1486 Letter James III to John of Denmark

Letter from James III to John King of Denmark and Norway and elect of Sweden EC 1486

(Edinburgh University Library, Laing MSS, La. III - 322, pp 16-17)

The significance of this letter is that James III recognises that the pawning is still in force, that he does not own Orkney and Shetland and that he has an obligation to keep the language and laws of Norway:

Last summer Rothesay Herald brought John's letters to James, from which he understood that John was moved [to learn] that subjects of the isles of Orkney and Shetland were to be taken from their birthplace and James's subjects brought over to inhabit those islands and be governed by Scots language and laws, which had caused no little indignation among John's councillors. In truth he has removed no inhabitant of those islands from his native place nor has he changed the language or laws of Norway. Pacts still in force were concluded and sealed between John's father and James, He will have these looked at and will take care that their terms are observed on his part, thinking that John will not go against his father's contracts and agreements. John's father promised a dowry with his beautiful daughter, James's wife, which James received sixteen years ago, and it is to be hoped that John would not wish to take back or interfere with what was given to his sister, mother of three children, against law and good faith, Therefore James hopes that firm friendship and goodwill may continue between them and that the cause of this conflict and controversy should be suspended and not taken further by armed force until next summer, when a fleet will bring his embassy furnished with the fullest powers, He has given N, John's esquire, letters to bring to him through the stormy winter seas, praying that the delay shpuld not be attributed to neglect on James's part, He will take care to send members of his council with power to bring to completion the pacts made between John's father and himself and not cause prejudice to him against law and equity.