chapter  2
17 Pages

The structures of patronage and corruption: access and allocation

In 1611 after the death of King James’s most important Scottish councillor, George Hume, Earl of Dunbar, an unnamed official drew up “A note of such grants as were made to the Lord Dunbar by the king’s majesty.” These included lands in Leicestershire, Norfolk, Bedfordshire, Kent, Oxfordshire, Somerset, Northumberland and Ireland; offices in the central administration and the Household such as Chancellor of the Exchequer, Keeper of the Great Wardrobe, and Keeper of the Privy Purse, and, later, Chancellor of Scotland; keeperships of sundry royal castles and manors; the title of Baron Hume of Berwick “under which that liberty is given to him to convey away by will or otherwise that honor either consanguino or cognate,” and of Earl of Dunbar; and the monopolies of all monies due the king for logwood and blockwood to be brought into the realm for forty-one years and £2,000 a year granted for ten years of the impost on seacoal.1 The reader might be forgiven for thinking that he was looking at a Norman baron of the reign of King Stephen, an “overmighty subject,” or the holdings of Cardinal Wolsey before his fall. Dunbar was, instead, the loyal servant and councillor of James VI and I of England, the leader of those Jacobean Scots who came south with the new king to claim his inheritance.