Articles 1850-1875



   At the last meeting of our Town-Council, Bailie Brown Douglas made a motion, and which was unanimously carried, to the effect, that it be remitted to the Lord Provost’s Committee to consider whether there had been any unwarrantable changes lately made in the quartering of the Royal arms of Scotland with those of Great Britain, as displayed on public buildings and otherwise in Scotland, and if satisfied that these alleged encroachments have been made on the privileges of Scotland, then to petition Her Majesty, or take the other necessary measures for remeid of the wrong. Some may consider it as immaterial, and involving no substantial matter how those devices are arranged. We differ widely from that idea, holding, on the contrary, this interference with the national emblems of Scotland to be an apt indication of that neglect and indifference on the part of the Government towards the interests of Scotland to which Bailie Brown Douglas refers. After the union of the two Crowns, and when the Scotch were more jealous of their privileges than they appear to have been a century later, the Royal arms of Scotland, when quartered with those of Great Britain, this being the emblem of the union, invariably had precedence of the latter. This was a recognition of the distinct nationality of Scotland. The treaty of union took effect, but Scotland did not merge into England any more than England into Scotland. Each retained their special rights and prerogative under that treaty, so far as these were considered not incompatible with the federal policy, and all which was provided for by the treaty. The Crown still adorned the unicorn, affording a figure that Scotland was a kingdom, but the Royal arms are now displayed in Scotland in certain instances with the unicorn minus the crown, though the lion, the supporter of England, never appears without that fitting badge of sovereignty on his head. 

   The learned Bailie, as we may here truly say, however, adduces another instance of the encroachment on the privileges of Scotland, which might entail severe practical consequences on all concerned if the law was properly enforced. He ascertained that the last commission of the Justices of the Peace sent to Edinburgh bore the Great Seal of England instead of the Great Seal of Scotland, whereas the 24th clause of the Act of Union laid down in effect, That the Seal of Scotland, after the Union, be always kept and made use of in all things relative to private rights, commissions, offices, &c., within that kingdom. The Earl of Selkirk is the Keeper of the Great Seal of Scotland, and he has his deputy and substitute. If, then, the Lord Keeper and his insignia are thrown aside, and the Great Seal kept by the English Lord Chancellor substituted, that high functionary, qua the head of the Court of Chancery, having no jurisdiction in Scotland, are the commissions thus sealed valid and effectual in Scotland? This is a question that might soon come to be tried, and unless an act of the Imperial Parliament could be produced, giving the Great Seal of England that authority within Scotland, the commissions so stamped would be void, and those holding them, of course, would be found to have been acting without power. If this flaw could be made out, it would afford another illustration of that aggression on Scottish rights which has been silently advancing. 

   If there are parties who are disposed, without reflecting on the subject, to smile at this zeal to retain the Ancient prerogatives as guaranteed to Scotland by the act of Union, even to the quartering of the Royal arms – we may simply ask them how they would relish a proposition to put down our Supreme Courts (as certain have been already allowed to be put down), and transfer the supreme jurisdiction to Westminster Hall? There would be nothing so incongruous in that idea, however startling it might appear, if we were to try it by what has been already done, and most supinely tolerated. It is the legitimate end of the beginning that has been made, and we again say, obsta principiis. – Caledonian Mercury.

– Aberdeen Press and Journal, Wednesday 30th March, 1853.





   SIR, – The Convention or Parliament of the Royal Burghs of Scotland meets in Edinburgh to-morrow (Tuesday), and it is understood that the re-institution of the office of Secretary of State for Scotland will there form a subject of discussion, and that a resolution will in all probability be passed calling upon Government to restore this office. Lest some of your readers may not be aware if the constitution of this convention, I will say a few words regarding it. 

   The Convention of Royal Burghs is one of the oldest institutions in Scotland, and was known in the reign of David I., in 1124, as the Curia Quator Burgorum, or Court of the Four Burghs. It retained this designation until 1405, when, by Act of the Parliament of James II., all the royal burghs were ordered to send commissioners, under a pecuniary penalty. The privileges of the convention were ratified and confirmed by succeeding monarchs, and also by the treaty of union between Scotland and England. It now meets annually in the metropolis, its sittings last for about two or three weeks, and are presided over by the Lord Provost of Edinburgh. There are 63 royal and 13 parliamentary burghs in Scotland, but the latter do not possess the privilege of representation in the convention. Each burgh is represented by one commissioner and one assessor. 

   The last Secretary of State for Scotland was the Marquis of Tweeddale, who resigned in 1746, and since that period the business of the office has been thrown on the Lord Advocate; but the multifarious duties this official has to perform render it impossible that he can properly attend to the peculiar interests of Scotland, which, owing to her increase in population and riches, with concomitants of legal, commercial, and criminal business, is completely overwhelming for one man who has other occupations to attend to. 

