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repeated offences which " inflamed " her against him, confirm
Randolph's account, and confute the suspicions of the Reformer,
Mr Froude charitably supposes that Mary had a double policy.
If Huntly could defeat Murray, and "set her at Hberty," — well.
If Murray defeated Huntly, and so dropped his suspicions of
herself, — well.*^ "Her brother read her a cruel lesson by com-
pelling her to be present at the execution." The authority is
not given.


These subtleties are futile. Mary was angered by Huntly's
offences, and confirmed in her opinion of him by the confessions
of his son John, and of a retainer of his, Thomas Ker. Murray, of
course, gained by Huntly's fall, and so did the Protestant cause.
We have seen an example of the gratitude of a preacher. Mary
was true to her Church, but she was a queen, and true, so far, to
her duties as a sovereign. George Buchanan tells an interesting
historical romance on the whole subject. The Guises saw that they
could not restore the Church while Murray lived. They trusted in
Huntly. They therefore advised Mary to allure his son, John Gordon
(a married man), with hopes of her hand : he might be useful in a
massacre of Protestants. The Pope and a cardinal urged on Mary
the same advice. Mary showed their letters to Murray, such was
her artfulness.*® The plot being laid, Mary went to Aberdeen :
Lady Huntly, knowing that Mary hated Huntly and Murray equally,
tried to fathom her designs. But Huntly secured Mary by promis-
ing to restore the Church. Mary came into the plot to murder
Murray, only stipulating that John Gordon should first surrender.
But John got together looo men and hung about round Aberdeen.
Murray knew his own danger. The murder was to be done when
Mary and Murray visited Strathbogie. But Huntly would not con-
cede the point of his son's surrender, and to Strathbogie Mary
would not go. Then came the refusal to hand over Inverness
Castle, which turned all Mary's wrath on the head of Huntly, who
still thought that his best plan was to murder Murray. He failed, and
died at Corrichie. The queen wept at John Gordon's execution,
which was cruelly prolonged ; wept, doubtless because she hated
Murray as much as Huntly. ^*^ The reader may now understand
the value of Buchanan's evidence. A tolerant construction of
Mary's conduct makes it clear that she was equally ready to win
Huntly to murder her brother, or to purchase the English crown, as
Mr Froude says, " by Huntly's blood " ! ^^ For it is, of course, im-
possible that she merely designed the overthrow of a perfidious and
rebellious kinglet of the North. If Mary " stooped to folly " and
worse, we must remember that she was for years goaded by Prot-
estant virulence, which turned her every act and word into evil.

The truth about the affair of Huntly seems to be this : Mary,
under Lethington and Mar (Murray), was "running the English
course." The great House of Hamilton, ever ready to change its
creed, was hostile to her, and Huntly, a Catholic, was suspicious,

NOTES. 121

and probably was intriguing with the Hamiltons. Murray and
Lethington may have exaggerated all this, and, under their advice,
Mary swept Huntly from her path of reconciliation with England.
Mary knew how her Catholic friends abroad would look on her
conduct. She bade her uncle, the Cardinal of Lorraine, "make
any excuses if I have failed in any part of my duty towards
religion." ^2 Her letter to the Due de Guise on the whole affair
(January 31, 1563) was burned in a fire at the premises of the
binder to the British Museum.


^ For. Cal. Eliz., iv. 151, 152. ^ Knox, ii. 157-270.

* Hay Fleming, p. 257. * Knox, ii. 270, 276. * Knox, ii. 277-2S6.
® For. Cal. Eliz., iv. 376-379, note; October 24, 25. Bain, Calendar, i. 563.

'' Diurnal, p. 68.

* Randolph to Cecil, September 7, For. Cal. Eliz., iv. 287, note.

^ Randolph to Cecil, September 24, Keith, ii. 85, 86. ^^ Keith, ii. 74.

^^ Throckmorton to Cecil, October 9, For. Cal. Eliz., iv. 362 ; Froude, vi.

