The intentions of the Scottish army

Pages 283-291

Historical Collections of Private Passages of State: Volume 3, 1639-40. Originally published by D Browne, London, 1721.

This free content was digitised by double rekeying. All rights reserved.


The Intentions of the Army of the Kingdom of Scotland, Declared to their Brethren of England by the Commissioners of the late Parliament, and by the General, Noblemen, Barons, and other Officers of the Army.

The best Endeavours and greatest Works, wherein the good Hand and Providence of God have been most evident and sensible, and the Hearts and Intentions of Men called to be the Instruments, most Pious and Sincere, tho' they found Approbation with the Wiser Sort, and such as are given to Observations, yet they have ever been subject to be misconstrued by blind Suspicion, to be reproved by Cavelling Censure, which maketh place for it self to enter where it findeth none, and, to be condemned of the Ignorant, but most of all of the Malicious, who cannot be pleased, even when God is best pleased; and when Men seek to approve themselves to every ones Conscience, but in their Hearts with rather that the Temple should not be Built, Religion never Reformed, and they themselves, Issachar like, couch between the two Burthens, than that they should be in their Worldly Projects or Possessions opposed or troubled. The Deliverance of the People of God of Old from the Ægyptian Servitude, the Redemption of the Church by the Son of God and the Planting of Christian Religion by his Servants, and the Vindication of Religion from Romish Superstition and Tyranny, which are the greatest and most wonderful Works of God, have been most bitterly calumniated, and spitefully spurned against by the Wicked.

The Nature and Quality of this good Work wherein the Lord hath honoured us to be the Actors, and the Experience which we have found of continual Opposition since the beginning, may teach us if we be not as the Horse and Mule which have no Understanding, that we are to expect the gain-saying of Sinners, and that nothing can be hatched in Hell by Satan, or prompted by his Supposts on Earth, which will not be produced to make us, and the Cause of God which we maintain, odious to all Men, but most of all to our Neighbours and dearest Brethren, When we shall now enter into England it will be laid to our Charge that we mind nothing but Invasion, and that no less hath been intended by us from the beginning, than under the pretext of seeking our Religion and Liberties to enrish our selves with their Possessions and Goods: But our peaceable carriage many Years past before the time of those late Troubles, our Informations, Declarations and Remonstrances published to the World, wherein we have Cursed all National Invasion, and our willingness when we were in Arms, to lay them down, upon the small hopes of enjoying our Religion and Liberties; and on forbearing now by way of Reprisal, to satisfy our selves upon the Ships and Goods of ours Dear Brethren of England, for those Ships and Goods of ours that have been taken by the King's Ships, which possibly we might have been able to do, had not Justice forbidden us to take from them, whom we are assured, neither wish us harm, nor have done us wrong, will be conceived by the Wise and well affected to be more plain and sure Evidences of our Meaning, than all that Malice can devise, or Calumny can express against us.

