James VI, May 1595

Pages 585-603

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, May 1595

530. Mr. John Colville to Robert Bowes. [May 2.] Printed in Colville's Letters, pp. 157, 158.

On the 30th ult. a good number of the ministry convened at Stirling and in the chapel conferred with his Majesty concerning the excommunication of such as were present with the excommunicated lords at the making of their band, and after long reasoning they found themselves judges competent, received witnesses [and] took their oaths and depositions, viz., the Lairds of Balwearie and Kinnaird, younger, and Robert Scott, who were also present at the band-making. [See No. 535, enclosure.] These three in one voice testified Colonel Boyd, the Laird of Gight Gordon and James Douglas Spott to be the chief persuaders to that work. Upon the 1st instant they convened again, where there was great disputation, sundry reasoning that Spott in special should not be excommuninated, because he offered himself "to repentance" as soon as he could have "sure actes." Yet in the end all three aforesaid were condemned, and ere the assembly dissolved that same night the sentence was read and pronounced by one Spottiswood, minister of Cadder [Calder], in presence of the whole assembly, and everyone [was] ordained at his home-going to intimate the same in his own church.

His Majesty is at Linlithgow this night, there to remain till the Convention in Edinburgh on the 7th. All men convene "werey weil accumpaneid." This marriage of young Glamis much offends the Master, who takes it to be done by Mar to his prejudice, and Mar and Dunipace are at displeasure because Dunipace thinks Mar in this matter betwixt him and Garden not so friendly as he expected. The Queen (P.) still insists to have the child out of Mar's hands, which we fear will breed much "noy." Argyll (Prior) cannot yet be stayed, and therefore I insist the more earnestly with young Lawers, who has assured both your servant and me that he will fulfil all promises. I am commanded to make haste, and also pressed by young Murray to haste the passport. Bothwell for truth is in France, and that is the cause that I am so hasted. Linlithgow. [Unsigned.]

2 pp. In Mr. John Colville's hand. Addressed: "To S." Endorsed by Robert Bowes. Names partly in cipher.

531. James Fullerton to George Nicolson. [May 3.]

Yesterday I received letters from Ireland, of date 31st March, at which time Sir John Norris was not landed himself, but his brother, Sir Henry, who landed at Waterford with 1200 soldiers of Brittany, and shortly after there landed from Chester 1000 men who were never trained. There is no service done yet. Walter Reagh, one of the veriest knaves of all Ireland, who had slain Sir Piers Fitz James, (fn. 1) was taken by Sir Henry Harrington and executed in Dublin. Feriagh McHugh is not yet taken, but the Deputy went out against him. The Earl of Tyrone has not yet "kithed" [revealed] himself, but lies still at his house as if he had no intent to rebel, preparing in the "shew of the world" rather defensive wars than offensive. There is no such hurt yet done by the northern rebels as is generally here spoken. If our islanders be shipped that country will be better [sic]. Since my coming hither I have received some intelligence that some store of munition has of late gone from this town, as swords, gauntlets, pistols, hagbuts, steel bonnets, as they call them (which are head-pieces), powder, lead, matches, "which my credite cannot stay." Therefore, seeing that which has gone cannot be recalled, I wish you, if you can, to prevent such things hereafter. Learn whether such things be prohibited by the law of the land (as I think they are), and if they be, then you may easily get a commandment to the Provost of Glasgow, the Laird of Minto, to stay such courses, and also to the Captain of Dumbarton for that port, for these two towns "marres all." I have dealt with some special men here who will further it well if it once be put on foot. I pray you bestow a letter upon me and let me hear what I shall expect of your master's return. Direct your letters to Ayr and give them to a lady called the Lady Trochrig, (fn. 2) who lies in the house that is within the churchyard near the minister's. She is my aunt and will see it conveyed to me. If my service can profit anything, you may assure yourself thereof. If I were with you I would speak more than I can write. Commend me to the young gentleman who dined with us, and pardon my sudden departure. Glasgow. Signed: James Fullertone.

pp. Holograph, also address. Endorsed. "Mr. Ja. Fowlerton. Glasquo, 3 May 1595."

532. George Nicolson to Robert Bowes. [May 3.]

The King was pleased that the most part, or half, of the ministers here should stay on condition that the rest should come with full power from them all to Stirling. Whereupon Mr. Robert Bruce, Mr. Robert Pont, Mr. James Balfour and Mr. William Watson, for this place, and Mr. David Lindsay, for Leith, and sundry other ministers for this Presbytery, went to Stirling, where the King treated them well, causing wine to be sent into the chapel to them after he had propounded the matter for which he sent for them. Great reasoning they had before they would undertake to be competent judges without general consent of their brethren, yet in the end taking it upon them they heard Balwearie and his brother Robert, and Kinnaird, and thereon "decerninge" Spott, Colonel Boyd and others to have made the agreement between Bothwell and the Papist Earls, they have condemned them excommunicated and are to intimate the same in all their kirks. Great defence was made for Spott by the best of the ministry.

The King is now at Linlithgow to go to Dunfermline, as I hear, and to be here about Thursday next, and the Queen also. Soon after it is looked that the motion for the change of the young Prince shall be renewed, or else some pursuit be made against the advice given to the same; for all parties come in their strength to this Convention. I hear that some men have already gone from Angus MacConnell, Donald Gorme and others to the aid of the rebels in Ireland. But the truth thereof I expect from young Lawers (Junior) as soon as his messenger returns.

I do not hear that the King made any speech to the ministers of the motion anent the young [Prince], perhaps because this excommunication was "hardlier" agreed to than he looked for, in regard of Spott and his purgation of himself by his pamphlet cast in to have stayed his sentence.

On Thursday last Cuthbert Hume of the Reidheuch (Readheugh) upon some quarrel with James Ritchinson, a saddler of this town, meeting in Leith, has given Ritchinson many sore strokes; wherewith it being suspected that Ritchinson was slain, Cuthbert was taken and put in Leith Tolbooth, and brought up to this Tolbooth by the bailies the same afternoon, and not without great threatenings of the craftsmen, who in rage would have slain him, and they rest still partly malcontent at Cuthbert. This day the King has, by Mr. Hart, commanded the town to forbear to execute Cuthbert in case Ritchinson die, until they know more of his pleasure. "Allwaies," I think Ritchinson will escape, and the worst of the malcontentment thereby to the Humes is past. Now by two several persons coming out of France it is certified that Bothwell is there well received, and thereby many fears here are taken away. Edinburgh. Signed: George Nicolson.

pp. Holograph, also address. Endorsed by Robert Bowes. "George Nycolson. Edinburgh 3 Maij, Westminster x ejusdem, 1595."

