Letter from Robert Hamilton to the Societies of 22 August, 1682.

The following letter is one of the most important in the history of the United Societies, as it announced that a pathway for the ordination of some Society people had been established in the United Provinces via William Brackel.

The importance of that pathway cannot be underestimated, as it allowed the Society people to bypass the Scottish Presbyterian clergy when seeking ordination and established an international support network for the Societies. Without Dutch support, the Societies would probably have remained a lay protest movement and would not have had ordained ministers like James Renwick.

The letter was sent from Robert Hamilton in Leeuwarden, Friesland, to James Renwick, then the clerk of the United Societies, on 22 August 1682.

From the opening line of the letter, it is clear that Hamilton had previously written to Renwick, probably in reply to Renwick’s letter of 8 July, but that he did not know if Renwick had received his first letter. Hamilton’s first letter is missing.

The letter was sent to Renwick, but appears to have been intended for the whole of the Societies.

It mentions the activities of Alexander Gordon of Earlstoun, Hamilton’s brother-in-law, and that William Brakel, a Dutch minister at Leeuwarden, had written to the Societies. Brackel’s letter appears to have been sent to the Societies at around the same time as Hamilton’s letter of 22 August.

Hamilton’s letter is printed in Shields, Faithful Contendings Displayed, 36-41.

Renwick replied to Hamilton’s letter of 22 August on 3 October.

A letter from Earlstoun would later confirm that students were to be sent to the University of Groningen.

The Societies would fulfill Hamilton’s request to select students to be sent to Friesland at the fifth convention at Edinburgh on 11 to 12 October, 1682.

Hamilton 22 August 1682

Hamilton 22 August 1682 2

Hamilton 22 August 1682 3

Hamilton 22 August 1682 4

Hamilton 22 August 1682 5

Hamilton 22 August 1682 6

~ by drmarkjardine on August 7, 2013.

5 Responses to “Letter from Robert Hamilton to the Societies of 22 August, 1682.”

  1. […] probably sent to them via James Renwick in Edinburgh. It was probably written at the same time as Robert Hamilton’s letter to Renwick of 22 August. It appears to have arrived at around the same time as Hamilton’s letter, as Renwick replied to […]

  2. […] letter notes that Hamilton had written to Renwick, which may refer to Hamilton’s letter of 22 August, but probably relates to a missing earlier letter from Hamilton. The postscript of the letter also […]

  3. […] wrote in reply to Hamilton’s letter of 22 August. At that time, Hamilton was not a member of the Societies, as he had not had a chance to take their […]

  4. This “William Brackel” is, from my research, the Dutch Divine Whilhelmus A Brakel. His systematic theology is now available in English, and his popularity is gaining rapidly as his books are being more widely read. http://www.heritagebooks.org/the-christians-reasonable-service-4-vols/

  5. […] after that, both Renwick and the Convention received a second letter from Hamilton, which he had written on 22 August, and a letter from William Brakel, the minister of Leeuwarden, that announced a breakthrough that […]

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