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and when he is finally undeceived in his suspicions, what is his language to his lieutenant ?
I do believe it, and I ask your pardon. This, emphatically, should have been the acknowledgment of Elizabeth to Mary, upon learning the circumstances under which the latter had been urged to assume the arms of Eng. land—but Elizabeth had not the virtue, she wanted the soul to make it. But for this, and she might have profited by the example of her father, whose generous conduct to James IV., after the battle of Flodden, furnishes so striking a contrast with that which she exhibited to her unfortunate but illustrious relative, the Queen of Scots.
Various other causes, distinct from the one on which we have been commenting-have been assigned as having given rise to those signal vicissitudes and complicated evils which overtook the house of Stuart, in the person of Mary. The separateness, in themselves, of these causes, though more or less politically tinctured, all of them-and yet the dogmatism of assertion with which they have severally been insisted upon as haring conduced to the fatal catastrophe of the Marian tragedyare by no means calculated to eleyate our estimate either of the wisdom or impartiality of modern history. The voyage to France, and the thirteen years residence in that country-the assumption of the arms of England the marriage, first with Darnley, and, subsequently, with his murderer, Bothwell--the religion of Mary, whose usual appellative with the amiable John Knox, was the “Jezabel"--have each been confidently alleged as the separate and single source and secret of the misfortunes of the Queen of Scots. Like the apples of Sodom, fair without, but ashes within--atra et inania, velut in cinerem ranescunt-fate seems to have diffused over the prospects which dawned upon Mary at the period of her marriage with Francis, an excess of light purposely designed to conceal from her view the dismal gloom which lay beyond, and thus to interpose, by a false and delusive colouring, between the present and the future. Bating this brief period—this one green spot in the waste of her memory
This speck of azure in a sky of storms, it might with truth be said of Mary, in the words of the poet Moore, that her hope, if she could, indeed, be said to have had one hope more than another, had been
- - born in fears,
Like them in tears it sets ! Mary's return to Scotland-hastened at once by the death of her husband, Francis, and that of her mother, the Scottish regent, brings us to the most disastrous period in her melancholy history--the marriage with Darnley, followed, as it shortly afterward was, by the assassination of David Rizzio; and the murder of Darley himself. These events—which certainly "followed hard upon--bave, like every other connected with the life and reputation of the Queen of Scots, been variously represented—or, we might more properly say, misrepresented. One thing, however, is certain—which is, that Darnley-after having been early distinguished by proofs of the queen's regard, and finally, with the consent and approbation of nearly the whole Scottish nation, honoured with her hand, and elevated to a share in her throne-in return for these high favours and distinctions, treated his royal consort with insolence, ingratitude and treasonable baseness. Yet, notwithstanding his brutality, his debauched life-his low association, and the insults which he so repeatedly offered her, even in public, frequently occasioning her to shed tears, wrung from her in very bitterness of heart, and to curse the hour that ever she was born-still, to the last, Mary retained for him a degree of affection which can be accounted for only on the score of the tenacity of woman's love, which, where once it sets its crown and fixes its “hearted throne,” is stiong as death. With this affection for Darnley, a young and handsome man, and which, up to the moment of Rizzio's murder, had remained undiminished, where, we would ask, is the likelihood --proof, there certainly is none-of the queen's involving herself in a criminal intrigue with her secretary, an
infirin, despised old man. There is a common error upon this · subject, which supposes, or rather asserts, the assassination of
Rizzio to have taken place in Mary's bed chainber; and those who believe in her guilt, lay great stress upon this alleged circumstance, as furnishing strong presumptive evidence against her. The fact, bowever, is not so. The murder took place in a small closet or cabinet, where the conspirators, with Darnley at their head, found the queen at supper, in company with the Countess of Argyle, the Lord Robert Stewart, and the object of their murderous designs, the secretary of the queen, David Rizzio. Robertson and Scott both repudiate the idea of any thing criminal having taken place between Mary and her Italian protege--for such he confessedly was, to the infinite credit of
the queen's goodness of heart. This man was in the confidence of Darnley himself—the lover of Mary, and, like all ardent lovers, prone to be jealous-forwarding a suit in favour of the latter, which, as Scott remarks, “would have proved fatal to his own influence if he had been the queen's paramour.” From these and other circumstances, “it seems almost impossible,” says Robertson, “that the queen, unless we suppose her a woman utterly abandoned, could carry on a criminal intrigue with Rizzio."* This vile charge against the honour of Mary, whose personal credit we conceive to be wholly unimpaired by any circumstances as proved against her, and her claims, consequently, upon the sympathy and admiration of posterity, undiminished---may now be looked upon as utterly exploded, and unworthy of further notice.
Matter far more difficult, because more contested, remains to be considered the plot against the life of Darnley, and its sudden and fatal execution in the house of the Kirk-ofField on the night of the 9th of February, 1567. We would remark that the supposition of Mary's being privy to this horrible assassination, is at open variance with the impressions which her whole previous conduct leaves, upon the mind. There is not a shadow of direct evidence in its favour. To credit for an instant the idea of her remotest participation in the guilt of that infamous transaction, we must believe her to have been the most profound and accomplished of bypocrites, for did she not pass the evening with Darnley which immediately preceded, by a few hours only, bis assassination ? This was conduct such as we might readily credit, had it been ascribed to Elizabeth, instead of Mary-the characters of the two being the very antipodes of each other. Miserably credulous, indeed, or immeasurably malevolent must be that mind, which can give access, for a moment, to a suspicion of guilt like this, as attaching to the moral fame of the Queen of Scots. Yet has the belief of her criminality been admitted in the very face of immediately contemporary facts and circumstances, directly leading to the contrary conviction---setting aside the consideration so eminently due to what had been the tone and tenor of Mary's previous conduct to her most unworthy consort.
