Letter: king's letter and postscript to parliament

The which day James [Elphinstone], lord Balmerino, secretary to our sovereign lord, produced a letter directed by his majesty to the whole estates, dated at Whitehall, 26 April 1604, and desired the same to be read in presence of the said estates and thereafter to be registered in the books of parliament for future memory, of the which letter the tenor follows:

James Rex, right trusty and well-beloved councillors, we greet you heartily well. Although we have not spared our pains nor travail here in this matter of the union, yet according to our ordinary form accustomed here in all matters treated of in parliament we find the same errand of the union, by many and diverse necessary circumstances, to draw to so great length that we cannot think it possible for us to give you any effectual or resolute advertisement for the space of 20 days yet to come; and according to our former promise made by our other letters, that you should be advertised as ever any occasion intervened here, we have thought good to signify the premise to you, and therewithal, to let you know how unwilling we are to weary our good and loving subjects assembled to that our parliament with long attendance, we think it therefore expedient that our parliament there shall be continued to 15 June or 1 July, assuring you that before that time you shall be advertised of the determined conclusion taken here and of the particular names of the commissioners, to the effect that you and our estates there may the better know how to proceed. And where as it may be thought that by the continuation of that our parliament there, it cannot be possible to have the money in readiness for the maintenance of the charges of the commissioners, we have thought good to let you understand that so great is our care, both to have the happy union to go forward with our intended progress, and you all, that is our subjects of Scotland, to be relieved of the burden of any tax or subsidy, that we are pleased to send the money out of our own purse for maintenance of the charges of the commissioners of that our realm, which shall be in readiness in such form as shall be thought expedient by you our council there, so that we think the parliament beginning 15 June or 1 July as said is, we doubt not but the commissioners there may be ready to come up here about the end of August or beginning of September. And because it will be 20 days at least before we can give you a full resolution of the estates proceeding here in that matter of the union, we have thought it fit that our parliament there shall be the longer continued, that we being resolved both of the names of their commissioners and by the acts to be set down upon their conclusion, we may give you the more particular and assured knowledge of their proceeding, that in the meantime you and our estates (or such others as you think good) may advise and dispute thereupon at all leisure, and take the more mature deliberation in that matter and clearing of all things concerning the same before the beginning of our parliament, that you may proceed then without difficulty. And if you stand in doubt of anything after our said advertisement, that you may have our own resolution thereupon for your better information, as we cannot but give you hearty thanks that are our councillors for your pains, travails and frequent meetings in our service, so we earnestly desire you that you will, in our name, give our very special and hearty thanks to all noblemen and others of our estates for their goodwill and pains bestowed in the advancement of our service, and specially for their so ready convening and attending so long upon that our parliament, showing to them that, as therein they have given us proof of their love, we doubt nothing of their readiness likewise to convene precisely at the next appointed day, which we will acknowledge as a further testimony of their constant affection toward us and remember the same accordingly. So we commit you to God from our court at Whitehall, 26 April 1604.

Follows the postscript of the foresaid letter written by his majesty's own hand:

By this prorogation of the parliament there both the estates shall have a reasonable time to repose themselves before their next meeting; as also you of the council, having received from me the copy of the act and names of the commissioners here agreed upon, will have sufficient leisure to consider it thoroughly amongst yourselves and so prepare a conformity in the hearts of all men, according thereto as the parliament, when it shall convene, may be the better resolved to proceed clearly therein.

Follows the superscription or direction written on the back of the foresaid letter:

To our right trusty and well-beloved councillors, the chancellor and remaining lords of our privy council in Scotland.

  1. NAS, PA2/16, f.37r-v. Back