Acts and Proceedings of the General Assemblies of the Kirk of Scotland, 1560-1618. Originally published by [s.n.], Edinburgh, 1839.
This free content was digitised by double rekeying. All rights reserved.
[In the month of July, there came a French Ambassader from the King of France, and brought with him a Mess Priest, who said Messe to him and his domesticks. The Ministers sent Commissioners to the King to move the Ambassader to forbear such exercise: but the King suffered him to continue still his exercise at his pleasure; and propyned him honourably at his departure in September after following.
The Erle of Gowries unnatural and vile conspiracie attempted against his Majesties person at Sanct Johnstoun, upon the fifth of August being Tuesday 1600.
When the bruit of the fact came to Edinburgh, upon Wednesday the sixth of August be 9 hours in the morning, and a letter from the King to the Council at ten hours, the Ministers of Edinburgh were charged to compear before the Consell.
They compear. The Kings letter was read, bearing, That the King was delivered out of danger, and that, therefore, the Ministers should be commanded to goe to the kirk, conveen the people, ring bells, and give praise to God. But before they could give their answer, the Provest and some of the Counsell were sent for be the Lords of Secret Counsel; and therefore were dismissed before they made answer.
In the mean tyme, the Ministers goe to the East Kirk to advise. They said, they could not enter in particular defence of the treason, seing the King made no mention of treason in his bill; and the reports of courteours varied among themselves. While they were thus consulting, comes a Macer, and chargeth them to compear before the Lords of Secrit Councill. They appoint Mr Robert Bruce to be their mouth.
The Erle of Montrose, Chancellor, desired them to goe to the kirk to praise God for the Kings miraculous deliverance from that vile treason They answered all in one voice, They were not certain of the treason, and, therefore, could make no mention of it; but would say in generall, that he was delivered from a great danger: or otherways, if their Lordships wold give them leasure till they get the certainty, they should not only blaze the treason; but also be content that his house were made a jackes.
The Lords said, it should be sufficient to read his Majesties letter. They answered, They could not read his letter, and doubt of the truth of it. It were better to say generally, If the report be true. The Lords of the Secret Council would not be content with Ifs, and Ands.
In the meane tyme comes in Mr David Lindsay, and sheweth, that he had been at Falkland, and telleth the historie of the fact. It was thought meet, in respect he heard the narration out of the Kings oun mouth, that he, instead of the rest, should give praise to God. The consent of the Ministers was craved. Mr Robert Bruce answered, If he spake the truth, as he would be answerable to God, he was well content. So Mr David went with the Lords of Counsell to the Mercat Cross of Edinburgh: and after he had made ane harrangue for the purpose, the people with discovered heads praised God; the bells rang; the Cannons of the Castle were shott between three and four afternoon; and bonfieres were set out before every house that night. The Ministers thought the Council had been satisfied; but they report hardly of them to the King.
Upon Munday the eleventh of August, the King landed at Leith between four and five [afternoon.] Mr David Lindsay, Minister at Leith, takes him to the kirk, and exhorteth him, after thanksgiving, to performe his vow made before times of performance of justice: at which words he smyled, and talked with these that were about him, after his irreverent manner of behaviour at sermons.
Thereafter he went up to Edinburgh, and sat upon the Merkat Croce cloathed with tapestry, accompanied with some of the Nobilitie; where Mr Patrick Galloway made a sermon to the people conveened about the Cross, and the King an harrangue, both tending to perswade the people, that Gowrie and his brother had verily conspired the Kings death, and were slain in the executioun of the enterprize. Mr Patrick Galloways text was taken out of the 124 psalme. The substance of Mr Patricks harrangue or sermon here follows.
David the King composed this psalme after that he had been freed from the great danger of his deadlie enemies. In it he does three things especialy, sets doun his danger, his delivery from the danger, and his thankfullness to God for his delivery; and in such sort, that almost all three are includit in every verse.
His danger was this, that he had fallen into the hands of men, and men only, natural men, that had not a spunk of grace, or of that spirit. And the thing that aggreges his danger, is the properties of these men, cruelty, and craft, which became rather brute beasts than men. Their cruelty is set doun in two comparisons; ane tane from beasts; another tane from waters, and flouds, proud and swelling, that with force carry with them every thing that is objected to their force. Their craft is set doun in a similitude taken from the fowler, who be crast overcomes the poor foule with his nett, and catches it. This is the danger David was in.
Ere I goe foreward, I observe a lesson, and that for your Majesties use. Sir, I see, that this is not the first tyme, that Kings, good Kings, even Kings, whom the Lord has chosen according to his own heart, have fallen, be Gods permission, into the hands of men, men cruell and craftie; and have been delivered also from them. But whereto? not to the end, they should live according to the fashion of the world; but that they should be new men, and shew their gratitude to God, as David did here, of which wee shall speak hereafter.
As for the delivery, It was not from men; but from God: and therefore he openly proclaimed, That except the Lord had been with us, men had swallowed him up, according to the fashion of beasts: and therfore takes him to God, which is his gratitude; and ascribes his delivery wholly to him, while he sayes, Our help is in the name of the Lord. This shortly concerning the danger that David was in, his delivery, and thankfullness for his deliverance.
The lyke caus wee have in hand presently. Our King, our David, our anointed, has been in danger deadly, and is delivered, praised be God: for the which both yee, and he, and wee have occasion to be gratefull, and thankfull to the Majestie of God the deliverer. As to his danger, it is lyke Davids. He fell in the hands of men, and men only.
For as to that man Gowrie, let none think, that, be this traiterous fact of his, our religion has received any blott: for ane of our religion was he not; but a deep dissimulat hypocrite, a profane atheist, and an incarnat devil, in the coat of an angel; as is most evident, both be his traitorous fact, which he has attempted; and also be sundrie other things, which wee have received be the familiars, and be the most dear and near of his friends, that the books which he used, which prove him plainly to be a studier of magick, and conjurer of devils, and to have had so many at his command; his manner of living without the country, and haunting with papists, yea, the Pope himself, with whom he had not conference only, but farther has made covenants and bands with him, as appears very well: for since his home coming he has travelled most earnestly with the King; and his Majestie has received from him the hardest assault, that ever he did, from him, I say, to revolt from religion, at left in inward sincerity, to intertain purposely with the Pope, and he himself promised to furnish intelligence. Was such a man of the religion? or can any man say, that our religion is stained be the doings of such a man? No, not. He was nothing but a man: and our Davids danger was, that he had sallen in the hands of men.
Now that yee may know the danger the better, I sall recite the historie to you, even as it was before my God, who one day shall be my judge, as he shall bear me record; and before my Prince and Soverane, and before you all, who one day sall stand up and bear witness against me, in case in any point I lye.
On Tuesday last was Alexander Ruthven come to Falkland to his Majestie, and found him at his past tyme, and desired him to goe to Sanct Johnstoun; and so he leads him from Falkland to Perth, as a most innocent lamb, from his Palace to the slaughter house. There he gets his dinner, a cold dinner, yea, a very cold dinner, as they know, who were there.
