Procedure: commissioners' report to the estates; objections to instructions; reply to objections
The Erle of Monteths report of the commissioners for the fishing thair proceedings

The whilk day Williame, erle of Monteth, the president of his majesteis counsell, reported to the nobilitie, counsell and estats presentlie conveenned the proceedings of the commissioners appointed for the treatie of the commoun fishing, and thairwithall he produced instructiouns sent doun be his majestie concerning the fishing, with the commissioners observations made thairupon and reply made be the English commissioners thairunto; quhilks being read, the estaits ordanis ane copie of the answeres and reply to be givin to everie estait to be considered of be thame and they to report to the publict meiting thair opinioun and judgement concerning the same upon Monday nixt in the forenoone at ten of the clocke. The estaits present warned apud acta.

Followes the observations upon the generall instructions by way of objection:

Whereas by the instructiouns sent by his majestie to his secretarie of Scotland concerning the erectioun of a generall fishing, it would appeare that the said generall fishing to be erected is understood of these fishings whairof the benefite is onlie reaped by strangers and doeth no way touche these fishings whiche ar enjoyed by the natives of anie of the kingdomes. It is necessarie that the particular fishings within everie kingdome whiche ar onelie injoyed be the natives be made knowne, that the lawes and freedoms of everie kingdome may be preserved, as is conteaned in the saids instructiouns.

It is desyred that it may be cleered what these fishings ar whilk ar called commoun benefites and cannot devidedlie be injoyed.

To understand what severall undertakings will be for this generall fishing in England and in Ireland.

It is desyred that the Scotish adventurers of the societie be naturalized in England, seing the denizatioun whiche the English ar to have in Scotland is equivalent to naturalizatioun in England.

It would be considered in what maner the returne for the fishes exported out of eache kingdome sall be made to the kingdome whairin they ar takin.

As to the governement of the associatioun it is fitt before it be treatted of that the preceeding articles be cleered and the severall undertakings condescended upon, that all the undertakers may joyne togidder for perfyting thairof.

As to that article for building one or moe free burrowes in the Yle of the Lewes, there can be no answere givin thairunto till the nixt meeting of the estaits, in regarde it is against the standing right of regall burrowes alreadie erected and of others having interest, who in reasoun must be heard before anie opinioun be givin thairin.

Sic subscribitur, W. Alexander

Followes the answeres of the English commissioners to the preceeding objections:

For the first and second articles, his majesteis royall and just intentioun is (as we conceave) most cleere in his instructions not to take away or derogat frome the particular and personall grants and rights of anie of his subjects, whois lawes and liberteis he purposeth to mainteane, but in all his kingdomes, in places neere and remote, where commoun fishing is or may be used by anie of his people, that everie brother of this companie made capable according to the respective lawes of eache kingdome may freelie fishe there. This mutuall participation being the bond of unioun and sole meanes to recover his majesteis right and power at sea, and to inriche all his subjects and these cheefelie where the greatest fishings ar.

For the thrid, we understand his majesteis gratious favour to that kingdom to have so large extent that howsoever he desyreth for thair advantage thair proportioun may be considerable, yitt he will not presse thame abone thair owne measure, not doubting bot it will be answerable to the estimatioun he hath of thame, and assuring that in England and Ireland the proportioun sall be answerable to the abiliteis of either kingdomes and the greatnesse of the worke, whiche must be overcome by degrees and can not at first be rated to the full otherwayes then in the instructions is generallie sett doun.

The difference betuix naturalizing and free endenizing is not important in the mater of fishing, whiche is the onelie use the companie will make of thame. And when a parliament sall be callit, the brothers of this companie will probablie finde no difficultie to obteane what they desyre.

Toucheing the returnes to be made for the fishes exported, his majestie will provide according to his wisdome for his owne indemnitie and interest; and for the publict profite it cannot be doubted that according to the increasse of trade by the fishing in eache kingdome the benefite of thair returnes will respectivelie increasse.

The governement of all companeis in these kingdomes can have no reference to a popular agreatioun of all the undertakers, thair liberteis and powers depending whollie upon the king's grace and gift, whiche in this is the more to be respected for that in his instructions he hath expressed his gratious purpose with admissioun of advice frome his counsell in eache kingdome in anie thing that may require further consideratioun, and we doubt not but the lords and states in Scotland will concurre with suche a governement as sall be most conformable to the crowne we live under and obey.

For the last additionall article concerning the king's interest in erecting free and regall burrowes, though we ar perswaded that his majestie will not straine his prerogative royall nor exercise other power in this then the lawes of that kingdome have putt into his hands, yitt we will not take upon ws to answere yow in this point bot referre yow to his majestie for more full satisfactioun, onelie wishing that his majesteis most royal, just and cleere intentiouns, as they have conducted ours, so may prevaile with yours not to questioun, bot unanimouslie to advance and settle so worthie, so profitable and so important a worke to the empyre of these kingdomes as we ar confident yow will endeavoure.

Subscribitur, W. Alexander

  1. NAS, PC1/34, f.19r-20r. Back