Chapter XV; James VI., 1567-1603, 38 Years, pp.144-158.

[History of Scotland Contents]

Accession of James VI.,                   1567 
The Regent Moray shot,                 1570 
Death of Lennox,                             1571 
Death of the Regent Mar,               1572 
Kirkaldy of Grange hanged,          1573 
Execution of Morton,                     1581 
The Raid of Ruthven,                      1582 
Mary Queen of Scots beheaded,   1587 
The Gowrie conspiracy,                  1600 
Union of the crowns,                       1603

    1.  In the High Church of Stirling on the 29th of July, 1567, the infant son of Mary was crowned, and began to reign as James VI. Moray, the illegitimate brother of the queen, as we have seen, had been appointed regent. The head of the House of Hamilton, who had only the infant king between him and the throne, might have aspired to the regency, but neither he nor his son had capacity to entitle them to fill that office. 

    2.  Moray was in France when he was appointed, and it was for some time doubtful whether he would accept the regency. He arrived at Edinburgh on the 11th of August, and on the 15th, in company with Morton and Athole, visited the queen at Lochleven. He had several private interviews with his sister, in which he advised her not to disturb the quiet of the realm, nor the reign of her son. He also counselled her to refrain from attempting to escape, stirring up the people in her favour and seeking aid from England and France, and nourishing her affection for Bothwell. Having accepted the regency, he was, on the 22d August, installed in office, within the Tolbooth of Edinburgh. 

    3.  He ruled with a firm hand. The command of Edinburgh Castle was taken from Balfour, whom he distrusted, and given Kirkaldy of Grange. On the 15th of December a Parliament was held, and the acts passed in 1560 for the abolition of Popery, and the establishment of the Protestant Church, which Queen Mary had always refused to sanction,1 were ratified, and an amnesty for political offences was granted to all who would conform to the new government. 

    4.  The doings of the Scots gave great offence to Queen Elizabeth, who thought that they had no right to rebel against their sovereign or to pass judgment upon her. She tried to separate Moray from his party, but the regent let her know that he would “ware his life in defence of their action, and would either reduce all men to obedience in the king’s name or it should cost him his life.” 

    5.  The Hamiltons were not favourable to the regent’s government, as it placed them in a secondary position; nor did they heartily desire the restoration of Mary, as it would put them a step farther from the throne. Moray was, meanwhile, making vigorous efforts to make the country obedient to authority. He restrained the lawlessness of the Borders, and in January, 1568, caused four of the subordinate actors in Darnley’s murder to be hanged. On the 3d of May he was at Glasgow, presiding at a justiciary court for the trial of criminals, when he was startled by the news that Mary had escaped from Lochleven, and had arrived at Hamilton Palace, where her adherents were gathering around her. He at the same time received a message requiring him to resign his authority into the hands of his queen, and that he and all who had offended her would be pardoned. Moray took prompt action. He imprisoned the herald who came to proclaim the queen, sent to Stirling for cannon, and gathered what forces he could to oppose her in her march to Dumbarton Castle, who was still held for her. 

    6.  Moray had deemed the queen to be quite secure in the island fortress of Lochleven. His own mother, the widow Lady Douglas, who had at one time expected to be queen of Scotland, was keeper of the castle and its royal captive. Her son, George Douglas, whose heart the queen had won by her beauty and her blandishments, had been removed from the castle, but he left behind him a confederate named William Douglas, a lad of eighteen. This youth, on the evening of May 2d, after the castle gates were shut, led the queen out and locked the gates behind him. He then sprang with her into a boat and rowed to the shore, where George Douglas, Lord Seton, and a few others, were waiting to receive her. They all rode off, crossed the Forth to Seton’s castle of Niddry near Linlithgow, and next morning, with a considerable number of followers, arrived at Hamilton Palace. The queen’s forces soon amounted to 6000 men; but as a stronger position than Hamilton was desirable, it was resolved to proceed to Dumbarton. 

    7.  Moray, as we have seen, prepared to intercept the queen’s army on its way thither. The regent had not more than 4500 men, but being an experienced leader himself, and having such men as Morton, Home, Lindsay, and Kirkaldy of Grange to assist him, he hesitated not to oppose the onward march of the queen’s army, and with this intent he led his forces out to Langside, a village situated on a rising ground about two miles south of Glasgow. Grange seized the village. The queen’s army attempted to force its way through, but in vain. There was a short struggle, but when Grange saw signs of wavering among the queen’s troops he charged them and they broke their ranks and fled. Only one man of the regent’s army was killed, while 300 of the queen’s troops were slain. 