After dinner, Alexander Ruthven leads his Majestie up a turnpyck, and through a trance, the door whereof, so soon as they had entered in, checked to with a lock; then through a gallerie, whose door also checked to; through a chamber, and the door thereof checked to also; and, last of all, brings him to a roume scarce six foot bread, and six foot wide, and the door thereof he locked also; in which there was standing an armed man with a drawen dagger in his hand to have done this filthie turne, the most unnatural, and contrair to that duty wee owe to Princes. Then Alexander covereth his head, and sayes, I am sure, thine heart accuseth thee now. Thou was the death of my father, and here is a dagger to be avenged upon thee for that death.
Now judge yee, good people, what danger your David was in, when, as an innocent lamb, he was closed up between two hungrie lions thirsting for his blood, and four locks betwixt him and his friends and servants; sua that they might neither hear, nor hearken unto him. This was his danger. But what sort of delivery got he? It was wholly miraculous, altogether to be ascribed to God, and no part to man. And, among many that occurred, I shall point out to yow five or six circumstances, which yee will all call and acknowledge to be miraculous.
And, first, his Majestie standing betwixt two armed men, without all kind of armour, having nothing on, but his hunting horne about his neck, when he, at his entry, should have been astonished at the sight of an armed man to take his life; yet, on the contrair part, this man was so astonished at his fight, that he might neither move foot nor hand. Was not this miraculous?
But yet farther, when Alexander had tane him be the gorget, and had holden the dagger to his breast, not two inches from it, so that there was scarce two inche betwixt his death and his life; yet even then, be his gracious, christian and most loving words, he overcame the traitour. His words were these, Mr Alexander, consider, that you are a christian; and farther, that hitherto ye have been trained up in the principles and grounds of Christianity. And then consider how ye were brought up in the School, which sent forth many noble and holy youths, the Colledge of Edinburgh, under Mr Robert Rollock, that holy man, and most worthy of all good memory, who could never have taught yow to put hand in your Prince And last of all, Mr, suppose ye take my life, neither ye, nor your brother, will be King after me: yea, the subjects of Scotland will root yow out, and all your name. The words so moved the heart of the traitour, that he began to enter in conditions with the King, and made him swear, (which he also did,) that all these things should be forgot, and that after he should ever be favourable to him and his brother: And so he went furth to his brother, from whom he received commission to dispatch him hastily.
He then coming up again, brings a pair of silk garters in his hand; and, after he had locked the door, sayes, Traitour, thow must die: and therefore lay thy hands together, that I may bind thee, to the intent no doubt, that, he being bound, they might have strangled him, and cast him in a cave, or pitt, which they had prepared for that use; that, no blood being found, his friends might miss him without suspition, and not wit where to seek him. Now here is the third miracle.
The King answers the traitour, I was borne a free Prince. I have lived hitherto a free Prince. I shall never die bound. With this, every one of them grip to others gorgets. While in wrestling the King overcomes, and gets him under him. Now, Is not this miraculous? Will any consider it, The Master of Gowrie, an able young man in comparison with the King, I'm sure, had strength dowble, yea, and threefold greater nor the King; and yet is overcome, and cast under. When they are thus wrestling, up comes John Ramsay be the black turnpyck; and, at the Kings command, gives the Master a dead stroke. Now yet a miracle.
My Lord, being in the closs, when he heard that the Master was slain, so he had bewitched the hearts of the people of Perth, by the countersooted virtues he had begun to kyth amongst them, that if he had cried, My Brother is murthered, that same people had sacked the same whole house: but yet so the Lord directs be his providence, that he comes up the stair immediatly with eight with him. And mark, how that same word, which they had prepared to be a word for the keeping close of their knaverie, God used to be a mean for preservation of the Prince: for they had appointed this for their watch word, The King is gone to the Inche. Quhilk words his servants hearing, ran about to meet his Majestie in the Inche; and going by the window, where the King and the Master was wrestling, they heard the Kings scriechs and cries, which had tane such impressions in their hearts, that, so long as they live, will never goe out of them; and are here sitting to beare witness to it. The cry was, Treason, fy help, Erle Marr, I am murthered.
The Kings servants hearing the cries, presently come up to this black turnpike. Now yet a miracle. Into the chamber with the King are only four, two lades, and two men; and one of them mutilated. My Lord, a man well exercised in armes, comes up with eight with him. And, at the first, calls up all thir four in a noock; and never rests, while John Ramsay chanced to cry, Fye upon the cruell traitour. Has thou not done evil enough else. Thow has gotten the Kings life else; and would thou have ours. At which speeches he drew a little back, and in back going he got the stroak whereof he dyed.
This is the very truth of fact, which I have received not be the Kings Majestie; but be him, who should have been the doer of the turne. He is living yet; he is not slain; a man well enough known to this Toun Andrew Henderson, chamberlain to my Lord Gowrie. This day I received a letter from him, subscribed be his own hand. Any man, that wold see it, come to me, and see, if they can know his hand writt for their satisfaction.
The tenor of the letter is this. It is of truth, that, on Tuesday last, I was commanded be my Lord of Gowrie to ryde to his brother to Falkland; from the which he sent me back again, to tell my Lord, that the King was coming, and to bid prepare for his coming. My Lord commanded me to put on my secreit, and my plate slieves, and to await on the Master, and doe whatever he bade me.
At the Masters lighting, I went to him, and told him of my Lords command, which I had received. He takes me with him up a turne pyke, through a transe, a gallery, and a chamber, and lockes me in into the roume that goes off the chamber. At which doing, I began to grow feared, and suspect some evil against the King; and then I took me to my knees to pray, that it would please his Majesty never to suffer me to be employed to such a turne; and while I was sitting on my knees, Mr Alexander comes with the King in his hand. The rest of his narration differs almost nothing from this which ye have heard according to the Kings information; this only, he shewes the manner how he had escaped to have been thus. When the King and the Master were wrestling, he opened the door, and went doun be the black turnepyke, be the which the Kings servants came up, and saved him. This is the verity, which will satisfy any good subject.
As for the said rumours that goe, That the King was a doer, and not a sufferer; a pursuer, and not a pursued; it is not true, nor lykely: For think ye, having such a turne on his hand, he would goe to the toun, in which he was so much esteemed, accompanied with so few folkes, only ten persons, and such men, who, as I am assured, would have been content to have bled their whole blood with my Lord of Gowrie, if it had not been in ane action against the King; the Duke his good brother, the Erle of Marr his good father, who, at that unhappy and accursed tyme he was baptized, gave him the name. As for such as will not be satisfied with this, let them perish in their incredulity. There are evidences enew of this verity. Now what am I that speak these things? one, as I protest before God, that loved the Erle of Gowrie better than any flesh in the earth, except his Majestie.
After this harrangue was ended, they sang 124 psalme.
