THE negotiation, for a meeting between the British Queens was not altogether closed, when a journey to Moray, and Inverness, was proposed, by her ministers, for the quiet of the country, and accepted, by her: because it was proposed, by them.
The person, who last died possessed of the earldom of Moray, was James Steuart, an illegitimate son of James IV., a nobleman, who was respected, through life, for his conduct, and lamented, generally, when he died, as a loss to his country. Upon his decease, without issue male, in December 1544, the earldom reverted to the crown. His widow enjoyed it, for some years, under various titles. Other pretensions were, as usual, when any casualty fell to the crown, given in to the government, under Mary’s infancy, to enjoy either the inheritance, or the profits, of this opulent earldom. Huntley was the most successful pretender to that great prize, though he did not finally enjoy the inheritance of the earldom: But, even as low down, as 1564, some of his family enjoyed rights, within this earldom, of which they could not be denuded, without legal authority. Huntly, and his wife, enjoyed a right to the whole profits of the earldom, till Whitsunday 1564; paying for the same, into the exchequer, yearly, 2500 marks Scots.
Meantime, the Lord James, commendator of St. Andrews, had formed the resolution of acquiring possessions, in the North, by whatever means. He acquired, by artifice, the whole earldom of Buchan. And, after the decease of the late Earl of Moray, he placed his affections, on that rich succession. At the Queen’s marriage, in 1558, he solicited, for the earldom of Moray, during that joyous moment, from his sister’s goodness: But, she advised him to remain, in the church, and she promised him preferment, both in Scotland, and in France. He acquiesced; but with great dissatisfaction. He renewed his solicitations, for the earldom of Moray, when he offered his duty to the Queen, in April 1561: But, she did not altogether comply with his wishes, though she gave him some hopes, that she would gratify his desire, when she should arrive, within her kingdom. She seems, at that period, not to have decided, in which party she would place her government, when she should arrive, in Scotland. She, finally, resolved to intrust her affairs, in Protestant hands. And when she arrived, in August 1561, she invested the Lord James, with her whole authority, as her minion. The Queen, now resigned her mind, and her authority, to her minister, that he could ask nothing, which was not granted. Under such circumstances, and such power, he obtained, on the 30th of January, 1562, under the privy seal, the Queen’s grant of the earldom of Moray. This was merely an inchoate title, leading on to a complete one, under the great seal. On the 7th of February 1562, only a few days, after the grant abovementioned, the Lord James obtained, from the Queen’s facility, a grant under the privy seal, of the earldom of Mar. The title of Mar was probably assumed for a time, in order to masque the real object, with regard to the earldom of Moray. In the affairs of life, such solicitations, by one gentleman, against another’s rights, would be deemed a personal affront. The conduct of the Lord James, as to the earldom of Moray, is a proof of his designs on Huntly’s rights, whatever they were. He concealed his aims so completely, from Randolph, that the English ambassador knew nothing of the minister’s object, till he arrived, some months after, at the mansion house of Moray. Huntley, who was the second noble in the kingdom, was the Queen’s chancellor, and enjoyed the greatest influence, in the northern shires. The Earl of Mar, clearly, perceived, from all those circumstances, that with a title so defective, he could not cope with Huntley, either in the country, or in the court of session. And, he was thus induced, in prosecution of his object, when he meant to obtain possession, to carry the Queen into the north, with her ministers, and court, and with some armed men; in order to obtain, by force, what he would not have acquired, by law. All this while, Huntley was unconscious of those practices against him, and could take no measures of prevention.
Yet, have historians made it a question, whether there were a plot of Huntley against Murray, or a conspiracy of Murray against Huntley. There is satisfactory evidence of a plot, by Murray against Huntley; but none for a plot, by Huntley against Murray.
