Letter from James Renwick to Robert Hamilton of 6 September 1682
The 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 appears to indicate a missing letter from Hamilton.
Renwick mentions the fourth convention which was held at, and outside of, Edinburgh on 11 August. The fourth convention had witnessed strife over the purpose of Alexander Gordon of Earlstoun’s embassy to England and the United Provinces. Renwick refers Hamilton to the ‘confused account’ of it which had been sent in a letter to Earlstoun, who was with Hamilton in Leeuwarden.
Renwick notes that he has sent copies of Hamilton’s earlier letter to many societies in Scotland, perhaps in preparation for the fifth convention in Edinburgh on 11 to 12 October. He also mentions that the Societies will write to the Dutch minister, William Brackel, but he does not refer to having received Brackel’s letter of c.22 August to the Societies.
Intriguingly, Renwick’s letter appears to refer to unsourced information, probably from earlier correspondence with Hamilton, that Hamilton was in a position to publish texts for the Societies in the United Provinces. The earlier letter from Hamilton which Renwick circulated may have proposed that he was able to print their works.
Renwick sent Hamilton sermons from John Welwood (d.1679) and a letter and paper from Donald Cargill (d.1681). He also mentions that he had sent him copies of all their martyrs’ testimonies to date. Hamilton failed to publish any of the texts sent with the letter.
Renwick mentions two letters from James Skene (d.1680) in particular. Skene’s letter to the ‘professors in the South’ was particularly controversial as it attacked Robert MacWard and other Presbyterian ministers. Both Renwick and Hamilton would later condemn MacWard for failing to withdraw from Presbyterian ministers in the Scots Kirk in Rotterdam who had heard an indulged minister preach. Unlike Skene’s letter to the professors in the North, his southern letter was never included in Cloud of Witnesses, a later collections of martyrs’ testimonies.
Renwick’s letter of 6 September is printed in Carslaw (ed.), Life and Letters, 12-15.
Text © Copyright Dr Mark Jardine. All Rights Reserved.