Calendar of State Papers, Scotland: Volume 11, 1593-1595. Originally published by Edinburgh, 1936.
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Calendar of State Papers (Scotland).
James VI, January 1593
1. Copies of various letters taken upon George Ker. 1592–3. [January]
(1) (John Cargill to William Craig.) (fn. 1) Printed in Calderwood, v. 199–200.
I send these few lines in answer to "your lovyng and hartlye lettres." Although the sufficiency of the bearer might acquit me of the necessity of writing,—and our letters are of small consequence,—yet I consider it my duty to take the pains which you desired me to take for you, for in your so just and honest cause I will bestow my life and all that I have.
"Your advertisment hes ben long of coming, and this bearer being bowne for the waye makes you all the help the shortnes may permyt for the present." If our friends find my coming to you necessary, I shall be ready when they please. In the mean time I doubt not you will consider the earnest goodwill of the bearer in your turns and cause him to receive such favours as such a worthy personage merits. Your judgment needs no information to make it capable to discern of any man that merits. Further I remit to the sufficiency of the bearer, who can show you how ready I am at the desire of your letter, if it be thought necessary. Edinburgh, 12th June 1592. Signed: John Cargill.
(2) (Certificate by James Gordon for George Ker.) Printed in Calderwood v. 210–211.
I, James Gordon, priest of the Society of Jesus, testify by these presents that the bearer, Mr. George Car, Doctor of Both Laws, a Scot of noble birth, has hitherto been constant in the faith of the holy Catholic Roman Church. For the faith's sake he has suffered many hardships in these parts, and now for the confession of his faith, and that he may serve God more freely, and avoid for a while the great persecutions of this time, he has determined to leave his native land for foreign regions where the Catholic faith flourishes. Wherefore I commend him warmly as a true christian Catholic, worthy of the benevolent support and charitable offices of all good Catholics. In testimony of which I have written and subscribed and sealed these present letters. In Scotland, 24th June 1592.
"Sic subscribitur: Jacobus Gordonius, Societatis Jesu." [Latin.]
"Stampt with I.H.S.
"Item, in a packet stampes of armes in wax, viz., Of Errollis arms— three; of Angus arms—six; of Huntlyes armes—four."
(3) (James Christesoun [James Gordon] to Thomas Anderson.) Printed in Calderwood, v. 200.
I received a letter of yours the last of January, but no answer as yet to my two former letters, yet I abide daily some answer from you. The bearer can show you all that occurs here. I pray you to credit and entertain him as myself, for I and all our friends here have been very greatly "intended" to his kindness. If you please to send any word to your friends, you may assuredly credit him in all affairs. If he comes where you are, treat him well and make his recommendations to your friends with whom he is not acquainted. All other things I refer to his credit. Cumbrae, 1st July 1592. Signed: James Christesoun.
(4) (James Christesoun [Gordon] to William Heroll.) Printed in Calderwood, v. 201: Christesone to William Heriot.
Your friends here "thinkis very long" for you; and therefore, understanding that the bearer was perhaps to come where you are, I thought good to put you in remembrance of your old friendship. Your good old friend, Thomas Abercrombie, has passed from this life to a better. Mr. Alexander Leslie is married, (fn. 2) and would gladly hear of your welfare. The other good man that passed to Sutherland with us is long since married, and has a son. All other particular affairs here the bearer can declare at length. He is constant and honest and a great friend to all your friends here. I pray you to help him with your assistance and good counsel. When you come next to Sutherland or Caithness, where I am now bound, I shall convoy you there, and show you how you shall speed better than you did last time. Dundee, 1st July 1592. Signed: James Christesoun.
(5) ( To .) Printed in Calderwood, v. 206.
Cousin, on 9th August 1592 I received your letter of 12th November 1591, saying that you had not received any of ours for about two years; but I assure you that we have sent them directed, according to your direction, to our cousin (fn. 3) Matthew by way of Flanders or France by a trusty hand.
The estate of our country and court is as changeable as ever it was, with as little obedience or justice; many deadly feuds without punishment; and reif and oppression throughout all the country. The Macfarlanes are worse than the Clan Gregor. I doubt not but you have heard of Moray's slaughter by Huntly, with Gight, Cluny and Auchendoun, where they left good Captain Gordon behind them, a prey to their enemies. I doubt not you have now heard how Bothwell on the evening of St. Stephen's Day [26 December] thought to have slain the Chancellor and taken the King, but missed all through misbehaviour and over soon showing themselves within the Abbey. No slaughter except John Shaw, master stabler, and his brother. Eight or nine of the Earl's men were hanged before the Abbey. He made another enterprise in Falkland about 21st June [which is briefly narrated]. He was forced to retire to the south, and his Majesty came to Edinburgh. Immediately is slain the Laird of Luss by the Macfarlanes in the Lennox, betrayed in the night most shamefully. There is appearance that the Chancellor shall leave Court.
His Majesty is now guided by Angus, Morton, Argyll (who lately married Morton's youngest daughter, whom we suppose the Duke would have had), and Mar (who shall marry the Duke's sister). It is supposed that the Master of Glamis will be made Chancellor. All these "sound not" with us any wise, much less to Huntly, or Crawford, or any of theirs. The Laird of Burlie and young Logy (great courtiers) were taken and examined before the King and Council for being at tryst with Bothwell once or twice in Burlie's house. Burlie confessed and was remitted. Logy would have suffered for his fault, had not "his love" Mistress Margaret [Vinstar], a Danish gentlewoman of honour, craftily delivered him in the night through a window in the Castle of Dalkeith.
(6) (John Cecil to Cardinal Allan.)
I have written you many letters in my days, but never any of so unsavoury an argument to myself and so ungrateful to you, as this. It will be heavy news to your lordship to hear how my apprehension and order and manner of "demission" in my voyage from Spain to England at Easter has been misunderstood and misinterpreted. (fn. 4) Such suspicions I should rather by contemning pass over and by life and behaviour control than by contending and apology seek to remove, were it not that I find that thereby the service of God is hindered and the vocation of priesthood slandered. A priest's life must be free not only from crime but also from suspicion. The greatest argument some indiscreet men use to confirm their curious conjectures is my being in the year '91 with your lordship in Rome. For, seeing all their other cavils and calumnies made invalid, they alleged that I made you not acquainted with my manner of escape from the enemy and that I departed from you without licence, disgraced and discontent. But your lordship knoweth that my last coming to Rome was upon very reasonable, just and important cause, and how that which I brought and that which I thought (to use your own terms in a billet you sent me from your palace to my lodging in Rome) was to you most grateful and acceptable. [You know] how I delivered you the whole discourse of my taking and my being with the Treasurer [and] of my escape, how I departed and made my return to these parts again by your express counsel and command both by word and writ. I wrote to you and to F[ather] Rectore (fn. 5) from places on the way and once since I came to these parts, informing you that the passport I had of you was very necessary for saying of mass in my journey, certifying you ever of the order and success of my voyage so that [if] you had been minded to have stayed me (as they also report) you wanted not knowledge where, nor means how. You know further that at my being with you, you saw I dealt and entreated with none but yourself and F. Rectore and such other as your lordship was privy to. You know further that I told you we were apprehended in a fleet of Hollanders by the Queen's ships between Dover and Calais (Callis), how we were sent by Sir Henry Palmer to the Treasurer's, (fn. 6) detained by him, examined and dismissed—perhaps because he did not know us, as [being] blinded by that cover of our passport and pretence out of Spain, and of the ready relation we made him of Spanish affairs, of our lamenting of our evil entreaty there, of aversion we showed from the Spanish conquest and promptness to serve when occasion should be given. All this [pretence] was necessary for the persons we bore, viz., soldiers newly delivered out of the galleys and Spanish captivity; and as our persons and passports were devised for us by the Adelantado (Abhelando) and our other friends and superiors, so also were these answers (in case we should be carried to the Council) allowed and approved before we came from thence. Whether the Treasurer was deceived with this our gloss (as the Admiral and others of the Council were by other four of our said mission), or whether he dissembled his knowledge for name's sake or kindred's sake or for courtesy showed to his nephew (as your lordship knoweth) in Italy, I know not. But this I know, and this I protest upon my salvation, that there never passed from me anything prejudicial to my faith or function, never anything (as I remember) that might hurt or hinder the cause in general or any creature, much less any Catholic, in particular; that I always had this firm resolution, rather to be torn in a thousand pieces than to hurt the least hair of the meanest Catholic's head in the world. Nemo fit de repente pessimus ! a man brought up from his mother's womb in the Catholic doctrine, sucking together with his nurse's milk a perfect hatred of all the enemies of God's Catholic Church, perpetually noted, pursued by that name, so many years for that cause exiled, trained up in a manner at your lordship's feet (fn. 7) and one of your household servants and family, promoted to priesthood and sent out to labour in the vineyard of our Lord; a man that hath laboured so much both for erecting the seminary of Valladolid (Vallour) and relieving that of Rheims; a man that hath loved you, served you and honoured you in all occasions with most prompt and sincere affection and that hath tasted on your part a reciprocation of his love, to make so sudden and strange an alteration! It is improbable, nay it is almost impossible. Albeit heaven and earth should fall, though there were not in the world another Catholic besides myself, yet I hope I should live and die in that demand. It was my affection to the common cause, perhaps my too much zeal to do good and venture my life, my too much solicitude lest Catholics should take damage if I had been dogged to any of their houses after my demission that caused me this "cumber." For always metuebam Danaos et dona ferentes; and I fear that they have dealt with us as Hannibal (Stinball) did with Fabius, that spared only his territories when he wasted the rest of Italy, to call his fame in question with the Senate. But to put your lordship out of all doubt, I protest upon my salvation that I never remitted one iota of my former zeal to the cause, never had so much as any temptation, much less any purpose or determination "to stead the adversary in the least punctill" that might disadvantage the common cause.
One thing I may inform your lordship by the way. If my friends had not been the more constant and propitious at home, and my fortune and God's providence the better abroad, some that shall be nameless might have given me up to my enemies' hands, as they did Mr. Plasden, Mr. Hartley, Mr. Besselye and Mr. Myres, now blessed martyrs in heaven.
I am much beholden in these parts to the Father of the Society to whom I have communicated my case, and being barred from my own flock at home I employ my poor talent here at their direction.
Lord Seton has been to me both in health and sickness rather a father than [sentence unfinished]. He heartily salutes you and has shown somewhat the more courtesy in that he was "whilome" your servant.
Mr. Dudley, Christopher Knight (fn. 8) and Mr. John Thules are in health and sometimes retire to these parts, and salute you humbly.
There is a general Assise holden this month at York for Catholics only. God grant the spirit of fortitude and perseverance.
If your lordship, these notwithstanding, stand not fully satisfied of my sincerity, I will perform what you appoint for my purgation. If you rest satisfied, I beseech you to send me your quietus est, and to let Mr. President of Rheims and Father Hoult, in Flanders, and Father Garret, in England, understand that you have received letters from me and rest satisfied. If I can do no good herein by letter, I will by my presence seek to make complete satisfaction. I pray you commend me to Mr. Thomas, Mr. Warnington and Mr. Baynes, who, I fear, were somewhat dismayed with these reports. Seton, 2nd October. Signed: John Cecyll.
(7) (John Cecil to Robert Parsons.) Printed in Calderwood, v. 193–4 (without name of recipient).
The enclosed to my lord [Cardinal Allen] I pray you to read and take as written to yourself. If I had overstepped my bounds so far as some imagine, yet I am surprised that good men will admit no excuse, when St. Paul to the Galatians sets down this rule: Fratres, et si preoccupatus fuerit homo in aliquo delicto, vos qui spirituales estis huiusmodi instruite in spiritu lenitatis, considerans te ipsum, ne et tu tenteris. If I had spoken with you when I was last in Italy, as I hoped, I had perhaps made a better conclusion of my business there than I did. Lord Seton, in whose house I sojourn sometimes, saluteth you. You will learn of the affairs of the Catholics here from those by whose means this letter shall be conveyed. Lord Seton has a haven of his own which may hereafter be very commodious for our missions. Commend me to Senor Barth[olomew] Perei, Juan del Aquila and all my friends and to my patron, the Adelantado. [The commendations which follow and the personal names are in Spanish.] (fn. 9) Mr. Dudley, Christopher Knight, and John Thules, who, upon some sudden pushes of persecution, repair thither, are in health and salute you. Mr. Siall, a priest, died lately in Edinburgh. If you send any into these parts let them come furnished with ample faculty. Let them enquire for one, Mr. Jonas, which will be a token between us. Seton, 2nd October 1592.
