25 May 1641

[Opening of session; president of parliament elected; letter from the king read; instruments taken]

At Edinburgh, 25 May 1641, to the which day and place the parliament was continued by the last act of continuation thereof dated 13 April 1641.

[John Lyon], earl of Kinghorn present for [Gilbert Hay, earl of Erroll], constable, [William Keith], earl Marischal present himself.

The estates of parliament this day convened being placed and set down in plain parliament.

Master William Scott [of Clerkington], one of the clerks of parliament, did publicly make known to the said estates now convened that, seeing the king's majesty or a commissioner for his majesty was not present, they in respect thereof should make election of a president.

Whereupon after it was put to voting who should preside, the whole estates now convened with an uniform consent elected and chose Robert [Balfour], lord [Balfour of] Burleigh to be president in this their meeting in parliament.

Which place the said Robert, lord Burleigh, in respect of the election foresaid, accepted in and upon him.

Thereafter Sir Thomas Hope of Craighall, knight, his majesty's advocate, delivered to the said Robert, lord Burleigh, president foresaid, in presence of the estates, a letter from his sacred majesty to the noblemen, barons, commissioners of shires and burghs of his majesty's parliament in Scotland.

Which letter the said lord president received in all humility and caused to be publicly read in presence of the estates now convened, whereof the tenor follows:

(Here to insert his majesty letter).

Upon the production and reading whereof, and inserting of the tenor of the same letter in manner above-written, the king's majesty's advocate asked instruments.

  1. NAS, PA6/3, 'May 25 1641', f.1r-1v. Back
[Protest against king's letter; continuation of parliament; act read and approved; instruments taken]

And immediately thereafter [James Graham], earl of Montrose, in name of the noblemen, [Sir George Stirling], laird of Keir, in name of the commissioners of shires, and John Semple [of Stainflett], commissioner for the burgh of Dumbarton, in name of the commissioners of burghs, protested that the naming of his majesty's commissioner designed in the foresaid letter 'a commissioner' shall in no way import acknowledging upon the part of the estates that [John Stewart], earl of Traquair, late commissioner, is in any way to be understood to be that commissioner whom his majesty terms by the name of 'a commissioner', by reason he is indicted to the parliament as an incendiary or for some other crimes; and declared that this protestation they make out of an assured confidence of his majesty's goodness and justice that his majesty's naming of 'a commissioner' did nor does in no way point at the said Earl of Traquair as commissioner, and for eschewing of all misunderstanding which the generality of the words 'a commissioner' may imply contained in the letter, and that in all humility and without intention of offence to his majesty.

Which protestation the said estates have admitted and admit. This being done, the said Robert [Balfour], lord [Balfour of] Burleigh, president chosen as said is, did publicly propose to the estates now convened their consideration of the expediency of the continuation of this present parliament.

Which was put in voting and was agreed by uniform consent of the estates now convened that this present parliament should be continued to 15 July next, with continuation of days, and that an act should be made thereupon for this effect of the tenor following:

The estates of parliament, presently convened by his majesty's special authority, yet as of before continue this present parliament and all summons and actions intended or depending, with all supplications, grievances and other matters belonging to the said parliament, against all parties cited or desired to be sent home to Scotland as incendiaries, or cited for other crimes and causes and the former citations and continuations thereof; and this present continuation to continue in the same force, strength and effect as they were at the several days of compearances respectively to which they were cited, and as if they had been called or were now called expressly upon the said several days to which they were cited respectively as said is, or upon the several days of continuation to which this parliament was continued from time to time, notwithstanding of the not calling of them publicly in judgment at none of the said days, which was in no way necessary to have been done nor to be done before insisting against them, in respect that they were both cited to several days of compearance, with continuation of days, and that the parliament was continued from time to time to certain other days, also with continuation of days, to 15 July next, with continuation of days. And that for satisfying his majesty's gracious desire signified by his majesty's letter directed to the estates for that effect bearing date 18 May 1641, and also for sundry grave and weighty considerations concerning the well of the estate, kirk and kingdom known to the estates, without prejudice always to the estates of parliament of their undoubted liberty to sit without prorogation, unless they consent to a prorogation and that by reason that all acts of prorogation of parliament are acts of parliament and no acts of parliament can be made without consent of the estates convened and sitting in plain parliament, at the which 15 July next ordain the whole estates to be present and to attend at Edinburgh or where it shall happen the same to be held for the time. And also ordain [Sir Thomas Hope of Craighall], his majesty's advocate, and procurators of estate, all and every one of them, to compear and attend and to insist as they shall be commanded by the estates against whatsoever persons indicted or to be indicted and discharge the said advocate and procurators and every one of them to consult with or take upon hand directly or indirectly to defend any who shall seek their advice for pleading or maintaining them in any sort against any pursuit moved or to be moved against them in parliament for any crime against the public, or to give any information for that effect, and that because it is incumbent to the king's majesty's advocate and procurators of estate to pursue all who happen from time to time to be cited to the parliament for any offence against the public and in no way to take their patronage, without prejudice always of the power granted to the committees of estate contained in the act of this present parliament made relating thereto, dated 11 June last and mentioned in the three last acts of continuation thereof, the first dated 19 November 1640, the second 14 January 1641 and the third dated 13 April 1641. And in the meantime, the estates declare the said parliament to be current to the effect above-written to the day foresaid, with continuation of days, and ordain the whole acts and statutes made and concluded in plain parliament in that session thereof in June past, together with all the former acts of continuation made by the said estates, to stand and have the force and strength of laws and acts, according to the tenors thereof, in the same way as any acts and statutes of any preceding parliaments in any time bygone, and namely (without prejudice of the generality foresaid) the act of the committee of estates to stand in full force in all the clauses thereof until it be discharged by the estates, and ordain the foresaid acts, with the act of election of Robert, lord Burleigh to be president of this meeting of estates, together with this present act of continuation to be published and printed, according to the last act of continuation of the date foresaid, notwithstanding of this present continuation of the parliament to the day above-written.

Which act of continuation being publicly read in presence of the estates now convened in parliament as said is, the same was voted and unanimously agreed to by the said estates.

Whereupon the said Robert, lord Burleigh, president above-written, in name of the whole estates, asked instruments.

Thereafter the king's advocate desired the duplicate of the whole premises above-written under the clerk's hand.

Burleigh, president, in presence of the lords of parliament

  1. NAS, PA6/3, 'May 25 1641', f.1r-1v. Back