Full Text Archive logoFull Text Archive — Books, poems, drama…

Historical Lecturers and Essays by Charles Kingsley

Part 3 out of 3

Adobe PDF icon
Download this document as a .pdf
File size: 0.3 MB
What's this? light bulb idea Many people prefer to read off-line or to print out text and read from the real printed page. Others want to carry documents around with them on their mobile phones and read while they are on the move. We have created .pdf files of all out documents to accommodate all these groups of people. We recommend that you download .pdfs onto your mobile phone when it is connected to a WiFi connection for reading off-line.

to be instructed by the monks. "The men," he says, "were neither
inhuman nor bad, but utterly ignorant of religion;" and Buchanan
solaced himself during the intervals of their instructions, by
beginning his Latin translation of the Psalms.

At last he got free, and begged leave to return to France; but in
vain. And so, wearied out, he got on board a Candian ship at
Lisbon, and escaped to England. But England, he says, during the
anarchy of Edward VI.'s reign, was not a land which suited him; and
he returned to France, to fulfil the hopes which he had expressed in
his charming "Desiderium Lutitiae," and the still more charming,
because more simple, "Adventus in Galliam," in which he bids
farewell, in most melodious verse, to "the hungry moors of wretched
Portugal, and her clods fertile in naught but penury."

Some seven years succeeded of schoolmastering and verse-writing:
the Latin paraphrase of the Psalms; another of the "Alcestis" of
Euripides; an Epithalamium on the marriage of poor Mary Stuart,
noble and sincere, however fantastic and pedantic, after the manner
of the times; "Pomps," too, for her wedding, and for other public
ceremonies, in which all the heathen gods and goddesses figure;
epigrams, panegyrics, satires, much of which latter productions he
would have consigned to the dust-heap in his old age, had not his
too fond friends persuaded him to republish the follies and
coarsenesses of his youth. He was now one of the most famous
scholars in Europe, and the intimate friend of all the great
literary men. Was he to go on to the end, die, and no more? Was he
to sink into the mere pedant; or, if he could not do that, into the
mere court versifier?

The wars of religion saved him, as they saved many another noble
soul, from that degradation. The events of 1560-62 forced Buchanan,
as they forced many a learned man besides, to choose whether he
would be a child of light or a child of darkness; whether he would
be a dilettante classicist, or a preacher--it might be a martyr--of
the Gospel. Buchanan may have left France in "The Troubles" merely
to enjoy in his own country elegant and learned repose. He may have
fancied that he had found it, when he saw himself, in spite of his
public profession of adherence to the Reformed Kirk, reading Livy
every afternoon with his exquisite young sovereign; master, by her
favour, of the temporalities of Crossraguel Abbey, and by the favour
of Murray, Principal of St. Leonard's College in St. Andrew's.
Perhaps he fancied at times that "to-morrow was to be as to-day, and
much more abundant;" that thenceforth he might read his folio, and
write his epigram, and joke his joke, as a lazy comfortable
pluralist, taking his morning stroll out to the corner where poor
Wishart had been burned, above the blue sea and the yellow sands,
and looking up to the castle tower from whence his enemy Beaton's
corpse had been hung out; with the comfortable reflection that
quieter times had come, and that whatever evil deeds Archbishop
Hamilton might dare, he would not dare to put the Principal of St.
Leonard's into the "bottle dungeon."

If such hopes ever crossed Geordie's keen fancy, they were
disappointed suddenly and fearfully. The fire which had been
kindled in France was to reach to Scotland likewise. "Revolutions
are not made with rose-water;" and the time was at hand when all
good spirits in Scotland, and George Buchanan among them, had to
choose, once and for all, amid danger, confusion, terror, whether
they would serve God or Mammon; for to serve both would be soon

Which side, in that war of light and darkness, George Buchanan took,
is notorious. He saw then, as others have seen since, that the two
men in Scotland who were capable of being her captains in the strife
were Knox and Murray; and to them he gave in his allegiance heart
and soul.

