James VI, February 1594

Pages 274-280

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

This free content was digitised by double rekeying and sponsored by American Friends of the IHR. All rights reserved.


In this section

James VI, February 1594

216. Sir Robert Cecil to Lord Zouche. [Feb. 1.] Vol. lii. p. 31.

In the absence of my father your letter of 26th January was brought to my hands the 1st day of February, which I was not a little glad to see, considering that your former letters declared your purpose of returning to meet with some noblemen at Berwick, which course (not having had direction to return) would have seemed strange to her Majesty (especially as the King had given such slender satisfaction), and would have utterly overthrown the other action, when so publicly it should have been dealt in, besides the great inconvenience that might have grown from drawing Scots to such a place of conference as her Majesty's town of Berwick is. Of all which things, because I see your own discretion has made you stay, and forasmuch as I know my letters of the 23rd and 25th have sufficiently declared her Majesty's pleasure in these two points, I will forbear to speak any further, and will only make answer to your last, which I received this day.

Her Majesty finds how willingly the King would have sent you away contented with dilatory promises, and how gladly he would have retracted the promise of setting down of his mind under his hand if the Master of Gray with his finesse could have found you pliable; wherein she very well allows your wise "perseveration" not to be "dallied" with. It is somewhat that you have got a record under his hand. But her Majesty has so many such testimonies of those his resolutions, afterwards vanishing into smoke, that she recommends you specially to urge that she knows well the circumstances of the plots projected by the Popish faction, who only desire a little time for the ripening of the fruits of their winter travails; whereof her Majesty has proof not to be denied. Although at other times less than this would have served from one prince to another, yet things have now gone too far for her Majesty to trust to the sequel of any future Councils or acts, because she sees how those who are called to those assemblies, noting the King's inward favour to those Spanish instruments, either do not or dare not proceed in such "roundnesse" as necessity requires. She is sorry that the King has no more feeling of his own danger, which cannot fall out without grief and molestation to his nearest friends. Hereby, as where in his answer he craves aid from her, you may well say to the King that if he be advised to make that demand by the direction of any of his "pollitickes," who have censured her Majesty as being loth to be at charge, he shall well find that, upon assurance that it should be employed to the use it is meant for and not be committed to such as will convert it directly to the contrary (whereof even of late she "hath had to good tryall"), he shall have no cause to doubt but that she will show as great desire to help him as she has done heretofore to him, and daily does to others, in such princely measure as may sufficiently assure those whisperers (of whose discourses her Majesty is not ignorant), that she is a prince who can tell when and where to spend and spare, and can foresee where there is likelihood of performance and where only in outward appearance.

You may also say to the King, that it seems strange, seeing he now discovers his full purpose to proceed against them, that he should speak of want of means to do it when daily, out of their confident assurance, they put themselves into his hands, are openly known to be near him and privately discovered to be personally with him, as Mr. Bowes and others have often advertised. Your lordship shall do well (being thoroughly informed thereof) soundly to urge it to him.

In conclusion you shall say that as hitherto she has deferred all her own resolutions upon expectation of his actions after so many Conventions and consultations, so now, the hour being almost come for which they have so long attended, thinking still to "hood" her Majesty and her ministers—which you did very well to "remember" to him, having heard it—she may not longer depend upon such uncertainties, but requires that, for proof of a good beginning, they may be safely warded, and when this has been done he may take time for further counsel. This her Majesty would have you urge and attend for, if you may obtain it; if not, to certify her. "Wherein" you shall know her pleasure what you shall do. Her Majesty also requires you to note to him that divers noblemen have been warded pro forma and have gone away at their pleasure, as the Earl of Angus and the chief conspirator, George Carr. Such proceedings she cannot lightly pass over, considering that his affairs are so nearly conjoined with hers that he cannot be in danger without occasion of doubt to her; and to these imminent perils speedy and sure remedies must be afforded.

Your lordship can remember Horace's sentence "Dimidium facti qui bene cepit habet"; wherefore, though you write passionately of your tedious abode, yet now, the cause considered, I know you will forget your "particuler" in order to be an instrument of so good a public service, wherein your lordship wants no reasonable maintenance, neither would her Majesty keep you there to her charge if necessity did not require it.

