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

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terrible blow to Mary's cause. "^^ Elizabeth's obvious policy was
now the old Tudor policy, so well conducted by Dacre, under
Henry VIII. She must keep Scotland distracted, and to that end
sent Randolph to Edinburgh. On the first news of the Regent's
death, and before Randolph arrived, the horror of the cold-blooded
crime had gone near to reconciling Scottish parties in opposition to
the Hamilton assassins. Hunsdon, from Berwick, reported that
Kirkcaldy and Lethington were reconciled to Morton : the recon-
ciliation, as far as Lethington and Morton were concerned, was
mere appearance. Between these old allies was now an inveterate
hatred. Morton was asking Elizabeth to send down Lennox, who
could at least be relied on not to spare the slayers of his son.^o He
and his impetuous wife (afterwards so strangely reconciled to Mary)
were even asking Elizabeth to secure the person of their grandson,
the child James VI. ^^

On February 14, Grange bore the banner in front of the funeral
procession of Murray, whose body was laid to rest where Argyll
(Gillespie Gruamach) and the limbs of Montrose are lying, in St
Giles's Church. Knox preached the sermon : a prayer of his
preserves its spirit. Murray had no fault but clemency : he had not
put to death Mary and her accomplices. " Oppose thy power, O
Lord, to the pride of that cruel murderess of her own husband ;
confound her faction and their subtle enterprises, of what estate and
condition soever they be." ^^ The Hamiltons and Argyll, mean-
while, held a counter-meeting at Glasgow, and Drury advised
Randolph to " bait with a golden hook," which he did when he
arrived in Edinburgh, distributing bribes. Buchanan published his
' Admonition to the True Lords,' raking up all that could be said,
truly or falsely, against the Hamiltons, since the time of the ruffian
Sir James Hamilton of Finnart.^^ Randolph's instructions contained
a- hint that Elizabeth wished to secure James's person,^'* which
neither party was likely to grant. The lords heard Lethington,
who in " ane perfite orratione " cleared himself of any share in
Murray's death, and was readmitted to the Council — not, we may
presume, to the pleasure of Knox.^^ The lords who had gathered
to Murray's funeral withdrew, being of different minds, and fixed a
new convention for March 24. Elizabeth bade Randolph give


assurances that she would never restore Mary, but no one trusted

On February 25 the two parties tried to reach an understanding.
Argyll and Boyd met Lethington and Morton at Dalkeith " anent
the hame-bringing of the queen." But Randolph heard of the
conclave, apparently from Archibald Douglas, Morton's agent, one
of Darnley's murderers, and hurried to Dalkeith. The conclave then
broke up : Randolph succeeded in making civil war inevitable. ^^
He himself was in high spirits, as always when mischief was in hand.
He reported that Lethington was very ill, "his legs clean gone,"
and was dreading the cloud from the south, "which, if it falleth
in this country, wrecketh both him and all his family." The cloud
was Lennox, who had a blood-feud with Lethington, to avenge
Darnley (March i).^'' Randolph was taunted with the approach of
aid from T'fance : the despatches of La Mothe-Eenelon prove that
this was corrtemplated. But it was the old story of Stuart hopes
from France. Still, the hopejs, and the arrival of-'Vefac from
Charles IX., had theit -effect. By March 17 the two factions of
lords at Edinburgh broke up : the queen's men used to meet at
" the school," Lethington's rooms ; the king's men at Morton's
house. Elizabeth announced (March 18) that Sussex was about to
invade Scotland, to punish Buccleuch and Ferniehirst and the
abettors of her rebels. Her promises on one hand, those of France
on the other, helped the intrigues of Randolph. Both parties went
to muster their forces : the queen's lords decided to meet at
Linlithgow iru^ApdJ.- Lethington (March 29) warned Leicester
that Elizabeth's action would drive his party into the arms of
France. On April 5 Randolph withdrew to Berwick "for safety" :
he had succeeded ; Scotland was in two hostile camps, and the
great devastations by Sussex, with the horrors of " the Douglas wars,"
were soon to begin.

