James VI, April 1595

Pages 562-585

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

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James VI, April 1595

503. Mr. John Colville to Robert Bowes. [April 1.] Printed in Colville's Letters, pp. 151–153.

On the 3rd instant her Majesty rides to Stirling, to the dislike of all who would have taken the Prince out of Mar's hands. The Chancellor is this day with her Majesty and is to return back the same night to his own house. The copies of the letters intercepted in Flanders and taken on this Jesuit his Majesty had commanded Wemyss to send to your lordship with his cousin, James Colville, whom I beseech your lordship to use with courtesy.

There is a commission given out to torture and execute him, but I think the simplicity of the man will save him. He had three things principally to negotiate:—the finding fault with Mr. James Gordon; to persuade the Papist lords not to depart this realm; and to send some fit instrument to the Nuncio and Stephano de Juara, in Flanders, to inform them of the truth of our affairs. Whether the Papist lords be quite away or not I know not, but they have embarked. I think Bothwell has not gone, for the man we use in that errand has not yet returned. But I look daily for him. Junior is about his errand and advertises me that great travail is made to make concord betwixt MacLean and MacConnel by marriages between their sons and daughters, and all against Ireland. As to MacCondochie (McOndochy), who is the chieftain, he "kepis him" with his brother-in-law, for without him there can be no great matter enterprised. I myself am to ride with her Majesty to Stirling, from whence I shall continue in my former intelligence. Holyroodhouse.

Postscript.—My peace is now obtained and signed by the Secretary sore against his will, but [there is] no reconciliation betwixt his uncle and me. The Chancellor alleges that I wrote hardly of him thither, and of this estate, which he can prove; and whereas his Majesty has not so good answers from Flanders as was expected, he affirmed that by my means your estate is moved to "cros" the matter there. See, therefore, I beseech your lordship, to this wrong imputation. [Unsigned.]

2 pp. In Mr. John Colville's hand. Also address. Endorsed by Robert Bowes.

504. Mr. John Skene, Clerk Register, to Robert Bowes. [April 1.]

I have received two letters from my cousin, Mr. William Lumsden (Lumsdane), and thereby understand your goodwill and liberality towards him. You are not only his friend, but also have given him liberally of your own purse, for which I am obliged to you and shall acquit the same as far as lies in my power. I am assured you will continue to help him in his honest cause, especially seeing the King has written to you to that effect, which letter please receive. The estate of this country is presently quiet. Huntly and Errol have departed, and Mr. James Gordon with them. Huntly wrote a letter to the King from Aberdeen, where he embarked, declaring his innocency and yet protesting that he would not alter his religion. Whereat the King laughed, knowing perfectly that Huntly had offended him divers times.

Lady Huntly is charged to enter and remain in St. Andrews, and Lady Errol to come and remain with her father, the Earl of Morton. Lady Sutherland and her son are in this town and are charged to remain here. Her son is very good in religion, "and guid hoip is of him." Angus is very willing to be reconciled with the King and the Kirk, but no friend dare speak for him. Atholl has presently returned to this town from Linlithgow and is warded here until he finds sufficient caution for keeping of good rule. Mr. John Myreton (Mortoun), a priest and Jesuit, is imprisoned in this Tolbooth. He came from Rotterdam and was taken in Leith. He is brother "be nature and nocht in religioun" to the Laird of Cambo in Fife, and not of great judgment or learning. He was directed from Rome in October last from the Pope, Cardinal Caetano and Aquaviva, General of the Jesuits, to Scotland, to Mr. James Gordon, and to obey such injunctions as Mr. James should enjoin upon him in comforting all Catholics in this country and in converting of others. He denies that he has anything to do with "politik estait." He has sundry articles in writing containing an accusation intended by Mr. Bruce against Mr. James Gordon, whereof he [Myreton] received information from Mr. William Crichton in Brussels. There is a great controversy betwixt Mr. Bruce and Crichton in respect that the distribution of the silver is taken from Mr. Bruce by Crichton's means; and Mr. John Hamilton has accused Mr. Bruce of treason before the council in Brussels.

There is an Englishman called Jonas to come into England, sent by the Pope. The points of his commission are not declared to us. His intention was to come first into Scotland, believing that the Papists had been masters. But afterwards, being informed of the contrary in Flanders, he has changed his purpose, and it is supposed that he shall come straight to England. He is sent by Count de Fuentes (fn. 1) and Yvara, and an Englishman called Odouene [cf. 566] gives him information in that cause. Myreton has an A.B.C. of feigned names, which he swears he has never used, but it was only to be used betwixt Mr. James Gordon, himself and Mr. William Crichton. There is no Englishman's name in it "except the Quene's Majestie," whose cipher [is] "36," and a feigned name, "Berta illa." In Middelburg he spoke with one Ferdinando Bonvardt and borrowed from him ten crowns and made himself manifest to him and declared himself and all his commission. I have shown this to Hadrian Dammane, (fn. 2) for this is a common cause and should be generally known. Edinburgh. Signed: Mr. Johne Skene.

12/3 pp. Holograph, also address. Endorsed by Robert Bowes: "Mr. John Skene, L. Clerk Register. Edenburgh primo Aprilis, Westminster viij° ejusdem, 1595."

505. Depositions of John Myreton, Jesuit. [April 2.]

"Deponit be Mr. Jhone Myretoun, Jesuist," that—since the money which heretofore has been procured and sent into Scotland for the weal of the Catholic cause had been received by Mr. Robert Bruce and distributed at all times by him at his discretion, and [since] these last 40,000 crowns furnished by the Pope to the same effect, whereof 10,000 were lately brought and distributed within this realm by Mr. James Gordon, were procured and received from the Pope by the means of the said Mr. James and Mr. William Crichton, "besydis" [without] the privity and knowledge of the said Bruce (and greatly, as he accounts, to his discredit and disgrace),—the said Bruce was moved to give in articles to the Archduke Ernest and the Pope's Nuncio resident at Brussels, accusing Mr. James Gordon of sundry great and weighty errors committed by him on his late journey towards Scotland with the said money. The Nuncio made Mr. William Crichton acquainted therewith, and he, finding the said Mr. John Myretoun directed to come to Scotland, thought meet through him to acquaint Mr. James Gordon with the said Bruce's proceedings against him, and to inform him of "the particular headis gevin in againis him." These the deponer for his "memorie" committed to writing, and they are in effect that "memoriall" which was found with him the time of his apprehension. The articles there set down concerning his Majesty are not "materis" conceived by the Pope or his adherents, but discourses made by the said Bruce to the Archduke and the Nuncio for the disgrace of Mr. James and the convoying of the rest of the money to his own distribution. The second article of the first section (fn. 3) beginning "the Master of Forbes," was only a remembrance "to speik" the Master at Bruges—where he is a Capuchin (Capuscheon)—that, since he was the "onlie unioun" of the two houses of Huntly and Forbes, he would do more good to the Catholic cause by returning to his former estate than he could do there as a private person.

The sixth article of the first section, beginning "Sum hastelie, etc.," means nothing else but that he should desire Mr. James Gordon, his superior, to send back with all possible speed sure information of the estate of the Catholics here, and that he should procure a message from them to crave what they thought meet and pertinent for their help, with specification how much money they would need and when it should be sent, and to give order that the messenger might be sufficiently authorised to deal both with the Pope and King of Spain in the said errand.

In the first article, concerning Father Gordon's purgation, "the King's ennemys" are meant such as professed our (fn. 4) religion, and by "the provisioun mentionat thairin to have bene maid be his Majeste" is understood the concurrence of such foreign princes as might help him against his aforesaid enemies.

The meaning of the third article of that section is that the Pope, being, as Bruce alleged, persuaded by Mr. James Gordon that his Majesty was a Catholic, had only for that respect granted to the said Mr. James 40,000 crowns, whereof the 10,000 transported by the said Mr. James into Scotland and distributed to the three Earls and their adherents were (in Bruce's "allegeance") distributed against the Pope's intention because the whole of it was appointed to have been given to his Majesty.

By "the greatest heretiques," in the sixth article, are meant Bothwell and his adherents, his Highness's greatest enemies in their "concept."

The meaning of the seventh is that Mr. James, as Bruce alleged, had no other commission from the Catholics of Scotland to the Pope, when he craved this supply, but such as "his gowne" (meaning his profession) furnished him.

The sections concerning the three Earls are informations given to the deponer by Mr. William Crichton to be imparted to Mr. James Gordon as accusations laid out against them by Bruce to the Archduke and Nuncio aforesaid.

In the second article thereof, by "the Catholiques about the King" they mean, as he conceives, Lord Hume; and "the heretique with the Earlis" is Bothwell.

The articles concerning Bruce himself are his own speeches to the Archduke and Nuncio of his own ability and service in the Catholic cause, which Mr. William desired the deponer to communicate in like manner to Mr. James Gordon.

