Procedure: protest and declaration for the estates of parliament
Protestation and declaration for the estates of parliament

Thereafter [Robert Ker], earl of Roxburghe and [John Maitland, earl of] Lauderdale and [Sir James Carmichael], treasurer depute, having removed themselves out of the house, Master Archibald Johnston [of Wariston], in name of the three estates, read in public audience the declaration following: We noblemen, barons and burgesses, commissioners of shires and burghs convened in this supreme court of parliament by his majesty's solemn indiction, and held by John [Stewart], earl of Traquair, his majesty's high commissioner, do with all dutiful and loyal respect to the king's most excellent majesty and with our best affection to the preservation of the body of this kingdom which we now represent, make known that where contrary to the malignant opposition and the wicked devices and practices of some of our disnatured countrymen and their accomplices, his majesty's face did not only begin to shine upon us to the calming of all these tempests and troubles which were at first raised by their own inventions and innovations of religion, but his majesty did also, with the advice of the councillors of both kingdoms, declare and assure that it was his royal will and pleasure for afterward that all matters ecclesiastical should be determined by the assemblies of the kirk and matters civil by parliaments and other inferior judicatories established by law, which was and is the sum of our whole desires, and therefore was pleased to indict a free general assembly to be convened at Edinburgh on 12 August for settling the peace of the kirk, and a parliament to be held on 26 August for ratifying the constitutions of the assembly and for settling such other things as may contribute to the peace and good of the kingdom. And because his majesty could not be present in his own royal person (which was our earnest desire and had been our greatest delight), it pleased his majesty so far to tender the minds of his well-meaning subjects as to promise to them a commissioner instructed with full power to bring matters to a final conclusion, both in assembly and parliament, against all fears of frustration and jealousies of prorogation or delay; and forasmuch as John, earl of Traquair, his majesty's commissioner, honoured with a most ample commission according to his majesty's royal word, having closed the assembly and having sat with us in parliament a very long time for debating and preparing such articles as were to be presented in face of parliament does now take upon him, and that without the consent of the estates, and without any offence on their part, who have endeavoured in all their proceeding to witness their loyalty to the king and duty to his grace as representing his majesty's sacred person, to prorogate the parliament upon a private warrant procured by sinister information against his majesty's public patent under the great seal, and that upon pretence of a clause in the commission under the quarter seal, which was only for fencing and continuing of the court at the down-sitting and that even by representation of the estates, who now being present themselves cannot be represented by commissioners but do directly dissent, which warrant is now expired in the self and is not renewed under the quarter seal, whereby he heavily offends all his majesty's good subjects and endangers the peace of the whole kingdom, for which he must be liable to his majesty's royal animadversion and to the censure of the parliament, this being a new and unusual way without precedent in this kingdom, contrary to his majesty's honour so far engaged for present ratifying of the acts of the kirk, contrary to the laws, liberties and perpetual practice of the kingdom by which all continuation of parliament once called, convened and begun to sit have ever been made with express consent of the estates, as may be seen in the reign of King James VI, Queen Mary, King James V, King James III, King James II, King James I and so forth upward in all the printed and written records of parliament, contrary to the public peace both of the kirk and kingdom, which, by reason of the present condition thereof and the great confusion likely to ensue, cannot endure so long delay and which is to the advantage of our malicious adversaries who, for their own ends, are incessantly seeking all occasions by dividing between the king and the kingdom to bring both to utter ruin and dissolution. Therefore, we, the estates of parliament, out of our zeal to acquit ourselves according to our place both to the king's majesty, whose honour at all times, but especially convened in parliament, ought to have in high estimation, and to the kingdom which we do represent and whose liberties shall never be prostituted nor vilified by us, are constrained in this extremity to manifest and declare to all men who shall hear of our proceedings that as we have not given the least cause or smallest occasion of this unexpected and unexemplified prorogation, so we judge and know the same to be contrary to the constitution and practices of all preceding parliaments, contrary to the liberties of this free and ancient kingdom and very repugnant to his majesty's royal intentions, promises and gracious expressions in the articles of the late pacification, which we trust will be no sooner presented to his majesty's equitable consideration, but the adversaries who have informed against us shall be driven from his majesty's presence and receive their deserved reward. And do further declare that any prorogation made by the commissioner's grace alone without consent of the parliament, by himself or any commissioner in his name, or under the quarter seal, or by the lords of the council who have no power at all in matters of the parliament during the sitting thereof, shall be ineffectual and of no force at all to hinder the lawful proceedings of the subjects, and the doers thereof to be censurable in parliament. And further, we declare that the commissioner's nomination of the articles by himself, his calling together these articles and commanding them to sit continually and proceed, notwithstanding their daily protestations to the contrary, his keeping frequent sessions of council and determining causes in council during the time of the session in parliament, his calling down and calling up of money during the session of the parliament without consent of the estates of parliament, notwithstanding that the parliament had taken the money to their consideration and had purpose to have given their advice for a determination relating thereto, his frequent prorogating the riding of the parliament without consent of the estates or mentioning in the acts of prorogation the consent of the articles, although it was done by their advice, are contrary to the liberties of this kingdom, freedom and custom of parliament, and that they be no preparatives, practices nor prejudices in time coming against us or our successors. But because we know that the eyes of the world are upon us, that declarations have been made and published against us and malice is prompted for her obloquies and waits on with open mouth to snatch at the smallest shadow of disobedience, disservice or disrespect to his majesty's commandments, that our proceedings may be made odious to such as know not the way how these commandments are procured from his majesty, nor how they are made known and intimated to us, and do as little consider that we are not now private subjects but a sitting parliament, what national prejudices we have sustained in time past by misinformation and what is the present case of this kingdom, we therefore declare that whatsoever by the example of our predecessors in the like cases of necessity, by his majesty's indiction made by the articles of pacification, we act lawfully in sitting still, and which in this extreme necessity was justifiable not only before so just a king but to the faces of our adversaries. Yet, out of our most reverend regard and humble desire to render not only all real demonstrations of civil obedience but to put far from us all show or appearance what may give his majesty the least discontent, we have resolved for the present only to make remonstrances to his majesty of the reasons of our propositions and proceedings in this parliament, and how necessary it is that, without delay, a speedy course be taken for the preservation of the kirk and kingdom from the evils which the enemies of our religion, the king's honour and of our honour do project and long for; and in expectation of his majesty's gracious answer to these our humble remonstrances, that some of each estate, having power from the whole body of the parliament, remain still here at Edinburgh to attend the return of his majesty's gracious answer to our humble and just demands, and further, to remonstrate our humble desires to his majesty upon all occasions, that hereby it may be made manifest against all contradiction that it was never our intention to deny his majesty any part of that civil and temporal obedience which is due to all kings from their subjects and from us to our dread sovereign after a special manner, but merely to preserve our religion and the liberties of the kingdom without which religion cannot continue long in safety. And if it shall happen (which God forbid) that after we have made our remonstrances and to the utmost of our power and duty used all lawful means for his majesty's information, that our malicious enemies who are not considerable shall by their suggestions and lies prevail against the information and general declarations of a whole kingdom, we take God and men to witness that we are free of the outrages and insolencies that may be committed in the meantime, and that it shall be to us no imputation that we are constrained to take such course as may best secure the kirk and kingdom from the extremity of confusion and misery. Which declaration above-written, we, the estates of parliament, require the clerk to insert in the records thereof and grant extracts thereof under his hand and subscription. Upon the which declaration, [John Leslie], earl of Rothes, in name of the nobility, the Laird of Craigievar2, in name of the barons, Master James Gray, burgess of Haddington, in name of the burghs, and Master Alexander Henderson, in name of the commissioners from the general assembly and ministers, asked instruments.

