Calendar of State Papers, Scotland: Volume 11, 1593-1595. Originally published by Edinburgh, 1936.
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James VI, July 1595
579. Mr. John Colville to Sir Robert Cecil. [July 2.] Printed in Colville's Letters, p. 163.
Whereas his Majesty was to employ me in some service thither I am dissuaded to accept the same for such causes as the bearer (fn. 1) has to shew; whom I recommend to your honour as one who can inform you of the estate of our realm and all emulations among us, committing also some "specialiteis" to him which I durst not commit to paper or to any other. Therefore trust and use him as myself, for he is my alter ego. By him, again, I desire to know in what form I shall most to your pleasure follow out my intelligence, for I desire to be directed only by you, as one weaned from his own opinions. Lastly, since I have procured his Majesty's recommendation in a debt long owing, which will enable me to the service of her Majesty, I hope by your kindness to speed therein, since with less cost to her Majesty I cannot be helped. Stirling. Signed: Jo. Colville.
1¼ pp. Holograph, also address. Endorsed by Cecil's clerk: "2 Julij 1595. Mr. Colvyll to my master."
580. Lauchlan MacLean of Duart to Sir Robert Cecil. (fn. 2) [July 4.]
I render most hearty thanks for the great favour shown to my merchant, John Cunningham, burgess of Edinburgh. I heard your commission wherein I have answered at length in my letter to Mr. Bowes, who will give you inspection thereof. Castle Carrick. Signed: Lauchlane McLane of Doward.
⅓ p. In Auchinross's hand. Endorsed by Cecil: "1 [sic] July 1595. Macklane to me."
581. Lauchlan MacLean to Robert Bowes. (fn. 2) [July 4.]
I received your letter from John Cunningham, who has shown me how you convoyed him to Sir Robert Cecil, who with special favour at large conferred with him to such effect as he made known to me, understanding how my good-will and devotion have been embraced. He showed me also that Sir Robert let him understand that matters of trouble in Ireland were already taken up, and obedience offered to her Majesty, and nevertheless [Cecil] thought me worthy of thanks for my goodwill, and desired to know whom I might stay from passing to Ireland. For answer, I may stay myself, my friends and dependers in the Isles, and also none pertaining to the Earl of Argyll will pass there against my counsel. This much I may answer for. Through the conference that has passed betwixt us by "vritt" I have done more. [I] refused great offers from Donald Gorme MacConnell and Angus MacConnell, assisters of Tyrone, and sustained 600 men in garrison these three months for staying of them and to make them fear the wrack of their lands through leaving them. But seeing there appeared no need of me in her Highness's service since I was not employed therein as I looked for, I thought not good to put myself any longer to extraordinary expenses, have dissolved this force, and by the desire of my cousin, Argyll, am now come within his bounds, where I "attend on" his coming from Court. Meantime Donald Gorme MacConnell and Angus MacConnell, seeing that apparently I mean nothing but peace, are convening their forces to pass to Ireland, and mind [i.e. intend] to have in their company MacLeod Lewis [and] MacLeod Harris. These men are my friends and have been in my service against them [the MacConnells], but, being young men of high spirit, desirous to "acqwent thame" in wars and receiving great gains, they are persuaded to pass with them, seeing this voyage was not against me. Herein I am using all means by "craft and moyan" to stay them all or a great part of them, since it was the commission sent by John [Cunningham]. If they stay not, I shall make hasty advertisement to George Nicolson in such form that I, being employed by her Majesty, shall suddenly cause them to return home or else to lose by their passing to Ireland, and shall make the convoy that by her Majesty's servants the vessels that transport them to Ireland shall be broken there. For doing this it is necessary that three or four pinnaces with two ships well appointed should come on the coast of Ireland. [In the margin, in Cecil's hand: "The pynnaces to come to Castle Carick."] If I were her Majesty's "bund" servant I should take foresight to have these pinnaces here in Scotland near my place of Duart in order to give them a great "skaith," seeing that most of this force must pass near my place, of which I ever took my own advantage of them in time of trouble betwixt ourselves. I request you to "speik" Sir Robert hereanent and to inform me with expedition of the mind of her Majesty and Council in such sort that if I be employed in her service I may provide for the same, or otherwise that I may be "exonerit" honestly of what I have done only through zeal and favour to her service, by whose means I might receive favour of my own Prince. Also, I have a great misliking of Tyrone and his favourers, as John Auchinross wrote to you. By his letter and my own I have revealed my whole mind to you without any dissimulation, and know not by your letter of your receipt of mine. John Cunningham has shown me that George [Nicolson] has "spokin" the King and Argyll, who "at hame cuming" will communicate the matter to me, for as yet I keep all secret. Be so good as to present this other letter of thanksgiving to Sir Robert for the favour that he showed my merchant, and I am greatly indebted to you for your goodwill and friendly doing. I refer Sir Robert to this letter, and, as occasion offers, I am ready to follow out the course of good service to her Majesty. Castle Carrick. Signed: Lauchlane McLane off Doward.
1 p. In hand of John Auchinross. Endorsed by Sir Robert Cecil: "1 [sic] Julij 1595. Macklane from Carickford to Mr. Bowes."
582. Mr. John Colville to Robert Bowes. [July 5.] Printed in Colville's Letters, p. 164.
This day convened at Stirling the Duke, Argyll, Morton, the Lairds of Tullibardine, Keir, Clackmannan, Kerse, Sauchie (Saquhy), Wemys, Polmais (Pomeis), Kilcreuch (Kilcruvch), Touch (Towch), Tulliallan (Tilliallen), Aldie (Ady), Cleish (Clesch), to the number of thirty barons at least. Mar expounded his cause to them anent the late murder of his servant, asking if they would assist him. All in one voice promised assistance to the hazard of life, land and all provided he would first seek the ordinary form of law against the malefactors; whereunto he agreed. They have appointed the 12th instant to bring the corpse from Linlithgow, where it lies, to this town for burial. The principals of the adverse party, namely [i.e. chiefly] Dunipace, begin to deny they knew the defunct was servant to Mar, affirming they did not know of his slaughter. Yet we hope they shall stay the burial "to thair power," because the corpse is to come through their bounds. Great mischief no doubt is at hand.
His Majesty lies at Falkland, which will be his residence till Lammas unless it be some odd times to see her Majesty and the Prince, who takes well with his weaning. I refer "specialiteis" to the coming of Mr. Archibald Primrose (Quondam). Stirling. Signed: Y.
1¼ pp. In Mr. John Colville's hand. Addressed: "To 5." Endorsed by Robert Bowes: "Mr. John Colvill. Stirling v° Julii, London xj° ejusdem, 1595."
583. George Nicolson to Robert Bowes. [July 5.]
Young Lawers is here and has told me that for certain 3000 are prepared to go out of the Isles to Tyrone, and will at one time or other go if they be not stayed; that Macondochy is tempted and prepared to go, and that, nevertheless, he can stay him or cause him to be for her Majesty's service. But, because it must be with some charge, he will not deal therein till he sees how he shall be relieved again otherwise than he has been for that which is already done. Yet he says that he shall keep watch of the time of their embarking and place of their landing, and advertise with speed until such time as he discharges himself of his promise by giving up of further dealing therein to Mr. Colville or me. MacLean (Pat), as I hear, has gone home, and the merchant [Cunningham] has gone thither to him, so that it will be the longer ere the merchant returns. Young Lawers says the chief [i.e. chief men] of the Islands are at convention in Cantyre and purpose, notwithstanding our ships, to get over some men to Tyrone and to do him some further service whereof after their resolution he will advertise. 6000 Spaniards are looked for among the rebels, who account all won if they can hold out till Michaelmas, or (some say) till Lammas. By James Fullerton's (Morlace) letter you will see the course "layde" with him.
On Tuesday I again spoke at great length with Buccleuch and offered him justice at Lord Scrope's hands, seeking to draw a kindness there. But I see no sign thereof, "suppose" [although] he protested he bore no malice to my lord's person. He protests very deeply to do nothing that might offend her Majesty or the country, and I found in plain terms that he accounts that no such actions shall be attempted in revenge for the wrongs done him or his people so far cast loose, but that at all times at her Majesty's pleasure he will repair the actions and stay and quiet his people, upon amends to him and his; a matter which he accounts shall be well taken at her Majesty's hands, seeing otherwise he cannot, as he alleges, get justice. Yet Scrope by his letter has offered him justice. But the Laird holds his offers but words.
On Wednesday Buccleuch rode to the King, who told him that he heard there were evil and dangerous intentions for the breach of the peace between Scrope and him. Whereupon the Laird told him the case, seeking to have the King's allowance. But the King has commanded him to attempt nothing, but to be quiet; telling him that it shall be one of Mr. David Foulis's articles to procure him justice. Yesterday the Laird told me that in obedience to the King he would stay, and that he trusted Lord Scrope should by commandment of her Majesty do him justice, as he would not be beholden to him for it; so without a friendship between them I fear justice shall be but coldly administered in these bounds. I have done what I can, and more than I dare write, to prevent the worst there, which now, I thank God, is cared for by the King very kindly to the preservation of the amity.
The ministers have come from Montrose, where no great matters, Mr. Bruce says, were dealt in. Mr. Peter Young, Colluthy and young Laringston were there for the King. Sanquhar (46) has either quietly returned or is returning with money for the support of Papists and making of friends here, says Mr. Robert Bruce. But Huntly and Errol are away, so far as they can "try" [i.e. ascertain], and Angus is again seeking to have the benefit that the other two have and depart. The King is at Falkland and the Queen is still here. This afternoon she, the Chancellor, the Master of Glamis, Lord Hume, Buccleuch and Cessford were long together at secret conference.
Mar has his friends with him, and for the first thing, as I hear, they have agreed to prosecute by law and otherwise all those who were at "Davy" Forrester's (Forster) slaughter, but no others, and to carry him to Stirling to be buried, with his picture borne to show the cruelty of the murderers, which some say Livingstone, Fleming, Hamilton, the Bruces and others will not suffer. Some look for troubles about carrying of the course, but Captain Hamilton assures me in great secret that Lord Hamilton will not deal therein; and Mr. Robert [Bruce] says his brother writes to him that he was not at the slaughter, as is alleged. So I look for no troubles at the burial. Mar has vowed not to change some of his clothes till he have justice or amends on some of the murderers. I do not yet hear how they are resolved to deal in the matter with the Chancellor.
The "Pollonian" was at St. Andrews and there suspected and banished. Afterwards he came to Stirling, where he was examined and, for just causes in religion and practices, excommunicated, as the ministers here say; and this man at Newcastle is likely to be the same man. But from Stirling I must learn more certainly this man's case. Lord Gray and the Constable of Dundee are at assurance only for ten days, and likely to fall by the ears. Edinburgh. Signed: George Nicolson.
Postscript.—I think the Queen shall go this week to the King, and the Council also, all for one inward purpose.
2 pp. Holograph, also address. Endorsed by Robert Bowes: "Georg Nycolson. Edinburgh v° Julij, London xj° ejusdem, 1595." Names in cipher deciphered.
584. Mr. John Colville to Robert Bowes. [July 7.] Printed in Colville's Letters, pp. 164–165.
To-morrow Mar rides to Falkland, and is informed that the King will have him to "reconceill" with the Chancellor, and as anything worthy of writing falls out in this or the former matter of Forrester's burial I shall adver tise. All particulars I refer to my gossip's arrival, who peremptorily begins his journey on the 8th instant. Signed: Y.
½ p. In Mr. John Colville's hand. Addressed. Endorsed by Robert Bowes: "Mr. John Colvill. vij° Julii, London xv° ejusdem, 1595." No flyleaf.
585. [Dr. MacCartney] to [Robert Bowes]. [July 7.]
Mr. George Ker and Lethington have passed to France by these seas. It never came to my knowledge till within 24 hours after they shipped, and that was by "the convoy of my familier in this toun"; and if I had been at home and you had been here we might have had as good a chance as before, for he has passed with the like errand and as ample as before. He shipped on 28th June.
The Chancellor offered to his nephew, before his departure, that he would give him sufficiency of lands and rent to live on if he would condescend to remain. But the other refused unless he would grant him all that he had right to. Sandeson sent me advertisement to send him some "grayth" that I had of his, but sent no letter at all, and yet with such tokens as I could not "misken." Some of that sort are here and others daily looked for. Their messengers are here sending their advertisements to [the Bishops of] Glasgow and Ross by Claud Russell and by Mr. William Bellenden, advocate in Paris, both resident here at this time. The old man that I wrote of before, who came here under colour of a physician, was a pr[iest] and is lately dead.
The Abbot of Newbattle [l. Newabbey] is in better reputation than ever he was. Herries and he were never more familiar together than now. Herries's son has taken away Maxwell's eldest daughter and is said to be secretly married by the Abbot. H [? Herries] is summoned to compear before the Council. The controversy betwixt Montrose and Sir James Sandilands is likely to be very shortly and well accorded, for the great men of the west have "comperit" upon it, viz. Argyll, Cassillis and many more. The subsidy of our islandmen daily increases "towart" Ireland, and unless order be taken with them in time they "ar advysit to misken thair awin naturall King." Lady Angus dwells now in Douglas. Signed with a trefoil. (fn. 3)
1 p. In a Scottish hand. Endorsed by Robert Bowes: (Cipher) 7 Julii, London xj° ejusdem, 1595."
