Act 23
Regarding the common relief

Forasmuch as at the convention of the estates held in January 1640 it was voluntarily offered that for the defraying of the common charges and for other necessaries and urgent expenses every man should pay the tenth part of his yearly rent, as well to burgh as landward, for the crop and year of God 1639, according to the valuations to be made within and without burgh respectively, and for that effect did voluntarily oblige themselves thereto, as the bonds granted relating thereto by the heritors within the several presbyteries and burghs more fully purports, which bond and whole tenor thereof the said estates now convened in parliament ratify and approve in all points as the same is conceived, as well regarding the payment of the said tenth part as regarding the retention of the proportional part of the annualrent in manner therein expressed. And also in respect that the burdens of the common charges daily increases and that the heritors in the country and burgess within burgh bear the same, according to their rents, trade, house mails and others, whereby yearly profit and commodity arises without respect to their monies, therefore it is ordained that the monies or annualrent or liferent shall bear an equal and proportional burden with the said rents, trade and house mails by way of retention, as well to the foresaid tenth part as in all other burdens the country is or shall be put to by general order, and the terms of retention to be according to the terms of payment of the said tenth part or of any other burden imposed or to be imposed upon the said rents, trade or others foresaid, after the proportion thereof shall be determined by the commissioners, auditors of the accounts of the common burdens appointed for that effect, until which time no debtors shall have power to retain any part or portion of his annualrent or liferent further than the said tenth part for the crop and year 1639 only. And because the present expedition or any other expedition hereafter requires advancement by the heritors and burghs of the two part of the footmen and horsemen their pay, according to the rents and valuations of each shire and burgh, which will be only in some sheriffdoms and burghs, and to the effect that the burden may be equal through the whole kingdom, therefore it is ordained that the said advancement and provision shall be put in account by the shire, burgh, regiment or company who shall send out their men in the said expedition or in any other expedition or service necessary, as the council of estate and general shall command, and the said accounts to be given in to the said commissioners, auditors thereof, who shall have power to control, fit or allow the same, which accounts being so fitted and allowed shall be a part of the common burden to be reimbursed and allowed to the advancers thereof. And because a great part of the presbyteries and burghs of this kingdom have not as yet reported their valuations perfectly and rightly done, according to the general order, therefore it is ordained that all the presbyteries and burghs within this kingdom who have not as yet made report of their said valuations in form and manner above-specified shall report the same between now and 20 June instant on the south of the Tay, and between now and 1 July next on the north of the Tay, and that either under the hands and subscriptions of the sworn men appointed within each presbytery, testifying the same to be true upon their consciences and credit according to their knowledge, after the most exact and true informations they could get, or otherwise under the hands of the heritors or magistrates upon their consciences and credit, or last by the subscriptions of the heritors and magistrates their hands, but with this caveat: that what is concealed of land rent, trade or other rent (whereby profit or commodity arises or did arise the said year), the whole rent thereof or the equivalent and value of the same shall be confiscated to the public use and the general collector appointed to uplift and receive the same, and if need be to pursue therefore. And (that no subterfuge and concealment be used in valuations) it is appointed that all land trade, shipping, salmon fishing and other yearly commodity whatsoever whereby profit did arise the said year shall be fully and truly given up without partiality, as the presenters will either be answerable upon their consciences or the heritors on the hazard of confiscation. And likewise it is ordained that all money whatsoever which pays annualrent to any person not liable in the foresaid contribution shall pay a proportional part in their said annualrent to the public use, as the same shall be imposed, as well for the said tenth part as for the burdens hereafter to be imposed; and for that effect the valuers to take particular notice of such sums. And in case any delay or refuse to send in their said valuations to the clerk of the same at Edinburgh between now and the said days respectively, in that case it is declared that the delayers or refusers shall be esteemed and valued according to their retours or otherwise as the committee at Edinburgh shall think fit, and a proportion laid on accordingly, which they shall be held to pay without any deduction or favour in time coming. And also for bringing in of the monies according to the said valuations, it is appointed that there be collectors chosen in every presbytery (where there are none chosen as yet) by the gentlemen and heritors, and that the commissioners of shires see the same done, and cause the said collectors (so to be chosen) subscribe bonds for doing of their diligence and making payment of the collection to the general collector, and send the same into Edinburgh to him. And where the valuations are already brought in and collectors already made, it is ordained that the said collectors shall with all possible diligence send all the monies they have to the principal collector at Edinburgh, and shall use