The Government of Scotland 1560-1625

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Contents

  1. Article History
  2. The government of Scotland, - University Of Pikeville
  3. ISBN 13: 9780199243549
  4. About This Item

The overlap between them is slight; therefore they will be treated separately. Julian Goodare has a produced a systematic study of Scottish government from to based on an impressive array of manuscript amd printed documents and secondary sources. His work provides not only a thorough picture a manual indeed , but also a thoughtful analysis of the topic. The twelve chapters are divided into two sections: one on political legitimacy, the political community, parliament, the monarchy, and the Privy Council and officers with their departments of state; the second on old and new local government, the Highlands, the common people's experience of government, and the Stewart revolution in government.

Throughout Goodare builds the material on the foundations of decades of research and analysis. The presentation is dense and progress comes slowly, but the reader's efforts receive the reward of a firm comprehension of Scottish government. The first chapters build with minute detail on discussions of the political nation and its institutions.

Not surprisingly, the king, nobles, bishops after their restoration , lairds gentry , and burgesses formed the political nation. Parliament was sovereign and its decisions legitimized even the most extreme changes in the country for instance, the establishment of Protestantism.

Goodare regards the monarch, his privy council, the nobles, and the bishops as the most influential members of government, with the lairds and the burghs possessing a lesser role. The period witnessed a growth in lawyers' power, especially represented by the Court of Session. In addition to approving taxation, Parliament passed a flood of public laws from the s. Goodare argues that many of the laws were subject to "discretionary enforcement" that enabled central or local government to act on social problems.

The chief of these was the imposition of order. The Privy Council ran the daily government, concentrating its efforts on abolishing blood feuds amongst the landed classes, but extending its scope to legal and fiscal roles. Before the council fought for power with members of the king's household. The Union of Crown and the removal of court benefited the authority of the council. The officers of state and their departments, especially the exchequer and the Court of Session, grew in importance.

The latter consisted of judges backed by lawyers, which provided a national body that settled disputes at the expense of the sheriff courts.

The Court of Justiciary provided a complimentary service in criminal justice. From an organizational perspective the most dramatic growth for the central government occurred in the legal and fiscal spheres. Turning to the last chapters of the volume the innovations again appear startling. The traditional sheriff, baron, burgh, birlaw rural , and regality courts continued to function. Initially, the sheriffs held their positions heritably, but in James' later years the crown began buying that right in order to overcome the sheriffs' independence.

The regalities which lacked jurisdiction over treason, witch trials, and taxation proved equally troubling to the crown, because they existed as separate entities within shires. The new forms of local government were both ecclesiastical and civil. Parochial kirk sessions developed independently throughout the Lowlands. Presbyteries districts of twelve or more parishes grew separately and had more power than the sessions, especially in witch trials. The civil commissary courts, dealing with family law and wills, replaced earlier diocesan courts.

Following experimentation after , justices of the peace became a feature of local rule after Customs collection and the creation of local registers of sasines land transactions appeared.

Article History

The most important phenomenon was the doubling of local administrators. The situation differed in the Highlands, where the clan system remained unimpaired even at the period's end. Attempts to incorporate the region into the national system were discarded by a variety of colonial schemes prompted by crown desires for revenue enhancement.

While clan chiefs maintained the military option they became increasingly willing to accept law courts as the first resource. The common people, especially women and gypsies, proved the greatest losers. Common criminals endured the full force of state violence and the Kirk limited the potential for unacceptable behavior. The property rights of women formed the concentration of the state's interest in them.

More often than men they could find themselves cited for witchcraft and sexual crimes, but the Kirk's interest in godly society checked spousal violence. Goodare overlooks the St. Andrews doctoral studies of the s, which indicated the Kirk pursued Sabbath-breakers and drunkenness with as much intensity as it did fornication and adultery.

The general rural population endured a decline in its status as landlord rights rose after , and more obnoxiously the colliers and salters became enserfed from That Scottish government benefited the governing classes should hardly surprise one.


