Scottish Declaration of the Prince of Orange, October 1, 1688
The following declaration was printed anonymously (Wing 2331A). The first few paragraphs are very similar to those of the more famous declaration which the Prince of Orange issued October 10, 1688.
The Prince of Orange His Declaration showing the reasons of this present invasion, for the defence of the Protestant religion, and for the re-establishment of the laws and liberties of the Kingdom of Scotland.
It is both certain and evident to all men, that the public peace and happiness of any state or kingdom cannot be preserved where the law, liberties, and customs, established by the lawful authority in it, are openly transgressed and annulled; more especially, where the alteration of religion is endeavoured, and that a religion, which is contrary to law, is endeavoured to be introduced; upon which those who are most immediately concerned in it are indispensably bound to endeavour to preserve and maintain the established laws, liberties, and customs, and above all the religion and worship of God that is established among them, and to take such an effectual care, that the inhabitants of the said state or kingdom may neither be deprived of their religion, nor of their civil rights; which is so much the more necessary, because the greatness and security both of kings, royal families, and of all such as are in authority, as well as the happiness of their subjects and people, depend in a most especial manner upon the exact observation and maintenance of these their lives, liberties, and customs.
Upon these grounds it is that we cannot any longer forbear to declare that, to our great regret, we see that those counsellors, who have now the chief credit with the King, have overturned the religion, laws, and liberties of those Realms, and subjected them in all things relating to their consciences, liberties, and properties to arbitrary government, and that not only by secret and indirect ways, but in an open and undisguised manner.
The deplorable consequences of arbitrary power and of pernicious counsels are so manifest in the deplorable state of the Kingdom of Scotland, that our reason and our conscience induce us to abhor them. Therefore when we consider the misery to which this nation is reduced, which notwithstanding has always had such affection to the Royal Family, which has been governed for many ages by laws made by the authority of their kings, and the states of their country, and their ordinary customs, is at this day reduced by the methods which have been taken to change the legal constitution of monarchy into a despotic and arbitrary power, we see plainly that this is brought about by the conduct of those counsellors, who exercise their authority by premeditated and formal declarations, which they publish, importing that the King is an absolute monarch, who must be obeyed in all things and without reserve, to the end that by this means they may introduce what religion they think fit, without giving themselves the trouble of considering the necessity of the consent of the nation represented by their estates assembled in parliament. Seeing therefore we could not but be sensibly touched with these miseries, we have thought upon a proper remedy to satisfy the expectation of honest men and all true Protestants. This is the great affair that we have proposed in this expedition, the equity whereof will appear to all the world, when what has been done by these wicked counsellors shall be examined narrowly and without prejudice.
It is therefore notorious that the laws, privileges and rights of that kingdom have been infringed, to the great prejudice of the king and people, seeing the foundations of union have been undermined thereby. The arbitrary proceedings of a Privy Council unjust and subverting the laws is no less manifest.
Moreover, to the manifest contempt of the established laws of the kingdom, the papists are intruded into the greatest offices, as well civil as military, and all the forts and magazines are entrusted to them. The rights and privileges of the royal boroughs, which make the third estate of the country, and who have as many deputies as the shires of the kingdom, are diminished. The like intrenchment is made upon their free election of their magistrates and their councils, and that manifestly contrary to their charters founded upon their laws and a possession from time immemorial. All this is done by an arbitrary power, without giving them any summons or juridical procedure.
And whereas no nation whatsoever can subsist without the administration of good and impartial justice, upon which mens' lives, liberties, honours, and estates do depend, those evil counsellors have subjected them to an arbitrary and despotic power. In the most important affairs, they have studied to discover beforehand the opinions of the judges, and have turned out such as they found would not conform themselves to their intentions, and have put others in their places of whom they were more assured, without having any regard to their abilities. And they have not stuck to raise even professed papists to the courts of judicature, notwithstanding their incapacity by law, and that no regard is due to any sentences from them. They have carried this so far as to deprive such judges who, in the common administration of justice, showed that they were governed by their consciences and not by the directions which the others gave them. By which it is apparent, that they design to render themselves the absolute masters of the lives, honours, and estates of the subjects, of what rank or dignity soever they may be; and that without having any regard either to the equity of the cause or to the consciences of the judges whom they will have to submit in all things to their own will and pleasure, hoping by such ways to intimidate those who are yet in employment, as also such others as they shall think fit, to put in the rooms of those whom they have turned out, and to make them see what they must look for, if they should at any time act in the least contrary to their good-liking; and that no failings of that kind are pardoned in any persons whatsoever. A great deal of blood has been shed in many places of the kingdom by judges governed by those evil counsellors, against all the rules and forms of law, without so much as suffering the persons that were accused to plead in their own defence. They have turned out judges, who according to law should have been continued in their offices during life, if they discharged them honestly, because they would not comply with their designs, and have put in others, without having any regard to their abilities, but only that they judged them to be of a more complying temper, which is a plain instance that they will not stand to any rule in law.
