AT the close of that enquiry we have seen, who were the persons guilty of the murder of Darnley. Elizabeth would not receive her relation, the Queen of Scots, to her presence; because it was reported, that she was privy to the murder of her husband. Elizabeth, however, received Murray, and his associates, though they were known, to be murderers; because they were useful to her, in the great project of disgracing the Scotish Queen, by calumny. Murray was rewarded, for his criminations, and his forgeries; and was sent to Scotland, that he might govern it, in subservience to Elizabeth’s will. It was, at the same time, determined, to remove the Scotish Queen, from Bolton castle, to Tutbury, without avowing the principle of law, or of morals, on which she was to be detained, a prisoner, for life, after being copiously calumniated.
It was as much, perhaps, the apprehension of the escape of the Queen of Scots, as the frequent, and strong remonstrances of Knollys, her warden, that induced Elizabeth, to bring her hated rival more into the interior of the kingdom: He often represented, “that unless it was determined to keep the Scotish Queen a prisoner, and debar her, from riding, which would be death to her, they could no longer remain, at Bolton, for want of forage, and provisions.”
Without money, and the proper means of transport, they departed, from Bolton castle, something against the Queen’s will, on the 26th of January 1569; and arrived at Lord Shrewsbury’s castle of Tutbury, upon the Dove, in Staffordshire, on the 3d of February 1569. During that inclement season, the Queen, and her family, could not have been removed, if the Bishop of Durham had not lent Knollys sixteen horses. Lady Livingston was taken ill, on the road, at Rotherham, and was left there; and on their journey to Chesterfield, the Queen fell ill, with her usual pain, in her side, and she complained of her head: so that the cavalcade was obliged to remain, at Mr. Foljam’s house, near Chesterfield, where they had good accommodations.
In that removal, the Queen’s journey lay through Wetherby, Pomfret, Sheffield, to Tutbury. When they arrived at Wetherby, Knollys received a letter from Elizabeth; charging Mary with writing a scandalous letter into Scotland; reflecting on her good sister. Mary utterly denied having written such a letter: But, acknowledged, that she had ordered certain things, against the practices of Murray. Such a violent epistle of crimination, from Queen Elizabeth was, probably, intended, according to her usual policy, to facilitate the removal of Mary.
The resolutions of Elizabeth against Mary, entailed upon herself many a year of misery; so much was her heart torn, by the uneasy passions of envy, hatred, and jealousy; that Elizabeth was induced even to employ Lady Shrewsbury, to watch over the conduct of her own husband, in his usual intercourse with the Scotish Queen. At the end of March 1569, the Queen of Scots was, here, visited, by her two commissioners, the Bishop of Ross, and Lord Boyd; after being detained, from the suggestion of Murray, though under such pretexts, as Cecil could easily find.
It was partly owing to those passions of Elizabeth, but still more to another principle, which she avowed, in one of her letters, that the Queen of Scots‘ head should never rest, that Mary was removed, in April, to Winkfield, in Derbyshire. Winkfield, says Camden, was a very great, and goodly manour, where Ralph, Lord Cromwell, in the reign of Henry VI. built a stately house, for those days. Shrewsbury, whose liberal spirit disposed him to treat a woman, and a Queen, with gentleness, was so harassed, by the guilty passions, and the watchfulness of his wife, that he was thrown into several fits of violent disease. The intrigues of the Countess of Shrewsbury were officious, and incessant, with Elizabeth’s court: And, the Scotish Queen, on the 20th of October 1569, wrote to Secretary Walsingham, from Winkfield; “earnestly requesting him, to attach no credit to the schemes, and accusations of La Comptesse que est maintenant avec vous;” as she is a mortal enemy to her, and her son; and has even attempted her life; the Queen added, she could defend herself against the calumnious reports of the said comptesse, before all the kings, and princes, in christendom.