While Murray was still doubtful, what measure he should adopt, for effectuating his purpose, an incident occurred, which supplied him with a pretext. On the 27th of June 1562, a rencounter happened, on the street of Edinburgh, between Sir John Gordon, Huntley’s son, and Ogilvie of Cardal, about their private affairs, when Ogilvie was severely wounded. Sir John, and the other persons, concerned in this outrage, were, immediately, imprisoned, by the magistrates. Here, was a breach of the peace, and the guilty were restrained, from committing any further violence. But, the Earl of Mar, catching the occasion, to promote his designs on the earldom of Moray, hastened from Stirling to Edinburgh: where he directed additional coercion against Sir John Gordon, who seeing a mere breach of the peace taken up, as an important affair of government, made his escape, from the resentment of Mar. This was considered, as an aggravation of the first offence, and as evidence of a treasonable design of Sir John, and his father, against the Queen, and her minion. Here, then, was a sufficient ground, for Mar, and Maitland, to work upon the Queen’s credulity, to believe, that Huntley, and his son, entertained traitorous designs against the Queen, and Mar. But, Mary was so occupied with her negotiation, about her meeting with Elizabeth, that she could not think of the terrible journey to Inverness, till the 11th of August. The falsehood imposed, by Mar, and Maitland, on Randolph, that the Queen, rather than her council, had adopted this enterprize, which was so distressing to horse, and man, evinces an imposture, by the minister, and secretary.
When the Queen, by various artifices, was persuaded of the treasons of Huntley, and of his purpose to, compel her to marry one of his sons, she set out, from Edinburgh, on the 11th of August, on horseback, on the ill-fated journey to Inverness. With a part of her train, she dined at Calder, and after dinner rode to Lithgow, where she was joined by the rest of her train, and slept. On the morrow, the Queen, with part of her train, dined at Callendar, and slept, at Stirling, where she was joined, by the rest of her train. She remained at Stirling, till the 18th of August. To Stirling was she accompanied, by Randolph, and followed by John Knox. She learned here, that Elizabeth was preparing forces against her relations, in France; that many of her own subjects were about to join the English army, without her assent, or knowledge. Under the influence of such mortifying notices, she set out on horseback, with a part of her train, for Aberdeen, where she arrived on the 27th of August; and where she remained till the first of September.
“The Queen,” said Randolph to Cecil, “in her progress, is now come, as far as Old Aberdeen, the bishop’s seat, and where also the university is, or at the least one college, with fifteen, or sixteen scholars. The most part of her noblemen are here with her, the Duke excepted, with whom she is now well pleased, and the Earl of Mar, and hem are reconciled. The Earl of Huntley is here, not well in his prince’s favour, and how well that man doth deserve, your honour knoweth, from his upright dealing with all men.” It was only Elizabeth’s faction, which, in the contemplation of Randolph, were upright men. “The Queen,” continues Randolph, “will not grant, that she will go to his house, though it be within three miles of her way, and the fairest, in the country: That purpose, of hers, I know, will be broken: for so her council findeth it expedient. Her journey is cumbersome, painful, and marvellous long; the weather extreme foul, and cold; and all victuals marvellous dear, and the corn, that is, never like to come to ripeness.” Thus far Randolph! It is easy to perceive, that the Queen had no will of her own: And, that a thousand misrepresentations had been repeatedly told her, of Huntley, the greatest noble, in Scotland, next to the Duke; descended of the royal family; the chancellor of Scotland; and a statesman, who had always been attached to the crown, while her present advisers had invariably been traitorous, and soon after ruined her, by their plots. The Queen halted here, for several days, to enable her whole train to join her, particularly, her warriors; in order to enable her, to pass, in safety, the haunted house of Huntley; to cross the outrageous river Spey; and to enable her to enter the castle of Inverness, which had proved so fatal to the gracious Duncan. It was known, before her departure, as we learn, from Randolph, that the Queen had a purpose, on her return, to make a public entry into New Aberdeen, and to remain there twenty days; in order to establish good order, in the country; and to punish divers offenders.
The Queen departed from Old Aberdeen, on the 1st of September: And being resolved not to visit Huntley’s castle, where provision had been made for her, she slept at Buquhane; on the morrow, she journeyed, by Grange, where she slept, and, on the subsequent day, passed the Spey to Balveny, where she slept, and, on the morrow, went on to Elgin. In this manner, then, did the Queen, from her humour, or the humours of those, who governed her temper, lodge, in mean houses, when she might have enjoyed all the comfort, and splendour, and eclat, which Huntley could have given her.
