Front Page Titles (by Subject) 29.: From A Declaration of the English Army now in Scotland, 2 1st Aug. 1650 a - Puritanism and Liberty, being the Army Debates (1647-9) from the Clarke Manuscripts with Supplementary Documents
Return to Title Page for Puritanism and Liberty, being the Army Debates (1647-9) from the Clarke Manuscripts with Supplementary Documents
The Online Library of Liberty
A project of Liberty Fund, Inc.
Search this Title:
29.: From A Declaration of the English Army now in Scotland, 2 1st Aug. 1650 a - Arthur Sutherland Pigott Woodhouse, Puritanism and Liberty, being the Army Debates (1647-9) from the Clarke Manuscripts with Supplementary Documents 
Puritanism and Liberty, being the Army Debates (1647-9) from the Clarke Manuscripts with Supplementary Documents, selected and edited with an Introduction A.S.P. Woodhouse, foreword by A.D. Lindsay (University of Chicago Press, 1951).
About Liberty Fund:
Liberty Fund, Inc. is a private, educational foundation established to encourage the study of the ideal of a society of free and responsible individuals.
The text is in the public domain.
Fair use statement:
This material is put online to further the educational goals of Liberty Fund, Inc. Unless otherwise stated in the Copyright Information section above, this material may be used freely for educational and academic purposes. It may not be used in any way for profit.
At the beginning of the great and wonderful workings of God in these two nations of England and Scotland, we, the under-officers and soldiers of the English Army now in Scotland, were most of us (if not all) men of private callings, and not at all interested in matters of public and state affairs; but yet very many of us, in whom the Lord had begun to reveal himself in the face of Jesus Christ, were sensible of the Antichristian tyranny that was exercised by the late King and his prelates, over the consciences, bodies, and estates of the true spiritual Church of Jesus Christ; namely, those that were born again, and united to him by his Spirit, who were then by that Antichristian crew termed Puritans, sectaries, schismatics, &c., and for not conforming to all the canons and ordinances of their national church, were frequently imprisoned, banished, and otherwise grievously molested at the pleasure of those that then ruled amongst us. Under these sad sufferings of the people of God our souls mourned, and understanding by the manifold gracious promises in the word of God, that a time of deliverance was to be expected to the Church of Christ, and destruction and ruin to Babylon, our hearts, together with all the truly godly in England, were exceedingly stirred up to pray to the Lord, even day and night, that he would arise to destroy Antichrist, and to save his people. Whilst this spirit of prayer was poured forth upon God’s people in England, attempts are made upon Scotland to bring them to a conformity in religious worship, by endeavouring to impose upon them a popish service-book, which was, through the great goodness of God, by his people in Scotland, resisteda ; which made the wrath of the late King and his prelates wax so hot against them, so as Scotland had no other way to preserve itself but by coming into England with an army. Which the godly in England did not then count an invasion to destroy England—no more than they do this our present march, for the ruin of Scotland—but rejoiced to see some appearing against that Antichristian power that had persecuted the Saints, and were assured that the Lord was come forth to answer the many prayers and tears that were then poured and pouring forth for that purpose. And therefore so far as we hadb any opportunity [we] farthered the designs of that army, some of us hazarding our lives by spreading their book, entitled The Scots’ Intentions, and pleading for the justness of their proceedings.
Let us remember how the Lord was pleased graciously to answer the prayers of his people at that time, in their deliverance from the army, raised by the late King and his prelates for the destruction of all the people of God in England and Scotland; insomuch that soon after Scotland sits in peace, enjoying their former liberties without being imposed upon by the Antichristian prelacy in England. And England obtains a Parliament to whom they have opportunity to complain of their grievances, and through the great goodness of God so constituted that grievances are heard, and overtures made to the late King for their redress. Which was so irksome to his oppressing, tyrannical, and bloody spirit, that he again betook himself to overthrow the Parliament by force, and to that end entertains the officers of the army that had gone forth against our brethren of Scotland. And [he] withdrawing himself from his Parliament, an appearance of a civil war begins. Which being made known to us, the inferior officers and soldiers of this Army (then in our private callings), we found our hearts extraordinarily stirred up by the Lord, to assist the Parliament against the King, being abundantly satisfied in our judgments and consciences that we were called forth by the Lord to be instrumental to bring about that which was our continual prayer to God, viz., the destruction of Antichrist and the deliverance of his Church and people. And upon this simple account we engaged, not knowing the deep policies of worldly statesmen, and have ever since hazarded our lives in the high places of the field (where we have seen the wonders of the Lord) against all the opposers of this work of Jesus Christ, whom we have all along seen going with us, and making our way plain before us. And having these things singly in our eye, namely, the destruction of Antichrist, the advancement of the kingdom of Jesus Christ, the deliverance and reformation of his Church, in the establishment of his ordinances amongst them in purity according to his word, and the just civil liberties of Englishmen; we did many of us rejoice at the Covenant, because we found in it a strain towards these ends, although some, being more enlightened, did apprehend it to be so mixed with worldly interest that they justly feared the interest of Jesus Christ would be only pretended to, and the interests of this world, yea, of Antichrist himself, carried under a vizard, as we have since had abundant experience of. Which hath made us, we confess, not to idolize the Covenant (as we fear too many do), though we trust it will appear before God, angels, and men that we shall ever pursue its true and lawful ends, according to the plain and candid meaning thereof; though we do not upon every occasion urge the Covenant (as we see every party, though as far different as light and darkness, apt to do), the Lord having by his word and by his Spirit convinced us of our duty therein, though there had been no such Covenant at all entered into.