533. Mr. David Foulis to Robert Bowes. [May 5.]

I send these few lines, whereby you shall know that matters here are in a peaceable form. Yet the jealousy betwixt the Chancellor and Mar continues "in augmenting." If the King has not a special regard thereto it will not fail to breed "sturt [annoyance] and cummer." The Queen is very sick in Linlithgow, where his Majesty is also. They should both have been at "Annas" Murray's bridal with Lord Glamis if her Majesty's disease had not intervened.

Captain Andrew Gray, returning to France by England, carries letters to the King of France to give no countenance to Bothwell, and "siklyk" to the Duke of Guise. But he has no further in commision but the simple delivery of these letters. We look daily for your return here with full satisfaction to his Majesty. Edinburgh. Signed: D. Foulis.

1 p. Addressed. Red wax seal. Endorsed by Robert Bowes: "Mr. David Foules. Edinburgh v° Maij, Grenewich xi Junij, 1595."

534. Roger Aston to Robert Bowes. [May 8.]

Since my last I have attended the King in his hunting and hawking, some time at Stirling, Dunfermline and last at Linlithgow, "casting" to keep the day here appointed. Although the King, I dare swear, has had no other mind but of his pastime, yet it appears others are not idle. The Chancellor being appointed to have been here has excused himself by the Secretary in that he cannot keep the day appointed. But the King will receive no excuses, but granted him two days longer. Upon which occasion the King stayed by the way and is not to be here till to-morrow. He was to be here on Wednesday the 7th, but he stayed till Friday the 9th. The Queen should have been here yesternight, but the weather was so foul that she could not cross the ferry. She is to be here this day. I am informed she is at this time purposed to renew her old proposition concerning the Prince, and says they who would hinder her in that neither love the King, herself nor the Prince. This is reported to Mar, who is coming to this town well accompanied. He depends only on the King in this matter. It appears "me" [sic] are not idle; and to blow the bellows the better, this contract of marriage between Lord Glamis and "Annes" Murray has bred a greater jealousy than before. The matter was drawn on by Mar and his friends, [and] concluded before the Master was made acquainted. Thereafter, his opinion being sought, [he] most willingly granted to all that was done. Whereupon there was a meeting appointed in St. Johnstone both of my lord's friends and "hores" [? hers], where the Master should have been, but in place of himself he sent his letter. The marriage is presently to be solemnized in Stirling. The Master's intention was to have married his nephew upon Cessford's sister, which drew on a great friendship between him, Buccleuch, Cessford and all that faction. The Chancellor seems not to deal, and yet is in as deep as the rest. His excuse in not coming is judged that he would be absent when the matter aforesaid should be spoken of. Knowing the King's mind, [he] would not "seme" to deal in the matter. Whether this course go forward or not, I cannot yet tell. It is "in hed," and the Queen is brought to this town to that end. Yet I am of opinion they will not "touch of thatt string." It is so far "desliking" to the King that he cannot hear of it, but says they would cut his throat that devise it. The Master of Glamis foresees that this marriage is likely to be his overthrow, for he has had the handling of the living these eighteen years. He has taken good parts of it to himself, all which he is to answer for, which will be hard to do. Also it is looked that Lord Glamis and the Earl of Crawford shall agree, which will be no small danger to him. You know, ere he fall he will set all on fire; yet I doubt not but all these matters shall settle well enough, for the King's disposition is to have quietness that he may have hunting and hawking, which are his chief delights. Seeing we are quit of our Papist lords and of Bothwell I do not think there will be any violent course entered against him, and yet the nature of these people is such that ere they fell themselves they would put all "on siex and seven." The King attends word to hear how the French King "takes" with Bothwell. He is not of mind that the King will give him his presence, for if he does he says he shall lose a heart that always honoured him.

Mr. John Colville has attended at Stirling and Linlithgow to have got the King's presence, but as yet he cannot attain to it. They are not busier on the one side but he is as busy on the other, which makes such a jealousy between the Chancellor and Mar that I fear it shall breed some mischief ere all be done. There is another "platt" laid, which will set all on fire if it goes forward. The Duke gave over the earldom of Bothwell to Buccleuch and Cessford. He has come to perfect age and may revoke all he has done. It is purposed that he will do this—which will cast all loose. I doubt not but the King will foresee all these dangers and prevent them in time. His chief care is to have quietness. He and the ministers agreed never so well. There was some difficulty in Stirling for the excommunication of Spott, Gight and Colonel Boyd. But in the end the King prevailed, for all the wisest ministers and best learned were of his opinion. The matter was sufficiently proved and so it passed forward. We daily expect the Colonel's return. Orkney is put in hope his suit there will take effect. The Colonel's answer is uncertain, yet he is in better hope than he was. It is certified hither that it rests much in her Majesty's hands and that the States have sent to crave her opinion. The commission granted to Orkney for the staying of Englishmen's goods is "semly" discharged. Edinburgh. [Unsigned.]

3 pp. In Roger Aston's hand. Address in the same hand. Endorsed by Robert Bowes: "Roger Aston. Edinburgh viii° Maij, Westminster xiiii° ejusdem, 1595."

535. George Nicolson to Robert Bowes. [May 8.]

For your information anent the excommunication of Spott, Gight and Boyd I enclose a letter from Mr. David Lindsay and the note of the cause of the same. The King is to be here to-morrow, and not before, for the Chancellor cannot be here before, as the Secretary, who has gone to the King, accounts, and wherewith the King bears but indifferently. Some say the King intends to put order to the false coiners, to his own affairs, and to the Highlands, which already are so quiet that the poor people pray for him and his labours, whereas they were wont to exclaim "of" the oppressions suffered against them. Atholl rests still in Canongate, a free warder, because he has given no surety as he offered. The Duke is to go to Inverness to hold justice-courts. This day her Majesty is to be here, and intends to renew her former motion. Mar "is foresene" thereof, as I hear, and has met with his friends at St. Johnstone and had conference about that turn, albeit they meant to have met with the Master of Glamis about the agreement of him and his nephew, a matter not a little likely to cause trouble here and to further and hasten the displeasures between the Chancellor and Mar, for the Master is prevented from his purpose, and others also [are] displeased. In these broken causes I see no reconciler of power. What the King may do I know not. But the Church in Scotland wish that you were "in place" to do good. If these things progress in these fashions I expect nothing but mighty troubles, both the Chancellor and Mar accounting themselves secure and "to have advantage of others," and so there is no yielding amongst them. Mar is to be here "strong," and I cannot say what [will] fall out now if the Chancellor comes, albeit I look that things "shall still yet passe over."

Of Huntly, Errol and Bothwell being abroad I look you have heard. Young Lawers (Junior) advertises that the Highlands intend some surprise against the Isle of Man, and therefore please cause regard to be given lest it be so attempted. He also looks that they shall seek boats on Clyde, and if they do he will warn me to stay it by the King's warrant. "Allwaies" in Scotland (Ter.) England (Pa.) will find more friends than the rebels can, if once they were laboured by sufficient means. Mr. John Colville expects what he has written for and so does Murray, whereon they will presently repair to England, Mr. John Colville to do her Majesty service. Edinburgh. Signed: George Nicolson.

