As it is now sufficiently, apparent, that Burghley’s insidious charges were groundless; we may now enquire what were the indignities, and wrongs, done, and offered, by Elizabeth, and Cecil, to the Scottish Queen.
The year 1558, is the remarkable epoch of the marriage of the Scotish Queen to the Dauphin, and of Elizabeth’s accession to the crown of England: By the first event, Scotland was identified with France, by the second, England was induced, by the policy, or the prejudice of Cecil, to enter into the most criminal intrigues, both in Scotland, and in France, for the purpose of disquieting, and injuring, Francis and Mary: “If the Queen, and Dauphin,” said Cecil, in August 1559, while an insurrection existed, in Scotland, “will not grant certain points; then, may the estates commit the government there to the next heir of the crown: If the Queen of Scots will not comply; then it is clear, said he to the Scotish insurgents, that God Almighty is pleased, to transfer, from her, the rule of the kingdom, for the weal of it.” All this was written, by the minister of a foreign power, who had no right to interpose, contrary to treaties, and to the late settlement of the estates of Scotland. Jacobinism could not go beyond the guilty reasoning, and seditious conduct of Cecil! Elizabeth, within the same year, entered into a formal treaty with the heir presumptive of the crown, who was thus incited, to assume the government, in disherison of the sovereign, and in contempt of the law, however contrary to his duty. [Haynes, 253.] What were the charges against Mary, when compared with the conduct of Elizabeth, in raising up a pretender to the crown of Scotland, in opposition to the Scotish Queen, who was, by law, and right, the legitimate sovereign. Elizabeth thus incited, and established a government, in Scotland; quite independent of the Queen thereof; appointed a formal agent, to reside at the pretender’s court: sent men, and money, and ships, to support the insurgents, in opposition to the legitimate government, and in contempt of the estates, who had, unanimously, agreed to the marriage of Mary with the Dauphin, and had, thereby amalgamated Scotland, and France. This may have been an inconvenience to England, but, it was not an injury.
When it was perceived, that the presumptive heir was not sufficiently warm, in his own cause, Cecil incited Murray, the Queen’s bastard brother, to aim at the crown. From this epoch, Murray was protected, by Cecil, till the bastard pretender assumed the regency of the kingsom, and obliged Mary, to seek refuge in England. But, was such conduct in Burghley right, or was it necessary?
We are now brought back again to the treaty of Edinburgh, which Cecil, and Wotton, negotiated, at that city, in July 1560. Though the French negotiators asserted, truly, that they had no authority to negotiate about Mary’s claim to the crown of England, and she did not claim it, till after Elizabeth’s demise, without legitimate issue; yet, did Cecil insert a clause in it, which obliged Mary, to bind herself never to claim the crown of England: Thus did Cecil, commit two wrongs which were injurious to the Scotish Queen: (1) He negotiated on this important point, with two envoys, which asserted, in the very treaty itself, that they had no power to treat, with regard to the Scotish Queen’s title to the crown of England, a conduct this, that is contrary to every principle of diplomacy; (2) Cecil worded his clause, in such a manner, that the Scotish Queen thereby bound herself never to claim the crown of England, instead of an obligation, not to form any pretension to the English crown, during Elizabeth’s life. Owing to these two causes, the Scotish Queen, like every other sovereign, having a right to confirm, or reject, an improper treaty, refused her confirmation: And, Cecil, instead of blushing, for his own knavery, formed her refusal into a charge against the Queen of Scots; because she exercised her right of adopting, or refusing a perfidious treaty, which her negotiators had no power to concert.
