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: May 1592
682. Robert Bowes to Burghley. [May 7.]
Yesterday I received from Roger Aston this letter enclosed, etc. In the furtherance of Mar's suit and desire I have not only written to Roger Aston to such effect as I wished should be showed to the King, and as, upon the view thereof, the King has stayed his grant to the Duke, but also I have procured the friends of Sir James Hume, deceased, late Captain of Edinburgh, to be so entreated that they will not hastily deliver the Castle to any other than the Earl of Mar before an order shall be given and declared therein by the Parliament, where as Mar will find sufficient favour, except the King shall hinder the same. And because Mr. Aston desires to know her majesty's pleasure herein with speed, therefore I humbly pray your lordship to direct me what I shall do in the same.
By other letters I perceive that by late practice devised in Ireland and Scotland, and wherein England is holden suspected, labour is made to draw no little forces out of Argyll, Kintyre, and the Isles of Scotland into Ireland; wherein, albeit the King has given order and commandment to restrain their passage, yet some of my friends in those parts have advertised me by second intelligences that many of these Highlandsmen and islanders will be hardly stayed without the especial means of the Earl of Argyll, his tutors, and M'Connell. Whereupon I have provided that the Earl, his tutors, and M'Connell shall be solicited to defeat this practice and stay all the people within their lands, rules, and offices. With these it is discovered that O'Rourke had intended to have levied in Scotland 3000 footmen to have been brought into Ireland, and upon whose entry there it was promised that 5000 Spaniards or other strangers should have been sent thither; and the root of this plot and practice, as I am borne in hand, is not so fully pulled up and dead but it is seen springing again in Scotland and Ireland. Of all which I have no such certainty that I dare give any assurance thereof.
Albeit that Mr. Aston is of opinion that the Earl Marishal's house, still holden by his mother, shall be delivered, and that the Earl verily looks to receive the same within very few days, yet some of the gentlemen within the house have lately by their letters certified their friends, as I am informed, that the house shall not be hastily rendered and some suspect that this house is kept for an evil purpose and for the pleasure of Huntly and other Catholics.
All other matters in that realm remain in suspense, confusedly, and depend on the doings and success following in the Convention and Parliament to be holden, as by Mr. Aston's letter is certified to me.
By my former I have advertised that some English Papists lurking in Scotland—as yet sundry are here—were called and ready to come into England, but now I hear that some Catholics in these parts fly by land into Scotland, and by sea into France, to places possessed by the leaguers, as by others knowing the same better than myself will be, I think, advertised to your lordship. The papists hereabouts especially stomach Henry Sanderson, searcher at Newcastle, whose service is so ready for her majesty, with his great peril and charge, that I have thought it my duty to give your lordship some note thereof, that he may be comforted by your lordship, and that no disgrace be done to him to discomfit others in like services.
According to my last before these, I am ready to obey and attend her majesty's pleasure and direction, humbly desiring as well full instructions in the same, as also to [be] enabled for the good accomplishment thereof to her majesty's honour and service. And forasmuch as on Sunday last, the 5th hereof, I received at Durham your lordship's letter of the 15th of April last past, both certifying that Mr. Vernon was appointed to receive the sums allotted for payment of the garrison and works at Berwick for the half year ended at the Annunciation last, and also desiring me to send to Mr. Vernon my "indentes" directed to the receivers for the receipt of the sums mentioned, therefore I am a most humble suitor to your lordship to have favourable regard and consideration of me and my poor credit in this behalf, that, entering again into her majesty's service and having given assurance for payment of the "remaines" at Berwick, I may, for some sign of favour and grace the better to advance my service, be restored to the exercise of my office, and to make the pay for the half year past either by myself, to be licensed for four or five days to "come" and be at Berwick for that purpose and thereon to retire myself to my charge in Scotland, or else by my son, Ralph Bowes, who shall fully and dutifully perform the pay to the uttermost penny received. And for the more surety, as well of the good performance of all payments to be hereafter made as also for the "indelate" delivery of the sums remaining to be given over to the hands of any such as your lordship shall appoint, I shall gladly and faithfully obey and keep such order as your lordship shall please to set down for the same. Barnes. Signed: Robert Bowes.