By mid-April Sussex was about to devastate the land, and a re-
monstrance from Mary's party in Edinburgh was of no avail.
Lennox offered his services to Elizabeth : they were presently
accepted. By April 2 1 Sussex was destroying Branxholme, or so
much of it as Buccleuch had left unburned. These ferocities — he
laid all the Border waste — appear to have determined Kirkcaldy :
he set Lord Herries free, and now, as Sussex writes, became
"vehemently suspected of his fellows," the king's party, with whom
he had not yet absolutely broken. ^^ Elizabeth could not make up


her mind to acknowledge James VL as King of Scotland, and the
ravages of Sussex, with Elizabeth's fickleness, were deemed not un-
likely to unite the Scots. Morton now intended to have advanced
from Dalkeith to Edinburgh in James's name, and as the ally of
Sussex. But he was deterred by a threat from Kirkcaldy, who in
the end of April "was clean revolted" from James's party, "with-
out any further hope." ^^ This was a great accession to Mary's
side, for Kirkcaldy was highly esteemed as a commander : he had
previously been Mary's inveterate opponent, and he was more res-
pected for honesty than perhaps he deserved. Morton declared
that Mary bought him by the gift of the revenues of St Andrews,
vacant by the death of Murray, — " a device of Lethington, {or Judas
non dormif." ^° Kirkcaldy denied the report to Randolph, who had
bantered him on being a prior. He still professed loyalty to James.

Meanwhile Scrope harried Herries's western estates. Home Castle
was taken, and by April 27 Lennox was at Berwick with forces to
wreak his feudal vengeance on the Hamiltons.

Elizabeth (April 30) began to fear the intervention of France and
Spain, and told Sussex to comfort and encourage her party in Scot-
land. But not even now would she promise to Morton that she
would acknowledge the child king.^^ The laird of Drumquhassel
was sent to Sussex to urge firmer resolutions on Elizabeth. The
Lennox MSS. also prove that he had a private mission. He was to
endeavour to obtain the signature of Lethington to the band for
Darnley's murder, which Mary was knov/n or believed to possess.

On May 14 "the cloud from the south" appeared: Lennox rode
from Berwick to Edinburgh with 1600 Englishmen, led by Drury.
They marched to Glasgow and parleyed with Dumbarton Castle.
Meanwhile Lethington, as Sussex heard, was threatening to make
Elizabeth " sit up," — " sytt on her tayle and whyne." He believed
in French intervention. He also denied to Leicester that he had
spoken unseemly words, and affirmed that the strength of the nobles
was united to aid Mary (May 17). But Lennox and his English
drove Chatelherault from the Castle of Glasgow, where Mary had
nursed Darnley, and now Lennox proposed to take Dumbarton. He
devastated the whole Hamilton country, and sacked and burned
Hamilton Palace and Kinneil. The lands of Fleming and Living-
stone, Mary's personal friends, were also destroyed, Lennox suspect-
ing Livingstone of a share in the murder of Darnley. Dumbarton,
however, was not tabe sieged. On May 21 La Mothe Fenelon, in


his king's name, bade Elizabeth withdraw her troops from Scotland. ^^
She wrote to Sussex next day, telling him to leave Dumbarton alone,
and Drury retired to Berwick. By the last of May, Elizabeth, in fear
of France, again desired to arrange some compromise in Mary's in-
terest. In a week she had begun to change her mind. Morton
dealt with her (June 1 6) for the appointment of Lennox as Regent,
adding a hint that, if Elizabeth again failed his party, they would
turn to Mary or to France.''^ Meanwhile they appointed Lennox
Lieutenant of the Kingdom (June 28): Elizabeth had replied that
she could not nominate a regent, but would welcome the election of
Lennox. On July 1 7 Lennox was appointed Regent, and this meant
war to the knife. He was the implacable feudal foe of the Hamiltons,
and pined to avenge Darnley on Lethington.

A correspondence, to which we have already alluded, now
passed between Randolph and Kirkcaldy and Lethington. Ran-
dolph plainly told the chiefs in the castle that they had been
the cause of all Mary's misfortunes, as she herself averred. They
had taken her at Carberry, caused her imprisonment and abdica-
tion, and counselled her execution. Something more and worse
they had done against her, which Randolph, as we have already
seen, hinted at darkly "^^ (p. 222 supra).

He may mean the handling or mishandling of the casket letters.
And why, he asked, were they now Mary's chief supporters ? Pro-
bably Randolph knew the reason : Lethington was in Mary's power.
To anticipate events, Sussex on July 29 addressed Lethington in a
similar strain. Lethington at York had privately accused Mary of
murder, had privately shown her letters to Sussex himself. " I would
be glad to admit your excuse that you were not of the number that
sought rigour to your queen, although you were with the number,
if I could do it with a safe conscience. But I will say, it is not mine
to accuse, and therefore I will not enter into these particularities."
Lethington, we remember, used the casket letters, unofficially, to
force on a compromise. He resisted their public disclosure, as then
his bolt was shot, while Mary still could discharge her own against
him. But, Sussex added, had Mary's accusers, of whom Lethington
was one, obtained their desire from Elizabeth, " there had been
worse done to your queen than either her majesty or any subject of
England that I know . . . could be induced to think meet to be
done." To do the worst to Mary, at the time to which Sussex
refers, would have suited Lethington well. When the worst was not