Meantime, the Duke of Norfolk, owing to whatever intrigue, or whatever folly, fell in love with the Queen of Scots, whom he had never seen; and of whom he had suspected some foul proceedings, though not, by very fair enquiry: These were, no doubt, strong reasons, for any man’s falling in love with any woman. The Duke, unhappily, for his own fortunes, had been deluded by Secretary Maitland, and had placed his trust, in the Earl of Murray, one of the most faithless of mankind. Such an intrigue could not escape the jealousy of Elizabeth: She had even said to the Duke, when he dined, with her, at Farnham, that he would do well to be careful on what pillow he laid his head. He wanted bravery of spirit to tell her the whole story, since she had obtained, from her women, one half of the tale. Norfolk was examined; as none of the courtiers, who had been entrusted with it, would open the matter to Elizabeth; and Murray, upon the application of Cecil, very readily disclosed what had been communicated to him, in trust. At length Norfolk was committed to the Tower. The Bishop of Ross was soon after examined at Windsor. By the late Lord Hardwick, it was supposed that Norfolk, and Mary, were actually married: But, the Scotish Queen was already a married woman: They were only betrothed. The consent of Bothwell, however, for a divorce, had been obtained; and Lord Boyd was sent with it to Scotland; in order to solicit the Parliament, for the dissolution of the Queen’s enforced marriage, with that odious ruffian: Yet, those, who had professed so much zeal against Bothwell’s marriage with the widowed Queen, refused their assent to its dissolution.
Meantime, Leonard Dacres, one of the wildest of men, in co-operation with the Earl of Northumberland, entertained a project of delivering the Scotish Queen, from her unjust imprisonment: But, it was forbidden, by Norfolk, who feared for himself.
In consequence of the rumour of such a purpose, the Queen of Scots was removed, from Winkfield, to Tutbury, where she was straitly guarded.
In November 1569, broke out the rebellion of the Earls of Northumberland, and Westmoreland. They are said by Camden to have aimed at the freedom of the Queen of Scots. But, their first declaration was grounded, on the Catholic religion; the second, on the want of a law, for settling the succession. The Scotish Queen is not mentioned; nor even alluded to, unless the mention of the succession bear such an allusion. On the 21st of November, the rebels even came, as far as Tadcaster, towards Tutbury: And Huntingdon, and Hertford, came there to assist Shrewsbury, in the difficult charge of the Scotish Queen: But, on the 25th they brought her to Ashby-de-la-Zouch, and on the morrow, to Coventry. There remains a letter, from Lord Huntingdon to Secretary Cecil, from Coventry, on the 28th of November 1569; requesting to know the Queen’s immediate pleasure, where the Scotish Queen is to remain, as she is, at present, at an inn, where is no accommodation: They had endeavoured to get another house, but could not, for want of furniture; and the Earl of Shrewsbury, his companion, in this trust, will not send for any, till he knows the Queen’s pleasure. That inconsiderate insurrection was crushed before Christmas; when the chiefs fled into Scotland, where they were not safe. On the 2d of January 1570, the Queen of Scots was carried back, from Coventry to Tutbury, when the country was free, from insurrection, though not free from tyranny. The rebellion, in England, was, scarcely, suppressed, when the Regent Murray laboured, earnestly, that the Queen of Scots might be delivered into his hands; offering hostages; and engaging to deliver the Earls of Northumberland, and Westmoreland, who were now in his power. Meantime, he so intrigued, that the Bishop of Ross, as author of the rebellion, was committed, in ward, to the Bishop of London. Such accusations are easily made, but not so easily proved.
But, the time was come, when the restless ambition of Murray was to have a disastrous end. On the 22d of January 1570, was the Regent Murray shot, in the streets of Linlithgow, by Hamilton of Bothwell-haugh, for persecuting his wife to distraction, and injury, which, according to the husband’s irritated feelings, nothing could satisfy, but a stroke of death: So far did resentment carry men, during such a state of anarchy. The Queen is said to have shed tears, when she heard of the sad catastrophe of Murray: But, they ought to have been tears of joy, rather than of sorrow; as he was, undoubtedly, the principal murderer of her husband, and his ambition had effected her ruin, and had involved her kingdom, in the usual miseries of civil war.
There remains a letter from Mary to Elizabeth, at a somewhat later period; complaining of all her grievances, and sufferings, which is written with more freedom, and vigour, than Elizabeth was used to, or could relish, from her good cousin, whom she idly supposed, to be so inferior to herself, at least, in her own conceit. About that time arrived, at the court of England, Montlovet, an ambassador from France, to solicit the liberty, and restoration of the Scotish Queen: and this envoy, and the French ambassador, had an audience of Elizabeth, who, in the presence of her council, expressly refused their requests, either to release Mary, to see her, or to allow either of them to go into Scotland. The Scotish Queen seemed thus to be considered, as something worse than a state prisoner, to be a criminal, for some offence against the English law. We have already seen, how absurdly, Cecil wrote, when he attempted to justify, by argument, the Queen of Scot’s imprisonment: He now supposed, that an inconvenience to England, without an injury, was a legitimate cause of war, or of forcible detention of a neighbouring sovereign. Such was the cant of all those, who had been bred in Cecil’s school: How contrary to the law of nations, such a notion, and practice, are, needs not be repeated.
