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Queen Elizabeth I portrait

QUEEN ELIZABETH I TO KING JAMES VI OF SCOTLAND.

WRITTEN NOVEMBER 1585. RYDER MSS. ELIZ. NO. 20. ORIG. AUTOGRAPH.

Offers of help on the recovery of power by the banished lords — Elizabeth's ignorance of their intended return to Scotland — every mother's son of them shall smart if they do any personal violence to James.

     Angus, Mar, Glammis, and the other banished lords of Scotland remained in England, centres of intrigue and conspiracy, until the end of October, 1585. By that time Arran's misconduct and the cabals of his enemies had filled the cup of his unpopularity. The lords secretly gathered together their friends; crossed the border; made their appearance at Kelso; marshalled their host at Falkirk to the number of 8,000 men; and finally occupied Stirling, were admitted to the presence of the king, proclaimed Arran and his friends traitors, and took upon themselves the functions of the government. This proceeding was no doubt privately connived at by Elizabeth's government, and probably by Elizabeth herself. At any event she had undertaken for the peaceable conduct of the banished lords so long as they were in her dominions. The following letter is her own personal vindication, in anticipation of a charge of having broken that engagement. It is written with great boldness and appearance of truth, but it may be doubted whether it actually negatives connivance, and is not in fact more subtle than honest. It is wholly in the queen's handwriting, and contains many characteristic passages as well as an especially curious postscript.


Right deare brother, the strangenes of harde accidens that ar arrived here, of unloked for, or unsuspected, attemps in Skotland, euen by some suche as lately issued out of our lande, constraineth me, as wel for the care we have of your person as of the discharge of our owne honor and consciense, to send you immediatly this gentleman, one that appartaineth to us in bloud,* bothe to offer you all assistance of helpe as al good indeuor of counceil, and to make hit plaine that we delt plainly. Thes lordes makeng great outcryes that I wold not or coulde helpe them to be restored; I, by ther great importunitie, yelded, that if I might be fried of my assurance given unto you for ther safe kiping, I wold consent unto ther departure, and so, after your answer, as my thoght most honorable, that the might take ther way to Germany with your gracious graunt of some livelode, after a weekes space I gaue them my pasport and so dismissed them, without, I swere unto you, ons the sight of any one of them. Now, whan I way how suddenly, beyond my expectation, this suddan stur ariseth, and fering lest some ivel and wicked person might surmise that this was not without my forsight, I beseche you trust my actions accordinge the measure of my formar dealings for your safety, and ansuerable to the rule of reason, and you shal find, that few princes wyl agrye to constraint of ther equalz, muche les with compulsion of ther subiects. Juge of me, therfor, as of a kinge that caries no abiect nature, and thinke this of me, that, rather than your daungier, I wyl ventur myne; and albeit I must confesse that it is daungerous for a prince to irritast to muche, through iuel aduise, the generalitie of great subjectz, so might you or now haue folowed my aduise, that wold neuer betray you with unsound counceil; and now to conclude, making hast, I pray you be plain with this bearar, that I may knowe what you wold that I should do, without excuse hireafter, that constrained you did hit, for I dare assure you of his secresye, and therof be you bold. For the lord Russelz dethe, and other thinges, I referre me to this gentilman, who I dare promis is of no faction beside my wyl. God blesse you in al safety as I wysche myself.
                                                                     Your tru assured cousing and sistar,

ELIZABETH R.

Feare not, for your life must be thers, or els the shal smart wel, euery mothers son of them.

                  [Addressed,]
        A mon trescher frere
              le roy d'Escose.


* [Henry] Knolles [or Knollys], eldest son of sir Francis Knolles, K.G. who married Katharine, daughter of William Cary esquire, by Mary Boleyne, Elizabeth's maternal aunt. Before the actual invasion of Scotland by the banished lords, sir Edward Wotton had found it necessary to desert his post of ambassador at James's court. James having given orders to seize Wotton in his house and hold him as an hostage for Arran, Wotton mounted a fleet horse, and crossed the borders during the night.








Source:

  Letters of Queen Elizabeth and King James VI. of Scotland.
  John Bruce, ed.  London: Camden Society, 1849. 22-24.






Works of Queen Elizabeth





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Images:

Chart of the English Succession from William I through Henry VII

Medieval English Drama

London in the time of Henry VII. MS. Roy. 16 F. ii.
London, 1510, the earliest view in print
Map of England from Saxton's Descriptio Angliae, 1579
Location Map of Elizabethan London
Plan of the Bankside, Southwark, in Shakespeare's time
Detail of Norden's Map of the Bankside, 1593
Bull and Bear Baiting Rings from the Agas Map (1569-1590, pub. 1631)
Sketch of the Swan Theatre, c. 1596
Westminster in the Seventeenth Century, by Hollar
Visscher's Panoramic View of London, 1616. COLOR
c. 1690. View of London Churches, after the Great Fire
The Yard of the Tabard Inn from Thornbury, Old and New London




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