Declaration: of Scotland and England
Declaration of both kingdoms

The declaration of the kingdom of Scotland and England, joined in arms for the vindication and defence of their religion, liberties and laws against the popish, prelatical and malignant party, by the honourable convention of estates of the kingdom of Scotland and the honourable houses of the parliament of England etc. in the year 1644.

If either Christian duty, which, by reason of the light of the Gospel so clearly shining amongst us, might have been expected from the professors of religion, or if natural affection, which even in the heathen and infidels ignorant of Christ has abounded toward their native country, or sincere respect to his majesty's honour and happiness could have been found in the ways or hearts of our common enemies of truth and peace; if they had either feared God or regarded men or yielded to our importunities, we had not, after so many petitions, declarations and remonstrances as have filled all men's ears and hands, been put to this necessity of a new declaration, which therefore must be more pathetic and pressing than any of the former. Nor after so many troubles and sufferings of the kingdom of Scotland, after the desolation of the kingdom of Ireland and after so much blood and so many unnatural tragedies in the kingdom of England had we been reduced to this present condition and joint posture of arms, the Lord, whose counsels are a great depth and who is righteous in all his ways and holy in all his works, has just cause of controversy against us and this whole island. But who would have believed that our religion, liberties and laws which for so long a time have endured opposition and assaults of foreign power envying our happiness would have been opposed, oppressed and trod under foot by the craft and cruelty of our own natives and countrymen?

In this our extremity, first of all we declare that we place not our confidence in our own counsels and strength, but our confidence is in God Almighty, the Lord of hosts who will not leave nor forsake his people. It is his own truth and cause that we maintain with all the reformed churches and which has been witnessed and sealed by the testimonies, sufferings and blood of so many confessors and martyrs against the heresy, superstition and tyranny of Anti-Christ, the glory of his own name, the exaltation of the kingdom of his son, and the preservation of his church and of this whole island from utter ruin and devastation is our aim and the end which we have before our eyes. His covenant we have in both nations solemnly sworn and subscribed, which he would not have put in our hearts to do if he had been pleased to destroy us. The many prayers and supplications which these many years past, but especially of late, have been offered up with fasting and humiliation and with strong crying and tears to him that is able to deliver and save us are a seed which promises to us a plentiful harvest of comfort and happiness; and the apostasy, atheism, idolatry, blasphemy, profaneness, cruelty, excess and open mocking of all godliness and honesty have filled the cup of our adversaries to the brim and threatens their speedy and fearful destruction unless it be prevented by such extraordinary repentance as seems not yet to have entered into their hearts. Upon these and similar grounds and considerations, being confident that this war in which both nations now firmly united are so deeply engaged is of God, we resolve with courage and constancy to the end to do our part, and the Lord who has stirred up our spirits, displayed his banner before us and given the alarm, to do that which seems to him good.

Secondly, although every man is to hope for the principal reward of his service from God (who rewards every one according to his works), yet we find ourselves bound in conscience and equity to declare that beside those who have the public faith engaged to them for their security, such as since the beginning have done valiantly and dealt faithfully in this cause, and such as have chosen rather to suffer the spoiling of their goods than to assist the enemy or to take arms against their religion and country, and shall continue constant in the same course of suffering to the end, shall be according to their merit taken into public notice and consideration, their losses (so far as may be) repaired and themselves honoured and rewarded by such means and ways as we trust God in his providence shall afford and the parliaments or estates of the two kingdoms respectively shall in their wisdom, justice and thankfulness judge most convenient, so that no man who has been eminent in action or has suffered any notable loss for the public shall be neglected or slighted, but one way or another shall be thankfully remembered to his own honour and the good of his posterity.

Thirdly, although neutrality and indifference in the time of the danger of religion be a thing detestable to God (who wills all Christians earnestly to contend for the faith), and such as have been neutrals or indifferent in the time of civil divisions and danger of the commonwealth have been in all nations severely punished as pernicious and public enemies, yet that the conscience of all men may be the more convinced and all pretexts removed, we give now public warning to such persons to rest no longer upon their neutrality or to please themselves with the naughty and slothful pretence of indifference; but that they address themselves speedily to take the covenant and join with all their power in the defence of this cause against the common enemy, and by their zeal and forwardness hereafter to make up what has been wanting through their lukewarmness. This they will find to be their greatest wisdom and safety, otherwise we do declare them to be public enemies to the religion and country, and that they are to be censured and punished as professed adversaries and malignants.

Fourthly, because a great many of the multitude of the people, upon ignorant mistakes, false informations and threats or compulsion against their wills and inclinations, have been induced or constrained to join in arms with the enemy against their religion and native country, we do declare that all common soldiers who upon the humble acknowledgement of their former errors shall offer themselves willingly and speedily to take the covenant and shall join heartily and really in the defence of this cause, as becomes good Christians and lovers of their country, shall be freely accepted in the covenant and their former errors passed by. Otherwise, let them expect the punishment of wilful delinquents and malignants.

