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THE NINETEENTH BOOK
HEN the King was set up, and the power of the Regent almost settled, there was quietness from force and arms, but the peace was but ticklish. Mens minds were yet in a fermentation and their indignation, which they could not hide, did seem to portend some sudden mischief. In this great uncertainty of affairs all mens thoughts and eyes were fixt upon what the insuing Parliament would do. The time of its sitting was the 25th of August, where the assembly was so numerous that no man ever before remember’d the like concourse. Therein the authority of the Regent was confirm’d. But about the Queen they differ’d in their opinions, for, it appearing by many testimonies and proofs, especially her own letters to Bothwel, that the whole plot of the bloody fact was laid by her, some, being moved by the heinousness of the thing, and others being afterwards made acquainted therewith by her, lest they themselves should be punished as accessories to so odious a crime, to remover her testimony out of the way voted that she should suffer the utmost extremity of the law. But the major part sentenced her only to be kept in prison. After the Parliament rose, the winter was spent in settling judicatories and punishing delinquents. The embassadors of the French and English had audience. They both desir’d to see the Queen, but, she being a prisoner on a publique account, ’twas denied to them.
2. None but Bothwel was then in arms. Whereupon some were sent with a navy to catch him as he was exercising piracy near the Orcades and the Isles of Schetland. The publick stock was then so low that they were forc’d to borrow mony of James Douglas, Earl of Morton, to rig and fit the navy, so that his private purse at that time bore the burden of the publick charge. Bothwel was there, in a manner, secure, both because of the fierceness of winter-tempests then raging in those seas, which made them inaccessible for a fleet, as also because he knew the treasury, which he himself had exhausted, could not afford mony to set out one, so that by the sudden coming of William Kircade of Grange, who commanded the fleet, he was almost surpriz’d. Some of his company were taken, but he himself escap’d with a few in company by the contrary side of the island amongst the shallows and fords where great ships could not follow, and so sail’d to Denmark, where, giving no good account whence he came nor whither he was bound, he was put in ward. And afterward, being known by some merchants, he was clapt up close prisoner, where, after ten years nasty imprisonment and other miseries, at last he grew made and came to a death suitable to his base and wicked life. At the beginning of the next spring, the Regent determin’d to make a progress over the whole kingdom to settle courts of justice there, that so he might repair and amend what was amiss or else shrewdly [sharply] shaken by the tumults of the former years. Which proceeding of his was variously interpreted according to mens several humours and dispositions. The adverse faction declaim’d every where against the Regent’s severity, or, as they phras’d it, cruelty, which was formidable to them who by reason of the greatness of their offences could not endure to be regulated by the law, in regard they had been us’d to licentiousness in former times. But if the Queen were set at liberty, some of them had rewards, others impunity, in their eye, by which means many were drawn in to the contrary faction; yea, some of those too who had been instruments of her apprehension. Maitland was a great an enemy to Bothwel (whom he look’d upon as a vile and naughty person, and one that would have cut his throat) as he was a favourer of the Queen’s affairs, and because he was out of hope to overthrow him as long as the Queen was alive, therefore he inclin’d in the Parliament to that side that would have had her punish’d according to law. James Balfure was in the like circumstances, as imagining Bothwel to be his implacable enemy, tho neither of them was thought innocent in the matter of the King’s death. But when Bothwel was taken and kept prisoner in Denmark, they then apply’d their thoughts wholly to the deliverance of the Queen, not only because they hop’d for an impunity of their common crime more easily from her, but also because they thought she, that had made away her husband, would do but little better with her son, whose infancy and shadow of royal name was that alone which kept her from the throne.
3. But besides, they judg’d it also for their own security lest the son should come to the kingdom to be a revenger of his father’s death. Moreover, they were no obscure conjectures that the Queen’s mind was not much abhorrent from such an attempt. For she was often heard to say the child was not long-liv’d, for a skilful astrologer had told her at Paris that her first child would not live above a year, and (’tis thought) that she her self came once to Sterlin in the same hope, intending to bring the child with her to Edinburgh, which suspicion caus’d John Erskin, Governor of the Castle, not to suffer the child to be taken from him; it also made a great part of the Nobility, then met at Sterlin, to associate themselves by oath to maintain the said young Prince in safety. Moreover, the Hamiltons were might and main for freeing the Queen because, if her son were remov’d by her means, they were one degree nearer to the crown, and after that ’twere no hard task to take her off also, because she was hated of all for her crimes, and, having once been stopp’d in her tyranny, would afterwards let forth the reins looser and more impetuously to cruelty. Argyle and Huntly, of which one had a mother, the other a wife of the family of the Hamiltons, did cherish their hopes and wish’d them good success, but they had also proper reasons of their own to incline them so to do, because neither of them was judg’d to be wholly ignorant or guiltless of the Queen’s crimes. Besides, William Murray of Tillibarden, being alienated both by reason of his different opinion in point of religion, and bearing also a private grudg against the Regent, tho he had been highly serviceable in taking the Queen, yet did not only revolt from the royal party himself, but also drew a great many of his friends along with him upon proposal of no small rewards to them.
4. These were the principals in delivering the Queen. There were many others also that fell in with their party, whom either domestick necessity, private grudges, desire of revenge, hope of bett’ring their fortune, or else propinquity or obligation to those above nam’d did draw in and engage. In this troublesome state of affairs, the Regent was equally unmoveable against the intreaties of his friends and the threats of his enemies, tho he knew by the publick libels which they posted up and down the cause of their hatred and their desire of revenge. And tho some astrologers not unacquainted with the plots design’d against him did foretell he should not live beyond such a day, yet he persisted in his purpose, often saying that he knew well enough he must die one time or another, and that he could never part with his life more nobly or creditably than by procuring the publick tranquillity of his native country. And therefore, first, he summon’d a Convention of the Estates at Glascow, whither the Lennox men, the Renfroans, and the men of Clydsdale were commanded to come, and whilst he was busied there in the administration of justice and in the punishment of offenders, the plot so long agitated for the deliverance of the Queen took effect. The manner of it was this.
5. In the Castle that the Queen was kept in in Louch-Levin there was the Regent’s mother and his 3 brothers by another father with abundance of other women. Yet none were admitted to visit the Queen but such as were well known, or else came by the Regents order. Of these domestick attendants, the Queen made choice of George Douglas as fittest for her purpose. He was the Regent’s youngest brother, a young man, ingenious enough, and by reason of his age apt to be impos’d upon by female inticements. He, being somewhat familiar with her, on pretence to attend her in such sports as Courts at idle times refresh themselves withal, undertook to corrupt some of the common servants of the Castle by gifts and promises. And she, having intrusted him therein, would not deny any thing to such a person from which she expected her liberty. George then, having a promise of indemnity from her for himself and his partizans, and being excited with the hopes of great wealth and power for the future, not without the consent of his mother (as was verily though), acted all that ever he could to bring the thing about. And tho some persons did smell the design and acquainted the Regent therewith, yet he put such a confidence in those he had plac’d there that he chang’d none of the old guard. Only George himself was commanded out of the island, whereupon he departed to the next village on the edge of the Lough, where, having before corrupted the officers of the Castle with mony, he had, in a manner, a freer communication with the Queen by letters than before. Whereupon there were not only those Scots admitted to a partnership in the plot who were discontented at the present state of things, but the French were associated too by James Hamilton, who had been Regent some years before, and by James Beton Archbishop of Glasgow. The Scots were to do the work, and the French to pay the wages.
6. About the end of April, an embassador came from France and in the name of his King desir’d leave to visit the Queen, which if he did not obtain, he pretended, he would presently depart. The Regent told him ’twas not in his power that the Queen was not made prisoner by him, neither could he determine any thing in the case without advising with those who had first committed her, and with others who had afterward confirm’d by an Act of Parliament what was done. Nevertheless, he would gratify his sister and the King his ally in what he could, and would call an Assembly of the Nobles the 20th of the next month in order to that end. With that answer the embassador was somewhat pacified, and the Regent went on in his judicatories. Whereupon the Queen, having brib’d the master of a vessel, her other companions being been sent about sleeveless [false] errands, was brought out of the Lough. Her escape being told to those who were then at dinner in the Castle, they made a great stir, but to little purpose, for all the boats were haled a-shore and their loop-holes to put out their oars were all stopt up, so that no speedy pursuit could be made. There were horsemen expecting the Queen on the other side of the Lough, who carried her to the several houses of the partizans in the design, and a day after, which was May the 3d, she came to Hamilton, a town 8 miles distant from Glasgow. When the thing was nois’d abroad, many came in to her, some distrusting the King’s party, which they look’d upon as not very strong, others in hope of favour from the Queen, and some in confidence of a reward for their old services in this tumult, discover’d their minds, and part of them, having obtain’d pardon for what was past, expecting the event of fortune, were but loose adherents to the Regent. The defection of others was not so much wondred at, but the revolt of Robert Boyd, who till that very day had obtain’d a great opinion for his constancy, afforded matter of discourse. He, being brought up on the ruins of a noble family (as I said before in the life of King James the 3th) parsimoniously and meanly under his father, a valiant man and emulous of the ancient frugality, follow’d the same course of life as the rest of his kin did, viz., by applying himself to richer families to make way to repair his own lately flourishing but now decaying one to their ancient estate and dignity. Whereupon his father and he first apply’d themselves to the Hamiltons, who were then uppermost.
