EDINBURGH EPISODES, 1664-65. (FROM THE FOUNTAINHALL FOLIO.) Part 4. TOWN CLERK’S DEPOSITION., N. A. J., (Maar., 1895), pp.154-155.

“AT this part of the manuscript a full copy of the “act of deprivation against Sir William Thomesone” is given. A committee of the Town Council had found that the tack between the magistrates and the farmers of the city imposition and annuity had been signed by the “magistrats allenarly, and not by the taxmen, which they conceaved to be ane leigh afront done to the Counsell and wheirthrou the Toune might be liable to great prejudice.” Sir William was called in before the Council and “humbly acknowledged his fault and submitted himselfe to the censour of the Counsell.” He then retired and the Council “found Sir William had hiely affronted them and groslie maleversed in his office,”… “that it was of great concerne to the toune, the tack duty amounting yearly to 80,000 merks and upwards for which the toune by the space of 2 years had no security throu the said Sir WiIliam his default and to his knowledge by his oune confession, and that the said Sir William for this his maleversation was hiely censurable: In order wheirunto it was unanimouslie resolved by the wholle counsell table that the question should be stated Depose or Suspend, which question being put to the wote the wholle Counsell voted Depose except a very feu who ware for Suspend.” Accordingly Sir William was deposed and his office declared vacant. At the close of the copy act of deposition our author’s narrative is resumed as under:- 

“Sir William would fain have had his busines thought to have been upon personall differences betwixt Sir A. Ramsay and him, but the truth was before he was deposed the wholle toune was full of clamour against him for his manifold acts of maleversation and covetousnese; and after his deprivation Sir A. offered to deall with the toune Counsell to pardon him and accept him againe upon his petition to them (which Sir John Nisbet1 then on of his oune advocats drew) but he in a boasting manner refused, and threatned he would enter over all their bellies and came in hy manner to the Counsel house doors and brought nottars with him and protested against the magistrats for remeid of law; then petitioned his majesties privy counsell who referred it to the judge ordinar. Before Sir William (who obtained his gift in the tyme of the usurpers) their was never a Clerk in Edenbrught who had a gift of that office ad vitam [for life], but ware annuall as the magistrats ware unles they ware ex bene placito [of the favour] continued; and their are many acts of the borrows against gifts ad vitam: And it seimed a thing unheard of that the toune had not power over their oune sevants. In the debate their was many eikes made to his sentence of deposition that the Lords might sie what reason the toune had to reid themselfes of so ill a Servant.”

N. A. J.”

1 Nisbet of Dirleton whose Doubts are famous in legal literature. 

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