Cecil Papers: September 1597

Pages 20-25

Calendar of the Cecil Papers in Hatfield House: Volume 14, Addenda. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1923.

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September 1597

George Leslie to [Mr. Browne].
1597, Sept. 4. Traist friend, James Cummyngis, your auld acquaintance saluteth you, and not beinge abill to brouk this cuntrie for reasons bayth trew and necessarie, quhilk yow may easilie gess at and quharof heirafter he will give you ane accompt, nor yit to write to you according to the forme set doun, he hes desirit me to supplie his rowme and to complie with you in his absence in all sic poynts as of courtesie is bound. He is for the present in Catnes, thence to pass into Irland and so forward as occasion serveth; gif ye put again in your quarters he will do dileigence to see you and certefie you mair in particular of all things.
The state of things in this Realme is verray tikill. Here hes bin this laste symmer messengers, ane fra the Paip and princes of Itialie, as Florence, Ferrara, and Loren, directed to the Kinge, with som present moyane and assurance of 40,000 "[symbol]" moneathlie gif he wald alter religion and pretend tytill to Ingland, quhilk message was utterlie refusit, and the Kinge and courteors made their wantage thereof, as of all other things, usinge it for ane moyne to draw fra Ingland greater sowmes; fra Flanders come ane other Spanyard fra his King with like comission to tha, and words onlie of comforte to tha; bayth departit sklanderlie satified, Mr. William Lynsay with ane of thame, withoute commission or direction of any of the nobills, ane onlie excepted; quhat privat or privie commission or direction he had of his awne or fra the King, or credite be mouth it is suspected, bot allwaies I se it a maxim concluded on all parties that moyane shall be welcome bot men thai will not; and this moyane comeath onlie to sum few mens hands that convert it to privat uses, so that bayth Ingland and Spain will quicklie be weirrie of sic debursements seinge na better effects. And this hes bin the sum of all that bessnes quhilk causit sic clamour in this cuntree this last symmer.
But in myne opinion, albeit our case heir seme disparat, yit was it never at sa guid a pass. For quhensoever tha Queen sall die, or thair sall appeir ane Ingland ony trubills or invasions, thair will stert oute hence sa strange and strong partie to pursew auld quarellis that it is almaist uncredibill. Bot besydis some few courteors, tha ministers and burrowes, the haill peopill and nobillitie ar extremlie offendit to see thame selffes so absolutlie tiranisit be Ingland, that without replie quhome thai will have wrackit, be it ryght or wrang, mun leve the cuntrie or lose liffe land and libertie. Of this kynde of men the nomber is great, thair power grett, thair desire of revenge grett, thair disdaine grett, and sa mekill mair in pollicie to be hopit well of as thai be resolut to reserv thameselfis with all kynd of humiliacion and dissimulacion bayth with God and man till tha see ane outgate how till dibill out thair turnis. And for this assertion I have maiste assurit groundis. To kepe thais men and contynue thame in thais humours, Mr. Bowes is the best instrument we culd ever have wishit, for he is sa far puritanisit that I suppois he will not stick to straine ane point with his maistris to pleis his maisters, quhais designes tend to the utter subvertion of the nobillitie and to establishe ane democraisie. Gif ye will ken ilk man's part in this cuntrie, this it standeth. The Kinge and Courteors wilbe in hand with tha in Ang: and to purches thair awne standing and securitie wilbe layth to see ane hastie ende of thais cummers. The King in his hart hates the ministers, not for their religion but for thair sedicious malipart and malicious behaviours; he loveth the nobillitie, bot sa bas is he of spirit that he dare not awow it. Quhat he will do gif he saw ane back, God kens and na man but himselfe. The ministers, Bowes, and the Burrowis will draw all to ane populer government. The catholik nobills seek libertie of conscience. The rest of tha nobilitie, twa or thre different men except, seeke revenge of Inglish injuries. Spanish and Italian gold absolutlie on all hands. Assistance of strangers is refusit, with moyanie thai have sett down reasons how thai be abill to dibill oute thair turnes without men, and how peralous for all partis strangers ar; nothinge but gold can sink in thair handes. Howsoever gret perswacions and offers hes been made to the contrarie. Thair is ane Richard Douglas that hes, as I understand, bene ane dailar betwixt the Q[ueen] and thais Lords. He is ane perralous fellow, and had he not bin baith cunnyngly and courragiouslie resisted, he had brought thame on sa far wi tha that all uther foraine hopis had bene theirby frustrat. Thair is nought elles to be feired in our cause bott lest tha shuld compone with the Q[ueen], and as she has parte of the nobillitie her slaves for her angells, sa sche purches tha rest be offer of thair peace and libertie of conscience, and cutt of all uther plattis and discredit all our agentis abrode, quho have made large promises and undertaken mekell bayth in the King's and thair names, albeit, as apears be theffect