Abbildungen der Seite

facile pen.

[ocr errors]

the old religion. All the secrets of the Catho- | life were treated with equal prolixity. If
lic malcontents and conspirators were con- the history of England is to be written
fided to them; and too often they were them- throughout at such length, may the Lord
selves the contrivers of treason. All their busy have mercy on our children, and send them
doings – everything they saw or heard, – readable abridgments!
their hopes, fears, and conjectures, were With these introductory remarks, we will
fully reported to Philip. Intriguers and now follow Mr. Froude through these in-
gossips as they were, there was no lack of teresting volumes, inviting special notice to
materials for their despatches; and De the more striking revelations of his new
Silva, the first ambassador with whom we witnesses, and touching, with friendly criti-
become acquainted in these volumes, was cism, upon such of his conclusions as we
an accomplished gentleman and a clever may not be prepared to accept.
letter-writer. He could report his conver- The eighth volume of this work concluded,
sations with Queen Elizabeth or Cecil with as our readers may remember, with the mur-
a dramatic spirit scarcely inferior to that of der of Darnley, in which crime no pains
our own distinguis'ied diplomatist, Sir Hamil. were spared to prove, with crushing force,
ton Seymour; and the curiosity of his royal the complicity of Mary Stuart. The narra-
master gave constant encouragement to his tive is here continued, and Scotland occu-

And now, after the lapse of pies the larger portion of the present volthree hundred years, all that was written umes. Her celebrated Queen is still the for the secret information of Philip is re- heroine of the tale, but every shred of rovealed to the present generation, and throws mance, with which her character has hithera flood of unexpected light upon a critical to been veiled, has been ruthlessly torn period in English history.

away. From various causes, no other Queen The Simancas papers, however, full and in history has occasioned so zealous and instructive as they are, form but a small long-continued a controversy as Mary Stupart of the manuscript evidence which Mr. art. She was beautiful, brave, and unfortuFroude has embraced in his researches. nate. She was the hope of one party, He has also ransacked the records in Lon the dread and abhorrence of another. She don, at Edinburgh, at Hatfield, and at Paris. was accused of crimes which her friends inWith so large a mass of new materials, his dignantly denied, and her enemies reiterhistory naturally assumes an original char- ated ; and her adventures, her sufferings,

Where the narrative differs little, if and her wrongs have been illustrated by hisat all, from that of other historians, the au- tory, poetry, and romance. Some writers thorities are not the same; and as he pre- have boldly undertaken to vindicate her fers his own recent discoveries to more fa- reputation from all stain, while others have miliar documents, and cites them at great chosen to dwell upon her attractions and length, his work possesses at once the accomplishments as a woman, and her cruel charms and the blemishes of contemporary misfortunes as a Queen, rather than upon memoirs. The reign of Elizabeth is so hack- the dark and evil mysteries of her life. neyed a theme in English and foreign lite- Her ablest champions were Chalmers, Whitrature, that it is refreshing to read the aker, and the elder Tytler, to whom we oft-told tale' in the very language of must add the late Professor Aytoun, who, the actors themselves. But if too much in his spirited poem of Bothwell,' was able prominence be given to such authorities, the to shield his heroine with fair poetic license. higher philosophy of history is in danger of A modern French author, M. Wiesener, bas being lost in a multiplicity of secondary recently produced an elaborate volume in events; while the historian, whose guidance her defence; and Prince Labanoff was moved we seek in a concise and comprehensive by the same sentimental interest to publish narrative, is found to rival the memoir- a valuable collection of all the letters known writer in fulness of detail, and consequently to exist from her pen. But our greatest hisin voluminousness. Into this latter fault, at corians, Robertson, Hume, Laing, Hallam, least, we fear that Mr. Froude is liable to be and Sharon Turner, have been persuaded beguiled. The two volumes just issued em- of her guilt; and even the Catholic Linbrace no more than six years and a half of pard, though inclining to her side, has scarcethe reign of Queen Elizabeth, beginning in ly ventured to acquit her. Among contemFebruary 1567, and ending in August 1573. porary writers, the learned and judicious As this reign continued for thirty years historian of Scotland, Mr. Fraser Tytler, after the last of these dates, we might look for reluctantly declines her defence,* and the ward to not less, perhaps, thap ten more vol

* See Hist. of Scot., vol. vii. pp. 109, 121, 122, umes, if the remaining years of the Queen's | 140, 208, &o.