^^ Knox, ii. 289-290, and Laing's notes, and For. Cal. Eliz., iv. 352, note.

^^ For. Cal. Eliz., iv. 377, note, October 24, Randolph to Cecil.

'* For. Cal. Eliz., iv. 428, December, Randolph to Cecil; Bain, i. 573-580.

^^ Knox, vi. 133-135 ; cf. Hay Fleming, ii. 262, 263, where the matter is fully

^^ For. Cal. Eliz., iv. 379, 426-429, December 7, 1561.

^" For. Cal. Eliz., iv. 438.

^8 Knox, ii. 293, 294; For. Cal. Eliz., iv. 426-428. ^^ Knox, ii. 294-310.

'<• Labanoff, i. 123- 127. The letter is in Scots.

21 For. Cal. Eliz., iv, 532, 537-539-

^' Knox, ii. 322-327; Randolph to Cecil, March 31, 1562, For. Cal. Eliz., iv.
575' 576.

^ Compare Knox, with Randolph to Cecil, For. Cal. Eliz., iv. 584-586, 628, 629.

^ Froude, vi. 563. ^^ Buchanan, fol. 204 (1582).

^ For. Cal. Eliz., iv. 523, February 12, 1562.

It is at this period, when Mary had returned from St Andrews, that Knox
seems to date his sermon against her dancing. On March i the Huguenots had
insulted the Due de Guise at Vassy while at his prayers, and had pelted him with
stones. His men cut down a number of people indiscriminatingly before they
could be restrained. Mr Froude says that Mary gave a ball on the day when the
news of the affair of Vassy arrived. Knox says that she "danced excessively . . .
because she had received letters that persecution had begun again in France." But
the massacre was on March i, and Mary does not seem to have returned from Fife
to Edinburgh before the 19th of April, or even the beginning of May (Hay Flem-

122 NOTES.

ing, p. 518; Knox, ii. 330, note 7). Consequently the news of Vassy must have
reached her long before, and she did not dance because or just after that affair, as
Mr Froude thinks (Froude, vi. 547, 565). Indeed it was not till December that
Knox preached against Mary's amusements, unless he did so twice or more, which
is probable enough. His dates are often wrong.

^ Raynaldi, January 12, 1562, No. clxxxii. ; Philippson, ii. 39.

2^ Gouda to Laynez, Narratives of Scottish Catholics, pp. 63-79, September 30 ;
Pollen, Papal Negotiations with Queen Mary, pp. 1 13-139.

There are some curious points in Gouda's report. He says that the queen,
addressing Father Edmund Hay, who interpreted, spoke in Scots. He observes
that even her confessor had left her : there is a persistent rumour that Riccio,
later, was her confessor, though dressed as a layman. He fully confirms the Prot-
estant account of the profligacy of the bishops. " I will not describe the way in
which those prelates live, the example they set, or the sort of men they choose as
their successors." Knox heard of Gouda's coming, and raged against him. Father
Crichton adds that the preachers said " it would be a noble sacrifice to God to
wash their hands in Gouda's blood." Ninian Winzet went to Mayence with
Gouda, or perhaps rather earlier.

^ Labanoff, i. 175-180. ^^ Knox, ii. 283. ^^ Froude, vi. 510, 511.

•'^ Compare Hay Fleming, p. 269, for other views.

33 For, Cal. Eliz., iv. 529. 34 Yox. Cal. Eliz., iv. 608, April 17.

■^5 Teulet, Papiers d'Etat, ii. 22. 36 Teulet, ii. 29. 37 Keith, ii. 148-153.

3* Labanoff, i. 150-160. 39 Por. Cal. Eliz., v. 1S2.

•*^ Randolph to Cecil, July 8, For. Cal. Eliz., v. 149. " Market-day" seems to
lis a picturesque traditional accretion.

*^ For. Cal. Eliz., v. 330, September 30.

*^ Hay Fleming, p. 301. ^3 por. Cal. Eliz., v. 232.

