Last of the Westland Whigs

In the late 17th century, the 'Westland Whigs' were the radical descendants of earlier Covenanters who had defied the absolutist rule of Stuart kings in south west Scotland.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Gordon Brown - Covenanter?

Gordon Brown renews the Solemn League and Covenant.

The fact is, the Union is more like a covenant founded on shared values that have created bonds of belonging that make us all feel part of a wider Britain. Out of these bonds of belonging we have created not just the rights and responsibilities of a political citizenship but also of a social and economic citizenship too.

Gordon Brown has issued an impassioned defence of the Union, insisting it is not a "contract of convenience" that can be renegotiated at the will of nationalists.
The Prime Minister said Britain was based on a "covenant" binding together England, Wales and Scotland in a way that went beyond the material benefits to each nation.
Mr Brown said moves to adopt a British Bill of Rights were being accompanied by a consideration of the relationship between the nations and regions of the Union.

The Solemn League and Covenant was written in 1643 by Scottish Presbyterians (Covenanters ) as the basis for their military alliance with English Parliamentarians against Charles I. Its main aim was to unite England, Wales, Ireland and Scotland under the Prebysterian form of religion.

The alliance between the English Parliament and the Scottish Covenanters was sealed with the signing of the Solemn League and Covenant by both Houses of Parliament and the Scottish commissioners on 25 September 1643. It was a military league and a religious covenant. Its immediate purpose was to overwhelm the Royalists, who in 1643 seemed in a strong position to win the English Civil War.

In January 1644, the Army of the Covenant marched into England against the Royalists. Parliament decreed that the Covenant was to be taken by every Englishman over the age of eighteen. Although no penalty was specified, the names of those who refused to sign were to be certified to Parliament. Signing the Covenant became a prerequisite for holding any command or office under Parliament until King Charles I made his own alliance with the Scots in 1648.


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