Declarations – 1684 Against Intelligencers

The Apologetical Declaration Against Intelligencers, 28 October 1684.

Written by James Renwick at Glengaber on 28 October 1684 and posted on the night of Saturday 8 November on selected church doors. The Declaration heralded a short-lived campaign of assassinations targeted against the persecutors of the Society people which brought about the infamous field shootings of the Killing Times.

Text from Wodrow, History, IV, 148.

‘Albeit we know that the people of God in all ages, have been cruelly persecuted, and maliciously reviled by apostates from, and enemies to the truths of our Lord Jesus Christ; yet such hard usage, and virulent reproaching, hath not (at least not ought to have) abated the zeal of tender hearted Christians, in the prosecution of holy and commanded duties. Therefore, as hitherto (through assisting grace) we have not been driven to lay aside necessary obliging duties, because of the viperous threatenings of men, who are given up of an holy and wise God, to lay out all their might and power for promoving a course of wicked profanity by virulent persecution, and ignominious calumnies, (to all of who nevertheless, that are reconcilable unto God, we heartily wish eternal salvation) so we declare our firm resolution of constant adherence to our covenants and engagements, where we are bound to have common friends and foes with our covenanted reformation; and to look upon what is done to one, as done to all of us; and also our unanimous adherence to our faithful declarations wherein we have disowned the authority of Charles Stuart, (not authority as God’s institution, either among Christians or heathens) and all authority depending upon him, for reasons given elsewhere; (disclaiming all such things as infer magistratical relation betwixt him and us) and wherein, also we have declared war against him, and his accomplices, such as lay out themselves to promove his wicked and hellish designs. Therefore, that therein our mind may be more clearly understood, and for preventing further mistakes anent our purposes, we do hereby jointly and unanimously testify and declare, that as we utterly detest and abhor that hellish principle of killing all who differ in judgement and persuasion from us, it having no bottom upon the word of God. Or right reason; so we look upon it as a duty binding upon us, to publish openly unto the world, that forasmuch as, we are firmly and really purposed not to injure or offend any whomsoever, but to pursue the ends of our covenants, in standing to the defence of our work of glorious reformation, and of our own lives: Yet (we say) we do hearby declare unto all, that whosoever stretcheth forth their hands against us, while we are maintaining the cause and interest of Christ against his enemies, in the defence of our covenanted reformation, by shedding our blood actually, either by authoritative commanding, such as bloody counsellors (bloody we say, insinuating clearly by this , and other adjective epithets, and open distinction, betwixt the cruel and blood-thirsty and the more sober and moderate,) especially that (so called) justiciary, generals of forces, adjutants, captains, lieutenants, and all their civil and military power, who make it their work to embrue their hands in our blood, or by obeying such commands, such as bloody militia men, malicious troopers, soldiers, and dragoons; likewise gentlemen and commons, who, through wickedness and ill will, ride and run with the forsaid persons, to lay search for us, or who deliver any of us into their hand, to the spilling of our blood, by enticing morally, or stirring up enemies to the taking away of our lives, such as designed and purposedly advise counsel, and encourage them to proceed against us, to our utter extirpation; by informing against us wickedly, wittingly, and willfully, such as viperous and malicious bishops and curates, and all such sort of intelligencers, who lay out themselves to the effusion of our blood, together with all such as, in obedience to the enemies commands, at the sight of us raise the hue and cry after us; yea, and all such as compearing before the adversaries their courts, upon their demands delate us, and any who befriend us to their and our extreme hazard and suffering. We say all, and everyone of such shall be reputed by us, enemies to God, and the covenanted work of reformation, and punished as such, according to our power, and degree of their offence; chiefly, if they