7. And when their Regentship was laid down and the chief magistracy settled in the Queen Dowager, and controversies about religion began to arise, he join’d himself to the Reformers, to which his father was most averse. That faction was accounted the most potent to that he adher’d till the Queen’s coming out of France; yea, he grew very renown’d for his constancy, fortitude, and prudence, so that Gilespy Earl of Argyle was so taken with him that he did almost nothing without his advice. But when some of the Nobles had associated at Sterlin, not for any treasonable project, but only to defend the King, he indeed subscrib’d to the league too. But with great levity, both himself and Argyle, who was guided by his counsel, discover’d the whole intrigue to the Queen. From that time forward Boyd sided with the Queen in all her designs against his old friends, being well reputed on that side. But by those he deserted he was accounted a turn-coat and an inconstant person. When the Queen was committed to prison, Boyd apply’d himself to Murray the Regent, and was so well respected by him for his industrious ingenuity that he was admitted into his cabinet-council, and tho several opinions past upon him by others yet he was in high favour with the Regent at Glasgow in his juridicial processes. But when he perceiv’d it was like to come to blows, he went off privately to the Queen, and from thence sent a letter to the Earl of Morton by his son excusing his departure and alleging he might probably do the royalists as much service there as if he had staid with them. His revolt, by reason of the good opinion many had of his conversation and manners, gave great occasion of discourse.
8. In the mean time, the Regent had an hot debate in Council whether they should stay where they were or else go to the King at Sterlin. A great many were of opinion that ’twas better to depart, and they urg’d arguments for it, as that Hamilton was a town near them full of people, and all the clanships of that family lay round about it; besides, the Queen had with her 500 horse, and it was reported many more were making towards her from remoter parts, whereas with the Regent there were only a few of his own friends, the rest having ran away to the Queen or gone privately home about their own affairs, as if all things had been quiet. And tho the citizens of Glasgow were faithful enough, as being provok’d by the many and great injuries they had receiv’d from the Hamiltons when in power, yet the town it self was large, not very populous, and every way approachable. On the contrary, others reason’d that all depended on the first beginning of things; that his departure would be dishonourable and look like running way; that all suspicion of fear was then principally to be avoided, for they should heighten their enemies thereby and discourage their friends. On the one side, there were the Cuninghams and the Semples, potent families; on the other side, Lennox, the King’s particular patrimony, from whence the next neighbours might presently come in in a few hours; the rest, the next or, at furthest, the day after. In the interim, till further aid came, they had strength enough, especially being assisted by the townsmen. This advice prevail’d in Council. The French embassador posted betwixt both parties, rather as a spy than a peace-maker, which yet he pretended to be. For, perceiving that there was but a small force at Glasgow at first, and an appearance of a great multitude at Hamilton, he earnestly excited the Queen to put it to a battel presently. The Regent had gathered a party from the neighbourhood, and expected those further off from Merch and Lothian.
9. There came in about 600 horse, choice and resolute men. He gave them one day to refresh themselves in, and then determined to march out to Hamilton and to engage the enemy immediately. For he believed delay was dangerous for him and advantagious to the enemy, whom the remote parts of the kingdom favour’d most. Two days after he was inform’d that about the third watch the enemy was drawing together from all places where they quarter’d. They trusted to their numbers, being about 6500 fighting men, and they knew the Regent had scarce 400. But they resolved to march by Glascow and to leave the Queen in Dumbarton-Castle, and so either to fight or lengthen out the war as they pleased, or, if the Regent should be so bold as to stop their passage, which they believed he durst not do, they would then fight and were confident they should beat him. But he, having determined to urge them to fight before, as soon as ever he could, drew his men out into the open field before the town the way that he thought the enemy would come, and there waited for them in battel-array for some hours. But when he saw their troops pass by the other side of the river, he presently understood their design and commanded his foot to pass over the bridg and his horse to ford over the river, which they might do, it being low water, and so to march to Langside, which was a village by the river Carth where the enemies were to pass, scituated in the foot of an hill respecting [facing] the south-west. On the east and north the passage was steep, but on the other side there was a gentle descent into a plain. Thither they hastned with such speed that the royalists had neer possesst the hill before the enemy, who aim’d at the same place, understood their design, though they march’d thither by a nearer cut. But the royalists met with two advantages, which was a great discouragement to their enemies. One, the Gilespy Cambel, Earl of Argyle, who commanded in chief, fell suddenly down from his horse sick, and by his fall much delayed the march of his party. The other, that their forces, being plac’d here and there in little vallies, could never see all the royalists at once, whose paucity (as indeed they were not many) made the enemy to despise them, and the disadvantage of the place too.
10. At last, when the Queen’s forced drew night and saw the ground which they aim’d at possesst by the enemy, they went to another little hill over against them, and there divided their party into two bodies. Their chief strength they plac’d in the first. If they had overthrown their adverse party there, they knew the rest would be dismaid at their flight and so they should overcome without fighting. The King’s party also divided themselves into two wings. James Douglas, Earl of Morton, Robert Semple, Alexander Hume, Patrick Lindsy, each with his clanship, were placed in the right. In the left stood John Earl of Marr, Alexander Earl of Glencarn, William Earl of Menteith, and the citizens of Glasgow. The musqueteers were in the village and gardens below, near the high way. Both armies thus placed in battel-array, the Queens cannoneers and foot were driven from their posts by the King’s forces. On the other side, the King’s horse, being fewer in number, were beat back by the enemy. After they had performed that service, they endeavoured also to break the battalions of foot, in order whereunto they charg’d directly up the hill, but were beat back by the King’s archers, and by some of those who after their rout had rallied again and joined with the rest of their body. In the mean time, the left wing of the enemy march’d by the high-way, where there was a rising ground, lower down into the vally, where, though they were galled by the King’s musqueteers, yet passing by those straits they opened and rang’d their body. There ’twas that the two battalions held out a thick stand of pikes as a brest-work before them, and fought desperately for half an hour without giving ground on either side, insomuch that they whose long pikes were broke threw daggers, stones, pieces of pikes or lances, yea, whatsoever they could come by, into the enemies faces.
11. But some of the hindermost ranks of the King’s forces being flying away (whether for fear or treachery is uncertain), no doubt their flight had much disordered those who stood to it unless the ranks had been so thick that the formost well knew not what the hindmost did. Then they which were in the second battailion, taking notice of the danger and perceiving no enemy coming to charge them, sent some whole troops to wheel to the right and to join with the first. Whereupon the adverse party could not bear their charge, but were wholly routed and put to flight. Many were so inrag’d with wrath and hatred against them that there had been a notable slaughter in the pursuit unless the Regent had sent out horse several ways to forbid the execution. The second squadron of the royalists stood so long till they saw the enemy scattering and flying in a disorderly manner; then they also brake their ranks and pursued. The Queen stood about a mile from the place to behold the fight, and after the discomfiture fled with some horsemen of her party who had escap’d out of the battel towards England. The rest ran away as they could, each to his own home. There were but few slain in the field, but more fell in the pursuit, being wearied and wounded, all along the high-ways and fields. The number of the slain was about 300, but there were more taken prisoners. Of the King’s forces, there not many wounded of the chief commanders, none but Alexander Hume and Andrew Stuart. Only one man was slain. The rest of the army besides a few horse-men who followed the pursuit very far, returned joyfully into the town, where, after giving thanks to Almighty God for prospering their just cause against a double number of their enemies, mutually gratulating one another they went to dinner.
12. This battel was fought May the 13th, eleven days after the Queen’s escape out of prison. The French embassador expected the event of the fight and promis’d himself a sure victory on the Queen’s side. But, being thus disappointed of his hope, he put off his vizard [mask], and, without taking his leave of the Regent, to whom he pretended he was sent, got a party of horse to guide him, and with what speed he could made for England. In the way he was robb’d by moss-troopers [bandits], but James Douglas, Laird of Drumlanerick, though he knew he was of the enemies party, yet deferr’d so much to the honour and name of an embassador that he caus’d his goods to be restored to him. The Regent spent the rest of the day in battel in taking a list of the prisoners. Some he discharged gratis, others upon sureties. The chief commanders were retained, especially of the Hamilton’s family, and sent to prison. The day after, knowing how much that sept was envied in the neighbourhood, he took only 500 horse, commanding the rest of the army to abide in their quarters, and went into the vale of Clydisdale, where he found all places naked and desolate, the inhabitants being run away, as rather conscious to themselves what they had deserved than confiding in the Regents clemency, of which yet they had experience before. He took in the Castles of Hamilton and Draffin, which were naked places. Only in Hamilton-Castle some of the houshold-stuff of King James the 5th was found. The same fear and terror drove the Queen into England too, either because she thought no place in that part of Scotland safe enough for her, or else because she durst not trust John Maxwel of Herreis. When the Regent had setled all things as well as he could at present, he summon’d an Assembly of the Estates to be held at Edinburgh in the month of […].
13. The adverse party plotted many ways to hinder it. Rumors were spread abroad of aid from France, neither were they altogether without ground. For some troops were drawn down to the sea-side under the command of the Earl of Martigues, a stout man of the Luxemburgh’s family, to be transported with all speed into Scotland. And they had been so, unless the civil wars had on a sudden broke forth in France. But that assistance would not have been so prejudicial to the Regent as his enemies thought, for it would have alienated England from them and engaged it to him. Moreover, Argyle with 600 of his clanship came to Glasgow. There he had a conference with the Hamiltonians and other leaders of the faction to hinder the Convention, but, finding no way to do it, they went every man severally home. Huntly also had gathered together a thousand foot against the day of the Parliaments sitting. He came as far as Perth, and there perceiving that the fords of the River Tay were guarded by William Ruven and the neighbouring Nobility, who remained loyal to the King, he retired without doing any thing to the purpose. About the same time there came also letters from the Queen of England, obtained by the intercession of the adverse party, to the Regent to put off the Parliament. She desired that judgment might not be hastned concerning the rebels till she were made acquainted with the whole cause, for she could not well bear the injury and affront which the Queen, her neighbour and near kinswoman, did pretend she had received from her subjects. Tho the request was but small in it self, yet if it should have been granted at the instance of the rebels, they might have thought to have carried all, either because such a trifling and delay seem’d to hearten them and weaken their enemy, especially seeing it might argue a fear in the royalists, and also that they in the mean time resolv’d to indict a Convention in the name of the Queen. But the Regent, being sensible of what great consequence it was to have the Parliament to sit, yea, though all the force of the enemy had combin’d against it, resolved to keep his day.