By the direction of the same counsellors they have served themselves of an exorbitant power, which imposes slaveries and requires oaths of whole shires without being founded upon any law or act of parliament - as the quartering of soldiers at their discretion, who as they have sufficient pay for their sustenance, so the kingdom is at double charges without any reason given for it; their committing gentlemen to prison without declaring the cause, but on the contrary forcing them to accuse and give evidence against themselves, and imposing fines according to their pleasure; causing some for fear to desert their countries by virtue of their intercommunings, founded on those evil pretences. They have so generally involved everyone in this danger, that the counsellors themselves could not be secure without having recourse to a pardon, or procuring themselves to be excepted, while in the meanwhile the common people lay at their discretion. They gave power to the officers and private soldiers to commit upon many subjects who lived in full peace and quietness the greatest of barbarities, as to destry them by hanging, killing and drowning, without any form of process, and without any respect had to age or sex, not giving some so much time as to pray to God, and that without any other reason save that they would not subscribe or answer to their questions which they proposed to them without any legal authority, and against the common right of men, which leaves everyone a liberty not to reveal the secrets of his thoughts. Not to mention a great many other violences and oppressions, which this distressed nation has been exposed to, without any assurance of ever seeing an end of them or being delivered from them.
These counsellors, to maintain and justify their arbitrary and illegal proceedings, have framed a declaration which overturns the foundations of the government, which violates all the laws, even the most sacred, rendering the parliament altogether useless, depriving religion of all its fences and taking away their liberties and properties by an absolute power which they have assumed to themselves; whereby we see that they would be obeyed without reserve, and this sort of obedience of the heart of a true Christian belongs to God alone, whose commandments are always just and good.
Moreover these counsellors have made their last efforts to abolish the penal laws, which exclude from all public places those who are of the popish religion, because they are so opposite to their designs to establish it. They have given liberty of conscience to divers Protestants, but such a liberty as they cannot preserve, but insofar as they shall drudge if for the abolishing of the penal laws, which are the only bulwarks of their religion. Besides, divers Protestants have a just ground of mistrust, when they remember how they have turned their ministers out of their churches by hundreds, without citing or accusing them, and that they have filled up their places by ignorant persons of scandalos lives, and who ahve had a great hand in the present miseries under which this country has groaned of a long time. The several Protestants therefore have little reason to rely upon their present tranquillity, seeing it is only founded upon a proclamation, which may be revoked at pleasure, and which was not so advantageous to them in its first and second publication, especially if they consider that these great cruelties which we have mentioned above were committed against them a few months before.
But to crown all, there are great and violent presumptions, inducing us to believe that those evil counsellors, in order to the carrying on of their ill designs, and to the gaining to themselves the more time for the effecting of them, for the encouraging of their complices, and for the discouraging of all good subjects, have published that the Queen has brought forth a son, though there have appeared both during the Queen's pretended bigness and in the manner in which the birth was managed, so many just and visible grounds of suspicion, that not only we ourselves, but all the good subjects of those kingdoms, do vehemently suspect that the pretended Prince of Wales was not born by the Queen. And it is notoriously known to all the world, that many both doubted of the Queen's bigness and of the birth of the child; and yet there was not any one thing done to satisfy them, or to put an end to their doubts.
And since our dearest and most entirely beloved consort, the Princess, and likewise we ourselves, have so great an interest in this matter, and such a right, as all the world knows, to the succession to the crown, which these persons have stained, by interrupting and preventing the lawful successors to the crown, brought up by the singular providence of God in the true Protestant religion to bring some relief to these miseries, we cannot therefore excuse ourselves from espousing their interests in a matter of such high consequence, and from contributing all that lies in us for the maintaining both of the Protestant religion, and of the laws and liberties of those kingdoms, and for the securing to them the continual enjoyment of all their just rights.
But that our design may be so evident that none may doubt or pretend ignorance to exempt themselves from concurring with us in so just a design and enterprise for the general good of the nation, we declare that it is our intention to protect the kingdom from all danger of popery and arbitrary power for the future, and for deliverance from the miseries to which it is at this present exposed, to travel for the establishment of this protection and deliverance by the assistance of the parliament, and that upon the most solid foundations with respect to their religion, and for their temporal interests, to redress all by proper means, and in so effectual a manner that they shall not fall again into those above-mentioned calamities. These are the true causes of our enterprise as to what concerns the nation.
We therefore persuade ourselves that the efforts which we could make for the deliverance of an oppressed kingdom, that they will not only be taken in good part, but that they will be accompanied with universal joy and approbation, and likwise the assistance of the whole nation. That those who have been instruments to introduce slavery into this nation may be made sensible of it and repent, tow which they are obliged, both in respect of God and out of love to their country, and shall with justice suffer the punishment of all the evils which may attend them for not discharging their duty aright.
And as we repose all our confidence in God alone for the success of our arms, so we hope that all good men will pray fervently to God that He will prosper our designs with His blessing, to the end that they may redound to the glory of His great name, the establishment of the reformed church, and the peace and common good of this kingdom.
Given at our Court at the Hague, Octob. 1, 1688
This page is maintained by Noel S. McFerran (email@example.com) and was last updated October 26, 2003.
© Noel S. McFerran 2000-2003.