For remeid of the fraude and disordour usit amangis officiaris of armes in executioun of criminall lettres, cap. ix

2Anent the complaint maid to oure soverane lord and the thrie estaitis of this present parliament be the puyr commounis universalie within this realme, makand mentioun that quhair it is not unknawin to his hienes and his estaitis how James, erle of Mortoun, lord of Dalkeyth, in his lait regiment, for gude ordour to be had amangis his majesties officiares of armes and utheris pairteis that raisit and persewit criminall lettrez upoun slauchteris, mutilationis and utheris capitall crymes, quhairby ane greit multitude of complices wes summond and gevin in bill and sic collusioun usit betwix the parteis and officiaris foirsaidis, executoris thairof, that compositioun wes tane for deleiting of thair names, to the greit prejudice of his majestie, they being oftymes knawin as giltie of the samyne crymes and yit could not be persewit at the dyet appointit thairto; in respect, na souirtie wes found for reporting of the saidis lettres dewlie execut and indorsat upoun the saidis complices, and thairfoir command wes gevin be his hienes lait regent foirsaid to the justice clerk and his deputtis that na lettres criminall in tyme cuming sould be directit nor past be thame for summoning of ony complices to be gevin in bill be the pairteis, purcheassaris thairof, bot that the haill personis complenit upoun sould be nominat in the body of the principall lettres. Nevirtheles, it is of veritie that divers oure soverane lordis officiaris of armes foirsaidis, without power or privilege grantit to thame be vertew of the saidis criminall lettres, not onlie hes summonit and daylie yit summonis divers personis as complices gevin in bill and not nominat in the lettres foirsaidis, compelland thairthrow ane greit part of the saidis complices to travell upoun thair sumptuus chairges and expensis to his majesties burgh of Edinburgh, and utherwys usis sic extorsioun that the subjectis ar compellit to gif the saidis officiaris compositioun to deleit thair names; like as alsua to thair greit wrak and heirschip, the saidis officiaris, be collusioun of divers parteis, purchessaris of the saidis lettres, hes summond and daylie yit summonis sic multitud of assisoris to particuler dyettis that, be compositioun ressavit be the saidis officiaris from substancious personis quhome they deleit and drawis furth of thair tikket efter they be summonit, thair is be apperance of thair extorsioun neir alsmekle proffeit and compositioun collectit as wald satisfie the pairteis aganis quhome the crymes ar committit, and nane utheris ar put in roll to compeir upoun the assys bot ane multitude of his hienes puyr commonis foirsaidis quha hes not money to pay compositioun, to thair greit hurt, travell and expense, as alsua to the prejudice of his majesties thesaurair and advocattis for his hienes entres quhilkis, for want of ane sufficient nowmer of assysouris, ar compellit to consent to the continewatioun of causis thairof. Tharefoir oure soverane lord, with avise of his thrie estaitis in this present parliament, statutis and ordanis that the justice clerk and his deputtis sall direct na lettrez in tyme cumming for calling of ony complices generalie to underly the law, bot that the lettres be upoun speciall personis complenit upoun, and that na schirref or officiar of armes, executour of ony criminall lettres, presume or tak upoun hand to charge or use executioun upoun ony complices gevin in bill attour the boundis and directioun of the lettres, nor to summond ony ma personis upoun ane assiss then fourty five, quhilkis he sall ressave in roll fra the party persewar, subscrivit with his hand; and sall annex the same roll unalterit or cancellat to the end of his executioun, undir the pane of vC merkis to be incurrit be his souirtie and the said officiar to be deprivit of his office and to suffer further panes in his body and guidis at oure soverane lordis will. And gif ony party persewar fyndis that of necessitie he mon have a greitair nowmer summonit upoun the assys, upoun his supplicatioun the samyne salbe grantit as it sall appeir ressonable, in quhilk caise the officiar may summond sa mony ma upon the assiss as he salbe directit be the lettres and ressave in roll subscrivit be the pairty without incurring the pane abonewrittin.

  1. NAS, PA2/12, ff.27r-v.
  2. 'P' written in margin.