[Postscripts (fn. 10) ] We hear that J. Sowthell has potent friends and is in great hope of his delivery; for 100 li. they say he is offered his freedom. There is now in York a general Assise for Catholics only. J. Creswell has done me much harm.
When you read the enclosed, pray seal it and send it away. Seton, 2nd October. Signed: "In Domino, Juan Cecilio."
(8) (Earl of Angus to Mr. William Crichton.) Printed in Pitcairn's Criminal Trials, vol. i. part ii. p. 323; Calderwood, v. 194–5.
Desires to hear of the welfare of Crichton and his friends, and of the "estat of matters" where he is. Could do him a greater service now, if he were in the country. Mr. George Ker, the bearer, will inform him of affairs in Scotland. Begs entire credit to be given to him. Edinburgh, 10th October 1592.
"Sic subscribitur: Yours ever at power, Angose.
"Blanke on the bake."
(9) (James Christeson [Mr. James Gordon] to Mr. George Ker.)
I have sent with this bearer all the letters you desired and one more to another, whereof I remembered since your departing. If the ink be "evell" let the bearer know, because I could not find better ink in all his house. Since your departing from me, I and this bearer, Sandesoun, remembered "on" some things of ours in your possession, as he will tell you. [Begs credit for the bearer.] 29th October. Signed: James Christesoun.
(10) (J[ames] Christeson to Robert Saunderson [Abercrombie].) Printed in Calderwood, v. 203.
I came here yesterday. I pray you be diligent in the cause I send you for. Advertise me by this bearer how matters succeed with you. If this have not good success, we must assay the other way by others, and that shortly. If you received anything from Mr. George Carr, send the half here by this bearer and I shall cause it serve me and Henderson. Keep the other half for yourself and John Black and give him as he requires. Your man William departs to-morrow. I have written by him also. Henderson is here nearby in the new town (fn. 11) in the old fashion. I am to visit him shortly. Our man of verity has been at Pluscardine and is yet in Caithness or Sutherland. The bearer will be here again shortly, and I will abide some word from you with him. 1st November. Signed: J. Christesoun.
(11) (Henry Gilbert to Robert Balfour.)
[There has been interchange of letters.] All your friends here are blithe and merry, and from your last letters, of 1st November, delivered to us on 1st April, we were rejoiced to hear of your health, "especiallye the dene of Glasco, your eldest brother," who is content with the "estimation ye ar attayned unto amongst good and learned men." Notwithstanding all your heat of wars there [i.e. in France], we count you a great deal happier than we are at home, who live in such misery and vexation. Sundry of us sent letters at sundry times by mariners going to Bordeaux, but we know not when you are in those parts or if our letters come to your hands. Now we are glad of the opportunity of this bearer, your friend and old acquaintance and ours. I expect that as many of us as happen to know of his coming will write to you by him, and some will write on behalf of the rest and of your aunts, who cannot write. We "fare well presentlye," and most heartily recommend this bearer, your most special friend. You may credit him entirely in all things, for he is discreet and honest and loves his country, although for conscience sake he cannot live in it. His intention is, there to prosecute further his studies and to apply himself to any vocation his spirit may esteem fittest for him. I again beseech you to do your uttermost for him. Because of his "suffeciencye and aquayntance with all your speciall frendis and favourers," we may be "the shorter in our letters, for of sikness or of health, death or lyfe, being maryed or unmaryed, constant or variable in all ther affections towardes you, and amongst themselves, of the fyrst part of them all he can geve you information."
The King and Queen are in prosperous estate. Other news occurs not, neither will we write, but remit to the bearer ample and particular information about all your friends.
"I have bene sick almost this 2 years bygone, and my diseasse is langwissing, but now the vehemencye of it within these thre moneth last past is so growen to excesse that I beleve all the medicines in this countrye is not able to cure me," so that I look for no convalescence, unless I depart. This is "displeasaunt" to all our friends and favourers, but necessity has no law. I recommend me to your prayers and devotion. All your friends here do likewise, and long to get your letters more frequently. I recommend very specially unto you George Makeson, who has been a good friend to your uncle, James Gordon, and has let him want nothing he had need of. Remember this, according to your discretion, "for the sayd Georg can procure much better for others then he can informe for him selfe, and is a very descreit and devote persone, willing to pleasure all persones to his power, as I may assure you, for I am well acquainted with him." What way we may have soonest word from you again, he will import to you his advice; for many passengers are daily from Bordeaux.
Let the bearer "want nothing he may have to do with you or with any other of the universitye, that he may prosecute his studyes, ye haveing the credit, for onely in his charge takes he this hazard for the love he hes to vertew. He will acquaint you with Thomas Forbeis his estat and affection toward you, which will never decaye, as the sayd Thomas byddes you be perswad. In one grayne weight he is all yours, and wantes no goodwill to have satisfyed the desyr of your last lettres," if he could have done so without great inconvenience. I need not pray you to do what you can for Gabrell Goundistoun. If every hair in my head were a man, I would bestow them all for Mr. James Balfour. I would you agreed discreetly William Craig and Bartholl Bodsone. I recommend myself unto your favour and devotion, and all this "gen" [against] Telman's advice.
"From my resedence wher I am very diseassed, this 4 of November 1592.
"Sic subscribitur: Yours ryght assured to his utter power to be commanded, Henery Gilbert.
"To his trest frend Mr. Robert Balfour."
(12) (James Gordon to James Anellanedus, of the Socety of Jesus.) Printed in Calderwood, v. 212.
I was not a little rejoiced to hear lately of your good health from a certain English priest who came here out of Spain. Now the present bearer, Mr. George Car (truly dear to God and us (fn. 12) ) is setting out to salute you in my name and to notify you of the health and estate of myself and the other Jesuits here. He is one whom you may trust without any hesitation, as the most faithful companion of our labours and affections. I delight in the friendship begun with your reverence when we were together at Vienna (Vienne Austrie), and I greatly desire to hear something of your good health. The bearer may enable me to learn of your estate more frequently. We who are here as sheep in the midst of wolves desire the prayers of all our Fathers and Brothers, as you can abundantly see from the report of the bearer, to whom I beg you to give credit. From Scotland, 20 November 1592.
"Sic subscribitur: Tue reverentie servus in Christo, Jacobus Gordonus, Scotus, Societatis Jesu.
"Admodum reverendo in Christo patri patri Jacobo Anellanedo presbitero Societatis Jesu." [Latin.]
(13) (James Gordon to Peter Rabadenero.) Printed in Calderwood, v. 213.
[Rejoices to hear of his good health from the English priest, as in the preceding.] I cannot and will not forget ancient kindnesses done to me when I lived under your rule at Rome many years ago. Therefore, when the present bearer, Mr. George Car, had determined to set out for Spain, I begged him to carry these letters as a testimony of my old esteem for you. From him your Reverence may learn more fully what is happening here, and of the state in which I and the other Scottish Jesuits find ourselves. You can give entire credit to him as a good Catholic and fellow labourer [as in previous letters]. He will communicate something to you personally in my name, because the violence of the time does not permit of everything in letters of commendation. [He begs for the prayers of all the Fathers and Brothers for them in their great straits and difficulties; as in the preceding.] From Scotland, 20 November 1592.
"Sic subscribitur: Tue reverentie servus in Christo Jacobus Gordonus, Scotus, Societatis Jesu. Admodum reverendo in Christo patri patri Petro Rabadenero, Societatis Jesu presbitero." [Latin.]
(14) (James Gordon to Father Francis Anthony.) Printed in Calderwood, v. 211.
He is glad to have had news from the English priest; [as above]; and remembers old kindnesses received many years before at Vienna. He takes the opportunity of sending these letters by Mr. George Car; and asks for prayers [as above]. From Scotland, 20 November 1592.
"Sic subscribitur: Tue reverentie servus in Christo Jacobus Gordonus Scotus Societatis Jesu. Admodum reverendo in Christo patri patri Francisco Antonio, presbitero Societatis Jesu." [Latin.]
(15) (James Christeson [James Gordon] to George Crawford [William Crichton].) Printed in Pitcairn's Criminal Trials, vol. i. part ii. pp. 323–4; Calderwood, v. 195–6.
Your friends here have directed the bearer to you for full resolution of all your affairs. We have delayed too long, but he will show you the cause. The next best is that you use all expedition against next summer. If you come, you will find more friends than ever you had; but next summer many are bound to other countries and will wait no longer for you. Send word to your friends, that we may put them in good hope of you, and they will tarry the longer. You may credit the bearer as myself. I would have come with him, had I not been persuaded that you would wait for our answer, and because I got a "stopp" out of Flanders, as the bearer can show. You have got all that you desired [relative to the blanks (fn. 13) ]; therefore make haste. The bearer is come to you at his own charges, therefore you must have respect to him. Your last messenger arrived behind hand, and has had no satisfaction as yet, because nothing could be got here, and we could find no man except this bearer, who would pass at his own expense; otherwise you would not have received an answer so soon. "We will abyde and hear your selfe shortlye, (fn. 14) and I would ye brought the rest of your frendis with you that ar beyond the sea [the Spanish armie (fn. 15) ], for yf your bloke [block] (fn. 16) passe forwarde, those must also be present, otherwayes we must come and avyse [visite] (fn. 16) with you." Your wife and children [the Catholik Romans and their confederates (fn. 15) ] look to see you shortly. If I or Sandeson [Mr. Robert Abercrombie (fn. 15) ] receive any silver from the bearer, we will notify you of the amount in another letter, subscribed by us both. All other matters I refer to the bearer. Dundee, 20th November 1592.
(16) (Robert Scott to Robert Parsons.)
John Cicill, a good and pious man, about whom some false rumours were spreading from his own country, has asked me to write to you. This I have willingly done, both because of his probity and because he does good work in our barren vineyard. I beg you to conceive no evil of him, because he has purged himself here sufficiently, and no rumours to the contrary should now circulate from his own country. From Scotland, St. Catherine's Day [25th November] 1592.
"Sic subscribitur: D.t. servius [sic] in Christo, Robertus Scotus, S.J.P.
"Generoso domino Roberto Parsonio, Anglo." [Latin.]
(17) (Acknowledgement by James Christeson [James Gordon] and Robert Sanderson [Robert Abercrombie].)
They acknowledge to have received from Mr. George Ker, son of the late Laird of Newbottle, on 3rd December 1592, the sum of 100 crowns of the sun for the sustentation of themselves and their companions here remaining [in Scotland] in present necessity; and certify that they will repay the same. They request that this money may be repaid without delay, thankfully and diligently, so that they ["both ye and wee"] might have further credit in times coming.
"Sic subscribitur: James Cristesonn. Robert Sandersonn."
(18) (Acknowledgement by Mr. Robert Abercromby.)
He acknowledges receipt of 100 crowns of the sun [as in the preceding] at the command of Mr. James Gordon, his Superior for the time, as may be seen by a blank subscribed by them both under changed names. He prays that the money be refunded thankfully at the sight of this his obligation, written with his own hand, and sealed with his own seal.
"Sic subscribitur: Mr. Robert Abercrumbye.
"Stampt I H S."
(19) (David Forester [Graham of Fintrie] to [A Friend].) Printed in Calderwood, v. 203–206.
I received your courteous and comforting letter yesternight from John. Five days before the receipt of it I had "spoken" the gentleman [whose ticket (fn. 17) ] you send me enclosed in your last letter. He said nothing to me anent you in particular, but he assured me that against Catholics in general "ther was over hard a conclusion set downe." For my own part, although things are at present as difficult for me as for any others within this realm, yet I thank God that "I neyther lyghtlyed his advertysmentis, neyther yet apprehendet I it any more vehementlye nor I ought to have done." I doubt not that God, in Whom I have put my trust, will preserve me, and work all things for the best. In the meantime, if commodiously I might, I would gladly be freed from this prison to prepare to go forth of Scotland, for I sustain more "incomodities" here than any one can easily imagine. I pray you and all our other special friends to take heed to yourselves, "for in this world men which hes any evell intention dresse querelis de al[i]enis ignis," and forge false pretexts where none are.
