Andrew Lang.

A history of Scotland from the Roman occupation (Volume 2) online

. (page 13 of 60)
Online LibraryAndrew LangA history of Scotland from the Roman occupation (Volume 2) → online text (page 13 of 60)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

deny that they even knew such a thing as the Book of Discipline,"
and even disparaged General Assemblies. Mr John Wood, later to
be notable among Mary's enemies, deserted the cause. Lethington
raised the question, afterwards so formidable, of the lawfulness
of conventions of the Kirk. The godly asked for the ratifica-
tion of the Book of Discipline. Lethington successfully opposed
it : meanwhile there was no provision for the preachers. Finally
the bishops and others were allowed to keep two-thirds of their
benefices ; the other third was divided between the queen and the
ministers. The properties were assessed and valued ; Knox leaves
a blank for the amount.^^ In a sermon he declared, " I see two
parts freely given to the devil, and the third part must be divided
betwixt God and the devil." God was the preachers, the devil
was the queen ! Lethington remarked that, " the ministers being
sustained, the queen will not get, at the year's end, enough to buy
her a pair of new shoes." The ministers in general received only
100 marks annually. On the other hand, by this procedure
Mary recognised the right of the preachers to endowment. Lord
James was now made Earl of Mar, and could afford to marry his
true love, a very careful lady.

"While Mar wedded, and Bothwell brawled, and the ministers
starved, and Knox likened the queen to the devil, the shuttle of
diplomacy flew backwards and forwards. The object was to
establish friendly relations between Mary and Elizabeth, and to
secure Mary's recognition as Elizabeth's successor. The patriotism
in Lethington always worked for this end — the union of the Crowns.
Elizabeth, as regarded the deferred ratification of the Treaty of Edin-
burgh, was ready to receive a private letter from Mary. Lethington
strove to bring Cecil into the arrangement for recognising Mary
as heir : he strove in vain. At last Mary wrote, or rather . Leth-
ington wrote for her, from Seton, on January 5, \t^62r^ The
Treaty of Edinburgh, she said, was prejudicial to her legal interest.
She is near descended of the royal English blood ; and there have
been attempts to make her a stranger from it. She insisted on
the compromise ; she must be acknowledged heir, failing Elizabeth
and her lawful issue. She asks for an interview. There the matter


Stood, all kinds of rumours and secret plans being in the air, till
May, when Lethington visited Elizabeth, and all seemed to go
smoothly. But, as we shall see, the interview of the queens was
then postponed, owing to the state of French politics.

In Scotland events of mysterious interest occupied men's minds
during the spring. We have seen that Bothwell, the staunch
though Protestant ally of the Regent and of Mary, had been at feud
with Arran and Ormistoun ever since, in 1559, he intercepted
Ormistoun and relieved him of the money sent by Elizabeth to
the godly. Now Arran had been behaving in an eccentric way
during February 1562, Randolph had "marked something strange
in him " as early as February 21. He was nervous, afraid of some-
thing (perhaps of Bothwell), he wished to return to France, and he
found security, for eight days, in bed ! Randolph heard, however,
that his feud with Bothwell was to be "accorded." On February
28 Randolph surmised that Arran "would play some mad part."-'
On March 25, 1562, Bothwell went to Knox and asked to be
reconciled to, Arran, whose confidant Knox was. Bothwell pro-
fessed repentance for his " former inordinate life," his attack on
Ormistoun, and his usage of Arran. He could not go to Court,
he said, for fear of Arran, without a crowd of armed retainers, and
this was expensive ; so he wished the feud ended. Knox assured
Bothwell of his goodwill, based on old feudal allegiance to his
house. He advised him first to be reconciled to God. Though
Bothwell, about this very time, chased his old foe Ormistoun, and
took his son prisoner, the reconciliation with Arran was brought
about, to the joy of the faithful. The foes met at the Hamilton
chateau, near the fatal Kirk-of- Field, Knox being present. After
a private conversation they parted, and next day met " at the
sermon," and hunted together.

