Commission by the king and parliament to the lords of secret council

Our sovereign lord, with advice and consent of the estates of parliament, considering that his majesty being now actually present in his royal person in this his native and ancient kingdom, and willing before his return to England (where his majesty's more ordinary residence has been heretofore and will apparently be in time coming) to leave behind him such a pledge and testimony of his tender respect, royal care and fatherly affection for establishing the good and happy government of this his majesty's ancient kingdom, as in some measure may supply the want of his royal presence amongst them, has to this effect, out of his native goodness, agreed to an act made in this present session of parliament, with consent of the estates, whereby his majesty, for himself and his successors, has willed and enacted and ordained that now, and in all time coming, the officers of state, lords of secret council and lords of session on whose care, wisdom and fidelity in their several judicatories (which next to the supreme court of parliament are the chief and principal judicatories) depends the well and happiness of the government shall be chosen now and in all time coming by his majesty and his successors, with advice and approbation of the estates of parliament when they are sitting, and for the interim, with advice of the lords of secret council and session respectively, as in the said act of parliament at more length is contained. Therefore his majesty has, with special advice and approbation of the said estates, nominated, elected and chosen the persons after-following: [John Campbell], lord Loudoun, chancellor, [James Stewart], duke of Lennox, [James Hamilton], marquis of Hamilton, [Archibald Campbell], earl of Argyll, [William Keith], earl Marischal, [John Gordon], earl of Sutherland, [John Erskine], earl of Mar, [William Douglas], earl of Morton, [Alexander Montgomery], earl of Eglinton, [John Kennedy], earl of Cassilis, [William Cunningham], earl of Glencairn, [James Stewart], earl of Moray, [John Drummond], earl of Perth, [Charles Seton], earl of Dunfermline, [John Fleming], earl of Wigtown, [John Lyon], earl of Kinghorn, [Robert Ker], earl of Roxburghe, [George MacKenzie], earl of Seaforth, [John Maitland], earl of Lauderdale, [William Kerr], earl of Lothian, [George Hay], earl of Kinnoull, [David Carnegie], earl of Southesk, [John Wemyss], earl of Wemyss, [William Ramsay], earl of Dalhousie, [James Ogilvie], earl of Findlater, [William Hamilton], earl of Lanark, [Alexander Leslie], earl of Leven, [Archibald Douglas], lord Angus, [John Lindsay], lord Lindsay2, [John Hay], lord Yester, [John Sinclair], lord Sinclair, [Alexander Elphinstone], lord Elphinstone, [John Elphinstone], lord Balmerino, [Robert Balfour], lord [Balfour of] Burleigh, [James Livingstone], lord Almond, [David Lindsay], lord Balcarres, [Sir Alexander Gibson of Durie], clerk register, [Sir Thomas Hope of Craighall], advocate, [Sir John Hamilton of Orbiston], justice clerk, [Sir James Carmichael], treasurer depute, [Sir James Galloway], master of requests, Sir Robert Gordon, Sir William Douglas [of Cavers], Sir Patrick Hepburn [of Waughton], [Sir George Dundas], laird of Dundas, [Sir David Graham], laird of Fintry, [Sir Thomas Myreton], laird of Cambo, [Sir Alexander Erskine], laird of Dun, [Sir Robert Innes], laird of Innes, [Sir Robert Graham], laird of Morphie, the provost of Edinburgh for the time being and these supernumerary English councillors, namely: [Thomas Howard], earl of Arundel, [Philip Herbert], earl of Pembroke, [William Cecil], earl of Salisbury, [Henry Rich], earl of Holland, to whom, or any nine of them by these supernumerary above-named, his majesty, with advice and consent of the said estates, has committed and commits the administration and government of this his majesty's native kingdom in all affairs concerning the peace, good and happiness thereof, which by the laws and custom of this kingdom pertains to the judgment, cognition and determination of his majesty's privy council. With power to them, or any nine of them as said is, to meet and convene at the place appointed for the ordinary residence of his majesty's privy council within the burgh of Edinburgh, or at any other place or places which by common consent in case of any necessity or urgent occasion thereof shall be found most fit and convenient, and there to advise, consult, deliberate, conclude, decide and determine upon all and sundry affairs, purposes and actions which may concern the good and peace of the kingdom, according to the laws and acts of parliament established or to be established within the same, and to hear, decide and determine upon all causes and actions between subject and subject proper to be decided by the lords of his majesty's privy council, and that none be present at their inciting but such as are of the privy council, with the clerk of the privy council, whom his majesty, with advice foresaid, continues in his place as of before. His majesty, with advice and consent foresaid, has likewise given and granted, and by the tenor hereof gives and grants, full power and commission to the said council and every one of them upon any intervening occasion of disorder or trouble in such parts of the country where they shall remain for the time to command or charge the person or persons, committers of such disorders, to observe and keep his majesty's peace, and to charge the contraveners thereof to enter their persons in ward in such part or places, or within such a short space as the said councillor shall think fit, there to remain until order be taken by a full number of the council in the matter wherein they have offended, providing always he be accountable to his majesty and the rest of the council, and that no just cause of complaint be heard against him. And if the person or persons so charged to ward shall happen to disobey and condemn the charge, his majesty, with advice and consent of the said estates, declares that upon report thereof to the council a pecuniary sum shall be imposed upon the