Procedure: king’s commission to the estates

The which day Sir William Oliphant of Newton, knight, advocate to his majesty, produced in presence of the whole estates then presently convened the commission underwritten, under the great seal, of the date at Oatlands in England, 3 July 1621, of the which commission the tenor follows:

James, by the grace of God, king of Great Britain, France and Ireland etc., defender of the faith, gives greetings to all good men of his to whose notice this letter comes. Let it be known that we have ordained that a parliament and convention of the estates of our said realm should be held on 23 July next, with continuation of days, at Edinburgh, when it will not be possible for us to be involved, on account of very serious tasks of our realms and also on account of the joint attention which we need to give to foreign rulers because of the deplorable state of affairs, to the extent that it is necessary to replace our absence by an illustrious and noble man of shining honour and dignity to represent our person and royal authority. Since we from past experience have a very clear view of the singular prudence and proven loyalty with which that man - most illustrious and best equipped with a heap of all heroic virtues - the most notable and loyal kinsman and councillor of ours, James [Hamilton], marquis of Hamilton, earl of Arran and Cambridge, lord Aven and Innerdale, is endowed, and of how properly suitable and fitted he is to undertake this most broad and illustrious role in dignity, we have therefore designated, established and ordained, and by the wording of the present document do designate, establish and ordain the said most illustrious marquis of Hamilton as our commissioner and deputy in the said parliament while the said convention takes effect. We wish the said commissioner to represent our royal person, and expedite everything which shall seem necessary or appropriate for the honour and standing of its supreme court, especially in the formal process of taking oaths for the said court of parliament and opening it, fining absentees, choosing lords of the articles and displaying and presenting to the estates of our said realm any pleas and articles which shall seem to them, after mature deliberation, to be to the glory of immortal God or to the honour and gain of the whole state; also giving our assent and the authority of our royal sceptre to, all and singly, everything which he shall decree and decide to be done, in our name, with the consent of the said estates, and doing, conducting and accomplishing everything, all and singly, which relates to the honour and dignity of that high office, approving now and in the future whatever our commissioner shall have happened lawfully to do in our name in relation to the foregoing. Therefore we instruct and order all our subjects, all and singly, of whatever condition or rank, to lead and accompany honourably the said most illustrious James, marquis of Hamilton, our commissioner and representing our person at the time of the said parliament, as is customary, to the place determined for that convention, and treat him with all due obedience, honour and reverence, and we have ordained that this commission shall be valid for as long as our said parliament happens to last, and no longer. In testimony of this we have instructed that our great seal be applied to the present document, at Oatlands on 3 July in the year of the Lord 1621, and in the fifty-fourth and nineteenth years of our reigns; by the foregoing signature of the hand of our supreme lord the king. Upon the production and reading of the which commission and fencing of the aforesaid parliament, the said Sir William Oliphant, advocate, asked instruments.

  1. NAS, PA2/20, f.2r-v. Back
  2. Sic, note this commission seems to be dated a considerable time after parliament had begun. Back