This is the critical epoch in Buchanan's life. By his conduct to
Queen Mary he must stand or fall. It is my belief that he will
stand. It is not my intention to enter into the details of a matter
so painful, so shocking, so prodigious; and now that that question
is finally set at rest, by the writings both of Mr. Froude and Mr.
Burton, there is no need to allude to it further, save where
Buchanan's name is concerned. One may now have every sympathy with
Mary Stuart; one may regard with awe a figure so stately, so tragic,
in one sense so heroic,--for she reminds one rather of the heroine
of an old Greek tragedy, swept to her doom by some irresistible
fate, than of a being of our own flesh and blood, and of our modern
and Christian times. One may sympathise with the great womanhood
which charmed so many while she was alive; which has charmed, in
later years, so many noble spirits who have believed in her
innocence, and have doubtless been elevated and purified by their
devotion to one who seemed to them an ideal being. So far from
regarding her as a hateful personage, one may feel oneself forbidden
to hate a woman whom God may have loved, and may have pardoned, to
judge from the punishment so swift, and yet so enduring, which He
inflicted. At least, he must so believe who holds that punishment
is a sign of mercy; that the most dreadful of all dooms is impunity.
Nay, more, those "Casket" letters and sonnets may be a relief to the
mind of one who believes in her guilt on other grounds; a relief
when one finds in them a tenderness, a sweetness, a delicacy, a
magnificent self-sacrifice, however hideously misplaced, which shows
what a womanly heart was there; a heart which, joined to that
queenly brain, might have made her a blessing and a glory to
Scotland, had not the whole character been warped and ruinate from
childhood, by an education so abominable, that anyone who knows what
words she must have heard, what scenes she must have beheld in
France, from her youth up, will wonder that she sinned so little:
not that she sinned so much. One may feel, in a word, that there is
every excuse for those who have asserted Mary's innocence, because
their own high-mindedness shrank from believing her guilty: but
yet Buchanan, in his own place and time, may have felt as deeply
that he could do no otherwise than he did.

The charges against him, as all readers of Scotch literature know
well, may be reduced to two heads. 1st. The letters and sonnets
were forgeries. Maitland of Lethington may have forged the letters;
Buchanan, according to some, the sonnets. Whoever forged them,
Buchanan made use of them in his Detection, knowing them to be
forged. 2nd. Whether Mary was innocent or not, Buchanan acted a
base and ungrateful part in putting himself in the forefront amongst
her accusers. He had been her tutor, her pensioner. She had heaped
him with favours; and, after all, she was his queen, and a
defenceless woman: and yet he returned her kindness, in the hour
of her fall, by invectives fit only for a rancorous and reckless
advocate, determined to force a verdict by the basest arts of

Now as to the Casket letters. I should have thought they bore in
themselves the best evidence of being genuine. I can add nothing to
the arguments of Mr. Froude and Mr. Burton, save this: that no one
clever enough to be a forger would have put together documents so
incoherent, and so incomplete. For the evidence of guilt which they
contain is, after all, slight and indirect, and, moreover,
superfluous altogether; seeing that Mary's guilt was open and
palpable, before the supposed discovery of the letters, to every
person at home and abroad who had any knowledge of the facts. As
for the alleged inconsistency of the letters with proven facts:
the answer is, that whosoever wrote the letters would be more likely
to know facts which were taking place around them than any critic
could be one hundred or three hundred years afterwards. But if
these mistakes as to facts actually exist in them, they are only a
fresh argument for their authenticity. Mary, writing in agony and
confusion, might easily make a mistake: forgers would only take
too good care to make none.

But the strongest evidence in favour of the letters and sonnets, in
spite of the arguments of good Dr. Whittaker and other apologists
for Mary, is to be found in their tone. A forger in those coarse
days would have made Mary write in some Semiramis or Roxana vein,
utterly alien to the tenderness, the delicacy, the pitiful confusion
of mind, the conscious weakness, the imploring and most feminine
trust which makes the letters, to those who--as I do--believe in
them, more pathetic than any fictitious sorrows which poets could
invent. More than one touch, indeed, of utter self-abasement, in
the second letter, is so unexpected, so subtle, and yet so true to
the heart of woman, that--as has been well said--if it was invented
there must have existed in Scotland an earlier Shakespeare; who yet
has died without leaving any other sign, for good or evil, of his
dramatic genius.

As for the theory (totally unsupported) that Buchanan forged the
poem usually called the "Sonnets;" it is paying old Geordie's
genius, however versatile it may have been, too high a compliment to
believe that he could have written both them and the Detection;
while it is paying his shrewdness too low a compliment to believe
that he could have put into them, out of mere carelessness or
stupidity, the well-known line, which seems incompatible with the
theory both of the letters and of his own Detection; and which has
ere now been brought forward as a fresh proof of Mary's innocence.