But when we saw that under pretence of the Covenant, a corrupt party in Parliament by their worldly policy, after the war was ended in England, and the late King’s party subdued with the loss of thousands of the lives of Saints (whose death is precious in the sight of the Lord), did endeavour to set up the King upon his own terms, and with him to establish a national church-government, not in all things agreeable to the word of God, but [such as] is destructive to the just liberties of the true spiritual Church of Christ, which he hath by his own most precious blood purchased for them, and is now come forth to bestow upon them—which did sufficiently demonstrate itself by the dealings of the then master-builders with the churches of Jesus Christ in and about London, that were then threatened to be dissolved, and laws made to prevent the communion of Saints with one another, except only in that one public form then about to be established, to the astonishment of many of us that had lifted up our hands to God and sworn to endeavour a reformation according to the word of God; and therefore after much waiting upon God by prayer, and examining our own hearts about the ends and sincerity thereof, we were abundantly satisfied that it was not only lawful but our duty, to keep our arms in our hands till the ends before mentioned should be accomplished. And to that purpose the Army, whereof we are a part, did refuse to disband, did march up to London to propose to the Parliament a way of establishment that might be more for the carrying on of the ends of religion and liberty, though therein we were not at that time successful, yet most wonderfully and graciously preserved by the Lord, and extraordinarily convinced, after much seeking the face of God, that our failing was in endeavouring to set up the King upon any terms, he being a man of so much blood that the Lord would have no peace with him, nor any that should go about to establish him. Whereupon—after his own hard heart had hindered him from yielding to any overtures that were made to him by the Parliament (through whom all the Army’s proposals were to be tendered), and a second war, more dangerous than the former, contrived by him and his son (now with you), together with those in Scotland that hated us of the Army of England under the name of sectaries, being, by the unspeakable goodness and mighty power of God, waded through, and a second testimony given from heaven to justify the proceedings of his poor servants against that bloody Anti-christian brood, though with the loss of many precious Saints—we were then powerfully convinced that the Lord’s purpose was to deal with the late King as a man of blood. And being persuaded in our consciences that he and his monarchy was one of the ten horns of the Beast (spoken of, Rev. 17. 12-15), and being witnesses to so much of the innocent blood of the Saints that he had shed in supporting the Beast, and considering the loud cries of the souls of the Saints under the altar, we were extraordinarily carried forth to desire justice upon the King, that man of blood, and to that purpose petitioned our superior officers and the Parliament, to bring him to justice. Which accordingly by an high hand of Providence was brought to pass, which act we are confident the Lord will own in preserving the Commonwealth of England against all kingdoms and nations that shall adventure to meddle with them upon that account. When God executes his judgments upon malefactors, let none go about to resist. When he brings forth those his enemies that will not suffer Jesus Christ to be King in the midst of his Saints, and breaks them in pieces like a potter’s vessel, let not Scotland nor any other nation say, ‘What dost thou?’ We fear they have been too busy already. The Lord that sees the secrets of all hearts, knows the compliance of Scotland with the late King’s issue (now with you) was in order to disturb the peace of England, for being God’s executioners upon a bloody tyrant and a supporter of the throne of the Beast. But blessed be the Lord, the crafty are taken in their own snare; England sits in peace, whilst Scotland receives into their chief city their new King at the very hour wherein an Army that had marched three hundred miles is facing them at the very gates. We wish our brethren of Scotland, especially those that truly fear the Lord, would consider these things, and not slight the providences of God so much as they do. When Scotland chose new gods, and would have a king out of a family that God had rejected, then was war in the gates. And though we do not think providences alone a sufficient rule for God’s people to walk by, yet we do know that the Lord speaks to his people by his providence, as well as by his word; and he is angry with his people that do not take notice thereof, and promiseth blessing to those that do (Psalm 107 and the latter end).
