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Mary's Marriage Personal Appearance And Popularity

Mary The Queen Dauphiness The Queen And The Queen Dowager Of France

Occurrences Immediately Preceding Darnley's Death

An Examination Of The Letters Sonnets And Other Writings Adduced In Evidence Against Mary Queen Of Scots

A Tangle

The Little Waif

Rizzio

The Fall Of Bothwell

Mary's Birth And Subsequent Residence At The French Court

Mary's Escape From Lochleven And The Battle Of Langside



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The Ebbing Well

Loch Leven Castle

The Love Token

My Lady's Remorse

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Mary's Eighteen Years' Captivity

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Queen Mary's Presence Chamber

The Rebellion Of The Nobles The Meeting At Carberry Hill And Its Consequences






An Examination Of The Letters Sonnets And Other Writings Adduced In Evidence Against Mary Queen Of Scots








O place and greatness! millions of false eyes
Are stuck upon thee! Volumes of report
Run with these false and most contrarious guests
Upon thy doings! Thousand 'scapes of wit
Make thee the father of their idle dream,
And rack thee in their fancies.----
SHAKESPEARE.


Considering the very opposite opinions which have been long entertained,
regarding the character and conduct of the Queen of Scots, no memoirs of
her life would be complete, that did not contain some examination of the
evidence upon which they who believe her guilty principally rest their
conviction. This evidence consists of eight Letters, eleven Love-Sonnets,
and one Marriage Contract, all alleged to have been written in the Queen's
own hand, and addressed to the Earl of Bothwell. In corroboration of
these, another Contract, said to have been written by the Earl of Huntly,
and signed by the Queen; and the Confessions and Depositions of some of
the persons who were known to be implicated in Bothwell's guilt, were
likewise produced. Of the Letters, two were supposed to have been written
from Glasgow, at the time Mary went thither to visit Darnley when he was
ill, and are intended to prove her criminal connection with Bothwell; two
or three from the Kirk-of-Field, for the purpose of facilitating the
arrangements regarding the murder; and the rest after that event, and
before her abduction, to show that the whole scheme of the pretended
ravishment was preconcerted between them. The precise time at which it is
pretended the Sonnets were composed, does not appear; but expressions in
them prove, that it must have been posterior to the Queen's residence at
Dunbar. The Contract of Marriage, in Mary's own hand, though without date,
must have been written very soon after Darnley's death, and contained a
promise never to marry any one but Bothwell. The Contract, said to be in
Huntly's hand, was dated at Seton, the 5th of April 1567, eight weeks
after Darnley's death, a week before Bothwell's trial and acquittal, and
three weeks before he was divorced from his first wife. The Confessions
and Depositions are various, but only in one or two of them is any
allusion made to Mary. The Letters, Sonnets, and Contracts, were said to
have been discovered in a small gilt coffer, which the Earl of Bothwell
left in the Castle of Edinburgh, in the custody of Sir James Balfour, at
the time he fled from Edinburgh to Borthwick, about a month after his
marriage, and shortly before the affair at Carberry Hill. After his
discomfiture there, he is stated to have sent his servant, Dalgleish, into
Edinburgh from Dunbar, to demand the coffer from Balfour. Sir James, it
was said, delivered it up, but at the same time gave intimation to the
Earl of Morton, who seized Dalgleish, and made himself master of the box
and its contents. The Letters and Sonnets, which were written in French,
were afterwards all translated into Scotch, and three into Latin.

Anxious to put beyond a doubt, either the forgery or the authenticity of
these writings, numerous authors have exercised their ingenuity and
talents, in a most minute and laborious examination, not only of their
leading features, but of every line, and almost of every word. It would
seem, however, not to be necessary, in so far as the great interests of
truth are concerned, to descend to such microscopic investigation, and
tedious verbal criticism, as have extended pages into volumes, and
rendered confused and tiresome, disquisitions which might otherwise have
been simple and interesting. If Mary's innocence is to be established, it
must not be by the discovery of petty inconsistencies, or trifling
inaccuracies. If her guilt is to be proved, the impartial reader is not to
be satisfied with vague suspicions or ingenious suggestions, but must have
a body of evidence set before him, which, if it does not amount to actual
demonstration, contains a circumstantial strength equally calculated to
convince.

It may be observed, at the outset, that unless the conclusions, to which
these writings would lead, be corroborated by the established facts of
History, it cannot be expected that a great deal of weight will be
attached to them. Besides, it must not be forgotten, that as the originals
have been lost, it is by means of translations alone that their alleged
contents are known to the world. Upon their authority, Mary is accused of
having first committed adultery, and then murder. Whatever opinion may
have been formed of her from her behaviour during the rest of her
existence,--however gentle her dispositions may have appeared,--however
strong her sense of the distinction between right and wrong,--however
constant her religious principles,--however wise her government,--however
excellent the culture of her mind,--if the letters are to be credited, the
whole was either hypocrisy from beginning to end, or, (overcome by some
sudden impulse,) a year of gross criminality was introduced into the very
middle of a well spent life. If she made so rapid a descent into a career
of vice, she as rapidly rose again; and reassuming the character she had
laid aside, lived and died with the purity of a saint, and the fortitude
of a martyr. It cannot therefore be upon slight grounds that evidence so
fatal to her reputation is to be admitted; and there will be little
necessity to engage in minute cavilling, or to enter upon points of minor
importance, if, by a distinct statement of some of the leading arguments
against its authenticity, the whole shall be made to appear nugatory,
improbable, and unentitled to credit.

The evidences naturally divide themselves into the two heads of
external and internal; and, without further preface, it will be best
to consider these in succession.

THE EXTERNAL EVIDENCES.--It was on the 20th of June 1567, that Dalgleish
was seized, with the box and writings. The official account given by
Buchanan is,--"That in the Castle of Edinburgh there was left by the Earl
Bothwell, before his flying away, and was sent for by one George
Dalgleish, his servant, who was taken by the Earl of Morton, a small gilt
coffer, not fully a foot long, being garnished in sundry places with the
Roman letter F, under a king's crown, wherein were certain letters and
writings well known, and by oaths, to be affirmed to have been written
with the Queen of Scots own hand, to the Earl of Bothwell." The
question to be decided is, whether these letters and writings are genuine,
or whether they can be proved to be fabrications? That the latter is the
correct conclusion, appears on the following grounds.

