13th July 1743
The which day the annual committee considering that our trade will be much molested if not totally interrupted by the Ffrench privateers now that war is declared against this kingdom by the Ffrench king, therefor they unanimously resolved and agreed that the lord provost of Edr., their preses, should write a letter to Mr Willm. Hamilton, agent for the royal burrows, impowering him to apply to the right honble. the lords of the admiralty, or to such other person or persons as he shall think proper, for having such a number of ships of war stationed upon our coasts as shall be judged necessary not only for protecting our trade but to convoy all outward and homeward bound ships; and the preses having exhibit the scroll of a letter to that effect, the committee approved thereof and recommend to his lordship to forward the same to Mr Hamilton, and likeways to write to the same purpose to Archibald Stewart Esqr., representative for the city of Ebinbr., & the lord advocat, intreating them not only to be aiding and assisting Mr Hamilton in procuring a propper number of ships of war to be sent down our coasts, but also to apply to the other members of parliament to use their intrest to procure the said ships to be stationed and give such convoys as abovementioned, and that without loss of time; & which letter the tenor follows :-
Sir., - The annual committee of the royal burrows of Scotland apprehending that their sea coasts, which at present are quite defenceless and unguarded, will soon be infested with French privateers, have ordered me to write yow desireing yow will in their name make the propper application to the board of admiralty for ships to be stationed on the coast and for convoys to our shipping, which has been usually granted in time of a war with France.
At present there are vessels lying in different parts loaded with our manufactures and other goods bound for London, which cannot with safety venture to proceed untill they have a convoy, and therefor the sooner your application is made effectual so much the better.
I have wrote to Archibald Stewart Esqr., member of parliament for Edinburgh, who will with the other members for the royal burrows give yow any assistance they can for procureing a speedy & agreeable answer from the board to your application. – I am sr., your most humble servt.
John Coutts, preses.