Mary returns to Scotland, 1561
The queen marries Lord Darnley, 1565
Murder of Rizzio, 1566
Birth of James VI., 1566
Murder of Darnley, 1567
The queen marries Bothwell, 1567
The queen imprisoned in Lochleven, 1567
The queen abdicates in favour of her son, 1567
1. Francis II., King of France, the husband of Mary Queen of Scots, died in December, 1560. He was in his seventeenth year, and had reigned little more than a year and a half. His death was a cause of grief to the queen, but the Scots felt it as a great deliverance, for it freed them from the danger they had been exposed to by the ambition of the Guises.
2. While the queen was still mourning for the loss of her husband, her disposal in marriage became a subject of interest in the diplomatic correspondence of almost every court in Europe. Queen Elizabeth interested herself in the matter, and urged that Mary should not marry a foreign king, but should look near home for a husband well disposed to the cause of religion, and friendship with England.
3. The Scots wished her to come home to her own country, and made preparations for her return. The Lords of the Congregation and the Catholics were each anxious to gain her over to their party. The former sent her illegitimate brother, Lord James Stewart, to influence her in their favour; the latter sent the Bishop of Ross to advise her to land at Aberdeen, where 20,000 men would be at her disposal. Her counsellors in France advised her to favour for a time the friends of the Reformed religion until she could find an opportunity of striking them effectively.
4. The Treaty of Edinburgh, by which the Queen of Scots was to abandon her claims on England and acknowledge Elizabeth as queen, had not yet been ratified. The ambassadors of Elizabeth endeavoured in vain to get Mary to ratify the treaty. Mary requested Elizabeth to grant her a passport to her kingdom of Scotland, either by sea or through England. Elizabeth refused, except on condition that Mary should abandon her claim to the throne of England by signing the Treaty of Edinburgh. Mary preferred to run the risk of capture rather than do this.1
5. On the 14th of August, 1561, she embarked at Calais, and with an escort of four vessels set sail for Scotland. With tears in her eyes she gazed on the receding shores of France, and wept bitterly when in the darkness of evening they faded from her view. She slept on deck in the hope of seeing them at dawn. When she awoke they were still visible. She looked at them till they vanished in the distance, when she bade them adieu for ever.
6. Under cover of a fog she escaped the English cruisers. Favoured by the wind she made the passage in four days, and arrived at Leith on the morning of the 19th of August. No one expected her so soon, and the preparations for her reception were not completed. When horses were procured she was conducted with some degree of pomp to Holyrood; but when she looked on the sorry palfreys provided for herself and her ladies, and thought of the gorgeous processions of France, she burst into tears. The people gave her a rude but hearty welcome, and endeavoured to enliven her first night at Holyrood by playing on three-stringed fiddles and singing psalms at her chamber window. All who saw her were charmed by the beauty of her person and the gracefulness of her manners; and the kindly interest which she took in seeing justice done to the poor made her for a time extremely popular.
7. The queen’s religion, however, was a cause of offence to the majority of her subjects. before she left France it had been agreed that she should be allowed, in Scotland, to enjoy her own form of worship. This was not liked by John Knox and many of the more zealous Reformers, who regarded the mass as idolatry. When, a few days after her arrival, it was known that mass was to be celebrated in her chapel, the Master of Lindsay and his followers rushed into the court of the palace threatening death to the priests, but the Lord James placed himself at the door of the chapel and kept them back.
8. Although she claimed for herself the right to practice the rites of the Roman Catholic religion, she promised to maintain Protestant form of worship which she found established at her arrival, and forbade any one on pain of death to attempt to make changes on it. She did this from policy rather than from a real desire to grant her subjects toleration, for in an interview with Knox, who told her among other things that “subjects may resist their princes if princes exceed their bounds, and that queens ought to be nursing mothers to the church,” she said, “Yea, but yours is not the church that I will nourish. I will defend the Church of Rome.” In saying this she doubtless spoke her real mind; but for a time she dissembled, and appeared to be zealous in supporting among her subjects the Protestant form of worship. She may have wanted to give her country a rest from the war and anarchy which had long prevailed; she may have wished to conciliate Queen Elizabeth, who might be induced to recognize her as heiress to the crown of England; and she must have seen how dangerous it would be to oppose the Reformers, who were for the time all-powerful in Scotland.
9. These causes may account for the favour which Mary openly showed to the Protestants during the first two years of her reign, while at the same time she was secretly keeping up correspondence with Pope Pius IV., her uncle, the cardinal, and others, regretting that she could not send prelates to the Council of Trent, and announcing her desire to restore the Catholic faith in Scotland even at the risk of her life.
10. The queen’s brother, the Lord James, created Earl of Mar, and afterwards of Moray, was her chief adviser. In 1562 he led an army to the Borders for the purpose of restoring order and good government there. To effect this he apprehended fifty-three of the most noted Border thieves, of whom eighteen were drowned “for lack of trees and halters,” and six were taken to Edinburgh and hanged.
