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and Quoniam Attachiamenta, and for the institution of the Court of Session, which may be termed the germ of the present institution of that name. This Court consisted of a certain number of persons called the Lords of Session, who were appointed to hold courts for determining causes three times in the year, and forty days at a time. There is only space here for a few of the Acts of James l., but the study of the whole collection of the Acts of the Scottish Parliaments, beginning with this reign, will give clear glimpses into the state of affairs, and will even help to suggest speculations as to the daily life of those our ancestors, who looked indeed on a very different world, with very different eyes, but who grew up under the same grey hills and skies as ourselves. The railway and the telegraph now span the lowland straths of the country, along whose scarcely perceptible paths the weary couriers and the pedlars of the fifteenth century carried messages from place to place, or afforded a tardy intercourse with the world beyond the northern frontiers; in those most fertile regions where the great abbeys arose in the centre of thick woods, and corn-fields, orchards, gardens, well-stocked farms, and tolerably decent villages, the houses of the lords, and lairds, that is, the greater and the lesser barons, now lie surrounded by gardens, where, under glass, southern fruits and flowers are reared, and lawns where the hardier shrubs of continental Europe and America grow side by side with those of native origin, and where occasionally trees of patriarchal size and beauty rival those of the English parks. Beyond, the thriving villages and the agricultural improvements of the age in all their complicated perfection impart the appearance of prosperity, and the whirl of machinery fills the very atmosphere with the stir of active life. It is difficult here to return in imagination for four or five hundred years, but in the remoter Highland glens, where the roar of the nineteenth century has never penetrated, there are not a few similarities between the peasantry of James I. and of Queen Victoria. There is still a prudent shyness of 'our auld enemies of England, ' the same bread of oaten meal, the same coarse and often home-spun woollen garments, and although the individuality of that peculiar being the Scotchman adheres to him very tenaciously anywhere, it has here received hardly a rub from contact with other countrymen. There are the old original manners, the wiry, weather-defying frame, the rugged face, the undemonstrative but tender kindness of the poor to the poor, the diligent, far-seeing, hard-working, long-enduring temperament. There is the same profound sense of the dry ridiculous that there may have been then, but there is usually little of that even cheeriness which is the sunshine of life. Yet there are great dissimilarities as well,—the people who on Sundays and Holy days went to mass, now go to hear the minister ' on Sabbath ;' almost every one can read and write, local newspapers find their way at least once a week, and while the women spin or knit, as did the women who preceded them, the men beguile the long evenings or 'forenights' by acquiring information about politics, and become well acquainted with the leading events of the day, and as the relatives of many have emigrated, letters from far-distant lands are sometimes read by the Highland fireside. Neither must it be forgotten that there was no whisky in the middle ages. In the reign of James I. vagabondage was a crying evil. An Act was passed forbidding the toleration of beggars between the ages of fourteen and seventy, unless it be proven 'that they may not win their living otherwise.' Idle men were to 'pass to crafts for winning of their living under the pain of burning on the cheek, and banishing of the countrie.' 'Steallers of greene woodde, of fruite, dooes, peallers of trees, breakers of orchards,' were to be fined forty shillings, and theft of every kind was to be rigorously punished. Punishment was provided for those persons known as 'Sornars,' who were in the habit of bestowing themselves and their servants and horses on protracted visits uninvited, to the sore burden of clergymen and farmers. In all burgh towns there were to be inns, with rooms and stables, and 'bread and ale and all other fude, as weel to horse as men, for reasonable price,' and for the support of these inns travellers were to lodge in them. Trade began to revive, and a commercial treaty was entered into with Flanders. 'As Venice was the grand seat of trade between Asia and Europe, so Bruges in Flanders was the commercial link which connected the merchandise of Venice and the south of Europe with its northern countries.'1 Weights and measures were regulated, and the coin was to be 'in like weight and fineness to the money of England.' There were certain Statutes which it must be admitted were not calculated to confer a reasonable liberty of action on James's subjects, such as the declaration that all persons remaining in England without the King's leave were traitors; the laws forbidding any of the clergy to 'pass over the sea' without the royal license; and forbidding men, or ship, or galley, to pass to Ireland without the same certificate; or any Scotchman to bring any men 'furth of Ireland,' lest he should prove a spy, without 'ane testimonial.'2 Yet notwithstanding several very short-sighted restrictions, commerce and agriculture struggled back to a new life, and the Lowlands enjoyed more peace and prosperity than they had done since the happy and well-remembered reign of Alexander III. Domestic traffic was carried on at the