of this symmer, upon verray sklender comission or aucthoritie fra either of thame. I feir gif ever that cause come againe in question quhat will be the yssew, for Anguss is a right Dowlass propence of himselffe to that pacification with Ingland and all his friends urge him thereuntill. He of himself stands presislie uppon the points of his honour that he will noither proffer no promis to Inland but quhat he mynds to performe to the uttermaist. Uther of the nobillmen, boyth declarit and undeclairit, I fynd not to abhor from that course. But mercie Maister Bowes and the Ministers, I see that deiling now sa utterlie rejectit that I hope to see it cum in thend to ane cast at the dice. For of desparet men quhat can be expectit but desparet courses, desparet conclusions, and desparet execucions, quhilk ar often reddie redresse for desparet causes. This drawinge on tha lords to band with Ingland was accomptit a stratageme of the Trasowrare. Tha expect fra him nathinge but wrack, rewin and destruction howsoever he coulour it with tearmes of justice, prudence, policie and pasification. The commone prayer heir is that God will send him other ane better mynde or ane schorter end. The haill nobillitie heir speik honorablie and seem weill effectit to the Erle of Essex. Gif he suld interpois himself as ane arbitrator I feir me he will gang far and cast our cause mekill back. He is accomptit heir mair myld, nobill, temporat and weill condisionat than tha Trasourar, albeit fast to his faction yet not bludie, cruell and conscienceles, bot that he culd be contentet to let pure catholikes have sum oversycht sa that he myght be sure of the same swinge and swy in courte and cuntrey he hes for the present. The oppynion of tha Trasourar abrode is that he is mair fortunat than considerat, mair wittie than wise, and mair wise than honest; that he shewis himselfe of all men and meanes, bayth puritance, athis, Turkes, Jewis, and infidelis, without all regard of honour or honestie to efectuat his purpoises. Allwaies Mr. Bowis and tha ministers, agains their wills as I suppone, ar the best instruements our cause hes for the present, for quhairas before their rygorous proceedings we had but few and thais instant and verray secret and feble favourers, have we mony nobill resolut and disparet partiners, and daylie thai ar lyke to increas as thair mallice and rigor towards them incresse, and for my parte I culd wish that all the scismaticall lls [lords] in Scotland—quhilk are verray many—wer excommunicat and put at, as I hope tha wilbe firste or laste, be huke or cruke. Thair ar six Erls allreddie bandit with these lords. Other lls [lords] or barrons as yit thai can procure nan to assist or juine with thame, but I hope tha ministers— will help them forward gif they proceede as they ar wont in urging thame with swerings and subscriptions. I pray you wryt to me quhat executions of catholiks, as well priestes as laimen, hes ben made sen Lent, and for quhat cause, and of uther occurrence, and quhat ye think were best thais nobill men — deid other tendinge to werr or peace, and quhether ye think that Essex maye be drawne to take compassion of thame that myght be wonn by curteosye. The ministers offer thais nobill men certen conditions of peace, aither by entringe into warde with suretie of thair lyffes, or by goeinge of the cuntrey with cautionn not to perturb the present state, yit thai ar mair inclyned to deill wth Irland. Wryt your opynion quhat ye think mayst meit and quhat maye be done herein, for ane freind of yours may straik ane grett straik other pro or con. Gyf ony of thais conclusion take effect or gif ony better hopes cume, assure yourselffe you shall, for your friende Jamis Cumingis sake, have notice with the first before anythinge heir can be attemptit, especiallie gyf ony assistance of men be providit or admittit or ony mair enter into the band, quhilk are twa the maist important points I suppoace cocerne our caus. In the meane tyme set your hart at rest, for the ministers' outerage and furie hes not yet discontentid sa manie as maye not easily be both repressit and reconsilit, notwithstandinge all uther helps or hopes sa mekill feirit. But the courteors here, to get your Inglish angells, axagerat all thinges to the uttermaist. I maye saye of this cuntrey as Jugorth said of Rome, "Miserrima Scotiœ, quam cito perires si emptorem invenires." James Cumingis is verray desyrous to see you and to confer with you, for wryte he maye not. The cause ye may ges; and cum he dares not, the times and wayes be sa perrellous. But gif ye will have him adventure to cum to you and your advisment, before he depart, I will gar him be advertisit. He hes willit me here to complie with you in his steid; send me a sipher and tell quhat ye will be at heir and I will endevor to satisfie you, onely this, keep the order prescislie for sending and delivering your letters set downe in myne to Mr. Cravin or excuse me gyf I completure not, and as I see our intelligence setlit sa will I wryte the mair bald letter. The Arch Herneste has sent into Spain to remove Stepheane Ibarra and Counte de Feuente. For ather he will governe absolutlie or not at all. The prence of Spain is to marie Fardinandois dochter of Insburk and the Duke of Parma the other sister. The Count Fewenters to go for governor of Millaine. There is ane Mundie in Anwape, a spye of Sir Thomas Henige, that causit certen letters to be interceptit direckit to you, whairin he did you gret wrange, that hinderid your knowledge in many things tending to your good: how, at our farder metinge or wrytinge. Scotland the fourt of Sept. 1594. Your traist freind Geordie Leslie. To his traist frend Mr. Browne at the Gilden Ball in Chepesyde.
