Mary continued to attend the king with the mostHeismur-
assiduous care. She seldom was absent from him dcred there '
through the day ; she slept two nights in the chamber
Keith, Pref. viii. n Good. vol. ii. 8.
VOL. I. Y
322 THE HISTORY BOOK iv f
1567. under his apartment. She heaped on him so many
~~~ marks of tenderness and confidence, as, in a great
measure, quieted those suspicions which had so long
disturbed him. But while he was fondly indulging in
dreams of the return of his former happiness, he stood
on the very brink of destruction. On Sunday, the ninth
of February, about eleven at night, the queen left the
Kirk of Field, in order to be present at a masque in
the palace. At two next morning, the house in which
the king lay was blown up with gunpowder. The noise
and shock which this sudden explosion occasioned,
alarmed the whole city. The inhabitants ran to the
place whence it came. The dead body of the king,
with that of a servant who slept in the same room,
were found lying in an adjacent garden without the
city wall, untouched by fire, and with no bruise or
mark of violence.
Hischa- Such was the unhappy fate of Henry Stewart lord
Darnly, in the twenty-first year of his age. The in-
dulgence of fortune, and his own external accomplish-
ments, without any other merit, had raised him to an
height of dignity of which he was altogether unworthy.
By his folly and ingratitude, he lost the heart of a wo-
man who doted on him to distraction. His insolence
and inconstancy alienated from him such of the nobles
as had contributed most zealously towards his eleva-
tion. His levity and caprice exposed him to the scorn
of the people, who once revered him as the descendant
of their ancient kings and heroes. Had he died a na-
tural death, his end would have been unlamented* and
his memory have been forgotten ; but the cruel circum-
stances of his murder, and the shameful remissness in
neglecting to avenge it, have made his name to be re-
membered with regret, and have rendered him the
obiect of pity, to which he had otherwise no title.
Botnwell *L , . .
and the Every ones imagination was at work to guess who
pectetUf 8 had contrrve d an ^ executed this execrable deed. The
the murder, suspicion fell, with almost general consent, on Both-
BOOK iv. OF SCOTLAND. , 323
well q ; and some reflections were thrown out, <->s if the 1567
queen herself were no stranger to the crime. Of Both- ~~
well's guilt there remains the fullest evidence that the
nature of the action will admit. The queen's known
sentiments with regard to her husband, gave a great
appearance of probability to the imputation with which
she was loaded'.
Two days after the murder, a proclamation was issued
by the queen, offering a considerable reward to any
person who should discover those who had been guilty
of such a horrid and detestable crime 9 ; and though
Bothwell was now one of the greatest subjects in the
kingdom, formidable on account of his own power, and
protected by the queen's favour, it was impossible to
suppress the sentiments and indignation of the people.
Papers were affixed to the most public places of the
city, accusing him of the murder, and naming his ac-
complices; pictures appeared to the same purpose;
and voices were heard in the middle of the night,
charging him with that barbarous action. But the
authors of these rumours did not confine their accu-
sations to Bothwell alone; they insinuated that the
queen herself was accessory to the crime *. This bold
accusation, which so directly attacked Mary's reputa-
tion, drew the attention of her council; and, by en-
gaging them in an inquiry after the authors of these
libels, diverted them from searching for the murderers
of the king u . It could scarce be expected that Mary
herself would be extremely solicitous to discover those
who had rid her of an husband, whom she had so vio-
lently hated. It was Both well's interest, who had the
supreme direction of this, as well as of all other affairs,
to stifle and suppress whatever evidence should be
offered, and to cover, if possible, the whole transaction
> Melv. 155. Anders, vol. ii. 156.
r See dissertation concerning the murder of Henry Darnly, and the
genuineness of Mary's letters to Bothwell, Appendix.
Anders, vol. i. 36. Idem, vol. ii. 156. u Idem, vol. i. 38.
324 THE HISTORY BOOK iv.
1567. under the veil of darkness and of silence. Some in-
quiry, however, was made, and some persons called
before the council ; but the examination was conducted
with the most indecent remissness, and in such a man-
ner as to let in no light upon that scene of guilt x .