Shrewsbury, meanwhile, did not sit easy under the vexations, and charges of keeping the Queen of Scots; and he claimed from Cecil, some indemnity, particularly, as the Queen’s baths of wine, for the pain in her side, were very expensive to him: But, it appears not, that he received either compensation, or thanks; so sordid, and at the same time, so oppressive, was the domination of Elizabeth!
The death of Murray made a great impression upon Elizabeth; having lost so subservient an agent. She prepared to avenge it, and to supply his place. She sent the notorious Randolph to intrigue, at Edinburgh. She committed the Bishop of Ross a prisoner to the Bishop of London. Sussex, as lieutenant-general of the north, was dispatched, to assume the command of an army, which was to chastise, and overawe Scotland. He entered Teviotdale, on the 14th of April, and laid waste the country. He did infinite mischief, in a very short time; his army returning, on the 22d of the same month. Lord Scroope made a similar inroad on the western border, with equal success, and equal damage. Elizabeth not only made formal war on Scotland, in order to frighten the people into obedience to her dictates, but, she prevented any justification of the Scotish Queen, before the public, from the charges, and calumnies, which had been so abundantly cast upon her, by the undoubted murderers of her husband, under the eye of Elizabeth.
Yet, the conscience of the English Queen, was not altogether settled, whatever Cecil might think, what was fittest to be done, with regard to the Queen of Scots. A consultation was held, on the 7th of May; to come to some end, regarding the Scotish Queen. How such a consultation would end, may easily be conceived. Cecil, soon after, wrote to the ambassador Norris: “By your letters of late time, it hath seemed, that your opinion was, for the Queen’s majesty, to be delivered of the Scotish Queen; but, surely, few here among us conceive it feasible, with surety.” This supplies an additional instance, of Cecil’s practice, of deluding the English ambassadors, at Paris, by his delusive style of writing, for imposing on the French court. In various dispatches to Norris, Cecil expressed himself, as if Elizabeth, and her ministers, wished, to free themselves of the Scotish Queen; but, that the states of Scotland would not restore her: yet, Norris, not perceiving this artifice, which had been thrown out, to delude the French ministers, was himself deluded, and expressed an opinion, which was not relished, by Cecil, though it led to the true policy.
But, the whole policy of Cecil consisted in deception. He soon after sent the Bishop of Ross to propose to his mistress the appointment of new commissioners; to treat of her causes, and to put an end to hostilities, on both sides. A warlike expedition was, at the same time, meditated against the Hamilton’s estates, in the western shires of Scotland. Drury, the marshal of Berwick, marched thence, with 1000 foot, and 400 horse; and laid waste the houses, and lands of the Hamiltons; as that family had discovered, when too late, their true interest to have consisted, in supporting the Queen, and the law.
In Scotland, the church assembly, as was to be expected, declared, for the King; whose party, after the death of Murray, could hardly support itself against the Queen’s friends. The warfare, and devastation of Elizabeth, were intended to give a decided superiority to the King’s interests, and her own. She had early sent down the Earl of Lennox, who had few friends; but was chosen Regent, on the 17th of July, with Morton, for his lieutenant. Such were the legacies, which Murray’s ambition left to the Scotish people, for their infatuation.
Meanwhile, the Scotish Queen was, more and more, deprived of her personal liberty. At the end of July 1570, the Bishop of Ross complained to Elizabeth, “that his mistress was not permitted to take the air abroad:” And she wrote to Shrewsbury, on the 4th of August, “that in the earl’s company, the Queen of Scots might ride, and take the air, for her health.” She seems, soon after, to have been removed to Chatsworth; a fair, and stately house, saith Camden, which Sir William Cavendish, descended out of that ancient house of Gernon, in Suffolk, began; and which his wife, Elizabeth, and after Countess of Shrewsbury, hath, of late, with great charges, fully finished: It has since been rebuilt much more splendidly, in modern architecture.
