James Mackinnon.

The union of England and Scotland; a study of international history online

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teriens avoit des interests et des desseins directement opposez, et qu'il etoit
impossible d'ajuster ; cependant toutes les factions suspendirent leurs res-
sentiments et s'accorderent pour les interests communs ; de meme les ani-
mositez parmi les Eccosais cederont au moins pour un tems a leur passion
dominante, pour 1'independence et pour la commerce." Hooke Correspond-
ence, I., p. 57.

t Ibid., p. 20.


the general reading of the party barometer on the eve of
the memorable Union controversy.

A closer survey of that barometer, in the midst of the
general election, reveals the existence of three parties
those of the Court, the Country, and the Jacobites.* The
Court party embraced the supporters of the Government.
Under the union of the crowns, Scotland had retained,
beside its separate Legislature, its great officers of state,
on whom devolved the administration. At the opening
of the eighteenth century the Government consisted of a
chancellor, two secretaries of state, the president of the
council, the lord privy seal, the lord register, the treasurer
depute, the lord justice clerk, the lord advocate, the solicitor
general, the governor of Edinburgh Castle, and several lords
of the Treasury. During the sitting of Parliament, the lord
high commissioner acted as the representative of royalty.
After the close of the Session of 1702, a change of Ministry
deprived the earls of Marchmont, Melville, Selkirk, Leven,
Hyndford, Cockburn of Ormiston, and Maxwell of Pollock
of their posts. The earl of Seafield became chancellor ;
the duke of Queensberry and Viscount Tarbat, soon to be
raised to the earldom of Cromartie, secretaries of state ; the
marquess of Annandale, president of the Council ; the earl
of Tullibardine, about to become, on the death of his father
the marquess, duke of Athole, lord privy seal ; lord Boyle,
presently to be advanced to the dignity of earl of Glasgow,
treasurer depute ; Roderick Mackenzie of Prestonhall,
justice clerk ; Sir James Murray of Philiphaugh, lord
register ; and the earl of March, governor of Edinburgh
Castle.f Since the accession of William, the Court party,
as the adherents of the men in power were called, had
represented the Revolution principles in Church and State.

* Lockhart's Memoirs, Carstares State Papers, Hooke Correspondence,
contain many hints of the state of political parties in Scotland at this period.
Stair, in a letter to Godolphin during the Session of 1703, also distinguishes
three parties, which he calls that of the Government, the duke of Hamilton,
and the Cavalier or Episcopal party. Stair Annals, I., Appendix.

t Lockhart's Memoirs, p. 21 ; Caldwcll Papers, I., p. 197.


It would be equally correct to say that it represented the
interests of the men, who for the time being wielded the
direction of affairs, and the contingent of place hunters and
partisans, who were dependent on them. Its politics was
largely shaped by the dictates of the Court at London. In
a capital without a king, in a country united to a more
powerful neighbour, it was hardly possible for the Govern-
ment of the day not to merit the charge of pandering to
the English ministers, or at least of being the agents of a
sovereign, who was greatly influenced by his English
advisers. The Scottish ministers, under the regal union,
were too often the mere creatures of a non-resident king,
subject to the bias of English influence; and the Court
party were the members of Parliament who supported
what was decried, and not always without reason, as an
anti-national regime ; in other words, the supporters of
Queensberry, or Seafield, or whoever happened to be in
power, controlled, directly by the sovereign, and
indirectly by the English ministers. Lockhart does not
give it a very high character for patriotism or probity ;
but Lockhart, it must be remembered, is by no means
an impartial judge. " The Court party," he remarks, " were
subdivided into such as were revolutioners and of anti-
monarchical principles, and such as were anything that
would procure or secure them in their employments and
pensions." *

The influence of Argyle had hitherto sufficed to assure
to the Government the general adhesion of the Presbyterians.
But since the catastrophe that befel the African Company,
the party of the Court had lost in numbers and influence
by the growth of the Patriotic or Country party, led by the
duke of Hamilton, Fletcher of Saltoun, and other public-
spirited Scotsmen. It was composed of men from both
sides of the ecclesiastical arena, and was representative of
the nation in its struggle for regeneration, rather than of

