James VI: February 1590

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: February 1590', in Calendar of State Papers, Scotland: Volume 10, 1589-1593, (Edinburgh, 1936) pp. 239-245. British History Online https://www.british-history.ac.uk/cal-state-papers/scotland/vol10/pp239-245 [accessed 20 May 2024].

. "James VI: February 1590", in Calendar of State Papers, Scotland: Volume 10, 1589-1593, (Edinburgh, 1936) 239-245. British History Online, accessed May 20, 2024, https://www.british-history.ac.uk/cal-state-papers/scotland/vol10/pp239-245.

. "James VI: February 1590", Calendar of State Papers, Scotland: Volume 10, 1589-1593, (Edinburgh, 1936). 239-245. British History Online. Web. 20 May 2024, https://www.british-history.ac.uk/cal-state-papers/scotland/vol10/pp239-245.

In this section

James VI: February 1590

350. Elizabeth to the Earl of Bothwell. [Feb. 10.]

"We have receavid your letters by this gentleman, togither with such credit as ye committed unto him to be delivered to us, and perceave therby how carefull you are to purge your self towardes us of such thinges as were reported to you we had bene infourmid of against you. For which your honourable care and other your lyke offers which have bene declared unto us we wolde not but send you our most hartie thankes, and lett you know the contentement we have for this your desire of our good opinion; the knowledge wherof we referr you to receave more at large by relation of this gentleman, and by such letters as ye may receave from your father in lawe. But wheras upon som wrong informacion given to you it seemith you conceavid that by our letters written to the King, your master, we ment to touche you, surely ye shall not finde that eyther we had or could have then any such meaning without dooing you to much wrong, considering the greate services which at that tyme ye offered unto us; nether did we any waye egg the King agaynst you in particuler. But knowing by our own experyence these many yeeres had the great dangers that growe by the woorking and practizing to bring in strangers, and by the open entring of subjectes into armes against their prince, we did than remember unto the King a maxime that we holde, which is, that what subjectes soever of any prince are to be found coulpable of such an offence should eyther be cutt of or otherwise so wekenid as they might never after have power or meanes to woork the lyke dangerous attemptes agayn. Wherin thinges we seemid to give our advise to the King, knowing what was fitt for him in honour and for his own safety to doo, yet was it farre from our meaning in any sorte to touche you, considering the great and kinde offers which at that tyme you made unto us. And so we pray you to think, assuring you that for our parte we rest perswaded of you as of a parsonage who in respecte of the place and credit you holde, and of your own honour allso, will never enter nor consent to any action that may be prejudiciall to the King our good brothers estate and the amitie betwixt us: whose good and safety and of his relm the more you shall be carefull to procure the more will we be ready to acknowledge your honorable indevors therin, and your offers to us, in most thankfull manner towardes you, as you shall more at large understand by this gentleman and from your father in lawe allso, unto whom we remitt you."

1⅓ pp. Draft. Indorsed by Walsingham: "xth of February, 1589. Copy of the Queen's Majestes lettre to the Earle Bothwell sent by Mr. Douglas. The instructions given to me by her Majestes self."

351. Elizabeth to the Duke of Lennox. [Feb. 10.]

"Understanding by our servant, Robert Bowes, of your good disposition to the perfourmance of all good offices that may tend to the mayntenance and strenghthening of the amitie between us and our good brother the King, your souverayn, and particulerly towardes our self, we wold not but by these our own expresse letters let you know our contentement and thankfull acceptation therof, and our willingnes allso to acknowledge the same toward you upon any fitt occasion that be aptly offred therunto. With this addition of our furder remembrance unto you, that the more carefull you shall be for the King our good brothers good and of his relm, during the tyme of his absence, the more honour and reputation will redounde unto you therby. And so we doubte not but you will contynue, according to the place you hold there, and the trust commyttid unto you by the King, and according to the good opinion and hope we have conceavid of you."

½ p. Copy. Indorsed by Walsongham: "xth of February, 1589. Copy of her Majestes lettre to the Duke of Lennox."

