Letter: letter from the privy council to the commissioners

Follows the missive written by the council to the Scottish commissioners for the fishing regarding the matter above-written.

After our very heartily commendations to your good lordships, upon the receipt of your lordships' letter and for our better information regarding the particulars contained therein, we imparted the same to the provost and bailies of Edinburgh, desiring to be instructed by them in relation thereto, but they, pretending this to be a common cause concerning the whole body of their estate, refused in any case to meddle therein until they were consulted with the burghs relating thereto, which moved us to assign to them 20 April 1631 for that effect. This diet being kept by a frequent number of commissioners from the burghs, and we having with great instance shown to them the necessity and expediency of your lordships' proposition both for his majesty's satisfaction and the credit and benefit of this kingdom, they stood very punctually upon that article of your lordships' instructions whereby there is a reservation of all fishings within 14 miles off the land, which includes all lochs, firths and bays, and thought it needless to condescend upon particulars where all was included; but being in end induced to give up a particular definition they took this day to do the same and accordingly gave in this enclosed report, which, being considered and found to be of too large an extent, we, out of our desire to his majesty's contentment and advancement of the work, have retrenched and restricted the universality of their exception to the parts set down in this enclosed note, with allowance of a reservation of 14 miles off such coasts of the kingdom as are well peopled and where the country people live most by fishing, without the which they could not possibly subsist nor yet be able to pay their masters their ferms and duties, which is so considerable a point that it was found by the table that if there had been a bush fishing erected in Scotland there would have been a reservation of all fishing within these waters for the use and benefit of the country people, for it cannot be qualified that ever any Hollander or other stranger fished in these waters. And in respect we want the consent of the burghs to this restriction and that we would be loath to have them hurt or prejudiced in that which they conceive to touch the body and commons of the country so closely, we remit to your lordships' consideration which of the two designations your lordships will make the rule of your proceedings, wherein resting assured that nothing will be wanting in your lordships that may tend to the preservation of the liberties of this your native kingdom. We commit your lordships to God, from Holyroodhouse, 21 April 1631. Subscribed: [George Hay, viscount of] Dupplin, [John Fleming, earl of] Wigtown, [John Maitland, earl of] Lauderdale, [George Gordon, lord] Gordon, Patrick [Lindsay], bishop of Ross, John [Leslie, bishop of the] Isles, Sir Thomas Hope [of Craighall], [Sir John] Hamilton [of Magdalens], Sir G[eorge] Elphinstone [of Blythswood], [Sir John Scott of] Scotstarvit, Sir James Baillie.

  1. NAS, PC1/34, f.26r. Back