4^ For. Cal. Eliz., v. 273, 303, 304, 319, 329, 360, 361, 386, 399.421.

■*» For. Cal. Eliz., v. 560. ^ Knox, ii. 347.

■*'' Knox, ii. 346-359. ^ Froude, vi. 606.

■"^ Perhaps, as Father Pollen suggests, Buchanan is mixing up these events with
a much later affair — the Papal subsidy of 1566, to be paid if Mary slew her chief
Pi ivy Council men, which she resolutely refused to do (Papal Negotiations, p. Ix.)

^'^ Buchanan, foil. 205-209. ^^ Froude, vi. 614.

^^ Pollen. Negotiations, Iviii. 163.



Mary's marriage.


During INIary's expedition to the North Elizabeth had been ill of
smallpox. She had written to Mary explaining that the Guise
persecutions in France had caused her, if not to make war, to
undertake "military operations" in that direction. But she
believed Mary's heart to be so true to her that rivers would
remount their sources ere her Mary changed. On November 14
Maitland explained to Cecil the " perplexed case " of Mary. She
loved Elizabeth, she loved her uncles. They would ask her to
resume the old league "against your invasion." If she refuses,
she loses their support ; if she consents, what does she gain from
England, above all, if Elizabeth dies ? Maitland hears rumours of
an intention to cut Mary off from the English succession. He
asks Cecil's advice. Randolph (November 18) wrote that
Chastelard had arrived, a gentleman of Damville's suite, with
a long letter from his master. " He is well entertained," and he
gave Mary a book of his own verses.^ Now it was, in December,
and not in spring, that Knox preached against Mary for dancing,
on some news, he says, of a Guisian success in France. It cannot
have been, as Mr Froude avers, the massacre of Vassy, an affair of
nine months old. Randolph mentions the dancing, the sermon,
and a meeting of Mary and Knox on December 16 When they
met, Mary asked him to remonstrate with her in private, if he dis-
liked her doings, not to attack her in public. Now, what she
asked was her bare right. The Book of Discipline enjoins that
"the offender ought to be privately admonished to abstain from
all appearance of evil." Knox said that he " was not appointed to
come to every man in particular to show him his offence." Then


he might have sent an elder : ^ in any case he broke the rules of
his own Book of Discipline.

Presently rhymes and dances led Chastelard to his notorious
end. Randolph thought that Mary was too famiUar "with so
abject a varlet" as a French gentleman and poet. Knox says
that " sometimes privily she would steal a kiss from his neck," —
an indefensible licence, certainly, like Elizabeth's tickling the neck
of her Dudley before the eyes of Melville. On the night of
February 12, 1563, Lethington was setting forth on an embassy
to Elizabeth. He, Murray, and two others sat with Mary in her
boudoir till past midnight. Mary's maidens fell asleep in her bed-
room, and Chastelard crept in, and hid where burglars are usually
looked for by ladies. Two grooms of the chamber did look, and
found Chastelard. Mary ordered him away : he followed her to
Fife, and entered her bed-chamber. This he had done once too
often : he was executed at St Andrews, near the Whyte-Melville
fountain of to-day, on February 22. Of his behaviour on the
scaffold contending accounts are given. Lethington told de
Quadra that French people of rank had sent Chastelard to try
to compromise Mary.^ The name of his instigator Lethington
gave as Madame de Curosot ; the other names Mary would not
allow to be written. Madame de Guise gave the name to the
Venetian Ambassador as "Madame de Cursolles."* Chantonnay
gave it to Philip IL as " Madame de Curosot." ^ Curosot is the
Spanish cipher name for Chatillon, and the wife of the Admiral
Coligny is intended, or the real name is de Cursol or Crusolles,
later Duchesse d'Uzes. Chastelard was, doubtless, a Huguenot,
if we believe Knox's story that he lamented his " declining from
the truth of God" — that is, Calvinism. Knox says that he was
executed " that his tongue should not utter the secrets of our
queen." ^ Mr Froude says that Maitland's story is "an incredible
lie."^ Knox's is a charitable theory. ~ If we believe Randolph,
Mary had herself to blame for the fatuity of a minor poet. But,
from Knox's point of view, so experienced a Messalina should have
managed her intrigues more adroitly.

