But an Act of Council of 1677 bidding landowners sign a bond for the peaceable behaviour of all on their lands was refused obedience by many western lairds. They could not enforce order, they said: hence it seemed to follow that there was much disorder. Those who refused were, by a stretch of the law of "law-burrows," bound over to keep the peace of the Government.
Lauderdale entertained the absurd notion of making the king sue out writs of law-burrows against his subjects. On this pretence, the refusers of the bonds were summoned to appear before the council, and were required to bind themselves, under the penalty of two years' rent, neither to frequent conventicles themselves, nor allow their family and tenants to be present at those unlawful assemblies.
By the law of Scotland, any man who should go before a magistrate, and swear that he thought himself in danger from another, might obtain a writ of law-burrows, as it is called; by which the latter was bound, under the penalty of imprisonment and outlawry, to find security for his good behavior.
Notwithstanding this act of council, Cassilis first, afterwards Hamilton and Tweddale, went to London, and laid their complaints before the king. These violent proceedings of Lauderdale were opposite to the natural temper of Charles and he immediately issued orders for discontinuing the bonds and the writs of law-burrows.