But, this attempt of Cecil to swindle the Scotish Queen out of her right of succession to the English crown, after the demise of the existing sovereign, was nothing, when compared with the fraud of imposing a spurious treaty on the Queen, and people of Scotland. The envoys of Francis, and Mary, informed Elizabeth, that they had no power to make any treaty, with the Scotish insurgents, though their sovereigns were willing to grant them pardon and indemnity. This might, easily, have been done, by a clause, in the English treaty, which would have given Elizabeth the power of warranty, and the right of reclamation: Instead of doing this business, as the genuine rules of true diplomacy required, Cecil countenanced a formal treaty, with the Scotish insurgents, which the French envoys avowed to Elizabeth, they had no power to make; and by which, howevre, they were made, by matchless knavery, to relinquish, in favour of the insurgent faction, their Queen’s rights, as Scotish sovereign. The Queen of Scots was never asked to ratify this imposture: But, the insurgents, immediately, acted upon it, and Elizabeth and Cecil acted with them, as if the insurgents had been an independent state: Indeed, Cecil, in his above mentioned charges against the Scotish Queen, calls those insurgents the Scotish nation; but, without compunction, or a blush.
When the widowed Queen was to return, from France, to Scotland, Elizabeth, in concert with the same insurgents, sent out a fleet to arrest her progress; but, the Queen’s galleys escaped; though some of her transports were carried into the English ports, where they were, for some time, detained. If it were asked upon what principles Elizabeth acted thus? The answer must be, upon the principles, and practice, of the Barbary powers. The refusal of the Scotish Queen to be the dupe of Cecil’s artifices, could not justify so strong a measure, as a hostile act. It was an aggravation of that Algerine measure, when Elizabeth, and Cecil, gravely, denied the fact of sending out a fleet, for such a purpose.
But, duplicity, artifice, and trick, were the daily practices of Elizabeth’s government. She allowed Lord Darnley to visit Scotland; giving him letter of good offices to the Scotish Queen. When Elizabeth clearly saw, that Mary would marry Darnley, Elizabeth denied, that she had ever allowed him to go into Scotland, and recalled him. When she could not prevent this marriage, by any means, but force, she incited her agent, Murray, to raise a rebellion against the Scotish Queen: Yet, were Murray, and his rebellious associates, driven into England, for refuge: And Murray, coming into her court, when were present the foreign ambassadors, she made him deny, that she had, in any manner, incited him to rebel; and she now drove him, from her presence, as a perjured traitor. Against this perfidy, Murray remonstrated, by letters, in vain: She protected him, however, in her kingdom, and supplied him with money, till the assassination of Rizzio enabled him, to return in triumph.
Of that assassination, Elizabeth, and Cecil, were previously informed, by Bedford, and Randolph: Elizabeth and Cecil, according to their practice, protected Morton, and Ruthven, and the other assassins, till the Queen’s majesty, and minister, obtained their pardons, from the facility of Mary. It is apparent, then, that Elizabeth, and Cecil, were accessaries to that assassination, aggravated, as it was, both before, and after, the fact.
Of the plot, which was formed, when the Queen retired into Edinburgh castle, to wait the time of her accouchement, for transferring the sceptre, from the legitimate heir to a bastard pretender, Elizabeth, and Cecil were parties; however immoral the act, or odious the means.
Elizabeth, and Cecil, knew not, indeed, the detail of the assassination of Darnley; they only enabled Morton, the assassin of Rizzio, by soliciting his pardon, to act, as one of the principal murderers.
But, Elizabeth and Cecil, were fully informed of the subsequent act of the conspiracy, which had, for its end, the dethronement of the Queen, and the coronation of her son. Cecil acted, as the agent of the conspirators, by carrying on their correspondence with Murray; by supplying him with credit, when he was to retiure, from France; and by finding him the means of transport. The revolution, which was thus accomplished, by dethroning the Queen, by crowning her son, and by placing Murray, in the vice-regal chair, was plainly effected, by Elizabeth’s government, however injurious to Mary, however immoral were the ends, and disgraceful the means.
When the Queen escaped from Lochleven castle, and tried her fortune in the field, Elizabeth’s government took a strong part against the unfortunate fugitive: And Cecil, with his usual perfidy, endeavoured to persuade Beaton, the officer, whom Mary sent to ask for aid, from England, and France, that he ought not to proceed to Paris; as she could have help enough from London.
