Letter: to Henry VIII of England

To the right excellent, right high and mighty Prince Henry [VIII], by the grace of God, king of England etc. We, the prelates spiritual, barons temporal and commons of the realm of Scotland, representing the three estates of the same, in our most hearty ways we recommend to your grace that it will please the same to know that the ambassadors of [James V], our sovereign lord, your brother and nephew, lately returned from your highness, have published your letters directed to us under your privy seal, dated at Greenwich, 1 June [1516], containing in them that, upon the matters discussed between the said ambassadors and your commissioners for the common good, rest and tranquility of both the realms, it is considered by your grace and your council how the very ground and root of good peace stands and is upon the sure keeping and good estate of the king, our sovereign lord, your nephew, and in the removing of all such suspicions and occasions as may result to the contrary thereof, and especially in the removing out of this realm of the noble and mighty prince John [Stewart], duke of Albany, tutor to the king's grace, governor and regent of his realm, by reason that he, as next heir and successor to the king's highness and therefore suspect, should not have the governance of our sovereign lord and his realm for the dangers and perils that may follow thereon, whereby, as in your letters is mentioned, all laws excluding the said governor from the administration and governance for suspicion, vehement and violent, which to force and provide as appertained and touched to your grace for proximity and blood that our master, the king, your brother and nephew, stands to your highness much further constrained, and obliged us for our allegiance and fidelity to our sovereign lord and prince, inferring thereupon how it is thought by discreet persons that the said governor, for his discharge and purging, should transfer himself to other countries and leave the authority and governance of this realm, alleging thereby that the king, our sovereign lord, should be in surety and that good peace and amity should be established between the realms, desiring that we would certify your grace by our ambassadors what we propose for the foresaid surety of our sovereign and master to the effect that, after the knowledge thereof, further assurance and amity between the realms may be taken. Declaring also to us that otherwise your highness may and is enforced in necessity to search and seek the ways and means for the conservation of our sovereign lord and king, your brother and nephew, as your said letters more fully purported. Right excellent, right high and mighty prince, we, with our lawful service, thank your grace for the great regard you bear to the well-being and conservation of the person of our king's grace, your brother and nephew, who is, God having love, in good health and princely appearance. Also, we thank your highness with our hearts for your remembrance made to us for the surety of our sovereign's person, in which matter we confess that we, above all others, are bound and obliged, and all our prosperity, rest and quietness depend on the conservation of his person, and, therefore, under God, there is no other greater thing or more special to us or in our minds than our master's sure keeping [and guiding]. And for satisfying your highness and showing our duty in this matter, we think it not unknown to your grace that soon after the coronation of our sovereign lord, [your brother and] nephew, we, the whole three estates of this realm for the same, elected and named with one consent and assent your cousin the duke of Albany protector to our sovereign lord and his realm, which our ordinance and election was and is affirmed and approved in parliament, never impugned by [any] person, and thereupon our diverse ambassadors sent for the said governor in France, persuading him as the nearest of royal stock and the first and most lawful to this office, with certification that if he, as the nearest and most tender agnate to our sovereign lord, would not for his possibility and duty of law come to this realm and take upon him the charge and labours for the well-being of the same, we would declare and discern in him contrary in that case, as is appropriate; and so he has taken travel, has come straight to these parts, has left his master, [Anne, countess of Auvergne and Lauraguais], his lady, his living and has endured here great pains and charges in the king's service, is determined to continue for his duty as he will answer to God and man, and behoves him so towards his sovereign lord, your brother and nephew, and intends similarly towards your grace that upon reason no man shall be discontented of his guiding and he deserves a large reward, whom we assure and certify your grace, so minded to make true service to our sovereign lord and for the well-being and amity between the realms, that if he would depart out of the realm, we would not assent thereto, seeing the premise [is] principally for the minority of our master's grace and ruling of his lieges during the same. And where it is called violent and vehement suspicion that the nearest to the succession should have governance etc., our ordinance of parliament was and is in conformance to imperial canon and our own civil laws, by which laws it is decreed that the nearest and lawful personage of the agnate's side shall have the cure, tutory and governance, and similarly shall take the charge and pain of governance, as well as having the adventure and respect of profit to the succession; and in that matter the law removes lawful suspicion of the nearest successor and thought, suspicion or danger that might be murmured especially in the keeping of our sovereign lord's person, as has not been seen in young kings of Scots when the governance has been committed heretofore to the uncle, immediate successor, the king being in his minority and honourably guided without insidiousness or an attempt on his person. Notwithstanding the same, for assuring of our master's grace, his dearest mother [Margaret Tudor], the queen, and the contentation of your highness, and removing of all murmur, such provision and order is taken in the first parliament here held by the said governor, that our sovereign lord's person is put in the keeping of the right assured earls and lords of the oldest blood, well-approbate and commended in fidelity and singular devotion, as is well-known to the queen's grace, in such a place where the governor is not, nor at any of his haunts or resorts, the persons and servants chosen and put in by the queen's grace having the care and keeping of our sovereign lord's person as they had when the queen was present. Also, we have perfect knowledge that the governor is ready and most diligent for all further surety in keeping of the king's grace, our master's person, and we firmly believe that he would not attempt in the contrary to have the kingdoms of France, England with2 Scotland. And for our discharge we have done and have omitted no diligence, as we will answer to God, and our sovereign lord at his [perfect] age, for conservation of whose person we are determined to spend our lives in opposition to all those who would attempt to attack his highness's estate and realm. And if further provision and surety can be devised, we, being advertised thereof, shall be ready to do the same with all our business and ambassadors to your highness's pleasure, whose grace, right excellent, right high and mighty prince, the trinity have in his blessed keeping. Given under our seals in this present parliament at Edinburgh, 4 July [1516] and of our sovereign lord's reign the third year.

  • [Hugh Montgomery], earl of Eglinton
  • [Gilbert Kennedy], earl of Cassilis
  • [John Stewart], earl of Atholl
  • [Alexander Home], lord Home
  • [Patrick Hepburn], lord Bothwell
  • [Robert Maxwell], lord Maxwell
  • [John Hay], lord Hay of Yester
  • [James Crichton], lord Crichton
  • [Andrew Stewart], lord Ochiltree
  • [John Fleming], lord Fleming
  • [Sir John Melville], lord Balwearie
  • [James Wishart of Pittarrow], justice clerk
  1. From APS, xii, p.36, which gives the source as PRO. Original not yet traced.
  2. Presumably means he would not allow the kingdom of Scotland to be dominated by either England or France.