James VI: June 1591

Pages 521-539

Calendar of State Papers, Scotland: Volume 10, 1589-1593. Originally published by His Majesty's General Register House, Edinburgh, 1936.

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James VI: June 1591

572. Robert Bowes to Burghley. [June 8.]

On Saturday the 5th he received Burghley's letter of the first instant, and finding that the lords of her majesty's Privy Council intend to write to him about the King's letter to them on behalf of Archibald Johnson, he forbears to deal therein before the receipt of their directions.

Has recounted to the King the excessive charges oppressing her majesty, but that she will provide for him 3,000 l. for this year's gratuity, in regard of the greatness of his affairs. The King purposes to write to her for an increase, and to press him with the convoy of his letters.

"On Saterday last the King assembled the lords of the session and learned officers of the estate, to determyne what witnesses might be receyved by the cyvill lawes in accions of lesœ majestatis and heresy. The lords of the session were nyce to declare their opinions therein, because they were judges in cyvill and not in criminall causes." The King pressed the same for his own satisfaction in knowledge of the law, and to decide present questions therein, and concerning the administration of justice. "Whereupon it is resolved and registred that women, infantes, infamous persones and socii criminis may be receyved in the accions mencioned." This resolution is impugned by many, chiefly the friends of such as must abide their trials in these causes, and interpreted not to extend to the evidence of witches. The authors of it are not wholly of one mind about it.

Yesterday the assize of error to try the verdict of the former jury for Barbara Neparre was ready to proceed, and the said jury was called to answer to their errors. "But the King so travelled with them to let them fynde their owne ignorances and his clemency to pardone the same as they put themselves into the King's will. Wherupon the assisse of errour was dischardged, and neverthelesse dyrected to remayne in this towne for two dayes." Effam Mackallean is to be arraigned tomorrow for consulting with witches and practise of the King's death. It is looked that by the evidence of other witches she shall be found guilty, but some of Bothwell's friends hope that the matter shall not be further prosecuted against him, but that he shall be at liberty within twenty days and pass into a foreign country of his own accord. The King's forwardness in these matters persuades many that they shall not fall so suddenly to such end.

Encloses a note of the King's oration and doings yesterday in the Tolbooth. He is to-day deliberating there with the Council and the lords of the session for the revocation of grants made during his minority and infra annos utiles, and for reformation of the abuses of the session in justice, and evil behaviour of ministers. Edinburgh. Signed: Robert Bowes.

2 pp. Addressed. Indorsed.

Enclosure with the same:

(Inquest upon Barbara Napier.)

Cf. Criminal Trials in Scot. ed. R. Pitcairn, I. Pt. ii. 242.

"The inquest which first went upon Barbara Neper, called before the King in the Tolbooth the 7 of June 1591."

"Archbald Wilky of Cannygate, Chauncellour or foreman; David Fernely, burgess of Edenburgh; Robert Cunyngham, Hector Clevy, James Justice Patricke Sandilandes, John Mowbery, James Fergeson, ibidem; John Bell of Belles myll; John Bog, George Bog, David Seaton, John Seaton, James Carbright [Galbraith], servantes to the King's majestie. These at the first did simply yeld themselves to the King's will, refucing advocates."

"Ten of this inquest—being not the King's servauntes—when they were demaunded whether they desyred an advocate or not, answered that they did desyre one, and among others named Mr. John Russell."

"The reason whie they desyred one was asked. They answered, because they were ignorant of the lawes."

"Mr. John Russell their advocate—being enterteyned and having conferred with them—in their name made protestacion that they had done nothinge but their consciences in their verdict, and that they did it with a loyall mynde to his majestie and with calling on the name of God; and yf they had any way fayled they referred themselves to the King's will. Whereupon the King said to Mr. Russell that his speach 'yf they had fayled' seemed doubtfull, and bad him tell whether they did symply yelde themselves to the King's will or not. He answered that they did. Upon this the King called one Mr. David Magill, his advocate, for an instrumente, and began a speache to the effect following."

"'My comyng hither at this tyme may seeme strange unto you in two respectes: first, because it hath not bene the custome that the Kings of this realme my forebeers should sit in persone upon cryminall causes, neither have I my selfe done it, save onely twise; once for the repressing of idolatrie and masse in this realme, and another tyme for slaughter; secondly, it seemeth strange that besides custome an assisse of errour should be chardged. To these I answere that all the strangenes of this matter ariseth from the nonage of my forebeers, who before they had gotten yeeres and streinght fit for these causes they were prevented by death.'"

"'But to the question whether I may sit in person upon cryminall causes or not, I affirme that cryminall causes are of twoo sortes, namely eyther touching the lyves of men or their goodes. Upon crymes touching men's lyves—as adultery, murder, theft, rebellion—yf the prince should sit in person it might be a note of rigour. And therefore it is forbidden in the civil lawe. But of errour or such like, which concerne onely men's goodes, and not their lyves, it is lawfull by that lawe. And whie should it not be so, seinge in all civill matters for goodes and geare no man denyes it to be lawfull for the King to sit.'"

"'The cause that moved me to be heere in persone for this assisse of errour is the greate neede which I see to be in this country of such assisses, sithence the common assisses which are heere gyven doe not aswell noxios condemnare as innocentes demittere, condemne the guylty as cleare the innocent, which are alike abhominable before God, as Solomon teacheth. For whereas assisses should goe secundum allegata et probata, and so eyther acquit or fynd guylty—I know not upon what ignoraunce —I fynde men make no conscience to fynde the guylty, to the greate perverting of justice. Therefore was I mooved at this tyme to chardge this assisse of errour, that it may be an example in tyme commyng to make men to be more wary how they gyve false verdictes, not onely in this cause but in all other causes. And this I doe of conscience of that office which God hath laid upon me.'"

"'Now I must advertyce you what it is that makes greate crymes to be so rife in this country, namely, that all men set themselves more for freendes then for justice and obedience to the lawe. This corrupcion heere bearnes sucke at the pap. And let a man commyt the most filthie crymes that can be, yet his freendes take his parte, and first keepe him from apprehencion, and after by feade or favour, by false assisse or some waie or other, they fynde moyne of his escape from punishmente. The experience heereof we have in Netherie [sic].'"

