By the late THOMAS GRAVES LAW, M.A., Librarian of the Signet Library, Edinburgh.
Significance of the Treaty of Cateau-Cambresis . 260
Mary Stewart and Catholicism . 261
Victory of the Catholic party in Scotland, 1548. Beginnings of the Protestant party in Scotland . 262
Mary in France. Accession of Elizabeth . 263
Protestant insurrection in Scotland . 264
Eluabeth and the insurrection . 265
Treaty of Edinburgh, 1560. Mary lands in Scotland, 1561. 266
Her cautious policy . 267
The question of her marriage .'.' 268
The Spanish marriage scheme abandoned. Darnley 269
Mary s marriage to Darnley, 1565. Flight of Moray . 270
Catholic schemes. Murder of Riccio . 271
Alary reverts to a conciliatory policy. Birth of James. 272
Conference at Craigmillar . 273
Bolliwell. Murder of Darnley . 274
Mary's marriage to Bothwell, 1567 . 275
Mary at Carberry Hill, Edinburgh, and Lochleven . 276
Her escape from Lochleven. Battle of Langside. Mary takes refuge in England, 1568 . 277
Conference at York . 278
The Casket Letters . 279
Mary's partisans in England. Norfolk's marriage scheme. . 280
Northern rebellion. Seizure of Spanish treasure . 281
Murder of Moray. Bull of excommunication against Elizabeth, 1570 . 282
Kidolfi Conspiracy. Execution of Norfolk, 1572 . 283
Proceedings against Catholics in England . 284
Massacre of St Bartholomew, and its effects . 285
Lull in the struggle, 1573-9 . 286
James VI assumes power in Scotland. Jesuit propaganda in England . 287
Schemes of the Guises . 288
Foreign conspiracy against Elizabeth . 289
Association for her protection . 290
Babington plot. Proceedings against Mary . 291
Her execution, 1587 . 292
Contrast between Elizabeth and Mary . 293
THE spring of the year 1559 marks a notable turning-point in European history. On April 2 the Treaty of Cateau-Cambrésis was signed by France and England, and on the following day by France and Spain. A great war was over. Italy had been freed from her invaders, Savoy had regained her independence, and Calais was lost to England for ever. But far more momentous changes than these were in progress. When the preliminaries of peace were under discussion at Cercamp, Mary Tudor was alive and England was united to the Church of Rome. Before the Treaty was concluded, Parliament was voting Elizabeth to be Supreme Governor of the Church in England, and substituting the Book of Common Prayer for the Mass. Elsewhere, Europe found herself in the face of new problems and a new order of things. Hitherto, as in England, the Reformation, where it was established, had arisen under the initiation or patronage of the sovereign power. Now, a religious movement of another kind, an aggressive militant Calvinism, springing from the people or from a malcontent aristocracy, and clamouring for civil as well as for religious liberty, had been coming to a head simultaneously in Scotland, France, and, in a less developed form, in the Spanish Netherlands. The revolutionary movement seemed contagious, and menaced the authority of the Crown as well as the established religion. It was the sense of this new danger insidiously creeping upon them which impelled the two Catholic Powers to seek for peace, and if possible for an alliance against the common foe-an alliance which was to be cemented by the marriage of Philip of Spain with the daughter of the King of France ; and it was significant that the first article of the treaty between these Powers pledged them to bring about at once the convocation of a General Council " for the reformation and the reduction of the whole Christian Church to a true union and concord."
We are, then, on the eve of the Counter-Reformation, when a reformed Papacy and an unlooked-for revival of ecclesiastical zeal throughout the Roman Church were to come as a formidable aid to the political forces now to be arrayed against advancing Protestantism.
The task before Catholic Europe was the suppression of the threatened revolt in France, Scotland, and the Netherlands, and the dethronement of Elizabeth as a heretic and illegitimate usurper of the English throne. This last was most imperative of all, for it was already clear, and became clearer as time went on, that the form of religion established by the Queen of England would be a powerful support and encouragement to the struggling sects elsewhere. Yet at this moment England as a European Power was impoverished, humiliated, and helpless. The Queen's title was insecure; she was without a recognised heir; her Catholic subjects were in a numerical majority ; and, moreover, there was an active pretender to her throne in the person of Mary Stewart, recently (1558) married to the Dauphin of France; and Mary's claims seemed irresistible in the eyes at least of those who looked rather to hereditary descent than to parliamentary title. It was very decidedly in the interests of both France and Spain that England should become Catholic. Would, then, these two Powers set aside their former jealousies and unite in placing Mary on the throne of the United Kingdom, or would either Power give a free hand to the other to act alone ? This was the problem which agitated Christendom for nearly thirty years. Round the Queen of Scots, as the representative and symbol of regenerated Catholicism, the contest of diplomatic skill and force of arms raged with remarkable vicissitudes of fortune. The end found Elizabeth the acknowledged champion of Protestant Europe, no longer weak and despised, but snatching from Spain the sovereignty of the seas, and within sight of the long-coveted union of Scotland and England under a Protestant monarch. What was accomplished by Elizabeth through good means or bad in her long conflict with Mary and her supporters has remained intact almost to our own time. The chapter, then, which deals with this important phase of the Wars of Religion rightly bears the name of Mary Stewart. To understand the shifting policy, the conflicting interests and influences which moulded her career and finally led to her destruction, it is necessary to go back to the days of her infancy.
Mary Stewart, from the moment of her birth (December 8, 1542), was destined to be a brand of discord. Henry VIII saw the fulfilment of his cherished dream of the union of England and Scotland in a marriage between the young Queen and his son Edward. He peremptorily demanded that the child should be sent into England at once, and under conditions which involved the immediate subjection of Scotland to the southern kingdom. Though these demands were rejected, the Regent, the pliable and at that time Protestant Arran, agreed by the Treaty of Greenwich (July 1, 1543), that Mary, when ten years old, should be placed in Henry's hands. But the King's overbearing and dictatorial tone so played into the hands of the dissatisfied party of Cardinal Beton and the Queen-mother that the Treaty was repudiated, and the alliance
The Protestant movement in Scotland had originated, as contemporary Catholic writers agree, in the revolt of a people, untaught and uncared for, against the idleness, cupidity, and scandalous lives of their clergy. The Church fell to pieces from its own internal decay, and Calvinism rushed into the vacuum created by the absence of all religion. The movement at a later time gathered outward strength by the accession of powerful nobles, eager to punish the delinquent clergy by appropriating their wealth. But it needed for ultimate success a single-minded and devoted leader, and a popular political motive. John Knox was to supply the first, and the ill-advised policy of Mary of Lorraine, or rather of her foreign counsellors, was eventually to give occasion for the second. The violent character of the struggle in its earlier stages appears in the assassination of Cardinal Beton by a number of gentlemen, mainly in revenge for the martyrdom of Wishart, and in the choice of the austere and perfervid Knox as preacher by the congregation of these zealots, when he was confined with them in the Castle of St Andrew's. Beton was slain on May 29, 1548. Knox was carried away captive in the French galleys in August of the following year. While Beton lived the Church was still politically strong ; for under his masterly guidance it represented the extreme patriotic resistance to the domination in England. In April, 1554, Arran, now Duke of Châtelhérault, reluctantly handed over the regency to Mary of Lorraine. A true Guise, ambitious for her daughter, yet of her own nature inclined to toleration, her fatal error was the attempt to govern Scotland by Frenchmen. The inevitable reaction set in. The old hostility to England rapidly gave way to a greater detestation of France as menacing to the liberties of the nation. French rule came to be identified
We now turn to the young Queen at the French Court. Her beauty, irresistible charm of manner, and intellectual gifts, made her a universal favourite. " She governs both the King and the Queen," said her uncle the Cardinal of Lorraine. While Scotland was being ruled by her mother in the interests of France, Mary herself became thoroughly French. In April, 1558, she learnt her first lesson in political duplicity. Commissioners arrived from Scotland to ratify the promises of France to support Châtelhérault's claim to the Crown, failing issue of her marriage, and to preserve inviolate the liberties and constitution of Scotland. Mary spoke to the deputies, said Diane de Poitiers, "not as an inexperienced child, but as a woman of age and knowledge." On April 4 she signed certain secret papers. In the first she made over Scotland as a free gift to the King of France in the case of her dying without issue ; and in another she declared that, though, before or after her marriage, she might in compliance with the Scottish Parliament sign papers in a contrary sense, the preceding documents should be taken to declare her genuine mind.