14. In that Parliament there was a great debate whether all those who had took arms against the King and afterward had not obtained their pardon should be condemn’d as traitors and have their goods confiscate. But William Maitland, who favoured the rebels, but covertly, obtained that only a few of them should be condemn’d at present, as a terror to the rest, and a door of clemency should be opened to others if they repented. That procedure did wonderfully incourage the conspirators and increas’d their obstinacy, in regard they say their punishment was deferr’d, and they were verily persuaded that neither the Queen of England, being their Queen’s neighbour and kinswoman, nor the Guises, who then were very powerful in the French Court, nor the French King himself would suffer such an encroachment to be made on the royal authority; yea, if they should be deserted by them, yet they were not so weak of themselves as not to be able to maintain their cause without sovereign aid, as being superior in number and power, so that nothing was wanting to the victory but the empty shadow of the royal name, which was (said they) usurped by force. In the mean time, the Regent minded only the publick peace. Some of the neighbouring offenders he fined in small sums, and so took them into favour. The Earl of Rothes, by his friends intercession, was banish’d for three years. As for the rest, he daily by correspondents solicited them to repent and come in, but perceiving that many of them were obstinate and inclined to revenge, he levied an army and march’d into Annandale, Niddisdale, and lower Galway, where he took some castles and put garisons into them. Others, whose owners were more refractary, he demolish’d, and in a short time he would have ran over the whole country unless letters from the Queen of England had interrupted the course of his victories.
15. She was persuaded by exiles that the Queen of Scots had receiv’d much wrong, that her ill-affected subjects had laid unjust imputations on her, and that she would not suffer the royal name to grow so cheap, or majesty to be so contumeliously used, as to be exposed to the wills of seditious persons. That the wrong of this great wickedness redounded only to one, but the example to all, and therefore she desired they would apply some speedy remedy that the contagion of dethroning princes might not spread further. Having made a great harangue in her letters to this purpose against the avengers of the King’s murder, she desired of the Regent that he would send Commissioners to her to inform her of the state of the whole matter, and to make answer to those either crimes or reproaches which were cast upon and alleged against himself. This demand seemed very grievous and offensive, that things already judg’d should be called again in question to a new and hazardous trial, and that before foreign princes, who are oft-times emulous, if not enemies, and their minds already prepossess’d by adversaries; yea, for a man, as it were, to plead for his own life before a foreign judicature. Though these case were dangerous and hard, yet many arguments induc’d him to accept of the proposal, though never so unequal. Abroad, the Cardinal of Lorrain, the Queen’s uncle, rul’d all in France, and at home a great part of the Nobility conspired in behalf of the Queen. And if the Queen of England were disobliged too, then he should have no force to withstand so great difficulties. Being thus resolved to send embassadors, he could not tell whom to pitch upon, the chief Nobles declining the employment. At last the Regent himself resolved to go, and chuse companions to accompany him, amongst whom was William Maitland, though much against his will. But the Regent, knowing him to be a factious man and inclinable to the Queen’s party, did not think it safe to leave him behind whilst things were in such a doubtful posture at home, and therefore he persuaded him by great promises and rewards to accompany him, not doubting but to overcome his avaritious mind with largesses and gifts. The rest went willingly along. The chief were James Douglas and Patrick Lindsy of the Nobles; of the clergy, the Bishop of the Orcades and the Abbat of Dumfermlin; of lawyers, James Macgil and Henry Balnavy, to whom he added a ninth [sic], viz., George Buchanan.
16. Though these difficult circumstances did attend him, yet two things relieved his thoughts. One was the equity of his cause, the other the last letters he received from the Queen of England gave him assurance that, if the crimes objected against the Queen of Scots were true, she held unworthy to hold that scepter any longer. The Regent was a little heartned by those letters, and with above a 100 horse in his company he began his journy, though he had certain intelligence brought to him that the Earl of Westmorland, and the command of the Duke of Norfolk, watch’d to intercept him before he got to York. Yet October 4 he came to York, the place appointed for the conference, and the same day and almost hour Thomas Howard, Duke of Norfolk, entred the city also. The reason why an ambush was laid for the Regent was because the Duke by secret correspondence was dealing with the Queen of Scots to marry her, and therefore, that the suspicion of the King’s murder might be more easily taken away, she resolved, if the Regent were slain, to return home, and also to take and suppress the letters she had wrote to Bothwel containing a manifest discovery of the plot. But because the Duke was so near, she could not so accomplish it that he also might not be aspersed with the infamy of so cruel a murder, and therefore the plot was deferr’d till another time. Besides Norfolk, there were appointed two other Commissioners by the Queen of England to determine the controversies of the Scots, the Earl of Sussex, who inclined to Howard’s party, as ’twas commonly reported, and Sir Ralph Sadler, an indifferent and equal person. Within a few days there came messengers from the Queen of Scots to complain of her disobedient subjects, and also to desire leave of the Queen of England to return home without delay.
17. They had their hearing apart from the Regent and his attendants. First they protested that they came not before them as judges that had a lawful superiority over them. Then they made a long harangue what wrong the Queen had received from her subjects; and after, desired of the Queen of England that either she would persuade her ungrateful subjects to admit their prince, or, if they refused, then she would supply her with an army to force them so do to. After some few hours the Regent was heard. He stood upon the equity of his cause before indifferent judges. He pleaded that the royalists had done nothing but according to the ancient laws and customs of their nation, and that in full Parliament ratified and approved, and that he, being a single person, with those few with him could not abrogate any thing which had been enacted by common consent of all the Estates in Parliament. But when the English Commissioners told them they could not be satisfied with those statutes made at their Parliaments at home, and now produced, unless withal they produced the reasons which moved the Nobles to such a severe judgment against the Queen, the Regent was unwilling, as much avoiding to divulge the foul offences of the Queen, being his sister also, and that amongst foreigners who were forward enough to hear them, and therefore denied to it unless upon these terms. That, if he made good the charge against the Queen that she killed her husband, then the Queen of England should stipulate and promise to defend the young King’s cause and take him, as ’twere, into her protection. But when the English embassadors told them that they had only a commission to hear the demands of both sides, and so to lay the whole matter before the Queen, the Regent again urg’d them to obtain such a promise from their Queen, or else that they themselves should get a commission fully to decide the controversy. If they would do that, he promised that unless he did evidently make it appear that the King was slain by his wives means, he would not deprecate the punishment due to the most heinous offence.
18. The Commissioners wrote to the Queen to know her mind herein, who returned answer that the Scots of the royal party should send one or more of their number to her Court, who might fully acquaint her with the merits of their cause, and then she would consult what was fit for her to do. Whereupon the Regent sent William Maitland, on whom many sinister opinions did daily arise, and James Macgil, not so much to be his assistant in publick business as to observe what his actions were. The causes which made Maitland suspect where these, amongst many others. Before his journy into England, though he mightily endeavoured to conceal his designs, yet by his words and actions, and further by his great familiarity with the men of the adverse party, but more clearly yet by letters he sent to the Queen which were intercepted, they could not be hid. In those letters he endeavoured to persuade the Queen that his service might yet be useful to her, using the example of the lion, as ’tis in the fable, who, being taken in a net, was freed by such mean animals as rats. And after the came to York, there was scarce a night wherein he did not meet with the chief embassadors of the adverse party, compared notes with them, and acquainted them with the designs of the Regent. The Regent did not forbid those meetings, knowing he should do no good thereby, only then they would meet more secretly. Though these were manifest evidences of this treachery, yet casually there happen’d an undeniable demonstration thereof. Norfolk and he went abroad, pretendedly to hunt, where they had much discourse concerning the whole affair and came to this agreement amongst themselves, to spin out the matter, if ’twas possible, and so to delay it that, at last, nothing might be done, and yet the cause not seem wholly deserted neither. For this meant the Regent must depart without effecting what he came for, or else some commotion at home would enforce him so to do, and then other remedies might emerge in time. For Norfolk was then designing a civil war, how to take off the one Queen and to marry the other.
19. Maitland inform’d John Lesly, Bishop of Ross, herewith, one intimately acquainted with all the Queen’s affairs, who accordingly inform’d his mistress by letter how the Duke would have her write to Court, what course to steer for the future, and, tho here cause went but slowly on, yet that delay should not hinder her from expecting a good issue thereof. The Queen, having read those letters, laid them by as loose papers, so that they came to be read by diverse others, and, from hand to hand, were at last brought to the Regent, who by them discovered the main of his adversaries design against him. As for Maitland, he had experimented his perfidiousness many times before. When the embassadors before-mentioned came to the Queen at London, she and her Council thought it best that the Regent himself should come up, and so dispute the controversy by word of mouth. Whereupon he dismiss’d part of his retinue, and with the rest went to London. But there he met with the same difficulty as he had done at York. for he refus’d to enter upon the accusation of the Queen, and his sister too, unless, if he prov’d her guilty, the Queen of England would take the Scots King’s party into her protection. If she would do that, he would begin the accusation immediately upon the same terms as he had propounded to the Delegates at York. Whilst these things were acting in London, the Queen of Scots, by means of James Balfure, endeavoured to raise commotions in Scotland. And that she might more easily accomplish her designs, she wrote letters to all the exiles and to Bothwel’s friends to contribute all their endeavours to infest the contrary faction by force of arms. And besides, she created lieutenants through all the kingdom, to whom she gave even kingly power.
