Acts and Proceedings: 1589, January

Pages 740-744

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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In a Convention of the maist wacryff and cearfull of the breithren, (everie an warning and moving uthers as the custome of the Kirk of Scotland was from the beginning,) met at Edinburghe in the month of Januar 1588.

Mr Andrew Melvill moderated. Mr James Melvill was scribe.

Humble Petitions to his Majesty and Counsell, for preventing of the dangers threatned to the professors of the true Religion within the Realme.

That it may please his Majestic to give command both to particular Presbytries, and such other Ministers, Barrons, and Gentlemen, as shall be thought meet, to conveen and consult upon the readiest remedies of thir dangers appearand, so oft as they shall think expedient; and to report thair opinions and advyses to his Majestie, betwix this and the xx day of Januar.

That it may please his Hienes to forbear in tyme to come, to interpone his Privie Letters or discharges to the Kirk for staying of thair proceiding with thair censures against Papists, when as they cannot be reclamed be laufull admonitions.

That Commissions may be directed to some specialls of his Hienes Counsell, best affected and of greatest power, to search, seek, and apprehend and present to Justice, all Jesuits, and cthers privat or public seducers of his Hienes lieges; and that the said Commissioners may be instantly named, and a day appointed to the report of their diligences in that behalfe.

That some specialls of the Ministrie, assisted with some well affected Barrons or other Gentlemen, may be authorized with his Hienes commission and licence, to pass to every quarter of this Realme, and there, be means that they find meetest, try and explore what Noblemen, Burrowes, Barrons, and others of any rank and calling, prosesse the Religion, and will joyne afauldlie in the defence therof, and who will not; and that a day may be appointed in like manner for reporting of thair diligence.

That seing the speciall occasion of the sinistrous suspicions, concevit of his Hienes sinceritie in the truth, and that animateth the Papists most, is his authoritie and service put in the hands of Papists, under whose wings all Jesuits, and others devoted to that superstition, find countenance and comfort: That, for remeed thereof, it may please his Majestie to purge his House, Counsell and Session, and to retire his power of Lieutenantrie, Wardanrie, and other his authoritie whatsomever, from all and whatsomever persons avowed or suspected to be papists: and to let proclamationes immediatelie be directed for publicatione of his Hienes good intention and meaning in that behalf, to the confusion of the Papists and thair Patrons, and confort of the godly offended this tyme bygean with thair long tolerance and oversight.

At the same time it was thought good that certaine sould be nominated to consult in privat concerning the best and most ready way of the said execution. Ten Noblemen, Lawiers and Burgesses, on the one side, viz. [the Erle of Angus,] the Earle Mareschall, the Master of Glames, Thesaurar, the Laird of Lochleven, the Clerk Register, Mr John Sharp, Mr Thomas Craig, Mr John Nicolsone, John Johnstone of Elphistoune, John Adamson; and ten of the Ministrie, viz. Mr Andro Melvill, Mr Robert Pont, Mr Robert Bruce, Mr David Lindsay, Mr Andro Hay, [Mr Thomas Bowchanan,] Mr Patrick Galloway, Mr Nicoll Dalgleish, Mr James Melvill, Mr Andro Mylne, mett [the same day at after noone,] and, after long reasoning and advisement, thought it most expedient and needfull;

First, That the said executioun should be without delay, in respect of the imminent danger.

Nixt, That for as much as there three ranks of enemies; the first of cheiff mantainers of Papists and Papistrey; the second of Jesuits, Seminarie Priests and Traffiquers; the third of allowers, recevers and intertainers of these in their houses, and partakers of their purposes and idolatrie: It was thought best that the first fort should be charged to ward; the second apprehended at unawares, and punished; the third proceeded against conforme to the laws of the countrey, and being found culpable, to be punished accordingly.

And last, To the intent that so weighty a matter might be solidlie advised and sett doun in all points, the Clerk Register, Alexander Hay, Mr John Sharp, Mr Thomas Craig, and others, were requested to take time and pause upon the matter, and every one severally sett doun their judgment in write. The which being confered togither, conclusion was taken and reported to his Majesty.

At this Convention were appointed certan Commissioners and brethren to meet every week [in Edinbruche,] to consult upon affaires pertaining to the weill of the Kirk in so dangerous a time, viz. Alexander Hay, Clerk Register, Mr John Lindsay, one of the Senators of the Colledge of Justice, Mr John Sharp, Mr Thomas Craig, Mr John Skeene, Mr John Nicolson, Advocate, William Little, Provist of Edinburgh, John Johnstoune of Elphinstoune, John Adamsone, Hendrie Charters, Burgess in Edenburgh, Mr Robert Bruce, Mr David Lindsay, Mr Robert Pont, Ministers.

The Kings Commissioners, with some other being of the Ministry, were appointed to travell with his Majesty for a proclamation [to be sett furthe,] to lett all his subjects understand his Hienes zeal and care to purge the land of Papistrie, and to maintain the true religion; and to desire his Majesty of new again, now in his perfect age, to subscrive the Confession of Faith; and to renew the charge given in his minority to all his subjects, to subscrive the same of new again.

It was further ordained that all Commissioners and Moderators of Presbytries in all partes, should be carefull to have intelligence of all matters within their bounds, concerning religion and the weall of the Kirk; and to send advertisments from time to time to the forsaid Commissioners appointed to conveen weekly in Edenburgh.

It was agreed that the Generall Assembly should be holden in Edenburgh the sixt of Februar nixt to come; and that the Provinciall Synods be holden and disolved before the 24 of Janwar.

It was thought necessar, that the Commissioners of the Provinces, and every Minister within their own bounds respective, informe all Gentlemen well effected to religion, of the attempts of Papists, and dangers imminent, and of the liberty granted be the King and Counsell to conveen, that so they may be moved to take commissions from Synods, and not faill to keep the Generall Assembly [and make it frequent.]

As concerning Jesuits, Seminarie Priests, and other seducers of the people: It was agreed, that at the nixt Synods the Ministers should be charged to declare them excommunicated out of the pulpit, immediately after their return to their own Kirks, that the people may bewarre of them, and of such as favour them, intertaine them in their houses, of have any medling with them: and that every Minister have their names enrolled to this effect.


[The General Assembly conveened, as was appointed upon the sixt of Februar. It was frequented with many Noblemen and Gentlemen.

The greevances of every Province and Presbytry were givin in, whereby might be perceived cleerly how the land was defiled all throughout, specially the North and South, with popery, superstitione, bloodshed, and all kind of villany: Whereupon the brethren were stirred up to watch diligently over their flocks, and to have a care of the well of the whole Kirk.

Complaints, and greevances, and petitions, were formed to be presented to the King and Counsell.