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a la Vere que Flessinghes bien huict cens dont les cinq cens serroyent arrives a
Flessinghes, ne sachant le nom de leur chef forsque s'estoit ung homme de belle
taille, avec la barbe quelque peu rossette.

' Demande s'il n'avoit entendu de la part que Ton vouloit envoyer les dits
Escochois dit avoir entendu de Betremieu de Dunder qu'ilz attendoyent le conte
de la Marche avec xv« hommes de Ghetye a autre, et quand il seroit arrive qu'ilz
volloyent aller assigier Termuden.' — Appendix to Renom de France.

Some of the Scots were sent in October to share in the investment of Middel-
burgh. — Le Petit.

1 1574. Lettres de remission du Capitaine Henry Balfour de ce qu'il avait tue
Andreas Ormeston couronnel des Capitains Escossois au camp pres de la Bommel
le jour d'Avril 1 574. ( Registre des depeches.etc. , du Prince Guillaume d" Orange. )

3 The Grand Commander, says Mendoza, sent Hierges into the Isle of
Bommel with infantry and light ca% - alry, ' tant pour gaster le pays en couppant
les grains, comme pour executer quelque menee qui se tramoit la ville de Bommel
ou estoient en garnison quelques compagnies d'Escossois avec le Colonel Balfour
l'un de ceux qui leur avoit commande dans Harlem mais cette entreprise ne
sortit aucun effect.'

3 Sp. Papers, September 1574. — 'They talked amongst themselves, however,
about Captain Ellis [Villiers?] going to Bomel and there arranging with
Colonel Balfour for him and his men when they leave there to go to Rotterdam


shared in Boisofs gallant efforts to succour the beleaguered
city. 1

In 1575 the Scottish companies suffered severely. In the
end of July Hierges with a strong force appeared before
Oudewater, which was held by a small garrison of two French, one
German, and one Scottish company, whose captain was absent. 2
Le Petit says that the Scots abandoned an outlying fort at the
sluice of the canal, without setting fire to it or withdrawing
the stores, as they should have done ; but under the French
captain, St. Marie, a gallant defence of the town was made, and
the Scottish lieutenant was killed on the ramparts along with
Captain St. Marie at the final assault. The garrison had con-
sisted of 400 men according to the Dutchman Meteren, and of
2800 according to the Spaniard Mendoza, but both agree that
the Spaniards swept into the town, in Mendoza's words, ' avec
tel massacre et effusion de sang que dedans ne resterent que
vingt homines en vie. -1 From Oudewater Hierges passed on to
Schoonhoven, which was held by 700 French, Dutch, and
Scottish soldiers. The defences were weak and the townsmen
unpatriotic, and the garrison, who awaited for a whole day the
assault at a breach 300 paces in length, accepted an honour-
able composition. These losses were followed by the famous
attack in which the Spaniards forced their way on foot through
the sea to the isle of Schouwen in spite of the fire of the
Zealand ships and the troops drawn up to oppose them on

or Delft or wherever Orange might be, in order to capture or kill him. They
would also surrender one of these towns, and on their doing these two things the
colonel and the captains were to have 20,000 crowns cash, and as much more
for the men. In case they fail to capture Orange, but surrender the town, they
are only to receive 15,000 crowns amongst the whole of them ; whilst if, on the
contrary, they capture him and do not surrender the town, they are to have
30,000 between them. In addition to this, the colonel asks for a pension of
1000 crowns, and the captains 300 with an employment. They would sign an
agreement as desired. Guaras says Ellis [Yilliers] is a man of experience, and
has served Orange for a long time, but he and the rest of the English are
dissatisfied with him.'

1 Le Petit. Meteren, in relating the unsuccessful attempt of the Zealanders
upon Antwerp, who had bribed thirty Spanish soldiers in the castle, says, ' Ceux
du Chasteau et de la Ville estoient deja en armes car ils furent advertirent par
un capitaine Escossois qui y estoit prisonnier.'