20. And moreover, she caus’d rumours to be spread abroad that the Regent and his companions were committed prisoners to the Tower of London. And, foreseeing that lie could not be long believed, she devis’d another, i. e., that the Regent had promis’d to subject Scotland to the Crown of England, and that he was to give up the King as a pledg thereof. ’Tis thought her design herein was that, whereas she had promis’d the same things by her Commissioners, and the English look’d upon it as a vanity in her, seeing she had no power to perform it, yet she was willing to possess the minds of the vulgar with an untruth, and so to raise up envy against the Regent, and, if she could not avert the whole reproach from her self, yet at least she would have her adversaries bear a part with her therein. When the Regent saw himself in these straits, he resolv’d to end the matters as well as he could, and so to return home. Whereupon at the earnest sollicitation of the English, who desired to know the causes of the proceedings in Scotland (without which they could determine nothing), he also being desirous to satisfy the Queen of England at that time, whom he could not offend without great prejudice to his cause, and being willing also to return home to extinguish the civil war then appearing in its first rise, neither of which he could well do unless the Queen of England was his friend, or at least not his adversary; induc’d by these motives, he first protested before the Council of England that ’twas not willingly, but by the importunity of his enemies, that he was compell’d to accuse his Queen, and she his sister too, of so horrid a crime; that he did not do it out of a wanton humour to accuse, but out of necessity to clear himself, for he was very unwilling to discover those things which he wish’d, if possible, might be cover’d in perpetual oblivion; and therefore, if any reflection were made on what he did, the envy ought deservedly to light upon those who would not suffer him to be like himself, that is, to obey his prince chearfully when good, and to reprove him, or her, against his will when she was evil. Only he desired one thing, that the Queen’s proxies, who had inforced him to that dispute, might be present to hear the crimes objected, that so, if they were false, they might disprove them before the Council, and that he himself in many weighty matters might also make use of their testimonies.
21. The Queen’s Commissioners refus’d this, as putting little confidence in their own cause, and insisted only on this one thing, that the Queen, who was by force of arms ejected, might be restor’d. Whereupon a day was appointed for the Regent to shew cause why the revengers of the King’s murder had taken up arms (for he himself was then in France) and had ejected the Queen from her government, and acted other things as till that time they had done. When the time came, he declar’d the order of all things as they had been acted, and the testimonies of the partisans of the King’s murder made before their deaths, and also the statute of Parliament to which many of the Regent’s accusers had subscribed. And when the silver cabinet was produc’d which the Queen had given her from her former husband Francis, and had bestow’d on Bothwel, in which were letters to Bothwel writ in French with the Queen’s own hand, and also a French poem not unelegantly compos’d by her; and also the manner of the King’s death, and after his death, her surprize and three contracts of marriage with him, the one before the parricide, written with her own hand, wherein, as by a bill, she promises to marry him as soon as ever she was freed from other husband; the other was before the divorce from his former wife, writ by Huntly’s hand; the third was openly made a little before the marriage. When all this was produc’d, seen, and read before the Council, the whole fact was so plainly expos’d that no doubt could be made who was the author of it.
22. Though the Queen of England could not but believe these discoveries, yet she did fluctuate in her mind. One the one side, there was emulation, Queens mutually hating one another. There were also such great crimes, and such evident proofs, that the Queen thought her kinswoman of Scotland deserv’d no assistance to restore her. And, though her mind did incline to that which was right, yet ’twas shaken and did hesitate upon the remembrance of her former state, not without a commiseration; and besides the majesty of kingly honour, and a fear lest the example of driving out princes might creep into the neighbour-kingdoms, wrought much upon her. Besides, she was afraid of France, for the peace with them was not very sure or firm, and then especially the French embassador did plead the cause of the banish’d Queen daily. The Spanish embassador was desir’d also to interpose his mediation, but the foulness of the crime did so deter him that he refus’d to meddle therewith. Whereupon the Queen of England, that she might leave a door for repentance if matters should succeed amiss in France, and not cut off all occasion of gratifying them, gave a middle answer, so tempering it that at present she said she saw no cause to the contrary, but that all things had been acted according to law and justice in Scotland; yet, as if she deferr’d the compleat decision till another time, she desir’d that, seeing intestine tumults did recall the Regent, he would leave here one of his retinue in his place to make answer to those crimes which might be objected against him in his absence. But the Regent, who saw the matter to be so put off that that Queen might take her measures to give sentence for her own advantage and the event of foreign affairs, left no stone unturn’d that he might have the cause fully determin’d now. And therefore he desir’d, as most just and equitable, that if his enemies, who had long studied before-hand to accuse him, had any thing to allege, they would now produce it and not watch an opportunity to calumniate him in his absence, seeing they refus’d to cope with him face to face.
23. He was not ignorant what rumors his enemies would cause to be spread amongst the people, and what they had already said to some of the Council and to the French embassador. And therefore he earnestly desir’d of the Council to command them not to mutter privately, but to declare openly what they had do say, and that he would not make so much haste home but that, though it were much to his own damage and the publicks, yet he would willingly purge himself there in presence. Whereupon the Commissioners of the banish’d Queen were sent for and demanded, if they had any thing to allege against the Regent or his companions in reference to the King’s murder, they should produce it. Their answer was they had nothing at present, but they would accuse him when they were commanded by their Queen. The Regent answer’d that he was always ready to give an account of all the actions perform’d by him, neither would he shun either time or place so to do; yet, seeing the Queen began that accusation of him, he desir’d of his accusers there present that if any of them had the least objection against him, they would then declare it. For ’twas much more noble and handsom to produce it before so illustrious an assembly than in private cabals to nibble at his fame in his absence. They also refused this. Whereupon the whole Council cried out upon them and, in a manner, reproach’d them, so that they were compell’d, singly and severally, to confess that they knew nothing of themselves why Murray or any of his should be accus’d of the King’s murder. Then, after a long dispute pro and con, the Council was dismiss’d, and from that time there was never any more mention made of accusing the Regent or any of his companions.
24. Whilst the Regent was thus necessarily detain’d in England on a publick account, the Queen’s faction turn’d every stone both at home and abroad to make disturbances, but without effect. James Hamilton, who had been Regent some years before, seeing that things went not according to his mind at home, had gone long before into France. There he had but a few companions, but lay privately with a servant or two to attend him, free from the hurry of all publick business. But when the Queen of Scots was escap’d out of prison, overcome in battel, and then fled for England, the French, knowing that Murray was call’d home into his own country, and in his passage through France not being able to work him over to their party, in regard they could not send men or mony to Scotland to raise disturbance there by reason of their own commotions at home, they therefore thought it most advisable to set up Hamilton in an emulating competition with him, especially at that time when the Regent with part of the Nobility were absent and out of the way. He was therefore drawn out of his privacy and accommodated with some few pistols [pieces of gold] and larger promises. In his return thro’ England, his friends persuaded him that, in regard the Queen of Scots with her faction favour’d him and the Queen of England was not averse from it, he would deal with her to persuade Murray by her authority to resign his Regency to him, in regard that office, by the law and consent of almost all nations, and especially by the custom of their own country, was due to him as the next in blood and heirship. Neither (said he) was there any great need to make a laborious search into the records of ancient times for this, wherein they might easily find that Governors were always appointed to their princes when under age out of the next of kin, as when James the 3r died, in the absence of James the 1st his uncle Robert managed the government, and his son Murdac succeeded Robert. And of late times, John Duke of Albany was made Governor to King James the 5th whilst he was under age. Yea, Hamilton himself had been Regent some few years before Mary, now Queen, was of age, fit to govern or marry. And how he was not excluded from that office by any lawful suffrages, but unjustly by the rebellious. And that which increas’d the indignity was that it was done in contempt of the blood royal, and a bastard set up in his room. But if the honour were restor’d to him, in a very short time all domestick tumults would be quieted and the Queen, even without blood, would recover her crown and dignity again.
25. Whereunto the King’s embassadors answer’d that Hamilton desir’d a thing not only contrary to the laws and customs of their ancestors, but, if the consideration of the law were omitted, yet ’twas very unjust in it self. For our ancestors (said they) by reason of the slaughters of their princes by their kindred, for 1300 years ago did wholly change the method of their assemblies in making a King. For as before in the family of Fergus our first King, after the King’s death it was not the next of blood, but he that was most fit was chosen King by suffrage. So Kenneth the 3rd, that he might take away all plots against princes by those of their blood, and also might prevent the cruel and bloody emulations of their kindred amongst themselves, made this decree of succession that now is for the next of blood to inherit. And, men by experience finding that in so great an inconstancy of fortune ’twas scarce possible but that sometimes the right of chief magistracy should fall on a child, or else on one unable to govern, therefore they decreed that he who preceded others in power and wisdom should undergo the administration of the government in the mean time. And our ancestors, observing this course for almost 600 years, have transmitted down a kingdom safe to us. Thus when Robert Bruce died, there succeeded Regents chosen by most voices, Thomas Randolf, Earl of Murray, Donald Earl of Marry, Alexander Murray, John Randolf, Robert Stuart, sometimes particular persons, sometimes more than one were chosen by our publick conventions to that office. So when James the Second was a child Alexander Levingston was appointed his Governour, who was no way related to that King in blood, no, nor a noble man ether, but a knight only, more eminent for his wisdom than his family.
26. And if any say that was for want of some of the King’s line, the excuse will not hold. For at that very time there was also his uncles, James Kennedy, Archbishop of St. Andrews, the eminentest person for virtue in the whole kingdom, and also his brothers, the son of the King’s aunt, Douglas, Earl of Angus. Archibald also, Earl of Douglas, was not excluded from the King’s line, but in power was almost equal to him. To be sure, he was superiour to all others, yet none every complain’d of the injustice of our Assemblies in so doing. And not long after, James the Third had four Tutors or Guardians assign’d him, not taken on the account of alliance, but chosen by vote. And of late, John Duke of Albany was sent for by the Nobility out of France to govern Scotland in the minority of James the 4th, and when he came he was setled in the Regency by a publick statute enacted in a Convention of the Estates, which was not done on the account of proximity of blood. For he had Alexander, an elder brother, one perhaps inferiour to him, yet far more virtuous than James Hamilton, who for a season affected that dignity. But in the absence of James the Fifth, Robert his uncle manag’d the kingdom. “I pray, by what right? Was he assum’d into that office for propinquity of blood?” No. “Was he elected by the people?” No, nor that neither. “How then was he created?” I’le tell you how. When King Robert the Third was neither in body nor mind fit to manage the kingly office, he set up Robert his brother in his stead and commended his children to his care. David, his eldest son, he starv’d to death. James, the younger, had been also slain unless he had saved his life by flight. And, being thus setled in the possession of the government, his brother dying for grief, he kept it without the consent of the people in Parliament and deliver’d it down by hand to his son Mordacus. How Robert the King, that died last, stood affected towards his brother is very plain, for as when he was a-dying he abominated and curs’d him as the executioner of his children. So, certainly, if he had been alive and in health he would not have designed him Guardian to his children.
