« السابقةمتابعة »
need to be told, but it was utterly inconsistent with the maxims of her government, among which that of positive compulsion seems to have bad no place, and it was equally so with the enlightened and philanthropic views of some of the principal of her advisers, who, looking at the absolute authority acquired by the crown in that country since the union of the crowns, and aware, especially should it come into the hands of an able and ambitious monarch, of the dangers thence accruing to the liberties of England, had determined upon an union of the two countries
such a basis as should at once create, if not an immediate unity of feelings, at least an unity of interests. Instead, therefore, of showing any thing like irritation at what had been done, the queen and her ministry bestowed honours and rewards pretty liberally upon all who had stood firm on the side of the court-made a few changes among the principal officers of the Scotish administration, and again convened the parliament. In consequence of these measures, a considerable number were gained over to the side of the court, but there was still a majority on the other side. The act of security was again carried through the house, and, in order to obtain, as has been alleged, a money bill, was now perfected by the royal assent. This has generally been considered as a blunder in politics, such as with regard to Scotland the English government had but seldom been guilty of committing. Perhaps it was so, but it was one of those fortunate mistakes that often serve a cause more effectually than the most deep laid and long matured schemes. Hitherto the most formidable opposition to the union of the two kingdoms had always been found on the side of England, and perbaps nothing could have 80 effectually prevailed upon her people generally to acquiesce in the measure, as the spirit and temper of Scotland manifested, especially by this act.
Whatever miglıt have been the motive for passing the act of security, the English ministry showed themselves perfectly alive to what might be its consequences, by the measures they adopted with regard to the relative situation of the two nations, and aware that now they must either lose the Hanoverian succession in Scotland, enter into a war with that people, or grant them, according to their ostensible desire, a treaty, they began to think of an union in good earnest, though, at no previous period, could they have proposed it with so little hope of success. All possible preparation was of course made for carrying forward the measure, without loss of time. The parliament, along with some acts, apparently hostile to Scotland, passed one, empowering her majesty to nominate commissioners, to meet with commissioners to be appointed hy the parliament of Scotland, for that effect. The duke of Argyle, who was known to be a favourite with the presbyterians, was sent down as high commissioner, and the parliament of Scotland was by bim again opened with extraordinary splendour on the twenty-eighth day of June, 1705. A letter from tho queen to the parliament was presented by bis grace, in which she particularly recommended the settling of the succession in the protestant line, in preference to all other business, and next to that, the treaty of Union, with regard to which, she hoped they would follow the example of the English parliament, and towards which sku
promised most heartily her best assistance. These measures the commissioner also, after the example of her majesty, insisted particularly upon in his speech, as expedients necessary for preventing that ruin with which they were but too plainly threatened. The first, the settling the succession in the protestant line, he observed was absolutely necessary for securing peace, and cooling down those heats which had with great industry, and with too much success, been raised among them. The second, the treaty with England, being what they themselves had often discovered so strong an inclination for, he could not suppose would meet with any opposition.*
Before entering upon the proceedings of this parliament, it may not be improper to mention that it was composed of four parties, the court party, the country party, the cavaliers, and the squadrone volante. The first of these were, for the most part, in the revolution interest, though a few of them were suspected, and most probably with justice, to have an eye chiefly to their own. The second were mostly presbyterians, and by the country in general, were regarded as men of probity, aiming, though they might sometimes be mistaken, sincerely to promote the best interests of their country. Through a defect of judgment, however, or the preponderancy of prejudice, they were often the dupes of, and voted to promote the measures of their bitterest enemies. They were headed by the duke of Hamilton, and Fletcher of Salton, both of whom, but especially the last, were strenuous advocates for liberty and independence. The third party consisted of a body of men who were episcopal in religion, and Jacobite in politics, and were distinguished by the name of cavaliers. They were decidedly hostile to the revolution, the present establishment of the church, and the protestant succession ; but they joined with the country party in their outcry of grievances, the decay of trade, the oppressive weight of English influence, and the want of patriotism and public spirit. In all their measures, however, they had nothing further in view than to disturb or delay the succession in the protestant line, and by this means to recommend themselves to the notice of the pretender, on whom they would willingly have bestowed the crown without any limitations either with regard to liberty or religion ! The fourth pretended to be of no party, but to hold the balance between the others, whence they had their name, but their object was only to make themselves of more consideration to the court, and so to be taken into favour upon the best possible terms, and, their mercenary
motives being but ill concealed, they were hated and despised by all. Their leader at this time was the marquis of Tweedale.
