James VI, May 1593

Pages 85-95

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

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James VI, May 1593

57. Band against Bothwell. [May 1.] Printed in Register of Privy Council, v. 72.

Anent the King's proposition in the Convention concerning the present disorders, and especially how his person might be guarded, and Bothwell, his assisters and resetters be repressed and punished, it was answered that these things behoved to be done either [1] by a force of waged men, who may hardly be "intertenit" except by a general taxation which cannot be granted without the consent of all the estates convened [in Parliament], or [2] by a force convened personally in arms by proclamation. Therefore, the noblemen, barons and council present offered themselves ready to assist his Majesty with their true counsel or to pass to such parts as shall be found expedient for searching and apprehending of the avowed and known offenders; and thought meet that others who are suspect should be called before his Highness and his Council or his justice, and that all persons, known or suspected to be offenders against the true religion or in other odious crimes over all parts of the realm, should be tried and punished with all possible expedition. Further, they declared that severe justice was most expedient to be used in time coming to Bothwell's assisters and resetters, since his Highness's former clemency has been so far abused. And, likeas his Majesty has promised that the conclusions set down by common consent in Council for the execution of the above shall not be altered at the suit of any private persons without the knowledge and advice of the Council, so the said noblemen, barons, council and others now present, or that shall subscribe this act hereafter, do promise to his Majesty that none of them shall hereafter solicit him in favour of any persons who may be tried and punished for the crime foresaid; that, moreover, not only will they accompany his Majesty as long, and in such number, as he shall think necessary, but also do their exact diligence in searching, apprehending, trying and punishing of the said Earl and his assisters and resetters, as they would do in their own particular feuds against their own enemies. Finally, they promised performance hereof within their own bounds and jurisdictions.

Signed: James Rex, Lennox, Argyll, Morton, Mar, R. Lord Seton, Thomas Master of Glamys, Newbottle, Lincluden, Melrose, George Hume, Traquhair, Lauder Bass, Alexander Lord Hume, James Lord Lindsay, J. Cockburn, Blantyre, Sir George Hume, Alexander Hume, R. Cockburn, Sir William Keith.

1 p. Broadsheet. Copy in the hands of Bowes's clerk. Endorsed by Burghley's clerk.

58. Memorandum by Gavin Johnston. [May 2.]

2nd May, 1593. At the humble suit of me Gawen Johnson, Scottishman, made to the Lord High Treasurer of England, there were restored to me two letters written to the Queen of England from the King of Scots on my behalf, and dated 26th April and 13th July 1591. Signed: Gawen Jhonestoun.

¼ p. Endorsed by Burghley's clerk.

59. Robert Bowes to Burghley. [May 8.]

Soon after the despatch of my last I received your letter and packet of 23rd April, and was sorry to find that sickness had occasioned you to delay in sending it and to inform yourself of Lord Burgh's late negotiation, wherein he has left here an honourable memory of his actions. And Sir Robert Melville shall (I trust) give further contentment for the accomplishment of the effects promised.

Because I have not heard of any objection made here that the Order of the Garter is not as yet sent to the King of Scots, therefore I forbear to put the same in remembrance until further occasion shall press me therein. [He refers to the extremities of his state. For the space of nearly four years he has lost yearly above 1100l. sterling, and suffered many discomfitures in Scotland. After her Majesty's gracious letter and message by Burgh he hoped to repay his debt to her and the garrison at Berwick. But now by Burghley's letters he finds that she is not satisfied therewith and that the continued complaints of the soldiers of Berwick for their pay offend her greatly, and that she charges Burghley because he has not "recovered recompence" out of his lands and goods. Thus he sees that all his service does not suffice to redeem his former fault, done while he served in Scotland with greater care for the advancement of these affairs than due regard for the defray of her Majesty's treasure in his charge, and wasted by untrue servants. He is ready to yield his guilty body for punishment, with request that his guiltless son and his children be not likewise overthrown. He begs that he may be revoked, relieved or punished at her Majesty's pleasure.]

The Convention is dissolved without effecting any matter of weight otherwise than the choice of Sir Robert Melville [as ambassador] and the band for the pursuit of Bothwell, his assisters and receivers. The King is so earnestly bent against Bothwell that he pronounced directly at this Convention that without provision of some order for his apprehension and surety for the execution thereof, he would not proceed in any cause against the Papists, rebels or matters of estate, so that he is wholly occupied with the device for Bothwell's surprise, which will not be so hastily performed as he desires and as the Council promises.

