State Papers, 1649: January-March

A Collection of the State Papers of John Thurloe, Volume 1, 1638-1653. Originally published by Fletcher Gyles, London, 1742.

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'State Papers, 1649: January-March', in A Collection of the State Papers of John Thurloe, Volume 1, 1638-1653, (London, 1742) pp. 109-112. British History Online [accessed 1 March 2024]

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Letter from the earle of Lothian, and others, — directed thus:

For the honorable William Lenthall esquire, speaker of the house of comons. A copy.

From the public records of Scotland in the laigh parliament house at Edinburgh.

The comittee of estates of the kingdome of Scotland, understanding that the honorable houses of parliament were preceeding in a treaty for peace with his majestie, did about the beginning of the last moneth authorize us to present propositions to his majestie, and particularly to deall with him and the honourable houses, for establishing the covenant and presbyteriall government, the confession of faith, directory for worship, and catechisme; for preventing the tolleration of idolatry, popery, prelacy, superstition, blasphemy, heresy, and schisme; and for perfecting the great work of reformation and uniformity, according to the covenant; the substance whereof hath beine formerly communicated in a letter from the comittee of estates to both houses, and by one of our number, upon his reception at the comittee of Derby-house by order from the houses of parliament; but to our great greefe wee doe perceive, that the distractions of this kingdome are beyond our expectation growne exceeding high; that a force hath been placed on the passages to the houses, which, dureing transactions of highest concernement, hath imprisoned and secluded a great number of members of parliament, and given occasion to many others to withdraw, because they find they cannot act as in a free parliament; that applications are made to yow, for proceeding against the king, to take away his life, and for changeing the government of this kingdome; and strong endeavours are used, to overturne the whole work of reformation, to cast off the ministery, and introduce a tolleration of all religions and formes of worship; and so in effect, to destroy the cause wherein both nations have beine engaged, and frustrat all the ends of the solemne league and covenant, which both kingdomes have sworne with uplifted hands to almighty God, sincerely, really, and constantly to performe.

The consideration of these things doeth exceedingly trouble us, and fill our hearts with feares, that as they are for the present matter of great provocation of the wrath of God against us, dishonourable to his name, and a reproach to religion; so if persisted in, that they shall greatly weaken and divide us amongst ourselves, unite forraigne enemies against us, advance the popish interest, loose Ireland, and, in end, prove destructive to the reformed religion, and to the peace and happinesse of these kingdomes.

In the year 1640, when these kingdomes were oppressed under the yoke and tiranny of the prelats, who then were farre advanced in the designe to introduce popery, the kingdome of Scotland did joyne their endeavours with this kingdome, to procure a free parliament here, looking upon it as the cheife meane, by the blissing of God, to give a check to the designes of the prelats, who were studying the change of religion, and to the interprises of evill councellors about the king, who were endeavouring to establish an arbitrary and tirranicall government; and afterward, when through the power and prevalency of papists, prelats, and malignants, this kingdome was distressed, the kingdome of Scotland did enter into a solemne league and covenant with this nation, for reformation and defence of religion, the honor and happines of the king, and the peace and safety of the three kingdomes; and particularly, for bringing the churches of God therein to the neerest conjunction and uniformity in religion, confession of faith, forme of church government, directory for worship, and catechiseing; for extirpation of popery, prelacy, superstition, heresy, schisme, profannes, and whatsoever shal be found contrary to sound doctrine; for mutuall preservation of the rights and priviledges of the parliaments and liberties of the kingdomes; for discovering of incendiaryes, malignants, and evill instruments, that hinder reformation of religion, divide the king from his people, or one of the kingdomes from another, or make any faction or party among the people, contrary to this league and covenant, that they might be brought to publict triall and punishment, for preserveing peace and union betwixt the kingdomes, and defending one another in this cause; and continueing therein all the dayes of our lives, zealously and constantly, against all opposition, and for promoteing the same, according to our power, against all lets and impediments whatsoever.

