Sir Thomas Urquhart (1653) Logopandecteision. Book III: Cleronomaporia, pp. 41-54.

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The third BOOK




C L E R O N O M A P O R I A.


The intricacy of a distressed

Successor, or apparent Heir.


For the better evulging of this

Universal Tongue, and other works,

the preservation of the Authors ancient
Inheritance, is by the lawes of all

Nations, Pleaded for.

1. MAY IT THEREFORE be considered, in the first place, that a competent estate, (which, these many yeares past, hath yeelded a thousand pounds sterling of rent, although hardly the fifth part of that, either in extent of bounds, or revenue, which some 900 yeares agoe from the dayes of my fore-father Zeron upwards, till those of Nomostor, who was the first of my Progenitors, that stayed to inhabit the Land of Cromartie) being (consecutively (through a direct uninterrupted series, for the most part, and Lineall discent of threescore and twelve severall Ancestors, from Father to Sonne, for the space of (neer upon) fourscore two Iubiles, at 25 yeares each served, and retoured heires (almost alwayes) to their immediately foregoing Predecessors, in the same family,) continued, evolved, and transmitted, with many especial royalties, privileges, and immunities from one another, and in all integrity preserved, untill the time of the majority, and perfect age of my Father: who according to the prescript form of the country received it then, from his Guardian, or Tutor (as they called him) without any burthen of debt (how little soever) or provision of brother, sister, or any other of his kindred, or allyance, wherewith to affect it; he having nothing else (being void of all manner incumbrances) to care for, out of so considerable means, blest with so much freedome, but himself, and Lady alone, my Mother, it pleased his Father-in-law, my lord Elphingston then high Treasurer of Scotland, at the time of the mariage, to require of him so to manage the foresaid patrimony, with such ease and plenty, through a various change of neighbours, and so carefully conveyed unto him, that in compensation of the courtesie received from his predecessors, and to retaliate so great a favour, he should be oblieged and tyed to leave unto her eldest Son, to be begotten of her (who some 5 afterwards happened to be I) the said estate, in the same freedome, and entirenesse, every way, that it was left unto himself, which before many noble men, and others he solemnly promised to doe to the utmost of his power.

2. Nevertheless, by incogitancy one way, or what else I know not, and on the otherside, by the extortion, and rapine of some usurious Cormorants, whose money then was constantly laid out, as a bait for improvident men of great revenues, to be hooked by :1 the fortune of his affairs turned so far otherwayes, from the byas they had been put in (to the regret and heavy dislike of all his friends, and his own likewise at last, when he knew not how to help it) that all he bequeathed unto me, his eldest Son, in manner of worldly means, was twelve or thirteen thousand pounds sterling of debt, five brethren all men, and two sisters (almost mariageable) to provide for, and lesse to defray all this burthen with, by six hundred pounds sterling a year, although the warres had not prejudiced me in a farthing, then what for the maintaining of himself alone, in a peaceable age he inherited for nothing.

3. But that, which did make my case the more to be commiserated, was, that all these huge, and exorbitant summes were charged on me by those, to whom I was never obliged in a penny, nor whose money ever came to that fine, that it might be known to what good end, it was borrowed ;2 there being nothing more certain, then that the education of his whole children, comprehending my self, and all together, with what he expended on his daughters portions, and other wayes disbursed for suretyship, did not in all amount to above two yeares rent, and a half, of that estate, which he totally enjoyed for six and thirty yeares together : and that in such halcyonian dayes, without any compulsory occasion of bestowing his means other wayes, then might best please himself, that till two yeares before his decease it was not known by the commons of the Land, what the words of Musqueteer, and Pikeman did signifie.

4. Notwithstanding all this, and that neither directly, nor indirectly, I had a hand in the contracting of so much, as one two-pence of the aforesaid burden, Those Creditors (all Scots) dealt so rigourously with me, that by their uncharitable severity3 (even in my fathers time) it was done what lay in them, to shake me loose of my progenitors inheritance, and denude me of what I was born unto, by investing themselves in the right of those Lands, that through the continuat race of six dozen of Predecessours (as aforesaid) were after the expiring of many ages, by their valour, vertue, and industry, most heedfully transmitted to these late yeares, free from all intanglements, claims, and intricate pretences whatsoever.