The Assembly of the Church at Dundee is broken up. They have answered and satisfied the King in the articles propounded to them, (fn. 1) as will appear by the enclosed copy. Their commissioners to this Convention were so broken by sunder and hindered by the tempest on the water and other accidents that they have not presented their petitions to the Convention, but will exhibit the same to the King and Council, wherein they chiefly entreat the King to "afflict" due punishment on the Papists, conspirators for Spain, and murderers, and that Parliament may hold at the day appointed, to proceed with speed for the forfeitures of Angus, Huntly, Errol, and other rebels.

At my late access to the King I pressed for the hasty despatch of Sir Robert Melvill to the Queen; that the Parliament might begin and proceed at the time limited; that the rebels now haunting near their own houses might either be apprehended or chased out of the realm; with sundry other articles of importance; wherein the King had no leisure to give me audience. He readily agreed to send Sir Robert with speed, but his journey is to be deferred for seven or eight days that he may clear matters here before his departure. The King said that for sundry weighty causes the Parliament must be adjourned for ten or twenty days. When I answered that if it suffered one adjournment it was like to receive longer delay, he replied that Bothwell was relaxed from the horn and must be forfeited by this Parliament, which he would therefore hasten with all the speed he could. The memory of Bothwell put the King into a warm passion, alleging that he had been again and very lately received at Bewcastle and other places in England. I reminded the King that he had lately received many untrue surmises of favours and entertainments given to Bothwell in England, and that these were practised by Papists to stir him to break with her Majesty. I discovered to him that the rebels and Jesuits, finding that they could have no relief without the speedy abatement of the amity betwixt her Majesty and him, ordained sundry instruments to allure him, and also would afterwards set up in his chamber door libels to persuade him. I told him that the instruments employed were presently in Court and likely to attempt their commission in crafty manner. I offered to disprove these deceitful surmises not only by evident proof of testimony but also by the hands and swords of noblemen and gentlemen of quality touched therein; and concluded it was great error either to charge her Majesty's honour with the disloyal behaviour of broken borderers or to press her over far with having entertained Bothwell. We debated these points with no little fervency and so long that the King was "occasioned" to pass to the Convention there assembled. Soon after the Earl of Mar, Sir Robert Melvill, Blantyre, Sir George Hume and others were with me and told me that if the Queen of England would satisfy the King's desire for the restraint of Bothwell in England, and would give some aid in the pursuit of the rebels and Papists, the King would take a sound and round course for the execution thereof. I was required to delay my advertisement some days till I should be better satisfied for her Majesty's best contentment, which now is promised to be given by Sir Robert Melvill.

The King has imparted to me his device to surprise Mr. Robert Abercromby, but the means are weak and not likely to succeed. Two persons more fit and able for it have offered to me that, for reward, this Jesuit and others shall be taken and delivered into this town. I have agreed that the parties shall seek to bring him hither, yet dare not promise any certain reward without direction. Like offer is made to me for the surprise of Huntly, in Caithness. It is advised that by the King's power and authority warily to be used he may be drawn from his present haunts and put again into Caithness, but I do not see such assurance in this as in the other enterprise offered for the Jesuits. Direct me what to do and what rewards to grant. The barque still continues in Moray Firth by Huntly's commandment. Means are made that one "undertakinge" mariner is put into her, to give warning of her preparation for sail and of the company to pass in her, with such other intelligence as shall come to his knowledge.

I have moved that Mr. George Carr may be re-examined of his doings with Mr. David Lawes, who received the packets of the rebels and Jesuits at the Grange, the house of Mr. George's mother. There Mr. George delivered the packets to Mr. David to be carried into Flanders, and helped Mr. Davy to "trusse upp" the same. It is likely that Mr. George will deny this, which will be sufficiently proved, and thereby his pardon shall be void. Mr. David Lawes continues in Antwerp and shall return hither with letters to the Papists very shortly; but it is thought here that he may be well enticed to the water at Antwerp and brought into England to discover all in his knowledge. I commend this to your consideration, and if the execution shall be found necessary, but hard to be performed by Englishmen or others, then it is offered to be attempted by Scottishmen, for reward after the service shall be completed.

