James VI, November 1593

Pages 214-235

Calendar of State Papers, Scotland: Volume 11, 1593-1595. Originally published by Edinburgh, 1936.

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James VI, November 1593

167. Robert Bowes to Burghley. [Nov. 1.]

Since my letter of 27th ult. Lord Lindsay, sundry barons, ministers and burgesses of Fife, Stirlingshire and Lothian convened at Edinburgh with intention to repair to the Convention at Linlithgow, but being restrained by proclamation published at Edinburgh on the 29th, they sent two barons, two ministers, and two burgesses with their petitions for the maintenance of religion and to the effects specified in the minute of their petitions (a copy of which I enclose).

This convention at Edinburgh thought it meet, notwithstanding the proclamation, to remain here until they should receive advertisement of the success of their commissioners. But before the access of these persons, the King and Convention had ordained another Convention of the Estates to assemble at Edinburgh on the 12th instant to take order touching Angus, Huntly and Errol with their accomplices and for the banishment of Papists. For which the King by long oration (uttered to clear himself from just suspicion) has promised enough, and therewith dismissed the messengers of the convention at Edinburgh with report only of the act of Council thus concluded at Linlithgow for the order to be further taken with the Earls and Papists. None of the noblemen called to the Convention at Linlithgow appeared save only Lords Hamilton, Livingston, Seton and Hume, with the officers of state being councillors.

The King has returned to Holyrood House this afternoon. The convention of the barons and others at Edinburgh, their messengers having returned this day, are purposed to depart to-morrow to their own houses, and order is given to stay all noblemen, barons and others appointed to have come hither to join with Lindsay and the rest here, and also that all parties in this cause for maintenance of religion shall attend and be ready upon new warning. It is hitherto very uncertain what shall be further done either by the Convention of the Estates on the 12th instant or by the noblemen, barons, ministers and burgesses to be hereafter assembled for this cause against the Earls and Papists, and little credit is given to the fair promises and protestations made at Linlithgow for the advancement and surety of religion and justice.

I have been told that it was debated in Council at Linlithgow whether or not the King should pass to St. Johnstone, where the excommunicated Earls are, and that Lord Hamilton refused to go; whereupon that advice was rejected: further [I hear] that Angus's lodging was provided in Linlithgow; that he lay before at Bathgate (Bathcatt), within three miles of Linlithgow, and was kept out of Linlithgow by the town, wherein Hamilton partied the town and has also showed such forwardness for religion that he is much commended; and that thereon Angus has gone to St. Johnstone, where the three Earls remain with small numbers and to the little contentment of the town, which is generally condemned for receipt of excommunicated persons.

Last night the Provost of Edinburgh (as I am informed) made a strait search in Edinburgh for Bothwell, notwithstanding that he is not as yet put to the horn. The Master of Caithness, sent to the King at Jedburgh in behalf of Bothwell, was directed by the King to return for further order in that suit, but was warned by a person of quality that Lord Hume had protested and purposed to deal in the hardest manner with him. Therefore he deferred his access to Jedburgh and came to the King at Linlithgow. His success there and all other things touching Bothwell I refer to the report of others. The Master of Glamis, daily looked for at Linlithgow, absented himself. At the "makinge" hereof I received the letter [No. 145] from the Privy Council to me concerning redress for the raid lately made in Tynedale by Scottishmen, wherein I have travailed with the King before and given advertisement to your lordship. Edinburgh. Signed: Robert Bowes.

Postscript.—After the making up of this packet advertisement was brought that soon after the King's departure from Linlithgow proclamation was there made commanding all men to receive and entertain Angus, Huntly, Erroll and the rest of their faction, and that the like proclamation shall be published to-morrow in this town. Therefore the convention before gathered here and purposed to depart tomorrow is resolved to remain, and it is looked that other noblemen, barons, ministers and burgesses shall join with them to present their petitions against the excommunicated Earls, who are looked to come hither shortly. The ministers will forbid the people to communicate with them or to receive them into their company. This fire is like to kindle with more speed than was looked.

2 pp. Addressed. Endorsed by Burghley's clerk.

Enclosure with the same:

(Matters relating to the Kirk.)

"Minutes of articles to be formed be Mr. David Lindsay, Moderatur."

That some good order be taken in this present Parliament anent the ecclesiastical estate in so far as the "auld estait" of bishops, abbots and priors "nather be Godis law nor the lawis of the cuntrie can stand, and of the awin necessette is cumming to decay"; that the "forfaltrie" proceed against the late conspirators; that the act of Annexation be "retreated" and some solider order taken for preventing of their dangerous attempts and repressing of the present boldness of Papists; that the glebes of Kirks not yet feued be given to the ministers without division; that expenses of "reputation" [? reparation] or building of manses be made by the parishioners; that some order be taken to execute the acts against markets on the Sabbath Day; that the "haill actis" pertaining to the Kirk be printed; that some good order be taken that ministers be not drawn from their charges and compelled to wait "on the lang tyme for pleying of ther stipendis, glebis and mansis"; that the act of Dissolution be concluded in this Parliament; that gifts of benefices already bestowed on ministers serving the cure stand and be confirmed.

"Minutes of actis to be formed be the same."

The act of ipso facto against Jesuits, seminaries, excommunicated Papists and their resetters. Anent teinds, tacks of teind, pensions, benefices or any other "kirk geir" pertaining to persons "forfault" or any other way falling into the King's hands to [be] employed [in] "revisioun" of the ministers serving at the kirks, and other common, godly uses. Anent benefices as well undissolved as dissolved, "disponit" or to be "disponit" to ministers serving the cure, and their stipends to be free from taxations or any part of pensions, first fruits, "syst penies," etc.

1 p. In a Scottish hand. Endorsed.

167a. Robert Bowes to Burghley. [Nov. 5.]

Every day since the receipt of the letter from the Privy Council for redress I have sought access to the King, but the Chancellor, Secretary and others whom I have employed therein have answered that the King is much grieved with pain in one of his teeth, drawing thereby great swelling in his face and a troublesome lump in his mouth, and the disease so disquiets him that he could not hitherto speak with me.

I received yesterday afternoon her Majesty's letter to the King, with a copy thereof for me and another letter from your lordship, giving me good and seasonable directions in these present troubles. Immediately on receipt thereof, I pressed to have access to the King, but this afternoon the Secretary and Clerk Register were sent to confer with me concerning the redress, and brought no certainty of access, therefore I forbore to enter into any further communication with them, but earnestly begged for "indelate" audience that I might deliver her Majesty's letter to the King and proceed with him and his Council in all matters committed to my charge. The swellings and pains troubling the King are much assuaged, therefore I look for access with expedition.

I am informed that one David Hay, burgess and skipper of Kirkcaldy, having a limp halt, has his ship lying presently at Aberdeen, laden with "firdales" for West Flanders. William Hay is merchant of his ship, and James Marr, stearsman. In this ship Huntly and Erroll have sent an especial person to deliver letters and messages to Count Mansfeldt and then to pass to the King of Spain. This person attended a while at St. Johnstone to see the success of the trial of the excommunicated Earls that he might report the same to Count Mansfeldt and the King of Spain. It is thought that this ship shall touch at Yarmouth or other place thereabouts on the east coast of England. I have provided that this messenger and his packets shall be apprehended if the ship put in at Kirkcaldy, and that like order may be taken with speed for arrest at Yarmouth or other place on that coast.

