Act for putting the kingdom in a posture of defence

Whereas by many loveable acts of parliament all the subjects of the kingdom are ordained to be sufficiently armed and to be in readiness for repressing internal insurrection and opposing of foreign invasion, likewise the estates of this kingdom at the last convention, taking into their consideration the imminent danger of the true Protestant religion, his majesty's person and authority and peace of his kingdoms by the multitude of papists, prelates and their adherents now in arms in England and Ireland, and the occasion thereby given not only to the public enemies of religion abroad but even many disaffected persons at home to labour so far as in them lies to subvert the religion and peace now happily established in this kingdom, do find it necessary that all means be speedily used for preventing the practices of such for preserving of the peace and keeping of his majesty's subjects in a dutiful obedience to the laws and present judicatories, and in Christian unity amongst themselves; and did therefore ordain that this kingdom should be presently put into a posture of defence, and did nominate and choose certain persons to be colonels of horse and foot, and did appoint committees within the several sheriffdoms and bounds of the kingdom to that effect, with power to them to take special trial and make perfect lists of the whole fencible persons between 60 and 16 within their shire for foot or horse, and to have a special care to see them sufficiently provided with arms. And the estates now presently convened, considering that the desolation of Ireland, the bloodshed in England and danger of this kingdom does daily increase, which has also moved this kingdom to set forth an army in pursuance of the covenant, which has taken away a great number of arms and ammunition out of the country, and that this kingdom may be enabled to suppress all internal commotions, recruit the army sent forth if need be and defend themselves against foreign invasion, have statute and ordained and hereby statute and ordain the colonels and committees aforesaid appointed in each shire to take special trial and draw up perfect lists of the whole fencible persons between 60 and 16 within their shire and see them sufficiently provided with arms. And to the effect that the want of the arms taken out of the country with the army to Ireland and England may be speedily supplied and that the kingdom may be put into a right military posture for defence, the estates ordain each shire and burgh within the same to provide the particular quantities of arms and ammunition following: [...]. And for that effect, that the committees of the several shires send some in name of the shire to the committee of estates with money to buy the said arms or sufficient surety from the shire to those who shall provide and bring the arms into the kingdom, and that the particular quantities of arms above-written be laid upon and bought by the heritors within the shires according to the proportion of the several rents, according to the valuation thereof. And that there may be a sufficient number of trained men who can exercise their arms in each shire for the ends aforesaid, the estates ordain the colonels and committees aforesaid to arrange their whole fencible persons in the shire (as well to burgh as landward) into regiments, foot companies and horse troops, according to their former printed acts of the convention for putting the kingdom in a posture of defence; and ordain that a similar number of men in each shire who were appointed to come out in this present expedition be drilled and exercised in managing their arms, every regiment once a month and every company and troop once a week, at such places as the said colonels and committees shall appoint; and that each shire shall maintain an able and expert soldier who may have the care and inspection of exercising the regiments and companies of their shire, and the colonels and committee of the shire are to take such course for inferior officers and sergeants as may best, with least expense, exercise their men, and who are hereby required to see the captains of each company provided with colours and drums, and the rutmasters with trumpets and cornets, and that they be in readiness as they shall receive orders from the committee of estates, to bring forth such number and preparation of their regiments with sufficient equipment, arms and provision as they shall be required; and that the first men that shall be sent forth wherever occasion shall require by the regiments and troops which were appointed in the northern and remote shires to come out in this present expedition and have stayed at home, and with or next to them the half of the number appointed to come out of the shires for this present expedition. And the committee of estates have special care to see this act put in speedy and exact execution, with power to them to do everything which may further the putting the country in a right and speedy posture.

This act to be without prejudice of any former orders made for the prices of arms to be sent in this expedition.

  1. NAS. PA8/1, f.111v-112v. Back
  2. There follows about one third of the recto blank. Back