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The Reign of Queen Elizabeth. (Continued) page 10


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Eor this purpose Elizabeth dispatched Mr. Middlemore to Mary, and thence to the regent. To Mary she disclaimed all intention of detaining her as a prisoner; her object, she said, was merely to secure her from immediate pursuit of her enemies: but as to a personal interview, that was at present inadmissible, because Mary having chosen the Queen of England as her judge, it was necessary, to prevent any charge of partiality, not to receive either party before the trial, or indeed, as regarded her, till she had established her innocence.

"Judge! trial!" exclaimed Mary, in indignant amazement. "What did the Queen of England mean? She had appointed no one her judge, and could accept no trial, where she could have no peers. She had come freely to seek the protection of Elizabeth, and was as freely willing to accept her mediation. She had offered to explain all the circumstances of her case to her sister, the queen; but she could submit to no trial, being an independent sovereign like herself. As to Murray and the rest of the rebels, it seemed that Elizabeth proposed to hear them against their queen, who was not to be allowed to be present to hear and rebut their traitorous charges. Was that impartial? Was that due to a sovereign to listen to the charges of traitors against their prince? Yet, if they must needs be heard, let them come, but let her be there to answer them, and she suspected that they would not be very eager for the opportunity."

When Mary learned that a message was actually on its way to call Murray and his accomplices to England, to prefer their charges against her, she protested vehemently against such a proceeding, and declared that she would rather die than submit to such indignity. The conduct of Elizabeth was, indeed, a violation of all the rights of sovereign princes, and as unjust as it was mean. Murray received his summons with his usual artful coolness. He was required by Elizabeth to prefer his charges against the Queen of Scots, but in the meantime to refrain from all hostilities. He obeyed the requisition; placed his soldiers in quarters; but demanded to know what was to be the result of the inquiry. If the queen was declared innocent, what guarantee was he to receive for his own security? If guilty, what then? He said he had already sent copies of his proofs by his servant Wood; and if they were found to be faithful to the originals, would they be deemed conclusive?

Thus the cunning regent was seeking to ascertain whether he had already evidence deemed by the selected judge sufficiently damnatory, or whether he should fabricate more. Nothing can be conceived more unwarrantable than such a proceeding, and nothing ever was more serpentine than Elizabeth's dealings in reply. She assured Murray, and also Mary, that she did not set herself up as a judge of the Scottish queen, far less as an accuser; that her sole object was to settle all the disputes betwixt Mary and her subjects, and to reinstate her at once in their good opinion and in her full power; but in secret she assured Murray, as we learn from Goodall and Anderson, that, whatever were her assurances to Mary, she really meant to try her, and, if she could find her I guilty, to retain her in perpetual imprisonment.

Thus encouraged, Murray engaged to meet her Majesty's commissioners at York; and, indeed, it was high time for him to do something to sustain his position. His unpopularity was become extreme. His unnatural situation as the dethroner of his sister and benefactor, when he had declared that he would be her champion, and his severity in punishing those who had espoused her cause, offended the people's natural sense of right, and alarmed even his supporters. Murray of Tullibardine, who had so vigorously pursued Both well, now excited discontent by pointing out the discrepancy betwixt the regent's pretended zeal against the king's murderers and his real lukewarmness. He pointed to the infamous Sir James Balfour, who had openly confessed himself one of the murderers, and bargained for his security and reward, as now the confidential and right-hand man of the soi-disant virtuous Murray. Encouraged by the manifest discontent, Argyll, Huntley, and the Hamiltons were once more on foot; they met at Largs on the 28th of July, and determined to raise the borders to make incursions on England, and applied to the Duke of Alva for his aid. It was absolutely necessary, both for the security of Murray and his own borders, that the conference at York should come off as early as possible. Lord Herries was therefore sent post haste to Bolton Castle, to which Mary had been removed, where, in the presence of Scroope and Knollys, he delivered these distinct proposals from Elizabeth: - "That if the Queen of Scots would commit her cause to be heard by her high-ness's order, but not to make her highness judge over her, but rather, as to her dear cousin and friend, to commit herself to her advice and counsel, - that if she would thus do, her highness would surely set her again in her seat of regiment, and dignity regal, in this form and order: First, her highness would send for the noblemen of Scotland that be her adversaries, to ask account of them, before such noblemen as this queen herself should like of, to know their answer, why they have deposed their queen and sovereign from her regiment, and that if in their answers they do allege some reason for them in their so doing (which her highness thinks they cannot do), that her highness would set this queen in her seat regal, conditionally that those her lords and subjects should continue their honours, estates, and dignities to them appertaining. But if they should not be able to allege any reason of their doings, that then her highness would absolutely set her in her seat regal, and that by force of hostility if they should resist."