"'I will not speake how I am chardged with this falt in courte and quyre, from prynce and pulpet. Yet this I say, that—howsoever matters have gone agaynst my will—I am innocent of all injustice in these behalfes, and for my parte my conscience doth set me cleare, as did the conscience of Samuell, and I call you to be my judges heerein. And suppose I be your King, yet I submit my selfe to the accusacions of you my subjectes in this behalfe, and let any one saie what I have done. And as I have thus begonne, so purpose I to goe forwarde: not because I am James Stuard, and can comaunde so many thousandes of men, but because God hath made me a King and judge to judge righteouse judgmente.'"

"'For witchcraft, which is a thing growen very common amongst us, I know it to be a most abhominable synne, and I have bene occupied these three quarters of this yeere for the siftyng out of them that are guylty heerein. We are taught by the lawes both of God and men that this synne is most odious, and by Godes law punishable by death: by man's lawe it is called maleficium or venificium, an ill deede or a poysonable deede, and punishable likewise by death.'"

"'Now yf it be death being practised against any of the people, I must needes thinke it to be—at least—the like yf it be agaynst the King. Not that I feare my death, for—I thanke God—I dare in a good cause to abide hazarde; and I am assured that when this my life is ended then shall it be farre better with me. But I speake this in regarde of the common good of this country which I tender, and which—I assure my selfe—enjoyeth peace by my life; as you may collect by myne absence, for yf such troubles were in breeding whilest I reteyned lyfe, what would have bene done yf my life had bene taken from me.'"

"'As for them who thinke these witchcraftes to be but fantacyes, I remmyt them to be catechised and instructed in these most evident poyntes.'"

"'You may happyly suppose that I myght have referred these matters to inferiour judges. Therefore I shew unto you that I tooke this labour upon my selfe: first, because I see no justice in inferiour judges, they being caried away eyther with feade or favour; secondly, because I see the pride of these witches and their freendes, which can not be prevented but by myne owne presence. And for these witches, whatsoever hath bene gotten from them hath bene done by me my selfe; not because I was more wise then others, but because I was not partiall, and belefte that such a vice did reigne and ought to be repressed.'"

"'Now then yf in the end I should have let this matter fall it must needes have bene no litle dishonour to me, having so earnestly pursued it in the begyning. And I would not that any of you should thinke that I prosecuted this in respect of myne owne particuler, for God is my judge I did it not, that being but a suspicion. But this I have done, that none may thinke that this is but a fantacy, wishing that none may be founde wilfully ignorant.'"

"'The men of the assisse I will not prejudge, neither did I ever thinke worse of them then that they were ignorant. For I assure my selfe they are loyall subjectes, and such as in no sort would for favour leane rather to a woman then to their prynce: and yf they had stood out with me I must besides their ignorance have thought them wilfull, which must have bene sharply punished.'"

"'The thing that mooved them to fynde as they did was because they had no testymony but of witches, which they thought not sufficient. By the civill law I knowe that such infamous persones are not receyved for witnesses but in matters of herecy and lesœ majestatis, for in other matters it is not thought meete. Yet in these matters of witchcraft good reason that such be admitted: fyrst, none honest man can know these matters; secondly, because they will not accuse themselves; thirdly, because no acte which is done by them can be seene.'"

"'Further, I call them witches which doe renounce God and yeld them selves wholely to the devill; but when they have recanted and repented, as these have done, then I accompt them not as witches, and so their testymony sufficient. In this I referre my selfe to the ministers. Besides, the inquest is to judge of the qualitie of the testymony and circumstances concernyng the same. Also it may be observed that never any of good lyfe were chardged with that cryme.'"

"'For the civill law it is not requyred that such men as these should know the same. They are to knowe onely the comon lawes of this realme, and the knowledge of the civill lawe apperteyneth to the lords of the session and such like. Therefore I pardone them, yet so as I will receyve none of them to be lords of the session.'"

"'In these matters I desyre helpe, least our country become most infamous for this cryme when the recorde of such witches shalbe founde, and no remeady thereof mencioned.'"

4 pp. Indorsed.

Copy of the same.

Cott. Calig., D. II., fol. 67.

573. Privy Council of England to the Chancellor of Scotland. [June 10.]

"Uppon delivery by Archibald Johnson, a Scottishman, lately of letters from the Kinge your soveraigne, both to the Quenes majestie our soveraigne lady, and others also dyrected to the lords of the Counsell, which wer endited in favour of the said Archibald and others called his partners: hir majestie conferring with hir said Counsell uppon the matter, and perusing aswell the letters to the Counsell as to hir self, and being also dulye informed in what manner hir Counsell had proceded very favorably at the first in the cause uppon the first complainte of the said Archibald, and how afterwardes, by good rules of justice, they had forborne to putt in execution that which the complaynant required and that was ordered only uppon a first favorable audience: hir majestie beyng duly informed of the whole procedynges thought it strange to see so earnest a manner of writing as was conteyned in the Kinge's letters to hir Counsell, in a sort taxing them by theise manner of wordes that his majestie's subjectes accustomed to trafficke in England had conceated or conceaved a refusall or at least smale execution of justice, or litle regard had to his majestes former suites or to the equitie of the cause; and afterward in a kynd of conclusion his majestie by his woordes in his letters lefte it to the discretion of hir Counsell to considder what might arise uppon this particuler cause now meyned by a generall consent of his subjectes, and what consequence the same may cary with it."

"Upon which manner of writinge hir majeste's counsellors, remembring their former regardes had in all causes commended either by the Kinge him self or by his ambassadors or mynisters ever synce the conclusion of good amitie betwixt hir majestie and the said King, thought them selves not so rightlie censured as they had in ther opinions desarved; and therfore also hir majestie thought it very convenient for the reputation of hir whole Counsell, and to maintayne their creditt in their procedinges grounded uppon lawe and justice, that some letters might be written by three or four of the lords of hir Counsell to your lordship, the lord Chauncelor of that realme as the principall of the Kinge's majestie's Counsell, and one that of late tyme had exercised the office of the Kinge's principall secretary, to informe you how in this case of Archibald Johnson's hir Counsell had proceded in a more favorable sort for the complaynant then that ought to be taxed with woordes of refusall of justice or of litle regard had to the Kinge's former suites, or to be warned of such consequence as this case might cary with it. And for that purpose we whose names are subscribed, so directed by hir majestie, do lett your lordship knowe for a truthe that uppon the first complaint made by the said Archibald of his losse by a wrack of his shipp in the coaste of Norfolke sayling from Fraunce towardes Scotland, not havyng any intent to land in England, whereof the Counsell had greate compassion and wrate their letters very spedely in moste earnest sort, at the request of the complaynant, to one Sir Edward Cleare, and one or two more of inferior condition with him, to ayd the complaynantes save ther goodes and to recover their losses with all spede that might be."

