AS Darnley’s murder was effected, by Murray’s faction, the odious deed was involved in complete mystery, by the artifices of Secretary Maitland. Of course, every sort of rumour was immediately raised with regard to the perpetrators of that shocking deed. Bothwell was, chiefly, conjectured to have been the most guilty; because Murray, and Maitland, knew, that he was destined to be the scape-goat of the conspirators. Morton was implicated, in the same report. Murray, though he had left Edinburgh, to visit his wife, in Fifeshire, was supposed to know, when, and by whom this deed of horror was to be committed. And, though the Queen’s heart was almost rent in twain, by an event, which put an end to all her prospects, after their recent reconcilement she was slandered, both at home, and abroad, as privy to the crime.
The Queen’s government offered high rewards to any one, who would discover the guilty person; Murray, Morton, and Maitland, being themselves the guilty chiefs of that odious murder. In a few days, a placard was set up, in the public places, pointing out Bothwell, and other persons, as the murderers: But, the men, who thus denounced those names, and characters, were too prudent to avow their publication. A correspondence ensued, between the Queen, and Lennox, which we may remember was thought somewhat frivolous, by the Queen’s ministers; as we have seen, from Kyllygrew’s letter to Cecil. This correspondence ended, however, when an order was made, by the Privy Council, on the 28th of March, for Bothwell’s trial, on the 12th of April, then next. Lennox, as soon as he had notice of this appointment, discovered, that, it was more easy to write letters of accusation, than to adduce proofs of guilt. He now wrote to Elizabeth, and to Mary, to obtain a postponement of the trial. Elizabeth, obviously, wishing to embarrass Mary, wrote to her a letter, which arrived, by express at Holyrood-house, early on the morning of the day, appointed for the trial; and which coming into the power of Secretary Maitland, probably never reached Mary’s hands. It is unnecessary to remark, how much such a letter was contrary to all the principles of law, and justice. The Court of Justiciary proceeded on the trial of Bothwell, notwithstanding the reasons of delay, which were stated, by Lennox’s agents. Lennox himself advanced, from Glasgow, to Stirling, on his way to Edinburgh: But, here, his heart failing him, he wrote his excuses, for not attending the trial, which he had demanded, with so much perseverance. The justiciary court, plainly, consisted of Murray’s friends. Morton, one of the guilty conspirators, supported Bothwell, on one hand, and Maitland, who was equally guilty, supported him on the other hand. There was no evidence given against Bothwell: as the prosecutor did not appear: And, he was, necessarily, acquitted of the crime, whereof he was guilty. But, it was an essential part of the plot, that Bothwell should be saved harmless, in order to effect ulterior measures against the Queen, in favour of Murray.
In the meantime, the Queen, on the 10th of March, returned from Seaton to Edinburgh, where she remained, till the 18th of April; daily engaged in the public business. On that day, she left Edinburgh, for Dunbar, where she remained on the 2d and 3d of April; spent the three subsequent days, at Seaton; and returned to Edinburgh, on the 7th of April, where she probably remained till the meeting of Parliament. Murray, her minister, who went out of the way, when the King was to be murdered, soon returned from Fife to Edinburgh, where he continued to act, in the national affairs, with Secretary Maitland, for his instrument, and countenancing Bothwell, as his associate. On the 9th of April, having obtained the Queen’s permission, Murray set out, from Edinburgh to France; taking his journey through England. Abroad, he seems to have had no business; but, at home, he had much business, critical, as the moment was; and speedily as the Parliament was to meet. Every circumstance, which is connected with Murray, from the 30th of September, evinces, that he was the head of the conspiracy of his faction, which had murdered the King, though he kept himself under cover, and pushed Bothwell forward, as his cat’s-paw.
In the midst of those shocking scenes, a Parliament assembled, in Edinburgh, on the 14th of April, consisting of the constituted members. They were met, by the Queen’s commissioners, in the accustomed manner. On the 16th the Queen, personally, appeared in Parliament, when the committee of articles was chosen. There seems to have been a previous concert, that this convention should, from its proceedings, be deemed a heeling Parliament, as Murray, and his faction, considering the part they were acting, had a strong interest to conciliate. Of four and twenty acts, which were then passed, the greatest number consisted of repeals of forfeitures, or confirmations of rights; showing in their enactments, the wretched manners of a wretched age. Accusations, by placards, were prohibited, in future, with an allusion to the late charges against Bothwell. One act, on the subject of religion, during a religious age, is memorable. The same Queen, who is charged, by Robertson, with attempting to suppress the reformed discipline, with the aid of the bishops, passed a law; renouncing all foreign jurisdiction, in ecclesiastical affairs; giving toleration to all her subjects to worship God, in their own way; and engaging to give some additional privileges: By the first clause, the papal jurisdiction was renounced, by the second, a toleration was established; and by the third, some other points were promised, which might have led to a liturgy, which was the only thing wanting, to form a complete reformation, in a parliamentary mode. Yet, are there writers, so besotted with prejudice, as to say, that nothing was done, in the Parliament of April 1567, concerning religion. It was, very generally, believed, during those credulous times, that this Parliament had confirmed the acquittal of Bothwell: But, the silence of the Parliamentary record shows, sufficiently, that this assumption must be false: There was, indeed, an act of confirmation of Bothwell’s lands, and offices, as such acts were passed to Murray, and others, arising out of the many forfeitures of those times; yet, it contains not any clause, confirming his acquittal. Those confirmations, however, of defective titles, induced such profligate characters, as Morton, and Murray, to attack the Queen, with more boldness.
After the rising of Parliament, in which Bothwell seems to have been an assiduous attendant, a very remarkable scene ensued. Morton, and Maitland, solicited, and obtained, from the several lords of Murray’s faction, and from eight bishops, a declaration in writing; avowing their belief of Bothwell’s innocence; and recommending Bothwell, though a married man, as the fittest husband, for the Queen. This is undoubtedly, one of the most atrocious transactions that history has recorded; though it was, certainly, effected by Murray’s agents, Morton, and Maitland, in pursuance of one of the points, in this notorious plot, that Bothwell, for murdering the King, should have the widowed Queen, in reward. The disgrace of this measure was somewhat felt: And in order to assuage that sensation, a document was forged, containing the Queen’s previous assent, to the signing of that declaration: Yet, the purpose of the day being obtained, this forgery was heard of never more: But, its appearance on such an occasion, evinces sufficiently the source, from whence it proceeded: Such a statesman, as Secretary Maitland, could alone have conceived such a forgery, for such a purpose.
