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REF 941.061 

LANG ANDREW* 

JAMES VT AND THE COWRIE 

MYSTERY 

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JAMES VI 

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THE GOWKIE MYSTEEY 






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THE COWRIE COAT OF ARMS 
In the 'Workman' MS. 



PROPERTY OF THE 
CITY OF NEW YORK. 

JAMES VI 



AND 



THE COWRIE MYSTERY 



BY 

ANDREW LANG 






WITH COWRIE'S COAT OT ARMS IN COLOUR, 2 PHOTOGRAVURE PORTRAITS 

AND OTHER ILLUSTRATIONS 



LONGMANS, GKEEN, AND CO, 

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TO 

THE LADY CECILY BAILLIE- HAMILTON 

THIS INQUIRY 
IS GRATEFULLY DEDICATED 



INTRODUCTION 



old Scottish lady, four generations ago, used to 
say, 'It is a great comfort to think that, at the Day 
of Judgment, we shall know the whole truth about the 
Gowrie Conspiracy at last.' Since the author, as a 
child, read ' The Tales of a Grandfather,' and shared 
King Jamie's disappointment when there was no pot 
of gold, but an armed man, in the turret, he had sup- 
posed that we do know all about the Gowrie Con- 
spiracy, that it was a plot to capture the King, carry 
him to Fastcastle, and ' see how the country would 
take it,' as in the case of the Gunpowder Plot. But 
just as Father Gerard has tried to show that the Gun- 
powder affair may have been Cecil's plot, so modern 
historians doubt whether the Gowrie mystery was 
not a conspiracy by King James himself. Mr. Hume 
Brown appears rather to lean to this opinion, in 
the second volume of his ' History of Scotland,' and 
Dr. Masson, in his valuable edition of the ' Eegister of 
the Privy Council,' is also dubious. Mr. Louis Barbe, 
in his ' Tragedy of Gowrie House,' holds a brief against 
the King. Thus I have been tempted to study this 



viii THE GOWRIE MYSTERY 

4 auld misterie' afresh, and have convinced myself 
that such historians as Sir Walter Scott, Mr. Frazer 
Tvtler, and Mr. Hill Burton were not wrong ; the 

tt 

plot was not the King's conspiracy, but the desperate 
venture of two very young men. The precise object 
remains obscure in detail, but the purpose was probably 
to see how a deeply discontented Kirk and country 
' would take it.' 

In working at this fascinatingly mysterious puzzle, 
I have made use of manuscript materials hitherto 
uncited. The most curious of these, the examina- 
tions and documents of the ' country writer,' Sprot, 
had been briefly summarised in Sir William Fraser's 
'Memorials of the Earls of Haddington.' My attention 
was drawn to this source by the Eev. John Anderson, 
of the General Eegister House, who aided Sir 
William Fraser in the compilation of his book. The 
Earl of Haddington generously permitted me to have 
copies made of the documents, which Lady Cecily 
Baillie-Hamiltoii was kind enough to search for and 

< s 

rediscover in an enormous mass of documents be- 
queathed by the learned first Earl. 

On reading the Calendars of the Hatfield MSS. 

o 

I had observed that several letters by the possible 
conspirator, Logan of Eestalrig, were in the posses- 
sion of the Marquis of Salisbury, who was good 
enough to permit photographs of some specimens to 
be taken. These were compared, by Mr. Anderson, 
with the alleged plot-letters of Logan at Edinburgh ; 
while photographs of the plot-letters were compared 



INTRODUCTION ix 

with Logan's authentic letters at Hatfield, by Mr. 
Gunton, to whose acuteness and energy I owe the 
greatest gratitude. The results of the comparison 
settle the riddle of three centuries. 

The other hitherto unused manuscripts are in 
no more recondite place than the Eecord Office in 
London, and I do not know how they managed to 
escape the notice of previous writers on the subject. 
To Dr. Masson's 'Eegister of the Privy Council' I 
am indebted for the sequel of the curious adventure 
of Mr. Eobert Oliphant, whose part in the mystery, 
hitherto overlooked, is decisive, if we accept the 
evidence a point on which the reader must form his 
own opinion. For copies made at the Eecord Office 
I have to thank the care and accuracy of Miss E. M. 
Thompson. 

To Mr. Anderson's learning and zest in this 
6 longest and sorest chase ' (as King James called his 
hunt on the morning of the fatal August 5) I am 
under the deepest obligations. The allurements of a 
romantic conclusion have never tempted him to leave 
the strait path of historical impartiality. 

I have also to thank Mr. Henry Paton for his 
careful copies of the Haddington MSS., extracts from 
the Treasurer's accounts, and other researches. 

For permission to reproduce the picture of Fast- 
castle by the Eev. Mr. Thomson of Duddingston, I 
have to thank the kindness of Mrs. Blackwood-Porter. 
The painting, probably of about 1820, when compared 



X THE GOWRIE MYSTERY 

with the photograph of to-day, shows the destruction 

wrought bv wind and weather in the old fortalice. 

> j 

My obligations to Sir James Balfonr Panl (Lyon 
King of Arms) for information on points of Heraldry 
ought to be gratefully acknowledged. 

Since this book was written, the author has had 
an opportunity to read an Apology for the Kuthvens 
by the late Andrew Bisset. This treatise is apt to 
escape observation : it is entitled ' Sir Walter Scott,' 
and occupies pp. 172-303 in 'Essays on Historical 
Truth,' long out of print. 1 On many points Mr. Bisset 
agreed with Mr. Barbe in his 'Tragedy of Gowrie 
House,' and my replies to Mr. Barbe serve for his 
predecessor. But Mr. Bisset found no evidence that 
the King had formed a plot against Gowrie. By a 
modification of the contemporary conjecture of Sir 
William Bowes he suggested that a brawl between 

t_-^ t- / 

the Kino- and the Master of Euthven occurred in the 

o 

turret, occasioned bv an atrocious insult offered to 

**' 

the Master by the King. This hypothesis, for various 
reasons, does not deserve discussion. Mr. Bisset ap- 
peared to attribute the Sprot papers to the combined 
authorship of the King and Sir Thomas Hamilton : 
which our new materials disprove. A critic who, 
like Mr. Bisset, accused the King of poisoning Prince 
Henry, and many other persons, was not an unpreju- 
diced historian. 

1 Longmans, Green, & Co., 1871. 



CONTENTS 



PAGE 

INTRODUCTION vii 

I. THE MYSTERY AND THE EVIDENCE ... 1 

II. THE SLAUGHTER OF THE KUTHVENS . . . . 11 

III. THE KING'S OWN NARRATIVE 35 

IV. THE KING'S NARRATIVE. II ... . . 55 
V. HENDERSON'S NARRATIVE . ... 60 

VI. THE STRANGE CASE OF MR. EGBERT OLIPHAXT . . 71 

VII. THE CONTEMPORARY KUTHVEN VINDICATION ... 80 

VIII. THE THEORY OF AN ACCIDENTAL BRAWL . . . 94 

IX. CONTEMPORARY CLERICAL CRITICISM . . 99 

X. POPULAR CRITICISM OF THE DAY . . . Ill 

XI. THE KING AND THE EUTHVENS 118 

XII. LOGAN OF EESTALRIG . . .... 148 

XIII. THE SECRETS OF SPROT 168 

XIV. THE LAIRD AND THE NOTARY 182 

XV. THE FINAL CONFESSIONS OF THE NOTARY . . . 201 

XVI. WHAT is LETTER IV ?. . . . . . 232 

XVII. INFERENCES AS TO THE CASKET LETTERS 240 



xii THE GOWRIE MYSTERY 

APPENDICES 

PAGE 

A. THE FRONTISPIECE .... . 245 

B. THE CONTEMPORARY RUTHVEN VINDICATION . . . . 252 

C. FIVE LETTERS FORGED BY SPROT, AS FROM LOGAN . . 257 

INDEX . . 265 



ILLUSTBATIONS 



IN COLOURS 
GOWRIE'S COAT OF ARMS Frontispiece 

PHOTOGRAVURES 

JAMES VI . . . . . . . . . . to face p. 4 

From the picture painted by Paul Van Somer (1621) now in the 
National Portrait Gallery 

QUEEN ANNE 188 

From a painting by Paul Van Somer in Queen Anne's Room, 
St. James's Palace 

OTHER ILLUSTRATIONS 
FALKLAND PALACE 33 

From a Photograph by J. Valentine & Sons, Dundee 

DIRLETON CASTLE 82 

From a Photograph by J. Valentine & Sons, Dundee 

FALKLAND PALACE : THE COURTYARD .... .,116 

From a Photograph by J. Valentine <L- Sons, Dundee 

BESTALRIG HOUSE 150 

From a Photograph by W. J. Hay, Edinburgh 

EESTALRIG VILLAGE 150 

From a Photograph by W. J. Hay, Edinburgh 

FASTCASTLE (circ. 1820) 154 

From a picture by the Rev. Mr. Thomson, of Duddingston, in the 
possession of Mrs. Blackwood-Porter 



xiv THE GOWRIE MYSTERY 

FASTCASTLE to face p. 176 

From a Photograph by J. Valentin? <( Sons, Dundee 

FASTCASTLE ,, 192 

From a Photograph by J. Valentine & Sons, Dundee 

HANDWRITING OF LOGAN (January 1585-6) ... 196 

HAND OF LOGAN AS FORGED BY SPROT (second page 

of Letter IV) ,,202 

HANDWRITING OF SPROT (July 5, 1608) .... ,, 210 



PLANS 

SITUATION AND TOPOGRAPHY OF GOWRIE HOUSE . . . p- 15 

INTERIOR OF GOWRIE HOUSE . . . . . . ,, 17 

THE GALLERY CHAMBER AND THE TURRET, GOWRIE HOUSE . 59 



CITY OF NEW YORK, 



THE 

GOWEIE MYSTERY 



THE MYSTEEY AND THE EVIDENCE 

THERE are enigmas in the annals of most peoples ; 
riddles put by the Sphinx of the Past to the curious 
of the new generations. These questions do not 
greatly concern tlje- scientific '.historian, who is busy 
with constitute Qji-making, statistics,, progress, degene- 
ration, in short with human evolution. These high 
matters,, these streams of tendency, form the staple of 

j 

history, but the problems of personal character and 
action still interest some inquiring^ minds. Among 
these enigmas nearly the most^.o-fcscure, 'TheGowrie 
Conspiracy,' is our topic., \ - ' 

This affair is ope of , the haunting mysteries of 
the past, one of the problems that nobody has solved. 
The events occurred in 1600, but the interest which 
they excited was so keen that belief in the guilt or 
innocence of the two noble brothers who perished in 
an August afternoon, was a party shibboleth in the 
Wars of the Saints against the Malignants, the strife 

B 



2 THE GOWRIE MYSTERY 

of Cavaliers and Roundheads. The problem has ever 
since attracted the curious, as do the enigma of 
Perkin Warbeck, the true character of Eichard III, 
the real face behind ' The Iron Mask,' the identity of 
the False Pucelle, and the innocence or guilt of Mary 
Stuart. 

In certain respects the Gowrie mystery is neces- 
sarily less attractive than that of ' the fairest and 
most pitiless Queen on earth.' There is no woman in 
the story. The world, of course, when the Euthvens 
died, at once acted on the maxim, cherchez la femme. 
The woman in the case, men said, was the beautiful 
Queen, Anne of Denmark, wife of James VI. That 
fair and frivolous dame, ' very very woman,' cer- 
tainly did her best, by her behaviour, to encourage 

c ' ' c f I >C A 

the belief that she was the cau'e ; 'of these sorrows. 

C ,. t r < ( . ( t 

-fr-v. ' 

Even so, when the Bonny Earl Moray the tallest 
and most beautiful man in Scotland died like a lion 
dragged down by wolves, the people sang : 

He was i brave gallant, 

And he rode at the ring, 
And the Bonny Earl Moray, 

He mighu have been the Kmg. 

i 
<, 

He was a brave gallant, 

And he rode at the glove, 
And the Bonny Earl Moray 

He was the Queen's love. 

On one side was a beautiful Queen mated with 
James VI, a pedant and a clown. On the other 
side were, first the Bonny Earl, then the Earl of 



THE MYSTERY AND THE EVIDENCE 3 

Gowrie, both young, brave, handsome, both suddenly 
slain by the King's friends : none knew why. The 
opinion of the godly, of the Kirk, of the people, and 
even of politicians, leaped to the erroneous conclusion 
that the young men perished, like Konigsmarck, 
because they were beautiful and beloved, and be- 
cause the Queen was fair and kind, and the King 
was ugly, treacherous, and jealous. The rumour also 
ran, at least in tradition, that Gowrie ' might have 
been the King,' an idea examined in Appendix A. 
Here then was an explanation of the slaying of 
the Euthvens on the lines dear to romance. The 
humorous King Jamie (who, if he was not always 
sensible, at least treated his nighty wife with abun- 
dance of sense) had, to, play *he. part of King Mark 

j 

of Cornwall to.Oowjie's Si^* -Tristram. For this 

. %* * * * * > 
theory, we shall? /^Ow', no evitfetiqe' exists, and, in 

'looking for; the '.woman,' fancy, found two men. 
The Queen 5 'was "alternately said ,to iQve Gowrie, 
and to love Bis.' Brother, the Master* bf, 1 Euthven, a 

. 

* * A 9 

lad of nineteen -if she did not lovfe both at once. 

* 

It is curious tTastt/the affair did not ^ive rise to 

, .'..* . * 

ballads ; if it did; 'none has reacHe/d'.us. 

' ' 9 

* * * 

In truth there was, ,np m ^fr'm'an in the case, and 
this of course makes the mystery much less excit- 
ing than that of Mary Stuart, for whom so many 
swords and pens have been drawn. The interest 
of character and of love is deficient. Of Gowrie's 
character, and even of his religion, apart from his 
learning and fascination, we really know almost 

B 2 



4 THE COWRIE MYSTERY 

nothing. Did he cherish that strongest and most sacred 
of passions, revenge ; had he brooded over it in Italy, 
where revenge was subtler and craftier than in Scot- 
land ? Did this passion blend with the vein of fanati- 
cism in his nature ? Had he been biding his time, 
and dreaming, over sea, boyish dreams of vengeance 

O ' / C 

and ambition ? All this appears not improbable, and 
would, if true, explain all ; but evidence is defective. 
Had Gowrie really cherished the legacy of revenge 
for a father slain, and a mother insulted ; had he 
studied the subtleties of Italian crime, pondered over 
an Italian plot till it seemed feasible, and communi- 
cated his vision to the boy brother whom he found 
at home the mystery would be transparent. 

As to Kino- James, 'we krirhv him well. The babe 

^^ ( _ f f 

'wronged in hi$\ mother's w-bnib,;'' threatened by 
conspirators before his birth ; terrified by a harsh 
tutor as a child ; bullied ; preached at ; captured ; 
insulted ; ruled now by debauched favourites, now 
by godly ruffians ; James naturally grew up a dis- 
sembler, and be'trayed his fa ther's- murderer with a 
kiss. He was frightened into 'deceit: he could be 
cruel ; he became, "as' lar as he might, a tyrant. But, 
though not the abject, .coward 'of tradition, James 
(as he himself observed) was never the man to risk 
his life in a doubtful brawl, on the chance that his 
enemies might perish while lie escaped. For him a 
treachery of that kind, an affair of sword and dagger 
fights on staircases and in turrets and chambers, 

o 

in the midst of a town of doubtful loyalty, had 



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THE MYSTERY AND THE EVIDENCE 5 

certainly no attractions. Moreover, he had a sense 
of humour. This has been the opinion of our best 
historians, Scott, Mr. Tytler, and Mr. Hill Burton; 
but enthusiastic writers have always espoused the 
cause of the victims, the Euthvens, so young, brave, 
handsome ; so untimely slain, as it were on their own 
hearthstone. Other authors, such as Dr. Masson in 
our own day, and Mr. S. E. Gardiner, have abstained 
from a verdict, or have attempted the via media ; 
have leaned to the idea that the Euthvens died 
in an accidental brawl, caused by a nervous and 
motiveless fit of terror on the part of the King. 
Thus the question is unsettled, the problem is un- 
solved. Why did the jolly hunt at Falkland, in the 
bright August morning, end in the sanguinary scuffle in 
the town house at Perth ; the deaths of the Euthvens ; 
the tumult in the town ; the King's homeward ride 
through the dark and dripping twilight ; the laying 
of the dead brothers side by side, while the old 
family servant weeps above their bodies ; and the 
wailing of the Queen and her ladies in Falkland 
Palace, when the torches guide the cavalcade into the 
palace court, and the strange tale of slaughter is 
variously told, c the reports so fighting together that 
no man could have any certainty ' ? Where lay the 
actual truth ? 

This problem, with which the following pages are 
concerned, is much darker and more complex than 
that of the guilty ' Casket Letters ' attributed to Mary. 
Queen of Scots. The Queen did write these, in the 



6 THE GOWRIE MYSTERY 

madness of a criminal passion ; or she wrote parts 
of them, the rest beini? srarbleti or forced. In either 

*-_^ *v-. ^ 

case, her motives, and the motives of the possible 
forgers, are distinct, and are human. The Queen 
was in love with one man, and hated another to the 
death ; or her enemies desired to prove that these 
were her moods. Absolute certainty escapes us, but, 
either way, motives and purposes are intelligible. 
Not so with the Gowrie mystery. The King, 

Marv's son, after hunting for four hours, rides to 



visit Lord Gowrie, a neighbour. After luncheon, that 
nobleman and his brother are slain, in their own house, 
bv the Kind's attendants. The Kiner srives his version 

, c c 

of the events instantly ; he never varies from it in 
any essential point, but the story is almost incredible. 
On the other hand, the slain men cannot speak, and 
only one of them, if both were innocent, could have 
told what occurred. But one of their apologists, at 
the time, produced a version of the events which is, 
beyond all doubt, boldly mendacious. It was easy 
to criticise and ridicule the King's version ; but the 
opposite version, hitherto unknown to historians, 
destroys itself by its conspicuous falsehoods. In the 
nature of the case, as will appear, no story accounting 
for such wild events could be easily credible, so extra- 
ordinary, motiveless, and inexplicable do the circum- 
stances appear. If we try the theory that the King 
wove a plot, we are met by the fact that his plot could 
not have succeeded without the voluntary and vehe- 
ment collaboration of one of his victims, a thing that 



THE MYSTERY AND THE EVIDENCE 7 

no man could have reckoned on. If we adopt the 
idea that the victims had laid a trap for the King, we 
have only a vague surmise as to its aim, purpose, and 
method. The later li^ht which seemed to fall on the 

o 

affair, as we shall see, only darkens what was already 
obscure. The inconceivable iniquity of the Govern- 
ment, at a later date, reflects such discredit on all 
concerned on their side, that we might naturally, 
though illogically, be inclined to believe that, from 
the first, the King was the conspirator. But that^ 
we shall find, was almost, or quite, a physical im- 
possibility. 

Despite these embroilments, I am, in this case, able 
to reach a conclusion satisfactory to myself, a thing 
which, in the affair of the Casket Letters and Queen 
Mary, I was unable to do. 1 There is no doubt, in my 
own mind, that the Earl of Gowrie and his brother 
laid a trap for King James, and fell into the pit which 
they had digged. 

To what precise end they had plotted to seize the 
King's person, what they meant to do with him when 
they had got him, must remain matter of conjecture. 
But that they intended to seize him, I have no doubt 
at all. 

These pages, on so old and vexed a problem, 
would not have been written, had I not been fortu- 
nate enough to obtain many unpublished manuscript 
materials. Some of these at least clear up the 
secondary enigma of the sequel of the problem of 

1 See The Mystery of Mary Stuart. Longmans, 1901. 



8 THE GOWRIE MYSTERY 

1600. Different readers will probably draw different 
conclusions from some of the other documents, but 
perhaps nobody will doubt that they throw strange 
new lights on Scottish manners and morals. 

The scheme adopted here is somewhat like that 
of Mr. Browning's poem, ' The Eing and the Book.' 
The personages tell their own stories of the same set 
of events, in which they were more or less intimately 
concerned. This inevitably entails some repetition, 
but I am unable to find any plan less open to 
objection. 

It must, of course, be kept in mind that all the 
evidence is of a suspicious nature. The King, if he 
were the conspirator, or even if innocent, had to 
clear himself; and, frankly, his Majesty's word was 
not to be relied upon. However, he alone was 
cross-examined, by an acute and hostile catechist, and 
that upon oath, though not in a court of justice. The 
evidence of his retinue, and of some other persons 
present, was also taken on oath, three months after 
the events, before a Parliamentary Committee, ' The 
Lords of the Articles.' We shall see that, nine years 
later, a similar Committee was deceived shamelessly 
by the King's Government, he himself being absent 
in England. But the nature of the evidence, in the 
second case, was entirely different : it did not rest 
on the sworn testimony of a number of nobles, 
gentlemen, and citizens, but on a question of hand- 
writing, comparatio literarum, as in the case of the 
Casket Letters. That the witnesses in 1600 did not 



THE MYSTERY AND THE EVIDENCE 9 

perjure themselves, in the trial which followed on 
the slaughter of the Euthvens, is what I have to 
argue. Next, we have the evidence, taken under 
torture, of three of the slain Earl's retainers, three 
weeks after the events. No such testimony is now 
reckoned of value, but it will be shown that the 
statements made by the tortured men only com- 
promise the Earl and his brother incidentally, and in 
a manner probably not perceived by the deponents 
themselves. They denied all knowledge of a plot, 
disclaimed belief in a plot by the Earl, and let out 
what was suspicious in a casual way, without 
observing the import of their own remarks. 

Finally, we have the evidence of the only living 
man, except the King, who was present at the central 
point of the occurrences. That this man was a most 
false and evasive character, that he was doubtless 
amenable to bribes, that he was richly rewarded, I 
freely admit. But I think it can be made probable, 
by evidence hitherto overlooked, that he really was 
present on the crucial occasion, and that, with all 
allowances for his character and position, his testi- 
mony fits into the facts, while, if it be discarded, 
no hypothesis can account for him, and his part in 
the adventure. In short, the King's tale, almost 
incredible as it appears, contains the only explanation 
which is not demonstrably impossible. To this con- 
clusion, let me repeat, I am drawn by no sentiment 
for that unsentimental Prince, 'gentle King Jamie.' 

* 

He was not the man to tell the truth, ' if he could 



10 THE GOWBIE MYSTERY 

think of anything better.' But, where other corro- 
boration is impossible, by the nature of the circum- 
stances, facts corroborate the King's narrative. His 
version ' colligates ' them ; though extravagant they 
become not incoherent. No other hypothesis pro- 
duces coherency : each guess breaks down on de- 
monstrated facts. 



11 



II 

THE SLAUGHTER OF THE RUTHVENS 

IN the month of August 1600 his Majesty the King 
of Scotland, James, sixth of that name, stood in more 
than common need of the recreation of the chase. 
Things had been going contrary to his pleasure in all 
directions. ' His dearest sister,' Queen Elizabeth (as 
he pathetically said), seemed likely ' to continue as 
long as Sun or Moon,' and was in the worst of humours. 
Her minister, Cecil, was apparently more ill disposed 
towards the Scottish King than usual, while the 
minister's rival, the Earl of Essex, had been suggest- 
ing to James plans for a military demonstration on 
the Border. Money was even more than normally 
scarce ; the Highlands were more than common unruly ; 
stories of new conspiracies against the King's liberty 
were flying about ; and, above all, a Convention of the 
Estates had just refused, in June, to make a large 
grant of money to his Majesty. It was also irritating 
that an old and trusted servant, Colonel Stewart, 
wished to quit the country, and take English service 
against the Irish rebels. This gentleman, sixteen 
years before, had been instrumental in the arrest and 
execution of the Earl of Gowrie ; the new young Earl, 



12 THE GOWRIE MYSTERY 

son of the late peer, had just returned from the Con- 
tinent to Scotland, and Colonel Stewart was afraid 
that Gowrie might wish to avenge his father. There- 

O o 

fore he desired to take service in Ireland. 

With all these frets, the King needed the refresh- 
ment of hunting the buck in his park of Falkland. 
He ordered his own hunting costume ; it was 
delivered early in August, and (which is singular) 
was paid for instantly. Green English cloth was 
the basis of his apparel, and five ounces of silver 
decorated his second-best ' socks.' His boots had 
velvet tops, embroidered ; his best ' socks ' were 
adorned with heavy gold embroidery; he even 
bought a new horse. His gentlemen, John Eamsay, 
John Murray, George Murray, and John Auchmuty, 
were attired, at the Eoyal expense, in coats of green 
cloth, like the King. 1 

Thus equipped, the Eoyal party rose early on the 
morning of Tuesday, August 5, left the pleasant 
house of Falkland, with its strong round towers that 

o 

had lately protected James from an attack by his 
cousin, wild Frank Stewart, the Earl of Bothwell ; and 
rode to the stables in the park ; ' the weather,' says his 
Majesty, 'being wonderful pleasant and seasonable.' 2 
' All the jolly hunt was there ; ' ' Tell True ' and the 
other hounds were yelping at the limits of their 
leashes ; the Duke of Lennox and the Earl of Mar, 

1 Extracted from the Treasurer's Accounts, July, August, 1600. MS. 

2 The King's Narrative, Pitcairn's Criminal Trials of Scotland, 
ii. 210. 



THE SLAUGHTER OF THE RUTH YENS 13 

friends of James from his youth, and honourable 
men, were the chief nobles in the crowd ; wherein 
were two or three of the loyal family of Erskine, 
cousins of Mar, and a Dr. Herries, remarkable for a 
club foot. 

At the stables, hacks were discarded, hunters 
were led out, men were mounting, the King had his 
foot in the stirrup, when a young gentleman, the 
Master of Euthven, rode swiftly up from the town of 
Falkland. He had trotted over, very early, from the 
town house, at Perth (some twelve or fourteen miles 
away), of his brother, the Earl of Gowrie. He was 
but nineteen years of age, tall, handsome, and brother 
of the Queen's favourite maid of honour, Mrs. 
Beatrix Euthven. That he was himself one of the 
Gentlemen of the Household has often been said, but 
we find no trace of money spent for him in the 
Eoyal accounts : in fact he had asked for the place, 
but had not yet obtained it. 1 However, if we may 
believe the Eoyal word (which is a matter of choice), 
James ' loved the young Master like a brother.' 

The Master approached the King, and entered 
into conversation with him. James's account of what 
he had to say must be given later. For the present 
we may be content with the depositions on oath, 
which were made later, at a trial in November, by the 
attendants of the King and other witnesses. Among 
these was the Duke of Lennox, who swore to the 
following effect, '-'hey hunted their buck, and killed 

1 The King's Narrative, ut supra. Treasurer's Accounts, MS. 



14 THE GOWRIE MYSTERY 

him. The King, in place of trotting back to lunch at 
the House of Falkland (to which the progress of the 
chase had led the sportsmen round in a circle), bade 
the Duke accompany him to Perth, some twelve 
miles away, ' to speak with the Earl of Gowrie.' His 
Majesty then rode on. Lennox despatched his groom 
for his sword, and for a fresh horse (another was 
sent after the King) ; he then mounted and followed. 
When he rejoined James, the King said ' You cannot 
guess what errand I am riding for ; I am going to 
get a treasure in Perth. The Master of Euthven' 
(' Mr. Alexander Euthven ') i has informed me that he 
has found a man with a pitcher full of gold coins of 
great sorts.' James also asked Lennox what he 
deemed of the Master, whose manner he reckoned 
very strange. 'Nothing but an honest, discreet 
gentleman,' said the Duke. The King next gave 
details about the treasure, and Lennox said he 
thought the tale ' unlikely,' as it was, more or less. 
James then bade Lennox say nothing on the matter 
to Euthven, who wanted it to be a secret. At about 
a mile from Perth, the Master galloped forward, to 
warn his brother, the Earl, who met the Eoyal party, 
on foot, with some companions, near the town. 1 This 
was about one o'clock in the afternoon. 

The Eoyal party, of thirteen nobles and gentle- 
men, then entered the Earl's house. It faced the 
street, as the House of Falkland also does, and, at 
the back, had gardens running down to the Tay. 

1 Lennox in Pitcairn, ii. 171-174. 



THE SLAUGHTER OF THE RUTHVENS 



15 



It is necessary to understand the situation and 
topography of Gowrie House. Passing down South 
Street, or ' Shoe Gait,' the chief street in Perth, then 
a pretty little town, you found it crossed at right 
angles by a street called, on the left, Water Gate, on 
the right, Spey Gate. Immediately fronting you, as 
you came to the end of South Street, was the gateway 




of Gowrie House, the garden wall continuing towards 
your right. On your left were the houses in Water 
Gate, occupied by rich citizens and lairds. Many 
will understand the position if they fancy themselves 
walking down one of the streets which run from the 
High Street, at Oxford, towards the river. You then 
find Merton College facing you, the street being 



16 THE COWRIE MYSTERY 

continued to the left in such old houses as Beam Hall. 
The >'ate of Gowrie House fronted you, as does the 

o / 

gate-tower of Merton, and led into a quadrangle, the 
front court, called The Close. Behind Gowrie House 
was the garden, and behind that ran the river Tay, 
as the Isis flows behind Merton and Corpus. Entering 
the quadrangle of Gowrie House you found, on your 
right and facing you, a pile of buildings like an inverted 
L (i). The basement was occupied by domestic 
offices : at the angle of the "| was the main entrance. 
On your right, and much nearer to you than the main 
entrance, a door opened on a narrow spiral staircase, 
so dark that it was called the Black Turnpike. 

As to the interior, entering the main doorway you 
found yourself in the hall. A door led thence into 
a smaller dining-room on the left. The hall itself 

03 

had a door and external stair giving on the garden 
behind. The chief staircase, which vou entered from 

mf 

the hall, led to the Great Gallery, built and decorated 
by the late Earl. This extended above the dining- 
room and the hall, and, to the right, was separated 
by a partition and a door from the large upstairs 
room on the same flat called ' The Gallery Chamber.' 
At the extremity of this chamber, on the left hand as 
vou advanced, was a door leading into a ' round,' or 

/ o 

turret, or little circular-shaped ' study,' of which one 
window seems to have looked to the gateway, the 
other to the street. People below in the street 
could see a man looking out of the turret window. 
A door in the gallery chamber gave on the narrow 



THE SLAUGHTER OF THE RUTHVENS 



17 





ul 



'Jo co 



c 



18 THE GOWRIE MYSTERY 

staircase called ' The Black Turnpike,' by which the 
upper floor might be reached by any one from the 
quadrangle, without entering the main door, and 
going up the broad chief staircase. Thus, to quote a 
poet who wrote while Gowrie House was extant (in 
1638): 

The Palace kythes, may nam'd be Perth's White Hall 
With orchards like these of Hesperides. 

The palace was destroyed, to furnish a site for a 
gaol and county buildings, in 1807, but the most 
interesting parts had long been in ruins. 1 

In 1774, an antiquary, Mr. Cant, writes that the 
palace, after the Forty Five, was converted into 
artillery barracks. 'We see nothing but the remains 
of its former grandeur.' The coats of arms of ' the 
nobility and gentlemen of fortune,' who dwelt in Spey 
Gate and Water Gate, were, in 1774, still visible on 
the walls of their houses. A fragment of the old 
palace is said to exist to-day in the Gowrie Inn. Into 
this palace the King was led by Gowrie : he was 
taken to the dining chamber on the left of the great 
hall ; in the hall itself Lennox, Mar, and the rest of 
the retinue waited and wearied, for apparently no 
dinner had been provided, and even a drink for his 
thirsty Majesty was long in coming. Gowrie and 
the Master kept going in and out, servants were 

1 The description is taken from diagrams in Pitcairn, derived from 
a local volume of Antiquarian Proceedings. See, too, The Muses' 
Threnodie, by H. Adamson, 1638, with notes by James Cant (Perth, 
1774), pp. 163, 164. 



THE SLAUGHTER OF THE RUTHVENS 19 

whispered to, and Sir Thomas Erskine sent a 
townsman to buy him a pair of green silk stockings 
in Perth. 1 He wanted to dine comfortably. 

Leaving the Kind's retinue in the hall, and the 

O O ' 

King in the dining chamber off the hall, we may note 
what, up to this point, the nobles and gentlemen of 
the suite had to say, at the trial in November, about 
the adventures of that August morning. Mar had 

O O 

not seen the Master at Falkland ; after the kill Mar 
did not succeed in rejoining James till they were 
within two or three miles of Perth. 

Drummond of Inchaffray had nodded to the 
Master, at Falkland, before the Master met the King 
at the stables. He later saw the Master in confer- 
ence for about a quarter of an hour with James, out- 
side the stables. The Master then left the King : 
Inchaffray invited him to bVeakfast, but he declined, 
* as his Majesty had ordered him to wait upon him.' 
(According to other evidence he had already break- 
fasted at Falkland.) Inchaffray then breakfasted in 
Falkland town, and next rode along the highway 
towards his own house. On the road he overtook 
Lennox, Lindores, Urchill, Hamilton of Grange, 
Finlay Taylor, the King, and the Master, riding 
Perthwards. He joined them, and went with them 
into Gowrie House. 

Nobody else, among the witnesses, did anything 
but agree with Lennox's account up to this point. 
But four menials of James, for example, a cellarer 

1 Pitcairn, ii. 199. 

c 2 



20 THE GOWRIE MYSTERY 

and a porter, were at Gowrie House, in addition to 
the nobles and gentlemen who gave this evidence. 

To return to Lennox's tale : dinner was not ready 
for his hungry Majesty, as we have said, till an hour 
after his arrival ; was not ready, indeed, till about two 
o'clock. He had obviously not been expected, or 
Gowrie did not wish it to be known that he was 
expected, and himself had dined before the King's 
arrival, between twelve and one o'clock. A shoulder 
of mutton, a fowl, and a solitary grouse were all that 
the Earl's caterer could procure, except cold meat : 
obviously a poor repast to set before a king. It is 
said that the Earl had meant to leave Perth in the 
afternoon. When James reached the stage of dessert, 
Gowrie, who had waited on him, entered the hall, and 
invited the suite to dine. When they had nearly 
finished, Gowrie returned to them in the hall, and sent 
round a grace-cup, in which all pledged the King. 
Lennox then rose, to rejoin the King (who now passed, 
with the Master, across and out of the hall), but 
Gowrie said 'His Majesty was gone upstairs quietly 
some quiet errand.' Gowrie then called for the key of 
the garden, on the banks of the Tay, and he, Lindores, 
the lame Dr. Herries, and others went into the gar- 
den, where, one of them tells us, they ate cherries. 
While they were thus engaged, Gowrie's equerry, or 
master stabler, a Mr. Thomas Cranstoun, who had 
been long in France, and had returned thence with 
the Earl in April, appeared, crying, ' The King has 
mounted, and is riding through the Inch,' that is, the 



THE SLAUGHTER OF THE RUTHVENS 21 

Inch of Perth, where the famous clan battle of thirty 
men a side had been fought centuries ago. Gowrie 
shouted ' Horses ! horses ! ' but Cranstoun said ' Your 
horse is at Scone,' some two miles off, on the further 
side of the Tay. Why the Earl that day kept his 
horse so remote, in times when men of his rank sel- 
dom walked, we may conjecture later (cf. p. 86, infra}. 

The Earl, however (says Lennox), affected not to 
hear Cranstoun, and still shouted ' Horses ! ' He and 
Lennox then passed into the house, through to the 
front yard, or Close, and so to the outer gate, giving 
on the street. Here Lennox asked the porter, 
Christie, if the King had gone. The porter said 
he was certain that the King had not left the house. 
On this point Lindores, who had been with Gowrie 
and Lennox in the garden, and accompanied them to 
the gate, added (as indeed Lennox also did) that 
Gowrie now explained to the porter that James had 
departed by the back gate. ' That cannot be, my 
Lord,' said the porter, ' for I have the key of the 
back gate.' Andrew Eay, a bailie of Perth, who 
had been in the house, looking on, told the same tale, 
adding that Gowrie gave the porter the lie. The 
porter corroborated all this at the trial, and quoted 
his own speech about the key, as it was given by 
Lindores. He had the keys, and must know whether 
the King had ridden away or not. 

In this odd uncertainty, Gowrie said to Lennox, 
4 1 am sure the King has gone ; but stay, I shall go 
upstairs, and get your lordship the very certainty.' 



22 THE GOWRIE MYSTERY 

Gowrie thereon went from the street door, through 
the court, and up the chief staircase of the house, 
whence he came down again at once, and anew 
affirmed to Lennox that ' the King was forth at the 
back gate and away.' They all then went out of the 
front gate, and stood in the street there, talking, and 
wondering where they should seek for his Majesty. 

Where was the King ? Here we note a circum- 
stance truly surpiising. It never occurred to the 
Earl of Gowrie, when dubiously told that the King 
had 6 loupen on ' and ridden off- -to ask, Where is 
the King's horse ? If the Eoyal nag was in the Earl's 
stable, then James had not departed. Again a thing 
more astonishing still it has never occurred to any of 
the unnumbered writers on the Gowrie conspiracy to 
ask, ' How did the Earl, if guilty of falsehood as to 
the King's departure, mean to get over the difficulty 
about the King's horse ? ' If the horse was in the 
stable, then the King had not ridden away, as the 
Earl declared. Gowrie does not seem to have kid- 
napped the horse. We do not hear, from the King, 
or any one, that the horse was missing when the 
Eoyal party at last rode home. 

The author is bound, in honour, to observe that 
this glaring difficulty about the horse did not occur to 
him till he had written the first draft of this historical 
treatise, after reading so many others on the subject. 
And yet the eagle glance of Mr. Sherlock Holmes 
would at once have lighted on his Majesty's mount. 
However, neither at the time, nor in the last three 



THE SLAUGHTER OF THE RUTH YENS 23 

centuries (as far as we know), was any one sensible 
enough to ask ' How about the King's horse ? ' 

We return to the question, ' Where was the 
King ? ' 

Some time had elapsed since he passed silently 
from the chamber where he had lunched, through the 
hall, with the Master, and so upstairs, fi going quietly 
a quiet errand,' Gowrie had explained to the men 
of the retinue. The gentlemen had then strolled in 
the garden, till Cranstoun came out to them with the 
news of the King's departure. Young John Earn- 
say, one of James's gentlemen, had met the Laird of 
Pittencrieff in the hall, and had asked where his 
Majesty was. Both had gone upstairs, had examined 
the fair gallery filled with pictures collected by the late 
Earl, and had remained ' a certain space ' admiring it. 
They thence went into the front yard, the Close, where 
Cranstoun met them and told them that the King had 
gone. Instead of joining the gentlemen whom we 
left loitering and wondering outside the front gate, 
on the street, Eamsay ran to the stables for his horse, 
he said, and, as he waited at the stable door (being 
further from the main entrance than Lennox, Mar, 
and the rest), he heard James's voice, 'but understood 
not what he spake.' l 

The others, on the street, just outside the gate, 
being nearer the house than Eamsay, suddenly heard 
the King's voice, and even his words. Lennox said to 
Mar, ' The King calls, be he where he will.' They all 

1 The evidence of these witnesses is in Pitcairn, ii. 171-191. 



24 THE GOWPJE MYSTERY 

glanced up at the house, and saw, says Lennox, ' his 
Majesty looking out at the window, hatless, his face 
red, and a hand gripping his face and mouth.' The 
King called : ' I am murdered. Treason ! My Lord 
of Mar, help, help ! ' Mar corroborated : InchafFray 
saw the King vanish from the window, ' and in his 
judgment, his Majesty was pulled, perforce, in at 
the same window.' Bailie Bay of Perth saw the 
window pushed up, saw the King's face appear, and 
heard his cries. Murray of Arbany, who had come 
to Perth from another quarter, heard the King. 
Murray seems to have been holding the King's falcon 
on his wrist, in hall ; he had later handed the bird to 
young Eamsay. 

On beholding this vision of the King, hatless, 
red -faced, vociferous, and suddenly vanishing, most 
of his lords and gentlemen, and Murray of Arbany, 
rushed through the gate, through the Close, into the 
main door of the house, up the broad staircase, 
through the long fair gallery, and there they were 
stopped by a locked door. They could not reach the 
King ! Finding a ladder, they used it as a battering- 
ram, but it broke in their hands. They sent for 
hammers, and during some half an hour they 
thundered at the door, breaking a hole in a panel, 
but unable to gain admission. 

Now these facts, as to the locked door, and the 
inability of most of the suite to reach the King, are 
denied by no author. They make it certain that, if 
James had contrived a plot against the two Euthvens, 



THE SLAUGHTER OF THE RUTH YENS 25 

he had not taken his two nobles, Mar and Lennox, 
and these other gentlemen, and Murray of Arbany, 
into the scheme. He had not even arranged that 
another of his retinue should bring them from their 
futile hammer-work, to his assistance, by another 
way. 

For there was another way. Young Eamsay was 
not with Lennox and the rest, when they saw and 
heard the flushed and excited King cry out of the 
window. Eamsay, he says, was further off than the 
rest ; was at the stable door : he heard and recognised 
James's voice, but saw nothing of him, and distin- 
guished no words. He ran into the front yard, 
through the outer gate. Lennox and the rest had 
already vanished within the house. Eamsay noticed 
the narrow door in the wall of the house, giving on 
the quadrangle, and nearer him than the main door 
of entrance, to reach which he must cross the quad- 
rangle diagonally. He rushed into the narrow door- 
way, ran up a dark corkscrew staircase, found a door 
at the top, heard a struggling and din of men's feet 
within, ' dang open ' the door, caught a glimpse of 
a man behind the King's back, and saw James and 
the Master ' wrestling together in each other's 
arms.' 

James had the Master's head under his arm, the 
Master, ' almost upon his knees,' had his hand on the 
King's face and mouth. ' Strike him low,' cried the 
King, ' because he wears a secret mail doublet ' 
such as men were wont to wear on a doubtful though 



26 THE GOWRIE MYSTERY 

apparently peaceful occasion, like a Warden's Day 
on the Border. Eamsay threw down the King's 
falcon, which he had taken from Murray and bore on 
his wrist, drew his dagger or couteau de chasse, and 
struck the Master on the face and neck. The King 
set his foot on the falcon's leash, and so held it. 
Ramsay might have spared and seized the Master, 
instead of wounding him ; James later admitted that, 
but ' Man,' he said, ' I had neither God nor the Devil 
before me, but my own defence.' Remember that 
hammers were thundering on a door hard by, and 
that neither James nor Ramsay knew who knocked 
so loud enemies or friends. 

The King then, says Ramsay, pushed the wounded 
Master down the steep narrow staircase up which the 
young man had run. The man of whom Ramsay had 
caught a glimpse, standing behind the King, had 
vanished like a wraith. Ramsay went to a window, 
looked out, and, seeing Sir Thomas Erskine, cried, 
' Come up to the top of the staircase.' 

Where was Erskine, and what was he doing? 

o 

He had not followed Lennox and Mar in their rush 
back into the house. On hearing James's cries from 
the window, he and his brother had tried to seize 
Gowrie, who had been with the party of Lennox and 
Mar. If James was in peril, within Gowrie's house, 
they argued, naturally, that Gowrie was responsible. 
JSTot drawing sword or dagger daggers, indeed, they 
had none- -the two Erskine brothers rushed on Gow- 
rie, who was crying ' What is the matter ? I know 



THE SLAUGHTER OF THE RUTHVENS 27 

nothing ! ' They bore him, or nearly bore him, to the 
ground, but his retainers separated the stragglers, and 
one, a Euthven, knocked Sir Thomas down with his 
fist. The knight arose, and ran into the front court, 
where Dr. Herries asked him ' what the matter 
meant. ' At this moment Erskine heard Ramsay cry 
' Come up here,' from the top of the narrow dark 
staircase, he says, not from the window ; Eamsay 
may have called from both. Erskine, who was 
accompanied by the lame Dr. Herries, and by a 
menial of his brother's named Wilson, found the 
bleeding Master near the foot of the stair, and shouted 
6 This is the traitor, strike him.' The stricken lad fell, 
saying, ' Alas, I had not the wyte of it,' and the 
three entered the chamber where now were only the 
King and Eamsay. Words, not very intelligible as 
reported by Erskine (we consider them later), passed 
between him and the King. Though Erskine does 
not say so, they shut James up in the turret opening 
into the chamber where they were, and instantly 
Cranstoun, the Earl's equerry, entered with a drawn 
sword, followed by Gowrie, with ' two swords,' while 
some other persons followed Gowrie. 

Where had Gowrie been since the two Erskines 
tried to seize him in the street, and were separated 
from him by a throng of his retainers ? Why was 
Gowrie, whose honour was interested in the King's 
safety, later in reaching the scene than Erskine, the 
limping Dr. Herries, and the serving man, Wilson ? 
The reason appears to have been that, after the two 



28 THE GOWRIE MYSTERY 

Erskines were separated from Gowrie, Sir Thomas 
ran straight from the street, through the gateway, 
into the front court of the house, meeting, in the 
court, Dr. Herries, who was slow in his movements. 
But Gowrie, on the other hand, was detained by 
certain of Tullibardine's servants, young Tullibardine 
being present. This, at least, was the story given 
under examination by Mr. Thomas Cranstoun, Gow- 
rie's master stabler, while other witnesses mention 
that Gowrie became involved in a struggle, and went 
' back from ' his house, further up or down the 
street. Young Tullibardine, present at this fray, was 
the heir of Murray of Tullibardine, and ancestor, in 
the male line, of the present Duke of Atholl. He 
later married a niece of the Earl of Gowrie. His 
father being a man of forty in 1600, young 
Tullibardine must have been very young indeed. 
The Murrays were in Perth on the occasion of the 
marriage of one of their clan, an innkeeper. 

Some of their party were in the street, and seeing 
an altercation in which two of the King's gentlemen 
were prevented from seizing Gowrie, they made an 
ineffectual effort to capture the Earl. Gowrie ran 
from them along; the street, and there ' drew his two 

O ~ 

swords out of one scabbard,' says Cranstoun. 1 The 
Earl had just arrived in Scotland from Italy, where 
he had acquired the then fashionable method of 
fencing with twin-swords, worn in a single scabbard. 

1 Cranstoun's deposition in Pitcairn, ii. 156, 157. At Falkland 
August 6. 



THE SLAUGHTER OF THE RUTHVENS 29 

Gowrie, then, had retreated from the Hurrays to the 
house of one Macbreck, as Cranstoun and Macbreck 
himself declared. Cranstoun too drew his sword, and 
let his cloak fall, asking Gowrie ' what the fray was.' 
The Earl said that ' he would enter his own house, or 
die by the way.' Cranstoun said that he would go 
foremost, 6 but at whom should he strike, for he knew 
not who was the enemy ? ' He had only seen the 
Erskines collar Gowrie, then certain Murray s in- 
terfere, and he was entirely puzzled. Gowrie did 
not reply, and the pair advanced to the door of the 
house through a perplexed throng. A servant of 
Gowrie's placed a steel cap on his head, and with 
some four or five of Gowrie's friends (Hew Moncrieff, 
Alexander Euthven, Harrv Euthven, and Patrick 

/ 

Eviot) the Earl and Cranstoun entered the front 
court. 

Here Cranstoun saw the body of a man, whether 
dead or wounded he knew not, lyin; at ' the old 

/ <_? 

turnpike door,' the entry to the dark narrow 
staircase up which Eamsay had run to the King's 
rescue. ' Who lies there ? ' asked Cranstoun. Gowrie 
only replied, ' Up the stair ! ' Cranstoun led the way, 
Gowrie came next ; the other four must have followed, 
for several witnesses presently saw them come down 
again, wounded and bleeding. Cranstoun found 
Erskine, Eamsay, and Herries with drawn swords in 
the chamber. The King, then in the turret, he did 
not see. He taunted Herries ; Eamsay and Gowrie 
crossed swords ; Cranstoun dealt, he says, with 



30 THE GOWRIE MYSTERY 

Herries, Erskine, and perhaps Wilson. But, though 
Cranstoun ' nowise knew who followed him,' the four 
men already named, two Euthvens, a MoncriefF, and 
Eviot, were in the fray, though there was some 
uncertainty about Eviot. 1 

The position of the King, at this moment, was 
unenviable. He was shut up in the little round turret 
room. On the other -side of the door, in the chamber, 
swords were clashing, feet were stamping. James 
knew that he had four defenders, one of them a 
lame medical man ; who or how many their oppo- 
nents might be, he could not know. The air rang 
with the thunder of hammers on the door of the 
chamber where the fight raged ; were they wielded 
by friends or enemies ? From the turret window the 
King could hear the town bell ringing, and see the 
gathering of the burgesses of Perth, the friends of 
their Provost, Gowrie. We know that they could 
easily muster eight hundred armed men. Which side 
would they take ? The Murrays, as we saw, had 
done nothing, except that some of them had crowded 
round Gowrie. Meanwhile there was clash of steel, 
stamping of feet, noise of hammers, while the King, 
in the turret, knew not how matters were going. 

Cranstoun only saw his own part of the fight in 
the chamber. How Eamsay and Gowrie sped in 
their duel he knew not. Eamsay, he says, turned 

1 The adversaries of the King say that these men ran up, and were 
wounded, later, in another encounter. As to this we have no evidence, 
but we have evidence of their issuing, wounded, from the dark stair- 
case at the moment when Cranstoun fled thence. 



THE SLAUGHTER OF THE RUTHVENS 31 

on him, and ran him through the body ; Herries also 
struck him. Of Gowrie he saw nothing ; he fled, 
when wounded, down the turret stair, his companions 
following or preceding him. Gowrie, in fact, had 
fallen, leaving Bamsay free to deal with Cranstoun. 
Writers of both parties declare that Bamsay had 
cried to Gowrie, ' You have slain the Kinsr ! ' that 

o 

Gowrie dropped his points, and that Bamsay lunged 
and ran him through the body. Erskine says 
that he himself was wounded in the right hand 
by Cranstoun ; Herries lost two fingers. When 
Bamsay ran Gowrie through, the Earl, says Erskine, 
fell into the arms of a man whom he himself knew 
not ; Gowrie's party retreated, but it seems they 
returned to the head of the narrow staircase, and 
renewed hostilities by pushing swords and halberts 
under the narrow staircase door. This appears from 
the evidence of Lennox. 

After pounding at the door so long, Lennox's 
party at last sent Bobert Brown (a servant of 
James's, who had brought the hammers) round 
to discover another way of reaching the King. 
Brown, too, now went up the narrow staircase, and 
in the gallery chamber he found the King, with 
Herries, Erskine, Bamsay, Wilson, and the dead 
Earl. He reassured James ; the hammerers were 
his friends. They handed, says Lennox, one of the 
hammers to the King's party, through a shattered 
panel, ' and they within broke the doors, and gave 
them entry.' At this time, halberts and swords were 



32 THE GOWIIIE MYSTERY 

being struck, by Gowrie's retainers, under the door, 
and through the sides of the door, of the chamber ; 
this door apparently being that from the chamber 
to the narrow staircase. Murray of Arbany (who 
had come into the house at the end of dinner) was 
stricken through the leg by one of these weapons. 
Deacon Ehynd of Perth saw Hew Moncrieff striking 
with ' a Jeddart staff,' a kind of lialbert. A voice, 
that of Alexander Euthven (a cousin of the fallen 
Earl), cried ' For God's sake, my lord, tell me how 
the Earl of Gowrie does.' ' He is well. Go your 
way ; you are a fool ; you will get no thanks for this 
labour,' answerad Lennox, and all was silence. 
Alexander Euthven and the rest retreated ; Euthven 
rushed to the town, rousing the people, and rifling 
shops in search of gunpowder. The King and the 
nobles knelt in prayer on the bloody floor of the 
chamber where the dead Gowrie lay. For some 
time the confused mob yelled outside, shaking their 
fists at the King's party in the window : men and 
women crying ' Come down, Green-coats, ye have 
committed murder ! Bloody butchers ! ' Others 
cried ' The Kin^ is shot ! ' The exits of the house 

o 

were guarded by retainers of Gowrie Eentoul, 
Bissett, and others. 

Mar and Lennox, from the window, explained to 
the mob that the King was well. James showed 
himself, the magistrates and nobles pacified the 
people, who, some armed, some unarmed, were all 
perplexed, whether they were anxious about the 








UJ 

O 



Q 

Z 



o 

^i 
o 



THE SLAUGHTEE OF THE RUTHVENS 33 

King or about their Provost, the Earl. From the 
evidence of scores of burghers, it appears that the 
tumult did not last long. One man was reaping 
in the Morton haugh. Hearing the town bell he 
hastened in, ' when all the tumult was ceased,' and 
the magistrates, Eay and others, were sending the 
people to their houses, as also did young Tullibardine. 
A baker, hearing the bell, went to the town cross, 
and so to Gowrie's house, where he met the stream 
of people coming away. Another baker was at 
work, and stayed with his loaves, otherwise he ' would 
have lost his whole baking.' The King represents that 
it was between seven and eight in the evening before 
matters were quiet enough for him to ride home to 
Falkland, owing to the tumult. The citizens doubt- 
less minimised, and James probably exaggerated, the 
proportions and duration of the disturbance. 

This version of that strange affair, the slaughter 
of the Euthvens, is taken entirely from the lips of 
sworn witnesses. We still know no more than we 
did as to what passed between the moment when 
James and the Master, alone, left the dining chamber, 
and the moment when the Kino* cried ' Treason ! ' out 

C 1 

of the turret window. 

The problem is, had James lured the Master to 
Falkland for the purpose of accompanying him back 
to Perth, as if by the Master's invitation, and of there 
craftily begetting a brawl, in which Gowrie and the 
Master should perish at the hands of Earn say? Or 
had the Master, with or without his brother's know- 

D 



34 THE GOWEIE MYSTERY 

ledge, lured James to Perth for some evil end ? The 
question divided Scotland ; France and England were 
sceptical as to the King's innocence. Our best 
historians, like Mr. Hill Burton and Mr. Tytler, side 
with the King ; others are dubious, or believe that 
James was the conspirator, and that the Euthvens 
were innocent victims. 



35 



III 
THE KING'S OWN NARRATIVE 

So far we have not gained any light on the occur- 
rences of the mysterious interval between the 
moment when the King and Alexander Euthven 
passed alone through the hall, after dinner, up the 
great staircase, and the moment when the King cried 
' Treason ! ' out of the turret window. In the nature 
of the case, the Master being for ever silent, only 
James could give evidence on the events of this 
interval, James and one other man, of whose presence 
in the turret we have hitherto said little, as only 
one of the witnesses could swear to having seen a 
man there, none to having seen him escaping thence, 
or in the tumult. Now the word of James was not 
to be relied on, any more than that of the unequalled 
Elizabeth. If we take the King's word in this case, 
it is from no prejudice in his favour, but merely 
because his narrative seems best to fit the facts as 
given on oath by men like Lennox, Mar, and other 
witnesses of aU ranks. It also fits, with discrepancies 
to be noted, the testimony of the other man, the man 
who professed to have been with the Master and the 



King in the turret. 



D 2 



36 THE GOWRIE MYSTERY 

The evidence of that other man was also subject, 
for reasons which will appear presently, to the 
gravest suspicion. James, if himself guilty of the 
plot, had to invent a story to excuse himself; the 
other man had to adopt the version of the King, to 
save his own life from the gibbet. On the other 
hand, James, if innocent, could not easily have a 
credible story to tell. If the Master was sane, it was 
hardly credible that, as James averred, he should 
menace the King with murder, in his brother's house, 
with no traceable preparations either for night or for 
armed resistance. In James's narrative the Master 
is made at least to menace the King with death. 
However true the King's story might be, his adver- 
saries, the party of the Kirk and the preachers, would 
never accept it. In Lennox's phrase they ' liked it 
not, because it was not likely.' Emphatically it was 
not likely, but the contradictory story put forward 
by the Euthven apologist, as we shall see, was not 
only improbable, but certainly false. 

There was living at that time a certain Mr. David 
Calderwood, a young Presbyterian minister, aged 
twenty-five. He was an avid collector of rumour, of 
talk, and of actual documents, and his ' History of 
the Kirk of Scotland,' composed at a much later date, 
is wonderfully copious and accurate. As it was im- 
possible for King James to do anything at which 
Calderwood did not carp, assigning the worst imagin- 
able motives in every case, we shall find in Calderwood 
the sum of contemporary hostile criticism of his 



THE KING'S OWN NARRATIVE 3 






Majesty's narrative. But the criticism is negative. 
Calderwood's critics only pick holes in the King's 
narrative, but do not advance or report any other 
explanation of the events, any complete theory of the 
King's plot from the Euthven side. Any such story, 
any such hypothesis, must be to the full as impro- 
bable as the King's narrative. 

There is nothing probable in the whole affair ; 
every system, every hypothesis is difficile a croire. 
Yet the events did occur, and we cannot reject 
James's account merely because it is ' unlikely.' The 
improbabilities, however, were enormously increased 
by the King's theory that the Euthvens meant to 
murder him. This project (not borne out by the 
King's own version of Euthven's conduct) would have 
been insane : the Euthvens, by murdering James, 
would have roused the whole nation and the Kirk 
itself against them. But if their object was to kidnap 
James, to secure his person, to separate him from 
his Ministers (who were either secretly Catholics, or 
Iiidifferents), and to bring in a new administration 
favourable to Kirk, or Church, then the Euthvens were 
doing what had several times been done, and many 
times attempted. James had been captured before, 
even in his own palace, while scores of other plots, 
to take him, for instance, when hunting in Falkland 
woods, remote from his retinue, had been recentlv 

*! 

planned, and had failed. To kidnap the King was 
the commonest move in politics ; but as James thought, 
or said, that the idea at Gowrie House was to murder 



38 THE GOWRIE MYSTERY 

him, his tale, even if true, could not be easily 
credible. 

