Calendar of State Papers, Scotland: Volume 11, 1593-1595. Originally published by Edinburgh, 1936.
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Robert Bowes to Burghley. [July 7.]
On 2nd and 5th July I received your letters of 27th and 30th June, with a packet addressed by Sir Robert Melvill to the Secretary here, which were delivered immediately according to their directions. By your lordship's last I perceive that her Majesty desires to be certified how two sums paid to my hands for the King of Scots have been expended: first, in the 23rd year of her Majesty's reign [1581–2], 3000l., and next, in the 24th year following, 1000l. Albeit I remember well that other sums have come, yet at present I cannot call to perfect memory the certainty of the sums received, the times of delivery and the manner of defray of the same; and the true account of all the particularities therein I before drew and delivered to my servant, Cristopher Sheperson, to be presented to your lordship. I have now directed Sheperson (presently at Berwick assisting Mr. Clopton to make the pay there) to search out and bring to me those accounts, which I shall send by him with all the expedition I can. I remember that I paid at the time mentioned for the maintenance of a guard then kept about the King 1000l. or 2000 marks, as by the acquittance in Sheperson's hands will appear. The rest I must refer to the view of the account mentioned, the double whereof I have not in this place.
The bruit of great assemblies of noblemen in tumultuous sort (as appears to have come to your lordship's hearing) has hitherto not been known further than I have certified of the assembly of Hamilton and Argyll for the day of law of Ardkinglass and of the accident fallen out betwixt their companies meeting at the Canongate, which is appeased, as before I have advertised. The common voice spread that Captain James Stewart shall become Chancellor has been grounded upon the plot of some courtiers, in which gap I drove a thorn. Some would have made me think that I should see Captain James in the streets this day and received at Court, which has failed, and, as I hear, the course for this Captain is to be turned into an accusation in Parliament against the Chancellor, which many suppose to be given out rather with practice to stay the Chancellor's return than with hope of good success against him in Parliament. Thus much in answer to your lordship's two letters.
The changes in that state are so frequent and sudden that oftentimes many things certified by my letters are changed before my letters can be delivered at Berwick. It was ordained and looked that sundry noblemen and councillors should have given their presence at this Convention, appointed for preparing of the affairs to be treated in the next Parliament. But as yet there are come only Athol, Ochiltree and Forbes, and now few other noblemen are appointed to be here before Monday next, the 9th, by which the preparations for the Parliament beginning [Tuesday] (fn. 1) next are very slender. The reconciliations betwixt the Duke with other courtiers and the Chancellor have been still stayed, chiefly by the absence of Lord Hume, lately returned from the north to the Court and now departed to his own house, and now of Mar and the the Master of Glamis, daily looked for but without any certainty of the time of their coming. Sundry courtiers (as I hear) confidently affirm that the Parliament shall be prorogued (which shall agree best with their desires), and I find many wise and of good experience think that it cannot hold conveniently at the day limited, being now within three or four days, yet the King plainly assures me that it shall proceed without any adjournment and with good effects, for the furtherance whereof the ministry travail earnestly with the King and noblemen and have appointed a general fast in this town.
I am informed that the determination in Parliament in the progress of the attainders and forfeitures of Angus, Huntly, Errol and other rebels depends wholly on the success of Sir Robert Melvill's affairs, and that the malicious seek the prorogation of this Parliament for the benefit of the rebels, labouring tooth and nail to allure the King to cast away all hope of Sir Robert's prosperous journey for the King's satisfaction; all which I wholly leave to your wise deliberation and counsel. The Chancellor by the King's advice has consented to the Queen's demand for the assurance of his lands in Musselburgh for her dowry. Thereon the King hastes to draw the Chancellor to be present at this Parliament. But many blocks in the passage are not yet removed.
I have heard that very lately the Stewarts have conferred for a general band to be made amongst them, and that they intend to bar the Chancellor's entry. I have been warned that Atholl shall be assayed to join in this association, wherein I have not spared to give my advice to him to beware to enter into and bind himself to any faction. I find the Stewarts having such interest in Atholl (being a Stewart) that I dare not give assurance of his resolution. The Duke has liberally offered to me, for her Majesty, not only his good devotion and all profitable office to her Majesty and for the preservation of the amity betwixt these two realms, but also his uttermost service and power for the maintenance of religion and the welfare of the King and this country, without affection to Huntly, his brother-in-law, or any other suspected. He has renewed this motion, shewing great earnestness therein, therefore I thought it my duty to present this to her Majesty's knowledge and pray direction by letter, that may be showed if necessary.
The special mediators of Angus, Huntly and Errol are presently here, intending to labour to the Kirk to accept their submission, that their suits to the King and Parliament may receive the more favour, and Huntly has sent to Patrick Murray certain articles to be solicited to the King and Parliament. I enclose a copy of these articles, got secretly and brought to me. I have been advertised that a rabble of thieves of Kintyre, Argyle and the Isle of Arran, to the number of 500 men, are gathered together purposing to invade the Isle of Man. Whereof, for the present, I have given notice to Lord Scrope that he may warn the Captain of the Isle of Man.