The Queen, on the 21st of April, set out, with her usual attendants, to visit her son, at Stirling; and, returning towards Edinburgh, on the 24th of the same month, was seized, by Bothwell, at the head of 800 horsemen, near the Foulbriggs: And carried, forcibly, with Huntley, then Chancellor, Secretary Maitland, Sir James Melvill, and other attendants, to Dunbar castle. He there boasted, as we learn, from Melvill, and Lesley, that he would marry the Queen, who would, or who would not; yea, whether she herself would, or not. To act, and speak thus, Bothwell was emboldened, not only by his reliance on the engagement of his complotters; but, by the declaration of so many peers, and prelates, that they would defend his marriage. He now coerced the Queen, till she agreed to marry him. The Queen afterwards complained, feelingly, that while she remained, under his thraldom, in the castle of Dunbar, not a sword was drawn for her relief; but, after her marriage with him, owing to those causes, a thousand swords were drawn, to drive him, from the country, and to dethrone her. This intimation shews, sufficiently, that the unhappy Queen had been drawn, by matchless artifice, and force, into a snare, from which she could not escape.
It is easy to see, that it was Murray’s faction, which brought the Queen into that snare, if we will only attend to a few circumstances. The King’s murder was plainly committed by Murray’s faction, with Bothwell for its cat’s-paw. Murray retired, from Scotland, to France, when he ought, as principal minister, to have remained, to protect the Queen, and her kingdom, from such hazards, and snares. Bothwell, when tried, was acquitted, by Murray’s faction, with Morton, and Maitland, two of his complotters, for Murray’s agents. Morton, and Maitland, acting, as such agents, obtained the declaration of the peers, and prelates, of the 20th of April, in favour of Bothwell, which emboldened him, and deluded her. Maitland, who knew the whole details of the conspiracy, was plainly in the secret of the Queen’s arrestment, and coercion; attending upon her the while, to give her bad, not salutary advice.
The die of the Scotish Queen was now cast. Amidst many difficulties, while under Bothwell’s thraldom, and Maitland’s delusion, she chose to marry that miscreant, as the least difficulty. She was in the fangs of Murray’s faction; and whatever had been her choice, on that occasion, the same faction had conducted her to her ruin. Bothwell brought the Queen to Edinburgh castle, on the 29th of April 1567. That odious man, immediately, commenced an action of divorce against his wife; and, she, with equal alacrity, brought a suit, for her divorce, against her husband. These several actions of divorce, as there was no strong objections, were soon decided. The Queen was induced to give a written assent to the odious declaration of the peers, and prelates, before mentioned. The banns of marriage were now published, by John Craig, one of the Edinburgh ministers, though with some reluctance. On the 12th of May, she was brought into the court of session; and made a declaration of her good mind towards Bothwell. She created him Duke of Orkney. And on the 14th of May 1567, she entered into a formal contract of marriage with the Duke of Orkney, which was witnessed, by her officers of state, and other respectable persons. After all those previous steps, on Thursday the 15th of May 1567, the Queen was married to the Duke of Orkney, by the bishop of Orkney, according to the new form, in the great hall of the palace, after sermon, and not in the chapel, as her marriage with Darnley had been. She now sent envoys to England, and to France, in order to communicate her marriage, and the reasons thereof; but, not the true ones, which are to be found, in the act of Parliament, attainting Bothwell. Yet such an enforced marriage could not be happy: and scarcely day passed, without brutish conduct on his part, and many a tear, on her’s.
A great change was now effected by the Queen’s marriage to Bothwell. Murray’s faction had, by this event, to which they had conducted her step by step, obtained one of the great points in their plot; as they had engaged to Bothwell, their cat’s-paw, that he should have the Queen, in reward: And, while that faction made this stipulation, they knew, that it would involve Bothwell, and the Queen, in ruin; because, it would connect the Queen with the murderer of her husband; and supply matter of charge against both.
A new conspiracy was now formed; to carry into full effect what had been left undone, by the old; that is, the old conspirators formed a new plot, to build another revolution upon the old grounds: Morton, and Maitland, were the chief, and active members of the former conspiracy, so were they of this; and as Murray was the concealed partner, but real gainer, by the former, so was he chief in this, though he was, in France, and obtained, by it, the vice-regal chair, the great object of all his aims. All the associate nobles, except Athol, and Mar, subscribed the writing, of the 19th-20th of April; declaring, Bothwell, fairly, and legally, acquitted; and recommending him, as the properest husband for the Queen; And, yet, this marriage was no sooner effected, than they denounced Bothwell, as the King’s murderer, and held forth the Queen’s marriage with him, as a proof, that she was privy to the murder. Like the foul fiend, they tempted, and deluded; and then, betrayed, and accused their sovereign.
Whatever the avowed objects of the conspirators may have been; their real object was, undoubtedly, from the very commencement of their association, to dethrone the Queen, and to crown her infant son. This object is very explicitly avowed, by their confidential agent, Sir James Melvill; as it had been thrown out to the vulgar, as early as the baptism of the Prince; because a Regent would, in such case, be necessary. In negociating with Sir James Balfour, to betray his trust, in keeping the castle, for the conspirators, Melvill said this negociation took place, after the secret meeting of the rebel lords, at Stirling, where they signed the writing, and before they assembled to take the field. Balfour listening to Melvill’s arguments agreed, to hold the castle, for the conspirators and the Prince. This agreement of Balfour was thought sufficient, to restrain the present popular emotion, till the nobles might convene to pursue the murderers, and to crown the Prince; as they had already concluded, at a secret meeting among themselves, which was not kept so privately, but, that one of the lords advised the Earl of Bothwell. Such then was the concurrence of contemporary authors, with regard to the real motives, and secret meetings, of the new confederacy of Murray’s faction.
The series of their proceedings, for obtaining their ends, of dethroning the Queen, and crowing her son, appear to have been as follows: Immediately on the solemnisation of the Queen’s marriage, on the 15th of May, they spread their rumours, the disseminated their calumnies, they dispatched their letters to their partisans. 2dly. They assembled in a secret meeting, at Stirling, between the 20th and the 26th of May, when they resolved to dethrone the Queen, and to crown her infant son, who was not a twelve month old; and to these ends, they entered into a written agreement, which they severally signed. 3dly. They resolved to bring their forces into the field, early, in June; Those on the north of the Forth, and in the west, to rendezvous at Stirling; from whence they were to march forward, and meet the forces of Morton, Home, and others, from the southward, at Liberton, in Mid Lothian, the place of general meeting, about the 8th or 9th of June; and with this force, they intended to surprise the Queen, and Bothwell, and to seize the capital, the castle having been already secured, by intrigue.