    8.  When the queen saw that the day was lost, she fled, accompanied by Lord Herries and others – first to Sanquhar, next to Terregles, Lord Herries’ house near Dumfries, and then to Dundrennan Abbey. Thence she proceeded to a part of the coast still called Port Mary, and, with Lord Herries and about twenty attendants, embarked in a fishing-boat, crossed the Solway, and landed at Workington in Cumberland. Queen Mary, knowing that there was now no security for her life in Scotland, thus threw herself upon the protection of Queen Elizabeth. When it was known that Mary had landed in England, some gentlemen of the neighbourhood came to her, and accompanied her to Cockermouth, whither the Deputy-captain of Carlisle came to meet her, and escorted her to Carlisle Castle. 

    9.  Mary was no sooner safe in England than she began to intrigue for her restoration to power. She wrote to the court of France for help, and got a memorial of her case prepared, to be laid before the principal courts of Europe. She claimed to be Queen of England as well as of Scotland,2 and to induce the Catholic sovereigns to give her aid she made it appear that her cause was also the cause of the Church of Rome, which, with her success, would once more become the Established Church of bother kingdoms. She at the same time wrote frequent letters to Queen Elizabeth, beseeching her for an interview. Elizabeth steadily refused to grant Mary’s request until she should be cleared of the charge of being privy to her husband’s murder. Mary wished that Elizabeth would either send her to Scotland with an army to enforce her claims, or else allow her to go to France. It did not suit Elizabeth to do either of these things, and, to give the Scottish queen less chance of escape, she was removed from Carlisle to Bolton Castle in Yorkshire. 

    10.  After much correspondence it was agreed that commissions from Elizabeth and Mary, and also from the Scottish Estates, should meet at York to try the question of the queen’s complicity in Darnley’s murder. Elizabeth, however, stipulated that the Scots should be allowed, not to accuse their queen, but to justify themselves for their conduct towards her. Mary and the Scots, on the other hand, refused to acknowledge Elizabeth as judge or superior. The conference, after sitting at York for some time without any result, was removed to London, and thence to Hampton Court. The casket letters were produced and were believed to be genuine; but it did not accord with Elizabeth’s notions of the divine right of sovereigns that a sister queen should be convicted by her rebel subjects, nor did it suit her to set up in Scotland a sovereign who laid claim to the crown of England, and whose pretensions the Catholic sovereigns might support in order to promote the interests of their church. The conference, therefore, ended without coming to any definite decision. Moray, however, was assured that Elizabeth would maintain his government and the young king’s authority. Bothwell, whose evil influence over Queen Mary had brought all these troubles on her, escaped to Denmark, where he died in 1578

    11.  At a meeting of the Scottish Estates held in July and August, 1568, thirty persons were cited to appear for trial on account of the rising at Hamilton and the resistance at Langside. Seventeen of these were Hamiltons. Their non-appearance caused them to be outlawed and their estates to be forfeited. An agreement, however, was come to. The Hamiltons made peace with the regent, and, on condition of their giving hostages, their estates were to be restored. But the hostages were not given, and as no faith could be placed in the Hamiltons, the regent seized both the Duke of Chatelherault and Lord Herries when they came to Edinburgh, and placed them under restraint. 

    12.  Moray then marched to the north to put down Huntly’s Highlanders, who had been let loose on the king’s party, and were plundering their territories. He held his court at Aberdeen, and laid heavy fines on the northern chiefs as the price of their pardon. Moray next directed his attention to the Borders, and secured such obedience there “as never was done to no king in no man’s days before.” Order was secured throughout the land, but famine and pestilence prevailed. 

    13.  The Hamiltons hated the regent’s government, and nourished revenge for the manner in which they had been treated. they resolved to put him to death, and James Hamilton of Bothwellhaugh undertook to do the deed. he found his opportunity when the regent, on his way from Stirling to Edinburgh, was to ride in state through Linlithgow (1570). The long narrow street was on the occasion crowded with people, so that he had to proceed slowly. This enabled Hamilton to take sure aim from a house with a balcony in front belonging to Archbishop Hamilton. He fired, and the bullet passed through the regent’s body, killing a horse on the further side. In the garden behind the house a horse was in waiting, which the assassin mounted, and on which he made his escape westward into the territories of the Hamiltons. 

