[Letter from the commissioners at London to the lord general]

23 July 1641, from the commissioners at London to [Alexander Leslie of Balgonie], lord general

Our very good lord,

The great committee from the parliament of England appointed for seeking out monies for disbanding the armies does find that work so difficult by reason the daily charge of the armies does exhaust all the monies they can possibly get; as they are now aware this evil cannot be remedied but by taking the readiest way for disbanding and so to remove that consumer, which will enable them to get money to pay both arrears and that part of the brotherly assistance promised to us. And other monies cannot be had presently, so they will make use of their credit and get trust for a short time, for the poll monies come in fast, although not in such quantity as both to maintain the armies and pay the arrears, which make them say they will disband with great rests to their own army. Their desires to us, which we represent to your excellency, are first to condescend upon a certain day when you will disband; next to spare the £80,000 of brotherly assistance for some few days. Although it becomes not us to give a determined answer, yet we know that you are desirous and ready to depart so soon as the articles of the treaty are ratified in parliament here, and that the arrears due to your army and £80,000 of brotherly assistance is satisfied for the articles. They will come up with [Charles Seton], earl of Dunfermline and [John Campbell], lord Loudoun, and will be enacted within very few days for the arrears, when your excellency shall condescend upon a certain day for disbanding the army, whether it be 3, 4 or 5, or any other day preceding 10 August, again the which you think the army may be sufficiently ready to be disbanded, we once knowing the certain day, can account all the arrears to the said day and press the payment thereof. We expect all the arrears preceding this day shall be ready to send away within few days, which we intend to send by sea, with the which you may be expecting all the accounts of Durham and Northumberland. And when we get word of the precise day of the disbanding of the army from you, all the arrears between this day and the day of the disbanding shall be craved by us and sent either to you with all expedition or answered by exchange here; a great number of these being yet lying upon our head, which must of necessity be satisfied and be delivered here. As for the £80,000, all the favour that they desire is that the payment of it may be superseded until 10 August, at which time they promise very good security of noblemen and burgesses, and to have it ready and send it to Scotland in one of the king's ships. It has ever been our desire that a considerable great sum should be sent for supplying the wants of that nation that is so destitute of money. We thought ever the transporting of it in the king's ship the surest way, only they require a little more time, which by appearance your excellency and the committees will not deny, we being certified that the same shall be delivered 10 [August] at farthest, and sooner if possibly it can be had.

We received a letter from our commissars who had treated with the commissars of Durham and Northumberland appointed for taking in the accounts there. We find they crave many extraordinary and unreasonable things in their accounts, and we do therefore crave that your excellency would ripely advise with your own commissioners and set down those particulars which you think in reason should be allowed either as being stipulated by you or as being customable in other places where an army is among friends or where it is fit to be done here in this nation at this time. Set down these and we shall endeavour to get assurance that we shall be troubled with no other but with these; otherwise they will bring in claims to exhaust all our brotherly assistance. Set down reasons to us for every one of their claims you do deny. And we do earnestly entreat your excellency to send an answer of the day of disbanding as soon as you can for all resolutions depends thereon. And they never expect here that we shall be gone. It seems to be expedient that you should proceed with your accounts with the counties and allow all those things you think reasonable. As for their exorbitant articles, let them keep a note of them, but it seems expedient your letter to us should bear that you must be secured that none of these extraordinary articles should be required from you and expressly certified that the brotherly assistance of £220,000 resting shall be burdened with none of these nor with no claim whatsoever after we are gone, but that all things claimable may be presently expressed. Having no further we rest,

[...], London, 23 July 1641

Postscript: The English are resolving to disband their army upon condition that your excellency design a peremptory day for disbanding ours, for which we must give public faith. Therefore desires your excellency to write your resolution herein and cause clear the accounts, as the letter bears. Your excellency's humble servants. It is thus subscribed: [John Leslie, earl of] Rothes, Patrick Hepburn of Waughton, J. Douglas, Hugh Kennedy, J[ohn] Smith [of Grotehill].

  1. NAS, PA6/3, 'July 28 1641', f.1r-1v. Back
  2. This clause is written on the rear of the document. Back