Meantime, the Queen, far from affecting, on her late marriage, to rule, or to dictate, put the whole of her government into the hands of the nobles. On the 16th, the 17th, and the 22d, after swearing in new members, the whole Privy Council was arranged into divisions, which were to act, by turns, in rotation, as had been done, in the most troublous times; in the minority of James V, and as had been practised, by herself, in 1562. At the same time, the Queen was induced to issue a proclamation; declaring all writings, for permitting papists, to exercise their religion, to be recalled; she not being inclined, to violate the proclamation, issued by her, soon after her arrival, and often since, in favour of the religion. Such, then, were the Queen’s acts, soon after her marriage, which shew, sufficiently, that she was not then in thraldom; and that her measures, considering the state of the country, were salutary: But, she courted popularity, in vain, while the hearts of the people were turned against her, and Murray’s faction had, secretly, resolved, to dethrone her, and to crown her son; as the series of their actions evince, though Knox, Buchanan, and Spottiswoode, are silent, with regard to the private regulations of the noble insurgents, with Morton, and Maitland, two of the principal murderers of the late King.
The Queen, and her councils, taking into their consideration the disorders of the borders, issued a proclamation; commanding all her people, in the more southern shires, to assemble, at Melros, on the 15th of June, with fifteen days provision; to proceed with the Queen, and her lieutenant, her husband, against the rebellious borderers. It was immediately, rumoured, by the insurgents, that this force, which was directed, to assemble on the Tweed, was not intended against the borderers, but to take the Prince, from the Earl of Mar’s charge in Stirling castle. Such was the credulity of the people, in such an age, of censoriousness, and calumniation, it was believed, that a force, collected on the Tweed, was to attack Stirling castle, in an opposite quarter. Knox is express upon the point, that a force, which was marched into the south, was clearly intended to besiege Stirling castle, which is so far northward, from the Tweed. Buchanan, and Hume, the historian of the Douglasses, rather laugh at this absurd rumour; and mention circumstances, which evince, that the object assigned was the true design: The Queen endeavoured by a fresh proclamation, on the 4th of June, to disabuse the credulous; she now avowed her affections for her people; disclaimed any wish to innovate upon the established laws; and hoped, that she had placed her son, in such safe hands, that the security of his person, and the cultivation of his mind, need not be doubted, to whom those charges are committed, according to the ancient practice. But, such declarations were not much regarded. The Queen, and Bothwell, from what they heard, thought it prudent to retire from Holyrood-house, on the 6th of June, to Borthwick castle, about eight miles, south-east of Edinburgh. And the insurgents being more forward, with their forces, surrounded Borthwick castle, where the Queen and Bothwell lay; expecting to bring the insurrection to a speedy issue: But, Bothwell easily effected his escape; and after him, the Queen, disguised in man’s apparel, fled to Dunbar castle. The insurgents now countermarched upon Edinburgh, which, as it was feebly defended, was easily entered, while the townsmen favoured their enterprize.
This success seems to have induced the insurgents to assume the powers of government. They issued a proclamation, on the 11th of June; stating with their usual falsehood, and disingenuity, that the Queen being detained in captivity, was neither able to govern her realm, nor to try the murder of her husband, the nobility, and council, command all the subjects, and the citizens of Edinburgh to assist, in delivering the Queen, in preserving the Prince, and in punishing the murderers of the King: They, moreover, commanded the lords of session to sit, notwithstanding the present enterprize, under the pain of being deemed the murderers of the King. Had the nobles, and council, come thus forward a month sooner, there had been some sense, and some spirit, in their proceeding: But, the Queen was not, at present, in captivity; she was not disabled from governing her realm, as we have seen; and the supposed murderer of her husband had been tried and acquitted, by the chiefs of the insurgents; while the Prince was in their own keeping. Had the chiefs of the law arrested the principal insurgents, they had immortalized themselves: But, alas! the Scots, – wha had wi’ Wallace bled, were now no more.
The insurgents, after stating the same motives, on the 12th of June, commanded all the Queen’s people, within Edinburgh to be ready to join their standard, under the pain of being deemed murderers of the King. This was done, by Morton, the leader of the insurgents, and one of the principal assassins of Darnley: But, the citizens, who were not much affected, by such proclamations, joined the standard of insurgency, very slowly. The corporation of Edinburgh sent a deputation to the Queen, who endeavoured to excuse the city, for admitting the nobility, and council. In aid of those proclamations, sundry libels, both in prose, and rhyme, were published, “to move the hearts of the people:” Yet, the inhabitants were not much moved, and did not join the insurrection, with any alacrity; and many of the nobles were adverse, and some of them neutral. The insurgents were ill provided, with arms, and ammunition. From all those causes, the chiefs of the conspiracy, began to doubt the success of their cause, and even had thoughts of dissolving their association, and armaments; they would have certainly dispersed, if the Queen had remained a few days longer, at Dunbar.
After the Queen retired to Dunbar castle, which the insurgents, wanting artillery, and ammunition, could not have taken, she issued, on the 12th of June, proclamations; calling out her subjects, in the adjacent countries: And great numbers, from Lothian, and the Merse, came speedily to her assistance; so that she mustered, at the end of two days, two thousand fighting men. With these, she imprudently resolved to take the field. She had every thing to gain, from a few days delay, and nothing to gain from rashness: If, in the mean time, she had avowed her design, to bring to speedy justice the murderers of her late husband; particularly the Earl of Morton, and Secretary Maitland, as two of the chief murderers, she would have abashed them, and gained her many friends: But, Bothwell was but a weak man, and the Queen was not a manly woman: thus, of course, they were incapable of taking strong measures, and assuming vigorous acting. On the 14th of June she marched out, with a little army, towards Edinburgh, and halted at Gladsmoor. Here, a proclamation was read, at the head of her army: Exposing the professions of the insurgents, which were untrue, and hypocritical: Showing that her late marriage had been contracted, and solemnized, with the consent, and persuasions of the chiefs of the insurgents, as their writings testify: asserting that though they affected to fear for the safety of her son, who was in their own possession: yet, was their only object, to overthrow her and her posterity, that they themselves might rule, without controul: Stating that necessity had forced her to take arms, for her own defence, in the hope of having the support of all her subjects: And engaging, finally, to recompense their valorous services, with the lands of the insurgents. The Queen lay at Seaton, on the 14th of June; while her army was quartered in the adjacent villages.
Intelligence of the Queen’s movements reached Edinburgh, before midnight. The insurgents, instantly, marched out to Restalrig, where they rested till the morning. Early, on Sunday morning, the 15th of June, they marched forward to Musselburgh, where they refreshed themselves: And, hearing that the Queen, with her army, had marched forward to Carberry-hill, where she took post, the insurgents marched out of Musselburgh, and arranged themselves in two divisions before her; the Earl of Morton commanding the first; and the Earl of Athol the second.
