Charters and Documents Relating To the City of Glasgow 1175-1649 Part 1. Originally published by Scottish Burgh Records Society, Glasgow, 1897.
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The council records for the period between 27th April, 1586, and 22nd October, 1588, are awanting, and there is no record of the election of the provost and magistrates in October, 1586, and in October, 1587, nor any information as to how the stirring national events which took place during that period affected the burgh. Doubtless, however, the strong presbyterian sympathies of the citizens led them to approve of the friendly attitude which the king assumed towards Elizabeth, an attitude which enabled her to concentrate all the energies of her kingdom in organising resistance to the meditated invasion by Spain, the preparations for which were being actively pushed forward by Philip. By the middle of April, 1588, he had concentrated a force of 60,000 men in the Low Countries, with ships sufficient for the transport across the channel of the invading force under the command of the Prince of Parma; and a month later the armada, known as the "invincible armada," sailed from the Tagus to meet at Calais the expedition from the Low Countries, but was driven back by foul weather. On 20th July, however, the armada—containing an army of about 20,000 men—was descried off the Devonshire coast on its way to Calais, which it reached on 27th July, followed and harassed by the English fleet under Howard, Drake, Hawkins, and Frobisher. But the coasts of Holland were blockaded by the Dutch fleet, and Parma's transports were unable to get out. This encouraged the English. admirals to operate on the armada by means of fire-ships, and the Spaniards were compelled to put to sea. There they were subjected to incessant attack by the English fleet, and suffered greatly also from storms which compelled them to abandon their plan of invasion and to attempt to return to Spain by passing round the north of Scotland. Meanwhile, in view of the invasion, Elizabeth sent an ambassador to Scotland to crave the aid of 10,000 men, (fn. 1) and on 5th August proclamation of the imminent danger was made at Edinburgh. The lieges were also required to be in readiness to rise, to have beacons or bale-fires provided on the tops of hills for signalling purposes, and to hold weaponshawings in town and country. (fn. 2) In the North Sea the armada sustained great loss on the coast of Norway and in rounding the north of Scotland. Misfortune followed them along the west of Scotland and on the Irish coast in September, and only a crushed and broken remnant of the mighty expedition succeeded in effecting its return to Spain. So ended the enterprise of Philip, who, had it succeeded, would have claimed the crown of England as the catholic heir of Mary Stuart.
On 22nd October, 1588, Sir Mathew Stewart of Mynto was elected provost, and James Fleming, Robert Rowat, and James Stewart were appointed bailies for the ensuing year, (fn. 3) and their efforts seem to have been anxiously directed to the adoption of precautions against the pest which raged in Paisley and the districts in the vicinity of the city.
On 20th May, 1588, Walter, commendator of Blantyre, as "lord feu farmer of the barony and lordship," granted a document titled "a Rental," setting forth that the town was rentalled in the mill on the water of Kelvin, with the houses, yards, dam, and water, in place of Archibald Lyon, who, as rentaller of the archbishop, had, on 22nd January, 1577–8, conveyed these subjects to the town. (fn. 4) But this rental right was, on 9th November, 1588, converted into a feu holding by a charter granted by the commendator, as "lord feu farmer," to the magistrates and council, for the annual payment as feu-duty of the four merks previously paid as rent, with the addition of twelve pennies Scots. (fn. 5) On this charter the town was infeft on 20th March, 1588–9. (fn. 6) After the king attained majority, he confirmed the commendator's rights by a charter, dated 26th August, 1591; (fn. 7) and, in order that the town might receive the benefit of that confirmation, the commendator, on 17th November of the same year, granted a second feu charter ratifying that of 1588. (fn. 8) On this second charter the town was infeft on 18th December, 1591. (fn. 9)
Subsequently the commendator granted a charter whereby he resigned the superiority of the mill in the hands of the king, who, on 2nd January, 1595–6, granted a charter to the town confirming its rights. The effect of these deeds was that the town held its property of the king as superior, and became liable to the crown for payment of the feu-duty. Neither the charter of resignation nor the confirmation by the king are among the city's titles, but a ratification of the confirmation by the Archbishop, on 31st October, 1606, is still preserved. (fn. 10)
On 28th December, 1588, the town council, with a view "to the decoration of the town," resolved to transfer, with all convenient speed, the West Port, then ruinous and about to be repaired, to the Stockwell head, and to include "the haill rew and houses betwix and thair within the town." (fn. 11)
Notwithstanding the failure of the projected invasion of England by the king of Spain, the popish earls of Huntly, Errol, Crawfurd, and others, entered into renewed negotiations with Spain and Rome, from which large sums of money were received to aid in furthering an intended rebellion. Letters were, however, intercepted by Burleigh, which disclosed their intentions, and these letters were forwarded to the king, who, while he imprisoned Huntly for a time, gave little credence to them till the whole of the north of Scotland was on the eve of revolt. Then, when the magnitude of the plot revealed itself, the king acted with a degree of decision and courage wholly unusual. Supported by the protestant nobles, an army was hastily summoned, and, with the king at its head, pushed on by Perth, Brechin, and Dundee, to Aberdeen. Huntly surrendered himself prisoner; Slaines, the principal castle of the Earl of Errol, was taken and garrisoned; the other leaders of the rebellion submitted; and the earl of Bothwell surrendered, and was imprisoned. (fn. 12) The leaders of the kirk clamoured for the death of the papists, but, though Huntly, Crawfurd, and Bothwell were convicted of treason, they all escaped with imprisonment. In connection with this expedition, which extended over the months of April and May, 1589, Glasgow was called on to supply contingents to the royal service. On 12th April, the council, being requisitioned to provide sixty hagbutters, found that they could not, without "grit hurt," raise so many. They, however, resolved to provide forty, with their commanders, and appointed a tax of £500 to be raised for equipping the contingent. (fn. 13) Three days later another royal charge was sent from Dundee, but, on the 19th, the council found that it was met by the arrangement previously made. (fn. 14) The Glasgow contingent would appear to have returned previous to the 10th of May, on which day the town council met to consider how the men might be remunerated for their services, which had been commended by the king. The council accordingly resolved that the contingent should be paid one hundred merks, in addition to the daily wage of ten shillings, to each of the men composing it. William Stewart and Thomas Pettigrew, the two commanders, were appointed to be also "gratefeit according to the provest and baillies discretioun." (fn. 15) This gratification to these officers took the form, on 3rd June, of "thrie burges fynes of thair awin findyng out, besydis thair ordinar wage and daylie allouance sett doun to thame." (fn. 16)