Besides the King's commission to Mr. William Orde and his letter to the King of Spain for the advancement of Orde's errand, there were found on him five letters addressed to one of the Session, not named, and to four merchants of this town. The contents of the letters rested most in compliments, always referring credit to the bearer, who by the King's order has given caution to answer to all charges against him, and passes without strait examination. The others, which were taken in the ship with his clothes, were papers for his own remembrance and are of small consequence. Edinburgh. Signed: Robert Bowes.
Postscript.—By act of Council, resolveo this day, the Parliament shall begin on the 10th instant, notwithstanding that the appearance thereat shall be very small; in regard whereof it is intended to spend five or six days in the lightest matters, and by new variances falling betwixt the ambassadors for Denmark and the Chancellor in the manner of the assurances made to the Queen, the Chancellor is not likely to be present on the first day of the Parliament. It is feared that troubles shall arise at this assembly gathered in this disorder, whereof the Chancellor seeks to be clear in the eyes of the world, or at least himself in safety.
Harl. MSS. 4648. p. 129. See Calendar, p. 116, No. 85.
Robert Bowes to Burghley. [July 10.]
This day I received a packet of letters addressed by Sir Robert Melvill to me, and signed and warranted by your lordship for convoy by post. In it there was one letter to the Secretary, one to young Sir Robert Melvill, two to Andrew Melvill and one to myself. By these it is understood that Sir Robert has had favourable audience of her Majesty and conference with some of her Privy Council, and that he attends for answer; which (as he writes) he hopes shall be for the King's good contentment, a matter no less "looked" than heartily prayed for here for the common benefit of the common causes; the regard whereof (chiefly in view of the present confusion in this estate and deemed remediable only by his good success in England) I wholly refer to wise advice and consideration; and for my own part I must turn me shortly to defend my services now condemned and noted to be cast down like good milk with the foot of an unruly cow.
The King, with few noblemen and many commissioners for barons and burghs, was at the Tolbooth this Tuesday, the 10th instant, first, to begin the Parliament at the day prescribed, and next, to fence and put it over until Saturday. In the meantime the King and this assembly intend to make choice of the Lords of the Articles and to prepare all things to be presented to this Parliament, especially for the attainders and forfeitures of Angus, Huntly, Errol and Auchindoun, and of such as were present at Murray's death. I am informed that Mr. David Macgill, the King's chief Advocate, has casten in some doubt, affirming that the summons (meaning the probation of the crimes objected) against Angus, Huntly, Errol and Auchindounis not sufficiently proved and apparent for the Parliament to proceed to forfeiture. [In the margin: Mr. David in some sort denies this matter. It is growing warm and I shall kindle it more, as your lordship shall shortly understand.] But Mr. David Skene, the other Advocate, maintains the summons to be very sufficient, and some others learned are of his opinion. The King seems to be greatly perplexed, purposing to call to-morrow others of the Session to decide the question, saying that in his own person he has omitted nothing, and that he trusts that the lords and commissioners will concur and proceed with him agreeable to duty and justice. On this point the success of the Parliament will depend, and I have heard that the offenders are in good comfort therein, yet the King shows himself very forward for the allowance of the sufficiency of the summons, and the well affected are not void of hope that the same shall be done in this Parliament; wherein your Lordship shall shortly have advertisement. For the preservation of the peace amongst the noblemen come hither the King had granted commission to sundry ministers here to take general assurance in writing of the lords by their subscription to the draft of the assurance devised. The commissioners, moving the Duke, Athol and some others for their assent and subscription to the assurances, found dilatory answers. Whereupon the King called for and received in the Tolbooth the several promises of all the noblemen assembled, professing openly there to keep the peace during this Parliament for themselves and their followers, so far as they can; and the town of Edinburgh has taken very good order herein, so that there is better hope Parliament shall be quiet, unless it shall be troubled with accidents not now expected, or altered by the practice and craft of the malicious awaiting to take advantage of anything.
The King in his oration in the Tolbooth checked as well some lords and councillors licensed to depart and who returned not at the day appointed, as also others departing without his privity or leave and who tarried beyond due times, leaving him slenderly accompanied, so that he could not provide for the good progress of matters as behoved. He concluded (as I hear) with a request to them to amend this fault with good diligence for the expedition of the causes to be tried in Parliament, especially for the trials and forfeitures. It is told me that the friends and solicitors of the parties charged in these treasons have set up all their sails, purposing to stand upon the insufficiency of the probation of their summons and after excuses given for default of appearance of the persons summoned will tender large offers for their acquittance, wherein they trust to find friendship, especially among the assembly of the noblemen, for the greater part of the commissioners for the barons and burghs are looked to be against them.
