After three such good fortunes by marriage Norfolk in his folly looked for a crown with a fourth match, listening to the laird of Lethington when he set forth the scheme by which the duke was to marry a restored queen of Scots and rule Scotland with her who should be recognized as Elizabeth's successor.
In 1554 she took into her service William Maitland of Lethington, who as secretary of state gained very great influence over her.
Meanwhile Maitland of Lethington had been at the English court, and an English fleet under William Winter was sent to the Forth in January 1560 to waylay Elbeuf's fleet, which was, however, driven back by a storm to Calais.
Of these Maitland of Lethington was consenting to Darnley's murder; the earl of Morton had, at least, guilty foreknowledge; the regent Moray (Mary's natural brother) had "looked through his fingers" at the crime, and for months remained on intimate terms with the criminals.
This is attested as a "true copy," but Moray, who had been present when Bowton was examined (December 8, 1567), knew that the copy presented at Westminster (December 1568) had been mutilated because the excised passages were damning to Lethington and the earl of Morton, accomplices in the crime of Darnley's murder, and accomplices of Moray in his prosecution of his sister.
A messenger was at once sent from Edinburgh to London with a letter from Lethington and a verbal message.
According to de Silva, Elizabeth said that she did not believe in the Letters, and that Lethington, who wrote to Cecil on the 21st of June, and sent a verbal message by the bearer, "had behaved badly in the matter," - whether that of the letters, or in general.
His defence of church property and privilege against the predatory instincts of the nobles and the pretensions of the state brought him into conflict with Lethington and others; but he seems to have condoned, if he was not privy to, Riccio's murder.
Her half-brother, Lord James Stuart, shared the duties of her chief counsellor with William Maitland of Lethington, the keenest and most liberal thinker in the country.
The result of this daring ride was a ten days' fever, after which she removed by short stages to Craigmillar, where a proposal for her divorce from Darnley was laid before her by Bothwell, Murray, Huntly, Argyle and Lethington, who was chosen spokesman for the rest.
She assented on condition that the divorce could be lawfully effected without impeachment of her son's legitimacy; whereupon Lethington undertook in the name of all present that she should be rid of her husband without any prejudice to the child - at whose baptism a few days afterwards Bothwell took the place of the putative father, though Darnley was actually residing under the same roof, and it was not till after the ceremony that he was suddenly struck down by a sickness so violent as to excite suspicions of poison.
On the 24th of April, as she approached Edinburgh, Bothwell accordingly met her at the head of Boo spearmen, assured her (as she afterwards averred) that she was in the utmost peril, and escorted her, together with Huntly, Lethington and Melville, who were then in attendance, to Dunbar Castle.
The confederate lords on entering Edinburgh were welcomed by the citizens, and after three hours' persuasion Lethington, who had now joined them, prevailed on the captain of the castle to deliver it also into their hands.
Mignet, Histoire de Marie Stuart (2 vols., Brussels, 1851); Martin Philippson, Histoire du regne de Marie Stuart (3 vols., Paris, 1891); Sir John Skelton, Mary Stuart (London, 1893), Maitland of Lethington and the Scotland of Mary Stuart (2 vols., Edinburgh, 1887), The Impeachment of Mary Stuart (Edinburgh, 1878), and Essays in History and Biography, including the Defence of Mary Stuart (Edinburgh, 1883); Joseph Stevenson, Mary Stuart: The First Eighteen Years of her Life (Edinburgh, 1886); D.
Maitland of Lethington, the Achitophel of his day, also deserted the regent; but in November the reformers were driven by the regent and her small band of French soldiers from Edinburgh to Stirling.
They were almost in despair, but, heartened by Knox and Lethington, they resumed negotiations with Elizabeth,.
She foiled the attempts of the English ambassador to make her ratify the treaty of Edinburgh, and, while Lethington, no worse a prophet than Knox, predicted " strange tragedies," Mary came home.
Lethington, who had deserted her mother, dreaded her arrival; she forgave him, and for a time, relying on him and her brother, contrived to secure a measure of tranquillity.
Marriage, by the consent of Elizabeth to recognize Mary as her heir, by the ambitions of her own nobles and the wit of Lethington, ever anxious to unite the island under one sovereign - Mary hoped to wear the three crowns.
Lethington then went to London to watch over Mary's interests, and either to arrange her marriage with Don Carlos, or to put.
Life went on much as usual, and the country, with a merely provisional government, was peaceful enough under the guidance of Moray, Maitland of Lethington, and the other lay Protestant leaders.
Darnley was esteemed handsome, though his portraits give an opposite impression; his native qualities of cowardice, perfidy, profligacy and overweening arrogance were at first concealed, and in mid April 1565 Lethington was sent to London, not to renew the negotiations with Leicester (as had been designed till the 31st of March), but to announce Mary's intended wedding with her cousin.
Lethington had not left her, but he was overlooked; Lennox and the impracticable Darnley were neglected; and the dangerous earl of Morton, a Douglas, had to tremble for his lands and office as chancellor, while Mary rested on her foreign secretary, the upstart David Riccio; on Sir James Balfour, noted for falseness even in that age; and on Bothwell.
Lethington (5th of February 1566), wrote to Cecil saying that " we must chop at the very root," and Randolph, Elizabeth's ambassador, heard that measures against Mary's own person were being taken.
Knox himself fled to Kyle, though there is no evidence that he was privy to a deed which he calls " worthy of all praise," and Morton and Ruthven spurred to Berwick, while Lethington skulked in Atholl.
On Mary's recovery, her aversion to Darnley, and her confidence in Bothwell, were unconcealed; and, early in September, she admitted Lethington to her presence.
The evidence on these points is disputable, but now, or not long after, Huntly, Bothwell, Lethington and Argyll signed a " band " for Darnley's murder.
About this week must have occurred the interview in the garden at the Douglas's house of Whittingehame, between Morton, Bothwell and Lethington, when Morton refused to be active in Darnley's murder, unless he had a written warrant from the queen.
Murray arrested VI.: Lethington, as accused of Darnley's murder, and Lethington was now lodged under ward in Edinburgh, Conte "- but Kirkcaldy of Grange released him and gave him shelter in Edinburgh castle, which he commanded (2 3 rd of October).
Lethington was to be tried, but his armed friends mustered in great numbers, and, secure in the castle, he and Kirkcaldy upheld the cause of Mary.
Lethington, the heart of the long resistance, died, a paralytic, in prison, and Morton resisted the generous efforts made to save the gallant Kirkcaldy.
Knox had gone too far in intolerance, and Moray and Maitland of Lethington gradually withdrew their support.
MAITLAND (MAITLAND OF LETHINGTON), WILLIAM (c.
See John Skelton, Maitland of Lethington (1894); A.
In 1786 he edited Ancient Scottish Poems from the MS. collections of Sir Richard Maitland of Lethington - a genuine reproduction.