These acts following concluded and ended in the parliament held at Edinburgh the said 11 August 1607

Act regarding the union of Scotland and England

1. Whereas the estates of this kingdom, upon the natural love and reverence they have ever professed and borne to their princes (acknowledging the same to be in so far the more justly due to their present most gracious sovereign, as both his highness's wisdom, reign, virtues and qualities surpass all other princes, and their prosperity, wealth and quietness have under his highness's happy government and reign gone, as well in all heavenly as in all worldly honours and blessings, above all felicity of any preceding age or bygone memory) were moved in the parliament held at Perth, the [...] day of [...] 1604, to direct a number of commissioners of all estates to treat with the commissioners of the parliament and estate of England for the union of the two ancient and famous kingdoms, Scotland and England, according to his sacred majesty's most worthy and glorious design, and to establish and secure this monarchy in all perpetuity to his highness's succession and posterity as a crown, perfection and full accomplishment of all worldly happiness may be pretended to or wished. The said commissioners, having exhibited to the estates of this realm presently convened in this parliament the whole treaty and all that was agreed between them and the commissioners for the parliament of England, containing certain articles and propositions mutually accorded and agreed on by the commissioners of both the realms as equitable and worthy to be proposed to the next session of parliament of both the realms, to be considered and to receive such strength and approbation as to their great wisdom should appear convenient, as the said treaty presented sealed and subscribed by all the commissioners of both the kingdoms present for the time, of the date at Westminster, 6 December 1604, at more length purports; the said estates of this kingdom presently convened, being ripely advised therewith and in full resolution to give all possible proof of their devotion to accomplish all his sacred majesty's royal designs and projects, and in quietness to secure by all possible means to his posterity this flourishing worthy and great empire, and therefore to advance so far as possibly they may this happy union already begun in his sacred majesty's royal person, finding and judging that their foresaid commissioners in all their proceedings have worthily, honourably and faithfully behaved themselves in the discharge of that credit and trust committed to them by the estates of this kingdom, have therefore statute and ordained, likewise hereby statute and ordain under the express provision, clause and condition specified and expressed at the end of this present act and no otherwise, that all the particular hostile laws hereafter enumerated and all others of the same nature now omitted, and which have been made and conceived by name by Scotland against England as enemies shall be abrogated and in all time coming totally extinguished, of the which particular laws the several titles follows:

  • All persons remaining in England without the king's licence commit treason.
  • Assurance with Englishmen or taking from them protection for lands or goods is treason.
  • Buying and selling of English goods forbidden under pain of escheat.
  • That none pass in England in time of war without licence under the pain of treason.
  • That no Englishmen come in Scotland without conduct, and that no Scotsmen sit under assurance with them.
  • That no Scotsmen supply Berwick or Roxburgh under the pain of treason.
  • That all men be ready for defence of the realm against England.
  • Two acts for resisting King Edward IV.
  • The upholding of Berwick and garrisons on the borders.
  • Scotsmen charged to leave assurance with Englishmen.
  • Regarding assured Scotsmen assisting the English army.
  • Scottish borderers discharged to marry English borderers' daughters.
  • The warden should put in bill the names of Englishmen that occupy lands in Scotland and seek redress according to the treatise.