And, as with the letters, so with the sonnets: their delicacy,
their grace, their reticence, are so many arguments against their
having been forged by any Scot of the sixteenth century, and least
of all by one in whose character--whatever his other virtues may
have been--delicacy was by no means the strongest point.

As for the complaint that Buchanan was ungrateful to Mary, it must
be said: That even if she, and not Murray, had bestowed on him the
temporalities of Crossraguel Abbey four years before, it was merely
fair pay for services fairly rendered; and I am not aware that
payment, or even favours, however gracious, bind any man's soul and
conscience in questions of highest morality and highest public
importance. And the importance of that question cannot be
exaggerated. At a moment when Scotland seemed struggling in death-
throes of anarchy, civil and religious, and was in danger of
becoming a prey either to England or to France, if there could not
be formed out of the heart of her a people, steadfast, trusty,
united, strong politically because strong in the fear of God and the
desire of righteousness--at such a moment as this, a crime had been
committed, the like of which had not been heard in Europe since the
tragedy of Joan of Naples. All Europe stood aghast. The honour of
the Scottish nation was at stake. More than Mary or Bothwell were
known to be implicated in the deed; and--as Buchanan puts it in the
opening of his "De Jure Regni"--"The fault of some few was charged
upon all; and the common hatred of a particular person did redound
to the whole nation; so that even such as were remote from any
suspicion were inflamed by the infamy of men's crimes." {17}

To vindicate the national honour, and to punish the guilty, as well
as to save themselves from utter anarchy, the great majority of the
Scotch nation had taken measures against Mary which required
explicit justification in the sight of Europe, as Buchanan frankly
confesses in the opening of his "De Jure Regni." The chief authors
of those measures had been summoned, perhaps unwisely and unjustly,
to answer for their conduct to the Queen of England. Queen
Elizabeth--a fact which was notorious enough then, though it has
been forgotten till the last few years--was doing her utmost to
shield Mary. Buchanan was deputed, it seems, to speak out for the
people of Scotland; and certainly never people had an abler
apologist. If he spoke fiercely, savagely, it must be remembered
that he spoke of a fierce and savage matter; if he used--and it may
be abused--all the arts of oratory, it must be remembered that he
was fighting for the honour, and it may be for the national life, of
his country, and striking--as men in such cases have a right to
strike--as hard as he could. If he makes no secret of his
indignation, and even contempt, it must be remembered that
indignation and contempt may well have been real with him, while
they were real with the soundest part of his countrymen; with that
reforming middle class, comparatively untainted by French
profligacy, comparatively undebauched by feudal subservience, which
has been the leaven which has leavened the whole Scottish people in
the last three centuries with the elements of their greatness. If,
finally, he heaps up against the unhappy Queen charges which Mr.
Burton thinks incredible, it must be remembered that, as he well
says, these charges give the popular feeling about Queen Mary; and
it must be remembered also, that that popular feeling need not have
been altogether unfounded. Stories which are incredible, thank God,
in these milder days, were credible enough then, because, alas! they
were so often true. Things more ugly than any related of poor Mary
were possible enough--as no one knew better than Buchanan--in that
very French court in which Mary had been brought up; things as ugly
were possible in Scotland then, and for at least a century later;
and while we may hope that Buchanan has overstated his case, we must
not blame him too severely for yielding to a temptation common to
all men of genius when their creative power is roused to its highest
energy by a great cause and a great indignation.