Nothing could be plainer than this proposition. In any case it was declared to be Elizabeth's resolve to restore Mary to her throne: nothing could be more hollow and false. By these fair pretences did Elizabeth and her icy calculator Cecil draw Mary to concede to the conference. As the conditions on which all this was to be done, Mary was to renounce all claim to the throne of England during the life of Elizabeth or her issue, to abandon mass and adopt the Common Prayer. Mary finally accepted the conditions, but she had speedy cause to repent of her acquiescence. At the request of Elizabeth, she sent to demand that Huntley and Argyll, now at the head of a strong force and hastening to crush Murray before he could summon Parliament to proclaim them traitors, should cease hostilities. They obeyed; but Murray, whom Elizabeth promised to keep in check, immediately took advantage to assemble Parliament and pass a bill for their attainder and forfeitures. Maitland, generally so deceitful, on this occasion stood forward boldly for the barons; but, notwithstanding, the Archbishop of St. Andrew's, Lord Claud Hamilton, the Bishop of Ross, and others, became the Victims of his vengeance. Murray followed up his advantage, marched out with a powerful force, overran Galloway and Annandale, and was only arrested by a peremptory order of Elizabeth to lay down his arms and appear at York, or she would liberate Mary and restore her at the head of an army, as an innocent person whom, he dared not to meet.

There was no possibility of farther delay; Murray, therefore, appointed his commissioners - the Earl of Morton, the Bishop of Orkney, Lord Lindsay, and the commendator of Dunfermline, who were to be assisted by Maitland, Buchanan, and Makgill. Elizabeth appointed, as hers, the Duke of Norfolk, the Earl of Sussex, and Sir Ralph Sadler. Maitland, at this juncture, whilst engaged on the part of Murray, sent Mary copies of the letters which Murray intended to present against her, and begged her to say what he could do to assist her. She replied, that he should use his influence to abate the rigour of Murray, influence the Duke of Norfolk as much as possible in her favour, and rely on the Bishop of Ross as her sincere friend. She then named, on her part, the said Bishop of Ross, the Lords Herries, Boyd, Livingstone, the abbot of Kilwinning, Sir John Gordon of Lochinvar, and Sir John Cockburn of Stirling.

The commissioners, Murray attending in person with his own, met at York, on the 4th of October. Some obstruction of business was occasioned by the Duke of Norfolk insisting that, as the regent had consented to plead before Elizabeth, he must first do homage to the English crown. This was refused, and was, therefore, waived. This step discovered the desire of Elizabeth to seize on this occasion to achieve what none of her ancestors could accomplish - the acknowledgment of the feudal vassalage of Scotland. The next betrayed the duplicity of her promises to the two parties. Mary's commissioners claimed that the engagement of Elizabeth to place Mary on the throne of Scotland in any case, should appear in their powers; and Murray's, on the contrary, pleaded the queen's promise that if Mary were pronounced guilty she should remain a prisoner. These contradictory powers were granted, and Mary's commissioners opened the conference with their charges that Murray and his associates had rebelliously risen in arms against their lawful sovereign, had deposed and imprisoned her, and compelled her to seek justice from her royal kinswoman.

Murray was now called upon to reply, but, instead of openly and boldly stating his reasons for the course he had pursued, and of producing and substantiating, as Elizabeth hoped and expected, the charges of her participating in her husband's murder, which he had so long and loudly vaunted, he solicited a private interview with the English commissioners, before whom he stated his defence. In this defence, to the unmitigated astonishment and disappointment of Elizabeth and her ministers, he made no charge against Mary of participation in the murder of Darnley; but reiterated the charges against her of marrying Bothwell, and the danger thereby incurred by the prince. Nor was this all: Mary's commissioners did not so far excuse him they accused him boldly of complicity with Bothwell and the murderers, and of being on the most friendly terms with Bothwell whilst the marriage with the queen was in progress. Murray, with all his art, was confounded and silenced.

