Calendar of State Papers, Scotland: Volume 11, 1593-1595. Originally published by Edinburgh, 1936.
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James VI, February 1593
18. Robert Bowes to Burghley. [Feb. 3.] Saturday, at midnight.
Last week the King travailed earnestly with his Council and by many means sought to draw Mr. George Carr to reveal plainly the truth of the conspiracies with Spain. At length, and with great difficulty, he is brought, with some small taste of the torture and in fear of greater pains, this afternoon to disclose the particularities of the treasons and the persons of the traitors more sincerely than hitherto he has done, for now he has both detected Angus, Huntly, Errol, Auchindoun and Fintry to be guilty of those treasons, but also will give up the names of others privy and parties therein. Amongst these there is one especial person of quality about the King whom he will not name to the examiners. Nevertheless he has written his name and sent it "close" to the King, who at this present is not advertised of the success of the labours of this day, and all things are sealed up and kept secret, to be delivered to him this night or to-morrow, and it is promised that after he shall be fully acquainted therewith then I shall have a view of Carr's depositions, which I shall thereon "advertise" to your lordship.
Huntly and Errol will not enter into ward at St. Andrews on the 5th instant. The King has appointed the Earl of Rothes, Lord Sinclair, the Comptroller, the Secretary and Mr. Peter Young to attend at St. Andrews at the time limited [i.e. appointed], and to witness and record their default. Owing to bleeding at the nose, I am not able to write at such length as I ought of matters brought to me from such as have dealt with Huntly and Errol, and from others, therefore I defer the report till I send the certificate of Carr's depositions.
Sir John Carmichael, returning this evening from the Borders, has given the King to understand that Bothwell, accompanied with good forces, has crossed the Tweed and is coming towards Edinburgh, whereupon the King's house is fortified with an extraordinary guard of this town for this night. Edinburgh. Signed: Robert Bowes.
11/8 pp. Addressed. Endorsed by Burghley's clerk.
19. H. Maynard to Mr. English. [Feb. 3.]
Mr. English, my lord has required me to set down a note of such sums of money as have been sent into Scotland for five or six years past, which I cannot well do for want of my books, all being at the Court saving the last, and therefore I pray you to help me herein. You need to set down only the years and the sums. Signed: H. Maynard.
(Mr. English to H. Maynard.)
To Mr. Secretary Davison by a privy seal dated 6th October xxvii Regine, to be employed as he has order from her Majesty, without prest or account —1000l.
To him more in like sort by a privy seal dated the 18th January anno xxix Regine—500l.
To Mr. Secretary Walsingham in like form, 9th October anno xxix—500l.
To him more 24th December anno xxx—500l.
To Sir William Read to be conveyed to the Earl of Huntingdon, and to be issued as he has direction from her Majesty, 13th August anno xxx— 6000l.
To him 27th March anno xxx—500l.
To Robert Bowes, esquire, by the hands of Robert Carvell, to be employed as he is directed from her Majesty or her Privy Council, with 20l. for the exchange of the same into gold, and carriage thereof to Berwick, 15th June anno xxx Regine—2020l.
[Some entries follow which do not refer to money sent to Scotland. In margin: Pro Rege Portingalie.]
To Robert Bowes, to be employed in her Majesty's special service as he shall have order from the Lord Treasurer, with 30l for carriage of the same, 27th April anno xxxj Regine—3030l.
To John Colvile, to the use of the King of Scots, 9th December anno xxxij —3000l.
To John Carmichael, to the use of the Scottish King, 21st June anno xxxij—500l.
To him more, 2nd July dicto anno—3000l.
To James Hudson, to the use of the Scottish King, ultimo Maii anno xxxiij Regine—3000l.
To the said James, 18th July anno xxxiiij—2000l.
Sir, whether any of these sums paid to Mr. Secretary were for the said King or not, I know not, neither any other of the former warrants, wherein I have not set down the certainty of the same. But these are all I can gather to be for the causes aforesaid within this time you require to have a note of. [Unsigned.]
1¾ pp. The items of expenditure are noted at the foot and on the back of Maynard's letter. Endorsed by Maynard, who was Burghley's clerk.
20. Confession of George Ker. [Feb. 5.] Printed in Warrender Papers, ii. 201.
Mr. George Carr, sworn and re-examined in presence of the Laird of Ormiston, Justice Clerk and Mr. William Hart, Justice depute, depones that he received the credit from the noblemen themselves when he spoke with them last; that the two blanks subscribed by all four should have been filled at the discretion of Mr. William Crichton; that he knows nothing of the noblemen's intention at the "rode of Fawklande"; that the three noblemen subscribers acted for "the haile Catholique concurrance in this cause," and thought it meet for the greater secrecy that no other bands should be craved; that his credit he shall explain in writing to his Majesty "at afternoone"; that he knew no other person "uppon this partye" but the noblemen subscribers; that the army should have entrenched itself where they landed and made sure both the ships and themselves.
½ p. Copy. In the hands of Bowes's clerk.
21. George Ker to James VI. [c. Feb. 5.] Printed in Warrender Papers, ii. 188.
From my declaration of the 3rd and instant of this month your Majesty has learned "the haile platt" of my errand under two heads. My Lord Justice Clerk in your Majesty's name has craved more ample discourse in writing anent Fintry's part since the particular conference betwixt the noblemen and me. As for my credit, it was not infinite. It "consistit in that was expected be men and moyan fra Spaine for the advancement of the Catholique religion in this countrye," and the concurrence of the noblemen in an invasion of England. In this point I was instructed to declare that it should be without prejudice to your Majesty's titles. The other head, anent this country, they hoped to perform with your Majesty's own consent. They did not mean blood, unless they were first "invadit." As to the Laird of Fintry, he, being in ward, could be no dealer in this turn. What was betwixt him and me I pray to conceal until I speak with your Majesty's self.
I thank your Majesty for your assurance, although I am discouraged by the aversion of your presence from me. I trust that you will grant this afterward; and in the meantime that my ward may be somewhat enlarged, under caution, within this town. May this fault be excused as my first against your Majesty. "Sit erranti medicina confessio." To satisfy your Majesty on one point: it is true that I "proponit" the matter once to Fintry. He answered in effect that he was glad Mr. James Gordon had not made him privy to it. He let me not know that he understood further.
1 p. Copy. In the hand of Bowes's clerk.
22. Payments to the King of Scots. [Feb. 6.]
|15 June anno 30, 1588. To Mr. Robert Bowes by the hands of Robert Carvel for the King of Scots, with £20 for the exchange thereof into gold||£2020|
|27 April anno 31, 1589 (fn. 1)||£3030|
|9 Dec. anno 32, 1589||£3000|
|21 June anno 32, 1590||£500|
|2 July anno 32, 1590||£3000|
|ult. May anno 33,1591||£3000|
|18 July anno 34, 1592||£2000|
½ p. In the hand of Burghley's clerk [Maynard] and endorsed by him: "vj° Feb. 1592. Paymentes to the use of the King of Scottes from the 15 of June anno xxxmo—16550l."
23. Confession of George Ker. [Feb. 6.] Printed in Warrender Papers, ii. 201–2.
Mr. George Carr, sworn and "re-examinate" depones that at his last speaking with Fintry in Stirling Castle he enquired of him if he knew anything of the letter received by Mr. James Gordon from Mr. William Crichton. He answered that he knew nothing. I enquired if he was privy to his dealings with the noblemen. He answered that he was not, and that he was glad that Mr. James "obscured it" from him.
That in Edinburgh about the time of the Parliament he entered with Sir James Chisholm anent this errand; that Chisholm obtained the French blanks from Angus and Errol in their own lodgings and had the first credit of that errand; that the blanks were procured at the Parliament, the credit thereof received by the deponer from the two noblemen themselves in October; that he "suted not" Angus's letter himself but that it was brought by Abercromby; that the noblemen's credit was an assurance that they would meet the army at landing, raise horsemen for conveying it to England and assist those left behind for the subversion of religion in Scotland; that he knows not perfectly who are the writers of the letters subscribed by Henry Gilbert and John Cargill; that Abercromby told him that the letter in Italian was by an Englishman; that in October last he communed with Sir James Chisholm in his own house anent "the haile headis" of the despatch; that he knows no other dealers in this purpose than the noblemen subscribers, the Jesuits, Sir James Chisholm and himself. "Subscryvit in this manner, George Carr."
¾ p. In the hands of Bowes's clerk. Endorsed by Burghley.
24. Robert Bowes to Burghley. [Feb. 6.]
It has been earnestly debated by the King and Council whether Mr. George Carr in his examination of these high treasons ought to be put to the torture, and albeit he had many friends in Council standing stiffly for him, yet the King prevailed with plurality of votes to ordain that he should be tortured. For the execution whereof the King and Council appointed sundry commissioners, who were found loth to proceed in that charge, in regard that few or none of the nobility or Council would assist them, so that the feud of the parties grieved with their act should fall wholly on them. The King therefore was "occasioned" to repair twice last week to the Tolbooth to press the commissioners to go forward, and thereby they let Carr taste of the torture of the boots, which readily wrought him to lay aside his former obstinacy, and with promise of his life upon his sincere discovery of the truth to confess the matters recorded by the commissioners and certified to the King, who yesternight, by Roger Aston, sent me a copy of the same, which I enclose [i.e. the preceding]. I find the King and Council more willing thus to acquaint me with the depositions of the examinates than to admit me to the examinations. Nevertheless, I have furnished the commissioners with some especial interrogatories to be ministered to the deponents.
Carr remains willing to reveal all particularities in his knowledge, acknowledging that the Earls have not only told him that all the nobility, except six or such a small number, would "partye" them either in the love of the Romish religion or else in the present malcontentment and feud reigning amongst them, but also named many whom they esteemed to be sure to them, yet he knows not whether these persons are privy with them in these actions; and he offers to disclose their names to the King, or as he shall appoint.
Albeit he is very loth to accuse the Laird of Fintry in particular manner, yet he grants that he was privy to these practices and a great actor therein; and now Fintry is to be examined. And Carr has "uttered" that Sir James Chisholme, one of the Masters of the Household to the King, procured two of the blanks at the hands of Angus and Errol, as in his confession is set down, yet without the naming of Sir James, who now is sent for, and who, it is thought, will not enter if he can otherwise escape and provide for himself.
