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hand to the Erle Bothwell." This casket, intercepted as mentioned above, contained letters written from Glasgow, Stirling, Linlithgow, and the Kirk-of-Field, a series of twelve sonnets, and two contracts of marriage. These important documents were presumed to have been preserved by Bothwell both as pledges of her affection and as proofs of her assent to the murder of Darnley, and also of her own abduction at Cramond Bridge. The casket, it is further presumed, was lodged with other papers by Bothwell in Edinburgh Castle when he brought the Queen from Dunbar. These letters, first produced when Mary was a prisoner, were never submitted to the Queen herself or to her Commissioners, and were uniformly disclaimed as authentic by all concerned in her defence. Constitutional lawyers, naturally jealous of the rights of individuals as against the power of the Crown, have generally condemned this feature in the proceedings against Queen Mary. Some of them, indeed, have gone the length of saying that they only desired to be as assuredly convinced of her innocence as that she had an unfair trial. The first and longest letter, from Glasgow, bore the initials of Elizabeth, as well as Mary's arch-foe, Cecil, indicating that it was inspected by the Queen, for whom, perhaps, it was translated or transcribed. The most damaging evidence against their authenticity is the coarseness of thought and suggestion pervading them. “Cursed be this pocky fellow (she is represented as writing from Darnley's bedside), who troubleth me thus much, for I had a pleasanter matter to discourse unto you but for him. He is not much the worse, but he is ill arrayed. I thought I should have been killed with his breath, for it is worse than your uncle's, and yet I was set no nearer to him than in a chair by his bolster, and he lieth by the further side of the bed.” Again—"I have taken the worms out of his nose.
You have heard the rest. We are tied to two false races. The good year untie us from them. God forgive me, and God knit us together for ever for the most faithful couple. I am ill at ease, and glad to write you when other folks be asleep, seeing that I cannot do as they do, according to my desire, that is between your arms, my dear life, who I beseech God to preserve from all ill and send you good rest, as I go to seek mine, till to-morrow in the morning." Such
“Night Thoughts" in Glasgow came to an end on the 27th January, when Darnley was conveyed by way of Callendar and Linlithgow to the prepared " lodging in the ruined premises at Kirk-of-Field, Edinburgh. On Sunday, 9th February, according to what is known as the Regent's Diary, the Queen and Bothwell supped with the Bishop of the Isles, and passed afterwards with Argyll and Huntly to the King's chamber, where Bothwell and his accomplices "putt all things to order." About two hours after midnight (Hepburn confessed), when the Queen had retired from Bastian's wedding festivities in Holyrood, “a loud noise like the bursting of a thunder-cloud awoke the sleeping city. The King's House was torn in pieces and cast into the air, and the King himself slain.” Whether suffocated beforehand or killed by the explosion, it is impossible now to determine from the conflicting testimony of the ruffians concerned in the outrage. With indecent haste Bothwell was acknowledged by Mary as her friend, and before she had been three months a widow was accepted by her as a fitting successor to that husband whom he was believed to have murdered. But so unfortunate was the issue of Mary's affairs from the date of her union with Bothwell that, in little more than four weeks afterwards she was compelled to surrender to the nobles confederated in arms against her at Carberry Hill; and on the day following that surrender she was, in violation, as some think, of a solemn promise to the contrary, conveyed a captive to the castle of Lochleven. Bothwell himself contrived to escape at Carberry, scouring the northern seas afterwards as a pirate, and dying a maniac in the lonely Danish prison of Draxholm. The remains of certain minor conspirators executed were conveyed to Glasgow and hung up, in token of at least a small measure of justice meted out to the murderers of one so intimately associated by descent and title with the West of Scotland as Henry, Lord Darnley. The lands of the lordship of Darnley, which includes the mill of the barony, make up the south-west corner of Eastwood Parish, Renfrewshire, and passed from the Darnley Stewarts first to the Montrose family, by purchase, from the Duke of Lennox and Richmond, and then about fifty years later, or in 1757, to Sir John Maxwell of Nether Pollok, whose descendants are still in possession.
COREHOUSE AND THE CRANSTOUNS.
