[Commission for justice courts in the north]

Commission for justice courts in the north, with the act for the sex score men, recomendit to the counsall and remittit by the king and parliament [...]2 them [...]3

Our soverane lord, with consent of the estates of parliament, out of his fatherlie cair and ardent zeall to justice quhairthrow malefactours, delinquents and brekers of his majesties lawis and statutes within this kingdome may be punisched according to thair just demeritis, and that peceabill and guid men heirefter may leive the better in quyetnes and saiftie under his majesties royall most happie and peaceabill governement, hes thocht expedient now eftir the lait troubills and satling and estableisching of religioun with the lawis and liberties of this kingdome that circuit courts of justiciarie also be establisched within the severall shirrefdomes underwrittin yeirlie for tryell and punisching of all theiffis, sorners, robbers and ressetts thairof and uthair suspect persounes quhatsumevir or malefactours and transgressours of his majesties lawes and statutes within the saids bounds. And thairfor his majestie, with consent of the estaits of parliament, ordanes ane lettre of commissioun to be maid and past under his majesties grit seall in dew and competent forme making, nominating and constituting, lykas his majestie with consent foirsaid maks, creats, nominats and constitutes Maister Alexander Colvill of Blair and Maistir James Robertoun, advocat, his majesties justice deputs, or suche as the justice generall (if any sall be) for the tyme sall deput for the service efterspecifit, and als the uthair persounes respective undernameit, conforme to the divisioun of the tuo quorums eftirspecifit, his majesties justices be commissioun in that pairt within the ten shirrefdomes efterfollowing in maner underwrittin, viz: for the shirrefdome of Dumbartane, the Erle of Argyll and William Sempill of Fulwood, Walter McAulay of Ardingapill and Umphray Colquhoun of Balvey. For the shirrefdome of Sterling, the Erle of Mar, the Erle Argyle, the Lord Almond and Sir Lodovik Houstoun of that Ilk, George Buchanan, fear of that Ilk, and Maistir William Cunynghame of Brounhill. For the shirrefdome of Perthe, the Erle of Athole, the Erle of Perthe, the Vicount of Stormonth, Sir Robert Campbell of Glenurquhie, Sir Thomas Stewart, fear of Gairntullie, Mungo Campbell, fear of Lawers, and Maistir George Grahame of Inchebraikie and James Stewart of Ardvorlik. For the shirrefdome of Angus, the Erle of Kinghorn, the Lord Carnegie, Sir David Grahame of Fintrie, Sir Johne Erskin of Dun and Sir Alexander Carnegie of Balnamoone. For the shirrefdome of Mernes, the Erle of Merschell, Sir Gilbert Ramsay of Balmayn, Sir Robert Grahame of Morphie and James Wood of Balbegno. For the shirrefdome of Aberdein, the Marqueis of Huntlie, the Lord Gordoune, the Erle of Merschell, the Lord Erskein, the Lord Fraser, the Laird of Frenderaucht, the Laird of Drum, Sir William Forbes of Craigievar, Johne Forbes of Leslie and Alexander Straquhan of Glenkindie and Robert Farquharson of Invercald. For the shirrefdome of Bamff, the Erle of Findlater, the Laird of Frenderhaucht, Sir Alexander Abercrombie, younger, of Birkinboig, Walter Barclay of Towie and Alexander Ogilbie of Kemptcairn. For the shirrefdome of Murray (including Nairne), the Erle of Murray, Sir Robert Innes of that Ilk, the Laird of Duffois, Thomas McKenzie of Pluscardie, James Grant of that Ilk, Johne Grant of Moynes, Hew Rose of Kilraik and Alexander Brodie of Lethame. For the shirrefdome of Invernes, the Erle of Seaforth, the Maister of Lovatt, Williame McIntosche of that Ilk, James Fraser of Brey, Maistir Alexander McKenzie of Kelkowie and Duncan Forbes of Cullon. Geveand, grantand and committand to the foirnameit persounes respective and ilk quorum thairof efterspecifit conjunctlie and thair deputs for quhom they salbe answerabill his majesties full power and commissioun to the effect efterspecifit, with full power to them, or ony quorum of them conjunctlie, conforme to the said divisioun, be themselves or thair deputs in thair names (for quhom they salbe answerabill), to sett, affix, affirme, hold and how oft neid beis to continew justice courts or courts of justiciarie within the severall shirrefdomes respective foirsaid, or ony pairt thairof, als oft and sua oft as neid beis and at suche tymes and plaices as they sall think expedient, tuyse ilk yeir during the spaice of this commissioun, viz: at one tyme fra the midist of Apryll to the last day of Maii for that sessioun of the yeir, and in August thaireftir that same yeir, and to begin thairto in Apryll jM vjC fourtie tua yeirs. And to cause chairge, call and convein befor them all and quhatsumevir persounes within the saids shirrefdomes quha ar ather giltie or suspect giltie of committing thifts, depredatiounes, hairschips, murthers, fyr raising, witchcrafts, incests, adulteries and