On November 17, 1558, Elizabeth succeeded Mary Tudor. The Queen of Scots at once quartered the arms of England and Ireland. The Commissioners of Henry II at Cateau-Cambrésis derisively asked to whom France was desired to restore Calais, seeing that Mary Stewart and not Elizabeth was the lawful Queen of England ; and Henry urged upon the Pope the immediate excommunication and deprivation of the usurper. The peril of Elizabeth was indeed great. Her safety at the moment, strange to say, appeared to depend entirely upon the self-interested friendship of the champion of Catholicism, Philip of Spain. Such strength as she possessed at home was in her character. The Spanish ambassador hinted that she owed her crown to Philip. She replied that she owed it to her people. " She is very much wedded to her people," wrote Feria, " and thinks as they do." " She is incomparably more feared than her sister was." Philip, that he might preserve England to his Church, resolved " to do God a service," by marrying the Queen. Elizabeth refused him, and proceeded boldly with
It was, then, upon Scotland that all eyes were now fixed. In April, 1558, the burning of the old man Milne exasperated the Protestants beyond control. The death, in November, of Mary Tudor led them once more to look to England for friendship or support. On May 2, 1559, Knox returned to his country. " I see," he wrote, " the battle shall be great, and I am come, I praise my God, even in the brunt of the battle." On the 10th a summons from the Queen-Regent to certain defiant preachers to appear at Stirling was the signal for the gathering of their friends in force. Knox's famous sermon at Perth excited " the rascal multitude" to break images and to pull down religious Houses. The Regent took up arms. The Lords of the Congregation for a time got the upper hand and occupied Edinburgh, but soon found that they were quite unable to sustain a contest with the trained troops of France. They now appealed earnestly to England for aid. Elizabeth was in great perplexity. She disliked the political opinions of Knox and had little sympathy with his creed. How could she assist such rebels against lawful authority without encouraging her own recusants to do the same? Moreover, she was ill prepared to risk war with France. Yet to remain neutral would be to enable the French to master Scotland as a province of France and thence march to the conquest of England in support of Mary's claim. On July 10,1559, Francis II succeeded his father Henry II, and Mary wrote (so Throckmorton reported) that as she was now Queen of
France and Scotland, so she trusted to be Queen of England also. The Guises became supreme in France, and Elizabeth's danger was the greater. Kirkcaldy of Grange was justified in his warning to Cecil : " If ye suffer us to be overthrown, ye shall prepare the way for your own destruction." Cecil understood this well. Elizabeth at length resolved to help the insurgents secretly with money, and to mass troops on the border, but if possible to avoid a rupture with France. No one was more keen for the English alliance, and the aid of English troops, than Knox. He implored the English to send from Berwick a thousand men to serve for wages, and so break no league with France; or " if that excuse avail not, you may declare them rebels when once they are in our company." He and his friends wished to make their grievance one of religion only. The Queen would not hear of religion. She would move only to defend the Scots from foreign tyranny and herself from invasion. To the remonstrances of Noailles, the French ambassador, she replied that it was the custom of her country to arm when her neighbours armed. The Queen of Scots had assumed her title and was aiming at her throne ; and it was patent to all the world that the French preparations were directed against England through Scotland. In January, 1560, Elizabeth sent Winter with a fleet to the Firth with orders to pick a quarrel with the French, and so prevent their bringing reinforcements, but to do so on his own responsibility. With the extraordinary good luck which attended her at critical moments, the French fleet, while on its way to Scotland, was driven back or destroyed by storms. In February she entered into a formal league with the Congregation, nominally in defence of the national liberties against French encroachments. Statesmen on the Continent were aghast at her audacity. They believed she was rushing to her ruin. " You will be torn in pieces," said Feria to Challoner, " and other princes will fall out about your garments." It now became an urgent question whether Philip should not anticipate the French by first occupying England himself. " If," wrote the Duchess of Parma to Philip, " the French establish themselves in Scotland, England is theirs ; with England they will have the Low Countries. How then will it fare with Spain and the Indies ?" " Spain," said Cardinal Granvella, " must defend London as it would Brussels." In the same strain Quadra, the new ambassador in London, wrote to Feria : " Either this country will fall to the French or we shall have to take up arms in the most ignominious and shameful cause which Christian prince ever sustained." Meanwhile both English and French appealed to Philip. The King in his embarrassment sent de Glasion to England to insist on the Queen keeping the peace. He arrived in England on April 5, but too late. A few days previously Elizabeth had taken the decisive step of sending Lord Grey across the Border with an army to cooperate with the forces of the Congregation. The Tumult of Amboise (March 15) and the beginning of serious troubles with the Huguenots, following upon the disaster to
The Parliament was duly held, though no authorisation came from Francis and Mary. The Calvinistic Confession of Faith was adopted, the papal jurisdiction abolished, and the saying or hearing of Mass prohibited, under the penalty of death for the third offence. The religious revolution was effected with scarcely a show of opposition from the prelates of the old Church.
Francis and Mary, humiliated by the unexpected turn of affairs in Scotland, refused to ratify the Treaty. The French troops had been withdrawn, and peace was reestablished. The refusal to ratify could therefore only mean that Mary maintained her pretensions to the English Crown, and so it was understood. On December 5 Francis died and was succeeded by his brother Charles. Mary was no longer Queen Regnant of France ; Catharine de' Medici gained the upper hand ; and the Guises lost their ascendancy. Disliked and suspected by Catharine, Mary for the moment had no home, no powerful party, no policy. The new Pope Pius IV sent her the golden rose, addressing her pathetically as " a rose among thorns.'" Overtures were now made for her return to her kingdom ; and she placed herself, not perhaps without some misgivings, in the hands of her half-brother, the Lord James. Ambitious of power and wealth, but devoted to his creed and to the English alliance, Lord James Stewart was a statesman, shrewd, powerful, and yet moderate ; and he might be expected to support his sister in everything except a conflict with England, or an attempt to overthrow the recent religious settlement in Scotland. Meanwhile Mary, to the increasing annoyance of Elizabeth, resolutely evaded every attempt to induce her to ratify the Treaty of Edinburgh.