The Queen remained, at Elgin, till the 8th of September, when she went forward to Kinloss abbey, where she slept; and on the morrow, set out, after dinner, for Ternway, the chief mansion of the earldom of Moray, without hearing of any disturbance, where, in fact, there existed none. Here, was there held a privy council, on the 10th of September; wherein was there a proceeding against Sir John Gordon, who, as he had not entered himself a prisoner in Stirling castle, was charged to surrender into the Queen’s hands, his houses of Finlater, and Auchendown, on pain of treason. In the same council appeared the Earl of Mar, and producing his privy patent, for the earldom of Moray, now assumed the title.
On the morrow, the 11th of September, the Queen, with her suite, set out, from Ternway, for Inverness, where she arrived in the evening. The great object, which Murray had, in bringing the Queen to Inverness, seems to have been, to wrest the castle, from Lord Gordon, Huntley’s heir, to whom the keeping of it belonged, hereditarily, as well as the sheriffship of Inverness-shire. The castle was demanded of Lord Gordon’s deputy: And without allowing him time, for consideration, or for consulting his superior, the castellan: his trust was promptly taken from him, by force; and the captain was, as promptly hanged, under disputable authority. If Lord Gordon had a legal right; if his grant of 1556, being made like many others, during the Queen’s minority, was liable to be recalled; yet, this must have been done, by some legal proceeding: But, the demanding of the possession, by an armed force, in time of peace, was illegal, and unwarrantable, even in the Queen herself, who could not act, but by some legitimate proceeding: And the Earl of Murray, her minion, who commanded that force, and directed that execution, was guilty of an aggravated murder. As soon as Huntley learned, that the castle was summoned, he sent with all diligence to the governor, Alexander Gordon, desiring him to surrender it; but, he had been put to death, before the direction arrived, from Huntley, on his son’s behalf.
Randolph told this story to Cecil, at least, as far as concerned the Queen, in the following manner: “At the Queen’s arrival at Inverness, she purposing to have lodged in the castle, which pertaineth to herself, and the keeping only to the Earl of Huntley [Lord Gordon] being sheriff, by inheritance, was refused there to have entry, and enforced to lodge, in the town. That night, the castle being summoned, to be rendered to the Queen, answer was given, by those that kept it, in Lord Gordon’s behalf, that without his command, it should not be delivered. The next day, the country assembled to the assistance of the Queen: The Gordons, also, made their friends come out; we looked every hour to what shall become of the matter: We left nothing undone that was needful: And, the Gordons not finding themselves so well served: and never amounting to above five hundred men, sent word to those, that were within, amounting only to twelve, or thirteen able men, to render the castle, which they did: The captain was hanged, and his head set upon the castle; some others condemned to perpetual imprisonment; and the rest received mercy. In all those garbulles, I assure your honour, I never saw the Queen merrier; never dismayed; nor, never thought I, that stomach to be in her, that I find. She repented nothing, but when the lords, and others, at Inverness, came in the morning, from the watche, that she was not a man, to know what life it was to lye all night in the fields, or to walk upon the causeway, with a jack and knapsack, a Glasgow buckler, and a broad-sword. Lest your honour should speere [enquire] what, in this meantime, I did; it may please you to know that, in good faith, when so many were occupied, I was ashamed to sit still, and did as the rest.” Randolph, we see, does not distrust the authority, for committing so much violence, illegality, and murders.
