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book, because we can only select parts of that evidence, which owes its strength to its concatenation, and which will be weakened whenever it is disjoined.

The account of the seizure of these controverted letters is thus given by the queen's enemies.

“ That in the castell of Edinburgh thair was left be " the Erle of Bothwell, before his fleeing away, and was " send for be ane George Dalgleish, his servand, who was “ taken be the Erle of Mortoun, ane small gylt coffer,

not fully ane fute lang, garnisht in sindrie places, with « the Roman letter F. under ane king's crowne; wharin " were certane letteris and writings weel knawin, and « be aithis to be affirmit to have been written with the “ Quene of Scottis awn hand to the Erle." The papers

in the box were said to be eight letters in French, some love sonnets in French also, and a promise of marriage by the Queen to Bothwell.

To the reality of these letters our author makes some considerable objections, from the nature of things, but as such arguments do not always convince, we will pass to the evidence of facts.

On June 15, 1567, the queen delivered herself to, Morton, and his party, who imprisoned her.

June 20, 1567, Dalgleish was seized, and six days after was examined by Morton ; his examination is still extant, and there is no mention of this fatal box,

Dec. 4, 1567, Murray's secret council published an act, in which is the first mention of these letters, and in which they are said to be written and subscrivit with ber awin band. Ten days after Murray's first parliament met, and passed an act, in which they mention previe

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letters written balelie (wholly) with her awin band. The difference between written and subscribed, and wholly written, gives the author just reason to fuspect, first, a forgery, and then a variation of the forgery. It is indeed very remarkable, that the first account afferts more than the second, though the second contains all the truth; for the letters, whether written by the queen or not, were not fubfcribed. Had the second account differed from the first only by something added, the first might have contained truth, though not all the truth ; but as the second corrects the first by diminution, the firft cannot be cleared from falfhood.

In Otober 1968, these letters were shewn at York to Elizabeth's commissioners, by the agents of Murray, but not in their public character as commissioners, but by way of private information, and were not therefore exposed to Mary's commissioners. Mary, however, hearing that some letters were intended to be produced against her, directed her commissioners to require them for her inspection, and, in the mean time, to declare them falfe and feigned, forged and invented, observing that there were many that could counterfeit her hand,

To counterfeit a name is easy, to counterfeit a hand through eight letters very difficult. But it does not appear

that the letters were ever shewn to those who would desire to detect them; and to the English commissioners a rude and remote imitation might be fufficient, since they were not shewn as judicial proofs; and why they were not shewn as proofs,' no other reason can be given than they must have then been examined, and that examination would have detected the forgery.

These

These letters, thus timorously and suspiciously communicated, were all the evidence against Mary; for the servants of Bothwell, executed for the murder of the king, acquitted the queen at the hour of death. These letters were so necessary to Murray, that he alledges them as the reason of the queen's imprisonment, though he imprisoned her on the 16th, and pretended not to have intercepted the letters before the 20th of June. .

Of these letters, on which the fate of princes and kingdoms was suspended, the authority should have been put out of doubt ; yet that such letters were ever found, there is no witness but Morton, who accused the queen, and Crawfurd, a dependent on Lennox, another of her accusers. Dalgleish, the bearer, was hanged without any interrogatories concerning them; and Hulet, mentioned 2/5 in them, though then in prison, was never called to authenticate them, nor was his confession produced against Mary till death had left him no power to disown it.

Elizabeth, indeed, was easily satisfied; she declared herself ready to receive the proofs against Mary, and absolutely refused Mary the liberty of confronting her accusers, and making her defence. Before such a judge, a very little proof would be sufficient. She gave the accusers of Mary leave to go to Scotland, and the box and letters were seen no more. They have been since lost, and the discovery, which comparison of writing might have made, is now no longer possible. Hume has, however, endeavoured to palliate the conduct of Elizabeth, but bis account, says our author, is contradited almoft in every sentence by the records, which, it appears, he has bimself perused.

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In the next part, the authenticity of the letters is examined ; and it seems to be proved beyond contradiction, that the French letters, supposed to have been written by Mary, are translated from the Scotch copy, and, if originals, which it was so much the interest of such numbers to preserve, are wanting, it is much more likely that they never existed, than that they have been loft.

The arguments' used by Dr. Robertson, to prove the genuineness of the letters, are next examined. Robertson makes use principally of what he calls the internal evidence, which, amounting at mot to conjecture, is opposed by conjecture equally probable.

In examining the confession of Nicholas Hubert, or French Paris, this new apologist of Mary seems to gain ground upon her accuser.

her accuser. Paris is mentioned in the letters, as the bearer of them to Bothwell; when the rest of Bothwell's servants were executed, clearing the queen in the last moment, Paris, instead of suffering his trial with the rest at Edinburgh, was conveyed to St. Andrews, where Murray was abfolute, put into a dungeon of Murray's citadel, and two years after condemned by Murray himself nobody knew how. Several months after his death, a confession in his name, without the regular testifications, was sent to Cecil, at what exact time nobody can tell.

Of this confession, Lesly, bishop of Rojs, openly denied the genuineness, in a book printed at London, and suppressed by Elizabeth; and another historian of that time declares, that Paris died without any confession; and the confeflion itself was never shewn to Miry, or to

Mary's

Mary's commissioners. The author makes this reflection :

“From the violent presumptions that arise from their carrying this poor ignorant stranger from Edinburgh, the ordinary seat of justice; their keeping him hid from all the world, in a remote dungeon, and not producing him with their other evidences, fo as he might have been publicly questioned; the positive and direct testimony of the author of Crawfurd's manuscript, then living, and on the spot at the time; with the public affirmation of the bishop of Rofs at the time of Paris's death, that he had vindicated the queen with his dying breath; the behaviour of Murray, Morton, Buchanan, and even of Hay, the attester of this pretended confession, on that occasion; their close and reserved silence at the time when they must have had this confession of Paris in their pocket; and their publishing every other circumstance that could tend to blacken the queen, and yet omitting, this confession, the only direct evidence of her supposed guilt; all this duly and dispassionately considered, I think, one may safely conclude, that it was judged not fit to expose so soon to light this piece of evidence against the queen ; which a cloud of witnesses, living, and present at Paris's execution, would surely have given clear testimony against, as a notorious impofture.”

Mr. Hume, indeed, observes, “ It is in vain at present to seek for improbabilities in Nicholas Hubert's dying confession, and to magnify the finallest difficulties into a contradiction. It was certainly a regular judicial paper, given in regularly and judicially, and ought to have been canvassed at the time, if the persons, whom it conz

cerned,

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