First, The conduct of Murray, Morton, and others of the Scottish
nobility, on various occasions, proves that ambition was the ruling
passion of their lives. Murray's iniquitous extermination of the Gordons
in 1562, the influence he afterwards exercised in Mary's councils, and his
unjustifiable opposition to her marriage with Darnley, carried even the
length of open rebellion, illustrate his character no less clearly, than
the share he had in the murder of Rizzio, and his proceedings after the
meeting at Carberry Hill, do that of Morton. A train of events, arising
out of the audacious machinations of Bothwell, placed Mary at the disposal
of men thus devoted to the attainment of power. Yielding to their
irresistible desire to secure its possession, they first imprisoned, and
then dethroned their sovereign. She escaped from their hands, and, though
driven from the country, threatened to return with foreign aid, to place
herself at the head of her own party, which was still powerful, and to
force from them their usurped authority. The urgency of the case called
for a bold and decisive remedy. If Mary could prove, as there was no doubt
she could, that, according to all the facts yet before the world, she had
suffered severely and unjustly, they must either fall upon some means to
vindicate their own actions, or be ruined for ever. Nothing would more
naturally suggest itself than the expedient they adopted. The circumstance
of Mary having been actually married to the man who murdered her former
husband, opened a door to the very worst suspicions; and if they could
artfully conceal the events which led to the marriage, and which not only
justified it, but made it a matter of necessity, they hoped still to
retain possession of the government. They were aware, indeed, that by
their own proclamations and acts of council, they had acknowledged Mary's
innocence, and pointed out the real cause of her connection with Bothwell;
and it was now not enough, after they had involved themselves in deeper
responsibility, merely to retract their former allegations. They were
called upon to show why they departed from them;--they were called upon
to prove, that when they first imprisoned her, though they confessed the
Queen was innocent, they were now satisfied she was guilty. There was a
positive necessity for the appearance of the letters; and if they had not
been fortunately discovered, just at the proper time, Murray and his
colleagues must either have had recourse to some other expedient, or have
consented to Mary's restoration, and their own disgrace.

Second, That Mary may have written love-letters to Francis II., and to
Darnley, before and after she was married to them, is not unlikely; that
she wrote sonnets and letters of affection to many of her friends, both
male and female, is beyond a doubt; but that she would ever have written
such letters and sonnets to the Earl of Bothwell, whom she never loved,
whom she at one time threw into prison, and at another sent into
banishment, whom she knew to be a married man, and whose marriage she had
herself countenanced and encouraged, is against all probability. If
Bothwell had never become Mary's husband, history does not record one
circumstance, which would at all lead to the belief, that she was attached
to him. Her very marriage, when fairly and fully considered, only makes
the fact more certain, that she had no regard for Bothwell, else there
would have been no forcible abduction on his part, or pretended reluctance
on hers. Even though she had consented to marry Bothwell, which the
clearest evidence proves her not to have done, it would afford no
presumption against her, that he was afterwards discovered to have been
the murderer of Darnley. He had not only been legally acquitted, but all
her chief nobility had recommended him to her as a husband, stating the
grounds of their recommendation to be the high opinion they entertained of
his worth and loyalty. Robertson, Laing, and others, it is true, copying
Buchanan, have laboured to show, that Mary discovered in various ways her
extreme partiality for Bothwell. Most of their arguments have been already
considered elsewhere; but it will be worth while attending for a moment to
such of the circumstances collected by Robertson, and drawn up in
formidable array, in the "Critical Dissertation" subjoined to his History
of Scotland, as have not yet been noticed. The answers and explanations
which immediately suggest themselves are so entirely satisfactory, that we
can only wonder the historian did not himself perceive them.

Robertson states, that on the 15th of February 1567, five days after the
murder, Mary bestowed on Bothwell the reversion of the superiority of the
town of Leith, and that this grant was of much importance, as it gave him
both the command of the principal port in the kingdom, and a great
ascendancy over the citizens of Edinburgh. But this assignation, as is
expressly stated in the charter, was made to Bothwell as a reward for his
faithful services, both to Mary's mother and to herself, especially on the
occasion of Rizzio's death, and must have been in contemplation for some
time; nor can it be supposed to have occupied the Queen's thoughts, at a
moment when she was refusing to see any one, and was shut up by herself in
a dark room, a prey to the bitterest regrets. It ought to be recollected,
besides, that she had not yet conferred on Bothwell any adequate
recompense for his fidelity and exertions after her escape from Morton;
and that the grant of the superiority of the town of Leith, was only a
very tardy acknowledgment of her obligations. She made presents of a
similar description to others of her nobility about the same time: if any
of them had afterwards forced her into a marriage, these gifts might have
been raked up with equal plausibility, to prove that she was then in love
with Morton, Huntly, Secretary Maitland, or any body else. At the
Parliament which assembled on the 14th of April 1567, ratifications of
grants were passed to many of the principal persons in the realm; and
among others to the Earl of Mar, Morton, Crawford, Caithness, and Lord
Robert Stuart. It will not be asserted, that Mary was attached to any
of these persons; and is there any thing wonderful that she included in
the list of those to whom she made donations, her Lord High Admiral? The
case, no doubt, would have been worse, had she known that Bothwell was the
murderer of Darnley, but throughout the whole of this discussion, it must
be remembered, that if Mary was really innocent, she could not believe
Bothwell guilty till he had been actually proved so.

Robertson states further, that two days after the trial, Mary allowed
Bothwell to carry the sceptre before her when she went to open the
Parliament; that she there granted him a ratification of all the vast
possessions and honours which she had conferred upon him; and that, when
Sir James Melville warned her of the danger which would attend a marriage
with that nobleman, she not only disregarded his admonition, but
discovered to Bothwell what had passed. But, as to the carrying of the
sceptre, it was surely not to be expected, that after a full acquittal,
without even the shadow of evidence being advanced against him, Mary could
have ventured to refuse his accustomed honours to the most powerful noble
in the realm. As to the Parliamentary ratification of "all the vast
possessions and honours which she had conferred upon him," the
misrepresentation is glaring in the extreme; for she never conferred on
Bothwell any vast possessions and honours, and the ratification alluded
only to certain lands which were given him, to defray his charges in
keeping the Castle of Dunbar. Bothwell no doubt enjoyed "vast
possessions and honours;" but they were mostly hereditary, or had been
obtained by him before Mary came into the kingdom. And as to the manner in
which Mary took Sir James Melville's warning,--the facts were these:--Sir
James received a letter out of England, from a person of the name of
Bishop, telling him that it had been rumoured (and there is no wonder,
considering the bond which had been previously obtained from the nobility)
that Bothwell was to be married to her Majesty, and assuring him, that if
she consented to such an alliance, it would be much against her own
reputation and interest. When Sir James showed this letter to Mary, she
immediately sent, not for Bothwell, but for Secretary Maitland, to whom
she handed it, expressing her surprise at its contents, and her suspicion
that it was only a device on the part of some of Bothwell's enemies, who
wished to ruin him in her estimation. She afterwards took an opportunity
to speak of it to Bothwell himself, who affected to be highly indignant,
and was so enraged against Melville, that, had not Mary interfered, he
would have forced him to fly from the Court to save his life. Bothwell's
rage is easily accounted for, considering the designs he then had in view,
and the necessity for concealing them. But had he known that Mary was
disposed to favour them, he would of course have taken the whole matter
much more coolly. When Melville came upon the subject with Mary, she
assured him that she did not contemplate any such alliance, and she had in
like manner previously told Lord Herries, that "there was no such thing in
her mind." If deductions like those of Robertson, so contrary to the
premises on which they are founded, be allowed, it is impossible to say to
what belief they may not be made to lead.

