Procedure: commission and instructions

The which day the commission and instructions underwritten, being presented to the lords of his majesty's privy council and commissioners foresaid and read in their audience, the same commission and instructions were allowed, approved and completed by them, of the which the tenor follows:

Commission for the treaty of the fishing

Our sovereign lord, considering the great blessing wherewith it has pleased God to enrich his majesty's dominions of Scotland, England and Ireland in the abundance and plenty of fish upon all the coasts of the same and how that the benefit thereof is reaped for the most part by strangers, to the great disparagement and prejudice of his majesty's loving subjects, which being a matter concerning his majesty's honour and the good and strength of his whole dominions, his majesty has resolved that the said fishings shall be undertaken by his own subjects and that the same shall be prosecuted and ordered by common council and endeavour; therefore, and for the better furtherance and accommodating of this great and important work, ordains a letter to be made under his majesty's great seal making and constituting, likewise his majesty, by the tenor hereof, makes and constitutes his majesty's right trusty and well-beloved cousins and councillors William [Douglas], earl of Morton, lord Dalkeith and Aberdour, lord high treasurer of this kingdom, William [Graham], earl of Menteith, lord Graham and Kilpont, president of his majesty's privy council, James [Hamilton], marquis of Hamilton, earl of Arran and Cambridge, lord Aven and Innerdale, Robert [Ker], earl of Roxburghe, lord Ker of Cessford, and his right trusty cousin John [Stewart], earl of Carrick, lord Kinclaven, his majesty's right, trusty and well-beloved councillor, Sir William Alexander of Menstrie, knight, his majesty's principal secretary of the kingdom of Scotland and his majesty's right trusty and well-beloved Master John Hay and Master George Fletcher, or any five of them, his majesty's commissioners to the effect underwritten, giving, granting and committing to them (or any five of them jointly as said is) full power, warrant and authority, express bidding and charge to convene and meet at such times and in such places as it shall please his majesty to appoint with certain selected commissioners nominated or to be nominated and authorised by his majesty for England according to the tenor of their commission in that behalf, or as the said commissioners shall agree upon among themselves, and to confer and treat in all and every thing that may concern the intended association for undertaking the said common fishings, companies thereof and government of the same and upon all and every thing that shall occur and result in the said treaty concerning the said fishings or depending thereupon, and with absolute power to conclude therein, having his majesty's special approbation thereto, providing always that nothing to be done or concluded therein shall be prejudicial or derogatory to the laws, liberties and privileges of this kingdom and crown thereof; and that this commission be a warrant to [Sir John Scott of Scotstarvit], director of the chancellery, for completing of this commission at the chancellery and that the same be a warrant for appending the great seal thereto without any further precepts to be directed thereupon. Given at Holyroodhouse, 11 November 1630. Subscribed: George [Hay, viscount of Dupplin], chancellor, [John Spottiswood, archbishop of] St Andrews, [Thomas Hamilton, earl of] Haddington, [George Seton, earl of] Winton, [Alexander Lindsay, bishop of] Dunkeld, [Adam Bellenden, bishop of] Dunblane, [Robert Melville, lord] Melville, [Sir John] Hamilton [of Magdalens], Sir Thomas Hope [of Craighall].

  1. NAS, PC1/34, f.21v-22r. Back
  2. NAS, PC1/34, f.22r-23v. Back
  3. The term given to those born after King James VI of Scotland succeeded to the English throne as King James I of England. Back
Instructions given for the kingdom of Scotland authorised by warrant under the great seal to treat with the commissioners for the kingdom of England regarding the erecting of a common fishing

In the first you are carefully to advert that according to the provision and exception contained in your commission that nothing be done nor concluded in that treaty which may be prejudicial or derogatory to the liberties and privileges of this kingdom, crown thereof and laws of the same.

Item, you are to have a special care that by an article of the treaty it be enacted that the natives of this kingdom be preferred in the choice of the most commodious and opportune places for erecting of their magazines; and you are likewise to advert and provide that such places be designed and appointed to the English as most conveniently may be without manifest prejudice to the land fishing here.

You are to have the like care that it be declared by an article of your treaty that the seas facing the coasts of this kingdom and about the isles thereof, and all that is interjected between them and that middle line in the sea which is equally distant and dividing from the opposite land, are the Scottish seas properly belonging to the crown of Scotland and that the English have no right nor liberty to fish therein nor in any part thereof, but by virtue of the association and not otherwise.

That it be declared that those of the association shall be permitted and allowed to fish in all the Scottish seas, excepting always and reserving to the Scotsmen their trade of fishing within their lochs, firths and bays within the mainland and isles of this kingdom, and in the seas within 14 miles off the coasts of the said mainland and islands.