586. George Nicolson to Robert Bowes. [July 8.]
Yesterday I spoke with Mr. George Erskine and understand that Angus MacConnell and other highlanders are in great numbers in arms to go for Ireland, and seek to persuade Argyll and MacLean, who stands fast with my lord. The Provost of Kilmun, sent by Argyll to Angus MacConnell to "try" their overtures, to know their purposes and persuade their stay for fourteen days till Argyll might return, received such proud answer from MacConnell and such "lightnen of my lord" that my lord has returned him to convene his people and forces and to "go upon" them with force, or else to cause them otherwise to acknowledge him, and he sent to MacLean to set on them by sea and to take their boats whilst his forces should be dealing with them by land. Mr. George makes account that this day they shall meet and enter into blood if they have not already gone to Ireland, or if they shall not acknowledge my lord better and stay his further pleasure (which without doubt will be to stay them, says Mr. George, if my lord shall not receive the greater loss thereby). Thus I see nothing but their goodwill to her Majesty, if it be considered, which I assure you is looked for.
Argyll and his friends do not agree. What he does without their advice they do not further, and he does the like. Young Lawers, I perceive, will assure good service to her Majesty in Irish matters, on condition that he be considered. By every one of these intelligencers I hear that the men to go over look for great lands and living and to dwell in Ireland. MacLean's return is for the occasion aforesaid. Of the success of all things therein I shall advertise more fully on the merchant's return, he having gone to MacLean. Let not England (Pa.) think that there is any "perling" (fn. 4) with any but for the rebels 'advantage, or else plain men here are deceived. [In the margin: It is told me in secret that Tyrone will be content to come in upon Essex's word, but the rebels mean but to get advantage and win time thereby if it be true.]
Provisions of powder and other little necessaries still go over, and, as I hear, some men have 100l. sterling beforehand for this purpose. "Staie it I cannot devise." Some of the Kirk here advise me to procure proclamation for stay thereof, and upon that warrant they will make friends to deal therein. For this cause I was ready to go to the King, but Mr. Aston coming and having to return to the King to-morrow will deal therein and send the warrant to me, and I shall cause it to be proclaimed for that purpose and for the advertisement of the rebels and the world that the King stands on perfect amity and a full party with her Majesty against such traitors. Argyll has fallen sick.
This day Buccleuch sent for me, showing me a letter from Scrope offering him justice in very good words. He told me that he will stay the directions to be given to Mr. David Foulis in that behalf and send a servant of his own to deal with Scrope that the "Chingles" (fn. 5) may be banished and redress made for the faults committed since their receipt, that thereon they may proceed to further justice. He prayed me beforehand to signify the same to Lord Scrope, which I shall do as soon as I can, and I hope good shall come thereon between them.
As to Father Myreton, the Kirk intend to try if they can convict him of any criminal offence, otherwise they will not put him to trial to be acquitted for evil example and encouragement of others to come in hither. Wherein, when time serves to do good against such men, more will be found in this country, especially Englishmen, than you would think, and that about New Abbey, but no service can be done against them but by Englishmen, and that when nights are long. In which case I have no great understanding of the men. [In the margin: "Creue, Cecill, Skelton"]. Lord Sanquhar has this night come hither and will be questioned, but he will deny all. "Allwaies" by letters herewith you will know more in those cases. But in any case keep Mr. Robert Bruce's goodwill secret. I also leave the matter for the "cask" to Doctor MacCartney (trefoil cipher). [Note in the margin, in Cecil's hand: "This is a casket which one Dixon shold have broght over."] Colonel Stewart is to go to the Princes of the Empire, Brunswick, Mecklenburg, etc., to see if he can procure assurance for pay to be truly given to him and such as he shall "cary over" for the Emperor's service against the Turk. Upon assurance he will return and "cary" men from thence, he says, otherwise not. It seems to me that want of entertainment and "moyen" here forces him thereto. He sends his commendations.
As to this estate, the King is at Falkland still looking for the coming of the Queen, which is judged to be this week. This day Mar is with him, as the Chancellor is to be also very shortly, both to be dealt with by the King for reconciliation between them and for better help to the King to "put at" others. The burial of David Forrester is to be on Saturday. Some think the Livingstones will not suffer the corpse to be carried from Linlithgow through their bounds, and [that] Mar "wilbe 3000 gentlemen and ether do it or dy." Yet I look it shall pass over with quietness and come to [i.e. break out] again when advantage can be had. "Allwaies," upon the burial it will be seen what will become of that matter. I hear that yesterday Lord Hume and the two Lairds sent for their friends to be here on Friday next "in their geir," for what cause I cannot say. Except once last week, Sir George has not been with the King for some time, but for the most part here persuading the Queen to haste to the King. Mar's side judge him to be for the Chancellor, but he deals no further than with the King's directions in all things. Cessford has also been over at the King with only two men, and has had good countenance and has given the King good contentment. But it is strange to see things thus "pack over." Nevertheless I look for no good, but that the faction here or at Stirling shall shake hands with the Papist lords; and the Kirk suspect it also and therefore do not yet lean to either party.
Mr. David Foulis has his despatch and is shortly to go for London about money matters especially and for his brother's help. Because the King "oweth" his brother Thomas, (fn. 6) he sends him at Thomas's motion. You may well guess he will two ways seek silver, for the King's journey into the north, and his gratitude; but I am not sure and leave it to his own coming and report. Edinburgh. Signed: George Nicolson.
Postcript.—At the closing up hereof late yesternight John Cunningham came hither with the enclosed letters to Sir Robert Cecil, yourself and me, and because I would have John to write also I stayed these till this day. (fn. 7) By him I perceive Mr. George Erskine's tale to be true, and further that the Provost of Kilmun and Angus MacConnell are to fight the single combat, for which all Argyle and all friends about Dumbarton are there. If the meeting holds they are likely to enter into blood, to the stay of their going to the rebels. MacLean, as I gave you word long ago, is as desirous to be revenged on Tyrone as any can be, and will venture for it, provided he may have her Majesty's assistance; and now Argyll is, I think, in such rage against Angus MacConnell that he will not leave his rage unsatisfied. So her Majesty by these two may have a sure party to serve, if need be, against her rebels, a matter so profitable to her that I must certify [it] with good commendation. Favour and reward to their contentment will much "advantage" her Majesty's services that way "at all occasions." MacLean has been already at charge. John Cunningham takes pains, and will still do, to "pleasure" her Majesty, Sir Robert Cecil and yourself.
3 pp. Holograph, also address. Endorsed by Robert Bowes. "George Nycolson. Edinburgh viij° Julij, London xv° ejusdem, 1595."
587. Roger Aston to Robert Bowes. [July 9.]
Since my last I have for the most part been from Court upon my own affairs so that I had neither occasion nor commodity to write. Upon my coming to this town I found George Nicolson ready to direct his letters to you; whereupon I took occasion to write to "enterten my entelygenes with you." The King remains resolute, so that it is looked there will be no further dealing touching the Prince. There have been great bruits here of attempts to be committed by Buccleuch in England, and that by the daily drawing together of his forces, altogether against the King's knowledge. I, finding the matter likely to draw to some "unconvenyentt," let the King see the inconvenience that might grow by any extraordinary proceedings. Whereupon the King sent for Buccleuch, who was with him on Thursday the 3rd, and there received special commandment that neither he nor any of his should ride into England, notwithstanding any wrong done to them, before they were refused justice according to the laws of the Borders. For the better continuation of the peace the King has directed Mr. David Foulis to deal with her Majesty that justice may be ministered upon the West Borders. I believe her Majesty's subjects have as great cause to complain as Buccleuch has. It were requisite the truth were known on all sides, which may not be done without some of authority.
I find the King willing to preserve the long continued amity, and, as he said to me, it should not lie in the power of any particular man to break that which he had so carefully preserved. To-morrow I go to Court, from whence I shall presently send charges to all the towns in the west country that no "fornesing" shall pass to Ireland to her Majesty's rebels. Mar has all his friends convened in Stirling. His servant who was slain is likely to breed some inconvenience in that there is a great number of the Earl's friends participant of the fact, as the Master of Elphinston, the Lairds of Airth, Cures and Dunnipace. The dead corpse is lying in Linlithgow and is to be carried to Stirling on Saturday next, accompanied with all who will "doo" for Mar. It is looked that there will be 5000 men to carry him. Buccleuch and Cessford are in this town. They have sent for all their forces, to what end I can neither see nor learn, unless they fear the gathering of Mar. The Queen is here and is to go to Falkland within three or four days. She is not minded to press the King any further for the Prince. Mr. David Foulis is upon his despatch to her Majesty. Colonel Stewart is preparing himself for journey to receive commission to levy men to serve against the Turk. Edinburgh. Signed: Roger Aston.
2 pp. Holograph, also address. Endorsed by Robert Bowes. "Roger Aston. Edinburgh ix° Julij, London xv° ejusdem, 1595."
588. [Dr. MacCartney] to [Robert Bowes]. [July 9.]
Mr. Dickson's uncle returned on the 7th instant, and as soon as I got knowledge I made him welcome at my own house and said that I was sorry that he had not spoken [to] his nephew before his departure. He answered that he knew well that his nephew would depart nowhere till he had spoken with him. To-morrow he is to pass over the water to speak [to] him. But whether he has brought anything to him he would confess nothing but a simple letter. Whereby I conjecture that he will desire his nephew to go himself, because he assures me that he will "mak over to France" again with all expedition, that he may be in Paris on 10th August at the farthest. Edinburgh. Signed with a trefoil.
⅓ p. Addressed (by cipher). Endorsed by Robert Bowes. "Weather. Edenburgh ix° Julij, London xv° ejusdem."
589. John Cunningham to Robert Bowes. [July 9.]
According to my promise I have been in Argyle at MacLean. Please receive a letter from him to Sir Robert [Cecil] with another to yourself, which will let you see MacLean's "mayne." I assure you that as her Majesty and her Council, Sir Robert and your lordship shall please to employ him, he will be ready, for I find him of good "mayne." He is doing what in him lies to stay Angus MacConnell, Donald Gorme and the two MacLeods, and he hopes to get the same done by one means or other; for by his "moyane" since I met with him in Argyle he has "pout ane trobeill" betwixt Argyll and Angus MacConnell, which will not hastily be taken away. A special friend of Argyll's was sent to Angus McConnell in commission to stay him and his friends from passing to Ireland, and [for] Angus to be ready to meet Argyll at his coming home to Argyle. The man who is sent is called the Provost of Kilmun. Angus gave him proud language, "and thair paisseitt leiss betuix thame"; and upon that occasion a single combat betwixt the Provost and Angus was "tane in" to be fought at a part called Inch-Kenneth (Einchekeitoeneithe) with twohanded swords without armour, this last Tuesday. For keeping of this, 3000 men have passed out of Argyle with the Provost of Kilmun, and if Angus "keip nocht" they mean to wreck his country so far as they may reach. If Donald Gorme with the two MacLeods come to Angus it may well come to a great trouble among them, for they are looked for every day by Angus. The rest I refer to MacLean's letters. Edinburgh. Signed: Jhone Cunyghame, burgeis in Edinburgh.
1¼ pp. Holograph, also address. Endorsed by Robert Bowes. "John Conyngham. Edinburgh ix° Julij, London xv° ejusdem, 1595."
590. George Nicolson to Robert Bowes. [July 12.]
Yesterday I received your letter of the 4th, with letters to Argyll, MacLean, John Cunningham (Burre), etc.; and albeit by my last you will see MacLean's answer, showing that her Majesty need want no party against Tyrone, and [albeit you will] find by those letters contentment in much of that you write of, yet to procure double promise and further offers for that service I shall deliver all in good time; and for that cause, thinking to have found Argyll at Linlithgow with Mar (who drank and heartily commends himself to you), I rode thither this morning, and now this afternoon returned. Mr. Aston late yesternight sent me the King's proclamation prohibiting any provisions to pass to Angus MacConnell and Donald Gorme, and not naming her Majesty's rebels; therefore this morning I gave it to the Clerk of the Council's man to be substantially mended. Whereon I shall to-morrow or Monday send it to Roger for the King's hand, and immediately thereafter send it to be proclaimed, as appertains, and withal procure privy friends to write to fit men for the looking to the execution thereof; and doubt no want of diligence in me so far as power or my capacity may serve. I hope the highlanders are stayed, or if they are gone (as I do not think they are), I am sure it is with such quarrels on their backs that her Majesty may at easy rate have Argyll and MacLean to scourge them for their pains. By John Auchinross's letters you will see the combat held not on Angus's side. The rest [I refer] to Cunningham's letter and my next, hoping shortly to hear from good Mr. George Erskine (Plaine) further in these causes.
This day Mar, without the Duke, Argyll or Morton, and only with his own friends to the number of 600 horse, carried David Forrester's corpse from Linlithgow to Stirling with his picture as he was wounded carried between the tops of two spears, with my lord in his jack and all the company in warlike manner armed. As they came to Linlithgow they came in array, divided into three wards, looking, some say, that Buccleuch and Cessford would have fought them, by reason that Mar was told that those two had against this time drawn their forces hither. But this is a secret which Mar will not know. Mr. John Colville was a chief guider and leader of these men, and I saw such "inwardenes" between him and Mar that, in regard of the irreconcilable malice between Mr. John and the Chancellor, I dare almost say there will be no agreement "come" between Mar and the Chancellor notwithstanding the King's travail. The King, intending this reconciliation, this week sent for both parties. Mar came but the Chancellor did not; whereat the King is something displeased. The Chancellor may do nothing without the allowance of Lord Hume, Buccleuch and Cessford for fear they prove greatest enemies, yet he "holdeth him self with their allowance as an indifferent person at occasion to qualifie thingis to their good by his creditt with B" (the King).