The noblemen, barons and other parties for religion have resolved to send to Edinburgh on the 10th instant two or three discreet persons in every county, one burgess in the principal burgh of every shire, and one minister in every presbytery, to remain there during the Convention of the Estates at Edinburgh on the 12th. The residue of the parties for religion will stand upon their guard and be in readiness to do as their commissioners shall advise. These commissioners shall have power and commission to accuse the Earls not only of treason and of their escapes and default of appearance upon several summonses (for which they were put to the horn), but also of open perjury and apostacy, directly to be proved by their handwritings, of keeping Jesuits and seminaries in their houses, of hearing of masses and sundry other crimes. All these crimes will be manifestly proved against them, so that they must be only relieved therein by the King's commission. The King and courtiers, being advertised (as I hear) of this intended course for the accusation of the Earls (which course was ordered to be kept secret), are much offended therewith and are devising means to deliver the Earls from the danger of these accusations. It is said that sundry chosen persons are sent into every shire to stay and break the assemblies and courses of the parties for religion, a matter hard to be compassed to the full contentment of the King, the Earls and courtiers. It is also said that if the party for the Earls at this next assembly shall be found able to advance their causes to their desires, then the Convention shall proceed to their full resolutions, or otherwise be continued and put over until another time; and that the King by solemn oration shall both lay the burden of these matters on the shoulders of the Convention and also open the way for the course to be taken for the Earls or for the continuation of the cause.

The proclamations made at Linlithgow and Edinburgh in favour of the Earls (a copy of which I enclose) have much stirred the people, chiefly the ministers, in regard that thereby the excommunication pronounced against the Earls is frustrated by the King and Council, yet the ministers seem to be very loth to move any strife betwixt the civil and ecclesiastical powers and jurisdictions. Some petition (as I hear) will be made to remove this question, and it is given out that the Earls purposing to be here at this next Convention must be lodged in places provided by the King's order, otherwise they shall find little favour in this town.

Lord Hume is called to be a gentleman of the King's Chamber, and now lies in the King's Chamber. "Paty" Murray, the chief agent for Huntly, is also called to be of the King's Chamber, the Laird of Balwearie, one other favourite of Huntly, is made a councillor, and sundry others well affected towards Huntly and his party are promoted to be officers in Court. I am informed that, if the King shall determine the utter ruin of Bothwell, then he shall join to the courtiers a sufficient party against Bothwell before he proceeds with further severity, and that for this cause Mar and the Master of Glamis are sent for. If they shall consent to "party" the courtiers (which Mar will not do, as it is thought), then Bothwell shall be speedily put to the horn, notwithstanding that, upon the offers lately made to the King by the Master of Caithness, his horning is deferred and the cause is to be considered at the next Convention. Edinburgh. Signed: Robert Bowes.

pp. Addressed. Endorsed by Burghley's clerk.

Enclosure with the same.

Proclamation against troubling the Earls of Angus, Huntly and Erroll, and others, during the time of their trial. Edinburgh, 31st October.

½ p. Broadsheet. In the hand of Bowes's clerk. Endorsed.

Printed in Register of Privy Council, v. 104–5.

168. Robert Bowes to Sir John Foster. [Nov. 5.]

On 12th October I received your letter of the 10th, by the hands of Alexander Rutherford (Rotherforth), after the King's departure towards Jedburgh, so that by the absence of the King and Council I could not procure such timely redress as you required for the great raid made by William Elliot of Lawreston, the Laird of Mangerton, William Armstrong of Kinmonth and their accomplices. Nevertheless, on the 12th I recommended this cause, by the means of the Lord of Lindores, to the King's speedy order and redress, as I signified to you by my letter of the 12th October, carried by Alexander Rutherford. Since the return of the King to Holyrood House, I have moved for "indelate" order in that matter as was required by Nicholas Forster, your son, lately with him at Jedburgh, (fn. 1) so I trusted that you had been satisfied in this behalf. But on the 31st October, I received your letters from Alnwick, and also a letter from the Privy Council, together with a copy of the letter sent to you by the Scottish Council, then at Jedburgh. The Lords of Council have directed me, as her Majesty's ambassador and according to the form of the treaties, to deliver the complaint to the King as you should advise me by writing; wherein it was requisite that, besides your letter, you should send me the perfect complaint put in order and form, and containing all things necessary to be specified in the bill to be exhibited to the King by me against such offenders as you think meet to be "bylled," and for the certainty of all wrongs, hurts and spoils that ought to be redressed. Thus, upon the receipt of these letters mentioned, I have with great earnestness sought to have access to the King for execution of this cause, and have stayed your servant, Alexander Rutherford, that I might return him with full answer, but I have been daily delayed with excuse that the King is so pained in his mouth and teeth that hitherto he cannot speak with me. I beg you to send the complaint and bill with all possible expedition that I may exhibit the same to the King for redress. Edinburgh.

1 p. Endorsed: "The coopie of Mr. Bowes his lettre the viijth Novemb. 1593."

169. Robert Bowes to Burghley. [Nov. 8.]

Albeit the King had promised to give me access on the 6th instant, yet I was "put over" to yesterday. In the morning the King rode hunting, giving me to understand that he would return before 3 p.m. and then hear me. He was "occasioned" to return home before noon by the extremity of the rain and storm, and thereon I sent again to be admitted to his presence to deliver her Majesty's letter and to report to him such important matters as her Majesty and her Privy Council had committed to me, yet again I was "referred" to this day. This morning I heard the trumpet sound very early for the horseband to attend on the King on hunting, therefore I sent to Roger Aston, then with the King, to know whether he would receive her Majesty's letter and give me audience or not, and if he would, then to appoint the time. The King promised to come in again before 3 p.m to receive the letter and hear my credence.

The King and Council now about him have resolved to send to her Majesty an ambassador with fair offers on behalf of the King himself and of the Papist Earls, and to accuse me of having omitted to set forth for the benefit of the Earls such things as have been given me in charge by her Majesty. I hear that the King shall assure her Majesty to run a faithful course with her and for the maintenance of the amity; that he will not deal with Spain in any sort; that he will banish all Papists out of the realm; that these Earls and their parties shall give assurances for her Majesty's contentment; that it will be required that the King may be suffered and helped to rule as he and his Council find most honourable, sure and profitable for him, the religion and amity betwixt these two realms; and that I may be revoked as one who has done evil offices in Scotland and not followed the directions given by her Majesty.

This embassage and the ambassadors shall be determined at the next Convention. It has been moved that the Chancellor, Sir Robert Melvill or Alexander Hume of North Berwick (now Provost of Edinburgh) shall be employed. But it has been answered that the King cannot spare the service of the Chancellor and Alexander Hume at this time, and Sir Robert Melvill is thought to be old and unwilling to undertake the journey. Therefore choice is made of the Laird of Balwearie (newly called to be a councillor and wholly devoted to Huntly). I am informed that the Abbot of Lindores shall be joined with him, if means can be found for the "diffray" of his charges, and that Sir George Douglas and Patrick Murray have offered to "cleare" Balwearie's expenses on this journey, which charge it is thought shall be wholly borne by the Earls. I have been told that Mr. Richard Douglas has lately had some speech with the King touching the Earls, wherein I have no certainty, neither have I spoken with Mr. Richard since then.

"By these" it is like that the King shall send their offers and "seke" to her Majesty, which I have held to be more honourable and profitable to her Majesty "than that they shalbe any wyse solicited to for hir Majestie," and to that end I will proceed as I have done, being ready to answer all accusations and calumnies whatsoever,—which storm I expected to have fallen before this with more personal vehemence. Howsoever it shall fall out I will stand to my defence and be ready to do as her Majesty shall direct.

