WE have recently seen the serious fooleries of a feigned courtship; we have perceived a Queen offering in marriage to a rival Queen her own paramour, without whom, she could not live; we have beheld that lover intriguing, for his own disappointment, from an apprehension of displeasing both. Such negotiations could only have been adopted, much less persevered in, during the reign of Elizabeth, whose propensities, notwithstanding her vigour, and wisdom, proceeded the full length of folly, not to say frenzy.
We shall, immediately, perceive a courtship of a different kind; because it was real, and sincere; and was prosecuted to a successful end, in the face of many difficulties, and persevered in, through the usual dangers of civil war. The many favours, which were done to Lennox, portended, in the opinion of wise men, much greater kindnesses to his son Darnley. Cecil received intimations to this effect; and similar conceptions occurred to the sagacity of Elizabeth. Lady Lennox’s request to both, that permission might be granted her son, to visit his father, in Scotland, was, without much difficulty granted to Darnley; because that Queen, and her minister, trusting to their own talents, for address, and action, they could easily interpose disappointment, the moment, that Mary should agree to accept his hand: With all their sagacity, they were imposed upon, by the artful blandishments of the Scotish Queen, who under gentleness, and facility, and playfulness, concealed acuteness of understanding, sincerity of purpose, a spirit to oppose difficulties, and a resolution to surmount danger. Darnley, having Elizabeth’s letters of good offices in his pocket, set out to post, on horseback, from London, to Edinburgh, during the depth of winter, which is recorded in history, as remarkably severe, buoyed up, as he was, by hope, and pushed forward, by prescience of success.
Darnley was, probably, born, in 1546; and was of course 4 years younger than Mary: He was, however, remarkably tall of his years; as Mary, like her mother, was of the largest size of women. His good reception in Scotland was ensured, not only, by the letters of Elizabeth, but by the blandishments of Lady Lennox, his mother. She sent to the Queen, her niece, a ring with a fair diamond, a diamond to Lord Murray, a watch, set with rubies, and diamonds, to Secretary Maitland, a ring with a ruby to Robert Melvill, the brother of the envoy: and Lady Lennox, who was a discreet matron, and Throckmorton, who was a wise man, sent many good advices to the Queen, to be followed, as occasion might offer.
The Scotish Queen remained, in her quiet retirement, at St. Andrews, where Randolph had left her, about the 3d of February, 1565. But, she left it on the 11th, and advanced to Lundy, on the 12th, being the same day, on which Darnley came, from Dunbar, to Hadington. On the 13th she rode to Weemys-castle, which was then inhabited, by Murray, being the same day, whereon Darnley arrived, from Hadington, at Edinburgh.
After waiting three days at Edinburgh, and hearing from his father, that it was his first duty to wait upon the Queen, he crossed the Forth into Fife; and went to Weemys-castle, on the 16th. He was well received, by the Queen, and lodged in the same castle: as Murray supposed, that Darnley’s journey, into Scotland, had been made, with Elizabeth’s approbation. The writers of Scotland would have us believe, that Mary fell desperately, in love with Darnley, at first sight: and they would have us think, that the widowed Queen, who knew the world, and had seen the most accomplished gentlemen, in Europe, was a boarding school miss, who had never till now seen a man. Robertson, one of the best of those historians, imagines Mary to have been captivated by his gigantic figure: Yet, let us recollect, that Darnley was, merely a long lad of nineteen. Sir James Melvill, who was present, in Weemys-castle, however, informs us, “that the Queen took very well with him; and said to Melvill, on the same day, that Darnley was the properest, and best proportioned long man, that ever she had seen.” Here, then, was one of the first steps of this famous courtship accomplished. The Queen, knew his pretensions before she left France, from Lady Lennox’s letters: And, after her return, amidst those recent intrigues, she had revolved, in her mind, the whole difficulties of such a courtship, and the many consequences of such a marriage. But, the historians were ignorant of Lady Lennox’s intrigues: Every eye was now turned towards Darnley; as his defects were not yet seen. After some days, Darnley left Weemys-castle. The Queen, also, set out, for Edinburgh, arriving, at Holyrood-house, on the 24th of February, 1565.
While Elizabeth’s breath fanned Darnley’s sails, his bark glided along, with the wind, and tide. He found, of course, no difficulty in his journey, from Weemys-castle to Dunkeld, where he saw his father; and whence he hastened to Edinburgh, where he arrived, before the Queen.
In the meantime, Lennox wrote his acknowledgments to Elizabeth, for all her goodnesses, which had enabled him, to settle his affairs, in Scotland: and for her late favour, in writing the Scotish Queen, about his son, and giving him leave, on this occasion, to visit him, in the land of his fathers. Lady Lennox had also acted, like a wise matron, in gaining some strenuous friends, and mollifying some powerful opponents. After sermon and supper, on the 26th of February, said Randolph to Cecil, at the Lord Murray’s, and Darnley had seen the Queen, and divers ladies dance, he being required, by my Lord of Murray, danced a galliard with the Queen, who, for all the cold, and storms, came home, at the end of five weeks, lustier, than when she went forth.
After Darnley had haunted the court, for some time, he made the Queen a proposal of marriage, which, at first, she pretended to disrelish: and even refused a ring, which he offered her. She began to suspect, however, as we learn from Camden, that she had been deceitfully used; and that Elizabeth had only proposed the marriage with Leicester, to no other purpose; than to choose the best of all the suitors, for herself. The Scotish Queen, perhaps, as early as the 17th of March, seems to have secretly, fixed her affections on Darnley, as the fittest husband, considering his whole pretensions; and she some time after sent secretary Maitland to communicate her purpose to her good sister, and to beg her acquiescence. But, before Maitland could reach London Elizabeth had become quite aware of Mary’s sentiments. From her return, on the 24th of February, from Fife, she remained, at Edinburgh, till the 26th of March, that she removed to Linlithgow: where she continued till she went, on the 31st, to Stirling. The nobles of Scotland began, meantime, to associate with each other, for supporting their several interests, and parties: a sure sign of troubles, and a prognostication of warfare.
The Queen seems now to have taken up her residence, at Stirling castle; making short excursions, and frequent returns. On the 7th of April, Murray left the court, where he could not well remain, after entering into such an association, on the 15th of March, which, plainly, led on to civil war. Darnley, following the Queen to Stirling, was taken with the measles, which hung about him till the 30th, when the Queen’s solicitude, about his health, was observed by malignant eyes.