Those exploits performed, the Queen, and suite, turned, from the north, towards the south, on her return, upon the 15th of September: She slept this night, at Kilravock; and on the morrow, she went to Tarneway: But, Murray having taken possession of it, did not here detain her long, having other objects, in his immediate view. On the 17th of September, she reached Spynie castle, the ancient seat of the bishoprick of Moray. From this episcopal palace of ancient note, the Queen and her suite, departed, on the 19th of September, in her progress, southward. The Queen was now, in this stage, to repass the Spey, at Fochabers, on her way to Cullen; and thus she had to travel through the very country of the Gordons: on the morning of her departure, she had with her, according to Randolph, 2000 men, “of those they call highland men,” and the countrymen joining her, as she travelled forwards: so that as she approached the ford of the Spey, her force amounted, in Randolph’s estimate, to 3000 man. “As she rode forward,” said Randolph to Cecil, “divers reports were brought to her: some told her, that she would be attacked as she passed the river; others said, that she would be assailed from the woods, which skirted the road, within a short distance of the river: and, it was said by others,” continued he, “that there were, in that wood, the night before, a thousand men; not one was found, when proper persons were sent to discover them. Of this the Queen was assured before she approached the Spey; so that she rode forward, without fear:” and yet, as Randolph assured Cecil, “at no time, nor at any thing, were they discouraged, though we neither thought, nor looked, for other, than, on that day, to have fought, or never; what desperate blows would not have been given, when every man should have fought, in the sight of so noble a Queen, and so many fair ladies; our enemies to have taken them from us; and we to save our honours, not to be bereft of them, your honour can easily judge.” This much from the descriptive pen of Randolph. Yet, may we see, goth, from his account, and the fact, what gross delusions were practised upon the Queen, from the guilty outset, to that dangerous day. Sir John Gordon’s army of a thousand men, in the wood, were all rogues in buckram suits, who were not to be found, when the battle was to begin. The noble Queen, and her fair ladies, must have been vastly disappointed, when there was no fight to elevate, and surprise them. They passed the Spey, on whose banks many a Roman, and many a rebel, had formerly fought; and went forward to a house of the laird of Banff, without seeing a single Gordon, though this district was the very land of their fathers: but, as she passed, she caused to be summoned, by sound of trumpet, Finlater house; and another mansion of Sir John Gordon, which the keepers refused to deliver; and which, without cannon, she could not take: Here was another delinquency of Sir John; and in the same manner every other householder, in Scotland, might have been made a delinquent.
Huntley remained, quietly, in his house, said Randolph; Lord Gordon, with his wife, were at Hamilton-palace; the Duke remained at home; and the guilty Sir John Gordon skulked in the fastnesses of the country, safe from Murray’s ire, but not from Maitland’s tongue. When the whole motives of such violent proceedings were mere imposture, even so acute a man, as Randolph, fell, necessarily, into contradictions.
From the laird of Banff’s house, she proceeded, on the 20th of September, to the Shiretown, where she slept; on the morrow she proceeded to Gight, the house of a Gordon, where she slept, in safety; and on the morrow, she arrived, at old Aberdeen, on the 22d of September, preparatory to her public entry into the New town. Here, was she, honourably received, on the morrow; “and the good mind of the inhabitants shown,” said Randolph to Cecil, “as well in spectacles, plays, interludes, and other, as they could best devise. They presented her with a cup of silver, double gilt, well wrought, with 500 crowns in it: wine, coals, and wax, were sent in, as much, as will serve her, while she remains here. Her determination,” continues Randolph,” is to remain to put this country, in good quietness. Her noblemen remain with her; and more daily come in.” A few there were, however, who said, that the only disturbers of the quiet of the country were Murray, and his coadjutors, whose whole conduct, on this northern tour, was violent and unwarrantable.