2 pp. Addressed. Indorsed by Burghley. Marginal notes in Burghley's hand.
Enclosure with the same:—
(Roger Aston to Robert Bowes.)
I have received your lordship's letter of the last of April with a packet from James Hudson, as also I received another letter, which I imparted to the King, touching the Castle of Edinburgh, as also for the passing of the men out of Argyll to Ireland. For answer to both those "hedes," for the castle, I fear it will not go that way that I wrote of before. The Duke is so important that he will needs have that house, notwithstanding he was once content that the Earl of Mar should have had it. The King has passed some promise to the Duke, and yet would rather it were in Mar's hands if he and the Duke can agree. I have dealt very far with the King in the matter upon the receipt of your letter; whereupon the King has stayed the passing of the gift till the Earl of Mar's coming, which will be this day. He should have met the King here at Fentone, Sir John Carmichael's house, this last night.
This day I rode for the Chancellor to come to the King, who I know will be a means by all his best "moyan" that Mar may have the Castle. However it be, the Castle will not be delivered so soon, except it be to Mar, who is agreed with those who are in it—two sons of Sir James Hume. Your being here might do great good in that matter. I have dealt the more earnestly in that matter in respect I know her majesty's mind. However it be, the house will not be delivered so soon. I have a means which you know to stay the house undelivered till I may know her majesty's pleasure, therefore I would have you to send away with speed.
I hope after the King and the Chancellor have met all shall be well. The Parliament holds on the 26th of this instant. Without all doubt there is a Convention appointed [on] the 20th. The King has sent straight commandment to the Earl of Argyll and to the isles that none shall pass to Ireland. The Earl Marishall is now in Perth with his wife: for his own house they cannot agree as yet; the house is still kept by my lady, and the earl lies about it.
The King and Queen are here at Fenton, and return to Dalkeith within two or three days, where they will remain till after the Parliament.
The Earl of Athol has returned home very well content. Whereas he should have been warded, he is dismissed, and the King is satisfied and all is very well. I have no further at this time. The King desires you to be careful for the deer, and that they may come with speed or else they will not serve this year. The King was minded to have had the Chancellor come hither this day, but he "is altred" and will go to Lethington himself tomorrow. Fenton, 3rd May.
The King was in great danger yesternight in passing the ferry of North Berwick. Your other letters shall be safe delivered. Signed: Roger Aston.
2 pp. Holograph, also address. Indorsed by Bowes.
683. Robert Bowes to Burghley. [May 13.]
The Convention shall begin on the 24th instant, and the Parliament shall hold at Edinburgh on the 1st of June next. The King has been at the Lord Chancellor's house at Lethington and departed to Dalkeith with good satisfaction in all things and to the Chancellor's great comfort. The house of Dunottar is delivered to the Earl Marishal, and he and his wife are well reconciled. The Duke of Lennox and the Earl of Mar continue their suits for the keeping of the Castle at Edinburgh. The Chancellor labours earnestly for Mar, but the Duke presses the King greatly for his grant, and albeit he once gave the goodwill thereof to Mar, now he seeks it for himself by all means, offering to render to the King the wardship of the young Earl of Murray. The King's present want of money is thought to prevail against Mar. The Lady Athol has arrived at the Court and labours to have the wardship of Murray for money. She offers so liberally that she is like to obtain her desire therein, which gives no little advantage to the Duke in his suit for the castle. Athol has continued with the Laird of Wester Wemyss at the King's commandment, and shall be at liberty and return home within three days. Huntly remains still with the Earl of Crawford. He has lately sent to his friends in Court to be diligent to prevent the harms which will be sought against him in the next Convention and Parliament, where redress will be earnestly sought for the slaughter of Murray.
Has been given to understand that sundry under Argyll ready to have passed over into Ireland are stayed. Nevertheless many other broken people in the isles and other remote places are daily allured with fair baits and prepare for Ireland. Thanks Burghley for his help in the release of his son arrested by Mr. Wyvall for his (Bowes) debts. Barnes. Signed: Robert Bowes.