Atholl remains constant in his course against Huntly, although he has been deeply tempted, and looks to be further pressed, for agreement with him. Atholl's purpose is to be here before the 20th instant; and a letter to himself from her Majesty, or by direction to me to be showed in writing to him, will much encourage him in his good services.

The King's resolve to bring again the Chancellor has caused Blantyre to deal with the councillors here (namely, [i.e. especially] the Duke, Morton, Mar, Lord Hume and the Master of Glamis) for their consent to the same and for reconciliation amongst them. But alleging that they cannot trust him they deny to promise friendship to him. The King therefore threatens to call him and remove the others. The Queen, who continues in her heavy countenance against him by the advice of these councillors,—all which proceedings are fully and secretly revealed to the King—has been moved to apply her mind herein to the King's desire. The Chancellor has written to her in very humble sort, but no atonement can be made, and the King showed himself so resolute herein that the estate is like to suffer troubles thereby; yet the Chancellor "holdethe of," seeking to calm all things in best sort that he can. The Master of Glamis agrees to follow the King's will, saying that it is [as] good to join with the Chancellor in Court as to let him remain at Lethington in such sort. It is given out that, amongst other accusations, the Chancellor is charged to have received the Queen of England's letter granting the yearly payment of 4000l. to the King, and that he has returned this letter to her Majesty's hands. This untrue surmise will be soon defaced, yet it is thought that the Master of Gray is sent for to testify his knowledge herein.

The Master of Glamis (as I hear) has been accused of having given intelligence to me and of having condemned the course of the other councillors and courtiers, and has answered that I am sufficiently informed by others and well know the courses of the whole Court, and if any person will stand up and affirm this accusation against him he shall give him answer, and to his discredit. The King has commanded Mackenzie to bring to him M'Lean's son, committed by the King to his custody. Suit will be made that Atholl may have the keeping of this young gentleman, and the grant of the same will "enable" him much in his services.

It has been lately bruited and believed by some that Huntly has been six or seven days in these parts, and once or twice in Court, but I cannot find any proof. I have acquainted the King of these bruits by Sir George Hume (one especially suspected to favour Huntly but protesting to me to be free from all evil affairs notwithstanding his affection to him). I am otherwise informed that Huntly was lately at Finhaven and has departed to meet with Angus, Errol and other rebels and Papists. The Countess of Huntly is expected here within six days, yet I have so stood against this, that I know not what shall be done. The King has dealt with Argyll and other friends of Murray to give assurances to such of the Countess's servants attending here on her as are not guilty of Murray's slaughter, but Argyll has departed without grant of the assurance demanded. Captain Carr, Huntly's chief servant, continues here and has good countenance in Court. These "lordes of the blanckes" seek by their friends in Court and otherwise to assure the King that they will not "play," as they term it, as Bothwell does, to attempt any enterprise against his person or estate, but will still stand upon the proof of their own innocency; and they are not without hope to find favour.

It is reported that Huntly has got Bothwell's goodwill, and the King seems to storm greatly thereat, calling Huntly the first traitor in the world, one to whom he will show no favour. He is persuaded that Bothwell sought friendship and agreement with Huntly, who readily agreed and has "bounde upp" with Bothwell. But I have been told that Bothwell, assayed by Huntly, has so delayed his answer that Huntly suspects his meaning, and that both of them "forsee to undermyne" the other. The King has been brought to think (by Captain Carr, for Huntly, as it is thought) that St. Colme, tutor of Murray, his nephew, and Crichton, Laird of Cluny, have reset Bothwell. St. Colme is sent for; and Cluny, who bitterly denies the matter, is committed to the Tolbooth in this town. It is suspected that this is done to draw St. Colme and his friends to composition with Huntly for Murray's slaughter. The like information for the "receytt" of Bothwell is made against the Laird of Ayton and other gentlemen in the Merse against sundry clerks and writers in Edinburgh [sic.]. All these the King threatens to punish with severity upon the next opportunity. Edinburgh. Signed: Robert Bowes.

7 pp. Addressed. Endorsed by Burghley's clerk.

60. Robert Bowes to Burghley. [May 20.]

Since the receipt of your last letter, of the 7th instant, I have at great length spoken with the King for the accomplishment of his promises to her Majesty and for the removing of the Countess of Huntly, now come to the Court with greater train and busier heads than are fit to be continued here, and to do offices (as it is suspected) full of danger; in which behalf sundry of the Council have been many times with me this last week, occasioning me thereby to defer this letter.

