“HINTS ON THE IMPORTANCE OF SCOTLAND,
AS A SEPARATE DIVISION OF THE BRITISH EMPIRE,
BY THE RIGHT HONOURABLE SIR JOHN SINCLAIR, BART.
It is well known, that the power of a country principally depends on the revenue which it possesses, and consequently, that the real value of any portion of it ought to be estimated, according to the clear income which it produces to the national treasury. In that respect it is proposed to make a comparison between Scotland and Ireland, as separate divisions of the Empire, and then to prove the immense advantages which, in point of revenue, England has derived from its Union with Scotland.
I. From the recent accounts which have been laid before Parliament, it appears that the population of Ireland and of Scotland, and the gross income and net revenue of the two kingdoms, for one year, ending on the 5th of April, 1822, were as follows:-
Country – 1821.
Gross Revenue, for
Net Revenue, for
Hence it is evident that, comparing the population with the gross revenue, every Scotchman pays per head 2l. 1s. 0¾d. and every Irishman 15s. 1d.; but if a comparison is made according to the net revenue, every Scotchman pays 1l. 12s. 10¼d. and every Irishman but 11s. 9¼d. or little more than one-third.
From these facts, the following deductions are to be made:-
1. If the population of Ireland (6,846,949) gives a net revenue of 4,059,373l. what should the population of Scotland (2,092,614) produce in the same proportion?
Answer, 1,254,188l.; consequently Scotland pays 2,202,454l. per annum beyond its proportion, comparing the population of the two countries.
2. If the population of Scotland (2,092,014) produces a net revenue of 3,456,642l. what should the population of Ireland (6,846,949) produce at the same rate?
Answer, 11,295,500l. or Ireland pays 7,256,207l. less than its proportion, comparing its revenue and population with those of Scotland.
3. If Ireland, producing a net revenue of 4,059,373l. has 52 Peers and 100 Commoners, what number of Peers and Commoners ought Scotland to have, producing a net revenue of 3,456,642l.?
Answer, 27 Peers and 85 Commoners; consequently Scotland ought to have 11 Peers and 40 Commoners additional.
4. If Scotland, producing a net revenue of 3,456,642l. has only 16 Peers and 45 Commoners, how many Peers and Commoners ought Ireland to have, producing a net revenue of 4,059,373l.?
Answer, 19 Peers and 53 Commoners; consequently Ireland has 15 Peers and 47 Commoners beyond its proportion, according to the net revenue payable by the two countries.
This shews what a much better bargain the Irish made at their Union than the Scots did, when they were united to England, and it ought to make the Irish less hostile to that Union than many of them are inclined to be at present.
II. It is next proposed to give some idea of the immense advantages which, in point of revenue, the English have derived from the Union with Scotland.
The revenue of Scotland at the Union was only 110,694l., but in order that both nations, in the words of the Act of Treaty of Union, “might be put on equal footing,” an additional land tax was imposed, by means of which, with other resources, it was intended that the revenue of Scotland should be raised to 160,000l. per annum, which was then estimated to be its full proportion. The revenue which England produced at that time was 5,691,803l. Hence the following results may be drawn, which are calculated according to the gross revenue, the net income at the Union not being exactly ascertained:-
1. If Scotland at the Union produced 160,000l. of gross revenue per annum, when England produced 5,691,803l. now that England produces 54,564,910l., what should Scotland pay, according to the original proportion settled at the Union?
Answer, 575,191l., or 3,717,373l. less than it does at present.
2. If Scotland now produces 4,292,567l. of gross revenue, what should England now produce, if its revenue had increased since the Union, in the same proportion as Scotland?
Answer, 152,702,285l., or 98,137,875l. per annum more than it does at present.
There can hardly be a doubt, if Scotland had insisted that it should not be subjected in future to heavier payments than in proportion to those which it had agreed to pay at the Union, the stipulation, being a fair one, would have been acceded to, and it is evident that Scotland does now produce a revenue, in proportion, much larger than ever was contemplated at the Union.
It is likewise to be observed, that Scotland pays a larger revenue than what appears from the accounts laid before Parliament; for all the teas, groceries, porter, drugs, and a number of other articles consumed in Scotland, pay the taxes to which they are liable, previous to their being landed here; thus augmenting the revenue of England, and proportionably reducing that of Scotland.
No one wishes more than the person by whom this paper is drawn up, that the three kingdoms should be cordially united together on just and honourable principles; and he is anxious, therefore, that the claims of Scotland should be made known to the Ministers of the United Kingdom, and to the people of both England and Ireland, that these claims may be duly appreciated. He entertains indeed no doubt, that every candid and honourable man who peruses these statements, will be willing to acknowledge their justice, and will be ready to support any measures calculated for the honour or the advantage of Scotland, that may be submitted to the consideration of the Sovereign, or the Government, or the Legislature of the country.
N.B. The author has not been able to procure “The Public Expences” incurred on account of Scotland and Ireland respectively. He has hitherto only ascertained, that the civil expences of Ireland, for one year, ending on the 5th of January last (1822), amounted to 617,216l.; and those of Scotland only to 133,077l.; making a difference of no less a sum than 484,138l., or nearly half a million. The military and ordnance expences of Ireland, for the same period, came to 1,628,433l. 6s.; whereas those of Scotland cannot amount to even 100,000l., for there were in May last only two regiments of cavalry of about 290 men each, one regiment of infantry containing 568 men, and about 100 artillery.”
