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Mary's Marriage Personal Appearance And Popularity

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

A Tangle

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

Occurrences Immediately Preceding Darnley's Death

The Little Waif

Paul's Walk



Mary's Birth And Subsequent Residence At The French Court

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Return To Scotland

My Lady's Remorse

The Bewitched Whistle

Hunting Down The Deer

Mary's Eighteen Years' Captivity

Queen Mary's Presence Chamber

Mary's Reception In England And The Conferences At York And Westminster

The Love Token

Before The Commissioners

The Ebbing Well

The Long Captivity


Dumbarton Castle.--The situation and aspect.--Attempt to
retreat to Dumbarton.--Mary's forces defeated.--Mary's
flight.--Dundrennan.--Consultations.--Carlisle Castle.--Mary's
message to the governor.--Lowther.--Mary's reception at the
castle.--Is Mary a guest or a prisoner?--Precautions for
guarding her.--Elizabeth's hypocrisy.--Dishonorable
proposal.--Removal.--Separation from friends.--Proposed
trial.--Opening of the court.--Adjourned to London.--Failure
of the trial.--Mary's indignant pride.--Elizabeth's negotiations
with Murray.--Their failure.--Cruel treatment of Lady
Hamilton.--Hamilton resolves on revenge.--Hamilton's plans.--Death
of Murray.--Hamilton's flight.--Mary's grief.--Duke of Norfolk
beheaded.--Mary's unhappy situation.--Mary almost forgotten in
her captivity.

Hamilton, which had been thus far the queen's place of rendezvous,
was a palace rather than a castle, and therefore not a place of
defense. It was situated, as has been already stated, on the River
Clyde, above Glasgow; that is, toward the southeast of it, the
River Clyde flowing toward the northwest. The Castle of Dumbarton,
which has already been mentioned as the place from which Mary
embarked for France in her early childhood, was below Glasgow, on the
northern shore of the river. It stands there still in good repair,
and is well garrisoned; it crowns a rock which rises abruptly from
the midst of a comparatively level country, smiling with villages and
cultivated fields, and frowns sternly upon the peaceful steamers and
merchant ships which are continually gliding along under its guns, up
and down the Clyde.

Queen Mary concluded to move forward to Dumbarton, it being a place
of greater safety than Hamilton. Murray gathered his forces to
intercept her march. The two armies met near Glasgow, as the queen
was moving westward, down the river. There was a piece of rising
ground between them, which each party was eager to ascend before the
other should reach it. The leader of the forces on Murray's side
ordered every horseman to take up a foot-soldier behind him, and ride
with all speed to the top of the hill. By this means the great body
of Murray's troops were put in possession of the vantage ground. The
queen's forces took post on another rising ground, less favorable, at
a little distance. The place was called Langside. A cannonading was
soon commenced, and a general battle ensued. Mary watched the
progress of it with intense emotions. Her forces began soon to give
way, and before many hours they were retreating in all directions,
the whole country being soon covered with the awful spectacles which
are afforded by one terrified and panic-stricken army flying before
the furious and triumphant rage of another. Mary gazed on the scene
in an agony of grief and despair.

A few faithful friends kept near her side, and told her that she must
hurry away. They turned to the southward, and rode away from the
ground. They pressed on as rapidly as possible toward the southern
coast, thinking that the only safety for Mary now was for her to make
her escape from the country altogether, and go either to England or
to France, in hopes of obtaining foreign aid to enable her to recover
her throne. They at length reached the sea-coast. Mary was received
into an abbey called Dundrennan, not far from the English frontier.
Here she remained, with a few nobles and a small body of attendants,
for two days, spending the time in anxious consultations to determine
what should be done. Mary herself was in favor of going to England,
and appealing to Elizabeth for protection and help. Her friends and
advisers, knowing Elizabeth perhaps better than Mary did, recommended
that she should sail for France, in hopes of awakening sympathy
there. But Mary, as we might naturally have expected, considering the
circumstances under which she left that country, found herself
extremely unwilling to go there as a fugitive and a suppliant. It was
decided, finally, to go to England.