uthair odious crymes and oppressiounes quhatsumevir or quho ar denunceit rebells and fugitives from the lawis for criminall causes, thair assisters, resseters and partakers, and all and quhatsumevir persounes within the saids shirrefdomes quha ar giltie of ressetting and supplieing of the saids theiffs, rebells, fugitives and uthairs suspect persounes respective foirsaids sence the committing of the saids odious crymes and oppressiounes, or quha sall happen to supplie, maintein or ressett them and thair complices or ony of them thairefter, to underly the law for quhatsumevir crym or crymes committit be them and to proceid thairin conforme to the ordour uset befor the justice generall and his deputs. And for that effect to chairge them by precepts and lettres of horneing to underly the law within sex dayis nixt efter they be chairget thairto under the paine of rebellioun, and to chairge them be oppen proclamatioun at the paroche kirk of the parochin quhair they use oftest to resort upon ane Sunday before noon and at the mercat croces of the shirrefdomes quhairin also they use oftest to repair; quhom4 form of sitatioun is heirby declairit to be als sufficient as if they and everie ane of them wer chairget personallie apprehendit. And in caice they failyie, to denunce them to the horne, and in caice of compeirance, to put them to ane assyse and to do justice upon them ather be death, banischment or ony uthair wayis quhatsumevir as thair crymes do merite and deserve, alsweill in lyff, lands as guids conforme to the lawis of this kingdome sicklyk and in als ample and frie maner as ony of his majesties justice generalls or justices be commissioun within this kingdoms hes bein in use to do, use and exerce of before be vertew of thair commissiouns and offices in that pairt at one tyme bygane or may do heirefter be vertew thairof in ony tymecuming; assyses, ane or mair as neid beis, to sumond, chairge, choose and cause be suorne and to cause chairge the saids assysours to attend upon the saids justices be commissioun during the sitting of the saids justice courts; to pase upon the saids malefactours and uthair suspect persouns respective foirsaid, thair assyses, ilk persoun of inqueist under the paine of ane hundreth merks toties quoties as they failyie; suts to cause be callit; absents to unlaw and amerciat; transgressours to punische; clerks, serjands, dempstars, procurator fiscalls and all uthairs officers and members of court neidfull to mak, treat, constitute and cause be suorne; decreits, judgements, rolments, acts, testimonies, precepts and uthair wryts necessar thairupon to give out and the samyn to dew and lawfull executioun cause be put; escheits, unlawis, amerciaments and uthair dewties and accidences quhatsumevir of the saids courts to exact, uplift and ressave and to apply sua mekill thairof to thair awin proper use as will bear thair chairges in prosequiting of the premisis, and to be comptabill for the restand superplus if any be to his majesties thesaurers of excheker or any quhom they sall appoynt for that effect; and, if neid beis, to poynd and distrenyie thairfor be thair awin decreits and precepts of poynding as accords. And als with power to the saids commissiours or ony quorum thairof to cause summond all pairties necessar within the foirsaids shirrefdomes to cum in and find sufficient cautioun and souertie for keiping of the king's peace intymecumming, exceptand alwayis fra this all these quha ar denuncit his majesties rebells for any criminall cause quhatsumevir. With power also to them if neid beis to remit and pardoun quhatsumevir persoun or persouns convenit befor them if they think the samyn may conduce for the peace and weill of the countrie, provyding the saids persouns be not denuncet rebells for any criminall cause of befor; and als with this conditioun alwayis: that the saids persounes give and find sufficient cautioun and souertie for satisfactioun to all pairties damnifiet be them and for thair guid behaviour in tymecumming. And generallie all and sindrie uthair things to do, use and exerce anent the premisis sicklyk and als frielie in all respects as ony uthair of his majesties justices be commissioun or justice generall heirtofor or thair deputs hes bein in use to do in the lyk effairs at ony tyme bygane or may do in tymecumming be vertew of thair offices in that pairt, promitten to hold firme and stabill all and quhatsumevir things his majesties justices in that pairt foirsaid or ony quorum of them in the dew and lawfull executioun of thair offices in that pairt in the premisis richteouslie dois, but prejudice to his majesties advocat and justice clerk of thair offices and plaices in the saids justice courts and of thair priviledges thairof, quhilks sall not be prejudget be vertew heirof; with this provisioun alwayes and no uthrwayis: that if his majesties said advocat and justice clerk sall not have deputs under them being advertised of