I am sorry that George Makeson has been so long disappointed of his horse, but it was much better to await "ane canny mercatt nor to have hazard ane ould gleid, which myght have stumered and put him in hazard."
I doubt not that all will turn out for the best in the end for George, who means honestly and sincerely, and he will haste word how soon he may commodiously come back. Care never for rumours, but do well and dread not. "This is all. The fyrst thing hes bene invented falselye without anye ground."
The man who fell sick in Seton was willing to have spoken with me, but my opportunity served no further than sending commendations and offers of good will. To him who sent the ticket I showed my opinion freely concerning all these sorts of people.
I consider your opinion and Mr. Sandyson's anent your filling of his bottle "sed quomodo evitemus periculum in quo versatur puer? Nam ne veremur illi. (fn. 18) Neyther is yt a good estate to lett him leane into." Almost as great difficulty will be with his mother and many other near friends. But for my part I mean to prefer God to all.
As touching the information given you by David Gilb[ert] of the friendship I had of these two ministers, I never so much as dreamed it. But the minister of this town accompanied with the master of the school last Wednesday at even, and never before, came, unknown to me, to the castle garden and directed up the porter to know if I would come and speak with them. I thought it a point of incivility to refuse to hear them speak, so after some talking they said that they came upon the goodwill that they bore to me, and upon that my bedfellow said she was sorry that never a man would take the pains to travail with me, which I knew not of. In conclusion, they desired to know if I was content to confess to them gently. For my own opinion, I think it "lyklyest" not to enter into any conference. But I shewed them that if I did, I would first speak de ecclesia et ejus auctoritate. So I crave your advice. I would not have them to vaunt that for diffidence in our cause I feared to enter in conference, albeit indeed it requires a better scholar than I. We reasoned an hour de ecclesia. None was present but John Tompson.
This minister appears courteous enough, but I foresee no fruit of our conference; but rather they may give it out as they list. Write both your advices in this; and let Catholics, if need be, understand the verity. I purpose by God's grace not only to eschew periculum but scandalum omnis generis, which all Catholics ought to respect. Send your answer by a boy of mine who will come for it. Commendations to all your family.
[There follows a paragraph, in corrupt Italian, recommending "Cornello" to proceed prudently, and with faith in God. Doubtless their enemies have some great affair (hame quatthe queam cosa per te, i.e. hanno qualche grande cosa), but God is able to frustrate their designs.] 9th December.
"Sic subscribitur: D.V.S. illustre affect. come frateelo David Forster.
"Io non so [? ho] ceremonie con v.s. perche s[o]no tutto suo."
(20) (Robert Sanderson [Robert Abercrombie] to George Crawford [William Crichton].) Printed in Pitcairn's Criminal Trials, vol. i. part ii. p. 324; Calderwood, v. 196–9.
I regret the sloth and negligence of your merchants in answering your last suit; apparently if they had made answer in due time our wares had been here in due time; but no one would undertake the journey on his own charges, and the matter was almost clean forgotten until the bearer took it on hand. He is willing to spend his goods, and life itself, in that cause. Let him be acceptable to you for this, as well as for his affinity of blood; for both his grandmothers were Crichtons. For wit and ability in managing these affairs he is inferior to none of your merchants. Although he has undertaken the matter at his own charges, yet your friends here think it reasonable that he should be recompensed. I cannot commend him too highly. If you can do him a pleasure, wait not till he crave it, for he is a bad asker in his own cause.
You will remember that at your departing you gave Mr. James Mackartnay (fn. 19) a procuratory to intromit with Mr. Alexander Home's little living in East Lothian. Now there fall out such troubles that we may lose all, if remedy be not found. First Mr. Alexander's nearest friends and heirs in judgment proved him to be dead, and so entered heirs to him, by this the Laird of Spott's land is forfeited and so the land wards. Mr. Alexander King advises us to sell the land to him, and to use the silver in a more sure manner. I think that if we do not come to an agreement we shall lose all; and it is better to have something than nothing. Name, you, the price; for he has mentioned none as yet, but he will give as much as any other, because he has some land adjacent.
I doubt not but you have heard how those young men, whose father was slain by the Laird of Buthwous (Ruthwens), slew him "agayne"; whose lady is married to James Reed. Camnay is come in the Constable's hands, and your nephew is privy to it, "by the moyen, I trow, of Abraham, your brother. Bot your maich (fn. 20) is little better than begging." Drumkill (Drumkilbo) is dead, and Thomas Tyrie is tutor.
Advertise me how Mr. Stevin Wilson has come by Lord Livingstone's obligations, which you had, of the forty crowns his lordship was owing you. I durst never make mention of the hundred crowns from the father, and forty crowns from the son, which you left me power to crave. Lord Livingstone is departed of this world. David Forster has another son, born in the Castle of Stirling. There is but one of our nobility that has of the King of Spain a pension well paid of 1200 crowns; but neither he nor his has yet done anything to promote the King's matters. Such pensions would be better bestowed upon others, who hazard themselves daily and hourly.
"At Scotland, the 15 of December 1592. Yours at his power, Robert Sandeson. To his trest frend, Geo. Crawfort."
(21) (Gambaro Craso to the Sultan of Turkey.)
Remembering that some months ago I had great consolation from you, I could not let slip the opportunity of greeting you by the present bearer. My affection is not lessened by length of time or distance of place. [He commends the bearer and begs credence for him.] Antwerp, 23rd January 1592 .
Italian. The transcription is corrupt.
(22) (John Chisholm to John Chisholm.)
I did not receive your letter of 14th November 1591 until 10th August, St. Lawrence's Day [sic]. I showed your brother Thomas "anent your adoes" and your clothing. He will answer you. Thank you for your commendations from all in Vaison. About your uncle Robert's marriage, I have written at length to your brother [the Bishop]. I made your commendations to all at Dunblane. The parson and his wife "redubles their money" (fn. 21) to you. Lady Rickarton and her daughter are worldly women, and many bairns. Sir William Blackwood, his brother and his wife, John Morrison and William Morrison are dead, with many others in that town. Your brother would fain visit you, but his lady is not agreeable thereto. I wrote to you sundry times to write to your brother Thomas to pleasure me in my necessity with some of the worst of your clothing, and at our meeting I should have pleasured you with as good again. I will write to your brother as soon as I know to what place to write. Commendations to Allister and his children, and "Jacques Gasport in Cresyt." Signed: John Chisholm.
Addressed: "To his beloved cousyn John Chesholme, for the present with his brother in Vayeson."
(23) (Certificate by Robert Abercrombie, of the Society of Jesus, for Mr. George Ker.) Printed in Calderwood, v. 209–210.
I, Robert Abercrombie, Scot, of the Society of Jesus, certify that the bearer, Mr. George Ker, Scotsman, Doctor of Both Laws, is of noble family and a champion of religion, for which cause he has fled from the persecution of the heretics, especially the ministers. I, therefore, for the love of Christ, for Whose sake he has suffered, exhort all men (especially those of our Society) to show kindness to this semi-martyr, to receive him into their dwellings and colleges, and omit no possible service of benevolence or liberality. In witness whereof, I have appended our seal, and have written and subscribed with my own hand. [Undated.]
Latin. A careless copy; the text is more correct in Calderwood's version. There are numerous transcriber's errors in all the copies of the letters taken upon Mr. George Ker.
(24) (John Chisholm to [William Chisholm] Bishop of Vaison.) (fn. 22) Printed in Calderwood, v. 208–9.
Your letter of 12th November 1591 I received on 9th July 1592. You expressed surprise that no answer came from any of us to those that you wrote. If I had received any, I had been very negligent had I not answered. I enclose a memorandum of the news of our country. On 15th June 1592 the marriage of your sister Margaret was solemnised by all her special good friends and the Laird, her brother, and with her own desire. Many noblemen were present: the Earl of Argyll, Lords Drummond and Inchaffray (Inchenfraye), the Master of Livingstone, the Countess of Menteith, the Lairds of Keir, Touch (Towch), Bonhard, and many more, with their ladies. Her husband, the Laird of Muschet (Muschat), we cannot but count as one of our own. Now, much more, there is good appearance of him; and [he] might well survive his grandmother and mother. Thereafter he will be worth thirty two chalders of victual "attour other pennye male (fn. 23) and gresumes." (fn. 24)
Lady Kinfawnes, my sister, and the young ladies and their husbands (fn. 25) are in health; likewise young Merchinsoun and his wife and all the rest of our friends, except in Dunblane. "Attour the death of John Moreson, William Moresine, taylour, Elezebeth Henryson, na moe rest but onely good Sir Wilyam Blakwood." We cannot yet get the Laird of Keir and William Sinclair agreed "foranent" Achingrayth to his hurt; no justice for the poor in any degree.
The Laird of Fintrye is lately commanded to ward in the castle of Stirling, and my lord of Spynie accused of treason by "the crowner" [Colonel] Stewart. Their day is tenth August (fn. 26) 1592, before the Council. Huntly remains ever in the north. "If the Court change handes at him, our ministers would have Fentrie. Haveing manye marrowes, as your brother and all the rest, nane good of that surname but your brother the parson. Your lordship's commendations are sone made, if to none other but Catholiques." (fn. 27)
My lord of Inchaffray (Incafraye) is yet unmarried. You wish to know whereon I depend. It is eight years since ever I drew any pay, and yet I am in no good estate with my competitor, albeit I have endured at your pleasure banishment in England for the space of two months. Would to God that I had made that voyage to your lordship, as I would have done but for the troubles, and hoping for redress, and yet deferred.
I doubt not that your cousin, Mr. Edward Drummond (Dramond), knows of the death of his brother, the Laird of Rickertoun. No more at present, except commendations of service to my lord, my brother. Your brother's children are two sons and two daughters living, "ryght fayre and good of inclinatioun: his eldest James, of a good ingyne, and William also." Lady Merchensoun has two sons and one daughter.
"Sic subscribitur: Your lordship's ryght obedient and loving cousyn to command in service, John Chesholme.
"To my ryght speciall and good lord, the bishop of Vaysoun, in the court of Venisse." [December 1592.]
22 pp. In the hand of Bowes's clerk. Endorsed by Burghley. "20 Nov. 1592. Copyes of lettres taken uppon G. Carr, Jhon Cecell, James Cheisholm, John Chesholm."
2. Robert Bowes to [the Earl of Huntingdon]. [Jan. 3.]
Mr. George Ker (Carre) is taken in the Isle of Cumbrae (Comvey) "towardes" his voyage for Spain, and his letters and writings are found in Robert Jamisson's barque and brought hither; wherein sundry blanks are subscribed by the Earls of Angus, Huntly and Erroll. Whereupon Angus coming hither on Monday last, after having been with the King, was commanded to keep his house that night, and the next day was carried to the Castle here, where he remains prisoner at the King's pleasure.
Sir John Carmichael and Sir George Hume are sent to Stirling to entreat the King to hasten his return hither; and it is wished that soon after his coming he shall with expedition and force arm and ride against these conspirators confederated with Spain.
Proclamation was made yesterday in this town commanding all Jesuits, seminaries, excommunicates and such persons as were with the Earl Bothwell at Holyrood House or Falkand to depart out of the town within three hours upon pain of death, and not to approach within ten miles of the King's person or this town. The King has sent me notice that Bothwell is openly reset and entertained with great company at Bewcastle by Thomas Musgrave, the captain thereof, wherewith the King appears to be deeply grieved.
All "others" I reserve to the coming of my servant Sheperson. Edinburgh. Signed: Robert Bowes.
1 p. No fly-leaf or address. Endorsed: "Scottishe affayres." Marginal notes: "A letter to my Lord of Huntingdon," etc.
