James VI, December 1594

Pages 487-503

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

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


In this section

James VI, December 1594

418. George Erskine to Mr. Robert Bruce. [Dec. 1.]

I direct to you these few lines to understand what answer has come from England. It were good that in due time such help as might be looked for was got, for two respects: first, because the enemies in the north "ar borne vith" and suffered to repair their loss; so I think before we are ready for them they will be ready for us. "The uther is, in cace that na fellowship nor support may be expected, the man quha hes alreddy sealed the cause vith his blood [i.e. Argyll] will follow his purposs to pass aff the cuntrye, according as ye shew me the bruit had [been] brocht to your eares." About this he and I have "discordit" sundry times since my last conference with you. His desire is so great [to leave the country]. Also there is in Argyle, but not as yet come to him, a messenger from O'Donnell offering the double of the tribute which he ought to pay for support of men. If nothing prospers on the south hand his friendship will be confirmed. His messenger, "havand desyr," satisfied your answer with diligence. Stirling. Signed: George Areskyn.

¾ p. Holograph, also address. No flyleaf or endorsement.

419. R[oger] A[ston] to Robert Bowes. [Dec. 3.] Printed in Colville's Letters, pp. 264–265.

This Convention is now ended without any matter of consequence [except] only to foresee means to entertain the forces in the north. The coming of Argyll and Mar was to another end, but [they] could not accomplish their intent. They have returned without motion of any matter. The officers of estate, perceiving themselves to be in some danger, laid all their heads together. The Chancellor and the Master of Glamis are all one. Buccleuch and Cessford are here countenancing the Chancellor. What may come hereafter, God knows. But this storm has passed. Mr. John Colville is not idle, for the hatred is so great between the Chancellor and him that he thinks he shall never get credit so long as the other has it. The mark he shoots at is to be Secretary. I cannot be persuaded that the King will prefer him. He has undertaken to betray Bothwell, which may make his credit or not. He comes not in public, but remains in Leith. Buccleuch has "geven up" with him for the Chancellor's cause.

Colonel Stewart is to be sent to the States to crave their concurrences. Letters have come from Bordeaux declaring that Mr. Walter Lindsay has arrived in Spain and passed to Court. The Secretary arrived here on the 30th. He has made good report of all, but his despatch no ways contents many. The King thinks there has not been that consideration that his actions merited. I wrote to you of some bruits of an ambassador of Spain, who should have been in London, but now we are persuaded to the contrary. I have delivered a letter to George Nicolson from the King to be sent to you. He has desired you to be a means to her Majesty for Waldegrave (Walgref) the printer, as by his own letter you shall understand.

I understand by Mr. Hudson of your faithful dealing with her Majesty in my behalf, with her Highness's gracious consideration of my earnest services. Let me know whether you are to return or not. I gave you my friendly advice in my last, not but that I would be glad of your coming, if you might do her Majesty's service and comfort all good men. If you do not come, let me know her Majesty's pleasures, and to whom I shall address my letters if you depart any way from Court. You know what danger it is for me to write, and what practices there have been to overthrow me by my own countrymen, as by intercepting of my letters. Yet for her Majesty's service I will hazard all. Edinburgh. Signed: R. A.

pp. Holograph, also address. Endorsed by Robert Bowes.

420. News from Scotland. [Dec. 3.]

"Occurrantis certefyed by sondry letters sent from Edenburgh 3 December 1594."

Upon bill exhibited to the King and Council by George Nicolson both for redress to be given to Lord Scrope by Buccleuch for attempts done in the West Wardenry of England by Liddisdale, and also that the Wardens of the Middle Marches of Scotland might frequently and according to the laws of the Borders meet together and proceed in justice, the King and Council have given thereon such answer and order as by the note sent by Nicolson will best appear. [See following document.]

The Convention of the Estates is ended [as in No. 419]. Another convention is appointed to assemble at Edinburgh on the 16th instant, and in the meantime all things will be quiet.

Argyll (fn. 1) and Mar came to this Convention with purpose to have removed the Chancellor, the Master of Glamis, Sir Robert Melvill, Linclouden and the Provost of Edinburgh, with the King's allowance, yet they have departed without any high countenance or motion, so that the storm expected has hitherto blown over. Nevertheless the malice so increases that the feud is likely to be quickened with blood and to the trouble of the country. Both these parties trust in the favour of the King. The Chancellor "moved himselfe" to the King and received comfort to his contentment. Yet the King intends to ride to Mar at Stirling for Mar's satisfaction, otherwise Mar and his friends, building still on the King's goodwill to them, will end the matter with the Chancellor and his party in sort that great troubles are likely to ensue thereon. Mr. John Colville is deemed to blow the coals to raise the flame. It is thought that the King will not prefer him notwithstanding that he undertakes to entrap Bothwell, for the expedition whereof one sometime familiar with Bothwell is sent out. Mr. Colville abides in Leith, using no public places in regard that his remission, by the Chancellor's means, is not yet published, and that Buccleuch and Cessford, at the Chancellor's instigation, have greatly "bosted" [threatened] him; which "bostinge" and rough dealing they have denied to the King. Mr. Colville, confidently weighing these proceedings, stands in small fear, thinking to be sufficiently guarded with the strength of his friends. Some of the Church think the King to be of this plot with Mar, which they do not like in respect that it will endanger the common cause, that they know none fit for the Chancellor's room, and that by his change the hazard of untried persons must be endured. The Church begins to conceive well of the Chancellor, which is imputed by some to his flattery and the ministers' facility. In pulpits they earnestly persuade the noblemen to cast off their "particulers" and bend their forces against the common enemies; and, these things being objected against Mr. Colville, he utterly protests to have no dealings therein. It may be that all these storms may soon be calmed, and for the same some motions are made, the success whereof is hitherto uncertain.

The officers of Estate have banded together for prevention of their peril, and hereby the Chancellor and Master of Glamis are united. Colonel Stewart shall be sent to the States to crave their concurrence. By letters from Bourdeaux it is declared that Mr. Walter Lindsay has arrived in Spain and passed to the Court.