the dyetts thairof be the spaice of tuentie dayis of befor to attend the foirsaids commissioners in the executioun of the foirsaid commissioun, than and in that caice it sallbe lawfull to them and ilk quorum of them to choose thair awin procurator fiscalls and clerks in the premisis in maner foirsaid. And it is heirby declairit that the foirsaids commissiours sall devyd themselves in tua severall quorums as they think most expedient, haveing alwayis ane of the foirsaids justice deputs or suche as sall be deput under them in thair place present at ilk quorum at the expeditioun and executioun of the foirsaid service. And that the foirsaid commissiours and justice deputs may accept of the foirsaid commissioun upon them and mak faith de fideli administratione, his majestie and estaits of parliament ordanes them to meitt and convein at Perth the [...] day of [...] nixt, ilk persoun under the paine of [...] incaice of failyie, to the effect they may resolve upon thair divisioun and making of the foirsaids tua quorums, and thairefter to tak suche course for thair proceidings in the premisis as may best conduce for the weill and guid of the foirsaid service. Lykeas the saids commissiours and justices sall be haldin to report thair proceidings and dilligences to be done in the premisis conforme to the tenour of the foirsaid commissioun, and that to his majesties secreit counsall tuyse ilk yeir efter the foirsaids termes prescryvet for holding of the saids justice courts. And becaus it is thocht expedient that sexscore men sall be leivied for attending and assisting the executioun of the foirsaid commissioun, alsweill for inbringing of malefactours and uthair suspect persounes to underly the law in the foirsaids justice courts as for putting the sentences thairof to dew and lawfull executioun, thairfore his majestie is heirby graciouslie pleased, with consent of the estaits of parliament, to cause his majesties thesaurars and uthair commissiours of excheker pay the chairges and expensis of the saids sex score men during the haill tyme of the said service out of the first and reddiest of his majesties rents and casualities payable to his majestie in excheker, and ordanes thir presents to be ane sufficient warrand to them for that effect. And to the effect it may be knowen quhair the saids rebells, theiffs and uthairs suspect persounes respective foirsaid uses oftest to resort, his majestie and estaits of parliament ordanes everie heretour within his awin bounds within the severall shirrefdomes abovespecifit to give up in roll the names of all theiffs, sorners and uthair suspect persounes to the saids commissiours in thair awin severall schyres, and lykwayis give up ditte to them conforme thairto as they will be answerabill upon thair perrell under all hiest paine and chairge that efter may follow; and thairefter the saids commissiours sall be haldin to give up in roll the names of the saids persounes, quhat they ar and quhair they duell and resort, and that to the commissiour quho sall have chairge for bringing in of the saids broken men to be punisched according to thair just demeritis. And the foirsaid commissioun sall endure to the nixt parliament or soner if the samyn be expreslie dischairgit, athair be his majestie, parliament and secreit counsall. It is alwayis heirby declairit that this present commissioun sall nowayis be extendit to the bounds or ony pairt quhairof the Erle of Argyll is heretabll justice be his infeftment holdin of the kingis majestie ratefied in parliament [...]5 the saids haill bounds ar and sall be expreslie excepted and reserved furth heirof. And it is declairit that [...]6 nothing conteined thairin salbe prejudiciall to his majesties justice generall, his power, libertie and jurisdictioun competent to him [...]7 of his plaice and acts of parliament for making and constituting of justice deputs in the samyn justice courts and justiciars. And his majestie and estaits of parliament ordanes the foirsaid lettre to be further extendit heirupon in the best form with all clauses neidfull, and doeth heirby give command to the directour of his majesties chancellarie to wryt out the said lettre upon they presentis to the grit seall gratis, and to his majesties heiche chancellar to caus append the said great seall thairto, also gratis, without passing of any uthair sealls or registers. And this presentis sall be ane sufficient warrand to them for that effect.

16 Novembris 1641

This commissioun being moved to the kingis majestie and estaittis of parliament, they remitt the same to the secreit counsale with this declaratioune: that whatsoever the counsale shall conclude and inact thairin shall haif the authoritie, force and validitie of ane act of parliament.

Balmerino, I[n] p[raesentia] d[ominorum] parliamenti

  1. NAS, PA6/5, 'November 16 1641'.
  2. Illegible.
  3. Illegible.
  4. 'quhilk' in APS.
  5. Page damaged.
  6. Page damaged.
  7. Page damaged.