I had the honour, said Randolph to Cecil, to play a party at a game, called the Biles: “my mistress Beton [Mary Beton, the maid of honour] and I, against the Queen and my Lord Darnley, the women to have the winnings; Beton , and I having the latter, Lord Darnley paid the loss; and gave Beton a ring, and a broche, with two watches, worth fifty crowns.” Hereupon, he adds, dependeth a tale, that requires more time, than I can now command. On that obscure intimation, the state papers give no light: And what the calumnious Randolph had not time to tell, cannot now be told.
Secretary Cecil continued, meantime, to watch the successive movements of the Queen, and Darnley, in order to perceive the very moment, in which the growing affections of Mary should settle on their proper object: and, on the 15th of April, he cried out, Now is it plainly, discovered, that the Queen will have Lord Darnley! The wind now shifted: And Darnley’s bark, which had of late sailed, with favourable gales, and lucky currents, ran aground on some shoal, or some sand, at every tack. Elizabeth declared, with her usual duplicity, that she had never contemplated such a purpose, though she knew, that Lady Lennox had opened a treaty, for her son, before Mary left France; though she perceived Lady Lennox’s object, in soliciting passports, for her son, to carry him into Scotland; though she had given Darnley letters of good offices to the Scotish Queen, in the hope that his presence would entangle her passions of hope, and of apprehension. Elizabeth’s privy councellors gave it as their solemn advice, that such a marriage would be the ruin of England; that it tended to conjoin claims to the crown; that it might probably produce heirs to a kingdom, which wanted none, while the wisdom of wise Elizabeth consisted, in casting such a mist on the succession, as to involve it in a darksome cloud. And, Cecil, with his usual facility, drew up a memorial, to prove, that the fittest marriage, for the Scotish Queen, was unfit, if any marriage were fit. Every measure was now adopted, to perplex, and oppose the Scotish Queen’s wishes, except actual war; but, a rebellion was incited, in Scotland, by Cecil’s artifices, and Elizabeth’s money: She did not draw her sword, indeed: because France, and Spain, would have drawn theirs. Letters of recal were sent, from Elizabeth, to Lennox, and Darnley: But, as if they had been sent too soon, for the occasion, they were recalled; and again repeated; so fluctuating were the spirits of Elizabeth, who wished to harass a hated object; yet, doubted her means. Towards the end of April, the experienced Throckmorton was sent to Scotland, with Maitland, to traverse Mary’s purpose.
As early as the Queen’s departure, from Edinburgh, towards the end of March 1565, the court and country, had become full of heart-burning, and suspicious doubts, if we may believe Randolph’s exaggerations. The Queen had been so much goaded, by foreign powers, as well as by domestic parties, that she assumed more independence of thought and of action, without overbearing others. The Duke supposed himself to be quite undone, if the Queen should marry Darnley, and courted Elizabeth’s protection. Darnley no longer danced galliards, with the Queen, at Murray’s house: He had said, unguardedly, that Murray had got too many lands, by recent management: And the Queen hearing of this, desired him to apologize to Murray, who never forgave him. Lord Robert, the Queen’s illegitimate brother, who was the adviser of Darnley, had led him into that imprudence, and Lennox endeavoured to support him, with associations of persons of consequence, who were, of course, described, by Randolph, “as enemies to all virtue.”
In the meantime, the treaty with Darnley held its course, accelerated, perhaps, rather than retarded, by his several illnesses; of the measles first, and of the ague [fever and shivering], afterwards. The Queen being resolute, not only communicated her purpose to Elizabeth, but to the queen mother of France, and also to the Pope, whose dispensation she solicited, as she, and Darnley, were first cousins. It was known to well informed persons, in Scotland, as early as the 15th of April, two months after his arrival, that she intended to marry Darnley. Randolph, and those, who thought with him, gave it as their opinions, that this marriage would effect the ruin of Scotland. Nothing is more frequent, than for men to allow their minds to dwell on particular topicks, till speculations swell into certainties. If the Queen’s marriage were allowed to be, for the interest of the two kingdoms, and experience evinced, that it was, there could not be a properer person than Darnley, whatever folly might fear, or wisdom portend. In the midst of those speculations, and fears, Argyle, and Murray, came to Edinburgh, on the 1st of May, at the head of 5,000 horsemen; to hold a law-day against Bothwell, who could not bring fifty, and who did not appear. The Queen considered so great an armament, for such an object, to be more intended to overawe herself, than to frighten Bothwell: she commanded the justice clerk, to adjourn the law-day, and signified her dissatisfaction to Murray.
The Queen remained quietly at Stirling, but firm in her purpose. The Queen sent for Murray; and treating him with her usual kindness, she shewed him a writing, purporting to be the assent of the nobles, to her marriage with Darnley; and asked him to sign it, as an example to others. He desired time to consider of such a proposition: She pressed him, with the observation, that he had time enough to regard it in all its views; and others of less influence would follow him. He now said, that it would not do her honour, to hasten so much a matter of such importance: And, besides, he misliked this match; because he doubted, that Darnley would be an enemy to the true religion: Hereupon, in some displeasure, he departed from the Queen. Other nobles were sent for to Stirling, soon after: On the 12th of May, thirteen of the nobles had signed the declaration of assent to the Queen’s marriage: The Duke signed it, on a promise of assurance of his estates. The Earl of Morton, and the lord justice clerk, were great promoters of it. Murray would not consent; and Argyle came not to court. Meanwhile, she dispatched a messenger to Maitland, wherever he might be, to desire, that he would repair to Elizabeth, and inform her, explicitly, “that seeing she had been so long kept in suspense, by her Majesty, she had determined, with the advice of her estates, to use her own choice, in her marriage:” But, though he received this command, at Newark, he chose to continue his journey, into Scotland, with Throckmorton. The Queen pressed forward her several measures of preparation, before the arrival of those intriguers, who were expected, from England.
