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That winter, [1587-8] the King [James VI. of Scotland] was occupied in commenting of the Apocalyps, and in setting out sermons thereupon, against the papists and Spaniards; and yet, by a piece of great oversight, the papists practiced never more busily in this land, and [nor] made greater preparation for receiving of the Spaniards, nor [than] that year. For a long time, the news of a Spanish navy and army had been blazed abroad; and about the lambastyde of the year 1588, this island had found a fearful effect thereof, to the utter subversion both of kirk and policy, if God had not wonderfully watched over the same, and mightily foughen and defeat that army, by his souldiers the elements, which he made all four most fiercely till afflict them, till almost utter consumption. Terrible was the fear, peircing were the preachings, earnest zealous and fervent were the prayers, sounding were the sighs and sabs, and abounding were the tears, at that fast and general assembly keeped at Edinburgh, when the news were credibly told, sometimes of their landing at Dunbar, sometimes at St Andrews and in Tay, and now and then at Aberdeen and Cromerty firth: and, in very deed, as we knew certainly soon after, the Lord of armies, who rides upon the wings of the wind, the Keeper of his own Israel, was in the mean time convying that monstrous navy about our coasts, and directing their hulks and galliasses to the islands, rocks and sands, whereupon he had distinat their wrack and destruction.
For, within two or three moneths thereafter, early in the morning by break of day, one of our baillies came to my bed side, saying, but not with fray [fear], “I have to tell you news, Sir: There is arrived within our harbour this morning, a shipfull of Spaniards, but not to give mercy; but to ask.” And so shews me that the commander had landed, and he had commanded them to their ship again, and the Spaniards had humbly obeyed. He therefore desired me to rise and hear their petition with them. Up I got with diligence, and, assembling the honest men of the town, came to the tolbooth, and after consultation taken to hear them and what answer to make, there presented us a very venerable man of big stature, and grave and stout countenance, grey haired and very humble like, who, after much and very low courtesie, bowing down with his face near the ground, and touching my shoe with his hand, began his harangue in the Spanish tongue, whereof I understood the substance; and, I being about to answer in Latin, he having only a young man with him to be his interpreter, [who] began and told over again to us in good English.
[Footnote 350: The baillies of towns in Scotland are equivalent to aldermen in England. The author here refers to the town of Anstruther, a sea port town of Fife, on the northern shore of the Firth of Forth, of which he was minister. There are two Anstruthers, easter and wester, very near each other, and now separate parishes; but it does not appear to which of these the present historical document refers: Perhaps they were then one.—E.]