The Queen "is something craised," and therefore my lord of Orkney is persuading the King to come hither to her, and other ways the King has been moved thereto. Yet I do not hear when he will come. But "upon her Majestis healthe" some think she will go to him. The King and Mar understand (as I hear, I go no further) that the Queen fains to draw the King to where she is on purpose that he may either be persuaded or threatened by Hume, Buccleuch and Cessford to yield to her motion and to "possesse them" of the little Prince. For preventing thereof the King will not come to the Queen. In this the Chancellor is to be an indifferent person, the rather that he may always have credit with the King for that side's advantage in case in any way they should be "straited." They suspected Mar now to have had some enterprise and for that cause seem to have convened their friends with them. I see such suspicions and practices, if these things be true, that I look for nothing but troubles amongst them. The Kirk suspect some high matters and courses amongst them, but they can no way learn.
Lord Sanquhar has been before the ministry here, given them very fair words, and offered what caution they pleased to clear himself of all practices and dealings, confessing that Mr. William Crichton had indeed dealt with him, not by plain terms to deal against the quietness of this land or religion, but against her Majesty and England for the death of the King's mother—a matter which, Mr. Bruce perceives by him, the practising, traitorous Jesuits are upon. The King still "puttis at" the Master of Glamis for the 5000l. Scots. Edinburgh. Signed: George Nicolson.
Postscript.—Mr. John Colville has his duty remembered to Sir Robert Cecil and yourself, and by Mr. David Foulis will shortly satisfy you towards him. He is altogether for her Majesty, and protests he will show it when he may do good.
1½ pp. Holograph, also address. Endorsed by Robert Bowes. "Georg Nycolson. Edinburgh xij° Julij, London xxiij° ejusdem, 1595."
591. John Cunningham to Robert Bowes. [July 13.]
I have received your letter of 4th July. For answer I hope you have received letters from MacLean to Sir Robert [Cecil] and yourself, with a letter of my own. As I have written before, I will assure you that I find MacLean of a good "mayne" to do what service lies in him and his friends. Please receive two letters enclosed herewith; one from Macdougall (McCoill) of Lorne to me, (fn. 8) the other from John Auchinross. You will perceive by the same that MacLean has passed home to Mull (Moill). I know it is to do what he can to stay Donald Gorme and the two MacLeods, which he hopes to get done, and as he "dois" with them I shall get word from him and make you "forsein" with all diligence. You will also perceive that MacLean is to come to Argyll as soon as Argyll returns home; and as your wisdoms send me direction I shall spare no travail to go to MacLean, wherever he be, with any service or pleasure that in me lies. Edinburgh. Signed: Jhone Cunyghame, burgeis in Edinburgh.
1 p. Holograph, also address. Endorsed by Robert Bowes. "John Conyngham. Edinburgh xiij° Julij, London xviij° ejusdem, 1595."
Enclosure with the same.
(John Auchinross to John Cunningham.)
My master took his way towards home from Carrick on Monday, the 7th, [and] directed me here on his "adois" to Glencairn, with whom I have spoken and am to speak on Saturday. I have directed my boy to the Earl of Argyll. My master, for the favour which he has to Mr. Bowes, has used great "moyan" (since the dissolving of the men that he had in garrison) to stay these Scottish men from Ireland. They have not as yet come by his bounds, and he has directed men to MacLeod Lewis and MacLeod Harris to move them to leave this voyage. If they do go to Ireland he (being employed) shall "keip" as he has written. He desires you to haste your "mien" to him; and remember the plate sleeves, with the rest to be sent with him. Have them made long in the arm. And remember my "tabill of the kinges," beginning at King Fergus, and send the same with your man. See it to my chamber, and you will think it well "vairit" [spent].
As soon as the forces come near his country he [MacLean] will haste word to me with surety of their intent, that I may make George Nicolson "foirsein" thereof. I will stay in these bounds until Argyll's return home "and on thir turnes," for he [MacLean] will come to Argyll at my lord's coming home. Angus MacConnell came not to fight as he promised. Commend me to your wife and George Nicolson (and request him to remember me to Mr. Bowes), and to John and William. Dumbarton, 9th July, 1595. Signed: Johnne Achinross.
1 p. Holograph, also address: "To my verry guid freind and brother Johnne Cunyghame, merchand, burges of Edinburgh." Endorsed. "John Achinross. Copie (fn. 9) of his letter to John Cuningham. Dunbarton ix° Julij, London 18° ejusdem, 1595."
592. Mr. John Colville to Robert Bowes. [July 14.] Printed in Colville's Letters, pp. 165–167.
Thinking from day to day that Mr. Archibald Primrose would have entered his journey I abstained from writing largely, because I had committed to him that which with surety cannot be written. I think assuredly he shall be there within three days from now.
Things promised (whereunto God and you are my only witnesses) I desire to communicate only to such as we agreed upon. Mr. Primrose (Quondam) knows all my heart, and is my heart; but that I reserve, as my treasure, from him and all others. Our present estate is, on the 12th instant Mar with 500 or 600 gentlemen came to Linlithgow and brought away the corpse of the murdered person. Many "terrouris" were given, and Lord Hume, Cessford, Buccleuch, at Edinburgh, and Livingstone, Fleming and Elphinstone, our neighbours, warned and convened many friends, but, blessed be God, they were not seen. The murder of the man (the confidence, at least, that the murderers have to bear out that matter) was proved to come from the Queen, the Chancellor and Glamis, thinking thereby to disgrace Mar, for it would have furnished a great argument against him of weakness and inability to defend the young Prince, if he had not been able to bear out his just cause against so mean competitors. In the meantime the matter is at this point; the King is at Falkland and Mar has lately come from him, having his promise that he shall come to Stirling before he goes to Edinburgh. Yet Hume and Sir George Hume have been at him, and, as I hear, Sir George has gone again to persuade him to come to Edinburgh on behalf of the Queen, who is still thought to be diseased. If he comes to them their intention is, partly by fair means, and if it fail, with other subtleties (wherein the Chancellor and Lincluden, the principal blowers of the bellows underhand, will appear neutrals) to persuade him to take the young Prince from Mar. I remit my "particular" to Mr. Primrose, being sorry that the malice of my enemies forces me to importune those to whom I am already obliged more than my mean labours may merit. Stirling (London). Signed: Y.
Postscript.—"Yow sall have thair anone H. (the Chancellour) his deputie, whose erand sall be no wers considderit and the trew estat of this cuntrey (from such as will not desave yow) the better understud, that [i.e. if] Quondam (Mr. Primrose) be hard or [i.e. before] much be done with him. (fn. 10) Bot Quondam (Mr. Primrose) in werey secret maneir must be used. Yow knaw his honestie knawleg and love to Nuperrime (England)."
For young Lawers, do not think that he will tire, for by him you shall have the certainty of the Irish matters and he will continue as he has begun, for the assured hope he has of Mr. Bowes's honesty encourages him in such sort as your own servant can testify.
2⅓ pp. In Mr. John Colville's hand. Addressed: "To 5." Endorsed by Robert Bowes: "Mr. John Colvill. xiiij Julii, London xxj ejusdem, 1595." Names in cipher, deciphered.
593. George Nicolson to Robert Bowes. [July 15.]
Mr Robert Bruce met with Mr. Dickson (Cask) at Montrose, and told him that I had something to propone to him, wishing him before his departure to speak with him and me about it. Whereon Mr. Dickson came hither, and on our proponing the matter by the very words of your letter he "at the first" undertook to do that matter (if there were such a matter), and also to do better and greater service there if you should procure his employment, which Mr. Robert Bruce accounts he will honestly perform. He has a very good opinion of the Kirk here. L'Aubespine is his dear friend, and Lowe was his servant. He prays passport to be got by you for his coming through England to receive instructions. This he requires in regard that the State of England thought evil of him and may do still unless you have showed his change of course. This passport he craves with speed, resting here only thereon.
Argyll is sick, decaying so fast without pain that some think he is bewitched. In the matter of Ireland I have yet no further [news], saving that John Cunningham told me that MacLean said he would not seek to be employed by way of intrusion, but he would serve how and where her Majesty pleased against Tyrone in Ireland if she would direct and consider him, and I am sure "half heir" with some of her Majesty's men with him will make him do great service. He is mightily tempted with fair offers of money and gear to join with the men to go to Tyrone, but nothing will make him trust Angus MacConnell or forgive Tyrone. The sooner consideration be had of Argyll and MacLean the sooner will they take further dealing and be frank for her Majesty in this matter and more able. Upon word from Stirling you shall be advertised by writing of the matter here against the Polonian, who sure is an evil person.
Sanquhar has been with the King and offered to him to satisfy the Kirk and give bond that he should not traffic "nor had any suche dealingis committed to him." I hear that he would have come through England, there to have cleared himself of that suspicion, if he could have had passport, and that he would yet go thither to satisfy England and all men, if need were. The faction here are about to "agree" him and Johnstone, as Buccleuch has agreed with the Laird of Dalzell (Dyell) and sundry others at this time; all for strength and avoiding of hindrance to the great cause against Mar, as is thought. The Queen is still sickly and cannot well travel to the King. I hear that Dunipace is not yet satisfied with blood, but lies in wait for opportunity to displease Mar further. Some think he is set on by the Queen, the Chancellor and that side. Mar will surely prevail if the King stands and he escapes sudden mischief.
The party of Buccleuch and Cessford (I mean some belonging to them, I go no further) blame Mar that the King and Queen agree not, and say that he has spoken evil of the Queen, and they bear her in hand thereby that she is not well used, which causes her to hate Mar deadly and to embark in all matters against him. No good can come between the King and Queen till she be satisfied anent the Prince. Mar and the King agree exceeding well, and the rather because the Queen keeps still at the motion and will not obey and go to the King, but "feyneth for excuses." The Chancellor, being still held by the King for honest in these things, keeps himself still free of Mar lest Buccleuch and the others turn their displeasures also to him, albeit the King would have a friendship between the Chancellor and Mar. The Prior of Blantyre is employed, but prevails little. He is more for Mar than for the other, whom some hope the King will dislike by little and little. The Chancellor would bring the matter anent the Prince to a Council, but the King will not have it so. The Chancellor's party still continues strong here.
The King yesternight rode to Burleigh, where he stays till to-morrow, then he is to go to Stirling, and on Sunday to christen Mar's son. Thus much for these matters.
Even now I have received the proclamation amended and subscribed by his Majesty, which I shall get sealed and cause to be proclaimed in the best sort by Lyon Herald, if it may be. [In the margin: I have told Mr. Roger of it and prayed him to thank the King.] I sent it to be presented to the King by Mr. Roger or David Moysie (Moyses), or in their absence by George Murray of the Chamber. "As happes was," Roger and Davy were absent, and George presently "caryed" the footman I sent with it into the King's chamber, and the King very willingly subscribed it "at the first." For this favour the King should be thanked, to make him more frank in causes for her Majesty, and the taking knowledge of his favours by my information may make me speed better in those causes. Edinburgh. Signed: George Nicolson.
1¾ pp. Holograph, also address. Endorsed by Robert Bowes: "Georg Nycolson, Edenburgh xv° Julij, London xxj° ejusdem, 1595."
594. Roger Aston to Robert Bowes. [July 15.]
Since my last I have been at Court. This last night I was directed to this town upon some particular directions of the King. I wrote to you on 17th June upon the King's resolution concerning the removing of the Prince, which he constantly confirms by his resolved dealing in that point, notwithstanding sundry practices to withdraw him from his former resolution.
On coming to this town, I find a plain resolution to divert the King from his intended course, by the Queen's "moyan" and credit. Thus they hope to accomplish things according to their intent by one of two ways, either by her loving and gentle behaviour or else by her earnest solicitation, seeking nothing but that which shall be thought convenient by the Estates, and thereupon shall desire that they may be convened, thinking thereby to make such means that it shall be carried away by number of votes. This is the course intended here, of all of which the King "is forsene," and therefore will in nowise come to this town, although there have been many devices to draw him hither. He is of mind to take away all occasions of suspicion between the Chancellor and Mar, and for that cause sent for the Prior of Blantyre, being at his own house in the country, to meet upon the 9th instant, at Falkland. How the matter was handled I know not; but the Prior received not his letter before the day appointed. That appointment did not hold by reason of the Prior's absence in respect he was the only dealer in that matter. The Chancellor excused himself and did not keep the day appointed. Whereupon the King has taken some suspicion that the Chancellor is farther upon this course than he looked for, notwithstanding his former counsel to the contrary. Mar kept the day appointed, accompanied with the Duke, Argyll and Morton, and they departed discontented at their disappointment. The King presently sent for the Prior, who on Saturday the 12th came to Falkland, where he conferred with the King at great length. The King confides greater trust in him at this time than any other, and in my opinion he is best worth.