done, when there was a chance of Mary's restoration, Lethington
was compelled to keep her on the safe side.*^^ He made no reply
to this part of the letter of Sussex, beyond denying his consent to
the scheme for killing Mary : the reasons for his final change of
sides he could not reveal. Indeed they have puzzled historians.
"How had Maitland become so changed?" Mr Froude asks, and
supposes that he reckoned, as he certainly and confessedly did, that
Elizabeth would at last let Mary go free. Mary and he could then
complete his national ambition, and the two crowns would be united
on the head of herself and of her son. But what Lethington, as he
told Morton later, desired was to escape '■'■ particular evil will" from
Mary, if ever she was restored. He knew what he had deserved :
" more particular evil will than he had already at her hands," as
Morton replied, he could in nowise merit. For this reason, because
she " had in black and white that which would cause Lethington to
be hanged by the neck," he was compelled to propitiate her, and at
last, Nau says, obtained " assurances " from her. This was the
motive, this and not the influence of his fair wife, or hatred of
Knox, which bound Lethington to the only cause which he could
not desert.

While the Sussex-Lethington correspondence passed, the queen's
lords intended to meet at Linlithgow ; but Huntly was checked by
Lennox and Morton, who took his castle at Brechin, and shocked
Sussex, a man of honour, by hanging many of the garrison. Any
spark of the old national sentiment that still smouldered in Scotland
was now apt to be revived. Huntly had denounced the new Regent,
Lennox, as an English subject. Lennox had denied the imputation,
but it was accurate. On September 23 Elizabeth licensed Lennox
to remain in Scotland till she should send for him ! ^^

There could be no peace under an English Regent of Scotland,
but affairs dragged on indecisively. Politicians picked idly at the
Gordian knot. Elizabeth was dallying with the idea of restoring
Mary, and securing, by way of exchange, the principal Scottish
castles. Lethington was ready to concede almost anything ; the
one object was to secure Mary's freedom, but he told Lesley that
Elizabeth would never let her cousin go. Mary, in fact, had too
many friends. She had hopes from France, hopes from Spain,
hopes from Catholic England, and as her intrigues with these
Powers were always discovered, and always infuriated Elizabeth,
Mary's chances from her weariness, or awakened conscience, were


dashed again and again. Norfolk, indeed, was now set at liberty,
but this only added another to the clashing strings on Mary's bow.
Her friend, Herries, was so punished by a new invasion under
Sussex that he seems to have lost heart. In mid-September a
truce was settled between the king's lords and Mary's party.*''^ On
September 19 Elizabeth sent Cecil to deal with Mary, then at
Chatsworth : we have, unluckily, no personal details about the
strange interview. Elizabeth intended to bring Mary to accept her
conditions by a threat of publishing the casket letters, but this was
delayed. Lethington had bidden Mary and Lesley " yield in every-
thing." He would even give up Dumbarton and the little prince.
These letters of August 1 7 were intercepted by Lennox and sent to
Cecil, with an enamelled jewel, representing the triumph of the
Scottish lion.^^ Mary negotiated with Cecil, while Sussex was
protesting, as a man of honour, against Lennox's attempt to forfeit
Lethington during the truce (October 8).^^ Mary, maliciously,
where Cecil had put forward a clause as to EHzabeth's possible
" issue," inserted " lawful issue." She entirely declined to deliver
up Elizabeth's rebels who sought sanctuary in Scotland. She refused
to pursue Bothwell except " according to the laws of the realm,"
by which Bothwell had already been acquitted. Under conditions
she would send her child into England. She " desired most
instantly " to see her boy. As the negotiations bore no fruit, it is
needless to enter into other details.

Cecil pretended to Lesley that he rather liked the idea of the
Norfolk marriage : this was a mere ruse to encourage Mary in an
intrigue which must be fatal.

