Proclamation for a national fast

The estates of parliament, upon application made to them by the commissioners of the general assembly of this national church, taking into their consideration that it has pleased the Almighty God to visit this land with diverse tokens of his displeasure, particularly with great scarcity and dearth these years past, and that all ranks of persons are thereby called to humble themselves by fasting and prayer for averting the wrath of God and for the obtaining his blessing upon the approaching harvest, and for preservation of his majesty's royal person, directing his counsels and returning him in safety to his dominions. Therefore his majesty, with advice and consent of the said estates of parliament, does hereby command and appoint that a day of solemn fasting and humiliation, for making prayers and supplication to God, for the causes and ends above-mentioned, be religiously and strictly observed by all persons within this kingdom upon the second Lord's day of September next, by public prayer, preaching and all other acts of deep humiliation and devotion suitable to the foresaid causes and occasions. And his majesty, with consent foresaid, ordains this act to be printed and published at the market cross of Edinburgh and the remaining market crosses of the head burghs of the several shires and stewartries within the kingdom, that none pretend ignorance; and ordains copies thereof to be dispatched in the usual manner to the sheriffs of the several shires and stewarts of stewartries, or their deputes or clerks, to be by them published at the market crosses of their head burghs upon receipt thereof and immediately sent to the several ministers, to the effect that the same may be intimated and read in the several parish churches upon the Lord's day immediately before the day above appointed. And that all ministers concerned may seriously exhort all persons to a sincere and devote observance of these matters, warning such of the lieges who shall not give due obedience or who shall scorn and neglect the keeping and observing of the said day and duties, that they shall be proceeded against by fining, not exceeding £100 Scots; and warrants and commands the sheriffs, stewarts of stewartries, lords and bailies of regalities and their deputes, justices of peace and magistrates of burghs, within their several jurisdiction, to proceed against the persons guilty and to exact the fines accordingly, to be applied the one half to the judge and the other half to the poor of the parish. And warning such ministers as shall fail in their duty in not reading this proclamation and observing the duties therein prescribed, that they shall be processed before the lords of his majesty's privy council. And hereby requires all sheriffs, stewarts, lords and bailies of regalities and their deputes, justices of peace, magistrates of burghs and their clerks to make report to his majesty's privy council of these ministers who shall fail of their duty herein.

  1. NAS. PA2/37, f.114-114v. Back