It is also statute and ordained that all laws, customs and treaties of borders between Scotland and England shall be in all time coming abrogated and abolished, and that the subjects of Scotland inhabiting the bounds of the late wardenries2 shall be governed by the common laws and statutes of this kingdom, and that the name of borders shall be extinguished in all time coming. And the said estates, considering that the pursuit of actions and execution of decreets proceeding of crimes, offences and transgressions committed by subjects of either of the said realms against the subjects of the other before his majesty's happy succeeding to the crown of England would undoubtedly renew and foster more grudge and mutual hatred in the hearts of parties than procure any convenient restitution or satisfaction to parties interested, it is statute and ordained that no subject of Scotland or England shall be pursued, charged, summoned, arrested, taken, tried, convicted or in any way troubled or punished in his body, lands or goods for any crimes, injuries or offences committed by them before the beginning of his majesty's happy reign of England, or whereof they or any of them were art or part, or in any way guilty, whereof the trial, cognition and judgement was competent to the wardens of the marches before their suppressing, or to the commissioners of both the princes in border causes; and that all others who were pledges, cautioners or full debtors for or with the said principal parties, and all others in any way guilty or subject by law to punishment, imprisonment, restitution, payment or redress whatsoever for any such crimes, offences, injuries or anything proceeding or depending thereon, shall be discharged thereof, and of all bonds, promises, oaths, cautioners, sentences, acts, pains, peril, trouble, danger, action and execution whatsoever, which in any way might have followed thereupon and are, and shall be, free, quit, remitted and pardoned of the same, and of all that in any way principally or incidentally, directly or indirectly, may result or ensue thereupon for now and for ever. And seeing the abolishing of the memory of borders and border laws whereby the offences committed by subjects of the one realm within the other have heretofore been determined infers a necessity to appoint some other good and wise order whereby the committing of such crimes and offences may either be prevented or the malefactors punished after so just and equitable manner as may give equal cause of contentment to the subjects of both the kingdoms having any interest in pursuit or defence of any criminal actions, which cannot goodly be unless the justice of both the realms in such causes be uniform, and no material difference be in the substance or order of their judicatories in actions of that kind; therefore, it is statute and ordained that all crimes and offences committed within the realm of England since the beginning of his majesty's happy reign thereof, or hereafter to be committed by any of his majesty's subjects of Scotland returning within the same, shall be tried and judged in his majesty's justice ayres of the sheriffdoms of Berwick, Roxburgh, Selkirk, Peebles and Dumfries before his majesty's justice general and his deputes, natural born subjects of the realm of Scotland only and no others, and by honest and lawful assizers of the said [...], having at least 100 merks Scots of yearly rent, to be summoned, sworn and admitted by the said justice, to whom the defender shall have power to present such witnesses as upon their oaths shall be most able to inform the said assizers of his innocency of the crimes whereof he is accused. It is also ordained that every justice or justice depute to whom any such complaint shall be made shall have power to take the pursuer and the witnesses whom he shall desire to use (the said witnesses having their expenses first modified by the justice and paid by the pursuer to them) bound under such pecuniary pains to his majesty's use as he shall think convenient to prescribe, that they shall prosecute and give such information to the justice and assize in that action as the matter shall require; wherein if they or any of them fail, the same penalty to be exacted by his majesty's treasurer off him or them who shall incur the same. And albeit the principal offender be not apprehended nor tried, it shall nevertheless be lawful to convene, pursue, try, judge and punish such as are art, part, red or counsel of the said offences or wilful resetters of the said malefactors as readily as if the said principal offenders had formerly received their definite trial; in which cases it shall only be lawful to the defender to reject five of the said assizers upon his suspicion of their partiality, one or more, unless he allege and verify sufficient and lawful causes of declining of the rest, exceeding the said number of five. Be it always provided that no subject of the kingdom of Scotland shall for any crime committed in England by him or whereof he is art or part, lose any of his lands, heritages, feus, reversions, heritable lands, rights or other securities of lands or teinds whereof there shall be any terms to run after his decease, but that the same shall appertain to his heirs or successors as the same would have done in case of his decease at the king's faith and peace, notwithstanding whereof all such offenders shall lose and forfeit to his majesty their