Papers of Robert Douglas (1594-1674)

Scope and Content

The collection is composed of sermons by Robert Douglas and other Covenanters, 17th century.

Administrative / Biographical History

Robert Douglas was born in 1594. He was the grandson of George Douglas of Lochleven who had helped Mary Queen of Scots to escape imprisonment in Lochleven Castle in 1567. He was educated at St. Andrews University and took the degree of M.A. in 1614. Douglas then entered the church, first as Minister of Kirkcaldy in 1628 before becoming chaplain to one of the brigades of Scottish auxiliaries sent to aid Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden in the Thirty Years War. It was said that Gustavus highly appreciated Douglas's wisdom and military skill. After his return to Scotland, he was elected as a member of the General Assembly in 1638. In 1639 he was chosen as a Minister in the High Kirk of St. Giles, and 1641 the Tolbooth Church. Also in 1641 he preached before the Scottish Parliament. In 1642, then in 1645, 1647, 1649, and 1651, he was Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland. In 1643, Douglas was named as one of the Commissioners to the Westminster Assembly which produced the Westminster Confession of Faith of English-speaking Presbyterians, and in 1644 he was a chaplain to one of the Scottish regiments in England. In 1649, he and other Commissioners presented the Solemn League and Covenant to Parliament, and in 1650 he was one of the churchmen who, at Dunfermline, sought the signature of Charles II to a declaration of religion. This was refused by the King. However, as the leader of Scotland's moderate Presbyterians, Douglas officiated at the coronation of Charles II at Scone in 1651. During the ceremony he preached a sermon which said that it was the monarch's duty to maintain the established religion of Scotland and to bring the other religions in Britain into conformity with it. Douglas assisted in the Restoration of the monarchy in 1660, and afterwards was offered the bishopric of Edinburgh if he would accept the introduction of episcopacy into Scotland. He refused, and was latterly simply Pastor of Greyfriars' in Edinburgh and then Minister of the Parish of Pencaitland, East Lothian. His publications include The diary of Mr. Robert Douglas when with the Scottish army in England (1644), A sermon preached at Scone, January the first, 1651, at the Coronation of Charles II (1651), and Master Douglas, his sermon preached at the down-sitting of the last Parliament of Scotland (1661). Robert Douglas died in 1674.

Access Information

Generally open for consultation to bona fide researchers, but please contact repository for details in advance.


The biographical/administrative history was compiled using the following material: (1) Stephen, Leslie. and Lee, Sidney (eds.). Dictionary of national biography. Vol.5. Craik-Drake. London: Smith, Elder and Co., 1908.

Compiled by Graeme D Eddie, Edinburgh University Library, Special Collections Division.

Other Finding Aids

Important finding aids generally are: the alphabetical Index to Manuscripts held at Edinburgh University Library, Special Collections and Archives, consisting of typed slips in sheaf binders and to which additions were made until 1987; and the Index to Accessions Since 1987.


Corporate Names