3. Plot to induce Philip II. to invade Scotland. [Jan. 7.]
Seventeen of the Scottish nobility confederated to offer to the King of Spain under certain conditions, to invade their King and country, to reduce him and his state to the religion of Rome, or to deprive him, kill him or deliver him to the King of Spain. It is suspected that this offer is made by certain Scottish and Irish Jesuits who went to Spain upon Scottish affairs before [the Duke of] Parma's death. Some English persons have lately been pressed by Jesuits, the confessor of Parma (sometime the Queen of Scots' confessor) and others to give advice and aid to draw some of the English nobility and principal gentlemen to the faction of Spain by accepting the King of Spain's pension, with other large gifts and promises; and to advance this they offer them assurance of two of the nobility and good opinion with her Majesty and those of great ability in their country. They question how the principal officer of the Navy or "capten at sea" can be drawn to them for the King of Spain's service; also for apt means to kill the Lord Treasurer, seeming to be provided with a desperate instrument therefor, wanting but inward means here. Opinion of others coming against them this spring. The concourse of Jesuits and persons of note to Italy, Spain and Scotland more than is accustomed. The Duke of Ferria being last summer at Venice, Genoa and other free cities of Italy to procure shipping by the spring. The coming from Spain of 7000 under the leadership of the Duke of Pastrand, with many other inducements by plots, practices and reports to invade this realm. "Sterriles" often to go in and out, under counterfeit passports, as it is said: his dealing with Father Holt and others, and some things undertaken by him to be performed in England.
Cardinal Allen, with other bishops. The Duke of Guise, Monsieur St. Paul, with others remaining at Rheims, expect the King of Spain's forces to lead them to Paris for the election of another King. The army is seen not to be over 7000 strong of all nations, etc. The late Queen mother sent from Scotland an offer to the King of Spain from lords of Scotland to accept his forces and invade the King if he would not return to the Roman religion. When Huntly lay in wait with 3000 against the King of Scotland, the King spared him and took him into his favour.
Matter for the Queen and me. Bothwell wrote to her (when the King was in Denmark, as I remember), that he would disclose matters to her if she would protect his life. [Scottish lords Spanish.] (fn. 28) Whereupon he disclosed that there are other lords in Scotland who were of the King of Spain's pension. This the Queen has never disclosed, and for that matter has ever spared to take him when he was in her power, as her people might have pressed her. But afterwards Bothwell attacked the King's person in his chamber and made an attempt to poison the King by two women of his chamber.
In the summer of 1592 the King wrote to the Queen for her advice in some matters concerning Bothwell, who practised against him, and the Queen answered by letter that it was the King's own fault, that he spared the offenders in his power, and that those who will attack a King are worthy to stretch on a halter. Whereas the King wrote that there is a very great offer by the King of Spain to have England if he would allow him a landing in Scotland, she answered that the King of Spain is not able to obtain England, and it is not yet his to give. If the King of Spain had these two realms in his power she did not believe that he would give more to the King of Scotland; and she advised him to take care how he trusted those who ambitiously seek the kingdoms of others, and to remember the practices against him, and that she saved his kingdom for him. After that Bothwell informed the Queen that several lords of Scotland strove on the King of Spain's part, and that he wished to expose this to the King of Scotland as the Queen should advise, if the King would pardon his life. He will not desire restoration of lands or goods, but only so much as may sustain life, and thanks the Queen for her charity towards him in her letter lately written to the King, as above. Then the Queen promised Bothwell that she would not disclose what he had told her, but neither would she favour him in seeking the King's destruction. Whereupon to know whether the King himself is of the combination of Spain, as it supposed in the Council he is, the Queen wrote to the King that there is an offender in his realm (not disclosing that Bothwell was the party) who would reveal all those in his realm who are combined with the Spaniards, on condition only of pardon of his life, and lands and goods enough to keep him alive. She desired the King's answer to give to the party and would cause to be done as shall be fit.
The King having received those letters six weeks since, (fn. 29) and being pressed by our ambassador has never answered this letter. Letters were intercepted about December 1592 going from the lords of Scotland to Spain, and subscribed by some of them, offering to deliver the King of Scotland's person to the King of Spain if he would not become a Catholic.
3 pp. Rough notes in French, Latin and English. Endorsed: "'92. Scottish causes."
4. Mr. John Colville to the Dean of Durham. [Jan. 10.] Printed in Letters of John Colville, p. 96.
Although unacquainted by frequent speech and meeting, yet upon the good report and fame you have everywhere, and by commandment of a special friend, I have presumed to signify to you a matter tending highly to the benefit of religion and the preservation of our sovereigns. A gentleman of good fame and honesty showed me not long ago that these matters lately detected in Scotland are but superficial, carrying only a particular credit from a few of the Spanish faction, as Angus, Errol, Huntly and Auchindown, but that the great commission from the whole body of that society in Scotland is to follow; and that, apparently, the more hastily by reason of the apprehension of Angus, Ker and some others. For discovery of this great commission, for intelligence out of the Low Countries, and practices of great consequence there, he has promised me upon assurance of condign reward to come to London, and perform (if so be her Majesty's pleasure) a service very necessary for her present estate. He craves only these conditions following: that he may have a safe-conduct under her Majesty's hand or the Lord Treasurer's, in case his overtures be not accepted: that he may have presently a competent sum of money for settling his affairs at home and preparing for his journey. I stand bound to reimburse this sum at my "upcumming" if he be not employed in that service. He craves nothing presently of his reward, which is to be set down at my upcoming. He is content to receive one half when the one half of his service shall be fulfilled, and the rest at the full accomplishment thereof. Until then he desired you to be surety for whatsoever her Majesty shall promise. I took my oath to utter this matter to no one except yourself until it be "proponit" to her Majesty. Just as he craved you to be surety for what shall be promised to him, so he wishes me to lie pledge at London that he shall fulfil all that he promises; which I am content to do, if so please her Majesty. At one time I intended to impart this "fruitfull" matter unto the Lords Treasurer and Chamberlain, but I was restrained by my oath aforesaid. I deliver this overture to your lordship "vord to word" as it was communicated to me; dispose thereupon with secrecy and speed according to your discretion; and let me have answer before the end of this month, for so I have promised the said gentleman. From Edinburgh, 10 January 1592. Signed: Jo. Colville.
Postscript: I assure your Lordship that neither the Earl Bothwell nor any other man, "knawit" anything of this secret, except the gentleman and me; for as I keep Bothwell's secrets from him, so I keep his from Bothwell and all others. Signed: Jo. Colville.
2½ pp. Holograph; also address. Endorsed by Burghley's clerk.
5. Catalogue of Noblemen in Scotland. [Jan. 12.]
Catalogue of Noblemen in Scotland well or evil affected to the amity with England. Cott. Calig., D.ii. f. 158. Transcript in Harl. MS. 4648, p. 191
The evil affected:
[In the north], (fn. 30) the Earls of Caithness, Sutherland, Lord Mackay (Mktry) [MacLeod], Huntly, Crawford, Errol, Angus, [Ogilvy, Gray] and a great many lords. These are the men of greatest [commandment] from the North Sea to the town of Dundee.
[In the] south, the greatest men are Maxwell and [Herries]. Both are Papists, and Maxwell Warden of the West [March], which confirms his power not a little.
[In the wes]t, Lords Paisley, Boyd, Semple, Livingstone, Earl of [Menteith], and some think Montrose, but my opinion is not so.
[In the] east, Lords Seton and Home, Warden of the East [March].
[In] Court and Session are Lord Parbroath Comptroller, Lincluden Collector, Abbot of Newbottle Master of [Requests], lord of Polwart "cooper" to her Majesty, Sir James [Chisholm] nephew to the Bishop of Dunblane, one of the Masters [of the Household], William Shaw, a suspected Jesuit, Master of his Majesty's Works, Prior of Pluscardyn and Sir John Seton, "Sessionars" and sundry others.
The well affected are these:
[In the north], Marischal, Forbes. As to Gowrie, [he is but a] child, so the north is altogether unsettled.
[In the south], Cassillis. He is but a child: [and no other] earl nor lord.
[In the west], Ochiltree, Cathcart, Hamilton, [Glencairn, Master of] Eglinton.
[In the east, Lindsay, Yester. There is no more that I can remember except Bothwell were restored.]
In the Court, the Duke [Morton, Master of Glamis], and yet he is become suspicious to sundry [honest men].
By this catalogue it is clear that the Borders [and Highlands] of Scotland, which is the greatest part of the [realm, and a] great part of the heart of the country, [are commanded by] Papists. As to noble men that are no actors I reckon the[m not in] this catalogue, as Rothes, Oliphant, Innermeath, Argyll, [Orkney and] a great many others that are either simple men [or children]. It is also to be considered that these of the Spanish [faction are] all uniform among themselves, and the well affe[cted for the] most part at bitter quarrels, as the Duke and Hamilton, [Glencairn] and Eglinton with sundry others.
One thing would be diligently "adverted," that the chi[ef of the] Spanish course in Scotland are Huntly, comma[nder in the] north, Home and Maxwell, commanders of the Bor[ders, all in] great credit with the King, in so much that although [they were] all touched with these treasonable practices yet they shall incur no danger, his Majesty liking [so well of] them, the Duke and Mar, chief leaders of the [Court, being] both brothers-in-law to Huntly, tenderly allied w[ith Home, and] the Duke by his father's latter will bound to [stand friendly] to Maxwell and his house.
[So of necessity it seemed needful for their correction that some men were in credit about his Majesty, that, besides the general causes], might give advice in particular, and for [this purpose none] can be so fit as Bothwell, for Huntly had killed his cousin, the Earl of Moray, Home had [intruded him]self in his possessions, and Maxwell had caused [execute six] of his servants.
[If his] Majesty find fault with receiving Bothwell in her [dominions, it] may be justly replied that her Highness had done more in that than the King himself, for she had for that [cause bu]rnt some of her subjects, and the like as yet had [not been] done in Scotland. Moreover, Bothwell [every month] at his pleasure resorts to Edinburgh [and can] not be restrained. Then, how shall her Majesty debar [him her] Borderers, that be two hundred miles distant [from her residence] ?
[And wher]eas his Majesty threatened to join against you with your enemies [if you sh]ow Bothwell any good countenance, assure yourself that his people would not permit him so to do, which he knows full well.
22/3. pp. Edges injured by fire.
6. [Burghley] to Robert Bowes. [Jan. 12.]
Furthermore you shall understand that, besides the offence the King has conceived for Bothwell's relieving in England, he has seemed to her Majesty's ambassador to be displeased that he has not of late received such yearly payments as he pretends were promised him by some of her ambassadors upon treaty of amity betwixt him and her. Therefore if you shall perceive by the ambassador that he looks to receive some answer thereto, (since he willed the ambassador to certify her Majesty hereof), you may say that her Majesty thinks that he is moved to conceive this mislike rather by some that bear no goodwill to the amity than of his own consideration in the cause. The complaint seems to be that he had but 2000l. this last summer, whereas he had 3000l. divers years before, If those who advise him to mislike of the diminution of 1000l. this last year were disposed to consider what excessive charges her Majesty has been at these late years, (which rather increase than diminish), for defence of the French King in France and Brittany, with the charges also of a continual navy for the defence both of the French King's dominions and of her own, besides her former charges still continuing in the Low Countries, they should have reason to move the King to bear with her in these great extremities, for sustentation whereof she has not only burdened her people with yearly subsidies these four years past, besides certain loans received of them, and not yet fully repaid; and such have been also the extreme necessities for her Majesty's aids to the French King and the Low Countries that, besides all the aforesaid subsidies and loans and the ordinary revenues of her crown, she has been forced, greatly against her own natural disposition, to make sale of part of the possessions of her crown. And she thinks that in the present hard times this might be sufficient to move him to conceive no lack of her kindness to him. It is caused rather by these "burdenous" wars that hang still upon her arms without help of any other prince; and yet, nevertheless, her Majesty minds not to neglect the King's estate whensoever he shall have necessity to be relieved by her. And if you shall find him not satisfied with this kind of answer, then you may put him in hope that, rather than he should "impute" the diminution of the sums paid in former years, her Majesty will strain herself to satisfy him as far as possible, though there was not any sum expressed in the last treaty, as it seems that the King has been informed. Furthermore the ambassador has informed her Majesty of divers particular persons who have lately travelled thither at their own charges (not being men of wealth to sustain the same) to discover those late conspiracies, and to apprehend some special malefactors. The ambassador thinks they have deserved some reward towards meeting their expenses, and to continue them in their former devotion, and he shall inform you who those persons are; of what qualities; and what kind of services they have done, and with what charges to themselves. He shall also give you his opinion what might be convenient for rewards for the time, to be bestowed secretly lest the King or others should charge them with being mercenaries to England. Certify us by post of all particulars requisite, without giving them aforehand any assurance until her Majesty shall resolve how much she will dispose, and to whom. If the King shall make any remark that the sums received be "small helps," the ambassador may boldly affirm that to his knowledge there have been paid to divers of the King's ministers, for the King, since the treaty in the year '88, first 2000l., and in the next year, being '89, at two several times, viz., in April and December, 6000l., and in the next year, being '90, 3500l., and in '91, in May, 3000l., and now, in February last 2000l.; "of which somes how the King hath bene answered hir Majesty knoweth," but she has with goodwill at all those times, upon requests made by his Majesty, strained herself to have them paid. And whereas the King seems to have been informed that her Majesty was allowed greater sums by her father, King Henry VIII., most true it is that the allowances to her sister, the Lady Mary, and to her were but 3000l. by year apiece for all manner of charges, as by record appears.
