An act regarding the children of noblemen and others remaining in seminaries of popish religion beyond sea and against Jesuits, mass priests

Forasmuch as the king's majesty is informed that diverse children, both of noblemen and others his majesty's natural subjects of this kingdom, have been heretofore sent over into seminaries, colleges and other houses of popish religion beyond sea and are there instructed, persuaded and strengthened in their popish errors, through which they become not only corrupted and perverted in religion, but poisoned and infected in their duty and allegiance to his majesty and alienated from their natural love and affection towards their country, which is so much the more dangerous because the poison being infused into youths and students as into new vessels grows in time into an inveterate habit of malice against the present government, as also that diverse Jesuits and seminary priests attend, frequent and are received in the houses of many of his majesty's subjects of this kingdom and that there is a daily growth and increase of papists; and his majesty, knowing the dangerous consequences that hereupon may follow and being careful to prevent the same and therewithal being desirous that all his majesty's good subjects may take notice of his majesty's readiness and constant resolution to maintain the true religion professed and by law established in this kingdom and upon all occasions to suppress the contrary, therefore his majesty, with advice of the lords of his secret council, ordains letters to be directed charging officers of arms to pass to the market crosses of the head burghs of this kingdom and other places needful and there by open proclamation to make publication hereof, and to command and charge all the said children that before 1 May 1626 they return into this their native country and conform themselves to live in such duty and obedience as becomes good subjects; and that their parents, tutors, governors and such others as have been or are faulty either in sending, permitting or maintaining them there take present order to recall them home and to provide that they be returned into this kingdom between now and the day foresaid under the pain of the utmost severity of his majesty's justice to be extended in that behalf and to be inflicted upon them. And also to command, charge and inhibit that no bishop, priest or other person having taken or which shall take orders by or under any authority or power derived from the see of Rome, whether he or they be natural born subjects or strangers, do presume to confer any ecclesiastical orders or exercise any ecclesiastical function or jurisdiction whatsoever towards or upon any of his majesty's natural born subjects of this kingdom. And likewise to command and charge all and sundry judges and justices to whom it appertains to put all his majesty's laws and statutes now standing in force against Jesuits, seminary priests and others having taken orders by any authority from the see of Rome, being his majesty's subjects, to due and full execution against such of them as from and after 1 February 1626 shall be found in this kingdom, which day his majesty has limited and prefixed for the utmost time of their departure. And also to command, charge and inhibit all and sundry his majesty's lieges and subjects that none of them presume nor take upon hand after the said day to receive, supply, harbour, entertain, relieve or conceal any of the said Jesuits, seminary priests or other popish priests under the pains provided by his majesty's laws in that behalf, which pains shall be severely inflicted upon the offenders without favour. And further, to command and charge all his majesty's subjects of whatsoever rank or degree to conform themselves to the public profession of the true religion, likewise his majesty prohibits the exercise of any contrary profession under the pains contained in the laws and statutes made relating thereto, and to command and charge all archbishops and bishops in their several diocese to proceed against all such as are known to be of a contrary profession according to the laws of the church and realm. And ordains the proclamation to be extended hereupon to be presented and affixed on all market crosses that none pretend ignorance thereof. It is thus subscribed: [Sir] George [Hay of Kinfauns], chancellor.

  1. NAS, PC1/31, f.74v-75v.