2 Le Petit. Meteren says the Scots company was 'sous Dine were'


land. A panic seized the French, Scots, and English troops,
the gallant Admiral Boisot was killed, and the fugitives took
refuge in a fort half a league from Ost-Duiveland, and in
Vianen. 1 Vianen soon fell, and the Spaniards pressed on to
Bomene, which was held by 600 old soldiers, Scots, French,
and English under Monsieur de Ly. After it had been
bombarded, a proposal was made for a capitulation, but some
Spanish soldiers were overheard saying that 'these hens and
rebels should be thrown from the walls into the sea as the
only consideration they deserved,"' and it was resolved to resist
to the last. The first assault was repulsed, and when at last
the Spaniards gained the place they put all who were in it
to the edge of the sword. The strength of the Scottish com-
panies had now been reduced by a half. 2

There was, however, no difficulty in filling the reduced ranks.
On 2nd January 1576, the Spanish authorities were informed
that ' some Scottish soldiers had landed at Brill, no doubt a
portion of the 2000 men which Colonel Balfour went to raise
in Scotland, 1 and the siege of Zierickzee, beleaguered till mid-
summer, was prolonged by the Scottish and English reinforce-
ments received. 3 The Archives of the House of Orange record
that so late as the 1st of June its relief was attempted by
' 2000 hommes d'Ecosse 1 ; but the letter sent to the town had
been intercepted, the besieged did not co-operate, ' et venans
nos gens au lieu destine ils furent tellement repoussez par les
ennemis que nous y perdions beaucoup de gens."' 4

1 Mendoza.

2 Renom de France in his Histoire des Troubles des Pays Bas, in giving an
account of the forces of the Dutch in this year, 1575, says, 'En Zuyt Hollande
quatre regiments dont estoient coronels le S r de Noyelle-Montigney 2° Hellin, 3.
La Garde, et 4 Walford,* le premier de Wallons le second d'Allemand, le 3 me
de Francois et le 4 e d'Escossois, que avoient este pleins au commencement et
depuis reduite fil a fil a la Moitie. Car autant qu'il pouvoit tenoit les enseignes
pleines. '

3 Renom de France.

4 The Spaniards were still flattering themselves with the coming success of
their attempted intrigues with the foreigh troops.

St. Pap., Guaras to Zayas. — '26th April 1576. — With regard to the matter of the
plan of Flushing I have had several conferences with Col. Chester, the English-

* Henri Balfour Ecossais au service des Etats de Hollande, puis des Etats Generaux. II
commandait douze enseignes d'Escossais. The English companies were in garrison.


The closing months of 1576 introduce a new phase of the
struggle in the Netherlands. The Spanish Fury had deso-
lated Antwerp early in November, "and a few days later the
Pacification of Ghent was signed, by which the provinces of
Utrecht, Brabant, Flanders, Artois, Hainault, and the others
forming the southern Netherlands, associated themselves with
Holland and Zealand. The Scots troops had hitherto been
in the service of Holland alone, or of Holland and Zealand
combined. They were now to pass for a brief period into that
of the comprehensive States-General of the whole Netherlands.

On 3rd December the Prince of Orange wrote to the Regent
Morton referring to ' la bonne assistance d'hommes qu'en ces
guerres nous avons par notre bon adveu et congie receu
d'Ecosse, 1 announcing the treaty with the other provinces, and
continuing thus : ' Comme les Etatz d'Hollande apres cette
paix faicte avoyent delibere de licentier le Couronnel Balfour
avecq les compagnies Ecossaises qiril a par deca, j'ai estime
qu'il seroit meilleur veu qu'il s'estoit toujours si vailla-
ment porte, de Temployer es aultres provinces du pays en si
bonne occasion qui se presente contre les espagnols qui a faict
que je Tay bien voulu recommander aux Estatz Generaulx du
Pays Bas assemblez a Bruxelles, lesquels aussy par ma recom-
mendation ont traicte avecq luy, Tayantz accepte en leur
service/ *

The English State Papers mention that on the 21st the States

man, and have agreed that he and Colonel Daburd [Balfour ?] of the Scotch forces
will deliver the town of Flushing to his Majesty for 300,000 crowns and all the
plunder that the soldiers can take.

' . . . They expect to carry the business through by pretending that all our
forces are to go by land or sea to capture the isle of Walcheren or Zealand, which
will certainly cause Orange to send a great force of English and Scotch to defend
the island, who will be on our side. . . . Orange, moreover, will send Col.
Daburd [Balfour] to defend Flushing, and as both of the Colonels think that
Orange must shortly come to ruin, and they are looking out for themselves, they
may be depended upon to carry through this service. . . . They are awaiting a
reply and are much grieved at the death of the Grand Commander.'

It required a very different condition of affairs, with the Low Country

employers of the Scots and English troops divided against themselves, and pass-

' ing one by one back to the side of King Philip, and the hand of the astute and

j attractive Parma, before such intrigues produced even the limited effects after-

J wards obtained in a few exceptional cases.

