THE Scotish Queen’s celebrated letter of the 8th of November 1582, made some impression on the court of Elizabeth, as a representation of grievances. And, what was deemed an answer was sent to her, in the beginning of the year 1583. But, the chief complaint, Why do you detain me, in prison? was not answered, and could not be satisfactorily answered.
On the former policy of amusing, deluding, or entrapping the captive Queen, Beal was again sent to Sheffield, at the beginning of April 1583. He had long interviews with her: But, what advice3 to give, this able man knew not, “between the craftiness of the Scotish Queen, and the irresolution, and suspicion, of her majesty.” In the course of the conversation, the Scotish Queen remarked to Beal, “that her majesty was now growing old, as well as herself; and it was time the succession should be fixed; and if her majesty would grant her liberty, she would solemnly pledge herself, that neither she, nor her son, would, by faction, or invasion, set up any claim to the crown, but would leave the whole to be arranged, by Parliament. She utterly denied having any participation in plots, or knowledge of them: She demanded her liberty, but not absolutely; as she was willing to continue in her majesty’s custody, in a house of her own, with a nobleman to attend her; and she would give any security, or enter into any obligation, for her good conduct.” The Queen, in continuance, said, her only object now in life was to be reconciled to her majesty; that the chief of the Scotish nobility, Lindsay, Gowry, Lochleven, Mar, and Angus, were not to be trusted:” She added, “she knew her son was too cunning to declare himself openly, but she doubted not his affection for herself, however much he might dissemble.” At this period, Beal reported the Queen to be much better in health, since her majesty sent the physicians down; “she is able, to go up, and down, though she still complains of her legs, and hips, and is getting rather bloated.”
The long conversations of Beal, with the Queen of Scots, ended in a treaty with her, on the loose intimations, which were then thrown out. The Queen complained, that Beal took, absolutely, what she had said, conditionally. Mildmay was now joined to Shrewsbury, as negotiators with the Scotish Queen; Beal being conjoined, to give them advice, and assistance. The month of May 1583, saw this treaty begin, and end like all former ones. Elizabeth thought fit, to suspend the treaty, till she sent an envoy to King James, to explain the matter to him. The Scotish Queen objected to this separate communication; and upon the advice of Mildmay the Queen was also allowed to send a minister to Scotland. But, the whole ended in delusion; as nothing was, seriously, intended, from the beginning, but poisonous amusement to the Scotish Queen. This fresh disappointment threw the unhappy Queen into a new fit of despondency, which lasted, during the later part of 1583. Her letters, during this period, were generally intercepted. The French court were, at length restrained, from interesting themselves, on her behalf, for fear of prejudice to her person. At this period, Elizabeth entertained a strong desire, which she did not effect, of removing the great object of her solicitude to Milborn castle. Had the Queen of England removed Mary, from her kingdom, Elizabeth had saved the Scotish Queen much misery, and her own fame, from eternal disgrace: But, Elizabeth appears to have retained Mary, in prison, for no other object, than the daily pleasure of tormenting a hated rival.
While Scotland was disturbed, by various factions, and a weak government, England was equally disturbed, by the absurd endeavours of Throkmorton, to serve the Scotish Queen. He was suspected, by means of a letter, which he wrote to that Queen; and which was easily intercepted. Throkmorton was scarcely committed to the Tower, when Lord Paget, and Charles Arundel, fled, privately, to France; as at home, they could hope for no safety. They vented their discontents, in this manner: That Elizabeth, without any fault of theirs, was alienated from them, by the subtile artifices of Leicester, and Walsingham; that they were unworthily disgraced: that strange tricks were invented, and practised, and secret snares laid for them; so that they were thereby involved in treason, before they were aware. Whatever there may be, in those complaints, we, certainly, know, that a severe act of Parliament had been recently passed against the Roman Catholicks, which was severely executed; and we, moreover, know, that persecution will create resistance, and the spirit of resistance will beget privy conspiracy, and rebellion.
