Letter from James Renwick to Robert Hamilton of 3 October 1682
Renwick 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 engagements to secrecy, but he was an active sympathizer who had already proved useful. Hamilton’s unofficial role was later used by opponents of Hamilton’s direction of travel to attack Renwick for disclosing their business without Hamilton having sworn to secrecy.
Renwick requested that Hamilton let the Societies know if he received the papers and book which the Societies had sent to him ‘with your cousins’ and Renwick’s letter of 6 September. The papers, which included their martyrs’ testimonies to date, were intended for publication. Renwick also promised that the acts of ‘the pretended parliament’ of 1681 and the book that Hamilton had desired ‘shall come by the next occasion’.
He also mentions that the forthcoming fifth convention had been brought forward to 11 October to chose ‘young men’ to be sent to the United Provinces for ordination. However, he and others in Societies marvel at the spring timetable for ordination, for, as Alexander Gordon of Earlstoun knows, ‘we have none of whom that, or anything like it, can be expected.’
Renwick also notes the Society peoples’ desire to commission Hamilton to be their commissioner in the United Provinces in conjunction with Earlstoun at the forthcoming convention. Hamilton received a joint commission from the fifth convention, thus making him a regular member of the Societies.
Renwick also mentions that William Brackel’s letter of c.22 August has been translated from Latin into English and that copies of it had been sent to societies around the country. He also sends his regards to Brackel via Hamilton. Two days later, Renwick replied to Brackel’s letter.
Renwick’s letter to Hamilton is printed in Carslaw (ed.), Life and Letters, 16-18.
Text © Copyright Dr Mark Jardine. All Rights Reserved.