* Memoirs, p. 35. Clerk's judgment (Memoirs) is more favourable. They
were swayed by interest of country as well as considerations of royal favour.


political faction or religious sect. " Their aim," wrote a
correspondent of Carstares, " is solely the peace and
security of the Government and the good of the country,
by an industrious pursuit of honourable and profitable
trade." * Hamilton and Fletcher had laboured to restore
the crippled commerce of Scotland by nurturing the spirit
of enterprise. As we shall learn, in the impassioned dis-
courses of Fletcher on the floor of the Parliament House
during the next five years, the Countrymen were deter-
mined to put an end to the system of English government
of Scotland, which, they held, had degraded its sovereignty
and increased its poverty. Their battle-cry had been,
during the past three years of strife, " Respect for the
liberty, honour, and sovereignty of Scotland ! " Their
policy was to force England to grant real self-government
and participation in colonial trade ; or to accept the alterna-
tive of separation. They were unionists in principle ; but
the union they contemplated was a union which should
assure real autonomy to Scotland, with equal trade privi-
leges. In their view, the union of the crowns had produced
nothing but loss to Scotland : it had deprived her of her
king and her status in Europe, had subordinated her interests
to those of England, had filled the country with strife and
bloodshed, and, even under a sovereign of revolution prin-
ciples, could be tolerated no longer. These angry patriots
will know nothing of a union that will deprive Scotland
of an iota of its sovereignty. If they are resolute to extort
freedom of trade, they are none the less determined to
maintain its Parliament and its national institutions ; and,
led by Fletcher, Belhaven, Hamilton, and others, they will
fight desperately on the floor of Parliament House, to
enforce their demand of a federal, in place of an incor-
porating Union.

The third party, that of the Jacobites, was at one with
the Countrymen in its resistance to the Government, and

* Carstares State Papers, p. 627.


in its demand for free trade. They were all the more
emphatic in their demand for emancipation from the
thraldom of English statecraft, inasmuch as the monarch
and the Government of England were the products of revo-
lution principles. They were the most resolute of all
the opponents of compromise, without the fullest guaran-
tee of the recognition of Scottish independence. It would
be difficult to exaggerate the patriotic language of a
Lockhart. His methods of intrigue may be questionable ;
his honesty of conviction is unimpeachable. But, in doing
battle for the honour of Scotland in the ranks of the
Countrymen, the Jacobites had ulterior objects in view,
which did not enter into the calculations of their Presby-
terian allies, to which, in fact, the latter were opposed with
all the fervour of intense religious and political conviction.
The Jacobite ardently desired independence of English
control, for the purpose of facilitating, as he fondly
hoped, the restoration of the sovereign to whom he gave
his secret allegiance. On his lips the sovereignty of
Scotland was, in reality, equivalent to the sovereignty of
his majesty at St. Germain's. The Jacobite was in truth
delighted, in his inmost soul, at the tension between the
two countries : it afforded a handle for intrigue, not
merely against the regal union, but against the Revolution
settlement, of which he was not slow to avail himself. At
the time that William was delivering his dying injunction
in favour of union, Scottish public opinion was being
skilfully manipulated, for their own ends, by men who
were in secret correspondence with St. Germains and Ver-
sailles.* They joined in the national shout of indignation
from a feeling that the country had been dishonoured, and
unconstitutionally treated. But behind their discontent
and their anger, lay additional and equally powerful
motives of attachment to an exiled dynasty, whose
restoration was the main fact of their policy. Some of

* So Defoe and Burnet ; cf. Carstares Papers, pp. 578-627.


the more powerful of the Scottish nobility were involved
in this seditious exchange of letters ; and even the duke
of Hamilton, the recognised head of the Countrymen, was,
not without justification, looked up to by the Jacobites as
a leader, only second in influence to the earl of Home.
These secret aspirations will subsequently come into the
light in connection with the intrigues so skilfully carried on
between Edinburgh and Paris by the redoubtable Colonel
Hooke. Meanwhile, it is of the utmost importance to
keep in mind the fact of this double Jacobite policy.*
It explains, in part, the strange unanimity of Presbyterian
and Episcopalian throughout the vicissitudes of the Union
struggle. On the part of the Jacobites, this unanimity was
the result of a mixture of patriotism and policy. Their
reasonings were specious enough. They strove to per-
suade the Countrymen that the House of Commons would
never yield the demand of free trade ; and that if it did
so, it would be under conditions that no patriotic Scotsman
could accept. Their true policy was, therefore, to vote
against the Hanoverian succession, and, better still, for
separation ! f We shall have abundant occasion to follow
more closely this tortuous policy, in portraying the attitude
of the Jacobites in the parliamentary debates and popular
movements of the next few years.

