From the Queen’s Return to Scotland, till her Northern Journey, in August 1562., pp.42-61.

The Queen arrived earlier than she had been expected, notwithstanding the efforts of the conspiracy, for intercepting her voyage. The nobles of the south had been summoned to greet her arrival; yet, no preparations had been made, to receive her; as the ruling persons still hoped, that she would be intercepted. She remained on board her galley, till the evening; till the Lord Robert, had prepared Holyrood-house, for her reception. She was received, with loud acclaims of the multitude, who had assembled to see, and to welcome her. High bred as she was, and instructed, in all the duties of a Queen, she received every one, graciously, and accommodated herself to her situation. She was accompanied, by her three uncles, the Duke D’Aumale, the grand prior, who commanded the galleys, the Marquis d’Elbeuf: and besides these, were Mons. d’Amville, the heir of the Constable Montmorency, with De Strozzy, La Noue, La Guiche, and other gentlemen of inferior note. She was acquainted with every character, in her kingdom: But, it was immediately seen, and soon felt, that her confidence was given to those, who had been most strenuous, for intercepting her: Her natural brother, the Lord James, was declared her minion; and he had under him Secretary Maitland, the ablest, the corruptest minister, in Britain, next to Cecil. The officers of state were, merely, the creatures of the chief minister. Had the persons, in whom she chiefly confided, been honest men, her choice must have been approved, in putting her affairs into the charge of those, who possessed the confidence of the country: But, as we have seen, the existence of a conspiracy, against the Scotish Queen, by Elizabeth, and Cecil, on the one side, and the Lord James and his faction, on the other, it is quite apparent, that she confided her person, and authority, to the chiefs of that conspiracy: But, such were the circumstances, wherein she was placed, that she was induced, by her policy, more than her prudence, in the choice, which she had made. With the same attentions, she proceeded in forming a new privy council; consisting of one bishop, and eleven temporal lords. They were mostly all partizans of the minion; and several of them had offered their duty, and services to Elizabeth, who had more influence, in such councils, than the Queen herself.

One of the first measures of the Scotish Queen was to issue a proclamation, charging her people on the Borders not to create disturbances, in any manner, nor give any occasion, for a violation of the treaty of peace with the Queen of England: So anxious was the Scotish Queen to preserve tranquillity with her southern neighbour! Her next object was peace at home: For this great object, she issued proclamations; charging her subjects to behave quietly, and prohibiting any attempt at alteration, in the form of religion, which was then publickly, and generally standing, at her arrival. The church establishment had still the whole statute book in its favour: For, what the reformers had done, in 1560, was neither legal, nor justifiable, till the Parliament of December 1567, declared their proceedings to be lawful. 

Elizabeth hastened to congratulate the Scotish Queen, on her safe arrival; assuring her cousin, on the word of a Queen, though contrary to facts, that she had never entertained a thought of opposing her voyage, or intercepting her person. The bearer of such wordy congratulations was the notorious Randolph, who had resided, during the late insurrection, under various names, at the pseudo court of Hamilton; and was now accredited, as a proper resident, at Holyrood-house. He was received, and admitted with good humour, by the Queen, though she knew his character: as he was still better known to the minister, and secretary. She was highly pleased with Elizabeth’s congratulations on her arrival: And the Scotish Queen showed by her answer, “that she desired heartily, that she might live with Elizabeth, like good friends, and neighbours; and desired nothing so much, as amity.” She, at the same time, sent Secretary Maitland to her good cousin of England, to avow the same spirit of amity, and to cultivate peace, in the true tone, and sentiment of peace. From the tenor of his instructions, it is easy to perceive, that Secretary Maitland had a very easy task to perform, at the court of Elizabeth, where he was a stranger. In his audience with that jealous Queen, he had only to return the compliments of his mistress, to profess her ardent wishes for peace, and to give her assurances of her concurrence in every measure, which could promote an end, so desirable: But, Maitland went beyond his instructions, and his prudence, when he proposed to Elizabeth, towards the conclusion of his audience, “that the Queen of England should, by act of Parliament, declare the Scotish Queen rightful heiress of the English crown, failing Elizabeth, and her issue.” This proposal was even contrary to his instructions; as it tended to irritate Elizabeth, and to create constant enmity, between the two Queens. Had this offensive proposal come from an envoy of less talent, it might have been attributed to officious folly: But, such a proposal, from such a statesman, must be attributed to the treacherous purpose of villainy. Elizabeth seems thus to have been induced to send Sir Peter Mewtas to the Scotish Queen, to solicit the ratification of the treaty of Edinburgh. This last circumstance might lead those, who knew how intimate Cecil, and Maitland, were, to suspect, that the two secretaries had concerted the above proposal, in order to produce Mewtas’s journey to Edinburgh. 

