JAMES VI and I, King of Scotland (1567-1625) and of England (1603-1625). Four letters signed (as King of Scotland), including two addressed to Sir Patrick Vans of Barnbarroch, Edinburgh, 12 October 1585, one page, 4to, and Edinburgh, 30 August 1589, ½ page, folio, address panel on verso, traces of wax seal (slight discolouration and spotting, tear in inner margin, small splits in folds touching marginal annotation and with part loss of first line of address, neatly repaired); one addressed jointly to Sir Patrick Vans and Sir Peter Young, Falkland, 14 June 1587, one page, folio, endorsed by the recipients at Elsinore; one, including an autograph postscript, addressed to the Earl of Mar, Whitehall, 22 March 1622, one page, folio, integral address leaf, contemporary endorsements, papered seal (cracked), affixed with tape to a leaf from an album.
The first letter to Vans concerns Lord Maxwell's rebellion, and the King's intention to pursue him, 'finding his contempt incressing and o[ur] gude subjects weist ye West bord[e]r havellie opprest be his treason[a]ble procedinges...We intend God willing in pr[o]per personn to repair to ye bounds so long disordered & oppressit be him w[i]th a sufficient force of o[u]r faithfull & gude subiects'.
Vans and Young are addressed in 1587 as ambassadors to Denmark, the letter referring partly to trade. Ostensibly sent to discuss James's claim to Orkney, the real purpose of their visit was to search for a suitable bride for the King. In 1589 Vans concluded the negotiations for James's betrothal to Anne, the daughter of Frederick II. On 30 August 1589 James announces his marriage and orders provisions for a feast to be held in celebration. 'Oure mariage now at godes plesoure being concludit and the Quene our bedfallow horlie louked for...we yfore ernestlie and effectously desire that ye will send hither to the help of the honorable charges to be maid in this action sic quantities of fatt beif & mutton on fute wyld fulis & venysoun or other stuff'. The King was married to Anne by proxy in Copenhagen on 29 August, but the ship bearing her to Scotland was compelled by violent storms to sail to Norway, where James, impatient at the delay and accompanied by Vans, joined her in November for the marriage ceremony and prolonged festivities. The royal couple finally returned to Scotland only on 1 January the following year.
The letter to Lord Mar as Treasurer and permanent commissioner in Scotland, refers to the payment of a pension to Lord Gordon, one of James's favourites, who has been authorised 'to departe and for a certayne time remayne out of our dominions' in order that his creditors may be satisfied. The postscript in the King's hand enjoins Mar to ensure that Gordon 'maye finde the fruites of my reccomendation, that rather any other maye be behynde, then that he shoulde wante goode payment'.
Lord George Gordon, son of the 1st Marquis of Huntly, had been educated with the King's sons. Sir Patrick Vans (d. 1597), undertook numerous missions for the King while Sir Peter Young (1544-1628), his former tutor, remained James's favourite counsellor. (4)