Procedure: commission and instructions to Mr Robert Meldrum

The estates of the kingdom of Scotland presently convened do hereby give warrant and commission to Mr Robert Meldrum [of Burghlie] to proceed to the city of London, and there to propose to both houses of the parliament, or such as shall be appointed by them, such things as are instructed to him from the said estates; and to use all possible diligence to procure an answer to, according to his instructions on that behalf.

Instructions from the convention of estates to Mr Robert Meldrum

Commission and instructions to Robert Meldrum

You shall proceed to the city of London and represent to both houses of parliament, or to the commissioners who did treat with our commissioners concerning the supply of Ireland, that the convention of the estates of this kingdom, having taken into their consideration the tender sense and compassion of both houses of the wants and extremities of the Scottish army in Ireland, with their earnest desire to give satisfaction by a speedy relief and supply according to the articles of the treaty, and with all the impossibility for them to perform the same by reasons of the great burdens and miseries lying upon that kingdom, as is at length expressed in their papers of 15 and 25 May sent with [John Lindsay], earl of Lindsay, we cannot but with great grief of heart acknowledge and regret these calamities and distresses of that kingdom, and as we wish from our hearts a happy and speedy end thereof, so the pressing necessities of the army in Ireland and difficulties occurring thereupon has constrained them to represent to both houses such things as they find necessary by the said houses to be resolved. You shall represent to both houses that the convention of the estates of this kingdom has long expected committees from them with instructions and power according to the aforesaid papers sent with the earl of Lindsay; and their expectation being until now disappointed and the necessities of that army still growing, which are impossible for them any longer to support, you shall therefore again crave their present resolution and declaration whether they will continue the service of that army or declare they will no longer maintain the same. And if the houses of parliament shall resolve no longer to maintain that army, then you shall desire that due advertisement be made thereof and monies be provided for payment of their arrears and carrying them home according to the articles of the treaty. But if they shall be pleased to continue the service of that army, then shall you demand their resolution in these particulars following, which were formerly entrusted from the council to the earl of Lindsay, and by him offered to those who treated with him, and whereof some are absolutely necessary for the subsistence of that army and agreed upon in the treaty, and others are very necessary and convenient for the good and better prosecuting of the service. Whereas the army has not been monthly paid according to the agreement, as may appear by the great increase of arrears in the commissary's accounts; and seeing in that desolate land nothing is to be got upon credit and the provisions coming there exchanges the prices of food provisions, so as their pay, although duly paid, would scarce maintain them, and merchants will not hazard their goods to these places where they will be taken from them by force by reason of the necessity of the soldiers, you shall therefore desire that the army be satisfied of their arrears, and thereafter that monthly payment be duly made for encouragement of the officers and soldiers in their service according to the treaty. The provision of victuals for the Scottish army in garrisons or expeditions abroad, and the providing of Carrickfergus and Boyne with magazines of victual in due time, according to the treaty, would have been a great help to the service: the neglect whereof has been the chief cause of the unparalleled miseries which the army has sustained. As also the not providing of the Newry, Mountjoy and Londonderry with provisions and magazines has been the cause of the loss of many occasions of service against the enemy. Indeed, the army would had perished long ago if it had not been furnished at several times from this kingdom in their necessity. So, over and above the sums due to the merchants, furnishers of the victual, the hazard and charges of convoy lies upon this country, which has been very great, in regard that, according to the treaty, ships have not constantly waited there for these ends. You shall therefore desire that six months' provision be laid in store in the places aforesaid, and competent allowance granted for the charges this kingdom has already been at in the transporting and safe convoying of that victual, which should have been performed by the parliament of England and the hazard carried by them.

Whereas the 10 troops of horse that were appointed by the treaty to wait upon the Scottish army has all this time wanted the officers promised, and the troops themselves want saddles, pistols and other equipment necessary,

You shall therefore desire that, according to the treaty, these troops may have the officers promised set over them, and that they themselves be sufficiently furnished with all sort of equipment. You shall desire that, according to the treaty, sufficient store of powder, spades, shovels, pick axes, handrules and other materials be sent to Carrickfergus, and that a reserve of sporderines2 be laid up in store, and that payment be made of £2,000 per year for incident charges since the two ships that were appointed to attend for guarding the coast and clearing the passage between Scotland and Ireland were not able to do the service even whilst they were there, for in the crew supply of officers and ammunition were conveyed by the rebels. You shall desire some better course to be taken for guarding the coast from the robbers of the Irish and Dunkirk frigates that appear thereupon, according to the letter sent by the convention to the speakers of both houses.

