[Draft of an act discharging the importation of victual from Ireland]

The estates of parliament, considering that albeit it has pleased God to bless these lands with plenty of victual these several years bygone, and notwithstanding of the many good laws made against the importing of victual from Ireland, yet there are great quantities of the said victual daily imported into this kingdom, and considerable sums in money exported to Ireland therefore, which is not only a great occasion of the present scarcity of money, but stops and hinders the sale of the grains growing within this kingdom, to the great prejudice of the nation in general. For preventing whereof in time coming, her majesty, with the special advice and consent of the estates of parliament, does hereby impose £4 Scots of custom upon every eight troy stone-weight of meal and each boll of Linlithgow measure of wheat, corn, barley, peas, beans or other grains to be imported into this kingdom from England and Ireland, from and after the date hereof, and for making the said duty effectual, her majesty, with advice and consent aforesaid, does statute and ordain that all vessels, whether ships, barks, galberts or boats importing victual from Ireland, shall, before they offer to unload any part of the said victual, cause survey and enter the same, and in case any victual, whether meal or other grain from Ireland shall be unloaded without being surveyed and entered as said is, the victual and vessel are hereby declared not only to be escheat and confiscated, the one half to the queen and the other to the informer, but also the master of the said vessel, whether native or stranger shall be fined by any of the judges after-mentioned before whom the matter shall be tried, in the sum of £100 sterling, the one half to be applied to her majesty's use and the other to the informer, without any abatements, and the person of the said master to be seized and imprisoned by the said judge until he pays the said sum. And for preventing of all abuses in prosecuting the premises, her majesty, with advice and consent aforesaid, does statute and ordain that all managers of her majesty's customs, farmers and tacksmen of the same, collectors, surveyors, clerks and customs officers shall yearly at Whitsunday [15 May] and Martinmas [11 November] compear before one of the magistrates of burgh, sheriff depute, bailie of regality or admiral depute within whose jurisdiction they live and reside, and give their oath that for the half year immediately preceding they neither have concealed or connived at the importing of the Irish victual unentered, or given down or abated any part of the aforesaid duty for that, but also it shall be lawful and free to any person within this kingdom to summon the said managers, farmers, or tacksmen of her majesty's customs, collectors, surveyors, clerks and customs officers of the same before any of the said judges for particular transgressions of the premises, and in case it be made appear against any of them either by their termly oaths, or their oaths to be taken upon particular transgressions or by witnesses, that they have either concealed or connived at the importing of Irish victual, without being entered as said is, or that they have abated or given down or given back any part of the aforesaid duty, the person so found guilty is not only declared to be ipso facto incapable of his office in all time coming, but also he shall be liable for the full duty above-mentioned of the said victual to the queen, and further shall be fined in £100 sterling money for each transgression on every occasion, to the informer, and imprisoned by the judge before whom he shall be pursued until he make payment of the said duty and fine; and further, that the informer before the extracting of his decreet, or receiving any part of the said fine, shall be held and obliged to give the oath before the said judge, that he neither has, nor shall give, any ease of the said fine, but exact the full amount thereof without abatement or giving back; and further, if any informer shall not give his oath and extract his decreet as said is within 15 days after pronouncing of sentence, then it shall be lawful for any other person to state himself informer and make use of the former probation and obtain sentence and extract decreet in his name, he always giving his oath in manner above-prescribed; and it is hereby declared that advocation, suspension or delay of any action or sentence upon this act shall only be passed by the lords of council and session, and by no other judge within this kingdom, and that any such advocation or suspension to be offered before the said lords shall be summarily discussed without abiding the course of the roll.

  1. NAS. PA3/7, bound after 1705 printed minutes.