5. Yet did I thereby attain to the greater portion of my fathers blessing, who conscious of the prejudice I sustained by leaving me (contrary to the promise made to his Father-in-law, and ancient custome of the Countrey) so much inthralled, had of me that respect, and remembrance, although in another dominion for the time, that, besides his constant bewailing the hard condition, whereunto he had redacted his house in my person, during all the time of that long, and lingring disease, whereof at last he died, he so generously, and lovingly (as truly he was one of the best men in the world) acquit himself two dayes before his decease, that he had all my six brothers strongly bound,4 and obliged before famous witnesses himself being one, and the prime of all, especially my nearest brother intituled the Laird of Dun Lugar for whose occasion, to sharpen his thankfullnesse the bond was conceived, because of that portion in Land he received from him worth above 3000 pounds English money, under pain of his everlasting curse, and execration, to assist concur with, follow, & serve me, (for those are the words) to the utmost of their power, industry, and means, & to spare neither charge, nor travel, though it should cost them all they had, to release me from the undeserved bondage of the domineering Creditor, and extricate my Lands from the impestrements, wherein they were involved : yea to bestow nothing of their owne upon no other use, till that should be done ; and all this under their own hand writing, secured with the clause of registration, to make the opprobrie the more notorious, in case of failing, as the paper it self, which I have in retentis, together with another signed to the same sense, by my mother, and also my brothers and Sisters, Dunbugar only excepted, will more evidently testifie.

6. Thus lacking nothing I could have desired of him, but what by my grand-father he was ingaged to leave me in matter of temporal means, I must in all humility make bold to beg the permission to proceed a little further in this purpose, seeing it doth not diametrally militate against the reverence I owe to the established authority, and municipall Laws of the Land.

7. In competition with which, though by the Laws, and status of many of the most civilized parts of Europe, the punishment, or correction inflicted for faults of undertaking excessive burthens upon ancient estates, be meerly personal, and not (like Gebazies leprosie) derived to posterity ;6 there being more regard had by them to the memory of worthy, and renowned Gentlemen (whose reputation they would not have laid in the dust, by the supine remissness of any one of their successors) then to the raising up of the fortunes of those, who have no other vertue to recommend them by, but the stupid neglect, forgetfulness, and improvident cariage of those, that borrowed their money.

8. Whereby like the indwellers of Guinea, they may be said to purchase their gold sleeping ;7 for in whose hand soever any little heap thereof is sequestred upon obligation ; the smallest time of any engendreth interest thereon, which is no sooner bred, then apt to propagate another progenie, of the same pregnancie with the first, to beget a third: and so forth from term to term, by the incestuous copulation of the Parent with the whole Children together, and with each a part, and ever child conjunctly, & severally with all the rest : one brood springing forth of another, and another again all out of that, producing still, in that progressive way of procreation, a new increase of the like nature with the former.

9. And all by vertue of a bond dormant, lying passibly in the greasie cobweb of a musty chest, whose master (perhaps) being lulled all this while in a dull lethargy of ease, awaketh not (Like the Angell Apollyon, in the eleventh of the Apocalypse intituled Abadon) but to the destruction of some one or other of his paper-fetterd slaves, proving such a bad one indeed to whom he had concredited his goods, that he never abandoneth them, till his covetousness (making that the fertilest thing of any, which of it self is most unfruitful) have, in the unconscionable multiplying of such a graceless generation, reared up that unhallowed result from a spark (as it were) in a corner of their houses, to the hight of a most prodigious flame, to consume them, their wives, and children, with their whole estates, and fortunes for ever.8

10. Yet seeing the rigour of the Law of Scotland, seems rather (as the times have been this while past) to favour, and abett the unmercifull creditor, then the debtors innocent successor, I have till this hour (although not without some inward reluctancy) chosen rather to undergoe the sternnesse, and austerity thereof, then legislatively to supplicate the eversion of an established custom.