Note of the particulars which are demanded as necessary for the better prosecuting of the service

That all disorders which come by divided and independent commands may be evicted, and that his majesty and houses of parliament may know at whose hand to crave an account of the war, you shall desire that the general may have full power over all the British in Ulster, as well formed in regiments whilst they are there as the country people.

Since the equipment of the carriage of the army in Ireland is so necessary and difficult, and that the allowance of a horse for the carriage of the victual of each 10 men will take up the whole thousand allowed for the baggage and artillery, and since there are no horse to be got in Ireland, as was expected, you shall desire that allowance be given for furnishing 400 horse for the train of artillery at 12d a day every horse, and for the pay of those who attend them, one man for every three horse at 8d a day. You shall desire that the payment to be made to the army may be agreed either to be at London or Carrickfergus in English money. And since until now what has been given has been received there, you shall desire allowance to be granted to the treasurer of that army for his bygone pains. And if it shall be thought fit hereafter to be delivered at London, that a fee be granted to the treasurer in time coming.

Seeing the troops appointed to join with that army have no maintenance at all, and so are without order and discipline, made up of the inhabitants of the country who seldom come together except at musters and cannot do service unless they be absolutely at our generals' command; and various captains of these troops have desired their charge and, as we are credibly informed, are upon service with the army at Oxford, you shall therefore desire that the pay of these troops may be engrossed with the pay of the Scottish army, and especially that of Sir Robert Adair, who has raised and maintained his troop upon his own charges, whereof you shall desire payment.

You shall likewise desire that the parliament would appoint two pinnaces or tutches4 for convoying diligence between them and this kingdom.

You shall show to both houses of parliament that we cannot but with great thankfulness express how affectionately the brotherly assistance was granted by them for the relief of our engagements the time of our late troubles, and how sorry we are for their great necessities hindering them to make payment of the remainder of that assistance expressed in their paper of 3 January delivered to [John Lindsay], earl of Lindsay. But in regard the remainder of the two terms' payment thereof, which was payable in 1642, is assigned to Sir William Dick [of Braid] for necessary disbursements bestowed by him for the service of the country, the non-payment whereof will hazard his credit and standing, you shall therefore desire that what is remaining of that payment to be presently paid, together with the interest, according to the aforesaid paper. And for the payment of the £110,000, if their distresses (whereof we are very aware) may not admit of the present payment thereof, we shall show them that we expect they will pay it with all possible speed in such a way as our own great burdens may not increase upon us by the interest we pay for them, so long as our own necessity will permit us to supersede the payment thereof.

You shall use all diligence to see Thomas Cunningham or his factors paid fully for the arms he has sent to this kingdom, according to the tenor of the agreement made by the parliament of England with him on that behalf.

You shall use all diligence within 10 days at most after your coming to London (where you are upon no occasions to stay any longer) to procure the answers of both houses of parliament accordingly as they will either continue or declare they will maintain our army, and to the other particulars aforesaid. And if in place of answer they resolve to send down committees, you shall earnestly desire that they come with all possible diligence and full power, instructed and warranted to treat and conclude on the particulars aforesaid, and of such other things as may concern the good of both kingdoms according to their own papers sent with the earl of Lindsay.

You shall likewise make known to them that we have received from Mr Corbett copies of the instructions sent from both houses to their committees at Scotland at his majesty's late being there. And as we thankfully acknowledge the sense they then had of the apparent disturbance of the peace of this kingdom and their care to preserve the same, which before this time was never notified to the parliament nor any judicatory of this kingdom, so have we not been wanting at this time in a reciprocal of the preservation of theirs, whereof our late commissioners in their remonstrances to his majesty of 15 January 1642 (in the Scottish style) and the lords of council and commissioners of peace by their several declarations have given ample testimonies. And if before their commissioners come to London the committees from both houses shall be upon their way toward Scotland, you shall demand that both houses would either give answer to the particulars aforesaid or send an ample commission and power to their committees to treat and conclude thereupon, and likewise concerning the remainder of the large treaty.

  1. NAS. PA8/1, f.53v-54v.
  2. ? Definition of this term unknown.
  3. NAS. PA8/1, f.55r-56r.
  4. DSL gives this as being erroneous for 'coche', defined as a coach.