insight, plenishing, corns, cattle, debts and other moveables whatsoever, without prejudice to their wives of their dower and third. And to the effect that such of his majesty's subjects of England as having received injury in England by any of the subjects of Scotland who are returned within the kingdom thereof, may with more favour and expedition have reparation by justice, it is ordained that during the time of the going, returning or necessary remaining of the said parties and witnesses within the said kingdom of Scotland for the prosecution of the said actions, they shall safely enjoy immunity from any arresting and imprisoning for all causes criminal (except treason and wilful slaughter) committed before their said coming in Scotland for the intent foresaid; and if any subject of England being pursued for any criminal causes in England shall thereafter of new be pursued in Scotland for that same crime, and allege for his defence his former trial and clearing in England, the justice shall not proceed any further in that matter until he have sufficiently informed himself of the verity of the said defence; and finding the same true, that he forthwith discharge the defender of all further process and trouble for that fact. And albeit there be nothing more heartily desired by all faithful subjects of this kingdom than that the union of this whole isle happily begun in his majesty's sacred person, and greatly advanced by the prudent, careful, fatherly and incessant pains taken by his majesty relating thereto, may be brought to a full, perfect and absolute accomplishment, wherein for the equal good of both the realms and satisfaction of his majesty, to whose justice, favour and benignity the said estates acknowledge themselves more infinitely bound than any people in earth are to their king, as they have ever been and shall always continue willing and ready to give that faithful concurrence and help that becomes them, yet until it pleased God to bless this isle with the felicity of a perfect union, it is statute that no Scotsman shall for any treason or other crime whatsoever committed within England be sent out of Scotland to England, to be tried or judged there, but shall receive his trial and judgement in his native country according to the laws and order thereof; and to the effect the assizers to be sworn in these causes may the more faithfully and justly proceed to their determinations, it shall be lawful to them to elect and receive upon their oaths and consciences such sworn witnesses presented to them, either for the pursuer or defender, as shall seem to the most part of their number unsuspected, faithful and best acquitted with the truth of the matter, reserving always to the lords of parliament their trial by their peers as heretofore in the like cases has been used. And albeit the order by this act3 prescribed in the premises approaches most nearly to equality and indifference, having respect to the estate of both the kingdoms, yet whensoever it shall please his majesty and estates of the parliament of Scotland and England to appoint commissioners for taking of a more perfect and constant order for more summary administration of justice to all the subjects of both the kingdoms, the said estates shall omit nothing upon their parts tending to the final perfection of the said union, which their duty to their most gracious prince, love of their country and affection to their neighbour can require. And further, the estates of Scotland, answering to that article of the foresaid treaty touching the communion and participation of mutual commodities and commerce: first, concerning the importation of merchandise in Scotland from foreign parts, that whereas certain commodities are wholly prohibited by the laws of Scotland to be brought in the same kingdom from any foreign parts by the native subjects of Scotland themselves or by any other, the said estates statute and ordain that no Englishman may bring into Scotland any of the said prohibited wares or commodities, and yet nevertheless if the said commodities be made in England, it shall be lawful to Englishmen to bring them out of England into Scotland as no foreign commodities. And as for the commodities and merchandise not prohibited by law to be brought into Scotland, and specially concerning the trade of wines or other commodities from Bordeaux, the said estates of Scotland find and declare that the Englishmen shall be free for transportation of wine and other commodities from Bordeaux into Scotland according to the determination of the commissioners of both kingdoms contained in the said treaty, paying the same customs and duties that the Scotsmen pay in Scotland, but whereas for clearing and resolving of that doubt mentioned in the said article touching the advantage that the Scotsmen are supposed to have above the Englishmen in buying and transporting the commodities of Normandy and of other parts of the kingdom of France, except the buying of wines and traffick in Bordeaux as said is, commission was appointed to be granted to four fit and discreet persons to pass into France, two for each side, there to take perfect notice of any such advantage as either the Scotsmen have above the English, or the English above the Scots, in the buying and transporting of any commodities of Normandy, or of any part of France. And understanding that Thomas Fisher and William Speir, merchants of Edinburgh, for the realm of Scotland, and Robert