He himself was directed in October last by the General of his own order, called Claudius Aquaviva, to come to Scotland to do the good he could for the Catholic cause by confirming such as he found Catholics and converting such others "as he suld find capable." Having accepted his superior's direction he acquainted the Pope therewith, of whom he received 300 crowns for the "defray" of his journey, with his blessing and promise to spare no possible means for the recovery of this realm to the Catholic faith. For the same effect it was promised to him at Rome that Mr. James Gordon, younger, should be sent home as superior of "that ordour" [the Jesuits] in this country. He himself preferred him to "auld Mr. James" as younger and of better courage. Taking likewise his leave at Rome from Cardinal Caetano, the Protector of the Scots and English nation, he received from him the history of the Passion wrought curiously in ivory, to be presented to any noble woman that he thought meetest. Being at Brussels he received from Mr. William Crichton the cipher which he had upon him, unused as yet, but to have been used in such letters as he should have sent back. In this cipher "Berta illa" signifies the Queen of England. From Rome to Brussels he was accompanied all the way by Father Jonas, an Englishman, who has the like direction to come to England.

3 pp. In a Scottish hand. Endorsed by Robert Bowes: "Deposition of Mr. John Mortoun, Jesuytt, apprehended at Leythe, delivered to me by James Colvill, sent by the Lard of Wemes by the King's direction. This was sent with the Lard of Wemes letter to me and dated Edenburgh iiii° Aprilis, Westminster xiii° Aprilis predicto, 1595."

In Sir Robert Cecil's hand: "Exposition of the Instructions given by Chriton."

506. George Nicolson to Robert Bowes. [April 3.]

The King has left his warrant for the examination and torturing, if need be, of Father Myreton (Morton), but he confesses all things so far as he can, as he swears, taking great oaths that he has no dispensation for his oath and denying that the Pope is able to give any such dispensation, so that it is thought the torture need not be given him. The King has also left warrant and commandment to the Justice and Justices Depute to give him an assize as soon as he shall be sufficiently examined and any matter found against him worthy of death. Yet he is held so simple and plain in his confessions that I think he shall be banished, as by my last I advertised. Nevertheless I have "redd and sene" those two warrants. I certified by my last that the token which the Queen has was sent from Cardinal Cajetan, but it is from Cardinal Caitanus, both great enemies, this man says, to the estate of England. Cardinal Allen is dead, as I would all others of his stamp were.

This man's errand is to confirm and to win the people here to the mass, and to stay here and return Mr. James Gordon to the Pope for information of the estate here and resolution in the same. The Pope and Cardinals seem to accuse him [Gordon] of wrong bestowing of the treasure and untimely giving out of the King for a Papist. Myreton (Morton) thought that the King had been so indeed, and in Italy it is thought the Papists are masters by reason of Huntly's overthrow of Argyll. This priest was also to accuse the Earls for joining with Bothwell, because thereby they have made the King against them and the cause. When he came there were one Jones, an Englishman, and one Martin, as I remember, a Scot, to have come this way for England, but they have gone, he thinks, direct to England to practise there. The man at Bruges (Bridges), who has made "a pedegree approving of his fasshion the King of Spaine to be right King of England, and layeng overtures to the Counsell att Bruxells for the attempting of the same, and who likewise makes the King here a bastard, so farr as he can," and certainly practises much against England, as this man says, is called Hugh Odontus, an English traitor. [In the margin: Odone.] As to Thomas Tyrie, he says that he is highly commended in respect of the greatness of his master, Lord Hume, on whom they would also "threape" kindness. The certainty of these I leave to the copies to be sent by the Laird of Wemyss with the King's leave, who is grieved to be thus slandered, and intends to acquit himself by his actions against these traitors.

Huntly and Errol have gone, but how far or whither I know not, and with protestation never to change their religion. Mr. James Gordon has gone with Huntly. On Monday last by open proclamation it was prohibited upon pain of death that any should ship them or any other traitors to bring them hither again. Their wives are drawn out of the country, as I wrote before. Lady Sutherland cannot have leave to depart unless she gives good surety of good maintenance to the Earl, her son, for his living here, where she cannot infect him in religion. He is yet very well liked by the ministers. Angus's friends are in hope "to do for him." The King has gone to Stirling, and the Queen is to go thither to-morrow also, but with purpose shortly to return. Old Lady Mar is to give place for that time. A strange change that now the Chancellor and his course prevail altogether with the Queen, as many think. Yesterday he came hither and sat with the Council (as they must do weekly about the affairs here), and before he rode home again he had long conference with the Queen. Mr. John Colville's pardon is now perfected and was subscribed by the Secretary, and now he goes openly abroad, likely to have credit again. Edinburgh. Signed: George Nicolson.

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

507. George Nicolson to Robert Bowes. [April 3.]

I perceive the Laird of Wemyss has moved the King to cause him have copies of the letters intercepted in the Low Countries and sent hither by the Colonel [Stewart], and of the examination of Father Myreton (Morton), which the King, as I understand, has willingly caused to be done. The Laird intends to send them to you by his cousin, James Colville, who is to be despatched this day. The Laird is very willing to do all services he can to her Majesty. He intends to get copies of the King's letters to the French King as soon as they are perfected and to send them for her Majesty's service, but not by himself but by me. By which it appears they are of moment, and upon Mr. David Foulis's return from the King this will be done, and not before. This gentleman, being well regarded, may do good for her Majesty in Scotland, but there are matters in hand above his (fn. 5) reach, as I conceive.

This day the Queen has ridden to Linlithgow, from whence she rides to-morrow to Stirling. I perceive by Sir Hugh Carmichael that he is likely to make some journey to London (fn. 6) to furnish her with litters and other "furnish" for riding. Her stay is not likely to be long, for she takes little with her. Now I look that in short time the motion anent the young Prince will either be utterly buried or quickened, to the grief of the persuaders of the Queen thereto. Sir George Hume, having been at Spott, has come hither and gone with the Queen to Stirling.

In the matter for Ireland you will shortly hear further, for young Lawers has gone to fit places for that service, and Auchinross's overture will be also "a half dede" therein if some who had warrant indeed were in Scotland to set it forwards; which matter only I know here, "and none others saving Achenros' master as yet." (fn. 7) Mr. John Colville goes shortly to the King, but is altogether devoted to her Majesty and, if very want does not hinder, will be able to be watchman and steersman to the causes for England in Scotland. I see no change in him, for all motions to the contrary. (fn. 7)

As to Bothwell, "I shall do, if possibly with warynes I may, as you have advised. But, alas ! there is no secrecy there nor safety to wishe will; yet as it may, so it shalbe, and tho' with danger." Dr. MacCartney (MacKateney) tells me that the Papist crew for certain will be shortly furnished with good store of money and make new stirs. "Allwaies" for the present I see nothing but quietness, and this town solitary till 15th May, the beginning of the Sessions. Edinburgh. Signed: Geo. Nicolson.

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

508. James VI. to Lord Thirlestane [Chancellor]. [1595.] [c. April 3]. Add MSS. 23, 241, fol. 53.

I have "gottin a gesse" of Mar's informer, and if my guess be true, there is "ane archiecousinage" used towards you. "Allwayes" [nevertheless] Mar has promised faithfully to trust no reports nor anyways to suspect you until you and he meet at such time as I please to appoint, and then to be ready to interchange such promises "of particulaire and hairtlie freindshipp" with you as I shall devise. He has desired me to haste this word to you, lest in the meantime other reports might be made to you of him. In good faith, you and he are both evil dealt with, and if it succeeded as some wicked men would, it would be the greatest "hinder" to my service. But as for your part, I am ever a respondent; I know not whether you will drown me in the "Borrougang" or not. Pray send me a direct answer from the Council concerning Mr. John Morton. Signed: James R.

2/3 p. Holograph. Addressed.

509. Mr. John Colville to Sir Robert Cecil. [April 4.]

By letters from the ambassador [Bowes] and Mr. Lock I still find your undeserved kindness abounds toward me, specially in this last suit sent up by his Majesty in my favour. But in respect of my present necessity and that I have dedicated myself to her Majesty's service principally (under your ensign), I am bold yet a little more to importune you, as I have more at large written to Mr. Bowes, which please receive of him, and effectuate something for my present comfort. For the Chancellor (K.) so holds me aback from my own "moyens" [possessions] that I am forced to insist more earnestly herein than otherwise I would, being always "deliberat," so long as I have "moyens" of my own, never to burden her Majesty, not doubting but if my service be found "utile" I shall be respected accordingly. I commit all "specialites" herein and of our estate to my letter to Mr. Bowes, and information herein to my cousin James Colville. Edinburgh. Signed: Jo. Colvile.