Neither have any new Emergence altered, but rather confirmed our former Resolutions; for alcho' both before and since the late Pacification we have been highly injured by some Papists and Prelates and their Adherents there, who have been, and are still seeking no less, than that we should no more be a Church or Nation; and therefore themselves cannot think but we must accompt of them as God's Enemies, and ours: Yet above all the Favours we have received from the Good People and Body of the Kingdom of England, one there is which hath highly honoured them before the World, and endeared them unto us more than before, which shall never be forgotten by us, and we hope shall be thankfully remembred by our Children, and Childrens Children after us, to all Generations; that when upon Misinformation the Council of England had concluded to raise Forces against us, when the Parliament of Ireland had offered their Persons and Estates for supply against us; when all Plots and Polices were set on Work, and Publick Declarations by Authority were made, and the Parliament called for this very end, when we had been traduced, and Proclaimed as Traitors and Rebels at every Parish Church, yet so wise, so grave, so just was that High Court of Parliament (to their everlasting Honour be it remembred) that no Threatnings nor Fears, no promises nor hopes, no fineness nor cunningly devised Suggestion could move them to descern a War, or grant any Subsidy for a War against us, but rather by their Speeches, Complaints and Grievances parallel to ours, did justity the Cause (so much as in them was) which we Defend. This Rich and recent Favour doth so bind their hearts, that were our Power never so great, we should judge our selves the unworthiest of all Men, and could look for no less than Vengeance from the Righteous GOD, if we should move Hand or Foot against that Nation so comfortably to us represented in that Honourable Meeting. In this our thankful Acknowledgment, we desire that the City of London may have their own large share, as they well deserve by the noble Profession they have given of their constant affection to Religion, and the Peace of both Kingdoms, notwithstanding the continual affaults of the misleaders of the King against them, always rendering them seditious in his Ears. And if this which doth so convince us shall not be thought sufficient to satisfy all the good People of England: We now before God and the World make offer in general, and we make offer to so many of them as shall require it in particular, of the strongest and most inviolable Bond of our solemn Oath and Religious Attestation of the great Name of GOD, who is our Fear and Dread, and from whom we hope for a Blessing upon our Expedition, that we intend no Enmity or Rapine, and shall take no Man's Goods, nor engage our selves in Blood by Fighting, unless we be forced unto it, which we may look for from the Papists and Prelates: But if any such thing shall come from godly Men, or good Patriots, who love the truth of Religion, or the King's Honour, and their own Liberty, both the Rule of Charity, (which entertaineth no suspicion where there is no evil deserving) and the soul of Wisdom (which teacheth that both Nations must now stand or fall together) do forbid us to apprehend. All the Design of both Kingdoms is for the truth of Religion, and for the just Liberty of the Subject, and all the devices and doings of the Enemy are for the oppressing of both; that our Religion may be turned into Superstition and Atheism, and our Liberty into base Servitude and Bondage. To bring this to pass they have certainly conceived, that the blocking up of this Kingdom by Sea and Land would prove a powerful and infallible Means: For, for either within a very short time shall we thro' want of Trade, and spoiling of our Goods be brought to such extream Poverty and Confusion, that we shall miserably desire the Conditions which we now dispise, and decline, and be forced to imbrace their Will for a Law, both in Church and Policy, which will be a Precedent for the like Misery in England, who timously foreseeing it may be taught by their and our Danger to be more Wise; or upon the other part, we shall by this Invasion be constrained furiously and without order to break into England, which we believe is the most earnest Desire of our common Enemies because a more speedy Execution of their Design: For we doubt not but upon our coming Clamours will be raised, Posts sent, and Proclamations made, through the Kingdom, to slander our Pious and just Intentions, (as if this had been our Meaning from the beginuing) to stir up all the English against us, that once being entered in Blood, they may with their own Swords extirpate their own Religion, lay a present Foundation with their own Hands for building of Rome in the midst of them, and be made the Actors of their own and our Slavery to continue for ever. But in this admirable Opportunity of Vindicating of true Religion and just Liberty, if Divine Providence be looked upon with a Reverent Eye, and Men fearing God, and loving the King's Honour, and Peace of both Kingdoms, shall walk worthy of their Profession, altho' the Enemies have obtained so much of their Desires, as by Cords of their own twisting, to draw us into England, yet may their main Design be disappointed, the Rope which they have made brought upon their own Necks, and their Wisdom turned to Foolishness, which we have Reason to hope for from that Supreme Wisdom and Power which hath in all the Proceedings of this Work turned their devices upon their own Pates that plotted them.