[Note by copyist.] Thus far of the letter was written in a Scottish hand, all the ciphers following seme to be of an Englishman's writing.
Our word may be not my frend but your friendis surname. The King of Scotland is not to be trusted for as he hath for youre pleasure ridden oppon the Lordes and cast doune theyre "yowses" [? houses], so at the same time he spake with Huntley [lzqyohs is the cypher but probably s "p" is a mistake for b "y"] and for feare of the ministers let hym downe by a corde at a wyndowe. James Cummins your frend hath seane letters of the Kinges wne hande for the dispatche of Mr. Walter dispatche both former and future he is also awaye, He hath sene also letters of E. Bothewell's of the same effecte; the Erles of Craforde Monton [in cipher prqyr q ="Monbon"] Flemynge and Harrys and Simyle will not heare thereof.
The commyssioners yow have sent into Flanders are accompted spyes.
These letters were in and oute at Edd. sax tymes, your factor being fra theare as appeareth by the handlinge of them and the different of daites, 1° Decembris and 4° Septembris. He that sendes theis shall have order how they may come to Geordie Lalsey's handes.
Estevan de Ybarra is to vhprzzhq khvoby orghr and d. others ar dealing for yow to compose matters; if you [think] that course maye serve yow to purpose and you meane pease indade, I can assure you of serme [firm] dealing herafter and perhappes herebye to conclude a general pease, if you remaine not in that paradoxe that al Catholikes are enymyes to youer estate, whilk you see is most false. Wryte if in eny of these points you maye — serve yowreselfe or me and yow shall find me faytthfull usque ad aras; youre course in Ingland is over violent and cannot indure. Expecte not to heare from me often; before you have just cause to feare yow shalle have laful warninge. This assure youreselfe; nothinge shall passe but yowe shall kenne before hit dammage yowe. I mynde to returne yf hit be possible to the place whence I came, when yow last saw me, thence from the fountaine to sende you of the pure water for youre sore eyes. There are nettes laid for 2 fowles in youre forest; looke well into them, and above all things avoyde to be cauled and estemed bluddy, cruell or conciensles. There are 2 myghtie factyons for the present in this corte, the one between the K. and Q., thother betwene the Duke and the Hambledones. Yf alteration cumme as is expected, and hardlie can be avoyded, you shall see a partie without foryners, hardly to be suppressed, and there I hold pacification the surest possession in a statesmen so mutable and where there are and rise daylie so many faeedds and factyons. I told you truly of that whilk felle owte heare this summer. I love to be sure thowghe seldome, and my not wrytinge shalbe a signe of youre lytle cause to assure or feare. No signature.
Endorsed in error:—"Intelligence 4 September, 1597. Cypher." 3½ pp. (55. 12.)
Francis Dacre to Sir Robert Sidney, (fn. 1) Governor of Flushing.
[1597,] Sept. 25. I wrote unto you at my being at Leeg (Liege) how I was intended to leave the country where I was and to live no longer under the government of the King of Spain. Now that I am come into France I can give you a more assured testimony of my loyal intention. If therefore you or your good friends would be a means to Her Majesty that I might return with the "injoyans" of that which my ancestors had, or that at least in living in place where her Majesty shall appoint I may enjoy relief for myself and my son, I will ever remain most loyal to her Majesty.—Paris, 25 Sept., 1597.
Endorsed: 1597. 1 p. (73. 108.)
Sir Richard Martin.
[1597, Sept.] The request and offers of Sir Richard Martyn to her Majesty; and a brief of the abuses he desires to have reformed.
That his fee be augmented to £200 during life, as Treasurers of the Mint have hitherto had; or else that his allowance of 14d. per pound weight of silver be increased to 16d., as was allowed to Mr. Loynson. Otherwise that the following offers be accepted: that he be the Queen's farmer during life, for which he will answer every year £1,000: he will allow yearly to the moniers to mend the making of the monies £100, and 12d. upon every pound weight of crown gold coined, instead of 9d. By these offers the Queen's revenue of the Mint will be much increased, the poor moniers somewhat relieved, and yet the standard kept. Unlawful transportations of gold and silver to be restrained: counterfeiters and diminishers of the coin suppressed: and deceit of goldsmith's wares imported by strangers corrected. The falsehood of troy weights and balances for want of due oversight is daily practised.—Undated.
1 p. (186. 97.)
[See Calendar of State Papers, Domestic, 1595–1597, p. 506.]


  • 1. This letter is referred to in Dacre's to Elinor his daughter of the same date, printed in Cecil Papers, vii., 397.