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

510. Laird of Easter Wemyss to Robert Bowes. [April 4.]

Your lordship may perceive by my other letter the care I take that things should go right, which has ever been my study. I have been hitherto put off with fair promises. Now being "at a poynt" and having "the gretest turne" in hand that I am able to have in my time, as the bearer can show you, I look to be "remembrit," that thereby I may always have occasion to continue in good service. I have written a little remembrance to Sir Robert [Cecil] who, I assure myself, will assist you. What I am able to do you know. You have power to command me. His Majesty looks for your diligence. His good meaning "meritis," as you know yourself, and I would not he were disappointed, seeing he reposes so much in you. Edinburgh. Signed: Est Veimes.

½ p. Holograph, also address. Endorsed by Robert Bowes.

511. Laird of Easter Wemyss to Robert Bowes. [April 4.]

His Majesty, my sovereign, perceiving the drift of these Jesuits in sowing discord amongst princes professing true religion, specially betwixt your sovereign and himself, and therewithal understanding the assertions of such busybodies, although most false and frivolous, to have been misconstrued there sundry times for lack of faithful information of his sincerity (which to no stranger is better known than to yourself), his grace has therefore willed me to send the bearer hereof, James Colville, my cousin, to deliver to you, to be presented to her Highness, the authentic copies of all the letters intercepted in Flanders and "memoires" found on Myreton (Mortoun) and his exposition thereof, to the end her Highness may be "acquent" with all proceeding here and his Majesty freed of any unjust imposition that might be alleged if the same "var kepit up" from her Majesty's knowledge. His Grace expected in the meantime that by your good means the promises made by Lord Zouche and yourself might in some sort be fulfilled, like as on his part he took yourself [as] witness if he has not done more than he promised against his rebel Papists, insomuch that they are presently either forced to abandon the country, or, if they remain, are unable to attempt anything against religion or the amity. In doing this he has spent more of his treasure, burdened his people, and "labored" himself more than in any action he ever enterprised since his coronation, as the bearer at length can inform you. Edinburgh. Signed: Est Veimes.

1 p. Holograph, also address. Endorsed by Robert Bowes.

Enclosure with the same. [See No. 512 a.]

512. Advertisements from Edinburgh. [April 5.]

"Collection of th'advertismentis certefyed from Edenburgh by sondry letters of the 23, 24, 25, 27 and 28 (fn. 8) of March laste paste."

On the 24th of March Mr. John Myreton (Morton), Jesuit, was apprehended at Leith by Mr. David Lindsay, and by notice given by the Laird of Dun's son. On his apprehension he tore with his teeth his instructions in writing, yet the papers were so saved and gathered that they might be read. He has been divers times examined, and at first he said that he returned to Scotland for recovery of his health, denying to have any other errands there. But the King drew him to acknowledge that he was a Jesuit and confessor of the seminary college in Rome; that he was sent into Scotland by the Pope, Cardinal Cajetan, Mr. Crichton, Tyrie and others to Mr. James Gordon and with commission to reprove Mr. James and the Catholic lords, etc.; to reprove Mr. James for suffering them to fall into these errors, whereof they ought to acquit themselves before the King of Spain's councillors in the Low Countries, especially the Nuncio, before they should be furnished any further; and that he was sent to convert as many as he could and to stay in the place of Mr. James Gordon, who must return to Rome.

Sundry councillors and ministers are appointed to examine him. But he refuses to confess anything to any other than the King, and will not speak before the ministers. It is thought that he has greater matters in commission than are yet known. He affirms that he would not have come thither but that he thought to have found the King to have been a Catholic. Wherein the King said that he began to hear Myreton as if he favoured him, thereby to draw secrets from him. He brought with him a jewel or tablet of gold or crystal of the breadth of a palm of a hand, wherein is a crucifix with the history of the Passion finely carved in bone, which at the first confession he said Father Crichton wished him to present to the Queen there. At another time he said it was sent by Cardinal Cajetan to the Queen, and lastly that it was addressed to Angus. The King, having this tablet, delivered it to the Queen. The King asking him wherefor the tablet was good, he answered to put him in remembrance of Christ's crucifixion and to kiss it, because Christ with the two thieves and the man who with a lance thrust Christ in the side were in it.

The King replied that the Word of God served for our memory of Christ's crucifying and that the tablet was so little that he could not kiss Christ without kissing likewise the thieves and executioner. When he saw the King take the tablet he prayed that for a grace he might once kiss it before he [i.e. the King] departed with it.

By his confession and by letters intercepted in the Low Countries, it appears that more Jesuits shall be sent thither, especially one with a large commission, and that Thomas Tyrie is highly commended at Rome and by the Catholics. Tyrie's confession is found with him,—that the King and most about him are Catholics and that Lord Hume is a Catholic and Captain of the King's guard. Great persuasions are used by the Jesuits to advance Tyrie with money. These persuasions were made to the agents in Rome, who have found great fault that the distribution of the last treasure was not done agreeable to their intentions. When the commission for his torment by the boot was shown to him, he told them that one Englishman lay in Bruges (Bridges) travailing to persuade the King of Spain that he had right to England and that the King of Scots was a bastard, concluding that the King of Spain had right to both realms. It is intended that this Jesuit shall be condemned and banished the realm, with order that it shall be death to any Jesuit to come hereafter into Scotland, as in England (they say) it is already provided and used. The ministers seek to have him tormented with the boot in regard that he will not confess from whom, to whom, and for what effect he has come thither. The King will not deal further herein, referring the matter and his punishment to the order and course of the laws, in regard that they have so far abused him in persuading the world that he is a Papist.

Crichton in his letters much commends this Jesuit for his constancy in his profession, but he "discomendethe" him in that he favours the French King, (fn. 9) whom he does not call the French King but "Navarr our persecutour," and that he does not say his matins in the morning but oftentimes in the afternoon. Colonel Stewart has written to the King that the States allege that her Majesty demands so great sums of them that they cannot advance any to others [etc. as in No. 496].

On 23rd March advertisement was brought to the King that Huntly embarked at Aberdeen on the 19th with sixteen men and Mr. James Gordon. He intends to sail for Denmark and to pass through Poland into Italy. He would not ship in that part where Bothwell was, and it is said that Bothwell has likewise departed by sea. Errol went on board at Peterhead on the 17th. March. Before their departure Huntly and Errol heard mass in the church of Elgin by Mr. James Gordon, who in his sermon encouraged them not to depart. Huntly has written to the King that he departs not for any fault made at any time to the King [etc. as in No. 500]. Angus is very sick. Bothwell is "abjected" by the Papist lords, especially Huntly [etc. as in No. 500].

On 17th March the King rode to Stirling, leaving at Edinburgh the Chancellor and other councillors to manage the estate there in his absence. The Queen will remove next week to Stirling, where, and at Falkland, she and the King will remain two months at least. The Chancellor has returned to his house. The Session and the Exchequer are broken up. Mr. John Colville has got the warrant subscribed by the Secretary for his pardon. The King moved the Chancellor for his allowance of this pardon, [etc. as in No. 500]. Mr. John may chiefly thank Sir George Hume [that] now the Duke, Mar and Orkney "partye" and favour him.

Thomas Rutledge of Kilham, arrested in Edinburgh by Mr. Thomas Hamilton, is set at liberty by especial warrant of the King, protesting openly that none of her Majesty's subjects should be wronged in Scotland, and that he would perform the treaties and do all the good he could howsoever he should be dealt withal. Hereupon Killoughe told the King that her Majesty was "gatheringe" for the Prince, his son. The King asked "Why not for myself." Killoughe replied, saying "No," and prayed God that the Queen of England and the King of Scots might live long and both die on one day. The King, laughing thereat, asked the company what they thought of Killoughe's words, and therewith "accompted" the difference in years betwixt her Majesty and him. The Queen is turned again from the Chancellor, who (as it is written) utters his evil mind in open Council against England. Sir George Hume still seeks the "double" of the Secretary's last discharge. The King wrote to the French King and the Duke of Guise by a son of Mr. Henry Keir [etc. as in 502].

pp. In Sheperson's hand. Endorsed by Sir Robert Cecil's clerk.

512a. Instructions by [William] Crichton to [John] Myreton. (fn. 10) [1595.]

