Committee members: privy council
The nomination and election of the king's majesty's council

2Forasmuch as our sovereign lord, with advice and consent of the three estates of parliament, has ratified and approved the relinquishment of the authority of his government made to his highness by James [Douglas], earl of Morton, lord Dalkeith, late regent to his majesty, his realm and lieges, to be exercised hereafter in his own person by advice of his council by this present parliament appointed, and likewise has declared that there is no other authority, form or face of regiment or counsel but that which is established in our sovereign lord's person, to be exercised by the advice of his council; and the said three estates considering well the tender age of our sovereign lord, and that as yet he has small experience in matters of weight and importance concerning his majesty's crown, the estate of this realm and government of his subjects, they, all in one voice, having thereto his highness's own mind and will, have elected and chosen and, by the tenor hereof, elect and choose [the] [un]derwritten to be lords of our sovereign lord's privy council [per]sons: they are to say, James, earl of Morton, lord Dalkeith etc., [Colin Campbell], earl of Argyll, lord Campbell and Lorne, justice-general etc., Ro[bert Stewart, earl of Lennox and lord] Darnley, Hugh [Montgomery], earl of Eglinton, lord Montgomery, William [Cunningham], earl of [Glen]cairn [...] Andrew [Leslie], earl of Rothes, lord Leslie, Robert [Douglas], earl of Buchan, Robert [Boyd], lord Boyd, An[drew Stewart, lord] Ochiltree, Alan [Cathcart], lord Cathcart, David [Erskine] commendator of Dryburgh, and Adam [Erskine], commendator of Cambuskenneth, in addition to our sovereign lord's officers, to wit, [John Stewart, earl of Atholl], lord chancellor, [William Ruthven, lord Ruthven], treasurer, [Robert Pitcairn, commendator of Dunfermline], secretary, [Sir William Murray of Tullibardine], comptroller, [James MacGill of Nether Rankeilour], clerk register, justiciary, [David Borthwick or Robert Crichton of Eliock], advocate, and [Master George Buchanan], keeper of the privy seal, admitting also the officers to have access to the council to be present there as they shall be commanded; the which ordinary officers are appointed [for]ever upon our sovereign lord's council, so many of them as will repair there, providing always that of the said officers there be four, three or two at the least continuously resident as they shall be commanded by our sovereign lord and the remainder of his council, and that in absence of the lord chancellor there be one president appointed by the remainder of the council then resident who shall exercise his office to his returning. Likewise, whenever the comptroller, treasurer or secretary shall happen for necessary causes to be absent, they shall have their deputes continuously resident with the council for the discharge of such things as pertain properly to every one of their charges, for the which deputes they shall be held to answer respectively; and of the remaining twelve persons, in addition to the said ordinary officers, there shall remain with our sovereign lord at Stirling, where his majesty now is, or where his highness shall happen to be for the time, four persons, by the order and course following, which shall be obliged to make their residence for the space of two months: that is to say, the said James, earl of Morton, Robert, earl of Lennox, Alan, lord Cathcart and Adam, commendator of Cambuskenneth, shall make residence with our sovereign lord upon his council from 1 August 1578 inclusive to 30 September 1578; the said Colin, earl of Argyll, Robert, earl of Buchan, Robert, lord Boyd and Andrew, lord Stewart of Ochiltree shall enter on 1 October 1578, remain and continue to 30 November 1578 inclusive; the said Hugh, earl of Eglinton, Andrew, earl of Rothes, William, earl of Glencairn and David, commendator of Dryburgh shall enter on 1 December 1578 and remain and continue to 31 January 1579 inclusive; and thereafter to begin and continue their courses of residence successively according to the order and disposition aforesaid, providing always that in case any of the said persons now elected refuse or delay to accept their charge, or after their acceptance die, that our sovereign lord, with advice of the remainder of the said council, shall elect and choose others in their place. As also his highness, with advice aforesaid, thinks expedient to join others to the whole number, not exceeding two or three persons, which whole persons now chosen presently upon the king's council have made faith in presence of the king's highness and estates aforesaid that they and every one of them shall give their faithful, loyal and true counsel in all things that shall happen to be proposed in council tending to the honour and surety of our sovereign lord's most noble person, the common affairs of this