Subsequently the town, along with other burghs, appears to have been charged "to pas fordward to the north to await upon his majesties service thair," and the magistrates and council, considering that the king was then at Hamilton, on 21st June, 1589, appointed a deputation to go there and see the king and the chancellor, with a view to obtain a license to "abyd fra this present raid." (fn. 17)
After the Reformation the cathedral seems to have been allowed to fall into decay, and an act of the town council, of date 21st August, 1574, refers to its then ruinous condition by reason of the removal of the lead, slates, "and other graith thereof," and states that this "greit monument" will utterly fall down and decay unless some remedy were provided. Accordingly, while declaring that the repair and maintenance of the building formed no charge on the town, the council imposed a tax of £200 for this purpose, (fn. 18) and on 27th May in the following year, they admitted a slater to be a burgess and freeman in consideration of the "labours done be him to the hie kirk." (fn. 19) Seven years later, viz., on 10th December, 1581, "the ruin and decay" of the building occupied the attention of the dean of faculty and principal of the college and other members of the kirk, who represented the matter to the town council, (fn. 20) and on 27th February, 1582–3, they considered repair to be necessary, but repudiated legal liability. (fn. 21) An application for assistance appears to have then been made to the convention of burghs, which at that time, and long afterwards, was in the practice of making grants in aid of public works in the several burghs. The application was before it on 18th June, 1583, (fn. 22) but was continued till the next convention, and no farther reference to the subject occurs in its records. On 29th May, 1589, however, the necessity for having repairs on the building executed was again under the consideration of the council, and on 26th July they had before them a complaint on the subject by the ministers, elders, deacons, and others of the kirk session. The bailies then present offered to provide the whole of a taxation of 1,500 merks, and for their own part 600 merks, provided the parishioners outside the burgh and parsonage would provide 900 merks. They also offered that if the parsonage and parishioners outside the burgh would give the council security for payment of the 900 merks within six months after the repair was commenced, the council would undertake and complete the work. This offer was confirmed by the town council, and the commendator attended the meeting on the same day and engaged to contribute 400 merks towards the cost of the repair. (fn. 23) Of the sum to be advanced by the town for this purpose, 400 merks were appointed on 8th August to be borrowed, and to be repaid out of the first proceeds of the taxation. (fn. 24)
It has been seen that in July, 1587, parliament passed an act of pacification and restitution, which applied, among others, to archbishop Beaton and the bishops of Ross and Dunblane. But after the suppression of the rebellion in the north the feeling of the king and his advisers seems to have changed, for on 29th May, 1589, the privy council passed an act, by which, considering "how it has bene maist prudentlie and wyslie providit, be divers actis of parliament and secreit counsaill respective, that na maner of persone sustenand the processis of foirfaltrie, barratrie, or excommunicatioun for nocht professing of his majesties obedience, and geving the confessioun of thair faith, in his minoritie, suld be ressavit agane to his majesties obedience or enjoy ony benefitt within this realme, quhill thair lauchfull relaxatioun and absolutioun fra the saidis sentenceis, and acknaulegeing of his majesties obedience, his authoritie, and trew religioun, publictlie professit and be law establissit within this realme, and how that, notwithstanding of the saidis actis, the bischoppis of Glasgu (James Beaton), Ros (John Leslie), and Dunblane (William Chisholm), and divers utheris personis aganis quhome the sentenceis of foirfaltour, barratrie, or excommunicatioun hes bene led, hes obtenit certane pretendit retreitingis of the saidis sentenceis, at the leist dispensationis of the nocht geving of the confessioun of thair faith, be ressoun of thair absence furth of the cuntrey, ordining thame to be answerit of thair levingis in the meantyme, and the lordis of sessioun to proceid and minister justice in all thair caussis, nochtwithstanding the nocht geving of thair saidis confessionis, quhilk hes bred na small inconvenient and trouble amangis the legis of the countrey sensyne, to the grite greiff of his majestie, and disquieting of the present estate and trew religioun: For remeid quhairof" the king, with advice of his privy council, ordained these acts of parliament to stand effectual in all time coming as well against the three bishops as against all other persons against whom such sentences of forfeiture, barratry, or excommunication had been led; and all dispensations or other indulgences obtained by these persons contrary to the tenor of these acts, for not giving confession of their faith during their absence, were simpliciter discharged. (fn. 25)
In 1585 a good deal of negotiation had taken place as to the marriage of king James with the eldest daughter of Frederick II., king of Denmark; but James had shown so much coolness in the matter, that the princess had been assigned to the duke of Brunswick. Negotiations were, however, resumed with the Danish court in 1588 for the hand of the princess Anne—then fifteen years of age—second daughter of the king; (fn. 26) and Frederick having died and been succeeded by his son Christian IV., George Keith, earl Marischall, was, in June, 1589, despatched as ambassador-extraordinary, with a noble retinue, to the then king, to complete the marriage by proxy. The marriage was accordingly so solemnised on 20th August, and preparations were immediately made for bringing the queen to Scotland. But after sailing, the ship in which she was, with the attendant fleet, was driven back by severe storms; and on the 10th of October a messenger from Denmark arrived in Scotland to explain the delay, which was causing the royal bridegroom intense anxiety. The king—then in his twenty-fourth year—thereupon resolved to proceed to Norway, where the queen's fleet had taken refuge, and bring her home himself. In preparation for that journey and the absence of the king, which was estimated to extend over three weeks, the duke of Lennox was appointed president of the council, and arrangements for the continual presence of sections of that body in the capital were made. (fn. 27) The king sailed from Leith on 22nd October, accompanied by the chancellor, Maitland, and a retinue of 300 barons and gentlemen. On 19th November he reached the Norwegian town of Opsloe—now known as Christiania, the modern capital—and on Sunday, the 24th of that month, he was "married in proper person" to Anne, by his own chaplain, Mr. David Lindsay, minister of Leith, who had accompanied him. At the suggestion of the Danish council, the return of the king and his bride to Scotland was postponed till the winter was past; and on the invitation of the Danish queen-mother and king Christian, they, on 22nd December, left Opsloe for Denmark, and by easy stages reached Kronburg castle, where they were received on 21st January, 1589–90. There they were royally entertained, and after being present at the marriage, in April, of the queen's eldest sister to the Duke of Brunswick, (fn. 28) they, accompanied by a Scottish fleet which had arrived to bring them home, (fn. 29) sailed from Denmark on the 1st of May, and arrived in Leith on the 1st of July, where they were received with great rejoicings. Proceeding to Holyrood on the 6th, the queen was crowned in the Abbey Church there on the 17th of that month. (fn. 30)