In pursuance of the solemne league and covenant, both houses of parliament have often declared, that they will establish the reformation of religion, extirpate popery and prelacy, and suppresse hæresy and schisme; and that they will mantaine the foundamentall governement of this kingdome by king, lords, and commons. And when the commoun enemy being subdued, the Scottish armie was to goe out of this kingdome, in the beginning of the year 1647, and his majestie by consent of both kingdomes was to come to Holdenby, the houses of parliament did declare, both to the king and to the kingdome of Scotland, that respect should be had to the safety and preservation of his majesties person, in the preservation and defence of the true religion and liberties of the kingdomes, according to the covenant; and when the king should be at Holdenby, and the Scottish forces gone out of this kingdome, that they would joyne with the kingdome of Scotland in imploying their best endeavors, to procure his majesties assent to the propositions agreed on by both kingdomes; and in case the king should not give his assent thereunto, that the two houses are still resolved to mantaine the happy union already setled between the two kingdomes, according to the covenant and treaties. The parliament of Scotland did at the same tyme also publish a declaration of their intentions (whereof one copy was delivered to his majestie, and another to the houses of parliament) that in the interim (untill his majestie should give satisfaction to both kingdomes in the propositions of peace) there should be no harme, prejudice, injury, or violence done to his royall person; that there should be no change of government, other then had beine for the years preceeding; and that his posterity should be no wayes prejudiced in their lawfull succession to the crown and governement of these kingdomes.

These being the engagements of both kingdomes joyntly together, and severally one to another, for the ends aforesaid; wee hold it our duety to endeavour, that reformation of religion be setled and established, as is before expressed; and especially, that the toleration of idolatry, popery, blasphemy, hæresy, and schisme bee prevented; least wee partake in other mens sinnes, and thereby be in danger to receive of their plagues; that the rights and priviledges of parliament may be preserved; that there may bee no change of the foundamentall governement; and that there be no harme, injury, or violence offred to his majesties person, the very thought whereof the kingdome of Scotland hath alwayes abhorred, as may appeare by all their proceedings and declarations; and the houses of parliament have upon several occcasions expressed a detestation thereof in their declarations.

Wherefore wee doe expect, that there shal be no proceeding against his person, which cannot but continue and encrease the great distractions of these kingdomes, and involve ws in many difficultyes, miseryes, and confusions; but that by the free councells of both houses of the parliament of England, and with the advice and consent of the parliament of Scotland (which is now sitting) such course may be taken, in relation to him, as may be for the good and happinesse of these kingdomes, both haveing an unquestionable interest therein. Wee are
6 January 1648–9.

Your affectionat freinds and servants
Sic subscribitur,
Jo. Cheisly,
Will. Glendoning.

Letter from the earle of Lothian, and others, — directed thus:

For the most honorable the lords and commissioners of shyres and burroughes assembled in the parliament of Scotland. Orig.

From the public records of Scotland in the laigh parliament house at Edinburgh.

