James VI: November 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: November 1590', in Calendar of State Papers, Scotland: Volume 10, 1589-1593, (Edinburgh, 1936) pp. 414-426. British History Online https://www.british-history.ac.uk/cal-state-papers/scotland/vol10/pp414-426 [accessed 20 May 2024].

. "James VI: November 1590", in Calendar of State Papers, Scotland: Volume 10, 1589-1593, (Edinburgh, 1936) 414-426. British History Online, accessed May 20, 2024, https://www.british-history.ac.uk/cal-state-papers/scotland/vol10/pp414-426.

. "James VI: November 1590", Calendar of State Papers, Scotland: Volume 10, 1589-1593, (Edinburgh, 1936). 414-426. British History Online. Web. 20 May 2024, https://www.british-history.ac.uk/cal-state-papers/scotland/vol10/pp414-426.

In this section

James VI: November 1590

495. Anne, Queen of Scotland, to Elizabeth. [Nov. 6.] Cott. Calig. D. II., fol. 13.

Most dear sister and cousin, we . . . (fn. 1) for the courtesy and favour which at our request you showed to this gentleman, bearer of the present, who having very honestly reported thereof we have thereby received singular contentment and proof of your affection toward us, for which we shall seek occasions of showing you how much we deem ourselves indebted to a reciprocal amity, the fruits whereof we shall by God's help demonstrate towards those whom it may please you to favour with the like recommendations. Such an honest disposition and good nature, joined to the sincere devotion which we perceive in this gentleman to prove to you his service and humble affection, has given us occasion to entreat you by this present to be pleased to accomplish the effects of your favour, assuring ourselves that the pity and compassion towards all strangers for which you are so highly esteemed will be in no wise relaxed towards your subject, a poor gentleman to whom a very great wrong is being done, taking from him not only the means of doing the offices and duties which he who is beyond measure obliged to his prince ought to do or could do, but also taking from him by [fo]rce and violence against all right the support of life itself.

We understand the remedy to be in your hands, and the disposition to appertain to you now of that which he claims by hereditary right of all his ancestors. We entreat you then to be pleased to help him for love of us, and by the same means to render him as capable of your service as he is devoted. Wherein you will do a thing worthy of your honour and royal liberality, and will render perfect the contentment which we have conceived in this matter, seeing our request to produce so good effects as to be able by your favour to relieve a gentleman of such good parts, so afflicted and ruined. Holyrood. Signed: "Vostre tres affectionnee soeur et cousine, Anna R."

1 double page. Addressed. Indorsement decayed.

496. Robert Bowes to Burghley. [Nov. 7.]

Upon receipt of Burghley's letter of October 26th, he imparted the news to the King and Chancellor, who gave thanks, and were glad that affairs in France were in better state than the Papists here have given out. James Tyrie, a Scottish Jesuit, having endured the whole siege of Paris, hath sent hither Alexander Cady, servant to the laird of Fentry, arrived lately at Dundee with advertisements from France, and advice for the progress of their causes. And Dixson, sent into Flanders by the "Briggers of Dee," returned the other day very closely to Dundee.

"The wares in their pack are kept so closelie, as I finde no better meane to have them opened, otherwise then by the King's order and direction to cause them to be brought hither and examyned by some fitt parsons to be authorised for the same, which I shall prosecute with deligence." By these the Papists are greatly emboldened, travailing to levy money with all speed, and trusting to repay it by means of Edmund Hay, the Jesuit at Rome, who has received a good sum through certain Cardinals, intending to return hither with it in May next. "These busye practisers leave no seas unsailed to wynn their desiers, not sparing to tempt the Chancelour with the offer of 10,000 crownes to be given before Christianmasse next, and with a yearlie pencion, as by him self I understand." Their requests are chiefly that the Catholics may not be "put at," but may have liberty of conscience, promising to live within their limits, without attempting anything against the religion, the King's person, the state, or the peace of the realm; that the Catholics now under censure of the church, and others, may be overlooked, and not pressed to subscribe to the articles of the religion professed in this realm; and that James Gordon be suffered to remain here, at least for this winter. The Chancellor, refusing to be their instrument, has left them to their own course, wishing that James Gordon should either depart, or yield himself to the captain or provost of Edinburgh, to abide in their custody till the danger of the winter be past. This they mislike, so he thinks they will break up their intelligence with him, finding no help from him.

It is said they are practising with Sir James Stewart, and adventuring 1000 crowns in his hands, to recover favour in court to himself, and advancement in their business. For this purpose the feud betwixt Bothwell and the house of Ochiltree for the slaughter of Sir William Stewart shall be agreed, so as there may be goodwill betwixt Bothwell and Sir James Stewart their instrument. Bowes gives little credit to this, as Sir James continues in disgrace. If true, "it is done to overthrow the Chancelour by suche subtill practise as the Master of Gray was overtaken with by Sir William Steward"; whereof he has warned the Chancellor.