The first narrative was drawn up at Falkland 
in the night of August 5. Early on August 6 the 
letter reached the Chancellor in Edinburgh, and the 
contents of the letter were repeated orally by the 
Secretary of State (Elphinstone, later Lord Balmerino) 
to Nicholson, the English resident at the Court of 
Holyrood. Nicholson on the same day reported what 
he remembered of what the Secretary remembered 
of the Falkland letter, to Cecil. Yet though at third 
hand Nicholson's written account of the Falkland 
letter of August 5 l contains the same version as James 
later published, with variations so few and so unes- 
sential that it is needless to dwell upon them, they 
may safely be attributed to the modifications which a 
story must suffer in passing through the memories of 
two persons. Whatever the amount of truth in his 
narrative, the King had it ready at once in the form 
to which he adhered, and on which he voluntarily 
underwent severe cross-examination, on oath, by 
Mr. Eobert Bruce, one of the Edinburgh ministers ; a 
point to which we return. 

James declares in a later narrative printed and 
published about the end of August 1600, that the 
Master, when he first met him at Falkland, made a 
very low bow, which was not his habit. The Master 



1 Quoted by Pitcairn, ii. 209. The Falkland letter, as we show 
later, was probably written by David Moysie, but must have been, 
more or less, ' official.' Cf. p. 100, infra. 



THE KING'S OWN NARRATIVE 39 

then said (their conference, we saw, occupied a 
quarter of an hour) that, while walking alone on the 
previous evening, he had met a cloaked man carrying 
a great pot, full of gold in large coined pieces. 
Euthven took the fellow secretly to Gowrie House, 
' locked him in a privy derned house, and, after locking 
many doors on him, left him there and his pot with 
him.' 

It might be argued that, as the man was said to 
be locked in a house, and as James was not taken 
out of Gowrie House to see him, James must have 
known that, when he went upstairs with the Master, 
he was not going to see the prisoner. The error 
here is that, in the language of the period, a house 
often means a room, or chamber. It is so used by 
James elsewhere in this very narrative, and endless 
examples occur in the letters and books of the 
period. 

Euthven went on to explain, what greatly needed 
explanation, that he had left Perth so early in the 
morning that James might have the first knowledge 
of this secret treasure, concealed hitherto even from 
Gowrie. James objected that he had no right to the 
gold, which was not treasure trove. Euthven replied 
that, if the King would not take it, others would. 
James now began to suspect, very naturally, that the 
gold was foreign coin. Indeed, what else could it well 
be ? Coin from France, Italy, or Spain, brought in often 
by political intriguers, was the least improbable sort of 
minted gold to be found in poor old Scotland. In the 



40 THE GOWRIE MYSTERY 

troubles of 1592-1596 the supplies of the Catholic 
rebels were in Spanish money, whereof some was likely 
enough to be buried by the owners. James, then, 
fancied that Jesuits or others had brought in gold 
for seditious purposes, ' as they have ofttimes done 
before.' Sceptics of the period asked how one pot of 
gold could cause a sedition. The question is puerile. 
There would be more gold where the potful came 
from, if Catholic intrigues were in the air. James 
then asked the Master ' what kind of coin it was.' 
6 They seemed to be foreign and uncouth ' (unusual) 
' strokes of coin,' said Euthven, and the man, he added, 
was a stranger to him. 

James therefore suspected that the man might be 
a disguised Scottish priest : the few of them then in 
Scotland always wore disguises, as they tell us in 
their reports to their superiors. 1 The King's infer- 
ences as to popish plotters were thus inevitable, 
though he may have emphasised them in his narrative 
to conciliate the preachers. His horror of ' practising 
Papists,' at this date, was unfeigned. He said to the 
Master that he could send a servant with a warrant 
to Growrie and the magistrates of Perth to take and 
examine the prisoner and his hoard. Contemporaries 
asked why he did not ' commit the credit of this 
matter to another.' James had anticipated the 
objection. He did propose this course, but Euthven 
replied that, if others once touched the money, the 

1 Many of these may be read in Narratives of Scottish CatJiolics, 
by Father Forbes-Leith, S.J. 



THE KING'S OWN NARK ATI VE 41 

King ' would get a very bad account made to him of 
that treasure.' He implored his Majesty to act as 
he advised, and not to forget him afterwards. This 
suggestion may seem mean in Euthven, but the age 
was not disinterested, nor was Euthven trying to 
persuade a high-souled man. The King was puzzled 
and bored, ' the morning was fair, the game already 
found,' the monarch was a keen sportsman, so he 
said that he would think the thing over and answer 
at the end of the hunt. 

Granting James's notorious love of disentangling 
a mystery, granting his love of money, and of hunt- 
ing, I agree with Mr. Tytler in seeing nothing im- 
probable in this narration. If the Master wanted to 
lure the King to Perth, I cannot conceive a better 
device than the tale which, according to the King, he 
told. The one improbable point, considering the 
morals of the country, was that Euthven should 
come to James, in place of sharing the gold with his 
brother. But Euthven, we shall see, had possibly 
good reasons, known to James, for conciliating the 
Eoyal favour, and for keeping his brother ignorant. 
Moreover, to seize the money would not have been a 
safe thing for Euthven to do ; the story would have 
leaked out, questions would have been asked. James 
had hit on the only plausible theory to account 
for a low fellow with a pot of gold; he must be 
' a practising Papist.' James could neither suppose, 
nor expect others to believe that he supposed, one 
pot of foreign gold enough ' to bribe the country into 



42 THE GOWBIE MYSTERY 

rebellion.' But the pot, and the prisoner, supplied 
a clue worth following. Probabilities strike different 
critics in different ways. Mr. Tytler thinks James's 
tale true, and that he acted* in character. That is my 
opinion ; his own the reader must form for himself. 

Euthven still protested. This hunt of gold was 
well worth a buck! The prisoner, he said, might 
attract attention by his cries, a very weak argument, 
but Euthven was quite as likely to invent it on the 
spur of the moment, as James was to attribute it to 
him falsely, on cool reflection. Finally, if James 
came at once, Gowrie would then be at the preaching 
(Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays were preaching 
days), and the Eoyal proceedings with the captive 
would be undisturbed. 

Now, on the hypothesis of intended kidnapping, 
this was a well-planned affair. If James accepted 
Euthven' s invitation, he, with three or four servants, 
would reach Gowrie House while the town of Perth 
was quiet. Nothing would be easier than to seclude 
him, seize his person, and transport him to the sea- 
side, either by Tay, or down the north bank of that 
river, or in disguise across Fife, to the Firth of Forth, 
in the retinue of Gowrie, before alarm was created at 
Falkland. Gowrie had given out (so his friends de- 
clared) that he was to go that night to Dirleton, his 
castle near North Berwick, 1 a strong hold, manned, 
and provisioned. Could he have carried the King in 

1 Carey to Cecil. Berwick, Border Calendar, vol. ii. p. 677, 
August 11, 1600. 



THE KING'S OWN NARRATIVE 43 

disguise across Fife to Erie, Dirleton was within a 
twelve miles sail, on summer seas. Had James's 
curiosity and avarice led him to ride away at once with 
Euthven, and three or four servants, the plot might 
have succeeded. We must criticise the plot on these 
lines. Thus, if at all, had the Earl and his brother 
planned it. But Fate interfered, the unexpected 
occurred but the plot could not be dropped. The story 
of the pot of gold could not be explained away. The 
King, with royal rudeness, did not even reply to the 
new argument of the Master. ' Without any further 
answering him,' his Majesty mounted, Euthven stay- 
ing still in the place where the King left him. At 
this moment Inchaffray, as we saw, met Euthven, 
and invited him to breakfast, but he said that he was 
ordered to wait on the King. 

At this point, James's narrative contains a cir- 
cumstance which, confessedly, was not within his own 
experience. He did not know, he says, that the 
Master had any companion. But, from the evidence of 
another, he learned that the Master had a companion, 
indeed two companions. One was Andrew Euthven, 
about whose presence nobody doubts. The other, 
one Andrew Henderson, was not seen by James at 
this time. However, the King says, on Henderson's 
own evidence, that the Master now sent him (about 
seven o'clock) to warn Gowrie that the King was to 
come. Eeally it seems that Henderson was despatched 
rather later, during the first check in the run. 

It was all-important to the King's case to prove 



44 THE GOWRIE MYSTERY 

that Henderson had been at Falkland, and had re- 
turned at once with a message to Gowrie, for this 
would demonstrate that, in appearing to be unpre- 
pared for the King's arrival (as he did), Gowrie was 
making a false pretence. It was also important to 
prove that the ride of Euthven and Henderson to 
Falkland and back had been concealed, by them, 
from the people at Gowrie House. Now this was 
proved, Craigengelt. Gowrie's steward, who was tor- 
tured, tried, convicted, and hanged, deponed that, 
going up the staircase, just after the King's arrival, 
he met the Master, booted, and asked ' where he had 
been.' ' An errand not far off,' said the Master, conceal- 
ing his long ride to Falkland. 1 Again, John Moncrieff, 
a gentleman who was with Gowrie, asked Henderson 
(who had returned to Perth much earlier than the 
King's arrival) where he had been, and he said ' that 
he had been two or three miles above the town.' 2 
Henderson himself later declared that Gowrie had 
told him to keep his ride to Falkland secret. 3 The 
whole purpose of all this secrecy was to hide the 
fact that the Euthvens had brought the King to 
Perth, and that Gowrie had early notice, by about 
10 A.M., of James's approach, from Henderson. 
Therefore to make out that Henderson had been in 
Falkland, and had given Gowrie early notice of 
James's approach, though Gowrie for all that made 



1 Deposition of Craigengelt, a steward of Gowrie's, Falkland, 
August 16, 1600. Pitcairn, ii. 157. 

' Pitcairn, ii. p. 185. 3 Pitcairn, ii. p. 179. 



THE KING'S OWN NARRATIVE 45 

no preparations to welcome James, was almost 
necessary for the Government. They specially ques- 
tioned all witnesses on this point. Yet not one of their 
witnesses would swear to having seen Henderson at 
Falkland. This disposes of the theory of wholesale 
perjury. 

The modern apologist for the Euthvens, Mr. Louis 
Barbe, writes : 'We believe that Henderson perjured 
himself in swearing that he accompanied Alexander ' 
(the Master) ' and Andrew Euthven when . . . they 
rode to Falkland. We believe that Henderson per- 
jured himself when he asserted, on oath, that the 
Master sent him back to Perth with the intelligence 
of the Kind's coming.' l 

o o 

On the other hand, George Hay, lay Prior of the 
famous Chartreux founded by James I in Perth, 
deponed that Henderson arrived long before Gowrie's 
dinner, and Peter Hay corroborated. But Hay averred 
that Gowrie asked Henderson ' who was at Falkland 
with the King ? ' It would not follow that Henderson 
had been at Falkland himself. John Moncrieff 
deponed that Gowrie said nothing of Henderson's 
message, but sat at dinner, feigning to have no 
knowledge of the King's approach, till the Master 
arrived, a few minutes before the King. Mr. Ehynd, 
Gowrie's tutor, deponed that Andrew Euthven (the 
Master's other companion in the early ride to Falk- 
land) told him that the Master had sent on Henderson 
with news of the King's coming. If Henderson had 

1 Barbe, p. 91. 



46 THE GOWRIE MYSTERY 

been at Falkland, lie had some four hours' start of the 
King and his party, and must have arrived at Perth, 
and spoken to Gowrie, long before dinner, he him- 
self says at 10 A.M. Dinner was at noon, or, on this 
day, half an hour later. Yet Gowrie made no pre- 
parations for welcoming the King. 

It is obvious that, though the Hays and Moncriefl 
both saw Henderson return, booted, from a ride 
somewhere or other, at an early hour, none of them 
could prove that he had ridden to Falkland and back. 
There was, in fact, no evidence that Henderson had 
been at Falkland except his own, and that of the poor 
tortured tutor, Ehynd, to the effect that Andrew 
Euthven had confessed as much to him. But pre- 
sently we shall find that, while modern apologists for 
Gowrie deny that Henderson had been at Falkland, 
the contemporary Euthven apologist insists that he 
had been there. 

To return to James's own narrative, he asserts 
Henderson's presence at Falkland, but not from 
his own knowledge. He did not see Henderson at 
Falkland. Euthven, says James, sent Henderson to 
Gowrie just after the King mounted and followed the 
hounds. Here it must be noted that Henderson him- 
self says that Euthven did not actually despatch 
him till after he had some more words with the 
King. This is an instance of James's insouciance 
as to harmonising his narrative with Henderson's, 
or causing Henderson to conform to his. ' Cooked ' 
evidence, collusive evidence, would have avoided 



THE KING'S OWN NAERATIVE 47 

these discrepancies. James says that, musing over 
the story of the pot of gold, he sent one Naismith, 
a surgeon (he had been with James at least since 
1592), to bring Euthven to him, during a check, 
and told Euthven that he would, after the hunt, 
come to Perth. James thought that this was after the 
despatch of Henderson, but probably it was before, 
to judge by Henderson's account. 

During this pause, the hounds having hit on the 
scent again, the King was left behind, but spurred on. 
At every check, the Master kept urging him to make 
haste, so James did not tarry to break up the deer, 
as usual. The kill was but two bowshots from the 
stables, and the King did not wait for his sword, or 
his second horse, which had to gallop a mile before 
it reached him. Mar, Lennox, and others did wait 
for their second mounts, some rode back to Falk- 
land for fresh horses, some dragged slowly along 
on tired steeds, and did not rejoin James till later. 

Euthven had tried, James says, to induce him to 
refuse the compan}' of the courtiers. Three or four 
servants, he said, would be enough. The others ' might 
mar the whole purpose.' James was 'half angry/ 
he began to entertain odd surmises about Euthven. 
One was ' it might be that the Earl his brother had 
handled him so hardly, that the young gentleman, being 
of a high spirit, had taken such displeasure, as he was 
become somewhat beside himself.' But why should 
Gowrie handle his brother hardly ? 

The answer is suggested by an unpublished con- 



48 THE GOWRIE MYSTERY 

temporary manuscript, 'The True Discovery of the 
late Treason,' l &c. ' Some offence had passed betwixt 
the said Mr. Alexander Ruthven ' (the Master) ' and 
his brother, for that the said Alexander, both of 
himself and by his Majesty's mediation, had craved 
of the Earl his brother the demission and release of 
the Abbey of Scone, which his Majesty had bestowed 
upon the said Earl during his life. . . . His suit had 
little success.' 

If this be fact (and there is no obvious reason for 
its invention), James might have reason to suspect 
that Gowrie had ' handled his brother hardly : ' 
Scone being a valuable estate, well worth keeping. 
To secure the King's favour as to Scone, Ruthven 
had a motive, as James would understand, for making 
him, and not Gowrie, acquainted with the secret of the 
treasure. Thus the unpublished manuscript casually 
explains the reason of the King's suspicion that the 
Earl might have ' handled the Master hardly.' 

On some such surmise, James asked Lennox (who 
corroborates) whether he thought the Master quite 
* settled in his wits.' Lennox knew nothing but good 

o o 

of him (as he said in his evidence), but Ruthven, 
observing their private talk, implored James to keep 
the secret, and come alone with him at first to see 
the captive and the treasure. James felt more and 
more uneasy, but he had started, and rode on, while 

1 State Papers, Scotland (Elizabeth), vol. Ixvi. No. 50. 

2 Mr. S. E. Gardiner alone remarks on this point, in a note to the 
first edition of his great History. See note to p. 54, infra. 



THE KING'S OWN NARRATIVE 49 

the Master now despatched Andrew Euthven to warn 
Gowrie. Within a mile of Perth the Master spurred 
on his weary horse, and gave the news to Gowrie, 
who, despite the messages of Henderson and Andrew 
Euthven, was at dinner, unprepared for the Eoyal 
arrival. However, Gowrie met James with sixty men 
(four, says the Euthven apologist). 

James's train then consisted of fifteen persons. 
Others must have dropped in later : they had no 
fresh mounts, but rested their horses, the King says, 
and let them graze by the way. They followed be- 
cause, learning that James was going to Perth, they 
guessed that he intended to apprehend the Master of 
Oliphant, who had been misconducting himself in 
Angus. Thus the King accounts for the number of 
his train. 

An hour passed before dinner : James pressed for 
a view of the treasure, but the Master asked the King- 
not to converse with him then, as the whole affair 
was to be kept secret from Gowrie. If the two 
brothers had been at odds about the lands of Scone, 
the Master's attitude towards his brother might 
seem inteUigible, a point never allowed for by critics 
unacquainted with the manuscript which we have 
cited. At last the King sat down to dinner, Gowrie 
in attendance, whispering to his servants, and often 
going in and out of the chamber. The Master, too, 
was seen on the stairs by Craigengelt. 

If Gowrie's behaviour is correctly described, it 
might be attributed to anxiety about a Eoyal meal 

E 



50 THE GOWRIE MYSTERY 

so hastily prepared. But if Gowrie had plenty of 
warning, from Henderson (as I do not doubt), that 
theory is not sufficient. If engaged in a conspiracy, 
Gowrie would have reason for anxiety. The cir- 
cumstances, owing to the number of the royal 
retinue, were unfavourable, yet, as the story of the 
pot of gold had been told by Euthven, the plot could 
not be abandoned. James even ' chaffed ' Gow- 
rie about being so pensive and distrait, and about 
his neglect of some little points of Scottish etiquette. 
Finally he sent Gowrie into the hall, with the grace- 
cup for the gentlemen, and then called the Master. 
He sent Gowrie, apparently, that he might slip off 
with the Master, as that o-entleman wished. ' His 

7 O 

Majesty desired Mr. Alexander to bring Sir Thomas 
Erskine with him, who ' (Euthven) ' desiring the King 
to go forward with him, and promising that he should 
make any one or two follow him that he pleased to 
call for, desiring his Majesty to command publicly 
that none should follow him.' This seems to mean, 
James and the Master were to cross the hall and go 
upstairs ; James, or the Master for him, bidding no 
one follow (the Master, according to Balgonie, did say 
that the King would be alone), while, presently, the 
Master should return and privately beckon on one or 
two to join the King. The Master's excuse for all 
this was the keeping from Gowrie and others, for the 
moment, of the secret of the prisoner and the pot of 



gold. 



Now, if we turn back to Sir Thomas Erskine's 



THE KING'S OWN NARRATIVE 51 

evidence, we find that, when he joined James in the 
chamber, after the slaying of the Master, he said ' I 
thought your Majesty would have concredited more 
to me, than to have commanded me to await your 
Majesty at the door, if you thought it not meet to 
have taken me with you.' The King replied, ' Alas, 
the traitor deceived me in that, as in all else, for I 
commanded him expressly to bring you to me, and 
he returned back, as I thought, to fetch you, but he 
did nothing but steik [shut] the door.' 

What can these words mean ? They appear to 
me to imply that James sent the Master back, 
according to their arrangement, to bring; Erskine, 

O ~ O ' 

that the Master gave Erskine some invented message 
about waiting at some door, that he then shut a door 
between the King and his friends, but told the King 
that Erskine was to follow them. Erskine was, 
beyond doubt, in the street with the rest of the 
retinue, before the brawl in the turret reached its 
crisis, when Gowrie had twice insisted that James 
had ridden away. 

In any case, to go on with James's tale, he went 
with Euthven up a staircase (the great staircase), 
' and through three or four rooms ' c three or four 

t 

sundry houses ' ' the Master ever locking behind him 
every door as he passed, and so into a little study ' 
the turret. This is perplexing. We nowhere hear 
in the evidence of more than two doors, in the suite, 
which were locked. The staircase perhaps gave on 
the long gallery, with a door between them. The 

E 2 



52 THE GOWRIE MYSTERY 

gallery gave on a chamber, which had a door (the 
door battered by Lennox and Mar), and the chamber 
i^ave on a turret, which had a door between it and 

o 

the chamber. 

We hear, in the evidence, of no other doors, or 
of no other locked doors. However, in the Latin in- 
dictment of the Euthvens, ' many doors ' are insisted 
on. As all the evidence tells of opposition from only 
one door- -that between the gallery and the chamber 
of death James's reason for talking of ' three or 
four doors ' must be left to conjecture. ' The True 
Discourse ' (MS.) gives but the gallery, chamber, and 
turret, but appears to allow for a door between 
stair and gallery, which the Master ' closed,' while he 
' made fast ' the next door, that between gallery and 
chamber. One Thomas Hamilton, 1 who writes a long 
letter (MS.) to a lady unknown, also speaks of several 
doors, on the evidence of the King, and some of the 
Lords. This manuscript has been neglected by his- 
torians. 2 

Leaving this point, we ask why a man already 
suspicious, like James, let the Master lock any door 
behind him. We might reply that James had dined, 
and that ' wine and beer produce a careless state of 
mind,' as a writer on cricket long ago observed. 
We may also suppose that, till facts proved the 
locking of one door at least (for about that there is 
no doubt), James did not know that any door was 

1 Apparently not Sir Thomas Hamilton, the King's Advocate. 

2 State Papers, Scotland (Elizabeth), vol. Ixvi. No. 51. 



THE KING'S OWN NARRATIVE 53 

locked. On August 11 the Eev. Mr. Galloway, in a 
sermon preached before the King and the populace 
at the Cross of Edinburgh, says that the Master 
led the monarch upstairs, ' and through a trans ' 
(a passage), ' the door whereof, so soon as they had 
entered, chekit to with ane lok, then through a gallery, 
whose door also chekit to, through a chamber, and 
the door thereof chekit to, also,' and thence into the 
turret of which he ' also locked the door.' 1 

Were the locks that ' chekit to ' spring locks, and 
was James unaware that he was locked in ? But Eam- 
say, before the affray, had wandered into ' a gallery, 
very fair,' and unless there were two galleries, he 
could not do this, if the gallery door was locked. 
Lennox and Mar and the rest speak of opposition 
from only one door. 

While we cannot explain these things, that door, 
at least, between the gallery and the gallery chamber, 
excluded James from most of his friends. Can 
the reader believe that he purposely had that door 
locked, we know not how, or by whom, on the sys- 
tem of compelling Gowrie to c come and be killed ' 
by way of the narrow staircase ? Could we see 
Gowrie House, and its ' secret ways,' as it then was, 
we might understand this problem of the locked 
doors. Contemporary criticism, as minutely recorded 
by Calderwood, found no fault with the number of 
locked doors, but only asked 'how could the King's 
fear but increase, perceiving Mr. Alexander ' (the 

1 Pitcairn, vol. ii. p. 249. 



54 THE now i: IK MYSTEKY 

Master) ' ever to lock the doors behind them? If 
the doors closed with spring locks (of which the 
principle had long been understood and used), the 
King may not have been aware of the locking. The 
problem cannot be solved; we only disbelieve that 
the King himself had the door locked, to keep his 
friends out, and let Gowrie in. 

NOTE. The Abbey of Scone. On page 48 we have quoted 
the statement that Jarnes had bestowed on Gowrie the Abbey of 
Scone ' during his life.' This was done in 1580 (Begiatrum Magni 
Siffilli, vol. iii. No. 3011). On May 25, 1584, William Fullarton 
got this gift, the first Earl of Gowrie and his children being then 
forfeited. But on July 23, 1580, the Gowrie of the day was restored 
to all his lands, and the Earldom of Gowrie included the old church 
lands of Scone (Reg. Mag. Sig. iv. No. 695, No. 1044). How, then, 
did John, third Earl of Gowrie, hold only ' for his life ' the Com- 
mendatorship of the Abbey of Scone, as is stated in S. P. Scot. (Eli/.) 
vol. Ixvi. No. 50? 



55 



IY 

THE KING'S NARRATIVE 

II 

THE MAN IN THE TURRET 

WE left James entering the little ' round,' or ' study,' 
the turret chamber. Here, at last, he expected to 
find the captive and the pot of gold. And here the 
central mystery of his adventure began. His Majesty 
saw standing, ' with a very abased countenance, not 
a bondman but a freeman, with a dagger at his 
girdle.' Euthven locked the door, put on his hat, 
drew the man's dagger, and held the point to the 
King's breast, ' avowing now that the King behoved to 
be at his wilL and used as he list : swearing manv 

o / 

bloody oaths that if the King cried one word, or 
opened a window to look out, that dagger should go 
to his heart.' 

If this tale is true, murder was not intended, 
unless James resisted : the King was only being 
threatened into compliance with the Master's ' will.' 
Euthven added that the King's conscience must now 
be burthened ' for murdering his father,' that is, for 
the execution of William, Earl of Gowrie, in 1584. 



56 THE GOWRIE MYSTERY 

His conviction was believed to have been procured 
in a dastardly manner, later to be explained. 

James was unarmed, and obviously had no secret 



coat of mail, in which he could not have hunted all 
day, perhaps. Euthven had his sword ; as for the 
other man he stood ' trembling and quaking.' James 
now made to the Master the odd harangue reported 
even in Nicholson's version of the Falkland letter of the 
same day. As for Gowrie's execution, the King said, 
he had then been a minor (he was eighteen in 1584), 
and Gowrie was condemned ' by the ordinary course of 
law ' which his friends denied. James had restored, 
he said, all the lands and dignities of the House, two 
of Euthven's sisters were maids of honour. Euthven 
had been educated by the revered Mr. Eollock, he 
ouo'ht to have learned better behaviour. If the King 

o o 

died he would be avenged : Gowrie could not hope 
for the throne. The King solemnly promised forgive- 
ness and silence, if Euthven let him go. 

Euthven now uncovered his head, and protested 
that the King's life should be safe, if he made no 
noise or cry : in that case Euthven would now bring 
Gowrie to him. ' Why ? ' asked James ; ' you could 
gain little by keeping such a prisoner ? ' Euthven 
said that he could not explain ; Gowrie would tell 
him the rest. Turning to the other man, he said ' I 
make you the King's keeper till I come again, and 
see that you keep him upon your peril.' He then 
went out, and locked the door. The person who later 
averred that he had been the man in the turret, 



THE KING'S NARRATIVE 57 

believed that Euthven never went far from the door. 
James believed, indeed averred, that he ran down- 
stairs, and consulted Gowrie. 

If there was an armed man in the turret, he 
was either placed there by the King, to protect him 
while he summoned his minions by feigned cries of 

o 

treason, or he was placed there by Gowrie to help 
the Master to seize the Kin^. In the latter case, the 

t^ * 

Master's position was now desperate ; in lieu of an 
ally he had procured a witness against himself. Great 
need had he to consult Gowrie, but though Gow- 
rie certainly entered the house, went upstairs, and 
returned to Lennox with the assurance that James 
had ridden away, it is improbable that he and his 
brother met at this moment. James, however, avers 
that they met, Euthven running rapidly downstairs, 
but this was mere inference on the King's part. 

James occupied the time of Euthven's absence 
in asking the man of the turret what he knew of 
the conspiracy. The man replied that he knew 
nothing, he had but recently been locked into the 
little chamber. Indeed, while Euthven was threaten- 
ing, the man (says James) was trembling, and 
adjuring the Master not to harm the King. James, 
having sworn to Euthven that he would not open 
the window himself, now, characteristically, asked 
the man to open the window 'on his right hand.' 
If the King had his back to the turret door, the 
window on his right opened on the courtyard, the 
window on his left opened on the street. The 



58 THE GOWRIE MYSTERY 

man readily opened the window, says the King, 
and the person claiming to be the man deponed later 
that he first opened what the King declared to be the 
wrong window, but, before he could open the other, 
in came the Master, who, ' casting his hands abroad 
in desperate manner, said "he could not mend it, 
his Majesty behoved to die." Instead of stabbing 
James, however, he tried to bind the Eoyal hands 
with a garter, ' swearing he behoved to be bound.' 
(A garter was later picked up on the floor by one of 
the witnesses, Graham of Balgonie, and secured by 
Sir Thomas Erskine. 1 ) 

A struggle then began, James keeping the 
Master's right hand off his sword-hilt ; the Master 
trying to silence James with his left hand. James 

* {} 

dragged the Master to the window, which the other 
man had opened. (In the Latin indictment of the 
dead Euthvens, James opens the window himself.) 
The turret man said, in one of two depositions, that 
he stretched across the wrestlers, and opened the 
window. The retinue and Gowrie were passing, as 
we know, or loitering below ; Gowrie affected not to 
hear the cries of treason ; Lennox, Mar, and the rest 
rushed up the great staircase. Meanwhile, struggling 
with the Master, James had brought him out of the 
turret into the chamber, so he says, though, more 
probably, the Master brought him. They were now 

1 Mr. Scott suggested that a piece of string was found by Balgonie. 
The words of Balgonie are ' ane gartane '- a garter. He never 
mentions string. 



TILE KING'S NARRATIVE 



59 



near the door of the chamber that gave on the narrow 
staircase, and James was ' throwing tlie Master's sword 
out of his hand, thinking to have stricken him there- 
with,' when Eamsay entered, and wounded the Master, 
who was driven down the stairs, and there killed 
by Erskine and Herries. Gowrie then invaded the 
room with seven others : James was looking for the 

The Black /' 
Turnpike ,' 



Court Yard 



Gallery 
Chamber 



Gate 




x 
x 



Earl of Mar and King's Suite, 
the Earl of Gowrie etc. 



Window whence 
the King cried 

* x 

X 



Master's sword, 1 which had fallen, but he was instantly 
shut into the turret by his friends, and saw none 
of the fight in which Gowrie fell. After that Lennox 
and the party with hammers were admitted, and the 
tumult appeased James rode back, through a dark 
rainy night, to Falkland. 



1 According to a story given by Calderwood, Ruthven's sword was 
later found rusted in its sheath, but no authority is given for the tale. 



60 THE GOWRIE MYSTERY 



V 

HENDEBSON'S NAEEATIVE 

THE man in the turret had vanished like a ghost. 
Henderson, on the day after the tragedy, was also 
not to be found. Like certain Euthvens, Hew 
Moncrieff, Eviot, and others, who had fought in the 
death-chamber, or been distinguished in the later riot, 
Henderson had fled. He was, though a retainer of 
Gowrie, a member of the Town Council of Perth, 
and ' chamberlain,' or c factor,' of the lands of Scone, 
then held by Gowrie from the King. To find any 
one who had seen him during the tumult was difficult 
or impossible. William Eobertson, a notary of Perth, 
examined in November before the Parliamentary 
Committee, said then that he only saw Gowrie, with 
his two drawn swords, and seven or eight companions, 
in the forecourt of the house, and so, ' being afraid, 
he passed out of the place.' The same man, earlier, 
on September 23, when examined with other citizens 
of Perth, had said that he followed young Tullibar- 
dine and some of his men, who were entering the 
court ' to relieve the King.' l He saw the Master 
lying dead at the foot of the stair, and saw Hender- 

1 Pitcairn, ii. 197. 



HENDERSON'S NARRATIVE 61 

son ' come out of the said turnpike, over the Master's 
belly.' He spoke to Henderson, who did not answer. 
He remembered that Murray of Arbany was pre- 
sent. Arbany, before the Parliamentary Committee 
in November, said nothing on this subject, nor did 
Robertson. His evidence would have been impor- 
tant, had he adhered to what he said on Septem- 
ber 23. But, oddly enough, if he perjured himself 
on the earlier occasion (September 23), he withdrew 
his perjury, when it would have been useful to the 
King's case, in the evidence given before the Lords 
of the Articles, in November. Mr. Barbe, perhaps 
misled by the sequence of versions in Pitcairn, writes : 
' Apparently it was only when his memory had been 
stimulated by the treatment of those whose evidence 
was found to be favourable to the King that the wily 
notary recalled the details by which he intended to 
corroborate Henderson's statement. . . .' l 

The reverse is the case : the wily notary did not 
offer, at the trial in November, the evidence which 
he had given, in September, at the examination of 
the citizens of Perth. It may perhaps be inferred 
that perjury was not encouraged, but depressed. 2 

1 The Tragedy of Gowrie House, by Louis Barbe, 1887, p. 91. 

2 Mr. Barbe, as we saw, thinks that Robertson perjured himself, 
when he swore to having seen Henderson steal out of the dark stair- 
case and step over Ruthven's body. On the other hand, Mr. Bisset 
thought that Robertson spoke truth on this occasion, but concealed the 
truth in his examination later, because his evidence implied that 
Henderson left the dark staircase, not when Ramsay attacked Ruthven, 
but later, when Ruthven had already been slain. Mr. Bisset' s theory 
was that Henderson had never been in the turret during the crisis, but 
had entered the dark staircase from a door of the dining-hall on the 



62 THE GOW1UE MYSTERY 

Despite the premiums on perjury which Euthven 
apologists insist on, not one witness would swear to 
having seen Henderson during or after the tumult. 

O D 

Yet he instantly fled, with others who had been 
active in the brawl, and remained in concealment. 
Calderwood, the earnest collector of contemporary 
gossip and documents, assures us that when the man 
in the turret could not be found, the first pro- 
clamation identified him with a Mr. Eobert Oliphant, 
a ' black grim man,' but that Oliphant proved his 
absence from Perth. One Gray and one Lesley were 
also suspected, and one Younger (hiding when sought 
for, it is said) was killed. But we have no copy of 
the proclamation as to Mr. Eobert Oliphant. To Mr. 
Eobert Oliphant, who had an alibi, we shall return, 
for this gentleman, though entirely overlooked by 
our historians, was probably at the centre of the 
situation (p. 71, infra). 

Meanwhile, whatever Henderson had done, he 
mysteriously vanished from Gowrie House, during or 
after the turmoil, ' following darkness like a dream. 7 
Nobody was produced who could say anything about 
seeing Henderson, after MoncriefF and the Hays saw 

first floor. Such a door existed, according to Lord Hailes, but 
when he wrote (1757) 110 traces of this arrangement were extant. If 
such a door there was, Henderson may have slunk into the hall, out of 
the dark staircase, and slipped forth again, at the moment when 
Robertson, in his first deposition, swore to having seen him. But 
Murray of Arbany cannot well have been there at that moment, as he 
was with the party of Lennox and Mar, battering at the door of the 
gallery chamber. Bisset, Essays in Historical Truth, pp. 228-237. 
Hailes, Annals. Third Edition, vol. iii. p. 369. Note (1819). 



HENDERSON'S NARRATIVE 63 

him on his return from Falkland, at about ten o'clock 
in the morning of August 5. 

By August 12, Henderson was still in hiding, and 

*< C7 O 

was still being proclaimed for, with others, of whom 
Mr. Robert Oliphant was not one : they were Mon- 
crieff, Evict, and two Ruthvens. 1 But, on August 11 
at the Cross of Edinburgh, in presence of the King, 
his chaplain, the Rev. Patrick Galloway, gave news 
of Henderson. Mr. Galloway had been minister of 
Perth, and a fierce Presbyterian of old. 

Blow, Galloway, the trumpet of the Lord ! 

exclaimed a contemporary poet. But James had 
tamed Galloway, he was now the King's chaplain, he 
did not blow the trumpet of the Lord any longer, 
and, I fear, was capable of anything. He had a 
pension, Calderwood tells us, from the lands of Scone, 
and knew Henderson, who, as Chamberlain, or 
steward, paid the money. In his exciting sermon, 
Galloway made a dramatic point. Henderson was 
found, and Henderson was the man in the turret ! 
Galloway had received a letter from Henderson, in 
his own hand ; any listener who knew Henderson's 
hand might see the letter. Henderson tells his tale 
therein ; Galloway says that it differs almost nothing 
from the King's story, of which he had given an 
abstract in his discourse. And he adds that Hender- 
son stole downstairs while Ramsay was engaged with 
the Master. 2 

1 Privy Council Register, vi. 149, 150. 2 Pitcairn, ii. 250. 



64 THE GOWRIE MYSTERY 

Henderson, being now in touch with Galloway, 
probably received promise of his life, and of reward, 
for he came in before August 20, and, at the trial in 
November, was relieved of the charge of treason, and 
ave evidence. 

o 

Here we again ask, Why did Henderson take to 

flight ? What had he to do with the matter ? None 
fled but those who had been seen, sword in hand, 
in the fatal chamber, or stimulating the populace to 
attack the Kino- during the tumult. Andrew Euthven, 

O O 

who had ridden to Falkland with Henderson and the 
Master, did not run away, no proclamation for him 
is on record. Nobody swore to seeing Henderson, 
like his fellow fugitives, armed or active, yet he fled 
and skulked. Manifestly Henderson had, in one way 
or other, been suspiciously concerned in the affair. 
He had come in, and was at Falkland, by August 20, 
when he was examined before the Chancellor, Mont- 
rose, the King's Advocate, Sir Thomas Hamilton, Sir 
George Hume of Spot (later Earl of Dunbar), and 
others, in the King's absence. He deponed that, on 
the night of August 4, Gowrie bade him and Andrew 
Euthven ride early to Falkland with the Master, and 
return, if the Master ordered him so to do, with a 
message. At Falkland they went into a house, 1 and 

1 Mr. Panton, who, in 1812, published at Perth, and with Long- 
mans, a defence of the Ruthvens, is very strong on the improbability 
that Henderson was at Falkland. Why were not the people to whose 
house in Falkland he went, called as witnesses ? Indeed we do not 
know. But as Mr. Panton looked on the King's witnesses as a gang 
of murderous perjurers, it is odd that he did not ask himself why they, 
and the King, did not perjure themselves on this point. (A Dissertation 
on the Gowry Conspiracy, pp. 127-131.) 



HENDERSON'S NARRATIVE 65 

the Master sent him to learn what the King was 
doing. He came back with the news ; the Master 
talked with the King, then told Henderson to carry to 
Gowrie the tidings of the King's visit, ' and that his 
Majesty would be quiet.' Henderson asked if he was 
to start at once. Euthven told him to wait till he 
spoke to the King again. They did speak, at a gap 
in a wall, during the check in the run ; Euthven 
returned to Henderson, sent him off, and Henderson 
reached Perth about ten o'clock. Gowrie, on his 
arrival, left the company he was with (the two Hays), 
and here George Hay's evidence makes Gowrie ask 
Henderson ' who was with the King at Falkland ? ' Hay 
said that Gowrie then took Henderson into another 
room. Henderson says nothing about a question as 
to the King's company, asked in presence of Hay, 
a compromising and improbable question, if Gowrie 
wished to conceal the visit to Falkland. 

Apart, Gowrie put some other questions to 
Henderson as to how the King received the Master. 
Henderson then went to his house ; an hour later 
Gowrie bade him put on his secret coat of mail, 
and plate sleeves, as he had to arrest a Highlander. 
Henderson did as commanded ; at twelve the steward 
told him to bring up dinner, as Craigengelt (the 
caterer) was ill. Dinner began at half-past twelve ; 
at the second course the Master entered, Andrew 
Euthven had arrived earlier. The company rose 
from table, and Henderson, who was not at the 
moment in the room, heard them moving, and 

F 



66 THE GOWRIE MYSTERY 

thought that they were ' going to make breeks 
for Maconilduy,' that is, to catch the Highlander. 
Finding he was wrong, he threw his steel gauntlet 
into the pantry, and sent his boy to his house with 
his steel cap. He then followed Gowrie to meet the 
King, and, after he had fetched ' a drink ' (which James 
says ' was long in coming '), the Master bade him 
ask Mr. Ehynd, Gowrie's old tutor, for the key of 
the gallery, which Ehynd brought to the Master. 
Gowrie then went up, and spoke with the Master, and, 
after some coming and going, Henderson was sent 
to the Master in the gallery. Thither Gowrie re- 
turned, and bade Henderson do whatever the Master 
commanded. (The King says that Gowrie came 
and went from the room, during his dinner.) The 
Master next bade Henderson enter the turret, and 
locked him in. He passed the time in terror and 
in prayer. 

There foUows the story of the entry of James 
and the Master, and Henderson now avers that 
he ' threw ' the dagger out of the Master's hand. 
He declares that the Master said that he wanted 
' a promise from the King,' on what point Gowrie 
would explain. The rest is much as in the King's 
account, but Henderson was 'pressing to have 
opened the window,' he says, when the Master entered 
for the second time, with the garter to bind the King's 
hands. During the struggle Henderson removed the 
Master's hand from the King's mouth, and opened 
the window. The Master said to him, 'Wilt thou 



HENDERSON'S NARRATIVE 67 

not help ? Woe betide thee, thou wilt make us all 
die.' 1 

Henderson's later deposition, at the trial in No- 
vember, was mainly, but not without discrepancies, to 
the same effect as his first. He said that he prayed, 
when alone in the turret, but omits the statement 
(previously made by him) that he deprived Euthven of 
his dagger, a very improbable tale, told falsely at first, 
no doubt, as Eobertson the notary at first invented 
his fable about meeting with Henderson, coming 
out of the dark staircase. This myth Eobertson 
narrated when examined in September, but omitted 
it in the trial in November. Henderson now ex- 
plained about his first opening the wrong window, 
but he sticks to it that he took the garter from 
Euthven, of which James says nothing. He vows 
that he turned the key of the door on the staircase, 
so that Eamsay could enter, whereas Eamsay averred 
that he himself forced the door. Mr. Hudson 
(James's resident at the Court of England), who in 
October 1600 interviewed both Henderson and the 
King, says that, in fact, the Master had not locked 
the door, on his re-entry. 2 Henderson slunk out 
when Eamsay came in. He adds that it was his steel 
cap which was put on Gowrie's head by a servant 
(there was plenty of evidence that a steel cap was 
thus put on). 

1 Pitcairn, ii. 222, 223, 

2 Hudson to Cecil, Oct. 19, 1600, Edinburgh, State Papers, Scotland 
(Elizabeth), vol. Ixvi. No. 78. 



68 THE GOWRTE MYSTERY 

One singular point in Henderson's versions is this : 
after Euthven, in deference to James's harangue in 
the turret, had taken off his hat, the King said, 
' What is it ye crave, man, if ye crave not my life ? ' 
4 Sir, it is but a promise,' answered Euthven. The 
King asked 4 What promise ? ' and Euthven said that 
his brother would explain. This tale looks like a con- 
fusion made, by Henderson's memory, in a passage 
in James's narrative. 'His Majesty inquired what 
the Earl would do with him, since (if his Majesty's 
life were safe, according to promise) they could gain 
little in keeping such a prisoner.' Euthven then, 
in James's narrative, said ' that the Earl would tell 
his Majesty at his coming.' It appears that the word 
4 promise ' in the Eoyal version, occurring at this point 
in the story, clung to Henderson's memory, and so 
crept into his tale. Others have thought that the 
Euthvens wished to extort from James a promise 
about certain money which he owed to Gowrie. 
But to extort a promise, by secluding and threatening 
the King, would have been highly treasonable and 

O ^ v 

dangerous, nor need James have kept a promise 
made under duress. 

Perhaps few persons who are accustomed to 
weigh and test evidence, who know the weaknesses 
of human memories, and the illusions which impose 
themselves upon our recollections, will lay great 
stress on the discrepancies between Henderson's first 
deposition (in August), his second (in November), and 
the statement of the King. In the footnote printed 



HENDERSON'S NARRATIVE 69 

below, 1 Hudson explains the origin of certain differ- 
ences between the King's narrative and Henderson's 
evidence, given in August. Hudson declares that 
James boasted of having taken the dagger out of 
Euthven's hands (which, in fact, James does not do, 
in his published narration), and that Henderson 
claimed to have snatched the dagger away, ' to move 
mercy by more merit.' It is clear that James would 
not accept his story of disarming Euthven ; Henderson 
omits that in his second deposition. For the rest, 
James, who was quite clever enough to discover the 
discrepancies, let them stand, at the end of his own 
printed narrative, with the calm remark, that if any 
differences existed in the depositions, they must be 
taken as ' uttered by the deponer in his own behouf, for 
obtaining of his Majesty's princely grace and favour.' 2 
Henderson's first deposition was one of these which 

1 James Hudson to Sir Robert Cecil. 

' . . . I have had conference of this last acsyon, first w tb the King, 
at lenght, & then w th Henderson, but my speache was first w th Hen- 
derson befoar the King came over the waiter, betwixt whoame I fynde 
no defference but y l boath alegethe takinge the dager frome Alexander 
Ruthven, w ch stryf on the one part maie seame to agrnent honor, & 
on the other to move mersy by moa r merit : it is plaen y* the King 
only by god's help deffended his owin lyff wel & that a longe tynie, or 
els he had lost it : it is not trew that M r . Alex spok w tb his brother 
when he went owt, nor that Henderson vnlokt the door, but hast & 
neglect of M r . Alex, left it opin, wherat S r Jhon Ramsay entrid, & 
after hime S r Tho. Ereskyn S r Hew Haris & Wilsone. Y* it is not 
generally trustid is of mallice & preoccupassyon of mens mynds by 
the minesters defidence at the first, for this people ar apt to beleve 
the worst & loath to depart frome y l fayth. 



' Edinborow this 19 of October 1600.' 
2 Pitcairn, ii. 218. 



70 THE GOWRIE MYSTERY 

James printed with his own narrative, and thus 
treated en prince. He was not going to harmonise 
his evidence with Henderson's, or Henderson's with 
his. On the other hand, from the first, Henderson had 
probably the opportunity to frame his confession on the 
Falkland letter of August 5 to the Chancellor, and 
the Provost of Edinburgh ; and, later, on the printed 
narrative officially issued at the close of August 1600. 
He varied, when he did vary, in hopes of ' his 
Majesty's princely grace and favour,' and he naturally 
tried to make out that he was not a mere trembling 
expostulating caitiff. He clung to the incident of 
the garter which he snatched from the Master's hand. 

Henderson had no Eoyal model for his account 
of how he came to be in the turret, which James 
could only learn from himself. Now that is the most 
incredible part of Henderson's narrative. However 
secret the Kuthvens may have desired to be, how 
could they trust everything to the chance that the 
town councillor of Perth, upper footman, and Cham- 
berlain of Scone, would act the desperate part of 
seizing a king, without training and without warn- 
ing ? 

But was Henderson unwarned and uninstructed, 
or, did he fail after ample instruction ? That is the 
difficult point raised by the very curious case of Mr. 
Eobert Oliphant, which has never been mentioned, I 
think, by the many minute students of this bewilder- 
ing affair. 



71 



VI 

THE STRANGE CASE OF MR. ROBERT 

LIP HA NT 

SUPPOSE that men like the Euthvens, great and 
potent nobles, had secretly invited their retainer, 
Andrew Henderson, to take the role of the armed 
man in the turret, what could Henderson have done ? 
Such proposals as this were a danger dreaded even 
by the most powerful. Thus, in March 1562, James 
Hepburn, the wicked Earl of Bothwell, procured, 
through John Knox, a reconciliation with his feudal 
enemy, Arran. The brain of Arran was already, it 
seems, impaired. A few days after the reconcilia- 
tion he secretly consulted Knox on a delicate point. 
Bothwell, he said, had imparted to him a scheme 
whereby they should seize Queen Mary's person, and 
murder her secretary, Lethington, and her half- 
brother, Lord James Stuart, later Earl of Moray. 
Arran explained to Knox that, if ever the plot came 
to light, he would be involved in the crime of guilty 
concealment of foreknowledge of treason. But, if he 
divulged the plan, Bothwell would challenge him to 
trial by combat. Knox advised secrecy, but Arran, 



72 THE GOWRIE MYSTERY 

now far from sane, revealed the real or imagined 
conspiracy. 

To a man like Henderson, the peril in simply 
listening to treasonable proposals from the Ruthvens 
would be even greater. If he merely declined to be 
a party, and kept silence, or fled, he lost his employ- 
ment as Gowrie's man, and would be ruined. If the 
plot ever came to light, he would be involved in 
guilty concealment of foreknowledge. If he instantly 
revealed to the King what he knew, his word would 
not be accepted against that of Gowrie : he would 
be tortured, to get at the very truth, and probably 
would be hanged by way of experiment, to see if he 
would adhere to his statement on the scaffold a 
fate from which Henderson, in fact, was only saved 
by the King. 

What then, if the Gowries offered to Henderson 
the role of the man in the turret, could Henderson 
do ? He could do what, according to James and to 
himself, he did, he could tremble, expostulate, and 
assure the King of his ignorance of the purpose 
for which he was locked up, ' like a dog,' in the little 
study. 

That this may have been the real state of affairs 
is not impossible. We have seen that Calderwood 
mentions a certain Mr. Eobert Oliphant (Mr. means 
Master of Arts) as having been conjectured at, im- 
mediately after the tragedy, as the man in the turret. 
He must therefore have been, and he was, a trusted 
retainer of Gowrie. But Oliphant at once proved 



THE STRANGE CASE OF MR. EGBERT OLIPHANT 73 

an alibi ; he was not in Perth on August 5. His 
name never occurs in the voluminous records of the 
proceedings. He is not, like Henderson, among the 
persons who fled, and for whom search was made, 
as far as the documents declare, though Calderwood 
says that he was described as a ' black grim man ' 
in ' the first proclamation.' If so, it looks ill for 
James, as Henderson was a brown fair man. In 
any case, Oliphant at once cleared himself. 

But we hear of him again, though historians have 

O ' O 

overlooked the fact. Among the Acts of Caution 
of 1600 that is, the records of men who become 
sureties for the good behaviour of others is an entry 
in the Privy Council Eegister for December 5, 1600. 1 
' Mr. Alexander Wilky in the Canongate for John 
Wilky, tailor there, 200/., not to harm John Lyn, 
also tailor there ; further, to answer when required 
touching his (John Wilky's) pursuit of Lyn for 
revealing certain speeches spoken to him by Mr. 
Eobert Oliphant anent his foreknowledge of the 
treasonable conspiracy of the late John, sometime 
Earl of Gowrie.' 

Thus Eobert Oliphant, M.A., had spoken to tailor 
Lyn, or so Lyn had declared, about his own fore- 
knowledge of the plot ; Lyn had blabbed ; tailor 
Wilky had ' pursued ' or attacked Lyn ; and Alexander 
Wilky, who was bailie of the Canongate, enters 
into recognisances to the amount of 200/. that John 
Wilky shall not further molest Lyn. 

1 Privy Council Eegister, vi. 671. 



74 THE GOWRIE MYSTERY 

Now what had Oliphant said ? 

On the very day, December 5, when Alexander 
Wilky became surety for the good behaviour of John 
Wilky, Nicholson, the English resident at Holyrood, 
described the facts to Eobert Cecil. 1 Nicholson 
says that, at a house in the Canongate, Mr. Eobert 
Oliphant was talking of the Gowrie case. He was 
a man who had travelled, and he inveighed against 
the unfairness of Scottish procedure in the case of 
Cranstoun. 

We have seen that Mr. Thomas Cranstoun, 
Gowrie's equerry, first brought to Lennox and others, 
in the garden, the report that the King had ridden 
away. We have seen that he was deeply wounded 
by Eamsay just before or after Gowrie fell. Unable 
to escape, he was taken, examined, tortured, tried on 
August 22, and, on August 23, hanged at Perth. He 
had invaded and wounded Herries, and Thomas 
Erskine, and had encouraged the mob to beleaguer 
the back gate of Gowrie House, against the King's 
escape. He had been in France, he said, since 1589, 
had come home with Gowrie, but, he swore, had not 
spoken six words with the Euthvens during the last 
fortnight. 2 This is odd, as he was their Master 
Stabler, and as they, by their friends' account, had 
been making every preparation to leave for Dirleton, 
which involved arrangements about their horses. 

1 State Papers, Scotland (Elizabeth), vol. Ixvi. No. 107. 

2 Cranstoun mentioned his long absence in France to prove that he 
was not another Mr. Thomas Cranstoun, a kinsman of his, who at this 
time was an outlawed rebel, an adherent of Bothwell (p. 155, infra). 



THE STRANGE CASE OF MR. ROBERT OLIPHANT 75 

In any case, Mr. Eobert Oliphant, in a house 
in the Canongate, in November or early December 
1600, declared that Cranstoun, who, he said, knew 
nothing of the conspiracy, had been hanged, while 
Henderson, who was in the secret, and had taken the 
turret part, escaped, and retained his position as 
Chamberlain of Scone. Henderson, at the critical mo- 
ment, had ' fainted,' said Oliphant ; that is, had failed 
from want of courage. Oliphant went on to say that 
he himself had been with Gowrie in Paris (February- 
March 1600), and that, both in Paris and at home 
in Scotland later, Gowrie had endeavoured to induce 
him to take the part later offered to Henderson. 
He had tried, but in vain, to divert Gowrie's mind 
from his dangerous project. This talk of Oliphant's 
leaked out (through Lyn as we know), and Oliphant, 
says Nicholson, c fled again.' l 

Of Oliphant we learn no more till about June 

1 State Papers, Scotland (Elizabeth), vol. Ixvi. No. 107. 
' George Nicolson to Sir Robert Cecil. 



4 A man of Cannagate speaking that one M r . Ro: Oliphant, lyeng at 
his house, should haue complayned and said that "there was no justice 
in Scotland, for favlters skaped fre and innocentis were punished. M r . 
Thomas Cranston was execute being innocent, and Henderson saued. 
That therle of Go wry had moued that matter to him (Oliphant) in 
Paris and here, that he had w th good reasons deverted him, that therle 
thereon left him and delt w th Henderson hi that matter, that Henderson 
vndertooke it and yet fainted, and M r . Thomas Cranston knew nothing 
of it and yet was executed." This I heare, and that this Oliphant that 
was Gowries servant is, vpon this mans speache of it, againe fled. 
The heades of Gowry and his brother are sett vpon the tolebuthe here 
this day. ....... 

' Edenfc. the 5 of Decernb. 1600.' 



76 THE GOWRIE MYSTERY 

1608. At that time, the King, in England, heard a 
rumour that he had been connected with the con- 
spiracy. A Captain Patrick Heron 1 obtained a 
commission to find Oliphant, and arrested him at 
Canterbury : he was making for Dover and for France. 
Heron seized Oliphant's portable property, ' eight 
angels, two half rose-nobles, one double pistolet, two 
French crowns and a half, one Albertus angel ; two 
English crowns ; one Turkish piece of gold, two gold 
rings, and a loose stone belonging to one ; three 
Netherland dollars ; one piece of four royals ; two 
quart decuria ; seven pieces of several coins of silver ; 
two purses, one sword ; one trunk, one " mail," and 
two budgetts.' Oliphant himself lay for nine months 
in ' the Gate House of Westminster,' but Heron, 
' careless to justify his accusation, and discovering 
his aim in that business ' (writes the King), ' presently 
departed from hence.' ' We have tried the innocency 
of Mr. Eobert Oliphant,' James goes on, ' and have 
freed him from prison.' The Scottish Privy Council 
is therefore ordered, on March 6, 1609, to make 
Heron restore Oliphant's property. On May 16, 

1609, Heron was brought before the Privy Council in 
Edinburgh, and was bidden to make restitution. He 
was placed in the Tolbooth, but released by Lindsay, 
the keeper of the prison. In March 1610, Oliphant 
having again gone abroad, Heron expressed his 

1 The Captain was ' a landless gentleman.' His wife owned 
Ranfurdie, and the Captain, involved in a quarrel with Menteith of 
Kers, had been accused of witchcraft ! The Captain's legal affairs 
may be traced in the Privy Council Begister. 



THE STRANGE CASE OF MR. ROBERT OLIPHANT 77 

readiness to restore the goods, except the trunk and 
bags, which he had given to the English Privy 
Council, who restored them to Eobert Oliphant. 
The brother of Eobert, Oliphant of Bauchiltoun, 
represented him in his absence, and, in 1611, Eobert 
got some measure of restitution from Heron. 

We know no more of Mr. Eobert Oliphant. 1 His 
freedom of talk was amazing, but perhaps he had been 
drinking when he told the story of his connection 
with the plot. By 1608 nothing could be proved 
against him in London : in 1600, had he not fled 
from Edinburgh in December, something might have 
been extracted. We can only say that his version 
of the case is less improbable than Henderson's. 
Henderson if approached by Gowrie, as Oliphant is 
reported to have said that he was could not divulge 
the plot, could not, like Oliphant, a gentleman, leave 
Perth, and desert his employment. So perhaps he 
drifted into taking the role of the man in the turret. 
If so, he had abundance of time to invent his most 
improbable story that he was shut up there in igno- 
rance of the purpose of his masters. 

Henderson was not always of the lamblike de- 
meanour which he displayed in the turret. On 
March 5, 1601, Nicholson reports that 'Sir Hugh 
Herries,' the lame doctor, ' and Henderson fell out 
and were at offering of strokes,' whence ' revelations ' 

1 The proceedings of the English Privy Council at this point are 
lost, unluckily. The Scottish records are in Privy Council Register, 
1608-1611, s.v. Oliphant, Robert, in the Index. 



78 THE GOWRIE MYSTERY 

were anticipated. They never came, and, for all that 
we know, Herries may have taunted Henderson with 
Oliphant's version of his conduct. He was pretty 
generally suspected of having been in the conspiracy, 
and of having failed, from terror, and then betrayed 
his masters, while pretending not to have known why 
he was placed in the turret. 

It is remarkable that Herries did not appear as a 
witness at the trial in November. He was knighted 
and rewarded : every one almost was rewarded out 
of Gowrie's escheats, or forfeited property. But that 
was natural, whether James was guilty or innocent ; 
and we repeat that the rewards, present or in pro- 
spect, did not produce witnesses ready to say that 
they saw Henderson at Falkland, or in the tumult, 
or in the turret. Why men so freely charged with 
murderous conspiracy and false swearing were so 
dainty on these and other essential points, the ad- 
vocates of the theory of perjury may explain. How 
James treated discrepancies in the evidence we have 
seen. His account was the true account, he would 
not alter it, he would not suppress the discrepancies 
of Henderson, except as to the dagger. Witnesses 
might say this or that to secure the King's princely 
favour. Let them say : the King's account is true. 
This attitude is certainly more dignified, and wiser, 
than the easy method of harmonising all versions 
before publication. Meanwhile, if there were dis- 
crepancies, they were held by sceptics to prove false- 
hood ; if there had been absolute harmony, that 



THE STRANGE CASE OF MR. ROBERT OLIPHANT 79 

would really have proved collusion. On one point I 
suspect suppression at the trial. Almost all versions 
aver that Bamsay, or another, said to Gowrie, 4 You 
have slain the King,' and that Gowrie (who certainly 
did not mean murder) then dropped his points and 
was stabbed. Of this nothing is said, at the trial, by 
any witnesses. 