11. Albeit (what ever Lawyers say) I be sure, that Law, as it is conform to equity, and justice, requireth as well (if not more) that there be antidots, and preservative remedies for mens estates in Lands, as for the fortunes of them, whose stock is onely in money.9

12. Especially, in the behalf of those, whom to deprive of their old possessions (as is glanced at a little in the sixtie-eight Article of the second book10) would ingulph, and bury in forgetfulness, that antiquity of Line, which all the riches on earth is not able to purchase, and consequently, making nobility stoop to coyn, and vertue to gain, bring the only support, and props of honour, to serve as fewel to the unquenchable fire of avaritious hearts.

13. And I may very well say, seeing it cohæres with the purpose in hand,11 that I sustain a greater prejudice, in being debarred from my Lands, which were more than two and twenty hundred years agoe, acquired by the valour, and prudence of my Predecessors, then the Sons of the aforesaid Creditors can doe, by the want of money, pretended to be due to them, for my Fathers debt ; and the overthrow of a worthy Family, being much more deplorable, then the missing of a little benefit of the summes so lent, as the brats, they are as yet to beget, have done of the Revenues which should be mine.

14. What forcible Statutes have been published in former ages, for obviating the decay of honorable houses, is not unknown to those, that are any thing versed in the historie of prudential Law.

15. In this, the ablest, and most judicious men on earth, have imployed the best of their wits : and Solon, that famous Legislator amongst the Athenians, and wisest man then living, made acts so favourable for the preservation of antient Families, and so strictly to be observed, that the controveners of them, so long as the splendour of that Republick lasted, were by the Areopagites most exemplarily, and condignely punished, as the reliques of the Attick Laws, till this day, will sufficiently bear record.

16. Nor was this so conscientious an ordonance, so totally proper to the Common-weal of the Greeks, but that the remanent of the world, in those happy times of old did tast of the wholesome influence, and goodness of it.

17. The Decemvirs (amongst the Romans) instituted, and ordained, that those who were apt by their misgovernment, and reckless conduct to endanger the undoing, and subversion of their predecessors house, to the apparent detriment, and damage for ever of such, as by nature were designed to succeed after them in that family, should be disabled from disponing Lands, alienating any whatsoever goods, and contracting debts, in such sort, that whosoever should meddle or deal with them, in either of those kinds, should do it at their owne hazard, and perill, without hope of restitution of any loss, or hinderance they might sustain thereby, as manifestly may be seen, by the Law Julianus, in the paragraph de cura Furiosorum, and in the Law, is cui bonus in the paragraph, de verbis obligatoriis.

18. Which being conform to that other Law of the twelve tables, whereby such like inconsiderate persons were appointed to have surveyers, and controulers set over them, and wholly prohibited, and interdicted from all manner of managing their own affairs, as the words of the Text it self more succinctly declares, Quando bona tua paterna, avitaque negligentia tua disperdis Liberosque, tuos ad egestatem perducis, ob eam rem tibi, ea re, commercioque interdico.

19. It is apparent how hainous, horrid and sacrilegious an offence it seemed to be in those happy dayes, to have a hand in pulling down the monuments of their fore-fathers vertue, and demantling the honour of their house, by dilapidating their estate.

20. And least these premised acts, should be thought to have been but good Laws ill obeyed, and worse executed : such rigorous punishment was inflicted upon the delinquents in them, that no person guilty, of what age, or condition soever, was spared.

21. As may be instructed by Quintus Fabius, son to quintus Fabius the great, surnamed Allobrogicus, who, by an edict of Quintus Pompeius Prætor, was curbed and inhibited from doing by his misguiding, and unadvised cariage any harm or prejudice to the house of his progenitors.

22. And by that prodigal Senator of threescore yeares of age (otherways wise enough) over whom the Emperour Tiberius did constitute, and impose a tutor, or governour, that, to the impoverishing of his issue, he might not have power to lavish away the estate he never acquired.

23. The causes which moved them to act, and publish those Statues being no lesse urgent now, then they were then, should (as I conceive it) astrict, and oblige us to be every whit as zealously fervent, as they in the observing of them.

24. Chiefly being warranted thereto by the sacred Scripture it self, in the old Testament, whereof, the people of Israel is said to have been enjoyned to marry in their own Tribes, Jubilees appointed, and all debts whatsoever, after the revolution, and expired date of so many years, ordained to be discharged, annulled, freely acquit all bonds and and bills rescinded and cancelled and all this only for the preservation of ancient houses.