1⅓ pp. Addressed. Indorsed by Burghley's clerk. Marginal notes in Burghley's hand.
684. Robert Bowes to Burghley. [May 18.]
Received his letter of the 13th instant. Perceives that her majesty looks to hear no further from him from England. Asks him for money for her majesty's service. Defers his immediate repair to Edinburgh that his servant may prepare his lodging and provide that he (Bowes) and his family may be there sustained. Asks for imprest and allowance for his house rent. Requests instructions and that he may be recommended to the King of Scots. Trusts Burghley sees that the present storms in Scotland are dangerous. Requests Burghley to show goodness to him and his son. Barnes. Signed: Robert Bowes.
2⅓ pp. Addressed. Indorsed by Burghley. Marginal notes in Burghley's hand.
685. Elizabeth to James VI. [May 23.]
Whereas we were contented certain months past to license our servant Robert Bowes, then our ambassador with you, to come to his country for expediting of certain his private affairs which could not be conveniently ordered but by his own presence, and that upon signification thereof made to you by our letters you were well contented therewith; since whose coming from thence we understand of many accidents there happened to the troubling of your estate, and if wisdom and princely authority be not by you used to prevent perils appearing, we have cause to doubt of greater danger to follow; therefore, having care for your estate to continue as peaceable as our own is, by God's goodness, and being desirous from time to time to hear of your proceedings in overruling your disobedient subjects, who are "boldened," as we are well assured, by the faction and practices of such as are known sworn papists both abroad and at home, and professed enemies to the amity betwixt us and you and our countries, we do therefore return our said servant to reside with you as our ambassador as heretofore he has been, so that all former intelligences may continue betwixt you and us by his service there with you, both hoping and wishing that now in the intended Parliament which you, as we hear, have summoned, your nobility and people who are most devoted to your estate and to your honour and person may find countenance and support against others who shall be found to contemn your authority, and to live unruly against God and yourself, and to the diminution of your royal and princely estate and reputation, whereof we shall take most singular comfort, as knoweth the Almighty God, who hold you in His protection. Greenwich.
2 pp. Draft in Burghley's hand. Indorsed by Burghley's clerk.
Fair copy of the same.
686. Roger Aston to Sir Thomas Heneage. [May 25.]
I have received your honour's letter of the 15th of this instant, whereby I perceive my former letters have not been delivered according to my expectation. Wherein the fault has been, I know not, but in times coming I shall take another course. I have in all my former letters set down my opinion concerning Mr. Bowes' "in comming," which still I confirm. As I have always been desirous of his "in comming," so would I have him to come as might best advance her majesty's service. If he come in that sort as it is given out here he does, he will not be able to do her majesty that service that she expects at his hand. It is "letten" the King to understand he is in her majesty's disgrace, his "leving sest uppon," and his son "led in preson," himself a begger, not able to furnish himself "of souch thinges as he has adoo." And further it is given out that her majesty would never [have] employed him in so poor estate if she respected his service, and that he has now no other way to recover himself but in running some desperate course here to make his credit at home. His creditors here are daily calling on me for payment of such sums as were "resting oing" at his going away. His plate is "at morgagh." All men look to be paid at his coming, or else he will get "unfornesing." I have "mad him forsene" of this and willed him rather to stay at home than to come hither to dishonour her majesty and to shame himself. For my own part I protest before God I have no other respect but her majesty's service. "This fer" I would wish he should come in her majesty's good grace, well instructed in all things, and sufficiently furnished to discharge his credit, otherwise let him not come, for, if he come not as he should come, it will do more hurt than good. Coming as he should come, I hope it will be to good purpose. In his absence I shall do the best offices I can, "and this fer for the descharg of my dutty in this poyntt."
Concerning the state of matters here, yesterday was the first of the Convention. Many of the nobility have already come to this town very strongly. The Parliament begins the 1st of June. They are now "uppon" consultation what shall be concluded in Parliament. What occurs here "worthy your honer" shall be advertised "with the ferst."
The Duke [of Lennox] insists in his former suit for the Castle. I shall do my best in that matter according to her majesty's direction. I hope we shall get our "ententt," for if all other means fail, that house will not be delivered before it be "votted" in Parliament, to whom it most rightly appertains, and then Mar "wil carry it awaye."
