James VI: February 1592

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 1592', in Calendar of State Papers, Scotland: Volume 10, 1589-1593, (Edinburgh, 1936) pp. 630-649. British History Online https://www.british-history.ac.uk/cal-state-papers/scotland/vol10/pp630-649 [accessed 20 May 2024].

. "James VI: February 1592", in Calendar of State Papers, Scotland: Volume 10, 1589-1593, (Edinburgh, 1936) 630-649. British History Online, accessed May 20, 2024, https://www.british-history.ac.uk/cal-state-papers/scotland/vol10/pp630-649.

. "James VI: February 1592", Calendar of State Papers, Scotland: Volume 10, 1589-1593, (Edinburgh, 1936). 630-649. British History Online. Web. 20 May 2024, https://www.british-history.ac.uk/cal-state-papers/scotland/vol10/pp630-649.

In this section

James VI: February 1592

654. Robert Bowes to Burghley. [Feb. 2.]

Since the return of Roger Aston to Scotland I have not hitherto received from him any letters or advertisement. By some short letters from my other friend and servant there I find the estate continuing in quietness without late alteration, and with hope that it shall remain in this calm, in regard that the King and Chancellor seek to reconcile the discontented. Further, that Bothwell, withdrawn to Dumbarton with his wife, two Stewarts, and two Hamiltons, is seen to retire to pass from thence to sea for Spain, or into some of the isles adjoining, as I trust your lordship has been advertised before this, and is thereby thought rather to intend flight or close covering himself than to re-enter into any new enterprise. Yet some writing to me are of opinion that the storm against the Chancellor is not passed, and that means will be made to stir up chief courtiers to estrange the King's mind towards him, which amongst the wise is thought to be a work of greater boldness in attempt than hope of good success.

The King, understanding of Bothwell's being at Dumbarton, and that the wind did not serve him to make sail as he desired, sent the Duke of Lennox and the Earl of Huntly with 100 horsemen to apprehend him, as I think your lordship has been also certified before. But as most men looked for little hurt to be done to Bothwell by those persons employed, so that hitherto I have not heard that they have taken and brought him. Howbeit I am perfectly advertised of the doings and success in this journey.

The agreement betwixt the Chancellor and the Master of Glamis stands still in doubtful terms: for the Chancellor, appearing outwardly to be forward in this reconciliation, will not conclude the same without the assents of the King, the Lord Hamilton, Crawford and Montrose. The Master of Glamis remains quietly in Edinburgh, offering the accomplishment of large conditions to be performed on his behalf.

Colonel Stewart continues in the Castle of Edinburgh and stands upon his innocency. Robertland prays to be tried by assize. Davison, servant to Mr. John Colvile, has confessed all in his knowledge. Bothwell's bailiff of Creichton, standing on the gallows at the Court gate to have been executed for his presence at the raid at Holyrood House, was saved by the cry and petition made by the people present there, and presented to the King as he passed by into the palace "before this prisoner was executed." The King thereupon in expounding the contents of the chapter in the Bible read then at supper, according to his accustomed manner, reproved the people of that nation for their disordered affection towards Bothwell and other offenders, and also noted in Bothwell great unthankfulness towards the Chancellor, who, the King said, was lately ready to engage himself for Bothwell's conversion and good behaviour, and also had adventured so far for Bothwell's welfare that the King might justly take the life of the Chancellor if he listed. Barns. Signed: Robert Bowes.

1 p. Addressed. Indorsed by Burghley's clerk.

655. Robert Bowes to Burghley. [Feb. 5.]

Forasmuch as I think that Roger Aston has advertised your lordship how the King accepts the success of Mr. Aston's late journey into England, and how well he is pleased with the favour shewed by her majesty giving order to put out his rebels "comed" lately into this realm, therefore I leave the same and all other causes concerning the actions of Mr. Aston to his own report.

By letters from the Lord Scrope I perceive that he has received some dilatory answer from Sir Robert Carr, keeper of Liddisdale, touching redresses demanded by the Lord Scrope for the attempts done by Liddisdale. For the expedition of which reddresses to be given to the Lord Scrope's contentment, I have given order to my servant in Scotland both to move the Chancellor and Lord Secretary for the indilate furtherance thereof, and also to acquaint Roger Aston with the matter and take his help in the advancement of all things to the best end; which I trust shall be followed with effect, and the success whereof your lordship shall be advertised of.

It has been given me to understand that, albeit the King had fully purposed to have committed John Nesmithe to the execution of death as a principal conspirator in the late action at Holyrood House, yet at the earnest request of the Queen there, Nesmithe has been hitherto spared, partly against the mind of the King and others; and that Roger Aston, finding the King's disposition and the present condition of that case, has so well informed and persuaded the Queen to cease her travail therein, and so wisely dealt in this matter that, the Queen willingly withdrawing herself and suit herein, the punishment deserved by Nesmithe for the example and fault is like to be laid on him to remove sundry "conceiptes" threatening some danger at this time. In which behalf Roger Aston has sought my letters to be addressed and speedily sent to himself to signify that by his good report of the true estate and handling of these matters he has well satisfied me and others who had heard sundry things to have passed otherwise than by his report mentioned we find now to have been true and also think it strange that Nesmithe should be thus long kept. Wherein, because it has been thus advised by Mr. Aston, as a matter promising good fruit to spring thereof, I have agreed, and sent my letters to him, and to the effect expressed, thinking it my duty to acquaint your lordship with my doings, and trusting my actions shall be well accepted therein.

By letters received this day from some of my friends and my servant in Scotland I am advertised that the suspicion found to be still smothered in the King's breast, and reserved in the Chancellor's head, against divers noblemen, suspected to have been privy to the late raid at Holyrood House, will hazard one day some sudden storm or peril to the King whereby that estate shall be changed. But the King and Chancellor, foreseeing the danger thereof to stand chiefly in the continuance of the secret grudges betwixt such noblemen and the Chancellor, are earnestly to work good reconciliations amongst these parties to pull up the root of their hatred and prevent these dangers.

By the means of the Earl of Mar, the Chancellor and the Earl of Morton are agreed, and the Chancellor and Morton dined together at Mar's house in Edinburgh, showing great friendship the one to the other. Yet whereas it was looked that Morton should have dined the next day with the Chancellor, he did not do so. And albeit it is commonly thought and written to me that the agreement is concluded betwixt the Chancellor and the Master of Glamis, with expectation that the Master shall be restored to his two offices, chiefly in the Session, yet I am secretly advised that they are broken up, and that the King knowing Glamis to be quietly in the town has commanded him to depart; which course is likely to shatter the green friendship accorded betwixt the Chancellor and Morton, and [it is thought] that the manner of the knot of that friendship and the breach with Glamis shall be the beginning of greater discords amongst them and others. This is the bare opinion of one writing to me against the common "conceipt" of others and of the Court at the time of the address of those letters.