"Some blastes of a sharpe storme was hard rising the other daie, and chefelie against the Chancelour; wherein it was thought that it begunn in the King's chamber, and that some of them sent hastelie for the Lord Hume, who came with spede and left his people in readines. But the same night there followed a great calme, by the meanes of the provost of Clenclowden and Sir Robert Melvill, who wrought a new reconsiliacion and league betwixt the Chancelour and the chamber, whereby they remayne presentlie in friendlie and good tearmes."

Upon information that Cessford, Warden of the Middle Marches in Scotland, had no fit place for his prison but Jedworth, it was thought meet he should be provost of that town, and a charge given to restrain their election of any other: but before delivery of this charge the town had chosen another provost. "Whereupon the contencion betwixt Sesford and the towne grew to great bitternes." The Chancellor and four other councillors charged the town, upon pain of horning, to surcease their election; "which chardge being offered to the King to be signed was rejected with sharpe wordes." Next day, before the King and Council, the town challenged the Chancellor, Clenclowden, and Newbottle to be partial, owing to affinity betwixt them and Cessford, They all acquitted themselves by their oaths. "After, in debate of the cause, the King crossed the Chancelour with sundrie argumentes beyond his accustomed manner, and some warme wordes passed betwixt them." At length the King agreed with the Council that the charge should be left to Cessford if he could prove within twenty days that the town had made the election on a wrong day or time. Some of the chamber had solicited this for the town, and stirred the King against the Chancellor and the four Councillors. It is doubtful whether the scars of this offence are fully taken away by the agreement.

The King being advised to reform his Council, to draw them to less number and of better quality, and to bar the presence of all not authorised councillors, was troubled how to accomplish it without the grudge of those to be removed, alleging that he could not remove those he had pardoned for former faults; so as Huntly, Erroll, Bothwell, Claud Hamilton and others of the "brig of Dee" might not be restrained from his Council.

Therefore it was thought meet that all civil causes be referred to the lords of the sessions; all criminal matters—in regard they concern the King's revenue—and all things concerning the revenue, should be ordered by the commissioners for the Exchequer, being councillors and principal officers of the King's house; and that all matters of state—as foreign leagues ambassages and negociations—should be left to the convention of the nobility and whole Council. This seemed to be intended to bring most matters of Council to the hearing of Councillors and officers of the King's house, without liberty to any of the King's chamber, or others wont to be present, to be admitted. This has offended the chamber and others, especially against the Chancellor, who commended this counsel to the King. The consideration of this matter should have been laid yesterday before the King and Council, but is deferred until Monday next.

"Mr. Alexander Lyndsaie, vice-chamberlaine of the King's househould, is created laird of Spina, agreable to my former letters. And Sir George Hume and Sir James Sandelandes of the chamber are knighted. There is a great frendship entred betwixt the laird of Spina and the Master of Glames."

The King has lately conceived singular good opinion of the Master's sufficiency to govern, far contrary to his late conceit of him: he has twice sent for him, being angry at his long absence. The Chancellor is persuaded that Glamis will continue a good course with him and the rest well affected.

The Earl of Angus and the Master his eldest son are here with their friends to settle the descent of the earldom and inheritance. In regard of the Master's obstinacy in religion, the Earl and his friends are disposed to establish the earldom and inheritance in the Master's children, and to give him a pension for life. The Master is not only an obstinate Papist, but busy in evil offices against England, therefore Bowes has not thought meet "that he should be thus left loose to runn his course without some bridle." He spoke to the Earl about it, who sent his son, and the latter offered to clear himself as to any action against her majesty, and to abide his trial in Berwick.

Bothwell sent home lately Whithaugh and others of Liddesdale, who informed of a raid to be immediately enterprised in England, and it was thought "these loose Borders should have made some soudaine attempt." Bowes believes it was merely a pretence, to try what would be done in such a case.

Being informed by Edward Purvis of Milk Street, London, merchant, and others, that Abraham Lawes and other Englishmen had taken wares worth 8,000l. from a lighter anchored at Oxfordness and brought them to the isles of Scotland, in pursuit whereof Thomas Gray was lately employed, Bowes told Gray that such wares were brought into the north isles of Scotland. He has since enquired for Lawes, and heard he had been at Caithness with like wares, and was come to Dysart, purposing to embark there. Bowes procured his arrest, and that of Daniell the master gunner, by the King's warrants: they are in Edinburgh, in the custody of the provost and bailiffs. He has also given notice to Purvis to prosecute the matter with expedition; and awaits direction. Edinburgh. Signed: Robert Bowes.

pp. Marginal notes by Burghley. Addressed. Indorsed.

