Friday, 20 July 2012

Scottish Independence is restoration NOT secession (Part 2)


'By the early eighteenth century, Scotland was a kingdom in crisis. Her economy had been severely weakened by a series of major harvest failures beginning in 1695. The 'Lean Years' of the 1690s were compounded by the catastrophic failure of the Darien Scheme and the attempt to establish a Scottish imperial outlet, the colony of Caledonia, on the Isthmus of Darien. Deliberately sabotaged by the combined efforts of the English East India Company, the international financial markets at Amsterdam and King William, it is estimated that almost 25% of Scotland's total liquid capital was lost in the Darien venture.'

SOURCE: 'The Last Scottish Parliament', BBC, paragraph 1.

1703 - 1802:


'1703-5                 ANTECEDENTS OF THE TREATY OF UNION

...England, in 1701, had settled the succession on the Hanoverian line, but no such provision had been made in Scotland. This meant that on Anne's death, either the personal union might be dissolved or the relations between the two countries could be revised. The Scottish parliament which met in 1703 could not be controlled by the court, and it passed acts, which contained threats that Scotland would pursue an independent foreign policy and might appoint a different successor from the successor to the English throne. England retaliated in 1705 with the Alien Act, which declared that, until Scotland accepted the Hanoverian succession, all Scots would be treated as aliens in England and the import of cattle, sheep, coal and linen from Scotland into England would not be allowed; this measure stimulated the Scots into appointing commissioners to treat for union.'

SOURCE: 'Scottish Historical Documents' by Professor Gordon Donaldson, pp. 265-266.

Treaty of Union (1707)

'The English had decided to insist on 'incorporating union' at all costs. The Scots had a preference for some sort of federation, but they had no clear scheme for this, and the obvious foreign example of federation, the Netherlands, did not provide an encouraging model...There was not available in 1706 a formal study of political institutions, or a wealth of written constitutions to consider as examples.'

SOURCE: 'A History of Scotland' by Rosalind Mitchison, p. 308

'Professor Lodge, an English historian and pro-Unionist, admits...that:

"They [the English Government] had commercial inducements to offer and the ruin of Scottish agriculture to threaten, and by a judicious combination of bribes and menaces, they succeeded in bringing about the negotiations of 1706."

SOURCE: 'The Scottish Insurrection of 1820' by Peter Berresford Ellis and Seumas Mac A'Ghobhainn, p. 42, ISBN 0 85976 519 9.

'1706-7                   THE ARTICLES OF UNION

Commissioners representing Scotland and England sat from 16 April 1706 to 22 July, when the Articles of Union were signed. The Articles were debated in the Scottish parliament from 3 October 1706 to 16 January 1707, when they were ratified with only minor changes. The English parliament then likewise adopted them and they received the royal assent on 6 March.'

SOURCE: 'Scottish Historical Documents' by Professor Gordon Donaldson, pp. 268-269.

All of the commissioners representing Scotland were appointed by Queen Anne and, apart from one of them, were in favour of an incorporating union with England. During the period in which the Articles of the proposed Union were being debated by the Scottish parliament there were riots throughout Scotland.

There is a widespread belief that the failure of the Darien venture was directly responsible for the Scots decision to treat for Union with England. That is a myth. It is quite clear that the cause of the Treaty of Union in 1707, between Scotland and England, was, in actual fact, the Alien Act of 1705.

The Company of Scotland, which was formed in 1695, was initially set up for the purpose of trading with Africa and the Indies. After this was blocked it became the focus of a Scottish attempt to found a colony on the Darien isthmus. The following is an extract from Article XV of the Treaty of Union in 1707 -

'...This 'Equivalent' is to be devoted to...(b) payment of the capital (with interest) advanced for the Company of Scotland (which is to be dissolved)...'

SOURCE: 'Scottish Historical Documents' by Professor Gordon Donaldson, p. 271.

'Sir John Clerk of Penicuik, an ardent pro-unionist and Union negotiator, observed that the treaty was 'contrary to the inclinations of at least three-fourths of the Kingdom'.'

SOURCE: 'The Last Scottish Parliament', BBC, paragraph 18,

'Parliament was adjourned on 25th March and the Estates were ordered to reconvene on 22nd April. No such meeting appears to have taken place and on 28th April the Scottish Parliament was dissolved by proclamation.'

SOURCE: 'The Last Scottish Parliament', BBC, paragraph 15.

'The Estates met for the last time on March 25, 1707.'

SOURCE: 'The Lion in the North' by John Prebble, p. 285.

'Furthermore, there were grounds for believing that England might impose a military solution in order to safeguard her northern borders if the union project failed. Godolphin made veiled threats to this effect and, as has been seen, troops had been stationed in the north of England and reinforcements also sent to northern Ireland.'

SOURCE: 'The Scottish Nation 1700-2000' by T.M. Devine, p. 16, ISBN 0-713-99351-0.

'England was not going to permit a disruption of the existing union, and the scanty and ill-trained Scottish regiments could not have resisted Marlborough's veterans.'

SOURCE: 'Scotland: The Shaping of a Nation' by Gordon Donaldson, p. 57.

'Yet the Scots made a grave miscalculation. They thought of the treaty as a written constitution, and, even with all the concessions they had obtained, they would not have accepted that an omni-competent parliament had power to abrogate provisions which they fondly imagined to be 'fundamental and essential'...But the theories of English constitutional lawyers prevailed, and the union has proved to have no more sanctity than any other statute...The list of violations of the treaty is already a long one and always growing longer...The fact is that, contrary to the beliefs and hopes of those who framed it, the treaty of union has proved to be a scrap of paper, to be torn up at the whim of any British government.'