"Wheruppon the said Sir Edward Cleare, certifieing by his letters that one Roger Wyndham, a neighbour of his, uppon a coulour of demanding recompence for grounding, had entermedelled with part of the goodes caste on land, the Counsell pytiinge their estate, and geving more creditt at the first to the certificat of Sir Edward Cleare then afterwards upon further examination was found in all poyntes trewe, they sent for Wyndham, and not withstanding his ernest deniall of the crymes imputed to him, he was committed to straight prison and enjoyned to make recompence to the partie uppon Sir Edward Cleare's report; which he refused to do, alleaging him self in no manner culpable, and that the report was made by Sir Edward Cleare, being his professed ennemye—as in dede he was found to be—and so still persisted to have his doinges to be examyned by indifferent persons, offring to recompence double or treble any thing by him or by his meanes that should be proved to have bene gayned from the Skottes."

"But notwithstanding this his allegacion and ernest requestes, such was the compassion that was had of the losse alleaged by the Scottes, and uppon presumptions conceaved agaynst Wyndham, because he came to the ground where the shipp did wrack and pretended to demande some recompence for the goodes saved, being uppon his brother's grounde, in name of groundage, he was contynued in close prison and urged to make some recompence, where he contynued above—."

"But whan the Counsell sawe that such close imprisonment would not move him to yeld any thing to the Scottes, but still persisted that he was not culpable, and contynued his former requestes to have his doinges further tryed and examyned, and for that the imprisonment of him was not by any judiciall sentence but in favour of the complaynantes to procure them some releife; in the end also fynding the Scottes war not proffited by his imprisonment, and that without a judiciall proces and sentence in the ordinarye court of the admiraltie he could not be otherwise ordred, which the complaynantes would not uppon our advise in any sort followe; and the Privey Counsell of England do not otherwise proced uppon lyk complayntes—howsoever it may be that in Scotland the Counsell there may percase use a larger authoritie above the ordinary course of lawe— to inflict paynes by mulct or penalty of life, landes or goodes, it was thought mete and consonant to justice not to denye a further examination, which Wyndham required and the complaynantes refused."

"Therfore commission was graunted under the greate seale of England to the Vicce-Admyrall, Sir Robert Sowthwell, and to men of creditt and verie indifferent, who did examyne uppon oathes a greate nomber of persons that came presently to the ground where the wrack was; who have deposed in what manner the complaynantes were helped to recover as muche of their goodes wracked as possiblie could be, and that Wyndham did in no sort entermeddle him self with any of their goodes, otherwise then to save them from spoile, and by recovery of parcells that were imbessiled by unrulye persons, as in suche case it can not be altogether avoyded, and delivering the same to the Scottes."

"And uppon retorne of this commission, and the complaynantes not contynuing their former complaintes, Wyndham was delivered out of prison, but yet uppon bondes, with suerties to retorne to prison uppon warning geven at his chamber in London so to do."

"And thus the cause resteth at this daye not further determyned; but Wyndham againe is called afore the Counsell and constreyned to attend their furder order, and still pressed by them to yeld some recompence to the complaynantes. In which meane tyme the complaynant is retorned with the letters afor mentioned, renuing his sute, and exclayming against the Counsell for delivering Wyndham out of prison, and pressing them with greate vehemency of wordes to have good regard to the Kinge's his soveraigne's letters, which they all, and we with them, are ready to do as farr fourth as with our honors and our consciences we any wise may do."

"And now to end a long letter as the case requireth it. After that we have in this sort discharged the whole Counsell, and our selves with them, for the imputation to us all in the Kinge's letters of our refusall of justice, and of litle regard had to the Kinge's former sutes, we desire your lordship to inform the Kinge's majestie your soveraigne of the contentes of this our letter, wheruppon we hope our actions both in justice and in regard of all the Kinge's requestes shalbe found more cleare to the Kinge's sighte than the complaynantes by their instrumentes have sought to insinuate ageynst us: whereof we do require your lordship to lett us by some good meanes understand the Kinge's acceptation of this declaration made in the behalf of all hir majestie's Counsell to whom the Kinge's letters were dyrected."

pp. Draft corrected by Burghley. Indorsed.

574. James VI. to Elizabeth. [June 11.]

"Hearing of the apprehensioun of Maister Udell, Maister Cartwright, and certane utheris ministers of the evangile wit[hin zou]re realme, of quhais gude eruditioun and fructfull travellis in the kirk we heir a verye credible commend, howsoevir that thair diversity from t[he] Bisc[hoppis] and utheris of zoure clergie in materis tuitching thame in conscience hes bene a meane be thair dilatioun to work thame zoure myslyking at this present, we can not, weying the dewetye quhilk we aw to sic as ar afflicted for thair conscience in that professioun, bot be oure maist affectuous and ernist letter interpone ws at zoure hand to any harder usaige of thame for that cause; requeisting zow maist ernistlie that for oure cause and intercessioun it may please zow to lett thame be relevit of thair present strait, and quhatsumevir further accusatioun or persute depending on that ground; respecting baith their former merite in the furthsetting of the evangell, the simplicitie of thair conscience in this defence, quhilk can not weill be thrallit be compulsioun, and the great sclander quhilk culd not failzie to fall out upoun thair further straiting for any sic occasioun."

"Quhilk we assure ws zoure zeale to religioun, besydis the expectatioun we have of zoure guidwill to pleasur ws, will willinglie accord to oure requeist, having sic pruiffis from tyme to tyme of oure lyke dispositioun to zow in any maters quhilk ze recommend unto ws." Holyrood House. Signed: "Youre most loving and affectionatt brother and cousin James R."