497. The Chancellor of Scotland to Burghley. [Nov. 10.]

"This gentleman, Capitane Rentoun, having served sometymis in the Lowe Countreyes, and of intention upone some occasionis to repair againe there, hath craved of me these fewe lynes to your lordship whereby to geve testification of his some service spent in following of me; in whome, as I have found great honestye, I have alwayes hard of his valeur and suche other qualities as hes procured to him ane vearye good name. Yf in anye of his suites there it shall please your lordship shewe favour to him, I houp it shalbe the more effectuall for this my interponed recommendation." Holyrood House. Signed: Jo. Thyrlstane.

½ p. Addressed. Indorsed.

498. The States General to James VI. [Nov. 12.] Cott. Galba, D. V., fol. 172.

Serenissime potentissimeque Rex. Literæ Tuæ quæ nobis ab amplissimo clarissimoque viro domino Johanne Scenæo majestatis tuæ legato redditæ sunt, et quæ deinde predictus dominus legatus in nostro conventu exposuit, et postea scripto obtulit, quæque ea qua debemus erga tuam majestatem observantia legimus et intelleximus, partim magna læticia, partim etiam non mediocri dolore nos affecerunt. Nam quod tua majestas tam paterna et benevola erga has Unitas Provincias sit voluntate et affectu, eisque et earum subditis communis fœderis et religionis ergo omnia fausta et fœlicia precari dignata sit, maximo cum gaudio audivimus, quem sane tam prolixum tuæ serenissimæ majestatis erga has ditiones animum omnibus studiis et obsequiis præmæreri conabimur. Sed incredibili nos mærore et molestia affecit quod præter nostram opinionem et spem tamdiu acta et agitata causa Domini Guilielmi Stuarti rursus renovetur, cum tamen et proxima legatione et literis eis quas a reditu legatorum cum amplo responso ad rationes quas Dominus Guilielmus Stuartus exhibuerat tuæ majestati omnino satisfactum arbitraremur, easque literas, cum tua majestas adhuc in Dania aut Norvegia hæreret, tuæ majestatis vicariis aut consiliariis redditas et a tua majestate visas et cognitas non dubitamus. Quamobrem, cum hoc vel præcipue toto hujus belli intestini tempore curæ nobis fuerit, ut omnibus regibus et principibus vicinis satisfaceremus, nullamque justam eorum subditis conquerendi causam præberemus dici non potest, quam male nos habeant importunæ et iniquæ querelæ dicti Domini Guilielmi Stuarti, quibus non desunt serenissimam tuam regiam majestatem aliosque reges et principes sollicitare, ut durissimo repræsaliarum aut arrestorum jure quod hactenus a nullo unquam principe privatorum stipendiorum nomine concessum fuit, vi et armis cogamur non solum iniquam sed etiam tanti ponderis et ita magni præjuditii conditionem subire ut nisi una patriæ salutem in summum discrimen conjicere velimus illam concedere nequeamus. Quod etsi satis clare multis firmissimis rationibus antea ostensum sit, tamen ut nihil intentatum relinquamus quo patriæ detrimenta et pericula quantum in nobis est avertantur: iterum easdem, rationesque plurimas alias, scripto quod amplissimo clarissimoque domino legato tradidimus comprehendere voluimus; hoc unum obnixe et humilime tuam serenissimam majestatem precantes, ut easdem rationes et superiores pro regia sua prudentia et erga justitiam et veræ religionis cultum amore audire, et pro negotii magnitudine examinare dignetur, ut et communia fœdera quæ apud omnes gentes sanctissima semper fuerunt, et commerciorum mutuus usus, vicinitatisque et amicitiæ jura sarta tecta conservari possint. Præsertim cum hactenus nunquam recusaverimus, nec adhuc recusemus, quin de tota debiti causa et conditione jure agatur, et judicium parati sumus subire quemadmodum sæpe dictum, et scripto declaratum fuit; et ut re ipsa constet quamvis luce meridiana clarius pateat, defensiones nostras rationi esse consentaneas, quanti semper fecerimus tuæ majestatis voluntatem et intercessionem parati sumus Domino Guilielmo Stuarto—durante hoc bello—numerare duo florenorum millia annua[tim], ea conditione, ut cum bona tuæ majestatis gratia et consensu obstringatur, salva tamen obligatione qua obstrictus est serenissimo Regi Daniæ cum duobus millibus Scotorum peditum militatum, occasione sese offerente, et nobis hoc postulantibus in has ditiones venire. Quam quidem conditionem et quam una obtulimus subeundi juris si modo aliquam partem bonique æquique admittere Stuartus velit recusare, nullo modo poterit. Quam rem certo speramus tuæ majestati placituram et satisfacturam, quemadmodum etiam et in negotio Domini Alexandri Wishart, de quo tua majestas suis literis dignata est scribere, et quod predictus dominus legatus nobis specialiter etiam commendavit, et reliquorum omnium Scoticæ nationis hominum quam commendatissimam habebimus, et ut hactenus summo eos favore prosequuti sumus etiam in posterum prosequemur. Hagæ Comitis, 12 Novembris 1590.

pp. Copy. In margin: "Belgia. 1590 Novemb. Colonell Stewards Caus."