shall continue after the publication of this our declaration, obstinately and habitually, with malice to proceed against us, any of the forsaid ways, not at all exeming from present punishment, such as formally have been chief ringleaders and obstinate offenders. Withal leaving room for civil and ecclesiastic satisfaction, before lawful and settled judicatories, for the offences of such persons as our power at this time cannot reach, or degrees of whose punishment, according to their offences, is hard for us to be determined. Finally. We do hereby declare , that we abhor, condemn, discharge and personal attempts, upon any pretext whatsomever, without previous deliberation, common or competent consent, with certain probation by sufficient witnesses, the guilty person’s confession, or the notourness of the deeds themselves. Inhibiting also and discharging any of our emissaries whatsomever, to stretch forth their hands beyond the certainly known degrees of any of the forsaid persons their offences. Now let not any think, that (our God assisting us) we will be so slack-handed in time coming, to put matters in execution, as heretofore we have been, seeing we are bound faithfully and valiantly to maintain our covenants, and the cause of Christ. Therefore let all these forsaid persons be admonished of their hazard, and particularly all ye intelligencers, who, by your voluntary informations, endeavour to render us up into the enemies hands, that our blood may be shed; for by such courses ye both endanger your immortal souls, if repentance prevent not, seeing God will make inquisition for shedding the precious blood of his saints, whatever be the thoughts of men; and also your bodies, seeing you render yourselves actually and maliciously guilty of our blood, whose innocency the Lord knoweth. However, we are sorry at our hearts, that any of you should choose such courses, either with bloody Doeg to shed our blood, with the flattering Ziphites, to inform persecutors where we are to be found. So we say again, we desire you to take warning of the hazard ye incur, by following such courses; for sinless necessity for self-preservation, accompanied with holy zeal for Christ’s reigning in our land, and suppressing of profanity, will move us not to let you pass unpunished. Call to your remembrance, all that is in peril is not lost, and all that is delayed is not forgiven. Therefore, expect to be dealt with as ye deal with us, so far as our power can reach, not because we acted by a sinful spirit of revenge, for private and personal injuries, but mainly because by our fall reformation suffers damage; yea, the exercise of godliness through ensnaring flatteries, and terrible threatening, will thereby be brought to a very low ebb, the consciences of many more dreadfully surrendered, and profanity more established and propagated. And as upon the one hand we have here declared our purpose anent malicious injurers of us, so upon the other hand, we do hereby beseech, invite, and obtest all you who wish us well unto Zion, to show your good will toward us, by acting with us, and in your places and stations, according to your ability, counselling, encouraging and strengthening our hands for this great work, of holding up the standard of our Lord Jesus Christ. Think not that in any ways ye are called to lie by neutral and indifferent, especially in such a day; for we are a people by holy covenants dedicated unto the Lord, in our persons, lives, liberties, and fortunes, for defending and promoting his glorious work of reformation, notwithstanding all opposition that is, or may be made thereunto; yea, and sworn against all neutrality and indifferency in the Lord’s matters. And moreover, we are fully persuaded that the Lord, who now hideth his face from the house of Jacob, will suddenly appear, and bring light out of darkness, and perfect strength out of weakness, and cause judgement to return to righteousness. Thus having declared our deliberate, lawful, and necessary purposes, concerning this matter, in order to the publication of the same, we do hereby statute and ordain, that upon the eighth of November, copies of this our declaration, be affixed upon sufficient and competent number of public market-crosses of the respective burghs, and patent doors of the representative kirks within this kingdom.
Given at                upon the 28th day of October, one thousand six hundred and eighty four years.
Let King Jesus reign, and all his enemies be scattered.’