Let us now hear the fact from Camden: “Verily,” says he, “there were, at this time, some subtile ways taken, to try how men stood affected. Counterfeit letters were, privily, sent, in the name of the Queen of Scots, and the fugitives, and left, in papists’ houses: Spies were sent up, and down, the country, to take notice of people’s discourse: Reporters of vain and idle stories were admitted, and credited. Hereupon, many were brought into suspicion; and amongst the rest Henry, Earl of Arundel, was confined, to his own house, and his wife committed to custody. William Howard, the earl’s brother, and Henry Howard, their uncle, the late Duke of Norfolk’s brother, were several times examined, about letters from the Queen of Scots, and from Charles Paget, and one Mope; whose prudence, and innocence, could hardly protect them.” Elizabeth demanded the English fugitives to be removed from France: But, the King refused; as Elizabeth had received French refugees, and Scotish traitors: Elizabeth ordered Mendoza, the Spanish ambassador, to retire from England: And the King of Spain would not see Waad, her envoy. Lord Henry Howard was, on the 11th of December 1583, examined by Lord Hunsden, concerning some intelligence, which he was suspected to have had with the Queen of Scots. The Scotish Queen’s correspondence, meantime, both with Scotland, and France, was continually, intercepted; as we know, from the documents, in the Cotton Library.
Such was the state of England, and the affairs of Mary, at the end of 1583. The subsequent year opened with an application of the Scotish Queen to Elizabeth; complaining of not having received answers to her letters; and soliciting a better treatment. The Scotish Queen soon after wrote to Burghley; requesting his intercession with Elizabeth, on her behalf. Yet, Mary’s wardens continued to intercept letters, and couriers, which were addressed to the captive Queen.
Under such circumstances, Elizabeth had recourse to an old artifice, with regard to the Scotish Queen, by proposing a fresh treaty with regard to the Scotish Queen, by proposing a fresh treaty with the imprisoned Queen: But, fears, and jealousies, says Camden, broke off the treaty; and he might have added, that fears and jealousies, had broken off all such treaties before, which were only proposed, by dissimulation, for the purpose of deceit.
At length, Elizabeth resolved to gratify Shrewsbury, by relieving him from the custody of the Queen of Scots; appointing as her wardens, Sir Ralph Sadler, and Sir Henry Nevil. Shrewsbury was now happy; but, Sadler, at his time of life, felt that a burden had been imposed on him, which his health, and spirits could not bear.
It is easy to perceive, that Elizabeth’s government, at home, and abroad, by artifices, and deception, would raise up against her many enemies, to say nothing of those, who, in pitying the hard fate of the Scotish Queen, detested the oppression of a guilty government. From all those causes, danger was supposed to be at hand. And Leicester, to retain his influence, with his Queen, took the lead, in proposing an universal association, “by mutual vows, subscriptions, and seals,” to prosecute to death, as far as their power extended, all those, who should attempt any thing against the Queen’s Majesty.
The Scotish Queen was too clear sighted, not to perceive, that her destruction was aimed at, by that association; and being worn out with misery, and fearing severer treatment, she sent Naue, her secretary, to Elizabeth, with an offer to join the association; to enter into a treaty of amity, on her own terms; and to give the French King, and the princes of the house of Lorraine, for the faithful performance of her covenants.
Such were the offers, which were reported to Elizabeth, by Waad, who accompanied Mons. Maron to Mary, who came to settle her claims, in France. Shrewsbury, and Beal, were, in consequence, appointed, in May 1584, to enter into treaty with the Scotish Queen. But, if we may believe these negotiators, the captive Queen was now either unable, or unwilling, to enter into treaty, on the terms, which she had offered to Waad. Elizabeth, who had broken off so many treaties, on very slight pretences, was now indignant, that the Queen of Scots should have seen cause to decline what she had formerly offered. And Burghley was employed to write considerations, concerning the various matters, arising out of the Scotish Queen’s offers to Shrewsbury, and Beal, while Elizabeth was carrying on her usual intrigues, at Edinburgh.