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

First enclosure with the same.

(Mr. David Lindsay to Robert Bowes.)

On 30th April his Majesty caused the greatest part of the Presbyteries of Edinburgh and Stirling and divers commissioners of sundry parts to convene in Stirling for the excommunication of Spott, Gight and Boyd. The first day the reasoning was in his Majesty's own presence anent the witnesses, especially if socii criminis might be admitted in the ecclesiastical judgment. After long reasoning it was concluded that in treason, heresy, witchcraft, piracy and secret murder they might be witnesses; otherwise those crimes could not be tried, "for famous personis war not maid privie to thame." But it was agreed that Papists should not be received. After this conclusion three witnesses were produced, to wit, Balwearie, young Kinnaird of the Carse, and Robert Scott, who were all present at the meeting of the Earls in Menmuir, and, being sworn both for telling the truth and for their religion, uniformly "deponit" that the three before named persons were present with the Earls, and chiefly James Douglas brought them together to agree, and was at the making of the band, "ane mellar [an agent] in all thair turnis." The next day we convened at "tene houres," and his Majesty remained with us till six at night. We heard very free reasoning. All courtiers were removed. His Majesty "schew" that he desired all men both to reason and vote as conscience should move them, for he would burden no man against his conscience. In the beginning there were some hot speeches betwixt his Majesty and Mr. Andrew Melvill, Moderator, "bot withine schortt calmit." We reasoned chiefly upon three points. The first, if Kinnaird's testimony should "have place," being but of late "junit [joined] with religione," but it was agreed he should be received cum nota. The next, if the persons might be excommunicated without citations. This was very long debated, and at last the act of our General Assembly [was] alleged, which ordains summary excommunication to proceed without citation. This ended that point. The last was, what the things proven by the witnesses and divers notorious treasons whereof some of them were convicted in Parliament and others fugitives, merited. All voted "excommunicatione"; and shortly thereafter the said persons were excommunicated "in the face of the Assemblie." The next day his Majesty came to Linlithgow, where we of the Presbytery of Edinburgh accompanied him. Both Mr. Robert Bruce and I had long conference with him by the way, desiring that he should be careful to keep the present quietness and to make fast his estate by observation of laws, taking the example from your country and Denmark. His answer was he "myndis" so to do, and would give a proof thereof in this Convention. He has commanded Mr. Robert Bruce, Mr. Patrick Galloway and me to "attend upone it," that we may "propone" articles concerning the Kirk and estate. The "purpois of mislyking," whereof I wrote before, continues. I have dealt with his Majesty anent the same. He would be very glad if you were here to "deill into it," for he considers that no man is meet to deal in that "turne" except either an ambassador or else the Kirk, and presently he "myndis" to employ some of us to travail with both the parties at their coming to Edinburgh. This excommunication was "cassine in" to have divided his Majesty and the Kirk, but God has caused it to succeed better and work the contrary effect. We have reasonable quietness in all parts. Leith, 6th May. Signed: David Lyndsey.

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

Second enclosure with the same.

(Cause of the excommunication of James Douglas, William Gordon and Colonel Boyd.)

James Douglas, sometime of Spott, for meddling to draw Bothwell to the agreement with the Papist Earls and for being at Menmuir at the making of the band between them, together with his treasonable attempts against the King's person at the Abbey, Falkland and at Leith.

William Gordon, elder, of Gight, for his concurrency with the Papist Earls, chiefly at Menmuir, in perfecting of that band between Bothwell and the Papist Earls, with his being in the field with Huntly against the Earl of Argyll, the King's lieutenant, his being at Donibristle at the slaughter of the Earl of Murray, and his many other murders and homicides.

Colonel Boyd, for his "travailing of th'agreament" between Bothwell and the said excommunicated Papist Earls, and his being at Menmuir at the agreement, together with his being in arms at the raid at Leith, and for his infamous life preceding, and his departing with Bothwell out of the country.

½ p. In George Nicolson's hand. Endorsed by Robert Bowes: "Georg Nycolsone. The inclosed in his letter toching th'excommunycations. Edinburgh viij° Maii. Westminster xiiijc ejusdem, 1595."

536. Lauchlane MacLean of Duart to Robert Bowes. [May 10.]

I perceive by your letter of 10th April to John Auchinross that you have received his letter [No. 497], and I understand your lordship looks speedily to be employed "into" Scotland, then to enter into such course with me as shall be thought most convenient for the common cause. In the meantime you desire that the people and force purposing to pass out of Scotland to the aid of the rebels in Ireland should be restrained. For answer, all that my servant has written is most true, and of late my neighbours, to wit, Donald Gorme MacConnell and Angus MacConnell, have received advancement in silver and silver work from the Earl of Tyrone and O'Donnell for taking up of men for their service. Therewith they have provided 4000 men, and "nochttheless" may not leave this country. Daily they send to have greater security of my peace than they have and to augment their former offers through this new "ressait" [of silver from Tyrone]. But, having no liking of their way, I have "continewit [i.e. put off] tyme" with them, looking for your doing herein, and this to my own "disproffeit" as yet; for through their provision of a force and number of men, uncertain of their convening the same, I have with me daily 600 men in garrison besides my captains and special friends in readiness with their forces, which puts them in doubt of me and makes them to fear,—"quhairthrow" they are stayed as yet.

This much I have done, having respect of my honour and duty, and respecting yours, and that by the same your Princess may get good, true service done against her rebels in Ireland. For not only would these Scottishmen be stayed, but also there would be a "substancious" force by her "moyan" directed from Scotland to pursue her rebels in Ireland "on this ane syid," and her other army and force to pursue them on the other side at that same time. Which being done, that part of Ireland which is the mother and sustainer of all her rebels there shall be subdued and made to crave her mercy; and without the same all her doings and pursuit of them on the one side will not serve the turn. Argyll's force with mine, and my own presence there, is meet. I understand that by your doing and "moyan" her Grace may obtain of his lordship force to this effect, albeit that O'Donnell has written making offers to him for his assistance. This rebellious doing of the Earl has been "in dewysing" these divers years past, whereof I am advertised by one who is privy therewith, the circumstance whereof I omit till further occasion.

I am advertised that the Deputy of Ireland has written to Angus MacConnell, "quha vill ressaif guid answer and [i.e. if] he vill schaw ane outvart guid-vill to him." Since I have made you privy of my doings, and refuse the good offers of Angus MacConnell and Donald Gorm under commission from Tyrone, and have put myself to expense in staying of them, let me not lose commodity here without obtaining profit of her grace. If you come to Scotland, on your advertisement my servant shall be directed to you with my commission, fully instructed to absolve any doubt and with your lordship to set down the order and course for accomplishing of her Grace's service. Duart. Signed: Lauchlane M'Lane off Doward.