Bell and William Williamson, merchants of London, for the realm of England, were directed by either realm to France according to the effect contained in the said commission, and they, having returned from France and delivered to [Alexander Seton, earl of Dunfermline], lord chancellor of Scotland, their proceedings in the said matter, and the same commission and report being read and ripely advised upon by the said estates of Scotland after that they had conferred the foresaid report with the said article of treaty regarding the importation of merchandise foresaid in either kingdom, the said estates of parliament of Scotland find in respect of the foresaid report that the advantage of privilege or of immunities or in imposts and payment that appertains or may appertain to the subjects of either kingdom above others in Normandy or in any parts of France, are and is of so small difference as ought in no way justly hinder the communication and trade; and, therefore, the estates of the parliament of Scotland find and declare that the Englishmen shall be as free for the transporting of all sorts of merchandise and commodities from Normandy and all other parts of France, and with the same liberty of importation which the native-born subjects of Scotland themselves have, and also generally for all other trade from any other foreign parts into Scotland, the Englishmen shall have liberty of importation as freely as the said native subjects of Scotland (not having special privileges), paying the same customs and duties that Scotsmen pay in Scotland. Next, concerning the article of exportation, the estates of Scotland statute and ordain that all such goods or commodities as are prohibited and forbidden to Scotsmen themselves to transport out of Scotland to any foreign part, the same shall be unlawful for any Englishman or any other to transport to any foreign nation over sea, and that under the same penalty and forfeitures that Scotsmen are subject to, but nevertheless find and declare that such goods and merchandise as are licenced and are lawful to Scotsmen (not specially privileged) to transport out of Scotland to any foreign part, the same may be likewise transported by Englishmen thither, and they, certifying their going towards foreign parts and taking cocket accordingly, shall be bound only to pay the ordinary custom that Scotsmen themselves do pay at the exporting of such wares. And as for those native commodities which either of the countries do yield and may serve for the use and benefit of the other, the said estates of Scotland statute and declare that there may be transported out of Scotland into England all such wares as are of the growth or handiwork of Scotland without payment of any custom, impost or exaction, and as freely in all respects as any wares may be transported in Scotland from port to port, excepting such particular sorts of goods and merchandise as are hereafter mentioned, being restrained for the proper and inward use of Scotland; and for that purpose declare that out of this communication of benefits and participation of native commodities of this country of Scotland with the country of England, there shall be specially excepted and reserved the particular sorts hereafter specified, that is to say: wool, sheep skins, cattle, leather, hides and linen yarn, which are specially restrained within the country of Scotland not to be transported from the same to England; excepting also and reserving to Scotsmen their trade of fishing within their lochs, firths and bays within land, and in the seas within 14 miles off the coasts of the realm of Scotland where neither Englishmen nor any stranger or foreigners have use to fish. Furthermore, the estates of Scotland statute and ordain that all foreign wares to be transported out of Scotland to England by the subjects of England, having at their first entry in Scotland once paid custom, shall not pay outward custom afterward in Scotland save only inward custom at that port whereto they shall be transported, but the owners of the goods or the factors and master of the ship shall give bond not to transport the same to any foreign part. The estates declare also that Englishmen shall not be debarred from being associate in any Scottish company of merchant adventurers or any others upon such conditions as any native Scotsman may be admitted. It is nevertheless statute and ordained by the foresaid estates of Scotland that the liberty foresaid of exportation and trade from Scotland to England shall serve for the inward use only of England, and in no way for transportation of the said commodities into foreign parts; and for due punishment of those that shall transgress in that behalf, and for the better assurance and caution therein, it is statute by the said estates of Scotland that every merchant so offending shall forfeit his whole goods, the ships wherein the said goods shall be transported to be escheated and forfeited, the customs officers, searchers and other officers of the customs whatsoever in case of consent or knowledge upon their part to the transporting of such wares, to lose their offices and goods and their persons to be imprisoned during his majesty's will; and of the said escheats and forfeits, two parts to appertain to his majesty if the customs be not set in feu ferm and the third part to the informer, and if the customs be farmed, one third of the forfeitures to belong to his majesty, one third to the farmers