21/8 pp. Draft. Partly in Burghley's hand. Endorsed by Burghley "1592. Copy of lettres to Mr. Bowes uppon Sir Robert Melvill's negociation." The first part of the draft appears to be missing.
7. Robert Bowes to Burghley. [Jan. 13.]
Yesterday I received your lordship's last letter, of the 6th. I am very sorry that your late and small abstinence in writing to me was occasioned by sickness, and pray God to give you speedy and good recovery, chiefly at this time when your lordship's good advice and direction shall be so necessary to draw the present troubles in this realm to quiet and happy end.
Upon the letter of this Presbytery, addressed with the privity and consent of the Council in the King's absence, some noblemen and many barons, gentlemen, burgesses and ministers of Lothian, Fife, and some other few counties convened here, conferred with the ministers for remedies in the great dangers appearing, and thereon presenting themselves in great number to the King, prayed his help for the "indelate" punishment of the great treasons tending to the overthrow of religion, his person and estate, and also freely offered their service with hazard of their lives and "expense" of their goods and possessions in this cause. At first the King sharply checked them for convening in this manner without his foreknowledge; yet they justified their proceedings as grounded upon the orders of the Council and authorized by the acts of Parliament; and thereon the King entered into a calm and gentle course with them, agreeing to be ready to punish the offenders with all severity and without any partiality towards any person found guilty; and since he had written for sundry other noblemen, barons, gentlemen and burgesses to be here with him on the 14th of this month, he deferred the full resolution and order to be taken in this behalf to the coming and appearance of the others. He was pleased, nevertheless, to confer in the meantime with especial commissioners chosen by this convention. Whereupon this assembly, attending the coming of the others, remain ready and earnest to proceed in their actions against the conspirators for Spain. They have appointed and sent their commissioners to the King, who has delivered to them certain articles, which they have answered. This you will see by the enclosed copy of the King's articles and their answers.
The King appears to be well bent in these causes, and he has bound himself sufficiently to the same by fair words and promises. Provision is made that no person shall solicit him in favour of any offender. Nevertheless such dispositions are found reigning in sundry councillors and courtiers, and such means are feared to be made for the delivery of the principal offenders in the conspiracy, that I am warned and earnestly exhorted to travail effectually for the fulfilment of the King's promises. But my labours will little prevail until he receive better contentment and satisfaction from her Majesty in his requests concerning Bothwell and his own yearly gratuity. In these behalfs he purposes to send his ambassador, wherein choice is made of Alexander Hume of North Berwick, who, I perceive, is nothing willing to undertake the journey.
Great danger and hurt may fall by delay in giving good satisfaction to the King in these behalfs, or of applying fit means to draw him forwards in the action against these conspirators with Spain, and it is earnestly required that in season and with all speed her Majesty would send hither effectual letters and advice to the King, by some person well qualified and fit for the furtherance of the work. Let me know speedily what I shall do or look for to be done by her Majesty's resolution, so that I may put all things in best readiness I can.
When Captain William Cary learned that the King has been credibly informed that he had publicly entertained Bothwell, (whereat the King greatly stormed), he so seasonably and fully advertised me by his letter that he has not been in this realm this long time (as has been surmised), neither seen Bothwell for the space of near four years, that I hope to satisfy the King in this part, and by the same to mitigate his passions towards others openly "recettinge" and entertaining Bothwell in Northumberland. For this I have sought access to the King, but I cannot obtain it with the favour and readiness accustomed to be showed towards me. I am deemed to have been over busy in the discovery of the late conspiracy, to be over inward with these noblemen, barons, gentlemen, burgesses and ministers assembled, and to have little power to satisfy the King's desires of her Majesty. It is needful therefore at this time to supply my present disabilities.
As by my former letter I certified that two persons of good quality, and suspected to be the Bishops of Ross and Dunblane, or such like practisers, were entered into Andrew Loggan's ship to be transported to parts beyond the seas, and that the ship would put in at Yarmouth, so it is "eftsouns" confirmed to me that two men clothed with black frieze cassocks with hoods, and with their faces covered, were put into Loggan's ship during the night of 29th December last; that all the candles were put out whilst they were carried and set close in their cabin; and that sixteen men well horsed attended on them and on the shore until they knew that they were well settled. I am informed that Logan, in this ship, and with the little pinnace mentioned in my former [letter], came before Yarmouth, as I advertised, and it is thought that the wind has not served him to sail southwards since his coming thither. Therefore I give your lordship knowledge hereof so that suitable order may be taken for the stay of these suspected persons, if they be not already taken upon my former warning.
Mr. George Carr remains obstinate in his examination and will not confess any matter of importance, yet by the motion and advices of his brother, the Laird of Newbottle, and of his other half brother, Comptroller of the King's house, (who have been employed by the King to draw him to plain confession), he offers to discover all his knowledge on condition of pardon of his life. I have been informed by my "familliar," speaking with some of his near friends and privy to these practices, that his discovery and confession shall tend to cast the whole crimes of treason on the Jesuits practising with Angus, Huntly and Errol, and to clear these noblemen as much as may be. He has oftentimes been threatened with the torture of the boot, yet hitherto he has endured no pain. Commission is given to the Justice Clerk, Blantyre, and Mr. George Young to offer him the torture this day. But many think that he shall suffer without confession and without great extremity. Lady Seton and two of her sons on their knees sued to the King in his favour: to whom the King said that they and their house were "suspect" in this crime and that they increased suspicion by their suit. The Queen of Scots has been a suitor for Carr, and yet they sent me advice to travail effectually with the King or little good would succeed in this matter. Of these things I have warned some in commission to examine Carr, but they find the matter so turned to the examinations and dealings of few persons that they doubt the good success.
The Earl of Angus by his letter to the King has denied to have intended any hurt to the religion, the King, the realm or the professors of religion. He offers to be tried for the same, and prays that upon caution he may be warded in his house with his wife and household, since his present charges in the Castle exceed his small living, and his late expenses in his journey in the north by the King's commission and commandment were very great. It was discovered that his page and one of his servants had taken in paste the print of the key of the gate near to his lodging in the Castle and had hired a smith to make the key to that form. The other day the King passing by the Castle cried to the wardens to keep well the traitor and to be sure of their keys. It is said that some part of his possessions are given to some courtiers and that the King will retain the rest in his own hand. He is thought to be in more peril than Huntly or Errol, who have their means in Court. It is told me that the King of Scots has written to Huntly's wife to know truly their case in these things, to the intent Huntly may depart if he be guilty, or else be cleared by the best means. The King denied [i.e. refused] to read Huntly's letters presented to him by Pitlurg until the Council should be assembled and hear the letter read.
I am informed by my "familliar" that these Earls have given to Mr. George Carr perfect instruction in writing, and subscribed by them; that thereby Mr. George is directed both what to do in all the affairs committed to him and also how to fill in the blanks; and that it is appoined that one of the blanks subscribed by the three Earls and Auchendown should be filled and made to serve for his commission to the King of Spain; that the other should be the band binding them to entertain and join with the King of Spain's forces to be sent into this realm; these bands, with others given otherwise, should suffice as assurances to the King for the performance of all his demands and also of their covenants with him; and that it was thought more meet to give the King assurances by their bands than by hostages, in regard that the sending over of hostages should discover the matter. By the same I am informed that Lord Hume gave his band in this behalf at his being at Pont à Mousson (Pont de Messen) in Lorraine, and that Lord Herries delivered his band in Bruges (Bridgiss); further, that Richard Dudley and John Cecil (Cicill), Englishmen, were privy to these things; that Dudley, employed by Cardinal Allen and Parsons, the Jesuit, was sent hither from Spain to them and brought hither sundry Englishmen of divers qualities to confer with Mr. James Gordon and Mr. Robert Abercromby, the principal agents in this conspiracy, and who purposely came into these parts to speak with the Englishmen, and tarried hereabouts from August last to December; that so soon as this plot, devised to answer and satisfy the King of Spain in all his demands, was agreed upon, Mr. David Lawe was sent to advertise the accords [and] readiness of all things; and that another fit instrument should be shortly sent to give assurance and full contentment to the King of Spain, who has promised to send 6000 men hither next summer, and the lords here have undertaken to levy and keep at their charges other 6000. The residue of the army and garrison shall be Scotchmen levied by the lords, and paid by the King of Spain.
The Jesuits and their confederates in this realm have appointed to meet together to take order in their causes and to change their names and ciphers. They shall be in such place of the north that I can do little good there, yet I shall do my endeavour, and some noblemen have promised their help, but the time of their meeting is hitherto uncertain.
Lord Hume had no liking to come to this town without assurance of the principal courtiers that he should not be troubled by the assembly or by this town. The King has been partly moved to remove him from him until he shall be cleared of suspicions, yet, having called Henry Parkinson hither to hunt with him, will not want the company of Lord Hume for this time. Nevertheless the King will be directly pressed at the next Convention to take order that neither he nor any other known Papists shall be suffered about him. It is credibly told me that Sir George Hume wrote to Lord Hume to come speedily to the Court that he might get some share of Angus's possessions, for it was meant that Angus should be forfeited, but that Huntly and Erroll should escape the extremity in the end. This works great distrust in many of the well affected, fearing that the course promised for the general punishment of this conspiracy shall not be prosecuted with full effect. Whereupon all this convention continue together, intending at their full assembly here on the 15th to draw the matter to resolute end and into action. Leaving the results to time, I pray to have her Majesty's instructions in all points. Edinburgh.
Signed: Robert Bowes.
4 pp., partly in cipher, deciphered. Addressed. Endorsed.
Enclosure with the same.
(Articles delivered to the commissioners of the barons and others of Fife, etc.)
Your advice and answer to these heads. (1) In respect matters discovered requiring diligent trial, high punishment and to that effect foresaid what offer will they make to us of service and assistance at this time for prosecuting of the cause in general, and in particular for the surety and guard of our person ? (2) How Jesuits and trafficking Papists wandering and lurking in this realm may be searched and presented to justice, and to whom commission shall be given to that effect ? (3) What form of proceeding as well by law as by force against others either declared or suspected guilty of this crime, if they compear or be "unobedient." (4) How shall justice in this matter proceed unhindered or uncorrupt, with "solictacion" under a pecunial sum ?
½ p. Copy.
8. Robert Bowes to Burghley. [Jan. 19.]
I received your letters of the 10th and 13th inst., together with three from the Queen of England, whereof one is addressed to the King of Scots and two to myself; also one from Sir Robert Cecil to me. Before the receipt of these letters the King had departed from Holyrood House to take his pastime at hunting, purposing to return hither to-morrow. I sought to have access this day, but the King has "referred" me till his return, when I shall not only deliver her Majesty's letter to him and solicit the execution with all diligence of the directions given to me, but also will advertise your lordship of the success of the proceedings by Christopher Sheperson, your servant, with whom I shall send copies of the letters taken upon Mr. George Carr and other instruments.