It is told me that the Master of Elphinstone, the Lairds of Bouchan, Findlater and Pitlurg are soliciting the cause of the three Earls; that for the managing of the secret affairs Balquhan and Findlater are chiefly employed, who had laid their posts for the speedy convoy of letters and messages betwixt the Earls and them; that for the expedition of intelligence Huntly has lately come into Fife; that he had sent hither Troupe with letters and blanks, and Troupe having lately returned with letters and report Huntly departed northwards and passed the water of Spey; that Huntly still standing on his innocency (and saying that he is not "in case of" Angus and Errol) offers to endure imprisonment at the King's pleasure, and that for the surety thereof Pitlurg shall presently enter into and remain in ward until he comes and relieves him, and that if he make default that then both Pitlurg's head shall be stricken off and also Huntly shall be declared traitor and lose life, lands and all he possesses; that Huntly will obey and follow from henceforth the King's pleasure, upon pain of death and forfeitures; that he will with all submission and sincerity satisfy the Church, and thereon remove all Jesuits and Papists from him and exhibit the bodies of the Jesuits in the north; that for these open offices Pitlurg has commission; and some having interest in him made me think that he would have dealt with me this day in the name of the three Earls, offering to her Majesty very large overtures with hostages or any other assurances. But, his coming being delayed, I think his mind is changed, peradventure upon fresh suspicion conceived this day that Sir Robert Melvill shall not bring hasty contentment to the King or this estate.
After many chops and changes in the assurances to be made to the Queen by the Chancellor, he has offered to the King (as I am informed) to give his simple blank to assure to the Queen all such possessions, and in such manner as the Queen and ambassadors for Denmark will call for. The portions and quality of the parcels demanded of him were almost accorded, but the ambassadors stand to have assurances conveyed in form used in Denmark only. These impediments are removed by the Chancellor's last offer, and thereby the King has resolved both to give contentment to the Queen and the ambassadors and also to hasten Blantyre, Lincluden and North Berwick to accomplish the agreement betwixt the Chancellor and the Duke, Mar, Hume and the Master of Glamis, that the Chancellor may be here on Friday or Saturday at the farthest. Lord Hume has committed himself and his cause to the King's "censure." Mar and the Master appear inclined to do the same; the Duke as yet standeth out. Whereupon the King hath said he will remove from him such as will not conform to his will in this behalf. Further, the King in open Session advised with the Lords for the "expedience" of the Chancellor's return and presence at this Parliament and hath thereon received their opinion approving the Chancellor's return to his office and his service in Parliament to be necessary. Albeit the King is thus determined to draw the Chancellor to him, yet his coming without perfect agreement of the parties interested will endanger him, as it is thought.
The rascal sort of Argyle, Kintyre and Arran had lately gathered and prepared sundry "lungfads" [In the margin: birlins] or boats, purposing to have spoiled the Isle of Man. But advertisement being given thereof by my means to some friends there, they have found their purpose discovered. So the greatest part of them withdrew from the others, and the rest entering the lungfads took a prey on the coast and retired to their dwelling places.
It has been confidently given out lately (with what crafty intent I know not) that Colonel Semple carried in John Scott's ship of Leith from Spain to Newhaven in France, embarked at Newhaven and arrived in the water of Clyde in the west with great plenty of gold and assurance that 6000 Spaniards should be sent to the three Earls with all expedition. But after enquiry I find that Semple has not touched any parts thereabout.
It is ordained by act of Council that Captain James Stewart shall not "kyth" himself or be seen until the end of Parliament. The King has assigned a Council to the Queen, viz., the Prior Pluscardy, President of the Session, Blantyre, Mr. John Lindsay, Mr. James Elphinstone, Mr. Thomas Hamilton. Sir James Melvill, being before assigned, is not named. And I am informed that the King is now wholly carried with the advice of this new Council likely to stay the coming of the Chancellor to this Parliament and do other things of great importance and scan curiously on the present entertainment given to Sir Robert Melvill in England, whereby I find some wise and well affected here very doubtful of happy success and speedy reformation or avoiding of the confusion now reigning in this estate, and that the progress in Parliament shall not be resolute before it shall be known here how Sir Robert proceedeth and succeedeth in England. Albeit the proclamation is published against the casting forth of any infamous libels, yet lately one libel with one letter directed to the King and closely sealed has been cast out, charging the noblemen in Court with most horrible practices against religion, the King and ministers. These are suppressed, agreeable to the proclamation, and not worthy to be specified. Edinburgh. Signed: Robert Bowes.
Postscript.—Noblemen presently at Court and in Edinburgh: the Duke, Lord Hamilton, Argyll, Atholl, Morton, Mar. Lords Hume, Ochiltree, Lindsay, Sinclair, Spynie. Master of Glamis. Please to remember her Majesty to commend Mr. James Murray to Sir Robert Melvill, that he and his cause may be recommended to the King's good consideration, agreeable to her Majesty's former motions. I have been driven to stay the despatch of these presents after they were ready, that therewith I might send the King's letter to Sir Robert Melvill.
Harl. MSS. 4648, p. 132. See Calendar p. 118, No. 86.
Robert Bowes to Burghley. [July 14.]
The Parliament to begin this Saturday is fenced and put over till Monday next. The assembly of the nobility here gathered are very small, and suspected to be doubtfully disposed in the forfeiture or attainders of Angus, Huntly and Errol; wherein Hamilton, Atholl, Lindsay and Forbes plainly declare their readiness to attaint them, and Hamilton hearing of the coldness in the Council refused to come to it, notwithstanding that he was twice sent for. None of the noblemen last sent for by the King's earnest letter have obeyed the same. It is meant that the assurances to the Queen for her dower shall be the first matter executed by this Parliament, for the expedition whereof the ambassadors for Denmark delivered yesterday the King's letters to the lords here for the confirmation of the assurances. The forfeiture of these Earls shall be next brought in question.