Forasmuch as you know the second work you have to perform is the dealing with a party that may be able to resist those other devices (wherein you write that time is most precious), you can do nothing better than so to try by this what will be done by the King, so that, being thoroughly sounded, her Majesty may show herself with more openness hereafter to the other, with whom, for the better uniting and assuring of them, your lordship by sound and secret good means may proceed as of late you have been directed by the letters written by her Majesty's commandment, wherein you will do well to confer with him who has been most conversant in the same, and who by letters of the 28th, from Berwick, affirms that, having duly informed you, your lordship and Mr. Bowes "doe savour better of that proceeding." In all which her Majesty looks that you shall daily "inlarge your selfe" with Mr. Bowes's advice, whereby you may the better receive her direction for your stay or return. Hampton Court.

Postscript.—Because the King says that the Parliament shall begin as soon as the term of laws and practice of his country will permit, please advertise what that time is. Her Majesty will in nowise have you to make any public meetings, "but secretlie when it shalbe," and not at Berwick for any thing; and for the Duke, you shall in most wary terms proceed with him, and yet not seem mistrustful.

4 pp. Copy in the hand of Cecil's clerk. At the head: "A copie of my master's letter to the L. Zouche in aunswere of his lo. letter of the xxvjth of Januarye."

216a. Moneys paid for the use of the King of Scots. [Feb. 2.]

1586: by Roger Aston, 4000l. 1587 —. 1588: by Easter Wemyss, 3000l. 1589: by Mr. John Colville, 3000l. 1590: by Carmichael, 3000l. 1591: by James Hudson, 3000l. 1592: by James Hudson, 2000l. Summa— 18,000l.

Item, received by Colonel Stewart in anno 1590, "quhilk aucht not be compted"—500l.

½ p. In a Scottish hand. Notes in Burghley's hand at the foot. Endorsed by Burghley: "A note of the Sc. Ambass. of money paid to the King of Scottes. Delivered 2 Feb. 1593."

217. James VI. to Maitland. [Feb. 3.] Add. MSS. 23, 241, fol. 50.

The bearer, John Achesone, one of our hunters, complaining that he cannot have payment "of that meane debt" owing to him by the Treasurer, we have directed him to you, to be furthered therein by your good means, and desire you to deal with the Treasurer and some others of our Council that he have no further cause of complaint. Stirling Castle. Signed: James R.

Postscript [in James's hand]: "Ye that are ane of the number of us huntairs soulde be helpfull to all the professouris of that craft: but in earnist I thinke all oure thesauraris are gane yealde" [barren].

½ p. Addressed.

218. Earl of Errol to [A Councillor: cf. p. 283]. [Feb. 5.]

I received your letter by this bearer, and albeit I cannot presently answer at such leisure and so particularly as I wish, yet I assure yo[u that] although you appear ever to challenge my doings and intentions, and to think that the suspicions against me are not causeless, therein you do me great wrong, except your meaning be concerning the matter of my religion only. For by my last letter I was as plain . . . as possibly I could; and albeit we have "left" the benefit of Abolition, yet you know that it proceeded not upon our [? willingness] "to pairt" the country, but because it lay not in us to find the su[m] ordained by the act, and all sureties offered by us . . . heritages being refused at the last Convention "and concludit th[at our bodies?] salbe wardit," which indeed is far more strait. Nevertheless we will not "repung" to satisfy his Majesty therein if thereby we do not see evid[ently] our "wrakis" sought by the ministry, who ever make their advantage of our offers, and such as perhaps yourself dealt with lately ("gif anything ye haif delt concerning me) haif d . . . the same." For my letter to you contained two parts, which being well considered, no reasonable man can justly find fault therewith. The "particulair" of this the bearer will show, whom I have also wi[lled] to take your opinion in some other things, over tediou[s to] write at such length as the matter requires. Slanis.

"Ressavit xj Februar 1593."

½ p. Copy in a Scottish hand. Endorsed by Bowes: "The copy of th'erle of Errols letter. Slaynes vto Feb. 1593." Edge injured by damp.

219. Alexander Duff to [A Councillor]. [Feb. 11.]

As to the offers "wnto this cuntrie," my master and Erroll will be in Aberdeen on Monday next w[ith] the convention of the barons to receive their opinion "towardis" the satisfaction of the King and Kirk. But to be plain to your lordship, I perceive my master, Huntly, "sa indurit that he will nocht for nathing satifie the desyris of the Kirk and for na tinsall nor vantage." He will not hurt his conscience for any earldoms or worldly authority. "Sua I se thair is na thing in him bot to blaw at ane bleind coill" [blow at a dead coal]. Errol is "in to that same sort." May God turn their hearts, for no man's persuasion may persuade them.

