James VI, November 1594

Pages 471-487

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

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James VI, November 1594

398. Extracts of Letters from Scotland. [Nov. 2.]

George Nicolson, with the advice of Mr. Robert Bruce, and with Mr. Robert's letter to the Earl of Argyll to the effects mentioned by Robert Bowes, is resolved to repair to the Court at Strathbogy or Aberdeen to deliver her Majesty's letters to the King and Argyll. He has taken order for advertisement to be sent to Robert Bowes. He will inform himself of the certainty of the King's proceedings, and so certify Robert Bowes. [In the margin: "Georg Nicolson, 2 Novembris, 1594."]

There is a speech here that the Council have prevailed with the King, or so little assistance is given to him, that he has retired to Aberdeen, having left forces in the houses of Strathbogy, Slains and others. These houses are not rased, but are preserved for the strength of the keepers to be appointed, according to the advice (as some say) of the Chancellor, the Master of Glamis and Sir Robert Melvill. But this is not certain, because no letters have come to him from Strathbogy since the King's coming thither. Sir George Douglas and Sir John Kerr (Carr) released from their ward for visiting the Lady Bothwell at Moss Tower. [In the margin: "Confirmed by the lettre of—."]

John Ogilvy's house is not yet cast down, notwithstanding that the King does not know thereof. For Dundee was commanded to rase Mr. Walter Lindsay's house, which they did; and St. Johnstone was directed to rase John Ogilvy's house, but they durst not do it for fear of the Ogilvys and "in memorye of" the oppression lately laid on them by the Laird of Clackmannan. Atholl's part is not good, for now it is known that his lady has received money from Huntly. The King will not return hastily, yet sundry of his companies are broken. But he fears that his crafty Council "drawe over soone backe," not performing as was expected.

Lord Forbes, MacIntosh and Grant were directed to make search and apprehend all the aiders and resetters of Huntly and Errol in the shires of Mar, Banff, Aberdeen, Badenoch (Bagynoch) and Moray, and Lord Lovat, Mackenzie, Balnagowan (Ballengowne) and Foulis to take them in Ross. Nevertheless there is no one apprehended or executed in these bounds, which argues no great zeal in these commissioners; and albeit the King will be very willing to prosecute the rebels, yet he shall have no power to accomplish it, in regard that the Chancellor and Glamis (without whom nothing is done in Council) are for them. The ministry begin again to fear that albeit the King of himself is bent to abide till all is settled, yet his Council will indirectly draw him home without any great fruit in the work intended, and an especial person present with the King by his last letter declares the King to be so "brangled" (fn. 1) and irresolute by the advice of his wisest Council drawing him against his own mind, that he dare not assure of the King's abode or return.

The President and Mr. James Elphinstone, chief councillors to the Queen and suspected in religion, are flatly against the Queen going north in this season in regard she is again thought to be with child, which is likely to draw the King home. Bothwell has made many "mintis" [attempts] to spoil and burn some cornyards in the Merse and Lothian, but he is indirectly "impeached," for Niddry (Netherye), Boyd and the best with him have grown cold and not unwilling to leave him. Hamilton, Herries and Drumlanrig with their forces intend to invade Johnstone, who is assisted by Buccleuch. Mr. Walter Lindsay has not returned, but is looked for daily. [In the margin: "Edenburgh, 2 Novemb."] The "factours" of estate, fearing Mar's greatness and that [they] themselves should be "put at," made a motion to the Earl of Crawford to take the keeping of Edinburgh Castle. But Crawford constantly refused, and seeing the matter did not succeed this way they go about another, and so the wars are begun betwixt them and shall not cease until "th'one partye be caste." [In the margin: "By letter of the penult of October 1594.]

12/3 pp. In the hand of Bowes's clerk. Endorsed in the same hand: "The note of sondrye contents of lettres receaved from Scotlande at London 8th Novemb. 1594."

399. News from Aberdeen, etc. [Nov. 3.]

"Occurrantis certefyed by sondrye lettres sent from Aberdeyne, etc."

The houses of Strathbogy and Newton are rased and Slains is burnt because it could not be "propped or hoched." Two hundred horsemen and 100 footmen are left to keep the country in quietness and subjection. Marischal, Forbes and the Barons of MacIntosh, Grant, Drum, Findlater, Balquhan, Frendraught (Frendrate) and others of the country have entered into band to "oppone" themselves against Huntly and his accomplices, and if Huntly or the Papists shall hurt the ministers or trouble the country, as they brag to do, the King has promised then to return into those parts personally with his forces and utterly to destroy all the rebels, their parties and their houses. A general pardon upon payment of fines is granted to all the "commons" who were in field with Huntly against Argyll.

The King has now returned to Aberdeen, intending there to put all things in order, and thereon to come to Edinburgh, and it is likely that he will abide short time at Edinburgh [sic] since the countrymen serving by proclamation have departed upon the expiration of their attendance, while the next "quarterage" have not come to him, neither are they now looked for, and thereby he is left with the waged men, who are likely to break by want of pay, and thereon he shall be "endangered to be" a prey to his enemies. He intended to have marched into Caithness (where now Huntly is looking daily for Bothwell's coming), but he was stayed by many impediments. Argyll shall receive the lieutenancy of the north at the King's coming to Edinburgh. MacIntosh, lately disgraced by the King for taking part with Bothwell, has come to the King and offered his service, which is accepted, and now the King reposes great trust in him and on the Laird of Grant, which two have lately been suspected of having revolted from Argyll to Huntly. Two of Huntly's men being lately hanged were taken down and carried to be buried, whereupon one reviving is hitherto suffered to live.