– Morning Chronicle, 10th September, 1822.
“… If we had space or time we could give many laughable specimens of argument – similar to that of Lord BINNING on the Treaty of Union – some of them proceeding from grave persons carrying wigs over their brains. But we cannot thus indulge ourselves, or amuse our readers. By the treaty of union, however, the laws relating to trade are declared to be the same for both countries, all the other laws of Scotland to remain in force, but “alterable by the parliament of Great Britain, with this difference betwixt the laws concerning public right, policy, and civil government, and those which concern private right, that the former may be made the same throughout the United Kingdom, but that no alteration be made in the latter, except for the evident utility of the subjects within Scotland.” It is thus manifest that in no case, either respecting public laws or private rights, is the Parliament of Great Britain tied up by the treaty of union. The united legislature may pass any law, even to the taking away of private rights, which they shall consider to be for the evident utility of the subjects within Scotland. Parliament, indeed, can have no doubt of their own power in the matter, whatever Lord BINNING may think. As they have innovated freely in our laws and institutions, we see no reason why they should spare our abuses and corruptions. We have great obligations to the Union, but we trust it guarantees something better to us than close burghs and sinecures.”
– Scotsman, Wednesday 3rd March, 1824.
“Lord BINNING declared that the principles which the Noble Lord had laid down, were such as he (Lord B.) could never subscribe to. The Hon. and Learned Mover had been well reminded by the Hon. Member for Yorkshire, that he had begun in the wrong place. But the fact was, as he had already observed, that the object was to obtain by piecemeal, which it was found impracticable to obtain as a whole. For instance, Grampound was one of those spots and stains of the Constitution, of which the Noble Lord complained. By taking away Grampound here and Edinburgh there, and Glasgow, and so on, the advocates of what was called Parliamentary Reform, hoped they might eventually achieve their object. He wanted to know why Edinburgh had been selected for the present experiment? The Noble Lord, indeed, had said, that he was very willing to take Glasgow too. Yes, and every other borough in the kingdom, no doubt. But he (Lord Binning) was talking to those who had no such object – he was talking to those who wished to uphold the Constitution – and to those he would observe, that there was nothing in the case of Edinburgh which pointed it out as the place to be selected for this experiment. Why Edinburgh and not Glasgow? The case of Glasgow was much stronger than that of Edinburgh. Glasgow was only one of four boroughs represented by a single Member, yet Glasgow was more populous than Edinburgh, it was one of the largest manufacturing towns in the kingdom. It was the second place in point of population, being inferior in that respect only to London; and yet this great town, with all its population and all its commerce, had only the fourth share of a Representative in Parliament. If he were to choose between Glasgow and Edinburgh on the present occasion, he would certainly prefer Glasgow, and give it a Member to itself, and he did not think the people of Glasgow were much obliged to the Hon. and Learned Gentleman for having left them in the lurch.”
– Sheffield Independent, Saturday 6th March, 1824.
“SCOTS JUDICATURE BILL.
I. Assimilation of the Jurisprudence of Great Britain and Ireland.
“It was from the rising of popular feeling in Scotland that religious freedom and – by consequence we may truly say – civil liberty extended itself into the southern parts of the Island. It is, therefore, not impossible that the English people may, ere long, come to regret their indifference about their Scottish neighbours, or even have to thank them for some new improvements on their own institutions, still capable, as we, here, think of being in many respects bettered.” – Letter to Mr Peel on Scots Law Courts.
It is not merely as to Scotland that we view the measure as likely to lead to beneficial consequences and improvements. The extraordinary sensation, and the spirit of public inquiry and discussion to which it has given rise in Scotland, we hope will soon be extended to the constitution of the English Courts, and the system of administering the laws of England. The Scots people even have a material interest in the improvements of the system of jurisdiction, forms of proceedings, and principles of law, followed in England and Ireland. By the treaty of Union, the Scots were admitted to a participation of the benefits of the trade and navigation of England; and that measure must be imperfect until the Scots, in their transactions with the English people, can derive benefit from the Courts and Laws of England. At present, the Scots have almost no access to or benefit from the English Courts. Both countries are considered in law as foreign to each other. In the REPORT of the Committee of Procurators before the High Courts of Admiralty, after noticing some of the defects of the English Courts, it is stated, “At present, according to the footing in which the jurisdictions and forms of proceedings of the English Courts are placed, no Scots merchant would think of resorting to them, so great is the apprehension of the difficulty and expense of conducting a process in an English Court.”
– Scots Magazine, Friday 1st October, 1824.
“THE WAVERLEY CORRESPONDENCE.