Consultations were now held, day after day, how to reform this country, and to make it obedient to their sovereign, said Randolph to Cecil: as if there had been any disobedience to their sovereign. It was thought best to begin, at the head, as such an example of justice being made on the Lord High Chancellor of Scotland, smaller men may be easily reformed, from their evil ways: it was, therefore determined, that the Earl of Huntley should either submit himself, and deliver his disobedient son, Sir John Gordon, or to use such force against the Lord Chancellor, “as utterly to subvert his house, for ever.” Now, we know, from Randolph’s former representations, that Sir John, when the Queen, and her judges, arrived first at Aberdeen, came there, and offered himself for trial; but was committed to Stirling castle. Huntley met the Queen, at Aberdeen, invited her to his house, the fairest in the country, which had been prepared, for her reception; but, his entreaties, said Randolph, could not induce her compliance: and, he entertained part of her train, who saw nothing in his house, or in his mind, but what a loyal subject ought to have: neither was Huntley answerable, for the misdeed of his son, with which Huntley had no privity. We thus perceive, then, from the intimations of Randolph to Cecil, that the utter ruin of Huntley’s house was determined on, by the Queen’s minister; not for any disloyalty conceived, by the chancellor, against the Queen; nor for any injury done to Murray; but, because Murray had done injuries to Huntley: and, this is the very definition of immoral principle, and illegitimate government. For those ends, however, the Queen had levied six score  of harquebusiers [cavalry, light lancers, likely in possession of long barrelled guns]; and had sent into Lothian, for such as she [Murray] intended to employ; namely, the master of Lindsay, Grange, and Ormiston: and, she had, within sixteen miles, some cannon all equipped; and there were other pieces, in Aberdeen which were quite sufficient. Her first measure of warfare was, to take the two houses of Finlater, and Deskford, which she had summoned, as she passed, from Cullen to Banff; but Huntley had directed the houses to be relinquished; and sent her the keys, which she declined to receive.
The Queen, hearing that Huntley had, at his castle, a cannon, which had been put into his hands, when he was lieutenant of the north, demanded this cannon, to be, within 48 hours, delivered at an appointed place, four miles from his castle. He delivered this cannon, within the time, and at the place appointed: and, he desired her messenger, Captain Hay, to deliver this answer from him; that not only that, which was her own, but also his body, and goods, were at her Grace’s command. His wife, with heavy looks, led Captain Hay into the chapel, and placing herself on the altar, spoke with him in this manner: “good friend: you see here the envy, that is borne unto my husband! would he have forsaken God, and his religion, as those, that are now about the Queen’s grace, and have the whole guiding of her, have done, my husband had never been put at, as he now is. God,” said she, “and he, that is upon this holy altar, whom I believe in, will, I am sure, preserve, and let our true meaning hearts be known, and, as I have said unto you; so I pray you, let it be said unto your mistress: my husband was ever obedient unto her, and so will die her faithful subject.” – This message, said Randolph to Cecil, was heard at good length, by the Queen: the first part thereof told before her council, the rest in secret to herself; to the intent, her heart might have been moved to pity. But, continued he, she knoweth so many of their conceipts, that she believeth not a word of either; and so she declared to her council, whereat there hath since been good pastime.
This leads to the enquiry, as to what led the Queen to undertake such a journey, and to act, in such a manner, with her minister, against Huntley, who had always been attached to her, and her family, and had sent a message to her in France, by the bishop of Ross; offering the Queen his duty and service. It was given out by her ministers, that Huntley intended to seize her person, in order to compel her to marry Sir John Gordon, who was already married: she ought to have known, however, that Huntley, was one of the chief nobles, who enabled her mother, to resist the governor, Arran, when he proposed to marry the infant Queen to his deranged son; she ought to have understood, distinctly, that Huntley was too experienced a statesman, to entertain such dangerous follies. She ought to have known, that her ministers were men, who were capable of asserting any falsehood, in pursuit of their object; she must have known, unless the transaction was grossly mis-stated to her, that the scuffle, in Edinburgh street, was a mere breach of the peace, without any relation to her government, as it arose, from private interests mingling with the coarse manners of that turbulent age. When she gave the Lord James her patent, for the earldom of Moray, she might have assumed a very dignified attitude. You have long solicited me, for the earldom of Moray, which I have now given you; but I understand Huntley, and his family, have some claims upon it: you must go to the Court of Session, to settle your several pretensions. If she was told, by her minister, that the affairs of the northern shires were unsettled, and it was necessary for her government, that she should go into the north, in order to settle them, this implied, that courts of justice were to be held, for punishing wrong doers, and declaring right. But, there is