Two gentlemen who were with Huntly in the field against Argyll are taken and are to be executed on the next day. One of them is uncle of Lord Saltoun. Ochiltree, awaiting to apprehend Angus, missed him narrowly, whereupon Angus will no more haunt those bounds. The King has been informed that Bothwell lately shipped at Yarmouth and passed over the seas, yet by other letters it is certified that he is in Esk, at "Dicke" Davy's house, and that he will not resort into Caithness, as Huntly expects. The Chancellor and Mar have entered into some discord and dryness likely to produce troublesome effects, as shortly it will appear.

A letter from Huntly to Angus was intercepted and brought to the King, who is stirred with the scornful words of Huntly declaring his raid to be but a "goykis storme." (fn. 2) It is secretly given out, and with some credit, that Errol died lately at Callendar (the Kallender) or thereabouts, the house of Livingstone, who married Errol's sister. Huntly by his letter to Bothwell challenged him with breach of his promise to provide horsemen with the 800 crowns delivered to Colonel Boyd; and whereas 2000 crowns more should have been sent to Bothwell, it is alleged that the money has not yet come. This money, with forces, is looked for next spring at the farthest. Huntly has got the warrant, which Auchendoun had and kept in his coffer, for the death of Moray.

1⅓ pp. In the hand of Bowes's clerk. Endorsed by Burghley's clerk: "Scotland."

400. Sir Richard Cockburn to Sir Robert Cecil. [Nov. 8.]

Desires access to her Majesty by Cecil's means to take his leave. London. Signed: R. Cokburne.

¼ p. Holograph. Addressed. Endorsed by Cecil's clerk.

401. News from Aberdeen. [Nov. 8.]

"Occurrantis certefyed by sondrye letters sent from Aberdeyne 8° Novembris, 1594."

Her Majesty's last letter to the King touching the Scottishmen presently in Ireland was delivered at Aberdeen by George Nicolson after Argyll's departure. The King promised to speak with him on his return, and thereon to take order to give her Majesty good satisfaction. The letter to Argyll was likewise delivered to him at Dalkeith by Nicolson. Argyll will shortly return to the King and take his pleasure and order in that cause. He protests to do all that he can for her Majesty in that behalf. The order to be taken by the King with Argyll herein shall be certified by the next [letter], and they intend to advertise the same by their own letters to her Majesty.

The rasing of Strathbogy, Slains and Newton is confirmed, and further that the house of Abergeldy is cast down, and that the King on his return from Aberdeen to Dundee will demolish John Ogilvy's house, which the town of St. Johnstone should have done before; and thereon the King will return to Edinburgh or Stirling on the 16th instant. He is so slenderly guarded that his safe return is much wished.

Argyll would not accept the lieutenancy in the north before he had conferred with his friends and received their consent to assist him therein: which conference and resolution could not be had in less time than two months. Therefore the King made Lennox lieutenant from the water of Dee northwards, and appointed Marishal, Forbes, Sir Robert Melvill, Sir John Carmichael, the Lairds of Dunipace, Findlater, Balquhan (Bouquhan), Frendraught (Fyndrach), Philorth (Fullorth), and the bishop of Aberdeen, and of the ministry, Mr. David Lindsay, Mr. James Nicolson, Mr. Peter Blackburn, Mr. Alexander Douglas and Mr. Duncan Davidson, as his counsellors. The King and Council have given especial instructions to the Duke, who has publicly and solemnly protested to do his uttermost in performance of the same.

The gentlemen benorth the river of Dee are charged to apprehend such of the rebels as shall enter within their bounds. Sutherland has promised to execute this order for his part, and has delivered to the King his eldest son in pledge for the same. Mackenzie and Balnagowan (Ballengowne) undertake for the county of Ross; Lord Lovat, MacIntosh, Grant and the tutor of Calder for the Highlands thereabouts. But because Lovat and Grant are directed to come to and remain at Edinburgh during the King's pleasure, therefore they must depute some fit persons to be answerable to the lieutenant for them, and thus especial noblemen, barons and gentlemen in every several shire are charged to answer the lieutenant for all things within their bounds. William Hume the elder and William Hume the younger, captains of 200 horsemen, are left with the lieutenant with their companies. Captain Davidson abides with 100 footmen, and Sir John Carmichael is general of the whole forces. The residence of the lieutenant shall be in Aberdeen, Elgin and Inverness, as occasion shall be offered. Justice Courts for punishment of offenders shall be holden. The lieutenant, barons and gentlemen have given their oaths for performance of this commission. The King publicly in the assembly of the people declared with solemn oath that he will prosecute the Papists and rebels to the uttermost of his power, assuring the gentlemen that he will be an enemy to Huntly, Errol and their assisters.

MacIntosh has told the King that he has been informed by two gentlemen that Huntly has subscribed a band for the killing of the King; whereupon MacIntosh is directed to speak further with these two informers for the trial of the matter. It is thought that Gight and Invermarky gave this information and that they shall have pardon if they can produce this band. MacIntosh is resolutely bent to draw the Duke into such open and profitable services against the rebels that he shall be either much honoured thereby or utterly shamed. Atholl is suspected to be banded with sundry of Argyll's followers against Argyll. Wherefore some of Argyll's friends are warned, that they may com municate the same to him. It has been informed that Huntly still keeps his forces in pay notwithstanding that they are scattered, and it is thought that he shall thereby kindle again the fire with great danger. Errol recovers his health and is thought to be past peril of death, for with great difficulty and pain the arrow-head in his thigh is drawn out.

pp. In the hand of Bowes's clerk. Endorsed by Cecil's clerk: "No. 1594. Abstractis of certen letters from Scotland." At the head: "At London, xix° Novembris 1594."

