Act regarding the sole making of pumps

Our sovereign lord and estates presently convened, understanding that Gavin Smith, Englishman, and James Acheson, his highness's goldsmith, have bestowed their whole age bygone in the study of good and profitable sciences, and that thereby have attained to the knowledge of an artificial engine in making of pumps for raising and forcing of water in great abundance out of mines, coal-works, quarries, drowned ground and others after diverse manners as rake pumps similar to the cran of a crossbow, grave pumps with valves and hinges or hoops made of cords, wood, horn or metal, also counterpoises or sweipis2 for lifting of waters by the force and labour of men's hands at times necessary and convenient, which engines shall either operate with wind, water, horse or men for the drawing up of the water in great quantity out of mines, coal-works, quarries and other deep ground, whereby not only the water of working coal-works, mines or quarries may be emptied and made dry, but also a great part of the drowned and perished mines, coal-works and quarries within this realm may be recovered and put to use again, to the great commodity as well as of the owners as of the commonwealth of this realm in all time coming; which engine heretofore has never been used within this realm. And because his majesty and estates foresaid acknowledges the publishers of such artifices as tend both for the public and private wealth of the country, therefore, and to give occasion to others to employ their studies and travails in the like and profitable sciences for the furtherance of the commonwealth hereafter, his majesty and estates foresaid give, grant and commit to the said Gavin Smith and James Acheson and their deputes the gift, use and only privilege to make, use, erect and exercise the forenamed instruments and devices during the space of 21 years next after the day and date hereof, with power to them and their deputes to do the same as occasion is offered in whatsoever part or place within this realm, and to uptake and receive such profits and commodities as they may have thereof to their own benefit and utility. Inhibiting and discharging by this act all and whatsoever persons to make, erect, use or exercise any of the forenamed instruments or devices to the effect above-written during the space foresaid, except only the said Gavin and James and their deputes having special licence granted to them thereto in writing. And in case any other person contrary to the tenor hereof shall pretend hereafter to make, erect or use any of the said instruments or devices, in that case his majesty, with advice foresaid of his said estates presently convened, wills and grants and for his highness and his successors decrees and ordains that whatsoever such person, owner of the ground, shall content and pay the sum of £2,000 money of this realm yearly so long as any metals, coals or stones shall be extracted in their mines, coal-works or quarries where the said instruments shall be erected contrary to the tenor of this act, the one half thereof to be paid to his majesty and the other half to the said Gavin and James equally between them as a sum presently liquidated and determined by his majesty and estates foresaid for the damage, harm and injury that shall be done to the said Gavin and James through this contravention. And likewise commanding and charging all and sundry his highness's lieges that none of them make any molestation or trouble to the said Gavin and James or their foresaids making, using or exercising any of the forenamed instruments during the space foresaid under all highest pain and charge that thereafter may follow, requiring also the lords of exchequer and session to grant letters for publication of the premises and inhibiting of all manner of persons as is before-specified. And his majesty faithfully promised in the inviolable word of a prince that this act shall be duly ratified in the next parliament with all solemnities requisite.3

  1. NAS, PA8/1, f.15r-16r.
  2. An apparatus for drawing or pumping water, exact definition unknown.
  3. There follows an act of the privy council of the same date.