    14.  The death of Moray was followed by a succession of regents, under whom there were great disorders, raids on the Borders, and an English invasion. Lennox, the father of the murdered Darnley and grandfather of the young king, was made regent. Lethington and Kirkaldy of Grange went over to the queen’s party, and thus gained for it the castle of Edinburgh. The castle of Dumbarton, however, which had long been held for the queen, was taken for the king by Crawford of Jordanhill, April 2d, 1571. He was assisted by a hundred volunteers from Glasgow, and so skilfully did they do their work that they took the fortress without losing a man. 

    15.  The Estates attempted to hold a Parliament at Edinburgh outside the city wall in May, 1571; but the fire of Kirkaldy’s guns from the castle made the place too hot for them. They adjourned, and in August met at Stirling. Thither came from Edinburgh the Earl of Huntly with 300 horsemen and 80 musketeers. They attacked the town and cleared the streets. When the work of plunder began, the garrison of the castle, where the young king was at the time, came forth and drove them off. The regent, who had been dragged out of his house was mortally wounded in the fray, and died in a few hours after. 

    16.  The next regent was the Earl of Mar. Under him the country was exposed to all the horrors of civil war. No great battles were fought, but between the king’s men, who had possession of most of the Lowlands, and the queen’s party, which consisted of the Hamiltons in the queen’s party, which consisted of the Hamiltons in the west, and the Gordons, under Huntly, in the north, there was continual bloodshed and slaughter. Grange, with the guns of the castle, and cannon planted on the steeple of St. Giles, held Edinburgh for the queen. The king’s party had possession of Leith, and protected themselves by a battery on the Calton Hill. Many citizens removed from Edinburgh. John Knox withdrew to St. Andrews. A truce, however, was made between the two contending parties in August, 1572, when John Knox returned to Edinburgh. 

    17.  The news of the massacre of St. Bartholomew, which took place in August, 1572, filled all Protestant countries, and particularly Scotland, with terror. John Knox denounced it, and in presence of the ambassador of France called the king of that country a murderer. A great impetus was thus given to the work of reformation in Scotland, and the people were becoming more decidedly Presbyterian, and less inclined to favour the queen’s party. 

    18.  The Regent Mar died a natural death in October, and was succeeded in the regency by James Douglas, Earl of Morton. On the 24th of November John Knox died in the sixty-seventh year of his age, worn out and exhausted by bodily labours and mental anxiety. 

    19.  At the close of 1572 the truce ended, and Elizabeth, though she hated the idea of aiding subjects against their queen, yielded to the entreaties of her advisers, and sent 1500 men to assist the king’s party in its attack on Edinburgh Castle. After an obstinate defence Grange surrendered, and on August 3, 1573, he was hanged at the Market Cross. Lethington is said to have committed suicide by taking poison. The hopes of the queen’s party were now at an end. 

    20.  Morton offended the Earl of Argyle by making him restore some valuable jewels held by his wife, the widow of Moray, which had formerly belonged to Queen Mary. Athole and Argyle having quarrelled about a Highland robber whom the latter protected, were cited by Morton to answer for breaking the king’s peace. This made them so far friends as to unite against Morton. 

    21.  About the same time D’Aubigné, the uncle of Darnley, came from France to the Scottish court, and by his fine French airs and polished manners gained such influence over the young king as to get himself made Duuek of Lennox. Through his influence James Stewart, a son of Lord Ochiltree, was created Earl of Arran. He was an able and experienced soldier, but profligate and unscrupulous. They also united against Morton, because their power and influence was insecure as long as he lived. Morton was charged with having taken part in the murder of Darnley. He was tried, condemned, and beheaded in 1581 by a kind of guillotine called the maiden, which may still be seen in the Antiquarian Museum at Edinburgh. 

    22.  Morton was an able but cruel man. He was the first who, in the civil war, would give no quarter, but slew and hanged without mercy. He set the example to the other nobles of filling the bishoprics with men, who, after receiving a small part of the revenues to themselves, agreed to hand over the rest to their patrons; whence the bishops thus appointed were called Tulchan Bishops; the word Tulchan being the Gaelic name given to a calf’s skin stuffed with straw that was wont to be placed beside a cow at milking time to make her give her milk. 