We formerly gave extracts from two letters which appeared in the Weekly Journal under the signature of Malachi Malagrowther, and now subjoin some excerpts from two letters in reply to them, published last week in the London Courier. – After a few prefatory remarks on the silly appellation of styling Scotland a Kingdom, the writer proceeds,-
You mention in your letter, that you had heard, from your grandfather, of a certain old treaty, called the Treaty of Union, and you profess a hope that this obsolete document may even yet be discovered, and exhibited in the Museum of Scottish Antiquities. You need scarcely have told us, that you had never seen this treaty. Every page of your letter, from the title to the colophon, exhibits a happy ignorance both of its enactments and its spirit, but as I have had the good fortune to meet with a copy of this recondite document, I can take upon myself to inform you, that, somewhere about the year 1707, Scotland ceased to be a kingdom, as also did England, and the separate nationalities of each were merged in the Imperial name and sovereignty of Great Britain; and I think that your idea of a UNION, which was not to lead to assimilation of laws and manners and to identity of feelings and interests, might be expected to have occurred to the blundering brains of Paddy Blake, rather than to the precise and dialectic frame of mind to which the Malagrowthers lay claim. In most unions the bride is expected to assume the name, share the fortunes, and assimilate with the manners, of the husband. Your notion of what was to be expected from Scotland, on her union with England, seems, on the contrary, to be like that which your renowned relative, Sir Mungo, entertained of Mrs Martha Trapbois, when she condescended to intermarry with Mr Ritchie Moniplies. “It seems to me,” said the Knight, “that this bride of yours is like to be master and mair in the conjugal state.”
– Perthshire Courier, Thursday 16th March, 1826.
“The next extract which I shall submit to you, Moderator, is from a paper of the Secession Church in Scotland, entitled, “The Acknowledgement of Sins:” – “Our iniquities and back-slidings have increased more and more, particularly when by the treaty of Union with England, in the year 1707, we were incorporated with our neighbours in England upon terms opposite to, and inconsistent with, our COVENANT-UNION with them, in regard that the maintenance of the hierarchy and ceremonies of the Church of England, is made by the said treaty a fundamental and essential article of the union of the two kingdoms – And thus, with our consent, the Antichristian hierarchy, and a superstitious worship in England, have all the security that human laws can give them, whereby this whole nation hath again not only given openly up with her solemn engagements to the Lord, but also involved themselves in the guilt of consenting to, and thereby approving of the Antichristian hierarchy, and a superstitious worship in England.”
– Morning Chronicle, Tuesday 30th October, 1827.
“EARLDOM OF PERTH. – NEW CLAIMANT.
We have seen the young man, Mr. Thomas Drummond, of Durham, who claims this Peerage, and against whom there have been some illiberal sarcasms used in a Country Paper, on account of his present humble station in life. When we say claim, we do not mean to advance that the Peerage is either in abeyance or dormant, for in fact, it is escheated to the Crown for wrongous adherence to Prince Charlie, but it is fair to suppose, that is the claimant can shew that he is the lineal descendant of the late James Drummond, commonly called the Duke of Perth, his Majesty will, undoubtedly, restore this scion of nobility to all the distinguished honours of the family, as he had been graciously pleased to do to the Earl of Mar, who was the ringleader of the misguided Highlanders, and other lineal descendants of attainted Peers, We believe that none of the collateral heirs have, as yet, been restored in blood, and perhaps for good reasons; for, to crowd the list of Scotch Peers, when only sixteen can sit as representatives in the House of Lords, it strikes us, can do little good to Scotland either in a moral or political point of view. There, the feudal system still reigns in the minds of the people, and the “muckle laird,” or “Chief,” is every thing to the clans. It would be more advantageous to the United Kingdom to assimilate the peerage and every other thing of consequence, as much as possible, both for the sake of the Governors as well as the governed; for, to have one part of our hereditary senators classed under ‘English and British peers,’ for the express purpose of walking into the Upper House, without any obstacle, and deliberating upon the state and welfare of the nation; and to have another class denominated “Scotch and Irish Peers,” who are obliged to meet when Parliament is dissolved, and elect a chosen few of their members as their representatives, to sit with the English Peers, to the exclusion of all the rest who even cannot frank a letter, seems to us very absurd, and rather calculated to depreciate the high rank and honor of the Scotch and Irish nobility.”
– Morning Advertiser, Monday 28th January, 1828.
“PAROCHIAL SETTLEMENTS – (SCOTLAND).
The Earl of ROSEBERRY moved that the house should resolve itself into a committee of the whole house upon the law of Parochial Settlements in Scotland.
The house having resolved itself into a committee,
Lord MELVILLE stated, that, on a former occasion he had taken the liberty of offering some observations in opposition to this bill, and all he had since been able to learn had only tended to confirm him in those opinions. He assured their lordships, that this was a bill which required their most serious consideration. The title of the bill stated, that it had for its object the extension of the period by which a settlement was gained in Scotland. But the bill, as it at present stood, would do no such thing; it would not extend that period to the people of Scotland. That period was at present three years; and by the bill it would extend it to seven years, not to natives of Scotland, but to English or Irish persons residing in that country. The body of the bill, therefore, was at variance with its title. The true and real object of the bill was to exclude from settlement the Irish poorer classes who annually visited Scotland; but it was not, he supposed, thought decent to exclude the Irish only, and therefore it was thought proper to include natives of England also. He maintained that any law of this kind ought to be so framed as to bear equally upon the inhabitants of the three branches of the empire; that an Englishman or an Irishman should be equally privileged in Scotland, with its natives, and vice versa. Besides, this bringing in of the people of England was contrary to the 4th article of the treaty of union with Scotland, which provided that the natives of the two countries should enjoy equal privileges in both countries, unless there existed some law to the contrary. Now the law proposed by the noble earl opposite was at variance with this clause. They might as well say to the people of Ireland – “your corn is produced at a cheaper rate than ours – you are blessed with a more fertile soil, and, therefore, you must pay 30 per cent upon importing your corn into Scotland.” If this were proposed, it would be at once resisted, and yet it would be as just as that now proposed to their lordships. Were they by that bill to prevent the labouring Irish from that intercourse with Scotland from which they derived so much advantage at present? If this were to be done, there was no end to the extent to which the argument might be carried. The Chancellor of the Exchequer might say to English or Scotchmen visiting or residing in Ireland – “Ireland is not so much taxed as your own country, and, therefore, while you reside in that country, you must be taxed, not as her natives are taxed, but in the same way that you were taxed at home.” But it would be endless to point out the extent to which that argument might be carried.”
