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purpose ; an honour for which he was indebted to the envy and jealousy of the earl of Arran. Gray possessed all the talents of a courtier ; a graceful person, an insinuating address, boundless ambition; and a restless and intriguing spirit. During his residence in France, he had been admitted into the most intimate familiarity with the duke of Guise, and in order to gain his favour, had renounced the protestant religion, and professed the utmost zeal for the captive queen, who carried on a secret correspondence with him, from which she expected great advantages. On his return into Scotland, he paid court to James with wonderful assiduity, and his accomplishments did not fail to make their usual impression on the king's heart. Arran, who had introduced him, began quickly to dread his growing favour; and flattering himself that absence would efface any sentiments of tenderness from the mind of a young prince, pointed him out, by his malicious praises, as the most proper person in the kingdom for an embassy of such importance ; and contributed to raise him to that high dignity, in order to hasten his fall. Elizabeth, who had an admirable dexterity in discovering the proper instruments for carrying on her designs, endeavoured, by caresses, and by presents, to secure Gray to her interest. The former flattered his vanity, which was great ; and the latter supplied his profuseness, which was still greater. He abandoned himself without reserve to Elizabeth's directions, and not only undertook to preserve the king under the inAuence of England, but acted as a spy upon the Scottish queen, and betrayed to her rival every secret that he could draw from her by his high pretensions to zeal in her service.
Gray's credit with the English court was extremely galling to the banished nobles. Elizabeth no longer thought of employing her power to re
store them; she found it easier to govern Scotland by corrupting the king's favourites; and, in compliance with Gray's solicitations, she commanded the exiles to leave the north of England, and to remove into the heart of the kingdom. This rendered it difficult for them to hold any correspondence with their partisans in Scotland, and almost impossible to return thither without her permission. Gray, by gaining a point which James had so much at heart, rivetted himself more firmly than ever in his favour; and by acquiring greater reputation, became capable of serving Elizabeth with greater success.
Upon the unjustifiable sentence of Mary to death, James without losing a moment, sent new ambassadors to London. These were the master of Gray and sir Robert Melvil. In order to remove Elizabeth's fears, they offered that their master would become bound that no conspiracy should be undertaken against her person, or the peace of the kingdom, with Mary's consent ; and for the faithful performance of this, would deliver some of the most considerable of the Scottish nobles as hostages. If this were not thought sufficient, they proposed that Mary should resign all her rights and pretensions to her son, from whom nothing injurious to the protestant religion, or inconsistent with Elizabeth's safety, could be feared. The for. mer proposal Elizabeth rejected as insecure; the latter as dangerous. The ambassadors were ther instructed to talk in a higher tone ; and Melv executed the commission with fidelity and wit zeal. But Gray, with his usual perfidy, deceive his master, who trusted him with a negotiation o so much importance, and betrayed the queen whon he was employed to save. He encouraged and urged Elizabeth to execute the sentence against her rival. He often repeated the old proverbial sentence : The dead cannot bite." And whatever should happen, he undertook to pacify the king's rage, or at least, to prevent any violent effects of his resentment.
Mary's death, however, proved fatal to the master of Gray, and lost him that favour which he had for some time possessed. He was become as odious to the nation as favourites, who acquire power without merit, and exercise it without disiretion, usually are. The treacherous part which he had acted during his late embassy was well known, and filled the king, who at length came to the knowledge of it, with surprise. The courtiers observed the symptoms of disgust arising in the king's mind ; his enemies seized the opportunity, and sir William Stewart, in revenge of the perfidy with which Gray had betrayed his brother, captain James, publicly accused him before a convention of nobles, not only of having contributed, by his advice and suggestions, to take away the life of the queen, but of holding correspondence with popish princes, in order to subvert the religion established in the kingdom. Gray, unsupported by the king, deserted by all, and conscious of his own guilt, made a feeble defence. He was condemned to per banishment, a punishment very unequ.
But the king was unwilling to abed whom he had once favoured so highly, of jur of justice ; and lord Hamilton, his near n, and the other nobles who had lately re. d from exile, in gratitude for the zeal with h he had served them, interceded warmly in behalf.
EARL OF ESSEX.
Not long after the Gowrie conspiracy, one broke out in England against queen Elizabeth, which, though the first danger was instantly dispelled, produced tragical effects, that rendered the close of the queen's reign dismal and unhappy. As James was deeply interested in that event, it merits our particular notice.
The court of England was at this time divided between two powerful factions, which contended for the supreme direction of affairs. The leader of the one was Robert D'Evreux, earl of Essex, sir Robert Cecil, the son of lord Treasurer Burleigh, was at the head of the other. The former was the most accomplished and the most popular of all the English nobles ; brave, generous, affable ; though impetuous, yet willing to listen to the counsels of those whom he loved ; an avowed but not an implacable enemy; a friend no less constant than warm ; incapable of disguising his own sentiments, or of misrepresenting those of others; better fitted for the camp than for the court ; and of a genius that qualified him for the first place in the jułministration, with a spirit that scorned the second wit below his merit. He was soon distinguished the
queen, who with a profusion uncommon to hier, conferred on him, even in his earliest youth, the highest honours, and most important offices. Nor did this diminish the esteem and affection of his countrymen ; but, by a rare felicity, he was at once the favourite of his sovereign, and the darling of the people. Cecil, on the other hand, educated in a court, and trained under a father deeply skilled in all its arts, was crafty, insinuating, industrious ; and though possessed of talents which fitted him for the highest offices, he did not rely upon his merit
alone for attaining them, but availed himself of every advantage which his own address, or the mistakes of others afforded him. Two such men were formed to be rivals and enemies. Essex despised the arts of Cecil as low and base. To Cecil the earl's magnanimity appeared to be presumption and folly. All the military men, except Raleigh, favoured Essex. Most of the courtiers adhered to Cecil, whose manners more nearly resembled their own.
As Elizabeth advanced in years, the struggle between these factions became more violent. in order to strengthen himself, had early courted the friendship of the king of Scots, for whose right of succession he was a zealous advocate, and held a close correspondence both with him and with his principal ministers. Cecil, devoted to the queen alone, rose daily to new honours, by the assiduity of his services, and the patience with which he expected the reward of them ; while the earl's high spirit and impetuosity sometimes exposed him to checks from a mistress, who, though partial in her affection toward him, could not easily bear contradiction, and who conferred favours often unwillingly, and always slowly. His own solicitations, however, seconded maliciously by his enemies, who wished to remove him at a distance from court, advanced him to the command of the army employed in Ireland against Tyronne, and to the office of lord-lieutenant of that kingdom, with a commission almost unlimited. His success in that expedition did not equal either his own promises or the expectations of Elizabeth. The queen, peevish from her disappointment, and exasperated against Essex by the artifices of his enemies, wrote him a harsh letter, full of accusations and reproaches. These his impatient spirit could not bear, and, in the first transports of his resentment, he proposed to carry over a part of his army into England, and, by dri