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himself, though at the time clothed with the sacred character of an ambassador, was thrown into prison by Elizabeth, detained there very long, and with great difficulty was at last set free. He fled to the Netherlands, where he published his book; but so strictly were the avenues into this country guarded, so dangerous was it even to think of viewing Queen Mary with any degree of favour, that scarce a copy of it could be ever found in Britain, till it was, long after, reprinted by Anderson. The continuator of Hollingfhed's History was also constrained to suppress a leaf in Which he only insinuated a single word that tended to lead toward the truth in a doubtful matter. Camden's Annals, beside being written in Latin, were not printed for nearly half a century after they were written; and Crawford's Memoirs were not published till about a hundred and fifty years after the anonymous author was in the grave. These were nearly all the anginal writings in Mary's favour; so that those few speculative men who might have been disposed to investigate the truth of facts, had it not in their power; and the public prejudice grew so confirmed by a long and general acquiescence in the truth of supposed facts, that few were found to doubt them. One historian copied another; and it can no longer appear wonderful that in these circumstances it should become a difficult matter ever to detect error. But great is the force of truth; and, sooner or later, it must finally prevail. A small number had ever entertained doubts concerning the general accounts given of this period of history. Some, at length, began to examine into the nature of the evidence that was produced against Mary. It was soon discovered to be of a nature not only suspicious, but in many particulars it was clearly proved to be false. Other particulars afterward, on a closer examination, appealed to be equally ill-founded: and the time seems to approach in which the impartial historian will be enabled to delineate the important events of that disastrous period with unquestionable fidelity.
Mr. Goodall, late Keeper of the Advocate's Library in Edinburgh, has the honour to have been the first, in modern times, who dared publicly to stand up in the cause of Mary, and to begin the noble career in search of truth. From the office Mr. Goodall held, he had access to some original documents and records, which tended to expose the falsehood of many of those tales that had been circulated to the prejudice of the Scottish Queen. But he even went farther: by analysing the very pieces that had been published by her enemies, he, in many cafes, dearly demonstrated the falsity of their assertions. His work justly merits the praise of ingenuity and acuteness in a high degree, and has laid the foundation of all that hath since been written on that subject. But in a field so wide, and so involved in intricate mazes, it was not to be expected that a first attempt
should should be sufficient to remove every difficulty. Hume disliked the drudgery of deep investigations into the dark records of antiquity, no less than he delighted in placing those ficts he easily met with in a strong point of vie*, if they accorded with the ideas he had formed on the subjects of which he treated: observing; these difficulties, he found it better suited the native indolence of his mind, rather to take the facts as they were generally received by former historians, than to sift the matter to the bottom; and thus he chose to exhibit Mary nearly in the same black colours in which others had thought it properro delineate her. Robertson too, whose aim was to write a popular book, and whose mind seems to possess little of that intrepid firmness which dares, without hesitation, to break through the trammels of prepossession, and boldly to overleap every fence in search of truth, and, when once found, steadily to adhere to it, in spite of prejudice and clamour—this historian, who wishes not to stem the torrent, but rather with a graceful ease to glide along the stream, thought it most conformable to his views, to express a wish that Mary should be found innocent; and to be forced at last to abandon her cause, and to join with her calumniators in abusing her.—This questionable procedure called forth the nervous and elegant pen of a Tytler, who, in a work that forms an epoch in the annals of controversy, followed the path that Goodall trod, but took a wider range, and laid open many of those iniquitous transactions that had till then been wrapt in impenetrable darkness :—still, however, the business was imperfectly performed. Stuart next undertook the task; but his History of Mary, though bold in its outline, and nervous in the execution of parts, is greatly defective as a whole. Though quick of perception, and ardent in research, he wanted the perseverance to go over the whole with care; and imagination was sometimes called in to finish the picture, that had been begun with strict attention to the features of real life. Neither was his mind so steadily imbued with the' love of truth, as to disregard all other considerations when that stood in the way: he even in some respfcts imitated the man he most ditested, though by that very imitation he essrntially maimed his work. Stuart intended to write the life of Murray, the base brother of Mary, as Robertson had projected to write the history of America; and not to anticipate this work, he w;.s forced to leave the history of Mary, as Dr. Robertson did that of Charles the Fifth, in its most essential parts, maimed and imperfect. For what is the history of Mary, without a full devtlopement of the artful character andv deep machinations of Murray? This singular character has never yet been fully delineated, though some of its sti iking features have been stightly sketched: nor need we much regret that the task was not attempted before the appearance t.f the valuable work that now
claims our attention. Those who (hall again venture on it will derive much assistance from the materials here prepared to their hands ; so that we may hope, that when it (hall be attempted, it will be more completely done than it otherwise would have been j but to do it justice, the hand of a master is required.
Mr. Whitaker follows nearly the fame path thai Good all had marked out, and Tytler had smoothed before him; but with an acu'.enessof penetration, and ■■. happy facility of recollection peculiar to the historian cf Manchester, he brings together those incidents that have any conn-ction with e*ch other, however widely they may have been originally disjoined; and by collating different accounts that have been given of the fame transaction, and contrasting these with many less and hitherto unobserved notices that tend to illustrate the events, he throws such a strong light on the most obscure passage?, as leaves the ingenuous mind with scarce a shadow of doubt, even in those cases where the most artful men that ever, perhaps, associated together, were the most successful in destroying the true, and in fabricating false records of facts. We only regret that he has not chosen to take a wider sweep. It is but a short period of Mary's life that he investigates: the letters, and sonnets, said to have been written by the Queen to Bothwell, and a few of the incidents relating to the death of Darnly, and Bothwe'.l's marriage, being the whole of what he has professedly examined. Other leading events are only incidentally mentioned: even the trial of Bothwell is scarcely noticed. What he has here done is, indeed, sufficient to vindicate Mary from the foulest aspersions with which (he has been loaded, and to criminate, in the most unequivocal manner, both her accusers and her judges. But, still, much is wanting to display the characters of the different actors in all their lesser traits, and to account in a true and satisfactory manner for many events that happened prior to, and that succeeded, the short period here investigated.