And that the genius was there, no man can doubt; one cannot read
that "hideously eloquent" description of Kirk o' Field, which Mr.
Burton has well chosen as a specimen of Buchanan's style, without
seeing that we are face to face with a genius of a very lofty order:
not, indeed, of the loftiest--for there is always in Buchanan's
work, it seems to me, a want of unconsciousness, and a want of
tenderness--but still a genius worthy to be placed beside those
ancient writers from whom he took his manner. Whether or not we
agree with his contemporaries, who say that he equalled Virgil in
Latin poetry, we may place him fairly as a prose writer by the side
of Demosthenes, Cicero, or Tacitus. And so I pass from this painful
subject; only quoting--if I may be permitted to quote--Mr. Burton's
wise and gentle verdict on the whole. "Buchanan," he says, "though
a zealous Protestant, had a good deal of the Catholic and sceptical
spirit of Erasmus, and an admiring eye for everything that was great
and beautiful. Like the rest of his countrymen, he bowed himself in
presence of the lustre that surrounded the early career of his
mistress. More than once he expressed his pride and reverence in
the inspiration of a genius deemed by his contemporaries to be
worthy of the theme. There is not, perhaps, to be found elsewhere
in literature so solemn a memorial of shipwrecked hopes, of a sunny
opening and a stormy end, as one finds in turning the leaves of the
volume which contains the beautiful epigram "Nympha Caledoniae" in
one part, the "Detectio Mariae Reginae" in another; and this
contrast is, no doubt, a faithful parallel of the reaction in the
popular mind. This reaction seems to have been general, and not
limited to the Protestant party; for the conditions under which it
became almost a part of the creed of the Church of Rome to believe
in her innocence had not arisen."

If Buchanan, as some of his detractors have thought, raised himself
by subserviency to the intrigues of the Regent Murray, the best
heads in Scotland seem to have been of a different opinion. The
murder of Murray did not involve Buchanan's fall. He had avenged
it, as far as pen could do it, by that "Admonition Direct to the
Trew Lordis," in which he showed himself as great a master of
Scottish, as he was of Latin prose. His satire of the "Chameleon,"
though its publication was stopped by Maitland, must have been read
in manuscript by many of those same "True Lords;" and though there
were nobler instincts in Maitland than any Buchanan gave him credit
for, the satire breathed an honest indignation against that wily
turncoat's misgoings, which could not but recommend the author to
all honest men. Therefore it was, I presume, and not because he was
a rogue, and a hired literary spadassin, that to the best heads in
Scotland he seemed so useful, it may be so worthy, a man, that he be
provided with continually increasing employment. As tutor to James
I.; as director, for a short time, of the chancery; as keeper of the
privy seal, and privy councillor; as one of the commissioners for
codifying the laws, and again--for in the semi-anarchic state of
Scotland, government had to do everything in the way of
organisation--in the committee for promulgating a standard Latin
grammar; in the committee for reforming the University of St.
Andrew's: in all these Buchanan's talents were again and again
called for; and always ready. The value of his work, especially
that for the reform of St. Andrew's, must be judged by Scotsmen,
rather than by an Englishman; but all that one knows of it justifies
Melville's sentence in the well-known passage in his memoirs,
wherein he describes the tutors and household of the young king.
"Mr. George was a Stoic philosopher, who looked not far before him;"
in plain words, a high-minded and right-minded man, bent on doing
the duty which lay nearest him. The worst that can be said against
him during these times is, that his name appears with the sum of 100
pounds against it, as one of those "who were to be entertained in
Scotland by pensions out of England;" and Ruddiman, of course,
comments on the fact by saying that Buchanan "was at length to act
under the threefold character of malcontent, reformer, and
pensioner:" but it gives no proof whatsoever that Buchanan ever
received any such bribe; and in the very month, seemingly, in which
that list was written--10th March, 1579--Buchanan had given a proof
to the world that he was not likely to be bribed or bought, by
publishing a book, as offensive probably to Queen Elizabeth as it
was to his own royal pupil; namely, his famous "De Jure Regni apud
Scotos," the very primer, according to many great thinkers, of
constitutional liberty. He dedicates that book to King James, "not
only as his monitor, but also as an importunate and bold exactor,
which in these his tender and flexible years may conduct him in
safety past the rocks of flattery." He has complimented James
already on his abhorrence of flattery, "his inclination far above
his years for undertaking all heroical and noble attempts, his
promptitude in obeying his instructors and governors, and all who
give him sound admonition, and his judgment and diligence in
examining affairs, so that no man's authority can have much weight
with him unless it be confirmed by probable reasons." Buchanan may
have thought that nine years of his stern rule had eradicated some
of James's ill conditions; the petulance which made him kill the
Master of Mar's sparrow, in trying to wrest it out of his hand; the
carelessness with which--if the story told by Chytraeus, on the
authority of Buchanan's nephew, be true--James signed away his crown
to Buchanan for fifteen days, and only discovered his mistake by
seeing Bachanan act in open court the character of King of Scots.
Buchanan had at last made him a scholar; he may have fancied that he
had made him likewise a manful man: yet he may have dreaded that,
as James grew up, the old inclinations would return in stronger and
uglier shapes, and that flattery might be, as it was after all, the
cause of James's moral ruin. He at least will be no flatterer. He
opens the dialogue which he sends to the king, with a calm but
distinct assertion of his mother's guilt, and a justification of the
conduct of men who were now most of them past helping Buchanan, for
they were laid in their graves; and then goes on to argue fairly,
but to lay down firmly, in a sort of Socratic dialogue, those very
principles by loyalty to which the House of Hanover has reigned, and
will reign, over these realms. So with his History of Scotland;
later antiquarian researches have destroyed the value of the earlier
portions of it: but they have surely increased the value of those
later portions, in which Buchanan inserted so much which he had
already spoken out in his Detection of Mary. In that book also
liberavit animam suam; he spoke his mind fearless of consequences,
in the face of a king who he must have known--for Buchanan was no
dullard--regarded him with deep dislike, who might in a few years be
able to work his ruin.