– London Evening Standard, Tuesday 17th June, 1828.
“When this measure was before proposed to the Scotch Peerage, it was considered a degradation, and in the discussion on the articles of Union between Great Britain and Ireland, many declared their hostility to the practice, and only tolerated it as an ancient custom. But the great objection which he had to this Bill was, that it was a violation of the articles of Union; he always considered that the Union was one of the most solemn compacts which ever was entered into, and ought to be inviolate. He knew it had been asserted that it had been very frequently violated; and some seemed, he thought, anxious to embody it in the form of a lady possessing all the loveliness of Lucretia, without that nice feeling of chastity which rendered her violation a prelude to her destruction. (A laugh.) He considered that the Articles of Union were unalterable, and without questioning the discretion which he was sure their Lordships would use, if they had the power of altering any part of them, he denied that they had that power. The contract was one in which the contracting parties could never again be placed in a similar situation to that in which they were when the contract was entered into. The Noble Lord had said that the opinion of the Scotch Peers was in favour of the Bill; but although he thought that the Bill might have been framed in accordance with the expressed with of those Peers assembled, their Lordships would admit that it was impossible ever again to consult the Scotch nation though their Parliament. Those Articles expressed the conditions on which they had surrendered their independence, and those articles should, he repeated, be inviolate. It had always heretofore been contended, that it was the interest of both countries that they should remain unalterable. When innovations were once authorised, there was no knowing where they would stop; and their Lordships should recollect, that if they had a right to alter the tenure by which the representative Peers held their seats, and introduce others into the House, it would tend to remove one great obstacle to the alteration of another and most important article – that which excluded Papists and those suspected of attachment to Popery.”
– London Courier and Evening Gazette, Wednesday 18th June, 1828.
“…the bill would alter these proportions altogether; and he should like to hear from the hon. and learned advocates of that bill on what ground they had knocked off 62 members from, not, be it borne in mind, the aggregate representation of the United Kingdom, but the direct representation of the people of England. (Hear.) The inviolability of the numerical ratio and aggregate sum of the representatives of the three countries, was laid down over and over by the advocates of the Catholic question as an argument against those who contended that the admission of Catholics to civil power would be fraught with danger to existing institutions. (Hear.) Such was the line of argument urged by Mr. Pitt, by Mr. Fox, and by Mr. Wyndham; that the numeral aggregate being inviolable, the infusion of a few Catholic members could not affect the Protestant excess of the entire body of representatives in that house; that the few Catholics who might find their way into Parliament would be so many “rari nantes, [rare swimmers]” undistinguishable from the “gurgite vaste [vast vortex]” of Protestant representatives. But this was a point of too much importance to be thus incidentally touched upon. He would bring it in the distinct form of a resolution before the committee, to the effect that the lopping off 62 English Protestant members, while they were adding to the Irish and Scotch representation, was fraught with danger to the interests of the established church in this country. (Hear.) But more of this anon. With reference to the mere principle of disenfranchising 62 members of the people of England, he could not help expressing his surprise that a bill, based on such a monstrous principle, should receive the support of the hon. member for Preston, who was in his own opinion, though not in fact, par excellence, the representative of the vox populi [voice of the people] in that house. (“Hear,” and a laugh.) That hon. member seemed to think that he performed his duty as an echo of the popular will by securing the stability of the popular franchise of his own popular borough; but such narrow and selfish compromising was unworthy of a representative of the people of England.”
– Evening Mail, Friday 25th March, 1831.
“Sir EDWARD SUGDEN said, that this admission proved what he had all along believed, viz. – that this unfortunate bill had been brought forward without sufficient consideration (hear, hear). Ministers had pledged themselves to stand or fall by the bill. Now, the principle and the details of that bill were involved in the admission of the noble Paymaster. The noble lord admitted that ministers were wavering – he admitted that they were convinced of the impropriety of their original plan. He (Sir E. B. Sugden) was not sorry of course for this. He was glad of it – he was glad that the people of England were not to be disenfranchised in order to satisfy Ireland (cheers from the opposition). There should be no compromise of principle or right for the purpose of securing the acquiescence of that country. Why should England lose forty-six members and Ireland get an increase of five (hear, hear)? And this, too, at a time when Ireland was dissatisfied altogether with the Union. The plan of the noble lord was in violation of the treaties of union with Ireland and Scotland, and he (Sir E. Sugden) could not conceive why such a proposition should be persevered in.