Till about 1588 the protestant churches of Scotland and England had preserved most amicable relations with each other, and that amity had extended to the other protestant churches of Europe. But, in that year, Dr. Bancroft, afterwards successively bishop of London and archbishop of Canterbury, preached a sermon before the English parliament at St. Paul's Cross, in which he not only asserted the divine right of episcopacy, but attacked the Scottish presbyterian church. This attack, which neither queen Elizabeth nor the king did anything to counteract, and was aggravated by subsequent aggressive publications, gave great offence in Scotland, and laid the foundation of permanent disturbance of the harmony which had previously existed between the two churches. (fn. 31)
On 30th September, 1589, the commendator, as lord feuar of the lordship and regality, "haifand power to nominat the prouest, conform to his infeftment," nominated the right honourable Sir Mathew Stewart of Mynto, knight, to that office, and he was appointed accordingly. On the same day also, leets for the bailies were submitted to the lord feuar, who selected William Cuningham, Robert Rowat, and James Stewart, and they were duly elected to that office. On 2nd October, James Flemyng and twenty-one other persons were appointed councillors for the following year. (fn. 32)
In the light of existing conditions, it is curious to find Glasgow and Dunbarton entering into an agreement, which is set forth in a formal indenture dated at Renfrew, 9th October, 1590, concerning "the using, keeping, and observing of the privileges and freedoms granted in all time bygone to these towns by the king and his progenitors, anent all merchandise of ships coming in at the west sea in the water of Clyde, and other waters or lochs." By that deed it is agreed that when such ships or vessels came from foreign countries into the Clyde, or any other waters or lochs, the bailies of Dunbarton should, at the expense of Glasgow, immediately advise its magistrates and community of the arrival of such merchandise, and, after such advice, they should appoint certain merchants to proceed with all haste to Dunbarton "to commune and advise of the said merchandice, and the availls of the samyne." The magistrates of Dunbarton were then to select certain merchants to pass with those from Glasgow "for the buying of the said merchandice to the commoune weillfare and availl" of Glasgow and Dunbarton, and to share equally in all profits of such merchandise, and in paying the costs of the same. The magistrates of both burghs also engaged to defend the rights and freedoms of each whenever it might be necessary to do so; and if any question should arise between them in regard to the buying and paying for such merchandise, or the breaking of the privileges and freedoms of either place, it was agreed that six discreet persons of each burgh should meet within Renfrew for "reformatioun of the said faltis and punishing of the brekers and discord makers." The breaking by either burgh of the arrangement then come to subjected the breaker to a payment of £100 Scots, £40 of which was appointed to be paid to the king, £20 to the kirk work of the Laigh Kirk (fn. 33) of Glasgow, and £40 to the community which did not break the agreement. (fn. 34)
A general assembly of the church, which met on 21st May, 1592, resolved to take action to secure a repeal of the statutes of 1584 regarding discipline and the ratification of the liberties of the church, and the time was opportune, for the country was distracted by the turbulent conduct of the earl of Bothwell, and the suspicions entertained regarding the murder of the young earl of Murray had made the king unpopular. James was naturally anxious to strengthen his government, and he and his advisers doubtless thought that this object would be secured by making concessions to the demands of the leaders of the church. Accordingly, when parliament assembled at Edinburgh on the 5th of the following month, acts were passed which ratified (1) the liberties of the kirk, as declared in the acts 1579, c. 6, 7; 1581, c. 1, etc.; (2) the government of the kirk by general assemblies, provincial synods, presbyteries, and kirk sessions—the duties of each of which were set forth; and (3) the jurisdiction and discipline of the kirk as agreed on by the king in conference with certain of the ministry. It also repealed all acts in favour of the papistical kirk and prejudicial to the liberty of the true kirk; declared that the act 1584, c. 2, confirming the royal power, should not derogate from the privileges of spiritual office-bearers concerning matters of religion; repealed the act 1584, c. 20, granting commission to bishops to receive presentations and to collate to benefices, and transferred the power to presbyteries. (fn. 35) "This settlement," says Dr. M'Crie, "was not without its defects," to which he alludes, but the act, which still continues to be the charter of Scotland's liberties, has always been regarded by Presbyterians in an important light, and as a great step in national reformation. It repealed several statutes which were favourable to superstition, and hostile to the independence of the kingdom. It reduced the prerogative of the Crown, which had lately been raised to an exorbitant height; and, by legally securing the religious privileges of the nation against arbitrary encroachments, it pointed out the propriety and practicability of providing similar securities in behalf of political rights. It gave the friends of the Presbyterian constitution the advantage of occupying legal ground, and enabled them, during a series of years, to oppose a successful resistance to the efforts of the court to obtrude on them an opposite system. And as often as the nation felt disposed to throw off the imposed yoke of Episcopacy, they appealed to this charter, and founded upon it a "claim of right" "to the recovery of their ancient liberties." (fn. 36) Principal Cunningham, referring to this act, says, "It was tantamount to the entire subversion of the Episcopal polity, and the re-establishment of the National Church upon a Presbyterian basis. It is frequently spoken of as the Magna Charts of the Church. . . The act of annexation, however, was not repealed, and all hope of the Church recovering its lost lands was gone." (fn. 37) Alluding to the ample terms in which the privileges of the church were ratified by this act, Dr. Grubb points out the incompleteness of the church's triumph:—"The Book of Discipline itself was not alluded to, and its provisions, as a whole, remained destitute of parliamentary sanction; the civil rights of the bishops and other prelates continued as before; and the law regarding the patronage of ecclesiastical benefices was expressly confirmed." (fn. 38)
At the convention of burghs held in Kirkcaldy on 15th June, 1592, the commissioner for Lanark complained that Glasgow uplifted from its neighbours a ladleful of each load of victual, and a handful of each weight of wool, or a fleece of each pack. Glasgow was appointed to answer this complaint at the next general convention, (fn. 39) and, at the following convention held at Dysart on 12th June, 1593, the consideration of the complaint was resumed, and both burghs appeared by their respective commissioners. Glasgow denied "the uptaking of the said fleice," and consented to a decerniture accordingly, but the other parts of the complaint were continued till the next convention. (fn. 40) On 28th June, 1594, accordingly, the case was again considered by the convention at Stirling, when the commissioners for Glasgow produced a decree by the Court of Session, finding that the burgh was entitled to take a ladleful of each load of victual. The convention accordingly assoilzied Glasgow from that part of the complaint, and remitted to proof the allegation of the commissioner for Glasgow that the burgh had been in use beyond memory to uplift, without question, the handful of wool. (fn. 41) Portions of the minutes of the subsequent convention are destroyed, and no reference to the subject appears in what remains.
