Letter: privy council to the king

Followis the counsellis letter to his majestie:

The counsellis lettre to his majestie

Most sacred soverane,

This conventioun of your majesties estaittis whiche by your majesties directioun wes callit to the tuentie sevint day of October last, being that day verie solemnlie and with a frequent and famous nomber of the nobilitie, clergy and commissionaris for the shyres and burrowis preceislie keept and the taxatioun grantit as oure former letter to your majestie did signifie, upoun the first, second and thrid of this moneth, the estaittis haveing proceidit to the considderatioun of the propositionis and articles send downe be your majestie, alsweele concerning the churche as pollicie, whairin your majestie hes so livelie exprest your princelie and tender regaird and your exceiding grite care towardis the weele and floorisheing estate of this your native and ancient kingdome, thay first, to thair unspeakable comfort and contentment, did with most submissive and humble thankis acknawledge your majesties singular caire of thame, for the whiche thay and all of thame wer verie instant with thair prayeris unto God for your majesties long and happie reigne. And thairafter the particulair articles being propouned unto thame in ordour, and for thair better informatioun and resolutioun, copyis of the same being delyverit to everie estate and a competent tyme assignit unto thame to be advysit thairwith, and at thair nixt meetting everie article wes reasouned and discussit a pairt. And first that anent Jesuites and seminarie preistis and the childrene of noblemen and otheris remaininig in seminaryis and colledgeis of popishe professioun beyond sea, this article wes with unanime consent of the whole estaittis imbraceit and allowit and present direction gevin for prenting and publisheing of the same. Thairafter thair wes a propositioun maid for the furnissing of ijM men with shipping for thrie yeiris and for the whiche your majestie wald discharge the taxatioun, except so muche thairof as wald serve for defraying of the chargis of your comeing to this your kingdome to accept the royall crowne thairof, whiche is more than earnestlie longed for by all your subjectis, and the necessitie and expediencie of this article for the defence and saulftie of the cuntrey being urged with all the reasonis that could induce the estaittis to undergoe the burdene thairof, thay exprest thair most earnest affectioun to extend the uttermost of thair abilities for your majesties contentment speciallie in a matter so muche concerning thair awne saulftie; yitt the knawne povertie of the cuntrey by the calamitie of some hard yeiris could not in thair opinionis affoorde ony gritter sowmes than the taxatioun before consentit to, promissing thairwithall to be readie with thair personis to advance your majesties service in all interveneing and necessair occasionis toucheing the defence and saulftie of the kingdome. And in respect of bruittis and rumouris of forreyne preparationis and of the combustionis now universallie throughout Christendome, thair is a generall mustouris and wapponshawing appoyntit and proclamed to be throughout this whole kingdome bothe to burgh and land upoun the tuentie eight day of December nixt, to the intent the peoples provisioun of armes may be knawne and some beginning gevin to trayne thame in militarie discipline; and after report maid of thir mustouris, ordour salbe tane that the lawis maid for mustouris and provisioun of armour and wearlike exercises salbe prosequute at all tymes convenient. Like as it wes thoght meete be the estaittis that your majestie sould be intreatit to send about tua shippis for guairding of this firthe and secureing of the trade. The bigging of fortis and blokhouses is carefullie recommendit to the burrowis and howsoone Colonell Gray sall come in this kingdome the overtour propouned be your majestie thairanent salbe followit oute.

Anent the article for the victuall and the pryceis to be sett thairupoun upoun the occasionis of importatioun and exportatioun, this matter is alreddy in dependance befoir the counsell betuix the barronis and burrowis and the saxt of December nixt is appoyntit for heiring thairof. Thairfore the estaittis hes remittit that matter to the counsell with the other article anent the granaries, whairin the counsell wilbe carefull of that whilk sall seame most fitte and expedient for the weele of the cuntrey.

The article anent the provisioun of shipping is recommendit be the estaittis to the counsell and burrowis, whairin no care nor diligence salbe omittit whilk may procure your majesties satisfactioun in so just and important a matter.

Anent the custome of fourtie eight shillingis craved to be imposed upoun everie twne of coale exportit in strangearis boddomis, this poynt wes vehementlie opposed and resisted be the awnaris of the coalheughis upoun bothe sydes of the watter of Forthe, who, in audience of the conventioun, affirmed and constantlie declairit that thay wer at suche extraordiner chargis in the intertenying of thair watter workis that the whole cuntrey seale and dispatche of thair coale in a yeir will not interteny thair watter workis ane moneth, and that they ar not able to uphold thair workis without ane abundant dispatche of thair coale by strangearis and that thair is not shipping in this cuntrey to transport a verie small pairt of coale; and if this new custome be imposed it wilbe a scar and hinder to strangearis to come heir for coale whairunto thay ar allured more be the ease thay haif in the pryce nor for ony necessitie they haif of our coale; and if the trade fall, without the whilk the awnaris ar not able to interteny thair workis and coalheughis, the same will perishe without ony possibilitie of recoverie at ony tyme heirafter, not onlie to the utter undoing of the awnaris, bot to the extreame hurt and prejudice of the cuntrey, whilk, by this occasioun, will be destitute of all the sea coale within the kingdome whiche cannot be suppleed with ony other sort of fuell within the kingdome, besydis the miserable wraik of manie hundreth families of poore people whose onlie mantenance dependis upoun thir workis and without the whilk thay wilbe all turnit beggaris. The estaittis haveing at lenth hard the saidis awnaris upoun this poynt and the treuth of thair affirmatioun being knawne to sindrie of thame and the matter being putt to voitting, it wes fund that without a sein and evident hurt to the cuntrey this new custome could not be imposed upoun the coale.