402. Sir Robert Cecil to Sir Richard Cockburn. [Nov. 12.]

With this letter from her Majesty I know you will part from London immediately, and therefore I send you my farewell and wish you a good journey. The subject of her Majesty's letter (next to the declaration with what mind she sends to the King this testimony of her kindness) is for the most part spent in assuring him how industrious and discreet an instrument he has used. As I know the King is not ignorant of this, so do I also imagine it will not displease you to know that her Majesty returns you with such a testimony under her royal hand. It remains now for you to do her right in all your reports, both of her love and affection for the King and of her many "extraordinaries" which might have hindered this courtesy at this time. These things I "remember," not because I think you will forget them, but "as a true description of what naturell my conceipte holdis yow," (fn. 3) and as an assurance that, finding this, I will hold all correspondency with you which my place and opportunities may afford, for the conservation of true and sincere love between these two princes. The Court [at Richmond]. (fn. 4)

¾ p. Copy in the hand of Cecil's clerk. Endorsed by the same hand.

Another copy of the same (vol. lii. p. 107).

403. Sir Richard Cockburn to Sir Robert Cecil. [Nov. 12.]

For this gentleman and another artisan in this town I made suit to her Majesty on Sunday last at my leave-taking. As I was desired to deliver their supplications to you, I now put you in remembrance of motioning their humble suits to her Majesty. If these are granted by my intercession I shall remain most obliged to her Majesty, and shall acknowledge myself particularly beholden to you for your pains. London. Signed: R. Cokburne.

p. Addressed. Endorsed by Cecil's clerk.

404. Mr. James Hudson to Sir Robert Cecil. [Nov. 14.]

The ambassador has not as yet received his passport, which Burghley committed to Mr. Ashley to despatch with another for two Frenchmen who "ryd by jorney." The ambassador is desirous that you grant your passport for these persons in this enclosed note, and also have some regard to his request for the two denizens recommended already, and especially Mr. Montgomery, for he is descended of a good house and so well qualified and conditioned that he is worthy to inhabit "in a good place and lyke peiple." All the favour you bestow upon them the ambassador will take as done to himself, and he would be glad that it might have some hope before his departure "becaws the gentleman hath a number of young gentlemen that hardly can spaer his pressence with owt ther great prejudice." For my own part, I have ever been deeply bound to your honourable favours, and of late I have been newly obliged both to your father and more to yourself. I wish for some good occasion to express my thanks. London. Signed: James Hudson.

1 p. Holograph, also address. Endorsed by Cecil's clerk.

405. News from Scotland. [Nov. 16.]

"By letters from Edenburghe the xvjth of November, 1594." The occurrents sent from Aberdeen on 8th November are fully confirmed. It is now advertised that albeit the King has returned first to Stirling on the 14th and next to Edinburgh, and has left the Duke with a council to govern the north parts and to apprehend the rebels, yet it is thought that the rebellious Earls shall stir new troubles there. They still keep their forces in pay, daily drawing to them in secret manner horsemen for the increase of their forces which still are kept "in covert." Huntly has 1000 men in pay, and sundry of quality have banded with him. These Earls charge Mr. Bowes and the ministers of the Church to be the only authors and instruments of their present evils and distresses, threatening "to quyt a common with them."

It is by some cunning practiser given out that her Majesty has sent an ambassador to Duke Ernastus, and that thereon the King of Spain will send his ambassador to treat for a peace betwixt England and Spain. The religious and well affected are troubled with this report, thinking it high time to look to the cause of religion there if this bruit shall be found true.

Some storms are likely to grow betwixt the Chancellor and the Earl of Mar, and it is deemed that Mar aspires to be Chancellor and to draw Mr. Colville to be Secretary, and that Sir George Hume shall be "meanes" and advance this plot. Albeit the Chancellor trusted to have been supported by the Queen in this and his other causes upon new reconciliation betwixt them, yet the Queen has lately showed evident signs of her displeasure towards him, burning things she had signed for his benefit. Lord Hamilton by his servant has certified George Nicolson that he looks that Dumbarton shall be charged to be rendered to the King, whereof there is no certainty; and he has renewed his former request, looking for speedy answer in the same.

The King has been lately informed that Bothwell is presently reset in England with favour, wherewith he is much perplexed and grieved. It is added that an especial person is ready to repair to Bothwell, who (as it is thought) may haply recover some credit.

Argyll's friends have been suspected to have been banded with his adversaries against him in regard that he uses them not as counsellors but as strangers; for which cause they "holde the further from him." Yet they have not entered into any band against him, and it is meant that some fit mediators shall be employed to reconcile these parties. Mr. John Colville is thought to be a fit instrument to travail therein, and the young Laird of Lawers (Lawyes) shall be sent to him, for it is found convenient to remove this unkindness with expedition in respect that Argyll's friends are well devoted and bent to religion, to her Majesty and the common causes. This works so much in the ministers that they will labour to end those griefs. O'Neil and others in Ireland have required Argyll to send to them 2000 Scottishmen at their charges and offer to pay him yearly 10,000l. Scots. Argyll still promises to do all good offices in his power to her Majesty, and to endeavour both to call home the Scottishmen presently in Ireland and to restrain others from passing there. His full mind and answer to her Majesty's letter, together with the King's pleasure and resolution in those behalfs, shall be sent soon after his coming to the King at Edinburgh. The King has been travailed with to think that Mr. John Colville has sought his favour with purpose not to do him the services which he looks for, and that Mr. John has said that "fayre wordis makis fooles fayne." Whereupon the King is offended against Mr. John by the "incencement" of the Chancellor, and hereupon it is looked that either the Chancellor or Mr. John shall be shortly "put at." Upon the assembly of the Council (presently scattered to repose themselves after their wearisome journey), the King is purposed to take order for the quieting and obedience of the Highlands. Gight, in the extremity of his sickness and at the point of death upon his hurt (who nevertheless is not yet dead), confessed to a minister that there was a band made for killing of the King, and the King hopes to get this original band into his hands.

2 pp. In the hand of Bowes's clerk. Endorsed by Cecil's clerk.

406. News from Scotland. [Nov. 20.]

"Advertisment certefyed by letters from Edenburghe the xxth of November 1594."

