Convention of Royal Burghs
Regulations for Factors 25th July 1649

The commissioners of burrowis taking to their serious consideratione how much the merchand tread and commerce of the kingdome to the Netherlandis thes many yearis hes bein and still is obstructed, wronged and maniefastlie damnified by enterloperis, lorendryvers, staplebreakeris and strangeris, who most subtillie indevour to draw the verie substance and traffik of this kingdome into thair privat nettis, to the apparentlie inevitable overthrow of the merchand adventureris and consequentlie the ruyne of the sea tread of this cuntrie, and being verie sensible thairof, and no less willing and desyrous by all meanes possible to prevent, remeid, and hinder the same, to the end that in tymes cuming thair staiple in the Low Cuntreyes (for the present Campheir in Zeland) may be keipit inviolable one thair pairt, and also for better ordouring of matteris and avoyding the many questiones, pleaes, and abusses and dissorderis and wther inconveniences at thair staple port affoirsaid, have thairfor heerby nor onlis renewed, approven, ratefied and confirmed all and quhatsumever actis of burrowis maid in tymes past to that purpose, but also with full deliberatioun and vnanimous consent further ordained and be this presents ordaines –

  1. That all maisteris of schippis be straitlie bound and inacted to take no staple waris aboard but such as ar intended for and directed to the staple port, and that he or thay wpoun thair arryvall at any wther place within he Low Cuntreyes to be obleadged befoir his departure furth of the cuntrie to report to the conservator or his depute the quantitie, qualitie, and the rycht owneris names of the saidis goodis, or to transport, or caus to be transported all staple wair to the staple port, and to report ane testificat thairof wnder the conservatouris hand or his deputis or clerk testiefieing the same, wnder the pane of paying the double of his fraucht.

  2. That all merchandis and burgessis within this kingdome be inhibited and forbidden to schipp or loaden any staple waires into Dutche schippis, or any other stranger schippis, but wpoun and efter sufficient securitie by them givin to the magistratis of the burgh quhait they resyd that such good ar by them intended and directed be them to na qther place, and that they sall not be offered, vented, nor sold but at the staple port, and to returne ane certificat thairof in manner foirsaid wnder the paine of ane vnlaw of the value of the 4 pairt of tair goodis.

  3. That vpoun complaint of the conservatour or his deputis against any merchand skipper or wtheris who sall have broken the staple and is escaped his hand and punischment in the low Cuntreyes, the pairtie offender salbe cited befoir the burrowis and thair mak present satisfactione to the rigour for his fault or find sufficient cautioun and be referred back to the conservator.

  4. That all merchandis and factoris at the staple port be inhibited and discharged frome selling any staple wairis to any persoun or persounes quho salbe knowin and proved to have bought or caused to be bought for thair vse, directlie or indirectlie, any plaides, skynnes, hyddis, carsayes, or any wther sort of Scottis staple waires, ather at Roterdame, Amsterdame, or any wther place within the sevintein provinces by and beyound the staple port, wnder the paine and vnlaw of tuentie pundis, Flemyes, for everie tyme thay sall transgres.

  5. That they be lykwys inhibited wnder the paine and vnlaw affoirsaid, to sell any staple wairis to Dutch burgessis, merchandis, or factoris, to be layed wp for thair own vs or in commissione for the vs of any persoun or persounes quho salbe knowin ane treadder and buyar of staple wairis in vther places nor at the staple port directlie or indirectlie.

  6. That in caice any goodis be damnified or inlaiking in any schipe the factoris or pairtie interessed sall give notice thairof to the conservator within four dayes efter wnloading of the said schipp, vtherways to have no actione against the skipper.

  7. That the factoris in thair owin persounes, or speciall servandis in thair absence, to attend wpoun the lossing and loading of the schippis, as also the skipperis or thair clerkis to do the same.

  8. As also discharging all merchandis or thair servandis and all persouns quhatsumever (not being lawfully admitted and entered in the conservatorie court book) to play the factor in buying nor selling any staple wairis but quhat belongeth to themselves and for thair owin and maisteris accompt, to the end that the factoris may the better attend wpoun thair calling and not be comstrained to play the merchand or schift wtherwys for thair levying contrair to thair oath and act of burroweis.

  9. Ordaining the factoris to meit and conveen at certane set tymes, but especiallie in October and Februarie, or wpoun any sudden alteratione or fear of change, in presens of the conservator, to draw wpe ane comoun informatioun tucheing the pryces of all staple wairis and appearance of the mercat wnyformalie, [that] they may give notice and trew advertisment to thair merchandis in due tyme according to the list and prescript, to which they ought to be tyed wnder ane certane penaltie and not to be suffered everie one to wreat of the estate of the mercat at randome as oftentymes they doe muche abone the rate to the great prejudice of thair merchandis who efterward find the smart thairof.

  10. That all skipperis cuming to the staple port with staple waires sall have ane formall chartour pairtie for the pryce of thair conditioned fraucht subsciruit be ane competent number of thair merchandis frauchteris, to the end that all questiones arysing ordinarlie wpoun the different wrytingis of merchandis to thair factoris may be avoided.

