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THE SEVENTEENTH BOOK
FEW days after the death of the Regent, a truce was made for a short time to hear the embassadors who were come to treat of peace out of both nations, France and England. Hereupon the Nobles assembled. These could not effect any thing. The greatest obstacle to an agreement was that the French, who the winter before had obtain’d great booties out of the neighbouring parts, refus’d to depart unless they carry’d their baggage and plunder along with them. This was denied them, whereupon irruptions were made more fierce than ever, though not so prosperous to the French. At length, when both sides were weary of the war and the inclinations to peace could no longer be dissembled, the embassadors on both sides met again in a conference. The things which most inclin’d all to peace were these. The French had no hopes of any relief, and their provisions grew daily scant and were not likely to hold out long, so that their condition was almost wholly desperate. And for the English, they were wearied out with the long siege and wanted necessaries as well as the French, so that they easily hearkened to a capitulation. Thus, by the joint consent of all parties, on the 8th day of July in the year of our Lord 1560 [the English has 1559] peace was proclaimed on these conditions, that the French should sail away in 20 days with their bag and baggage; and, seeing they had not ships enough to transport them all over at present, they were to hire some from the English, leaving hostages till they were safely return’d. That Leith should be render’d up to the Scots, and the walls thereof demolish’d. That the fortifications lately made by the French at Dunbar should be slighted [levelled]. That these articles being perform’d, the English should immediately reduce [withdraw] their forces. That Mary Queen of Scots, by the consent of her husband Francis, should grant an oblivion of all that the Scotish Nobility had done or attempted from the 10th day of March 1559 till the 1st of August 1560. And that a law should made to that purpose, to be confirm’d in the next Parliament there (which was appointed to be in August). And Francis and Mary were to give their consent to the holding that Assembly. That 60 of the French should keep the island of Keith and the Castle of Dunbar, that so the Queen might not seem to be ejected out of the possession of the whole kingdom at once.
2. After this departure of the foreign souldiers there was a great tranquillity and cessation from arms till the Queen’s return. The Assembly of the estates were kept at Edinburgh, wherein the greatest debate was about promoting the Reform’d religion. The statutes made were sent into France for the Queen to give her consent to and subscribe. This was done rather to sound her mind than out of any hope to obtain any thing from her. Embassadors also were dispatch’d for England to give them thanks for their assistance so seasonably afforded. Not long after, James Sandeland, Knight of Rhodes, came into the French Court, a man as yet free from the discords of the faction. His business was to excuse things past and to pacify the grudges remaining since the former wars, and so to try all ways to establish peace and concord. But his arrival hapned to be in very troublesome times, for the whole conduct of the French affairs was then in the hands of the Guises, who, when they perceiv’d that neither threatnings nor flatteries did prevail, endeavour’d to oppress the contrary faction by force of arms, and when they could lay no other plausible crime against their contrariants, they accus’d them of high-treason for betraying the kingdom. Hereupon the King of Navarr was condemn’d to perpetual imprisonment and his brother, the Prince of Conde, sentenc’d to death. Annas, Duke of Momorancy, and the two sons of his sister, Jasper and Francis Colignes, and their kinsman the Vidam of Chartres, were destin’d to the slaughter; and besides those, above 7000 more were put into the black list of criminals. Moreover, all means were used to terrify the people. The city of Orleans was full of foot-souldiers, guards of horse were posted all up and down the country. All the high-ways were beset by them. Sentence was past by a few men in the Court concerning the lives, fortunes, and good names of the honestest men. All the steeples of churches and towers round about the walls had their windows shut up and their gates and doors fortified, being design’d for prisons. Criminal judges were call’d together out of the whole kingdom. The manner of punishment was thus design’d that, as soon as the frost broke and the River Loir was navigable, the King should go to Chinon in Poictou at the mouth of the River Vien, and then the Guises, with a few of their partizans, at the command of the Court-cabal (of which they were the chief) should perform the execution.
3. Mean while Sandeland came to Court, not so much humbly to desire pardon for what was past as to excuse his country-men, laying all the blame of the tumults upon the French, the Guises receiv’d him very coursly, blaming him that he, being a man dedicated to the Holy War, had undertaken to manage the commands of the rebels upon the account of that execrable heresy which the consent of all nations had highly condemn’d in the Council of Trent; yea, many of them did admire, not at the folly, but even madness of the Scots, that they, being but a few and disagreeing amongst themselves, and besides, destitute of mony and other warlike preparations, should dare to provoke so potent a King, who was now at quiet from any foreign enemy. Between these fretful indignations and threatnings, the King fell suddenly sick. The embassador was dismiss’d without any answer, but the message of the Kings death reach’d him at Paris in the Nones of December, whence he made haste hope, hoping for better things in future. The news of the King’s death, being divulg’d, did not so much erect the minds of the Scots, being in great suspence by reason of their imminent danger, as it fill’d all France with faction and the poison of domestick discords. James, the Queen’s brother, Scotland being now freed from the domination of the French by the death of Francis, made what haste he could to the Queen, who, when her husband was dead, went to Lorrain to her uncles, either as a recess to her grief or else out of womanly emulation that she might not be near her mother-in-law, who, by reason of the slothfulness of Anthony Burbon, King of Navar, did by degrees derive the whole administration of affairs into her own hands. There James, the Queen’s brother, having setl’d things in Scotland for a season, found her, and, after much discourse, the Queen told him she had a mind to return to Scotland and fix’d a day by which they might expect her, her uncles being also of the same opinion.
4. For before James’s coming there had been great consultation about the matter, some alleging the difficulty of the voyage, especially the Queen of England being nothing favourable; besides, she was to go to a barbarous people and naturally seditious, who were hardly kept in quiet by the government of men. Moreover, she had fresh examples before her eyes of her father and mother, who, when the could not or durst not openly oppress, by sundry artifices they drove them to despair, so that she would be in daily peril either of her honour of her life amongst them. On the other side, they who were skill’d in the affairs of Scotland did urge that the seditions arising there were occasion’d oftner by default of the princes than the people, in that they endeavour’d to reduce that kingdom to an arbitrary and boundless rule, which, time out of mind, had been circumscrib’d and manag’d within due bounds of law, and that such a nation, which was more warlike than opulent, could never endure. But all those Kings who never attempted to infringe the liberties of the people were not only free from private enemies and popular tumults, but also reigned much beloved of their subjects, famous abroad, and unconquered by their enemies. But the best and almost the only way at present to quiet things was to attempt no alteration in the state of religion as then establish’d. These were the debates, as publickly bruited on both sides. But there were other more prevailing causes with her uncles. For they, in the troubles of France cherishing rather great than honest hopes, thought, if the Queen were absent, she would be more in their power than if she staid in France, and that neighbour-princes, in hopes to carry her for a wife, would seek their friendships and use them as mediators. In the mean time, one or other of their faction would preside over the management of affairs in Scotland. Besides, the Queen’s resolution swayed much in the case, who was determined to return into her own country. For her husband was dead and her mother-in -law (who manag’d matters of state) being something alienated from her, she saw she should be cheap at that Court, and tho she had been but a little used to government, yet a woman, young, of a flourishing age, and a lofty spirit too, could not endure to truckle under another. She had rather have any fortune in a kingdom than the richest without one, neither could she hope that her condition would be very honourable, the power of the Guises being weakened by the adverse party at the first brush. Besides, the persuasions and promises of her brother James serv’d much to weigh down the ballance. For he assur’d her she would find all quiet at home, especially seeing he was a man to whose faith she might safely commit her self, being her natural brother, and who from his youth had performed many noble and brave exploits, and so had got great credit and renown amongst all men.
5. Whilst the Queen was intent on these matters, Noal, a Senator of Bourdeaux who was sent out of France, came into a Scotland a little after the end of the publick Convention, and was put off till the next Assembly, which, in order to the setling publick matters, was indicted to be held at Edinburgh May the 21st. Yet the Nobles who met there at that time in great abundance did not sit, because they were as yet uncertain of the Queen’s will and pleasure. In the mean time, James Stuart returned from France and brought a commission from the Queen, giving them liberty to sit and enact laws for the good of the publick. Then the French embassador had audience. The heads of the embassy were that the ancient league with the French should be renewed, and the new one with the English broke. That priests should be restor’d to their estates and dignities whence they had been ejected. To which answer was given, as to the French league, that they were not conscious to themselves that they had broken it in the least, but that it had been many ways infring’d by the French themselves, and especially of late, in their opposing the publick liberty and indeavouring to bring a miserable yoke of bondage upon a people which were their allies and giving no occasion on their part. As for the league with England, they could not dissolve it without a brand of the greatest ingratitude imaginable, in recompensing so great a courtesy with the highest injury, as to join against those who had been the deliverers of their country. As for the restitution of priests, they knew no use or need of their office in the Church. In the Parliament a statute was made to demolish all the monasteries of the monks, and men were presently sent abroad into all parts of the land to put it into execution.
6. Matters being prepar’d in France for the Queen’s journy, her intimate friends who govern’d her counsels advis’d her for the present wholly to pretermit and pass over matters about religion, though some gave her rash counsel to arm on that account and kill all that opposed. The chief of which were Dury, the Abbat of Dumfermling, and John Sinclare, lately design’d Bishop of Brechin. And she her self was by nature, as also by the persuasion of her kindred, so inclinable to their counsel that sometimes threats broke out from her, as it were, against her will, which were catch’d up at Court and spread amongst the vulgar. And she would divers times boast among her familiars that she would follow the example of her kinswoman Mary Queen of England. Wherefore the main of her counsels tended to this, to feed the men of her own faction with hopes at present, and to suppress the opposite party by degrees, and when she was well setled in her power, then to declare her mind. And this seem’d not hard to do, seeing the Council of Trent was lately begun, on pretence to restore the decay’d manners of the Church, but indeed to extirpate the professors of the true Religion, as by the decrees of that cabal was afterwards declared. Besides, her uncles did mightily animate the Queen by shewing her the power of the Papal faction, whose head, by the decree of the Council, Francis, the eldest brother of the Guises, was to be. In the mean time, Charles the Cardinal, amidst so many publick cares, was mindful of himself and advis’d the Queen not to carry her housholdstuff and furniture, which were of great value, as ’twere, into another world, but to leave them with him till she might be assur’d of the event of her journy. She knew the man and his craft well enough, and therefore answer’d him that, seeing she ventur’d her self, she might as well trust her goods as her person.
