Page images
PDF
EPUB

сHAP. VII.

stead of the bishop, and the same mistake in Bothwell's testament, indicates that it proceeded from some Scotchman at Paris. Buccleugh's name was introduced from the placards against the murder, in Buchanan's Detection; "the

quene assenting thairto through the persuasion " of the Erle Bothwell and the witchcraft of the Lady Buccleugh ;" and the last circumstance was adopted by the forger as the only apology of which her conduct was susceptible. “ Poursuit apres, comme par enchantement,

auquel, de sa jeuness, a Paris et ailleurs, il “ s'estoit beaucoup addoné, il avoit tirer la royne " a l'aymer, soy deprestrant de sa fenime." Valour, assiduity, and matchless impudence, were, according to the Lord Hailes, the enchantments employed by Bothwell, which have won many a heart as sage and obdurate as Mary's; but the pretext of magic, which the forger considered as a satisfactory apology, was a fiction that never could have occurred in a genuine confession. The queen and Beton were conscious that Bothwell practised no magic, nor was any inquiry attempted in Denmark, where they knew that no confirmation was to be obtained. Instead of testifying his own conviction, Beton informs her of the effect produced on her son, a boy ten years old, unable certainly to read the testament in French; and it is evident from the correspondence, that the one knew, and the other soon

CHAP perceived, that the confession which the French

ambassador had been unable to procure, and which had never been sent, after Bothwell's death, to a single prince in Europe, was a mere fabrication. Three years after her execution, when her son landed in Norway, and passed a whole winter, on his marriage, at the Danish court, the curiosity of his attendants must have discovered the particulars of Bothwell's fate : his desire to vindicate his mother's innocence, would have led him to procure and to publish the original, or at least to ascertain that it was then in existence; and this circumstance is a decisive proof that the copy left by Beton to the Scottish college at Paris, or preserved with Mary's papers in the Cotton library, is a shallow forgery, and that no such Confession was ever made67.

07 I need not now urge, how desperate Mary's cause must have been, when it required such a forgery for her vindication while alive. But her modern apologists, so loud and absurd in their assertions of forgery, are calm and quiescent on the only actual forgery, in the whole controversy, Craw, ford's excepted. No doubt Keith believed the confession which he published; but Goodall is satisfied, that if Bothwell had been delivered up, his enemies would have forged an opposite confession, an hundred times worse against him and the queen. Goodall, i, 363. Tytler, Robertson of Dalmeny, and Whitaker are mute, But Stuart, who admits the Confession to be demonstratively a forgery, regrets, on Blackwood's authority, that the real Confession, which he considers as a desideratum in our history, has never been published. Stuart, ii. 103.

CHAP.
VII.

Morton's

confession.

10. The last is Morton's Confession, which was delivered to the clergy before his execution. Sir James Balfour had been invited, or sent from trial and France, and from his confederacy with the Duke of Lennox and Captain James Stewart, Morton was accused and imprisoned in the beginning of January, and condemned and executed in June 1581. From a copy of his trial, which is still extant, it appears that “ the jury being ripely " advised with the said dittay, taikens infallible “ and maist evident, with the probation produced " and used for verifying the same, fyllit him of “ airt and pairt fore-knowledge and conceiling “ of the murder of the king ;' but the evidence on which he was condemned is not yet ascertained. Moyse, a servant of the king's household, informs us in his Memoirs, “that Morton was “ found guilty of art and part, the foreknowledge “ and concealing of the king's murder ; especial

ly in respect of sundry evidences in his dittay, “ presented to the assize, some of which were “ subscribed with his awin hand; and otherwise “ it was attested by the depositions of some per

sons authors of that horrible facts.” The depositions were undoubtedly the same with those that were afterwards produced, on the trial and acquittal of Archibald Douglas; namely, the Declarations of Hay and Ormiston, and the first Confession of Paris, the only deposition in which

Moyse's Memoirs, 54.

VII.

CHAP. Morton was mentioned. Sir James Balfour was

expected, on his arrival from France, to produce the bond for the murder of Darnley ® ; but we may be assured that it was not produced on the trial, as it was not signed by Morton, but was devised, if not signed by Balfour himself. The bond was signed at Craigmillar, and Morton's pardon was granted at Stirling, on a promise which he had transmitted from Newcastle, by Archibald Douglas, during the baptism, that he would con

69 Robertson, ii. 506. Cotton library, Caligula, C. 6. f. 4.

70 The existence of such a bond is attested by the Confessions of Hepburn, Paris, and Ormiston, and is alluded to in Archibald Douglas's letter to Mary. From that and from Ormiston's Confession, it appears to have been couched in dark and covert terms, aud however strange it may appear at present, or inconsistent with Lethington's caution, it was quite conformable to the spirit of the times. Bonds of manrent, maintenance, &c. were obligations for protection and aid, in the commission of crimes. The bond of indemnity was converted by Lesly into interchangeable indentures between Bothwell and Mary's accusers; (Anderson, ii. 76.) and Causin the jesuit, in his Histoire de l'Incomparable Reine Marie Stuart, assures us that her commíssioners produced at Westminster, not only Bothwell's contract of marriage, signed by Murray and his adherents, but also this instrument of conspiracy against the deceased king, subscribed and signed with their hands and seals, and finally the Depositions of Hepburn, Paris, and Dalgleish at their execution, acquitting Mary before all the people. In consequence of this notable fiction, she was pronounced innocent, and Murray stole away with confusion and fear. Jebb, ï. 70.

VII.

cur with his associates, in a bond to support the CHAP: queen's authority and to abandon her husband : but from the whole tenor of the interview at Whittingham, the fact is evident, that he refused to concur in the murder, much more in a bond to indemnify Bothwell for the murder of Darnley, without a written warrant under the queen's own hand. Balfour himself, in his letter to Mary upon the imprisonment of Morton, explains the bond produced on the trial : “ Quhairthrow

(on Archibald Douglas's escape) the said erl “ takes the greater bauldness to deny all things promisit by him to Bothwell in that matter,

except sa far as the bond, qubairoff I did send " the copy to your majesty, does testify; and “ because I understand that some farder knaw

ledge of that matter is come to your majestie's eiris, therefore man pray your majestie, “ to write unto me at length, all that your ma" jestie has heard or knawn thairunto?.” In a correspondence between one of the murderers and Mary, to convict Morton as an accessary, the words themselves, that in consequence of his emissary's escape, he took the greater boldness to deny all things promised by him to Bothwell, can admit only of one construction, that the things promised by Morton to Bothwell, were communicated by Bothwell to Balfour and the queen ; and

II See Appendix, No. XXXII.

« PreviousContinue »