The Duke [of Lennox] and the Earl of Huntly passing to Dumbarton to surprise Bothwell, as before has been certified to your lordship, have taken John Smallet, who has confessed himself to have been privy to the conspiracy and action at Holyrood House, and has discovered many matters not before revealed. It is given the King to think, at the time of the dispatch of those letters, that Smallet shall be sent to him to open great things, and that the Duke and Huntly have passed into the west isles in Scotland, pursuing Bothwell clothed in beggar's apparel and accompanied only by his wife, intending to get shipping in the isles for Spain or Brittany. But it is written to me in this behalf that Smallett, falling into the hands of the Duke and Huntly, readily acknowledged himself guilty, as before, and offered that if they would take Bothwell to be presented to the trial of the law, and not deliver him to the King to be executed suddenly, he would bring Bothwell to them, in regard that Bothwell trusted to find such favour with the King upon his submission, and such goodwill amongst the noblemen of his assize, upon consideration of his cause, that his life might be saved, and they be the instruments and have the thanks for the same. That they credited, and suffered Smallett to depart. Whereupon he immediately warned Bothwell and put himself in safety.

It is commonly believed that the Chancellor has fully compounded with the Captain of the Castle of Edinburgh for that office; yet I am likewise informed that the Captain would not accept the sum of money and conditions offered by the Chancellor, so it is presently uncertain whether they shall accord or not.

The King and Council are presently occupied in putting order to the papists, whereby it is resolved that Mr. James Gordon and the Laird of Fentry shall be immediately banished, which few will believe before they shall see the order executed.

Montrose is said to have departed from Court malcontent, for he fears that the Chancellor and the Master of Glamis should have agreed, and that the Master should have been restored to his offices, as before, to his disgrace; but I perceive that he has returned home to conclude a marriage betwixt the Prior of Pluscardine, brother to the Lord Seaton, and one of the daughters of the Lord Drummond. The Earl of Argyle and Lord Ogilvy are in agreement.

Whereas your lordship has been advised before (by whom I know not) that letters were sent by the King to the Duke of Parma, by the convoy of the Lord Hume, Buccleuch, or Thomas Tyrye, I have been lately assured by some near about the King and well acquainted with his actions that such letters were not addressed by the King or with his privity, as also your lordship may well understand by Roger Aston, who has lately travailed to find out the truth thereof. Barnes. Signed: Robert Bowes.

pp. Addressed. Indorsed by Burghle's clerk.

656. Roger Aston to James Hudson. [Feb. 9.]

You shall understand that on Monday, the 7th instant, the Earl of Huntly passed over the water, as he gave it out, to take Mr. John Colvile, and acquainted the King with the same, but having another intent, knowing the Earl of Murray to have arrived at his house of Dennybressel to meet the Lord Ochiltree, who was dealing with the King and Huntly to take up all matters, and were near to a point. Suspecting nothing, the Earl of Huntly came suddenly "abott" the house, being "but two horses," and, not able to defend from the fire, was there cruelly "perslud," but defended a long time with "slatter" on both sides. Those within came forth sundry times and were driven in again. In the end the stooks of corn were laid about the house and fired, so that they were constrained to "rues" out. The Earl himself [Moray], being foremost, "pled the partt of a gon, and be plen fors came thrue them all" and by "plen" speed of foot got away. "tel be mesfortu[ne] mett with som that twere watching not far from the plase," [who] set upon him. He being sore burnt and "farfougten" was by them cruelly slain, and so was the Sheriff of Moray and one of his servants called Boeg. Of Huntly's side there was slain Captain Gordon, and sundry [were] hurt. What shall "become" of this, I know not. The King is highly offended, and so are all men in general. What is become of Huntly, we know not. It is likely to breed great unrest in this country.

The Duke [of Lennox] and Huntly "perseud" Bothwell, as I wrote before, but came "unspied"; wherefore there are others appointed and post to pursue him. He is still in about Bute or Arran or some of those islands. There is no word come back again as yet since James Sandelands has passed into those parts and has "provigen" both by sea and land.

The King gets daily advertisements that Nedderay, Nicholas Stewart, and some others of Bothwell's servants are received in Murray but for Nedderay he is plainly there. I hope such order is taken that they may be apprehended.

The Laird of Poury Ogilvy has made a motion to go to Spain, where he has undertaken to get liberty for all Scottish merchants to transport English wares to Spain. This is "extentt" here but for a colour to work other matters. The man is enough known here. He will get no such commission, nor shall be "suffred" to you.

Mr. Bowes' coming is daily expected. It is very necessary he were here, for we look for nothing but mischief among us. Edinburgh. Signed: Roger Aston.

Postscript.—The Laird of "Cadell" [Calder] is slain by some Highland men.

2 pp. Holograph. Addressed "To his loving brother James Hudson, servant to the King's Majesty of Skotland"; also to Burghley. Indorsed by Burghley's clerk. Seal.

657. Robert Bowes to Burghley. [Feb. 10.]

Sundry of my friends in Scotland have sent to me advertisement of the late slaughters of the Earl [Moray] and the Sheriff of Murray, the report whereof I think shall be brought to your lordship before the receipt of these presents. Yet finding this fact to be certified by Roger Aston with good certainty and plainness, I have therefore thought good, for your lordship's information in that behalf, to send to your lordship Mr. Aston's letter addressed to me and well declaring the circumstances of this action.

Besides this murder of these personages of good quality, I am also advertised that the Laird of Calder is slain in the north by the practice of Huntly, but this report is brought into doubt, and some writing to me are of opinion that the Laird still lives and was not assaulted; which "concepte" I wish to be true, for surely I left him very well affected to her majesty and her services.

These things suddenly fallen out in that realm, and the troubles likely to arise thereby, presently occupy and encumber that state now tossed with diverse storms, as by letters of others your lordship, I trust, already understands, and as by further intelligences to be sent to me I shall shortly give your lordship further light.