The prosequutioun of the article concerning the draperie of woll is remittit be the estaittis to the counsell.

Anent the purchessing of placeis and offices by bryberie, the estaittis statutes and ordanis that whoever at ony tyme heirafter sall acquire and purches ony place of judicatorie within this kingdome by bryberie or other unlaughfull meanis, the place and office sua purchest salbe forfeytt to your majestie and be at your majesties dispositioun; and thay thoght it nowayes meitt nor expedient that the same sould be extendit ad preterita.

Anent the article bearing that no prelatt, nobleman nor other sall repair to the towne or place whair the counsell, conventionis or parliament salbe keept with gritair traynes nor his ordiner houshold servandis, the estaittis understandis that thair is actis of parliament alreadie maid thairanent, whilkis actis thay ordaine to be putt to executioun.

Anent the article whairby the lordis of sessioun ar ordanit to repair to the sessioun hous in a seamlie maner on horse with thair foote cloathis, the estaittis findis that mony of the lordis of sessioun hes thair duellingis verie neir to the sessioun hous and some of thame duellis in narrow cloises, whair thair is not a convenient passage for horse and the calsay so dangerous to be riddin upoun. It is thairfore not thoght convenient that thay sould be tyed to this necessitie of ryding.

Anent the compeirance in actionis before the counsell, the estaittis statutes and ordanis that no persone or personis of what qualitie soever sall present thameselffis befoir the counsell table, outher as persewaris or defendaris, bot by thameselffis alone, accompanied with one at the most whan the counsell sall allow thairof.

Anent the article ordaning that no pairty sall compeir heirafter befoir the lordis of sessioun accompanied with ony bot thair advocates and agentis, the estaittis findis it not fitte that the nobilitie and barronis of goode sort sould be debarrit from heiring of actionis pleadit befoir the sessioun for thair better informatioun and inhabling of thame for your majesties and the cuntreyis serrvice, and thairfore thay recommend the ordouring of this matter to the lordis of sessioun.

Anent the sollicitting of the lordis of sessioun, this is alreadie provydit for be ane act of sessioun and thairfore the estaittis recommendis to the sessioun the carefull executioun thairof and that thair be no sollistatioun bot be write.

Anent the article toucheing the merchand estate, how thay may be inforced to keepe thair trade and not to turne usuraris whan thay haif acquired some wealth, the estaittis remittis the same to the considderatioun of the parliament.

Anent the transporting of money, the estaittis understandis that thair is mony goode actis alreadie maid thairanent, whilkis thay ordaine to be putt to executioun and recommendis the prosequutioun thairof to the counsell; and ordanis the maister of his majesties mynthouse that he tak no other satisfactioun for the bulyeoun bot the bulyeoun it self in foreyne money.

Anent the article toucheing the importing of unnecessair wairis whairof the cuntrey standis not in need, the estaittis ordanis the actis of parliament alreadie maid heiranent to be putt to executioun and the actis of counsell anent the pryceis of foreyne beare to be likewayes putt in executioun.

And toucheing the article towardis the raising of the pryceis of the coyne, the estaittis findis this to be a matter whilk requiris goode advise and deliberatioun and whilk cannot be summarlie dejested at this meetting as the importance of the cause requires. Thairfore the estaittis nominat the Earlis of Rothes, Kinghorne and Lauderdaill, the Lordis Ross, Yester, Lowdoun, Balmerinoch and Carnegye, or ony foure of thame, for the nobilitie; the Bishoppis of Galloway, Brechin and Caithnes, or ony tua of thame, for the clargye; the Lairdis of Keir, Tracquair, Lag, Amisfeild, Balcomie, West Nisbett, Sir James Dundas and Sir Johne Hamiltoun of Lettrik, or ony foure of thame, for the small barronis; and the commissionaris to be appoynted be the burrowis of Edinburgh, Dundee, Abirdene and Glasgow, to convene and meete with your majesties counsell upoun the last counsell day in Februar, to confer and treate upoun the goode and expediencie of this article to the intent a report may be maid of thair opinionis to your majestie.

The article anent the poore wes remittit be the estaittis to the counsell, who will haif a care to see that matter ressave executioun accordinglie.

After that all thir articles wer propouned, hard, discussit and answeirit be the estaittis in maner foirsaid, thair wes some petitionis gevin in be the small barronis and burrowis whairin thay craved that the estaittis wald joyne with thame in thair humble petitioun to your majestie for obteneing your allowance thairof.

