The discharge granted to James [Douglas], earl of Morton, lord Dalkeith etc., of the administration of his regiment, castle of Edinburgh, ammunition, jewels and others being therein

Our sovereign lord, with advice of his three estates of parliament, having considered with careful deliberation and been advised how that, after the long troubles and dangerous civil war with which this realm was made unquiet, from his highness's birth and coronation until the month of November 1572, his highness's late right trusty cousin John [Erskine], earl of Mar, lord Erskine etc., regent to his majesty, his realm and lieges, being deceased, his right trusty cousin and counsellor James, earl of Morton, lord of Dalkeith etc., being nominated and elected by the nobility of this realm, accepted upon him the regiment of the same and lieges thereof; the which election and nomination, with his acceptance of the said charge, being duly ratified and confirmed by our said sovereign lord and his estates in the parliament held at Edinburgh, 24 January 1572 [1573], the said James, earl of Morton, lord of Dalkeith, entered in the administration of the said regiment in a most perilous time in respect of the said civil war and the castle of Edinburgh being then fortified and detained against our said sovereign lord by such as had rebelled against his highness, and a great number of the principals of the nobility then standing disobedient to his majesty's authority; which castle being recovered and the disobedient subjects reduced to their allegiance and the whole estates shortly pacified by the prudent and diligent efforts of the said James, earl of Morton, with his great and sumptuous charges he has since worthily used and exercised the regiment of this realm, from the acceptance of the same in his person to the day of his demission thereof, which was [8] March 1578, at the which time, our said sovereign lord, the end of the twelfth year of his age approaching, accepted the administration of his realm and lieges in his own person, the said late regent having ear[ne]s[tl]y wished our sovereign lord's qualification for the charge and craving nothing more earnestly than to be unburdened thereof, with honour and surety of our sovereign lord's person and estate and the public peace and tranquillity of this realm and subjects. Therefore our said sovereign, with advice of the three estates, having good proof of the true and faithful service done to his majesty by the said James, earl of Morton, as well before his acceptance of the said regiment as since for defence and safety of our said sovereign lord's person and authority, chiefly in the dangerous times then occurring, and being mindful of his said good and faithful service, in respect thereof, and that others of the nobility that shall happen to be employed in his highness's service may serve his majesty and successors with the greater affection in time coming, have taken full cognition in the cause and therefore have found and, by the tenor of this present act, find, declare and decree that the said James, earl of Morton has duly, lawfully, justly and diligently exercised the said office of regiment and all affairs, causes and charges thereto appertaining, and has truly, as accorded in all respects, administered the same from the time of the acceptance thereof to the day of his demission of the same, and has ever during the same space, in all his proceedings in the government of this realm, kept a true, faithful and just part towards our said sovereign lord, his realm and lieges in all the affairs thereof, without crime, offence or fault, and ratify and approve whatsoever things done by him during his said regiment. And therefore our said sovereign lord and three estates of parliament decree, declare and ordain that the said James, earl of Morton, his heirs and successors shall not be accusable for any manner of crime of whatsoever greatness or weight, without exception, that may be allegedly committed by him in times past, but that he, his heirs and successors are, and shall be in times coming, freely discharged and exonerated of any accusation and other proceeding, calling, pursuing, moving of lawsuits or question against them for any cause, crime or occasion of crime whatsoever that may be imputed to them, however great that ever the same is; and that this present declaration in parliament be a sufficient exoneration and acquittance to the said James, earl of Morton etc., his heirs, successors and assignees of all crimes, questions or defences that can, or may be, criminal or civil, imputed to him or them by our said sovereign lord for any fact or deed done by him, his servants and ministers in the said administration of regiment during the space and time thereof; and this present acquittance and discharge our said sovereign lord and three estates aforesaid will and grant to be as valuable and of as great strength, force and effect in all respects as if the highest crime that can or may be imputed to any person were especially expressed therein, discharging all judges and ministers of the laws that none of them attempt anything in the contrary thereof, and of their offices in that part. And further, our said sovereign lord and three estates of parliament have discharged, indemnified and exonerated and, by the tenor of this present act, indemnify, discharge and exonerate the said James, earl of Morton etc., his heirs, executors, assignees and successors, his ministers, factors and servants of all sums of money, coined and uncoined, all mails, ferms, profits, rents and duties, both of the property, patrimony and casualties of this realm and dominions thereof, and of his highness's coin and profit thereof, the thirds of benefices, with all other goods, gear and things whatsoever, as well unnamed as named, pertaining or that in any way might have pertained to our sovereign lord since his intromission with the said office of regiment, intromitted with by the said James, earl of Morton, his ministers, factors and servants in his name during the said space; and with advice and consent of his said estates, wills and grants that this, his highness's exoneration and discharge, be as valuable and of as great strength, force and effect to exonerate, indemnify and discharge the said Earl of Morton, his heirs, executors, assignees and successors of anything of whatsoever value, great or small, that may be asked, required or pursued by our said sovereign or his successors against the said Earl of Morton, his heirs, executors, assignees or successors as pertaining to his highness by any right or title during the said space of the said James, earl of Morton's regiment and administration, as if the same had been especially stated in this present discharge and as if the greatest and most valuable things with the which he may be charged had been heretofore stated. Moreover our sovereign lord, by the advice of the three estates of parliament, exonerates, indemnifies and discharges the said James, earl of Morton of the castle of Edinburgh, ammunition, moveables, artillery, jewels and clothing being therein specified in the inventory made thereupon and by deliverance made thereof to Alexander [Erskine], master of Mar, by his highness's commission directed thereupon, with advice of the lords of his secret council, and ratifies and approves the acquittance and discharge given by William [Ruthven], lord Ruthven, treasurer to our sovereign lord [and] Patrick Lindsay of the Byres, commissioners to his highness in that behalf. And also our said sovereign lord, with advice and consent aforesaid, ratifies and approves the exoneration and discharge granted of before by his highness, with advice of the lords of his said secret council, to the said James, earl of Morton of the said administration of regiment during the space aforesaid; likewise his highness, by advice of the said three estates, promises in the word of a prince to ratify all and sundry the premises in the next parliament after his perfect age and never to come in the contrary hereof directly nor indirectly, without prejudice always of the bond made by the nobility, estates and barons of this realm, subscribers thereof, to the said James, earl of Morton for moving of our said sovereign lord, providing always that this present discharge and ratification in no way prejudices our sovereign lord concerning his general revocation of the things that come under the same, according to the laws of the realm.

  1. NAS, PA2/12, ff.3v-4r.