While Mary was being compromised by Chastelard, Lethington
was on his way to London. Knox was not consulted, as of old,
about his mission, and did not know its nature, as he tells us.
Lethington was to negotiate as to Mary's succession, in London :
in France also he was to negotiate, but we have not his instructions
for his French mission. In England he was to find out the result


of the recent parliamentary discussion as to Elizabeth's heir. She
had refused to name her successor, but the House was clearly op-
posed to a Catholic claimant. In fact, had Elizabeth gratified the
Scots by naming their queen, Mary would have needed strong
Catholic backing. That she could only receive from Spain, hence
arose the plan managed by Lethington for wedding her, not to the
Archduke, but to Don Carlos. This would be equally unwelcome
to Elizabeth, to Catherine de' Medici, and to Knox. The preachers,
letting politics ooze from their sermons into their prayers, implored
the Deity, before Lethington had reached London, " to keep us
from the bondage of strangers ; and, for Mary, as much in effect
as that God will either turn her heart or send her short life. Of
what charity or spirit this proceedeth, I leave to be discussed unto
the great divines," says Randolph.^

From London (March 18) de Quadra, the Spanish Ambassador,
reported Lethington's ideas to Philip. Lethington said that he had
made arrangement with Cecil, the old arrangement : Mary was to
drop her claim to the English title : Elizabeth was to acknowledge
Mary. But then had come Poltrot's pistol-shot, and the death of
the Due de Guise. With the fall of Mary's most powerful friend,
and the deaths or disasters of her other Lorraine uncles, the agree-
ment was ended. As to Mary's marriage, she would never wed a
Protestant, nor, under any conditions, marry at the will of Eliza-
beth. She did not esteem the Archduke Charles of Austria, and, in
short, aimed at the hand of Don Carlos. Her nobles would permit
it, in the national interests, and the English Catholics were a strong
party. Five days later, Lethington told de Quadra that Elizabeth
proposed Lord Robert Dudley, her minion, for Mary's hand. This
was a deliberate insult. Dudley was the worst man Cecil knew :
he was ready to adopt any creed for his own advancement : a
political traitor, with a pedigree recent and disgraced, and with a
private character stained by his wife's death, he was no husband
for a Stuart queen. Moreover, it is to the last degree improbable
that Elizabeth would have parted from the object of her enigmatic
passion. Such a proposal could only have come from an irrecon-
cilable woman. De Quadra said that even Mary's own subjects
preferred Lennox's son, Henry Darnley. Philip of Spain lent
himself to Lethington's plan, Lethington having persuaded de
Quadra that Mary might marry the King of France, and then,
in the nick of time, de Quadra died. By August 20, Elizabeth,
in her instructions to Randolph, laid her interdict on the marriage


with the Archduke Charles of Austria, or with any Catholic

The whole of these negotiations for Mary's marriage were an
inextricable tangle of duplicities. The Emperor was being deceived
as to Mary's readiness to marry the Archduke. Mary was to be
deceived by Elizabeth's offer of Leicester. De Quadra and PhiHp
were gulled by Lethington as to the prospect of a marriage between
Mary and Charles IX. of France. Finally, Kirkcaldy of Grange, on
April 30, 1564, wrote to Randolph that there was no sincerity even
in Lethington's attempt to arrange the Spanish marriage for Mary,
a thing so detestable to Protestants. " The queen-mother hath
written to our queen, that Lethington said to her, that all that was
spoken of the marriage with Spain was done to cause England grant
to our desires," — namely, to recognise Mary as EHzabeth's suc-
cessor.^^ Now Lethington may have said this to deceive Catherine,
or, conceivably, what he said was true, and he was gulling Philip
and de Quadra by two separate and simultaneous impostures.
Lethington was " very capable of having it happen to him," and
was an edifying Minister of a young queen.