Robertson states, lastly, that even after Mary had been separated from
Bothwell, and confined in Loch-Leven, her affection for him did not abate;
and that the fair conclusion from all these circumstances is, that had
Mary really been accessory to the murder of her husband, "she could
scarcely have taken any other steps than those she took, nor could her
conduct have been more repugnant to all the maxims of prudence or of
decency." But that Mary's affection for a man she had never loved,
continued after she had left him to his fate, at Carberry Hill, and gone
publicly over in the face of the whole world to his bitterest enemies, (on
whose authority alone Robertson's assertion is made, though expressly
contradicted by their own previous declarations, as well as by Mary's
statements whenever she regained her liberty), is not to be believed; and
had she been really innocent, "she could scarcely have taken any other
steps than those she took," nor could her conduct have been more accordant
with all the maxims of prudence and propriety.

Third, Supposing Mary to have actually written the letters to Bothwell,
it may very fairly be asked,--Why he was so imprudent as preserve
them?--why he chose to keep only eight?--why he put them all into the same
box?--and why he should ever have intrusted that box to the custody of Sir
James Balfour? It is extremely difficult to answer satisfactorily any of
these questions. The only explanation which the first admits of, is, that
Bothwell was afraid lest Mary should afterwards quarrel with him, and
resolved therefore not to destroy the evidence of her participation in the
murder. But if he acted upon this principle, why did he limit himself to a
collection of eight letters? If Mary ever corresponded with him at all, he
must have had in his possession many more of her epistles; for the first
of the series which has been preserved, is evidently not the letter of one
commencing a correspondence, but of one who writes as a matter of course,
to a person whom she has often written to before. It may be said, perhaps,
that none of her previous letters bore upon the subject of Darnley's
murder; but they must at all events have contained expressions of
affection, which would have served as an indirect proof of her guilt. If,
by preserving these documents, and running the risk of their falling into
the hands of his enemies, who would so eagerly use them to his
disadvantage, Bothwell thought he was choosing the least of two dangers,
he would certainly have been anxious to make his evidence of Mary's
connexion with him as full and complete as possible. Accordingly, some
love-sonnets, and a contract of marriage, were said to have been put into
the same box, but only eight letters; as if, during the whole course of
his amour with the Queen, and all its anxious days and nights, she had
limited herself to eight epistolary testimonials of her love. But having
preserved them, and having limited their number to eight, and having
chosen to put them, not into a strong iron box locked and pad-locked, of
which he alone kept the key, but into a "small gilt coffer" which never
belonged to him at all, but had been a gift to Mary from her first husband
Francis,--why was he so very absurd as send them to Sir James Balfour in
the Castle of Edinburgh, at the very time that a rebellion was rising in
the nation, and that he was beginning to suspect Balfour's fidelity? They
were sent, we are informed, "before his flying away" from Edinburgh, in
the beginning of June 1567. Was this the moment at which he would be
disposed to part with writings he had so carefully treasured? If he was
afraid that his enemies would advance upon Edinburgh, why did he not take
the "small gilt coffer" with him to Dunbar, instead of sending it to the
very place where it was sure to become their prey? If the letters were in
truth forged, it was necessary for the forgers to concoct as plausible a
story concerning them as possible. They knew it was not likely that
Bothwell would send them to the Castle tied up as an open packet; and the
idea of a box would therefore occur to them. But as they had not in their
possession any box which belonged to Bothwell, they were forced to make
use of what they could get; and finding at Holyrood, when they rifled the
palace of most of the Queen's valuables, the coffer in question, they
would readily avail themselves of it. It would further occur to them, that
Bothwell could not be supposed to have left the letters at Holyrood, which
was not a place of any strength; and as they had not followed him to
Dunbar, they were obliged to give out that he had made the Castle of
Edinburgh their hiding-place. But if the letters had not been forgeries,
and if they had been really preserved by Bothwell, they would have been
more numerous,--they would not have been kept in one of Mary's
trinket-boxes,--and they would never have found their way out of his own
hands into the custody of Sir James Balfour.

Fourth, The next improbability connected with this story, is, that
Bothwell sent to reclaim the letters at the time alleged. On the 15th of
September 1568, Murray, before going into England, to attend the
conference at York, gave the Earl of Morton a receipt for the "silver box,
overgilt with gold, with all missive letters, contracts or obligations for
marriage, sonnets or love ballads, and all other letters contained
therein, sent and passed betwixt the Queen and James, sometime Earl
Bothwell; which box, and whole pieces within the same, were taken and
found with umwhile George Dalgleish, servant to the said Earl Bothwell,
upon the 20th day of June, in the year of God 1567." This, then, was
exactly five days after Bothwell had fled from Carberry Hill, and when
Edinburgh was in the possession of the opposite faction, with whom Sir
James Balfour had now associated himself. Dalgleish, it appears, who was
well known to be a servant of Bothwell, was able not only to effect an
entrance into Edinburgh, though the city was strictly guarded, but was
received into the Castle, and had the box actually delivered to him by
Balfour. How he happened to be afterwards discovered, and his property
taken from him, is not made out. If Balfour privately intimated to Morton
what he had done, then he at once acted knavishly towards Bothwell, and
most inconsiderately towards those whom he wished to befriend; for
Dalgleish might have either baffled pursuit, or he might have secreted the
box, or destroyed its contents before he was taken. Thus we have a tissue
of improbabilities, pervading the whole of this part of the narrative.
Bothwell could never send to Edinburgh Castle for writings he would never
have deposited there: and most especially he would never send, when he
himself was a fugitive, and that fortress, along with the adjacent town,
in the hands of his enemies. Nor would Balfour have surrendered a box so
precious; nor, if he did, would Dalgleish have allowed it again to become
the prey of those from whom it was most wished to conceal it.

