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Mary Stuart in United Kingdom

Mary Stuart, Queen of Scots (1542-1587), daughter of King James V. and his wife Mary of Lorraine, was born in December 1542, a few days before the death of her father, heart-broken by the disgrace of his arms at Solway Moss, where the disaffected nobles had declined to encounter an enemy of inferior force in the cause of a king whose systematic policy had been directed against the privileges of their order, and whose representative on the occasion was an unpopular favourite appointed general in defiance of their ill-will. On the 9th of September following the ceremony of coronation was duly performed upon the infant. A scheme for her betrothal to Edward, prince of Wales, was defeated by the grasping greed of his father, whose obvious ambition to annex the crown of Scotland at once to that of England aroused instantly the general suspicion and indignation of Scottish patriotism. In 1548 the queen of six years old was betrothed to the dauphin Francis, and set sail for France, where she arrived on the 15th of August.

The society in which the child was thenceforward reared is known to readers of Brantôme as well as that of imperial Rome at its worst is known to readers of Suetonius or Petronius as well as that of papal Rome at its worst is known to readers of the diary kept by the domestic chaplain of Pope Alexander VI. Only in their pages can a parallel be found to the gay and easy record which reveals without sign of shame or suspicion of offence the daily life of a court compared to which the court of King Charles II. is as the court of Queen Victoria to the society described by Grammont. Debauchery of all kinds, and murder in all forms, were the daily matter of excitement or of jest to the brilliant circle which revolved around Queen Catherine de’ Medici. After ten years’ training under the tutelage of the woman whose main instrument of policy was the corruption of her own children, the queen of Scots, aged fifteen years and five months, was married to the eldest and feeblest of the brood on the 24th of April 1558. On the 17th of November Elizabeth became queen of England, and the princes of Lorraine—Francis the great duke of Guise, and his brother the cardinal—induced their niece and her husband to assume, in addition to the arms of France and Scotland, the arms of a country over which they asserted the right of Mary Stuart to reign as legitimate heiress of Mary Tudor. Civil strife broke out in Scotland between John Knox and the queen-dowager—between the self-styled “congregation of the Lord” and the adherents of the regent, whose French troops repelled the combined forces of the Scotch and their English allies from the beleaguered walls of Leith, little more than a month before the death of their mistress in the castle of Edinburgh, on the 10th of June 1560.

On the 25th of August Protestantism was proclaimed and Catholicism suppressed in Scotland by a convention of states assembled without the assent of the absent queen. On the 5th of December Francis II. died; in August 1561 his widow left France for Scotland, having been refused a safe-conduct by Elizabeth on the ground of her own previous refusal to ratify the treaty made with England by her commissioners in the same month of the preceding year. She arrived nevertheless in safety at Leith, escorted by three of her uncles of the house of Lorraine, and bringing in her train her future biographer, Brantôme, and Chastelard, the first of all her voluntary victims. On the 21st of August she first met the only man able to withstand her; and their first passage of arms left, as he has recorded, upon the mind of John Knox an ineffaceable impression of her “proud mind, crafty wit and indurate heart against God and His truth.” And yet her acts of concession and conciliation were such as no fanatic on the opposite side could have approved. She assented, not only to the undisturbed maintenance of the new creed, but even to a scheme for the endowment of the Protestant ministry out of the confiscated lands of the Church. Her half-brother, Lord James Stuart, shared the duties of her chief counsellor with William Maitland of Lethington, the keenest and most liberal thinker in the country. By the influence of Lord James, in spite of the earnest opposition of Knox, permission was obtained for her to hear Mass celebrated in her private chapel—a licence to which, said the Reformer, he would have preferred the invasion of ten thousand Frenchmen.