Mary landed in Scotland, August 19,1561. Her eyes were from the first fixed upon the English Succession, and her policy at home and abroad now seemed entirely subservient to that end. As matters stood, the parliamentary sanction given to the will of Henry VIII-the very settlement under which Elizabeth now reigned-excluded or passed over Mary's line in the succession. Her first step therefore must be to obtain
Within a few days after her arrival in Scotland the Queen issued a proclamation, forbidding under pain of death any attempt at an alteration of the existing arrangement regarding religion, until a final settlement should be made with the consent of her Estates. She however deferred calling a Parliament, evaded the petitions of the General Assembly, and left the Acts of 1560 unconfirmed. She refused to hand over to the ministers the incomes of the old clergy or the Church property which had fallen to laymen, but claimed for the Crown one-third of these revenues; and this third was to be equally divided between herself and the Protestant clergy. She thus kept in her own hands the means of effecting another change should the opportunity occur. Attempts to revive Catholic worship were promptly checked; and the papal envoy, de Gouda, then secretly in the country, reported that the Bishop of Dunkeld had been impeached before the Queen for making preparations to administer the sacrament at Easter, 1562, and had been compelled to desist by the Queen's command. At another time, forty-eight priests, including the Primate of Scotland, were by her authority thrown into prison for venturing to say mass in secret. Yet Mary would not for a moment tolerate an invasion of her own privileges, nor suffer her priests to be wantonly insulted. The ministers in vain petitioned for the abolition of mass in the royal chapel; and, when
Meanwhile, the Queen both amused her Court with the fashions and gaiety of France and attended seriously with her brother to affairs of State. She made progress through her dominions, put down the disorders of the border counties, kept a firm hand upon unquiet nobles, punished and got rid of the troublesome Bothwell, and, what is more surprising, marched with her Council to the north, and there humbled the powerful Earl of Huntly, who had aided his son Lord George Gordon in some resistance to the Queen's authority. Mary, who never seemed in higher spirits, delighted in the campaign and left the leader of the Scottish Catholics dead on the field of Corrichie. But it was this same Huntly, who, by his desertion of the Royalists for the side of the Congregation at a critical moment in the struggle of 1559, had in the mind of Mary of Lorraine turned the scale against the Catholic cause. Thus by one act Mary gratified and enriched her brother, now created Earl of Moray, displayed her impartiality by punishing a professed Catholic, and revenged herself on a traitor. At the end of three years, the English ambassador could report, " the Queen is strictly obeyed, perfectly served, and honoured by all"; and this after the imprudent conduct which lured Chastelard to the rash acts that cost him his life. She had indeed so managed that already her chief counsellors, Moray and Maitland, had drifted away from Knox and the extreme Protestant party. The Reformer himself, who found in her "a proud mind, a crafty wit and indurat heart," was the one rock which she in vain tried to move.
One of the grave political questions of Europe at this time was Mary's marriage. Was France to let the all-powerful Philip obtain control of her old ally, Scotland? Was Spain to submit without a struggle to the restoration of that connexion with France which had just been so happily dissolved ; and what match could be agreeable to Mary which was not dangerous to England ? The first thought of Mary's uncles, and her own constant wish, had been an alliance with Don Carlos. This scheme was so ably resisted by the intrigues of Catharine de' Medici that it fell through before Mary left France. Mary herself seemed to remain passive. She wished first to win the coveted recognition of her right to the English Succession. She declared that she would only marry according to the Queen of England's good will, or she would even say pleasantly that she wished that one of them were a man, to make an end to all disputes, or that she would have no husband but Elizabeth. The Cardinal of Lorraine was soon busily negotiating with the imperial Court to match his niece with the Archduke Charles. With this project Mary was not well pleased; and she made it clear that the Archduke was not powerful enough to assist her in her schemes. For this reason, among others, she would not think of any Protestant Prince. Catharine
But there was still another candidate in the field. The Countess of Lennox had intended that her son, Lord Darnley, whose claim to the English Succession was next to that of Mary, and who had the advantage of being a naturalised Englishman, should marry the Queen of Scots. The English Catholics, staunch friends of the Lennox line, had not by any means unanimously regarded Mary's claims with favour so long as she was connected with France. They were too much subjected to Spanish influence. They had rather favoured the pretensions of young Darnley; and, if Mary was not to marry the Prince of Spain, what marriage could be more acceptable to the party than one with Darnley ? It would excite no continental jealousies, introduce no foreigner into the government, and would be the best guarantee for the restoration of Catholicism and the Union of the Crowns. Elizabeth, who had set one suitor against another, while fearing all, had lastly proposed her own favourite Leicester. Mary would not have disregarded even this match, had it been attended with the recognition of her right of succession, but this she could never obtain. To accede to such a request would on the part of Elizabeth have been to cut the ground from under her own feet. It would, as the Spanish ambassador saw, manifestly have resulted in a rising of the English Catholics and the reintroduction of their religion by force.
Darnley met Mary at Wemyss (February, 1565). She was already favourably disposed towards him on political grounds, but she seems to have been smitten with love at the sight of the beardless youth whose handsome figure and elegant accomplishments concealed the vacuity of his mind and the viciousness of his character. Castelnau, the French envoy, who was witness of the love-making, declares her infatuation to have been so great that it was set down to magic. But the political motive was uppermost. Thwarted on every side, Queen Mary at length determined to make her own choice. By her bold and independent move Elizabeth was outwitted. The " long lad " (as she said to the French
On July 29 Mary publicly celebrated her marriage. Her opportunity had come. The first overt act of aggression had been on the side of her opponents. She was confronted with insurrection within her kingdom and with invasion from England. She acted with vigour, issued proclamations declaring her innocence of making any alteration in religion, solicited aid from the Pope and King of Spain, obtained money from the latter, and again assured the Pope that she and her husband would defend the Catholic faith to the utmost of their power. She recalled Bothwell, whom she made Lieutenant-general of the Southern Marches, restored George Gordon to his father's dignities, and took the Catholic Atholl to her counsels. She marched armed at the head of the troops to meet the insurgents with such alacrity that Moray and his friends, without risking a conflict, fled early in October into England, leaving her mistress of the situation. Elizabeth, seeing the weakness of the insurgents, dared not openly intervene. Castelnau let her know that, if she crossed the border, Prance would be bound to come to Mary's aid. The King of Spain was for the first time making a decided move in her favour. When Moray therefore appeared before Elizabeth in London, she, in the presence of the French ambassador, reprimanded him for his rebellion and disavowed all sympathy with his action.
Mary was now bent on the ruin of her opponents. In answer to Castelnau's appeal for leniency she declared she would rather lose her Crown than forgo her revenge on Moray. A Parliament was summoned for March 12, 1566, when she was resolved that the rebels should be forfeited; and then, as she admitted to Archbishop Beton, she hoped "to have done some good anent restoring the old religion." Her triumph certainly seemed within her grasp. It was now nearly six years since the
But the marriage which had promised to be the beginning of Mary's triumph was destined to be one of the main causes of her ruin. Before many months had passed, Darnley neglected his wife and disgusted her with his low vices. His vanity prompted him to covet the Matrimonial Crown, an increase to his power and right which Mary prudently refused. This refusal Darnley attributed to David Biccio, the Queen's private secretary. This man, a Piedmontese and a zealous Catholic, had occupied a humble position in her household and assisted in her choir. The unusual confidence and familiarity with which the Queen treated him, his arrogance and assumption of authority, made him an object of jealousy and suspicion to the nobles. The Protestant party especially regarded him as the promoter of Catholic intrigues and the chief obstacle to the progress of reform. He was even believed to be in the pay of the Pope and the secret correspondent of Philip II. Of any such correspondence or intrigue there is however no evidence. His name even seems to have been unknown to Philip. That he influenced Mary's policy is most probable ; and Darnley was moreover induced to believe or to assert that " that villain David " had dishonoured his bed. He became the leader of a plot to put the favourite to death. A bond was entered into, signed by the King, Ruthven, and Morton, to slay Riccio as an enemy of the State; and in another bond the fugitive lords, Moray, Argyll, Glencairn and others in England, undertook to stand by Darnley, to procure him the crown-matrimonial, and to maintain the Protestant religion; while in return they were to receive pardon and restoration to their honours. On the evening of Saturday, March 9,1566, three days before the appointed Parliament, the assassins, accompanied by Darnley himself, dragged their victim from the side of the Queen, to
The murder of Riccio, " an action worthy of all praise " in the mind of Knox, was, however, the deathblow to Mary's schemes. " All the wise ordinances " (wrote de Silva, now Spanish ambassador in London) " made by the good Queen with regard to religion have been upset, and it will be difficult to establish them again." The Bishop of Dunblane was on his way to Rome, conveying to Pius V the obedience and submission of the King and Queen and their earnest request for aid, when the news of the disaster reached him. He could only pray the Pope to excuse the Queen from attempting any alteration at present. The enthusiastic Pope praised in conclave this " woman with a man's heart," granted her 20,000 crowns, and commissioned Laureo, Bishop of Mondovi, to go into Scotland as his Nuncio, declaring that if possible he would go himself in person and gladly spend his blood and life in her service.
