Acts and Proceedings: 1605, July

Pages 1013-1021

Acts and Proceedings of the General Assemblies of the Kirk of Scotland, 1560-1618. Originally published by [s.n.], Edinburgh, 1839.

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A.D. M.DC.V.

July 2. (fn. 1)

The which day divers and sundrie brethren from divers and sundrie places and provinces in the land, instructed with sufficient commissions from their Presbytries, to reason, vote, and conclude in the General Assembly appointed be his Majesties Commissioner, and Commissioners of the General Assembly, with continuation, directed from Perth the 4 of July, the year of God 1604, subscribed be his Majesties Commissioner the Laird of Lauristoun, and Mr Patrick Galloway Moderator of the last General Assembly holden at Halyrudhous, and Richard Thomson Clerk to the Commissioners, to be and begin at Aberdeen the first Tuesday of July 1605 years, if be sooner advertisment it cannot, being lawfully assembled upon the said warrant and direction, according to the warrant of the Word of God, laws of the countrey, and continual custom of the Kirk of God therein. After in calling of the name of God by Mr David Rait in absence of the last Moderator, Mr Patrick Galloway, Mrs Robert Durie, John Monroe, John Forbess being put on leit, Mr John Forbess, with uniform consent of the whole brethren, was chosen Moderator; his Majesties Commissioner, the Laird of Laurestoun, having first nominated the said Mr Forbess to be mouth of the rest. And Mr John Sharp, in absence of Mr Thomas Nicolson, with consent of the whole brethren, was nominat and chosen Clerk.

The same day his Majesties Commissioner, having first be word declared the decree of his Majesties Secret Counsell touching the said meeting, did give in a letter directed for the Lords of his Majesties Secret Counsell, to the brethren of the said Ministry conveened at the said Assembly: The tenor and contents whereof follows.

Trustie friends, After our heartie salutations, hearing that ye have appointed an Assembly to be holden and keeped there at Aberdeen in the month of July next to come, whereby the Kings Majestie may take some occasion of offence against yow; seeing neither has his Majestie been made privie to your resolution, nor yet has his Hienes consent and allowance bein sought and obtained to that effect, according to the law and custome enviolablie observed the many years by gane, wee have thereupon thought meet hereby to advertise you to consider this matter as appertaineth, and wisely to forsee what prejudice such rash and unadvised proceedings may draw upon your estate: For wee are persuaded, if ye proceed to the holding of this Assembly without his Majesties approbation and allowance, that his Hienes will very hardly digest that matter, and will account the same as a contempt touching his Majestie in a high degree: And therefor it is our will and pleasure, and wee think it meet, and expedient for your oun well, and the peace of the Kirk, and for intertaining and cherishing that christian harmony which should be betwixt his Majestie and yow; that ye dissolve yourselves, repair every one to his own house and calling, and suffer this meeting to desert. And before ye appoint any new meeting, or Assembly, that ye acquaint his Majestie therewith; whereby, as ye shall testifie your obedience and conformity to his Majesties will and his lawes, so we doubt not but his Majestie, upon your oun suit and supplication, will in reason give you contentment and satisfaction herein. Wee have at greater length communicated our minds in this matter to the Laird of Laurestoun, one of his Majesties Privie Counsell, who will at length impart the same to you. And so wee commit you to God.
From Edinburgh the 20 of June 1605. Sic subscribitur,
Your good friends, Montrose Commissioner, Alexander Cancellarius, Blantyre Secretar, Prestoun, Cockburne.

Which letters, and desire therein contained, with the suit and desire of his Majesties Commissioner agreeing thereto, being rypely considered be the said Assembly, and having weighed the weightiness of the affaires necessary to be intreated, and rareness of their own number, divers of the Commissioners being stayed be the tempest of weather, and willing them, as at all tymes, to witness their willingness to satisfie his Majestie, and Lords of the Secret Counsell, in all their reasonable desires, so far forth as might stand with the Word of God, and testimonie of a good conscience, thought meet and expedient to continue the treating of the affairs pertaining to the said Assembly to the last Tuesday of September following, and to dissolve for the present according to the desire and suit of the letter foresaid: And ordaines intimation and warning to be made to all the Presbytries within the land, to choose their Commissioners, and to send them authorized with power to the said Assembly to be holden at Aberdeen the last Tuesday of September next to come anno 1605.