The King has gone to Stirling to baptize Mar's son. From thence he returns to Falkland and brings the Earl with him, and has commanded the Chancellor to meet him there. I find by the Chancellor he has "no will of the matter," for he says what should need agreement where there is no feud. Nevertheless as the King pleases he will do, but on condition that he come upon his own guard, which he gives out rather to cast off the meeting, knowing the King will have no forces drawn together, but rather to have a quiet meeting. I am credibly informed he is under promise to the Queen and this faction here not to agree. I see the agreement will not be in effect. It may well be for fashion's sake and to content the King and not other ways. Lord Hume, Buccleuch and Cessford have had their forces here these five or six days. There have been sundry devices to draw the King hither, but seeing he could not be drawn they are returning home abiding the next occasion. There is imminent danger to the amity and religion and overthrow of the King if their intent take effect, as they are surely persuaded it will. No doubt it will be the overthrow of the King, and in his overthrow the other two perish. Look [at] the chief ringleaders of the plot, some Papists, some of no religion and others evil affected rather seeking to break the peace than to preserve it. If it had not been for the King himself it had been broken ere now. For my own part I write the simple truth out of duty to her Majesty without respect of any others. This far I will say and avow, if this King perish her Majesty will have want of him. If the King were countenanced by her Majesty, and if they saw here that she had a care of him, and if there were a warmer kind of dealing between them, they durst not attempt anything that might offend him. If their intent take effect the Papists will not "bvd" long away.
Mar has buried his man with a fewer . . . (fn. 11) than was looked he should have done. He discharged all his forces except 400 horse and 300 foot. The King looks that the Queen will meet him at Falkland next week. Lady Logie has returned out of Denmark. Your doctor, Mr. Morrison, has become a minister. Argyll is lying deadly sick in the New House. It is said he is bewitched. Edinburgh. No signature. Foot of the page cut away.
Postscript.—I have delivered the proclamation to George [Nicolson] to be proclaimed in all the west parts for the restraint of furnishing of Ireland.
3 pp. In Roger Aston's hand. Addressed in the same hand: "To my lord embaster." Endorsed by Robert Bowes: "Roger Aston. Edinburgh xv° Julii, London xxj° ejusdem, 1595."
595. Proclamation by James VI. [July 18.] Printed in Register of Privy Council, v. 223–224, under date, 18th June: inventoried in Tudor and Stuart Proclamations, ii. 258, under 18th June.
Warrant by James VI. charging his messengers and sheriffs that, inasmuch as Angus MacConnell of Dunnyveg and Glenns, and Donald Gorme of Sleat, with a number of rebellious inhabitants of the Isles, are minded to transport themselves to join with the rebels in Ireland, and that sundry inhabitants of Scotland daily furnish the said rebels of Ireland with victuals and munitions of war, they make open proclamation at the mercat crosses of Glasgow, Ayr, Irvine, Renfrew, Dumbarton and other places needful inhibiting the lieges from furnishing so unlawful an enterprise or to afford the rebels any manner of comfort or support under pain of treason and of being themselves reputed as partakers and assisters.
1 p. Draft. Undated.
Another copy "Gevin undir our signet at Edinburgh the xviij day of July and of our regne the xxviij yere 1595."
Another copy. Dated as above.
596. George Nicolson to Robert Bowes. [July 19.]
On Tuesday last, after the despatch of my letter, I went to the Chancellor praying his hand to the proclamation in the absence of the Secretary. The Chancellor read it and kept it, telling me that he would cause it to be passed by act of Council for the better strength thereof, which he has done accordingly, as John Andrews tells me. I cause John Andrews to send it to be proclaimed as appertains, without sight or sign to the messenger that it came any way but at the consideration of the King and Council, and for the King's service.
On Thursday Argyll (very well recovered in health so far as I can see) came hither about his affairs in the Exchequer, and yesterday morning I delivered your letter to him, who received it very kindly, and after he had read it told me that he had sent to stay Angus MacConnell but Angus gave but evil answer and lightened (fn. 12) his message insomuch that the Provost of Kilmun and he appointed a single combat, which Angus did not hold, and for which the Earl had sent his forces; that Angus had since written confessing his rash oversight in making such answer to his messenger and offering amends to him; that Angus and Donald Gorme, as he hears, intend to invade MacLean; and that MacLeod of the Lewis, sister's son to MacLean, has come to aid him against Angus and Gorme. If this be true, he says there will be but few go over. "Allwaies" he says he intends to go shortly into Argyle for this service and to do his best therein. He has written to you, but he says he leaves special matter till your own return and commends himself heartily to you.
Mr. George Erskine tells me that they still write earnestly out of Ireland for MacCondochy to Argyll, not knowing that Argyll is "out with him." I, afar off, sought to feel from Mr. Erskine what would please Argyll, but he could not. "Allwaies" Mr. Erskine says that whatsoever her Majesty sends I, or such as you shall please, shall see it disposed for casting bones for her Majesty's service amongst those who are making for Ireland, as Argyll does for himself; for he is forced that way oftentime to break intended purposes against himself. He says Argyll would be appointed visitor (fn. 13) for his warrant to deal more severely for the stay of men and munition from Ireland, which I offered to procure and may do it, for the King is very frank for her Majesty therein. Yet Mr. Erskine thinks it would be deemed to come from Argyll and would therefore have you write for it. The rest [I refer] to the letters of Mr. George, James Cunningham and John Auchinross.
On Thursday St. Colme and the Laird of Cluny (Crichton) had "put out" and sought the Laird of Invermerky (Innes), a great baron in the north and one of the chief at the slaughter of Murray, and sought him in this town, where the Provost took him. The King upon understanding thereof gave warrant to this town to give him an assize. This day he and his servant were beheaded. MacIntosh, who was to marry his son to this gentleman's daughter, trysted him hither and both he and Angus Williamson are marvellously malcontent at his death. (fn. 14)
Great suspicion is taken here of the meanings of the two Lairds anent the Borders, some thinking they have attempts in hand there. But I assure you they say "no" to me, protesting still to do nothing that may offend her Majesty or country. Buccleuch has been again with the King about some lands of Crichton recovered from him by "Watty" Ker (Keir), yet assured to him, as he took it, by the King. He had good words and countenance and has not yet returned, but [is] over the water still with only one man. Sir George Hume has heard something concerning some attempts which they intend, and purposes quietly to warn the King thereof. But use this as a secret, for I verily believe they will be quiet yet.
As to this estate, the King is at Stirling, whither Argyll returns this night to the baptism of Mar's son. He would have the Queen come to him to Falkland, but she is sick and has written to him to come to her if it be but for twenty-four hours; otherwise she would go to him how sick soever she were, "suppose" [i.e. even if] she should never be well after. The King looked for the Chancellor to have come to Falkland for agreement with Mar. He returned answer saying he knew no quarrels between him and Mar, so that he needed not to go for that cause; and if there were quarrels he would come with his friends for his safety. With [this] answer the King seemed not contented, directing again Blantyre [to cause] (fn. 15) him to go thither on Tuesday next for this cause. Whereupon the Chancellor sent Sir Robert Melville to the King to try the King's mind and to excuse him that he could not come. Whereon some think the King will yield pro forma to try their intentions, and nevertheless stand constant to Mar. But the Sessions being shortly to break up and the Chancellor's side to return, it is agreed, I hear, that the Queen shall for this present obey the King till better occasion. But they are in so many resolutions that I cannot tell whether it shall hold or not; and it is meant that in this "vacantcy" [vacation of Session], when the Chancellor, Buccleuch and Cessford cannot have occasions here, the King will change the Queen's mind or otherwise yield for policy. Lord Hume, through Sir George, is brought to think what he is doing and intends to go to the King on Monday to know his pleasure and to follow him only. Sir George tells me all will "pack up well." But another says "no," and I look for nothing more than sudden attempts against some of these persons. Edinburgh. Signed: Geo. Nicolson.
2 pp. Holograph, also address. Endorsed by Robert Bowes. "Georg Nycolson. Edinburgh xix° Julij, London xxvj° ejusdem, 1595."
597. John Cunningham to Robert Bowes. [July 19.]
Please receive enclosed herein a letter with another "teikkat" from John Auchinross (Aiceinroiche) to me. I know that MacLean is "theingin [thinking] lang" for word from your lordship, which I hope you have sent ere now. The sooner he is made yours the better. As I get word, I shall let George [Nicolson] be "foirsein," and shall employ all my service to the furtherance of that good cause; with recommendation of service to Sir Robert Cecil. Edinburgh. Signed: Jhone Cunyghame, burgeis in Edinburgh.
2/3 p. Holograph, also address. Endorsed by Robert Bowes: "John Conyngham. Edinburgh xix° Julij, London xxvi° ejusdem 1595."
Enclosure with the same.
(John Auchinross to John Cunningham.)
I wrote a letter to you on the 6th. (fn. 16) The Laird of Bullnill enclosed therein an English testoon (testane) for buying a fine belt of Flanders red leather "to" the lady. If you have got it send it to me with the bearer, if you do not send your man here shortly. Remember my master's plate sleeves and for me the "brod" of the kings from Fergus. Argyll's only stay is to get his turns done in Court, as promised. He is to return shortly to Argyle, when my master is to be sent for by him. I hear that the men of the north Isles are come south to Islay, making to Ireland, for new silver—over 500 lib. sterling—has come to them from the Earl. This is most true, and Mr. Norreys, the Queen's general that was in Flanders, (fn. 17) is slain by the Earl. This general was well known by sundry merchants here, [and] esteemed to be a "very braw man." I hear that MacLeod Lewis came to MacLean to Duart (Doward), and what is betwixt them I know not. "Mary," it appears that MacLean has some hope to stay them, or a great part of them; for it was concluded betwixt us that he would not write to me until he knew assuredly of their passing to Ireland, and although they came to the coast of Mull he would not write until he knew assuredly of their mind, and then advertisement would come here to be shown to George [Nicolson]. I look daily for word from him. Dumbarton, 16th July 1595. Signed: Johnne Achinros.
Postscript.—Were it not that my master had seen himself "to haif coist" by the holding of 600 men in garrison, and was not employed, as he thought, in further service, these forces durst not "meyn" [venture] to Ireland; and also his foresight in wars should serve the Queen's turn in Ireland. She shall never be revenged "of" her rebellious persons without the service of Scotsmen in these parts. My master has lost by refusal of most part of what came from the Earl, and by holding six hundred men three months. I hear that, notwithstanding all that they have received from the Earl, they are "in commonyng" with others, fearing my master (fn. 18) and also fearing the Earl's loss. But this vantage (fn. 19) new received by him "may gar thame keip." Ask George if he knows anything of a message sent by Angus MacConnell, and write thereof to me.
1 p. Holograph, also address. Endorsed by Robert Bowes: "John Achinros to John Conyngham. Dimbarton xvi° Julij, 1595."
598. Mr. George Erskine to Robert Bowes. [July 19.]
My late acquaintance with your servitor, George Nicolson, begun and continued by the delivery of your lordship's letters to my master and the receipt of their answer, has "motioned" betwixt us at sundry times conferences touching the state of Ireland by which I communicate intelligences to him. He has earnestly dealt with me to write to your lordship my "basse" [humble] opinion in these particulars. I resisted long, but now at last overcome by his suits, I deliver to your lordship two points specially to be respected: the first that by entreaty with his Majesty and my master the islanders of Scotland be restrained,—which may only be done in such form as I have at length declared to Nicolson; the next, that my master be appointed by his Majesty "visitour", as admiral of our west seas, to take order that no "furnitour" of munition or victuals be transported to the aid of her Majesty's rebels. This only in my opinion "sall proffeit," although it be more difficult than it might have been in time past, and the longer it be delayed the harder shall it be. Edinburgh. Signed: George Areskyn.
½ p. Addressed. Endorsed by Robert Bowes: "Mr. George Areskyn. Edenburgh xix° July, London xxvi° ejusdem, 1595."
599. Mr. John Colville to Robert Bowes. [July 19.] Printed in Colville's Letters, pp. 167–168.
On the 17th his Majesty came to Stirling albeit great instance was made to him at Falkland to come first to Edinburgh. On Sunday the 20th Mar's young son "beis" baptized, where his Grace "beis gossep," (fn. 20) and so on Tuesday or Monday he minds to [go to] Falkland, where her Majesty is appointed to meet him if her health will permit. But there is no great appearance that she is either willing or able to go thither, the place being more uncommodious than Holyroodhouse for persons diseased; and upon his Grace going to Edinburgh or her Majesty's coming to him depends the hope of such as be inclined the one and other way. Albeit there is no difference or contrariety among themselves, yet according to the variety of our "ingyns" [dispositions] grounded on our own particulars we are in "contrar" and different opinions as to the charge of the Prince, wherein we hear for certain that his Grace will have no change.
The late murder quickens matters, for the authors thereof think by such as hate Mar to bear out their turn. Yet the odiousness of the crime and exclaiming of the ministry, who next Sunday at the churches of Stirling, Airth, Falkirk and Linlithgow are to proceed to admonition against the young Lairds of Airth and Dunipace and their accomplices, put them to great thinking how to colour and disguise the matter, and Mar proceeds only as his Majesty commands in pursuit of the criminals and in all other action, thinking thereby to win his process against both the one and the other. Many things which I cannot write herein I have committed to Mr. Archibald Primrose, and of things fallen out since his departure I have written to him in cipher, which in his absence you may "stryik wp" and he will decipher at his coming, especially that Mar has command of the King to disobey, if he [the King] does anything at the Chancellor's or the Queen's desire to his prejudice for taking from him any service that he has. This Mar has, "signed and commandit to him expresslie," but if it be known he is undone. Stirling. Signed: Y.