Upon Tuesday the 12 of August, the Ministers of Edinburgh were charged be a Macer to compear before the King and Councill. The King demanded at Mr Robert Bruce, in name of the rest, why they disobeyed him and his Counsell, and would not praise God for his delivery. They answered, They had not disobeyed; but were ready to have praised God for his Majesties delivery generally, as they did upon the Sabbath immediatly following: but they could not descend into particulars, to qualifie what sort of danger it was, in respect they had no certainty. Had ye not my letter, sayes the King, to shew you the certainty? Sir, sayes Mr Robert, your letter did bear no particulars; but made mention only of a danger in general, and wee were content to follow it. Could not my Counsel, said the King, assure you of the particulars? and withall, addresseth himself to the President, Assured ye not them, sayes he to the President? The President answered, Yes, Sir, wee all assured them of the certaintie of the treason. Sir, with their Honours leave, they had received no information, except David Moses bill, and John Graham of Balryrine his report, who came in the mean tyme, when the Lords were sitting at Counsell: and the two reports did so fight against other, that no man could find any certainty. The Secretar riseth up, and said, They agree very well. The President said the lyke. Mr Robert answered, He had David Moses letter to show, which would testifie the contrair. The King asked at last, How are ye yet perswaded? ye have heard me, ye have heard my Minister, ye have heard my Counsell, ye have heard the Erle of Marr, touching the report of this treason, whether are yee yet fully perswaded, or not? Surely, Sir, sayes Mr Robert, I would have farther light, before I preached it to perswade the people. If I were but a privat subject, not a Pastor, I could rest upon your Majesties report, as others doe.
Then the King asked at Mr James Balfour, Are you fully perswaded? He answered, I shall speak nothing to the contrary, Sir. But are ye not perswaded, sayes the King? Not yet, Sir, said he. Mr William Watson answered after the same manner. Mr Walter Balcanquall said, That he would affirme all that Mr David Lindsay preached in pulpit, in presence of his Majestie yesterday. What said Mr David, sayes the King? Mr David founded himself, sayes he, upon your Majesties report, and made a faithfull rehearsell of your report; and so shall wee. Think yee, sayes the King, that Mr David doubted of my report. Mr David was sent for presently. The King sayes to him, Are you not certainly perswaded of this treason? Yes, Sir, sayes he, I am perswaded in conscience of it. Now, sayes the King, Mr Walter, are ye surely perswaded indead? Sir, sayes he, I would have farther tyme and light. Then the King asked Mr John Hall, Are ye surely perswaded? He answered, I would have the civil tryal going before, Sir, that I may be perswaded. Then the King asked at Mr Peter Hewat, Mr Peter, Whether are ye yet perswaded, or not? Sir, sayes he, I suspect not your proclamation. But whither believe ye it, or not, said the King? The President heard, said he, what I said the last Sabbath. The President began to justify him; but the King insisted, saying, Let me hear himself, Whither believe ye my proclamation, or not, sayes the King? Sir, sayes he, I believe it. So they were all removed, and, after a great space, the Macer comes to them with a roll in his hand, wherein all their names were written, and a score drawn upon Mr Peter, and Mr George Robertsons name. Mr George and Mr Peter were not called in. The rest were called.
The Chancellour pronounces the sentence. First, They are discharged preaching, under pain of death, throughout all the Kings dominions. Next, They were charged to remove out of Edinburgh, within fourty eight hours after the charge, and not to come near Edinburgh, be the space of ten myles, under paine of death. They thanked the Lord heartily, and said, their sentence was very welcome; and so departed out of the Council house.
Upon the day following, they gave in a new supplication to the Counsell with common consent, wherein they offered three things. 1. To give God thanks for his Majesties delivery most heartily. 2. To make faithfull report, as his Majestie had delivered to them, of the whole historie touching the treason. 3. They offered to speak nothing in the contrair, but to doe all the good offices, which might serve to nurish his Majesties credit and estimation in the hearts of the people.
Every man, who saw it, thought their supplication could not be refused; yet was it refused, and answered on the back after this manner, That they should confess a fault, and crave his Majesties pardon most humbly. 2. That they should esteem the history of this treason an undoubted truth, and publish it as an undoubted truth to their flocks.
They seeing their bill refused, craved prorogation of their day, and that they might have farther light, which was also refused. So, upon Thursday in the morning, the 14 of August, they departed off the Toun.
This occasion was gripped at to overthrow the Ministrie of Edinburgh, which crossed the Court in all their evil proceedings. Mr Robert Bruce especially was hated for his uprightness, and opposition to the Episcopal course: for which cause he was never suffered to returne to Edinburgh again to this hour. So the King and Counsel usurped the place and authority of the Kirk, and deprived them of the exercise of the Ministrie within the countrie, by their oun authority.
It is appointed be the King and Commissioners conveened at Falkland, that the Commissioners from the Synods should be directed to conveen the second of October next to come, as the letter following bears, to agree upon a public forme of thanksgiving for the Kings delivery.
To our trustie friends, the Ministers of the Synod of Edinburgh, to be delivered to them, be Mr David Lindsey, or the last Moderator.
Trustie friends, wee greet you well. The Ministers of Edinburgh being discharged there preaching be us and our Counsel, for their unnatural and undutifull behaviour toward us in this late danger, whereof it pleased God miraculously to deliver us, We have, by advice of the same Counsell, resolved, that they shall never be restored again to their oun places; since, in that case, wee dread no less than the hazard of our life, and perrelling of our estate, as wee have more particularly declared to the Commissioners, by whose advice their roumes are declared to be vacant, that others may be provided therto. Lykeas, for the same effect, wee, be advice of the same Commissioners, have appointed a meeting at Edinburgh, upon the second of October next, not only upon order taking in that matter, but for consulting upon such other things as shall be thought good, to be propounded in name of the Kirk, for the well of our and their estate, at our next Parliament appointed the first day of November next: And therefore have thought good to will and desire yow to direct two of the wisest and best affected of your number to keep the said dyet, and instructed sufficiently to give their advice, and concurrence with the said Commissioners in the premisses, as ye will testify your duetifull affection toward us, and the quietness of our, and your estate.
And, in respect of our so happy deliverance upon a Tuesday, wee have,
by the advice foresaid, appointed, that every Tuesday thereafter shall be a
day of ordinar preaching within every burgh, within the bounds of the
Synods: And, in lyke manner, commanded by our publick proclamation,
that the last day of September nixt, and the Sunday next thereafter, be
keeped solemnly for giving thanks to God, for our deliverie of such an evident
danger; which we have thought meet also to intimat unto yow by this
our particular letter, beside our proclamation, that ye pretend no ignorance.
And so wee commit yow to God.
From Stirline, the 24th of August 1600.
Let your Synod be conveened the third Tuesday of September next, for directing of Commissioners for the effect foresaid.
The Application of the 30 psalme preached be Mr Patrick Galloway, the last of August 1600, before his Majestie in Glasgow.
Now I sould end, if I had not to let you see in the application of this psalme, that as David, and his people had their just occasion to praise God, so our David, and wee have now just occasion to praise God; David then in danger, our David has now been in danger; David then delivered in the high mercy of God, our David now delivered in the high mercy of God. Now the Lord of heaven, that is present with us, as he has given us proof of the one, so mott he give us the proof of the other, that wee may be thankfull for this great grace: for concerning the danger, David was never in greater danger, nor our David; his deliverance never more magnificent, than the deliverance of our David: and, therefore, wee have as just occasion, as ever David had, to praise God.
Take tent then, I think there is here no small number that has never heard the danger, wherein the Kings Majestie has been; or if they have heard, they have heard a poysoned untruth: Therefore to clear the truth, I will shew yow the history truely.