of the customs and the other third to the informer; and the trial of the offence to be summarily in Scotland in the exchequer by writ, sufficient witnesses or oath of party or before the justice by assize, and his majesty's officers within this realm of Scotland to concur with the complainer having interest in the pursuit. And for the more surety that there shall be no such transportation of goods exported from Scotland to England, statute and ordain that at the shipping of all such native commodities there be taken by the customs officer of the port where the goods or wares are embarked a bond or obligation to be subscribed by the owner of the said goods and the owner of the ship if the owner be present, or (in case the owner be absent) by the master of the ship and the factor or party that loaded the goods, the said bond containing a sum of money answerable to the value of the goods, with condition for releasing of the party bound and discharging him of the foresaid bond in case return be made of due certificate to the said customs officer where the goods were loaded from any port within Scotland; the certificate to be subscribed and sealed by the officers of the customs of the port where the goods shall arrive and be loaded, or if there be not such officers, then by the chief officer or magistrate and town clerk under their hands, the tenor of the which bond to be in manner following: Be it known to all men by this act, we A. B. and C. D., skipper in Leith, to be justly owing and due to our most gracious sovereign the king's majesty the sum of £1,000 Scottish money, the which sum we faithfully bind and oblige us, our heirs, executors and assignees and each one of us, jointly and severally, faithfully to content, pay and deliver to our said sovereign lord, his heirs and successors, renouncing all exception of not numerate money and all other exceptions which may be proposed in the contrary etc., with provision always that if we, the foresaid A. B. C. D., who has shipped and loaded at the port of Leith in the ship called the Lyon, whereof E. F. is master under God, six lasts of salmon, 30 lasts of herring etc. to be transported to the port of Yarmouth in England and laid on land there, as by the entry thereof made in his majesty's books of the said port of Leith is evident, do discharge and lay on land the said goods at the said port of Yarmouth or any other port within the kingdom of England out of the said ship and not elsewhere; and within a year next ensuing the date hereof, bring and deliver to the officers of the port of Leith whom it concerns a true certificate under the hands and seals of office of the magistrates of the said port of Yarmouth or of any other port of the kingdom of England where the said goods shall be landed and delivered, testifying the landing and true delivery of the premises without fraud or guile. And in case the validity of the said certificate shall happen to be impugned or brought in question, shall in the next term after the end of the said year make sufficient proof in the exchequer before the lords auditors thereof by lawful witnesses or proofs as they shall allow of that, then and in that case this above-written obligation shall be null and of no value, force nor effect, or else to abide in full effect and virtue. And because the certificate being returned may nevertheless either by negligence or by mischance be lost and the bonds being extant and no record had of the certificate, the party who was bound, his heirs and executors may be subject to the penalty of the said bond, for remedy hereof, as it is already found that the space of a whole year after the date of the said bond be yielded and allowed for the return of the said certificate, so the estates of this realm ordain that upon the exhibiting of the certificate to the customs officer, he shall forthwith note upon the bond the receipt of such a certificate, bearing the testimony by whom the same was given, the contents thereof and the date of the same; and if within the space of two years next after the exhibiting of the said certificate the truth and validity thereof shall not be impugned and called in question, in that case the said bond shall be held fully satisfied and discharged; and after the expiration of the said two years, no question or challenge to be made upon the bond against the party obliged, and the bond itself (ipso facto) to be for ever after null, void and of no effect. And forasmuch as the said estates of this realm agree that the like bonds be given by Scotsmen trafficking and loading their ships within any part of England, and that the order above-written be also observed by them, which is prescribed and set down by this above act of exportation in all the particular heads thereof, and to the end that there may be due execution in the exchequer of either realm of such bonds as shall happen to be forfeited (in case the parties forfeiting the said bonds be not to be found in that realm where the bonds were taken and forfeited but in the other), therefore the said estates consent and agree that the bonds so forfeited on either part shall be mutually and reciprocally transmitted from the exchequer of the one realm to the other (as cause shall require), and that the debts recovered upon the said bonds forfeited shall be likewise transmitted and answered to the exchequer of either realm where the bonds were taken. And furthermore, touching the indifferent