In criticising Mary's conduct henceforth, it must be remembered
that her high spirit was being fretted by rebuke, menace, and inter-
ference from every side. The loves of monarchs are always thwarted
and controlled : it is a sore price that they pay for their thorny
crowns. No doubt they should pay it dutifully. But a beautiful
high-born girl of twenty-one is apt to resent an eternity of threats and
lectures. At Easter the Archbishop and others had celebrated the
rites of her faith, and the Brethren avowed their intention to take the
law into their own hands. Some priests were seized. They had
been ministering to their flocks, " some in secret houses, some in
barns, others in woods and hills." They were imprisoned.^" Some
priests, as Quentin Kennedy, were threatened with lynch law. Mary
sent for Knox, who met her at Lochleven. He quoted Samuel and
Agag : Agag was the Archbishop, Knox was Samuel. " Phyneas
was no magistrat, and yet feared he not to stryck Cosby and Zimbrye
in the verray act of fylthie fornicatioun." Knox himself had just sat
on the preacher Paul Methven, who had an ancient woman to wife,
and a young maid-servant. Paul was excommunicated but not put
to death. Mary left Knox, somewhat offended, but next morning
talked to him of other matters. She said that Ruthven was " known
to use enchantment," and had given her a ring, which she thought


ominous. Lethington had placed Ruthven on the Privy Council :
Mary resented this, and Randolph tells Cecil that Murray dreaded
Ruthven's sorcery.^^ Mary next warned Knox against allowing
Gordon, later Bishop of Galloway, to be elected superintendent.
Knox said that God would not suffer His Church to be deceived.
But, in fact, Gordon had bribed several of the electors, as Knox
later found out. Gordon, none the less, continued to "plant and
visit the churches of that diocese."^* So early was the primitive
simplicity of the Kirk invaded by " horrid facts," as Knox calls
Methven's offence. Lastly, Mary asked Knox to reconcile Argyll
and his wife, and promised to do some justice on the prelates of her
own Church. They parted peaceably, and tradition says that the
queen gave Knox a beautiful watch.

On May 26 Parliament met. The corpse of Huntly and the living
Sutherland, as involved in his treason, were condemned. Mary, of
course, wore her robes, other ladies were in their best, and the
preachers spoke boldly against "the targeting of their tails," "the
stinking pride of women." The people, however, cried, "God save
that sweet face ! " Alas, for the sweet face, and for the girl who,
weekly and daily, was thwarted and denounced from the infallible
pulpit ! From the rites of her creed to the dances of her drawing-
room ; from the trimming of her skirt to the bestowal of her
hand, Mary was eternally checked and scolded. Recklessness was
the necessary result, and when recklessness met passion, we may and
do condemn, but we cannot affect not to understand the results.
Before Parliament met, on May 26, measures were taken against the
Catholics. The Archbishop and others were imprisoned for doing
what it was their duty, and their point of honour, to have done.
During the session the preaching party won some legislative triumphs.
The penalty of death was decreed against breakers of the Seventh
Commandment. Christ's leniency to the sinful woman did not com-
mend itself to the Reformers. The penalty of death was also decreed
against witches, and this abominable law was carried into effect fre-
quently, for four generations, both under Presbyterianism and Epis-
copacy. Manses and glebes were to be restored to the ministers,
and a reforming commission was to inspect the University of St
Andrews. Parish kirks were to be repaired, and cruives or coops,
and other traps for salmon, were condemned. ^^