The time was now at hand, when Mary’s mortifications were to begin, amidst slight attentions. On the 31st of August, a banquet was given to the Queen, and her relations, by the city of Edinburgh, which had more show, than sincerity, in it. On the 2d of September, she made her public entry, when she dined in the castle. As she came out of this fortlet, she was met, by a boy of six years old, who came, as it were, from heaven, who presented her a bible, a psalter, and the keys of the castle; and he spoke some verses, that were, no doubt, analogous to the scene. The rest of this ceremony consisted of terrible significations of the vengeance of God upon idolators; and it had been proposed by them, if we may believe Randolph, “to have had a priest burnt, on the altar, at the elevation.” Here, then, is a specimen of the talent, which then existed, for effecting the difficult contrariety, of offering honour, and insult, in the same moment. 

On the same day, Knox, the reformer, had an audience of the Queen: And, he knocked so hastily, said Randolph to Cecil, upon her heart, that he made her weep: She charged him with his book on the government of women; with his severe dealing towards every one, that disagreed with him, in opinion, and she willed him to do what the scriptures, which he carried in his bosom, required, “to use more meekness in his sermons.” When we recollect the admirable conduct of our Saviour, when upon earth, and observe the very contrary conduct of the preachers of that period, we might be led to suppose, that they neither followed the example, nor inculcated the genuine doctrines, of that divine personage.

At those various scenes of triumph, or mortification, the Duke, and his son, the Earl of Arran, came not nigh the Queen: They even fortified Dunbarton castle, which they had possessed, since the Duke was governor. The Queen observed both those inattentions to her. Randolph, after observing to Cecil, that he had given the Duke, and his son, good advice, remarked, “that of they should come to harm, it will justify the proverb, that injury, when it comes, is usually from oneself.”

About this time the gallies returned to France, with which went the Duke d’Aumale: the other princes remained some weeks with the Queen; and returned, through England, when they were well received by Elizabeth. The Scotish Queen began to think of making a progress through some of the principal towns of her kingdom. As the Queen’s horses, and mules, had been detained, in England, she was obliged to purchase ten horses, at Stirling, for the use of her household, preparatory to her progress. She was accompanied in her progress, by her uncles, the Marquis d’Elbeuf, and the grand prior, with Mons. d’Amville: and there were a number of ladies in her train. 

The Queen set out on her progress, a horseback, as she had no wheeled carriage, on the 11th of September, 1561. After dinner, she rode from Holyrood-house to Linlithgow palace; where she remained on the 12th, and, on the 13th she rode to Stirling castle. At this place, she run the risque, of being burnt. On Sunday, the 14th of September, in her chapel royal, “her grace’s devout chaplains,” said Randolph to Cecil, “would by the good advice of Arthur Erskine, have sung a high mass: The Earl of Argyle, and the Lord James so disturbed the quire, that some both priests, and clerks, left their places, with broken heads and bloody ears: It was sport alone, continues Randolph, for some that were there to behold it; others there were (the Queen probably) that shed a tear, or two, and made no more of the matter.’ It is a singular fact, which the historians of the Scotish reformation seem not to have noticed, that the first, who began reformation by violence, was the Governor, Arran, who employed his soldiers to deface the religious houses, and to expel the monks. But, it was reserved, for the prime minister and the justice general, to make a riot, in the house, which had been dedicated to the service of God, and to obstruct the service, in the Queen’s presence, as we learn, from Randolph’s intimations. It does not require any additional proof to show how little religion, how little morals, how little honour, any men could have, who acted thus in the house of God. 

From Stirling, after all those accidents, the Queen journeyed to Leslie castle, the Earl of Rothes’s seat, in Fifeshire, on the 15th, where she passed the night, and then proceeded, on the 16th, to Perth. Randolph said to Cecil, it was reported, whether with truth or malice, that the Earl lost both plate, and something else, that was easy to be conveyed; yet, he does not say, whatever he may insinuate, whether it were the servants, reformed, or unreformed, who pilfered his lordship’s plate. On the 17th, as she rode through Perth, she was taken ill, and was carried, from her horse, to her lodging: with such sudden affections, she seems to have been afflicted, after any great unkindness or grief. She was presented, by this town, where she was well received, with a heart of gold, full of gold: But, she liked not the pageants, said Randolph to Cecil; as they did too plainly condemn the errors of the world. What he did not tell, cannot now be told: But, it is, sufficiently plain, that there was something in the pageants, which gave the Queen a fit of illness. This, then, is the second example, which shows, that the good men of Edinburgh, and of Perth, when they wished to do honour to the Queen, studiously offered her an affront. 