1 Archives of the House of Orange, Nassau. — Groen van Prinsterer.


sent sixteen ensigns of Scots under Colonel Balfour to lie in
garrison about Limburg, and the printed resolutions of the
States -General record the accepting in service of Colonel Henry
Balfour the Scot with twelve Scots ensigns (i.e. companies) in
good order and well armed. 1

On 9th November it was also resolved to accept and treat
with a Scots cavalry captain for 200 horse, if ready to pass
muster, and on the 16th to pay to the Scots captains, Wm, Mon-
criff and Ogilby, £4:0 Artois. On 9th December the Scots at
Sas-van-Gand were ordered to the country of Oultre-Meuse, and
successive guides (the Sieur de Franchenbergh, John Laureys,
and Thomas Wales) appointed to conduct them there. On
20th December Balfoui -, s regiment was ordered ' to be provided
at once with 1500 lbs. of powder and 90 lbs. of " mesones." 1

The Scottish regiment had not long to wait for their first
encounter. ' Au mois de Janvier, 1 says Meteren, ' les Escossois
qui estoient au service des Etats souz le Colonel Balfour rencon-
trerent au pais de liege par de la Meuse pres de Jupil une troupe
d'Espaignols en une vallee qu'ils chargerent et les different telle-
ment que plusieurs y demeurerent et le reste se sauva en la ville de
Maestricht. 1 The contemporary account sent to Lord Burghley
stated : ' The Scots who lie at Bingen, near Maestricht, were by
the Spaniards disquieted with 1500 horsemen,but the Scots being
1600, unto whom Commendator Burnenstein joined unawares
his 300 reiters, repulsed the Spaniards to the loss of 100 horse-
men and of the Scots not past 12 men slain and very few hurt.'
There was also a very mysterious capture by Colonel Balfour's
Scots of certain deputies of Amsterdam (which still adhered to
the King of Spain), who were probably on their way to or from
Don John of Austria, which resulted in caution being given by
a burgher of Amsterdam for ' what the Scots or their Colonel
claim.' In March the States refused to withdraw the Scots at
Don John's demand. On 18th April they resolved 2 to give
letters of recommendation to the Colonel of the Scots to his
king ' du bon debvoir et offices qu'il a faict avec ses gens au

1 Resolutions of the States-General, 1576-1577. — De Jonge. Resolutions
dated 5th and 6th November.

2 Manuscripts of States-General.


Pays Bas, 1 and on 11th May he was paid i?6000 Artois ' pour
la recompense a luy promise 1 ; and it was resolved to write 'au
Roy et Regent du Royaulme d'Escolsse que le Colonel et ses
compagnies ont bien et lealement servy a sa Majeste Royale
Catholique et Estats des Pays Bas. 1 On 7th June * le Col.
Balfour Escossois ayant prins conge des Estatz a este remerchie
de son service.''

But Colonel Balfour was soon recalled. The reconciliation
of February 1577 was clouded over, Don John of Austria
had seized Namur, and both sides were preparing for another
struggle. On 10th October 1577 'Captain Henry Balfour,
late colonel of the Scottis companis that served in Holland
under the obedience of the Prince of Orange, and last under
the commandment of the Estates in the Low Countries, 1 pre-
sented to the Scottish Privy Council a supplication stating
that after his return from service in the Low Countries, the
Estates being constrained to renew the war for their just
defence had sent him a commission 1 as colonel over certain
companies of footmen of this nation under his regiment to
be levied and transported there, and asking licence to 4 strike
drummis, display handsenzies, and lift and collect the said
companies.' The council, understanding ' that the said
Estaitts hes presentlie ado for the commonweill and support
of their countre, and that our countremen quhilkis of befoir
hantit in the wearis are desyrous to be in service, 1 remembering
also ' how honorablie and thankfullie they were dealt with be
the saidis Estaitis at their last being in Brabant and departing
thairfra, 1 granted the desired licence to Captain Hary Balfour
and the Captains chosen by him, each to levy ' twa hundrieth
wageit men of weir 1 under conditions similar to those of 1573.
Captain Preston's Bond (printed in full in the P. C. Register)
contains the additional condition ' that he shall not take away
in his company any landit men prohibit to depart by Act of
Parliament without special licence. 1

Though the commission refers to ten companies, fourteen

1 The commission, dated Brussels, 8th September 1577, and designing Balfour
as 'chief et Colonell de dix enseignes de pretons [Ppietons] Escossoyes,' is
engrossed in (he. P. C. Register. See vol. ii. p. 641.


were actually levied and the dates of the licences and names
of the captains were as follows : —

Sept. 23. Alexander Campbell (his cautioners being Kennedy

of Bargany and Bellenden of Stonehouse).
Oct 16. Capt. John Ramsay.
„ 16. „ Edward Preston (cautioner David Preston of

that Ilk).
„ 17. „ Henry Balfour (his cautioner being Michael
Balfour of Montquhanney, afterwards the
first Lord Balfour of Burleigh).
„ David Murray (of Hillfield). l
„ Robert Masterton.
„ Henry Acheson (cautioner, A. Acheson of

,, Patrick Acheson.
,, Adam Montgomery of Braidstane.
„ James Oliphant (cautioner, Laurence Lord

„ David Spalding.
„ Andrew Traill.
„ Thomas Newton.
„ Patrick Ogilvie.

