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The Reign of Queen Elizabeth. (Continued) page 8


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No sooner was Murray installed in the chief seat of power than he began to assume a very different tone from that which he had hitherto employed. To Throckmorton, the ambassador of Elizabeth, he, and his chief secretary, Maitland, spoke very largely. "Mr. Ambassador," said Maitland, in an interview sought by Murray soon after his election, and in which Throckmorton delivered the remonstrance of his mistress against their late proceedings, and her demand of liberty for the queen, "be assured nothing will be more prejudicial to her interests than for your mistress to precipitate matters. It may drive us to a strait, and compel us to measures we would gladly avoid. Hitherto have we been content to be charged with grievous and infamous titles; we have quietly suffered ourselves to be condemned as perjured rebels and unnatural traitors, rather than proceed to anything which might touch our sovereign's honour. But beware, we beseech you, that your mistress, by her continual threats and defamations, by hostility, or by soliciting other princes to attack us, do not push us beyond endurance.

"For your wars," he continued, "we know them well. You will burn our borders, and we shall burn yours; if you invade us, we do not dread it, and are sure of France; for your practices to nourish dissension amongst us, we have an eye upon them all. The Hamiltons will take your money, laugh you to scorn, and side with us. At this moment we have an offer of an agreement with them in our hands. The queen, your mistress, declares she wishes only for our sovereign's liberty, and her restoration to her dignity; but is equally zealous for the preservation of the king, the punishment of the murder, and the safety of the lords. To accomplish our queen's liberty much has been done; for the rest, absolutely nothing. Why does not her majesty fit out some ships of war to apprehend Bothwell, and pay 1,000 soldiers to reduce the forts and protect the king? When this is in hand we shall think her sincere; but for her charge to set our sovereign forthwith at liberty, and to restore her to her dignity, it is enough to reply to such strange language, that we are the subjects of another prince, and know not the queen's majesty for our sovereign."

Throckmorton, after listening to this new language, turned to Murray, and said that he trusted that such sentiments did not meet his approval; that he was not "banded" with these lords, nor had joined in their excesses. But Murray very soon undeceived him, by indorsing all that had been said, and declaring that, being made regent, lie would reduce all men to obedience in the king's name, or that it should cost him his life.

Throckmorton at once informed Elizabeth that his stay there was now useless, and obtained his recall. On taking his leave he requested an interview with Mary, which, as he expected, was refused; but a piece of plate was pressed on his acceptance in the name of the king, which he declined with very decided expressions, and quitted the capital for England on the 29th of August.

Murray now endeavoured to strengthen himself in his government with much vigour. Bothwell was still at large, capable any day of exposing the Council's participation in Darnley's murder; there were the actual perpetrators also at liberty, and in danger of divulging too much; there were castles and forts in the hands of the queen's party. In the first place he dispatched Grange and Tullibardine with three armed vessels in quest of Bothwell. This desperado had been suffered quietly to retire to his castle of Dunbar. Thence he passed by water into Morayshire, where he remained some time, consulting with the friends of Mary on the possibility of rescuing her, and next sought shelter in the Orkneys, where his nominal subjects refused to receive him. On this he took to the sea with a band of pirates, and vowed to scour the ocean with a blood-red flag. In this course he was overtaken by the ships of Grange and Tullibardine; and, in endeavouring to escape from them, was driven by a tempest on the coast of Norway. On being discovered, Frederick the king refused to see him, and sent him prisoner to the castle of Malmo, in Schonen. Thence, at different times, he addressed the king in vindication of his conduct, and made him an offer of the Orkneys and Shetland Islands, to be annexed to the Crown of Denmark and Norway, on condition that he should fit out an expedition for the liberation of the Queen of Scots. The offer was declined, and Bothwell lingered in prison till 1576, when he died. Both Murray and Lennox, during his short regency, claimed Bothwell of the King of Denmark, but; he refused to give him up; and on his death-bed he is said to have confessed that Murray, Morton, and himself perpetrated the murder of Darnley, but that Mary was perfectly innocent of it. Mary, whilst in captivity in England, endeavoured to get a copy of this confession, or testament as it is called: Elizabeth was said to have received a copy, but suppressed it, as it exculpated Mary; and another was said to have found its way to the Court of Scotland, and was afterwards published by Keith, but deserves no credit.

