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.----


Considering the very opposite opinions which have been long entertained,<
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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


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


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


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