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“ the execution thereof, on great persons now
living.” And in the uncastrated copies, he adds to the Confession, that “ he had not varied “ from the very words of his copy, in manner of
, penning it, but only in some few places of some “ parts of the matter, purposely omitted, because - it contained the affairs of state, and the accusa“tion of diverse persons now living, both which “ are neither needful to be known to the common “people nor meet to be opened to others, &c. 82?? From these passages it is inferred that the great persons then living, were alive in England when Thin wrote; which unfolds an unheard-of mys. tery of iniquity; that they were no other than Elizabeth and Cecil, whose occult share in the murder was suppressed by an arbitrary mandate to cancel the leafs. It is in vain to ask those visionary disputants, how an expurgatory order confined to the press, could alter the numerous copies of the Confession, which are still extant and entire in manuscript. Had they consulted the Castrations of Hollinshed, instead of Guthrie's History, they would have discovered that the last paragraph alone, of Morton's Confessions, (“ Sure “ I am the king shall lose a good servant this
day,” &c.) was contained in the cancelled
*2 Hollinshed, . 429. Castrations of Hollinshed, 433. London, 1723.
& Whitaker, iii, 252-4.
CHAP. sheet; and that it was restored verbatim in the
leaf inserted in its place. The fact is, that Thin's Continuation was hastily written, and corrected in the press. After a few copies were printed, the sheet was cancelled, in order to abridge a long digression on the Dukes of Lennox and Somerset, with quotations from Lesly and Roger Wall; which were reduced from a sheet to a single leaf. Other sheets were also cancelled to retrench redundant matter, or to introduce additional information in its stead; but no part of Morton's Confession was omitted or altered, and the order from court to cancel the leaf was a fiction of Goodall's, which Guthrie and Whitaker have converted into an order to castrate the Confession itself 84. Morton's discourse concerning the murder, was omitted equally in the uncastrated copies, and the whole sheet containing his Confession remained uncancelled. The great persons then living, to whom he ascribed the cause, contrivance, and execution
* Goodall's Appendix to Crawford's Memoirs, edit. 2d. p. 26. Guthrie's Hist, vi. 384. Whitaker, iii. 253. The last writer supposes that Thin's copy was suppressed, and that the short and imperfect abstracts in Spottiswood, Crawford and Moyse's Memoirs were circulated in its stead ; id. · 255. In borrowing Guthrie's objections, Whitaker bad never seen Goodall's Appendix, nor the Castrations of Hollinshed, nor the Confession itself, about which he has written so much.
of the murder, were Mary herself, at whose de- CHAP. sire it was perpetrated, and Archibald Douglas ; both alive and both in England, where the latter was ambassador, when Thin published in 1586 85. The omission itself is explained in the passage quoted from the cancelled sheet. 6. Because it Why im•
perfectly “ contained the affairs of state, and the accusa- published. “ tion of diverse persons now living, both which " are neither needful to be known of the common
people, nor meet to be opened to others; thereby to bring those in question, upon a re
port whereof no farther hold can be taken, but " that there was love or hatred between the " "
accuser and the accused 68.” As Douglas, on bis recent trial in Scotland was acquitted of being present at the murder of the king, Thin considered the imputation as invidious, that he and Huntley, as he had informed Morton, came with Bothwell to the Kirk of Fields. In the cancelled sheet the Confession was said to be
penned by such of the presbytery as were present, and favoured Morton in all respects, seeking to clear him of any evil imposed
against him ;" but Thin was ignorant of the fact, that Morton was convicted on his trial, of nothing more than what his Confession contained.
Hollinshed, ii. 459. Castrations, 421.
CHAP. If a suspicion, however, should be still enter
tained, that Morton knew more than he chose to confess, no rational doubt can remain, that the judicial depositions and confessions are authentic, and contain the most indisputable evidence of the queen's guilt.
At the close of this long and minute investigation, it is unnecessary to recapitulate our former arguments, as each of the seven chapters to which the controversy is reduced, affords the same conclusion concerning the queen's guilt. Her secret participation in the murder of her husband, has been deduced so clearly from historical facts, and so firmly established by direct evidence, that it may appear surprising, perhaps, how such a controversy should have originated at first, or have subsisted so long. The fate of Peter or of Paul excites no dispute; and mankind have witnessed the repetition of those crimes that are imputed to Mary, with open indifference or with secret approbation. But the reformation had diffused a more stern and inflexible morality through Europe ; and though the Scots had long been addicted to assassination, to which the age itself was sufficiently inured, it is impossible, unless we peruse the state papers and histories of the period, to conceive with what execration and horror, Mary's adulterous marriage with the murderer of her husband, was viewed by the reformers, both at home and abroad, as the consummation of her
crimes. Had she been content to retain Bothwell CHAP. as her lover and her minister, whom she might discard at pleasure, she might have reigned with impunity, and no doubt of her guilt would have now remained. When in consequence, however, of her flagitious nuptials, she had been driven from her throne and paternal kingdom, a large party, religious and political, became interested in her vindication, and would have excused her crimes had she continued to reign. The papists in England had no hopes but from her succession to Elizabeth; her friends in Scotland were involved either in ber crimes or in her misfortunes; and in both kingdoms, a declining party, whose existence depended upon her preservation as their leader, grasped with eager credulity at the most outrageous fictions to conceal her guilt. But the interest which her sufferings, and her long captivity, had excited through Europe, was confirmed on her death, by the unexampled trial and execution of a sovereign prince; and the innocence of the martyred queen became thenceforth an article, both of religious, and of political belief. Upon the accession of her son to the throne of England, the vindication of her character was recommended as the established doctrine at court; and during the struggles that ended in the expulsion of the Stuarts, the guilt or the innocence of Mary was adopted respectively, by opposite factions, as their first political badge of