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being confined there upwards of nine months, he was released
upon his humble submission to Elizabeth, giving her a promise, on his allegiance, to hold no farther correspondence with the queen of Scots. During the progress of Norfolk's negotiations, the queen's partisans in Scotland, who made no doubt of their issuing in her restoration to the throne, with an increase of authority, were wonderfully elevated.
The marriage intrigue of Norfolk was again renewed. Philip, whose dark and thoughtful mind delighted in the mystery of intrigue, had held a secret correspondence with Mary for some time, by means of the bishop of Ross, and had supplied both herself and her adherents in Scotland with small sums of money. Ridolphi, a Florentine gentleman, who resided at London under the character of a banker, and who acted privately as an agent for the pope, was the person whom the bishop intrusted with this negotiation. Mary thought it necessary likewise to communicate the secret to the duke of Norfolk, whom Elizabeth had lately restored to liberty, upon his solemn promise to have no further intercourse with the queen of Scots; which, however, he regarded so little, that she took no step in any matter of moment without his advice. She complained in a long letter, which she wrote to him in cyphers, of the baseness with which the French court had abandoned her interest; she declared her resolution of imploring the assistance of the Spanish monarch, which was now her only resource; and recommended Ridolphi to his confidence, as a person capable both of explaining and of advancing the scheme. The duke commanded Hickford, his secretary, to decypher, and then to burn this letter ; but whether he had been already gained by the court, or resolved at that time to betray his
master, he disobeyed the latter part of the order, and hid the letter, together with other treasonable papers, under the duke's own bed.
Ridolphi, in a conference with Norfolk, omitted none of those arguments, and spared none of those promises, which are the usual incentives to rebek lion. The pope, he told him, had a great sum in readiness to bestow in so good a cause. The duke of Alva had undertaken to land ten thousand men not far from London.' The catholics to a man would rise in arms. Many of the nobles were ripe for a revolt, and wanted only a leader. Half the nation had turned their eyes towards him, and expected him to revenge the unmerited injuries which he himself had suffered; and to rescue an unfortunate queen, who offered him her person and her crown as the reward of his success, proved of the design, and, though he refused to give Ridolphi any letter of credit, allowed him to use his name in negotiating with the pope and Alva. The bishop of Ross, who, from the violence of his temper, and impatience to procure res lief for his mistress, was apt to run into rash and desperate designs, advised the duke to assemble secretly a few of his followers, and at once to seize Elizabeth's person. But this the duke rejected as a scheme equally wild and hazardous. Meanwhile, the English court had received some imperfect information of the plot, by intercepting one of Ridolphi's agents; and an accident happened which brought to light all the circumstances of it. The duke had employed Hickford to transmit to Lord Herries some money which was to be distributed among Mary's adherents in Scotland. A person not in the secret was intrusted with conveying it to the borders, and he suspecting it from the weight to be gold, whereas he had been told that it was silver, carried it directly to the privy council
The duke, his domestics, and all who were privy, or could be suspected of being privy, to the design, were taken into custody. Never did the accomplices in a conspiracy discover less firmness, or servants betray an indulgent master with greater baseness. Every one confessed the whole of what he knew. Hickford gave directions how to find the papers which he had hid. The duke himself, relying at first on the fidelity of his associates, and believing all dangerous papers to have been destroyed, confidently asserted his own innocence ; but when their depositions and the papers themselves were produced, astonished at their treachery, he acknowledged his guilt, and implored the queen's mercy. His offence was too heinous, and too often repeated, to obtain pardon; and Elizabeth thought it necessary to deter her subjects, by his punishment, from holding a correspondence with the queen of Scots, or her emissaries. Being tried by his peers, he was found guilty of high treason, and, after several delays, suffered death for the crime.
This eminent man was a natural son of king James V. After an education suitable to his rank, he was appointed prior of St. Andrew's; but the active vigour of his mind was not formed to move in the humble sphere of an ecclesiastic, whose coneerns are not with the kingdoms of this world: he soon rushed forward into political life, and rose to such eminence, that even before Mary was recalled into Scotland, he had acquired a considerable ascendency in the councils of the nation. At an early period of life, he caught the flame of civil and religious liberty, and became the champion of the reformation. He was deputed by the supporters of that system, to repair to France to escort queen Mary home, and use his influence, which he did with success, to form a plan of administration agreeable to their views. Upon his return he was created earl of Murray, and continued for a considerable time to influence the government of the queen ; but when she threw off the disguise, and openly declared in favour of popery and tyranny, he adhered to his principles, and became one of the most violent opponents of Mary,
As the principal actions of his political career are related along with those of his contemporaries, we shall not here attempt to give them in detail. Concerning his death and character Dr. R. writes:
Hamilton of Bothwelhaugh was the person who committed this barbarous action. He had been condemned to death soon after the battle of Langside, and owed his life to the regent's clemency. But part
of his estate had been bestowed upon one of the regent's favourites, who seized his house, and turned out his wife naked, in a cold night, into the open fields, where, before next morning, she became furiously mad. This injury made a deeper impression on him than the benefit he had received, and from that moment he vowed to be revenged upon the regent. Party rage strengthened and inflamed his private resentment. His kinsmen, the Hamiltons, applauded the enterprise. The maxims of that age justified the most desperate course he could take to obtain vengeance. He followed the regent for some time, and watched for an opportunity to strike the blow. He resolved at last to wait till his enemy should arrive at Linlithgow, through which he was to pass in his way from Stirling to Edinburgh. He took his stand in a wooden gallery which had a window towards the street; spread a feather-bed on the floor to hinder
the noise of his feet from being heard ; hung up a black cloth behind him that his shadow might not be observed from without; and, after all this preparation, calmly expected the regents approach, who had lodged during the night in a house not far distant. Some indistinct information of the danger which threatened him had been conveyed to the regent, and he paid so much regard to it that he resolved to return by the same gate through which he had entered, and to fetch a compass round the town. But as the crowd about the gate was great, and he himself unacquainted with fear, he proceeded directly along the street; and the throng of the people obliging him to move very slowly, gave the assassin time to take so true an aim, that he shot him with a single bullet through the lower part of the belly, and killed the horse of a gentleman who rode on his other side. His followers instantly endeavoured to break into the house from whence the blow had come, but they found the door strongly barricaded ; and before it could be forced open, Hamilton had mounted a fleet horse, which stood ready for him at a back passage, and was got far beyond their reach. The regent died the same night of his wound. : There is no person in that age about whom historians have been more divided, or whose character has been drawn with such oppposite colours. Personal intrepidity, military skill, sagacity and vigour in the administration of civil affairs, are virtues which even his enemies allow him to have possessed in an eminent degree. His moral qualities are more dubious, and ought neither to be praised nor censured without great reserve and many distinctions. In a fierce age he was capable of using victory with humanity, and treating the vanquished with moderation. A patron of learning, which,