(1) "For Wallis the decreit his acceptatioun, constitutioun of procurens to resave the teindis of Clette [Clatt] enterand in possessioun and payit of jc pundis, all in forme autentik, to mak faithe in judgement with all the quittances of his that may be had. Yit that he be payit of that is awin him in conscience and ressoun, for it is profitable that he is nocht all payit." (2) "The Maister of Forbes. That the King's Majesty and his father, the Erle of Huntlie, wrait to the Archiduk to have him for the weill and peax of the countrey, that thay twa nobilis howssis enter nocht in wair with the truble of the haill countrey and perditioun or ruine of his mother." (3) That the Earl of Huntly provide for his brother "that studeis in coistrary [sic] and wald nocht byd in our seminarie, nor yit was it to his lordship's honour heirof with Gordoun and Auchindowne." (4) "To Father Gordoune of his priviledgis and indulgences with the tyme that thay sowld lest. I meine the priviledgis." (5) (6) "Off Secill narratioun dyvers sum haistelie to ws that may mak informationis and ask as appertenis with specificatioun of quhatt and quhen ane with autentik power to be credetid." (7) "Off almesour of beneficis for our semenar." (8) "Donatioun of Mr. David Chalmer, (a Scottishman), (fn. 11) airis of that is awin him of his pensioun grantid be the King of Spaine. No [sic] favoure of the seminar, with procuratioun autentik to resave heir as salbe awin him, with atestatioun autentik of the nyxt borrow toun be the notter public that thay be his airis, and to the airis salbe gevin part of that quhilk salbe resavit, thay will never get ane penny be thame selfis, perchance be favour, and for this wark of petie sum pairt may be recovered."

(9) "F[ather] G[ordon] most clainge [cleanse] himself of that is alledgit aganis him baithe to the Archiduk, Count of Juentes and Stephane de Ivara."

(1) "That he is gevin generally to undertsand to all men that the King of Scoitland is Catholik, and that to his and all the Catholikis prejudice to adverteis his enemyis or [i.e. before] he and thay be provydit to resist thame." (2) That he has deceived his Highness by false information to "dryve" money out of him, not for the restitution of the Catholic religion, but for some particular pretences. (3) That he has transported a part of the money into Scotland against all reason, all prudence and conscience, and against his Highness's intentions, for thereby he has put the money and the Catholics in danger, and the cause in far worse estate than it was before his going. (4) His great imprudence . . . (fn. 12) in "publict landinge." (5) That albeit the King was much moved against the three Earls for their own faults, yet much more for F[ather] G[ordon's] indiscreet behaviour. (6) He has "imployit" that which he got "for" his Majesty upon the greatest heretics against his Majesty and to his enemies. (7) He came without commission, and he had no other commission "bot that quhilk his gowne brocht him." (8) Whatever be given to the Earls and not to his Majesty will "on na wayis" advance the Catholic religion. [Cross in the margin.]

Of the three Earls. (1) They were not "forfawltit" and banished for their religion "bot for matter of estait." (2) The Catholics are with the King, and the most "mischant" [wicked] heretic with the three Earls—Bothwell. (3) The Earls have conspired sundry times with Bothwell against his Majesty's life. (4) The King's Majesty is not against the Earls, "bot for to save his lyf and estait." [Cross in the margin.] (5) The King's Majesty propounded sundry means to the Earls, specially how to save themselves, "and that with [sic] prejudice of thair consiencis or that thay sowle thame selfis," and they would not follow his counsel. But he does not specify what were the three things which his Majesty propounded. (6) Since the Earls do not follow the King's counsel he believes it to be either for lack of means, lack of courage, or that they will not admit him for their head that they themselves may have all the means and money obtained for the religion. [Cross in the margin.] (7) That Huntly deferred coming to deliver F[ather] G[ordon's] companions till he had "of the gowld," and then to have his part thereof, and thereafter "pat fyr in the fauboures." (8) That the three Earls have ofttimes "falsefeit" and broken their promises to the King's Majesty, and no ways can he be assured of them. (9) That Bothwell, most "mischant" heretic, has often by "conjurarie," witchcraft and conspiracy attempted "to caus the King die." (10) That Bothwell, being heretic, has received much of the "paipis" money against the "paipis" will.

Of the King. (1) That the King is desirous to deliver himself from the yoke of the ministers "haldine upon him sence his birthe al maist," and "lyk" out of the yoke of England "that aftine attemptis aganis his lyff," and to revenge his mother's death. (2) That he would desire the King of Spain's help if he could obtain it. But he is dissuaded for fear he be discovered, refused, or deferred. (3) The King of Scotland is desirous that his Catholic Majesty offer him his help by a letter "express" to be brought to the King of Scotland by Bruce, who will obtain thereafter commission authentic under the great seal . . ., (fn. 13) to treat with the King of Spain, and in the meantime that his Catholic Majesty give to the King of Scotland money to maintain a "stange" guard for assurance of his life. The King of Scotland prays his Majesty Catholic to assure him of his concurrence "and to serve him of his Majestie all thingis aganis Ingland." (4) The Queen of England and many of her Council assure the King of Scotland of the (fn. 14) succession to the crown on condition that he leave the Queen in peace during her life, and to that effect has paid him "all the arreagis of the principall of Walles." (5) The King has taken "gust" [liking] of the Catholic religion and has defended it against some ministers. (6) The fear of England and ministers and the evil government of the three Earls have "empaschit" [hindered] the King to be Catholic and to advance the Catholics, as otherwise he would have done and as he would do yet if he had the letters by Bruce from the King of Spain and with money to assure his person and estate. (fn. 15) (8) The King of Scotland has refused to sign the league with the heretics of France, England and Holland. (9) The King has shown favour to all the Catholics, and especially to the Earls. (10) The King yet has resolved to help the Catholics and to give them liberty of conscience. (11) If the King was assured of the Catholics and any help, he would put them on his side. (12) The King "did forfalt" the three Earls because they contemned his counsel and to save his own life and for adherence to Bothwell; yet he would have saved them "had nocht beine the careing" (fn. 16) of F[ather] G[ordon] to Scotland. (13) The Catholics are with the King, and the most "mischant" heretic with the three Earls. (14) The King has never pursued any Catholic for his religion, and is still "myndit" never to persecute them.

Bruce. (1) Bruce the first "foundatour" of the union and the Catholic cause of Scottishmen both in Scotland and Spain. (2) When the three Earls and Catholics were "in paine for thair Blankis that sowld have passit in Spaine, Bruce be ane gentilmane send instructionis averturis to the King quhairby he was appasit of his angre aganis thame and savit thame," and the King commanded to thank Bruce by letter for his instructions. (3) The King has commanded Bruce to make instance to obtain a letter from the King of Spain whereby he should offer his help to the King of Scotland and send it to Bruce, who thereupon shall obtain commission ample to treat with Spain. (4) The arrival of F[ather] G[ordon] in Scotland, the evil government of the three Earls and sinister information given against Bruce "hes stopit the King to gif" his commission to Bruce to treat with the King of Spain. (5) "Bruce doingis of importance of estait for the Queine of Scotland hes maid him knawin and redowtit and therfoir feirit," so that his man, Andrew Small, would have been hanged if he had been discovered "last." (6) Bruce was in evil opinion "be" the King, but well known and favoured by him. (7) Sir Robert Melvill, Great Treasurer of Scotland and of the Council of State, "proche parent" [near kinsman] to Bruce.

42/3 pp. Copy, apparently faulty, in a Scottish hand. Endorsed by Sir Robert Cecil: "Instructions given by Creyton to Morton, which being torn by Morton were put together againe and redd." "Instructions." Some corrections of spelling made by Cecil.

513. Young Laird of Lawers to Mr. John Colville. [April 7.] Printed in Colville's Letters, p. 274.

I have been occupied since my departure from you in dealing with MacCondochie, who this last week has received advertisement from O'Donnell and O'Neil willing him to come to Ireland with 400 men. These MacCondochie himself has presently in readiness, for this late order taken by the King for the quieting of the highlanders has forced "the haill brokin men" in these countries to be in readiness to depart. "Aluayis, as oft befoir, the groundis imponit be me sall be keipit," neither has MacCondochie as yet resolved to depart, but remains "stayit" by me, as you shall learn next week at Stirling, where I intend to meet you. There were likewise certain offers directed to Argyll by the same legate who came to MacCondochie, desiring the assistance of 1200 men to be sent there in May, for which he should have the accustomed tribute paid by them to his predecessors. My lord has "continewit" his answer till he meets with his friends, which is looked shall be on the 20th instant. Then he will direct one of his own back with his answer; and so their legate has returned back.

Angus MacConnell, Donald Gorme and MacLeod of Harris are jointly in dealing with MacLean for friendship and have offered him his whole lands that were detained from him by MacConnell; and it is looked that this shall compose the whole [matter]. "Alwayis" they are to meet and to convene their forces that they may be transported into Ireland. But I intend to be present myself at their meeting, and at my return shall acquaint you of their whole proceedings. Signed: Junior.

1 p. Holograph, also address. Endorsed by Robert Bowes.

513a. [Dr. Macartney] to [Robert Bowes]. [April 9.]

