The nobility and estates of this realm of Scotland presently convened in parliament at Stirling, in the fear of God and the lawful obedience of the king, our sovereign lord, to all persons now remaining in the burgh and castle of Edinburgh.

7 September 1571

Admonition to the withholders of Edinburgh

Albeit we might lay forth before your eyes particularly how evil you have deserved of the commonwealth of this our native country wherein you were born, in that you have been the very instruments and occasion both of your own trouble and punishment and also of the great calamity that our whole country and poor people thereof have and daily do sustain through this unnatural war and civil discord, yet not meaning to irritate you by repetition of things displeasing (which to our grief are very many), and whereof we doubt not your own consciences accuse you, but rather intending by giving you this wholesome admonition to discharge us first to God and next before the world that we have sought you to be won, through which, in case by your own obstinate wilfulness you taste the utmost of the plague and punishment, it may be rightly judged to be in your own default. This consideration has moved us by this letter to require you to consider with yourselves, in common and every one in particular, the ground and circumstances of the cause and quarrel that you pretend your own present condition, with whom it is that you contend and what probably must be the end of all. The ground is touching the deprivation of the king, our sovereign lord, from his crown and royal authority diverse times intended by some of you, and yet by God's providence always disappointed for the cause. Amongst you are men that were as earnest to promote it as any other, and by the same diverse of you acquired honour, good report and benefit; but since you rejected his highness's obedience, you have found your reward reproach, obloquy and hurt, and your intentions often times frustrated. As to your oppression of that town where the seat of justice should remain, for the benefit of the whole subjects, you have not only thereby impoverished the inhabitants of the town, but have made yourselves contemptible to this whole nation. And now you have to lay your account whether the few number of you remaining there shall conquest and overthrow us all, or if by likelihood we be not more able to make you conformable. Your contention is for displacing of the king, our sovereign lord, some of you being the chief instruments of his promotion; and the greatest part of you all having promised and sworn obedience to him, he is (you see) the rising sun and shortly will be able, God willing, to determine this quarrel himself by course of age. And the end must be either he is to be obeyed and peace and justice restored in this commonwealth, or then the force of you now compassed within that town and castle must undo him, whose subjects we profess ourselves, and consequently exterminate us and our posterities. What ground you build on in your enterprise, or what certainty you can look for by the course you run, let every one of you consider by himself and look upon the inconveniences of this war, if it shall continue, and of the fruits that peace and justice would bring. Call also to your remembrance the desolation that has been in other regions next to us these last years through wars, as well foreign as internal, and yet are the same at this day for the most part quiet and peace restored, either by victory or then the weakest has yielded to tolerable conditions. Take heed whether you maintain that cause by your proper force or not, or what ability had you to contend in it if the king's house and ammunition were not at your devotion. To be short, this realm may no longer sustain this contempt, rebellion and confused state, but either must the king, our sovereign lord, and his authority be obeyed, that town of Edinburgh set at liberty and the seat of justice restored to the universal commodity and ease of the subjects, or then must we give our lives and employ our friends and substance in the quarrel. And as we have orderly proceeded heretofore by law against you, so before the just execution thereof, which we cannot, nor may not, leave undone, we have thought suitable to give you this admonition, that you may in time eschew the eminent peril and danger approaching; which advice, if you follow, then will we travail so far as in us shall lie for your relief and safety. And if our admonition is rejected, then we protest that as you yourselves have been and are the occasion of all the evil and extremity that has followed your obstinacy and contempt, so whatsoever harm or inconvenience happens to any of us in prosecution of this just cause, that our bloods and hurt be required at the hands of you and your posterities.

  1. NAS, PC1/6, pp.10-12. Back
  2. The following names are written in the margin, all in the same hand, suggesting they were added later. Back