On 10th May, 1593, the town council acquired from Donald Cuningham of Aikinbar, and his wife, at the price of two hundred merks, the chapel and house called St. Mungo's chapel, with the kirk-yard and pertinents, situated beyond the Gallowgate bridge, in order that it might be converted into an hospital for the poor. (fn. 42)
On 21st July, 1593, an act of parliament was passed, by which all infeftments granted, or which might be granted, by the king, containing the gift and disposition of the right of any patronage, advocation, and donation of benefice, should be of no avail. But he was empowered to except from this act, inter alia, the infeftments granted "to Walter, prior of Blantyre, keipar of the privie seal, in favor and to the behuif of Ludouik, duke of Lennox, &c., of the aduocatioun, donatioun, and richt of patronage of all and sindrie kirkis, personages, and vicarages belanging and pertaining to the archebishoipric of Glasgow." (fn. 43) On the same day also an act was passed in favour of the duke, (fn. 44) by which, on the narrative that the greatest number of the vassals, free tenants, and heritable feuars of the temporal lands belonging to the archbishopric, were of so mean rent and quality that they were not able to bear the expense of resignations into the hands of the king and entries thereto from the chancelry, and that, in consequence, many of the feuars were unable to obtain entries into their lands, the duke was vested during his lifetime in the right of superiority of the whole temporal lands and rights of the archbishopric, and he and his commissioners were empowered during his lifetime to receive all resignations to be made by the heritable tenants, vassals, or feuars of these temporal lands, and to grant to them, or their heirs and successors, entries to the lands, which should be as valid to the receivers as if granted by the king or his chancellor, notwithstanding the act of annexation of all ecclesiastical lands to the crown by the act 1587, c. 8. (fn. 45) The effect of this statute is not very clear, but, as far as can be ascertained, the rights conferred by it on the duke did not encroach on those of the commendator of Blantyre. In virtue of it the duke probably drew the feu-duty payable by the commendator to the crown, and also the casaulties payable by such vassals as obtained charters from him instead of from the crown.
On 19th February, 1593–4, four years after her marriage, the queen gave birth, in Stirling castle, to a son, (fn. 46) who was named Frederick Henry, and active preparations were forthwith made to celebrate the baptism of the young prince and heir apparent with befitting splendour. Invitations to be represented at the ceremony were transmitted by special envoys, or by the ambassadors at the several courts, to the queen of England, the king of France, the estates of Flanders, the dukes of Brunswick and Mecklenberg, and other high dignitaries. Those portions of the king's marriage tocher of £100,000 which had been lent to Edinburgh, Perth, Dundee, St. Andrews, Glasgow, and other burghs, and to private individuals, were called up to provide suitable furnishings on the occasion, (fn. 47) and the burgh of Stirling was required by formal proclamation to entertain suitably the foreign ambassadors and others who were to attend the ceremony, which took place, after several postponements, on 4th September, 1594. (fn. 48) The baptism was celebrated by David Cunninghame, bishop of Aberdeen, a circumstance which, Dr. M'Crie observes, "may be viewed as indicating that the court had altered its intentions as to the government of the church, and already meditated the gradual restoration of the episcopal order." (fn. 49)
On 8th June, 1594, the parliament, which met at Edinburgh on the 30th of the previous month, passed an act by which, on the narrative that various rents and commodities which had been gifted to chaplains and priests serving in the New Kirk of the college of Glasgow, had, after the reformation, been gifted to the magistrates and community of the city for the purpose of being employed in hospitality and the uses of piety; that the magistrates, for the advancement of literature, had gifted the subjects so granted to them to certain bursaries founded within the college, "to be haldin at the scuill thereunto, and that of the purest of the town quha vtherwayes had nocht the moyen to remane at the scuilles;" but that such had been the abuse in times past, that the sons of the richest men of the town had been sustained on the rents of these subjects, and not those for whom the grant was intended. The magistrates and council being, therefore, desirous that the endowment should be applied to better objects, had diverted it from the entertainment of bursars and applied it to the support of the ministry within the city. This application the king, with the advice of the states, ratified and ordained to have effect in all time coming. (fn. 50) It would accordingly appear that, under the changes introduced by the magistrates and council, and ratified by parliament, part of the revenues given to the college in 1572–3 was resumed, and the grant then made was revoked to that extent. The accounts of the city for some years after 1594 are awanting, but the account for 1607–8 shows that the "haill annuelles of the New Kirk" collected for that year, and handed over to John Bell, minister, amounted to £250 Scots. (fn. 51)
It has been seen that, in virtue of a commission issued by parliament on 16th March, 1566–7, (fn. 52) the salt market of Glasgow was placed above the Wyndhead. But this situation seems to have proved unsuitable, by reason of its distance from the bridge and river, "quhair the salt is maist vsit," and the expense to which the merchants and fishers who bought the fish were put in carrying the salt from the Wyndhead to the bridge, upwards of a. mile. Moreover, it appeared that the sellers of the salt, for the same reason, removed to the site of the old market, near the bridge. This condition of matters seems to have led to a representation being made to the commissioners by freemen resident above the Greyfriar Wynd, and to have been favourably considered. The representation, indeed, states that the commissioners had been "myndit" to place the bear and malt market above the Wyndhead, instead of the salt market, if the commission had not been terminated by the decease of lord Boyd, who died on 3rd January, 1589. Accordingly, on 8th June, 1594, a commission was granted to Walter, prior of Blantyre, Robert Boyd of Badinhaith, David Forsyth of Dykes, the ordinary ministers of the city, and the provost and bailies—or the most part of them —to remove the bear and malt market to a position above the Wyndhead, and also to remove the salt market to its old position, and generally to do what might be necessary for the execution of the latter commission. (fn. 53)
The council records from 31st July, 1590, to 5th October, 1594, are amissing, but on the latter date the lord feuar appointed Sir Mathew Stewart of Mynto to be provost, and, from a leet of eight submitted to him by the council, nominated Robert Chirnside, William Cuningham, James Stewart, and Robert Rowatt, the four old bailies of the previous year, to be bailies for the year to come, and they were elected accordingly. On the same day twenty-eight councillors were appointed. (fn. 54)