11. In August of the same year the queen and Moray made a royal progress northwards to visit the Earl of Huntly, who kept princely state in this castle of Strathbogie. He held sway over all the country beyond the “Great Glen” and its lakes, now united by the Caledonian Canal, and had large estates in the Lowlands on the east coast. He had a small fleet of his own at Aberdeen, held intercourse with foreign courts, made alliances on his own account, treated with the Guises, organized his people with a view to the restoration of the old faith, and assumed so much of independence in his own domains as entitled him, like his ancestor in the reign of James II., to be called the “Cock of the North.” The royal visit was professedly to do Huntly honour; but as the royal party was large and well armed, he suspected that more than mere honour was intended. He knew, moreover, that he had in his hands a great part of the Earldom of Moray, which he would not willingly give up to his great rival. Huntly wisely kept at a distance, but sent his wife to meet the royal party at Aberdeen.
12. The queen was invited to Strathbogie, but instead of going there she passed on to Inverness, where there was a royal castle held by Huntly as sheriff of the district. Its gates were closed, and the queen was refused admission to her own stronghold. It was besieged and taken by the royal party, and the governor was hanged. The queen’s party then turned southward, and narrowly escaped being attacked while crossing the Spey. Huntly resolved to fight rather than submit. He came up with the royal party at Corrichie, eighteen miles west of Aberdeen, where he was defeated and killed. The power of the house of Huntly was thus broken, and a great danger to the Protestant religion removed.
13. Although it was sound policy on the part of the queen to keep on good terms with the Protestants, and although she was biding her time, it is difficult to account for the heartiness with which she seems to have engaged in the expedition against Huntly, the champion of her religion. She was always merry and undismayed, and at Inverness, when the lords came to her from the watch, she regretted “that she was not a man to know what life it was to lie all night in the field, or to walk on the causeway with a jack, a Glasgow buckler, and a broadsword.”
14. While she favoured the Reformers all went well with her. Her beauty, her accomplishments, her wit, her fine taste, her hunting and hawking, her brave deportment at the head of her troops, and her winning familiarity, made her a favourite with all classes of her subjects. The gaiety of her court was such as had not been seen in Scotland before. Her income as Queen Dowager of France enabled her to keep it up without making heavy demands on her own subjects. Over all who came near her she exercised a kind of fascination. The fame of her beauty spread all over Europe. Her admirers were numerous, and many nobles and princes were among her suitors. Arran, the heir of the house of Hamilton, and who, after herself, was heir to the throne, had hopes of obtaining her hand, but he became insane. Chatelar, a Frenchman of good birth, distinguished as a poet, and as a player on the lute, was so infatuated as to make his attentions to her grossly troublesome. For this he was tried, condemned, and executed at St. Andrews.2
15. The question of the queen’s marriage was of great political interest. The Reformers were anxious that she should marry a Protestant, for they felt that on this greatly depended the security of the established religion. The Catholics and the Catholic powers were desirous that she should marry a Catholic, and thus be the better able to bring Scotland back to the old faith. The Guises strove to bring about a marriage between her and Don Carlos, the heir to the Spanish crown, and Mary herself was not averse to such a union; but Catherine of Medici, the mother of her late husband, and the bitter enemy of the Guises, managed to prevent it. Among the queen’s other suitors were the King of Denmark and the Protestant King of Sweden. Queen Elizabeth, for some unaccountable reason, proposed her own favourite, the Earl of Leicester, as a husband for the Scottish queen, but Mary showed great irritation at such a proposal. She, the widow of the greatest sovereign in Christendom, scorned to mate with a mere subject of the English queen.
16. In the midst of those intrigues Henry Stewart, Lord Darnley, her cousin, son of the Earl of Lennox, came from England and paid her a visit at Wemyss Castle in Fife. His mother, Margaret Douglas, was a daughter of Henry VIII.’s sister Margaret, the widow of James IV., who, it will be remembered, married the Earl of Angus. He was the nearest prince of the blood in Queen Elizabeth’s court, and after the house of Hamilton heir to the Scottish crown. The queen fell in love with the handsome but foolish youth, and resolved to marry him. Darnley was a Catholic, and the Protestant lords felt that a crisis with respect to their influence and their religion was at hand. Moray and others of them opposed the marriage, and thereby fell into disfavour. Within three months of their first meeting at Wemyss Castle the intended marriage was announced to a secret council held at Stirling, 15th May, 1565. A Parliament was not called on the subject, because it was believed that the Estates would not give their consent to the union. Darnley was created Duke of Albany, and the marriage took place on the 29th of July, 1565.
