Letter of James Renwick to Robert Hamilton in Leeuwarden of 6 December, 1682


The following letter was written by James Renwick, the clerk of the United Societies, then in Edinburgh, to Robert Hamilton in Leeuwarden on Wednesday, 6 December, 1682.

Renwick had departed from Rotterdam on c.24 November and arrived in Scotland on 4 December. On 6 December he was in Edinburgh and about to head into the West. He expected his return to the United Provinces, where he was due to begin his studies for the ministry at the University of Groningen, to be delayed. The ‘J. F.’ he refers to was his fellow Societies’ student, John Flint, who had already departed for Groningen.

Renwick mentions the recent schisms which had beset the United Societies’ fourth and fifth conventions: ‘Mr Young [Andrew Young] upon the one hand deals as we were set off at the right hand, and J[ames]. Russel[l] as we were gone off at the left’.

Right-hand defections from the Societies’ platform were towards a more-radical position. James Russell and the societies in Fife and Perth had objected to paying customs and taxes at bridges and ports.

Left-hand defections were towards a more-moderate position. Andrew Young had objected to the Societies’ efforts to withdraw from the moderate presbyterian ministry and to bypass them by seeking ordination in the United Provinces. According to Renwick, Young had been mainly responsible for the loss society at Newcastle from the convention.

Renwick sent his regards to Alexander Gordon of Earlstoun and his family, Lady Earlstoun and Jean Hamilton, who all lived in Leeuwarden. The Earlstoun’s probably brought their children, Ann and Margaret (b.1681) with them.

The letter is printed in Carslaw (ed.), Life and Letters of James Renwick, 31-32. Carslaw’s text is based on the manuscript ‘Letter of James Renwick to Robert Hamilton, Leewarden, Friesland. Edinburgh, 6 Dec, 1682.’ (EUL New College 1p Box 4.4.3.)

Renwick Hamilton December 1682

Renwick Hamilton December 1682 2

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Text © Copyright Dr Mark Jardine. All Rights Reserved. Please link to or retweet this post, but do not reblog without the express permission of the author @drmarkjardine

~ by drmarkjardine on April 30, 2014.

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