The Government left no stone unturned during the
elections to increase its supporters. The ovation, which
had greeted the exit of the duke of Hamilton from the
Rump Parliament, showed that popular sympathy was on
the side of the Countrymen. Queensberry and his col-
leagues felt that they had placed themselves in an invidious
light, in the view of the electors, in resisting the demand
for an immediate appeal to the country. They exerted
themselves to the utmost to secure a majority. Seafield

* The fact was noted by Marchmont (Papers, III., p. 146), in a letter
to King William, of date, December, 1697.

t See Memoires sur les Affaires d'Ecossf, at this period, presented by
Col. Hooke to the French Government, Correspondence, I., pp. 1-31, etc.


hurried down from London to influence the electoral
struggle. By assurances of the queen's favour he suc-
ceeded in bringing over a number of the Jacobites to
vote for Government candidates. The Privy Council, he
promised, would issue an Act of indemnity to all who had
been guilty of sedition during the former reign. Toleration
for the Episcopal clergy, and a share in the shaping of the
measures of Government, were held out as additional baits
to catch Jacobite votes. Lockhart bewailed the blind
compliance of some of his fellow-cavaliers, who secured
the election of several Presbyterians in their district, and
even, in some cases, voted against candidates of their own
persuasion, in reliance on Seafield's assurances. But his
artifices failed to seduce the suffrages of the patriots.
The distinctive feature of the majority in the new Parlia-
ment was an intense spirit of nationalism. Queensberry
and Seafield were to discover in the presence of the
numerous phalanx of Countrymen, reinforced by the
Jacobite contingent, ere long fated to realise that the
Government was unwilling or unable to keep its promises,
that they had wooed the suffrages of the electors
to little purpose, in the expectation of securing a maxi-
mum of sorely needed supplies, at the cost of a minimum
of discussion of burning questions.*

" "The duke of Queensberry," says Burnet, "was sent down the
queen's commissioner to the Parliament. This influenced all those who
had formerly opposed him ; they resolved to oppose him still in everything,
and the greater part of the Jacobites joined with them, but some of them
were bought off, as was said, by him." History, p. 736.



THE first Session of the new Parliament was opened on the
6th May, 1703, by the duke of Queensberry, with all the dis-
play of magnificent haberdashery which, on such occasions,
dazzled the eyes of the good citizens of the old Scottish
capital. The picturesque procession, or " ryding," that passed
up the Canongate and High Street to the Parliament House,
in all the trappings of mediaeval pomp, afforded a highly-
coloured illustration of the old Scottish Parliamentary
constitution. In front rode the members of the royal
burghs, sixty-three in number, dressed in black velvet, and
attended each by a single lackey.* Next came the barons, or
representatives of the shires, to the number of seventy-seven,
somewhat more conspicuously attired, and attended each by
two lackeys. Next, the various grades of the nobility, or
hereditary members, the splendour of their attire and the
number of their attendants increasing, according to rank, up
to the magnificence of my lord duke, who was arrayed in
gorgeous robes, and attended by eight gaudily-dressed
lackeys. Then came the lord Lyon and pursuivants,
resplendent in jewelled finery, bearing the emblems of
monarchy the crown, the sceptre, and sword of state
and heralded by a blast of trumpets. The royal commis-
sioner, accompanied by a brilliant group of cavaliers, went

* John Clerk of Penicuik, who was member for the burgh of Whithorn,
informs us in his Memoirs (p. 46) that he was " mounted on a grey pad,
belonging to the duke of Queensberry, and equipt with black velvet
accoutrements, as all the representatives of the royal burrows were ".