80 THE GOWRIE MYSTERY 



VII 

THE CONTEMPORARY RUTHVEN 
VINDICATION 

WE now come to the evidence which is most fatally 
damaging to the two unfortunate Euthvens. It is 
the testimony of their contemporary Vindication. 
Till a date very uncertain, a tradition hung about 
Perth that some old gentlemen remembered having 

O O 

seen a Vindication of the Euthvens ; written at 
the time of the events. 1 Antiquaries vainly asked 
each other for copies of this valuable apology. Was 
it printed, and suppressed by Eoyal order ? Did it 
circulate only in manuscript ? 

In 1812 a Mr. Panton published a vehement 
defence of the Euthvens. Speaking of the King's 
narrative, he says, ' In a short time afterwards a reply, 
or counter manifesto, setting forth the matter in its 
true light, written by some friend of the Euthven 
family, made its appearance. The discovery of this 
performance would now be a valuable acquisition; 
but there is no probability that any such exists, as 

1 See the Rev. Mr. Scott's Life of John, Earl of Gowrie. Mr. 
Scott, at a very advanced age, published this work in 1818. He relied 
much on tradition and on anonymous MSS. of the eighteenth century. 



THE CONTEMPORARY RUTH YEN VINDICATION 81 

the Government instantly ordered the publication to 
be suppressed. . . .' 

The learned and accurate Lord Hailes, writing in 
the second half of the eighteenth century (1757), says, 
6 It appears by a letter of Sir John Carey, Governor ' 
(really Deputy Governor) ' of Berwick, to Cecil, 4th 
September, 1600, that some treatise had been pub- 
lished in Scotland, in vindication of Gowrie.' That 
' treatise,' or rather news-letter, unsigned, and over- 
looked by our historians (as far as my knowledge 
goes), is extant in the Eecord Office. 1 We can 
identify it as the document mentioned by Carey 
to Cecil in his letter of September 4, 1600. Carey 
was then in command of Berwick, the great Eng- 
lish frontier fortress, for his chief, ' the brave Lord 
Willoughby,' was absent on sick leave. On Sep- 
tember 4, then, from Berwick, Carey wrote to Sir 
Eobert Cecil, ' I have thought good to send you such ' 
(information) ' as I have received out of Scotland 
this morning on both sides, both on the King's part 
and the Earl's part, that you may read them both 
together.' 

Now we possess a manuscript, ' The Verie Maner 
of the Erll of Gowrie and his brother their Death, 
quha war killit at Perth, the fyft of August, by the 
Kingis Servanttis, his Majestie being present.' This 
paper is directed to 'My Lord Governor,' and, as 
Carey was acting for ' My Lord Governor,' Lord 

1 State Papers, Scotland (Elizabeth), vol. Ixvi. No. 52. For the 
document see Appendix B. 

G 



82 THE GOWRIE MYSTERY 

Willoughby, at Berwick, he received and forwarded 
the document to Cecil. This is the Vindication, at 
least I know no other, and no printed copy, though 
Nicholson writes that a ' book on the Euthven side 
was printed in England' (October 28, 1600). 

The manuscript is in bad condition, in parts 
illegible ; acids appear to have been applied to 
it. The story, however, from the Gowrie side, can 
be easily made out. It alleges that, ' on Saturday, 
August 1 ' (really August 2), the lame Dr. Herries 
came, on some pretext, to Gowrie's house. ' This 
man by my Lord was convoyed through the house, 
and the secret parts shown him.' 

Now there was no ' secret part ' in the house, as 
far as the narratives go. The entry to the narrow 
staircase was inconspicuous, but was noticed by 
Eamsay, and, of course, was familiar to Gowrie and 
his men. On Tuesday, the fatal day (according to 
the Euthven Vindication), Gowrie's retainers were 
preparing to go with him ' to Lothian,' that is to 
Dirleton, a castle of his on the sea, hard by North 
Berwick. The narrator argues, as all the friends of 
the Euthvens did, that, if Gowrie had intended any 
treason, his men would not have been busy at their 
houses with preparations for an instant removal. The 
value of this objection is null. If Gowrie had a plot, 
it probably was to carry the King to Dirleton with 
him, in disguise. 

The Master, the apology goes on, whom the King 
had sent for ' divers times before, and on August 5,' 



THE CONTEMPORARY RUTHVEN VINDICATION 83 

rode early to Falkland, accompanied by Andrew 
Euthven, and Andrew Henderson. None of James's 
men, nor James himself, as we have remarked, saw 
Henderson at Falkland, and modern opponents of the 
King deny (as the aforesaid Mr. Panton does) that 
he was there. Here they clash with ' The Verie 
Manner ' &c. issued at the time by Gowrie's defen- 
ders. It avers that the Master, and his two men, did 
not intend to return from Falkland to Perth. They 
meant to sleep at Falkland on the night of the Fifth, 
and meet Gowrie, next day, August 6, 'at the water- 
side,' and cross with him to the south coast of the 
Firth of Forth, thence riding on (as other friendly 
accounts allege) to Dirleton, near North Berwick. 
' And Andrew Henderson's confessions testified this.' 
As published, they do nothing of the sort. The 
Master ' took his lodging in Falkland for this night.' 
Hearing that James was to hunt, the Master 
breakfasted, and went to look for him. After a con- 
versation with James, he bade Henderson ride back 
to Perth, and tell Gowrie that, 'for what occasion he 
knew not,' the King was coming. Now after they all 
arrived at Perth, the Master told Gowrie's caterer, 
Craigengelt, that the King had come, 'because 
Eobert Abercrombie, that false knave, had brought 
the King there, to make his Majesty take order for 
his debt.' l This fact was stated by Craigengelt him- 

1 James himself, being largely in Abercromby's debt, in 1594 gave 
him ' twelve monks' portions ' of the Abbacy of Cupar. Act. Parl 
Scot. iv. 83, 84. 

G 2 



84 THE GOWEIE MYSTERY 

self, under examination. If Kuthven spoke the 
truth, he did know the motive, or pretext, of the 
King's coming, which the apologist denies. But Kuth- 
ven was not speaking the truth ; he told Craigengelt, 
as we saw, that he had been ' on an errand not 
far off.' 

As to the debt, James owed Gowrie a large sum, 
with accumulated interest, for expenses incurred by 
Gowrie's father, when Lord Treasurer of Scotland 
(1583-1584). James, in June 1600, as we shall see, 
gave Gowrie a year's respite from the pursuit of his 
father's creditors, hoping to pay him in the meanwhile. 
Whether this exemption would not have defended 
Gowrie from Eobert Abercromby ; whether James 
would act as debt collector for Eobert Abercromby (a 
burgess of Edinburgh, the King's saddler), the reader 
may decide. But the Master gave to Craigengelt this 
reason for James's unexpected arrival, though his 
contemporary apologist says, as to James's motive 
for coming to Perth, that the Master ' knew nothing? 

Henderson having cantered off with his message, 
James rode to Perth (nothing is said by the apologist 
of the four hours spent in hunting), ' accompanied by 
sixty horsemen, of whom thirty came a little before 
him.' No trace of either the sixty or the thirty 
appears anywhere in the evidence. ISTo witness 
alludes to the arrival of any of the King's party in 
front of him. On hearing from Henderson of the 
King's approach, says the Vindication, Gowrie, who 
was dining, ordered a new meal to be prepared. All 



THE CONTEMPOEARY RUTHVEN VINDICATION 85 

the other evidence shows that Henderson came back 
to Perth long before Gowrie dined, and that neverthe- 
less Gowrie made no preparations at all. Gowrie, 
with four others, then met the King, on the Inch of 
Perth says the apologist. James kissed him when 
they met, the kiss of Judas, we are to understand. 
He entered the house, and all the keys were given to 
James's retainers. The porter, as we saw, really had 
the keys, and Gowrie opened the garden gate with 
one of them. The apologist is mendacious. 

Dinner was soon over. James sent the Master to 
bid Eamsay and Erskine c follow him to his cham- 
ber, where his Majesty, Sir Thomas Erskine, John 
Ramsay, Dr. Herries, and Mr. Wilson, being convened, 
slew the Master, and threw him down the stair, how, 
and for what cause they [know best] themselves.' Of 
course it is absolutely certain that the Master did not 
bring the other three men to James, in the chamber 
where the Master was first wounded. Undeniably 
Herries, Eamsay, and Erskine were not brought by the 
Master, at James's command, to this room. They did 
not enter it till after the cries of ' Treason ' were yelled 
by James from the window of the turret. A servant 
of James's, saj^s the apologist, now brought the 
news that the King had ridden away. Cranstoun, 
Gowrie's man, really did this, as he admitted. Gowrie, 
the author goes on, hearing of James's departure, 
called for his horse, and went out into the street. 
There he stood ' abiding his horse.' Now Cranstoun, 
as he confessed, had told Gowrie that his horse was 



86 THE GOWRIE MYSTERY 

at Scone, two miles away. By keeping his horses 
there, Gowrie made it impossible for him to accom- 
pany the Boyal retinue as they went on their useless 
errand (p. 21, supra). In the street Gowrie 'hears his 
Majesty call on him out at the chamber window, " My 
Lord of Gowrie, traitors has murdered your brother 
already, and ye suffer me to be murdered also ! ' 

Nobody else heard this, and, if Gowrie heard it, 
how inept it was in him to go about asking ' What 
is the matter ? ' He was occupied thus while Lennox, 
Mar, and the others were rushing up the great stair- 
case to rescue the King. James, according to the 
Euthven apologist, had told Gowrie what the matter 
was, his brother was slain, and slain by Erskine, who, 
while the Earl asked ' What is the matter ? ' was try- 
ing to collar that distracted nobleman. The Master 
had brought Erskine to the King, says the apologist, 
Erskine had slain the Master, yet, simultaneously, he 
tried to seize Gowrie in the street. Erskine was in 
two places at once. The apology is indeed ' a valu- 
able acquisition.' Gowrie and Cranstoun, and they 
alone, the apologist avers, were now permitted by 
James's servants to enter the house. We know that 
many of James's men were really battering at the 
locked door, and we know that others of Gowrie's 
people, besides Cranstoun, entered the house, and 
were wounded in the scuffle. Cranstoun himself 
says nothing of any opposition to their entry to the 
house, after Gowrie drew his two swords. 

Cranstoun, according to the apologist, first entered 



THE CONTEMPORARY RUTHVEN VINDICATION 87 

the chamber, alone, and was wounded, and drawn 
back by Gowrie which Cranstoun, in his own 
statement, denies. After his wounds he fled, he says, 
seeing no more of Gowrie. Then, according to the 
apologist, Gowrie himself at last entered the cham- 
ber ; the King's friends attacked him, but he was too 
cunning of fence for them. They therefore parleyed, 
and promised to let him see the King (who was in 
the turret). Gowrie dropped his points, Eamsay 
stabbed him, he died committing his soul to God, 
and declaring that he was a true subject. 

This narrative, we are told by its author, is 
partly derived from the King's men, partly from the 
confessions of Cranstoun, Craigengelt, and Baron 
(accused of having been in the chamber-fight, and 
active in the tumult). All these three were tried 
and hanged. The apologist adds that James's com- 
panions will swear to whatever he pleases. This 
was unjust ; Eamsay would not venture to recognise 
the man of whom he caught a glimpse in the turret, 
and nobody pretended to have seen Henderson at 
Falkland, though the presence of Henderson at Falk- 
land and in the chamber was an essential point. But, 
among the King's crew of perjurers, not a man 
swore to either fact. 

What follows relates to Gowrie's character ; 
4 he had paid all his father's debts,' which most 
assuredly he had not done. As to the causes of his 
taking off, they are explained by the apologist, but 
belong to a later part of the inquiry. 



88 THE GOWRIE MYSTERY 

Such was the contemporary Vindication of Gow- 
rie, sent to Carey, at Berwick, for English reading, 
and forwarded by Carey to Cecil. The narrative is 
manifestly false, on the points which we have noted. 
It is ingeniously asserted by the vindicator that 
a servant of James brought the report that he had 
ridden away. It is not added that the false report 
was really brought by Cranstoun, and twice con- 
firmed by Gowrie, once after he had gone to make 
inquiry upstairs. Again, the apologist never even 
hints at the locked door of the gallery chamber, 
whereat Mar, Lennox, and the rest so long and so 
vainly battered. Who locked that door, and why ? 
The subject is entirely omitted by the apologist. On 
the other hand, the apologist never alludes to the 
Murrays, who were in the town. Other writers soon 
after the events, and in our own day, allege that 
James had arranged his plot so as to coincide with 
the presence of the Murrays in Perth. What they 
did to serve him we have heard. John Murray was 
wounded by a Euthven partisan after the Earl and 
Master were dead. Some Murrays jostled Gowrie, 
before he rushed to his death. Young Tullibardine 
helped to pacify the populace. That is all. Nothing 
more is attributed to the Murrays, and the con- 
temporary apologist did not try to make capital out 
of them. 

Though the narrative of the contemporary apo- 
logist for the Euthvens appears absolutely to lack 
evidence for its assertions, it reveals, on analysis, a 



THE CONTEMPORARY RUTHVEN VINDICATION 89 

consistent theory of the King's plot. It may not be 
verifiable ; in fact it cannot be true, but there is a 
theory, a system, which we do not find in most con- 
temporary, or in more recent arguments. James, 
by the theory, is intent on the destruction of the 
Euthvens. His plan was to bring the Master to 
Falkland, and induce the world to believe that it was 
the Master who brought him to Perth. The Master 
refuses several invitations ; at last, on his way to 
Dirleton, he goes to Falkland, taking with him 
Andrew Euthven and Andrew Henderson. The old 
apologist asserts, what modern vindicators deny, that 
Henderson was at Falkland. 

Then the Master sends Henderson first, Andrew 
Euthven later, to warn Gowrie that, for some un- 
known reason, the King is coming. To conceal hi& 
bloody project (though the apologist does not men- 
tion the circumstance), James next passes four hours 
in hunting. To omit this certain fact is necessary 
for the apologist's purpose. The King sends thirty 
horsemen in front of him, and follows with thirty 
more. After dinner he leaves the hall with the 
Master, but sends him back for Erskine, Wilson, 
and Eamsay. James having secured their help, and 
next lured the Master into a turret, the minions 
kill Euthven and throw his body downstairs ; one 
of them, simultaneously, is in the street. James has 
previously arranged that one of his servants shall 
give out that the King has ridden away. This he 
does announce at the nick of time (though Gowrie's 



90 THE GOWRIE MYSTERY 

servant did it), so that Gowrie shall go towards the 
stables (where he expects to find his horse, though 
he knows it is at Scone), thus coming within earshot 
of the turret window. Thence James shouts to Gowrie 
that traitors are murdering him, and have murdered 
the Master. Now this news would bring, not only 
Gowrie, but all the Eoyal retinue, to his Majesty's 
assistance. But, as not knowing the topography of 
the house, the retinue, James must have calculated, 
will run up the main stairs, to rescue the King. 
Their arrival would be inconvenient to the King (as 
the nobles would find that James has only friends 

*/ 

with him, not traitors), so the King has had the door 
locked (we guess, though we are not told this by the 
apologist) to keep out Lennox, Mar, and the rest. 
Gowrie, however, has to be admitted, and killed, and 
Gowrie, knowing the house, will come, the King 
calculates, by the dark stair, and the unlocked door. 
Therefore James's friends, in the street, will let him 
and Cranstoun enter the house ; these two alone, and 
no others with them. They, knowing the narrow 
staircase, go up that way, naturally. As naturally, 
Gowrie lets Cranstoun face the danger of four hostile 
swords, alone. Waiting till Cranstoun is disabled, 
Gowrie then confronts, alone, the same murderous 
blades, is disarmed by a ruse, and is murdered. 

This explanation has a method, a system. Unfor- 
tunately it is contradicted by all the evidence now to 
be obtained, from whatever source it comes, retainers 
of Gowrie, companions of James, or burgesses of 



THE CONTEMPOKARY RUTHVEN VINDICATION 91 

Perth. We must suppose that Gowrie, with his 
small force of himself and Cranstoun, both fencers 
from the foreign schools, would allow that force to be 
cut off in detail, one by one. We must suppose that 
Erskine was where he certainly was not, in two places 
at once, and that Eamsay and Herries and he, unseen, 
left the hall and joined the King, on a message 
brought by the Master, unmarked by any witness. 
We must suppose that the King's witnesses, who pro- 
fessed ignorance on essential points, perjured them- 
selves on others, in batches. But, if we grant that 
Mar, Lennox, and the rest gentlemen, servants, 
retainers and menials of the Euthvens, and citizens 
of Perth- -were abandoned perjurers on some points, 
while scrupulously honourable on others equally 
essential, the narrative of the Euthven apologist 
has a method, a consistency, which we do not find in 
modern systems unfavourable to the King. 

For example, the modern theories easily show 
how James trapped the Master. He had only to 
lure him into a room, and cry ' Treason.' Then, even 
if untutored in his part, some hot-headed young man 
like Eamsay would stab Euthven. But to deal with 
Gowrie was a more difficult task. He would be out 
in the open, surrounded by men like Lennox and 
Mar, great nobles, and his near kinsmen. They 
would attest the innocence of the Earl. They must 
therefore be separated from him, lured away to 
attack the locked door, while Gowrie would stand 
in the street asking ' What is the matter ? ' though 



92 THE GOWRIE MYSTERY 

James had told him, and detained by the Murrays till 
they saw fit to let him and Cranstoun go within the 
gate, alone. Then, knowing the topography, Gowrie 
and Cranstoun would necessarily make for the murder- 
chamber, by the dark stair, and perish. The Eoyal wit 
never conceived a subtler plot, it is much cleverer 
than that invented by Mr. G. P. E. James, in his novel, 
' Gowrie.' Nothing is wrong with the system of the 
apologist, except that the facts are false, and the 
idea a trifle too subtle, while, instead of boldly saying 
that the King had the gallery chamber locked against 
his friends, the apologist never hints at that circum- 
stance. 

We have to help the contemporary vindicator 
out, by adding the detail of the locked door (which 
he did not see how to account for and therefore 
omitted), and by explaining that the King had it 
locked himself, that Lennox, Mar, and the rest might 
not know the real state of the case, and that Gowrie 
might be trapped through taking the other way, by 
the narrow staircase. 

An author so conspicuously mendacious as he 
who wrote the Apology for English consumption is 
unworthy of belief on any point. It does not foUow 
that Henderson was really at Falkland because the 
apologist says that he was. But it would appear 
that this vindicator could not well deny the circum- 
stance, and that, to work it conveniently into his 
fable, he had to omit the King's hunting, and to 
contradict the Hays and Moncrieff by making Hender- 



THE CONTEMPORARY RUTHVEN VINDICATION 93 

son arrive at Perth after twelve instead of about 
ten o'clock. 

The value of the Apology, so long overlooked, is 
to show how very poor a case was the best that the 
vindicator of the Euthvens was able to produce. 
But no doubt it was good enough for people who 
wished to believe. 1 

1 Mr. Henderson, in his account of William, Earl of Gowrie, in 
the Dictionary of National Biography, mentions ' The Vindication of 
the Ruthvens ' in his list of authorities. He does not cite the source, 
as in MS. or hi print ; and I know not whether he refers to ' The Verie 
Manner &c.,' State Papers, Scotland (Elizabeth), vol. Ixvi. No. 52. The 
theory of Mr. Scott (1818) is much akin to that of 'The Verie Manner,' 
which he had never seen. 



94 THE GOWRIE MYSTERY 



YIII 
THE THEORY OF AN ACCIDENTAL BE AWL 

So far, the King's narrative is least out of keeping 
with probability. 

But had James been insulted, menaced, and 
driven to a personal struggle, as he declared? Is 
the fact not that, finding himself alone with Euthven, 
and an armed man (or no armed man, if you believe 
that none was there), James lost his nerve, and cried 
' Treason ! ' in mere panic ? The rest followed from 
the hot blood of the three courtiers, and the story 
of James was invented, after the deaths of the Gow- 
ries, to conceal the truth, and to rob by forfeiture 
the family of Euthven. But James had certainly 
told Lennox the story of Euthven and the pot of 
gold, before they reached Perth. If he came with 
innocent intent, he had not concocted that story as 
an excuse for coming. 

We really must be consistent. Mr. Barbe, a 
recent Euthven apologist, says that the theory of an 
accidental origin of c the struggle between James 
and Euthven may possibly contain a fairly accurate 
conjecture.' l But Mr. Barbe also argues that James 
had invented the pot of gold story before he left 

1 Barbe, p. 124. 



THE THEOKY OF AN ACCIDENTAL BRAWL 95 

Falkland ; that, if James was guilty, ' the pretext had 
been framed ' the myth of the treasure had been 
concocted ' long before their meeting in Falkland, 
and was held in readiness to use whenever circum- 
stances required.' If so, then there is no room at 
all for the opinion that the uproar in the turret was 
accidental, but Mr. Barbe's meaning is that James thus 
forced a quarrel on Euthven. For there was no captive 
with a pot of gold, nor can accident have caused the 
tragedy, if Euthven lured James to Falkland with the 
false tale of the golden hoard. That tale, confided 
by James to Lennox on the ride to Perth, was either 
an invention of the King's in which case James is 
the crafty conspirator whom Mr. Bruce, in 1602, 
did not believe him to be (as shall be shown) ; or it 
is true that Euthven brought James to Perth by 
the feigned story in which case Euthven is a con- 
spirator. I reject, for reasons already given, the 
suggestion that Lennox perjured himself, when he 
swore that James told him about Euthven's narrative 
as to the captive and his hoard. For these reasons 
alone, there is no room for the hypothesis of acci- 
dent : either James or Euthven was a deliberate 
traitor. If James invented the pot of gold, he is the 
plotter : if Euthven did, Euthven is guilty. There 
is no via media, no room for the theory of accident. 

The via media, the hypothesis of accident, was 
suggested by Sir William Bowes, who wrote out 
his theory, in a letter to Sir John Stanhope, from 
Bradley, on September 2, 1600. Bowes had been 



96 THE GOWRIE MYSTERY 

English ambassador in Scotland, probably with the 
usual commission to side with the King's enemies, 
and especially (much as Elizabeth loathed her own 
Puritans) with the party of the Kirk. His coach 
had been used for the kidnapping of an English 
gentleman then with James, while the Governor of 
Berwick supplied a yacht, in case it seemed better to 
carry off the victim by sea (1599). Consequently 
Bowes was unpopular, and needed, and got, a guard 
of forty horsemen for his protection. He was no 
friend, as may be imagined, of the King. 

Bowes had met Preston, whom James sent to 
Elizabeth with his version of the Gowrie affair. 
Bowes's theory of it all was this : James, the Master, 
4 and one other attending ' (the man of the turret) 
were alone in a chamber of Gowrie House. Speech 
arose about the late Earl of Gowrie, Euthven's father, 
whether by occasion of his portrait on the wall, or 
otherwise. ' The King angrily said he was a traitor, 
whereat the youth showing a grieved and expostu- 
latory countenance, and haplie Scotlike words, the 
King, seeing himself alone and without weapon, cried 
Treason ! ' The Master placed his hand on James's 
mouth, and knelt to deprecate his anger, but Earn- 
say stabbed him as he knelt, and Gowrie was slain, 
Preston said, after Eamsay had made him drop his 
guard by crying that the King was murdered. The 
tale of the conspiracy was invented by James to 
cover the true state of the case. 1 

1 State Papers, Scotland (Elizabeth), vol. Ixvi. No. 64. 



THE THEORY OF AN ACCIDENTAL BRAWL 97 

This Bowes only puts forth as a working hypo- 
thesis. It breaks down on the King's narrative to 
Lennox about Euthven's captive and hoard. It 
breaks down on c one other attending ' the man in 
the turret whatever else he may have been, he was 
no harmless attendant. It breaks down on the locked 
door between the King, and Lennox and Mar, which 
Bowes omits. It is ruined by Gowrie's repeated 
false assurances that the King had ridden away, 
which Bowes ignores. 

The third hypothesis, the via media, is impossible. 
There was a deliberate plot on one side or the other. 
To make the theory of Bowes quite clear, his letter 
is appended to this section. 1 

1 State Papers, Scotland (Elizabeth), vol. Ixvi. No. 64. 

Sir William Bowes to Sir John Stanhope, Sept. 2, 1600. 

S r I attending hir M ties embassad r toward Newcastle happened to 
meet wyth M r Preston then on his waie from his king to hir M tie . In 
renewing a former acquaintance,! found hy.nr verie willing to possesse 
me wyth his report of the death'of Gowrie and his brother, in the cir- 
cumstances wherof sundrie ibingis- occurring Ji^fvilie probable I was 
not curious to lett him 3ee that wyse men wv^'vs stumbled therat. 
And therfor I thought yt wysdom in the king to deliuer his hono r to 
the warld and espeaiallie to her M tie . And in this as in other albeit I 
am not ignorant that.^he actions of princes must chalenge the Fairest 
interpretation Yet because in deed truthe symplie canne doe no wrong 
And that we owe o dearest and nearest truthes to o r soueraygnes in 
this matter so precisely masked lett me deliuer to^youe what For myne 
own part I doe belieue. 

The King being readfe tc take hcrse was* v/j'iihctrawen in discourse 
with the M r of Gowrie, a learned swee and. hurtles yong gentleman, 
and one other attending. Now_were it b;y occasion of a picture (as is 
sayde) or otherwise, speech happening of Earle Gowrie his father 
executed, the king angrelie sayde he was a traitour, whereat the youth 
showing a greeved and expostulatorie countenance and happelie Scot- 
like Woordis, the King, seeing hymself alone and wythout weapon, cryed, 
Treason, Treason. The M r abashed much to see the king so apprehend 

H 



3I/C 

"^ 



c f 




98 THE GOWRIE MYSTERY 

yt, whilest the king wold call to the Lords, the Dnke, Marre, and others 
that were attending in the court on the king comming to horse, putt 
his hand with earnest deprecations to staie the king, showing his 
countenance to them wythout in that moode, immediatlie falling on 
his knees to entreat the King. At the K. sound of Treason, from out 
of the Lower Chamber hastelie running Harris the physician Ramsey 
his page and S r Thomas Erskyn came to where the king was Where 
Ramsey runne the poore gentleman thorough, sitting as is saide vpon 
his knees. 

At this stirr the earle wyth his M r Stablere and somme other, best 
knowing the howse and the wayes, came first to the slaughter where 
finding his brother dead and the king retyred (For they had perswaded 
hym into a countinghouse) some fight beganne between the earle and 
the others. M r Preston saies that vpon thar relation that the king was 
slayne the earle shronke from the pursuyte, and that one of the afor- 
named rushing sodainlee to the earle thrust hym through that he fell 
down and dyed. This matter seeming to haue an accidentall begin- 
ning, to gyve it an honorable cloake is pursued wyth odious treasons 
coniurations &c. imputed to the dead earle, wyth the death of the 
M r Stabler, Wyth making knyghtis the acto r % And manye others such as 
I know are notified to you long ere this. The ministers as I heare are 
asked to make a thankgyving to god, where they think more need of 
Fasting in Sackclothe and Ashes, to the kingis much discontenting. 
This I must not saie (as the scholers terme yt) to be categoricallie true, 
but heupatheticallie l I take yt so to be. Wherevpon maie be inferred 
that as the death of the^ twoe Fii-^t .maie be excused by tendering the 

* /l I 1 it j 1 * """" ' *.ll^ 1* P 1** "1 J 




From Bradley ^Ms2 de of Sept. 

Yo r poore Frend'to commannd. 

WILL M . BOWES. 



**\ ., . ' Hypothetically ? ' 



c 

c 






99 



IX 
CONTEMPORARY CLERICAL CRITICISM 

THE most resolute sceptics as to the guilt of the 
Ruthvens were the Edinburgh preachers. They were 
in constant opposition to the King, and the young 
Gowrie was their favourite nobleman. As to what 
occurred when the news of the tragedy reached 
Edinburgh, early on July 6, we have the narrative of 
Mr. Eobert Bruce, then the leader of the Presby- 
terians. His own version is printed in the first 
volume of the Bannatyne Club Miscellany, and is 
embodied, with modifications, and without acknow- 
ledgment (as references to such sources were usually 
omitted at that period), in Calderwood's History. 

It is thus better to follow Mr. Bruce's own 
account, as far as it goes. 

The preachers heard the ' bruit,' or rumour of 
the tragedy, by nine o'clock on the morning of 
August 6. By ten o'clock arrived a letter from 
James to the Privy Council: the preachers were 
called first ' before the Council of the town,' and the 
King's epistle was read to them. ' It bore that his 
Majesty ivas delivered out of a peril, and therefore 
that we should be commanded to go to our Kirks, 

H 2 



100 THE GOWRIE MYSTERY 

convene our people, ring bells, and give God praises.' 
While the preachers were answering, the Privy Council 
sent for the Provost and some of the Town Council. 

The preachers then went to deliberate in the 
East Kirk, and decided ' that we could not enter 
into the particular defence of (the existence of?) 
' the treason, seeing that the King was silent of the 
treason in his own letter, and the reports of courtiers 
varied among themselves.' 

This is not easily intelligible. The letter from 
Falkland of which Nicholson gives an account on 
August 6, was exceedingly ' particular as to the 
treason.' It is my impression, based mainly on the 
Burgh Eecords quoted by Pitcairn, that the letter 
with full particulars cited by Nicholson, was written, 
more or less officially, by the notary, David Moysie, 
who was at Falkland, and that the Kinsf's letter was 

7 O 

brief, only requiring thanksgiving to be offered. Yet 
Nicholson says that the letter with details (written 
by the King he seems to think), was meant for the 
preachers as well as for the Privy Council (cf. p. 38, 
note). 

The preachers, in any case, were now brought 
before the Privy Council and desired, by Montrose, 
the Chancellor, to go to church, and thank God for the 
King's ' miraculous delivery from that vile treason.' 
They replied that ' they could not be certain of the 
treason,' but would speak of delivery ' from a great 
danger.' Or they would wait, and, when quite sure 
of the treason, would blaze it abroad. 



CONTEMPORARY CLERICAL CRITICISM 101 

' They ' (the Council) ' said it should be sufficient 
to read his Majesty's letter.' 

This appears to mean that the preachers would 
content the Lords by merely reading James's letter 
aloud to the public. 

' We answered that we could not read his letter ' 
(aloud to the people ? ) ' and doubt of the truth of it. 
It would be better to say generally, " if the report be 
true," ' 

The preachers would have contented the Lords 
by merely reading James's letter aloud to their con- 
gregations. But this they declined to do ; they 
wished, in the pulpit, to evade the Royal letter, and 
merely to talk, conditionally, of the possible truth 
of the report, or ' bruit.' This appears to have been 
a verbal narrative brought by Graham of Balgonie, 
which seemed to vary from the long letter probably 
penned by Moysie. At this moment the Eev. David 
Lindsay, who had been at Falkland, and had heard 
James's story from his own mouth, arrived. He, 
therefore, was sent to tell the tale publicly, at the 
Cross. The Council reported to James that the six 
Edinburgh preachers ' would in no ways praise God 
for his delivery.' In fact, they would only do so in 
general terms. 

On August 12, James took the preachers to task. 
Bruce explained that they could thank, and on 
Sunday had thanked God for the King's delivery, 
but could go no further into detail, ' in respect we 
had no certainty.' ' Had you not my letter ? ' asked 



102 THE GOWRIE MYSTERY 

the King. Bruce replied that the letter spoke only 
' of a danger in general.' Yet the letter reported 
by Nicholson was ' full and particular,' but that letter 
the preachers seem to have regarded as unofficial. 
' Could not my Council inform you of the particulars ? ' 
asked the King. The President (Fyvie, later Chan- 
cellor Dunfermline) said that they had assured the 
preachers of the certainty of the treason. On this 
Bruce replied that they had only a report, brought 
orally by Balgonie, and a letter by Moysie, an 
Edinburgh notary then at Falkland, and that these 
testimonies ' fought so together that no man could 
have any certainty.' The Secretary (Elphinstone, 
later Lord Balmerino) denied the discrepancies. 

James now asked what was the preachers' 
present opinion ? They had heard the King him- 
self, the Council, and Mar. Bruce replied that, as 
a minister, he was not fully persuaded. Four of 
the preachers adhered to their scepticism. Two, 
Hewat and Eobertson, now professed conviction. 
The other four were forbidden to preach, under 
pain of death, and forbidden to come within ten 
miles of Edinburgh. They offered terms, but these 
were refused. The reason of James's ferocity was 
that the devout regarded the preachers as the 
mouthpieces of God, and so, if they doubted his 
word, the King's character would, to the godly, 
seem no better than that of a mendacious murderer. 

From a modern point of view, the ministers, 
if doubtful, had a perfect right to be silent, and 



CONTEMPOEAEY CLERICAL CRITICISM 103 

one of them, Hall, justly objected that he ought 
to wait for the verdict in the civil trial of the dead 
Euthvens. We shall meet this Hall, and Hewatt (one 
of the two ministers who professed belief), in very 
strange circumstances later (p. 217). Here it is enough 
to have explained the King's motives for severity. 

In September the recalcitrants came before the 
King at Stirling. All professed to be convinced 
(one, after inquiries in Fife), except Bruce. We 
learn what happened next from a letter of his to 
his wife. He had heard from one who had been at 
Craigengelt's execution (August 23), that Craigen- 
gelt had then confessed that Henderson had told 
him how he was placed by Gowrie in the turret. 1 
Bruce had sent to verify this. Moreover he would 
believe, if Henderson were hanged, and adhered 
to his deposition to the last : a pretty experiment ! 
The Comptroller asked, ' Will you believe a con- 
demned man better than the King and Council ? ' 
Mr. Bruce admitted that such was his theory of 
the Grammar of Assent. ' If Henderson die peni- 
tently I will trust him.' Later, as we shall see, this 
/ 

pleasing experiment was tried in another case, but, 
though the witness died penitently, and clinging to 
his final deposition, not one of the godly sceptics 
was convinced. 

'But Henderson saved the King's life,' replied 
the Comptroller to Mr. Bruce, 

4 As to that I cannot tell,' said Mr. Bruce, and 

1 Calderwood, vi. 84. 



104 THE GOWRIE MYSTERY 

added that, if Henderson took the dagger from 
Euthven, he deserved to die for not sheathing it in 
Euthven's breast. 

Henderson later, we know, withdrew his talk 
of his seizure of the dagger, which James had never 
admitted. James now said that he knew not what 
became of the dagger. 

' Suppose,' said the Comptroller, ' Henderson 
goes back from that deposition ? ' 

' Then his testimony is the worse,' said Mr. Bruce. 

' Then it were better to keep him alive,' said the 
Comptroller ; but Mr. Bruce insisted that Henderson 
would serve James best by dying penitently. James 
said that Bruce made him out a murderer. ' If I 
would have taken their lives, I had causes enough ' 
(his meaning is unknown), ' I need not have ha- 
zarded myself so.' By the ' causes,' can James have 
meant Gowrie's attempts to entangle him in negotia- 
tions with the Pope ? l These were alleged by Mr. 
Galloway, in a sermon preached on August 11, in 
the open air, before the King and the populace of 
Edinburgh (see infra, p. 128). 

Mar wondered that Bruce would not trust men 
who (like himself) heard the King cry, and saw 
the hand at his throat. Mr, Bruce said that Mar 
might believe, ' as he were there to hear and see.' 

He was left to inform himself, but Calderwood 
says, that the story about Craigengelt's dying con- 
fession was untrue. Bruce had frankly given the 

1 Pitcairn, ii. 248 et seq. 



CONTEMPORARY CLERICAL CRITICISM 105 

lie to the King and Mar, though he remarked that 
he had never heard Mar and Lennox tell the tale 
fc out of their own mouths.' Mar later (September 24) 
most solemnly assured Mr. Bruce by letter, that 
the treason, ' in respect of that I saw,' was a certain 
fact. This he professed 6 before God in heaven.' 
Meanwhile Mr. Hall was restored to his Edinburgh 
pulpit, and Mr. Bruce, after a visit to Restalrig, 
a place close to Edinburgh and Leith, went into 
banishment . l If he stayed with the Laird of Ees talrig, 
he had, as will presently appear, a strange choice in 
friends (pp. 148-167). 

A later letter of Bruce's now takes up the tale. 
In 1601, Bruce was in London, when Mar was there 
as James's envoy. They met, and Bruce said he 
was content to abide by the verdict in the Gowrie 
trial of November 1600. What he boggled at, hence- 
forward, was a public apology for his disbelief, an 
acceptance, from the pulpit, of the King's veracity, 
as to the events. In London, Bruce had found that 
the Puritans, as to the guilt of Essex (which was 
flagrant), were in the same position as himself, re- 
garding the guilt of Gowrie. 2 But they bowed to 
the law, and so would he ' for the present.' 

The Puritans in England would not preach that 
they were persuaded of the guilt of Essex, nor would 
Bruce preach his persuasion of the guilt of Gowrie, 
' from my knowledge and from my persuasion.' He 

1 Calderwood, vi. 98. 2 Ibid. vi. 130. 



106 THE GOWRIE MYSTERY 

assured Mar ' that it was not possible for any man to 
be fully persuaded, or to take on their conscience, 
but so many as saw and heard.' However Bruce 
is self-contradictory. He would be persuaded, if 
Henderson swung for it, adhering to his statement. 
Such were Mr. Bruce's theories of evidence. He 
added that he was not fully persuaded that there 
was any hell to go to, yet probably he scrupled not 
to preach ' tidings of damnation.' He wanted to be 
more certain of Gowrie's guilt, than he was that there 
is hell-fire. ' Spiteful taunts ' followed, Mar's re- 
partee to the argument about hell being obvious. 
Bruce must have asserted the existence of hell, from 
the pulpit : though not ' fully persuaded ' of hell. 
So why not assert the King's innocence ? 

Bruce returned later to Scotland, and met the 
King in April 1602. Now, he said, according to 
Calderwood, that he was ' resolved,' that is, con- 
vinced. What convinced him ? Mar's oath. ' How 
could he swear ? ' asked James ; ' he neither saw nor 
heard ' -that is, what passed between James, the man 
in the turret, and the Master. ' I cannot tell you 
how he could swear, but indeed he swore very 
deeply,' said Bruce, and reported the oath, which 
must have been a fine example. James took Bruce's 
preference of Mar's oath to his own word very calmly. 
Bruce was troubled about the exact state of affairs 
between James and the Master. ' Doubt ye of that ? ' 
said the King, ' then ye could not but count me a 
murderer.' ' It followeth not, if it please you, Sir,' 



CONTEMPORARY CLERICAL CRITICISM 107 

said Mr. Eobert, 'for ye might have had some secret 
cause' l 

Strange ethics ! A man may slay another, with- 
out incurring the guilt of murder, if he has ' a secret 
cause.' Bruce probably referred to the tattle about 
a love intrigue between Gowrie, or Euthven, and the 
King's wife. Even now, James kept his temper. He 
offered his whole story to Bruce for cross-examina- 
tion. ' Mr. Eobert uttered his doubt where he found 
occasion. The King heard him gently, and with a 
constant countenance, which Mr. Eobert admired.' 
But Mr. Eobert would not preach his belief: would 
not apologise from the pulpit. C I give it but a 
doubtsome trust,' he said. 

Again, on June 24, 1602, James invited cross- 
examination. Bruce asked how he could possibly 
know the direction of his Majesty's intention when 
he ordered Eamsay to strike the Master. ; I will 
give you leave to pose me ' (interrogate me), said 
James. 2 

' Had you a purpose to slay rny Lord ? ' that is, 
Gowrie. 

6 As I shall answer to God, I knew not that my 
Lord was slain, till I saw him in his last agony, and 
was very sorry, yea, prayed in my heart for the 
same.' 

4 What say ye then concerning Mr. Alexander ? ' 

4 1 grant I was art and part in Mr. Alexander's 
slaughter, for it was in my own defence.' 

1 Calderwood, vi. 147. 2 Ibid. vi. 156. 



108 THE GOWRIE MYSTERY 

'Why brought you not him to justice, seeing you 
should have God before your eyes ? ' 

' I had neither God nor the Devil, man, before 
my eyes, but my own defence.' 

' Here the King began to fret,' and no wonder. 
He frankly said that ' he was one time minded to 
have spared Mr. Alexander, but being moved for 
the time, the motion ' (passion) ' prevailed.' He 
swore, in answer to a question, that, in the morning, 
he loved the Master ' as his brother.' 

Bruce was now convinced that James left Falk- 
land innocent of evil purpose, but, as he was in 
a passion and revengeful, while struggling with the 
Master, ' he could not be innocent before God.' 

Here we leave Mr. Bruce. He signed a declara- 
tion of belief in James's narrative ; public apologies 
in the pulpit he would not make. He was banished 
to Inverness, and was often annoyed and c put at,' 
James reckoning him a firebrand. 

The result, on the showing of the severe and 
hostile Calderwood, is that, in Bruce's opinion, in 
June 1602, James was guiltless of a plot against the 
Euthvens. The King's crime was, not that strangely 
complicated project of a double murder, to be in- 
ferred from the Euthven apology, but words spoken 
in the heat of blood. Betrayed, captured, taunted, 
insulted, struggling with a subject whom he had 
treated kindly, James cried to Eamsay ' Strike low ! ' 
He knew not the nature and extent of the conspiracy 
against him, he knew not what knocking that was at 



CONTEMPORARY CLERICAL CRITICISM 109 

the door of the chamber, and he told Eamsay to 
strike ; we have no assurance that the wounds were 
deadly. 

This is how the matter now appeared to Mr. Bruce. 
The King swore very freely to the truth of his tale, and 
that influenced Bruce, but the King's candour as to 
what passed in his own mind, when he bade Eamsay 
strike Euthven, is more convincing, to a modern critic, 
than his oaths. For some reason, Bruce's real point, 
that he was satisfied of the King's innocence of a 
plot, but not satisfied as regards his yielding to 
passion when attacked, is ignored by the advocates 
of the Euthvens. Mr. Barbe observes : ' What slight 

o 

success there ever was remained on Bruce's side, for, 
in one conference, he drew from the King the con- 
fession that he might have saved Euthven's life, and 
brought him to justice.' That confession shows un- 
expected candour in James, but does not in the 
slightest degree implicate him in a conspiracy, and of 
a conspiracy even the rigid Bruce now acquitted the 
King. Mr. Pitcairn, at first a strong King's man, in 
an appendix to his third volume credits Bruce with 
the best of the argument. This he does, illogically, 
because the King never ceased to persecute Bruce, 
whom he thought a firebrand. However wicked this 
conduct of James may have been, it in no way affects 
the argument as to his guilt in the conspiracy. Of that 
Mr. Bruce acquitted the King. Calderwood's words 
(vi. 156) are ' Mr. Eobert, by reason of his oaths, 
thought him innocent of any purpose that day in the 



110 THE GOWRIE MYSTERY 

morning to slay them. Yet because he confessed he 
had not God or justice before his eyes, but was in a 
heat and mind to revenge, he could not be innocent 
before God, and had great cause to repent, and to 
crave mercy for Christ's sake.' The thing is perfectly 
clear. Bruce acquitted James of the infamous plot 
against the Euthvens. 1 What, then, was the position 
of the Euthvens, if the King was not the conspirator ? 
Obviously they were guilty, whether James, at a 
given moment, was carried away by passion or not. 

1 Mr. Bruce appears to have gone to France in 1599-1600, to call 
Gowrie home. In a brief account of his own life, dictated by him- 
self at about the age of seventy (1624), he says, ' I was in France 
for the calling of the Master ' (he clearly means Earl) ' of Gowrie ' 
(Wodrow's ' Life of the Rev. Robert Bruce,' p. 10, 1843). Calderwood 
possessed, and Wodrow (circ. 1715) acquired, two ' Meditations ' by 
Mr. Bruce of August 3, 4, 1600. Wodrow promises to print them, but 
does not, and when his book was edited in 1843, they could not be 
found. He says that ' Mr. Bruce appears to have been prepared, in 
Providence,' for his Gowrie troubles, judging (apparently) by these 
{ Meditations.' But Mr. Henry Paton has searched for and found 
the lost ' Meditations ' in MS., which are mere spiritual outpourings. 
Wodrow's meaning is therefore obscure. Mr. Bruce had great celebrity 
as a prophet, but where Wodrow found rophecy in the ' Meditations ' 
of August 3, 4, 1600, is not apparent (Wodrow's ' Bruce,' pp. 83, 84. 
Wodrow MSS.| Advocates' Library, vol. xliv. No. 35). 



Ill 



X 

POPULAR CRITICISM OF THE DAY 

CALDEKWOOD has preserved for us the objections 
taken by sceptics to the King's narrative. 1 First, the 
improbability of a murderous conspiracy, by youths so 
full of promise and Presbyterianism as Gowrie and 
his brother. To Gowrie's previous performances we 
return later. The objection against a scheme of 
murder hardly applies to a plan for kidnapping a 
King who was severe against the Kirk. 

The story of the pot of gold, and the King's 
desire to inspect it and the captive who bore it, 
personally, and the folly of thinking that one pot of 
gold could suffice to disturb the peace of the country, 
are next adversely criticised. We have already re- 
plied to the criticism (p. 40). The story was well 
adapted to entrap James VI. 

The improbabilities of Euthven's pleas for haste 
need not detain us : the King did not think them 
probable. 

Next it was asked ' Why did James go alone up- 
stairs with Euthven ? ' 

He may have had wine enough to beget valour, 
or, as he said, he may have believed that he was 

1 Calderwood, vi. 49, 66-76. 



112 THE GOWRIE MYSTERY 

being followed by Erskine. The two reasons may 
well have combined. 

'Why did not Gowrie provide better cheer, if 
forewarned ? ' (by Henderson ?) it was asked. 

To give the impression, we reply, that he was 
taken by surprise, and that the King came uninvited 
and unexpected. 

' Why did Kuthven aim a dagger at James, and 
then hold parley ? ' 

Because he wanted to frighten the King into 
being ' at his will.' 

' How could Euthven trust the King, with the 
armed man alone in the turret ? ' 

What else could he do ? He locked them in, and 
was, through the failure of the man, in a quandary 
which made clear reflection necessary and impossible. 

' It was strange that the man had not been 

o 

trained in his task.' 

If Oliphant is correctly reported, he had been 
trained, but fi fainted.' 

6 Why bind the King with a garter ? ' 

In helpless pursuit of the forlorn idea of captur- 
ing him. 

' Why execute the enterprise when the courtiers 
were passing the window ? ' 

Euthven could not have known that they were 
coming at that moment ; it was Gowrie's ill-timed 
falsehoods, to the effect that the King had ridden 
away, which brought them there. Gowrie had not 
allowed for Henderson's failure. 



POPULAR CRITICISM OF THE DAY 113 

' How could the King struggle successfully with 
the stalwart Master ? ' 

He fought for his life, and Euthven probably 
even then did not wish to injure him bodily. 

' Why was not the Master made prisoner ? ' 

James answered this question when ' posed ' by 
Mr. Bruce. His blood was up, and he said 'Strike!' 

' The Earl likewise might, after he was stricken, 
have been preserved alive.' 

Perhaps by miracle ; he died instantly. 

The discrepancies as to the dagger and the 
opening of the window we have already treated, also 
the locking and unlocking, or leaving unlocked, of 
the chamber door, giving on the dark staircase, after 
Euthven's last hurried entrance (p. 69). 

There follow arguments, to be later considered, 
about the relations between James and the Earl 
previous to the tragedy, and a statement, with no 
authority cited, that James had written to Gowrie's 
uncle, to meet him at Perth on August 5, implying 
that James had made up his mind to be there, and 
did not go on Euthven's sudden invitation. 

' The Earl and Cranstoun were alone with the 
four in the fatal chamber. The others who were 
wounded there went up after Gowrie's death.' 

It may be so, but the bulk of the evidence is on 
the other side. 

'It is reported' that Henderson was eating an 
egg in the kitchen, and went into the town when the 
fray arose. 

I 



114 THE GOWRIE MYSTERY 

It is also denied, on oath, by Gowrie's cook, who 
added that he was ' content to be hanged,' if it could 
be proved. 1 

The Euthven apologist (MS.) says that Henderson 
was waiting on the Lords who dined in the hall, and 
was there when the King's servant brought the news 
that the King had ridden away. 

' The Master's sword, after his death, was found 
rusted tight in his scabbard.' 

The Master must have been a very untidy gallant. 
No authority is cited for the story. 

The Hurrays (who were well rewarded) were in 
Perth, ' whether of set purpose let the reader 
judge.' 

By all means let the reader judge. 

The King knew Henderson (so the anonymous 
Goodman of Pitmillie said), but did not recognise the 
man in the turret. It was reported that Patrick 
Galloway, the king's chaplain, induced Henderson to 
pretend to be the man in the turret. 

As to the good man of Pitmillie, Calderwood did 
not even know his name. This is mere gossip. 

A^ain, Calderwood, who offers these criticisms, 

~ ' 7 

does not ask why, of all concerned, Henderson was 
the only man that fled who 'had not been seen in 
connection with the fray and the tumult. If he was 
not the man of the turret, and if Andrew Euthven. 
who also had ridden to Falkland, did not abscond, 
why did Henderson ? 

1 Pitcairn, ii. 196. 



POPULAR CRITICISM OF THE DAY 115 

As to the man in the turret, if not a retainer of 
Euthven, he was a minion of James, or there was no 
man at all. If there was no man at all, could James 
be so absurd as to invent him, on the off chance that 
somebody, anybody, would turn up, and claim to 
have been the man ? That is, frankly, incredible. 
But if James managed to insert a man into the turret, 
he was not so silly as not to have his man ready to 
produce in evidence. Yet Henderson could not be 
produced, he had fled, and certainly had not come in 
by August 12, when he was proclaimed. 

That James had introduced and suborned Hender- 
son and that Henderson fled to give tone and colour 
to his narrative, is not among the most probable of 
conjectures. I do not find that this desperate hypo- 
thesis was put forward at the time. It could not be, 
for apologists averred (1) that Henderson was eating 
an egg in the kitchen : (2) that he was waiting on the 
gentlemen in the hall, at the moment when, by the 
desperate hypothesis, he was, by some machination of 
James, in the turret : (3) there is a third myth, a Perth 
tradition, that Henderson had been at Scone all day, 
and first heard the tragic news, when all was over, 
as, on his return, he crossed the bridge over Tay. 
As it is incredible that there was no man in the 
turret at all, and that James took the outside chance 
that somebody, anybody, would claim to be the man ; 
the assailants of the King must offer a working 
hypothesis of this important actor in the drama. 
My own fancy can suggest none. Was he in four 

i 2 



116 THE GOWRIE MYSTERY 

places at once, in the kitchen, in the hall, on the 
bridge, and in the turret ? If he was in the kitchen, 
in the hall, or on the bridge, why did he instantly 
abscond ? If James put him in the turret, why did 
he fly ? 

The King's word, I repeat, was the word that no 
man could rely on. But, among competing improba- 
bilities, the story which was written on the night of 
August 5, and to which he adhered under Bruce's 
cross-examination, is infinitely the least improbable. 
The Master of Gray, an abominable character, not 
in Scotland when the events occurred, reported, not 
from Scotland, that Lennox had said that, if put on 
his oath, ' he could not say whether the practice 
proceeded from Gowrie or the King.' (Sept. 30, 
1600.) 

The Master of Gray wrote from Chillingham, on 
the English side of the Border, where he was playing 
the spy for Cecil. Often he played the double spy, 
for England and for Rome. Lennox may well have 
been puzzled, he may have said so, but the report 
rests on the evidence of one who did not hear 
his words, who wished to flatter the scepticism of 
James's English enemies, and whose character 
(though on one point he is unjustly accused) reeks 
with infamy. 

That of James does not precisely ' smell sweet 
and blossom in the dust.' But if the question arises, 
whether a man of James's position, age, and tempera- 
ment, or whether a young man, with the antecedents 



POPULAK CEITICISM OF THE DAY 117 

which we are about to describe, was the more likely 
to embark on a complicated and dangerous plot in 
James's case involving two murders at inestimable 
personal risk it is not unnatural to think that the 
young man is the more likely to ' have the wyte of 
it.' 



118 THE GOWRIE MYSTERY 



XI 
THE KING AND THE RUTH YENS 

HAVING criticised the contemporary criticism of the 
Gowrie affair, we must look back, and examine the 
nature of Gowrie's ancestral and personal rela- 
tions with James before the day of calamity. There 
were grounds enough for hatred between the King 

c c* *' 

and the Earl, whether such hatred existed or not, in 
a kind of hereditary feud, and in political differences. 
As against James's grandmother, Mary of Guise, 
the grandfather of Gowrie, Lord Euthven, had early 
joined the Eeformers, who opposed her in arms. 
Later, in 1566, it was Gowrie's grandfather who took 
the leading part in the murder of Eiccio. He fled 
to England, and there died soon after his exploit, 
beholding, it was said, a vision of angels. His son, 
Gowrie's father (also one of the Eiccio murderers), 
when Mary was imprisoned in Loch Leven (June 1567) 
was in charge of her, but was removed, ' as he began 
to show great favour to her, and gave her intelli- 
gence.' x Mary herself, through the narrative of ISTau, 
her secretary, declares that Euthven (then a married 

1 Bain, Calendar, ii. 350 ; Nau, p. 59. 



THE KING AND THE RUTHVENS 119 

man) persecuted her by his lust. He aided Lindsay 
in extorting her abdication at Loch Leven. Such 
was his record as regards Mary : James too had little 

O i/ 

reason to love him. 

The early reign of James in Scotland was a series 
of Court revolutions, all of the same sort. James was 
always either, unwillingly, under nobles who were 
allies of Elizabeth, and who used the Kirk as their 
instrument, or under vicious favourites who delivered 
him from these influences. When Morton fell in 
1581, the King was under D'Aubigny (Lennox), a 
false Protestant and secret Catholic intriguer, and 
Arran (Captain James Stewart), a free lance, and, in 
religion, an Indifferent. Lennox entangled James in 

o O 

relations with the Guises and Catholic Powers ; Gowrie, 
and the Protestant nobles, being threatened by Arran 
and Lennox, captured James, in an insulting manner, 
at Gowrie's castle of Euthven. He came as a guest, 
for hunting; he remained a prisoner. (1582.) The 
Kirk approved and triumphed : James waited and 
dissembled, while Gowrie was at the head of the 
Government. In June 1583, James, by a sudden 
flight to St. Andrews Castle, where his friends sur- 
rounded him, shook himself free of Gowrie, who, 
however, secured a pardon for his share in James's 
capture, in the ' Eaid of Euthven 'of 1582. Lennox 
being dead, the masterful and unscrupulous Arran 
now again ruled the King, and a new Lennox came 
from France, the Duke of Lennox who was present 
at the tragedy of August 5, 1600. 



120 THE COWRIE MYSTERY 

The Lords who had lost power by James's escape 
to St. Andrews now conspired anew. Angus, Mar, and 
others were to march on Stirling, Gowrie was waiting 
at Dundee. (April 1584) Arran knew of the plot, and 
sent Colonel Stewart to arrest Gowrie. After holding 
his house against Stewart's men, the Earl was taken 
and carried to Edinburgh. The other Lords, his allies, 
failed and fled. Gowrie was brought to trial. He 
had a pardon for the Eaid of Euthven, he had done 
nothing ostensible in the recent rising, which followed 
his capture at Dundee. Nevertheless he was tried, 
condemned, executed, and forfeited. There exists a 
manuscript of the date, which, at least, shows what 
Gowrie's friends thought of the method by which his 
conviction was procured. Arran and Sir Eobert 
Melville, it is said, visited him in prison, and advised 
him to make his peace with James. How was that 
to be done ? Gowrie entreated for the kind offices of 
Melville and Arran. They advised him to write to 
the King confessing that he had been in several 
conspiracies against his person which he could 
reveal in a private interview. ' I should confess an 
untruth,' said Gowrie, ' and frame my own indict- 
ment.' 

The letter, the others urged, being general, would 
move the King's curiosity : he would grant an in- 
terview, at which Gowrie might say that the letter 
was only an expedient to procure a chance of stating 
his own case. 

Gowrie, naturally, rejected so perilous a practice. 



THE KING AND THE RUTHVENS 121 

4 You must confess the foreknowledge of these 
things,' said Arran, ' or you must die.' 

Gowrie replied that, if assured of his life, he 
would take the advice, Arran gave his word of 
honour that Gowrie should be safe. He wrote the 
letter, he received no answer, but was sent to 
Stirling. He was tried, nothing was proved against 
him, and Arran produced his letter before the 
Court. Gowrie was called, confessed to his hand- 
writing, and told the tale of Arran's treachery, 
which he repeated to the people from the scaffold. 