Because it is generally conceived that the King and lords are so far carried with the King's Advocate's opinion that the summons and libel against the Earls was not by law sufficiently proved, and that thereby they could not be lawfully forfeited by this Parliament, it was deliberated what should be done therein, and whether this Parliament should be continued or not. In which behalf the Master of Glamis, Blantyre and Lincluden were sent to confer with the ministers for their advice, and chiefly to give them satisfaction in the course to be resolved. Thereupon I repaired to the King, moving him earnestly to give commission to four or more fit persons, well affected and free from suspicion, to call on the Advocate for a view of the summons, libel and process laid against these persons and their parties, that thereon it might be known what errors or insufficiencies could be found in form or matter, to the intent that all defaults might be orderly and in season reformed, that thereon the Parliament might lawfully proceed to forfeit the offenders, and I might in best time advertise her Majesty of the King's own mind and resolution herein.
The King answered that he had already provided that all the defaults in form or substance of this cause should be examined, and the whole process in form is perfect and without any error. But the Advocate thinks that the probation of the summons and libel declaring the treasons cannot be sufficiently proved by any evidence or matter known to him, whereby the lords (as appears to him) cannot be persuaded to consent to the forfeitures upon such insufficient proof. To this I did not only lay before him the opinion of the learned here against the Advocate and the authority of a Parliament to try the same and pronounce the law by their only censures, but also opened the Advocate's fault in prejudicing the King and Parliament directly against his duty and office, and haply it may be the Advocate shall be called to answer this before the whole Parliament, as already I put it into some of their heads that he deserveth to be so dealt with.
The King reasoned much of the order and power of the Parliament in Scotland, finding it always to be ruled in trial of facts by the sufficiency of the proof of the matters alleged and given in evidence, and that he doubted the evidence given in this case should be found very slender to induce the Parliament to forfeit the parties. He also defended the Advocate's part and doing herein, and further said that if it might be found good in law yet it ought to be considered whether it were convenient for him to proceed to the forfeitures: wherein he had been earnestly advised by noblemen of his Council to beware to embark himself in the waters through which he could not pass; and thereon he entered into long discourse, namely in two causes. The first, that without her Majesty's support his power sufficeth not to execute the forfeiture of these noblemen and punish their faults agreeable to the act of Parliament to be ordained against them. In this he said that by Sir Robert Melvill's letters he findeth very favourable entertainment given to him but little hope of good success in his request, either for this support to be employed for this use, or yet for the banishing of Bothwell furth of England [and added that the noblemen of his Council] (fn. 2) wished him to try what he could trust unto before he entered into great troubles and lose such friends as he might retain. In a point of the advice given to stay these forfeitures by Parliament I cast open his former promises to her Majesty and his realm, the inconvenience arising through the occasions justly moving her Majesty, to receive assurance by this action proved the sincerity of his will to prosecute these great causes without affection to any party, and the evil and subtle minds of Councillors seeking to undermine the amity betwixt the Crowns, wherein he should be condemned in case the forfeitures should be stayed. I have been informed that he hath been counselled earnestly to attend what course the French King would take with the Catholics, and with what success Sir Robert would return, before he would prick his noblemen over far, and thereby lose help of friends for uncertainties, and that this Court is sharply bent against England so far as they dare discover themselves therein: which I recommend to wise and timely consideration.
Secondly, in very warm passion he recounted her Majesty manifold to bar the receipt and entertainment of Bothwell in England against treaties, and far otherwise than he hath done to her Majesty by delivery of O'Ruark and all her Highness's other demands. He alleged that, notwithstanding all the promises and proclamations passed, yet Bothwell is kept in Northumberland openly and to be put forth to hunt for his life. He recited many particularities, proving Bothwell's receipt in England by the allowance of her Majesty or Council; that he and John Colville had lately received gold, setting down the portions, at whose hands and by whose commandment; that therewith Bothwell furnished himself with horses,—and he seemed to have very inward intelligence in these things; and that a Scottish man, purposely employed and sent to Bothwell to sound him and discover his estate, had revealed these things as from Bothwell's mouth and upon sight of his estate, and it is suspected and likely that advertisement is given him by England. He said that the Scottish man, speaking with Bothwell, persuaded him to seek the King's favour, and for some time to spend his time in foreign parts; whereupon Bothwell answered that while he lived thus without the King's favour his pains were greater than though he were roasting and soaking by fire, yet he might not leave her Majesty's liberality for uncertainties. I omit to write all things spoken, and my power sufficeth not to satisfy him, therefore I leave all to her Majesty's wise consideration.
After long reasoning and debate I departed from the King with distrust of good progress in the attainders of these Earls by Parliament. For repair whereof I dealt with some noblemen, lawyers and others well affected; and afterwards the ministers, doing the like, came to and moved the King so far that yesternight very late it was enacted by Council that on Monday next the Parliament shall begin and proceed certainly, and that the noblemen and others summoned for these conspiracies with Spain shall be forfeited. Nevertheless the doom shall be suspended and left to be proclaimed at the King's pleasure.