7. When all was resolv’d upon, they sent into England to try how the Queen stood affected to the voyage. D’Osel, the envoy, was well entertain’d there, and sent back presently into France to tell the Queen of Scots that if she pleas’d to pass through England she should have all the respect which she could desire from a kinswoman and an ally, and that he would take it as a great favour besides; but if she shunn’d her interview, she would look upon it as an affront. For the English Queen had prepar’d a great fleet, the pretence was, to scour the sea of pyrates, but some thought that ’twas to intercept the Queen of Scots if she adventured to pass against her will. They took one ship, wherein the Earl of Eglington was, and brought her to London, but dismiss’d her again in a little time. But whatever the design was in providing a fleet, if any danger was intended providence did prevent it, for when the French gallies came upon the main, a mist followed them for several days till they came into Scotland, the 21st day of August. The news of the Queen’s arrival being divulged abroad, the Nobility from all parts of the kingdom came hastily in as to a publick show, partly to congratulate her return. Some also came to put her in mind of the services they did her in her absence, that so they might preoccupate her favour and prevent the cavils of their enemies. Others came to give a guess of her future regiment [government] by her first entrance into the kingdom. Upon these different grounds all did equally desire to see their Queen, which was so unexpectedly cast upon them after such various events of changeable providences. They considered that she was born amidst the cruel tempests of war, and lost her father in about six days after her birth; that she was well educated by the great care of her mother, the choicest of women; but between domestick seditions and foreign wars she was left as a prey to the strongest side, and even almost before she has a sense of misery, was exposed to all the perils of inraged fortune; that she left her country, being, as ’twere, sent into banishment, where, between the fury of arms and the violence of the waves, she was hardly preserved. ’Tis true, her fortune somewhat smiled upon her and advanced her to an illustrious marriage, but her joy was not lasting, but transitory. For, her mother and husband dying, she was cast into a mourning widow’d estate, having the new kingdom she received, and her old one too, standing on very ticklish terms. Furthermore, besides the variety of her dangers, the excellent meen of her beauty, the variety of her dangers, the elegancy of her wit did much commend her. These accomplishments her courtly education had either much increas’d, or at least made them more acceptable by a false disguise of virtue, not sincere, but adumbrated only to a kind of similitude thereof which made the goodness of her nature, by her desire to please and ingratiate her self, less acceptable, and so nipp’d the seeds of virtue by the blandishments of pleasure that they might not come to bring forth any ripe fruit in their season. As these things were grateful to the vulgar, so the more intelligent saw through them, yet they hoped that her soft and tender age might be easily bettered and amended by experience.
8. Amidst these gratulations there was a light offence happened, but it struck deep into the minds of either faction. The Nobility had agreed with the Queen that no alteration should be made in point of the religion received; only she and her family were to have Mass, and that in private too. But while the furniture for it was carried through the Court into the chappel, one of the company catch’d the candles out of his hands that carried them and broke them, and unless some moderate men had come in and prevented it, all the rest of the apparatus had been spoiled too. That action was differently interpreted amongst the vulgar. Some blamed it as a fact too audacious. Some said ’twas to try mens patience how far it would bear. Others affirmed and spake it publickly that the priests ought to be punish’d with the punishment appointed in Scriptures against idolatry. But this commotion was nipp’d in the very bud by James the Queen’s brother, to the great but hidden indignation of George Gordon, who was willing to lay hold on all occasions of disturbance. And here, thinking an opportunity was open to curry favour, he went to the Queen’s uncles, then present, and promised them to reduce all the country beyond Dunkelden to the old religion. But they suspected the matter, as having heard enough of the disposition of the man, and fearing lest he should raise a new storm to no purpose, communicated the matter to James, the Queen’s brother. The rest of the year was spent in balls and feastings and in sending away the French who, out of civility, had attended the Queen and were then honourably dismiss’d. Only one of her uncles, the Marquess of Elbeuff, staid behind. Amidst these matters, william Maitland Junior was sent embassador into England to compliment the Queen, as the custom is, and to acquaint her how highly she stood affected towards her, and how much she desired to maintain peace and concord with her. He also carried to her letters from the Nobility, in which was mentioned a friendly commemoration of former courtesies and obligations. But one thing they earnestly desired of her, and that was that both publickly and privately she would shew her self friendly and courteous towards their Queen, and that, being provoked by good offices, she would not only persevere in her ancient friendship, but add daily stronger obligations (if possible) hereunto. As for their part, it should be their earnest study and desire to pretermit no occasion pf perpetuating the peace betwixt the two neighbour-kingdoms. That there was but one sure way to induce an amnesty of all past differences and to stop the spring of them for ever, if the Queen of England would declare by an Act of Parliament, firmed by the royal assent, that the Queen of Scots was heiress to the kingdom next after her self and her children (if every she had any).
9. After the embassador had asserted the equity of such a statute, and how beneficial it would be to all Britain by many arguments, he added in the close that she, being her nearest kinswoman, ought to be more intent and diligent than others in having such an act made, and that the Queen did expect that testimony of good-will and the respect from her. To which the Queen of England answered in these words: “I expected another kind of embassy from your Queen. I wonder she hath forgot how that before her departure out of France, after much urging, she at last promised that the league made at Leith should be confirmed, she having promised me faithfully it should be so as soon as ever she returned into her own country. I have been put off with words long enough. Now ’tis time (if she have any respect to her honour) that her deeds should answer her words.” To which the embassador answered that he was sent in this embassy but a very few days after the Queen’s arrival, before she had entred upon the administration of any publick affairs. That she had been hitherto taken up in treating the Nobility, many of whom she had never seen before, who came from divers parts to perform their dutiful salutations to her. But she was chiefly imployed about setling the state of religion, “which how difficult and troublesome a thing it is (said he) you your self are not ignorant. Hence (he proceeded) Your Majesty may easily understand that the Queen of Scots had no vacant time at all before my departure.” Neither had she as yet called fit men to her Council to consult about various affairs, especially since the Nobility that liv’d in the furthest parts towards the North had not been yet to attend her before his coming, without whose advice matters of such high publick moment could not, nor ought not, to be transacted.
10. Upon which the English Queen was something moved, and said, “What need had your Queen to make any consultation about doing that which she hath obliged her self to under her hand and seal?” He replied, “I can give no other answer at present, for I received nothing in command about it, neither did our Queen expect that an account thereof would now be required of me, and you may easily consider with your self what just causes of delay she at present lies under.” After some words had past betwixt them upon these matters, the Queen returned to the main point. “I observe (saith she) what you most insist upon in behalf of your Queen and in seconding the requests of the Nobles. You put me in mind that your Queen is descended from the blood of the Kings of England, and that I am bound to love her by a natural obligation, as being my near kinswoman, which I neither can nor will deny. I have also made it evident to the whole world that in all my actions I never attempted any thing against the weal and tranquillity of her self and her kingdom. Those who are acquainted with my inward thoughts and inclinations are conscious that, though I had just cause of offence given by her using my arms and claiming a title to the kingdom, yet I could never be persuaded but that these seeds of hatred came from others, not from her self. However the case stands, I hope she will not take away my crown whilst I am alive, nor hinder my children (if I have any) to succeed me in the kingdom. But if any casualty should happen to me before, she shall never find that I have done any thing which may in the least prejudice the right she pretends to have to the kingdom of England. What that right is, I never thought my self obliged to make a strict disquisition into, and I am of the mind still. I leave it to those who are skilful in the law to determine. As for your Queen, she may expect this confidently of me, that if her cause be just, I shall not prejudice it in the least. I call God to witness that, next to my self, I know none that I would prefer before her, or, if the matter come to a dispute, that can exclude her. Thou knowest (says she) who are the competitors. By what assistance or in hopes of what force can such poor creatures attempt such a mighty thing?” After some further discourse the conclusion was short, that it was a matter of great weight and moment, and that this was the first time she had entertained any serious thoughts about it, and therefore she had need of longer time to dispatch it.
11. A few days after, she sent for the embassador again, and told him that she extreamly wondred why the Nobles should demand such a thing of her upon the first arrival of the Queen, especially knowing that the causes of former offences were not yet taken away. “But what, pray, do they require? That I, having been so much wrong’d, should before any satisfaction receiv’d gratify her in so great a matter. This demand is no far from a threat. If they proceed on in this way, let them know that I have force at home and friends abroad as well as they, who will defend my just right.” To which he answered that he had shewn clearly at first how that the Nobility had insisted on this hopeful medium of concord, partly out of duty to their Queen in a prospect to maintain her weal and increase her dignity, partly out of a desire to conciliate and settle publick peace and amity. “And, that they deal more plainly with you than with any other prince in this cause, proceeds from your known and experienc’d good-will towards them, and also upon the account of their own safety. For they knew they must venture life and fortune if any body did oppose the right of the Queen, or any war should arise betwixt the nations on that ground. And therefore their desires did not seem unwarrantable or unjust, as tending to the eradicating of the seeds of all discords and the settling a firm and solid peace.” She rejoined, “If I had acted any thing which might diminish your Queen’s right, then your demand might have been just, that what was amiss might be amended. But this postulation is without an example, that I should wrap my self up in my winding sheet while I am alive, neither was the like ever ask’d of any prince. However, I take not the good intention of your Nobility amiss, and the rather because ’tis an evidence to me that they have a desire to promote the interest and honour of their Queen, and I do put as great a value on their prudence in providing for their own security, and in being tender of shedding Christian blood, which could not be avoided if any faction should arise to challenge the kingdom.
12. “But what such party can there be, or where should they have force? But to let these considerations pass, suppose me inclinable to assent to their demands. Do you not think I would do it rather at the request of the Nobles than of the Queen her self? But there are many other things which avert me from such a transaction. First, I am not ignorant how dangerous a thing ’tis to venture on the dispute. The disceptation [debate] concerning the right of the kingdom I have always mightily avoided, for the controversy hath been already so much canvass’d in the mouths of many concerning a just and lawful marriage, and what children were bastards and what legitimate, according as every one is addicted to this or that party, that by reason of these disputes I have hitherto been more backward in marrying. Once, when I took the crown publickly upon me, I married my self to the kingdom, and I wear the ring I then put on my finger as a badg thereof. However, my resolution stands I will be Queen of England as long as I live. And when I am dead, let that person succeed in my place which hath most right to it. And if that chance to be your Queen, I will put no obstacle in her way. But if another hath a better title, ’twere unjust to require of me to make a publick edict to his prejudice. If there be any law against your Queen, ’tis unknown to me, and I have no great delight to sift into it. But if there should be any such law, I was sworn at my coronation that I would not change my subjects laws. As for your second allegation, that the declaration of my successor will knit a stricter bond of amity betwixt us, I am afraid rather it will be a seminary of hatred and discontent. What, do you think I am willing to have my grave-clothes always before my eyes? Kings have this peculiarity, that they have some kind of sentiments against their own children who are born lawful heirs to succeed them. Thus Charles the 7th of France somewhat disgusted Lewis the 11th, and Lewis the 12th, Charles the 8th, and of late Francis ill-resented Henry. And how is it likely I should stand affected towards my kinswoman if she be once declared my heir? Just as Charles the 7th was towards Lewis the 11th.