The Scotish Queen, whatever were the incitements, which she may have had, from Elizabeth, made but a very unfortunate choice, when she relied, for safety, and assistance, on her cousin, Elizabeth, rather than the queen mother of France. She was, immediately consigned to prison, whence, she was not delivered, but to the scaffold, and the grave.
It was the deliberate judgement of Knollys, the warden of the Scotish Queen, that, all things considered, it was not easy to perceive, how the Queen’s majesty could with honour, and safety, detain the Queen of Scots, unless she should be utterly disgraced to the world. In this opinion, concurred Mildmay, and Leicester, with other counsellors of Elizabeth. And, on that judgment, Cecil, generally, acted. They did calumniate the Queen of Scots, in every way possible: But, all calumny is immoral, irreligious, and unlawful. In pursuance of that opinion, Cecil produced a dissertation, to prove, that the Queen of Scots ought to be detained a prisoner: But, when this document was examined, it was found, to be a tissue of falsehood and misrepresentation, of sophisisms and inanity. Such papers, Cecil delighted to write, knoiwing that he was not to be controverted: Hence, his laxity of facts, and futility of reasoning.
It was the complaints of the Scotish Queen against Murray, and his partizans, for depriving her of her sceptre, without a cause, that induced ELizabeth to propose an enquiry to be held, in England, with regard to the grounds of such complaints. This enquiry, by the unexampled artifices of Elizabeth, and Cecil, was converted into the means of utterly disgracing the Scotish Queen to the world.
The enquiry began, at York, after long delays, with religious ceremonies, to give it solemnity, and the administration of oaths, for faithful performance, to the several commissioners. It ended, by Elizabeth’s commissioners receiving, clandestinely, Murray’s assistants, to a private conference, who said of her what was most disgraceful, and read documents, which were forged, or falsified. The result of such clandestine inquisition, however contrary to the oaths taken, for enforcing purity of conduct, was sent to Elizabeth, by her commissioners, What was this, but a gross contravention of their oaths of honesty? What was this, but acting, knavishly, to supply Elizabeth with calumny against the Queen of Scots.
Elizabeth, and Cecil, were thus enabled to see, how they could wound the Queen of Scots most effectually. They transferred the whole proceedings, from York to Westminster, and from Westminster to Hampton-Court. The same religious ceremonies were again repeated; the same oaths were now taken, by Cecil, and other commissioners; and Murray, with his associates, were incited to charge the Queen of Scots with the murder of her husband. In vain did the Bishop of Ross remonstrate, that Murray had been summoned to answer the Queen, and not the Queen to answer Murray . What cannot artifices, and perfidy, perform? The Scotish Queen, who had protested,that she would not submit to be judged, by any sovereign on earth, was now brought before Elizabeth, and Cecil, on a charge of murder. Whether she answered to this charge, Cecil cared not: Though he had taken an oath of fidelity, like Norfolk, Sussex, and Sadler, he received, as proofs, copies of original forgeries, interpolated papers, and castrated records: He made Murray, and his associates swear, that those documents were all genuine, though Cecil, and his witnesses, knew that they were all false. Elizabeth urged Mary to answer in defence of her character, which had thus been attacked. Mary, with many a sigh, agreed to answer, by showing, that the very men, who had charged her, with murder, were themselves the murderers: She engagaed to do this, if Elizabeth would give her copies of the documents, which had been received, in evidence, against her. Elizabeth avowed that this request was very reasonable: But, never granted what she admitted to be just. As Elizabeth, and Cecil, did not so much want to convict, as to calumniate Mary, they did not trouble themselves, greatly, whether she defenedd her character, which they meant to blast. At the end of three months, Murray was sent away to Scotland, with his boxful of forgeries, in order to rule a dependent state. The Scotish Queen was at the same time, condemned to closer imprisonment, for life, not as a sacrifice to justice, but as the object of Cecil’s hatred, and ELizabeth’s malignity. To the perjury, which Norfolk, and his coadjutors, had committed, Cecil now added baser subornation. Elizabeth, in her character of judge, acknowledged what was right, yet did she act wrong; though she knew how even-handed is justice, yet did she act with squint-eyed injury; though she arrogated the king-becoming graces of justice, verity, and temperance; yet, had she no relish of them, when she contemplated a woman, and a queen, her nearest relation, and her next heir, condemned to prison.