By my last I certified that means were devising to prevent the commissioners of the counties, burghs and Kirk from laying accusations against the Earls. Now, proclamation is published in Edinburgh yesterday restraining all men from coming to the next Convention, except only those sent for. This proclamation has greatly stirred the people and moved the ministers to persuade them to stand upon their guard, chiefly in regard of four principal matters lately past, and noted in the King's actions, viz., the bold and public coming of the Earls to the King at Falkland [sic; for Fala] and their "dissmission" without imprisonment, the "convoye" of which things begins to break out. Secondly, that albeit the King had deeply protested with oaths to the ministers to have no dealing for the Earls, yet his doings at Linlithgow testify his part therein. Thirdly, that immediately after the departures from Linlithgow of the King and ministers (called to that Convention by the King), proclamation was made in Linlithgow commanding all men to receive and entertain the Earls and their accomplices, a matter flatly revoking the excommunication pronounced against them. Fourthly, that by this last proclamation published yesterday in Edinburgh the means to accuse and prosecute the Earls are taken away. It is feared, therefore, that these things shall stir the people hastily to take arms against the Earls, if any party shall be found sufficiently to govern and fortify the cause. I enclose a copy of the proclamation published yesterday. Edinburgh. Signed: Robert Bowes.

pp. Addressed. Endorsed by Burghley's clerk.

Enclosure with the same.

(Proclamation by James VI. appointing persons to enquire into the accusations against Angus, Huntly and Erroll.)

"Apud Halyroodehouse, 7° Novembris 1593."

Forasmuch as the King's majesty with advice of his Estates at Linlithgow has appointed commissioners to convene at Edinburgh on 12th November to deliberate upon sundry matters specially touching the surety of religion, and proceedings to be taken against all adversaries to the same, and upon all other matters that shall be propounded concerning his Highness's estate and affairs, and the present troubles,—therefore, that this good work may the better proceed, his Majesty ordains that open proclamation be made at Edinburgh and other places needful, prohibiting the lieges to repair to the said burgh under any pretext during the time of the deliberations, except such as are summoned or shall obtain his Majesty's licence, and prohibiting them to do or attempt any thing that may hinder the course of proceedings; under pain of sedition and insurrection.

Calendared in Register of Privy Council, v. p. 105.

2/3 p. Broadsheet copy, in the hand of Bowes's clerk.

170. Robert Bowes to Burghley. [Nov. 12.]

The King gave me audience on Thursday, the 8th instant, late in the afternoon. I delivered her Majesty's letter, putting him in remembrance how long I had kept it by want of access to his presence, which delay I noted likely to have come by the means of his Council, as I had ever before obtained access on the first opportunity, chiefly when I had her Majesty's letter to present. He excused the delay by the pain and disease in his teeth and mouth, showing the "sarsenet" still binding up his jaws. He said the Secretary had forgotten to tell him that I had her Majesty's letter to him, and after the reading of it he paused so long without speech that I was "occasioned" to open matters.

First, I let him know that her Majesty required him to hear and credit me as if with her own hand she had written to him; and he acknowledged and well accepted my credence. Next, I put him in mind of the postscript of her Majesty's letter, expressing, first that his present answers might continue or break their friendship; secondly, an admonition that words without effects shall not deceive her; thirdly, a declaration that it is for his own good that she demands. Upon these grounds I laid the foundation of all my travail with the King in these behalfs. He agreed that I had truly recited the contents of her Majesty's letter, showing himself desirous to hear the credence given to me. Whereupon I informed him "in" her Majesty's instructions, as certified by your lordship to me. Because I had been warned that this present Court purposed to "put at" me and that I should now find the King very resolute in the course of his present councillors and courtiers, therefore I had drawn up articles of my instructions, and intended to have prosecuted them in order and to have received the King's answer severally to every article. I declared to the King, that her Majesty hoped that her letter would move him to take some other course than his counsellors now about him induce him to. The King answered "that her Majestie might not thincke to taxe him in his course and government"; that he had not dealt with her in words but with deeds; and that he never denied any offer or promise made by his ambassador. To these I replied that her Majesty's advice and admonitions for his welfare are evident arguments of her great care for his prosperity and ought not to be interpreted as a "taxation" against him, and that his attitude herein ministered to her Majesty just cause both to grow weary of her watchful care of him and also to look better to herself hereafter. Next, I reminded him how slenderly he had hitherto performed his promises to prosecute the rebellious Earls, and affirmed that her Majesty had never denied to him the accomplishment of any offer or promise made in her name and with her warrant by any of her ambassadors, wherein I offered to answer for whatsoever I had said or done in all my services here for these seventeen years last past. The King passed over the two first parts of my reply and answered only to the last, saying that he "ment" (fn. 2) not of me, nor would charge me with any thing; but Mr. Randolph and Mr. Ashby in matters of great weight promised sundry things not performed by her Majesty, wherein he could not and would not impute any fault in her Majesty, whom he ever found kind and favourable to him, and with a sudden calm protested to be ready to requite her goodwill to the uttermost of his power, concluding that the errors noted by me in his course and councillors were general, so he must give a general answer to them. Thereby I was "occasioned" to break my intention to receive his answer to every clause as it came in her Majesty's letter and my instructions. Therefore, to open some particular causes (besides many other circumstances) moving her Majesty to doubt of his sound proceedings and of the disposition in his Council for maintenance of the amity, I "laide forthe" the audacity of the three Earls at Fala (Fawley), and their dismissal without commitment: secondly, the neglect of the punishment of the raid in Tynedale, notwithstanding that some principal offenders had been in his presence [see No. 164].

This argument proved not only an evil disposition in his councillors towards the amity, but also that the great forces coming to this raid, and gathered from diverse clans not accustomed to ride together, and in greater number than the powers of the principal enterprisers could levy, were therefore drawn into this action by others of greater ability and quality than the offenders, thus increasing the suspicion towards his present councillors, favourers of the rebellious Earls, who, for their own advantage and with the advice of the Jesuits in Scotland, thought it meet to break the amity.

Touching the Earls at Fala the King said that, without his foreknowledge, and suddenly, they presented themselves before him, with all submission craving pardon for their contempt of summons for due trial by law. Whereon, because he has always used, and ever will use, as a maxim to do no rigour on the humbled yielding of their own accord, and that he thought it reasonable to give them trial in convenient order to be agreed by him and the Estates, therefore he rebuked them for their over-great audacity, assuring them that they should fare the worse for it, and so dismissed them to do as he and the Estates should determine. For redress for the raid in Tynedale the King said that he was ready (upon the complaint thereof made by Nicholas Forster to him at Jedburgh) to do it with all expedition and as Mr. Forster had required. He acknowledged that Will Elliott and Mangerton had been with him, but he denied having known them to be offenders in this raid before I signified the same to him. He cleared his Council and courtiers of any practice or privity in the draft of so great forces for this raid, and he alleged the same to be done by Bothwell. But I told him that Bothwell and these offenders could hope for small profit thereby, in regard that they might be sure to find him ready to proceed against them with all rigour for Bothwell's sake, and that Bothwell, being known to have practised such an outrage against the gentlemen and parties in Northumberland who have showed him most favour, might assure himself to feel her Majesty's displeasure and lose the goodwill of these gentlemen for his unthankfulness. He replied no further and required me to confer with him and his Council on the morrow for the redress demanded. In this cause I have "expended" these three days last past, so have had to defer the address of the present letter thus long after my audience. I refer you to my letter to the Privy Council for my doings and success for redress in the raid of Tynedale.