1 p. Addressed. Endorsed by Robert Bowes. "Loughlane M'Lane. Dowarde x° Maij, London xxj° ejusdem, 1595."

537. John Auchinross to Robert Bowes. [May 10.]

I received your letter of 10th April, which I presented to my master, as you may perceive by his letter to you. He has hitherto done his part, although the same is to his charges, besides refusal of gain and commodity, [and] he minds to continue your assister in that action, the form whereof would first be seen by reasoning and the course set down in order; and as my master will be "imployit to service" he should accordingly "haif [reward] for the samyn," which as yet he cannot name. We are advertised by those who are privy with the Earl that he has "ane hie course in hand," and unless he be prevented with a great loss, and fall by [reason of] this enterprise, he will make great trouble for her Grace. Especially it was thought "he sould haif continewit tym quhill [procrastinated until] hir departing this varld." As your lordship desires, I shall be "lawfull" and diligent that this good entrance and beginning may proceed and enjoy wished success. Duart. Signed: Johnne Achinros, servitour to M'Clayn of Doward.

p. Addressed. Endorsed by Robert Bowes: "Jhon Achenrosse. Doward x° Maij, London xxj° ejusdem, 1595."

538. John Auchinross to Robert Bowes. [May 11.]

Angus MacConnell sent two of his sons to his lands of the Glens in Ireland with the most and special number of his men, who "persewit" [harried] the nearest land to Carrickfergus, and, being followed, their men have received some "skaith of na effect." Angus will say that this is done "by" [without] his counsel or consent, and that he knew nothing thereof. The truth of the honest man is known, and he will write to the Deputy of Ireland (as my master in his letter makes mention), because he "thinkis him nocht now sa suir" in Scotland as he thought himself to have been at the passage of his sons to Ireland. If matters be well followed out by your lordship's "moyan" her Majesty may (for "vairing (fn. 3) thairon") have good, true service done, and your lordship be esteemed a good instrument herein. We hear also that Captain Thornton, accompanied with some ships from Dublin, has come to those north coasts of Ireland, which is well done; and that Tyrone has slain a noble and special man of her Majesty's in Ireland to make his doing manifest. Duart. Signed: Johnne Achinros, servitour to M'Clayn of Doward.

p. Addressed. Endorsed by Robert Bowes: "Jhon Achenrosse. Doward xi° Maij, London xxi° eiusdem, 1595."

539. George Nicolson to Robert Bowes. [May 15.]

On Friday last the King came hither, and Mar came well accompanied, yet the Chancellor did not come till Monday last, and also very well accompanied. Mar and he shook hands and spoke friendly together, and on Tuesday Mar departed well pleased, telling some of his friends that all went well. No motion was renewed anent the young Prince. But I understand that because that motion was altogether disliked by the King and by most here, there is an intention not so directly to take the Prince out of Mar's custody, but to move that three others of the nobility may be joined in that charge with Mar, "and upon great caution and their landes." This is, I hear, now the course intended, but I were better to be silent, seeing so many changes in their purposes. Most here did not look for such quietness at this time.

The Duke has ridden to a horse-race to Buccleuch and Cessford, so that yet it seems the King will not agree that he shall revoke his resignation of Bothwell's living into their hands, yet the Douglases, I assure you, intend on fit opportunity to suit for Angus's living. Lord Hume is with the Duke and likely to be "put at" by the Kirk for not performing of the things he subscribed long ago. Next month the General Assembly is to be kept at Montrose. This Convention has taken good order for Highland matters; something is done for coining, for which the Lairds of Montquhany (fn. 4) (Monwhomy) and Balcasky (fn. 5) (Bakarsky) have fled, and one Thomas Tailor, returned to London, and sundry are suspected—a matter of no small moment to increase the King's livings if the advantage be taken. But it is not likely to be, and matters concerning the King's affairs are referred to the lords of the Exchequer. The ministers were well heard.

Lord Glamis is to be married on 1st June at Stirling, at which marriage the King and Queen are to be. Lady Morton had trysted Mar and the Master of Glamis to have "disjuned" [dined] here with her for the purpose of moving Mar to a kindness with the Master for the Master's ease with Lord Glamis. Mar came, but not the Master, so that nothing is molified between him and his nephew. The Master and Tullibardine (68) have had quiet conference, but are at no agreement as yet. On Saturday the King rides to Linlithgow with purpose not to return [for] a good while. "The Sessions are sitten down," my Lord Chancellor ruling all, and he and his wife in greater favour than ever they were in displeasure with the Queen. Monsieur de Vestrée is now to come hither as ambassador from France, as I hear. From Ireland I hear nothing. Angus MacConnell has gone thither, but not to assist the rebels, but for his "perticular" and plea about lands, and he is offering the King all duties and seeking remission. Edinburgh. Signed: Geo. Nicolson.

pp. Holograph, also address. Endorsed by Robert Bowes: "Georg Nycolson. Edinburgh xv° Maij, London xxi° ejusdem, 1595." Names partly in cipher deciphered. Red wax seal.

540. Roger Aston to Robert Bowes. [May 16.]

There has been a continual expectation of some great matter to occur at this time of Convention, but although there be secret practices and jealousies, yet the King's disposition is so far against any alteration of the present estate that no man dare move any matter "atending" thereto. Neither is there any appearance that the Queen will deal any further concerning the Prince, chiefly in respect of the King's resolute mind in that behalf. Mar has returned well satisfied in all his desires, and also has given good contentment to the King concerning the MacFarlanes and other highlandmen under his commandment. The Chancellor and he "gave good countenanes to otheres, every one seming to lyke of other." What is in their hearts God knows. I am of opinion it is rather "entertened" by evil instruments than any cause "worthy" among themselves.

The Chancellor is here and has the chief guiding of Court and Session. The Queen and he are "vere grett." The King "reposes" his chief affairs "to" the Prior of Blantyre, who takes great pains. You know the man. The chief causes handled at this time are the order-taking with the Highlands and the false-coiners, who have done great hurt in this country. The chief doer was an Englishman [who], as they confess, dwells in London and calls himself Taylor (Teler). He has been [here] two years. He has returned. The King is to take his progress and is minded to hunt and hawk this summer. He departs within these two days to Linlithgow, where he will remain till the bridal, in Stirling on 1st June, [and] thereafter [goes] to Falkland. There is no other appearance but we shall have good quietness for a while. The Queen continually "enqueres of your retorne" and of her Majesty's good estate, and with all reverence shows her affectionate goodwill to her Highness and does not at any time suffer anything to pass that may touch her Majesty. I know this by experience, and therefore I am the bolder to write it. I am earnestly desired by the Queen to get her Majesty's picture for her. I have undertaken for it. I earnestly desire you to be a "mene" that her Highness would let her picture be drawn.