In the following year Captain John Strachan received a similar
licence on 21st August.

The companies must have been rapidly raised, for on 24th
November the Flemish general, La Motte, sent Colonel Balfour's
secretary to receive the money intended for the masters of the
ships which had brought the Scots into the country. 2 They
were at once sent to the front. In December some Walloon
soldiers reported that ten or eleven companies of Scots who
should join the other troops atlluremonde were still ' a Tentour
de St. Tron. 1 On 9th January it was reported from Namur that
troops could not be spared, because the camp of the Estates
was so near and reinforced by four thousand Scots.

In the army now assembled, says Lettenhove, 'elle mette en
ligne treize enseignes d'Ecossais. 1 They were practically for the


















. 19.



1 See P. C. Register, 25th February 1580-81, vol. iii. p. 359.

2 Gachard's Actes des Etats Generaux.


first time in the open to face in a pitched battle the most
highly trained, best equipped, and fiercest soldiery of the
century. For the Scottish regiment the fight was not to be
that of a fair field, but their experience of the stroke of Parma,
and of the Spanish and Italian cavalry, was to be gained

f In the lost battle
Borne down by the flying.'

On the last day of January 1578 the army of the Estates was
falling back towards Gemblours, closely followed by the Spanish
array. The thirteen Scottish companies, with some English,
formed part of the ' battle ' or main body, and the force was
marching with large advanced and rear guards. Its course led
it along the margin of a boggy and almost impassable ravine,
and the Prince of Parma observed that the order of the troops
composing the rearguard was loosened and invited attack.
Without a moment's hesitation, he sent word to Don John to
support him, and led the Spanish cavalry across the ravine,
breathed his horses, and swept down on the cavalry of the
Estates. They and the infantry of the rearguard were broken
and driven in upon the main body, and the flying cavalry not
only burst through the formation, but actually rode down the
men of the main body. They were followed by the furious
Spanish charge, and in a few minutes the army of the Estates
was routed. * En vain, 1 says Lettenhove, ' les Escossois opposent-
ils une courageuse resistance." 1 The magnitude of their loss
indicates that they fought longest, but the only result was that
they suffered more than those who were fighting for their own
hearths and homes. ' La plus grand tuerie,'' says Meteren, ' se
fit des Escossois et autresqui yestoient de la parti des Etats de
Hollande et Zealande. Le Sieur de Montigny et Balfour, colonel
| des Escossois se comportans valeureusement eschapperent en
j combattant." 1 ' The greatest loss, 1 says Le Petit, ' fell upon
I Balfour's Scottish regiment, who was there wounded and saved
i himself, as did the Lord of Montigny, after having first done
well all that was possible."' The number of the prisoners was
, small compared to that of the dead, but their fate was no
! better, for though Cabrera asserts that Don John liberated the
(Scottish prisoners, Tassis, one of his leading officers and


councillors who was present, expressly states that ' the greater
part of the captives who were Scots were afterwards thrown off
the bridge at Namur into the river, 1 while the other historians
declare that the prisoners were all hung. The probability is
that all were killed, and that, as at Haarlem, the Spaniards
showed their impartiality between the two alternatives of
suffocation. The result of the victory was that several
important places fell into the hands of Don John. * Louvain,'
says Strada, ' not awaiting a summons, turning out the Scottish
garrison, rendered themselves to Gonzaga of their own accord.
To Mechlin and Vilvoorde, 1 newly garrisoned by the States,
Gonzaga came too late.'

