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Elizabeth, urging her to the execution. * He has himself drawn up a paper of reasons why he was unable to revenge the heinous murder, committed against his dearest mother, by the old enemies of my progenitors, realm and nation : First, in respect of my tender youth, [ he was twenty and a half, ] not trained up in dexterity of arms, either to withstand injury, or to conquer my own right, being at all times bygone detained in captivity: Next, my excessive want, being obliged to live from band to hand; having sufficient patrimony and casualty, without any thing in store : Then, the divers factions of spiritual and temporal estates; every one regarding himself, and not me.'
It now turned out that the English. emissary who was detained at Berwick, had not been sent to convince the King, as his ambassadors announced, of the propriety of having his mother put out of the way, but for the
of excusing Elizabeth from all blame in so unhappy and so odious a transaction. When this gentleman found himself denied a passport into Scotland, he sent a letter to the King, expressive of the Queen's sorrow for what had taken place, and explaining away the whole matter as an accident ! Elizabeth, he said, had been prevailed upon, by the prayers of her council and people, to sign the Scottish Queen's sentence; but it was only that they might not be unprovided with a weapon against the Catholics, foreign and domestic, in case of their rescuing her from Fotheringay Castle, as they threatened, and endeavouring to set her up as monarch of England. The secretary, Davison, to whom she intrust
• Camden's Annales of Elizabeth.
od the custody of the paper, carried it, by a flagrant misinterpretation of her wishes, to the council, who immediately despatched a commission to see it put into execution; "which was done, she protested to God, before she knew it.' tary was committed to prison for bis misdeeds, for which he should not escape her high displeasure. • This,' concludes Cary, is the effect of my message ; which, if I could express so lively as I did hear her utter it with a heavy beart and sorrowful countenance, I think your Majesty would rather pity the grief she endureth, than in any sort blame her for the fact whereunto she never gave consent.
Cary also bore the following letter from Elizabeth herself-ope of the most ingenious pieces of false feeling which even that exquisite dissembler ever penned :
• My Dear Brother; I would you knew, thongh not felt, the extreme dolor that overwhelmeth my mind for that miserable accident which, far contrary to my meaning, hath befallen. I have sent this kinsman of mine, wbom ere now it hath pleased you to favour, to instruct you truly of that which is too irksome to my pen to tell you. I beseech
you, that as God and many mo know how innocent I am in this case, so you will believe me, that, if I had done it, I would have abode by it. I am not so base-minded that the fear of any liv. ing creature should make me afraid to do what is just, or, done, to deny the same; I am not so degenerate, nor carry so vile a mind. But, as not to disguise fits most a king, so will I never dissemble my actions, but cause them show as I mean them. This assure yourself for me, that, as I know it was well deserved if I had meant it, I would never lay it on another's shoulders ; and to impute to myself that which I did never so much as think of, I will not. The circumstances you will be pleased to hear of this bearer: And for my part, think you have not a more loving kingwoman and more dear friend, nor any that will watch more carefully to preserve you and your state. And if any would otherwise persuade you, think they bear more good will to others than to you. Thus, in haste, I leave to trouble you, beseeching God to send you a long reign. • Your most assured loving sister and cousin,
Of course, few readers will require to be reminded, that the writer of this letter was herself the direct dictator of Mary's death, and that, if she had any hesitation whatever in the matter, it arose from an earnest wish that the unhappy Queen should be assassinated by some wretch, from an idea of good service, instead of being put to a ceremonious death by ber warrant. tyger's heart within a woman's hide !' as the old dramatist has prophetically expressed her character.
After the delivery of these letters, there was a meeting of English and Scotch commissioners at Foulden Kirk in the Merse, to adjust the terms of satisfaction to be rendered by Elizabeth to James for his mother's slaughter. And a scheme was agitated for a reparation of a tangible shape, such as was sometimes paid, according to a custom which prevailed in Scotland, by persons guilty of homicide, to the nearest of kin of the deceased. But, in the course of a few weeks, the King permitted himself to be pacified, without any formal recognition of the injury he complained of. The death of Mary was a matter too necessary to the interests of all and sundry, himself included, to be very long resented ; and, all the circumstances considered, he might very well smother his desires of revenge, without incurring the charge of having been indifferent to the claims of blood.
JAMES'S MARRIAGE—HIS ARRIVAL WITH THE QUEEN TROX
The next transaction in which James was engag. ed, was one of a much more pleasing nature. He now judged it time, since he approached his majority, to supply himself with a consort. There were many reasons for this resolution. He was the only individual of his family; the heir-presumptive-to his Scottish crown was a lunatic, (the Earl of Arran); failing himself, the inheritance of the English crown was apt to be disputed by a number of claimants; and he knew that, if he had offspring, he would be less exposed than heretofore to assassination. He was moreover sensible, that the possession of a family of children must recommend him very warmly to the English people, and smooth his way to the throne. Elizabeth had long endeavoured to repress all desires of this kind in James, partly from a fear lest he should make an improper choice, and partly from anticipation of the favour and influence he should thus acquire among her people, to her own prejudice. But she now relaxed so much, as to recommend him to marry the sister of the King of