Lord JOHN RUSSELL said, he felt himself compelled to correct a misunderstanding under which the honourable and learned member for Weymouth seemed to labour. He (the noble lord) had not said that any of the boroughs named in schedule A or B were to be retained; what he said was, that if there was an unanimous feeling in that house that the whole number of its present members (658) ought to be retained as the future number, the government would not feel, if they found that to be the sense of the house, that they were altering a vital or essential principle of the measure, if they consented to alter that part. His honourable and gallant friend near him (General Gascoyne) had misunderstood him likewise, if he thought that his Majesty’s government would agree to any motion relative to the proportion of members between England, Scotland, and Ireland, fixed at the periods of their respective unions. He did not understand that any proportions had ever been so fixed, and he believed that if that house were to declare it now, they should be fixing that proportion for the first time. In the Union with Scotland there was indeed a proposition that fifty should be given to that part of the united kingdom; the English commissioners, however, had proposed 38, and the number 45, being a kind of compromise, was ultimately agreed to; but in the act of Union, no stipulation was contained to preserve the existing proportion of 513 to England, and 45 to Scotland.
Mr. O’CONNELL – I am much surprised at the observations of the gallant General and the honorable and learned member. They both profess a great kindness for Ireland; but they take the most extraordinary way of showing it. What, says the learned gentleman, are we to give more members to Ireland? Sir, I say you ought – and I say you ought to increase the representation of that country even more than is contemplated. It is said that the treaty of Union defined the number of members. I deny it. That act was no treaty. It was carried in defiance of public opinion. Meetings, convened by the Sheriffs, to petition against the measure, were routed by cavalry, bayonets, and artillery (hear.) But even in that act, so carried, a future change is contemplated – (hear, hear.)
Sir E. SUGDEN – No. no.
Mr. O’CONNELL – I say yes, yes (hear.) But is it fair that when the Union was carried by a paltry majority of 18, at an expense of three millions in bribery (hear,) England should have 543 members, while Ireland, with nearly two-thirds of the population of the two countries (England and Scotland) was given only 100? But it is said that wealth as well as population should be represented. I take my stand upon that point. You first make us poor, and then you turn upon us, and say we shall not be properly represented. Ireland is impoverished, because she is misgoverned and wants representatives here to guard her interests (hear.) But the learned member says that England should not suffer for the sake of Ireland. I thought, Sir, we had a Union. I had thought that we were one and an united kingdom (hear.) If we be what we are represented to be, why this distinction? (hear.) Why not legislate for Ireland as for Yorkshire? The reason, Sir, is obvious. We are, Sir, a different people and a distinct country. The gallant general and learned gentlemen avow it. Now, Sir, I take them at their word (hear.) They are, very properly, friends of England; I am the friend of Ireland. I prefer that country to this (hear, hear.) Yes, gentlemen may cry “hear,” but I repeat, Sir, I always shall prefer Ireland to this or any other country. I always shall guard the interests of that country particularly. But when you talk of a union, let your talk be real. I think great credit is due to the government for the candid statement of the Noble Lord.”
– Freeman’s Journal, Friday 15th April, 1831.
“… At the time of the union with Scotland the revenue of that country was 120,000l., and now it was 4,000,000l.; yet they were told that not one additional member should be given to Scotland; for that was the practical, necessary, and inevitable effect of the hon. general’s proposition. (Hear.) Therefore, the house must negative the motion, not merely the friends of the bill, but Scottish members, who had the interests of the representation of Scotland at heart, who would not dare to go back to their constituents after voting against the increase of Scotch representation, as they must do if they supported the gallant general. If he (Mr. Fergusson) supposed that what he asked was against the interests of England, he would not ask it; but was he to be told that Glasgow, with 148,000 inhabitants, was to be without representatives, when Gratton was represented? There was a view of this question which he had never seen stated. There had been a complaint for the last 50 years of the influence of the Crown. That influence was now dead and gone, (hear, hear,) the Duke of Wellington had done this: he thanked him for it.”
– Evening Mail, Wednesday 20th April, 1831.
“INCREASE IN THE NUMBER OF SCOTCH
As the intention to diminish the number of the members of Parliament seems to be relinquished, we hope the claims of Scotland to an increase in the number of her representatives, will be steadily kept in view. In the last number of the Law Chronicle, a statement on this subject, by Sir John Sinclair, will be found. By comparing the revenue, and number of representatives in Scotland and Ireland, he shews that Scotland ought to have eighty-five members instead of forty-five. It appears from the same paper that a Scotsman pays annually of taxes £2, 1s. while an Irishman only pays 15s. 1d. The difference between the quiet Scotch and the turbulent Irish, is also shewn in strong point of view. In 1821, the military and ordnances expences in Ireland amounted to £1,628,433 while in Scotland, for the same year, they were under £100,000. But if England and Scotland are compared, the necessity of an increase of the Scotch representatives will be equally apparent. At the last census the population of Scotland was nearly one-fifth of that of England and Wales. The number of English and Welsh representatives is 513; and Scotland, if population were taken as the rule, ought to have one-fifth of that number, or 102. It is difficult to compare the avenues of the two countries, as a great many articles consumed in Scotland pay, duty in England, as tea, groceries, porter, &c.; but if it is considered that Scotland pays now no less than twenty-five times the revenue she did at the Union, while the revenue of England has not been increased more than tenfold, – notwithstanding that by the Treaty of Union the proportions then fixed were to be maintained invariable, – it will be seen that the Scotch representatives, in this view, should be at least doubled. We hope, therefore, that all the counties which have members at present will be allowed to retain them, that Caithness will get a member; and that, in addition to those towns which are to obtain representatives, the following will have each a member, viz.:- Perth, population in 1821, 19,808, Dunfermline 13,881, Kilmarnock 12,769, Inverness 12,264, Dumfries 11,052, Montrose 10,338, Campbeltown 9,016, Ayr 7,455, Stirling 7,113, Irvine 7,007. Surely such towns are well entitled to one member, when English towns of 4000 inhabitants have two. The total number of Scotch representatives would thus be sixty-one. Unless they are increased, we do not think it can be said that the three countries which form the United Kingdom are treated with even-handed justice. – Weekly Chronicle.”
