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family as long as he lived, and bequeathing him a pension at his death.
On account of his religion, as well as his youth, it is not surprising that the Duke of Norfolk received no notice or advancement during the reign of Mary; but shortly after Elizabeth's accession, though then barely twenty-three years old, he was made a Knight of the Garter, and a Privy Councillor. At the close of the year 1559 he was appointed Lieutenant-General of the North ; an office which had been held by his grandfather under Henry VIII., and which in the early part of Elizabeth's reign, when the Duke of Norfolk held it, was a post of peculiar importance, both in a military and diplomatic point of view, as it devolved principally upon him to execute the project devised by Cecil of assisting the Lords of the Congregation against the Queen Regent of Scotland. The opinion entertained of him by Cecil at that time is recorded in the letter* by which he introduced him to Sir Ralph Sadler. Surely I think,” he says, “his Grace will as discreetly, as honourably, as painfully execute this commission as any that hath
gone before him. One notable quality he hath wherein is great commendation. He will do nothing almost of any moment in his private causes, but upon advice; which property shall be most convenient for this charge.”
afterwards, when the French king proposed, as a compliment to Elizabeth, to invest with the order of St. Michael any two English noblemen whom she might name, she appointed the Duke of Norfolk and the Earl of Leicester. Thus favoured and distinguished by the Queen, the Duke of Norfolk, in consequence of his high rank as the first peer of England, his relationship to the Queen t, his vast
* Lodge's Illustrations, vol. i. p. 668. † The Duke's grandfather, whom he immediately succeeded in
A few years
possessions, and his princely hospitality, was equally courted and flattered by the aristocracy; whilst his fine person, his generosity and affability rendered him universally popular with the middle and lower classes of the people. To some of the first families of the Catholic party he was nearly allied by blood and marriage, and by the Protestants he was favourably regarded as the pupil of Fox, and a professor of the reformed religion. As an instance of the attention paid to him by the nobility and courtiers, we find it mentioned in a letter* of that time, that on his leaving London to keep his Christmas in his own country, the Earls of Leicester and Warwick, the Lord Chamberlain, and other nobles and gentlemen of the Court, accompanied him out of the city, and brought him onward on his journey, doing him all the honour they could.” From several concurring causes, therefore, the Duke of Norfolk was, at the time of the Scottish Queen's flight into England after the battle of Langside in 1568, by far the most
his title in 1554, was brother to Elizabeth Howard, wife of Thomas Boleyn, afterwards Lord Rochford, who was the father of Anne Boleyn, and consequently grandfather to Queen Elizabeth. The following table will more clearly show the degree of relationship :
Thomas HOWARD, 2nd Duke of Norfolk.
Elizabeth Howard, married Sir Thomas Bullen, afterwards Lord Rochford.
married Henry VIII.
Queen Elizabeth, 4th Duke. * Lodge's Illustrations, vol. i. p. 357.
powerful and popular nobleman amongst the English aristocracy. Under these circumstances, it was natural that Elizabeth should place him at the head of the Commission appointed by her to assemble at York for the purpose of hearing the causes of the differences between the Scottish Queen and those of her subjects who had taken up arms against her, under the Earl of Murray, and had driven her from her kingdom. At what precise time, by whose instigation, and under what circumstances, the scheme of a marriage between the Duke of Norfolk and the Scottish Queen originated, cannot be distinctly ascertained; but that it had been entertained by both parties before the Conferences at York seems highly probable. The Duchess of Norfolk had died during the preceding year, and the Duke was therefore at liberty to form a new engagement. Mary had been confined at Bolton, under the superintendence of Lady Scrope, who was the Duke's sister, for about two months before the appointment of the Commission. But besides these circumstances, which seem to render it probable, when viewed in connection with what afterwards happened, that an understanding of this kind existed at an early period after Mary's flight into England, it is expressly declared by the Bishop of Rosse, in one of his Examinations *, that the proposal for the marriage had been conveyed to the Queen of Scots by a messenger from the Duke, together with an assurance of his favourable disposition towards her, previously to the final arrangements for the Commission on her part. That the motives of both parties in this scheme were purely political, without any admixture of passion or gallantry, can hardly be questioned. It does not appear that they had ever met, and there is strong evidence to show that the Duke was satisfied in his
* Murdin's State Papers, p. 52.
own mind of Mary's criminal connection with Bothwell, and of her being concerned in the murder of Darnley.
A particular history of this intrigue, which ended so fatally for one of the parties, and was probably not without its influence in determining the fate of the other, and also of the serious conspiracy against Elizabeth's government which arose out of it, is contained in detail in the following trial; it would therefore be superfluous to give in this place more than a summary account of its progress, which, by furnishing the dates and relating the transaction in a connected narrative, may enable the reader to follow more easily the course of the desultory evidence produced on the trial.
The Conferences at York commenced on the 4th of October, 1568; and after a few meetings had been held, at which the Earl of Murray and his party confined themselves to justifications of their own conduct, without attempting to criminate the Scottish Queen, a private meeting between the Duke and Murray was contrived by Maitland of Lethington. At this meeting the Duke, if we are to believe Murray's statement, (which was, however, strenuously denied by the Duke on his trial *,) proposed to Murray to suppress the letters and documents in his possession, which were supposed to establish Mary's participation in the murder of Darnley; he suggested that the public exposure of the disgrace of Mary by the Regent and his adherents could not but be injurious to the cause of her son, on whom a considerable party had fixed their eyes as the successor to the English crown after Elizabeth's death, as well as discreditable to themselves; and that
* Murray's statement is confirmed, in some measure, by Melvill, who says that the Regent imparted to him the substance of his communication with the Duke the same night.
their accusation of Mary would be altogether ineffectual, as Elizabeth had determined, whatever might be the evidence they produced, to give no definitive sentence. Upon these suggestions, the Earl of Murray seemed disposed to measures of conciliation, and was induced for the time to abstain from making a formal charge of murder and adultery against the Scottish Queen; he communicated the evidence of her guilt, however, to Elizabeth's Commissioners privately, but declined proceeding farther until they had ascertained from the Queen of England, whether she would consider it sufficient to induce her to proceed at once to some definitive sentence. The substance of this private communication was immediately forwarded to Elizabeth; and in the despatch which was sent on this occasion, as well as in a private letter from himself to Cecil, the Duke of Norfolk expresses his concurrence with the other Com. missioners in a strong impression of the guilt of the Queen of Scots, produced by the perusal of the papers and documents laid before them by Murray.
It is probable that this secret dealing on the part of the Duke did not altogether escape the watchful eye of Cecil; at all events, the Scottish Queen was immediately removed from the charge of Lord Scrope, and committed to the custody of the Earl of Shrewsbury at Tutbury: the Conference too was removed from York to the neighbourhood of the Court, and adjourned to the 25th of November, the Duke being despatched in the mean time on a military survey of a part of the frontier, which lay within his jurisdiction as Lord-Lieutenant of the North. On his return to London he was ungraciously received by the Queen, who had heard by common report of his disposition to a marriage with the Scottish Queen; this circumstance induced him to mention the subject himself to Elizabeth, alluding to it as an idle rumour,