At 2am on Wednesday 8 February 1587, Mary Queen of Scots picked up her pen for the last time. Her execution on the block at Fotheringhay Castle was a mere six hours away when she wrote this letter. It is addressed to Henri III of France, brother of her first husband.
As well as the English translation, Mary's last written words are available here in a French transcription. You can also read the historical background to this letter.
The letter is part of the National Library of Scotland's manuscript collections. (NLS reference: Adv.MS.54.1.1)
Shown here is an image of Mary shortly after her marriage in 1558. With her is her husband, Francois. As eldest son of the French King, he took the title of Dauphin (or 'Dolphin') of France. He became king in 1559.
The Court Rolls of Ramsey, Hepmangrove and Bury, 1268-1600 The court rolls of Ramsey, Hepmangrove and Bury constitute a distinctive collection of primary sources for examining and exploring the lives of ordinary people and the institutions of a rural community in the East Midlands of medieval England from the end of the 13th century to the beginning of the 17th century. They were previously published on microfiche as part of The Court Rolls of Ramsey, Hepmangrove and Bury, 1268-1600 , edited and translated by Edwin DeWindt and originally published by the Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies (Toronto) in 1990 as vol. 17 of the Subsidia Mediaevalia series (ISBN 0-88844-366-8).
A London Provisioner's Chronicle, 1550–1563, by Henry Machyn: Manuscript, Transcription, and Modernization is an electronic scholarly edition created by Richard W. Bailey, Marilyn Miller, and Colette Moore. The Chronicle was one of the treasures of the library of the antiquarian Robert Cotton, and it was stored in the same bookcase with the Beowulf manuscript. Its location was in the book press surmounted by a bust of the Roman emperor Vitellius, and it takes its shelf mark in the British Library from that location: Cotton Vitellius F.v. In the terrible fire that did so much damage to this library in the early eighteenth century, the 162 leaves of the diary were badly damaged and portions of the outside margins and the top of the text were charred or burned away.