This is, brieity, the statement of a newsletter 
to England, written, as usual, against the Govern- 
ment, and in the Protestant interest. 1 A manuscript 
in the British Museum gives a somewhat different 
version. 2 One charge against Gowrie, we learn, was 
that of treasonable intercommuning with Hume of 
Godscroft, an envoy of the Earl of Angus, who, before 
Gowrie's arrest, was arranging a conspiracy. This 
charge was perfectly true. Godscroft, in his History 
of the Douglases (ii. 317-318), describes the circum- 
stances, and mentions the very gallery whose door 
resisted Lennox and Mar on August 5, 1600. Gods- 
croft rode from the Earl of Angus to Gowrie in 
his house at Perth. fc Looking very pitifully upon 
his gallery, where we were walking at that time, 
which he had but newly built and decored with 

1 Form of certain Devices^ &c. See Papers relating to William, 
Earl of Gowrie, London, 1867, pp. 25-29. 

2 Form of examination and death of William, Earl of Gowrie. 
British Museum, Caligula, c. viii. fol. 23. 



122 THE GOWRIE MYSTERY 

pictures, he brake out into these words, having first 
fetched a deep sigh. u Cousin" says he, " is there no 
remedy? Et impius haec tarn culta novalia mites 
habebit ? Barbarus has segetes ? ' Whereupon Gods- 
croft was persuaded of his sincerity, and at his 
return persuaded the Earl of Angus thereof also.' 
So the plot went on, Gowrie pretending that he 
meant to leave the country, says his accomplice, 
Godscroft, while both the Court and the conspirators 
were uncertain as to his trimming intentions. He 
trimmed too long ; he was taken, the plot exploded 
and failed. Gowrie was thus within the danger of 
the law, for treasonablv concealing foreknowledge of 

*/ <-^ 

the conspiracy. 

According to the British Museum MS., Gowrie 
now told the jury that he was being accused on the 
strength of his own letter, treacherously extorted 
under promise of life, by Montrose, Doune, Maitland, 
Melville, Colonel Stewart, and the Captain of Dumbar- 
ton, not by Arran. In Gowrie's letter of confession, 
to the King, as printed by Spottiswoode, he does not 
mention Godscroft, but another intriguer, Erskine. 
However, in this letter he certainly confesses his 
concern with the conspiracy. But, says the MS., the 
nobles charged by Gowrie with having betrayed him 
under promise of life denied the accusations on oath. 
Gowrie himself, according to another copy of the 
MS., denied knowing Hume of Godscroft ; if he did, 
he spoke untruly, teste Godscroft. 

However matters really stood, the Earl's friends. 



THE KING AND THE BUTHVENS 123 

at all events, believed that he had been most cruelly 
and shamefully betrayed to the death, and, as the 
King was now eighteen, they would not hold him 
guiltless. 

These were not the only wrongs of the Euthvens. 
While the power of Arran lasted (and it was, on the 
whole, welcome to James, though he had moments 
of revolt), the family of Euthven was persecuted. 
The widow of Gowrie was a daughter (see Appen- 
dix A) of Henry Stewart, Lord Methven, who, as a 
young man, had married Margaret, sister of Henry 
VIII, widow of James IV, and divorced from 
the Earl of Angus. As this lady, our Gowrie's 
mother, knelt to implore the pity of James in the 
street after her Lord's death, Arran pushed her 
aside, and threw her down. He received the Earl's 
forfeited estate and castle of Dirleton, near North 
Berwick. 

In October 1585, Arran fell, in his turn ; Angus, 
Mar, and others drove him into retirement. James 
acquiesced ; his relations with the house of Mar 
remained most friendly. The house of Euthven 
was now restored to its lands and dignities, in 1586, 
the new Earl being James, who died in early youth. 
He was succeeded by his brother, the Gowrie of our 
tragedy, who was born about 1577. He had many 
sisters ; the eldest, Mary, married the Earl of Atholl, 
a Stewart, in January 1580. Lady Gowrie was 
thus mother-in-law of the Earl of Atholl, who died 
at Gowrie House in August 1594. Her grand- 



124 THE GOWRIE MYSTERY 

daughter, Dorothea (daughter of Atholl and Mary 
Euthven, sister of our Gowrie), in 1604 married 
that younw Tullibardine who was in Perth at the 

/ o 

tragedy of August 5, 1600. Lady Atholl is said to 
have opposed the marriage. Another sister of 
Gowrie, Sophia, married (before 1600, she was 
dead by that time) the Duke of Lennox who was 
at the slaughter of the Euthvens. Another sister, 
Beatrix, was Maid of Honour to James's Queen, 
and later married Hume of Cowdenknowes ; hence 
come the Earls of Home. Gowrie had two younger 
brothers, Patrick and William, who fled to England 
from his castle of Dirleton, the day after the tragedy, 
and were forfeited and persecuted by James ; Patrick 
was long imprisoned in the Tower. 

The new Earl, John, the victim of 1600, does not 
come into public notice till 1592, when he was 
elected Provost of Perth. He went to Edinburgh 
University ; his governor was the respected Mr. Eol- 
lock. Here a curious fact occurs. On August 12, 
1593, young Gowrie read his thesis for his Master's 
degree. Three weeks earlier, on July 24, the wild 
Francis Stewart, Earl of Bothwell, had captured, in 
Holyrood, his King, who was half dressed and un- 
trussed. James at the time was suspected of 
favouring the Catholic Earls of the North, Huntly, 
Errol, and a new unpresbyterian Angus. The King 
was on ill terms with the Kirk ; England had secretly 
abetted Bothwell ; the clan of Stewart, including 
Lennox, lent aid and countenance, but BothweWs 



THE KING AND THE RUTH YENS 125 

success was due to Gowrie s mother, the widow of 
the decapitated Earl, and to his sister, Lady Atholl. 
Bothwell entered Lady Gowrie's house, adjoining the 
palace, spent the night there, stole into Holyrood by 
a passage-way left open by Lady Atholl, and ap- 
peared before the King, sword in hand, when his 
Majesty was half dressed. Meanwhile our Gowrie, 
reading for his thesis, may not have been unin- 
terested in the plot of his mother and sister. This 
was, in a way, the second successful Euthven plot to 
seize the King ; the first was the Eaid of Euthven. 
The new success was not enduring. James shook off 
Bothwell in September 1593, and. in October, 
Gowrie's brother-in-law Atholl, with our Gowrie him- 
self, entered into alliance with Bothwell against King 
James, and offered their services to Queen Eliza- 
beth. 

James moved out against Atholl, Gowrie, and 
the Master of Montrose, who were at Castle Doune, 
intending to join hands with Bothwell, and seize the 
King. But Bothwell found the plan impracticable : 
Atholl fled ; Gowrie and the Master of Montrose 
were pursued and taken. No harm was done to 
them : their excuses were accepted, but young 
Gowrie and Atholl continued to conspire. In April, 
1594, Atholl, signing for himself and Gowrie, and 
Bothwell, signing for his associates, wrote a mani- 
festo to the Kirk. They were in arms, they said, for 
Protestant purposes, and wished commissioners from 
among the preachers to attend them, and watch their 



126 THE GOWRIE MYSTERY 

proceedings. 1 Bothwell then took action, he made a 
demonstration in arms against Edinburgh, but the 
forces of Atholl and Gowrie did not arrive and Both- 
well retreated. Atholl was threatened for this affair, 
but pardoned by the King, and died in August. 

In the same month Gowrie informed the Town 
Council of Perth that he was going to study abroad. 
They retained him in the position of Provost. He 
went, with his tutor, Mr. Ehynd, to Padua, an 
university where Protestantism was protected by the 
toleration of the Republic of Venice, and where there 
was an Anglo-Scottish ' Nation ' among the students. 
In ' The Return from Parnassus,' a satirical play of 
1601, we find Gullio, the admirer of Shakespeare, 
professing to have studied at Padua. Gowrie is 
said to have been elected Rector, but I cannot 
find his name in the lists. He does appear in the 
roll of Scottish scholars, some of them charac- 
terised (unlike the English scholars) by personal 
marks. Most have scars on the face or hand ; Archi- 
bald Douglas has a scar on the brow from left to 
right. James Lindsay, of Gowrie's year (1596-1597), 
has also a scar on his brow. Next him is Andrew 
Keith, with a scar on his right hand, and then 
Dominus loannes Ruthuen, Scotus, cum signo albo in 
mento, ' with a white mark on his chin.' Then we 
have his luckless tutor, Mr. Ehynd, who was tortured, 
Scotus cum ledigine super facie. Robert Ker of 
Newbattle (' Kerrus de Heubattel ') is another of 

1 Thorpe, Calendar^ ii. 650 



THE KING AND THE RUTH YENS 127 

Gowrie's college companions. All were students of 
law. Magic was not compulsory at Padua, though 
Gowrie was said to have studied that art. 1 

Concerning Gowrie's behaviour at Padua but a 

< ' 

single circumstance is known. Probably through one 
of his fellow-students, Douglas, Ker, Keith, Lindsay 
or another, the report reached Scotland that the 
young Earl had left in Padua ' a strange relique,' an 
emblematic figure emblazoned ; and had made, on the 
subject, a singular remark. The emblematic figure 
represented ' a blackamoor reaching at a crown with 
a sword, in a stretched posture : ' the remark of 
Gowrie, ' the Earl's own mot] was to the effect that 
the emblem displayed, in umbra, or foreshadowed, 
what was to be done in facto. This emblem was 
secured at Padua, in 1609, by Sir Eobert Douglas, 
who had heard of it in Scotland, and it was sent to 
King James. 2 

If such ideas were in Gowrie's mind, he showed 
no signs of them in an early correspondence with the 
King. In 1595, James wrote ' a most loving letter ' to 
Gowrie ; the Earl replied in a tone of gratitude. At 
the same time Gowrie wrote to a preacher in Perth, 
extolling the conduct of an English fanatic, who had 
thrown down and trampled on the Host, at Eome. 
He hoped, he said, when he returned to Scotland, ' to 

1 De Natione Anglica et Scota Juristarum Universitatis Pata- 
vinae lo. Aloys. Andrich. Patavii, 1892, pp. 172, 173. 

2 Ottavio Baldi to the King, June 22, 1609. Record Office. Venice, 
No. 14, 1608-1610. See infra, Appendix A, ' Gowrie's Arms and 
Ambitions.' 



128 THE GOWRIE MYSTERY 

amend whatever is amiss for lack of my presence.' l 
Nevertheless, on December 25, 1598, Nicholson 
informed Cecil that Gowrie had been converted to 
Catholicism. 2 In the Venice despatches and Vatican 
transcripts I find no corroboration. Gowrie ap- 
pears to have visited Borne ; the Euthven apologist 
declares that he was there ' in danger for his religion ' 

o o 

Galloway, on August 11, 1600, in presence of the King 
and the people of Edinburgh, vowed that Gowrie, 
since his return from Italy, had laboured to make 
James ' revolt from Eeligion, at least in inward 
sincerity, to entertain purpose with the Pope, and he 
himself promised to furnish intelligence.' 

If so, Gowrie was, indeed, ' a deep dissimulate 
hypocrite.' 

Galloway's informant must have been the King. 
If Gowrie did or said anything to colour the story, it 
may have been for the purpose of discovering, by 
pretending to approve of them, these intrigues with 
Eome, of which James was constantly being accused. 

A new complexity is added here, by a list of 
Scottish Catholic nobles, ready to join an invading 

1 Gowrie's letters of 1595 are in Pitcairn. 

8 State Papers, Scotland (Elizabeth), vol. Ixiii, No. 85. 

G. Nicolson to Sir Robert Cecil. 

Edinborough, 25 December, 1598. 



' I heare Gowry is become a papist. But the K. takes little care to 
this, And yet sure it importes him most to se to it, vnlest he accompt 
otherwais of it than he hath cause, except he haue other pollicy than I 
will conjecture.' Compare Galloway's sermon, in Pitcairn, ii. 249, and 
A Short Discourse, ii. 231, 232. 



THE KING AND THE EUTHVENS 129 

Spanish force, which the Earl of Bothwell handed in 
to Philip III. of Spain, at a date not absolutely 
certain. At a time conjectured at by Major Hume, 
as 1600, Bothwell laid before the Spanish ministry 
a scheme for an invasion of Scotland. He made 
another more elaborate proposal at a date which, to 
all seeming, was July 1601. In the appended list 
of Scottish Catholic nobles appear the names of the 
Earl of Gowrie, and of ' Baron Eastellerse,' that is, 
Logan of Eestalrig. But, in 1601, there was no Earl 
of Gowrie ; the title was extinct, the lands were 
forfeited, and Gowrie's natural heir, William Euthven, 
his brother, was a poor student at Cambridge. Could 
Bothwell refer to him, who was no Catholic ? Can 
he have handed in (in 1601) an earlier list of 1600, 
without deleting the name of the dead Gowrie ? As 
to Gowrie's real creed, Bothwell must have known 
the truth, through Home, a reluctant convert to 
Presbyterianism, who went from Paris to Brussels to 
meet Bothwell, leaving Gowrie in Paris, just before 
Home and Gowrie openly, and, as it was said, Both- 
well secretly, returned to Scotland in April 1600. 
Was the Gowrie conspiracy a Bothwellian plot ? l 

We know little more about Gowrie, after his 
letters of 1595, till, on August 18, 1599, Colville 
reports to Cecil that the party of the Kirk (who were 
now without a leader among the greater nobles) 
intend to summon home the Earl. 2 He is said to have 

1 Simancas, iv. pp. 653, 654, 677, 680, 715. 

2 Compare note, p. 110, supra. 

K 



130 THE GOWRIE MYSTERY 

stayed for three months at Geneva with Beza, the 
famous reformer, who was devoted to him. He was 
in Paris, in February and March 1600. The English 
ambassador, Neville, recommended Gowrie to Cecil, 
as ' a man of whom there may be exceeding good use 
made.' Elizabeth and Cecil were then on the worst 
terms with James. At Paris, Gowrie would meet 
Lord Home, who, as we have said and shall prove in 
a later connection, had an interview with the exiled 
Bothwell, still wandering, plotting and threatening 
descents on Scotland (p. 206). 

On April 3, Gowrie was in London. 1 He was very 
well received; 'a cabinet of plate,' it is said, was 
oiven to him by Elizabeth ; what else passed we do 
not know. In Mav Gowrie returned to Scotland, and 

V 

rode into Edinburgh among a cavalcade of his friends. 
According to Sir John Carey, writing to Cecil, from 
Berwick, on May 29, James displayed jealous}^ of 
Gowrie, ' giving him many jests and pretty taunts,' on 
his reception by Elizabeth, and ' marvelling that the 
ministers met him not.' 2 Calderwood adds a rumour 
that James, talking of Gowrie's entry to Edinburgh, 
said, ' there were more with his father when he went 
to the scaffold.' Again, as the Earl leaned on the 
King's chair at breakfast, James talked of dogs and 
hawks, and made an allusion to the death of Eiccio, 
in which Gowrie's father and grandfather took part. 
These are rumours ; it is certain that the King 

1 Winwood Memorials, pp. 1, 156. Hudson to Cecil. State Papers, 
Scotland (Elizabeth), vol. Ixvi. No. 19. 

3 Border Calendar, vol. ii. May 29, 1600. Carey to Cecil. 



THE KING AND THE RUTHVENS 131 

(June 20) gave Gowrie a year's respite from pursuit 
of his creditors, to whom he was in debt for moneys 
owed to him by the Crown, expenditure by the late 
Earl of Gowrie when in power (15 S3). 1 It is also 
certain that Gowrie opposed the King's demands for 
money, in a convention of June 21. 2 But so did 
Lord President Fyvie, who never ceased to be James's 
trusted minister, and later, Chancellor, under the 
title of Earl of Dunfermline. Calderwood reports 
that, after Gowrie's speech, Sir David Murray said, 
' Yonder is an unhappy man ; they are but seeking 
occasion of his death, which now he has given.' 
This is absurd : Fyvie and the Laird of Easter Wemyss 
opposed the King as stoutly, and no harm followed 
to them ; Fyvie rising steadily (and he had opposed 
the King yet more sturdily before) to the highest 
official position. 

Calderwood adds a silly tale of Dr. Herries. 
Beatrix Euthven laughed at his lame leg ; he looked 
in her palm, and predicted a great disaster. The same 
anecdote, with, of course, another subject, is told of 
Gowrie's own prediction that a certain man would come 
to be hanged, which was fulfilled. Gowrie had been at 
Perth, before the convention at Holyrood of June 21. 
To Perth he returned ; thence, some time in July 
(about the 20th), 3 he went to his castle of Strabran, 

1 The whole proceedings are printed in Arnot's Criminal Trials. 

2 Nicholson to Cecil, June 22, June 29, 1600. Tytler, vol. ix. pp. 
325, 326, 1843. 

3 This date I infer from Cranstoun's statement. On August 5 he 
had scarcely seen the Ruthvens, to speak to, for a fortnight. 



132 THE GOWRIE MYSTERY 

in Atholl, to hunt. Whether his brother the Master 
remained with him continuously till the Earl's return 
to Perth on Saturday, August 2, I know not how to 
ascertain. If there is anything genuine in the plot- 
letters produced eight years later, the Master once or 
twice visited Edinburgh in July, but that may have 
been before going to Strabran. 

Concerning the Master, a romantic story of 
unknown source, but certainly never alluded to in 
the surviving gossip of the day, was published, late 
in the eighteenth century, by Lord Hailes. ' A re- 
port is handed down that Lord Gowrie's brother 
received from the Queen a ribbon which she had 
got from the King, that Mr. Alexander went into 
the King's garden at Falkland on a sultry hot day, 
and lay down in a shade, and fell asleep. His 
breast being open, the King passed that way and 
discovered part of the ribbon about his neck below 
his cravat, upon which he made quick haste into 
the palace, which was observed by one of the 
Queen's ladies who passed the same way. She in- 
stantly took the ribbon from his neck, went a near 
way to the Queen's closet, where she found her 
Majesty at her toilet, whom she requested to lay 
the ribbon in a drawer.' James entered, and asked 
to be shown the ribbon. The Queen produced it, 
and James retired, muttering, 'Devil tak' me, but 
like is an ill mark.' 

Legend does not say when, or in what year this 
occurred. But the fancy of authors has identified 



THE KING AND THE EUTHVENS 133 

the Queen's lady with Beatrix Euthven, and has 
added that the Master, in disgrace (though unde- 
tected), retired with Gowrie to Strabane, or Strabran. 
History has no concern with such fables. It is 
certain, however, or at least contemporary letters 
aver, that Queen Anne of Denmark was grieved 
and angered by the slaying of the Gowries. On 
October 21, 1600, Carey, writing to Cecil from 
Woodrington, mentions this, and the tattle to the 
effect that, as the Queen is about to have a child 
(Charles I.), ' she shall be kept as prisoner ever 
after.' Was the Master supposed to be father of 
the Queen's child ? Carey goes on, c There is a letter 
found with a bracelet in it, sent from the Queen 
to the Earl of Gowrie, to persuade him to leave his 
country life and come to Court, assuring him that 
he should enjoy any contents that Court could 
afford.' l Can some amorous promise underlie this, 
as in the case of Mr. Pickwick's letter to Mrs. 
Bardell, about the warming-pan ? ' This letter the 
King hath,' says Carey. Was it with Gowrie, not 
the Master, that the Queen was in love ? She was 
very fond of Beatrix Euthven, and would disbelieve 
in the guilt of her brothers ; hence these tears and 

o 

that anger of the Queen. 

But James also, says Calderwood, was as anxious 
as Carey declares that the Queen was, to bring 
Gowrie to Falkland. ' When the Earl was in Stra- 
bran, fifteen days before the fact, the King wrote 

1 Border Calendar, vol. ii. p. 698, Oct. 21, 1600. Carey to Cecil. 



134 THE GOWRIE MYSTERY 

sundry letters to the Earl, desiring him to come and 
hunt with him in the wood of Falkland ; which 
letters were found in my Lord's pocket, at his death, 
as is reported, but were destroyed.' 

So James was not jealous ; both he and the Queen 
were inviting Gowrie to their country house, the 
Queen adding the gift of a bracelet. She may have 
worked it herself, like the bracelet which Queen 
Mary is said to have sent to Bothwell. 

All this is the idlest gossip. But it is certain 
that, on one occasion, at the end of July, c close 
letters ' were sent from the Court at Edinburgh to 
Atholl and Gowrie ; and, later, to Inchaffray and 
the Master, the first three are in Bothwell's list of 
Catholics ready to meet the Spanish invaders. The 
fact of the letters appears from the Treasurer's 
accounts, where the money paid to the boy who 
carried the letters is recorded, without dates of the 
days of the month. The boy got 33 shillings, Scots, 
for the journey from Edinburgh to the Earls of 
Gowrie and Atholl ; 24 for the other two, which he 
carried from Falkland. Craigengelt, in his deposition, 
' denies that during my Lord's being in Strabran, 
neither yet in Perth, after his coming from Strabran, 
he knew any man or page to come from Court to my 
Lord, or that he commanded to give them any meat 
or drink.' 2 

1 Calderwood, vi. 71. 

2 A defender of Gowrie, Mr. Barbe, has the following ' observes ' 
upon this point. It has been asserted by Calderwood that, ' while the 
Earl was in Strathbraan, fifteen days before the fact ' (say July 20), 



THE KING AND THE RUTHVENS 135 

No conclusion as to James's guilt can be drawn, 
either from the fact that he wrote to Atholl, Inch- 
affray, the Master, and Gowrie at the end of July, 
or from the circumstance that Craigengelt professed 
to know nothing about any messenger. James might 
write to ask the Earl to hunt, we cannot guess what 
he had to say, at the same time, to Atholl or Inch- 
affray or the Master. He may even have written 
about the affair of the Abbey of Scone, if it is true 
that the Master wished to ^et it from his brother. 

o 

We really cannot infer that, as the Euthvens would 
not come and be killed, when invited, at Falkland, 
James went to kill them at Perth. Even if he 
summoned the Master for August o, intending to 
make it appear that the Master had asked him to 
come to Perth, the Master need not have arrived 
before seven in the morning, when the King went 
and hunted for four hours. What conceivable 
reason had the Master, if innocent, for leaving Perth 

* the King wrote sundry letters to the Earl, desiring him to come and 
hunt with him in the wood of Falkland, which letters were found in 
my lord's pocket, as is reported, but were destroyed.' Mr. Barbe then 
proves that letters were sent to Gowrie and Atholl in the last days of 
July. It is certain that a letter was sent to Gowrie about July 20, 
possibly a sporting invitation, not that there was any harm in an 
invitation to join a hunting party. James is next accused of 'trying 
to stifle the rumour ' about this { letter,' by a direct denial. This 
means that Craigengelt, Gowrie's caterer, was asked whether he knew 
of any man or boy who came to Gowrie from Court, and said that he 
did not, a negative reply supposed to have been elicited by the torture 
to which Craigengelt was certainly subjected. We only know that at 
the end of July letters were sent to Gowrie, to Inchafiray, to Atholl, 
and to Euthven. Whether his reached Gowrie or not, and what it 
contained, we cannot know. 



136 THE COWRIE MYSTERY 

at 4 A.M. and visiting his sovereign at seven in the 
morning ? 

o 

As to the coining of the Gowries to Perth from 
Strabran or Strabane before the tragedy, we only 
know what Craigengelt stated. His language is not 

lucid. 

c Depones that, my Lords being in Strabrand, 
Alexander Euthven ' (a kinsman) ' came from Dun- 
keld to my Lord. And that upon Friday (August 1) 
my Lord commanded Captain Euthven to ride, 
and tell my Lady ' (Gowrie's mother), ' that he was 
to come, and Captain Euthven met my Lord at 
the ferry-boat, and rode back to Dunkeld with my 
Lord, where he ' (Gowrie) ' having supped, returned 
to his bed at Trochene, the deponer being in his 
company.' 

Where, at the end of July, was Lady Gowrie ? 
Was she within a day's ride of her sons ? Was she 
at Perth ? We know that she was at Dirleton. Castle, 
near North Berwick, on August 6. Had she left the 
neighbourhood of Perth between the 1st and 5th of 

d? 

August ? Captain Euthven seems to have ridden to 
Lady Gowrie, and back again to Dunkeld with 
Gowrie. If so (and I can make no other sense of 
it), she was in Perthshire on August 1, and went at 
once to Dirleton. Did she keep out of the way of 
the performances of August 5 ? 

It is curious that no apologist for Gowrie, as far 
as I have observed, makes any remark on this per- 
plexing affair of ' my Lady.' We know that she had 



THE KING AND THE KUTHVENS 137 

once already set a successful trap for the King. He 
had not punished her ; he took two of her daughters, 
Barbara and Beatrix, into his household ; and re- 
stored to Gowrie his inheritance of the lands of 
Scone, which, as we know, had been held by his 
father. He had written a loving letter to Gowrie at 
Padua, after the young man had for many months 
been conspiring against him with his most dangerous 
enemy, the wild Earl of Bothwell. 

On the morning of the fatal August 5, Gowrie 
went to sermon. What else he did, we learn from 
John Moncrieff, who was the Earl's cautioner, or 
guarantee, for a large sum due by him to one Eobert 
Jolly. 1 He was also brother of Hew Moncrieff, who 
fled after having been with Gowrie in arms, against 
Herries, Eamsay, and Erskine. Both Moncrieffs, says 
John, were puzzled when they found that the Master 
had ridden from Perth so early in the morning. 
Gowrie, says Moncrieff, did not attend the Town 
Council meeting after church ; he excused himself 
on account of private affairs. He also sent away 
George Hay who was with him on business when 
Henderson arrived from Falkland, saying that he had 
other engagements. For the same reason, he, at first, 
declined to do a piece of business with Moncrieff, 
who dined with him and two other gentlemen. c He 
made him to misknow all things,' that is affected to 
take no notice, when Andrew Euthven came in, and 
'rounded to him' (whispered to him) about the 

1 Privy Council Register, vi. 194. 



138 THE GOWRIE MYSTERY 

King's approach. Then the Master entered, and 
Gowrie went out to meet the King. 

The rest we know, as far as evidence exists. 

We now have all the essential facts which rest on 
fairly good evidence, and we ask, did the Euthvens 
lay a plot for the King, or did the King weave a web 
to catch the Euthvens ? Looking first at character 
and probable motives, we dismiss the gossip about 
the amorous Queen and the jealous King. The 
tatlers did not know whether to select Gowrie or the 
Master as the object of the Queen's passion, or 
whether to allege that she had a polyandrous affec- 
tion for both at once. The letters of the age hint at 
no such amour till after the tragedy, when tales of 
the liaison of Anne of Denmark with the elder or 
younger Euthven, or both, arose as a myth to 
account for the events. The Queen, no doubt, was 
deeply grieved in a womanly way for the sake of her 
two maidens, Beatrix and Barbara Euthven. Her 
Majesty, also in a womanly way, had a running feud 
with Mar and the whole house of Erskine. To Mar, 
certainly one of the few men of honour as well as of 
rank in Scotland, James had entrusted his son, Prince 
Henry ; the care of the heir to the Crown was a kind 
of hereditary charge of the Erskines. The Queen 
had already, in her resentment at not having the 
custody of her son, engaged in one dangerous plot 
against Mar ; she made another quarrel on this point 
at the time (1603) when the. King succeeded to the 
crown of England. Now Mar was present at the 




u ten 




( 




THE KING AND THE KUTHVENS 139 



Gowrie tragedy, and his cousin, Sir Thomas Erskine, 
took part in the deeds. Hating the Erskines, devoted 
to the Euthven ladies, and always feebly in opposition 
to her husband, the Queen, no doubt, paraded her 
grief, her scepticism, and her resentment. This was 
quite in keeping with her character, and this conduct 
lent colour to the myth that she loved Gowrie, or the 
Master, or both, par amours. The subject is good 
for a ballad or a novel, but history has nothing to 
make with the legend on which Mr. G. P. E. James 
based a romance, and Mr. Pinkerton a theory. 

Leaving fable for fact, what motives had James 
for killing both the Euthvens ? He had dropped the 
hereditary feud, and had taken no measures against 
the young Earl to punish his conspiracies with Both- 
well in 1593-1594. Of Gowrie, on his return to 
Scotland in May, he may have entertained some 
jealousy. The Earl had been for months in Paris, 
caressed by the English ambassador, and probably, as 
we have seen, in touch with the exiled and ceaselessly 
conspiring Bothwell. In London the Earl had been 
well received by Elizabeth, and by Lord Willoughby, 
who, a year earlier, as Governor of Berwick, had 
insulted James by kidnapping, close to Edinburgh, 
an English gentleman, Ashfield, on a visit to the 
King's Court. Guevara, a cousin of Lord Willoughby, 
lured Ashfield into the coach of the English envoy 
Bowes, and drove him to the frontier. Lord Wil- 
loughby had a swift yacht lying off Leith, in case it 
was thought better to abduct Ashfield by sea. This is 



140 THE GOWRIE MYSTERY 

an example of English insolence to the Scottish King- 
also of English kidnapping and Lord Willoughby, 
the manager, had made friends with Go wrie in England. 

Thus James, who was then on the worst 
terms, short of open war, with England, may have 
suspected and disliked the Earl, who had once 
already put himself at the service of Elizabeth, and 
might do so again. In the April of 1600, rumours 
of a conspiracy by Archibald Douglas, the infamous 
traitor ; Douglas of Spot, one of Morton's brood, and 
John Colville who, with Bothwell and, later, inde- 
pendently, had caught James, had tried to catch him, 
and proposed to Essex to catch him again, were 
afloat. Colville was in Paris at the same time as 
Gowrie ; Bothwell was reported to have come 
secretly to Scotland in April or May, and this com- 
bination of facts or rumours may have aroused the 
King's mistrust. Again, the Kirk was restive ; the 
preachers, in need of a leader, were said by Colville 
to have summoned Gowrie home. 1 Moreover there 
were persons about James for example, Colonel 
Stewart who had reason to dread the Earl's venge- 
ance for his father. The Euthven Apologist mentions 
this fact, and the predilection of the Kirk for Gowrie, 
among the motives for destroying him. 

Once more there are hints, very vague, that, in 
1593, Bothwell aimed at changing the dynasty. 2 The 
fable that Gowrie was a maternal grandson of 
Margaret Tudor, widow of James IV, by Henry Stewart, 

1 Cf. p. 110, note. 2 Border Calendar, i. 491. 



THE KING AND THE RUTHVENS 141 

Lord Methven, her third husband, and that Gowrie 
was thus a candidate for the succession to the English 
throne, perhaps also for the hand of Arabella Stuart, 
may conceivably have existed. (Compare Appendix 
A.) Again, Gowrie had sided with the burgesses 
and minor barons, as against the nobles, by refusing 
a grant of money to James, in the convention of June 
1600, and James owed money to Gowrie, as he did 
to most people. But we have already seen that an 
exemption had been granted to Gowrie for a year 
from pursuit of creditors, as far, that is, as regarded 
his fathers debts (SO,OOOZ. Scots), (June 20, 1600). 
The College of Justice refused to grant any new legal 
summonses of creditors against Gowrie, and sus- 
pended all that were extant. 

Mr. Barbe accuses the King of ' utter and un- 
blushing disregard for common truth and common 
honesty.' Be this as it may, the exemption granted 
to Gowrie was not regarded by his father's creditors 
as extending to his mother, after his dishonoured 
death. On November 1, 1600, Lady Gowrie im- 
plored Elphinstone, the Secretary, to bring her suit 
for relief before the King. The security for these 
debts was on her ' conjunct fee lands,' and creditors, 
because, I suppose, the Gowrie estates were about 
to be forfeited, pressed Lady Gowrie, who, of course, 
had no exemption. We know nothing as to the 
success of Lady Gowrie's petition, but we have 
seen that her daughters married very well. I 
presume that Gowrie, not his mother, had previously 



142 THE GOWRIE MYSTERY 

paid interest on the debts, ' he had already paid many 
sums of money.' James had already restored to 
Gowrie the valuable lands of Scone. 1 

However, taking things as the King's adversaries 
regard them, the cumulative effect of these several 

o 

grudges (and of the mystery of Gowrie's Catho- 
licism) would urge James to lay his very subtle 
plot. He would secretly call young Euthven to 
Falkland by six in the morning of August 5, he 
would make it appear that Euthven had invited him 
to Perth, he would lure the youth to a turret, 
managing to be locked in with him and an armed 
man ; he would post Eamsay below the turret window, 
and warn him to run up the dark staircase at the 
King's cry of treason. By the locked door he would 
exclude Lennox and Mar, while his minions would 
first delay Gowrie's approach, by the narrow stairs, 
and then permit him to enter with only one com- 
panion, Cranstoun. He would cause a report of his 
own departure to be circulated, exactly at the right 
moment to bring Gowrie under the turret window, 
and within reach of his cries. This plot requires 
the minutest punctuality, everything must occur at 
the right moment, and all would have been defeated 
had Gowrie told the truth about the King's departure, 
or even asked ' Where is the King's horse ? ' Or 
Gowrie might have stood in the streets of Perth, and 
summoned his burgesses in arms. The King and the 
courtiers, with their dead man, would have been 

1 Tragedy of Gowrie House, pp. 29, 31. 



THE KING AND THE RUTH YENS 143 

beleaguered, without provisions, in Gowrie's house. 
Was James the man, on the strength of the grudges 
which we have carefully enumerated, to risk himself, 
unarmed, in this situation ? As to how he managed 
to have the door locked, so as to exclude the majo- 
rity of his suite, who can conjecture ? How, again, 
did he induce Gowrie to aver, and that after making 
inquiry, that he had ridden homewards ? 

I cannot believe that any sane man or monarch, 
from the motives specified, would or could have laid, 
and that successfully, the plot attributed to the King. 

Turning; to Gowrie, we find that his grudges 

o 7 o o 

against James may have been deep and many. If 
revengeful, he had the treacherous method of his 

o 

father's conviction, and the insults to his mother, to 
punish. For a boy of seventeen he had already 
attempted a good deal, in 1593-1594. His mother 
had set him an example of King-catching, and it 
looks as if his mother had been near him in Perth, 
while he was at Strabane. If ambitious, and devoted 
to Elizabeth and England (as he had been), Gowrie 
had motives for a new Eaid of Euthven, the unceas- 
ing desire of the English Government. He might, if 
successful, head a new administration resting on the 
support of England and the Kirk. Such a change 
was due in the natural course of things. Or, quite 
the reverse, if a secret Catholic he might hand the 
Kino; over to Bothwell. 

o 

Thus Gowrie may well have wished to revenge 
his father ; his mother had once already helped to 



144 THE GOWRIE MYSTERY 

betray James to an attack of the most insulting 
nature ; lie himself was strong for the Kirk, over 
which James was playing the despot ; 6>r, he desired 
toleration for Catholics ; he had been well received 
in England, where all such plots- -their name 
was legion had always been fostered ; he was 
very young, and he risked everything. Only his 
method was new that of strict secrecy. He had 

V 

previously spoken to Mr. Cowper, minister 'of Perth, 
in a general way, about the failure of plots for lack 
of deep secrecy, and through the admission of too 
many confederates. Cowper told this to Spottis- 
woode, at Falkland. Mr. Ehynd, Gowrie's tutor, 
told Cowper and the Comptroller, ' unrequired ' (not 
under torture, nor in answer to a question under ex- 
amination), that Gowrie, when abroad, several times 
said that ' he was not a wise man that, having the 
execution of a high and dangerous purpose, com- 
municated the same to any but himself.' 

As to this secrecy, we must remember that 
Gowrie was very young ; that in Italy he may have 
heard or read of romantic and crafty plots ; and may 
long have dreamed (as Eobert Oliphant's reported 
allegation declared) of some such scheme as that in 
which he failed. We must remember, too, that 
James's own account at least suggests a plan quite 
feasible. To bring James to Gowrie House, early in 
the day, when the townsmen were at kirk, to bring 
him with only three or four attendants, then to iso- 
late him and carry him off, was far from impossible ; 



THE KING AND THE RUTHVENS 145 

they might hurry him, disguised, to Dirleton, a castle 
garrisoned and provisioned, according to Carey, who 
reports the version of Gowrie's friends. A Scottish 
judge, Gibson (the ancestor of Sir Thomas Gibson- 
Carmichael), was later carried from Leith Sands 
across the Border, with perfect success. A fault of 
the plan was that, once undertaken, it could not be 
dropped, even though James came late and well 
attended. Euthven could not tell the King that his 
story about a captive and a pot of gold was false. To 
do that would have subjected him to a charge of 
treason. He could have only one motive for thus 
deceiving his Majesty. Thus the plot had to go on, 
even under circumstances very unfavourable. There 
was no place for repentance. 

Thus considered, the conspiracy looks like the 
plot of a romance, not without meritorious points, but 
painfully amateurish. 

As proof of Gowrie's guilt, the evidence, I think, 
distinctly proves that he intentionally concealed from 
those about him the ride of his brother, Henderson, 
and Andrew Euthven to Perth ; that he concealed his 
knowledge, derived from Henderson, of the King's 
approach ; and that Euthven concealed from Craigen- 
gelt, on his return, his long ride to Falkland, saying 
that he had been on ' an errand not far off.' MoncriefF 
swore that Henderson crave him a similar answer. 

o 

Asked by Moncrieff where he had been, he said ' he 
had been two or three miles above the town.' Hender- 
son corroborated Moncrieff' s evidence on this point. 

L 



146 THE GOWRIE MYSTERY 

There can have been no innocent motive for all this 
secrecy. It would have been natural for Gowrie to 
order luncheon for the King to be prepared, as soon 
as Henderson arrived. 

Finally, the Earl's assertions that James had ridden 
away, assertions repeated after he had gone upstairs 
to inquire and make sure, are absolutely incompatible 
with innocence. They could have only one motive, 
to induce the courtiers to ride off and leave the King 
in his hands. 

What was to happen next ? Who can guess at 
the plot of such a plotter ? It is perhaps least impro- 
bable that the King was to be conveyed secretly, 
by sea or across Fife, to Dirleton in the first place. 
Gowrie may have had an understanding with Guevara 
at Berwick. James himself told Nicholson that a 
large English ship had hovered off the coast, refusing 
communication with the shore. Bothwell, again, now 
desperate, may have lately been nearer home than 
was known ; finally, Fastcastle, the isolated eyrie on 
its perpendicular rock above the Northern Sea, may 
have been at Gowrie's disposal. I am disinclined to 
conjecture, being only certain that a young man with 
Gowrie's past ' Italianate,' and of dubious religion 
-was more apt to form a wild and daring plot 
than was his canny senior, the King of Scots. But 
that a plot of some kind Gowrie had laid, I am con- 
vinced by his secrecy, and by his falsehoods as to the 
King's departure. Among the traps for the King 
contrived by Bothwell and Colville, and reported by 



THE KING AND THE RUTHVENS 147 

Colville to his English paymasters, were schemes quite 
as wild as that which Gowrie probably entertained. 
The King once in the pious hands of so godly a man 
as Gowrie, the party of the Kirk, or the party of the 
Church, would have come in and made themselves 
useful. 1 

1 As to Bothwell's whereabouts, in 1600, he left Brussels in March, 
nominally to go to Spain, but, in June, the agent of the English 
Government in the Low Countries was still anxious to hear that he 
had arrived in Spain. When he actually arrived there is uncertain. 
Compare Simancas, iv. p. 667, with State Papers, Domestic (Elizabeth) 
(1598-1600), p. 245, No. 88, p. 413 (March 24, April 3, 1600), p. 434, 
May 30, June 9, p. 509. Cecil meant to intrigue with Bothwell, 
through Henry Locke, his old agent with Bothwell's party, Atholl, 
and Gowrie October 1593). Compare infra, p. 160. 



L 2 



148 THE COWRIE MYSTERY 



XII 
LOGAN OF EESTALRIG 

WE now arrive at an extraordinary sequel of the 
Gowrie mystery : a sequel in which some critics 
have seen final and documentary proof of the guilt 
of the Euthvens. Others have remarked only a 
squalid intrigue, whereby James's ministers threw 
additional disgrace on their master. That they suc- 
ceeded in disgracing themselves, we shall make only 
too apparent, but if the evidence which they handled 
proves nothing against the Euthvens, it does not on 
that account invalidate the inferences which we have 
drawn as to their conspiracy. We come to the story 
of the Laird and the country writer. 

That we may know the Laird better, a brief 
description of his home may be introduced. Within 
a mile and a half of the east end of Princes Street, 
Edinburgh, lies, on the left of the railway to the south, 
a squalid stfburb. You drive or walk on a dirty 
road, north-eastwards, through unambitious shops, 
factories, tall chimneys, flaming advertisements, and 
houses for artisans. The road climbs a hill, and you 
begin to find, on each side of you, walls of ancient 
construction, and traces of great old doorways, now 



LOGAN OF EESTALFJG 149 

condemned. On the left are ploughed fields, and 
even clumps of trees with blackened trunks. Grimy 
are the stacks of corn in the farmyard to the left, 
at the crest of the hill. On the right, a gateway 
gives on a short avenue which leads to a substantial 
modern house. Having reached this point in my 
pilgrimage, I met a gentleman who occupies the 
house, and asked if I might be permitted to view 
the site. The other, with much courtesy, took me 
up to the house, of which only the portion in view 
from the road was modern. Facing the west all 
was of the old Scottish chateau style, with gables, 
narrow windows, and a strange bulky chimney on 
the north, bulging out of the wall. The west side of 
the house stood on the very brink of a steep preci- 
pice, beneath which lay what is now but a large 
deep waterhole, but, at the period of the Gowrie 
conspiracy, was a loch fringed with water weeds, and 
a haunt of wild fowl. By this loch, Eestalrig Loch, 
the witch more than three centuries ago met the 
ghost of Tarn Eeid, who fell in Pinkie fight, and by 
the ghost was initiated into the magic which brought 
her to the stake. 

I scrambled over a low wall with a deep drop, 
and descended the cliff so as to get a view of the 
ancient chateau that faces the setting sun. Beyond 
the loch was a muddy field, then rows on rows of 
ugly advertisements, then lines of 'smoky dwarf 
houses,' and, above these, clear against a sky of 
March was the leonine profile of Arthur's Seat. 



150 THE GOWRIE MYSTERY 

Steam rose and trailed from the shrieking south- 
ward trains between the loch and the mountain, old 
and new were oddly met, for the chateau was the 
home of an ancient race, the Logans of Eestalrig, 
ancestors of that last Laird with whom our story has 
to do. Their rich lands stretched far and wide ; 
their huge dovecot stands, sturdy as a little pyramid, 
in a field to the north, towards the firth. They had 
privileges over Leith Harbour which must have been 
very valuable : they were of Eoyal descent, through 
a marriage of a Logan with a daughter of Eobert II. 
But their glory was in their ancestor, Sir Eobert 
Logan, who fell where the good Lord James of 
Douglas died, charging the Saracens on a field of 
Spain, and following the heart of Bruce. So Barbour 
sings, and to be named by Barbour, for a deed and a 
death so chivalrous, is honour enough. 

The Logans flourished in their eyrie above the 
Loch of Eestalrig, and intermarried with the best 
houses, Sinclairs, Ogilvys, Homes, and Eamsays of 
Dalhousie. It may be that some of them sleep 
under the muddy floor of St. Triduana's Chapel, in 
the village of Eestalrig, at the foot of the hill on 
the eastern side of their old chateau. This village, 
surrounded by factories, is apparently just what it 
used to be in the days of James VI. The low thick- 
walled houses with fore-stairs, retain their ancient, 
high-pitched, red-tiled roofs, with dormer windows, 
and turn their tall narrow gables to the irregular street. 
' A mile frae Embro town,' you find yourself going 




Photo : W. J. Hay, Edinburgh 



p. 150. 



RESTALRIG HOUSE 




Photo: W. J. Hay, Edinburgh 



p. 150. 



RESTALRIG VILLAGE 



LOGAN OF RESTALRIG 151 

back three hundred years in time. On the right hand 
of the road, walking eastward, what looks like a huge 
o-reen mound is visible above a hio-h ancient wall. This 

O CJ 

is all that is left of St. Triduana's Chapel, and she 
was a saint who came from Achaia with St. Eegulus, 
the mythical founder of St. Andrews. She died at 
Eestalrig on October 8, 510, and may have converted 
the Celts, who then dwelt in a crannog in the loch ; at 
all events we hear that, in a very dry summer, the 
timbers of a crannog were found in the sandy deposit 
of the lake margin. The chapel (or chapter-house ?), 
very dirty and disgracefully neglected, has probably a 
crypt under it, and certainly possesses a beautiful 
groined roof, springing from a single short pillar in 
the centre. The windows are blocked up with stones, 
the exterior is a mere mound of grass like a sepulchral 
tumulus. On the floor lies, broken, the gravestone 
of a Lady Eestalrig who died in 1526. Outside is a 
patched-up church ; the General Assembly of 1560 
decreed that the church should be destroyed as ' a 
monument of idolatry ' (it was a collegiate church, 
with a dean, and prebendaries), and in 1571 the 
wrought stones were used to build a new gate inside 
the Netherbow Port. The whole edifice was not 
destroyed, but was patched up, in 1836, into a 
Presbyterian place of worship. This old village and 
kirk made up ' Eestalrig Town,' a place occupied 
by the English during the siege of Leith in 1560. 
So much of history may be found in this odd 
corner, where the sexton of the kirk speaks to the 



152 THE GOWRIE MYSTERY 

visitor about ' the Great Logan,' meaning that Laird 

Cj O 

who now comes into the sequel of the Gowrie 
mystery. 

For some thirty years before the date of which 
we are speaking, a Eobert Logan had been laird 
of Eestalrig, and of the estate of Flemington, in 
Berwickshire, where his residence was the house of 
Gunnisgreen, near Eyemouth, on the Berwickshire 
coast. He must have been a young boy when, in 
1560, the English forces besieging Leith (then held 
by the French for Mary of Guise) pitched their 
camp at Eestalrig. 

In 1573, Kirkcaldy of Grange and Maitland of 
Lethington gallantly held the last strength of the 
captive Mary Stuart, the Castle of Edinburgh. 
The fortress was to fall under the guns of the 
English allies of that Earl of Gowrie (then Lord 
Euthven), who was the father of the Gowrie of our 
mystery. 

On April 17, 1573, a compact was made between 
Lord Euthven and Drury, the English general. 
One provision was (the rest do not here concern us) 
that Alexander, Lord Home ; Lethington ; and Eobert 
Logan of Eestalrig, if captured, c shall be reserved to 
be justified by the laws of Scotland,' which means, 
hanged by the neck. But neither on that nor on any 
other occasion was our Logan hanged. 1 He some- 
how escaped death and forfeiture, when Kirkcaldy 
was gibbeted after the fall of the castle. In 1577, 

1 Privy Council Register, ii. 217, 218. 



LOGAN OF RESTALRIG 153 

we find him, with Lord Lindsay and Mowbray of 
Barnbogle (now Dalmeny) surety for Queen Mary's 
half-brother, the Lord Eobert Stewart, who vainly 
warned Darnley to escape from Kirk o' Field. Lord 
Eobert was then confined by the Eegent Morton in 
Linlithgow, and Logan with the rest was surety in 
10,OOOZ. that -he would not attempt to escape. Later, 
Logan was again surety that Lord Eobert would 
return after visiting his dominions, the Orkney 
Islands. 1 

Logan, though something of a pirate, was clearly 
a man of substance and of a good house, which 
he strengthened by alliances. One of his wives, 
Elizabeth Macgill, was the daughter of the Laird of 
Cranstoun Eiddell, and one of her family was a 
member of the Privy Council. From Elizabeth 
Logan was divorced ; she was, apparently, the mother 
of his eldest son, Eobert. By the marriage of an 
ancestor of Logan's with an heiress of the family of 
Hume, he acquired the fortress and lands of Fast- 
castle, near St. Abbs, on the Berwickshire coast. 
The castle, now in ruins, is the model of Wolfscrag 
in ' The Bride of Lammermoor.' Standing on the 
actual verge of a perpendicular cliff above the sea, 
whence it is said to have been approached by a stair- 
case cut in the living rock, it was all but inaccessible, 
and was strongly fortified. Though commanded by 
the still higher cliff to the south, under which it 
nestled on its narrow plateau of rock, Fastcastle was 

1 Privy Council Register, ii. 622, 699. 



154 THE GOW1IIE MYSTERY 

then practically impregnable, and twenty men could 
have held it against all Scotland. Around it was, 
and is, a roadless waste of bent and dune, from 
which it was severed by a narrow rib of rock jutting 
seawards, the ridge being cut by a cavity which was 
spanned by a drawbridge. Master of this inaccessible 
eyrie, Logan was most serviceable to the plotters of 
these troubled times. 

His religion was doubtful, his phraseology could 
glide into Presbyterian cant, but we know that he 
indifferently lent the shelter of his fastness to the 
Protestant firebrand, wild Frank Stewart, Earl of 
Bothwell (who, like Carey writing from Berwick to 
Cecil, reckons Logan among Catholics), or to George 
Ker, the Catholic intriguer with Spain. Logan loved a 
plot for its own sake, as well as for chances of booty 
and promotion. He was a hard drinker, and associate 
of rough yeomen and lairds like Ninian Chirnside of 
Whitsumlaws (Bothwell's emissary to the wizard, 
Ei chard Graham), yet a man of ancient family and 
high connections. He seems to have been intimate 
with the family of Sir John Cranstoun of Cranstoun. 
On one occasion he informs Archibald Douglas, the 
detested and infamous murderer and deeply dyed 
traitor, that 'John of Cranstoun is the one man 
now that bears you best good will.' (January 
1587?) 

In January 1600, the year of the Gowrie plot, we 
find Sir John Cranstoun in trouble for harbouring 
an outlawed Mr. Thomas Cranstoun, who was, with 



LOGAN OF EESTALRIG 155 

Douglas, the Laird of Spot, one of Bothwell's allies 
in all his most desperate raids on the person of King 
James. In 1592, Mr. Thomas Cranstoun was for- 
feited, he was informed against for ' new conspiracies 
against his Majesty's life and estate,' and, in January 
1600, Sir John Cranstoun was sheltering this dan- 
gerous and desperate Bothwellian outlaw, as was his 
son-in law, Mr. William Cranstoun. 1 

Now the Mr. Thomas Cranstoun who was hanged 
for his part in the Gowrie affair, was brother of Sir 
John Cranstoun of Cranstoun, the ally of that other 
Mr. Thomas Cranstoun who was so deep in Bothwell's 
wild raids on the King's person. In the spring of 
1600 (as we have said, but must here repeat) 
there were reports that Bothwell had secretly 
returned to Scotland, and, on April 20, 1600, just 
before the date of Gowrie's arrival in Edinburgh 
from London, Nicholson reports suspected plots of 
Archibald Douglas, of John Colville, a ruined Both- 
wellian, and a spy, and of the Laird of Spot. 2 This 
Colville had recently hinted to Essex that he could 
do a serviceable enterprise. 'As for the service I 
mean to do, if matters go to the worst, it shall be 
such, God willing if I lose not my life in doing 
thereof as no other can do with a million of gold, 
and yet I shall not exceed the bonds of humanity,' 
that is, he will not murder the King. ' But for con- 
science sake and worldly honesty, I must first be 

1 Privy Council Register, vi. 73, 74. 

a State Papers, Scotland (Elizabeth), vol. Ixvi. No. 13, No. 21. 



150 THE GOWRIE MYSTERY 

absolved of my natural allegiance.' (April 27, 1598 ; 
again, October 20, 1598. ) : 

The point for us to mark is that all these con- 
spirators and violent men, Bothwell (in exile or 
secretly in Scotland), Colville (in 1600 an exile in 
Paris), the Laird of Spot, the Cranstouns, the in- 
famous Archibald Douglas, with Eichard Douglas 
his nephew, and Logan of Eestalrig, were united, 
if not by real friendship, at least, as Thucydides 
says, by ' partnership in desperate enterprises ' and by 
1600 were active in a subterranean way. If it is fair 
to say, nosdtur a sociis, ' a man is known by the 
company he keeps,' Logan of Eestalrig bears the 
mark of the secret conspirator. He had relations 
with persons more distinguished than his Chirnsides 
and Whittingham Douglases, though they were of 
near kin to the Earl of Morton. His mother, a 
daughter of Lord Gray, married Lord Home, after 
the death of Logan's father. The Laird of Eestalrig 
was thus a half-brother of the new Lord Home, a 
Warden of the Border, and also was first cousin of 
the beautiful, accomplished, and infamous Master of 
Gray, the double spy of England and of Eome. 

Logan, too, like the Master, had diplomatic ambi- 
tions. In 1586 (July 29) we find him corresponding 
with the infamous Archibald Douglas, one of Darn- 
ley's murderers, whom James had sent, in the crisis 
of his mother's fate, as his ambassador to Elizabeth. 
In 1586, Logan, with two other Logans, was on the 

1 Hatfield Calendar, viii. 147, 399. 



LOGAN OF KESTALRIG 157 

packed jury which acquitted Douglas of Darnley's 
murder. Logan was a retainer of Bothwell, that 
meteor-like adventurer and king-catcher, and he 
asks Douglas to try to procure him employment 
(of course as a spy) from Walsingham, the English 
statesman. 1 

In October of the same year, we find the Master 
of Gray writing to Douglas, thus : ' Of late I was 
forced, at Eestalrig's suit, to pawn some of my plate, 
and the best jewel I had, to get him money for his 
marriage ' his second marriage, apparently. By 
December 1586 we find Logan riding to London, as 
part of the suite of the Master of Gray, who was to 
plead with Elizabeth for Mary's life. He was the 
Master's most intimate confidant, and, as such, in 
February-March 1587, proposed to sell all his 
secrets to Walsingham ! Nevertheless, when Gray 
was driven into exile, later in 1587, Logan was one 
of his ' cautioners,' or sureties. He had been of the 
party of Gowrie's father, during that nobleman's 
brief tenure of power in 1582, 1583, and, when 
Gowrie fell, Logan was ordered to hand his eyrie of 
Fastcastle over, at six hours' notice, to the officers of 
the King. Through the stormy years of Bothwell's 
repeated raids on James (1592-1594) Logan had 
been his partisan, and had been denounced a rebel. 
Later he appears in trouble for highway robbery 
committed by his retainers. Among the diversions of 

1 For these letters of Logan's, see Hatfield Calendar^ vols. iii. iv. 
under ' Kestalrig,' in the Index. 



158 THE GOWRIE MYSTERY 

this country gentleman was flat burglary. In Decem- 
ber 1593, ' when nichts are lang and mirk,' the 
Laird helped himself to the plate-chest of William 
Nesbit of Newton. c Under silence of night he took 
spuilzie of certain gold and silver to the value of 
three thousand merks Scots.' The executors of 
Nesbit did not brino- their action till after Logan 

o o 

died, in July 1606, 'in respect the said clandestine 
deed and fact came not to our knowledge, nor light 
as to who had committed the same,' till just before 
the action was brought. 

In 1599, when conspiracies were in the air, 
Logan was bound over not to put Fastcastle in the 
hands of his Majesty's enemies and rebels. 1 

This brief sketch of a turbulent life is derived 
from Logan's own letters to Archibald Douglas , now 

o o 

among the Cecil Papers at Hatfield ; from the 4 Papers 
relating to the Master of Gray,' in which we find 
Logan, under a cypher name, betraying the Master, 
his cousin and ally, and from the Register of the 
Privy Council of Scotland, in which all that dead 
world, from the King to the crofter, may be traced, 
often in circumstances peculiarly private. 

At that time, civil processes of ' horning,' ' putting 
to the horn,' or outlawry, were the common resort of 
creditors against procrastinating debtors. Many of 
the most respectable persons, gentlemen and ladies, 
appear in these suits ; Eobert Abercromby sues a 
lady of rank for 150/. Scots. He is the burgess of 

1 Privy Council Register, vol. v., s. v. * Logan ' in the Index. 



LOGAN OF KESTALRIG 159 

Edinburgh, the King's saddler, who, as the Master 
of Euthven told Craigengelt, had brought the King 
from Falkland to Perth, ' to take order for his debt.' 
JSFow the singular thing is that we never find 
Logan of Eestalrig recorded as under ' horning ' for 
debt, whereas, considering his character, we might 
expect him never to be free from ' the horn.' On 
the other hand, we know him to have been a lender, 
not a borrower. He was suiprofusus. On January 1, 
1599, Cecil had been making inquiries as to Logan, 
from Lord Willoughby commanding at Berwick. 
Cecil always had his eyes on Border Scots, likely to 
be useful in troubling King James. Willoughby 
replies, ' There is sutch a laird of Lesterigge as you 
write of, a vain lose man, a greate favourer of 
thefes reputed, yet a man of a good clan, as they 
here tearme it, and a gud felow.' 1 

Such was Logan of Eestalrig, ' Old Eugged and 
Dangerous.' In 1601, May 30, we find him appearing 
as surety for Philip Mowbray, one of the Mowbrays 
of Barnbogle, whose sister stood by Queen Mary 
at the scaffold, and whose brother Francis was with 
the bold Buccleuch, when he swam ' that wan water ' 
of Esk, and rescued Kinmont Willie from Carlisle 
Castle. This Francis Mowbray and his brother 
Philip were (1601-1603) mixed up with Cecil in 
some inscrutable spy-work, and intrigues for the 
murder of King James. The Mowbrays were old 

1 Border Calendar, vol. ii. Willoughby to Cecil, January 1, 
159J. 



160 THE GOWRIE MYSTEHY 

friends of Logan : they had been engaged in priva- 
teering enterprises together, but could produce no 
letters of marque ! In 1603, Francis Mowbray, 
abandoned and extradited by Cecil, was killed in 
an attempt to escape from Edinburgh Castle. He 
had been accused, by an Italian fencing-master, of 
a conspiracy to kill James. Cecil had, of course, 
by this time made peace and alliance with James, 
who was on the point of ascending the English 
throne, and he gave up Francis. Mowbray chal- 
lenged the Italian fencing-master to judicial combat ; 
the Italian came down to fight him, the lists were 
actually pitched at Holyrood, when (January 31, 
1603) Francis preferred to try the chance of flight; 
the rope of knotted sheet to which he trusted 
broke, and he was dashed to pieces on the Castle 
rocks. 1 

Since 1592, Mowbray had been corresponding 
with Logan's friend, Archibald Douglas, and offering 
his services to Cecil. To Cecil, in September 1600, 
he was again applying, regarding Elizabeth as his 
debtor. In 1600, he was in touch with Henry Locke, 
who had been Cecil's go-between in his darkest 
intrigues against James, and his agent with Both- 

o o o 

well, Atholl, and the Gowrie slain on August 5, 
1600. But, in the autumn of 1602, Cecil had be- 
come the secret ally of James, and gave up poor 
Francis, a broken tool of his and of Elizabeth's. 2 

1 Pitcairn, ii. 405-407. 

2 See Thorpe's Calendar, vol. ii., s. v. ' Mowbray, Francis ' in the 
Index. 



LOGAN OF RESTALRIG 16] 

We have now learned a good deal about Logan's 
habitual associates, and we have merely glanced at 
a few of the numberless plots against James which 
were encouraged by the English Government. If 
James was nervously apprehensive of treason, he 
had good cause. But of Logan at the moment of the 

o o 

Gowrie Plot, we know nothing from public documents. 
We do know, however, on evidence which has pre- 
viously been in part unpublished, in part unobserved, 
that from August 1600 onwards, Logan was oddly 
excited and restless. Though not in debt or at 
least though no record of his ' horning' exists he 
took to selling his lands, Eestalrig, Flemington, 
Gunnisgreen, Fastcastle. 1 After 1600 he sold them 
all ; he wallowed in drink ; he made his wife 
wretched ; with his eldest son he was on ill terms ; 
he wandered to London, and to France in 1605, 
and he returned to die (of plague, it seems) in 
the Canongate, a landless but a monied man, in 
July 1606. 