Through all the first troubles of her reign the young queen steered her skilful and dauntless way with the tact of a woman and the courage of a man. An insurrection in the north, headed by the earl of Huntly under pretext of rescuing from justice the life which his son had forfeited by his share in a homicidal brawl, was crushed at a blow by the Lord James against whose life, as well as against his sister’s liberty, the conspiracy of the Gordons had been aimed, and on whom, after the father had fallen in fight and the son had expiated his double offence on the scaffold, the leading rebel’s earldom of Murray was conferred by the gratitude of the queen. Exactly four months after the battle of Corrichie, and the subsequent execution of a criminal whom she is said to have “loved entirely,” had put an end to the first insurrection raised against her, Pierre de Boscosel de Chastelard, who had returned to France with the other companions of her arrival, and in November 1562 had revisited Scotland, expiated with his head the offence or the misfortune of a second detection at night in her bedchamber. In the same month, twenty-five years afterwards, the execution of his mistress, according to the verdict of her contemporaries in France, avenged the blood of a lover who had died without uttering a word to realize the apprehension which (according to Knox) had before his trial impelled her to desire her brother “that, as he loved her, he would slay Chastelard, and let him never speak word.” And in the same month, two years from the date of Chastelard’s execution, her first step was unconsciously taken on the road to Fotheringhay, when she gave her heart at first sight to her kinsman Henry, Lord Darnley, son of Matthew Stuart, earl of Lennox, who had suffered an exile of twenty years in expiation of his intrigues with England, and had married the niece of King Henry VIII., daughter of his sister Margaret, the widow of James IV., by her second husband, the earl of Angus.

Queen Elizabeth, with the almost incredible want of tact or instinctive delicacy which distinguished and disfigured her vigorous intelligence, had recently proposed as a suitor to the queen of Scots her own low-born favourite, Lord Robert Dudley, the widower if not the murderer of Amy Robsart; and she now protested against the project of marriage between Mary and Darnley. Mary who had already married her kinsman in secret at Stirling Castle with Catholic rites celebrated in the apartment of David Rizzio, her secretary for correspondence with France, assured the English ambassador, in reply to the protest of his mistress, that the marriage would not take place for three months, when a dispensation from the pope would allow the cousins to be publicly united without offence to the Church. On the 29th of July 1565 they were accordingly remarried at Holyrood. The hapless and worthless bridegroom had already incurred the hatred of two powerful enemies, the earls of Morton and Glencairn; but the former of these took part with the queen against the forces raised by Murray, Glencairn and others, under the nominal leadership of Hamilton, duke of Châtelherault, on the double plea of danger to the new religion of the country, and of the illegal proceeding by which Darnley had been proclaimed king of Scots without the needful constitutional assent of the estates of the realm. Murray was cited to attend the “raid” or array levied by the king and queen, and was duly denounced by public blast of trumpet for his non-appearance.

He entered Edinburgh with his forces, but failed to hold the town against the guns of the castle, and fell back upon Dumfries before the advance of the royal army, which was now joined by James Hepburn, earl of Bothwell, on his return from a three years’ outlawed exile in France. He had been accused in 1562 of a plot to seize the queen and put her into the keeping of the earl of Arran, whose pretensions to her hand ended only when his insanity could no longer be concealed. Another new adherent was the son of the late earl of Huntly, to whom the forfeited honours of his house were restored a few months before the marriage of his sister to Bothwell. The queen now appealed to France for aid; but Castelnau, the French ambassador, replied to her passionate pleading by sober and earnest advice to make peace with the malcontents. This counsel was rejected, and in October 1565 the queen marched an army of 18,000 men against them from Edinburgh; their forces dispersed in face of superior numbers, and Murray, on seeking shelter in England, was received with contumely by Elizabeth, whose half-hearted help had failed to support his enterprise, and whose intercession for his return found at first no favour with the queen of Scots. But the conduct of the besotted boy on whom at their marriage she had bestowed the title of king began at once to justify the enterprise and to play into the hands of all his enemies alike. His father set him on to demand the crown matrimonial, which would at least have assured to him the rank and station of independent royalty for life. Rizzio, hitherto his friend and advocate, induced the queen to reply by a reasonable refusal to this hazardous and audacious request. Darnley at once threw himself into the arms of the party opposed to the policy of the queen and her secretary—a policy which at that moment was doubly and trebly calculated to exasperate the fears of the religious and the pride of the patriotic.

