State and Society in Early Modern Scotland

By Julian Goodare | Go to book overview

1 Sovereignty

Laws cannot be made by any one who has a superior, nor can any man call a parliament who hath not the right of soveraignty and majesty.1

In 1469, an act of parliament declared Scotland an empire, an act that has been compared with the famous 1533 Act of Appeals which did the same for England.2 The English act terminated the authority of the pope, while the Scottish one abolished only the exiguous power of the Holy Roman Emperor (the power in question was the right to create notaries), but both acts were steps towards the creation of an integrated monarchy owing allegiance to no superior. The creation of notaries was one of the five chief marks of sovereignty claimed by medieval emperors as unique to them.3 It is true that the Scottish act explicitly reserved the right of the pope to create notaries; other developments were whittling away papal control over the Scottish clergy, but papal power remained a reality until 1560, as we shall see. The inspiration behind the 1469 act was probably the recent assumption of personal authority by the young James III, and James also pursued the ideal of imperial kingship in other ways, adopting the closed or arched imperial crown on his last coinage. James IV ( 1488-1513) used the older open crown on his coins, while James V ( 1513-42) used both, but Mary's coins and all later ones were careful to depict

____________________
1
Thomas Craig, Scotland's Soveraignty Asserted, trans. G. Ridpath ( London, 1695), 422. This work was written in 1602.
2
APS ii. 95, c. 6; W. Ferguson, "Imperial crowns: A neglected facet of the background to the Treaty of Union of 1707", SHR 53 ( 1974), 22-44, at pp. 37-8.
3
W. Ullmann, "The development of the medieval idea of sovereignty", EHR 64 ( 1949), 1-33, at p. 3. The others were that the crime of lès-majesté could be committed only against the emperor, that he was the only authority able to issue binding laws, the only authority able to legitimate bastards, and that appeals lay from kings to the emperor.

-11-

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State and Society in Early Modern Scotland
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS vii
  • Contents ix
  • CONVENTIONS AND ABBREVIATIONS xi
  • Introduction 1
  • 1 - Sovereignty 11
  • 2 - The Roots of Authority 38
  • 3 - The Absolutist State 66
  • 4 - Finance 102
  • Warfare 133
  • 6 - Religion 172
  • 7 - Territory 214
  • 8 - The Borders and Highlands 254
  • 9 - State Power 286
  • Perspectives on State Formation 312
  • SELECT BIBLIOGRAPHY 343
  • Index 359
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