THE Queen of Scots arrived at Tutbury, at the middle of January, 1585, after her good-humoured treatment of the women of Derby, and the absurd jealousies of Elizabeth. As this ancient fabrick belonged to the crown, Elizabeth, when Lord Paget emigrated, seized his house of Beaudesert, in Staffordshire, sold part of the furniture, and directed that the remainder should be sent to Tutbury, when it was proposed, to remove the Scotish Queen, from Wingfield to that royal castle. But, so great a pile was yet far from furnished. Elizabeth, in the true practice of her usual penury, endeavoured to beg, and borrow, bed, and table linen, and other articles of household furniture, from the neighbouring gentlemen, who could not lend, what they wished to use themselves. Mary complained to Elizabeth of her wants; her people complained to Sadler, and he to Burghley, and Walsingham. The French ambassador interposed, on behalf of the Scotish Queen. Elizabeth feeling, now, that her vulgar penuriousness was exposed to the wide, and disdainful eyes of France, “felt her honour touched,” and threatened those, with punishment, who ought to have furnished such an expansive castle, with an outlay of 500l. Elizabeth, who had squabbled with Shrewsbury, during a dozen years, about ends of candles, now disputed with Burghley, and Sadler, about the yearly allowance of the Scotish Queen. Elizabeth insisted, that it should not exceed 1500l. Burghley, in communicating this to Sadler, intimated his opinion, that it was impossible to be done, allowing for 100 persons. Sadler concurred in this judgment; saying, from his experience, it could hardly be done, honourably, for 3000l. a year: And, he added, I see no remedy, meantime, if this Queen is to be kept, in this sort, but the Queen’s majesty must abide this brunt of charge. After a conference with Mary’s officers, he sent a written detail of Mary’s annual expenses, to Burghley, for Elizabeth’s satisfaction: “Wherein the Scotish Queen herself rebated somewhat from her officers’ demands, like a frugal housewife; saying, that she will have nothing superfluous: She only desired that a certain resolution might be settled, in that behalf, not to be altered upon any change of governor.”
The Scotish Queen did not feel herself very comfortable, in her new residence, even after the establishment had been settled, with abundant altercation. The dampness of the house brought back her old pains, in her side, and hips; and she kept her bed, for a week, at the beginning of February 1585. It added considerably to her disquiet, when she heard, through the French ambassador, that Sir Amias Paulet was appointed her warden, whom she had heard of, when ambassador, in France; while she claimed, that none under the degree of a lord ought fitly to be appointed the governor of the castle, wherein she resided. In the meantime, the Scotish Queen pressed, to be admitted into the association, for the safety of Elizabeth’s person. And the negotiation was continued, and a treaty made with Mary’s son, without her participation; a circumstance this, which added not a little to the misery of her wretched health; as it showed her too plainly how much she was disregarded, by Elizabeth, and discountenanced by her ministers, who, even then, were preparing criminal charges against Mary, while they pretended to negotiate with her.
The Queen’s majesty still continued her pitiful practice of spies, who never told her the truth. She had heard that Sadler had allowed Mary to go hawking. Sadler wrote to Walsingham the real fact: When he came to Tutbury, finding the country suitable, for the sport of hawking, which he had always delighted in, he sent home, for his hawks, and falconers, “wherewith, to pass this miserable life which I lead here;” and when they came, he used them sometimes not far from the castle: whereof, this Queen having, earnestly, entreated me, that she might go abroad with me, to see my hawks fly, a pastime, indeed, which she hath singular delight in: And I thinking ,it could not be ill taken, assented to her desire; and so hath she been abroad, with me, three, or four times, hawking upon the river here [the Dove,] sometimes a mile, sometimes two miles, but not passed three miles, when she was farthest from the castle: And he added, that she was guarded, by forty, or fifty of his own servants, and others on horseback, some armed with pistols, which he knew to be a sufficient guard against any sudden attempt, that could be made, for her escape. In this, he concludes, he used his discretion, and he thought he did well; but since it is not well taken, I would to God, that some other had the charge, who would use it with more discretion than I can; for I assure you, I am so weary of it, that if it were not more, for that I would do nothing, that should offend her majesty, than for fear of any punishment, I would come home, and yield myself to be a prisoner in the Tower, all the days of my life, rather than I would attend any longer here, upon this charge: And if I had known, when I came from home, I should have tarried here so long, contrary to all the promises, which were made to me, I would have refused, as others do, and have yielded to any punishment, rather than I would have accepted of this charge; for a greater punishment cannot be ministered unto me, than to force me to remain here, in this sort; as it appears, things well meant, by him, are not well taken.
