Imagens das páginas
PDF
ePub

Condé, and the duke of Orleans sued for the hic. nour of her hand.

Her personal accomplishments, her present high station, and the still higher prospects of the English succession, rendered her choice an object of ambition to every prince of the age.

Elizabeth could not remain an idle spectator at an event on which so much depended. She dreaded the marriage of a rival queen, of a successor, to a powerful prince who might enforce her claims to the crown of England; and there fore she recommended to her sister to decline all foreign matches as contrary to the interest of her realm and subjects.

The presbyterians dreaded any marriage with catholic who might overturn the Reformation and leave a popish succession to finish its destruction Her catholic friends were equally averse to a pro testant match. Long were the negociations and many the intrigues about this affair.

Elizabeth always proposed a subject and a pro testant, and even indelicately ventured to poin out one of her own favourites, the earl of La cester, as a proper match for lier cousin.

Indignant as Mary must have felt at this sus gestion, she durst not openly quarrel with neighbouring sovereign, who had more influere in the affairs of Scotland than its own queen, who might have taken violent steps against rights of succession. A conference was agres on, which served the purpose of gaining time.

Meanwhile the earl of Lennox, the next aft Mary in succession to the crown of Engla came to her court, with a letter of recommend tion from Elizabeth. He was well received, and readily obtained what he asked, the restitution to his estates, and a reversal of the sentence of forfeiture, under which he laid.

Emboldened by this success, his lady in Enge land asked permission of Elizabeth, for her son, lord Darnley, to visit Scotland. We do not find that this was either granted or refused ; but on hearing of his departure, the countess was put under arrest, by order of queen

Elizabeth. Lord Darnley was presented to the queen at Wemyss Castle in Fife. He was in the bloom of youth, tall, handsome, and well bred. His figure prepossessed Mary in his favour; and he was no less captivated with the charms of the fair queen.

The marriage was resolved on, the pope was applied to for a dispensation on account of the consanguinity, and the consent of France and England was sought by ambassadors,

Elizabeth, who had probably contrived the match, and rejoiced inwardly at seeing her cousin stoop to take one of her subjects to her bed, pretended, with her wonted hypocrisy, to disapprove of it highly ; with a view, no doubt, to foment disturbances.

The earl of Murray, apprehensive of being superseded in power by the husband of the queen, retired from court in disgust. When invited by the queen to return, he declined signing his approbation of the match, though solicited with many demonstrations of respect and confidence. Most of the nobles were won however by address and promises ; and even the preachers were soothed and courted. VOL. XXI,

Murray

K

Murray and his party formed new bonds and covenants; they corresponded with the English resident, and secured Elizabeth's assistance. They were assembling at Stirling to concert mea. sures of defence.

The queen provoked at such illegal proceedings, summoned all her vassals to repair in arms to Edinburgh for the protection of her person against foreign and domestic enemies; she also cited Murray to appear before her, to answer to such things as should be laid to his charge.

This bold and well-timed step, disconcerted the confederates, who dispersed, after having implored the protection of Elizabeth.

Mary profited by the weakness of her enemies to celebrate her marriage with Henry lord Darnley, which was done in the royal chapel, according to the rites of her church ; save that Darnley did not hear mass. Proof that he was then a protestant, which must have considerably added to the popularity of the match; and enabled Mary to carry another point, which was to nominate her husband king, and to order, that all writs should run in the joint names of the king and queen.

This was more than prudence, or even right could justify. The latter, however, does not seem to have been called in question. But a short experience convinced the queen that she had been too hasty in raising a young and weak man, to a share in her authority.

Murray, once more summoned, was outlawer on his non-appearance. His avowed enemies, the earl of Sutherland and the earl of Bothwell were recalled from banishment, and lord Gordon set at liberty:

Concludin

Concluding from such proceedings that his royal sister was inexorable, Murray fled to Argyle, where he levied troops, being assisted with money by Elizabeth.

But the queen took the field in person against him, and did not give him time to raise any considerabic force. The rebels having marched to Edinburgh were soon driven from that city by the return of the queen's army, and finally obliged to retire into England.

Elizabeth, who had gained her point by kindling and keeping up a rebellion in her sister's kingdom, now acted the farce of disavowing every interference of that nature. She even obliged the earl of Murray solemnly to declare she had no hand in the affair. In private, however, she entertained the rebels in her dominions, and even treated with Mary in their behalf. The Scottish queen resented, with proper spirit, this intermeddling in her government; as also the remonstrançes of Elizabeth against her marriage.

But alas! this very marriage, from which she had promised to herself so much happiness, proved on the contrary, the beginning of all her misfortunes., Her husband soon appeared unworthy of her affections, and of the high station to which she had raised him ; he was addicted to drinking, and to low amours. His fondness was turned into inaiiterence; he treated his queen with coldness and neglect. He discovered a mind as weak as it was ambitious of power; his insolence and scorn alienated the heart of his wife, and she delayed conterring on him the crown matrimonial, to which he aspired. K2

The 01309

'The enemies of both availed themselves of every circumstance to widen the breach. They persuaded the suspicious husband to regard David Rizzio, an Italian musician, whom the queen had appointed her foreign secretary, as the author of all those counsels which were hostile to his views. They even suggested that the queen, though advanced in pregnancy, had received the adulterous embraces of an ugly old man of a very disgusting appearance.

Rizzio, a poor adventurer, a foreigner, and a papist, could not fail to become an object of jealousy when honoured with any share of the royal confidence.

This upstart, proud of the success of his in. sinuating address, had drawn on himself a genc ral odium, by his arrogance, and the pomp which he affected to display. At first he had favoured Henry, but was now represented to him as a dangerous enemy.

The exiled lords who kept up their correspone i dence with Morton, Ruthven, and others still at court, prevailed on the king to dispatch the obnoxious favourite, and he agreed to lead on the conspirators, and to cause him to be murdered in his, and the queen's presence. Accordingly, one evening, while the queen was at supper with the countess of Argyle, Henry conducted the confederates by a private staircase into the queen's apartment. Ruthven ordered Rizzio, who was of the queen's party, to depart from the royal presence, of which he was unworthy. The suppliant laid hold of his sovereign's robes. Ilenry seized hold of the queen, and Douglas snatching the king's dagger, plunged it into the breast of Rizzio,

who,

« AnteriorContinuar »