The Secretary came to Edinburgh on Saturday, 30th November. He has made a good report of his negotiation, yet his despatch does not content many, and the King is dissatisfied [as in No. 419]. The bruits that an ambassador of Spain had come to London are found untrue. The Duke has good obedience, and the order established in the north shall endure until the next Convention. It is feared that lack of means and power (meaning money) shall mar all. In this last Convention it is ordained that the Lieutenant and waged men serving him shall be maintained by the fines of such as so far assisted Huntly and on the lands and goods of such as voluntarily aided him; this to be done by sale, tack, or composition. This is very uncertain yet the best shift that can be found, which is wished to be well regarded by her Majesty.

Angus and Bothwell crossed the water of Forth above the bridge at Stirling on 18th November, with purpose (as it is thought) to pass into Caithness to remain there quietly this winter. Bothwell's friends are leaving him. Amongst others, Mr. Thomas Cranston (Crankston) had got the King's remission by the Chancellor's means. But it is revoked in regard that it is found to be surreptitiously impetrated. Atholl (by the dealings of his wife, now discovered) is known to have agreed with Huntly, and Argyll and Atholl "are fallen togither by the eares." Whereupon Glenlyon, one of Argyll's friends, has made a great "heirship" in Atholl's lands. The young Earl of Murray, twelve years of age and in Atholl's custody, by means of the Laird of Cluny, Crichton, has departed from Atholl's keeping to his uncle, the Abbot of St. Colme, and charges are given forth against Atholl to render the houses of Doune and Darnaway to St. Colme.

pp. In the hand of Bowes's clerk. Endorsed by Cecil's clerk: "3 Dec. 1594. Abstract of letters from Scotland."

421. Border Matters. [Dec. 3.]

Sir John Selby, Deputy Warden of the East Marches of England, had a day of truce with Sir Robert Ker on 29th November and gave very good justice to Sir Robert, and next day received the like from Sir Robert until it came to a bill filed on John Duncan, for which Sir Robert's father gave promise about two years past that delivery should be made within twenty days; wherein Sir Robert offered no equity or justice, answering that, because the Laird of Wedderburn, who should be answerable for that bill, dwells out of his Wardenry, he cannot enter for it until he knows his Majesty's pleasure. This bill Sir John, for furtherance of justice, has continued till the next day of truce, as loth to have justice in other bills stayed. [In the margin: "In this the King and Counsell have written to the Larde of Wedderburne, as [i.e. that] no more complayntes come therein."] And so, proceeding further till it came to a bill of Richard Forster, filed on the young Laird of Hunthill and William Rutherford of Littlehaugh (Litlehughe), Sir Robert answered that, as they were dependers on Ferniehirst exempted by the King's order from his charge, he could not answer for them. Then Sir John calling for delivery for another bill filed on one who dwelt at the time of his filing on Cessford's lands, Sir Robert answered that he had gone off his grounds and dwelt under Ferniehirst, and that therefore he could not deal with him. Thus, by the excuses of the dwelling of the offenders out of Sir Robert's office and in privileged places, justice is not only sought to be delayed but to be put off, to the encouragement of evil persons. It is therefore desired that his Majesty give order for the speedy remedy thereof. [In the margin: "And in these bills the Lard of Fernyherst is written unto to make deliverie as justice may be don, or els that his Majestie will dischardge his priviledge; and Fernyherst being to come hither I can not tell what he may do. But the King will have justice don I assure you."]

Further, whereas two several meetings have been between Sir John Selby and the Goodman of Huttonhall at which Sir John has given very good justice and found the Goodman very willing to do the like, delivering his "warden serjant" for the execution thereof within twenty days, appointing another day of truce, nevertheless he has not made payment for such bills as his officer was delivered for, nor kept the day of meeting appointed, neither will he appoint new days, being required thereto by Sir John. It is therefore likewise required that his Majesty give order that redress may be presently made in the bills filed and for which the Warden's officer was delivered, and that meetings may be appointed and kept for the cause of justice and the preservation of the peace. [In the margin: "The King is to speake and take order with the Goodman as no impedimentes shall hinder justice, and I have willed the Goodman to gitt suche order of Sesfurth as may serve his torne, which he will labour."]

Lastly, whereas Lord Scrope has sought redress for sundry outrages done by Liddisdale, and Buccleuch offers to do justice for the faults committed by Liddisdale only since his entrance to that office on 10th October last and not for former faults, it is required that his Majesty should order him to make redress for such bills as Lord Scrope shall justly require, in regard that he has full power over the faulters, their lands and goods, and that his Majesty promised Mr. Bowes that he would give direction so to do, and that her Majesty and Council are thereof advertised. [In the margin: "For Baucleughe his Majestie will give answer. But I se it wilbe some way for some tyme dispenced with. Allwaies I shall and advertise your worship (sic)."]

1 p. Copy. In George Nicolson's hand. Endorsed in the same hand: "Copie of my note presented to the King and Counsell in Edenburgh Tolebuth, 3 Decemb. 1594; and short notes in the margent of th'effectis of the answeres given and to be given thereunto."

422. Sir George Hume of Spott to Robert Bowes. [Dec. 3.]

I doubt not but you have heard the sincerity of his Majesty's proceedings in the north, where he has so overthrown the Spanish practisers that no strangers can be hereafter harboured for prejudice of religion and your "wnquyetness," which, as you know, are the two "buttis" the said practisers and strangers have shot at this long time, and some of the most zealous of the ministry, being witnesses to his Majesty's actions, much repent their former suspicions, perceiving well the defaults to have been in other impediments and not in himself. And now, in respect that he has so faithfully fulfilled all required by Lords Burgh and Zouche and yourself, reason would that promises made by them for supplying him in that action, which tends much more to the benefit of your estate than to his, were also fulfilled. Wherefore I thought good to let you understand that the well affected, specially the ministry who were witnesses to the manifold promises of supply foresaid, are much discouraged, perceiving nothing performed therein. On the other part, neutrals and such as love the rebels, your enemies, take occasion to say that your estate meant nothing but to put his Majesty and his people by the ears; which for my own part I impugn. Your removing home (who have been and can be so good an instrument in the good cause, knowing the secrets thereof, the conditions of this nation and promises made on every side) is no small discomfort to his Majesty and his well-affected subjects. Therefore we all "thrist" your speedy return, that these matters so happily begun by his Majesty be not either delayed or overthrown for lack of "moyonnis," wherein my labours and goodwill shall be nothing inferior to my power and credit. I wish that a friendly intelligence may be kept betwixt us, to the benefit of both our sovereigns, till your return, and in the meantime that my humble endeavours may be presented to her Majesty. Because I cannot always have leisure to write particulars, I pray you that our common friend, Mr. John Colville, who I hope by his good behaviour shall recover his Majesty's favour, and your faithful servant, George Nicolson, whose truth and diligence in your absence is "weill lykit of" among the well affected, may be trusted therein. Signed: Sir G. Howme off Spott.

pp. Holograph, also address. Endorsed by Robert Bowes.