While the two armies stood thus opposed to each other, the aged Le Croc, the French ambassador, advanced to the chief insurgents, and endeavoured to effect an accommodation. He assured them, on the part of the Queen, that she was desirous of preventing bloodshed, and wished for peace; that, to effect these objects, she would grant them pardons, and declare a general oblivion of what had been done; and, that she faithfully promised, they should all be indemnified, for taking arms against her. To these conciliatory offers, Morton, in the name of the chiefs, made answer: That they had taken arms, not against the Queen; but, against the murderer of the King, whom, if she would deliver to punishment, or put him, from her company, she should find nothing more desired, by them, and by all her other subjects, than to continue their dutiful obedience; but, without those conditions, no peace could be made: and Glencairn, one of the most corrupt, and fanatic of men, added, with his usual baseness: “That they were not come into the field, to ask for pardon, for what they had done; but, rather to give pardon for those, that have offended.” The French ambassador, from the manner, and the matter of this answer, perceiving, that his efforts would be exerted, in vain, took leave of the Queen, and withdrew to Edinburgh.
Bothwell now sent a herald to the adverse camp; offering to prove his innocence, by single combat. James Murray, who had placarded Bothwell, and his elder brother, the comptroller of the Queen’s household, offered, successively, to accept the challenge: But, Bothwell objected to both; as inferior to him in rank. Bothwell now challenged Morton, by name, who is said to have accepted the challenge, and appointed the weapons to be two handed swords, and the conflict to be on foot. Lord Lindsay now stepped out; and begged of Morton to be allowed the honour of fighting, for the innocence of Morton, and the guilt of Bothwell. Morton readily assented: But, the Queen is said to have commanded both to desist. The proper battle had been, between Bothwell and Morton, two of the convicted murderers of the King; and the best consummation had been, if they had killed one another, as two of the most guilty men on earth.
The Queen now sent a herald to the opposite camp, desiring, that the laird of Grange, the best soldier, in Scotland, might be sent to her; in order to confer with their sovereign, on terms of accommodation. Grange waited on the Queen, fully authorized, by the chiefs, to adopt some reconcilement. He proposed, in their names, that Bothwell, being suspected of Darnley’s murder, should pass off the field, until the cause might be tried; and that the Queen might pass over to them, and use the counsel of her nobles, and they, in return, would honour, serve, and obey her majesty, as their sovereign. To this, the Queen readily assented, upon their promise of obedience: And Grange, thereupon, took Bothwell, by the hand, and desired him to depart; promising that no one should oppose, or follow him; and thus, by their own consent, Bothwell passed away. The Queen then went over, with Grange to the adverse army; and when she joined them, Morton said to her, with great reverence, “Madam, here is the place, where your grace should be; and we will honour, serve, and obey you, as ever the nobility of this realm did any of your progenitors before.” And they then ratified the promise, which had been made, on their behalves to the Queen, by Grange.
The first act of Morton, and his associated nobles, was an act of perfidy. They violated Grange’s promises, and their own engagements. They immediately treated the Queen, as a captive. They conducted her, at seven o’clock, in the evening, not to her palace of Holyrood-house; but carried her through the streets of Edinburgh, covered with dust, and bedewed with tears; to the Provost’s house, unpitied by the high, and insulted by the low, with a banner of white taffety displayed before her watery eyes, on which was painted the strangled King, and the young Prince, on his knees, crying out: “Judge and avenge my cause, Oh Lord.” She was lodged, in the Provost’s house, for the night, where she found little repose; owing to the yells of the populace; but, perhaps, more from recollections of her misery, inflicted by the continual perfidy of nobles, who had no religion, or morals, no honour, or good faith; and if she had any consolation, it arose from her consciousness of innocence, though she felt her imprudence, in trusting to the promises of nobles, whose perfidy had deceived her.
In the morning of the 16th of June, the first display, which the Queen’s weary eyes beheld, from the windows of her prison, was the same banner that afflicted her with so many feelings. It was the lower orders, who thus found a pleasure in offering insult to her dignity. The craftsmen, and citizens, who had been deluded, by the pretences of perfidy, of a design to relieve the Queen from thraldom, felt indignant, at her imprisonment. They were preparing to rescue her, from insult, and to free her from imprisonment: But, they were again deluded, by the falsehood, and fraud, of the insurgent nobles, who promised to restore her to freedom, and her state: The insurgent nobles, accordingly removed her in the evening, from the city to Holyrood-house, which pacified the citizens, though she was not restored to her freedom, and state.
While the Queen was confined, in the city, and subject to insult, she clearly perceived, that the associated nobles had no intention to perform their engagements. She sent her unworthy secretary of state, the cause of all her woes, to request of those, who had usurped her government, to convene the estates of the realm; as she was willing to submit to their determination, she being present, and heard. But, this reasonable desire was rejected, by nobles, whose object, from the origin of the insurrection, had merely been, to betray, and dethrone her.
These purposes of the insurgents soon appeared to every eye. During the same evening, in which she was removed, from the city, to Holyrood-house, they sent her prisoner, to the Castle of Lochleven, the house of William Douglas, the brother uterine of Murray, and the presumptive heir of Morton. She was entrusted to the charge of the lords Ruthven, and Lindsay, who conveyed the captive Queen, in the night, in disguised apparel, and attended, by an armed force. This rebellious act was, directly inconsistent with all their former professions, from the commencement of their insurrection; as one of their leading objects, constantly, was, to liberate the Queen, from the thraldom of Bothwell. It was directly contrary to their engagements, when she agreed to join them, on their promise to receive, as their Queen, and obey her, as their sovereign. It was also adverse to the assurance of freedom, which they gave her, during the same day, which pacified the indignant citizens. But, the insurgent nobles were all pretences, all perfidy, all practices of the basest, and most treasonous kind.
On the commitment of the Queen, to Lochleven castle, without a cause, it became necessary, to find some new pretext, for such an apparent violation of all their proclamations, which avowed their great object to be, the liberation of the Queen from Bothwell: They owed this explanation to the public, and to some of their associated, who were not complete villains. On the preceding day, the 15th of June, Grange had settled with the Queen the terms of agreement, on which she would leave Bothwell, for the insurgents; and which Morton, the chief, had ratified, in the name of the whole. A letter was now produced, purporting to be an epistle, from the Queen to Bothwell, on the night of her coming to Edinburgh: Morton had, probably, demanded some expedient of Secretary Maitland, who had the pen of forgery always, in his hand. The secretary now produced a supposed letter, from the Queen, to Bothwell, in which she is made to call him dear heart, whom she would never abandon. When Grange reproached the noble insurgents, for their bad usage to the Queen, and for their worse treatment of him, for breaking the engagement, which he had made with her, by their directions, they shewed him this letter, from Maitland’s pen: and assured him that their lives, and lands, depended on the Queen’s commitment. Grange remained dissatisfied, however; and if they had not shown him this suppositious letter, he would have left them. But, of the sending, or writing such a letter, there never were any proofs produced. Confined, and guarded, as she was, pen, ink, and paper were not at hand, if she had such follies, in her head. When it had answered the purpose of the day, this suppositious letter, was never again seen, nor heard of, in that age of forgeries. But, we ought always to recollect, that the insurgent nobles, with Maitland, for their secretary, forged such a letter, in the Queen’s name; as we shall soon hear of many forgeries.