That you may see seasonably the condition of this estate and upon what ground the doom and judgment of the attainders is suspended, therefore I have written and sent with greater expedition, praying that I may be timely directed what to do farther for the advancement of her Majesty's service here. My estate and case have long since failed to perform the duties requisite, and for which I have been careful and ready, howsoever I and my silly services have been construed; and now my body and health do not suffice to carry far this burden.
The Chancellor, hearing of the disposition of this assembly and Court and doubting that little shall be done in this Parliament, does not haste to Court lest the ill issue of matters be, without cause, laid on his shoulders. But if he shall find hope of success and be called by the King, then his peril shall not stay his access to his sovereign. Friends are dealing to reconcile quietly the Chancellor and Master of Glamis, who findeth himself not so regarded with the Duke and others as he looked for, in regard that the Duke thinketh that for him he leaveth Crawford, Montrose, Glencairn and others of greater value than the Master. Patrick Hering is returned here from Flanders. I am informed that he brought some letters from Mr. William Creighton, but hitherto I cannot learn any certainty thereof. Angus, Huntly, Errol and other friends here have been lately highly comforted and many rumours run in this country of Colonel Semple, as before I have certified, and of the being on the seas of a Spanish fleet for Scotland. Hitherto I find not such evident matters of truth as I suspect cunning practice of Papists in both realms, and as these will be more easy to be discovered by good intelligence to your lordship than I can espy the same, so I leave them (with advertisement only so far as I can learn) to your lordship's good consideration and trial. Edinburgh. Signed: Robert Bowes.
Harl. MSS. 4648, p. 125. See Calendar, p. 121, No. 87.
Robert Bowes to Burghley. [July 16.]
Since the despatch of my others, I have received your letter of the 9th. In the first part of your letter I have partly certified my knowledge by my last, letting your lordship understand that here have been great rumours of Spanish ships on the west coast, yet so far as I could learn no fleet or ships of Spain have been or are on the west seas or near the West Isles, and this is confirmed by such as have lately come hither from Kintyre and Argyle.
Huntly and the rest triumph as by the following will appear. They have fallen from the pursuit of their former offers to me, trusting now wholly on the King, drawn to mislike and in a manner to cast up with England. The parties offering the motion to me have been lately with me, seeming to be willing to proceed effectually in the matter, yet I find no trust kept with me, for the chief persons concredited with the managing of these matters have not come to me, as was promised, and presently they do nothing without the advice and privity of such as impart the same to the King. I hereby find my dealings with them to be full of danger, knowing that whatsoever I shall conclude with them shall be speedily and wholly revealed, and that the same will deeply wound and discourage the well affected, who are not negligent to provide some timely remedy in these perilous diseases, and therefore I sail so betwixt these two tides that I may recover such port and haven as shall be found best and directed to me; wherein I desire further order and direction.
It is not known here as yet that Sir Robert Melvill had the second audience of her Majesty, as your lordship writes. In Court it is verily looked that he shall return with small success in his errand, especially for Bothwell and her Majesty's support against the rebels; upon which matters the occasion of this sudden sliding from her Majesty is chiefly grounded and maintained, and the well affected have lately wished that she had given better contentment that the mouths of the enemies of the amity might have been stopped, the King left without excuse, and good men at advantage to do more freely for their redress; the recovery of all which benefits in the present condition of the case I leave to wise advice and consideration.
The last part of your lordship's letter, touching the disposition of the H, (fn. 3) is overmuch expected and desired in Court, which is highly comforted with hope, and much depends on that change. This much to answer the contents of your letter.
The King and the noblemen here assembled and preparing to ride this day to the Tolbooth to begin the Parliament were greatly troubled in the order for carriage of the honours before the King, for the Duke, pressed by the King to carry the crown (which Angus, now summoned to answer for his treasons, challenged by his tenure), refused to do the office, in regard (as is thought) that Hamilton, thinking that office some blemish in his estate and case, had at the former Parliament denied, and presently showed himself unwilling, to accept it; whereas the Duke, [who] accounts his estate nothing inferior to Hamilton, made courtesy to obey the King in this appointment. In the absence of Huntly using to carry the sceptre, Argyll was appointed to bear it, notwithstanding that he was accustomed to bear the sword as Lord Chief Justice of Scotland, and therefore the sword was given to Atholl, who refused it directly, alleging that he would not so much that day honour his enemy the Earl of Huntly or be deputy to Argyll. Wherein he was so resolute that the King was greatly grieved, and thereupon Atholl retired to his lodging. Hamilton likewise came not to the Court by occasion of pain in his thigh, but waited the King's coming at the Tolbooth.
