[Reasons why the acts of June 1640 should be published and printed without being touched by the sceptre]

Reasons wherefore the publication and printing in the king's name and authority of those acts in June 1640 is only necessary and the touch of the sceptre needless2

Whereas it is urged that the king's majesty may touch with the sceptre the 40 acts sent up to [William Hamilton], earl of Lanark, he would remember and consider the deduction of that business.

As first that the estates of parliament, having convened in June 1640 by his majesty's authority and having set down the reasons of their sitting still in parliament, they made a number of acts necessary for the good and peace of this kirk and kingdom and obliged themselves by a bond of maintenance to stand to the authority of this parliament and observation of these acts, and in the conclusion of that parliament set down their desires to the king's majesty to account these acts as his own laws and to command them to be published in his own name with their consent, wherein they crave not his ratification because of his consent to their sitting and determining, but only his publication thereof, which was done from a certain suggestion.

2. The committee send up into court with a letter to the Earl of Lanark an extract of the principal acts passed in the session of parliament of 11 June 1640, being 40 in number, with an index of them bearing the same title.

3. The public letter to the Earl of Lanark, which was the ground of the treaty, the instructions to the commissioners and their first demand in the treaty, is not for ratification or touch of the sceptre to these acts for to give the force and strength of laws thereto, but was for a publication of these acts of the parliament of 11 June 1640 as having already the king's authority and consent.

4. The king's majesty in the treaty, having agreed to our first demand, and our commissioners, for to prevent all debate in this parliament having given in a model of his majesty publishing these acts, the king's majesty on 3 December agreed thereto and declared that he was pleased to publish them in his own name and commands that these acts bearing date 11 June 1640 be published with the acts to be made in the next session of the parliament. And that all the said acts, as well of the precedent as of the next session, to have the strength of laws and promised in the first word to publish these acts in such sort as is above-specified, wherein there is no mention made of any new consent of the king or touching them with the sceptre, which is expressly done to make them become laws from this date, August 1641, and not to have been laws from June 1640, which is directly contrary to our bond of maintenance which we are all tied to maintain the authority and liberty of the parliament of 11 June 1640 as absolutely and fully as any parliament within this kingdom formerly held and the observation and executions of these acts made in that session of the parliament of 11 June, and is contrary to the treaty bearing wherein his majesty grants and promises that these acts shall be published in his name as acts of the preceding session and bearing date 11 June 1640, and is destructive of all our proceedings these 12 months past, wherein we have been venturing our lives for the maintenance of this parliament. Likewise this was contrary to the practice of our predecessors who, being tender of the liberty of the kingdom when they ratified any act of the parliament of 1560, declared the same to be a common law from the first day and date thereof, as in the 7th parliament, 6th session of James V, act 115. Likewise this was a dangerous preparative to prejudice the privileges of the parliament and liberty in the like extremities after a treaty of the subject amongst our posterity, contrary to our late oaths.

5. If it be objected that the bond of maintenance and some other acts were not sent up to the Earl of Lanark and so were not approved by the king, to answer first that the desire of the parliament in their conclusion was only for publication of these sets in the king's name as having his real consent and not needing the ceremony; and that they sent up only those principal acts which they desired to be published, as the title of the index sent up imports. 2. That they sent up some general acts, the publication whereof imports the approbation of all the particulars that were left unprinted: as for instance they sent up the second act declaring the authority, power and jurisdiction of that parliament held in June 1640 to be as absolute and full as of any preceding parliament and prohibiting all persons whatsoever to call in question the authority thereof upon whatsoever pretext under the pain of treason. Which being sent to his majesty and in the treaty granted already by his majesty, directly imports the validity of the bond of maintenance and all other acts made therein (whereof none can be questioned without quarrelling the authority and power of that parliament), and does show that it is not only perjury in regard of the bond of maintenance, but also treason by this act approved in the treaty; for to accept of any ceremony that may derogate to the authority of that session of 11 June 1640 and would make the acts thereof not to have been laws from that date, but to become laws from the present touch of the sceptre. 3. They sent up the 35th act which gives warrant to the clerk to subscribe and extract the whole acts done in that session, and declares and ordains the whole acts and statutes made in that session to stand and have the force and strength of laws in the same way as any acts and statutes of any preceding parliament in any time bygone have had. Likewise by the last act whereby the parliament is declared to be current, it is ordained that the whole acts and statutes concluded in this present session of parliament to stand and have the force and strength of laws in the same way as any acts and statutes of any preceding parliaments in any time bygone, and ordains the same to be published and printed notwithstanding of the continuation thereof to the day foresaid. The king's receipt and grant of publishing these two general acts includes the bond of maintenance and all other particulars. 4. In all the acts of parliament made for continuation thereof from diet to diet as in November, January, April, May, June etc. in his majesty's name and often upon his majesty's letter, that clause of declaring the whole acts of the first session of June to have the force and strength of laws and ordaining them to be published is inserted and renewed. 5. The bond of maintenance of the authority of that parliament was subscribed in council. 6. The same parliament presently have renewed their order for subscribing of that bond by all that would voice in parliament.

6. By all these reasons it is evident that the bond of maintenance cannot be refused nor the authority of that session of parliament of 11 June cannot be quarrelled without danger of perjury and treason, which would be imported by the touch of the sceptre as making them to become laws from this present date, which is to be assumed in regard of this danger, especially seeing the king has already consented in the treaty, which is the substance, and there is no register that shows the necessity of that ceremony and no man's verbal relation (except an officer) should be trusted by a parliament in a matter of the greatest consequence. And seeing the parliament in June by their conclusion, the committee by their instructions, the commissioners by their first demand craved only the publication of these acts in the king's name with consent of the estates and set down the model thereof to prevent all debate in this parliament, and seeing the king's majesty in the treaty has promised the publication of these acts and agreed to the very model therein set down, there is no more now to be craved or to be done by his majesty but the subscribing of the treaty when it comes home and the clerk's publishing these acts according to his majesty's command and model set down in the treaty.

  1. NAS, PA6/7, 'Appendix, August 13 1641', f.1r-2r.
    Mistakenly filed under 13 August instead of 30 August.
  2. This clause is written on the rear of the document.