ELIZABETH I'S LETTER TO JAMES VI OF SCOTLAND
(14 Feb 1587)
Elizabeth sent James this letter four days after Mary of Scotland's death. In it she tells him that she never intended for his mother to die - her council illegally obtained her signature on the warrant for execution. There is no way to know the truth but Elizabeth, a strong believer in the cult of royalty, was surely troubled by a fellow Queen's execution. Of course, James was too much of a realist to make a fuss - he wanted to succeed Elizabeth to the throne of England. Also, his nobles had imprisoned and attempted to kill Mary before she left Scotland! The duplicity of her countrymen was the reason Mary had come to England in the first place.
My dear Brother,
I would you knew (though not felt) the extreme dolor that overwhelms my mind,
for that miserable accident which (far contrary to my meaning) hath befalled. I
have now sent this kinsman of mine, whom ere now it hath pleased you to favor,
to instruct you truly of that which is too irksome for my pen to tell you. I
beseech you that as God and many more know, how innocent I am in this case: so
you will believe me, that I had bid aught I would have bid by it. I am not so
base minded that fear of any living creature or Prince should make me so afraid
to do that were just; or done, to deny the same. I am not of so base a lineage,
nor carry so vile a mind. But, as not to disguise, fits not a King, so will I
never dissemble my actions, but cause them show even as I meant them. Thus
assuring yourself of me, that as I know this was deserved, yet if I had meant it
I would never lay it on others' shoulders; no more will I not damnify myself
that thought it not.
The circumstances it may please you to have of this bearer. And for your part, think you have not in the world a more loving kinswoman, nor a more dear friend than myself; nor any that will watch more carefully to preserve you and your estate. And who shall otherwise persuade you, judge them more partial to others than you. And thus in haste I leave to trouble you: beseeching God to send you a long reign. The 14th of Feb, 1587.
Your most assured loving sister and cousin,
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