On Wednesday the 17th inst. the King gave me audience anent sundry bills for the Borders. The King being credibly informed that Bothwell was openly received and entertained in many gentlemen's houses in Northumberland accounted the same to be done to his dishonour and scorn, as he termed it, alleging therewith that the parties thus entertaining Bothwell justified their action by colour of warrant from her Majesty and others. His passion was so much heated that he burst forth and said that if he should plainly find that Bothwell was thus received and maintained against him in England with her Majesty's privity and commandment, then he would no longer keep amity with England. Albeit I so well appeased his passion with assurance that these things for Bothwell were done without the Queen of England's knowledge or allowance, yet passing immediately from me to hear the commissioners of the lords, barons and others in their late convention, the King was "occasioned" by them to advise upon the choice of a fit person to be sent to her Majesty in embassage to report to her as well the great treasons discovered lately in this realm, as also the King's readiness and course to punish the same and prevent all perils with all expedition; and he renewed before them his former resolution uttered to me, and he shewed to them that the envoy should not only be sent to her Majesty with the report mentioned, but also with some particulars of his own against Bothwell, whom he esteems such an enemy to him that he would break amity with any prince in the world who should take the maintenance of Bothwell against him; and if her Majesty would thus plainly entertain and maintain Bothwell against him, then he will "give upp with her" by the same ambassador, and without regard of the danger of his life, crown or title, provided that all his subjects would join with him in his quarrel to defend his honour. These words were thought strange and were diversely interpreted. The Spanish faction and Papists are ready "to blowe the cole" for safeguard of the conspirators discovered and for the benefit of their cause. But the most and best sort exert themselves against all things which may for such cause shake the happy amity betwixt these two crowns. I hear that the King's mind is so much calmed that I hope at our next meeting to quench utterly this heat in him, or at least to discover what ground and what power this matter has in him. I trust that the good means of the persons to be sent hither by her Majesty shall suffice to wrap up this cause and also to advance all others for her contentment.
At this conference betwixt the King and the commissioners the King very frankly granted all their petitions for punishment of the conspirators with Spain and other Papists, and has so solemnly bound himself to proceed effectually in that action that more needs not be added in words, and the convention is well pleased and comforted therewith. Charges shall this day be awarded to command Huntly, Errol and Auchendoun to enter into ward at St. Andrews before 5th February next. Proclamation shall be made tomorrow commanding all men to be ready to attend on the King with their armour and weapons in his journey against the conspirators and Papists on 15th February, at which time the King has appointed personally to march with his forces against Huntly, Errol and Auchendoun in case they shall fail to give themselves to ward.
Order is now taken for the examination of all prisoners and persons suspected, wherein the Earl of Mar, Lord Lindsay and the Master of Glamis are appointed for the nobility, the Prior of Blantyre, the Justice Clerk and Sir John Carmichael for the King's Council and officers, Andrew Ker (Carr) of Fawdenside for the barons, Mr. James Johnston for the burgesses, and Mr. David Lindsay for the Church; and Mr. George Young shall write and register the confessions of the persons examined. Such secrets as the examinates would reveal only to the King shall be taken by Blantyre and Carmichael. Mr. George Carr and others refusing to answer plainly and confess the truth shall be put to the torture. It is enacted by the King and Council that any examinate denying any matter, which afterwards shall be proved against him by writ or witness, shall be esteemed guilty pro confesso. The barons of Fife would furnish fifty horsemen for the King's guard, to be under a captain and cornet to be appointed by them. The other barons offer to do the like, and the burgesses will set forth 100 footmen, whom they desire to be led by their own captain, but the King will have no other captain than Sir John Carmichael. Thus this convention is dispersed, purposing to assemble again on 15th February to attend on the King in his journey, in the furtherance whereof they showed their willing minds and great forwardness, and no little labour will be made by the ministry to keep them still in that course.
Angus's friends fear greatly that he alone shall be forfeited, and that Huntly and Erroll shall escape. Therefore, for the safety of his life, and chiefly for preservation of the ancient house, they have made offer to me to persuade him to confess and reveal the full truth and bottom of all things, so that by her Majesty's means his life and house may be saved. Albeit I have given little comfort to the "motioners" of this matter, yet I think it my duty to advertise your lordship thereof, with request what to answer and do. Edinburgh. Signed: Robert Bowes.
2½ pp. Addressed. Endorsed by Burghley's clerk.
9. Punishment of Papists. [Jan. 19.]
"Articles proponed by the King and Counsell to the Ministerye touchinge the distincion and punishement of Papistis. Edinburgh, xix° Januarii, 1592."
What are the ranks of Papists upon whom the law should strike? How shall their merit and meddling be distinguished? The names of the other Papists in the country who "maye give and concure" to those who presently are under trial, that they may be charged to ward? The names of avowed Papists desired to be discharged from bearing public offices and from places of Council, Session, Parliament or other Judicature whatsoever? The names of Jesuits, seminary priests, excommunicate or trafficking Papists? The names of their resetters?
½ p. Copy. Endorsed: "21 Jan. 1592. Articles for distinction and punishment of Papistes in Scotland." [Originally enclosed with No. 11.]
10. Effects of the Answer of the Convention to the Articles propounded by James VI. [Jan.]
"Th'effectis of the Answere of this Convencion to the Articles proponed by the Kingis Majestie."
First, that their bodies, goods, friends, "alies," servants and their possessions shall be ready to serve his Majesty either the "wholle, half or by quarter," as it shall please him to command, and as shall be needful, to proceed against the parties to be pursued, and that during the pursuit of this cause they shall all be a guard to his Majesty; and also that he may choose and take such particular number for the guard of his body and daily attendance as it "shall like" him to appoint. The pay for this guard to be levied from the lands and possessions of the guilty; and if the same shall not suffice, then they will at their own expenses pay the sums remaining. Secondly, that the Jesuits, Papists and others in this realm shall be apprehended as well by the army and forces to be employed in this action, as also by other secret means and by commissions to be given to persons well affected and of honour; which persons shall be nominated at the next Convention. Thirdly, to proceed against suspected persons by ordinary course and term of law by short summons and proclamations to be made for their compearance. If they compear or be in ward, then to give them due examination and trial by law. If not, then the forces to come forwards according to the proclamations, and to march against the disobedient within two days next after the certificate made of the disobedience. Fourthly, such of his Majesty's domestics as shall solicit in favour of any suspected herein shall be dismissed for ever. Others shall lose their movable goods to the King's use. All these to be intimated by public proclamation.
2/3 p. In the hand of Bowes's clerk, George Nicholson.
11. Robert Bowes to Elizabeth. [Jan. 21.]
On the 17th hereof and in the absence of the King, I received your Majesty's three several letters [as in No. 8]. Your most gracious acceptance of my poor service has not only given me great comfort in my "worne age" and distressed condition, but also binds me during the residue of my short days to employ and double my service, and freely to offer the sacrifice of my life to perform some part of my duty.
The King would not grant me access until he returned hither on the 19th and was at leisure on the following afternoon, when I first presented your letter, which he "broke up" and perused. Nevertheless he would not then confer with me or give answer, because he found, as he said, the sentences pithy and matters weighty. Next, I recounted to him the substance of your Majesty's letter of the 12th, touching the kind remembrance yearly looked for, the entertainment of the Earl of Bothwell in England, the appointment of the Duke of Lennox to examine the treasons of Huntly, his brother-in-law, and, lastly, the admittance of myself amongst the commissioners to hear the examinations of the conspirators. All which articles and matters contained in your Majesty's latter letter I enlarged, agreeable to the directions expressed in both your letters to me; and also, in the end, I showed your letter to him, according to the instructions given me by the Lord Treasurer, and in order that the "view" thereof might confirm my report, reform my error of misreport, and supply the default of any omission.
After the reading of your Majesty's letter and long reasoning upon each of the articles, he gave answer to the effect following. First, that he had been given to think that the portion allowed to your Majesty by your father, King Henry VIII., was 5000l. by year, yet understanding now that the same appeared by record to amount to no greater sum than 3000l. by year, he held himself satisfied therein. He is persuaded that Mr. Wotton and Mr. Randolph, your ambassadors here, did stipulate the amount to be paid yearly to him, and the terms for continuance thereof; and that they had power for the same given by your Majesty's commission, and not by any letter of the Secretary: "which was mistaken," as I alleged. He rejoiced to understand that your Majesty never thought that even a far greater sum would be overmuch in case of necessity and to do him pleasure; wherein he said that he would never press your Majesty but in times of his need, such as the present, and that he rather desired testimony of your affection to him and his subjects than profit of money. He could not call to remembrance the time and affairs wherein, as I affirmed, your Majesty had been at charges of 9000l. in one year, and had kept 6000 men in readiness for his service. But at length he resolved to send an especial person to your Majesty with full instructions in all these behalfs, wherein little sign of full contentment appeared in him "at that present."
Secondly,—after I had assured him that Thomas Musgrave, Cuthbert Armorer, or any other servant or subject of yours has not received or entertained Bothwell in England with your Majesty's privity or commandment, as shortly should be proved by the due chastisement of the offenders, and for which purpose Musgrave and Armorer were sent for—he alleged sundry informations proving that Bothwell could not have been so openly and favourably received and harboured in the houses of so many gentlemen in Northumberland without some warrant or hope of oversight to be granted by your Majesty or by some of your Council. As proof he recited many particularities and tales brought to him. I, however, not only let him know how vain sundry of the surmises were, but also showed that the rest of them were either brought to him by a Papist or else craftily conveyed to the hearing of a Protestant by a Papist seeking to poison the King's ears with that venom in order to break the amity betwixt your Majesty and him, chiefly at this time when the discord betwixt you should promise surest impunity to all the Spanish conspirators, overthrow of the religion established here, and direct himself to work his own ruin, for in this I had learned the principal authors of these tales to have been Papists and followers of the Spanish faction. He protested that he never winked at or spared to apprehend Bothwell since he knew him to have so earnestly hunted for his life and assaulted his palaces and honour, still uttering therewith his implacable griefs against Bothwell, as also his determinate mind to bear no goodwill with any prince or person in the world who would foster and maintain Bothwell against him, wishing right heartily that your Majesty would rid your hands of him and keep him out of your realm. In this I put him in remembrance that the delay of his answer to your Majesty had hindered the accomplishment of his desire and retained you in suspense to accept or reject the overture made to your Majesty by one or two about Bothwell, and revealed to him by letter. But he would not grant by any mean that you had written to him touching Bothwell, until the letter was called for and viewed at my request; and thereby he was brought to understand clearly that your Majesty in that clause and part of that letter had not written of the overture or actions of Papists, as he had fully conceived, but had plainly opened to him the suit of Bothwell, and "respited" your Majesty's resolution for return of his answer. In the end he acknowledged to have far mistaken your letter and over long delayed his answer, resolving to write herein to your Majesty with his ambassador, and praying me in the meantime both to signify his determinate decree in heart utterly to reject Bothwell during his life, and also to entreat your Majesty to vouchsafe, for his honour and satisfaction of his subjects, to give speedy order that Bothwell may be removed and kept out of your dominions.
Thirdly, according to your Majesty's opinion, he condemned the appointment of the Duke of Lennox to be commissioner to examine Huntly's treasons, alleging that the convention and ministry lately assembled made choice of the Duke for this office against his liking, in regard that the Duke was minor in years and so near allied to Huntly. Nevertheless, having experience that the Duke had utterly shaken off Huntly for the slaughter of Murray, he thought, therefore, that he should have carried his actions herein with indifferency; and now he is admitted into the new commission for the examination of the conspiracy.
Fourthly, he answered that, as in all matters of weight or novelty he ever used to consult with his Council, so he would advise with them whether he might conveniently admit myself, agreeable to your Majesty's expectation, to be present with the other commissioners at the examination of these conspirators with Spain, in respect that their treasons threatened dangers indifferently to both realms in this isle, and at the next assembly of the Council he will resolve and acquaint me with his order herein.