– Fife Herald, 28th April, 1831.
“Is there a Scotchman to be found hardy enough to deny the flagrant injustice of the Treaty of Union between the two countries, in as far as regards popular representation in the Commons’ House of Parliament? Whatever may be said on this side of the Tweed against the necessity of Reform, I should hardly have expected that any Scotchman could so far forget the interests of his native land, as not to accept with gratitude the proffered redress of the injury inflicted by corruption on his country, by those who basely bartered the rights of Scotland for their own selfish interests. This redress comes from the liberal Government of an enlightened King, desirous, as far as possible, of doing this tardy justice to a faithful and loyal people. Is this inestimable boon to be rejected with outrage, as putting to hazard the constitution of the country?”
– Scotsman, Wednesday 21st December, 1831.
“Mr F. PALMER could not help, as an old reformer, expressing the great interest he took in this bill for reforming the representation of Scotland. He remembered when petitions from Scotland, complaining of the system in Scotland as one of oppression, were rejected by the House of Commons, that Mr Muir urged the people to renew their petitions, and argued that they must at length be successful. For his exertions in that way Mr Muir was prosecuted, as was also Mr F. Palmer. They were found guilty, and sentenced to be transported for doing that which all Scotland was now doing – but those gentlemen were not only transported, the greatest cruelties were practised upon them – and all for what? for doing that which men were at the present day idolized in all parts of Scotland for urging – for urging upon their countrymen the necessity of reform. But he asked what was the cause of this change? Was it the monstrous misrule under which the country had groaned for nearly 40 years? Or was it the oppression of taxation? Or that change which had been made in the currency, which had the effect of doubling the burden of taxes. Whether to one or to all these causes combined the change was to be ascribed, it was certain that it had taken place, and that nothing short of an effectual reform would now satisfy the people. That that measure would now pass there could be no doubt, and that it would be attended with the most beneficial results to the country there could be as little. It would, he was certain, give general satisfaction. It would promote internal peace and tranquility, and in the train of these would cause a renewal of its energies, from which they might expect permanent prosperity. One cause of these blessings would not be lost sight of – it was, that a House of Commons had done its duty to the country, and that its efforts would be remembered with lasting thanks and gratitude. (Hear.)”
– Fife Herald, Thursday 31st May, 1832.
“The Earl of HADDINGTON rose to propose that the words “fifty-three” be left out, for the purpose of inserting “sixty-one” as the number of Representatives for Scotland. His object was to give to the eight principal counties of Scotland two Members each instead of one. Comparing the present state of Scotland, with respect to population and revenue, with her condition at the period of the Union, it would appear that if she was entitled to forty-five Members at that period, she was entitled now to sixty-three. the eight most populous counties of Scotland, which were to return eight Members according to the Bill, greatly exceeded in population, in revenue, and in wealth, eight English counties to which eighteen Members were allotted. It had been said that they ought to be grateful for the addition to the number of Members provided for them by the compact entered into at the period of the Union. And there might be something in this argument but that the Treaty of Union was trampled under foot altogether, and remembered only when it supplied an argument for limiting the number of Representatives for Scotland to a proportion incommensurate with her fair relative claims. In these circumstances he confessed that the debt of gratitude sat very lightly upon him. It was said also that the people of Scotland received a boon in the extension of the elective franchise. Nobody wished more sincerely than himself that the change in this respect might work well. But when it was seen that the certain effect of the Bills would be to send a smaller number of Scotch Gentlemen to the House of Commons than at present, it was not easy to perceive how they could produce any great advantage to Scotland.”
– Morning Post, Tuesday 10th July, 1832.