But those few years were not given to Buchanan. He had all but done
his work, and he hastened to get it over before the night should
come wherein no man can work. One must be excused for telling--one
would not tell it in a book intended to be read only by Scotsmen,
who know or ought to know the tale already--how the two Melvilles
and Buchanan's nephew Thomas went to see him in Edinburgh, in
September, 1581, hearing that he was ill, and his History still in
the press; and how they found the old sage, true to his
schoolmaster's instincts, teaching the Hornbook to his servant-lad;
and how he told them that doing that was "better than stealing
sheep, or sitting idle, which was as bad," and showed them that
dedication to James I., in which he holds up to his imitation as a
hero whose equal was hardly to be found in history, that very King
David whose liberality to the Romish Church provoked James's
witticism that "David was a sair saint for the crown." Andrew
Melville, so James Melville says, found fault with the style.
Buchanan replied that he could do no more for thinking of another
thing, which was to die. They then went to Arbuthnot's printing-
house, and inspected the history, as far as that terrible passage
concerning Rizzio's burial, where Mary is represented as "laying the
miscreant almost in the arms of Maud de Valois, the late queen."
Alarmed, and not without reason, at such plain speaking, they
stopped the press, and went back to Buchanan's house. Buchanan was
in bed. "He was going," he said, "the way of welfare." They asked
him to soften the passage; the king might prohibit the whole work.
"Tell me, man," said Buchanan, "if I have told the truth." They
could not, or would not, deny it. "Then I will abide his feud, and
all his kin's; pray, pray to God for me, and let Him direct all."
"So," says Melville, "before the printing of his chronicle was
ended, this most learned, wise, and godly man ended his mortal

Camden has a hearsay story--written, it must be remembered, in James
I.'s time--that Buchanan, on his death-bed, repented of his harsh
words against Queen Mary; and an old Lady Rosyth is said to have
said that when she was young a certain David Buchanan recollected
hearing some such words from George Buchanan's own mouth. Those who
will, may read what Ruddiman and Love have said, and oversaid, on
both sides of the question: whatever conclusion they come to, it
will probably not be that to which George Chalmers comes in his life
of Ruddiman: that "Buchanan, like other liars, who, by the
repetition of falsehoods are induced to consider the fiction as
truth, had so often dwelt with complacency on the forgeries of his
Detections, and the figments of his History, that he at length
regarded his fictions and his forgeries as most authentic facts."

At all events his fictions and his forgeries had not paid him in
that coin which base men generally consider the only coin worth
having, namely, the good things of this life. He left nothing
behind him--if at least Dr. Irving has rightly construed the
"Testament Dative" which he gives in his appendix--save arrears to
the sum of 100 pounds of his Crossraguel pension. We may believe as
we choose the story in Mackenzie's "Scotch Writers" that when he
felt himself dying, he asked his servant Young about the state of
his funds, and finding he had not enough to bury himself withal,
ordered what he had to be given to the poor, and said that if they
did not choose to bury him they might let him lie where he was, or
cast him in a ditch, the matter was very little to him. He was
buried, it seems, at the expense of the city of Edinburgh, in the
Greyfriars' Churchyard--one says in a plain turf grave--among the
marble monuments which covered the bones of worse or meaner men; and
whether or not the "Throughstone" which, "sunk under the ground in
the Greyfriars," was raised and cleaned by the Council of Edinburgh
in 1701, was really George Buchanan's, the reigning powers troubled
themselves little for several generations where he lay.