The King is desirous to proceed in the trial and execution of some of these conspirators in ward before the entry of his raid into the north against Huntly, Errol and Auchindoun. [Marginal note in Burghley's hand: "This wold be furdered."] But divers difficulties will be found therein. He is resolutely purposed to proceed in the raid on the 15th hereof; to receive into his company no suspected person; to grant no exemption from service, except to those with licence from the Justice Clerk, Clerk Register and Sir John Carmichael; and he appears determined to pursue Huntly and all the rest with all severity; so that the ministers and people beholding his present forwardness are greatly comforted, rejoice and honour him highly in the same.
The King and Council have been given to think that Huntly, Errol and Auchindoun would not enter ward at St. Andrews on the 5th. Nevertheless order is given to the Earl of Rothes, Lord Sinclair, the Secretary and Mr. Peter Young to attend at the time and place appointed to receive them, or otherwise to record their defaults. [In the margin: "I ame presentlie advertysed that they have made defaulte yesterday and did not enter."]
Huntly and Errol have severally written to the King, the Duke and others in Court seeking that the day for their entry into ward may be prolonged, but their suits are utterly rejected. I have been credibly informed that Huntly once intended to come privily to the King and reveal all plainly to him with the intent thereby to redeem his life. But Errol, espying the same, has stayed him, and with the advice of Mr. James Gordon (who for his own safety continues in Huntly's company) has persuaded Huntly to take such part with him and the rest as should be found most safe and commodious. Herein the Earl of Caithness came to them at Aberdeen, where they have resolved (as I am advertised by my "familliar" who has spoken with themselves and the Jesuits) that upon the King's raid they will withdraw them and their especial friends, guilty in these treasons and in the slaughter of Murray, into Caithness to shroud themselves there during the King's abode in those quarters; and upon his departure, to return to their houses should they be able to recover the possession thereof by force; otherwise to take their voyage by sea to Bergen (Berone) in Norway, and from thence to some other port or place suitable for their passing into Spain, that they may return with Spanish navy and forces for this realm next summer. They are in hope to find relief, (as I am informed), if they are able to remain two or three months in this realm. For they have devised, with the means of their friends about the King and in the country, to draw the King to such place as they may obtain possession of his person. This plot is so far discovered to me, and I shall so seasonably impart the same, that the danger may be easily prevented.
For the transportation as well into Caithness as also to other places they have prepared a ship lying at Peterhead, twelve miles beyond Aberdeen, and within three miles of Slains, Errol's house, where presently most of the Jesuits and Papist Englishmen in this realm are resident, and ready to flee. Albeit I had hunted out their secret dens, where Mr. James Gordon and Mr. Robert Abercromby, the chief instruments in this conspiracy, were concealed, whereby I hoped that Atholl should readily have surprised them, yet now I perceive them so warned and provided that hardly can they be entrapped: in which behalf, nevertheless, no diligence shall be wanting. Huntly, Errol and the other Jesuits earnestly wish and daily look for the return of Mr. David Lawe, trusting that he shall bring them comfort. But some of the Jesuits, hearing that two ships with Spanish wares and some gold are distressed and by tempest put in at Holme Cultram (Holme), in Cumberland, and Pelafodery, in Lancashire, are much troubled therewith, doubting that some merchandise, as they term it, coming to them and to have landed at Kirkcudbright (Kirkowbraye), shall be intercepted; and it is suspected by many here that those vessels were sent to sound these seas and coast for the better convoy of the navy intending to come to Kirkcudbright, as Carr has deposed. Wherein, if your lordship pleases to employ Richard Booke of Carlisle, a man skilful in such services, for the search in these behalfs, he shall, I trust, serve well and diligently in the same.
The other day the King had purposed to have ridden to the Chancellor at Lethington, but the Council and courtiers, being jealous thereof, stayed his journey. The King is made to think that Bothwell has returned into these parts; that he was in Edinburgh on 30th January last and secretly withdrew upon hearing of the King's coming; that he and his companies have been seen about this town in the night; and that he goes about again to surprise the King if he can. Herewith the King is greatly grieved, longing to hear what order her Majesty has taken for the restraint of Bothwell in England and for the punishment of his receivers. In this behalf he looks to receive good satisfaction by her Majesty's ambassador, who is heartily wished to be here some days before the King's raid into the north.
By occasion of these great affairs the King cannot pick out any fit time and leisure to answer her Majesty's late letters to him; and purposing still to send a fit person to her very shortly, he has earnestly prayed me to excuse the delay of his letters, which he will send to her Majesty with the person thus to be employed.
The other day Lord Maxwell, claiming the title of the Earl of Morton, had taken the place in the church next to myself and above the Earl of Morton, to whom, at his coming to the seat, Maxwell would not yield place. Whereupon some stir fell out in the church, and the noblemen in the town so flocked to "partye" their friends that the alarm was great, and yet soon ended without any blood or hurt. Lord Hamilton and some others "partyed" Maxwell, but many of the nobility, barons and town resorted to Morton. The parties were commanded to keep their lodgings some few days. Now Maxwell has departed without any order taken in the matter, which lies open at the next occasion to work like or worse effects.
Moreover, hearing that the borderers in the West Wardenry of Scotland day and night committed great outrages in the West Marches of England, I obtained an order from the King to Maxwell, Warden of the West Marches of Scotland, both to deliver and clear all prisoners and their bonds unlawfully taken and detained, and also to keep the ordinary meetings and do justice for preservation of the peace on the Borders and amity betwixt these realms. Peace cannot be preserved except these continual outrages of the Scots be restrained by order or "refused" by force.
In the redresses to be given for goods and gear wrongfully taken the King calls earnestly for delivery of the English offenders at Falkland, and unless he be satisfied therein the course of justice will be greatly hindered. He seeks the delivery of some of the offenders at the raid of Falkland rather for his honour than payment of the bills exhibited, surmounting 13,000l. sterling. If, therefore, some of those "faultours" at Falkland should be delivered to him it is thought that he would be soon appeased, and that upon submission they might escape severe punishment in regard that the King has pardoned the most of the other offenders of this nation, and by their means the impediment of these great bills, hindering justice, should be best removed. The Lord Maxwell has liberally promised to the King and to myself, who much blamed him in this behalf, to do his whole endeavour for the peace. But if her Majesty or Council take not timely order for the bills of Falkland, or other course, small redress will be given to the Warden of the West Marches of England, wherein I trust these and my former [letters] shall suffice to procure the expedition of the order requisite.
Since John Gelstern is contented to assign to others his office of comptroller of the customs in Berwick, lately given by your lordship to him, and for which I was a humble suitor in behalf of John Walker, my servant and clerk, and son of William Walker, late comptroller of the customs of Berwick, therefore I beseech you that this office may now be got to my servant. Christopher Sheperson shall attend to know your good pleasure herein. Edinburgh. Signed: Robert Bowes.
32/3 pp. No fly-leaf or address. Endorsed by Burghley's clerk.
Enclosure with the same.
(Confession of George Carr.) Printed in Warrender Papers, ii. 199–200n; with differences.
Mr. George Ker, sworn and examined in presence of the Justice Clerk and Mr. George Young, depones that Mr. William Crichtoun having been in Spain these two years bygone directed home last Marche a gentleman called Gordon with letters and credit to Mr. James Gordon "to let him and the rest of his Societie understand quhat travell he had tane sen his remayning with the King of Spayne in his negotiatioun, and how the King had opynnit to him how he had bene deccavit be Englishmen of before, and wald fra that furth imbrace the advise and way quhilk the said Mr. Williame sould lay out unto him baith for invading of the realme of England and altering of the religioun within this realm. For the effectuating quhairof it was cravit be Mr. William that he mycht have send to him als many blankis and procurationis within this realme as mycht be a sufficient asseurance of his traffique with the said King. Quhilkis were obtenit and delyverit be Mr. James Gordoun to the deponer to have bene careit thether, that be the foresaid gentilman the said Mr. Williame asseuris for the King of Spaynis parte that, the saidis blankis being send thether, ane puissant army should this nixt spring be sent in England to the nomber of thretty thousand men, quhairof four or fyve thousand sould be directed to remane within this realme, the haill to have landit in Kirkcudbrycht or in Clyde; that thir blankis were procurit of the subscryveris and delyverit to Mr. James Gordoun, quha then was myndit to have been himselff the carier; that Mr. James him selff was the procurer of the erle of Huntleyis twa; that the twa subscryvit severally be the erlis of Angus and Erroll in Latine were procurit of thame be Mr. Robert Abercrumby at thair being in Edinburgh at the last Parliament; that the uther two subscryvit in Frenshe be the saidis twa erlis were obtenit of thame in Edinburgh in October last be a gentilman quhais name he wald declare privilie to his Majesty; that the twa subscryvit be Angus, Huntlie, Erroll and Achindoun were first subscryvit be the erle of Huntlie and the Laird of Achindoun, and thairefter careit be the said Abercrumby to the uther noblemen, and thair subscriptionis thairto procurit be him; that at his meting with Mr. James Gordoun at Dumbartane he was persuadit be him to be the carier of the saidis blankis and utheris lettres intercepted; that the saidis blankis sould have bene filled with his recommendatioun and credite to the King of Spayne, the Pape and uther potentates of the league. The twa subscryvit be all four sould have beine filled with quhatsumever sould have been thocht meit be Mr. Williame Creichtoun for the avowance of that quhilk he had in directioun and credite of the noblemen subscryveris.
"That his credite was to have asseured that King that the noblemen subscryveris sould have mett the army at thair landing and sould have assisted the same with the haill force of horsemen they were able to mak or raise upoun the King of Spaynis chargis; that they sould fortifie sic as were to be left behinde with all the power of their freindis and favoraris to the subversioun of the religioun presentlie professit and erectioun of the Romishe.
"Deponis lykewayse that thair deseng was that before the landing of the army ane great quantitie of money sould have bene sent hame be Mr. William Creichtoun to have bene imployit upon the taking up of forces for assisting sic as were to be left behind within this realme, quha sould inmediatlie have preissit to thair intendit reformatioun; that he spak with the saidis Erlis of Angus and Erroll here in Edinburgh, and from thame selffis resavit the deponit credite; that the thrie noblemen subscryveris tuke upoun thame and interponit thair credite be the saidis blankis for the concurrence of the haill catholiques in this realme in the said cause, and thocht it meit amang thame selffis that, for the greater secrecie, nane uther subscryptions sould be cravit bot thair thrie."
2¼ pp. In a Scottish hand. Endorsed by Bowes's clerk: "Coppie of the confession of Mr. Geo. Carr taken 3° Februar. 1592. Delivered unto me 5° Februarii at night."