Why did Logan sell all his lands, investing in 
shipping property ? The natural inference, at the 
time, was that he had been engaged in ' some ill 
turn,' some mysterious conspiracy, and people pro- 
bably (certainly, if we believe the evidence to 
follow) thought that he had been an accomplice 
in the Gowrie affair. 

He died, and his children by his first wives 
dissociated themselves from his executorship. The 

1 He had sold Nether Gogar in 1596. 

M 



162 THE GOWRIE MYSTERY 

bulk of it was the unpaid part of the purchase 
money for his lands, sold by him to Balmerino, 
and Dunbar, James's trusted ministers, who owed 
some 33,000 marks to the estate. 

Logan had a 'doer,' or law agent, a country 
writer, or notary, named Sprot, who dwelt at Eye- 
mouth, a hungry creature, who did not even own 
a horse. When Logan rode to Edinburgh, Sprot 
walked thither to join him. Yet the two were boon 
companions ; Sprot was always loitering and watch- 
ing at Gunnisgreen, always a guest at the great 
Christmas festivals, given by the Laird to his rough 
neighbours. The death of Logan was a disaster to 
Sprot, and to all the parasites of the Laird. 

Logan died, we saw, in July 1606. In April, 
1608, Sprot was arrested by a legal official, named 
Watty Doig. He had been blabbing in his cups, it is 
said, about the Gowrie affair ; certainlv most com- 

mi 

promising documents, apparently in Logan's hand, 
and with his signature, were found on Sprot's person. 
They still bear the worn softened look of papers 
carried for long in the pockets. 1 Sprot was ex- 
amined, and confessed that he knew beforehand of 
the Gowrie conspiracy, and that the documents in 
his possession were written by Logan to Gowrie 
and other plotters, He was tortured and in part 
recanted ; Logan, he said, had not written the guilty 
letters : he himself had forged them. This was all 
before July 5, 1608, while Mr. Eobert Oliphant lay in 

1 Some of the papers are in the General Register House, Edinburgh. 



LOGAN OF RESTALRTG 163 

prison, in London, on the same charge of guilty fore- 
knowledge. Early in July 1608, the Earl of Dunbar 
came from London to Edinburgh, to deal with the 
affairs of the Kirk. He took Sprot out of his dun- 
geon, gave him a more wholesome chamber, secluded 
him from gentlemen who came and threatened him 

<^j 

(or so he said) if he made revelations, and Dunbar 
provided him with medical attendance. The wounds 
inflicted in ' the boot ' were healed. 

For six weeks Sprot was frequently examined, 
before members of the Privy Council and others, 
without torture. What he said the public did not 
know, nor, till now, have historians been better 
informed. Throughout, after July 5, 1608, he per- 
sisted in declaring Logan's complicity in the Gowrie 
conspiracy, and his own foreknowledge. He was 
tried, solely on the evidence of guilty foreknowledge 
alleged in his own confessions, and of extracts, given 
by him from memory only, of a letter from Gowrie to 
Logan (not one of those which he claimed to have 
forged), and another of Logan to Gowrie, both of 
July 1600. On August 12, Sprot was hanged at Edin- 
burgh. He repeated his confession of guilt from 
every corner of the scaffold. He uttered a long re- 
ligious speech of contrition. Once, he said, he had 
been nearly drowned : but God preserved him for 
this great day of confession and repentance. But no 
unbeliever in the guilt of Gowrie, says Calderwood, 
6 was one whit the more convinced.' Of course not, 
nor wo aid the death of Henderson which they 



M 



164 THE GOWRIE MYSTERY 

clamoured for have convinced them. They said,, 
falsely, that Sprot was really condemned as a forger, 
and, having to die, took oath to his guilt in the 
Gowrie conspiracy, in consideration of promises of 
help to his wife and family. 1 

Nearly a year later, in June 1609, the exhumed 
remains of Lo^an were brought into court (a regular 

4 J ^-J \ CJ 

practice in the case of dead traitors), and were tried 
for treason. Five letters by Logan, of July 1600, 
were now produced. Three were from Logan to 
conspirators unnamed and unknown. One was to a 
retainer and messenger of his, Laird Bower, who had 
died in January 1606. These letters were declared, 
by several honourable witnesses, to be in Logan's very 
unusual handwriting and orthography : they were 

1 The evidence for all that occurred to Sprot, between April and 
July 1608, is that of a manuscript History of the Kirk of 
Scotland, now in the Advocates' Library. It is written in an early 
seventeenth-century hand. Calderwood follows it almost textually up 
to a certain point where the author of the MS. history says that 
Sprot, on the scaffold, declared that he had no promise of benefit to his 
family. But Calderwood declares, or says that others declare, that 
Sprot was really condemned as a forger (which is untrue), but con- 
fessed to the Gowrie conspiracy in return for boons to his wife and 
children. 

We have, of course, no evidence that anything was done by 
Government, or by any one, for Mrs. Sprot and the children. The 
author of the MS., which Calderwood used as he pleased, avers that 
Sprot denied on the scaffold the fact that he had any promise. 
Neither draft nor official account confirms the MS. history on the 
point of no promise. The official draft of his last moments (from 
its interlineations, each signed by the Clerk of Council) appears to 
have been drawn up on the spot, or hurriedly, as soon as Sprot was 
dead. This is the aspect of the draft of the account ; the official 
printed account says that there was 'no place of writing on the 
scaffold, in respect of the press and multitude of people ' (Pitcairn, ii. 
261). 



LOGAN OF KESTALBIG 165 

compared with many genuine letters of his, and no 
difference was found. The Parliamentary Committee, 
6 The Lords of the Articles,' previously sceptical, 
were convinced by the five letters, the evidence to 
handwriting, the energy of the Earl of Dunbar, and 
the eloquence of the King's Advocate. Logan's 
children were all forfeited, and Dunbar saved the 
money which he owed to Logan's estate. This trial 
is not alluded to, either by Calderwood or Arch- 
bishop Spottiswoode, in their histories. The five 
letters produced in the trial of Logan exist, and 
have been accepted as authentic by Mr. Tytler and 
Mr. Hill Burton, but not by writers who favour the 
Euthvens. We print all five letters in Appendix C. 

Meanwhile what had Sprot really said, under 
private examination, between July 5 and August 12, 
1608, when he was executed ? 

This question is to be answered, from the hitherto 
unpublished records, in the following chapters. But, 
in common charity, the reader must be warned that 
the exposition is inevitably puzzling and complex. 
Sprot, under examination, lied often, lied variously, 
and, perhaps, lied to the last. Moreover much, 
indeed everything, depends here on exact dates, and 
Sprot's are loose, as was natural in the circumstances, 
the events of which he spoke being so remote in 
time. 

Consequently the results of criticism of his con- 
fession may here be stated with brevity. The 
persevering student, the reader interested in odd 



166 THE GOWKIE MYSTERY 

pictures of domestic life, and in strange human 
characters may read on at his own peril. But the 
actual grains of fact, extracted from tons of false- 
hood, may be set down in very few words. 

The genuine and hitherto unknown confessions 

o 

of Sprot add no absolute certainty as to the exis- 
tence of a Growrie conspiracy. His words, when un- 
corroborated, can have no weight with a jury. He 
confessed that all the alleged Logan papers which, 
up to two days before his death, were in possession of 
the Privy Council, were forgeries by himself. But, 
on August 10, he announced that he had possessed 
one genuine letter of Logan to Gowrie (dated July 
29, 1600). That letter (our Letter IV) or a forged 
copy was then found in his repositories. Expert 
evidence, however, decides that this document, like 
all the others, is in a specious imitation of Logan's 
hand, but that it has other characteristics of Sprot's 
own hand, and was penned by Sprot himself. Why 
he kept it back so long, why he declared that it 
alone was genuine, we do not know. That it is 
genuine, in substance, and was copied by Sprot from 
a real letter of Logan's in an imitation of Logan's 

O <-> 

hand, and that, if so, it proves Logan's accession to 
the conspiracy, is my own private opinion. But 
that opinion is based on mere literary considerations, 
on what is called ' internal evidence,' and is, there- 
fore, purely a matter of subjective impression, like 
one's idea of the possible share of Shakespeare in 
a play mainly by Fletcher or another. Evidence of 



LOGAN OF RESTALRIG 167 

this kind is not historical evidence. It follows that 
the whole affair of Sprot, and of the alleged Logan 
letters, adds nothing certain to the reasons for believ- 
ing that there was a Gowrie conspiracy. As far as 
Sprot and his documents are concerned, we know 
that all, as they stand, are pure fictitious counterfeits 
by that unhappy man, while, as to whether one 
letter (IV) and perhaps another (I) are genuine in 
substance, every reader must form his own opinion, 
on literary grounds, and no opinion is of much value. 
Such is a brief summary of the facts. But the 
tenacious inquirer who can foUow us through the 
tangled mazes of Sprot's private confessions, will 
perhaps agree with me that they contain distinguish- 
able grains of fact, raising a strong surmise that 
Logan was really involved with Gowrie in a plot. 
Yet this, again, is a subjective impression, which 
may vary with each reader. 



168 THE GOWPJE MYSTERY 



XIII 
THE SECRETS OF SPROT 

THE final and deepest mystery of the mysterious 
Gowrie affair rises, like a mist from a marsh, out of 
these facts concerning Sprot. When he was convicted, 
and hanged, persisting in his confessions, on August 12, 
1608, no letters by Gowrie, or any other conspirator, 
were produced in Court. Extracts, however, of a 
letter from Gowrie to Logan, and of one from Logan 
to Gowrie, were quoted in Sprot's formal Indictment. 
They were also quoted in an official publication, an 
account of Sprot's case, prepared by Sir William 
Hart, the Chief Justice, and issued in 1608. Both 
these documents (to which we return) are given by 
Mr. Pitcairn, in the second volume of his ' Criminal 
Trials.' But later, when the dead Logan was tried 
in 1609, five of his alleged plot letters (never publicly 
mentioned in Sprot's trial) were produced by the pro- 
secution, and not one of these was identical with the 
letter of Logan cited in the Indictment of Sprot, and 
in the official account of his trial. There were strong 
resemblances between Logan's letter, quoted but not 
produced, in 1608, and a letter of Logan's produced, 



THE SECRETS OF SPROT 169 

and attested to be in his handwriting, in 1609. But 

^_ / ' 

there were also remarkable variations. 

Of these undeniable facts most modern historians 
who were convinced of the guilt of the Euthvens 
take no notice ; though the inexplicable discrepan- 
cies between the Logan letters quoted in 1608, and 
the letters produced as his in 1609, had always been 
matters of comment and criticism. 

As to the letters of 1609, Mr. Tytler wrote, ' their 
import cannot be mistaken; their authenticity has 

never been questioned ; they still exist ' Now 

assuredly the letters exist. The five alleged originals 
were found by Mr. Pitcairn, among the Warrants of 
Parliament, in the General Eegister House, in Edin- 
burgh, and were published by him, but without their 
endorsements, in his ' Criminal Trials ' in Scotland. 
(1832). 1 Copies of the letters are also ' bookit,' or 
engrossed, in the Eecords of Parliament. These 
* bookit ' transcripts were made carelessly, and the 
old copyist was puzzled by the handwriting and 
orthography of the alleged originals before him. The 
controversy about the genuineness of the five letters 
took new shapes after Mr. Pitcairn discovered those 
apparently in Logan's hand, and printed them in 1832. 
Mr. Hill Burton accepts them with no hint of doubt, 
and if Mr. Tytler was the most learned and impar- 
tial, Mr. Hill Burton was the most sceptical of our 
historians. Yet on this point of authenticity these 
historians were too hasty. The authenticity of the 

1 Vol. ii. pp. 282-7. 



170 THE GOWRIE MYSTERY 

letters (except one, No. IV) was denied by the very 
man, Sprot, in whose possession most of them were 
originally found. 1 The evidence of his denial has 
been extant ever since Calderwood wrote, who tells 
us, clearly on the authority of an older and anony- 
mous History in MS. (now in the Advocates' Library), 
that Sprot, when first taken (April 13-19, 1608), 
accused Logan of writing the letters, but withdrew 
the charge under torture, and finally, when kindly 
treated by Lord Dunbar, and healed of his wounds, 
declared that he himself had forced all the Logan 

O O 

letters (save one). Yet Logan was, to Sprot' s certain 
knowledge (so Sprot persistently declared), involved 
in the Gowrie conspiracy. 

Now assuredly this appeared to be an incredible 
assertion of Calderwood, or of his MS. source. He 
was a stern Presbyterian, an enemy of the King 
(who banished him), and an intimate friend of the 
Cranstoun family, who, in 1600, were closely con- 
nected with conspirators of their name. Thus pre- 
judiced, Calderwood was believed by Mr. Pitcairn 
to have made an untrue or confused statement. 
Logan is in a plot ; Sprot knows it, and yet Sprot 
forges letters to prove Logan's guilt, and these 
letters, found in Sprot's possession, prove his own 
guilty knowledge. There seems no sense in such 
behaviour. It might have been guessed that Sprot 
knew of Logan's guilt, but had no documentary 

1 Letter I is a peculiar case, and was not, perhaps, spoken of by 
Sprot at all. 



THE SECRETS OF SPROT 171 

evidence of it, and therefore forged evidence for the 
purpose of extorting blackmail from Logan. But, 
by 1608, when Sprot was arrested with some of the 
documents in his pocket, Logan had _ been dead for 
nearly two years. 

The guess, that Sprot knew of Logan's treason, 
but forged the proof of it, for purposes of black- 
mailing him, was not made by historians. The guess 
was getting ' warm,' as children say in their game, 
was very near the truth, but it was not put forward 
by criticism. Historians, in fact, knew that Logan 
would not have stood an attempt at extortion. 
He was not that kind of man. In 1594, he made a 
contract with Napier of Merchistoun, the inventor 
of Logarithms. Tradition declared that there was a 
hoard of gold in ' the place of Fastcastle.' Napier 
was to discover it (probably by the Divining Eod), 
and Logan was to give him a third of the profits. 
But Napier, knowing his man, inserted a clause in 
the deed, to the effect that, after finding the gold, he 
was to be allowed a free exit from Fastcastle. Whether 
he found the hoard or not, we do not know. But, 
two years later, in letting a portion of his property, 
Napier introduced the condition that his tenant 
should never sublet it to any person of the name of 
Logan ! If he found the gold he probably was not 
allowed to carry off his third share. Logan being a 
resolute character of this kind, Sprot, a cowering 
creature, would not forge letters to blackmail him. 
He would have been invited to dine at Fastcastle. 



172 THE GOWRIE MYSTERY 

The cliffs are steep, the sea is deep, and tells no 
tales. 

Thus where was Sprot's motive for forging letters 
in Logan's hand, and incriminating the Laird of 
Eestalrig, and for carrying them about in his pocket 
in 1608 ? But where was his motive for confessing 
when taken and examined that he did forge the 
letters, if his confession was untrue, while swearing, 
to his certain destruction, that he had a guilty 
foreknowledge of the Gowrie conspiracy ? He might 
conciliate Government and get pardoned as King's 
evidence, by producing what he called genuine 
Logan letters, and thus proving the conspiracy, and 
clearing the Kind's character ; but this he did not 

CJ C_, 

do. He swore to the last that Logan and he were 
both guilty (so Calderwood's authority rightly re- 
ported), but that the plot letters were forged by 
himself, to what end Calderwood did not say. All 
this appeared midsummer madness. Calderwood, it 
was argued, must be in error. 

A theory was suggested that Sprot really knew 
nothing of the Gowrie mystery ; that he had bragged 
falsely of his knowledge, in his cups ; that the Govern- 
ment pounced on him, made him forge the letters of 
Logan to clear the King's character by proving a 
conspiracy, and then hanged him, still confessing his 
guilt. But Mr. Mark Napier, a learned antiquary, 
replied (in a long Appendix to the third volume of 
the History by the contemporary Spottiswoode) to 
this not very probable conjecture by showing that, 



THE SECRETS OF SPROT 173 

when they tried Sprot, Government produced no 
letters at all, only an alleged account by Sprot of 
two letters unproduced. Therefore, in August 1608, 
Mr. Napier argued, Government had no letters ; if 
they had possessed them, they would infallibly have 
produced them. That seemed sound reasoning In 
1608 Government had no plot letters ; therefore, the 
five produced in the trial of the dead Logan were 
forged for the Government, by somebody, between 
August 1608 and June 1609. Mr. Napier refused 
to accept Calderwood's wild tale that Sprot, while 
confessing Logan's guilt and his own, also confessed 
to having forged Logan's letters. 

Yet Calderwood's version (or rather that of his 
anonymous authority in MS.) was literally accurate. 
Sprot, in private examinations (July 5, August 11, 
1608), confessed to having forged all the letters but 
one, the important one, Letter IV, Logan to Gowrie. 
This confession the Government burked. 

The actual circumstances have remained unknown 
and are only to be found in the official, but suppressed, 
reports of Sprot's private examinations, now in the 
muniment room of the Earl of Haddington. These 
papers enable us partly to unravel a coil which, 
without them, no ingenuity could disentangle. Sir 
Thomas Hamilton, the King's Advocate, popularly 
styled ' Tarn o' the Cowgate,' from his house in that 
old ' street of palaces,' was the ancestor of Lord 
Haddington, who inherits his papers. Sir Thomas 
was an eminent financier, lawyer, statesman, and 



174 THE GOWRIE MYSTERY 

historical collector and inquirer, who later became 
Lord Binning, and finally Earl of Haddington. As 
King's Advocate he held, and preserved, the deposi- 
tions, letters, and other documents, used in the private 
examinations of Sprot, on and after July 5, 1608. 
The records of Sprot's examinations between April 1 9 
and July 5, 1600, are not known to be extant. 

Sir Thomas's collection consists of summonses, or 
drafts of summonses, for treason, against the dead 
Logan (1609). There is also a holograph letter of 
confession (July 5, 1608) from Sprot to the Earl of 
Dunbar. There are the records of the private exami- 
nations of Sprot (July 5-August 11, 1600) and of 
other persons whom he more or less implicated. 
There are copies by Sprot, in his ' course,' that is, 
current, handwriting, of two of the five letters in 
Logan's hand (or in an imitation of it). These are 
letters I and IV, produced at the posthumous trial 
of Logan in June 1609. Finally, there are letters 
in Logan's hand (or in an imitation of it), addressed 
to James Bower and to one Ninian Chirnside, with 
allusions to the plot, and there is a long memorandum 
of matters of business, also containing hints about 
the conspiracy, in Logan's hand, or in an imitation 
thereof, addressed to John Bell, and James Bower. 

Of these compromising papers, one, a letter to 
Chirnside, was vfound by the Eev. Mr. Anderson (in 
1902) torn into thirteen pieces (whereof one is miss- 
ing), wrapped up in a sheet of foolscap of the period. 
Mr. Anderson has placed the pieces together, and 



THE SECRETS OF SPROT 175 

copied the letter. Of all these documents, only five 
letters (those published by Mr. Pitcairn) were 
'libelled,' or founded on, and produced by the 
Government in the posthumous trial of Logan (1609). 
Not one was produced before the jury who tried 
Sprot on August 12, 1608. He was condemned, we 
said, merely on his own confession. In his ' dittay,' 
or impeachment, and in the official account of 
the affair, published in 1608, were cited frag- 
ments of two letters quoted from memory by Sprot 
under private examination. These quotations from 
memory differ, we saw, in many places from any of 
the five letters produced in the trial of 1609, a fact 
which has aroused natural suspicions. This is the 
true explanation of the discrepancies between the 
plot letter cited in Sprot's impeachment, and in the 
Government pamphlet on his case ; and the similar, 
though not identical, letter produced in 1609. 
The indictment and the tract published by Govern- 
ment contain merely Sprot's recollections of the 
epistle from Logan to Gowrie. The letter (IV) 
produced in 1609 is the genuine letter of Logan, 
or so Sprot seems, falsely, to swear. This document 
did not come into the hands of Government till 
after the Indictment, containing Sprot's quotation of 
the letter from memory, was written, or, if it did, 
was kept back. 

All this has presently to be proved in detail. 

As the Government (a fact unknown to our 
historians) possessed all the alleged Logan letters 



176 THE COWRIE MYSTERY 

and papers before Sprot was hanged, and as, at his 
trial, they concealed this circumstance even from 
Archbishop Spottiswoode (who was present at Sprot's 
public trial by jury), a great deal of perplexity has 
been caused, and many ingenious but erroneous 
conjectures have been invented. The Indictment 
or 'dittay' against Sprot, on August 12, 1608, is a 
public document, but not an honest one. It con- 
tains the following among other averments. We are 

^ ' C_^ 

told that Sprot, in July 1600, at Fastcastle, saw and 
read the beginning of a letter from Logan to Gowrie 
(Letter IV). Logan therein expresses delight at receiv- 
ing a letter of Gowrie's : he is anxious to avenge ' the 
Macchiavelian massacre of our dearest friends ' (the 
Earl decapitated in 1584). He advises Gowrie to be 
circumspect, ' and be earnest with your brother, that 
he be not rash in any speeches touching the purpose 
of Padua.' 

This letter, as thus cited, is not among the five 
later produced in 1609 ; it is a blurred reminiscence 
of parts of two of them. The reason of these discre- 
pancies is that the letter is quoted in the Indictment, 
not from the document itself (which apparently 
reach the prosecution after the Indictment was 
framed), but from a version given from memory by 
Sprot, in one of his private examinations. Next, 
Sprot is told in his Indictment that, some time later, 
Logan asked Bower to find this letter, which Gowrie, 
for the sake of secrecy, had returned to Bower to 
be delivered to Logan. We know that this was the 



THE SECRETS OF SPROT 177 

practice of intriguers. After the December riot at 
Edinburgh in 1596, the Eev. Eobert Bruce, writing 

* o 

to ask Lord Hamilton to head the party of the Kirk, 
is said to request him to return his own letter 
by the bearer. Gowrie and Logan practised the 
same method. The indictment goes on to say that 
Bower, being unable to read, asked Sprot to search 
for Logan's letter to Gowrie, among his papers, that 
Sprot found it, ' abstracted ' it (stole it), retained it, 
and ' read it divers times,' a false quotation of the MS. 
confession. Sprot really said that he kept the stolen 
letter (IV) ' till ' he had framed on it, as a model, three 
forged letters. It contained a long passage of which 
the ' substance ' is quoted. This passage as printed 
in Sprot's Indictment is not to be found textually, in 
any of the five letters later produced. It is, we 
repeat, merely the version given from memory, by 
Sprot, at one of his last private examinations, before 
the letter itself came into the hands of Government. 
In either form, the letter meant high treason. 

Such is the evidence of the Indictment against 

c 

Sprot, of August 12, 1608. In the light of Sprot's 
real confessions, hitherto lying in the Haddington 
muniment room, we know the Indictment to be a 
false and garbled document. Next, on the part of 
Government, we have always had a published state- 
ment by Sir William Hart, the King's Justice, with 
an introduction by Dr. George Abbot, later Arch- 
bishop of Canterbury, who was in Edinburgh, and 
present when Sprot was hanged. This tract was 

N 



178 THE GOWRIE MYSTERY 

published by Bradewood, London, in 1608, and is 
reprinted by Pitcairn. 

After a verbose, pious, and pedantic diatribe, 
Abbot comes to the point. Sprot was arrested 
in April 1608, first on the strength 'of some words 
that fell from himself,' and, next, ' of some papers 
found upon him! What papers ? They are never 
mentioned in the Indictment of Sprot. They are 
never alluded to in the sequel of Abbot's pamphlet, 
containing the official account, by Sir William Hart, 
of Sprot's Trial and Examinations. In mentioning 
' some papers found upon' Sprot, Dr. Abbot 'let the 
cat out of the bag,' but writers like Mr. Napier, and 
other sceptics of his way of thinking, deny that any 
of the compromising letters were found at all. 

No letters, we say, are mentioned by Sir William 
Hart, in Abbot's tract (1608), as having been produced. 
Archbishop Spottiswoode, who was present at Sprot's 
public trial (August 12, 1608), thought the man one 
of those insane self-accusers who are common enough, 
and observes that he did not ' show the letter ' that 
of Logan to Gowrie (IV). This remark of Spottis- 
woode, an Archbishop, a converted Presbyterian, a 
courtier, and an advocate for the King, has been a 
source of joy to all Ruthven apologists. ' Spottiswoode 
saw though the farce,' they say ; ' there was no letter at 
all, and, courtier arid recreant as he was, Spottiswoode 
had the honesty to say so in his History.' 

To this there used to be no reply. But now we 
know the actual and discreditable truth. The Go- 



THE SECRETS OF SPROT 179 

vernment was, in fact, engaged in a shameful scheme 
to which Archbishops were better not admitted. 
They meant to use this letter (IV) on a later occasion, 
but they also meant to use some of the other letters 
which Sprot (unknown to Spottiswoode) had con- 
fessed to be forgeries. The archiepiscopal con- 
science might revolt at such an infamy, Spottiswoode 
might tell the King, so the Scottish Government did 
not then allow the Archbishop, or the public, to 
know that they had any Logan letters. No letter at 
all came into open and public Court in 1608. Hart 
cites a short one, from Gowrie to Logan. Gowrie 
hopes to see Logan, or, at least, to send a trusty 
messenger, ' anent the purpose you know. But 
rather would I wish yourself to come, not only for 
that errand, but for some other thing that I have to 
advise with you.' There is no date of place or day. 
This letter, harmless enough, was never produced in 
Court, and Mr. Barbe supposes that it was a concoction 
of Hart's. This is an unlucky conjecture. The Had- 
dington MSS. prove that Sprot really recited Gowrie's 
letter, or professed to do so, from memory, in one 
of his private examinations. The prosecution never 
pretended to possess or produce Gowrie's letter. 

Next, Hart cites, as Logan's answer to Gowrie's 
first letter (which it was not), the passages already 
quoted by the prosecution in Sprot's Indictment, 
passages out of a letter of Logan's given by Sprot 
from memory only. Hart goes on to describe, as if 
on Sprot's testimony, certain movements of the 

N 2 



180 THE GOWRIE MYSTERY 

Laird's after he received Gowrie's reply to his own 
answer to Gowrie. Logan's letter (as given in 1609) 
is dated July 29, and it is argued that his movements, 
after receiving Gowrie's reply, are inconsistent with 
any share in the plot which failed on August 5. Even 
if it were so, the fact is unimportant, for Sprot was 
really speaking of movements at a date much earlier 
than July 29 ; he later gave a separate account of 
what Logan was doing at the time of the outbreak of 
the plot, an account not quoted by Hart, who fraudu- 
lently or accidentally confused the dates. And 
next we find it as good as explicitly stated, by Hart, 
that this letter of Logan's to Gowrie was never pro- 
duced in open Court. ' Being demanded where this 
above written letter, written by Eestalrig to the Earl 
of Gowrie, which was returned ao-ain bv James 

o / 

Bower, is now ? Deponeth .... that he (Sprot) 
left the above written letter in his chest, among his 
writings, when he was taken and brought away, and 
that it is closed and folded within a piece of paper,' 
so Hart declares in Abbot's tract. He falsified the 
real facts. He could not give the question as origi- 
nally put to Sprot, for that involved the publication 
of the fact that all the letters but one were forged. 
The question in the authentic private report ran 
thus : ' Demanded where is that letter which Eestal- 
rig wrote to the Earl of Gowrie, whereupon the said 
George Sprot wrote and forged the missives produced ? ' 
(August 10). 

The real letter of Logan to Gowrie, the only 



THE SECRETS OF SPROT 181 

genuine letter (if in any sense genuine), had not on 
August 10 been produced. The others were in the 
hands of the Government. Hart, in his tract, veils 
these circumstances. The Government meant to put 
the letters to their own uses, on a later occasion, at 
the trial of the dead Logan. 

Meanwhile we must keep one fact steadily in 
mind. When Sprot confessed to having forged 
treasonable letters in Logan's handwriting (as Calder- 
wood correctly reports that he did confess), he did 
not include among them Letter IV (Logan to Gowrie 
July 29, 1600). That letter was never heard of by 
Sprot's examiners till August 10, and never came 
into the hands of his examiners till late on August 11, 
or early on August 12, the day when Sprot was 
hanged. Spottiswoode was never made aware that 
the letter had been produced. Why Sprot reserved 
this piece of evidence so long, why, under the shadow 
of the gibbet, he at last produced it, we shall later 
attempt to explain, though with but little confi- 
dence in any explanation. 

Meanwhile, at Sprot's public trial in 1608, the 
Government were the conspirators. They burked 
the fact that they possessed plot-letters alleged to be 
by Logan. They burked the fact that Sprot con- 
fessed all these, with one or, perhaps, two exceptions, 
to be forgeries by himself. What they quoted, as 
letters of Logan and Gowrie, were merely descriptions 
of such letters given by Sprot from memory of their 
contents. 



182 THE GOWRIE MYSTERY 



XIV 
THE LAIRD AND THE NOTARY 

WE have now to track Sprot through the labyrinth 
of his confessions and evasions, as attested by the 
authentic reports of his private examinations between 
July 5 and the day of his death. It will be observed 
that, while insisting on his own guilt, and on that of 
Logan, he produced no documentary evidence, no 
genuine letter attributed by him to Logan, nothing 
but his own confessed forgeries, till the cord was 
almost round his neck if he did then. 

In his confessions he paints with sordid and 
squalid realism, the life of a debauched laird, 
tortured by terror, and rushing from his fears to 
forgetfulness in wine, travel, and pleasure ; and to 
strange desperate dreams of flight. As a ' human 
document ' the confessions of Sprot are unique, for 
that period. 

On July 5, 1608, Sprot, in prison, wrote, in his own 
ordinary hand, the tale of how he knew of Logan's 
guilt : the letter was conveyed to the Earl of Dunbar, 
who, with Dunfermline, governed Scotland, under the 
absent King. The prisoner gave many sources of 
his knowledge, but the real source, if any (Letter IV), 



THE LAIED AND THE NOTARY 183 

he reserved till he was certain of death (August 10). 
Sprot ' knew perfectly,' he said, on July 5, that one 
letter from Gowrie and one from his brother, 
Alexander Euthven, reached Logan, at Fastcastle and 
at Gunnisgreen, a house hard by Eyemouth, where 
Sprot was a notary, and held cottage land. 1 Bower 
carried Logan's answers, and ' long afterwards ' 
showed Sprot ' the first of Gowrie's letters ' (the 
harmless one about desiring an interview) and also a 
note of Logan's to Bower himself, ' which is amongst 
the rest of the letters produced.' It is No. II, but 
in this confession of July 5, Sprot appears to say that 
Gowrie's innocent letter to Logan, asking for an 
interview, was the source of his forgeries. ' I framed 
them all to the true meaning and purpose of the 
letter that Bower let me see, to make the matter 
more clear by these arguments and circumstances, 
for the cause which I have already ' (before July 5) 
6 shewn to the Lords ' that is, for purposes of extort- 
ing money from Logan's executors. 

This statement was untrue. The brief letter to 
Logan from Gowrie was not the model of Sprot's 
forgeries ; as he later confessed he had another 

o 

model, in a letter of Logan to Gowrie, which he 
held back till the last day of his life. But in this 
confession of July 5, Sprot admits that he saw, not 
only Gowrie's letter to Logan of July 6 (?) 1600 
(a letter never produced), but also a ' direction ' or 
letter from Logan to his retainer, Bower, dated 

1 Laing, Charters, Nos. 1452, 1474-76, 2029. 



184 THE GOWRIE MYSTERY 

'The Canongate, July 18, 1600.' This is our 
Letter II. Had it been genuine, then, taken with 
Gowrie's letter to Logan, it must have aroused 
Sprot's suspicions. But this Letter II, about which 
Sprot told discrepant tales, is certainly not genuine. 
It is dated, as we said, 'The Canongate, July 18, 
1600.' Its purport is to inform Bower, then at 
Brockholes, near Eyemouth, that Logan had received 
a new letter from Gowrie, concerning certain pro- 
posals already made orally to him by the Master of 
Euthven. Logan hoped to get the lands of Diiieton 
for his share in the enterprise. He ends ' keep all 
things very secret, that my Lord, my brother ' (Lord 
Home) ' get no knowledge of our purposes, for I ' 
(would) ' rather be eirdit quickj that is, buried alive 
(p. 205). 

Now we shall show, later, the source whence Sprot 
probably borrowed this phrase as to Lord Home, 
and being eirdit quick, which he has introduced into 
his forged letter. Moreover, the dates are impossible. 
The first of the five letters purports to be from Logan 
to an unnamed conspirator, addressed as ' Eight 
Honourable Sir.' It is not certain whether this letter 
was in the hands of the prosecution before the day 
preceding Sprot's execution, nor is it certain whether 
it is ever alluded to by Sprot under examination. 
But it is dated from Fastcastle on July 18, and tells 
the unknown conspirator that Logan has just heard 
from Gowrie. It follows that Logan had heard from 
Gowrie on July 18 at Fastcastle, that he thence rode 



THE LAIRD AND THE NOTARY 185 

to Edinburgh, and from Edinburgh wrote his letter 
(II) to Bower, bidding Bower hasten to Edinburgh, 
to consult. This is absurd. Logan would have 
summoned Bower from Fastcastle, much nearer 
Bower's home than Edinburgh. Again, in Letter I, 
Logan informs the unknown man that he is to answer 
Gowrie ' within ten days at furthest.' That being so, 
he does not need Bower in such a hurry, unless it be 
to carry the letter to the Unknown. But, in that 
case, he would have summoned Bower from Fast- 
castle, he would not have ridden to Edinburgh and 
summoned him thence. Once more, Sprot later 
confessed, as we shall see, that this letter to Bower 
was dictated to himself by Logan, and that the copy 
produced, apparently in Logan's hand, was forged by 
him from the letter as dictated to him. He thus 
contradicted his earlier statement that Letter II was 
shown to him by Bower. He never says that he was 
in Edinburgh with Logan on July 18. Besides, it is 
not conceivable that, by dictating Letter II to Sprot, 
Logan would have voluntarily put himself in the 
power of the notary. 

This is a fair example of Sprot's apparently 
purposeless lying. His real interest throughout was 
to persuade the Government that he was giving them 
genuine Logan letters. This, however, he denied, 
with truth, yet he lied variously about the nature of 
his confessed forgeries. 

Sprot was so false, that Government might con- 
ceive his very confession of having forged the letters 



186 THE GOWRIE MYSTERY 

to be untrue. The skill in handwriting of that age 
could not detect them for impostures ; Government 
might deem that he had stolen genuine letters from 

C_2 C_J 

Bower ; letters which might legitimately be produced 
as evidence. Indeed this charitable view is perhaps 
confirmed by the extraordinary fact, to be later 
proved, that three Edinburgh ministers, Mr. Hall, 
Mr. Hewat, and Mr. Galloway, with Mr. Lumisden, 
minister of Duddingston, were present on occasions 
when Sprot confessed to having forged the letters. 
Yet these four preachers said nothing, as far as we 
hear, when the letters, confessedly forged, were pro- 
duced as evidence, in 1609, to ruin Logan's innocent 
child. Did the preachers think the letters genuine 
in spite of the confession that they were forged ? 
We shall see later, in any case, that the contents of 
the three letters to the Unknown, and a torn letter, 
when compared with Letter IV, demonstrate that 
Sprot's final confession to having forged them on the 
model of IV is true ; indeed the fact ought to have 
been discovered, on internal evidence, even by critics 
unaware of his confessions. 

We now pursue Sprot's written deposition of 
July 5. He gives, as grounds of his knowledge of 
Logan's guilt, certain conversations among Logan's 
intimates, yeomen or ' bonnet lairds,' or servants, 
from which he inferred that Logan was engaged in 
treason. Again, just before Logan's death in July 
1606, he was delirious, and raved of forfeiture. 
But Losan had been engaged in various treasons, so 

* 



THE LAIED AND THE NOTARY 187 

his ravings need not refer to the Gowrie affair. He 
had been on Bothwell's enterprises, and had privy 
dealings with ' Percy,' probably Thomas Percy, 
who, in 1602, secretly visited Hume of Manderston, 
a kinsman of Logan. That intrigue was certainly 
connected merely with James's succession to the 
English crown. But one of Logan's retainers, when 
this affair of Percy was spoken of among them, said, 
according to Sprot, that the Laird had been engaged 
in treason ' nearer home.' 

Sprot then writes that ' about the time of the 
conspiracy,' Logan, with Matthew Logan, rode to 
Dundee, where they enjoyed a three days' drinking 
bout, and never had the Laird such a surfeit of wine. 
But this jaunt could not be part of the Gowrie plot, 
and probably occurred after its failure. Later, 
Sprot gave a different version of Logan's conduct 
immediately before and after Gowrie's death. Once 
more, after Logan's death, one Wallace asked Sprot 
to be silent, if ever he had heard of ' the Laird's con- 
spiracy.' Sprot ended by confessing contritely that 
he had forged all the letters (except Letter IV) ' to the 
true meaning and purpose of the letter that Bower let 
me see,' a passage already quoted, and a falsehood. 

What was the ' cause ' for which Sprot forged ? 
It was a purpose to blackmail, not Logan, but 
Logan's heirs or executors, one of whom was Lord 
Home. If Sprot wanted to get anything out of them, 
he could terrify them by threatening to show the 
forged Logan letters, as genuine, to the Government, 



188 THE GOWRIE MYSTERY 

so securing the ruin of Logan's heirs by forfeiture. 

o o / 

He did not do this himself, but he gave forged letters, 
for money, to men who were in debt to the dead 
Logan's estate, and who might use the letters to 

o o 

extort remission of what they owed. 

On July 15, Sprot was examined before Dunferm- 
line, Dunbar, Hart, the King's Advocate (Sir Thomas 
Hamilton), and other gentlemen. He said that, about 
July 6, 1600, Logan received a letter from Gowrie, 
which, two days later, Bower showed to him at Fast- 
castle. This is the harmless Gowrie letter, which 
Sprot now quoted from memory, as it is printed in 
Hart's official account. 

Now begins a new puzzle, caused by Sprot's 
dates. Of these we can only give a conjectural 
version, for the sake of argument. Logan received 
a letter from Gowrie about July 6, 1600. He 
returned a reply, by Bower, but when did Bower 
start with the reply ? Let us say on July 9. Bower 
returned, says Sprot, ' within five days,' with ' a 
new letter ' from Gowrie. That would bring us to 
July 14, but in Letters I and II, dated July 18, 
Logan is informing his unknown correspondent, and 
Bower, of the receipt of ' a new letter ' from Gowrie. 
Why inform Bower of this, if Bower was the bearer 
of the new letter ? But the ' new letter ' mentioned 
in Letters I and II was brought by a retainer of 
Gowrie. In any case, supposing byway of conjecture 
that Bower returned from Gowrie about July 15, he 
spent the night, says Sprot, with Logan at Gunnis- 



THE LAIRD AND TPIE NOTARY 189 

green, and next day (July 16) rode to Edinburgh 
with Bower, Boig of Lochend, and Matthew Logan. 
In Edinburgh he remained ' a certain short space/ 
say four days, which would bring us to July 20. 
Needless to say that this does not fit Letter II, 
Logan to Bower, July 18, and Letter I, Logan to 
the Unknown, Fastcastle, July 18. 

After Logan's return from Edinburgh (which, 
according to Sprot, seems to be of about July 20) 
Sprot heard Logan and Bower discuss some scheme 
by which Logan should get Gowrie's estate of Dirle- 
ton, without payment. Bower said nothing could be 
done till Logan rode west himself. He discouraged 
the whole affair, but Loi?an said, in the hearing of 

o o 

several persons, that he would hazard his life with 
Gowrie. Lady Eestalrig blamed Bower for making 
Logan try to sell the lands of Fastcastle (they were 
not sold till 1602), of which Bower protested his 
innocence. This was after Logan's return from 
Edinburgh (say July 20 ; that is, say five days after 
Logan's return, say July 25). Bower and Logan had 
a long conference in the open air. Sprot was 
lounging and spying about beside the river ; a sea- 
fisher had taken a basket of blenneys, or 'green- 
banes.' Logan called to Sprot to bring him the fish, 
and they all supped. Before supper, however, Sprot 
walked about with Bower, and tried to ' pump ' him 
as to what was going forward. Bower said that 
'the Laird should get Dirleton without either gold 
or silver, but he feared it should be as dear to him. 



190 THE GOWRIE MYSTERY 

They had another pie in hand than the selling of 
land.' Bower then asked Sprot not to meddle, for 
he feared that 4 in a few days the Laird would be 
either landless or lifeless.' 

Certainly this is a vivid description ; Bower and 
Logan were sitting on a bench ' at the byre end ; ' 
Sprot, come on the chance of a supper, was peeping 
and watching ; Peter Mason, the angler, at the river 
side, ' near the stepping stones,' had his basket of 
blenneys on his honest back, his rod or net in his 
hand ; the Laird was calling for the fish, was taking 
a drink, and, we hope, offering a drink to Mason. 
Then followed the lounge and the talk with Bower 
before supper, all in the late afternoon of a July day, 
the yellow light sleeping on the northern sea below. 
Vivid this is, and plausible, but is it true ? 

We have reached the approximate date of July 25 
(though, of course, after an interval of eight years, 
Sprot's memory of dates must be vague). Next day 
(July 26) Logan, with Bower and others, rode to 
Nine Wells (where David Hume the philosopher was 
born), thence, the same night, back to Gunnisgreen, 
next night, July 27, to Fastcastle, and thence to 
Edinburgh. This brings us (allowing freely for error 
of memory) to about July 27, ' the hinder end of 
July,' says Sprot. If we make allowance for a 
vagueness of four or five days, this does not fit in 
badly. Logan's letter to Gowrie (No. IV), which 
Sprot finally said that he used as a model for his 
forgeries, is dated ' Gunnisgreen, July 29.' 'At the 



THE LAIRD AND THE NOTARY 191 

beginning of August,' says Sprot (clearly there are 
four or five days lost in the reckoning), Logan and 
Bower, with Matthew Logan and Willie Crockett, 
rode to Edinburgh, ' and there stayed three days, and 
the Laird, with Matthew Logan, came home, and Bower 
came to his own house of the Brockholes, where he 
stayed four days,' and then was sent for by Logan, 
' and the Laird was very sad and sorry,' obviously 
because of the failure of the plot on August 5. 

How do these dates fit into the narrative ? Logan 
was at Gunnisgreen (his letter (IV) proves it) on 
July 29. (Later we show another error of Sprot's 
on this point.) He writes that he is sending Bower 
as bearer of his letter to Gowrie. If Bower left 
Edinburgh on July 30, he could deliver the letter to 
Gowrie, at Perth, on August 2, and be back in Edin- 
burgh (whither Logan now went) on August 5, and 
Logan could leave Edinburgh on August 6, after 
hearing of the deaths of his fellow-conspirators. We 
must not press Sprot too hard as to dates so remote 
in time. We may grant that Bower, bearing Logan's 
letter of July 29, rode with Logan and the others to 
Edinburgh ; that at Edinburgh Logan awaited his 
return, with a reply ; that he thence learned that 
August 5 was the day for the enterprise, and that, 
early on August 6, he heard of its failure, and rode 
sadly home : all this being granted for the sake of 
argument. 

Had the news of August 6 been that the King 
had mysteriously disappeared, we may conceive that 



192 THE GOWRIE MYSTERY 

Logan would have hurried to Dirleton, met the 
Buthvens there, with their prisoner, and sailed with 
them to Fastcastle. Or he might have made direct 
to Fastcastle, and welcomed them there. His reason 
for being at Bestalrig or in the Canongate was to 
get the earliest news from Perth, brought across 
Fife, and from Bruntisland to Leith. 

Whether correct or not, this scheme, allowing for 
lapse of memory as to dates, is feasible. Who can, 
remote from any documents, remember the dates of 
occurrences all through a month now distant by 
eight years ? There were no daily newspapers, no 
ready means of ascertaining a date. Queen Mary's 
accusers, in their chronological account of her move- 
ments about the time of Darnley's death, are often 
out in their dates. In legal documents of the period 
the date of the day of the month of an event is often 
left blank. This occurs in the confirmation of 
Logan's own will. 'He died July, 1606.' When 
lawyers with plenty of leisure for inquiry were thus 
at a loss for dates of days of the month (having since 
the Reformation no Saints' days to go by), Sprot, in 
prison, might easily go wrong in his chronology. 

In any case, taking Letter IV provisionally as 
genuine in substance, we note that, on July 29, Logan 
did not yet know the date fixed for Gowrie's enter- 
prise. He suggested ' the beginning of harvest,' and, 
by August 5, harvest had begun. One of the Perth 
witnesses was reaping in the ' Morton haugh,' when 
he heard the town bell call the citizens to arms. But 



THE LAIRD AND THE NOTAEY 193 

Gowrie must have acted in great haste, Logan not 
knowing, till, say, August 2 or 3, the date of a plot 
that exploded on August 5. 

Gowrie may have thought, as Lord Maxwell said 
when arranging his escape from Edinburgh Castle, 
'Sic interprysis are nocht effectuat with delibera- 
tionis and advisments, bot with suddane resolu- 
tionis.' 

It is very important, we must freely admit, as 
an argument against the theory of carrying James to 
Logan's impregnable keep of Fastcastle, that only 
one question, in our papers, is asked as to the 
provisioning of Fastcastle, and that merely as to the 
supply of drink ! Possibly this had been ascer- 
tained in Sprot's earlier and unrecorded examinations 
(April 19-July 5). One poor hogshead of wine (a 
trifle to Logan) had been sent in that summer ; 
so Matthew Logan deponed. As Logan had often 
used Fastcastle before, for treasonable purposes, 
he was not (it may be supposed) likely to leave it 
without provisions. Moreover these could be brought 
by sea, from Dirleton, where Carey (August 11) 
says that Gowrie had stored ' all his provision.' 
Moreover Government did not wish to prove in- 
tent to kidnap the King. That was commonly 
regarded as a harmless constitutional practice, not 
justifying the slaughter of the Euthvens. From 
the first, Government insisted that murder was in- 
tended. In the Latin indictment of the dead Logan 
this is again dwelt on ; Fastcastle is only to be the 

o 



194 THE GOWRIE MYSTERY 

safe haven of the murderers. This is a misreading 
of Letter IV, where Fastcastle is merely spoken of 
as to be used for a meeting, and ' the concluding 
of our plot.' 

Thus it cannot be concealed that, on July 29 
(granting Letter IV to have a basis), the plot, as 
far as Logan knew, was ' in the air.' If Fastcastle 
was to be used by the conspirators, it must have 
been taken in the rough, on the chance that it 
was provided, or that Gowrie could bring his own 
supplies from Dirleton by sea. This extreme vague- 
ness undeniably throws great doubt on Logan's part 
in the plot ; Letter IV, if genuine, being the source 
of our perplexity. But, if it is not genuine, that is, 
in substance, there is only rumour, later to be dis- 
cussed, to hint that Logan was in any way connected 
with Gowrie. 

We left Bower and Logan conversing dolefully 
some da}^s after the failure of the plot. At this point 
the perhaps insuperable difficulty arises, why did 
they not, as soon as they returned from Edinburgh, 
destroy every inch of paper connected with the con- 
spiracy ? One letter at least (Logan's to Gowrie, 
July 29) was not burned, according to Sprot, but 
was later stolen by himself from Bower ; though he 
reserved this confession to the last day of his life but 
two. We might have expected Logan to take the 
letter from Bower as soon as they met, and to burn 
or, for that matter, swallow it if no fire was con- 
venient ! Yet, according to Sprot, in his final con- 



THE LAIRD AND THE NOTAEY 195 

fession, Logan let Bower keep the damning paper for 
months. If this be true, we can only say quos Dem 
vult perdere prim dementat. People do keep damning 
letters, constant experience proves the fact. 

After Bower had met Logan in his melancholy 
mood, he rode away, and remained absent for four 
days, on what errand Sprot did not know, and 
during the next fortnight, while Scotland was ring- 
ing with the Gowrie tragedy, Sprot saw nothing of 
Logan. 

Next, Loo'an went to church at Coldino-hame, on 

O O 

a Sunday, and met Bower : next day they dined to- 
gether at Gunnisgreen. Bower was gloomy. Logan 
said, ' Be it as it will, I must take my fortune, and 
I will tell you, Laird Bower, the scaffold is the 
best death that a man can die.' Logan, if he said 
this, must have been drunk ; he very often was. 

It was at this point, in answer to a question, 
that Sprot confessed that Logan's letter to Bower 
(No. II) was a forgery by himself. The actual letter, 
Sprot said, was dictated by Logan to him, and he 
made a counterfeit copy in imitation of Logan's 
handwriting. We have stated the difficulties in- 
volved . in this obvious falsehood. Sprot was trying 
every ruse to conceal his alleged source and model, 
Letter IV. 

Sprot was next asked about a certain memoran- 
dum by Logan directed to Bower and to one John 
Bell, in 1605. This document was actually found in 
Sprot's c pocquet ' when he was arrested, and it con- 

o 2 



196 THE GOWBIE MYSTERY 

tained certain very compromising items. Sprot re- 
plied that lie forged the memorandum, in the autumn 
of 1606, when he forged the other letters. He copied 
most of it from an actual but innocent note of 
Logan's on business matters, and added the compro- 
mising items out of his own invention. He made three 
copies of this forgery, one was produced ; he gave 
another to a man named Heddilstane or Heddilshaw, 
a dweller in Berwick, in September 1607 ; the third, 
' in course hand,' he gave to another client, ' the 
goodman of Eentoun,' Hume. One was to be used 
to terrorise Logan's executors, to whom Heddil- 
stane, but not Eentoun, was in debt. Sprot's words 
are important. 'He omitted nothing that was in 
the original' (Logan's memorandum on business 
matters), ' but elicit ' (added) ' two articles to his copy, 
the one concerning Ninian Chirnside ' (as to a 
dangerous plot-letter lost by Bower), ' the other, where 
the Laird ordered Bower to tear his missive letters. 
He grants that he wrote another copy with his course 
hand, copied from his copy, and gave it to the good- 
man of Eentoun,' while the copy given to Heddil- 
stane ' was of his counterfeited writing,' an imitation 
of Logan's hand. 

Perhaps Sprot had two methods and scales of 
blackmail. For one, he invented damning facts, and 
wrote them out in imitation of Logan's writing. The 
other species was cheaper : a copy in his ' course 
hand' of his more elaborate forgeries in Logan's 
hand. Now the two copies of Letters I and IV, 







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HANDWRITING OF LOGAN 
(Jauuary 1585-6) 



p. 196. 



THE LAIRD AND THE NOTARY 197 

which, at the end of his life, as we shall see, Sprot 
attested by signed endorsements, were in his ' course 
hand.' He had them ready for customers, when he 
was arrested in April 1608, and they were doubt- 
less found in his ' kist ' on the day before his death, 
with the alleged original of Letter IV. Up to 
August 11, at a certain hour, Government had 
neither the alleged original, nor Sprot's ' course 
hand copy ' of Letter IV, otherwise he would not 
have needed to quote IV from memory, as he did 
on that occasion. 

Among these minor forgeries, to be used in 
blackmailing operations, was a letter nominally from 
Logan to one Ninian or Eingan Chirnside. This man 
was a member of the family of Chirnside of Easter 
Chirnside ; his own estate was Whitsumlaws. All 
these Chirnsides and Humes of Berwickshire were a 
turbulent and lawless gang, true borderers. Ninian 
is addressed, by Logan, as ' brother ; ' they were 
most intimate friends. It was Ninian who (as the 
endorsement shows) produced our Letter V, on 
April 19 ; he had purchased it, for the usual ends, 
from Sprot, being a great debtor (as Logan's will 
proves) to his estate. 

To track these men through the background of 
history is to have a notion of the Day of Judgment. 
Old forgotten iniquities and adventures leap to light. 
Chirnside, like Logan and the Douglases of Whitt- 
ingham, and John Colville, and the Laird of Spot, 
had followed the fortunes of wild Frank Stewart, 



198 THE GOWKIE MYSTERY 

Earl of Bothwell, and nephew of the Bothwell of 
Queen Mary. Frank Bothwell was driven into his 
perilous courses by a charge of practising witch- 
craft against the Kind's life. Absurd as this sounds, 

~ o 

Bothwell had probably tried it for what it was worth. 
When he was ruined, pursued, driven, child of the 
Kirk as he seemed, into the Catholic faction, his old 
accomplice, Colville, took a solemn farewell of him. 
' By me your lordship was cleared of the odious im- 
putation of witchcraft .... but God only knows 
how far I hazarded my conscience in making black 
white, and darkness light for your sake ' (Sep- 
tember 12, 1594). 1 

After Bothwell, when he trapped the King by aid 
of Lady Gowrie (July 1593), recovered power for a 
while, he defended himself on this charge of witch- 
craft. He had consulted and employed the wizard, 
Eichard Graham, who now accused him of attempt- 
ing the King's life by sorcery. But he had only 
employed Graham to heal the Earl of Angus, himself 
dying of witchcraft. Bothwell was charged with 
employing a retainer, Ninian Chirnside, to arrange 
more than twenty-one meetings with the wizard 
Graham ; the result being the procurement of a poison, 
' adder skins, toad skins, and the hippomanes in the 
brain of a vouno* foal.' to ooze the uiices on the 

/ o */ 

King, ' a poison of such vehemency as should have 
presently cut him off.' Isobel Gowdie, accused of 
witchcraft in 1622, confessed to having employed 

1 Hatfield Calendar ', iv. 659. 



THE LAIRD AND THE NOTARY 199 

a similar charm. 1 All this Bothwell, instructed by 
Colville, denied, but admitted that he had sent Ninian 
Chirnside twice to the wizard, all in the interests of 
the dying Earl of Angus. 2 

This Chirnside, then, was a borderer prone to 
desperate enterprises and darkling rides, and mid- 
night meetings with the wizard Graham in lonely 
shepherds' cottages, as was alleged. He could also 
sink to blackmailing the orphan child of his ' brother,' 
Logan of Eestalrig. 

To go on with Sprot's confessions ; he had forged, 
he said, receipts from Logan to the man named 
Edward or Ned Heddilstane for some of the money 
which Heddilstane owed him. For these forgeries 
his client paid him well, if not willingly. Sprot 
frequently blackmailed Ned, ' whenever he want 
siller.' 

It must be granted that Sprot was a liar so com- 
plex, and a forger so skilled (for the time, that is), that 
nothing which he said or produced can be reckoned, 
as such, as evidence. On the other hand, his power of 
describing or inventing scenes, real or fictitious, was 
of high artistic merit, so that he appears occasionally 
either to deviate into truth, or to have been a real- 
istic novelist born centuries too early. Why then, 
it may be asked, do we doubt that Sprot may have 
forged, without a genuine model, Letter IV? The 
answer will appear in due time. Letter IV, as Sprot 
confessed, is certainly the model of all the letters 

1 Pitcairn, iii. Appendix vii. 2 Border Calendar, i. 486, 487. 



200 THE GOWRIE MYSTERY 

which he forged, whether those produced or those 
suppressed. He was afraid to wander from his 
model, which he repeated in Letters I (?), Ill, V, 
and in the unproduced letters, including one which 
we have found in twelve torn fragments, with the 
signature missing. 



201 



XV 

THE FINAL CONFESSIONS OF THE NOTAEY 

ON July 16, Sprot was again examined. Spottis- 
woode, Archbishop of Glasgow, the historian, was 
present, on this occasion only, with Dunfermline, 
Dunbar, Sir Thomas Hamilton, Hart, and other 
nobles and officials. None of them signs the record, 
which, in this case only, is merely attested by the 
signature of Primrose, the Clerk of Council, one of 
Lord Eosebery's family. In this session Sprot said 
nothing about forging the letters. The Archbishop 
was not to know. 

Asked if he had any more reminiscences, Sprot 
said that, in November 1602, Fastcastle having been 
sold, Logan asked Bower ' for God's sake ' to bring 
him any of the letters about the Gowrie affair which 
he might have in keeping. Bower said that he had 
no dangerous papers except one letter from Alex- 
ander Euthven, and another from ' Mr. Andro Clerk.' 
This Clerk was a Jesuit, who chiefly dealt between 
Spain and the Scotch Catholics. He was involved 
in the affair called ' The Spanish Blanks' (1593), and 
visited the rebel Catholic peers of the North, Angus, 



202 THE GOWRIE MYSTERY 

Errol, and Huntly. 1 Logan, like Bothwell, was 
ready to intrigue either with the Kirk or the Jesuits, 
and he seems to have had some personal acquaintance 
with Father Andrew. 