  11. That the skipper, immediatelie wpoun thair aryvall at the staple port, delyver thair coquetis to the conservator or his clark, to the end that the entres in the custome hous thar off all staple wairis may be maid be the conservator clark, and that no wther persoun or persones to tak wpoun hamd to wreat the samyn, that so all disordour and inconveniencies arysing thairfra may be prevented.

  12. That the merchandis assignmendis wpoun the factoris or the factoris notes and promeis for accompt of thair merchandis may be absolut payment to the merchandis and induellers in the low Cuntreyes, and especiallie at the staple port and other townes within the Isle of Walche, and that all factoris and merchandis sall ceas to bargane with any in the said Low cuntreyes and Illand that will not consent to the premisses.

  13. That the conservator grant no warrantis of arrestment wpone any persones goodis or moneyes, vnles the pairtie arrester find sufficient cautioun to persew his actioun in tyme convenient befoir the conservator court, and incaice of failye or that efter the proces be intendit, hard, and discussed, he be found in the wrong, to pay all coast, skaith, and damnage, interest and expenssis of the pairtie innocent defender.

  14. That no factor or wther priuilidged persone or persones residentis at the said staple port salbe cited to compear personallie befoir the burrowis at the instance of any merchand or indueller in this kingdome vnles the pairtie complaner first have fund and put in sufficient cautione for payment of all lawfull charges and expenssis of the pairtie cited, at the discretione and modification of the saidis burrowis, incaice he be declaired and found innocent and absolved, but that the saidis factoris and priviledged persones of the Scotis natione resyding at the staple port for pryvat quetsiones and differences between them and any merchand or subject of this kingdome salbe first legallie persewed befoir the conservatorie court as thair ordinarie judge at the staple port and not to be cited and called home to this kingdome so long as he refuseth not to compear, ansuer, and submitt himselff to the said conservator his competent judge and to obey and performe the sentences and decreitis thairof, and this for eschewing of severall inconveniences that may follow heirwpown.

  15. That the conservator be authorised and requyred ex officio to see the latter willis and testamentis of deceased factouris and all wtheris of the Scotisch natioune residentis at the staple port duelie performed and put in execution, thair childreb and orphanes and wtheris thair aires, belonging or subject to the staple, provyded with honest responsible tutouris and administratouris who ar to find sufficient cautioun (if reuyred) for thair intromissione and faithfulnes and not to dispone of any meanes or moneyis, goodis or geir, moveable or immoveable, without speciall consent and approbatione of the conservator; and that hencefurth no testamentis or latter willis be maid be any of the natione residenter or occasionlie attending his effairs at the staple port but by the conservator clark, and to be recorded by him in the conservatorie court bookis; and all vther testamentis, latter willis, and wreatis drawn vp, penned, and past befoir any wther clark, nottar, or secretarie, or whatsumever persoun or wreater els, to be null and voyd wntill the same be maid authentick and have the approbatione of the conservator or his deputis; and if any persoun, man or woman, merchand or factor, or any residenter or treader, at or wnder the subjectione and privileges of the staple, happin to depairt this lyff within the Low Cuntreys without having maid any latter will or testament, in such ane caice the conservator sall caus his clark tak ane particular inventar of the estat, goods and geir of the defunct, and have ane speciall cair that the same be furthcummand to the creditouris and lawfull airis according to equitie and conscience and the lawis of this kingdome.

  16. As also the saidis commissioneris declaires that all factoris and wtheris publict or privet persones belonging to the Scotis natione and staple, thair widowis, children and airis, salbe and remaine subject to the lawis of this kingdome ay and whill they have payed all and whole the debtis of the defunct due and justlie oweing to any persone or persones subjectis to this kngdome or staple aforesaid, of find sufficient cautioun to the conservator to that effect, which being performed they sall then have libertie (if they pleas that thair occasioun doe so requyre) to renunce and be by the conservator liberat fra thair said subjectione, provyding they pay for ther said exoneratione and libertie to the conservator or his deputis according to the rate of five per centum of thair whole free estat, for the which the conservator sall have libertie to agree and compound, and the same to be for the vs of the burrowis.

  17. That the conservator sall expresslie inhibit the factoris and wtheris of the Scotis natioun residing and trafiquing at the staple port not to buy, provyd, and sent home to Scotland, nor yet to advance or ansuer any money nor pass thair word, band tickit, bill or credit for any armes or amonitioun bought in the Low Cuntreyes or any vther place els for the accompt or vs of any knowin malignantis or enemies to the good caus and covenant of this kingdome, and to punisch and tak order with such as sall transgres.

  18. That whosoever accuseth the conservator vnjustlie, or his deputis, or by fals complaintis or misinformatiounes causeth him or them or any of them to be cited to compeir befoir the burrowis, sall wpoun convictioun of the same be condemned in the penaltie of 500 merkes by and attouer the conservatour and his deputiss charges, expences, or damnage, and to fin sufficient cutioun to that efect befoir he sall be admitted to give in his complaint or rais any letteris of citatioun against them.

 

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