423. Depositions of John Ward, Edward Ditton, and William Freman. [Dec. 3.]

At Edinburgh, 3rd December, 1594.

John Ward, Englishman, about thirty years of age, deponed that he was born in Hillesden, in Buckinghamshire; that he came out of England to the house of Halvard Maxwell of Cavain [Herbert Maxwell of Cavence] on Saturday "wes awcht dayis"; that he was outlawed as cautioner for his brother-inlaw, named Furde, and, fearing to be trapped at some port of England, came to Leith, "of mynd" to pass to Middelburg, in Zealand, there to remain with his brother, a merchant, till some order be taken with his creditor. Item, one of his companions is named Edward Ditton, his cousin german, "conjunct" cautioner with him, and the other William Freman. Item, that the sum for which they were obliged is 100 marks sterling. Edward Ditton, thirty-two years of age, deponed that he was born in Hillesden, within three miles of Buckingham, as was likewise John Warde, whose brother's son married the said Edward's sister; that none of the three was married, and that they were all three cautioners to William Clerk, lawyer, dwelling at Wallingford, for 500l. sterling for Thomas Warde, "brother germane" to the said John Warde, and are all three bound to Middelburg.

William Freman, Englishman, thirty-two years of age, deponed that he was born in Risborough, in Buckinghamshire; that he came to Scotland at the time and for the cause above specified; that the "name" for whom he became caution is John Furde, brother-in-law to John Ward; that he was to go with Robert Warde to Middelburg; and that he had no letters to any man either in this country or in the Low Countries.

1 p. Copy. Endorsed by Robert Bowes and Cecil's clerk.

424. James Hudson to Sir Robert Cecil. [Dec. 4.]

Now being at Court, I am willing to remember my duty though there be no great matter to write, and I forbear to trouble you with repetitions. The King thinks himself not so liberally dealt with as his painful and costly journey demerits. I find him to keep certain grounds which he says he has ever kept and ever will, unless very great cause be given him to the contrary: to wit, never to quarrel with the Queen nor to give her any substantial cause of offence, neither to grieve nor offend the public state of England nor to take himself to any private man for a public act, or to lay his displeasure upon anyone for any bait that may be laid out. He uttered these things upon talk with myself upon a letter I wrote to a gentleman rather than upon any present occasion. I am to ride to see the Prince, so that I shall not write for a week.

I (fn. 2) find Mr. John Colville to "deffyd" in [i.e. distrust] the King and to despair of the Chancellor's friendship, and so, leaning to the house of Mar and Sir George Hume, is ready to blow up a new fire amongst them.

I am informed by the Secretary that Mr. Colville has laid open as much as he knows of the manner of the carriage of all matters with Bothwell and whatsoever else he knows either of our estate or the governors thereof. But because this comes that way I will give it no backing. (fn. 2) The gentleman I "ment of," who wrote, was Mr. Roger Aston who, both for his place about the King and his good credit with the King, the Queen and all others of any worth, is a very fit man for a true and substantial intelligence, whereof Mr. Bowes has had great proof and no small comfort. With him I think your honour might be well served, and therefore if it be to your liking, my friendship, which is great with him, shall be employed to the accomplishment thereof for the bettering of her Majesty's service. Edinburgh. Signed: Ja. Hudson.

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

425. Sir Richard Cockburn to Robert Bowes. [Dec. 12.]

Returning here after the dissolving of the Convention, I found the King "scairse allowing of my proceadeur there in the recept of so small sowmes," specially of the annuity, wherein he looked assuredly for her Majesty's as liberal and frank concurrence as so sacred and common a cause seemed to crave at her hands. His choler and passion in that subject you may imagine by the contents of a letter written to yourself by one of your friends, whereby, as I hear, may be collected what is the opinion of the best sort here and how far the difficulty made there has fallen out "by" [contrary to] the expectation of the well affected in this land and to the encouragement of the worser sort and evil disposed. But remitting particulars to that letter, I will continue with a description of the King's just passion, as he says, and of the arguments furnished of the common cause.

His Majesty complains of his evil usage many ways, chiefly that he, being stirred up by the Queen's many advices, mixed ofttimes with vehement and sharp reprehensions, resolved the prosecution of the Papist rebels, and after sentence of forfeiture against them undertook a most dangerous journey to the north in a very unseasonable time of year. The success of this expedition may bear witness of his sincerity and earnestness. But above all, his Highness's own opinion, seconded by few of his councillors, so far prevailed that whatsoever could be desired was "effectuat." Being embarked in these dangerous seas and having sailed so far as can be, not without peril to his royal person, he is not only "frustrat" of the comfort promised by the Queen's ambassadors, but in a manner deluded by the disavowing of them, especially of Lord Zouche, who bragged not a little of his "authorizing sufficiently" and ample commission, but since that time proved "powerles and farre disagreable to the description made of him of wyse, discreit and religiouse." (fn. 3) What "substantiouse" order has been taken in the north since his Majesty's returning here, and to what point the rebels would now be reduced if he were "assisted with concurrence requisit," had been better advertised than considered of there. If anything has been omitted, or shall "manke" [lack] hereafter, his Majesty protests it shall proceed only from "lak of possibility." If he were "enhabled," it is not to be doubted but this land might be purged of the enemies to God, religion and both the states. But all and whatsoever is uttered on this subject I can assure you is in greater choler than I can express "by wryte."

The best sort are sorry that the refusal of aid has given occasion to employ some late acquired and "confederat" friends. This had already so far advanced before my return that I found Colonel Stewart almost ready for his journey on an embassage to the States of the Low Countries. His commission for the present I "tuiche no further," remitting the rest to your conjecture, which in Scottish affairs will come as near to the mark as if you were present amongst us. The sums received by me I assure you are all employed to that purpose to which they were "destinat" by her Majesty, and no part thereof [has been] applied to any particular or private use. It would do much good if her Majesty would grant any sums now upon proof had and trial taken of the King's sincerity and frank disposition, and I would be as glad to understand these sums to come as I was sorry it was not my good luck to procure them by my travails.