499. Robert Bowes to Burghley. [Nov. 20.]

Being ready to have written on the 13th instant, and the same being advertised to the King—probably by Roger Aston, who does many good offices for her majesty's service—he sent Sir George Hume to inform Bowes of his resolution then taken with the Council, and their readiness to take order for the speedy warding of the Papists and preventing the plots of the seditious; requiring him to stay his letters, that he might write of actions begun in this behalf rather than of further promises. Therefore hopes his delay in writing will be pardoned, the rather that he has not been idle, but travailing with the laird of Spynie and Sir George Hume—the King's special favourites—to draw them to the devotion of her majesty, to be careful of their sovereign's welfare, "and to remove the drynes sein to smooke fourthe sometimes betwixt the Chancelour and them, notwithstanding their former reconsiliacions"; wherein he has been plain with them, because the heat of the King's favour toward the Chancellor seemed somewhat cooled, and his friends advised him to search the King's mind therein, which he wisely performed, and recovered—as he thinks—the King's goodwill towards him. Bowes has received frank promises from Spynie and Hume.

On Saturday the 14th instant he received Burghley's letter of the 8th, wherewith he acquainted the Chancellor, who so well liked the contents that he advised Bowes to show it to the King. The latter was so occupied with the Council that Bowes could not have access till yesternight, though at sundry times the King had sent the Chancellor and others to inform Bowes of his proceedings against the Papists.

"In the first part of your lordship's letter mencioned, the King acknowledged that the often changes in their course here do turne ever to his prejudice, and the advantage of his rebelliouse subjectes, agreable to her majesty's true conceipt therein." (fn. 2) For remedy, he promises to be more careful towards both the heads and inferior persons in seditious factions. He thanks her for the advertisement of the practices of agents of his evil subjects in Spain, and of the plot to send hither two "pataches" with money for the causes signified in Burghley's letter. And he then charged the Chancellor to remind him, and secretly to provide to prevent the dangers and seize the occasion for his profit at the coming of these vessels and treasure.

Next, the King showed him [Bowes] that he and the Council had taken order that the Master of Angus, (fn. 3) James Gordon, and Fentry should be committed to ward in the houses of their particular friends, that they might be more willing to enter into ward. Later they shall be taken from these keepers and more severely dealt with. Other inferior Papists and "practisers" shall be imprisoned to abide the pains of the laws for their crimes.

In due time regard shall be given to the principals in the raid at the Brig of Dee, and present practices, according to the King's promise to the Earl of Worcester and later resolutions. He also promised that albeit Huntly was come to Kinnaird in Angus "seeking to be admitted to his presence with suche nomber, and to depart at suche tyme, as the King should appoint, yet he wold restraine Huntlaie from his presence untill her majestie might be advised thereof." Furthermore, finding that all Protestant princes in Europe have need to prepare to withstand the violence of the King of Spain, shown in France, he will advise with some of his Councillors, specially chosen, and advertise her majesty of their determinations.

Secondly, the King thanked the Queen and Burghley for the favour to his burgesses of Edinburgh, to whom he granted his letter of marque against Havre, St. Valery, and other rebels in France. He then gave order to the Chancellor to draw a declaration grounded upon the ancient treaties with France and to be published here, charging his subjects to forbear to trade with French rebels, and to traffic in France only with those obedient to the King there. And to certify to his merchants and subjects in Scotland that prizes taken of the goods of those rebels shall be accounted lawful, provided they touch nothing belonging to the French King's loyal subjects. This matter was partly made known to the merchants in this town, but his pleasure is now that the Council give order for public declaration thereof.

Thirdly, as to the redress of the Borders—Bowes having complained of the late raids of Liddesdale in the West Marches of England, and of Bothwell's slackness to redress these and former attempts—the King said that Bothwell had promised firmly to him to do justice in all these things, and he should have proof of Bothwell's meaning at the meeting appointed betwixt him and Sir John Forster within few days; saying with an oath that if Bothwell fail to do justice according to his promise, he will punish him for example, and provide that he shall no longer encumber these causes. If he give good satisfaction to Forster, he shall be enjoined to meet Lord Scrope shortly after to give him the like contentment. If he delay justice to Lord Scrope, the King will deal roundly with him and see that Scrope be satisfied.