13. “Besides, and that which weighs most with me, I know the inconstancy of this people. I know how they loath the present state of things. I know how intent their eyes are upon a successor. ’Tis natural for all men, as the proverb is, to worship rather the rising than the setting sun. I have learn’d that from my own times, to omit other examples. When my sister Mary sat at helm, how eagerly did some men desire to see me plac’d in the throne? How solicitous were they in advancing me thereto? I am not ignorant what danger they would have undergone to bring their design to an issue, if my will had concurr’d with their desires. Now, perhaps, the same men are otherwise minded. Just like children when they dream of apples in their sleep are very joyful, but when, waking in the morning and finding themselves frustrate in their hopes, their mirth is turn’d into mourning, thus I am dealt with by those who, whilst yet I was a private woman, wish’d me so well. If I look’d upon any of them a little more pleasantly than ordinary, they thought presently with themselves that, as soon as ever I came to the throne, they should be rewarded rather at the rate of their own desires than of the service they perform’d for me. But now, seeing the event hath not answer’d expectation, some of them do gape after a new change of things in hope of a better fortune. For the wealth of a prince, though never so great, cannot satisfy the insatiable desires of all men. But if the good-will of my subjects do flag towards me, or if their minds are chang’d because I am not profuse enough in my largesses or for some other trivial cause, what will be the event when the malevolent shall have a successor nam’d, to whom they may make their grievances known and, in their anger and pet, betake themselves? What danger shall I then be in when so powerful a neighbour-prince is my successor? The more strength I add to her in ascertaining her succession, the more I detract from my own security. This danger cannot be avoided by any precautions, or by any bonds of law; yea, those princes who have hope of a kingdom offer’d them will hardly contain themselves within the bounds either of law or equity. For my part, if my successor were publickly declar’d to the world, I should think my affairs to be far from being setled and secure.”
14. This was the sum of what was truly acted at that conference. A few days after, the embassador ask’d the Queen whether she would return any answer to the letter of the Scotish Nobility. “I have nothing (said she) at present to answer, only I command their sedulity and love to their prince. But the matter is of such great weight that I cannot so soon give a plain and express answer thereunto. But when your Queen shall have done her duty in confirming the league she oblig’d her self to ratify, then ’twill be seasonable to try my affection towards her. In the mean time, I cannot gratify her in her request without diminution of my own dignity.” The embassador reply’d he had no command about that affair, nor ever had any discourse with his mistress concerning it, neither did he then propound the Queen’s judgment concerning the right of succession, but his own, and had brought reasons to inforce it. But as for the confirmation of the league by her husband, ’twas inforc’d from the Queen of Scots without the consent of those whom the ratifying or disannulling thereof did much concern; neither was it a thing of such consequence as therefore to exclude her and her posterity from the inheritance of England. “I do not inquire (said he) by whom, when, how, by what authority, and for what reason that league was made, seeing Ihad no command to speak of any such matter. But this I dare affirm, that though ’twere confirm’d in her in compliance with her husband’s desire, yet, so great a stress depending on it, his Queen in time would find out some reason or other way it should and ought to be dissolv’d. I speak not this (said he) in the name of the Queen, but my intent is to shew that our Nobility have cause for what they do, that so, all controversies being pluckt up by the roots, a firm and sure peace may be establisht betwixt us.” After much discourse proand con about the league, the Queen was brought to this, that embassadors should be chosen on both sides to review it and to regulate it according to this form, that the Queen of scots should abstain from using the arms of England and from the titles of England and Ireland as long as the Queen of England or any of her children were alive. On the other side, the Queen of England was to do nothing, neither by her self or her posterity, which might prejudice the Queen of Scots or impair her right of succession.
15. These were the affairs transacted in this embassy, which while they were treated of abroad in order to settle peace, sedition had almost broke out at home. There was Mass allow’d to the Queen and her family (as I said before), concerning which, when the edict was publish’d, there was one of the Nobility which oppos’d it, viz., the Earl of Arran, the Queen being much offended thereat, tho she dissembled her anger. The next offence was against the Edinburgers. They use ordinarily to chuse their magistrates September 29. At that time, Archibald Douglas, the Sheriff, according to custom proclaim’d that no adulterer, fornicator, drunkard, Mass-monger, yea, or obstinate Papists after the first of September should stay in the town, great penalties being denounc’d against the disobeyers thereof. When the Queen was inform’d hereof, she committed the magistrates to prison without hearing them, and commanded the citizens to chuse new magistrates, injoining them to set the gates open to all her good subjects, not without the secret indignation of laughter of some that flagitious persons should be accounted such good subjects and her most faithful ministers and servants. The Queen, finding that the citizens took this matter more patiently than she expected, by degrees attempted greater matters. Her Mass was before but privately celebrated, without any great solemnity. But on the 1st of October she added all the gaudry of Popish offices to it. The Reform’d ministers of the Gospel took this very grievously and complain’d much of it in their pulpits, putting the Nobility in mind of their duty. Hereupon a dispute was agitated betwixt a few in a private house, whether ’twere lawful to restrain idolatry, which was likely to spread and ruin all, or whether might by force reduce the chief magistrate to the bounds of the law, who set no limits to his own arbitrariness. The Reform’d ministers persisted constantly in their opinion, which had been approv’d in former times, that a magistrate might be compell’d by force to do his duty. The Nobles were most unstedfast in their resolutions, either to curry favour with the Queen or out of hopes of honour and reward, yet ’twas decreed for them, being superior in number and greatness.
16. In the mean time, the Court was drown’d in vice and loos’d the reins to all luxury, neither was it awakend by the news of the moss-troops [robbers] inhabiting the English Borders, who, as if by permission, did freely plunder and kill’d all that oppos’d them. James, the Queen’s brother, was sent with a delegated power to suppress them, not so much, as many thought, to honour him as to expose him to danger. for as his power was distasteful to the Queen, so his innocent carriage was more offensive in reproving her for her faults and stopping her carreer to tyranny. But God, beyond all mens hope, prosper’d his just endeavours. He hang’d 28 of the robbers, the rest he suppress’d either by the sole terror of his name or else by making them give hostages for their good behaviour. The Queen seem’d to her self to have got some liberty by his absence, for she was not well pleas’d with the present state of things, partly by reason of the controversies in religion, and partly because matters were manag’d more strictly than a young woman who had been educated in the corruptest of all Courts (as interpreting lawful domination to be unseemly for princes, as if the slavery of others was their liberty) could well endure, so that sometimes she was heard to speak some high discontented words; yea, the foundation of tyranny seem’d to be laid, for, whereas all former Kings intrusted their safety only to the Nobility, she determin’d to have a guard for her body, but could find no pretence to bring it about, neither could she give any reasonable colour for her desire, but only vain courtly magnificence and the usage of foreign princes. The deportment of her brother, the more unblameable it was, troubled her the more in regard it cut off any opportunity to feign crimes or fasten suspicion on him, as also because she knew he would not endure her loose living; besides, the people were so affected that they would take a guard for her body as a manifest omen of tyranny.
17. Whereupon her restless mind, determining by any means whatsoever to effect what she had once resolv’d upon, devis’d this stratagem. She had a brother nam’d John, an ambitious man and not so strictly conversationed as James was. He was easily persuaded to be obsequious to the Queen, and thereupon was dearer to her as a fitter instrument to raise tumults. She communicates her design to him, in the absence of James, about raising a guard. The plot was laid thus. There was a noise of a tumult to be bruited abroad in the night, as if James Hamilton, Earl of Arran, would have surpriz’d the Queen, who had but a few men to guard her, and so have carried her to his castle, 14 miles off. This story, they thought, would take with the vulgar, both because the Queen was averse from him, and he extreamly in love with her, both which were publickly known. This tumult was made as the plot was, and horsemen scouted about the neighbour-fields a good part of the night, and in the morning a guard was set at the Court-gate, some fretting, others smiling thereat. The authors of this project, though they knew themselves that they were not believ’d, yet were mightily pleas’d, as secure of mens opinions and knowing that none there preset durst oppose them. Upon which the Court ran headling into wantonness and luxury, notwithstanding as yet justice was equally administred and offences punish’d. For the chief management of affairs was in James, the Queen’s brother, who for his equity and valor was dear to all. He us’d as his chief counsellor William Maitland, a young man of great judgment, having already given large experiments thereof, and rais’d up higher expectations for the future. Their joint virtuous counsels kept things quiet at home and abroad, and ’twas as well as good men could wish. As for the factious, they could rather fret than complain justly.
18. Amidst these things, a debate arose in the Court which held them play three whole months. They who had been Kings or Regents in former times had exhausted the publick treasure (which was never great in Scotland). The Queen was immoderately expensful. The estates of the Nobility and commonalty in the late tumults were mightily wasted, so that now nothing remain’d to maintain Court-expences but the ecclesiastical revenues. Whereupon the chief of the clergy were sent for to Court, and some of the prime Nobility were added that number, that could either cajole them by persuasion or compel them by force. After a long dispute, the ecclesiasticks being overcome rather with the sense of their own weakness than the weight of any reason, the conclusion was that a 3d part should be taken off from ecclesiastical revenues wherewith the Queen should maintain orthodox ministers and reserve the rest for her own use. This conclusion was pleasing to none. the rich ecclesiasticks grudg’d that any of their old revenues should be par’d away, and the Reform’d ministers expected no good from the Queen. Yet indeed, though a great shew was made, she got no great matter by it. For many of the old possessors had their 3rds forgiven. Many, both men and women, had the wages for their houshold service and expence paid out of it for many years. Many got pensions and supports for their old age. That winter the Queen created her brother James Earl of Marr, with the great assent of all good men. For giving honour to virtue all did praise her; that she allow’d some grains to propinquity in blood, none did dispraise her; and many thought she had done well for the publick in advancing a person to honour who was of an illustrious stock and had so highly deserved of his country, that so he might preside over publick affairs with the greater authority; yea, some thought that this favour of the Queen’s was intended to reconcile him to her, who, she knew, was offended at the carriage of the Court in his absence. Besides, he had a wife provided for him, Agnes Keith, daughter of the Earl of Merch, at which marriage there was such magnificent feasting, or rather such immoderate luxury, that the minds of his friends were grievously offended and his enemies took occasion of exclaiming and envying, and the more because he had been so temperate all the former part of his life.
