[Commission for levying 120 men to assist the commissioners of justiciary in the north]

Commission for levying of 120 men2

Our sovereign lord and estates of parliament, considering the necessary great and weighty causes for the which his majesty and estates of parliament have given commission to certain of his majesty's nobility and others in the northern and west parts of this kingdom, tending to the good, peace and quiet thereof and for repressing of the barbarous insolencies daily arising and committed therein, namely: within the sheriffdoms of Dunbarton, Stirling, Perth, Angus, Kincardine, Aberdeen, Inverness, Banff and Moray (including Nairn), in the which expedition it is thought expedient that 120 men shall be levied for attending and assisting the execution of the said commission, as well for bringing in of malefactors and other suspect persons to underlie the law in the justice courts to be affixed and set by the said commissioners for that purpose as for putting the sentences thereof to due and lawful execution. And his majesty, having experience of the fidelity of [...], and that he will hazard and peril his life, fortune and estate in his majesty's service, therefore his majesty, with consent of the estates of parliament, ordains a letter of commission to be made and passed under his majesty's great seal in due and competent form, making, constituting and ordaining, likewise his majesty, with consent foresaid, makes, constitutes and ordains the said [...] his majesty's commissioner in that part within the bounds foresaid of the said sheriffdoms of Dunbarton, Stirling, Perth, Angus, Kincardine, Banff, Aberdeen, Inverness and Murray (including Nairn) to the effect underwritten, giving, granting and committing to him as his majesty's commissioner full power, warrant and commission to raise and convoke the said 120 men, and further if need be, within the said sheriffdoms, well armed and provided with all kind of armour and with guns, hackbuts and pistols and to prosecute with all hostility all and whatsoever persons within the said sheriffdoms who are guilty or suspected guilty of committing thefts, depredations, plunderings, murders, fire-raising and other odious crimes and oppressions whatsoever or who are denounced rebels and fugitives from the laws for criminal causes, their assisters, partakers and resetters and all and whatsoever persons within the said sheriffdoms who are guilty of resetting and supplying of the said thieves, rebels and fugitives and other suspect persons respectively foresaid since the committing of the said odious crimes and oppressions, or who shall happen to supply, maintain or reset them and their accomplices or any of them thereafter, and to bring in the said persons to the said justices contained in the foresaid commission to underlie the law for the said crimes at such times and places within the foresaid sheriffdoms as the said commissioners shall think expedient in manner and to the effect contained in the foresaid commission. And if the said rebels, fugitives and other suspect persons respectively foresaid or any of them flee to strengths or houses by warlike engines then, and in that case, to set fire thereto or otherwise by himself or others in his name to besiege them, force and compel them to render the same. And if it shall happen the said [...] or his companies or followers to take any of the said thieves, sorners, rebels and fugitives and other persons respectively foresaid and their assisters and partakers, with power to him to put them in ward and prison within the said sheriffdoms until justice be done upon them or otherwise to bring them to the said commissioners or justices mentioned in the foresaid commission, that justice may be done upon them according to the laws of the kingdom. And if it shall happen any blood, slaughter, mutilation or any other hurt or damage to be done by the said [...] or his companies or followers in the execution of the foresaid commission, his majesty and estates of parliament declare that the said [...] and all that shall happen to rise with him or be in his company during the time of the said service, they, their heirs nor executors shall incur no damage nor danger in their bodies, lands, goods, gear nor possessions by the prosecuting of the said rebels, delinquents and others foresaid nor for whatsoever slaughters, mutilations, spuilzies or intromission with their goods and gear which shall happen to be done by virtue of the foresaid commission, nor for fire raising, bearing and wearing of hackbuts, guns and pistols, that they and every one of them shall be free and discharged thereof for ever. And generally with power to the said [...] and his companies and followers foresaid to do, use and exercise all and every thing which to the office of his majesty's commissioner belongs to be done in the premises within the bounds foresaid. And this commission shall endure until the same be expressly discharged by the king's majesty, parliament or secret council. And his majesty is graciously pleased, with consent of the estates, that the foresaid commissioner and 120 men shall be maintained upon his majesty's charges until the diet of the foresaid circuit courts, and thereafter they shall be maintained upon the surplus and rest of the fines and fines of the said courts if any be over and above that which pays the commissioners' charges in the foresaid expedition. And if the said surplus will not pay the maintenance and charges of the said commissioner and 120 men, then and in that case they shall have their pay out of the first and readiest of his majesty's rents and casualties in exchequer and that the treasurers and commissioners thereof and at their modification, and this commission shall be a sufficient warrant to them for that effect. It is always hereby declared that in case the said [...] or any of his company or followers happen in any way to hurt, damnify or prejudice any of his majesty's free lieges within the bounds foresaid in their lands, rents, goods or gear during the space of the foresaid commission, then and in that case the said [...] shall be held to restore the same to the said persons with all their loss or damage sustained by them therein, and that upon their complaint to be given in relating thereto. And that the said letter be further extended in the best forms with all clauses needful, commanding hereby [Sir John Scott of Scotstarvit], director of his majesty's chancellery, to write out the said letter upon this commission to the great seal freely, and to [John Campbell, lord Loudoun], his majesty's chancellor, to cause append the said great seal thereto, also freely, without passing any other seals or registers. And this commission shall be a sufficient warrant to them for that effect.

16 November 1641

This commission, being moved to the king's majesty and estates of parliament, they remit the same to the secret council with this declaration: that whatsoever the council shall conclude and enact therein shall have the authority, force and validity of an act of parliament.

[John Elphinstone, lord] Balmerino, in presence of the lords of parliament3

  1. NAS, PA6/5, 'November 16 1641'. A duplicate copy of this commission is bound also within this section.
  2. This clause is written on the rear of the document.
  3. This clause is written on the rear of the second copy of the commission