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A History of England Principally in the Seventeent

Murray is said to have lost only one man


Their

path was clearly marked out for them. They had murdered Riccio, conspired against Darnley, driven Bothwell away, and all for the special reason that they had tried to create a strong supreme power over them: they could not possibly allow the Queen, irritated and insulted as she was, to again obtain the exercise of her power. Mary therefore was forced to resign the Scotch crown in favour of her son, and to name her brother Murray regent during his minority. Immediately on this the ceremony of anointing and crowning the child was performed in an almost grotesque manner.[231] Two superintendents and a bishop set the crown on his head, which the Lords there present touched in token of their consent; two of them, Morton and Hume, then swore in the name of the new King, James VI, that he would uphold the religion now prevailing in Scotland, and combat all its enemies.

When after this Murray, who had exiled himself to France, and had taken no share in the last catastrophe (which he foresaw), returned, he was in a position once more to conduct the government according to his old policy, only with greater independence. A Parliament was called which now for the first time confirmed the statutes made in 1560 in favour of the Kirk, and also came to such an arrangement about the confiscated church-property as made it possible for it to exist.

So ruinous for Mary were the results of her attempt to break through the combination

which formed the condition of her government in Scotland, and to effect a restoration of the old ecclesiastical and political forms. Before the power which she wished to overthrow her own had gone down.

But she was not yet minded to submit to it. And mainly through a personal relation which she had entered into with the young George Douglas, who conceived hopes of her hand, she succeeded in escaping out of her prison and over the lake, bold and venturous as she always was. In the country there were many who thought themselves to stand so high above the bastard Earl of Murray, that they held it a disgrace to obey him: all these gathered round her; and as she then, the very day after her escape, revoked her abdication, they bound themselves together to replace her on the throne. In the league, at the head of which stood the Hamiltons, we find eight bishops and twelve abbots,--for the re-establishment of the Catholic Church was part of the plan: a considerable army was brought into the field with this object. Murray and his party were however the stronger of the two, they represented the organised power of the State, and their soldiers were the best disciplined. The Queen, who, at Langsyde, from a neighbouring eminence, looked on at the battle between the two armies, had to witness her own men being scattered without having done the enemy any damage,--Murray is said to have lost only one man. He himself put a stop to the slaughter of the fugitives. Still even now her affairs did not seem to those around her utterly lost, for all her friends had not yet appeared in the field, and there were still strong places to which she could retreat. But she aimed not merely at defence, but at overpowering her enemies. As what she had just seen left her no hope of this in Scotland, she adopted the idea of demanding help from the Queen of England. For the latter had in the strongest terms made known to the Scotch barons her displeasure at the treatment of their Queen, which was not in harmony with the laws of God or man, and had threatened to punish them for the wound thus inflicted on the royal dignity. She had once sent Mary herself a jewel as a pledge of her friendship. Mary was warned by those around her not to put full trust in these assurances. But she was quite accustomed to take her resolutions under passionate emotion, and could not then be dissuaded from her views. Through forests and woods, over stock and stone, without a single woman attendant, without any other food than the Scotch oatcake, day and night she kept on her way to the coast, from which she betook herself in a small boat to Carlisle. Her soul was thirsting to subdue the rebels: her firm trust was to draw Queen Elizabeth into the war against them: she came, not to seek a refuge, but to gain troops and assistance.


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