Unto His Grace His Majesties High Commissioner

Unto his Grace His Majesties high Commissioner, ane Honourable Estates of Parliament,
The PETITION of George Mackenzie Sub-tacksman of the Additional and Annexed-Excise of the Northern Shires.




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Humbly sheweth,

THat where your Petioner having unhappily engaged himself in July 1695, in a Tack of the Additional and Annexed Excise for the several Shires benorth Tay, for which he was bound by his Tack to pay 19423 lib. ster.

After subscribing of his Tack, he immediatly went North to appoint Collectors in the several Towns and Shires, and to regulat the Brewers; But shortly after there happning a great Scarcity in the Northern Countries, Brewing was for the most part given up, so that is was not possible to make up the Tack-duty.

Your Petitioner foreseeing the sad and calamitus Condition, and the apparent Famine in these places, and finding that there was not the least possibility for him to make good his Tack; He made Application first to the principal Tacksmen, and then to the Lords of Thesaury, who after consideration of what he had represented, gave him a Sift of Execution, as to one half of his Tack-duty.

Thereafter the sad and deplorable Condition of these Countries increasing, the Country Brewers were so far from continuing to Brew, that there was not Bear to be had to make Meal of to keep in their Lives, so notwithstanding of all the Trouble, Fatigue and Expense your Petitioner was brought to, it was not possible for him to make one half of his Tack-duty, and yet to save himself and his Cautioners so far as he was able, he has payed in what he has collected, and near one thousand pound sterling more of his own proper Stock, which goes very near to ruine him, but he yet lying under the Obligation of his Tack to pay 9000 lib, sterling, which he never received, he is necessitat humbly to Address the Honourable and High Court of Parliament in this matter.

By his Tack it is declared, that if the Accidents of Plague, Famine or War, should fall out, his Tack should fall, and from thencefurth be mull: That there was Famine in these places is but too noture, but that the Truth might the more fully appear, there were Declarations signed by several Noblemen and Gentlemen in the respective Shires, which were presented to the Lords of Thesaury, and which are hereto subjoyned, as a farder evidence of the condition of that Countrey.

What was formerly represented to the Lords of Thesaury, was found by them to be true and after the Petitioner had made Application to his Majesty by his Officers of State. His Majesty was graciously pleased to recommend the Lords of Thesaury, to make Inquiry anent the true State and Condition of the Countrey, and to make a Report thereof to his Majesty, which accordingly they did, and found that what your Petitioner had formerly represented, was true in every Circumstance.

The Petitioner was so far from pretending benefit by his Tack, that he has payed near one thousand pound sterling more than ever he made of it, and the principal Tacksman do very well know, that albeit his Collection was in the time of the greatest Scarsity and Dearth, yet he has payed 1500 lib. ster. more for the Five Pennies than they can now make effectual in all these Shires for the six pennies, when there is less Scarsity and cheaper Victual.

By all which it may evidently appear to his Grace, and honourable Estates of Parliament, that the great Loss and Damnage the petioner has sustained, arose from the Dearth and Famine [Page 2] which immediatly followed his Tack, and which was Casus fortuitus, & vis divina, and could not be foreseen, so that he could not resist divine Providence in this matter. And it wer a Hardship above whatever His Majesty or his Ministers did, to take the small Stock of the sub-tacksman, who in Zeal to His Majesties Service, has advanced on his own Credit considerably more as he has gotten in, and is content to lose it; And it is humbly hoped, that your Grace and honourable Estates of parliament, in Justice and Mercy will consider his Circumstances, and since none, far less a gracious Prince should reap profite by a poor his Circumstances, and since none, far less a gracious Prince should reap profite by a poor mans Stock who keeps not one Farthing of the Kings, but willingly and faithfully serves him for nothing.

May it therefore please your Grace and honourable Estates of Parliament, to consider the premisses, and seing your petitioner relyed much upon the Quality of his Tack and that his taking Instruments against the principal Tacksman, and proving the Condition of the Countrey by so pregnant Evidences, was sufficient to exoner him; That therefore your Grace and Lordships would be pleased to declare his Tack a Collection, with this Qualty, that albeit his Collection be less than the Sum of 10423 lib.sterling, which he has already payed, yet the petitioner is to repeat no part thereof, but the declaring of his Tack a Collection, is only to this effect, that Inquiry may be made if his Collection (his necessar Charges being deduced; exceeds the Sum already pased; Or otherwise, if your Grace and Honourable Estates of parliament think it not convenient to open the Tack that you would be pleased to exoner him of the 9000 lib.ster. for which he has got so frequent Sists, and which is the just proportion, conform to the late Report from the Exchequer to His Majesty. And your Petitioner shall ever pray.