[ocr errors][ocr errors]

eminent French historian, M. Mignet, with sleeping in the house which was destroyed.'' the aid of the most recent authorities, in- Yet the intended assassination, of which cluding the Simancas papers,* gives sober she had no suspicion herself, was knowu and dispassionate judgment against her several days before both in London and in memory. +

Paris. This coincidence, however, must The case was but too clear before Mr. not be pressed too far. No one doubts that Froude approached it; but, if he has added the murder had been deliberately planned few direct proofs to those already accumu- by. Bothwell and his confederates; but, lated, he has tound confirmation of them in the unless the Queen had been an accomplice, adverse opinions of contemporary observers. she was the very person from whom the All this evidence, direct and indirect, he plot would have been most carefully conuses not with the calm temper of a judge, cealed.* but with the fierceness of a bitter advocate. But the most damning evidence to her Her guilt is the great argument of this prejudice was her scandalous intimacy with history. If Mary was guilty of the murder the murderer Bothwell, and her determinaof her husband, he maintains that Elizabeth tion to protect him from justice. This part and her ministers were justified in their of her conduct has already been condemned treatment of her; if she was innocent, they by all candid writers; but Mr. Froude places must stand condemned. Hence his merci- before us more distinctly the state of public less severity against Mary, whom he brands opinion in Scotland and elsewhere, upon througbout these volumes with opprobrious these events : names, which he is never weary of reiterating. The issue raised by him is not, bow- Midnight cries,' he says, 'were heard in the ever, to be so accepted until he is able to wynds and alleys of Edinburgh, crying for venshow that the Queen of England and her geance upon the Queen and Bothwell. Each ministers were entitled to judge an inde- day, as it broke, showed the walls pasted with pendent Queen, or that their treatment of bills,” in which their names were linked toMary was founded upon their convictions of bold as they were, they were startled at the pas.

gether in an infamous anion of crime; and her guilt. She may have been guilty, as sionate instinct with which their double guilt had we believe her to have been ; but we are been divined.' (Vol. iii. p. 8.) not, on that account, prepared to defend the conduct of Elizabeth.

The nobles were too familiar with deeds The whole of Mary's conduct after the of blood to be much moved by the recent murder of Darnley tended to confirm sus- murder, and many were accomplices in the picions as to her own participation in that crime ; but the people, already touched by monstrous crime. On the following morn-the moral influence of the Reformation, ing, Paris, Bothwell's French page and one cried furiously for justice.

Their feeling of the gang of assassins

against the Queen was shared by higher went to the apartments of the Queen, where personages. Her ambassador at Paris wrote Bothwell followed him directly after. Mary

to her, "Yea, she herself was greatly and Stuart had slept soundly, but was by this time wrongously calampit to be motive principal stirring. The windows were still closed. The of the whole, and all done by her order.' room was already hung with black, and lighted “He could but say that, rather than that with candles. She herself was breakfasting in vengeance were not taken, it were better bed, eating composedly, as Paris observed, a in this world had she lost life and all.' The newlaid egg. She did not notice or speak to Spanish ambassador at the Scottish court him, for Bothwell came close behind, and talked a Catholic, and a friend of the Queen in a low voice with her behind the curtain.'

suspected her guilt; and Queen Elizabeth, (Reign of Elizabeth, vol. iii. p. 5.) She declared that whoever had taken the guilt of the murder, Sır. Froude sometimes even

* In his extreme eagerness to fix upon Mary the enterprise in hand, it had been aimed as contradicts himself. Thus he stated in chap. x. well at herself as at the King, since the vol ll. p. 361); that, Morton require the Queen's providence of God only prevented her from spiracy for the murder of Darnley. Bothwell prom. while willing to believe her innocent, ad- | duction of the Queen was planned. Her dressed her in these remarkable words : advocates have naturally endeavoured to lay

ised that he would produce it, but

In chap. (xiii vol. iii. p. 28), he says, Morton was * The list of these authorities, as given in his pre invited to join, and had only suspended his consent face, is sufficiently loog, but is by no means exhaus. till assured under the Queen's hand of her approval. tive. M. Mignet has not, we believe, visited Simancas There were other writings also, which were afterhimself, as Mr. Froude has done; and he therefore wards destroyed.' The fact is, that no such writing only quotes those documents of which copies had was ever known to exist at all. So, too, there is no been made for the French Government.

evidence for the assumption that Darnley's illness | Histoire de Marie Stuart, vol. 1. p. 261, 263, 281, previous to the murder was caused by poison, yet and App. G., vol. Il. p. 51, &o.