Postscript.—Of Invermarky's apprehension at Edinburgh by St. Colme and Cluny your lordship has heard ere now, and with him one who was bitterest against poor Murray. A commission was granted this day here for their execution. Argyll "is convalesced" and young Lawers will omit no good office when occasion requires, and he desires no credit if he be not first advertiser of any enterprise that can come from the Isles or islandmen.
2½ pp. In Mr. John Colville's hand. Addressed. Endorsed by Robert Bowes: "Y.Y.Y. Serling xix° Julii, London xxvj° ejusdem, 1595."
600. Earl of Argyll to Robert Bowes. [July 19.]
I received your letter from George Nicolson, whereby I perceive the continuance of the rebellion in Ireland, which I have learnt more clearly by intelligences from these parts, and which are confirmed by the preparations of our islesmen to pass there for Tyrone's aid. I have endeavoured to stay their passage, but the jealousies which they have conceived of my intentions make the same more difficult. Nevertheless I shall use all diligence to hinder the same, and according as I shall be "resolvit" what my travails may bring forth you shall be advertised. Edinburgh. Signed: A. Argyll.
¼ p. Endorsed by Robert Bowes. "Th' Erle of Argile. Edinburgh xx° Julij, London xxvj° ejusdem, 1595."
601. John Auchinross to Robert Bowes. [July 22.]
Being commanded by my master to remain here in Dumbarton, which is near "the Hiland" and not far from Court, rather than in Court, for making him advertisement as our "moyan" there gives occasion, he made me "foirsein" of news, as I wrote to George [Nicolson], who will "acquent" you therewith. While writing, I received two letters from you, one to MacLean and one to me; and I render you humble service for your goodwill towards me.
These Scottishmen are passed to Ireland on the 18th or 19th, and of truth Donald Gorm MacConnell has "vrakit" [ruined] his land in holding these forces together to the number of 2500 besides 500 furnished by Angus MacConnell, which met them when they came south. Angus has sent his eldest son with them, so the conductors of this company are he, Donald Gorm MacConnell, MacLeod Lewis and MacLeod Harris. But during the time that my master held but 600 men together, none of them durst presume to pass to Ireland; and albeit the compelling of them to turn will be more dangerous (being convened together) and more "sumpteous" [costly] than the staying of their convening, yet my master, if employed, will compel them shortly [to] seek for return to Scotland, as he has written to you from Carrick in Argyle. Not only will he make them to return, but he will venture himself and his friends to make Tyrone beg mercy of her Majesty. I perceive that when you wrote you had not received our said letters from Carrick. My master has made me privy in all his "adois" that appertained to a servant to know. I have taken the boldness, therefore, to "unclois" your letter to him, wherein you desire to know if he will proceed in accomplishment of service, and that he "certifie the aggrement in the executioun" thereof, also when and where he would have things sent to him, which shall be done with expedition. I am privy with his answer, as if I were with him. I know he is ready to proceed against Tyrone and all his assisters, and will not fail to serve her Majesty as truly as any that serve her as captain or man of war in any rank. Yet he has such honour and honesty that he can crave no man's gear. But if her Majesty and Council will like to "propyne" [give a present] and advance him honourably, I know well that they shall think the same well bestowed, and his service shall give them occasion to esteem him as an honourable man worthy to be acknowledged all his days. His expectation is to a higher honour and matter than a present sum of money, which he "man vair [must spend] on guid fallowes." Yet such turns can not be done without money. If his service is "lyikit of," he is to enter in band under conditions with her Majesty. I moved him to extraordinary charges through holding six hundred men together three months. If he had not dissolved them, none in these parts durst "meyn" for Ireland. Plain hunger made them leave Scotland, and receiving of new money from Tyrone with promise of more at their landing in Ireland has moved them thereto. This enterprise of the Earl is not small, although the same be not known to your Council as yet, as [it would be] if my master were in conference with you.
If I were near Sir Robert and you, I could "absolve" you of any doubt or question you could propone to us on our part in this action, could make known to you how these turns should be followed out on this side, and let you see how to make Tyrone and his confederates perish; for I am acquainted with all that my master or any other can do on this part against the Earl. You shall find my master's "foirsicht and bauldnes in manheid" to do much in this action. As you find the matter of importance, spare not my "travell," for upon advertisement to my master I shall be at you in haste, having the conduct of one of your sure servants. Assure yourself, my master is not idle. He has "ane vork virkand" (fn. 21) in their company, for he has made them to suspect others, and also they fear him, which moves their council to take purpose on hand sometime one way and sometime another. They know not what to do or begin, he has put them in "sik ane feir and doutt vith utheris." I can promise nothing by this work. Seeing all their victual and furnishing spent, they made sail from Scotland on the 18th or 19th instant. If you seek for me there, keep the same very quiet that none know thereof except my master and George [Nicolson]. I think in a month or thereby I may pass there and return again. Further, if you desire my master's service, the same must proceed by contract and appointment, "astricting" him on the one side and your honours on the other, wherein, as your worships will desire, he will send his full commission with me to "condiscend" on such heads as at meeting shall be thought meet, and as I shall receive your part subscribed I shall according to the same return his part to you. This was meant by him in his first letter, when he offered to send me to your lordship. Where he wrote that he should send me to you (if you came to our Court, as then you thought), the meaning was to confer and conclude with you in those turns. I received a friendly letter from George [Nicolson] conform to your information. Let Sir Robert have inspection of this letter, with my duty remembered. Dumbarton. Signed: Johne Achinros.
1½ pp. Holograph, also address. Wafer signet of MacLean. Endorsed by Robert Bowes: "John Achinross. Dinbarton xxij° Julij, Grenewich xxx° ejusdem, 1595."
602. John Auchinross to George Nicolson. [July 22.]
After the writing of the other letter, having received a mass of letters from John Cunningham wherein were "closit" letters from Mr. Bowes to MacLean and me, and your own letter and "tiequet" also to me, I assure you my master is constant and ready to do her Majesty service. I moved him to have 600 men in garrison for three months at his own charges [etc. as in former letters], but, not being employed as he prepared himself for, he dissolved this sober company, and others seeing him to prepare for quietness have now passed to Ireland. Their stay the said three months has wrecked their country in such manner that if my master had continued in holding of his 600 men together "the ane of thame had eittin the uther." But seeing they have gone forward to Ireland to the number of 3000 men without powder or lead, for my master "hes convoyit" that from them, it is harder and more dangerous for us to cause them return than to make them stay at home before their passing by us. Yet my master will make them return home if he be employed, which he cannot do without "melling" with and harrying their lands. Then they will be forced "to seik for Scotland," every man to save his own house and dwelling. For all or most of the company are householders, who will respect little their profit in Ireland "besyid" [compared to] their loss in Scotland. This must be dangerous to my master, yet I know he will not leave that which he has begun. If he be employed, direct in all haste to Dowart a little ship, well appointed, with 50 or three-score men therein besides mariners. Let them have letters from Sir Robert and Mr. Bowes to my master. At their arriving there, wherever my master is I shall command the Captain of Dowart to convoy their servant and the writings to him. He shall have this command of my master. I have been so privy with him these sixteen years past that I "unclosit" Mr. Bowes's letter [etc. as in the foregoing].
As to the accomplishment of service, my master will not seek gear, for that is not his honour, which he esteems more than gear. Yet if her Majesty and Council will "propyne" him [etc. as in the foregoing], I assure you he is apt and meet for the turn, ready to seek Tyrone's wreck, and would seek to have the same though he were her Grace's subject. His "moyan" and "convoy" are so perfect in this that he doubts not to make the Earl and his assisters beg mercy and pardon of her Majesty, and if I were in conference with your master I should let him know the secret thereof and how to have the turn done. My master has conceived such a hatred against the Earl through his cruel murdering of Hew O'Neil and Art O'Neil, his cousins, that all the gold in Ireland will not make him favour him. We have refused great offers. If those two gentlemen had been living they would have been her Majesty's subjects. We have two sons of theirs in Scotland, and, if my master live, the same two boys shall make the Earl "to haif to do" in Ireland, for having assistance they will get favour and friends there. As you write, it is good that strait proclamation from his Highness be proclaimed in Glasgow, Renfrew, Dumbarton, Irvine, Ayr, Kirkcudbright, Bute "callit" Rothesay [and] Dunoon in Argyle, commanding that none within the said burghs or in any part adjacent to them "tak on hand" to travel to the bounds of Ireland, Kintyre or Isles of Scotland, under the pain of death and "tinsall" [loss] of lands and goods; for they cannot travel into those bounds without taking "furnising" to them. Indeed the Earl is furnished, as I hear, by some of Glasgow. It is true that Tyrone troubles your state in Ireland; also that the Clandonnell show their goodwill to disobey and to "misknow" our King's Majesty, which is well done by them; for after my master chased and "dang" [drove] them out of their own bounds to Court, after they had murdered his friends at a banquet and had taken himself prisoner, they "be moyan" escaped and but for fear of him they would do great trouble in Scotland. If our King and your Queen have good counsel herein it is nothing to make them humble themselves like slaves; for, seeing my master without help of King or any other friend (except God only) "dang the Clandonill to Court" and banished them their own land, it is no "prattik" (fn. 22) for a King with his help to make them obey him. And when my master came in at the desire of his Highness (as he was given to understand) after that he "put thame in befoir him," he was worse handled, and his Grace's letter served him for nothing, because the same wanted the Chancellor's "handvritt."
My master shall know by your letter your goodwill in his "adois," and you shall find him constant and ready to perform all which I have "pennit" in this and the other letters directed to your master. For as he has a great envy and malice "at" the Earl and his assisters, he has a singular favour to your master, who, God willing, shall be worthy of thanks at his Prince's hands for "convoying" of such an honourable servant to her service. His letter to my master shall be "at" him with diligence, for presently the boy who came here with the news of their passing to Ireland is directed back there. They are not without fear of my master, and, truly, need and newly received gains moved them to go forward. Dumbarton. Signed: Johnne Achinros.
2 pp. Holograph, also address. Endorsed by George Nicolson: "Jo. Achinros. Donbarton 22, Edinburgh 24, July 1595. Per Jo. Achinros his servant."
603. John Auchinross to George Nicolson. [July 22.]
According to my master's promise to "mak yow foirsein" of the passing of this Scottish company to Ireland, he desired me to "mak yow foirsein" hereof, and you to make Mr. Bowes acquainted with the same in haste. On Friday, 11th July, there came by sea, by [i.e. past] our place of Duart, the number of 2500 men, and in passing MacLeod Lewis and the principal friends of MacLeod Harris came on land and spoke [with] MacLean in Duart, to excuse themselves for their passing to Ireland with Donald Gorme MacConnell. The only cause thereof was their receipt of great gains which came to Scotland from Tyrone, and seeing the voyage was no way to hurt MacLean they thought good to take commodity and profit when offered, and assured MacLean that whenever he shall "haif to do" against the Clan Donald that they shall be found ready in his service, as they have been before.
This company passed south to Angus MacConnell, who could furnish no more than 500 men or thereby, whom he has sent with his eldest son. We understand they are but few in number beyond 3000 men. In all this company there is neither powder nor lead, because my master took the same by the way from their furnisher and compelled him to take payment for the same. The Earl has lately sent them 300 li. sterling and has promised them 600 li. at landing, whereof 300 li. in armour, clothes and horses. As my master wrote of late, if the Queen and Council will employ him, he will speedily make them seek return to Scotland. If her Majesty desires his service and makes the Earl of Argyll to be her friend (for they will both be on one side in all their doings), he doubts not to make Tyrone crave mercy.
We are informed that the Earl has slain a "trym" gentleman of her Majesty named General Norreys, who has served in the wars of Flanders, and that he is well furnished for these wars having been preparing for them the space of seven years past. He once thought never to "mell" therewith until Spaniards would come to help him, or until occasion were offered by the death of her Majesty; and as my master in his first letter to Mr. Bowes showed that though they could not well meet to confer together themselves, yet by me your master shall know the very secret and "moyan" of the service which shall make the Earl to perish in his high attempt. Dumbarton. Signed: Johnne Achinros.
Postscript.—As you have to do, write to me, for I remain here on my master's "adois" in Court; and I stay also on the return of Argyll. Our "moyan" among them still is to trouble their council and plans. As I hear success thereof you shall be made participant of the same. It is necessary that these two letters to you be directed to Mr. Bowes for informing him of such things as I could not "comprehend" [include] in his. Hasten these to him, and if any come from him I will be here for their receipt. Our "brother Johnne" [Cunningham] in his writings is ever earnest in this action on hand. Signed: Johnne Achinros.
1 p. Holograph, also address. Endorsed by George Nicolson: "Jo. Achnros. Dunberton 22, Edinburgh 24, July 1595." Per Jo. Achinros his servant. Retorne this back."