The party of Lennox ought now to have sent representatives to
England to ratify or reject this informal treaty of Chatsworth. But
Morton " was much appalled." "''^ Mary, in fact, held a sword over
the head of Morton as well as of Lethington. Moreover, the
queen's party were circulating an old " band," which, they said,
involved even Murray, as signatory of the contract for Darnley's
murder. The band was probably that of October 1566, and was,
at most, a union against Darnley in certain contingencies, in ap-
pearance a relatively constitutional document.''^ Lennox (October
16) showed the alarm of his party by imploring Elizabeth not to
proceed "with any treaty to the advantage of the Queen of
Scots." '^2 They were "all so amazed and astonished that they
do not know what counsel to take." Morton ingenuously objected


to allowing two of Mary's party to enter England as commissioners,
as they might happen to be (like himself) of Darnley's murderers.
In Paris Norris warned Cecil that if Mary returned home she might
marry the Due d'AnjouJ^ Guereau, the Spanish Ambassador in
London, "knew for certain" that Anjou was about to propose to
Mary: the English Catholics preferred him to Norfolk (October 15)."*
But there had recently been schemes for marrying Anjou, brother
of the French king, to Elizabeth.'^^ This plan smouldered on,
though Anjou himself, a lad of seventeen, cried out against the
dishonour of marrying a woman of thirty-seven, whose character, as
he knew, had been totally lost through her doings with Leicester.
Anjou was still young enough to have scruples, but they were
overcome; Elizabeth was proved chaste as ice, and through 1571
she coquetted with the boy.

But before this, in November, a famous retainer of Lennox,
Thomas Crawford, was mercilessly despoiling the poor tenants of
the Hamiltons. The preacher Craig, a just and courageous man,
induced Lennox to make some amends, but Crawford was still
plundering. On November 14 Robert Pitcairn was sent by Lennox
to deal with Ehzabeth, and William Livingstone, with the Bishop of
Galloway, followed, to act for Mary.'^^ Elizabeth gave Pitcairn
scant satisfaction. Scotland rang with an extraordinary and in-
genious murder, perpetrated by a preacher on his wife ; and on
December 2 1 there were notable doings in Edinburgh. Retainers
of Kirkcaldy beat an enemy of his, and one of them was put in
prison : Kirkcaldy broke open the Tolbooth and rescued his client.
Knox thundered against his old friend, Kirkcaldy, who complained
of being called a " murderer " (which he was) ; Knox paltered and
equivocated, and civil war was clearly at the doors again. '^''

Meanwhile the arrangement between Mary and Elizabeth, the
treaty of Chatsworth, made no progress. Under hope deferred,
and the horror of private news from Scotland, Mary's health
became perilous. Lennox had given to little James, as tutor, his
own clansman, Buchanan, the writer who had accused Mary not
only of murdering her husband but of designing to murder her
child. This infernal act had the natural results : the child was
reported to defame his mother ; to have been taught parrot-cries
against her.'*^ "No man believed any other thing of her to come
but death." ^^ Her illness was in mid-December ; by February 6
Mary was convalescent. She then wrote to Lesley, and to Eliz-


abeth, not to wait for Lennox's commissioners. If delay was
prolonged she would seek aid abroad. ^'^ In truth, Mary was be-
ginning a new plot for her release. This time the string to her
bow was an Italian banker, Ridolphi, settled in London, an agent
between the Duke of Norfolk and Spain. Marj^ knew of the
Anjou- Elizabeth marriage project, which was nothing to her ad-
vantage. France was pretending to favour Mary's marriage with
Norfolk. On the whole, Mary now leant most towards Spain,
whither she wished to fly. Meanwhile she desired Ridolphi to go
to Spain in her interests, and to assure Spain and the Pope that
they might rely on Norfolk.^^ If we may believe a Buchanan
(Thomas) who wrote to Cecil from Copenhagen, Mary kept up
her correspondence with Bothwell.^^ Far too many strings had
Mary to her bow, far too many irons in the fire.

But it does not seem that Anjou was one of the strings, or
that Mary wished to marry her husband's brother, aged seventeen.
Mr Froude, indeed, writes, " Suddenly, with overwhelming sur-
prise, she learned that her false lover " (Anjou) " was going over
to the English queen." But Mr Froude is " confounding the
persons," as he not infrequently does, never to Mary's advantage.
It was Elizabeth who felt " overwhelming surprise," and was
"stung to fury," on learning from Walsingham, who invented the
story as a ruse, that her " faithless lover was going over to the
Scottish queen." ^^

Among these embroilments Morton came to England, at the
end of February, with his palladium, the silver casket, to nego-
tiate against the Chatsworth treaty. Elizabeth appointed com-
missioners. Fenelon tried to bring Morton round to Mary's side :
he failed, but found the Earl desperately afraid of Mary's restor-
ation. He entirely refused Elizabeth's terms : he held by Mary's
abdication at Lochleven (a point distasteful to Elizabeth as a
queen), and she answered angrily that Morton had been prompted
by some of her own Council, probably Bacon and Cecil, who
deserved to be hanged.'*'* Morton returned to Scotland : the
treaty of Chatsworth was a mere futility, and it was time for
Mary to try her chance with Spain, by help of Norfolk and
Ridolphi. In Scotland Kirkcaldy was fortifying the castle and
enlisting troops, civil war raged round Paisley, and a heavy loss
was about to fall on Mary's party. Meanwhile Mary sent Rid-
olphi to Spain and the Pope, pleading the hardship of her case,