Bower left Logan, to look for these letters at his 
own house at Brockholes, and Logan passed a night 
of sleepless anxiety. One of the mysteries of the 
case is that Logan entrusted Bower, who could not 
read, with all his papers. If one of them was needed, 
Bower had to employ a person who could read to 
find it : probably he used, as a rule, the help of his 
better educated son, Valentine. After Logan's rest- 
less night, Bower returned with the two letters, 
Euthven's and Clerk's, which Logan ' burned in the 
fire.' 

(Let it be remembered that Sprot has not yet 
introduced Letter IV into his depositions, though 
that was by far the most important.) 

After burning Clerk's and Euthven's letters, 

o 

Logan dictated to Sprot a letter to John Baillie of 
Littlegill, informing him of the fact. Bower rode 
off with the letter, and Logan bade Sprot be silent 
about all these things, for he had learned, from 
Bower, that Sprot knew a good deal. Here the 
amat ;ur of the art of fiction asks, why did Sprot 
drag in Mr. John Baillie of Littlegill ? If Logan, as 
Sprot swore, informed Baillie about the burned 
letters, then Baillie had a guilty knowledge of the 
conspiracy. Poor Baillie was instantly ' put in ward ' 

1 Thorpe, ii. 614, 616, 617. Border Calendar, i. 457. 



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HAND OF LOGAN AS FORGED BY SPROT 
(Second page of Letter I V) 



p. 202. 



THE FINAL CONFESSIONS OF THE NOTARY 203 

under the charge of the Earl of Dunfermline. But, 
011 the day after Sprot was hanged, namely on 
August 13, Baillie was set free, on bail of 10,000 
marks to appear before the Privy Council if called 
upon. Three of Sprot's other victims, Maul, Crock- 
ett, and William Galloway, were set free on their 
personal recognisances, but Mossman and Matthew 
Logan were kept in prison, and Chirnside was not 
out of danger of the law for several years, as we 
learn from the Privy Council Eegister. Nothing 
was ever proved against any of these men. After 
the posthumous trial of Logan (June 1609) the King- 
bade the Council discharge John Baillie from his 
bail, ' as we rest now fully persuaded that there was 
no just cause of imputation against the said John.' 
So the Eeaister of the Privy Council informs us. 1 

**; \J 

Thus, if Sprot told the truth about all these men, 
no corroborative facts were discovered, while the 
only proofs of his charges against Logan were the 
papers which, with one exception, he confessed to 
be forgeries, executed by himself, for purposes of 
extortion. 

To ^o on with his confessions : The Christmas 

c_? 

of 1602 arrived, and ' The Laird keepit ane great 
Yule at Gunnisgreen.' On the third day of the 
feast, Logan openly said to Bower, at table, ' I shall 
sleep better this night than that night when I sent 
you for the letters ' (in November), ' for now I am 
sure that none of these matters will ever come to 

1 Privy Council Eegister, viii. 150-2, 605. 



204 THE GOWRTE MYSTERY 

further light, if you be true.' Bower answered, 
' I protest before God I shall be counted the most 
damnable traitor in the world, if any man on earth 
know, for I have buried them.' 

After supper, Bower and Logan called Sprot out 
on to the open hill-side. Logan said that Bower 
confessed to having shown Sprot a letter of Gowrie's. 
What, he asked, did Sprot think of the matter ? 
Sprot, with protestations of loyalty, said that he 
thought that Logan had been in the Gowrie con- 

o O 

spiracy. Logan then asked for an oath of secrecy, 
promising ' to be the best sight you ever saw,' and 
taking out 121. (Scots) bade Sprot buy corn for his 
children. Asked who were present at the scene of the 
supper, Sprot named eight yeomen. ' The lady ' (Lady 
Eestalrig) ' was also present at table that night, and 
at her rising she said, " The Devil delight in such a 
feast, that will make all the children weep hereafter," 
and this she spoke, as she went past the end of the 
table. And, after entering the other chamber, she 
wept a while, ' and we saw her going up and down the 
chamber weeping.' 

A fortnight later, Lady Eestalrig blamed Bower 
for the selling of Fastcastle. Bower appealed to 
Logan ; it was Logan's fault, not his. ' One of two 
things,' said Bower, ' must make you sell your lands ; 
either you think your children are bastards, or you 
have planned some treason.' The children were not 
those of Lady Eestalrig, but by former marriages. 
Logan replied, ' If I had all the land between the 



THE FINAL CONFESSIONS OF THE NOTARY 205 

Orient and the Occident, I would sell the same, and, 
if I could not get money for it, I would give it to good 
fellows.' On another occasion Logan said to Bower, 
' I am for no land, I told you before and will tell you 
again. You have not learned the art of memory.' 

In fact, Logan did sell, not only Fastcastle, but 
Flemington and Eestalrig. We know how the Scot 
then clung to his acres. Why did Logan sell all ? 
It does not appear, as we have shown, that he was in 
debt. If he had been, his creditors would have had 
him ' put to the horn,' proclaimed a recalcitrant 
debtor, and the record thereof would be found in the 
Privy Council Eegister. But there is no such matter. 
Sprot supposed that Logan wished to turn his estates 
into money, to be ready for flight, if the truth ever 
came out. The haste to sell all his lands is certainly 
a suspicious point against Logan. He kept on giving 
Sprot money (hush money, and for forgeries to 
defraud others, sometimes) and taking Sprot's oath of 
secrecy. 

A remarkable anecdote follows ; remarkable on 
this account. In the letter (II) which Logan is said 
by Sprot to have written to Bower (July 18, 1600) 
occurs the phrase, ' Keep all things very secret, that 
my lord my brother get no knowledge of our purposes, 
for I rather be eirdit quik ' would rather be buried 
alive (p. 184). This ' my lord my brother ' is obviously 
meant for Alexander, sixth Lord Home, whose father, 
the fifth lord, had married Agnes, sister of Patrick, 
sixth Lord Gray, and widow of Sir Eobert Logan of 



206 THE GOWRIE MYSTERY 

Eestalrig. By Sir Eobert, Lady Eestalrig had a son, 
the Loo'an of this affair ; and, when, after Sir Eobert's 

C_J 

death, she married the fifth Lord Home, she had to 
him a son, Alexander, sixth Lord Home. Our Logan 
and the sixth Lord Home were, therefore, brothers 
uterine. 1 

Now, if we accept as genuine (in substance) the 
one letter which Sprot declared to be really written 
by Logan (No. IV), Gowrie was anxious that Home, 
a person of great importance, Warden on the Border, 
should be initiated into the conspiracy. As Gowrie 
had been absent from Scotland, between August 1594 
(when he, as a lad, was in league with the wild king- 
catcher, Francis Stewart of Bothwell), and May 1600, 
we ask, what did Gowrie know of Home, and why 
did he think him an useful recruit ? The answer is 
that (as we showed in another connection, p. 130) 
Gowrie was in Paris in February- April 1600, that 
Home was also in Paris at the same time (arriv- 
ing in Scotland, at his house of Douglas, April 18, 
1600), and that Home did not go to Court, on his 
return, owing to the King's displeasure because of 
his ' try sting 'with Bothwell' in Brussels. 2 

Here then we have, in March 1600, Gowrie and 
Home, in Paris, and Bothwell, the King-catcher, 
meeting Home in Brussels. Therefore, when Letter 
IV represents Gowrie as anxious to bring Home, 

1 Pitcairn, ii. 287, n 2. 

2 Neville to Cecil, Paris, Feb. 27, 1600. Willoughby to Cecil, 
Berwick, April 22, 1600. Winwood Memorials, p. 166. Border 
Calendar, ii. 645. 



THE FINAL CONFESSIONS OF THE NOTARY 207 

who had been consulting Bothwell, into his plot, 
nothing can be more natural. Gowrie himself 
conceivably met his old rebellious ally, Bothwell ; 
he was certain to meet Home in Paris, and Home, 
owning Douglas Castle and Home Castle near the 
Border, would have been a most serviceable assistant. 
It must also be remembered that Home was, at heart, 
a Catholic, a recent and reluctant Protestant convert, 
6 compelled to come in,' by the Kirk. Bothwell was 
a Catholic ; Gowrie, he declared, was another ; Logan 
was a trafficker with Jesuits, and an ' idolater ' in 
the matter of ' keeping great Yules.' Logan, how- 
ever, if Letter IV is genuine, in substance, wrote 
that he ' utterly dissented ' from Gowrie's opinion. 
He would not try his brother's, Home's, mind in 
the matter, or ' consent that he ever should be 
counsellor thereto, for, in good faith, he will never 
help his friend, nor harm his foe.' 

Such being the relations (if we accept Letter IV 
as in substance genuine) between Gowrie, Home, and 
Logan, we can appreciate Sprot's anecdote, now to 
be given, concerning Lady Home. Logan, -according 
to Sprot, said to him, in Edinburgh, early in 1602, 
6 Thou rememberest what my Lady Home said to me, 
when she would not suffer my lord to subscribe my 
contract for Fentoun, because I would not allow two 
thousand marks to be kept out of the security, and 
take her word for them ? She said to me, which was 
a great knell to my heart, that since her coming to the 
town, she knew that I had been in some dealing with 



208 THE GOWRIE MYSTERY 

the Earl of Gowrie about Dirleton.' Now Dirleton, 
according to Sprot, was to have been Logan's pay- 
ment from Gowrie, for his aid in the plot. 

Logan then asked Sprot if he had blabbed to 
Lady Home, but Sprot replied that ' he had never 
spoken to her Ladyship but that same day, although 
he had read the contract ' (as to Fentoun) ' before 
him and her in the abbey.' of Coldingham, probably. 
Logan then requested Sprot to keep out of Lady 
Home's sight, lest she should ask questions, 'for I 
had rather be eirdit quick than either my Lord or she 
knew anything of it! 

Now, in Letter II (July 18, 1600), from Logan to 
Bower, Logan, as we saw, is made to write, ' See 
that my Lord, my brother, gets no knowledge of our 
purposes, for I (sic) rather be eirdit quik' The phrase 
recurs in another of the forged letters not produced 
in court. 

It is thus a probable inference that Logan did use 
this expression to Sprot, in describing the conversa- 
tion about Lady Home, and that Sprot inserted it 
into his forged Letter II (Logan to Bower). But, 
clever as Sprot was, he is scarcely likely to have 
invented the conversation of Logan with Lady Home, 
arising out of Logan's attempt to do some business 
with Lord Home about Fentoun. A difficulty, raised 
by Lady Home, led up to the lady's allusion to 
Dirleton, c which was a great knell to my heart,' said 
Logan. This is one of the passages which indicate 
a basis of truth in the confessions of Sprot. Again, 



THE FINAL CONFESSIONS OF THE NOTARY 209 

as Home and Gowrie were in Paris together, while 
Bothwell was in Brussels, in February 1600, and as 
Home certainly, and Gowrie conceivably, met Both- 
well, it may well have been that Gowrie heard of 
Logan from Bothwell, the old ally of both, and marked 
him as a ' useful hand. Moreover, he could not but 
have heard of Logan's qualities and his keep, Fast- 
castle, in the troubles and conspiracies of 1592-1594. 

After making these depositions, Sprot attested 
them, with phrases of awful solemnity, ' were I pre- 
sently within one hour to die.' He especially insisted 
that he had written, to Logan's dictation, the letter 
informing John Baillie of Littlegill that all Gowrie's 
papers were burned. As we saw, in November 1609, 
the King deliberately cleared Baillie of all suspicion. 
There could be no evidence. Bower, the messenger, 
was dead. 

Baillie was now called. He denied on oath that 
he had ever received the letter from Logan. He had 
never seen Gowrie, ' except on the day he came first 
home, and rode up the street of Edinburgh.' Con- 
fronted with Baillie, ' Sprot abides by his deposition.' 

Willie Crockett was then called. He had been at 
Logan's ' great Yule ' in Gunnisgreen, where Logan, 
according to Sprot, made the imprudent speeches. 
Crockett had also been at Dundee with Logan, he 
said, but it was in the summer of 1603. He 
did not hear Logan's imprudent speech to Bower, 
at the Yule supper. As to the weeping of Lady 
Eestalrig, he had often seen her weep, and heard her 

P 



210 THE GOAVRIE MYSTERY 

declare that Logan would ruin his family. He only 
remembered, as to the Yule supper, a quarrel be- 
tween Loiran and Willie Home. 

o 

This was the only examination at which Arch- 
bishop Spottiswoode attended. Neither he nor any 
of the Lords (as we have said already) signed the 
record, which is attested only by James Primrose, 
Clerk of Council, signing at the foot of each page. 
Had the Lords ' quitted the diet ' ? 

The next examination was held on July 22, Dun- 
fermline, Dunbar, Sir Thomas Hamilton, the President 
of the Court of Session, and other officials, all lay- 
men, being present. Sprot incidentally remarked that 
Logan visited London, in 1603, after King James 
ascended the English throne. Logan appears to have 
gone merely for pleasure ; he had seen London before, 
in the winter of 1586. On his return he said that 
he would ' never bestow a groat on such vanities ' 
as the celebration of the King's holiday, August 5, 
the anniversary of the Gowrie tragedy ; adding 
' when the King has cut off all the noblemen of the 
country he will live at ease.' But many citizens 
disliked the 5th of August holiday as much as Logan 
did. 

In the autumn of 1605, Logan again visited Lon- 
don. In Sprot's account of his revels there, and his 
bad reception, we have either proof of Logan's guilt, 
if the tale be true, or high testimony to Sprot's powers 
as an artist in fiction. He says that Matthew Logan 
accompanied the Laird to town in September 1605, and 










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HANDWRITING OF SPROT 
(July 5, 1COS) 



p. 210. 



THE FINAL CONFESSIONS OF THE NOTARY 211 

in November was sent back with letters to Bower. 
Eight days later, Matthew took Sprot to Coldingham, 
to meet Bower, and get his answer to the letters. It 
was a Sunday ; these devotees heard sermon, and 
then dined together at John Corsar's. After dinner 
Bower took Sprot apart, and showed him two letters. 
Would Sprot read to him the first few words, that he 
might know which letter he had to answer ? The 
first letter shown (so Sprot writes on the margin of 
his recorded deposition) referred to the money owed 
to Logan, by the Earl of Dunbar, for Gunnisgreen 
and the lands of Flemington. Logan had expected 
to get the purchase money from Dunbar in London ; 
he never got more than 18,000 out of 33,000 marks. 
Sprot wrote for Bower the answer to this business 
letter, and gave it to Matthew Logan to be sent to 
Logan in London. Matthew, being interrogated, 
denied that he sent any letter back to Logan, though 
he owned that Sprot wrote one ; and he denied that 
Sprot and Bower had any conference at all on the 
occasion. But Sprot had asserted that the conference 
with Bower occurred after Matthew Logan left them 
at Corsar's house, where they dined, as Matthew ad- 
mitted, after sermon. Matthew denied too much. 

A curious conference it was. Bower asked Sprot 
to read to him the other of Logan's two letters, 
directed to himself. It ran, ' Laird Bower, I wot 
not what I should say or think of this world ! It is 
very hard to trust in any man, for apparently there 
is no constancy or faithfulness. For since I cam 



212 THE GOWRIE MYSTERY 

here they whom I thought to have been my most 
entire friends have uttered to me most injurie, and 
have given me the defiance, and say I am not worthy 
to live, u and if the King heard what has moved you 
to put away all your lands, and debosch yourself, you 
would not make such merryness, and play the com- 
panion in London, as you do so near his Majestie." 

Logan went on to express his fear that Bower's rash 
speeches had roused these suspicions of ' the auld 
misterie ye ken of.' ' God forgive you, but I have 
had no rest since these speeches were upcast to me/ 
Bower was to take o-reat care of this letter, ' for it 

o 

is within three letters enclosed,' and is confided to 
Matthew Logan (who travelled by sea) as a trusty 
man. 

Bower was much moved by this melancholy 
letter, and denied that he had been gossiping. He had 
twice, before Logan rode south, advised him to be very 
careful never even to mention the name of Gowrie. 

Sprot said that he, too, was uneasy, for, if any- 
thing came out, he himself was in evil case. Lo^an 

o o 

visited France, as well as London, at this time ; he 
returned home in the spring of 1606, but Bower 
expressed the belief that he would go on to Spain, 
k to meet Bothwell and Father Andrew Clerk, and 
if he come home it will be rather to die in his 
own country than for any pleasure he has to live.' 
Bothwell and Father Andrew, of course, were both 
Catholic intriguers, among whom Bothwell reckoned 
Logan and Gowrie. 



THE FINAL CONFESSIONS OF THE NOTARY 213 

Now the letter to Bower here attributed to Logan, 
telling of the new ' knell at his heart ' when he is 
rebuked and insulted as he plays the merry com- 
panion in London, and near the Court ; his touching 
complaint of the falseness of the world (he himself 
being certainly the blackest of traitors), with the 
distress of Bovver, do make up a very natural de- 
scription. The ghost of his guilt haunts Logan, he 
cannot drown it in a red sea of burgundy : life has 
lost its flavour ; if he returns, it will be with the true 
Scottish desire to die in his own country, though of 
his ancient family's lands he has not kept an acre. 
Pleasant rich Eestalrig, strong Fastcastle, jolly Gun- 
nisgreen of the ' great Yules,' all are gone. Nothing 
is left. 

Surely, if Sprot invented all this, he was a 
novelist born out of due time. Either he told truth, 
or, in fiction, he rivalled De Foe. 

Matthew Logan, being called, contradicted Sprot, 
as we have already said. He himself had seen Bower 
when he brought him Logan's letter from London, 
take his son, Valentine, apart, and knew that Valen- 
tine read a letter to him. ' It was a meikle letter,' 
Matthew said, and, if Sprot tell truth, it contained 
three enclosures. Bower may have stopped his son 
from reading the melancholy and compromising 
epistle, and kept it to be read by Sprot. Logan's 
folly in writing at all was the madness that has 
ruined so many men and women. 

Matthew could not remember having ridden to 



214 THE COWRIE MYSTERY 

Edinburgh with Logan in July 1600, just before the 
Gowrie affair, as Sprot had declared that he did. 
We could scarcely expect him to remember that. 
He could remember nothing at all that was compro- 
mising, nothing of Logan's rash speeches. As to the 
Yule feast at Gunnisgreen, he averred that Lady 
Eestalrig only said, ' The Devil delight in such a 
feast that makes discord, and makes the house ado ' 
-that is, gives trouble. Asked if wine and beer 
were stored in Fastcastle, in 1600, he said, as has 
already been stated, that a hogshead of wine was 
therein. He himself, he said, had been ' in the west,' 
at the time of the Gowrie tragedy, and first heard of 
it at Falkirk. 

On August 6, Sprot was interrogated again. 
Only lay lords were present : there were no clergy- 
men nor lawyers. He denied that he had received 
any promise of life or reward. He asked to be 
confronted with Matthew Logan, and reported a con- 
versation between them, held when Lord Dunbar took 
possession of Gunnisgreen. Matthew then hoped to 
ride with the Laird to London (1605), but said, 'Alas, 
Geordie Sprot, what shall we all do now, now 
nothing is left ? I was aye feared for it, for I know 
the Laird has done some evil turn, and he will not 
bide in the country, and woe's me therefor.' 

Sprot asked what the ' evil turn ' was. Matthew 
answered, ' I know well enough, but, as the proverb 
goes, " what lies not in my way breaks not my 
shins." ' 



THE FINAL CONFESSIONS OF THE NOTARY 215 

Sprot added that, after Bower's death (January 
1606), Logan wrote to him from London, not having 
heard the news of his decease. Lady Eestalrig 
opened the letter and wrote a postscript ' Give this to 
Laird Bower, for I trow that he be ridden to Hell, as 
he oft times said to the Laird that he would do.' In 
Letter IV. Logan tells Gowrie that he believes Bower 
4 would ride to Hell's gate to pleasure him.' 

Sprot was now asked about two letters. One of 
these (Logan to Chirnside) is endorsed, 'Production 
by Niniane Chirnesyde. XIII April 1608.' Another 
is Letter Y, endorsed 'produced by Ninian Chirn- 
side,' a fact first noted by Mr. Anderson. Yet another 
is the letter in twelve torn pieces. Logan, in the 
first of these three letters, requests Chirnside to find 
a letter which Bower lost in Dunglas. The letter 
imperils Logan's life and lands. The date is Septem- 
ber 23, and purports, falsely, to be written before 
Logan goes to London (1605). Sprot explained that 
he forged the letters, that Chirnside might blackmail 
Logan's executors, and make them forgive him the 
debts which (as Logan's will proves) he owed to the 
estate. 

Here we cite the letter of the twelve fragments. 
It is, of course, a forgery by Sprot, to enable Chirn- 
side to terrorise his creditors, Logan's executors. 
But, as it directly implicates Chirnside himself in 
the Gowrie conspiracy, probably he disliked it, and 
tore it up. Yet the artist could not part with his 
work ; it still lies, now reconstructed, in the old 



216 THE GOWRIE MYSTERY 

folio sheet of paper. The reader will remark that, 
like Letters I (?), Ill, and V, this torn letter is a mere 
pastiche framed (as Sprot confessed) on ideas and 
expressions in Letter IV. 

Letter found among the Haddington MSS. torn into 
thirteen pieces (one lost)- -these have been placed in 
order, but at Least one line of the piece is wanting. 

Brother, according to my promise the last da} 7 
ve met in the kannogate I have sent this berair to 
my lord vith my answer of all thingis, and, I pray 
you ryde vith him till his lordschip, and bevar that 
he speik vith na other person bot his lordschipis self 
and M.A. his lordschipis brother, and specially let 
nocht his lordschipis pedagog [Mr. Ehynd] ken ony 
thing of the matter, bot forder him hame agane, 
becawse the purpos is parilouse, as ye knaw the 
danger. And yit for my ain part I protest befoir 
God I sail keip trew condicion till his lordschip, and 
sail hasard albeit it var to the vary skafald, and 
bid his lordschip tak nane other opinion bot gude 
of the trustyness of this silly aid man [Bower] for 
I dar baldlie concredit my lyf and all other thing I 
have elliss in this varld onto his credit, and I trow 
he sail nocht frustrat my gude expectacion. Burn 
or send bak agane as I did vith you, so till meit- 
ting, and ever I rest, Yowre brother to power redy, 
Eestalrige. 

Beseik his lordschip bavar [beware] that my 
lord my brother [Lord Home] get na intelligense 



THE FINAL CONFESSIONS OF THE NOTARY 217 

of thir towrnis as he lowfis all owr veillis, for be 
God he vill be our greittest enemy. 1 

(A line or more wanting) 

On the same day (August 6) Sprot withdrew a 
deposition (made before July 5) that the Unknown, 
for whom Letters I, III, V were meant, was the 
Laird of Kinfauns, Sir Harry Lindsay, who, in 1603, 
tried to shoot Patrick Eviot, one of the Gowrie 
fugitives. The Constable of Dundee (Sir James 
Scrymgeour) Sprot had also accused falsely. The 
Letters (I (?), Ill, Y),he says, were 'imagined by me.' 

On August 8, three ministers, Patrick Galloway, 
John Hall, and Peter Hewatt, were present. The two 
former were now preachers of the courtly party, the 
third received a pension of 500 marks from the King, 
after the posthumous trial of Logan (1609), at which 
the five letters were produced, but this reward may 
have been a mere coincidence. The ministers Hall 
and Hewatt, in August 1600, had at first, as we saw, 
declined to accept James's version of the affair at 
Gowrie House (pp. 99-103). 

Sprot now confesses that he knows he is to die, 
deposes that no man has promised him life, and that 
he has stated nothing in hope of life. With tears 
he deplores that he has taken God's name in vain, in 
swearing to the truth of his depositions before that 
of July 5. His last five depositions under examina- 
tion are ' true in all points and circumstances, and he 
will go to the death with the same.' 

1 The peculiarities of spelling are those recognised as Logan's, and 
easily imitated by the forger. 



218 THE GOWRIE MYSTERY 

4 Further the said George Sprot remembers that 
in the summertide of 1601, the Laird of Bestalrig 
had indented with the Lord Willoughby, then 
Governor of Berwick, concerning my Lord's ship 
then built and lying at Berwick, whereof the Laird 
should have been equal partner with my Lord, and 
to take voyage with the said ship, either by the 
Laird himself, or some other person whom it pleased 
him to appoint ... to pass to the Indies, the 
Canary s, and through the Straits, for such conditions 
as were set down in the indenture betwixt my Lord 
and him, which was framed by Sir John Guevara,' 
Willoughby 's cousin, the kidnapper of Ashfield in 
1599. 

Now this ship of Lord Willoughby's, at all events, 
was a real ship ; and here is a grain of fact in the 
narrative of Sprot. The ship was built by Lord 
Willoughby to protect English commerce from the 
piracies of the Dunkirkers. On March 28, 1601, he 
writes from Berwick to Cecil, ' The respect of my 
country and the pity of those hurt by such ' (the 
Dunkirkers) ' persuaded me to build a ship, and moves 
me now to offer to serve her Majesty at as reasonable 
a rate as any ship of 140 tons, with sixteen pieces of 
artillery, and 100 men can be maintained with. . . . 
If this offer seem good to you and the Council, my 
ship shall presently be fitted, if not I purpose to 
dispose otherwise of her ' (to Logan), ' being not able 
to maintain her.' (' Border Calendar,' ii. 738). On 
April 19, Willoughby wrote that he had pursued. 



THE FINAL CONFESSIONS OF THE NOTAKY 219 

with his ship, a pirate which had carried an English 
prize into the Forth. But he cannot, unaided, main- 
tain the ship, even for one summer. On June 14, 
Willoughby 'took a great cold' in his ship, lying 
at the haven mouth, awaiting a wind, and died 
suddenly. On July 20, Carey says that his body 
has been placed, with all honourable rites, on board 
his ship. 

It appears, then, that Willoughby, unable to main- 
tain his ship, and not subsidised by Government, in 
the summer of 1601 admitted Logan to a half of the 
venture, carrying great expenses. Logan settled the 
business at Eobert Jackson's house, in Bridge Street, 
Berwick, being accompanied by Sprot, Bower, and 
Matthew Logan. Matthew said privately to Sprot, 
6 Wae's me that ever I should see this day, that the 
Laird should grow a seaman ! I wot not what it 
means, for it is for no good, and I fear this shall be 
one of the sorrowful blocks that ever the Laird 
made. It is true that I have oft thought that the 
Laird would pass away, for he is minded to sell all 
that he has, and would to God that he had never 
been born, what should he do with such conditions, 
to go or to send to the sea ? He might have lived 
well enough at home. I find he has ever been 
carried ' (excited), 6 and his mind has ever been set 
on passing out of the country this year past,' that is 
since the Gowrie affair. 

Now all this tale has much vraisemblance. The 
facts about Logan's adventure with Willoughby, 



220 THE GOWEIE MYSTERY 

stopped by Willoughby's death, were easily verifiable. 
Logan, at his death, owned a ship, rated at 500 marks 
(so we read in his inventory), but this can hardly have 
been the ship of Willoughby. He was restless, excited, 
selling land to supply a maritime enterprise. 

At this time Lady Restalrig was deeply distressed, 
she wished Logan at the Indies, if only he would 
first settle Memington on herself. ' If it be God's 

c_/ 

will, I desire never to have a child to him,' she said. 
' I have a guess what this mystery means, woe's 
me for his motherless children,' that is, children 
of former marriages. Later, Lady Eestalrig had a 
daughter, Anna, by Logan. 

Matthew Logan, as usual, denied every word 
attributed to him by Sprot, except regrets for his 
own condition. Matthew could do no less to save 
his own life. 

On August 9, before other witnesses, and the Eev. 
Messrs. Galloway, Hall, and Hewatt, Sprot solemnly 
confessed to having forged the letters in Logan's 
hand (then in possession of his examiners). On 
August 10, the same clergymen and many Lords, 
and Hart, being present, Sprot came to the point at 
last. Where, he was asked, after a prayer offered, 
at his request, by Mr. Galloway, was the letter of Logan 
to Gowrie, whereon, as model, the rest were forged ? 
Now he had not previously mentioned, as far as the 
reports go, a letter of Logan to Gowrie, as the model 
of his forgeries. He had mentioned, as his model, 
the brief harmless letter of Gowrie to Logan. On 



THE FINAL CONFESSIONS OF THE NOTARY 221 

August 9, lie liad been very solemnly told that he 

O v t/ 

was to die, and that he would see the faces of the 
Lords of the Council no more. Probably, after they 
left him, he told, to a minister or a servant in the 
gaol, the fact that he had used, as his model, a letter 
from Logan to Gowrie. The result was that he did 
again see, on August 10, the Lords of the Council, 
who asked him ' where the letter now was.' This 
is Letter IV, the letter of Logan to Gowrie, of July 29, 
1600. Sprot, in place of answering directly, cited 
from memory, and erroneously, the opening of the 
letter. He had read it, while it was still unfinished, 
in July 1600, at Fastcastle. Logan, who had been 
writing it, was called by Bower, went out, and thrust 
it between a bench and the wall : there Sprot found, 
read, and restored the unfinished epistle to its place. 
But the letter is dated ' from Gunnisgreen,' at the 
conclusion. Logan, according to Sprot, left Gunnis- 
green one day at the end of July, 1600, or beginning 
of August, thence rode to Fastcastle, and thence, 
next day, to Edinburgh (p. 190). 

Now Logan, in the letter (IV), says that he took 
two days to write it. One day would be at Fastcastle, 
when he was interrupted ; the other, the day of dating, 
at Gunnisgreen. This, however, does not tally with 
Sprot's account (p. 190) of Logan's movements (Nine 
Wells, Gunnisgreen, Fastcastle, Edinburgh), if these 
are the days of writing Letter IV. Yet, if Sprot 
forged Letter IV, he knew where he dated it from ; 1 

1 He had not the letter before him at this moment, and may have 
forgotten. 



222 THE GOWRIE MYSTERY 

if the Government had it forged, they knew, from 
Sprot's confession, that it should have been dated 
from Fastcastle. Perhaps we should not bear too 
heavily on this point. A man may mention the 
wrong name by inadvertence, or the clerk, by in- 
advertence, may write the wrong name. Mr. Mark 
Napier in his essay on this matter twice or thrice 
prints ' Logan ' for c Sprot,' or ' Sprot ' for c Logan.' 1 
6 Fastcastle,' in Sprot's confession, may be a slip of 
tongue or pen for ' Gunnisgreen,' or he may have 
been confused among the movements to and from 
Gunnisgreen and Fastcastle. The present writer finds 
similar errors in the manuscript of this work. 

Sprot next alleged that, three months after the 
Gowrie affair, Logan bade Bower hunt among his 
papers for this very letter. He had been at Berwick, 
with Lord Willoughby, and Bower told Sprot that he 
was ' taking order ' with all who knew of his part in 
the Gowrie plot. Here is the old difficulty. Why 
was the letter kept for one moment after Bower 
brought it back ? Why leave it with Bower for 
three months ? At all events, as Bower could not 
read, Sprot helped him to look for the letter, found 
it, and kept it ' till he framed three new letters 
upon it,' after which he does not say what he did 
with it. 

Here Sprot cited, from memory, but not accu- 
rately, more of Letter IV. The existence of such 
errors is not remarkable. Sprot again swore to the 

1 Spottiswoode, vol. iii. pp. 274, 282. 



THE FINAL CONFESSIONS OF THE NOTAEY 223 

truth of all his depositions since July 5. But if this 
story is true, how can it be true that Logan was at 
ease in his mind, after burning the letter from Alex- 
ander Euthven, and another from Father Andrew 
Clerk, Jesuit, as Sprot previously swore ? There was 
still Letter IV, lost, unburned, a haunting fear. It 
may be suggested that Sprot only kept this letter ' tilV 
he had made his forgeries on its model, and then, in a 
later search, pretended to find and returned it, having 
first copied it out in Logan's hand ; that copy being 
our Letter IV. Sprot first would make a copy, in 
his ordinary hand, of the letter, then restore the 
original, and, after Logan's death, copy his copy, in 
imitation of Logan's hand, and frame I, III, V, and 
the torn letter on his copy of IV. Finally, Sprot 
said that ' he believes this letter is in his chest among 
his writings, because he left it there when he was 
taken by Watty Doig and deposes that it is closed and 
folded within a piece of paper.' Sprot said this on 
August 10. On August 12 he was hanged. Now 
was this letter, on which he forged three others, 
found ' in his kist,' before his death ? That it was so 
found, we have direct evidence, though not from the 
best of sources. 

In the year 1713, an aged nobleman. Lord 
Cromarty, published a defence of the King's con- 
duct in the Gowrie affair. Lord Cromarty, in 1713, 
was aged eighty-three. Born about 1630, he re- 
membered the beginnings of the Civil War, and says 
that the Covenanters, about 1640-1645, made great 



224 THE GOWRIE MYSTERY 

political capital out of King James's alleged guilt in 
the slaughter of the Euthvens. Later, Lord Cromarty 
occupied, in the Eestoration, the highest judicial 
offices, and, as Clerk Eegistrar, had access to public 
documents. He was an old courtier, he may have 
been forgetful, he may have been unscrupulous, but, 
as to the letter in Sprot's kist, he writes ' the letter 
was found there by the Sheriff Depute, who was 
ordered by Sir William Hart, Lord Justice of Scot- 
land, to seize the said chest, and make search for 
this letter, which he found, and delivered to the 
King's Advocate, Sir Thomas Hamilton.' l 

o 

Now this Sir Thomas Hamilton was the ancestor 
of the Earl of Haddington, who inherits many of his 
papers. Among these we find a copy, in Sprot's 
' course hand,' or rapid current hand, of Letter IV, 
and another of Letter I, but no such copies of II, 
III, and V. Each of these is endorsed by James 
Primrose, Clerk of Council, is endorsed by Sprot, in 
faded ink, and is also endorsed in Sprot's ordinary 
everyday hand, very firm and clear, thus : 

'This is copyitt off the principal' (the original), 
' lykeas the note writtin upon the bak is writtin by 
me, George Sprott.' 

There is, in fact, another c note on the back,' in 
ink more faded, on a dirty rubbed part of the paper. 

Now certainly the last endorsation was writt en by 
Sprot either on August 11 or August 12, 1600. He 
had not the original or this copy by him on 

1 Cromarty, An Historical Account, &c., 92 (1713). 



THE FINAL CONFESSIONS OF THE NOTARY 225 

August 10, or on August 11 when examined, for on 
August 10 he could only give a version of Letter IY 
from memory, and erroneously, the version cited in 
his indictment. On August 11 he still had not the 
original or his copy, for he quoted from memory, 
what he believed to be a postscript to the original 
Letter IV, a passage which is really in the text of 
Letter IV. He could not have made this error if, 
at that hour of August 11, he had either the original 
of Letter IV, or his exact copy before him, nor 
would there have been any reason why he should 
quote from memory, if Government had the docu- 
ments. Yet he re-endorsed his copies of Letters I and 
IV before his death. This endorsement is firm and 
clear, the text of the two copies is fainter and much 
of the paper more rubbed, as if from being kept in 
the pocket. The copies are older than the final 
endorsement on the copies. It follows that the 
Sheriff Depute found these two copies (I, IV) and 
the originals, in Sprot's kist, and brought them to 
Sprot's examiners after that hour of August 11, when 
he could only quote from memory. He then endorsed 
them formally, one of the last acts of his life. 

The originals were also found, for it will not be 
argued that Government employed another forger 
to forge them from Sprot's copies in c course hand.' 
We know that Sprot had a secondary species of 
blackmailing documents, these in current hand ; one 
of them he gave to the Goodman of Eentoun. For 
this, or some other purpose, he had made the 

Q 



226 THE GOWRIE MYSTERY 

4 course hand ' copies of Letters I and IV, which 
he endorsed just before his death, or perhaps he 
made them from the original, which he then de- 
stroyed or surreptitiously returned. When he was 
examined on August 11, the three preachers, Gallo- 
way, Hall, and Hewatt, and the minister of Dudding- 
ston, Mr. Lumisden, were present. He was entreated 
not to perjure himself to the injury of innocent 
people, dead or alive, 'by making and forging of lies.' 
He renewed his protestations of truth, asked Mr. 
Galloway to pray for him, wept, and repeated his 
averments. 

On August 12 Sprot was tried and hanged at 
Edinburgh. He renewed his protestations from 
every corner of the scaffold, in the most vigorous 
language. Abbot, who was present, declares that 
he thrice gave a loud clap with his hands while he 
swung, as a proof that he adhered in death to his 
last words. A similar story is told of Kirkcaldy of 
Grange, and I think in other cases. Nothing of the 
sort is in the first draft of the official account of his 
dying behaviour (a draft manifestly drawn up near 
the spot), nor in the official account itself. 

Much value was set on dying confessions. When 
the preacher, Eobert Bruce, refused to believe the 
King's account of the Gowrie tragedy, he said that 
one proof would satisfy him. Let Andrew Hender- 
son, the man in the turret, be hanged. If he per- 
sisted in his confession on the scaffold, Mr. Bruce 
would believe. The King declined to make this 



THE FINAL CONFESSIONS OF THE NOTARY 227 

abominable experiment. In Sprot's case his dying 
confession did not move the Kirk party. Calder- 
wood hints that Mr. Galloway 6 had the most 
speech to Sprot on the scaffold,' and so kept him 
true to a dying lie. 1 He adds that Spottiswoode 
said to Galloway ' I am afraid this man make us all 
ashamed,' that is, by retracting his confessions. 
Mr. Patrick answered, ' Let alone, my Lord, I shall 
warrant him.' 2 Had Andrew Henderson swung, 
constant to his confession, the Presbyterian sceptics 
would have found similar reasons for disbelief. 

What are we to believe? Did Sprot go wherever 
he went with a blasphemous lie in his mouth ? A 
motive for such vehemence of religious hypocrisy 
is difficult to find. Conceivably he had promise 
of benefits to his family. Conceivably he was an 
atheist, and ' took God in his own hand.' Conceiv- 
ably his artistic temperament induced him to act his 
lie well, as he had a lie to act. 

Yet all this is not satisfactory. 

Let us take the unromantic view of common 
sense. It is this : Logan was a restless, disappointed 
intriguer and debauchee. He sold his lands, some to 
acquire a partnership with Lord Willoughby in a 
vessel trading to America ; this vessel, or another, is 
among his assets recorded in his inventory. All his 
lands he sold not that he was in debt, he was a large 

1 Calderwood, vi. 780. 

2 In the Auchendrane case (1615), the public, partisans of the 
murderers, wished the only witness to be hanged, just to see if he would 
persevere in his confession. 

Q2 



228 THE GOWRIE MYSTERY 

lender for purposes of profligacy. These proceed- 
ings gave rise to gossip. The Laird must be selling 
his lands to evade forfeiture. He must have been 
engaged in the Gowrie mystery. Then Logan dies 
(July 1606). Bower is also dead (January 1606). 
It occurs to Sprot that there is money in all this, 
and, having lost Logan's business, the hungry Sprot 
needs money. He therefore makes a pact with some 
of Logan's debtors. He, for pay, will clear them of 
their debts to Logan's executors, whom he will 
enable them to blackmail. Logan's descendants by 
two marriages were finally his heirs, with Anna, a 
minor, daughter of his last wife, who had hoped to 
have no children by him, the free-spoken Lady 
Eestalrig, nee Ker (Marion). They, of course, were 
robbed, by Logan's forfeiture, of 33,000 marks, owed 
to Logan by Dunbar and Balmerino. Meanwhile, 
just after Logan's death, in autumn 1606, Sprot 
forges Letters I, II, III, IV, V, and the torn 
letter, with two compromising letters to Bower, two 
to Ninian Chirnside, and an ' eik,' or addition, of 
compromising items to a memorandum on business, 
which, in September 1605, Logan gave to Bower 
and John Bell before he started for London and 
Paris. All these documents, the plot-letters, I, II, 
III, IV, V, and the rest (which lie before me), are 
mere instruments of blackmail, intended to terrorise 
the guardians of the Logans. 

So far, all is clear. But, in April 1608, Sprot 
has blabbed and is arrested. The forgeries are found 



THE FINAL CONFESSIONS OF THE NOTARY 229 

among his papers, or given up by Chirnside. Sprot 
confesses to the plot, to Logan's share of it, and to 
the authenticity of the letters and papers. He is then 
tortured, recants his confession, and avows the forgery 
of the papers. The Government is disappointed. In 
July, Dunbar comes down from town, treats Sprot 
leniently, and gives him medical attendance. Sprot 
now confesses to his genuine knowledge of the plot, 
but unflinchingly maintains that all the papers so far 
produced are forgeries, based on facts. 

Why does he do this ? He has a better chance 
of pardon, if he returns to the statement that they 
are genuine. If they are, the Government, which he 
must propitiate, has a far stronger hand, for the 
forgeries then defied detection. However, for no con- 
ceivable reason, unless it be either conscience or 
the vanity of the artist, Sprot now insists on claim- 
ing the letters as his own handiwork. On this point 
he was inaccessible to temptation, if temptation was 
offered. If he lies as to Letter II having been dic- 
tated by Logan, he lies by way of relapse into the 
habit of a lifetime, and so on other points. He keeps 
back all mention of Letter IV, till the last ember of 
hope of life is extinct. 

It has not been hitherto known, either that Sprot 
kept back Letter IV till almost his dying day, or that 
he then, at last, revealed it. Lord Cromarty's aver- 
ment that it was found in Sprot's kist was disbelieved. 
It is true, however, and now we ask, why did Sprot 
keep back Letter IV to the last, and why, having so 



230 THE GOWRIE MYSTEKY 

long concealed it, did he say where it was, after all 
hope of life was over ? 

The answer can only be conjectural. Some might 
guess thus : till Letter IV was confessed to and 
found, Government had not received from Sprot one 
scrap of documentary evidence that could be used 
against Logan's heirs. Scoundrel as he was, Spvot 
could not guess that the Privy Council would use 
papers which were confessed forgeries to save Dunbar 
and Balmerino from paying some 33,000 marks to 
Logan's executors. The wretched Sprot had robbed 
the orphans on a small scale, but he would not, by 
producing the genuine Logan letter, enable the Lords 
to ruin them utterly. Bad as he was, the Laird had 
been kind to Sprot. Therefore he kept back, and by 
many a lie concealed, his real pieces of evidence, 
Letter IV, and 1, if I is genuine. So far he acted 

o 

on a remnant of natural conscience. 

But Sprot, alas, had a religious conscience. He 
had a soul to be saved. The preachers had prayed 
with him. When death was but forty-eight hours 
distant, he feared to die with a lie in his mouth. So 
now, at last, he spoke of Letter IV as his real model. 
Perhaps he hoped that it would not be found, and 
probably it was in some secret drawer or false bottom 

of his kist. It was found, and was used, alono* with 

~ 

the confessed forgeries (which even Sprot could not 
have anticipated), to destroy the inheritance of the 
children, at Logan's posthumous trial in 1609. 

But the obvious reply to this hypothesis is, that 



THE FINAL CONFESSIONS OF THE NOTARY 231 

Letter IV, by the evidence of modern experts (evi- 
dence unanimous and irresistible), is just as much 
forged as all the rest, is just as certainly in Sprot's 
imitation of Logan's handwriting. This being so, 
why did Sprot keep it back so long, and why, 
having kept it back, did he, almost in his last hour, 
produce it, and say (if he did) that it was genuine, 
and his model, as it certainly was ? This is the last 
enigma of Sprot. His motives defy my poor efforts 
to decipher them. Even if the substance of IV is 
genuine, what were Sprot's motives ? I do no-t feel 
assured that Sprot really maintained the genuineness 
of the handwriting of Letter IV. His remark that he 
kept Logan's letter only till he forged others on it, as 
a model, certainly implies that he did not keep it after 
he had done his forgeries, and therefore that our 
Letter IV is, confessedly, not Logan's original. Cer- 
tainly it is not. 



232 THE GOWRIE MYSTERY 



XVI 
WHAT IS LETTER IV ? 

THE crucial question now arises, What is Letter IV? 
If it be genuine (in substance), then, whatever the 
details of the Gowrie Conspiracy may have been, a 
conspiracy there was. This can only be denied by 
ignorance. If the enterprise fails, says the author of 
Letter IV, the plotters will lose their lives, their lands 
and houses will be ' wrecked,' their very names will 
be extirpated ; and, in fact, James did threaten to 
extirpate the name of Euthven. The letter delibe- 
rately means High Treason. The objection of Calder- 
wood, and of all the Euthven apologists, that Sprot 
confessed to having forged all the letters, we have 
shown to rest on lack of information. He said, at 
last, that he had forged many papers (some did not 
appear in Court in 1609), and that he forged three 
letters on the model of Letter IV. These three letters 
may either be I, III, and V ; or III, V, and the torn 
letter. The case of Letter I is peculiar. Though it 
contains much that is in Letter IV, and might 
have been taken from it, the repetitions need not 
imply copying from Letter IV. Byron and others 
would say the same things, on the same day, to two 



WHAT IS LETTER IV? 233 

or three correspondents. Letter IV is subsequent, as 
dated, to Letter I, and Logan might say to the Un- 
known, on July 18, what, after the announced inter- 
val of ten days, he said to Gowrie. Letter I contains 
this remark on the nature of the plot : ' It is not far 
by ' (not unlike) ' that form, with the like stratagem, 
whereof we had conference in Cap. h,' which may be 
Capheaton, on the English side of the Border. Pro- 
bably Logan often discussed ingenious ways of catching 
the King : new plots were hatched about once a 
month, as Cecil's and the other correspondence of 
the age abundantly proves. The plot (the letter says) 
is like that in a Paduan story of a nobleman. The 
rest of the letter is identical with the matter of III, 

IV, and V. We cannot be sure whether Letter I 
is one of the three forged on IV or not. 

One thing is certain, Letters III and V, to the 
Unknown, are modelled on IV, as is the torn letter. 
Sprot said this was the case, and every reader of III, 

V, and the torn letter (given above) must see that he 
tells the truth. These letters contain no invention at 
all, they merely repeat Letter IV. Any man who 
could invent IV had genius enough to alter his tunes 
in III, V, and the torn letter. But Sprot never 
deserts his model. This is an argument for the 
authenticity in substance of Letter IV. The other 
three contain nothing that is not in Letter IV, and 
everything that is in it, except what is personal to 
Gowrie, and would be inappropriate if addressed to the 
Unknown (I, III, V), or to Chirnside (torn letter). 



234 THE GOWRIE MYSTERY 

There is (1) the mention of a Paduan adventure, 
the basis of the plot, a thing that Sprat is very un- 
likely to have invented. With all my admiration 
for Sprot, I do think that the Paduan touch is beyond 
him. This occurs in Letter IV, 'the good sport 
that M.A., your lordship's brother, told me of a noble- 
man in Padua. It is a parasteur ' ( ? a propos) ' to this 
purpose we have in hand.' This appears in Letter I, 
' reckless toys of Padua,' and in Letter V, ' bid M. A. 
remember on the sport he told me of Padua.' 

2. The constant applause of Bower. This is in 
Letter IV, and in I, III, Y, and the torn letter. 

3. Meeting with Alexander Euthven. This is in 
IV, and in I and V. 

4. The meeting at Fastcastle, which is to be quiet 
and well-provisioned. This is in IV, and in I, III, V. 

5. Lord Home and Mr. Ehynd are to know nothing. 
This is in IV, and in I, and V, and the torn letter, 
utterly needless repetition. 

6. The King's hunting, the opportunity for the 
plot. This is in IV, and in I, but that is natural. 

7. Directions as to returning the letters. These 
are in IV, in I, III, V, and the torn letter. 

8. Injunctions of secrecy. These are in IV, and 
I, III, V, and in the torn letter. 

9. Logan will be true, 'although the scaffold 
were already set up.' This is a phrase of Letter IV, 
and recurs in Letter III and in the torn letter. 

10. Logan's elevation of heart on receipt of 
Gowrie's letter. This occurs in IV and in V. 



WHAT IS LETTER IV? 235 

Who can doubt that Letter IV is the source, 
followed servilely by the forger, of the torn letter 
and I (?), Ill, V ? If Sprot could invent the substance 
of IV, why was he so chary of invention in all the 
other letters ? 

It is clear, moreover, that the Unknown himself 
is derived from a line in Letter IV : 'I have 
already sent another letter to the gentleman your 
Lordship knows, as the bearer will inform you of his 
answer.' The bearer is always Bower, so the c gentle- 
man ' is to be conceived as in Gowrie's neighbour- 
hood, or on the route thither, as one bearer serves 
both for Gowrie and ' the gentleman. Therefore, 
before July 5, Sprot (who had no idea as to who 
the gentleman was) identified the ' gentleman,' the 
Unknown of I, III, V, with the laird of Kinfauns, 
near Perth, or with the Constable of Dundee ; but he 
withdrew these imputations, craving the pardon of 
the accused. 

Thus it stands to reason that I (?), Ill, V, and 
the torn letter are forged on the model of IV. Sprot 
introduces no novelties in I, III, V, or the torn 
epistle. He harps eternally on the strings of IV. 
The only variation is (V) the mention of ' one other 
man with you,' in the proposed sail to Fastcastle. 

It is not easy for criticism to evade the conclu- 
sion that I (?), Ill, V, and the torn letter are, indeed, 
forgeries modelled on IV. And what is IV ? 

Is Letter IV in substance genuine ? If not, why 
did Sprot keep it back till the rope was noosed for 



236 THE GOWRIE MYSTERY 

his neck ? A guess at his possible reasons for so 
keeping it back (as the only real documentary evi- 
dence extant against the orphans of Logan) we have 
given, but this fails if Letter IV was a forgery : as 
in handwriting it was. 

Then there are the contents of Letter IV. To 
myself, and to Mr. Anderson, it does not seem 
probable, it seems hardly credible, that Sprot could 
have invented the contents of Letter IV. If he did, 
his power of rendering character might have been 
envied by the author of the Waverley Novels. In IV 
Logan is painted, the ' main loose man, but a good 
fellow,' with a master hand. The thing is freely, 
largely, and spontaneously executed. What espe- 
cially moves me to think IV no invention, is the 
reference to the Paduan incident or romance, ' the 
good sport that Mr. Alexander told me of the noble- 
man of Padua, it is a propos to the purpose we have 
in hand.' This is casually inserted in the last words 
of the postscript, not blazoned in the text, as in the 
forgeries confessedly modelled on this letter. The 
whole tone of the letter is in keeping with the 
alleged author's temperament. It is respectful, but 
far from servile. Gowrie is a great Earl, but Logan 
is of an old and good name. There is the genial 
sensualism of the man, with his promise of wine and 
' a fine hattit kit ' (a kind of syllabub). There is the 
joyous forward glance at an anniversary dinner, with 
Both well, to which the King's hunting of this year shall 
furnish the dainty cheer ; ' hoc jocose ! ' At this dinner 



WHAT IS LETTER IV ? 237 

Bothwell and Gowrie, old allies, are to meet at 
Logan's board, which may suggest that Bothwell 
and Gowrie are still working together. 

The contempt for Lord Home as a conspirator 
' in good faith he will never help his friend or harm 
his foe ' and the praises of Bower, are characteristic, 
and, here, are in place ; elsewhere they are idle repe- 
titions, mere copies. The apology for bad writing 
Logan could not employ a secretary in this case is 
natural : the two days writing agrees with Sprot's 
evidence. (P. 221.) 

Could Sprot have invented all this : and, in 
his confessed forgeries, failed to invent anything ? 
Would not the fertility of his genius have hurried 
him into fresh developments, and characteristic 
details, appropriate to the imaginary correspondent 
whom he addresses ? These considerations may seem 
a mere leaning on ' internal evidence,' and ' literary 
instinct,' broken reeds. But the case is buttressed 
by the long and, on any theory, purposeless reten- 
tion of Letter IV, the secrecy concerning it, and the 
confession, so obviously true, that Letter IV is the 
source and model of the forgeries. These facts have 
hitherto been unknown to writers who believed 
the whole correspondence to be a forgery done for 
the Government. 

Both Mr. Anderson (who has greatly aided me by 
his acuteness and learned experience of old MSS.) 
and myself disbelieve that Logan's hand wrote Letter 
IV. The matter, the contents of Letter IV, may be 



238 THE GOWKIE MYSTERY 

Logan's, but the existing document may be ' a Sprot 
after Logan.' Sprot may have reinserted the genuine 
Logan IV among Bower's collection of papers, pre- 
tended to find it, and returned it to Logan, after 
copying it in Logans hand. Or he may have copied 
it in his ' course hand ' (the copy in the Haddington 
MSS.), and later, in autumn 1606, after Logan's 
death, have rewritten his copy in an imitation of 
Logan's hand. The contents, Mr. Anderson believes, 
as I do, are, none the less, genuine Logan. 

If readers accept these conclusions, there was a 
Gowrie conspiracy, and Logan was in it. C I trow 
your Lordship has a proof of my constancy already 
ere now,' he says in Letter IV, and Gowrie may 
have had a proof, in his early conspiracies of 1593- 
1594, or in a testimonial to Logan from Bothwell, 
Gowrie's old ally. 

But, if readers do not accept our conclusions, 
they may still rest, perhaps, on the arguments 
adduced in the earlier chapters of this essay, to 
demonstrate that neither accident nor the machina- 
tions of the King, but an enterprise of their own, 
caused the Slaughter of the Euthvens. The infamous 
conduct of the Privy Council in 1608-1609 does not 
prove that, in 1600, the King carried out a conspiracy 
in itself impossible. 

I have found nothing tending to show that King 
James was ever made aware of Sprot's confessions of 
forgery. It is true that Sir William Hart, the Lord 
Justice, went to Court after Sprot's death, and, in 



WHAT IS LETTER IV ? 239 

September, the Scottish Privy Council asked James 
to send him home again. 1 But Hart need not have 
told all the truth to James. 

There is a kind of rejoicing naivete in all of 
James's references to the Gowrie affair, which seems 
to me hardly consistent with his disbelief in his 
own prowess on that occasion. If one may con- 
jecture, one would guess that the Privy Council 
and the four preachers managed to persuade them- 
selves, Sprot being the liar whom we know, that 
he lied when he called his Logan papers forgeries. 
The real facts may have been concealed from the 
King. Mr. Gunton, the Librarian at Hatfield, in- 
forms me that, had he not seen Letter IY (which he 
is sure was written by Sprot), he does not think he 
should have suspected the genuineness of Letters II 
and III, after comparing them with the undoubted 
letters of Logan in the Cecil manuscripts. The 
Government and the four preachers, with such 
documents in their hands, documents still apt to 
delude, may easily have brought themselves to dis- 
believe Sprot's assertion that they were all forgeries. 
Let us hope that they did ! 

1 Melrose Papers, vol. i. pp. 72, 73. 



240 THE GOWRIE MYSTERY 



XVII 
INFERENCES AS TO THE CASKET LETTERS 

THE affair of Sprot has an obvious bearing on that 
other mystery, the authenticity of the Casket Letters 
attributed to Queen Mary. As we know, she, though 
accused, was never allowed to see the letters alleged 
to be hers. We know that, in December 1568, 
these documents were laid before an assembly of 
English nobles at Hampton Court. They were 
compared, for orthography and handwriting, with 
genuine letters written by the Queen to Elizabeth, 
and Cecil tells us that ' no difference was found.' It 
was a rapid examination, by many persons, on a brief 
winter day, partly occupied by other business. If 
experts existed, we are not informed that they were 
present. The Casket Letters have disappeared since 
the death of the elder Gowrie, in 1584. From him, 
Elizabeth had vainly sought to purchase them. They 
were indispensable, said Bowes, her ambassador, to 
' the secrecy of the cause.' Gowrie would not be 
tempted, and it is not improbable that he carried 
so valuable a treasure with him, when, in April 1584, 
he retired to Dundee, to escape by sea if the Angus 
conspiracy failed. 



INFERENCES AS TO THE CASKET LETTERS 241 

At Dundee lie was captured, after defending the 
house in which he was residing. That house was 
pulled down recently ; nothing was discovered. But 
fable runs that, at the destruction of another ancient 
house in Dundee, ' Lady Wark's Stairs,' a packet of 
old letters in French was found in a hiding hole 
contrived within a chimney. The letters were not 
examined by any competent person, and nobody 
knows what became of them. Eomance relates that 
they were the Casket Letters, entrusted by Gowrie 
to a friend. It is equally probable that he yielded 
them to the King, when he procured his remission 
for the Eaid of Euthven. In any case, they are lost. 

Consequently we cannot compare the Casket 
Letters with genuine letters by Mary. On the other 
hand, as I chanced to notice that genuine letters of 
Logan's exist at Hatfield, I was enabled, by the kind- 
ness of the Marquis of Salisbury, and of Sir Stair 
Agnew, to have both the Hatfield Logan letters, and 
the alleged Logan letters produced in 1609, photo- 
graphed and compared, at Hatfield and at the General 
Eegister House in Edinburgh. By good fortune, the 
Earl of Haddington also possesses (what we could not 
expect to find in the case of the Casket Letters) docu- 
ments in the ordinary handwriting of George Sprot, 
the confessed forger of the plot-letters attributed 
to Logan. The result of comparison has been to 
convince Mr. Gunton at Hatfield, Mr. Anderson in 
Edinburgh, Professor Hume Brown, and other 
gentlemen of experience, that Sprot forged all the 

R 



242 THE COWRIE MYSTERY 

plot-letters. Their reasons for holding this opinion 
entirely satisfy me, and have been drawn up by Mr. 
Anderson, in a convincing report. To put the matter 
briefly, the forged letters present the marked peculi- 
arities of Logan's orthography, noted by the witnesses 
in 1609. But they also contain many peculiarities 
of spelling which are not Logan's, but are Sprot's. 
The very dotting of the ' i's ' is Sprot's, not Logan's. 
The long ' s ' of Logan is heavily and clumsily 
imitated. There is a distinct set of peculiarities 
never found in Logan's undisputed letters : in Sprot's 
own letters always found. The hand is more rapid 
and flowing than that of Logan. Not being myself 
familiar with the Scottish handwriting of the period, 
my own opinion is of no weight, but I conceive that 
the general effect of Logan's hand, in 1586, is not 
precisely like that of the plot-letters. 