That it be provided and declared that those of the Scottish association have and enjoy the same privileges and immunities of custom and erecting of magazines in England and Ireland as the English do enjoy here in Scotland, and for this effect that it be declared and provided that naturalisation shall import no further privilege to the English in Scotland than the Scottish do enjoy by their naturalisation in England.

That it be declared and provided in the treaty that those of the English association who shall settle themselves upon Scottish land shall be debarred during their abode in these places from all fishing within the reserved waters, except only for taking of fresh fish for their present use and maintenance only, and that they buy no fish upon the sea nor land from the natives of this kingdom but for their maintenance as said is, and that they nor none of the English association shall not be suffered to have commerce nor to make merchandise, except only of victuals and other necessaries for their present use and consumption, and that they export no commodities out of the kingdom nor import any to be sold within the same except fishes only taken by their own vessels.

That it be declared and provided in the treaty that those of the English association shall be liable to the payment of custom, bullion and other duties for the fishes which they shall make on the Scottish land and shall export out of the same.

That it be declared and provided in the treaty that the fishes to be taken by virtue of the association shall be free to be brought in and sold in all his majesty's three dominions.

Item, that those of the English association who shall bring and make fishes upon the Scottish ground shall be equally subject with the natives to rateably contribute of the fishes so made by them towards the furnishing and provision of this country as occasion shall require, and according to the laws of the kingdom made in that behalf.

You are to have a special care and to foresee that the proportion of the Scottish undertaking be not limited nor designed and that it be not exclusive of what we may afterward contribute accordingly as our abilities shall from time to time increase.

It is likewise to be provided and declared by the treaty that no privilege granted to the brethren of the association shall be prejudicial to the liberties which the natives of this kingdom formerly enjoyed for selling their fish in England.

If any question shall arise between the persons of the association upon any occasion or difference concerning the fishing in Scotland, that it be declared that the matter shall be determined before the common councils respectively to be erected in either kingdom for that purpose without any appeal to be made therefrom.

Item, that no strangers be admitted in this association otherwise than as servants, except they transport themselves in his majesty's dominions, take the oath of allegiance and be naturalised, and that they trade with their own stocks only and be subject to the laws of the kingdom regarding the matter of trade.

The lords of secret council recommend to the commissioners regarding the treaty of association for a common fishing with England to represent to our sovereign lord the prejudice which this kingdom sustains by suppressing the name of Scotland in all the infeftments, patents, writs and records thereof passing under his majesty's name, and compounding the same under the name of Great Britain, although there be no union as yet with England, nor the style of Great Britain received there, but all the public writs and records of that kingdom are passed under his majesty's name as king of England, Scotland, France and Ireland; and therefore humbly to entreat his majesty to give warrant to his majesty's council that all infeftments, patents, letters and writs passing hereafter under his majesty's name be conceived under the name and style of Scotland, England, France and Ireland, defender of the faith, and that the style of Great Britain be refrained from; and that his majesty's seals where the name of Scotland is left out of the circumscription be renewed under these terms: Charles, by the grace of God, king of Scotland, England, France and Ireland.

Whereas the liberties anciently due to Scottish men trafficking or residing in France are of late much retrenched, to the great prejudice and disparagement of this estate, the said commissioners are to solicit his majesty that his majesty would be graciously pleased to recommend to [Louis XIII], the French king, the restoring of the subjects of this kingdom to their wonted liberties and privileges in France.

Whereas a supplication has been exhibited to the said lords in the behalf of the Scottish undertakers of the plantation of Ulster in Ireland, desiring them to recommend to his majesty their naturalisation and confirmation of their estates and the case of post nati in the next parliament to be held in the said kingdom of Ireland, the said commissioners are therefore to solicit his majesty in their behalf for effecting the premises according to their reasonable desire.

And for that effect that his majesty would nominate and appoint some Scotsmen upon the committee of such affairs as formerly had wont to be in the commission for Scottish affairs, wherein Sir William Alexander [of Menstrie], his majesty's secretary, and Sir James Fullerton were two.

In regard of the great number of Scottish ships taken by Dunkirkers and of the irreparable losses which the merchant traffickers have thereupon sustained, whereby they are both discouraged and disabled to follow out their trade, to the undoing of their estates and great prejudice of his majesty's customs, that the said commissioners therefore make remonstrance thereof to his majesty and consult his majesty regarding the most effectual means how they may be protected against the violence of the enemy and secured in their trade for the time to come.

  1. NAS, PC1/34, f.21v-22r. Back
  2. NAS, PC1/34, f.22r-23v. Back
  3. The term given to those born after King James VI of Scotland succeeded to the English throne as King James I of England. Back