25. Instructions for Mr. Lock. [Feb. 10.]
It may be secretly given to the E[arl] B[othwell] to understand that her Majesty likes so well of his offers, being but in a generality to do good service to his King and country, that already she has notified the same to the King, and has required him to consider what profit he may receive by shewing him mercy and taking profit of his offers. But hitherto her Majesty has found the King so hardly bent and unwilling to hear thereof that he has in some passion said that he will rather break the amity than suffer her to favour Bothwell. Yet nevertheless her Majesty now sends the Lord Burgh to renew this matter to the King, with signification of her opinion that he may take more profit by the Earl's life than by prosecution of him to extremities.
And because the King has alleged that her Majesty has received the Earl and given her warrant to her officers to receive him contrary to the treaties, her Majesty avows such information to be false, and therefore the Earl must be entreated that, until she learns the result of these her motions now to be made by Lord Burgh, he bear patiently her abstaining from giving him any succour or direct relief. But if the King shall persist in peremptory refusal to hearken to the Earl's offers, if he shall perform them to the benefit of the King and both the countries, her Majesty, being informed from the Earl of the truth and particularities of his offers, will, according as she shall perceive the same beneficial to both the countries—though the King shall neglect his own estate—have regard to the preservation of the Earl's life, and to provide that he shall not perish or be by force surprised to the danger of his life. Therefore the Earl must particularly inform her Majesty by some secret writing to herself in what sort he is able to procure such services for both the realms, so that she may be duly persuaded of the truth and probability thereof, and thereby with her conscience be the bolder to relieve him notwithstanding the King's offence [i.e. dislike], since she is persuaded that he is nourished therein rather by the malice of the Earl's enemies than by his own disposition. You shall require the Earl to attempt no new act to cause any further offence to be taken by the King until the Lord Burgh shall return with the King's answer.
2¼ pp. Draft in Burghley's hand. Endorsed by Burghley's clerk: "10 Feb. 1592. Mr. Lockes instructions."
Copy of the same. Cott. Calig., D.ii. fol. 57.
26. A Memorial for Lord Burgh. [c. Feb.12] (fn. 2) Cott. Calig., D.ii. fol. 76; transcript in Harl. MSS. 4648, p. 109.
You will remember that her Majesty in conference with you showed that she had certain knowledge of sundry notable conspiracies lately discovered in Scotland with purpose to make a party for the King of Spain in Scotland, to invade England etc. The King, being made privy of the discovery of these conspiracies, has shewed himself outwardly greatly to mislike thereof, and has protested to those of his Council who are well affected to religion and the amity that he will not only prosecute by all good means the further discovery of these dangerous practices, but also cause the same to be sharply corrected by due punishment of the offenders without respect of persons. But forasmuch as the state of Scotland is so subject to change, and it is thought that the number of the secret conspirators is so many and yet unknown and that many of them dissemble their purpose with pretence to serve the King, and that his good servants lack his countenance which it is meet they should have for the rooting out of this conspiracy, therefore her Majesty thought it convenient by sundry letters of princely and friendly advice to animate the King to do that therein which belongs to a sovereign prince; that is, without respect of persons to minister justice without delay and let his subjects feel that God has not given him the sword in vain. For the prosecution of the rebels to some speedy and good end, her Majesty sends you, Lord Burgh, to solicit and animate him and all his noblemen and good counsellors to proceed without delay.
Item:—For the manner how you shall proceed herein, it is necessary to be informed by Mr. Robert Bowes, the resident ambassador, of the estate of things at your coming. Thereupon it shall seem necessary for you upon advisement with Mr. Bowes in her Majesty's name to solicit the King to perform what he has promised, letting him to know that otherwise he shall grow in contempt with his evil subjects and draw the love of his good servants to be subject to the malice of such as seek their overthrow, and force him either not to reign at all or else to reign only precario modo et non regio. And herein you may move the King to follow the example of her Majesty, who for these 34 years could never suffer any subject, were he never so great, to disobey her commandments, whereby he may see the peaceable government she has had in her realm far beyond any of her progenitors, and otherwise than any other princes, her neighbours, have enjoyed. You may also let the King understand that for proof of these conspiracies her Majesty has the confessions of sundry English traitors above a month past, and now in prison here. (fn. 3) You shall also be informed of such noblemen and good counsellors as have showed themselves faithful and stout in this action, and you shall take occasion to give them her Majesty's commendations and animate them to continue in the same.
You shall also confer with Mr. Bowes who of the King's Council may be most secretly and conveniently dealt withal by you and him to cause an association to be made of the principal noblemen and other men of good quality and valour, well affected to religion and the amity, by which they might by consent of the King bind themselves fast together by their writings and their oaths to serve the King against all his disobedient subjects and to maintain the established religion and the amity. The ambassador can inform you that this manner of action is not strange in Scotland, for it is very usual there to make bands of mutual defence and offence, with a colourable clause added commonly thereunto that the same be not any way prejudicial to the King's service. None can better further the compassing of this association than the principal ministers and preachers that are in credit with the King; and Mr. Bowes knows all their dispositions how they can be dealt withal. And herein some circumspection and secrecy must be used that the King and that party may not know that it comes from you or the ambassador; but, if it be propounded by others, you may in speeches with the King take knowledge thereof and allow it as a thing very good for his own surety, and as a comfort to his best servants and a discouraging to his enemies at home and abroad.
Furthermore, you shall directly avow in her Majesty's name that she did never show Bothwell any manner of favour since his offence against the King; yet his followers have caused information to be given her that the Earl was able to do him special service, if the King would let him have the ordinary trial of his realm. He protests that he never entertained any hurt to the King's person in the attempts at Holyroodhouse and Falkland, and that he had the assent of sundry noblemen of great authority therein. In conclusion, his motions to her Majesty have been to let the King understand that his offers are to discover and break off this confederacy, the rather that he seemed to be participant thereof in former times, and refused to enter therein.
These things her Majesty, without any respect or favour to Bothwell, thought good to impart to the King for his own interest, to consider whether the Earl should not do better service living than if he should lose his life by execution. Moreover she perceives that he is like to prolong himself from that peril either by secret maintenance in Scotland or by fleeing out of the realm. To this purpose her Majesty wrote to the King heretofore, but has received no answer. But of late by her ambassador (who put the King in mind of that letter) she is informed that he had in some sort forgotten the contents thereof and would make some answer shortly. If this be not done at your coming you shall put him in remembrance to do so.
And because such as have informed the King that her Majesty warranted Bothwell's resort in England have informed him falsely out of malice, she requires him to charge the informers therewith and to cause them to deliver the same to him in the presence of her ambassador with the pretences of their said information, so that upon due examination of Bothwell's resetters it shall manifestly appear that she has been free thereof, and the informers be punished according to their deserts. (fn. 4) And to prove that she did not give warrant for his receiving you shall have the letter of Thomas Musgrave to the Vice-chamberlain who had forbidden him in her Majesty's name to deal with him; which letter you may show to the King. (fn. 4)
Item:—You shall understand by the ambassador what persons of good quality favour the amity and continuance of religion, and let them know how acceptable their service is to her Majesty, and require them to persist therein. Among such noblemen the ambassador will inform you of Lord John Hamilton, but in respect of the jealousy conceived against him as an heir apparent to that crown, you shall forbear to deal in any open sort with him otherwise than with others. Yet by some trusty, interposed persons whom the ambassador will devise, you shall assure him of her Majesty's favour and good will; and you shall wish him to carry his actions in such discreet manner that his adversaries may not take any advantage of his seeking to advance his title to the miscontentment of the King.
Next to him, the Earl of Atholl is one of the principal noblemen that favour the maintenance of religion and amity and is most able to serve in the prosecution of the late conspiracy. Upon opportunity you shall deliver him special commendations from her Majesty with assurance of her favour. And the ambassador may "as of himself" give him knowledge that you are descended by blood out of his house, "for which purpose" you have the honour to carry his arms as an heir of lands in England which you now possess, descended from some of his blood. Being thus informed by the ambassador, it is likely he will the rather accept your friendship in very good part.
You shall understand that there are two lords not so well affected as they pretended at their late being in England. One is Lord Hume, a great lord "towardes" the east borders, and the other Lord Herries (Harris), a man of good value upon the west. Both had her Majesty's licence to come out of the Low Countries into England and were favourably admitted into her presence; and though there was cause to suspect that at their being with the Duke of Parma they had been enticed to become Spanish in affection and ill-disposed to the amity, yet each of them in a long communication apart with her Majesty made most earnest protestation of devotion and of their good offices upon the frontiers, so that she was pleased to accept the same very kindly and ordered them to be honourably used. Yet her Majesty perceives by her ambassador that they take a contrary course in all their actions and show themselves so forward that she has cause to think that when overseas they were corrupted to the Spanish faction. As proof of this the King informed the ambassador of some overtures from Parma to break with England. The message was brought (as is suspected) by Herries, although the King has hitherto concealed his name, but promised upon conference with the party to let her Majesty understand the whole purpose. You may do well to "remember" this to the King and require him to discover the matter further. Let him know that her Majesty leaves it to his judgment to discern by their actions how they are to be trusted upon their word. If any of them shall come into your company you may tell them that her Majesty requires them to examine their consciences, whether they have since their return performed their assurances made to her. If they have not or shall not, she doubts not but that God will revenge their ill actions and frustrate their intentions. But if they shall perform their promises, she shall think them worthy and they shall find it better for themselves to follow the King than to be carried away by foreign promises.
Furthermore, as to the persons worthy of reward for their travails in discovering the conspiracy, you shall be informed by the ambassador who these persons be, what services they have done, and at what charges to themselves; and what might be convenient rewards for the time, to be secretly bestowed upon them so that the same should not be known to the King nor others that might charge them to be mercenaries to England. Thereafter you shall with speed by post certify her Majesty of all particularities requisite, without giving them any assurance of any specialities. And you may be bold to say both to the King and his trustiest counsellors that she is informed that their Warden animates the disordered persons to make these incursions by day and night.
The Cotton MS. ends here on an unfinished page.
Furthermore, if the King looks to receive some answer about the gratuity, you may say that her Majesty thinks that he is moved by some that bear no good will to the amity. If they that advise him to mislike of the diminution of 1000l. this last year were disposed to consider the excessive charges she has been at, they should have reason to move him to bear with her in these great extremities. Nevertheless she minds not to neglect his estate whensoever he shall have necessity. And if you shall find him not satisfied with this answer, you may put him in hope that she will strain herself to satisfy him as far as his affairs can suffer her [etc., with specification of sums already granted as in Nos. 19, 22].