I am informed that Huntly and Errol are to return before 30th May with sufficient provision of money; and it has been written to Angus that he shall remain till their "bakcumming," and his eldest son is now "presentlie norishit with Morton." The man who attends on him has advertised me of this last point. The Prince is apparently to be transported to Edinburgh Castle, and Mar likely to be deprived of his earldom if he resist. There is an ambassador to be directed to France shortly. I think you shall understand the causes shortly, and they are neither great, profitable nor needful. I wonder greatly that no intelligence can be had of the book that I first wrote for, "bot to haymelie." I told G[eorge] N[icolson] that there was a man of traffic of your own country, and he was one of those who were with the lords in the north, "and Barganie keapit him." But what he did in that matter I know not. E[dinburgh.] Signed with a trefoil. (fn. 17) Endorsed by Robert Bowes.

514. Roger Aston to Robert Bowes. [April 10.]

At my departing out of Edinburgh I wrote to you. Since then I have been silent, rather for want of matters than goodwill. I doubt not but George Nicolson has sufficiently informed you what is done with Father Myreton (Morton) since his Majesty's coming away. His friends have made great means for him and procured a letter to the King from such of the Council as had the examination of him, giving their opinions that it were meetest he should be banished the country seeing there was no great matter to be tried against him, and he but of a simple capacity. What this might have wrought I know, if Mr. Patrick Galloway had not come hither. He has been here, and so handled the matter that now he has commission for his straiter handling. He has given me his hand that this holy Jesuit shall not pass so lightly away. For my own part I have spoken freely both to the King and some others, laying before them what a suspicion and slander it will be to the King if this man pass away unpunished, seeing how constantly they have confirmed the King to be of their religion. Therefore, for the better satisfaction of the world, his Majesty cannot do better than, as he gets them, to "knett them up" that the world may see they are liars and abusers. He has taken this well and is to make a "strett" proclamation that so many as "comes and are gotten" shall be presently hanged, and such as receive them. In this I can say no further, but "abydes tyme" in hope there shall be execution.

We do not hear of our Papist Earls who embarked. Errol's course was for Hamburg. Bothwell was in Orkney, where he landed with twenty-four with him; Orkney's servants thought to have entrapped him, whereof he got advertisement and returned to his ships. He has one ship of 60 tons and a little pinnace. He was lately in Shetland in a harbour there. One of Orkney's servants who has come from thence says "his menyng is for Donkerke." Caithness should have come in long since, and his pardon was granted, but because the King will not let it pass the seals before he comes in, he keeps out and will not enter before it pass the seals, which the King will not suffer to be done. I hope we shall have quietness this summer. Our "polittike hedes" will not meet till the latter end of summer. The Queen deals no further in the matter concerning the Prince. The Prince should have been "spentt" now presently, but it is otherwise resolved by reason of the change of milk, which has made him tender and something sickly "with his breding of teth." The King and Queen go shortly to Falkland, where they are to remain all this summer. Stirling. Signed: Roger Aston.

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

515. Mr. John Colville to [Robert Bowes]. [April 10.] Printed in Colville's Letters, pp. 154–155.

From the 5th instant to this present I have remained here, finding no matter worthy of writing till this day, when, many reports coming that these Papist lords had privily returned, I prayed Sir George Hume to assure me of the verity thereof. From his Majesty's own mouth he assures me that none of them shall "byd" but with his utter displeasure, and that Errol is without doubt away and ere now at Hamburg. Huntly embarked, but [it is] yet uncertain whither he goes, and Angus, a man of whom is little account, [is] unprovided to depart and more obscure at home than the obscurest private person. His Majesty is very earnest that he be not "calumniat" in this point. As for this Jesuit, albeit sundry would persuade his Majesty to pity him by reason of his simplicity, Sir George Hume is of opinion that he will not be saved.

This day an unhappy accident is "fallin" here in Stirling, for the Laird of Garden's "childring" have "invadit" one called Bruce, of the Laird of Airth's house, when he was in Dunipace's company. A special friend of Dunipace is hurt, and in "redding" three or four of this town [are] deadly wounded. This will put all Stirling by the ears.

What young Lawers (Junior) is doing by his own letter your lordship will see. He and Mr. John would be remembered "tymuslie," for their service is necessary. Bothwell departed on 28th March from Zetland toward Dunkirk, or, failing thereof by adverse wind, to Calais or Dieppe, with purpose to go to Brussels. Your own man, France, (fn. 18) is with him and has appointed me to send to the sign of "Petite St. Jehane" in Calais, where he desires to receive my directions from his Majesty whether he shall "byid" still with Bothwell or not, with promise that from thence he shall advertise both you and me of all he can learn in that company touching your estate or Bothwell's intentions. Therefore, let my letter herewith sent be circumspectly sent thither, for there may be good intelligence found that way. Bothwell was cast into Orkney ere he went to Zetland and fortuned to cast anchor hard by the house of my "brother," Mr. Herries, who has the rule of that country in the Earl's absence, and hearing of Bothwell's name he made such preparation that his abode there was very short. He has a ship and fly-boat. In his ship are Colonel Boyd, Captain Foster and some six gentlemen more with mariners; in the flyboat the Fleming and Englishman who came in last, and some mariners. This is the true estate of Bothwell.

The Earl of Orkney, a young nobleman of good expectation, is procuring a commission to arrest such English ships, fishing in his waters, as he can justly charge with the piracy done against himself three years ago. "I will give ee agans who this is specially meaned," and I wish her Majesty would correct such as have done him wrong rather than that it fell out otherwise. Signed: "Y."

Postscript.—This inn, "Petite St. Jehane," in Calais, is a lodging where all merchants of Edinburgh lodge.

3 pp. In Mr. John Colville's hand. No address. Endorsed by Robert Bowes. Some names in cipher deciphered.

516. George Nicolson to Robert Bowes. [April 10.]

Huntly and Errol have departed, and proclamation made thereupon as by the copy enclosed you may perceive. [No. 501.] I hear that they have gone to Norway, to pass from thence to Hamburg, and so where they please. Bothwell has been at Orkney, where the country gathered to apprehend him; whereon he departed to Shetland, as is said; from whence also he has departed, but whither it is not known. Angus is still labouring to have his lands for his wife and children, as the other two Earls have, and also to depart. But there is small hope for him therein. "Allwaies" Morton and his friends intend, by a clause they have in the law, to preserve the living for his son, a matter which, if the Duke does not agree, will breed stirs between them and the Duke. Lady Sutherland has gone home, and her son is with Mr. Robert Bruce, very well pleased therewith.

The King has written to the Chancellor to examine Father Myreton (Morton) by torture, and to give him an assize; and also to Mr. Robert Bruce and Mr. David Lindsay to let them understand that he has given such order and that he would have them to look so to the matter that he had no blame, but themselves should bear the burden in case his examination and assize should not be sufficient. So Mr. Robert Bruce still notes the King to be very frank herein.

It was expected that an ambassador from France should have been here ere now. Mr. Henry Keir's son has now his full despatch and has departed hence. [In the margin, in Cecil's hand: "Toward the Duke of Lenox."] Mr. David Foulis commends himself to you, as by his letter you will perceive. Atholl is at this town, not freed of his ward as yet. From Stirling I hear nothing; but by Sir Hugh Carmichael, who came yesterday from thence, I understand the King "attends" hunting and hawking, and the Queen and old Lady Mar agree very well, and the young Prince is well and all there very quiet. [In the margin, in Nicolson's hand: "In Easter weke Sir Hughe saies they go to Faukland and will stay there."] Mr. John Colville's pardon is there proclaimed and himself an open, free man there, yet not without suspicion of his enemies here that he is plotting now against them. Edinburgh. Signed: Geo. Nicolson.

Postscript.—At the closing hereof I was advertised of a fray in Stirling between Garden and Dunipace.

1 p. Holograph, also address. Endorsed by Robert Bowes.

517. George Nicolson to Robert Bowes. [April 12.]

This day I received Mr. Aston's letter to you (which I send herewith), with a letter to myself, signifying that the Earl of Orkney had obtained commission for the stay of English ships coming to Orkney or Shetland for fishing, and wishing me to stay the same by the means of honest merchants. For this purpose he has also written to the Chancellor a letter which this day I have forwarded. On this good warning and advice of Mr. Aston, as also upon knowledge thereof by such letters as I had before, I have employed Mr. Foulis, Robert Jowsie, William Small, "Sanders" Lindsay and other merchants here to stop the passing of that warrant by the seal, and I have this morning showed the Secretary the inconveniences of the same, moving him to stay the same till he shows the King the inconveniences; which he willingly said he will do, being this day to ride to Stirling to his Majesty. Mr. John Colville has indeed given me two several advertisements thereon, and the matter is so handled that, without malice to the informers, it will be, I trust, defeated. Mr. Hanger's servant having gone to Ayr to dispose of the ship arrested for his master and some travailing here to loose the arrest, I went to the Secretary who in my sight, before I moved him, denied to set his hand to any such thing, and promises not to consent to any like matter. So I find the Secretary very kind. He commends himself and his uncle to you.