17. The newly married couple began to rule with great vigour. The queen without calling a Parliament, proclaimed her husband as King of the Scots. This gave great offence to the Protestant barons. Moray and the leaders of the opposition were cited to appear before the king and queen with their array to give military service; but they armed in their own defence, and took up their position at Hamilton. Arran did not support them as they expected, and they went on to Edinburgh, where they gained no recruits. They were but 1000 strong, and being unable to cope with the royal army of 5000 that was marching against them they retreated to Dumfries, dispersed, and took refuge in England.
18. The cause of the Reformation was now in great danger. The Gordons had regained their power and influence in the north, and the Earl of Bothwell, a bold and unscrupulous man who was rising in power and influence by the queen’s favour, had married Huntly’s sister. The Protestant lords, who, had they received from Queen Elizabeth the aid which her ministers urged her to give them, might have been kept in power for some time longer, were now in exile from Scotland, and Elizabeth’s resolution not to help subjects in arms against their sovereign gave them no hope of being able to return. The Catholic powers were plotting to root Protestantism out of Europe. It was the design of Philip of Spain to get the Queen of Scots to re-establish the Roman Catholic Church in her kingdom. he purposed them to dethrone Queen Elizabeth and put Mary in her place. The Guises were to be restored to power in France, and by them the Huguenots or French Protestants were to be destroyed. Mary was eager to do her part, and had she got the aid from France which she urgently demanded there would have been real danger to the Protestant cause and to Elizabeth’s crown; but Catherine of Medici, the mother of the young King of France, hated the Guises even more than the Protestants, and, therefore, instead of aiding Mary, she advised her to come to terms with the discontented lords and her Protestant subjects.
19. Terrible events of a domestic nature soon occupied Mary’s mind, and helped to remove the danger of her being the means of undoing the work of reformation in Britain. The time of Mary’s happiness with Darnley was of short duration. She soon found that she was mated with a husband who was vicious, presumptuous, and a fool. He was not satisfied with the title of king, but wanted what was called “the crown matrimonial,” by which, in case of Mary’s death, the crown would have passed to him and his heirs. This was a request that the queen would not grant, and so enraged was Darnley that he offered violence to the officer who announced to him that it was refused. Quarrels became frequent between the royal pair.
20. There was at the court an Italian named David Rizzio, He had entered the queen’s service as a musician, but being a man of great ability she had employed him as her secretary, by whom she carried on her secret correspondence with foreign courts. This man was hated by the nobles, and regarded with suspicion by the reformed clergy, as a base born foreigner and a Roman Catholic. It was resolved that he should be put to death. Darnley was easily led to believe that it was through Rizzio’s influence that he was refused the crown matrimonial. He was also made jealous of the Italian, who, in the discharge of his duties as secretary, had frequent private conferences with the queen. He was therefore easily induced to enter into a bond with Ruthven, Morton, and others of the nobles, by which they became bound to get for him the crown matrimonial, and to slay any one who should oppose them, while he undertook to protect them even though they should murder Rizzio in the queen’s palace. He, moreover, became bound to use his influence to get the exiled lords restored, and to maintain the Protestant religion.
21. The result of this compact was that on the 9th of March, 1566, Morton, the chancellor, having the king with him, took possession of the great gate and all the outlets of the palace of Holyrood. Darnley took some of the conspirators to his own room, whence he led Ruthven by a secret stair to the queen’s apartments. The queen was seated on a couch at a small table. Beside her sat the Lady Argyle and Rizzio with his cap on. They seemed to have no thought of danger. Darnley put his arm round the queen’s waist. Ruthven, clad in armour and haggard from recent sickness, said to the queen, “Let yonder man, Davie, come forth of your presence, for he hath been overlong there.” The queen desired to know why her servant was wanted, and on being told, she stood up, while Rizzio crouched behind her, clutching at the folds of her gown. The queen’s attendants laid hold of Ruthven, but he shook them off, while the other conspirators rushed in and filled the room. Ruthven placed the queen in her husband’s arms, telling her not to be afraid. Rizzio was dragged out of the queen’s presence, and all that could get near enough stabbed him until “they slew him at the queen’s far door in the outer chamber.”
22. There was commotion in Edinburgh when it was known that armed men had invaded the palace, and the provost and the townspeople hurried thither, but Darnley quieted them by telling them that he and the queen were uninjured. When Ruthven returned to the queen’s apartment he assured her that her favourite was safe. The queen, ignorant of what had really happened, was left in charge of attendants who could be trusted, and Ruthven did not leave Darnley on that Saturday evening until two proclamations were prepared to be issued next day in name of the latter as king. The one was to call a muster of the well-affected inhabitants of Edinburgh to keep ward in the streets, the other was to dismiss the Parliament, which was about to pass a statute of treason against Moray and the exiled lords.3
23. Next day the banished lords, who had been kept acquainted with all that was going on, arrived in Edinburgh. The queen was, about the time of their arrival, informed of Rizzio’s death. She at once resolved to study revenge. With this aim she determined to conceal her anger, to lure back her husband to her favour, and so to detach him from the conspirators. On Monday she was all smiles and caresses. She met the banished lords and Morton, promised to forget what had happened, desired them to make a bond for their own security, and she would sign it. She had already won over Darnley, and affected to believe his protestations of innocence.