You shall understand that her Majesty is advertised by letters from Mr. Lowther, Warden of the West Borders, that a great number of the opposite borders have made of late divers incursions into England, against which the Warden has made provision to withstand them, although it is likely that if these incursions should continue it would bring on a war rather than an ordinary defence. The Warden has advertised Mr. Bowes, who doubtless will deal therein with the King; but you shall do well upon conference with the ambassador to open to the King these great insolences, and earnestly press him to send some person better disposed to the amity than the Warden there is to procure reformation. Of this matter also you shall do well to treat with such of the Council as you shall understand to be well-disposed to the amity to move them to take some care of this, lest it be an occasion of trouble.
10½ pp. Unfinished. Notes in Burghley's hand.
27. Four Ministers of Fife to the Privy Council of England. [Feb. 14.]
They write in favour of the bearer, William Scott, merchant and skipper in Kirkcaldy, [as in No. 16], beseeching the Privy Council to show him their "wontit favour, extendit to utheris our cuntrie men of befoir at our request." Having obtained her Majesty's protection, Scott shall be content to give lawful satisfaction for all causes whatsoever before he depart the country. Edinburgh. Signed: M. Andro Lamb, Minister of the Evangell at Brunteland; M. David Spens, Minister of the Ewangell at Kirkcaldie; M. William Murray, Minister of the Evangell at Dysart; M. Thomas Biggar, Minister of the Evangell at Kingorine.
1 p. Autograph signatures. Addressed. Endorsed by Burghley's clerk.
28. Robert Bowes to Burghley. [Feb. 14.]
According to the direction of her Majesty's Council I have sent to Lord Burgh the King's safe-conduct for his entry into and abode in Scotland. The King wished to have seen his lordship here before his departure against Angus, Huntly, Errol and Auchindoun, but now, fearing to find the countries wherein he must travel to be wasted by the late troubles betwixt Atholl and Huntly, he is loth that Burgh and his company should be wearied with the evil and hard entertainment to be got there; nevertheless he leaves it to Lord Burgh's choice to spend some days at Berwick or in this town until he return, or to come to him in this journey.
The King purposes to depart on the 16th instant, thinking to find little impediment by his rebels, yet sundry men of experience are not void of fear of some strange events to succeed [i.e. to happen] in this raid. But the King frames himself not only to pursue the rebels and take their houses into his possession, but also to keep justice courts for punishment of the saying and hearing of mass with the abuse of the sacraments, for "receipt" of Jesuits, for the treasons done at the Bridge of Dee and not yet pardoned, for the slaughter of the Earl of Murray and "receytt" of the persons guilty thereof, and for the slaughter of John Keith when Huntly practised to have killed the Earl Marishal.
It is said that Huntly and Errol have now chosen rather to shroud themselves with the Earl of Sutherland than with Caithness, in regard that Caithness has refused, and Sutherland shows no goodwill, to entertain them. Therefore provision is made, as I am informed, that they shall be received by M'Lean into the island of Carndburgh, a very strong place amongst the West Isles, where they will await to be rescued by the Spaniards, and to be brought to liberty and to their desires by their friends obtaining for them the possession of the King's person, which, it is thought, shall be weakly defended against them since the force of the barons and burghs comforted by the Kirk cannot be long held together.
For service to be done by M'Lean, I have moved the King to take into his hands his eldest son, now in the keeping of Mackenzie; which is promised to be done with sundry other things for the better countenancing and contentment of Atholl, who showed great forwardness in these causes. Hearing that Abercromby and other Jesuits have fled to the Countess of Sutherland to preserve themselves from Atholl, I have obtained a charge for the Earl of Sutherland to take and exhibit Abercromby, who nevertheless will be in small danger thereof.
Many bruits have lately occupied the Court that Bothwell and Angus's friends, notwithstanding divers failures, intend to surprise the King coming to the Tolbooth, or at hunting. Great search has been made for Bothwell in this town, where indeed he was lodged and escaped; and upon assurance that he would be found in Penicuik, the King sent the Duke, Mar and the Master of Glamis the other day to take him, who could not be found. In that journey Glamis broke three bones in his side by the fall of his horse upon him, and is not able to attend on the King in this journey.
Huntly, Errol and Auchindoun are declared rebels: their houses to be delivered into the King's hands. Sir James Chisholme has fled and ridden to them, and this last night, about midnight, Angus escaped (fn. 5) over the walls of the castle in this town by a cord. He crossed the water at Queensferry, passing into the north to Huntly and the rest, as it is thought. He left in his chamber a letter to the King for his excuse and to persuade him that he has not sought to bring Spaniards into Scotland or anywise to hurt the King or his estate, and with promise that he will not come "in feild" against the King nor be found an unfaithful or unprofitable servant if his fault be pardoned. It is now said that if Fintry and Ladylands had been carried to the Castle, according to the warrant (which I stayed, and for which I walk "under great bostis") they should have accompanied Angus in this escape.
Lord Hamilton, thinking himself evil entreated by the King's guard, departed suddenly from this town with some malcontentment, and suspicion that some Stewarts, understanding of his purpose to ride away before day and with so small company, lay in wait to have killed him.
Yesterday the Duke and Sir James Sandilands purposing, as it is said, to pass to Leith to play at the golf, overtook Mr. John Graham, one of the Lords of Session, who, thinking that Sir James would assail him in revenge of the quarrel betwixt them, turned with his company, exceeding far the number with the Duke and Sir James. Thereon they entered into fight with pistols, wherein Graham was slain and sundry of his servants and party sore hurt. Sir Alexander Stewart, being with the Duke, was shot through the head and killed.
I enclose a copy of the depositions confessed by Mr. George Carr since my last letter. Fintry has been examined and much threatened with the torture; in fear whereof he has prayed pardon upon revealing all things. He has confirmed the substance of Carr's depositions and also disclosed sufficiently his own guiltiness, so that the King has caused an inquest to be summoned this day to try him and Ladylands tomorrow by assize, and, if they be found guilty, he is presently resolved to command speedy execution. Yet I find that they have many and great friends willing to deliver them from this shower; and, although the King has wrestled to bring his Council to this point, it is feared that he shall hardly get his desire, for which he has laboured mightily in his own person, seeking the advice of the ministers and also that public fast and prayer might be made for him and for his good success; which fast and prayer the people performed on Sunday last with all humility. Edinburgh. Signed: Robert Bowes.
2¾ pp. Addressed. Endorsed by Burghley.
Copy of the same. Cott. Calig., D.ii. fol. 59b.
Enclosure with the same.
(Further confession of George Ker.)
Mr. George Carr, re-examined, depones that, in October last, he received from Angus and Errol by tongue the points of credit specified in his former deposition; that at the last Parliament he required the blanks from the three noblemen, from Huntly at Strathbogy, from Angus and Errol in Edinburgh; that in October he had his last conference with the said two noblemen, as he has deponed in his former depositions; that he received a "defferring answer" when he required their blanks at the said Parliament; that he craved them not again at their meeting in October, because Sir James Chisholm had already received them and delivered them to Mr. James Gordon. He conferred with them only about the points of his credit, namely, that they looked for the coming of an army of 30,000 men in spring, [etc. as in previous depositions]. After this conference with the noblemen he rode with Sir James Chisholm to his own house above Dunblane, and there conferred with him at length upon all the above points, and Sir James informed him that he had received the Blanks from Angus and Errol, and delivered them to Mr. James Gordon.
¾ p. Endorsed by Burghley: "10 Febr. 1592. Georg Carrs confession."
Copy of the enclosure. Cott. Calig., D.ii. fol. 57b.
29. Conspiracy of Scottish Papists. [Feb.] Printed in Pitcairn's Criminal Trials, vol. i. part ii. 317 et seq.
"A Discoverie of the unnaturall and traiterous Conspiracie of Scottish Papists against God, His Kirk, their native cuntrie, the Kingis Majesties persone and estate; set downe as it was confessed and subscriuit be M. GEORGE KER, yet remaining in Prisone, and DAVID GRAHAME of Fentrie, justly executed for his treason in Edinburgh, the 15 of Februarie, 1592. Wherunto are annexed certaine intercepted Letters, written by sundrie of that factioun to the same purpose. Printed and publisched at the special commaund of the Kingis Majestie, at Edinburgh. Printed by Robert Waldegrave, printer to the Kingis Majestie, cum Privelegio Regali."
To the reader.
Many and treasonable practices of Scottish Papists (or who call themselves "Catholicke Romanis") against God, His Kirk, their native country and the King's Majesty have been discovered, partly by the depositions and confessions of some of the practisers themselves, namely, Mr. George Ker, who is still imprisoned for that cause and David Grahame of Fintrie, who was justly executed for the same in Edinburgh, on 15th February, 1592; and partly by divers intercepted letters of sundry of the practisers. It is thought good by the King and Council that the most substantial points of the said depositions of Mr. George and David Grahame of Fintrie should be faithfully taken out of the originals, and be "summarly" gathered into the form following; that for purposes of reference the dates of the depositions and the names of the deponers should be set down in the margin; that some of the most remarkable letters intercepted with Mr. George Ker should be appended word for word, and the rest deciphered and translated; "and so the whole togither to be imprinted and set foorth vnto the viewe of the world." All these things are faithfully done herein, without any falsifying, forging or changing, as may be seen by "conferring" this extract with the originals in the hands of the clerk. Let the reader therefore consider the goodness of God, through Whose watchful care "our soule is escaped, euen as a bird out of the snare of the Fowlers." Let him also be awake to the unabated diligence, force and cruelty of our enemies, and in no way trust them, or feel secure from danger. That they are plotting "deiply and deadly" will be proved hereafter by their own bragging words in their letters. Yea, all kindly, native Scottish men and true lovers of the Christian religion ought to concur to the overthrowing of the common enemy within our borders. These unnatural traitors counterfeited friendship by subscription to the true religion, and common profession thereof with us, and by bands, affinities, oaths, and all attestations and laws, sacred and human, that might seem to procure credit among men. Consider what misery unspeakable would follow, especially to these miserable wretches themselves, if their woeful purpose to make the Spaniard our master should succeed. It is, indeed, high time that all good men and lovers of their native country should waken up to true repentance to the Lord, and to a diligent and substantial concurring to withstand these desperate attempts before they pass remedy, and timely to prevent further danger by assisting the execution of justice upon the rest of the detected traitors, without respect of persons.
"A discoverie of the unnaturall and traiterous practises of the Scottish Papists against God, his Kirk, their natiue cuntrie, and the Kings Majesties persone and estate."