Mr. Froude believes it.

never came,'

all the blame of this outrage upon BothI cannot but tell you what all the world is well; but her own letters betray her. In thinking. Men say that instead of seizing the them she concerted with her lover the whole murderers, you are looking through your fingers scheme of their elopement; and whatever while they escape ; that you will not punish there appears ambiguous was arranged bethose who have done you so great a service, as tween them by their emissary the Earl of thou the thing would never have taken place. Huntly, Bothwell's brother-in-law.

She had not the doers of it been assured of impuni- enjoined him to make himself sure of the ty. ... I exhort, I advise, I implore you deeply to consider of the matter - at once, if it be lords, and free to marry.' She acquainted the nearest friend you have, to lay your hands him that Huntly had great misgivings, .beupon the man who has been guilty of the crime cause there are many here, and among them

to let no interest, no persuasion, keep you the Earl of Sutherland, who would rather from proving to everyone that you are a noble die than suffer me to be carried away, they princess and a loyal wife.' (Vol. iii. p. 23.) conducting me.' She therefore charged him

to be the more circumspect and to have Even Catherine de Medicis and the King the more power. We had yesterday more of France told her, that if she did not than 300' horse. . . . For the honour of exert herself to discover and punish the as- God, be accompanied rather of more than sassin she would cover herself with infamy.' less, for that is the principal of my care.'

But Mary Stuart turned a deaf ear to Huntly tried to dissuade her from the er these righteous counsels : she was passion- terprise; but she told him that, if Bothwell ately in love with Bothwell, and, far from did not withdraw from it, ' no persuasion, avenging the death of Darnley, she was nor death itself, should make her fail of her preparing to marry his assassin. He was promise.'* Again, in her conduct at the already married, indeed, but this slight ob- time of the abduction her collusion was stacle was to be removed by a divorce, transparent.

• She said she would have no sought on the ground of his own adultery. blood shed; her people were outnumbered, Bothwell was, at length, called to take part and, rather than any of them should lose in a mock trial; but, instead of being placed their lives, she would go wherever the Earl in custody, he rode gallantly from Holyrood of Bothwell wished.” She went quietly on the murdered Darnley's horse, and was away with him, and, the day after the incheered by the smiles of Mary Stuart, who iquitous divorce had been obtained, she annodded a farewell from her window. By nounced her approaching marriage by protrickery and force, it had been contrived clamation. In another week they were that no prosecutor should be forthcoming; married ; and, to gain favour with the Proand he was pronounced not guilty. testants, the ceremony was performed ac

Meanwhile, the intended marriage was cording to the Calvinist service. whispered about among the people, and The sequel of these infamous nuptials is everywhere denounced as monstrous and well known. The lords revolted; Bothwell unholy. But there was no hesitation either fled; and the Queen being imprisoned in in Mary or Bothwell. A packed Parliament Lochleven Castle, was forced to abdicate in confirmed the purgation of the latter; favour of her infant son ; while the Earl of and, in order to conciliate the Protestants, Murray, her half-brother, was appointed rethe Queen now formally recognised the Re- gent. Then followed Mary's romantic esformation. It was not the first t me that a cape from Lochleven; the defeat of her divorce, sought for the sake of another mar- army at Langside ; and her fatal flight riage, had favoured the Protestant religion. across the Solway into England. Mr. The next thing to be done was to secure the Froude's narrative of these events differs support of the nobles; and Bothwell, having so little from other histories, that we need invited the primate and four bishops, and not dwell upon them. But he brings out several noblemen - including the Earls of into stronger relief the popular abhorrence Argyll, Huntly, Sutherland, and Eglinton to supper, surprised them over their wine * Hist. of Eliz., vol. iii. pp. 59-63, 117 et seq.

These letters are from the celebrated silver casket, into siguing a bond, by which they engaged the authenticity of which Mr. Froude fully believes. to resist all slanders against their host, and Mr. Fraser Tytler does not place so much reliance

upon them, the originals having long since disapto promote his marriage with the Queen.

peared, and the copies being garbled. (Hist. of But so scandalous a marriage could not Scotland, vol. vii. p. 257.), M. Mignet, however, in be contracted without embarrassments; and, that they are genuine,

which his opponent, M. Wiesto avoid all further obstacles, a forcible ab

ener, bas vainly attempted to rebut.