Since the King's return to Edinburgh no matters of great importance have followed, and all things for the estate and government are referred to the next Convention, beginning the 26th instant. At this assembly it is looked that some matters shall be "proponed" against the Chancellor by Mar, who is purposed to be at this Convention with his friends and in great strength. Donald Gorme and MacLeod Harris have returned from Ireland and remain at their own houses, as before it was certified. They have been well entreated in Ireland, and have got (as is advertised) great gains and profit. They have left 800 men to serve there this winter against her Majesty's subjects. They have both promised to return again with all the forces they can gather to O'Donnell and O'Neil soon after Candlemas, and they are presently labouring to gather together for that purpose all the forces they can levy. Argyll has sent to Donald Gorme to come to him, but Donald refused and abides still at home.

The Chancellor, attending on the King in his return, refused to go with him to the Earl of Mar, at Stirling, and said that, seeing Mar had been means to purchase the King's pardon for Mr. John Colville, he saw no cause why the like means should not be used for the peace of the Laird of Spott, presently with Bothwell. These speeches of the Chancellor have been brought to the ears of Mar, whereby he is much irritated. Lord John Hamilton and Claud, his brother, being at some discord, have lately been at Edinburgh, where the King has reconciled them and brought them both to eat and drink and also ride together at their departure from Edinburgh. Young Gight, the eldest son of Gordon, Laird of Gight, is taken by Captain William Hume and brought to the King at Edinburgh. It is found that he is not guilty of his father's crimes, and thereby he is likely to be shortly delivered. Buccleuch and Johnstone have burnt sundry of the houses in Ewesdale of the Armstrongs, who are fled to the Grahams in England. The King is purposed to make a raid into Douglasdale to apprehend Angus.

1⅓ pp. In the hand of Bowes's clerk. Endorsed by Cecil's clerk. At the head: "London, xxix° Novemb. 1594."

407. Sir Richard Cockburn to Sir Robert Cecil. [Nov. 20.]

For this last token of her Majesty's many favours to me I must render most humble thanks, which I will entreat you to take the pains to deliver from me, who shall be no less careful than diligent to satisfy her good opinion and expectation of me in performance of all bounden duty. For your own particular kindness and courtesies towards me I heartily thank you in these few posted lines till such time as better leisure and opportunity afford more frequent remembrance of intelligence betwixt us. Wednesday, "towardis night." Signed: R. Cokburne.

½ p. Holograph. Addressed. Red wax seal. Endorsed by Cecil's clerk: "22 No. 1594, Sir Rich. Cockburne to my master."

408. News from Scotland. [Nov. 26.]

"Advertismentis certefyed by letters from Edenburgh on the 26 of November laste 1594."

The Convention of the Estates assembled at Edinburgh on the 26th, whereunto resorted sundry noblemen diversely affected to the Chancellor and Mar, presently discording. It is generally expected that sundry of the head officers in Court shall be changed, and that with this change some troublesome effects shall arise. At this Convention the King will take order against the rebels, Papists and Papistry, and for the reformation of other errors in the estate.

It is advertised that Huntly and the rest of the Papist lords have sent a gentleman into Spain to carry the report of the late victory against Argyll, and it is thought that thereby the King of Spain will be the rather allured to send them succours of men and money. Further, [it is advertised] that Thomas Tyrie, addressed by the Earls to the Archduke Ernastus, is ready to return with his answer to Scotland and purposes to pass quietly through England. It is promised that at his coming into Scotland he shall be apprehended to answer to accusations against him; for sundry of Hume's friends wish that Tyrie might be taken from him in regard that he is an ill instrument about him and a great practiser against religion.

The King purposes to ride in person to Douglas and Dumfries against Angus and Herries and to cast down the house of New Abbey in Galloway, wherein many English and Scottish Jesuits, seminaries and Papists have been entertained, and some especial persons of good quality are secretly sent to surprise Angus, who lately has been with Bothwell at Douglas, and, as the King is informed, devising to surprise his person; and it is added that if they shall despair of obtaining possession of the King's person, then they will repair to Huntly, in Caithness, to make further plans. The waged horsemen and footmen will no longer serve unless they shall receive their pay in the beginning of next month. This can hardly be performed in regard that the King's power does not suffice to do it, and that the burghs are unwilling to be further burdened. It is verily thought that if these horsemen and footmen shall break and return to their countries, then Huntly and the rest will soon repossess their houses.

The ministers being informed confidently that the rebels intend to renew their practices against the King and the religion, earnestly persuade the people to give due regard to it and to assist the King. They highly commend the King and his actions, as well in his last expedition against the rebels as also of his good purpose intended further to prosecute them and to establish the peace and quietness of the country.

It is reported that an ambassador of Spain sent to the King of Denmark has lately arrived at Copenhagen. There has come into Scotland the brother of the Duke of Lüneburg (Lunengburgh). He is young, cousin german to the Queen of Scots, lately returned from Malta through England, [and] purposes to visit the Queen of Scots. He is entertained with great honour in the King's house and admitted ordinarily to the King's table. The state of affairs in the north of Scotland will appear by the following copy of a note sent by the Clerk of the Council there. Remember the advice given for the gift of some horses.

"The coppie of the note of th'estate of th'affayres in the northe of Scotlande and certefyed by the Clarcke of the Counsell ther. At Aberdeyne the 23 of November last, 1594."