[In margin: "Deponit be Master George Ker 3, 5 and 6 Februarie, 1592."] By the depositions of Master George Ker and David Grahame of Fintrie, it is discovered that in March 1591, Master William Creichtoun, who has been these two years bygone in Spain, sent to Master James Gordoun, Jesuit, father's brother to George, Earl of Huntly, a gentleman called Master William Gordoun, son to the Laird of Aberzeldie, with letters to let the Catholics here understand what "travell" he had taken with the King of Spain; that the said King, having been deceived by Englishmen, would thenceforward embrace the advice of Crichton for the invasion of England, and alteration of religion in Scotland; that Crichton therefore wished as many "blankis and procuratiouns" as possible to be sent by this gentleman from the Scottish nobles. The blanks, sent with some other discreet gentleman, were to be filled up by the King of Spain and Crichton [Margin: "and deponit be David Grahame of Fentrie the 13 of Feb. 1592"]. It was concluded that an army of 30,000 men should be sent from Spain about the latter end of spring, 1592, to be landed at Kirk cudbright or the mouth of Clyde, according to the wind. [Margin: "Deponit be Master George Ker 3 of Feb. 1592."]
[Margin: "Deponit be Master George Ker 3 of Februarie 1592, and be Fentrie 14 of Feb. 1592."] Money was to be sent to supply the said army. Four or five thousand were to remain in Scotland, while the rest took the nearest way to the English Border. The army in Scotland and the Spanish faction would work to alter the established religion, or at least to procure liberty of conscience and erecting of "Papistrie." [Margin: "Deponit be Fentrie 13 of Februarie 1592. Deponit be Master George Ker 3 Feb. 1592."]
[Margin: "Deponit be Fentrie 13 of Februarie 1592."] The letters sent by Crichton, being "concredite" by Mr. James Gordon to Mr. Robert Abercromby, were shown by him to Fintry at Abernethy in April 1592.]
[Margin: "Deponit be Dauid Grahame of Fentrie the 13 of Feb. 1592."] At one time it was thought most convenient to send Sir James Chisholm, then a Master of his Majesty's Household, to Spain with this commission, as he was otherwise bound to his uncle, William Chisholm, Bishop of Dunblane. He declared to Fintrie that he had dealt with Huntly and Errol; and had conferred with Ker anent this turn about the time of the last Parliament in Edinburgh, in June 1592, and again in his own house, in October 1592. But since Sir James could not be ready so soon, the commission was given to Ker, as he was about to depart, and both his grandmothers were Crichtons. [Margin: "Deponit be Fentrie 13 of Februarie 1592."]
When he was ready to make sail, he was apprehended on 27th December 1592, and sundry missive letters were intercepted, among them eight blanks.
Two blanks in French, subscribed Guillaume Compte de Anguss, and Francoys Compte de Erroll," were procured from them by Chisholm in their own lodgings in Edinburgh, at the time of parliament, in June 1592. [Margin: "Deponit be Master George Ker 3 of Feb. 1592."]
Other blanks are subscribed Guilielmus Angusie Comes, and Franciscus Errollie Comes. [Margin: "Deponit be Fentrie 13 of Februarie 1592." "Deponit be Master George Ker 3 of Feb. 1592."] These were both procured in October 1592 by Master Robert Abercromby.
Other two blanks are subscribed Georgius Comes de Huntlie. [Margin: "Deponit be Master George Ker 3 of Februarie 1592."] Both of these, and "the haill blankis," were "proponit" first to Huntly by Ker in Strathbogy. [Margin: "Deponit be Master George Ker 3 of Feb. 1592, and be Fentrie 14 of Feb. 1592."] The above six blanks were to have been filled with missive letters by the advice of Crichton. Other two blanks were subscribed "in the midds of twa oppin throuchis (fn. 6) of Paper"—Guillielmus Angussie Comes; Georgius Comes de Huntlie; Franciscus Errollie Comes; Patricius Gordoun de Auchindoun, miles.
[Margin: "Deponit be Master George Ker 3 of Feb. 1592."] These last two blanks were first subscribed by Huntly and Auchindoun in October 1592, and then sent by Abercromby to Angus and Errol, who also subscribed them in October. They were to be filled up with procurations, and with whatsoever should seem meet to Crichton.
[Margin: "Deponit be M. George Ker 5 of Feb. 1592."] Ker received his credit from Huntly by "the report of" Mr. James Gordon, from Angus and Errol personally, in Edinburgh, in the beginning of October 1592. [Margin: "Deponit be Master George Ker the 5 and 6 of Februarie 1592."] The sum of his credit was an assurance that these noblemen would raise a force of horsemen to meet and assist the Spaniards, and that they would be surety for the concurrence of all Scottish Catholics. Along with the above eight blanks there were intercepted six stamps in wax of Angus's seals, four of Huntly's and three of Errol's.
[Margin: "Deponit be Fentrie 13 of Februarie 1592."] Fintry deponed that he had met Mr. Robert Abercromby sundry times; that he received his first knowledge of this purpose from Abercromby in Dunfermline; that thereafter in the Castle of Stirling before Ker's preparation for his journey Abercromby informed him of Ker's commission, and that the blanks and letters were to be filled up at the discretion of Crichton and Tyrie.
In the following letters, borrowed and counterfeit names are interpreted in the margin, from interpretations contained in the originals:
1. From an English Jesuit; intercepted with Ker, 27th December 1592. [See No. 1 (7).]
2. From Angus to Mr. W. Crichton, intercepted as above. [See No. 1 (8).]
3. Mr. James Gordon to Mr. William Crichton; intercepted as above. [No. 1 (15).]
4. Mr. Robert Abercromby to Mr. William Crichton; intercepted as above. [No. 1 (20).]
[The marginal notes are the same as those printed by Pitcairn.]
Printed in Calderwood, v. 15.
"A letter directit to the King of Spaine be three Noblemen of Scotland, quhairof twa (fn. 7) hes sensyne returnit to the professioun and defence of the treuth, be thair aithis and subscriptiouns, quhairfoir thair names ar suppressit, the third his Name expressit (to wit, the Erle of Huntlie) because he continues as zit in his former wicked course.
"This Letter written be thame in the name of the Catholike Noblemen of Scotland, cypherit in French, wes interceptit in Januarie 1589, laitly befoir the time of the Raid of the Brig of Die, thairefter wes decypherit word be word and translatit in Scottis as followis:"
We regret the frustration of your Majesty's plans, and especially that "your Armie Navall" passed so near, "unvisiting" us, who were prepared to give it assistance against all enemies. Many vessels and men might have been saved from wreck; and would have found more friends here than in England, notwithstanding all that is spoken by the English Catholics. Some of your own subjects who have been here can testify to the commodities and advantages of landing in Scotland. If you had six thousand men here with money, you could lift trustworthy forces of this country as freely as in Spain. We, as natives, beg to offer some advice for your service here. Your army arrived too late in the season, so that it encountered the great winds of harvest; and it lacked experienced pilots, whom we would have been willing to supply. The best plan would be to avoid a fight at sea. If you sent a part of your army here in advance, and the rest by way of Ireland, you would compel the enemy to divide their forces, and so to weaken their strength to resist your invasion. If we had six thousand of your men, and money to enlist more, within six weeks we would be "weill farr within England" to co-operate with your army of invasion. Colonel William Sempill can show all to your Majesty. We have also communicated through Mr. Robert Bruce with the Duke of Parma, to whom you remitted us from the beginning in these affairs. From Edinburgh, 24th January 1589. Signed: "G. Erle Huntlie et cet. in name of the other Lordis Catholikes in Scotland."
" A Letter direct fra the Erle of HUNTLIE to the Duik of PARME, interceptit in Januarie, etc."
Printed in Calderwood, v. 16.
I have received your letters of 13th October from John Chisholm. The ten thousand crowns, which you send for the weal of our cause, have been received by Mr. Robert Bruce, and shall be employed, as you have directed, only for the help of the most urgent necessity. Since the departure of Colonel Sempill I have been forced by necessity to subscribe the Confession of Faith. Otherwise I should have had to depart the country or take the field as a rebel. I shall, however, seek to amend my fault by my future conduct. I have gained such credit with his Majesty that he has replaced his former guard by my men. By means of them and their captains I can be master of his person, and, when your support arrives, deprive the heretics of the King's authority, and strengthen our cause. Send me your advice, and be assured of my unchangeable affection. Mr. Robert Bruce will write to you more amply. From Edinburgh, 24th January 1592 [rectius 1589].
" A Letter fra the Erle of ERROL to the Duke of PARME, interceptit in Januarie, etc."
Printed in Calderwood, v. 18.
Since God has lately brought me to the light of His holy Catholic faith, I feel bound to support the enterprises of his Catholic Majesty and your Highness for the advancement of religion and of "some ciuill cause quhilk hes verie great affinitie and coniunctioun with owris heir." The bearer will let you understand more amply of my intention in particular. From Edinburgh, 24th January 1589.
" A Letter fra ROBERT BRUCE to Monsieur Francisce Aguirre, Espaignell, etc., interceptit in Januarie 1589, writtin in Frenche, and translatit in Scottis."
Printed in Calderwood, v. 19.
I have received your letter, dated at Antwerp (Handwerp) on 9th November. Was glad to hear of your arrival and how well you had performed all that I committed to you. Your master sends a good account of you, and promises in his letters to employ you in good occasions. If he send you here again, land near Seton, secretly, and you shall be kept there till I come. "The rest of this missiue being set doun in obscure termes, is to be seene in the originall."
" A Letter fra ROBERT BRUCE to the Duke of PARME, interceptit in Januarie 1589, Laitly befoir the Raid of the Brig of Die; Cipherit in Frenche, decipherit thairefter and translatit in Scottis."
Printed in Calderwood, v. 19.
Mr. Chisholm arrived in this country after a five days' journey, and repaired speedily to Huntly, in his own house at Dunfermline, where he delivered your letters of 13th October, and declared his credit. Some days afterwards he delivered to me 6272 crowns of the sun and 3700 Spanish pistolets. He has acted very wisely, especially when the King sent to take him upon suspicion of his sudden return. In the keeping and distribution of the money last sent, and of what remains of the first sum, I shall act according to your prescription. It is true that I find myself involved in great difficulties. On the one side I am in danger from the heretics and the English faction because of my open pro fession of the Catholic religion, and because the latter suspect my secret practices against them. On the other side, I have much to do to withhold the money from some of the Catholic Lords, who want to have it immediately for "sum pretendit occasiouns, that will neuer fall out as they promeis." Huntly claimed a third part of the money as soon as it was delivered to me, but he shall not touch a "mailze (fn. 8) bot vpon gude takkinis."