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In the final chapter, Goodare seeks to determine whether a Stewart revolution in government occurred and what its legacy was. He credits John Maitland of Thirlestane, chancellor in the late s, as the architect of a major governmental shift. Baronial revolts disappeared and after Parliament gained supremacy over the Kirk. Parliament established its sovereignty as the highest body of the state, particularly with the expansion of statute law.

The government of Scotland, - University Of Pikeville

Annual taxation and the growth of government Privy Council, law courts, and central government departments provide signs of the revolution. James's initiatives against feuding and witches formed his greatest policy contributions. Government remained largely aristocratic--not bureaucratic--indicating that the revolution was limited. More troubling for the future stability of the political elites was the fact that the crown projected an absolutist image and behavior. Goodare considers the covenanters as merely building on the foundations of the Jacobean state.

Certain areas may have received a different treatment. Amongst them are the author's discussion of "absentee monarchy," local government, and military activity. Nor does he provide, outside the Highlands, any discussion of whether the Jacobean system provoked opposition in the political community.

In the chapter on Personal Monarchy and again in the conclusion Goodare takes issue with those who slight James's absentee monarchy after He shows how the king's physical absence did not hinder effective government--not just of the council, but of the king's personal policies. When one takes a broader perspective it may seem that his argument is a commonplace, otherwise the realms of the French, Spanish, and Danes would have devolved into chaos in the same period when they were models of relative effective royal government.

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And yet, the proponents of James's absentee years receive support from the Five Articles of Perth episode The king's decision to implement these religious rules and their mandatory enforcement contra the author's "discretionary enforcement" concept , inspired such widespread resistance from the propertied classes that the king foreswore additional ecclesiastical innovations.

The initiative demonstrated a monarch divorced from his estates--a sign of the negative impact of absenteeism. Mere absence was insufficient to cause problems, but a royal lack of sensitivity to national attitudes caused James to blunder. The absence of the royal court may have created a disconnect between the crown and the political nation. Goodare argues that the covenanters merely evolved the Scottish government and failed to produce a revolutionary settlement in One might grant his concept functioning at the national level with parliament co-opting the political powers of the council.

The committees operated not only south of the Tay, but also in the Lowlands to Caithness and in the Highlands especially Argyll. The Jacobean institutions Goodare describes had largely legal and judicial roles in the localities--often to the benefit of the propertied classes. The committees of war wielded administrative power that extracted taxes from landed society on a scale the Stewart kings could not have imagined. Likewise they intruded into the shires by their removal of males from the labor force for army service.

From to August military service was temporary, but afterwards the covenanters maintained standing armies, permanently removing the enlisted men from the recruiting areas. One must wonder how the covenanters created loyalty to sustain such demands in the shires when Charles failed to establish a resident, national militia.

Nothing portrayed by the author foreshadows this degree of central intrusiveness into the localities. As the shire committees dealt largely with military matters, one must ask what the book delivers in this subject. Scattered references occur to military activity and a royal guard, but none consists of more than a single sentence.

ISBN 13: 9780199243549

Military affairs including the state monopoly of armed force, which Geoffrey Parker and other historians consider the sine qua non of the early modern state, did not exist as an expression of the Scottish government. One must question then whether Scotland before truly operated as a state in a period when military activity seems to have defined that entity. Again the covenanters appear revolutionary due to their militarization of the Scottish state.

The alternative to a national military was a substantial mercenary effort. We know Scotland fielded thousands of such men, but substantial discussion covers only a brief period in the s. In any case, the Privy Council only provided licenses and did not initiate, supervise, and control those forces as the covenanter governments did.

Simply put, the book fails to answer the question whether Scotland had a military establishment. A linked question is whether the landed classes' local authority atrophied as much as Goodare states. The end of the blood feud and recourse to courts to settle disputes are commonplaces of Jacobean Scotland, indicating a significant alteration in the local dynamic. Goodare speaks of rentallers indicating a total shift in landed authority from the military to the economic.