These matters mightily wrought in the King and Court, staying their coming to the Tolbooth from the appointed hour of 10 in the forenoon till near 3 in the afternoon, in which time the Council assembled and were once of purpose to have adjourned the Parliament. But looking to have satisfied herein the ambassadors of Denmark, who called for the execution and confirmation of the assurance for the Queen's dowry (the Queen then being quietly passed into the city to see the solemnities), and the King (as I have heard) saying that he would not lose both England and Denmark together, therefore it was resolved that the Parliament should proceed to confirm the assurance for the Queen. And albeit that on the 12th instant it was enacted by the Council and also promised by the King that Angus, Huntly and Errol should be forfeited by this Parliament, and that nevertheless the doom should be suspended or pronounced at the King's pleasure, yet now it is resolved (as I am credibly informed by many of quality) that no forfeiture shall proceed in this Parliament [against these Earls] (fn. 4) or their complices, and that the Parliament shall be running and continued till October next; which resolution is like to take effect, giving me thereby occasion to write in this haste and to pray speedy advertisement what course I shall now take in this untimely alteration and appearance of breach of the amity grown on the ground last touched.
That I may give your lordship more large and perfect certificates what effects proceed on this sudden welter, therefore I retain Christopher Sheperson for some few days, purposing to send him with full report in all these things. At length it was accorded at Court that the Duke should carry the crown, Argyll the sceptre and Morton the sword. In which manner the King, thus accompanied by the Duke, Argyll, Morton and Mar, the Lords Hume, Lindsay, Sinclair, Ochiltree, Forbes, Urquhart (being Mr. Alexander Seton, now lately chosen President of the Session) and Spynie, came to the Tolbooth, where the Lord President supplied the place of the Chancellor, still absent. The Duke and Hamilton did not agree for the superiority of their place, and thereon the Duke was placed on the bench on the King's right hand, betwixt the King and the lords spiritual, and Hamilton took his place on the left hand, on the bench above the lords temporal. After the King's oration declaring the causes of the Parliament they made choice of the Lords of the Articles, appointing the number to be the Duke, Hamilton, two earls and four lords for the nobility, four bishops and four abbots for the Church, eight for the barons and eight for the burgesses; and so returned to the city. Edinburgh. Signed: Robert Bowes.
Postscript.—It is told me by an honest and credible person that Angus, Huntly and Errol have been lately at Dalkeith, and are now remaining in this town or Canongate. The words and actions in Court are (as I hear) very insolent against England, which, they say, will take all hard measure before they cast up with Scotland, and that this opinion is deeply imprinted in the courtiers, whereupon it is meant that offers shall be made for the Earls, on which they think England will not withstand. Myself, the ministers, this burgh, and some others, are deeply charged to seek the destruction of the nobility.
Harl. MSS. 4648, p. 123. See Calendar, p. 123, No. 88.
Robert Bowes to Burghley. [July 30.]
By my last letters I have received your two letters of 18th and 19th instant, and have given advertisement of my doings. Since, I have received her Majesty's letter touching my revocation, and your lordship's other two, of 20th and 22nd instant, and also had audience of the King in part of those letters and in other matters mentioned to him. And because I understand that (during my travail here and expectation of further resolution for the course of government upon this late change) some of this realm and of England (most privy to the affairs in Court) have largely and lately certified the same and occurrences here to her Majesty with more certainty than I can give, in regard that the stream is now drawn from me and serves these others, and that the King will write to her Majesty with his own hand very speedily (wherewith he has not acquainted me), therefore I have not hasted these presents, but refer the full declaration of all things to Christopher Sheperson, my servant.
At my audience I recounted many things unpleasant to him, as well in the memory of his late promises to her Majesty and other things passed with danger to the amity and hurt to myself, as also in the slow performance of his promises and the strange course seen in this last Parliament. Because I did not know certainly how he had "disgested" the sudden coming and submission of Bothwell, therefore I forebore to stir him further with this prick, which, methought, moved him, as Sheperson will open more at length.
After opening to him what sums of money her Majesty had delivered to Sir Robert Melvill for him, with the great favours in all his errands and particular entertainment to his ambassador, I assured him of the continuance of her Majesty's kind disposition to him, and that at this time he should have experience of her special love if he pleased to call for and use the same. This ground laid, I sought to understand sincerely how he accepted this manner of access and humiliation of Bothwell, whether he thought his person any way captivate or his mind troubled thereby, and what he desires to be done by her Majesty for his best contentment in the same. Wherein I spared not to promise secrecy and to offer her Majesty's speedy support.
The King accepted these with great thanks, seeming in his discourse to take in good part her Majesty's good will already showed to him in Sir Robert Melvill's present negotiation, allowing (as appeared to me) that Sir Robert had mistaken the treaties, as your lordship has noted, and that thereby her Majesty's answers were the more reasonable in those parts touching aid and men to be given against his rebels, and that Englishmen offending in Scotland should be delivered not otherwise than by the rules of treaties and Marches. After, he declared at great length the manner of Bothwell's access and submission to him, with all things spoken and done by himself and passed betwixt him and Bothwell.
The four articles promised by Bothwell were these:
1. That Bothwell should depart and remain from the King's presence until he should be called to his trial, which he hath performed, being already departed from Court with purpose to pass to Berwick and perhaps further into England.