Mary now reverted to a policy of conciliation. Moray returned to her councils together with Atholl, Huntly, and Bothwell ; and she even tried to win the good-will of the ministers by making better provision for their maintenance. Once more matters went smoothly for a while. On Wednesday, June 19, the Queen gave birth to her son James. Her position in England was thus greatly strengthened. She renewed her protestations of loyalty to Rome, and promised to bring up the child as a Catholic, while she invited Elizabeth to be his godmother, and opened negotiations with her for the recognition of her own rights and those of her son. Elizabeth with difficulty avoided a serious quarrel with both Houses of Parliament by her refusal to discuss either the matter of the succession or her own marriage. Instinctively, she saw that her security lay in remaining as she was, yet free to use any proposal of marriage as a convenient political instrument. Her best advisers, moreover, recognised that to name Mary as her successor would be to seal her own doom.
Never was the Queen of Scots to outward appearance held in higher respect than in the autumn of this year. Du Croc, the French ambassador, wrote: "I never saw the Queen so much beloved, esteemed and honoured, nor so great harmony amongst her subjects." Week after week de Silva reported to his master that all was well in Scotland. There was but one cloud in the horizon. The strained relations between Mary and her husband were notorious. She had been at first deceived
After the baptism of James at Stirling (December 17) Darnley, who felt himself slighted and had declined to be present, retired to his father at Glasgow, where he fell ill with small-pox. Rumours reached Mary that he and his father had been plotting mischief; and on January 20, 1567, she wrote to the Archbishop of Glasgow complaining bitterly of her husband and his inquisitorial spying upon her movements. On that day, or the next, however, she visited the sick man at Glasgow with the intention of bringing him back to Craigmillar. It was safer for her that he should be under her own eye. But at this point every word spoken and every movement of the chief personages in the history are the subject of controversy. We know at least that Darnley pleaded for forgiveness, and desired to live with his wife again. Since he disliked Craigmillar as a residence, and there would be danger of infection to the infant Prince at Holyrood, Mary brought him to Kirk o' field by the
There could be no doubt whose deed it was. Placards on the city walls, and voices in the night, proclaimed Bothwell and his friends as the murderers. The question in everybody's mouth was, had the Queen any part in the crime ? Suspicions which naturally arose were confirmed by her strange conduct. She acted as if her main endeavour was to evade enquiry and shield the culprit. She seemed to have lost all energy and discretion. Her best friends were amazed at her indifference and inaction. Archbishop Beton wrote to her plainly what was said of her complicity, and implored her to see that justice was done ; otherwise it were better that she lost life and all. Morette, the ambassador of Savoy, who had just come from Edinburgh, could not conceal from de Suva his suspicions that the Queen had known of and consented to the plot. The Catholics in England were divided, and all were disheartened.
Meanwhile the reputed murderer, who with Huntly had charge of the infant Prince, acted as Mary's chief counsellor, kept up a close intimacy with her, received from her fresh grants of place and power and costly presents. The Queen evaded the demands of Lennox that the accused should be arrested, and finally appointed April 12 for the trial of Bothwell, at which not the Crown but Lennox was to be the prosecutor. In default of prosecutor and witnesses, Bothwell was acquitted; for he had filled the city with his troops, and Lennox had not dared to appear. In the Parliament which followed, Bothwell was further honoured ; and on the day on which it closed (April 19) he entertained the chief nobles at supper, and there induced them to sign a bond affirming his innocence and recommending him to marry the Queen. Four days later at Stirling Mary saw her son's face for the last time; on the next day she was waylaid on her road to Edinburgh by Bothwell, and carried with Maitland to Dunbar. News of the intended capture had leaked out before it took place. De Suva reported to Philip that " it was believed the whole thing had been arranged." Murmurs had been already heard against the contemplated marriage with a man whose wife was living. Mary could not possibly hope to gain the consent of Spain, of France, or of the Pope to a match with a heretic and profligate-a match which would wreck all the hopes of the Counter-Reformation ; nor could Bothwell, the most bitter enemy of England, be acceptable to Elizabeth. For Mary's own security the show of violence and the hurry seemed necessary. While she was at Dunbar on April 26 the new Commissary Court commenced proceedings for the divorce at the instance of Lady Jane Gordon, Bothwell's wife, on
Catholic Europe was in despair at the depths to which their favourite had fallen. The Bishop of Dunblane in vain pleaded at the Court of France that the marriage was brought about by destiny rather than by free choice. His excuses were contemptuously rejected. The Venetian ambassador, Correro, felt that the Catholic religion had now no hope of ever again raising its head in Scotland. De Suva was alienated and distrustful. The Bishop of Mondovi had returned to Italy, recalled by the Pope. His mission had been a failure. He had never been allowed to set foot in Scotland. From Paris he had proposed to the Queen, as a test of her sincerity and as a sovereign remedy for her evils, that she should cut off the heads of six of her chief councillors, including Moray and Lethington. Mary had resolutely refused to do anything of the . kind ; yet the Nuncio still entertained some hope that another papal mission might be more successful. On receipt of the news of the Both-well marriage this shadow of a hope vanished. " With this last act, so dishonourable to God and herself," he wrote to the Cardinal Secretary of State, " the propriety of sending any sort of envoy ceases. One cannot as a rule expect much from those who are subject to their pleasures." Mary's best apologists could only attribute her blind passion to love potions administered by Bothwell.
In Scotland the revulsion of feeling was almost universal. A sense of shame at the national disgrace and degradation of their sovereign, fear and hatred of Bothwell, a dread of the consequences of their own acts or the opportunity arising from the moment of Mary's greatest weakness, united all parties in a call to arms and to a revolution of which the projectors did not foresee the end. To punish the murderer of the King, to free the Queen from the thraldom of a disgraceful marriage, to protect the young Prince whose life seemed in jeopardy -these were among the avowed objects of the confederates. The Hamiltons, the next claimants to the throne after James, suspicious of the Lennoxes and of the ambition of Moray, almost alone gave a
The next step of the confederates was a difficult one. If she had consented to a divorce from Bothwell, many would have been willing to restore the government to her. But she acted as if passionately attached to her husband ; and severer counsels prevailed. Knox, who had retired from the country since the Riccio murder, now reappeared on the scene. In a General Assembly held on June 25 the voice of the Church was heard with effect. The Queen was herself now denounced from the pulpit as a murderess ; and the populace clamoured for her trial and punishment. On July 16 she was roughly compelled-the alternative 'being certain death-to sign a deed of abdication and to nominate Moray, then absent in France, as Regent. On the 29th the young James was crowned King by the Bishop of Orkney, Knox preaching the sermon. The revolution was complete. It was an act of defiance to the Catholic sovereigns and to the Queen of England. The Protestant party was acting for the first time with stern independence. Elizabeth's efforts on behalf of Mary were unavailing ; and it was clearly intimated to Throckmorton, the English ambassador, that any act of intervention on her part would be the signal for Mary's execution.