Murray next made a bargain with Sir James Balfour, who held the castle of Edinburgh, for its surrender. Balfour was the intimate friend of Bothwell, and one of the most notorious of the murderers of the king: but this did not prevent Murray from giving him both immunity and reward on condition of his yielding the castle. The villain bargained for a sum of 5,000 paid down, a full indemnity for his share in the murder, the priory of Pittenweem for himself, and an annuity to his son. Murray gave all these without hesitation, showing that, notwithstanding his declaration of his resolve to punish the murderers of the king, he cared only for his own advantage. In two days after obtaining the regency he was in possession of the castle.

But whilst he thus let the chief actors escape, he determined to be rid of the inferior ones. Captain Blackadder, we have seen, was already executed; he now arrested John Hay of Tollo, Durham, a page of the king, black John Spens, John Blackadder, and James Edmonson. But no sooner did he attempt to proceed with the trial of these men, than Hay began to open up such a scene of villany, and to implicate so many in high places, that the trials were postponed, and the parties kept close in prison.

Murray now proceeded to summon the castle of Dunbar, still held for Bothwell, to suppress some disturbance of the Hamiltons, and on the 15th of September announced to Cecil that the whole kingdom was quiet. On the loth of December he summoned a Parliament, which sanctioned the transfer of the Crown, and the appointment of the regency, declared the Protestant religion the religion of the State, but refused to restore to the clergy the property of the Church as had been promised. The imprisonment of the queen was confirmed, and a bill was passed exonerating all the lords who had risen to prosecute thy murder, and declaring that they should never be subject to any prosecution for what they had done. But it required much management to prevent the crimes of these nobles bringing them into trouble; and Murray was compelled to resort to such flagrant partiality in order to screen them, as soon brought him into great discredit.

It appeared that the jewels of Mary, her apparel, and other effects, had been deposited in the castle of Edinburgh. On its surrender to Murray by Sir James Balfour. he delivered the jewels and apparel to Murray; but the "bond" in which the murderers had bound themselves to that act, and which Bothwell had kept possession of, was seized by Maitland and committed to the flames, thus extinguishing this evidence of guilt, bearing the signatures of himself, Huntley, Argyll, and Balfour, according to the assertion of Ormiston, one of the accomplices, who had seen it. Along with the jewels, was said to be found the celebrated silver box, which was submitted by Morton to the Privy Council. In this bo*x, or casket, were certain letters of the queen to Bothwell, and love sonnets: but as Mary was never permitted to see them, or to have them tested by her friends, they may have been forgeries prepared by these murderers and usurpers, to justify themselves by criminating the queen, making her cognisant of the murder of her husband. Murray suffered these to be preserved and exposed, to the dishonour of his sister, whilst he allowed the bond of the assassins to be destroyed before his face. These facts, distinctly stated in the letters of Bedford, Randolph, and Drury, to Cecil, still in the State Paper Office, began to tell strongly on the public against Murray; and the proceedings against the ruffians who did the bloody work of these sanguinary lords, wofully confirmed it. We have seen how the disclosures of Hay of Tollo had startled Murray and his accomplices, and made them thrust him and his fellows back into their dungeons. Meantime, Grange and Tullibardine, though they had failed in the main object of their expedition, the seizure of Bothwell, had secured one of his ships containing Hepburn of Bolton, one of the accomplices; and his confession, taken in private, was of a like tenor with that of Hay. It was, therefore, deemed the only safe course, to prevent their disclosures becoming public to the certain conviction of the real instigators of the murder, to get them out of the world as fast as possible. They were, therefore, arraigned - that is, Hepburn, Hay, Dalgleish, and Powrie - convicted, and hanged in all haste on one day, the 3rd of January, 1583. Yet they did not entirely succeed in suppressing the truth. Hepburn, on the scaffold, boldly proclaimed that not only Bothwell, but Argyll, Huntley, and Maitland, had signed the bond for the king's death, 'Notwithstanding this, no inquiry took place, for these were the very man who maintained Murray in his place. The judicial confessions of this very man, however, as well as the rest, were garbled, and afterwards brought forward in England, in proof that they implicated no one but Bothwell and themselves. To conceive a complete idea of the iniquity by which these proceedings were accomplished, we must include the facts that Argyll, one of the authors of the murder, was Lord Justice-General, that the confessions were made before the Privy Council - and who were these Privy Councillors? The chief of them were Morton, Huntley, Argyll, Maitland, and Balfour, all parties to the murder; whilst Murray, the regent and ruler, was the man called and set up by this extraordinary junto of assassins.

