BL MSS Cotton Caligula b. ix, 78

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BL MSS Cotton Caligula b. ix, 78

Wright Vol 1, 8 Page 20

Transcribed by Thomas Wright, ‘Queen Elizabeth and her times,’ London, 1838

Sir Ralph Sadler and Sir James Croft to Sir William Cecil. Berwick, Oct. 31 1559

Yesternyght arrived here the Larde of Ormeston, (1) with thies letters, which we send you here inclosed. He was speciallie dispeched hither for money, and declared unto us, that onlesse they might be presently holpen and relieved with the same, they coulde not kepe their power any longer togither, but that their souldiors, which they had in wages, were readie to departe from them, for lack of payment, whereuppon because we thought it not good utterly to discourage them, we have presumed to send them one thousand pounds, which we declared unto him, we shifted for of our owne money, and such as we could borrowe of our frends for the tyme, and so we have now writen unto Randall, requyering him to declare the same to suche of the lords there, as he thinketh good, and to advertise them, that we be in good hope to send them more very shortely, praying them to kepe it secret, and to make as few privie to it, as is possible, wherof lykewise we requiered the saide Ormeston ; to whome also we have given two hundred crowns, for his owne reliefe, which he toke in verie thankfull parte, and so we retourned him this daye with spede to Edinburgh with good woordes, and good hope of more reliefe, as soone as may be. Furthermore, lyke as we wrote unto you that we wolde send this berer, Mr. Drurie, to Edinburgh, to th'intent we might the better understand by him of their dooings there, so being directed from me, Sir James Croft, to the Prior of St. Andrewes, he hathe been there amongst them since Thursdaye last, and is nowe retourned unto us in the companye of the said Larde of Ormeston. He hathe viewed the towne of Lythe verie neare, within the shotte of the harquebuss, (2) and what he judgeth of the same and all the rest that he hath scene and hard there, he can better and more at length declare unto you than we can wryte. He is honest, wise, and secret, and therefore we have thought good to dispeche him presentlie herewith, praying you to credit him in that he shall declare unto you on our behalfe. What woll be th'ende of this matier, we cannott tell, but surelie withoute the Queue's Majestie's ayde, either by taking open and playne parte with them, or ells secretly to be at charges with them, as her Highnes hath been for a tyme, we see not, their povertie being suche as it is, as this saide bearer can tell, that they shal be able of themselves to kepe any power long togither, but of force must be fayne to staie and departe to their no little daungier, and to the utter overthrow of the hole intended purpose. And what may ensue therof, we referre to be considered there, by suche as can more depelie waye and judge of the same, then we can, and for our parts shal be readie to doo as we shall be commanded.(3) And thus we committ you to the tuition of Almightie God. From Barwick, the last of October, at midnight, 1559.

Your assured poore frends,


(1) John Cockburn, laird of Ormeston, a zealous reformer. Shortly after the laird was waylaid and attacked by the Earl of Bothwell, and the money which he had received for the Protestants taken from him. In his letter of 3 Nov. in which he announces this mishap, Randolph adds, " Immediately after word came to us that Ormeston was hurte, and the money lost, th'erle of Arrain and the Lorde James went with two hundred horsemen and one hundred footemen, and two pieces of artillerie, to the Lord Bothwell's howse, trusting to have founde him there; howbeit they cam to late onlie by a quarter of an hower. They have, notwithstanding, taken his howse ; and onles he render the money oute of hande, this daye his howse shall be sett a fyer, and his goods reserved, in recompense of the money, and he to be taken as an enemye to the whole lords of the congregation." Sadler, i. 536.

(2) In the first draught of this letter,, the writer here goes on to give Ormeston's opinion of the great strength of the fortifications of Leith, but the sentence is afterwards erased, as a matter which would be better told by the bearer of the letter, as he here goes on to say.

(3) During the latter part of this year, the Scottish reformers made head with difficulty against the French faction, and were only covertly aided by England. " But as soone as it was once knowne that the Marquesse of Albeuf, the Queene of Scot's uncle, leavyed forces by meanes of the Rheingrave in Germany for the Scottish warre, that pieces of great ordnance were conveyed to the ports, that greater provisions were made than necessary to suppresse a fewe unarmed Scots, (for this was pretended,) that the Frenchmen also promised the Danish king (to the end to draw him to their party) that the Duke of Loraine should resigne his claime to the kingdome of Denmarke, and that they again more importunately urged the Bishop of Rome's censure against the Queene, and his sentence declaratory for the Queene of Scot's title to England ; Sir Ralph Sadleir, a wise man, was sent to the borders of Scotland, to be assistant by his counsell to the Earle of Northumberland, warden of the Middle March, and to Sir James a Crofts, governor of Barwick. For to what end these things tended, the councell could not see, unlesse to invade England, and to prosecute that by warre, which by titles and armes they made shew of." So Camden. On the 16th Dec., William Winter, with the navy, was sent to station himself in the Frith ; on the 27th Feb. following, a treaty of mutual support was made by the Duke of Norfolk with the Scottish lords, and on the 26th of March, the English army, under Lord Grey, (who had been made warden of the Middle and East Marches,) entered Scotland. The French, disconcerted by the measures of the English government, expostulated, persuaded, treated ; but Cecil was not to be deceived, the siege of Leith was persisted in, and in the end the French were compelled to give up their enterprise.