On the same day, that the insurgent nobles, committed the Queen to Lochleven Castle, without a cause; except, that their lives, and lands, were safer, with the Queen’s imprisonment, than if she were free; those nobles entered into a second association: It is full of falsehood, and disingenuity; yet, has Robertson adopted the most of it into his history: The Queen, indeed, is not directly accused; yet, are several of the charges so artfully shaped, as to induce the reader to suppose her conduct to be criminal. What shall we say of the association of the nobles, for freeing the Queen, from Bothwell’s thraldom, while she was a prisoner to themselves? The answer must be, that they were miscreants. What ought we to say, of Secretary Cecil, who propagated, that the Scotish Queen was warded, in Lochleven castle, till Bothwell might be tried, though he was handed off the field, by the nobles, when they had secured the Queen’s person? The answer must be, that he lent himself to propagate the falsehoods, and fictions, of those perfidious miscreants, with the murderer of the King, at their head.
On the 17th of June the insurgent nobles began to show their zeal, for punishing various persons, who were, and some, who were not, guilty, of the King’s murder: They probably allowed Sebastian, a Frenchman, to escape. Captain William Blackadder was tried, condemned, and executed, for the King’s murder. But, at his death, he would no ways confess himself guilty.
The insurgent nobles, on the 18th of June, seized the Queen’s plate, jewels, and other moveables, in Holyrood-house: They coined the whole of her plate. On the same day, Glencairn went with his servants into the Queen’s chapel of Holyrood-house, and broke down the altars, and demolished the pictures, images, and ornaments. This outrage was highly commended by the preachers, as a work of great godliness: But, the other insurgent nobles were somewhat displeased; as he had done this mischief, without any order, and before they had resolved, how to deal with the Queen.
It is a curious circumstance, which marks the real design of the rebellious nobles: They immediately took the most decisive, and vigorous measures against the Queen, in violation of their public professions, and in breach of their solemn engagements, to serve, and obey her; while they did not pursue Bothwell, or take any measure to prevent his escape; though they always avowed one of their chief objects to be, to inflict condign punishment on Bothwell, for the King’s murder: Morton and Maitland, who were his complotters, knew, that he could charge them with their guilty conduct, in that abominable deed. On the 26th of June, ten days after the Queen’s imprisonment, the insurgent lords, calling themselves “the lords of the Secret Council,” ordered letters to be directed, in the Queen’s name, to the keeper of Dunbar castle, to surrender the same, in six hours, as he had been received within it. On the same day, they issued a proclamation for arresting Bothwell; that he might be punished for the King’s murder. Now, the fact is, that Bothwell was himself the keeper of the castle of Dunbar; and the charge to surrender it, can only be construed, as an intimation, that he would do well to depart. After he had here remained twenty days, Bothwell, as hereditary high admiral of Scotland, put to sea, about the 6th or 7th of July, in two small vessels, accompanied by several accomplices, and servants; leaving the castle, in the charge of the laird of Whitelaw, as his deputy keeper. He only went into Murray, where he was received by his grand uncle, Patrick Hepburn, the bishop. The insurgent nobles, who governed, in the name of their imprisoned Queen, pursued Bothwell with proclamations. They afterwards, fitted out two ships, under Grange, and Tullybardin, to follow him to the Orkneys, where his own deputy, Gilbert Balfour, refused to admit him into the castle of Kirkwall. He, in the end, found it necessary, to depart, both from Orkney, and Shetland, having lost one of his ships, and to sail towards Norway, where, having attempted the capture of a trader, vessels of war were sent out, by the Danish government, which took his ship; and he, and his crew were detained in the prisons of Denmark. It was soon discovered, that Bothwell was the lord high admiral of Scotland, and the Queen’s husband, who had been expelled his country, by men, who were even more guilty, and more wicked, than the wretched Bothwell.
We are now arrived, by the foregoing progress, at the 20th of June 1567, the epoch of the supposed discovery of a boxful of love letters, from the Queen to Bothwell; from a married woman to a married man, from a wife, who wished to save her husband, to a conspirator, who was leagued to murder him.
The first four letters, in Goodall’s series, pretend to have been written by her, on the 22d to the 26th of January 1567. Now; two several records, the Privy Seal Register, and the Register of Signatures, demonstrate, that the Queen remained, at Edinburgh, as late as Friday, the 24th of January, 1567. She may have left Edinburgh, on this day, after dinner, the time, when she generally travelled, and may have reached Callender; but she could not have arrived at Glasgow, till the evening of the 25th of January. The first letter, from that town, owing to its great length, and other circumstances, must have required part of three days, to write it. The second letter from Glasgow was dated on Saturday, in the morning, which must have been Saturday, the 25th of January 1567. But, those two records evince, that the Queen was at Edinburgh, on the 24th of January, and must have been on the road, on the 25th. As the Queen could not have been, at Glasgow, when those letters are dated, at that place, they must necessarily be forgeries. It is a fact, which cannot be doubted, that the Queen, and her husband, were reconciled to each other, before she went to Glasgow, to bring him to Edinburgh. This is the very period, during the two days, that she remained there, wherein the forger chose to make the Queen write her supposed letters to Bothwell.
Such, then, are the previous facts, and circumstances, to the discovery, on the 20th of June 1567, of a boxful of love letters, from the Queen to Bothwell. Morton, the conspirator, asserted, that he had arrested one Dalgleish, a servant of Bothwell, carrying this box, from Sir James Balfour, the governor of Edinburgh castle, to Bothwell, at Dunbar. But, none of the contemporary writers mention when, and where, Dalgleish was arrested, with that box. Dalgleish, however, was apprehended, as one of the murderers of Darnley, on some day, immediately preceding the 26th of June: For, on that day, he appeared before the Privy Council; and was examined, about Darnley’s murder, by Morton, the intercepter of the box, by Athol, and other privy counsellors; yet, neither did they ask, nor he answer a single question, about the box, and letters.
