3 December 2003
JAMES IV, King of Scotland (1488-1513). Letter signed ('James R') to William, Lord Livingstone, Edinburgh, 13 July 1513, signed at foot, 14 lines written in brown ink in a secretary hand, one page, 160 x 295 mm, traces of royal signet seal (weak in centre fold, small hole with part loss of one word, soiled on verso).
Written three months before James IV was killed at the Battle of Flodden. He orders Livingstone to send his men to join the army being sent to the aid of the King of France.
'As we wrait to yow of before like as we did to the laif of the baronis of our Realme to furniss certane abill yong men weill abilyeit to pass in our schippis w[i]th our armye to the supple of our traist cousing & bruth[er] the King of france And as we ar informit yo[u]r tenentis abill men for the said viage Refusis to pass and will no[ch]t ansuer to yow y[er]in, houbeit ye tyme Is schort and our armye reddy to depart. It is our will heirfor and we pray yow that ye Incontinent furniss for yo[u]r part sic noum[er] of abill yongmen fensabill personis and weill abilyeit'.
Scotland and France had originally signed the agreement popularly known as the 'Auld Alliance', by which each would assist the other in the event of a war against England, in 1295. This was renewed by James IV and Louis XII of France in July 1512, and provoked the events leading to Scotland's defeat and James's death at Flodden the next year.
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