Resolution is taken for holding of courts here for the punishment of odious crimes. The Lieutenant and council have thought expedient that rather a good number, which may impair the force of the rebels, be sent south, than a mean number, whose coming there can little serve. The houses and strengths of the country are committed to the keeping of the noblemen and barons of the council, who have promised to be answerable for the same and to place as many men therein as may keep them, which will greatly terrify the rebels and disappoint them "of all reseitt to conspyre or attempte." The houses taken and fortified are these: the Bog of Gight and Ruthven in Badenoch, pertaining to Huntly himself, Glenbucket, Craig of Auchindoun, Haddo, Gight, Cluny, Carnburrow, Inverness, Spynie, Craigneston, Murestis [Muiresk], Gartully, and Turreff. So the rebels cannot stir without advertisement, that my lord may visit them "on the soddayne." Young Gight was taken and sent "in ther" with young William Hume. He is thought meet to be kept in surety as a pledge for his house. He is innocent, and was neither at Donibristle nor the last field. My lord Lieutenant is well liked of and awaited on here. He minds to pass north before 10th December to Elgin to hold a Justice Court. We hear of no kind of stirring of the rebels, but that Huntly is still in Caithness. The Earls of Caithness and Sutherland are both written for and charged to give their obedience to the Lieutenant.

pp. In the hand of Bowes's clerk. Endorsed by Cecil's clerk. Headed, in the margin: "London, 4° Decemb. 1594."

409. Henry IV. to James VI. [Nov. 27/17.

He gladly heard the credit of the Laird of Wemyss, and of James's affection and goodwill, which he reciprocates. He regrets that he could not accept the invitation to assist at the baptism of the Prince on account of his wars and preoccupations at home. Remits credit to Wemyss. St. Germaine en Laye.

pp. French. Copy. Endorsed.

410. Propositions submitted by the Laird of Wemyss to Henry IV. [c. Nov.]

"Certaines considerations proposez par le Sieur de Wymes ambassadeur du Roy d'Escosse pour l'entretenement de la confederation d'entre les royaumes de France et d'Escosse."

The Kings of France and Scotland have held in great respect their ancient alliance, dating from the time of Charlemagne and Achaius, in 792. Their subjects have ever since lived in mutual friendship and intelligence, favouring and aiding each other. Their neighbours and ancient enemies have feared them and been constrained to abandon the domination at which they aimed in France. For the defence of France and to confine the English within their own bounds the Kings of Scotland have set everything aside, taking arms at the first request, fearing not the hostility of their neighbours, the dangers of war, nor death, hardship and loss. James II. and James IV. were killed in making war against the English at the request of Charles VII. and Louis XII.; the defence of the French crown under Charles VII. cost the lives of more than 20,000 Scots; James V. took arms against the English at the request of Francis I. and died of grief after the defeat at Solway Moss (Solommosse); King William was taken prisoner by Henry II., King of England, while making war on him at the desire of Louis, the young King of France, and John Baliol (Baloll) was similarly taken prisoner by Edward Longshanks (Edwarde, surnommé Longues Jambes). In fulfilment of the alliance renewed by Charles the Fair and Robert Bruce and the new clause for the protection of him who should be declared legitimate heir of either of the crowns, David Bruce went in person to France with an army to support Philip de Valois against Edward III., claimant of the crown, and, when he had returned to Scotland to compel the English to retire from Calais, he twice attacked England, and the third time was captured and his nobility slain at the battle of Durham, after refusing the English offers to restore Berwick, and to deliver up Edward Baliol, his competitor, on condition that he would cease to support the French.

The Kings and people of Scotland have never wished their own profit when it was a question of their honour or faith, nor to make any offer prejudicial to the said alliance. That is why the Scots army which went to France under the Earl of Buchan (afterwards Constable of France) to the aid of Charles VI. and Charles VII. did not wish to entertain the offers of the English to set free the captive James I. and to restore Berwick, if they should retire from France and the party of Charles VII. This fidelity to the confederation and the great services of the Scots to the French crown have brought them honour and prerogatives both particular and general; in particular, ranks and dignities to serve as an incentive to Scots posterity and as a memory of French gratitude and liberality; in general, several privileges to serve as bonds for the maintenance of the alliance, lest it should be weakened or abolished by the intermission of arms, cessation of traffic, and badge of a stranger (marques d'estrangier). For the Scots are honoured firstly with the guarding of the King's body, begun by St. Louis in his journeys overseas, and instituted by Charles VII. in its familiar form; secondly, by the company of Scots men-atarms, ordained by Charles VI. and maintained until the civil wars; thirdly, by the perpetual exemption to Scottish merchants from paying any but the ancient impost. The said exemption was granted by the ancient Kings, and even by Francis I. in May 1518, and Henry II. in October 1554 and September 1555. Lastly, the closest bond is that of the general letters of naturalisation granted by Henry II. in June 1558. The French reciprocally enjoy the benefit of naturalisation in Scotland, and enjoy exemptions and privileges exclusive to themselves. They are exempt from all customs on entering and pay for transport only two pence per pound (deux deniers pour livre), while other nations pay much more and the English up to thirty-two pence per pound. Moreover, the French have the exclusive right of fishery, and have always found Kings and people ready to gratify them in all things by reason of this federation.

To entertain the league the underwritten means have served well, especially in this faction-ridden century. By the first and second the nobles have been retained, by the third the third estate, by the last the whole body of the realm, and have not wished to break the alliance although their neighbours and those of their faction have tried many means to this end, making out that France no longer takes account of Scotland by reason of (attendu) the recovery of Calais, diversity of religion and other things. Moreover, they hold to Froissart's opinion that to ruin France one must begin with Scotland; whereof in these times we have too much experience. Therefore the two realms ought to guard against such artifices and to allow no occasion to be given to break the bonds of the alliance. This danger must be met; for the men of arms no longer are a company; of the guards there remains only a shadow; the naturalisation is questioned by the officers of France; the privilege and exemption of the merchants are annulled since the edict of reappreciation (l'edict de la reapreciation des marchandises) in 1581 and later edicts. If such a state continues it will cause a complete cessation of trade between the two realms and give occasion to the Scots merchants to trade elsewhere and a possible opening to something of the greatest consequence (possible ouverture a chose de plus grande consequence).

