Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 36.djvu/380

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Mary Stuart
Mary Stuart

royal children of France nor withdrawn from the court. She mingled more and more freely in its cultured and epicurean society ; but the Cruises, especially Antoinette de Bourbon and the Cardinal of Lorraine, had frequent access to her, and took charge both of her political and religious instruction. Lady Flemmg who had become a mistress of the French king, was in 1551 succeeded as governess by Madame Paroys, with whose strict training of Mary ' in the old faith ' the cardinal expressed entire satisfaction (23 Feb. 1552-1553, Labaxoff, i. 16). Nor, although Mary became estranged from her governess (lift, pp. 29, 35, 41), did this affect her religious partialities. Her lot from the beginning involved strange incongruities. She was at once the cynosure of the gay court of France and the hope of Catholicism. Though cradled in luxury she yet learned to cherish an exacting and strenuous ambition. No daughter of any royal house possessed prospects so brilliant, but they were qualified by a betrothal to a prince whose weak and sickly habit inspired pity rather than affection; and the marriage was prefaced by an agreement by which she not only forswore herself, but betrayed her royal trust. While the public marriage contract of 19 April 1558 contained special guarantees for the independence of Scotland, Mary had already, on the 4th, signed three separate deeds which made these guarantees a dead letter. By the first, Scotland in the event of her death without issue was made over in free gift to the crown of France ; by the second, Scotland and its revenues were at once assigned to Henry II until he had reimbursed himself of the money spent in its defence; and by' the third, any agreement which the estates might induce her- to make contrary to the two previous deeds was renounced by anticipation (Fenelon, i. 425-9; Labaxoff, i. 50-5).

The marriage was performed in the church of Notre-Dame on 24 April, and, as insuring the ascendency of France in Scotland and possibly in Britain and all its isles, was celebrated with fetes of unusual splendour (see Ceremonies in Teulbt, i. 302-11; Discovers du Grande et Magnifique Triumpke, &c, Rouen, 1558, and Roxburghe Club, 1818; Venetian ambassador's letter, Calcedar Venetian State Papers, 1557-8, entry 1216). In November the Scottish crown matrimonial was voted to the dauphin {Acta Parl. Scot. ii. 506-7).

Meanwhile, on the death of Queen Mary of England, 17 Nov. 1558, Mary Stuart, on the more than plausible grounds of Elizabeth's illegitimacy, laid claim to the English throne as great-granddaughter of Henry VII. In England Elizabeth was declared queen without opposition, but the dauphin and Mary assumed the titles of king and queen of England, Scotland, and Ireland, and continued to use them on succeeding to the French throne at the death of Henry II, 10 July 1559. The Edinburgh treaty of July 1560 between England and Scotland bound Mary and her husband to abandon their claims to the English throne, but they refused to ratify it. Possibly, as some suppose, Mary thus provoked the settled distrust, if not enmity, of Elizabeth. Elizabeth wished to fetter a dangerous rival, and Mary aimed atrousingcatholic sensibility,and even to compass Elizabeth's excommunication. But the death of the French king on 5 Dec 1560 blasted these hopes. All that tenderness and affection could achieve to heal her consort's maladies and prolong his life had been guaranteed by Mary's devotion. For a time Mary was prostrated in despair. ' She will not receive any consolation, wrote the Venetian ambassador, ' but, brooding over her disasters with constant tears and passionate and doleful lamentations, she universally inspires great pity ' (Cal. Venetian State Papers, 1558-80, entry 215). Not only haci she ceased to be queen of France ; her place of power was now held by the hostile Catherine ae Medici. She was virtually excluded from the court, and she felt already that France was no longer her home (Sir James Melville, Memoirs, pp. 86-8 ; Cal. State Papers, For. Ser. 1560-1, entry 832; Chebuel, Marie Stuart et Catherine, de Medicis, p. 17). Of Scotland she was scarce sovereign even in name ; her mother had died 10 Jan. 15C0 as the reins of government were slipping from her hands. Heresy was there triumphant, and the catholic religion proscribed. Already the Scottish estates had been negotiating for the barter of the crown to her rival Elizabeth by a marriage between Elizabeth and James Hamilton, third earl of Arran [q. v.]

The Arran negotiations proved, however, the turning-point in Mary's fortunes. Two days after the death of Francis, Elizabeth replied that ' she was not disposed presently to marry' (Her Majesty's Answer in Keith, i. 9-10, and Cal. State Papers, For. Ser. 1560-1501, entry 780). The news of Francis's death and of Elizabeth's rejection of Arran reached Scotland almost simultaneously, and produced a strong reaction in Marv's favour. Already William Maitland of Lethington [q. v.] saw that the nobility would 'begin to make' court to the Scottish queen more than they were wont f (ib. entry 875). Nor was