The General Assembly of the Ministers is now present here in this town. They are purposed to give in "certen hedes" against the "papes" at this Parliament.
I have by the King's appointment written to Mr. Bowes something concerning Bothwell, the effect whereof is this. It is given the King to understand that Bothwell is to receive some comfort from her majesty, and for that cause is come in secret manner to the Borders. The King is persuaded her majesty will not deal with any of them, seeing it is against the treaty of peace between them, yet it is confirmed and given out by Bothwell's friends "he shal have faver there." In this point I desire to be satisfied, "as also be your honeres letter her majesteis mynd touardes the Douke conserning the castel, putting the King in mynd of his former promes." I would have this letter written that I might show it to the King in secret and to satisfy him concerning Bothwell.
I am informed the papists have a practice in hand, which I hope to discover and "make you advertest" with speed. I hope there shall be some good course set down against them.
Mr. Bowes' being here will do great good in this Parliament. I perceive by the Chancellor they will cause him to move things which they themselves dare not. The best sort are very desirous to have him here. The King will do more for him than for them all. Thus far I have thought good to set down, for the discharge of my own duty, what hurt his coming may do one way and what good another. It is no small comfort to me to hear her majesty likes my service. I shall "nether spare lyfe nor creded for her sake." Holyrood House. Signed: Roger Aston.
3 pp. Holograph, also address: "To the ryght honerrable souer Tomas Hennig, Knyghtt, Vise Chemberlen of her [majesty] and one of her Prevye Counsel, with sped." Indorsed.
687. Robert Bowes to [Burghley]. [May 29.]
At the hands of this bearer, John Allen, I have received yesterday her majesty's letter addressed to the King of Scots and your lordship's of the 24th hereof to myself, and the copy of her majesty's letter mentioned. Whereupon I have made myself ready to enter presently into my journey to Scotland, intending to have been at Edinburgh before the beginning of the Parliament certified by Mr. Aston's former letters to begin on the 1st of June next; but by letters received this day from Scotland I am advertised that, albeit the Parliament was fenced, as they term it, to the 1st of June, as Mr. Aston before wrote, yet for especial respects, and to prevent the hindrance which is suspected should, by the appearance of the whole assembly, come to some causes favoured in Court, the King pressed earnestly the Convention gathered to have begun the Parliament on Saturday last, the 27th hereof, and that, for the King's pleasure, it was agreed that on this day the Lords of Articles shall be chosen, so that I cannot possibly be there before the beginning of it. Nevertheless, I shall, by God's grace, hasten thither with all the speed I can. Asks him to expedite his son's liberty.
That your lordship may know the present estate in Scotland, the earnest desire of the King to have the deer sent to him, and partly my own case there, I send enclosed Roger Aston's letter directed to me and touching those causes, by which, and by the Lord Secretary and others, I find the King is grieved with the delay of the taking and convoy of these deer to him, as he wished to have them quick or dead, that the mouth of papists, Spanish, and malicious may be stopped. Herein, surely, great pains and diligence have been showed as well by Cuthbert Raine and such others as I have employed to take the deer, as also by the keepers and officers of Barnard Castle and Brancepeth, who have done their uttermost endeavours for the furtherance of the King's desire. And for my own part I have omitted nothing that I could do, nor spared the small store or mean jewels that I had to furnish and defray the charges. And albeit that by long and daily travail there were twenty-one male deer taken by the warrant given by your lordship, yet they have been so hurt with the nets and "buckstawles," and their blood so chafed by driving them with dogs into the nets—without which help of dogs it is impossible to force them to enter the nets—that there are but six only now living of the whole number taken, and I fear that some of these yet quick shall shortly be dead. I have thus long time kept a Scottish barque at Sunderland to receive and carry them by sea to Kirkcaldy, as the King appointed; and although the number is little, yet I intend to send all that shall be living and also the skins of such as have been taken and are dead to witness evidently that it has been not only promised by words but also intended by deed to have sent them to the King. The opinion of Mr. Aston that the want of these deer shall do hurt is confirmed by the Lord Secretary, some others of the King's chamber, and others well devoted to her majesty and "usinge" to write to me; therefore I have given order to essay to take more and to preserve them as well as may be. But without some toils I think it impossible to take and save the lives of deer at this time. The best part of the "buck staules" sent from the Earl of Derby is for red deer, serving little to take fallow; wherein I have sought out and gotten all the "buck staulls" that I could learn to be in these parts, and made some new to small purpose. Besides, I have written and prayed that it might please the King to send hither some gentlemen to see what is done in this behalf. I thus tediously trouble your lordship herewith that I may acquit myself and others from all just blame, and know your lordship's pleasure what shall be further done for the best contentment of her majesty and the King. And because the game in all these parks is greatly stirred and hurt thereby, therefore all the keepers most humbly pray your lordship to give some restraint to bar all other warrants granted or to be granted this year, and for such time as your lordship shall think convenient.