These negotiations, and intrigues, led on to the demission of Shrewsbury, and the appointment of Sadler, as the warden of Mary, with Somer for his assistant, in August 1584. Sir Ralph, though appointed, for a particular emergency, continued, in his uneasy charge, for eight months, from August 1584 to April 1585: But, he was so disgusted, by Elizabeth’s penury, and so harassed, by her jealousy, that, losing all patience, he besought Burghley, and Walsingham, in the bowels of Jesus Christ, to relieve him; as he would rather be a prisoner for life, in the Tower, than continue, in so disgustful a service. He arrived at Sheffield, on the 25th of August; and Shrewsbury informed him, that in pursuance of Elizabeth’s orders, he had resolved to remove the Scotish Queen, from Sheffield to Wingfield, on the 27th of the same month. She was accordingly removed, on the 2d of September, after a long sojourn at Sheffield, though Sadler would have rather retained the captive Queen with sixty soldiers, at Sheffield, than three hundred, at Wingfield; on account of the strength of the former place, and the openness of the latter. The Scotish Queen was not much pleased, that she had been removed, without some notification, from Elizabeth herself: She was now safely lodged, and guarded, “by forty stout soldiers;” with the aid of eighty persons of Shrewsbury’s household. On the road, the Queen asked Somer, if he thought she would escape if she could. Somer said, he thought she would: as it was natural to seek liberty, when confined: No: said she, you are deceived; I would rather die, in this captivity, with honour, than run away, with shame. Somer replied, he should be sorry to see her put to the trial. The Queen then said, it was her wish, if Elizabeth would give her liberty, to go to Scotland, to see her son, and give him good advice, but she never would reside, permanently, there, where she had been so ill treated; but, would go, and end her days, in France, and never trouble herself with politics, or marriage.
The captive Queen was now very anxious to be permitted to send a special messenger to her majesty, with new propositions: But, Elizabeth would not receive Naue, the Queen’s secretary, as she desired nothing so much, as a reconciliation; and to effect it, offered herself as a mediator between her son, and the Scotish noblemen, with whom he was at variance: And she solemnly denied the least knowledge, or connection, with [William] Crichton, the jesuit, who had recently been apprehended.
Walsingham, however, avowed to Sadler, that he could not draw Elizabeth to any resolution, on the Scotish Queen’s request of sending her secretary, Naue, to court; adding withal, Somer knoweth that, “we, [Elizabeth] are long, in our resolution here, especially, in matters subject to jealousy, which humour doth daily increase,” [on Elizabeth.] Shrewsbury was graciously received, by Elizabeth, who was very desirous to compound the controversies between him, and his wife, a matter, that was not performed very easily. Shrewsbury daily made suit, to be discharged of the custody of the Queen of Scots, Walsingham soon after informed Sadler, that Elizabeth deferred her resolution, abut allowing the Scotish Queen, to send up Naue; but desired him to entertain the captive Queen with hopes, of her desire being granted. Elizabeth designed, on the 8th of October, to have a full consultation of her council, about the course to be held with Queen Mary; as Shrewsbury earnestly pressed Elizabeth for his discharge.
Walsingham, moreover, intimated to Sadler, that Elizabeth seeing, by intercepted letters, that the Queen of Scots was very anxious to understand her majesty’s resolution, in respect to the change of her warden, the secretary directed Sadler to hold a vigilant eye over his charge. Sadler was also required to send up Loggin, one of Shrewsbury’s men, to be examined; and to pump one Hawkesworth, a gentleman, living near Sheffield, who was much disliked, by the Scotish Queen. Baldwin, Shrewsbury’s agent, was arrested; as he held a secret intelligence with the captive Queen: And Elizabeth desired Sadler to have a watchful eye over Queen Mary: And that the servants, who attend him, should be furnished with daggers, and petronels [firearms].
Sadler, on the 8th of October, answered Walsingham’s directions. He had drawn, from the Queen, his charge, her feelings, as to the change of her keeper; she weighed not the change, so as she be well used, and her person in safety, whereof she had some cause of mistrust, in former times. He intimated the improbability of her attempting to escape; considering the extraordinary precautions, and her tenderness of body, subject to a vehement rheum, upon any cold, which caused a plentiful distillation, from above, down to her left foot, which is much pained, and sometimes a little swollen. He explained the strength of the place, and the extraordinary pains taken, to prevent any possibility of escape. He gave a detail of the gentlemen living around the castle, and were ready to assist. Besides the establishment of the castle, Sadler had with him forty-three men of his own servants, every one armed with sword, and dagger, some with pistols, and some with long shot. Sadler recommended entering into a treaty, and ending the matter, with the Queen of Scots, by an honourable composition. Sadler thought that a trial ought to be made of an amicable arrangement; as she earnestly protests, that it is her sincere wish, to serve her Majesty, if permitted. The Queen amidst her other grievances complained to the ministers of France, that she had been wronged in her dowry.