Her Majesty's favourable letter to the Queen of Scots in behalf of the Chancellor has been very thankfully accepted by the King, and is much to the comfort of the Chancellor. The King by many means has sought to understand the particularities of her resentment to the intent he might therein try out the truth, and satisfy her in the trial of the Chancellor's innocency, or upon proof of his guiltiness punish his fault and cast off his service. The Chan cellor also by his letter and otherwise makes suit to the Queen of Scots to know the crimes objected against him, and to be tried, and punished if found guilty of any offence against the Queen or her honour. [In the margin: The offer of the Chancellor very reasonable.] And because it is thought that his trial shall readily recover the Queen's good "concept" towards him, and that her Majesty's letter to the Queen of Scots shall best "expeid" the same, therefore it is now required that she move the Queen of Scots to try the Chancellor and his actions, that he may be received or rejected, according to his deserts. It is intended that Sir Robert Melvill shall further solicit this suit if the matter be not finished before his access to her Majesty.

The broils betwixt the Tweedies and the Geddeses were renewed upon the old feud and fell out amongst Lord Fleming, Drumlanrig, Johnstone and others, whereupon some slaughter followed, but of no weight to trouble with further report.

As your lordship writes that you are sorry to see such open occasions of offence given to the King by Bothwell's often repair into England, so many wise and well affected here find that the daily report thereof delivered craftily to the King's ears greatly hinders the progress of all good matters and gives such advantage to the rebels and Papists that, without speedy remedy, my power will fail to prevent the inconveniences "looked" to spring thereby. [Refers to payments for the garrison at Berwick.]

Finding this state sliding daily into dangerous confusion, I have earnestly pressed the King and many of the best councillors to take care for the timely redress thereof, chiefly by the seasonable accomplishment of the remedies promised by the King, with whom I have dealt in every article of his promises made to the Queen by Lord Burgh. He has not only answered my allegations that untimely favour was showed towards the rebels and Papists, whereby the due execution of the course promised has not been sufficiently observed, but has also firmly promised to proceed sincerely and effectually in his own person and in all his actions, on condition that her Majesty will honourably deliver him from the dishonour daily offered to him by Bothwell, and from the danger wherein his body, as he says, is continually "sett against" Bothwell's bullets and attempts. He thinks that he shall be little endangered thereby if her Majesty pleases to bar Bothwell's "recept" and entertainment in England. Because some errors have "eschaped" in the timely preparation of matters for Parliament, he is driven of necessity to adjourn the Parliament for some few days, which he assures me will not exceed fifteen days.

The King has made known to me his diligence to find out the practisers and practices with Spain; wherein he has discovered, as he says, that the blanks subscribed by Huntly, Angus, Errol and Auchindoun are done by them, as shall be well proved in Parliament for their attainders, and that he is promised to have within fourteen days a true and perfect note of the names of the other confederates not yet revealed, with which note he will shortly acquaint her Majesty. [In the margin: A fair offer, if the effects may follow.] He will speedily make choice of a Council fit for the time, zealous in religion, well devoted to him and sincerely affected to the amity with her Majesty. [In the margin: The Duke not a fit councillor.] The King strives to draw the Chancellor into this company and that he may be brought in to serve this Parliament, which by the want of a Chancellor shall be greatly hindered and himself pestered with troubles. He calls earnestly on Sir Robert Melvill to be ready for his journey on the 22nd or 23rd instant, but I cannot learn that his instructions and letters are resolved upon, so that the time of his going is not yet certain.

Many of the Council and myself have travailed diligently to persuade the King to remove the Countess of Huntly from Court. He appears to yield thereto, yet she is not removed, and remains in good grace with the King and Queen, and under great suspicion in this town. I have been informed that Huntly has solicited many gentlemen to show their goodwill towards him in his distress; that he has grown strong with a great party, whereby he has sought to "repossede" the waters and fishings in variance betwixt him and Murray, and has lately taken towards Atholl one named Pedder, whom he caused to be hanged, and afterwards his head, arms and legs to be cut off in his own presence at Strathbogy and to be set up on poles; that Captain Carr has travailed with the deacons of the crafts in Edinburgh to give their assistance to Huntly; that by Huntly's means division is practised amongst Murray's friends, whereof sundry shall be accused of odious crimes that they may be warded, as is presently showed in [the example of] Crichton of Cluny, prisoner in the Tolbooth in Edinburgh, and St. Colme, put to the horn with loss of the keeping of the castle of Doune, which is committed to Argyll, notwithstanding that Atholl has the wardship of Murray, to whom the custody of that castle belongs; that the Countess of Huntly remains here to procure for her husband the King's and Queen's favour to get a party to assist him in these parts, where it is looked that he and others shall attempt some sudden and violent enterprise against the ministers and this town, notwithstanding that he offers all satisfaction to the Kirk. But the ministers' ears here are deaf, and shall be up against his offers, as also mine have been towards the Laird of Pitlurg, seeking my favour for Huntly and offering more good offices than Huntly will any wise perform.