SOURCE: 'Scotland: The Shaping of a Nation' by Gordon Donaldson, pp. 58-59.

After the Union

'But Union froze many Scottish institutions in the attitude, or stage of development, of 1707, and made it hard for them to adapt in the next hundred and twenty years...Scotland was to suffer from undergovernment, and in particular from a lack of legislation for a long time. the work of Parliament, it was rare for a Scottish model to be preferred to an English one, even when, as for the instance of the Scottish system of banking, it was a better one.'

SOURCE: 'A History of Scotland' by Rosalind Mitchison, pp. 312-313.

'In response to the abortive Jacobite rising of 1708, the new United Kingdom parliament in 1709 extended the draconian English law of treason to Scotland against the concerted opposition of the Scottish members in the Commons.'

SOURCE: 'The Scottish Nation 1700-2000' by T.M. Devine, p. 18.

The first attempt, other than the failed rising in 1708, to dissolve the Treaty of Union was in 1713 -

'To the Scots this was the climax of a whole stream of provocative actions which threatened to break the union. Scottish peers and members of the Commons came together in a series of meetings and agreed that the only solution was repeal of the treaty. What was remarkable was the unanimity of all the parties on such a fundamental issue...The motion was put by the Earl of Findlater in the House of Lords in June 1713 and was only narrowly defeated by four proxy votes.'

SOURCE: 'The Scottish Nation 1700-2000' by T.M. Devine, p. 20,

'In June, 1713, the Scots peers introduced a bill to repeal the Union. It was narrowly defeated, but it is doubtful if anyone would have known what to do had it passed. The horse was gone, and there was no stable door.'

SOURCE: 'The Lion in the North' by John Prebble, p. 285.

With regard to Scottish Independence the Jacobite risings of 1715 and 1745 must be treated with a degree of circumspection. While assurances were given by James Francis Edward Stuart (the Old Pretender) regarding dissolving the Treaty of Union in 1707 it is more likely that the main aim in the 1715 rising was the restoration of a Stuart to the thrones of Scotland and England and in 1745 to the British throne.

'...and the far more dangerous Shawfield riots in 1725 in Glasgow over the enhanced malt tax...Only Glasgow rioted...but the towns all over Scotland were ready to join in and every sign points to this being a movement of national resistance.'

SOURCE: 'A History of Scotland' by Rosalind Mitchison, p. 326.

Towards the end of the 18th century, following the French revolution and the American War of Independence, there was an increase in political societies founded on the philosophies of these events.

'In Scotland, the move to this way of thinking was a more gradual one. Nevertheless...succeeded in forming a movement based on the lines of the first United Irishmen societies, called the Friends of the People. This was, at first, a reform movement but its leaders were republican almost to a man. They were quite open in advocating the repeal of the Union with England, which made them "nationalists" as well.'

SOURCE: 'The Scottish Insurrection of 1820' by Peter Berresford Ellis and Seumas Mac A' Ghobhainn, p. 56,

'By the spring of 1797 the United Scotsmen had spread rapidly, completely taking over from the Friends of the People.'

SOURCE: 'The Scottish Insurrection of 1820' by Peter Berresford Ellis and Seumas Mac A'Ghobhainn, p. 75.

'The year 1798 proved a fateful one. It was in January of that year that the Government learnt the truth of what was about to happen in Ireland and Scotland. Their informers told them that the United Irishmen and the United Scotsmen were going to set up separate republics in Ireland and Scotland.'

SOURCE: 'The Scottish Insurrection of 1820' by Peter Berresford Ellis and Seumas Mac A'Ghobhainn, p. 80.

Treaty of Union (1801)

In June 1800 the Treaty of Union, which expanded the existing Union of England and Scotland (Wales having been incorporated into the realm of England in 1284 following military conquest) to include Ireland, was agreed. That Treaty came into effect on 1 January 1801 as the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.

'At first the Irish Parliament rejected the Union when it was put to a vote in 1799...The Union of the British and Irish Parliaments in 1800 cost the Government of Britain more than a million pounds in bribes...Thus the majority of the 300 members of the Irish Parliament were "persuaded" to vote for Union either by blackmail, financial gain, or the enticement of higher position.'

SOURCE: 'The Scottish Insurrection of 1820' by Peter Berresford Ellis and Seumas Mac A'Ghobhainn, p. 83.

There is a misconception that the United Kingdom was created through the Treaty of Union in 1801. That is incorrect. The term United Kingdom was used for the first time, as part of the formal name, in that treaty, however, the United Kingdom was initially created through the Treaty of Union in 1707. The term is used a number of times in the Articles of the 1707 treaty.


Johmbah said...

Well actually, just as Ireland had to leave a portion behind so could Scotland. The Scots would consider leaving behind the Scottish Borders within the UK, while the rest of Scotland left. Conversely, there's no reason why Westminster need stay within the UK if it chooses to differ from the rest of its union in policy. NI, Wales and Scotland could excommunicate any of England's parishes if they deemed them to be in rebellion from the union's common policy.
Those parishes or constituencies who wish to leave the EU may also be allowed to leave the UK!

Michael Follon said...

Johmbah - What you clearly do not understand is that Scotland is a completely different legal jurisdiction with a legal system that is completely different from English law. Scotland as a country is the people of Scotland - all of them. The geographic land of Scotland extends from the current land border to and including the northern isles of Orkney and Shetland.

'Nevertheless the two systems remain separate, and - a unique constitutional phenomenon within a unitary state - stand to this day in the same juridical relationship to one another as they do individually to the system of any foreign country.'