Now, if ever, it would seem, was the opportunity for the Catholic Powers to come to Mary's aid. But so low had she fallen in the estimation of her foreign friends that all looked coldly on her misfortunes. Moreover, France was entering upon another civil war, and her hands were full. Charles IX, at least, thought more of securing the Scottish alliance than of saving the Queen. His envoys were instructed to bear in mind that the desired alliance was not with this or that Prince, but with the established government. The main object was, as always, to detach Scotland from England. Spain, too, was busy with the outbreak in the Netherlands. Alva's army of 10,000 veterans was marching from Italy to crush the revolt. But twelve months later, when appealed to for help, Philip replied that he was not sufficiently informed and could give his ambassador no instructions but to work for the good of religion ; while, worst of all, Pius V, Mary's staunchest friend, believed himself duped, and would have nothing to do with her (July, 1567) ; and his Secretary of State, even so late as August, 1568, explained to the Nuncio of Madrid that "his Holiness is not well resolved in his mind which of the two Queens is the better." In strange contrast with this virtual
The need came, and the help was claimed, in an unexpected manner. On May 2, 1568, after ten months of confinement in Lochleven, Mary effected her escape. She revoked her abdication, and asked her lawyers how she could obtain her restoration. They replied, by Parliament or by battle. " By battle let it be," she answered. Joined by the Hamiltons and others she met Moray at Langside, fled defeated from the battlefield, and on the 16th crossed the Solway into England.
Yet the Queen came not as a suppliant craving refuge, but buoyant, defiant, burning to renew the struggle and " to chastise her false accusers." She expected to be sent back by Elizabeth's troops in triumph to her throne. She demanded to be admitted to the Queen's presence. Sir Francis Knollys, who was sent to visit her at Carlisle, was fascinated by her eloquent tongue, discreet head, and the " stout courage which made pain and peril pleasant for victory's sake." " What is to be done with such a lady and such a Princess ? " he asked. Elizabeth's embarrassment was great. Her first impulse was to receive Mary with the honour due to a sovereign ; but Cecil and the Protestant party in her council were more far-seeing. Was Elizabeth to break with her former friends and by force of arms restore to Protestant Scotland a Catholic Queen who would use her first opportunity to snatch at the English Crown, her pretensions to which she had never abated? Or was Mary as an alternative to be permitted to cross over to France and there renew the situation of 1559, and with the aid of the Guises become a perpetual menace to England ? While Mary had been shut up in Lochleven, Alva was threatening that, after crushing the Netherlands, he would cross over to France with his victorious army and there complete the annihilation of the Huguenots. England's turn would surely come next ; and what hope would there be for England and the Reformation if Mary's hands were not kept tied, and the alliance with the Scottish Protestants were not maintained? Yet to detain Mary in England without some plausible ground might be as perilous as to set her free. Elizabeth's first object was to gain time, and meanwhile to keep Mary out of mischief. She found it therefore inconsistent with her honour to receive the Scottish Queen until she had proved herself innocent of her husband's murder; and step by step Mary was inveigled into submitting to some sort of conference or indirect adjudication upon her cause, in the course of which Elizabeth was to call upon Moray to justify his rebellion. Moray, on his part, was led to believe that the result of the enquiry would certainly be to confirm his sister's deposition ; while Mary herself
The famous Conference was to be held at York. Norfolk, known to be a friend of Mary, was, with the Earl of Sussex, the Chief Commissioner, on Elizabeth's side. Lesley, the Bishop of Ross, and Lord Herries were the principal advisers of Mary ; and Maitland, who accompanied Moray, also gave her secret assistance. Moray came prepared with the mysterious Casket Letters, purporting to contain in Mary's own handwriting damning evidence of her having lured Darnley to his doom, together with her contract of marriage with Bothwell in Huntly's hand, signed by herself and by Bothwell before his acquittal of the murder. But Moray was fearful of taking a false step by producing evidence, which, if not fatal to Mary, would surely be fatal to himself; and, having had bitter experience of Elizabeth's caprice, he was doubtful whether she might not yet restore Mary in spite of the Casket. Others also were implicated in the crime, and the consequences of opening the letters could scarcely be foreseen. A sight of the documents, or rather of an English translation of them, was furtively procured for Mary by Maitland. She implored him, according to Lesley's confession, " to stay these rigorous proceedings." He accordingly worked in her interests for some compromise.
Moray, frightened by Norfolk, finally made a feeble defence, and said nothing of the Casket or the murder. Meanwhile other intrigues had been carried on ; and Elizabeth, fearing to be baulked of her advantage, removed the Conference to Westminster. Here (November 25) the proceedings, in spite of Mary's protests and withdrawal of her Commissioners, assumed undisguisedly the character of a trial, not of Moray for rebellion, but of the Queen for murder. Lennox appeared as an accuser of Mary ; Moray produced the letters ; and evidence was heard. Elizabeth took care that the contents of the Casket should be seen by the chief English lords favourable to Mary, including Northumberland and Westmorland. Her purpose was already sufficiently gained. It was no one's interest to push matters to an extremity. No satisfactory judicial examination of the documents ever took place. Even Mary's just demand to have sight of the originals was refused. Knollys was sent to induce her to avoid further trouble by confirming her abdication. This, after brief consideration, she absolutely refused to do. She would die a Queen. Then came the impotent conclusion of the whole. Elizabeth sent the Regent Moray back to Scotland, solemnly pronouncing that nothing had been brought against him and his party that compromised their honour and loyalty ; nor, on the other hand, had anything been shown against the Queen, their sovereign, by which the Queen of England should conceive an evil opinion of her. Mary nevertheless, with her name sufficiently besmirched, remained a prisoner.
The Casket Letters now disappear from history. The question of their genuineness is beset with difficulties which in the absence of the originals it may be now impossible ever to solve. The casket was discovered upon one of Both well's servants, June 20, 1567. The earliest references to the form and contents of the documents which it contained are contradictory or inaccurate. On their evidence, however, the Scottish Parliament on December 15, 1567, declared Mary to be guilty of murder and to have forfeited her Crown. The tendency of recent discovery and research, rendering at least no longer tenable certain positions maintained by former opponents of their genuineness, is to suggest a large foundation of Mary's actual writing craftily altered or interpolated. This inference, based upon both internal and external evidence, would also explain in some measure Mary's manifest desire rather to keep the letters out of sight than to attempt the demonstration of their falsity to the ruin of her accusers. The hesitation or silence of Mary's supporters points to the same conclusion. Morton, in his declaration at Westminster (December 29, 1568), first published in full in 1889, asserted that the letters were " sichted," that is examined, on the morning after their discovery, in the presence of Atholl and Semple, both Catholics, as well as of Hume and others who had joined Mary's side, besides Maitland himself, who would be a most competent judge of their validity. It is strange that none came forward to dispute the facts alleged ; strange that Huntly did not deny his writing of Mary's contract of marriage with Bothwell ; strange, too, that, if the letters were forged, there should remain no clue to the forger or to the date at which such forgery was accomplished.