To maintain his pre-eminence, it was necessary that Murray should bribe these coadjutors and supporters. To Maitland he gave the sheriff ship of Lothian; to Hume, that of Lauderdale; to Morton, the post of Lord High Admiral, forfeited by Bothwell; to Kirkaldy, the governorship of Edinburgh Castle; to Huntley and Argyll, his daughter and his sister-in-law in marriage. But he could not satisfy them, and they soon began to look coldly on each other; whilst less favoured men, or those who thought themselves so in comparison of their imagined merits, grew jealous and hostile. Herries and the Melvilles, the Hamiltons, and Atholl were all suspected of disaffection and resentment. Balfour, with all his great bargain, did not deem himself sufficiently paid or respected, and quitted the Court in disgust. As for Maitland, he was double-faced to every party from the beginning; and the people, perceiving, as their passions subsided, the real state of things, were the most ill-affected of all. Instead of the glory and power to which Murray imagined himself mounting, by baseness in himself, upon base materials, he found himself in the midst of a discordant chaos of hateful and incompatible natures. Whilst all seemed crumbling and shaking around him, an earthquake suddenly heaved beneath his feet.

The queen, seeing herself deserted and deceived by Murray, and destined by him to perpetual captivity, resolved to exert every faculty to effect her escape. Probably some rumours of the unsatisfactory condition of the Government, and the returning affection of the people, had penetrated the recesses of her prison-house. She assumed gradually an air of resignation, of cheerfulness. Instead of treating the Douglases with the, haughty distance of an injured captive, she opened to them the natural charms of her mind and conversation. No person, man or woman, could long remain insensible to her fascinations. George Douglas, a younger brother of the house of Lochleven, became deeply in love with her; and the proud mother relaxed her severity, and in the brilliant prospect of a marriage of this young and gallant son with the Queen of Scotland, forgot the interests of her son the regent, who left her to occupy, distant from Court, the odious office of a turnkey. George Douglas entered into the plot to effect the queen's escape, with all the ardour of youth and passion. He had planned to convey her to shore disguised as a laundry-woman, but on the passage she was detected by the remarkable whiteness and delicacy of her hands, and was carried back, whilst Douglas was expelled from the castle.

The most rigid surveillance was now maintained over Mary; but, with her indefatigable lover on shore, she never despaired. He was more useful there than in the castle, for he was flying about rousing the Hamiltons and the Seatons to muster their forces, and to be ready at some favourable moment to receive and defend her. Within the castle he had a very ingenious coadjutor in a relative, William Douglas, a boy of fifteen or sixteen, called the Little Douglas. The Little Douglas acted as page to the castellan; and on Sunday, the 2nd of May$ 1568, he contrived, while waiting at supper, to drop a napkin over the key of the castle, which lay at the castellan's side, and abstract it unobserved. He new with it to the queen, who, taking one of her maidens with her, hurried down to the outer gate, which they locked after them, and flinging the key into the lake, entered the boat and rowed away. The signal to the parties on the watch on shore, was to be a light left in a particular window of the castle. The boy had not forgotten this, and Lord Seaton and a party of his own people and the Hamiltons were eagerly awaiting them on the shore. A man, lying at length on the shore, soon gave notice that he could perceive a female figure with two attendants flying hastily from the outer gate of the castle, and springing into the boat. Soon the preconcerted sign, the white veil of the queen with its red fringe was visible, and presently the little boat approaching, Mary sprang on shore, in the rapture of recovered freedom. The faithful George Douglas was the first to receive her; she was immediately surrounded by Lord Seaton and his friends, and being mounted on a swift steed, they galloped with all speed to the ferry, crossed, and pursued their flight to Niddry, in West Lothian, where the next day she proceeded to Hamilton, attended by Lord Claud Hamilton, who had met them on the road with fifty horse. At Niddry she had snatched time to write a hasty announcement of her escape to France; and, true to her unconquerable affection to Bothwell, dispatched a letter to him, sending Hepburn of Riccarton to D unbar to summon the castle to surrender to her, and then to speed onwards to Denmark, and convey to Bothwell the news of her freedom.

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Pictures for The Reign of Queen Elizabeth. (Continued) page 8

Murder of Rizzio
Murder of Rizzio >>>>
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
Mary Stuart >>>>
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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