27. We are so put in mind of that time wherein after the death of James the Fifth he himself was made Regent (as if any thing at all was legally acted since that time). When Cardinal Beton endeavoured by fraud to invade the chief magistracy, he crept into the vacant office rather out of peoples hatred to Beton than love to him. Being got into it, he ruled with great cruelty and avarice, and not many years ago he sold that magistracy which he got by force, and the Queen too then committed to his care. Therein was manifested what affection that people bare to him when they preferred the government of a woman-stranger before that bitter slavery they suffer’d under him. You see then, I suppose, how this request of Hamilton’s is contrary to the laws of our country and the institutions of our ancestors; yea, so contrary that, for want of arguments to maintain it, he bolsters it up only with lies. And if there were any custom of this kind, all men see how unjust it is. For what can be more unequal than to commit the innocent and weak age of the Prince to his care, who either daily expects or wishes for the death of his pupil? All whose family hath born and doth bear great and lasting enmity with the family of the King that now reigns? What safeguard can there be in nearness of blood against ancient hatred, griping avarice, and the precipitate force of forestalled tyranny? Laodice Queen of the Cappadocians is reported to have slain her sons as they came to age, thus buying out, or, as it were, redeeming a small stay in the government with the innocent blood of her own children. If a mother destroy’d the fruit of her own womb only to reign a little longer, what shall we think will old enemies attempt, or rather what will they not attempt, being inflam’d to cruelty by the stings of avarice, against a child who is the only remora [obstacle] to their hopes of the kingdom?
28. And if this example seems old, obscure, and far-fetech’d, I will add some more illustrious ones near hand. Who is ignorant of what was lately acted, how that Galeacius Sforza was slain by his uncle Lewis, though he was of age and married, and the son-in-law-too of a most powerful prince? Who doth not know the calamities that followed upon that cruel parricide? The brave fertile country of Italy was almost made a wilderness thereby. The family of the Sforza’s, from whence so many valiant men proceeded, was extinguish’d, and the barbarians were introduc’d into the pleasant country about the Po, whose avarice and cruelty spoil’d all. Besides, who is there of the inhabitants of Great Britain that hath not heard of the cruelty of Richard the 3rd, King of England, against his brothers children, and with how much blood was that parricide expiated? If men that were otherwise prudent did not fear to commit such things against their nearest in blood, excited only by the desire of the crown, what can be expected from him whose inconstancy is well known to all, and whose ill management of the government hath already cost us so much blood? Whose family, not content with the murder of this King’s great grandfather, did always work treachery against his grandfather by the mother’s side as long as he liv’d; and as for his grandfather by his father’s side, when he could not kill him he drove him, poor, out of the kingdom. His father he brought forth as a sacrifice to be slain. His mother and the kingdom, when they could not enjoy it themselves, they sold it to strangers, and after, by the Providence of God, she was deliver’d from that bondage, they cast her into those straits wherein she now is. What judgment the subjects made of these things may appear by this, that men seem’d to themselves deliver’d from the prison of a most miserable bondage, and to tast the sweetness of liberty, when they sold the government, which they themselves were not able to manage, to a woman-stranger.
29. Upon the hearing of this oration, the Queen told Hamilton that his demand was unjust and that she would not assist him therein, but that she was desir’d by the King’s embassadors not to suffer him to depart (in regard he plotted nothing but sedition) till they likewise went themselves, which she look’d upon as a just thing, and therefore had promis’d them so to do, and thereupon she charg’d him not to depart before that time. Moreover, the banish’d Queen encourag’d her friends with the hopes of her speedy return, for some letters of hers were intercepted wherein she advis’d them to seize upon as many castles and fortified places as they could, and so to disperse the war abroad as far as ever they were able. Neither need they fear the noise of a truce or accommodation. For if matters were ended that way, all offences of former times would be cover’d and forgiven under the umbrage [covering shadow] of peace, but if it should brake forth into open war, the more garisons they had, the greater opportunity would be put into their hands to hurt the enemy. When the Regent had settled matters as well as he could in England, and had leave to return, some letters were produc’d, lately intercepted from the Queen of Scots, wherein she complains that she was otherwise treated by the Queen of England than she her self first expected, or as was promis’d her, and that was done by some courtiers, who were the cause that she was not sent back with an army. But she did hope shortly to obtain a good issue another way (for messengers often had passed betwixt her and Howard about a marriage between them), and therefore she wish’d them not to be discouraged, but to increase the strength of their party, to make a general disturbance, and by all the arts they could to hinder the Regent’s return into Scotland.
30. These letters, being divulg’d, did affect people severally. The Queen of England took it ill that she was accus’d of breach of promise, as also that the conditions of the truce made by her means were not kept. And therefore, being very angry and inrag’d, she remitted much of her ancient favour to the Scots Queen, and was more inclin’d to equity than before. The English, who wish’d well to the Regent, were afraid that his enemies would way-lay him to do him a mischief in his journy. For in the countries which he was to pass thro there were either, for the most part, Papists or else thieves inhabiting the Borders of both kingdoms, who were all excited to hope for a sudden change. And ’twas plain they were dealt with to intercept him in his return, and therefore abundance of the English courtiers offer’d him their assistance to secure his passage. But he was contented only with his own retinue, and about the 13th of January began his journy. But the Queen of England, judging it to be for her own credit and honour that he should return in safety, had of her own accord written to the commanders and the Warden of the Marches that, when he came to places suspected or noted for robbery, they should take care that he might not be circumvented. And they were very careful therein, for strong guards of horse and foot were plac’d about the way, so that he came safe to Berwick, and, the day after, which was the 2nd of February, he was conducted home to Edinburgh to the great joy of his friends, who in great numbers were there assembled. His enemies did hardly believe his coming at first, because false reports had been causelesly spread that he was shut up prisoner in the Tower of London. But when it was certainly known that he was at Edinburgh, those who had beset the high-ways to intercept passengers let go their prisoners and slipt away home, so that immediately from a turbulent tempest there grew a great calm.
31. A few days after, the Nobles of the King’s party had a great meeting at Sterlin. There the transactions with the Queen of England were opened and highly approv’d by the consent of all there present. About the same time, James Hamilton, chief of his family, came out of England, who by a new and unheard of pretence and arrogance was adopted as a father by the Queen of Scots and made Lieutenant of the kingdom. He declar’d his commission and forbad the people to obey any but those substituted by him. Whereupon the royalists disburst sums of mony to raise forces and to prepare to fight, if need were. And accordingly, at an appointed day they met at Glasgow, but seeing the country came not in to Hamilton according to his expectation, by the mediation of his friends terms of agreement were propounded wherein Hamilton was commanded to come to Glasgow to acknowledge the King as chief magistrate. If he did that, the rest would be easily accorded; if he refus’d, it was in vain for him to come. He by the advice of his friends that were with him, being forsaken by his clanships and terrify’d by the near approach of his enemies army, resolv’d to comply with necessity and to promise all that was desir’d. But when the forces of the royalists were disbanded, then he would consult his advantage at leisure. When they came to Glasgow, a day was appointed wherein they and their friends should profess their allegiance to the King, and so recover their old estates and honours. In the mean time, they were to remain in prison or to give in hostages of their kindred for their forth-coming. This was added to the conditions, that all of the same party might come in, if they pleas’d, on the same day. Argyle and Huntly refus’d to subscribe to those articles, either out of anger to Hamilton that he had given up himself to his enemies hands without asking their advice, or else because they thought to obtain for themselves more easie terms of peace on regard of their power, or else, being incourag’d by frequent letters from England, they were easily inclin’d to that they had most mind to.
32. For whilst these things were acted in Scotland letters came from the exiled Queen containing large promises and willing them not to be terrify’d with vain threats, for she should shortly be with them with a great army. Their minds were ready to receive this news, and so much the rather because the Queen was kept with a looser guard than ordinary and there was daily talk of her marriage with Howard. When Hamilton was come to Edinburgh at the day appointed, he eluded his promise by various postulations and pretences, making many delays, as that the rest of his party should come together, and so be all comprehended at once in one agreement, and also that they might sent to the Queen to knew her mind. And to this end he desir’d to defer the matter till the 10th day of May. To this his plain mockery they answer’d that ’twas to no purpose for him to expect Argyle and Huntly, for they had declar’d they would manage their concerns apart. As for the Queen, ’twas demanded, if she did not approve the capitulation, what they would do. Then Hamilton answer’d ingenuously enough, but not so prudently for the time, that he was compell’d to those conditions by the force and terror of an army, and that if he were left free for himself he would not subscribe any thing thereof. This their baffle being openly discover’d, the Regent committed Hamilton and Maxwel to Edinburgh Castle. The rest of the dispute was about Argyle and Huntly. For Argyle, whilst the Regent was in England, came to Glasgow to consult about publick affairs with about 1500 men in his company. Thither also came many of the neighbour countries of the same faction, where they differ’d in their opinions and agreed in nothing but only to disturb the publick peace.
