Against fugitives and other papists practising against the true religion

2Forasmuch as certain fugitives and other persons, our sovereign lord's born subjects now remaining out of this realm, professing themselves the subjects and servants of other princes, upon disdain and malice borne by them against the true and Christian religion now publicly preached and by law established within this realm, cease not so far as in them lies to pervert the youth of this nation passing out of this realm to the schools and to visit other countries, and also make, set forth, send home and cause to be dispersed in this realm diverse famous books and libels in praise and defence of the Pope and his usurped authority, damned by God's word and our sovereign lord's laws; as also sundry of the same persons presume often times to repair in this realm themselves, under colour to seek the recovery of their health by the air of their native country, intending to seduce the simple and ignorant people and others in any way affected to their superstitious and erroneous doctrine. For remedy whereof, it is statute and ordained by our sovereign lord, with advice of his three estates, that the acts made for punishment of his highness's subjects, adversaries to the true and Christian religion and persons suspected to have declined from there, be put in due execution in all points, with this addition: that it shall not be lawful to any of the said persons, his highness's subjects or strangers (not being ambassadors, messengers nor merchants), adversaries of the true and Christian religion, or that has declined from there, to return in this realm or remain therein, except within the space of 40 days after the end of this present parliament they satisfy and obey his highness's laws concerning the giving of their confession and assenting and subscribing to the articles of the said true and Christian religion; and in the meantime, that none of them repair in the king's majesty's presence, palace or dwelling place, or remain longer than three hours in any part near the same within the space of seven miles; and whoever fails herein (their names being noted by the bishops, superintendents or ministers of the king's house to the ordinary judges wherever the said persons repair or remain), they shall be taken and held in prison by his master of household or other judges ordinary until they have found sufficient surety, each person under the pain of 500 merks that they shall either recant their errors and obey his highness's laws by professing of the said Christian religion, or depart out of the realm within the space of 15 days thereafter. And that also in the meantime, they shall neither teach nor sow the said Pope's erroneous doctrine, nor any other erroneous doctrine repugnant to the said true and Christian religion now publicly preached and by law established in this realm to none of the subjects thereof, either by words or writing, under the said pain, and that all his highness's subjects that have or shall make, set forth, bring home, sell or disperse within this realm any of the said famous books and libels in the praise and defence of the said Pope and his usurped authority or other erroneous doctrine, to the contempt of our sovereign lord and true religion presently professed within this realm, being called and duly convicted for that, according to the laws of the same, shall incur by pain of banishment and confiscation of all their goods moveable to our sovereign lord's use. And because sundry persons, disobeyers of his highness's authority, for not giving of the confession of their faith according to the acts of parliaments, have thereupon lost their benefices ipso facto, the same being lawfully and duly provided by our sovereign lord's presentation and admission of the kirk to persons serving in the ministry and the fruits thereof assigned to them for their yearly livings and stipends, nevertheless, in seeking letters to be answered and obeyed of the said fruits, they are often hindered through licences purchased of our sovereign lord to the said persons departing and remaining out of the realm for diverse years, without hurt or danger to be incurred by them in their persons, livings, goods and gear, in respect of the which licences the judges, before whom they are produced, stay and cease further proceeding in the said cause, to the great hurt and prejudice of the act of his highness's parliament entitled 'That the adversaries of Christ's religion shall not enjoy the patrimony of the kirk'. For remedy whereof, it is statute and ordained by our sovereign lord and three estates of this present parliament that all such licences purchased of his highness shall have no effect, strength nor force, annulling and discharging the same by this act in so far as they may in any way tend to the prejudice and hindrance of the execution of the said acts of parliament, or to the titles and provisions of benefices and other ecclesiastical rents made and granted by virtue thereof, commanding the said judges, before whom the said actions are or shall happen to be intended or depend, to proceed and do justice therein with expedition, notwithstanding the said licences or absence of the persons in whose favour the same are or shall happen to be granted, which licences shall be esteemed as privy writings without a sufficient testimonial instantly shown, that the person to whom the same licence is granted professes the true religion and has already satisfied his majesty's laws made to that effect.

  1. NAS, PA2/12, ff.68r-v.
  2. In the margin: a cross denotes acts to be printed.