Throckmorton arrived, on the 11th, at Berwick; and, on the morrow, came to Dunbar, where hearing of the forwardness of the Queen’s measures, and of the preliminary honours, which she intended to confer, immediately, on Darnley, he hastened to Edinburgh, on the 13th. After learning all the information, which Randolph possessed, Throckmorton went on to Linlithgow, on the 14th; and arrived, in the morning, at the gates of Stirling castle, wherein the Queen, and her nobles, were sitting, in convention, on her marriage. Throckmorton, according to his own account, seemed to think, that he was entitled to an immediate audience, as if he had come, from a sovereign, who had a right to dictate. He was desired, to repose himself, in the lodging, which had been provided for him, and the Queen would see him, as soon as convenient. At two o’clock, the lords Erskine, and Ruthven, went to conduct him, to an audience of the Queen. He found the Queen surrounded, by her principal nobles, when he opened his remonstrances against her marriage, in the same tone of dictation. The Queen heard him patiently; denied, that there had been any precipitancy, or rashness; and wished, that her good sister had been a little more vivacious as well as open, in soliciting, for a suitor, which she, and the world, suspected could not be successful; that she had communicated the matter to her good sister, as soon as she had resolved on the matter, and the manner; that she had made no other promise, though she had treated her good cousin’s recommendations, with the greatest respect. Some altercation now ensued: and Throckmorton informed his mistress that “the Queen is so far passed, in this matter, with Lord Darnley, as it is not revocable, and no place is left to dissolve the same, by persuasion, or any reasonable means, otherwise than by violence.” Elizabeth, whose dissimulation was seen, by the world, and felt, by Mary, may have been disquieted, when she saw her intentions frustrated, and some inconvenience may have been felt: But does disquiet and inconvenience, when no injury is committed, justify warfare, and violence? On the same day, Darnley was made a knight, Lord of Ardmannah, and Earl of Ross. The Duke, Argyle, Murray, and Glencairn, immediately, retired to their own houses, for a time: in order to enter into the dangerous concerts of civil war.
As Darnley had no proper establishments of offices about him, the Queen directed Rizzio, her private secretary for the French language, to attend upon him. We might even infer, from the Treasurer’s books, that Rizzio was entrusted to receive, and to pay money, for Darnley. Rizzio was plainly a diligent, and faithful servant, both to the Queen, and Darnley. And, because he was an honest man, he was maligned, by the English faction, and Murray’s followers: Randolph said to Cecil, David [Rizzio] now worketh all, and is only governor to the King: The hatred towards Darnley, and his family, is great, great is his pride, and words intolerable: People have small joy in this new master, and find nothing, but that God must either send him a short end, or them a miserable life: And Randolph went on, with a prognostication, which could have been only made, at the eve of civil war; “the dangers to those, Darnley now hateth, are great; and either he must be taken away, or they find some support, that what he intendeth to others, may light upon himself.” Throughout of month of May, wherein the Queen was so busy, in adjusting, and securing her marriage, against foreign intrigues, and domestic faction, the Queen remained at Stirling; making only short excursions to Alloa, to Sauchie, and to other seats, in the neighbourhood. On the 2d of June she departed, from Stirling, with Darnley, and her usual train, and slept at Inverpeffry, on the Earn, on her way to Perth, where she arrived, on the subsequent day; and where she intended to hold a convention, for approving her marriage. She remained, at Perth, throughout the month of June, making her most frequent visits to the Earl of Athol, at Dunkeld, and to Lord Ruthven, at Ruthven castle.
We have already seen how many preparations had been made, by Elizabeth, and by Murray, “to let slip the dogs of foreign, and of civil war.” As early as the 8th of June, Elizabeth wrote to Randolph, that she would support Murray, in his opposition to Mary’s marriage: On the 13th of June, she repeated her assurances of protection to those, who should oppose Darnley’s purpose. These assurances were communicated, by Randolph, to those, who were to be incited, by them, to revolt against their sovereign. About the last of June, Murray, and his coadjutors, asked Randolph, whether, if any should deliver Lennox, and Darnley, in Berwick, they would be received: This question, which pointed, clearly, to the arrest of Lennox, and his son, for the purpose of being delivered to Elizabeth’s officers in Berwick, Randolph answered, that they would receive their own, in whatsoever manner, they might be brought. The Duke, Argyle, and Murray concurred, according to Randolph, in the desire of saving the country, by civil war, in which they will be joined, by many others. Such were some of the topicks, which insurgents will always find, that were urged by Murray and Randolph, for the revolt, which was thus meditated against the Scotish Queen, encouraged, as they were, by her good sister of England. Here is the outline of the plot, which was to end, by the imprisonment of the Queen, in Lochleven castle, and the consignment of Lennox, and Darnley, to the gaol of Berwick. The Queen’s movements, and intentions, were communicated to the conspirators, by secretary Maitland. It was thus known, that the Queen, and suite, would remain, at Perth, and its neighbourhood, till about the end of June, when she intended to be present, at the baptism of Lord Livingston’s child, at Callender. The conspirators laid this plan, for intercepting her, with Lennox and Darnley, at the Kirk of Beith: Murray placed himself, in his mother’s house of Lochleven, near Kinross; Argyle remained at Castle Campbell, ten miles higher up, in the country; Lord Rothes, with his followers, took post at the Parrot well; and the Duke lay, at his house of Kinnaal, at no great distance, from the Queen’s Ferry. This plan was so well laid, that, in the opinion of the acutest statesmen, it could not well fail. But what are the hopes of men! On the Queen’s return to Perth, from Dunkeld, she received some intimation of Murray’s purpose: she now felt, that Perth was no more a place of safety for her: And, she directed the Earl of Athol, and Lord Ruthven, with their followers, to convey her, on the morrow, to Callender. She mounted her horse, at five in the morning, and rode, with great speed, towards the Queen’s Ferry, accompanied, by three women, and three hundred horsemen; passing through Kinross, which is adjacent to Lochleven, before Murray had any suspicion of her advance, crossed the Queen’s Ferry, and went to Callender, Lord Livingston’s house. The Queen, and Darnley, thus eluded, by address, and activity, every ambuscade, which traitorous artifices had laid for their interruption, and imprisonment. In the evening of the 4th of July, the Queen went from Callender to Edinburgh. In concert with this conspiracy of Murray, there was an ecclesiastical meeting, at Edinburgh, under the influence of that conspirator; and the Earl of Glencairn came to town, to concert an insurrection of enthusiasts, in the Queen’s park, at St. Leonard’s Craig, where they proceeded the length of choosing their offices: But, the Queen’s unexpected appearance, in her metropolis, dissipated this ebullition of fanaticism.