On 19th October, 1594, the council resolved to divide the town into four quarters, each being assigned to a bailie, whose duty it was to see to the statutes of the town being enforced within it. (fn. 55)
On 20th March, 1594–5, the king, by letter, after narrating the act 1567, c. 14 and 17, (fn. 56) for repressing the vice of fornication, and prescribing the punishment to be inflicted, and referring to the prevalence of the vice within the city and parish, constituted the provost, bailies, and session of the kirk of the city and parish, judges in that part to all persons accused or suspected of the vice committed or to be committed within the city and parish. And the judges so appointed were empowered to levy the fines specified in the act from all persons convicted of the offence, and to apply the same, at their discretion, to pious uses, viz., to the poor of the city or other indigent persons, or otherwise to such other common works of the city as they might think most expedient. (fn. 57)
The first reference in the records of the burgh to the establishment of a night-watch is dated 22nd March, 1594–5. It ordains that, for staunching of night-walkers "misvseand the towne," a watch of eight persons nightly should be established, two at the Wyndhead, two at the Blackfriars, two at the Cross, and two at the Nether Barresyett. They were required to go up and down the streets, and apprehend night-walkers and bring them to the tolbooth. One of the town's officers was appointed to accompany the watch, and the bailie of each quarter was empowered to appoint a master of the watch within his quarter. Failure to attend the watch after summons subjected the absentee to twenty shillings of unlaw, which was appointed to be paid the master of the watch and his company on the night of the failure. The watch thus appointed was authorised to search suspected houses, and, if necessary, to break open doors. The watchmen were required to be sufficiently armed, and were allowed either to go in company or singly as they considered best, and to be on duty from 9 p.m. till 3 a.m., or such longer period as might be determined. Failure on the part of a watchman to obey the master of the watch subjected him to an unlaw of twenty shillings, which was bestowed on the company. (fn. 58)
At a general assembly held in Edinburgh on 7th May, 1594, vigorous measures were adopted for the suppression of popery, and on the 30th of the same month, parliament, which also assembled there, passed acts with the same object, and commissioned the earl of Argyle, then young and inexperienced in warfare, to pursue the catholic lords with fire and sword. In the beginning of October he proceeded to the north to execute this commission, but was met and defeated at Glenlivet, on 4th October, by the earls of Huntly and Errol. The king himself had previously gone forward to Dundee, where he was joined by Argyle, and he afterwards advanced to Aberdeen. In this expedition James practically crushed the disaffected lords, and destroyed both Huntly's castle of Strathbogie and Errol's castle of Slanes. These lords left the country in March, 1595, and their adherents were heavily fined.
On 18th June, 1595, William Fleming appeared before the town council, and produced a feu charter by the provost, bailies, and council to Sir John Stewart of Mynto, of a portion of the commonty, described as extending to the Balgray dykes on the north, to the great hill [probably Garngadhill] on the south, the high gait to the Bishopsbriggs on the west, and to the little common moss on the east. (fn. 59)
On 30th September, 1595, a leet for the bailies was prepared to be submitted to the commendator of Blantyre, as lord feuar, with a view to his nominating three, that being considered a sufficient number. On 3rd October he appointed his relative, Sir Mathew Stewart, to be provost; and on the same day the leet for the bailies was presented to him, with a request that he might select three, and it was protested that, if he nominated more, such nomination should not prejudice the liberty of the town. The commendator answered that he considered it to be as necessary to have four bailies that year as in the two previous years; but he promised not to "prejuge thair libertie in ony yeir to cum, bot efter reasoning sa mony as aucht to be electit in tyme cumyng at the optione of the provest, bailies, and counsale." He thereafter nominated William Cuningham, Hector Stewart, John Anderson, and Thomas Muir to be bailies, and they were appointed accordingly. (fn. 60) On 8th October twenty-five persons were elected councillors, with the addition, as "extraordineris," of John Bornes, treasurer, and Thomas Glen, master of work. (fn. 61) On the 8th of the following month it was resolved to renew the watching of the town, and a bailie and two town officers were assigned to each of four specified districts. (fn. 62)
By a charter, dated 2nd January, 1595–6, granted by the king, under his privy seal, in which it is narrated that the rights to certain lands belonging to the archbishopric had been resigned in his hands by the commendator (fn. 63) and the duke of Lennox, he confirmed to the magistrates of Glasgow the mill, known as Archibald Lyon's mill, on the Kelvin; to George Hutcheson the lands of Lambhill; to Thomas Hill, son of Sir James Hill, parson of Erskine, a part of the lands of Ibrox; and to certain other feuars of the archbishopric various feu-rights granted to them. (fn. 64)
On the 5th October, 1596, (fn. 65) the council resolved to request the duke of Lennox to nominate only three bailies for the following year, because a fourth bailie had been elected for the two previous years "for extraordinar caussis." A leet of eight was then prepared, and was presented on the 13th to the duke, "having power by the king's grace to the nominatioun of the bailleis." He was first, however, asked to nominate the provost, and he appointed Sir Mathew Stewart of Mynto to the office. He afterwards selected William Cuningham, Hector Steuart, and Robert Rowatt, to be bailies, and they were accordingly elected. Two days later twenty-seven persons were elected councillors. The document authorising the duke to make these nominations, which had previously been made by the commendator of Blantyre, is not recorded in either the great seal register or privy seal register, and cannot now be traced. At the previous election, as has been seen, the commendator nominated the magistrates, but in the interim he had been appointed lord high treasurer, (fn. 66) and it is possible that; in the interchange of offices, the administration of the regality had devolved on the duke of Lennox. It will afterwards be seen that, on 17th November, 1600, the duke got a formal grant of the right of electing the magistrates, and of exercising jurisdiction over the temporalities of the archbishopric; while on 7th April, 1603, he obtained a charter of the lordship of Glasgow.