The truce is up betwixt Mackintosh and Huntly, and Rannald Alane M'Indewe and the Laird of Glengar are come to the wars with six score "wellit" [i.e. picked] men. Two hundred men of the Clan Chattan are lying about the castle of Ruthven in Badenoch to hold victuals therefrom. Young Abergeldie and the Macphersons (M'Ferssonis) are therein. Mackie has sent four score men to Macintosh.

½ p. Endorsed by Bowes: "A part of Alexander Duff (servantt to th'erle of Huntley) letter, xj° Feb. 1593."

220. Earl of Errol to [A Councillor]. [Feb. 11.]

This is only to advertise you of the taking of William Hay, burgess in Aberdeen, with some others who were in David Hay's ship which transported Mr. James Gordon; and seeing the men are carried to Edinburgh, to be examined "of gritter materis," I desire you to do what you can that they be used but according to the common law, for I know that nothing can be justly "imput" to them [with] which they may be "trublit," nor to David Hay himself, except the transporting of Mr. James Gordon, William Gordon, brother to Huntly, a son of John Gordon, brother to the Laird of Craig, and Mr. James Moffat, who were with him. This needed not such rigour as the taking of the men violently and arresting of the ship, they being otherwise answerable to the law and having the King's warrant for anything they have done, "the boundis quhairof gif thai haif exceidit, it will shortly try now." I send the warrant herewith, desiring that you will cause Robert Hay of Kirkcaldy or any other friend of David Hay's to use the same for the men's relief, "and gif yow adres how the mater may be best handlit that the men get na wrang." If Mr. George Leslie is yet there, he will serve the turn, if you charged no other "mair proper." I pray God that all things may "try" as they are in truth. Since all these rigorous and extraordinary forms are "perfitit" for malice and "wrak" of us, we must bear patiently with the iniquity of the time, committing our just cause to God and "to do" for ourselves as we best may, for I see little appearance of favour if their power is as great as their malice. I will say no further in this matter, and am assured you will help the honest men so far as you can in their honest cause. Slanis.

Postscript.—If we had not thought that the putting of Mr. James Gordon forth of Scotland should have pacified the ministry further than now appears, he should have remained for any danger that might have ensued, for we now see perfectly that whatsoever intention we have to please them, all is "turnit bak in the wrang sens" to our own disadvantage; in respect whereof, for my own part, I shall be "tryit" in times coming "to tak sa grit panis for sa litle thank"; and for David Hay, surely he shall have no loss so far as I "may," seeing I was the only "causer of him to tak that jornay in hand."

2/3 p. Copy. Endorsed by Bowes: "The erle of Errolles letter. Slanys 11th Feb. 1593."

221. Elizabeth to Lord Zouche. [Feb. 13.]

We have perceived by your letters of 5th February how little you hope for great assurance at the King's hand and how necessary you think it to entertain some such course as may be a counterpoise to that possession which these Popish councillors—and so, by consequence the traitorous Earls— have of the King, who does not foresee that he thus lays the foundation of his own destruction, if he does not prevent it. It appears also that you have spoken with commissioners from divers, who have assured purposes of all those from whom they come to stand firm for the defence of religion against the Spanish practice. But where you seem to renew the motion for supplying their wants and request to maintain your promise of money "uppon pawnes," adding these words in your letter, "and therby shall not her Majestie be seene tyll the action be adventured," we wonder that you so mistake yourself, seeing you confess by your own words that you conceive what was our former meaning, which in another part of your letter you again reiterate in these words, "so that her Majestie come cleare as a helper and not as an inciter to this course." You have always known, both by our words to yourself and letters of the 20th and 25th from Cecil by our direction, that it was not money or charge that we respected if once we saw the foundation honourable, and that we might not be author of any beginning, but helper of such persons as by their own first industry should severally and manifestly to the world of themselves make head to the factious and traitorous party. We are very sorry that you either as private or public minister have adventured your own credit for that wherein we could not make good your word without doing that which we, as is well known, have ever denied—unless you can make such distinction as that he who lends money upon pawn, or whatsoever, is not as well the author of an action as he who freely gives it. Whereas you seem to be of opinion that the party of religion ought to be comforted and the noblemen rewarded, you know well that rewards follow precedent actions, and therefore as yet no such thing can be challenged at our hands, neither shall it at any time rightly deserve the name of reward, but rather that of a just aid and succour to the professors of the common cause, which we are bound by the law of God to protect and defend. Therefore we conclude as before, that if these parties are not able of themselves to begin without thus engaging us, we conceive little hope of any good success hereafter. We hope that, although for encouragement and comfort you and Bowes have "inlarged" yourselves, yet you have not proceeded, things being thus raw, either to borrow for them to begin with or to promise to lend upon pawn any money before such time as those grounds were publicly laid which might justify our actions, which we will not colour by such palpable devices as to refuse to give and yet be content to lend, or to like that our ambassadors should do as private men what was not justifiable to do as public ministers. It is not money that we respect, but soundness and justness of the action, wherein they shall no sooner "publishe themselves" than we shall quickly afford them whatever has been promised on our part. For yourself and your return you shall have order as by your letters we find occasion.