33. The Hamiltonians desir’d of Argyle that, in regard the inhabitants of Lennox were firm to the King’s cause, he would vex them by driving away preys from them, that so he might draw them, tho unwilling, to his party, or else might so impoverish them that they might not much advantage their own party. When Argyle had communicated the thing to the council of his friends, not one of them favour’d his design. For they remembered that for many years the Lennoxians had been much addicted to Argyle, and that there were many alliances between them. Moreover, said they, why are the Argylemen nearer to the Lennoxians than the Hamiltonians, seeing they lie in the middle betwixt them both? Why then should they put a service so full of odium upon him? Seeing it was their own affair principally, let them appear first in it, and then Argyle would not be wanting. He would be a companion, not a leader, in such a plundering expedition. When that assembly had held for some days, it was dissolv’d without doing any thing, and Argyle return’d thro Lennox, which was his nearest way, without doing them any hurt, which moderation of his did indear him even to the chief of the opposite faction, and made his pardon more easily obtainable. But Huntly had indeavour’d to break thro Mern, Angus, and Strath-earn in the Regents absence, having plunder’d the country and prey’d their castle, and, ranging over the neighbour places, had appointed Crawford and Ogilby his lieutenants upon Dee, usurping also all the power of a King. That carriage of his made his reconciliation the more difficult. These two men, seeing their concerns were several, had a council assign’d to meet at St. Andrews.
34. Thither Argyle came first. He was easily reconcil’d, for that year and the former he had committed no hostile act; and besides, he was the Regent’s kinsman, and from his childhood his great acquaintance and familiar friend, so that all he requir’d of him was an oath to be faithful to the King for the future; which if he were not, besides the usual punishment of the law, he did not deprecate but that he was to be accounted the basest person living. The rest also were admitted into favour upon the same oath, but on far different conditions. But Huntly’s case, before his arrival, was long debated in Council. For whereas in England the marriage of the exile Queen with Howard was carry’d on, and their coming into Scotland was privately design’d, their faction there did by degrees take heart and incourage the rebellious to disobedience. For, if matters were put into a confusion, they thought the new King would have an easier entrance to possess the kingdom. Wherefore when they knew that the Regent would not be persuaded to betray the King, as being his Guardian and uncle, they endeavour’d by all means to abridg his power. For, besides those that openly took arms against the King, a great part of the Counsellors did not now, as heretofore, favour Huntly in secret, but openly. They pleaded for him might and main, that he should be indemnified for what was past. For that was the readiest and safest way to agreement; yea, ’twas more creditable for the state to heal civil breaches without violence, and not to proceed to forfeiture of goods or loss of life, and by this means peace might be obtain’d at home and renown abroad. But if a military course were taken, they must fight with a man who by reason of his ancient power, his great alliance, and by his many clanships was very formidable. And if he were overcome (which yet was uncertain), yet he might fly to the Highlands and mountainous deserts or to foreign Kings, where, out of a small spark of disgust, a mighty flame of war might in time be kindled.
35. On the other side, ’twas alleged that the war would not be so formidable as some imagin’d. For his father, tho he had the report of a very prudent man, even whilst his force was intire was yet easily subdued, and therefore this young man, whose power was not yet establish’d, and besides, was discourag’d by the recent calamity of his family, was never able to bear up against all the power of the kingdom, and the majesty of the kingly name too. And if he were overcome in flight, or if, distrusting his forces, he fled to the mountains, there were those who, by the same largesses as he had firm’d them for his service or by greater, might be induc’d either to kill him or to betray him to the Regent. For the faith of mercenaries is changed with fortune. They follow the prosperous and forsake the afflicted. As for foreign Kings, they esteem’d men according to their power, neither were they concern’d for anothers misery, but respected only their own advantage. But if any King of another kidney should be so courteous and merciful as to entertain a fugitive, and a beggar too, yet now the times were such as did cancel that fear. For England alone of Europe was the country which enjoy’d a flourishing peace, and that favour’d the King’s cause. But other neighbour kingdoms were so busied with domestick dissensions that they had no time to look abroad. And if they had leisure so to do, yet there was some ground of hope that equity would prevail more with them than mercy towards exiles who were rebels to their own Kings and faithless to the Kings of other nations.
36. “As for the indemnity which they say will declare our clemency, it will rather be an argument of our negligence, in regard, a just combate being declin’d thro fear, a war is imprudently nourish’d under a pretence of peace, and that an unjust pretence too, which would incourage the crest-fallen spirits of the rebels and weaken the chearful endeavours of the King’s best friends. For how do you think will both parties stand affected when the one side sees that all is lawful for them without present punishment, and so they hope it will be for the future? And the other sees perfidious enemies to enjoy the rewards of their wicked crimes, themselves robbed of all their goods and vexed with all the calamities of war? And whereas they expected a reward for their faithfulness and constancy, instead thereof to be punish’d for their love to their King and country? And therefore who can doubt but that, if matters hereafter come to arms (which of necessity they must do, unless this fire be now quenched before it break forth); who, I say, can doubt but that party will be strongest which thrives by its wickedness and who may do all things with impunity, rather than the other, who must suffer all injures offer’d to them forcibly, gratis? And if those inconveniencies did not attend this vain shew of clemency, yet neither the Regent nor the King himself could lawfully so pardon as to give away the goods of the robbed to their plunderers. If they should do that, they must lay down the persons of rulers and take upon them the habit of spoilers too. If such a condition should be granted, it were much more cruel for people to be despoil’d of their estates by Kings, the granters of indemnity, than by their very enemies, and toryes [robbers] themselves that robbed them.
37. Many things having been alternately canvas’d and alleged to this purpose on either side, those which were for his indemnity were out-voted by a few voices. The Regent declar’d that for peace-sake he was very willing to pardon the private wrongs done to himself and the King, but for the injuries offer’d to particular persons he neither could nor would pardon them. But if Huntly and those friends of his who follow’d his party could make some terms of agreement with those they had plunder’d, he was very willing, by the consent of both parties, to appoint arbitrators who might adjust the value of the losses. Peace, as ’twas thought, being settled on these conditions, there was another dispute arose, seemingly small but manag’d with greater eagerness than before. The controversy was whether pardon were to be given to all of Huntly’s party promiscuously, or whether every mans cause and desert should be consider’d apart. Some were of opinion that, because they thought Huntly was dealt hardly with in being inforc’d to pay damages to the sufferers, that it was equitable to indulge him here and not to press so severely as to disoblige his followers also. On the other side ’twas alleged that the chief aim in such kind of wars was to dissolve factions, and that could not be done easily any otherwise than if the judgment of pardon or punishment did reside in the breast of the Prince alone. All men understand how unjust it is to impose an equal fine on those whose offences are unequal, and that the adjusting of the punishment should be left to Huntly himself was no means fit. For he (’twas probable) would exact the lightest mulct from the greatest offenders, and would lay almost the whole burden upon such as were least nocent [guilty], in regard in imposing punishment he would not weigh each man’s merit, but rather his propensity to his service, and as any man had been more fierce and cruel in the war, so he would obtain from him an higher place in his favour. On the other side, the lightest offenders would have the sorest punishment, and they which were less active in wickedness should be fined for their moderation and favour towards the King. These reasons so prevail’d with the Council that they decreed to weigh every man’s case apart, and yet, that they might seem to gratify Huntly in some thing, his domesticks were exempted. He was to lay a fine on them himself as he pleas’d. But that which he most desir’d, that the Regent should not come with in army into the North-parts, was absolutely refus’d him.
38. Things being thus settled with Huntly at St. Andrews, the Regent with two bands of mercenaries and a great number of his friends, went first to Aberdeen, then to Elgin, and last to Inverness. The inhabitants near the town were commanded to appear. They obeyed the summons, some paid down their mony, imposed as a fine on them, others gave sureties. Huntly and the chief of his septs and clanships put in hostages. Thus having settled the country towards the North, being highly gratulated by all good men through all his march, he return’d to St. Johnston’s. There an Assembly of the Nobility was indicted by reason of letters which Robert Boyd had brought out of England to the Regent at Elgin. Some of them were from some courtiers in England, containing a relation of Howard’s conspiracy, which was so strong and cunningly laid that they thought no force or policy could withstand it, no, not if all the remaining power of Britain were united together. Therein his friends exhorted him not to mingle his own flourishing fortune with the desperate estate of others, but to provide for himself and his concerns, yet unimpair’d, apart.
39. The state of affairs in England compels me here a little to digress, because at that time the good and ill of both kingdoms were so conjoin’d that the one cannot well be explained without the other. The Scots, a few years before, were delivered out of the slavery of the French by the assistance of the English, and thereupon they observed and subscribed to the same rites in religion in common with the English. That sudden change of things seemed to promise an universal quietness to all Britain, free from all domestick tumults. But presently thereupon the Pope of Rome with the Kings of France and Spain threatned a war, and privately managed designs to alter things. The Pope was not wanting, by his exhortations and promises, to stir up their minds, already inraged. But the Kings were not sufficiently agreed amongst themselves, and their forces were so exhausted that they rather desired a war than were able to make it. Besides, there was an emulation betwixt them. One could not well bear that the other should have so great an accession as England, if it were conquered, to his dominions. Moreover, some disputes arose betwixt them and their subjects which diverted their thoughts from foreign affairs, tho the novelty of a woman’s reign, and she a young woman too, without an husband, gave encouragement thereto (especially since those who were ill affected to her said she was born to Henry the 8th in an unlawful marriage), and also the former differences about the kingdom and about religion were rather stifled than extinguished; yea, the sparks of discontent did glow in mens minds, which in a short time were likely to break forth into a great form. In the mean time, the English Papists had made many attempts, but in vain, for they were soon quell’d. And though their designs never succeeded, yet, foreigners still feeding them only with blooming hopes, not with real supplies, they still persisted in the same resolute design, wanting rather a commander for their number than power or courage to come together.