Elizabeth was reasonably well satisfied with Sir Ralph’s apology: But, the dangerous and doubtful state of the times, and in particular, the great power, and influence, of the Guises, in France, require, that his charge should be very narrowly watched, said Walsingham to Sadler. And these pretences were stated very gravely, by Walsingham, as if there were any sense in them. Elizabeth consented, that the Scotish Queen might send a servant to her son, who shall be accompanied, by one of the Queen’s Majesty’s servants. Mary, disliking the terms of Elizabeth’s permission, declined to send a servant into Scotland. The great effort now was to keep the Scotish Queen, from private intelligences, which was supposed not to be easily done. Sir Ralph’s indulgence to Mary, obtained, what his entreaties had tried, in vain, the arrival of Sir Amias Paulet, as the Queen’s warden, on the 17th of April 1585: who was to introduce new restrictions, during those dangerous and doubtful times: He soon had his first interview with the Queen of Scots, who seemed displeased, with him, as she had heard, that he was unfriendly to her; but, she soon became more contented with her situation, and more satisfied with her new warden. Sir Amias directed, that all her letters should pass through his hands, to which she agreed: and he directed her servants not to convey any letters, or messages, unknown to him. But, his rigours were soon complained of; and her people became clamorous, when they saw, that the Queen’s coachman could not exercise his horses, without having some of the warden’s servants with him; when they beheld, “the cloth of estate,” in the great chamber removed; Sir Amias being of opinion, that there ought to be but one cloth of estate, in England: But, he did not reflect, that by this measure, he, in same measure, degraded Mary, from her dignity of Queen.
The Scotish Queen was soon after taken ill; and was for some time confined to her chamber, during a course of medicine: But, getting better, she sent for Sir Amias; and told him, “that she was much hurt, her Majesty had never once wrote, or enquired after her, during her confinement; adding, she was determined to give up all hope of favour, from her Majesty; as it was evident, she was, only, kept, to serve a turn, when any new accident required it:” The Scotish Queen also complained much of her being forbidden to distribute alms to the poor people, in the neighbourhood, as formerly.
Elizabeth, early in 1585, with a view to the ultimate fate of Mary, endeavoured to strengthen herself, at home, and abroad. She sent the order of the garter to the French King. She endeavoured to obtain a confederacy with the princes of Germany. And she tried, with some success, to draw King James into a league offensive, and defensive, which might operate against his mother.
The association, which was formerly, begun, by Leicester, was now adopted, by Parliament: And, an act was passed against such, as should attempt to hurt the Queen’s person, for, or by whomsoever employed, that may make claim to the crown; while a mode was, thereby, established, for trying such delinquent persons. It did not require any penetration to see, that those several measures were, specially, pointed, at the Scotish Queen, though it is not, by any means certain, that the Scotish Queen had any adequate knowledge of that statute.
Irritated by the death of Sir Francis Russel, on the Scotish borders, in one of those hasty scuffles, which were so natural, to the place, and parties, Elizabeth sent home the Scotish refugees; supplying them with money; in order to expel Arran, the Scotish King’s favourite minister. The King was at length obliged to take those refugees into his favour: And James was now enabled to enter into a league with Elizabeth, the author of this change.
