13 NOVEMBER 1858, Page 14


HISS STRICRLANDIS LIFE 0,F MAILT STVLET:* ONE a the most curious featnres of . recent historical literals- tati.........„eons. England' is its ohivalrous ohampionship of tainted reliu memory clear of reproach is a positive disqualification for tte boneurs of hero worship. Mr. Grote has taken under his P°tte. tion.Cleon and'the Sopluste,----following, it is true, in the finset, case, as Colonel Mune tells us, the .German Droysen, in- the English anther a - The Biographical History of Thiloeophy —in both, probably, without knowledge, certainly withmit know/edge:lent, -of -his predecessors. Mr: Me.rivale ruanifestsae. rather strange partiality for the Roman Emperors. Mr. Freud); devetion to Henry,YIII. and his topl, or, not to speak offensively his agent, Thomas Lord Cromwell, is .matter of notoriety. If; Carlyle is busily engaged in brightening the tarnished fame of Frederick the 'Great and his predecessor. But Mr. De Quinn.' has taken up-with the most unpromising client of all. Disinter: ring an old theory, he has made himself the apologist of Jule, Iscariot. We do not despair of seeing,. some day or other, a dis- sertation to prove that Catiline was a good citizen and pure pa.. triot; and that if Nero did kill his mother and light up Rome with burning Christians, it was (as eenatus consult establish beyond doubt) from a sense of duty and in the interests of the state. Taken one by one, the cases we have cited have a right to be tried on their own merits, and without prejudice from general considerations, but taken together they illustrate a prevalent fashion, which the cautious student of history will do well to keep in mind. The tendency in question is not an ungenerous one,- and probably there is some small. basis of truth at the bot- tom of the wild* of the exaggerations we have referred to. It should be remembered, however, that to acquit the guilty is too often to incriminate the innocent.. He incurs a grave responsi- bility who tampers With' posthumous reputation in the interests of a paradox, or-to connect his name With an ingenious new read- ing of history. We . are far from charging anything like this upon the able and conscientious writers.ure have mentioned; bat we are by no means sure that their example' may not tend towards some such abuse: Miss Strickland will, we are afraid, be indignant at such a pre- face to a review of her now complete life of Mary Stuart. She is so far right, that the character of the Scotch Queen has always been considered a matter open to controversy, which cannot be said of that of most of the personages we have mentioned. En- dowed with beauty, intellect, and acoomplishments, such as fall to the lot of few women placed on the unhappy eminence which makes their lives history, are we to seek her parallel in the mar- tyred innocence of Marie-Antoinette, or the unabashed crimes of Lucretia Borgia ?—who, by the way, had her champion in the late Mr. Roscoe. Miss Strickland's answer is unhesitating. She will not hear of what might seem the appropriate Scotch verdict of "not proven," but imperatively demands that her heroine be pronounced "not guilty." Fully convinced herself, we doubt whether she will convince any but her feminine readers,—and these rather by force of sympathy than by cogency of proof. The story is so moving and tragic, and, in the quaint phrase of old Chaucer, "pity renneth soon in gentle hearts." It spoils all to think that Mary was as bad as she must have been if she were not the martyred saint that she is to Miss Strickland. There have been few royal races whose history presents that almost unbroken series of calamities which fills the records of the Stuarts. Looking back over their annals, we are reminded of the old Greek superstition of a divine Nemesis. It seems as if some implacable anger of the gods were pursuing, from generation to generation, an ancestral crime, visiting the sins of the fathers upon the children, till the doomed race perished from the earth. The name Stuart is properly steward, (dapifer' ) the hereditary office of the family (before it became royal) in the Scotch court. Robert the Steward had married Margery, daughter of Robert Bruce ; and when that great prince's male descendants died out, he succeeded in right of his wife to the throne of Scotland. Mary was the seventh in direct lineal descent from him. Of the six intermediate Kings, four died bloody deaths, in battle or by murder ; two, the first and the last of them the historians tell us, of a broken heart, crushed and worn out them, incessant conflict and trouble. Of the five remaining Stuart Sovereigns, two perished on the scaffold, a third, driven from throne and country, tided in exile. We have, then, the two Pretenders,—unsuccess- ful wandering adventurers. The last of the Stuarts, Henry Car- dinal York, son of the old and brother of the younger Pretender, died a celibate priest, in the arms of that Church for which his family had suffered and sacrificed so much. Mary Stuart was born in Linlithgow Palace, not, as is commelll_Y said, on the 8th, but, as Miss Strickland shows, probably on the 11th or 12th of December, 1542. At the mature age of two day!, she became Queen of Scotland, her father James V. dying on the 13th of December, without having bequeathed her his blessing; an ominous circumstance. In the condition of Europe at that time, it was important to English interests that Scotland shouldsuee. kept from the alliance of France. Henry VIII. therefore mended the baby Queen's hand for his son, afterwards Edward vl an Sons. Bffl'aTuli:LethLi, Lives of the Queens of Scotland, and English Princesses connee _Regal Succession of Great Britain. By Agnes Strickland, Author 0 of the Queens of Engisuid." Volumes III.—VII. Published by lac -w a fien-ei a ho—wever,, carried the day. At five years of