In all the consultations of the insurgent nobles, from the 20th of June till the 4th of December 1567, there is not the least intimation, of any box, letters, in any of the public papers. In the rebellious bond, which was entered into, for crowing the Queen’s son, and supporting his government, there is not any insinuation that any letters of the Queen had been found, which would have been so apposite; neither is there any charge. The noble insurgents chose to have, for their ruler, a boy thirteen months old, who had neither title nor ability, rather than his mother, who had the right, and competency. But, though those miscreants made no direct charge against their sovereign, they shaped their criminations of Bothwell, in such a manner, as to raise insinuations, as well as popular clamour, against her. If such letters, then, had come into their power, on the 20th of June, they would have certainly converted such insinuations into direct charges; as the foundation of their future measures: This they would have done, rather than suffer their commitment, to stand on vague, and unmeaning assertion. As they forged a letter, to justify her commitment to Lochleven castle, this example shows, that they had not any scruples, to adopt similar means, to justify themselves, and to charge the Queen. The next difficulty, which occurred to the noble insurgents, in their career of usurpation, was to obtain the Queen’s resignation of her crown, to effect which, they used artifices, threats, and violences: but, if the letters had been in their hands, at the end of July, they had only to produce them, to obtain their purpose. Their purpose of forging such letters seems to have, only, been men, within their contemplation; and would have been executed, if their artifices, threats, and violences, had not obtained her resignation.
On the subsequent day, the insurgent nobles assumed the title of “the lords of secret council.” Having caused to be arrested four persons, who were suspected of the King’s murder, the lords of secret council, therefore, ordered the said persons, to be ironed, and tormented. All those persons were executed; and probably denied their guilt, as captain Blackadder, certainly, did, otherwise we should have had their trials, and confessions, published to a credulous world. But, whatever were the pretences, and practices, of the secret council, the members were not joined, by the great body of the nobles, nor cheered, by the concourse, and plaudits of the people.
M. de Villeroy, the French ambassador, meantime came to Edinburgh, on the 23d of June; and desired to converse with the Queen, but was refused: whereupon, he returned home, through England, “finding such a troubled state, without the majesty of a prince.”
The secret council, who acted thus, with Morton, at their head, were but a very small part of the nobles: The great body of the baronage was astonished at their boldness; and felt indignant, that half a dozen persons should presume to seize the capital, and imprison the Queen; which, says Spottiswoode, they condemned as a crime of the highest treason.
In this state of men’s minds, the insurgent nobles were much embarrassed; and had quite deserted so perfidious a cause, had not Morton persuaded them, to keep together, at Edinburgh; and to invite the nobles, who were convened, at Hamilton, to join them, in the metropolis. But, the nobles, who were assembled, at Hamilton, were too circumspect, to trust themselves, in the fangs of so false, and perfidious a wretch, as Morton. The secret council now called the church, to its aid. The assembly met, at Edinburgh, on the 25th of June, to give its aid to the secret council; and chose Buchanan, as moderator: The assembly entered, zealously, into the insidious project of the secret council. The church judicatory, whose duty it is, to promote peace on earth, dispersed letters to the principal nobles, and appointed commissioners, to enforce the request of the assembly, for joining the secret council, whose object was to promote true religion, by abolishing papistry; “seeing that God, at this present, has begun to tread down Satan [the Queen] under foot.” And, in order to bring enthusiasm to their aid, the assembly appointed a public fast, to be held, in Edinburgh; beginning on Sunday, the 13th of July, and ending, on Sunday the 20th of the same month. Yet, few, or none of the nobles paid any attention to this call; and only some of the freeholders, who were heated, by fanaticism, came, in any numbers, to Edinburgh; to fast, with Buchanan, the calumniator, and to pray, with Morton, the murderer.
Meanwhile, the secret council, assuming fresh spirits, endeavoured to fortify the metropolis, as a place of arms; and the corporation of Edinburgh commanded the citizens, to prepare themselves for a siege. The secret council issued an order to the people, not to pay any taxes, or other duties, to Sir James Cockburn, the Queen’s comptroller; he being appointed, while her highness was under the shameful thraldom of Bothwell; and he being now unfit, when the Queen is at liberty, under the secret council. Three days after, Morton, Athol, Sir James Balfour, Richardson, the treasurer, and Preston of Craigmillar, ordered Servis de Conde, the Queen’s valet de chambre, to deliver Acheson the Queen’s coiner, the Queen’s plate, amounting to 74 marks, to be coined, “for forthsetting her highnesses service.” We thus may see, that the bondage of Bothwell was lighter than thin air, when compared with the plunder, and oppression, of the secret council, with Morton, her husband’s murderer, for its head.
At length, arrived, at Edinburgh on the 12th of July, Throkmorton, Elizabeth’s envoy. He had public instructions, from Elizabeth, who was not much gratified with the principles, and practices, of the secret council, who avowed, as the true motive of the insurrection to be, for freeing the Queen, from Bothwell’s bondage; yet, the moment, that she had freed herself, by leaving Bothwell, those secret counsellors, sent Elizabeth’s good cousin, secretly, to prison. Throkmorton had private instructions, from Cecil, who did not approve of this melting mood of his mistress. Throkmorton slept, on the 11th of July, at Fast castle, within the Scotish border, where he was met, by Maitland, the forger, Lord Home, the insurgent, and Sir James Melvill, the insidious instrument of the perfidious council. We may easily suppose, that the confidential conversation, which ensued, would blazon Morton’s motives, and blacken the Queen’s faults. On the morrow, Thorkmorton was conveyed to Edinburgh, by Lord Home, at the head of 400 horsemen.
One of the great objects of Elizabeth, in sending this experienced statesman to Edinburgh, was, “to deal with the lords, and Queen, for sending the young Prince, into England.” But, Elizabeth did not divine, that the baby James, at the age of twelve months, and forty days, had been destined, at the rise of the insurrection, by the most flagitious of men, as the snake, which was to sting the bosom, that had fostered him into life; by his coronation, as sovereign, in supersedence of his mother.