24. A little after midnight she, along with her husband, managed to slip out through the wine-cellar. Erskine, captain of her guard, who with six or seven mounted followers was waiting for her outside, took her up on the crupper behind him and carried her off to Seton House, whence Lord Seton gave them an escort to Dunbar Castle, where, early on Tuesday morning, they were received by the governor.
25. Thus were the confederate lords outwitted. The Earl of Bothwell lost no time in raising a force for the queen’s protection, and on the 28th of March he escorted her and her husband back to Edinburgh at the head of 2000 horsemen. Ruthven, Morton, and the other conspirators, who had been denounced by Darnley, fled to England. Moray and Bothwell were reconciled, and the former made his peace with the queen. Darnley, whose treachery was made fully evident, was shunned and hated by both parties.
26. On the 19th of June, in the Castle of Edinburgh, Mary gave birth to a son, who afterwards became James VI. of Scotland and I. of England. After this, Mary’s hatred of her husband continued to increase, and Bothwell rose higher than ever in her favour.
27. On one occasion, when she was holding a justice aire or court at Jedburgh, she rode from that town to Hermitage Castle, a distance of 20 miles, to see Bothwell, who had been wounded by Elliot of the Park. After staying with him two hours she galloped back to Jedburgh. This ride of 40 miles over a rough country was too much for her strength. She took fever, and was so ill that her life was despaired of. As soon as she was able she went by short stages to Craigmillar, where she became a prey to deep sorrow, and often repeated, “I could wish to be dead!” A divorce from her husband was now talked of, but she was afraid it might prejudice her son. Maitland of Lethington, however, significantly told her that means would be found by which she should be quit of him without prejudice to her son.
28. On the 17th of December the young prince was baptized at Stirling. It was thought strange that Darnley, though living in the castle, was not present at the ceremony, and that Bothwell should be called upon to do the honours of the occasion and direct the ceremonial. Through the influence of Bothwell, Moray, and others, all the murderers of Rizzio were pardoned, except George Douglas and Ker of Faudonside.
29. About this time Darnley fell ill of a skin disease which was said to be smallpox, but which some suspected to be the result of poison. Under the direction of his father, Lennox, he was removed to Glasgow. His enemies hoped that he might die, and that they would be thus relieved from doing what they had resolved upon. As Darnley, however, began to recover, Bothwell made advances to Morton, Lethington, and others, to join in a plot to murder him, and said it was the queen’s wish that he should be removed, and that “she would have it to be done.” They did not think it safe either to join in the plot or to reveal it.4
30. The conduct of the queen towards her husband now suddenly changed. She set herself to quiet his fears and to regain his confidence. She went to Glasgow to visit him on the 22d of January, 1567, and prevailed on him to go, as soon as he was able, and live with her at Craigmillar Castle. A few days after, they set out for Edinburgh, where they arrived on the last day of January. The sick man was taken neither to Craigmillar nor to Holyrood, but to an old house, close to the city wall, at a place called Kirk of Field, near to the site of the present university. There the queen visited him daily, and slept for two nights in a room below the king’s bed-chamber. On Sunday the 9th of February she came at ten o’clock, went straight to his room and spent some time with him, talking cheerfully and kindly. It was understood that she was to pass the night, as she had done before, in the chamber below the king’s, but she seemed suddenly to remember that she had promised to take part in a masked ball to be held that night at Holyrood, on the occasion of the marriage of a favourite French valet, called Bastiat, to one of her women. Bidding her husband an affectionate good-night, she passed the door of her chamber without entering it. Had she gone into the room she would have seen that her bed had been removed, and would have noticed the sacks of gunpowder that Bothwell had, a little before her arrival, caused to be placed there.
31. Bothwell left Kirk of Field along with the queen, went to his apartments in the palace, changed his rich attire for a coarse doublet and a muffled cloak, and came back to his accomplices, Hepburn of Bolton and Hay of Talla, whom he had left to await his return. It is thought that during Bothwell’s absence the king and his page discovered Hepburn and Hay, tried to escape, and hot over a wall into the garden, where they were strangled. When Bothwell came back he found the match lighted, but it burned so long that he was going to look at it, when the train took fire and the explosion shattered the building and shook the whole city. The king and his page were found dead in the garden with marks of violence but none of fire. As the crows from the city came fast to the spot there was no time to take the bodies back so as to make it appear that they had been killed by the explosion. Bothwell hastened to the palace, took a draught of wine and went to bed, where half an hour afterwards, when a messenger came and told him of what had happened, he pretended to awake. He shouted “Treason!” dressed himself, went with Huntly to the queen, set out for the Kirk of Field, placed a guard there, removed the bodies, refused to let the ambassadors of France and Savoy examine the king’s body, returned to tell the queen, who had not yet risen, that she was a widow, and held audience with her “within the curtain of her bed.”5
32. There was much excitement in Edinburgh. On Wednesday, two days after the deed was done, a reward of £2000 was offered to anyone who should reveal the author of the murder. No one dared to claim the reward, because the chief actor, though well known, was too powerful to be openly accused. A writing was, however, affixed to the door of the Tolbooth, naming Bothwell and others as the guilty persons, and voices were heard in the streets at dead of night denouncing the murderers. The body of Darnley was buried in the chapel of Holyrood so secretly that there was much talk about it.
