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D

Letter of Queen Elizabeth to the General States on account of
Scottish affairs.

Messieurs nos bons Amys, L'estat pre'sent de nos affaires qui ne vous
sont point incongneuz, nous a faict appeller le S r Ortel pour luy communi-
quer quelques occasions importantes pour faire remettre le voyage de luy et
du S re de Vooch votre Commissaire pour Escosse a un aultre temps plus
propice. Ce que toutefois nous n'avons faict ung soing qu' avons du bien
des affaires tant du Roy notre bon frere que des votres, avecq lesquelz
nous estimons les notres conioinctz. Car nous avons de'sia donne charge
expresse a notre Ambassadeur restant en Escosse de moyenner la sur-
seance de la procedure qu'avoit encommence'e contre les sujectz d'iceulx
pays bas, le S r Guillaume Stewart, et en abolissant aussy des lettres de
repre'saille que led. Stewart avoit sollicite' avec toute instance. Sur
quoy poura que led. Roy ne nous a parfaict entier refuse, ains en
usant de quelques petites remises differer sa plaine resolution sur la venue
de votre Commissaire en Escosse. Nous l'avons de rechef prie de vouloir
remettre le voyage en Escosse au printemps, a celle fin que nous
puissions ce temps pendant tant mieulx accommoder nos affaires com-
munes. Ce que ne faisons doubte que led. Roy notre bon frere ne
nous accorde, comme requeste tres raisonnable, et que vous pourriez
peult-etre avoir occasion cependant de vous servir des bons offices et
debvoirs du S r de Vooch, nous l'avons bien voulu licencier pour se
retourner vers vous requerant vouloir trouver bonne la procedure qu'
avons tenu en la charge que vous luy avez baillee, et luy impartira de
■ vos faveurs selon que ses bons debvoirs en votre service me'ritent. Qui
I fera l'endroict que nous nous recommanderons bien affectionement a voz
I bonnes graces. Priant le Createur vous tienne tousiours en la sienne.

IEscript a notre Chateau de Greenwich, le xni Jour de De'cembre, 1588.
Votre bonne Amye,
Elizabeth R.

1589, Wednesday, February 15. — The recorder Aerssen was council of
; further informed that the Council judges it necessary that state -
ithe States-General should resolve to send an embassy to Scot-



132 WAR OF INDEPENDENCE [1589

land and write about the matter to Her Majesty of England.
The said Recorder hereupon replied to Secretary Huyghens
that the Lords States-General had resolved with reference to
it, that Ortell [the Dutch ambassador at the Court of London],
should remain in England, and that de Voocht and van de
Warck should travel to Scotland.

[On 4th March 1589-90 a commission was granted to Sir
Robert Melville and others to ' sight 1 the ' instructions com-
mission and answers returned from the Estates of the Low
Countries of Flanders, to certain letters direct to them in
favour of William, Commendator of Pittenweem, and others
who served in the wars under his regiment in the said Low
Countries, as also the instructions, etc., which are to be directed
with Mr. John Skene, advocate, to the said Estates. 1 — Pr.
Co. Reg.]

Report of Leonard Voocht and Jan de Warck, about their
embassy to the King of Scotland. Anno 1589. Presented
to the Meeting of the States-General of the United Nether-
lands, on August 11th, 1590. {According to Resolution)

REPORT OF PROCEEDINGS during the Embassy to Scotland, and of
what was treated of and negotiated with His Majesty the King of
Scotland James the Sixth, by the Deputies of the States-General of
the United Netherlands, according to the instructions given them on
March 20th, 1589, and commissions dated April 24th of the same
year, stilo novo.

Inasmuch as the Lords Councillors of the Admiralty, invested with the
charge of Zeeland had chartered two men-of-war, the one of Captain
Legner of Flushing, and the other of Captain de Haen of Hoorn, the said
Deputies at the same time, namely, as soon as the ships were ready, and
the wind favourable, set sail from Flushing on May 13th, 1589, on a
Saturday, in the afternoon about three o'clock, and after a fortunately
prosperous voyage arrived at Leith on the 17th of the same month,
namely on a Wednesday evening very late between nine and ten.