My point, however, is that, in 1609, Sprot's 
forgeries were clever enough to baffle witnesses of un- 
blemished honour, very familiar with the genuine 
handwriting of Logan. The Eev. Alexander Watson, 
minister of the Kirk of Coldinghame (where Logan 
was wont to attend), alleged that ' the character of 
every letter resembles perfectly Eobert's handwrit, 
every way' The spelling, which was peculiar, was also 
Logan's as a rule. Mr. Watson produced three genuine 
letters by Logan, before the Lords of the Articles 
(who were very sceptical), and satisfied them that the 
plot-letters were the laird's. Mr. Alexander Smith, 
minister of Chirnside, was tutor to Logan's younger 



INFERENCES AS TO THE CASKET LETTERS 243 

children ; he gave identical evidence. Sir John 
Arnott, Provost of Edinburgh, a man of distinction 
and eminence, produced four genuine letters by the 
Laird, c agreeing perfectly in spelling and character 
with the plot-letters. The sheriff clerk of Berwick, 
William Home, in Aytoun Mill (a guest, I think, at 
Logan's ' great Yules '), and John Home, notary in 
Eyemouth, coincided. The minister of Aytoun, Mr. 
William Hogg, produced a letter of Logan to the 
Laird of Aytoun, but was not absolutely so certain 
as the other witnesses. ' He thinks them ' (the plot- 
letters) ' like [to be] his writing, and that the same 
appear to be very like his write, by the conformity 
of letters and spelling.' 1 

Thus, at the examination of Logan's real and 
forged letters, as at the examination of Queen Mary's 
real and Casket letters, in spelling and handwriting 
' no difference was found.' Yet the plot-letters were 
all forged, and Mr. Anderson shows that, though 
4 no difference was found, many differences existed. 
Logan had a better chance of acquittal than Mary. 
The Lords of the Articles, writes Sir Thomas Hamilton 
to the King (June 21, 1609), 'had preconceived hard 
opinions of Eestalrig's process.' Yet they were 
convinced by the evidence of the witnesses, and by 
their own eves. 

/ 

From the error of the Lords of the Articles, in 
1609, it obviously follows that the English Lords, at 
Hampton Court, in 1568, may have been unable to 

1 Pitcairn, ii. 289-290. 2 Ibid. ii. 292. 

E 2 



244 THE GOWRIE MYSTERY 

detect proofs of forgery in the Casket Letters, which, 
if the Casket Letters could now be compared with 
those of Mary, would be at once discovered by 
modern experts. In short, the evidence as to Mary's 
handwriting, even if as unanimously accepted, by 
the English Lords, as Cecil declares, is not worth a 
fc hardhead,' a debased copper Scottish coin. It is 
worth no more than the opinion of the Lords of the 
Articles in the case of the letters attributed to 
Eestalrig. 



245 



APPENDICES 

APPENDIX A 

THE FRONTISPIECE 

Gowrie's Arms and Ambitions 

THE frontispiece of this volume is copied from the design 
of the Earl of Gowrie's arms, in what is called ' Work- 
man's MS.,' at the Lyon's office in Edinburgh. The 
shield displays, within the royal treasure, the arms of 
Euthven in the first and fourth, those of Cameron and 
Halyburton in the second and third quarters. The 
supporters are, dexter, a Goat ; sinister, a Earn ; the crest 
is a Eam's head. The motto is not given ; it was DEID 
SCHAW. The shield is blotted by transverse strokes of the 
pen, the whole rude design having been made for the 
purpose of being thus scored out, after Gowrie's death, 
posthumous trial and forfeiture, in 1600. 

On the left of the sinister supporter is an armed man, 
in the Gowrie livery. His left hand grasps his sword- 
hilt, his right is raised to an imperial crown, hanging 
above him in the air ; from his lips issue the words, TIBI 
SOLI, ' for thee alone.' Sir James Balfour Paul, Lyon, 
informs me that he knows no other case of such additional 
supporter, or whatever the figure ought to be called. 

This figure does not occur on any known Euthven seal. 
It is not on that of the first Earl of Gowrie, affixed to a 
deed of February 1583-1584. It is not on a seal used 



246 THE GOWRIE MYSTERY 

in 1597, by John, third Earl, given in Henry Laing's 
' Catalogue of Scottish Seals' (vol. i. under 'Ruthven'). 
But, in Crawford's ' Peerage of Scotland ' (1716), p. 166, 
the writer gives the arms of the third Earl (John, the 
victim of August 5, 1600). In place of the traditional 
Scottish motto Deid Schaiv, is the Latin translation, Facta 
Probant. The writer says (Note C), ' This from an 
authentic copy of his arms, richly illuminated in the year 
1597, with his name and titles, viz. " Joannes Ruthven, 
Comes de Gowry, Doniinus de Ruthven," &c., in my 
hands.' 

In 1597, as the archives of the Faculty of Law, in the 
University of Padua, show, Gowrie was a student of 
Padua. It is also probable that, in 1597, he attained his 
majority. He certainly had his arms richly illuminated, 
and he added to his ancestral bearings what Crawfurd 
describes thus : ' On the dexter a chivaleer, garnish'd with 
the Earl's coat of arms, pointing with a sivord upward 
to an imperial crown, with this device, TIBI SOLI.' 

In Workman's MS., the figure points to the crown with 
the open right hand, and the left hand is on the sword- 
hilt. The illuminated copy of 1597, once in the possession 
of Crawfurd, must be the more authentic; the figure here 
points the sword at a crown, which is Tibi Soli, Tor 
thee ' (Gowrie ?) ' alone.' 

Now on no known Ruthven seal, as we saw, does this 
figure appear, not even on a seal of Gowrie himself, used 
in 1597. Thus it is perhaps not too daring to suppose 
that Gowrie, when in Italy in 1597, added this emblematic 
figure to his ancestral bearings. What does the figure 
symbolise ? 

On this point we have a very curious piece of evidence. 
On June 22, 1609, Ottavio Baldi wrote, from Venice, to 
James, now King of England. His letter was forwarded 
by Sir Henry Wotton. Baldi says that he has received 
from Sir Robert Douglas, and is sending to the King by 



APPENDICES 247 

his nephew a Cambridge student ' a strange relique out 
of this country.' He obtained it thus : Sir Eobert Douglas, 
while at home in Scotland, had ' heard speech ' of ' a 
certain emblem or impresa,' left by Gowrie in Padua. 
Meeting a Scot in Padua, Douglas asked where this emblem 
now was, and he was directed to the school of a teacher 
of dancing. There the emblem hung, * among other 
devices and remembrances of his scholars.' Douglas had 
a copy of the emblem made ; and immediately ' acquainted 
me with the quality of the thing,' says Baldi. ' We agreed 
together, that it should be fit, if possible, to obtain the 
very original itself, and to leave in the room thereof the 
copy that he had already taken, which he did effect by 
well handling the matter. 

' Thus hath your Majesty now a view, in umbra, of 
those detestable thoughts which afterwards appeared in 
facto, according to the said Earl's own mot. For what 
other sense or allusion can the reaching at a crown with a 
sword in a stretched posture, and the impersonating of his 
device in a blackamore, yield to any intelligent and honest 
beholder ? ' l 

From Baldi's letter we learn that, in the device left by 
Gowrie at Padua, the figure pointing a sword at the crown 
was a negro, thus varying from the figure in Workman's 
MS., and that in the illuminated copy emblazoned in 
1597, and possessed in 1716 by Crawfurd. Next, we learn 
that Sir Eobert Douglas had heard talk of this emblem in 
Scotland, before he left for Italy. Lastly, a mot on the 
subject by the Earl himself was reported, to the effect that 
the device set forth ' in a shadow,' what was intended to 
be executed ' in very deed.' 

Now how could Sir Eobert Douglas, in Scotland, hear 
talk of what had been done and said years ago by Gowrie 
in Padua ? Sir Eobert Douglas was descended from 

1 State Papers, Venice, E.G., No. 14, 1608-10. Hill Burton, 
History of Scotland, vol. vi. pp. 135, 136. Note. Edition of 1870. 



248 THE GOWIJIE MYSTERY 

Archibald Douglas of Glenbervie (ob. 1570), who was 
ancestor of the Catholic Earl of Angus (flor. 1596). This 
Archibald of Glenbervie had a son, Archibald, named in 
his father's testament, but otherwise unknown. 1 Rather 
senior to Gowrie at the University of Padua, and in the 
same faculty of law, was an Archibald Douglas. He may 
have been a kinsman of Sir Robert Douglas, himself of the 
Glenbervie family, and from him Sir Robert, while still in 
Scotland, may have heard of Gowrie's device, left by him 
at Padua, and of his mot about in umbra and in facto. 
But, even if these two Douglases were not akin, or did 
not meet, still Keith, Lindsay, and Ker of Newbattle, all 
contemporaries of Gowrie at Padua, might bring home the 
report of Gowrie's enigmatic device, and of his mot there- 
anent. Had the emblem been part of the regular arms of 
Ruthven, Sir Robert Douglas, and every Scot of quality, 
would have known all about it, and seen no mystery in it. 

It will scarcely be denied that the assumption by 
Gowrie of the figure in his livery, pointing a sword at the 
crown, and exclaiming ' For Thee Only,' does suggest that 
wildly ambitious notions were in the young man's mind. 
What other sense can the emblem bear ? How can such 
ideas be explained ? 

In an anonymous and dateless MS. cited in ' The Life 
of John Earl of Gowrie,' by the Rev. John Scott of Perth 
(1818), it is alleged that Elizabeth, in April 1600, granted 
to Gowrie, then in London, the guard and honours appro- 
priate to a Prince of Wales. The same Mr. Scott suggests 
a Royal pedigree for Gowrie. His mother, wife of 
William, first Earl, was Dorothea Stewart, described in a 
list of Scottish nobles (1592) as 'sister of umquhile Lord 
Methven.' Now Henry Stewart, Lord Methven (' Lord 
Muffin,' as Henry VIII used to call him), was the third 
husband of the sister of Henry VIII, Margaret Tudor, wife, 

This information I owe to Mr. Anderson, with the reference to 
Crawford, and other details. 



APPENDICES 249 

first of James IV, then of the Earl of Angus (by whom 
she had Margaret, Countess of Lennox, and grandmother 
of James VI), then of Lord Methven. Now if Margaret 
Tudor had issue by Henry Stewart, Lord Methven, and if 
that issue was Dorothea, mother of John, third Earl of 
Gowrie, or was Dorothea's father or mother, that Earl was 
Elizabeth's cousin. Now Burnet, touching on the Gowrie 
mystery, says that his own father had ' taken great pains 
to inquire into that matter, and did always believe it was a 
real conspiracy. . . . Upon the King's death, Gowrie stood 
next to the succession of the crown of England,' namely, 
as descended from Margaret Tudor by Henry (Burnet says 
1 Francis ' !), Lord Methven. Margaret and Methven, says 
Burnet, had a son, ' made Lord Methven by James V. In 
the patent he is called frater noster uterinus ' ' Our 
brother uterine.' l He had only a daughter, who was 
mother or grandmother to the Earl of Gowrie, so that by 
this he might be glad to put the King out of the way, that 
so he might stand next to the succession of the crown of 
England.' * If this were true, the meaning of Gowrie's 
device would be flagrantly conspicuous. But where is that 
patent of James V ? Burnet conceivably speaks of it on the 
information of his father, who ' took great pains to inquire 
into the particulars of that matter,' so that he could tell 
his son, 'one thing which none of the historians have 
taken any notice of,' namely, our Gowrie's Tudor descent, 
and his claims (failing James and his issue) to the crown 
of England. Now Burnet's father was almost a contem- 
porary of the Gowrie affair. Of the preachers of that 
period, the King's enemies, Burnet's father knew Mr. 
Davidson (ob. 1603) and Mr. Eobert Bruce, and had listened 
to their prophecies. ' He told me,' says Burnet, ' of many 
of their predictions that he himself heard them throw 
out, which had no effect.' Davidson was an old man in 

1 Burnet's History of his Own Time, vol. i. pp. 24, 25, mdccxxv. 



250 THE GOWRIE MYSTERY 

1600 ; Bruce, for bis disbelief in James's account of tbe 
conspiracy, was suspended in that year, though he lived 
till 1631, and, doubtless, prophesied in select circles. Mr. 
Bruce long lay concealed in the house of Burnet's great- 
grandmother, daughter of Sir John Arnot, a witness in the 
trial of Logan of Restalrig. Thus Burnet's father had 
every means of knowing the belief of the contemporaries 
of Gowrie, and he may conceivably be Burnet's source 
for the tale of Gowrie's Tudor descent and Eoyal claims. 
They were almost or rather quite baseless, but they 
were current. 

In fact, Dorothea Stewart, mother of Gowrie, was cer- 
tainly a daughter of Henry Stewart, Lord Methven, and of 
Janet Stewart, of the House of Atholl. We find no trace 
of issue born to Margaret Tudor by her third husband, 
Lord Methven. Yet Gowrie's emblem, adopted by him at 
Padua in 1597, and his device left in the Paduan dancing 
school, do distinctly point to some wild idea of his that 
some crown or other was ' for him alone.' At the trial of 
Gowrie's father, in 1584, we find mention of his ' chal- 
lenginge that honor to be of his Hignes blud,' but that 
must refer to the relationship of the Euthvens and the 
King through the Angus branch of the Douglases. 1 

This question as to the meaning of Gowrie's emblem 
came rather early into the controversy. William Sander- 
son, in 1656, published Lives of Mary and of James YI ; he 
says : * I have a manuscript which relates that, in Padua, 
the Earl of Gowrie, among other irnpressa (sic) in a 
fencing school, caused to be painted, for his devise, a hand 
and sword aiming at a crown.' 2 Mr. Scott, in 1818, 
replied that the device, with the Kuthven arms, ' is en- 
graven on a stone taken from Gowrie House in Perth, and 
preserved in the house of Freeland ' (a Euthven house). 
There is also, I have been told, a seal with the same 

Papers relating to William, first Earl of Gowrie, p. 30. 
(Privately printed, 1867.) 2 Sanderson, p. 226. 



APPENDICES 251 

engraving upon it, which probably had been used by the 
Earls of Gowrie and by their predecessors, the Lords of 
Kuthven.' 1 But we know of no such seal among Gowrie or 
Euthven seals, nor do we know the date of the engraving 
on stone cited by Mr. Scott. In his opinion the armed 
man and crown might be an addition granted by James III 
to William, first Lord Euthven, in 1487-88. Euthven 
took the part of the unhappy King, who was mysteriously 
slain near Bannockburn. Mr. Scott then guesses that this 
addition of 1488 implied that the armed man pointed his 
sword at the crown, and exclaimed Tibi Soli, meaning 
' For Thee, James III alone, not for thy rebellious 
son,' James IV. It may be so, but we have no evidence 
for the use of the emblem before 1597. Moreover, in 
Gowrie's arms, in Workman's MS., the sword is sheathed. 
Again, the emblem at Padua showed a ' black-a-more,' or 
negro, and Sir Eobert Douglas could not but have recog- 
nised that the device was only part of the ancestral 
Euthven arms, if that was the case. The ' black-a-more ' 
was horrifying to Ottavio Baldi, as implying a dark 
intention. 

Here we leave the additional and certainly curious 
mystery of Gowrie's claims, as ' shadowed ' in his chosen 
emblem. I know not if it be germane to the matter to add 
that after Bothwell, in 1593, had seized James, by the aid 
of our Gowrie's mother and sister, he uttered a singular 
hint to Toby Matthew, Dean of Durham. He intruded 
himself on the horrified Dean, hot from his successful raid, 
described with much humour the kidnapping of the un- 
trussed monarch, and let it be understood that he was 
under the protection of Elizabeth, that there was a secret 
candidate for James's crown, and that he expected to be 
himself Lieutenant of the realm of Scotland. Bothwell 
was closely lie with Lady Gowrie (Dorothea Stewart), and 
our Gowrie presently joined him in a ' band ' to serve 
Elizabeth and subdue James. 2 

1 Scott, pp. 282, 284. 2 Border Calendar, vol. i. p. 491. 



252 THE GOWRIE MYSTERY 



APPENDIX B 

THE CONTEMPORARY RUTHVEN VINDICATION 

(State Papers, Scotland (Elizabeth), vol. Ixvi. No. 52) 

The verie maner of the Erll of Gowrie 
and his brother their death, quha war killit 
at Perth the fyft of August by the kingis 
servanttis his Ma tie being present. 

Vpone thurisday the last of July 

Perth from Strebrane 

bene ahunting accompainit w tb 

purpose to have ridden to 

mother. Bot he had no sooner 

.... aspersauit fyn 

vpone such 

addressit thame selffis 

thay continewit daylie 

Amangis the rest Doctor Herries . . . Satirday the first 

of August feinying himself to . . of purpose to .... 

and my lordis house. This man be my Lord was w . . . 

and convoyit throche . . the house and the secreit pairts 

schawin him. 

Vpon tysday my [lordis ?] servanttis vnderstanding that my 

[lord ?] was to ryde to Lot [Lothian] obteinit licence 

to go . . thair effairis and to prepare thameselfis. Whylk 

my lord wold [not] have grantit to thame if they . . . any 

treason in ... 

The same day M r . Alexander being send for be the 

king . . tymes befoir, raid to facland accompaneit w th 



APPENDICES 253 

Andro Kuthven and Andro Hendirson, of mynd not to have 
returnit . . . bot to have met his brother my lord the next 
morning at the watter syde. And Andro Hendirsonis 
confessioun testifeit this . . tuke his ludgeing in facland 
for this nygt. 

At his cuming to facland he learnit that his Ma tie was 
a huntting, quhair eftir brekfast he addrest him self. And 
eftir conference w* his Ma tie , he directit Andro Hendirsone 
to ryd befoir, and schaw my lord [that] the king wald come 
to Perth [for ?] quhat occasion he knew not, and desyrit 
him to haist becaus he knew my lord vnforsene and 
vnprovydit for his cuming. 

The kingis Ma tie eftir this resolution raid to Perth 
accompaneit w tb thrie score horse quhair (?) threttie 
come a lytle before him remainit .... 

My lord being at dennar Andro Hendirsone cwmes 
and sayis to his Lordship that the kingis Ma tie was cum- 

mand. My lord . . quhat his Ma tie his hienes was. 

The vther ansuris Then my Lord caused 

discover the tabel and directit his Officeris [inconti- 
nent ?] to go to the towne to seik prouision for his Ma teis 
dennare. His Lordship's self accompaneit w" fower men (?) 

twa onlie war his awin servanttis went to the 

south . . of Perth to meit his Ma tie quhair in presence of 
all the company his Ma tie kyssit my lord at meitting. 

When his Ma tie enterit in my lordis house his Ma ties 
awin porteris resavit the keyis of the gaitt . . ylk thay 
keipit quh . . . murther was endit. 

His Ma teis self commandit to haist the dennare w* all 
expedition becaus he was hungrie eftir huntting quhilk . . . 
.... the schort warning and suddentlie dispaschit. His 
Ma teis sendis Mr. Alexander to call Sir Thomas Erskyne 
and Jon Eamsay to folow him to the challmer, quhair his 
Ma tie , Sir Thomas Erskyne, Jon Eamsay, Doctor Hereis, 
and Mr. Wilsone being convenit slew [M r . Alex r ] and threw 
him down the stair, how and for quhat cause .... thame 



254 THE COWRIE MYSTERY 

selfis, and no doubt wald reveill if thay war was als 

straytlie toyit in the . . men kingis servanttis 

cummes to the at dennare in the hall the 

saying my lordis will y e calling 

for horse at his Ma tics . . . suddaine departure 

.... and callit for his horse and stayit not .... 
past out to the streit q r abyding his horse he hearis His 
Ma tie call on him out at the chalmer window niy Lord 
of Gowrie traittoris hes murtherit yo r brother alreddie 
and . . ye suffir me to be murtherit also. My Lord 
hering yis niakis to the yait (?) quhair himself was . . in 
and M r . Thomas Cranstoun that thrust in before him, 
the rest was excludit by violence of the kingis servanttis 
and cumpany quha . . . the hous and yett. My lord 
being in at the yett and entering in the turnpyck to pass 
vp to his Ma tie he fand his brother thrawin down y ? stairs 
dead. And when he came to the chalmer dure M 1 '. 
Thomas Cranstoun being before him was stricken throw 
the body twyse and drawin bak be my lord, quha enterit 
in the chalmer calling if the king was alyve, bot the . . . 
quhylk was in the chalmer . . . him w* stroke of sworde, 
bot being unable to ovircum him, and some of thame 
woundit, they promisit him to lat him see the king alyve 
according to his desyre, and in the meantyme he croceing 
his two swordis was be Jon Ramsay strok throw y e body, 
and falling w tj the stroke recommendit his saule to God, 
protesting before his heavinlie Ma tie that he deit his trew 
subiect and the kingis. And this far is certanely knawin 
& collectit pairtly be the trew affirmacione of sum quha 
war present of the kingis awin folkis and last of all be the 
deposicionnis of M 1 '. Thomas Cranstoun, George Craigingelt, 
and J. (?) Barroun, quha eftir grevous & intolerable 
torturis tuke it vponn thair saluaciun & damnatioun that 
they never knew the Earle of Gowrie to carie any evill 
mynd to the kyng lat be to intend treasoun against him, 
bot rather wald die w 1 that that the Earle of Gowrie his 



APPENDICES 255 

brother and thay thame selfis deit innocent : 

Hendersone if he be put to the lyke tryall .... bot he 
will confess that he was servind the Lordis al . . . in the 
hall quhen the M r was murtherit and quhen the kingis 
[servant?] broght the newis that his Ma tie was away & 
fra that I hear .... that he was sene till the king 
causit him to come vponn promeis that his lyfe and 
landis suld be saif, for quhat cause the effect will .... 
As for the buke of Necromancie whiche was alledgit to 
have bene deprehendit on my lord it (?) was proposeit to 
the earles pedagog M r . W r Eind (?), quha schawis that 
he knew my lord to have ane memoriall buik quhairin he 
wreat all the notable thingis he learned in his absence, 
ather be sicht or hearing, bot as for any buik of Necro- 
mancie nor his medling w l necromanceis he never knew 
thereof. 

It may be my gude Lord governo 1 ' that the maner of 
the earle of Gowrie and his brotheris death befoir writtin 
be so far frorne yo r honoure in mynd that yt (?) may move 
farther doubtes to aryse theryn. The cause hereof I 
vnderstand is pairtlie the difference of the last report 
frome the reporttis preceidding in that it determines na 
thing concerning the cause of his Ma ties sending for the 

M r of Gowrie nor concerning. . . . speiches and 

and in the chalmer. . . . pairtlie becaus prevaile 

or speik against his Ma tie albeit thay kowe 

.... some thair be that co r se. . . apat (?) to his Ma tie3 
sayingis that thay will swear thame all albeit thair con- 
sciences persuade thame of [the] contrair. Sua it is hard 
for yo r Lordship to be resoluit be reporttis. Bot if it will 
pleas yo r Lordship to be acquent w* the causis and inci- 
dentis preceidding this dolorous effect, I hoip yo r Lord- 
ship wilbe the rnair easilie persuadit of the treuth. And 
first of all the evill mynd careit be my lord. . . . Colonel (?) 
Stewart and his privie complaint & informacioune to his 
Ma tie thair anent. 



256 THE GOWRIE MYSTERY 

Secondlie the opposition laid (?) be my lord himself in 
the Conventioun and be the barronnis, as is thocht be his 
instigacioun, against (?) his Ma tie . 

Thirdlie the great haitrent and envy of the courtieris in 
particularis, quha had persavit him to be ane great staye 
of thair coninioditie, and sa be fals reportis and calumneis 
did go about to kendle and incense his Ma ties wrath against 
him privilie. 

And fourtlie the over great expectatioune the Kirk 
and cuntrie had of him w l ane singular lowe preceding y r 
fra and vther causis q lk is not neidfull to be exprest. All 
these causis makis the kingis pairt to be deadlie suspected 
be those quha knawis thame to be of veritie. 

As for my lordis pairt if yo r Lordship knew how weill 
he was trainit be M r Eobert Eollok ane of the godliest 
men in Scotland at scoolis, and quhat testificatioun of gude 
inclinacioun and behaviour he had ressauit fra him yo r 
hono r wald hardlie beleue him a traito 1 '. 

Secondlie if yo r Lordship knew w* quhat accompt and 
good opinioun of all gude men he passit sobirlie and quyetlie 
out of his. . . . how wiselie and godlie he behauit him self 
in all natiounis quhairsoever he come, how he sufferit in 

Eome itself. . . . for the treuth of his religion as 

I am sure he. ... be suspect to be a traittor. 

Thirdlie to quhat end suld my lord of Gourie have 
maid hes leving frie, brocht hame furniture and orna- 
menttis for his hous and payit all his. . . fatheris debtis 
and setlit himself to be a gude iusticiar in his awin landis 
as is notoriouslie knawin gif w'in the space of twa 
monethis haveing scairslie. . . . countrie he suld resolue 

to & murther his Prince be. . . cause and sa to 

quyt his countrie his leving his welth his. ... & lyfe, 
lat be the ruitting out of his name & posteritie for evir. 



APPENDICES 257 



APPENDIX C 

FIVE LETTERS FORGED BY SPROT, AS FROM LOGAN 

[Preserved in the General Register House, Edinburgh] 

(1) Robert Logan of Eestalrig to . . . . 

Rycht Honorabill Sir, My dewty with servise remem- 
bred. Pleise yow onderstand, my Lo. of Gowry and some 
vtheris his Lo. frendis and veill villeris, qha tendaris his 
Lo. better preferment, ar vpon the resolucion ye knaw, 
for the revenge of that cawse ; and his Lo. hes vrettin to 
me anent that purpose, qhairto I vill accorde, incase ye vill 
stand to and beir a part : and befoir ye resolve, meet me 
and M.A.E. in the Cannogat on Tysday the nixt owk, and 
be als var as ye kan. Indeid M.A.R. spak with me fowr 
or fywe dayis syn, and I hew promised his Lo. ane answar 
within ten dayis at farrest. As for the purpose how 
M.A.R. and I hes sett down the cowrse, it vill be ane very 
esy done twrne, and nocht far by that forme, vith the lyke 
stratagem, qhairof ve had conference in Cap. h. Bot incase 
ye and M.A.R. forgader, becawse he is someqhat consety, for 
Godis saik be very var vith his raklese toyis of Padoa : For 
he tald me ane of the strangest taillis of ane nobill man of 
Padoa that ever I hard in my lyf, resembling the lyk purpose. 
I pray yow, Sir, think nathing althocht this berare onder- 
stand of it, for he is the special secretair of my lyf ; His 
name is Lard Bower, and vas aid Manderstonis man for 
deid and lyf, and evin so now for me. And for my awin 
part, he sail knaw of all that I do in this varld, so lang as 

S 



258 THE GOWEIE MYSTERY 

ve leif togidder, for I mak him my howsehald man : He is 
veill vorthy of credit, and I recommend him to yow. 
Alvyse to the purpose, I think best for our plat that ve 
meet all at my house of Fastcastell ; for I hew concludit 
with M.A.R. how I think it sail be meittest to be convoyit 
quyetest in ane bote, be sey ; at qhilk tyrne vpon swre 
adwartisment I sail hew the place very quyet and veill 
provydit ; and as I receve yowr answer I vill post this 
berair to my Lo. and therfoir I pray yow. as ye luf yowr 
awin lyf, becawse it is nocht ane matter of mowise, be 
circumspect in all thingis, and tak na feir bot all sail be 
veill. I hew na vill that ather my brother or yit M.W.R. 
niy Lo. aid pedagog knaw ony thing of the matter, qhill 
all be done that ve vald hew done ; and thane I cair nocht 
qha get vit, that lufis vs. Qhen ye hew red, send this my 
letter bak agane vith the berar, that I may se it brunt 
my self, for sa is the fasson in sic errandis ; and if ye 
please, vryyt our (?) answer on the bak herof, incase ye vill 
tak my vord for the credit of the berair : and vse all ex- 
pedicioun, for the twrne vald nocht be lang delayit. Ye 
knaw the kingis hwnting vill be schortly, and than sail be 
best tyme, as M.A.R. has asswred me, that my Lo. has 
resolved to interpryse that matter. Lwking for yowr 
answer, conimittis yow to Chrystis haly protectioun. 
Frome Fastcastell, the awchtan day of July 1600. 

(Sic subscribitur) Yowris to vtter power redy 

RESTALRIGB. 

On the back ' Sprott,' ' bookit ' (2). 

(2) Robert Logan of Eestalrig to Laird Bower. 

Lard Bower, I pray yow hast yow hast to me abowt 
the erand I tald yow, and ve sail confer at lenth of all 
thingis. I hew recevit an new letter fra my Lo(rd) of 
Go(wrie) concerning the purpose that M.A. his Lo. brothir 
spak to me befoir, and I perseif I may hew avantage of 



APPENDICES 259 

Dirleton, incase his other matter tak effect, as ve hope it 
sail. Alvayse I beseik yow be at me the morne at evin, for 
I hew asswred his lo. servand, that I sail send yow over the 
vatter vithin thre dayis, vith an full resolucion of all my 
vill, anent all purposes ; As I sail indeid recommend yow 
and yowr trustiness till his lo. as ye sail find an honest 
recompense for yowr panes in the end. I cair nocht for 
all the land I hew in this kingdome, incase I get an grip 
of Dirleton, for I estem it the plesantest dwelling in 
Scotland. For Goddis cawse, keip all thingis very secret, 
that my lo. my brothir get na knawlege of owr purposes, 
for I (wald ?) rather be eirdit quik. And swa Iwking for 
yow, I rest till meitting. Fra the Kannogait, the xviij day 
of July. 

(Sic subscribitur) Yowris to power redy 

EESTALBIGE. 

I am verie ill at eise and thairfoir speid yow hither. 
On the back ' Sprott,' ' Secund,' < bookit.' 

(3) Robert Logan of Restalrig to. . . . 

Eycht honorable Sir, All my hartly duty vith humbill 
servise remembred. Sen I hew takin on hand to inter - 
pryse vith my lo(rd) of Go(wrie) yowr speciall and only best 
belowed, as ve hew set down the plat alredy, I vill 
request yow that ye vill be very circumspek and vyse, that 
na man may get ane avantage of vs. I dowt nocht bot 
ye knaw the perell to be bayth lyf , land and honowr, incase 
the mater be nocht vyslie vsed : And for my avin part, 
I sail hew an speciall respek to my promise that I hew maid 
till his Lo. and M.A. his lo(rdschipis) brother, althocht 
the skafald var set vp. If I kan nocht vin to Fakland the 
first nycht, I sail be tymelie in S L Johnestoun on the 
morne. Indeid I lipnit for my lo(rd) himself or ellise 
M.A. his lo. brother at my howse of Fast(castell) as I vret 
to them bayth. Alwyse I repose on yowr advertysment of 

s2 



260 THE GOWRIE MYSTERY 

the precyse day, vith credit to the berar : for howbeit he 
be bot ane silly aid gleyd carle, I vill answer for him that 
he sail be very trew. I pray yow, sir, reid and ather 
bwrne or send agane vith the berare ; for I dar haserd my 
lyf and all I hew ellise in the varld on his message, I hew 
sik pruif of his constant trewth. Sa committis yow to 
Chrystis holy protectioun. Frome the Kannogait the xxvij 
day of July 1600. 
(Sic subscribitur) 

Yowris till all power v* humbill servise redy 

EESTALRIGE. 

I vse nocht to vryt on the bak of ony of my letteris 
concerning this errand. 

On the back ' Sprott,' ' bookit ' (3). 

(4) Robert Logan of Restalrig to the Earl of Gowrie. 

My Lo. My rnaist humbill dewtie vith servise in maist 
hartly maner remernbred. At the resset of yowr lo(rd- 
schipis] letter I am so comforted, especially at your Lo : 
purpose communicated onto me thairin, that I kan nather 
vtter my joy nor find myself habill how to enconter yowr 
lo. vith dew thankis. Indeid my lo. at my being last in the 
town M.A. your lo. brother imperted somqhat of yowr 
lo(rdschipis) intentioun anent that matter onto me ; and if I 
had nocht bene busyed abowt sum turnis of my avin, I thoght 
till hew cummit over to S. Jo. and spokin vith your lo(rd- 
schip). Yit alvayse my lo. I beseik your lo. bayth for the 
saifty of yowr honowr, credit and mair nor that, yowr lyf, 
my lyf, and the lyfis of rnony otheris qha may perhapis 
innocently smart for that turne eftirwartis, incase it be 
reveilled be ony ; and lykvyse, the vtter vraking of our 
landis and howsis, and extirpating of owr names, Iwke that 
ve be all alse sure as yowr lo. and I myself sail be for my 
avin part, and than I dowt nocht, bot vith Godis g(race) we 



APPENDICES 261 

sail bring our matter till ane fine, qhilk sail bring con- 
tentment to vs all that ever vissed for the revenge of the 
Maschevalent massakering of our deirest frendis. I dowt 
nocht bot M.A. yowr lo. brother hes informed yowr lo. 
qhat cowrse I laid down, to bring all your lo(rdschipis) 
associatis to my howse of Fast(castell) be sey, qhair I suld 
hew all materiallis in reddyness for thair saif recayving a 
land, and into my howse ; making as it ver bot a maner 
of passing time, in ane bote on the sey, in this fair somer 
tyde ; and nane other strangeris to hant my howse, qhill 
ve had concluded on the laying of owr plat, quhilk is 
alredy devysed be M.A. and me. And I vald viss that 
yowr lo. wald ather come or send M.A. to me, and thareftir 
I sowld meit yowr lo. in Leith, or quyetly in Eestal(rig) 
qhair ve sowld hew prepared ane fyne hattit kit, v fc succar, 
comfeitis, and vyn ; and thereftir confer on matteris. And 
the soner ve broght owr purpose to pass it ver the better, 
before harwest. Let nocht M.W.E. yowr awld pedagog ken 
of your comrning, bot rather vald I, if I durst be so bald, 
to intreit yowr lo. anis to come and se my avin howse, 
qhair I hew keipit my lo(rd) Bo(thwell) in his gretest ex- 
tremityis, say the King and his consell qhat they vald. 
And incase God grant vs ane hapy swccess in this errand, 
I hope baith to haif yowr lo. and his lo., vith mony otheris 
of yowr loveries and his, at ane gude dyner, before I dy. 
Alvyse I hope that the K(ingis) bwk hunting at Falkland, 
this yeir, sail prepair sum daynty cheir for ws, agan that 
dinner the nixt yeir. Hoc jocose, till animat yowr lo. at 
this tyme ; bot eftirvartis, ve sail hew better occasion to 
mak mery. I protest, my lo. before God, I viss nathing 
vith a better hart, nor to atchive to that qhilk yowr lo. vald 
fane atteyn onto ; and my continewall prayer sail tend to 
that effect ; and vith the large spending of my landis gudis, 
yea the haserd of my lyf, sail not afray me fra that, 
althocht the skaffold var alredy sett vp, befoir I sowld 
falsify my promise to yowr lo. and perswade yowr lo(rd- 



262 THE GOWRIE MYSTERY 

schip) therof. I trow yowr lo. lies ane pruife of my con- 
stancy alredy or now. Bot my lo. qharas your lo. desyris 
in yowr letter, that I craif rny lo. my brotheris mynd anent 
this matter, I alvterly disasent fra that that he sowld ever 
be ane counsalowr therto ; for in gude fayth, he vill newer 
help his frend nor harrne his fo. Yowr lo. may confyde 
mair in this aid man, the beirer heir of, my man La(ird) 
Bowr, nor in my brother ; for I lippin my lyf and all I 
hew ells in his handis ; and I trow he vald nocht spair to 
ryde to Hellis yet to plesour me ; and he is nocht begylit 
of my pairt to him. Alvjse, my lo. qhen yowr lo. hes red 
my letter, delyver it to the berair agane, that I ma} r se it 
brunt vith my awin ein ; as I hew sent yowr Lo : letter to 
yowr Lo. agane ; for so is the fassone I grant. And I pray 
yowr lo. rest fully perswaded of me and all that I hew 
prornesed ; for I am resolved, howbeit it ver to dy the 
rnorne. I man intreit yowr lo. to expede Bowr, and gif 
him strait directioun, on payn of his lyf, that he tak never 
ane vink sleip, qhill he se me agane ; or ellise he vill 
vtterly vndo vs. I hew alredy sent an other letter to the 
gentill man yowr lo. kennis, as the berare vill informe yowr 
lo. of his answer and forvardness vith yowr lo. ; and I sail 
schaw yowr lo. forder, at meting, qhen and qhair yowr lo. 
sail think meittest. To qhilk tyrne and ever committis 
yowr lo. to the proteccioun of the Almychtie God. From 
Gwnisgrene, the twenty nynt of Julij 1600. 

(Sic subscribitur) Your lo. awin sworne and bundman 

to obey and serve v t efauld and ever redy seruise 

to his vttir power till his lyfis end. 

RESTALRIGE. 

Prayis yowr lo. hald me excused for my vnsemly 
letter, qhilk is nocht sa veil vrettin as mister var : For 
I durst nocht let ony of my vryteris ken of it, but tuke 
twa syndry ydill dayis to it my self. 

I vill never foryet the gude sporte that M.A. yowr lo: 



APPENDICES 263 

brother tald me of ane nobill man of Padoa, it comiss sa 
oft to my memory. And indeid it is a parastevr to this 
purpose ve hew in hand. 

On the back ' Sprott,' ' bookit ' (4). 

(5) Robert Logan of Restalrig to 

Rycht honor abill Sir, My hartly dewty remembred. Ye 
knaw I tald yow at owr last meitting in the Cannogat that 
M.A.K. my lo. of Go(wries) brother had spokin vith me, 
anent the matter of owr conclusion ; and for my awin part 
I sail nocht be hindmest ; and sensyne I gat ane letter 
from his lo. selff, for that same purpose ; and apon the 
resset tharof , onderstanding his lo. frankness and fordvard- 
ness in it, God kennis if my hart vas nocht liftit ten 
stagess ! I postit this same berare till his lo. to qhome ye 
may concredit ail yowr hart in that asveill as I ; for and it 
var my very sowl, I durst mak him messinger therof, I 
hew sic experiense of his treuth in mony other thingis : 
He is ane silly aid gleyd carle, hot vender honest : And as 
he hes reportit to me his lo. awin answer, I think all 
matteris sail be concluded at my howse of Fa(stcastell) ; 
for I and M.A.R. conclude that ye sowld come vith him and 
his lo. and only ane other man vith yow, being bot only fowr 
in company, intill ane of the gret fisching botis, be sey to 
my howse, qher ye sail land as saifly as on Leyth schoir ; 
and the howse agane his lo. comming to be quyet : And 
qhen ye ar abowt half a rnyll fra schoir, as it ver passing 
by the howse, to gar set forth ane vaf. Bot for Godis 
sek, let nether ony knawlege come to my lo. my brotheris 
eiris, nor yit to M.W.R. my lo. aid pedagog ; for my 
brother is kittill to scho behind, and dar nocht interpryse, 
for feir ; and the other vill disswade vs fra owr purpose 
vith ressonis of religion, qhilk I can newer abyd. I think 
thar is nane of a nobill hart, or caryis ane stomak vorth 
an pini, bot they vald be glad to se ane contented revenge 



264 THE GOWRIE MYSTERY 

of Gray Steillis deid : And the sorter the better, or ellse ve 
may be marrit and frustrat ; and therfor, pray his lo(rd- 
schip) be qwik and bid M.A. remember on the sport he tald 
me of Padoa ; for I think vith my self that the cogitacion on 
that sowld stimulat his lo(rdschip). And for Godis cawse 
vse all yowr cowrses cum discrecione. Fell nocht, sir, 
to send bak agan this letter ; for M.A. leirit me that 
fasson, that I may se it distroyed my self. Sa till your 
comming, and ever, committis yow hartely to Chrystis holy 
protection. From Gwnisgrene, the last of July 1600. 

On the back 'xiij Aprilis 1608 producit be Ninian 
Chirnesyde (8).' 

Also ' Sprott,' ' Fyft. bookit.' 



INDEX 



ABBOT, Dr. George, present when 
Sprot was hanged, 177, 226 ; 
his pamphlet containing official 
account of Sprot's trial and ex- 
aminations, 178 

Abercromby, Eobert (the King's 
saddler), said to have brought 
James to Perth to ' take order 
for his debt,' 83, 84, 159 

Agnew, Sir Stair, cited, 241 

Analysis of Letter IV, 232-239 

Anderson, Eev. Mr., finds the 
torn letter from Logan to 
Chirnside, 174 ; on Letter IV., 
236, 237, 238; on the Logan 
plot-letters, 241, 242, 243 

Angus, Earl of, involves Gowrie's 
father in a conspiracy with ! 
him, 121, 122 ; under the spells 
of witchcraft, 198, 199 

Anne of Denmark, Queen (wife 
of James VI), her attributed 
relations with the Earl Moray, 
2; and with Gowrie and the 
Master of Euthven, 3, 133, 134, 
138 ; romantic story of her 
ribbon on the Master's neck, 
132 ; invites Gowrie to Court, 
133, 134 ; sorrow for the slay- 
ing of the Euthvens, 5, 133, 
138; plots against the Earl of 
Mar, 138, 139 

Arms, Gowrie's, 245 et seq. 

Arnott, Sir John (provost of Edin- 
burgh), on the Logan plot- 
letters, 243 ; at the trial of 
Logan, 250 

Arran (Capt. James Stewart), his 



influence over James, 119 ; his 
treachery to Gowrie's father, 
120-123 ; receives that noble- 
man's forfeited estate, 123 ; 
driven into retirement, 123 

Arran, Earl of, Bothwell's (James 
Hepburn) proposal to him to 
seize Mary, cited, 71 

Ashfield, kidnapped by Lord Wil- 
loughby, cited, 139 

Atholl, Earl of ^married to Gow- 
rie's sister Mary), 123 ; in 
alliance with Bothwell and 
Gowrie against James, 125 ; 
manifesto to the Kirk, 125 ; 
letters from James, 134, 135 

Auchmuty, John, in attendance 
on James, 12 



BAILLIE, John, of Littlegill, im- 
plicated by Sprot with Logan, 
202, 203 ; denies receiving a 
letter from Logan, 209 

Baldi, Ottavio, his letter to James 
on the Gowrie emblem at 
Padua, 246, 247, 251 

Balgonie. See Graham of Bal- 
gonie. 

Barbe, Mr. Louis, on Henderson's 
and the Master's ride to Falk- 
land, 45 ; his view of the notary 
Eobertson's evidence respect- 
ing Henderson, 61 note ; as to 
the theory of an accidental 
brawl, 94 ; on James and the 
pot of gold tale, 95 ; on Bruce's 
interrogation of the King, 109 ; 



266 



THE GOWIttE MYSTERY 



on the invitation from the King 
to Gowrie, Atholl, and others to 
join him at Falkland, 135 

Baron (Gowrie's retainer), in the 
chamber fight, 87 ; hanged, 87 

Bell, John, Logan's memorandum 
to him, 174, 195 

Beza, Gowrie with, at Geneva, 130 

Bisset, Mr., quoted, on the notary 
Kobertson's evidence respecting 
Henderson, 61 note 

Bothwell, Francis Stewart Earl 
of, aided by Gowrie's mother 
and sister captures James at 
Holyrood, 124, 125 ; manifesto 
to the Kirk, 125 ; his list of 
Scottish Catholic nobles ready 
for the invasion of Scotland, 
128 ; other proposals of inva- 
sion, 129 ; vague hints at his 
aim to change the dynasty, 
140; his whereabouts in 1600, 
147 note ; on terms with Logan 
of Bestahig, 154, 155, 156 ; 
charged with practising witch- 
craft against the King's life, 
198 ; report as to a secret can- 
didate for James's crown, 251 

Bothwell, James Hepburn Earl 
of, his proposal to Arran to 
seize Mary, cited, 71 

Bower, James (a retainer of 
Logan's), custodian of com- 
promising letters between Lo- 
gan and Gowrie, 164, 174, 176, 
177, 195 ; bearer of Gowrie's 
letter to Logan, 183, 188, 191 ; 
letter from Logan, 183, 184; 
Sprot's account of Logan and 
Bower's scheme to get posses- 
sion of Dirleton, 189 ; with 
Logan at Coldiugharne after 
the tragedy, 195 ; custodian of 
Ruthven's and Clerk's letters 
to Logan, 202 ; blamed for the 
selling of Fastcastle, 204 ; letter 
from Logan reproaching him for 
indiscretions of speech, 211, 212 

Bower, Valentine, employed by 
his father James to read Logan's 
letters, 213 

Bowes, Sir William (English 



Ambassador), no friend of 
James's, 96 ; his hypothesis 
respecting the Gowrie tragedy, 
96 ; letter to Sir John Stanhope 
on same matter, 97 note 

Brown, Professor Hume, on the 
Logan plot-letters, 241 

Brown, Robert (James's servant), 
part in the Gowrie mystery. 31 

Bruce, Rev. Robert (Presbyterian 
minister), his cross-examina- 
tion of James on the Gowrie 
tragedy, 38 ; allows that James 
was not a conspirator, 95 ; ex- 
plains to James the reasons 
for the preachers' refusal to 
thank God for his delivery 
from a ' plot,' 101 ; sceptical 
of the veracity of James's nar- 
rative, 102, 103 ; will believe it 
if Henderson is hanged, 103, 
104, 106, 226 ; goes into banish- 
ment, 105 ; tells Mar in Lon- 
don he is content to abide by 
the verdict in the Gowrie case, 
but is not persuaded of Gowrie's 
guilt, 105 ; meets the King in 
Scotland, and tells him he is 
convinced, on Mar's oath, that 
he is innocent, 106 ; inter- 
rogates the King, 107 ; refuses 
to make a public apology in 
the pulpit and is banished to 
Inverness, 108, 250 ; his ' Medi- 
tations,' 110 note ; asks Lord 
Hamilton to head the party of 
the Kirk, 177 ; prophecies, 249 

Burnet (Burnet's father), on the 
Gowrie mystery, 249, 250 

Burnet, Bishop, quoted, on 
Gowrie's claims to a Royal 
pedigree, 249, 250 

Burton, Dr. Hill, on James VI, 
5 ; on Logan's plot-letters, 169 



CALDERWOOD, Rev. David (Pres- 
byterian minister), on James's 
narrative of the Gowrie affair, 
36, 37 ; on the man in the 
turret, 62 ; rejects the story of 
Craigengelt's dying confession, 



INDEX 



267 



104 ; view of the objections 
taken by sceptics to the King's 
narrative, 111 ; on Gowrie's entry 
to Edinburgh, 130 ; on the con- 
fession of Sprot on the scaffold, 
168, 164 note, 227; his inter- 
pretation of Sprot's confession, 
164 ; on the Logan plot-letters, 
170, 172, 173 

Cant, Mr. (antiquary), on Gowrie 
House, 18 

Carey, Sir John (Governor of 
Berwick), respecting a treatise 
in vindication of the Euthvens, 
81 ; informs Cecil of James's 
jealousy of Gowrie, 130 ; and 
of the Court tattle respecting 
the Queen and Gowrie, 133 

Casket Letters, the, cited, 5,7,8; 
in possession of Gowrie's father, 
240 ; disappearance of, 241 ; 
probability of forgery, 244 

Cecil Papers at Hatfield, the, 158 

Cecil, Sir Eobert, Queen Eliza- 
beth's minister, 11 ; communi- 
cation from Nicholson respecting 
Craiistoun and Henderson, 75 
note ; letter from Carey respect- 
ing a treatise in vindication of 
the Euthvens, 81 ; intrigue with 
Bothwell, 147 note ; with Border 
Scots intriguing against James, 
159, 160; Lord Willoughby's 
offer of a ship if subsidised, 218 

Chirnside, Ixinian, of Whitsum- 
laws, 154 ; Logan's letter to 
him, 174 ; relations with Logan, 
197, 199; employed by Both- 
well to arrange meetings with 
the wizard Graham, 198, 199 ; 
in danger after the failure of 
the Gowrie plot, 203 ; Sprot's 
forged letter of Logan's to be 
used by him for blackmailing 
Logan's executors, 215 

Christie, porter at Gowrie House 
on the fatal day, 21 

Clerk, Father Andrew (Jesuit), in- 
triguing against James, 201, 212 

Coat of arms, Gowrie's, 245 etseq. 

Colville, John, tells Cecil of 
Gowrie's summons to be leader 



of the Kirk, 129 ; schemes 
against James, 140, 146, 155 ; 
renounces Frank Bothwell, 198 

Corsar, John, cited, 211 

Cowper, Eev. Mr. (minister of 
Perth), on Gowrie's views as to 
secrecy in plots, 144 

Craigengelt (Gowrie's steward), 
his evidence regarding the 
Master's ride to Falkland, 44; 
observation of the Master while 
the King dines, 49 ; at the 
dinner, 65, 83, 84 ; his con- 
fession before execution, 103, 
104 ; denial of receipt of letters 
from James to Gowrie, 134, 

135 note ; on the movements of 
the Gowries before the tragedy, 

136 ; hanged, 87 
Cranstoun of Cranstoun, Sir 

John, 154 

Cranstoun Bidden, Laird of, 
(Logan's father-in-law), 153 

Cranstoun, Thomas (Gowrie's 
equerry), his share in the 
transactions at Gowrie House 
which brought about the 
slaughter of the Euthvens, 20, 
21, 23, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31; 
wounded by Earnsay, 74, 85 ; 
examined, tortured, tried, and 
hanged at Perth, 74, 87, 155 ; 
an outlawed rebel and adherent 
of Bothwell, 74 note, 155 

Cranstoun, Win. (Bothwellian),155 

Crockett, Willie, one of Sprot's 
victims, 203 ; his account of 
Logan's Yule at Gunnisgreen, 
209 

Cromarty, Lord, his defence of 
James in the Gowrie affair, 
223 ; testifies to the finding of 
Sprot's Letter IV, 224, 229 



DAVIDSON, Eev. M., cited, 249 
Dirleton, Gowrie's stronghold near 

North Berwick, 42, 43, 145 
Doig, Watty, arrests Sprot, 162 
Douglas, Archibald, the infamous 

traitor, 140 ; his intimacy with 

Logan, 154, 155, 157 



268 



THE GOWRIE MYSTERY 



Douglas, Archibald, of Glenbervie, 
248 

Douglas, Archibald (son of 
Douglas of Glenbervie), student 
at Padua, 126, 248 

Douglas of Spot, 140, 156 

Douglas, Sir Robert, and the 
Gowrie emblem in Padua, 127, 
246, 247, 248, 251 

Drumniond of Inchaffray, at 
Gowrie House when the Ruth- 
vens were killed, 19, 24, 43; 
letter from James, 134, 135 

Dunbar, Earl of, his humane 
treatment of Sprot, 163, 170; 
Sprot's confession forwarded to 
him, 182 ; in debt to Logan, 211 

Dunfermline, Earl of, and the 
preachers, 102 ; opposes James's 
demands for money, 131 ; pre- 
sent at Sprot's examinations, 
201, 210 



EASTER WEMYSS, Laird of, op- 
poses James's demands for 
monej 7 , 131 

Elizabeth, Queen, 11 ; receives, 
through Preston, James's ac- 
count of the Gowrie affair, 96 ; 
seeks to purchase the Casket 
Letters from Gowrie's father, 
240; said to have granted to 
Gowrie the guard and honours 
of a Prince of Wales, 248 

Elphinstone (Lord Balmerino), 
Secretary of the Privy Council, 
in receipt of James's narrative 
of the Gowrie plot, 38 ; denies 
discrepancies alleged by the 
preachers in the report of the 
tragedy, 102 

Erskine, Sir Thomas, his share in 
the Gowrie slaughter, 19, 26, 27, 
28, 29, 30, 31, 51, 59, 74, 85, 139 

Erskine (Sir Thomas's brother), 
his part in the tragedy, 26, 27, 
28, 29 

Essex, Earl of, 11, 105 

Eviot, Patrick, present at the 
fight in the death chamber, 29, 
30, 60 ; proclaimed, 63 



FALKLAND Castle, 5, 12 

Fastcastle, Berwickshire, the 
stronghold of Logan, where it 
is said James was to have been 
lodged, 153, 154, 193, 194 

Fyvie, President of the Privy 
Council. See Dunfermline. 

GALLOWAY, Rev. Patrick (the 
King's chaplain), his account 
of the doors passed through and 
locked by the Master on the 
way to the turret, 53 ; proclaims 
Henderson as the man in the 
turret, 63 ; alleges that Gowrie 
attempted to involve James in 
negotiations with the Pope, 104, 
128 ; reported to have induced 
Henderson to pretend to be 
the man in the turret, 114 ; at 
Sprot's examination, 186. 217, 
220, 226 

Galloway, William, one of Sprot's 
victims, 203 

Gardiner, Mr. S. R. (historian), on 
the Gowrie mystery, 5 

Gibson (Scottish judge), kidnap- 
ping of, 145 

Goodman, the, of Pitmillie, on the 
King's knowledge of Hender- 
son, 114 

Gowdie, Isobel, accused of witch- 
craft, 198 

Gowrie, Earl of (father of John 
Earl of, and the Master of 
Ruthven), one of the Riccio 
murderers, 118 ; in charge of 
Mary at Lochleven, 118 ; par- 
doned for his share in the Raid 
of Ruthven, 119 ; arrested and 
brought to trial, 120; foul 
means by which his conviction 
was procured, 120-123 ; fore- 
knowledge of the Angus con- 
spiracy, 121, 122 ; nobles charged 
by him with treachery, 122 ; 
execution, 11, 55, 56, 121 ; the 
King's debt to him, 84 ; after 
death denounced by James as a 
traitor, 96 ; the Casket Letters 
in his possession, 240 

Gowrie House, situation and topo- 



INDEX 



269 



graphy of, 14-18 ; Lennox's ac- 
count of proceedings at, on the 
day of the slaughter, 20 et seq. 

