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A History of the Reformation (Vol. 2 of 2)

And had made Scotland a mere appanage of France


The

work had been rapidly done. Barely a year had elapsed between the return of Knox to Scotland and the establishment of the Reformed religion by the Estates. Calvin wrote from Geneva (Nov. 8th, 1559):

"As we wonder at success incredible in so short a time, so also we give great thanks to God, whose special blessing here shines forth."

And Knox himself, writing from the midst of the battle, says:[345]

"We doe nothing but goe about Jericho, blowing with trumpets, as God giveth strength, hoping victorie by his power alone."[346]

But dangers had been imminent; shot at through his window, deadly ambushes set, and the man's powers taxed almost beyond endurance:

"In twenty-four hours I have not four free to naturall rest and ease of this wicked carcass ... I have nead of a good and an assured horse, for great watch is laid for my apprehension, and large money promissed till any that shall kyll me."[347]

If the victory had been won, it was not secured. The sovereigns Mary and Francis had refused to ratify the Acts of their Estates; and it was not until Mary was deposed in 1567 that the Acts of the Estates of 1560 were legally placed on the Statute Book of Scotland. Francis II. died in 1560 (Dec. 5th), and Mary the young and widowed Queen

returned to her native land (Aug. 19th, 1561). Her coming was looked forward to with dread by the party of the Reformation.

There was abundant reason for alarm. Mary was the Stuart Queen; she represented France, the old hereditary ally; she had been trained from childhood by a consummate politician and deadly enemy of the Reformation, her uncle the Cardinal of Lorraine, to be his instrument to win back Scotland and England to the deadliest type of Romanism. She was a lovely creature, and was, besides, gifted with a power of personal fascination greater than her physical charms, and such as no other woman of her time possessed; she had a sweet caressing voice, beautiful hands; and not least, she had a gift of tears at command. She had been brought up at a Court where women were taught to use all such charms to win men for political ends. The _Escadron volant de la Reine_ had not come into existence when Mary left France, but its recruits were ready, and some of them had been her companions. She had made it clearly understood that she meant to overthrow the Reformation in Scotland.[348] Her unscrupulous character was already known to Knox and the other Protestant leaders. Nine days before her marriage she had signed deeds guaranteeing the ancient liberties and independence of Scotland; six days after her marriage she and her husband had appended their signatures to the same deeds; but twenty days before her wedding she had secretly signed away these very liberties, and had made Scotland a mere appanage of France.[349] They suspected that the party in France whose figure-head she was, would stick at no crime to carry out their designs, and had shown what they were ready to do by poisoning four of the Scotch Commissioners sent to Paris for their young Queen's wedding, because they refused to allow Francis to be immediately crowned King of Scotland.[350] They knew how apt a pupil she had already shown herself in their school, when she led her boy husband and her ladies for a walk round the Castle of Amboise, to see the bodies of dozens of Protestants hung from lintels and turrets, and to contemplate "the fair clusters of grapes which the grey stones had produced."[351]


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