Having arrived in the hotel there, we were immediately visited by the
two ministers of that place, who came to confer with us in regard to the
business of our embassy and other matters, and passed the evening in
our company. And in accordance with their advice we sent the following
day to the Provost of Edinburgh, who is also provost of the said place or
harbour of Leith, to inform him of our arrival so that we might be pro-
vided with a lodging.

He expressed his pleasure at our arrival, and had us quant a quant



1589] REPORT OF DUTCH AMBASSADORS 133

provided with lodgings, namely the same where formerly Sir [P ?] Sidney,
Ambassador of the Queen of England had been accommodated.

Thereafter we came immediately into Edinburgh, where my lord, the
Chancellor, did with all respect inform the King's Majesty of our arrival,
with a view to ascertain when we might obtain audience of His Majesty.

Thereafter on the 19th of said month His Majesty gave us to under-
stand through Dr. Joannes Sceineus x that our arrival in his kingdom
was very welcome to him, that he was glad we had had so prosperous a
voyage, and that the following day, being the 20th, he would give us
audience, in the afternoon at two o'clock. However His Majesty sent
an excuse by the said Sceineus, to the effect that we could have no
audience that day at the appointed hour, by reason of other pressing
matters which had come up for His Majesty to deal with ; but at last,
the 21st, being Whitsunday, was granted us, namely at five o'clock in
the afternoon, after the sermon.

At that time we were conducted by the said Sceineus, accompanied by
some others, and audience was given us in the garden of the Chancellor,
in whose house the King lodged at that time ; and that in the presence of
all the courtiers of His Majesty, and of every one who desired to be
present, yet in such a manner that we were heard only by the King and
the Lord Chancellor.

After paying due homage and respects, and on the part of the Sovereign
States their humble commendations and proffers of all service and friend-
ship possible, and after having delivered our credentials, which were
read by His Majesty, we, speaking in French, disclosed to His Majesty the
business we were charged with in the best form and manner we possibly
could, following our commission and instruction with appended docu-
ments, explaining besides the proposition thereanent drawn up in writing
by ourselves.

But although in our instruction aforesaid it was mentioned that we

were to present to His Majesty four horses, afterwards increased to six,

yet we neither did so, nor did we mention that we were expecting them,

: as the horses, which had been shipped in the district of North Holland,

1 had not arrived, and we were totally uncertain when they might arrive.

His Majesty replied, also in French, to our proposition extremely well
; and wisely, just as we recorded the said reply afterwards in writing;
! His Majesty declaring, amongst other things, that he would appoint com-
| missioners who would confer with us regarding the business we were
j charged with and our commission.

On the following day, the 22nd, we repaired to the Chancellor's, and

| commended to him the object of our embassy, and prayed that he would

I be pleased to use such efforts with the King that the commissioners who

were to confer with us and enter more minutely into our business should

i be appointed.

Thereupon the said Chancellor declared that he was keeping our busi-
! ness in good and favourable recommendation, and that His Majesty would
j very soon appoint commissioners.

1 Sir John Skene of Curriehill.



134 WAR OF INDEPENDENCE [1589

But notwithstanding that we daily brought great pressure to bear for
that purpose, through the person of Adrianus Damannus, formerly
professor at Leyden, who we understood was a favourite with His Majesty,
with the said Lord Chancellor, and other principal personages, yet, on
account of certain important affairs, which caused great anxiety to His
Majesty and the members of his Council, commissioners were not
appointed before the 2.5th of the said month, namely, Messrs. Scarpius, 1
Prestonius 2 and the said Sceinius.

Thereupon we entered into negotiations and conference with the said
gentlemen in the Chamber of Session or Parliament of Scotland, on the
26th.

But as Colonel Stuart had entered with the said gentlemen, and sat down
next them, we first of all requested that the said Colonel should be obliged
to withdraw, and leave the said gentlemen alone with us, as we had
nothing to do with him, and had not come to meet him, nor were we
authorised to enter into any discussion or controversy with him, but had
been sent solely to His Majesty to make overtures to him touching our
difficulties in the matter of letters of marque, which was not a private
concern but public, affecting the government of the kingdom of Scotland
and of the United Netherlands, and we expected in reference to it not
any legal decision, but such a kindly answer from the Royal Majesty
as was demanded for the preservation of the alliance and good neigh-
bourly relations between the two countries.

