Claim of Right

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Claim of Right

Declaration of the Scottish Convention of the Estates[edit]

Whereas King James the Seventh being a professed papist did assume the regal power, and acted as King without ever taking the oath required by law, whereby the King, at his access to the government is obliged to swear, to maintain the Protestant religion, and to rule the people according to the laudable laws; and did by the advice of wicked and evil counsellors, invade the fundamental constitution of this Kingdom and altered it from a legal limited monarchy, to an arbitrary despotic power; and in a public proclamation, asserted an absolute power, to cass, annul, and disable all the laws, particularly arraigning the laws establishing the Protestant religion and did exercise that power to the subversion of the Protestant religion, and to the violation of the laws and liberties of the Kingdom:

By erecting public schools and societies of the Jesuits and not only allowing mass to be publicly said, but also inverting Protestant chapels and churches to public mass houses contrary to the express laws against saying and hearing of mass;

By allowing popish books to be printed, and dispersed by a gift to a popish printer, designing him "Printer to His Majesty's Household, College, and Chapel", contrary to the laws;

By taking the children of Protestant noblemen and gentlemen, sending and keeping them abroad, to be bred as papists, making great fonds and donations to popish schools and colleges abroad, bestowing pensions upon priests, and perverting Protestants from their religion, by offers of places, preferments, and pensions;

By disarming Protestants while at the same time he employed papists in the places of greatest trust, civil and military; such as Chancellor, Secretaries, Privy Counsellors, and Lords of Session, thrusting out Protestants to make room for papists, and entrusting the forts and magazines of the Kingdom in their hands;

By imposing oaths contrary to law;

By giving gifts and grants for exacting money, without consent of Parliament, or Convention of Estates;

By levying or keeping on foot a standing army in time of peace without consent of Parliament which army did exact locality free and dry quarters;

By employing the officers of the army as judges through the Kingdom and imposing them, where there were heritable officers and jurisdictions by whom many of the lieges were put to death summarily, without legal trial, jury or record;

By imposing exorbitant fines, to the value of the parties' estates, exacting extravagant bail, and disposing fines and forfeitures before any process or conviction;

By imprisoning persons without expressing the reason, and delaying to put them to trial;

By causing persue and forfeit several persons upon stretches of old and obsolete laws, upon frivolous and weak pretences, upon lame and defective probations, as particularly the late Earl of Argyll, to the scandal and reproach of the justice of the nation;

By subverting the right of the royal burghs, the third Estate of Parliament, imposing upon them not only magistrates, but also the whole town council and clerks, contrary to their liberties and express charters, without the pretence either of sentence, surrender or consent, so that the commissioners to Parliaments, being chosen by the magistrates and council, the King might in effect as well nominate that entire Estate of Parliament; and many of the said magistrates put in by him were avowed papists, and the burghs were forced to pay money for the letters imposing these illegal magistrates and councils upon them;

By sending letters to the chief courts of justice, not only ordaining the judges to stop and desist sine die to determine causes, but also ordering and commanding them how to proceed in cases depending before them contrary to the express laws; and by changing the nature of the judges giftsad vitam aut culpam, and giving them commissions ad beneplacitam, to dispose them to compliance with arbitrary courses, and turning them out of their offices when they did not comply;

By granting personal protections for civil debts contrary to law;

All which are utterly and directly contrary to the known laws, statutes, and freedoms of this Realm.

Therefore the Estates of the Kingdom of Scotland find and declare that King James the Seventh being a professed papist, did assume the regal power and acted as king, without ever taking the oath required by law, and hath by the advice of evil and wicked counsellors, invaded the fundamental constitution of the Kingdom, and altered it from a legal limited monarchy to an arbitrary despotic power, and hath exercised the same, to the subversion of the Protestant religion and the violation of the laws and liberties of the Kingdom, inverting all the ends of government, whereby he hath forfeited the right to the Crown, and the throne is vacant.

And whereas His Royal Highness William then Prince of Orange, now King of England, whom it hath pleased Almighty God to make the glorious instrument of delivering these Kingdoms from popery and arbitrary power, did, by the advice of several lords and gentlemen of this nation at London for the time call the Estates of this Kingdom to meet the fourteenth of March last, in order to such an establishment, as that your religion, laws, and liberties might not be again in danger of being subverted, and the said Estates now being assembled, in a full and free representative of this nation, taking to their most serious considerations, the best means for attaining the ends aforesaid do in the first place, as their ancestors in the like cases have usually done for the vindicating and asserting their ancient rights and liberties, declare:

That by the law of this Kingdom no papist can be King or Queen of this Realm, nor bear any office whatsoever therein; nor can any Protestant successor exercise the regal power, until he or she swear the Coronation Oath;