The States set themselves to raise fresh forces. ' Depuis
furent aussi decretez nouveaux regimens d'Angleterre et
d'Ecosse.' 2 ' Colonel Stuart,' says Le Petit, ' with his regiment
of Scots returning from Dantzig, where he had been in the
service of the city and commonwealth against the King of
Poland, was accepted by the States-General. ' 3 The Belgian
merchants in London in March found the means to enable
one hundred and twenty Scots 'come back from the defeat' to
return to the Low Countries, and embarked them for Antwerp ;
while in April King James wrote saying that he attended to
the desire expressed through the conservator George Hacquet,
' touching the countermandment of some companies which had
made themselves ready to go to the service of the States.' 4
Exactly six months after the rout of Gemblours, the hostile
armies again confronted each other near the little village of
Rymenant in the vicinity of Mechlin. The army of the States

1 Lettenhove mentions Colonel Stuart as at Vilvoorde, and Colonel Preston at

2 Renom de France.

3 It would seem that he had previously served in Holland. On iolh October
1575 he had written to Lord Burghley stating that, ' having received commission
from the Prince to serve with 300 soldiers of his own nation, being in doubt to
find arms ready, or of reasonable prices in Scotland, he desires that he may have
licence to transport out of England 100 corselets with pikes, and 200 calivers with
their furniture.' On 4th June 1577, a request of William Stuart, Scottish gentle-
man, captain of two companies, and lieutenant-colonel of the Scottish regiment,
had been presented to the States-General. — Res. of States-General. As to
him and his claims, see, infra, p. 115.

4 Actes des Etats Generaux.


occupied a strong position, and in advance was posted Colonel
John Norris with the English and Scottish troops, which had
only arrived an hour before after a long march which they had
made to join the army. The battle began very gently at first
between the Spanish and English, then cavalry on both sides
joined in, and ' Robert Stuart 1 bringing up with him some
Scots foot, Don John sent in Ferdinando de Toledo with the
rest of those active foot under his command,' and followed with
his main body. Parma led the attack in person, seizing a pike
from a soldier, and assailed by both horse and foot the Scots
and English fell back, ' sometimes retiring, sometimes facing
about and firing.' 1 They set fire to the village and Parma,
observing the order of their retirement, began to suspect its
object, and before long found himself in face, not only of the
Scots and English, who had taken up a new position supported
by the artillery, but of the whole army of the Estates. The
brave Spanish foot and the mixed cavalry again attacked, but
after a fierce struggle, Don John, declining to commit his whole
force to an assault on an entrenched position strongly held,
drew off his army and retired. ' Some companies of Scots, 1 says
Strada, * made themselves remarkable, who either in bravery
or not able to endure the heat of their running and the day,
the sun putting the whole sky into a flame, stripped them-
selves, contented only with their shirts, some casting off these
too, and tying them about their middles, came on naked
among the armed men. 1 But the author of a work of last
century, 2 who had served in the Scots Brigade, says, ' What
Strada mentions of the Scots in that battle throwing away
their cloaths and fighting naked was no more than the
Highlanders throwing aside their plaids to be less embarrassed,
after having brought the vanguard of Don John's army into
the ambuscade that was laid for them, and where they suffered
greatly, but Strada deals much in the marvellous and makes
mysteries of very plain facts.' 3 According to the Dutch

1 Sic, Strada.

2 Strictures on Military Discipline, with some account of the Scots Brigade in
the Dutch Service.

3 Meteren says, 'C 'etoit un jour auquel il faisoit une fort grand chaleur,
tellement que les Ecossois et autres soldats se despouillerent et combattirent en



authorities the action lasted nearly eight hours, and the
Spaniards left 1000 dead upon the field. A few days after-
wards Colonel La Garde with 500 French arquebusiers, and
Colonel Balfour with 1000 Scots took the town of Aerschot,
Don John's army being only two leagues distant.

The year 1579 marked the development of another stage in
the history of the Netherlands, and the substantial separation
of the country into the future Dutch Republic on the one hand
and the future Belgian provinces on the other. Already on
29th December 1578 the Union of Utrecht, by which the
northern provinces of Holland, Zealand, Gelderland, Utrecht,
Friesland, Overyssel, Groningen, and, for the time being, Ghent,
drew more closely together, had been formed, and the founda-
tions of the future United Netherlands laid. The Walloon
provinces, on the contrary, were in negotiation with the Prince
of Parma. Indeed, the main bond of the larger union had been
the fear of the Spanish troops. The southern provinces were
Catholic in sentiment, and the fear of the Spanish, Italian, and
German troops on the royal side was succeeded by an active
jealousy of the Scots, English, and French troops, who fought
so well under the banners of the Estates. 'The nobles of
Flanders were disgusted, 1 says Renom de France, ' because the
Prince of Orange preferred Englishmen, Scots, French, and
Germans to military command, and held them in too much
state and esteem.' 1 The numbers of the foreign troops, in-
cluding the Scots, had been considerably increased, 1 and there

chemise, laquelle ils attacherent entres les jambes, et firent tout ce qui se pouvoit

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