From Perth, the Queen journeyed to Dundee, on the 18th of September; and here did she remain on the 19th. From Dundee, she crossed the Tay to St. Andrews, where she remained, on Sunday the 21st, where there seems to have been some insult offered to her religion. She remained at St. Andrews, however, several days; being the seat of the commendator, Lord James. She afterwards visited Faulkland, where her father died; and then returned to Edinburgh, on the 29th of September.* Knox, after enumerating the towns she polluted with her idolatry. Fire followed her very commonly, in that journey; the towns gave her presents very liberally, and thereof were the French enriched. What prejudice! Every event is supernatural with Knox. Multitudes followed the Queen, through those towns; which, as they were covered with thatch. were very easily fired. Had one of the French nobles received all the gifts, which were given, as presents, to the Queen, he would not have enriched France, by his opulence.

The Queen had scarcely returned to Holyrood-house, when she was encountered, by a proclamation of the magistrates of Edinburgh, which, from its tenor, one would suppose, must have been designed, as an insult. It may have proceeded, from fanaticism, founded on ignorance. The Queen, immediately, directed a precept to the town council, to convene, and dismiss the provost, and baillies; who had issued such a proclamation, without her knowledge. The town council yielded to the Queen’s authority: But, there was none of the magistrates imprisoned; nor was there any resistance to the Queen’s power. It was a busy period of religious disputation, and of formal reforms, throughout the European nations: and Elizabeth sent the Scotish Queen, books, and formulas, from French Huguenots, as we may suppose, to teize, rather than reform her. It was then the Queen’s ordinary practice, to sit, in the council chamber, sewing some work, when her ministers were assembled to know what was said, and to hear what was concluded. 

To preserve, or to restore, the peace of the southern borders, was, at all times, found a matter of great difficulty, owing to the wild habits of the people of a mountainous country. The late distractions had not improved their usual manners. And to soothe Elizabeth, it was resolved, early in October 1561, to hold courts of ayr, in those countries, under the supreme directions of the Lord James, who was appointed the Queen’s Lieutenant, for that effect. Those courts were held in November following: and such was the vigour, not to say the violence of his proceedings, that the severity of his executions would rival the harshest proceedings, of the most violent administration: “I doubt not,” said Randolph to Cecil, “but your honour hath been advertised of the Lord James’s doings at Jedburgh; he burned many houses; he hanged 22 or 23; and brought into this town, [Edinburgh] 40 or 50, of which there are 23 in the castle. The chiefest of all the clans, in the borders, are come in, to take what order the Queen may appoint, to stay theft, in time to come.” It was easy to send the Lord James as lieutenant to the borders; it was still more easy, to recal letters of marque, which had induced piracies, and created complaints: but it was impossible to preserve any amicable relation with foreign states, while the secretary of state betrayed the Queen: or, to preserve domestic quiet, while the preachers invited the people to revolt. 

To prevent some of those inconveniences, a convention, instead of a parliament, was called, on the 15th of December 1561. Yet, it acted with the same confidence, as if it had been a constitutional legislature. The convention, endeavoured, by an act, to quiet persons, and possessions of kirk lands, as had been leased to the parties, since the 6th of March 1558. The great object of this convention, though it was not strictly legal, was to obtain a revenue both for the Queen, and the reformed preachers. The bishops protested against their proceedings, as informal, and illegal. The ecclesiastical rentals of the whole kingdom were ordered to be given in to the privy council. We may thus perceive, that the reform of religion, had not taught its votaries any great respect for the established law. Neither had it produced any melioration of the hearts, either of the highest or lowest orders, which might mitigate the outrageous manners of a ferocious people. It was now called in question, said Randolph to Cecil, whether the Queen being an Idolater, may be obeyed in all civil actions: I think, continued he, marvellously, of the wisdom of God, that gave this unruly, and inconstant people, no more power, than they have; as they would then run wild.