That all proclamations asserting an absolute power to cass, annul, and disable laws, the erecting schools and colleges for Jesuits, the inverting Protestant chapels and churches to public mass houses, and the allowing mass to be said are contrary to law;

That the allowing popish books to be printed and dispersed is contrary to law;

That the taking the children of noblemen, gentlemen, and others, sending and keeping them abroad to be bred papists, the making fonds and dotations to popish schools and colleges, the bestowing pensions on priests, and the perverting Protestants from their religion by offers of places, preferments, and pensions are contrary to law;

That the disarming of Protestants and employing papists in the places of greatest trust, both civil and military, the thrusting out of Protestants, to make room for papists, and the entrusting papists with the forts and magazines of the Kingdom are contrary to law;

That the imposing oaths without authority of Parliament is contrary to law;

That the giving gifts or grants for raising of money without the consent of Parliament or Convention of Estates is contrary to law;

That the employing the officers of the army as judges throughout the Kingdom, or imposing them where there were heritable offices and jurisdictions, and the putting the lieges to death summarily, and without legal trial, jury or record, are contrary to law;

That the imposing of extraordinary fines, the exacting of exorbitant bail, and the disposing of fines and forfeitures before sentence are contrary to law;

That the imprisoning persons without expressing the reason thereof and delaying to put them to trial is contrary to law;

That the causing persue and forfeit persons upon stretches of old and obsolete laws upon frivolous and weak pretences, upon lame and defective probation, as particularly the late Earl of Argyll, are contrary to law;

That the nominating and imposing the magistrates, councils, and clerks upon burghs, contrary to their liberties and express charters, is contrary to law;

That the sending letters to the courts of justice, ordaining the judges to stop or desist from determining causes, or ordaining them how to proceed in causes depending before them, and the changing the nature of the judges gifts ad vitam aut culpam into commissions durante beneplacito are contrary to law;

That the granting personal protections for civil debts is contrary to law;

That the forcing the lieges to depone against themselves in capital crimes however the punishment is restricted is contrary to law;

That the using torture without evidence, or in ordinary crimes is contrary to law;

That the sending of an army in one hostile manner upon any part of the Kingdom, in a peaceable time, and exacting of locality and any manner of free quarters, is contrary to law;

That the charging of the lieges with lawborrows, at the King's instance, and the imposing of bonds, without the authority of parliament, and the suspending advocates from their employment for not compearing when such bonds were offered were contrary to law;

That the putting of garrisons in private men's houses in time of peace without their consent or the authority of Parliament is contrary to law;

That the opinions of the Lords of Session in the two cases following were contrary to law, viz. (1.) That the concealing the demand of a supply for a forfeited person although not given is treason, (2.) That persons refusing to discover what are their private thoughts and judgements in relation to points or treason or other men's actions, are guilty of treason.

That the fining husbands for their wives withdrawing from the church was contrary to law;

That prelacy and the superiority of any office in the church above presbyters is, and hath been, a great and insupportable grievance and trouble to this nation, and contrary to the inclinations of the generality of the people ever since the Reformation (they having reformed from popery by presbyters), and therefore ought to be abolished;

That it is the right and privilege of the subjects to protest for remedy of law to the King and Parliament against sentences pronounced by the Lords of Session, providing the same do not stop execution of these sentences;

That it is the right of the subjects to petition the King, and that all imprisonments and prosecutions for such petitioning are contrary to law;

That for redress of all grievances, and for the amending, strengthening, and preserving of the laws, Parliament ought to be frequently called and allowed to sit, and the freedom of speech and debate secured to the members.

And they do claim, demand, and insist upon all and sundry the premises as their undoubted right and liberties, and that no declarations, doings, or proceedings, to the prejudice of the people in any of the said premises ought in any ways to be drawn hereafter in consequence or example, but that all forfeitures, fines, loss of offices, imprisonments, banishments, pursuits, persecutions, tortures, and rigorous executions be considered, and the parties laesed be redressed.

To which demand of their rights and redressing of their grievances, they are particularly encouraged by his Majesty the King of England his declaration for the Kingdom of Scotland of the ___ day of October last, as being the only means for obtaining a full redress and remedy therein.

Having therefore an entire confidence, that his said Majesty the King of England will perfect the deliverance so far advanced by him and will still preserve them from the violation of their rights which they have here asserted, and from all other attempts upon their religion, laws, and liberties,

The said Estates of the Kingdom of Scotland do resolve that William and Mary, King and Queen of England, France, and Ireland, be, and be declared, King and Queen of Scotland, to hold the crown and royal dignity of the Kingdom of Scotland to them the said King and Queen during their lives and the longest liver of them, and that the sole and full exercise of the regal power be only in and exercised by him the said King in the names of the said King and Queen, during their joint lives, and after their decease the said crown and royal dignity of the said Kingdom to be to the heirs of the body of the said Queen, which failing to the Princess Ann of Denmark and the heirs of her body, which also failing to the heirs of the body of the said William, King of England.