On a report by certain commissioners that a creek in Little Comray would be a sufficient harbour for ships and other vessels for the town of Irvine, and that the cost of repairing and completing it would amount to £4,773 6s. 8d., the privy council, on 29th July, 1596, found that not only the inhabitants of Irvine, but of all the counties adjacent thereto, would be accommodated by the harbour. The council and community of Irvine were accordingly empowered, for a period of five years, to levy an impost on all sorts of merchandise, therein specified, entering or passing furth of the ports of Ayr, Glasgow, and Dunbarton, or passing up and down "the saidis watteris or ony parte to and fra the samin townis and watteris, or betwix the saidis townis, alsweill the hielands as laulandis." (fn. 67)
The general assembly again met in Edinburgh on 24th March, 1595–6, and was attended by the king in person. Its attention was prominently directed to the prevailing corruption of all the estates, and the laxities of the court itself were strongly criticised. At this meeting, moreover, the king was urged to authorise the minister and kirk session of every parish to organise military musters, and he deemed it expedient to conciliate the kirk by promising to devise a scheme under which every congregation should have a minister, and every minister a stipend. (fn. 68) Exulting over the position which the kirk had thus attained, Calderwood says she had "come to her perfection and the greatest purity that ever she attained unto, both in doctrine and discipline, so that her beauty was admirable to foreign nations. The assemblies of the saints were never so glorious nor profitable to every one of the true members thereof." (fn. 69) In the letter of the law, says Burton, they had gained everything. Their presbyterian polity and discipline were established by act of parliament; their supremacy in things spiritual was admitted; the state became their servant, bound to enforce their decrees by denouncing their contumacious subjects as felons, and driving them beyond the pale and protection of the law. Lastly, the extent of their authority—the boundary line at which the spiritual ended and the secular began—was a matter for their own settling; at least they would certainly have allowed no other hand to draw such a line. It was not in human nature that they should not find occasion to try the practical strength of this nominal power. (fn. 70) The opportunity for doing so speedily presented itself. On 12th August (1596) a convention of the estates met at Falkland, and a petition was presented to it by the popish earls praying to be allowed to return to Scotland. This application roused the hostility of the kirk, and negotiations took place between the court and the ministers to endeavour to arrange terms on which the consent of the kirk might be obtained, with the result that, after a stormy meeting, it was agreed that, if the kirk and king were satisfied, it was best to recall the lords. (fn. 71) They accordingly returned to Scotland under an arrangement that they should be allowed to remain till May of the following year, in the hope that by that time they would be reconciled to the kirk. (fn. 72)
Meanwhile new complications between the king and the clergy were originated through the action of one of the ministers of St. Andrews, named David Black, who, in October, delivered a philippic against both the king and Queen Elizabeth in terms so outrageous as to lead the English ambassador to make a formal complaint to the king. Black was accordingly summoned before the privy council on 18th November, but, acting on the advice of the commission of the church then sitting in Edinburgh, he declined its jurisdiction, and claimed to be subject only to the ecclesiastical courts. (fn. 73) The privy council, nevertheless, proceeded with his trial, and, on 2nd December, found the crimes charged in the libel, and proved against him, to be treasonable and seditious, and ordered him to enter himself in ward, and to remain there during the king's pleasure. (fn. 74) Against this sentence the ministers protested, a fast was proclaimed, and the king was denounced as a persecutor. This action the king resented. The ecclesiastical commissioners were banished from Edinburgh, (fn. 75) and twenty-four burgesses who supported the ministers were ordered to leave the town within twenty-four hours. (fn. 76) Walter Balcanquhal, one of the ministers of the city, thereupon convened a meeting to determine a course of action, and that meeting, held on 17th December, appointed a deputation to submit its grievances to the king. He was at the time in the upper Tolbooth engaged with the privy council, and, after a stormy interview with the deputation, he retreated to the room in the lower Tolbooth, (fn. 77) in which the judges were holding courts, and after a time was able to pass down the Canongate to the palace. (fn. 78) This outrage exasperated the king. He proceeded next morning to Linlithgow, having previously issued a proclamation forbidding the courts of law to sit in Edinburgh, and appointing them to be ready to remove to such other place as he might appoint. (fn. 79) Two days afterwards, viz., on the 22nd, he issued a declaration that the tumult was an act of treason, and that the perpetrators were guilty of that crime, (fn. 80) and at the same time he seems to have contemplated the removal from Edinburgh of the judicatories of the country, for the lord treasurer addressed a communication to the magistrates of Glasgow, enquiring "what offer and conditions the town would make to the king in case he could be moved to transfer the session and college of justice to the city." The magistrates and council, however, unanimously agreed, on 24th December, to represent that they were not able to give any money contribution, but offered their services, and appointed two commissioners to ride to Linlithgow or Stirling with the town's answer. (fn. 81) On 23rd December certain ministers and inhabitants of Edinburgh, having failed to appear before the privy council on that day, were ordered to be denounced rebels, and their property was escheated, (fn. 82) and this was followed by the arrest of some of the offenders who had not taken flight. The king also refused to accept the submission of a deputation of the inhabitants who waited upon him; (fn. 83) and the aspect of affairs became so threatening that the citizens were anxious to make peace with him on any terms. The king seized the opportunity thus afforded of repressing the turbulence of the church, and asserting his authority. Returning to Leith on the 31st, he issued thence a proclamation of his intention to enter the city on the following day, and ordered some of the nobles to take measures for guarding it during his stay. (fn. 84) On 1st January, 1596–7, he accordingly entered the city as a conqueror, and was received by the magistrates on bended knees, and, with protestations of innocence, they offered to do their utmost to discover and punish the insurgents. After a religious service in the High Kirk, the king denounced the action of the ministers. Conventions of the estates were afterwards held at Holyrood, and of new the rioters were pronounced to be guilty of treason; the king was vested with power to interdict ministers from preaching, or church courts from meeting, when he saw cause; the houses of the Edinburgh clergy were taken from them and bestowed upon the crown; and the magistrates of the city were held bound either to produce the originators of the riot, or to enter their own persons in ward by the 1st of February. "By this show of firmness," adds Dr. Cuningham, "both the church and the city were completely overawed." (fn. 85)