at7 —prty—,

may was oontractedretp Olin Dauphin of Franoe, whither she t▪ ail on the 7th of August, 1548. "And thus," says Knox, as --noted by Miss Strickland, " was she sold to go to France, to the end that she B0 uld deinleof that liquor-which should remain with her all her life,time fcsr a. plague to this realm and for her final destruction." A Stuart, educated from her earliest childhood in the gnat of a Catherine de Medici, is a combination of perverse mantel -endowments and depraving outward circumstances, from which the worst results might be expected, If Mary passed un- ,ported through such an ordeal her purity and goodness are as much an honour, as her imputed crimes are a disgrace to human n ature. There is no room for a qualified judgment et her cha- racter. Angelic excellence or diabolic wickedness are the alterna- tives. Of her girlhood; education and pursuits here, Miss Striek- land gives us a very pleasant picture, though somewhat in "rose- pink." On the 25th of April 1558, consequently when she was in her sixteenth year, her marriage with the dauphin, who was a year her junior, took place. Her claim, as descended from the ader daughter of Henry VII., to the throne of England and Ire- land was as early asserted, as it was obstinately persisted in. At a tournament held in what is now the Place Royale, July 6, 1559, ,mary was borne to her place in the royal balcony in a sort of triumphal

emblazoned with the royal escutcheon of England and Scotland, explained by a Latin distich, of which Strype has given this quaint version :— " The Armes of Marie Quene Dolphines of France, The nobillest lady in earth for till advance : Of Scotland Queue, of Ingland also, Of Ireland also God bath providit so."

"The car ;was preceded by the two heralds of her spouse the King-Dau-

phin, both Scots, apparelled wlth the anus of England and Scotland, and

crying in a high voice, Place, place ! pour la B.eine d'Angleterre.' Little did the adoring crowd who responded to this announcement with shouts of Vive la -Reine d'Angleterre iinagine they were sounding the knell of their darling, for it was•the assumption of fhb title that cost Mary Stuart her life. The same claim was as unmistakeably though less directly -as- serted, in the device which, she adopted,—the crowns of France and Scotland with the words " Aliarnque moratur." Two years after her marriage in the year 1560, both her mother and her husband (who had become King of France, July 10th, 1559) died. Miss Strickland gives the touching verses which Mary wrote on the latter's decease. We extract one or two of them both in the French original and as translated into English. They are not unworthy the descendant of the royal author of "The King's Quhair " and "Christ's Kirk on the Green." Indeed the Stuarts had many of them more literary and intellectual tastes than are generally found in association with the kingly office. James I. of Scotland and Mary were not mean poets. James I. of England, though a pedant, was a scholar. Charles I. had a re- fined knowledge and enjoyment of art. Charles II.'s wit is as pro- verbial as his lack of wisdom. These are some of Mary's verses after the death of her first husband Francis II.

"En mon triste et dons chant "The voice of my sad song D'un ton fort lamentable With mournful sweetness guides le jette un ceil trenchant My piercing eye along De eerie incomparable. 'The track that death divides ;— En soupirs cuisaus Mid sharp and bitter sighs, Passe mes meilleurs ans. My youth's bright morning dies.

