Against granting of respites and remissions

For furthering of the punishment of slaughters, fire-raising and other odious crimes so commonly committed in diverse parts of the realm these sundry years bygone upon set purpose and forethought felony, to the offence of God and contempt of our sovereign lord's authority, his highness, following the lovable example of his most noble progenitors in like case of his special favour, and at the instant request of his estates in this present parliament, grants and, in the word of a prince, faithfully promises that he shall close his hands and cease from granting of any respites or remissions for any manner of slaughter, fire-raising or other odious crimes that shall be committed upon old hostility and forethought felony for the space of five years next after the date hereof; that in the meantime the realm may be put in peace, and his lieges made to live in surety, unless the said respite or remission shall be craved to the offender by the wife, bairns or nearest friend of the person that has received the offence, or that a sufficient letter of slains seen and perfectly considered by his highness's council; and if any respites or remissions shall happen to be granted for old actions, that it be expressed in the same that the trespass was committed before this present parliament, and that his highness and his council have seen where the party is compensated, otherwise declares the same respite or remission to be null and of no value. And in case any such remissions or respites (as God forbid) shall happen to be granted and passed, ordains and commands his highness's justice, justice clerk and their deputes to proceed and do justice upon the users thereof, notwithstanding the said remissions and respites, as if the same had never been granted or produced; and ordains all persons that have already obtained respites for the said crimes since his highness accepted the government of the realm in his own person to be called to underlie the law for the same at the instance of the party offended if they please to pursue; and although they insist not, at the instance of his highness's treasurer and advocate, and the offenders compearing, and using the said respites or remissions, to cause them find good and responsible sureties acted in the books of adjournal for satisfying of the party as law will at the modification of the lords of council and session, whom his highness ordains and commands to proceed and administer upright justice in modifying of condign and sufficient compensation for the said slaughters and other odious crimes according to the gravity and circumstances thereof, as they will answer to God and his highness thereupon; and for the furtherance hereof, that his highness's treasurer and the justice clerk cause collect the names of all persons that have got respites or remissions for slaughters or other odious crimes since his highness's acceptance of the government in his own person, and present the same to his highness and his privy council with all expedition.

  1. NAS, PA2/14, f.33v. Back
  2. Written in margin: 'P'. Also a second symbol, either 'P' or 'V'. Back
  3. Defined in DSL as a document issued by the kin of a murdered person stating that no (further) liability for the crime existed, normally a result of acceptable satisfaction or reparation. Back