25. Of which the countrie of Scotland also, till within these fourscore ten yeares, was so exactly carefull, that Signior David, one of Queen Maries prime Courtiers, could not for all the mony he was master of, obtain in that whole dominion, the purchase of one hundred pounds sterlin of rent in Land, whereby to acquire the benefit of a Scotish title, the more to ingratiat himself (being an Italian) in the favour of the Nation ; so unwilling in those good days, was every one to break upon any parcel of their predecessors inheritance.

26. Seeing thus it is then, that all Nations, and almost all Religions, both Jews and Gentiles, have had the benefit of so commendable, and pious a custome, shall Scotland alone be deprived, and destitute of it, and that only since it is said by themselves, to have received the puritie of the Gospel, and about the year of the Jubilee, no man will think it, that hath any good opinion of the Nation?

27. But although it were so so (as God forbid it ever come to that pass) and that like to the most rigid Levellers who would inchaos the structure of ancient greatness, into the very rubbish of a Neophytick parity, it were inacted there be no more regard had thereafter of pristin honour, then of old garments : and that none be thereby dignifyed, but in so far, as the number, weight, and measure of modern coyn, shall serve to inhanse him.

28. Yet with some probability, doe many harbour in their breasts the opinion, that with a never so little auxiliary suffrage of publick Order, there should be found amongst them, and the successors of those, that in divers good offices (not to speak of my self) have been obliged to the proprietaries of our house, severals who would of their own accord, (in what they could) without any great incitement thereto, supply the deficiency of the Law in that point, and further of themselves, the redintegration of my Predecessors family in my person.12

29. Notwithstanding all this, the embracing of the foresaid subsidiarie expedient, being too far below my inclination, I doe really Imagine that (without the conscriptious adjustancie of the State) I shall enterprise but impossibilities, and never enjoy the proposed end ; which nevertheless my bashfullness and naturall aversness from craving what might put me to a blush if denyed would never have permitted me to prosecute by such means, if by the iniquitie of the times, disloyalty of some I did put trust into, and rough harshness of the unplacable creditors, I had not be frustrated of my other designs.

30. For albeit, to the most frugall,13 it might seem a task very difficult, to make the payment of my Fathers debt, consist with the preservation of my fore-fathers estate : when by the malignant influences of my concredited summes, the Land rents do usually shrink in, to the accrescing of the burthen ; there being nothing more certain, then that the apprising of Lands, serving of inhibitions, arresting of Farms in the hands of Tenants, purchasing of letters for delivering up of the Manor house, & other such like most rigorous proceedings, whereby one is made illegal, would have disabled any (though never so well affected) from putting his means to the best avail, and taking that safe course for himself, and creditors together, which otherways (with lesse disadvantage to either) might be performed by one, that were free of these lets and disturbances.

31. Whereupon ensue such dismal inconveniences,14 that commonly, when a gentlemans estate begins to be clogged with such like impestrements, little or no use at first is made of the rents thereof ; either for that the Tennants (for fear of creditors attachings and arrestments) pay not their due, least they be forced to repay it, & so, through the uncertainty of masters, spending all on themselves, become some times insufficient debtors : or for that merchants (being afraid to fall into the reverence of creditors, because of inhibitions and arrestments) dare not bargain for victuall, or any such like annual commoditie : both, or either being like to drive on the decadence of a house to its utter desolation at last.

32. So that instead of a double benefit, that ought to accrew to both the Debtor, and Creditor, by the timely payment of both Lands, and money rent, a twofold prejudice (for the most part) through the strictness of the creditors, is incurre, to wit the one, by delaying their own pay, and the other, by hastning the ruine of the house of their Debtor : as if men should be tyed to defray great summes of money, and yet not get leave to make use of their own means, wherewith to do it, there being hardly any shift remaining for a man so used, but to have recourse to his wits.

33. Nor is it any thing less lamentable, that the Law of Scotland, in matter of Horning, should be a main furtherance of this inconvenience, by debarring any one lying under the lash therof, from getting payment at the hands of others of never so just debts due to them ; whereby a greater load being laid on him that is already overburthened, Machiavel's policie of breaking the bruised reed, and thrusting him over head and eares in the water, that was in it to the chin, is very punctually observed.

