A royal command that the authorities must draw lots to decide which prisoners will face trial. This is because there were so many Jacobite prisoners taken following the rebellion in Lancashire and the government wishes to make an example of them. (TS 20/44).
At the Court of St. James’s 13th day of December 1715
The Kings most Excellent Majesty in Council
His Majesty this day in Council taking into consideration the great numbers of Prisoners detained in Custody [put in prison] on Account of the late Rebellion in Lancashire, and how much it Imports [effects] the Publick Peace of the Kingdom that a speedy Example be made of some of them, Has thought fit to Order, And It is Ordered by his Majesty with the Advice of His Privy Council that the several Officers who are principally intrusted with the custody of the said Prisoners concerned in the late Rebellion shall cause the said Prisoners (not being Gentlemen or Men of Estates or such as shall appear to have distinguished themselves by any extraordinary Degree of Guilt) to draw Lotts, to the intent that every Twentieth Man on whom the Lott shall fall, shall be appointed for Tryal [trial] in Order to due punishment; And if any of the said Prisoners shall refuse to Draw, the Lott is to be drawn for them in their presence, and the residue on whom the said Lott shall not fall, are to be respited [spared] from Tryal in, Order to receive His Majesty’s Mercy, on such conditions as He shall be graciously pleased to think fitt.
A true copy