Qui en mon doux printemps, O'er my life's early spring, Et fleur de ma jeunesse, And o'er its opening bloom, Touts mes peines seas My deadly sorrows fling D'une extreme tristresse ; The darkness of the tomb ; Et en rien n'ay plaisir My star of hope is set Qui en regret et desk." In yearning and regret."

By the death of her husband, the strongest tie which bound Mary to France was broken. By the death of her mother, her return to Scotland to assume the government of it became de- sirable. With deep regret, which took, as regret often does, the form of foreboding, and which as such would have been forgotten had it not been verified, she set sail for Scotland. She armed a week earlier than she had been expected, in the port of Leith,— on the morning of August 20, 1561. Since her departure, rather more than thirteen years ago, Scotland had passed from Roman- ism to Presbyterianism, and the Queen's exercise of her own re- ligion had to be made the object of an exceptional toleration. Er devotion to the Church of Rome, and her zeal to restore it to its old ascendancy in her dominions, made her subjects her ene- mies. Her assertion of right to the English crown embroiled her with Elizabeth. She was now- but nineteen years of age. When she kneeled under the executioner's axe, she had just entered her forty-fifth year. The black guilt,—for the guilt cannot be cleared out of history, even if Mary's innocence be established ; it remains, every jot of it ; it is only shifted from her to others who have hitherto enjoyed exemption of their deserved infamy,— the deep suffering, the restless plotting and counter-plotting, of this miserable quarter of a century, make it a positive pain to have arrived at rt. Seven of its years only were passed by Mary in freedom. In 1568, she fled to England, and was there held captive till death released her from prison and from the world. The religious troubles the border-risings, and other disturbances, the marriage project; and intrigues of the first four years after her return to Scotland, we must pass over, only reminding our readers that they are passed over. Still less can we speak of the doubtful affair of the unhappy poet Chastellar, whose passion and indiscretion (whether shared or not by the dueen,) cost him his headt- "of the part played by the Queen's brother, the Lord James, afterwards Earl of Moray, by Bothwell and other notable persons in the evefits of the time. With many interesting minor matters they are well told by our authoress whose leaning towards the Queen is to honestly evident, to mike her marrative oven where it is most coloured and shaped by her conelusions -dangerously misleading. In July 1565, Mary married Henry lord, Darnley, son of the Earl and Countess of Lennox, who had the 'personal reoommendations of a. graceful figure and a handsome thee, and the political recommendation of being,- after-Mary herself, -nest heir to the crown of England. Other qualifications he had none. The jealousies and misunderstandings, and partial reeonoiliations of their married life are as well known as. its horrible termina- tion. What is doUbtful, is Mary's guilty knowledge of or con- sent to his murder. The opinion of the weightiest modern. au- thorities, and, the universal popular impression at the timm ,ale both distinctly against her. It seems scarcely possible to break the force of the cumulative evidence which brings the charge home. Miss Strickland explains away suspicious circumstance after suspicious circumstance, with unfailing ingenuity and per- severance. But the explanation, which might be allowable in any one case, has its edge blunted when applied to all. Darn- ley's participation in the murder of her secretary Rini°, from motives of jealousy, was scarcely an offence to be condoned on mere expression of repentance. Her indifference to him during his last illness ; her sudden assumption of interest leading her, at the end of a fortnight, to visit him at Glasgow, and persuade him to return with her to Edinburgh ; his lodgment there, not in her palace of liolyrood, whither she betook herself, but in the house of Kirk-in-the-field, a solitary building in an open' spaml—ite destruction by gunpowder as he lay there, and (of course) his de- struction with it,—the increasing influence of Bothwell before the perpetration of the crime, his mock trial and easy acquittal, though no one doubts his guilt, the honours and favours shown him afterwards, his marriage with Mary within three months of Daruley's death; all these things form a chain of evidence, 'of which -Miss Strickland does not seem to us to break the force. We dare not pronounce Mary guilt-; but we are astonished at the unhesitating confidence Miss Strickland has in her innocence. If the letters of the silver casket, the alleged guilty correspondence of Mary and Bothwell, be genuine the case is decided. Miss Strick- land asserts however, that they are forgeries of Moray's. Yet they stood the tests of their genuineness applied in various ways at the time ; Mary's friends had nothing to say against them. And the unparalleled guilt which Miss Strickland's hypothesis involves on the part of Moray,—who has left behind him the his- torical name of the "good regent,"—is at variance with not only the prevailing judgment, but every fair estimate of his motives and career. The whole subject is still, however, sub judice. And though we have a suspicion of the direction in which further ma- terials and (if possible) keener investigation will tend, we will not prejudge the matter. The thanks of all historical inquirers are due to Miss Strickland for her zeal and ability, which we may admire, whatever our opinion of her success. If asked only for an arrest of sentence, we should say that she has shown cause for it ; but she pleads for an immediate acquittal, which we do not think can be granted.