The Clerk Register has gone to Lethington, and the Chancellor is to be here on Monday, and looks to meet the King here then or on Tuesday. The Chancellor's party persuade me that the King is coming hither to confer with him anent motions and the business (as they term it) of Mr. John Colville. But Mr. Colville advertised me by letter that the King is to come to Linlithgow to hunt and hawk there for some two or three days. Thus I perceive Mar and the Chancellor are not yet out of suspicion of each other, and that the King is rather for the Chancellor than for the others, because appointments of meetings are thus set down between them. Upon the Chancellor's coming some further trial will be taken on this Jesuit, who is for the present in better heart than he was, not so freely confessing things demanded. I leave all to further trial, expecting that the Council will do what they can to ease and to cause this Jesuit to be banished, if they can so persuade the King.

I perceive Balcomie (Bocomye) has returned word that he can get no justice for the Earl of Orkney albeit the offender was in Court; which has the rather moved this grant of the commission. But some think that Mr. Archibald Douglas has got some redress for the Earl's matter and keeps it to himself.

Others think that Balcomie, having endured some trial anent his other affairs otherwise than he liked, has the more earnestly insisted to further the warrant for the Earl. [In the margin in Nicolson's hand: Lady Arbella.] "Allwaies," as time serves, the King wants no hard persuaders against the doings of England, and, chiefly, the want of support is the greatest matter whereon the ill-willers play. The Goodman of Huttonhall tells me that Sir John Selbyand he have met, and that they have not agreed upon some questions falling out between them, but referred the same to a new day. This day he has gone to Stirling, I think for the King's resolution in those matters, and I think matters of debt shall not be answered by that law any more. Yet the Goodman tells me if matters now in question end well, he will find me a way to help William Milburn's matter. Edinburgh. Signed: Geo. Nicolson.

Postscript.—Mr. David Foulis (75) "comendis him" to you; but I cannot get his letters till next week. Altrye (58) (fn. 19) is and will be found ready to do all good services for her Majesty, with his duty to the King of Scots.

12/3 pp. Holograph, also address. Endorsed by Robert Bowes. Partly in cipher deciphered.

518. Roger Aston to Robert Bowes. [April 12.]

This day I received a little note from George Nicolson, excusing you that you had not written to me, withal desiring that I would write to you; and because this day I have seen something pass that may be offensive to her Majesty, I thought good to acquaint you therewith in due time. The Laird of Balcomie (Bocome), being employed by Orkney with letters from the King to her Majesty for redress for such goods as were taken from him four years since, says that for answer the Treasurer bade him pursue it by law—the men who had taken the goods being present, and no redress made. Whereupon the Earl has informed the King, and, being one of the Chamber and a great courtier, has this day got a warrant to arrest all English ships that come either to Orkney or Shetland till he be paid. At the passing of the warrant the King told me his intention was no ways to offend, but only that the Earl might be satisfied. I answered plainly that that was not the way; for if the Earl stayed any ships either in Orkney or Shetland the merchants of Scotland would pay for it, and so I told our greatest courtiers. I durst not "crose itt over fer," but I wrote to the Chancellor and informed him of the matter, with my own opinion. I also wrote to George Nicolson to inform some earnest and well affected men of Edinburgh by whose means it might be stayed.

I have seen by a letter out of England that there is great doubt of the Papists' departure, and that their livings are provided to their own use. I have from time to time written the truth of that matter, and what others write believe them not. Huntly and Errol are in sundry ships and gone. Errol's course was for Hamburg, and no ways to have any doings with Huntly again. Where Bothwell has been I wrote to you in my last. As for the Papists, as they behave themselves in their absence so shall they get "oversightt" for their livings. This I will assure you, they have no conditions further than their own desert. If they live without practice the better consideration will be had of their wives and children.

This last order that is taken with the Highlands I fear will give occasion to many broken men to pass to Ireland. They have spoiled the country so far that they are not able to make redress, and so dare not enter. I hear they are determined to go to Ireland.

John Colville is in this town making all his means to get the King's presence, but as yet has not obtained it. Stirling. Signed: Roger Aston.

Postscript.—We hear that you are to return. I have spoken with sundry good men and the best affected, who wish it from their heart. Your presence would take away all occasions that may breed jealousies. If you come "enabelt" you will guide all. I hope to cross this "porchast" warrant of the Earl's, yet I "seme not" to deal in the matter. I know when the merchants get word they will stir in the matter.

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

519. George Nicolson to [Robert Bowes]. [April 15.]

This bearer, John Cunningham, burgess of this town, is merchant for MacLean from whom he has lately received a letter, which I have prayed him to show you; whereby you will perceive that MacLean would have him provide sundry things for him, in which, if he receives favour, he will be the "francker" for such "turne" as you shall employ him in, and therefore I signify to you that this person is honest and will show you such things as you, I hope, will like; and also I beseech your worship to give him your furtherance in his said "adoes." Edinburgh. Signed: Geo. Nicolson.

2/3 p. Holograph. No fly-leaf or address.

520. George Nicolson to Robert Bowes. [April 17.]

On Monday last the King came to Linlithgow, where he is to stay at his hawking and hunting till Friday or Saturday next, and from thence to return to Stirling to the Queen, who still remains there with no great contentment. Lord Hamilton now pleases the King very well, and some think he will be "brought to kyndenes" with Mar and those courtiers, the rather because the Chancellor was the means for the favour which Johnstone got anent the slaughter of Maxwell. The King has written to this and sundry other presbyteries to come to Stirling to him on the 29th anent the excommunication of Spott, Colonel Boyd and others; and, not pleased that the ministry here would not examine witnesses ready to have given them evidence in that matter, he intends to have the ministers to examine such witnesses as "can say to the purpose," and thereon to draw them to agree to the excommunication. The Presbytery here have by letter prayed his Majesty to spare the ministers of this town, Canongate and Leith in regard of the daily preaching and great auditory here, hoping thereby to be allowed to send their commissioners.

On 8th May a Convention is to be here, where the King intends to "try out" sundry suspected for coining in Fife, "and of good degree for gentlemen as is thought." The King has hanged some of the Macgregors, and the Macfarlanes have come in and are to enter pledges in Tantallon for their good behaviour, by which those Highlands are also quiet, some of them making for Ireland, I hear.

The Chancellor came hither on Monday and spoke with the Jesuit. But because Mr. Robert Bruce and Mr. David Lindsay were absent (which they would not have been if he had warned them of his coming), he did not proceed to examine him. He confesses nothing more than you know. By the Clerk Register and Mr David Lindsay I perceive it is thought better to preserve him both to resolve any questions which he knows concerning any Jesuits in England for the benefit of England, and also that they may learn further of him by your advertisements of such matters as the two taken at Carlisle and conceived here to be Jonas and Martin, the Scotsman, shall discover against him for their benefit here, in which behalf they seem to have written to your worship. So this delay appears to rest on your advertisements, wherein, therefore, please satisfy them with speed. I spoke with the Chancellor, requiring him to take such order that the arrest might not be "lowsed" to Mr. Hanger's prejudice, which he promised should not be. So I thank God that I have yet frustrated Ross's devices, as also the commission of the Earl of Orkney, wherein Mr. Aston tells me Sir George Hume has also kindly given his travail in Court.

It is thought that whereas the Duke had resigned the earldom and living of Bothwell, by which Buccleuch and Cessford have their estate in those lands, yet on coming to perfect age he shall revoke his resignation and thereby draw those lands from those lairds (albeit the earldom of Angus was given in consideration thereof), both because of the title which is claimed for Angus's son to that earldom, and also, some think, to requite the two lairds for the advice supposed to be given to the Queen for the taking of the young Prince from the custody of Mar, his brother-in-law. This is not a little looked to breed some troubles here and looseness on the Borders, if it proceed, and it is said, but I can[not] see how it can be true, that Bothwell has landed and gone to the Borders. The motion made by the Queen for having custody of the young Prince and this castle is buried, yet the Kirk of Scotland can see no other but extreme troubles to arise either between Mar and the Chancellor or between Mar and the Queen; which they are not acquainted with, and therefore cannot have occasion to take dealings therein, but to wish good end therein. This by little and little will be seen either to calm or to break out into some mighty storm. Edinburgh. Signed: George Nicolson.

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

521. Roger Aston to Robert Bowes. [April 18.]

Orkney's commission for the arresting of English ships within his country was passed by the King upon information that he was denied redress and also [that] his ship laden with wine was taken by her Majesty's ships, and with this instruction, that he should not intromit with anything except to make haste till he might get some redress. Although fair promises were made, yet I feared the inconvenience that might follow, the preparative not being before. I presently wrote to the Chancellor and Secretary, whose hand it should pass before it came to the Senate. I also dealt with Sir George Hume, whom I found very willing to have it stayed, and at the Secretary's coming to Court on Monday last he dealt with him in that behalf. The Secretary has been moved in the matter, but has refused. So I look it shall pass no further, and so the Secretary has promised me. The King will not insist, being informed of the truth. You know he can refuse nothing, but passes all, not looking what may follow.