It was not her own subjects alone who suspected
Mary of having been accessory to this unnatural crime ;
nor did an opinion, so dishonourable to her character,
owe its rise and progress to the jealousy and malice of
her factious nobles. The report of the manner and
circumstances of the king's murder spread quickly over
all Europe; and, even in that age, which was accus-
tomed to deeds of violence, it excited universal horrour.
As her unhappy breach with her husband had long
been matter of public discourse, the first conjectures
which were formed with regard to his death, were ex-
tremely to her disadvantage. Her friends, at a loss
what apology to offer for her conduct, called on her to
prosecute the murderers with the utmost diligence, and
expected that the rigour of her proceedings would prove
the best and fullest vindication of her innocence y .
Lennox Lennox at the same time incited Mary to ven-
Bothwell of g eance > w i tn incessant importunity. This nobleman
the king's had shared in his son's disgrace, and, being treated
by Mary with neglect, usually resided at a distance
from court. Roused, however, by an event no less
shocking to the heart of a father, than fatal to all his
Feb. 21. schemes of ambition, he ventured to write to the queen,
and to offer his advice with respect to the most effec-
tual method for discovering and convicting those who
had so cruelly deprived him of a son, and her of an
husband. He urged her to prosecute those who were
guilty with vigour, and to bring them to a speedy trial ;
he declared his own suspicion of Bothwell, and of those
who were named as his accomplices ; he required that,
out of regard to decency, and in order to encourage
* Anders, vol. iv. part ii. 167, 168. * Keith, Pref. ix.
BOOK iv. OF SCOTLAND. 325
evidence to appear against them, the persons accused 1567.
of such an atrocious crime should be committed to .cus- ~~
tody, or at least excluded from her court and presence z .
Mary was then at Seaton, whither she had retired
after the burial of the king, whose body was deposited
among the monarchs of Scotland, in a private but de-
cent manner a . The former part of the earl's demand
could not, on any pretence, be eluded ; and it was re-
solved to bring Bothwell immediately to trial. But, Mary con-
instead of confining him to any prison, Mary admitted v ! ur ^ m-
him into all her councils, and allowed a person, uni-
versally reputed the murderer of her husband, to enjoy
all, the security, the dignity, and the power of a favou-
rite 1 '. The offices which Bothwell already possessed,
gave him the command of all the south of Scotland.
The castle of Edinburgh, however, was a place of so
much consequence, that he wished earnestly to have it
in his own power. The queen, in order to prevail on March 19.
the earl of Mar to surrender it, consented to put the
person of the young prince in his hands, and imme-
diately bestowed the government of that important for-
tress upon Bothwell c . So many steps in her conduct,
inconsistent with all the rules of prudence and of de-
cency, must be imputed to an excess either of folly or
of love. Mary's known character fully vindicates her
from the former ; of the latter, many and striking proofs
No direct evidence had yet appeared against Both- Hastens on
well ; but, as time might bring to light the circumstances
of a crime in which so many accomplices were concerned,
it was of" great importance to hurry over the trial, while
nothing more than general suspicions, and uncertain
surmises, could be produced by his accusers. For this
reason, in a meeting of privy council held on the twentyr
eighth of March, the twelfth of April was appointed
1 Keith, 369. a Anders, vol. i. 23. b Idem, ibid. 40etc.
c Anders, vol. i. Tref. 64. Keith, 379.
THE HISTORY BOOK iv.
1567. for the day of trial. Though the law allowed, and the
~~ manner in which criminal causes were carried on in
that age required, a much longer interval, it appears
from several circumstances that this short space was
considerably contracted, and that Lennox had only
eleven days' warning to prepare for accusing a person
so far superior to himself both in power and in favour d .
No man could be less in a condition to contend with an
antagonist who was thus supported. Though Lennox's
paternal estate had been restored to him when he was
recalled into Scotland, it seems to have been consider-
ably impaired during his banishment. His vassals, while
he resided in England, had been accustomed to some
degree of independence, and he had not recovered that
ascendant over them, which a feudal chief usually pos-
sessed. He had no reason to expect the concurrence
of any of those factions into which the nobles were
divided. During the short period of his son's pros-
perity, he had taken such steps as gave rise to an open
breach with Murray and all his adherents. The par-
tisans of the house of Hamilton were his hereditary
and mortal enemies. Huntly was linked in the closest
confederacy with Bothwell ; and thus, to the disgrace
d The act of privy council, appointing the day of Bothwell's trial, bears
date March the twenty-eighth, which happened on a Thursday. Anders.