Mary was invited if not induced by the king of Spain to join his league for the suppression of Protestantism; while the actual or prospective endowment of Rizzio with Morton’s office of chancellor, and the projected attainder of Murray and his allies, combined to inflame at once the anger and the apprehension of the Protestant nobles. According to one account, Darnley privately assured his uncle George Douglas of his wife’s infidelity; he had himself, if he might be believed, discovered the secretary in the queen’s apartment at midnight, under circumstances yet more unequivocally compromising than those which had brought Chastelard to the scaffold. Another version of the pitiful history represents Douglas as infusing suspicion of Rizzio into the empty mind of his nephew, and thus winning his consent to a deed already designed by others. A bond was drawn in which Darnley pledged himself to support the confederates who undertook to punish “certain privy persons” offensive to the state, “especially a strange Italian, called Davie”; another was subscribed by Darnley and the banished lords, then biding their time in Newcastle, which engaged him to procure their pardon and restoration, while pledging them to insure to him the enjoyment of the title he coveted, with the consequent security of an undisputed succession to the crown, despite the counter claims of the house of Hamilton, in case his wife should die without issue—a result which, intentionally or not, he and his fellow-conspirators did all that brutality could have suggested to accelerate and secure.

On the 9th of March the palace of Holyrood was invested by a troop under the command of Morton, while Rizzio was dragged by force out of the queen’s presence and slain without trial in the heat of the moment. The parliament was discharged by proclamation issued in the name of Darnley as king; and in the evening of the next day the banished lords, whom it was to have condemned to outlawry, returned to Edinburgh. On the day following they were graciously received by the queen, who undertook to sign a bond for their security, but delayed the subscription till next morning under plea of sickness. During the night she escaped with Darnley, whom she had already seduced from the party of his accomplices, and arrived at Dunbar on the third morning after the slaughter of her favourite. From thence they returned to Edinburgh on the 28th of March, guarded by two thousand horsemen under the command of Bothwell, who had escaped from Holyrood on the night of the murder, to raise a force on the queen’s behalf with his usual soldierly promptitude. The slayers of Rizzio fled to England, and were outlawed; Darnley was permitted to protest his innocence and denounce his accomplices; after which he became the scorn of all parties alike, and few men dared or cared to be seen in his company. On the 19th of June a son was born to his wife, and in the face of his previous protestations he was induced to acknowledge himself the father. But, as Murray and his partisans returned to favour and influence no longer incompatible with that of Bothwell and Huntly, he grew desperate enough with terror to dream of escape to France.

This design was at once frustrated by the queen’s resolution. She summoned him to declare his reasons for it in presence of the French ambassador and an assembly of the nobles; she besought him for God’s sake to speak out, and not spare her; and at last he left her presence with an avowal that he had nothing to allege. The favour shown to Bothwell had not yet given occasion for scandal, though his character as an adventurous libertine was as notable as his reputation for military hardihood; but as the summer advanced his insolence increased with his influence at court and the general aversion of his rivals. He was richly endowed by Mary from the greater and lesser spoils of the Church; and the three wardenships of the border, united for the first time in his person, gave the lord high admiral of Scotland a position of unequalled power. In the gallant discharge of its duties he was dangerously wounded by a leading outlaw, whom he slew in single combat; and while yet confined to Hermitage Castle he received a visit of two hours from the queen, who rode thither from Jedburgh and back through 20 miles of the wild borderland where her person was in perpetual danger from the freebooters whom her father’s policy had striven and had failed to extirpate. The result of this daring ride was a ten days’ fever, after which she removed by short stages to Craigmillar, where a proposal for her divorce from Darnley was laid before her by Bothwell, Murray, Huntly, Argyle and Lethington, who was chosen spokesman for the rest.

