Course:History 344 Nasty Families/The First English Civil War/ Solemn League and Covenant

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The Solemn League and Covenant was an agreement between Scottish Covenanteers and English Parliamentarians and was agreed upon during the First Civil War of England in 1643.[1]

The Royalists had sought the aid of the Irish in their campaign against the Parliamentarians and due to the threat of such an alliance, the Parliamentarians turned to the Scots for aid.[2] The Scots were against the Papist Irish and accepted the accord but only on the term that the Scottish church government system would be adopted in England. Many English Parliamentarians were willing to accept the terms because they preferred this to losing the civil war.[3]

The goal of the Solemn League and Covenant was to unite against the assaults on their civil and religious liberties. Once the oath was agreed upon, the Scots sent an army to England to fight with the Parliamentarians.[4]

Some were not happy with the Solemn League and Covenant and chose to abandon the cause instead of remain in the Parliamentarian army. Many of these people were not Presbyterian and had not enjoyed the idea of Scottish church government in England.[5]

The Solemn League and Covenant went further and began to seek the reformation of the churches of both England and Ireland in doctrine, worship, discipline and government according to the word of god. (Guthrie296) The Parliamentarians had tried to make the wording ambiguous and the Scots believed it was their job to place the Presbyterian form of church government in England.[6]

  1. William Cobbett, Parliamentary History of England Volume III, (London: T.C Hansard, 1808), 169.
  2. Ibid., 170.
  3. Charles J. Guthrie, "The Solemn League and Covenant of the Three Kingdoms of England, Scotland, and Ireland," The Scottish Historical Review , 15, no. 60 (1918): 294.
  4. Ibid., 295.
  5. Cobbett, 173.
  6. Guthrie, 297.