The Queen’s escape from the various snares that had been laid for her, equally disappointed Elizabeth and Cecil, who were accessories to this conspiracy, the Duke, and Murray, Knox and his disciples, who were too strenuous, however, to be easily pushed aside, from their traitorous designs, on Mary’s sceptre, and Darnley’s life. The conspirators persevered in their criminal pursuits. Relying on Elizabeth’s promises, and Cecil’s protection, Murray, Argyle, and Boyd, on the 1st of July 1565, retired into Lochleven castle, to deliberate on their ulterior measures: They resolved to take arms: And they determined to solicit the aid of Elizabeth, to the extent, at least of 3000l. for which she had engaged. They sent a trusty messenger, to Elizabeth, to communicate their designs, and to solicit her promised aid. They asked Randolph to meet them. Randolph communicated their objects, and measures, to Cecil, and Leicester. He suggested to Cecil, that Bedford, the Queen’s lieutenant, on the Borders, might be sent to Berwick, “to support the lords of the religion;” and he intimated the desires of those religious lords, that some of the border banditti might be let loose on Lord Home’s lands, to prevent him, from assisting the Queen. The attempt to convert such an insurrection against the Queen’s marriage, into a religious war, was even too shocking, for Cecil. Most of Randolph’s suggestions were adopted, by Elizabeth, though she could not be prevailed on, to make open war.
While Elizabeth thus incited a rebellion in Scotland, she wrote to the Scotish Queen, with her usual duplicity, on the 10th of July; advising her, to regard her subjects with more favour; and her lords would behave, as lovers of the religion, and as good subjects to her: Yes, but did the Christian religion warrant Elizabeth’s dissimulation, much less the rebellious practices of the religious lords.
At that treasonous moment, the Scotish Queen was not inattentive to the interests of her people, or to the suggestions of her own feelings. She issued assurances under her own hand, that as she had never disturbed any of her Protestant subjects, in the exercise of their religion, so would she be careful to protect them, in the complete enjoyment of their worship, according to their own forms. And she not only warned, by proclamation, all her people to attend her in warlike manner, as their duty required, but she wrote, specially, to particular persons, urging them to come to her aid. The rebellious nobles thus foiled, by Mary, and encouraged by Elizabeth, met, at Stirling, on the 17th of July. They, here, entered into a traitorous engagement, which was founded on the analogous demands of the church assembly, in June; and those faithless nobles bound themselves, first to the Lord, their God; secondly, to each other, for the faithful performance of their engagement: And, with consummate hypocrisy, they declared to the whole world, that they meant nothing, in all their proceedings, but humble reverence to Almighty God, and faithful obedience to their sovereign lady. Such audacity of impudence, the world never saw before, except in the proceedings of the same miscreants, in 1560, who called Parliament, under a treaty, which themselves had forged, for the occasion. On the subsequent day, the Duke, Murray, and Argyle, wrote to Elizabeth, by a special messenger; humbly beseeching her to enable them “to establish the evangil, in Scotland:” Randolph wrote, at the same time, to Cecil; requesting his assistance “for the lords of the congregation,” to redress religious grievances: He added, what probably had full as much efficacy, that the Scotish Queen had very little money, no credit, and few friends. Such were the efforts of a profligate man, to convert an unprovoked rebellion, into a religious war.
The insurgents had promptly assembled their followers, and had even cut off the communication, between the capital and the more western districts: But, their pretences of religion, when they were opposing a marriage, were not felt, by their countrymen. The Queen’s marriage with Darnley was fit in itself, and beneficial to the nation. No one considered, that the presumptive title of the Duke to the throne, or that the spurious claims of Murray, ought to stand in the way of the Queen’s marriage. Her whole conduct, like her predecessor, Duncan, had been so gracious, that she enjoyed the public confidence: And when she summoned her barons and people, to assemble around her, they obeyed her summons, with alacrity: So many of the nobles, and gentry, and their followers, arrived at Edinburgh, on the 19th, 20th, and 21st of July, that she found herself at the head of a force, which the rebels could not resist.
But, the Queen had now other objects, than the opening of the campaign against the rebellious nobles, or, perhaps, those, who advised her, were somewhat in their interests, though they remained, in the Queen’s councils. On the 20th of July, she created Darnley, who was already Earl of Ross, Duke of Albany; and conferred on him all the property, and privileges, which belonged to the dukedom. She had now received the approbation of the Cardinal of Lorraine, her uncle, and the dispensation of the Pope: And she was, probably, advised, by the justice clerk, Sir John Bellenden, that it might be well to have the banns of marriage, between her, and Albany, proclaimed, in the appropriate parish church. On the 28th of July, the Queen issued a proclamation, directing that the Duke of Albany should be styled King, and treated, as such. On Sunday, the 29th of July, at six o’clock in the morning, the Queen and Albany were married, in the chapel of Holyrood-house, by Henry Sinclair, the dean of Rastelrig, and president of the court of session: During several days, there was nothing heard at Edinburgh, but rejoicing; nothing seen but sports; and nothing enjoyed but banquets. On the 30th of July, another proclamation was issued: directing that the Queen’s husband should be styled King, and that all public proceedings should now run, in his name, and her’s as King and Queen of Scotland. In this manner, then, was this marriage effected, in the midst of so many difficulties, in the face of so much danger: It was to this marriage, which was opposed, and maligned, by a powerful faction, in Scotland, and by the government of England, that King James owed his birth, and his succession to the crown of both those kingdoms. Thus was the crown matrimonial placed upon the head of Darnley, though he was not aware of the meaning, or value, of what the Queen had done for him: More, he might have enjoyed, if he had been a prince of any genius, or a person of any talents: He was little more than nineteen, at the epoch of his marriage.
Randolph, in the meantime, put Lennox, and his son, in remembrance of the letters of recal, which his mistress had sent them: But, they were too wise, where they then were, to return to England, to a gaol, or to the block. And they gave him to understand that they should not comply with Elizabeth’s recal: Lennox complained, at the same time, of the imprisonment of his wife: To send to the Tower a respectable countess of the blood royal, and the Queen’s cousin, for the gratification of Elizabeth’s whim, was sufficiently bad, in any view, wherein it can be considered: But, to send her son into Scotland, to gain the Scotish Queen’s affections, and then to recal him, to mortify and vex both, evinces a malignity of purpose, and a baseness of practice, which shows Elizabeth to be a woman without a heart, and a sovereign, without solidity of head; and when we see her persevering week after week, and month after month, in the shocking practice of giving pain to others, in vexing, and perplexing all her neighbours around her, it should seem to show her intellect to be deranged, by folly, operating on perversity. Randolph was her agent, in Scotland, worthy of such a stateswoman; as he continued to intrigue against a settled measure, when all intrigues were vain, and to declaim on idle topicks, which could be heard, only, as the insidious tone of disappointed treason.