That we, therefore, did not understand that these negotiations or
conferences had any object further than that His Majesty, through the
report of the said Commissioners, and from other and more particular
information, might be able more satisfactorily to give our principals and
superiors a favourable and fruitful answer.

Thereupon the said Commissioners replied, the said Sceineus being
spokesman, that this matter was not so public, that it did not also concern
the said Stuart, both as he was interested in it, and because we desired
to accuse and bring charges against him. That he, therefore, ought in
justice to be heard against these, and be present, in order to reply to
what we should bring forward, and adduce his contrary reasons.

In reply to this we again said that we had no orders to enter into any
discussion whatever with Stuart, much less to accuse him ; and although
many public affairs naturally involved private persons, that, nevertheless,
they were public and concerned the government of the country ; that we,
therefore, refused to disclose the business of our commission to any one
except to those appointed by the King for the purpose.

The result was that after some more arguments had been brought
forward, now by one side, now by the other, the said commissioners
ordered the said Colonel Stuart to withdraw, and this without his having
said a word on the subject, or having even understood the discussion
regarding him, for we and the said commissioners carried on our discus-
sion in Latin.



Mr. John Shairp, advocate (mentioned in P. C. Reg.)

Probably John Preston of Fentonbarns, appointed a judge in 1595.



1589] REPORT OF DUTCH AMBASSADORS 135

After his departure we declared that we had not insisted upon it,
because we did not wish him to hear our reasons, on the contrary we
should have been glad to let all the world_ be present at the conference,
but in order that the business might be carried on more freely, and also,
chiefly, because it should not seem as if the said Stuart having been present
we had entered into a judicial controversy or discussion with him, and we
still declared and protested that we were not authorised to do so, and
that we were only justified in making our overtures to the gentlemen
present there as Commissioners of His Majesty, that they might report
concerning them to His Majesty.

And in the same declaration we recounted to the said gentlemen all
the reasons contained in the proposition made to His Majesty.

And as we understood that the said Stuart was in good favour with His
Majesty, and, in fact, one of his Lords-in-waiting, and that in the previous
year he had been Ambassador in Denmark, we had in our proposition to
the King and at our first interview avoided arguments which might in
any way have been understood as aggrieving the said Stuart ; as, for
instance :

That the said Colonel Stuart with the captains under him had taken
part in several dangerous mutinies to the great and irreparable harm of
the country.

That also some of his captains had surrendered to the common foe the
places of which they were in charge.

That the said Stuart had himself been for a long time with the common
foe — the Prince of Parma— so that one could not but suppose that he had
there rendered all sorts of bad offices against the United Netherlands.

That this was sufficiently vouched by the fact that he had never asked
for letters of marque, until after he had returned from the Prince of
Parma.

That he had asked for the said letters of marque only against these
Lands, where he had received so much honour and profit, and which he
well knows were forced to take up arms to preserve their ancient privi-
leges and rights, and in order to maintain the reformed true Christian
religion.

At the same time, leaving free and unmolested the provinces which are
subject to the Prince of Parma, which he has served, and which would
chiefly be the debtors of his pretended arrears.

That he also wished to have the said letters of marque executed at the
time when the Armada of Spain was on the way to attack England and
these lands, in order by those means to do the greater injury to the
United Netherlands.

And when we had requested that the said gentlemen would be pleased
to recount to His Majesty the said reasons and others which we had
before placed before His Majesty, and which we had set forth at length
to the said Commissioners, and to do as much as would lead to us
receiving soon a favourable answer from His Majesty. The said Com-
missioners replied :

That they had listened with interest to the reasons stated by us on



136 WAR OF INDEPENDENCE [1589

behalf of our principals, and that they had noticed, amongst other things,
what was said about the contracts, which had been made between the
Kings of Scotland and the House of Burgundy ; and desired to know if
we had brought them with us.

Thereupon we declared that we did not doubt that the said treaties
were in the possession of the King among other original documents of
the Kingdom ; that, nevertheless, we had brought a copy of it with us,
and had it with us, and we offered to have it read.