After all those recommendations of liberality, and reconcilement, Elizabeth summoned a Parliament, which was chiefly intended, to disable such as pretended a title to the crown, and endeavoured to disturb her possession. Walsingham, while he gave this information to Sadler, delivered it, as his decided opinion, for listening to the offers of the Scotish Queen, and making a treaty with her: The impediment arose chiefly through a jealous conceit, that either of the two princesses hath of the other, which, I see, he adds, will hardly be removed.
Meantime were entered unto associations, for the preservation of Elizabeth’s person; and one of these was ordered, by the Queen’s Majesty, to be shown to the Scotish Queen, with directions, to watch her countenance, and speech: But, without any change of either, she offered to sign it, though we learn not that her signature was much coveted.
The Scotish Queen, about the same time, was involved, in the saddest spirits, by a woman of very ill conditions. Sadler wrote to Walsingham: Queen Mary is marvellously grieved, with the Countess of Shrewsbury, for the foul slanders of late raised upon her, by the said countess: and the Queen trusts, that Elizabeth will suffer her, to have justice; and that the countess may be forced, either to prove, or deny what she hath said, and done: She can charge the said countess, with many other things. But, as the countess had long been the spy of Elizabeth, there is reason to believe, that the Queen’s Majesty liked the slander too well, to punish, with severity, the noble tale bearer.
Elizabeth, however, at length, resolved to allow Mary, to send up to court Naue, her secretary: But, Sadler, was directed, what shows her extreme jealousy, “to send some trusty person with Naue, to watch, and oversee him, and prevent him from speaking to any person:” and he was desired to deal with Curle, and Mary, about the letter written, by Curle, under the name of Welbeck, to Baldwin. Walsingham moved Elizabeth, in vain, to relieve the aged Sadler, from this invidious task, according to her promise: But, he intimated, as her excuse, Elizabeth‘s want of resolution. Were we to enumerate the Queen’s Majesty’s wants, she would appear, we may suspect, to have few possessions of a moral nature, to boast of, as her virtuous qualities.
As early as the 3d of November 1584, it was, finally, resolved by Elizabeth’s government, to remove Mary to Tutbury: And Cave, one of the Cofferer’s clerks, was sent, with 500l. in his pocket, to make provision, at Tutbury castle, for Mary’s reception. But, to make a dilapidated castle fit, for the reception of a Queen, was not an easy task, with three times 500l. Lord St. John, the proposed warden, in the room of the impatient Sadler, hesitated, and delayed, for some weeks; and even at the beginning of the subsequent year, declined to accept such a charge.
Meantime appeared at the court of London, as envoy from James, the notorious master of Gray, a young man of slight, and profligate qualities. There is a letter, from him to the Queen of Scots; wherein he resents his being injured by her, if a letter shown to her son, were hers: He yet advises her how to proceed with Elizabeth, and relates what advice he had given to the King, his master. On this subject, the Queen opened herself to Sadler. She said this young gentleman was a creature of the Archbishop of Glasgow’s, and has been educated among the Jesuits, who seek to serve their turn, by him, about her son. She professed, that she had her son bound to her devotion, by his own writing, as Naue would shew the Queen’s Majesty: She asserted, that her son had oft sent to her for money, to buy clothes, for himself, and apparel, for his pages, and lackeys, which she caused to be furnished, from her revenues out of France, when she could ill spare it: He obtained lately 6000 crowns from the Duke of Guise, whereof she thinks this gentleman has had the greater part, to set him forth in so good a show; She added, it was by her means, that he was sent upon this embassy, upon his earnest promises, by his letters, to treat, and deal for her, if she would procure her son to employ him, and to endeavour to speak to her first on his journey: but, now he takes another course, and seems to deal, for her son, without her.
At the end of November 1584, Elizabeth’s ministers were chiefly occupied with the negotiation of Naue, and the Scottish ambassador. Naue desired that his mistress might not be removed till his return; and Elizabeth assented to this: But the principal difficulty was to obtain, at Wingfield, provisions, and other necessaries, at Elizabeth’s expense. And these additional charges, Walsingham supposed would greatly hasten the treaty; so penurious had Elizabeth become. Naue had much private negotiation with the Queen’s Majesty, concerning Lady Shrewsbury. On the 25th of November, he had conference with some of the council, to whom he made three requests; that the treaty might go forward with his mistress; that she might not be removed till the treaty were finished, at least till his return; that Lady Shrewsbury, and her two sons might openly confess before the French ambassador, himself, and some of the council, the untruth of those imputations, that had been cast upon his mistress, which touch her life, and honour. Yet, little, or nothing was effected, by his endeavours; as this negotiation, like all the former ones, was, prematurely, closed, by Elizabeth’s jealousies.