Word has come here from Denmark that Huntly has landed in those parts and passed unknown to Lubeck. Mr. John Colville is suiting to be employed in France to "procoure" against Bothwell. I am of opinion the Chancellor will not let him have any employment as long as he can. The Laird of Wemyss labours for him. He has not as yet had the King's presence. Angus MacConnell is suiting his peace and offers pledges and satisfaction to the King for his lands in the Isles. Within these three days I heard the King speaking of sundry purposes concerning the Papist lords. "Among otheres," he said he was made to understand there was an assurance given to them under her Majesty's own hand, which would be produced. I stood to the defence of that, desiring it might be sent for and produced, or otherwise there was great wrong done to her Highness. If you return you shall be sufficiently informed [so] that her Highness may not be slandered in so unjust a cause, but that the authors may be known as they are. I am to depart with the King. Edinburgh. [Unsigned.]

2⅓ pp. In Roger Aston's hand. Addressed in the same hand. Endorsed by Robert Bowes: "Roger Aston. Edinburgh xvj° Maii, London xxj° ejusdem, 1595."

541. George Nicolson to Robert Bowes. [May 16.]

Even now at my going to the sermon I met the messenger, sent to MacLean, with these letters to you and one to myself. I perceive you are written unto at such length that I need not write, but refer you to the said letters [Nos. 536, 537, 538], for sending whereof I return, trusting that they shall come to you with my others, written yesternight. Edinburgh. Signed: Geo. Nicolson.

¼ p. Holograph, also address. "To the right worshipful my very good master Ro. Bowes esquier Threasurer of Barwick for her Majesties speciall services. Edinbr. at 9 in the morne. Geo. Nicolson." Endorsed by Robert Bowes: "Georg Nycolson. Edinburgh xvi° Maij, London xxi° ejusdem, 1595." Red wax seal.

542. Mr. John Colville to Robert Bowes. [May 17.] Printed in Colville's Letters, p. 158 [under date May 16].

There were great bruits of mighty alterations at this late Convention, but now I see nothing outwardly but quietness, albeit the private bruits are not quenched. Mar rode home on the 13th. The Chancellor remains here because the Session is "sett doun." His Majesty "myndis to Lythgo," on the 19th thence to Stirling to the marriage of Glamis, where her Majesty also will be present. The displeasure betwixt Dunipace and Garden is likely to make a great illwill betwixt him and Mar, the success [i.e. result] whereof, if it be not prevented, I fear [will] be very tragical. Whithersoever his Highness goes I shall attend to make my ordinary intelligence. Edinburgh. Signed: Jo. Colville.

1 p. Holograph, also address: Endorsed by Robert Bowes. "Mr. Jhon Colvill. Edinburgh xvii Maij, (fn. 6) London xx ejusdem, 1595."

543. Mr. John Colville to [Robert Bowes]. [May 17.] Printed in Colville's Letters, p. 159.

I have seen your opinion "toward" my coming up, and find myself "strated" [curbed], for the King, being earnest to have Bothwell (N.) sought out and challenged in foreign parts, charges me mightily to undertake that service as the only thing whereby I can please him. On the other part, the opinion there being "contrarius," I am marvellously perplexed. Yet since the counsel from thence is a command, I will travail to see if, without offending the King, I may shift that service or at least delay it. My intention was in that service to have served the Queen of England (Audin) with great intelligence; for, going upon a negotiation from another prince to sundry princes where none of yours has much credit or access, I supposed my travail should be as fruitful to the Queen of England's service as to the other, wherein also I mean very uprightly. Since, however, you see I have no "thinking" but [such] as comes from her Majesty, let me in haste by the next [letter] understand the particular causes why my "upgoing" is misliked, and in the meantime, seeing my estate is at this Whit Sunday such as I have written sundry times, I beseech you to deal for my relief, especially that in the matter wherein I have his Majesty's goodwill her Majesty may be moved to take that upon her Highness "and to alleg it as alredy payid." (fn. 7) For there are so many here to beg "at" his Majesty that, unless he be certified that my debt is already paid, I shall not fail to be disappointed and it will fall into the hands of those who never will think nor speak well of that estate. I beseech above all that I may be "keped" in the good grace of Sir Robert Cecil and that all things be secret. Edinburgh. Signed: Y.

Postscript.—If the "writtis" to Francis Tennant be not away, pray return them. The copy of the commission to search Bothwell in any Christian nation where he may be found I shall send with the next letter, whereby you will see the King's earnestness to have him either imprisoned or delivered.

2 pp. In Mr. John Colville's hand. Endorsed by Robert Bowes: "Y.Y.Y. The inclosed in his letter dated Edinburgh xvij° May, (fn. 8) London xxj° ejusdem, 1595." Partly in cipher. No fly-leaf or address.

544. Mr. John Colville to Robert Bowes. [May 18.] Printed in Colville's Letters, pp. 275–276.

All things are quiet and his Majesty "voyid" of all business. I was and am so pressed to this journey and men are so earnest upon the pursuit of Bothwell, fearing that he find too much favour where he is, that I was forced, especially by Wemyss, to use many indirect means, which are not [to] be written. But of them and many other things you shall specially know by Archibald Primrose, who is to be there. His fidelity and love there you know, and he is acquainted with all my proceedings "except only one of Y [the writer, Colville] his meaning to nuperrime [England]." If I get no relief at this Whit Sunday I am "soir wrakkit"; and for his Majesty's recommendations for me, I let him know nothing "bot thai ar and wilbe satefeid thair" [in England].

His gentle nature is such that he cannot refuse, even if it were to give one thing twenty times, so that no one can have good here except him that has credit with them that are to pay anything to him. Signed "Y."

1 p. Holograph, also address. Endorsed by Robert Bowes: "Mr. Jhon Colvile. xviii° Maij. Grenewich xxv ejusdem, 1595." Some names in cipher deciphered.

545. George Nicolson to Robert Bowes. [May 19.]

Mr. John Colville is persuaded by your advice to "put over" his employment at this time, albeit he "perrilleth" his credit thereby with the King, hoping that, seeing he stays by advice from England from "pursueng" his own money assigned to him by the King, he shall be the better considered in that assignment, and have it partly paid and partly reserved for him. He prays you and Sir Robert Cecil to give your help against Whit Sunday for some part thereof for him, for which cause a friend is to be employed. He hopes for this favour, the better to enable him in the service and relieve himself of his needs. If he had gone to Nos [France], his service "wold have kythed [disclosed] the self" if there be any secrets to be discovered there, as some think there are. "Allwaies" the proofs had already are arguments good enough that to his power he is for her Majesty's service.