352. Alexander Hay to William Asheby. [Feb. 10.] Eg. MSS., 2,598, fol. 261.

"I thank zow maist hertlie of the Franshe occurrentis, quhilkis I had not sene of befoir, and sall participat thame to other gude fellowes, quhomeunto, and all professing Goddis trew religioun, the knawlege of the weill doyng of this present King of France is and wilbe very joyfull." And for the favour and courtessy quhilk I ressavit of zour worship during zour employment heir, and renewed be zour freindlie letter, I sall not be ynmyndfull to acquyte it with all dewitie of a thankfull mynd quhair I may gif ony pruif thairof: and specialie sall still beare a guidwill to further all thing—according to my sober habilitie—that may interteyn and incres the amytie betuix our soveranes and ther guid subjectis lovaris of the same amytie. And sall remember the purpos ze wrait of in the dispatche now making frome this to the King my soverane, fra quhome we haif hard or ressavit na thing sen zour departing out of Scotland, saulffing only a rumour that he sould be past to Dennemark. Little thing worthy of advertisement hes occurrit sensyne heir, saulffing the Spanishe barque that arrived at the Ile of Quhithorne in Galloway. The circumstances is sa lang ago writtin up be hir majesteis ambassadour heir resident that it is not worth the repeting."

"Oure disorderit people on the bordouris hes maid ane or twa attemptatis in England, quhairof I traist redres salbe maid with all speid that may be used. And for my guidwill thairto it sould not want gif it mycht mak the same mair suddane and effectuall."

"Now for my present conclusioun I mon recommend unto zour accustomat favour my auld guid freind and zour awin servand Mr. Kelsterne, quha albeit he hes found zour favour abundantlie heirtofore, zit I can not hald back my rememberance to further him to that quhairby he may have sum stay and relief in his aged dayes, quihilk sall augment my obligatioun unto zow; hoiping that his sute sall not be the wers receptit for my sake." Edinburgh. Signed: A. Hay.

1 p. Addressed. Indorsed.

353. Richard Wigmore to Robert Naunton. [Feb. 10.] Eg. MSS., 2,598, fol. 263.

Thanks him for his letter received yesterday. Has saluted Naunton's friends R. and Ed. Bruce on his behalf. "What enchantment zow left behzend zow I wott not: awayes the lady where zow left zower last good nyght is mair then myendfull of zow. Her contynnuall demaundis whether I have no zett heard of zee, and her constant assuerance to be remembred with letters from zee suld testefy this myckl." Sannie (fn. 1) hath left his crow's nest; not that he is delivered of his fear, but in regard of his evil which mightily increaseth: some horrible judgment of God must ensue. "In twa cock-a-laens since zower departure he hath bin very vively paynted. The Lady Chanceller feeles the motion of a barne within her weam."

Mr. Asheby has left behind him affectionate regret, "and mickle done in the hartis of the honestest." Wigmore writes to him all things of moment: "I pray zow lett Mr. Ashby ken that I lippen to the lyke correspondency in him." Has commended both Naunton and Asheby to Bothwell, who assures Asheby of his friendship. "His lordships barn sall no be hoven before the begining of Martch; lyek then to be performed with great sollemnity at Hallyrwdhowse. The cummers heer salbe the awld and zong Lady Seton; gossips the Erls of Atholl and Crawford. For her majesty zow wott whoa must stand."

Is blithe to hear of Naunton's welcome at court, and wishes him success. Promises to write and longs to hear, especially what success his letter to Walsingham hath found. Edinburgh. Signed: R. Wygmor.

Postscript—Since writing this, letters have come from R. Douglas; nothing but words. Wigmore has made an overture how things may be compassed to her majesty's contentment, in spite of those who would cross it.

"Zow wowld lawgh to see how R. Douglass—in the stile of an embassadour—wryteth, that this daye he had audience of her majesty; that his unck[le] Artchibald hath corrected his instructions; that itt wowld please his lordship to wryte often unto him, that therby he myght the oftener gett audience; and dyvars other sick phrases. But as I have sayde, were it not in respect of that furtherance I wish to her majestis servyse, I cowld cawse [him] to cum back agayn with a flea in his lugg. The Erl, I assuer zow, remayneth most constant. R. Douglass wryteth that the Spaniards mean undowtedly to land in Ierland: if so, it will be hye tyem for the Queen to assuer her self of theise partis."

pp. Holograph, also address.

