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armies of Elizabeth of England; and, still worse, the whole of the Scotch nobles being bought up by her money. Henry VIII. had commenced this system when he had failed, by his arbitrary impatience, to secure the young queen for his son. He had invaded and ravaged the country to seize her, and afterwards to avenge himself for his failure. He then sent commissioners to Berwick to bribe the nobles, and instigated them to murder the cardinal Beaton, in order to put down the Catholic party, who were vehemently opposed to him as the great enemy of their church. The documents of his reign and of the succeeding reigns of his son and two daughters, which have been printed in our time by order of Parliament, have laid open to the world the whole of this system of murder and bribery by the Tudors; and surely there is in history scarcely any other such revelation of horror and wickedness recorded by the hands of the actors themselves. We have the correspondence for the murder of Beaton with the nobles, who refused to do that detestable act, but only because they could not obtain a written order from the King for the commission of it; Sir Ralph Saddler, Henry's commissioner of murder at Berwick, informing them that the king's honour must be saved. He then employed Norman Leslie, who executed it, and we have his letter informing Saddler that it was done, and asking what he should do next. Elizabeth maintained this system, and the whole of her dark transactions remain under the hands of her ministers Walsingham, Cecil, Randolph, Saddler, and others. Never surely had so wicked a queen a knot of such coldblooded and desperately wicked ministers! And yet how little could they be aware of the intense infamy of their conduct; or they would have destroyed those proofs of it which have been brought forth from our national archives, and published by authority of government in our day.


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By the system there revealed in incontrovertible and imperishable characters, Mary of Scotland, from the hour of her birth, was enveloped in a web of English policy and of Scotch treason, fine as a cobweb, but infrangible as a net of steel ! When she returned, a young and beautiful widow of seventeen, full of wit and knowledge and accomplishment, the came home into the midst of a nobility, not only rude and ferocious beyond any other in Europe, but all in the pay of Elizabeth of England. She came amongst a desperate set of traitors feed for her destruction, and the more prompt to it from being the greater part of them proselytes of Knox and of the Genevan faith,—a faith which had more of the old leaven of the vengeance of Judaism than of the love and mercy of Christ. It was in this palace of Holyrood that Mary was hunted down, bearded and insulted, by Knox, and her own base brother, the Earl of Murray; by the steel-clad and steel-hearted nobles, Morton, Lethington, Ruthven, and the rest of them. Here it was that they incited her husband Darnley with jealous rage to assist them in murdering her secretary and musician, Rizzio, in her presence, in 1556. By them Bothwell was instigated to murder her husband, Earl Darnley, in February, 1567; and by their machinations Mary was carried off by Bothwell, and compelled to marry him in May of the same year. By these means the fame of Mary was irrevocably ruined with her people, and the ends of Elizabeth so far gained. The most audacious forgeries were committed by the English minister Cecil and his agents, both of state documents and of pretended love-letters of Mary to Bothwell. The details and proofs of these matters are too voluminous for these pages, but they stand broadly displayed in the official publication referred to. George Chalmers also, in his “ Caledonia,” (vol. ii., quarto,) says,

“When the heart and hand of forgery are busy in any age,

it is not easy to ascertain falsehood from truth. We see in Haynes the successive intimations of Cecil, while his artful mind was bufily employed at Edinburgh, in carrying on a double negotiation, with whatever view of gratifying his passion for intrigue, or benefiting his fastidious mistress. What was given by the insurgent chiefs to Cecil, and by him after a while, or by his direction, was deposited in the Cotton Library, has long been published; and what has thus been obtruded on the world as genuine, and has been reprobated as spurious, need not be elaborately investigated, as the envoys had no power to negotiate with the insurgents.” He adds, “ The memory of Cecil also is chargeable with an additional offence of aggravated baseness :-by filling the archives of England with forgeries, he has contaminated the fountain-head of history.” (P. 637.)

Whitaker, Tyler, and others, have exposed at large these dark transactions. By them Mary, hunted down into the toils of Elizabeth, and trusting to her honour and hospitality, entered her kingdom, only to be made the tenant of a dungeon for eighteen years, and then put to death. No time can wash away the fable stains of these crimes from the memory of Henry VIII. and of Elizabeth, nor from the honour of England. No Froude can by any arts of sophistry wash these royal blackamoors white. It is worthy of remark that, according to the parliamentary history of Scotland, Mary, staunch Catholic as she was, has the honour of having, in the parliament of 1567, passed the very first act of religious toleration known in the Christian world. In the Parliamentary Record (p. 752,) we find that in April, 1567, “the queen, with the advice of the three Estates, repealed all former acts which imposed any penalty on the religion thus existing within her realm. And, with the advice of the three Estates, the queen declared herself the head and protector of the church, in opposition to all foreign authority, power and jurisdiction, whether ecclefiaftical or temporal."

“In this manner then,” says Chalmers, (vol. ii., p. 657,) “do the Roman Catholic Mary Stuart, and the Parliament of April, 1567, enjoy the unrivalled honour of being the earliest legislators, within the British islands, who passed an act of toleration, upon the purest principles of indulgence to conscience, and regard to freedom.” Keith (p. 379,) declares this act to be full and explicit, for the settlement of the new religion ; and Robertson (vol. i., p. 382,) concurs with Keith. It is true that this act was as repugnant to the feelings of stern and bigoted reformers of the time, who detested toleration, as it could be to the most bigoted Catholics. What a contrast to the intolerance of Henry VIII. and of Queen Elizabeth, who would allow no one to avow opinions different to their own! However much Mary Stuart may have sinned in her conduct, there is no question that she was infinitely more finned against, and that her liberality in point of toleration of oppofing faiths stands in noble contrast with the spirit of her perfecutors. It is these facts, looking forth from beneath the accumulated calumnies heaped upon her memory by the powerful court of England, and by the tongues and pens of the able but unprincipled men who surrounded the British queen, which give such a deathless freshness to the memory of the Queen of Scots, and cause such numbers to walk the chambers of the venerable Holyrood with fadly sympathizing souls.

The following poem, by Wordsworth, supposed to be uttered by Queen Mary in her captivity, is a fair exponent of the popular sentiment towards her:




« Smile of the moon! for so I name

That filent greeting from above; A gentle flash of light that came

From her whom drooping captives love; Or art thou of still higher birth? Thou that didst part the clouds of earth

My torpor to reprove !

“ Bright boon of pitying heaven-alas!

I may not trust thy placid cheer! Pondering that Time to-night will pass

The threshold of another year; For years to me are sad and dull; My very moments are too full

Of hopelessness and fear.

“ And yet, the soul-awakening gleam,

That struck perchance the farthest cone Of Scotland's rocky wilds, did seem

To visit me, and me alone;
Me, unapproached by any friend,
Save those who to my sorrow lend

Tears due unto their own.

“ To-night, the church-tower bells will ring

Through these wide realms a festive peal ; To the new year a welcoming;

A tuneful offering for the weal
Of happy millions lulled in Neep;
While I am forced to watch and weep,

By wounds that may not heal.

“ Born all too high, by wedlock raised

Still higher—to be cast thus low! Would that mine eyes had never gazed

On aught of more ambitious show,
Than the sweet flowerets of the fields !

It is my royal state that yields
This bitterness of woe.

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