The young Laird of Poury Ogilvy, seeking to be employed and sent by the King into Spain, and promising under the colour thereof to do profitable offices for her majesty and the King his sovereign, has written to me in the same, seeming to be purposed to enlarge the matter to me with more plainness in short time, and with all particularities. Upon receipt of his letter herein I shall, God willing, acquaint your lordship with the contents thereof, and with more perfection. In the meanwhile may it please your lordship to consider well of the matter of the person thus seeking this office, and of the present condition of the estate there, and also thereon to direct myself to proceed or do with him as shall be found most convenient. Woddrington. Signed: Robert Bowes.

pp. Addressed. Indorsed by Burghley's clerk.

Enclosure with the same:—

(Roger Aston to Robert Bowes.)

Part printed in A. Lang's Hist. of Scot., ii, 537.

I have received your letters of the 1st and 3rd, and should have completed all things there incontinent, but the extraordinary accident "uppon" the slaughter of the Earl of Murray has given such occasion of business that all men's spirits are occupied. The very truth of this accident is this. This long time past the Earl of Murray has sought to be reconciled with Huntly and for that cause has employed sundry of his friends to travail with the King, which was "nere att a poyntt" by my Lord Ochiltree's means, who both dealt with the King and the Earl of Huntly, and for that cause the Earl of Murray came to his house of Dennebrissell within two miles of the Queen's Ferry, where the Lord Ochiltree was to have met [him] on Monday the 7th instant, and for that purpose came to the ferry and would have gone over, but commandment had come thither, as they said, from the King, that no boats should pass. Whereupon the said lord returned, thinking there had been some enterprise to have been done by the King. That day the King was hunting, and Huntly gave it out he was going to the King, and so came forth accompanied with forty horses of his and servants. That morning Huntly told the King he had "a purpose of Mr. Jhon Colven" and found others that were with the Earl of Bothwell, and for that cause he was to pass over the water. Yet the King, fearing the inconveniences that might ensue by reason of the Earl of Murray being on the other side, discharged him "to ryd," which he promised to obey. But shortly after the King was gone forth he passed forthwith to the said Earl of Murray's house, "being but too horeses, and nott abel to be keptt." They that were within came forth sundry times and discharged their pistols and slew some of Huntly's men, as Captain Gordon and diverse others. Thereupon they took the corn stooks and led to the house, so that the extremity of the fire forced those who were within to come forth. The Earl himself, after he was so burnt that he was not able to hold a weapon in one of his hands, came through them all "with his sord in his hand, and lyke a lyon forsed them al to geve plase," and so got through them all, and with speed of foot outran them. But such was his fortune after he had escaped them "lyghtt in the handes of some of the wacches," who set upon him and chased him to the water, where he was by them cruelly slain. The Sheriff of Murray was slain and one other of his servants. Many were hurt on both sides. The old lady, his sisters, and children, were all saved. This fact is counted very odious by all men. The King takes it very heavily. What punishment there will be for it I know not. Huntly has passed northward. The King and Council are at this hour sitting upon the matter. The people cry out of the cruelty of the deed. We look for nothing but mischief. And yet I must "se" to your lordship the King entertaining of Huntly, and the great authority he gave him is the cause of all. What order is taken in this and all other things your lordship shall be advertised by my next.

The pursuit of Bothwell by the Duke and Huntly was not so well followed forth as it should have been, so that the King has employed others, as Sir James Sandelands, the Sheriff of Bute, and some gentlemen of the country, from whom as yet we have got no word, but certain it is Bothwell is in those islands and might have been had if the matter had been well handled at the first.

Your presence here is greatly desired and daily expected. I fear we shall have need of you; therefore I pray your lordship make the more haste, for your presence will do good.

Poury Ogilvy has "proponit" to the King and sundry of the Council that he will procure liberty of the King of Spain that all Scottish merchants shall have liberty to trade with English wares to Spain, and for that cause would have the King to send him to Spain, which the King has refused unless he bring the Queen of England's request in that behalf, as also the consent of the merchants and ministers. They would have this journey for fashion's sake, but he is well enough known here. Edinburgh. 8th February. Signed: Roger Aston.

pp. Holograph. Addressed.

658. Roger Aston to James Hudson. [Feb. 11.]

The same day that I sent my last conclusion was taken for the pursuit of Huntly. The King takes journey to the north on Friday next. Proclamation is made for all men to attend him. The Earls of Argyle and Athol meet him. All men are bent for revenge of this cruel murder, chiefly the friends of Murray, as Mar, Morton, Argyle, and Athol with all the Stewarts, and the Duke as earnest as any. The Lord Ochiltree has commission to take, burn, and cast down all the houses of the Gordons. As we succeed in our journey you should come.

I am now preparing "jake," steel bonnet, and pistols. "Wantes but a good hores." Edinburgh. Signed: Roger Aston.

Postscript.—This journey to the north against Huntly is not "to hold forwards" till the 10th of March. On the 2nd instant the King goes in person to the west parts to pursue Bothwell.

1 p. Holograph. Addressed. Indorsed by Burghley's clerk.

659. The Laird of Barnbougle to his son James Mowbray. [Feb. 11.]

"Sone, I commend me hartly to zow. In hast I vryit this letter. Resaveng zour vryit the viij day off Fabruar fra Francis Mowbre, the Kyngis majeste and the Chansalur hes vrytin effectuisly to James Hutson to travel vyth the quenes majeste and the tressorer for zour releff. The Kingis majeste hes hurd off zour eweil handlyne and is very myscontent that his sub[j]ectis sould be sa handlet, in respekt off the gud veil his majeste beares to the queins majeste of Ingland. I have vrytin to James Houtson to lat ze vant nathing quhill my cummyne, quhilk, God vyling, sal be vythin xiiij dayes efter this gyff I be onlyff. Tak gud hart quhill my cumyne, at quhilk tyme ze sal vaint na thyng. In the tyme James Houtson veil se zow retefeit and lat zow vaint with vryting." Edinburgh. Signed: Barnebowgall.

Postscript.—"Gyff this new alteration off the murdor off the Erle of Muray mad be the Erle off Huntly I sould have bein at zow or now."

¾ p. Holograph. Addressed: "To his sone James Mowbray at Vestmester in pryson. No flyleaf.