19. Not long after, Murray was bestowed upon him instead of Marr (which was found the ancient right of John Erskin). Gordon, being depriv’d first of Marr, then of Murray, over which country he had been long Governour, look’d upon himself as robbed of his patrimony, and therefore levelled all his designs at the overthrow of his corrival. And besides, he had many other motives thereunto. For, being far the richest man in all Scotland by reason of the rewards his ancestors had received for their service to the crown, and also himself had augmented the power of his family by ill arts. First, he overthrew John Forbes (as I said before) by false witnesses. Next, when James Stuart, brother of James the Fifth, died without children, he obtain’d of them who sat at helm the stewardship of Murray, whereby he carried himself as heir and arriv’d at such a pitch of greatness that all his neighbours laid down their emulation and rested quietly under his authority, I had almost said his vassalages. But whilst others submitted to him, either for fear of danger or patience to bear the yoak, he was much troubled with the disregard of one man, or, as he called it, pride, and that was of James Macintosh, chief of a great family amongst the old Scots. He was born and brought up amongst the brute Highlanders, us’d to the prey, but yet, whether ’twere by a secret instinct of nature or else by good instructors, he arriv’d at that degree of courtesy, modesty, and decent behaviour that he might vie with those who had the greatest care us’d in their virtuous education. Gordon suspected this young man’s power, for he knew he could not use so good a disposition as an instrument for his wicked purposes. And therefore, on a sudden, he laid hands on him and cast him into prison. But, not able to find any crime in him worthy of death, ’tis reported he suborn’d some of his friends to persuade him to submit himself and his cause to him, for that, they told him, was the only way to be delivered honourably out of prison . Thus the simple and plain-hearted man was cheated into his own destruction. Yet Gordon, being willing to avoid the envy of his death, dealt with his wife to bear the blame of it. She, being a woman of a stern manly courage, presently undertook the matter, and, in the absence of her husband, the poor innocent betrayed young man had his head cut off. His neighbours were either so astonish’d at this man’s punishment, or else were so aton’d with gifts, that the whole country beyond the Caledonians was under his jurisdiction alone.
20. So that, being a man ambitious of power and glory, he took it very ill that James Earl of Murray was set up as rival, and, being impatient of the present state of things, he took all occasions to promote disturbances, and did daily calumniate his proceedings in publick; yea, he gave a book written with his own hand to the Queen wherein he accused him to affect tyranny, but he back’d it with very slender arguments. On the other side of the country and at the same time, James Hepburn, Earl of Bothwel, being much in debt and very debost [debauched], was thereby excited to attempt against the said Earl of Murray. For, having spent his youth wantonly amongst whores and bauds, he was reduc’d to that pass, as either to raise up a civil war or else to support his poverty by some audacious fact. When he had considered all ways to compass his design of disturbing the publick peace, he thought it his best course to set Murray and the Hamiltons together by the ears. His hope seemed sure to destroy one of the parties thereby, no matter which. First, then, he goes to Murray and endeavours to persuade him to root out the Hamiltons, a family distasteful and obnoxious to the Queen, the whole kingdom, and especially to himself, and he offered him his assistance therein, alleging that the thing would not be unacceptable to the Queen in regard, besides the common ground of hatred that princes bear against their kindred, as desirous of their ruin, the Queen had also some particular and just causes of office, either because of his affection to the Evangelical doctrine and discipline, of which Arran was the only assertor, for which he also had incurr’d the hatred of the Guises in France, or else for the hard words he had lately given to one of the Queen’s uncles, the Marquess of Elbeuf, then in Scotland. But Murray, being an honest conscientious man, scorn’d to commit so base a fact. Whereupon Hepburn went to the Hamiltons and offered his service to them to destroy Murray, whose power they could not well brook. He told them that he was the only man who was an obstacle to their hopes and an impeder of their concerns. If he were taken away, the Queen must needs be in their power, whether she would or no.
21. And the means were facile and easy. The Queen was then at Falkland, a castle seated in a town of the same name. There is a small wood in the neighbourhood wherein deer of the nature of stags (mistakenly called fallow-deer by the country) were kept and fed. The Queen might be easily surpriz’d, as she went thither every day or to any neighbour-place with a small retinue, at which time ’twere very easy to destroy Murray, being unarm’d and suspecting no such thing, and to get the Queen’s person into their hands. He quickly persuaded the rest and a time was appointed to perform the enterprise. Only the Earl of Arran did execrate the wickedness and sent letters privately to Murray acquainting him with the series of the whole plot. Murray writes back to him by the same messenger. But, Arran being casually absent, the letters were given to his father. Whereupon, a consultation being held, Arran was shut up a close prisoner by his father, from whence, making his escape by night, he went towards Falkland. As his escape was made known, horsemen were sent after him all over the country to fetch him back again, but he hid himself in a wood and frustrated their expectation for that night, and in the morning came to Falkland, where he discovered the whole order of the treasonable design. Not long after, Bothwel and Gawin Hamilton, who had undertaken with a party of men to commit the fact, follow’d him, and by the Queen’s command had a guard set upon them as prisoners in the Castle of Falkland. when the whole design was thus laid open, and the spies brought word that the officers were met at the time and place mention’d by Arran, and that many horsemen were seen there, Arran, being ask’d to explain the order of the plot, was a little disturb’d in his mind, for he mightily doted on the Queen and was also a great friend of Murrays, and was desirous to gratify them. On the other side, his father was no bad man, only was easily drawn into great and difficult projects, and he had a mind to exempt him from the conspiracy. That night, when he was alone, his mind was so divided between piety and love that he was almost besides himself. His countenance and speech gave evident signs of some perturbation of spirit; besides, there were other causes which might affect the young man’s mind. For, whereas he had been brought up magnificently till that very day according to the greatness of his family, his father, being a covetous man, by the persuasion of some counsellors who nourish’d that vice in him, reduc’d him only to one servant, who before had many attendants.
22. They who attempted the exploit were sent to divers prisons: Bothwel to Edinburgh-Castle, Gawin to Sterlin, till their cause was tried. Arran was sent to St. Andrews, whither the Queen was going, to be there kept in the Archbishop’s Castle. There, in his lucid intervals, he wrote such wise and prudent letters to the Queen concerning himself and others that many were suspicious he had counterfeited himself mad only to free his father from the treason. As for the rest, he constantly and sharply accus’d them, insomuch that when he was brought to the Council and so private a conspiracy could not be provid’ by other testimonies, he proferr’d to fight with Bothwel himself. About the same time, James Hamilton, Arran’s father, first wrote, and after that came to St Andrews to the Queen, earnestly desiring her to take surety for his son, Bothwel, and Gawin Hamilton, and leave them to him, but he could not be heard. At the same time also, the Queen took Dunbarton-Castle, the strongest in all Scotland, which Hamilton had held ever since he was Regent. George Gordon, being an enemy to Murray, was now grown to a far greater hate of Hamilton, his son’s father-in-law, who was accus’d of so manifest a crime and almost convicted thereof. He thought now he had a good opportunity to rid his enemy out of the way, especially when two such noble families were join’d to his side. And first, he caus’d a tumult to be rais’d in the town, then but thin of company, by his own friends, hoping that Murray would come out from the Court to appease it by his authority, and then, being unarm’d, he might be easily slain in the croud. This project did not succeed as he would have it, and therefore he sent some of his sept arm’d into the Court to do the fact. They entred in the evening and were to kill Murray as he was returning to his lodging from the Queen, who was wont to keep him late at night. That time seem’d fittest both to commit the fact and to escape after it was committed. When the matter was discovered to Murray, he would not have believ’d it unless he had seen it with his eyes, and therefore he got some few of his faithfullest friends (to prevent all suspicion), and took one or two of the Gordons in their armour as he grop’d with his hand in the passage. The matter being brought to the Queen, Gordon was sent for, who pretended that some of his retinue that were about to go home had arm’d themselves, but upon some occasion or other were detain’d . This excuse was rather receiv’d than approv’d of, and so they departed for that time.
23. That summer, by the mediation of embassadors on both sides, it was propos’d that the Queens of Scotland and England should have an interview at York, there to debate many controversies. But when they were almost ready for their journy, the matter was put off till another time. The cause of deferring the conference was vulgarly bruited because the Duke D’Aumale, one of the brothers of the Guises, had intercepted and opened the letters of the English embassador then at the French Court, and that by his means principally the English ship which carried another embassador was taken and plunder’d. For these wrongs and injuries, matters being likely to incline to a war with France, the Queen went from St. Andrews to Edinburgh, and sent Arran thither too, clapping him up prisoner in the Castle. In the mean time, James, her brother, went to Hawick, a great market-town in those parts, and there he surpriz’d fifty of the chief banditty which were met together, not dreaming of his coming, which struck such a terror into the rest throughout all that tract that the whole country was quieter some time after. But as that fact did procure him the love and reverence of good men, so it did daily more and more excite the minds of the envious to his destruction. For, whereas three very potent families had plotted his ruin, so the accession of the Guises made a fourth, for they, being willing to restore the old Popish religion, and knowing they could never effect it as long as Murray was alive, imploy’d their utmost endeavours to remove him out of the way. Many concurrent circumstances did contribute to the seeming feasibility of the attempt, especially because the French who had accompanied the Queen to Scotland, being return’d home, had related what great interest and power Gordon had, how unquiet his mind was, and what promises of assistance he had made to introduce the Mass. All these things they aggravated [exaggerated] in their discourse, to the height. Whereupon the matter was debated by the Papists in the French Court, and this way of effecting it resolv’d upon. They wrote to the Queen to cherish the mad spirit of Gordon by large promises, that she should rather pretend than promise to marry John his son, that so, being hoodwink’d with that hope, they might lead him whither they pleas’d, and also they gave her the names of those in a list whom they would have destroy’d and slain.
24. Besides, letters from the Pope and the Cardinal were sent to her to the same effect. For, whereas her revenue was not sufficient to maintain that immoderate luxury to which she had used her self, she craved some pecuniary aid of the Pope, as if it were to manage a war against those who had revolted from the Roman Church. The Pope wrote something obscurely, but the Cardinal plainly, that she should not want mony for that war, yet so that those must be first slain whose names were given her in a scrole. The Queen shewed these letters to Murray and to the rest design’d for the slaughter, either because she thought they would have some notice of it another way, or else to make them believe she was sincere towards them, as not hiding from any of her secret counsels. Thereupon, all other things being fitted for the attempt, the Queen pretended a great desire to visit the parts of Scotland which lie northwards, and Gordon promoted her desire by his forward invitation. At last, when she came to Aberdeen August 13, Gordon’s wife, a woman of a manly spirit and cunning, used all her art to sift out the Queen’s mind, both to know her secret thoughts and also to incline them to her own party. She knew well enough that the designs of princes are alterable by small moments many times, neither was she ignorant how the Queen stood affected a little before towards both of them, Murray and Gordon too. For she, hating them both, had sometimes deliberated privately with her self of whom she should destroy first. First, she could not away with the innocency of Murray, as being a curb to her licentiousness; and as for Gordon, she had experimented his perfidiousness against her father, first, then her mother; and besides, she fear’d his power. But the letters of her uncles and the Pope urged her rather to destroy Murray. Gordon was not ignorant hereof, and therefore, to cast the ballance, he promis’d by his wife to restore the Roman religion. The Queen was glad of it, yet there was one impediment, and that no great one, which kept her from assenting to him, and that was that she did not think it to stand with her honour to be reconciled to John his son (who, a few days before, had been committed to prison for a tumult raised at Edinburgh, but had made his escape) unless he return’d to Sterlin, to be there a prisoner of state, at least for a few days.