no trace of juridical proceedings; and, when Sir John Gordon appeared, at Aberdeen, and offered himself to justice, he was sent prisoner to Stirling castle. There was no disturbance, at Inverness, till the Queen, and her ministers, coming there, made a forcible entry into the castle, without any legal proceeding; and hanged the governor, not for acting wrong, but for acting right. As the Queen, and her servants, seem to have had no business, at Inverness, they appear, from the beginning, to have had it in contemplation, to offer an affront, to Lord Gordon, the heir of Huntley, and the Duke’s son-in-law: in favour to the Queen, we may suppose, that she may have been unconscious of the purpose of her minion, which, from the conception of this journey, was plainly directed against Lord Gordon, and his rights, the Earl of Huntley, and his rights: but the minister knew, that he could make no impression upon Huntley, and his family, by any legal proceeding: and, he was induced, to bring the Queen’s person, and name, and authority, to justify violence and wrong, unwarrantableness and illegality: but the Queen’s person, and presence, could not justify violence, and wrong, unwarranted proceedings and illegal means. If the Queen, indeed, was overpowered, by the vice, and villainy, of her minion; then, must the necessity, which forced her, defend her: making Huntley, personally, liable, for the offence of his son, the circumstances, whereof evince, that he had no privity with him, was an act contrary to every law, human, and divine. But, what shall we say, to the deliberate resolution, which was adopted, by the queen, and her ministers, to use force, and fraud, for the utter subversion of the house of Huntley, for ever? such a resolution was consistent with the practice of Turkish tyranny; while it was inconsistent with the genius, and administration, of every civilized government: yet, the Queen could not see, that her name, her authority, and person, were prostituted to the vilest purposes of the most odious policy.
In pursuance of that policy, however, a considerable number of armed men were assembled around Aberdeen. An enterprize was soon after directed against Huntley’s castle, for the purpose of taking, or besieging him, within it. This project seems to have been better laid, than executed. They surrounded his castle, yet by matchless dexterity, he made his escape; while his wife threw open the doors; received the besiegers, courteously; and entertained them, hospitably. When the house was searched, no suspicious person was found, nor was there any warlike provision, neither was there any fine furniture, which seems to have been removed. Wise men, as well as wise women, might, from those circumstances, have inferred, that there was yet no other proof of Huntley’s guilt, than mere surmises, which, by artifices, were exaggerated, from molehills to mountains. As force had thus failed; it was now resolved to try what fraud could achieve: and, Randolph intimated to Cecil, that there wanted, in the Highlands, no good fellows, to be instruments to any such purposes, of betraying Huntley. What profligacy! It was now resolved, by the ministers, to call a Parliament soon, that Huntley might therein be openly pronounced a rebel to his sovereign; but, we hear nothing of any proofs of his guilt. On the 15th of October, Huntley was denounced a rebel to his sovereign, though evidence was still wanting of his guilt, if we except the doubtful surmises of his privity, in respect to his son’s offences, if he did not appear before her, on the morrow: As he could not, from the distance of his retirement, appear on the morrow, he was, on the 16th, denounced a rebel.
Finding that his castle was no longer his safest shelter, Huntley sent his wife to the Queen, on the 20th of October, to explain to the Queen his innocence, and his intentions: but, that respectable woman was not admitted, within two miles of the court. He now sent a messenger, “offering to enter into ward, till his cause might be tried, by the whole nobility:” but this offer was refused, however reasonable, it was in itself, and consistent with the minister’s policy. Huntley, at length, meditated to retire into the fastnesses of the highlands: but, in an unlucky hour, for himself, and his family, he resolved to appeal to arms, which could avail him little, under such circumstances.
Huntley was thus driven to commit an offence of great magnitude. And, he came forward to Corrachie, within twelve miles of Aberdeen, with five hundred new raised men, some of whom, daily, deserted him, in order to force his way to the Queen’s presence, like Essex, at a subsequent day, when he attempted to gain access to Elizabeth, by forcible means. He had, at length, taken his ground; and, by doing so, had fallen into the snare, which had been laid for him, by so many artifices. Murray, as the Queen’s lieutenant, now marched out, from Aberdeen, with two thousand men, to surround the victim of his policy. Huntley had taken his position, on a hill of difficult access: but, he was driven from it, by the harquebusiers, into a narrow morass below: and, he was here obliged to surrender, with his two sons, Sir John, and Adam, a boy of seventeen, after a very slight resistance. Huntley had only with him, adds Randolph, his own friends, tenants, and servants, of whom divers, in two nights before, stole secretly, from him: of those, that remained, there were slain 120; on the other side, not one man, but divers hurt, and many horses slain. Murray, when he marched out of Aberdeen against the Earl, had about 2000, said Randolph, with Athol, Morton, and many other noblemen.
