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CHAP. Every historical document that refutes their as
sertions, turns at their touch into a convenient fabrication. But of those writers, to whose distempered imagination all is forgery, it is the peculiar misfortune, that their assertions are strong and vehement in proportion as their arguments are weak and inconclusive. It appears incredible to them that men should, without necessity, confess facts to the destruction of their own lives; as if the records of council and justiciary were not filled with instances of similar confessions, or as if no judicial confessions were ever made. It is incredible to them that different persons should, at distant intervals, employ the same words and combinations, in their narratives; as if, in any subsequent evidence concerning the same fact, the same words were not often dictated by the same commissioner, or recorded by the clerk, from the first deposition which they hold in their hands. It is incredible that men should know each other, when they met in the dark, or distinguish their cloaths and slippers at midnight, soon after the change of the moon; as if it were impossible to discern the persons, the garb, or the disguise of those who met within the Blackfriars gate, with a lighted candle, at ten at night". But we are told that
11 Whitaker, iii. 196. Goodall, i. 385. See Powrie's de position, Appendix, No. XXIV.
Dalgleish and Powrie were not arrested till the CHAP. 17th of July, because their depositions are not mentioned till then by Throckmorton "?; as if Throckmorton, who did not arrive at Edinburgh till the 12th of July, could have notified their seizure, or their depositions in June. The proclamation for apprehending Bothwell, was issued on the same day (June 26th), that Dalgleish was examined, and it mentions in express terms the depositions of his servants. Throckmorton's first letter from Edinburgh, on the 14th of July, refers directly to the same evidence; “ he (Both
well) being with manifest evidence, notoriously “ detected to be the principal murderer;" and his letter of the 18th can allude only to their depositions on the 23d and 26th of June, of which he had heard imperfectly; “ That Both“well's porter, and one of the other servitors of “ his chamber, being apprehended, have con“ fessed such sundry circumstances of the murder, " as it appeareth evidently that he, the said earl,
was one of the principal executors of the mur“ der in his own person, accompanied with sun
dry others, of which number I cannot yet
certainly learn the names but of three of them, “ two of the Ormistons of Tweddale, and one “ Hayburn of Bolton 13.” If they were arrested
12 Whitaker, iii. 201.
CHAP. only on the 17th of July there was neither time to
take, nor occasion to antedate their depositions on the 18th; but “ being apprehendea," no more implies that they were then apprehended, than being copied, in the proceedings at Westminster, means that the seven several writings produced upon the 8th, were transcribed upon
Minute objections removed.
But Powrie the porter, according to whose first deposition, the trunk and mail containing the gunpowder", had been brou „ht by himself and Wilson on “tway borses of my lord's, the “ ane being his own horse," to the Blackfriars gate; and on their return from the Kirk of Field, the "tway horses war away;" declared when re-examined, on the 3d of July, that the
carriage of the trunks and mail containit in his “ former deposition were carryed by him and “ Wilson upon ane gray horse, that pertainit to “ Herman, page to my lord, at twa sundrie tymes,
" In Anderson this is printed, " the carriage of twa mails and ane tronk, and the uther ane ledderin mail," which affords an additional objection, that the two mails and ane tronk shrink, in the second deposition, into a tronk and mail, and ane toom pulder barrel, is added to make up what was lost. Whitaker, iii. 199. But the “ twa mails and ane tronk,” is evidently mis-printed by Anderson, for “ twa mails the ane ane tronk, and the udder ane ane leddern mail,” as in the original MS.
“ to the place containit in his former deposito5.” CHAP. Powrie was purposely re-examined to correct a mistake committed from inattention or stupidity, in his first deposition; viz. that the gunpowder had been brought upon two horses, instead of two carriages on the same horse ; but a forger, to whom it was indifferent whether the powder had been brought on two horses at once, or on one horse twice, would have rendered his first fabrication complete. According to the first deposition, Powrie and Wilson were met at the Blackfriars gate by Bothwell, accompanied by Hob Ormiston, Paris, and two others, with cloaks about their faces; according to his second examination, when they brought the last carriage to the Blackfriars gate, Bothwell came to them with three more, “ quhilk had thayr cloaks and “muils upon their feet 16.” Here, instead of a
15 Goodall, i. 387. Whitaker, ii. 197. Goodall sug. poses that it was discovered after the first examination, that Bothwell had no horses in town, or that Powrie and Wilson had no access to them: as if a Scotch earl who never stirred abroad without armed attendants, and who had accompanied the queen from Stirling 10 Edinburgh and to Callender, and after a secret journey to Whittingham, met her again on the road from Glasgow, had no horses of his own in town. The mistake was probably committed by the clerk, and discovered on the examination of the centinels and others, of whose depositions one was read to Powrie on his second examination.
16 Whitaker, iii, 198.
CHAP. slight contradiction, the two passages refer to
the different carriages and arrivals of the powder, which Bothwell, walking up and down the Cowgate, met each time at the Blackfriars gate. In Powrie's deposition the powder in the trunk and mail was contained in pokes or small sacks; in the depositions of Hay and Hepburn, the trunk at least was emptied into bags within the Blackfriars gate"?; and as Powrie was sent to the Cowgate to purchase candles, it is evident that the powder was poured into the sacks in the interval, before his return. But to those conversant with legal practice, nothing can authenticate the depositions more strongly than a second examination, to correct the mistake of the two horses, some months before the evidence of Hay and Hepburn could explain the fact.
4. We are told, however, that the depositions must necessarily be false, as a mine was necessary to blow up the very foundations of the house''. The letter from the privy council on Monday,
A mine not necessary.
17 Goodall, i. 388. Goodall is unable to conceive why Bothwell should change his clothes, or why he should return at all, or with so many attendants, when he had left two men behind to set fire to the train. He forgot that it was necessary for Bothwell to disguise himself; to bring off his two men if discovered; to secure his own person from assault or accident; apd by his presence to ensure the perpetration of the deed.
18 Goodall, i. 146, 389. Whitaker, iii. 202.