25. The Queen insisted upon this, not so much for that cause which was pretended, as that she might have her way clear when Murray was kill’d, and might not be compell’d to marry when her lover was absent. Gordon was willing to satisfy the Queen, yet made some scruple to give up his son as a pledg into the hands of a man who was he most adverse to all others of his designs (and that was John Earl of Marr, Murray’s uncle, Governour of Sterlin-Castle), especially being uncertain how the Queen would take the murder when it was committed. Whilst these cunning wits endeavoured to impose one upon another, and were mutually suspicious, the Queen, affirming that the delay was not in her part that the matter was not dispatched, and yet she us’d no expedition neither. John Gordon, to shew himself officious, and to watch all events, had got together about a thousand of his friends and tenants well-arm’d, and had quarter’d them in the vicinage near the town. But Murray, though not guarded as he would, yet saw that all these things were prepar’d for his ruin, for so he had been advertised by his friends both from the French and English Courts; neither was he much confident of the Queen, yet in the day-time he perform’d his accustom’d services in the Court and at night had only one or two of his servants to watch in his chamber. And, being often inform’d of the plots of his enemies against him, yet by the help of his friends he disappointed all their purposes without any noise. About the same time, Bothwel was let down by a rope out of a window and so escaped from the Castle of Edinburgh. Matters stood at a stay at Aberdeen by reason of the dissimulation on both sides. And the Queen, intending to make a further progress, was invited by John Lesly, a noble man and a client of Gordons, to his house about twelve miles off. That, being a lonesome place, seem’d fit to the Gordons to commit the murder. But Lesly, who knew their secret design, interpos’d and dissuaded them from it, not to put that brand of infamy on himself and his family that he should betray the Queen’s chief brother, a man not otherwise bad, against whom he had no private grudg, to the slaughter.
26. The next night they pass’d over quietly enough at Rothmay, a town of the Abrenethies, because the day after they determin’d to lodge at Strathbog, a Castle of the Gordons, so that they deferr’d the murder till that time because there all would be in their power. In their journy Gordon had a long discourse with the Queen, and at last he came to this, plainly to desire the Queen to pardon his son John that, being a young man and ignorant of the laws, he had made his escape out of prison, into which he was cast for no hainous offence, only for a commotion which was not rais’d by him neither. But the Queen urg’d that her authority would be vilified unless his son did return, at least for some days, into another prison, though a larger one, that so, his former fault being, as ’twere, expiated, he might more creditably be dismiss’d. though it were but a slight command, yet Gordon, who was willing to omit no opportunity of committing the design’d fact, did obstinately refuse to comply with it, either because he might cast the blame of the murder upon his son if the Queen did not approve it when ’twas done, or because, if the thing should be done in the absence of his son, though she were not unwilling thereto, yet he should be kept as an hostage. The Queen was so much offended at this stubbornness of Gordon that when she was almost in sight of his house she turn’d aside another way, so that the whole plot, so wisely contriv’d, as they thought, was now quite cast off the hinges till they came to Inverness. For there, besides Gordon’s being Lord President for the administration of justice, he also commanded the Queen’s castle, which was seated on an high hill and commanded the town; and besides, the whole country thereabouts were his vassals. The Queen determined to lodg in the Castle, but was not suffer’d by the guards. Being thus excluded, she began to fear in regard she was to lodg all night in an unfortified town, and in the mean time Huntly’s son had about a thousand choice horse now in arms besides a promiscuous multitude of the parts adjacent. But the Queen, taking counsel from her present circumstances, set a watch at all avenues into the town. She commanded the ships which had brought her provisions to ride ready in the river, that, if her guards were beaten off, she might have a retreat to them.
27. In the midst of the night some scouts was sent out by Huntly, and the first watch let them pass on purpose till they came to a narrow passage. There they were all surrounded and taken, and of the Highlanders the Macintoshes tribe, as soon as they understood they were to fight against the Queen, forsook Huntly and came to her, the day after, into the town. A great multitude of the Highlanders, when they heard of the danger of their prince, party by persuasion, part of their own accord came in, and especially the Frazers and Monroes, valiant families in those countries. The Queen, now being secure against any force, began to besiege the Castle. The besieged were not enough in number, neither was it well fortifi’d or prepared to indure a siege, so that it was surrendered to her. The chief defendants were put to death, the rest were sent to their own homes. The Nobility came in on all parts. Upon the coming of some, others were permitted to go home, so on the 4th day after, with a guard strong enough, she returned to Aberdeen. There, being freed from fear, she was mightily inflamed with hatred against Gordon, and, being eager to be revenged, she again received her brother outwardly into her favour, pretending that her dependance was wholly on him. Yea, she indeavoured to persuade others that her safety was bound up in his life. Hereupon Gordon, perceiving that the whole face of the Court was altered, that the Earl of Murray, lately design’d for the slaughter, was now in great favour, and that himself was fallen from the top of his hopes into a mortal hatred, and perceiving he was gone further than would admit a retreat and pardon, betook himself to desperate counsels. he thought to remedy better for his present danger than by all means to get the Queen into his powers, and though he knew he should grievously offend her at present by the attempt, yet he did not despair but her womanly heart might be made flexible by observance, flattery, and the marriage of his son, of which her uncles were supposed to be contrivers. This design he communicated to his friends, and resolved by some means or other to remove Murray out of the way. For if that were done there was none besides to whom the Queen would commit the government, or who was able to manage it. His spies gave him hope of the feasibility of the thing, and, amongst others, George Gordon, Earl of Sutherland, who was a daily attendant at Court and, pretending good will to the Queen, did fish out all her counsels, and by fit messengers acquainted Huntly therewith; yea, he did not only observe the opportunities of time and place, but also promised his assistance to effect it.
28. Besides, the town was open on every side and fit for any private attempt. The inhabitants, either by largesses won, or by alliances joined, or with fear terrified, would attempt nothing to the contrary. The Highlanders were dismiss’d with the Earl of Murray. There were but a few, and they came too from remote parts, whom he did not much fear to disoblige. And, seeing all the neighbour-countries were in his power, the matter might be transacted without blood. Only one man’s death might put the Queen into his hands, the other wounds might be easily cured. These things drove him on to attempt the matter, and when the way to accomplish it was now fix’d, some letters of the Earl of Sutherland and John Lesly were intercepted, which discover’d the whole intrigue. Sutherland, upon the discovery, fled for it, but Lesly acknowledged his fault and obtained his pardon, and ever after, as long as he liv’d, performed true and faithful service, first to the Queen, then to the King. Huntly, who with a great body of men waited the event of his design in a place almost inaccessible reason of the circumjacent marishes, by the advice of his friends determined to retreat to the mountains, but, many of his neighbour Nobility then with the Queen being his friends, he trusted to their promises and therefore altered his resolution and determined to abide the successes of a battel in that advantageous place. Murray had scarce an 100 horse in which he could confide, but there followed him of the Nobles then present James Douglas, Earl of Morton, and Patrick Lindsy. With these he march’d forth against the enemy, the rest were country-men of the neighbour-hood gathered together, about 800, whom Huntly for the most part had corrupted before, and were more likely to draw on Murray’s party to their ruin than give them any aid. Yet they made mighty boastings in words, promising that they themselves, without any other help, would subdue the enemy: others should but look on and be spectators only. Some horsemen were sent before to keep all passages about the marish that Huntly might not escape. The rest march’d softly after, and though the night before many of the Gordonians had slipped away, yet he had still with him above 300 men maintaining themselves in their posts.
29. When Murray came thither he stood with his party in order and rank on a small hill where he overlook’d all the marish. The rest, as they were advancing towards the enemy, gave evident tokens of treachery, putting boughs of heath on their helmets (for that plant grows in abundance in those parts) that they might be known by the enemy. When they came near, the Huntleans, secure of their success, hasten to them, and seeing the adverse army disordered by the traitors and put the flight, that they might more nimbly pursue them, they cast away their lances, and with their drawn swords, to terrify those ranks that stood, they cried out treason, treason, and made with great violence at the the enemy. The traitors thinking that they should also be put to flight, the standing party made haste towards it. But Murray, perceiving no hope in flight, and that nothing remain’d but to dye nobly, cried out to his party to hold out their lances and not to let those that were running away come in amongst them. They, being thus unexpectedly excluded from both wings, passed by in great disorder. But the Huntleans, who now thought the matter ended and the victory sure, when they saw a party, though but small, standing in a terrible manner with their pikes forward, they, who were making towards them, dispersedly and out of order, and could not come to handy-strokes by reason of the length of their spears, being struck with a sudden terror, fled as swiftly as they had pursu’d before. The revolters, perceiving this change of fortune, press’d upon them in their flight and, as if willing to expiate their former fault, what slaughter was made that day, ’twas they that did it. There were 120 of the Huntleans slain and 100 taken prisoner; of the other army not a man was lost. Amongst the prisoners was Huntly himself and his two sons John and Adam. the father, being an old man, corpulent and puffy, dyed under the hands of those that took him. The rest, late at night, were brought to Aberdeen. Murray had appointed a minister of the Gospel to wait for his return, where, in the first place, he gave thanks to God Almighty, Who out of His mercy alone, beyond all men’s expectation, without any strength or wisdom of his own, had delivered him and his men out of so imminent a danger; afterwards he went to the Court, where, though many did highly congratulate him, yet the Queen gave no sign of joy at all, either in speech or countenance. A few days after, John Gordon was put to death, not without the trouble of many. For he was a manly youth, very beautiful, and entring on the prime of his age, not so much designed for the royal bed as deceived by the pretence thereof. And that which moved no less indignation than pity was that he was beheaded by an unskilful headsman. The Queen beheld his death with many tears, but as she was prone to conceal and counterfeit affections, so various descants were made upon her grief and passion, and the rather because many knew that her brother was as much hated by her as Huntly. She pardoned Adam because he was young. George, the eldest son, in this desperate case fled from his house to his father-in-law James Hamilton, there to shelter himself, or else by his mediation to obtain his pardon. As for Gordon’s followers, according to the degrees of their offences some were fined, others banish’d the land, many sent packing into remote parts of the kingdom that they might make no more commotions at home. Those who lighted upon powerful intercessors were remitted their offence and taken into former grace and favour.