She assented on condition that the divorce could be lawfully effected without impeachment of her son’s legitimacy; whereupon Lethington undertook in the name of all present that she should be rid of her husband without any prejudice to the child—at whose baptism a few days afterwards Bothwell took the place of the putative father, though Darnley was actually residing under the same roof, and it was not till after the ceremony that he was suddenly struck down by a sickness so violent as to excite suspicions of poison. He was removed to Glasgow, and left for the time in charge of his father; but on the news of his progress towards recovery a bond was drawn up for execution of the sentence of death which had secretly been pronounced against the twice-turned traitor who had earned his doom at all hands alike. On the 22nd of the next month (Jan. 1567) the queen visited her husband at Glasgow and proposed to remove him to Craigmillar Castle, where he would have the benefit of medicinal baths; but instead of this resort he was conveyed on the last day of the month to the lonely and squalid shelter of the residence which was soon to be made memorable by his murder.

Between the ruins of two sacred buildings, with the town-wall to the south and a suburban hamlet known to ill fame as the Thieves’ Row to the north of it, a lodging was prepared for the titular king of Scotland, and fitted up with tapestries taken from the Gordons after the battle of Corrichie. On the evening of Sunday, the 9th of February, Mary took her last leave of the miserable boy who had so often and so mortally outraged her as consort and as queen. That night the whole city was shaken out of sleep by an explosion of gunpowder which shattered to fragments the building in which he should have slept and perished; and the next morning the bodies of Darnley and a page were found strangled in a garden adjoining it, whither they had apparently escaped over a wall, to be despatched by the hands of Bothwell s attendant confederates.

Upon a view which may be taken of Mary’s conduct during the next three months depends the whole debateable question of her character. According to the professed champions of that character, this conduct was a tissue of such dastardly imbecility, such heartless irresolution and such brainless inconsistency as for ever to dispose of her time-honoured claim to the credit of intelligence and courage. It is certain that just three months 819 and six days after the murder of her husband she became the wife of her husband’s murderer. On the 11th of February she wrote to the bishop of Glasgow, her ambassador in France, a brief letter of simple eloquence, announcing her providential escape from a design upon her own as well as her husband’s life. A reward of two thousand pounds was offered by proclamation for discovery of the murderer. Bothwell and others, his satellites or the queen’s, were instantly placarded by name as the criminals. Voices were heard by night in the streets of Edinburgh calling down judgment on the assassins. Four days after the discovery of the bodies, Darnley was buried in the chapel of Holyrood with secrecy as remarkable as the solemnity with which Rizzio had been interred there less than a year before. On the Sunday following, Mary left Edinburgh for Seton Palace, 12 miles from the capital, where scandal asserted that she passed the time merrily in shooting-matches with Bothwell for her partner against Lords Seton and Huntly; other accounts represent Huntly and Bothwell as left at Holyrood in charge of the infant prince. Gracefully and respectfully, with statesmanlike yet feminine dexterity, the demands of Darnley’s father for justice on the murderers of his son were accepted and eluded by his daughter-in-law. Bothwell, with a troop of fifty men, rode through Edinburgh defiantly denouncing vengeance on his concealed accusers. As weeks elapsed without action on the part of the royal widow, while the cry of blood was up throughout the country, raising echoes from England and abroad, the murmur of accusation began to rise against her also.

Murray, with his sister’s ready permission, withdrew to France. Already the report was abroad that the queen was bent on marriage with Bothwell, whose last year’s marriage with the sister of Huntly would be dissolved, and the assent of his wife’s brother purchased by the restitution of his forfeited estates. According to the Memoirs of Sir James Melville, both Lord Herries and himself resolved to appeal to the queen in terms of bold and earnest remonstrance against so desperate and scandalous a design; Herries, having been met with assurances of its unreality and professions of astonishment at the suggestion, instantly fled from court; Melville, evading the danger of a merely personal protest without backers to support him, laid before Mary a letter from a loyal Scot long resident in England, which urged upon her consideration and her conscience the danger and disgrace of such a project yet more freely than Herries had ventured to do by word of mouth; but the sole result was that it needed all the queen’s courage and resolution to rescue him from the violence of the man for whom, she was reported to have said, she cared not if she lost France, England and her own country, and would go with him to the world’s end in a white petticoat before she would leave him. On the 28th of March the privy council, in which Bothwell himself sat, appointed the 12th of April as the day of his trial, Lennox, instead of the crown, being named as the accuser, and cited by royal letters to appear at “the humble request and petition of the said Earl Bothwell,” who, on the day of the trial, had 4000 armed men behind him in the streets, while the castle was also at his command. Under these arrangements it was not thought wonderful that Lennox discreetly declined the danger of attendance, even with 3000 men ready to follow him, at the risk of desperate street fighting.