The complete success with which the high-handed action of the ministers was defeated by the king, and their supporters were humiliated and crushed, enabled him to make advances towards the realisation of a scheme for introducing into the church an episcopal system of polity. The observation of Tacitus, quoted by Spottiswoode in regard to these events, that "every conspiracy of the subject which fails advances the sovereign," was fully verified. Summoning a meeting of the general assembly at Perth for the 28th of February, 1596–7, he prepared and circulated a paper containing fiftyfive queries in regard to points of church discipline, and these, with the answers to them from synods, presbyteries, and individual ministers, were submitted to the assembly, which was attended by an unusual number of members from the central and northern districts of the country. These members, on their arrival, were graciously received by the king, and prepared by the courtiers to resist the ultra-presbyterianism of Fife and the Lothians. Declaring itself, after keen debate, to be a lawful extraordinary General Assembly, entitled to determine all ecclesiastical matters brought before it, the assembly ultimately resolved, as stated by Dr. Cunningham, that it was lawful for his majesty to propose to the general assembly any matter affecting the external government of the church which he might wish to see discussed or reformed; that no minister was to reprove the king's laws till he had first sought a remedy through the church courts; that no man's name was to be mentioned in pulpit rebukes unless his sin was notorious, and notoriety was defined to consist in the person being fugitive, convicted by an assize, excommunicated, or contumacious; that every summons issued by the church courts was to mention the cause and the crime; that ministers were not to hold any meetings beyond the ordinary sessions, presbyteries, and synods; and that in all the principal towns the ministers were to be chosen with the consent of the congregation and the king. Thereafter the assembly appointed a committee to deal with the popish earls with a view to their being received by the church, and petitioned the king to extend indulgence to the fugitive ministers and to the city of Edinburgh. (fn. 86) Following up the advantages thus secured, another meeting of assembly was summoned at Dundee for 10th May. It also was largely attended by ministers from the north, and enacted that the royal sanction to the acts of all future assemblies was necessary; that all ministers should be set apart to their work by the imposition of hands; that all church courts should keep regular accounts of their proceedings, which should be subject to the supervision of the superior courts; that presbyteries should only interfere with matters purely ecclesiastical; that every person interested in matters forming the subject of processes in ecclesiastical courts should be entitled to extracts of such processes; and that summary excommunication should be suspended till regulations in regard to it were made. The king also appeared in person, and—after expressing his desire that provision should be made for the establishment of churches and ministers, with proper provision for their support in every district—suggested the appointment of commissioners to confer with him as to these and other matters affecting the interest of the kirk. A commission embracing the names of a number of the strongest ministers was thereupon appointed. (fn. 87) This commission, which was stigmatised by James Melville and Calderwood, formed, according to Dr. Cunningham, "a kind of college of presbyter-cardinals, out of which the future bishops were to be chosen; and as every man began to look for promotion, he began to be subservient." (fn. 88) As the result of conference between members of the commission and the popish earls the latter abjured popery, acknowledged the reformed church of Scotland to be the true church, and were received into its communion at Aberdeen on 25th June. In little more than five months afterwards parliament assembled in Edinburgh, and by its first act, on 16th December, reduced the forfeitures of the earls thus received into the church, (fn. 89) and, on the application of the commissioners appointed by the assembly, passed an act declaring that such pastors and ministers as at any time the king should please to provide to the office, place, title, and dignity of a bishop, abbot, or other prelate, should at all time thereafter have vote in parliament in the same way and as freely as any ecclesiastical prelate had ever had. But it was declared that whatever bishoprics were then in the king's hands undisposed of, or might afterwards become vacant, should be conferred only on actual preachers and ministers in the kirk, or on such other persons as should be found apt and qualified to exercise the office and functions of ministers and preachers, and should undertake to perform its duties. (fn. 90) All that now remained to be done was to have this enactment accepted by the church itself. A general assembly was accordingly summoned to meet at Dundee on the first Tuesday of March, 1598, and after it had sat for a week the enactment came up for consideration. The king himself was present and took part in the discussions. Bruce, Davidson, James Melville, and other leading ministers strongly opposed it, but when the vote was taken the assembly, by a majority of ten, adopted a resolution to the effect that "it was necessary and expedient for the welfare of the church, that the ministry, as the third estate of the realm, in name of the church, have a vote in parliament," that the number should be the same as in the time of popery, and that the election of these should belong partly to the king and partly to the church. (fn. 91)
The records of the town council between 29th May, 1597, and 21st November, 1598, are unfortunately awanting.
