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The Union Achieved

On 16 January 1707, at the end of three months of debate, the Scottish Parliament finally voted on the whole Treaty, including the Act of Security for the Church of Scotland.

The Final Vote
The Terms
The Exemplification of the Act of Union
The End of the Scottish Parliament
The Last Speech in the Scottish Parliament

Timeline of events leading up to the Union of 1707.

The Final Vote

The vote went as follows:

The image shows the final vote in the Scottish Parliament: 110 in favour of union, 67 against and 46 either absent or abstaining

The union was carried by a majority of 43. The government had a 2:1 majority among the nobility. By careful management and the distribution of rewards, the usual method of oiling the wheels of politics at the time, the government got the Articles of Union through. A sum of £20,000 was made available to help matters. The support of the Squadrone Volante was crucial. Many of them had lost money in the Darien scheme and they were promised control of the compensation for the disaster. The Church dropped its opposition to the union when the Act of Security for the Church of Scotland was passed at the same time which protected the established presbyterian government of the Church.

The image shows a printed summary of how the members of the Scottish Parliament voted on the Treaty of Union. National Records of Scotland, Register House Papers, reference RH18/4/14

A transcript of the printed final vote is available as an Acrobat PDF file (423 KB, opens in new window).

(National Records of Scotland, Register House papers, RH18/4/14)

The image shows a drawing of relics of the Old Scottish Mint, taken from Cassell's Old and New Edinburgh, James Grant, vol.1, p.269The Terms

The union which had been debated so long and hard provided for the joining of Scotland and England as Great Britain with one Parliament. Scotland at last achieved freedom of trade and England secured the Hanoverian succession. There was to be a uniform system of taxation, but to prevent Scotland being overburdened by the heavier English taxes, concessions were granted in several areas including salt and malt.

Scotland gave up its own coinage, system of weights and measures, and customs and excise to fall in line with English standards and create a unified British system.

Each country kept its own legal system and established Church. To compensate Scotland for taking on a share of England’s national debt a sum of £398,085 10s, the Equivalent, was paid to compensate Darien shareholders and pay arrears of salaries to government officials and the army.

(Relics of the Old Scottish Mint, taken from Cassell’s Old and New Edinburgh, James Grant, Vol. 1, p. 269)

The Exemplification of the Act of Union

After the Treaty had been passed in the Scottish Parliament, it went before the English Parliament and received royal assent on 6 March 1707. The Queen ordered an official copy of the English act to be sent to Scotland. This copy, known as the Exemplification of the Act of Union is dated 7 March 1707. The document is illustrated with a portrait of Queen Anne and various symbols of both Scotland and England. Details of the illustrations can be downloaded as an Acrobat PDF file (552 KB, opens in new window).

The image shows the first page of the Exemplification of the Act of Union, 7 March 1707. National Records of Scotland, State Papers, reference SP13/210 p.1

(National Records of Scotland, State papers, SP13/210 p.1)

The End of the Scottish Parliament

The last volume of the Acts of Parliament breaks off dramatically in mid-sentence on 27 November 1706, in the middle of a debate about the sixth article of union and export duties. This register was compiled from minutes of proceedings in Parliament and other papers that still survive to record the final few months of its existence.

The image shows the last page of the last volume of the Acts of the Scottish Parliament. National Records of Scotland, Acts of Parliament, reference PA2/39

We do not know the reason for the sudden halt in the register. As these volumes were written up considerably later than the events they recorded, it is unlikely that the clerk was stopped by anti-union rioting. As the clerks were employed personally by the Lord Clerk Register, one possible explanation is that this clerk, John Corse, stopped work when he heard of the death of the Clerk Register in 1708, thinking that he might not be paid.

Transcript of the entry for Wednesday 27 November 1706:

Wednesday 27th November 1706

Prayers said

Rolls called

Minuts of the last sederunt read

Address of the Barons, freeholders and others within the shire of Midlothian subscribing the same against an Union with England in the terms of the articles given in and read.

The sixth article of Union again read and a proposal given in for adding the word, Drawbacks, to both clauses of the said article…

As also a clause in these terms viz. Excepting and reserving the duties upon Export and import of such particular Commodities from which any person the subjects of either Kingdom, are specially liberated and exempted by their privat rights which after the Union, are to remain safe and intire to them in all respects

And Sicklike another clause in these terms That

(National Records of Scotland, Acts of Parliament, PA2/39)

The Last Speech in the Scottish Parliament

The last session of the Scottish Parliament met on Tuesday 25 March 1707. Various last acts and petitions were granted, then the Queen’s High Commissioner, the Duke of Queensberry closed proceedings with a final speech. The best known comment on the end of the Parliament is the Earl of Seafield’s remark when he signed the Act of Union: Now there’s ane end o’ ane auld sang.

A new song began with the opening of the new Scottish Parliament on 6 May 1999.

The image shows the last words from the Duke of Queensberry's speech at the closure of proceedings of the Scottish Parliament. National Records of Scotland, Warrants of Parliament, reference PA6/36


My Lords and Gentlemen
The publick business of this Session being now over, it is full time to put an end
to it.

I am persuaded that we and our posterity will reap the benefite of the Union
of the two Kingdoms and I doubt not that as this Parliament has had the
honour to conclude it You will in your several stations Recommend to the
people of this Nation a grateful sense of her Majesties goodness and great
care for the Wellfare of her subjects in bringing this important affair to
perfection. And that you will promote an universal desire in this Kingdom
to become one in hearts and affections as we are inseperably joined in interest
with our neighbour Nation.

My Lords and Gentlemen
I have a very deep sense of the assistance and respect I have met with from you
in this session of parliament and I shall omit no occasion of shewing to the
outmost of my power the grateful remembrance I have of it.

Then The Lord Chancellour by order of her Majesties high
Commissioner Adjourned the parliament To meet at Edinburgh
the twenty second day of April next And Declared the same to be
Seafield cancellar

(National Records of Scotland, Warrants of Parliament: PA6/36)



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