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The Politics of Counsel in England and Scotland, 1286-1707$
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Jacqueline Rose

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780197266038

Published to University Press Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.5871/bacad/9780197266038.001.0001

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date: 22 October 2017

Counsel and Covenant: Aristocratic Conciliarism and the Scottish Revolution

Counsel and Covenant: Aristocratic Conciliarism and the Scottish Revolution

Chapter:
(p.229) 12 Counsel and Covenant: Aristocratic Conciliarism and the Scottish Revolution
Source:
The Politics of Counsel in England and Scotland, 1286-1707
Author(s):

Roger A. Mason

Publisher:
British Academy
DOI:10.5871/bacad/9780197266038.003.0012

This chapter seeks to recover the ways in which the Scottish nobility of the 1630s viewed their relationship with the king and how, when and with what ideological consequences that relationship was fractured. Analysis of the historical writings of David Hume of Godscroft, William Drummond of Hawthornden and Sir James Balfour of Denmilne demonstrates that all three of these writers adhered to an understanding of aristocratic conciliarism that took the nobility’s duty — and sometimes right — to counsel the king as axiomatic and saw political breakdown as a failure of counsel. However, while their diagnoses were cut from the same ideological cloth, their remedies differed markedly. While Hume supported aristocratic resistance to tyranny, Drummond excoriated it. Balfour, it is argued, is closer to Hume than Drummond, but also offers a unique insight into a strand of Scottish constitutional royalism — rooted in aristocratic conciliarism— that historians have hitherto ignored.

Keywords:   counsel, Scotland, conciliarism, nobility, seventeenth century, Covenanters, David Hume of Godscroft, William Drummond of Hawthornden, James Balfour of Denmilne

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