½ p. Addressed. Indorsed.

575. Mr. Archibald Douglas to Burghley. [June 12.]

"As it hath beyn her majesteis gud pleasur to lat you onderstand that whatsoevir uthir princis usis to do anent the selling off officis hir hyenes hath no meaning that any such mater shuld be fownd to be done be hir majeste in this realme, so is it my deutye to satisfye hir princelye and lovable intention thayrin, which can not be bettir performed than be the declaration of the werray treuth of this mater that is in questione."

"It is trew that about four zearis passed Sir Francis Walsinghame of gud memorye, beand wearyed wyth the grit and heavye complaynctis off a nombre of Scottismen that wer distressed and spoyled be sea, called for Doctor Cesar to onderstand be what meanis best remedye mycht be provided: who mayd answer that the mater culd not be helped wythout making of a circuite for fynding owt the abbettouris of pirattis, be ressone that the cheife spoliatouris wold nevir be fownd at home."

"Eftir long conference, when I was presint, and urging of the sayde doctor to do somvhat heirin, he did tak upon him to mak a circuyte upon his chargis, so that hir majeste wold be moved to gewe to him the patent off Sanct Katherinis in reversione, which Sir Francis did tak upon him to obteyn, providing that he vold also tak some presint ordour that suche Scottismen as wer distressed and present awayterris mycht depart home vycht some satisfaction to thayr cuntrye, to put utheris in hoipe that wyth tyme thay mycht be able to recowre thayr losse, and what sowmes shulde be layde owt be him mycht be recovered wyth tyme at hir majesteis hand."

"I do perfitelye onderstand that the setting downe of the sayd ordour did greitlye satisfye a nombre of Scottismen that wer then present sutarris, and that the sayd Doctor hath debursed at dyvers tymes to syndrye Scottishmen upon direction from the sayde Sir Francis and my self dyvers sowmes of money extending to such quantite as the particular derectionis vill testifye, subscryved by ather of ws."

"And presentlye and all this tyme passed the Scottismen that wer then distressed, and such utheris as hath byen mayde acquaynted wyth the sayde ordour, doethe ernistlye call upone me to humblye crawe the parformance of the sayd pactione. And besidis this, Doctor Cesar doeth call upone me for restitutione of his money, or than performance of the sayde cowenante, according as was promised be us boythe to him."

"All this I layde oppin to your lordship before Cristenmoss, and wythall declared that if it wold pleis hir majeste to be mowed heirin I wold obteyn the exchange of certayne Scottis money that I had lying in that realme to be payed in this towne be marchantis that wer sutaris for recovery of thayr losse, and transportaris of wyne in this ryver: whearbye I mycht paye some part off my debtis contracted throw my aboade in these partis."

"And sen that tyme all this also I layde oppin befor hir majesteis self, whose gud natur so favorablye consawed thayroff, as of a matter that did tend to no wthir fyne bot to the furtherance of justice to distressed Scottismen—to which hir princelye dignitie is naturallye inclined—hir hynes did villinglye grant the samin, speciallye because it did somvhat tend to ane small helpe for the releif of my present necessite."

"Off layt at Stepna I gave hir majeste most humble and hartye thankis for the liberall granting thayrof, whose princelye nature did lament that it was no sonnar performed, that thayrbye I micht hawe takin the best ordour I culd for the relewing of ane part of my present necessite."

"Thayrfor I will requeist your lordship to be so faworable as to pray hir majeste to call the premissis to hir rememberance for hir hynes satisfaction in this mater, wyth humble requeist that may be hir faworable pleasur to sea the samin exped, that thayrbye I may in conwenient tyme tak suche ordour vyth marchantis that travellis for vyne that I shall not be frustrat of the sayd exchange this year as it was my fortune to be the last." Signed: A. Douglas.

2 pp. Holograph, also address. Indorsed.

576. Robert Bowes to Burghley. [June 12.]

This bearer, David Hutchyne of Kirkcaldy, a Scottishman, having laden his ship with white salt and brought her to Hull, his servant Thomas Lambe—master of her—entered her in the custom house there as containing "42 weyes of salt or their abowte"; but when she was delivered she made out four weyes more; whereupon Anthony Atkynson, the searcher there, has seized the salt as forfeit to her majesty, "notwithstanding this dowbting entrye." Wherefore he craves Burghley's help. He was not certain what his ship would make out, and his servant was willing to pay the uttermost custom that could have been demanded. Hutchyne is recommended by councillors and others devoted to her majesty. Edinburgh. Signed: Robert Bowes.

1 p. Addressed. Indorsed.

577. Robert Bowes to Burghley. [June 14.]

The King being at Falkland, has not been able to speak with him of Burghley's letter of the 9th, which arrived the 13th instant; but has spoken with the Chancellor, who has undertaken that speedy order shall be taken for redress for the late attempts done by Liddesdale in England, and to make Liddesdale answerable to justice. The pledges of sundry of the principal in Liddesdale are here, and by means of those principal parties the redress and justice are to be accomplished, "and such of Liddisdall as have let their tongues loose to utter dishonourable woordes agaynst the King their soveraigne shall gyve accompt for the same." Has acquainted the King with the truth of the words spoken, the names of the speakers, and the readiness of Thomas Hall, Englishman, the hearer, to prove his report by witness or combat; it is set down in writing and signed by himself [Hall], Sir John Foster and others being witnesses, and presented to the King by him [Bowes].

The King still purposes to write and entreat her majesty for an increase in his gratuity, in respect of his necessities: the trial of the witches has delayed the draft of his letters, but the Chancellor says they shall shortly be sent to him [Bowes] to transmit.

Francis Dacre, long before the receipt of Burghley's letter, was passed from Edinburgh with Lord Hume to the Earl Marishal. Has sent to enquire where he is, and upon meeting and conference with him will inform Burghley.

Commends his own needs to her majesty's good pleasure, praying that her service may not be prejudiced by the weakness of his estate. By his letters to his son and servant at London they will be ready to give assurance for the contentment of her majesty and satisfaction of the garrison at Berwick. Prays that he may speedily receive her resolution.

Has heard no further of "Allotte's gestes in this country," being glad that Allott has gone forward in his journey and purpose.

