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however, attempting or venturing to account for it. No less than twenty different champions—to say nothing of the great George Buchanan, Hume, Robertson and Gilbert Stewarthave, from time to time, in various armour, essayed to break a lance in the “ Marian Controversy”-the greater part armed with the fierce and exterminating mace of religious intolerance, and a deadly uncompromising political animosity, and marsballed under banners hostile to an innocent, unoffending, and, to the last, uoprotected female-a few, and but a few only, interposing the shield of truth and honour in behalf of the injured, the beautiful and unfortunate daughter of James the V. It is by no means calculated to raise our estimate of human nature, to reflect that, among this host of writers-priests and politicians, secretaries and librarians--hardly an instance of entire disinterestedness, of pure and conscientious conviction, or of honest and loyal devotion to the illustrious subject of this most unworthy controversy, could have been pointed out, or fairly insisted upon, until the appearance of Mr. Bell's two volumes. The ablest and most distinguished literary character of that age, in Scotland, clothed too in the garb of a religion which inculcates charity and love to all men, scrupled not to raise his voice-and be well knew its power and influenceagainst the sacred cause of truth and the best interests of humanity-meanly and shamelessly slandered his queen-one of the gentlest and best, as she was the most unhappy of womenand this, not, as was the case in one or two solitary instancesnot from a thorough, however, erroneous persuasion that he was performing an indispensable though painful duty-not that he believed Mary to be culpable, either as a soverign or a wife; nor because he regarded her as the enemy of what he considered the true faith-these motives, or any one of them, had furnished him with a just pretext, or excuse, for waging a religious and political warfare against his royal mistress—but to none of these honourable incentives can we ascribe that rigid and unsparing course which Buchanan, in conjunction with Knox, and others, pursued towards the almost unconscious, because unsuspecting Mary-a course eminently calculated to impair, if not to endanger that throne from which she was ultimately hurled ; and to destroy that life which as it bad begun in sorrow, was closed in ignominy. No. A groveling selfinterest—a shameless compromise between his honour and his views of paltry personal aggrandizement-this, and this, alone, it was, that led to Buchanan's infamous crusade against his queen; and never, certainly, did worse motives conduce to, or were means less equivocal employed in the prosecution of a
criminal end. When the celebrity and consequent influence which Buchanan had won and enjoyed in his day, are called to mind, we shall hardly be taxed with laying undue stress upon his opposition and enmity to Mary--more particularly as these seem to have known no bounds. The still remaining doubts which, in spite of his crafty zeal, this formidable adversary of the queen had left unresolved in the minds of a large majority of the people of Scotland, were completely dissipated by the kindred and congenial labours of his successor in the same honourable field-lhe far famed and redoubtable champion of the reformed church, John Knox. With a gallant determination to confront, and with a desperate hope of defeating these “mailed champions," appeared Lesley, Bishop of Ross. Unfortunately for the good cause he had espoused, he used no care to conceal the fact of his being at once the partizan and zealous servant of the queen; and thus, though he had spoken as never man spake before, it was easy to foresee that his voice was not destined to be heard, or, if heard, listened to.
It is, indeed, to be lamented, that truth, while it is sure, in intellectual, as well as moral matters, to prevail in the end over bigotry and error, should but too often hold itself, as it were, aloof from the good name and fair fame even of those who have most sedulously vindicated its interests and advanced its cause, in a world where “the race is not always to the swift, nor the battle to the strong.” The reason for this, however, is too obvious to be insisted upon; while it is infinitely humiliating. Where the selfish and dishonest purposes and low wants of man conflict not with his judgment, or sense of justice, his assent to truths, no matter of what character or description, is almost as involuntary as it is unqualified. Put death, however, in one hand and dishonour in the other—where this dishonour, as is too frequently the case, happens to be coupled with his
usances'-and like the patriot Roman, though with his immortal sentiment reversed, he will “ look on death indifferently." We know of.no period of history, whether ancient or modern, to which this remark applies with greater force or relevancy, than to the memorable and mournful reign of Mary Queen of Scots. In common cases-in the personal and political vicissitudes of emperors and kings-with regard to men, we may, perhaps, feel ourselves at liberty to shrug the shoulder and leave them to fight their battles as they may; but we put it to the hearts of those in whom manhood and humanity are not alike extinct, whether it be possible, even at this distant dayafter a lapse of nearly three hundred years—to advert to the social and political fortunes of the illustrious but ill-fated Mary, without being inspired with sentiments of horror at the doom which was awarded her, and of abborrence for the monsters who could conceive, and the measures which consummated her treacherous and tragical death upon the scaffold! We do thinkwhat Mr. Bell and others have said to the contrary, notwithstanding that the events and circumstances connected with the public and private history of the Queen of Scots, are, up to this hour, more calculated to enlist our sympathies, awaken our indignation, and give a tone, one and decided, to that sense of insulted virtue-of rights, social as well as political, invaded, outraged, trampled under foot-of all the charities and decencies of life, in its manifold and most sacred relations, wounded and violated, at once, in the person and exalted station of the august subject of the volumes before us, than any other body of historical records, as appertaining to the character and career of a single individual, with which we are at this moment acquainted. A Scotch writer, living in the heart (such a heart as is that of Mid-Lothian) of the very country over whose whole extent might once have reigned in peace and splendour one of its own sovereigns, has scrupled not to ask the question, what interest can we, or are we likely to feel at this time of day, in the fate of a princess who lived nearly three hundred years ago ? It is difficult to respond to a query like this, with the temper which becomes those whose office it is to discriminate, if possible, truth from falsehood—to investigate grave and trying questions—and not to furnish answers to ignorant, heartless or impertinent interrogatories; or to contend against the idle weapons of the madman or the fool. But we apprehend that something is due to the memory of those of whom it cannot be said that they were less happy in their lives than death-both having been alike miserable. If the claims of the unfortunate, whilst they live, upon the sympathy of all good men, he readily admitted and universally respected, we must be suffered to think that death, so far from lessening, imparts a peculiar sacredness to such claims, where, as in the person of the illustrious subject of these remarks, they have been allowed to go down unacknowledged and unvindicated to the grave. The emancipated spirit, it is true, has burst its fetters, and soared beyond the tomb!