For Buchanan's politics were too advanced for his age. Not only
Catholic Scotsmen, like Blackwood, Winzet, and Ninian, but
Protestants, like Sir Thomas Craig and Sir John Wemyss, could not
stomach the "De Jure Regni." They may have had some reason on their
side. In the then anarchic state of Scotland, organisation and
unity under a common head may have been more important than the
assertion of popular rights. Be that as it may, in 1584, only two
years after his death, the Scots Parliament condemned his Dialogue
and History as untrue, and commanded all possessors of copies to
deliver them up, that they might be purged of "the offensive and
extraordinary matters" which they contained. The "De Jure Regni"
was again prohibited in Scotland, in 1664, even in manuscript; and
in 1683, the whole of Buchanan's political works had the honour of
being burned by the University of Oxford, in company with those of
Milton, Languet, and others, as "pernicious books, and damnable
doctrines, destructive to the sacred persons of Princes, their state
and government, and of all human society." And thus the seed which
Buchanan had sown, and Milton had watered--for the allegation that
Milton borrowed from Buchanan is probably true, and equally
honourable to both--lay trampled into the earth, and seemingly
lifeless, till it tillered out, and blossomed, and bore fruit to a
good purpose, in the Revolution of 1688.

To Buchanan's clear head and stout heart, Scotland owes, as England
owes likewise, much of her modern liberty. But Scotland's debt to
him, it seems to me, is even greater on the count of morality,
public and private. What the morality of the Scotch upper classes
was like, in Buchanan's early days, is too notorious; and there
remains proof enough--in the writings, for instance, of Sir David
Lindsay--that the morality of the populace, which looked up to the
nobles as its example and its guide, was not a whit better. As
anarchy increased, immorality was likely to increase likewise; and
Scotland was in serious danger of falling into such a state as that
into which Poland fell, to its ruin, within a hundred and fifty
years after; in which the savagery of feudalism, without its order
or its chivalry, would be varnished over by a thin coating of French
"civilisation," and, as in the case of Bothwell, the vices of the
court of Paris should be added to those of the Northern freebooter.
To deliver Scotland from that ruin, it was needed that she should be
united into one people, strong, not in mere political, but in moral
ideas; strong by the clear sense of right and wrong, by the belief
in the government and the judgments of a living God. And the tone
which Buchanan, like Knox, adopted concerning the great crimes of
their day, helped notably that national salvation. It gathered
together, organised, strengthened, the scattered and wavering
elements of public morality. It assured the hearts of all men who
loved the right and hated the wrong; and taught a whole nation to
call acts by their just names, whoever might be the doers of them.
It appealed to the common conscience of men. It proclaimed a
universal and God-given morality, a bar at which all, from the
lowest to the highest, must alike be judged.

The tone was stern: but there was need of sternness. Moral life
and death were in the balance. If the Scots people were to be told
that the crimes which roused their indignation were excusable, or
beyond punishment, or to be hushed up and slipped over in any way,
there was an end of morality among them. Every man, from the
greatest to the least, would go and do likewise, according to his
powers of evil. That method was being tried in France, and in Spain
likewise, during those very years. Notorious crimes were hushed up
under pretence of loyalty; excused as political necessities; smiled
away as natural and pardonable weaknesses. The result was the utter
demoralisation, both of France and Spain. Knox and Buchanan, the
one from the standpoint of an old Hebrew prophet, the other rather
from that of a Juvenal or a Tacitus, tried the other method, and
called acts by their just names, appealing alike to conscience and
to God. The result was virtue and piety, and that manly
independence of soul which is thought compatible with hearty
loyalty, in a country labouring under heavy disadvantages, long
divided almost into two hostile camps, two rival races.