In our Informations, Remonstrances, and the true Representation of our Proceedings since the last Pacification, we have so far expressed the wrongs which we have sustained, and the distresses which we suffer, as may make manifest our pressing Necessity to take some other course for our present Relief, than such Petitions, Supplications, and Commissions, as we have used before with less Success than could be expected of a Kingdom from their Native King. Before we stirred so much as with a Petition, we endured for many Years, not only the continual Opposition of the Truth, and Power of Religion by Prelates and Papists, but also the Violation of all our Liberties, and almost the total Subversion of our Religion, which was our Comfort in the fight of God, and the Glory of this Nation in the fight of other Churches, who by the Testimony of their Divines made our Reformation the Measure of their Wishes, and would have redeemed it with their greatest worldly Glosses, when gross Popery was Notoriously obtruded upon us in the Book of Cannons and Common Prayer, without Consent or Knowledge of the Churches; and the Plot of the Prelates and Papists wholly discovered how to settle it in both Nations. We added to our former Sufferings no other Arms but Prayers and Tears unto God, and Petitions to our King, which were utterly rejected, the Books and Corruptions against which we Petitioned highly exalted, and by the insolent Advice of those who govern now his Councils, labour to Establish their own ill acquired Greatness upon our Oppression, and the Ruins of our Religion and Liberties. We are forbidden to insist, under the Pain of High Treason, when we found our selves thus opposed and born down; still insisting in our humble Desires we solemnly renewed our solemn and National Oath and Covenant for preserving of our Religion and Liberties, and of his Majesty's Authority, knowing the Violation of that Oath to be the guiltiness which had procured our Woes, and that our Repentance and turning to God were the means by his blessing for a good Success: When contrary to our deserving and expectation his Majesty was moved by a wicked Counsel to march toward us with an Army, we chused rather to neglect such Courses as might serve for our humane Safety, than to fall in seeming Disobedience to our King, or to give the smallest Distaste to our Brethren in England, and therefore disbanded our Forces, delivered all Holds which were craved, in Testimony of our Obedience. and so far complied with his Majesty Pleasure, that notwithstanding the Determination of our lawful former Assembly, call'd by his Majesty, we were contented that a new free Assembly and Parliament should be appointed, where all things both concerning our Religion and Liberties might again be considered and established. When Matters Ecclesiastical were determined in the Assembly according to the Consititutions of the Church, in the Presence, and with the Consent of his Majesty's Commissioner; and the Parliament was convened for perfecting the Work, altho' we walked therein so warily that no just Provocation was given to his Majesty, yet contrary to the Laws and Customs of this Kingdom, the Parliament so certainly promised, when his Majesty was free of those bad Counsellors, was (being again in their Power) by their Advice prorogued, which to shew our invincible Obedience we were content to suffer, and did send up our Commissioners to London to render the Reasons of our Demands. When our Commissioners and Petitions of the Parliament, called by his Majesty, were so far rejected, that they were never seen or heard. We send up our Commissioners again with our Propositions, which contained nothing but what was necessary for the peace and Good of the Kingdom, and was granted to us before under his Majesty's Hand, yet could they find no Answer at all, which will be wondered at, and hardly believ'd by so many as are strangers at Court, and know not the Bishop of Canterbury, and the Lieutenant of Ireland, with the Assistance of the too too powerful Faction of the Hispanioliz'd Papists, labour to shew their zeal for his Majesties Greatness, by oppressing the just Liberties of the free Subjects, and the Reformed Religion in all the three Kingdoms: But in place of the Gracious Answer which we expected, our Commissioners were restrained, and one of the Noble Men imprisoned; Garrisons of Strangers set over our Heads, in an insolent and Barbarous way excercising their Cruelty, even against Women and Children; our Ships and Goods taken and funk, and the Owners stript naked, and more inhumanly used at the Commandment of abused Authority, by the Subjects of our own King, than by Turks and Infidels, and great Armies prepared against us, with a terrible Commission to subdue and destroy our selves, our Religion, Liberties, Laws, and all. In this Extremity for us to send new Commissioners and Petitions were against Sense and Experience, those that Govern the King's Councils being far from any Inclination or Intention to satisfy the just Desires and Grievances of the Subjects, as they have made manifest by breaking up of the Parliament in both Kingdoms (tho' we know them to be often countervoted by many of that Honourable Board, more candid and peaceably minded.) To sit still in Sencelesness and Security, waiting for our own Destruction at the Discretion of our merciless Enemies (which were it not at this time with the Cause of God, would move us the less) is not only against Religion, but Nature, teaching and commanding us to study our own Preservation. To endure continual Threatnings, and so great Hostility and Invasion from Year to Year, which is the professed Policy of our Enemies, is impossible, and when we have examined our own Strength, more than we are able to bear. We have therefore, after much Agitation and Debating with and amongst our selves, resolved to have our Proceedings, which have been canvassed by so many, and are brought to some point of Determination in our own Parliament, to be better known to the King's Majesty, and the World, and especially to the Kingdom of England, that against all false and artificial Relations, they being nakedly seen to be what they are, we may obtain a better grounded and more durable Peace for the injoining of our own Religion, and Laws; and we desire the unworthy Authors of our Troubles, who have come our from our selves to be tried at home, and Justice to be done upon them according to our own Laws, so shall we press no further Process against Canterbury, the Lieutenant of Ireland, and the rest of those pernicious Counsellors in England the Authors of all the Miseries of both Kingdoms, than what their own Parliament shall discern to be their just deserving. When we look upon this Work of Reformation from the beginning, and perceive the Impressions of the Providence of God in it, we are forced in the midst of all our Difficulties and Distresses to bless God for his fatherly Care and free Love to his Church and Kingdom, and to take courage and spirit to proceed in Patience and Perseverance whither he shall go before us, and lead us on. When the Prelates were grown by their Rents and Lordly Dignities, by their Power over all sorts of his Majesty Subjects, Ministers and others, by their places in Parliament, Council, Colledge of Justice, Exchequer, and High Commission, to an absolute Dominion and Greatness, and setting the one Foot upon the Church, and the other upon the State, were become miserably Insolent; even then did the Work begin, and this was the Lord's Opportunity. The beginnings were small, and promised no great thing, but have been so seconded and continually followed by Divine Providence, pressing us from step to step, that the necessity was invincible, and could not be resisted. It cannot be expressed what Motions filled the Heart, what Tears were poured forth from the Eyes, and what Cries came from the Mouths of many Thousands in this Land at that time, from the