34. Which rugged, crosse, and thwarting procedures so incensed, damped, and exasperated my father, that a charge from a creditor, being as the hissing of a Basilisk, the disorderly troubles of the Land being then far advanced (though otherways he disliked them) were a kind of refreshment to him, and intermitting relaxation from a more stinging disquietnesse.15

35. For that our intestin troubles, and distempers, by silencing the Laws for a while, gave some repose to those, that longed for a breathing time, and by hudling up the terms of Whitsuntide, and Martinmass, (which in Scotland are the destinated times for payment of debts) promiscuously, with the other seasons of the year, wee as an oxymel julip, wherewith to indormiat them in a bitter sweet security.

36. Yet for all this, and notwithstanding the grievousness of such solicitudinary, and luctiferous discouragements, able to appall the most undaunted spirits, and kill a very Paphlagonian partridge, that is said to have two hearts, I did nevertheless, without attributing my self a jot, undergoe the defrayment of the debt, although not as a debtor, with as much alacrity, and cheerfulnesse, as if it had been of my own undertaking : and took such speedy course therein,16 that immediately after my Fathers decease, for my better expedition in the discharge of those burthens, having repaired homewards, I did sequestrate the whole rent (my Mothers joynture excepted) to that use only, and, as I had done many times before, betook my self to my hazards abroad, that by vertue of the industry, and diligence of those, whom by the advise, and deliberations of my nearest friends, I was induced to intrust with my affairs, the debt might be the sooner defrayed, and the ancient house releeved out of the thraldome, it was so unluckily faln into.

37. But it fell out so far otherwayes, that after some few years residence abroad, without any considerable expence from home, when I thought, because of my having mortified and set apart all the rent to no other end, then the cutting off, and defalking of my Fathers debt, that accordingly a great part thereof had been discharged : I was so far disappointed of my expectation therin, that whilst conform to the confidence reposed in him whom I had intrusted with my affairs, I hoped to have been exonered, and relieved of many Creditors, the debt was only past over, & transferred from one in favours of another, or rather of many in the favours of one, who, though he formerly had gained much at my Fathers hands, was notwithstanding at the time of his decease none of his creditors, nor at any time mine ; my Egyptian bondage by such means remaining still the same, under task masters different only in name, and the rents neverthelesse taken up to the full, to my no small detriment, and prejudice of the house standing in my person.

38. The aime of some of those I concredited my weightiest adoes unto, being, as is most conspicuously apparent, that I should never reap the fruition, nor enjoyment of any portion, parcell, or pendicle of the estate of my predecessors, unlesse by my fortune, and endeavours in Forrain countries, I should be able to acquire as much as might suffice to buy it (as we say) out of the ground.

39. And verily (though not in relation to these ignoble, and unworthy by-ends) it was my purpose, and resolution to have done so, which assuredly, had not the turbulent divisions of the time been such as to have crossed, and thwarted the atchievements of more faisible projects, I would have accomplished tow or three severall ways ere now.

40. And yet for all the stops, and inconveniencies, that flowed from the late unhappy stirrs, and garboyls in both Nations, I had (by all probability) got a great many thousand pounds thereof, had not a wretched, poor, and trivial summe scarce worth the naming, been more prevalent with the aforesaid party.

41. By reason of whose injurious, and unequitable dealing, in appropriating to themselves, and converting (by all appearance) to their own use my rents, and neither purging the Land, nor exonerating me of any considerable part of the burthen, wherewith either it, or I stood affected : I was moved to face about, and return homewards, to take that solid, and deliberate course with the crazed estate left unto me, as might make the subsistence of my house, compatible with the satisfaction of my Fathers Creditors.

To which effect, with might and main, to the uttermost of my abilitie, I strove, with pecunial charms,17 and holy-water out of Pluto's Cellar, to exercise and lay the Spirit lately raised, and raging abroad, without the besprinkling of a Chrysopast hyssop, not to be conjured : my successfulness therein amounting, non obstans all intervening impediments, to the final discussing of some of these creditors, and, in a plausible way, according to the exigence of the persons, and circumstances of the nature, condition and quality of their security, to dispatch the residue of them epassyterotically, that is, one after another.