660. Robert Bowes to Burghley. [Feb. 13.]

The barbarous cruelty showed by Huntly in the late murder of Murray has set the people in great rage and stirred sundry noblemen, and the ministers and burgesses in Edinburgh, to sue to the King for the expedition of punishment. For this the King was resolved to have set forward into the north against Huntly on Friday last, the 11th instant, appointing Argyle and Athol to meet him, and commanding all men by proclamation published to come to him for that purpose. All things were in readiness and "looked to have proceided" as was concluded, like as by this letter enclosed and sent to me by Roger Aston will appear to your lordship. But with the same letters I was advised by others that in case I should attend a day or two I might, peradventure, find this journey stayed, which by letters received this day I perceive to be true. For the King's journey into the north against Huntly is put over and referred by open proclamation till the 10th of March next, in regard that the forces to be gathered for the King's service therein could not be levied in so short a time; and the King is now prepared and ready to pass to Glasgow, thinking surely to find Bothwell "put out" to him.

I perceive that Argyle and Atholl had put their forces in good readiness. Morton and Marr pressed the King forward. The ministers and chief burgesses in Edinburgh prayed the King to give timely justice. The Stewarts are bent to revenge the fact. The Duke [of Lennox] appeared forward therein, and the Chancellor, suspected by Murray's friends, showed great earnestness, as well to persuade the King to proceed with celerity and speed and also to put his own hand in the execution. What effect this sudden delay shall bring, I leave to your lordship's consideration.

Huntly justifies his act for this slaughter by force of a commission of lieutenancy granted to him by the King, and wherein Murray so far disobeyed him that he was driven thus to assault him in his house, and he prays to be tried by ordinary course of the laws of the realm. For which purpose he sent an especial servant to the Court. The King affirms that commission to have been revoked and of none effect. He sent to have taken the messenger employed by Huntly, but the messenger tarrying quietly all the night in the town departed and escaped safely in the morning. These things so much disquiet and trouble the King's mind, and such of my friends as have written to me are of opinion that, whereas they looked that the papists and practisers for Spain should have been turned out of the realm with the Gordons' chieftain, now they shall be retained to maintain with the Spanish money the broils likely to arise there.

It has been commonly bruited that the Earl of Crawford had slain the Master of Glamis, but I am newly advertised by letters that it is not so, nor [has] any such attempt or purpose [been] made against him.

The young Laird of Powry Ogilvy has been solicited, as it seems by his letters, to be mean to recover and get a perfect and sure traffic to be granted by the King of Spain to the merchants in Scotland to continue their trade in Spain, and with English wares and commodities, and that himself might be employed and sent by the King as his ambassador into Spain for this purpose. He pretends to bring to her majesty by his service great profit and also good intelligence, like as by his own letter enclosed, and which I sent to your lordship for your lordship's best information herein, will be seen to your lordship at more length. He is earnest for speedy return of answer, but the matter may be haply thought by your lordship worthy of good consideration; therefore I thought it my duty to send to your lordship his letter mentioned, and to attend your lordship's direction for my further proceeding in the same.

As the effects of my present suits to her majesty, and known to your lordship, necessarily require the expedition of resolution and order, as well for the surety of payment of my debts and good contentment in all things to be given to her majesty by me, as also for some course to be granted to me for the disposition of myself and miserable state, brought into such case that by the delay of this order I shall utterly and very hastily perish, so I most humbly beseech your lordship to vouchsafe to be mean to procure for me speedy resolution in these behalfs, that, according to her majesty's pleasure to be specified to me, I may with all obedience and humility accomplish the same so far as may possibly lie in my power. Barnes. Signed: Robert Bowes.

pp. Addressed. Indorsed by Burghley's clerk.

Enclosure with the same:—

(Roger Aston to Robert Bowes.)

The conclusion was taken for the pursuit of Huntly the same day I dated my last. It is now concluded that the King in person will pass to the north, and to that end has made proclamation for all men to go with him, and has sent to the Earls of Argyle and Athol to meet him with their forces. Mar and Morton are here very earnest in the matter.

Commission is given to the Lord Ochiltree to burn and cast down all the houses of the Gordons who were at the deed. The King is the earnester in the matter for that Huntly reports it was done by the King's commission, which the King altogether denies. The Chancellor is greatly condemned in this matter by Murray's friends. He knew the Earl of Huntly was to ride and did not stay him. But the Chancellor says he promised him he would not ride any way but go to the King, who was hunting. The Chancellor seems to be very earnest in his pursuit.

We take journey within these two days. All the Stewarts are bent for revenge, and the Duke [of Lennox] is as earnest as any of them. The murder was cruel. He made great request for his life, and, when he saw it would not be, kept the house till all his servants had left him, and then said his prayers. The fire being "in sundry partes of him" [he] came out among them and outran them all, and had escaped but that there was fire in his steel bonnet by which he was followed. "They cutt him in pesses thatt there is no partt of his boady to be found." Edinburgh. 10th February. Signed: Roger Aston.

1 p. Holograph, also address. Indorsed. Seal.

661. James Hudson to Burghley. [Feb. 17.]

Encloses a letter touching the present estate in Scotland. In the enclosed packet is a letter from the King to him (Hudson) to "move" Burghley for James Mowbray's release. The Lord Chancellor and the young man's father, the Laird of Barnbougall, have also written to the same effect. Signed: Ja. Hudson.

½ p. Addressed. Indorsed by Burghley's clerk. No flyleaf.

First enclosure with the same:—

(James VI. to James Hudson.)

Being informed that James Mowbray, our servant, son to the Laird of Barnbougall, has been "wardit" there at London this long time bypast upon some "frivole and licht" occasion, as is reported, we have thought meet hereby to desire you to intercede and travail by all the good means of the Lord Treasurer for his liberty and relief; which we trust the rather shall be granted for that the offence wherewith he is charged has deserved no such extreme handling. Also let it herewith be signified to the Lord Treasurer—of whose goodwill we are always persuaded— that we would wish this gentleman nor any others our subjects resorting there "hardlyar used in any cais then gif they were cuntre men," in respect of the good peace and amity standing betwixt the realms. Edinburgh. 11th February, 1591. Signed: James R.

2/3 p. Addressed.

Second enclosure with the same:—

(The Lord Chancellor of Scotland to James Hudson.)

Requests him to further the liberty of the Laird of Barnbougle's son. Edinburgh. [11th] February, 1591. Signed: Jo. Thyrlstane.

¾ p. Addressed.