sense of the Love and Power of God, raising them as from the Dead, and giving them hopes after so great a Deluge and Vastation to see a new World, wherein Religion and Righteousness should dwell. When we were many times at a Pause, and knew not well what to do, the Fears, the Furies, the Peevishness, and the Plots of our dementat Adversaries opened a Way unto us, and taught us how to proceed; and what they devised to ruin us, served most against themselves, and for raising and promoting the Work. O Providence to be adored! Altho' neither Council nor Session, nor any other Judicature hath been all this time sitting, and there have been Meetings of many Thousands at some times yet have they been kept without Tumult or Trouble, and without Excess or Riot, in better Order and greater Quietness, than in the most peaceable Times, have been found in this Land. When we are content at the Pacification to lay down Arms, and with great loss to live at home in Peace, our wicked Enemies have been like the troubled Sea when it cannot rest, whose Waters cast up Mire and Dirt, and will have us to do that which it seems the Lord hath decreed against them. The Purity of our Intentions, far from base and earthly Respects, the Bent and Inclination of our Hearts in the midst of many Dangers, the fitting of Instruments, not only with a Desire and Disposition, but with Spirit and Abilities to overcome Opposition, and the constant Peace of Heart accompanying us in our Ways, which beareth us out against all Accusations and Aspersions, are to us strong Grounds of Assurance that God hath accepted our Work, and will not leave us: We know the Lord may use even wicked Men in his Service, and may fill their Sails with a fair Gail of Abilities, and carry them on with a strong Hand, which should make us to search our Hearts more narrowly. But as this ought not to discourage his own faithful Servants, who out of Love to his Name intend his Honour, walk in his ways, find his Peace comforting them, his Providence directing them, and his Presence blessing them in their Affairs; So can it not be any just Ground of Quarrelling against the Work of God. Yet all these our Incouragements which have upholden our Hearts in the midst of many Troubles, could not make our Entry into England warrantable, if our Peace (which we earnestly feek and follow after) could be found at home or elsewhere. Where it is to be found we must seek after it, and no sooner shall we find it clearly secured to us, but by laying down our Arms, and by the Evidences of our peaceable Disposition, we shall make it manifest to the World, and especially to the Kingdom of England, that we are seeking nothing else but Peace, and that our taking up of Arms was not for Invasion, but for Defence. No Man needeth to plead by possitive Law for Necessity. It is Written in every Man's Heart by Nature, and in all Actions we find Men have received it by Practice, that Necessity is a Sovereignty. A Law, above all Law is subject to no Law, and therefore is said to have no Law. Where Necessity commandeth, the Laws of Nature and Nations give their consent, and all possitive Laws are silent and give place. This Law hath place, sometimes to excuse, sometimes to extenuate, and sometimes to justify and warrant Actions otherwise questionable: And no greater Necessity can be than the Preservation of Religion, which is the Soul; of the Country, which is the Body; of our Lives, who are the Members; and of the Honour of our King, who is the Head. All these at this time are in a common hazard, and to preserve and secure all, we know no other way under the Sun, (and if any be so Wise as to know it, we desire to hear it, and shall be ready to follow it) but to take Order with our commonEnemies where they may be found, and to seek our Assurance where it may be given. The Question is not, Whether we shall content our selves with our own Poverty or enrich our selves in England? That Question is impious and absurd, Neither is the Question, Whether we shall defend our selves at home, or invade our Neighbours and dearest Brethren? This also were unchristian and unreasonable. But this is the Question, Whether it be Wisdom and Piety to keep our selves within the Borders till our Throats be cut, and our Religion, Laws, and Country destroyed? Or, shall we bestir our selves, and seek our Safeguard, Peace, and Liberty in England; whether we shall do or die, whether we shall go and live, or abide and perish? Or more largely to express all, Whether we who are not a few private Persons, but a whole Kingdon, shall lie under the burden of so many Accusations, as scarcely in the worst times have been charged against Christians, receive the Service Book, and the the whole Body of Popery, embrace the Prelates and their abjured Hierarchy, renounce our solemn Oath and Covenant, so many times sworn by us, lose all our Labour and Pains in this Cause, and forget our former Slavery and wonted Desires of Redemption at the dearest rate; tickle the Minds of our Enemies with Joy, and Strengthen their Hands with Violence, and fill the Hearts of our Friends with Sorrow, and their Faces with Shame because of us; desert and dishonour the Son of God, whose Cause we have undertaken, whose Banner we have displayed, and whose Truth and Power hath been this time past more comfortable to us, than all the Peace and Prosperity of the World could have rendered, and draw upon our selves all the Judgments which God hath executed upon Apostates since the beginning, and shall we fold our Hands and wait for the perfect Slavery of our selves and our Posterity, in our Souls, Bodies, and Estates, and (which is all one) foolishly to stand to our Defence where we know it is impossible? Or shall we seek our Relief in following the Calling of God (for our Necessity can be interpreted no less) and entring by the Door which his Providence hath opened unto us, when all Ways are stopped beside. Our Enemies at first did shroud themselves so far under the King's Authority, that they behoved to stand or fall together, and that to censure them was Treason against the King. Now we have shewn that a King's Crown is not tied to a Prelate's Mitre, and that the one may be cast unto the Ground, and the other have a greater Lustre and Glory than before. Now they take themselves to another starting hole, and would have Men to think that to come into England against them is to come against England, and to pursue them, although Legally, is to invade the Kingdom where they live; as if the cutting away of an Excrescence, or the curing of an Impostume were the killing of the Body. Let them secure themselves under the shelter of their own Phantasies, but we are not so undiscerning, as like Mad Men to run furiously upon such as we first meet with and come in our way: For altho'it cannot be denied but the Wrongs done us, as the breaking of the late Peace, crying us down as Rebels and Traytors, the taking of our Ships and Goods, the Imprisoning of our Commissioners; the Acts of Hostility done by the English in our Castles: Had they been done by the State or Kingdom of England, there might have been just Causes of a National quarrelling, yet seing the Kingdom of England convened in Parliament have refused to contribute any Supply against us, have shewn themselves to be prest with Grievances like unto ours, and have earnestly pleaded for Redress and Remedy, and a Declaration made that his Majesty out of Parliament will redress them, which might be a Cure for the Grievances of particular Subjects. But National Grievances require the Hand of the Parliament for their Cure; for preventing where of the Parliament was broken up and dissolved. Neither do we quarrel with the Kingdom for the Injuries which we sustain, but our Quarrel is only with particular Men, the Enemies of both Nations: Nor can they quarrel with us, for taking Order with the prevalent Faction of Papists and Prelates, the Authors of so many Woes to both Nations.