The interest of the letters is, however, mainly biographical. If rejected as forgeries, they leave the question of Mary's innocence or guilt just as it was when the friendly Du Croc, who knew the Queen and all the circumstances well, reported to the French Court that " the unhappy facts are too well proved." If genuine, they would exhibit Mary as something far worse than an ill-used wife conniving at the murder of a worthless husband who threatened to be her ruin. The letters had no effect upon international politics. The revolution at home was virtually effected before the discovery of the Casket. The judgment of foreign Courts was formed independently of its disclosures.
There were statesmen in England who, like the Earl of Sussex, saw clearly from the first that the retention of Mary was a political necessity. Her long captivity and the tragedy which closed her life were, indeed, the acts of the English nation, not of a rival Queen. Elizabeth herself, ever irresolute and waiting upon events, soon (May, 1569) entered upon negotiations, sincere enough at the outset, for her restoration to Scotland. But the dominant party in that country had something to say in the matter. Moray with a strong hand had reduced his sister's partisans to submission ; and in a convention called by him at Perth
In the ten years which elapsed since Elizabeth's succession the hopes entertained from her policy of compromise had hardly been realised. The Catholic majority of her subjects had by no means been reconciled. They were indeed without ecclesiastical leaders, without a definite policy, apparently crushed and helpless ; but latent among them was a formidable power which at any moment might be evoked by favourable circumstances. There were divisions, too, within the Queen's Council. When she ascended the throne she had instinctively made her choice of Sir William Cecil (created Lord Burghley in 1571) as her chief secretary. Cecil was her mainstay in both home and foreign affairs. As if conscious of her own weakness and vacillation, and of the fact that her own private sentiments in religious and other matters were often opposed to those which her better judgment approved for the national welfare, she leant upon the strong man to keep her straight. With Cecil, she introduced into her Council Cecil's brother-in-law, Sir Nicolas Bacon, as Keeper of the Great Seal, Francis Russell, Earl of Bedford, and others favouring the Reformation. On the other hand, her personal favourite, and for many years her evil genius, was Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester. The Council became divided between friends and enemies of Cecil. The country at large was exasperated by the Queen's refusal to marry; and the dread of a disputed succession drove men on all sides to look favourably on the claims of Mary Stewart, and to forget her past delinquencies.
Such was the condition of affairs at the moment when, in spite of a significant warning from Elizabeth, the Duke of Norfolk was secretly aiming at a marriage with the imprisoned Queen. A strong conservative party, attached to the old alliance with Spain, hostile to Cecil and to the advanced Protestants, and desirous of settling the Succession by Act of Parliament upon Mary, supported Norfolk's project as the best guarantee of peace, while the Catholics were led to expect the Duke's conversion and the restoration of their faith. Yet it could scarcely be expected that Elizabeth's very natural opposition to the marriage of a subject with a claimant to her throne-for such Mary continued to be- could be overcome without a revolution ; and revolt would not have been thought of but for the changed relations between England and Spain.
Don Guerau d'Espes, who had taken the place of the more prudent and moderate de Suva (September, 1568), was instructed by Philip warmly to espouse the cause of the Catholics. His zeal outran that of his master. Since the peace of Cateau-Cambrésis there had been on the part of the great Powers a dread of provoking a general war. A diplomacy characteristic of the age was the result. While open war was avoided, each sovereign acted as if he were in secret alliance with one of
While these secret intrigues were being carried on, England's diplomatic relations with Spain were strained almost to the point of open rupture by the daring conduct of Elizabeth. She had seized the Spanish treasure-ships, which had taken refuge in English harbours when on the way to the Netherlands carrying gold for the payment of Alva's troops, and had appropriated or borrowed the money. D'Espes incited Alva to make reprisals; the Pope urged him to action. But Philip's Council, agreeing with Alva himself, decided that it was unwise to break openly with Elizabeth at this moment. While the King was slowly making up his mind " to encourage with money and secret favour the Catholics of the north and to help those of Ireland to take up arms against the heretics and deliver the Crown to Mary," Elizabeth had laid hands on Norfolk, and the northern Earls were being hurried into rebellion (November 14, 1569). Westmorland and Northumberland were summoned to Court. Making evasive excuses, they gathered their forces in haste. There was indecision in their counsels. Some of their adherents held back from scruples as to the legitimacy of the rebellion without more definite instructions from Rome. Others wished to see first the promised Spanish gold or Spanish soldiers. Nor was it clear whether the insurgents demanded no more than a change in Elizabeth's policy and the restoration of Catholicism, or whether they aimed at the deposition of the Queen and the substitution of Mary Stewart. On November 14, with 1700 horse, and 4000 foot, the Earls entered Durham, heard mass in the Cathedral, and publicly burnt the Book of Common Prayer and the English Bible. Six days later they were at Tadcaster, contemplating a dash at Tutbury for the release of Mary. BafHed by
The complete collapse of this ill-prepared and ill-supported rebellion did not, however, free Elizabeth from grave anxiety. It was clear that Philip was but biding his time. The Pope, who had egged on the northern Earls, was bestirring himself. The French King, again victorious over the Huguenots, was preparing to assist the Queen of Scots, when, to the deep sorrow of Elizabeth and the unconcealed joy of his sister, the Regent Moray was struck down by an assassin (January, 1570). A fierce civil war broke out in Scotland. Dumbarton and Edinburgh Castles were becoming in effect outposts in the great international war of religion which was raging round Antwerp or La Rochelle. The partisans of Mary, now comprising Maitland, Kirkcaldy, and the greater part of the barons, if left to themselves might well have gained the ascendancy. In February Pius V, without consulting Philip, issued his long-premeditated Bull, excommunicating Elizabeth and absolving her subjects from their allegiance. It was the supreme effort of the Counter-Reformation. Elizabeth had good ground for alarm. She quickly despatched troops into Scotland, by her influence secured the Regency for the Earl of Lennox (July, 1570), and in fear of France resumed at Chatsworth negotiations for Mary's restoration. Mary even agreed to ratify the Treaty of Edinburgh, to send her son as a hostage to England, and never to marry without Elizabeth's consent. Such conditions were calculated to ensure the failure of the negotiation. France, Spain, and the Scots, as before, made objections; and Mary's hopes, raised to the highest point, were again doomed to disappointment.