The King has appointed to be in Edinburgh on 8th May, where the Council convenes for order-taking with his affairs, chiefly the counterfeiters of false coin. Many are to be touched with the matter, chiefly in Fife. Also there is order to be taken with such of the Highlands as have not already given in pledges. There is now great quietness. I fear such of the broken men who are not answerable to the law will go to Ireland. I hear that MacConnell Roy, a great chieftain of Argyle, is preparing himself that way. He has been a great oppressor here, and now such order is taken that he dare not meddle further. I think it were not amiss that you should give some information to George [Nicolson] against the day appointed for meeting of the King and Council, that some order may be taken for them. When I see your directions I shall do accordingly. There are "fliing tales" that Bothwell has returned from Shetland into these parts, "butt no souch matter." He was lately in Shetland. He has slain sundry of the Earl's oxen and sheep to victual his ships. No word has yet come from the Papist Earls. The King is presently in Linlithgow hunting with Hamilton. From thence he returns to Stirling, and so to Dunfermline. I came to this town this day upon some directions of the King and am this night to return. Edinburgh. Signed: Roger Aston.

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

522. William Romeny to Lord Buckhurst. [April 22.]

By a letter dated the 15th instant at Hamburg, and received this day at the Royal Exchange, my servant gives me to understand that three noblemen, fled out of Scotland, have lately arrived at Hamburg. One of them is called Bothwell. The names of the others he knew not. These are purposed (as the report there goes) to take passage for Spain in the ballast of the fleet of fly-boats which is almost ready to depart thitherwards. This news I would have imparted to my brother-in-law, Mr. Middleton, that he might have given information thereof, because he is better known, but he being out of the city I thought it my duty (not "staienge" his coming) to give intelligence myself to your honour. London. Signed: William Romeny.

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

523. Lauchlan MacLean of Duart to Robert Bowes. [April 22.]

My servant, John Auchinross, has informed me of his letter anent Ireland, directed to you and delivered to George Nicolson [No. 497]. This now is to inform you that O'Donnell has sent to the Earl of Argyll desiring that he assist them with force of men and has offered him largely for the same, and the Earl of Tyrone, with O'Donnell, has sent to my neighbours desiring them to make haste in their passage to Ireland and has "advancit" them with silver and silver work for taking up of men. They are making great preparation and "myndis" to have 4000 men with them "to" Ireland. O'Donnell has written to me in like manner and offers me largely of his "geir," and my neighbours daily have "thair message at me" for contracting of peace with them, for which they offer me largely of their own and also of that which they obtain from Ireland and other parts, seeing they cannot well leave this land without a further security of my peace than they have. I have "continewit tym" with them all as yet, awaiting your Queen's "mynd" to me hereanent. If I see any "doing" with her I will not yield to them and shall do her grace good service, occasion being offered. If she thinks that this enterprise in Ireland may hurt her, not only my neighbours would be stayed here in Scotland, but also her enemies would be pursued in Ireland with her army on the one side and with others from Scotland on the other side. As my servant wrote, the Earl of Argyll and I were most meet to be employed "to this turn," and so I make you "foirsein" before I conclude with my neighbours. Duart. Signed: Lauchlane M'Lane off Doward.

Postscript.—Those men whom I call my neighbours are Angus MacConnell and Donald Gorme MacConnell, dwelling in the Isles of Scotland. By reason of our acquaintance I have taken occasion to make your lordship participant of the occurrent news here, and I desire that you cause me "nocht to tyn my commoditie heir, and nocht to proffeit thair vith your lordship's acqwentance." (fn. 20) Signed: Lauchlane M'Lane off Doward.

¾ p. In the hand of Auchinross, also address. Endorsed by Robert Bowes.

524. Mr. John Colvile to Robert Bowes. [April 23.] Printed in Colville's Letters, pp. 155, 156.

I refer all matters of estate to Nicolson, who has been here with me and knows all that I know. Only this much I advertise to be secret: that the King, understanding from me that Bothwell has gone, wishes "to have him ferder tryit out," and will employ me in that errand, with commission in other matters to her Majesty by the way, ample enough, though secret, and assuredly for the benefit of both, else I should not accept the service. It is therefore required with speed that a passport and commission may be sent for me, for the King will have me to go quietly, and as privately as I can till I be at London. Next, the young Earl of Murray "being" to go abroad for his instruction, it is thought he cannot have any place of surety so good as in England. I am required to know her Majesty's pleasure therein and to have a passport for him. He is a young one of good expectation and the seed of such as ever loved the amity. Thirdly, young Lawers is like to discharge his part well, and will in the latter end of this week assure us what shall be done; whereof he has at large spoken with your servant and me. Stirling. Signed: Y.

pp. In Mr. John Colville's hand. Addressed: "To 5." Endorsed by Robert Bowes: "Mr. John Colvill. Stirling 23 Aprilis, Westminster primo Maii, 1595."

525. The Earl of Argyll to Mr. Robert Bowes. [April 23.]

I received your lordship's letter and her Majesty's "placard" [see No. 527] thanking you for your "liberall travells" and acknowledging her Majesty's courteous benefits, which I will not forget in every lawful service. The delay of your answer made me suppose that the business of Ireland "had bein brocht to sum gud fyne" [end], and settled in a quiet estate. Thereby I was not careful to learn of the intentions and proceedings of my neighbours as in the beginning I was. But now I shall omit nothing that may hinder our people "from the Iyrland service." Such as are under my jurisdiction shall not be "licentiat" to go over, and I will labour to stay my neighbours, if possible. But now that may be harder than before, since they are become his Majesty's rebels. Stirling. Signed: Ard. Ergyll.

2/3 p. Holograph, also Address. Endorsed by Robert Bowes.

526. James Colville, Laird of Easter Wemyss, to Robert Bowes. [April 23.]

I have received your letter and give you most hearty thanks for your remembrance of me. Before its receipt I was "avayting" on this Jesuit whom you have apprehended by the King's command, and whose father dwells within two miles "to" my house. As soon as I received your letter I immediately found his Majesty, who was very well contented with all you wrote to me and is desirous to know all the particular depositions he has "deponit," and thereafter, if it be thought good by her Majesty, he will send for him, or if he be found any way to have practised against either of the estates, [he desires] that there be no favour shown to him, for I assure you it is not his will. "Thus ye have to chus." If he whom I "directit" had not departed I should have stayed him, and albeit her Majesty may be better informed than the King is here, I doubt not but she will consider the upright dealing in this and esteem it as much as "gif sik ane thing haid not bein knawin," seeing it comes of himself. Stirling. Signed: James Colvill of Est Veimes.

1 p. Holograph, also address. Endorsed by Robert Bowes.

527. George Nicolson to Robert Bowes. [April 24.]

On Saturday last I rode to Stirling and delivered her Majesty's placard and your letter to Argyll, who thought that that matter had been given over in regard that he had been so long "protracted of answere" by your letter. Now he has written [see No. 525], and expects speedy answer, for a special messenger has been with him, offering not only full payment of all things past, but assur ance, at my lord's sight, of all duties in times coming, provided he assist them. He has deferred answer to 8th May, and Mr. George Erskine will delay answer till 22nd May. By that time contented answer must be returned, or else my lord will be very fair tempted by them. He tells me that he will take order that none of his shall go to the aid of her Majesty's rebels, and that he will do his best to stay others, although he cannot give assurance, because they are not at obedience to his Majesty's laws or himself. All this I leave to his letter, praying speedy answer against that day. In this Sir George Hume has spoken to the King, who will do what he can, and Sir George wills me to call for his help in any such things to his Majesty and commends himself heartily to you. I have sent your letter to John Auchinross, who will earnestly prosecute that matter.

It is affirmed by some here that 3000 are to go out of the Isles here to the rebels, and that James Og (Oge), Angus MacConnell's son, is already there; also that those wars will never end to her Majesty's liking. If reports be true, the state there is dangerous. As to the Jesuit, Lawe, the King would have his examination that thereon he may send or not send for him. "Allwaies" he wishes no favour to him or any of them, which I leave to the Laird of Wemyss's letter also.