It is certain that since 1581 Scots merchants have begun to make voyages to, and have factors in, Spain and other countries where they were not previously accustomed to have such intercourse. Out of every three ships which used to go to France two go elsewhere, as the men of Dieppe and others can testify. They can also bear witness to the immunities of the French in Scotland and to how they have been maintained. They cannot say that they have been prejudiced in any way by changes of kings or any new edict. But in France at each change of king and publication of an edict the privileges of the Scots are violated or altered, and it is always necessary to take proceedings before the king and his sovereign courts and to have new declarations made at great expense to the country and oppression of the merchants, besides the ordinary hindrances which they receive in so doing (fault tousjours se pourveoir par devers le roy et ses cours souveraines et obtenire et faire passer des nouvelles declarations a grand frais pour le pays et foulle des marchans, outre les traverses ordinaires quils recoivent des officiers en ce faisant).

Therefore it is necessary to renew and revive the alliance by re-establishing the men at arms, restoring the guard to its old form, confirming the letters of naturalisation, and granting the merchants a perpetual edict grounded upon the ancient league. The letters thereanent shall contain (lesquelles lettres feront surce) that, in treating for the renewal of the alliance, the Sieur de Wemyss, ambassador of the King of Scots, declared the subjects of the two realms to have been always so comprised in the said alliance that Scottish merchants trafficking in France were exempt from all imposts and duties except those that they paid of old before the first edict concerning foreign imposition (sur l'imposition foraine); yet, this notwithstanding, by occasion of several new edicts, etc., even the edict of May 1591, patent of 24th April 1594 (l'an present) and "arest de conseil" of 12th May 1594, Scottish merchants were molested by new impositions which would almost cause their trade to cease. Wherefore the King shall declare that among the other articles of the treaty of confederation it has been accorded that Scottish merchants shall be exempt from all the said imposts and subsidies on exports and imports, except such as they were accustomed to pay of old, before the edict of May 1581, notwithstanding all subsequent edicts, etc.:—in consideration of the said alliance and the enjoyment of similar privileges and immunities by French merchants in Scotland, of which he (fn. 5) has been assured by the King of Scots through the said ambassador.

pp. French. Copy. Endorsed by Burghley's clerk: "1594. Propositions of the Lo. Wemes to the French King."

411. News from Scotland. [Nov. 28.]

"We are lyk to have a new face of a Court," and that hastily, for Mar "pretendis heigh" and the Chancellor "lyk to be put at." "Polypus" was here "at his mother" on the 22nd instant. He says that Huntly is preparing new forces. There is a "trayn" [stratagem] that Carmichael shall be sent forth, and preparation made for his "deargie." Many of Bothwell's men have got their peace lately. Lennox gives remissions with expedition in the north. It is said that he is already weary of his remaining. Signed with the trefoil sign of Dr. Macartney.

p. Endorsed by Bowes: "Weathouris 28 November, London 7 December, 1594."

412. Earl of Argyll to Robert Bowes. [Nov. 29.]

At my return from the north, George Nicolson delivered to me on 12th November her Majesty's letters together with your lordship's and a memorial containing the names of some persons who are troublesome to the estate of Ireland. In very deed I am not "acquent" with these names, perhaps because they are not set down apart. Notwithstanding, in respect I have not thought it necessary to write to her Majesty until I "be better sein" in the matter and "tak further tryall" what these persons be who are mentioned in the memorial, for the present only I will assure your lordship of my good meaning towards her Majesty's government, and that I shall endeavour to withdraw from her enemies not only these who are of my jurisdiction, but also such of my neighbours, the islesmen, as either by my threatenings or allurements may be moved thereunto. Holyroodhouse. Signed: Ard. Ergyll.

Postscript.—Please obtain of her Majesty "ane placatt to me for sum horses in sic number as salbe thocht convenient."

1 p. Addressed. Endorsed by Robert Bowes.

413. [Mr. John Colville] to Robert Bowes. [Nov. 29.] Printed in Colville's Letters, pp. 131–133.

The Convention began on the 26th instant, wherein as yet nothing is done. But his Majesty made declaration how he was moved by Lord Zouche to pursue these Papists with promises of sufficient means in that action, and that his ministry and barons, failing of support from thence [i.e. England], promised to furnish him, and now since he had "done" to the contentment of all honest men, and had left behind some waged men for keeping good rule in the country, he desired to see how they might be entertained; for consulting whereon certain of the Council were appointed on the 27th. On the 28th the Advocates were required to grant "to" a benevolent supply, which I think they will agree to. As yet it is not concluded how long the Duke and waged men shall remain in the north, nor how they shall be sustained, but all men believe there shall be a new taxation for that errand. The Chancellor and officers of estate are very strong, fearing, as it is said, that some of the nobility shall seek to "cast thame," which apparently cannot be well done presently. But no mention thereof as yet is made in Convention, which I think shall continue unended all this week.

The pacifying of the continual "heirschippis" of highlandmen and borderers will give matter of great consultation, if the particular care of their own standing take not away from the councillors the care of the common weal. Q. (the King) assures A. (Mar) that he will mend things, and is very angry that H. (the Chancellor) "lippins" [trusts] so much in his own strength, and not in him. Some of the number whom the King desired to come have not come, which I think will stay matters till he goes to Mar's residence, which will be shortly. But certainly there is such fire kindled betwixt Mar and the Chancellor "as without combustion cannot quenche." Assuredly the King's mind is changed on H. and G. (Sir George Hume), joined inwardly with A. (Mar). This is certain, but my next "sall say moir specially" [i.e. in detail].

It is said that a new Convention is to be instituted on 16th December. The report of Bothwell is diverse, some thinking him to be quietly in England, some that he is away to Flanders, and some alleging he will again "interpryis." The last has no probability, for since he has joined with God's enemies all honest men have left him and repent sore that they have offended the King for his cause. This Duke of Lüneburg's brother is courteously used because he is cousin german to her Majesty. Signed: Y.