Our respectable Author begins with an historical account of the commission instituted, first at York, and afterwards at Westminster, for enquiring into the grounds of the differences that subsisted between Mary and her subject?. In the course of this investigation, Mr. Whitaker, the fust Englishman, as he himself observes, who has engaged in the cause of the Scottish Queen, "finds reason to bring a very heavy charge of duplicity, and shameless partiality, against Elizabeth and her ministers, in the whole of their conduct in this business, which must load their memory with eternal infamy. This double-dealing has been, indeed, suspected and alleged by others; but never, till now, were the proofs of the fact adduced with such clear and uncontrovertible evidence. In this part of the work, Mr. Whitaker clearly proves, by the conduct-of Queen Elizabeth, during the
whole whole of this mock investigation, that she was her(Vlf perfectly senshls of the futility of the charces brought against the captive Queen; and that Elizabeth was no less solicitous than Murray himself, to prevent a direction of the base arts that had been employed to give some apparent grounds for the charge. Never, perhaps, was the appearance of justice so basely prostituted, to give some colour of reality to the most d-testable falsehoods.
O ir intelligent Readers will recollect, that after Mary (allured by the warm invitations and prtfilng intieaties of Elizabeth, and confirmed by the strongest assurances of protection and friendly support) had taken the ill-advised step of retiring into England from the persecutions of her rebellious subjects, implored the promised aid to reinstate her on her throne, proffering at the same time, if it was agreeable to Elzabeth, to lay before her such proofs of the criminality of these rebels, as should entirely convince her of the justness of the cause in which (he had engaged, and the equity of that protection which was requested. This procedure was natural on the pur of Mary; nor did sl;e foresee how that could be productive of any harm to herself. But the crafty Elizabeth, who had takt n her resolution the moment she beheld Mary in her power, and who was casting about at this time for pretexts to accomplish her aim, perceived at once the use that might be made of this offer, for the purpose of procrajiinaticn, and therefore readily approved the measure. To give it an air of solemnity, commissioners were appointed to receive the complaints of the captive Queen, and the rebels were at the fame time cited to appear at York, to hear and to answer the charges that should be produced against them. But as the rebels in their turn alleged, that they hati in their hands inconrestible proofs of the deepest criminality of their Queen, which would be sufficient to authorise the violent measures against her, into which they had been driven, Elizabeth immediately changed her ground; and, under the pretext of vindicating the character of her dearly beloved fijler from the foul imputations that were cast upon her, ordered her commissioners to urge the rebels to exhibit their charge against their sovereign, thai by thus having an opportunity firjl to purge Mary from the imputation of guilt, (he might, in due consistency with the character of the innocent maiden Princess^ cordially join with her sister Queen in investigating her grievances, and in fully restoring her to-that throne from which she had been so cruelly driven. Nor did Mary then fee any cause to object to this proposal. With that candid unsuspiciousnefs of temper, which so strongly marks her character through all the vicissitudes of fortune, (he not only did not shun the proposal, but even accepted it with joy. Conscious of her innocence, and impatient for an opportunity to have the truth displayed to the world, she objected to no forms that had the appearance of \ K k 3 quickly
quickly bringing about a clear discussion of the point in questio-. She urged the rebels to bring forward the charges they pretended to advance against her, that she might have art opportunity of fully refuting them. Elizabeth urged the fame, from very different motives. But stili, under various pretexts, the rebels long kept them back At length, however, being strongly pressed, Murray did produce a parcel of letters which he averred to be written and subscribed by "the Queen, and knt by her to James Ei'l of Bothwel); with certain other papers tending to prove that she was privy to the murder of her husband, Darnly; ?nd that file had, even before his death, been living in a state of slumelels adultery with the said Earl of Bothwell. These letters were then produced—but not publicly to the Commissioners of Elizabeth as such—not in presence of the Com mi ffi oners of Miry, who were there waiting forthe production of thelt charges, and avowedly rea 'y to refute them: they were only shown to the English Commissioners in private, not in their capacity of Commissioners, but merely as private individuals, for their own satisfaction; and by them extrads trom the letters were fen' to Elizabeth. B-it Elizabeth had, in the fame private manner, .ong before seen the letters themselves. So guarded were the parties on this occasion as to privacy,, that no intimation was given to Mary's Commissioners of this transaction. The papers were again returned to Murray: and as Elizabeth had by this time discovered, that these her Commissioners were not ready to go all the length- (he wished, she abruptly recalled their commission; allowing Murray to return to Scotland, there to exercise the righrs of sovereignty, while his Queen was still detained prisoner in England.
As Elizabeth did not find it altogether safe, in this stage of the business, to appear openly flagitious, some measures were necessary to be adopted as a temporary blind. Another set of Commissioners were soon after appointed for the fame business, and ordered to sit at Westminster. Before these Commissioners, the pretended letters and papers were at last produced, and by their order transcribed and collated in their presence; and the originals returned immediately to Murray. No sooner was this known by the Commissioners of Mary, than they demanded, in her name, that the originals might be submitted to their examination, pledging themselves to prove that they were false and forged. Elizabeth, though she was forced to own that the demand was reasonable, still refused to comply with their request. So much, however, was even Elizabeth at a loss for pretexts at one time, that (he was forced to order Murray hastily to withdraw, and to carry the originals along with him. Now, at last, Mary's eyes began to be opened with respect to the intent of this procedure. She saw, that, instead of bringing truth to Jight, as