30. Matters being thus settled, or at least appeased for the present, the rest of the winter was spent in peace. The 26th day of November, Bothwel, who had escap’d out of prison, was by a proclamation commanded to render himself again, and in default thereof, he not obeying, was declared a publick enemy. When the Queen was returned from Aberdene to St. Johston’s, James Hamilton came to her to beg pardon for George Gordon his son in law He received an answer not wholly severe, yet was forced to deliver up his son-in-law, who was sent prisoner to Dunbar and the next year after, which was 1563, on the 7th of the Calends of February was brought to Edinburgh, there contemned for treason, and sent back to Dunbar. ’Twas about this time that there came forth a proclamation under a pecuniary mulct that no flesh should be eaten in Lent. The pretence was not any thing of religion, but civil advantage only. The Arch-Bishop of St. Andrews, because he did not forbear to hear and say Mass after the edict made at the coming in of the Queen, was committed prisoner to the Castle of Edinburgh. Others guilty of the same fault were punish’d, but slightly, yet were threatned to be more severely treated if they offended in the like sort again. Now the time of the Parliament drew near, which was summon’d to be held the 20th day of May, where the Queen with the crown on her head and her royal robes went in great pomp to the Parliament house, a new spectacle to many, but that men had been accustom’d to bear the government of women in her mother’s and grandmother’s days. In that Assembly, some statutes were made in favour of the Reformed, and some coyners were punish’d. The rest of the summer the Queen spent in Athol in the sport of hunting. At the end of autumn, Matthew Stuart, Earl of Lennox, by the Queen’s leave, returned to Scotland, having been unworthily deserted by the King of France the 22nd year after his departure. And the next year, which was 1564, in the month of January, at a convention of the Estates held almost on purpose for that very thing, his banishment was remitted and his goods restored, the Queen seconding that remission with many favourable words and repeating the many great services the Earl had done her in her very infancy, she having been delivered out of her enemies hand and advanced to her throne by is means.
31. Afterwards Henry his on came out of England into Scotland on the 13th of February, having there obtained a convoy [passport] for three months. This young man, being of an high linage and very beautiful, the son of her aunt, the Queen of Scots received very courteously, and delighting daily in his society. The common speech was that she would marry him, neither was the Nobility against it, because they saw many advantages might redound to Britain by that marriage, if it might be made by the Queen of England’s consent. Both of them were in an equal degree of consanguinity from her, and she was so far from being against it that she was willing rather to seem the author of it, and so to lay some obligation upon her in making the match; besides, she thought if for her advantage to humble the power of her kinswomen by this condescending marriage, that it might not swell beyond what was safe and fit for neighbours. But when all was concluded on, there fell out a business which retarded all and turn’d every thing, as it were, upside down. To make it plain, I must fetch the original story a little higher.
32. There was one David Rize, born at Turein in Savoy. His father, being honest but poor, got a mean livelihood for himself and family by teaching the elements of musick; and, having no other patrimony to leave his children, he made them all, of both sexes, skilful musicians. David was one of them, who, being in the prime of his youth and having a sweet voice, was by his skill in musick erected to the hope of a better fortune. He went to Nice to the Court of the Duke of Savoy, which place that Duke had newly obtained. But, meeting with no entertainment there answerable to his hopes, contriving every way how to relieve himself in his penury, he light upon Morettius, who by the Dukes command was then preparing for a voyage to Scotland. Him he followed into Scotland. but, Morettius being a man of no great estate and looking upon his service as unnecessary and useless, he resolved to stay in Scotland and try his fortune there, especially because he had heard that the Queen was delighted in musick and was not ignorant of the grounds of it her self. Whereupon, to make way to her presence, he first dealt with her musicians, of which many were French, to admit him into their society, which they did. And having plaid his part once or twice, was lik’d very well, whereupon he was made one of their set and company, and so he complied with the Queen’s humour, that, partly by flattering her and partly by undermining others, he grew into high favour with her, and into the extream hate of his fellows. Neither was he content with this favourable blast of fortune, but he despised his equals too, and by sundry criminations worm’d them out of their places. Then he rose higher and began to treat about matters of state, and, by degrees, was made Secretary,and by that means had opportunity of private converse with the Queen apart from others. The sudden advance of this man from a low and most beggarly estate to such a power, wealth, and dignity afforded matter of discourse to the people. His fortune was above his virtue, and his arrogance, contempt of his equals, and contention with his superiours was above his fortune. This vanity and madness of the man was much increas’d and nourish’d by the flattery of the Nobility, who sought his friendship, courted him, admir’d his judgment, walk’d before his lodgings observing his ingress and egress.
33. But Murray alone, who had no dissimulation in his heart, was so far from fauning on him that he gave him many a sour look, which troubled the Queen as much as David himself. But he, on his side, to uphold himself in his station against the hatred of the Nobles, did apply himself with great adulation to the young gentleman who was to be the Queen’s husband, so that he came to be so familiar with him as to be admitted to his chamber and bedside, and to secret conference with him, where he persuaded him, out of his unwary credulity and forwardness, to compass his desires, that he was the chief occasion to make the Queen to cast her eye upon him. Besides, he cast in seeds of discord betwixt him and Murray every day, as knowing that, if he were removed, he should pass the residue of his life without affront or disturbance. There was now much talk abroad, not only of the Queen’s marriage with Henry and his secret recourse to her, but also of the too great familiarity betwixt her and David Rize. Murray, who by his plain downright advice to his sister got nothing but her hatred, resolved to leave the Court, that so he might not be thought the author of what was acted there. And the Queen was willing enough that so severe a supervisor of her actions should withdraw, especially in a season whilst she was strengthning the contrary faction. For she recall’d those which were banish’d, Bothwel from France, George Gordon Earl of Sutherland from Flanders. The other George Gordon, son to the Earl of Huntly, she delivered out of prison and restored to his former place and dignity. When Bothwel was return’d from France, Murray accused him of the treasonable practices he had lately committed against him. Some of those Noble-men and gentlemen who were his familiars in France were witness against him. The matter was clear, foul, and heinous. A day was appointed for the trial, but the Queen first dealt earnestly with her brother to desist from the prosecution, which he refused, judging his credit to be much at stake, which way soever the ballance did incline in the case. What did the Queen do next but wrote letters to many of the Nobility not to appear at the time appointed? And as Alexander Earl of Glencarn, Murrays intimate friend, was passing by Sterlin, she sent for him, out of the way, to her. Yet all good men were so well agreed in the case that Bothwel, being precondemn’d in his own conscience and moved with the general detestation of the wicked attempt, durst not abide the trial.
34. This favour of the people to Murray did so inrage the Queen’s mind against him that she hastned his long before design’d end, and the manner to accomplish it was this. Murray was to be sent for to Perth, where the Queen was with a few attendants. There Darnly was to discourse him, and in the conference, they all knew, he would speak his mind freely, and then a quarrel would arise upon which David Rize was to give him the first blow, then the rest were to wound him to death. Murray was made acquainted with this conspiracy by his friends at Court, yet, come what would, he resolved to go. But as he was on his journy, being again advis’d by Patrick Ruven, he turned aside to his mother’s house near Loch Levin, and, being troubled with a lask [dysentery], excused himself and staid there. Thither some of his friends came to visit him, upon which a report was presently spread that he staid there to intercept the Queen and Darnly in their return to Edinburgh, whereupon horsemen were sent out, but they discovered no men in arms or sign of any force, yet the Queen made such haste, and was so fearful in this journy, as if some great danger had been at hand. The marriage was now at hand, and a great part of the Nobility cal’d together at Sterlin, that so the queen might countenance her will and pleasure with some pretence of publick consent. Most of those they sent for were such as they knew would easily give their assent, or else that durst not oppose. Many of those so congregated assented to the motion, provided always that no alteration should be made in the then establish’d religion. But the most did it to gratify the Queen. Only Andrew Stuart of Ochiltry openly profest that he would never give his consent to the admission of a Popish King. As for Murray, he was not averse from the marriage (for he was the first adviser that the young man should be call’d out of England), but he foresaw what tumults it would occasion if it were celebrated without the consent of the Queen of England; besides he promis’d to procure her consent, that so all things might go on favourably, provision being made about religion. But, perceiving that there would be no freedom of debate in that Convention, he chose rather to be absent than to declare his opinion, which might prove destructive to himself and no way advantagious to the commonwealth. Moreover, there was a question started and discours’d amongst the vulgar, whether the Queen, upon her husbands death, might not marry any other man whom she pleas’d. Some were of opinion that a Queen might have the same freedom as men, even of the commonalty, have, others, on the contrary, affirming that the case was different in reference to heirs of kingdoms, where at once an husband was to be taken to a wife and a King to be given to the people, and that it was far more equitable that the people should provide an husband for one young queen than that a young Queen should chuse a King for all the people.
35. In the month of July came an embassador from England, who declar’d that his mistress did much admire that, seeing they were both equally allied to her, they should precipitate so great an affair without acquainting her therewith, and therefore she earnestly desir’d that they would stay a while and weigh the thing a little more seriously, to the great advantage, probably, of both kingdoms. This embassy effected nothing. Whereupon Sir Nicholas Throgmorton was sent by the Queen of England to tell Lennox and his son that they had a convoy from her to return at a set day, and that day was now past, and therefore she commanded them to return, which if they did not, they were to be banish’d and their goods confiscate. They were not at all terrified with the commination, but persisted in their purpose. In the mean time, the Queen being sensible that it would seem a very incongruous match if she, who was lately the wife of a great King, and besides, the heir to an illustrious kingdom, should marry a private young man who had no title of honour conferr’d upon him, she made an edict proclaiming Darnly Duke of Rothsea and Earl of Ross. Moreover, the predictions of wizardly women in both kingdoms did contribute much to hasten the marriage, who prophesy’d that, if it were consummate before the end of July, it foretold much future advantage to them both; if not, much reproach and ignominy. Besides, rumors were spread abroad of the death of the Queen of England, and the day mention’d before which she should die. Which prediction seem’d not so much to divine things as to declare a conspiracy of her subjects against her. This also added much to the Queen’s haste. She knew her uncles would be averse from the marriage, and, if it were longer delay’d, she fear’d they would cast in some remora [obstruction] to disturb the thing, now almost finish’d. For when the secret decree and resolution was made to carry on the Holy War thro all Christendom, and Guise was appointed General of the league to extirpate the Reform’d religion, hereupon he nourish’d high and ambitious hope, and therefore determin’d by his sisters daughter so to trouble Britain with domestic tumults that they should not be able to aid their friends beyond sea. And David, who could then do most with the Queen, urg’d that the marriage would be highly advantagious to all Christendom because Henry Darnly and his father were stiff maintainers of the Popish religion, were very gracious in both kingdoms, allied to great families, and had large clanships under them. This, being long debated, was at last carried. For he knew that if the marriage were made by the consent of the Queen of England and the Nobility of Scotland, that he should lose two great points: one, that he should be no ways ingratiated, as before, and the other, that religion would be secur’d. But if the Queen adher’d to the Council of Trent, then he promis’d honours, ecclesiastical dignities, heaps of mony, and unrivall’d power to himself, so that, turning every stone, he at last procur’d that the marriage should be hastn’d, the Scots not being much for it, and the English very much against it.
