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my to the protestant religion, and suspected that he held for this purpose, a secret correspondence with the court of Rome.
In consequence of such a conduct, the king and nobles mutually conspired to take away his life. Nothing now remained but to concert the plan of operation, to choose the actors, and to assign them their parts in perpetrating this detestable crime. Every circumstance here paints and characterises the manners and men of that age, and fills us with horror at both. The place chosen for committing such a deed was the queen's bed-chamber. Though Mary was now in the sixth month of her pregnancy, and though Rizio might have been seized elsewhere without any difficulty, the king pitched upon this place, that he might enjoy the malicious pleasure of reproaching Rizio with his crimes before the queen's face. The earl of Morton, the lord high chancellor of the kingdom, undertook to direct an enterprise, carried on in defiance of all the laws of which he was bound to be the guardian. The lord Ruthven, who had been confined to his bed for three months by a very dangerous distemper, and who was still so feeble that he could scarce walk, or bear the weight of his own armour, was intrusted with the executive part; and while he himself needed to be supported by two men, he came abroad to commit a murder in the presence of his sovereign.
On the 9th of March, Morton entered the court of the palace with an hundred and sixty men; and without noise, or meeting with any resistance, seized all the gates.
While the queen was at supper with the countess of Argyle, Rizio, and a few domestics, the king suddenly entered the apartment by a private passage.
At his back was Ruthven, clad in complete armour, and with that ghastdy and horrid look which long sickness had given him. Three or four of his most trusty accomy plices followed him. Such an unusual appearance alarmed those who were present. Rizio instantly apprehended that he was the victim at whom the blow was aimed ; and in the utmost consternation retired behind the queen, of whom he laid holde hoping that the reverence due to her person might prove some protection to him. The conspirators had proceeded too far to be restrained by any consideration of that kind. Numbers of armed men rushed into the chamber. Ruthven drew his dagger, and with a furious mien and voice commanded Rizio to leave a place of which he was unworthy, and which he had occupied too long. Mary einployed tears, and entreaties, and threatenings, to. save her favourite. But, notwithstanding all these, he was torn from her by violence, and before he could be dragged through the next apartment, the rage of his enemies put an end to his life, piercing his body with fifty-six wounds.
EARL OF BOTHWELL.
ABOUT this time a new favourite grew into great. credit with the queen, and soon gained an ascendant over her heart, which encouraged his enterprising genius to form designs that proved fatal to himself, and the occasion of all Mary's subsequent misfortunes. This was James Hepburn, earl of Bothwell, the head of an ancient family. and, by his extensive possessions and numerous vassals, one of the most powerful noblemen in the kingdom. Even in that turbulent age, when so many vast projects were laid open to an aspiring mind, and invited it to action, no man's ambition was more daring than Bothwell's, or had recourse to bolder or more singular expedients for obtaining power.
When almost every person of distinction in the kingdom, whether papist or protestant, had joined the congregation in opposing the dangerous encroachments of the French upon the liberties of the nation, he, though an avowed protestant, adhered to the queen regent, and acted with vigour on her side. The success which attended the arms of the congregation having obliged him to retire into France, he was taken into the queen's service, and continued with her till the time of her return into Scotland. From that period, every step of his conduct towards Mary was remarkably dutiful; and amidst all the shifting of faction, we scárcely ever find him holding any course which could be offensive to her. When Murray's proceedings with regard to her marriage gave umbrage to the queen, she recalled Bothwell from that banishment into which she had with reluctance driven him, and considered his zeal and abilities as the most powerful supports of her authority. When the conspirators against Rizio seized her person, he became the chief instrument of recovering her liberty, and served her, on that occasion, with so much fidelity and success, as made the deepest impression on her mind, and greatly increased the confidence which she had hitherto placed in him. Her gratitude loaded him with marks of her bounty ; she raised him to offices of profit and of trust, and transacted no matter of importance without his advice. By complaisance and assiduity, he confirmed and fortified these dispositions of the queen in his favour, and insensibly paved the way towards that vast project which his immoderate ambition had perhaps already conceived, and which, in spite of many difficulties, and at the expense of many crimes, he at last accomplished.
During Mary's disgust at Darnly, after the assassination of Rizio, Bothwell, all the while, was the queen's prime confident. Without his participation no business was concluded, and no favour bestowed. Together with this ascendant over her councils, Bothwell, if we may believe the cotemporary historians, acquired no less sway over her heart. But at what precise time this ambitious lord first allowed the sentiments of a lover to oc.cupy the place of that duty and respect which a subject owes his sovereign ; or when Mary, instead of gratitude for his faithful services, felt a passion of another nature rising in her bosom, it is no easy matter to determine. Such delicate transitions of passion can be discerned only by those who are admitted near the persons of the parties, and who can view the secret workings of the heart with calm and acute observation. Neither Knox nor Buchanan enjoyed these advantages. Their humble station allowed them only a distant access to the queen and her favourite. And the ardour of their zeal, and the violence of their prejudices, render their opinions rash, precipitate, and inaccurate. It is by the effects of this reciprocal passion, rather than by their accounts of it, that subsequent historians can judge of its reality.
Adventurous as Bothwell's project to gain the queen may appear, it was formed and carried on under very favourable circumstances. Mary was young, gay, and affable. She possessed great sensibility of temper, and was capable of the utmost tenderness of affection. She had placed her love on a very unworthy object, who requited it with ingratitude, and treated her with neglect, with insolence, and with brutality. All these she felt, and resented. In this situation, the attention and complaisance of a man who had vindicated her authority, and protected her person ; who entered into all her views, who soothed all her passions, who watched and improved every opportunity of
insinuating his design, and recommending his passion, could hardly fail of making an impression on a heart of such a frame as Mary's.
A few days after the baptism of the prince, Morton and all the other conspirators against Rizio obtained their pardon, and leave to return into Scotland. Mary, who had hitherto continued inexorable to every entreaty in their behalf, yielded at last to the solicitations of Bothwell. He could hope for no success in those bold designs on which his ambition resolved to venture, without drawing aid from every quarter. By procuring a favour for Morton and his associates, of which they had good reason to despair, he expected to secure a band of. faithful and determined adherents.
Upon the mysterious murder of Lord Darnly, every one's imagination was at work to guess who had contrived and executed this execrable deed. The suspicion fell, with almost a general consent, on Bothwell; and some reflections were thrown out, as if the queen herself were no stranger to the crime. Of Bothwell's guilt there remains the fullest evidence that the nature of the action will ad. mit. The queen’s known sentiments with regard to her husband, gave a great appearance of probability to the imputation with which she was loaded.
Two days after the murder, a proclamation was issued by the queen, offering a considerable reward to any person who should discover those who had been guilty of such a horrid and detestable crime. And though Bothwell was now one of the greatest subjects in the kingdom, formidable on account of his own power, and protected by the queen's favour, it was impossible to suppress the sentiments and indignation of the people. Papers were affixed to the most public places of the city, accusing him of the murder, and naming his accomplices; pictures appeared to the same purpose, and voices.