“… The next point of one of the hon. and learned member’s arguments was a most important one, for if it were conceded then there was an end to the question. He contended the Irish parliament was not competent to pass the Union. Now see what follows from this admission – no act passed since 1800 was valid if this were admitted. Every act, in fact, was a nullity, and all the Irish members who sat in that house were mere usurpers, and ought to have been taken into custody by the Sergeant at Arms. If the Irish parliament were not competent to pass the Union, what becomes of the Catholic Emancipation Bill, of the Reform Bill, or of any one act passed by the Imperial parliament since the Union? (hear.) But it goes further. If the Irish parliament was not competent, then the Scotch parliament was in the same predicament, and every act passed since 1707 was a nullity. (Hear.) But that only showed how hard the hon. and learned gentleman was pushed for an argument. The argument, however, with respect to the competency was not new, hic non est meus sermo – it had been mooted by Mr. Plunkett and others; but he would throw all their arguments overboard, and look only to the law as it stood – to the interests of the people, and their duty as representatives of the people. He could describe all such arguments as vulgar trash, brought forward to bolster up a bad cause and give weight to what was intrinsically light as air. An attempt was made by some Scotch peers shortly after the Union to have their Union also repealed, and it was curious to compare the two attempts – that of the Earl of Findlater, and that of the hon. and learned member. That peer moved the repeal of the Union in 1713, on the ground that Scotland was more taxed than she ought to be. The hon. and learned member moved the repeal because Ireland had made a bad bargain, and the Earl of Findlater moved the repeal of the Union with Scotland because England had violated the bargain. What did the Duke of Argyll say on the occasion? There are his words:-
“If the Union is not dissolved no property would be left in the country, and Scotland would be the most miserable country on earth.”
Now he would ask, has this prophecy been fulfilled; had the Union with Scotland done good to that country or not? Was there a Scotchman out of a Scotch lunatic asylum, from the border to the Hebrides, who would deny the fact? Was there a Scotchman who, if you were to tell him that the country was too large to be a province, and that it would never be happy till it was an independent kingdom – was there a Scotchman to whom such a tale was told who would not get up an say, “Go to Banff.” (Laughter.) Another argument in favour of the Union was the utter impossibility for two countries united under one sovereign to go on with separate legislatures. Scotland and Ireland afforded sufficient proofs of this. Could Scotland – or he would rather say North Britain, for that was a better name, and he should be glad if Ireland were called West Britain – could North Britain have obtained the advantages she now enjoys with her own parliament? Could that parliament have abolished the clanships or heritable jurisdiction? The progress of education might have done much; but it would have been as impossible for the Scotch without the aid of the Imperial Parliament to abolish these, as for the Irish Parliament to abolish the penal statutes.”
– London Evening Standard, Thursday 24th April, 1834.
“ ‘COMMUNITY OF EVIL.’
‘Reciprocity treaties have,’ says the Edinburgh Review, ‘been of late the object of severe attack; but a reciprocity treaty which is to diffuse among the contracting powers a community of evil, and not an extension of benefit, is an anomaly in the history of nations, which hitherto few have ventured to avow, and none can dare to justify.’
A treaty of this description, according to the present working of it, is, unquestionably, the treaty of Union. It has raised the standard of our taxation in nineteen cases out of twenty to that of England. It has given us a partnership in the 120 millions of debt. It has thus far exposed is to a ‘community of evil.’ What has it bestowed upon us in the way of ‘extension of benefit?’ It certainly has not given us our due share of peace, relief, or anything like it, our portion being to that of England as one to five-and-thirty. – Has it given us anything that may be called an increase of wealth? If it have, how is the state of our revenue to be accounted for? Why is its declared amount less than it was thirty years ago, though, notwithstanding all the tax remission, there has been nearly 30 per cent. added to the British revenue?”
– Dublin Weekly Register, Saturday 17th May, 1834.
“REPEAL OF THE UNION.
[FROM A CORRESPONDENT.]
At a time like the present, it may not be uninteresting to refer to the period when a discussion took place in Parliament for dissolving the union with Scotland. In the 6th volume of the Parliamentary History of England, page 1,215, it is stated –
‘1713. MAY 22. – The engrossed bill (Malt) was read the third time, and passed by a majority of 197 against 52, to the disappointment of the Scots.
MAY 23. – The endeavours of the Scots members in the House of Commons for easing, their countrymen of part of the malt tax having proved ineffectual, they had several private meetings with the Scots peers sitting in Parliament; and, laying aside all invidious distinctions, consulted together how to redress their grievances. On the 26th of May they deputed four of their number, viz. the Duke of Argyll, the Earl of Mar, Mr. Lockhart, and Mr. Cockburn, who by their order attended the Queen, and, by word of mouth, humbly remonstrated to her Majesty, ‘that their countrymen bore with great impatience the violation of some articles of the union, and that the laying such an insupportable burden as the malt tax upon them, was like to raise their discontents to such a height as to prompt them to declare the union dissolved.’ To this unexpected verbal remonstrance the Queen answered, ‘This was a precipitate resolution, and she wished they might not have reason to repent it; but, however, she would endeavour to make all things easy.’ The Scots members being met the next day, and their deputies having made their report of her Majesty’s answer, it was unanimously agreed, that, before they proceeded further, they should lay their grievances before the House of Lords. Accordingly on the 28th of May, after the Lords had adjourned the debate about the 8th and 9th articles of the treaty of commerce, the Earl of Finlater made a motion, that some day might be appointed to consider the state of the nation; whereupon the Lords appointed the 1st of June, when all the Lords in town were summoned. Between one and two o’clock the debate began, opened by the Earl of Finlater, who represented the grievances of the Scottish nation, and concluded by moving, ‘That leave be given to bring in a Bill for dissolving the said union, and securing the Protestant succession to the house of Hanover, the Queen’s prerogative in both kingdoms, and preserving an entire unity and good correspondence between the two kingdoms.’ The debate which followed is curious and interesting; and on the question being put on the Earl of Finlater’s motion, the same was carried in the negative by four voices, there being 54 lords present on each side, and 17 proxies for the negative and only 13 for the affirmative.