"The assisse for the triall of Effam Mackallean have gyven their verdict, and found her gilty in nyne severall causes: whereof six are for witchcraft and consulting with witches, one for murdering by sorcery—the childe of Captayne Yowstone—sonne of her husbande's sister, and two for treasones agaynst the King's persone; the first for treason for her presence at the assembly of the witches at Atkynson's Haven, and delyvering there to the devill the picture of the King to be consumed for the destruccion of the King; and the second for her like presence at the convencion of the witches at North Barwicke, and demaunding there to have the picture mencioned to be restored to them by the devill, that they might consume for the purpose resyted. The judgmente shalbe gyven to morrow, that shee shalbe burnt quicke, according to the lawes of this realme." This trial of Mackallean is thought to touch Bothwell narrowly, and Kennedy the witch of Reydon, lately in England, has secretly told the King sundry matters against the earl agreeing with Graham, his chief accuser; whereby it is "deepely printed in the King's concept that the erle is fowle in the practyse of the King's death," whereupon the King hesitates to enlarge him; yet it is intended that he shall be delivered upon caution to depart out of this realm, and not to return without the King's licence, or practise any hurt against the King or realm, upon pain of treason and forfeiture of his bonds. This course is to be taken in regard of the weakness of any place in this realm for his ward, and the resolute minds in the noblemen to cleanse him from the evidence hitherto known.

Bothwell and his friends looked that he should have been at liberty ere this, marvelling greatly at the delay, since every courtier striveth to do him most pleasure that they may have thanks at his hands. He [Bowes] has not spared, for all the blasts against him, to warn the Chancellor and others of the dangers threatening.

The Earl of Angus is either d[ead] or not likely to live ten days. The Master his son was at Dundee, to pass into foreign realms as exc[ommunicate] for papistry. But hearing of his father's sickness, and the danger of prejudice to his title in his absence, he seeks to confer with the ministers here and to reconcile himself. Edinburgh. Signed: Robert Bowes.

3 pp. Addressed. Indorsement and marginal notes in Burghley's handwriting.

578. Robert Bowes to Burghley. [June 19.]

On Tuesday last judgement was given that Effam Mackallean should be burnt alive. The execution is stayed because she alleges herself to be with child, and still denies all matters in her indictments, though some appear very evident against her. "It is looked that in respect of her presente condicion shee will reforme her selfe, and disclose the truth in her knowledge; but the sownd of the prayses gyven by many—wishing the end of her lyfe to be rather with the danger of her owne soule then to the perill of their freendes to be accused by her—doth so prevayle with her as there is litle hope of any change in her."

The King has been earnestly moved for Bothwell's deliverance upon caution; but finding that some have dealt therein further than was with his privity, "said that he would not have so many kings in this realme, neyther should Bothwell be delyvered in tyme and maner as they had promised." And having sent this day a long letter to the Chancellor, written with his own hand, it is thought that he has given order to him to proceed with Bothwell, and that the matter shall be so carried as the King, the Chancellor, and gentlemen in the chamber shall receive thanks of Bothwell for his liberty granted on conditions allowed by the King by their mediations. Yet some may find little thanks in the end.

"The Erle of Atholl, Sesford, and the other cautioners for Bothwell are come hither to gyve their bondes, except the Erle of Murray, who is looked for this day. Sesforde hath agreed to gyve his bonde, and in regarde of his weakenes is returned. He hath bene with me and promised his wholle endevour for the administracion of justice on the Borders, with his good offices to her majestie."

Huntly and Marishal, the commissioners for Erroll and Montrose, met together at Dunnottar—the house of Marishal—last week, and resolved that by their presence and that of their friends at court they should be able to beard the Chancellor in court and session and abate his greatness. Yet some say that at this time Glamis was at Erroll's house at the baptism of his daughter. Those thus assembled were expecting forces of Englishmen, or that her majesty would with money enable the King to levy a guard, wherefore great celerity was advised. Yet it is pretended that nothing shall be attempted by them against the King's pleasure, religion, or the amity between the realms, wherein means shall be made to satisfy her majesty and the King. The dispositions of the principals of this new faction were discovered at the Brig of Dee, "who by their nomber and power above their associates, being well affected, wilbe able to gyve the lawe at their pleasures." (fn. 1) The Chancellor is warned, and by the continuance of the King's favour towards him these storms may blow over, but the discontent of the nobility and evil condition of the state give reason to fear some attempt against the Chancellor, to draw the government to the guiding of suspected persons.

"Collonell Semple, Boyde, Robert Bruce, and others at Bruxelles have lately sent their letters to their freendes in this country, shewing thereby greater willes then powers to disquiet this isle." There is no news in their letters but that the Pope is raising men in Italy to aid the Leaguers in France. Encloses a copy of one of these letters, written by William Clitherow, an Englishman, to George Carr. Clitherow is familiar with Robert Allot, who by a letter addressed to Burghley is suspected both here and in Flanders.

The towns of Ayr and Irvine have advertised that two of their boats, sent into Ireland with aqua vitœ and other merchandise, were taken by Irishmen, who—for the hurt done to O'Rourke—spoiled them and killed some of their men. None of Glasgow or the towns adjoining dare now travel in Ireland without guard. They purpose to exhibit their complaints to the King, of whom many for this cause speak very disloyally, and he [Bowes] escapes not the bitterness of their tongues.

The King and Council are informed that sundry English pirates, in a barque or frigate of thirty tons or under, have robbed many coastmen and fishers in Orkney and Shetland; and seeing an open fly-boat lying at anchor, attempted to take her. In her was Captain Propp with eighty soldiers levied in this realm for supply of his bond in Holland. A fight ensued; two or three of Propp's men were slain, and others hurt. The frigate with the pirates was driven on land near Warkworth, and most of them are committed to ward at Alnwick. This country and the boroughs are grieved above measure. The outcry is so great for these piracies and other wrongs by sea—the complainants saying that they get no redress but sharp words and checks in England—and for the hurts done to their merchants trading with Ireland, that even the well affected are stirred therewith. Has satisfied many, and prays to be directed how to content the rest. Has written to Sir John Foster and to the Lord Admiral's deputy in Northumberland that the frigate and men may be stayed till they receive warrant for their delivery. Some parties of this town that have been spoiled at sea are ready to repair to Alnwick, to try whether these are the pirates that robbed them, and to challenge their goods. Prays Burghley to give speedy direction for the satisfaction of the King and Council and of the parties wronged.

