MARY QUEEN OF SCOTS—FRANCE
King James v. had been twice married, both times to a
French lady. His first Queen, who was the daughter of
the King of France, only lived about a month after she
came to Scotland. He then married another French
Princess, called Mary of Guise. Her little baby daughter,
who was also called Mary, was only seven days old when
James died, and she became Queen.
Once more the country was without a real head, and
the quarrels and struggles for power among the great
nobles became very bitter. There were two great parties.
The Queen mother, Mary of Guise, and a great church
man called Cardinal Beaton were at the head of one
party, and the Earl of Arran, who was chosen to be
Regent, at the head of the other. The Roman Catholics
followed Mary and Cardinal Beaton ; the Protestants
followed the Earl of Arran.
Henry of England pretended to be very sorry when he
heard of the death of King James. But he was not really
sorry, for he now saw a new way of joining England and
Scotland together. He proposed that the little baby
Queen should be married to his son Edward.
Of course a little baby could not be married, but
Henry wanted the Scottish people to promise that when
the was old enough, she should marry his son.
The Scottish people did not love the English, but the
Regent and many of the nobles had become Protestants,
and it seemed to them that it would be a wise thing for
their little Queen to marry a Protestant Prince. So it
was agreed that when Mary was old enough, this marriage
should take place. But the Queen mother, and Cardinal
Beaton, and all those who followed them, did not like the
arrangement at all.
Henry, however, was not content with this promise.
He wanted to get possession of the little Queen, and asked
the Scottish people to send her to England. The Scots
would not hear of this, and said she must not leave Scot
land until she was at least ten years old. Then, as Henry
still went on trying to get possession of Mary, the nobles
took back their promise, and said she should never be
married to Prince Edward at all.
This made King Henry so angry, that he gathered his
ships and men of war, and sent them to fight against Scot
land. The Regent was a weak and foolish man, easily
pulled this way and that, and never ready for anything.
He ought to have known that Henry would be angry,
and he might have been prepared. But he did nothing.
One bright May morning, a crowd of white sails
appeared in the Forth. The people watched anxiously,
wondering what ships they might be. Soon they saw the
royal standard of England fluttering in the breeze, and
knew that they had to do with their old enemy. Then
cannon boomed, and the red fires of war blazed, till the
fairest lands of Scotland were blackened wastes. It was
a rough wooing. Too rough to suit the Scotsmen, and
not rough enough to conquer them. For two years the
war went on, the French helping their old friends, and at
last peace was made.
Cardinal Beaton now became very powerful, and really
ruled the land. But the Protestants were growing stronger
298 SCOTLAND’S STORY
and stronger. The Cardinal hated the Protestant religion,
and tried in every way to stop it from spreading among
the people. By his orders, George Wishart, one of the
boldest of the Protestants, was hanged and his body
burned at St. Andrews, opposite the Cardinal’s palace,
Beaton himself sitting upon the walls and watching
This, and many other cruel acts, roused the hatred of
the Protestant party, and three months later, sixteen men
rushed one morning into the palace, and murdered the
Many people even of the Protestant party were angry
and grieved at this action. Yet they were glad that the
proud, cruel Cardinal was dead.
‘ Although the loon is well away
The deed was foully done,’
they said. And cruel though he was, Cardinal Beaton
had helped to keep Scotland out of the clutches of
Soon after this, Henry viii. died, and again the English
people tried to force the Scottish people to let Queen
Mary marry Prince, now King, Edward. Another great
army was sent into Scotland, and a terrible battle was
fought in 1547 A.D., at a place called Pinkie, near Edin
burgh. In this battle the Scots were defeated. It was the
last time that they were ever defeated by the English in a
great battle. But this defeat, instead of making the Scots
agree to allow Mary to marry Edward, made them more
determined than ever not to allow it.
All this time the little Queen, around whom there had
been so much fighting, for whose sake so many brave men
had died, knew nothing at all about it She played in her
nursery, or in pleasant gardens, with four other little girls.
who like herself, were all called Mary. She was sent from
place to place for safety, and her little friends always went
with her. Now it was decided to send her to France,
where she would be quite safe from the English.
So the Queen mother kissed her little daughter, who
was now six years old, and sent her away with her four
little friends to the court of France.
Some time after this, Mary of Guise, the Queen mother,
was made Regent, instead of the weak Earl of Arran. She
was a clever woman, but she made many of the nobles
angry, by giving the chief posts to Frenchmen. On the
whole, however, the land was more peaceful than it had
been for some years.
Meanwhile the little Queen was growing up in France.
Far away from the sounds of war and strife, she led a gay
and happy life.
Princes and princesses are sometimes very lonely.