Throkmorton was now enveloped in all the vice, and villainy, which domineered, at Edinburgh. The insurgents dallied with him, as an envoy, whom they knew, to have double instructions. They would not allow him access to the Queen; and what he knew of her was, from Maitland, one of the falsest of mankind. She remained, as he wrote to Elizabeth, on the 14th of July, in good health, within the castle of Lochleven, guarded, by Lord Lindsay, and Douglas, the owner of it: She is waited on, by five or six ladies, four or five gentlemen, and two chamberers, whereof one is a Frenchwoman. She is guarded strictly: and the rigour of the lords proceeds, from this circumstance: because the Queen will not, by any means, consent, to lend her authority to prosecute the murderer; And she will not, by any persuasion, abandon Bothwell, for her husband. She had abandoned Bothwell, on Carberry-hill, when he was allowed, by the insurgents to depart, in peace, and to remain, in quiet, for three weeks, at Dunbar: Now, that he was expelled, and she imprisoned; what was Bothwell to the Queen; or the Queen to Bothwell? Such intimations, from Maitland to Throkmorton, are mere repetitions of the forgery, which had chiefly justified her imprisonment; and were now repeated, to warrant her detention. The insurgent nobles, continues Throkmorton, do not forget their own peril, with the danger of the Prince: But, who brought them into peril, when they drew their swords? The Prince being in their own possession, and on the eve of coronation, what danger, could the Prince be in? what sophistry! what delusion! How easily is he deluded, who plays a double part! They instantly refused him access to the Queen; they daily deluded him with false information; and they even imposed on him their own plan, for the queen’s resignation of the sovereignty, as coming from herself. If Elizabeth had not, also been deluded, by Throkmorton, and Cecil, she could have, easily, dispersed the secret council of flagitious men, who then enthralled the Queen, and kingdom, by marching a force, under Drury, from Berwick, upon Edinburgh.
But, Cecil was leagued with the insurgent lords. Neither Murray, nor Morton, nor Maitland, ever communicated to him the secret of their being themselves the devisers of the death of Darnley. Few men will avow such a secret. They indeed, all wrote letters of acknowledgment to that statesman for former protection, with a view to the future. As soon as Morton, and Athol, had drawn their swords, early in June, for dethroning the Queen, and crowning her son; avowing as a pretence, the freeing of the Queen, from Bothwell’s bondage, then they communicated their designs to Cecil. This secretary was all alacrity, on receiving this intelligence. He immediately induced Elizabeth, to order Bedford to his post, at Berwick, “to countenance the lords.” Secretary Maitland detailed their whole plan of insurrection, for those treasonous purposes to Cecil; and asked him for money, to support their measures; which, however, was not very promptly granted. But, the connection of the insurgents, with Cecil, was now completely established; and through his able hands, did they carry on their correspondence, with Murray, in France; And, in this manner, is it proved, beyond a doubt, that in the conspiracy, for dethroning of the Queen, and crowning her son, are the insurgent nobles, with Murray, and Cecil, all tied together, with hooks of steel.
The general assembly of the church, which had been appointed to convene, at Edinburgh, on the 20th of July, met, on the 21st. The letters, which the assembly had written, and the commissions appointed by its direction, for bringing to Edinburgh the nobles, and barons, who were adverse, from the secret council, completely failed of their effect: The extraordinary state of things; the Queen a prisoner; the capital being held by certain lords, with an armed force; were assigned, as reasons, by some of the absent nobles, and others, for not coming to such a treacherous meeting, in Edinburgh.
The adverse nobles, who had assembled at Hamilton, in June, about the epoch of the Queen’s imprisonment, seem to have adjourned to Dunbarton, and there bound themselves together, by an association. But, they appear, to have been too much actuated, by interested motives, and family jealousies. Their chief seems to have been Archbishop Hamilton, a man of narrow views. And the Queen was so strictly guarded, that they seem to have been precluded, from any communication with her, and still less any authority. Her imprisonment, by six nobles, was a sufficient reason, for sixty nobles, to draw their swords for her relief. The secret counsellors, who held the Queen, and the capital, in subjection, had nothing but their audacity, for their warrant.
Yet, the zeal of the commissioners, who were appointed by the church assembly, brought out a considerable number of the smaller barons, and others, who joined the assembly, at Edinburgh, on the 21st of July. As the ministers had, zealously, lent themselves to the insurgent lords, they resolved, at the same time, to secure their own objects. In the former sitting, they presented a set of articles to those lords, and their adherents, who were then present in the assembly, and subscribed by them. At the head of the subscribers were: The Earl of Morton, as the chief, Glencairn, and Mar, the Lords Hume, Ruthven, Sanquhar, Lindsay, Ochiltree, Sir James Balfour, the governor of the castle of Edinburgh, and Secretary Maitland. We have now seen the zeal, and the views of the churchmen: Yet, the insurgent lords, who subscribed this act of heat, and persecution, and made great promises of performance; having obtained their ends, easily forgot all, and violated their engagements. Those perfidious men, only served the church, as they had betrayed the crown, constantly making engagements, and breaking them, as interest prompted their efforts, and success confirmed their hopes.
The secret council had secured Edinburgh castle, by means of the perfidy of Sir James Balfour the governor. The corporation of Edinburgh, on the 23d of July, entered into a league with the castle, for mutually maintaining each other, in so godly a cause, as dethroning the Queen, and crowning her son. Encouraged, by all those measures, the secret council, on the same 23d of July, held a conference, on their proceeding with the Queen; and resolved to oblige her, to execute the resignation of the crown, on the subsequent day: And, in case she should refuse, to comply with their resolutions, they determined, to restrain her liberty more strictly, and to deprive her of all her attendants. To all those means of compulsion were added intrigue and delusion, falsehood and perfidy. Lord Lindsay, on the morning of the 24th of July 1567, was sent to Lochleven, to obtain the Queen’s signature, to her own resignation of the crown, and to the commissions of regency. He was selected, for this abominable business, as being the most ferocious and brutal, and the greatest zealot of all those brutish, and perfidious nobles, who then domineered over Scotland. We have now seen, from the most indubitable evidence, that the whole instruments of the Queen’s resignation, as well as the Privy Seal, proceeding thereon, were obtained, by threats, by violence, by force: and of consequence were unwarrantable, and void. We have now seen clearly, that Murray, Morton, and their associate commissioners, who asserted, at York, that the Queen’s resignation of her sovereignty was voluntary, were the most egregious falsifiers.
Lord Lindsay returned, from Lochleven, to Edinburgh, on the 25th of July, with the Queen’s involuntary signature to the instruments of resignation; and immediately proceeded to compel, by tumult, the keeper of the Privy Seal, to affix the appropriate seal to the same instruments. The secret council, consisting of Morton, Athol, Hume, Sanquhar, and Ruthven, assembled, to whom Lindsay, presented the three instruments, which were read, and approved. On the same day, the Queen’s resignation, and appointment of a Regency, were proclaimed, at the cross of Edinburgh. The secret council, immediately, proceeded to enter into a second association; engaging to assemble, at Stirling, and crown the Prince, and to maintain him, as King. Every effort was made, both, by the secret council, and by Murray, afterwards, to obtain subscribers to this treasonous act. At the same time, the secret council, with Morton, at its head, issued an order, to Servais de Conde, the Queen’s valet de chambre, to deliver the crown, sceptre, and sword, the regalia of this realm, for the coronation of the Prince. On the 26th of July, the associated nobles went to Stirling; and appointed the 29th of July, for the act of coronation. They, meantime, sent Sir James Melvill to the nobles, who were assembled, at Hamilton; to invite them to the Prince’s coronation: What was that, but to invite the great body of the nobles, to participate, with them, in the responsibility, for an act so violent, and unwarrantable.
