It is not permissible to take more annualrent or profit than 10 for the 100

Our sovereign lord and estates of this present parliament having consideration that exorbitant profit and usury taken for the lending of money is not only by the law of God condemned but also is forbidden by the laws of this realm and acts of parliament, therefore statute and ordain that none of our sovereign lord's lieges take upon hand in any time hereafter to take any greater profit or annualrent for the lending of money either by infeftment or by bond or contract directly or indirectly except 10 for the 100, under the pain of confiscation of all their moveable goods and gear, and to be otherwise punished in their persons as common ockerers according to the laws, and for that effect to be called and pursued at particular diets before the justice and his deputes to underlie the law for the same; and that infeftments, contracts and obligations to be made in time coming for payment of annualrent of victual, that the victual therein contained shall be reduced to such conformity of price as shall [answer] to 10 for the 100 only, so that the party indebted paying 10 for the 100 the same shall be as lawful as if they had paid the victuals contained in the said infeftments. And because there are diverse persons who obtains themselves infeft in the property of lands for small sums of money under reversion and sets tack back again to the heritor or others to his benefit for payment of a great duty in silver or victual far exceeding the profit of 10 for each 100; as also by contract, bond or obligation makes simulated form of buying or selling of victual to be delivered at a certain day and failing thereof, certain high prices liquidated therein, of intention only of defraud of the said act to recover with their principal sum such exorbitant ocker and profit as is directly forbidden herein; as likewise there are diverse persons who the time of the disbursing of the said sum which they let to profit agrees with the party for the usury and ocker far exceeding the ordinary annualrent foresaid, and retains the same in their hands and takes their security by plain form of obligation or otherwise of the whole sum to be paid at a certain term as if no such exorbitant profit and ocker had been intended or allowed therein, therefore statutes and ordains that all such infeftments, bonds, contracts or obligations which shall happen to be made in manner foresaid in defraud of the said acts and statutes and for circumvention of the lieges astricting them to pay further profit in silver except according to 10 for the 100 or more victual than may be answerable in price to the annualrent in silver foresaid, in manner above-specified, shall be null and of no value, force nor effect, as if the same had never been made, notwithstanding whatsoever other coloured or pretended clause be inserted therein; and the said nullity upon the causes foresaid to be received summarily, as well as by way of exception and reply as by way of action, and to be tried by the oath of party and all other lawful probation conjoined therewith competent of the law, whereby the said unlawful ocker may be verified to the judge and the said nullity to be pursued by the party, his heirs, executors and assignees with concurrence of the king's advocate against the creditor, his heirs and executors, notwithstanding whatsoever ratification of the bond and infeftment or renunciation of the said action granted by the party, wherein it shall not be permissible to him to transact without his majesty's consent and licence granted to that effect. And the said infeftment, bond and obligation being reduced, the king's majesty and his donator to have undoubted right to the principal sum which was delivered, together with the ordinary annualrent of all years and terms bygone unpaid; and the party to have repetition of whatsoever exorbitant profit he has paid exceeding the ordinary annualrent foresaid, in case he concurs with his highness's advocate in the said reduction, otherwise to be debarred from the repetition of any sums paid by him; the king's majesty always, his advocate and donator to have full right in their persons to pursue the reduction and annulling of the said securities for the causes foresaid, albeit the principal party refuses to concur with them therein.

  1. NAS, PA2/15, f.66v-67r. Back
  2. APS interpolation, taken from the contemporary printed collection of acts, Sir John Skene, Lawes and Actes of Parliament, maid be King James the First and his successors Kings of Scotland - The XV Parliament of King James the Sext, halden at Edinburgh, the nineteenth day of December, the yeir of God, ane thousand, five hundreth, ninetie seven yeirs (Edinburgh, 1597), p.164. Back