he concept of the Burgess oath belongs to feudal times and is mentioned in The Laws of the Four Burghs, traditionally ascribed to King David I. An Aberdeen text written on the original flyleaf of the Council's Register for 1585-1589 may well be the original medieval oath, and reads -
I Salbe Leill and Trew to the King of Scotland his airis and successouris to the burgh and fredome of abirdene Nevir Skayth other Manis proffeit for fee I sall obey to the officiaris of this burgt to quhat estgait that ever I cum I sall voit, cheis nominat nor elect na persone nor persones to be provest nor baillie of this burgt bot burgessis merchandis traffiquaris, and actual indwellaris of the samyn I shall giff leill and trew counsale and the best quhen I am requyrit I sall conceile the counsale of this burgt warne thaime of thair skaythe and lat it at my power I sall governe na unfre manis gudis under colour of my ainin I sall scat, lott wache walk and ward with the inhabitants therof Na lordship to seikit in contrar the liberte of this burgt Swa help me god be my awin hand and all that god maid.
I will be true and faithful to the King of Scotland, his heirs and successors, and to the burgh and liberty of Aberdeen (I will) never injure another man's well being for profit I will obey the office bearers of this burgh whatever position I reach I will not choose, nominate, vote for nor elect, any individual or individuals to be provost or baillie of this burgh except burgesses (who are) merchant traders and actual residents of the same burgh I will give true and honest advice to the best of my ability when needed I will keep secret the deliberations of this burgh (I will) forewarn them (sc. the burgesses in council) of harm and prevent it if I can I will manage under pretence of ownership the goods of no one (who is) not a burgess I will pay my due share of taxation and undertake watch, patrol and guard duties in turn with the inhabitants of the burgh (I will) seek no patronage to the injury of the freedom of this burgh So help me God - by my own hand and by all God's creation