Angus, Huntly and Errol met lately at Mr. Walter Lindsay's house in Angus, where they heard mass said by an Englishman. [In the margin: It were good to know the Englishman's name.] I am told that they have resolved to seek their relief either by practising a breach of the amity or by sudden sedition. The Court nourishes so many friends to these persons that commission is procured for the apprehension of Mr. Walter Lindsay, but it is thought that warning shall be given to defeat the surprise easily enough.

I received this day a little ticket written in these words, viz., "My lord, ther was a band sought to have bene granted and subscribit be ane nobleman of thir feildis to have conjoyned with Herenius [In the margin: Duke of Lennox], Huntlay, Angusse, Erroll and others, with proviso of liberty of conscience. The comissioner suter is a courtier; his name wilbe knowne at metinge, with some farder particulers. This was done not lange syne." The intelligencer is of very good credit, yet not void of some dry affection against Herenius [Lennox]. There has been brought to the Duke of Lennox a libel declaring that he should be accused by the Chancellor and Lord Hamilton of having intelligence with Bothwell, and of having suffered the revenues of Bothwell's possessions in his hands to have been turned to Bothwell's use; and it is said that by another libel or letter the Duke was warned that some of his enemies had conspired his death, wherein the writer was entertained [i.e. solicited] to have been one of the executioners, but in regard of the love which he bore to the Duke's father, and now bears to himself, he could not be quiet until he had discovered this matter. It is feared that out of these practices great dissension shall follow betwixt the Stewarts and Hamiltons, and in every corner quarrels arise so fast amongst persons of quality that it will be dangerous to draw to this next Parliament great number of the nobility.

I am told that new means are made to bring Captain James Stewart again to Court to "shoulder" the Chancellor and Hamiltons, wherein Duni pace is much suspected, but it is thought the execution will be found difficult. Because the rebels and their parties are seen to be banding and awaiting their opportunity it is thought meet to give them no start. Sundry persons of very good quality are ready to employ themselves against them, hoping to find wished success for the benefit of the cause and for the surprise of Chanus [In the margin: Huntly], wherein they seek to have some small help at the beginning of the action, and upon the apprehension of Huntly and experience of their good services to be further rewarded. Wherein some good personages have carefully solicited me for the Queen of England's aid. Edinburgh. Signed: Robert Bowes.

5⅓ pp. Addressed. Endorsed by Burghley's clerk. Notes in the margin in Burghley's hand.

61. Lord Herries to Burghley. [May 21.]

Please remind her Majesty that I am bound to her service by the remembrance of her good reception of me at my late being in England. I also beg that Lord Scrope, present Warden at the West Marches, may be instructed that the murdering, outlawed thieves of Scotland of whom I complained to her Majesty may no longer have reset or favour, but be used in times coming according to their wicked deserving and the censure [i.e. judgment] of the laws. I shall thereby be more and more obliged to her Majesty and your lordship, not as an alien, but as her faithful and trusty servitor. Edinburgh. Signed: Herys.

2/3 p. Addressed. Endorsed by Burghley's clerk.

62. Occurrences in Scotland. [May 21.]

"The xxjth of May 1593." There was a hunting appointed betwixt the King and Lord Hamilton last week, but broken off by the King. The Duke has complained to the King that Hamilton was to accuse him "on" high treason to his Majesty. The King gave the Duke no other answer, "but said he was a fooll and mockid him." The day of law betwixt the Laird of Drumelzier (Dwmalyour), Drumlanrig (Dwmlainrick), Lord Fleming and the Laird of Johnstone is "continewed" and both the parties commanded to the Castle of Edinburgh. Sir Robert Melville is to come towards England within four days. The ambassador's name is Stewin Beall. (fn. 2) One of his men lost an arm by shooting a great piece at the landing of the King. "Wordis to John a Hewm for" [some words crossed out].

