Ratification of the remission to [George Gordon], earl of Huntly

Our sovereign lord, with advice and consent of the three estates of this present parliament, has ratified and approved and, by the tenor hereof, ratifies and approves the remission granted and given by our said sovereign lord under his highness's great seal to George, earl of Huntly, lord Gordon and Badenoch etc., in manner and form underwritten, and declares and decrees the same to have full faith, strength and effect in judgement and outwith in all time coming, after the form and tenor of the same in all points, of the which the tenor follows:

James, by the grace of God, king of Scots, gives greeting to all good men whom this letter reaches. Let it be known that we acknowledge that, after long disturbances and the civil war which happened in this realm of ours in our tender years, a pacification was made in our burgh of Perth on 23 February 1572 [1573] and ratified and approved in our parliament held at Holyroodhouse on 12 April 15732 next in favour of our late kinsman George, earl of Huntly, lord Gordon and Badenoch, his household, friends, servants, vassals and tenants, containing certain exceptions and limitations, which being judged of such great weight and importance were not absolutely remitted, but that it was promised that whatever [Elizabeth I], our dearest sister, queen of England, the ruler closest to us in blood and distance in this age, advised and counselled regarding the same, but this to be performed, observed and implemented with the consent of our parliament with a view to usefulness to us and the obedience of our whole realm. Our said sister and kinswoman the queen of England has with her advice and counsel remitted the matter to us, to do in this regard what seems suitable to us at the time when, as a result of our age and by the laws and custom of our realm, we accept the governance in our own person. Now that by the favour of almighty God we have accepted the governance in our own person, and that has been for three years past accepted and administered, recalling the good, loyal and outstanding service given to us and to our most noble progenitors by our beloved kinsman George, now earl of Huntly, lord Gordon and Badenoch, etc., both in the defence of this realm of ours against invasion by foreign enemies, and also by his assistance to the supreme princes of this realm, our foresaid progenitors, in the repression of the insolence and rebellion of their rebels and disobedient subjects, for which they enjoy and possess honourable tokens in return for their rewards and favours - on account of this, and desiring the stability and continuity of the nobilities of our lords and chiefs of our blood and stock, and moved by our special grace, mercy and clemency because of the age and innocence of our said kinsman George, now earl of Huntly, an infant at the time of the said disturbances and civil war, and in view of his ardent affection towards us, our service, convenience and protection, with the advice and consent of the lords of our privy council, we wish and grant, and, on behalf of ourselves and our successors, do for perpetuity delare that the benefit of the said pacification is and shall be for all time to come amply and favourably extended and interpreted in favour of our said kinsman George, now earl of Huntly, for his full security and remission regarding all actions, crimes, acts of treason, transgressions and offences of any weight and quality in relation to which his said late father was in any way art and part, or which could be imputed to him in any way at any time in the future, without any exception, limitation, restriction or reservation of time or person, and just as the said pacification was made, passed and ratified by parliament simply and absolutely in favour of his foresaid late father in respect of any crimes committed before the said pacification, so we, on behalf of ourselves and our successors, declare the same to have been and to be in future as valid and sufficient for our said kinsman and his descendants, in respect of any acts of treason or offences committed by his foresaid late father or any others of his progenitors or by himself at any time before the date of this act. Further, on behalf of ourselves and our successors, we have ratified, approved and confirmed, and by the contents of this act we do ratify, approve and confirm our said kinsman George, now earl of Huntly as closest and lawful heir of his said late father and of any of his predecessors whom he is close to, and we grant, decree and ordain that he and his posterity will succeed those, and his said posterity and their successors will succeed their agnates and cognates to whom they are closest in blood, in respect of, all and singly, the lands, heritages, offices, honours, dignities and possessions, and their posterity shall be able to succeed them in respect to these in a similar way and as freely in all respects as any of our lieges shall, notwithstanding any acts of parliament or special or general decreets made or to be made, or any provisions or specific conditions in regard to them, or reservation or exception limited in the said pacification which could be interpreted to the opposite effect to the act. Regarding these, on behalf of ourselves and our successors, we make dispensation and also, on behalf of ourselves and our successors, we, from our own special grace and favour, rehabilitate, restore and reintegrate our foresaid kinsman George, now earl of Huntly against all forfeitures, processes and sentences pronounced, divulged and brought to court against his foresaid late father in any way for any crimes or offences committed by him or his predecessors in the past, which we wish in no way to be imputed to our foresaid kinsman George now earl of Huntly or his posterity at any time. We promise on our royal word to cause this act to be ratified and approved in our next parliament for the security and corroboration of the foregoing, to stand and remain, in effect and with sufficient validity, in perpetuity for all time to come. In testimony of this we have instructed that our great seal be applied to this act. At Dalkeith, 16 May in the year of the Lord 1581 and in the fourteenth year of our reign.

  1. NAS, PA2/12, ff.129r-v.
  2. This suggests a date for a parliament apparently held in April 1573 to ratify the pacification of Perth, concluded that February. No record of this parliament survives. See J. Goodare, 'The Scottish parliamentary records, 1560-1603' in Historical Research, 72 (1999), p.262.