But as some of the gentlemen declared that they had seen it, they
further desired that we should commit to writing the reasons against the
letters of marque, in order that they might the better present their
report.

We consented to do so, but on the express understanding that we
made no claims for ourselves, nor might we submit to any judicature
whatever, but that, for the rest, we would await His Majesty's gracious
reply.

Thereafter we immediately, that is, on the following morning, delivered
our reasons in writing to the said Commissioners.

On the same day we were at the Chancellor's, and declared to him
what had been transacted between us and the Commissioners, and that
we, according to their desire, had presented to them in writing our
arguments regarding the principal matter, that of the letters of mark ;
and we requested that the said Commissioners might be ordered to make
their report so that His Majesty might thereafter give us such a favour-
able reply and dismissal as was justly due to us, as well as to the
consequence and importance of our charge and commission.

The said Lord Chancellor replied very favourably, declaring that he
would recommend the expediting of our business.

On the same day also we visited the Ambassador of England who
resided there at Edinburgh, and gave him a summary account of what
had that day been done in the matter, and requested that he would
kindly recommend our business and commission to His Majesty, as well
as the early despatch thereof; since we did not doubt that Her Majesty
of England had ordered him to do so, and had written previously about
it at length to the King.

To this the Ambassador replied very favourably, that he had orders
from Her Majesty, his mistress, and that she would also willingly employ
him otherwise in our interests should he find our business founded on
right and equity ; adding that he was so certain of the graciousness and
justice of the King, and of his great zeal for the reformed religion, that
it was certain he could give us no other but a favourable and fruitful
answer.

The same evening we were visited by the afore-mentioned gentleman,
Joannes Sceineus, who declared to us that he, with his fellow-Commis-
sioners, had seen good to place our written statement in the hands of
Colonel Stuart, seeing that he wished to be heard against it, and that
apparently he intended to hand in a document to the contrary effect, so



1589] REPORT OF DUTCH AMBASSADORS 137

as to prolong the business to a great length, and detain us with our
ships of war. We answered that we had before declared and still de-
clare that we had no authority to enter into any lawsuit or discussion
with Stuart, or to reply to any of his writings. Yet we would not prevent
His Majesty and those of his Council from obtaining information regard-
ing our proposition and reasons from Colonel Stuart or in any other
fashion they pleased. That we, therefore, intended taking all the
responsibility of it on ourselves, to solicit and prosecute a reply from His
Majesty.

On the last day of the said month of May the said gentleman, Sceineus,
came again, telling us that Colonel Stuart had drawn up a certain writing,
first in Scotch, which was afterwards translated into Latin ; but that he,
having looked it over with the other Commissioners, had found it
irrelevant and otherwise unseemly, so much so that they had corrected
and altered it ; and it would have to be properly rewritten ; which would
be done within a day or two, and desiring that we should speak to my
lord the Chancellor about it, and pray him that the Commissioners might
have their audience. This we afterwards did, and continue to do, through
the afore-mentioned Adrianus Damannus.

Then, understanding in the meantime that the said Colonel Stuart was
talking loudly and boasting that we had been too late in stating our
reasons against the letters of marque he pretended to, inasmuch as they
had already been granted in all due form, and that the King would not
now recall what he had done with the consent of the Estates, we went to
the Chancellor and again refreshed his Lordship's memory regarding the
reasons which we had laid before His Majesty on that subject ; and in
order that he might have something to show in writing, we gave the said
Lord Chancellor a document in French thereanent, in order that he
might be pleased, -when the Report of the Commissioners should be
considered, also to make reference to it ; praying also for a final
dismissal.

In the meantime there came to us the Deputies of the towns, who
were assembled at Edinburgh with the clergy and nobles to welcome us,
and to assure us of their affection ; and that they wished nothing more
than to maintain good relations with the United Netherlands, in order to
preserve the freedom of the trade, which they intended not to have
obstructed ; and so far as they had intelligence as to our commission or
might by us be further informed, they would be glad that we should
make use of their services.