For redress to be made for all attempts since the meeting of the commissioners at Berwick, he willed the Chancellor to put an end to the great causes in Council, and to take order with Bowes for some convenient course. The Chancellor is very willing, but so occupied with weighty matters, "and the Borderers hang so back in the string," that Bowes annot yet get him at leisure.

Fourthly, upon Bowes's report of the submission made to Burghley by Mr. Bancroft, promising to deliver in writing his answer to Burghley's charge against him in the King of Scots' behalf, the King was satisfied, and looked to see that answer, which he promised should not be imparted to any but the Chancellor.

Fifthly, Bowes showed the King that it was marvelled in England that Penry should be suffered to remain in Scotland notwithstanding his order for his banishment, and that Wal[de]grave the printer was permitted freely to print seditious books against his native country of England, "praieng that Penry might be sought out and banished, with the punishement of suche as had receit him; and that Wal[de]grave might be prohibited to exercise his science here so appearantlie against the state of England." The King and Chancellor affirmed that they do not think Penry is in Scotland, but search shall be made, and if he be found he and his "receittours" shall receive punishment; and that Wal[de]grave acknowledged his fault in printing a book set forth by Penry, and entred into bond not hereafter to imprint anything without the King's warrant. The King, and such as shall be appointed by him to examine these things, will bar anything offensive to England. This realm needs a printer, and therefore upon the bond mentioned the King allowed him to use his science here; but if he be taken hereafter with any like offence, he and his sureties shall be well punished.

Verily thought and still believes that Penry was departed out of Scotland, and sundry godly ministers in Edinburgh are of the same opinion. He has diligently sought to execute the directions given him in this matter, without any favour underhand shown, and trusts he will be held blameless. Sundry ministers have marvelled at the earnestness of his course herein and left his company for the same. (fn. 4) Whereupon he has not thought it profitable for her majesty's service "so sharpelie to prick the rest" as to chase them also from him, together with the best affected of the nobility, barons, and boroughs, all which have no little regard to the ministry. He has often been advised, by such as her majesty appointed to direct him, to entertain the good opinion of the ministry.

Hears that the Chancellor, the Master of Glamis, and other officers— being Councillors—met in the King's house last month, to devise to knit themselves together for the King's service, and to withstand their adversaries. "It was motioned by Glames amongst them, that the mynyons in the King's chamber might be holden so straite within their lymittes, as they should not have powre to inriche them selves above measure, nor to alter the resolucions of the Counsaill at their pleasure." The Chancellor found this matter full of peril to deal in without the King's consent, therefore "it was cast in the deck for the tyme": yet Glamis made the gentlemen think this action first proceeded of the Chancellor against them; and also persuaded the King that his revenues were so decreased by gifts that might lawfully be revoked, and so possessed by others that little regarded his present estate, as he could not maintain himself and the Queen in princely estate without some remedy. The matter was so handled as the credit of the Chancellor was shaken with the King, Queen, and gentlemen, and Glamis highly esteemed: the smoke of this fire so troubled the Chancellor and his friends as they found it high time to seek to quench it at the King's hands; wherein the Chancellor so well carried the matter with the King and gentlemen that they opened all things to him, acknowledging that Glamis was the author thereof.

The Chancellor has recovered, as he thinks, the King and Queen's wonted grace, with new reconciliations with the gentlemen avowed before the King, "with holding up of handes to kepe this frendship amongst them. The Master of Glames is still absent, farre beyond the King's expectacion and his owne diett. How he shall acquite him self, or whether he bein dede giltie of this errour, I knowe not: but I feare greatlie that some bitter frute shall springe from this roote, seing that this matter will come to his knowledge. Whereupon the Chancelour and he must yet againe be reconsiled, without trust, or els dissemble their greefes to awate their advantages, which will suerlie hasten the overthrowe of the one of them, and adventure the defeit of the other, with danger of great alteracion in this state."

Morton, father to Glamis, shows such countenance to the Chancellor as he is thought to be stirred against the other. The particular griefs are the Chancellor's doings against the marriage of Erroll with Morton's daughter, and the favour shown to Maxwell and the laird of Lugton against Morton; "but some thinck that the Master of Glames hathe blowne the coale." The troubles betwixt Huntly and the Grants are pacified.

"The Lord Claude Hamilton the other daie at the reading of a chapiter of the Bible at his table entred sodainelie into abundance of teares, with remorse and confession of his sinnes. And soone after his senses and memorie were taken from him, which he shall hardlie recover—as it is thought—in regard of the infirmitie haunting and falling on many discended on [sic] that house."