After the which ordinance his Majesties Commissioner made protestation, that from the beginning he did not acknowledge the present meeting for a lawfull Assembly, in respect of the absence of the last Moderator, and Clerk ordinar.

The Moderator in name of the brethren protested again, that the said meeting was and behoved to be a lawful Assembly, in respect of the warrant of their meeting the said day before specified, the direction of the Word of God, the lawes of the land, and continual custome of the Kirk.

Which being done, the said Commissioner caused charge the brethren there assembled, to suffer the said Assemblie to desert under the paine of horning be John Wishart, Messenger, who delivered a subscribed copie of the said charge to the Moderator in name of the whole: The tenor whereof followes.

James be the grace of God, &c. For as much as albeit wee have signified our will and pleasure, that we cannot be resolved anent the General Assembly before the approaching Parliament, and the Parliament being ended, that wee will have occasion to direct the most expedient in that matter for the well of the Kirk: Nevertheless wee and the Lords of our Secret Counsell are informed, that, in this mean tyme, there is a General Convention and Assembly of the Ministrie appointed to be holden at our burgh of Aberdeen in the month of July next to come; whereat a number of the Ministrie in this our realme intends to be present, wee being no wayes acquainted, nor made foreseen thereof, nor yet our consent and allowance being had, and obtained to that effect, according to the laws, acts, and constitutions made thereanent, and to the custome observed herein, these many years bygane, whereby our directions and commandements in this matter will be violated highlie, to the offence and contempt of us, our authority, and lawes: Our will is herefor, and wee charge yow straitly, and command, that, incontinent these our letters seen, ye pass, and in our name and authority command and charge the whole Ministrie, who shall happen to conveen to the said Assemblie, personally, if they can be apprehended; and failing thereof, be open proclamation at the mercat cross of Aberdeen, that they suffer the said Assembly to desert, repaire every one to his own dwelling and charge; and that they in no wise presume, nor take upon hand, to conveen and assemble themselves together in any place, for keeping of the said Assembly, under the pain of rebellion, and putting of them to the norne. With certification to them, and they failyie, they salbe denunced rebells, and put to the horn. As also that ye command and charge the Provest and Bailies of our said burgh of Aberdeen, that they suffer no such Assembly, convention, or meeting of the Ministrie to be keeped within their toun, as the said Provost and Bailiffes will answer to us, and our Secret Counsell, upon their dutifull discharge of their office. The which to do, &c.

Which being read and considered, the said Moderator, at the command of the brethren, took document, and note, in the hand of the said John Wishart being a Notar Publick, that they were ready instantly to obey the tenor of the said charge. The said John refusing the benefit of his office in that part, the Moderator, with the rest of the brethren, after in calling of the name of God, dissolved, and departed out of the Kirk, for obedience to his Majesties charge: And the said Moderator with the remnant brethren past immediately to the Common Clerks chamber of the said burgh, and there took documents in the hands of James Molleson Common Clerk: The tenor whereof followeth.