604. Mr. George Erskine to George Nicolson. [July 22.]
At Argyll's coming to this town from Edinburgh last Sunday at even, new advertisements came from Argyle "bearing for veritye the northern iylesmen incumming," and their joining with Angus MacConnell in Islay eight days since. They may remain in Islay for some days more. Their numbers are great, but the particular numbers as yet not known to us. They intend certainly to pass to Ireland. No "moyen" that my master has used but has come to their ears, whereby they are become so suspicious that he cannot hinder their passage. Moreover, they have got some intelligence of his friendship with her Majesty of England. In time coming every way shall be difficult to use against them. Now it sufficiently appears what over long delay has brought to pass. If at first matters had been so "dressit" with these people, they had never entered so far on their journey. In these extremities speedy remedies are to be used, and in my opinion this especially —that with diligence some ships be directed to the Island of Rathlin, and doubtless before 10th August they shall find the islesmen in their passage. They have no vessels except twenty-six or thirty galleys, lightly furnished, with some smaller vessels. The ordinance of your ships shall so dismay them if once you enter in fight that without all doubt they will return. Use diligence to cause them be set forth, if it be thought expedient. Stirling. Signed: George Areskyn.
1 p. Holograph, also address. Endorsed by George Nicolson: "Mr. Geo. Erskynn. Stirling, Edenburgh, 22nd July 1595. Per Tho. Erskyn, Argile servant." And by Robert Bowes: "Received att Grenewich 28 July 1595."
605. George Nicolson to Robert Bowes. [July 23.]
I have received your letter of the 15th and shall do as you have directed, as by Junior's (young Lawers) and "their" letters shall be certified to you. Yesternight I received the enclosed letter, (fn. 23) of such importance as seems to me ought to be regarded with all speed. Junior tells me also of the twentysix galleys at sea for Ireland or Argyle, but as yet he is not certain, and therefore I have presumed to make this hasty despatch thereof.
As to this estate, the King gave but hard words to Sir Robert Melville of the Chancellor and still calls for the Chancellor to come to him for agreement with Mar, but he stiffly refuses to come. George Douglas being sent with the Queen's letter to the King, as I wrote, has not yet returned. "Allwaies" the Queen intends, if the King does not come to her, to go to Falkland to him. I expect that within some ten days these matters will come to ripeness. Lord Hume has not yet come, but councils are daily held here with the Queen and that side, and the like "is with the King and Marr." Edinburgh. Signed: Geo. Nicolson.
Postscript.—The proclamation is gone and will be proclaimed this week.
2/3 p. Holograph, also address. Endorsed by Robert Bowes.
606. Elizabeth to the Earl of Argyll. [July 23.] Vol. lii. p. 10. Printed in Hist. MSS. Commis. Report vi, p. 611.
We cannot forbear to acknowledge by our own letters your great care of such things as Mr. Bowes has of late recommended to you, thereby to assure you that such is our contentment to find you the successor of your father's love to our estate as well as the inheritor of his fortune that we are more and more desirous to understand from you how we might gratify you. Your actions have confirmed to the world not only your constancy to your sovereign in time of greatest trial, but also your judgment in discerning clearly how dishonourable it would be for any man of noble blood to yield the least countenance to base and malicious rebels. Let these lines serve for this time, and for some other particular give faith to Mr. Bowes. And where we understand that your cousin, MacLean, is much at your devotion, and one of power and commandment in those isles of the north, we desire that he may find by you how well you are disposed towards us, which we know will much direct his courses, and for which we will be most ready to requite him. This we recommend to you the more because we are informed that the King did deal with you for the same in the presence of our servants. Greenwich.
1 p. Copy. In the hand of Sir Robert Cecil's clerk. At the top: "A letter from her Majestie to the Erle of Argile."
607. George Nicolson to [Robert Bowes]. [July 24.]
Yesterday I delivered the tokens to young Lawers (Junior) and Mr. John Arch[ibald], whom hereafter you may call Filius, for so he wishes to be called. They thank her Majesty and you, and now will be diligent enough to deserve better. I enclose their letter. Even "very nowe" I received these advertisements from John Auchinross and made John Cunningham acquainted therewith; wherein also he writes and is ready to do his best. I will not comment on those matters, but you may perceive that, as through want of a "covenantall agreament" the beginnings have not been stopped, so will not the progress of the islander traitors be withstood without feeling as well as hearing her Majesty's bounty to Argyll and MacLean, the fittest men for that service, and who upon conditions will do as they have been directed by her Majesty or you, and faithfully perform or perish. It seems you plainly mistake his place, credit and degree fit for this matter, that you "eaven him with 20 li." But I shall use the better words to content him, and doubt not but I shall keep these men's goodwill to her Majesty, with this which is sent. I have a man ready to go to Kirkcudbright (Kirkowbrey) to give warning, if I can, to the Captain of Man, of the purpose of these savage people, and you may also cause him to be warned and advised to "use some stratagisme to recompence them with."
As to this estate, the King, I think, is this night, and not before, at Falkland. The Queen is here, and on Saturday peremptorily is to go to the King, who was almost ready to have come hither, but for the causes of the people here. This side are daily at council and change of courses upon every advertisement, and are to be to-morrow again for this cause. The Chancellor will not go to the King, but is dealing for more friends. Livingstone and Fleming are here, and Dunipace and young Airth not a little "made on." Lord Hamilton is here very strong about an action anent Sir John Chapell and the daughter and heir to the same, called Hamilton, against John Hume of Carelside [Carrollsyde], in which Lord Hamilton had a decreet of the Lords of Session and is now called again, to his grief. You will see that ten days will discover many matters here for the ending or entering into blood for these causes. Edinburgh. Signed: Geo. Nicolson.
Postscript.—I also send you Mr. Patrick Simpson's answer anent the Polonian. . . . ilding has advertised me that my lord has . . . one Manington, and sent me a passport made from hence for his safety to try the truth. But the . . . is counterfeit in the name of the Provost and bailies . . . so that Manington is a knave. As I wrote when . . . serves towards Martinmas, service may be done in the west . . . that way the traitors traffic. (fn. 24) Edinburgh. Signed: Geo. Nicolson.
1 p. Holograph. No fly-leaf or address.
Enclosure with the preceding.
(Mr. Patrick Simpson to Mr. Walter Balcanqual. (fn. 25) )
The Polonian has been excommunicated for Papistry. We found him very wilful, malicious and ignorant, and in matters controverted betwixt the Papists and us an obstinate defender of their opinions but very ignorant of their reasons. After his excommunication he went to the Papist lords in the north, and at his return he came secretly by night to Stirling, where he was apprehended and put in the Tolbooth by the magistrates. After diligent searching of his coffers we found a letter from some Papists, whether Jesuits or others I can not tell. "Alwayes" by it I understood that intelligence passes betwixt him and other Papists concerning their own affairs, and that they counted more of him than he was worthy, "beiing in knawledge ane verie ass and ane idiott." We might have put him to great trouble by sending the said letter to his Majesty, because it contained a great commendation of Bothwell, at whose hands the Papist writers of the letter in Latin had found no small courtesy. But at the earnest request of his wife and friends, and upon their promise that he should leave the country, we proceeded no further against him. This letter I have sent to you that, if you perceive anything in it whereby the cause of Christ may be advanced, you may use it as you think good. Stirling, 19th July 1595. Signed: P. Symsoun.
½ p. Holograph, also address: "To his verie weilbeiloved brother and fellow labourer in the wark of Chryst, Mr. Walter Bacanquell, minister of Chryst his Evangell at Edinburgh."
Written on the back in Nicolson's hand: "In any case retorne this letter and that within it written in Laten with spede, for so Mr. Water requireth."
608. [Mr. John Colville] to [Robert Bowes]. [July 24.] Printed in Colville's Letters, pp. 168–170.
On the 25th his Majesty removes to Falkland, where he minds to remain till after Lammas, and about 8th August to return here, and then to go to Inchmurrin to his hunting. Great persuasions are made to draw him to Edinburgh, partly to see her Majesty, who is thought to be diseased, [and] partly the Council insisting that he should sit with them once before their vacation (which is at hand) for ordering of all things till their next meeting. But I do not hear that he minds to go thither, but rather that both her Highness and the Council should come to him, and I think at length her grace will make the "first obedience."
If the King come to Edinburgh they think either by "slicht or mycht" to persuade him against Mar, etc.
The Chancellor speaks much to Mar's praise with the King, but underhand to the Queen he has sworn and signed that he will never agree with him, so if the King presses appointment betwixt them he will "decypher" himself anon. As I wrote before, Mar has assurance by "writ" to disobey if the King fall into the hands of those who shall force him to do anything to Mar's prejudice. But this is very secret.
This matter of Dunipace will haste a mischief, for about the 24th August Mar charges him and his accomplices to underly the law, and both pursuers and defenders will appear with all their friends. Airth and Dunipace think to have Elphinstone, Fleming, Livingston, Hume, Cessford, Buccleuch, the Council and Session [as] their friends, and the Queen also. Mar shall be no less than 2000 gentlemen, who are already in "catologe," with the favour of Edinburgh and such assurance of the King's goodwill as word and writ can make. This is certain. The ministry also have begun to proceed against the said murderers with their "censures."
Here are presently some commissioners from the last General Assembly at Montrose, to report to his Majesty things concluded there and to require his consent in some matters touching the benefit of the Church, which cannot otherwise take effect. The Goodman of Monimusk and Mr. Richard Douglas are here dealing both with his Majesty and commissioners for Angus, who offers to find caution to subscribe and never to swerve again. Some, courtiers and ministers both, pity him, but "diversly," the ministers thinking him the least malicious Papist of all and not blotted with murders, as Huntly is. The courtiers would have him received as a preparative for bloody Huntly. I have also written at large to Mr. Archibald Primrose, by whom you will know all which is here omitted. Stirling. Unsigned.
Postscript.—The Queen is not as they pretend to be, which the King begins to perceive. If there were no more but that, it were enough to make mischief enough.
2 pp. In Mr. John Colville's hand. Addressed in the same hand: "To 5." Endorsed by Robert Bowes: "Mr. John Colvill. Sterling xxiiij° July, Grenewich primo Augusti, 1595."
609. Mr. John Colville to George Nicolson. [July 24.] Printed in Colville's Letters, p. 170.
This morning his Majesty, hearing that sundry have convened at Edinburgh with intention to "intend" some change, has taken a manful resolution that he will go thither this same day to see what they mean; so let my letters go through, but send this therewith. All the rest contained in my former, God willing, shall hold, especially the warrant given to Mar in case his "unfrendis" cause the King to do anything against his heart. Send all away in haste. This is an hour after the "dait" of my former this same 24th of July, 1595. Unsigned.
½ p. In Mr. John Colville's hand. Addressed in the same hand: "To my trest freind Georg Nicolsone." Endorsed by Robert Bowes: "Mr. John Colvill to Georg Nycolson. Sterling 24 July 1595." Names in cipher deciphered.
609a. John Archibald (fn. 26) to Robert Bowes. [July 24.]
Late advertisement has come here from the borders of Kintyre to Junior (young Lawers) and me that the "haill navie" of the islesmen had remained upon that coast the space of three days or thereby, and now last Monday, 21st July, they passed by sea to the Isle of Man and, according as their success is there, their purpose afterwards is towards the parts of Ireland. Their number is certified to be 2400 or thereby. Their vessels are about six score, small and large. The "haill principallis of the Iyllis" are in this army, to wit, Donald Gorm, MacLeod of Harris, MacLeod of Lewis, Captain of Clanranald (Glenronnald) with another clan, called Clan Ian (Claneane), which are "ane disordowrit kynd of peipill."
Angus MacConnell has not passed there himself, but has sent 500 men or thereby under his son. His remaining behind is thought to be for entreating peace with MacLean; and, if this takes effect, they are both to follow this army into Ireland with their forces and that with expedition.
Nevertheless "moyan" shall be made whereby that peace shall not take effect until your lordship be made duly advertised, and in the meantime Angus "sall nocht schoirtlie profeit in that eirand." If this so be, the army that are already passed away are to return back from Ireland with diligence.
Angus MacConnell has likewise sent for MacCondochy (M'Konndoquhy) to be in readiness to pass with him. But young Lawers, who has lately received your token (of 100 angels), has gone to him for staying of his journey. If he pass there, it shall be to do good offices and service in what[soever] form you please [to] set down; and before he take journey you shall be duly advertised of his embarking, his number and place of landing. The islesmen already gone confide altogether in their vessels, so that they intend to land in some "strait part" of the country where, as said is, their intention is not to remain if Angus MacConnell and MacLean do not follow.
When this army passed by these lowland parts Argyll passed homeward, thinking they would invade his country by reason of their number; which now is known was not their intention. I have received your small token of 50 crowns; yet the assurance I learn from your letter to George [Nicolson] shall make me do such honour and service in this errand that you shall have proof to count me as worthy as any that ever has been employed by your lordship. Edinburgh. Signed: Filius.
2 pp. Holograph, also address: "To my lord Bowes." Endorsed by Robert Bowes: "Mr. John Archbald. Edenburgh xxiiij° July, Grenewich xxx ejusdem, 1595."