Half a sheet of paper endorsed in cipher.

63. Robert Bowes to Burghley. [May 28.]

I perceive by your lordship's letter of the 15th instant that her Majesty takes compassion on my weak estate. Since she does not like to send hither any new man until she can see some end of these troubles, I shall therefore be ready to abide her pleasure. Sir Robert Melvill, being prepared to depart in the fore part of last week, is stayed by my means, against the advice and desire of many wise and well affected. I sought before to hasten his despatch but I have since followed your lordship's direction. The King and best of the Council so greatly press his speedy departure that it will be hard to delay it longer than the end of this week. The King and Council are this day assembled to expedite the same; but I have "casten" many matters full of difficulties, to be determined before Sir Robert's journey. For, being seasonably warned by you to beware of being deceived in the condition of this Court and state, I have with great diligence travailed to be well informed therein. I see the wise and well affected in all degrees of the people to be wounded with the course in Court, and looking for sudden sedition to be kindled. I have not only entered into earnest and sharp terms with the King for redress thereof, but also daily conferred with sundry councillors and ministers sent by him to me. It is found necessary that the King and a chosen council, gathered this day, shall deliberate and determine on these six articles following: (1) That the Countess of Huntly shall be removed out of Court. Albeit the King has partly agreed to this at my conference with him, yet the same will be hardly performed, in regard of the inward affections burning in the King and Queen of Scots towards this lady. (2) That councillors, courtiers or others who have solicited the King in favour of Angus, Huntly or Errol, contrary to the act of Council, shall be put from the King's presence until the Earls named shall be tried. It is found that the friends and servants of these Earls have very lately solicited all sorts of persons in Scotland to show favour to the Earls and their cause, and it is suspected that the King has not escaped great solicitation. (3) That the King's councillors and domestics shall purge themselves severally by oath for any such solicitation, and that the refusers shall be deemed guilty and put away from the King. By this it is expected that sundry of Huntly's friends in Court shall either be removed or foresworn. Pitlurg and other instruments of Huntly have withdrawn. (4) That if Angus, Huntly, Errol or other proclaimed rebels shall offer to enter into ward and pray to be tried by assize they shall be received into sure and strait ward and that their trials shall be by Parliament only; for Huntly (acknowledging in some manner that he subscribed the blanks, but denying to have known, or to have had any intention that they should have been employed for the purposes discovered by Mr. George Carr) and his friends, sent hither in swarms, have tempted all sorts of persons of credit to be means that he may be tried by lawful assize, whereby, as the case stands at present, he shall be in small danger, and his acquittal will open the way for clearing the rest. (5) That the continuation of the Parliament shall be short, and to hold certainly at the day to be appointed, which shall not exceed fifteen days. It has been discovered that the rebels seek the longest time for the adjournment of this Parliament, and that they threaten that if they be forfeited, then they will seek succour anywhere and revenge their wrongs by all means they can. (6) That the King will determine upon a certain number of resident councillors known to be honest, expert and zealous in his services,—a matter promising the best benefits, but most hard to be accomplished, for three sorts of companies are seen to be impediments therein: the Council and courtiers are resolute (as it is firmly given out) to suffer no change nor to lose possession: others of the nobility press mightily to be embraced and taken into Court; and the Spanish traitors await to take their advantage to support the party most favourable to them. These six articles shall be determined by the King and Council with speed, and the determination thereof shall be brought to her Majesty by Sir Robert Melvill, who also shall bring a renovation of all the King's promises, with power to contract the order for performance thereof, and for the effects of the articles to be enacted by Council, so that the new course to be thereon devised shall be established with her Majesty's advise and good liking.

I have informed the King how much her Majesty is offended against such as have received Bothwell in England, and what order she has given to stay the like fault hereafter. This the King takes very Kindly, and he promises that, if she will continue her favour and goodwill to him herein, he will recompense the same with full accomplishment of all his former promises and with all pleasures that he can yield to her Majesty.

