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

The estaittis presentlie convenit geves and grantis full power and commissioun to Johne, erle of Mar, Johne, erle of Casselles, George, archibischop of Sanctandrous, Johne, archibisthop of Glasgow, James, bischop of Orknay, Andro, lord Stewart of Uchiltrie, Walter, lord of Blantyre, Schir Johne Cokburne of Ormestoun, knycht, justice clerk, Schir Thomas Hammyltoun of Bynnie, knycht, advocat, Schir Johne Skene of Curryhill, knycht, clerk of register, Maister Johne Prestoun of Fountainbarnis, collectour, [...] Carnegie of Kynnard, Schir William Levingstoun of Kylsyth, Maister Johne Lermonth of Balcomie, James Weymis of Bogie, Schir Johne Arnote, provest of Edinburgh, and Williame Weylands, commissionar for the said burgh, Maister Alexander Wedderburne, commissionar for the burgh of Dundie, Johne Lockart, commissionar for the burgh of Air, to convene and meit at sic dayes, tymes and places as they sall appoint, and to confer and ressone upoun the contentis and heidis of his majesteis missive letter direct unto the saidis estaittis anent the cryme of ravisheing of wemen, and upoun the severall degrees and branches of that cryme and what pane and punishement they shall think meit to be inflictit to the persones giltie of the said cryme in the severall degrees and branches thairof, or gif they think meit that the punishement prescryvit and sett doun be his majestie in his said missive letter shall be embraced and enacted, and to reporte their opinionis and overtouris heiranent unto the next parliament. Followes his majesties missive letter:

Richt trustie and weilbelovit cousinges, counsallouris and utheris of oure trustie, loweing and duetifull subjectis of the estaittis of that oure kingdome presentlie convenit, we grete yow weill. The odious and now too frequentit cryme within that kingdome of ravisheing of wemen, being both their and ellis wheir by statute lawes appointit to be punischeit with great severitie and rigour, is ather by the slaknes of the executioun of these lawes or by the obscuritie of the samin become sa commoun as out of this grouth of ewill maneris the defectis ather in law or executioun thairof wald be amendit, bot becaus their will be of this offence mony severall branches and degrees, we have thoght meit to devyde the samin, and according to the quantitie of the offence to ad the greater or less punishement, which we wald have to be by yow considerit and past by act in that youre conventioun, that so it may pas in statute at the next ensewing parliament. And first, for those that do ravische ony woman, ather wedow, maryed or mayd, and have copulatioun with hir aganis hir will (the samin being alreadie ane of the pointis of oure crowne), what forder punishement then what is alreadie provyded shall be inflicted on them we do remitt to youre awin discretioun to appoint, wheirin we wald have it inacted that the first fact and the violence committit thairin shall not be purged be ony subsequent consent of the woman, bot that the offendour shall stand punisheable by law notwithstanding thairof; and becaus often ravischeingis ar committit whairin na forder actioun then onlie away taking dois follow, specialie quhair the pairtie ravescheit is by hir freindis, the magistrat or by utheris meanis relevit, we wald have it declairit that in this caise, since3 pairtie offendour did his endevoir to committ the worst, that the same fact of awaytaking of a woman aganis her will, albeit reskewit in tyme, shall be nochttheless in the committer thairof a cryme capitall. And becaus it is not the respect of the persone bot the ayme aither to the goodis or landis of the pairtie ravisheit in possessioun or apperance that moves the fact, without all doubt some provisioun maid by the statute to dissapoint thame of these thair unlauchfull hopes wald mak them the less curious to offend heirin, and thair being now a new forme used to avoid punishement in the law by pressing without knawlege of the parent, tutour testamentar or gwardiane of the mayde, being young of yearis and thairwith of fraill sex, to intyse hir to go with them, and so they to convoy or to cause hir be convoyit away, we wald have in this cais both a punishment appointit for the offendour with a secluding of that pairtie being thus corrupted and seduced to go away without the knawledge or consent of father, tutour or gwardiane of ather hole or pairt of that which utherwayes wald have befallen her, and the samin to be declarit to accresce to the next of her kin, gif so the pairtie thus seduced be within the age of sextene yearis, bot being past of that age it is presumed that they ar come to these yeiris of discretioun as that they can mak a right chuse and will hardlie without consent of freindis cast them selffis away, the father, tutour or gwardiane haveing than some cause to distrust them and thairfoir to be the more war of them, wheir as in their younger yeiris his securitie as suspecting no suche mater gives the better oportunitie to those wha intend the abuse. And since this is a generall thing whiche may tuiche mony of the kingdome, we leaf it to youre considerationis to provyde remedes for all suche abuses of this nature. And so we bid yow fair weill, frome oure courte at Roistoun, the xxij day of Januar 1609, to oure right trustie and weilbelovit the nobilitie, clergie and comounis of that oure kingdome of Scotland now presentlie conveyned.

  1. NAS, PA2/17, f.55r-v. See also A1609/1/13.
  2. '48' written in margin beside heading.
  3. APS reads 'since the ...'.