Act in favour of the town of Dundee

At Edinburgh, 25 March 1707. Our sovereign lady the queen's majesty, with the advice and consent of the estates of parliament, taking into their serious consideration the great and unsupportable debts, extreme distress, manifest decay and imminent ruin of the royal burgh of Dundee, partly contracted and occasioned in the time of the troubles in King Charles I's reign, they being then obliged, by public authority, to fortify the town upon their own expenses, and partly by the sad calamity and loss the town sustained in the year 1651 through its being stormed and taken in by the then usurper, whereby the said burgh was pillaged and plundered in a most lamentable manner; as also the vast damages and losses the town sustained by the beating down of its harbour, the necessary reparation whereof was exceedingly expensive and burdensome, and moreover the great charges which the town was at by the marching and countermarching of troops through the burgh about the time of the revolution, with the universal decay of trade, especially in that place. Therefore, her majesty, out of her royal care and bounty for the relief and support of the said town does, with the advice and consent of the said estates of parliament, give, grant and convey to the said town of Dundee, provost, bailies, magistrates and council and community thereof, and their successors in office, for their use and behoof, an imposition of 2d Scots upon the pint of all ale and beer to be either brewed or in brought, tapped, vended and sold within the said town and Hilltown of Dundee and other liberties and suburbs thereof (and that over and above the queen's annexed excise) commencing from the date of this act, and thence to endure for all and whole the space of twenty-four years thereafter, imposing and ordaining the same to be paid to the said town and magistrates and council thereof by the brewers, vintners, sellers, tapsters and retailers of the said ale and beer during the whole space and years above-expressed, and the same to be uplifted, paid and ingathered weekly, monthly, quarterly as the foresaid magistrates and town council shall think fit to prescribe and order, strictly hereby appropriating and appointing the foresaid imposition and product thereof for the payment of the town's debts and, with this provision, as it is hereby expressly provided and declared, that the said imposition is and shall be burdened with the sum of £1,200 Scots money yearly for the space of six years to be paid to Mr James Anderson, writer to the signet, or his assignees, as a part of the expenses of the work recommended by the parliament to him, and that at two terms in the year Martinmas [11 November] and Whitsunday [15 May], beginning the first term's payment at Martinmas 1707, and ordains the magistrates of the said burgh to make payment of the same accordingly. And her majesty, with advice and consent foresaid, ordains formal books to be kept by the town treasurer containing a particular and exact account of the product of the said imposition and yearly application thereof for the ends above-specified, in manner after-mentioned, and that separate and apart from any other books containing the town's common good or other revenues, and which books shall contain in the beginning a full, fair and true list of the town's debts principal and interest due at Martinmas 1706, and of the bonds granted thereof, and of the persons, names and designations to whom the same are due, and that the present magistrates shall deliver a subscribed copy of the foresaid list of debts in order to its being recorded in their guildry books to the intent the same may be exposed to the view of all concerned, especially to the burgesses of the said town, with the whole accounts and rolls relative to the said imposition, in order to the said burgesses and others concerned in the said town their taking exact trial of the verity, justness and extent of the said debts and imposition, and how the same was yearly applied in such manner and by such persons as shall be appointed by them for that effect, and that how soon any advantage shall arise to the said burgh by the above imposition now granted in their favour, that then, and immediately after the expiration of each year thereof, at least between then and the first day of January after the said expiration, the said magistrates and town council shall be held and obliged to make payment of the neat product of the said imposition for disburdening of the town of the whole bygone interest of the principal sums and ministers' stipends resting owing preceding Martinmas 1706 in the first place and that conforming to a list thereof herewith given in and which is to be recorded in formal books, as above, and in the next place for paying the principal sums themselves proportionally, and pertaining to the extent and yearly product of the foresaid imposition. And her majesty, with advice and consent foresaid, ordains the neat product and account of the foresaid imposition to be made up between then and the first day of January yearly after the expiration of each year, and discharges of interest, bygone ministers' stipends and bonds to be retired yearly conforming to the extent and product of the said imposition and that between then and the first day of February thereafter, that the same, with the other revenues of the town shall, during the time of the act, be managed and disposed of at the sight and by the advice of the persons following, to wit the provost of Dundee and six of the town council nominated by the town council yearly, whereof five to be a quorum, and by five creditors, not councillors, chosen by the creditors, three whereof to be a quorum, by three maltmen, not councillors, chosen by the maltmen and by the authority of the dean of guild, two whereof to be a quorum, and by two tradesmen, not councillors, chosen by the convener and trades, one whereof to be always present, and all which to be yearly chosen, and the said joint committees, or their respective quorums, to meet quarterly by advertisement from the provost of the burgh for the time, and the yearly clearing of accounts to be in the presence of the earls [John Lyon, earl] of Strathmore, [James Maule, earl of] Panmure, [David Carnegie, earl of] Northesk and [John Elphinstone], lord Balmerino, Mr Francis Montgomery of Giffen, Mr Patrick Lyon of Auchterhouse, Mr Henry Maule of Kellie, Mr James Carnegie of Finavon, James Haliburton of Pitcur, Thomas Fotheringham of Powrie, David Graham, younger of Fintry, [Alexander]2 Duncan of Lundie and John Scrimgeour of Kirkton, or any of them who shall please to inspect the same, they always having advertisement from the provost or bailies of the said burgh for the time of the said diet of meeting, as said is, that so the debts may be yearly diminished and bonds cancelled and deleted out of the list of debts due by the said town, beginning the first term's instruction of the said payment at the term of Candlemas [2 February] 1708 and that for the year preceding and so furth to continue, during all and whole the space of this act, and that there shall be public intimation given to the whole merchants of Dundee to be present at the said annual meeting upon the [...] day of [...] yearly in order to their full satisfaction anent the neat product of the foresaid imposition, and due application thereof, for payment of the town's debts in manner above-expressed. And further it shall be rightful and lawful to all or each burgess of the said town, and they are hereby authorised and empowered to prosecute the said magistrates who shall not apply the foresaid imposition in the terms of this act and who are hereby declared liable in repetition and payment of whatever part of the above sums appointed to be paid yearly, as aforesaid, shall be unpaid or suffered to perish or become unprofitable by them through their neglect or negligence, and that before any judge competent and for payment of the expenses in the pursuit according to the pursuer his oath in the lawsuit without any manner of diminution or modification. And lastly her majesty, with advice and consent foresaid, does nominate and appoint the persons above-specified, each of them in their own classes and their respective joint committees and quorums of them, to be overseers of the said new imposition and management thereof in manner particularly above-mentioned. And its hereby declared that it shall be rightful to the said magistrates and town council to farm and set in tack the said imposition by way of public roup at the sight of the above overseers or their joint quorums, without whose consent it is also declared that the said magistrates can contract no debt for the time foresaid whereby the said town may be further burdened.

Extracted furth of the records of parliament in the lower parliament house by me David [Boyle], earl of Glasgow and lord clerk register.3 Glasgow, clerk register.

  1. NAS. PA6/34, 'March 25 1707'. This also contains the 'Consent of the heritors in and about the town of Dundee', the 'Consent of the inhabitants of Dundee', and the 'Accounts of the principal sums due by the town of Dundee to their creditors'. None of these appear in APS. It also contains a further and slightly different copy of the act itself.
  2. APS interpolation.
  3. He was not clerk register during this session of parliament and was not appointed until July 1708.