Moreover, having laid before him the inconveniences of imperfect examinations, whereby the benefit of true discovery of the secrets and of the perfect course of trial is lost, he firmly promised to be very careful therein, and this day he has given order and commission to Lord Lindsay, the Justice Clerk, Mr. William Hart and Mr. George Young to examine this same day Mr. George Carr and to take his plain and full confession and discovery of the treasons conspired, or otherwise to give him the torture "in strait maner," and that the next day he shall be tried by assize, and executed upon his condemnation.
Upon my exhortation that no fair promises, device, faction or friendship should entice him to defer the apprehension or mitigate the punishment of any conspirators in this treason, he acknowledged himself to be so strait bound to perform what I required and to proceed effectually in this matter that from henceforth he will not think to be esteemed a prince of Christianity or of any honour if he shall not well accomplish all his promises herein; so now no further bond by words need be added, but his deeds must acquit him and his honour in the "execution" to which he has been exhorted by myself in your Majesty's name, and by his subjects for safety of religion, his own person and estate, and their lives and possessions.
Lastly, he readily yielded to your Majesty's advice to defer his Parliament until he had pulled up the roots of this foul conspiracy and well established his realm in quietness. In which mind, and under many other fair promises, I left him for that time, after a conference of nearly three hours without intermission, in the presence only of himself and the Lord Secretary, who now is in lite to be employed and sent ambassador to your Majesty.
With the next opportunity, and according to your Majesty's commandment, I shall inform Lords Sempill and Ross and the Lairds of Caldwell and Fulwood how graciously your Majesty accepted their good offices done in these late affairs. I have already communicated "with" Mr. Andrew Knox your Majesty's good disposition and regard to be had of his labours, charges, perils and services. Thereon he has returned into his country to learn the haunts of the Englishmen lurking in those parts and also to search out the letters and writings craftily withdrawn and taken out of Ladyland's chest, which, if they be recovered (as he hopes they shall), will clearly make manifest the extent of the treasons. Thus much for my proceedings in carrying out my particular instructions, contained in your letter, which I have reserved to myself.
For the apprehension of Mr. James Gordon and Mr. Robert Abercromby, the principal Jesuits and instruments in this conspiracy, I have procured especial commission to the Earl of Atholl, who has right frankly promised his best endeavour therein; and the Master of Forbes, Mackintosh and other barons of good quality have offered their assistance, and their devotion and all good offices to your Majesty. As I have built something in the west, so I am laying some foundation in the north of this realm, where the greatest dangers of troubles are nourished. I have espied the privy dens of these two Jesuits mentioned, and thereof given intelligence to Atholl by the Bishop of Dunkeld and his other solicitors of credit dealing with me. If everyone plays his part rightly these foxes are like to be "uncannelled."
At the examination of Angus this day one of his blanks was showed to him, but he would neither acknowledge nor deny that the same was subscribed with his hand. He accused the ministry as authors of his troubles, and thinking Mar, the Secretary and the rest of the examiners to be "fethered" for and sent by the ministers, he refused to answer their interrogatories, and he offered that if it should please the King that he should fully confess these mysteries, then he would do it with all truth and sincerity.
The Earl of Huntly, by his letter presented to the King by Pitlurg, has flatly and vehemently denied that the blanks or any of them were subscribed by him; whereupon the King has not only caused the several subscriptions of Huntly "at" his letter and the blanks to be compared, ("and which are founde to be all one"), but also called the Duke to judge of the matter; and the Duke, taking upon him to be thoroughly acquainted with Huntly's hand, thinks verily that the blanks are indeed subscribed by him. Huntly likewise wrote to the Duke, who showed the letter to the King; and before this Erroll wrote to the Duke, pleading the severity used against him by the ministers to excuse his default in not coming hither, as he had promised, and offering to the Duke his services in very lowly and frank manner.
Huntly, Erroll and Auchendoun pretend to be ready to enter into their ward at St. Andrews before 6th February, as they are charged, but it is verily thought that they will not do it without conditions or hope of extraordinary favour. If they do enter, then means will be made for their safe keeping. If not, then there is a knot of good company provided in the north to attend upon Huntly and his course, for it is said by some that some sudden enterprise shall be attempted by them, and the King will be earnestly called on to proceed in his journey against them on 15th February next, before which time the well affected heartily wish that it may please your Majesty to send hither some fit person to further the progress of these weighty causes.
It is verily discovered by the information of one of the same stamp and privy with the Papists that, for the preparation of their cause, the minister in every parish and the chief professors should have been slain, and this execution to have been done by the pretended friends and allies of the parties to have been murdered.
The other day the Council sent certain propositions to the ministers for their resolutions in declaration of Papists meet to be prosecuted and for the lawful proceeding against them, as by the copy of the same will better appear. [No. 9]. The ministers fear that this is done to lay the burden of all grievances on them. They find this town shrinking at the threats of the conspirators and their mighty friends in Court and country, and your Majesty's weak servant here is warned that no ordinary means shall preserve him. [He affirms that anxiety is like to bring him to the grave, but he will remain at the helm so long as breath lasts, or until her Majesty has compassion upon his "worn body and dried senses."] Edinburgh. Signed: Robert Bowes.
Postscript:—At the closing up of these presents annexed hereunto, and retained longer by that occasion than I intended, the King sent to me Sir George Hume and Mr. Robert Bruce to let me know that he had given order that Mr. George Carr and the Lairds of Fintrie and Ladylands should be immediately examined by all secret means: that if they do not truly and sincerely confess, then, without delay, they shall be tried by assize and executed after judgment; that Carr, warned by his brother of the King's determinate mind herein, has offered to reveal all he knows in these conspiracies, on condition that his life may be saved; and therein, in regard that both the realms are touched and interested hereby, the King has required my opinion to be returned to him with these two messengers. Wherein, being suddenly urged, I have hastily advised that, seeing the true discovery of the traitors, treasons and secrets therein shall more profit both the sovereigns and realms than the life of this man, by whose means the danger of future inconveniences may be seasonably espied and avoided, and exemplary justice ministered on the rest, therefore it should not be amiss to grant life to Carr upon condition that he shall plainly and truly unfold and disclose the whole body and bottom of this conspiracy, and in case he shall cover or deny any matter which hereafter shall be proved against him, that then he shall lose the benefit of his pardon. Besides, I have advised that some proof shall be taken of his true dealing herein, and that fit articles shall be framed and propounded to him, whereby he shall be either driven to open a window to the discovery of the mass of these treasons, or else to expose himself as a dissembler and unworthy of favour; further, that his enlargement upon his good course be not hasty. This advice is well liked and like to be put in practice, therefore I most humbly pray your Majesty to allow thereof and pardon my defaults of haste or weakness. In your last letter to the King your Majesty gently pointed at his escape for the grant of his pardon to Robert Bruce, the practiser in Flanders. (fn. 31) This check is turned to my default in regard that I did not as well clear the King from the error of the grant deceitfully stolen from him without his privity, as I certified the matter to charge him; wherein the view of my letter of the 27th of December last, and addressed to the Lord Treasurer, shall, I trust, give contentment to your Majesty and him and relieve myself in this behalf. The King looks to be fully acquitted and delivered from the suspicion of any evil meaning by this grant, and would be greatly pleased by the knowledge of your Majesty's satisfaction in the same.
I am newly informed that the King was mightily ravished with the new phrases and so fully won with the sound advice expressed in your Majesty's last letter to him that he not only called to the admiration of it some of his chief counsellors and of the ministry here, but also by the same was stirred to enter into this round course and action against the Papists, so that the ministers there present give most humble thanks to God, Who ruled your Majesty's heart and pen in the draft of that letter. Signed: Robert Bowes.
5 pp. Addressed. Endorsed by Burghley's clerk. Wax seals; blue silk fastenings.
Copy of the same.
12. Robert Bowes to Burghley. [Jan. 22.]
[Encloses the preceding letter, and refers Burghley to it for an account of his audience with the King.]
Christopher Sheperson will report such particularities as shall be requisite before the repair to Scotland of her Majesty's ambassador. It is hoped that he will arrive before 15th February next, when the King purposes to enter into his raid against Huntly, Erroll, Auchendoun and other conspirators with Spain. The bearer has been retained by occasion of the King's absence. Now I trust that my son and he will proceed effectually and give assurance for my debt to her Majesty, so that I may be licensed to come. Edinburgh. Signed: Robert Bowes.
½ p. Addressed. Endorsed by Burghley's clerk.
13. George Fausyde to Mr. Archibald Douglas. [Jan. 28.]
There has been nothing worthy of writing unto your lordship since my departure; but I send these few lines lest you should think me unmindful of my duty. I have not written as yet to my Lord Treasurer or Lord Admiral; but, if I do see or hear anything worthy the writing, I will not forget my promised service. I remain here for my ship, which I have sent "for Barnestaple" and expect her to return in August. If I may do you any service or pleasure, please to let me know either by her or any other ship that comes here. When she returns, I "do pretend" to go to Spain, where I hope to accomplish better my promised service to the Treasurer and Admiral than I can do here. If you have occasion to speak with any of them, please give my excuses, and assure them of my good will. There is neither wine nor fruit, at this present, worthy the sending to your lordship, but I will remember to send some of the first that shall come, and now send a "boxe of marmelad and two barrellis of conservas." From the city of Funchal, in the Island of Madeira. Signed: George Fausyde.
1 p. Holograph, also address, "To the rycht honorable and his good Lord, Lord Archbald Douglas, imbassador for the King his Majesty of Scotland, give thes at Lym Stret in London." Endorsed by Burghley's clerk. Wax seal.
14. State of Scotland. [Jan. 29.]
"Memoryall of sondry thynges commytt to the report of Christopher Sheperson."
[In margin: The present estate.] The King agreed to the petitions of the convention, and promised to proceed in the actions for punishment of the conspirators with Spain. Huntly, Erroll and Auchendoun are charged to enter into ward before 5th February next at St. Andrews. If they obey not, then the King will ride against them with his forces; wherefore all men are warned to attend on him at Edinburgh on 15th February. For the King's guard the barons will furnish 100 horsemen, and the burgesses 100 footmen, and some money shall be levied for the King's expenses. The King has been informed that Bothwell is openly received and maintained in Northumberland and that the parties entertaining him justify their actions by her Majesty's warrant; therefore he has protested that if she will maintain Bothwell against him he will then break up the amity.
[In margin: The ambassador to be sent to Scotland.] It is meet that he be well furnished and instructed in these parts, viz.,  what course shall be holden for satisfaction of the King touching Bothwell's being in England, and also for the order to be taken towards the Earl himself and for the King's answer to her Majesty's letter and for the end of that cause.  Order for payment or suspension of the yearly gratuity to the King. In these two matters the King will send to her Majesty an ambassador of his own, with the best speed he can. For rewards to be given to some intelligencers, order would be given either to the ambassador who shall go thither, or else by her Majesty's licences for beer and cloth, or other means. John [sic; read Lord] Sempill took great pains for the apprehension of Ladylands and Mr. George Carr and to intercept the letters, whereby the great treason was discovered, therefore he should be recompensed. Lord Ross would be well pleased with some jewel of no great value, and thereby her Majesty may have a good party in the west parts of Scotland. My master [Bowes] is about to lay a foundation to get her Majesty a party in the north by means of Atholl, the Master of Forbes, and others; he desires to know the Treasurer's advice and pleasure therein; and also touching John Cecil, who "is depe entred and acquaynted with the treasons." [In the margin: "John Cecilie alias Cecill alias John Bramston."]
The gentlemen of the King's house and others have billed Thomas Musgrave, Thomas Carlisle, Walter Graham and sundry other Englishmen for the raid at Falkland. This bill is above 13,580l. sterling, and some part thereof is already filed and amounts to 500l. sterling. The King is pleased to "accept" some few of the principal offenders that may be seen and delivered to him, chiefly for his honour, and for no profit; and upon such delivery the whole bill shall be discharged, to the great relief of the best sort, on whom the whole burden will lie. Little justice will be done by the Warden of the West Marches in Scotland until this bill shall be answered. My master prays some order to be given to him in the same. Upon some occasion of distrust conceived, he prays the resolution in matters for Scotland to be deferred until the coming of his next letters.