Fifth, What was done with the letters immediately after Morton and the
other Lords got possession of them? Bothwell had been already accused of
the murder of Darnley; his former acquittal had been declared unjust; he
had been separated from the Queen; and she herself had been sequestrated
in Loch-Leven, until the whole affair should be duly investigated. Surely,
then, the discovery of these letters would be regarded with signal
satisfaction, and the associated Lords would lose not a moment in
announcing their existence to the nation, as the best justification of
their own proceedings. They had sent Mary, it is true, to Loch-Leven,
somewhat precipitately, five days before they were aware of her enormous
guilt; but if their own ambition had prompted that step, they would now be
able to free themselves from blame, and would silence at once the boldest
of the Queen's defenders. As it appears by the records, that a meeting of
Privy Council was held on the 21st of June, the very day after Dalgleish
was seized, we shall surely find that all the papers were produced, and
their contents impressively recorded in the Council-books. Nothing of the
kind took place; and though Morton was present at the meeting, not a
single word was said of the letters. Again, on the 26th of June, an
act was passed for sanctioning the imprisonment of the Queen in
Loch-Leven, and a proclamation issued for apprehending the Earl of
Bothwell; but though the latter was accused of having "treasonably
ravished" the person of her Highness the Queen, and also of being the
"principal author of the late cruel murder," no hint was given of the
evidence which had been recently discovered against him, and which,
indeed, had it been in their possession, would have directly contradicted
the assertion, that Bothwell had been guilty Of "treasonable ravishment,"
or of keeping the Queen in "thraldom and bondage;" for it would have
appeared, that he had obtained her previous consent for every thing he had
done. Between this date and the 11th of July, several other meetings
of Council were held, and acts published, but not a whisper was heard
concerning these important letters. When Sir Nicolas Throckmorton was sent
by Elizabeth, as her ambassador into Scotland, the Lords presented him, on
the 11th of July, with a formal justification of their doings; but, in all
that long and laboured paper, the letters were never once alluded to. On
the contrary, in direct opposition to them, such passages as the following
occur more than once:--"How shamefully the Queen, our Sovereign, was led
captive, and, by fear, force, and (as by many conjectures may be well
suspected) other extraordinary and more unlawful means, compelled to
become bed-fellow to another wife's husband, and to him who, not three
months before, had in his bed most cruelly murdered her husband, is
manifest to the world, to the great dishonour of her Majesty, us all, and
this whole nation."--"It behoved us, assuredly, to have recommended the
soul of our Prince, and of the most part of ourselves, to God's hands;
and as we may firmly believe the soul also of our Sovereign the Queen,
who should not have lived with him half a year to an end, as may be
conjectured by the short time they lived together, and the maintaining of
his other wife at home in his house."--"The respects aforesaid, with many
others, and very necessity, moved us to enterprise the quarrel we have in
hand, which was only intended against the Earl of Bothwell's person, to
dissolve the dishonourable and unlawful conjunction under the name of
marriage." These are positive declarations, which not only bear no
reference to the box of love-letters, but which deliberately and
conclusively give the lie to their contents. When was it, then, that these
momentous letters were introduced to the world? The Lords, not satisfied
with "sequestrating the person" of the Queen, forced from her an
abdication of her throne on the 25th of July. Surely, before venturing on
so audacious a proceeding, these criminal writings would be made known to
the country. But no; we in vain expect to hear any thing of
them;--"shadows, clouds, and darkness" still rest upon them.

At length, a fresh actor returned to that scene, in which he had formerly
played with so much success; and his inventive genius brought the
mystery to light. Early in August, the Earl of Murray rejoined his old
associates; and on the 22d of that month, he was proclaimed Regent. It was
necessary for him, shortly afterwards, to hold a Parliament; and the
Queen's party being then almost as strong as his own, it was still more
necessary for him to fall upon some means to justify his usurpation, as
well as those severe proceedings against Mary to which he had given his
sanction. Accordingly, after he had been in Scotland four months, and had
cautiously prepared his body of written evidence, we find it mentioned,
for the first time, in an act of Council, passed on the 4th of December,
only ten days before the meeting of Parliament, and evidently in
anticipation of that event. In this act it is expressly declared, "that
the cause and occasion of the private conventions of the Lords, Barons and
others, and consequently their taking of arms, and coming to the field,
and the cause and occasion of the taking of the Queen's person, upon the
15th day of June last, and holding and detaining of the same within the
house and place of Loch Leven, continually since, presently, and in all
time coming, and generally all other things invented, spoken, or written
by them since the 10th day of February last, (upon which day umwhile King
Henry was shamefully and horribly murdered), unto the day and date hereof,
touching the Queen's person, cause, and all things depending thereon, was
in the said Queen's own default, in as far as, by diverse her privy
letters, written and subscribed with her own hand, and sent by her to
James Earl of Bothwell, chief executor of the said horrible murder, as
well before the committing thereof as after, and by her ungodly and
dishonourable proceeding in a private marriage with him, suddenly and
unprovisedly thereafter, it is most certain that she was privy, art and
part, and of the actual device and deed of the forementioned
murder." The ensuing Parliament passed an act, which, after a
preamble expressed in nearly the same words, sanctioned the Queen's
imprisonment and Murray's Regency; and nothing more whatever is known
or heard of these "privy letters," till nearly the end of the following
year, 1568.

With regard to these acts of Council and Parliament, it is to be remarked,
in the first place, that they refer to the Letters as the grounds upon
which the nobles took up arms, separated the Queen from Bothwell at
Carberry Hill, and imprisoned her at Loch-Leven; although, according to a
subsequent confession, the Letters were not discovered till after she had
been in captivity for five days, and although, in all the proclamations
and acts of the time, Mary's innocence was openly allowed, and the bondage
in which she had been kept by Bothwell as openly proclaimed. It is to be
remarked, in the second place, that no account is given, either of the
contents of these Letters, of the time of their discovery, or of the
evidence by which their authenticity was ascertained. Dalgleish was at the
very moment in custody, and a few days afterwards was tried and executed
for his share in Darnley's death, of which he made a full confession. But
why was he not brought forward and examined concerning the Letters; and
why is there not a word about them in his confession? Why was
Dalgleish never mentioned as having any connection with the Letters at all
till after he was dead? And if it was originally intended to refer to the
Letters as the authorities on which the Lords sent Mary to Loch-Leven,
may it not be fairly concluded, that the idea of their having been taken
from Dalgleish on the 20th of June, was an after-thought, when it became
necessary to account for the manner in which they had fallen into their
hands? Was it, besides, enough to satisfy the nation to allude, in vague
and general terms, to the existence of documents of so much weight? If
they were thus obscurely locked up in Murray's custody,--if nothing
further was said about them but that they existed,--if all the nobility of
Scotland were not requested to come and examine them,--if they were not
printed and published that the people might see them, and feel convinced
that the Lords had acted justly, can it be cause of wonder, that, not only
all Mary's friends, but even Elizabeth herself, intimated doubts of their
authenticity?