The Duke [of Chattelherault] continued to act, foolishly, by absenting himself from court, and pretending to retain Dunbarton castle, from the Queen; and Arran conducted himself, still worse, by making pretensions, that could not be heard, and acting, so wildly, as to require confinement: yet, did the Queen treat both, with forbearance, and kindness. About this time, there arose an alarm, as if an attack was, immediately, to be made on Holyrood-house: it was simultaneously given out, that Arran had crossed the Forth, from Fife, having some force, with design to carry off the Queen: but, neither that rumour, nor this report, could be traced to any certain cause, or rational probability. They, however, evince a credulity of ignorance, and a restlessness of spirits, among the people, which made them the victims of any story, and the instruments of any purpose. The Queen fearing some additional mischief, issued a proclamation; forbidding any one, from injuring her chaplains, and requiring all men, to answer the ministers stipend, in time to come, as before: but, this proclamation, being made, without the consent of her privy council, gave offence to those, who did not reflect, how unsettled the constitution of the church then was, and how little the law was then regarded. 

It was this mode of thinking, perhaps, that induced the church to petition the privy council, that the Queen might be induced to put away her mass from herself, and the people; to establish the book of reformation; that the stipends of the ministers might be established; that manifest Papists might be removed, from the superior court. These requests were deemed most reasonable, without considering, that they were of great importance, and delicacy, and could only be settled, by the highest power, after deepest consideration. It was decided, however, whatever might be the repugnance of those, who were most intrusted, that the bishops, abbots, and priors, were required to relinquish yearly seven parts of their livings; whereof four parts were to be appropriated to the maintenance of the preachers, to the founding of schools, and to the support of the poor; and the other three parts were appropriated to the revenue of the crown. The great objection, to those measures, interesting as they were, was shortly this, that the authority, which directed them, had no valid power, to command such weighty measures. Another matter, though of much inferior importance, created greater disturbances: Arran and d’Elbeuf, quarrelling about women, and wine, the Duke and Bothwell taking part, created a tumult in Edinburgh streets: but proclamation being made, that all men should depart in peace, on pain of death, within half an hour; not a man was to be seen, said Randolph to Cecil; and of so likely a matter of mischief, I never saw so little hurt.

Amidst such disturbances of idle men; while the rival Queens bandied their civilities; the question of the ratification of the treaty of Edinburgh was again revived. Elizabeth sent Sir Peter Mewtas to Edinburgh, for the invidious purpose of demanding this long sought-for ratification. The Scotish Queen gave the envoy such an answer, as she thought might well stand with her good cousin’s contentment, and the quiet of both. But, Elizabeth was not contented. She wrote the Scotish Queen a more urgent letter, in November 1561; requiring nothing, said Elizabeth, but what ought to be granted, in honour, justice, and reason. Mary wrote, on the 5th of January 1562, and answer to this claim, which, from its staleness, began to degenerate into impertinence. The Scotish Queen now went more into the argument, than she had yet done; without touching the circumstances of the time, when that treaty was passed; by whose commandment; by what ministers; how they were authorized; or particularly, to examine the sufficiency of this commission; which topicks are not so slender, but the least of them is worthy of some consideration. We will only, at present, said she, touch on that head, which is mete for us to provide, and is not inconvenient to you: how prejudicial that treaty is to such title, and interest, as by birth, and natural descent of your own lineage, may fall to us, by very inspection of the treaty itself, ye may, and how slenderly a matter of such great consequence is wrapped up, in obscure terms. Mary might have wound up her argument, once for all, in this manner: every sovereign has a right to refuse his ratification of a treaty, which had been unauthorized, or misconducted, by his envoys: my servants, on that occasion, had no authority, as they avowed, to negotiate away my title to a most important object: I, therefore, refuse my ratification of an unauthorized treaty. Yet, plain as this point is, Cecil found artifices, for many a weary year, to vex the two Queens, from recollections of this subject; and even sometimes to criminate the Scotish Queen, whose arguments, with all his abilities, he could not answer; as they were unanswerable. But, the Scotish Queen was too well bred, to give her good cousin a short, or prompt answer, which might have furnished offence to Elizabeth, when she perceived that, Mary was too powerful for her, in such an argument, though she had affected to consider her cousin, as young: Yes, said Mary, on that occasion, you might call me a fool, as well as young, if I were to assent to a treaty, which gave away my birthright, without my knowledge. The Queen was now nineteen years of age, when she was thus called upon, to answer the suggestions of Cecil, and the requests of Elizabeth. 

