Concerning the constitution of James [Stewart], earl of Moray as regent to our sovereign lord, his realm and lieges

Item, it is found, dec[lar]ed and decreed by our sovereign lord, with advice of the three estates and whole body of this present parliament, that the nomination, constitution and ordination of our said sovereign lord's dearest cousin James [Stewart], earl of Moray, lord Abernethy, as regent to his highness, this realm and lieges thereof, during the time of his majesty's minority and less age, specified and expressed in [Mary], the queen's majesty's letters under her subscription and privy seal, of the date 24 July 1567, together also with the consent and approbation of the earls, lords, prelates, commissioners of burghs, barons and other faithful subjects convened and assembled to that effect, and the acceptance of the said office of regency by the said James, earl of Moray on 22 Au[g]ust 1567, was, is and in all time coming shall be held, reputed and esteemed lawful, sufficient and perfect; [and] all and whatsoever things which he has done by virtue of his said office of regency since his acceptance thereof, or which he shall do hereafter in our said sovereign lord's name and authority, during the time of his highness's minority, specified in the said commission and procuration produced, advised and considered by the said three estates, to be as duly, lawfully, sufficiently and righteously done, and to have as great value, strength, force and effect in all respects and conditions as anything done by whatsoever regents, governors or protectors of this realm, in the minorities and less ages of any other native princes of the same; and ratifies, approves and confirms the same nomination and acceptance, for now and in time coming, of the which the tenor follows.

Mary, by the grace of God, queen of Scots, to all and sundry our judges and ministers of our laws, lieges and subjects whom it concerns, to whose knowledge these our letters shall come, greeting. Forasmuch as after long, great and intolerable pains and labours taken by us since our arrival within our realm, for government thereof and keeping of the lieges of the same in quietness, we have not only been vexed in our spirit, body and senses thereby, but also at length are altogether so wearied thereof that our ability and strength of body is no longer able to endure the same; therefore, and because nothing earthly can be more comfortable and happy to us in this earth, nor in our lifetime, to see our dear son, the native prince of this our realm, placed in the kingdom thereof, and the crown royal set on his head, we, of our own free will and special motive, have demitted and renounced the government, guiding and governing of this our realm of Scotland, lieges and subjects thereof in favour of our said son, to that effect that in all times hereafter he may peaceably and quietly enjoy the same without trouble, and be obeyed as native king and prince of the same by the lieges thereof. And understanding that by reason of his tender youth he is not of ability in his own person to administrate in his kingly place and government, as equity requires, until that hereafter he comes to the years of discretion, and also knowing t[he p]roximity of blood standing between us, our said son and our dearest brother James, earl of Moray, lord Abernethy, etc., and having experience of the natural affection and tender love he has in all times borne and presently bears towards us, the honour and estate of our said son, of whose love and favour towards him we cannot but assure ourself, to whom no greater honour, joy nor felicity in earth can come than to see our said son inaugurated in his kingdom, feared, reverenced and obeyed by his lieges thereof; in respect whereof, and of the certainty and notoriety of the honesty, ability, qualification and sufficiency of our said dearest brother to have the cure and regiment of our said son, realm and lieges aforesaid during our said son's minority, we have made, named, appointed, constituted and ordained, and, by these our letters, name, appoint, make, constitute and ordain our said dearest brother James, earl of Moray, regent to our said dearest son, realm and lieges aforesaid, during his minority and less age and until he be of the age of seventeen years complete; and that our said brother be called during the said space regent to our said son, his realm and lieges, so that our said son, after the completing of the years aforesaid, in his own person may take upon him the said government and use and exercise all and sundry privileges, honours and other immunities that appertain to the office of a king, as well in governing his realm and people according to the laws as in repressing the violence of such as would invade or unjustly resist him or them, or his authorities royal. With power to our said dearest brother James, earl of Moray, in name, authority and behalf of our said most dear son, to receive resignations of whatsoever lands held of him, or yet of offices, castles, towers, fortalices, mills, fishing, woods, benefices or pertinents whatsoever, the same again in our said son's name to give and deliver signatures thereupon, and upon the gifts of wards, non-entries and relief of lands and marriages of heirs fallen or that shall happen to fall in our said son's hands as superior thereof; and also, upon presentation of lands, benefices, escheats of goods, moveable and immovable, debts and tacks, respites, remissions, s[upersed]eres, and upon the disposition of vacant offices, or when they shall happen to become vacant, to subscribe and cause be passed the seals; the said office of regency to use and exercise in all things, privileges and commodities likewise and as freely and with as great liberty as any regent or governor to us or our predecessors used in any times past, and likewise as if every head, privilege and article concerning the said office were at length expressed and amplified in these our letters, promising to hold firm and stable in the word and faith of a prince to whatsoever things our said dearest brother in the premises happens to do. Charging, therefore, you, all and sundry our judges and ministers of law, lieges and subjects aforesaid, to answer and obey our said dearest brother in all and sundry things concerning the said office of regency, as you, and each one of you, will declare you loving subjects to our said most dear son, and under all pain, charge and offence that you and each one of you may commit and incur against his majesty in that part. Subscribed with our hand and given under our privy seal at Lochleven, 24 July [1567], and of our reign the twenty-fifth year.

  1. NAS, PA2/11, pp.8-11. Back
  2. Thomson appears to have made use of The Actis of King James the Sext, printed by R. Lekprevick (Edinburgh, 1568), ff.4r-5r. The wording and spelling of APS and this edition are almost identical. Copies in the National Library of Scotland are bound along with The Acts and Constitutions of the Realme of Scotland ... anno 1566, printed by R. Lekprevick (Edinburgh, 1566). See NLS, Black Acts, 1566-94, H.33.c.21, Scots Acts of Parliament, H.33.c.23 or Scots Acts, H.33.c.25. Sir John Skene's collection of acts, printed by Robert Waldegrave, has this act as the first of the reign of James VI. Its spelling has been Anglicised and some acts are omitted. J. Skene, The Lawes and Actes of parliament Made be King James the First and his Successours Kings of Scotland: visied, collected and extracted forth of the Register (Edinburgh, 1597/8). Back
  3. Gaps in text due to damage to manuscript. Back
  4. Phrase, 'may commit and incur loss against his majesty in that' crossed out. Back