File:Greyfriars Kirkyard, Edinburgh.jpg

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English: The site of the initial signing of the National Covenant in 1638 which presumed a direct relationship between Scottish presbyterianism and God. It implied the abolition of episcopacy and the authority of the King in church affairs in favour of an independent Church of Scotland. The attempt to limit monarchical power challenged the inherited, mediaeval political power structure based on rule by Divine Right, and in the long term profoundly shaped constitutional developments in Britain.

The 19thC historian, Andrew Lang, wrote, "Scotland was once more in the happy posture of Israel of old, and enjoyed a definite legal instrument, binding on all posterity, and regulating the relations between itself and the Creator of the Universe. Nothing was absent but the signature of the other high contracting party".

"Upon Wedensday, 28 Februar, that glorious mariage day of the Kingdome with God... The noblemen haiving apoynted the body of the gentrie to meit at tuo hours in the Grayfrear Kirk to hear bot copyes of it read and to aunsuear objections, (...) I resolved to read and did read the parchment itselth publikly, quhilk, after som feu doubts of som, was approvin; and, after ane divine prayer most fit for the tyme and present purpose maid be Mr. Al.[exander] Henderson, The Covenant was subscryved first by the noblemen and barons al that night til 8 that night. On Foorsday [Thursday] morning I had wryting in the night foor principal copyes in parchment; at nyn hours it was subscryved be al the ministerie; at tuo hours be the burroues [burghs]. On Frayday, in the College Kirk, after ane sensible exhortation (...) and ane pithie prayer forcing the [thee] to tears, thou read it publikly befor the people of Edr. [Edinburgh], quho presently fell to the subscryving of it al that day and the morrou." -- Diary of Sir Archibald Johnston of Wariston, 1637-39
[Note: After the restoration of Charles II, Johnston was executed at the mercat cross of Edinburgh in 1663]
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Author Kim Traynor


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