[ocr errors][merged small]


of Mary Stuart's conduct, as well as the other royal ladies of her time unstained. resources, the courage, and the energy of The sinister rumours concerning the death her character. While she was in captivity. of Leicester's wife, to make way for bis marSir James Balfour placed in the hands of riage with Elizabeth, and her devoted inthe confederate lords a silver casket which timacy with the man on whom so foul a sus the Queen had given to Bothwell, and which picion rested, cannot be forgotten. Nor contained her own letters to himself, some can we fail to recall the infamous and bloodlove sonnets, and the documents which af- stained memory of Catherine de Medicis, forded proofs that in the murder of Darnley and the Massacre of St. Bartholomew. In he had been acting with the sanction of the Italy murders were a part of the state policy Queen and half her council. Morton, of the Borgias and Medicis, and even of Huntly, Lethington, Argyll, and others had Popes. The history of Europe, at this pebeen in the plot ; and as these disclosures riod, abounds in assassinations, judicial muraffected them no less than Mary Stuart, the ders, cruel imprisonments, and other hateful contents of the casket were tampered with; deeds of violence and fraud. We condemn but everything prejudicial to the Queen was them and their guilty authors, while we debrought forward against her, a circum- plore the low moral standard of the

age stance which cannot but throw some dis- which they are the reproach. But is it concredit upon such evidence.

sistent with the calm equity of history to The Presbyterians already detested her brand Mary Stuart, above all others, as a as a Papist, and were shocked by her murderess, and to justify every wrong comcrimes; their ministers denounced her from mitted against her by her enemies Mr. their pulpits with fiery wrath. John Knox, Froude could find justification or excuses Craig, and other popular preachers de- for the selfish cruelties and lust of Henry manded that she should be put to death, for VIII. : he cannot spare one word of pity which righteous judgment they found ample for a beautiful and gifted woman, whose warrant in Scripture. It would seem that sins were visited with bitter retribution Mr. Froude is of the same opinion. , Un- God forbid that history should ever condone happily,' he says, the hands which would crimes; but surely a gentler temper towards have executed this high act of justice were Mary Stuart would have been at least as themselves impure ;'** and again he blames impartial in the historian ; while a more Elizabeth for not remaining neutral in the generous and manly treatment of a woman's contest, when she would have been deliv- sufferings would have found a readier reered for ever from the rival who had trou- sponse in the heart of his readers. bled her peace from the hour of her acces- With so strong a bias against the characsion, and while she lived would never cease ter of Mary, Mr. Froude is not likely to be to trouble her.'t He feels no pity for the tempted into a romantic treatment of her Queen in her worst misfortunes. In his personal adventures; but he is unable to eyes, as well as in those of her enemies, she ignore those spirited and graceful qualities was "a trapped wild cat,' who might be which have won for her so general an inslain without compunction. We cannot terest. Let us visit ber at Lochleven :bring ourselves to believe that the spirit in which he treats this erring and unbappy

"The curtain rises for a moment over the inQueen will command the sympathy of his terior of Mary Stuart's prison-house. When readers, or even their sense of rigorous jus- the first rage had passed away, she had used

the tice. In a lawless age, in a half-civilized

arms of which nothing could deprive her ; country, and surrounded by savage and singular fascination which none who came in

she had flung over her gaolers the spell of that treacherous nobles, who were guilty of every contact failed entirely to feel. She had charmed crime, she alone is singled out for vengeance. even the Lady of Lochleven, to whose gentle Who in that age was blameless ? Darnley qualities románce has been unjust; and “by had murdered David Rizzio under Mary one means or another she had won the favour Stuart's eyes, with revolting outrage and and good will of the most part of the house, as dishonour to herself. The first nobles of well men as women, whereby she had means to the realm had been concerned in the mur- havo intelligence, and was in some towardness der of Darnley. The two first regents who to have escaped."'* governed the realm in the name of her son Her escape was at length effected; and were assassinated by the contrivance of their here we have a picture of her spirit and enemies, and the third was suspected to have been poisoned. Nor were the characters of energy: * Hist. of Eliz., vol. ill. p. 126.

* Hist. of Eliz., vol. ilt. p. 157; Throgmorton to | Ibid., p. 130.

Elizabeth, MSS. Scotland.