But at the moment when the Catholic Powers were most free to act, and the oft-threatened coalition seemed imminent, a change came over the international relations of France which cast to the winds whatever substance there had been in the Bayonne Conference, lifted England from her isolation in Europe, and gave to her a new political importance. France, fearful of Spanish aggrandisement, veered towards her ancient
In 1559 France had been the natural enemy of England, while Spain from political necessity was a friend. Now, twelve years later, the positions were reversed. The change was a momentous one for the Queen of Scots. Resuming her intrigues with the Duke of Norfolk, she placed herself in the hands of the Bishop of Ross and of Ridolfi, an influential Florentine banker in the confidence of the Pope. Ridolfi was despatched with instructions from both Mary and Norfolk to Alva, the Pope, and the King of Spain. France was to be kept in the dark. To make sure of Philip, Norfolk promised to restore the Catholic religion, and bound himself to do whatever the Pope, the Catholic King, and the Queen of Scots should command. He asked for troops, 6000 to land in England, 2000 in Ireland, and 2000 in Scotland, while he on his side would furnish an army. Ridolfi was to make orally certain communications not committed to paper. He went first to Alva, who, as usual, was cautious and suspicious. But while putting before Philip the difficulties of an invasion in the secret form proposed, and the danger that, if the project were discovered, Elizabeth would at once, and with apparent justice, put to death both Mary and Norfolk, Alva added suggestively that if Elizabeth should die a natural death, " or any other death," or if her person were seized he, Alva, would be prepared to act without further instructions (May 7, 1571). From the Netherlands Ridolfi went to Rome. How far he communicated the most essential feature of the plot to Pius V, may be uncertain ; but the zealous Pope entered with ardour into the enterprise and sent Ridolfi to Madrid with a letter to Philip, conjuring him to carry it out and praying with his whole soul for its success. On July 7 Ridolfi disclosed his plan in the presence of the Spanish Council of State. As a first step Elizabeth was to be assassinated. The Council discussed when, where, and by whom the blow was to be delivered, and on what ground the war should be made ; the Cardinal Archbishop of Seville urging the Bull of deposition, Feria preferring the natural claims of Queen Mary. Philip pondered slowly, and on September 14 left the decision in the hands of Alva. But already the whole plot had been discovered by Burghley. The Bishop of Ross was in the Tower, and under threat of torture confessed all. The Spanish Ambassador was dismissed, and Philip did not dare to resent the affront. Norfolk was tried and condemned for treason (January 16, 1572), and, after months of irresolution on the part of Elizabeth, was executed on June 2.
The successive blows thus aimed at Elizabeth-the Northern rising of 1569, the Bull of 1570, and the Ridolfi conspiracy of 1571-were followed (as has been said) by the Treaty of Blois (which was in effect an abandonment of Mary's cause by France) ; and almost at the same time (April 1, 1572) came the capture of Brill by the " Beggars of the Sea," which laid the foundations of the independence of the United Provinces. France was thus detached from Spain as well as from Scotland ; and Spain, realising more keenly than ever that the pacification of the Netherlands depended upon the subjection of England, was for the present helpless against her.
Elizabeth from the beginning of her reign had rigorously but cautiously enforced the Acts of Supremacy and Uniformity passed by her first Parliament (1559). They made the practice of the Catholic religion impossible. The immediate effect was to drive from the country the most conscientious of the Catholic clergy and thus to deprive the laity of their natural leaders and guides. The aristocracy had no policy. Strange to say, little or no aid or instruction came from Rome; while the mass of the adherents of the old faith were helpless, there was little need to resort to extreme measures. Yet, if they but moved a little finger Cecil, ever on the watch, had means to crush them under his heel. Witness the apparent trivial incident of the miracle of St Donats. A few months after the Queen's accession an oak-tree in the park of Sir Thomas Bradleigh reft asunder by lightning disclosed in its centre the figure of a cross. Devout Catholics, taking this to be a miracle of good augury, made drawings of the cross and distributed them among their friends. The facts were brought to the knowledge of the Council in the spring of 1561 ; and Cecil at once despatched a commission of enquiry into Glamorganshire to take evidence on the spot, and to bring the piece of wood containing the cross to London. A raid was made on the houses of Sir Thomas' friends ; and after a strict examination a number of gentlemen and ladies were thrown into prison for having had mass said for them in secret. There was reported to be current among Catholics some hope that Elizabeth would receive a papal Nuncio. In any case Cecil " thought it necessary to dull the papists' expectations by rebating of their humours." The letters and submissions of the offenders exhibit them as paralysed with fear.
Again, in 1568, the Court was disturbed by rumours that in Lancashire or thereabouts " religion was backward," mass commonly said, and priests were harboured. Pius V had in fact initiated some missionary movement in England by sending Lawrence Vaux into the country with certain faculties to absolve from heresy, and with instructions to make it clear that in no circumstances was it lawful for a Catholic to attend the Protestant service. A royal commission was set on foot resulting in the imprisonment of many of the leading gentry of the district; yet a rigorous inquisition failed to discover a trace of political intrigue, though
Meanwhile, in the interval between the third and fourth civil wars of France, Catherine, jealous of Coligny's influence over the King and fearful of the Huguenots, prevailed on her son to be rid of all his Protestant enemies by one blow. The Massacre of St Bartholomew (August 23, 1572) filled England and Scotland with horror and dismay. The triumphant acclamation with which the news was received by the Pope and Catholic Princes led to the belief that the massacre had been premeditated as part of a scheme for the extermination of Protestants everywhere. The recent alliance with France scarcely survived the shock. Yet the massacre was a suggestive lesson to Elizabeth. Would not she at least be justified in ridding herself of her single enemy-that one personage who in the eyes of the nation already merited death? She accordingly proposed secretly to Morton and to the Regent Mar, who had succeeded Lennox, that Mary should be placed in their hands for immediate execution. The design was frustrated only by the death of Mar (October 28, 1573).
After 1572 there came about a lull in the conflict between the two Queens and the forces represented by them. Abroad, international
During this period, however, a grave danger momentarily menaced England and gave new hope to the friends of Mary. Don John of Austria, who had succeeded the more conciliatory Requesens in the government of the Netherlands (1576), had none of Alva's fear of provoking war with Elizabeth. Ambitious himself of a crown and egged on by the Pope, he arrived with a fixed determination to take his army over to England, to marry the Queen of Scots, and to place her on Elizabeth's throne ; and now Mary, altogether Spanish, as if mindful of what she had done twenty years before for Henry II of France, drew up a will (February, 1577) by which she made over all her rights in England and elsewhere to the Catholic King, or to anyone of his relations whom he might please to name with the consent of the Pope. But Philip was jealous of his half-brother's ambitious projects ; and, as the Netherlands were now strong enough to insist on the withdrawal of Don John's army, England was once more saved from a formidable attack.