The year 1562 opened with consultations, on the maintainance of the new ministers of the reformed church. But, without the authority of Parliament, they consulted, with less efficacy, than the enquiry required. It is a strong proof of an unmannered age, that the nobles could not settle their private quarrels, without public authority. The disputes between Arran, and Bothwell, and the Lord James, who is said, without probability, to have been in some danger, from private machinations, is a proof of this. That he was envied, for his pre-eminence, and hated, for his bluntness, may be true; but, of a plot against his life, there is no evidence. On the 7th of February 1562, the Lord James, who could command every thing, or any person, was created Earl of Mar. Soon after, the restless Arran was brought before the privy council, in the Queen’s presence, concerning his differences with Bothwell, another uneasy personage: Arran was induced, to engage, that he would keep the peace, with Bothwell, as required by the treaty of Edinburgh. While the nobles are irascible, and untaught, how difficult is it to govern a people! From such brawls, the Queen endeavoured to escape, by enjoying the sports of the field, at Faulkland, and the retirement of St. Andrews, in which she seems to have delighted. The Duke was not, meantime, quite free from suspicion, owing to the weakness of his conduct.

At the end of March 1562, Arran, with frantic inconsistency, charged Bothwell, with conspiring, with himself, and Gawin Hamilton, the commendator of Killvenning, to carry off the Queen to Dunbarton castle, and to slay her principal ministers. The charges were too serious to be quite disregarded. Bothwell, and Hamilton, were imprisoned. And Arran, being examined before the privy council, at St. Andrews, was soon discovered to be insane. He seems to have been sent to Edinburgh castle, to prevent further mischief from him: Such was the sad fate of the earliest lover of Mary, and of the proffered husband of Elizabeth! On the 19th of April, the privy council required the Duke, his father, to surrender Dunbarton castle to the Queen’s officer; a measure of precaution this, to which there could be no valid objection. 

Amidst those disquieting scenes, Mary returned to Edinburgh, early in May. Owing to some intimations of Randolph, before her journey to Fife, she had allowed her mind to swell upon a personal interview, with Elizabeth, in England. Whether Cecil, or Maitland, suggested this idle purpose, cannot now be told: Mary, certainly, laid the matter before her privy council, on the 19th of May: And her counsellors left the decision of the matter to herself, “if she should think her own person to be in any way in surety, upon any promise to be made, by the English Queen.” Mary was so little apprehensive of her personal safety, that she sent Secretary Maitland, to London, to agree upon the detail of such an interview. The Queen wrote to Leicester upon the subject: And her chief minister, the Earl of Mar, addressed a letter to Cecil, upon the same business. For carrying it into effect; a provisional treaty was, actually, agreed upon, so sincere, seemed Elizabeth, for the moment: But, she soon began to vacillate, between the two opinions, whether to meet, or not to meet, the Scotish Queen at Nottingham. At length, in July, she sent that truly respectable statesman, Sir Henry Sidney, to Edinburgh; in order to explain to the Scotish Queen, how inconvenient it would be, to meet her, personally, while the troubles continued, in France. Mary seems to have been disappointed: And, with her usual amenity, wrote her good sister, whose ruling passion was dissimulation, her grief in not seeing the person, in this world, whom she would be gladdest to see. 

While the Queen was enjoying the conversation of the accomplished Sidney, in the garden of Holyrood-house, attended by her court, an occurrence happened which illustrates the brutish manners of a coarse military: Captain Heiborne approached the Queen, and delivered her a packet, which she, being engaged with Sir Henry Sidney, delivered unopened to the Earl of Mar, to be considered: And he, at first taking no great care of it, at length opened it, when he found some ribalde verses, with an obscene drawing: On the morrow, the Queen, hearing of this; and feeling the insult, which was thus offered, in the presence of the English ambassador, who might judge of herself otherwise, than any occasion was given, by her, or hers; fell sick, and is greatly grieved at the heart, that Heiborne is fled out of her country, not doubting but that he will be apprehended, where he is, if it be possible: This man, she desireth to be sent unto her, and to that effect, I have written to the lord governor of Berwick, said Randolph to Cecil. But, what ought we to think of Mar’s address, and manners, who instead of offending the Queen’s delicacy, ought to have committed Heiborne’s ribaldry to the fire.

As we now approach the epoch of Mary’s journey into the North, which ended in Huntley’s ruin, it may be here proper, to pause awhile, that we enter more fully into enquiries, with regard to the Queen’s person, and dress, her more private affairs, and domestic establishments.