33. Though Bothwell was accused of the murder, the queen continued to show him favour, and seemed to take delight in his society. Lennox, the father of the murdered man, demanded that steps should be taken for the discovery and trial of the guilty persons. He besought the queen to assemble the nobility and Estates of her realm for this purpose. He named the earl of Bothwell and others as the suspected murderers, and the queen intimated her compliance with his demands; but instead of the accused being apprehended he appeared to rise higher in the royal favour. Instead of the crown acting as accuser, Lennox was cited to appear, unattended by any men-at-arms, and make good his charge. As, however, Bothwell had 4000 armed men on the streets of Edinburgh, Lennox did not think it safe to appear, but sent one of his household to protest against the proceedings. Bothwell demanded and obtained an immediate trial, and as there was no evidence brought forward against him he was acquitted.
34. The queen’s infatuated love for Bothwell became daily more evident, and those about her saw with dismay that she might marry him. Lord Herries, Melville and others warned her against the consequences of such a marriage, but she is reported to have said “she cared not to lose France, England, and her own country for him, and shall go with him to the world’s end in a white petticoat before she leave him.”6
35. On the 21st of April the queen went to Stirling to visit her son. On her return Bothwell, with 800 men, intercepted her at Fountainbridge, near Edinburgh, and carried her off to Dunbar. It has been said that the queen was seized by her own consent, but the evidence of this is not clear.
36. Bothwell had been married to Lady Jane Gordon about a year before, and it was necessary that he should be divorced from her before he could marry the queen. In a civil court erected by royal authority sentence of divorce was pronounced against Bothwell at the instance of his wife on the 3d of May, and in a church court, two days later, the Archbishop of St. Andrews and several other clergy, whom the queen had commissioned for the purpose, gave decree of divorce on the ground that they were too nearly related. After this the marriage was hurried on. Bothwell was made Duke of Orkney on the 12th of May, and on the 15th, three months after the murder of her late husband, he was married to the queen according to the Protestant form in the council chamber at Holyrood.
37. The newly married couple for a few days seemed happy in each other’s society; but their court was deserted by the nobles, who were taking active measures to free the queen from what they called the bondage in which she was held. The newly married couple first became sensible of their danger when they summoned a muster of the feudal force of the kingdom to put down troubles on the Borders. No one obeyed the summons, and instead of the usual bustle and gathering of forces, there was ominous silence. Alarmed by this and other signs of hostility, the queen and her husband fled to Borthwick Castle, whither they were immediately followed by Lords Morton and Home with about 700 men. Bothwell escaped, and the queen, instead of joining those who had professedly come to deliver her, got herself let out at the dead of night dressed as a page. She then mounted a pony, rode across the wild moorland to Black Castle, joined Bothwell there, and rode with him to Dunbar.
38. On the 12th of June “the lords of privy council and nobility” issued a proclamation charging Bothwell with the murder of Darnley, with seducing the queen into “ane unhonest marriage, and with intent to murder her son.” On the 14th the confederates heard that Bothwell was approaching Edinburgh with about 4000 men. At two o’clock next morning they went out to meet him. They had an army of 1800 horsemen and 400 footmen, well mounted and accustomed to military duty.7
39. The hostile forces met at Carberry Hill near Musselburgh. The French ambassador tried in vain to make peace between them. The lords wanted Bothwell to come forth to combat with one of them or leave the queen. From eleven in the forenoon till five in the evening the two forces stood facing each other. At length there was a parley between two small parties on either side, and it was arranged that the old gage of battle should be tried between Lord Lindsay and Bothwell, but the queen forbade the combat. The confederates now advanced. Bothwell, seeing his army thinned by desertion and indisposed to fight, took a hasty leave of the queen and rode off the field. The queen surrendered to Kirkcaldy of Grange, who led her to the lords. They conducted her on horseback to Edinburgh, “and used her with all reverence;” but as they conveyed her up the High Street to the provost’s house, opposite the cross, the excited mob accused and reviled her. As it was not deemed safe to keep her in the city, the lords had her conveyed to Leith during the night, put on board a vessel, and sent to Lochleven Castle in Kinross.