662. Robert Bowes to Burghley. [Feb. 17.]

By sundry letters received this day from diverse of my friends in Scotland I am advertised that the estate there is greatly changed and suddenly fallen into danger of hasty troubles to arise as well to the peril of the King as also to the breach of the common quietness. For whereas this late and odious murder of Murray has been laid to the charge only of Huntly and his accomplices, now some would gather and allege many circumstances—with what mind and truth I know not—that the King and the Lord Chancellor should be blemished with the grant of the blank commission—by colour whereof Huntly attempted this fact—and with privity and assent to the execution. Wherein, albeit the King at the first had so well persuaded many noblemen, the friends of Murray, and the ministry, of his own innocency and honourable part in the behalfs mentioned that the hearers were satisfied, and the ministers published the same in their sermons, to the good comfort of the people, with promise given to them by the King, resolved to confirm his mind and actions herein by the expedition of the due punishment which he should lay on Huntly and all others found guilty of this outrage. Yet by the stay of the course and proceedings thus promised and put far in forwardness, and by the King's journey now drawn to Glasgow, Dumbarton, and other places thereabout, the King's part and doings in this cause are brought in question by many, grounding their "conceiptes" on sundry circumstances gathered by themselves, certified to me by my friends, and which I send enclosed to your lordship as I have received them, leaving the certainty of the truth therein to your lordship's examination, and as matters wholly unknown to myself further than is before specified. For it is said by the parties possessed and grieved with these jealousies that Huntly received a blank commission subscribed by the King's Chancellor to cause Murray to present himself in the Court, and in case he should disobey to slay him; and that the King, nevertheless, desiring to reconcile Huntly and Murray, therefore moved and employed Lord Ochiltree to persuade Murray to give his assent to this agreement; whereupon Ochiltree rode unto and drew Murray both to embrace the reconciliation offered to be made by the King's mediation, and also, the better to "expeide" the same, to repair with his household to his house at Dunibrusell to be near the Court and ready to come or do as the King should direct him; [and] that soon after Ochiltree's return to the Court, and his report made to the King of Murray's accord to submit himself to the King's order, and of his arrival and abode at Dunibrussell, Huntly, on the 7th instant, with all the power he could gather, rode to Dunibrussell and there fired the house and killed the earl, as before has been advertised to your lordship.

It is herewith alleged that Ochiltree, purposing to ride to Murray on the 6th of this month, being the day before Huntly's journey, "and facte founde the passage at Queen's Ferrye to be stopped by especiall comaundment given in the King's name the same day," whereupon he returned to and informed the King of his restraint and that he could not be suffered to pass, praying the King's warrant for his immediate passage. But the King denying to have knowledge of any such restraint given by his commandment, stayed Ochiltree that day and on the morrow "carried him on huntinge," where, when the King saw fire arise at Dunybrussell, he asked Ochiltree about what place the fire was; and Ochiltree, much amazed thereat, partly blamed the King and craved leave to go to the rescue; nevertheless he was stayed. It is further added that now the King acknowledges to have granted a blank commission to Huntly, but to what effect it is not expressed, and that the King, fearing the issue to come thereof, commanded Huntly to forbear to put the same into practice. With the same it is given out that Huntly should say that the Chancellor was privy to his going to and purpose at Dunibrussell.

[It is said] that the King has received into his protection, by proclamation published, the Countess of Huntly and all her followers not present at the slaughter of Murray; that the Countess still is and shall remain in Court; that the King sought to have Captain Gordon delivered to him by Ochiltree (who had been in his hands) and could not get him; whereupon the assize for his trial was denied. Yet the captain has been tried since, found guilty and is beheaded, and his servant is hanged; for this captain first entered Murray's house, where he was so stricken with a "hagbutt," as it is termed, that he was thought to have been slain thereby. He was left in the field, and afterwards taken and delivered by the lady of Downe, Murray's mother, to the Lord Ochiltree, who has brought him to execution, contrary to the King's pleasure and mind signified therein.

[It is said] that the King has not only lightly regarded the lady of Downe's complaint, but also denied that the corpse of her son should be received into and buried in Edinburgh, giving commandment to the Provost there not to suffer the lady or corpse to enter into the town. For it is now thought that Murray shall be declared to have been a rebel, and that he not only received and aided Bothwell since the raid at Holyrood House, but also had conspired to have raised a new rebellion. In which behalfs John "Esmithe," guilty of that raid, is carried from the castle at Edinburgh to Glasgow to be examined and to discover his knowledge in Murray's conspiracies against the King and against Colonel Stewart. In which part, touching the colonel, Nesmythe has been oftentimes charged and examined.

[It is said] that it is now deemed that the King's journey to Glasgow, Dumbarton, Hamilton, and those parts under colour to surprise Bothwell, who is thought to be in the south-east parts of Scotland, is "drawn" by advice to withdraw him from Edinburgh amongst Huntly's friends and to bring Huntly to his presence. Which things will very shortly "kythe," as it is said, themselves and prove many of these alleged circumstances to be true or false; all which I leave "to the experience of the tryal and successe in tyme," etc.

The picture of Murray's naked body and wounds is drawn and intended to be shewn at the Cross in Edinburgh, but the King liked not to look upon his corpse, which it is thought shall be buried in St. Giles' Church, notwithstanding that the King is not pleased therewith.

When Murray found himself void of all hope of life, he committed his children and the revenge of his death to the Lord Ochiltree, praying his sister then with him, and now saved, to make the same known to Ochiltree, who appears either to receive the like end to be given him by Huntly or his means, or else that he shall yield the like reward to some of them.

In like sort Murray's mother, taking with her own hands three bullets out of her son's dead body, has delivered them to the keeping of several and especial friends, who solemnly have vowed to "bestowe" the same bullets and others into the bodies of some principal executioners of this slaughter. For the taking of which revenge it appears that many of good quality will hazard themselves and lives, howsoever their enterprise therein shall be afterwards punished.

At the debate of the cause before the King and Council for resolution of the course to be taken for Huntly's punishment, Ochiltree prayed the King in some rough language to show his forwardness therein, otherwise the King's self should be holden suspect herein. And the Lord Lindsay not only agreed with Ochiltree, but also persuaded that assize might be taken for Captain Gordon and other prisoners, and that they should be immediately executed upon judgment given. Their words were found so bitter and unseemly that they were committed to ward, yet no place or time is hitherto limited to them.

I am informed again that the Laird of Calder was slain in the night by Huntly's means and "draught" eight days before the murder of Murray, and that Argyle and his friends are deeply grieved herewith and intend to revenge the fact.

The Duke [of Lennox], Chancellor, Maxwell, and others are with the King in this western journey. Morton, Ochiltree, and others were restrained from attending on the King therein. The King's return to Edinburgh is looked to be within ten days or thereabouts, but many are of opinion that he will continue in those coasts beyond the time limited, and thereon it is whispered that there shall be a convention soon after at Stirling. If any such meeting or assembly shall be in deed, then the troubles and fire suspected shall be soon seen kindled and riving in pieces the body of that realm.