40. The common people of that sect had taken a view of all the Nobility, and they found none fit enough to whom they might commit their lives and fortunes. Many of the most stirring had been consumed in the civil wars. Many had past over to the other party. Some were so old that they were unfit for publick business, or else the vigor of their minds as well as the strength of their bodies was so debilitated that they desired peace, if it were but a tolerable one. There was only one man who for courage and power seemed fit to undertake so great a business, and that was Thomas Howard, who though he was of himself inclinable to quietness, yet there were some causes which moved him to study innovations. For his father and grand-father, though they had been highly eminent both in war and peace, yet in the storms of an unstable court they had been so toss’d that their highest glory was ballanc’d with as great disgrace. His father was condemn’d for treason and publickly beheaded, and two Queens, his kinswomen, had been also put to death. He in those difficulties was liberally brought up, and so preserved his family from being quite extinguish’d and blown up. In his very youth he gave a specimen of great prudence, and in a few years, by the death of his wives and by new marriages he grew so rich that, next to the Queen, he was the most potent of the English. For wealth and prudence the rest of the Nobility yielded to him, but, as for his skill in military matters, he had yet given no proof of his valor. But in the controversies of religion he carried himself so swimmingly and ambiguously that, tho he favoured Popery in his heart, yet he was such a fosterer of the contrary party that many of them made sure of him, in their thoughts, as their own.
41. Amidst these things the Queen of Scots was overcome in battel and fled to England, whence she wrote letters to that Queen concerning the cause of her coming. She was bid by her to retire to the house of Lord Scroop, Warden of the Marches, till she did consider of her demands in Council. Scroop’s wife was Howard’s sister, and by her means the treaty of marriage was secretly begun betwixt the Queen and Howard, and the opportunity seemed to be offered by God Himself, seeing Howard’s third wife was lately dead and he was then a widower. The design was concealed, as being intrusted but to a few, yet ’twas whisper’d abroad among the common people. For narrow spirits cannot conceal great hopes, but joy gives them vent, and so they fly abroad. The matter was so far advanc’d that the fire of a civil war seemed ready to break out; yea, some were so confident of success after they had considered the strength of the parties that they thought Howard might easily do what he pleased without using any force. Things were in this posture when the Scots Nobles had a great meeting at Perth to hear the demands of both Queens, both of them having wrote to them. The Queen of England’s letters proposed one of these three conditions. The first was absolute, that the Queen might be restored to her throne and dignity, as formerly. But if that could not be granted, then that she might reign jointly with her son, that so she might injoy princely honour in letters and publick acts; in the mean time, the Regency should be in the hands of the present Regent till the King came to the age of seventeen. If neither of those could be obtained, then the third condition was (if the Queen could be persuaded to accept of it) that she should live privately at home, being content with those honours which, saving the authority and majesty of the King, might be granted to her. This last request was easily assented to, if the Queen would accept it. But the other two were peremptorily refused. For the better and more incorrupt part of the Nobility were resolute in this, that they neither could nor ought to determine any thing which did diminish the King’s authority, especially being lawfully inthron’d. But the two former heads did take off from the King’s honour; yea, it exposed his life too, being a pupil, unless it could be thought that his mother, who was known to be cruel towards her husband, and was not well affected toward her son neither, being exasperated by her banishment besides, should be more kind to him than she had been ever before.
42. Also the letters from the exil’d Queen were read, wherein she desired that some judges might be appointed to consider of her marriage with Bothwel, and, if ’twas found contrary to law, that she might be divorced from him. Those letters did highly incense the King’s party because she wrote her self as Queen and commanded them as subjects. Yea, some would not have had them answered at all because they indeavoured to abridg the King of his power and to instate the rule in the sole power of an exil’d Queen. But that part of the Council which was for the Queen alleged that they wondered much why those who had formerly the last year much desired that she would separate her cause from Bothwel’s, now when it was freely offer’d to them should hinder it as eagerly (or rather more) as they had before earnestly despised it. If a word or two in the letters did displease them, that fault might easily be amended; yea, some there were who undertook (provided the matter of the divorce might be handled in the mean time) to procure a commission from her in what expressions they themselves would have it. On the contrary, the adverse party urg’d that they saw no new cause of such haste. 60 days was but a lawful time for Bothwel, who was out of the kingdom, to appear, within which time a new commission might be sent. Neither ought that delay to seem long, especially to her who had past over so great a matter in silence now two years; and now also she had sent letters which were of them an hindrance why those who were wiling to ratify her could not comply with them. But if she desired a divorce, ’twas easy to be obtained.
43. Let her but write to the King of Denmark desiring him to punish the murderer of her former husband. If he were dead, though they were all unwilling, yet she might marry where and whom she pleased. But if she refused this, then ’twas plain she spake not sincerely and from her heart, but made a counterfeit pretence of divorce that, if she married again, she might also live in disputable and uncertain matrimony even with her next husband too. And hereof there as a shrewd suspicion, because she desired such judges to determine of the divorce who had no power in the case. For what power could the Regent have over exiles, with whom he had nothing at all to do, who, unless they themselves pleased, might refuse to stand to his judgment? Or how should they submit to anothers judgment who were under the power and dominion of other princes? But, seeing that there seem’d to be some hidden fraud in the case, a decision was not to be hastily made, but the Queen of England was to be acquainted therewith, in whose power it was either to promote or hinder it. Hereupon a young nobleman of the Regent’s friends was sent to the Queen of England to acquaint her with the acts of the convention. Some may perhaps wonder that, seeing greater matters were transacted with less dispute, there should be such ado made about the divorce. But this was the cause of it. Howard had privately transacted by his friends concerning his marrying the Queen of Scots, and the conspiracy was so strong both at home and abroad that ’twas bruited among the vulgar the design was to take away both of the lawful princes, and so to seize on the two kingdoms for themselves. The place, time, and the whole of the design was so ordered that all things seem’d to be secure against any force whatsoever. The conspirators did most insist on this, to remove what might hinder the marriage. If that were done, they seemed secure that all the rest should fall in of it self.
44. On the contrary, they which were for the King made it their chief business to cast in rubbs to delay it. For in the interim many secret designs might in time be discovered and the conspiracy prevented by the care of both princes. In this posture of affairs, the decree of the Scots Council was brought to the Queen of England. But she, alleging she was not satisfied with that answer and the messenger did not seem to her a fit person with whom she might confer in so dangerous a time and about such weighty matters, desired to be better inform’d by the Scots of those matters. Whereupon there was another Assembly of the Nobility indicted at Sterlin, where they drew up this answer, that, as for the last of her requests, it might admit a consultation in order to an agreement, but the second was of that kind that no consultation at all could be admitted on that head without manifest impiety, in regard it would not only diminish, but even extirpate, the royal authority. For, besides that all partnership in supream magistracy is dangerous, how can two be equally join’d in government whereof one was a youth scarce out of his infancy, the other a woman in the prime of her age, of a crafty disposition, having past through variety of fortunes, who as soon as ever she can creep into part of the government will, by the strength of that faction, which, though she was removed by a publick decree from the administration thereof, do yet labour to introduce her, not by entreaties, but threats, or else by corrupting the King’s enemies, or lastly by foreign souldiers, whom she is now busy to procure, soon derive the whole authority to her self? How will she indure that an infant should be equall’d with her, who would not be match’d even with her husband? Besides, if she should marry some potent man (such a matter being now on foot), her strength would be doubted, and her husband (as of necessity he must) be admitted into part of the government, perhaps he would not willingly suffer that his children should be prevented in the succession by a son-in law; and then in what a case would the child be? What if his friends (as all men are inconstant) should prefer a present largess before their future hope, and so side with the strongest? What can attend the child, being now thrust down into the second, and anon into the third place, but utter ruin?
45. As for other things, they had rather leave them to her private thoughts to meditate upon than to make a previous conjecture, what an angry woman, having power in her hands, prompted by the imperious counsels of her uncles, having evidenc’d her cruelty towards her husband, being also exasperated by her banishment, would attempt against a child, especially when stript of all aid of Nature and Providence and exposed as a sacrifice to her rage? And what life would his friends live, by whom she thought she was so grievously wrong’d? Besides, what would the state of religion be when she could vent that rage which in former times her fear had concealed, especially if an husband of known arrogance should further excite her innate cruelty? How easily might his friends be destroyed, when the young King was slain; or else how soon might the King be subverted when he had lost his friends? For these reasons the Queen could not be assumed into a part of the government without evident destruction to the King’s affairs. Matters standing thus, there was no need to speak any thing to the first head of her demands. Robert Petcarn was sent to carry this answer into England, a man of no less prudence than loyalty. And he came to that Court in the very nick of time when the conspiracy to kill the Queen and to seize on both kingdoms was discovered and made known. The plot was so strongly laid that the Queen of England began to be afraid of her self, and after she had imprisoned Howard in the Tower of London she durst not proceed to punish the Queen of Scots, but was consulting to send her by sea to the Regent of Scotland. But when the storm was a little over, that design did not hold. In the mean time, the Regent, in regard the power of the adverse faction did mightily increase, sends for William Maitland, who was a great incendiary to the conspiracy, from Perth to Sterlin. He, being conscious of his guilt, though he had experienc’d the Regent’s lenity [lenience] to all his friends even in the greatest offences, yet made no great haste to come, till, having before sifted out by his friends if any design were form’d against him, he dealt also with the Earl of Athol to go with him, that, if need were, he might use him as his intercessor.
46. As he was sitting in Council at Sterlin, Thomas Crawford, a dependent of the Earl of Lennox’s, accused him of having an hand in the King’s murder. Whereupon he was commanded to be kept close prisoner in a chamber of the Castle, whilst others were sent to apprehend James Balfure, who was absent. The wiser sort would have had them both proceeded against according to law as having been the authors of all the tumults that had happened for some years, and, as they were privy to the murder of the last King, so they were leaders of the faction against her son. But the lenity of the Regent overcame all consideration of publick good, so that it prov’d calamitous to his country, and fatal to himself. Balfure, by his friends mediation, obtained pardon for his conspiracy, though lately entred into, and Maitland was brought to Edinburgh into a lodging not far from the Castle. Some horsemen were appointed to guard him, under the command of Alexander Hume, a young and active Nobleman. But William Kircade, Governor of the Castle, about ten a clock at night brought counterfeit letters to Alexander (as if they had been the hand-writing of the Earl of Murray), which commanded him to deliver Maitland into his custody. He, knowing in how great favour Kircade was with Murray, readily obeyed, and thus Maitland was carried into the Castle by the Governor, who even till then had privily been one of the enemies party, the Nobility much storming at it and almost doubting whether they should impute so great an offence to Kircade or to the Regent himself, as one not ignorant of his audacity. and the matter had come to a sedition if the sanctity of his whole life had not outballanc’d all imputations of reproach. ’Tis true Kircade was a valiant man, and accounted, till that time, a faithful observer of friendship, and as he had received many other courtesies from the Regent, so he had been lately preferr’d by him to the Government of the Castle before his other friends and kindred, though the prudenter sort did even then suspect him.