His Majestie, be the perswasion of the Master of Gowrie, was led from his past tyme to Sanct Johnstoun; (take tent, that ye may eschew false information) when he comes there, and enters in the lodging, after the cold dinner, and a far colder welcome, his Majestie is tane be the hand of the Master of Gowrie, and led up a stair; three or four doors are locked on his back, neither friend nor servant with him; and there is sitting a man prepared to joyne with the other, for the treasonable murthering of his Majestie. When he is set betwixt these two, the Master of Gowrie, a vile traitor, no sooner comes the King in, but to testify, that all reverence of a christian to his God, and of a subject to his Prince, was trampled vnder foot, he puts on his hat, draws his dagger, and sayes, I sall now be avenged on thee for my fathers slaughter: but the Lord stayed the dagger, that he dowght not strike with it. When the ire of this traitour was somewhat mitigated be the Kings modest language, he goes out, leaving the other man to keep him, appearandly to get farther resolution of his brother. Again he comes in, as a wood lion, and enters upon his Majestie with his garter to bind him. Noblemen, and citizens of Sanct Johnstoun heard his Majestie cry, Treason, I am murthered, as the voice of a half dead man. Let vile knaves say through the countrey what they will: This is truth.
I know well, there are many surmises of the people cast in with all to breed an ill conceit of the Kings Majestie in the hearts of the people. I'le tell part of them. This is one, How can it be, such a nobleman as the Earle of Gowrie, so well brought up, could have fostered such a treason. This would appear to carry something with it; but, in very dead, carries no probability. If the Erle had bidden still in Scotland, and keeped the education that he got under that worthy man, Mr Robert Rollock, he might, perchance, not have attempted such a treason; but when he went to Padua, there he studied necromancie. His own pædagogue, Mr William Rynd, testifies, that he had these characters ay upon him, which he loved so, that, if he had forgot to put them in his breeks, he would run up and doun lyke a mad man; and he had them upon him, when he was slain; and, as they testify that saw it, he would not bleed, so long as they were upon him. He that this way casteth off all reverence to his God, what reverence can he have to an earthly King.
Another question, I know, will be moved, Some will say, sall we true, that he could have devised his alone such a treason? could he have enterprized such a work, without a back? I doubt not but he had a back. The Lord discover it; and I am assured, he sall at last discover it. And, as I said before to your Majestie, I say it yet, and ye lay it not out, ye sall yet some day make us all a sorrowfull morning, if ye rype not up the fountain thereof, it is a manifest tempting of God; and I exhort your Majestie and Counsell to doe it, as ye will answer to God, before whom they sall be counted traitours one day, if they keep up the least chop of it, which they can try out. But to meet the question, it is no marvell, suppose it be hid; for the Erle of Gowrie was a man of exceeding great secrecie, there was not a man he would reveal it to. His own pædagogue, Mr William Rynd said, that the Erle, talking of treason against Princes, said, That if the right hand wist what the left hand were doing, he was not to be counted a man: and therefore I true, indead, there was none upon the foreknowledge of the execution, but the Erle, and his brother, and the devil that led them both.
I know there will be a third question, Is there none that can bear witness to it? God forgive them that say, The King is a party, he cannot be believed. And thow were a good christian, thow would rise up, and say, I am a party; and the King, that never has been a lier, should be believed himself; and not such suspitious surmises spread abroad. But I goe on, there was there noblemen, his Majesties servants, and citiezens of Sanct Johnstoun, who saw his Majestie carried there without any weapon, but his hunting horne about his craig; four doors are locked upon him; my Lord Duke, the Erle of Marr, bailies, and burgesses, saw his hands in the Kings face and throat. If they will not believe them, whom will they believe. Fy upon incredulous and malicious hearts.
I say more for the truth. Andrew Henderson, a man to that hour approved good, and zealous, and without spott all the days of life, this man perforce is put in the roume without any foreknowledge, this man yet liveth, every man has access to him. This man, as before he was made be God an instrument to save the King; so now he is made an instrument of the Kings honour to tell the truth. I must spear here, because some say, till we see him die on the scaffold for it, wee will never believe it. Fy on it, that his Majestie should execute him, that saved his life, for their pleasure. I must say in my conscience, that man is rather worthy of reward, nor of punishment; and I trow not a man, that fears God, but he will consent to it. But he was put in, be providence of God, to be an instrument of your deliverance.
Now as ye have heard the danger, take tent also, how he was delivered. As David said, Lord, thou hast exalted me, and not made my foes to rejoyce over me; justly may your Majestie say, I was in deadly danger, and thow, Lord, has looked on me. When I consider his Majesties deliverance, I may say, there was not a circumstance of that action, but every one was a wonderfull preservation. First, When the Erle of Gowrie, and his brother took that man, and put him in, and said to him simply, Doe what my brother commands thee, they thought he should have put to his hand to doe the turne; but God comes doun from heaven, and altereth the man. No sooner comes the King in, but he cries, alace! alace! woes me! Is not this a great work of God? he that should have slaine his Majestie, is made an instrument of his safetie. And when the Master of Gowrie is bringing doun to slay his Majestie, he withholds his hand. Thirdly, When the Master, of a cruel tiger, is made, as it were, a dove, saying, I will promise you your life, Sir, if ye will hold your tongue. Fy traitour, What had he to doe with his Majestie life? but he is mitigated be the Kings modest words, Ye and I come in under friendship; yow are a christian brought up under that good man, Mr Robert Rollock, why should ye put hands in your Prince. With this, he goes out, and shortly comes in again, and, as a tiger, enters upon his Majestie. This is a marvell: he was far beyond the King in strength, and yet the living God so strenthed his Majestie, that he got him under his feet. And last, When the Erle of Gowrie caused cry, The King is away, they running out to follow his Majestie, hear his voice again. When the Erle and seven men come in against four, he himself is slain be these four; and the rest of his company hurt, and put to flight. Yea, had Gowrie bidden still on the causay, and said, that traitours about the King had slain his brother, all the men of Sanct Johnstoun had rushed in with him: but the Lord wrought otherways. And, therefore, as David said, so should your Majestie say, O Lord, I will magnify thee; because thou hast exalted me.
Now, because it is said, as falsely as the sum shineth not, that the King went to Sanct Johnstoun to slay the Erle of Gowrie, (such is the spirits of malitious hearts) I would now have yow indifferent people. When the Master of Gowrie comes to Falkland, and moves him to come to Perth, I think not thirteen in his company, judge if he would have come to Sanct Johnstoun, which was Gowries London, there to have slain him. Again, if he would have brought my Lord Duke, the Erles good brother, and the Erle of Marr, his godfather, with him, if he had been minded to slay him. Judge, last, of this, When his Majestie is led be the Master of Gowrie, and separat from all his folks, put in a little round, having nothing but his hunting horne about him, let indifferent people judge here, whither his Majestie could have been minded to slay the Erle of Gowrie, or not.
Now, when I have shewed yow the danger, and divine deliverance, see, whither our David should not say, I will magnisy, thee, O Lord; because thow hast exalted me. Where he sayes, Saints, sing praises for me; see, if wee have not just occasion to praise God for the deliverance of our David: for woefull had been the state of Scotland, yea, woefull darkness, if the Lord had not wrought this deliverance. The Lord give your Majestie a thankfull heart; and to us your subjects thankfull hearts for your deliverance.
