Billeder på siden
PDF
ePub

I do impeach the memory of Lord Hildebrand;
And in the presence of this Lord, whose person
Stands for the King, arraign him as a murderer :
If any loves his memory fo well
As to adopt his caule, let him stand forth,
I pledge myself to answer.
Saint Valori.

Lord De Courci,
Shall I reveal myself? I'm strongly tempted ? [Afide.

De Courci. I do protest againt it; and conjure you,
Whilst he is thus in train, leave it to me
To draw confession up.
Saint Valori.

I ain content.
De Courci. Montgomeri, in virtue of my charge
I've noted

your

defiance : fhould there come
A knight of known degree to challenge it,
Say, by what stile and title wilt thou answer?

Montgomeri. Ask that of her in whose defence I stand.

De Courci. We know thee for her champion ; but declare,
Hast thou no nearer name, no closer tie?

Saint Valori. Answer to that "Tis palpable, 'tis grofs :
Your filence is confeflion,
Montgomeri.

Ah, good father,
Have you so us’d confession as an engine
To twist and torture silence to your purpose,
And stain the truth with colouring not its own ?

St. Valori. The man who flies to filence for evasion,
When plainly questioned, aims at a deception
Which candour's self will construe to condemn him.

Montgomeri Thyself a stranger, dark, infcrutable,
With Hildebrand associate, thou to question me!---

First answer for thyself." Mr. Cumberland is certainly a writer of more than vulgar abilities. In the character of Belcour in the Weft Indian, there is a glow of irregular virtue that does equal honor to the conception and the heart of the writer. In the anecdotes of Spanish Painters, the conclusion is animated and poetical; and upon various occasions, but particularly in his letter to the Bishop of Landaff

, though we by no means approve of the spirit of the performance, we acknowledge much shrewdness of animadversion and happiness of repartee. But the talents of our author, though qualified to gain him refpect among his cotemporaries, will not raise him a monument more durable than brass, They are more amusing than venerable, and rather formed to deal in the lighter fubstances that float on the surface of letters, than to dive to the treasures that are concealed in their bed ; and least of all, if we can depend upon the observations we have made, did nature intend him for a writer of tragedy. R.

The

WE

Art. IV. The History of Scotland, from the establishment of the

Reformation till the death of Queen Mary. To which are annexed Obfervations concerning the public Law and the Confitution of Scotland. By Gilbert Stuart, Doctor of Laws, and Member of the Society of Antiquaries at Edinburgh. In two Volumes. The second Edition. 8vo. 125. Boards. Murray.

E are happy to notice the second edition of a work

like this, and we shall dwell the more particularly upon it, as its first appearance was prior to the cominencement of our Review ; and as we wish, for the sake of the public, to give such an important history all the advantages of a circumftantial notice.

The present age is strongly marked by its rapid improvements in knowledge. ELECTRICITY broke out upon us like a stroke of its own lightening, about forty years ago, and AERIAL NAVIGATION is now riding the clouds in triumph. But the heart has not been expanded, as the head has been improved. The progress of liberality in thinking has not kept pace with the advances of refinement in science. We have been particularly tied and bound down to a system of falfhood, in the modern history of our illand. Our paffions have been too much engaged to allow the exercise of candour; and Faction has been exerting an equal influence over our actions and our annals. This has been occasioned by that grand revolution in our empire, which threw off the old line of our kings for their tyranny, and adopted a new line for their religion. Such an event as this was sure to actuate our passions warmly, and to engage our prejudices strongly. But it has done much more. It has generated a dishoneft fpirit of partiality in our best writers. The exiled Family, with the natural meanness of mankind to the unfor. tunate, was to be abused at the expence of truth. History was to be warped, in order to disgrace them, and thofe low flatterers of power, who would have been the first to have complimented the Stuarts, if they had been ftill upon the throne of these kingdoms, have been officiously busy in loading their memories with unmerited reproach.