Upon the examination of Abraham Lawes and William Daniell, arrested on suspicion of taking silks out of the lighter at Oxfordness, they say the rest of their company are already embarked for London. They still deny the fact wherewith they are charged. Bowes asks for order for them. Bothwell is much grieved with their arrest, alleging that through Bowes his office is prejudiced. Edinburgh. Signed: Robert Bowes.

5 pp. Many notes by Burghley. Addressed. Indorsed.

500. James VI. to [ ]. [Nov. 20.]

"Trustie freende, we greate you hartelie well. The reporte of late cominge to our eares that Mr. Archibalde Dowglas gives out there the receipte of a letter from us, and ane new comission sent therewithall by William Cowborne, merchaunt, hathe moved us hereby to make you acquainted with what miscontente we have harde suche unexpected newes, and howe farre it hathe bin from our intention either to aucthoryce him by any newe instructions, whome we have once so solemply disavowed, or to give him power or warrant in any sorte by our letters, or otherwise, to negotiat for us theire; neither can we thincke that him selfe dare presume so farre to our dishonnor as to use our name in anye matter of ymploymente, or the alledgit purchaser avowe any motion elles made to us, save onlie a fewe letters of recomendacion to some of our frindes of the Counsell for favour to be shewen in his sute there, whiche we graunted uppon his heavy complainte, and for pettye wee conceyved of his so greate losse and wrack. And to give more amplie testimony howe farre we accompte us interessed by Mr. Archibalde's contemptuouse carying of him selfe in suche sorte as wee heere, yf the same hathe wroughte any suche effecte as to perswade any there, derogatinge thereby to our fame and reputacion, whiche wee can hardlie be induced to beleve, and to remove all scruple, yf any restethe in the hartes of our best affected frindes, whome he hathe traveled to abuse, ye shall not onlie most constantlie avowe and resolve them of the contrarye, detectinge thereby his knaverye, but in like manner lett theise presentes serve for a full declaracion of our minde and dispoticion, whiche wee thinck shall have as greate faithe as the abusers sinistrous informacion. To the other, whoe for hope of furtheraunce by money to his sute hathe concurred in so highe an attempte, beinge no lesse culpable, ye shall deale with the Lord Thresurer and other our frindes there, to whome our letters of recomendacion were presented, that neither the same be effectuall, nor his complainte harde, or redresse made to him in any sorte, untill such tyme as by his retorninge heire we take triall of his offence, whiche we repute in no small degree of contempte, and to receyve punishemente accordingly. Thus restinge assured of your carefull discharginge of theise our directions precisley in all poyntes as ye shall doe us righte acceptable pleasure and good service, we comitt yow to Godes protection." Holyrood House.

1 p. Copy. Indorsed.

501. Robert Bowes to Burghley. [Nov. 28.]

By a former letter he [Bowes] advertised that Sir James Stewart was to be employed in the accusation intended against the Chancellor, but that the matter carried the less credit, in regard of the general discredit remaining in his person. "But now the matter practised against the Chancelour breaketh out into greater light, and the Master of Gray is growen to be chefelie suspected therein; for it hathe bein informed me —as I thinck the like is commed to the Chancelour's cares—that the Master of Graye, Gilbert Gray his uncle, and John Cranston, purpose to accuse and chardge the Chancelour sharpelie with sondry faultes committ by him to the King's great hurte and dammage: and that the Lord Hume will partie these accusers, and that the Master of Glames is not thought ignorant of their plott, which is looked to be attempted very spedelie." But few wise men think they will proceed therein without the King's good allowance; upon which allowance many noblemen are ready to aid the enterprisers.

The Chancellor so firmly relies on the King's favour and constancy, and the goodwill of the gentlemen of the chamber protested to him, as he doubts not to rid himself out of all these storms. It is strange to him that the Master of Gray—in whom he had good affiance—should seek his wrack. If this course for the overthrow of the Chancellor prevail, the estate of this country shall be changed with hazard of great inconveniencies. Bowes desires direction.