Meanwhile, the consideration, with regard to the Scotish Queen, came before the Parliament: It was very easy, considering the nature of the proofs, which were generally, brought against that unfortunate personage, rumours and reports, counterfeit letters, and decyphered dispatches, to establish a belief that she was the cause of the dangerous conspiracies, which Spain, and the Pope, as well as others, entertained against Elizabeth, and her kingdom: And, it was therefore moved, that she ought “to be taken off.” A discourse was at the same time published, to prove the lawfulness of putting her to death. Such were the unjustifiable means, which were then taken, to familiarize the people of England, to the odious purpose of taking off the Scotish Queen, by whatever means. She was now aware, from the measures taking against her, that her fate was finally determined on; so that her life was drawing to a close: We may easily suppose, therefore, that the Scotish Queen would now receive the orders of Elizabeth, from Paulet, with a mixture of indignation, and contempt.
Meantime, neither she, nor her family, were easy in Tutbury, which after every representation, was not made comfortable; and in September 1585, Chartley, a house of Lord Essex, was viewed, in order to ascertain, whether it was fit, for Mary’s prison. Elizabeth refused to allow Mons. Cherelles, and the Countess of Athol, to reside with her: and partly owing to such denial, and to her infirmities, her temper changed, from placid, to severe. Her letters to France were now ordered to be sent to Walsingham, for conveyance, or interception. She received this direction with displeasure, not to say indignation: She exclaimed, “that she would not be separated, from her union with the King of France, who was her ally; and she could see, plainly, that her destruction was sought, and that her life would be taken, from her, and then it would be said, that she had died of sickness; but, when she was at the lowest, her heart was greatest: and being prepared for extremity, she would provoke her enemies to do their worst.”
At this period, the Scotish Queen’s indisposition, and the infirmity of her legs, which was become desperate, and hopeless of recovery, was deemed a great advantage to her keeper, said Paulet to Walsingham. Paulet endeavoured to persuade the Queen, to remain during the winter, in Tutbury; but she was passionately desirous to remove to Chartley. Paulet acknowledged, that she, certainly, was in great pain, from the return of her complaint; having at this time, three defluxions; in her shoulder, in her arm; and in her heel. In the midst of such wretched health, the Scotish Queen continued to be very solicitous, for her removal to Chartley; thinking that change of place, and air, might relieve her infirmities. Paulet, from his journeys, in looking after houses, was taken with the grout, which usually afflicted him, in the autumn: But, he comforted himself, that the Scotish Queen was, also, confined to her bed. Paulet, who seems to have felt, only, for himself, resolved to remove the Queen, and her family, on Tuesday before Christmas-day. For this object, he summoned the principal gentlemen of the shire, to attend, with their retainers, for their journey, which he suspected would be troublesome, from the quantity of baggage, which the Scotish Queen, and her attendants had, “in apparel, books, and like trash.” Sir Amias seems always studious, to avow the severity of his character. They, accordingly, removed to Chartley, on the eve of Christmas 1585; but, from the Queen’s infirmities, and shocking prospects, they were far from happy, not even comfortable.
Throughout January 1586, the Queen enjoyed somewhat better health; she could use her feet, but not without halting: And the defluxion had fallen into one of her hands. Even this state of convalescence did not last long. Since his last account, Paulet represented the Scotish Queen, as being much worse; sleeping little, and eating less; the humours flying about her, and are now in many places, at once. She continued very ill, with pains in her limbs, and could not turn, in her bed, without help, and was in excessive pain. The Scotish Queen still continued very ill; and on the 17th of February was taken with a defluxion in the side; in so dangerous a manner, that her recovery was despaired of: But she is now a little better, said Paulet to Walsingham. Such was the deplorable condition, to which was reduced a Queen, who had been the admiration of civilized Europe, by eighteen years imprisonment of a cousin, a neighbour Queen, whose guilty passions, without right, and without feeling, had doomed to a life of misery.