As the Scotish Queen was born, in December 1542, and Elizabeth, in September 1533; Mary was thus much younger than the English Queen. As Mary’s mother was one of the largest of women; so was she “of higher stature” than Elizabeth, as we learn from Melvill, while Elizabeth considered her own, as the only true standard of perfection. Elizabeth’s hair was more red, than yellow, says Melvill, while Mary’s was light auburn; with chestnut coloured eyes. Mary had Grecian features, with a nose somewhat out of proportion long, as her father’s was: The Queen of Scots seems to have been the handsomest of the two, according to the general opinion. Elizabeth asked Melvill, whether she, or his Queen, danced best? He said, my Queen danced not so high, and disposedly as Elizabeth did; and he might have added, that his Queen danced most gracefully, though this would have been amiss. Elizabeth had clothes of every country, which, on each successive day she changed; preferring, however, the Italian dress: Mary had a great variety of dresses, as we learn, from her wardrobe accounts, though they were not more numerous than Elizabeth’s. Mary had ten pair of wolven [woven] hois [hose] of gold, silver, and silk, three pair of woven hois of worsted of Guernsey. She had thirty-six pair of velvet shoes pasmental [laced] with gold and silver. She had six pair of gloves of worsted of Guernsey. The two Queens seem to have delighted in dress; and it is not easy to decide, which of them was best provided.

They were both learned women, according to the fashion of the times: Elizabeth read Greek, with Ascham: Mary read Latin, with Buchanan. The minds of both were highly cultivated: But Elizabeth possessed, in a very superior degree, the masculine faculty of decision and action: Mary, though superior, as a woman, was defective, in this quality of a sovereign; a defect this, which she had learned, at the court of France, where she saw the sovereign, constantly, yielding an easy assent to a predominant minister: And only on two occasions, in which she was, personally, interested, did she act powerfully; the first, when she resolved not to ratify the treaty of Edinburgh; the second, when she determined to marry Darnley: She would have been a blessing, as a queen, to any civilized country, with ministers of any talents, any honesty, any honour. From her arrival among her people, to the passing moment, she had borne her faculties so meekly; her conduct, was so gracious; and her manner was so full of amenity, and goodness, that she was the subject of every one’s eulogy, from Melvill to Randolph; all except the reformed ministers, whose charity led them to regard their sovereign, as an idolater, who, as such, ought to be maligned, and opposed. We have seen, how familiarly, she took her place, in her privy council, with her work bag, in her hand, and some pleasant observation on her tongue. 

The Queen’s charity was a very notable object. After her return from France, she appointed two elemosinars, to distribute her alms to the poor; Archibald Crawford, and Peter Rorie, who were both ecclesiastics. They obtained money, by her orders, from the Treasurer, and from other sources, which they distributed to necessitous persons. The sums, which were thus allotted, for such benevolent purposes, appear to have been more, or less, as the demand required. The education of poor children appear, also, to have been objects of her attention. After the Queen’s dethronement, in 1567, the office of elemosinar, and the issues of charity, were discontinued, during the four successive regencies: King James restored both the office, and the charities. The office of advocate for the poor, which was established, by James V [Mary’s father]., who was called, “a good poor man’s king,” was continued throughout Mary’s reign; but, was discontinued, by the Regent Murray, and the three successive Regents. The advocate for the poor had a salary of 20l. for supporting the causes of the indigent before the Court of Session, which was one half of the salary of the Queen’s advocate. 

Next to her charities, may be considered her studies. There was with the Queen, said Randolph to Cecil, one called Mr. George Bowhanan, a Scotish man, very well learned, that was schoolmister unto Mons. de Brisack’s son; very godly, and honest. She readeth, daily, after her dinner, instructed, by a learned man, Mr. George Bowhanan, somewhat of Lyvie. We might indeed, know, from Melvill, that when her more serious affairs permitted, she was taken up with reading of histories. Buchanan gratified the Queen, by blandishments of his poetry; and she, exclusive of quarterly payments, from her treasury, gave him, for life, the whole revenue of the abbey of Crossraguel, in Ayrshire, amounting to 500l. a year. But, being thus made independent, this very godly and honest man, became one of the most inveterate lampooners of the Queen’s doings, that ever disgraced any country, for his falsehood, and ingratitude. On such a return, for many kindnesses, Mary might have cried out, in Shakspeare’s language: “Sharper, than the serpent’s tooth, are benefits forgot.” The Scotish Queen had a library, from which her studies might have been traced, if we had not had contemporary information: she had globes, and charts, and books, which, however, seem to have been ill described, by the keeper of her wardrobe, and to have been much dilapidated.