Fifthly, because some of the Scottish nation upon their own private respects or upon specious pretences and fair persuasions have joined themselves in arms with the popish, prelatical and malignant party against the parliament and kingdom of England, and not considering the nature of the cause in which they have been engaged nor the deep interest of the church and kingdom of Scotland upon which this war was to turn, in the end have been fighting against their own religion and native kingdom, we do therefore again warn all such of whatsoever quality and in whatsoever place speedily to withdraw themselves from that faction, to confess their mistakes and to join in the covenant and cause of God in both kingdoms before the [...] day of [...]. Otherwise, we declare on behalf of the kingdom of England that they are to expect no favour, but are to be used as desperate malignants. And we declare on behalf of the kingdom of Scotland, if they either continue in arms after the aforesaid [...] day of [...], or withhold their help and assistance from their native country in this time of trouble and danger, they are to be censured and punished as public enemies to their religion and country, perfidious transgressors of their National Covenant and their estates disposed upon for the use of the public.

Sixthly, because there be various noblemen, knights, gentlemen, citizens and others who, by forsaking or deserting the parliament of England and by joining themselves to the enemies of religion, his majesty's happiness and peace of the kingdoms, have made the division greater and the breaches wider between the king and his parliament, and thereby, contrary to the duty of their places and callings, have been the cause of the shedding of much innocent blood, of great losses and of many miseries and dangers to the public of both kingdoms and of the sufferings of private men in their estates and lives, and yet are not to be reckoned amongst the prime authors of this unnatural war nor amongst the malicious and desperate enemies of their religion and country, we do declare that all such forsaking their former opposition, returning to their duty and endeavouring the good of religion and the public peace shall as to their lives and liberties of their persons be secured and shall be received into favour. But to the end that a just difference may be made between such persons returning so late to their duty and those that never departed from it, they must expect that toward the payment of the public debts, relieving the common burdens of the kingdoms and repairing of particular loss (all which in great part have been contracted and sustained by their default or procurement) their estates in some proportion should be liable, and that as the wisdom and discretion of the parliament, or of such as shall be authorised by them (who will be as careful to prevent their ruin as to punish their delinquencies) shall find and judge to be necessary for that end, in which also the time of their delinquency, returning and offering themselves, the reality of their affections and intentions and readiness to join with the common cause and covenant will be taken into special consideration; and in case they persist in their opposition and shall not return before the [...] day of [...], they are not to expect favour, but shall be punished as public enemies to their religion and country.

Seventhly, because papists and popish recusants, according to the principals of their professions, have ever been plotting and contriving the change of religion in this island and the ruin of all the professors thereof; and after the frustration of their attempts, having waited for such a time as this, have alienated the heart of the king's majesty from his Protestant and loyal subjects, taken arms against the parliament and kingdom and by all their means and power have maintained a bloody and unnatural war, presuming in the end to have their execrable superstition and idolatry set up in place of the true reformed religion and the king and his kingdoms to be brought under the power and tyranny of the Pope, we do hereby declare that papists, who have been now or shall be actually in arms under the false pretence of defending of the king's person and authority, are to look for no favour, but to be punished as traitors and professed and intolerable enemies of religion and their native country. The same declaration we also make against all such Irish rebels, whether papists or others, who have come over from Ireland and assisted in this war against the parliament and kingdom of England.

And lastly, because there be some few wicked and devilish spirits of both kingdoms who have kindled and fomented the fire of division and war between the king and his parliament, or have misgoverned his majesty's counsels and courses to his own dishonour and to the destruction of his loving and dutiful subjects, or have infused malignancy in others or have been restless and active instruments of the troubles and miseries of his majesty's dominions,

We do declare, concerning those who are or shall be found by the supreme judicatories of the kingdoms respectively or their committees appointed for that effect to be such that as the conscience of their own bad deservings has made them to despair of favour and thereby unceasingly to work more and more mischief against their religion and native country, so are they to look for such execution of justice as is due to traitors and enemies of religion of the king and his kingdoms, for terror and example to others in all time to come.

And it is further now declared that the whole estates, real and personal, moveable and inheritance of those that shall not come in at the times before limited in the sixth article, and of the persons before excepted from pardon (as of papists in arms, Irish rebels and those who shall be found to come within the compass of the preceding article), shall be forfeited and employed for paying the public debts, relieving the common burdens of the kingdoms and repairing of particular losses.

And this declaration we make not from any presumption or vain glorying in the strength of our armies and forces, but from the sense of that duty which is required and expected from the high places and public relations in which we stand, and from the assurance we have of the assistance of God, by whose providence the trust and confidence of those kingdoms is put into our hands at this time; having after long and grave consultation resolved and decreed never to lay down arms until truth and peace by the blessing of God be settled in this island upon a firm foundation for the present and future generations, which shall be esteemed of us an abundant reward of all that we can do or suffer in this cause.

  1. NAS. PA8/1, f.116r-118v.