47. But such was the indulgence of the Regent towards whose whom he once lov’d that he could not be severe to them, though catch’d in the very act of offending. Kircade the next day was sent for by the Regent, but refused to come, and ’twas an unlucky opportunity, for then Howard and the Queen were daily expected, and thereupon the spirits of the adverse faction incouraged. Ugly reports were commonly spread abroad that the Regent was forsaken by his intimate friends in such a doubtful time, and so, the Castle being held against him, he was left to his enemies will, others being likely to follow so leading an example very shortly. When their Governor was taken away, the innocent King and his favourers would be delivered up to those punishments which the cruelest tyrants could devise. Yet the Regent was not moved by their speeches, but the next day went to the Castle and spoke to the Governor with an unchang’d countenance, as if he had been reconcil´d to him, and so returned to the expedition he had undertaken against the robbers. In his passage through Merch he turned aside, as he was wont familiarly to do, to Alexander Hume, the chief of that clanship. There also (Hume himself being covetous and having been drawn off by great promises to the contrary faction) he found no benevolous reception from Hume’s wife, but she, being an arrogant woman, did even mock at him to his face, so that he departed to Teviotdale. Coming thither with a small retinue and little more than his ordinary guard, the thieves, admiring his valour and constancy in that solitude of his friends, having received the publick faith for their return, came in such numbers to him that their multitude equalled, yea, sometimes exceeded, those of attendants. Yet he remitted nothing of his former greatness of mind, but answered them as became the dignity of the publick and his own too. And without doubt he had quieted them without force unless some of the neighbour-Nobility, affected to Howard and now ready to take arms, had impeded his design. His friends came in to him at the time appointed, and then he march’d into the territory of the thieves, though some of the neighbourhood indeavoured to dissuade him by telling him of the difficulty and danger of the expedition. He past with his army through Liddisdale, Ewsdale, and Eskdale, and received hostages not only from them but from those beyond them. Only some who by reason of the greatness of their offences despair’d of pardon were outlawed by him.
48. This expedition procur’d him not only the favour of the people for setling them in security, but raised their admiration also that a man, forsaken by his intimate friends and extreamly unprovided of necessaries, should accomplish that in a few days which the most potent of our Kings in full peace and with great forces could hardly effect in a long time. Whilst these things were acting, he was made acquainted that the English conspiracy was detected, Howard committed to prison, and the Scots Queen more strictly guarded than before, and that Robert Petcarn had performed his embassy with good success and was returned. He inform’d him that his proceedings were very acceptable to the Queen of England: that he had quieted the Borders, that he had imprisoned the Earl of Northumberland, one of the conspirators who was fled into Scotland, that he was pursuing all the rest as enemies, that he had sent to the Governor of Berwick to offer him assistance freely on all occasions. These courtesies she promised to remember, and that she would not be wanting to him in his dangers, but all the force of England should be at his service, if need were. All the time of this expedition, the Regent had daily information brought him by his faithful friends of a great conspiracy against him entred into at home. And in all the letters the Governor of the Castle was still accused. Whereupon, the Regent’s old courtesies and ancient acquaintance not being quite cancell’d out of his memory, he wrote to him plainly and sent him a copy of all his accusations. He answered so coldly to the crimes objected that he became now more suspected than before. He denied that any man could shew his subscription to any pact relating to that conspiracy.
49. In the meantime, the day for Maitland’s trial drew near. For after he was carried to the Castle, to put a bold face on a bad matter he expressly desired to be brought to his trial. For he was fully persuaded that the power of the conspirators was so great in England and also in Scotland (in which he was one of the chief) that nothing could be orderly or lawfully determined. For in trials of life and death there use to be great flockings together of friends and vassals, according to the faction, favour, or nobility of the accus’d, as it happen’d also at that time. The chief of the faction averse to the King, viz., the Earls of Hamilton, Gordon, and Argyle, gather’d all their force against that day, hoping that, if the judgment were disturb’d by force (as ’twas easy so to do), that they might quietly end the conflict at one skirmish, as being superior in number of men, opportunity of the place, and also better provided for war. The Regent expected not a vying in force, but in law, and therefore had made no preparation on the other side. And so, being unwilling to put things to the utmost hazard before he needs must, and also lest the majesty of the government might be lessened by contending with his inferiors, he put off the day of trial, and so he, a day after, about January 1st, having sent the Earl of Northumberland to a prison in Lough-Levin, went to Sterlin. The adverse faction, thus again disappointed, and perceiving the authority and power of the Regent to increase, and that, besides his popularity at home, he was also supported by the English, being stirr’d up partly by emulation, partly by the large promises from the Queen of Scots, who by letters inform’d them that the French and Spanish aid would be presently with them, proceeded to accomplish that which they had long design’d, even the cuting off the Regent. As long as he was alive, they knew their projects could not take effect.
50. And therefore they sent messengers thro all countries to the chief of their faction, to enter into a league for that purpose. To this league the Hamiltons subscrib’d, and those who either themselves, or their children, were prisoners in the Castle of Edinburgh. The Governour himself was thought to be privy to it, and that which follow’d did increase the suspicion of him. James Hamilton, son of the Arch-Bishop of St. Andrew’s sister, promised his assistance and indeavour’d to find a fit time and place to commit the murder. It happen’d that at the same time some hopes were given to the Regent that Dunbarton would be surrendred upon condition. Thither he went, but return’d without his errand. Hamilton, being intent on all occasions, his ambushes not succeeding well first at Glasgow, then at Sterlin, appoints Linlithgo to be the place fittest to execute his purpose, because that town was in the clanship of the Hamiltons and the Archbishop his uncle had a house there, not far from the house where the Regent us’d to lodge. In that house, being appointed for the murder, he secretly hid himself. The Regent was made acquainted with the plot, both before and also that very day before it was light. The discoverer, for more surety, added that the murderer lay hid in 3 or 4 houses from his lodging; that, if he would send a small party with him, he would pluck him out of his hole, and so discover the whole design and order of the secret plot. Yet the Regent would not alter his former purpose. Only he design’d to go out of the town thro the same gate he enter’d in, and then turn about and proceed in his journy.
51. Nor did he keep to this resolution neither, either because he did undervalue such dangers, as believing his life to be in God’s hand, to Whom he was willing to render it when ’twas call’d for, or else because the multitude of horse waiting for him stopt up the way. When he was mounted on horseback, he thought to ride swiftly by the suspected places, and so to avoid the danger. But the multitude of the people crouding in hinder’d his design, so that the murderer, out of a wooden balcony which he had purposely cover’d with linen, as if ’twere for another design, shot him with a lead-bullet a little below the navil and it came out almost by his reins [kidneys] and also kill’d the horse of James Douglas which was beyond him. He himself escap’d by a back door or passage of the garden when he had pluck’d down on purpose, and so mounted a swift horse, set on purpose to carry him off after he had committed the fact by James Hamilton Abbat of Aber-Brothwick, and so he went to Hamilton with the great gratulation of those who waited to hear the event of his audacious enterprize. When they heard he had effected it, they commended him highly and rewarded him as if now the kingship had been actually translated into their own family. In the mean time at Linlithgo, the rest were startled at the suddenness of the crack, and the Regent told them he was wounded, and, as if he had not felt it, he leap’d from his horse and went on foot to his lodging. They which were sent for to cure the would at first said ’twas not mortal, but, his pain increasing, tho his mind was not disturb’d, he began seriously to think of death. Those which were about him often told him that this was the fruit of his own lenity in sparing too many notorious offenders, and, amongst the rest, his own murderer, who had been condemn’d for treason. Whereto he return’d a mild answer, according to his custom, saying “Your importunity shall never make me to repent of my clemency.”
52. Then, having settled his houshold-affairs, he commended the King to the Nobles there present and, without speaking a reproachful word of any man, he departed this life before midnight, about January 23 in the year of our salvation 1571. His death was lamented by all good men, especially by the Commons, who lov’d him alive, and lamented him dead, as the publick father of his country. For, besides his many other noble atchievements, they call’d to mind that not a year before he had so quieted all the troublesome parts of the kingdom that a man was as safe on the road or at his inn as in his own house. And, envy dying with him, they who were disaffected to him when alive did really praise him when dead. They admir’d his valour in war, which yet was always accompanied with a great desire for peace; his celerity in business as always so successful that an especial Providence of God seem’d to shine on all his actions; besides, his clemency was great in moderately punishing, and his equity as great in his legal decisions. When he had any spare time from war he would sit all day long in the Colleg of Judges, so that his presence struck such a reverence into them that the poor were not opprest by false accusations, neither were they tir’d out by long attendances, in regard their causes were not put off to gratify the rich. His house, like an holy temple, was free not only from flagitious deeds but even from wanton words. After dinner and supper he always caus’d a chapter out of the Holy Bible to be read. And tho he had still a learned man to interpret it, yet if there were any eminent scholars there (as there were oft many, and such were still well respected by him), he would ask their opinions, which he did not out of a vain ambition, but out of a desire to confirm himself to the rule thereof. He was, in a manner, too liberal. He gave to many, and often too, and his alacrity in giving commended the gift. To a great many who were modest in receiving he presented privately with his own hand. In a word, he was honest and plain-hearted to his friends and domesticks. For if any of them did amiss, he reprov’d them more sharply than he did strangers. By these his manners, deportment, and innocency of life he was dear and venerable, not only to his country-men, but even to foreigners, especially to the English, to whom, in all the vicissitudes of Providence in his life, his virtues were more known than to any other nation.
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