The Covenanter James Skene Declares it is ‘Lawful to Kill’ Charles II in 1680

In November, 1680, James Skene was interrogated by the privy council. He admitted it was lawful to kill the King…

‘Edenburgh, the 13th of November, 1680.
In the Presence of the Lords of the Privy Council.

James Skene, Brother to the Laird of Skene, being Examined, If he was with the Rebels at Bothwel-Bridge [in June, 1679]? Answers, He knows not who were Rebels, but says he was not at Bothwel-Bridge, nor at Airdsmosse [in July, 1680]; and says, That he thinks those Persons were not Rebels, for they were those that were in defence of Gods Cause, which he had honourably engaged them to.

Denies that he was at [Donald Cargill’s] Torwoodhead-Conventicle [in September, 1680], were the Excommunication of the King was used.

He owns and justifies the Proclamation at Rutherglen, and the Burning of the Kings Acts of Parliament there, because they were against the Covenants.

He declares that he doth not own the Kings Authority in things unlawful, in those things that are against the Covenant.

Declares that he owns not, nor acknowledges the Acts of Parliament since the Kings Restauration [in 1660] that are made against the Covenants.

Declares he owns the [Torwood] Excommunication against the King used by [Donald] Cargill, and thinks the Reasons of it just.

Denies that he knows where the Excommunication was contrived.

Denies that he knows any thing of a New Rising, but thinks the People of God are always ready for Defensive Arms; and that he owns himself as one of them, and that the Arms he had about him were for the defence of himself and the Gospel, and that he had resolved to give Testimony for the Cause.

Declares he saw Mr. Donald Cargill on Thursday last [11 November, 1680] in a House in the Westbow [of Edinburgh], but knows not the House, yet thinks he might know it if he were brought to it.

Refuses to declare who were present with Cargill and him, nor will he tell how many there were of them, but says that it is about half a year since he frequented his [i.e., Cargill’s] Company [i.e., in circa May, 1680].

Declares that he thinks the Killing of the Archbishop of St Andrews [in May, 1679] was no Murther, and that the Actors thereof were upon their Duty.

Being Interrogated, If he thinks it lawful to Kill any of the Kings Councellors or Souldiers? Answers, That he thinks these is a declared War [in the Sanquhar Declaration of June, 1680] betwixt those who serve the Lord, and those who serve the King against the Covenant, and that it is lawful to Kill them in defence of the Gospel.

That he thinks, that the King being Excommunicated [at Torwood], and there being now a lawful declared War against him upon account of the breach of the Covenant, it is lawful to Kill him.

Being asked, If it was lawful to Kill the King if he were passing along in a Coach as the Archbishop of St Andrews was? Declares he had answered that before in the former General , and that it was lawful to Kill all that were in opposition to the Covenant.

After reading of the foresaid Interrogatories and his Answers, and being desired to be deliberate in what he had said before he Signed the same, he answered, That he was resolved upon it freely to give his Testimony.

Signed thus,
James Skene.’ (Anon., A True and Impartial Account Of the Examinations and Confessions Of several Execrable Conspirators Against the King & His Government In Scotland (London, 1681), 3-4.)

~ by drmarkjardine on December 14, 2012.

2 Responses to “The Covenanter James Skene Declares it is ‘Lawful to Kill’ Charles II in 1680”

  1. […] Skene was interrogated on 13 November and executed on 1 […]

  2. […] was interrogated on the following day, 13 November, when he may have declared that it was lawful to kill Charles II. He wrote his remarkable testimony to ‘the professors of the South’ on 19 November. His capture […]

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