I informed the King that her Majesty thought it could not be denied that those who seek change or qualification in religion join therewith the practice of Spain, and that the rebellious Earls receive messages in secret sort from foreign parts, and, for lack of sharp prosecution, gather great courage, needful to be timely corrected; wherein her Majesty has no meaning to ruin any who shall yield full satisfaction of their reformation in religion and the relinquishing of bands with Papists and the Spanish parties. The King said that he was ever ready to punish these Earls and the rest of the Papists, but finding no help at her Majesty's hands his power did not suffice to execute as he desired; and forasmuch as he is now driven to pursue Bothwell and his parties (whom he may not suffer to range as they do) he, therefore, entertains about him such as have set themselves for his sake against Bothwell; that it passes his power at one time to daunt Bothwell and these three Earls, being three of the most ancient and strong noblemen in this realm, and if he should again pursue them and "tute" them with the horn he should little prevail thereby, and enforce them to seek their relief by dangerous means. For which causes he had called a Convention to meet here on 12th instant to take order as well touching Bothwell as also the Earls and their accomplices.

I took occasion thereupon to commend to the King the three several requests of her Majesty: first, that he will show her whether he means sincerely to suppress this kind of factioners, or to suffer them to get the upper hand over his best subjects; secondly, that according to his former letters he "doe take no end" with these rebellious Earls and their factions until they give satisfaction to the Church, and in renouncing all Popish and Spanish factions, and for the maintenance of the mutual peace betwixt both the realms; thirdly, that he will by a few words of his own hand give some answer to her Majesty's late letters to him. To the first the King said that he had called a Convention of the best sort in the realm and without blemish; that with their advice he would resolve what order should be taken with the Earls, either for their trial or else for the acceptance of such assurance as shall be found necessary for the satisfaction of the King, the Estates and the Church in Scotland, as also of her Majesty, and for the preservation of the amity betwixt both realms; that this order shall be imparted to the Earls and, if they refuse to receive and perform the same, then this Convention shall determine to proceed against them. To the second the King promised to deal princely and sincerely with her Majesty; that his true meaning is to proceed against the Earls by the resolution and acts of this Convention; that her Majesty shall not only be acquainted with the order to be taken with the Earls, but also her advice and consent shall be required and received in the same; and that I shall be privy to all his proceedings herein and give her Majesty true and timely advertisement thereof. If the last part shall be performed, then it is likely that the embassage intended to her Majesty and the accusations against me shall be stayed. Thirdly, the King promised to write to her Majesty by his own hand within eight days.

In conclusion, I let the King know that her Majesty has it from good place that instruments are suffered to reside near him to entice him and contrive evil matters, and that especial persons have come or are to come from beyond the sea to win him to a qualification in religion, and, if he hearken to these, then her Majesty foresees nothing but the ruin of his estate and kingdom. I laid before him not only the dangers approaching, but also the effects fallen on him, to be seen by the great contempt of his people towards him and by their readiness to take arms against the excommunicated Earls and Papists, whom they see over-far favoured and contenanced by him. The King said no instrument resident near him shall have power to hurt him or the common causes, for he directs his own course and does not hearken to advice other than of his Estates and Council; that he knows not that any person has come into Scotland to allure him to any toleration in religion, and if they shall come, they shall lose their labours; and that for prevention of the dangers expressed he and this next Convention should provide remedies. Appointing me to be with him and his Council the next day, he left me.

Bothwell, after the King's return hither, came to Jedburgh, but being loth to encumber that town, and providing for his own safety, passed (as I am informed) amongst his friends. The King has charged the ministers deeply with having shewed over-great favour to Bothwell and with bearing too much affection towards him. To which the ministers have answered that, being witnesses or cautioners for performance of the graces granted by the King to Bothwell and his parties in the articles at Holyrood House, and embodied in an act of Convention at Stirling, they wished the benefit thereof to be allowed to Bothwell for the King's honour, and the peace of the country, and for their acquittal towards him; and as they ever condemned his attempts against the King, so they always refused, and ever would refuse, to "partye" or favour him therein. Thus the Church will not mix the common cause for religion with Bothwell's particular; nevertheless I hear that they wish the King to deal graciously with him. Albeit he has lately inclined to show some favour to Bothwell upon condition that he shall depart out of the realm, yet the same, as I am told, has been soon changed by Bothwell's adversaries, seeking some portions of his livings. What shall be done for him at this Convention will appear very shortly.

I have spoken sundry times with the Chancellor since his return to Court, especially for redress for the raid in Tynedale. Albeit he told me that I should find him where I left him, yet the former "inwardnes" betwixt us is partly abated, for having found him slow to use the accustomed kindness and not free from suspicion of joining with the courtiers stirring these troubles, therefore I have not been hasty to seek such inward course with him as may "wrapp" me in like suspicion by the well affected. He finds himself (as I hear) distressed many ways; for, albeit he was called to Court to be accounted the plot-layer, and thereby to bear the blame from the courtiers, that he might provoke the King against Bothwell to advance the desire of his enemies, and that he might be friends or else "comporte" with Huntly and his faction, yet I am "laboured" to think that these courtiers have him in great suspicion, that they persuade the King to employ him but not to open any secrets to him, and that he thinks himself to be in continual danger of his life. He promises his whole endeavours to move the King to the best course, and, if he cannot prevail, then he pretends to be resolved to retire. His actions in this next Convention, which will be narrowly looked into, will discover him to his honour or further discredit with the well affected.

I am informed that the Queen here continues favourable to the parties for religion and little likes the present courtiers, and it is thought that the Chancellor may recover her favour if he will turn to the course thus liked by her. The report is very general that she is with child, but hitherto there is no full certainty thereof. Some courtiers (as it is said) have told the King that after the birth of a Prince the common prayer of the people will be "God save the religion and Prince." The King is much occupied with this matter and "conceipte."

The Duke has left Court and remains at Glasgow without any purpose to return hastily unless the King shall send for him, which is expected to be done within eight or nine days.

Albeit many great effects are looked to be wrought at this Convention to meet in council to-morrow, yet not one nobleman has as yet come hither or is expected. Some barons and commissioners for the Church and burghs (called by the King) have come, but the Convention will be seen so slender that it is thought that the King shall furnish it with some Lords of the Session. What the success then shall be is much doubted.

The ministers have complained to the King and Council how prejudicial the two late proclamations in favour of the excommunicated Earls are to the cause of religion and how contrarious to the King's promises and to the laws and ordinances of this realm. The Earls have been put in comfort of finding satisfaction in all things at this Convention; whereas the commissioners to have been sent to accuse them are stayed. Order, nevertheless, is taken (as I hear) that all men loving the cause of religion shall stand on their guard and remain in readiness upon warning.

The Earl of Mar, coming hither upon the King's letter, would not "tarye" this Convention, but departed saying that his conscience cannot acquit the Earls. If this Convention shall proceed well, then the Duke and he will return to Court.

Angus, Huntly and Errol (as I am informed) are soaring about these parts, purposing to draw near this town, but not to show themselves openly at this Convention nor to press their trial with great earnestness. They complain of the breach of the King's promise to them, seeming to distrust the King so far, and to feel confident that they can provide for themselves without the King's privity.

At my conference with the Chancellor, Sir Robert Melvill, the Lord Secretary and Clerk Register on Saturday last, the 10th instant, they agreed that the Wardens of the Middle Marches of both the realms, or their deputies, should meet at Stawford, or at such place as the Wardens shall agree upon, on the 28th of this month, and that the bill of the late attempt in Tynedale, being already known to have been an open day foray, should there presently be filed, sworn, and delivery made of "principalls and doubles," either by the delivery of the principal "faltours" named in the bill to be exhibited by the Warden of the Middle Marches of England or by his deputy, or of a gentleman whom the Warden of the Middle Marches of Scotland shall "make worthe the bill"; and that another bill for Scotland, to be exhibited the same day by William Ellot of Larestane against certain Englishmen, inhabitants in Tynedale, shall be likewise filed, and the like redress made if this "attemptate" done in Scotland shall be "tryed" by the Warden to have been likewise an open day foray; and that the "attemptate" done in Tynedale shall be first filed and first delivered. It was promised that this order should be perfected by the King and Council that I might have it that day, or yesterday at the farthest; but albeit the Clerk Register travailed very diligently, yet because the King and Council could not come together in time, it is not yet perfected. Nevertheless it is still firmly promised that it shall be done to-morrow at the farthest. But finding these delays and that the King is this day hunting, I dare not prolong further the sending of this letter. It is firmly promised that I shall receive to-morrow full order for the redress for the raid in Tynedale. Edinburgh. Signed: Robert Bowes.

pp. Addressed. Endorsed by Burghley's clerk.