Off shot the troop - off and away into the Mary Stuart in the darkest colours, so he darkness. Eleven months had passed since endeavours to portray the Queen of EngMary Stuart had been in the saddle, but confine- land in the most favourable light. Whatment had not relaxed the sinews which no fa- ever her conduct, the best construction is tigue could tire. Neither strength nor spirit failed her now.

Straight through the night put upon her motives. Thus, her treatment they galloped on, and drew bridle first at of Mary is represented as kind and sisterly Queen's Ferry. Claud Hamilton, with fresh generous and merciful. That she offered horses, was on the other side of the Forth, and her good advice we have already seen ; and they sprang to their saddles again. A halt was when Mary was imprisoned and deposed by allowed them at Lord Seton's house at Long her own subjects, Elizabeth espoused her Niddry, but the Queen required no rest. While cause as one common to all princes : she the men were stretching their aching legs, Mary could not tolerate rebellion against a Stuart was writing letters at her table. She

crowned head. • The bead cannot be subwrote a despatch to the Cardinal of Lorraine, and sont a messenger off with it to Paris. She ject to the foot,” she said, and we cannot sent Ricarton to collect a party of the Hepburns recognise in them (the lords) any right to and recover Dunbar, bidding him, afier the call their sovereign to account. Her feelcastle was secured, go on to Bothwell, and ings are thus described by Mr. Froude : tell him that she was free. Two hours were spent in this way, and then to horse again.

• Elizabeth's behaviour at this crisis was more Soon after sunrise she was Hamilton among creditable to her heart than to her understandher friends. (Vol. iii. p. 213.)

ing. . . . She forgot her interest; and her af

fection and her artifices vanished in resentShe was soon at the head of an army; ment and pity. Her indignation as a sovereign but it was routed at Langside, and she was was even less than her sorrow for a suffering again a fugitive:

sister. She did not hide from herself the Queen

of Scots' faults, but she did not believe in the •The country had risen, and all the roads extent of them; they seemed as nothing beside were beset. Peasants, as she struggled along

the magnitude of her calamities, and she was the bye-lanes, cut at her with their reaping prepared to encounter the worst political consehooks. The highway was occupied by Murray quences rather than stand by and see her sacrihorse. Harassed - for once terrified - for she

ficed.' (Vol. iii. p. 131.) knew what would be her fate if she fell again into the hands of the Confederates — she turned She threatened the confederate lords with south, and with six followers, those who had her vengeance if they proceeded to extremibeen with her on the hill

, and Livingston, ties against their queen; and when Mary's George Donglas, and the foundling page, who execution was discussed amongst them, had contrived to rejoin her, she made for Gallo- • each post from England brought fiercer way. There, in the country of Lord Herries, threats from Elizabeth, which all the warnshe would be safe for a week or two at least, ings of her council could not prevent her the sea would be open to her if she wished to leave Scoland. By cross-paths, by woods and from sending. It might have been almost moors, she went, as if death was behind her - supposed that, with refined ingenuity, she ninety-two miles without alighting from her was choosing the means most likely to horse. Many a wild gallop she had had already bring about the catastrophe which she most for her life. She had ridden by moonlight from affected to dread.' * The lords naturally Holyrood to Dunbar, after the murder of Riz- resented her interference, and sternly went zio; she had gone in a night from Lochleven their own way. Whatever her motives, to Hamilton; but this, fated to be her last ad: friendship in such a shape was not a little venture of this kind, was the most desperate of dangerous to its object, and Cecil did not all. Then she haul clear hope before her; now there was nothing but darkness and uncertainty. scruple to tell her that the malice of the At night she slept on the bare ground; for food world would say that she had used severity she had oatmeal and buttermilk. On the third to the lords to urge them to rid away day after the battle, she reached Dundrennan the Queen.' + When Mary was deposed, Abbey on the Solway.' (Vol. iii. p. 228.) Elizabeth threatened to restore her to her

throne by force, and intrigued with her Is it surprising that so high a spirit and friends in Scotland against the Regent:such adventures should have raised Mary Stuart, despite her crimes, into a heroine of So,' says Mr. Froude, 'were sown the seeds romance ?

of those miserable feuds which for five years We must now leave her, for awhile, in her harassed the hearths and homes of Scotland misfortunes, and turn to the great Queen which made for ever impossible that more tem. who was to become the arbiter of her destinies. As Mr. Froude delights to paint

• Hist. of Eliz., vol. ii. p.137.
| Ibid., p. 151.

« ZurückWeiter »