May it please your lordship to give me timely direction what course I shall take and hold as well to assure or satisfy the King that her majesty or officers will give no "oversight" or favour to Bothwell or his accomplices, as Mr. Aston by his letter has touched, as also to govern and carry myself and actions towards Bothwell and his associates as may best "lyke" and content her majesty.
According to Mr. Aston's advertisement I find by sundry others that the English and Scottish seek busily at this present to disquiet both realms in this isle, and herein "one" Billingham, Dudley, and Bose are most forward devising to stir rebellion in England by all the means they can, and to trouble Ireland. In this I shall shortly give your lordship further knowledge.
The present affairs of the estate in Scotland sufficiently appear, by Mr. Aston's letter, to be rather in deliberation than ready to be resolved, and the calm there is such this time that little needs to be added to his report, saving that I am advertised that the Duchess of Lennox is dead. Since which time the King "usethe" to call and receive the Duke oftentimes to his own bed when he lies abroad and from the Queen, and that he has firmly promised to give the custody of the castle to the King, and to be assured to him by this Parliament. For, inasmuch as the keeping of this place was granted to Sir James Hume, now deceased, by Parliament, therefore it is stayed until the Parliament shall give order to refer it to the King's gift and disposition.
The Convention presently assembled at Holyrood House is entertained with consultation to frame the causes to be treated in the Parliament, and the Assembly of the Church, already gathered at Edinburgh, are purposed to present to the Convention their request for the banishment of papists and papistry, with order to be taken for reformation of the Earl of Errol, for punishment of murder, especially in the persons of Huntly and his accomplices guilty of Murray's slaughter, to repeal the acts made against the ministry by the means of Sir James Stewart whilst he was Chancellor and bore the sway, and that ministers may have and enjoy their places in Parliament as they wonted to do. These, for the present, and others necessary to be resolved hereafter for the benefit of the Church, shall be offered to the deliberation and order of this Convention.
It is thought that this Parliament shall be very short, of small number, and to bring forth effects it is summoned not only for the weighty causes of that realm and approbation of the King's revocation of his grants made in his minority—wherein it is looked that the grantees shall seek to preserve their estate by stay of this bill—and for the certification of the dowry assigned to the Queen, but also for the attainder of the Earl Bothwell and of all his accomplices in their late actions against the King; for confirmation of sundry of the King's gifts as well of the lands of the persons to be presently attainted and forfeited by this Parliament as also of other possessions, whereby the Duke of Lennox, having gotten the greater part of Bothwell's livings, and other courtiers may be thereby gratified; and the ministry will seek the repeal of the Act of Annexation of the spiritual demesnes and lands to the crown, with request that they may be employed for divine uses. But the noblemen are like rather to persuade that the ancient possessors may enjoy the same, and to remain at the like gift for the preferment of his servants. The barons will challenge to have vote in the Parliament.
Bothwell and others at horn, and to be attainted by this Parliament, are released thereof to the intent all lawful excuses and pleas to be made against them for their forfeiture may be prevented and taken away, and that their possessions may thereby be lawfully given and disposed at the King's pleasure.