43. And to this end, applyed all my aforesaid rents, save so much, as for publick dues, and augmentation of Ministers stipends were exacted of me : in the latter whereof, because of the hereditarie loss, which I thereby am like to sustain, I will make bold to insist a little, with that reverence nevertheless, which becomes me to the Church, and to the established Ecclesiastical order of the Land.18

44. Here neverthelesse, Let the good Reader be pleased to take along with him for his better conceiving of the unmercifulness and indiscretion of my Fathers creditors, how when to some of them I had offered present possession of Land, til they should be found paid ; and unto others, who formerly had been victual Merchants, had made tender of my rents of that kind, at very easie rates, to be delivered by my deputies, without their running of any hazzard at the hands of a distressed Tenandrie : the answer of the former was, That they would have no land, but money ; and of the other, That though they had often before that traffiqued in such like commodities, yet that then for being taken up with more publick businesses they could not accept of my proffer, but wishing I might have the fortune to deal with those would give the greatest prices, expected I should not fail to let them have the money for defalcation of some of their accounts.19

45. By which their subdolous and craft tergiversation, from what in a time of peace, they would have so eagerly embraced, they made it too evidently apparent, that in prosecuting of their own ease, they have aimed at my utter destruction, both their resolutions concentring in this, That they thought it more expedient, by a little forbearance, to suffer their unhallowed sums to increase, for the better obtaining afterwards of my whole Estate to themselves, then by any ways medling with my rents, in a tumultuous time, to bring me the sooner in a capacity of enjoying my own, through the diminution of my Fathers debts, by their receivings. This pit they digged for me, which that they should fall into themselves were both just and equitable.20

In Flagitatores. Ep. 1.

Tros quondam Æneas Harpyas, virginis ora,
     Atque ungues volucrum vidit habere truces.
Namque fame rabidus dum littore prandia sumit,
     Omnia foedarunt vel rapuere viro.
Creditor his similis, perturbans omnia, pacem
     Nullam vicini qui sinit esse sui.
Harpiæ proprios certant defendere fines,
     Ille tamen pejor namque aliena rapit.


Non satis apparet cur nomina creditor omnis
     Accipit à credo : res ratione vacat,
Debuerat potius visitari incredulus, et sic
     Sortiri merito nomina digna suo,
Esse avidus nullum nam credit in æthere numen,
     Nec quenquam fidum Creditor esse virum.


1. Faenus extremæ impudentiæ signum. Lucri premissio est quasi esca in muscipula.

2. Avarus animus nullo lucro saviatur, Animamque fames parto fit maior ab auro.

3. Lucrum facit homines deteriores et nisi lucrum esset nemo fere esset improbus, saith Volateranus.

4. This was done in August in the year 1642 some 4 yeares after the hatching of the Covenant.

6. Qui in magnis opibus sunt avidiores & sitibundi in medio oceani gurgite.

7. Vid. b. 2. Act. 27. Avaritia est porta mortis & radix omnium malorum. Argentum & aurum non extinguit a[r]genti & auri cupiditatem neque si plura possideas coercetur plura possidendi cupiditas.

8. Avarus, saith St. Austin, est infero similis, nam quantumcumque devoriverit numquem dicet is. Sic quanquam omnes thesauri confluxerint in avarum non satiabitur. Heu crescit scelerata sitis prædæque recentis incestus jam flagrat amor nullusve petendi crescendique pudor.

9. Contemnenda est cupiditas quæ quidam velut: ignis quanto plus accipit tanto plus requirit.

10. Vide. B. 2. Art. 68. O avare etc.

11. Lucrum justitiæ etc.

12. nullum est officium tam sanctam atque solenne quod non varitia comminuere atque violare soleat.

13. Avaritia crudeles efficit eos qui ei serviunt & animus avari sepulchrum est.

14. Avaritia injustitiæ etc.

15. Similis est pecunia usuraii morsui aspidis, percussus enim ab aspide qual: delectatus vadit in somnum, et per suavitatem soporis moritur.

16. Usure liberos servos faciunt.

17. Questum facile negligit generosus animus, inqui Hieronymus.

18. Nulla ditari ratione potestas avari vos faciunt inopes quas cumulatis opes.

19. Hujusmodi lucra hominem comparare decer propter quæ nunquam in posterum doleturus sit.

20. De damno alterius nemo lucrum etc.

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