all possible diligence for the rest and give in their diligence to the said principal collector, with certification if any liable in payment of the said tenth part shall not pay to the said collectors the sums due by them, according to the said valuations, the said principal collector or his deputes shall use all lawful execution against them where the bonds are subscribed, and where the bonds are not subscribed they shall be reputed and used as non-covenanters. And to take away all objections for not paying of the said tenth part, it is appointed that every presbytery and burgh shall send in the monies due for the tenth part without deduction of any part of it except what is allowed for pay to their officers before 1 February last and prices of victual delivered to commissaries for the public use or by warrant from the committee; and if they have not ready money they shall borrow the same from any person or persons to burgh or landward where it may be had upon their own security. And if any person or persons of whatsoever rank, degree or calling shall refuse to lend the same (reserving always so much thereof as may reasonably serve his own private use and his family according to his estate and quality) upon the said security, it shall be lawful to them to convene them before any ordinary judge or committee of the shire or presbytery, which being lawfully proved by writ, witnesses or oath of party that they have money and refuse to lend the same, they shall be held as opposites to the common cause and the money to be confiscated, the one half to the apprehenders and the other to the public use. And because there is a present necessity of monies, in addition to the said tenth part thereof, it is appointed and ordained that every presbytery within this kingdom shall lend to the public use the twentieth part of the rent contained in the valuations, and that in addition to the said tenth part, upon declaration and act to be made by the committee from the estates that the same is given and lent by them for the public business, to be repaid together with the annualrents thereof when a common course is laid down and prosecuted for the relief of the common burdens to be ended with all possible diligence; and the furthest shires to return their bonds or money between now and 1 July next, or otherwise it shall be lawful to the said committee from the estates to find out the money in manner and with certification foresaid, and to design to the possessors of the said money any noblemen, gentlemen, burgess or substantial wealthy men within each presbytery, one or more, who shall be obliged to give bond or security to the said lenders for repayment thereof and annualrents for the same in the ordinary form, the sum not exceeding the said proportion of the said twentieth part of the valuation of the said presbytery; for relief of the which persons, one or more, who shall give bond or security foresaid, the whole heritors of the said presbytery, as well to burgh as landward, shall be bound according to the proportion of their rents and duties, and for that effect shall have action of relief against them in case of distress. And also it is declared that all the bonds, contracts and other obligations for sums of money already borrowed for the public use shall be relieved and paid by all the heritors within this kingdom, as well to burgh as landward, according to the valuations proportionally, and those who have subscribed the said bonds, contracts and other obligations foresaid shall have their relief off the whole shires and burghs according to the several proportions, as well those who have subscribed as those who have not subscribed the said bonds and others foresaid; and where the valuers and collectors chosen or to be chosen refuse to go on and perfect the said valuations or collect the tenth part in manner above-specified, in that case they or any of them shall be held and reputed as enemies to the common cause, without prejudice always in case after their said refusal to the heritors and magistrates to do any of the other two alternatives; and in case the said heritors or magistrates delay after the said days respectively, the foresaid certification to be valid against them in manner foresaid. And it is hereby declared that if any person or persons within or without burgh shall upon their oaths declare to the said valuers or auditors that they pay annualrent to strangers dwelling without this kingdom, of whom they cannot have the retention of the proportional part of the contribution due out of the said annualrent, in that case the said valuers or auditors shall default proportionally to the said person or persons' contribution of their trade, craft, rent and estate as they shall find agreeable to equity and reason; and also it is hereby declared that this present act nor no clause therein shall be any ground of suspension to any debtor for retention of the principal sums due by him and bygone annualrents, but that every creditor may suit, crave and charge for the same after the day of payment according to the law. As also it is statute and ordained that those debtors who shall not pay their annualrents termly, at least within six months after each term of payment of the said annualrent, shall have no retention of the said proportional part of the said contribution. And also it is hereby declared that this manner of stenting for the said collection and contribution shall in no way prejudice any person whatsoever in succeeding taxations, but that every man's right and claim regarding the prejudice that may arise concerning the form and manner thereof, whereby any man can instruct severe damage and that he was unequally stented, is hereby specially reserved henceforth. And lastly it is statute and ordained that the lords of session shall be judges to all suspensions to be raised in the said collection and contribution, in such form and manner as they are and have been in matters of taxation.

  1. NAS, PA2/22, f.34v-36v. Back