In your next letter to the Catholic Lords please remove an error from the three who wrote to you in name of the rest, and who think that, because they were first to offer their service to the Catholic King, all the money that comes here should be immediately divided in three and given to them. This would leave none for your many other supporters, who will not acknowledge themselves as bound to the other three, but only to your Highness. Of these three, the Earl of Morton has hitherto listened to reason; Huntly has never "schawin himselfe subject to money" until induced by the third, to wit, Lord Claud Hamilton, his uncle, "quha is sum quhat couetous of geir." [In the margin: "Quhat euer this nobleman hes bein at this time, it is not to be object to him now efter his aith and subscription geuin to the contrair."] Huntly is constrained to remain at Court. He has given up his outward profession of the Catholic religion, partly because he lost hope of your support before the return of Chisholm, partly on the advice of some "politikes," partly to escape from the perils of professed Catholics, partly to keep the King's favour. Nevertheless his heart is with our cause, although he lacks vigour to persevere. To remedy this defect we propose to put a resolute man beside him, since Fintrie is warded in Dundee and I am forbidden to come near him, because to us they attribute Huntly's constancy in the Catholic religion and absence from Court against the King's will. Fintry's warding has somewhat hindered our course. I cannot associate him with myself, as you desired, in dispensing the money. I have chosen instead Father William Crichton, Jesuit, who was detained some years in London, after his capture at sea on the way from France. I shall likewise avail myself of the prudence of Sir James Chisholm, eldest brother of the above John. In the meantime one part of the money is in the principal house of Lord Livingstone, the other safely here in Edinburgh for the needs of the Catholic Lords who will convene here very soon to resist the designs of the English faction. As for the further sum which your Highness is willing to send, it should be sent very soon and secretly, to throw the weight on our side when things are in balance. If there be no need for its distribution, it shall be kept in reserve, or until the arrival of your forces. There are grounds to suspect the good faith of Thomas Tyrie, who brought your letters to our King. He has acted at the disposition of our Chancellor (who is of the English faction) rather than according to your instructions. He made no mention to the King of Colonel Semple's letter, a copy of which I have caused Bothwell to present. [Tyrie has circulated reports of Don Bernardino, the Bishop of Dunblane and Parma, to the prejudice of the Chancellor and the King.] His reports have served to alienate the King, the Chancellor, and many other heretics from Don Bernardino, the Bishop and the Scottish Catholics who have to do with them.
As for me, I would not willingly speak to the disadvantage of Tyrie, whom I recommended to Don Bernardino, but I owe fidelity to the King of Spain and your Highness, to whom I am particularly bound by the obligation of five hundred crowns of fee, and forty for monthly allowance. Your liberality came in time of need, enabling me to augment my ordinary train for the greater safety of my person. From the lords of Scotland I have "retyrit" only a part of my expenses incurred in Spain and the Low Countries. The four hundred crowns spent upon the deliverance of Colonel Sempill I have put "in compt" along with the other expenditures from the first sum, as you commanded.
The Earl of Morton [Margin: "Quhatever this Nobleman has bein at this tyme it is not to be objectit to him, now efter his aith and subscription geuin to the contrair, gif he remaine constant"] has written to me from prison, commending his service to your Highness. His life is no longer in danger. His enemies cannot prove their charges, and the King is now less alienated from him. If need be, we have the means to liberate him, but the consequences will be better if we await the King's will. When he was offered his liberty in the King's name, if he would subscribe the Confession of the heretics, he resolutely refused, and offered to confound the ministers in public disputation. I shall request his friends to procure his liberty very soon, for he is most useful for our cause. His forces lie near England and the capital of Scotland; and his character is resolute and constant.
Truly it is thanks to God that we Catholics subsist in spite of the heretics. When the English faction triumphed, and Huntly and others wavered in outward constancy, He caused Angus, the chief of the English party, to die, and stirred up dissentions among the heretics at Court; while Father Edmund Hay converted the Earl of Errol, and Father William Crichton the Earl of Crawford. They are both able and wise young lords, and desirous to support your enterprises in this Isle. They will follow the advice of the above Jesuits and myself, and their actions will arouse the less suspicion inasmuch as they have not yet made outward profession of the Catholic religion. The Jesuit Fathers make good fruit in Scotland, and their converts profess the service of the King of Spain and your Highness as "inseparable conioyned" with the advancement of true religion in this country. With your leave, I would give "sum little almous" to these two, and to other four Jesuits, and to four seminary priests from Pont a Mousson (Pontawmoussone), in Lorraine; all of whom do good spiritual work and advance your cause in Scotland.
After the departure of Sempill, the lords sent letters by Crichton and others after the Spanish army to cause it land in this country; but it had set out for Spain a few days before their arrival in the Isles, where it had refreshed itself. The English faction were in marvellous fear, and openly confess that if the army had landed they would have been ruined.
Bothwell, who is Admiral of Scotland, although he professes the new religion, is extremely anxious to assist you against England. He has raised troops (nominally against the Isles), which, along with his ordinary forces, would have co-operated with yours. He lets himself be guided by me, and often says that if a Catholic restoration would not deprive him of his two abbeys, he would become one of us. He intends to send Colonel Halkerstoun to Spain to accompany certain captains and gentlemen and almost four hundred soldiers "all saif from the Naufrage in our Iles." He purposes to supply them with ships, victuals and other things to relieve their necessity and testify his affection to Spain. If we thought good, he would go to offer his service to your Highness in the Low Countries, and his Catholic Majesty in Spain. If we could be sure of him, he would be as profitable to our cause as any man in Scotland. He has offered to support me against all who would attempt against me.
We have chosen a council to convene and deliberate in the name of all the Catholic Lords. Thus we hope to proceed with greater solidity and effect than heretofore. Nevertheless they shall know nothing of our intelligences there [i.e. with Spain], and they shall learn our final resolutions only according to the exigency of the moment, "and that superficially, and without discouering our selfis ouer farre." You will learn further particulars from the letters of the lords. Edinburgh, 24th January 1589. Signed: Robert Bruce.
16 pp. Black letter.
30. Robert Bowes to Burghley. [Feb. 16.]
The Laird of Fintry was yesterday arraigned, condemned and executed in Edinburgh. I enclose the copies of his depositions and of the indictment. At his arraignment he accused himself of great oversight in his confession, alleging that it was drawn out of him, he could not tell how; and secretly he told the Justice Clerk that he had seen a vision, and thereby found his own fault, drawing on his death by the confession of such matter as could never have been proved against him except by his own utterance, which he did in hope of grace and pardon. Nevertheless he plainly confessed there all the parts of the indictment, saving only that he said that he did not know what number of Spaniards should have been brought into this realm, acknowledging that 5000 thereof should have been reserved here, and the rest sent into England. In his examinations, arraignment and execution he failed far to show the spirit and wisdom looked for in him, alleging that if his livings had been no greater than others (meaning Mr. George Ker and Ladylands) then his life should have been saved. He professed to die a Catholic, for which profession he was before excommunicated; and so ended his life with some few prayers in Latin, read in his matins book, and without any prayer for him by any minister or of the people, who, contrary to their accustomed manner in execution of offenders, "nether once vayled capp or uttered one worde of prayer for him." He had offered to courtiers (as has been told me) 50,000l. Scots for safeguard of his life.
The King in this has remained resolute, and alone, without the assistance of any of his Council, prosecuted the cause, and now he says that, as alone he has drawn his sword against his rebels, so he will proceed, with the help of God, to prosecute and punish the traitors by all the means in his power, and with the assistance of his barons, burghs and Kirk, whom he finds ready to aid him therein. He was "occasioned" to stay his journey two days beyond his "dyett," for the trial and execution of Fintry, and for some wants which are as yet slenderly supplied. Nevertheless he is ready and determined to enter into his raid to-morrow, wherein he shall be well strengthened with his barons; but few noblemen will attend upon him. For the government of all things here in his absence he has left the Earl of Morton and twelve councillors.
Great suits have been made for the possessions of Angus, Huntly, Errol and Auchindoun, wherein it is given out that the "factorye" of Huntly's livings is granted to those whom his wife shall name. The "factorye" of Errol is to be given to the Laird of Dunnipace, and of Auchindoun to Sir George Hume. But by act of Council it was this day ordained that all the possessions of the rebels not already disposed shall be saved for the King's use by the Lord Treasurer and Comptroller, and that nothing shall be granted thereof but as out of the King's treasury.
Angus turned into Douglasdale to receive from his chamberlains such sums of money as they had prepared, and now he is gone (as it is thought) to Huntly and Errol, who have been lately at Aberdeen, and pretending to depart for some foreign nations. But it is known that they prepare to abide in this realm and to return into their countries after the King's departure. Measures to prevent this are resolved by the King and Council, and some secret and fair overtures are made for their apprehension in case they shall take the seas and shroud themselves in Caithness, Sutherland, or in the isle of Carndeburge. (fn. 9) I am secretly advised that these overtures shall be pursued effectually; but I greatly des[pair] to find wished success therein.
The arraignment of Ladylands is deferred in regard that the cause and evidence against him were not yet ripe and sufficient to prove him guilty of treason. Mr. George Carr shall be removed and kept in ward in Tantallon, Angus's house, now in the King's hands. It is looked that he shall do good service by further discoveries, and the King intends thereon to give him pardon. Edinburgh. Signed: Robert Bowes.
1½ pp. Addressed. Endorsed by Burghley's clerk.
First enclosure with the same.
Printed in Warrender Papers, ii. 194–6.
(Laird of Fintry's Depositions.)
At Edinburgh the 13th of February 1592.
David Graham of Fintry, sworn and examined in presence of Sir John Cockburn of Ormiston, knight, Justice Clerk, Mr. William Harte of Evisland, Justice Depute, Nicoll Udward (Uddert), Provost of Edinburgh, David Williamson, one of the bailies thereof, declares upon his conscience that the first knowledge he had of this purpose was by Mr. William Crichton's letters which were shown to him by Mr. Robert Abercromby, at Abernethy in April last. [The purpose of Ker's proposed mission to Spain with the blanks is recapitulated.] The chief thing that the Lords had to seek was money. His Majesty's person, estate and rights, here or in England, were not to be prejudiced. Liberty of conscience was to be craved. The landing was to be made on the west coast; but only the Jesuits were privy to the particulars. The letter, signed Henrye Gilbert, sent to Mr. Robert Balfour, is his own letter, delivered by him to Charles Murray, servant to Mr. George Carr, in Stirling Castle in November last. George Mackeson, mentioned therein, is Mr. George Carr; and James Gudman is Mr. James Gordon. Thomas Forbes is a gentleman's son in Bouqhan; afterwards declared to be his own name.