According to her Majesty's answer (as certified by your lordship) touching the apprehension of Mr. Robert Abercromby and Chanus [Huntly], I have referred to the liberality of their own sovereign all the parties offering their services therein for her Majesty's reward. I fear that the success will bring small profit, yet the matter is well "entred" and in good way to be effected if the enterprisers saw the prey that they seek assured. The barque still continues in Moray Firth, but the parties making offer to me for the surprise of the Jesuits are those who put in the mariner there, and since they have been given over in the greater matter they care not to be entertained in the less, so that I dare not promise any fruit thereof. I think I have hereby lost the means of the parties mentioned. The person offering to take Mr. David Lawes is ready to fulfil his offer: he doubts much that before he can be ready to do so Mr. Davy shall have passed into Spain or returned hither.

At Atholl's coming hither I will acquaint him with the clause in your lordship's letter concerning him. But because he and his associates think that the weight of all the services to be done against Huntly will lie most on their shoulders, therefore they expect and wish for greater comfort, and I trust that her Majesty will remember that the Scottish "haggertis" (fn. 3) seldom stoop to empty lures. [Refers to the money for the pay at Berwick.]

Some dryness has lately fallen betwixt the Duke and the Master of Glamis. This Court and all therein are so rent and divided, and so little credit is given to any promises that some of the best affected are resolved to leave it. It was reported here and credited by many that Huntly had been in this town, in Restalrig (Lastarricke) and Seton, and I had perfect advertisement from Aberdeen that at the same time Huntly was not in the north, that he was at Mr. Walter Lindsay's house in Angus on the 14th instant, and from thence passed away secretly with two men, yet I cannot learn that he has been here. He is now in Bog of Gight (Boggygeythe) and has all his forces under warning.

Ladylands was removed from the Tolbooth here to strait ward in Glasgow Castle, where by the Duke's letters (as I am informed) he obtained free ward, and by conference with Mr. Andrew Knox he appeared to be won to subscribe the articles of religion and to discover to me many great practices and practisers not yet revealed; but soon after he escaped to the Isle of Bute.

Steven Beale and Nicholas Craige have come hither in embassage from the King of Denmark; their errand is only to invest the Queen in the abbacy of Dunfermline, according to the King's grant and confirmation of the Parliament. The King knowing that the Chancellor, Sir Robert Melvill, the Comptroller, and others have purchased sundry parts of these possessions, has answered that many parts thereof are "in proces" and cannot be well recovered into the Queen's hands before the suits in law shall be determined. I have been so occupied this week that I have not yet visited them. I beg you to give order to Mr. John Carey to examine and end the cause long in variance betwixt John Gelstern and John Walker, my clerk and servant, for the office of Comptroller of the customs in Berwick. Edinburgh. Signed: Robert Bowes.

Postscript.—I have been warned that Mandeville has appointed some persons to intercept the packets coming to or sent by me, especially those from you. I have written to Mr. John Carey to give order for the safe convoy of the packets to me. "Whereas" the King had written to Mackenzie to bring to him M'Lean's son, now Donald M'Connell, confederated with many of the West Isles, gives himself out to be King of those Isles, and has charged Mackenzie to exhibit M'Lean's son to him, otherwise he threatens to burn and harry Mackenzie and all his; but Mackenzie has sent him defiance.

6 pp. Addressed. Endorsed by Burghley's clerk.

64. James VI. to Burghley. [May 31.]

After having resolved to send one of our Privy Council in special embassage to the Queen, dangerous practices requiring a speedy remedy have in the meantime made it meet to despatch this bearer, our servant, to solicit the speedy receipt of the annuity in greater measure than at any time heretofore. The present necessity, and the common danger to both the realms should move the Queen to grant such liberal aid as may prevent the imminent perils. We ask your friendly furtherance of this errand, importing so highly to religion and both our estates. As we look for favourable consideration from her Majesty, so on our part we are fully resolved to keep inviolable the amity and firm intelligence betwixt us. Further particulars we leave to the report of the bearer. Holyrood House. Signed: James R.

Postcript in the hand of James VI.: I pray you to further the despatch of these bearers, "and lett thame not be long lingerid with for a thing so small as skaircelie uorthie the ressaving. Nam, bis dat qui cito dat."

¾ p. Addressed. Endorsed by Burghley and his clerk.


  • 1. See No. 56, which was sent as an enclosure in this letter but has been excerpted and bound under its own date, as vol. 50, No. 55.
  • 2. Stephen Belo.
  • 3. Haggard, a wild (female) hawk caught when in her adult plumage. (Oxford English Dictionary.)