2. That he shall abide trial by assize on 10th August next for witchcraft. For this the King has written for many noblemen to furnish the number of eight earls and seven barons for the trial. But the King being loth to call together so great assembly, and the Earl being pleased that any indifferent person shall pass and be admitted on this trial, it is likely therefore that some inferior barons shall be received to complete the assize.
3. That no officer or servant presently serving the King shall be displaced or any officer placed before the premises be accomplished. It is likely therefore that the change of officers and servants shall be deferred for some season, and that the Chancellor, Master of Glamis and Sir George Hume shall be first removed, and I am told that others will follow.
4. That Bothwell after his trial and clearing by assize shall depart unto and remain in such realm and place as the King shall prescribe to him, which is thought shall be done with all favour if he shall please the King in all these articles.
In this the King seems to approve more the part of Bothwell than the doings of his bringers in. Whereupon I inclined to persuade that albeit the manner and matter in the persons of subjects is not void of blame (as the King noted), yet I laid open how fair occasion it offers to needful and timely reformation by gathering and knitting together of a wise Council; which advice, methought, savoured nothing well with the King, saying it was neither true nor honourable for him to make change of Council whilst he was in this case and before the promises were fully performed unto him. After I had finished with the King he stayed me to speak with Bothwell, who confirmed the King's declaration for the manner of his access, submission and actions, together with the King's grace given to him in sort as the King had showed. He appears resolute to perform the promises to the King, professing therewithal devotion and services to her Majesty, whom he purposes to see, thank and serve, as by himself will be (I think) shortly witnessed. I offered to him the former advice presented to the King for the union of fit persons to serve in the reformation of the government and for strengthening the company presently about the King. But he did not seem to embrace it as I meant it, notwithstanding that I let him know that the manner thereof might be formed and exhibited by fit persons for the King's honour and his standing. The rest of this fellowship (desiring hitherto the advancement and rule of the Stewarts) likewise dislike my motion, which has not proceeded only from my own brain but is allowed by wise and well affected, who think verily that by this sudden change good occasion is offered to prevent extreme inconveniences and draw on the reformation desired. But they and I tremble as yet to behold this present course in Court, opposed by strong adversaries, as time will mainfest, and not so timely and strongly fortified as necessity requires.
Mr. John Colville has renewed the ancient friendship betwixt him and me, with frank offer of all thankful offices to her Majesty. I find the burden of these businesses lying on his shoulders and himself ready and careful to labour under the same for the benefit of the cause. Wherein, as I showed myself not able to give him the aid requisite, so I wished her Majesty to supply his pains by some fit person in my place, whom this company and he had found to be best acquainted with their minds and apt to advance their designs.
The ambassadors for Denmark (understanding how I had proceeded with the King on this alteration and being ready to return with the next wind) desired to be satisfied by the King and Council in writing whether the King was privy to Bothwell's coming to him; whether the King had pardoned his faults, and upon what conditions; and whether he thought himself detained anything against his will and pleasure. For the satisfaction of the ambassadors, the King, in the Tolbooth, openly before his Council declared to them that he knew nothing of Bothwell's coming to him before he saw him in his chamber, and that he pardoned him with condition that he shall perform the articles promised. He has acquainted them with the articles, and pronounces plainly that he was not detained in any sort against his will, as by his presence in that place and many other ways might be seen. The ambassadors desired the Councillors and lords present to declare likewise their knowledge in the four articles presented to them; wherein the Lords and Council had confirmed the King's declaration, and all these [are] put in writing and delivered to the ambassadors for the satisfaction of the King, Queen and Council of Denmark. Bothwell has added his letter for the more credit and contentment therein.
Sundry in this company strive greatly to draw in Captain James Stewart, against which the Kirk and many burghs set themselves, and the drawing in of James is feared to hazard great troubles, yet divers of his kith and kin press it mightily. The most of the old Council have left the Court, as Morton, Mar, Hume, Master of Glamis, Blantyre, Seton, Comptroller, Chancellor, Sir John Carmichael and Sir George Hume. Glamis, hearing that he should be charged to leave this town, departed to prevent it. It is looked that some of their places shall be possessed by others, if they return not in time. Crawford shall be called to Court, and some think the Castle of Edinburgh shall be gotten out of Mar's hands for him, in regard that the King was pleased at the last vacation that Crawford should have had it before Mar, who will not willingly leave it.
I am credibly informed that Angus has made means for his peace to some new courtiers, and that he shall be received if he first satisfy the Kirk, which he is now willing to do, and that Errol is likely to be received in like manner. It is thought that the King's affection to Huntly is not yet abated. Some told me that Huntly was at Aberdour before the Parliament, where William Troupe passed from Court to him, and that these three Earls were sometime kept in this Castle during the Parliament, wherein I can give no assurance.
These present lords and courtiers have levied and entertained a guard of 100 foot and 50 horse at their own charge, for the King, having once denied to suffer any guard about him, will not be at the charge thereof. The King is resolved to pass to and recreate himself some time at Falkland. It is thought that many things shall be dressed for the establishment of this Court and company, or else attempted against them.
