Act in favour of Katherine Hamilton

Anent the petition given in and presented to his grace her majesty's high commissioner and the honourable estates of parliament, by Katherine Hamilton, widow of the deceased Captain Alexander Dunbar, humbly showing that where the said deceased Captain Alexander Dunbar, having served at the revolution in [Alexander Stewart], lord Blantyre's and [Alexander Gordon, viscount of] Kenmure's regiments as captain, the army at that time did fall into arrears for a whole year, there being nothing paid either to officers or soldiers, whereby the respective captains were necessitated to subsist their companies upon their own charges and credit, and the said deceased captain, the petitioner's husband, did accordingly subsist his company by uplifting the whole effects he had for that end, and did further engage himself in debt for subsisting of the said company, relying upon the public faith for his reimbursement. The parliament which laid on the poll in 1691 took special care that, in the first place, the country debt should be paid and accordingly appointed the privy council to take in all instructions of debts due to the country, and to order their payment out of the first of the said poll-money, which orders of the council were declared by the said act of parliament to be sufficient for payment of the said country debts. Accordingly, the whole country debts were paid, but the petitioner's said husband, having subsisted his company the whole time, there was never any charge or claim given in by the country against him or company. The said deceased captain did not only maintain his company in manner foresaid, by which there is due to him an account of arrears extending to about £550 sterling, conforming to the account given in, but also, during the continuance of the last commission of the poll, which had very long and frequent sederunts, he did act for the behoof of the whole officers concerned in the said poll, and was the sole person that pursued the tacksmen, and brought that matter to the clearness it is now at, whereby there were near £6,000 sterling clearly brought in for the behoof of the said officers, besides considerable progress and discoveries he made of other funds, in all which he was at extraordinary labour and pains, as is well known to the lords and others of the commission who sat in the year 1701, who, being conscious of his diligence and pains he was at in the matter, would certainly have seen him paid of his whole arrears. And seeing there is no other fund left by the petitioner's said deceased husband for subsisting of the petitioner and numerous family but this her just claim to the said arrears, her said husband having truly laid out his whole substance in subsisting his company in manner foresaid, therefore, craving his grace and the estates of parliament to take the circumstances to their serious consideration, and to ordain the persons in whose hands the said sum so discovered and brought in is now lodged, to pay to the petitioner the foresaid arrears, or such a part thereof for subsisting and alimenting her and her numerous family as his grace and the estates of parliament should think fit, as the said petition bears. For instructing of which petition, there was produced for the petitioner in the presence of his grace her majesty's high commissioner and the said estates of parliament, a certificate and declaration in the petitioner's favour by the several officers concerned in the said poll, testifying and declaring to their certain knowledge that the said deceased Captain Dunbar, during the sitting of the said commission, did act as agent for the whole officers concerned in the said poll, and was sole agent and manager for them before the said commission, and was at great pains and expenses thereupon, and was very assistant in making discoveries of the poll and hearth money not accounted for, and was otherwise very serviceable to the whole officers in the said matter, for which cause he was to have preference for what arrears were due to himself, as the same of the date the [...] day of [...] 1704 bears. Which petition and desire thereof, being this day read in the presence of his grace her majesty's high commissioner and the said estates of parliament, and they having considered the same with the foresaid declaration and consent subscribed by the said officers and the circumstances and condition of the said petitioner and her family, and being therewith well and ripely advised, her majesty's high commissioner and the said estates of parliament ordained and hereby ordain Walter Riddell, clerk for auditing the accounts of the public funds, Archibald Houston, writer to the signet, or any other person in whose hands the fund of the poll of 1693 or any part thereof is, to pay instantly out of the first and readiest of what is in their hands or either of their hands, to the said Katherine Hamilton, petitioner, or her order, the sum of £300 sterling in part payment of the said arrears due to her said deceased husband, and that for the special aliment of the petitioner and her said family, and ordains letters of horning on fifteen days' charge and other executorials needful to pass and be directed hereupon, in form as appropriate. Extract.

  1. NAS. PA2/38, f.220-220v.