On Saturday last the King rode to Linlithgow. This day he goes to Callendar to dinner, and so to Stirling this night. Some say that the marriage of Lord Glamis is to be at Gask, Tullibardine's house, to-morrow, and that the King rides thither to-morrow; and I hear that Agnes Murray intends to handle the matter so that her marriage shall rather make peace than any troubles, and that for this cause she is a dealer with the Queen, Mar, the Master of Glamis and others for making well of all things. Yet I perceive the Chancellor and Secretary are not very certain of the time of this marriage. They both heartily commend themselves to you. This night the Duke's horse was conveyed down the street with three trumpets and with the shot of cannon out of the castle in honour of his winning of the race. All here are so quiet that only for "convoy" of these other letters to you I address these presents. Edinburgh. Signed: Geo. Nicolson.

Postscript.—To-morrow Father Myreton (Morton) is to be examined.

1 p. Holograph, also address. Endorsed by Robert Bowes: "Georg Nycolson. Edinburgh xix Maij, Grenewich xxv° ejusdem, 1595." Some names in cipher deciphered.

546. John Auchinross to Mr. John Colville. [May 21.] Printed in Colville's Letters, p. 277; said to be from Campbell of Lawers.

This is to advertise you that young Lawers fell sick in the Isles, which was the cause that we have been so long hearing from him. Now he is "conwalest" and is returning with certainty of all matters there, and assures me for all the bruits past that never one has gone over to Ireland, and MacConnell has some purpose to go over to see some lands of his own there; but no number. "Alway sertefie" that neither he nor any other shall pass over but young Lawers shall advertise timely, as was promised. Donald Gorme and some others had some "speiking" of the Isle of Man, as I advertised you before, and they warned many boats upon the water of Clyde. But young Lawers stayed them when he passed by Glasgow. I can write no further till he come. Stirling. [Unsigned.]

½ p. In the hand of John Auchinross. Addressed: "To Y." Endorsed by Robert Bowes: "Mr. John Ache[nross] to Mr. John Colvill."

547. George Nicolson to Robert Bowes. [May 22.]

This day the Chancellor told me that two Jesuits were come into this realm, the one called Seaton, in the north, and the other called Cecil (Cicell), in the west, with store of gold. [The Chancellor] required me to give you advertisement thereof to the end you may cause the two Jesuits in England to be examined concerning these two, Seaton and Cecil, that the best course might be taken to prevent their practices here. The Chancellor is very frank to do his best; and withal he prays speedy despatch hither of the other deposi tions of these Jesuits for their better light anent these men and Myreton (Morton). He has also his hearty commendations to you, as his good lady and the Secretary have also; and for discharge of my duty I advertise your worship hereof, and also pray you to cause these examinations to be sent hither; for Sir John Carmichael and the ministers also advise the same.

The Council here, understanding of some matters meet to be regarded for the quietness of the Borders, have written for Herries, Buccleuch, Cessford and Johnstone, and yesterday they sent word to the King of their order therein. They purpose either to take such order as may be surety to preserve quietness or else to stay those borderers here. Some think this matter to have some other drift, for here is such jealousy between the two factions that "nothinge don by ether want censuring [lacks criticism] to their dyvers likinges." Edinburgh. Signed: George Nicolson.

¾ p. Holograph, also address. Endorsed by Robert Bowes: "Georg Nycolson. Edinburgh xxii° Maij, Westminster ultimo eiusdem, 1595."

548. [Dr. Macartney] to Robert Bowes. [May 23.]

The agents for the Catholic lords are many, busy and privy here at this time, some with the Duke of Lennox, some with the Chancellor, and others with the King. They crave that their wives and bairns shall not be troubled in their absence "be law nor by law" [by law or contrary to law]. There is an obscure matter "conjonit" with this that I cannot perceive "be na inquisition." In the west of Scotland the Abbot of Newabbey is "estemit as an oracle" (and that greater than he was wont to be either by confession or saying of M[ass]) because of late he has "conjurit" an evil spirit from a young maid in Galloway. Angus "haldis on" as he did in the old fashion, as I advertised last, and neither King nor Duke "takis thoght thareof." An advocate of Paris, called Mr. William Bannatyne (Ballantyne), Scottishman, is here. He has been cited before the Kirk; but is willing to depart again, as I hear, of himself. He is the more dreaded because he was a negotiator before from [the Duke of] Guise. But I assure you there is nothing for the present in his "bulget" but for safety of his own person. Yet Mr. Dickson has lately directed his uncle, Robert Dickson, to Paris to Mons. de l'Aubespin for a "casket" of his wherein are contained many secret devices of England, domestic and foreign, with a description of all the "depis" of the havens in England, the number of the parishes and the men that they may furnish on horse and foot. He awaits only the return of his messenger before he departs. He has been dealing with the King himself, with the Chancellor and another courtier of credence to have some "viatic." But the King refuses simpliciter, affirming that "he hes it not"; and to Dickson's solicitor he has said that he is not worthy, because before he was an agent for the lords and now has become their enemy and is over privy with the ministers. "To the interpretation of these maters I refer me." Edinburgh. Signed with a trefoil leaf.

Postscript.—There is "a new admittit chirurgien" to the King of France, called Mr. Lowe, Scottishman, who was servant to Dickson when he was in England. This man has "blokkit" [planned] the matter of the casket and brought it to perfection.

1 p. In a Scottish hand. Addressed by the trefoil leaf cipher. Endorsed by Robert Bowes: "Tertius. Edenburgh, 23 Maii, Westminster ultimo ejusdem, 1595."

549. Mr. John Colville to Robert Bowes. [May 27.] Printed in Colville's Letters, p. 160.

Albeit the last Convention dissolved, by outward show, in peaceable manner, yet in effect it will prove that former emulations are not quenched, whereof I will write no more till I "try forder." His Majesty was at Falkland, and this day has returned to Stirling. On the 28th her Majesty goes thither also, and on the 1st June "beis" the marriage of Glamis and Mistress Agnes [Murray], which has again quickened the emulations aforesaid, the Master thinking (albeit most unjustly) that Mar has practised that "allia" to his prejudice. The 28th is assigned for the Wardens and chief barons of the Borders to appear at Edinburgh before the Council for settling of matters which are likely to grow to some disorder by reason of sundry deadly feuds there, as betwixt Buccleuch and Armstrongs of Gingills (Ginglis), [and] betwixt Johnstone and young Maxwell, who now begins to haunt the fields. But his Majesty will not be present. All the aforesaid "myndis" to come very well accompanied.