The failure of this treaty for her liberation almost broke the heart of Mary. But, when she heard, that there was to be a great change, both, in the place of her residence, and the person of her warden, she was thrown into despair. Sadler, after stating his own age, and infirmities, and inabilities, to Elizabeth, submitted somewhat regarding the Queen of Scots: I find her, said he, much altered from what she was, when I was first acquainted with her. This restraint of liberty, with the grief of mind, which she hath had, by the same, hath wrought some good effect in her temperament. She is not yet able, to strain her left foot to the ground, and to her very great grief, not without tears, findeth that being wasted, and shrunk of its natural measure, and shorter, than the other, she feareth, that it will hardly return to its natural state, without the benefit of hot baths.
Sadler, and the Queen, his charge, seem to have been driven, from Wingfield, at the beginning of 1585, by the want of provisions, and other necessaries. Burghley communicated to Sadler Elizabeth’s wishes, that Mary were removed to Tutbury, and to have both the numbers of her of her attendants, and their charges, diminished. The Scotish Queen sent her answer to certain points, which had not been cleared, by Naue, at his coming from court. She now consented to be removed to Tutbury, though she was yet lame, and unable to walk alone. Sadler appointed the 13th of January to leave Wingfield, and to be, at Tutbury, on the morrow; the ways being so foul, and deep, and she so lame, though in good health of body, that they could not go through, in a day; “myself, also,” said Sadler, “being more unable than she is, to travel, as I have not been well, this month, and more.” Upon Thursday, the 14th, the came to Tutbury, with the Scotish Queen, all well.
In cold weather, said Sadler, we found a cold house, very badly furnished: They wanted tapestry, curtains, beds, blankets, sheets, and other furniture. The Queen’s people complained, and Sadler endeavoured to quiet them, and promised to get supplies: But, he added, “fair words, and promises, will not keep folk warm long. Queen Mary,” said he, “is now in a very good state for health, and began to go about her chamber, with some help, her foot being yet swoln, and weak.” She earnestly desired to know, if Elizabeth liked, and accepted of her consent, to join in the English association; and whether the letter to her son, which she had transmitted, for the Queen’s majesty’s perusal, had been sent to him.
Elizabeth’s jealousy was far from being pleased with the detail of the journey. To her dislike, that the number of gentlemen attending seemed to make a shew of fear, Sadler answered, “that the gentlemen came only with their servants, and the Queen showed no appearance of dislike, but behaved courteously: At Derby, and more amply, at the end of the journey, when the gentlemen were departing, Mary expressed her thanks to Elizabeth, for the honour shewn to her, by appointing such grave, and wise gentlemen of reputation, to accompany her, in this journey, and gave great thanks to them all.” The Queen’s majesty was displeased, that he should have lodged the Queen in Derbytown, on their way, to which Sadler answered, “it could not possibly be avoided; as he ascertained before, by sending persons of judgment, to survey the country, and to see, if any other road passable, by coach, and carriage, could be found, but they could find no other, that was passable, and besides, there was no gentleman’s house to lodge her at, during the night; even the road to Derby, was bad enough, at that season of the year, and he was obliged, to cause bridges to be made to get over some bad passages. And as to the information of a great personage, delivered to him, by some officious officer, that this Queen was offered to salute, and kiss a multitude of the townswomen of Derby, and of the speeches she was said to have made to them; I do assert, and Mr. Somer will be sworn, if need be: I going before the Queen, and he next behind her, yea, before all the gentlemen, on purpose, saving one, that carried up her gown, that her entertainment was this: In the little hall was the good wife, being an ancient widow, named Mrs. Beaumont, with four other women, her neighbours; as soon as Queen Mary knew, who was her hostess, after she had made her curtsey to the rest of the women, standing next to the door, the Queen went to the hostess, and kissed her, and none other: saying that she was come thither to trouble her, and that she was also a widow, and therefore trusted, that they should agree well enough together, having no husbands to trouble them; and so went into the parlour upon the same low floor, and no stranger with her, but the good wife, and her sister.”