The Synods conveened the beginning of September, as was appointed be the King, and Commissioners. C.]
[The Synod of Fise conveened in Dumsermline, where Mr James Melvill was Moderator. After the Assembly was dissolved, he went to the King then resident at Falkland, and presented to him the form of thanksgiving agreed to be the Synod.
Upon this occasion, he made humble sute for his colleg, Mr Jhone Dykes; and obteined afterwards libertie to him to glorifie God again, in the exerceis of his ministerie at his awin kirk. Mr John made some sonets against the Erle of Gowrie, and his brother, quhilk Mr James presented to the King in November following; whereupon the King accepted him in favour, after a years trouble for some Propositions, which he had drawen out of Basilicon Doron, and published; the book itself not yet published, howbeit some few copies were printed. Mr James, after he had obtained his suit for his brother in law, and collegue, Mr John Dykes, being freed from that quhilk was na small exerceis to his mynd, and being then resolued to haue left Commissionarie, Court, and all that course, he was compelled of conscience to continow with a mair heavie and grewis fascherie, labour and pean, bathe of mynd and bodie, for that Ministrie of Edinbruche; for twa of the breithring being all commandit of the town, cam to his hous and vrgit him to continow in his Commissionarie for thair cause. C. & Melvill's Diary.]
[Upon Thursday the fifth of September, the Ministers of Edinburgh were charged at the Cross of Edinburgh, to compear before the King and his Counsell in Stirline; Mr William Watson, upon Teuesday the ninth; Mr John Hall, and Mr Walter Balcanquall, upon Wednesday the tenth; Mr Robert Bruce, and Mr James Balsour, upon Thursday the 11th, to hear farther punishment decerned, and that for their obstinat blindness, as they called it, and perswading others to doubt, in the parts where they come.
Mr William Watson was commanded to enter in waird: But the day following, after his humble supplication given, shewing that he was resolved, was set at liberty, and was appointed to publish his resolution in so many kirks as were appointed to him.
Mr Walter, and Mr John Hall were appointed to doe the lyke; because they professed they were resolved.
When Mr Robert compeared, the Chancellor caused him to hold up his hand, and swear to speak the truth. First, He asked, in what parts of the country he had been, and who were in company with him. Then he asked, if he was resolved touching the last treason, or not. He answered, I am in the way of resolution; but not fully resolved. But what moveth yow, said the King, more than the rest of your brethren? they say, they are all fully resolved; Mr John Hall sayes, he is more then resolved; Mr Walter sayes, he was sick, when the word came first, but when he travelled in Fife, he became resolved; Mr William Watson gave in his supplication, professing he was resolved; Mr James Balsour is even now gone out, and he said siclyke, that he is resolved. Mr Robert, yow were but their mouth, why should ye speak otherwise, not the body bides yow? Sir, said Mr Robert, I was their mouth indead, chosen be them in the action sanctified by prayer, and whatever I spake to the Counsell, I had their vote thereto; and I am perswaded, Sir, they are not fully resolved yet. Then said the King, they speak one thing to yow, and another thing to me. I will not say that, Sir, said he; but I shall speak the truth. If ye please, said the King, I shall cause them come in before yow, and say, they are fully resolved. Mr Robert, perceiving it was the Kings drist to set them be the ears, answered, Well, Sir, let them live in their own faith, I must live in mine; so far as I know, I shall preach, and farther I will not promise. Two things moved me to enter in the way of resolution. 1. The deposition of George Craigengelt, as I heard. I be chance mett be the way yesterday coming to this toun, a young man of Edinburgh, called Robert Kerr, who tells me, that he was in Sanct Johnstoun, at the execution of George Craigengelt, and was upon the cassold, together with James Kinneir clerk to our Session, and Robert Areskine tailyeour; and that they heard George Craigengelt say, that he would never have believed, that my Lord his Master had any interest in that matter, were not after that he had gone into the lodging, and found the two corps lying, and took first up my Lords corps, and then the Masters, and laid them together; (then his speach was interrupted a long time, when he remembered upon my Lord) after this, he went to Andrew Hendersons house, where he and Andrew lamented together; where he asked at him, if he knew, whither my Lord had any interest: and Andrew, as he faith, answered, That my Lord himself caused him goe up to the gallerie chamber, and put him in the room; and he was dressing the desert, when he saw Andrew goe up the stair, not knowing what the matter meant. If this be true, Sir, that George deponeth, in respect he died so well, I will rest upon his testimony for one. And the same day I have written to James Kinneir our clerk, and to Robert Areskine, that they may testify, whether they heard such words, or not. So, Sir, I am as diligent as I can. Next, Sir, if this Andrew Henderson dye with that confession, I will be satisfied for my own part. Here the Comptroller interrupted him, saying, will ye true a condemned man better then the King and his Counsell. My Lord, said he, if he die penitently, I will trust him; fra tyme that God receive the soul, I think we may receive the testimony. I saw John Ramsay, the false Notar, die very penitently. He saved the Kings life, said the Comptroller. As to that, said he, I cannot tell; but if it were for no more, but only this, that he employed not the whinger, that he threw out of the Masters hand, upon the Master himself, I say, justly he ought to die: for, I say, he should have stricken the traitour, and not have folded it up in his cloak. Indead, quoth the King, I know not whither he folded it up, or not. Then said the Comptroller, What if he goe back from the thing that he has deponed. I tell yow, my Lord, said Mr Robert, his testimony is the worse. Therefore, sayes the Comptroller, it were better to keep him alive. Nay, my Lord, ye should preferr the Kings honour to his life, sayes Mr Robert: for it will serve greatly to his honour, if he die penitently. Then, said the King, I see ye will not trust me, nor the noblemen that were with me, except ye try me. Sir, said Mr Robert, will cannot be constrained, I may well lye to yow with my mouth; but I cannot trust, but after tryal. I see, Mr Robert, that ye would make me a murtherer, said the King. Its known very well, that I was never blood thirsty; if I would have taken their lives, I had causes enough; I needed not to hazard myself also. Surely, Sir, said Mr Robert, I will not make yow a murtherer. Yea, Sir, suppose I knew it were so, I will neither withdraw my affection, nor obedience from your service. I would only press to draw you to repentance, in respect ye are not subject to our punition. Then the Earle of Marr said, I marvell, that ye will not trust men that saw his hand in his throat, and heard the King cry. My Lord, said Mr Robert, if ye were there to hear, and see, ye may the more easily credit. Then the Prior of Blantyre, Mr Edward Bruce, and all start up, saying, Why stand lye in a thing so clear? Because, sayes Mr Robert, I will not have yow look for more of me, than I prosess to know. I get never tyme to try. I never heard my Lord of Marr, nor the Duke speak out of their oun mouthes of that subject; nor have I liberty to goe to Edinburgh, or to Sanct Johnstoun: so I cannot get full resolution. Then, sayes the King, this is your meaning, ye are but in the way, ye are not yet fully resolved. Yes, Sir, said he, I am in the way of these things, try true.
So Mr Robert was dismist, as he thought, with a very loving countenance; but was not called in again.