171. Laird of Johnstone to Bothwell. [Nov. 12.]

Whereas your lordship desires that I should give my consent to whatsoever you should promise to the Queen of England concerning the forthsetting of religion, surety of the King and preserving of the amity betwixt the crowns, if you think my "hand vryt" needful to confirm the promises I have made, I give your lordship full power to subscribe and conclude for me as for yourself, by this my letter, subscribed with my hand. Lochwood (Lochvode). Signed: Johnestoune.

½ p. Holograph, also addressed. Endorsed: "The Bond. L. Johnston's bond who is enemy to Maxwell."

172. Convention at Edinburgh. [Nov. 12.]

"The names of those that are to be of the Convention to be at Edinburgh the xij of this instant Novemb. 1593."

Six noblemen: Lord Hamilton. He refuses to be one. Chancellor, Marishal or Morton, Mar, Rothes, Livingston.

[Six] Barons: Bass, Airth, Balwearie, Colluthy, Abbotshaugh, Largo.

Six Ministers: Mr. David Lindsay, Mr. Robert Bruce, Mr. Patrick Galloway, Mr. James Carmichael, Mr. Robert Rollock, Mr. John Duncanson.

Edinburgh: The Lord Provost and Clement Cor for Edinburgh. Stirling, Linlithgow, Dundee, St. Andrews: each a commissioner. All the officers of estate.

1 p. Copy in the hand of Bowes's clerk. Endorsed.

173. Memoranda by Robert Bowes. [Nov. 12.]

"Answere to the cidell sent inclosed in the Lord Thresurer's lettre, 29° Octobr. 1593."

The Provost of Lincluden is called William Douglas, brother of the Laird of Drumlanrig, deceased: he is Collector of the Tenths and one of the King's Secret Council: he favours much the Earl of Angus, being now chief of his surname. I have required Lord Hamilton by his own servant to send to me the Captain of Dumbarton, or else Captain Hamilton. As yet I have not heard from Lord Hamilton, but after the order taken with him for powder I shall speedily advertise your lordship. That the books may be made ready for the next pay at Berwick to be made by Mr. Clopton, agreeable to your lordship's order therein, may it please you to despatch Sheperson to Berwick with expedition. Signed: Robert Bowes.

p. Endorsed: "12 No. 1593. Mr. Bowes awnswere to a sedule inclosed in the Lord Threasurer's letter."

174. Robert Bowes to Burghley. [Nov. 17.]

Albeit the King and Council, at my earnest suit for redress of the late "attemptate" in Tynedale, had agreed to give the principals and also the doubles, yet upon the arrival here of Cessford, Warden of the Middle Marches of Scotland, and by his information that for such open attempts as were filed by the princes themselves, their commissioners or wardens on their honour, the "single availl" of the goods was always accepted, and that this bill for Tynedale must be filed by the King himself, therefore they "denyed" to give the doubles, as I demanded, and agreed that the King should file the bill and deliver a gentleman (whom he will make "worthe ther bill") to the Warden of the Middle March of England at Berwick or Alnwick, on the 28th of this month, to remain until a principal "faltour" be entered for his relief, or the bill paid for the principal value thereof, as will appear by the enclosed copy of their answer or offer. For the doubles I alleged the treaties, and noted sundry wants in their offer. But it is answered that the custom of the Borders in this case is fully offered, and shall be performed, and that Sir John Forster (as they think) will well accept this manner of redress. Whereunto I gave no consent, yet received this their answer to be certified to the Privy Council, and to Sir John Forster, and thereon to be allowed or reformed as for the progress of justice and for preservation of the mutual quietness on the Borders should be expedient. In this I have written to the Lords of Council.

Because none of the noblemen appointed to come to this Convention, other than Livingston, came hither, therefore the King has written again for sundry noblemen to be here next week, and purposes to continue the Convention until their coming. Some barons, with the commissioners for the Kirk and burghs, are present here and have met with the King and his Council to provide for the common causes. It has been moved that Angus, Huntly and Errol with their accomplices should not be admitted to the King's presence until they had satisfied the Kirk, and that they should be committed to ward for one year that they might give proof of their good behaviour, sincere conversion, and relinquishing of foreign practices. It was also required that every person detected of Papistry and offering to subscribe to the articles of religion should not bear office about the King nor come into his company for one year next thereafter. I was told that Lord Hume and Sir George Hume told the King that this last motion was made to weaken him and to keep away good instruments ready to serve against Bothwell and in all other services. This Convention has hitherto concluded nothing, and little hope is yet conceived of any good effects.

The King and Convention were informed by some of the ministry that the excommunicated Earls had no good intention; for it was reported that Mr. James Gordon, the Jesuit, with the Earl of Huntly's third brother, a person of quality for Erroll, and another young gentleman of the Gordons, had passed to Dunkirk to be hostages to Count Mansfeldt for the King of Spain. The King will not credit this report, yet it is to be examined, and I have been advertised that these persons and others passed away in David Hay's ship. [In the margin: This is now strongly denied, but it is looked that it shall be shortly confessed and cunningly excused.]

Sundry of the barons and commissioners for the Church and burghs came hither in the fore part of this week, notwithstanding that they were restrained by proclamation and advised by letters of the ministry to stay their journey for this time. But they alleged that they got no knowledge of the proclamation or letters mentioned. The King (as it is said) was offended with their coming hither, therefore they made their assembly the more quietly and resolved to present to the King and Convention these three petitions following: first, that the proclamation lately set forth in favour of the Earls, and against the liberties of the Church and laws of this realm, might be rescinded, as they term it; secondly, that all laws and statutes made against Papists, apostates, Jesuits and other practisers may be put into speedy execution; thirdly, that the traitorous Earls may be committed severally to sure ward until they shall be tried, or else give satisfaction to the Church in sort demanded. Some of the barons and commissioners coming before the King to exhibit their petitions were checked for disobedience against the proclamation, yet they were dismissed with order that their petitions should be considered.

Angus, Huntly, Errol and Sir James Chisholm are in this town, in Cannongate or near hereabouts, as it is generally believed, and on the 15th Angus with twenty servants came forth from his lodging in Cowgate, in Edinburgh, and taking his horse openly in the street, departed out of the gate speedily and without interruption, for the town was not warned of his being here. It is said that they are near the Court that the guard may protect them, and they all will come hither again at the coming of the noblemen sent for, at which time they trust either to obtain the relief promised to them, or else to trust no longer to the promises made.

Lord Hamilton came hither for a private cause and could not be entreated to tarry more than one day. He shows himself ready to serve the King whilst the King maintains the religion; for the preservation whereof he offers to adventure his life and all his possessions, "as" the Church is well comforted by him. He has deferred giving me knowledge of his mind for the manner of the provision to be made for him, until he shall advise with the Captain of Dumbarton. The Earl of Cassillis has been at Leith, and there quietly conferred with some of the ministry and given them good contentment. The Chancellor (as I am informed) has been earnestly solicited by a messenger lately sent to him by Sir James Chisholm to show his friendship to Angus, Huntly and Erroll in regard that they offered to rescue the King out of Bothwell's hands when he lately possessed the King, and that they will make the King and the Chancellor so strong a party against Bothwell that he shall have no power to hurt them.

