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A History of England Principally in the Seventeent

Bothwell now did altogether what he would


So

the dreadful deed was done: the news of it filled men at first with that curiosity which always attaches to dark events that touch the highest circles; they then busied themselves with the question as to who would ascend the Scottish throne and give the Queen his hand,--among the other suitors Leicester now thought the time come for him, and for renewing good relations between England and Scotland:--but meanwhile to every man's astonishment and horror a rumour spread that the Queen would unite herself with the man to whom the murder of her husband was ascribed. Men fell on their knees before her, to represent the dishonour she would thus draw on herself, and even the danger into which she would bring her child. Letters from England were shown her in which the ruin of all her prospects as to the English throne was intimated, if she took this step: for it would strengthen the suspicion, which had arisen on the spot, that she had been an accomplice in her husband's murder. But she was already no longer her own mistress. Bothwell now did altogether what he would. He obtained from the lords, who feared him, a declaration that he was guiltless of any share in the King's murder, and even their consent to his marriage with the Queen. He said publicly he would marry the Queen, whoever might be against it, whether she would or not. And if Mary wished ever again to govern the country, and make the lords feel her vengeance, Bothwell might appear to her the only man who could assist her in
this. Half of her free will, half by force, she fell into his power and thus into the necessity of giving him her hand. An archiepiscopal matrimonial court found in a near relationship between Bothwell and his wife a pretext for dissolving his previous marriage.[227] Bothwell was created Duke of Orkney: he began to exercise the royal power for his own objects; his friends, even the accomplices in the murder, were promoted.[228]

But how could it be expected that the Lords would tolerate in the much more dangerous hands of Bothwell a power they would not have endured in Darnley's? Against him they had the full support of the people; filled with moral aversion to the Queen for the guilt she had incurred, or which was attributed to her, they expressed their loyalty only in hostility to her; a general uneasiness showed itself as to the safety of her son who was likewise threatened by his father's murderers.

Under a banner on which were depicted the murdered King and his child the latter praying for help, a great army marched against the castle where the newly-married pair dwelt. Bothwell merely regarded the hostile lords as his rivals, who envied him the great position to which he had raised himself, and thought to rout them all with the feudal array which gathered round him at the Queen's summons. But at the decisive moment the feeling of the country infected his own people as well; instead of being able to fight he had to fly. He was forced to live as a pirate in the Northern Seas; for he could no longer remain in the country. The Queen fell into the power of the Lords, who placed her in the strong castle which the Douglas had built in the middle of Loch Leven, and detained her as a prisoner.

In France it was not wholly forgotten that she had once been the Queen of that realm; a fiery champion of the Catholics boasted that, if they would give him a couple of thousand arquebusiers, he would free her from custody in despite of the Scots; but Catharine Medici, who besides was no friend of hers, rejected this absolutely, as they had already so many irons in the fire.[229] On the other hand Elizabeth concerned herself for the interests of her endangered neighbour with a certain emphasis. But the Scots were already discontented with the conduct of England, and complained loudly that since the treaty of Leith nothing good had come to them from thence;[230] they were resolved to pay their neighbour no more attention, but to manage their own affairs for themselves.


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