May it please your lordships,
Upon Thursday last the commons passed these votes inclosed; declareing the people, under God, to be the originall of all just power; themselves to be the supreeme authority of this nation; and that they alone have power to make lawes; though the king and lords consent not thereunto. Upon Fryday, the ordinance for tryall of the king was ingrossed, and order was given to committ him close prisoner. Wherefore, being certainly informed, that upon Saturday it was to passe as an act of parliament, and likewise takeing into consideration the manyfest dangers to religion, the priviledges of parliament, and foundamentall constitution of the governement of the kingdome, wee found that wee could not ansuere your lordships expectation and the trust reposed in us, if wee should be longer silent; and in pursuance of our commission and instructions, wee delivered this letter to the serjant of the house, at the doore, about 12 of the cloke, it being about that tyme before they were a quorum. After the serjant had delivered our letter to the speaker, he was sent to enquire, if the letter was to the speaker only, or to be communicated to the house; and wee answered, it was to be communicated to the house. Yet notwithstanding it was lay'd aside, and not read; and they proceeded to the business concerning the king, and passed the commission for his triall, in the nature of an act of parliament, the substance whereof is the same with the ordinance, whereof wee sent a copy last weeke. Yesterday the generall (fn. 1) and others of that commission mett at the painted chamber, and sat up late. What they did, wee know not further then that this day, when wee were in Westminsterhall, there came into the hall some trumpeters and horsemen with a herald, and made a proclamation; the summe whereof was, That by vertue of an act of parliament of the comons of England, a commission was given for tryall of Charles Stewart, king of England; and that the commissioners were to meet for that purpose to morrow at one of the cloke in the afternoon, at the painted chamber. The end of that proclamation, as is conceived, was to invite all men, to bring in to those commissioners what they have to say against the king. Whither he is to be brought hither, or they are to send some to Windsor to him, wee know not; but many think they will proceede with expedition.

In the letter, which wee have given in to the present house of comons, wee have only related the matter of fact touching the late proceidings, without declareing any opinion thereupon. Concerning religion wee have expressed the desires of the kingdome of Scotland, and given a testimony against tolleration. And anent the king, wee have proceeded upon the grounds contained in the declaration of the parliament of Scotland of the 16th of January 1647, and the declaration of both houses, when he came from Newcastle to Holdenby; which wee did the rather mention at this tyme, because it is frequently objected, that the kingdome of Scotland did part with the king without any conditions. Wee have sent your lordships the reasons of the councell of warr for securing and secluding the members of parliament; which is all wee have to say for the present, but that wee dayly waite your lordships speedy directions, and so remaine
Covent-Garden, the 9th of January, 1649.

Your lordships most humble servants,
Jo. Cheislie,
W. Glendonyng.

Producit be the lord chancellor, and red in audience of parliament.

Act anent the filling of vacant places. Orig.

From the public records of Scotland in the laigh parliament house at Edinburgh.

The estates of parliament taking to thair consideratioune, that sundry officiaris of estate, and lords of the sessioun, and utheris persones in places, which befoir used to be filled up by the king and parliament, ar or will be deservedly depryved for the faults conteined in the act of classes of the 23 of Januar last; and that thair will arryss manyfold inconveniences bothe to the king and to the kingdome by the long vaccance of these places and delay of justice, and that the kingis majestie, who now is, befoir hee come to the exercise of his royall power, is to give the satysfactioun desired by this kirk and kingdom, lykeas in the propositiones of bothe kingdomes often past in the parliament of this kingdome; it was the judgment and desire of the parliament, that thes places during these troubles sould be filled by the parliament, and that in the late sumondss and sentances it is declared, that these places sould be filled by this parliament: thairfoir they declare, that they find thamselfes bound in dewtie presentlie to fill the saids places with fit persones according to the use of parliament; and ordaine that these, who sall be nominated and appoynted by them, shall have acts of parliament and patentis past the great seall in thair favoures, as thair predicessores got at the parliament 1641, for thair brooking or enjoying thair respective places ad vitam vel culpam; and declares, that amongst uther things, wherin they ar to seek and obteine satisfactioun from the kingis majestie for the good of the kingdome, they will crave and insist (without any receiding) wpone the kingis majestie his approbatioun thairoff; it being alwayis provyded and declaired, that this present act sall not (ester his majestie comes to the exercise of his royall power) prejudge his richt and interest in choosing and nominating, with the advyse and consent of the estates of parliament, council, and session respective, fit persones to these places, in the case of any subsequent new vaccancy, according to the 15 act of the parliament 1641.

3 March, 1649.

The barrones haveing hard the said act red to thame, they layid it assyde till a more frequent meiting of thair bodies.

10 March, 1649.

Red, voted, and past in parliament.

Loudoun Cancellarius, I. P. D. P.


  • 1. the original here torn.