Procedure: commission; king's letter to the estates
Commissioun anent revissing [of wemen]2

The estaitis presentlie convenit gevis and grantis full power and commissioun to Johnne, erll of Mar, Johnne, erll of Cassillis, George, archibischop of Sanctandrois, Johnne, archibischop of Glasgow, James, bischop of Orknay, Andro, lord Stewart of Uchiltrie, Waltir, lord of Blantyre, Schir Johnne Cokburne of Ormestoun, knycht, justice clerk, Schir Thomas Hamiltoun of Bynnie, knycht, advocat, Schir Johnne Skene of Curriehill, clerk of register, Maister Johnne Prestoune of Fentounbarnis, collectour, [...] Carnegy of Kynnard, Schir William Levingstoun of Kilsyth, Maister Johnne Learmonth of Balcomie, James Weymes of Bagy, Schir Johnne Arnot, provest of Edinburgh, and William Weylandis, commissionair for the said burgh, Maister Alexander Weddirburne, comissionair for the burghe of Dundie, Johnne Lokhart, commissionair for the burgh of Air, to convene and meit at sic dayis, tymes and places as thay sall appoint, and to confer and reasoun upoun the contentis and headis of his majesteis missive lettre direct unto the saidis estaitis anent the cryme of revishing of wemen, and upoun the severall degreis and brancheis of that cryme and quhat pane and punischement thay think meit tobe inflictit to the personis guiltie of the said cryme in the severall degreis and brancheis thairof, or gif thay think meit that the punischement prescryvit and set doun be his majestie in his said missive lettre salbe imbracet and inactit, and to report thair opinionis and overtouris heiranent unto the nixt parliament. Followis his majesteis missive lettre:

Richt trustie and weilbelowit cosines, counsellouris and utheris of oure trustie, loving and dewtifull subjectis of the estaitis of that oure kingdome presentlie convenit, we grete you wele. The odious and now too frequent cryme within that kingdome of revissing of wemen, being both there and els quhair by statute lawis appointed to be punissed with grite severitie and rigour, is ather by the slaknes of the executioun of those lawis or by the obscuritie of the same become sa commoun as out of this grouth of evill maneris the defectis ather in law or executioun thairof wald be amendit, bot becaus thair wilbe of this offence mony sewerall brancheis and degrees, we have thocht meet to divide the same, and according to the quantitie of the offence to ad the grittair or lesse punishement, whiche we wald haive to be by you considerit and past by act in this youre conventioun, that so it may pas in statute at the next ensewing parliament. And first, for those that do ravishe ony woman, ather wedow, maryed or mayd, and have copulatioun with her aganis her will (the same being alreddy on the pointis of oure crowne), quhat forder punishement then quhat is alreddy providit salbe inflicted on thame, we do remitt to yor awne discretioun to appoint, quhairin we wald have it enacted that the first fact and the violence commitit thairin sall not be purgeit be ony subsequent consent of the woman, bot that the offfendour sall stand punissable by law notwithstanding thairof; and becaus often revissingis ar committed quhairon no forder actioun then onlie awaytaking does follow, specialie quhair the pairtie revissed is by her freindis, the magistrat or by utheris meanis releved, we wald have it declarit that in this cais, sience the pairtie offendour did his endevoir to commit the worst, that the same fact of the awaytaking of a woman aganis her will, albeit reskewit in tyme, salbe nochttheles in the committair thairof a cryme capitall. And becaus it is not the respect of the persone bot the ayme ather to the goodis or landis of the pairtie revissed in possessioun or appeirance that moveis the fact, without all doubt some provisioun made by statute to dissapoint thame of those their unlauchfull hoipis wald mak thame the les curious to offend heirin, and their being now a new forme used to avoid punischement in law by preissing without knawlege of the parent, tutour testamentar or guardian of the mayd, being young of yeiris and thairwith of fraill sexe, to intyse her to go with thame, and so they to convoy or to caus hir be convoyed away, we wald have in this cais boith a punischement appointed for the offendour with a secluding of that pairty being thus corrupted and seduced to go away without the knawlege or consent of fader, tutour or guairdiane of ather quhole or pairt of that whiche utherwyse wald haif befallin hir, and the same to be declarit to accress to the nixt of hir kin, gif so the pairtie thus seducit be within the aig of sextene yeiris, bot being past of that aig it is presomed that thay ar come to those yeiris of discretioun as that thay can mak a richt choise and will hardlie without consent of freindis cast thame selflis away, the fader, tutour or guairdiane haveing then som caus to distrust thame and thairfore to be the moir warye of thame, wheras in their younger yeiris his securitie as suspecting no suche mater gevis the better opportunitie to those who intend the abuse. And since this is a generall thing whiche may tuitche mony of the kingdome, we leave it to your considerationis to provid remeidis for all suche abuseis of this natour. And so we bid you fairwele frome oure court at Roistoing, the 22 of Januair 1609, to oure richt trustie and weilbeloved cousines and counsellouris and to oure trustie and weilbelovit the nobilitie, clergy and commonis of that oure kingdome of Scotland now presentlie convened.

  1. NAS, PC1/24, 385-387.
  2. Addition to title is an APS interpolation. Not in manuscript.