And first it wes propouned be the small barronis that thay wer informed that your majestie intendit to mak some alteratioun in the sessioun, whiche wes a soverane and heigh court whairof the fundatioun wes with grite wisdome and judgement built by your majesties grite grandfather of happie memorie, with the consent of the estaittis of parliament, and that the authoritie of this court hes bene sensyne illustratt with mony priviledgeis flowing from succeiding princes and speciallie from your majesties darrest father of blissed memorie; and thair desire wes that the estaittis wald joyne with thame in thair humble petitioun to your majestie, that your majestie wald be pleasit not to mak ony alteratioun thairof without the advise of the estaittis of this kingdome. Thair petitioun being hard and some objectionis maid aganis the same that as your majestie wes a just and uppright prince who soght nothing bot the goode and weele of your people, so thair wes no subject that with reasone could suspect or mistruste the sinceritie of your majesties proceidingis, outher in that or ony other thing els, yitt thay continewit verie instant to haif the voites of the estaittis thairupoun; whilk beinig grantit and thair voitis tane, thay all aggreed to joyne with the baronis in thair petitioun that your majestie sould be humblie intreated that if you intendit ony alteratioun in the sessioun from that whilk wes established in parliament that your majestie wald be graciouslie pleasit to follow oute the same be the advise of the estaittis of this kingdome in parliament.

Thay had ane other petitioun and grevance foundit upoun the prejudice alledged sustenit be thame by this new erectit ordour of barrounettis and the precedencie grantit to thame befoir all the small barronis and friehalderis of this kingdome, whairin thay pretendit grite prejudice in thair priviledgeis and dignityis possest be thame and thair predicessouris in all preceiding aiges, and thairfore thair desire wes that the estaittis wald joyne with thame in thair humble petitioun that your majestie might be intreatted to suspend the precedencie grantit to thir barronettis untill the tyme that the plantatioun for the quhilk this dignitie is conferred be first performed be the undertaker. Whairupoun Sir Williame Alexander, cheiff undertaker in this plantatioun, being hard and he haveing objectit unto thame your majesties royall prerogative in conferring of honnouris and titlis of dignitye in matteris of this kynd, importing so far the honnour and credite of the cuntrey, and that your majesties prerogative wald not admitt ony sort of oppositioun and that this suspensioun of the undertakeris precedencie wald frustratt the whole plantatioun, after that the small barronis had most humblie protestit that the least derogatioun to your royall prerogative sould never enter in thair hairtis and that thair petitioun wes in no sort contrair to the same, bot that thay acknowledged the conferring of honnouris did properlie belong to your majestie as a poynt of your royall prerogative, and thay undertooke that if it wer fund meete be your majestie and the estaittis that this plantatioun sould be maid, that thay upoun thair awne chargis wald undertak the same without ony retributioun of honnouris to be gevin thairfore. The estaittis haveing at lenth hard bothe pairtyis, it wes fund be pluralitie of voitis that the estaittis sould joyne with thame in thair petitioun foirsaid to your majestie.

Thay had some otheris petitionis especiallie concerning mettis and measures and the oppressioun used in buying of victuall by exacting of ane pect to the boll. The estaittis ordanis the actis of parliament and secreit counsell alreadie maid heiranent to be putt to executioun aganis the contravenaris.

It wes likewayes desyrit be thame that thay might haif ane discharge of penall statutes with the reservationis and exceptionis contenit in the act of parliament keept in August 1621, whairin the estaittis hes become humble supplicantis to your majestie, the thesaurair protesting that the concealaris of money and the Earle of Murray protesting that the ressettaris of the Clanchattane and the comfortaris of thame in thair rebellioun might be likewayes exceptit.

Anent rebellis contempnandlie lying at the horne, it is ordanit that the schireffis and otheris officiaris to whois charge it appertenis salbe commandit to tak the rebellis and thair houses, and to putt and hold the rebellis out of thair houses dureing thair rebellioun and to mak inventair of thair goodes. And if oppositioun and violent resistance salbe maid be the rebellis, that thay salbe thairupoun callit to thair answeir befoir the counsell. And if upoun a laughfull probatioun thay sall crye guiltie, thay salbe exemplarlie punist if thay compeir. And if thay be absent and so tak the cryme upoun thame, thay salbe declairit rebellis and fugitives, and commissioun sall be gevin aganis thame as in caises criminall to the schireffis and otheris officiaris for persute of thame with fyre and sword, and proclamationis sall be direct commanding the cuntrey to assist the magistrattis.

And whairas the estaittis could not convenientlie attend to mak thair report unto your majestie of this thair proceidingis at this conventioun, whilk in effect wes all that wes done thairin, thay committit the charge and truist of this report to suche of your counsell as sould be present, whilk at thair directioun we haif heirby faithfullie done and so etc. Edinburgh, octavo Novembris 1625. Sic subscribitur: George Hay, Mar, Mortoun, Wyntoun, Linlithgow, Roxburgh, Melros, Bishop Dumblane, Archibald Naper.

  1. NAS, PC1/31, f.83r-86r. Back