Thus was the union with Scotland preserved by a majority of four peers. The Malt Bill passed on the fifth of June; nineteen Scotch peers entered their protest against it, as a violation of the 14th article of the union; several of the lords who signed that protest took an active share in the rebellion which afterwards broke out in Scotland; some of them forfeited their titles and estates, one of them, Lord Balmerino, lost his head. The malt tax was continued, and it made a fruitful theme for the discontent which then prevailed among the supporters of the Pretender. In every Scottish glen, in every hovel of the “far north,” were heard the Jacobite songs with which Wilson, the eminent vocalist, now delights an English audience in the Hanover Rooms, and every man, woman, and child chaunted with enthusiasm –
‘We scarce can brew a peck o’ maut
But Geordy he’d be finding faut;
And to our kail he’d scarce gie saut:
Oh, you’re welcome, Royal Charlie!’
Thank God, we have no ‘Pretenders’ here to the throne. The Queen lives in the hearts and affections of her subjects, and her Majesty would say, as her royal predecessor said more than a century ago, when Scottish nobles and commoners demanded a repeal of the union, ‘I will endeavour to make all things easy.’ The grievance of the malt tax was forgotten with the continued increasing prosperity of Scotland; but the advisors of Queen Anne also violated the treaty of union by ‘restoring to patrons their ancient rights’ in the year 1712 – a violation which the people of Scotland have never yet forgotten, and which, although 130 years have passed away. has lately occasioned the secession in the church of Scotland, and in all probability will soon break up the establishment. Let the responsible advisors of our beloved Queen ponder well, in the present state of this country, and then let them consider and redress the grievances of Ireland before it is too late.”
– Morning Chronicle, Monday 17th July, 1843.
GUILDRY INCORPORATION-CURRENCY OF SCOTLAND.
A special meeting of the Guildry Incorporation was held on Wednesday last, for the purpose of taking into consideration the proposed alterations on the currency of Scotland. The chair was taken by William Thomas, Esq., Dean of Guild.
… There was a diversity in the habits and manners of the people; and, while the inhabitants of England had been accustomed to gold, the inhabitants of Scotland are perfectly satisfied with the paper currency which had so long existed amongst them. The Meeting were aware that the subject of an alteration in the currency had been under the consideration of Committees of both Houses of Parliament in 1826, and that both Committees had concurred in opinion that it was inexpedient to interfere with the currency of Scotland. Nor had anything occurred since that period to lead to an alteration of this opinion, but, on the contrary, everything had tended to establish it. An intimation – by no means indistinct – however, had been given by Sir Robert Peel, during that last session of Parliament, of his intention to assimilate the currency of Scotland to that of England, and, in particular, to substitute a metallic for a paper currency, so far as regarded one-pound notes. The amount of paper circulation in Scotland was estimated at 3,000,000l. – of which about three fourths, or 2,250,000l., consisted of small notes… We were again brought back to the question – wherefore the contemplated change? Scotland was content with her one-pound notes, but she was not seeking to introduce them into England. They were found to be an easy and convenient mode of exchange, and, having this grand peculiarity, that they were convertible on demand… When the Scotch Banks required gold, or any other accommodation, from the Bank of England, they gave full value for it in the same way as any other customers. It was also said that England had to bear the whole expense of a gold currency: And why not, if she preferred such a currency to any other? Scotland prefers a paper currency, and pays for it. But would it be reasonable to make her pay for what she does not use, and does not want? Speaking of advantages, however, had England no advantages over Scotland? Did not the whole taxes levied in Scotland flow into the English treasury? Were not the whole expenses of Government spent in England? Was it not the seat of the Army and of the Navy? And what a miserable pittance of the public money was spent in Scotland! Again, did not the wealthiest of our landed aristocracy spend three fourths of the year and still more of their incomes in England? And had not the Government lately withdrawn from Scotland the whole money in our Savings Banks to England? These were some of the advantages which England enjoyed. But, in resisting this innovation, we might stand upon the Treaty of Union itself, which declared that ‘no alterations should be made in laws which concern private rights, except for the evident utility of the subjects within Scotland.’ He would be a bold man who would assert that the proposed alteration would be for the utility of the people of Scotland. The people themselves, almost to a man, think differently…
… It appeared that the present excellent Scotch system of banking was to be subjected to restraints under which it could not long exist. They were told that it was not meant to interfere with the small notes; but that all that was intended was to put a limit to the quantity of currency, which any bank could circulate, under penalties. This would be a fatal and dangerous innovation. It was the duty of all Scotsmen to oppose the introduction of such a principle; for, if the wedge were once introduced, it would be driven home to the rending of the tree…
… He was quite satisfied that the Scotch banking system was the best that ever existed, and it would be much better for England to adopt it than attempt to subvert it. The attempts already made to introduce it into England had failed in consequence of glaring mismanagement, but the prejudice against it would soon wear away.”
– Dundee, Perth, and Cupar Advertiser, Friday 29th November, 1844.