vol. i. 56. The queen's warrant to the 'messengers,' empowering them to
summon Lennox to be present, is dated on the twenty-ninth. Anders.
vol. ii. 97. He was summoned by public proclamation at the cross of
Edinburgh on the same day. Ibid. 100. He was summoned at his dwell-
ing-houses in Glasgow and Dumbarton the thirtieth of March, the first and
second days of April. Ibid. 101. He was summoned at Perth, April the
first. Ibid. 102. Though Lennox resided at that time forty miles from
Edinburgh, the citation might have been given him sooner. Such an un-
necessary delay affords some cause for suspicion. It is true, Mary, in her
letter, March the twenty-fourth, invited Lennox to come to Edinburgh the
ensuing week ; this gave him warning some days sooner, that she intended
to bring on the trial without delay. But the precise time could not be
legally or certainly known to Lennox sooner than ten or twelve days before
the day on which he was required to appear. By the law and practice of
Scotland, at that time, parties were summoned, in cases of treason, forty
days previous to the trial.
BOOK iv. OF SCOTLAND. 327
of the nation, Lennox stood alone in a cause where 1567.
both honour and humanity called so loudly on his~
countrymen to second him.
It is remarkable too, that Bothwell himself was pre-
sent, and sat as a member in that meeting of privy
council which gave directions with regard to the time
and manner of his own trial ; and he still enjoyed not
only full liberty, but was received into the queen's pre-
sence with the same distinguished familiarity as for-
merly e .
Nothing could be a more cmel disappointment to Lennox
the wishes and resentment of a father, than such
premature trial; every step towards which seemed to
be taken by directions from the person who was him-
self accused of the crime, and calculated on purpose to
conceal rather than to detect his guilt. Lennox fore-
saw what would be the issue of this mock inquiry, and
with how little safety to himself, or success to his cause,
he could venture to appear on the day prefixed. In
his former letters, though under expressions the most
respectful, some symptoms of his distrusting the queen
may be discovered. He spoke out now in plain lan-
guage. He complained of the injury done him, by
hurrying on the trial with such illegal precipitation.
He represented once more the indecency of allowing
Bothwell not only to enjoy personal liberty, but to re-
tain his former influence over her councils. He again
required her, as she regarded her own honour, to give
some evidence of her sincerity in prosecuting the mur-
der, by confining the person who was on good grounds
suspected to be the author of it; and, till that were
done, he signified his own resolution not to be present
at a trial, the manner and circumstances of which were
so irregular and unsatisfactory f . Applies for
He seems, however, to have expected little success ^j? u ^P
from this application to Mary ; and, therefore, at the beth.
e Anders, vol. i. 50. 52. ' Idem, vol. i. 52.
THE HISTORY BOOK iv.
1567. same time besought Elizabeth to interpose, in order to
obtain such a delay as he demanded g . Nothing can be
a stronger proof how violently he suspected the one
queen, than his submitting to implore the aid of the
other, who had treated his son with the utmost con-
tempt, and himself and family with the greatest rigour.
Elizabeth, who was never unwilling to interpose in the
affairs of Scotland, wrote instantly to Mary, advised her
to delay the trial for some time, and urged in such
strong terms the same arguments which Lennox had
used, as might have convinced her to what an unfavour-
able construction her conduct would be liable, if she
persisted in her present method of proceeding' 1 .
The trial Neither her entreaties, however, nor those of Len-
nox, could prevail to have the trial put off. On the
clay appointed Bothwell appeared, but with such a for-
midable retinue, that it would have been dangerous to
condemn, and impossible to punish him. Besides a
numerous body of his friends and vassals, assembled,
according to custom, from different parts of the king-
dom, he was attended by a band of hired soldiers, who
marched with flying colours along the streets of Edin-
burgh '. A court of justice was held with the accus-
tomed formalities. An indictment was presented against
Bothwell, and Lennox was called upon to make good
his accusation. In his name appeared Robert Cunning-
ham, one of his dependents. He excused his master's
absence, on account of the shortness of the time, which
prevented his assembling his friends and vassals, with-
out whose assistance he could not with safety venture
to set himself in opposition to such a powerful antago-
nist. For this reason, he desired the court to stop pro-
ceeding, and protested, that any sentence which should
be passed at that time ought to be deemed illegal and
void. Bothwell, on the other hand, insisted that the
P Good. vol. ii. 352. i> Anders. Pref. 60. See Appendix, No. XIX.