The Queen’s women, formed a great object of her solicitude, though she had nothing like the female establishments of modern courts. The Maries, who were associated with her, in her infancy, continued still about her; Mary Fleming, Mary Betown, Mary Livingston, Mary Seton; besides other dames, damoisellis, and maidinnis: But Mademoiselle de Pinguillion was her chief lady, who in Randolph’s letters to Cecil, obtained the name of Pigillion. Before the Queen set out on her short tour, in September 1561, there were several payments, by the Treasurer, for saddles, and bridles, to twelve of the Queen’s ladies, and for black riding cloaks to fifteen of the same ladies. During some time, after the Queen’s return, the clothes and equipments, for herself, her ladies, and attendants, were black; and some of the servants wore black grey. Randolph intimated to Cecil, speaking of the intended interview, between the two Queens, that to avoid expenses, it was determined, that all men should wear nothing but black cloth; as the Queen had not cast off her mourning garments. She continued her mourning dress till her marriage with Darnley, in July 1565. The Queen’s common wearing gowns appear to have been made, some of chamlate, some of damis, and some of serge of Florence, bordered with black velvet. Her riding cloaks and skirts, were of black serge of Florence, stiffened in the neck, and other parts, with buckram, and mounted with pasementis [lace,] and ribbons.

Of the Scotish Queen’s domestic establishment, there remains a complete detail, in her household-book, from the Register-house, which may be seen, in the Appendix; and which, to make it intelligible, required some research, and some skill. Her cloth of gold; her tapestry; her Turkey carpets; her beds, and coverlids; her burd-claithes, her table cloathes of dornick; her vessels of glass; her chairs, and stools, covered with velvet, and garnished with fringes; her doublettis, veskenis, and skirts; all in detail in her wardrobe accounts, though very gorgeous, may be allowed, however, to have something of the tawdry appearance of a pawnbroker’s warehouse. We see nothing of plate: but, we are told, I think, that the miscreants, who dethroned her, coined her silver work, to pay the expenses of their insurrection. Her jewels were dissipated, by various appropriations, though some of them, were recovered, by legal proceedings, for her infant son, by the Regent Morton, in 1578.

As to the Queen’s amusements, we may see, in the wardrobe-book, that she was a chess player; but one of her great domestic amusements was shooting at the butts. Hawking was a common, and healthful pastime, in that, and the preceding age: her father, and grandfather, were both, passionately, attached to this amusing, as well as salutary practice: and a falconer, with his attendants, formed a part of their establishments. James Lindsay, who was master falconer, at the demise of James V., received a year’s salary of 66l. 13s. 4d.; and he had seven falconers under him. James Lindsay continued master falconer, during Mary’s minority; but his assistants were reduced to four. He appears to have been succeeded in 1562, by Mathew Kerr, who, as master falconer, received the same salary. Hawks were brought from Orkney, and Shetland, in 1562: in August 1562, the Queen sent a present of hawks to Elizabeth. The Scotish Queen, and her ladies, and lords, took the diversion of hawking, often, in Lothian, and, sometimes, in Fife. In 1565, two additional falconers were added to the establishment, on account of Darnley, who was passionately fond of hawking.

The Queen had gardens, at all her houses, though not, perhaps, of great extent, or much ornamented, by bringing art, in aid of nature: and, in her gardens, she delighted, as was the practice of Elizabeth, to receive and converse, with ambassadors, and other public men, on business. She was in the habit of walking in gardens, and of taking long walks, with her ladies, and lords, and, also, with the foreign ambassadors, who did much of their business, in those walks; as we learn from Randolph’s letters to Cecil. At the palace of Holyrood-house, she had two gardens, the one southern, the other northern; the one of these was probably the old garden of the abbey; the other was formed, by James IV., who built the palace of Holyrood-house. The park of Holyrood-house was enlarged by James V., her father. At Linlithgow, she had a garden and a park. At Stirling castle, she had a garden and a park. She had also, a garden, and a park, at Falkland: Lindsey, the poet, who flourished, under James V., describes the hunting of the deer, in this park, with the other pastimes of Falkland, of which he seems to have had his full share. At St. Andrews, she seems to have had a house, and a garden: the new palace in the abbey of St. Andrews, to which James V. carried Mary’s mother, when she landed, in Fife, was now occupied, no doubt, by the Lord James, as commendator, Earl of Mar, and Murray. At Perth, she had, also, a house, and a garden. She made use of those gardens, as we have seen, for the more private pastime of shooting at the butts.