"The King being lately greeved with a troublesome rewme in his cheeke, supposed to drawe to a quynancye, is well recovered and ready to ride this day to the mariage of the lairde of Tyllybarnes' daughter with the laird of Grant, and afterwards to repayre with the Queene to St. Johnston, that the Queene may make her entry there on the 24th heereof."

The Earl of Angus is recovering beyond expectation. Sir William Keith is sent for to answer some matters objected against him. Edinburgh. Signed: Robert Bowes.

Postscript in Bowes' handwriting: The Justice Clerk and the Secretary are newly returned from the King, with direction to the Chancellor to take order with Bothwell that upon entry of his caution to observe the King's conditions, he shall be delivered, and repair from the castle to the ship to depart without delay. The King offers so to confirm all Bothwell's assurances for the safety of his cautioners as he shall not need to crave either time for the accomplishment thereof, nor liberty abroad, that the law may adjudge him to be free and not in duresse during the making of the assurances. Thus Bothwell has found the King's mind more resolute than he or others looked for. It is doubted whether he will accept the King's offer under the conditions set down.

4 pp. Addressed. Indorsed by Burghley.

Enclosure with the same:

(William Clitherow to George Carr.)

"To his good freend Mr. George Carr, Doctour of lawe, sonne to the honourable lady Maddam de Newbottle."

He wrote to Carr more than three months ago by an Englishman about the hundred crowns owing to Mr. Woodward by a nobleman. The said Englishman is "Robert Alot or Aliot," who has a kinsman in the court of Scotland, and told him he was to pass into Scotland through England. He would have Carr tell Allott that he marvels he hears not from him, and that his friend of Liege is in prison, and has been these two months, for a letter of Allott's that was taken at Dover, directed to Burghley. This imports some persons that Carr loves, and ought to love very much. He commends himself to Carr, Captain Seaton, William Shaw, and Andrew Leslie. Antwerp. 17/27 April 1591.

½ p. Copy.

579. Mr. Archibald Douglas to Burghley. [June 20.]

"By these letters sent to me frome suche Scottesmen as have byn distressed by pirates neere unto Famouthe, and by others sent to your lordship frome one Mr. Killingraue whoe hathe stoode theire greate frend, your lordship may perceave how ilfavoredlie they have byn dealte withall. I wolde therfore pray your lordship that some strait ordour may be given by my Lorde Admirall and the honorable of the Counsayle for remedying therof, and for the appearaunce before theyr lordshipes of suche as have committed suche insolent disordour as the casting of men over boorde after that they had yeelded them selves in the power of them of whome they looked for curtesye." Signed: A. Douglas.

Postscript in Douglas's handwriting—"Sen the vritting of this lettir I haif beyn informed that thayr is thre schippis belonging to Scottismen that hath beyn takin or trowbled be this vice-admirall compleaned upon or be suche as hath beyn sett furth be him: and all this hath beyn don vythin this moneth, as partly vill appeir be such letteris as this berar vill schaw onto your lordship."

¾ p. Addressed. Indorsed: "20 Junii 1591. Mr. Dowglas to my lord. Certaine Scottishmen browght into Fawlmowthe by pirates. Complaineth of the viceadmirall of Cornewall."

Enclosure with the same:

(James Colville to Archibald Douglas.)

"Having obteinit from the Kingis majestie the government of Sainct Valerie opon Som, I vald not omit to lat zour lordship onderstand that in cace I may do zou ony service ze vil employ as ze have pouer sa far as I am able and shal ever have."

"It is causit me beleif that the place may be advantegeus for Ingland. Gif zour lordship thinkis gud to mak my humble commendationis to hir majestie and lat hir knaw that I and place and al is at hir service, and gif I have to do thair is no uther I can nether lipin in nor charge bot onlie hir majestie."

"Gif zour lordship find apeirance lat me knaw, for I have enterit bat puderis and al uther kynd of munition; not for laik of gudvil of my master bot for laik of moyen. Zour lordship mun lat me have zour gud counsel. My son shal se zow shortly, to quhom I refer al uther particularis."

"Thair is great bruit of pece heir, bot I beleve it not." St. Valery. 20 June. Signed: James Colvill of Est Veimes.

1 p. Holograph, also address.

580. Robert Bowes to Burghley. [June 22.]

Yesterday the Chancellor resorted to Bothwell to acquaint him with the King's pleasure for his delivery, upon conditions prescribed by the King as in his [Bowes'] last letter, saving that the King now binds him to find cautioners within Lothian, and limits his repair to Germany and Italy only. The Earl misliking some of the conditions, the Chancellor left him to allow the articles he accepted, and note those which he thought over strait, that upon reasons yielded the King might be moved to mitigate those conditions. "But this night last past the Erll breaking an hoelle in the rooffe of his lodging in this castell, he passed over the toppe of that howse to a place most easye to dissend, and ther commyng downe, he esscaped oute of the castell at the west port of this towne with one Lowther the servant of the capten of the castell. At the west porte he fownd and tooke his horsse, with the Master of Cathenes, Gylbert Penycowke, and two or thrye moe, and ys nowe departed, as yt is thoght, towardes the sowth partes of this realme." This may disquiet the Border: he [Bowes] has warned the wardens.

This day the Council has advertised the King, now with the laird of Tullibardine, of this fact, and required him to vouchsafe to come hither, and to put his person in safety by the way. This town is to be surely and quietly kept till he come. It is hoped he shall be here before midnight.

The Earls of Erroll and Marishal, Lord Dingwall, Sir William Keith, the laird of Geythe and others are in Edinburgh, and the Master of Glamis comes on Thursday. The assembly is like to be great, yet the Chancellor and Council, knowing the causes of the repair of these personages, fear no trouble, but others are less confident. He [Bowes] has warned Sir John Carmichael of a rumour of harm intended against him. Sir John will probably come with the King.