The Master of Gray has given caution to depart out of the realm. The lady Downe, Murray's mother, is dead, by the passion, as some think, of her griefs conceived that she was denied to bury the earl her son honourably in Edinburgh. She has in her testament and with her own hand left an especial note to the King to do justice to preserve himself from violence. Her death and actions, and the denial of this burial, have quickened the late murmur amongst the people for Murray's murder.
Huntly has put in new bonds in discharge of Crawford and others bound for him. He and the countess his wife have returned home, living now in safety and without fear. It is certified that Mackintosh and Grant, who lately were his great adversaries, are, with two others, cautioners for him in the new bond, a matter likely, as many think, to bring no good to the cause of religion or amity betwixt these two crowns, and would not have taken such effect if the Laird of Calder had lived. Barnes. Signed: Robert Bowes.
4 pp. No fly leaf or address.
Enclosure with the same:—
(Roger Aston to Robert Bowes.)
I have received your lordship's letter of the 13th, whereby I understand her majesty's pleasure concerning the Castle of Edinburgh, wherein I shall leave nothing undone that may be agreeable to her majesty's contentment. That matter rests over, and nothing is done therein as yet. I have, according to your desire, assisted your servant for the preparation of your lodging, as also have dealt with Thomas Foules for your plate, who I find fully resolved not to deliver the same till he finds himself "ped of souch detes as he has fornysed you here."
Sir, I perceive you are upon your journey towards this country, therefore for the discharge, first, of her majesty's services, and, next, my own duty towards yourself, "I wil be plene with you." Except you come furnished to satisfy your creditors you will receive a great disgrace. I am daily called on by them. I have put off the matter, putting them in comfort of your speedy return, which now they expect, therefore I pray you both for her majesty's honour and your own credit and the advancement of your services, let these people be satisfied. You know what nature they are of. Although I know you will be welcome to many honest men, yet if you keep not credit you will not get credit, and it gives occasion to the evil affected to take their advantage. They have given it out here that you are in no credit at home, your living seized upon, your son put in prison, and yourself dare not be seen, and therefore have "porchest" your return hither to practise some desperate course to bring you in credit at home. Thus far I thought good to discharge my own duty towards yourself. I leave the rest to the report of your own servant, who has seen my diligence both for the preparing of your house and other your "adowes" here.
Concerning the present estate of this country I can set down nothing as yet. The Parliament begins the 1st of June. The Convention is now present, and many of the nobility have already come. I hope you shall be here yourself to see what they conclude. The names of such as shall be forfeited you shall have in my next.
I am commanded by the King to certify you that Bothwell has come in great manner to the Borders, where he is at this present, and, as it is surely advertised to the King, he is put in comfort of her majesty's "oversyghtt" and favour, whereof the King persuades himself she will in no ways hearken unto. Yet his pleasure is that you be "forsene" what is given out here, to the end that, if Bothwell or any of his should receive favour there, you might prevent the same, in respect it is "plene" against the treaty of peace between the two crowns; and your own coming would be to little purpose. But in this I have thoroughly satisfied the King; but it will seem best that something in this matter come from yourself.
I have let the King understand what care you have for the sending of the deer, which I am sorry are so long in coming. You will not believe what "tanting" speeches these people give out "seing the wil come this yere as the ded fermar." The King said this day to me he cared not so much for the deer as he did for their "spekinges." He wished them here "sobpose the were al ded." "I wold I hed geven 40 l. of my one purse the had come in tyme." It will do more hurt than you are aware of.
I have no further for the present. All our affairs here are but in "blocking." What success they will take, God knows. Many are assembled here. The lords have come very strong. The Chancellor continues after the old manner. The General Assembly is now present. I hope some good course shall be taken for the maintenance of religion and the amity between the two realms. I hear the papists are very busy and have a very dangerous plot in hand, which I hope to discover in my next. As I desire your presence here for the advancement of her majesty's service, so on the other part ere you come to her majesty's dishonour and your own shame, rather tarry at home; for if you come not hither both with her majesty's good countenance and furnished to discharge your credit, rather tarry at home, for you will do little good here. Holyrood House. Signed: Roger Aston.
2½ pp. Holograph, also address. Indorsed by Bowes.