Judicial Proceeding: against the laird of Haddo
[Sir John Gordon], laird of Haddo's process and fines

Anent our sovereign lord's letters raised at the instance of Sir Thomas Hope of Craighall, his majesty's advocate for his majesty's interest, and Alexander Jaffray, bailie of Aberdeen, and John Jaffray, his brother, provost, bailies and council of Aberdeen for their interest, making mention that where the disaffection of Sir John Gordon of Haddo to the good of kirk and commonwealth this long time past is not unknown to the noblemen and commissioners of the estates presently convened, whereof the burgh of Aberdeen has found many grievous proofs and experiences, of which the particular following is not one of the least, namely: upon 20 May last Thomas Hay, servant to the said laird of Haddo, having cruelly wounded almost to the death Alexander Barnet, farmer in the said town, the said Alexander Jaffray, bailie for the time, out of the duty of his place, caused apprehend the said Thomas (but in a very discreet way) and kept him in custody in the Laigh Council House until he should find caution for observing his majesty's peace and answering to the wrong; and upon this caution, within four hours, set him free. And albeit the said bailie's courteous dealing in that particular matter deserved thankful acknowledgement from the said laird of Haddo, nevertheless, shortly thereafter, he, accompanied with a great number of his friends, followers and servants, came to the market cross of Aberdeen, to have found and affronted the bailie there, but missing him, he fell out in open railing, swearing with great oaths that he would go and take the bailie out of his own house and there take order with him, thereafter shot pistols and guns at the cross, and has ever since harboured a deep rancour and malice against the said bailie, with a resolution upon his best advantage to take his life. For which purpose, understanding that upon 1 July the said bailie and his said brother had been at the burial of Mr Patrick Gordon of Braco at the chapel of Garioch, the said laird, accompanied with John Gordon, James Shand, William Haliburton and another John Gordon, his servants, all armed with swords, guns and double pistols, awaited for the bailie's return from the burial in the town of Kintore. And when they perceived him riding by, the said laird and his accomplices aforesaid followed on horseback, and when he came near, he said to the bailie, 'Knave, how dare thou be so part as to put my man in ward'. And with these words, he gave him various strokes (as he was aware) over the head with a tree. Thereafter first cocked and fired a pistol, then another to his breast, which happily misgave; then took another pistol from one of his servants and shot the same at the bailie, but the providence of God diverted the bullet. And so having spent all his shot without his desired success, then the said laird and all his men drew their swords and cruelly pursued the bailie and his said brother of their lives, wounded the bailie on the head to the effusion of his blood and hazard of his life, and his brother on the left arm, which by appearance will be mutilated. And when as the said Andrew Birnie reproved the said laird for this base and foul attempt against a magistrate for discharge of his office, telling him that the estates were sitting and would take notice thereof, he proudly and disdainfully answered he cared not for the said estates: he hoped to see a change shortly and to be avenged upon all his enemies. And he has lately since sent various bad words to the said bailie, threatening that if he would not be content that the business was taken up at home, but would proceed before any judge whatsoever, that he should come and take the bailie out of his own house and use him in another way than he has yet done. And further he and the said John Shand, his servant, have vowed if the said laird be troubled for this matter, that the said bailie, nor none that belongs to him, shall be able to keep the summer markets. In respect of which, the said estates do clearly perceive an extraordinary contempt with a high hand done to authority in general, and to the magistrates of Aberdeen in particular, by the said laird of Haddo, the impunity whereof will not fail to animate him and others of his lawless disposition to go on in similar or worse affronts of justice to the breach of the peace of the country and contempt of the authority. And anent the charge given to the said Sir John Gordon, John Gordon, younger and elder, William Haliburton and John Shand, to have compeared presently before the said estates at a certain day bygone, to have submitted to their deserved punishment for the said proud attempts, under the pain of rebellion and putting them to the horn; with certification to them if they failed, letters should be directed simply to put them thereto, likewise at more length is contained in the said letters, executions and endorsements thereof. Which being called, and Patrick Leslie [of Iden], provost of Aberdeen, compearing presently for himself and in name of the bailies and council of Aberdeen, and the said Alexander Jaffray compearing personally for himself and John Jaffray, his brother, who was excused by a testimonial of his sickness; and the said defenders being often times called and not compearing, the reasons proposed by the pursuers, together with the depositions of certain persons produced by them, purged of partial counsel, sworn and admitted as witnesses in this matter, being read, heard and considered by the said estates, and they advised thereupon, the said estates find and declare that the said laird of Haddo carried himself in a most insolent and bragging way in the town of Aberdeen by shooting of pistols when his servant was committed for the wrong to be cleared, and that upon 1 July last the said laird of Haddo, John Gordon, younger, William Haliburton and John Shand pursued the said Alexander Jaffray, bailie, and John Jaffray, his brother, as they were coming from the burial above-mentioned; and the said laird of Haddo struck the bailie over the head with a tree and fired two pistols at him, which misgave, and shot the third, which missed, and then gave him a stroke on the head with a sword, to the effusion of his blood; and wounded the said John Jaffray on the arm with a drawn sword; and that thereby they have committed a great insolence and high offence against authority and of dangerous consequence. For which, ordain letters to be directed charging the said John Gordon of Haddo, John Gordon, younger, his servant, William Haliburton and John Shand to enter their persons in ward within the tolbooth of Edinburgh, there to remain upon their own expenses until order be taken with them for the said insolence by the said estates, within 15 days after the charge under the pain of rebellion; and if they fail, to denounce. And further the said estates fine the said John Gordon of Haddo in the sum of £10,000 to be paid to William Thomson, commissary of the army in Ireland, or John Jossie, his depute, for the use of the public, to be employed by order from the said estates. As also fine him in the sum of 5,000 merks to the said Alexander Jaffray, bailie, and his said brother; and ordain letters to be directed hereupon, if need be, in the appropriate form; and modify £20 to every witness being a horseman, and £10 to the footmen, to be paid by the producer, because the said complaint, being admitted to the pursuer's probation, and various persons being produced by him, received, sworn and admitted as witnesses in this matter, they have sufficiently verified and proven the said complaint in manner as is above found and declared, for which cause the estates have decided, ordained and modified as said is.

  1. NAS. PA8/1, f.61r-63r. Back