And the good influence was soon manifest, not only in those who
sided with Buchanan and his friends, but in those who most opposed
them. The Roman Catholic preachers, who at first asserted Mary's
right to impurity while they allowed her guilt, grew silent for
shame, and set themselves to assert her entire innocence; while the
Scots who have followed their example have, to their honour, taken
up the same ground. They have fought Buchanan on the ground of
fact, not on the ground of morality: they have alleged--as they
had a fair right to do--the probability of intrigue and forgery in
an age so profligate: the improbability that a Queen so gifted by
nature and by fortune, and confessedly for a long while so strong
and so spotless, should as it were by a sudden insanity have proved
so untrue to herself. Their noblest and purest sympathies have been
enlisted--and who can blame them?--in loyalty to a Queen, chivalry
to a woman, pity for the unfortunate and--as they conceived--the
innocent; but whether they have been right or wrong in their view of
facts, the Scotch partisans of Mary have always--as far as I know--
been right in their view of morals; they have never deigned to admit
Mary's guilt, and then to palliate it by those sentimental, or
rather sensual, theories of human nature, too common in a certain
school of French literature, too common, alas! in a certain school
of modern English novels. They have not said, "She did it; but
after all, was the deed so very inexcusable?" They have said, "The
deed was inexcusable: but she did not do it." And so the Scotch
admirers of Mary, who have numbered among them many a pure and
noble, as well as many a gifted spirit, have kept at least
themselves unstained; and have shown, whether consciously or not,
that they too share in that sturdy Scotch moral sense which has been
so much strengthened--as I believe by the plain speech of good old
George Buchanan.


{1} This lecture was delivered in America in 1874.

{2} Black, translator of Mallett's "Northern Antiquities,"
Supplementary Chapter I., and Rafn's "Antiquitates Americanae."

{3} On the Fiftieth Birthday of Agassiz.

{4} This lecture was given in America in 1874.

{5} This lecture was given in America in 1874.

{6} This lecture and the two preceding ones, being published after
the author's death, have not had the benefit of his corrections.

{7} A Life of Rondelet, by his pupil Laurent Joubert, is to be
found appended to his works; and with an account of his illness and
death, by his cousin, Claude Formy, which is well worth the perusal
of any man, wise or foolish. Many interesting details beside, I owe
to the courtesy of Professor Planchon, of Montpellier, author of a
discourse on "Rondelet et vies Disciples," which appeared, with a
learned and curious Appendix, in the "Montpellier Medical" for 1866.

{8} This lecture was given at Cambridge in 1869.

{9} This lecture was given at Cambridge in 1869.

{10} I owe this account of Bloet's--which appears to me the only
one trustworthy--to the courtesy and erudition of Professor Henry
Morley, who finds it quoted from Bloet's "Acroama," in the
"Observationum Medicarum Rariorum," lib. vii., of John Theodore
Schenk. Those who wish to know several curious passages of
Vesalius's life, which I have not inserted in this article, would do
well to consult one by Professor Morley, "Anatomy in Long Clothes,"
in "Fraser's Magazine" for November, 1853. May I express a hope,
which I am sure will be shared by all who have read Professor
Morley's biographies of Jerome Carden and of Cornelius Agrippa, that
he will find leisure to return to the study of Vesalius's life; and
will do for him what he has done for the two just-mentioned writers?

{11} Olivarez's "Relacion" is to be found in the Granvelle State
Papers. For the general account of Don Carlos's illness, and of the
miraculous agencies by which his cure was said to have been
effected, the general reader should consult Miss Frere's "Biography
of Elizabeth of Valois," vol. i. pp. 307-19.

{12} In justice to poor Doctor Olivarez, it must be said that,
while he allows all force to the intercession of the Virgin and of
Fray Diego, and of "many just persons," he cannot allow that there
was any "miracle properly so called," because the prince was cured
according to "natural order," and by "experimental remedies" of the

{13} This lecture was given at Cambridge in 1869, and has not had
the benefit of the author's corrections for the press.

{14} Delrio's book, a famous one in its day, was published about

{15} For a true estimate of Paracelsus you must read "Fur Philippus
Aureolus Theophrarstus von Hohenheim," by that great German
physician and savant, Professor Marx, of Gottiingen; also a valuable
article founded on Dr. Marx's views in the "Nouveau Biographie
Universelle;" and also--which is within the reach of all--Professor
Maurice's article on Paracelsus in Vol. II. of his history of
"Moral and Metaphysical Philosophy." But the best key to Paracelsus
is to be found in his own works.

{16} So says Dr. Irving, writing in 1817. I have, however, tried
in vain to get a sight of this book. I need not tell Scotch
scholars how much I am indebted throughout this article to Mr. David
Irving's erudite second edition of Buchanan's Life.

{17} From the quaint old translation of 1721, by "A Person of
Honour of the Kingdom of Scotland."

Book of the day: