Mid-eighteenth century Scotland saw the heated re-emergenceof the three-hundred year old controversy surrounding the final twoyears of Mary Stuart’s six-year personal reign.
This ‘daughter of debate’, as Elizabeth I called her,
was a hugely divisive character fromher birth as Scotland’s infant female heir to her execution inFotheringhay Castle, England.
The controversial nature of Mary’sforced deposition (1567) elicited an immediate flurry of tracts bothsupporting and condemning the aggressors.
George Buchanan,leading apologist for the Moray-rebel camp, used the Englishlegitimisation of the sole incriminating evidence, the Casket Letters, tovilify the queen. Her judged guilt and subsequent nineteen-yearEnglish imprisonment provided the necessary means for the Buchananportrayal of an ‘adulterer [with Bothwell] and a murderer [of Darnley],a lascivious whore and a vicious tyrant’
to prevail. While partisanshave defended Mary from her deposition – Bishop of Ross,
the Spanish Armada
– the ferocity of the Marian debate largelysubsided with the accession of James VI and I in 1603.
The situationremained contentious – Ferguson claims that Queen Anne forbade theprinting of Buchanan’s tract against Mary out of ‘family pride and…
Mary Queen of Scots and the Casket Letters
(New York, 2002), p. 1.
Mary Queen of Scots: A Study in Failure
(London, 1988), p. 12.
Maurice Lee, ‘Review Article: The Daughter of Debate: Mary Queen of Scots After400 Years’ in
The Scottish Historical Review
, Vol, 68, No. 185 (April 1989), p. 71.
Jayne Elizabeth Lewis,
The Trial of Mary Queen of Scots: A Brief History withDocuments
(California, 1999), p. 41.
Roger A. Mason, ‘George Buchanan and Mary Queen of Scots’ in
Records of theScottish Church History Society
, Vol. 30 (Edinburgh, 2000), p. 1.
John Leslie, Bishop of Ross, ‘A Defence of the Honour of… Marie, 1569’ in JayneElizabeth Lewis,
The Trial of Mary Queen of Scots: A Brief History with Documents
(California, 1999), p. 67.
Mary Queen of Scots
(London, 1969), p. 544.
Mary Queen of Scots
, p. 14.
., p. 14.