610. John Cunningham to Robert Bowes. [July 24.]
Please to receive letters from John Auchinross to yourself and to George [Nicolson], whereby you will perceive that Donald Gorm with his company has come to Angus MacConnell. In my opinion they are bound rather "upoun" the Isle of Man than Ireland at this time. As ever, I only wish MacLean were bound in duty to the Queen's service; and the sooner the better. I hear that Argyll is shortly bound home from Court. As soon as he comes to Argyle he will send for MacLean. It is needful that you be "at pointt" with him before they meet, for I assure you that it must be MacLean and his friends who must take service upon them to do our matters. Come what will, I shall be ready as it shall please Sir Robert [Cecil] and your lordship to employ me. Edinburgh.
2/3 p. Holograph, also address: "To my guid lord and meist speciale my lord Bowes, imbassetour." Endorsed by Robert Bowes: "John Conyngham. Edenburgh xxiiij° July, Grenewich xxx° ejusdem, 1595."
611. Laird of Easter Wemyss to Robert Bowes. [After July 24.]
I have looked long for performance of promises, desiring you to let me have my "uter ansur" that I be no longer "frustrat." His Majesty came to this town on 24th [July], unlooked for by any. He has shown his mind, especially towards Mar, little to the contentment of the Chancellor and his associates. He commanded the Master of Glamis not to come near, but Lord Hume brought him to his Majesty, who was "scarly contentit." He would have agreement, but I see no great appearance.
I wrote to you to deliver 63l. to James Hudson. Advertise me if you have not done this, and at least see that the bond "forfalt not" until I have your answer, for I am at a point to deliver the silver to an English merchant, and abide only your answer. The delay of promises makes me to stay some of what I promised to you, for there was never anyone "haid mair caus to plaint." Signed: Est Vemes.
¾ p. Holograph, also address. Undated. Endorsed by Robert Bowes: "Larde of Wemes. Received London, v° Augusti 1595."
612. Mr. George Erskine to George Nicolson. [July 25.]
On Wednesday the 23rd Argyll came to this country, where we have found upon our borders the army of the Irishmen threatening to invade us. for now they have got intelligence of the friendship betwixt him and her Majesty. But his country-people were so prepared and in arms that as yet they have not made any invasion. They are on this side of the Mull of Kintyre at an island called Arran (Awing.) Advertisement is come this day to my lord that they dare not invade his country, but will first go to the Isle of Man and spoil it, or to Ireland to crave aid of O'Neil for my master's invasion, because he is friend to her Majesty. But I fear that rather they will invade the Isle of Man; therefore advertise Lord Scrope and others near the West Borders to cause ships to be directed for support of that island or I fear it will come too late. Their army is of 4000 men of war and more. Haste advertisement in time to England, for I assure you there is need. Carrick. Signed: George Areskyn.
Postscript.—I may not come to the Lowlands myself. Therefore advertise me as you think expedient. My master is likely to bring upon himself a dangerous war for respect of her Majesty's "particular." But if she had provided in time for this there had been no danger. Now, the "nixt best" is to be sought, that if this storm were spent no further should happen.
1 p. Holograph, also address. Endorsed by George Nicolson: "Mr. Geo Erskin. Carrict 25, Edenburgh 29, July 1595. Per Ro. Erskin of Edenburgh."
613. [Mr. John Colville] to [George Nicolson]. [July 26.] Printed in Colville's Letters, p. 283.
You may perceive ere now that the King, with his will, shall not do as the Chancellor and that crew would, and I think the Master of Glamis is discharged, and it may be the King is already away. By all appearance Mar will prevail with him, for he has much assurance, as I wrote before; and at their departure the King said that if he for any "persuasion of accident" suffered the young Prince to go out of his hands till he were fifteen years old he should have his malediction. The letter you sent me is from "Standfaist," making mention that he has persuaded more of Bothwell's company to his effect against the said Bothwell.
¾ p. In Mr. John Colville's hand. Addressed in the same hand: "To 5 servand." Endorsed by Robert Bowes: "Y. Y. Y. Sterling, 26 July 1595."
614. George Nicolson to Robert Bowes. [July 26.]
It is still confirmed that the islanders are at sea, some say for Ireland, spoiling the coast of Scotland on their way. For safety of Argyle the Earl has ridden there with great diligence, so that Mr. George Erskine (Plaine) has not yet his token, which I wish were better, as also that Argyll were dealt with with certainty. I hear that Donald Gorme came on land in Argyle and asked where my lord was; that it was answered that he was in the Lowland about his "adois"; that Donald told the Captain of the Clan Allister that if he had been within 30 miles he would have gone to visit him with 24, and willed the Captain to commend him and his service to my lord and to show him that he was so far for Ireland. So no doubt my lord is still tempted by many with fair offers, and therefore his consideration is over-long delayed and left upon hope. But this [I leave] to wiser consideration. [In the margin, in Nicolson's hand: "Filius (Mr. Jo. Archbald). Content 10 (Argyll) and Pat (Macklayne) with spede, and command their services."] John Auchinross (Fluour), to whom I have sent his token, reports that these men have sent two boats, with the best wares they have, to Ayr or Irvine (Urwyne) to "make mony on" or exchange for powder, lead and other necessaries; and I have acquainted Mr. Aston therewith that he may cause some courtier to take the benefit thereof to his own gains; for there is good store of good gear in the boats, and they are the King's rebels, whose escheats any who could get them may have. I have sent to Man, I hope in time, if my letters get passage at Kirkcudbright. [In the margin, in Nicolson's hand: "Sir James Sandelandis will answer to take them if it be so, for so he sayeth Mr. Aston sett him on work."]
On Thursday, late in the evening, the King came hither unexpectedly upon Sir Robert Melville's letter, certifying that the Queen was sick, and that he had "tryed" [proved] it so by the Mistress of Ochiltree and sundry other gentlewomen, "suppose" [although] the King had in great anger told Sir Robert that it was said she feigned the same that she might draw him hither for some purposes. At the King's coming Buccleuch and Cessford were with the Queen, but did not stay then.
Lord Hamilton having ended his action, and meaning yesterday to depart, sent to the King to know whether he should stay and wait on him or not, freely offering his service as the King should appoint. The King gave him thanks and leave to go home, which he did. The King took order that night that none save such as he should send for should come to him unless they came alone. Yesterday he sent for the Chancellor, the Prior of Blantyre and Sir Robert Melville. But Buccleuch and Cessford "tooke it evill" they were not also called for. The King also sent for Mr. Robert Bruce, who at first was out of the town, and for Mr. David Lindsay and others, to whom he has said that he has some matters to propone to them and for which he will have them with him on the 15th or 16th of next month. His chiefest travails here are to comfort the Queen and to dissuade her from her former intention, which she most earnestly insists on, and wherein great grief grows between both, for they are both resolute, neither of them yielding. Yesternight the two lairds went down to the King to his supper but had no good countenance of him.
Buccleuch was late out yesternight with the Queen. This day the Chancellor and the rest, either by themselves or their commissioners, are at council, and it is "ones" [in the first place] agreed to stay the King, and thereon by proclamation to charge Mar to come within forty-eight hours, and upon his coming in to take the Prince and the two places from him, and upon his refusal to proclaim him traitor and pursue him by a lieutenant with all rigour. But the King is this day to go away, some think warned of it.
The Queen is in the plot and has promised to keep the King till 10 o'clock and great appearance there is hereof, for their dependers are quietly appointed to arm, but yet they are at council and may change their course, as three especial times they have done of late. [In the margin, in Nicolson's hand: "51 (the Chancelour) disswades, sayeng yet he is and wilbe theirs. 69 (Buckleugh) is earnest, fearing not to gitt so good opportunitie."] However it be, the good men and wise think the end will be strange, and marvel that her Majesty, in love of the King and Kirk here, has not some one of account here, like yourself, to look to these dangers and care for the King and Kirk.
Lord Livingstone is "agreing" Fleming and Drumelzier (Drummolier), and it is concluded before the Chancellor; so it is evident these agreements are "of highe courses." Dunipace and young Airth make no doubt but to hold out against Mar, especially by the "back" they have of this side "and all upon the factioun of the Queen (E.)." Edinburgh. Signed: Geo. Nicolson.
Postscript.—Seeing this thus in working I stayed these to see the end. The Chancellor has so dissuaded the enterprise by message to the Master of Glamis, Buccleuch, etc., that they have not put it in execution, for the King has gone after long debating the cause with the Prior of Blantyre, Sir George Hume, Sir Robert Melville and the Chancellor, who protests to be for the King. The Prior has told Roger Aston and willed him to tell the King that he has got great honour by coming to the Queen and standing so constantly to his resolution that his continuance therein will break the party of the Chancellor; and has told him that the Chancellor should be shortly tried to see if he will "performe with the King" to make amends and to stay this labour of theirs. Some of that side, as Buccleuch, look that they shall be warded as soon as the King shall be at Falkland, and I hear they are sorry they have omitted this opportunity. The Master of Glamis is commanded [out] of the town already, and they are "at new resolutions to be taken." The King has gone to Falkland. The Chancellor and the two Lairds left him at the gate and returned to the Queen. All these things I write as I hear—not for truth. Therefore let them be kept secret and measured by the sequel.
1¾ pp. Holograph, also address. Endorsed by Robert Bowes: "Georg Nycolson. Edenburgh xxvj° July, Grenewich primo Augusti, 1595.' Names in cipher, deciphered.
615. [Roger Aston] to [Robert Bowes]. [July 26.]
By this I confirm all I wrote before and tell how this matter goes on. On Thursday, the 25th, the King came to this town on advertisements of the Queen's sickness and to despatch some other affairs. His sudden coming was conjectured diversely, everyone as they would have it. Some thought "there was wone," (fn. 27) for all they desire was but to have the King here. The Queen has given a new . . . (fn. 28) "sett" in two ways: first, by earnest solicitation and next by tears. The King has bidden all and has given [g]reat reasons why he stands upon his former resolution. He begins to stir all the matter and so see further into it than before. His conclusion is noways to yield to that course. The Chancellor has discovered himself more than before, whereupon the King has used harder speeches to him.
I see the plot is great, and yet if the King continues as he has yet done all will be well. The [par]ties are strong in this town, abiding to see what the Queen may do. The chief strength of this faction is Lord Hume, the Master of Glamis, Cessford and Buccleuch; and for evil of the Earl of Mar there are drawn hither Livingstone, Fleming, the Master of Elphinstone (Elveston), Airth and Dunipace, who is now in another course than you have seen him.
This day the King has gone to Falkland. If the Queen may travel she will go thither, but I do not look she shall stir . . . (fn. 29) She has conceived so great an indignation against Mar that it will breed great mischief ere all be done, if his Majesty does not foresee it all in time. These factions and practices no doubt will breed a peril to the King, the religion and amity, as I have written before. The time is here very dangerous. I wish you here, but not except you come with good encouragement to the King and contentment to good men. Holyroodhouse. Unsigned.
1½ pp. In Roger Aston's hand. No fly-leaf or address.
616. Mr. John Colville to George Nicolson. [July 29.] Printed in Colville's Letters, p. 170.
Yesterday Mar rode to the Gask, a house of Tullibardine's, where his Majesty is presently, and will remain some three or four days. From thence [the King goes] to Falkland again to the buck hunting for fourteen days, where her Majesty shall meet him, and so they both come to this town. When the Queen comes to Stirling they are like to remain there longer than is looked for.
Mar's day of law "holdis fordoart" on 19th August. How courageously his Majesty behaved himself there, contrary [to] all their expectation, you know better than I. This much in haste. I expect next week to send you some more news, and I trust by now Mr. Archibald Primrose "be at his wittis end." Stirling. Unsigned.
Postscript.—At the closing up hereof I received your note. You may be assured the King's heart is tied to Mar, for Mar shall prove honest always, and if any be among us meaning truly to England it shall be Mar. You see that apparently I have taken the best course in following Mar.
1 p. In Mr. John Colville's hand. Addressed in the same hand: "To 5, his servand." Endorsed by Bowes: "Y. Y. Y. To 5 servant. Sterling 29 July, 1595."
617. George Nicolson to Robert Bowes. [July 30.]
I enclose letters touching "Ireland causes" that you may judge by them rather than by my writing thereof, and may certify accordingly, that such order may be taken as shall be thought meetest. As yet, you see, no certainty comes of the purposes of the islanders, but as soon as they be discovered you shall be advertised. I hear that her Majesty's ships on that coast much terrify them. If there be ships there, it were, in my opinion, a great advantage if they had intelligence with friends here.
Hearing Scrope is absent, I have this day written to Mr. Carleton to give warning to the Isle of Man to be upon their guard to withstand the islanders. I wrote by Kirkcudbright to the Captain of the Isle of Man on Thursday last (which I hope has got passage to him), and I omit no means in my power to do good in this matter, seeming daily of more and more importance.
In Scotland the factions are "att great hight." Albeit the King before his departure gave good words to the Queen and put them in hope of yielding to her motion, seeming to be content that that matter should come to the vote and consideration of the Council, and whereon the Queen will go to him on Tuesday next or sooner in hope thereof, yet the Chancellor's side very well espy that he is altogether for Mar, as he is indeed; and they have made themselves "on a great frendship," viz., the Chancellor, Hamilton, Hume, Fleming, Livingstone, Buccleuch, Cessford, the Master of Glamis, and sundry others, who are all in one course. Daily councils are holden and sundry and changeable courses still concluded. Blantyre has gone in fear of displeasure. Thomas Erskine, Michael Elphinstone and others were meant to have been removed by the Chancellor's side because they are seen [to be] great dealers for Mar; and it is still confirmed that it was meant, as I before wrote, that the King should have been stayed.