Sundry of the King's guard entering into some mutiny by want of their pay seized the Chancellor's trunk brought forth to be carried with him in this journey to Glasgow, and would not deliver the same until caution was given for the payment. Sundry other bad parts and signs of hatred against the Chancellor have been "played" and set upon his chamber door, and it is seen that he has now to walk warily, otherwise his life will be in peril.

Roger Aston is with the King, and cannot thereby have commodity of fit and sure convoy of his letters to me: and my servant, Roger Nicholson, having been in the country with some of my Catholic friends, who presently are greatly appalled with Huntly's troubles, is now so visited with sickness, gotten by cold or other means, that he is not able to do the offices requisite, and by some I am advised that his life is in danger. May it therefore please your lordship to give me timely direction whether I shall supply that place with any other to be sent thither for like offices in case his sickness shall increase and continue or else finish his days. In like manner I find my own worn body and oppressed mind so changed and my former constitution so far decayed that without seasonable remedy I shall not tarry the end of her majesty's order to be given me in my suits to her majesty, and many times exhibited by my letters to your lordship. Nevertheless. I dare not for my health, help, or other cause exceed the bounds of Yorkshire and the Bishopric of Durham limited to me by your lordship's letters. Therefore I again, and most humbly, pray your lordship both to be mean to procure for me her majesty's gracious resolution and order in these behalfs that I perish not and end my miserable time in this world before I shall give better contentment to her majesty, and also to pardon my importunacy in this often troubling your lordship with my condemned letters and petitions, remaining without order executed for the good accomplishment of her majesty's good pleasure to be determined towards me, my debts and causes, and for such course of life, liberty, or otherwise whatsoever as shall best please her majesty's clemency to award to me, in which I right humbly pray your lordship's goodness, and still attend your lordship's advertisement. Barnes. Signed: Robert Bowes.

pp. Addressed. Indorsed by Burghley's clerk.

663. Roger Aston to Robert Bowes. [Feb. 24.]

The King's majesty has commanded me to write to you in his name to desire you to write to my Lord Treasurer to desire his lordship to remember the deer promised the last year; and to that end has desired you to send for Cuthbert Renes and direct him to my Lord Treasurer to attend his lordship, that such order may be taken that they may be taken in convenient time. Because I have written to your lordship this day at more length touching the state of all matters here, I will not trouble you further for the present. Edinburgh. Signed: Roger Aston.

2/3 p. Holograph, also address. Indorsed by Robert Bowes.

664. Robert Bowes to Burghley. [Feb. 27.]

That your lordship may understand the success of the King's travel in his late journey in the west parts of Scotland, I send enclosed to your lordship Roger Aston's letter addressed to me and certifying those occurrents.

At this time I received other letters from many of my friends there agreeing all in one opinion and expectation of hasty troubles threatened to arise by the present course holden by the King in the favour of Huntly, by the discontentment of many noblemen and others of good quality seeking Huntly's indilate punishment or forcible revenge for Murray's slaughter, and by the general rage of the people stirred with Huntly's fact herein and despairing due chastisement in the same, matters thought there so desperate of remedy, and likely to kindle such a fire as shall "ryve" that realm in the midst, with danger of drawing in foreign forces to aid the parties chancing to be distressed, as I have thought it my duty to commend it to your lordship's knowledge and good consideration for the seasonable provision in these behalfs.

Besides the particularities contained in Mr. Ashton's letter, I am advertised that it has been advised that Murray, lately deceased, should be forfeited, as there it is termed, before the burial of his dead corpse, that the slaughter of him should be justified "by that he was known to be at the horne or outlawed," so that the blank commission, alleged before to have been granted by the King to Huntly touching Murray, shall not be pleaded or brought in question: and that for the further overthrow of Murray's children and house, James, late Earl of Murray and Regent of Scotland, should be likewise forfeited for treason committed against the Queen then his sovereign. Which last matter may well be given in advice, but hardly, I think, shall be either further followed or put in execution in regard of the great and general offence which in the time of the present storms will grow thereon.

That Murray's friends assembled at this burial should sue to the King to vouchsafe to give his presence at Murray's funeral, appointed to be at Edinburgh on the 3rd of March next, and at that time to present to the King their petitions craving so earnestly that the King would both punish Huntly's fault and also clear his own honour for the pacifying of his grieved subjects, that the King should hardly give contentment in this case without due correction of Huntly and his accomplices; that it was further thought good to accompany their requests with motion to remove some courtiers from the King's presence, chiefly Sir George Hume, who was blamed by Murray's friends to have procured the blank commission against Murray, and to have counselled Huntly to justify his act by the commission recited; that albeit in these petitions Bothwell should neither be party nor have any intelligence or interest therein, yet suit should be made for his trial by assize or other means for his safety, upon assurance for reformation of his former behaviuor; all which advices have been had in deliberation both before Huntly sent the Master of Elphinston to the King to offer his trial by law to justify his fact by the outlawry of Murray and to crave that all Huntly's friends might freely accompany him at his arraignment, and also before the King dismissed the Master of Elphinston and granted and appointed Huntly's trial by assize, and free access of his friends with him at Linlithgow on the 3rd of March next, being the day limited for the burial of Murray; so it is thought that this appointment of the time and place for Huntly's trial shall prevent not only the journey determined to be taken by the King against Huntly on the 10th day of March next, but also the intentions of the lords to have been moved to the King at the funeral of Murray; nevertheless it is still deemed that the time of the burial of Murray will be the birth either of resolution for these motions intended, or else for some other course of revenge to be attempted.

Warning is given to Murray's friends, and Huntly is summoned to appear at Linlithgow on the 3rd of March next; for the which Huntly has put all his friends in readiness. It is said that the Lord John Hamilton, the Earls of Glencairn, Crawford, Caithness, Sutherland, the Lord Maxwell, and others will "partye" Huntly, and that Marishal has promised to bring with him 300 horsemen and 700 footmen; that on the contrary side the Earls of Argyle, Athol, Morton, and Mar, the Lords Ochiltree, Forbes, Boyd, Cathcart, and others will join with the Stewarts' and Murrays' friends; wherein it is verily thought that the Duke of Lennox will band with these lords when he shall see them entered into the action, yet these lords will not discover to the Duke the bottom of their plot before they "fynde" to enterprise the execution.