Knox had done a good stroke for his party. Arran was a
Protestant. United with a Protestant Bothwell he might achieve
much for Knox's cause. Hitherto Bothwell, though Protestant,
had been true to the Regent and to Mary. Four days later
(March 29) Arran came to Knox and declared that Bothwell had
announced to him his design to seize Mary and hand her over
to Arran, to keep her in Dumbarton Castle. Mar and Lethington
he would slay, " and so shall Bothwell and I rule all." In Arran's
opinion, this was a mere device to trap him into treason. He
meant to write at once to Mary and Mar (whom Knox now calls


Murray). Knox advised him to be silent. He was innocent, and
to accuse Bothwell, just after reconciliation, would look ill. He
would not be concealing treason, for treason implies " consent and
determination, which I hear upon neither of your parts." Yet
Bothwell had " shown " Arran " that he shall take the queen."
Morton was later executed for concealing Bothwell's purpose,
revealed by Bothwell to him, of killing Darnley. Possibly, on
the question of law, Knox may have been in error.^"- If Knox
perceived, when Arran consulted him, that the nobleman was
insane and his tale an illusion, he probably did well in counsel-
ling him to say no more about the matter. But Arran was not
to be advised : he did write to Mary and Mar, from his father's
house of Kineil, adding that his father, Chatelherault, was
"overmuch bent upon Bothwell's persuasions." Immediately after-
wards, Arran escaped from a lofty window in his father's house of
Kineil, hurried on foot to Grange's house in Fife, and was brought
by Mar to the queen at Falkland, whither Bothwell also came,
"which augmented the former suspicion." Knox wrote to Mar,
" did plainly forewarn him that he perceived the Earl of Arran to
be stricken of frenzy." In a few days Arran was, or affected to be,
distraught, averring that he was Mary's husband. In a Council at
St Andrews (April 15) Chatelherault was obliged to give up Dum-
barton Castle to the queen. Arran had been examined, and
though he now acquitted his father, he steadily maintained the
charge against Bothwell,^^ " The queen both honestly and stoutly
behaves herself," wrote Randolph. She was moved by the tears
of Chatelherault when accused, truly or falsely, by his son. Both-
well was warded in Edinburgh Castle, whence he did not escape
till the end of August 1562.

What was the truth in this mysterious affair ? Mr Froude says
that Arran "began to talk wildly of carrying INIary off from Holy-
rood by force. In the Earl of Bothwell he had a dangerous
companion in discontent. In common with the other Catholic
noblemen, Bothwell had found his services to Mary of Guise
rewarded with apparent neglect." But, of course, Bothwell was not
a Catholic nobleman. 2* Buchanan's story is that Bothwell had
spent all on publicans and harlots. His only hope was in some
bold stroke. He therefore invited Mar to aid him in cutting off
the Hamiltons, and, when Mar refused, approached the Hamiltons
with the scheme for cutting oft" Mar and seizing Mary. The rest


of the Hamiltons approved (Buchanan can believe anything bad
about a Hamilton), but Arran detested and revealed the con-
spiracy. He wrote to Mar, Mar answered, Chatelherault opened
the letter, and shut Arran up in a room high above the ground.
He escaped and went with his tale to Falkland. Apparently Arran
did leave Kineil by letting himself down from a high window, and
this looks as if he were under arrest.^^ It seems that Knox's
advice to Arran, that he should conceal Bothwell's intentions,
was injudicious ; but Arran was certainly mad, and there was no
way of dealing with him.

At the very time of Arran's escapade (March 31) Randolph was
writing that nobody at the Scottish Court resented the imprisonment
of Lennox by Elizabeth. Earlier he had reported his beHef that
Mary would never again wed so young a lad as Lennox's son, Darn-
ley. Elizabeth had discovered the Lennox scheme for this marriage,
and had placed husband and wife in the Tower. Mary did not
resent it ; her politics ran entirely on her hoped-for interview with
Elizabeth. On May 23 Lethington was sent to negotiate this inter-
view. It was opposed by the Catholics, and, though the Protestants
desired it, Knox thundered from the pulpit against the Anglican
religion. The idea that Mary might embrace it " makes them run
almost wild," says Randolph. " Last Sunday Knox gave the cross
and candle such a wipe that as wise and learned as himself wished
him to have held his peace." Knox was "vehement" in favour of
'' hearty love with England," but did not increase Elizabeth's good-
humour by " wipes " at her ritual.^^ INIary as an Anglican would
have been as odious to him as a Catholic Mary.

Mary was now engaged in a double current of affairs. First,
Lethington went from her to Elizabeth (May 23-31); next, a papal
nuncio visited her secretly. Since December 1561 the Pope had
been encouraging Mary to work for the Church. He knew, he said,
that she was secretly doing her best, and would send an envoy and
bishops to the Council of Trent. ^^ The Pope was mistaken. The
Legate, Nicholas Gouda, left Antwerp in June, arriving in Scotland
on the 1 8th. After skulking for a month in Errol, he saw Mary
while the courtiers were at sermon on July 24. She thought it
impracticable to send the bishops to the Council of Trent, but
would rather die than change her creed. She could not grant a
safe-conduct, nor punish any one who murdered the Legate. That
was all. Gouda wrote the report on the Catholics already cited,



and returned to the Continent with a few lads who became Jesuits.-'
To the Council of Trent, Cardinal Guise, and the Pope, Mary wrote
in the same terms as she had spoken to Gouda.^^ She would be
happy to improve the wretched religious condition of her kingdom
by all possible " studies, thought, labour, and effort," even at the
cost of her life. These phrases are not confessions of a secret
conspiracy against Protestantism. It is curious that her adver-
saries do not remark one simple fact. What Mary said to Gouda,
and to the Pope, she had already said to Knox : " Ye are not
the Kirk that I will nourish. I will defend the Kirk of Rome,
for, I think, it is the true Kirk of God." ^^ Mary made no
secret about the matter. She would live and die a Catholic ;
as far as her influence went she would defend and nourish the
Church. This is not the language of a woman engaged in a
" conspiracy," as Mr Froude says, " prepared to hide her
purpose till the moment came to strike, yet with a purpose res-
olutely formed to trample down the Reformation." "^ A queen
who confesses her " purpose " to the hostile Knox cannot, in
fairness, be said to " hide her purpose." ^^ That Mary could
not " defend," still less " nourish," her Church and her co-re-
ligionists was presently to be made manifest.

Almost simultaneous with the Legate's arrival in Scotland, where
his life was not worth a pin's fee, were Lethington's negotiations in
London. To arrange an interview between Elizabeth and Mary
was difficult, and finally proved to be impossible. The diplomacy
of the hour is interesting to the student of character, but too complex
for an exposition in detail. In France during 1561 the House of
Lorraine had been in the shade, and Catherine de' Medici had
been in favour with Conde and the Huguenots, so lately within an
inch of destruction. The Due de Guise, however, had gained to
his cause the Constable (Montmorency), the Marshal de St Andre,
and the King of Navarre. The Grand Prior and de Damville,
returning from their escort of Mary Stuart, had tried to make friends
of the English Court, and in Paris the Due de Guise endeavoured
to conciliate Throckmorton. So far the influence of the Guises was
in favour of the reconciliation between Mary and Elizabeth : it
strengthened them, as against Catherine de' Medici. Mary herself,
in the winter of 1561, had pleaded the Guises' cause with Elizabeth.
To Throckmorton Elizabeth gave orders to favour the Guises, as he
wrote to Mary himself (February 16, 1562).^^ Thus everything


had seemed propitious for the royal interview. But in March 1562
the religious hatreds of France broke into flame. In Scotland the
Calvinists could safely insult their queen's religion and beat her
priests. In France the Guises would tolerate no such indignities
from the Huguenots. The massacre of Vassy, provoked by
Huguenot offences to the Duke or not, was the beginning of
tumults and cruelties wrought by each faction. From Paris
Throckmorton announced a general Popish plot, even in Scotland.^*
As to Scotland, we know no proof of any such design.

Elizabeth cannot have been more amicably inclined towards
Mary, while her uncles were threatening the Protestant cause in
France, nevertheless Lethington was well received in June. Eliza-
beth consented to the interview. Feline amenities and expres-
sions of affection passed between the rival queens. But (June
13) the French Ambassador in London, de Foix, reported thai
Elizabeth's council was hostile.^^ On July i he announced that
the interview was expected to be near York on September 8,
but that Lethington had no written assurance. He did not like
the scheme. Mary would probably marry Don Carlos, and an
Anglo-Spanish combination, if Mary came to the English throne,
would be dangerous to France.^*' But despite the opposition of
the Council, all seemed well till the middle of July. Various
places and dates were spoken of, under the condition that the
state of affairs in France proved favourable. But they did not. In
July Elizabeth sent Sir Henry Sidney to tell Mary that the inter-
view might not be. Guise had broken faith with Conde, the
common people had licence to attack church-wreckers. General
persecution without form of law was initiated by the Guises.
EHzabeth could not leave the Court at such a juncture, but would
meet Mary next summer. The Privy Council of Scotland on
August 15 notified the arrival of this offer, but " would nowise give
Mary counsel to commit her body in England ; and therefore referred
the place of meeting, and the security of her own person, to herself." '^"^
On August 14, at Perth, Mary accepted Elizabeth's new proposal.^^
Sidney reached Edinburgh on July 21, and saw Mary on the 23rd.
She received his message "with watery eyes."^^ It seems probable
that Elizabeth would not have met Mary in any case. She always, in
the end, preferred abstention to action, as her many wooers knew.
During Lethington's absence in London, Lord James had chastised
the Borderers. He entered Hawick on market-day, and many a wife,


" up the water," waited vainly to hear her husband's horse's hoofs
returning. Lord James caught and drowned a score or two of
honest Scotts and ElHots — drowned them for lack of ropes to hang,
and trees to hang them on."^*^

At Edinburgh, while Mary still hoped for the original tryst with
Elizabeth, events not without sequence occurred. The General
Assembly met on June 29. They sent a document to Mary,
warning her against " perishing in her own iniquity," and asking
that adulterers should be punished. The death-penalty was what
the Kirk desired. They pleaded the cause of the poor, from
whom the purveyors of the Kirk's and queen's third extorted their
last penny. " It is a wonder that the sun giveth light and heat
to the earth, where God's name is so frequently called upon and no
mercy (according to His commandment) shown to His creatures."
So much the poor had gained by the Revolution. Public re-
lief, from the teinds and other sources, was demanded — in fact,
a kind of Poor Law. A threat was uttered against Catholics
who, where they had power, "troubled the ministers." The en-
forcement of the penal statutes was called for, but Lethington
denounced the belief that Mary " would raise up Papists and
Papistry again." The threat that the godly would again take the
law into their own hands was resented. Lethington presented an
expurgated version of the Assembly's petition, and nothing came of
it all. (Knox, ii. 337-344.)

Two days before the Assembly, on June 27, a curious affray
occurred. Long ago Ogilvie of Findlater had taken a Gordon lady
for his second wife, and had disinherited James Ogilvie, his son by
his first wife. His lands at this time were in the possession of
John Gordon, a younger son of the fickle Earl of Huntly. Find-
later's reasons for disinheriting his own son are stated thus by
Randolph : The son " had solicited his father's wife to dishonesty,
both with himself and with other men." Again, he plotted to lock
his father up in a dark house [room], and keep him waking (as
witches were used to be) till he went stark mad. On the old
gentleman's death his wife married the heir, John Gordon, who
" locked her up in a close room, where she remains." '^^ From
these family jars came a fight in Edinburgh streets on June 27,
when Lord Ogilvie was wounded, and Gordon was imprisoned.
He fled to his father, Huntly, on July 25. Mary had meditated
a progress to the North before Easter.*- Probably it was only


deferred during the negotiations with England. On August 10
Randolph, who was obliged to accompany her, ruefully reported
her design to go to Inverness.*^ Mary at this moment was in-
sulted by Captain Hepburn, who sent her obscene verses and
drawings, and fled. This was probably a revenge for Bothwell,
still a prisoner in Edinburgh Castle. On August 31 Randolph
announced Mary's presence at Aberdeen. Huntly was out of
favour, and she would not visit him, though his house was but
three miles distant. He had been adverse to the meeting with
Elizabeth, he was notoriously perfidious, his extortions were great,
and he was suspected of advising his son John not to enter him-
self prisoner after his escape from prison. Lastly, when the queen
reached Inverness, on September 9, she asked for the castle, which
was held for Huntly as sheriff. The castle declined to admit her,
but surrendered next day, when the captain was hanged. Mary
stayed for five days at Inverness, and then went to Spynie in Moray,
the house of the bishop. Huntly was expected to resist her at the
passing of the Spey. Mary regretted that she was not a man, " to
know what life it was to lie all night in the fields, or to walk on the
causeway with a jack and knapschalle [steel cap], a Glasgow buckler,
and a broadsword" (September 18).

Huntly, indeed, did send a force under his son John, but they
retreated before the queen's army. Bothwell, who had escaped
from prison, sent in his submission, but " her purpose is to put him
out of the country." Knox thought that Bothwell escaped by
Mary's connivance. On returning to Aberdeen, Mary gave to Mar
the long-coveted earldom of Murray (September 18). To Huntly
she sent, demanding surrender of a cannon which he possessed (Sep-
tember 25). Huntly protested his loyalty to her messenger v^•ith
tears, and Lady Huntly implored her grace in the name of their
common religion. Mary laughed at their entreaties. On October 9,
Mary being still at Aberdeen, Huntly fled from his house of Strath-
bogie. On the 15th he was threatened with outlawry if he did not
instantly surrender. Meanwhile Huntly's eldest son went to Chatel-
herault, and there was talk of his leaguing himself with Bothwell.
Finally, on October 28, Randolph reports that Huntly, with a small
force, has been defeated (at Corrichie), and has died suddenly, as a
prisoner, — " without blow or stroke suddenly he fell from his horse,
stark dead." John Gordon was executed on November 2, Huntly's
body was brought to Edinburgh, young Adam Gordon was spared.