    23.  After the execution of Morton in 1581 no regent was appointed, and James nominally became ruler, though he was as yet too young to rule. He was fifteen years of age. he had been educated by George Buchanan, the most famous scholar and poet of his time. The young king profited by his master’s instruction to such a degree that he was reckoned the most learned prince of Europe. But his education only made him a pedant. In his boyhood he was a prodigy of learning, but in manhood he showed himself deficient in the judgment and strength of purpose which would have made his acquirements a blessing to himself and his people. Buchanan tried to teach him the true relations of a king to his subjects, and wrote a book regarding it; but James, instead of learning the lesson, grew proud of what he called his king craft, and believed that kings rule by an absolute right derived from God, to whom alone they are responsible for the manner in which they treat their subjects. 

    24.  Lennox and Arran, after the death of Morton, were the king’s chief advisers; but as they were moved by self-interest, they were distrusted by the people and hated by the nobles. A strong party of the nobility determined to deliver the king from his favourites. They found their opportunity when he went in August, 1582, to hunt in Athole. On his way thither he became the guest of the Earl of Gowrie, at his Castle of Ruthven or Huntingtower, near Perth. On the morning after his arrival the king was astonished to find the castle surrounded by several nobles and 1000 armed men. When he wished to go away he was laid hold of by the Master of Glammis, who, when the king entreated and wept, said, “Better bairns greet than bearded men.” 

    25.  For ten months he was kept under restraint. He was allowed to move from place to place, but was always guarded by a company of armed followers. Lennox escaped to France, where he died, but Arran was imprisoned. 

    26.  When the king was at St. Andrews the Earls of Huntly, Marischal, and Argyle came thither with superior forces and delivered him. The parties came to terms, and Arran was set at liberty. The peace, however, was kept only for a short time, for the Ruthven lords having gathered a sufficient force seized Stirling Castle. Arran came to attack them with 12,000 men. Finding it hopeless to contend with such a force, they fled from the castle, and took refuge on the other side of the Barder. Gowrie was taken and executed in 1584, and Arran regained his former position of power and influence with the king. 

    27.  For nearly two years Arran was supreme. But in 1585 there came from France in the company of D’Aubigné, a son of the former favourite, who had been Duke of Lennox, a young man of fine manners and handsome person, called the Master of Gray. He became a favourite with the king, and was sent as ambassador to England. Being a Catholic, and a confidant of the Guises, he learned many of Queen Mary’s secrets, and revealed them to Elizabeth. Gray, knowing that Elizabeth desired the King of Scots to be freed from the influence of Arran, advised the English court to favour the return of the Ruthven lords. They, being joined at Selkirk by the exiled Hamiltons and the Maxwells, marched to Stirling with 8000 men. Arran fled to the Highlands, and the banished lords did homage and duty to their sovereign. A league was entered into with England, and Gowrie’s estates were restored. 

    28.  The king’s mother had meanwhile been kept a prisoner in England. From Bolton, in Yorkshire, she had been removed to various places for safe-keeping, and lastly to Fotheringay, near Peterborough. With her income of £30,000 a year, which she had as Queen Dowager of France, she might have spent her days with all the dignity and honour of an abdicated queen. But she was continually plotting, and became the centre of intrigues having for their object the overthrow of Elizabeth and the destruction of Protestantism.3

    29.  In 1569 the Earls of Northumberland and Westmoreland raised an insurrection in her favour, which was suppressed. Three years later, the Duke of Norfolk was beheaded for taking part in a conspiracy to place Mary, whom he hope to marry, on the throne of England. But the most formidable plot, and the one that proved fatal to Mary, was headed by Antony Babington, a rich young Catholic of Derbyshire. The object of Babington’s conspiracy was to murder Elizabeth and set Mary free. The plot was discovered, and Babington and thirteen other conspirators were tried and executed in September, 1586. It was alleged that Mary was privy to the conspiracy, and that she had received letter regarding it and returned answers to them through a chink in her prison wall. Though Mary denied that the letters, produced to prove her guilt, were written by her or with her knowledge, she was brought to trial on the 14th October, 1586, at Fotheringay.4 She was charged with conspiracy against the life of Elizabeth. After two days the trial was put off, but on the 25th the commissioners met in the Star Chamber at Westminster and condemned her to death. 

    30.  Queen Elizabeth withheld the warrant and made a show of unwillingness to sanction the execution; but on the 1st of February, 1587, she gave the warrant, and on the 8th of the same month the beautiful Queen of Scots, now in her forty-fifth year of her age and the eighteenth of her captivity, was beheaded in the great hall of Fotheringay Castle. King James called no meeting of the Estates for the purpose of succouring his mother, or avenging her death; nor does the execution of their queen seem to have excited much indignation among the Scots.5

    31.  When King James came of age, in 1587, he tried to reconcile his nobles to each other by inviting them to a banquet, and making those who were greatest foes march hand in hand from Holyrood, up the High Street, to the market-cross of Edinburgh. 