shipping of commodities either by Scotsmen or Englishmen in Scottish vessels, the said estates statute and declare that Englishmen may freight and load their goods in Scottish ships and vessels, paying only Scottish customs within the realm of Scotland, notwithstanding of any contrary laws or prohibitions. And regarding the article of the making of great ships and maintenance thereof, the said estates grant commission to the burghs of Edinburgh, Perth, Dundee, Aberdeen, Glasgow, Ayr, St Andrews, Montrose, Kirkcudbright, Irvine, Crail, Burntisland and Culross to meet and convene and set down order for furtherance of the trade of navigation, pacifying and repressing all abuses whereby the said trade is prejudiced, and to set down such order for building of ships and all sort of vessels as they think most convenient, and the articles agreed upon by the burghs foresaid to be as sufficiently authorised as if they had been expressed in this present act. And because the foresaid estates of this realm esteem it requisite that the mutual communication aforesaid shall not only be extended to matters of commerce but also to other benefits and privileges of natural-born subjects, therefore find and declare that all the subjects of the realm of England born since the decease of Elizabeth, the late queen of England, and all that shall be born hereafter under the obedience of his majesty and his royal progeny, are by the common laws of Scotland and shall be forever enabled to obtain, succeed, inherit and possess all lands, goods and chattels, honours, dignities, offices, liberties, privileges and benefices, ecclesiastical or civil, in parliament and in all other places of the said kingdom of Scotland in all respects and without any exception whatsoever, as fully and amply as the born subjects of Scotland might have done or may do in any sort. Moreover, for the better advancing of the foresaid happy union and testification of the loyal disposition towards his majesty, and for the increase and continuance of the mutual love, friendship and amity between the subjects of the foresaid two ancient kingdoms, the foresaid estates of Scotland find and declare all the subjects of the kingdom of England born before4 the decease of the late queen of England to be enabled and made capable to acquire, purchase and inherit, succeed, use and dispose of all lands, inheritances, goods, offices, honours, dignities, liberties, privileges, immunities, benefices and preferments whatsoever within the kingdom of Scotland with the same freedom and as lawfully and peaceably as the very native and natural-born subjects of this realm where the said rights, states or profits are established, notwithstanding of whatsoever law, statute or former constitution heretofore enforced in the contrary, other than to acquire, possess succeed or inherit any office of the crown, office of judicatory or any vote, place or office in parliament, all which to remain still free from being claimed, held or enjoyed by the subjects of England within the realm of Scotland born afore the decease foresaid, notwithstanding any word, sense or interpretation of this act, or any circumstance thereon depending until there be such a perfect and full accomplishment of the union as is mutually desired by both the realms. And notwithstanding of this above exception, the foresaid estates expressly reserve his majesty's prerogative royal to dispose, enable and prefer to such offices, honours, dignities and benefices whatsoever in the said kingdom of Scotland, as are heretofore excepted in the preceding reservation, all English subjects born before the decease of the said late queen, as freely, as sovereignly and absolutely as any his majesty's royal progenitors or predecessor kings of Scotland might have done at any time heretofore, and to all other intents and purposes in as ample manner as if no such act had been made or ever thought or conceived. And forasmuch as the foresaid estates of this kingdom of Scotland have made, granted and consented to all the acts and statutes before specified, and to all the special liberties and privileges therein contained, upon provision and condition only that the foresaid union shall proceed, work and take the like final end and effect upon the part of the estates of England in favour of Scotland, after the form and tenor of the foresaid treaty of union and conclusions thereof agreed and accorded upon by all the foresaid commissioners of both kingdoms the times foresaid and no otherwise, therefore the said estates of Scotland statute, decree and declare that all the above-written acts, liberties, privileges and each one of them and every head, article and member thereof shall cease, abide suspended and be of no strength, force nor effect hereafter, until and to the special time that the estates of England by their acts and statutes in parliament determine, grant and allow the same and as many acts, privileges, liberties, freedoms and immunities to the subjects of the kingdom of Scotland, to be enjoyed and possessed by them within the realm of England, according to the foresaid treaty in all points.

  1. NAS, PA2/17, f.2v-6r.
  2. The administrative divisions of the Scottish Borders. The three wardenries were the East Ward, which was the sheriffdom of Berwick; the Middle Ward, which contained Teviotdale; and the Wester Ward, which contained Nithsdale and Annandale.
  3. Superscript.
  4. APS changes this to 'after'.