Mary's imprisonment by her subjects at Lochleven, her enforced abdication in favour of her son, her escape from her confinement, the rally of her friends, and their defeat at Langside, her flight to England, and what followed that,—years of dreary imprison- ment, relieved by ceaseless intrigue against the Crown and life of Elizabeth—we adhere to the old statements, because our authoress has not given us ground to think them false,—and her execution as privy to Babington's conspiracy, occupy the last two volumes of the biography we have been noticing. On the subject of Eliza- beth's part in her rival's execution, Miss Strickland announces, in the following terms, her conversion from an old opinion.— "Now, although I freely avow that I entertained a different opinion when writing my 'Life of Elizabeth,' the duty of an historian compels me to de- clare that a new and singular light has been thrown upon that dark passage —the death of Mary Stuart—by the discovery of a contemporary document, which, if founded on fact, transfers the guilt of that deed entirely to those Ministers who, having injured the unfortunate heiress of the crown beyond hope of forgiveness, determined that she should not survive Elizabeth_ The document in question is apparently the minute of a Privy Council or Star- Chamber Investigation, dated 1606 nearly twenty years after Mary's exe- cution, when death had swept all the leading actors in that historical tragedy from the stage. Walsingham, Leicester, Burley, Hatton, Paulet, Elizabeth herself, had all gone to their great account, and it is impossible to conceive any motive for fabrication in the matter. It is the disposition attested by the signatures of two persons of the names of Mayer and Macaw, affirm- ing that the late Thomas Harrison, a private and confidential secretary of the late Sir Francis Walsingham, did voluntarily acknowledge to them that, in conjunction with Thomas Phillips and Maude, he by the direction of his master, Sir Francis Walsingham, added to the letters of thelate Queen of Scotland those passages that were afterwards brought in evidence against her' and for which she was condemned to suffer death ; that he could forge the hand and signature of every prince in Europe, and had done so often, and that he was employed by his said master,. Sir Francis Walsingham, to forge Queen Elizabeth's signature to the ceath- warrant of the Queen of Scots, which none of her ministers could ever induce her to sign.' It lacer- tam that the warrant for Mr "a execution remained sit weeks in Davison's hands unsigned ; and that Elizabeth ever did sign it rests on his unsup- ported. testimony, no witness being present, when according to his state' meat, she set her hand to that instrument ; and in this self-same hour de- sired- him to take measures for having the necessity of using it superseded by Mary's keepers putting her to death. The joint letter written by him and WaLsinghain, making the proposition to, and its refusal by, raulet and Drury are undeniable."—(Volume VII., pp. 464-5.)

As Mary's innocence in the affair of Darnley and Bothwell is to be established on the ruin of Moray's fame,—so her ignorance of Babington's conspiracy must imply Walsingham's guilt. The two great statesmen, Scotch and English, were the basest Of

ihis in-lWirti believe. --We -16-not tbink Wallifighani y mauto take, 'or-Elizabeth to'overlook, the little li- _ , th her name here attributed to him. But imagined abilities must bow to established facts, as "nice - customs cuitireyffo -great kings." If the document turn out trustworthy, it theoWs light incidentally upon more points than the two it di- rectifioncerns. In the meantime, Miss Strickland has our thanks foififiingimg it to light. Mls Strickland's style is what we look for in an intelligent and lady,—gracefal, easy, simple, wanting perhaps in vigour and concentration, but free alike from the fever-heat of the new school of historical writing, and the stately, frigid decorum of the old. Her works are among the most creditable feminine con- tributions to the literature of—we will not say the day, but—her