The Master of Caithness has made earnest suit for Bothwell, but no order can be obtained, and the King has told him that this Parliament cannot hold at the day appointed (being the 20th instant), so that he cannot restore Bothwell at this time. It is much doubted that the King will not restore him at all if a sufficient party shall be got together, and that for this purpose he will the rather agree to grant peace to the excommunicated Earls. Some motion has been made for reconciliation betwixt Bothwell and Hume on condition that Bothwell will give over Coldingham and Spott, but I cannot learn that Bothwell will buy Hume's kindness so dear.

It is told to some of the ministry by a person of good quality that Robert Bruce has come to Scotland from Flanders and has brought with him 24,000 crowns, whereof 3000 shall be given for the pay of the King's guard, 3000 to Lord Hume as Captain of the guard, 10,000 offered to the King of Scots (Arabia Petrea), and the rest disposed by Huntly and Erroll. This is confirmed by others coming from the north parts, yet I have not hitherto received any confirmation from my friends in the north, where surely the whole inhabitants expect daily the arrival of Spanish forces from Dunkirk, Nieuport and those places on the coast of Flanders.

The band betwixt the Chancellor and Lord Hume is subscribed by themselves and is sent to be subscribed by Hume's friends. In this band the Chancellor will not covenant to "party" Hume against the Laird of Cessford, and likewise Hume will not aid the Chancellor against the Master of Glamis, who is still absent from the Court, far against the expectation of many. The King gives especial favour to Lord Livingston and the Master of Elphinstone, great friends to the three Earls, and hereby his burning affection to these Earls is the more noted.

Many of the Church and others well affected surely look for sudden violence, chiefly in case the Spanish forces shall come into this realm, therefore warning is given to all the religious to stand upon their guard. Nevertheless it is thought meet with patience rather to endure sudden extremity than over rashly to enter into arms before some manifest discovery shall be made by deed of the intentions of the evil practisers. Edinburgh. Signed: Robert Bowes.

3⅓ pp. Addressed. Endorsed by Burghley's clerk.

Enclosure with the same.

(James VI. and Council to Bowes.)

Answer to the bill of the inhabitants of Tynedale against William Elliot and others. [The King excuses the necessary delay of his answer; will file the bill himself; will deliver a gentleman made worth the bill; and requires that the "single availe" of the goods be accepted. 17th November 1593.]

Printed in Calender of Border Papers, i. pp. 512–3.

1⅓ p. Copy in the hand of Bowes's clerk. Endorsed.

175. Robert Bowes to Burghley. [Nov. 23.]

Yesterday the Duke and Mar, accompanied with 400 horsemen, returned hither upon the King's letters, the bearer of which had commission (as I hear) to charge them to appear upon pain of horning. Montrose, likewise called by the King's letter, has excused himself, adding that he had "gotten and endured two snoffles," and would not receive the third. Of the six of the nobility summoned to convene this day the Chancellor, Mar and Livingston only are present as yet. It is meant that to augment this small number the Duke shall supply the place of Hamilton. All the officers of estate are here, except Blantyre, sick at Linlithgow and expected to be here this night. Five of the six barons and the six burgesses appointed have come hither. The six ministers named are to be only petitioners to the King and this Convention, which is thought very weak to take up so weighty causes as shall be committed to their deliberation.

This first day of the meeting of Convention the Duke and Mar shall be reconciled before the King and the Assembly with the Chancellor, yet the Chancellor's friends think that this agreement would have been made with greater surety to him by the mediation of friends on both sides [rather] than by the King's commandment. It is looked that the Queen of Scots shall receive the Chancellor to her favour within few days.

The petitions exhibited by the commissioners of the barons, burghs and Church shall be read this day and the matters referred until to-morrow and the next opportunity. The variance betwixt the Laird of Dairsie (Darcy) and Mr. William Murray for the office of Provost of St. Andrews shall be determined this day, and Mr. William Murray established therein.

[In the margin: This is done in favour of the town and church of St. Andrews.]

The matters for Bothwell shall be had in deliberation very shortly, and the King will be pressed earnestly to deny him any benefit of the act of Council at Stirling, for I have been informed that the Master of Glamis, Sir Robert Melvill, Lincluden, the Comptroller and Newbattle this morning moved the Chancellor to join with them for the King's safety against Bothwell. Wherein, finding the Chancellor not so ready as they looked for (notwithstanding that he acknowledged himself to be the King's creature), it was plainly alleged that assistance must be provided for the King against Bothwell; that they must either join together for the same or else suffer the King to be guarded by Bothwell's friends and themselves to retire from Court; that the impediments hindering the success of this cause ought to be removed by the King's good means; that these impediments are noted to be the present favour of the Queen and the good will of the Duke and Mar towards Bothwell; and that in the compassing of this plot they did not think it meet to name the Queen to the King, but rather to insinuate the matter to him by covert means, as by libel or otherwise. The informer told me that they severed without conclusion; nevertheless he thinks that they will proceed in their purpose. What shall succeed herein, or how the Queen, the Duke and Mar shall stand for Bothwell is not known. But Bothwell's friends are in good hope of finding them steadfast.

I refer all matters touching Bothwell to the report of Mr. John Colville, who, I hear, purposes to go to your lordship with causes of weighty importance, which he offers to impart for her Majesty's warning and benefit. If his service shall be found worthy of gracious consideration, then the present condition of his distressed estate will be seen needful to be speedily relieved, which I commend to your timely furtherance.

Upon several consultations betwixt the Chancellor, some of the officers of estate, and the ministers, for order to be taken against Papists, and chiefly against Angus, Huntly, Erroll and Hume, it has been found convenient not to urge the expedition of the trial of the Earls and their accomplices, in regard that no impartial assize can be got to "fyle" [i.e. convict] them, and that upon their acquittal no conditions can be imposed on them. Because the Earls will confess having received Jesuits, heard masses, revolted from their profession of religion, made default in their appearance upon summons in treasons, and done other facts against the laws, not punishable by death, and because for these crimes they will put themselves into the King's mercy, denying still their blanks and conspiracies, and because it is thought that Angus and Erroll only will refuse to subscribe to the articles of religion, therefore it is advised that they shall enjoy their livings and prossessions, and that an act of Abolition shall be made in their favour for all crimes confessed by them, on condition that if hereafter they shall be proved guilty of the Blanks and conspiracy, or shall practise any hurt against religion or estate, then they shall lose the benefit of the act of Abolition: further, that Angus and Erroll shall depart out of the realm, and that Huntly and Hume shall be "lymited in fitt placis" for one year to give proof that they are worthy to be received into the Church and the King's grace. Albeit these things are thus advised to be motioned in Convention, yet it is doubted whether the King and the Assembly shall allow thereof, and it is thought that the resolution herein shall be carried much after the King's own appetite.

