[Remonstrance of the lord constable to the parliament regarding the jurisdiction and privileges of his office]

Remonstrance for [Gilbert Hay, earl of Erroll], lord constable to the parliament2

The humble remonstrance of the Earl of Erroll, high constable of Scotland, to the supreme court of parliament now convened.

It is in all humility represented to the estates of parliament that if there were any necessity for the lord constable at this time to dispute his rights and privileges due to that office, or if any member of the parliament did doubt or were not acquainted with the said privileges, it would be made clearly to appear that the lord constable is only supreme judge in all matters of riot, disorder, blood and slaughter committed within four miles of the king's royal person, parliament or council, representing the authority royal in his majesty's absence. And the provost and bailies of that burgh and all other judges where the said facts are committed are obliged to rise and concur and make their tolbooths patent for receiving of malefactors and, particularly, this might be made appear by bonds made by the town of Edinburgh to the lord constable concerning that purpose. Likewise the constable has diverse decreets against the town of Edinburgh in the court of appeals discharging them from censuring of any matters of slaughter, blood or riot within four miles of his majesty's person, parliament or council.

Item, the lord constable has the charge, trust, keeping and guarding of the king's royal person and of the parliament house where the estates and peers of the land are convened in time of parliament, with many other privileges due to that place. But seeing there is no necessity to dispute any right or privilege due to that office at this time, the same being well-known to the estates of parliament, the constable abstains and desires not to be drawn to any unnecessary dispute relating to this, but in all humility represents to the parliament that, seeing the lord constable is one of the prime officers of the crown, the maintaining and vindicating of his power and privileges does very closely concern the honour of the nation and the estates of the kingdom as being a place of such trust and eminency, wherein the constable, being a servant to his majesty and the parliament, they are obliged to protect and maintain the privileges of that service. And seeing the town of Edinburgh confesses in their own bill that they have nor pretend no interest in the matter now contravened concerning Master Thomas Lamb, in respect it is granted by the town of Edinburgh in their own bill that the fact was committed without their bounds and liberties, it is humbly desired that the lord constable may have warrant to proceed to the trial and punishing of that slaughter committed by the said Master Thomas as the only competent judge thereto, seeing it is incontrovertible that the power of all magistrates, either of royalty or regality in criminal causes, passes and yields to the lord constable's jurisdiction in time of parliament. And it were a great derogation to the honour of the king's majesty and parliament if any inferior judge should have the power of examining and jurisdiction in matters criminal, where his majesty's person, parliament or supreme council sit, because these supreme judicatories represent his majesty's own person and the body of the kingdom over whom no inferior judge should have power of jurisdiction. Neither should the town of Edinburgh be admitted to appear or have either any declaration or protestation in their favour, seeing in the particular now controverted they confess they have no interest as said is, in respect the town of Edinburgh grants that the slaughter was committed upon bounds which is without their jurisdiction and liberties.

5 August 1641

Produced by the Earl of Erroll and read in parliament and answered upon the supplication therewith exhibited.3

  1. NAS, PA6/4, 'August 5 1641'.
  2. This clause is written on the rear of the document.
  3. This clause is written on the rear of the document.