    32.  In 1589 James was married by proxy at Copenhagen to Anne, Princess of Denmark. The bride was detained by storms, and the king went to fetch her home. He met her at Upsala, in Sweden, where he was married in person in November, 1589. To avoid the storms of winter he stayed six months in Denmark, and arrived with his queen at Leith on the 1st of May, 1590. They were received with great rejoicings. 

    33.  In 1592 the Estates passed an act abolishing bishoprics, giving the government of the church to kirk-sessions, presbyteries, and synods, and making the General Assembly the supreme court of appeal, but the king or his commissioner was to be present at the meetings of Assembly, and before dissolving it he was to nominate time and place when the next Assembly should be held. 

    34.  These measures were carried at the instance of Andrew Melville and other zealous ministers; but they were not satisfactory to the king, who had a liking for the church being governed by bishops, whom he managed to introduce once more into the church in the year 1600

    35.  In 1593 another step was taken for the advancement of learning by the foundation of Marischal College at Aberdeen. The country was advancing slowly in civilization. In the same year the last Border clan battle of note was fought near Lockerby between the Maxwells and the Johnstons. 

    36.  In the year 1600 the Gowrie Conspiracy caused great excitement throughout the land. On the 5th of August, when the king was hunting at Falkland, Alexander Ruthven, the Earl of Gowrie’s brother, came to him and requested him to go to Gowrie House at Perth, and see a man whom he had seized the night before with a pot of foreign gold pieces under his cloak. The king at first refused to go, but his love of money and mystery got the better of him, and when the hunt was over her went, not alone as Ruthven wished, but with an escort of twenty horsemen. When dinner was over Ruthven conducted the king up to a corner turret where there was a man in armour. Ruthven took the man’s dagger and said to the king, “Sir, you must be my prisoner; remember on my father’s death.” The king remonstrated, and Ruthven said he sought not his life, but a promise which he should make to Gowrie. After exacting a promise from the king not to raise an alarm, Ruthven went to fetch his brother, but hearing an attempt being made by the king and the man to open the window, he returned, sprang upon the king, and tried to bind his hands, but was prevented by the man. The king struggled to the turret window and shouted for help. His attendants rushed in, and Sir John Ramsay stabbed Ruthven, whose body was thrown down the stair. When Ramsay came to the bottom of the stair he found Gowrie and five others attempting to ascend to avenge the death of Ruthven, but Ramsay gave Gowrie “ane dead stroke,” and the tragedy was ended. There was an uproar in Perth, where Gowrie was provost, but the king escaped down the river in a boat. 

   37.  The true nature of the Gowrie Conspiracy was never discovered, but letters have been found written by Logan of Restalrig, which render it probable that it was the intention of the Ruthvens to seize the king and convey him to Fast Castle, a stronghold of Logan’s, and there make use of him to advance their own ends. The Estates met soon after, and passed such sentence on the Gowries as put an end to their name and dignity among the nobility of Scotland.

    38.  In 1603 Queen Elizabeth died. As all the descendants of Henry VIII. were dead, James VI., the great-grandson of Henry’s sister, became King of England. Thus were the crowns of Scotland and England united, and the way prepared for that closer union which made the two kingdoms Great Britain in 1707.6

