty hath heard, at this time, and also at others, by such letters as are come to your highness’s hands, as near as I can, the true report of all such words, as I have heard spoken, either by this Queen, or those in chief credit about her, in such matters, as it did please your majesty, to give me charge to entreat of. The judgment of them all belongeth unto your majesty. It is sufficient, for me, to obey your will: But how hard it is for one man, alone, to deal with many, your majesty is not ignorant, wise, discreet, circumspect, and men, that leave nothing unsought, that may serve to their advantage. With these, therefore, and like, I am in continual fear to deal, less through my great lack, and mean judgment, in all cases, inspecial of such importance, some thing might so fall out, that might hinder so good a purpose, so great a good, as to have your majesty’s realm united with this, and this Queen, to be wholly at your Majesty’s devotion. I do, therefore, most humbly crave of your majesty, that before this matter do suddenly break off, as now it is in doubt, what answer will be given touching the conference had at Berwick, and all those, that favour your majesty’s interest, in great suspense, what will become, is all matters be not thoroughly resolved upon, that it will please your majesty, to send some such one hither, the best in judgment, and experience, of that great number, your majesty hath to entreat on this matter, to see to what issue it may be brought; being now in my simple judgment, in some good towardness, and not far from that point, your majesty would have it at. If your majesty’s pleasure be otherwise, would God, that I were so happy, that I had some witness of those words, that I have heard of this Queen’s mouth, what she hath spoken of your majesty, and how much she offereth to be at your majesty’s will, which often time she speaketh, and calleth God to witness of her true meaning.”