Sixth, If it is strange that these important writings were so long kept
from the public eye, it is no less strange, that, when they were at length
produced, a degree of caution and hesitation was observed regarding them
not a little suspicious. If the Regent had been satisfied of their
authenticity, he would fearlessly have exhibited them to all who were
interested in their contents. Even allowing that he had a fair excuse for
concealing them so long, he would have been eager to challenge for them,
when he at last determined to bring them forward, the minutest
examination, so that the most sceptical might be convinced they were
genuine. If he acted honestly, and, on the authority of these writings,
believed his sister unworthy of continuing on the Scottish throne, he must
have been anxious that the whole country should acknowledge the propriety
of his conduct; or if he had himself been misled, he ought not to have
been unwilling to have had the forgery pointed out to him, and Mary
restored to the government. But we look in vain for any thing frank, open,
and candid, in Murray's proceedings.

When the conference began at York, there was not a word said of the
letters, till it was found that, without their aid, no plausible answer
could be given to the complaints made by Mary. Even then they were not
boldly produced, and openly laid before the Commissioners; but Maitland,
Macgill, Wood, and Buchanan, were sent to hold a "private and secret
conference" with Norfolk and his colleagues, in which they produced the
letters and other papers, and asked their opinion concerning them. As
soon as Elizabeth was informed of their contents, she removed the
conference to Westminster; and Mary sent her Commissioners thither, still
ignorant of the alleged existence of any such writings. It was not till
the 8th of December 1568 that the letters made their appearance in an
official manner. As Elizabeth herself, departing from the impartiality of
an umpire, had already secretly encouraged their production, and as she
had evidently entered into Murray's views regarding them, there was now
surely no further trepidation or concealment. But what is the fact? On
only two occasions were the originals of these writings ever shown; and
on neither occasion does their authenticity appear to have been at all
determined. On the 8th of December, "they produced seven several writings,
written in French, and avowed by them to be written by the said Queen;
which seven writings being copied, were read in French, and a due
collation made thereof, as near as could be, by reading and inspection,
and made to accord with the originals, which the said Earl of Murray
required to be re-delivered, and did thereupon deliver the copies, being
collationed." Here, therefore, nothing was done except comparing
copies with what were called originals, to see that they agreed. These
copies were left in the hands of the Commissioners, and the originals, by
whoever they were written, were immediately returned to Murray. On the
14th of December, they again made their appearance, for the second and
last time; "and being read, were duly conferred and compared, for the
manner of writing and fashion of orthography, with sundry other letters,
long since heretofore written, and sent by the said Queen of Scots to the
Queen's Majesty." Was this all the proof that was offered? Yes; the
whole. Elizabeth, who was no less anxious than Murray himself to blacken
the character of the Queen of Scots, was allowed to supply the letters
with which the other writings were to be compared; and, for any thing that
is known to the contrary, these "other letters, long since heretofore
written," were only a few more forgeries from the same hand, prepared for
the very use to which they were applied. And be this as it may, is it
likely that, by a hasty collation of this kind, any accurate decision
could be formed; or that, in a single forenoon, a number of different
individuals could come to a conclusion on so very nice a point as a
comparison of hands, especially having before them so great a number of
documents to decide upon? It is a maxim in law, that "fallacissimum genus
probandi sit per comparationem litterarum;" and surely the fallaciousness
of such a proof was not diminished by the hasty examination given to them
by some English nobles, probably unacquainted previously with the writing
of the Queen of Scots.

But could Mary herself, it will be asked, refuse to acknowledge her own
hand? Her Commissioners would of course be allowed to see the original
letters; if not the whole, at least some of them, would be given to them,
that they might transmit them to their mistress; and she being either
unable to deny them, would confess her guilt, or, perceiving them to be
fabrications, would point out the proofs. But nothing of all this was
done. Mary's Commissioners were not present at the only meetings at which
the originals were produced; and when they afterwards applied for a sight
of them, or for copies, they were put off from time to time till the
conference was dissolved, and Murray sent back to Scotland. "Suppose a
man," says Tytler, "was to swear a debt against me, and offered to prove
it by bond or bill of my handwriting; if I knew this bond to be a false
writing, what would be my defence? Show me the bond itself, and I will
prove it a forgery. If he withdrew the bond, and refused to let me see it,
what would be the presumption? Surely that the bond was forged, and that
the user was himself the forger. The case is precisely similar to the
point in hand. The Queen, we have seen, repeatedly demands to see the
principal writings themselves, which she asserts are forged. Elizabeth
herself says the demand is most reasonable. What follows? Is this
reasonable demand of Mary complied with? Far from it; so far from seeing
or having inspection of the originals, even copies of them are refused to
her and her Commissioners." Under these circumstances, and as the
writings were seen only twice by a few of the English nobility, and then
locked up again in Murray's box, that they once existed may perhaps be
granted, but that they were what they pretended to be, cannot be believed
to have been ever proved.

Seventh, Having effected the purpose they were meant to achieve, it
might have been expected that these letters would be carefully preserved
in the public archives of the Scottish nation;--that, as they had been the
means of bringing about a revolution in the country, they would be
regarded not as private, but as public property;--and that Murray would be
anxious to lodge them where they might be referred to, both by his
cotemporaries and posterity, as documents with which his own reputation,
no less than that of his sister, was indissolubly connected. Here again,
however, the impartial inquirer is disappointed. The Regent appears to
have kept these writings close in his own possession till his death, and
they then fell into the hands of his successor, the Earl of Lennox.
Towards the end of January 1571, Lennox delivered them to Morton; and
after Morton's execution, the box and its contents became the property of
the Earl of Gowrie. Knowing that he would be less anxious to maintain
their authenticity, not being influenced by any of the motives which had
actuated Murray, Lennox, and Morton, and fearing lest the whole trick
should be discovered, Elizabeth became now very anxious to obtain them.
She ordered her ambassador in Scotland, in 1582, to promise Gowrie, that
if he would surrender them, he should "be requited to his comfort and
contentment, with princely thanks and gratuity." But Gowrie was neither to
be bribed nor persuaded; he knew the value of the papers too well, and the
power which their possession gave him, both over James and Elizabeth. As
long as they befriended him, he would be silent; but should he ever be
cast off by them, he would proclaim their fabrication, and remove the
stains they had cast upon Mary's honour. Elizabeth's earnest endeavours to
get them into her own possession can be accounted for, only on the
supposition that she knew them to be forgeries; for it was in that case
alone, that any dangerous use could have been made of them. Subsequent to
the correspondence with Gowrie, in 1582, nothing further is known of these
writings. In 1584, Gowrie was executed as a traitor, on account of the
conspiracy in which he had engaged, and many of his effects fell into the
hands of James VI.; but whether these documents were among them, is
uncertain. In so far as the originals are concerned, this celebrated body
of evidence is little else than a mere shadow. It was never spoken of at
all, till long after it had been discovered,--it was not produced till
long after it had been first spoken of,--it appeared only for a few hours
before persons predisposed to give it all credit,--it then returned to
its former obscurity, and not even copies but merely translations, are
all that were ever presented to the world, on which to form an opinion. It
is strange that any importance should have ever been attached to papers,
which were never fairly exposed to the light, and which the jaws of
darkness so soon devoured.