Without adopting the charity of such a steeled warden as Paulet, Elizabeth pursued, steadily, at the beginning of 1586, her recent policy of attaching to her Scotland, in a lasting amity with England; in order to cut off all hope, not only from foreign enemies, but even of assistance from her son, in favour of the Queen of Scots: For, according to Camden, Elizabeth suspected, that Mary, being vexed, by the rejection of her conditions, which she had offered to her good cousin, by Naue; and apprehensive of the effects of Leicester’s association, as well as, of her removal to Tutbury, might harbour the most dangerous designs: It was even supposed, that the Jesuits, and refugees, might give her very unfit, yet different counsels. Owing to those suspicions, and causes, Elizabeth entered into stricter ties, with the Scotish King, to whom she agreed to allow an annual subsidy; and to give him a verbal assurance, that his title to the crown should not be injured. Under those profligate reasonings, James was induced, by Randolph, to enter into that treaty, whatever Courcellis, the French ambassador, could suggest to the contrary.
Meanwhile, there seem to have been some dangerous projects entertained, by one Ballard, and other Jesuits, against Elizabeth’s safety. About Whitsunday 1586, he appears to have drawn Babington into their concert, traitorous, as it was, in them, and dangerous as it was to Elizabeth: Yet, she brought this danger upon herself, whatever it were, by the violence of her persecutions. Babington seems to have grafted upon that design the project of an invasion, in order to effect their purpose against Elizabeth, and to deliver Mary, from thraldom.
The Scotish Queen, without knowing, as it should seem, the extent, and object, of all those concerts, wrote in cypher, to Babington; blaming him, for his long silence; and desiring him, to send her a packet of letters, which the secretary of the French ambassador had delivered to him. Babington sent the letters; excused himself, for his silence; and intimated the concert, into which he had entered with so many plotters, for her release, and Elizabeth’s tragedy. The Scotish Queen is said to have written on the 27th of July, in answer to Babington, in this manner: She commended his attachment to the catholic faith, and to her interests; yet, she advised him, to act circumspectly: That the avowed pretence of all their designs should be the apprehension of the puritans; that there ought to be no rising, unless they were assured of foreign aid; that Arundel, and his brothers, Northumberland, and other eminent men, ought to be drawn into their concert; that there ought to be a disturbance, in Ireland, while their plot was exploded, in England. To obtain her relief, the attempt was said to be thus laid down: either by overthrowing a cart, in the gate, or setting fire to the stables, or intercepting her, as she rode out, for recreation: And, lastly, Babington was commanded, as it was said, to pass his word to the other gentlemen, concerning their reward, for their respective services.
The genuineness of this letter was suspected, at the time, both for its matter, and manner. The Queen denied it: Yet did her secretaries, when they were privately examined, seem to have proved a correspondence, between the Queen, and Babington, though not in her own hand; but from her dictation to Naue, who wrote in French, what was translated, by Curl, her other secretary. The sincerity of their confessions, however, was suspected; as we learn, from Camden; and the Queen insisted, that as her secretaries had taken an oath of fidelity to her, when they swore contrary to that previous oath, they were not entitled to credit. It is, also, certain, that Walsingham was too busy, with his counterplots, and his spies, with his counterfeit letters, and his intercepted epistles, to be entirely credited, even when he did speak the truth.