40. When Bothwell left the queen or Carberry Hill he fled to Dunbar. On arriving there he remembered that he had left in Edinburgh Castle a casket that contained papers of great importance. He forthwith sent his servant to bring the casket to Dunbar; but the man was apprehended on his way back, and the casket fell into the hands of Morton. It contained, among other documents, eight letters to the Earl of Bothwell, and some poetry, called sonnets, all in the queen’s handwriting. From these letters and sonnets it was inferred that the queen was privy to the design of murdering her own husband. the original documents were among Morton’s effects when he was executed, and it is supposed that they came into the hands of James VI., who destroyed them. Copies of them, however, have been preserved in Latin, Scots, and French. Some think they were forgeries, but none of even the queen’s friends who saw the originals ever doubted their genuineness.8
41. On the 23d of July the Lord Lindsay and Robert Melville went to Lochleven Castle and required the queen to sign two papers – the one an abdication of the crown in favour of her son, and the other the appointment of Moray to the office of regent during the young king’s minority. The deeds were signed on July 24, 1567, and shortly after ratified by Parliament. Thus the reign of the beautiful but unfortunate Mary Stuart came to an end.
Summary. – Francis II. of France, Mary’s husband, having died in 1560, her disposal in marriage became a matter of concern to all the courts in Europe, and Protestants and Catholics were each anxious to win her over to their party. The Scots were desirous of having her home, but Elizabeth refused her a passport through England or by sea unless Mary would abandon her claim to the throne of England by signing the Treaty of Edinburgh. The Queen of Scots would not do this, but reached her own country in safety by sea, where she received a rude but hearty welcome. her religion was a cause of offence to her subjects, and she had some difficulty in practising its rites, but she obtained toleration by promising to maintain the Protestantism of her subjects. He half-brother, the Earl of Moray, became her adviser. He reduced the Borderers to obedience in 1562, and he and the queen, in the same year, broke the power of Huntly in the north. As long as she favoured the Protestants all went well with her. The Catholic powers were desirous that she should marry a Catholic prince. The Protestants felt that their security depended on her marrying a Protestant. Mary, however, chose for her husband Henry Lord Darnley, a Catholic nobleman, descended like herself from Henry VIII.’s daughter Margaret, and to him she was married in 1565. The queen’s happiness with Darnley was of short duration. He was a vicious youth. The nobles soon made him become jealous of the influence of David Rizzio with the queen. This led to a conspiracy, and Rizzio was murdered in Holyrood Palace almost in the presence of the queen. When she knew that her favourite was slain she resolved on revenge. She took her husband again into favour, and promised the nobles to forget what had happened, escaped from Holyrood, and fled to Dunbar. Bothwell raised a force in her behalf, and brought her back to Edinburgh in triumph. She gave birth to a son, afterwards James VI., in Edinburgh Castle, in June, 1566. Her hatred of her husband now increased, and Bothwell rose high in her favour. This man resolved that Darnley should be removed. Darnley fell ill of a disease of the skin. The queen pretended affection for him, nursed him, and got him conveyed from Glasgow to Edinburgh, where, at Kirk of Field, he was murdered, the house in which he lay having been blown up by gunpowder. Bothwell was blamed for the murder, but no one dared to accuse him in court, and he was acquitted. The queen, three months after the murder, married Bothwell. they seemed happy for a few days, but soon became conscious of being hated by all classes. They fled from Edinburgh. The Lords Morton and Home tried to deliver her from Bothwell, but she escaped from them and fled with her husband to Dunbar. The lords of privy council raised an army. Bothwell and the queen met them at Carberry Hill, when Bothwell lost heart and fled. the queen was taken to Edinburgh, and thence to Lochleven Castle, where she was constrained to sign an abdication of the crown in favour of her son in 1567.
Questions:- Why did the Scots regard the death of Queen Mary’s husband as a great deliverance? What interest was taken in the disposal of the queen by marriage? What did Protestants and Catholics do to obtain her favour? Describe the queen’s return to Scotland, and her reception at Holyrood. How did the queen and her subjects tolerate each other’s religion? What reasons may have induced the queen for a time to favour the Protestants? how did Lord James restore order on the Borders? Give an account of the expedition of the queen at this time, and the effect and influence of her beauty and accomplishments. What suitors were there for the hand of the queen, and whom did she marry? How did the queen’s marriage affect the Protestants? How was the cause of the Reformation endangered? What led to the murder of Darnley? Give an account of the murder, the queen’s subsequent conduct, and her flight. When was James VI. born? Describe the queen’s visit to Bothwell at Hermitage Castle. How did the queen treat her husband during his illness? Give a brief narrative of Darnley’s murder, and the excitement that followed. How was Bothwell accused of the murder and acquitted? How was the queen’s marriage with Bothwell brought about? Give an account of their married life until the flight of Bothwell and the queen’s surrender at Carberry Hill. Where was the queen sent? What do you know of the documents that Bothwell left in Edinburgh Castle? Give an account of Queen Mary’s abdication.
