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As Darnly was so nearly related to the Queen, the canon law made it necessary to obtain the Pope's dispensation before the celebration of the marriage. For this purpose she early set on foot a negociation with the court of Rome, and was busy, at the same time, in procuring the consent of the French king and his mother.
While Mary was endeavouring to reconcile foreign courts to a measure which she had so much at heart ; Darnly and his father, by their behaviour, were raising up enemies to obstruct it. Intoxicated with the Queen's favour, Darnly began already to assume the haughtiness of a king, and to put on that imperious air, which majesty itself can scarce render tolerable. : Mary repeatedly endeavoured, but in vain, to procure the consent of Elizabeth ; and she was equally unsuccessful with the Earl of Murray.
On Mary's return to Edinburgh from Perth, whither she had gone to hold a Convention, she summoned her vassals by proclamation, and solicited them by letters, to repair thither in arms ; and she was obeyed with promptness and alacrity. This confluence of her subjects from all corners of the kingdom, afforded Mary an agreeable proof of her own strength; and in this prosperous situation, she determined to bring to a period an affair which had so long engrossed her heart and occupied her attention. On the 29th of July, she married Stewart Lord Darnly. The ceremony was performed in the queen's chapel, according to the rites of the Romish church; the pope's bull dispensing with their marriage having been previously obtained. She issued at the same time proclamations, conferring the title of King of Scots upon her husband, and commanding that henceforth all writs of law should run in the joint names of king
Darnly's external accomplishments had excited that sudden and violent passion which raised him to the throne. But the qualities of his mind corresponded ill with the beauty of his person. Of a. weak understanding, and without experience, con ceited, at the same time, of his own abilities, and ascribing his extraordinary success entirely to his distinguished merit; all the queen's favour made no impression on such a temper. All her gentleness could not bridle his imperious and ungovernable spirit. All her attention to place about him persons capable of directing his conduct, could not preserve him from rash and imprudent actions. Fond of all the amusements, and even prone to all the vices of youth, he became by degrees careless of her person, and a stranger to her company. To a woman, and a queen, such behaviour was intolerable. The lower she had stooped to raise him, his behaviour appeared the more ungenerous and criminal : and in proportion to the strength of her first affection, was the violence with which her disappointed passion now operated. A few months after the marriage their domestic quarrels began to be observed, which the extravagance of Darnly's ambition alone gave rise to.
Rizio, whom the king had at first taken into great confidence, did not humour him in his follies. By this he incurred the displeasure of Hen.. ry; and as it was impossible for Mary to behave towards her husband with the same affection which distinguished the first and happy days of their union, he imputed this coldness, not to his own behaviour, which he had so well merited, but to the insinuations of Rizio. The haughty spirit of Darnly could not bear the interference of such an upstart ; and impatient of any delay, and unrestrained by any scruple, he instantly resolved to get rid of him by violence; and he soon found
persons, impelled by different motives, ready to assist him in the perpetration of the horrid crime.
The conspiracy against Rizio was successful, and he fell a victim to their revenge. The king, meanwhile, stood astonished at the boldness and success of his own enterprise, and uncertain what course to hold. The queen observed his irresolution, and availed herself of it. She employed all her art to disengage him from his new associates. His consciousness of the insult which he had offered to so illustrious a benefactress, inspired him with uncommon facility and complaisance. In spite of all the warnings he received to distrust the queen's artifices, she prevailed on him to dismiss the guards which the conspirators had placed on her person ; and that same night he made his escape along with her, attended by three persons only, and retired to Dunbar. He afterwards denied all knowledge of the conspiracy by public proclamations, and shamefully abandoned the conspirators to the rage of the queen.
The charm, which had at first attached the queen to Darnly, and held them for some time in happy union, was now entirely dissolved ; and love no longer covering his follies and vices with its friendly veil, they appeared to Mary in their full dimensions and deformity. Though Henry published a proclamation, disclaiming any knowledge of the conspiracy against Rizio, the queen was fully convinced, that he was not only accessary to the contrivance, but to the commission of that odious crime. The queen's favours were longer conveyed through his hand. The crowd of expectants ceased to court his patronage, which they found to avail so little. Among the nobles some dreaded his furious temper, others complained of his perfidiousness; and all of them despised the weakness of his understanding and
the inconstancy of his heart; and even the people themselves observed some parts of his conduct which little suited the dignity of a king. Avoided cqually by those who endeavoured to please the queen, who favoured Morton and his associates, or who adhered to the house of Hamilton ; he was left almost alone in a neglected and unpitied solitude.
After the baptism of the young prince, Mary discovered no change in her sentiments with respect to the king. The death of Rizio, and the countenance he had given to an action so insolent and unjustifiable, were still fresh in her memory. She was frequently pensive and dejected. Though Henry sometimes attended at court, and accompanied her in her progresses through different parts of the kingdom, he met with little reverence from the nobles, while Mary treated him with the greatest reserve, and did not suffer him to possess any authority. The breach between them became every day more apparent; and no attempts to bring about a reconcilement were ever attended with success.
The haughty spirit of Darnly, nursed up in flattery, and accustomed to command, could not bear the contempt under which he had now fallen, and the state of insignificance to which he saw himself reduced. But in a country where he was universally hated or despised, he could never hope to form a party, which would second any attempt he might make to recover power.
He addressed himself, therefore, to the pope, and to the kings of France and Spain, with many professions of his own zeal for the Catholic religion, and with bitter complaints against the queen, for neglecting to promote that interest: and soon after, he took a resolution, equally wild and desperate, of embarking on board a ship which he provided, and of flying into foreign parts.
He communicated the design to the French ambassador Le Croc, and to his father the Earl of Lennox. They both endeavoured to dissuade him from it, but without success. Lennox, who seems, as well as his son, to have lost the queen’s confidence, and who, about this time, was seldom court, instantly communicated the matter to her by a letter. Henry, who had refused to accompany the queen from Stirling to Edinburgh, was likewise absent from court. He arrived there, however, on the same day she received the account of his intended flight. But he was more than usually wayward and peevish; and scrupling to enter the palace unless certain lords who attended the queen were dismissed, Mary was obliged to meet him without the gates. At last he suffered her to conduct him into her own apart
She endeavoured to draw from hin the reasons of the strange resolution which he had taken, and to divert him from it. In spite, however, of all her arguments and entreaties, he re. mained silent and inflexible. Next day the privy council, by her direction, expostulated with him on the same head. He persisted, however, in his sullenness and obstinacy; and neither deigned to explain the motives of his conduct, nor signified any intention of altering it. As he left the apartment, he turned towards the queen, and told her that she should not see his face again for a long time. A few days after, he wrote to Mary, and mentioned two things as grounds of his disgust. She herself, he said, no longer admitted him into any confidence, and had deprived him of all power; and the nobles, after her example, treated him with open neglect, so that he appeared in every place without the dignity and splendour of a king.
While great preparations had been made by Mary for the baptism of the young Prince, Henry's