Gowrie Inn, 18 

Gowrie, John Earl of, his attri- 
buted relations with the Queen, 
3 ; speculations as to his aims 
and character, 5, 7 ; and the 
causes leading to his death, 5, 
7 ; alleged plot to seize James, 
7 ; his retainers' evidence there- 
on, 9 ; the Duke of Lennox's 
account of events, 13 et seq. ; 
James's invitation to Gowrie 
House to see the treasure, 14 ; 
situation and topography of 
his house, 15-18 ; observers' 
accounts of his plot said to 
have been aimed at the King, 
20-34 ; the manner of his death, 
31 ; the King's own narrative 
of the Goivrie plot, 35 et seq. ; 
his conduct in the light of that 
narrative, 42 ; the circumstance 
of the man in the turret, and 
the plot of gold concealed from 
him, 41, 42, 49, 50 ; Henderson 
sent by the Master to warn 
him of the King's arrival, 43 ; 
secrecy enjoined by him on 
Henderson as to the ride to 
Falkland, 44 ; silent as to his 
knowledge of the King's 
approach, 45 ; makes no pre- 
paration for the King's dinner 
46, 49 ; influence of a disagree- 
ment between him and the 
Master, respecting the Abbey 
of Scone, 48, 49 ; meets the 
King and conducts him to 
Gowrie House, 49 ; his uneasy 
conduct while the King dines, 
49, 50 ; account of his share in 
the plot drawn from Hender- 
son's deposition, 64 ; questions 
Henderson about the King, 65 ; 
bids Henderson put on his secret 
coat of mail to arrest a High- 
lander, 65 ; the contemporary 
JRuthven Vindication, 80-93 ; 
theory of an accidental brawl, 
94-98 ; contemporary clerical 



and popular criticism, 99 et seq. ; 
alleged attempts to entangle 
James in negotiations with 
the Pope, 104; grounds for 
a hereditary feud between 
him and James, 118 ; elected 
provost of Perth, 124 ; at 
Edinburgh University, 124 ; 
in alliance with Bothwell and 
Atholl against James, 125 ; 
their manifesto to the Kirk, 
125 ; goes with his tutor Ehynd 
to Padua, 126 ; his emblem, and 
saying regarding it, 127 ; extols 
the conduct of an English 
fanatic at Kome, 127 : re- 
ported to have been converted 
to Catholicism, 128 ; his name 
on Bothwell's list of Scottish 
Catholic nobles ripe for the 
invasion of Scotland, 129 ; 
presented by Elizabeth, in 
London, with a cabinet of 
plate, 130; James jealous of 
him on his return to Edin- 
burgh, 131 ; opposes the King's 
demands for money, 131, 141 ; 
letter of invitation to Court, 
from the Queen, 133 ; letter of 
invitation to Falkland from 
James, 134, 135 ; quits Strab- 
ran for Perth, 136 ; movements 
on the morning of the tragedy, 
137 ; granted exemption for a 
year from pursuit by creditors, 
141 ; rumour that he was a 
candidate for the English 
throne, 141 ; motives of re- 
venge urging him to plot 
against James, 143 ; his views 
as to secrecy in plots, 144 ; 
evidences of his intention to 
capture James and convey him 
to Dirleton, 145, 146 ; letter to 
Logan, 183, 184 ; anxious that 
Lord Home should be initiated 
into the conspiracy, 206, 207 ; 
his arms and ambitions, 245- 
251 ; emblem at Padua, 247, 
248, 256 ; Tudor descent, 249 ; 
pedigree, 248, 249, 250 ; Both- 
well's statement implying that 



270 



THE GOWRIE MYSTERY 



he was a secret candidate for 
James's crown, 251 

Gowrie, Lady (Gowrie's mother), 
aids Bothwell in capturing 
James at Holyrood, 124, 125 ; 
her movements immediately 
prior to the tragedy, 136 ; at 
Dirleton on August 6, 136 ; 
her suit for relief from her 
creditors, 141 

Graham of Balgonie, reports the 
Master's desire to be alone with 
the King while inspecting the 
treasure, 50 ; picks up the gar- 
ter supposed to have been used 
to tie James's hands in the tur- 
ret chamber, 58 ; verbal narra- 
tive of the King's escape to the 
Privy Council, 101 

Graham, Richard (wizard), ac- 
cuses Bothwell of attempting 
James's life by sorcery, 198, 199 

Gray, suspected as the man in the 
turret, 62 

Gray, the Master of, reports Len- 
nox's doubt whether Gowrie or 
the King was guilty, 116 ; his 
relations with Logan of Restal- 
rig, 156, 157 

Guevara, Sir John (cousin of Lord 
Willoughbyj, his share in kid- 
napping Ashfield, 139 ; cited, 
146, 218 

Gunnisgreen, Logan of Restalrig's 
residence, 162 

Gunton, Mr. (Librarian at Hat- 
field), on Logan's letters, 239, 
241 



HADDINGTON, Earl of, in posses- 
sion of records of Sprot's pri- 
vate examinations, 173, 174; the 
torn letter, 216, 217 ; copies of 
Logan's letters (I, IV), 224; 
documents written by Sprot, 241 

Hailes, Lord, cited, 62 note ; on a 
contemporary treatise in vindi- 
cation of the Ruthvens, 81 ; his 
romantic story concerning the 
Master of Rut'hven, 132 

Hall, Rev. John, his objection to 



acceptance of James's narra- 
tive, 103 ; restored to his pulpit, 
105 ; present when Sproc con- 
fessed to forgery of the Logan 
letters, 186 ; at Sprot's exami- 
nation, 217, 220, 226 

Hamilton, Lord, asked to head the 
party of the Kirk, 177 

Hamilton of Grange, at the 
slaughter of the Ruthvens, 19 

Hamilton, Sir Thomas (the King's 
Advocate), 64 ; preserves the 
records of Sprot's private ex- 
aminations, 173, 174 ; at Sprot's 
examinations, 201, 210 ; Sprot's 
model letter delivered to him, 
224 

Hamilton, Thomas, on the doors 
passed through by the Master 
and James to reach the turret, 
52 

Hart, Sir William (Chief Justice), 
his account of Sprot's examina- 
tions and trial, 168, 177, 178, 
179, 180, 181, 220 

Hay, George (lay Prior of the 
Chartreux in Perth), on 
Henderson and the Falkland 
ride, 45 ; on Henderson's 
message to Gowrie from the 
Master, 65 ; at Perth on August 
5th, 137 

Hay, Peter, on Henderson and 
the Falkland ride, 45 

Heddilstane, 196 ; receipts from 
Logan to him forged by 
Sprot, 199 ; blackmailed by 
Sprot, 199 

Henderson, Andrew, with the 
Master of Ruthveii at Gowrie 
House, 43 ; accompanies the 
Master on a mission to James 
at Falkland, and sent with a 
message to Gowrie, 44 ; en- 
joined by Gowrie to keep this 
ride secret, 44, 45 ; Robertson's 
evidence respecting his presence 
in the death chamber, 60, 61 ; 
other theories on the same 
note ; his flight after the affray, 
60, 62 ; proclaimed by Galloway 
as the man in the turret, 63 : 



INDEX 



271 



reasons for his flight, 64; 
examined before the Lords, 

64 ; his narrative of the events 
leading to the tragedy, 64; 
incidents at Falkland, 65 ; the 
Master's message to Gowrie, 

65 ; bidden to put on a coat of 
mail by Gowrie, 66 ; waits on 
the King at dinner, 65 ; sent to 
the Master in the gallery, 66 ; 
locked in the turret by the 
Master, 66 ; accordance of his 
account of the final scenes in 
the tragedy with that of the 
King, 66 ; states that he threw 
the dagger out of the Master's 
hand, 66 ; discrepancies in his 
later deposition, 67 ; in his 
second deposition omits the 
statement that he deprived the 
Master of his dagger, 67 ; his 
version of the words exchanged 
between the Master and James 
in the turret chamber, 68 ; the 
question of his disarming the 
Master, 69 ; on what was his 
confession modelled, 70 ; clings 
to the incident of the garter, 
70 ; the most incredible part of 
his narrative. 70 ; perils to him 
in listening to treasonable pro- 
posals from the Euthvens, 72 ; 
Kobert Oliphant's statement 
contrasted with his, 75, 77 ; 
quarrels with Herries, 77, 78 ; 
Eev. Mr. Brace's attitude 
towards his deposition, 103, 
104; said to have been 
induced by the Rev. Mr. 
Galloway to pretend to be the 
man in the turret, 114 ; share 
in the Gowrie affair, 145 ; 
questioned by Moncrieff, 145 

Henry, Prince (son of James VI 
and his heir), in the charge of 
Mar, 138 

Heron, Captain Patrick, his 
career, 76 note ; seizes, by 
commission, Oliphant's port- 
able property and claps him in 
prison in the Gate House of 
Westminster, 76 ; compelled 



to restore Oliphant's property, 

77 . 
Herries, Dr., at the King's hunt 

at Falkland, 12 ; at Gowrie 
House when the Ruthvens were 
killed, 20, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31; 
his share in the affray, 59, 85 ; 
wounded by Cranstoun, 74 ; 
quarrels with Henderson, 77 ; 
knighted and rewarded, 78 ; 
fable of his prophecy to Beatrix 
Euthven, 131 

Hewat, Rev. Peter, accepts 
James's narrative, 102, 103 ; at 
Sprot's examination, 186, 217, 
220, 226 

History of the Kirk of Scotland 
(MS.), cited, 164 

Hogg, Eev. William (minister of 
Aytoun), on the Logan plot- 
letters, 243 

Home, Lady, aware of Logan's 
desire to obtain Dirleton, 207. 
208 

Home, (sixth) Lord, in communi- 
cation with Bothwell, 129, 130, 
152, 205, 206, 207 

Home. Lord (Logan's uterine 
brother), 184, 187, 205 ; Logan's 
contempt for him as a con- 
spirator, 237 

Home, William (sheriff clerk of 
Berwick), on the Logan plot- 
letters, 243 

Home, John (notary in Eye- 
rnouth), on the Logan plot- 
letters, 243 

Horse, King James's, his part in 
the Gowrie mystery, 22 

Hudson, Mr. (James's resident at 
the Court of England), inter- 
views the King and Henderson 
on the transactions in the 
turret chamber, 67, 69 note ; 
his explanation of the origin of 
differences between the King's 
narrative and Henderson's evi- 
dence, 69 

Hume of Cowdenknowes (married 
to Gowrie's sister Beatrix), 124 

Hume of Godscroft, on a message 
from the Earl of Angus to 



272 



THE GOWRIE MYSTERY 



Gowrie's father in conspiracy, 

121, 122 

Hume of Manderston, 187 
Hume of Eentoun, 196 
Hume, Sir George, of Spot, 64 

JAMES VI of Scotland, married 
to Anne of Denmark, 2 ; early 
life and character, 4 ; his version 
of the Gowrie n^stery, 6 ; 
reasons for doubting his guilt, 
7 ; untrustworthiness of his 
word, 8 ; substantial character 
of his tale, 9 ; love of the chase, 
11 ; political troubles, 11 ; 
hunting costume, 12 ; concerning 
him, facts drawn from Lennox, 
13 et seq. ; starts for the hunt 
in Falkland Park, 13 ; the 
Master of Ruthven interviews 
him before the hunt, 13 ; goes to 
Gowrie's house, 14 ; observers' 
accounts of the transactions 
indicating him, 20-34 ; his 
dinner at Gowrie House, 20 ; 
goes upstairs on a quiet errand, 
20 ; Cranstoun's statement that 
the King had ridden away, 20 ; 
search for him in the house, 21 ; 
Gowrie confirms his departure, 
22 ; but the King's horse 
still in the stable, 22 ; heard 
calling from the window, 23; 
struggle with the Master of 
Ruthven, 24, 25, 26 ; the man 
in the turret behind the King's 
back, 25 ; sanctions the stabbing 
of the Master of Ruthven by 
Ramsay, 26 ; shut up in the 
turret, 29, 30 ; kneels in prayer 
in the chamber bloody with the 
corpse of Gowrie, 32 ; his own 
narrative of the affair, 35 et 
seq. ; theory of the object of 
the Ruthvens, 37 ; the Master of 
Ruthven' s statement to him of 
the cloaked man and the pot 
full of coined gold pieces, 39 ; 
suspects the Jesuits of import- 
ing foreign gold for seditious 
purposes, 40 ; his horror of 
'practising Papists,' 40; hypo- 



thesis of his intended kidnap- 
ping, 37, 42 ; importance of 
the ride of the Master and 
Henderson to Falkland and its 
concealment to the substantia- 
tion of his narrative, 44, 45, 46 ; 
asserts Henderson's presence 
at Falkland, 46 ; rides, followed 
by Mar and Lennox, after the 
kill to Perth, 47 ; surmises 
regarding Ruthven, 47 ; motives 
for the Master acquiring his 
favour regarding the Abbey of 
Scone, 48 ; asks Lennox if he 
thinks the Master settled in his 
wits, 48 ; pressed by the Master 
to come on and see the man and 
the treasure, 48 ; met by Gowrie 
with sixty men, 49 ; presses 
the Master for a sight of the 
treasure, 49 ; the Master asks 
him to keep the treasure a 
secret from Gowrie, 49 ; 
Gowrie's uneasy behaviour 
while the King dines, 49, 50 ; 
despatches Gowrie to the Hall 
with the grace-cup, and follows 
the Master alone to the turret 
to view the treasure, 50, 51 ; 
the question of the doors he 
passed through to reach the 
turret chamber and their 
locking by the Master, 51, 52, 
53, 54 ; threatened by the 
Master with the dagger of a 
strange man in the turret 
chamber, 55 ; denounced for 
the execution of the Master's 
father, 56 ; his harangue to the 
Master excusing his action, and 
promising forgiveness if released, 
56 ; Ruthven goes to consult 
Gowrie, leaving him in the 
custody of the man, 56 ; questions 
the man about the conspiracy, 
57 ; orders the man to open the 
window, 58 ; the Master returns 
and essays to bind his hands 
with a garter, 58 ; struggles 
with the Master and shouts 
Treason from the window, 58 ; 
rescued by Rarnsay, who wounds 



INDEX 



273 



the Master, 59 ; returns to 
Falkland, 59 ; Henderson's 
narrative of events, 60 et seq. ; 
his interview with the Master 
and journey to Gowrie House, 
65 ; at dinner, 65 ; Henderson's 
account of the struggle in the 
turret chamber mainly in 
accord with the King's narra- 
tive, 66 ; discrepancy between his 
and Henderson's accounts of the 
disarming of Euthven, 69, 104 ; 
causes Oliphant to be lodged in 
the Gate House, Westminster, 
76 ; subsequently releases him 
and restores his property, 76, 77 ; 
maintains his to be the true 
account of the Gowrie affair 
and disregards discrepancies in 
evidence, 78 ; on the way to 
Gowrie House had informed 
Lennox of Euthven's tale of the 
pot of gold, 94 ; theory of his 
concoction of the tale, 95 ; 
despatches Preston to Elizabeth 
with his version of the Gowrie 
affair, 96 ; rates the Edinburgh 
preachers for refusing to thank 
God for his delivery from a 
' Gowrie plot,' 101 ; reasons 
for his ferocity towards the re- 
calcitrant preachers, 102; his 
alleged ' causes ' for the death 
of Gowrie, 104 ; Bruce states 
that he is convinced, on Mar's 
oath chiefly, of his innocence, 
106 ; under interrogation by 
Bruce, 107, 108 ; subsequent 
persecution of Bruce, 109 ; ob- 
jections taken by contemporary 
sceptics to his narrative, 111- 
117 ; grounds for a hereditary 
feud between him and Gowrie, 

118 ; early years of his reign, 

119 ; the Eaid of Euthven, 119 ; 
his acquiescence in the execution 
of Gowrie's father, 123 ; Arran's 
influence over him, 119, 123 ; 
suspected of favouring the 
Catholic earls of the North, 
124 ; Gowrie, Atholl and Both- 
well in alliance against him, 



125 ; their manifesto to the Kirk, 
125 ; Gowrie's relique at Padua 
forwarded to him by Sir Eobert 
Douglas, 127 ; early correspon- 
dence with Gowrie, 127 ; his 
alleged jealousy of Gowrie, 130; 
gives Gowrie a year's respite 
from pursuit of his creditors, 
131; thwarted by Gowrie in 
his demands for money, 131 ; 
romantic story of his discovery 
of the Queen's ribbon on the 
Master's neck, 132 ; his letters 
inviting Atholl, the Master and 
Gowrie to Falkland, 134, 135, 
note ; his motives for killing 
both the Euthvens, 139, 140 ; 
method attributed to him by his 
adversaries on which he might 
have carried out a plot against 
the Euthvens, 142 ; plots 
against him encouraged by the 
English Government, 161 ; his 
life aimed at by witchcraft, 
198. See 'The Verie Manner 
of the Erll of Gowrie,' &c. 
Jesuits, suspected by James of 
importing foreign coin for sedi- 
tious purposes, 40 

KEITH, Andrew, at Padua, 126, 248 
Ker, George (Catholic intriguer 

with Spain), 154 
Ker of Newbattle, at Padua with 

Gowrie, 248 
Ker, Eobert, of Newbattle, at 

Padua, 126 
Kirk, the, the King's version of 

the Gowrie plot discredited by, 

36 
Kirkcaldy of Grange, in defence of 

Edinburgh Castle, 152 ; hanged 

on the fall of the castle, 153 

LENNOX, Duke of, at the King's 
hunt in Falkland Park, 12, 47; 
his account of what followed, 
13 et seq. ; accompanies James 
to Gowrie House, 14 ; his opin- 
ion of the Master of Euthven 
and the story of the pitcher of 



T 



274 



THE GOWEIE MYSTERY 



gold coins, 14 ; at Gowrie House 
with the King, 19; his version and 
that of others of the transactions 
which brought about the deaths 
of Gowrie and the Master, 20- 
34 ; questioned by James as to 
the sanity of the Master, 48 ; 
informed by James of the Mas- 
ter's story of the gold coins, 94, 
95 ; at the slaughter of the 
Euthvens, 86, 88, 119, 124; 
married to Gowrie's sister 
Sophia, 124 

Lesley, suspected as the man in 
the turret, 62 

Letter I (Logan to - - ), 167, 174, 
185, 188, 189, 196, 200, 216, 
217, 223, 224, 225, 226, 228, 

230, 232, 233, 234, 235, 257, 
258 

Letter II (Logan to Bower), 183, 
184, 185, 188, 189, 195, 205, 
208, 224, 228, 229, 239, 258, 
259 

Letter III (Logan to ), 200, 
216, 217, 223, 224, 228, 232, 
233, 234, 235, 239, 259, 260 

Letter IV (Logan to Gowrie). 
cited, 166, 167, 170, 173, 174, 
175, 176, 177, 178, 179, 181, 
182, 186, 187, 190, 191, 192, 
194, 195, 196, 197, 199, 202, 
206, 207, 215, 221, 222, 223, 
224, 225, 226, 228, 229, 230, 

231, 232, 233, 234, 235, 236, 
237, 238, 260-263 

Letter V (Logan to - - ), 200, 215, 

216, 217, 223, 224, 228, 232, 

233, 234, 235, 263, 264 
Lindores, at the slaughter of the 

Ruthvens, 19, 20, 21 
Lindsay, James, at Padua with 

Gowrie, 126, 248 
Lindsay, Lord, surety for Lord 

Eobert Stewart, 153 
Lindsay, Rev. David, sent to tell 

James's story of his escape from 

the Gowrie plot at the Cross, 

Edinburgh, 101 
Lindsay, Sir Harry, Laird of 

Kinfauns, Sprot withdraws his 

charge against him, 217 



Locke, Henry (Cecil's go-between 
and agent in conspiracy against 
James), 160 

Logan, Matthew, 187, 189, 193, 
203 ; bearer of letters from 
Logan to Bower, 211, 212, 213 ; 
account of Bower's reception of 
them, 213 ; denies every word 
attributed to him by Sprot, 213, 
220 

Logan, Sir Robert (father of Logan 
of Restalrig), 150, 205, 206 

Logan of Restalrig, his name on 
Bothwell's list of Catholic 
nobles, 129 ; surety for Lord 
Robert Stewart, 153 ; marries 
Elizabeth Macgill, and is di- 
vorced from her, 153 ; on terms 
both with Protestant and Catho- 
lic conspirators, 154, 155, 156 ; 
diplomatic ambitions, 156 ; on 
the packed jury which acquits 
Archibald Douglas, 157 ; rela- 
tions with the Master of Gray. 
157 ; a partisan, with Gowrie's 
father, of Bothwell, 157 ; helps 
himself to the plate-chest of 
Nesbit of Newton, 158; bound 
over not to put Fastcastle in the 
hands of the King's enemies, 
158 ; his character from Lord 
Willoughby, 159 ; intimacy 
with the Mowbrays, 160 ; sells 
all his landed property at the 
time of the Gowrie plot, 161, 
205 ; erratic behaviour previous 
to his death, 161 ; death, 161, 
162; compromising papers from 
him found on his notary Sprot, 
162 ; under torture Sprot con- 
fesses these papers to be his 
own forgeries, 162 ; on examina- 
tion before the Privy Council 
Sprot persists in Logan's com- 
plicity in the Gowrie plot, 163, 
170; his exhumed remains 
brought into court and tried 
for treason, 164 ; compromising 
letters, 164, 165 ; his family 
forfeited, 165 ; production of 
alleged plot-letters at his post- 
humous trial, 168, 175 ; con- 



INDEX 



275 



tents of Letter IV to Gowrie, 
176 ; use made of the letters by 
the Government, 179, 181 ; let- 
ters from and to Gowrie, 183 ; 
letter to Bower, 183, 184, 185 ; 
conduct immediately before and 
after Gowrie's death, 187 ; his 
scheme to get possession of 
Dirleton, 189 ; his keep Fast- 
castle, where it is said James 
was to have been carried, 193 ; 
charge of conspiracy to murder 
James made hi the Indictment 
in his posthumous trial, 193 ; 
faint evidence that he was con- 
nected with the Gowrie plot, 
194 ; with Bower at Colding- 
hame on the failure of the plot, 
195 ; memorandum to Bower 
and Bell, 195 ; singular beha- 
viour in trusting his letters to 
Bower, 202; burns Euthven's 
and Clerk's letters, 202; letter 
to Baillie of Littlegill, 202; 
events at his Yule at Gunnis- 
green, 203 ; takes Sprot into his 
confidence, 204 ; discourages 
the idea of bringing Lord Home 
into the plot, 207, 208 ; conver- 
sation with Lady Home about 
Dirleton, 208 ; his visit to Lon- 
don, 210 ; letter to Bower, and 
Sprot's answer, 211 ; fears the 
effect of Bower's rash speeches, 
212 ; forged letters attributed 
to him, 215, 216, 217 ; partner 
in a ship with Lord Willoughby, 
218 ; his letter to Gowrie the 
model for Sprot's forgeries, 177, 
221 ; motives for his sale of his 
lands, 228 

Logan, Robert (son of Logan of 
Restalrig and Elizabeth Mac- 
gill), 153 

Lords of the Articles, the, the 
Gowrie case before, 8 ; the 
Logan trial before, 165 

Lumisden, Eev. Mr., present 
when Sprot confessed to forgery 
of letters, 186 ; at the examina- 
tion of Sprot, 226 

Lyn, tailor, Mr. Eobert Oliphant's 



confidences to him about the 
Gowrie plot, 73, 75 



MACBRECK, witness of the attack 
on Gowrie, 29 

Macgill, Elizabeth, married to 
Logan of Eestalrig, and 
divorced from him, 153 

Maitland of Lethington, 152 

Man, the, in the turret, 35, 55, 
56, 57, 62, 72 

Mar, Earl of, at the King's hunt 
at Falkland, 12, 47 ; with James 
at Gowrie House, 23, 24, 26, 
32 ; at the Gowrie slaughter, 
86, 88 ; assures the preacher 
Bruce of the truth of the King's 
narrative, 104, 105 ; is told by 
Bruce that he will accept the 
verdict in the Gowrie case but 
not preach Gowrie's guilt, 105 ; 
entrusted by James with the 
care of Prince Henry, 138 ; the 
Queen's plots against him, 138 

Mary of Guise (James's grand- 
mother), 118 

Mary Queen of Scots and the 
Casket Letters, 5, 7, 8 ; declares 
that Euthven (Gowrie's grand- 
father) persecuted her by his 
lust, 119 

Mason, Peter, 190 

Masson, Dr., on the Gowrie 
mystery, 5 

Matthew, Toby (Dean of Dur- 
ham), Bothwell's statement to 
him, 251 

Maul, one of Sprot's victims, 203 

Maxwell, Lord, cited, 193 

Melville, Sir Eobert, his treachery 
in procuring the conviction of 
Gowrie's father, 120-122 

Moncrieff, Hew, present at the 
slaughter of the Euthvens, 29, 
32 ; at the fight in the death 
chamber, 60 ; proclaimed, 63 ; 
puzzled regarding the Master's 
early ride from Perth to Falk- 
land, 137 

Moncrieff, John, questions Hender- 
son as to the ride to Falkland, 



276 



THE GOWKIE MYSTEEY 



44, 145 ; on Gowrie's silence as 
to his knowledge of the King's 
approach, 45 ; on Gowrie's 
actions on the morning of the 
fatal 5th, 137 

Montrose (Chancellor), 64 ; 
desires the preachers to thank 
God in their churches for the 
King's ' miraculous delivery,' 
100 

Montrose, the Master of, conspir- 
ing against James, 125 

Moray, Earl, his alleged relations 
with Queen Anne, 2 

Morton, Eegent, confines Lord 
Eobert Stewart in Linlithgow 
Castle, 153 

Mossman, imprisoned for share 
in the Gowrie plot, 203 

Mowbray, Francis, intriguing with 
Cecil against James, 159 ; im- 
prisoned in Edinburgh Castle, 
and killed in trying to escape 
therefrom, 160 

Mowbray, Philip, of Barnbogle, 
surety for Lord Robert Stewart, 
153; intriguing with Cecil 
against James, 159 

Moysie, David, probable writer of 
the Falkland letter, after the 
slaughter of the Euthvens, 38 
note; 100 

Murray, George, in attendance on 
James, 12 

Murray, John of Arbany, in 
attendance on James, 12 ; with 
James at the slaughter of the 
Euthvens, 24, 25, 26, 32, 61; 
wounded by a Euthven partisan, 
88 

Murray, Sir David, on Gowrie's 
speech against James's demands 
for money, 131 

Murray of Tullibardine, in Perth 
at the time of the Gowrie tra- 
gedy, 28 

NAISMITH (surgeon), with James 
at the Falkland hunt, 47 

Napier, Mr. Mark, on Sprot's 
alleged forgery of the Logan 
letters, 172, 173, 222; denies 



that any compromising letters 
were found, 178 

Napier of Merchistoun, his con- 
tract as to gold-finding with 
Logan of Eestalrig, 171 

Nesbit, William, of Newton, 
robbed by Logan, 158 

Neville, recommends Gowrie to 
Cecil as a useful man, 130 

Nicholson, George (English resi- 
dent at the Court of Holyrood), 
his account of James's Falkland 
letter on the Gowrie case, 38; 
on Eobert Oliphant's indiscre- 
tions of speech, 74 ; communi- 
cates to Cecil Oliphant's state- 
ment respecting Cranstoun and 
Henderson 75 note; refers to 
a book on the Euthven side 
published in England, 82 ; cites 
the King's letter to the Privy 
Council regarding the Gowrie 
plot, 100, 102 ; informs Cecil of 
Gowrie's conversion to Catholi- 
cism, 128 

OLIPHANT of Bauchiltoun, brother 
of Eobert, 77 

Oliphant, Eobert, identified by 
the first proclamation as the 
man in the turret, 62 ; proves 
an alibi, 62, 72 ; his confidences 
to tailor Lyn anent his fore- 
knowledge of the Gowrie plot, 
73 ; denounces the hanging of 
Cranstoun, and affirms the 
guilt of Henderson, 75 ; avers 
that Gowrie proposed to him 
in Paris the part offered to 
Henderson, 75 ; seeks to divert 
Gowrie from his project, 75 ; 
his portable property seized by 
Captain Heron, and himself 
imprisoned, 76 ; released by 
James and goes abroad, 76; 
property subsequently restored, 
77; his statement contrasted 
with Henderson's, 77 ; cited, 144 

PADUA University, 126 
Panton, Mr., on Henderson at 
Falkland, 64 note ; his defence 



INDEX 



277 



of the Euthvens, 80 ; refers to 
a contemporary vindication, 80 

' Papers relating to the Master of 
Gray,' cited, 158 

Paul, Sir James Balfour, on the 
Gowrie arms, 245 

Perth, gathering of the burgesses 
of, before Gowrie House on 
the day of the slaughter of the 
Euthvens, 30, 32 

Pitcairn, on Bruce's interrogation 
of the King, 109 ; discovery and 
publication of Logan of Eestal- 
rig's alleged plot-letters, 169 

Pittencrieff, Laird of, at Gowrie 
House on the day when the 
Euthvens were killed, 23 

Popular contemporary criticism on 
the King's narrative, 111-117 

Preachers of Edinburgh, the, 
summoned before the Privy 
Council to hear the King's 
letter on the Gowrie plot read, 

99, 100 ; desired by Montrose 
to thank God for the King's 
' miraculous delivery,' 100 ; 
their reply to that request, 

100, 101 ; taken to task by 
James for refusing to thank 
God for his delivery from a 
Gowrie ' conspiracy,' 101 ; their 
defence, 101, 102 ; James's 
punishment of the recalcitrants, 
102 ; before the King at Stir- 
ling, 103-106 ; summon Gowrie 
home to be the leader of the 
Kirk, 140 

Preston, sent by James to Eliza- 
beth with his version of the 
Gowrie affair, 96 ; his account 
to Sir William Bowes, 97 note 

Primrose (Clerk of Council), attests 
the record of Sprot's examina- 
tion, 201, 210 

Privy Council, Scottish, receipt of 
a letter from James containing 
an account of the Gowrie plot, 
99 ; the preachers summoned 
to hear it read, and desired by 
the Chancellor to thank God 
in their churches for the King's 
escape, 99, 100 ; report to 



James that the preachers will 
not praise God for his delivery, 
101 



EAID of Euthven, the, 119 

Eamsay, John, in attendance on 
James, 12; his share in the 
proceedings at Gowrie House 
which led to the deaths of the 
Gowries, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 29, 
31, 33, 53, 97; takes part in 
the slaughter of the Master of 
Euthven, 26, 85 ; kills the Earl 
of Gowrie, 31 

Eay, Andrew (a bailie of Perth), 
at Gowrie House on the day of 
the slaughter of the Euthvens, 
21,24 

Eestalrig House, 149, 150 

Eestalrig, Lady (Logan's wife), 
189 ; her agitation on the know- 
ledge of the Logan conspiracy, 
204 ; blames Bower for the 
selling of Fastcastle, 204; her 
postscript to Logan's letter to 
Bower after his death, 215 ; dis- 
tressed at Logan's conduct, 220 ; 
her daughter by Logan, 220 

Eestalrig Loch, 149, 150 

Eestalrig village, 148, 149, 150, 151 

' Eeturn from Parnassus,' the, 
quoted, 126 

Ehynd, Mr. (Gowrie's tutor), at 
Padua with Gowrie, 126; at 
Gowrie House when the Euth- 
vens were killed, 32 ; tells of 
the ride to Falkland, 45, 46 ; 
gives the key of the gallery to 
the Master, 66; on Gowrie's 
views as to secrecy in plots, 144 

Eobertson, Eev. Mr. (Edinburgh 
preacher), accepts James's nar- 
rative, 102 

Eobertson, William (notary of 
Perth), his evidence of what he 
saw near the death chamber, 
60, 61, 97 

Eoll of Scottish scholars at Padua, 
126 

Eollock, Mr. (tutor to Gowrie and 
the Master), 56, 124 



278 



THE GOWEIE MYSTERY 



Ruthven, Alexander, the Master 
of (Gowrie's brother), attributed 
relations with the Queen, 3 ; 
plot to seize the King, 7 ; Len- 
nox's version of events, 13 et 
seq.; interviews James before 
the hunt in Falkland Park, 13 ; 
induces the King to visit Perth, 
to see the pot of gold coins, 14 ; 
his actions at Gowrie House 
after the King's arrival, 19 ; 
observers' accounts of the 
transactions which led to his 
death, 24-34 ; stabbed by 
Ramsay, 26 ; James's own 
narrative of the affair, 35 et 
seq. ; the King's interview with 
the Master, 39 ; the cloaked 
man and the lure of the pot of 
gold pieces, 39-42 ; his sug- 
gested project of kidnapping 
James, 42 ; was accompanied 
by Henderson in his mission to 
James at Falkland, 43, 44 ; 
alleged differences with his 
brother over the Abbey of 

*j 

Scone, 48, 49 ; enjoins on 
James to keep the treasure a 
secret from Gowrie, 49 ; con- 
ducts the King alone to view 
it, 50; duplicity in securing 
this privacy, 51 ; suspicious 
conduct in locking doors of 
rooms passed through, 51, 52, 
53 ; threatens the King with a 
dagger, 55 ; James harangues 
him and promises forgiveness, 
56 ; goes to consult Gowrie, 
leaving James in the custody 
of the man in the turret, 56 ; 
returns and essays to bind the 
King's hands with a garter, 58 ; 
struggles with the King, 58 ; 
Ramsay enters and stabs him, 
59 ; he is driven down stairs, 
and killed by Erskine and 
Herries, 59 ; further details 
given by Henderson, 62 et 
seq. ; his message to Gowrie by 
Henderson from Falkland, 65 ; 
locks Henderson in the turret, 
66 ; Henderson's narrative of 



the struggle with the King, 66 ; 
words exchanged with James 
in the turret chamber, 68 ; the 
' promise,' 68 ; question of his 
disarming, 69 ; romantic story 
of the King's discovery of the 
Queen's ribbon round his neck, 
132 ; gossip about his relations 
with the Queen, 133 

Ruthven, Alexander (cousin of 
the Earl of Gowrie), at the 
slaughter of the Ruthvens, 29, 
32 ; letter to Logan, 183, 184 

Ruthven, Andrew, with the 
Master, at Gowrie House, on 
the day of the slaughter, 43, 
157 ; rides with the Master and 
Henderson to Falkland, 45, 64, 
65 ; asserts the despatch of 
Henderson by the Master from 
Falkland to acquaint Gowrie of 
the King's coming, 45, 46, 145 

Ruthven, Beatrice (Gowrie's 
sister), Queen Anne's favourite 
maid of honour, 13, 124, 131 

Ruthven, Harry, present at the 
slaughter of the Ruthvens, 29 

Ruthven, Lord (Gowrie's grand- 
father), his part in the murder 
of Riccio, 118 

Ruthven, Mary (sister of Gowrie), 
married to the Earl of Atholl, 
123 

Ruthven, Patrick (Gowrie's 
brother), 124 

Ruthven, Sophia (sister of Gow- 
rie), married to Lennox, 124 

Ruthven Vindication, the con- 
temporary, 80-93, 252-256 

Ruthven, William. (Gowrie's 
brother), 124, 129 

ST. TRIDUANA'S Chapel, 150, 151 

Salisbury, Marquis of, in posses- 
sion of genuine letters of Logan, 
viii, 241 

Sanderson, William, on the Gow- 
rie arms, 250 

Scone, Abbey of, in the Gowrie 
inheritance, 48, 54 

Scott, Rev. John, his Life of 
John, Earl of Gowrie, cited, 80 



INDEX 



279 



note, 248 ; on the Gowrie arms 
and seal, 250, 251 

Scott, Sir Walter, cited, 5 

Scrymgeour, Sir Jaines (Constable 
of Dundee), accused falsely by 
Sprot, 217 

Smith, Eev. Alexander, on the 
Logan plot-letters, 242 

Spottiswoode, Archbishop of Glas- 
gow, his opinion of Sprot, 178 ; 
kept in the dark as to the Logan 
letters, 179 ; present at Sprot's 
examination, 176, 201, 210 

Sprot (Logan of Eestalrig's law 
agent), arrested by Watty Doig, 
162 ; confesses that he knew 
beforehand of the Gowrie con- 
spiracy, 162 ; tortured, and in 
part recants, 162 ; persists in 
maintaining Logan of Eestal- 
rig's complicity in the Gowrie 
conspiracy, 163, 170 ; question 
of his forgery of letters to prove 
Logan's guilt, 170, 171 ; motive 
for forging the letters, 172 ; 
confesses to the forgery in 
private examinations, 173 ; re- 
cords of those examinations in 
possession of the Earl of Had- 
dington, 173; letters quoted 
from memory by him, 175 ; the 
indictment against him, 176, 
177 ; Sir William Hart's official 
statement of his trial, 177, 178 ; 
use made by the prosecution of 
the Logan letters, 179 ; his tale 
of Logan's guilt, 182 ; sources 
of his knowledge, 183, 184 ; 
discrepancies in his statements, 
184, 185 ; preachers present at 
his confession of forgery, 186 ; 
his written deposition, 186 ; the 
cause for which he forged, 187 ; 
his conflicting dates, 188 ; his 
account of Logan and Bower's 
scheme to get Dirleton, 189 ; 
excuses for the discrepancies in 
his dates, 192; asserts that 
Logan let Bower keep his letter 
to Gowrie for months, 195^; 
steals that letter, 194 ; confesses 
to the forgery of Logan's letter 



to Bower, 195 ; and to that of 
Logan's memorandum to Bower 
and Bell, 196 ; blackmailing 
operations, 196, 197 ; forges 
receipts from Logan to Heddil- 
stane for blackmailing purposes, 
199; his uncorroborated charges, 
202, 203 ; in the confidence of 
Logan, 204 ; his account of 
Logan's revels in London, 210; 
goes with Matthew Logan to 
Bower to give answers to 
Logan's letters, 211 ; denies 
that he had received promise 
of life or reward, 214 ; reports 
an incriminating conversation 
with Matthew Logan, 214 ; con- 
fesses forging, for blackmailing 
purposes, Logan's letters to 
Chirnside and the torn letter, 
215 ; swears to the truth of his 
last five depositions, 217 ; on 
Logan's ship venture with Lord 
Willoughby, 219 ; solemnly 
confesses to the forgery of the 
letters in Logan's hand, 220; 
details respecting the letter of 
Logan to Gowrie on which he 
modelled his forgeries, 220, 221, 
222, 223 ; the letter found in 
his kist, 224; copies endorsed 
by him found among the Had- 
dington MSS., 224, 225 ; oral 
discrepancies, 225 ; tried and 
hanged at Edinburgh, 226 ; 
protestations on the scaffold, 
226 ; small effect of his dying 
confession on the Kirk party, 
227 ; motives which prompted 
his forgeries, 227-231 
Stewart, Colonel, his part in the 
arrest and the conviction of 
Gowrie's father, 11, 120, 122 ; 
dreads Gowrie's revenge, 140 

' THE Verie Manner of the Erll 
of Gowrie and his brother, 
their death, &c.,' a manuscript 
written in vindication of the 
Euthvens, received by Carey, 
and forwarded to Cecil, 81 ; 
conspectus of its arguments : 



280 



THE GOWEIE MYSTERY 



Dr. Herries shown the secret 
parts of Gowrie House a day 
or two before the tragedy, 82 ; 
preparations by Gowrie's re- 
tainers on the fatal day to 
accompany him to Dirleton, 
82 ; the visit of the Master 
to Falkland, accompanied by 
Buthven and Henderson, 83; 
the Master sends Henderson 
to Gowrie with a message that 
the King will visit him ' for 
what occasion he knew not,' 
83 ; the Master tells Craigen- 
gelt that Ahercromby brought 
the King to Gowrie House to 
take order for his debt, 83, 84 ; 
James accompanied to Perth 
by sixty horsemen, 84 ; Gowrie 
advertised of the King's ap- 
proach by Henderson, 84; 
James meets Gowrie on the 
Inch of Perth and kisses him, 
85 ; a hurried dinner, 85 ; the 
keys of the house handed to 
Gowrie's retainers, 85 ; the 
slaughter of the Master in the 
presence of four of James's 
followers, 85 ; a servant of 
James brings the news that 
he has ridden off, 85 ; Gowrie 
hears his Majesty call from 
the window that the Master is 
killed by traitors and James 
himself in peril, 86 ; Gowrie 
and Cranstoun alone permitted 
by James's servants to enter 
the House, 86 ; Sir Thomas 
Erskine's dual role, 86 ; the 
true account of Gowrie's death, 
87 ; the question of Henderson's 
presence at Falkland, 83, 87, 
92 ; derivation of the narrative, 
87 ; on the payment by Gowrie 
of his father's debts, 87 ; points 
on which the narrative is false, 
86-88; points ignored, 88, 89; 
presents a consistent theory 
of the King's plot, 89 ; con- 
flicting statements, 89, 90, 91, 



92 ; the detail of the locked 
door, 92 

' True Discourse,' quoted on the 
doors leading to the turret, 52 

' True Discovery of the late Trea- 
son, the ' (unpublished MS.), on 
the Gowrie family, 48 

Tullibardine, Young, at the 
slaughter of the 1 Earl of Gow- 
rie, 28, 33 ; effort to relieve the 
King, 60; helps to pacify the 
populace after the tragedy, 88 

Tytler, Mr., cited, on James VI, 
5 ; on the King's account of 
the Gowrie tragedy, 41, 42 ; 
on Logan's plot -letters, 169 

URCHILL, present at the slaughter 
of the Gowries, 19 

VINDICATION of the Euthvens, the 
contemporary, 80 et seq., 252 
et seq. 

WALLACE, asks Sprot for silence 
on Logan's conspiracy, 187 

Watson, Eev. Alexander, on the 
Logan plot-letters, 242 

Wilky, Alexander, surety for 
John Wilky not to harm 
tailor Lyn, 73, 74 

Wilky, John, his pursuit of tailor 
Lyn for revealing Eobert 
Oliphant's confidences respect- 
ing the Gowrie plot, 73, 74 

Willoughby, Lord, kidnaps Ash- 
field, 139 ; his opinion of Logan 
of Eestalrig, 159 ; builds a ship 
for protection of English com- 
merce, 218 ; offers the venture 
to Cecil if subsidised by govern- 
ment, 218, 219 ; admits Logan 
to the venture, 218, 219 ; dies 
suddenly on board his ship, 219 

Wilson (Erskine's servant), at the 
slaughter of the Euthvens, 27, 
30, 31, 85 

YOUNGER, suspected as the man 
in the turret, 62 



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INDEX OF AUTHORS AND EDITORS. 



Page 

Abbott (Evelyn) - 3, 22 

- (J. H. M.) 3 

(T. K.) - - 17,18 

(E. A.) - 17 

Acland (A. H. D.) - 3 

Acton (Eliza) - 36 

Adeane (J. H.) - 9 

Adelborg (O.) - 32 

jEschylus 22 

Ainger (A. C.) - 14 
Albemarle (Earl of) - 13 

Alcock (C. W.) 15 

Allen (Grant) - 30 

Allgood (G.) - 3 

Alverstone (Lord) - 15 

Angwin (M. C.) 36 

Anstey (F.) 25 

Aristophanes - 22 

Aristotle - 17 

Armstrong (W.) 13 
Arnold (Sir Edwin)- 11,23 

(Dr. T.) - 3 

Ashbourne (Lord) - 3 

Ashby (H.) 36 

Ashley (W. J.) - - 3, 20 

Avebury (Lord) - 21 

Ayre (Rev. J.) - 31 

Bacon - 9,17 
Bagehot (W.) - 9, 20, 38 

Bagwell (R.) - 3 

Bailey (H. C.) - 25 

Baillie (A. F.) - 3 

Bain (Alexander) - 17 

Baker (J. H.) - 38 

(Sir S. W.) ir 

Balfour (A. J.) - 13, 21 

(Lady Betty) - 6 

Ball (John) 



Page 

Banks (M. M.) - - 24 
Baring-Gould (Rev. 

S.)- -21,38 

Barnett(S. A. and H.) 20 

Baynes (T. S.) - 38 

Beaconsfield (Earl of) 25 
Beaufort (Duke of) - 13, 14 

Becker (W. A.) 22 

Beesly (A. H.) - 9 

Bell (Mrs. Hugh) - 23 

Bent (J. Theodore) - n 

Besant (Sir Walter)- 3 
Bickerdyke (J.) - 14, 15 

Bird (G.) - - 23 

Blackburne (J. H.) - 15 

Bland (Mrs. Hubert) 24 

Blount (Sir E.) 9 

Boase (Rev. C. W.) - 6 

Boedder (Rev. B.) - 19 

Brassey (Lady) n 

(Lord) 14 

Bray (C.) - - 17 

Bright (Rev. J. F.) - 3 

Broadfoot (Major W.) 13 

Brooks (H. J.) - 17 

Brown (A. F.) - 32 

(J. Moray) 14 

Bruce (R. I.) - 3 

BryceO.)- 14 

Buck (H. A.) - 14 

Buckland (Jas.) 32 

Buckle (H. T.)- 3 

Bull (T.) - - 36 

Burke (U. R.) - 3 

Burns (C. L ) - 36 

Burrows (Montagu) 6 

Butler (E. A.) - 30 



ii I Cameron of Lochiel 



Page 

Campbell(Rev.Lewis) 21,22 
Camperdown (Earl of) 9 
Chasseloup - Laubat 

(Marquisde)- 13 

Chesney (Sir G.) - 3 
Childe-Pemberton(W.S.) 9 
Cholmondeley-Pennell 

(H.) 13 

Christie (R. C.) 38 

ChurchilK W. Spencer) 4, 25 
Cicero 22 

Clarke (Rev. R. F.) - 19 
Climenson (E. J.) - 10 
Clodd (Edward) - 21,30 
Clutterbuck (W. J.)- 12 
Colenso (R. J.) 36 

Conington (John) - 23 
Conway (Sir W. M ) 14 
Conybeare (Rev. W. J.) 

& Howson (Dean) 33 
Coolidge (W. A. B.) 11 
Corbett (lulian S.) - 4 
Coutts (W.) - 22 

Coventry (A.) - 14 

Cox (Harding) 13 

Crake (Rev. A. D.) - 32 
Craven (W. G.) 14 

Crawford (J. H.) - 25 

-(R.) - ir 

Creed (S.) 25 

Creie-hton (Bishop) -4, 6, 9 
Crozier (J. B.) - - 9. '7 
distance (Col. H.) - 15 
Cutts (Rev. E. L.) - 6 

Dabney (J. P.) - 23 

Dale (L.) - 4 

(T. F.) 14 

Dallinger (F. W.) - 5 



Dauglish (M. G.) - 
Davidson (A. M. C.) 
-(W. L.) 17, 

Davies (J. F.) - 
Dent (C. T.) - 
De Salis (Mrs.) 
De Tocqueville(A-)- 
Devas (C. S.) - 
Dickinson (G. L.) - 

- (W. H.) - 
Dougall (L.) - 
Dowden (E.) - 
Doyle (Sir A. Conan) 
Du Bois (W. E. B.)- 
Dufferin (Marquis of) 
Dunbar (Mary F.) 
Dyson (E.) 

Ebrington (Viscount) 
Ellis (I. H.) - 

- (R. L.) - 
Erasmus - 
Evans (Sir John) 



Page 
9 

22 

20, 21 
22 
14 
36 

4 

19, 20 

4 

38 
25 
40 

25 
5 

14 
25 
26 

15 
15 
17 
9 
38 



Falkiner (C. L.) 4 

Farrar (Dean) - - 20, 26 

Fitzgibbon (M.) 4 

Fitzmaurice (Lord E.) 4 

Folkard (H. C.) 15 

Ford (H.) - 16 

(W. J.) - 16 

Fountain (P n 

Fowler (Edith H.) 26 

Francis (Francis) - 16 

Francis (M. E.) 26 

Freeman (Edward A.) 6 

Fremantie (T. F.) - 16 

Fresnfield (D. W.) - 14 

Frost (G.)- 38 



Page 

Froude (James A.) 4,9,11,26 

Fuller (F. W.) - 5 

Furneaux (W.) 30 

Gardiner (Samuel R.) 5 
Gathorne-Hardy (Hon. 

A. E.) - 15, 16 
Geikie (Rev. Cunning- 
ham) - 38 
Gibbons (J. S.) 15 
Gibson (C. H.)- - 17 
Gleig (Rev. G. R.) - 10 
Goethe - 23 
Gore-Booth (Sir H. W.) 14 
Graham (A.) - 

-(P. A.) - -15,16 

(G. F.) - 20 

Granby (Marquess of) 15 

Grant (Sir A.) - 17 

Graves (R. P.) - 9 
Green (T. Hill) - 17, 18 

Greene (E. B.)- 5 

Greville (C. C. F.) - 5 

Grose (T. H.) - 18 

Gross (C.) 5 

Grove (F. C.) - 13 

(Lady) - n 

(Mrs. Lilly) 13 

Gurdon (Lady Camilla) 26 

Gurnhill (J.)" - 18 

Gvvilt (J.) - 31 

Haggard (H. Rider) 

n, 26, 27, 38 

Hake (O.) - 14 

Halliwell-Phillipps(J.) 10 

Hamilton (Col. H. B.) 5 

Hamlin (A. D. F.) - 36 

Harding (S. B.) 5 
Harmsworth (A. C.) 13, 14 

Harte (Bret) - 27 

Harting(J. E.)- 15 

Hartwig (G.) - 30 

Hassall (A.) - 8 

Havveis (H. R.) - 9, 36 

Head (Mrs.) - 37 

Heath (D. D.) - 17 

Heathcote (J. M.) - 14 

(C.G.) - 14 

(N.) - ii 

Helmholtz (Hermann 

von) - 30 
Henderson (Lieut- 
Col. G. F. R.) - 9 
Henry (W.) - 14 
Henty (G. A.) - - 32 
Herbert (Col. Kenney) 15 
Hiley (R. W.) - 9 
Hill (Mabel) - 5 
Hillier (G. Lacy) - 13 
Hime (H. W. L.) - 22 
Hodgson (Shadworth)iS, 38 
Hoenig (F.) - 38 
Hogan (J. F.) - 9 
Holmes (R. R.) 10 
Holroyd (M. J.) 9 
Homer - 22 
Hope (Anthony) 27 
Horace - 22 
Houston (D. F.) 5 
Howard (Lady Mabel) 27 
Howitt (W.) - ii 
Hudson (W. H.) - 30 
Huish (M. B.) - 37 
Hullah (J.) 37 
Hume (David) - 18 
- (M. A. S.) 3 
Hunt (Rev. W.) 6 
Hunter (Sir W.) - 6 
Hutchinson (Horace G.) 

13, 16, 27, 38 



Page 

18 
6 
23 

22 

IS 
6 



Ingelow (Jean) 
Ingram (T. D.) 



23 
6 



Jackson (A. W.) 10 

James (W.) 18 

Jameson (Mrs. Anna) 37 

jefferies (Richard) - 38 

Jekyll (Gertrude) - 38 

Jerome ( [erome K.) - 27 

Johnson (J. & J. H.) 39 

Jones (H. Bence) - 31 
oyce (P. W.) - 6, 27, 39 

ustinian - 18 



Kant (I.) 

Kaye(Sir J. W.) 

Keary (C. F.) - 

Keller (A. G.) - 

Kelly (E.)- 

Kent (C. B. R.) 

Kerr (Rev. J.) - 14 

Killick (Rev. A. H.) - 18 

Kilchin (Dr. G. W.) 6 

Knight (E. F.) - - n, 14 

Kostlin (J.) 10 

Kristeller (P.) - 37 

Ladd (G. T.) 18 

Lang (Andrew) 6, 14, 16, 21, 

23, 27, 32, 39 

Lapsley (G. T.) 5 

Lascelles (Hon. G.) 13, 15 

Laurie (S. S.) - 6 

Lawley (Hon. F.) - 14 

Lawrence (F. W.) - 20 

Lear (H. L. Sidney) - 36 

Leckv (W. E. H.) 6, 18, 23 

Lees (J. A.) 12 

Leighton (J. A.) 18 

Leslie (T. E. Cliffe) - 20 

Lieven (Princess) - 8 

Lillie (A.) - 16 

Lmdley (J.) 31 

Locock (C. D.) 16 

Lodge (H. C.) - 6 

Loftie (Rev. W. J.) - 6 

Longman (C. J.) - 12, 16 

(F. W.) - 16 

(G. H.) - -12,15 

(Mrs. C. J.) 37 

Lowell (A. L.) - 6 

Lubbock (Sir John) - 21 

Lucan 22 

Lucian - 22 

Lutoslawski (W.) - 18 

Lyall (Edna) - 27 

Lynch (G.) - - 6 

-(H. F. B.)- 12 : 

Lyttelton (Hon. R. H.) 13 [ 

- (Hon. A.) i 14 | 

Lytton (Earl of) - 6, 24 | 

Macaulay (Lord) 6, 7, 10, 24 

Macdonald (Dr. G.) - 24 I 

Macfarren (Sir G. A.) 37 | 

Mackail (J. W.) - 10, 23 

Mackenzie (C. G.) - 16 

Mackinnon (J.) 7 

Macleod (H. D.) 20 
Macpherson (Rev. 

H. A.) 15 

Madden (D. H.) 16 

Magnusson (E.) 28 

Maher (Rev. M.) - 19 

Malleson (Col. G. B.) 6 

Marchment (A. W.) 27 

Marshman (J. C.) - 9 

Maryon (M.) - 39 

Mason (A. E. W.) - 27 

Maskelyne (J. N.) - 16 

Matthews (B.) 39 

Maunder (S.) - 31 
Max Miiller (F.) 

10, 18, 20, 21, 22, 27, 39 

Mav (Sir T. Erskine) 7 

McFerran (J.) - 14 

Meade (L. T.) - 32 

Mecredy (R. J.) 13 

Melville (G. J . Whyte) 27 

Merivale (Dean) 7 

Mernman 'H. S.) - 27 

Mill (John Stuart) - 18, 20 

Millias (J. G.) - - 16, 30 

Milner (G.) - 40 

Mitchell (E.B.) 13 

Monck(W. H. S.) - 19 

Montague (F. C.) - 7 

Moon (G. W.) - 24 

Moore (T.) 31 

(Rev. Edward) - 17 

Morgan (C. Lloyd) - 21 

Morris (Mowbray) - 13 

(W.) 22.J23, 24, 

27, 28, 37, 40 

Mulhall (M. G.) 20 

Murray (Hilda) 33 

Nansen (F.) - 12 

Nash (V.) - - 7 



Nesbit (E.) 
Nettleship (R. L.) 
Newman (Cardinal) - 
Nichols (F. M.) 

Ogilvie (R.) - 
Oldfield (Hon. Mrs.) 
Onslow (Earl of) - 
Osbourne (L.) - 



24 

17 

28 

9 

23 

9 

14 

28 



Packard (A. S.) 21 

Paget(SirJ.) - - 10 
Park(\V.) 16 

Parker (B.) 40 

Payne-Gallwey (Sir 

R.) - 14, 16 

Pearson (C. H.) 10 

Peek iHedley) - - 14 
Pemberton (W. S. 

Childe-) 9 

Pembroke (Earl of) - 14 
Pennant (C. D.) 15 

Phillipps-Wolley(C.) 12,28 
Pierce (A. H.) - 19 

Pitman (C. M.) 14 

Pleydell-Bouverie (E. O.) 14 
Pole (W.) - - 17 

Pollock (W. H.) - 13, 40 
Poole(W.H.andMrs.) 36 
Poore (G. V.) - - 40 
Pope (W. H.) - 15 

Powell (E.) 7 

Powys (Mrs. P. L.) - 10 
Praeger (S. Rosamond) 33 
Prevost (C.) - 13 

Pritchett (R. T.) - 14 
Proctor (R. A.) - 17, 30 

Raine (Rev. James) - 6 

Ramal (W.) - 24 

Randolph (C. F.) - 7 

Rankin (R.) - 8, 25 

Ransome (Cvril) - 3, 8 

Raymond (W.) 28 

Reid(S.J.) - 9 

Rhoades (J.) - 23 

Rice (S. P.) - 12 

Rich (A.) - 23 

Richardson (C.) - 13, 15 

Richmond (Ennis) - 19 

Rickaby (Rev. John) 19 

- (Rev. Joseph) - 19 
Ridley (Sir E.) - 22 

- (Lady Alice) - 28 
Riley (J. W.) - 24 
Roberts (E. P.) 33 
Roget (Peter M.) - 20, 31 
Rolls (Hon. C. S.) - 13 
Romanes (G. J.) 10, 19,21,24 

- (Mrs. G. J.) - 10 
Ronalds (A.) - 17 
Roosevelt (T.) - 6 
Ross (Martin) - 28 
Rossetti (Maria Fran- 

cesca) - 40 

Rotheram (M. A.) - 36 

Rowe (R. P. P.) 14 

Russell (Lady)- 10 

Saintsbury (G.) 15 

Salomons (Sir D.) - 13 
Sandars (T. C.) 18 

Sanders (E. K.) 9 

Savage- Armstrong(G.F.)25 
Scott-Montagu 

(Hon. J.) 13 

Seebohm (F.) - - 8, 10 
Selous (F. C.) - - 12, 17 
Senior (W.) - - 14, 15 
Seth-Smith (C. E.) - 14 
Seton-Karr - 8 

Sewell (Elizabeth M.) 28 
Shadwell (A.) - 40 

Shakespeare - 25 

Shand (A I.) - - 15 
Shaw (W. A.) - 8 

Shearman (M.) - 12, 13 
Sheehan (P. A.) 28 

Sheppard (E.) - 
Sinclair (A.) - 14 

Skrine (F. H.) - - 9 
Smith (C. Fell) - 10 

- (R. Bosworth) - 8 
-(T. C.) - 5 

Smith(W.P.Haskett) 12 
Somerville (E.) 28 



Sophocles - 23 

Soulsby(Lucy H.) 40 

Southey (R.) - 40 

Spahr (C. B.) - 20 

Spedding(J.) 9, 

Spender (A. E.) 
Stanley (Bishop) 
Stebbing (W.) - - 10. 
Steel (A. G.) - 
Stephen (Leslie) 
Stephens (H. Morse) 
Sternberg (Count 

Adalbert) - 
Stevens (R. W.) 
Stevenson (R. L.) 25, 2f 
Storr (F.) - 
Stuart-Wortley(A.J.) 
Stubbs (J. W.)- 
Suffolk & Berkshire 

(Earl of) - 
Sullivan (Sir E.) 
Sully (James) - 
Sutherland (A. and G.) 

- (Alex.) - 19, 4 

-(G.) 

Suttner (B. von) 
Swan (M.) 

Swinburne (A. J.) - 
Symes (J. E.) - 

Tait(J.) - - - 
Tallentyre (S. G.) - 
Tappan (E. M.) 
Taylor (Col. Meadows) 

Tebbutt (C. G.) 14 

Terry (C. S.) - - 10 

Thomas (J. W.) 19 
Thomson (H. C.) - 

Thornhill (W. J.) - 23 

Thornton (T. H.) - 10 

Todd (A.) - 8 

Tout (T. F.) - 7 

Toynbee (A.) - 20 
Trevelyan (Sir G. O.) 

6, 7, 8, 9, 10 

(G. M.) - - 7, 8 

Trollope (Anthony)- 29 

Turner (ii. G.) 40 

Tyndall (J.) - 9, 12 
Tyrrell (R. Y.) - -22,23 

Unwin (R.) 40 

Upton(F.K.and Bertha) 33 



Van Dyke (J. C.) - 
' Veritas ' - 
Virgil 

Wagner (R.) - 
Wakeman (H. O.) - 
Walford (L. B.) 
Wallas (Graham) 
(Mrs.' Graham) - 



37 
5 
23 

25 

8 

29 

IO 

32 

Walpole (Sir Spencer) 8, 10 

(Horace) 10 

Walrond (Col. H.) - 12 

Walsingham (Lord)- 14 

Ward ( Mrs. W.) - 29 

Warwick (Countess of) 40 

Watson (A. E. T.) - 14 

(G. L.) - 14 

Weathers (J.) - 40 
Webb (Mr. and Mrs. 

Sidney) - 20 

- (Judge T.) 40 
-(T. E.) - -19,23 

Weber (A.) 19 

Weir (Capt. R.) 14 
Wellington (Duchess of) 37 

West (B. B.) - 29 

Weyman (Stanley) - 29 
Whately(Archbishop) 17,19 

Whitelaw (R.) - 23 

WhittalKSirJ. W. )- 40 

Wilkins (G.) - 23 

-(W. H.) - 3 

Willard (A. R.) 37 

Willich(C. M.) 31 

Witham (T. M.) 14 

Wood (Rev. J. G.) - 31 

Wood-Martin (W. G.) 22 

Wyatt (A. J.) - 24 

Wylie (J. H.) - 8 

Yeats (S. Levett) - 29 
Zeller(E.) - - 19