But towards the close of 1579 the period of seven years' comparative rest was succeeded by a like period of storm. Gregory XIII, determined to carry into effect the bull of his predecessor, was himself prepared to take the field. The war was to have the character of a crusade. Dr Nicolas Sanders had written (November, 1577) to his friend Dr Allen : " I beseech you to take hold of the Pope, for the King of Spain is as fearful of war as a child of fire. The Pope will give you 2000. If they do not serve to go into England, at least they will serve to go into Ireland. The state of Christendom dependeth upon the stout assailing of England." The Pope accordingly, after the failure of Stukeley's expedition which he had intended for Ireland, sent thither this same Dr Sanders with a body of Italian troops to raise the standard of rebellion. The Pope's soldiers were subsequently reinforced by Spaniards
While Elizabeth was thus simultaneously threatened in Ireland and baffled in Scotland, Gregory XIII and the General of the Jesuits were despatching into England forces of an entirely new kind. Many years before (1568) Dr Allen and other clerical exiles had founded a seminary at Douai-ten years later removed to Rheims-which was to supply England with a body of missionaries. In 1579 a similar seminary was established in Rome. The priests who had flocked into the country from these colleges since 1574 were men of no great mark and had excited comparatively little notice. One Cuthbert Mayne, to be known as the proto-martyr of the seminaries, was seized in Cornwall with a copy of an antiquated Bull of no political significance in his possession. He was executed (1571) as an example ; but this was the only case of bloodshed under the recent statutes. Presently, however, the Jesuits were induced to take part in the spiritual campaign. Parsons and Campion, men of conspicuous ability and daring, landed in the summer of 1580. They were strictly enjoined by their superiors to refrain from meddling with affairs of State, and they pledged their oaths that their mission was purely apostolic. In a few months they had rekindled the zeal and raised the hopes of the down-trodden Catholics from one end of the country to the other. The government, disbelieving in their apostolic professions, and seeing in every convert a fresh recruit for the army of King Philip, filled the prisons with recusants and priests, captured Campion, and brought him with several of his companions to the gallows on the charge of a treasonable plot of which they were manifestly innocent. But Parsons, who escaped to the Continent, changed his tactics, and presently embarked upon a career of intrigue and conspiracy fraught with momentous consequences to the cause of Catholicism in England. Convinced that the road to the reduction of England lay through Scotland, he sent Holt, an English missionary and a member of
Mendoza, then Spanish ambassador in London, was at the same time secretly treating with six English Catholic noblemen, making use of missionary priests as his agents, and in active correspondence with Mary, who, as he wrote to Philip, April, 1582, is " virtually the mainspring of the war, without whose opinion and countenance Lennox and others will do nothing." Presently the Duke of Guise, the Archbishop of Glasgow, Dr Allen, the Provincial of the French Jesuits, and the papal Nuncio, met in conference in Paris to discuss the details of the campaign. Parsons assured them of his own knowledge that the English Catholics were ready to rise the moment the standard was raised in Scotland. It was now agreed that Guise should be the commander of the forces ; and it is significant of the political chaos in France that the King was by no means to be admitted to the secret. Crichton was despatched to Rome, to gain the approval and pecuniary aid of the Pope; and Parsons carried the plan to Philip. The project met with a temporary check by the Raid of Ruthven (August 22, 1582), through which James became a prisoner in the hands of the partisans of the Kirk and the English interest; and Lennox was soon forced to fly the country. When the King recovered his liberty (June, 1583), the enterprise, at the earnest solicitation of Mary, was renewed, the plan being only so far modified that the principal invading force was to land on the coast of England instead of Scotland. Dr Allen and the energetic Father Parsons, who flitted from Court to Court under the disguise of " Melino," continued to be the moving spirits in the affair. " Meanwhile, as in the Ridolfi conspiracy, the assassination of Elizabeth became a prominent feature of the enterprise. The papal Nuncio reported to the Cardinal of Como, and the Spanish agent Tassis informed Philip, that Guise and Mayenne had found an English Catholic ready to kill the Queen for 100,000 francs; and half of that sum was deposited in a box in the custody of Archbishop Beton (May, 1583). But Elizabeth's life seemed charmed. The project came to nothing. Mary, according to Parsons, was induced unfairly to lay the blame of the failure on the Duke of Guise and the Archbishop for omitting to supply the assassin with the promised bribe; but, as the Jesuit subsequently explained, " the party in question was a worthless fellow who would do nothing."
The death of Anjou (June, 1584), by which the Protestant King of Navarre became heir to the throne of France, once more effected a radical change in European politics. Philip had been all along but half-hearted
During the earlier stages of this foreign conspiracy (1582-3), the soul of which was secrecy, all Elizabeth's fences appeared to be breaking down. The shifting of parties in Scotland was such that she never could be sure of James or safe from attack on his side. There was no Anjou to do her work for her in the Netherlands. She was no longer able to play her old game of match-making with France ; and now
Elizabeth now made up her mind to strong measures in the Netherlands. In August, 1585, she entered into an alliance with the Estates, and subsequently sent an army under Leicester in defence of their liberties, still, however, pretending that she was not making war upon Spain. At the same time she made every effort to secure the friendship of James; and in the following year (July, 1586) concluded with him an alliance offensive and defensive for the protection of Protestantism in both countries. In this treaty Mary's name is not so much as mentioned. All her hopes of association with her son had already been dashed by James' own refusal to have anything to do with it (August, 1585). She herself was removed to stricter confinement. In the bitterness of her abandonment she wrote to Elizabeth that she would disown, curse,
In the spring of 1586 the English adherents of Mary, who were in the secret of the Spanish enterprise, and who believed that no invasion could succeed as long as Elizabeth lived, became desperate. Savage, an officer who had served under Parma, vowed to take her life. Ballard, a seminary priest, went to France to discuss the new plan with Mendoza, then Ambassador at the Court of France, who approved, and suggested that Cecil, Walsingham, and Hunsdon should also be killed. Antony Babington, a gentleman of good family and fortune, who became the leader in the plot, associated five other assassins with Savage, and undertook to rescue Mary as soon as the deed was done. Walsingham meanwhile held all the threads of the conspiracy in his own hands. His ubiquitous spies, the chief of whom was the priest Gilbert Gifford, had won the confidence of Morgan and other devoted adherents of Mary ; and every secret of the conspirators was known. Walsingham resolved to force the hand of Elizabeth by possessing himself of proof of Mary's complicity in the projected assassination. With the aid of Gifford and the ingenious decipherer Phelippes he intercepted, copied, and forwarded every letter which passed between Mary and the confederates. Morgan had prudently let Mary know that Ballard had been warned "not to deal with her as long as he followed affairs which he and others have in hand which tend to do good, which I pray to God may come to pass " ; and less prudently in a postscript to Mary's secretary Curie, he wrote, " there be many means in hand to remove the beast which troubleth all the world." Finally, throwing aside all caution he advised Mary to open communications with Babington, who wrote to her an account of the whole plan. She replied in a long and able letter (July 17-27) showing a masterly grasp of all the necessary details to be considered, adding : " Affairs being thus prepared, then shall it be time to set the six gentlemen to work."
Walsingham, now satisfied, arrested Babington and his associates. Mary was removed from Chartley, where she was then in custody (August 8) ; her papers were seized ; and on October 5 she was indicted before a Court of forty-six Commissioners at Fotheringay, under the terms of the late Act, for having compassed or imagined acts tending to the hurt of the Queen. She confronted her accusers and judges, whose jurisdiction she refused to admit, with dignity, courage, and consummate ability. Her protest that she was no subject of Elizabeth was set aside. It was enough that she was a pretender to the throne of England, had broken the laws of the country, and had brought herself within the compass of the late Acts. She admitted having attempted to gain her freedom with the aid of foreign forces, but strenuously denied having sought the Queen's life, or indeed of having had any
Elizabeth's aim throughout her reign had been to make a united people. Her Church was intended to be a compromise between the contending creeds. Her foreign policy was essentially defensive. The
Her unfortunate rival, with a personality more attractive and gifts more brilliant if less solid, came into her kingdom virtually a foreigner ; and a foreigner she remained-alien above all to the stern religious creed which she found there established. Her interests and ideals were those of the Guises. Her heart was not in her own country, but elsewhere; and the main object of her ambition, the Crown of her neighbour, she pursued with an all-absorbing passion, save for the moment when a more human passion, her infatuation for Bothwell, turned her aside on the path which led to her destruction. Every folly committed by her seemed to meet with an instant Nemesis. At her best she was surrounded by statesmen and advisers who could but give her a half-hearted support; and it was her ill fate to be betrayed or abandoned in turn by all in whom she had at any time put her trust-her brother, her husband, and her son. When all hope was lost, she represented herself as the victim of religious persecution ; and sentiment has invested her pitiable sufferings and tragic end with the halo of martyrdom. Her evil destiny seemed to pursue her party and her cause beyond her grave. Disaster and humiliation befell her one avenger among the Catholic Princes. Her death broke up the unity and power of her English followers. Priests and laymen alike were divided into factions, Spanish and Scottish, Jesuit and Secular, whose quarrels brought disgrace upon the Catholic mission ; and presently the sovereignty of the United Kingdom of England and Scotland, which she had coveted for herself and her Church, was to fall to the Protestant son whom she had done her best to disown and disinherit.