' Anders, vol. i. 135.
BOOK iv. OF SCOTLAND. 329
court should instantly proceed to trial. One of Len- 1567.
nox's own letters, in which he craved of the queen to ~~
prosecute the murderers without delay, was produced.
Cunningham's objections were overruled; and the jury,
consisting of peers and barons of the first rank, found
Bothwell not guilty of the crime.
No person appeared as an accuser, not a single wit- Bothwell is
ness was examined, nor any evidence produced against ac( l ult
him. The jury, under these circumstances, could do
nothing else but acquit him. Their verdict, however,
was far from gratifying the wishes, or silencing the
murmurs, of the people. Every circumstance in the
trial gave grounds for suspicion, and excited indigna-
tion; and the judgment pronounced, instead of being a
proof of Bothwell's innocence, was esteemed an argu-
ment of his guilt. Pasquinades and libels were affixed
to different places, expressing the sentiments of the
public with the utmost virulence of language.
The jury themselves seem to have been aware of the
censure to which their proceedings would be exposed ;
and, at the same time that they returned their verdict
acquitting Bothwell, the earl of Caithness protested, in
their name, that no crime should be imputed to them
on that account, because no accuser had appeared, and
no proof was brought of the indictment. He took no"
tice, likewise, that the ninth instead of the tenth of Fe-
bruary was mentioned in the indictment, as the day on
which the murder had been committed ; a circumstance
which discovers the extreme inaccuracy of those who
prepared the indictment ; and at a time when men were
disposed, and not without reason, to be suspicious of
every thing, this small matter contributed to confirm
and to increase their suspicions k .
Even Bothwell himself did not rely on the judgment
which he had obtained in his favour, as a full vindica-
tion of his innocence. Immediately after his acquittal,
k Bothw. Trial, Anders, vol. ii. 07, etc.
330 THE HISTORY BOOK iv.
1667. he, in compliance with a custom which was not then
""obsolete, published a writing, in which he offered to
fight in single combat any gentleman of good fame,
who should presume to accuse him of being accessory
to the murder of the king.
Mary, however, continued to treat him as if he had
been cleared by the most unexceptionable and satis-
factory evidence. The ascendant he had gained over
her heart, as well as over her councils, was more visible
than ever ; and Lennox, who could not expect that his
own person could be safe in a country where the mur-
derer of his son had been absolved, without regard to
justice, and loaded with honours, in contempt of de-
cency, fled with precipitation towards England l .
A parlia- Two days after the trial, a parliament was held, at
April 14. th opening of which the queen distinguished Bothwell,
by appointing him to carry the sceptre before her m .
Most of the acts passed in this assembly were calcu-
lated on purpose to strengthen his party, and to pro-
mote his designs. He obtained the ratification of all
the possessions and honours which the partiality of the
queen had conferred upon him ; and the act to that ef-
fect contained the strongest declarations of his faithful
services to the crown in all times past. The surrender
of the castle of Edinburgh by Mar was confirmed. The
law of attainder against Huntly was repealed, and he
and his adherents were restored to the estates and ho-
nours of their ancestors. Several of those who had
been on the jury which acquitted Bothwell, obtained
ratifications of the grants made in their favour ; and as
pasquinades daily multiplied, a law passed, whereby
those into whose hands any paper of that kind fell,
were commanded instantly to destroy it ; and if, through
their neglect, it should be allowed to spread, they were
subjected to a capital punishment, in the same manner
as if they had been the original authors n .
1 Keith, 378. note (4). ' Idem, ibid. " Ibid. 380.
BOOK iv. OF SCOTLAND. 331
But the absolute dominion which Bothweil had ac- 1567.
quired over Mary's mind appeared in the clearest man- Remark _
ner, by an act in favour of the protestant religion, to able law in
i i i * i i i favour of
which at this time she gave her assent. Mary s attach- t h e re f or .
ment to the Romish faith was uniform and superstitious ; matlon -
she had never laid aside the design, nor lost the hopes,
of restoring it. She had of late come under new en-
gagements to that purpose, and in consequence of these
had ventured upon some steps more public and vigorous
than any she had formerly taken. But though none of
these circumstances were unknown to Bothweil, there
were powerful motives which prompted him at this
juncture to conciliate the good-will of the protestants,
by exerting himself in order to procure for them some
additional security in the exercise of their religion.
