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Octavians. A group of eight ministers, appointed by James VI in 1596 to bring order into the Scottish royal finances, possibly at the suggestion of Lord Drumcairn. The king promised not to override them. Their economies provoked protests and they were opposed by another court faction, the Cubiculars (bedchamber servants). Since they were in power for only a year and the task was daunting, progress was limited. James waxed ‘very merry’, explaining that he would not have one great man but servants he could hang if necessary, but there remains a hint of a non-royal independent bureaucracy.

J. A. Cannon