And they do pray the said King and Queen of England to accept the same accordingly.

And that the oath hereafter mentioned be taken by all Protestants of whom the oath of allegiance and any other oaths and declarations might be required by law, instead of them, and that the said oath of allegiance and other oaths and declarations may be abrogated:

I, A.B., do sincerely promise and swear, that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to Their Majesties King William and Queen Mary, so help me God.

Articles of Grievances of the Scottish Convention of the Estates[edit]

The Estates of the Kingdom of Scotland do represent that the Committee of Parliament called the Articles, is a great grievance to the nation, and that there ought to be no committees of Parliament but such as are freely chosen by the Estates to prepare motions and overtures that are first made in the house.

That the first act of Parliament, 1669, is inconsistent with the establishment of the church government now desired and ought to be abrogated.

That forfeitures in prejudice of vassals, creditors, and heirs of entail, are a great grievance.

That the obliging the lieges to depone upon crimes against delinquents otherwise than when they are adduced in special processes as witnesses is a great grievance.

That the assizes of error are a grievance, and that juries be considered by Parliament.

That the eighteenth act of Parliament, 1681, declaring a cumulative jurisdiction is a grievance.

That the commissariat courts as they are now constituted are a grievance.

That the twenty seventh act of Parliament, 1663, giving the King power to impose custom at pleasure upon foreign import and trade is a grievance and prejudicial to the trade of the nation.

That the not taking an effectual course to repress the depredations and robberies by the Highland clans is a grievance.

That the banishment by the Council of the greatest part of the advocates from Edinburgh without a process was a grievance.

That most of the laws enacted in the Parliament, anno 1685, are impious and intolerable grievances.

That the marriage of a King or Queen of this realm to a papist is dangerous to the Protestant religion and ought to be provided against.

That the levying or keeping on foot a standing army in time of peace without consent of Parliament is a grievance.

That all grievances relating to the manner and measure of the lieges their representation in Parliament be considered and redressed in the first Parliament.

That the grievances of the boroughs be considered and redressed in the first Parliament.

Letter from the Scottish Convention of the Estates to William, April 24 1689[edit]

May it please Your Majesty,

The settling of the monarchy and ancient government of this Kingdom admitting no delay, we did upon the eleventh instant proclaim Your Majesty and your royal consort, King and Queen of Scotland, with so much unanimity, that of the whole house there was not one contrary vote. We have nominated the Earl of Argyll, Sir James Montgomery of Skelmorlie, and Sir John Dalrymple, in our name, to attend Your Majesties with the cheerful offer of the crown, and humbly to present the petition or claim of right of the subjects of this Kingdom, as also to represent some things found grievous to this nation, which we humbly entreat Your Majesty to remedy by wholesome laws in your first Parliament. And in testimony of Your Majesty and the Queen's acceptance, we beseech Your Majesties in presence of these sent by us to swear and sign the oath herewith presented, which our law hath appointed to be taken by our kings and queens at the entry to their government, till such time as your great affairs allow this Kingdom the happiness of your presence in order to the coronation of Your Majesties.

We are most sensible of Your Majesty's kindness and fatherly care to both your Kingdoms in promoving their union, which we hope has been reserved to be accomplished by you, that as both Kingdoms are united in one head and Sovereign, so they may become one body politic, one nation to be represented in one Parliament. And to testify our readiness to comply with Your Majesty in that matter, we have nominated commissioners to treat the terms of an entire and perpetual union between the two Kingdoms, with reservation to us of our church government, as it shall be established at the time of the union. These commissioners do wait Your Majesty's approbation and call, that they may meet and treat with the commissioners to be appointed for England at what time and place Your Majesty shall appoint. And if any difficulty shall arise in the treaty, we do upon our part refer the determination thereof to Your Majesty. And we do assure ourselves from Your Majesty's prudence and goodness of a happy conclusion to that important affair, so as the same be agreed to and ratified by Your Majesty in your first Parliament.

We do likewise render Your Majesty our most dutiful thanks for your gracious letter brought to us by the Lord Ross (a person well affected to your service), and for your princely care in sending down these troops which may in the meantime help to preserve us and when the season offers may be employed towards the recovery of Ireland from that deplorable condition and extreme danger to which the Protestants there are exposed. The guarding our coasts with a good fleet, preserves England as well as us from an invasion, and, as it is the interest of England to contribute to secure us from the first impressions of the common danger, so we shall not be wanting on our part to give our assistance for reducing of Ireland that all Your Majesty's Kingdoms may flourish in peace and truth, under the auspicious influence of your happy reigns.

Signed at the desire of the Estates and in our name by our President.