Perhaps the situation was more subtle?

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As late as the Restoration period one finds Lowland landlords instigating their tenants and dependents to violence--protecting Presbyterian clergy, attacking other landlord's tenants, turf cutting on disputed land, or destroying crops of neighboring estates. Recent searches Clear All. Update Location. If you want NextDay, we can save the other items for later. Yes—Save my other items for later.


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Tell us if something is incorrect. Only 1 left! His department, the chancery , was responsible for the Great Seal , which was needed to process the inheritance of land titles and the confirmation of land transfers. His key responsibility was to preside at meetings of the privy council, and on those rare occasions he attended, at meetings of the court of session. The post emerged in the s to deal with the king's patrimonial land rights and from there were usually two king's councillors, indicating the increase in the level of work.

From they increasingly became a public prosecutor. John Ker, 1st Duke of Roxburghe , became the first Secretary of State for Scotland until the post was abolished in after the Jacobite Rising of The Privy Council developed out of the theoretically larger king's or queen's council of leading nobles and office holders in the sixteenth century. After her majority it was not disbanded, but continued to sit and became an accepted part of government. While the monarch was away on a holiday or hunting trip, the council usually stayed in session in Edinburgh and continued to run the government.

The Privy Council's primary function was judicial, but it also acted as a body of advisers to the king and as a result its secondary function was as an executive in the absence or minority of the monarchy. The two presidencies were separated in as part of Charles I's reorganisation of the Privy Council and Court of Session. The Lord President of the Council was accorded precedence as one of the King's chief officers in After the Restoration, Charles II nominated his own privy councillors and set up a council in London through which he directed affairs in Edinburgh, a situation that continued after the Glorious Revolution of —9.

The council was abolished after the Act of Union on 1 May In the sixteenth century, parliament usually met in Stirling Castle or the Old Tolbooth, Edinburgh , which was rebuilt on the orders of Mary Queen of Scots from King Charles I ordered the construction of Parliament Hall , at the expense of the Edinburgh burgesses, which was built between and and remained the parliament's home until it was dissolved in Parliament played a major part in the Reformation crisis of the mid-sixteenth century.

It had been used by James V to uphold Catholic orthodoxy [32] and asserted its right to determine the nature of religion in the country, disregarding royal authority in The parliament included lairds , who were predominantly Protestant, and who claimed a right to sit in the Parliament under the provision of a failed shire election act of Their position in the parliament remained uncertain and their presence fluctuated until the act was revived in and provision made for the annual election of two commissioners from each shire except Kinross and Clackmannan, which had one each.

The property qualification for voters was for freeholders who held land from the crown of the value of 40s of auld extent. This excluded the growing class of feuars , who would not gain these rights until Catholic clergy were excluded after , but a small number of Protestant bishops continued as the clerical estate. James VI attempted to revive the role of the bishops from about He controlled the committee by filling it with royal officers as non-elected members, but was forced to limit this to eight from Having been officially suspended at the end of the Cromwellian regime, parliament returned after the Restoration of Charles II in This parliament, known disparagingly as the 'Drunken Parliament', revoked most of the Presbyterian gains of the last thirty years.

James VII 's parliament supported him against rivals and attempted rebellions, but after his escape to exile in William's first parliament was dominated by his supporters and, in contrast to the situation in England, effectively deposed James under the Claim of Right , which offered the crown to William and Mary, placing important limitations on royal power, including the abolition of the Lords of the Articles.

Forty-five Scots were added to the members of the House of Commons and 16 Scots to the members of the House of Lords. For the early part of the era, the authority of the crown was limited by the large number of minorities it had seen since the early fifteenth century, with every monarch coming to the throne as a minor between and A new tax on annual rents amounting to five per cent on all interest on loans, mainly directed at the merchants of the burghs was introduced in , but the levy was still being collected over a decade later. From the sixteenth century, the central government became increasingly involved in local affairs.