Albeit the Master of Glamis has been daily looked for, yet—since the discovery of the matters lying betwixt the Chancellor and him—he has not shown himself in court or town till yesterday. His long absence bred some jealousies that he is pleased with the Chancellor's overthrow. Bowes hears that the King plainly said that the Master of Glamis would compound all discords in the north amongst Huntly, Marshall, Atholl, Murray, and the Grants, and bring them all to peace and the King's obedience: with general petition to the King to reform the abuses as to his revenues, employed more to the benefit of private persons—having trust to deal therewith—than for his own profit. "Wherein it is evident ennoughe that the Chancelour was touched herein. Besides, a gentleman of good accompt, and imploied for the Master of Glames, hathe travailed to perswaide me to thinck that the Chancelour had bothe sent the Erle of Montrosse and the abbott of Inchaffray to Huntlay at Kinard, to reconsile the Chancelour and Huntlay, letting Huntlay knowe that he should not nede to seeke any other meane for him to come to the King's presence then the helpe of the Chancelour; and also that the Chancelour had intelligence with Papistes, and intended to drawe to this towne Huntlay, Maxwell, Claud Hamilton, and many others suspected." Whereby Bowes espies such heartburning betwixt the Chancellor and Glamis, and such inconveniencies threatened, that he has laboured to draw them to a new reconciliation.

The Chancellor and his friends are well inclined to peace, but Bowes has not yet spoken with the Master of Glamis, and he doubts how they shall perform their accords, seeing the occasions presently ministered to prick them forwards; he desires direction herein.

By a gentleman lately come from the north he hears that there is a barque lately arrived in the north with 12,000 crowns for the Papists, brought by a Fleming, accompanied by an Englishman thought to be William Holt, the Jesuit, lately with the Duke of Parma. This Englishman met James Gordon and Fentry at Kinnaird in Carse of Gowrie; and at "Glendeoughe" [Glendoick ?] within four miles of St. Johnston they met three noblemen. This Bowes has imparted to the Chancellor, seeking the apprehension of the Englishman, the arrest of the money and vessel, and discovery of the three noblemen: but the Chancellor cannot hitherto find any truth in the report.

The King of Spain is said to have offered large sums of money to the captain of Calais, to get that town into his hands and to plant a garrison there. Sir Alexander Stewart is already departed with a letter from Bowes to Burghley; he seems very willing to do some service. Was warned that Abraham Lawes and William Daniel, arrested by his means, were to be secretly conveyed out of prison, but he has prevented that escape.

Francis Dacre has been to him lamenting his hard estate, not able to sustain himself in Scotland, and recounting his evil fortune in England, ill-success in his law-suits and occasion to retire into this realm; adding that he must either steal or beg or find some other means to live by. "And he concluded that for as muche as his brother Edward Dacre had first left to him at his deathe 2,000 crownes in Flanders, to be received at his repaire thither and upon demaund; and next so intreated the Duke of Parma and the King of Spaine's counsaill, as he trusteth to obtaine the pencion that was given to his brother Edward in case he should seeke and wold accept the same: therefore in this extreme necessitie he must nedes—he saide—seeke and take his relief thereby; purposing to repaire into Flanders for the same with all expedicion." Bowes tried to dissuade him, but could not shake his resolution, which he left to be certified to Burghley or not as Bowes thought best; protesting that he would continue her majesty's true subject all his life.

Friends of Lord Claud Hamilton, lately returned from him, have shown some letter subscribed by him, proving the recovery of his senses; they say he is well again, "alleadging that his malady come by the vehemencie of a sharpe fitt in a whote fever."

Huntly hearing that the Earl of Murray and the Grants were with Atholl in his house at Baweny, assembled two hundred men to have surprised them; but being advertised that they were warned and departed to provide better for him, he dispersed his forces and withdrew. The late reconciliation betwixt him and Atholl was shaken before, and now it is broken all in sunder; as the like daily happeneth in this realm.

"The King and Counsaill is occupied with the examinacions of sundry witches taken in this contrye, and confessing bothe great nombers and the names of their fellowes; and also strange and odiouse factes done by them; which upon the full trialls of their causes are intended to be hereafter published. And some of good qualities are like to be blotted by the dealinges of the wickett sorte."

The King has already committed the Master of Angus to the keeping of the laird of Bass; James Gordon is to be with Lord Seaton and Fentry in the house of John Graham, one of the lords of sessions. It is promised that their abode in those places shall be very short, and that they shall be committed to surer keeping. Edinburgh. Signed: Robert Bowes.

Postscript—At the closing of these letters the King has sent word that he had written to Burghley for the setting at liberty of John Lesley, taken with the letters of the bishop of Ross; and had sent his letter to James Hudson to deliver and to solicit the matter; requiring also that Bowes would commend the young man to Burghley's favour, which he does.

pp. Addressed. Indorsed by Burghley.