Gabriel Grundeston is the Archbishop of Glasgow. Mr. James Balfour is a Mr. James Kyd, a doctor in Toulouse (Aillouse) or Bordeaux.
"Thagreance betwixt William Craige is Mr. William Crighton and Bartle Bailye is Robert Bruce" [sic].
In Stirling Castle Abercromby showed him the blanks signed by Huntly, Angus, Errol and Auchendoun. Sir James Chisholm told him that he had dealt with Huntly and Errol.
He knows no more, except the above, who were "privy and uppon the counsel of this purpose."
1 p. In the hand of Bowes's clerk.
Second enclosure with the same.
Printed in Warrender Papers, ii. 193–4.
(Laird of Fintry's Deposition.)
13th February 1592.
David Graham of Fintry, sworn and examined in presence of the Justice Clerk, Mr. David Lindsay, Mr. Robert Bruce, and Mr. William Hart, Justice Depute, depones that Abercromby was the first who eight or nine months past in Dunfermline dealt with him "in this turne," which he considered a "purpose of highe consequence and dangerous." Abercromby then went to Mr. James Gordon. He met him again in the Castle of Stirling before Ker's departure. He received no letters there from Gordon; those that he burned in Stirling Castle were private letters. Abercromby informed him of Ker's commission; but he does not know how many sorts of blanks there were, nor where nor by whom they were obtained.
2/3 p. Copy. Endorsed.
Third enclosure with the same.
Printed in Warrender Papers, ii. 196.
(Deposition by Laird of Fintry.)
14th February 1592.
Fintry declares that Angus assumed the name of William Achinson; Errol, of Fergus Adam; Huntly, of George Harwye.
He knows of no other noblemen involved, neither Catholics, malcontents, nor "of the religion."
1/8 p. Copy in the hand of Bowes's clerk.
Fourth enclosure with the same.
Printed in Calderwood, v. 230; Warrender Papers, ii. 192–3.
(Laird of Fintrie's Deposition sent to James VI.)
[Recapitulates that the project was Crichton's; the emissary Ker; that no prejudice was meant to his Majesty; liberty of conscience to be craved; that he does not remember the names of the noblemen or further particulars.]
½ p. In the hand of Bowes's clerk. Endorsed in the same hand: "Copie of Fyntrie's deposition written and subscrived with his awne hand."
Fifth enclosure with the same.
Printed in Warrender Papers, ii. 197–8.
(Laird of Fintry's further Deposition.)
14th February 1592.
David Graham of Fintrie, sworn and examined in the presence of the Justice Clerk and Mr. William Hart, Justice Depute, depones that he knows not the number of Spaniards who should have come; [recapitulates the project of invasion]. He knows of no forts to be built for preservation of their shipping. Their purpose was to have revenged the Queen of Scotland's death and their own "particulers." They should have sent to his Majesty to have procured his consent to the alteration of the established religion or at least to liberty of conscience. He knows not what would have happened had their suit been refused.
Thomas Forbes is himself. Peterson was Mr. Edmund Hay. Abercromby showed him the blanks in Stirling. He received a letter from Angus in Stirling, but nothing to this purpose.
1 p. In the hand of Bowes's clerk. Endorsed in the same hand: "Copie of Fyntrie's deposition 14° Februarii efternone, 1592."
Sixth enclosure with the same.
(Indictment of the Laird of Fintry.)
" The Laird of Fintreis dittay quhair upon he vas convict of maist haynous treasoun be ane honorabill assys of barrons and gentill men apon his auin grant and confessioun contenit in his depositiouns producit in judgment before Maister Villiame Heart, his Majesties general Justice Depute, for the quhilk he vas execute to the death the xv. of Februar 1592."
"David Grahame of Fintrie, ye ar indytit for airt and pairt, reid, counsale and consealing of the treasonabill practesis and conspiracies devisit and apuntit to be put in executioun for the alteratioun of the religioun of Jesus Cryst presentlie professit be oure soverane Lord and his treue and faithfull subjectis, establisit and authorizat be the Actis of Parliament and lauis of the realme, agreabill to the Vord of God, your said treasonabill devysis tending to the dainger and hurt of his hienes estait and persoun and desturbing of the quietnes of the realme and alteratioun of the haill estait thairof: in the quhilk ye haif traffekit this lang tyme be sindrie subtill and craftie vayis, alsueill vithout this realme as vithin the samin, sen your apostacie fra the treu religioun now professit, quhairin ye var brocht up and instructit fra your youth; and namlie of lait sen the moneth of Aprile last, in this instant yeir of God a thousand fyfe hunder fourscoir tuelf yeiris, at all tymes quhen as oportunitie and occasioun could serve, be your counsale and conferens had vith Maister James Gordoun, fader bruder to the Erle of Huntlie, Maister Robert Abircumbie and diveris utheris Jesuitis and seminarie preistis, and speciallie vith the said Maister Robert, in the toun of Abirnethie, and in the moneth foirsaid, efter the resset and sicht of the treasonabill letters send fra Spayne be Maister Villiame Crychttoun and Maister James Tyrie, Jesuitis, directit to the said Maister James Gordoun. [There follows a narrative of the aims and scope of the plot, as drawn from the foregoing depositions. It concludes by finding Fintry guilty of] "ane horribill treasoun aganis God, His treue religioun, his Majestie's maist nobill persone, and hurt of baith the realmes, as your auin confessioun in your depositiouns, subscrivit vith your auin hand and be the hand of the said Maister George Kar, heir present to schaue, beiris; quhilk ye can not deny."
2 pp. Copy. Endorsed by Burghley: "Fyntrey."
Copy of enclosures.
31. Robert Bowes to Burghley. Cott. Calig., D.ii. fol. 58 et seq. [Feb. 21.]
Before the receipt of Lord Burgh's letter, received this day, the King had entered on his journey, lodging yesternight at Dundee and purposing to be at Aberdeen on Friday next at the furthest. The Earl of Morton, Lord Lieutenant, and the Council left here for the King have given order for the entertainment and convoy of Lord Burgh into Scotland and to the King at his pleasure. Yet considering that the King "useth not" to give full answer to any ambassador without the advice of his Council, of whom the greatest number shall not be with him before his return, therefore they wish his lordship to defer his access to the King until he shall come to this town. They have sent a gentleman to the King to bring his own mind in this behalf; wherein the Lord Burgh at his coming hither shall readily determine his course at his pleasure.
Some vain tales have been brought to the King that Bothwell and others intended some enterprise to surprise him in his journey, but he has passed without interruption and has met with his forces, which are not of the strength looked for, but considered sufficient for his safety since the Earls and rebels will not resist him. Advertisement is brought to some of the Council that Huntly, being hidden sundry days, has taken his barque at Fraserburgh (Faithley Haven), beyond Peterhead, where the barque before lay for him, and it is thought he will pass into Caithness. But some of my intelligencers think that he has not yet departed, but purposely covers himself from Erroll, who has oftentimes sent to seek him, but cannot find him.
The King since his entry on this journey has sent for all the blanks subscribed severally by Angus, Huntly, Erroll and Auchindoun. By order of the Council they are sent to him, subscribed and noted with the hand of Mr. George Young. Mr. Walter Lindsay and the young Laird of Bonington, (excommunicated for Papistry), are charged to appear this day before the King at Dundee. It is looked that they shall disobey and thereon be put to the horn.
I am advertised that Mr. William Crichton, finding the King of Spain slow to provide the forces promised for Scotland, has departed to Rome with great discontentment, intending to solicit the Pope to persuade the King to perform his promises; but this report is raised and so current amongst the Papists that it is holden suspicious. On the 16th instant Sir William Keith was called to be of the King's Council, and the Master of Glamis was omitted from the Councillors established to govern here during the King's absence. This was done, as it was said, because the King looked that the Master should have attended on himself this journey. But the King was moved herein and found him unable to ride; then he "authorised" him with the rest, and yet with some difficulty. I enclose a copy of the declaration of Bothwell's answer to sundry calumnies. I have been earnestly moved to arm a fit barque at Newcastle to lie upon the coast of Caithness for the apprehension of the rebels, but await to confer with Lord Burgh and to understand further of the courses to be taken by the rebels. Edinburgh. Signed: Robert Bowes.
1½ pp. Addressed. Endorsed by Burghley and his clerk.
Copy of the same.
Cott. Calig., D. ii. fol. 64.
Enclosure with the same.
(Bothwell's answer to calumnies.)
"Ane declaration of th'erle Bothwellis answering to sundry calumnies unjustly objected against him, made the 7th of February 1592."
If men in this age were measured by their sincerity and not by their fortune the golden sentence used amongst ancients—uniuscujusque conscientia sibi ipsi satis amplum theatrum est—might well content a mind not ambitious. But seeing the world now-a-days goes far otherwise, in respect few or none judge charitably of their distressed neighbours, but rather are ready, as it is mentioned in the Apostle James, to set the rich, how unworthy soever they be, in a place of dignity, and to command the poor, be he never so virtuous, to stand by or to sit on a footstool, I am forced by iniquity of this time to use such form as many better than I have been constrained unto heretofore, lest by my silence my enemies on the one part should insult, and on the other my friends think I could allege no just defence. For, though I "esteme" that no man should be so impudent as to be his own herald in uttering his own praise, yet I think that none ought to be so base-minded and pusillanimous as not to declare their own innocency when necessity urges them thereto.
In my former declaration, by way of apology, I have at length expressed how partially and "unformally" Chancellor Maitland with his accomplices "caused feade" a process of witchcraft against me, most untruly alleging that I intended to destroy the King my sovereign. At the first he handled the matter so cunningly that even my dearest friends were put in suspicion of my sincerity; but immediately after, partly by my former declarations, partly by confession of the infamous witnesses at the hour of their execution that they were suborned and corrupted, partly by abusing "Richy" Grame to the hour of his death to testify against me upon hope of his life (as some of his suborners have already confessed), God of His mercy made my innocence so manifest that it were superfluous to make any mention thereof in this place, save only this much, that the said Maitland with his accomplices, for all the craft they could invent to colour their detestable malice, could not make a formal process whereupon to "forfalt" me of witchcraft, but were forced to convict me for the conspiracy of the Brig of Dee, notwithstanding that the same was pardoned to the Earls of Huntly and Erroll. And remission, subscribed by his Majesty, the said Maitland and a great part of the Council, granted to me a long time before. In sign and token that they themselves are ashamed of the iniquity of that process of witchcraft, in my opinion they have destroyed the same, for neither is it extant in the books "adjurnall" nor to be found out in any "scrowlis" [drafts].