We have seen also by a letter written by him who is used in this cause that it is expected that money should be sent to Durham to be lent upon their pawns. You, now knowing once again our meaning, may do well to reform any such "conceipt" derived from so notable a mistaking. You must plainly know that we will not give him [i.e. James] such a cause to break with us, whereof haply he would be glad; and though we see that you do all things with good zeal, and we suppose what you have done was to keep them from despair, yet we wonder that Bowes, who has been acquainted with all proceedings there, does not perceive our scope and does not let them with you understand how dishonourable a course it were for us to be beginner of any such action. Wherein, if it be said or thought that secrecy or colour may be used, we will hazard for nothing [i.e. in no wise] that which a prince should take chiefest care of.

All other things we leave to the letters of 23rd and 25th. One thing more we must add, that whereas you say commissioners from divers have come, we see little increase of other means than before, and if without us they can do nothing of themselves, we shall despair of any great likelihood of the action. To the end you may not mistake us, we thus require you to understand us, that whensoever they shall have begun any open action of themselves and shall thereby make manifest that they have a party likely to suppress those traitorous and dangerous ministers we will help them immediately, but to hire them or help them to begin any action whatsoever by furnishing them directly or indirectly, though it may have never so much colour of secrecy, we will neither do it nor can allow you to do it either as private or public servants. But if they shall proceed otherwise of themselves by any means seeming best to them to prevent the inconveniences likely to ensue, they shall find us a prince who will not see them want for any thing we can do for them. Hampton Court.

pp. Copy in the hand of Burghley's clerk. At the head: "A mynute of her Majesteis letter to the Lord Zouche."

222. Act constituting the Earl of Mar Keeper and Governor of the King's Son. [Feb. 21.] Printed in Historical MSS. Commission Reports, Mar and Kellie, p. 39; Supplementary Report, p. 35.

Since the King's Majesty has been blessed by God with the birth of a son of "guide habilitie and expectatioun," who must be attended upon in convenient place under the governance of some noble and well-affectioned personage, and since his Majesty remembers the true and lawful service of John Earl of Mar, Lord Erskine, Captain and Keeper of the Castle of Stirling, and that his father and grandfather had honourably exercised the governance of the sovereign princes of this realm in their young age, namely of himself, his mother and his grandfather, therefore his Highness with advice of his Privy Council by these presents makes, constitutes and ordains the said John Earl of Mar Keeper and Governor to the said Prince within the Castle of Stirling with enjoyment of such honours, privileges and commodities as he, his father and grandfather enjoyed of before and with power to do all things needful for the execution of the premises; the present commission to endure until his Highness with advice of his Estates in Parliament takes further order.

¾ p. Copy. Endorsed: ". . . Lord of Mar anent the keiping of the young Prence, gevin upoun the xxj day of Februar, 1593."

The right hand edge of the document is injured by damp.

222a. Satirical Dialogue in Latin Verse. [Feb.]

Dialogue in Latin verse between the King, the Duke of Lennox, Angus, Huntly, Errol, Bothwell, Hamilton, Atholl, Marishal, Rothes, Montrose, Mar, Crawford, Seton, Hume, the Chancellor, the Treasurer, the President of the Session, the Comptroller, the Secretary, the Clerk Register and Sir George Hume. Commences: "Impero, vos regi vestro parete Britanni." Ends: "Est in tam vasto corpore mica salis." The Latin is so corrupt as to be unintelligible in many places.

The King commands the others to give reasons for their actions. The Duke wishes the glory of the name [of Stewart] to shine in the King Angus, Huntly and Errol justify themselves. Bothwell confesses his faults and professes good service. Two lines each for the remaining speakers.

2 pp. In the hand of Burghley's clerk. Endorsed: "Feb. 1593. A pasquill of Scotland."