Sundry barons of East Teviotdale, as Littledean (Litillden), Fernihirst, Greehead (Greinheid), Hunthill [and] Hundalie (Huntdelie), misliking the greatness of Cessford and Buccleuch, have offered their service under his Majesty to the Duke and Mar, promising to be a counterpoise to the said two lairds, being protected in case they should presume to "ower highe matteris." This is "in fieri non in esse." As it succeeds my next shall show. By a letter from Mr. John Archibald (fn. 9) you will know the Irish matters; and in like manner by one from the Laird of Wemyss you may see how I am pressed to this journey, wherein, albeit I remain in my former resolution, yet since one will be employed thither for privy conference with her Majesty and dealing in sundry affairs it is well to be advised whether it be best that service fall on your friend or foe. As to my "particular," the King thinks that I have "sped in part or whole"; and you may be well assured if any of my "unfreindis" be employed I shall be disappointed. Therefore "advys weill heiron," for I have no thought but such as comes from the Queen of England. Signed: Y. Postscript.—Mr. Primrose, having "ado" for himself there, will at length shew things which I cannot write. We marvel that we do not hear of James Colville.

pp. Holograph, also address. Endorsed by Robert Bowes: "Mr. John Colvill. xxvij° Maii. London 2° Junii, 1595."

550. George Nicolson to Robert Bowes. [May 27 and 28.]

Yesternight Mr. John Colville gave me these letters to you. He is well pleased to stay upon your advice and takes it in good part, resting wholly at her Majesty's service. He makes many excuses, and thereby has prevented his employment hitherto, but he is still pressed thereunto. Yet he esteems your advice as a rule to follow in anything as long as he lives. He has gone by appointment of his chief and advice of Sir George Hume to the King, who will press him forward, as is thought. Yet assure yourself he will follow your advice if possibly he can. This day the King has gone from Falkland to Stirling, and has sent Mr. Aston to pray the Queen to come to Stirling with him; whereto she agrees, looking to receive answer to her letter to the King tomorrow, and to go for Stirling on Thursday or Friday next. The ministers, Mr. Robert Bruce and Mr. David [Lindsay], were with her this afternoon, and Mr. Robert has openly advised her to follow the King only and to obey him and his courses to avoid suspicion of both parties, the Chancellor and Mar; which she says [she] will do, and go to Stirling as he has required. The banquet of Lord Glamis's marriage is to be on Sunday next with great triumph (after the fashion of the country) at Stirling. The Duke has changed the Queen (E.) "their mynde" (sic) and drawn "them" to favour Mar again and go to where Mar is; and the Duke has gone before, looking that the Queen shall follow. The Chancellor is something moved hereat, and some think Buccleuch is travailing to alter the Queen (S.) "their new resolution." But what will follow I cannot tell. The Chancellor has ridden home for two or three days, but Buccleuch is here still. Yesterday, in the forenoon, he came hither. The Council demanded when he had any meetings with England. He said "not this longe tyme." They asked what was the cause. He said he was the first that gave justice since his entry to Liddisdale, and he also gave the last justice. "Allwaies" the Council said that in regard that there were no complaints by England they could not deny it. Nevertheless they charged him to keep good rule and peace with England. I understand that lately some of the Armstrongs banished into England have taken horse and men of Buccleuch and ransomed the men. If it be true, as the Wardens can best tell, it is time to take care of the West Borders lest there grow more troubles.

Lord Herries wrote to the Council that some of Johnstone's pledges were returned and some so little worth that the country could not be ruled without better surety herein. Johnstone is to come to give better security, and Herries is also to come before 15th June to give pledges for Maxwell and himself and their dependers. This the Council do to preserve quietness, which the King would most gladly have preserved.

By one Turnbull, newly come from Ireland, it is reported to Mr. Robert Bruce that Tyrone is "planely" in the fields with 2000 men, and takes all the "vivers" [provisions] he can get from the Lord Deputy; that he has made great spoils; and that he makes reckoning that if he stands till Lammas the whole country will yield to him, as also that he cannot want [i.e. lack] aid from Spain, albeit before he bore no love to Spain. But from young Lawers I hear nothing but that he is sick. Argyll has gone home and discorded, as Mr. Bruce hears, with Mr. George Erskine. What Argyll is doing I cannot learn. Mr. Bruce prays God the delay does not hurt. [In the margin: "I had had good intelligence from Norlace out of Ireland, but that passages as [l. ar] stopped by the rebells, as he writeth, for he wrote to that effect, but cannot gitt his letters convoyed or answere."] There are great speeches here of the gold "commed to Spain" and of the Spanish preparations. What it [may] work I know not. But the good doubt the worst and wish that regard were given to stop the worst. You know what will prevent all motions being made here—"contentment to the King and some frendes"; and less will please the King at her Majesty's hands than at any others', because he would "bynde" with none so heartily as with her Majesty. Edinburgh. Signed: George Nicolson.

Postscript.—The dearth is so extreme here that the ministers have ordained a moderation of diet every Sunday "till the cornes come of the earthe." Mr. Aston telling me he would also write, I have therefore stayed mine till now for his letters. 28th May, "at 11 howres."

2 pp. Holograph, also address. Endorsed by Robert Bowes: "Georg Nycolson. Edinburgh xxviii° Maij, London secundo Junij, 1595." Some names in cipher deciphered.

551. Roger Aston to Robert Bowes. [May 28.]

This day I came to this town, directed from the King to hasten the Queen's coming to Stirling, where he meets her to solemnize the banquet. Although the marriage is already done the banquet "houldes." Notwithstanding the King has since his departing from this town passed his time in hunting and hawking, not having mind for any other purposes, at my coming here I find the minds of men occupied with change of Court; but in what manner, except by the Queen, they cannot tell. The Queen is not minded, as far as I can see, to do anything that may offend the King. Although I know her affection is withdrawn in part from the house of Mar and she would be content to have her son out of their hands, yet she is content rather to obey the King's will than her own affection, till some other occasion intervenes. I see the jealousies conceived in this estate rather to increase than diminish. The chief blame of all is laid upon Mr. John Colville. The one faction is chiefly "holden up" and countenanced by Buccleuch and Cessford, who are all in all with the Chancellor and Master of Glamis. The Queen and the Chancellor were never so great. These lords are persuaded that there is nothing meant to them but their disgrace. These things are entertained by such as blow the bellows to set all on fire. Mar and that faction think that they are stirrers up of the Queen, and for that cause the King is the more earnest to draw her out of this town. The King's desire is to be quiet, but the ambition of this time is such that they cannot live without "alterrationes."

I conferred with the Queen of such things as were committed to my charge, chiefly concerning her removal, for which I find she had no liking but only to obey the King. This in time will no doubt breed some mischief or other. From Stirling the King is minded to take the Queen to Falkland and there to remain till the latter end of summer. It was once determined the Queen should have made a progress to the Merse and Teviotdale, but that is altered. By all appearances she is with child, yet she denies it. The Prince is but weak and tender. It appears the change of his nurse has done him great hurt. There is no other thing here to write of. Holyroodhouse. [Unsigned.]