354. Richard Wigmore to [William Asheby.] [Feb. 10.] Eg. MSS., 2,598, fol. 265.

Shortly after Asheby's departure a Spanish carvel arrived at Whithorn, in Galloway—her captain called Don Alvarez de Terrida, her pilot one Colvin a Scottishman—with 50 men of all nations with muskets, and five pieces of brass. She has 36 oars, and to deceive can bear a French, Scottish, Dutch or English flag. This is the barque that anchored before Leith, and was chased by Bothwell at the King's command. "The arryvall of this baable at the first did greatly perplex the honestest and wonderfully distracted the dowtfull. The pryor of Blantyre with the lards of Barnbarro and Lowhenvar, by commission from the Cowncell, wer in hast dispatched to discovar the cawse of the Spaniards cumming thether"—with this effect—"that uppon the Lard of Mondorcks band that by the 10th of February they showld in saefty be returned, the capteyn, his lieftenant, and the pylot were contented to make theyr farther awnswere before the Kings cowncell at Edenbrogh." To complete this Council the lords Hamilton, Mar, Morton and others were sent for. The captain and pilot, examined four times, confessed that from the Groin they were commanded to shape their course for England, to learn her majesty's preparations by sea or land, and to take as many pilots as they could. They anchored at St. Ives in Cornwall, and putting forth an English flag, expected some boat to come, whose man they meant to have conveyed away; but a storm arose and brought them to Whithorn. They say they came to Scotland to present wine, spice, and complimentary letters to some here for their kindness shown to the "pooer rakalia," and to fetch away the pilot's wife. Any traffic here with any of the nobility they constantly denied, but it was provec that the captain on his first landing had dispatched to Lord Maxwell a soldier who was drowned by the way; and afterwards wrote letters to him which he showed to Lord Hamilton and the Council. Therefore, till the King's pleasure be known, the captain, pilot, and barque are by the Council put into Bothwell's hands, who certainly will not part with the carvel, which they say "is the most excellent sayled of the world." They report wonders of the Spanish navy, which Wigmore takes for lies. Within these three days the captain and pilot have secretly confessed that "they were dispatched hether to discovar the generall inclynation of the people towards the King of Spains procedingis agaynst England; to labor those they myght fyend affected that waye with an assurance of men, mony, and what other support they wowld demaund; that among other nobl men, they were particulerly addressed to the Earl Bothwell, and in the Kings name to make this offer unto him. Colvin the pylott, who is the Earl Bothwel's servant, did with most execrabl oathes avowe this to be trwe, and offered himself to all the torters of the world, if uppon the Erls correspondency with the King in this action he did not procuer 200,000 duckats to be browght unto him within these two monthes at the farthest; lastly, that they were to procuer as many pylottis heer as with thirty duckettis by the month they myght have gayned, for of this sort of people that navy standeth in great want. Both the capteyn and pylot doe faythfully assure the Earl Bothwell that the Spanish army wilbe sooner heer then is looked for." This is a secret not known to the ambassador:—"zow may reddely gess how I cum by itt; with that man I am totus in toto."

Bothwell may be wrought presently to send such an instrument to Spain as should discover all things now in hand there. He is devoted to her majesty's service, and may be won to be such a servant unto her as Scotland cannot afford the like: the ministers are confirmed in their good opinion of him. "But I wott not what to saye to the handling of matters. Her majestis saefconduit for the Erls cumming into England is sent hether by my Lord of Hunsdon withowt so mutch as a baer letter of complementis. Richard Douglass hath bin more then three weekes att London, and not one wurd—as zett—is cum from him. Artchknave his unckl had imployed the quintessence of his skill to draw that traffique into his handes, and sum heer doe perswade that if the Erl goeth into England he shalbe suer to be empoysoned." The surest way to draw him to England were for her majesty to ask the Council to send some one for ratifying correspondency between the realms in withstanding the Spaniard, and to take order about the Borders. This motion is looked for from her majesty, in respect of that frankness they have shown in staying the Spanish barque. Thus might something be managed to her contentment; he wishes it were done speedily. "Those enchantmentes which Spanish pistolettis and duobbl duckattis will wurck I howld to be most dawngerous."

Complaints are come from the Lords Warden of England concerning the burning of howses, carrying of cattle and taking of prisoners, especially by Fernyhurst and those of Eskdale and Ewisdale. Fernyhurst answers that Dods of England first reaved him and burnt his stacks; the others that 200 of Lord Scrope's men made a foray upon them on the 3rd instant "and tooke from the goodman of Itch nomine Scot 120 neatt"; in revenge whereof 140 of them entered England and brought away forty neat and three prisoners.