This night the copy of his letter to Burghley intercepted by Gilbert Penycook, who escaped death this night very narrowly, was set up at the west port, and left there after Bothwell's departure to be seen by all that listed. The captain of the castle, through anguish for Bothwell's escape, is fallen into a dangerous ague. He desires, if he live, to be employed against Bothwell, of whose attempt he is thought to have been ignorant. Edinburgh. Signed: Robert Bowes.

12/3 pp. Addressed. Indorsed.

581. Robert Bowes to Burghley. [June 25.]

Yesterday the King returned to Edinburgh, and took order with the Council that judgment should be given against the Earl Bothwell for his treason of the Brigg of Dee, which judgment has been hitherto suspended, and which offence Bothwell alleges to be pardoned by the King. Nevertheless this day the judgment is pronounced, and by open proclamation he is declared traitor and to be forfeited, with commandment to all persons to forbear to harbour or deal with him, publishing many of his crimes at large. His possessions shall be seized by the controllor of the King's house for the King's use, and the offices of the admiral, Liddesdale, and others given to the Duke of Lennox. Sir John Carmichael has been moved to be under the Duke for the government of Liddesdale, but will be loth to deal therewith, and desires to be rid of the charge of the west wardenry, the burden and expenses thereof being over heavy for him. Bothwell alleges three causes moving him to break his ward. First, that the King would appoint him to embark, at such time as Bowes should give notice of, to her majesty's ship lying ready to surprise and take him. Secondly, that on Monday last the Chancellor and laird of Spynie, in their opening of the King's pleasure for the caution and conditions for his delivery, seemed to be much more strait towards him than the commissioners sent before unto him, "so as by the hardnes of the condytions proponed by the Chancelour, he fownd no hope of lyffe lefte to hyme." And lastly, that two persons in chief credit with the King had so dealt with him that he broke ward to save his life. If they deny it, he offers to prove his assertion by combat, first against one and then against the other. He further offers to re-enter into ward, and abide trial in all causes except for this late escape and for consulting with Richard Graham the witch. "For towching his fact at the Quarrell Holles at the tyme of the roode of the brig of Dee," he thinks himself pardoned by the King. He offers to challenge five noblemen, two councillors, four ministers and three burgesses. On Wednesday last he supped at Captain Maisterton's in Leith; from thence he came to Margaret Strawhan's house in Canongate and drank with some of his friends from Edinburgh; after he came to the ports, and rode about the castle. Yesterday he was seen in Teviotdale ["Tyvidalle"], with sixteen horse, for the gentlemen of Lothian are loth to join him, and few or none of the nobility aid him in this action. It is said that if he cannot obtain favour of the King he will seek the King of Spain, but that he will first entreat the Chancellor and Bowes to move the King for him.

The King will depart this night toward St. Johnston to the Queen, whose entry is to be made the last of this month. On Tuesday next the 29th instant the King purposes to return, and on the first of July to set forwards towards Kelso and Jedburgh, to provide for the peace of the Borders, to seek Bothwell, and to dispose of his lands and offices. For this purpose proclamation is made that all noblemen, barons, gentlemen, and others shall be at Edinburgh the 30th instant to attend the King, with armour and weapon and fifteen days' victuals. The chief of the Armstrongs, Elliots, and others of Liddesdale shall be here the same day that order may be taken for their obedience to such keeper as shall be appointed to govern them and for administration of justice on the Borders.

"The Lord Hume is commanded to kiepe his lodgyng in St. Johnston, upon suspicion that he had bein ane instrument of Bothewelle's escape. But at the King's comming thyther yt is ment that he shalbe delyvered."

The Earls Marishall and Erroll have satisfied the King and Chancellor of their innocence of any evil intent against the Chancellor; all jealousies are laid aside, and they departed to their houses with the King's favour, against the common expectation.

The King has revoked all grants made in the minorities of himself and his mother, not excepting those to the Chancellor, Spynie, or any other: all men holding such gifts and resting without confirmation by parliament, are now at the King's pleasure. It is doubted whether this revocation will be allowed by the session or ratified by parliament. The Chancellor has been much blamed in this, but without cause.

Has acquainted Francis Dacre with her majesty's pleasure to give him a yearly pension of 200 l. if he return into England and there behave himself loyally. He appears to rejoice at her clemency, showing that very lately he sent his son to Brussels to get the 3,000 crowns bequeathed to him by his brother Edward Dacre, deceased, but doubts how her majesty will allow of his doings in the same. He would know her pleasure herein, as also in the manner of her bounty to him, whether he shall thereby be restrained from any suit for his lands and possessions. He prays timely advertisement, that he may with the advice of his friends resolve and give answer with all loyalty and thanks. He is returned to the Earl Marishal and other his friends in the north to attend her majesty's pleasure.

Forasmuch as since the seizure of his [Bowes'] lands into her majesty's hands the coal mines at Offerton and the salt pans (fn. 2) at Sunderland have not been wrought for any profit to her majesty, himself, or his son, so that he will be unable to yield her majesty the yearly portion reserved to her; and because Mr. Vernon, since his return to Berwick, has not only denied to pay out of his [Bowes'] pay there six or seven pounds allowed by his warrant yearly to a gunner there, but also affirmed that her majesty's Council have signified that he [Bowes] is discharged from Michaelmas last; therefore it seems that his entertainments there are not stayed in part repayment of the 3,000 l. sent by her majesty for payment of the remains due to the garrison, but that the office is taken from him. Desires speedy understanding of her majesty's pleasure herein, having nothing left except his allowance. Prays that order may be taken, so as his son, now attending on Burghley, may know what to do. "For the dryfte of tyme by the weaknes of my myserabill estate shall dayly hynder the profittes to be gotten for hir majestie's satisfaccion, prejudice the service in my chardge for hir majestie, and worck myne utter undoing." Edinburgh. Signed: Robert Bowes.

Postscript [in Bowes' hand]: "The Catholyckes of this nation in Flanders and here are dryven to tak refuge at the handes of the Duke of Parma, who will nott now deale with any in this realme butt only with the King: and theron he hath wrytten to the King. The copy of his letter is sent hither, and in the handes of the Papistes, butt the letter is nott commed. Which letter, so soone as yt shall come to the handes of the Chancelour, I shall I trust gyve your lordship advertyshment of the contentes therof."