The Macer, Archibald Douglas, comes forth and chargeth him to enter in ward in the place of Airth, and to remain there till the eight day of October; and thereafter to pass off the countrey, and not to return to England or Scotland, without his Majesties license. Mr Edward Bruce was instant with the Councill, for a license to Mr Robert to depart, if the King would have him off the countrey: but the King wold have him banished, that his living might fall. He wold also have had him in another ward: but the Treasurer said, he behoved to prepare himself before he went off the country.
Mr Robert, in a letter written to his wife, after he hath set doun the whole proceeding, concludes after this manner. If wee had spoken all one thing, I had not been in this case; and yet I would not be in their case, for all the benefit they have gotten: for the Court giveth it out, that they are sent to make their repentance, each one of them in so many kirks; and, indeed, the act bears, that they sall confess their error and incredulity, and shew they are fully resolved; and so be makes a triumph, and spectacle of their ministrie. Mr William Watson shewed me, that he repented from his heart, that he entered not in ward. Mr Peter Hewat shewed me, that he requiested Mr Patrick Galloway very earnestly to stay untill the day of my compearance, and help me as he had done the rest. But he would not stay one hour, but got out of the Toun, and rode away. The Secretar was there also. So that, as I shewed yow, this was a plott laid for me, say what they would have said.
Mr Robert Bruce, being charged, upon Thursday the eleventh of September, to enter in ward in the place of Airth, obeyed the charge. While he was in Airth, Sir Thomas Areskine purchased a warrant for him, to come and meet him at the Abbots Park. Mr Robert looked for no good of the meeting; yet, craving Gods direction and assistance, he went to meet him. After that Sir Thomas had made to him a prolix discourse and relation, he shewed how he trusted, and wherein he doubted. The conference ended without quarrell, yea, with promises on Sir Thomas his part, to stand his friend so far as he durst. This conference was holden on the 18 of September.
Upon Fryday the 19 of September, Mr Robert Bruce received two letters; one directed from Mr Peter Hewat, who was sent in commission, with Mr George Robertson, and Mr Robert Cornwall, from the Synod of Lothian to the King, to treat for restoring of the Ministers of Edinburgh to their oun places: Another from Mr James Balsour, Mr Walter Balcanquall, and Mr John Hall. The letters, together with Mr Roberts letters and answers, here follow.
Mr Peter Hewats letter to Mr Robert Bruce.
Sir, I have travelled with his Majestie, at the desire of the Synodall, for a prorogation of your day, in the which I found his Majestie very difficil at the first; but, after insisting, he granted it, as a benefit to the Kirk: for he affirmed, that ye standing in that estate, could not be capable of a benefit at his hands.
I perceive, Sir, that he would very fain have you reduced to a conformity with the rest of the brethren; and he wishes all them that love him and you, to travell with you to that effect.
I will not be so bold as to give you counsell; but I would pray you to goe as far as is possible to keep the King, under whom wee have the liberty of the Gospel, and who being removed, the state of this country would be dolorous.
I think, Sir, ye mister no mediators in this matter, but may be as far in
the Kings affection, as any man, if ye would come to him, and declare your
mind to him in this matter, but in these same terms, that your brethren
have done before you. Ye shall receive from this bearer the warrant subscribed be his Majestie. Having na further for the present, committs yow
to the protection of God. From Edinburgh the 18 of September 1600.
Yours ever to his power
Mr P. H.
Mr Bruce his answer.
Brother, I wrote to you as mouth, andone bearing the person of the brethren. Ye count, I perceive, this short prorogation a benefit, which I count none; if I had esteemed it so, I might have had a longer and larger; by embracing of this, ye stay me from the greater and better, which was also offered me: for since ye, who should be sharper of sight and quicker of judgment in discerning of things expedient for me, has made choice of this, ye stopp the mouths of others, who were once assured to have purchased greater things for me. And I marvell, seeing ye know that I must be most sensible in my own case, that ye have not sought my own advice in seeking of a benefit to me: for if the short space of tyme, which ye have purchased, be abused of me, as it will be accounted, ye shall make me more odious, as one who studies to be singular; and ye shall not faile to multiply the wrath of the Prince against me, as one who has biden so long upon me, and close your own mouths from further suiting, seeing ye have made no gain be your former suit. I had far rather ye had shewed me how far ye had gone before me in this matter, and what any of you has done, that I have not done: for if your warrants be strong and sufficient, and the strength of your warrants may carry me safely to doe the like; and if ye have done no farther, and mean to doe further nor I have done, Why should not wee, that are lyke minded, be lyke mouthed, and proceed after one way?
I am troubled for lack of a full perswasion. Now this sort of persuasion is the action of the heart, and God is only the searcher and tryer of the heart; so this sort of question should fall only under the censure. The Lord help my unbelief! I had mister of his fulness in the very articles of my belief, suppose they lean upon undoubted grounds. I will trust the report of my Prince, I will trust the report of noblemen, as it becomes me: but I can trust no report of man, as a very undoubted truth, but the report of him, who is God also.
Where ye cast in a word touching the desolation of our estate, in case (as God forbid) our Prince were removed, I wot not well, what it should mean: but if ye mean thereby, that there is an inlack in me, either of reverence or affection toward his Majesties person, certainly ye take me up wrong: for as to my heart, the Lord knowes it, and I appeal to him, touching the sincerity of it, in that point: and as to my actions in this mat ter, since the accident fell out, ye cannot be ignorant, how ready I was to have gone over the water, to have had better information of his Majesties self, if wind and weather had not stayed; and to have mett his Majestie at Leith, if I could have had access. And what I offered to the Counsell, I report me to Mr George Robertson, and to some of my collegues that heard; so that my conscience bears me witness, that I have been about ever to ommitt no duty, where either my reverence or affection ought to have been testified.
I crave to be led be the Spirit of truth in this particular, and have been instant after my manner with my God; and I am in that hope, that as yet he has not deserted me. Communicat your light with me, any of you that has farther, than I, and let me see what argument may import a necessary conclusion. If I embrace it not, I cannot refuse to be marked with the mark of obstinacy. If I agree with you in your light, Why should I be hardlier used than ye? wherefore should there be any acception of persons? Therefor, to end in a word, either impart this light to me with diligence, that your prorogation may be a benefit indeed; or, otherways, keep me from the scaith and consequences of your suit, that ye put me not in worse case, nor ye found me in.
I have been somewhat homely with you; but assure yourself, my speeches proceed not of bitterness, but of just grief, that I should be so hardlie dealt with: for, in my judgement, no honest man can be resolved in conscience, except some ane or other dye penitently testifying this matter.
The Lord by his holy Spirit direct us in thir matters, to whose direction
for the present I commit yow and your travels.
Off Airth, the 22 of September 1600.
Your brother and fellow labourer,
Mr R. B.
Mr James Balfour, Mr Walter Balcanquall and Mr John Halls letter.
The Spirit of the Lord Jesus be with yow, and guide yow for ever.
Right honourable Sir, and loving brother, after our heartie salutation: Remembring your state and present danger, to us no less heavy and sorrowfull, than to yourself; and therefore what in us lieth, both be our prayers to God for yow, as also be what lawfull mean wee can, wee have travelled to your relief; understanding, that ye also will refuse no lawfull way for the same.