36. MARY AND HENRY STUART, THE CVIIth QUEEN AND KING
Henry Stuart was marry’d to Mary Stuart July 28th, and o yes [oyez] being made, proclamation thereof was publickly read with the applause of the multitude, God save Henry and Mary, King and Queen of Scotland, and the day after they were proclaim’d in like manner by an herauld at Edinburgh. This matter did grievously offend the Nobility and the Commons also; yea, some fretted and openly storm’d that ’twas a thing of the worst example that ever was. For to what purpose was it to call a Council about making a King and never to ask their advice, nor to comply with their authority, but to set up an herauld instead of a Senate, and a proclamation for a Statute of Parliament or Order of Council? So that was not (said they) a consultation, but an essay rather how the Scots would bear the yoke of tyranny. The absence of so many Nobles increas’d the suspicion. The chief Nobility were away, James Duke of Castle-Herault, Gilespy Earl of Argyle, James Earl of Murray, Alexander Earl of Glencarn, Andrew Earl of Rothes, and many others of rich and noble families. Heraulds were sent to them to command them to come in, which they not doing were banish’d and went most of them into Argyle,and their enemies were recall’d to Court. The King and Queen, having got as much force together as they thought were sufficient to subdue the revels, kept themselves at Pasley, where various consultations were held according to the disposition of the parties. The King and Queen sent an Herauld at Arms to have the Castle of Hamilton surrendered to them, which not being done, they prepare themselves for the fight. The contrary faction was at variance one with another, divided into several opinions. The Hamiltons, who had the greatest power in those parts, were of opinion that no firm peace could be made till the King and Queen were both taken out of the way: as long as they were safe, nothing could be expected but new wars, continual plots, and a counterfeit peace worse than an open war. Private men (said they) may forget injuries offer’d them, being weary of prosecuting them; yea, sometimes they were recompens’d with great advantages. But the wrath of princes was not to be quench’d but by death only. But Murray and Glencarn, who understood that their discourse was not founded upon the good of the publick, but their own private advantage (for upon the Queen’s death they were the next heirs to the crown), did equally abhor the princes death and Hamiltons government too, which they had lately experienc’d to be avaritious and cruel, so that they were for milder counsels, and in regard ’twas a civil dissension wherein, as yet, there was no blood shed. The dispute having been hitherto managed by votes, not arms, they thought it fit, if possible, to end it by an honest agreement.
37. Hereunto, they thought, many in the King’s army would hearken, as being desirous of peace, and would not be wanting to plead for those that in defence of their liberties were inforc’d to take up arms. As for the King and Queen, they, being yet young, might not perhaps be so provident, and, for their parts, they had not yet so far transgrest as to indanger the commonwealth. As for smaller injuries, which affected their names and reputations only, ’twas fitter they were cured by other remedies than death. For, they remembred, ’twas an old caution transmitted from their ancestors for imitation, that in the lives and manners of princes, their hidden vices ought to be concealed, their doubtful ones taken in the best sense, and their open ones so far born with as they did not endanger the ruin of the publick. This opinion pleased the most, and the rest of the Hamiltons acquiesced therein and resolved to be quiet. Only James, chief of their family, with 16 horse remained with the Nobility, who, being lessened by the recess of the Hamiltons, were not able to give battel to the enemy, nor yet to break through each to his own clan, and therefore they yielded to the times and came that night to Hamilton, and the next day to Edinburgh, to consult how to manage the war. But, in regard the Castle which commanded the town continually plaid upon them, and their friends could not come in so soon from remote parts as was requisite, and moreover the King and Queen were reported to be near them with their forces, by the great persuasions and promises of John Maxwel of Herreis they directed their course towards Dumfreiz. The King and Queen returned back to Glasgow and left the Earl of Lennox their Lieutenant in the country towards the south-west. They themselves went afterward to Sterlin,a nd thence into the middle of Fife. They made the greatest part of the Nobility take an oath that if any commotion arose from England they would faithfully oppose it. The rest were punish’d, some by fine, some by banishment. The goods of those who fled into England, wherever they could find them, were seized upon, and they appointed Commissions of Oyer and Terminer to be held in all counties to enquire into the remains of the rebellion.
38. On the 9th of October they drew forth their army out of Edinburgh and march’d towards Dumfriez. Maxwel, who till that time had pretended to be highly of the party which was against the King, thinking it now a fit opportunity to cater for himself, went forth to meet them, as if he would have interceded for pardon with the whole party. He dealt with them to have part of his father-in-laws estate, which he had a great mind to have bestow’d upon him. They look’d upon him as an active subtil man, fit for counsel and business, and granted his request, whereupon he return’d to the rebels and told them he cold do them no good, and therefore they must all shift for themselves. England was near at hand, if they would retire thither. After he had settled his affairs at home he would follow them and live and die with the party. In the interim he got a thousand pounds from Murray upon the account of money which he alleged he had expended in listing some horse. For, being commanded to raise some new troops of horse, he caused all his domesticks to appear as if they had been souldiers formally listed. The rebels were terrified at the coming of the King and Queen, and at Maxwels revolt from them, so that the King and Queen hereupon did what they pleas’d. They drove away most of the leaders of the faction, and the rest were intent on the event of their danger, so that about the end of October they return’d to Edinburgh and all things were quiet in Scotland till the beginning of the next spring. A convention of all the Estates of the kingdom was indicted to be held in March, that so the goods of those were banish’d might be confiscate, their names struck out of the roll of the Nobility, and their armorial ensignes torn in pieces, neither of which the Kings of Scotland can lawfully do without an Act of Parliament. In the interim, David, perceiving the Court to be empty of Nobility, and thinking it an opportunity to shew and declare the excessiveness of his power, did suggest severe counsel to the Queen, daily pressing her to cut off some of the chief of the faction. If a few of them (said he) were executed, the rest would be quiet. And in regard he thought the Queen’s guard, being Scots-men, would not easily consent to the cruel murder of the Nobility, he was very intent to have them thrown out of their places and to introduce foreigners into the rooms (a project that is wont to be the beginning of all tyranny). First, mention was made of sending for some Germans over for that service, because that nation were highly faithful to their princes. But when David had considered seriously with himself, he thought it more conducive to his interest to have Italians, first because, being his country-men, he presumed they would be more at his devotion; next, that, being men of no religion, they would be fitter to make disturbances, so that, he thought, they might easily be induc’d to venture upon any design, right or wrong. For, being wicked and indigent persons, born and bred up under tyrants, us’d to war, and being far from their own home, they car’d not what became of Britain, and therefore seem’d more proper to attempt innovations. Hereupon souldiers of fortune were privately sent for out of Flanders and other countries of the Continent, but they were to come in by piece-meal, as ’twere, one by one, and at several times too, that the design might not be discover’d It would be more dangerous (said he) to offend any one of those ruffians than the Queen her self.
39. But as David’s power and authority with the Queen did daily increase, so the King grew cheaper with her every day. For as she had been rashly precipitate in making the marriage, so she as soon repented and gave manifest tokens of her alienated mind. For as presently after the marriage was celebrated she had publickly proclaim’d him King by an herauld without the consent of the States, and afterwards in all her mandates till that time the King and Queens name were exprest, now she chang’d the order, keeping both names in, but setting her own first. At length the Queen, to deprive her husband of all opportunity to do courtesies for any, found fault with him that, whilst he was busy in hawking and hunting, many state-matters were acted unseasonably or else were wholly omitted. And therefore it would be better that she might subscribe her name for them both, and by this means he might enjoy his pleasure and yet no publick business be retarded. He was willing to gratify her in every thing, and yielded to be dismist upon such frivolous grounds, that so being removed from the council and privity of publick affairs, the obligation for all boons might rebound to the Queen her self. For she thought thus with her self, that if her husband’s favour could do no good offices for any, and his anger were formidable to none, she would by degrees grow to be despis’d by all. And to increase the indignity, David was substituted with an iron seal to impress the King’s name on proclamations. He, thus fraudulently cheated out of publick business, lest he might also prove an interrupter of their private pleasures, in a very sharp winter was sent away to Pebly with a small retinue, far beneath the dignity of some private persons, for a prey rather than a recreation. At the same time, there fell such a quantity of snow that, the place not be very plentiful, and besides, troubled with thieves, he that was always bred up at Court and used to a liberal diet was in great hazard of wanting necessaries, unless the Bishop of the Orcades had casually come thither. For he, knowing the scarcity of the place, brought him some wine and other provisions for his use.
40. The Queen was not content to advance David and, as ’twere, to shew him to the people from such an obscure original, on the account before mention’d, but she advis’d another way how to cloath him with domestick honour. For whereas the Queen had for some months before permitted more company than was usual to sit with her at her table, that so in the croud David’s place might be less envy’d, by this new shew of popularity she thought to gain the point that the unaccustomedness of the sight would by the multitude of guests and daily usage be somewhat alleviated, and so mens high stomachs by degrees be inur’d to bear any thing. At last it came to this, that but he and one or two more sat at meat with her, and, that the straitness of the room might take off something from the envy of the thing, sometimes she would eat her junkets in a small parlor, sometimes at David’s own lodgings. But the way she thus took to abate did but increase the reflections, for it maintained suspicions and gave occasion to odd discourses. Mens thoughts were now inclin’d to the worst, and it serv’d to inflame them that in housholdstuff, in apparel, and in the number of brave and stately horses he exceeded even the King himself, and it made the matter look the worse that all this ornament did not credit his face, but rather his face spoil’d all this ornament. But the Queen, not being able to amend the faults of nature, endeavour’d by heaping wealth and honour upon him to raise him up to the degree of the Nobles, that she might cover the meanness of his birth, and the defects of his body too, with the vail of his lofty promotions. But he was to be advanced by degrees, lest he might seem to be but a poor mercenary Senator. The first attempt was made on the account of a piece of land near Edinburgh, the Scots call it Malvil. The owner of the land, his father-in-law, and others that were best able to persuade him were sent for, and the Queen deals with the present owner to part with his possessions, and she desir’d his father-in-law and friends to persuade him to it. But, this matter not succeeding, the Queen took the repulse as an affront to her, and, which was worse, David took it very heinously also. These things being noised abroad, the commonalty did bewail the sad state of affairs, and expected that things would grow worse if men eminent for their families, estates, and credits should be outed of their ancient patrimonies to gratify the lust of a beggarly variety; yea, many of the elder sort call’d to mind, and told others of that time, when Cockburn wickedly slew the King’s brother, and of a stone-cutter was made Earl of Marr, which rais’d up such a fire of civil war that could not be extinguish’d but by the death of the King and almost the destruction of the kingdom.