The Queen will never give over the motion, nor will the King ever yield. Both have great encouragement to stand fast to their resolutions, so that there is no appearance of anything but the mightiest mischiefs. The time is proper for her Majesty now both to do the King good and to make friends in Scotland, as wise men here say. Nothing but agreement (whereof I see no appearance) can stay these things from sudden and fearful attempts. If Mar escapes and the King stands, all will be his. But I still look for sudden accidents. Mr. Robert Bruce is to go to the King within two or three days, where he looks the King will plainly seek his advice. Mr. Bruce fears evil but will persuade the best. I write plain. "Trie" and keep secret for God's cause.
As to the estate here, all is quiet. The King is at Gask, shortly to return to Falkland, whither her Majesty is to go to him some day next week. On 19th August Mar has his day of law for the slaughter of David Forrester. At this day of law it is likely there will be a beginning of troubles, for the friends of the parties pursued will assist and bear them out to keep them from condemnation, and they will be very strong, and so will Mar be. Edinburgh. Signed: Geo. Nicolson.
Postscript.—To-morrow "the Sessions breake up," and thereupon the Chancellor and the rest depart home. But at the day of law all the strength of that side will come in with Dunipace and young Airth against Mar unless the King stays them, as is thought he will by committing the lairds [Cessford and Buccleugh] and Glamis to ward, which [they] say they will not submit themselves to unless it be to their own friends' houses. But this I leave to the sequel, "for it may be and not be" for anything I hear. Here is very hard news out of France, but better known to your worship than here, I hope.
1¾ pp. Holograph, also address. Endorsed by Robert Bowes: "Georg Nycolson. Edenburgh 30 Julij, London v° Augusti, 1595." Names in cipher deciphered.
618. Mr. George Erskine to George Nicolson. [July 31.]
Since my last letter from Carrick my master has received surer and more certain advertisements of the islesmen's proceedings, of their counsels and "avysementis." After they had brought their whole forces about the Mull of Kintyre to an island called Arran (Awing), six miles on this side of the Mull, with intention to assail my master's countries, they "of new" took counsel, wherein, according to the diversities of their opinions, "dyverslye" they re solved upon three especial points: first, to assail my master's countries and not to leave any enemies behind; secondly, until their return to leave the same and presently to assail [the Isle of] Man. The third [was] to follow their first intention to pass into Ireland for the Earl's support. This last was followed, and for these respects they durst not invade my master's country, knowing his forces to be greater and able to abide longer together than theirs, and to be so near neighbours to them that it was thought expedient first to execute some other exploit, and, if that succeeded, with supplies from Ireland to enter into war with my master's countries, hoping to obtain support from the Earl by reason that it is "almaist throuchly knawen" of the friendship betwixt my master and her Majesty, and because he has not given aid to the Earl. They did not follow their intention against Man, "only hinderit by tempest," so they took journey on Tuesday, 22nd July, from Arran (Awing) towards Ireland, "and directit to Loche Foile."
They were five score sail, of which there were nearly fifty galleys. The number of their men was near 5000. Since their passing to Ireland the storms are so great in these parts that no word is come of their arrival, or of any action. All things were in such state before my master's coming to his country that he could by no "faire, indirect meane" hinder their passing, they being already on their journey, so he took purpose to cut off by open force such as were following them. For the same effect he "directit to" MacLean, who "omittit na gud occasion." He assailed the Captain of Clan Ranald's camp of 700 men, took the Captain, stripped his men and sent them home, taking ten or twelve galleys with other smaller "sailles." This was done by MacLean, having my master's force with him, on the same days when their greater forces passed to Ireland. The islesmen at their parting from Arran directed to my master a proud letter mentioning their return to entreat with him for an advantageous appointment. This is all that has passed "thir dayes bygayne." Only one thing is now to be "looked into"—that some means be found to withdraw these men from Ireland and to hinder their passing there any more, which is much harder to do than it would have been to hinder their conventions and first meetings in the beginning of last winter, when her Majesty wrote to my master, "giff solidly and with effect it had bein followed." But now the next is to be sought and advice followed with better expedition. Dunoon. Signed: George Areskyn.
2 pp. Holograph, also address. Endorsed by George Nicolson: "Mr. Geo. Erskyn. Dunune ultimo July, Edenburgh 4 August, 1595. By Mr. Danyell Chamers."
619. Roger Aston to Robert Bowes. [July 31.]
By my last I advertised you of our present estate, and although I know you are sufficiently informed of all the particularities of the plot intended, yet in case there be anything omitted which as yet has not come to your knowledge, I have thought good by this to set down the same and circumstances of all. First, the beginning of all proceeded upon the agreement between the Queen and the Chancellor, which was wrought by Buccleuch and Cessford. The "mentt" [attempt] to alter the officers of estate made that agreement. The Master of Glamis, perceiving himself to be "put att," set all his wits awork. First [he] fell in with the Chancellor and then entered into a great league with Buccleuch and Cessford, [and] "having the Lord Houme his ryghtt hand" set others awork, whose credit he thought better at the Queen's hand than his own, whereby to give Mar some other thing to think of than changing the officers of estate. For the better performance of this work he persuaded the Chancellor that the course intended against the officers was meant against him as well as the rest. Thereupon he made all his "moyan" to keep a fast foot however the world went, and so the agreement was made, and shortly after the motion was made by the Queen for the Prince's removing. It appears the Chancellor was privy from the first, yet to avoid all suspicion, knowing the King to be of another resolution and fearing himself to be suspected, when his opinion was craved he seemed to be as earnest in that matter as the King himself. Whereupon the King was thoroughly satisfied, commending his upright dealing and wise counsel. By doing this the Chancellor thought to keep his credit with both. But as soon as the Queen got knowledge of his counsel to the King she accused him of his former promise, and also such as he had got himself in friendship with began to suspect him. Whereupon he gave further promise, thinking the Queen by her earnest persuasion should obtain her intent and thereby he should keep his credit with both.
The King, beginning to have some suspicion, thought he could not discover the matter better than to appoint a day of meeting between the Chancellor and Mar at Falkland, the Prior of Blantyre being appointed to deal in the matter between them on the day appointed, but the letter to the Prior did not come to him till the day he should have been in Falkland. Whereupon the Chancellor took occasion to stay, alleging he could not come without the Prior. Mar came according to the appointment, and finding he was disappointed "toke it as a skorne." Upon the receipt of the King's letter the Prior came to the King to exonerate himself, declaring he was not advertised till the day he should have been there. So this first appointment broke. Thereafter the King passed to Stirling, consulting with the Prior upon a new meeting between the Chancellor and Mar in Falkland thirteen days thereafter, at the King's returning from Stirling.
The Chancellor, understanding the resolution, found himself "at" a strait, either displeasing the King if he did not come, or bringing himself into displeasure with the Queen and his confederates if he did come. Whereupon, to colour the matter, he desired to come accompanied with his friends, thinking thereby to come with such force that he might command all, or else [that] by convocation of forces the King would be constrained to dissolve the meeting. This proceeded. The King being in Stirling, all their wits were laid together [to devise] how he might be drawn to Edinburgh. No way could be better devised than to send "the doctores of fesike" to assure him of the Queen's sickness, as also Sir George Hume's confirmation, who was in Edinburgh, as he alleged, upon some affairs in law. But the truth is his remaining there was at the Queen's desire to draw the King thither.
The King upon these advertisements and for sundry other respects,—first, in that their whole forces and friendship were there, and next in that they accounted all their own if they might once attain his presence—to give a proof of his love to his wife set aside all occasion of suspicion, jealousy or pleasures and presently came to Edinburgh, where, as I thought, we found the Queen very merry and well disposed, with great tokens of love between the King and her. There was great conjecturing in the town of his sudden coming (for many believed he would not have come), but chiefly in that he discharged all men from his presence but such as he sent for.
That night the Queen insisted very earnestly in her suit and thought to have obtained her intent. The King, perceiving that she was purposed to follow out the matter, took it in a "more heyger [higher] sortt" than before and gave her this answer, "My hartt, I am sorry you should be persuaded to move me to thatt wich wil be the destrocsion of me and my blod." Whereupon the Queen fell to tears and so left off that purpose. The next day the King sent for the Chancellor, the Prior of Blantyre and Sir Robert Melville. After long conference with them he conferred with the Chancellor alone, by whose language he gathered that he "was forther entred into the matter" than he believed, and thereupon used some hard language to him, saying, "If any thinke I am forther sobgett to my wife then with reson I oughtt to be, the[y] are butt treteres and souch as wold seme to desoner me"; and that night passed from him in some passion. The next morning the Prior of Blantyre and Sir Robert Melville were directed to him with a sharp message from the King. Whereupon he yielded himself to all obedience, and desired that he might speak with his Majesty; and thereupon he was sent for, conferring a long time before the Prior, Sir Robert and Sir George Hume, yielding to the King all obedience, refusing all factions and yielding himself only to his Majesty's will; and thus the King and he "sondertt" [parted].
There have been high purposes "in hed" at this time, for when they saw the Queen could not by her credit attain to their intent they took consultation to put hand to work, first, to stay the King against his will, and next to make a sacrifice of such as they thought enemies to their cause, as the Prior, Thomas Erskine (Asken), Michael Elphinstone. My part had been in the "pott" with the rest. This is more than is discovered to the King. His coming to Edinburgh at this time has brought him into great reputation; first, in that he came so slenderly accompanied at the time they were strongest, and next, that he stood stoutly to his resolution against so sore assaults. The Earl of Orkney, I doubt not, thinks himself behind hand, for since his purpose failed in Flanders he has waited here, hoping to have had the Prince and the Castle of Edinburgh. Although he dissembled the matter with the King he was as deep in as the rest. I see nothing but that those whom the King most trusts soonest deceive him, looking rather to their own particular than the honour and preservation of him who has preserved them. Except the Prior of Blantyre I find not one who gave the King faithful counsel at this time. Sir Robert is a good man, but he is loth to offend any. All things are settled for the present, and the Queen goes to Falkland where she will remain till the King's return from his hunting in the west country at the latter end of September. They parted very lovingly, and she has promised to follow his will in all things. I believe she will insist no further in the matter seeing the King is too far bent against it.
The King has sent for Mar to meet him at the Gask, where they are now making merry. From thence the King comes to Falkland to meet the Queen. Till our coming to Edinburgh I doubt not but all will be quiet. But then I fear we shall enter into one mischief or other. The rancour is so rooted in men's hearts that it is unreconcilable till some of them destroy "otheres." I fear nothing but the bringing in of the Papists again, which will "perrel" the King and the good cause. Men here for revenge of their particulars will bring in the devil ere their cause perish. Upon the King's departing out of Edinburgh he left the Prior there upon some particular affairs he had committed to his charge. The King was no sooner away than the Prior's death was practised, alleging they could never attain to their purpose "exsep he were awaye." This was known to the Chancellor, who gave the Prior secret advertisement to depart from the town. Thereupon the Prior removed his lodging and kept himself quiet a day or two, [and] thereafter withdrew from the town and has now gone to his own house. He sent for me to meet him at Linlithgow; which I did, and received some directions to the King. From thence I came to this town to despatch this letter to you. I am now going to Falkland to discharge my commission to the King, and purpose to remain there a while to behold the state of matters, and thereafter to give you advertisement as occasion serves.
The Prior passed from me to meet with Mar. How these matters will fall out I know not. By appearance there is likely to be mischief enough if they that are honest, upright and religious may not have place to serve their master truly.
I am surely informed that these great borderers are purposed to break the Borders and thereby to drive the King to satisfy them in their desire, or else to bring him into such trouble that without them he cannot be served. Seeing his intention is altogether to have quietness, their intent is to give him trouble if they may. Their violent course begins to be more "volgatt" [divulged] than it was, so that I know it will be plainly discovered to the King. What course he will then take I know not. I hear the Chancellor begins "to cast aboutt," finding fault with their violent courses. If it were not to serve her Majesty I should not abide long here, for no honest man can be sure of his life. Edinburgh. Unsigned.
Postscript.—After I had "enclost" this other packet and thought to have sent it by a garrison man, fearing the worst I thought it better to employ William Hume, and to send it by Sir John Selby's convoy, to whom I wrote to send my letters either to you or Sir Robert Cecil. Since the closing of my packet there has been a secret council between the Master of Glamis, Lord Hume, Cessford and Buccleuch, and for conclusion they have sworn "every one to take partt with other" and to be ready when the Master shall think good either with their counsel or forces. The Master has this day employed William Hume to get him some horsemen to serve him. I know he has written to Aberdour to get him a horse or two. There is nothing looked for here but misery and mischief now. I would think meetest that her Majesty take some care, and that either yourself or some of credit were here. But none can do good but yourself, therefore I pray you to bring comfort to this King, for if he perish all hope of quietness is gone. He does not see his own peril, "nor none dare dele betwne the barke and trye" [tree]. You know my meaning.
9 pp. In Roger Aston's hand. Addressed in the same hand: "To my lord embaster." Endorsed by Robert Bowes: "Roger Aston." Edinburgh ultimo July, Grenewich vij° Augusti, 1595.