1¾ pp. In the hand of Bowes's clerk. Endorsed by Burghley's clerk: "29 Jan. 1592. Mr. Bowes' memoriall for his servant Sheperson."
Copy of the same.
15. Robert Bowes to Burghley. [Jan. 29.] Cott. Calig., D.ii. fol. 56.
Mr. George Ker (Carr) has been sundry times examined since my last letter, yet hitherto he has not opened his knowledge so plainly that he is found worthy to have his life, but still stands upon his trial and execution, wherein the means of his many friends in Court are like enough to preserve him. He has confessed that Mr. William Crichton and Mr. James Tyrie, Scottishmen and Jesuits in Spain, have before this advertised Mr. James Gordon that the King of Spain is pleased to send into England or Scotland money and forces, and to give them all their desires provided they send him the assurance of noblemen in Scotland for his satisfaction. Therefore they prayed Mr. Gordon to travail effectually with the noblemen therein and along with the assurance to send them a sufficient gentleman, whom they would employ there in the execution of these causes; and also to provide that, for the assurances and for all letters of commendations, they should rather send blanks subscribed by the noblemen than any band already written and perfected, so that Crichton, Tyrie and the gentleman employed, with the advice of their friends about the King, might fill the blanks to answer fully the King's mind and demand in all things. Whereupon Gordon, procuring these blanks at the hands of Angus, Huntly, Errol and Auchendoun, entreated Ker to carry them to Crichton and to solicit the matter in Spain, and thereon delivered the said blanks to Ker with his own letter certifying Crichton that they have got all that they desired, and praying him to come hither with his friends with all speed, as by the copy of Gordon's letters sent to your lordship will appear. He acknowledged that one of the blanks, subscribed by the three Earls and Auchendoun, should have served and been filled for a "procreation" (as he termed it), or commission to himself; the other blank, subscribed by the above four, should have been the band or assurance to the King of Spain for his satisfaction. Some of the six blanks severally subscribed by Angus, Huntly and Errol should have served for the particular commendation of Ker to the King of Spain. The rest should have been filled with matters to have been commended to the Pope and other potentates for the furtherance of the cause, and all these things should have been done by Crichton and Tyrie in Spain, where Ker (Carr) should have received instructions and in every behalf been directed by Crichton. He will not confess that he spoke or dealt with any of the Earls in this matter; but that only Mr. James Gordon travailed with him in the same and sent to him by Mr. Robert Abercromby the blanks and letters intercepted. He was directed, as he said, to sue "to" the King of Spain, with the advice of Crichton and Tyrie, that an ambassador might be sent hither to the Kings of Scots, with money to relieve the Jesuits and instruments travailing here (who this long time have received small maintenance), and to entertain the noblemen, courtiers and parties favouring the cause, and to tempt the King himself, so far as might be, to grant a toleration in religion, with such other offices as the said ambassador should require. For the aid of the Catholics in England suit should be made to the King of Spain to send an army into England, where he should find a sufficient party to join with the army and that many noblemen and other Scottishmen would take part with his army in England. If the army could not conveniently land in England, then it might be drawn into Scotland and be disposed afterwards against England. [He confessed] that all these things are to be attempted in the beginning of next summer, and thinking that they are in readiness, he and the rest should earnestly sue for the expedition thereof.
It appears that many great personages of several qualities have been entangled with this conspiracy, but "hitherto" he will not enter into any particular discovery of any person or more plain matter than is before expressed; whereupon he shall be further and straitly examined, with signification of the King's resolute order that if he will not open the whole effects of the conspiracy more fully and sincerely, and without delay, he shall be tried by assize and executed for example. Wherein most men look for no such haste in deed as is pretended in words; and for the furtherance of it in deed I have both called on the King earnestly and also have received good words in the same.
Albeit the King promised to advise with his Council and to advertise me whether I should be admitted to the examinations of Ker and others suspected in this conspiracy, yet hitherto I had not received any resolution therein, and although the King sent me word that the confession of Ker should be sent to me, (whereby I gather that he will not allow me to be present at the examinations), yet I have as yet only received report thereof by my friend, so I cannot presently write fully and certainly.
By the means of the Earl of Montrose and Mr. John Graham, and with the help of a council set and wrought for the same, the King had given his warrant to remove the Laird of Fintrie from the Tolbooth in this town to the Castle, being a fair step, as it is deemed, to his liberty. But getting knowledge thereof I first stayed the execution at the hands of the Provost and then prevailed with the King hitherto to keep Fintrie in his lodging in the Tolbooth; wherein I have earnestly exhorted the King to give exemplary justice in the punishment of Montrose and Mr. John Graham, one of the Lords of Session, for their offence in breaking the late ordinance (fn. 32) providing that none should solicit the King for any person charged in this conspiracy, but herein I have stirred greater anger than I can hope for good success.
It is certified hither that Huntly and Errol met together last week at Aberdeen with the most of their friends, chiefly of the Gordons. Upon deliberation as to their entry into ward, Errol persuaded, (as it is written), to stand forth and take the fields; but Huntly answered that he would not withstand the King, nevertheless he thought it not meet to enter ward. Whereupon Errol, with some rebukes, told Huntly that he was feeble and had served him as he looked for, and so they departed in sunder from Aberdeen.
Huntly pretends to ride to meet the Earl of Caithness coming to speak with him. It is informed me that Huntly will flee into Caithness upon the King's coming against him; that Mr. James Gordon, (being already warned by evil means from Court that Atholl has commission to apprehend him), prepares to attend and always to be near Huntly; and that Huntly, Auchendoun and Mr. James, with all the Gordons guilty of Murray's slaughter, shall shortly embark in Caithness and pass away by sea. Some think that they will pretend to make sail for Norway, and nevertheless turn for Spain. But some have told me that they will indeed make their voyage for Norway and Denmark. In which behalf it is thought that their way is prepared for them.
It is heartily wished by many well affected that her Majesty will send speedily to the coast of Caithness some fit pinnace or vessel to draw these adventurers to such other port as shall be thought expedient. Wherein, if her Majesty adventure any charge, advertise me with speed and with all circumstances that, so far as can be conveniently done, I may concur with such as shall be sent and advertise your lordship of our doings and success.
Errol has provided upon mortgage of lands good sums of money. He keeps in one tower in the castle at Slains so many English and Scottish Catholics that expense of their victuals is great. Hitherto it is thought that he makes more for the field than for flight, especially by sea, yet his forces are so slender that it is looked that he shall shortly give place and cover himself amongst his friends and allies until he may be delivered by the Spanish power, (in whom the Papists still trust, and look to see them here before or near Easter next), or else obtain remission for his fault.
The other day the King quietly by message appointed the Laird of Spynie to come to him in the fields at hunting, which put the Duke of Lennox in such passion that he would have hazarded to slay Spynie that afternoon if he had not been withdrawn by the earnest persuasion of his friends. For this the King's countenance is much changed against the Duke, for he has said that he will not have his servant "pulled from by bostes" [sic]. The Duke sent some barons to inform the King that Spynie had so far wronged him that he could not with any honour abide the sight of him without revenge. Therefore he prayed that if the King would keep Spynie in Court, he would license him to depart out of the realm; and if the King should resolve to entertain Spynie, that yet, for this time and for the Duke's honour, Spynie might be dismissed the Court until the Duke made provision for his departure. These last two days this matter has offered great occasion and expectation of troubles near the Court and in the streets, and the bands and parties were great on both sides, whereby many feared that these new storms should have put out of memory and speedy execution the pursuit intended against the conspirators for Spain. Therefore, to stay this fury, I readily persuaded Lord Hamilton, favouring the party of Spynie, to "ridd" (fn. 33) his hands therein, so that Spynie departed and passed over the water yesternight, and this broil is for this time appeased.
I have heard that some for Huntly will sue "to" the King to defer his entry into ward until 15th February next, at which time the assurance betwixt him and Atholl shall expire, and thereon he may have good excuse to enter into ward. But there is so little hope in this suit that it is thought it shall proceed no further.
Some advice was given in Council for general agreements and reconciliations amongst the nobility and others, but this was suspected to be intended not so much for the expedition of this raid against Huntly and Errol, (as is pretended), as cunningly to give advantage to them; therefore it is stayed. Pitlurg lately soliciting the King for Huntly, received his answer on the 27th hereof and passed over the water. He was so pursued to have been slain that he was driven to hide himself in Kinghorn (Kincorne), where the Laird of Findlater's servants and friends rescued him.
So many impediments hinder the good examination and trial of these treasons and conspiracies with Spain and the punishment of the offenders that most of the well affected in Council, ministry and this burgh have very earnestly entreated me by the best means I can to hasten the coming of such as it shall please her Majesty to send hither, so that the best effects may be furthered in these behalfs, and therewith they wish that the person may be so well chosen that his countenance and qualities may the better advance the cause. All which I commend to your lordship's knowledge that by your good means at her Majesty's hands this weakness may be supplied and this service be cared for and put in execution with all possible diligence. Edinburgh. Signed: Robert Bowes.
22/3 pp. Addressed. Endorsed by Burghley's clerk.
16. Things Confessed by George Ker. [Jan. 29.]
"20 Jan. '92. Confessyd by George Carre."
Crichton and Tyrie, Scottish Jesuits in Spain, certified James Gordon, in Scotland, that the King of Spain was content to send money and forces if they would procure the King's assurance of noblemen in Scotland for his satisfaction. Gordon got blanks subscribed by noblemen, as was desired, to the end Crichton, Tyrie and the trusty party therewith sent into Spain might fill them to answer fully the King's mind in all things. He procured these blanks at the hands of Angus, Huntly, Errol and Auchendoun, [and] delivered them to George Ker to be carried into Spain. [The two blanks with the four signatures were to be filled as a commission to himself, and an assurance to the King of Spain. Others were to be commendations of the cause to the Pope and other potentates; to move the King of Spain to send an ambassador to Scotland, and an army for the aid of Catholics in England: as in the preceding.]
The remainder of this document recapitulates very briefly the substance of the preceding: proposed removal of Fintry stayed by Bowes, and consequent anger against him. Conference of Errol and Huntly at Aberdeen. Belief that Huntly will flee into Caithness. Desire that Queen of England would send some ship there.
Errol has levied money on mortgages of land. Broil between Lennox and Spynie.
2½ pp. Endorsed. Rough notes, with corrections.
17. James VI. to Burghley. [Jan. 30.]
" The berare, Williame Scot, marchant of our burgh of Kirkcaldy, traffiqueing for certane marchandis of Londoun in the ilandis of Asores, within the dominioun of Spayne, quhair he had continewit the space of foure or fyve yeiris, to thair greit gayne and contentment, sa it is that about the moneth of July, 1589, he being at the yle of Sanctmichaell with ane of his schippis, callit the Cristipher, laidin with wyne and salt, it happynnit the Erll of Cummerland thair to arryve, and tak twa Portingall barkis, quhom our said subject propyning with sum fresche wynis and watter, quhilk cuming to the knawlege of the governour of that iland, he wes apprehendit, cassin and detinit in prissoun the space of twa yeiris and ane halff, to his great greif and truble, and in the meantyme the maister and marineris of his said schip depairtit and past with hir and her laidning toward Londoun, quhair certane marchantis thairof, (heiring of his calamitie, and thinking him evir unhable to escape the tyranny of they mercyles strangearis), wranguslie mellit with his guidis and arreistit his schip within the rever; and now hearing of his releiff and addres thair, for recoverie of the same his schip and guidis be way of justice, they have resolved to challange him as debtfull to thame in certane sowmes of money, and be that indirect meane, sen he is a strangear unable to satisfie thame with souirtie thair as the ordour requiris, be his imprissonment to evacuat his lawfull sute, and consequentlie to hinder him in performyng his uther effaires, in quhilk consideratioun, and that he is ane of gude accompt and credeit," we are moved to request you to intercede with her Majesty to grant him protection and licence to resort in London and all other parts of her dominions for prosecution of his affairs without molestation. Holyrood House. Signed: James R.
1 p. Addressed. Endorsed by Burghley's clerk. Part of seal.