Act approving the Engagement of 1648 and annulling the parliament of 1649

Forasmuch as in the year 1648 the estates of parliament of this kingdom and his majesty's good subjects therein, from the sense of their duty to Almighty God, and the king's majesty, did cheerfully undertake and concur in an engagement for relief of his late majesty of glorious memory, from his imprisonment and for his restitution to the royal government of his kingdoms, and the estates of parliament, now convened by his majesty's special authority, taking that engagement to their consideration do find it to have been an honourable, just, necessary and seasonable discharge of that indispensable duty, whereunto this kingdom and the subjects thereof are by the law of God, by the law of nature and nations, by the municipal laws of the land, by their allegiance and by all the strictest bonds of conscience and honour obliged to the most sacred person and royal authority of their king's majesty. And therefore, our sovereign lord, with advice and consent of his estates of parliament, does ratify and approve that engagement for his majesty's relief and restitution to his royal government, and does declare that as it was a most noble and pious testimony of the loyalty of his majesty's good subjects of his ancient kingdom, and of their affection and zeal to his majesty's person and government, so his majesty, for himself and his successors, does assure that they will always retain a grateful resentment thereof, and have appointed these words to remain upon record for the due honour of these persons who did engage therein, and of their posterity forever.

And whereas the necessity and justice of this undertaking with the interest this kingdom had in his majesty's person, by the honour of his royal birth and by these many and singular acts of grace he had lately conferred upon it, might justly have claimed a ready concurrence of all the subjects, yet there wanted not some, and even such whom not long before his majesty had obliged by marks of his royal favour both of honour and profit, who made it their work to disappoint and oppose the same; and for that end having gathered some mutinous commons and others who, by a few seditious ministers, had been preached into an open rebellion, they in the month of September 1648, without any lawful authority (and not giving the oath mentioned in the commission of parliament, without which it was expressly provided they were not to have access to, nor place in the committee) did usurp to themselves the name and power of a committee of estates; and having by their own edicts declared all such persons as had given testimony of their duty and loyalty to the king to be incapable of being members of parliament, or of having voice in the elections to the parliaments, they then, without any lawful authority, called a packed meeting of parliament, to consist only of persons of their own stamp and faction, who accordingly met in January 1649, and assuming to themselves the sovereign authority and government of the kingdom, intended to establish and fix the power in their own persons forever, for which purpose, having publicly declared against that necessary and just engagement, for his majesty's relief and restitution to his royal government; having approved all the oppositions and risings in arms against the same, and by oath solemnly engaged themselves to a constant adherence thereunto; having for their assistance called in the usurper Cromwell and a part of his army; having, by public engagement, given up the honour and safety of this ancient kingdom to the English, and declared that his majesty should be obliged to ratify that unworthy act before any treaty were with him for his relief; having given order to their commissioners, to protest against any agreement between his majesty and his subjects in England in the treaty at the Isle of Wight; having, so far as in them lay, weakened and dissolved the common allegiance of the subjects to the king's majesty by proclaiming his right to the crown with base restrictions and limitations, and pressing the subjects against their consciences to subscribe the same; having disowned his majesty's interest in the quarrel between them and the English who had invaded this kingdom merely to destroy his majesty's interest in it, having taken the lives of some and forced others, of his majesty's good subjects of best quality, to flee to foreign parts for their safety; having fined, confined, imprisoned and seized upon the livelihood of many; having put disgraceful characters and incapacities upon all who witnessed any affection to his majesty's government; having unjustly pronounced, and with cruelty executed sentences of forfeiture against the lives and fortunes of such as from conscience of their duties did oppose them;2 having in their public meetings appointed that the innocent wives and children of those who offered to vindicate his majesty's authority should be seized on and transported to foreign countries; having once and again solicited their brethren in England that such of this kingdom as (for venturing their lives for the king) were then prisoners in England should be still kept prisoners as pledges of the peace; having thrust out of the offices of state, places of judicatory and public trust all such as were willing to engage for his majesty's relief and restoration to his government, and put such in their places as did oppose the same; having laid on and raised great exactions and sums of money from the people and employed them for their own uses; having seized on his majesty's revenues and bestowed them upon themselves, and such others as were in open opposition and arms against him; having also seized upon the properties and due rights of the subjects, and the patronages by law secured to them, and having by these and many such like acts, endeavoured to perpetuate themselves in their usurped power, they prorogated the meetings of their pretended parliaments from time to time, substituting some of their trustees for carrying on of their designs in the while. And the estates of parliament, having taken these proceedings into their serious consideration, do find that there was no law nor lawful authority for the meetings of these pretended parliaments and committees of estates, but that the persons meeting therein did, without any lawful warrant and in contempt of his majesty's authority, usurp the power to themselves. And therefore, the king's majesty, with advice and consent of his estates of parliament, does rescind and annul these pretended meetings of parliament and committees above-mentioned, and all other meetings of any pretended parliaments or committees flowing from the same, and all acts, deeds and treaties done by them or their warrant, excepting always all such acts as were passed in any meetings of parliament or committee of estates authorised by his majesty's presence, and are not inconsistent with this present act; and also declares any ratification which thereafter was passed of those meetings and acts to have been void from the beginning, except in so far as is expressed in the indemnity, declarations and provisions after-mentioned. Yet, notwithstanding of all these provocations, the king's majesty, from his innate goodness, being more desirous to reclaim his subjects to their duty by acts of mercy than to reduce them by their too much deserved censure, does of his mere favour and grace, with advice and consent foresaid, indemnify all such persons who sat and acted in these pretended parliaments and committees or who acted in order thereunto, or by virtue of and in obedience to the same,3 to be in all time coming unquestioned in their lives and fortunes for these their actings, excepting such as shall be excepted in a general act of indemnity to be passed by his majesty in this parliament. And forasmuch as the ordinary courts of justice did sit and act by warrant of these meetings, the king's majesty, for the good and ease of the people, does, with advice foresaid, declare that none of the acts, decreets or sentences given by those who sat as lords of session or as inferior judges within this kingdom those years, nor no execution following thereupon are, for want of lawful authority, to be questioned, with the which his majesty, with advice foresaid, by this act dispenses. And also his majesty, considering that by a pretended act and commission from the said pretended meetings or parliaments, augmentations were granted to ministers, kirks were divided, new kirks were erected and lands from one parish to another disjoined and annexed, and diverse other particulars determined in relation to the plantation of kirks, which commissions, one or more, though they had no lawful authority but in themselves were and are null, yet his majesty, being desirous to give all due encouragement to the ministers of the Gospel does, with advice and consent foresaid, declare that all acts, decreets and sentences pronounced and given forth by the said commissioners, and all executions thereupon, are and shall stand valid in time coming except such as upon the complaint of any party shall be found to have been unjustly or exorbitantly pronounced and decreed, the determination whereof is hereby referred by his majesty, with advice and consent foresaid, to the commission for plantation of kirks to be established by his majesty in this present parliament, that they, after hearing of parties and consideration of particulars, may take such course for altering, annulling or allowing of what was done by virtue of the said commissions in the years 1649 and 1650, as they shall think just, conforming to the standing laws and acts of parliament preceding the year 1649, and ordains process upon supplication to be summarily granted, parties being always cited, and that without any reduction. As also, with power to the said commissioners to be appointed, upon the dependence of the said complaints and processes, to discharge execution upon the foresaid decreets in whole or in part, as they shall find just until such time as the matter may be determined by them. And forasmuch as by a pretended commission for the exchequer, diverse infeftments, gifts and others were passed in the foresaid years 1649 and 1650, his majesty, with advice foresaid, declares that all such gifts, infeftments and others are and shall be valid, excepting always new gifts and dispositions of lands and others granted and passed to his highness's prejudice, and such other gifts as upon the complaints of parties shall, by his majesty's treasurer and commissioners of exchequer, be found to have been unjustly granted, or passed in prejudice of prior gifts under his majesty's hand, though not passed in exchequer. And whereas by a pretended act of the foresaid pretended parliament entitled, act abolishing the patronages of kirks, all patronages and presentations of kirks, whether belonging to the king or any like patron, presbyteries or others, were discharged, and all acts, gifts and rights granted thereon rescinded, and yet, nevertheless, it was thereby declared that the taking away of the patronages should not prejudge patrons' rights to the teinds, nor weaken his infeftment wherein the same is contained, and that the tithes of the kirks, whereof the presentations were abolished, should belong heritably to the patrons and be inserted in their rights and infeftments in place of their patronage, with power to the patron to depone upon the said teinds in manner and with the exception contained in the said act. And notwithstanding that the foresaid act and whole parliament be declared null yet, nevertheless, his majesty, with advice foresaid, does by this act declare that it shall be lawful to like patrons or heritors to agree with the beneficed persons for tacks or rights of teinds belonging to the said beneficed person, according to the laws of the kingdom, with this provision: that the said tacks shall be in no way prejudicial to the stipend and maintenance of the ministers and persons to be presented, according as the same has been already modified or shall be modified in time coming; and that notwithstanding of any acts or statutes made to the contrary, all which acts his majesty, with consent foresaid, by this act discharges. And in like manner his majesty, with advice foresaid, declares that as to such persons who are presently in possession of kirks, pertaining to the said like patronages, the said persons and ministers shall, during their service, claim no right nor possession to the teinds of their said kirks and parishes other than they had formerly before the making of this act, they having always a sufficient maintenance allowed and granted to them according to the laws of the kingdom.