Now, for my own true report of her Majesty's good disposition towards the King and honourable usage of myself in all respects, please rest assured that I have discharged myself carefully in that point, and according to my bounden obligation. I find a vehement impression in his Majesty of the professed evil will of Burghley and Sir Robert Cecil towards him. This impression is augmented of late, as I believe, by the revelations of some who were privy to Bothwell's dealing and friendship there, and who, to insinuate themselves into further grace, have "detected more then is of verity," and have "evill acquyte" that undeserved favour shown to themselves. But of this time will "try more," and "for some my friendis particular, nocht my owin," I go no further for the present.

The state of our affairs I remit to your honest servant's true advertisements, whom I have likewise acquainted with all I know. Your return here is wished by his Majesty and all well affected, "with the like of so good consideration to be had of your losses, as you have weill merited, and may enhable you." (fn. 4) Your praises uttered by his Majesty's own mouth were such that I cannot here set down lest I might come short, the same being better delivered than my pen can express. I never heard him speak better of any, nor more lovingly. [With commendations of his service to Bowes, Burghley and Cecil.] Edinburgh. Signed: R. Cockburne.

3 pp. Addressed. Endorsed by Robert Bowes.

426. [Roger Aston] to Robert Bowes. [Dec. 12.]

I have received your letter of the 2nd, with a little book of the late practices against her Majesty by that cruel creature Lopez (fn. 5) and the rest. By my last I acquainted you with the present state. By this you shall know the cause why the plot intended was not followed forth. It was the King's intention to have changed the Treasurer and Comptroller by the advice of the old Clerk Register and the Prior, who would not be seen in the matter, but the King to be the only doer. Mar was made privy and liked the purpose very well, and for the better countenance of the matter drew in Argyll, Montrose and Glencairn. The King's intention was only to remove the Treasurer and Comptroller. Mar, having some pique at the Chancellor, and stirred up by Mr. John Colville, pressed the matter against the Chancellor and Secretary. Montrose, being made acquainted with the matter and being in friendship with the Chancellor, acquainted him with Mar's intent. The Chancellor, perceiving himself to be "in questyon of removing" by the practice of his enemies, not that he doubted of the King's constancy to him, yet perceiving the course that was shot at, cast for surest sitting, (fn. 6) and the Master and he fell into greater friendship than before. The time of the change should have been at this last Convention, where Argyll and Mar came, according to the appointment. But as soon as the King perceived their intent was against the Chancellor and Secretary as well as the rest he altered his intent and passed it over without doing further. The Prior absented himself till the matter had been once put in execution, and then, being sent for, would have come and given his best opinion. Seeing the matter has not taken effect he remains at home. I am informed the course is yet "in hed" and is to be accomplished very shortly. The Master has gone home, thinking himself sure. Whether he stands or falls is not material, so that the good cause go forward, which he will never greatly advance. Mr. John Colville is like the night howlet [owl], he is not seen in the day, and yet is not idle. He will not rest till he has put some stir among us. He has discovered all he knows either here or elsewhere, and yet I am persuaded the King will never forgive him in heart.

The King is made acquainted with Mr. John Geddes's doings, chiefly in delivering to Bothwell certain notes which the King wrote with his own hand long since, Mr. John (fn. 7) having the keeping of the King's papers, where that was among the rest. The manner and matter I know you are acquainted with. The King thinks he has had great wrong by Mr. John in delivering to his defamation that which he wrote but for his pleasure. Oftentimes it was told the King they had his "hand writt" to be a witness against him. When I myself have told him by such intelligence as I had among them he "stod to the denyall," not having "any mynd" of this, being so long since, that he swears "the grett oth" that he had never mind of it, for it was written before the incoming of the Spaniards, and he wist not where it was. The King says the cause of Lord Zouch's hard message, Bothwell's oversight in England and coming to Leith, with the hard opinion of him both at home and abroad, "proseded of thatt paper." He says, if Mr. John Geddes's bairns were in Scotland they should be forfeited. The King knows that at his passing through England he met with Mr. John Colville and from him received directions from Bothwell with a horse. This I cannot commend in respect that he did it rather for his own commodity than for any love he had to his master or the good cause, for by that he put all in hazard, as by the coming to Leith you can bear witness. If I knew the King of any other mind than to maintain the religion and the amity I should neither spare to speak nor write. I will live and die a faithful servant to my natural sovereign.

I have dealt earnestly both with the King and Argyll to have her Majesty satisfied concerning the highlandmen. Argyll has promised to be answerable for all he may command. The King has written for all the highlandmen to be here on the 17th, at which time he will give her Majesty such contentment as lies in his power. Some of them are forfeited, yet for the better settling of the country the King has given commission to Argyll to intercommune with MacLean, who has offered to daunt all the rest if he may have the King's remission for "byganes." Angus MacConnell and Donald Gorme are under the doom of forfeiture, neither answerable to King nor law, yet I hope there shall be some order taken. All is quiet in the north. The Lieutenant is on his journey to Elgin. Angus and Bothwell have passed northward to meet with the rest. As occasion falls out you shall be advertised. Edinburgh. [Unsigned.]

pp. Holograph, also address. Endorsed by Robert Bowes.

427. News from Scotland. [Dec. 12.] Printed in Colville's Letters, pp. 266–267.

"Advertismentis given by severall letters from Edenburgh, and of the xijth of December 1594."

By these letters it is again confirmed that the "comployt" of Argyll, Mar and others failed at the last Convention at Edinburgh.