Of the Scots, others complain that Sir Thomas Gray has by force attempted to plough their lands, "of which nombar the Laird of Bedrowle is one." Those of Ayr complain that their ships and goods have been taken from them by English. Expresses his readiness to do Burghley service, and to write to Asheby, provided "that my travells be not hid up in a napkin." Colonel Stewart has no warrant for his motion for the combination of England, Scotland, and Denmark. But if the Queen would procure this Council's consent to negociate a true correspondency between these two realms—which will be easily compassed—she shall be so assured of this country that all the Papists in it shall not be able to annoy her, and win a noble man able to do her good service; the sooner he were caught the better, for fear of golden persuasions. The ministers would theerby be encouraged; and this knot once made will be very hard to loose. "The ministers by publick concent doe presently dispatche Mr. Patrick Galloway and Mr. Daniel Chambars unto his majesty" to entreat him to hasten his return, and to acquaint him with their "plott" for placing ministers in every parish church and making provision for them, whereunto they pray his consent. They think that the King resuming into his hands all the tithes of Scotland, by disannulling the tacks thereof, would be pleased to bestow 200li. upon every minister and to reserve the surplusage to himself, which would be a large amount. The great lords are contributing frankly, some 100li., the least 100 marks.

Huntly's wife is delivered of a son. "From those parties we heer nothinge; what storme that calme will produce I know not, but doe suspect the wurst." Edinburgh. 10 February. Signed: R. Wygmor.

Postscript—11 February. Letters are come from Richard Douglas reporting her majesty's acceptance of Bothwell's overtures, but nothing seems done to draw him into England. Without some public pretence he cannot come. "As for the saefcondwitt he hath receved the same hath bin thus compassed. The Erl talking with the Laird of Lasterick towld him that sutche occasions were lyek to fall owt as might happely drawe him into England so he had a saefcondwitt from her majesty. This Lasterick imparted to Cutty Armorer, and he to my Lord of Hunsdon, by whoem the same was compased. He abydeth still most resolute in his affectionat dyvotion to her majesty."

Wigmore desires to know how Walsingham and others think of himself.

4 pp. Holograph. No flyleaf or address.

355. Duke of Lennox to Bothwell. [Feb.]

"Wheras we understand of the gratius care yeilded by the Queinis majestie of Ingland to the motions by zow maid on our behalff to concur in suche effairs as by her shall seime necessarie for the King our soveranis savetie frome the practisis off Spanische liguers or disturbars of the setled religioun of boith realmis and amitie with so worthie a princess, for whois better satisfactioun of our sinceir meaning heirin hir majestie requyred—according to our former offer—to have in particular our handis and asseurancis thairto, wherby sche may have cause to trust wnto it, and advysing for concurrance with ws be a menis to the King to use ws to theis effectis or ony uther wiche by hir heines shall seim expedient: for that the distance of place will not suffer our severall repairis to singne any contraict to this effect, nether may Mr. Lok— whome sche haid heirin according to our desyris trusted—savelie repair to ws all without suspect and discoverie of sumthing: I have thairfoir thocht goode, according to the cours held by utheris of this societie on lyke ressouns, and with lyk asseurit confidence of zour lordschips sinceir dealing for and with ws in this cause, to whom our willis and power al knawin and schalbe used, to crave of your lordschip in my name to subscrybe suche a contraict as to this effect sall by zow be drawin and sent to hir majestie for the benifeit of our soveranis trew religioun and amitie of the two crownis as is afoirsaid; for the faithfull and sinceir performance quhairof I heirby ingage my fayth and honour to zour lordschip and the warld during lyff." Signed: "Your loving brother Lenox."

2/3 p. Addressed. Indorsed.

356. Robert Bowes to Burghley. [Feb. 9.]

Samuel Cockburn, second son of the Laird of Ormiston, deceased, accompanied Colonel Stewart and John Colvile in their embassy to her majesty, and sent by sea from London apparel and household stuff to his house in Scotland, which was taken by English pirates.

He can get no redress, and by reason of his good services to her majesty Bowes now recommends him and his cause to Burghley. Edinburgh. Signed: Robert Bowes.

¾ p. Addressed. Indorsed.


  • 1. Thomas Fowler.