|dip-lo-mat’-ic, relating to business of state between nations.||gor’-geous, grand.|
|coun’-sel-lors, advisers.||rites, ceremonies, forms.|
|pass’-port, a written permission to pass from one country to another.||dis-sem’-bled, concealed real thoughts.|
|re-cēd–ing, withdrawing, gradually disappearing.||an’-arch-y, lawlessness.|
|a-dieu’, farewell.||ca-ress’-es, fondlings, endearments.|
|cause’-way, road paved or shod with stones.||prot-es-ta’-tions, solemn declarations.|
|buck’-ler, shield.||crup’-per, strap passing under a horses tail to keep the saddle from shifting.|
|de-port’-ment, manner, bearing.||prej’-u-dice, injury, wrong of any kind.|
|fam-il–i–ar’-i-ty, freedom from ceremony, affability.||sig-nif’-i–cant–ly, full of meaning.|
|gāi’-e-ty, cheerfulness.||val’-et, man servant.|
|Queen Dow’ager, title given to a widowed queen to distinguish her from the wife of the reigning king.||be-sought’, asked earnestly.|
|fas-ci-na’-tion, power of charming.||strang’-led, choked, suffocated.|
|in-fat’-u-āt-ed, foolish, unreasoning.||af-fixed’, fastened to.|
|gross’-ly, coarsely.||com-pli’-ance, assent, obedience.|
|to mate with, to be joined in marriage.||ac-quitt’-ed, set free, let off.|
|re-cruits’, raw soldiers.||om’-i-nous, foreboding danger.|
|un-scrup’-u-lous, having no doubts or fear of consequences.||par’-ley, conference, talk.|
|do-mes’-tic, belonging to home.||in-dis-posed’, unwilling.|
|vi’-cious, wicked, immoral.||re-viled’, spoke ill of.|
|pre-sump’-tu-ous, rashly bold.||son’-nets, short poems generally of fourteen lines.|
|ma-tri-mo’-ni-al, belonging to marriage.||o-rig’-i-nals, first copies.|
|clutch’-ing, catching at, grasping.||gen’-u-ine-ness, being true, unforged.|
|cruis’-ers, ships sailing hither and thither in search of an enemy’s ships.||con-strained’, induced by force.|
|pal’-freys, small horses for ladies.||ab-di-ca’-tion, giving up, resignation.|
Ca’lais, a town on the north coast of France.
Strathbo’gie Castle, on the Bogie, in Aberdeenshire.
Wemyss Castle, east of West Wemyss, in Fifeshire.
Se’ton House or Castle, near Tranent, in Haddingtonshire.
Her’mitage Castle, in the south-west of Roxburghshire.
Craigmil’lar Castle, about three miles south of Edinburgh.
Borth’wick Castle, south of Dalkeith, in the east of Edinburghshire.
Black Castle, east of Borthwick Castle, in Edinburghshire.
Car’berry Hill, two miles east of Musselburgh, in Edinburghshire.
Lochle’ven Castle, on an island in Lochleven, Kinross-shire.
1 Mary didn’t want to sign as there were clauses that effected her rights negatively, as detailed in Chalmers’ ‘Life of Mary, Queen of Scots’ (1822). She was next in line to a queen who was set on not marrying and, therefore, of having heirs to succeed her so there was no fear that she’d be ousted from the line of succession. The Treaty of Edinburgh, drawn up by agents in Scotland without input from Mary, had as its 6th clause that;
“[…] it was agreed, and concluded, that the King and Queen of France should, in all times coming, abstain, from using, and bearing the arms, and title, of the kingdoms of England and Ireland: Now; this agreement denuded the Scotish Queen, who was heir presumptive to the crown of England, of all future pretensions to the crown: The stipulation ought to have been, not in all times coming; but during the life of Elizabeth. Considering, moreover, the defective powers of the French negotiators, to treat of a matter of that importance, in addition to the wording of the clause, those circumstances created an insuperable objection to the ratification of such a treaty.”- During Her Residence in France.
Now, Elizabeth absolutely refused to allow for a modification of a treaty she believed had been agreed upon and pursued Mary to the very end for her ratification of it. That Mary didn’t want her future rightful titles denied to her is to be expected. It’s unlikely the majority put in the same position would. She just kept giving her measured, and quite correct, responses to the unceasing repeated demands for the Treaty to be ratified. This shows us Elizabeth wanted to deny Mary the crown of England far more than Mary wanted it. From all appearances, especially her letters, Mary wanted to get on with her cousin who she never stopped seeing as an ally and friend, as they should have been. She even made Elizabeth her son’s godmother and persisted in calling her “sister” in correspondence.