The Queen’s musicians, as objects of amusement, and still more, as essentials, in her religious worship, engaged much of her attention. We have seen, in her earliest age, that she had minstrels attached to her establishment. In 1561, and in 1562, she had five violars, or players on the viol, who seem to have been all Scotsmen: John Feldie, Moreis Dow, William Hoy, John Dow, a name consecrated to music, and John Ray. The Queen had three players on the lute, at the same time. The Queen played on the lute, and virginals, as we learn, from Melvill. In 1564, when Melvill, was sent, from Mary, to Elizabeth, she asked him, if his mistress played well, to which he answered, reasonably, as a queen. Mary had also a schalmer, which was a sort of pipe, or fluted instrument, but not a bagpipe: and pipers and schalmers, were sometimes used synonymously, in the Treasurer’s books, during the reign of James IV. The Queen had, also, a small establishment of singers. Melvill informs us, that the Queen had three valets of her chamber, who sung three parts, and wanted a bass, to sing the fourth part: And Rizzio being recommended to the Queen, as a person fit to make the fourth, in concert, was drawn in, sometimes, to sing with the other valets. Before the reformation, organs were the common instruments of music, in churches. In 1559 and 1560, the organs were, generally, destroyed as profane. Those in the chapel royal, within Stirling castle, were saved; as the mob could not reach them, with their polluted hands. A pair of organs, which had been recently purchased, for the chapel of Holyrood-house, were saved, by the master of works. In December 1562, Randolph intimated to Cecil, that one of the Queen’s priests had been assaulted, in a dark night: and, he added, that her musicians, both Scots, and French, refused to play, and sing, at her mass, and evensong, upon Christmas-day: thus, continued he, is her poor soul so troubled, for the preservation of her silly mass, that she knoweth not, where to turn herself, for defence of it. In April 1565, the Queen spent her Easter, at Stirling: and, besides the organs, she had a band of music, which gave offence to those, who were, as silly as Randolph, in being offended, at the Queen’s mode of worship, which was agreeable to ancient practice, and the established law. In April 1565, said Randolph to Cecil, your honour shall know for certain, that greater triumph, there was never, in any time of most popery, than was this Easter, at the resurrection, and at her high mass: organs were wont to be the common music; she wanted now, neither trumpet, drum, nor fife, bagpipe, nor tabor. The worlde speaketh of it: and I am ashamed to write it of her, (as well he might,) whom I honour, as in duty I am bound. Thus much, from Randolph to Cecil, who seems to have been as childish, as Bedford, when he wrote distressing dispatches, about hoods, and tippets. The Queen acted, wisely, in tolerating her subjects, to worship the supreme Being, in their own way. But, the tolerated were those, who persecuted the Queen, because she worshipped God, with more ceremony, and more pomp, than their ignorance approved, or their uncharitableness could allow. We have lived to see some attempts made, to restore the organ to the church of Scotland, while musick of the highest order is admired, in the metropolis of that ancient kingdom. 

Of David Rizzio, thus brought before us, as one of the Queen’s valets, and singers; and whose hard fate will always give him a place, in Scotish history, it may be proper to add some additional anecdotes. He was, by birth, a Piedmontese [from Piedmont, northern Italy], who seems to have had a good education. He came to Edinburgh, in December 1561, with Mons. Moret, the ambassador of Savoy. Rizzio was, soon after, appointed a valet of the Queen’s chamber. In this situation, he continued, till he was appointed private secretary, for the French language, to the Queen, in the room of Roulet, whom she had brought, from France, and whom she esteemed, till he misbehaved. In December 1564, Rizzio succeeded, as French secretary. In the station of secretary, Rizzio made himself very useful: and acquired the Queen’s favour, by his assiduous, and faithful service. He was very attentive, and serviceable to Darnley; and was very active, in promoting his marriage with the Queen: by which circumstances, he incurred the enmity of [Mary’s bastard brother] Murray, and his faction: he was even maligned by them, as a minion, and pensioner of the pope. Knox gave out, though without foundation, that the Queen had delivered the great seal to Davie [Rizzio]. Knox might as well have said, that she delivered her sceptre to Rizzio. After the marriage of Darnley, Rizzio continued his most assiduous services to the King, who was yet the chief agent, in his assassination.

 

*  180 mile journey of a Scottish Queen.

One thought on “From the Queen’s Return to Scotland, till her Northern Journey, in August 1562., pp.42-61.

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