offender, according to the quality of his person and nature of his offence; and the council is to cause apprehend the offenders and commit them to ward. With power likewise to the said council to make and set down acts and ordinances for government of the kingdom and suppressing of disorders within the same. With power likewise to the said council to give and appoint assizers to the justice general and his deputes in case of necessity, and to give warrant to the said justice, his deputes and assizers for continuing execution after conviction or for mitigating the punishment of the law in criminal causes if the nature and quality of the crimes shall require, and to grant commissions of justiciary in matters criminal and other commissions in matters concerning the well of the kingdom. And also with power to them to give warrant to the said justice general, his deputes and other commissioners foresaid for imposing of fines or pecuniary sums upon the crimes of adultery, bearing and wearing of hackbuts and pistols, usury and such other transgressors of the acts of parliament where the punishment by law is inflicted upon body or goods or left to the arbitrament of the judge. And likewise with power to them to grant exemptions from hosts, rides, assizes and licences for departing out of the kingdom according to the conditions contained in the act of parliament, and also with power to the said council, in case an open and avowed rebellion shall happen to be raised within the said kingdom which cannot be suppressed but by force, to give commission of lieutenantry and justiciary for repressing of the said rebellion, and to direct charges to such parts of the country as they shall think fit for concurrence to be given in execution of the said commission, and to give order and direction to furnish and advance the sums of money that shall be requisite in such expeditions. With power likewise to the said council to raise the session upon any intervening occasion or necessity and to appoint times and places of their down-sitting3. And generally, with power to the said council to do, use and exercise all and every thing which the council of the said kingdom did or might have done the time of his majesty's late father, providing always, likewise his majesty expressly provides with advice and consent foresaid, that this commission shall in no way be prejudicial to the commission of exchequer. And it is declared that any nine of the said council shall be a sufficient number and make a session, providing the lord chancellor be one of the nine, and in case of the absence of the lord chancellor, it is declared that it shall be lawful to any nine or more of the council convened in the ordinary place and at the indicted time of meeting to choose one of the number convened who shall preside at the meeting as often as the lord chancellor shall be absent. And his majesty and estates, considering that the often absence of the most part of the council and their non-attendance upon the charge and trust entrusted to them will be a great impediment and hindrance to his majesty's service, therefore his majesty, with advice foresaid, declares that it is his special pleasure and command that the lord chancellor or president of the council to be elected as said is do see and provide that the council be frequent, specially in great and weighty matters of estate, and if upon occasion that requires the number of the council to be more full than the said quorum, the lord chancellor or president to be elected in manner foresaid shall write to such others of the council as they think fit to be present and give their attendance, and if any disobey without licence from his majesty or the quorum of the council or without some reasonable cause (either of which shall excuse their absence) then, and in that case, his majesty, with advice foresaid, wills that the absent shall be censured by the said council as a neglecter of his majesty's service and that his majesty be advertised thereof. And it is declared that if any of the said councillors' places become vacant by decease, demission or deprivation, that his majesty in the interim shall nominate another of the same degree and quality in the vacant place with advice of the most part of the lords of privy council, they being all present at the said election, at the least lawfully warned to that effect upon 15 days' warning according to the act of parliament made relating thereto, which election made in the interim as said is shall be allowed or disallowed by his majesty with consent of the estates in the next ensuing parliament as they shall think expedient. And also his majesty, with consent of the said estates, gives power to the said lords of secret council, or any nine of them as said is, to set down such rules and orders for their meetings and attendance, and times and spaces thereof, as they shall resolve, appoint and ordain amongst themselves, and wills and declares that the said lords of secret council now nominated as said is, and those who shall be surrogate in their places in the interim in manner foresaid, shall have, possess and enjoy their places for life without offence and shall be liable to the censure of his majesty and estates of parliament regarding their proceedings therein, firm and stable holding whatever by the said lords, or any nine of them as said is, shall be lawfully done in the premises, and decrees and ordains all his majesty's lieges and subjects to revere, acknowledge and obey the said lords of his majesty's council in all things concerning the charge and trust committed to them as said is under all highest pain and charge which after may follow, and this commission to endure to the next parliament and longer until the same be expressly discharged.

  1. NAS, PA2/22, f.179v-181r.
  2. John Lindsay had actually been created Earl of Lindsay in May 1633.
  3. The clause commencing 'With power likewise' down to 'down-sitting' is deleted in the original warrant at NAS, PA6/5, 'November 16 1641'. The warrant also bears the following note on the margin: 'These words are appointed in council to stand undeleted'.