He pleaded sickness, asked for more time, and demanded that the accused, instead of enjoying special favour, should share the treatment of other suspected criminals. But, as no particle of evidence on his side was advanced, the protest of his representative was rejected, and Bothwell, acquitted in default of witnesses against him, was free to challenge any persistent accuser to the ancient ordeal of battle. His wealth and power were enlarged by gift of the parliament which met on the 14th and rose on the 19th of April—a date made notable by the subsequent supper at Ainslie’s tavern, where Bothwell obtained the signatures of its leading members to a document affirming his innocence, and pledging the subscribers to maintain it against all challengers, to stand by him in all his quarrels and finally to promote by all means in their power the marriage by which they recommended the queen to reward his services and benefit the country. On the second day following Mary went to visit her child at Stirling, where his guardian, the earl of Mar, refused to admit more than two women in her train. It was well known in Edinburgh that Bothwell had a body of men ready to intercept her on the way back, and carry her to Dunbar—not, as was naturally inferred, without good assurance of her consent.

On the 24th of April, as she approached Edinburgh, Bothwell accordingly met her at the head of 800 spearmen, assured her (as she afterwards averred) that she was in the utmost peril, and escorted her, together with Huntly, Lethington and Melville, who were then in attendance, to Dunbar Castle. On the 3rd of May Lady Jane Gordon, who had become countess of Bothwell on the 22nd of February of the year preceding, obtained, on the ground of her husband’s infidelities, a separation which, however, would not under the old laws of Catholic Scotland have left him free to marry again; on the 7th, accordingly, the necessary divorce was pronounced, after two days’ session, by a clerical tribunal which ten days before had received from the queen a special commission to give judgment on a plea of somewhat apocryphal consanguinity alleged by Bothwell as the ground of an action for divorce against his wife. The fact was studiously evaded or concealed that a dispensation had been granted by the archbishop of St Andrews for this irregularity, which could only have arisen through some illicit connexion of the husband with a relative of the wife between whom and himself no affinity by blood or marriage could be proved. On the day when the first or Protestant divorce was pronounced, Mary and Bothwell returned to Edinburgh with every prepared appearance of a peaceful triumph. Lest her captivity should have been held to invalidate the late legal proceedings in her name, proclamation was made of forgiveness accorded by the queen to her captor in consideration of his past and future services, and her intention was announced to reward them by further promotion; and on the same day (May 12), he was duly created duke of Orkney and Shetland.

The duke, as a conscientious Protestant, refused to marry his mistress according to the rites of her Church, and she, the chosen champion of its cause, agreed to be married to him, not merely by a Protestant but by one who before his conversion had been a Catholic bishop, and should therefore have been more hateful and contemptible in her eyes than any ordinary heretic, had not religion as well as policy, faith as well as reason, been absorbed or superseded by some more mastering passion or emotion. This passion or emotion, according to those who deny her attachment to Bothwell, was simply terror—the blind and irrational prostration of an abject spirit before the cruel force of circumstances and the crafty wickedness of men. Hitherto, according to all evidence, she had shown herself on all occasions, as on all subsequent occasions she indisputably showed herself, the most fearless, the most keen-sighted, the most ready-witted, the most high-gifted and high-spirited of women; gallant and generous, skilful and practical, never to be cowed by fortune, never to be cajoled by craft; neither more unselfish in her ends nor more unscrupulous in her practice than might have been expected from her training and her creed.