Knox preached against the backsliding lords. Had not God's
Spirit in Knox promised them victory. Had he not prophesied


their success when he stood by them in their " most extreme
dangers," at Perth, at Cupar Moor (where they were in over-
whelming numbers), and on "the dark and dolorous night, wherein
ye all, my Lords, with shame and fear, fled from this town." It
was all true ; Knox had been the heart of the wars of the Con-
gregation. But for him they would have quailed and scattered
before the Regent. And now, again, they were "fleeing from
Christ's banner." Their very religion, some said, was not estab-
lished by a lawful Parliament (as it emphatically was not). This
was the opinion of Sinclair, Dean of Restalrig, and as he afterwards
rose to the highest judicial rank as Lord President, his opinion is
worth noting. "To end all" of his harangue, Knox turned to
the queen's marriage. He knew, or guessed, as Randolph had
done months before, that Don Carlos was to be the man. " Duckis,
brethren to Emperouris and Kingis, strive for all the best game ; but
this, my Lordis, will I say (note the day and beare witnesse after),
whensoever the Nobilitie of Scotland, professing the Lord Jesus,
consentis that ane infidell (and all papistis are infidellis) shalbe head
to your Soverane, ye do so far as in ye lyeth to banishe Christe Jesus
from this Realme." "These words, and this manner of speaking,
were deemed intolerable " by all parties, says Knox, and, for a year
and a-half, he and Murray were not on speaking terms. The sermon,
says Mr Froude, " contained but a plain poUtical truth of which
Knox happened to be the exponent." The political truth is that
recognised in our present constitution. A Protestant realm must
have a Protestant on the throne. But was it necessary to say that
" all Papists are infidels " ? And is not the danger to liberty from
" inspired " pulpiteers as great as that from a Catholic prince ? Mary
was informed of Knox's sermon. She sent for him ; he was accom-
panied by Lord Ochiltrie, whose daughter he was courting. In
January Randolph had written that " Mr Knox shall marry a very
near kinswoman of the Duke's (Chatelherault), " a lord's daughter,
a young lass not above sixteen years of age." " Ochiltrie," says Mr
Hume Brown, " was a person of little standing or consequence."
He was of the royal blood and name, near akin to Chatelherault,
and sat in the Privy Council. The disparity of rank between the
lovers was as great as the disparity of age, Knox being about fifty-
nine. Catholic pasquils accused him of winning the girl's heart by
sorcery. This may imply that she was not constrained in her choice,
but was honestly in love with the Reformer. After his death she


married one of the leading ruffians of the age, Andrew Ker of
Faldonside on Tweed.

Secure in his passion for a still younger beauty than his queen,
Knox was doubly safe from the enchantments of Mary. In their
interview the "owling" of the queen ("howling" is meant) pro-
duced no effect on Knox, Mary asked, as before, why, if he
must admonish her, he could not do so in private, the rule of
the Book of Discipline. As to her " owling," Knox said, " I
never delighted in the weeping of any of God's creatures ; yea, I
can scarcely well abide the tears of my own boys, whom my own
hand corrects, much less can I rejoice in your majesty's weep-
ing." His right to interfere was that of "a subject born" within
the commonwealth. As there was then no newspaper press, and
no " platform," the pulpit alone was the place where ordinary
subjects could vent their ideas. Unhappily they claimed to be
inspired, and hence arose the later war of Kirk and State. As
to Don Carlos, if we believe Knox, Lethington, returning in June,
denied that Mary had ever dreamed of him for a husband. In
England, Knox tells us, Lethington worked to release Bothwell,
who, some time after his flight in 1562, had been caught at sea
and held a prisoner. According to Randolph, Bothwell had
several times tried to murder Lethington : even now Randolph
thought Mary too lenient to Bothwell. But his imprisonment,
however deserved, had been unjust : there was no evidence against
him except Arran's word, and Arran was more or less insane.
Elizabeth had even less right to detain him. At Mary's request
he was released early in 1564, and joined the Scots Guard in
France. Knox adds that Lethington had been labouring for the
return of Lennox. He had certainly opposed Lennox's claims to
rank before Chatelherault, and his theory of the illegitimacy of
the head of the Hamiltons.

Whatever part Lethington played, on June 16 EUzabeth re-

Online LibraryAndrew LangA history of Scotland from the Roman occupation (Volume 2) → online text (page 14 of 60)