An act and commission for convocating of his majesty's subjects declared null etc.

The king's majesty, with advice of his nobility, council and estates presently convened, considering how the constant brute and great appearance of imminent dangers of his highness's crown, estate and true religion professed within this realm by the great preparations made by the cruel Spaniards for invading of this realm, assisted therein by diverse seditious papists and others of his highness's unnatural subjects treasonably disposed to fortify the said Spaniards in their enterprises foresaid, moved his majesty and council, for preventing of the said perils, to statute and ordain by act of council that certain noblemen, barons and ministers within the particular provinces and sheriffdoms of this realm should call before them all persons suspected of papistry to give confession of their faith; as likewise to convocate his highness's barons, gentlemen and other subjects at all occasions when they saw any appearance of danger to the religion and professors thereof under the pain of horning against the persons disobeying to convene with them, being required in form prescribed by the said act, as the same of the date at [...] the [...] day of [...] the year of God 158[...] years at more length bears. Which act being only concluded, statute and ordained for the respect of the present peril then imminent to the estate, yet the generality thereof has given such absolute power to the said commissioners to convocate his highness's lieges when they thought it expedient, that diverse perilous effects have already ensued and followed thereupon, and may hereafter fall forth, to the unquieting of his highness's estate, slander of religion and harm of his highness's quiet and well affected subjects. For remedy whereof, his majesty, his nobility, council and estates presently convened find, statute and declare the said act to been been only made for preventing of the dangers imminent at that time to his highness's estate, crown and true religion professed within this realm only, and to have had strength, effect and execution for the eschewing and removing thereof at the time foresaid. The cause whereof being now at the pleasure of God removed, and the most part of the persons nominated commissioners therein never having accepted the same upon them, so that the same in effect is altogether expired, his highness, with advice foresaid, declares the same act to be adjourned, null and utterly expired, discharging all convocations of his highness's lieges under colour and pretence of the said act in any time hereafter. Certifying them that if in any way they convene and assemble themselves together by virtue of the said act, the same shall be no warrant to them, but they shall be called, pursued, punished and demeaned with all rigour as contraveners of his majesty's laws, acts of parliament and secret council made against convocation of his highness's lieges in example of others. And ordains letters of publication to be directed hereupon in the appropriate form.

  1. NAS, PC1/16, 523.