On 29th October, 1597, the bonnet-makers of the burgh received a seal of cause, by which they were authorised to elect annually on 22nd September a deacon, who should have power to appoint masters to examine all bonnets, wylicoats, (fn. 92) woollen socks or hose, &c., made or brought into the town for sale, and to punish insufficient work by a fine of twenty shillings, which was applicable to the support of poor decayed brethren and common charges. Admission of the sons of strangers or unfreemen was prohibited until they became freemen; paid an upset of £5; and provided a banquet and "assay" drink, at a cost not exceeding £5. Freemen's sons or sons-in-law had to pay thirty shillings of upset, with a banquet and drink as above. Freemen were to pay one penny weekly to the craft. Apprentices, and servants who had not been apprentices, were to pay ten shillings on entry. Freemen and servants were at their entry to pay two shillings to the officer of the craft. All persons using the craft were to give their oath of fidelity to the king, and to the magistrates and council, and of obedience to the deacon; and any one disobeying the deacon or officers was to pay a fine of ten shillings for the first offence, twenty shillings for the second, forty shillings for the third, and so on, doubling the fine for each offence. No unfreeman was to stand with his wares between a freeman's stand and the cross at market time; the deacon and masters were empowered to choose an officer yearly, and to make statutes; and one of the town's officers was to concur with the officer of the craft in poindings. This document bears the signatures of Mynto, provost, Hector Steuart and John Anderson, bailies, David Hall, and Thomas Muir. (fn. 93)
On 16th December, 1597, an act of parliament in favour of the duke of Lennox conveyed to him, during his lifetime, the superiority of the archbishopric of Glasgow, (fn. 94) in terms similar to those of the act 1593, c. 55. (fn. 95)
On 29th June, 1598, an act of the convention of estates was passed, by which, in consideration of the great service done by archbishop Beaton, not only to queen Mary, but to the king; of the affection which the archbishop bore to the king and to Scotland; of his lengthened services as the Scottish ambassador; of the king's intention to employ him in that capacity in other weighty matters, but of the archbishop's inability since the queen's death— by which he had been deprived of the greatest part of the means—to sustain his office of ambassador; and of the king's inability, consistently with his honour, to employ the archbishop without providing him with sufficient estate to sustain the burden and rank of ambassador, which provision could only be made by restoring him to his honours, dignities, and benefices,—the king and estates restored him to all the heritages, honours, dignities, benefices, offices, &c., which had previously belonged to him in Scotland, notwithstanding any sentence of forfeiture, decree of barratry, horning, acts of parliament or council, and sentence of excommunication. This act further dispensed with the statute 1592, c. 18, and declared that the archbishop should enjoy his whole heritages and benefices, though he had never made confession of his faith, or acknowledged the religion professed in Scotland. (fn. 96)
On 30th June, 1598, the inhabitants of Glasgow, with those of Dunbarton, Ayr, and others, were ordered by the privy council to meet the king at Dunbarton on the 20th of August, and accompany him to Kintyre and other parts of the islands and highlands, to compel the obedience of the inhabitants of these parts. (fn. 97)
On 21st July, 1599, the town council, after prolonged reasoning on the desire of the ministers that the town should be divided into two parishes, so that they "might acknowledge their own flock," agreed to such division, but were careful to provide that the town should not be burdened with the repairing and building of kirks, nor the providing of more ministers than already existed. (fn. 98) At the same time the deacons, who then formed part of the having reported the result of the voting by the crafts, and the ministers having renewed their application, the resolution previously come to was affirmed, subject to the proviso then expressed. Nothing seems to have appointed "that day eight days to that effect," (fn. 99) but their records do not set forth what was done.
With a view to the election of magistrates for the following year, a leet of eight persons to be submitted to the duke of Lennox for the nomination by him of three to be appointed bailies was prepared on 2nd October, 1599, and it was agreed to request his grace to nominate first a provost, "quha suld be and is the first member to be nominate." The duke made his selection, and three days later Sir Mathew Steuart, of Mynto, knight, was appointed provost, and James Tempill, Thomas Glen, and Robert Rowatt were elected bailies. Subsequently the provost, with the old and new bailies, appointed the council, consisting of twenty-seven persons. On the same day also the council enacted that whosoever should be appointed "to ryde, gang, or accept any office" concerning the common weal of the town, and refused to do so without cause deemed by the council to be reasonable, should forthwith be deprived of his office for the year in which he had been appointed to act as councillor, and, if a bailie, should pay £10 of penalty toties quoties, the penalty to be applied towards the common work of the town. (fn. 100)
On 29th November, 1599, the king granted a letter of gift, under his privy seal, to "Mr. Peter Low, our chirurgiane, and chief chirurgiane to prince Henry, (fn. 101) with the assistance of Mr. Robert Hamiltoune, professor of medicine, and their successesores, indwelleris of our citie of Glasgow," whereby, for avoiding inconveniences and securing good order within the burgh and barony, he empowered them to call before them all persons professing the "art of chirurgerie," and to examine them as to their literature, knowledge, and practice, and, if found worthy, to license them according to their art and knowledge to practise, receiving their oaths, and authorising them as accorded, but discharging them from "onie farder nor they have knawledge passing their capacity, laist our subjectes be abusit." This letter further declared that no person within the burgh and barony should be permitted to exercise medicine without a testimonial of a famous university in which medicine was taught, or without the leave of the king or Low, or to sell drugs within the city unless permitted to do so by those duly licensed. The sale of "rottoun poysoun" was also prohibited, except by apothecaries, who were bound to take caution of the buyers for any injury or damage which might result. The persons so licensed, with their brethren and successors, were required to convene on the first Monday of every month, at some convenient place, to visit and give counsel to poor diseased people gratis.
On 17th December, 1599, the privy council passed an act by which—on the narrative that in all well-governed countries other than Scotland the first day of the year begins on the 1st of January, and that the king and council were desirous that a similar custom should be adopted in Scotland,—it was ordained that from and after the first day of January, 1600, the year should be held to begin on 1st January annually. (fn. 102) This order, accordingly, received effect, though England still adhered to the old custom of not beginning the year till 25th March—a custom which endured till 1st January, 1752. (fn. 103)