When the associated nobles assembled in the hall of Stirling castle to crown the Prince, Hamilton of Muirton appeared before them, as agent for the Duke of Chattleherault; and protested against the whole proceedings, as injurious, or as probably injurious, to his rights, as, by law, presumptive heir, of the crown. The duke seemed to have forgotten, though his residence, in France, ought to have brought his own misconduct, before his eyes, that his whole proceedings, from the Queen’s arrival, in 1561, had been a tissue of weakness, and impolicy, which had distressed the Queen, but fostered the ambition of Murray. The insurgent nobles now carried baby James, 12 months, and 40 days old, to the church of Stirling, where he was crowned, and anointed, by Adam, Bishop of Orkney. Lindsay, and Ruthven, publickly swore, that the Queen did resign willingly, and without compulsion, her estate to her son, and the government of the realm to such persons, as by the several commissions she had named. What perjured wretches were Lindsay, and Ruthven! Morton took the new coronation oath for the infant King! Knox preached the sermon, on that occasion. Sir John Ballenden, the justice clerk, in the name of the three estates, and Knox, and Campbell, for the church, protested on the legality of the whole proceeding. Athol, that day, bore the crown; Morton the sceptre: Glencairn the sword; and Marr carried the baby King to his appropriate chamber, in Stirling castle.
The insurgent nobles had hitherto governed Scotland, in the Queen’s name, without her authority: From the epoch of this coronation, every act was done, in the King’s name: and, those lords directed, that the infant King should be proclaimed, in every town within the kingdom. The associated nobles had now accomplished the secret resolution, which they had entered into, at Stirling, immediately after Mary’s marriage with Bothwell; to dethrone the Queen, and crown her son, which was thus achieved, by fiction and forgery, by falsehood and perfidy, by violence and perjury. This coronation of the Prince, and dethronement of the Queen, were, merely, the consummation of the original conspiracy, for the death of Darnley. The concert which began at Michaelmas 1566, and was completed, at Craigmillar, in November, comprehended, as essential, the marriage of the Queen to Bothwell, the cat’s-paw, merely, as one of the means, for disgracing, and dethroning her. Maitland, for counsel, and Morton, for action, obtained the acquittal of Bothwell; and by artifices, and violence, forced the Queen to marry him. They had now obtained, for Bothwell, all that they had promised, in reward, for acting the chief part in the odious tragedy of Darnley’s death. The marriage was, scarcely, solemnized, when Morton, and Maitland, with other associates, entered into secret resolutions, to dethrone the Queen, and to crown the Prince; in order to let in Murray to the viceregal chair. When those guilty nobles drew their swords, they avowed, as their pretence, rather than their motive, the freeing of the Queen, from the thraldom of Bothwell. When she freed herself, from Bothwell, Morton, the murderer, immediately, made her captive, and soon sent her to Lochleven castle, as a prisoner. But, short is the distance of time, and place, from the prison to the fall of princes. They continued their efforts, and their artifices, till they crowned the Prince, and obtained the regency, for Murray.
Throkmorton, Elizabeth’s envoy, was at Stirling, during the coronation, and his cousin, Middlemore, was in the church of Stirling, during the ceremony. By thus appearing, at Stirling, during the ceremony, he seemed to the bystanders, and avowed to the dissenting nobles, that Elizabeth approved of those revolutionary measures: But, knowing her mind, as his mistress said, he ought to have abstained, from any affirmance of their doings. But, Throkmorton, throughout his whole negotiations, with those insurgents, acted knavishly, a double part, sometimes, for Elizabeth, and oftener, for Cecil: When he, insidiously, advised the Scotish Queen to resign her sceptre, he acted, in favour of Cecil, but against “the mind of his mistress.”
The baby James was thus a King. We must now proceed one step further, and advert to his safety, and his institution, as a King: The Queen had already delivered him to the charge of the Earl of Marr, with the castle of Stirling, for his residence, and to the Countess of Marr was he committed, for the care of his body, and health, as an infant. The Earl of Marr did not act, with the independence, that might have been expected from him, when he consented, that the infant should be made the instrument of his mother’s wrongs, and woes. The Earl, who rose to be the Regent, in the room of Lenox, died of a broken heart, in 1572, when he was succeeded, by Morton, the King’s murderer. In November 1572, an ordonance was made, by the Regent and Council, “for continuing the King, in the castle of Stirling, under the care of the widow of the late Earl of Marr; as to his mouth and the ordering of his person; but, to continue under his present pedagogues; and the castle, to be kept, in the name of the Earl of Marr, a boy of eleven years of age. The assembly of the Kirk had already commended the Prince, to be committed, for surety, and education, to wise, godly, and learned men.” Buchanan, who had no religion, or morals, who was an ingrate, by principle, and a falsifier, by habit, was appointed his principal pedagogue; and Peter Young, an honest, and an able man, who remained long about the King, was his preceptor. The boy James appears to have been a diligent reader, and an early author: He was also a great encourager of study in others. There remains an account of this infant King, when he was eight years old: He was said “to be the sweetest sight, in Europe, for strange, and extraordinary gifts of ingyne [ingenuity], judgement, memory, and language: He was heard to discourse, walking, in Lady Marr’s hand, of knowledge, and government, as a thing of marvel, and astonishment.” We may yet thus perceive, that the infant King was another Lama, who knew, from intuition, the wisdom of the east; and the scholarship of the west!
The next object of enquiry is the pastimes of the boy King: Bows and arrows; the fute ball, which he condemned, in his advice to his son, Henry, as too coarse, for a Prince; cachepole, or tennis, was much enjoyed, by the young Prince; schule the board, or shovel-board; billiards; and call the guse. He played much at cards; but, seems not to have been much addicted to dice. He appears to have been fond of hawking; but, he kept a pack of hounds, at Holyrood-house, which cost him a thousand a year. He appears to have loved music; and had early an establishment of violins: In 1580, he imported from London, “a pair of virginals, for his own use;” and, indeed, Elizabeth delighted to play on the virginals, in which she excelled. When he was only fourteen, he encouraged several Flemish painters, to settle in Scotland. The King seems to have been all his life weak on his limbs: In November 1582, he appears to have hurt his knee, which may have contributed to that weakness. He was studious himself, and the cause of study, in others: From the little, which he had, he certainly gave great encouragement to literature: He gave a grant of lands, in Selkirkshire, to the Admirable Crichton, when youth.