Ratification of the assent of the estates for treating and concluding of a league with [Elizabeth I], queen of England

Our sovereign lord, with advice of his three estates convened in this present parliament, ratifies, approves and confirms the power, privilege, consent and authority whatsoever competent to the said estates, given and granted to our sovereign lord, his council or such thereof as his majesty shall choose, for treating, conferring, contracting and concluding of a league and confederation with his dearest sister and cousin, the queen of England, at St Andrews on 5 July 1585, of the which the tenor follows:

We, the nobility and estates presently convened, understanding the course of the present proceedings in foreign parts, and that diverse princes and potentates terming themselves Catholics have joined themselves under the Pope's authority in a most unchristian confederacy against the true religion and professors thereof, with full intent to persecute their ungodly resolution with all severity, not only within their own [states] and dominions, but also in other places and kingdoms where they can pretend no lawful power nor authority to deal, a practice of long projected thought heretofore cunningly conducted and now at last, by open and joint forces of many confederates, plainly manifested to the world what has always been intended by former covered and crafty courses, which now they have begun to put in execution in diverse places with very hard effects. And since it had pleased God of his infinite mercy to bless this realm with the sincerity of his holy Gospel (the defence whereof is the most just and lawful cause that Christians can maintain), nothing is more requisite than not only to unite ourselves sincerely and truly and join our whole powers, forces and means which God has granted us under our most religious and Christian sovereign, for the better assurance of our own state and more peaceably enjoying of so great a benefit of God, but also for withstanding of so pernicious and dangerous a course generally intended against all true professors of the truth, it is necessary that a general league and confederacy of all princes and states sincerely professing the evangel were opposed to the ungodly conspiracy of the enemies of God's truth, and specially that the crowns of Scotland and England, naturally joined by blood and habitation and religion, and thereby alike subject to the malice of common enemies, by whose union no less surety may be expected to both their estates than danger by their division, were inseparably united by more firm and strict league than has been heretofore between any princes, their progenitors, as well of the preservation of themselves as also for the better maintenance of true, ancient and Christian religion which they now profess, against all that shall attempt anything against them for the profession and maintenance of the said religion. We, therefore, the nobility and estates undersubscribing, considering the great and urgent necessity of the said league and how the same may be no longer protracted nor without peril deferred to a more solemn convention of the whole estates in parliament, and reposing ourselves upon [the]discretion, wisdom and circumspection and most earnest zeal borne by the most noble and mighty prince King James VI, our sovereign lord, to the advancement of the said religion and maintenance thereof, have therefore, for us and in the name and behalf of the whole estates of this realm whose body in this convention we represent, fully given and granted, likewise by the tenor hereof we, for us and in name aforesaid, give and grant to our said sovereign lord, his council or such thereof as his majesty shall choose, our full power, privilege, assent and authority whatsoever competent to us and estates aforesaid to treat or cause treat, confer, contract and conclude the said Christian league and all points, heads, clauses and articles thereof between his majesty and his highness's dearest sister and cousin, the queen of England; and to nominate and appoint commissioners to that effect, to meet at such time and place as his highness shall agree to with commissioners to be directed from his dearest sister of alike in rank and honour, whose election, nomination and instructions we have remitted and hereby remit to our sovereign lord, and whatsoever his majesty shall agree to and whatsoever the said commissioners shall promise, contract, intend, subscribe or seal toward the said league and articles thereof, agreeing with their instructions, we, for us and in name aforesaid, now as then and then as now, ratify, approve and confirm and, by the tenor hereof, by our greatest and solemn oaths upon our faith and truth, promise to allow, approve, ratify and confirm by our consents in the next parliament, without question or contradiction whatsoever; providing always the said league be without infringing or prejudice in any sort to any former league or alliance between this realm and any other old friends and confederates thereof, except only in matters of religion, with the which we do fully consent the league be defensive and offensive and do solemnly avow in quarrel and maintenance thereof neither to spare lives, houses, goods, gear or whatsoever it has pleased God to grant us. In witness whereof, in presence of his highness, we have subscribed this act with our hands at St Andrews on 31 July 1585. It is thus subscribed, P[atrick Adamson, archbishop of] St Andrews, Robert [Montgomery], archbishop of Glasgow, Peter Rollock, bishop of Dunkeld, James [Stewart], earl of Arran, lord Aven and Hamilton, chancellor, Robert [Stewart], earl of March, John [Stewart], earl of Atholl, George [Keith], earl Marischal, John [Graham], earl of Montrose, treasurer, Andrew [Leslie], earl of Rothes, Robert [Keith], commendator of Deer, William [Erskine], commendator of Dryburgh, Alexander [Colville], commendator of Culross, Henry [Kinnear], commendator of Balmerino, Walter [Reid], abbot of Kinloss, William [Stewart], commendator of Pittenweem, Patrick [Leslie of Pitcairlie], commendator of Lindores, Walter [Stewart], commendator of Blantyre, Lawrence [Oliphant], lord Oliphant, Henry [Sinclair], lord Sinclair, Patrick [Gray], lord Gray, James [Stewart], lord of Doune, Patrick [Gray], master of Gray, Sir John Maitland of Thirlestane, knight, secretary, Andrew Wood of Largo, comptroller, Alexander Hay of Easter Kennet, clerk register, Henry Nisbet, commissioner for Edinburgh, George Herries commissioner for Edinburgh, Robert Forrester of Boquhan, provost of Stirling, commissioner for the said burgh, William Norwell, commissioner of Stirling, Patrick Learmonth of Dairsie, commissioner for St Andrews, Alexander Scrimgeour, commissioner of Dundee, William Duncan, commissioner of Dundee, George Cochrane, commissioner of Ayr, James Cockburn, commissioner of Haddington, Robert Rowat, commissioner of Glasgow, John Kirkcaldy, commissioner of Kinghorn, Robert Hay, commissioner of Kirkcaldy, John Ramsay, commissioner of Crail, James Anderson, commissioner for Cupar.

  1. NAS, PA2/13, ff.38v-39v. Back
  2. 'P.' written in margin. Back
  3. 'statutes' in manuscript. Back
  4. APS interpolates 'the' in place of a word that is unclear. Back