Yesterday morning, before my coming from Stirling, the Earl of Murray, Lord St. Colme and others of his friends sent for me, and before Mr. John Colville prayed me and him to desire you to be "meane" to her Majesty that the Earl might have safe-conduct for his coming into England and safety there at the schools, where, under her Majesty's protection, they account he may be safer than in other places; and in this they pray speedy despatch, seeking only her Highness's free and sure warrant; which please to effect with speed and send hither. "He is as fyne a stout, wise child as ever I sawe or must see." Mr. John Colville looks also to be employed for England; wherein he intends to show his goodwill to her Majesty's services, and prays licence for his repair accordingly, and with speed. Please send this and Murray's with speed, as by Mr. John's letters you may perceive [No. 524]. Yesterday I returned from Stirling, perceiving there the Queen's stay to have been with indifferent contentment. This day the King and Queen are to go Dunfermline, the King to return shortly to Stirling, and afterwards to this town for the Convention. Some say the ministers' advice will be anent the motion for the removing of the Prince, which motion is "fearefull" to the good men of this land and odious to the King to hear of, and so unpleasant to Mar that I look for troubles. At Stirling the two Lairds [Cessford and Buccleuch] are said to intend a shooting with Balwearie in Fife, by which "they shalbe at Courte before it returne hither."

The Laird of Spott "by meanes" got a writing into the Kirk of Edinburgh directed to the ministers with his excuse for dealing between Bothwell and the Earls, and a dissuasion of them from excommunicating of him, turning over all faults as far as he may, but without reason, against Sir George Hume, who tells me that the King is advertised that his rebels are received in England, though her Majesty knows not thereof.

Mar and his friends have got their cousin, Agnes Murray, contracted with Lord Glamis without the Master's privity, "and they intent (sic) to cause my lord fynde the Master so occupied as he shall not do muche against them, as he hathe ben suspected to do."

Sir James Sandilands has had conference with his friends, who have agreed to back him in the cause against Montrose, and Montrose has a convention of his friends against Sir James, a matter of no great moment. As to Buccleuch's journey into Tynedale, he burnt but one house, against his will, "tho he layde fyer to to [sic] gitt entrance, and makes satisfaction for the same." This I hear he intends; "allwaies" the King seems angry thereat.

All other things are quiet here, so far as I understand, finding your intelligencers weary of their labours without your accustomed rewards, which you must repair or give up with them; for, as to me, I cannot now help it. The "importable darthe" here causes double charges, and your landlord looks for rent, and will have more from you than before. I fear me, whether you come or stay, he will have payment for another quarter, because you have not warned forty days before the term. Therefore in any case let me know whether you are to hold it longer or not, that I may accordingly do the best. Edinburgh. Signed: Geo. Nicolson.

32/3 pp. Holograph, also address. Endorsed by Robert Bowes.

528. Mr. John Colville to [Robert Bowes]. [April 25.] Printed in Colville's Letters, pp. 156–157.

On the 28th instant his Majesty is to return from Dunfermline, to remain here till the middle of May and her Grace [to remain] where she is or in Edinburgh. The Prince is well, notwithstanding contrary bruits. Though there are bruits that Huntly and Errol are not away, yet Sir George [Hume] bids me for certainty affirm the contrary. This late displeasure betwixt Dunipace and Garden is likely to work much ill among us and to separate Mar (A.) from Dunipace (Pater), which indeed will prove no small matter, because Dunipace could do and did most against the Chancellor. The displeasure also betwixt Montrose and Sir James Sandilands increases, and they are presently gathered beside Glasgow.

A marriage lately contracted here betwixt young Lord Glamis and Tullibardine's daughter will waken again the grief betwixt Mar and the Master of Glamis; for the Master is marvellously displeased therewith. I pray that my letter to Francis Tennant may be hasted to Calais, and that the passports may be hasted, for I am again commanded to make haste. I have many things I cannot write, which I refer to meeting. As for young Lawers, you will find him well worthy, and the other also. If Argyll cannot get licence to depart the realm, he will privately steal away, so young Lawers is the more to be made of. It were both tedious and dangerous to write all, yet many things are necessary to be known, which, as before, I am forced to remit. Stirling.

Postscript.—On the 29th there is to be an assembly, wherein the excommunication of [Colonel] Boyd and James Douglas will be solicited, because they were chief instruments to persuade Bothwell to join with the Papists, and for proof thereof Hercules Stewart's depositions and testimony of Balwearie and Kinnaird, who are charged to be present, will be used.

pp. Unsigned. In Mr. John Colville's hand. Endorsed by Sir Robert Cecil's clerk: "26 Ap. 1595. Mr. Colvyll. Some names in cipher deciphered."

529. George Nicolson to Robert Bowes. [April 26.]

For "convoy" of Mr. Colville's letters I have addressed these presents to you, referring his errands to his own report, only praying you to haste his safeconduct and Murray's, if they be granted as they desire. I was given to understand at Stirling that Argyll is resolved to leave Scotland, that the Duke and Mar seek to stay him, and that Argyll said he would not stay to be a beast, but would stay and take action with them in case they would "take amendis of the abuses offered them"; and now that that side have got Lord Glamis (38) you will see the Master of Glamis "put at" by them in favour of Lord Glamis. I see no pacification growing between Mar and the Chancellor, Cessford and Buccleuch, but practice which in time will "kyeth" [prove] dangerous. Hamilton leans to neither side, but keeps himself quiet, looking at some time that he shall have occasion "to do for" her Majesty here, as by his servant I am this day told. For some take suspicion that in time the Papists will make great troubles for England and Scotland, and they are thought to have begun in Ireland; in which Argyll and the King will do their best with such as are at their commandment. But the islanders are not at obedience, and therefore they do not undertake for them, though Argyll said he would do his best. But fair offers are great temptations. The men making thither are put in comfort of great gains, good success, and that the old blood of that country [i.e. Ireland] are wholly banded together and know of foreign aid. If that be true, it is time, with assurance of favour to the King, Argyll, young Lawers and MacLean, to seek by them some course for the stay of all from hence and for service by them, which apparently might be had if you were here with power to treat and perform with them. Their factors might then either come to you or I might go to them to see things rather agreed than spoken of. Haste answer to Argyll, and I will make haste thereon to him. But account young Lawers the watchman, from whom I shall shortly hear.

Atholl's servant, known to you, says there is appearance of great troubles, wherein his lordship, he assures, shall be for her Majesty and the good cause. Angus's and Spott's stay here, with the Laird of Logie's at London (fn. 21) and "not departure" as he was enjoined, and the report here of Bothwell's return, keep the King in suspicion of further practice notwithstanding all watches of Bothwell. Mr. Bruce goes to Stirling on Monday next, and his fellows, as I wrote before. He thinks that this Jesuit shall "ayle nought," and so it appears by the Chancellor's dealing on his last being here, as I wrote.

I now hear no more of the commission sought by Orkney, neither do I see certainty that Mr. Archibald Douglas has got anything for that matter, as some thought. But Balcomie (Bacomy) is likely to be called to question for coining, as I hear, and had no authority for dealing, for which he was examined, "nether yet" did he deal therein as is protested. I find no speech here of Buccleuch and Cessford going over the water to Fife. But I hear the Queen will shortly be here and pass some time of this summer at Dalkeith and hereabouts. Pardon me if I write this at random, for your intelligencers grow strange for want of rewards, which please furnish me with to make them familiar again, and send me speedy relief of money to supply our wants here by reason of the extreme dearth. Edinburgh. Signed: George Nicolson.

pp. Holograph, also address. Endorsed by Cecil's clerk. Partly in cipher deciphered.


  • 1. Don Pedro de Toledo.
  • 2. Agent of the Low Countries in Edinburgh.
  • 3. our: Protestant, the religion of the writer.
  • 4. See No. 512 a.
  • 5. It may be doubtful whether the reference is to Foulis or Nicolson. The text reads that 75 (Foulis) "may do good for A (her Majesty) in Ter (Scotland). And Mor (Nicolson) saieth that there are matters in hand above his reache as he conceiveth."
  • 6. "London" is sometimes, and apparently here, used as a cipher for Stirling.
  • 7. Extract printed in Colville's Letters, 273–274.
  • 8. Not now in this collection.
  • 9. Cf. No. 502.
  • 10. Although detached and bound separately this letter was probably enclosed with No. 511.
  • 11. Added above the line in Burghley's hand.
  • 12. Thus in the original.
  • 13. Thus in the original.
  • 14. Altered from "his."
  • 15. (7) is omitted.
  • 16. carrying: coming.
  • 17. This is the cipher adopted by Dr. Macartney. The letter bears another symbol (intersecting semicircles) on the back, probably by way of address.
  • 18. Francis Tennant. See Letters, p. 154 n.
  • 19. 58 is elsewhere the cipher for Sir George Hume. If Lord Altrie was not actually dead by this date, his active career was certainly over. His successor was his nephew, the Earl Marischal. See Scots Peerage, i. 159.
  • 20. The sense seems to be that because of their acquaintance MacLean has informed Bowes of the news in the Isles, and he desires Bowes to see to it that he (MacLean) does not lose his opportunity in Scotland [of taking advantage of the offers of his neighbours] and at the same time lose his profit in England.
  • 21. Cf. p. 502.