Within these few years, however, a better fpirit has appeared among us: the Revolution has begun to ftand upon a firmer footing, and to disdain the wretched crutches on which it was propped before. We are no longer afraid of looking into records. We dare face the facts that we may meet with there ; and our modern history is beginning to be written with a fairness and an honesty that it has never known before. Yet, when we look back a few years only, we see the ftruggles that it cost the nation to come to this. Sir John Dalrymple was arraigned and abufed in every company, and

[ocr errors]

in every newspaper almoft, for presuming to think, upon the authority of a Frenchman and a Papist, though this Frenchman was an Ambassador here at the time, and even though this Papist was the very agent by whom the business was transacted, that Patriots could be pensioners to France, and that Protestants could be intriguing with the French. And, when Mr. Macpherson wanted afterwards to examine the records in the Paper-office, for his history, he was refused all access to them, even by the greatest authority in the kingdom, so high did the prejudices of the vulgar ascend! But, in spite of all, the manlier spirit of the nation has been gradually gaining ground ever since. It has been gradually mounting out of the thick and gross atmosphere of prejudice, in which it has been so long detained, and it is daily rising into the clear light of truth. The clamour which was so loud against Sir John Dalrymple, was much fainter against Mr. Macpherson. The records in the Depot des affaires Etrangeres of France, are now allowed by all the thinking and candid part of the nation, to have their proper weight in ascertaining the truths of our history. The papers of King James the Second are equally with the papers of William and the Hanoverian Family, incorporated into the body of materials for our annals. Search' is made on all fides for authentic information. The eagle-eye of the nation is now able to look full upon the sun ; and a memorable æra has taken place among us, which may be called the æra of HisTORICAL LIBERALITY.

To this great event the writer of the present work has particularly contributed. He has, equally with Dalrymple and Macpherson, given us an honourable example of historical probity; and the public is much obliged to him for the firm, the manly, and the dignified manner in which he has detailed to us the life and sufferings of Queen Mary. Daring to confide in his own penetration for the discovery of facts, he has examined the original authorities with a keen eye : daring to seize the truth, under whatever form he found it, he has boldly brought it forward to the view. He left Dr. Robertson and others, who had not vigour enough to stand against the tide of popular falfhood, to fall down with it, and fo reach with ease the interest or the fame to which they were tending. He was superior to such conduct. He saw. that the same prejudices which had thrown a deep tinge of faction over the reigns of all the Stuarts, had even extended themselves beyond, and coloured over the annals of the unfortunate Mary. He nobly scorned to be led by them. With a juft and a decisive hand he has torn down the old fabrick of fiction, which has been reared so long and buttressed up

fo

[ocr errors]

1

so often. And he has erected a fabrick in its room, which has facts for its foundation, and truth for its fuperftructure.

We shall therefore produce some of the most striking pafsages in the present history ; such as are most striking for their probity, and such as will best unite together to form a whole concerning this period of our island annals. We shall only observe previously, that the act of hoftility, equally unprovoked and perfidious, in Elizabeth's sending out a squadron of ships to intercept Mary on her way from France to Scotland, as mentioned in p. 117 and 23, should, in our opinion, have been more insisted upon than it is by our author, as the first link in that chain of faithlessness which Elizabeth continued ever afterwards.

In p. 117, we have this account of Elizabeth's conduct, a master-piece of finese and knavery.

• But though she had excited them to revolt, and had not only supplied them with money, but had promised to support them by her arms, she now affected disdain and scorn. The deputies were sternly refused even the formality of an audience. But, after having operated upon

their fears, she feduced them to contribute to her vindication, under the secret stipulation of her exerting the fulness of her power in behalf of their faction. The Ambassadors of France and Spain had complained with warmth of her interference in the affairs of the Queen of Scots, and of the delight which she found in stirring up

the diffenfions of her kingdom. Having asserted her integrity, the called Murray and Hamilton before her, in their prefence, and desired them to say, whether she had encouraged the rebellion against the Scottish Queen. These deputies, throwing themselves

upon their knees, protested with solemnity, that she was altogether innocent of fomenting any divifions among the subjects of Scotland.