   Summary. – The infant son of Queen Mary was crowned as James VI. at Stirling in 1567. Moray, though absent in France, had been appointed regent. He returned home and ruled with a firm hand. But on the 3d of May, 1568, Mary escaped from Lochleven, gathered her followers around her at Hamilton, and was marching with them to Dumbarton, when she was defeated at Langside by her brother the regent. She fled to Dundrennan Abbey, and thence across the Solway to Cumberland, where she threw herself on the protection of Elizabeth. The Hamiltons and others were cited by the Estates to answer for the rising at Hamilton and their support of the queen, but as they did not appear their estates were forfeited. There was a conditional reconciliation and a promise to restore their estates; but the Hamiltons were so embittered against Moray, that they conspired against him, and he was shot by Hamilton of Bothwellhaugh in 1570. After Moray’s death Lennox, Mar, and Morton were successively regents. There was a kind of civil war carried on for some time between the king’s party and the queen’s party. Maitland of Lethington and Kirkaldy of Grange went over to the queen’s party and kept it alive till 1573, when Grange surrendered and was hanged, and Maitland committed suicide by taking poison. Morton offended Argyle by requiring him to give up Queen Mary’s jewels, which were held by his wife the widow of Moray. He and Athole, with others, conspired against Morton, gained over the young king to their side, and got the regent condemned and executed in 1581. James VI., though only fifteen years of age, became nominally king. Lennox and Arran, two favourites of the king, on whom he had conferred these titles, became his chief advisers. The nobility, to deliver him from their influence, made the king prisoner while he was the guest of the Earl of Gowrie at Ruthven Castle (1582). About a year after he was freed from the Ruthven lords by the Earls Huntly, Marischal, and Argyle. After another effort to regain the king the Ruthven lords fled to England. Gowrie, however, was taken and executed. Arran regained his influence and kept it until the Ruthven lords returned, and being joined by the Hamiltons and Maxwells, compelled him to take refuge in the Highlands. The exiled lords did homage to their king, and the forfeited estates of Gowrie were restored. The king’s mother having become the centre of intrigues against Elizabeth, she was tried, condemned, and beheaded at Fotheringay in 1587. In 1589 James married the Princess Anne of Denmark, and brought her home to Leith in 1590. Marischal College, Aberdeen, was founded in 1593. In 1600 the Gowrie conspiracy to murder the king at Perth caused great excitement. The attempt was unsuccessful, and the Earl of Gowrie and his brother were slain. In 1603 Queen Elizabeth died, and James VI. of Scotland became James I. of England.

   Questions:- Who was appointed regent? In what manner did he rule? how did Queen Elizabeth regard the doings of the Scots? Give an account of the escape of Mary from Lochleven and the action taken by Moray thereupon. Describe the battle of Langside and the queen’s flight to England. How did Mary conduct herself in England? How did Elizabeth treat the Queen of Scots? In what manner were the Hamiltons treated by the estates and the regent? Give an account of the murder of the regent. relate briefly what took place in the regencies of Lennox, Mar, and Morton. How had the young king been educated? Describe the “Raid of Ruthven,” and how the king was delivered from the restraint that followed. What can you tell about the Master of Gray and the return of the Ruthven lords? Give an account of the risings and plots that hastened the execution of the Queen of Scots. How did James try to reconcile his nobles? What can you tell of the king’s marriage? What measures affecting the church did Andrew Melville succeed in getting carried? What college was founded in 1593? Give a brief narrative of the Gowrie conspiracy. How did the crowns of England and Scotland come to be united?
as-pired, tried to get, aimed at getting.  vol-un-teers, persons who serve of their own free will. 
ca-pac’-i-ty, mental ability.  mus-ket-eers, men armed with muskets. 
in-stalled’, placed in.  mas’sa-cre, slaughter. 
ab-o-li’-tion, doing away with.  im’-pe-tus, impulse, force causing motion. 
sanc’-tion, confirm, authorize.  su’-i-cide, self-murder. 
re-strained’, confirm, authorize.  prof’-li-gate, wicked, licentious. 
re-strained’, kept in check.  guil’-lo-tine, an instrument for beheading. 
sub-or’-di-nate, inferior in rank or position.  an-ti-qua’-ri-an mu-se’-um, a place where old curiosities are kept. 
pre-sid’-ing, controlling, acting as chairman.  rev’-en-ues, rents, incomes. 
jus-ti’-ci-ar-y, pertaining to the administration of justice.  pe’-dant, one who makes a vain show of learning. 
ad-he’-rents, followers, friends.  prod’-igy, wonder. 
blan’-dish-ments, alluring, winning ways.  ab’-sol-ute, uncontrolled, unlimited. 
em-barked’, went on board.  re-spon’-si-ble, answerable. 
dep’-uty, one appointed to act for another.  con-fi-dant, one intrusted with secrets. 
me-mo’-ri-al, written statement containing a petition.  for’-mid-a-ble, to be dreaded. 
be-seech’-ing, earnestly asking for.  suc’-couring, helping. 
com-plic’-i-ty, having a share in.  prox’-y, substitute, one acting instead of. 
pre-ten’-sions, claims.  a-bol’-ishing, doing away with. 
de-ci’-sion, determination, judgment.  pres’-by-ter-ies, church courts consisting of the ministers and elders of districts. 
pes’-tilence, plague, disease.  syn’-ods, church courts consisting of several presbyteries. 
bal’-co-ny, small platform outside a window.  mys’-ter-y, anything secret. 