Upon the offers of Angus and the rest to satisfy the Kirk, they may be called on to give assurance for the preservation of the amity between the two realms; which course, if her Majesty shall like, I shall upon direction press the same. Albeit that at the time of the address of your last letter, of the 22nd, I perceive that you had not then received advertisement of this change by Bothwell's submission, yet I have dealt again with the parties to allure vj. iiii. Chanus [Huntly] to renew their former offers to me, wherein I shall win and retain them in the best sort I can, praying speedy direction upon the sight of the present condition of this state. Your lordship will think it needless to be troubled with my answers to the parts of your letters touching Bothwell and all his causes, which are now buried by his entry and receipt into Court. In all the residue of the contents of your two last letters which I have not touched by these presents I shall give satisfaction by Sheperson, whom I shall hasten with the speed I can. He has been delayed beyond due time by accidents to myself. Edinburgh. Signed: Robert Bowes.
Harl. MSS. 4648, p. 152. See Calendar, p. 134, No. 103.
Bothwell to Henry Lock. [Aug. 5.]
To yield her Majesty most humble thanks for the favours extended to me during my Prince's displeasure, and offering in my behalf (in due acknowledgement of my faithfulness therefor) the present accomplishment of whatsoever heretofore I have offered or may further be devised for the maintenance of religion and strengthening of the present amity.
To the effect to let her Majesty know the truth of my present estate with the concurrence of such noblemen offered by me, and most of them confirming it by oath and hand given to yourself, who are ready to follow forth any such course as I shall intend or enter into with her Majesty, which being by them with me avowed chiefly to her Highness's good and service (but above all unto our Prince's good and surety) I trust her Highness's opinion of the acceptance thereof, and speedy direction for the use, and if our hearty intentions be therein duly accepted and regarded. The noblemen present who undertook for me were the Duke, Atholl, Mar, Ochiltree, Spynie. The absent were Argyll, Crawford, Montrose.
To let her know that we are not only such as to whom she may in honour give a gracious ear unto in respect of our present actions and proceeding, which shall be authorised by our sovereign, but also for that neither in power is any in Scotland in her wise judgment to be preferred before us, or for loyalty to be hoped for, or any be better friends than ourselves, being most of us of the religion, and in faction opposed to the grand enemies of religion and estate, to wit, Huntly, Maxwell and Hume, and also ready by writ under our hands (if she only give commission to receive it) and by my son's pledge as before I offered to confirm the same.
In respect whereof, if she please to like of our proceedings herein, we crave for the better settling of our course to send some testimony speedily under her hand, with whom and how she will please to deal, and how far she will for the present enabling of us be drawn to impart of her princely liberality, which, though in respect of her late bounty to our sovereign will seem hard to furnish us great sums, considering the loss in bestowing the one (or rather thereby enarming of her enemies) and the short time we shall charge her, to rid her Majesty of perpetual care and distrust of all foreign practices or bordering encumbrances, may we hope easily be obtained [In the margin: 4000l.], to stretch to a maintenance of some small forces for a few months, which what proportion will stretch unto yourself can by our conference inform. And whatever be done therein, you are so to handle things that her Majesty may keep this our proceeding secret from the King, lest our purpose being revealed to our adversaries our designs be impeached.
You may assure our constant purpose, God willing, having her aid presently, and constant amity hereafter according to our deserts, not only a three months' space so to chastise the Spanish party, as either Scotland shall not contain them or their livings be so clipped as they shall not be able to prevail in anything, but also the frontiers be so strictly looked into, that we will undertake as good satisfaction and speedy justice in these parts as in any other of both realms, that there shall not henceforth need any fear of Spanish forces or practices, since our instruments shall be in those parts to inform us of their purposes, and we be able to withstand any Christian army though all Scots Catholics concurred with them, until her Highness were sufficiently provided for them. Further, you will make known how far indeed had been proceeded in for the Spanish course, in what terms and by whom, according as quatuor (Chisholm) informed, wherein Melland's (the Chancellor's) part will appear as you know.
You must crave that if, for satisfaction of some of our party and to the King's content, the Church being in sort so offended (fn. 5) therewith, we be compelled to reside (fn. 6) in Court and use James Stewart, limiting his power and course as we assure we will, that her Majesty will not take it in evil part, but rather by her letters show her allowance thereof, since you know how far he has vowed to her Majesty's service.
That presently after my trial, being 10th August next, having then my friends in a readiness to proceed to a Parliament and so to action, that her Majesty will return you speedily with a full resolution of all these particulars and such further advice as she would wish us unto, holding my former assured and ever vowed faith by that our intended course notified, of the particulars whereof you can particularly inform her Highness.
Concerning quatuor, remembered [sic] that he might be despatched with expedition, and a letter written unto me, which I may shew to the ministry to entreat for him by reason you looked for secret and good service at his hands. The token from ving (the Queen) fellow promised [sic] shall be sent with the first, which Simplex (Colville) had taken in hand. Prosecute therefore that matter as if you had received it out of his own hand.
To remember to move her Highness concerning shipping for the Isles, as also to procure a means for a message to her Majesty which I may accomplish myself.
Touching things to be done at Parliament, which I wish either to be kept secret or not intended. Bothwell.
Harl. MSS. 4648, p. 157. See Calendar, p. 138, No. 107.