We have remembered the Kirk of Fife, as also our own Assembly here, who will leave nothing undone, that lyeth in them, as wee pray God to prosper their travells. But when wee consider the state of things, and Mr Patrick Galloways credit, wee thought good also to speak with him to employ his credit in that matter, of whom in effect we find, that if ye will imploy him, he will assay his outtermost credit for you; which wee account, as things goe, to be the most ready way of your relief: And therefore would even pray you to make no scrouple to write to him a loving letter, desiring him, that he would not refuse to use his credit for your relief; as ye shall be ready to pleasure him, when your credit is greater nor his. This, Sir, we think nothing against your honour or duty, in respect that he is a brother; and peradventure will have adoe with our friendship again. And whatever has been in mislyke before, as Gods servants, it may be forgot, and brotherly love, in time to come, may be intertained; which, we know, he will willingly and lovingly meet.
We purposed to have visited you, where you are, were not wee are,
every one of us, upon our journey, to accomplish the appointment of the
King and Counsel. Praying God, from our hearts, to guide you with his
holy Spirit, and to direct yow in this matter to his glory, and your own
peace and comfort.
From Edinburgh, the 18 of September 1600.
Wee your loving brethren in God, Mr James Balsour, Mr Walter
Bancanqual, Mr John Hall.
Mr Robert Bruce his answer.
Brethren, I received your letter: And as touching the mean that ye proponed for my delivery, as I am not minded to contemne it, (for I never stood so upon the steps of my reputation, but could have sound in my heart to have used the help of the meanest brother in the Ministrie, and to have forgiven in my heart also the greatest enemy, that ever I had, in my own particular,) yet, brethren, ere I embrace it, I would be resolved of such doubts as occupy my mind.
I remember, brethren, when my case was better, and my credit greater with his Majestie; yet Mr Patrick refused reconsiliation altogether: for Mr Alexander Lindsay, one of the Commissioners, was mediator betwixt me and him; but he, at that tyme, could purchase no favour to me, except I had first acknowledged a fault done to him, yea, such a fault, as I, at that tyme, stood in great doubt, whither I had spoken it, or not. If he stood then, brethren, upon such stepstones, much more may he stand now, when I understand his credit to be greater.
He began, First, at my calling, he, and his complices, and how they sisted it, ye know; then, at my living, and held me in continual exercise to this hour; and now, last, at my life: for this banishment in this season of the year, (except God in his mercy be more favourable unto me) may import no less. And if he had been minded to winne me, and have made me to have buried these things in oblivion. I am perswaded he would not have deserted me, especially, when he was so urged and instantly dealt with be yow, and Mr Peter, that are brethren to us both.
Secondly, I doubt greatly, if his credit may reach so far, or any mans in this country either, as to purchase me a relief without a full resolution: and suppose I were resolved, it is concluded, that I shall not feel the favour of that roume, where I had my calling.
Thirdly, I know my letter shall be made a bachle of, and presented to his Majestie.
And, last of all, As touching my credit, that way which ye mean, certainly I took to be for the fashion, as I have oft told some of yow: I was never loved as a Minister; and yet if ye had been in my case, I would have stepped to unbidden, and employed my uttermost without ceremonies, as all the brethren of the Ministry had experience, who ever had to doe enduring my credit with any of the Princes. Thir things, I tell yow, brethren, make me to be laither to open my pack, except I were certain to sell some wares.
There is a better cause nor I wracked, and in greater danger, nor I am in. Ye know yourselves, in what estate the discipline of the Kirk stands in, what incroatching, what usurpation is daily increased upon the spiritual kingdom: Yea, and it were no more, I wonder how that brother could say, in the face of that Synodall Assembly, that our roumes were vacant; and that they had consented to our deposition. Shall I look for a benefit at his hand, that stops the breath of Gods Spirit in me; and deprives us unheard? Brethren, let him beginne, first, to kyth himself good in the common cause, and then I shall look for a benefit from him in my oun particular; yea, then shall I shake heart and hand with him, and honour him alwayes, as it becomes me; for I know he has received better gifts, nor I: and if he would let me see, that he would press to sanctify them this way, by helping the distressed state of Gods Kirk at this tyme; certainly, brethren, my eldest son should not be so dear to me, as he should be: for the Lord knowes, I have no malice in my affection, either against him, or Mr James Nicolson, suppose I take them two to be the procurers of my trouble, and fountains of my exercise. Would these two men extend their credit to stainch the bleeding of the cause, and to stay the grouth of this usurpation, then could I promise to myself good things of them both: But till I see their bowels poured out that way, I am the loather to trouble them with my particular.
I will not fash yow with farther letter; but submitt these things, and all
my cogitations to your spiritual judgment, to be corrected, as your light
out of the Word of God shall find expedient. So committing yow to the
protection of his Spirit, and Word of his grace, I take my leave.
Off Airth, the 22 of September 1600.
Your loving brother, and fellow labourer in the work of the Lord,
Mr R. B.
Mr Patrick Symson, Minister at Stirline, visiting Mr Robert upon the 22 of September, told him, that if he would promise to snib the people, and reprove them for their rash and leud opinion, which they were ready to conceive, and publish of a Prince, without found and solid ground, the Erle of Marr was of that hope, that it might work his peace. Mr Robert thinking, when the matter is doubtfull, the benigne interpretation should be for the Princes side, wrote to the Erle of Marr the letter following.
My Lord, after my very hearty commendations of service: Fearing lest this lingering of mine should give occasion of sinister impressions, and nurish the people in leud opinions (whereunto they are over much bent of will) of their Prince, I thought it my duty, my Lord, to prevent such suspicions, and to signifie my mind to your Lordship, as be this letter I doe, that if ever God open my mouth, either in that place, or in any other place, I will promise, be his grace, to snib them, and to divert them [from] such cogitations, as flow from perversity of nature, rather than from any solid ground. This I may doe safely; and shall doe farther, when God shall grant me farther light: for your Lordship takes me up wrong, if ye be of that mind, that it is not conscience that moves me to this, but only a preposterous affection to persons. My actions, my Lord, shortly will be my best judges and wit nesses, either with me, or against me. And, in the mean tyme, I would crave this favour of your Lordship, if my service will not be acceptable to his Majestie within the country, that he would suffer me with his licence and favour, while this storm be settled, to depart.
I will not fash your Lordship with farther letter; but if I durst say it,
my conscience sayes to me, I deserve good will of your Lordship alwise.
The Lord in his mercy direct your Lordship in all your affaires, and take
yow and yours under his tuition and defence, both now and ever.
Off Airth, the 22 of September 1600.
Your Lordship to his power to be commanded with service,
Mr R. B.
The Erle of Marrs answer to this letter mett not Mr Roberts expectation, neither was answerable to the promise made to Mr Patrick Symson in my Lords name.
The just copy of the answer followes.