In Favours of the BREWERSand TACKSMENof the EXCISE, with the Tenor of the Representationgiven in by the Noblemen, Gentlemen, and Magistrats of the North Shires, concerning the Dearth and Famine in their Shires and Towns, with the Reasons why the Brewers have given up, and the Excise cannot be made Effectual; Viz.

WE the Noblemen, Barons and Heretors of the Shires of Angus, Merns, Aberdeen, Bamff, and Be North; Considering that George Mackenzie Subtacksman of the Annexed and Additional Excise, has several Processes depending before the Commissioners of Supply and Excise, against several of our Tennents who have been in use of brewing upon our Ground, for their giving over that Trade of Brewing at this time: Do therefore Testifie and Declare, That there was an absolute necessity for their giving over, by reason of the want of Malt and Bear, and the Dearth thereof this year; the price of the Malt and Bear giving with us 12 of 13 lib. Scots to Martinmas next, which is more than triple value of former years, being occasioned by the last years bad Cropt, and the unnatural Storms of Rain which fell out in Harvest last, and our Tennents being in Arrear to us the full half part of their Rent in several places, so that by these Calamities the Brewers have given over, and generally quite broke, and the few that does Brew are not able to pay the foresaid price for the said Malt and Bear, with the double Excise; so that for this Season there is no hope of Brewing, and the scarcity and badness of the last years Cropt, has occasioned not only Dearth, but Famine to all the Poor, who are dying in several parts for Want, and a great part of the Land is not sowen for want of Seed, so that we are necessitat to discharge Brewing in several places: And to Order the making the Meal of Bear, and to keep up the famine for the use of the Poor, that are in a starving Condition. The like Scarcity and Want not being seen for many Ages. This We in all Humility, Represent to the Right Honourable the Lords of His Majesties Theasaury and Exchequer, praying them to consider the Condition of the Brewers and Tacksmen, and to forbid their Farmers to molest the said Brewers on their desisting from Brewing, by reason of the foresaids sad Calamities, and to Discharge any Trouble to be given them on that account, that the Poor may have Bread, and not Starve, which even this will hardly prevent.

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1.2.1. The Names and Designations of the Subscribers, as follows, viz.

For Aberdeen-shire.
  • EArl of Errol,
  • Earl of Kintore,
  • Lord Pitsligo,
  • Sir Thomas Burnet of Lyes,
  • Sir John Forbes of Craigievar,
  • Samuel Forbes of Foyeran,
  • Andrew Frazer of Kinmundie Sheriff-Deput,
  • James Gordon of Seatoun,
  • Robert Ross of Auchlossen,
  • John Udney of that Ilk,
  • Roderick Forbes of Brux,
  • George Keith of Creichy,
  • James Moor of Stonywood,
  • John Udney of Newtyle.
For the Town of Aberdeen.
  • Robert Cruckshank of Banchry, provost.
  • EArl of Finlator,
  • the Lord Boyne,
  • James Abernethy of Birkenbog,
  • Alexander Ogilvie of Foirgland,
  • William Bumbar of Durn,
  • Alexander Gairden of Troup,
  • George Leslie of Burdsbank,
  • Alexander Hay of Arnbath.
Angus and Kincardine-shires.
  • DAvid Grahame of Fintrey,
  • Hercules Scot of Brothertoun,
  • Mr. Robert Burnet of Glenbervie,
  • James Scot of Logie,
  • William Barclay of Balmagequand.
Town and Shire of Inverness.
  • GEorge Cuthbert of Castlehill,
  • William Robertson of Inches,
  • James Mackintosh of Termitt,
  • Angus Mackintosh of Kelachie,
  • William Duff of Diple,
  • Hugh Frazer of Belladrum,
  • William Baillie of Drunzeain,
  • William Baillie Commissar of Inverness,
  • John Grant of Corimonie.
  • Machpherson of Clunie,
  • Mr. Daniel Polson of Kinmyle, Sheriff-deput of Inverness,
  • William Frazer of Erchert,
  • Alexander Frazer of
  • James Baillie of
  • Cumming of Dalshanie
  • Hugh Robertson, Provost,
  • James Macklain Baillie,
  • Alexander Duff of Drummor Baillie.
Cullen Town
  • JOhn Baird Baillie,
  • Patrick Sanders Baillie
  • Thomas Murray Clerk
  • John Lorimer Counsellor
  • William Strachan Counsellor
  • William Wallace Councellor.
Bamff Town
  • ALexander Lesly of Kinninvie Provost,
  • Walter Stuart late Provost.
  • Robert Sanders Baillie
  • Alexander Wallace Baillie
  • James Ogilvie Baillie,
  • George Leith late Baillie
  • William Scot Dean of Guild,
  • James perik Thesaurer