But little Queen Mary was not lonely. Besides her
friends, the four Scottish Maries, she had as companions,
more than thirty French princes and princesses, with
whom she learned her lessons and played about. She was
so pretty, and so graceful, and so clever, that every one
loved her. A great lady wrote of her, that ‘ This small
Queen of Scots has only to smile, in order to turn all
Mary was taught to sing, and to play, and to dance, to
ride and to hunt. She was also taught to sew and to em
broider, and she could speak and write Latin and several
other languages. So, sometimes at the gay French court,
sometimes in some sunny palace garden, the days passed
peacefully and happily for the Queen and her four Maries.
Then, when the Queen was fifteen, she was married to the
Dauphin, the eldest son of the King of France.
Mary was now quite old enough to go home to Scot
land to rule her own country; but she did not go.
Among the many things that she had been taught, no
one had thought of teaching her that a Queen must work,
and think, and live, for her people. So Mary stayed at
the gay French court with her husband, the Dauphin,
leaving her mother to govern Scotland.
Then the King of France died, and the Dauphin
became King, and Mary Queen, of France as well as of
Scotland. And Mary called herself Queen of England
too, and used the royal arms of England. Her cousin
Elizabeth, was now upon the throne of England, but Mary
said she had a better right to the throne than Elizabeth.
She never tried, however, to make the English people give
her the crown, and calling herself Queen of England
was merely an empty show. But it made Elizabeth very
angry. So instead of loving each other, these two cousins,
ruling over neighbouring countries, hated and despised
But while Mary smiled and danced in France, dark
and difficult days were coming upon Scotland. The
Queen Regent was a Roman Catholic, and more and
more of the Scottish nobles were becoming Protestants.
Although the Regent tried to be friends with these Pro
testant nobles, it became every day more difficult. As the
Protestants grew stronger, the Roman Catholics urged the
Queen Regent to persecute and destroy them. The Pro
testant nobles, or Lords of the Congregation, as they came
to be called, began to be afraid that the Queen Regent
meant to take away the freedom of Scotland, and make
the land into a French province. At last these feelings
grew so bitter, that war broke out. This war was called
the war of Reformation, or the war of the Congregation.
Chief among the leaders of the army of the Congrega
tion was a man called Knox. He was neither a soldier
nor a noble, but a preacher. He marched up and down
Scotland preaching fiery sermons, stirring up the people,
till they tore down the altars and images in the churches,
and often, I am sorry to say, ruined the beautiful old
French soldiers helped the Queen Regent and the
Catholics ; and the Lords of the Congregation, finding
that they were not strong enough, asked Queen Ehzabeth
to send soldiers to help them. This Elizabeth did. So
for the first time was seen the strange sight of an Enghsh
army marching into Scotland, and being welcomed by the
Scots. For some time the war went fiercely on, but the
Queen Regent suddenly died, and soon afterwards the war
came to an end.
The French soldiers were sent back to their own
country in English ships, and the Scots, who no longer
wanted the help of the English, accompanied them to the
Border, and there said good-bye to their dangerous friends.
Then a Parliament was called. This was a strange
Parliament, for instead of making and discussing the laws
of the land, they made and discussed the laws of faith and
religion, and made new rules for the governing of the
Church. This Parliament declared that the Pope had no
more power over the Church of Scotland, and it was made
a crime for any one to read or listen to a Roman Catholic
service. Thus, by one stroke as it were, the Reformation
in Scotland was made complete.
When Mary heard of what this Parliament had done,
she was very angry, for she was a Roman Catholic and
loved the Roman Catholic Church. ‘ I am your Queen,’
she said, ‘ or so you call me. But you do not use me so.
You have done what pleased yourselves.’ The Parliament
was no Parliament, she said, because it had been called
without the consent of the Queen. So she would not
agree to anything it had passed. It might have ended in
war between the Queen and her people, but just at this
time Mary’s husband, the King of France, died. As long
as he lived, Mary was of great importance in France. Now
that he was dead, and another King upon the throne, she
found that the French people did not want her any more.
She felt lonely and deserted, and so she resolved to go
home to her own people ; and she got on board a ship
and sailed away to Scotland. But she found it very hard
to leave France, where she had been so happy. She knew
little about Scotland, and she was not sure if she would
find friends there. She was only nineteen, and she was
going away for ever from the land and people she had
All day long, she leaned against the side of the ship
watching the shores of France grow dim in the distance.
When night came, she would not go down into her cabin,
but ordered a bed to be brought on deck for her. It was
a warm August night, there was no wind to fill the sails,
so the ship lay becalmed. Very early in the morning, the
Queen awoke to see faintly still the shores of France.
But the wind sprang up, and soon the last outline faded
away. ‘ Farewell, beloved France,’ she cried, as tears
filled her eyes, ‘ farewell, I shall never see thee more.’
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