San’quhar, a small town in the upper part of Nithsdale, Dumfriesshire. 

Dundren’nan Abbey, about 5 miles south-east of Kirkcudbright. 

Cock’ermouth, a town in Cumberland. 

Ham’pton Court, on the Thames, about 12 miles west of London. 

Both’wellhaugh, near Bothwell in Lanarkshire. 

Ath’ole, a district in the north of Perthshire. 

Foth’eringay, near Peterborough in Northamptonshire. 

Fast Castle, near St. Abb’s Head,Berwickshire.

1  To make her seem super sectarian some historians like to “forget” Mary passed an Act of Toleration, allowing her subjects to worship their god in whatever way they saw fit. Literally a sweeping allowance to worship whatever faith appealed to her subjects;
“The same Queen, who is charged, by Robertson, with attempting to suppress the reformed discipline, with the aid of the bishops, passed a law; renouncing all foreign jurisdiction, in ecclesiastical affairs; giving toleration to all her subjects to worship God, in their own way; and engaging to give some additional privileges: By the first clause, the papal jurisdiction was renounced, by the second, a toleration was established; and by the third, some other points were promised, which might have led to a liturgy, which was the only thing wanting, to form a complete reformation, in a parliamentary mode. Yet, are there writers, so besotted with prejudice, as to say, that nothing was done, in the Parliament of April 1567, concerning religion.” – From Darnley’s Murder to the Queen’s Dethronement.
Nothing said over how restrictive, prejudicial and sectarian the laws abolishing Catholicism were to the percentage of the population who still practised the faith of their ancestors.
2  Did she? Or did she just see herself as rightfully the heir to the English throne, failing the production of an heir by Elizabeth? Let’s see what her own defence was to this accusation, from Lord Burghley’s Charges Against Mary, Queen of Scots and the Answers thereto
[Burleigh’s] First Charge.
The Queen of Scots’s challenge of the crown of England, by her using of the arms, and style of England; and being admonished thereof, answers were made very frivolously. 
The Answer thereto.
The Scotish Queen, on the 26th of July 1561, when applied to, formally, by Throkmorton, Elizabeth’s ambassador, on this subject, said: I was then under the commandment of King Henry my father, and of the king, my lord, and husband; and whatsoever was then done, by their commandments, the same was, in like manner continued till both their deaths; since which time, you know, I neither bore the arms, nor used the titles of England: Methinks, these my doings, continued she, might ascertain the Queen, your mistress, that what was done before, was done, by the commandment of them, who had power over me; and also she ought to be satisfied, seeing I order my doings, as I tell you. To this exposition of the Scotish Queen, there was no answer made, by Throkmorton, then; nor could any be made, by any one, thereafter: She was under age, and under coverture, and she, and her husband, were under the power of Henry II. her father in law; and she was bound to obey both her father, and her husband; but, since their several deaths, she had discontinued the practice, which had given offence: and now being a widow, she did not trouble her state, nor practise with her subjects, [as Elizabeth then did, with Scotland, and Mary’s subjects.] She only asked her friendship. This is the answer, which Burghley declared to be frivolous; and which he could not confute; yet, was always ready to bring forward, as matter of charge. If he meant, to make a sovereign of equal dignity, with his own, personally, answerable for what she did, as a sovereign, Burghley only showed his malignity, contrary to the common practice of mankind, to common justice, and to the common law of nations. If he avowed such a principle of action; then did he denude his mistress of her rank, and pretensions of one of the sovereigns of civilized nations, and degrade her to the state of one of the Barbary powers, who were despised, for their ignorance, and contemned for their practices. What apology did Elizabeth expect, from a queen of full as much dignity, as herself, more than a disavowal of the offensive pretension, and an avowed discontinuance, in future, of the injurious practice? Between sovereigns of equal rank what was then done, by the Queen of Scots, was constantly deemed a sufficient satisfaction, for such an injury, which, in her, as a married woman, was no injury at all. Henry II. was answerable for whatever wrong was committed: But, he had a retort ready, for Elizabeth: Upon what principle do you pretend, contrary to the fundamental laws of my ancient realm, which do not admit a female king, to govern, whatever he – she, in his – her conceit, might claim. [The above facts we learn, from Throkmorton’s letter to Elizabeth, 26th July 1561.]”
3  This just isn’t correct;