Sir, I received your letter, wherein ye desired me to be a dealer at his
Majesties hand, that ye may have licence to pass furth of the country, if
better cannot be, (whereof I would be very sorrie.) I shall leave nothing
that in me lyes, to doe what ye desire me. But ye must give me leave,
even to speak with you. I think ye are far in the wrong to yourself, and
all your well willers, that is so hard of credit in so manifest a matter; and
now seeing it is come to such a hight, I fear his Majestie sall be very hard
in it: for I dar take it on me before God in heaven, that is my only witness in writing these words unto yow, that the most mishant treason, that
ever was intended against a Prince, was that day intended against his Majestie, be my Lord of Gowrie, and his brother. This I may boldly write,
in respect of that I saw: And if I had the occasion to speake with yow
I believe to let yow see it evidently. Alwise, Sir, I beseek you, even to
resolve with yourself upon that, which I am assured of in conscience ye
may, and that in respect I know it to be truth. I remitt the rest to the
bearer, whom, I know, ye will credit. And so I committ yow to God.
Off Stirline, the 24 of September.
Your loving friend,
As to that part of your letter, concerning your good will toward me, in truth, I never thought otherways; neither merited I ever other at your hand, nor yet still doe.
The Countess of Mortoun undertaketh, if Mr Robert would stand to that which he had offered, to purchase him either full liberty, or, at least, a prorogation till the end of the Parliament, which was to be holden. Whereupon a licence was promised, but delayed till the last hour; which made Mr Robert shake of all care of provision for his departure. The tyme of his departure was prorogued till the eleventh of November.
Upon Tuesday the 14 of October, the Commissioners from Synods conveened in the Palace of Halyrudhous.
The King was earnest to have the Kirk of Edinburgh planted with other Ministers. The brethren of the Ministry answered, That could not be done, unless they were deposed be the Kirk, and cutt off be some civil form of judicature. The King, on the other side, assured them, that he had determined, they should never come in Edinburgh again.
They thought good, rather than that kirk should vaik, that the Ministers of Edinburgh themselves should be asked, if they were content of their own accord to yield to transportation: Therefore Mr James Melvill, Mr Wil liam Scott, and Mr John Carmichael were directed be the King, and the Ministers conveened, to ask at them, and to report their answer.
After they were sent out, the King with his Commissioners, and the Ministers there conveened, nominated and chused three Bishops, Mr David Lindsay, Bishop of Ross, Mr Patrick Bleckburne, Bishop of Aberdeen, Mr George Glaidstances, Bishop of Cathness, and appointed them to vote at the next Parliament in name of the Kirk, without any regard had to the caveats, or conclusions made. The three brethren sent out to conferr with the Ministers of Edinburgh, understood nothing of this matter till the Convention was dissolved.
The King and Commissioners of the General Assembly, employed these three, who were esteemed the wisest among these who stood for the liberties of our Kirk, in another action, that they might the more easiely circumveen the rest who were present. This Convention had not the power of a Ge neral Assembly; but any colour was sufficient for their proceedings, having authority on their side.
As for the Ministers of Edinburgh: The King took Mr John Hall in his own hand, and so he was reposed to his own place in Edinburgh. The like favour was not granted to the rest. Indead Mr John was stedable to the King, and Commissioners, enjoying that place, and advanced their cause more secretly and under ground, than any of that number did either secretly or openly.
Mr Robert Bruce, eight dayes before the tyme appointed for his depar ture, directed a letter to the King, be the Laird of Balvaird, wherein he took his good night, and made a repetition of the former offers in as rever ent and humble manner as he could.
The tenour of the letter followes.
Please your Majestie: Hearing that your Majestie was nothing relented of your former wrath against me; and being now upon the point to shew my obedience unto your Majesties last charge, I could not ommitt this, as my last duty, to intreat your Hienes clemencie, and mitigat the extremity of this intended wrath. I am not ignorant of that speach, That the wrath of the Prince is the messenger of death: So that I crave, that the Lord, for Christs sake, may add his blessing, and work effectualy in your Grace, as he shall see expedient for his oun glory, and your Majesties perpetual pre servation.
Then to be short, To shew my conformity with the rest of my brethren of the Ministrie, as at all tymes, so now especially, to shew both my con formity with the rest of my brethren of the Ministrie, and my reverence to your Majestie, and to clear my suspected affection herein, I offer to give to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, in him, and through him, most hearty thanks for all your Majesties deliverances, from your cradle to this present hour; but namelie, for that deliverance, which he granted to your Majestie in Sanct Johnstoun, on Tuesday the fyft of August, far above all our deserts, and your Majesties expectation.
I offer also to stirr up the people to that same duty; and attour, to divert the people, so far as lyes in me, from their lewd opinions, and uncharitable constructions, anent your actions, and namely in this turne.
Finaly, There is no duty your Majestie can crave of me, without the manifest offence of God, and hurt of my own conscience, but I will doe it with as good a heart as ever I did thing in this earth; that, if by any means, I may testify my good affection toward your Majestie my Soveraign, and enjoy my natural air, and such other comforts as the Lord has given me under your Majesties reign. Which I must humbly crave of your Majestie; beseeking the Lord to move your heart herein, for his Christs sake. So awaiting for your Hienesa answer, in all humilitie I take my leave.
Mr Robert was upon his jurney to the ship; and Balvaird returned with the answer to his wife. He shewed her, that his Majestie had interlined the letter, and eeked some words upon the margent. And if Mr Robert condescended not to these words, and was not content to utter them in pulpit, there was no byding for him in Scotland. He desired also, that he might keep the interlined letter a while, promising to redeliver it; but he gave it to his uncle, Sir Patrick Murrey, and was never redelivered.
In the mean tyme, Mr Robert returned to Restalring, upon Thursday at night, the penult of October. Upon the third of November, Mr Robert went up to the ship, which lay at anchor at the Queens ferrie. Two of the Ministers certified him, that he was to be charged, under the pain of treason, to retire to the ship within 24 hours, which made him to make the greater haste. So he rode to the Queens ferrie, accompanied with William Cranston and his son; and after supper took ship. Two bailies went with him to the ship, and Mr Thomas Gray, and a Notar, John Mackie. He took instruments in the hand of the Notar, that he had obeyed the act. So they drew to sea, by Gods blessing; and arrived at Deep in France, upon Saturday the eight of November.
Upon the 15 of November, the King and Nobility came to the Tolbuith. The late Erle of Gowrie and his brother Mr Alexander were sorefaulted for treason. An act was made, that all the surname of Ruthven chuse their sirnames betwixt and Whitsunday next. Four Ministers voted as Bishops at this Parliament, but rade not, Mr David Lindsay, Bishop of Ross, Mr George Glaidstanes, Bishop of Caithness, Mr Peter Bleckburn, as Bishop of Aberdeen, Mr Alexander Dowglass, as Bishop of Murrey.
Upon the 24 of November, there was a proclamation at the Cross of Edinburgh, charging, that none recept Jesuits, Popish Priests, nor excom municated Papists within their houses, or otherwise; specialy Mr John Hammilton the Apostat, father brother to Mr Thomas Hamilton, Advo cate. And yet, within 20 dayes after, Mr Henry Blyth, Minister of the Cannogate, was cited to compeir before the Counsel, for alledging in pulpit, that Mr John Hammilton was recept in the special houses of Edinburgh; and threatned with punishment in cace he qualified not his speeches. He gave in sundrie proofs and presumptions, that he was seen say masse in the Presidents, and Andrew Napers house; but there was no correction.
Christmass was solemnly keeped be the Court, upon the 25 of December, with shooting of cannon out of the Castle of Edinburgh, and other signs of joy.