The rebellious nobles, who were unable to face the Queen, at the epoch of her marriage, retired, for a while, to their several castles. From those disjointed seats of discontent, the propagated their clamours against the Queen’s measure, of declaring her husband a nominal King, as an oppression, which could not be borne, by an oppressed people, whom the rebels invited, to resist the beginning of tyranny. But, such outcries of ambitious treason produced little effect among the vulgar; as the real motives of both parties, in the state, were apparent. The return of Elphinston, the messenger of Murray, to the English court, early in August, gave the insurgent nobles fresh spirits; by bringing them new assurances, and a large supply. The rebels were now enabled to assemble; but, not in great numbers: yet, being unable to meet the Queen’s forces, they retired, about the middle of August, to the fastnesses of Argyle.
Meantime, Elizabeth, as she persevered in her purpose of distressing Mary, sent Tamworth, as a coadjutor to Randolph, who was sufficiently busy, and seditious. Tamworth brought with him a captious statement of Elizabeth’s objections to the marriage of the Scotish Queen, with other complaints of little moment: But, as Tamworth was not instructed, to acknowledge Darnley, as King, he was not admitted into the Queen’s presence. Elizabeth gained nothing, by sending such a character, as Tamworth, to Mary, who was not in himself the fittest person, to deliver a delicate message, in a delicate manner: as we learn, from Camden. This circumstance only provoked Mary, to repel, with unusual spirit, the assumption of several articles of her cousin’s message; and to desire, that Elizabeth would not any more meddle with the domestic concerns of Scotland; as she had never meddled with the internal affairs of England: Yet, Mary professed a desire, to live in amity with Elizabeth, and to act towards her cousin, as one princess ought to treat another. When Tamworth departed from Edinburgh, on his return, he refused a passport, either from instruction, or from petulance, as it had been signed, by the King: And the English envoy was detained a few days, by Lord Hume, the Scotish warden of the eastern marches.
While Tamworth was thus occupied, at Edinburgh; and it was supposed, by Cecil, from the delusive letters of Randolph, that the rebels would, sufficiently, occupy Mary, Elizabeth sent orders to her lieutenant, at Berwick, to commit open hostility, by seizing Aymouth. Those measures of hostility were only prevented, by the difficulty of the measure, owing to his weakness; and before she could reinforce Bedford, she learnt, with chagrin, that the Scotish rebels were unable to face their sovereign: Thus, was Elizabeth obliged to retrace her steps; to recal her order for war; and to listen, with some patience, to the just remonstrances of the Scotish Queen.
In the meantime, the rebellious nobles, with Murray at their head, had a meeting at Ayr, on the 15th of August: They now resolved, to be prepared with their forces, on the 24th, when they would begin to act. And they were, meanwhile, joined, by the Earl of Glencairn, a traitor, by habit; and by Wishart of Pitarrow, the partizan of Murray, and the comptroller of the Queen’s house. Sir John Maxwell, the Queen’s warden of the western marches, who had been gained, by Randolph, favoured the rebels, and joined them, in Dumfries-shire, where he had the chief command. There still continued, in the Queen’s councils, other persons of still greater importance, who favoured Murray, and betrayed their sovereign; such as Morton, the chancellor, and Maitland, the secretary, as we know, from Randolph’s correspondence, and also John, Lord Erskine, Murray’s uncle, who had recently obtained, from the Queen’s bounty, the earldom of Mar. The partizans of Murray, thus, pervaded every place, in the court, and in the country.
The Queen, and Darnley, who were, in this manner surrounded, by so many traitors, resolved, however, to follow the rebellious nobles, into the west, where they most harboured. On the 22d of August, they required, by proclamation, all their subjects, to attend them, in arms. They commanded, on the same day, their people not to join the insurgents; and if they had joined, to quit their guilty ranks; giving them, by another proclamation, full assurances, as to their religious concernments. The Queen, and Darnley, wrote, specially, to several barons; desiring them to join the royal standard, with their followers, in warlike manner. At the same time, they removed Douglas, the provost of Edinburgh; and appointed a more sufficient person, to govern the metropolis, during their absence.
After all those measures of vigorous preparation, for a hostile campaign, Mary, and Darnley, departed, from Edinburgh, on the 26th of August, for Linlithgow. On the morrow, they slept at Stirling. Here, they remained, on the 28th. They moved to Glasgow, on the 29th. On the morrow, they marched with their army, towards Hamilton: But, learning, on the way, that the rebels had thence departed, that morning, for Edinburgh, the royal army returned to Glasgow. On the 1st of September, the army marched from Glasgow, with design, to follow the rebels to Edinburgh. The King, and Queen, slept at Callender: and, on the morrow, they slept at Stirling; while their army rendezvoused, at Kilsyth.
On the same day, the 29th of August, that the Queen arrived at Glasgow, the rebels entered Paisley, with a thousand horsemen. But, finding themselves too weak, to oppose the royal army, they marched to Hamilton, on the 30th; and proceeded on the 31st, to Edinburgh, where the rebels were as much disconcerted, by the quick movement, of their pursuers, as by the proclamation, which warned their followers, to return, quietly, to their homes. From Edinburgh, the rebels sent messengers everywhere, imploring aid, in so good a cause: They here invited every one, by beat of drum, to join them, “for the defence of God’s glory:” But, these efforts were unavailing, though they were aided, by Knox’s sermons.
Finding the people of Edinburgh unmoved either, by Knox’s preaching, or by Murray’s writing, the rebels departed, from the capital, before day break, on the 2d of September, from the energies of the castle: And, marching to Lanark, they proceeded thence to Hamilton, where they were joined by Sir John Maxwell, and Douglas of Drumlanrig: They were now induced to march, into Dumfries-shire. On the same day, the Queen dined, at Calendar, and slept, at Stirling, her army having orders to rendezvous, on the next morning, at Kilsyth. On the 3d of September, she joined her army, at Kilsyth, and marched to Glasgow. Here, she remained, on the 4th and 5th, without making any effort, to pursue the rebels into Dumfries-shire. On the 6th, after dining, at Glasgow, she rode to Stirling, where she slept; leaving, however, Lennox, as her lieutenant, at Glasgow, with the forces of the west; while the army, under the Queen, and Darnley, marched to Stirling, and from thence, on the 8th of September, into Fife. The Earl of Morton, the chancellor, who was treacherous, by nature, and attached, by habit, to Murray, commanded the Queen’s army. It was owing to his policy, that the loyalists, and rebels, never met: And, it was owing to his accustomed perfidy, that the Queen’s army marched, to the north east, into Fife; while Murray, and his insurgents, retreated, south-westward, into Dumfries; intending to have an easy movement into England, if the Queen should press upon his rear. Soon after the separation of the Queen’s army, at Glasgow, on the 6th of September, Morton seems to have retired, from the command, after carrying into effect that important point, of marching the main army into Fife, instead of driving the insurgents, by a rapid pursuit, into England.