last, according to the feudal etiquette, which increased the
rank of the procession from the front backwards.* This
florid display of silk, and ermine, and velvet, in which the
constitution picturesquely embodied itself, might have
done credit to the grandest capital of Europe. " The
lords, barons, and representatives for the royal burrows,"
says the far-travelled Clerk, " made a very grand appear-
ance, and such as I never saw the like in any foreign
place." It was at all times a popular spectacle to the
crowd behind the line of regulars and city guards that
kept the route. As an embodiment of the constitution, it
appealed to the patriotism of the onlookers. Moreover, on
this occasion, it appealed in a marked degree to the sense
of political partisanship. Haberdashery apart, there was
the intensity of political feeling, in the expectation of a
great constitutional struggle, which transforms a conven-
tional state show into an important historical event.
Well-known statesmen, who have played a conspicuous
part in the stirring history of the last twenty years, are
scrutinised with reference to the views they represent,
rather than the finery of their rank. Some of them have
inscribed their memories so deeply in the history of the
Union, that they deserve a passing notice from posterity
as well. Mark, then, the chief figures of that imposing
cavalcade, which was received at the opening of the
Parliament Close by the lord high constable, and con-
ducted by the lord marischal into that historic hall,
which to-day serves as the noble ante-room of the Court
of Session.^

The duke of Queensberry, as commissioner, is described

* See an Act of the Privy Council establishing the order of the " ryding "
of Parliament, July 25, 1681. This, and a number of others referring to the
subject, are given in the Maitland Miscellany, III., pp. 99-137. One directs
that every member of Parliament must go on horseback ; another, that the
higher degree and the most honourable of that degree is always to ride last.

t The names of the members of this Parliament may be seen in Foster's
Members of the Parliament of Scotland ; and in the Acts of Parliament,


by a contemporary as of " genteel address, much the manner
of a man of quality, of easy access, thin, of a black com-
plexion, turned of forty-five years old ".* " A very friendly,
affable man," is the dictum of another contemporary, " a
compleat courtier ; and partly by art, partly by nature, he
had brought himself into the habite of saying civil and
oblidging things to everybody." f He had shown himself
so staunch a supporter of the Revolution, that he passed
among the Jacobites by the epithet of the "proto-rebel". His
enemies ascribed his change of allegiance, from King James
to King William, to the unsteady character that made him
accessible to the influence of others. This " easy, lazy
temper," which disgusted the Jacobites, proved to be
compatible with firmness of purpose, when he was called
on to steer the ship of Union over the billows of Scottish
party passion. We have already made his acquaintance
at Westminster as the staunch, yet patriotic advocate of the
policy of union. He was, owing to his attitude on the
Darien controversy, perhaps the best hated man in Scotland.
He was particularly obnoxious to the Jacobites ; and the
part he was to play in opposition to their tactics, in the
new Parliament, exposed him to the bitter criticism of
anti-unionists of the stamp of Lockhart. He rails at him
as the self-seeking promoter of every scheme for enslaving
Scotland. " He was reputed a man of good parts, but
wanted application to business ; was extremely covetous,
and at the same time extremely lavish of his money. For
though he got vast sums of money by his publick employ-
ments, most of it was squandered away. He was well
bred, and had so courteous a behaviour that, what by this
and the occasion of doing acts of kindness, by having the
chief administration of affairs so long in his hands, he
engaged the favour and friendship of very many of all
ranks of people, and entirely managed the Revolution
party, and such as were willing to prostitute themselves to

* Macky's Characters of the Nobility of Scotland, p. 180.
t Clerk's Memoirs, p. 38.


serve the Court measures. To outward appearance, and in
his ordinary conversation, he was of a gentle and good
disposition ; but inwardly a very devil, standing at nothing
to advance his own interest and designs. Though his
hypocrisy and dissimulation served him very much, yet
he became so very well known, that no man, except such
as were his nearest friends, and socy criminis, gave him
any trust ; and so little regard had he to his promises and
vows, that it was observed and nottour, that if he was at
any pains to convince you of his friendship, and by swear-
ing and impricating curses on himself and family, to assure
you of his sincerity, then, to be sure, he was doing you
underhand all the mischief in his power." * Even Lockhart
bears testimony to his ability and his skill in the difficult
task, which his position laid upon him, of managing men
and parties, and leaves margin enough for doubt as to the
wholesale charges he makes against his honour.