When the house proceeded to business, the parties were shy of coming to a trial of strength, and three weeks were spent upon minor matters. When the settlement of the succession came to be discussed, however, the cavaliers proposed, and, with the help of stray votes from the other parties, carried à resolution against it. They also succeeded, settle where it would, in clogging it with a number of restrictions and limitations, which Lockhart, one of the most zealous of them, confesses they
• Lockhart Papers, vol. i. p. 115. Campbell's Life of John, Duke of Argyle, P. 89—93.
did in case it should come to the house of Hanover, and to ingratiate themselves with the people, “ who groaned exceedingly under the oppression of England, and were extremely fond of every thing that seemed to free them from it !" It was probably with the same views that they carried a great many resolutions for regulating the sittings and the proceedings of parliament, which, as, in consequence of the Union, they never came into practice, it would be out of place here to detail.
The draught of an act presented by the earl of Marr for appointing commissioners to treat with those who had been nominated on the part of England upon an union of the two kingdoms, came at length to be discussed. This draught was drawn after the act of the English parliament, which was represented by Fletcher of Salton as scurrilous and haughty, and he exhorted them to resent this treatment on the part of the English by throwing the motion of a treaty, until it was proposed in more civil terms, out of the house." This motion, however, was rejected, and the cavaliers, aided by the country party, finding it to no purpose to oppose the treaty any longer in general terms, attempted to clog it, like the succession, with such restrictions as should effectually prevent it from taking effect, and for that end, a clause was proposed by the duke of Hamilton, “ that the union to be treated on should no ways derogate from any fundamental laws, ancient privileges, offices, rights, liberties, and dignities of this nation." This proposal was debated at great length, and was at last rejected by a plurality of only two voices, seven or eight of the cavalier and country parties, according to Lockhart, being absent when the vote was taken. Having lost this clause, the cavaliers presented another in these words, “ Provided always that the said commissioners shall not go forth of this kingdom, to enter into any treaty with those to be appointed for England, until there be an act passed by the parliament of England, rescinding that clause in the English act, by which it is enacted that the subjects of Scotland shall be adjudged and taken as aliens aster the twenty-fifth day of December, 1705.” This also they enlarged upon at great length, as necessary to vindicate the honour of the nation from the injustice of the English in that act, still hoping the English parliament would not comply with the demand, and the treaty would be thus prevented. This was opposed upon the same grounds as the former proposals of the party, but finding the house inclined to adopt it, the court party met it by a motion to this effect, “ that the clause should be approven, but that it should not be engrossed into the act for a treaty, but pass as a resolve of the house, that after the foresaid act is finished, the house will immediately proceed to consider whether the clause should be by a particular act, or by an order of the house." Being put to the vote, this last was carried, by which the court party considered they had it in their own power, for if it was turned into an act at the close of the session, they could refuse the royal assent, which would render it nugatory, and they might proceed with the treaty whether the obnoxious act of the English parliament were repealed or not. Before stating the vote, however, upon the act for a treaty, the duke of Athol entered his protestation in the following terms :-“ In regard that by an English act of parliament made in the last session thereof, intituled, an act for the
effectually securing England from the dangers that may arise from several acts passed lately in Scotland, the subjects of this kingdom are adjudged aliens born out of the allegiance of the queen, as queen of England after the twenty-fifth day of December, 1705. I do therefore protest for myself, and in the name and behalf of all such as shall adhere to this my protestation, that for saving the bonour and interest of her majesty as queen of this kingdom, and maintaining and preserving the undoubted rights and privileges of her subjects, no act for a treaty with England ought to pass in this house unless a clause be adjected thereto, prohibiting and discharging the commissioners that may be nominated and appointed for carrying on the said treaty, to depart the kingdom in order thereto, until the said act be repealed and rescinded in the parliament of England.” To this protestation most of the cavaliers, a few belonging to the country party, and nearly all the squadrone adhered, making in all twenty-four peers, thirty-seven barons, and eiguteen burgesses.*
By the time the vote was taken upon the act for the treaty it was late, and the sederunt having been a long one, many of the members as they gave their votes, went out of the house, not expecting any more business to come on for that night, but the last name on the roll was scarcely called, when the duke of Hamilton, addressing himself to the chancellor, moved that the nomination of the commissioners for the treaty should be left wholly to the queen. Nothing could have been more astonishing to his friends than such a proposal from his grace, who had all along exclaimed with the utmost bitterness against entering into such a treaty on any conditions. Twelve or fifteen of them, filled with rage and despair, ran out of the house, crying that he had deserted and basely betrayed them. Those of the party that remained, debated the question with his grace's own arguments, but when it came to the vote, it was carried by eight voices, among which that of his grace made one. This was no sooner over, than the whole act, empowering commissioners to meet and treat with England, was voted and approven, wben the duke of Athol again protested against it, and was adhered to by twenty-one noblemen, thirty-three barons, and eighteen burgesses.t
The conduct of the duke of Hamilton on this occasion was certainly very strange, and by no means easy to be accounted for.