Meanwhile, Murray, and his insurgents were conducted, on the 4th of September, into Dumfries, by Sir John Maxwell, the Queen’s warden. They were thus left full leisure to intrigue; to correspond with Elizabeth’s officers on the borders; to urge her to declare war against the Scotish Queen: And, to publish, on the 8th of September, a manifesto to the Scotish people, that they took up arms, for the religion; that they draw their swords, for a government by the nobles, according to the ancient laws, and not by strangers: They concealed their original motive of levying war against the Queen’s marriage, and now adopted other causes of revolt, to captivate the populace. In pursuance of those intrigues, and Cecil’s hate, Elizabeth, on the 11th of September, directed Bedford, her lieutenant on the borders ‘to send 300 soldiers to Carlisle, to be near, to aid the lords, at Dumfries.’ In this manner, then, did Elizabeth attempt to unsheath her sword against the Queen, but wanted either strength, or resolution, to effect her half formed purpose.
In the meantime, the Queen, and Darnley, remained, at Stirling, on the 7th of September. On the morrow, they slept at Dunfermlin. On the 9th she dined, at Lochleven, and slept at Falkland. On the morrow, they slept, at St. Andrews, where they spent the whole day, on the 11th. On the 10th of September, Randolph wrote to Cecil, she had imprisoned several gentlemen of Fife: But, she could not find Murray’s lady, whom, she knew, had retired to Berwick, for her accouchement: She is offended with Dundee, and Perth, because they have assisted the lords. One of the projected purposes of the Queen’s march into Fife was, to oblige the known partizans of Murray to give security, for their quiet behaviour; and to punish those towns, for giving aid to an avowed rebellion: For this purpose, she marched to Dundee, on the 12th of September, where she remained, on the 13th and 14th of September. The King and Queen, now issued a proclamation, in favour of the reformed religion. In it, were exposed the misrepresentations, which had induced many to join the rebellious standard of Murray: They promised to call a parliament, which had only been prevented, by the machinations of the discontented, when they would confirm all, that she had ever promised to her protestant subjects. On the morrow, she went to Perth, with a similar purpose; and resided, chiefly, at Ruthven, till the 18th, that she removed to Dunfermlin. On the 19th, they dined at the Queen’s ferry, and slept, at Edinburgh, where she remained till the 9th of October. In this excursion, throughout those guilty districts, the Queen undoubtedly, effected some useful purposes; she punished some of the guilty, and encouraged the loyal: She fined those towns, and encouraged others: But, she idly, allowed, during the same time, the insurgents to remain, quietly, in Dumfries, whence they intrigued, with England, and propagated their discontents, in Scotland.
The King, and Queen, had scarcely returned to their capital, when they perceived that their own weakness of conduct had given strength, and spirit, to the rebels. They issued commands, for their forces, to assemble, at Biggar, on the 9th of October. On the 8th the court set out, for that convenient rendezvous, where they found an army of 18,000 men. They now pushed through the mountain-pass into Nithsdale, and arrived, on the 10th, at Castlehill, near Durrisdeer, where a privy council was held, for regulating the command of the army: The van was placed under the feeble direction of Lennox; the centre was placed, under the King, accompanied by Morton, Bothwell, Ruthven, and other nobles; with whom rode the Queen, with pistols before her; and the rear was to be led, by Huntly, Athol, and other lords. But, an army, thus composed of such discordant troops, and thus led, by weakness, and treachery, was incapable of any effort. With it, however, the King, and Queen, marched forward to Dumfries, on the 11th of October 1565. And, Murray, with other leaders of this treasonous cause, finding that, with their force, they could not contend against so great an army, fled into England, where they had been assured of the usual safety of Mary’s enemies; and where they were kindly received, by Bedford, Elizabeth’s lieutenant, who had come with some forces, from Berwick to Carlisle. Thus ended Murray’s rebellion, the Duke’s imprudence, Cecil’s artifices, and Elizabeth’s perfidy!
The Queen and Darnley, remained here a few days, giving directions, for the security of the borders; and visiting Lockmaben castle, the ancient seat of the Bruces. Meanwhile, Sir John Maxwell, the warden of the west borders, seeing the cause of the rebels, to be hopeless, made his submission: and was continued, in his office, by the Queen’s clemency. The court returned to Edinburgh, on the 18th of October.
The Earl of Bothwell, the lieutenant of the borders, was left with some force, on the western march, to observe the rebels, and to overawe the clan of the Elliots, in Lidisdale, which had been corrupted, by the English wardens. And the Earl of Lennox, the lieutenant of the south-western shires, resumed his station, at Glasgow, to watch the movements of Argyle, and Boyd, as well as to preserve the peace, within his lieutenancy. The Queen and Darnley, now, remained at Edinburgh, from the end of this bloodless, but hazardous campaign, to the end of this memorable year.
Meantime, Randolph remained, at Edinburgh, meditating mischief, and scribbling calumnious letters to his court, with the hope of gratifying Elizabeth, and inciting Cecil, to protect Murray. The duplicity of Elizabeth, and the coldness of Cecil, towards the expatriated nobles, after all their efforts, in pursuance of the incitements of both, threw Murray, and his coadjutors, into despair.
The Duke of Chatelherault, whose nerves were weak, perceiving that they could not soon return to their offended country, made his peace; and obtained his pardon, on condition of his living abroad, where he could no more be led astray, by Murray’s machinations. Yet, Murray, by this measure, obtained the same advantage to his ambition, as if the presumptive heir of the crown, and second person in Scotland, had been dead; as he was equally out of the way of Murray’s management, for obtaining the first place.