It is advertised that a writ is found for the horning of Murray, which is suspected to be foisted in for Huntly's acquittal. Nevertheless it is looked that the lords of the assize shall not admit that for a good plea, in regard of the common danger which in like causes may fall hereafter to any nobleman who, being horned or outlawed in a civil action, may be slain by his enemy who shall justify the slaughter.

Ochiltree has departed to his own house. Some think that he has obtained a commission blank to prosecute Huntly in "semblable" manner as Huntly had for Murray, and that his assistants will soon discover themselves whensoever he shall attempt the execution of the commission. It is thought Bothwell has lately agreed with the most part of Ochiltree's friends for the slaughter of Sir William Stewart. But it is doubted whether Ochiltree has consented to the agreement, yet he has said that he would agree with any to get revenge on Huntly.

It is now given out that the courtiers offer liberally to the Earl of Bothwell, who now little hearkens thereunto and rides abroad boldly in Merse and Lothian, as before he wonted to do. The King, hearing of his being in those parts, wrote to the Lord Seton to impeach his passage in places near Seton, but Seton has no liking to deal therein. I am credibly informed that Bothwell has purposed to offer to me himself and his cause towards me to be ordered by too indifferent and sufficient mediators. But doubting how I may deal with him without especial direction, I have therefore thought good to acquaint your lordship with this information given me, and to pray to be directed how to answer or do with him in case he shall essay to try me herein.

The Earl of Caithness, who married Huntly's sister, has lately taken and hanged the eldest sons of Mackintosh and Angus Williams, with eight in their companies, and it is verily thought that this is done with the privity and by the direction of Huntly, whereby the offences of the nobility and people are the more stirred against Huntly.

At the King's late being in Edinburgh, Morton, Lindsay, the Provost, and ministers of Edinburgh have earnestly moved him to yield indilate justice for the punishment of the slaughter of Murray. The King has answered, and in words so far promised and satisfied them that they rest contented, looking for the accomplishment of the things thus promised; and the Queen has very effectually entreated and dealt with the King to hearken unto the cries of the people and advice of the best counsellors and affected, persuading the King to punish Huntly in time to pacify the people with sight of justice and to recover their hearts to him. These have wrought good effect in the King whilst he was in Edinburgh. But it is doubted that at his return to Glasgow he shall be greatly laboured with Huntly's friends to continue his course and favour towards Huntly; yet some hope that sundry of the Council now ridden with the King, together with Mr. Robert Bruce and Mr. David Lindsay, shall prevail to keep the King in memory of his promises past in Edinburgh.

Many spiteful libels are daily cast in the streets at Edinburgh, where sundry banished men are now bold to lodge, and most men arm and set themselves ready for troubles. Murray's friends will not greatly strive against Huntly's acquittal by assize, in regard they fear that their labours shall find no good success, and that thereby they shall discover the King's mind in the matter and the revenge against Huntly will not long be deferred.

It is certified herewith that the Chancellor seeks to have the King's leave to depart out of the realm, intending to defer the same until Whitsunday next to furnish himself with money, which presently he wants, and to dispose of his household and possessions.

The ministers gone with the King purpose to advise the Chancellor to beware to embark the King in this action for Huntly's delivery; wherein, albeit I would not presume to write directly to the King or Chancellor, yet I have written so fully therein to Roger Aston that I think my letters to Mr. Aston—and which he will surely show to the King and Chancellor—shall suffice to work no less profit herein than if I had addressed my letters particularly and severally to them. It has been thought good that the Lord Hamilton should surrender the keeping of the Castle of Dumbarton and to be recompensed with the custody of the Castle of Edinburgh, and that the Chancellor should have Dumbarton. But it is thought the broaching of this matter shall stir such colour in many of good quality and strength that it is laid in the dark for a season.

John Gowre, an Englishman, lately passed out of Gloucestershire into Flanders, embarked at Camphire for Scotland and arrived at Leith with letters to the Lord Claud Hamilton, presently deceased, to the Lord Seton, Maxwell, and Mr. George Carr. The letters were of small effect, referring credit to the bearer. It is advertised to me by whom the letters were addressed. The bailiffs of Edinburgh, suspecting Gowre to be about evil offices, apprehended and committed him to the tolbooth. Then my servant Nicholson, at Edinburgh, and presently sick, was admitted to speak with and examine him, finding him an obstinate papist, pretending to have come into Scotland to call for some debts owing to him by the Lord Seton, deceased. It is promised that the bailiffs and my servant should have dealt further with him, but by commandment he was set at liberty.

Colonel Boyd has lately arrived in Scotland from France. One other has come from Rouen with letters to many Catholics in Scotland, and. as it is suspected, with practice for the Catholics and their plots, and albeit they are not presently seen to prevail much in their desires, yet I am credibly informed that the chief amongst them are in great comfort, intending shortly to attempt the progress of their great matter, as they term it, to draw in foreign forces and a toleration of religion in Scotland. This much for the advertisements of such novelties in Scotland as have been certified to me by my friends there.