In May 1563 the dead man was tried, and forfeited, with his de-
scendants. His eldest son was condemned, but was released after
Mary's marriage.

This uprooting of her chief Catholic noble, by a Catholic queen,
has been diversely interpreted by historians. We have followed the
account by Randolph, an eyewitness and a man not easily deceived.
Knox, on the other hand, was in Ayrshire, disputing with Quentin
Kennedy and collecting rumours. " Mr Knox," says Randolph,
"has many times given him warning of practisers, but this is the
first that he, or any man, could assure him of." Randolph leaves
no doubt that Mary was intent on her expedition, and became
hostile to Huntly. It was she who refused to visit him at
Strathbogie, "her Council find" the refusal to go "expedient"
(August 31). She has just cause for disliking Huntly of long time
" for manifest tokens of disobedience no longer to be borne " (Sep-
tember 18). "The queen is highly offended." "She will do
something that will be a terror to the others." " I never saw
her merrier, never dismayed, nor never thought so much to be
in her as I find." " She trusts to put the country in good quiet-
ness " (September 23). "She beheved not a word" (of Huntly's
or Lady Huntly's apologies), "and so declared the same herself
unto her Council " (September 30). " She is determined to pro-
ceed against them" (the Gordons) "with all extremity" (October
12). She refused the keys of two castles which Huntly sent in
by a groom. " She said that she had provided other means to
open those doors." "The queen is determined to bring Huntly
to utter confusion." She declined to see Lady Huntly (October
23). On the trial of the prisoners of Corrichie, she "declared
how detestable a part Huntly thought to have used against her, as
to have married her where he would, to have slain her brother"
(November 2).'^^ Such are the comments of an eyewitness.

Turn to Knox. Says Randolph, " He is so full of distrust in all
her [Mary's] doings, as though he were either of God's privy council
that knew how he had determined of her from the beginning, or
that he knew the secrets of her heart so well that neither she did
or could have, for ever, one good thought of God, or of His true
religion." *° In Knox's theory, " one thing is certain, to wit, the
queen was little offended at Bothwell's escaping." Yet Knox
himself, he tells us, induced the Master of Maxwell to write to
Bothwell, bidding him be a good subject, that his crime of break-


ing jail might be pardoned. Randolph says she was determined
to exile Bothwell. Knox holds that when Huntly's eldest son
went to Chatelherault, it was to bid him rebel in the South as he
would in the North, despite " Knox's crying nor preaching." *^ He
admits that Mary was really in anger with Huntly when she refused
to visit Strathbogie. She was " inflamed " when John Gordon cut
off a patrol of hers ; but he doubts if she acted lawfully in thereon
putting Huntly "to the horn." He says that Huntly expected
many of Mary's forces to side with him. The van of Mary's men
fought ill (this seems to be certain), and Knox attributes it to
treachery. Mary " gloomed " on hearing of her victory at Corrichie.
Murray's success " was very venom to her boldened heart against
him for his godliness. ... Of many days she bore no better coun-
tenance, . . . albeit she caused execute John Gordon and divers
others, yet it ivas the destruction of others that she sought^

The real plan was "that Murray should with certain others
have been taken at Strathbogie ; the queen should have been
taken and kept at the devotion of the said Earl of Huntly."
So Mary herself told Randolph ; but Knox, in contradiction of
his own story, avers that " it was the destruction of others that
she sought," as if she had been Huntly's accomplice. Knox's
method of writing history is astonishing. He avers that Mary
received Huntly well, during her journey, at Buchan and Rothie-
may ; that she was " offended " when John Gordon broke promise
to render himself prisoner; that she was later "inflamed" more
and more, — by Huntly's refusal to yield two castles (which he
did yield), and by John Gordon's treacherous attack on her patrol.
All this is wholly inconsistent with a plot between Mary and
Huntly. Yet he writes, "Whether there was any secret practice
and confederacy . . . betwixt the queen herself and Huntly,
we cannot certainly say." *'^ The whole circumstances which
Knox has related, Mary's original attitude to Huntly, and the

Online LibraryAndrew LangA history of Scotland from the Roman occupation (Volume 2) → online text (page 13 of 60)