But by the 22nd of March Beaton was a free man, liberated by Sir George Douglas.
The great ability of Beaton and the patronage of his uncle ensured his rapid promotion to high offices in the church and kingdom.
The details of the final and successful plot were uncertain - the martyr Wishart cannot be identified with Wishart the would-be murderer - but with Beaton practically expired the chances of the French and Catholic party in Scotland.
We lose trace of the plot to slay him from the 10th of October 1 545 till the end of May 1546, the documents being missing; but on the 29th of May 1546 Beaton was cruelly murdered in his castle of St Andrews.
Arran too was soon won over to his views, dismissed the preachers by whom he had been surrounded, and joined the cardinal at Stirling, where in September 1543 Beaton crowned the young queen.
Had Beaton confined himself to secular politics, his strenuous opposition to the plans of Henry VIII.
Was held aloof by Beaton and two French marriages; and France was alarmed by Henry's growing friendliness with Charles V., who was mollified by his cousin Mary's restoration to her place in the succession to the throne.
During the lifetime of his uncle, Beaton had shared in the efforts of the hierarchy to suppress the reformed doctrines, and pursued the same line of conduct still more systematically after his elevation to the primacy.
When James Beaton was translated to St Andrews in 1522 he resigned the rich abbacy of Arbroath in his nephew's favour, under reservation of one half of the revenues to himself during his lifetime.
The character of Beaton has already been indicated.