At Aberdeen the second day of July, the year of God 1605, in the Common Clerks writing chamber of the burgh of Aberdeen, at half hour to five in the after noon, or thereby, in presence of us Connotars, and witnesses underwritten, compeared personaly the Commissioners of the Ministrie of this realme, after following; They are to say, Mr Robert Durie, Minister at Anstruther, Mr Andrew Duncan, Minister at Carraill, Mr John Sharp, Minister at Kilmenie, Mr Alexander Strauchan, Minister at Creich, Mr John Forbess, Minister at Asurde, Mr William Forbess, Minister at Kinbethock, Mr James Irving, Minister at Tuiche, Mr Robert Young, some time Minister at Clatt, Mr Robert Reid, Minister at Bancherie Trinitie, Mr Charles Farholme, Minister at Frazerburgh, Mr William Davidson, Minister at Rathen, Mr David Robertson, Minister at Rugley, Mr John Monro, Minister at Tane, Mr Archibald Bleckburne, Minister at Aberdeen, Mr James Ross, Minister there, and John Rough, Minister at Nige; and alledged, that they being conveened in the Session house of the Kirk of this burgh of Aberdeen this day, as at the appointed day and place, for holding the General Assembly of the Ministrie of this realme, they were charged be John Wishart Messenger, be vertue of his Majesties letters, given be act of his Hienes Secret Counsell, of the date at Edinburgh the 20 day of June last bypast, within the space of a quarter of an hour since, that they should suffer their Assembly to desert, repair every one of them to their own dwelling and charge; and that they are no wayes to presume, nor take upon hand to conveen, nor assemble themselves in any place, for keeping of the said Assembly, under the pain of horning; as the copie of the said letters, which they shew to us Connotars, and witnesses underwritten, subscribed, as appeared, be the said John Wishart Messenger, proports; and that for obedience to the command and charge of the said letters, they instantly, after the giving of the said charge, dissolved, without any farther action, and came immediatly furth of the said Session house and Kirk, to the said Common Clerks chamber, at the west end of the Tolbuith of the said burgh, as to the most publick place, to take notes, and instruments of their obedience to the command and charge of the said letters, and dissolving of the said Assembly in the hands of us Connotars under subscribing. And hereupon they craved and took instruments, day, month, and year foresaids, before these witnesses, Alexander Forbess of Fingask, David Ronaldson, John Tullidaf, Mathew Donaldson, John Kemp baker, Alexander Thomson skinner, burgesses of Aberdeen, Mr George Spence servitour to the said Mr John Forbess, and Thomas Forbess son to Thomas Forbesse elder, burgess of Aberdeen. Sic subscribitur,
Ita est, Magister Thomas Mollesonus, Scriba Communis de Aberdeen. Ita est, Walterus Robersonus, Scriba Substitutus burgi de Aberdeen. Mr John Sharp, Clerk to the Assembly.

Proclamation by the King in Council.

James &c. For as much as wee, be a special article signified with our own hand, and sent home with the Laird of Laurestoun our Commissioner, signified our will and pleasure, that wee for many causes could not be resolved anent the tyme of the General Assembly, before the approaching Parliament; and that in virtue of the said warrant, the Commissioners of the General Assembly, according to our pleasure, acquainted the Presbytries of our realme, with our commandement in that matter; and willed and desired them to forbear all conveening, meeting, or keeping of the said Assembly; nevertheless a very few number of the Ministrie, led with the spirit of dissobedience, and contempt of all lawfull authority, most unlawfully and contemptuously convened themselves within our burgh of Aberdeen, upon the second day of July last; And misregarding the former discharge given to their Presbytries, the letters of horning executed against themselves, with our Counsels missive letter delivered to them be our said Commissioner, they proceeded to the holding of an Assembly in such forme, as neither the absence of the best of the Ministrie, who would attempt nothing might be offensive to us, or prejudicial to the authority of a lawfull and solemne meeting of any Assembly, nor the diffenting of our Commissioner, that any thing should be done therein, could make them dissolve, while first they had made election of their Moderator, and appointed a new day to their next Assembly; and they knowing that their inordinat meeting, which was assisted with so few of the Ministrie, and that of the most ignorant and least accounted, could not have the ground and warrant of a lawfull Assembly; and that there could not be any law, practick, or custom of any other reformed Kirk in Europ, to justifie and approve their doings: Lyke as the whole Commissioners of the General Assembly having assembled themselves thereafter, and after due consideration of their foolish proceeding, having found the same to be no lawfull Assembly, and all utterly disallowed the same, the said Ministers thereof, in further contempt and disdain of us, our Counsel, and Commissioners, have continually sensyne bussied themselves in soliciting and procuring the approbation, consent, and allowance of the whole Presbytries of our realme, to their insolent and unlawfull proceedings, minding thereby to make their privat and factious proceedings, to be a common cause of the Kirk, and by soli citing such unlawful approbation of the Presbytries to pervert the whole order of our General Assemblies: wherein not only the personal presence of the whole, or most part of the Commissioners of the Presbytries of our realme, is alwife necessary; and without the which there cannot be an Assembly, but our own consent, or consent of our Commissioner being present, which is altogether requisit: and so as they began with contempt of us, and break of our lawes, even so their unlawfull course and progress of their proceedings tend to nothing, but to heap contempt upon contempt, and will produce farther inconveniences, without remeed be provided. Our will is herefore, and wee charge yow straitly and command, that incontinent thir our letters seen, ye pass, and in our name and authority command and charge and inhibit all and sundrie Synods. Presbytries, and Sessions of kirks, and Ministers within our realme, be open proclamation, at the Mercat Crosses of the head burrowes of our realme, and other places needfull, that none of them presume nor take upon hand privatly nor publickly in their Sessions, or meetings, nor in Conference, sermons, nor no other manner of way, to authorize, approve, justifie, or allow the said unlawfull meeting, and Assembly at Aberdeen; neither yet to make any act thereupon, nor doe any other thing, in privat or publick, which may seem to countenance the said unlawfull Assemblie, under the pain to be reputed, holden, esteemed, and pursued as guilty of this unlawfull meeting, and to be punished therefor with all rigour. And siclyke, that ye command and charge all and fundrie Lords, and Barons, and gentlemen, Magistrats, and all other our lieges, who shall happen to be present, and hear any Ministers in publick or in privat conferences, and speeches, or in their sermons, to approve and allow the said unlawfull Assembly, raile and utter any speeches against our royal commandements, or proceedings of our Counsel, for punishing and suppressing so hainous enormities, that they make relation and report thereof to our Counsel, and furnish probation; to the effect the same may be condignly punished, as they will answer to our Counsell thereupon: certifying them who shall hear and conceal the said speeches, they shall be esteemed allowers of the same, and sall be tane order with, and punished therefore without favour. The which to doe, &c.