Eighth, Though it would be perhaps as difficult to prove a negative, as
to demonstrate the spuriousness of writings which do not exist, and which
were hardly ever seen, the presumption against them is increased a
hundred-fold, if it can be clearly established, that the same men who
produced them were more than once guilty of deliberate forgery. This could
be done in many instances; but it will be enough to mention two, which are
sufficiently glaring. The first is the letter which Morton exhibited
before Mary was taken to Loch-Leven, and which was never afterwards
referred to or produced, even at the time when evidence of all kinds was
raked up against her. It was a letter which would not only have gone a
great way to corroborate the others, but, as it did not implicate the
Queen in Darnley's murder, was exactly the sort of apology that was wished
for keeping her "sequestrated" at Loch-Leven, and forcing from her an
abdication. Even though all the other epistles had been kept back, this
might have been safely engrossed in the minutes of Morton's Privy Council,
and referred to again and again by the King's Lords, as the great
justification of their conduct. If by any chance a reason could be found,
why it was first produced, and again concealed, it would still be
impossible to discover why it alone was withdrawn, when all the rest were
laid before Elizabeth. There is but one solution of the enigma, which is,
that it was too hasty a fabrication to bear minute examination, and that,
though it misled Kircaldy of Grange, Morton and Murray were themselves
ashamed of it.

A second and even more remarkable example of forgery is to be found in one
of the papers which Murray showed to the English Commissioners at York,
but which he afterwards thought it prudent to withdraw when the writings
were more publicly produced at Westminster. This paper was described
as,--"The Queen's consent given to the Lords who subscribed the bond for
the promotion of the said James Earl Bothwell to her marriage." In
the "private and secret Conference," which Lethington, MacGill, Wood, and
Buchanan, had with the Commissioners at York; "they showed unto us," say
the latter, "a copy of a band, bearing date the 19th of April 1567, to the
which the most part of the Lords and Counsellors of Scotland have put to
their hands; and, as they say, more for fear than any liking they had of
the same. Which band contained two special points,--the one a declaration
of Bothwell's purgation of the murder of the Lord Darnley, and the other
a general consent to his marriage with the Queen, so far forth as the law
and her own liking should allow. And yet, in proof that they did it not
willingly, they procured a warrant which was now showed unto us, bearing
date the 19th of April, signed with the Queen's hand, whereby she gave
them license to agree to the same; affirming, that before they had such a
warrant, there was none of them that did or would set to their hands,
saving only the Earl of Huntly." This must have been a very curious
and interesting warrant; and it is somewhat surprising, that it had never
been heard of before. It was a very strong link in the chain; and spoke
volumes of Mary's love for Bothwell, which carried her so far that she not
only secretly wished, but openly requested her nobles to recommend him to
her as a husband. Besides, if the warrant was genuine, it must have been
seen by all the Lords who were present at "Ainsly's supper;" and they must
have been consequently well aware that there was no such thing as a
forcible abduction of the Queen's person. So far from supposing that
Bothwell ever kept her in "unlawful bondage," or forced her into a
"pretended marriage," they would know that she had shown greater anxiety
to possess him than he had to secure her. Their only wonder would be, that
after so far overcoming the natural modesty of her sex, as to point out to
them one of her own subjects, whom she asked them to advise her to marry,
she should so palpably have contradicted herself, as to give out
afterwards that it was not till she had been carried off, and till every
argument had been used which power could supply, or passion suggest, that
she reluctantly agreed to become his wife. If she openly and formally
licensed her nobles to recommend him, what was the use of all her
subsequent affected reluctance? But it was not Murray's business to
explain this problem. The warrant spoke for itself, and it was with it
only that he had to do. What, then, were the comments which he made on it
at Westminster, and the conclusive presumptions against Mary which he drew
from it? The "Warrant" was not produced at Westminster at all, and not a
single allusion was made to it. This fact alone is sufficient to
mark the credit it deserves. It could do no harm to show it privately to
Norfolk, Sussex, and Sadler; but it would not have answered so well to
have advanced it publicly, as all the nobility of Scotland would at once
have known it to be a fabrication. The probability is, that this
"Warrant," or "Consent," was neither more nor less than a garbled copy of
the pardon which Bothwell obtained from Mary, for the Lords who had signed
the bond, when he brought her out of the Castle of Edinburgh on the 14th
of May, the day previous to her marriage; and she would never have been
asked for this pardon if she had before recommended the bond. If
Murray and his party are thus detected in fabrications so gross, that they
themselves, however anxious to bolster up their cause, were afraid to
make use of them, what dependence is to be placed upon the authenticity of
any writings they chose to produce?

Ninth, It was Bothwell who murdered Darnley; it was Bothwell who seized
the person of the Queen; it was Bothwell who was married to her; it was
Bothwell whose daring ambition waded through blood and crime, till at
length he set his foot upon a throne. But his triumph was of short
duration. The Queen left him, and went over to his enemies; and he himself
was forced into a miserable exile. It was this reverse of fortune which he
had all along dreaded; and it was to be prepared for the evil day, that he
had preserved the eight letters and love-sonnets so carefully in the small
gilt box. He had determined, that whatever might happen, he should never
lose his hold over Mary, but that, as she had participated in his guilt,
she should be made to share his subsequent fortunes. He cannot have been
well pleased with her conduct at Carberry Hill; and it was perhaps to
revenge himself upon her, that he sent Dalgleish for the casket, part of
the contents of which he may have intended to disclose to the world.
Dalgleish and the casket were seized, but the secret of Mary's criminality
was still in Bothwell's possession; and there was surely no occasion that
he should become odious in the eyes of all men, whilst his paramour and
accomplice preserved her reputation. Did he never, then, throughout the
whole course of his life, utter a word, or issue a declaration, or make a
confession which in the slightest degree implicated Mary? It is surely a
strong presumption in her favour if he never did.