1.2.2. The Declaration of North Inverness, Ross and Cromarty, has this Addition, &c.

LIkewise, We declare, that by reason of the badness of the last years Cropt, there is such Scarsity of Beer and Malt here, that there is a great Dearth and Famine amongst our Commons, and in several places, the Land is not Sowen for want of Seed, and all this Summer they could hardly get Beer to buy to make Meal thereof, and we are necessitate to buy up Beer wherever we can get it, and furnish them, to make Meal thereof, for the use of the poor that are in a Starving Condition. This we in all humility represent to the Right Honourable the Lords Commissioners of His Majesties Thesaury and Exchequer, to consider the Condition of the Tacksmen and Brewers, and to allow the Brewers their desisting that the Poor and Commons may have Bread and not Starve, which we are afraid of, if GOD in his Infinit Mercy prevent it not.

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  • SIR John Monro of Foulis
  • Sir Alexander Mackenzie of Coul
  • Hugh Monro Younger of Foulis
  • David Monro of Kiltearn,
  • David Monro of Teaninich
  • William Monro of Teanerd,
  • George Mouro of Culrain,
  • John Beaton of Calwaskea,
  • Sir Donald Bayne of Tulloch,
  • Alexander Forrester of Culnald,
  • Colin Mabkenzie Elder of Redcastle.
  • Rod. Mackenzie Younger of Redcastle
  • Rod. Mackenzie of Culcovie.
  • Alexander Maskenzie younger of Dachmaluag:
  • David Monro of Dalmoir,
  • John Ross of Achnaloch,
  • William Ross of Aldy,
  • Alexander Ross of Pitherry,
Cromarty Shire
  • Kenneth Mackenzie of Cromarty
  • Alexander Clunies of Neilstoun
  • Alexander Urquhart of Newhall
  • John Urquhart of Craighouse
The Burgh of Tayne
  • Walter Ross Provost of Tayne
  • John Ross late Provost of Tayne
  • Alexander Hay Baillie of Tayne,
The Burgh of Fortross
  • Thomas Forbes Balilie of Fortross.

1.2.3. The Declaration by the Shire of Cathness has this Addition, viz.

WE the Commissioners of Supplie, and other Heritors of the Shire of Caithnese, undersubscribing, Do hereby Testifie and Declare, that the Scarcity of Victual, and especially of Bear in the said Shire, for the Crops 1695. and 1696. is, and has been such, that none living among us have seen or felt a greater Famine, and that many have starved for want of Bread; So that the Excise cannot make near the half of what formerly it did, by reason of the foresaid Famine.

  • Sir George Sinclair of Clyth
  • David Sinclair of Freswick,
  • Alexander Sinclair of Blebster
  • James Sinclair of Forse
  • William Suther and of Gees
  • William Cunninghame of Reasbo
  • John Sinclair of Stirkock,
  • James Murray of Claden.
  • Patrick Murrray of Scots-Cadel.
  • Alexander Williamson of Borseskirk.
The Burgh of THORSO
  • Alexander Rorieson Baillie of Thorso
  • John Swanson Baillie of Thorso
The Burgh of WEEK,
  • James Doul Baille of Week
This is the full version of the original text


crops, famine, necessity, price

Source text

Title: Unto His Grace His Majesties High Commissioner

Author: George Mackenzie

Publication date: 1697

Edition: 2nd Edition

Place of publication: Edinburgh

Provenance/location: This text was transcribed from images available at Early English Books Online: http://eebo.chadwyck.com/home Bibliographic name / number: Wing (2nd ed.) / M214A Physical description: 4 p. Copy from: National Library of Scotland Reel position: Wing / 2757:06]

Digital edition

Original author(s): George Mackenzie

Language: English

Selection used:

  • 1 ) whole


Texts collected by: Ayesha Mukherjee, Amlan Das Gupta, Azarmi Dukht Safavi

Texts transcribed by: Muhammad Irshad Alam, Bonisha Bhattacharya, Arshdeep Singh Brar, Muhammad Ehteshamuddin, Kahkashan Khalil, Sarbajit Mitra

Texts encoded by: Bonisha Bhattacharya, Shreya Bose, Lucy Corley, Kinshuk Das, Bedbyas Datta, Arshdeep Singh Brar, Sarbajit Mitra, Josh Monk, Reesoom Pal

Encoding checking by: Hannah Petrie, Gary Stringer, Charlotte Tupman

Genre: Britain > pamphlets

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