502. John Skene to the States General. [Nov.] Cott. MSS., Galba D. V., fol. 174.

[After long compliment.] Serenissimo Regi et domino meo clementissimo nihil prius aut antiquius ab ineunte ætate unquam fuit, quam ut posthabita sanguinis necessitudine et abjecta utilitatis spe—quam plerique et fere omnes mortales avidissime consectantur—amicitiam firmam sanctamque cum omnibus et vobiscum precipue viri N. et M. qui veram Christi religionem et evangelii lucem, rejectis Pontificiorum sordibus agnoscitis, et profitemini coleret et constanter conservaret; nam cum perturbantissimis hisce temporibus nonnulli suavitatis lenocinio illecti, alii vero utilitatis gratia incitati amicitiam, seu potius amicitiæ quandam larvam et fucum cum aliis contrahunt et retinent—quorum illud belluarum hoc vero lucrionum potius quam hominum proprium est—solam eam regiam, et his qui vere amici et esse et diis volunt dignam esse perpetuo existimavit, quæ veræ religionis fulchro et pietatis, cujus fundamentum est Christus, adminiculo innititur et sustentatur.

Hinc fit ut in nonnulla rerum suarum perturbatione vestræ optimæ et justissimæ causæ non tam regionis defendendæ quam religionis conservandæ gratia susceptæ ex animo bene cupiverit et eam quibus potuit modis juvare studuerit: neque etiam hostis vestri potentia deterritus aut clientela et authoritate qua plurimum valet, impeditus ullo unquam tempore destitit, tum commerciorum mutuo usu, tum voluntariorum militum permissione vobis vestrisque civibus gratificari, qui cum vitæ periculo et sanguinis effusione non desierunt causam vestram promovere et fidem suam ac diligentiam illustri fortitudinis specie edita comprobare.

Inter hos et rerum gestarum gloria et in officio suo obeundo fide præcipuus enituit Guilielmus Stuartus commendatarius de Pettinweime, et serenissimæ suæ majestatis consiliarius qui complures annos non sine sanguinis sui profusione cognatorum cæde, rerum suarum jactura, et fortiter et fideliter causam vestram tutatus est hostem sæpe magna animi fortitudine fudit, ejusque crudeles et impios conatus de evertenda religione et opprimenda vera libertate susceptos fregit et comminuit. Veruntamen laborum ab eo exantlatorum tantum abest ut aliqua sit habita ratio ut potius inter præcipuos militum tribunos ille unus supersit, cujus causa neglecta prostrataque jaceat et cum res præclaras præclare gesserit; ille solus fere sit qui nullo laborum suorum præmio honoratus aut affectus fuerit. Unde factum est ut æri alieno irretitus creditoribus plurimis jure quasi nexi obligatus se suamque fidem liberare nequeat et cum honestissimo militiæ genere sibi suisque rebus consulere voluit, honoribus quidem ob rem bene gestam auctus, re autem familiari destitutus in magnas præcipitatus sit angustias, unde sero fortasse poterit emergere.

Proinde serenissimus Rex et Dominus meus clementissimus pro ea qua virtutis suæ merito Dominum Stuartum prosequitur benevolentia, et innata sua erga omnes suos subditos clementia, ejus causæ deesse non potest, ideoque superioribus annis vos viros N. et M. legatione inter indiciis et literis sæpius repetitis sollicitandos putavit ut ei vel solutione ejus quod illi jure optimo debetur vel aliquo alio modo qui solutionis vicem obtinet satisfiat.

Sæpius hæc res et literis et sermonibus agitata disceptaque est ut si pluribus in presentia utar actum agere videri possem et trimestre spatium quod magnificis vestris legatis prudentia et rerum usu præstantibus de jure quo Dominus Stuartus utitur deliberandi concessum fuit jampridem præteriit.

Ut igitur jam tandem hujus rei rationem habere velitis et antiquam vestram in dissolvendis debitis fidem sequuti Domino Stuarto cæterisque qui sub ipso militarunt ejusque fidem sequuti sunt secundum pacta conventa satisfacere velitis, et amantissime et amicissime peto. Quod si feceritis rem a vestra fide et benevolentia non alienam ipsius in rempublicam vestram meritis non indignam, et serenissimo Regi et domino meo clementissimo amico et confœderato vestro gratissimam ct pari beneficiorum genere—si occasio requirat—compensandam facturi estis.

Cætera ex suæ majestatis et serenissimi Daniæ et Norvegiæ Regis literis ex quibus quid hac in re ipsorum serenitates fieri velint copiosius intelligere potest. Subscriptum erat "Serenissimi Jacobi sexti Dei gratia Scotorum Regis Legatus." Signatum Johannes Skenæus.

3 pp. Copy. In margin: "Belgia. 1590 Novemb. Colonell Stewards caus."


  • 1. Decayed.
  • 2. Marginal note by Burghley: "The Queen's majesty's advice was roundly expressed."
  • 3. Marginal note by Burghley: "The Earl of Angus has disherited his sonn because he is a Papist."
  • 4. Marginal note by Burghley: "I wrote somewhat roundly to Mr. Bowes not to be ledd awey with the unruly ministers."