In my own private causes I find still the continuance of your lordship's favour to me by your lordship's late motion made to her majesty in my behalf, for which I right humbly thank your good lordship. And because upon the report of her majesty's mind and disposition towards me, which it pleased your lordship lately to signify to my servant Sheperson, I perceive that her majesty misliked that I should come thither, and will in nowise allow me to come to the Court, and further her majesty would be ashamed to see me there, I now feel myself so deeply wounded hereby that I have just cause both speedily to break and disperse the poor family which of late I have kept together, by the view of your lordship's letter wishing me to determine with myself to return into Scotland and to dispose my things for the same, and also to leave and fly the fellowship of men and to commend myself and body to the company of worms in my grave, or of mice in the prison to be assigned to me with punishments. I rather wish for than thus to endure her majesty's indignation; the stroke whereof shall, I trust, either by death end my miseries, with hope of better life, or else by imprisonment cover my face and shame, with liberty there to lament my misfortunes; the force whereof shall, I hope, soon conquer my sorrowful heart, which over long by life afflicts the rest of my body. Before the end of my days I most humbly crave and shall still be ready to give her majesty payment and the best satisfaction in my whole power for my debts to her majesty and to the garrison at Berwick, trusting that by your lordship's good means and wisdom it shall be considered and timely resolved whether the offer made for this payment by myself, with the consent and aid of my son, shall be more acceptable to her majesty than the taking and possessing of all that I have in this world, together with such manner of punishment to be laid on me for my fault as shall best please her majesty to award; wherein her majesty's censure shall be received by me as a judgment in law: and therewith I do most humbly pray that before this determination of her majesty's censure in this case, her majesty might be well and truly informed of the quality of my fault committed, of the effect of my offer tendered by myself and son for the payment of my debts mentioned, and of the true condition of my estate and case so wretched —chiefly in regard of her majesty's indignation towards me—that my life is worse than my death to me. With these may it please your lordship to remember that I am not able to yield her majesty payment of the yearly sum offered without the profits arising by the coals of the possessions of my son, and also the salt to be made by the pans at Sunderland seized for her majesty; which pans are in such decay and daily waste, that, except they shall be very speedily repaired in the present and good time of the year now come and passing, they will shortly be found of small profit to her majesty, and not to be recoverable by my power. Wherefore I dare not enter into the reparations of those pans before the resolution of her majesty's pleasure how to dispose of them and myself. So that your lordship will hereby well see and consider how requisite it is for her majesty's profit to give speedy order in these behalfs; in the particularities of all which I have so oftentimes written to your lordship and so thoroughly instructed Sheperson to inform your lordship in the same, that I need not trouble your lordship with further repetitions or suits, other than with all humility to pray your lordship to be mean that all these things expressed may be with good opportunity and certainty, by the view of these presents, be made known to her majesty for the expedition of her majesty's order therein before I shall perish by the delay, or that the parcels in her majesty's hands for my debts shall fall into needless and irrecoverable ruin. And in case this motion thus to be made to her majesty by your lordship's favour for me shall renew or purchase any further blame to your lordship, as before has chanced, and whereof I would be right sorry, then I beseech your good lordship to give me advice how I may best present my own petition to her majesty's own hands for an end of these things. All which I wholly commend both to your lordship's good consideration for the best order to be taken herein, and also to your lordship's goodness accustomed towards myself to hasten in some sort the end of my miseries presently oppressing me. Barnes. Signed: Robert Bowes.

Postscript.—After the signifying of these presents I received this other letter addressed by Roger Aston to me, and written for the fallow deer to be provided and sent to the King, wherein I shall send to your lordship Cuthbert Rayne, according to the King's desire, and by him write further to your lordship therein.

pp. Addressed. Indorsed by Burghley's clerk.

Enclosure with the same:—

(Roger Aston to Robert Bowes.)

I have received your letters of the 10th with the rest sent from James Hudson. This last night I came to this town directed from the King to some of the courtiers here. Upon which occasion I thought good to acquaint you with our proceedings since the direction of my last.

The King passed to Glasgow and from thence to Dumbarton, where he remained four days in searching and trying out such as had received the Earl Bothwell. Both himself and his wife were come out of those parts before our coming, so that little is done in that behalf, except the committing of the Sheriff of Bute to the castle of Blackness, and the Laird of Follertt to the castle of Dumbarton, and his wife to the castle of Glasgow. Some others of mean estate are not worthy the speaking of. John Smallett should have been hanged on Saturday last, but by the earnest means of the Lord Hamilton and the Chancellor "he is yett conteneud." John Nesmeth is in the castle of Dumbarton. The King has been of mind sundry times to have hanged him, "butt loth to of end" the Queen, is still preserved. All means possible have been made to persuade her, "butt wil nott prevele." Her reason is, she says, the King promised him his life; which promise being once made "wold nott have it broken." I have to deal with the Queen in this matter to see if I can "breke" her before my return.

What is become of Bothwell no man can tell. It is said he "is come" to the Borders. The King is very earnest to get some "myan wppon him," and deals severely with such as have in any sort relieved him with "mett" or by any other way. "Butt whatt should I se."

The discontentment of the people here is such, and chiefly for this last murder committed by Huntly, that I fear he may go where he pleases, for no man will "ster" him. By this last deed he has got more favourers than he had "if the dorst otter there myndes." But the fact he committed was so odious that none dare speak of him. This is all we have done concerning Bothwell.

Our journey to the west country was not so much for the pursuing of Bothwell as it was to avoid the fury of the people upon the death of Murray, who gave the Chancellor the greatest blame thereof; for the which cause he has drawn the King from this town, which greatly moves the people here against the present government. I find "al men for the most partt" discontent, chiefly such as favour the religion. If the cause intended be followed forth, no doubt there will be mischief, and that presently, for now Huntly avows the deed and offers to abide his trial, saying he has done nothing but that which he will abide the law for, and thereupon has sent the Master of Elphinstoun to the King, who has been very well heard and sent away very well satisfied.

The conclusion which I take in the matter is this: Huntly shall abide his trial on the 3rd of the next [month] at Linlithgow, where the King will be for the present, and for that cause has written to all Murray's friends to see what they will do in the matter. As far as I can understand they will refer the "mannesing" of the cause to the King to see what will be done by him therein, either to punish the deed under a colour of law. It will stir up the people and Murray's friends more than before to take their own revenge for punishment. I look for none so long as Huntly has such friends about the King.

The King has sent for all the Council and Mr. Robert Bruce and Mr. David Lindsay, who this day take their journey towards Glasgow. They are in good hope to do some good in these matters and to persuade the Chancellor to withdraw himself for a time till the people be settled and some good order taken in these matters, which is more than I look for.

This last night, unlooked for, the King came to this town by himself, only to see the Queen, and has this day returned to Glasgow and has taken the Council and the ministers with him, and has promised the friends of Murray that they shall have all that the law will make for them. Of this I can say no more till the day appointed and the event of these things.

I cannot tell whether I should wish you here or not. I know your being here would do much good, and you are greatly desired by the good men of this country. Yet as matters are handled you would find a discontentment, yet I am not in despair "butt" matters may come well enough. "The King sayes wel, if he do as wel."

There is a Jesuit come out of Flanders with letters and credit to the Lord Claud [Hamilton], to the Lord Maxwell, the Lord Seton, the Prior of "Plescady" and Mr. George Car. The letters bear no great matter but credit to the bearer. He is in the Tolbooth. What shall be done with him, I know not.

It is avowed here that proclamation is made in Berwick that all Bothwell's faction shall be received in England, and that Mr. John Colvile has been at Court. I have taken upon me to answer this matter, for I know her majesty will not deal in that sort.

Order is given for the execution of "Grayme" and some others accused of witchcraft. Edinburgh. Feb. 24. Signed: Roger Aston.

3 pp. Holograph, also address. Indorsed by Robert Bowes. Written on the back in Roger Aston's hand: "I wrett to Mr. Gorg Selby for the hound, and the King is vere anggre he is nott come. I have writen for him."