Let all who love Religion and their Liberty join against the common Enemies, and let them be accused that shall not seek the Preservation of their Neighbour Nation, both in Religion and Laws, as their own; as knowing that the ruin of one will prove the ruin of both. And knowing well (as having from their own Counsels discovered it) that the Ruin of both was intended, and that it was ever their Plot and Purpose, that if they could not engage our dearest Brethren, and Neighbour Nation in a War for our Destruction; then to give us some ill assured Peace which might bind our Hands, and hold us quiet, until the Yoak of Bondage were more heavily and unremovably laid upon our Brethren of England by the help of such an Army as was pretended to be gathered against us, rooting out the Godly People, and Active Spirits of that Nation, and all those, who as good Patriots, stand well affected to Religion, and their just Liberties, and might be suspected would dare stir for the Defence and Maintenance of either, and thereafter easily find Ground to brake again with us, when they were once assured that we were like to stand alone: And all the Benefit of our Peace should be, to belast destroyed.

And as we attest the God of heaven, that those and no other are our Intentions, so upon the same greatest attestation do we declare, That for atchieving those ends, we shall neither spare our Pains, Fortunes, nor Lives, which we know cannot be more profitably and honourably spent. That we shall not take from our Friends and Brethren, from a Thread even to a Shoe-Latchet, but for our own Moneys, and the just Payment: That we come amongst them as their Friends and Brethren, very sensible of their by-past-Sufferings, and present Dangers both in Religion and Liberties, and most willing to do them all the good we can, like as we certainly expect that they from the like sense of our hard Condition and intolerable Distress which hath forced us to come from our own Country) will join and concur with us in the most Just and Noble Ways for obtaining their and our most just Desires. And when our own Monies and Means are spent, we shall crave nothing but upon sufficient Surety of Payment how soon possibly it can be made, what is necessary for the Entertainment of our Army, which we are assured so many as love Religion and the Peace of both Kingdoms will willingly offer, as that which they know we cannot want, and their wise foresight will provide the way to furnish Necessaries, and to receive the Surety. This Course being kept by both sides, will neither harm our Brethren (for they shall be satisfied to the last Farthing nor our selves who look for a Recompence from the Rich Providence of God, for whose sake we have hazarded the loss of all Things.