Postscript.—On going to close my letter Colonel Stewart landed in Leith and passed presently to the King. I hear by such as have come home with him that "he is come no sped ether off the marreg nor avansment of any monne," but had leave to bear his own charge, which was not "youest" (fn. 10) before. Captain Andrew Gray is on his despatch to France [with] the commission that Mr. John Colville would have had, to deal against Bothwell. He comes through England.

2 pp. In Roger Aston's hand. Also address. Endorsed by Robert Bowes: "Roger Aston. Hollyrod xxviij Maii, London secundo Junii, 1595."

552. Roger Aston to Robert Bowes. [May 30.]

Since my last I have attended [i.e. awaited] the Queen's "remove" to Linlithgow, which has been so "crosit" that it has been in great question whether she would go or not. Yet the earnest persuasion of such as are here for the King, both ministers, councillors and others, has prevailed so far that this day she removes. Buccleuch and Cessford are in this town very strong. There is no other appearance but the fire will break out presently if the King does not wisely foresee it. The Queen speaks more plainly than before and will not cease till she has her son. But I know the King will alter that purpose. It is looked some mischief will fall out here presently; and Mr. John Colville on the one side, and your old friend Nicoll of Cairncross on the other, get the blame of all. In haste, going to Linlithgow. Holyroodhouse. [Unsigned.]

Postscript.—The Queen "opondes" herself against Mar and speaks plain language. The King is altogether for Mar. We have two mighty factions. What will be the end God knows.

1 p. In Roger Aston's hand. Also Address. Endorsed by Robert Bowes: "Roger Aston. Hollyrod 30 Maii, Grenewich vj° Junii, 1595."

553. George Nicolson to Robert Bowes. [May 30.]

Speaking yesterday with Buccleuch he shewed me that the Armstrongs of the Gingills (Chingles) and Logan (being banished this country and reset among the Grahams in England) have lately come in and taken sundry horses from himself and friends, for which he could get no redress but words, albeit he has written to Thomas Carleton in the absence of my lord. By reason thereof he says he cannot long stay his friends and dependers from "repairing" [redressing] themselves, and would join with them himself but that he would not offend her Majesty, whose good opinion he will not lose, if anyway he can retain it; and for this cause, hoping that your return will be shortly and that by your means these things will be helped, he is resolved to do his best to stay his friends from such courses until your return. As to his raids and actions in Tynedale, he trusted they would not offend her Majesty, being done upon feud and no way in contempt of her Majesty, country or subjects, whose good constructions in those behalfs he would be glad to deserve. This much in effect he said to me; which I impart to your worship to the end that you may use it as appertains and for my discharge, whatsoever follows. Wiser [men] than myself expect no good to spring out of these dealings between Lord Scrope and him unless it be the better looked to.

On Tuesday Colonel Stewart came hither and that day he went to the Queen and wrote to the Chancellor, and is this day gone with the Queen to Stirling. I hear no speeches of his "spede," either for the King or the Earl of Orkney for a wife. What he gives [as] the cause I know not; but I saw a letter written from the parts he was in almost blaming his carriage of matters. But I hear he finds something abroad meet to be regarded at home in England. But I have not spoken with him, and therefore cannot tell what they are. Mr. John Colville, upon your advice, has almost drawn himself from [his mission]; and now one of my acquaintances [In the margin: Captain Andrew Gray] is in question to be employed, "but I thinck not tho." Yet, go who please, they will not be to her Majesty as Mr. Colville would have been.

Yesterday the Chancellor and Sir Robert Ker came hither well accompanied, and this day the Queen has ridden to Linlithgow for Stirling to-morrow, and, as is thought, "well furtherly with child." Whereas the Duke had drawn the Queen to agree with Mar and to go thither, and departed thither himself, looking for no change of mind in the Queen, yet the Chancellor, as it is said, fearing that inconveniences might follow thereon, had Buccleuch to travail to stay the Queen. He indeed had almost done it, and Cessford also joins for the stay of the Queen. It was so doubtful that some were almost looking for present troubles thereby, seeing the King had so earnestly written for the Queen and that Sir George Hume was here to bring the King forward. [In the margin: It was "in head" that the Queen should have stayed and the King been called hither, "but the perill sene, it is left."] But some of the Kirk and others well disposed dealt both with the Queen and Chancellor plainly therein; and now she has gone, but with full resolution not to stay, and to insist for the young Prince in all earnestness. She has "a good back" and strong assisters, so that unless the King prevents the worst, changes the Queen's mind and be wise, he will have troubles enough, and too soon. For there is already plotting on both sides for the lives of petty dealers seen to be "of best spreitis," as Mr. Colville and Nicol Cairncross, who commends himself to you. [In the margin: Call him "Grand."] If the Queen had not gone, Orkney, Sir George Hume and others had this day ridden to the King and left the Queen, whereon then the matter had begun. Now, as it is, it may "stay"; but "of hard eaven," I warrant you. For this and other causes you are wished for here by the Kirk and all good men, but with contentment to the King. Sir George Hume says that the King will "chide fast" whensoever he sees you, and so will he too. He [Hume] says he wrote to you, but he sees it is rejected, and says that if you had written but once to him he would have written often to you again. In merry sort he told me this, praying me to "do" his heartiest commendations to you. If he had not assured me that S. (the Queen) would this day ride, I had given you alarm yesterday of her stay. [Neither] the Chancellor nor Cessford would have returned till this day but for (fn. 11) the Queen's stay, and yet the sight of the inconveniences made the Chancellor change his mind. But Buccleuch and Cessford were almost ready to have avouched their advice for her stay. Thus I write at length in this dangerous matter which may calm and grow null in time, or prolong for some time, praying your worship to keep the same secret as appertains; and I shall still know the secrets between Mr. Colville and Nicoll Cairncross (Grand). Edinburgh. Signed: George Nicolson.

2 pp. Holograph, also address. Endorsed by Robert Bowes: "Georg Nycolson. Edinburgh xxx° Maij, Grenewich vi° ejusdem, 1595." Red wax seal. Partly in cipher deciphered.


  • 1. See Calendar of Irish Papers, 1592–1596, p. 227.
  • 2. Margaret Chalmers, widow of Mr. James Boyd of Trochrig, who was Archbishop of Glasgow.
  • 3. To wair, ware, war: to lay out, expend. (Jamieson's Dictionary, new edition.)
  • 4. Michael Balfour.
  • 5. John Strang.
  • 6. The date in the letter seems to have been altered, and has been read as 16 May by the editor of the Letters.
  • 7. See Nos. 478, 479.
  • 8. The date in the letter has been altered from 16 to 17.
  • 9. See page 654 n.
  • 10. used, customary.
  • 11. i.e. except to work for.