Some of the principal commissioners for the nobility, Church, barons and burghs have informed me that it is reported to them that Angus, Huntly and Erroll, making some overtures to her Majesty, have obtained and received her Majesty's letter (fn. 3) testifying her good liking of their offers to herself and her assent to commend their submissions to the King for the satisfaction of the King, the Estate and the Kirk here, which satisfaction they fear shall be measured by the affections of the King and this Convention, with over-great favour to the Earls in respect that the cause is thus furthered by her Majesty. They say that the Earls and their instruments have got greater advantage by these means than was intended by her Majesty, whose good aid they have ever had, and trust to have always, for defence of the religion against all foreign forces. In this I let them know that the Earls might well have sought her Majesty's favour, and that her Majesty, naturally disposed to deal courteously with all men and especially with strangers and noblemen in this nation, might yield courteous answer by letter or otherwise in general manner. Nevertheless I was not privy to any letter sent by her Majesty to the Earls or any for them. But her Majesty by letters to the King, and by instructions to me to be negotiated with the King, had given many and wise advices both to forbear to receive the Earls without good assurance and satisfaction in matters of religion and estate and for prevention of dangers; and also that by conviction or confession of their faults they should find themselves beholden to his mercy and be fully drawn from all Popish and Spanish faction and course; and that her Majesty had otherwise declared her good mind never to betray the cause of religion and peace in this realm, as lately I had given proof to some chief instruments in the Church, whom they trusted. With these and other like reasons they were well satisfied and much comforted, relying wholly on her Majesty's accustomed bounty and support in preservation of religion and peace in this isle. Please direct me what to do in this cause either for the further satisfaction of the Church and well affected, or else with such here as deal for the Earls and, peradventure, use more liberty than is indeed allowed by her Majesty. [In the margin, in Burghley's hand: I think Mr. Bowes has done well herein and should be advised to continue this course with all parties that are opposed to the three Earls.]

By sundry means it is confirmed that Mr. James Gordon, the Jesuit, William Gordon of Strathdown, brother of Huntly, and four or five more have passed out of Scotland in David Hay's ship for Dunkirk. It is now said that Mr. James Gordon departed by the King's commandment and according to his former promise and purpose; that William Gordon has gone to the schools and to be cured of the disease of "frenzie," possessing his second brother, and feared to trouble him; that his schoolmaster is with him; and that the others are servants. Yet many wise [men] think that few of these passengers are servants, but young gentlemen of quality. Some still deny that any of these persons named have thus departed, and some have foolishly bruited that they shall pass into England. The King still scorns the matter, as I am told.

I hear that the Queen has lately complained to the King that sundry near about him have used over-large liberty in their speeches of her; wherein the King has promised to let her know hereafter as well the author as also the words uttered against her. The King has given order to Sir George Hume, (fn. 4) one much suspected in this behalf, to put him in remembrance of his promise whensoever he shall hear or know anything spoken against the Queen or her honour. Many are in good hope that this reconciliation betwixt the King and Queen shall produce good effects, in regard that the Queen is well affected to the good causes and to the instruments in them, and of late has been so stung with the venom and deceit of Papists that she will no more suffer them to come near to her.

I am told that albeit the Duke and Mar will agree in the deliberation for Bothwell and will follow the King and his pleasure in this behalf, yet they are seen so far to favour Bothwell that Bothwell's adversaries will not trust them; and that Blantyre (fn. 5) will prove that for the King's honour it is necessary to give Bothwell the benefit of the act of Convention at Stirling, and that this matter will stir the coals mightily. Edinburgh. Signed: Robert Bowes.

pp. Addressed. Endorsed by Burghley's clerk.

176. Petition by Christopher Sheperson to Burghley. [Nov. 23.]

I humbly pray your lordship to procure timely directions to be given to my master [Robert Bowes] in the particularities mentioned in the instructions given to George Nicolson, which I delivered to your lordship.

Also, seeing my master's weakness and want must needs prejudice her Majesty's service in the dangerous time and place wherein he is employed, without some speedy remedy, may he therefore be relieved by her Majesty's bounty in such sort as may be for the benefit of her Highness's service and his comfort, and without loss or charge to her Majesty.

Also, whereas Mr. Ralph Bowes has given security and stands charged for payment of 1500l., parcel of Customer Smyth's debt to her Majesty, may it please your lordship to give order that the executors of Customer Smyth may be acquitted of that sum, wherein Sir Francis Walsingham's bond given for the same debt may be cancelled and delivered to Lady Walsingham for her discharge. Signed: Christofer Sheperson.

2/3 p. Endorsed: "The humble petition of Christofer Sheperson. 23° Novembr. 1593."

177. Robert Bowes to Burghley. [Nov. 30.]

I have put the King in memory sundry times of his letter promised to her Majesty, hoping that the memory of this promise would bring to his mind his other promises, mentioned in my letter of the 12th. I did not press audience greatly during the Convention, but after it ended, on the 26th instant, I sought access and obtained it yesternight.

Because Sir John Forster had certified me that he had written his opinion to her Majesty and her Privy Council that the principal value for the bill of Tynedale might be accepted, and that he was ready to receive the gentleman offered for that bill, if he did not receive advertisement to the contrary, therefore I have moved the King to send the gentleman to him. The King let me know that he had appointed Archibald Beaton (Beton), his page of honour, to be delivered for this bill at Berwick, on the 28th instant, but had stayed his delivery because he had got into his hands Will Ellott of Lareston, the principal offender, whom he had delivered to the young Laird of Cessford, to be entered and delivered to Sir John Forster at Alnwick on 4th December. I trust this delivery shall be performed: as Cessford has likewise promised.

Then I "renewed the memory" of the King's promise to write to her Majesty, to acquaint me with his proceedings with the northern Earls, and to take her Majesty's advice therein. [I said that] it will be thought strange that he delays to write to her Majesty; that he and this Convention have determined the order with the Earls and their accomplices without her privity or advice; and that I was not called and acquainted therewith. The King promises to write to her Majesty with speed [In the margin: in Burghley's hand: "Apres demayn."], and albeit this Convention has taken an order for the Earls, yet it is not absolute, the King says, but that he may alter it [In the margin, in Burghley's hand: "He may mar it."], and therefore he will require her Majesty's advice and assent to the same. Moreover, he told me that the Earls would not accept the order of the Convention. Nevertheless it is generally believed that they were here secretly and were made privy to all his proceedings by Sir George Hume and Patrick Murray, who shall be called before the Church on 4th December for "intercommoninge" and accompanying these Earls. I was driven to receive this new promise for an answer, fearing that little better fruit shall spring thereon than has come of the former.

There were present at this Convention the Duke of Lennox (called to occupy the place of one of the Earls), the Earl of Mar for the rest of the earls, and Lord Livingston for the lords. All the councillors of estate, four barons and five burgesses for the ministers were petitioners, and [there were] no councillors in this Convention. [In the margin, in Burghley's hand: The greater part of the councillors are evil affected, but the King's humour has ruled most.]

The ministers prayed order for reformation in religion, that the laws against Papists might be put in execution, and due punishment inflicted on Angus, Huntly, Erroll, and other offenders. They pressed much that the Earls and their accomplices might be first warded and afterwards tried, agreeable to the laws of this realm. It was answered that if they should be tried, then they should be quit by a "whyte assyse." (fn. 6) Therefore other order should be taken with them. It was replied that their treasons and faults were so evident that they could not be quit by any assize if the King should proceed against them as he did against the Earls of Morton and Gowrie, beheaded. But the requests and reasons of the ministers got no allowance, for the Convention resolved to ordain an edict that only the established religion be professed in this realm, and that all persons who have not professed the same, or have made defection from it, shall subscribe to the articles of religion before 1st February next, or depart out of this realm and enjoy their lands, livings, goods and possessions, with other privileges and benefits (as the ministers affirm) against the laws and acts of Parliament. [In the margin, in Burghley's hand: "A good preface if it so folowe."] Secondly, an act of Abolition is made whereby Angus, Huntly and Errol, Auchindoun and Sir James Chisholm shall not be accused for the Blanks, but all their offences and faults therein shall be abolished and put in oblivion under sundry specified conditions. 1 enclose a copy of the edict and act of Abolition, being drawn into one act of Council by this Convention. [In the margin, in Burghley's hand: "This edict hath a good shewe, but the King may mak it lyk a Welshman hop."]

This edict and act of Abolition is thought to be very injurious to the Church, and far against the laws of God and this realm.