Procedure: continuation

The lord commissioner continues the parliament until Wednesday next at 2 o'clock in the afternoon, and all summons as above.

  1. NAS. PA2/26, 38-42.
  2. In the original warrant of 9 February 1661 the words are, 'having statute and appointed that the innocent ...' See footnote in APS.
  3. In the original warrant of the act passed 9 February 1661, the following words were here added: 'And have since that time given constant proof of their affection and loyalty to the king's majesty and his authority.' These words are cancelled, and the following alteration and note appears in the margin: 'This amendment passed in parliament 9 July 1661, Excepting such as shall be excepted in a general act of indemnity to be passed by his majesty in this parliament. [John Lindsay, earl of] Crawford and Lindsay, treasurer, In the presence of the lords of parliament'.

    To the original warrant the following notes are added: 'Edinburgh 9 February 1661, This act, after serious debate and thrice reading unanimously passed and approved in parliament, but is not to be touched with the sceptre nor extracted, until the general act of grace and indemnity is passed. [William Cunningham, earl of] Glencairn, chancellor, In the presence of the lords of parliament'.

    '9 July 1661, This act by order of parliament touched by the sceptre and appointed to be recorded and published with the amendment aforementioned.[John Lindsay, earl of] Crawford and Lindsay, treasurer, In the presence of the lords of parliament'.
    See footnote in APS.