Treason has done his worst, malice domestic,
Nothing can touch it further: But shall we, can we forget, or overlook, the appealing fact, that in this world it once felt and fluttered—that, “clothed in this muddy vesture of decay,” it once throbbed with the min
gled emotions of joy and pain—was once agitated by the hopes and fears of humanity-wept over its sad fortunes, or exulted in its felicity-or shrouded in a settled and ceaseless gloom, pored with eternal and profound regret over the “lost Babylon” of “the ruined heart, the brokened mind”-scarcely venturing to look beyond, yet assured that peace is not in reserve for it on this side of the grave. The dead once lived-lived, thought, felt, acted like ourselves-had cause, like us, to leave the sigh, regret, repine, or rage! Is this-because it is pasthappily past, let us think-is this nothing ? The selfish, the short-sighted, or the sordid, alone can believe so. To our minds, the memory of the unhappy should find a place, always, in the breasts of their more fortunate successors. The dead cannot speak, at least to us-silence has set its everlasting seal upon their lips in this world is nothing, then, due to those who bequeath to us the solemn trust, the sacred duty of saying for them that which they can no longer say for themselves ? Surely, if the spirits of those who have “past through time up to eternity,” can be supposed to suffer a pang in another world, it must be at having their memory insulted by the very persons who had rendered their lives unhappy--the treachery of enemies too mean to be just, or the unworthiness of friends too lukewarm to be true. Such, without exception or qualification, has been the fate of Mary, Queen of Scots. Those who had a share in making her life miserable, are those who have sought to render her memory odious. The able and accomplished author of the volumes before us, is eminently entitled to the approbation and applause of the just and good, the liberal and enlightened, in whatever part of the world, for the truly commendable spirit, the research, the candour and ability which he has displayed in his recently published “Life” of Mary—a work which reflects infinite credit upon his heart and understanding; and which, as a triumphant vindication of the character--aspersed and blackened as it has been of the ill-faled Queen of Scots, we have no hesitation in pronouncing to be as masterly a production as ever graced the historical annals of any age. The numerous and bitter eneinies of Mary-enemies to her person, her government, and her religion, have been fairly driven from the field they have so long and valorously occupied, covered and overwhelmed with that infamy to whicb defeat and chastisement so signal, was sure forever to consign their labours and their names.
Mary was crowned by Cardinal Beatoun, or Beaton, at Stirling on the 9th of September, 1543—not having yet completed her first year. The following short extract, furnishes a curious sample of the manners of that age :
“ Her mother, who watched over her with the most careful anxiety, had been told a report prevailed that the infant was sickly, and not likely to live. To disprove this calumny, she desired Janet Sinclair, Mary's nurse, to unswaddle her in the presence of the English ambassador, who wrote to his own Court that she was as goodly a child as he had seen of her age." p. 54.
Mary was ushered into the world at a period when events of surprising magnitude were struggling into birth—when some of those secrets of the womb of time, often terrible, but as often sublime, were about to be disclosed--a period of political and religious sensation, perhaps without preceding or subsequent parallel. The cradle of Mary's infancy may, thus, be said, without exaggeration, to have been “rocked by whirlwinds and begirt with storms.” The spirit of the Reformation was abroad -like a mighty wave boiling and bursting over Europe, obstacles and opposition could only impart tenfold fury to its wrath and rage; and these it met with in the formidable impediments by which Charles V. and his potent auxiliaries of France and England, strenuously, but vainly sought to arrest its inevitable and resistless course. The league with France, which Henry, on the part of Scotland, had endeavoured to prevent, was the unavoidable result of the uncertainty and danger of the times; and yet, although expedient, and, indeed, necessary at the particular juncture, it ultimately proved one of the many sources of those ills which seem to have selected Mary as their victimills which, had they sprung up singly in her path, she might, perbaps, have defied; but which combined, as they were, proved deadly to her peace, and fatal to her life. Her misfortunes, indeed, commenced literally with her birth. She was but a few days old, when the King, her father, died. The Regency immediately became an object of fierce and desperate contention. The people at length decided for themselves, and entrusted the administration of the government to the weak and powerless hands of the Earl of Arran-to the exclusion of the pretensions of the Queen-mother, and the talented and aspiring Cardinal Beaton. If ever “ coming events cast their shadows before,” it was at this period in the history of Scotland. Happy, had Mary been gifted with that “ mystical lore," which might have enabled her to foresee them, or been blest with that stoicism of the heart, upon which, as on a mail, steel clad, the darts of misfortune fall without effect. “Many miseries a wait this poor kingdom,” said James V. on his death bed. Could he have foreseen those which were in store for his poor daughter, surely the prophetic vision had anticipated the stroke of that death which was then hovering over his pillow, and blast