2 pp. Holograph, also address. Endorsed by Bowes. Red wax seals. Names in cipher, deciphered.

414. R[oger] A[ston] to Robert Bowes. [Nov. 29.]

My last, of the 20th, delivered to George Nicolson, acquainted your lordship with our present estate, referring the success of our Convention to my next; for the discharge of which promise I have written this. The Convention began on the 26th, where the King in presence of the whole assembly declared the causes moving him to send for them: which were, first, to let them know what he had done; next, what was meetest for the present to be done; and, last, what courses were most convenient to be taken for the maintenance of the good cause, which is likely to perish if present order be not taken. The Lieutenant can remain no longer in the north than his forces will "byd" with him, and they will no ways serve longer than they have present pay. All shifts that can be devised are making here for another month's pay, which will hardly be got. The King has done what he can. His jewels are in mortgage. His people are sore taxed, so that he can crave no more. He is now borrowing from the men of Leith to serve the present necessity. It is hoped for by the best sort that her Majesty will join with the King in this action, as their common sayings here are that she promised, both by Lord Zouch and others, to do as soon as the King entered into action. The evil affected say it is no ways her intention to give her assistance, but only to put the King and his subjects by the ears and so leave him, and that she is making a peace with the King of Spain without his knowledge. These purposes occupy the ears of all men here. [As] for the King, I know he is of a good disposition and means truly to her Majesty and the good cause. All I fear is his poverty, by which he shall not have power to command. Here is every man for himself. Some high purposes were to have been effectuated at this time. But I see no appearance. Whatever was meant against the Chancellor they dare not offer themselves. The King's intention was to change the Treasurer and Comptroller, but he finds not the time proper "to chop att them." All likely to be done at this time is but to see how this cause undertaken may be "dobbled" with some other. Particular affairs are heard, as the stamping of some base money—" penye and toue penes," the undertaking with the Borders and oppressing of the country. You know the Scot of this country better than any other. I doubt not but you will inform her Majesty of the truth of all things. For my own part, my care is of her Majesty's standing, without respect of person.

Last of all, my own opinion "to yourselfe" is given as a friend. Although I know you are best able to discharge this, yet I would not have you here unless you might do her Majesty service and yourself credit. If she be minded to join with the King in this action and will go through with it, then, being led to your charge, accept it boldly; all will go well: "otherwayes poutt the bone in some otheres fott thow it were to your hortt." It is said here that Wigmore and Lock are striving for the place. I doubt not but her Majesty is wiser than to employ such as will not be able to serve. This day his Majesty has received letters from the north. All is quiet there, with great obedience to the Lieutenant, who behaves himself very discreetly, and subject to his council. Edinburgh. Signed: R. A.

3 pp. Holograph, also address: "To my lord embastor." Endorsed by Bowes.

415. George Nicolson to Robert Bowes. [Nov. 29.]

Hitherto it falls out that no change is meant at this Convention, notwithstanding that many looked for the same now. But it will "come to" again, and that to the dividing of the whole land, some think. This Convention is very great, viz., the Earls of Argyll, Crawford, Cassillis, Mar, Morton, Orkney, Lords Seton, Fleming, Livingstone, and the Lairds of Buccleuch, Cessford, Lochinvar and others, besides the officers of state. The Chancellor, the Master of Glamis and officers of state thinking that Mar, Argyll, Morton and others meant to seek their "outputting" from their places, "made their back to withstand the same," and are very strong. Mar and the rest, seeing the time not meet, have not dealt in this matter, so that both these contrary parties with ordinary courtesies and compliments are likely to "put over" this time with quietness. 67 (Mr. John Colville) is much blamed as a deviser of this "in the hatred of 52" (the Chancellor), who is too strong for all that John Colville can do. Yet he assures me no such matter is intended, but that the Chancellor, doubting the worst and having a guilty conscience, imagines and dreads. The secrets of these things I leave to the letters enclosed. "Allwaies" my old opinion is proved; for if B (the King) could have been won herein, as he could not, for the Chancellor's sake, though he would do anything to remove 57 (the Master of Glamis), "so it might be without stirrs," then more had now been done. Yet the party of 21 (Mar) looks for the same in time.

His Majesty has declared to this Convention his resolution to prosecute his rebels with all rigour and to put order to the broken causes of this land, signifying that since he was not therein assisted by England he must do the best he could himself. Hereon the Council have bethought them of overtures for the best effecting hereof, and I hear they have found out "the very hardly meanes" to maintain the Lieutenant and the "mercionary" [forces] with him. But if it be after a "hackling" manner it will not serve the turn but cast off the men of war, to the encouragement of the Earls to a new field. I must not dissemble in a matter of such moment. All good men of all degrees look that, since her Majesty persuaded the King to this action, she should aid and assist him therein. Of his own power he cannot follow forth this action, but for very want it must perish in the end, to the great advantage of the enemy and the no little danger of the good cause here and with us. We hear that in Ireland there are great stirs and that hope is had of willingness amongst ourselves to make troubles at home. So, these considered, the policy will not be small to assist his Majesty now, which cannot "chuse" but do good to her Majesty's service in Ireland.

Yesterday the King said to me, "Howe nowe, George ? No word of my lord your master ?" I said "No, and it please your Majestie." He said, "What ? No word of the Secretary ?" I said also "No." Then he said, "When my lord of Zouch was here there was nothing but hast, and the King could not have xx daies respett then." These were his words in effect to me. His meaning is that he was hasted to the execution of this action, as if he should be thereon assisted, and that, nevertheless, the support comes at leisure. He has said, I hear, that if he were no better dealt with he would at all conventions and assemblies publish it to the world, that if for want of support he be driven to leave this cause, he is not to blame, but England that has persuaded him thereto when he might with his honour have listened to the offers of these rebels, etc.; and I assure you all the good men here are now with heart and soul for the King, herein wishing his support. In such a great matter I cannot choose but certify you, though not in the very words delivered to me, yet near in the substance. Mr. Bruce, as a persuader for the ambassadors of England, is charged herewith, and is therefore to write shortly therein to you.