realm and lieges thereof, and keep the same secret and unrevealed by any manner of way as they shall answer to God and his highness upon the contrary (excepting the said earls of Argyll, of Rothes and the chancellor, secretary, director of the chancellery now absent and others to be chosen as said is). And, therefore, the king's grace and estates aforesaid give and grant full power and commission to the rest of the aforesaid persons chosen upon the said council, or any four of them, to receive the oaths of the said lords absent when they shall happen to compear, which they declare to have as great strength, force and effect as the same were now presently done. And because it is perfectly known to our sovereign lord and three estates aforesaid that the said James, earl of Morton, his late regent, faithfully, truly and diligently governed the said realm and lieges during the time of his regiment, to the profit [of] our sovereign lord, the commonwealth of the realm and the tranquillity of all the subjects; in respect whereof, and of his wisdom and experience in the affairs of the estate, he is elected and chosen as one of his highness's privy council, appointed to endure until further order be taken by parliament; and by reason that the said earl has very lately in his government and regiment presented our sovereign lord's person in execution of his authority royal, and also in respect of his good qualification, diligent knowledge and experience in the affairs, our sovereign lord, with the advice of his three estates for the causes aforesaid, and also that the said earl and such persons of the nobility as shall be charged in such manner with the service of our sovereign lord and his successors may consider that they shall be promoted and advanced to honours, and that his highness is not, nor shall not, be forgetful of their service past, therefore it is ordained by our sovereign lord and his three estates aforesaid that the said James, earl of Morton shall be the first of his majesty's council and all other honours and pre-eminences before any of his highness's subjects, in respect that he has so lately borne the commandment of his majesty in his highness's name above his lieges as said is. It is ordained also that [Mr John Colville], master of requests, and [James MacGill of Nether Rankeilour], clerk of secret council, shall every day remind the lord chancellor, or, in his absence, his place-holder, of the affairs concerning the state of the causes depending and of requests and supplications made, that they may be presented, heard, treated and determined as the necessity of every one of them shall require, providing always that in the council before noon be treated only the public affairs of the estate of the realm concerning the king and common affairs, and that the supplications and bills be read and delivered and particular causes heard, reasoned and determined after noon (unless that before noon there be no such occasion as is before specified); and that the said lords convene every day before noon and after noon for treating of the said affairs and remain together in decent form as becomes their estates, honours and offices for such reasonable space as the expedition of their present affairs shall require. And because the greatest prejudice that may3 be engendered to our sovereign lord either concerning matters about the estate public, his own particular commodity or the rule of his subjects, may stand and consist in the passing and directing of signatures, letters and missives, it is considered and found expedient, as also it is statute and ordained, that the treasurer, comptroller or secretary, by themselves or their deputes for the which they shall be held to answer as said is, shall first receive all letters, writs and signatures pertaining properly to their offices, to wit, the treasurer and his deputes, all signatories of new infeftments proceeding from the king's new disposition; infeftments of lands coming into his highness's hand by forfeiture, recognition, bastardy and as last heir; of presentations of heritable tenants to other superiors of lands held of them and coming in our sovereign lord's hands by reason of forfeiture, bastardy and as last heir; of gifts of escheats, of liferents and of reversions fallen in escheat by forfeiture; of rehabilitations of persons forfeited unproven or defamed; of respects and remissions of gifts and confirmations of new regalities; of erection of new barons and union thereof; of gifts of non-entry in prejudice of the said sub-vassal, and of natural sasines and of tailzies; which being received first from the party by the said treasurer or his deputes, they shall proceed no further therein without the advice of our sovereign lord's aforesaid council, in whose presence at their assembly the same shall be shown and considered and the abridgement of the same and every one thereof shall be inserted in the council book by the