Elizabeth, and Cecil, had now obtained all the materials of calumny: and they proceeded to execute Knolly’s recommendation, to disgrace utterly to the world the Scotish Queen. They caused a thousand libels to be puoblished against her; they distributed Buchanan’s Detection, particularly, at the court of France; and they obtained, from the French government, an order, that nothing should be published, in France, in favour of the Scotish Queen. Elizabeth and Cecil, stopped the Bishop of Ross’ Defence, at the press, before a few pages of it were printed: they intercepted the copies of this work, which, having been printed abroad, was seized, when imported into England. By such means, then, did Elizabeth and Cecil, utterly disgrace the Scotish Queen to the world.
By such calumniation was Elizabeth’s malignity induced to say, on Palm Sunday 1572, “that the Queen of Scot’s head should never be in quiet.” Hence, the frequent commands from Elizabeth to the wardens of Mary “to keep her close; to keep her safe:” Hence, also, the frequent negotiations with the Captive Queen, which could have no other object, than to raise hopes, that were not to be gratified.
The health of the Scotish Queen now began to fail; owing to confinement, want of air, and want of exercise, which were aggravated, by daily vexation. The right of Elizabeth, for her humour, to deprive the Scotish Queen of her freedom, of her health, and of her quiet, was not explained, and could not be justified.
In the midst of such debility the two houses of Parliament, owing to the intrigues of Burghley, passed an act of attainder against the captive Queen. But, what was this, to the act of Parliamernt, which owing to the same intrigues, was made to entrap that imprisoned princess. On this act, was she tried, for her life, owing to the machinations of Elizabeth’s ministers; and after defending herself against so many statesmen, and lawyers, with self-possession, knowledge, and vigour, was she condemned to die. It was the vice, and villainy, of Elizabeth, which dictated the guilty letter of Walsingham, and Davison, to Paulet and Drury; intimating Elizabeth’s wish, that some way might be found by them, “to shorten the life of that Queen.” Beyond this the wickedness of Elizabeth could not easily go.
But, Elizabeth, and her ministers, did go one step further. At the beginning of February 1587, they spread reports, that the Papists had fired London, and that the Queen of Scots had escaped: They even carried their artifices so far, as to send out to the several towns, “precepts of hue and cry for retaking the Scotish Queen.” Of this singular fact, there can be no doubt. But, it may well be asked, on what foundation were these falsehoods founded. The answer can only be, that as te incitement of Paulet, and Drury, “to shorten the life of the Queen of Scots,” had failed, there was another attempt, by the same ministers, to raise universal indignation against the unfortunate Queen; that in the midst thereof, a popular tumult might arise, which by one outrageous stroke, might close her life for ever. But, they were again disappointed, in obtaining the assassination of the Queen of Scots. When the unfortunate Queen fell under the axe of Elizabeth, the surrounding multitude sighed and sorrowed, saith Camden: The Earl of Kent, on that occasion, alone showed his fanaticism, and fury.
We have now perceived the indignities, and wrongs, done and offered, by the Queen of Scots to the Queen’s majesty; as shewn by Burghley: We have, equally, seen what were the indignities, and wrongs, done, and offered, by the Queen’s majesty, to the Queen of Scots. The state papers, and this life, evince the facts. The first, or wrongs to Elizabeth, when properly understood, wil be found, to amount to neither injury, nor wrong, notwithstanding the art, and enmity of Burghley. As to the second, or Elizabeth, and Cecil’s wrongs, and injuries, to the Scotish Queen; they began with her widowhood, and by continual progress, ended with her life, upon the scaffold. One truth is clear, from the note of Cecil, that while Elizabeth was, in the act of daily wrong to Mary; the Scotish Queen, by endeavouring to free herself, from imprisonment, did no injury to Elizabeth:
One thought on “Indignities, and Wrongs, done and Offered, to the Scottish Queen., pp.340-348.”