highness may see the said lord satisfied of the said super expenses resting by his majesty to his said umquhile father.’
In attendance on the king at court, while Gowrie was in Edinburgh, was Colonel William Stewart, brother of Arran, who had arrested Gowrie's father in Dundee; and it was supposed that Gowrie would sooner or later take revenge on Stewart (Hudson to Cecil, Cal. State Papers, Scot. Ser. p. 784). It would appear, however, that Gowrie scorned to fly at such small game, for when, with some of his suite, he happened to meet Stewart with some of his servants in a corridor of Holyrood Palace, and a mêlée seemed imminent, he is said to have struck up the swords of his attendants and allowed Stewart to pass with the contemptuous remark, ‘Aquila non captat muscas’ (MS. quoted in Pitcairn's Criminal Trials, ii. 293). But, apart from Colonel Stewart, Gowrie seems to have found his attendance at court unpleasant, if not even dangerous, on account of the antagonism of political parties, and he shortly retired to his estates, ‘to be a beholder of the issue of these many suspicions’ (Nicolson to Cecil, 22 May, in Tytler's History, iv. 282). He, however, not only attended the convention of estates on 20 June, summoned to consider the burning question as to the preparations which should be made by James to insure his succession to the throne of England in case of Elizabeth's death, but in a speech—in itself temperate and well reasoned—headed the opposition of the barons and burgesses to the proposal of the king to raise one hundred thousand crowns by taxation for the maintenance of an army. His opposition may have been partly dictated by the fact that the king was so deeply in his own debt; but since the protection to him for a year and the king's promise to pay the debt had probably been granted with a special view to obtain his agreement to the king's proposal, his interference was doubly irritating to the king, who did not hesitate to express his resentment. While listening to the speech of Gowrie, Sir David Murray of Gorthy is also reported to have said, pointing to Gowrie, ‘Yonder is an unhappy man; they are but seeking occasion of his death, which now he has given’ (Calderwood, vi. 71). After the convention Gowrie again retired to his estates, and about the beginning of July went from Ruthven to Strabran to engage in hunting. If, however, the letters of Robert Logan [q. v.] are accepted as genuine, Gowrie while at Strabran must have been chiefly occupied in the perfecting of a scheme to convey the king to Logan's stronghold of Fast Castle. This would also seem to imply that Gowrie either directly or indirectly had been induced by Elizabeth to undertake the ultimate conveyance of the Scottish king to England; and it is almost incredible that Elizabeth should have really desired this. Against the genuineness of the letters it has been urged that the proof that they were in Logan's handwriting is not conclusive; that they were not found in Gowrie's possession, but in Logan's, and that the supposition that Gowrie returned them is improbable; that no letters of Gowrie in reply were produced; and that even if the letters were written by Logan they may have been concocted by him and Sprott after the occurrences at Gowrie, for some special purpose now unknown. But if not in communication with Logan, Gowrie is stated to have been in communication with the king. According to Calderwood, ‘while the earl was in Strabran, fifteen days before the fact, 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 at his death, as is reported, but destroyed’ (History, vi. 71). This rumour it was deemed of some importance to contradict, apparently in order to establish the fact that the sudden visit of Gowrie's brother, Alexander, master of Ruthven [q. v.], to the king at Falkland was entirely voluntary on his part. Consequently Craigenvelt, Gowrie's butler, was specially questioned on the matter, and denied that any messenger had come to Gowrie from the king, or that he had given any such messenger meat or drink. But whether seen by Craigenvelt or not, or whether they went to Perth or direct to Strabran, it is clearly established from entries of payments in the treasurer's accounts that in July messengers were sent from the king both to Gowrie and his brother.
Gowrie returned to Perth from his hunting expedition on 2 Aug. Calderwood states that he intended on 5 Aug. to set out to Lothian to see his mother at Dirleton, but delayed his journey until his brother should return from Falkland (History, vi. 72). If we are to accept the evidence of Gowrie's chamberlain, Andrew Henderson, Henderson in the early morning accompanied the master of Ruthven in his ride to Falkland, having orders to return speedily to Gowrie with any letter or message he might receive; but if Henderson did go to Falkland, he was not seen there by any one, nor is there any evidence that he was seen going or returning. In any case, he confessed that he received no message from Ruthven, although