That which they enjoyed at present was very precari-
ous, being founded entirely on the royal proclamation
issued soon after the arrival of the queen in Scotland,
which in express terms was declared to be only a tem-
porary regulation. From that period, neither the soli-
citations of the general assemblies of the church, nor
the entreaties of her people, could extort from Mary
any concession in favour of the protestant religion, on
which the professors might rest with greater confidence.
This, however, by the more powerful influence of Both-
well, they now obtained. An act was passed in this
parliament, repealing all the laws, canon, civil, and mu-
nicipal, adverse to the reformed religion, and exempt-
ing such as had embraced it from the penalties to which
they might have been subjected by these laws, either
on account of their past conduct or present profession ;
declaring at the same time that then* persons, estates,
honours, and benefices, were taken under public pro-
tection against every court, civil or ecclesiastical, that
might attempt to molest them on accpunt of their reli-
gious sentiments. Thus the protestants, instead of hold-
ing their sacred rights by no better tenure than a de-
claration of royal indulgence, which might be revoked
332 THE HISTORY BOOK iv.
1567. at pleasure, obtained legal and parliamentary protection
~~ in the exercise of their religion. By prevailing on the
queen to assent to this law, Bothwell seems to have
flattered himself that he would acquire such merit both
with the clergy and with the people, as might induce
them to favour his ambitious schemes, and to connive
at what he had done, or might do, in order to accom-
plish them. The protestants accordingly, though this
act was far from amounting to a legal establishment of
the reformed faith, seem to have considered it as an
additional security of such importance, that it was pub-
lished among the laws enacted in a parliament held
towards the close of this year, under very different
I am indebted to the accuracy of sir David Dalrymple, for pointing
out (Remarks on the History of Scotland, ch. 9,) a considerable errour into
which I had fallen with respect to this act, by supposing it to be so favour-
able to the doctrine of the reformation, that the parliament which met De-
cember the fifteenth, could substitute nothing stronger or more explicit in
its place, and thought it sufficient to ratify it word for word. This errour I
have now corrected ; but, after considering the act with particular atten-
tion, though I am satisfied that it neither established the reformed religion
or the religion of the state, nor abolished popery, yet it granted such new
and legal security to the protestants, as was deemed, in that age, an ac-
quisition of great value. The framers of the law seem manifestly to have
viewed it in that light. After reciting, " that the queen, since her arrival,
had attempted nothing contrary to the state of religion which she found
publicly and universally standing, on which account she was most worthy
to be served, honoured, and obeyed," etc. the act goes on, " that as she
intends to continue the same goodness and government in all times coming,
the professors of the religion aforesaid may and shall have occasion to praise
God for her happy and gracious government, etc: and to effect that, the
professors of the religion aforesaid may assure themselves to be in full surety
thereof, and of their lands, lives, etc. and may with the better will jeopard
and hazard their lives and goods in her highness's service, against all ene-
mies to her, and to the commonweal of this realm, etc. Therefore our sove-
reign, with the advice of the whole estates in parliament," etc. Then follow
the statutory clauses mentioned in the text. The intention of passing the
act is apparent, and it is drawn with great art. This art is peculiarly mani-
fest in the concluding clause. In her first proclamation the queen had de-
clared, that it should continue in force only until she should take final order
concerning religion with the advice of parliament. In this act the inten-
tion of taking further order concerning religion is mentioned, probably with
BOOK iv. OF SCOTLAND. 333
Every step taken by Bothwell had hitherto been at- 1567.
tended with all the success which his most sanguine ]j ot h w ell
a view to please the queen ; but it is worded with such studied dexterity,
that the protection granted by this law is no longer to be regarded as tem-
porary, or depending upon the queen taking such final order. Parl. 1.
K. Ja. VI. c. 31. In the same light of an important acquisition of security
to the reformed religion, this act is represented by the privy council in a