This secretary, however, had the merit of discovering the whole plot of Babington, and his complotters. They were taken, and examined; they were convicted and punished, as traitors deserved. Yet, all this while, were the Scotish Queen, and her servants, kept so closely, by Paulet, that she was quite ignorant of those events, though they were known, in every part of England. But, as soon as those conspirators were arrested, Sir Thomas Gorges was sent, to give her a brief relation of the whole; which he, purposely, communicated, just as she had taken horse, to ride out: Neither was she permitted to return, from her ride, to the castle; but, was led about, under the pretence of doing her honour, from one gentleman’s house to another, in that neighbourhood. Meantime, certain commissioners, under Elizabeth’s special authority, committed Naue, and Curl, the Scotish Queen’s secretaries, to several keepers; that they might have no communication with each other, or their mistress. They also broke into the closet of the unfortunate queen, and seized her cabinet, and papers, which were sealed up, and sent to court. Paulet, as he was commanded, took possession of her money; lest she should use it, for corruption. Her cabinets being searched, in the presence of Elizabeth, there were found many letters, from persons, beyond the sea, as also copies of letters written, in answer, and about sixty indexes, or tables of private cyphers, and characters: There were, moreover, discovered letters, from some English noblemen to her, full of expressions of respect, and attachment to her, which Elizabeth read in silence, according to her motto, video et taceo; I see, and am silent. But, those nobles, hearing that the Scotish Queen’s papers had been perused by Elizabeth, from that time, acted as mortal enemies to Mary; in order to conceal their own shame, and to blunt Elizabeth’s anger.
The conspirators being executed, and a general indignation raised against the Scotish Queen, Naue, and Curl, her two secretaries were examined. They acknowledged what they subscribed, that the letters sent to Babington, by their mistress, was in their handwriting, as they were dictated, by her, in French, to Naue, and translated, by Curl, and then cast into cyphers. Neither did they deny but that she had received letters, from Babington, and wrote the answer, which has been stated. Whether these secretaries were bribed, to confess this, saith Camden, I cannot say: But, it is certain, he adds, that Walsingham had made them promises. And, their credit, was impeached, by the Scotish Queen; as they had taken a previous oath of fidelity to her. In fair discussion, those, who are in the constant habit of artifice, must always be supposed, to be acting according to their principle: From the accession of Elizabeth to the present moment, her whole conduct to the Scotish Queen had been a continued act of wrong, and injustice, and deceit: The State Papers of her reign evince the fact. Her ministers, particularly, Burghley and Walsingham, constantly, acted upon the immoral principles, that every thing convenient was lawful; that the end justified the means: The Cabala, and Digge’s ambassador, are the records of their guilt.
As soon as Chartley had been sufficiently searched, by Waad, and the other commissioners, Paulet resolved to carry his charge again to that castle. He had not spoken with that lady, since their arrival at Tixhall, and did not intend to speak to her. She had not stirred out of her room, or gallery; her attendants had no access to her; and they were prevented, from having pen, ink, and paper. On the 30th of August, he carried back the spoliated Queen to Chartley; as she left Tixhall, she said to the poor people, who were assembled about the door: “I have nothing for you; I am a beggar, as well as you; all is taken from me.” When she came up to the gentlemen, she said, weeping: “Good gentlemen, I am not privy to any thing intended against the Queen.” When desired Mr. Darrel to open the doors of her coffers, and when she saw, that all her papers were taken away, she said, with indignation, “there were two things, which they could not take away; her English blood; and her Catholic religion.” At this period, Fotheringay castle, in Northamptonshire, was fixed on, by Elizabeth, as the future residence of the Scottish Queen; where she is to remain a prisoner, with some regard to her degree, and quality. The Queen arrived, at Fotheringay, on the 25th of September 1586.
What should be done with the Scotish Queen, the privy counsellors differed in their opinions. Some said, that no new rigorous courses should be taken with her; as she was not the author of the mischief, but an accessory to it. Others proposed, that for the preservation of religion, she ought to be put to death, under the law. Leicester thought rather, by poison; and sent privately a divine to Walsingham, to satisfy him, that it was lawful; as if a divine could make obvious wrong to be just, from a reference to the occasion, or to scripture. But Walsingham protested against any violence of that sort; and added, that he had counteracted the Earl of Morton’s advice, that she ought to be put to death on the conterminous borders. The privy counsellors now differed, as to what law, she ought to be proceeded against, in a formal manner: Whether on the statute of treasons [25 Ed. iii.] or by the late act of the 27th of Elizabeth, which was made, for this special occasion: And, this last opinion prevailed; as being most appropriate to such a case, and most suitable to such a personage.