The nearest stronghold in England was Carlisle Castle, which was not
very far from the frontier. The boundary between the two kingdoms is
formed here by the Solway Frith, a broad arm of the sea. Dundrennan
Abbey, to which Mary had retreated, was near the town of
Kirkcudbright, which is, of course, on the northern side of the
Frith; it is also near the sea. Carlisle is further up the Frith,
near where the River Solway empties into it, and is twenty or thirty
miles from the shore.

Mary sent a messenger to the governor of the castle at Carlisle to
inquire whether he would receive and protect her. She could not,
however, wait for an answer to this message, as the country was all
in commotion, and she was exposed to an attack at any time from
Murray's forces, in which case, even if they should not succeed in
taking her captive, they might effectually cut off her retreat from
Scottish ground. She accordingly determined to proceed immediately,
and receive the answer from the governor of the castle on the way.
She set out on the 16th of May. Eighteen or twenty persons
constituted her train. This was all that remained to her of her army
of six thousand men. She proceeded to the shore. They provided a
fishing-boat for the voyage, furnishing it as comfortably for her as
circumstances would admit. She embarked, and sailed along the coast,
eastward, up the Frith, for about eighteen miles, gazing mournfully
upon the receding shore of her native land--receding, in fact, now
from her view forever. They landed at the most convenient port for
reaching Carlisle, intending to take the remainder of the journey by

In the mean time, the messenger, on his arrival at Carlisle, found
that the governor had gone to London. His second in rank, whom he had
left in command, immediately sent off an express after him to inform
him of the event. The name of this lieutenant-governor was Lowther.
Lowther did all in Mary's favor that it was in his power to do. He
directed the messenger to inform her that he had sent to London for
instructions from Elizabeth, but that, in the mean time, she would be
a welcome guest in his castle, and that he would defend her there
from all her enemies. He then sent around to all the nobles and men
of distinction in the neighborhood, informing them of the arrival of
the distinguished visitor, and having assembled them, they proceeded
together toward the coast to meet and receive the unhappy fugitive
with the honors becoming her rank, though such honors must have
seemed little else than a mockery in her present condition.

Mary was received at the castle as an honored guest. It is, however,
a curious circumstance, that, in respect to the reception of princes
and queens in royal castles, there is little or no distinction
between the ceremonies which mark the honored guest and those which
attend the helpless captive. Mary had a great many friends at first,
who came out of Scotland to visit her. The authorities ordered
repairs to be commenced upon the castle, to fit it more suitably for
so distinguished an inmate, and, in consequence of the making of
these repairs, they found it inconvenient to admit visitors. Of
course, Mary, being a mere guest, could not complain. She wanted to
take a walk beyond the limits of the castle, upon a green to which
there was access through a postern gate. Certainly: the governor made
no objection to such a walk, but sent twenty or thirty armed men to
accompany her. They might be considered either as an honorary escort,
or as a guard to watch her movements, to prevent her escape, and to
secure her return. At one time she proposed to go a-hunting. They
allowed her to go, properly attended. On her return, however, the
officer reported to his superior that she was so admirable in her
horsemanship, and could ride with so much fearlessness and speed,
that he thought it might be possible for a body of her friends to
come and carry her off, on some such occasion, back across the
frontier. So they determined to tell Mary, when she wished to hunt
again, that they thought it not safe for her to go out on such
excursions, as her enemies might make a sudden invasion and carry
her away. The precautions would be just the same to protect Mary from
her enemies as to keep her from her friends.

Elizabeth sent her captive cousin very kind and condoling messages,
dispatching, however, by the same messenger stringent orders to the
commander of the castle to be sure and keep her safely. Mary asked
for an interview with Elizabeth. Elizabeth's officers replied that
she could not properly admit Mary to a personal interview until she
had been, in some way or other, cleared of the suspicion which
attached to her in respect to the murder of Darnley. They proposed,
moreover, that Mary should consent to have that question examined
before some sort of court which Elizabeth might constitute for this
purpose. Now it is a special point of honor among all sovereign
kings and queens, throughout the civilized world, that they can,
technically, do no wrong; that they can not in any way be brought to
trial; and especially that they can not be, by any means or in any
way, amenable to each other. Mary refused to acknowledge any English
jurisdiction whatever in respect to any charges brought against her,
a sovereign queen of Scotland.