Before Darnley was murdered, Bothwell went to meet Morton at Whittingham,
to consult him on the subject. Morton told him, that unless he could
produce proof, under the Queen's hand, of her consent to have her husband
removed, he would not interfere in the matter. Before going to
Whittingham, Bothwell must have received the two letters which Mary is
alleged to have written to him from Glasgow; yet he was unable to show
Morton any writing to corroborate his assertion, that the Queen would not
be offended at the proposed murder. He promised, however, that he would
do all he could to procure the warrant which Morton desired. Some time
afterwards, "I being at St Andrews," says Morton in his confession, "to
visit the Earl of Angus a little before the murder, Mr Archibald Douglas
came to me there, both with write and credit of the Earl Bothwell, to show
unto me that the purpose of the King's murder was to be done, and near a
point; and to request my concurrence and assistance thereunto. My answer
to him was, that I would give no answer to that purpose, seeing I had not
got the Queen's warrant in write, which was promised; and therefore,
seeing the Earl Bothwell never reported any warrant of the Queen to me, I
never meddled further with it." As all that Morton wished, before
giving Bothwell his active support, was "the Queen's hand-write of the
matter for a warrant," what would have been more natural or easy for
Bothwell than to have produced any of the letters he had got from Mary,
which would exactly have answered the purpose, and satisfied all Morton's
scruples? As Bothwell told him that the Queen approved of the design, he
could not have any objection to make good that assertion, by any written
evidence in his possession. He need not even have shown the whole of any
one letter, but only such detached parts of it as bore directly on the
subject in question. It is strange, that Bothwell should have gone so far,
and should have been so anxious to secure the co-operation of Morton; yet,
that he did not obviate the only objection which Morton started, by
putting into his hands a letter, or letters, which, if they ever existed,
he must have then had.

Various occasions occurred afterwards, which held out every inducement to
Bothwell to produce the letters and accuse the Queen. Passing over his
silence at Carberry Hill, notwithstanding her desertion of him there, and
during all the rest of the time that he remained in Scotland, it may be
mentioned, that Murray, shortly after he had been appointed Regent, wrote
to the King of Denmark, to request that Bothwell should be delivered up to
him. The King refused, on several grounds, and among others, that Bothwell
maintained he had been unjustly driven from the kingdom,--that he had been
legally tried and acquitted,--that he had been lawfully married to the
Queen,--and that no blame whatever attached to her. Not at all
satisfied with this answer, Mr Thomas Buchanan was afterwards sent out to
Denmark, to procure, if possible, Bothwell's surrender. Buchanan, of
course, made himself acquainted with all that Bothwell had been saying and
doing, since he fled from Scotland; and in January 1571, he sent home a
full account of his discoveries to his constituents. The letter was
addressed to the Earl of Lennox, who was then Regent; but it fell first
into the Earl of Morton's hands, who was at the time in London. Perceiving
that it contained matter by no means favourable to their cause, and afraid
lest it might produce some effect on the mind of Elizabeth, he played the
same game with her he had formerly been so successful in with Mary, and
passed off upon her a garbled copy as a genuine transcript of the
original. "We had no will," the Earl of Morton wrote to Lennox, "that the
contents of the letter should be known, fearing that some words and
matters mentioned in the same being dispersed here as news, would rather
have hindered than furthered our cause. And, therefore, being desired at
Court to show the letter, we gave to understand that we had sent the
principal away, and delivered a copy, omitting such things as we thought
not meet to be shown, as your Grace may perceive by the like copy, which
also we have sent you herewith; which you may communicate to such as your
Grace thinks it not expedient to communicate the whole contents of the
principal letter unto." Both the original despatch and the spurious
copy have unfortunately been lost, or were more probably destroyed by
Lennox himself; so that their contents can only be conjectured; but it is
evident, that so far from tending to hurt Mary's reputation, they must
rather have served to exculpate her.

In the year 1576, Mary wrote to the Archbishop of Glasgow, that she had
received intelligence of Bothwell's death, and that, before his decease,
he had declared himself the murderer of Darnley, and expressly freed her
from any share in it, attesting her innocence in the most solemn manner.
"If this be true," Mary added, "this testimony will be of great importance
to me against the false calumnies of my enemies. I therefore beseech you
to take every means in your power to discover the real state of the
case." The Archbishop proposed, in consequence, to send a messenger
to Denmark, to procure a properly authenticated copy of the testament, but
for want of money and other causes, it appears that he was never able to
carry his intentions into effect. The confession was transmitted to
Elizabeth by the King of Denmark, but its publication was anxiously
suppressed by her; and is now lost. Its place, however, has been not
unsatisfactorily supplied by a discovery which has recently been made in
the Royal library at Drottningholm, entitled, a "Declaration of the Earl
of Bothwell," made by him when a prisoner at Copenhagen in the year 1568.
It contains a full account of all the principal events of his past life;
and though it was written, not as a confession, but as a justification,
and is consequently an artful piece of special pleading in his own
defence, and not always particularly accurate in its detail of facts, it
cannot fail nevertheless to be regarded as an interesting and important
document. One thing is especially to be remarked, that throughout the
whole, he never attempts in the most distant manner to implicate Mary in
the blame attachable to his own conduct. On the contrary, he speaks of her
throughout with the utmost respect. It may be said, that if Bothwell had
accused Mary, he could not have defended himself, and that he abstained
only from a selfish motive. There were, however, a thousand different
degrees of responsibility with which he might have charged Mary. There was
no necessity to have accused her of the murder of Darnley, or of a
criminal attachment to him; but if it had been the truth, it would
certainly have been for his own interest, to have proved that the Queen
loved him sincerely and warmly. Even this he does not venture to state;
and the impression left by the whole tone of the declaration
unquestionably is, that he felt it would be for his advantage to say as
little about Mary as possible, knowing that, of all others he had offended
most against her, and that to attempt to cast any imputation upon her
innocence, would be only to throw a darker shade over his own
villany.