Murray, and his more guilty coadjutors, had now avowed their impatience, by seeking shelter in England, where they hoped, to be received into the frigid arms of Elizabeth. Her lieutenant, and his wardens, received them, indeed, with great civility; and the Scotish refugees moved to Newcastle, on the 15th of October 1565; in order to wait till Elizabeth should settle her conscience, how to receive those nobles, who had resigned their lives, and fortunes, in following her malignant artifices.
Murray, relying on the protection of Cecil, set out, from Newcastle, for London, to solicit the support of Elizabeth, who had urged him into the guilty field, by so many inducements. But, he was stopped, at Ware, as he advanced towards London. Cecil, meantime, chid Bedford, for allowing Murray, to come up to London: And, Bedford could only excuse himself, by saying, “that he could not prevent him, without using violence.” Yet, Murray, soon after, by the artifices of Cecil, obtained an audience of the Queen.
Of this interview, between Elizabeth, and Murray, we have a very curious account, from Sir John Melvill, the partizan of Murray. “At length, says he, the nobles were compelled to flee into England, for refuge to her, who, by her ambassadors, had promised to hazard her crown, in their defence, in case they were driven to any strait; because of appearing against the said marriage; though this was expressly denied them, when coming to demand help: For, when they sent up my Lord of Murray to that Queen, the rest abiding in Newcastle, he could obtain nothing, but disdain, and scorn, till at length, he and the abbot of Kilwinning, his companion, in that message, were persuaded to come, and confess unto the Queen, upon their knees, in the presence of the ambassadors of France, and Spain, that her Majesty had never moved them to that opposition, and resistance, against the Queen’s marriage. For this, she had desired to satisfy the said ambassadors, who both alleged, in their master’s names, that she had been the cause of the said rebellion; and that her only delight was, to stir up dissension among her neighbours: Yet, by this cunning, she overcame them: For, she handled the matter so subtily, and the other two so cowardly, in granting her desire, contrary to what was truth; being put in hopes of relief, if they would so far comply with what was judged her interest, for the time, that she triumphed over the said ambassadors, for their false allegations. But, unto my Lord of Murray, and his neighbour, she said; Now, you have told the truth; for neither did I, nor any in my name, stir you up against your Queen: And, your abominable treason may serve, for an example to my own subjects, to rebel, against me: therefore, get you out of my presence: you are but unworthy traitors.”
Thus happy was Elizabeth in her dissimulation! In her hypocritical imposture on the French, and Spanish ambassadors. Thus low could the ambition of Murray stoop, as the drudge of Elizabeth: yes; to be a king, he demeaned himself more than became a man. On the conduct of Henry VIII.’s daughter, there cannot be two opinions: Like a fiend, she tempted, and betrayed. Like a fury, she reproached, and tormented, the miscreants of her delusion, and treachery: Like another Hecate, she thrust them forward into rebellion; and then, deceived them, for the gratification of her envy, her hate, her strong desire of double dealing. In return, for such perfidious conduct, which they might have expected, from her habits, all that they could obtain were general protection, and secret supplies, for their subsistence, on the borders, from Bedford; as we know, from Camden, and Strype; and still more, from the statement of money received, and paid, to them; from the accounts rendered, by her lieutenant.
Murray, and his expatriated followers, now lay along the northern borders of the conterminous kingdoms, but chiefly in Newcastle, unseen, by Elizabeth, protected by Cecil, and supported by Bedford; having a good position, for intriguing, in Scotland, and watching occasions, in England. There is reason to believe, that Throckmorton was sent, by Cecil, and Elizabeth, to solicit their pardons, from Mary, according to their usual policy. Sir James Melvill continued to whisper, in her offended ear, very unsalutary advice. At length, on the 1st of December, 1565, summonses were executed against those expatriated nobles, to answer for their treasons, in the Parliament, which was to assemble, in February, then next. The guilty nobles were thrown into despair, by that vigorous measure. Murray, with a meanness, which was unworthy of his ambition, courted Rizzio, the Queen’s private secretary; sent him a diamond; and flattered him, with many promises of future friendship.
We have already seen, from the information of the intelligent Randolph, which of the Queen’s ministers remained, in her councils, with design to betray them. There were other nobles, who remained at court, and who were extremely dangerous, from their unprincipled activity, and were usually, ready, to promote the interests of Murray. The officers of state, and the nobles before mentioned, entered into the most profligate cabals, with the avowed design, of proroguing the intended Parliament, as one of the means, for obtaining Murray’s pardon.
In the midst of those various intrigues, the Queen, and Darnley, enjoyed the festivities of Christmas, at Edinburgh, though the King became every day more impatient, for the crown matrimonial, without understanding the meaning of the term, or the thing. In the beginning of January 1566, the King, who delighted more in the sports of the field, than in the business of the cabinet, went into Peeblis-shire, to enjoy, for a few days, the diversions of the chase. The King, not finding the game very plenty, soon returned to Edinburgh. He now indulged daily his sensual propensities; and continued to harass the Queen, by his frequent importunities, for the crown matrimonial, which, without knowing what this bauble was, he already enjoyed.
About the same time, the King, and Queen, caused Murray, and his guilty associates, to be summoned, as a preliminary step, for being adjudged, as traitors: And, for this end, a Parliament was called to meet, at Edinburgh, on the 4th of February 1566. Other measures were taken to strengthen the ruling powers, and to weaken Murray’s faction.
Meanwhile, Murray’s friends, and partizans, occupied as we have seen, the whole of the Queen’s government, particularly, Secretary Maitland: And of course, it was an easy task, for such men, to find reasons, which induced the Queen, to prorogue the Parliament, from the 4th of February, to the 7th of March, with a notification to the guilty nobles, that their trials would certainly proceed on the 12th of March. About the same time, arrived at Edinburgh, an ambassador from the French King, and dispatches, from the Scotish ambassador, at Paris; giving the Queen advice, which she seems to have followed, not to pardon the expatriated nobles.