41. These things were spoken openly, but men in private did mutter much more (as it useth to be in matters not very creditable). Yet the King would never be persuaded to believe it unless he saw it with his own eyes, so that, one time, hearing that David was gone into the Queen’s bedchamber, he came to a little door, of which he always carried the key about him, and found it bolted in the inside, which it never us’d to be. He knock’d, no body answered. Whereupon, conceiving great wrath and indignation in his heart, that night he could not sleep. From that time forward he consulted with some few of his servants (for he durst trust but a few, many of them having been corrupted by the Queen and put upon him rather as spies of his actions than attendants on his person) how to rid David out of the way. They approved his design, but could not find out a probable way to effect it. That consultation had been managed for some days when other of his servants, who were not of the privacy, suspected the matter, and, there being evident signs of it, they acquainted the Queen therewith and told her they would bring her to the place where they were, and they were as good as their words. They observ’d and watch’d the opportunity when others were shut out and the King had only his confidents with him. The Queen, as if she were passing through his chamber to her own, surprized him with his partisans, whereupon she inveighed against him most bitterly and highly threatened his domesticks, telling them all their plots were in vain. She knew all minds and actions, and would remedy them well enough in time. Matters being brought to this pass, the King acquaints his father with his sad condition. They both concluded that the only remedy for the present malady was to reconcile that part of the Nobility that were present, and to recall those that were absent. But great haste was required in the thing, because the day was near at hand wherein the Queen resolved to condemn the Nobles that were absent, she having indicted a Convention of the estates for that purpose against the wills of the French and English embassadors, who interceded in the case. For they knew that the accused had committed no such heinous offence; and besides, they foresaw that danger would insue.
42. About the same time, the Queen of England sent her a very large and obliging letter, full of prudent advice in reference to the present estate of Scotland, endeavouring to incline her kinswoman from a wrathful to a reconcilable temper. The Nobility knew that such letters were come, and they guess’d at what the contents were. And thereupon the Queen counterfeited a civiller respect to them than order and began to read to them in the presence of many of them. When she was in the middle, David stood up and bid her read no more, she had read enough, she should stop. that carriage of his seemed to them rather arrogant than new, for they knew how imperiously he had carried it towards her heretofore; yea, and sometimes he would reprove her more sharply than her own husband ever durst do. At that time, the cause of the banish’d was hotly disputed in the Parliament-House. Some, to gratify the Queen, would have the punishment due to traitors to be pass’d upon them; others contended that they had done nothing worthy to be so severely treated. In the mean time, David went about to all of them, one by one, to feel their pulses, what each ones vote would be concerning the exiles if he was chosen Speaker by the rest of the convention. He told them plainly the Queen was resolved to have them condemn’d, and ’twas in vain for any of them to contend against it; and besides, he would be sure to incur the Queen’s displeasure thereby. His design in this was partly to confound the weaker spirits betwixt hope and fear, and partly to exclude the more resolv’d out of the number of the judges select, or Lords of the Articles, or at least that the major part might be of such a gizard as would please the Queen. Thus audacious improbity of so mean a fellow was fear’d by some and hated by all. Whereupon the King, by his father’s advice, sent for James Douglas and Patrick Lindsy, his kinsmen, one by the father, the other by the mother’s side. They advise with Patrick Ruven, an able man both for advice and execution, but he was so weakned with a lasting disease that for some months he could not rise out of his bed. However, they were willing to trust him, amongst some few others, in a matter of so great concernment, both by reason of his great prudence, and also because his children were cousin-germans to the King. The King was told by them what a great error he had committed before in suffering his kinsmen and friends to be driven from Court in favour of such a base rascal as Rize; yea, he himself did, in effect, thrust them out from the Court with his own hands, and so had advanced such a contemptible mushroom that now he himself was despised by him. They had also much other discourse concerning the state of the publick. The King was quickly brought to acknowledg his fault and to promise to act nothing for the future without the consent of the Nobility.
43. But those wise and experienc’d counsellors thought it not safe to trust the verbal promises of an uxorious young man, as believing that he might in time be enticed by his wife to deny this capitulation, to their certain ruin. And therefore they drew up the heads of their contract in writing, to which he willingly and forwardly subscribed. The heads were for the establishing religion as ’twas provided for at the Queen’s return to Scotland; to reduce [bring back] the persons lately banished, because their country could not well want their service; to destroy David, for as long as he was alive the King could not maintain his dignity, nor the Nobility be in safety. They all set their hands to this schedule, wherein the King, professing himself the author of the homicide, they resolved presently to attempt the fact, both to prevent the condemnation of the absent Nobles, and also lest delay might discover their design. And therefore, when the Queen was at supper in a narrow private room, the Earl of Argyle’s wife and David sitting with her, as they were wont, and there were but a few attendants, for the room would not hold many, James Douglas, Earl of Morton, with a great number of his friends were walking in an outward chamber. Their faithful friends and vassals were commanded to stay below in the yard to quiet the tumult, if any should be. The King comes out of his own chamber, which was below the Queen’s, and goes up to her by a narrow pair of stairs which were open to none but himself. Patrick Ruven follow’d him, arm’d, but with four or five companions at most. They entered into the closet where they were at supper, and the Queen, being something mov’d at that unusual appearance of arm’d men, and also perceiving Ruven in an uncouth posture, and lean by reason of his late disease, and yet in his armour, asked him what was the matter. For the spectators thought that his feaver had disturb’d his head and put him besides himself. He commanded David to rise and come forth, for the place he sat in was not fit for him. The Queen presently rose and sought to defend him by the interposal of her body, but the King took her in his arms and bid her to be of good chear, they would do her no hurt, only the death of that villain was resolved on. They haled David out into the next, then into the outer chamber. There those that waited with Douglas made an end of him with many wounds, which was against the mind of all those who conspired his death, for they resolved to hang him up publickly, as knowing it would be a grateful spectacle to all the people.
44. There was a constant report that one John Damiot, a French priest counted a conjurer, told David once or twice that now he had feather’d his nest he should be gone and withdraw himself from the envy of the Nobles, who would be too hard for him, and that he should answer [i. e., that he answered] the Scots were greater threatners than fighters. He was also told a little before his death that he should take heed of a bastard, to which he replied that as long as he lived no bastard should have so much power in Scotland as that he need fear it, for he thought his danger was predicted from Murray, but the prophecy was either fulfill’d or eluded by George Douglas’ giving him the first blow, who was the base-begotten son to the Earl of Angus. After he had began, then every one rush’d in to strike him, either to revenge their own particular grief or the publick concern. Hereupon a tumult arose all over the house, and the Earls of Huntly, Athol and Bothwel, who were at supper in another part of the Palace were rushing out, but they were kept within their chamber by those who guarded the courts below and had no harm done them. Ruven went out of that privy-room into the Queen’s bed-chamber, where, not being able to stand, he sat down and called for something to drink. Whereupon the Queen fell upon him with such words as her present grief and fury suggested to her, calling him a perfidious traitor, and ask’d him how he durst be so bold as to speak to her sitting, whereas she her self stood. He excus’d it as not done out of pride but weakness of body, but advis’d her that in managing the affairs of the kingdom she would rather consult the Nobility, who had a concern in the publick, than vagrant rascals who could give no pledg for their faithfulness, and who had nothing to lose either in estate or credit. Neither was the fact then committed without a precedent. That Scotland was a kingdom bounded by laws, and was never wont to be govern’d by the will and pleasure of one man, but by the rule of law and the consent of the Nobility, and if any former King had done otherwise, he had smarted severely for it. Neither were the Scots at present so far degenerated from their ancestors as to bear not only the government, but even the servitude, of a stranger who was scarce worthy to be their slave. The Queen was more inraged at this speech than before, whereupon they departed, having plac’d guards in all convenient places that no tumult might arise.
45. In the mean time, the news was carried all over the town, and as every ones disposition was, right or wrong, they took arms and went to the Palace. There the King shewed himself to them out of a window, and told the multitude that he and the Queen were safe and that there was no cause for their tumultuous assembly. What was done was by his command, and what that was they should know in time. And therefore, at present, every one should go to his own house. Upon which command they withdrew except for some few that staid to keep guard. The next day in the morning the Nobles that return’d from England offer’d themselves to the trial in the Town-Hall being ready to plead their cause, for that was the day appointed. But, no body appearing against them, they there openly protested that it was not their fault, for they were ready to submit to a legal trial, and so every one return’d to his own lodging. The Queen sent for her brother, and after a long conference with him she gave him hopes that ever after she would commit her self to the Nobles. Hereupon the guards were slackn’d, though many thought this her clemency did presage no good for the publick. For she gathered together the souldiers of her old guard and went through a back gate by night with George Seton, who attended with 200 horse, first to his castle, then to Dunbar. She carried also the King along with her, who for fear of his life was forc’d to obey. There she gathered a force together and, pretending a reconcilement to those who were lately returned from banishment, she turn’d her fury upon the murderers of David.
46. But they, yeilding to the time, shifted for themselves, and so, having settled matters, she return’d to her old disposition. First of all she caus’d David’s body, which was buried before the door of a neighbour-church, to be removed in the night and to be plac’d in the sepulchre of the late King and his children, which gave occasion to ill-favour’d reports, being amongst a few others a bad thing, for what greater confession of adultery with him could she well make than, as far as she was able, to equal such an obscure fellow, who was neither liberally brought up nor had deserved well of the publick, in his last funerals with her father and brothers? And to increase the indignity of the thing, she put the varlet almost into the arms of Magdalene Vallois, late Queen. As for her husband, she threatned him and obliquely in her discourses scoff’d at him, doing her endeavour to take away all power from him and to render him as contemptible as she could. At this time, the process was very severe against David’s murderers. Many of the accus’d were banish’d, some to one place, some to another; some were fin’d; some (but the most innocent, and therefore secure) put to death. For the prime contrivers of the fact were fled, some to England, others to the High-Lands. Those who were but the least suspected to have an hand in it had their offices and employments taken from them and bestow’d upon their enemies. And a proclamation was made by an herald (in such a publick sorrow, not without laughter) that no man should say the King was a partaker in, or so much as privy to, David’s slaughter. This commotion being a little settled, after the 13th of April the Earl of Argyle and Murray were receiv’d into favour, and she her self, drawing hear the time of her delivery, retired into Edinburgh Castle, and on the 19th day of June a little after nine a clock at night was brought to bed of a son, afterwards called James the Sixth.
Go to Book XVIII