« ZurückWeiter »
which Mary required him to surrender, his followers dispersed or cut in pieces the parties which she despatched to take possession of them; and he himself advancing with a considerable body of men towards Aberdeen, to which place the queen was now returned, filled her small court with consternation. Murray had only a handful of men in whom he could confide.' In order to form the appearance of an army, he was obliged to call in the assistance of the neighbouring barons : but as most of these either favoured Huntly's designs, or stood in awe of his power, from them no cordial or effectual service could be expected.
With these troops, however, Murray, who could gain nothing by delay, marched briskly towards the enemy. He found them at Corrichie, posted to great advantage ; he commanded his northern associates instantly to begin the attack ; but on the first motion of the enemy, they treacherously turned their backs; and Huntly's followers, throwing aside their spears, and breaking their ranks, drew their swords, and rushed forward to the pursuit.' It was then that Murray gave proof, both of steady courage and of prudent conduct. He stood immoveable on a rising ground, with the small but trusty body of his adherents, who presenting their spears to the enemy, received them with a determined resolution, which they little expected. The highland broad sword is not a weapon fit to encounter the Scottish spear. In every civil commotion, the superiority of the latter has been evident, and has always decided the contest. On this occasion the irregular attack of Huntly's troops was easily repulsed by Murray's firm battalion. Before they recovered from the confusion occasioned by this unforeseen resistance, those who had begun the flight, willing to re-" gain their credit with the victorious party, fell
AFTER the death of the regent Murray, it was natural, says our historian, to commit the government of the kingdom to the earl of Lennox, during the minority of his grandson. His illustrious birth, and alliance with the royal family of England, as well as of Scotland, rendered him worthy of that honour. His resentment against Mary being implacable, as his estate lay in England, and his family residing there, Elizabeth considered him as a man who, both from inclination and from interest, would act in concert with her, and ardently wished that he might succeed Murray in the office of regent. But, on many accounts, she did not think it prudent to discover her own sentiments, or to favour his pretensions too openly. It became necessary for her to act with some reserve, and not to appear avowedly to countenance the choice of a regent, in
contempt of Mary's authority. The jealousy and prejudices of the Scots required no less management. Had she openly supported Lennox's claim; had she recommended him to the convention, as the candidate of whom she approved ; this might have roused the independent spirit of the nobles, and by too plain a discovery of her intention she . might have defeated its success. For these reasons she hesitated long, and returned ambiguous answers to all the messages which she received from the king's party. A more explicit dcclaration of her senti. iments was at last obtained, and an event of an extraordinary nature seems to have been the occasion of it. Pope Pius V. having issued a bull, whereby he excommunicated Elizabeth, deprived her of her kingdom, and absolved her subjects from their oath of allegiance, Felton, an Englishman, had the boldness to affix it on the gates of the bishop of
London's palace. In former ages, a pope, moved i by his own ambition, or pride, or bigotry, denoun
ced this fatal sentence against the most powerful monarchs ; but as the authority of the court of Rome was now less regarded, its proceedings were more cautious ; and it was only when they were roused by some powerful prince, that the thunders of the church were ever heard. Elizabeth, therefore, imputed this step which the pope had taken to a combination of the Roman Catholic princes against her, and suspected that some plot was formed in favour of the Scottish queen. In that event, she knew that the safety of her own kingdom depended on preserving her influence in Scotland ; and in order to strengthen this, she renewed her promises of protecting the king's adherents, encouraged them to proceed to the election of a regent, and even ventured to point out the earl of Lennox as the person who had the best title. That honour
was accordingly conferred upon him, in a convention of the whole party, held on the 12th of July.
The regent's first care was to prevent the meeting of the parliament which the queen's party had summoned to convene at Linlithgow. Having effected that, he marched against the earl of Huntly, Mary's lieutenant in the north, and forced the garrison which he had placed in Brechin to surrender at discretion. Soon after, he made himself master of some other castles. Emboldened by this successful beginning of his administration, as well as by the appearance of a considerable army, with which the earl of Sussex hovered on the borders, he deprived Maitland of his office of secretary, and proclaimed him, the duke, Huntly, and other leaders of the queen's party, traitors and enemies of their country.
The most remarkable transactions during his short administration, were the capture of Dunbarton castle, and the seduction of many of Mary's hitherto most zealous adherents to the cause of the king. When attending the parliament at Stirling, he fell a victim to that bold and singular enterprise of Kirkaldy, by which he intended to gain possession of the principal leaders of the opposite faction, to terminate the contests between them, and restore peace to his country. Lennox surrendered to an officer, who, in endeavouring to protect him, lost his life in his defence, and he was slain, according to the general opinion, by command of lord Claud Hamilton.
Lennox, says our historian, had, during the former part of his life, discovered no great compass of abilities or political wisdom, and appears to have been a man of weak understanding, and violent passions.
: WITHOUT being master of the person of the young prince, Bothwell esteemed all that he had gained to be precarious and uncertain. The queen had committed her son to the care of the earl of Mar. The fidelity and loyalty of that nobleman were too well known to expect that he would be willing to put the prince into the hands of the man who was so violently suspected of having murdered his father. Bothwell, however, laboured to get the prince into his power, with an anxiety which gave rise to the blackest suspicions. All his address, as well as authority, were employed to per. suade or to force Mar into a compliance with his demands. And it is no slight proof both of the firmness and dexterity of that pobleman, that he preserved a life of so much importance to the nation, from lying at the mercy of a man whom fear or ambition might have prompted to violent attempts against it. ..
After the death of Lennox, Argyll, Morton, and Mar, were candidates for the office of regent. Mar was chosen by a majority of voices. Amidst all the fierce dissentions which had prevailed so long in Scotland, he had distinguished himself by his moderation, his humanity, and his disinterestedness. And as his power was far inferior to Argyll's, and his abilities not so great as Morton's, he was, for. these reasons, less formidable to the other nobles. His merit, too, in having solately rescued the leaders of the party from imminent destruction, contributed not a little to his preferment. * The new-regent took hold of the first favourable opportunity of negotiating a general peace ; and, as he laboured for this purpose with the utmost zeal, and the adverse faction placed entire confi