" You are in the right, faid she to them, to tell the " truth; for neither I nor any person in my name ever excited you

to oppose your Sovereign. Your treason is most abominable, and

may teach rebellion to my subjects ; and as worthless traitors I com“ mand you from my presence.”. Murray and Hamilton departed from her covered with Mame, and stupified with amazement.

Randolph, also, who had been resident in Scotland, in compliance with the ignoble uniformity of his conduct, exprefled roundly the innocence of his mistress. Amidst a scene of treachery which was too gross to deceive, but which corresponded with the perfidious refinements of Elizabeth, Throgmorton alone maintained his probity and honour. He could not be prevailed upon to deny or to palliate his transactions to interrupt the marriage of the Queen of Scots, and to rouze up her subjects against her ; and his fincerity might have exposed him to the greatest hazard, if his foresight had not suggested to him that a warrant from the Privy Council might be neceffary as his authority for the part which he was initructed to act. This warrant accordingly had been given to him, and he now expressed his

willingness

B 3
в 3

[ocr errors]

willingness to produce it as the decisive voucher of the orders with which he had been entrusted *.

We next turn to the rebels theinselves, and in p. 225-227, have this lively picture of them.

• The Earl of Murray, after he had visited the English court, proceeded to France, whicre he assiduously disseminated all the re, ports against the Queen which were injurious to her reputation; and where, without being exposed to fufpicion, he was able to maintain a close correspondence with his friends, Morton and Lethington, and to inspire their inachinations. His afiociates, true to his ambition and their own, bad ,romoted all the schemes of Bothwel upon the Queen with a power and influence which had insured their success. In confederacy with the Earl of Murray himself, they had conspired with him to murder the King. Allifted with the weight of the Earl of Murray, they had managed his trial, and operated the verdict which acquitted him. By the fame arts, and with the same views they had joined with him to procure the bond of the nobles, recommending him to the Queen as a husband, afferting his integri ty and innocence, recounting his noble qualities, expressing an unalterable resolution to support the marriage, against every opposer and adversary, and recording a wish that a defection from its objects and purposes thould be branded with everlasting ignominy, and held out as a most faithless and perjnred treachery. When the end, how. ever, was accomplished, for which they had been so zealous, and when the marriage of the Queen was actually celebrated, they laid aside the smiling and delusive vizor of friendship, and were in haste to entitle themseļves to the ignominy which they had invited to fall upon them. The murder of the King, the guilt of Bothwel, his acquittal, his divorce, and his marriage, became the topics of their complaints and declamation. Upon the foundation of this hated marriage, they even ventured privately to infer the privity of the Queen to ali his iniquity and tranfactions; and this step seemed doubtless, to the mass of her own subjects, and to more distant observers, a strong confirmation of all the former fufpicions, to her shame, which had been circulated with so much artifice. The stabbing outrage of their imputations and divises, excited against her, both at home and abroad, the most indignant and humiliating odium. Amidit the ruins of her fame, they thought to bury for ever her tranquillity and peace; and in the convulsions they had meditated, they already were anticipating the downfal of Bothwel, and snatching at the crown that tottered on her head #.

We are foon afterwards, p. 240---241, presented with a view of the rebels, beginning for the first time to try their hands in the forgery of letters.

• They had,' as they told Kircaldy of Grange, ' recently interrupted a letter from her,' Queen Mary, 'to this nobleman,' Earl Bothwel, in which she expressed, in the most glowing terms, the warmth of her love, and her fixed purpose never to forsake him,

+ Camden, p. 404. Melvil,

* Melvil, Memoirs, p. 118. Memoirs, p. 160.

Kircaldy

« ForrigeFortsæt »