Act anent the councell

Forsamekill as ane of the grittest causes quhilk hes procurit the greit contempt and dissobedience of ane greit nowmer of oure soverane lordis lieges hes bene the default and inlaik of ane sufficient nowmer of the nobilitie, baronis and utheris counsallouris, being weill willit men and effectionat to his majesties service and the guid governament of the commoun wealth, to haif assistit his majestie in geving to him thair guid advyse and counsall for suppresseng of enormities, quhairthrow his hienes hes bene forcit thir yeiris bigane in proper persone to undertak greit panes and travellis in the outredding and dispatche of materis belanging to his hienes prive counsall, quhilk, without the help and advyse of uthairis, being nawayes possibill for his majestie to discharge. And seing that in tyme bigane be ressoun of the confusit multitude of counsallouris all materis wer neglectit, quhilk not onlie procurit ane generall misregaird of his authoritie, bot materis being done amiss his majestie culd not justlie burdene ony of the saidis counsallouris thairwith, the nowmer being almaist altogidder indefinite and uncertane and everie ane purgeing himself of the evill progres of all proceidingis thairintill. And becaus be experience it is fund that ane multitude is ever the occasioun of ane confusioun and that materis to be intreatit in counsall may not be treatit and handlit sa privelie and quietlie as thay aucht and sould be gif the bigane disordour be notamendit and the nowmer of the saidis counsallouris maid definite and choise be maid of the best and worthiest to accept and discharge that burdene, thairfoir his hienes and estaittis presentlie convenit hes nominat the particular personis efterspecifiit to be of his hienes prive and secreit counsall, thay ar to say: [...], extending in the haill to the nowmer of threttie ane personis, quhairof sextene salbe erlis and lordis, quhilk salbe the definite nowmer of the said prive counsall in all tyme heirefter, and na utheris salbe adjoynit to thame, bot thay to bruik and jois the said office during all the dayes of thair lyftymes. Off the quhilk xxxj personis abonespecifiit thair sall at the leist sevin of thame be convenit befoir ather materis of estait be treatit and handlit or ony actiouns or complaintis hard; nather sall thay in onywayes proceid without the nowmer of sevin counsallouris be present togidder. And in speciall the saidis estaittis hes apointit the tymes of meiting to the saidis counsallouris for treating materis of estait and laying doun of ovirtouris for the guid governament of the commounwealth and for keeping of peax and obedience in the cuntrie to be oulklie upoun Tyisday at efternone, and for heiring of complaintis and calling of actionis compitent to that judicatorie oulklie upoun Thurisday at efternone, and thair conveining ordinarlie to be at his hienes palice of Haliruidhous or ony uther place quhair his majestie sall think meitest during his non residence thair; and nane to be present at thair said conveining with his majestie except the saidis xxxj counsallouris or sa mony of thame as salhappin to be present with the clerkis of counsall allanerlie. Attoure, oure soverand lord and estaittis, being of that mynd that the saidis counsallouris electit and chosin to geif his majestie guid counsall and advyse in the governing of the commoun wealth suld be especialie regairdit and suld enjoy and bruik sum priviledgis by utheris quha ar nawayes trublit with that burdene, hes thairfoir concludit and ordanit that everie ane of the saidis counsallouris in ony place of thair abyding for the tyme sall haif frie poware and commissioun as thay sall think expedient upoun the interveining of ony trubill or ryot to command and charge the doaris thairof to enter in waird within sic waird or castell and within sic ane schort space as thai sall think expedient, quhill ordour be tane be his majestie and the counsall thairwith. And incais that occasioun fall out betuix ony parties in convocatioun of his hienes liegis in ony nowmeris quhairthrow it be feirit that sum inconvenient sall ensew, ony of the saidis counsallouris being ewest thairto may ather in proper persone or direct his officer and servand and discharge the saidis personis convenit as said is. And gif in onywayes the said counsallour, his command and charge gevin to ony persone in the said mater, or in granting of assurances to utheris, or keiping of thair houses and ludgeingis, be neglectit efter the report of the samin maid to his majestie and counsall, the estaittis findis it meit and expedient that ane pecuniall pane and fyne be enjoynit to the partie, dissobeyar of the command gevin be the said counsallour; and gif the offendar be present, to be committit to waird quhill the samin be satisfiet to his hienes thesaurare for his majesties behuif; and incais of his absence, that lettrez of horning be direct for the samyn, and that the saidis panes and fynes be modifiet be his majestie and his said counsall according to the qualitie of the personis and greitnes of the offence. And oure said soverane lord and estaittis hes promeist to authorize everie ane of the saidis counsallouris and to assist thame in thair proceidingis, that thairby it may be knawin that the samyn is grantit to thame as ane speciall favour and priviledge for thair service, providing alwayes that in all thair proceidingis thay be comptable and answerabill to his majestie and the rest of his hienes counsall that na just caus of complaint be hard aganis thame. And becaus heirtofoir small regaird hes bene had be counsallouris in thair residence to await upoun that service, almaist never repairing bot onlie upoun the necessitie of thair awin adois or sum of thair freindis particularis, thair being na penaltie or danger injoynit to thame for thair absence, thairfoir, to the effect that the counsallouris abonespecifiit may the better attend and await upoun the said counsall, oure soverane lord and estaittis declairis that quhatever he be of the nowmer abonespecefeit that salhappin to be absent fra the said counsall four ordinar dayis of sitting togidder, not haifing of befoir purchest licence of his majestie and counsall to be absent, that his said absence during the said space sall ipso facto infer deprivatioun from his place of the said counsall, and his majestie, immediatlie efter the expyring of the said space, may present ane uther in his place. And als incais ony of the saidis counsallouris efter licence had and obtenit for thair absence during ane certane tyme remane efter the ischue thairof be the space of four severall sitting dayis, that than inlyke maner the said counsallouris absence during that space sall infer deprivatioun of him fra his office without, befoir expyring of his licence, purches new licence to be absent ane langer space. And becaus heirtofoir thair hes bene ane greit abuse in ane greit nowmer of his majesties counsall quha hes not bene eschamit to sitt in counsall, being his majesties rebellis and at the horne, quhair thai sould haif be thair guid example of obedience movit utheris to follow the samyn, thay haif be the contrair be thair dissobediens procurit ane universall comtempt of his hienes authortie amang the haill lieges; thairfoir it is declairit that ony of the saidis counsallouris that sall remane fourtie dayis at the horne unrelaxt efter thair denunciatioun for ony caus quhatsumever, the said space being expyrit, sall thairupoun tyne thair place in counsall in ipso facto and his majestie sall apoint sum uther in his vacand place quha sall bruik and jois the same during all the dayis of his lyftyme. And the saidis estaittis hes ordanit the saidis counsallouris, efter thair convening, to set down sic lawis, statutis and ordinaces as sall seme maist meit and expedient for establischeing of the said counsall and keiping of guid ordour thairintill.

  1. NAS, PA8/1, f.17r-18r. Back
  2. A space of c.10 lines is left blank. Back