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A History of England Principally in the Seventeent

Whom she now created Earl of Murray


Those

were the days in which the French government, guided by the Queen's uncles, including the Cardinal of Lorraine, had considerably repressed the Protestant movements which were stirring in France, had brought the insurgent princes into its power, and was occupied in establishing a strict system of obedience in ecclesiastical and political matters; with kindred aims it sought in Scotland also to revert to its earlier policy; all concessions made to the contrary it ignored. I see here, says the English ambassador Throckmorton, more intention of vengeance than inclination to peace.

At this juncture occurred the unexpected event which gave French affairs another shape. King Francis II died at the beginning of December 1559 without issue; and the Guises could not maintain the authority they had hitherto possessed. The kingdom which, by the extent and unity of its power, was wont to exercise a dominant influence over all others, fell into religious and political troubles which engrossed and broke up its force.

Elizabeth took some part also in these movements within France itself: it was her natural policy to support the opponents of the Guises, who likewise stood so near her in their religious confession. With their consent she once occupied Havre, but allowed it without much hesitation to fall again into the hands of the French government which was then guided by Catharine Medici, who for some time even made common

cause with the leaders of the Huguenots. We cannot here follow out these relations any further, for to understand them fully would require us to go into the details of the changeful dissensions in France: for English history these are only so far important as they made it impossible for the French to act upon England.

On the other hand the entire sequel of English history turns on the relation to Scotland: Scotch affairs already form a constituent part of the English, and demand our whole attention.

At first sight it would not have seemed so impossible to bring about peace and even friendship between the Queen of Scotland and the Queen of England: for the former was of course no longer bound to the interests of the French crown. But this expectation also proved deceitful. A primary condition would have been the acceptance of the treaty of Edinburgh; Elizabeth demanded this expressly and as if it were obligatory on Mary, who would as little consent to it after, as before, the death of her husband. She ceased to bear the arms of England: all else she deferred till her arrival in Scotland. Immediately on this, at the first step, the mutual antipathy broke out.[204] In consequence of the refusal to ratify the treaty, Elizabeth declined Mary's request to be allowed to return home through England. Mary regarded this as an insult: it is worth while to hear her words. 'I was once,' so she said, 'brought to France in spite of all the opposition of her brother: I will return to Scotland without her leave. She has combined with my rebellious subjects: but there are also malcontents in England who would listen to a proposal from my side with delight: I am a Queen as well as she, and not altogether friendless, and perhaps I have as great a soul too.'

Few words, but they contain motives of jealousy rising out of the depths of her inmost heart and announce a stormy future. But at first Mary could not give effect to them.

Some Catholic lords did indeed request her to come to them in the northern counties, whence they would escort her to her capital with an armed force. But who could advise her to begin her government with a civil war? She would then have herself driven the Protestant lords over to the side of her foe. But she had connexions with them as well. Their leader, her half-brother James, Prior of S. Andrews, whom she now created Earl of Murray, a man of spirit, energy, and comprehensive views, appeared before her in France; his experience and caution and even the inner tie of blood-relationship always gave him a great influence over her resolutions. He showed her how it was possible to rule Scotland even under existing circumstances, so as to have a tolerable understanding with Elizabeth, but reserving all else for the future. These counsels she followed. Not with Elizabeth's help, but yet without hindrance from her, she arrived at Holyrood in August 1561. Murray succeeded in obtaining, though not without great opposition, and almost by personally keeping off opponents, that she should be allowed to have mass celebrated before her. He took affairs into his own hands; the Protestants had the ascendancy in the country and in the royal council.


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