It has, as we have already noticed, been ascribed to a secret hankering which he had after the Scotish crown to a desire to be nominated one of the commissioners himself--and to the secret intrigues of the earl of Marrperhaps it may be with more truth and propriety ascribed to the difficulty of the case operating upon the vanity, the selfishness, and the imbecility of his grace's character. Whatever was the motive with the duke of Hamilton, the effect was salutary, as it removed the last remaining difficulty on the part of the Scotish parliament in the way of entering upon the treaty, and the English parliament, contrary to the expectations of the Scotish cavaliers, baving shortly after repealed the act that had been so particularly excepted against in Scotland, and thus taken
• Lockhart Papers, vol. i. p. 132.
f. Ibid. p. 133.
every obstacle out of the way, her majesty, in the month of March, 1706, issued out two commissions, one for Scotland, and one for England, appointing the following persons commissioners for treating of an Union of the two kingdoms, viz. for Scotland, the earl of Seafield, lord chancellor, the duke of Queensberry, lord privy seal, the earl of Marr, and the earl of Loudon, secretaries of state, the earls of Sutherland, Morton, Weemys, Leven, Stair, Roseberry, and Glasgow, viscount Duplin, lord Ross, lord Archibald Campbell, Sir Hugh Dalrymple, president of the session, Adam Cockburn of Ormiston, lord justice clerk, Robert Dundas of Arniston, one of the lords of session, Robert Stuart of Tillycoultry, do. Sir Alexander Ogilvie of Forglan, do. Mr. Francis Montgomery of Giffen, Sir David Dalrymple, Sir Patrick Johnston, lord provost of Edinburgh, Sir James Smollett, George Lockhart of Carnwath, William Morrison, younger of Preston Grange, Alexander Grant, younger of Grant, William Seton, younger of Pitmedden, John Clerk, younger of Pennycuick, Hugh Montgomery, lord provost of Glasgow, Daniel Campbell, and Daniel Stewart, taxmen of the customs. On the part of England, his grace the archbishop of Canterbury, his grace the archbishop of York, William Cowper, keeper of the great seal, the lord Godolphin, lord treasurer, the earl of Pembroke, president of the council, the duke of Newcastle, privy seal, the dukes of Devonshire, Somerset, and Bolton, the earls of Sunderland, Kingston, Carlisle, and Oxford, viscount Townshend, lord Wharton, lord Gray, lord Poulet, lord Somers, lord Halifax, John Smith, speaker of the house of commons, William Cavendish, marquis of Huntington, John Manners, marquis of Granby, Sir Charles Hodges, and Robert Harley, secretaries of state, Henry Boyle, chancellor of the exchequer, lord chief justice Holt, lord chief justice Trevor, Edward Northey, attorney general, Simon Harcourt, solicitor general, Sir John Cook, advocate general, and Stephen Waller, doctor of law.*
The commissioners on both sides were all of the whig party, the archbishop of York excepted, who never condescended to honour them with his presence, and George Lockhart of Carnwath, who was a violent Jacobite, and by the advice of his party, sat as a spy upon their proceedings, but took no part in their deliberations.f He was at the same time directed to embrace the opportunity for canvassing the English tories, in order to learn how far they might be disposed to go in case of an invasion from France, headed by the pretender, which was, at that time, anxiously expected by the party, and he communicated accordingly with the duke of Leeds, the lord Granville, and other of the leading tories, but found them utterly averse to do any thing for James, at least so long as the queen lived. This he carefully communicated, with every thing relating to the treaty of Union, to captain Straiton, who was immediately despatched to France with the tidings, and to solicit the French king for assistance in this their hour of peril and extremity. A particular -account of the state of feeling in Scotland, so minute as to characterize almost every individual of the least notoriety, had also
• Lockhart Papers, vol. i. p. 141.
+ Ibid. p. 142.