Given at Edinburgh the eight day of August 1605.

Copie of the Kings Missive sent to the Presbitrie of Dumsermline.

Trustie and weel beloved, we greet you heartily well. Our knowledge of the jealousies and distractions of the late time, ariseing without anie necessar or essential cause in the Kirk of Scotland, the progress whereof might tend to open dissension among the Pastors, to their own trouble, the evil example of our people, and our miscontentment, having moved us to send for a number of the Ministrie, whom we understand to be of knowledge and good experience, that by their information the cause of these greeves might be truelie known, and the best means devised for removing such unnecessarie conventions, and reducing their proceedings to a settled good order for their own quietness and our obedience, we have not received that satisfaction of them which we expected, their answers tending more to ignorance of these distractions and grudeges, (which to our grief are verie manisest to the world,) nor to anie advice of the remedies thereof; and because we could not be balmeless of undutifull negligence, if we should leave any good means unassayed, which might bring readiest remeed unto bypast disorders, and best assurance for good order in the Kirk and obedience to our authoritie in time comeing: Therefore we have thought it necessarie to appoint some Noblemen and others of our Counsell to conveene with a good number of godlie, wife and learned Ministers of the Presbitries of that our Kingdom, at Linlithgow the 10 day of December next to come, to advise and resolve upon the remeeds of bypast distractions, preventing of imminent dangers be the daylie increase of the number of Papists travelling in all corners of that Kingdom, to disturb the peace of the Kirk and countrie, and to subvert our royal estate, and for settling of good order and quietness in the Kirk, and obedience to our authoritie: For which purpose our will is, that ye direct Mr John Fairfull, Minister of Dumsermline, Mr Andrew Forrester, Minister there, and Mr James Stewart, Minsiter at Sauling, of your Presbitrie, to be present with such of our Nobilitie and Counsell as we have commanded to meet them the said day and place, that be them they may know our godlie and just defires, and that such as ye send may give their information, advice, concurrence and judgement for the surtherance of good order, peace, and obedience in the Kirk and countrie to our authoritie, preventing of Papists courses, delating of the names of the authors therof, and such as receipt Jesuits, Priests, and trafiquing Papists, or other excommunicated persons; as also such as resort not to the Kirk and communion according to our laws and acts of Parliament made thereanent; and in all other matters of the like nature, tending to the peace of the Kirk and our obedience, whereanent our constant affection to the advancement of all such godlie purposes will be more largelie signified unto them att the said meeting, be such of our Nobilitie and Counsell as have our express direction in these matters. So resting assured of your conformitie and dutifull obedience in the performance of this our command tending to so godlie and necessary ends, we bid you heartilie fairweel.

Att Newmarket the 20th of October 1606.

To our trustie and well beloved the Ministers of the
Presbitrie of Dumsermline.


  • 1. The great Commissioner Laurestoun with the Commissioners of the General Assembly had written to all the Presbytries, for keeping of a General Assembly at Aberdeen the second of July. The missives directed to the Presbytries, subscribed be Richard Thomson Clerk to the Commissioners of the General Assembly, differed in the day; in the missives directed to the North, was appointed the second day of July; in the missives directed to the South the 5th day: Therfore some came the 2d day, and some the fyft day.