This discomfiture was soon followed, by punishment. A court was immediately held, for the trial of the guilty. The two sons of Huntley, with many respectable men of the name of Gordon, were condemned. Sir John Gordon, who was said to be the author of all those troubles, was executed. His brother Adam was pardoned; as he was still under the age of manhood: this boy lived to be a successful commander, on the Queen’s side, during the subsequent civil wars, between her authority, and Murray’s usurpation. But, for Mary’s misconduct, Huntley, and his sons, would have been towers of strength to the Queen, during her troubles, if they had not been thus thrown down, by her own imprudence. And, the body of Huntley, after some debate, was preserved, for the purpose of trial, before the Parliament, and for the benefit of forfeitures to those, who might be favoured, by Murray, with donations of the spoils. All the great objects of this northern tour being thus accomplished, by giving possession of Moray to Mar, and effecting Huntley’s ruin, the Queen, and her suite, returned southwards, on their progress to Edinburgh. At Aberdeen, the Queen, remained, from the 22d of September, till the 5th of November, when she departed for Dunnoter, where she slept: She journeyed, slowly, along the coast, to Montrose: and passing thence, arrived at Dundee, on the 12th. At this commercial town, was she met, by the Duke, who came to solicit pardon, for his son-in-law, Lord Gordon; instead of demanding reparation, for the wrong done to him, and his daughter, by the attack on the castle of Inverness: But, as always happens to spiritless men, he received little comfort; as it had been resolved, that nothing should be, finally, settled, till the meeting of Parliament. Lord Gordon was soon after surrendered by the Duke, when he was committed to the castle of Edinburgh. In this manner, then, was the family of Gordon ruined, by the artful villainy of an ambitious minion! By the same means, any other family, in Scotland, might have been equally run down. In fact, the Earl of Sutherland, who had attended the Queen, throughout her northern tour, on pretence of a letter, which was said to be found, in Huntley’s pocket, was actually attainted of treason.
The Queen, with her suite, on the 13th of November, set out, from Dundee, for Perth, where she remained till the 16th: when she departed, on her journey, to Edinburgh where she arrived, on the evening of the 21st of November, after an absence of nearly four months. But, what was the result? Her whole journey was founded, in imposture, and conducted, by fraudulence, and force, for the benefit of her minion. Being, egregiously, imposed upon, by a thousand of his fictions, and falsehoods, the Queen was at once made the victim of his ambition, and the instrument of his murders. In Scotland, during this reign, it was not, as in France, under the peculiar administration of professed ministers, who debased the nobles, and thereby elevated the throne. Murray acted, studiously, for himself, but not for the Queen: What he derived, by the sacrifice of so many respectable men, he placed in his own scale, which raised her’s. At one blow, he had ruined two noble families; Huntley’s and Sutherland’s; and he was, at the same time, in pursuit of Bothwell. His progress, then, was rapid, in removing every noble, who could oppose his career of ambition: His faction had long been powerful; and he every day, by successive adventures, made it still more numerous, and more forcible: While Murray thus converted Mary, by so many art, into his appropriate instrument; he himself was the mere tool of Elizabeth. But, the head, and heart of the Scotish Queen were occupied with other objects, than the supporting of the authority of her crown, and the promoting of the influence of her person!
The moment, that the Queen arrived, at Edinburgh, on the 21st of November, after four month’s absence, she was taken ill of a disease, which would now be called the influenza, which detained her in bed six days. Of that illness, her youth, and constitution, easily obtained the better; so that she soon became quite well: But, of her political diseases, under the infection of Elizabeth, and the management of Murray, she never recovered; though she had some moments of ease, and quiet.
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