Elizabeth removed her prisoner to another castle further from the
frontier than Carlisle, in order to place her in a situation where
she would be more safe from her enemies. It was not convenient to
lodge so many of her attendants at these new quarters as in the other
fortress, and several were dismissed. Additional obstructions were
thrown in the way of her seeing friends and visitors from Scotland.
Mary found her situation growing every day more and more helpless and
desolate. Elizabeth urged continually upon her the necessity of
having the points at issue between herself and Murray examined by a
commissioner, artfully putting it on the ground, not of a trial of
Mary, but a calling of Murray to account, by Mary, for his
usurpation. At last, harassed and worn down, and finding no ray of
hope coming to her from any quarter, she consented. Elizabeth
constituted such a court, which was to meet at York, a large and
ancient city in the north of England. Murray was to appear there in
person, with other lords associated with him. Mary appointed
commissioners to appear for her; and the two parties went into court,
each thinking that it was the other which was accused and on trial.

The court assembled, and, after being opened with great parade and
ceremony, commenced the investigation of the questions at issue,
which led, of course, to endless criminations and recriminations, the
ground covering the whole history of Mary's career in Scotland. They
went on for some weeks in this hopeless labyrinth, until, at length,
Murray produced the famous letters alleged to have been written by
Mary to Bothwell before Darnley's murder, as a part of the evidence,
and charged Mary, on the strength of this evidence, with having been
an abettor in the murder. Elizabeth, finding that the affair was
becoming, as in fact she wished it to become, more and more involved,
and wishing to get Mary more and more entangled in it, and to draw
her still further into her power, ordered the conference, as the
court was called, to be adjourned to London. Here things took such a
turn that Mary complained that she was herself treated in so unjust a
manner, and Murray and his cause were allowed so many unfair
advantages, that she could not allow the discussion on her part to
continue. The conference was accordingly broken up, each party
charging the other with being the cause of the interruption.

Murray returned to Scotland to resume his government there. Mary was
held a closer captive than ever. She sent to Elizabeth asking her to
remove these restraints, and allow her to depart either to her own
country or to France. Elizabeth replied that she could not,
considering all the circumstances of the case, allow her to leave
England; but that, if she would give up all claims to the government
of Scotland to her son, the young prince, she might remain in peace
in England. Mary replied that she would suffer death a thousand
times rather than dishonor herself in the eyes of the world by
abandoning, in such a way, her rights as a sovereign. The last words
which she should speak, she said, should be those of the Queen of

Elizabeth therefore considered that she had no alternative left but
to keep Mary a prisoner. She accordingly retained her for some time
in confinement, but she soon found that such a charge was a serious
incumbrance to her, and one not unattended with danger. The
disaffected in her own realm were beginning to form plots, and to
consider whether they could not, in some way or other, make use of
Mary's claims to the English crown to aid them. Finally, Elizabeth
came to the conclusion, when she had become a little satiated with
the feeling, at first so delightful, of having Mary in her power,
that, after all, it would be quite as convenient to have her
imprisoned in Scotland, and she opened a negotiation with Murray for
delivering Mary into his hands. He was, on his part, to agree to save
her life, and to keep her a close prisoner, and he was to deliver
hostages to Elizabeth as security for the fulfillment of these

Various difficulties, however, occurred in the way of the
accomplishment of these plans, and before the arrangement was finally
completed, it was cut suddenly short by Murray's miserable end. One
of the Hamiltons, who had been with Mary at Langside, was taken
prisoner after the battle. Murray, who, of course, as the legally
constituted regent in the name of James, considered himself as
representing the royal authority of the kingdom, regarded these
prisoners as rebels taken in the act of insurrection against their
sovereign. They were condemned to death, but finally were pardoned at
the place of execution. Their estates were, however, confiscated, and
given to the followers and favorites of Murray.