Apologetical Declaration Against Intelligencers 1684

20 Responses to “Declarations – 1684 Against Intelligencers”

  1. […] Societies’ ‘war’ of assassinations against their persecutors declared in the wake of their Apologetical Declaration Against Intelligencers in late […]

  2. […] searches were part of a wider clampdown on militants in response their posting of the Societies’ Apologetical Declaration Against Intelligencers on 8 November, rather than solely to find the assassins of the lifeguards. (RPCS, X, 29, […]

  3. […] for his own protection, as the Society people had publicly threatened all intelligencers in the Apologetical Declaration of November, […]

  4. […] On 13 November, Niven was brought before the privy council with other suspected Society people and interrogated over the recently posted Apologetical Declaration. […]

  5. […] Relations between local Society people and moderate presbyterians had probably broken down in the aftermath of the Carolina Merchant banishments, Renwick’s preaching and the Apologetical Declaration. […]

  6. […] in the locality. However, in doing so, he had brought himself under the terms of the Societies’ Apologetical Declaration against Intelligencers which threatened intelligencers with death. This left Brounen in the near-impossible position of […]

  7. […] 28 October, 1684, James Renwick, who was sheltering at Glengaber, composed the Society people’s Apologetical Declaration Against Intelligencers. It declared war on their persecutors and threatened to assassinate […]

  8. […] the Society people is where they agreed one of the most militant documents in Scottish history, the Apologetical Declaration Against Intelligencers. The declaration, which was drafted by James Renwick on 28 October, 1684, had been agreed to at the […]

  9. […] 10 November, Drummond briefly mentioned to Queensberry the posting of  the Apologetical Declaration on the mercat cross in front of Linlithgow’s imposing […]

  10. […] for refusing to disown ‘that paper which is most agreeable to the Word of God’, i.e. the Apologetical Declaration which threatened assassinations, but that he had not part in its proclamation. Graham had was […]

  11. […] after Mr Renwick left Priesthill, his followers and he published their Apologetic[al] Declaration [in November, 1684]. Mr Renwick was at first averse to the measure, but at last […]

  12. […] 1685. — At the Criminal Court, two men are sentenced to be hanged, for not disouning the late apologeticall Declaration of War; and to cut of the great crouds of people who used to attend them at ther execution, they privatly […]

  13. […] in a direct opposition to the Word of God; and also, because I would not take that oath against the Apologetical Declaration, and swear myself an enemy to the Covenants and work of Reformation, which I durst not do, no, not […]

  14. […] in the locality. However, in doing so, he had brought himself under the terms of the Societies’ Apologetical Declaration against Intelligencers which threatened intelligencers with death. This left Brounen in the near-impossible position of […]

  15. […] ather obstinat in ther principles, or unclear to disoune the lawfulnes of rising in armes, and the [Societies’] Declaration of war: or it being proven against them by witnesses, that they ware with Argile, (tho’ the pannels […]

  16. […] 5. To Mr James Renwick, as a faithful sent servant of Jesus Christ, who has lifted up the standard where Messrs Donald Cargill [d.1681] and Richard Cameron [d.1680] left it, who sealed the cause with their blood. 6. To all the appearances in arms in defence of the Gospel and our sworn Covenants, and the whole work of Reformation. 7. To the Excommunication at the Torwood [of 1680], by Mr Donald Cargill. 8. To the Sanquhar Declaration [of 1680], as a thing most agreeable to the Word. 9. To the Declaration at Rutherglen [of 1679]. 10. To the paper that was taken off worthy Henry Hall at the Queensferry [in June, 1680]. 11. To the burning of that hell-hatched thing called the Test, at Lanark [before the proclamation of the Lanark Declaration in January, 1682]. 12. To the fellowships of the Lord’s people, for reading, singing, and praying; according to the Scripture in Mal. iii. 16, and Heb. x. 25, and several other Scriptures which warrant this. 13. To all the Testimonies of the faithful witnesses of Jesus Christ, from the appearance in arms at Pentland Hills [in 1666] to this day. 14. To that Paper upon which I was indicted, in so far as it is agreeable to the Word of God, and our sworn Covenants, and work of Reformation [i.e., The Apologetical Declaration Against Intelligencers of November, 1684]. […]

  17. […] authority (as they called it), as could satisfy their lusts, and that I durst not disown the Apologetic Declaration [Against Intelligencers of November, 1684]; and so I humbly conceive it will come to this as the ground of my suffering, that I could not own […]

  18. […] court holden at Wigtoune the threttein day of Apryle instant for my not dissowning that traiterous Apollogeticall Declaratione laitlie affixed at severall paroch churches within this kingdom and my refuising the oath of […]

  19. […] November 1684, after word of the Societies’ Apologetical Declaration Against Intelligencers reached the Privy Council, Campbell and four other imprisoned Societies’ activists – John […]

  20. […] Macgill was executed for refusing to disown the United Societies’ ‘war’ proclaimed in their Apologetical Declaration Against Intelligencers. The speed with which Macgill was executed does suggest that he either refused the Abjuration oath, […]

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