"This afternone Effam Mackalzon was executed by fyre and dyed very obstynatly without confessing any cryme."

4 pp. Addressed. Indorsed.

582. Proclamation against Francis, Earl of Bothwell. [June 25.]

Proclamation by James VI. to his subjects to aid him against the Earl of Bothwell.

1 p. Broadsheet. Copy. Indorsed by Burghley. See Register of the Privy Council of Scotland, iv. 643.

Copy of the same.

Cott. Calig., D. II., fol. 50.

583. Writ to William Porteous, Messenger. [June 25.] Eg. MSS., 2,598, fol. 274.

Reciting proclamation against Bothwell, and enjoining him to publish the same.

1 p. Copy. Indorsed: "Wm. Wylly writ this for me to send to your worship, so as you ar behoulden to the L. C. Register and Wm. Wyllye."

584. William Hunter to Burghley. [June 29.]

"Notwithstanding thatt I am assuiritt your honour is be sindrie informitt of the estaitt off our cwntrie, nevertheles for the princelie benefettis thatt I have raissavitt off hir majestie I can nott be dischairgitt off my dewtie except I advyse your honour off our occurrantis so far as I have suir knawlege."

"My Loird Boithwell was the 28 off this instant att Kellso: a gritt nomber of horsmen, thay war rapoirtit to be five hundred, bott I can nott beleiff he cowld be so many, and notwithstanding off the heynous crymis laid to his chairge, yitt I assuir yowr honour all Scottland doith allow of his libertie, except itt be suche as bearis thair awin perticurlaris. The moist part off the nobill men and hoill comonis ar prevelie on his syd, notwithstanding he is, as your honour knawith, foirfalltitt. I assuir your honour thatt things ar wnabill to stand long in this forme, for our Chancelar is dealdlie haittitt and will have muche ado to keip his feitt, for thatt the comon rwmour is rissin on him, wiche in this cwntrie, whear the pepill ar wndanttitt, is a verrie evill sygne. Whearfoir keip a clos hand with him till your honour heir whatt becwmith off this convencioun, whearwnto war warnit the shereffdomis off Barrick, Haddingtoun, Edinburgh, Roxburgh, Linlythgwo, Stirling, wnder pane off death, all betwix sixty and sixteen yearis, with fyftene dayis provisioun, to be att Edinburgh the last off this instant, quhilk is the morne. We ar in dowt iff thay will be all enemeis to my Loird Boithwellis faction thatt will be att thatt convencioun; whearfoir I advyse yowr honour to suspect the same. Our nobeletie doith hawnt muche togither att previe convencions. The hoill effect whearfoir I send my servand is thatt I wishe your honour to keip yowr hand clos till a month efter this, and befoirr thatt tyme be past itt will be sene aither victor or vinqwist. I send this beirar by sea becaus I durst nott hasard be land, and lykeways the wind was apperrandlie to be good."

"I reqweast your honour be good to my cosin Stanley who mareit the bishop off Yorkis dochter, and to do for him, since I have will [sic] ventour my lyff and valliant in hir majesteis and your honour's service, and to inanimat me to perseveir in the same cowrs, I hwmblie reqweast hir majestie and your honour thatt my said cosin may find justice with favouris: and God willing I schall cum to your honour schoirtly with suche advyse as I best can have suirest knawledge off." Edinburgh. [Signed with a hunting horn.]

Postscript—"Your honour may be assuiritt thatt I wryte naither for feid nor favour off any, bott as I will be answerabill to hir majestie and to your honour att meiting. Iff itt pleas your honour to wryte me any answer, dispatche this berrar, that his beyng thair be not suspectitt."

pp. Holograph, also address. Indorsed by Burghley, giving short pedigree of Hunter, Young, and Stanley.

585. Sir Robert Cecil to Robert Bowes. [June 30.]

My father's business makes him command me to answer your letters. In yours of the 20th of June he finds that Earl Bothwell is dealt with to be reconciled to the other party. If it be offered by them, and but entertained by him without purpose to bind with them, her majesty does not disallow of that purpose and your counsel; but if otherwise, she would not think it an honest part in him to have been all this while against them, and now that they are proclaimed traitors to join with them. "Her majesty museth why you shold think that her cawses in Scotland shall pass any particuler man's hand, you being there, but with your privity": so long as your time lasts, though she has no particular dealings with Bothwell, yet if he send to you she wishes you to direct him in good courses of duty to the King, good offices for the amity of both realms, and to continue adverse to the Pope's faction which the earls uphold.

As to Mr. Foulis's negociation, he has been with the Queen and very graciously used, and has been told how much for your recommendation he has been esteemed. His errand was all for money, a strange demand for twelve or fourteen thousand pounds, which the Queen utterly refused, and only yielded four thousand, whereof three was for her accustomed yearly gratuity and the other for the King's extraordinary occasions, besides that which she means to bestow at the christening, whereof you can well consider. Foulis said he would rather receive nothing than such a paltry sum, and that his commission was to receive no less. The Queen hearing of this, at once sent a stay to the Exchequer for the 4,000 l. Foulis has by all possible means sought to make up that breach, and is now contentedly dispatched with the 4,000 l. He confesses that the arrearages on which he grounded his large demands are by the King's ministers misconceived, for there is no such sum due. The Queen never meant it but as of good will, not a certainty. Foulis seems satisfied, both for the King and himself: he has been told that for your recommendation he has been much the more respected.

Concerning money for Lord Hamilton, the Queen sees no cause of giving any. She likes exceedingly of his election as lieutenant on the Borders.

My lord has obtained of the Queen that you shall return; and with her ambassador to the baptism one shall go to abide there in your place. She will in no wise have you omit your usual course of writing, how small soever your abode be there. Unsigned.

Postscript—Sir William Bowes being sent for to go in your place hath made wonderful means to stay, and by his importunity the Queen is altered. Sir Thomas Parry, brother-in-law to Mr. Fortescue, is now sent for, who shall, I think, succeed you.

3 pp. Draft. Indorsed.


  • 1. Marginal note by Bowes: "Huntley hath advertyshed the Chancelour and will nott sorte with the rest, so as theyse matters are lyk to fall."
  • 2. Marginal note by Burghley: "Order is gyven for the settyng of the salt panns on work."