The ministers have not only protested openly to the King and Convention that they will not agree to the same, but also in their sermons inveigh greatly against it. They allege that, albeit it has a pretence to establish one true religion in the realm, yet liberty is given to all men to profess what they list, on condition that they depart out of the realm, whereupon they shall enjoy greater privileges and advantages than any other good subject can do; that it is very dangerous that the crimes of these offenders shall be thus slightly passed over; that notwithstanding that the King once confessed that he had not power to pardon them (fn. 7) [In the margin, in Burghley's hand: "The King hath made confession without absolution."], and promised to punish them with all rigour, yet they have now been detected four times, and escaped punishment; further, that these persons being excommunicated cannot be discharged without sight and experience of their repentance, neither of which has hitherto been seen in them, nor is expected to be hereafter shewed by them. It is expected that some of the ministers standing thus steadfastly and openly against this act shall be sharply punished, which is like to be the beginning of many troubles, for the people are generally offended and enraged with this act.

The King condemned the excommunication of these offenders because it was not done with his assent. But it was answered that the Kirk, being loth to contend in any sort with him, sued and obtained his leave to excommunicate all these persons, provided that Hume should not be excommunicated. They alleged this to be done lately at Linlithgow, and that the King by his handwriting had assented that Huntly and Erroll should be excommunicated; and they put the King in such good memory thereof that the matter was passed over.

The King, as I hear, is discharged by this Convention of all promises made to Bothwell, either by himself or by the Convention at Stirling, and will move the Lords of Session likewise to discharge him of his promises made whilst he was in Bothwell's hands against his will, and by which promises the King has "quit" and discharged many great sums of money to his exceeding loss and prejudice. It is looked that the Session shall please the King herein. Amongst other things, I looked that by the grace granted to Bothwell the bill for the spoil at Falkland laid on sundry Englishmen in the West Marches, and exceeding the sum of 13,000l. sterling, should have been discharged, but now the same is called for again, and with great earnestness. [In the margin, in Burghley's hand: "This will allweis be a quarrell in the West Borders ageynst our demandes for justice."] The King would grant no favour to Bothwell nor hear any longer of any suit in his behalf. It is ordered that Bothwell shall depart out of this isle within fifteen days without any kind of promise of restitution or favour until the King shall understand that he has obeyed this order. Thus the King will always remain at liberty, and it is verily thought his good will shall never be recovered by Bothwell. Great search was made the other day in Edinburgh, Canongate and Leith for Bothwell, Doune (Down), Spynie, Ochiltree's brother, and others. Mr. John Russell, an advocate, Robert Stewart, serjeant at mace, and Bothwell's lackey, were taken in Edinburgh and committed for his causes. All others who have been with him at the three several raids at Holyrood House and Falkland shall be, as it is said, "punished by the purse" for payment of the King's guard. The Queen, the Duke, the Chancellor and Mar show themselves friendly to Bothwell; and the Queen (as I hear) prayed the King to consider how much he bound himself by his honour, by his promises and act of Council to Bothwell, whose faults were no greater than the faults of others of less worthiness, to whom, nevertheless, he had showed great graces, to his own danger.

The Chancellor has kissed the Queen's hand, whereupon she wished him to serve the King faithfully, to deal uprightly with the Kirk, and to show his good endeavour to herself, for which she offered him goodwill and good deed. [In the margin, in Burghley's hand: The Queen would be comforted herein by some message to be done by Mr. Bowes.]

The King (as I hear) acknowledges that Mr. James Gordon the Jesuit, William Gordon, Huntly's brother, with some others, have passed away into Flanders. But it is confidently alleged that all the young gentlemen are sent to the schools. I am informed that one of Gordon of Abergeldy's sons and one Harvey ("towardis" Erroll) are amongst them, and that Lord Forbes's eldest son, whom Huntly long before this time had enticed and privily conveyed from his father, is in their company. I have advertised Lord Forbes thereof, but he thinks that before this they had put his son into some monastery, therefore he purposes to provide that his inheritance come to his younger son. John Gordon of Newton, a great and rich Papist, embarked for Dieppe in September last, arrived at Yarmouth, and passed to Dunkirk, where he thought to have remained (as I was informed) half a year, but he soon departed from thence to London and returned to Yarmouth, where he entered into Thomas Smith's ship of Montrose and came to Montrose. I am told that he has made all this haste for the expedition of the sending away of the pledges: upon whose coming to Count Mansfeldt it is expected that the forces shall be sent from Dunkirk, Nieuport and Bloye.

Lord Hamilton has lately advertised me that Dumbarton Castle is clean without powder, bullet and such like necessary furniture, which the King's power does not suffice to supply in season. I offered him one last of powder, agreeable to your late direction. He confesses himself wholly devoted to her Majesty. [In the margin, in Burghley's hand: "I did so wryt to Mr. Bowes by hir Majesty's commandment."] He looks verily that strangers shall come with their forces into this realm and that Dumbarton shall be chiefly sought for and attempted. [In the margin, in Burghley's hand: "It is the only place for discent of Spanyardis in the west of Scotland."] Therefore he must of necessity make the larger provision, wherein he will willingly defray what he can from his own purse, yet he cannot sufficiently provide all requisites without her Majesty's help, the charge of which will amount to 200l. sterling at the least. By means of a merchant in this town he can provide in the best manner all things needful, so that by delivery of this sum to this merchant, and by his own charges and means, this "peice" shall be sufficiently furnished and he shall be at her Majesty's commandment. In this he looks for return of her Majesty's pleasure with speed. Direct me whether I shall put him in comfort to be supplied with this money in this manner, and, if so, then how and when the same shall be conveyed to the merchant. [In the margin, in Burghley's hand: "j last of powder and jc li. in money to provyde the rest war very honorable."] Many great things have been aimed at, but I always put them over with the true reports of her Majesty's other burdenous charges.

Because the Parliament has expired without any prorogation and is not likely to be summoned again for a long time, and this Convention has ended without expectation of being assembled before 1st February, therefore I request her Majesty to revoke me or at least to grant access, to be thereon discharged of this service, or furnished with new instructions. [In the margin, in Burghley's hand: "I thynk he might be spared for on month."] Edinburgh.

4 pp. No fly-leaf or address. Endorsed by Burghley's clerk; "30 Novem. 1593. Mr Bowes to my lord from Edenburghe."

Enclosure with the same.

Printed in Acts of Parliament, iv. 46–48; summarised in Register of Privy Council, v. 108–9.

("Act of Abolitioun.")

The true religion, publicly preached and by law established, to be the only religion professed and exercised by all his Majesty's lieges. Angus, Huntly, Errol and others to be forgiven with option of making satisfaction in religion or going into exile, with other conditions.

12/3 pp. In the hand of Bowes's clerk. Endorsed by Burghley's clerk. [Note in the margin in Burghley's hand: "that the banishment of the Earls opens a postern to the Papists, and that the remission of all penalties is against all reason."]


  • 1. See Calendar of Border Papers, i. No. 908.
  • 2. ment, menit: complained.
  • 3. The words "received her Majesty's letter" are underlined, and the following entry in Burghley's hand is made in the margin: "This is not trew, but by Archib. Dowglass intermeddling and Richd. Dowglass this report is raysed, which Mr. Bowes hath well answered, as on the other side, and he might do well frendly to spek with Rich. Dowglass to shew hym how far hir Majesty hath gyven advise to the King."
  • 4. In the margin, in Burghley's hand: "The wolf to be a watchman."
  • 5. In the margin, in Burghley's hand: He is Privy Seal.
  • 6. [In the margin, in Burghley's hand: An assize without appearance of a jury, "which we call acquitall by proclamation for want of evidence."]
  • 7. Pardon them. These words are underlined, as the text for the commentary in the margin.