Another high personage, who rivets the eye of the spec-
tator, is the duke of Hamilton, a man whom circumstances,
rather than character, made the most popular politician of
the age. His haughty, penetrating look, proclaims the
patrician of royal and ancient lineage. He is not other-
wise a remarkable figure, being of " middle stature, well
made, of a black, coarse complexion, a brisk look, towards
fifty years old ".f By no means a popular exterior ; but
his reputation of antagonism to the late regime has amply
made up, in the popular view, for such deficiencies. His
questionable attitude towards the Revolution had made
him the object of suspicion to the Government of King
William. He had suffered arrest for alleged conspiracy
on behalf of King James. He managed to save his head
and his estates, by eschewing politics, and confining his
attention largely to economic questions. His patriotism as
one of the heartiest supporters to the African Company,
and as the champion, in opposition to Queensberry, of its

* Lockhart Papers, I., pp. 44-45.
t Macky's Characters, p. 178.


interests, in the Scottish Parliament, entitled him to the
effusive gratitude of the nation. He was ambitious of
playing a part in the government of Scotland, under the
new sovereign. He even speculated on the probability of
ascending the throne himself, after the queen's decease, in
virtue of his royal descent, and his commanding influence.
His sympathies were Jacobite, but his Jacobitism was not
of that inveterate type that would not sacrifice itself to
the welfare of the country. When it comes to be a ques-
tion of union, or war, we shall find the duke instrumental
in leading a section of his party to bow to the inevitable,
and accept the former alternative. Lockhart exalts his
good qualities in proportion as he depreciates those of
Queensberry. " He was master of an heroick and un-
daunted courage," he assures us ; " a clear, ready, and
penetrating conception, and knew not what it was to be
surprised, having at all times, on all occasions, his wits
about him ; and though in a parliament he could not
express his thoughts in a style altogether eloquent, yet he
had so nervous, majestic, and pathetic a method of speaking,
and applying what he spoke, that it was always valued
and regarded. Never was a man so well qualified to be
the head of a party as himself; for he could, with the
greatest dexterity, apply himself to and sift through the
inclinations of different parties, and so cunningly manage
them, that he gained some of all to his ; and if once he
had entered into a new project (though in doing thereof
he was too cautious), did then prosecute his designs
with such courage that nothing could either daunt or divert
his zeal and forwardness." *

Another man with a history, who justly merits a con-
siderable share of attention, is the handsome and affable
earl of Seafield. Though his familiarity and plainness of
manner, and the endowment of " a soft tongue," marked
him out as a popular idol, he shared at this period, as

* Papers, I., pp. 54-56 ; cf. Clerk's Memoirs, p. 57.


chancellor and ex-secretary of state, in the obloquy
attached to his chief, Queensberry. He had made a
reputation as an advocate, and had paid his court so
assiduously to King William, that he rose to be lord
advocate, and subsequently Scottish secretary. In the
latter capacity, he had to face both ways over the Darien
business, and paid for the success, with which he managed
to keep Parliament from adopting extreme measures, by
being placed in the pillory of Jacobite resentment. " He
was believed to be of loyal enough principles, but had
so mean and selfish a soul that he wanted both resolution
and honesty enough to adhere to them, which evidently
appeared from his changing sides so often, and cleaving
to that party he found rising. . . . He was finely accom-
plished, a learned lawyer, a just judge, courteous and good-
natured ; but, withal, so entirely abandoned to serve the
Court measures, be what they will, that he seldom or
never consulted his own inclinations, but was a blank sheet
of paper, which the Court might fill up with what they
pleased." *

This obloquy was shared in even greater degree by
John Dalrymple, viscount Stair, who, next to Carstares,
had exercised the greatest influence on Scottish history
during the first half of the late reign. Our Jacobite
critic excels even himself in vituperative violence to his
memory, but is compelled to admit his versatile gifts.
" 'Twas he that, to secure his Court interest, in King
William's time, contrived, and was the author of, the

Online LibraryJames MackinnonThe union of England and Scotland; a study of international history → online text (page 9 of 51)