1 Pinkerton, vol. i. p. 116.
a The Laws and Acts of Parliament. Edinburgh, MDCLXXXII. 7. 13. 23. 25. 33. 57. 61, 62, 128.
village fairs, which took place on the day of the saint to whom the parish church was dedicated. In those days, when every form of civil life was permeated by Christianity, the organization of labour was formed by means of crafts or guilds. The trades-unions of the present day are another form of these, but with the important fact, that the element of religion has been eliminated therefrom. In 'ilk town' ' ilk craft' was to have a deacon, ' a wise man of that craft,' whose business it was to see that the work of which he was master was faithfully executed, and the King's lieges not imposed upon. Oats and barley were almost the only crops, and it was enacted that wheat, pease, and beans be likewise sown; heath was not to be set fire to from March to the end of harvest; wolves were to be destroyed ; and the germ 5f our future fish and game laws is found in the Acts forbidding the ' slauchter of salmonde,' of partridges, plovers, etc., 'in forbidden time.' For the prevention of destruction by fire, sellers of hay and straw were not to come to their hay-houses with a candle, but with a lantern. No one was to remain in 'taverns of wine, ale, or beer' after nine o'clock at night, and it was enacted that' ledders be found aye ready in the burghs for happening of fire.' That Scotchmen might acquire a skill in archery, for which they had not hitherto distinguished themselves, 'ilk man was to busk him to be an archer' from twelve years old; and targets were to be set up near the parish kirks, where on holidays, every man who did not come to shoot was to pay the fine of a sheep to the laird of the land.1 Men were to arm themselves according to their means. 'Ilk gentleman' of certain estate was to be 'sufficiently harnessed and armed with basnet, hail leg harness, sworde, speare, and dagger,' and yeomen were to be provided with bows and a sheaf of arrows. 'Weapon
1 Acts 10, 18, 20, 39, 72, 73, 81, 104, 108, 144.
schawings,' or musters for the inspection of arms, were to be held within each county and borough four times a year. The sumptuary laws are curious :—only knights and lords of 200 merks of yearly rent might wear silk, fur, etc.,' and none uther wear broderie, pearle,. . . but array them ... in all uther honest arrayments, as belts, broches, and cheinzies,' and only those who could dispend yearly a specified sum were ' to be weel horsed and hail harnassed as gentlemen aucht to be.' Anent lepers, it was decreed that these sore afflicted people should enter the burghs only on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, from 'ten houres to twa afternoone.' And there is a tender kindness in the Act that provided for the law-suits of the poor: 'And if there be ony poor creature, for fault of cunning, or dispenses, that cannot, nor may not follow his cause, the King, for the love of God, shall ordain the judge, before whom the cause should be determined, to.. . get a leal and a wise advocate to follow such poor creature's causes.'J These are only a few of the Acts of these wonderful Parliaments, but they sufficiently serve to witness to this great King's wise provision for the welfare of all sorts and conditions of men. In the Lowlands they began to take effect, but in the Highlands and Islands, that perpetual strife which was the native ideal of a well-employed life flourished in primeval vigour, and here the banditti of Scotland, the wild Ketherani, were swarming. Into these unquiet regions the King made an expedition, and having seized and imprisoned forty of the most troublesome and pugnacious chiefs, the greatest criminals amongst them were put to death, and the others were only released after strong measures had been taken to enforce good behaviour for the future. An important victory was achieved in the downfall and capitulation of Macdonald,
1 Acts 45, 60, 105, 108, 120.