And here give us leave (not in a boasting spirit, but in meekness and fear) to tell you that we are persuaded we are poor unworthy instruments in God’s hand, to break his enemies and preserve his people. * * * We value the churches of Jesus Christ, who are the lot of God’s inheritance, ten thousand times above our own lives; yea, we do bless the Lord we are not only a rod of iron to dash the common enemies in pieces, but also a hedge (though very unworthy) about Christ’s vineyard. * * * We desire it may be known to you, our brethren of Scotland, that we are not soldiers of fortune, we are not merely the servants of men; we have not only proclaimed Jesus Christ, the King of Saints, to be our King by profession, but desire to submit to him upon his own terms, and to admit him to the exercise of his royal authority in our hearts, and to follow him whithersoever he goeth, he having of his own good will entered into a Covenant of Grace with his poor Saints. And be assured, it is he that leadeth us into Scotland, as he hath done in England and Ireland. And therefore we do in the spirit of brotherly love, and of the fear of the Lord, beseech you to look about you, for our Lord Jesus is coming amongst you as a refiner’s fire, and as fuller’s soap; and blessed are those in whom the least dram of sincerity shall be found. * * *
Our quarrel is still against malignants, the root whereof is now, through the evil policy of some statesmen, become the head of Scotland. We dare not quarrel with those whose hearts are upright with Jesus Christ, and faithful and loving to England, but with those who are most treacherous and false to both; and therefore we dare not any of us, though tempted thereto by your Papers, be so carnally wise as to desert the cause and work of Jesus Christ, in which we have hitherto been so long and so miraculously carried on. Do you think we are men so weakly principled as to be persuaded, without the least strength of argument, to desert the interest of our own nation, and expose thousands of the precious Saints of Jesus Christ, to be trampled upon as the dirt in the streets, when the Lord is about to put on their beautiful garments, and to make them a praise in the earth? Or can we (think you) betray our superior officers, in whom we see so much of the sweet spirit of Jesus Christ, into your hands, whose mouths are opened wide to devour them? We pray you not to wait for such a thing. The Lord hath brought us hither by his providence, and upon him we shall with confidence depend till we see a glorious issue; which we humbly and heartily desire may be without the effusion of any more blood and (if it be the will of God) both speedy and comfortable to you and us, that we may return with joy into England, and leave Scotland rejoicing that an English army hath been amongst them. Which possibly may be the sooner effected were you and we suffered to confer and open our hearts one to another. We do believe much of the bitterness of spirit would be allayed in our brethren of Scotland, did they know how exceedingly we are slandered by the pens and tongues of many of your kirkmen concerning our religion and faith towards God, which though we may not vainly boast of, yet according to the Apostle’s direction, we are ready to give an answer to the meanest Christian in Scotland, that shall ask a reason of the faith and hope that is in us, with meekness and fear. * * *
NOTES ON TEXT
The text of both sets of Debates is derived from the sole primary source, the Clarke MSS., volume 67 (Worcester College, Oxford: 65. 5. 6), compared with that printed in The Clarke Papers, edited by C. H. Firth (Camden Society). Everything in square brackets has been added by the present editor (or adopted by him from Firth). Spelling, capitalization, and punctuation are modernized, but with some latitude in regard to punctuation where adherence to modern usage might have obscured the sense: the complicated and often loosely-built sentences have been punctuated with attention rather to the reader’s requirements in the particular sentence than to strict rule and consistency. The designation of speakers has been reduced to brevity and uniformity; title (with Christian name) is given only at the first mention or when confusion might result from its suppression. For the rest, in this edition, unlike Firth’s, every departure from the MS. is recorded in the notes.
In the notes all MS. readings are printed in italics. Two other signs are used: + indicates that what follows is an accidental addition in the MS., and has been omitted in the text; tr indicates transposition in the text from after the following phrase. Thus: (a) butt = MS. reads ‘butt’; (b) + butt = MS. adds ‘butt’; tr butt the Kinge is nott = transposed from after ‘butt the Kinge is nott.’ It must be observed, that in the commoner additions (such as and, butt, that) a single letter has been made to do duty for a page; and that, in order not to court error by disturbing the lettering on the page, the necessary corrections in proof have been effected at a few points by omitting redundant letters, and by introducing new letters out of their alphabetical order, while preserving the alphabetical order in the notes.
 The Declaration, dated ‘From the leaguer at Muscleborough, August 1, 1650,’ is in answer to a paper directed by the Scots ‘To the Under-officers and Soldiers of the English Army.’
[(a-b)] I have adopted Firth’s reading (indicating the phrases in MS. which he silently drops), but have added [also] in order to avoid a forced interpretation of the phrase to make uppe, which must mean ‘to constitute,’ not ‘to fill by election.’ I am not at all sure, however, that Ireton is not hinting a distinction between the property qualification demanded of electors and that demanded of members of Parliament [cf. pp. 65, 113 n., 114], that he is not saying: ‘[It is the represented] who, taken together [with those who have more property] and consequently are to make up the representers, of this kingdom—[it is the represented] and the representers, who, taken together, do comprehend whatever is of real or permanent interest in the kingdom’;
[(f)] + in Stane’s;
[(i)] + and.
[(c)] + and;
[(g)] + which is;
[(h)] + they.
[474. (a)] A Declaration of the English Army now in Scotland, touching the justness & necessity of their present proceedings in that nation. Imprimatur Joh: Rushworth. London, Printed by Edward Husband and John Field, Printers to the Parliament of England. August 12. 1650. Compared with another edition: A Declaration of the English Army . . . to the People of Scotland.