Mary’s succinct response is given in Throkmorton’s Letter to Elizabeth, 11th August, 1561.
2 A lot of this chapter has made me annoyed, as it doesn’t seem to be based on much actual evidence, unlike the beforementioned Chalmer’s ‘Life of…’ (1822), which I recommend anyone with an interest in Mary read. With regards this Chatelar character. It’s made to seem here as though he made his attraction to her known and she had him executed for it. He was a crazy stalker! See again in the chapter, From her Return to Edinburgh, till Randolph visited her at St. Andrews;
“[Chatelard] proceeded the full length, on the 12th of February 1563, of concealing himself, in the Queen’s bed chamber, when she was about to retire into it, for the night, with his sword, and dagger, beside him. This fact, being concealed, from the Queen, by her female attendants, from prudential motives, till the morning. The Queen commanded Chatelard out of her sight. The Queen, with a part of her train, left Edinburgh on the 13th; and slept, at Dunfermling. On the 14th, she proceeded to Burnt-Island, where she slept. Chatelard, notwithstanding, followed her into Fife, and came to Burnt-Island, on the 14th: And, the Queen having retired into her bed chamber, Chatelard presented himself before her, coming in, immediately, after her; to clear himself, as he said, from the former imputation against his conduct. Astonished at his audacity, “the Queen herself was fain to cry for help:” The Earl of Murray was sent for, when the Queen, amidst her agitations, commanded her minister to put his dagger in him: But Murray thought proper, to send him to ward; reserving this daring, or infatuated miscreant, to the due course of law, which would lay open the whole transaction. The chancellor, the justice clerk, and other counsellors, were sent for to Edinburgh. This wretched enthusiast was tried, in a few days, at St. Andrews; and, on the 22d of February, was executed; “reading over, on the scaffold,” says Brantome,” Ronsard’s hymn on death, as the only preparation, for the fatal stroke.” The Queen perceiving, that her bed chamber was not safe, from such intrusions, adopted the resolution of taking Mary Fleming, to be her bed fellow.”
3 The citation for treason was key to this whole affair, we’re told by Chalmers, in the chapter, From the Arrival of Darnley till the Assassination of Rizzio;
“At length, on the 1st of December, 1565, summonses were executed against those expatriated nobles, to answer for their treasons, in the Parliament, which was to assemble, in February, then next. The guilty nobles were thrown into despair, by that vigorous measure. Murray, with a meanness, which was unworthy of his ambition, courted Rizzio, the Queen’s private secretary; sent him a diamond; and flattered him, with many promises of future friendship.”
4 I would like for there to be citations of where what she’s quoted to have said is from. As she was a contentious figure in Scottish history and many of the writers of the time were biased either for or against her and that bias makes a difference to how her life was reported on and the assumptions that were made of her character and thoughts. There’s no evidence given for this outside of paid-for histories and those who believed and cited them thereafter, according to Chalmers;
“Darnley remained, in Stirling castle, till the 24th of December, when Morton’s pardon passed the Privy Seal, of which he had no doubt heard. He now left the castle, abruptly, without taking leave of the Queen: and set off, for Glasgow, to visit his father, at that place: But before he could reach that town, says Robertson, mistakingly, he was taken dangerously ill, on the road. The fact, undoubtedly, is, that Darnley, heedlessly, went into Glasgow, wherein the small-pox, was extremely prevalent; and he was immediately taken, with that infectious disease. As soon as the Queen heard of her husband’s being thus taken with the small-pox, she sent her own physician to attend upon him. It is Buchanan, who says, that Darnley was poisoned; and that the Queen would not allow any physician to attend upon him. The invariable practice of this writer, to hang some slander upon every action of the Queen, who had favoured, but never injured him, is the strongest proof of the murderous guilt of Murray, and his faction; by writers, constantly, endeavouring to throw the guilt upon the innocent, from the deed doers.”, ‘Life of…’ (1822), pp.136-151.
5 The earliest place I can find this quote is from John Hill Burton’s ‘The History of Scotland: From Agricola’s Invasion to the Extinction of the Last Jacobite Insurrection’ (1867), the full quote is;
“Bothwell, it appears, returned between eight and nine o’clock to inform her that she was a widow, and held audience with her within the curtain of her bed — a matter which the royal customs of the time render of no further moment than as it imported that the communing was close and secret, excluding all other of the queen’s advisers.”
Again, there are no sources cited for this.
6 This quote is from Tytler’s ‘History of Scotland’ (1828) and its source is a letter from Kirkcaldy Grange, who Mary surrendered to at Carberry Hill and who was a seeker of support from Elizabeth and her faction, to the English noble, the Earl of Bedford, 20th April, 1567.
7 As Chalmers says of these events in his chapter, From Darnley’s Murder to the Queen’s Dethronement;
“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.”