and what she might do, if restored, for the Church, with the aid
of Norfolk and the English Catholics.*^^ The Pope had been
painfully shocked by her Protestant marriage with Bothwell. She
therefore threw Bothwell over, described her marriage with him
as forced upon her, and asked the Pope to release her from the
hated tie.^^ If Buchanan (Thomas) happened to tell the truth,
if Mary had just been dealing with Bothwell, she certainly now
carried opportunism very far, especially as she was protesting her
entire obedience to Elizabeth (March 31, 1571).^'' But deceit is
excusable in a woman placed where Mary was.

Now, while Ridolphi was on his mission, a heavy blow fell.
Dumbarton Castle, held by Lord Fleming, was the open gate of
Mary's friends : here they received supplies from France. The
rock seems impregnable to forces not armed with modern artil-
lery, but on April 2 it was seized for Lennox by Thomas Craw-
ford and Cuningham of Drumquhassel. The place was sold by
a traitor within. The Archbishop of St Andrews was captured,
and on April 7 was accused by Ruthven and George Buchanan
of being a party to Darnley's murder, and of other crimes. The
evidence had been known to Lennox, by hearsay, as early as
June II, 1568. It was the testimony of a priest, and based on
what he had heard in the confessional from one John Hamilton.
The Archbishop denied all the charges, but on the scaffold is
said to have admitted being art and part in Murray's murder.
He was hanged without any recorded form of trial. ^* It is not
certam, nor in any way proved, that the Archbishop was con-
cerned in Darnley's murder. It suited Lennox to say so, and
George Buchanan was Lennox's man.^^ If we may believe
Buchanan and the ' Diurnal,' it is a comfort to know that the
priest who revealed, or pretended to reveal, the secrets of the
confessional, was soon after hanged for celebrating mass. Whether
mere intolerance or a desire to remove this worthy witness was the
motive for killing him, we may guess.

Undaunted by the loss of Dumbarton, Kirkcaldy held Edinburgh
Castle for Mary, and formally renounced allegiance to the Regent
Lennox. He was joined by the Hamiltons and many of Mary's
friends, including Argyll. On May 11, the Hamiltons being in
Edinburgh, Knox made the last of his retreats, finding asylum in
St Andrews, where he was not popular. The old college, St
Salvator's, was more or less for the queen's party. St Leonard's


was, as it had ever been, extremely Protestant. The well of St
Leonard's was the fountainhead of the Scottish Reformation. At
St Andrews was Mr John Colville, second son of Colville of
Cleish, a natural branch of the House of Easter Wemyss. He
was a minister, but a man of secular ambitions. In July, when
Knox was dwelling in the Novum Hospitium of the Abbey, John
Colville wedded Janet Russel. James Melville tells us that a
play was written, to grace the marriage festival, by one of the
Regents of St Leonard's, Mr John Davidson. In. this drama,
"according to Mr Knox's doctrine, the Castle of Edinburgh was
besieged, and the captain" (Kirkcaldy of Grange), "with one or
two with him, hanged in effigy." ^"^ This agreeable interlude
illustrated Knox's prophecy that his old friend and new enemy,
Kirkcaldy, would come to be hanged ; and hanged he was, that
the prophecy of Knox might be fulfilled.

The play is mentioned because this occasion introduces us to
two persons of singular fortunes, the bridegroom, John Colville, and
the author of the play, John Davidson. Colville, abandoning his
ministerial duties, became a politician and diplomatist. We shall
find him engaged in important missions to England for the king,
working with the Presbyterian party among the nobles, an associate
of the Earl of Gowrie (Ruthven), and on his fall an adventurous
partisan of the wild free-lance, Francis Stewart, Earl of Bothwell.
When Bothwell's cause grew desperate, he is reconciled to James,
loses his favour, continues to be a spy of Cecil and Essex, aban-
doned by them, lives miserably abroad, still acting as a double spy,
still -conspiring, reconciles himself to the Catholic Church, takes
alms from the Pope, and dies a wretched heart-broken outcast early
in the seventeenth century. John Davidson, the author of the play,
on the other hand, becomes the satirist, in verse, of the unfriends
of the Kirk, beginning with Morton, is the irreconcilable leader of
the extreme left of the Kirk party, is a voice crying in the desert

Online LibraryAndrew LangA history of Scotland from the Roman occupation (Volume 2) → online text (page 25 of 60)