Nothing could allay the jealousy of Elizabeth, as to the Scotish Queen, and her escape. She had been credibly informed, said she to Shrewsbury, of a purpose to attempt the deliverance of the Queen of Scots: Though she be restrained of her late liberty of hawking, and hunting; yet, this will serve little purpose, if the gentlemen of that country have daily access to her, which she desires may be prevented: And, in case, she added, you should think, that you cannot safely keep her, in Chatsworth, we then put it to your choice to carry her to Tutbury. We thus see what misery the guilty passions of Elizabeth inflicted on a respectable noble; on a Queen, whom she imprisoned, and oppressed, against every law, human, and divine: The purposed escape of the Queen of Scots was idly supposed, in opposition to the plainest impossibility. Shrewsbury found no difficulty, in keeping her very safely, for some months longer, in Chatsworth, which has been long the splendid residence of patriot men, and elegant women. The diseased mind of Elizabeth seems to have supposed, that the safety of the world depended on the Queen, whom she hated; that the Scotish Queen was one of the weird sisters, who could raise a storm, without notice, at any hour of the day, or moment of the night.
Elizabeth’s next intimation to the harassed Shrewsbury was of the appointment of Cecil, the Secretary, and Mildmay, the chancellor of the exchequer, as negotiators with the Scotish Queen. Those able men arrived, at Chatsworth, on the 1st of October 1570, to treat with the captive Queen, who was now to rely on her own address for the success of a treaty, which, owing to Elizabeth’s jealousy, must end, in disappointment. What treaty could be made with such a Queen, as Mary, under her circumstances!
From Elizabeth’s letter of credence to Shrewsbury, we may perceive what was the avowed object of such a mission of such men: When of long time, said she, the Queen of Scots, by sundry means, had made general offers to us, to satisfy, and accord with us, for the differences, arising between us, upon her former attempts. The attempts of Mary on Elizabeth were not explained; the attempts of Elizabeth on Mary would form a pretty long list: So, to settle those attempts, here is a negotiation proposed, with an imprisoned Queen, by two of the ablest, and artfullest men, in England. As far as we can suppose, that any thing serious was intended, it is curious to observe, the Scotish Queen was not deficient, in acuteness, and ability, to treat with such men. Cecil begins with the treaty of Edinburgh, which was always uppermost, in his head; and which, among plain men, and plain women, did not admit of any discussion; as the Scotish Queen did not claim the English crown, during Elizabeth’s life, or the existence of her leeful yssue [lawful issue – child]. It is unnecessary to proceed any further, in noticing a treaty, which could not possibly have any result: Morton, who came from Scotland, to attend some negotiation, asserted, that he had no authority to adopt such a treaty. Elizabeth concurred in this disavowal; and of course, suspended the operations of such a negotiation: so did she write to Shrewsbury; and enjoined him to take special care of his charge, that she did not escape. Elizabeth’s jealousy of the Queen of Scots’ escape amounted to frenzy: Where could she escape to; or what could she hope, from her escape? If the Scotish Queen had been restored to her kingdom, under such a treaty, she could not have retained her station, during a month, without some plot, for her imprisonment, or expulsion.
In the meanwhile, the Scotish Queen was removed, on the 28th of November 1570, from Chatsworth to Sheffield; “a town,” saith Camden, “of great renown, for the smiths therein; fortified with a strong and ancient castle, which in right line descended, from the Lords Furnival, unto the Talbots, earls of Shrewsbury.” It was, in this strong, and ancient castle, no doubt, that the Scotish Queen, with her disconsolate retinue, were lodged. We may, incidentally, perceive, that Tutbury, Chatsworth, and Sheffield, were all castles of Shrewsbury; and only wonder, that such a noble should suffer himself to be so long harassed, under such a charge, by Elizabeth’s guilty passions!
At this period of the Scottish Queen’s life, her real attendants seem to have been but few. Lord, and Lady Livingston, appear to have been the two principal persons about her. She seems to have had five bed-chamber women, and dressers. Mr. Castel was her physician; and Roulet, her secretary; but she seems not to have had any chaplain. The others were chiefly menials: But above all, there was with her William Douglas, the boy, who had so greatly contributed, to her liberation, from Lochleven castle, by his secrecy, and address.