Concerning the parliament

2Our sovereign lord, now being of lawful and perfect age, and considering the decay of the form, honour and majesty of his supreme court of parliament by occasion of the troubles that have occurred since the decease of his dearest grandfather, King James V of worthy memory, and willing to restore the same to the ancient order, dignity and integrity, has thought expedient and, by advice of his three estates assembled in this present parliament, statutes and ordains as follows:

That there shall be no confusion of persons of the three estates: that is to say, no one person shall take upon him the function, office or place of all the three estates or of two of them, but shall only occupy the place of that self estate wherein he commonly professes himself to live and whereof he takes his style.

That in case any earl, lord or baron of parliament, prelate or burgh, being lawfully warned, absents themselves from parliament without lawful and sufficient excuse admitted and allowed by the lords [of the] articles, our sovereign lord and his three estates presently convened, have ordained and ordain that a pecuniary pain shall be modified and taken off every one of the non-compearers in manner following: that is to say, off every earl, £300; off every lord, £200; off every prelate, £100; and off every burgh, 100 merks. And that such as accompanies not the king's majesty on horseback decently with foot mantles from his highness's palace to the parliament house shall be reputed for absence and incur the same pains as if they were absent; and letters shall be direct to poind and distrenzie their lands or goods for that, or to pay the same within ten days under the pain of rebellion; and if they fail, to put them to the horn, that the same pains may be brought in to our sovereign lord's use.

If any of the ordinary heralds, pursuivants, macers or trumpets shall be noted absent from the parliament, or, being present, performs not that which becomes them of duties (without lawful excuse made and allowed, as said is), every one of them being noted shall omit and lose a year's fee for the first fault and for the second fault shall be deprived.

That every estate shall have their several apparel in seemly fashion, according to the patron thereof, which the king's majesty shall cause make and command to be observed under the pain of £200 of the person failing and debarring of them out of the parliament house.

Item, that the number of the lords of articles be equal in each estate, and that the fewest number of every estate be six and the most number ten.

Item, that no advocate nor prolocutor be in any way stopped to compear, defend and reason for any person accused in parliament for treason or otherwise, but that whatsoever party accused shall have full liberty to provide himself of advocates and prolocutors in competent number to defend his life, honour and land against whatsoever accusation, seeing the intenting thereof should not prejudice the party of all lawful defences, as if it were for confession that the accusation were true, annulling all acts made in the contrary hereof of before.

No forfeitures lawfully and orderly led in parliament, nor any decisions passed in parliament between party and party by process after cognition of the cause, shall be called into question by any inferior judge.

And our sovereign lord, with advice aforesaid, declares, statutes and ordains that the order above-written shall be inviolably observed in all time coming as the necessary and lawful form of all parliaments, and faithfully promises to do or command nothing which may directly or indirectly prejudice the liberty of free voting and reasoning of the said estates or any of them in any time coming.

  1. NAS, PA2/13, ff.91r-v.
  2. 'V.' written in margin.