In the meantime, a conspiracy had been formed, in the preceding January, for the relief of those nobles. The chief conspirators were Morton, Maitland, Ruthven, and Lindsay. They had intended to carry their concert into action, on the 4th of February, if the Parliament had not been prorogued; which was, no doubt, owing to their intrigues. After the prorogation of Parliament, that conspiracy assumed a different shape. It was now resolved, with the artifice peculiar to Maitland, to make Darnley the patron of this plot, and the dupe of the conspirators. This puerile youth had been disappointed, at the prorogation of Parliament, in which he expected the crown matrimonial for himself, and the forfeiture of the guilty nobles, as public examples, though the gratification of his enmity was his real object. George Douglas, his mother’s bastard brother, was Morton’s instrument to work upon the weakness of Darnley; to show him, that he was wronged, in not having the crown matrimonial; that he had not the influence, in the government, to which he was entitled, from his birth, his marriage, and his merit. Darnley was thus induced to enter into the views of the conspirators; and his father, Lennox, was so weak, by engaging in the same concert, as to fortify his folly. They entered into the most guilty writings of agreement, for effectuating their several objects. The Queen, on the 7th of March 1566, opened the Parliament: And, to give more solemnity to this constitutional ceremony, she asked her husband, who was panting for the crown matrimonial, to accompany her: But, he refused; preferring his pastime to his parliamentary duty; and evincing that his heart was estranged, from the elegant woman, who had given him every boon except her sceptre; and had risqued her person, for his benefit. The Queen had no intimation of this conspiracy, or its object, or its victim. Her women were all, faithfully attached to her through life: But, they knew nothing of the secrets of ruffians. Her men servants were all faithful: Her private secretary, Rizzio, would have died for her: But, he was a foreigner: and was of course unacquainted with the horrible practices of the Scotish statesmen, reformed as they were; having no religion, or morals. The whole offices of state were concerned, in this conspiracy, under Secretary Maitland, the contriver of it, whose duty required him to watch over the safety of the Queen, with the stability of the state. Add to all these, the King, and his father, who were two of the most active conspirators in a plot, which is unexampled in the annals of villainy. Elizabeth, and Cecil, were, by a joint letter, from Bedford, and Randolph, completely informed of the whole detail of this shocking conspiracy, which they received with great satisfaction: And, they took into their protection Morton, and Ruthven, and other complotters, in the horrid deed: So that Elizabeth and her secretary, Cecil, may be properly considered, as accessories, both before, and after, the fact. With Milton, we may add:
“——— Now were al transformed
Alike, to serpents all, as accessories
To this bold riot.”
It is impossible to relate the shocking scene, which ensued, in any words, but the Queen’s own, in her letter to her ambassador, in Paris, the Archbishop of Glasgow:
“Upon the 9th day of March, we being at even, about seven hours, in our cabinet, at our supper, sociated with our sister, the Countess of Argyle, our brother, the commendator of Holyrood-house, the laird of Creich [Beaton} Arthur Erskin, and certain others our domestic servitors, in quiet manner, especially by reason of our evil disposition [illness] being counselled to sustain ourselves with flesh, having then passed almost to the end of seven months in our birth, the King, our husband, come to us, in our cabinet, and placed himself beside us, at our supper. The Earl of Morton, and Lord Lindsay, with their assisters, boden in warlike manner [properly armed] to the number of eighteen persons, occupied the whole entry of our palace of Holyrood-house, so that, as they believed, it was not passable for any person, to escape forth of the same. In that mean time, the Lord Ruthven, boden in like manner [equally armed] with his accomplices, took entry perforce, in our cabinet; and there seeing our secretary David Riccio, among others our servants, declared he had to speak with him. In this instant, we required the King, our husband, if he knew any thing of that enterprize, who denied the same: Also, we commanded the Lord Ruthven, under the pain of treason, to avoid him forth of our presence, (he [Riccio] then for refuge took safeguard, having retired him behind our back) but Ruthven, with his complices cast down our table upon ourself put violent hands on him, struck him over our shoulder with whinyards [hangers,] one part of them standing before our face, with bended dags [cocked pistols,] most cruelly took him out of our cabinet, and at the entry of our chamber, gave him fifty six strokes with whinyards, and swords. In doing whereof, we were not only struck with great dread, but also by sundrie considerations was, most justly induced to take extreme fear of our life. After this deed, immediately the said Lord Ruthven, coming again into our presence, declared how they, and their complices, were highly offended with our proceedings, and tyranny, which was not to them tolerable; how we were abused, by the said David, whom they had actually put to death, namely, in taking his counsel, for the maintenance of the ancient religion; debaring of the lords, who were fugitives, and entertaining of amity with foreign princes, and nations, with whom we were confederate; putting also upon council, the lords Bothwell, and Huntley, who were traitors, and with whom he [Riccio] associated himself.”
Such, then, was the deed; and the causes thereof, as assigned, by the doers thereof! The Queen was detained a close prisoner, during the night, without any communication, with her ordinary servants. On the morrow, the King, without her consent, issued a proclamation, commanding the lords of Parliament, to depart from Edinburgh. The Queen was still continued a prisoner, during this day, with her guards, or servants, and watched, by the conspirators, who were assisted, by about eighty citizens of Edinburgh. Murray arrived, in the evening, with his expatriated associates; being allowed to come into Scotland, by the King’s order to Lord Home, the warden. They pretended to feel, for the Queen’s condition. On the morrow, Murray assembled the whole conspirators, and his associates, to consult what ulterior measures should be taken with the Queen. It was thought expedient, to commit their sovereign to Stirling castle, till she should approve, in Parliament, all their wicked enterprizes; establish their religion, and give to the King the crown matrimonial, and the exclusive government of the realm. And, it was even proposed to put the Queen to death, or to detain her, in perpetual captivity. Meantime, the Queen, and perhaps, her women, endeavoured, by the gentle arts of female charm, to reclaim Darnley to the duty, which he owed to his wife, considering her condition; saying nothing of what she had done for him as Queen. He was thus induced to promise the conspirators to keep her safe, and to induce her, without compulsion, to approve, in Parliament, all their plots. By these means, he cleared the palace of his complotters; and her usual guard was allowed to attend upon her.
The Queen now endeavoured to induce her husband, to flee, with her, from this guilty scene. She represented to him her own condition, and how she had been always treated, by those men; that he must expect to be worse treated, by them, if he pretended to govern them, or the state: and she made him understand, how much it would offend all princes, and confederate states, if he should alter the ancient religion. By these representations was he persuaded, to adopt her measure, for freeing them both, from the tyranny, which oppressed them. He agreed to flee with her, secretly, to Dunbar castle. They executed their purpose in the night, by quitting Holyrood-house, accompanied only, by Arthur Erskine, the captain of her guard, and two others. Owing to the Queen’s efforts, they arrived safe, at this place of refuge: And, here, was she soon joined, by the Archbishop of St. Andrews, with his friends, and by the most loyal of the nobility, with their followers.