“THE Scotish Queen’s celebrated letter of the 8th of November 1582, made some impression on the court of Elizabeth, as a representation of grievances. And, what was deemed an answer was sent to her, in the beginning of the year 1583. But, the chief complaint, Why do you detain me, in prison? was not answered, and could not be satisfactorily answered.  
On the former policy of amusing, deluding, or entrapping the captive Queen, Beal was again sent to Sheffield, at the beginning of April 1583. He had long interviews with her: But, what advice to give, this able man knew not, ‘between the craftiness of the Scotish Queen, and the irresolution, and suspicion, of her majesty.’ In the course of the conversation, the Scotish Queen remarked to Beal, “that her majesty was now growing old, as well as herself; and it was time the succession should be fixed; and if her majesty would grant her liberty, she would solemnly pledge herself, that neither she, nor her son, would, by faction, or invasion, set up any claim to the crown, but would leave the whole to be arranged, by Parliament. She utterly denied having any participation in plots, or knowledge of them: She demanded her liberty, but not absolutely; as she was willing to continue in her majesty’s custody, in a house of her own, with a nobleman to attend her; and she would give any security, or enter into any obligation, for her good conduct.’ The Queen, in continuance, said, her only object now in life was to be reconciled to her majesty; that the chief of the Scotish nobility, Lindsay, Gowry, Lochleven, Mar, and Angus, were not to be trusted:’…” – From King James’s Escape from Ruthven, till Mary’s Removal to Tutbury.
There were false reportings of her escape throughout her imprisonment with various purposes as their goal, for example;
“When arguments failed, the French ambassador leidger L’Aubespine, entered into concerts, for taking off Elizabeth; but, he being discovered, he was sent for, and charged with this dangerous practice; but, denying it, he was warned how he acted contrary to his duty, as an ambassador. This plot induced the enemies of the Scotish Queen, to frighten Elizabeth, with false rumours, which were propagated, throughout the realm. Elizabeth wondered that, of all the associators, for the safety of her person, none of them would dispatch the Scotish Queen: No one would commit such an act; as no one could trust Elizabeth. She was, at the first of February 1589, driven, to direct her Secretaries, Walsingham, and Davison, to urge Paulet, and Drury, to assassinate the Queen of Scots. But, these wardens of the attainted Queen, however puritanic, and strict, were too circumspect to adopt a suggestion, which had they effected, had ruined themselves, their families, and their fame for ever. For Elizabeth, according to her guilty policy, would instantly have charged them, as murderers, and as such, would have sacrificed them, to save herself, who had gone full far enough, in baseness, when she directed a woman, a relation, and a queen, to be assassinated. But, she did go farther, in such iniquity. Her attempt on Paulet, and Drury, having failed, by their refusal, to commit an aggravated murder, rumours were spread, that London was fired, and the Queen of Scots escaped; precepts of hue and cry were sent to the several towns, to retake the fugitive: As the facts are true, the question arises, why such rumours should have been propagated, but to terrify the people, who might form a tumult, and in the midst of their terror, and agitation, might lay their bloody hands upon the Scotish Queen, infirm, as she was. But, this artifice, also, failing, Elizabeth still delayed the execution of that detested object, in the hope, that time, and chance, might supply some man-killer to perform the guilty deed.” – From Mary’s Removal to Fotheringay, till her Death.
4  Mary was too closely kept a prisoner to have been able to participate in plots;
“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.” – From Mary’s Removal to to Tutbury, till her Removal to Fotheringay.
5  James did not sit back and do nothing;
“Meantime, Henry III. of France, as well by himself, as by his several ambassadors, made the most sincere, and powerful efforts, to save Mary, from the axe of Elizabeth. The Scotish King, who was now twenty, actuated, as well by the constant entreaties of Coursellis, the French ambassador, as by his natural affections, interested himself warmly, for his mother, who had never injured him. But the agents, whom he employed, only betrayed both. What could be expected, from Archibald Douglas, Morton’s agent, in his father’s murder, and the master of Gray, a man of utter profligacy, who whispered in Elizabeth’s ear, mortua non mordet, a dead woman bites not.” – From Mary’s Removal to Fotheringay, till her Death – this chapter continues and details the sad description of Mary’s execution and how the event was taken in Scotland, with people feeling that something should be done.
6  For more on what Scots felt about that happy event in the couple of centuries thereafter, I refer you to our ‘Treaty of Union Articles’ project.