Having moved Argyll and for his better "memory" given him a note anent the matter in which her Majesty wrote to him, he has promised me soon to be "at resolution" therewith with his Majesty and to advertise the same, and Roger Aston "remembreth that matter with the King," as you wrote to him. In very few days now I hope you shall have answer thereto. 58 (Sir George Hume), "throughe occasions" is yet hindered from writing to you. Edinburgh. Signed: George Nicolson.

Postscript.—Upon my dealing with the Council Cessford has met with Sir John Selby and done justice in all save three bills, wherein Sir John has written to me to procure the Goodman of Huttonhall to keep meeting with him, whereon I have framed a bill and hope to obtain good order for Sir John. "Of Mr. Arnold nothing but he is at Dundee." For the money had from Thomas Foulis please send word hither that [it] is paid, "if be so."

3 pp. Holograph, also address. Endorsed by Robert Bowes. Names in cipher deciphered.

416. Mr. James Hudson to Sir Robert Cecil. [Nov. 30.]

I had by conference with the ambassador [the report of] a discourse of Mr. Archibald Douglas, wherein he findeth great fault with the King for this extremity against the Papist lords, saying that thereby the King loses the hearts of all foreign friends and a great part of his own kingdom, and gains nothing herein, but accomplishes that which we desire, which is that he should denude himself of all friends; and then of necessity he must only depend on our friendship, which we more than bestow in what measure we list. This, says he [Douglas], was the "plat" that was laid in the Earl of Leicester's time, when it was reasoned how best to keep the King firm to this estate. The resolution was that some course must be holden to embark him against all the Papists at home or abroad, and now he of himself has fulfilled this to his own great damage and shall find no assistance here in his need. It was answered [by the ambassador, Cockburn,] that he [the King] had so far brought his soundness in religion into doubt by temporising with the Papists that it behoved him of necessity to purge himself of that point royally both at home and here, or else it might prejudge him more than all the friendship of his foreign friends could avail him. Whereto he [Douglas] answered that if he [the Ambassador] thought that to be holden a Papist in England would hurt him [the King], he was far deceived, for the strength of this realm consists of that sort, and when a kingdom is attempted to be won it is not the Council but the multitude that has to be regarded "for the cownssell pressent ever fallith with the prince." After this he "by occasyon of talk fel in speache of your honour's name and saed yow wer a false litil knave," and that you blamed him for a libel written against your father. After this he said of me that I helped to graft the opinion here that the King was a Papist and trafficker with Spain, saying there was not such a false little knave in all England who did the King more hurt than I did, and hereupon he began to tell how I was an English knave and in over-much credit with their nation and King. (fn. 6) He told your father that Mr. Lock and I in a tavern or inn were heard by Scottish men to say that the Council of England meant nothing to the King but to "brave" him and to use [him] at their pleasure. Herein your father honourably used me, for he told me both the words and the author, though in some sharp sort and as if the author had been of more honesty and truth than he was, yet gave me leave to use his name that I had it of his honour's own mouth; and it was my good fortune within one hour to meet Mr. Archibald coming to my lord. So I returned and we were confronted, when he with shame denied it before my lord and "fleid" to say it was written to him. But my lord said, "No, Mr. Dowglass, yow told me it." But my lord in his wisdom and temperance went not so far with his reward for his shameful lie as my folly would have wished. Of this I thought it my duty to advertise your honour, because it is truth; and the report touching your honour was from the ambassador's own mouth. I found him not unwilling that your honour should know it, for I see he carries a very honourable mind both to your father and yourself, and has many times spoken very honourably of my lord by the way and when he was viewing his houses of Theobalds and Burghley, calling his lordship a father of a commonwealth for beautifying it with the keeping of good laws and "decoring" it with fair edifices. Berwick. Signed: Ja. Hudson.

2 pp. Holograph, also address. Endorsed by Cecil's clerk. Red wax seal.

417. [Mr. John Colvile] to Mr. Henry Lock. [Nov. 30.] Printed in Colville's Letters, p. 133.

At this last Convention there were great bruits of alteration, but it was a matter suspected rather than intended, for the officers of estate, perceiving some nobles come without their knowledge, suspected somewhat was intended against them, whereupon such heartburning has ensued as cannot fail to work great mischief. Atholl and Huntly are now known to be reconciled, which is likely to make great trouble betwixt Argyll and him. Glenlyon, one of Argyll's, has made a great "heirschip" on Atholl, and the young Earl of Murray, hearing that Atholl has agreed with his father's murderer, has fled away in the night with Cluny (fn. 7) to his uncle the Abbot of St. Colm. This Convention is dissolved, and 16th December "institut" for another till which time all will be quiet. Hold me still in the good grace of Sir Robert Cecil, and "remember on" the particular sent touching a merchant of Watlingstreet. Signed: Y.

1 p. Holograph, also address. Red wax seal.


  • 1. brangle: to shake, applied to the mind; to confound; also, to menace. See Jamieson's Dictionary, new edition.
  • 2. A gowk's storm is defined in Jamieson's Dictionary as a metaphor "used to denote an evil, or destruction, of short duration." (New edition).
  • 3. i.e. of what disposition I take you to be.
  • 4. From the copy.
  • 5. The text here goes off into the first person, as quoting the words to be used by the King in the treaty: ce que nous a estépromis, asseuré, etc.
  • 6. The reported conversation between Douglas and Cockburn appears to end here.
  • 7. Robert Crichton of Cluny, who appears as a confederate of St. Colme or his party in March 1593–4 (P.C., v. 134). He is to be distinguished from Cluny Gordon, rebel. Cf. p. 489.