[Recapitulates the account given by Roger Aston of the intended plot, adding that the Chancellor fortified himself, and appointed his friends to be with him on the 15th instant, being the first day of the next Convention.] Sundry have confidently certified that this enterprise shall be attempted at the next Convention at Edinburgh. But it is now certified that Mar, upon especial advertisement by the King, is stayed, and resting upon new warning (which the King promises to send shortly) cannot come to the next Convention; and thus it is thought that this action shall be delayed until the end of this month, and it is affirmed that they will not end without alteration and that the King's mind is constant with Mar against the Chancellor. The Duke lately advertised the King that the Papist rebels now drawn together in the north were purposed to assail him. Whereupon the King has addressed the Master of Glamis with counsel and advice to the Duke. It is deemed that the Master has gone with other errands, and the same are diversely construed, as, to stay Lord Glamis, his nephew and yet within age, from his entry into his possessions in the custody of the Master, or to withdraw the Earls of Caithness and Sutherland from Huntly and his party, or else to provoke Errol and his faction to renew the troubles, that thereby the King and the Estate may bend their arms and forces against the rebels and suspend the pursuit of changing of chief officers.

The sudden departure of the Master of Glamis in this sort raises no little suspicion in the Chancellor's head, yet the Master promises to stand or fall with him. The King's passions against the Secretary, Mr. John Geddes and others, and his favourable mind newly changed from inward displeasure lately and plainly uttered, may best be seen by a view of the letters expressing the same. The ministers have been informed that the rebellious Earls and Bothwell, being drawn together in the north, will renew the troubles with forces, for which Huntly has bought many horses at the late fairs at St. Johnstone and other places. Next, [they have been informed] that the factions betwixt the Chancellor and Mar will proceed with violence, and it is thought that the party "falling to be distressed" will join with the rebels. Others of this faction give out that their adversaries have already means and intelligence with the rebels. Therefore the ministers travail earnestly to exhort privately and publicly all persons to refuse to give assistance to noblemen or others inclining to join with the rebels, and with courage and goodwill to prosecute the rebels, their aiders and resetters.

It has been commonly bruited that the rebels had encountered with the Duke, and that Mr. Walter Lindsay has returned from Spain with gold. But these are "tryed" to be untrue. Yet it is verily looked that Mr. Walter shall return shortly with treasure, having sought the same at the hands of many princes, and of the clergy and in churches. The malicious have given out that her Majesty is pleased to hearken to the Papist rebels seeking to make their advantage whilst the King and others are not satisfied with the Secretary's success. By the letters of the courtiers and others it may be easily discovered from whence these bruits proceed.

The view of the book discovering the treasons of Lopez and others, with the advertisements given thereof, has satisfied the well affected and quenched all the bruits spread of the treaty for peace betwixt her Majesty and the King of Spain and of the employment of any ambassadors therein.

The King has appointed the islandmen to be with him at Edinburgh on the 16th instant. There he will take order to restrain the passage of Scotchmen into Ireland, and will return answer to her Majesty's letter. It is thought that, albeit the principal men in the Isles be forfeited and will not obey the King, yet he and Argyll have power, if they list, to stay the people from Ireland.

Argyll has taxed all his lands to levy new forces against Huntly, and Huntly has an enterprise to invade speedily some of Argyll's bounds. Ochiltree has got his pardon and had the King's presence, but Hume still seeks to be revenged against him for the violence he showed on Hume and his company at Leith. The King could not pacify his passion therein, whereupon Ochiltree, by the advice of his friends, was moved to depart from Edinburgh. He has done nothing as yet for the surprise of Angus, whose body or house is not touched, as has been expected.

On the 4th instant Bothwell passed from Dundee to Brechin with purpose to ride into Caithness there to remain. He has appointed to meet with Huntly and Errol on the 10th at Elgin, and Angus, passing before to the other Earls, will be at that meeting. Spott is left on the Borders attending direction from the Earls to take up 1000 horsemen as soon as the Spanish gold shall be brought to them. These are certified to be delivered by Bothwell's own mouth to one well trusted by him and yet now employed by the King to entrap him. Mr. John Colville is to be sent by the King to the Duke with such errand as by the next [letter] shall be discovered. His pardon is not yet published, and thereby he keeps himself covertly and in quiet. In his letters "severall advycis are given, with dyverse motions," wherein he requires to be answered and satisfied. Three Englishmen, named John Warde, Edward Dutton and William Freman, all born in Buckinghamshire, have been stayed at Edinburgh on suspicion. They pretend to be purposed to pass to Middelburg, and it is advised that the governor of Flushing be warned of their repair thither, for they are deemed to be evil affected and intending some practice. The information given to Sir George Hume with some confidence that Spanish forces shall be sent into Brittany, Scotland or Ireland, and "namely" [particularly] into Scotland is left so uncertain that further report does not need to be made thereof.

pp. In the hand of Bowes's clerk.

428. News from Aberdeen. [Dec. 17.]

"Occurrantis sent to George Nicolson by letter from Aberdeyne."

My lord Lieutenant remains as yet in Aberdeen and minds to pass to Elgin next Monday. The rebels are so secretly kept by the countrymen that none of them can be got. The most part of their houses are taken. Divers broken men of the Highlands, Gordons, Grants, Argyle and Atholl men, are hounded forth in great numbers to "steile" and oppress the country; with whom we mind with diligence to take substantial order. We are presently occupied with Justice Courts for punishment of Papistry and other odious crimes. The rebels keep themselves very quiet and remove from place to place. We use all means we can for getting trial of them, but are oft times disappointed by the countrymen. We are advertised that Errol by the earnest persuasion of his wife has come south with the purpose of departing out of the country, and also that Huntly has a ship in readiness in Caithness, and if we come there, as we hope to do very shortly, he will pass out of the country. His friends quietly begin to seek "dres" [redress]. The only thing that holds them back is the hope that our men of war shall depart for want of payment, and therefore we have written very earnestly to his Majesty that with all possible diligence money may be sent hither, otherwise the cause will "perill," which now is at some reasonable point.

The Duke and council keep a very honest course and daily convene in council. This turn will not be wrought but by waged men, as experience has taught us. Since I began to write this letter I am informed that Errol is still in the north, and last Friday met with Huntly and Mr. James Gordon. This whole week we are occupied in a public fast and have convened the whole ministry of this country to try by them the estate of all parties and get such secret intelligence as they may "make" us.

By letters from Edinburgh of the 17th instant it is advertised that Angus, Huntly, Errol, Bothwell, Caithness and Sutherland have been together, but without such forces as has been given out; and that since that time Sutherland is dead, and now Caithness seeks the King's remission and offers to give caution and to deal no more with the rebels. The King has sent money to the Duke by William Murray, the cadger, to pay the waged horsemen and footmen. By letters from Barnego, late ambassador in Scotland for Denmark, it is certified that the three ambassadors for Spain have had audience of the King and Estate of Denmark; that one of the ambassadors is a personage of honour and of the nobility and is accompanied with two other colleagues, not expressing their names or degrees.

