Declaration: answer to the remonstrance of the general assembly
The answer of the convention of the estates to the remonstrance and desires of the commissioners of the general assembly

Answer of the estates to the commissioners of the assembly

The convention of the estates of the kingdom, having more particularly perused the remonstrance and desires of the commissioners of the general assembly, do acknowledge and with great care and solicitude of heart [...] the dangers of the reformed religion, partly from the rebellious attempts of papists in Ireland, partly from their power in England where they are so long in arms, and partly from their hopes in this kingdom where they have their plots and correspondence amongst themselves and with their confederates abroad; and all these the greater and the more to be taken to heart at this time that they have the pretence of the king's service and authority, the confidence of the queen's zeal to their profession and her power to promote their designs, and the assistance of the prelatical party and of malignants and many others whom upon natural and worldly respects they have drawn against the oath of their covenant into their secret, and have united into their combination. These and similar dangers expressed more fully in the remonstrance may be more than sufficient to awake and stir up this kirk and kingdom, to provide for the preservation of religion, the safety of the king and security of the kingdom, which at this time in reality can no more be separated and divorced than in former times when it was professed both by king and people that the dangers of one were the dangers of all, that they had the same common friends and enemies and did stand and fall together. But while the estates are thinking upon that which is remonstrated to them, many other dangers and distresses which more directly and immediately threaten and press this country and kingdom offer themselves to be considered, and it is necessary to be universally known that all men, even such as all this time have never taken religion to heart, may be made aware of the present danger of their native country, in which the private danger of every man's life, liberty, estate and means is included. The lords of privy council and the commissioners for conserving the peace have already declared that a treacherous and damnable plot of the Irish, English and Scottish papists was begun, to be discovered by letters found with [Randall MacDonnell], earl of Antrim, and by the deposition of one of his servants at his death. Now the depositions of the earl himself and of another of his servants, both upon their oaths, have been read in face of the convention, confirming what was written before, of sending ammunition to the north and levying of forces in this kingdom, and bearing that the earl had instructions for making peace between the English and Irish in Ireland. Also, various letters are sent here concerning a cessation of arms in Ireland and the joining of the English and Irish forces upon oath to go for England to assist the king as is pretended, but indeed to strengthen and aid the popish and prelatical party.

Our merchants and mariners are not only stopped and discouraged in their trade by ships, frigates and fly-boats of Dunkirk and of Ireland, having Irish commanders and soldiers, but their ships either taken or burnt, they spoiled of their goods and monies and their persons tortured, kept captives or sent away quite naked; whereby his majesty's subjects have suffered more by sea upon a sudden and in a very short time than they did suffer all the time of our late troubles; and no other cause of all this violence and cruelty is pretended but a commission and warrant from authority.

[William Cavendish], earl of Newcastle's forces of horse and foot in great numbers are ready lying at the borders and ready when they shall be commanded to make incursion upon the south parts of the kingdom, as many ill-affected are no less willing to make trouble in the north.

If the unhappy differences between his majesty and his parliament shall not be determined in a parliamentary way but by the sword, not only shall the army in Ireland be in danger to be lost, but this whole kingdom will be involved in the common calamity.

Nor is it wisdom against the continual rumours and threats of foreign invasion to be so negligent and secure as if there was no appearance or possibility of danger from without. Experience has proven the contrary in former times. And although there was no other ground, reason does teach that princes and states are used to observe the opportunities of division and breaches amongst their neighbours.

Although the causes of calling a convention at this time were urgent enough, yet the providence of God, watching over this church and kingdom for good, have discovered various dangers to religion and to the kingdom and brought them to light in this opportunity while the convention of estates are sitting, as if they had been called together to be informed of them and to provide remedies against them; and therefore, as the convention is resolved to take this matter, which is of so public and deep concern, into their serious consideration, so do they desire and require that the commissioners of the assembly who, according to their duty and the laudable example of the assemblies of this kirk in former times, have represented the dangers of religion, will also with diligence think upon the best and most powerful remedies and remonstrate them to the convention, that, by the blessing of God upon their joint endeavours, so many approaching and imminent miseries may be turned away, and the religion and peace which God Almighty of his singular mercy has granted to this church and kingdom may be preserved and transmitted to the generations after, which shall be honour to God, safety to the king and his posterity and happiness to his people.

  1. NAS. PA8/1, f.46r-47r. Back
  2. Illegible. 'recent' in APS. Back