clerk, with record of the grant or refusal of the same by the council. And if the suit be found unreasonable, that there it shall stay and pass no further; but if the same be granted, then shall the treasurer or his deputes then resident, with any two of the said lords of council, in addition to the ordinary officers aforesaid and the clerk of secret council, subscribe the said signature or writ granted in presence of the whole council at their sitting and convention and no otherwise, thereafter that the said signature, letter or writing be presented to his majesty to be subscribed, if his highness finds the same reasonable to be granted; and that no signature, letter nor writing passed otherwise than the order before specified be of force, strength nor effect, and commanding the keepers of the signet, privy and great seals that they pass no signature or letter except upon the warrant, keeping all the premises as they and every one of them will answer to our sovereign lord. And as concerning other common signatures, such as of resignations or confirmations after the form and tenor of the old infeftment, nothing changing but the person who shall be infeft, the signatures of legitimations, gifts of escheat of moveables, signatures of regress, of wards, non-entries, relief and marriages, of the gift of penalties, signatures of foundation and mortification of goods moveable fallen in escheat by bastardy or as last heir, and of all other signatures concerning the treasurer (except before excepted), the treasurer and his clerk may take their composition and fine with the party according to their own discretion as has been used before. It is provided always that the composition of the infeftments of feu ferm of kirklands shall pass by the commissioners appointed thereto, as the custom has been before in like manner; that the comptroller and his deputes take care of the king's property to the customs, and that, by the advice of the council, he put searchers for forbidden goods and goods uncustomed had, or to be had, out of the realm; and that no licence be given for transporting of forbidden goods and goods uncustomed had, or to be had, out of the realm by the advice of the council. Likewise, that the comptroller and his depute present to the council all signatures of new infeftments of the king's property or signatures passed upon resignations where the contradiction of the old infeftment is in any way altered, and that they proceed thereupon in manner aforesaid as is above-specified concerning the expedition of signatures pertaining properly to the treasurer. The said comptroller and his deputes may always set five years' tack by virtue of his office for payment of the grassum and duty and also may enter the kindly and native tenants and pass all other common signatures properly pertaining to his office without the determination of the council. And the secretary and his deputes shall attend upon their proper charge, to wit, upon the dispatch and receipt of all messages foreign and within the realm, of all requests made by our sovereign lord to any of his subjects and all other messages directed for convening and assembling of his estates, lieges and subjects and others, by the which our sovereign lord may be found and obliged; all safe conducts and supplications for safe conducts, provisions of benefices by resignation, demission or new donation, all the which shall be subscribed by the secretary or his deputes being for the time under our sovereign lord's subscription, they being always proposed and considered by the council and approved by them as said is. And also that no person present any signature, letter or writ to our sovereign lord to be subscribed by his highness except the officer to which the charge thereof properly appertains as said is, providing if they refuse, the complaints of all persons thereby interested shall be heard in the council. It is also provided that all letters commanding our sovereign lord's subjects to any effect shall be directed by the advice of the council and no other way. And in consideration of the absence of Robert, commendator [of Dun]fermline, secretary to our sovereign lord, now ambassador to the queen of England, it is agreed that [...] George Buchanan, pensioner of Crossraguel, and Master Peter Young, preceptor to our sovereign lord, supplies his place in that behalf, the one in absence of the other. And also it is statute and ordained that the treasurer and comptroller answer none of our sovereign lord's precepts for sums of money to any person or persons, unless the said precepts direct or to be directed be inspected and approved by the said council, and this present order taken to endure until an order be taken by the parliament.

  1. NAS, PA2/12, ff.2r-3r.
  2. Manuscript slightly damaged, resulting in a few missing and incomplete words in the text.
  3. 'And because the greatest prejudice that may' is underlined in the manuscript.