It is said that the arguments and disclosures of the Duke of Norfolk had, at this moment, greatly staggered him. Norfolk had conceived the design of marrying the Queen of Scots; and, in order to deter Murray from pressing the worst charges, intimated to him privately that he was pursuing a dangerous course, for that Elizabeth, it was well known, never meant to decide against Mary. Murray was rendered sufficiently cautious to abstain from the public accusation of the queen; but he laid privately before Norfolk, Suffolk, and Sadler the alleged contents of the celebrated silver casket, consisting of love-letters and sonnets, addressed by Mary to Bothwell, and a contract of marriage in the handwriting of Huntley. Copies of these wero transmitted to Elisabeth.

Being now in possession of Murray's charges, Elizabeth determined to compel him to make them openly, her grand object being to establish an accusation of Mary sufficiently atrocious to warrant her detaining her a perpetual prisoner. For this reason she summoned the commission to Westminster, alleging that York was too distant for a quick transaction of business. When Murray appeared before Elizabeth, he found, to his dismay, that she was perfectly informed of his private interviews with Norfolk, and she insisted that he should make a public accusation of Mary, menacing him, in case of refusal, to transfer her interests to the Duke of Chatelherault, and to favour his claim to the regency. But Murray was not inclined to make this accusation, unless assured that Elizabeth would pronounce sentence on Mary, which Norfolk had led him very much to doubt. Mary, on the other hand, received information from Hepburn of Riccarton, a confederate of Both well's, that Elizabeth was of all things really anxious to compel Murray to this accusation. To prevent this, she ordered her commissioners, if any such attempt was made at accusing her, to demand her immediate admission to the presence of Elizabeth, and, if that were refused, to break up the conference.

These conferences were opened in the painted chamber at Westminster, the commissioners of Mary refusing to meet in any judicial court; and, acting on the instruction of their queen, they at once demanded the admission of Mary to Elizabeth's presence, on the reasonable plea that that privilege had been granted to Murray. This was again declined, on the old ground that Mary must first clear herself; and on the retirement of the commissioners it was demanded of Murray to put in his accusation in writing, Bacon, the lord-keeper, assuring him that, if Mary were found guilty, she should be either delivered to him, or kept safe in England. To this Murray replied, that he had prepared his written accusation, but that before he would give it in he must have an assurance, under the hand of Elizabeth, that she would pronounce judgment. On this Cecil said, "Where is your accusation?" and Murray's secretary, Wood, taking it imprudently from his bosom, replied, "Here it is, and here it must remain till we have the queen's written assurance." But whilst he spoke the paper was snatched from his hand by Bothwell, Bishop of Orkney, who rushed over the table, pursued by Wood, and handed it to the English commissioners. It was received amid roars of laughter, and Cecil, who had now gained his great object, became radiant with exultation. The confusion of the scene was extraordinary; Lord William Howard, a blunt sea-officer, shouting aloud in his glee, and Maitland whispering to Murray that he had ruined his cause for ever.

But as there was now no going back, the paper was read, and found to contain the broadest and most direct charge against Mary, not only for being an accomplice in the murder of her husband, but even of inciting Bothwell to it, and then marrying the murderer. This was totally different to Murray's former declaration to the English ministers; but it was now backed by a similar one from Lord Lennox, demanding vengeance for the death of his son. No' sooner did the commissioners of the Queen of &cots hear this than they most indignantly condemned the conduct of the English commissioners, declared themselves prepared to prove that Murray and his friends themselves were the actual authors, and some of them the perpetrators of the murder. They demanded instant admittance to the presence of Elizabeth; complained loudly of the breach of the contract that nothing should be received in prejudice of their queen's honour, in her absence; demanded the instant arrest of the authors of the foul charge, and, on that being refused, broke off the conference.

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Pictures for The Reign of Queen Elizabeth. (Continued) page 10

Murder of Rizzio
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Holyrood House
Holyrood House >>>>
Lord Darnley
Lord Darnley >>>>
Queen Elizabeth and her Parliament
Queen Elizabeth and her Parliament >>>>
Surrender of Mary Queen of Scots at Carberry Hill
Surrender of Mary Queen of Scots at Carberry Hill >>>>
Mary Stuart
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Mary Queen of Scots in Imprisonment
Mary Queen of Scots in Imprisonment >>>>
Queen Mary protesting
Queen Mary protesting >>>>
Memento Mori Watch of Mary Queen of Scots
Memento Mori Watch of Mary Queen of Scots >>>>
Assassination of the Regent Murray
Assassination of the Regent Murray >>>>
Queen Elizabeths Kitchen
Queen Elizabeths Kitchen >>>>

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