We, in return, thanked them, making similar protestation ; and,
further, declared that the object of our embassy was known to every one,
as tending to come to a settlement about certain pretended letters of
marque sought by Colonel Stuart, in order to obstruct free trade by
means of them, that we were commissioned to address ourselves to the
King on the subject ; that we had done so, and set forth at length our
reasons. That we had not had an opportunity of addressing these, save
to the Commissioners, whom His Majesty had appointed to meet us.



138 WAR OF INDEPENDENCE [1589

Praying none the less, that the said Deputies would be pleased to do all
in their power, not only to further the quick despatch of our business,
but also that a good and favourable answer might be obtained, all which
they did choose to perform.

The Deputies of the city of Edinburgh did in particular greet us ; and
on the next Sunday evening invited and very sumptuously entertained
us, as also previously the Ambassador of England had done, and after
him M. le Baron de Wynes [ Wemyss ?], who had been in the service of
the King of Navarre, and who, to judge from appearances, was well
disposed to the States and, especially, His Excellency of Nassau.

Thereafter we learned that the Lord Chancellor had propounded our
business in the presence of the King and the Estates of the Kingdom at
the time assembled ; and that the said Estates had commissioned three
out of the clergy, three out of the gentlemen and nobles, and the deputies
of three towns, viz., Edinburgh, Tondien [Dundee?], and Glasco. And
while we regretted that this second appointment of other commissioners
had been made, we nevertheless thought good to request audience of the
said gentlemen, especially as we understood they had received full powers
from the King and the Estates. But seeing that they were also commis-
sioned to give a decision in regard to the deed of the gentlemen who had
taken up arms, as well as of the marriage of the king, a long time elapsed
before the said gentlemen could arrange to hear the Commissioners who
had negotiated with us. At last they heard them, and communicated
everything to the Session or Parliament of Scotland, who made no
further resolution than that the writing drawn up by the said Colonel
should be delivered to us, and that in regard to it we should say whatever
we deemed best. In especial, the treaties made between the Kings of
Scotland and the Princes of the Netherlands having been read by the
said gentlemen, they had found that these also spoke de militibus aut
stipendariis, and that as regards these letters of marque might also be
granted. While neither the King's Majesty, nor the said Commissioners
of the Estates, nor the members of the said Session, nor even the first
Commissioners made any objections to the said treaties, nor hinted that
they concerned only the Princes and not the States [Netherlands] ; but, on
the contrary, they plainly acknowledged that the said treaties were to
the advantage of the Provinces. His Majesty and the said gentlemen
likewise took the same attitude, and acknowledged the provinces as
allies and confederates.

And in so far as in the last contract made at Bins mention is made of
the soldiers, it is irrelevant, as the said treaty lays down, that in case the
paid soldiers of one side or the other be inj ured, in that case letters of mark
should be granted against the offending parties. But this has no relevancy
here ; for although Colonel Stuart and his regiment had been wronged,
which is not the case, that could not have befallen them as soldiers in
the service of the King of Scotland, as the said Stuart and his Regiment
were soldiers of this country.

And as we did not think it advisable to reply to the writing drawn up



1589] REPORT OF DUTCH AMBASSADORS 139

by the said Stuart, we were at last told that we would ouce again have
audience of the first Commissioners, except that in place of Sceineus,
who was engaged in the business of Denmark, would be substituted
Lintseus, 1 a member of the Session or Parliament.

This was the reason that on the 13th of June we were again at the
Lord Chancellor's, complaining of the delays which were made in our
case ; and of being detained with the ships of war, which ought to be
serving the States in other affairs against the enemy. That we could not
comprehend how there was any need to hear us further, as we had
roundly and sincerely disclosed our commission, with the reasons for it.
That they were sufficient to show at once that the letters of marque had
been obtained by evil and underhand means ; and that the said Stuart
ought to have pursued, and still ought to pursue, his claims in the
Netherlands ; that we, nevertheless, would not refuse to receive such
reply or other writing, and the other documents which the said Stuart
had promised to hand over so as thereanent to report to our principals
and superiors ; especially since therein were contained many allegations,
and many documents were given, of which we had received no informa-
tion, nor could receive, seeing that Your Lordship had not seen them



Online LibraryScottish History Society. cnPublications of the Scottish History Society (Volume 32) → online text (page 16 of 59)