Extraordinary proceedings have forced many of the best subjects of this land to extraordinary remedies heretofore, whereof the enterprises at Ruthven, St. Andrews and Stirling may serve for example; and I had no other intention but to offer myself in all humility to justice, and on the other part to implore justice upon my enemies, by whose "sufferable" tyranny his Majesty is no less dishonoured than I "interessed." In the end, these intentions failing, I resolved to retire to a private and quiet life, persuading the most part of my fellowship "to enter and do their obedience," hoping that his Majesty, in receiving them to grace, should not be for ever ungracious to me. Whereunto, no doubt, his Highness of himself was well inclined, if pernicious counsel had not diverted him. But finding my said fellowship received for no good meaning either to them or me, and proclamation from day to day set out declaring that, if I came before his Majesty, I should look for no other grace or favour than the forfeiture already pronounced against me, I was terrified that I durst not present myself before his Highness in peaceable and quiet manner, as both my duty and mind were. Yet still expecting some better time, and hoping that they who had justly expelled Maitland should also comfort those whom he had unjustly persecuted, I resolved to hide myself and the rest of my distressed friends for a season in such form as our small means might attain to, and, without offending or invading any person, patiently to await his Majesty's leisure and better disposition. But my cruel enemies flowing in ever greater abundance and following the insolent inclination of all who are suddenly from base estate promoted to high places, "invyed to hear that I should lyve": and for this cause Carmichael, about the first of February instant, accompanied with a great number of my "unfreindes" came to Liddisdale to have murdered me and my company aforesaid where we lay without suspicion of any such violence. I, being advertised hereof, convened some of my friends to resist this barbarous invasion and to give him occasion to assail me in such form as became a knight, a councillor, a warden, a lieutenant, and not like a brigand and thief, as he was wont to be. I drew myself near Peebles to have "rancountred" him in his way; but he, fearing to attempt honestly the matter he purposed treasonably to have performed, thought it best to make speed unto his Majesty and to allege that I had an enterprise against his Highness, and that I was to attempt somewhat for the relief of the Spanish faction and impeaching the trial presently in hand against them. This assertion, untruly affirmed by him, was most unadvisedly trusted by others, and published in kirk and at market crosses, and the people "solicit" to take me for a Papist and enemy to my prince and native country, in respect that I had so long abused his Majesty's lenity and sought my relief heretofore at the hands of Papists, chiefly of Angus and Erroll. And to the end I might be yet the more abhorred both at home and afield, the said Carmichael and George Hume dealt with Mr. George Carr to blot me in the late treasons, thinking his testimony should be more able to condemn me in religion than "Richie" Grame was to convict me of witchcraft. Their calumnies are so frivolous that they merit no answer, yet at the request of some friends who are grieved to hear me so unjustly "traducit" I answer in this sort: that since the aforesaid Maitland, the author of my calamity and pest of the name of Stewart, was justly debarred from his Majesty's presence I never meant to attempt anything offensive to the estate or to my enemies in particular, hoping that the occasion of my harm being once removed I should immediately find comfort. So, if the time was "unproper" for my enterprise so long as his Majesty was occupied in trial of the Spanish treason, the fault is to be imputed to Carmichael who perturbed me in my dutiful and peaceable determination and not to me who was forced by his tyranny to stand to my lawful defence; and, it may be probably affirmed, if he and his accomplices were as zealous to hunt Papists as they are to prosecute me, the trial of their heretical treasons would incontinent come to light. But it is no new thing to Carmichael to prefer his "perticular" to religion.
As for my exploit against his Majesty's person, or for relief of Mr. George Carr, what probability can be that I who dare not show myself at Edinburgh in daylight durst come with twenty horse (for that was my number) to invade his Majesty and that populous town, and by force to break up the Tolbooth and relieve prisoners? Concerning Mr. George Carr, the unreconcilable evil will betwixt his principal friends and me is notoriously known, whereby all men may judge how unlikely it is that I should communicate matters for my conscience and allegiance to him, much less hazard my life for his deliverance. And for the alleged lenity of his Majesty towards me, I will never think otherwise but that of himself he is so inclined; yet evil counsel has so abstracted his mind that the space of these two years last I have found no lenity at all, unless men would think the confiscation of my goods, pursuit of my life and honour by all extraordinary means, suborning of infamous witnesses seeking to discredit me both at home and afield and corrupting my "familiers" to cut my throat, with such extreme persecution as heretofore was never used in this land, to be lenity and compassion. Some of those who allege this lenity within ten years were in disgrace and pursued as I am, (fn. 10) though not so bitterly. At that time, if they remember, in Newcastle, Langdicht, Longridge (Lanrig) and sundry other parts, they had another name for that word "lenitie," and if seeking help from Angus and Errol proves me to be a Papist, then they that sought relief from Maxwell and Hume when they returned from England, they who have married their daughters to Hume and Errol, they who have admitted Papists to Council, Session and offices of estate, should be esteemed Papists—which I do believe every man shall think a manifest absurdity. A charitable person, who studies more to speak truth than to please men, should rather judge me "inward" a Protestant, seeing Protestants are my "most familiers," and seeing I refused large conditions from the Catholics notwithstanding my extremity, and power I had to deal with them by a warrant subscribed by the said Maitland, which, if need be, shall be exhibited. Nothing is spoken of his religion, and yet his brother, Mr. Thomas, died on a journey from him and the rest of the Castilians to the Pope, and Mr. George Carr was his domestic servant. They "that excusit him in his detected hipocrasie" should be ashamed to condemn me upon frivolous objections. The late Bishop of St. Andrews may serve for example to such men not to condemn their "brether" against their own conscience "for pleasure of Courte." "But here I contem." Let Aristippus after his manner, "seking him self" and not the weal of his Prince, "praise and disprase" at his pleasure, since it is long since written of him "Omnis Aristippum docuit color et locus et res." Let him play the "poplix and camilion" and slander me for witchcraft, apostacy and all odious crimes, yet I doubt nothing but that God will some day cause my innocence to burst through all such slanders as visibily as the sun "uses" ordinarily to pierce through the dark clouds.
Last of all, where it is alleged I have arrogantly said that I should never humble myself to any who is descended of the house of Darnley, to this I answer that whosoever will affirm this of me, of what quality soever he be, I will offer myself against him man to man "to feight to the deid" and to prove him an impudent liar; and if any person has so informed his Majesty and will not seek out this challenge at my hands, I believe his Highness will hereafter esteem him but a lying "pultron." Surely if I knew him I would seek him to the end of the world. I protest I shall love and honour my sovereign in all humility, howsoever he use me. Albeit my Lord Duke has been very unkindly both in "bereving" my living and pursuing my life, yet I shall never speak or think presumptuously of him; "hoping with tyme bothe his Majestie and his lordship sall se that the said Mateland, who first erected them against me in maner aforesaide, had nor hes no other intention but to cause every ane of us destroy another, to th'end the chaire might be the sooner voyde to some entrance of his frendship."
32/3 pp. Copy in the hand of Bowes's clerk. Endorsed by Burghley's clerk: "E. Bothwells declaration."
Copy of the enclosure (incomplete).
Cott. Calig., D.ii. fol. 64b.
32. Robert Bowes to Burghley. [Feb. 26.]
I received your letter of the 9th instant from Lord Burgh, who has showed me her Majesty's instructions and his own "conceipt" and purpose for the execution of the same. I find him entering into such advised course as promises good results, and concurs fully with my opinion based on experience of present conditions here. He shows such power and sufficiency to carry this burden of service to happy haven that I trust that, in spite of many difficulties, it shall be discharged for her Majesty's good contentment and his honour. He will advertise you of progress and seek direction in the effects requisite to be presented to the King, and chiefly in the bill of Falkland. I have certified the state of that cause in my letters of 27th December last and 6th instant, and have prayed direction therein, which is not expressed in her Majesty's instructions. Have already sent Fintry's confession and indictment. Edinburgh. Signed: Robert Bowes.
1 p. Addressed. Endorsed by Burghley's clerk.
33. Lord Burgh to Burghley. [Feb. 26.]
I arrived in this town the 24th of this month; found the King absent; could not perform my journey in shorter time, being hindered with the foulness of the season and not served in my passage with ready posts. I have advised with Mr. Bowes how I might best discharge my duty. His opinion is that, because of the uncertainty where to find the King, and his pleasure not first known, it were best his Council should advertise him that I am here; and, his answer received, to address my way accordingly. In the meantime I will not be "idle from learning" the disposition of every condition in this nation, and "applying me in the best reach of my capacitie" to give her Majesty some good account of my travail.
I sent Mr. Lock to the Queen with signification that I was charged to recommend her Majesty's special love to her, and likewise to deliver a letter, which I would not presume to present till the King's return, or till her commandment. The Queen allowed well that I deferred to come, and wished in honour of her Majesty that she could "yelde me content" in my entertainment. Of compliments I think there will be more abundance than of good meaning; yet Lord Hume failed to meet me without the bounds of Berwick, as order was given him. Lord Seton welcomed me twelve miles from Edinburgh and conducted me to his house, offered me a banquet, and thence brought me into the city. The day after, Earl Morton, the King's lieutenant for this time, came to my lodging; whom I saluted in her Majesty's name and resolved him of her favour towards him because of his firmness in these dangerous times. Whereupon he seemed to vaunt of his diligence toward the advancement of the common good and professed the continuance of every requisite office, and showed joy for the gracious opinion of her Majesty. He is more honest (as men hold him) than deep of judgment; but yet I hope will be a good countenance to others who can more circumspectly foresee the danger of these traitorous conspirators.
As Mr. Bowes and I were conferring, one of his agents desired to speak with him; whom he brought to me. "Much he now uttered not," yet matter of no small consequence if things be not soundlier dealt in. He doubts the King's voyage will bring small profit. Huntly flees not, but is concealed amongst his friends, and a surprise of the King, as he says, is intended on his return through Angus's country. He uttered no particulars of this treason but thus much in general terms. What falsehood and dissimulation is among them, even from the highest, God knows; but there are many causes of suspicion, and the less they be trusted the greater is our safety. Edinburgh. Signed: Thomas Burgh.
Postscript.—My instructions bade me not to satisfy the King in the point which concerns the bill of Falkland.
2 pp. Holograph, also address. Endorsed by Burghley's clerk.