* Those who maintain Mary's guilt with regard to Rizzio, reason pretty much after the manner of Henry IV of France, who was told that James VI. delighted to be compared to another Solomon: “What !” replied the king, "and is he really the son of David ?" (Rizzio.)-Lives of Eminent Scotsmen, Part iii. This admirable logic of the French king, reminds us of one of those fine observations founded on deep reflection, which so frequently arrest the attention in the pages of Madaine de Stäel: “ Pleasantry," she justly remarks, “ finds expressions much sooner than thought; and in all that depends on words, only, we laugh before we reflect."--Ger, vol. i. p. 215.
Was it not but just preceding the execution of Bothwell's fiendish plot, that the Queeo rejected, promptly and indignantly, the proposition made to her by her ivfainous counsellors, for a divorce? If she desired to get rid of Darnley, here were fair and just means for effecting that object-yet she refused to avail herself of them. What is the wevitable inference? We repeat then that to admit the idea of Mary's guilt, in this matter, would be to reverse altogether that enchanting yet mournful picture of her personal character, which has furnished mingled admiration, compassion and regret to every ingenuous mind of modern times—filling it with emotions of absolute and unqualified love for the high and various virtues, not less than the surpassing charms of the illustrious and nearly faultless Queen of Scots. Bothwell was in favour with Mary, it is true, but no further so than as he had merited her gratitude by his loyalty as a subject and a servant of the crown). He opposed the conspirators who destroyed Rizzio-aided the Queen's flight from Edinburgh to Duobar; and, further, supplied a portion of the military force with which Mary was enabled to march back to her capital, and drive into exile the murderers of bor Secretary and her friend. Daruley, on the other hand-supposing the Queen to have ceased to feel for him that unfeigner love with which it is admitted, on all bunds, she once regarded him-had his own insulting, unprincipled and outrageous conduct to thank for that alienation of his wife's affections which, it is believed by one or two writers, subsequently ensued—but of which, while it had only been natural, as the cousequence of his conduct, we yet entertain some strong doubts-- not being disposed to feel or reason upon this subject in accordance with the heartless views of what is called the “World.” To the last, as we have said, Mary was on terms with her husband-though not on such terins, az, judging from her past love for him, we are warranted in believing she could have desired to be. She still sought his company; and, as we bave seen, remained with him the whole of the evening which preceded the fatal execution of the plot of one who huated him. The only circumstance which leaves an unpleasant impression upon the mind, is, that Mary should have allowed her husband on their return to Edinburgh together, (January 31st,) to be quartered at the Kirk-of-Field, instead of assigning him apartments at the palace. Scott assigns the King's “illness" (he had been attacked by the small pox) as the reason why he was lodged at this place; but surely the reason is against, rather than in favour of, the course which was pursued-unless by “illness,” it be meant that Duruley was still labouring under the attack of the small-pox, which VOL. VIII.-NO. 16
could hardly be the fact, as he managed to travel from Glasgow to Edinburgh, a distance of at least fifty miles. Supposing, however, the King's illness to have been occasioned by the above named discase, Mary, though not apprehensive for herself, having lived with him at Glasgow while labouring under its effects, might yet feel alarm on account of her child; and Darnley himself most probably concurred with her in thinking that it would not be safe to place their infant within reach of an infectious disease. One thing, at all events, seems certain, which is, that Darnley could not have been taken to the Kirkof-Fieli against his inclination. There must have been a reason for his consenting to go there, and we can see no other or better than the one we have assigned. Sir Walter Scott, taking for granted at once Mary's love for Bothwell and batred for her husband, remarks, (p. 132) that “revenge and love are great casuists,”-doubtless they are, but where, let us ask, was this “revenge" up to the moment of Darnley's death? Where was it during the whole course of that infamous conduct of which he had been guilty toward bis wife ard queen? Finally, where was this "revenge" at the time of Rizzio's murder? If, as we have remarked, Mary desired to be released from her matrimonial bonds with Darnley, by means fair or foul, is it in nature that she should have preferred, in the attainment of her end, the foul to the fair ? According to the reasons assigned by Scott, we are, it seems, to believe that she did. The occasion which arose after the assassination of Mary's Secretary, was, of all others, ihe one of which she might most fairly and justly have availed herself, in order to be rid of a person so obnoxious to her as Darnley is alleged to have been, and as he certainly seemed desirous of making himself. But did the Queen avail berself of that occasion ? So far from it, she allowed Ruthven, George Douglas, and the other “superior conspirators” to escape, lest-did she prosecute, as in justice she was bound to do, these high-born scoundrels-they might have alleged in their defence that they had been led on by the King; and thus implicate her husband, Darnley." Where, we repeat, was Mary's " revenge" at this most opportune moment for gratifying it? She pardons, or, at least, does not punish those nobleinen who assisted in the murder of Rizzio, apprehensive that, did she do so, they might criminate the King-an act of injustice to the laws, though of love to Daruley---aggravated, in the former respect, by the execution of one or two obscure wretches, for appearance sake, who had been the mere hired creatures of the real assassins. Darnley might, as most assuredly he should, have forfeited his life to the laws of the land, as an ac