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

429. James Hudson to Sir Robert Cecil. [Dec. 18.]

Huntly's brother is dealing with the King and some councillors for his brother's children and to confirm himself tutor to the children and living, and to obtain some easy conditions for the weal of his house, and that his brother might endure only banishment or some such form. He has had good countenance secretly, but as yet prevails little. There is dealing, especially by Buccleuch's means, to reconcile the Chancellor to the Queen, but [there is] great jealousy on both parts and small trust. The President's grudge to the Chancellor is a great hindrance to it and consequently to many good matters, and a furtherance to the contrary causes.

Colonel Stewart is despatched for the Low Countries. His instructions in substance are not far from those which use to come to her Majesty, viz., money. He has warrant to deal for a marriage betwixt the Earl of Orkney and Count Maurice's sister, whereupon depends some further matter. For the other matter of "Aist," or the King's intention towards my lord, I find no ground but only an information of Mr. David Fo[ulis], as one who would have made a mountain of midge. The King is no such "fowel" as that "fowel" would have had him when he was "barboyllinge" (fn. 8) his designs in his fantastic head. Edinburgh. Signed: Ja. Hudson.

Postscript.—What I wrote in my last I think is true, and thereof "I shal show some good grownd, which the Lord Secretary yit confirmith."

1 p. Holograph, also address. No fly-leaf. Red wax seal.

430. News from Edinburgh. [Dec. 26.]

The quarrels betwixt the Chancellor and Mar still increase. As both parties have fortified themselves with the aid of their friends to seek to "put at" the other, it is now looked that one of them shall receive a fall, and the estate be disquieted thereby. The King had purposed to have ridden to Drochil (Troghelles) in Tweeddale on 25th December and from thence to have passed to Stirling, where Mar continues. But the Chancellor, distrusting the effects of their meeting, wrought some stay in the journey for two or three days, and it is further told the King that the Hamiltons were gathered together and "angryed" in the matter betwixt the Chancellor and Mar. Whereupon he the more readily deferred his journey to Stirling until the 28th, resolving then to ride thither, and it is thought that thereon the troubles betwixt these parties shall break out. It is deemed by most that the King could be pleased that the Treasurer and Comptroller were removed from office, but many think that he will not cast off the Chancellor, and in this behalf the King is much perplexed how to govern himself and the course herein. The Chancellor, having met with his friends to deliberate on this matter, has resolved to employ Buccleuch and Cessford to travail for the recovery of the Queen's favour towards him and that she would "partye" him and the other officers sought to be removed. He has tempted some noblemen with hope of preferment and also terrified some others with the sight of their own overthrow to grow by Mar's greatness. To Crawford he has offered the custody of Edinburgh Castle, to Lord Livingstone the keeping of the young Prince, to Lord Lindsay the restitution of the benefice of Haddington. He has already procured Lord Herries to be Warden of the West Marches, and persuades Lord Hamilton to think that the Duke and Mar seek to draw Dumbarton Castle out of his hands.

Argyll had appointed to convene with his friends at Stirling on the 25th instant, whereby Mar and that party will be strong and together at the King's coming to Stirling. The issue—whether peace or trouble—will soon appear after the King's coming thither. It is discovered that a band is made by the rebellious Earls for the deprivation and death of the King and for the Prince's inauguration, wherein the Laird of Balwearie (Baverye) in Fife is noted to be a chief practiser. Therefore some instruments are sent forth for his apprehension.

The Duke's government in the north is much commended, whereby the rebels are driven to keep themselves close and quiet. The Master of Glamis, coming to the Duke at Aberdeen, persuaded [i.e. begged] him to stay his intended removal to Elgin. But he passed to Elgin notwithstanding the bruits of some practices to have been attempted against him there. The Master therefore tarried but one night with the Duke and prepared to return to Edinburgh to join with the Chancellor and the other officers. The Duke continues at Elgin, keeping Justice Courts. But it is feared that by want of pay for the horse and footmen he shall be enforced to retire and leave that government. The King has sent money to him (parcel of the sums brought by the Secretary) to complete one month's pay. Bothwell, with twelve servants, was quietly at Elgin before the Duke's coming thither. He escaped with great difficulty, for the town, advised of his being there, readily put themselves in arms to have taken him. He has passed to Caithness with purpose to remain there, and has met with Angus, Huntly and Errol, as before has been advertised.

The Earl of Caithness has sent his uncle, the Chancellor of Caithness, to the King to crave pardon for all things past and with offer of sufficient caution for his good behaviour in time coming. His remission is granted with condition that he shall presently repair to the King and take order that none of the rebellious Earls shall be reset in his country. Some think that he will accept the condition, others that he will abide all extremities rather than forsake the Earls. Yet his uncle offers liberally for him and on his behalf. The remission is made and delivered to the Clerk Register to be kept until trial shall be taken of his resolution and actions herein. Colonel Stewart is ready to embark for the Low Countries, "on the xxvjth of December laste," to try what money can be provided there for the King. Lord Herries is made Warden of the West Marches: he offers all good offices and devotion to her Majesty for the peace of the Borders. The gentlemen are commanded to surcease their feuds and quarrels and to obey him. Johnstone has obtained respite for four years. (fn. 9)

The King lately lost a letter out of his pocket, which letter being found and restored to him he commanded the finder to keep secret the contents. The writer of this letter affirmed that he had spoken with Bothwell; that Bothwell had met with Angus, Huntly and Errol; and that the King's life and estate were in peril, together with some other named in the letter. Donald Gorme and MacLeod Harris proceed to levy and carry all the forces they can get in the Isles and Highlands into Ireland, and to be there about Candlemas next. The King and Argyll have been moved to return their answers to her Majesty's letters for the restraint of Scotchmen in Ireland. These answers are still delayed by the occasions specified, yet it is promised that they shall be sent soon after the King shall meet Argyll at Stirling. It is herewith advised that the King has little power to "expeyde" the effects required, in regard that the chief commanders of the islanders and highlandmen are already attainted and at the horn for their faults and will not obey the King, and that Argyll without the help and concurrency of his friends (presently "at some dryness" with him and to be reconciled at their convention at Stirling) is not able to yield such satisfaction to her Majesty as he desires. Therefore travail will be taken for reconciliation betwixt Argyll and his friends, presently together at Stirling. Advertisements shall be given of the success in these matters. It is acknowledged by a letter of credit that the Earl of Tyrone made the offer of the yearly payment of 10,000l. Scots to Argyll on condition that he send yearly into Ireland a prescribed number of Scotsmen.

