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HISTORY]
445
SCOTLAND

she expired, and hunger forced her French garrison in Leith, after a gallant and sanguinary defence, to surrender.

After an armistice, treaties of peace were concluded on the 6th of July: the treaty, as far as it touched the rights of Mary Stuart, was not accepted by her, nor did she give her assent to the ensuing parliament or convention of Estates. Knox and the other preachers began to organize the new kirk, under “superintendents” (not bishops), whose rule was very brief. The Convention began business in August, crowded by persons not used to be present, and accepted a Knoxian “Confession of Faith.” On the 24th of August three statutes abolished papal and prelatical authority and jurisdiction; repealed the old laws in favour of the church, and punished celebrants and attendants of the Mass—for the first offence by confiscation, for the second by exile, for the third by death. The preachers could get the statute passed, but the sense of the laity prevented the death penalty from being inflicted, except, as far as we know, in one or two instances. The Book of Discipline and the Book of Common Order express Knox's ideals, which, as far as they were noble, as in the matter of education and of provision for the poor, remained, in part or in whole, “devout imaginations.” Not so the Knoxian claims for the power of ministers to excommunicate, with civil penalties, and generally to “rule the roast” in secular matters. The nobles and gentry clung to the wealth of the old church; the preachers, but for congregational offerings, must have starved.

Neglect as well as mob violence left the ecclesiastical buildings in a ruinous condition, but the authority of the preachers, with their power of boycotting (excommunication), became a theocracy. The supernatural claims of these pulpiteers to dominance in matters public or private were the main cause of a century of war and tumult. The preachers became, what the nobles had been, the opponents of authority; the Stuarts were to break them and be broken on them till 1688. In the hands of the ministers a Calvinism more Calvinistic than Calvin's was the bitter foe of freedom of life, of conscience, and of religious tolerance. On the other hand, unlike the corrupt clergy whom they dispossessed, they were almost invariably men of pure and holy life; stainless in honour; incorruptible by money; poor and self-sacrificing; and were not infrequently learned in the original languages of the scriptures. Many were thought to be possessed of powers of healing and of prediction; in fact a belief in their supernormal gifts, like those of Catholic saints, was part of the basis of their prestige. The lower classes, bullied by sabbatarianism and deprived of the old revels, were restive and hostile; but the educated middle class was with the preachers; so were many lesser country gentry; and the nobles, securing the spoils of the church, were acquiescent.

The religious revolution in Scotland, after the work of destruction had been done, was the most peaceful that occurred in any Mary's return to Scotland. European country. On the Catholic side there was as yet no power of resistance. Huntly, the Catholic “Cock of the North,” had himself been compromised in the actions of the Congregation. How the Catholics of the west highlands took the change of creed we do not know, but they were not fanatically devout and attempted no Pilgrimage of Grace. Life went on much as usual, and the country, with a merely provisional government, was peaceful enough under the guidance of Moray, Maitland of Lethington, and the other lay Protestant leaders. They wished, as we saw, to secure the hand of Elizabeth for the earl of Arran, a match which would practically have taken away the Scottish crown from Mary Stuart, unless she were backed by the whole force of France. But Elizabeth had seen Arran in London and had probably detected his hysterical folly. He actually became a suitor for Mary's hand, when the death of her husband the French king (5th of December 1560) left her a friendless exile. Her kinsmen, the Guises, fell from power, and were no longer to be feared by England, so that Elizabeth need not abandon her favourite, Lord Robert Dudley, in the hope of securing Scotland by her marriage with Arran. In the spring of 1561, Mary's brother, Lord James Stewart, lay prior of St Andrews, visited her in the interest of the Scottish Protestant party, while Lesley, later bishop of Ross, brought the promises of Huntly. He would restore the Mass in the North and welcome the queen at Aberdeen if she would land there, but Mary knew the worth of Huntly's word, and preferred such trust as might be ventured on the good faith of her brother. She foiled the attempts of the English ambassador to make her ratify the treaty of Edinburgh, and, while Lethington, no worse a prophet than Knox, predicted “strange tragedies,” Mary came home.

Young as she was, she came as no innocent novice to a country seething with all the perfidious ambitions that a religious revolution brings to the surface. She was wise with the wisdom of the Guises, but sincere friends she had none, and with all her trained fascinations she made few, except in the circle of the Flemings, Beatons, Livingstones and Seatons. Lethington, who had deserted her mother, dreaded her arrival; she forgave him, and for a time, relying on him and her brother, contrived to secure a measure of tranquillity.

Scotland was, doubtless, in Mary's mind, a mere stepping-stone to England. There the Catholic party was strong but for its lack of a leader, and to the English Catholics Mary seemed their rightful queen. By one way or other—by a Spanish marriage, by the consent of Elizabeth to recognize Mary as her heir, by the ambitions of her own nobles and the wit of Lethington, ever anxious to unite the island under one sovereign—Mary hoped to wear the three crowns. Catholicism she would restore if she could, but that was not her first object. It was commonly thought that, though she would never turn Calvinist, she might adopt the Anglican doctrine as understood by Elizabeth, if only she could be recognized as Elizabeth's successor. Till she became Elizabeth's captive there was always the possible hope of her conversion, and despite her professions to the pope there was at least one moment when the pope perceived this possibility. Meanwhile she only asked freedom of conscience for herself, and her mass in her own chapel. The bitter fanaticism of Knox on this point encountered the wiser policy of Lord James and of Lethington.

Mary had her mass, but the constant and cowardly attacks on her faith and on her priests embittered her early years of queenhood in her own country. The politicians hoped that Elizabeth might convert Mary to her own invisible shade of Protestantism if the sister sovereigns could but meet, and for two years the promise of a meeting was held up before Mary.

Meanwhile the needy and reckless Bothwell, a partisan of Mary of Guise, a Protestant and the foe of England, was accused by Arran of proposing to him a conspiracy to seize the queen, but the ensuing madness of Arran left this plot a mystery, though Bothwell was imprisoned till he escaped in August 1562. Mary then undertook a journey to the north, which ended in a battle with the Gordons, the death of Huntly and the execution of one of his sons. This attack by a Catholic queen on the leader of the Catholic party has been explained in various ways. But Mary's heart was in the expedition and in the overthrow of Huntly; she was in the hands of her brother, to whom she had secretly given the earldom of Murray, coveted by Huntly, whose good faith she had never believed in, and whose power was apt to trouble the state and disturb her friendly relations with England. She was deliberately “running the English course,” and she crushed a probable alliance between the great clans of the Gordons and Hamiltons.

The question of her marriage was all important, and her chances were not improved by the scandal of Chastelard, whether he acted as an emissary of the Huguenots, sent to smirch her character, or merely played the fatuous fool in his own conceit. He was executed on the 22nd of February 1563 at St Andrews. Lethington then went to London to watch over Mary's interests, and either to arrange her marriage with Don Carlos, or to put pressure on Elizabeth by the fear of that alliance. Now, in March 1563, Elizabeth first drew before the Scottish queen the lure of a marriage with her favourite, Lord Robert Dudley, Mary to be acknowledged as her successor if Elizabeth died without issue. Later in the year, and after Lethington's diplomatic