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MARY QUEEN OF SCOTS

MARY QUEEN OF SCOTS (1542-1587), daughter of King James V. and his wife Mary of Lorraine, was born in December 1542, a few days before the death of her father, heart-broken by the disgrace of his arms at Solway Moss, where the disaffected nobles had declined to encounter an enemy of inferior force in the cause of a king whose systematic policy had been directed against the privileges of their order, and whose representative on the occasion was an unpopular favourite appointed general in defiance of their ill-will. On the 9th of September following the ceremony of coronation was duly performed upon the infant. A scheme for her betrothal to Edward, prince of Wales, was defeated by the grasping greed of his father, whose obvious ambition to annex the crown of Scotland at once to that of England aroused instantly the general suspicion and indignation of Scottish patriotism. In 1 548 the queen of six years old was betrothed to the dauphin Francis, and set sail for France, where she arrived on the 15th of August. The society in which the child was thenceforward reared is known to readers of Brantéme as well as that of imperial Rome at its worst is known to readers of Suetonius or Petronius as well as that of papal Rome at its worst is known to readers of the diary kept by the domestic chaplain of Pope Alexander VI. Only in their pages can a parallel be found to the gay and easy record which reveals without sign of shame or suspicion of offence the daily life of a court compared to which the court of King Charles II. is as the court of Queen Victoria to the society described by Grammont. Debauchery of all kinds, and murder in all forms, were the daily matter of excitement or of jest to the brilliant circle which revolved around Queen Catherine de' Medici. After ten years' training under the tutelage of the woman whose main instrument of policy was the corruption of her own children, the queen of Scots, aged fifteen years and five months, was married to the eldest and feeblest of the brood on the 24th of April 1558. On the 17th of November Elizabeth became queen of England, and the princes of Lorraine -Francis the great duke of Guise, and his brother the cardinal induced their niece and her husband to assume, in addition to the arms of France and Scotland, the arms of a country over which they asserted the right of Mary Stuart to reign as legitimate heiress of Mary Tudor. Civil strife broke out in Scotland between John Knox and the queen-dowager*-between the self styled “congregation of the Lord ” and the adherents of the regent, whose French troops repelled the combined forces of the Scotch and their English allies from the beleaguered walls of Leith, little more than a month before the death of their mistress in the castle of Edinburgh, on the 10th of June 1560. On the 25th of August Protestantism was proclaimed and Catholicism suppressed in Scotland by a convention of states assembled without the assent of the absent queen. On the 5th of December Francis II. died; in August 1561 his widow left France ~for Scotland, having been refused a safe-conduct by Elizabeth on the ground of her own previous refusal to ratify the treaty made with England by her commissioners in the same month of the preceding year. She arrived nevertheless in safety at Leith, escorted by three of her uncles of the house of Lorraine, and bringing in her train her future biographer, Brantome, and Chastelard, the first of all her voluntary victims. On the zrst of August she first met the only man able to withstand her; and their first passage of arms left, as he has recorded, upon the mind of John Knox an in efface able, impression of her “ proud mind, crafty wit and indurate heart against God and His truth.” And 1 In a letter dated the 4th of April 1882, referring to the publication of his drama Mary Stuart, Swinburne wrote to Edmund Clarence Stedman: “ Mary Stuart has procured me two satisfactions which I prefer infinitely to six columns of adulation in The Times and any profit thence resulting. (I) A letter from Sir Henry Taylor ., . (2) An application from the editor of the Encyclopaedia Britannica -who might, l suppose, as in Macaulay's time, almost command the services of the most eminent scholars and historians of the country-to me, a. mere poet, proposing that l should contribute to that great repository of erudition the biography of Mary Queen of Scots. I doubt if the like compliment was ever paid before to one of our 'idle trade.' ” The present article is the biography contributed by the poet to the 9th ed. in response to the invitation referred to in this letter.

yet her acts of concession and conciliation were such as no fanatic on the opposite side could have approved. She assented, not only to the undisturbed maintenance of the new creed, but even to a scheme for the endowment of the Protestant ministry out of the confiscated lands of the Church. Her half-brother, Lord James Stuart, shared the duties of her chief counsellor with William Maitland of Lethington, the keenest and most liberal thinker in the country. By the influence of Lord James, in spite of the earnest opposition of Knox, permission was obtained for her to hear Mass celebrated in her private chapel-a licence to which, said the Reformer, he would have preferred the invasion of ten thousand F renchmen. Through all the first troubles of her reign the young queen steered her skilful and dauntless way with the tact of a woman and the courage of a man. An insurrection in the north, headed by the earl of Huntly under pretext of rescuing from justice the life which his son had forfeited by his share in a homicidal brawl, was crushed at a blow by the Lord James against whose life, as well as against his 'sister's liberty, the conspiracy of the Gordons had been aimed, and onwhom, after the father had fallen in fight and the son had expiated his double offence on the scaffold, the leading rebel's earldom of Murray was conferred by the gratitude of the queen. Exactly four months after the battle of Corrichie, and the subsequent execution of a criminal whom she is said to have “loved entirely, ” had put an end to the first insurrection raised against her, Pierre de Boscosel de Chastelard, who had returned to France with the other companions of her arrival, and in November 1562 had revisited Scotland, expiated with his head the offence or the misfortune of a second detection at night in her bed-chamber. In the same month, twenty-five years afterwards, the execution of his mistress, according to the verdict of her contemporaries in France, avenged the blood of a lover who had died without uttering a word to realize the apprehension which (according to Knox) had before his trial impelled her to desire her brother “ that, as he loved her, he would slay Chastelard, and let him never speak word.” And in the same month, two years from the date of Chastelard's execution, her first step was unconsciously taken on the road to F otheringhay, when she 'gave her heart at first sight to her kinsman Henry, Lord Darnley, son of Matthew Stuart, earl of Lennox, who had suffered an exile of twenty years in expiation of his intrigues with England, and had married the niece of King Henry VIII., daughter of his sister Margaret, the widow of James IV., by her second husband, the earl of Angus. Queen Elizabeth, with the almost incredible want of tact or instinctive delicacy which distinguished and disfigured her vigorous intelligence, had recently proposed as a suitor to the queen of Scots her own low-born favourite, Lord Robert Dudley, the widower if not the murderer of Amy Robsart; and she. now protested against the project of marriage between Mary and Darnley. Mary who had already married her kinsman in secret at Stirling Castle with Catholic rites celebrated in the apartment of David Rizzio, her secretary for correspondence with France, assured the English ambassador, in reply to the protest of his mistress, that the marriage would not take place for three months, when a dispensation from the pope would allow the cousins to be publicly united without offence to the Church. On the 29th of July 1 565 they were accordingly remarried at Holyrood. The hapless and Worthless bridegroom had already incurred the hatred of two powerful enemies, the earls of Morton and Glencairn; but the former of these took part with the queen against the forces raised by Murray, Glencairn and others, under the nominal leadership of Hamilton, duke of Chatelherault, on the double plea of danger to the new religion of the country, and of the illegal proceeding by which Darnley had been proclaimed king of Scots without the needful constitutional assent of the estates of the realm. Murray was cited to attend the “ raid ” or array levied by the king and queen, and was duly denounced by public blast of trumpet for his non-appearance. He entered Edinburgh with his forces, but failed to hold the town against the guns of the castle, and fell back upon Dumfries before the advance of the royal army, which was now joined by James Hepburn, earl of Bothwell, on his return from a three years