But at the crowning moment of trial there are those who assert their belief that the woman who on her way to the field of Corrichie had uttered her wish to be a man, that she might know all the hardship and all the enjoyment of a soldier’s life, riding forth “in jack and knapscull”—the woman who long afterwards was to hold her own for two days together without help of counsel against all the array of English law and English statesmanship, armed with irrefragable evidence and supported by the resentment of a nation—showed herself equally devoid of moral and of physical resolution; too senseless to realize the significance and too heartless to face the danger of a situation from which the simplest exercise of reason, principle or courage must have rescued the most unsuspicious and inexperienced of honest women who was not helplessly deficient in self-reliance and self-respect. The famous correspondence produced next year in evidence against her at the conference of York may have been, as her partisans affirm, so craftily garbled and falsified by interpolation, suppression, perversion, or 820 absolute forgery as to be all but historically worthless. Its acceptance or its rejection does not in any degree whatever affect, for better or for worse, the rational estimate of her character. The problem presented by the simple existence of the facts just summed up remains in either case absolutely the same. To follow, see the trial of Mary Stuart.

Three months after the massacre of St Bartholomew had caused some additional restrictions to be placed upon her freedom of action, Shrewsbury writes to Burghley that “rather than continue this imprisonment she sticks not to say she will give her body, her son, and country for liberty”; nor did she ever show any excess of regard for any of the three. For her own freedom of will and of way, of passion and of action, she cared much; for her creed she cared something; for her country she cared less than nothing. She would have flung Scotland with England into the hell fire of Spanish Catholicism rather than forgo the faintest chance of personal revenge. Her profession of a desire to be instructed in the doctrines of Anglican Protestantism was so transparently a pious fraud as rather to afford confirmation than to arouse suspicion of her fidelity to the teaching of her church. Elizabeth, so shamefully her inferior in personal loyalty, fidelity and gratitude, was as clearly her superior on the one all-important point of patriotism. The 824 saving salt of Elizabeth’s character, with all its wellnigh incredible mixture of heroism and egotism, meanness and magnificence, was simply this, that, overmuch as she loved herself, she did yet love England better. Her best though not her only fine qualities were national and political, the high public virtues of a good public servant; in the private and personal qualities which attract and attach a friend to his friend and a follower to his leader, no man or woman was ever more constant and more eminent than Mary Queen of Scots.(1)

Resources

Notes and References

  1. Encyclopedia Britannica (11th Edition)

See Also

Further Reading

The biography of Mary Stuart being virtually the history of Scotland during the period covered by her life, with which the history of England at the same period is also largely concerned, the chief events in which she figured are related in all the general Histories of both countries. The most important original authorities are the voluminous State Papers of the period, with other MS. documents preserved at the British Museum, the Cambridge University Library, Hatfield and elsewhere. See especially the Reports of the Hist. MSS. Commission; Calendar of State Papers relating to Scotland and Mary Queen of Scots (Scottish Record Publ. 1898); Calendar of Letters and State Papers relating to English Affairs, principally in the Archives at Simancas (vols. i.-iv., 1892-1899); and the Calendars of State Papers: Domestic Series, Edw. VI.-James I.; Foreign Series, Elizabeth; Venice Series.

The most important unofficial contemporary works are the Histories of John Knox, Bishop John Lesley, George Buchanan, and Robert Lindsay of Pitscottie; the Diurnal of Remarkable Occurrents from the death of James IV. till 1575 (Bannatyne Club, 1833); Robert Birrell’s “Diary” in Sir J. G. Dalzell’s Fragments of Scottish History (Edinburgh, 1798); History of Mary Stuart, by her secretary Claude Nau, ed. by J. Stevenson (Edinburgh, 1883); Sir James Melville’s Memoirs of his own Life (Bannatyne Club, 1827); Richard Bannatyne, Memoriales of Transactions in Scotland (Edinburgh, 1836); William Camden’s Annales (Eng. trans., London, 1635); Michel de Castelnau’s Mémoires (Brussels, 1731); the Mémoires of Brantôme (ed. by L. Lalanne, 12 vols., Paris, 1864-1896); Relations politiques de la France et de l’Espagne avec l’Écosse au 16th siècle (ed. by J. B. A. Teulet, 5 vols., Paris, 1862), containing important original letters and documents; Thomas Wright’s Queen Elizabeth and her Times (2 vols., London, 1838), consists of private letters of Elizabethan statesmen many of which refer to Mary Stuart, and others are to be found in Sir Henry Ellis’s Original Letters illustrative of English History (London, 1825-1846); much of Mary’s own correspondence will be found in Prince A. Labanoff’s Lettres inédites, 1558-1587 (Paris, 1839), and Lettres, instructions, et mémoires de Marie Stuart (7 vols., London, 1844), selections from which have been translated into English by W. Turnbull in Letters of Mary Queen of Scots (London, 1845), and by Agnes Strickland in Letters of Mary Queen of Scots and Documents connected with her Personal History (3 vols., London, 1842).