One of these men, in taking possession of the house of Hamilton, with
a cruel brutality characteristic of the times, turned Hamilton's
family out abruptly in a cold night--perhaps exasperated by
resistance which he may have encountered. The wife of Hamilton, it is
said, was sent out naked; but the expression means, probably, very
insufficiently clothed for such an exposure. At any rate, the unhappy
outcast wandered about, half frantic with anger and terror, until,
before morning, she was wholly frantic and insane. To have such a
calamity brought upon him in consequence merely of his fidelity to
his queen, was, as the bereaved and wretched husband thought, an
injury not to be borne. He considered Murray the responsible author
of these miseries, and silently and calmly resolved on a terrible

Murray was making a progress through the country, traveling in state
with a great retinue, and was to pass through Linlithgow. There is a
town of that name close by the palace. Hamilton provided himself with
a room in one of the houses on the principal street, through which he
knew that Murray must pass. He had a fleet horse ready for him at the
back door. The front door was barricaded. There was a sort of balcony
or gallery projecting toward the street, with a window in it. He
stationed himself here, having carefully taken every precaution to
prevent his being seen from the street, or overheard in his
movements. Murray lodged in the town during the night, and Hamilton
posted himself in his ambuscade the next morning, armed with a gun.

The town was thronged, and Murray, on issuing from his lodging,
escorted by his cavalcade, found the streets crowded with spectators.
He made his way slowly, on account of the throng. When he arrived at
the proper point, Hamilton took his aim in a cool and deliberate
manner, screened from observation by black cloths with which he had
darkened his hiding-place. He fired. The ball passed through the body
of the regent, and thence, descending as it went, killed a horse on
the other side of him. Murray fell. There was a universal outcry of
surprise and fear. They made an onset upon the house from which the
shot had been fired. The door was strongly barricaded. Before they
could get the means to force an entrance, Hamilton was on his horse
and far away. The regent was carried to his lodgings, and died that

Murray was Queen Mary's half brother, and the connection of his
fortunes with hers, considered in respect to its intimacy and the
length of its duration, was, on the whole, greater than that of any
other individual. He may be said to have governed Scotland, in
reality, during the whole of Mary's nominal reign, first as her
minister and friend, and afterward as her competitor and foe. He was,
at any rate, during most of her life, her nearest relative and her
most constant companion, and Mary mourned his death with many tears.

There was a great nobleman in England, named the Duke of Norfolk, who
had vast estates, and was regarded as the greatest subject in the
realm. He was a Catholic. Among the other countless schemes and plots
to which Mary's presence in England gave rise, he formed a plan of
marrying her, and, through her claim to the crown and by the help of
the Catholics, to overturn the government of Elizabeth. He entered
into negotiations with Mary, and she consented to become his wife,
without, however, as she says, being a party to his political
schemes. His plots were discovered; he was imprisoned, tried, and
beheaded. Mary was accused of sharing the guilt of his treason. She
denied this. She was not very vigorously proceeded against, but she
suffered in the event of the affair another sad disappointment of her
hopes of liberty, and her confinement became more strict and absolute
than ever.

Still she had quite a numerous retinue of attendants. Many of her
former friends were allowed to continue with her. Jane Kennedy, who
had escaped with her from Loch Leven, remained in her service. She
was removed from castle to castle, at Elizabeth's orders, to diminish
the probability of the forming and maturing of plans of escape. She
amused herself sometimes in embroidery and similar pursuits, and
sometimes she pined and languished under the pressure of her sorrows
and woes. Sixteen or eighteen years passed away in this manner. She
was almost forgotten. Very exciting public events were taking place
in England and in Scotland, and the name of the poor captive queen
at length seemed to pass from men's minds, except so far as it was
whispered secretly in plots and intrigues.

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