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

431. News from Edinburgh. [Dec. 28.]

Albeit the King was earnestly moved to have stayed his journey to Stirling, yet "on the 28 of December laste" he passed forward to Linlithgow with a private company, purposing to be at Stirling on the morrow and to return to Holyroodhouse within six or seven days, and in the meantime he has promised the Chancellor that nothing shall be done against him at present and that he shall be advertised of all things by the King's own letters. Whereby the Chancellor rests in good assurance, and it is verily thought that the matter betwixt Mar and him shall proceed no farther. It is credibly informed that the griefs betwixt them are not so great as have been given out, and as some evil instruments and practisers would have it, and that Lord Hamilton and his friends have not assembled in sort as has been reported. Lord Hamilton sent Captain Hamilton to the King to give him satisfaction in the same. It is noted that the variance betwixt the Chancellor and Mar is grounded upon "conceipte" in the Chancellor that his estate shall be much hindered by the removal of the officers preferred by him and affected to him, and who have advanced their own profit and made the King poor. On the other side Mar, hearing the King complain of his poverty and wishing his estate to be so repaired that he should not be "burthenable" either to England or to his own [country], regards no man's displeasure and seeks reformation in this behalf. The King has required Lord Hamilton by Captain Hamilton to take in good part the respite granted to Johnstone for five years.

In the north all is quiet, the Lieutenant well obeyed, and the rebels still keep themselves secret. It is said that Atholl has taken up many feuds amongst the highlandmen; that he keeps in his house John Ogilvy, the King's rebel, whose house was cast down; and that by these doings he is now much suspected. It is informed that the most part of the forces left by Donald Gorme and MacLeod Harris in Ireland have returned home malcontent, and that MacLean (a man of chief estimation and action amongst them), taking offence and quarrel against Tyrone for cutting off the head of his cousin, is therefore purposed to seek revenge by all the means in his power, and presently the islanders are at a great convention amongst themselves, whereat such friends are present as will give timely and perfect advertisements of their proceedings therein.

The ministers, seeing appearance of many troubles, note God's wrath to hang over the realm, and therefore exhort all men to prayers for prevention of the dangers.

1 p. In the hand of Sheperson (Bowes's clerk). Endorsed by Cecil's clerk.

432. [Mr. John Colville] to Robert Bowes. [Dec. 28.] Printed in Colville's Letters, p. 134.

Great shifts have been made to stay his Majesty's journey, yet he has gone [as in the preceding]. Mr. John Colville is to ride to Stirling on the 29th "for making intelligence and putting the matter with Argyill to a point." The King is much disquieted how to behave himself betwixt Mar and the Chancellor, but this "dyat" [conference] will declare to which of them he will incline. The Chancellor fears that, if the King's chief officers shall be thrust out, his own decay must follow thereon. Mar wishes the King to be "burthenabill" neither to England nor to his own [as in the preceding]. Mr. John Colville will do as he shall be directed. Edinburgh. [Unsigned.]

1 p. Holograph, also address. Endorsed by Robert Bowes: "Edenbr. 28 December, London iiij January, 1594." Names in cipher deciphered. Red wax seal.

433. George Nicolson to Robert Bowes. [Dec. 28.]

The King rode from hence to Linlithgow to be this day [sic] at Stirling, where it is thought that Mar expects his intent against the Chancellor shall be advanced; yet I hear that the King has promised the Chancellor [as in No. 431]. What will be now attempted or how long the King shall remain at Stirling is very uncertain, for Sir George Hume, now returned to his own house, is to meet the King here or to go to him if he stays longer at Stirling. The Secretary told me that the matter between the Chancellor and Mar was not so evil as evil practisers would have it, as if there were no displeasure betwixt themselves. But it is nevertheless to be doubted that time will shortly "try" the contrary, unless the King pacifies all, as is not yet likely. The Secretary told me also that it is not true that Lord Hamilton is "in any stirres" at present [etc. as in No. 431].

I hear nothing out of the north but that the Lieutenant is well obeyed in the country either for "love or for the present tyme." Some say the Master of Glamis sought to have stayed him from going to Elgin till he might be furnished with money to be made of the escheats of the rebels there. The Duke nevertheless did not then stay. The Earls are in quiet places, judged to have "unquiet" plots not to be attempted till they have good opportunity, and some say that Atholl has made great reconciliations amongst the highlanders and with Ogilvy; and that he has Mr. John Ogilvy in his house.

I hear that most of the forces gone out of the Isles to Ireland have returned malcontent, and that MacLean has a great quarrel with the Earl of Tyrone anent the cutting off of one of his cousins. This I have from a gentleman of Argyll, who says that the highlanders are at a great convention, whereunto Mr. John Arch[ibald] and others have gone to give advertisement. Herein Mr. John Colville interposes also his "moyen" very freely. If the broken matter between the Chancellor and Mar does not hinder it, I "looke" her Majesty's letters to the King and to Argyll shall now be answered. The ministers through sight of troubles arising and of the extreme dearth of corn and all "vivers" here note God's displeasure over the land; and daily exhort all to make their recourse by prayers to God. Edinburgh. Signed: George Nicolson.

12/3 pp. Holograph, also address. Endorsed by Bowes.

434. James Hudson to Sir Robert Cecil. [Dec. 31.]

I have found of late by conference with the King that there has been some earnest dealing to move him to conceive hardly of Burghley and yourself as the authors of all his hard success at all times, and of my poor self as an absolute follower of his lordship. I answered with the very truth, assuring him that I know the contrary to be true and that those who had most persuaded his Majesty so had least cause and had "sped" best. He answered saying, "I know no reasson why the Lord Theassurere should cary any harder hand towards me then others," and that he would not believe it till his lordship uttered it either in plain words or deeds. He confessed that it behoved me to wait upon his lordship most "seing his affaeris rested most in his lordships hands."

