Act for the shire of Caithness against Sandside and others

The estates of parliament, having taken into their consideration a supplication presented to them by the commissioners of the shire of Caithness mentioning that these ten years bygone they have been under several heavy and intolerable burdens by the English usurpation, and more specially regretting their sufferings since the year 1656, at which time Mr James Innes of Sandside, Walter Innes of Orton, James Sinclair of Assery and the deceased John Sinclair of Lybster being, by the usurpers, appointed regulators of their assessment and justices of peace (with their collector William Baillie) have, by the foresaid authority, oppressed and added an additional load to the petitioners' most weighty burdens by raising rigorously from persons called moneyed men, under the name of personal cess, considerable sums of money for which they never accounted nor diminished ought of the total of the shire, and whereas £10 sterling by measure of abatement have been granted to the shire for wasted lands, yet there is no account made thereof but lies still in the commissioners' and collectors' hands, monopolized (for ought the petitioners know) to their own uses, and in addition this £50 sterling has been imposed upon their assessment yearly more than the public burden amounted to, without any warrant for the same, and considerable sums have been by them intromitted with under the name of fines as being justices of the peace, never yet accounted for nor employed to any public use. Humbly therefore, desiring a warrant to any persons the parliament should please nominate to convene the commissioners and collectors above-named before them and the heirs and executors of the said deceased John Sinclair of Lybster, to take probation in the matter, and to determine or to provide some other effectual way for the shires speedy reparation, as the supplication bears. The lord commissioner and estates of parliament do hereby give warrant and commission to the justices of peace to be nominated by this present parliament for the shire of Caithness, or any five of them, to call and convene before them the persons complained upon above, with power to them to try and examine the whole matter above-written, and accordingly to report their diligence thereupon to the lords of his majesty's privy council that they may determine therein, as they shall find just and reasonable.

  1. NAS. PA2/27, f.17v-18.