According to the which declaration the nobility nominated and appointed [William Kerr], earl of Lothian and [William Ramsay, earl of] Dalhousie, [John Hay], lord Yester, [John Elphinstone, lord], Balmerino, [John Cranston, lord] Cranston and [Archibald Napier, lord] Napier; likewise the barons nominated and appointed [Sir David Crichton of Lugton and Sir John Wauchope of Niddrie], the commissioners of Edinburgh principal, [Sir Patrick Hepburn of Waughton and Sir John Hamilton of Preston, commissioners for] Haddington, [Sir George Dundas of that Ilk and William Drummond of Riccarton, commissioners for] Linlithgow, [Sir Thomas Myreton of Cambo and William Rigg of Aithernie, commissioners for] Fife and [Alexander Murray of Blackbarony and Sir David Murray of Stanhope, commissioners for] Peebles; and the burghs nominated [John Smith of Grotehill and Richard Maxwell], commissioners of the burgh of Edinburgh, [James Glen, commissioner for] Linlithgow, [Thomas Bruce of Weltoun, commissioner for] Stirling, [Master George Gray, commissioner for] Haddington and [John Purves, commissioner for] Dunbar3, to attend here at Edinburgh the return of his majesty's answer to their humble remonstrances.

The said Sir Thomas Hope [of Craighall], his majesty's advocate, protested against the foresaid declaration in so far as the same is derogatory to his majesty's power and authority, or to his majesty's sole power of prorogation of parliaments, or against the lawfulness of this present prorogation.

To which [Archibald Campbell], earl of Argyll answered that the nobility and other estates acknowledge it to be their bound duty never to derogate from his majesty's power and authority, but to maintain the same to their utmost; and seeing there was nothing contained in the said declaration which was prejudicial thereto nor anything emitted therein which contains any protestation, therefore desired that the advocate would desist from the said protestation.

  1. NAS, PA2/22, f.9v-11r.
  2. APS suggests 'Auldbar' in square brackets.
  3. 'George Purves' according to Young, Parliaments of Scotland, ii, 576.