The Escapes of some Soldiers (if any shall happen) we trust shall not be imputed to us, who shall labour by all Means to prevent them more carefully, and punish them more severely than if done to our selves and in our own Country. Our professed Enemies the Papists, Prelates with their Adherents, and the Receivers of their Goods and Geer, we conceive will be more provident than to refuse us necessary Sustentation, when they remember what counsel was given by them for Declaring all our Possessions to be forfeited, and to be disposed of to them as well deserving subjects.

We shall demand nothing of the King's Majesty but the settling and securing of the true Religion and Liberties of this Kingdom, according to the Constitutions and Acts of the late Assemblies and Parliament, and what a just Prince oweth by the Laws of God and the Country to his grieved Subjects, coming before him with their humble Desires and Supplications. Our abode in England shall be no longer time than in their Parliament, our just Grievances and Complaints may be heard and Redressed, sufficient Assurance given for the legal Trial and Punishment of the Authors of their and our Evils; and for reforming and enjoying their and our Religion and Liberties in Peace, against the Machinations of Romish contrivance acted by their degenerate Countrymen. Our returning thereafter shall be with Expedition in a peaceable and orderly Way, far from all Molestation; and we trust the effect shall be against Papists, the extirpation of Popery; against Prelates, the Reformation of the Church; against Atheists, the flourishing of the Gospel; and against Traitors and Firebrands, a perfect and durable Union and Love between the two Kingdoms; which he grant who knoweth our Intentions and Desires, and is able to bring them to pass. And if any more be required, God will reveal it, and go before both Nations, and if God go before us, who will not follow, or refuse to put their Necks to the Work of the Lord?