Among authorities not actually contemporary but written within a century of Mary’s death are David Calderwood’s Hist. of the Kirk of Scotland (8 vols., Edinburgh, 1842-1849); Archbishop Spottiswoode’s Hist. of the Church of Scotland (ed. by M. Russell, 3 vols., Edinburgh, 1847-1851), and Robert Keith’s Hist. of Affairs of Church and State in Scotland (Spottiswoode Society ed., 1844); to which should be added the modern classic, George Grub’s Ecclesiastical History of Scotland (4 vols., Edinburgh, 1861).

Of modern general histories those of chief importance on the subject are the Histories of England by Hume, Lingard and Froude; and the Histories of Scotland by Robertson, P. F. Tytler, John Hill Burton, Malcolm Laing and Andrew Lang. Numerous biographies of Mary Stuart have been published, as well as essays and treatises dealing with particular episodes in her life, of which the most worthy of mention are: George Chalmers, Life of Mary Queen of Scots, (2 vols., London, 1818); Henry Glassford Bell, Life of Mary Queen of Scots (2 vols., Edinburgh, 1828-1831); the “Life” in Agnes Strickland’s Lives of the Queens of Scotland (8 vols., Edinburgh, 1850); J. D. Leader, Mary Queen of Scots in Captivity (Sheffield, 1880); Colin Lindsay, Mary Queen of Scots and her Marriage with Bothwell (London, 1883); Mrs Maxwell-Scott, The Tragedy of Fotheringay (London, 1895); F. A. M. Mignet, Histoire de Marie Stuart (2 vols., Brussels, 1851); Martin Philippson, Histoire du règne de Marie Stuart ( 3 vols., Paris, 1891); Sir John Skelton, Mary Stuart (London, 1893), Maitland of Lethington and the Scotland of Mary Stuart (2 vols., Edinburgh, 1887), The Impeachment of Mary Stuart (Edinburgh, 1878), and Essays in History and Biography, including the Defence of Mary Stuart (Edinburgh, 1883); Joseph Stevenson, Mary Stuart: The First Eighteen Years of her Life (Edinburgh, 1886); D. Hay Fleming, Mary Stuart (2nd ed. 1898); Jane Stoddart, Girlhood of Mary Queen of Scots.

With special reference to the controversy concerning the Casket Letters, in addition to the article Casket Letters and the above-mentioned works by Sir John Skelton, the following should be consulted: Walter Goodall, Examination of the Letters said to be written by Mary Queen of Scots to Bothwell (2 vols., Edinburgh, 1754), which contains the letters themselves; William Tytler, Inquiry into the Evidence against Mary Queen of Scots (2 vols., London, 1790); John Whitaker, Mary Queen of Scots Vindicated (3 vols., London, 1788); F. de Peyster, Mary Stuart, Bothwell and the Casket Letters (London, 1890); T. F. Henderson, The Casket Letters and Mary Queen of Scots (Edinburgh, 1889); Andrew Lang, The Mystery of Mary Stuart (London, 1900).

In 1690 Giovanni Francesco Savaro published a play La Maria Stuarda, and since then the story of the Queen of Scots has been the subject of numerous poems and dramas, of which the most celebrated are Schiller’s Maria Stuart, and three tragedies by A. C. Swinburne—Chastelard (1865), Bothwell (1874), and Mary Stuart (1881).



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  • Article Name: Mary Stuart
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  • Description: Mary Stuart, Queen of Scots (1542-1587), daughter of King James V. and his wife Mary of Lorraine, was born in December [...]

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