The Secretary granted that A. st. (fn. 10) had been divers times with him and had given him a book to show the King that he wrote of his own life in Scotland and in his travel afterwards; which the King has not yet seen. Other matters he has reserved to speak to the King after I be gone; but of these I will cease till I see your honour. As for the paper of Mr. Archibald Douglas, it is to be sent to the E— of E—[Errol], and anything that goes that way "mae nocht cum by me." There is a commission sent to the Duke to give warrant to any to come in to speak with him and to remit any offender there; and these liberties are granted the better to accomplish good offices, as the warrant says. But this "gear" [matter] is the Master of Glamis's work and will take no effect so long as the Duke is so well accompanied as he is now. No matter of worth has occurred since Mr. Aston wrote to Mr. Bowes. Aston can do as good service that way as any man here, and is well affected to your service. I understand by him that he should address his letters to Mr. Bowes during his abode there, and afterwards to your honour, which he will obey. Berwick. Signed: Ja. Hudson.

Postscript.—The young Lairds of Logie and Anstruther are coming up, the one to go to France and the other to the Low Countries. They were friends to Bothwell and must travel for his sake.

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

435. Memoranda. [1594.] [? Dec.] Printed in Colville's Letters, pp. 267–268.

For the King. (1) Any answer to her Majesty's letter to be procured. (2) Any answer to the King's letter for the printer. (3) Any acceptation of his actions to be signified. (4) Any horses to be offered, as is advised. (5) Any answer to the Secretary's letter. (6) Answer to Sir George Hume's letter as is expected.

The Queen. (1) What answer to be given to the Queen's letter. (2) Whether any compliment for the kindness offered. (3) Whether any answer to her letter for Waldegrave.

Argyll. (1) "Plackard" for horses and how many. (2) How many horses to be given. (3) The order for the manner of the gift. (4) What answer to his letter to me. (5) What shall be further required of him for Ireland. (6) Amend the note of names troubling Ireland.

Roger Aston. (1) His service and letters to be kept. (2) How far he may be comforted.

Mr. John Colville. (1) How he shall be kept, entertained or left. (2) The small "propyne" [gift] intended for him stayed. (3) What answers to his letters and requests.

The Captain and Lieutenant to be remembered.

Thomas Tyrie's return.

Lord Hamilton. (1) How he shall be satisfied. (2) In what manner, how and by whom.

Lady Margaret Neville's request.

Notes written by Bowes's clerk on a half sheet of paper.

436. Practisers in Scotland. [1594.]

"The names of divers the practizers in Scotland."

Robert Bruce, with the Duke of Parma. Colonel Sempill; is married in Spain. John Chisholme. Thomas Tyrie, servant to Lord Hume. Friar William Crichton. The Laird of Fintray, David Graham; dead. James Gordon, uncle to the Earl of Huntly: "he carryed awey into Flanders 2 of Huntleys." Robert Abercrombie. Sir James Chisholm, Master of Household. James Elphinstone. George Ker. James Tyrie, one of the four assistants of all the Jesuits in Rome. Edmund Hay; died in Rome anno 1592: he was brother to the Bailie of Errol. Charles Murray, servant to George Ker. Thomas Forbes of Boughan. James Kidd; a Doctor of Law in Bourdeaux. Edmund Hay; died anno 1592. William Orde. The Earl of Angus's feigned name was William Atkinson; Errol's, Fergus Adam; Huntley's, George Harvie. William Chisholme, Bishop of Dunblane, died at Rome 1593; uncle to Sir James and to John Chisholme.

¾ p. In the hand of Burghley's clerk, with additions in Burghley's hand. Endorsed by Burghley's clerk: "1593. Names of the practizers in Scotland."

437. Elizabeth to James VI. [1594.] [c. Dec.]

We have heretofore made known to you the complaints of the Middle and West Marches, with so earnest request for redress that we had hoped that such order had been therein taken by you that our subjects should have rested secure under the protection of the amity between our two realms. But finding it otherwise, to our great grief in their behalf, and receiving daily complaints, we perceive our subjects to be now entered into so great despair of redress that they have humbly besought us to permit them "to remedie themselves" by such other ways as necessity enforces where justice ceases. Whereunto, although our tender compassion in the affliction of our subjects may mightily provoke us to give ear, yet such is our confidence in your disposition to maintain the amity firm and entire that we pray you once again to consider the just causes we have to summon your love herein, being fully resolved, if we shall not find speedy redress, no longer to deny them liberty to right themselves without any further delay. Wherein, since you cannot but foresee what dangerous sequels may follow from such beginnings of violent courses, we doubt not but, these reasons considered, together with this our friendly manner of proceeding with you, you will provide remedy agreeable to honour and justice. Which strict order, as we hope it shall be general to all yours whom it may concern, so we pray you in particular that, forasmuch as ours impute their wrongs chiefly to the followers and others under Buccleuch, he being a public minister may receive such express commandment for the observation of the peace of our Borders that he may perceive you will not lightly let slip whatsoever shall be by his negligence committed to the contrary, and we on our part shall be no less careful that our Wardens shall therein concur with him.

pp. Draft. Corrections in Sir Robert Cecil's hand. No endorsement.


  • 1. This paragraph is printed in Colville's Letters, pp. 263–264.
  • 2. This is printed as an extract in the Letters of John Colville, p. 266. The editor is led into a difficulty through a misreading of Mar's name.
  • 3. See Warrender Papers, ii. p. 222.
  • 4. ? Who also wish that you may have recompense for your losses and be "enabled" i.e. made capable for service.
  • 5. Dr. Roger Lopez, a Portuguese Jew, and physician to Queen Elizabeth, charged with conspiring crimes of high treason. See references in Calendar of Domestic Papers, 1591–1594.
  • 6. i.e. sought the best means to make his tenure of office secure.
  • 7. See references to him in Calendar of Scottish Papers, Vol. x. (indexed under Geddie), and in Calderwood, v. 122.
  • 8. Barbulyie: to disorder or trouble. From the French, barbouillé, "confusedly jumbled or huddled together." (Jamieson's Dictionary, new edition.)
  • 9. for the death of Maxwell, slain by him in an encounter on 6th December 1593. (Border Papers, 1, No. 918; P.C. v., 113 n.)
  • 10. This appears to be the same cipher mentioned by Hudson in No. 429.