SPRUNG from the old house of Crailing, near Jedburgh, George Cranstoun may be thought to belong more to the East than the West, but the fine residence close on Corra Fall, Lanark, is so closely identified with the life and leisure of one of the foremost men of his day at the bar, that little apology is required for recalling the memory of a scholar profound as well as witty, an advocate full of enthusiasm for his client, and a judge whose judgment could always be relied on. Without the slightest pretension to the literary culture or many-sided readiness of Jeffrey, or even to the crisp conversational power of the great critic, it is not too much to say that, with the exception of Jeffrey alone, George Cranstoun stood in the very front of that group of young Whig lawyers which made the early years of the present century so memorable in the history of the Parliament House. He may not have had the homely familiarity of Cockburn with a jury, but Cranstoun had persuasive powers of another kind in grace and culture which rivalled in effect the delicious humour of “ Henry,” and kept him abreast in the race with the gay, light-hearted Fullerton, as well as of the silver-tongued Maitland. In matters of feudal law he was acknowledged to have no rival, either on the bench or at the bar-no rival at least which he needed to fear; and there were in his day either on the bench or at the bar names so historical as Robert Blair of Avonton, Robert Macqueen of Braxfield, and Ilay Campbell of Succoth. Cranstoun's career is at once an illustration and explanation of what has often appeared a puzzle to readers trying to make themselves familiar with the inner life of these harsh exclusive Tory days. How, it is asked, if public life was then made so very irksome-how did the young Whigs find their way to such high distinction and such great practice? No doubt, they got on; but they had to force their advance, and in hands less competent success would have been impossible, even although aided by the spell which seemed to have fallen on the Tories since they excluded Erskine from the office of Dean of Faculty, and elected Robert Dundas of Arniston. Step by step the resolute youths beat their foe, but it
died hard and made a mighty commotion in its death-throes. Sydney Smith was neither joking nor exaggerating when he wrote that his chief desire to know Horner proceeded from a caution given him by some excellent but feeble people who represented him as a person of violent political opinions. “I interpreted this to mean a person who thought for himself, who had firmness to take his own line in life, and who loved truth better than he loved Dundas.” Tyrant as he was in all things political, Henry Dundas was personally and socially one of the most delightful men of his time, and we cease to wonder that his power became all but irresistible when he had practically unlimited power of patronage in almost every department of His Majesty's service-patronage in the army and navy, in the Customs, and in the Post Office, at home and in India-places suited for everybody, from a tide-waiter to a colonial governor. Representative freedom Scotland had none. Dundas named the sixteen peers, and forty-three out of forty-five commoners sent by counties and burghs to Parliament. The county voters or freeholders, few in number, were generally managed by some intriguing local magnate, while the burgh members were chosen by a self-elected council, generally steeped in servility and jobbing corruption. In this way the party of progress came to be not only avoided in society, but were rudely treated by the bench, and, indeed, for the most part, by those holding other official stations. Second son of George of Longwarton, who was in turn seventh son of the fifth Lord Cranstoun, George passed as advocate in 1793, the year after Scott, and one year before Jeffrey ; so that he may be said to have entered on professional life when Pitt and the Dundas dynasty lay heaviest on Scotland. Pitt had been ten years First Lord of the Treasury; his friend, Henry Dundas (afterwards Viscount Melville) was leaving the Home Office to take up the duties of War Secretary, which he held for seven eventful years; a nephew, Robert of Arniston, before referred to, was Lord-Advocate, anxious, it may be, concerning the trial of Muir of Huntershill for alleged seditious practices, which took place in August. George Cranstoun was originally intended for the army, and during his first year or two at the bar was so annoyed with the bitterness of party feeling that he had serious thoughts of carrying out the earlier determination. The story goes, whether true or only meant to
torment the decorous young advocate it is neither easy to say nor necessary to inquire, but it runs that he intended to enter the Austrian army, and consulted his friend Lord Swinton as to the propriety of joining a service in which it was said officers were liable to be flogged. His Lordship, who had a sound horror of a Jacobin, replied—“'Deed, Mr. George, ye wad be muckle the better of being whuppit.” But, truth or jest, the step indicated was never taken. Solicitors and clients began to feel confidence in the abilities of the young advocate who had spurned the written “test” proposed by David, afterwards Baron Hume, nephew of the historian ; and the whip, instead of being applied to his own back, was laid with inimitable cleverness on the shoulders of most of the grave “Fifteen,” who then looked down on the bar from the bench. Mr. Cranstoun was generally credited with the authorship of the famous “Diamond Beetle Case,” being an imaginary report of a preposterous action given out as raised by a well-known Edinburgh jeweller for having had his Diamond Beetle described as only an Egyptian Louse. The involved style of Bannatyne, the predilection for Latin quotation of Meadowbank, the brisk manner of Lord Hermand, the anti-Gallic feeling of Lord Craig, the broad dialect of Polkemmet and Balmuto, and the hesitating manner of Lord Methven, are all playfully but admirably caricatured. There is room for only a few sentences here. Craig—" By an Egyptian louse I understand one that has been formed in the head of a native Egyptian, a race of men who, after degenerating for many centuries, have sunk at last into an abyss of depravity in consequence of having been subjected for a time by the French. I do not find that Turgot or Condorcet or the rest of the economists ever reckoned the combing of the head a species of productive labour, and I conclude therefore that wherever French principles have been propagated, lice grew to an immoderate size, especially in a warm climate like that of Egypt. I shall only add that we ought to be sensible of the blessings we enjoy under a free and happy constitution where lice and men live under the restraint of equal laws, the only equality that can exist in a well regulated State.” Hermand—“I should have thought the defender would have gratified his spite to the full by comparing the beetle to a common louse, an animal certainly vile enough for purpose of defamation