Tenth.--Some historians have ventured to assert, that however little
credit they might be disposed to give to the statements of such men as
Murray and Morton, they have been somewhat startled to find that Mary
herself never denied them very positively, or evinced much indignation
against them. These historians cannot have looked very deeply into the
records on this subject, else they would have found that the fact was
exactly the reverse of what they suppose it to have been. "And yet is
there one injury more," says Bishop Lesley, "that doth grieve and molest
this good guiltless lady more than all their foretold villanous pranks
played by them against her, and surely not without just cause of grief;
for, indeed, it far passeth and exceedeth them all, and that is, their
shameful and most traitorous defaming her, being altogether innocent
therein, with the death of her husband, as though that she had suborned
the Earl of Bothwell thereto, and rewarded him therefor with the marriage
of her own body." It is altogether unnecessary to refer to any
particular authorities upon this subject; for a volume might be easily
filled with Letters, Despatches, and Instructions from Mary, which not
only deny her guilt, but, by the arguments they contain, go very far to
establish her innocence. A communication, which she addressed, in the year
1569, to the States of Scotland, must, however, be mentioned, as it
distinctly shows what her feelings then were towards Bothwell; for whom,
indeed, she had so little affection, that, very soon after her arrival in
England, she lent a favourable ear to the proposals of marriage made by
the Duke of Norfolk. Her letter to the Scottish Parliament is to be
considered in connection with this contemplated marriage. Its purpose was,
to obtain the sanction of the States to a divorce from Bothwell; and she
alluded to him in the following terms: "Forasmuch as we are credibly
informed, by sundry and diverse noblemen of our realm, that the pretended
marriage, some time contracted, and in a manner solemnized, between us and
James Earl of Bothwell, was, for diverse respects, unlawful, and may not
of good conscience and law stand betwixt us, (albeit it seemed otherwise
to us and our Council at that time);--considering, therefore, with
ourselves, and thinking that the same does touch us as highly in honour
and conscience that it daily and hourly troubles and vexes our spirit
quite through, we are moved to seek remedy." The very Lords, however,
who had before affected so much anxiety to free her from that "ungodly
alliance," now refused to take any steps towards forwarding the divorce;
and they were thus convicted of another inconsistency. Little more
than eighteen months had elapsed since they had not only imprisoned her,
but forced her to surrender her crown, because, as they alleged, she
"would not consent, by any persuasion, to abandon the Lord Bothwell for
her husband, but avowed constantly that she would live and die with him,
saying, that if it were put to her choice to relinquish her crown and
kingdom, or the Lord Bothwell, she would leave her kingdom and dignity to
go as a simple damsel with him, and would never consent that he would fare
worse, or have more harm than herself." Yet she now expressly asked
a divorce from this Lord Bothwell, her connection with whom had "daily and
hourly troubled and vexed her spirit;" and the Lords, forgetting all their
former protestations, were not disposed to accede to it.

Nor was it by Mary herself alone, that a direct contradiction was given to
the defamatory accusations of the regent and his associates. Numerous
state papers exist which show, that all the impartial and disinterested
part, not only of her own nobility, but of Elizabeth's, considered her
entirely innocent. In the year 1568, letters were addressed to the Queen
of England, by many of the Lords of Scotland, which spoke very strongly in
her favour. Among the signatures to these, will be found the names of the
Archbishop of St Andrews, the Earl of Huntly, Argyle, Crawfurd, Errol,
Rothes, Cassils, Eglinton, and Caithness, and the Lords Fleming, Ross,
Sanquhar, Ogilvy, Boyd, Oliphant, Drummond, Maxwell, and others. In
England, the great number of Lords and gentlemen of the first rank who
joined with Norfolk in aid of Mary, affords perhaps a still stronger
presumption in her favour. But Robertson, on the other hand, asserts that
her father and mother-in-law, Lord and Lady Lennox, were convinced of her
guilt. By attaching himself to the Prince's faction, Lennox came to be
elected Regent, and that he was willing to believe, or affect to believe,
all that Mary's enemies advanced, cannot be matter of much wonder; for he
had in truth identified his interests with those of Murray and Morton, and
if their fabrications had been detected, he must have suffered along with
them. But in so far as regards the Countess of Lennox, Robertson's
statement is directly contrary to the fact. He quotes a letter, it is
true, written by Mary to that Lady in the year 1570, in which, with
ingenuous sincerity, the Queen laments that the Countess should allow
herself to be persuaded to think evil of her; and it was perhaps partly in
consequence of this appeal, that Lady Lennox began to consider the subject
more seriously. Robertson either did not know, or chose to conceal the
fact, that she saw cause soon after receiving Mary's letter decidedly to
change her opinions. In 1578, Mary wrote to the Archbishop of Glasgow to
this effect:--"The Countess of Lennox, my mother-in-law, died about a
month ago. This good lady, thanks to God, has been in very good
intelligence and correspondence with me for the last five or six years.
She has confessed to me, by diverse letters under her hand which I
carefully keep, the wrong she did me in the unjust prosecutions which she
allowed to proceed against me in her name, and which originated, partly in
erroneous information, but principally in the express commands of the
Queen of England, and persuasions of those of her Council who were always
averse to our reconciliation. As soon as she became persuaded of my
innocence, she desisted from these prosecutions, and resolutely refused to
countenance the proceedings which were carried on against me under her
name." Thus, however prejudiced her husband necessarily was, the
Countess was unable to resist the force of truth, as soon as she was
allowed to judge for herself. It may further be mentioned, that in France
there was scarcely an individual who thought Mary guilty; and that the
funeral orations which were ordered by the Government to be preached upon
her death, were attended by hundreds, who wept over the injuries and the
misfortunes of their beloved Queen-dowager. It appears, therefore,
both by Mary's own declarations, repeated over and over again with
undeviating consistency, up to the very hour of her death, when she passed
into the presence of her Maker, solemnly protesting her innocence, and by
the deliberate opinions of nearly all her cotemporaries who are deserving
of credit, that the strongest and most positive contradiction was given to
the malicious insinuations of the opposite party.

Eleventh, and Lastly.--A considerable number of Bothwell's accomplices
were tried, condemned and executed, for their share in the murder; and
before their death, they all made Depositions and Confessions which still
exist, and have been printed by Goodall, Anderson, Laing, and others.
Among these are the Examinations, Depositions, and Confessions, of Powrie,
Dalgleish, Hay, Hepburn and Paris; the evidence of Nelson, Darnley's
servant, and the Confessions of Ormiston, and the Earl of Morton. Here,
then, is a tolerably voluminous collection of facts, supplied by those who
were most intimate with Bothwell, and who, if he had any undue intimacy
with the Queen, would in all probability have known something concerning
it, and have had it in their power to throw some light upon the subject.
These Documents, therefore, will be anxiously read by all who aim at
discovering the real perpetrators and devisers of the murder. The result
of their readings will be the discovery, that in every one of these
documents, which is properly authenticated and ascertained to be genuine,
Bothwell, and Bothwell alone, is mentioned as the executor of the deed;
and there is not a syllable in any of them which can be construed to the
disadvantage of the Queen. On the contrary, various particulars are
mentioned, which have a direct tendency to disprove her connexion with
him. Some of these have been already alluded to; but a few of the
circumstances most decisive in the Queen's favour may be recapitulated
here. 1. Hepburn deponed, that as it took longer time to get the powder
into the lower part of Darnley's house than was expected, Bothwell became
impatient, and told them to make haste, for they would not find so much
commodity if the Queen came out. 2. Hepburn and Paris deponed, that
Bothwell got false keys made for opening all the doors of the house in
which Da





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