   The want of an official whose sole duty would be to attend to the legislative or political business of the country has long been felt as a grievance by the people of Scotland; and a great deal of the neglect and inattention on the part of the Government, of which they so universally complain, is mainly attributable to the non-existence of such an officer. It would, therefore, be gratifying to hear that the Convention of Burghs have passed a resolution urging upon the Government the necessity of a Secretary of State for Scotland. 

   The office of Lord Keeper of the Privy Seal has been allowed to remain vacant since the death of Lord Melville in 1851. Why it has been so, I am at a loss to explain, unless it is but one of the many oversights which the people of Scotland murmur at. Now, although there is no wish, even were it legal, as, by the terms of the articles of union, it is not, that this office should be abolished, yet few would think it necessary that so large a salary as 2,775l. should be attached to an office which is merely honorary, and one where there are no duties to perform. The fees payable upon documents passing this seal, together with the honour and privileges of the office, would be a sufficient inducement for a peer to accept its keepership. The salary might then be devoted to paying an official whose duties the prosperity and better government of Scotland render necessary. – I am, sir, yours faithfully, 

   Monday, 18th April.” 

– Morning Post, Tuesday 19th April, 1853.


   “Tuesday’s Gazette announces that Lord Panmure has been appointed Keeper of the Privy Seal in Scotland. The Earl of Home has also been appointed Keeper of the Seal appointed by the Treaty of Union, in place of the Great Seal of Scotland.” 

– Gloucestershire Chronicle, Saturday 4th June, 1853.


The next articles seem to be, in the main, relating to England’s attempts to, and effects of, centralisation;




    I. That the Treaty of Union between Scotland and England recognises the Supremacy, asserts the individuality, and provides for the preservation of the National Laws and Institutions of Scotland. That any attempt to subvert or place those institutions under English control, and under the pretence of a centralising economy to deprive her of the benefit of local action, is an infraction of the true spirit of this Treaty, injurious to her welfare, and should be strenuously resisted.

    II. That the 6th Article of the Treaty of Union provides, that Scotland, as freely United to England, for the purpose of forming the Kingdom of Great Britain, ‘should have the same allowances, encouragements, and drawbacks, and be under the same contributions, restrictions, and regulations.’ That this part of the Treaty has not been fulfilled, in so far that, although Scotland is under the same contributions, restrictions, and regulations, yet she is denied the same allowances and encouragements.

   III. That the neglect of Scottish business in the Imperial Legislature has caused grievous delay, heavy and unnecessary cost, and frequently crude legislation, incongruous with the existing laws and policy of Scotland, whose National Institutions should be preserved where they are worth preserving, – amended where they are faulty, and not altered or extinguished merely because they differ from the institutions of other parts of the empire. 

   IV. That the initiative towards the preservation of our National Institutions, and obtaining fulfilment of the true spirit in which the Treaty of Union was made, is the formation of an Association devoted to this single object. That this Association shall be based on principles so broad and national in their character, so direct and substantial in their aim, that all may co-operate irrespective of their differences, otherwise, on questions of political controversy.

   V. That an annual payment of Five Shillings shall be sufficient to constitute a Member of the Association:..


   The Scottish public are respectfully and earnestly solicited to send their names for enrolment to the Secretary of the Association, Mr F. H. [C]arter, 16 Queen Street, Edinburgh.”

– Caledonian Mercury, Monday 4th July, 1853.



(From the Edinburgh Advertiser.)

   Since, somewhat to our surprise, it has been made a question whether or not the “Scottish Rights Association” is a good movement, we have no hesitation in taking part with those who maintain that it is a good one. And in order to let our readers judge for themselves in the matter, we publish in our other columns an abridgement of the lengthened ‘statement of grievances,’ which appeared in our contemporary the Mercury. Two pieces of gross injustice are evident on the very face of this document, – or rather, we should say, are so well known to the country, that any dispute about them at this time of day betrays a spirit as warped and unfair as it is anti-national. These are, firstly, the inadequate number of Representatives which we are permitted to send to Parliament to look after our interests; and secondly, the miserably small pittance of the public money bestowed on Scottish institutions in proportion to the amount which we contribute to the Imperial revenue. 

   The first of these grievances is a very important one. It is important because, in all cases where a union takes place between two States, the natural result is, that the larger one is not only inclined to look after its own interests in preference to those of its neighbour, but, by means of its greater number of Representatives, it is always able to carry its selfishness into effect. Therefore, it peculiarly becomes us, who are unequally yoked with our big sister England, to take care that the natural and inevitable disadvantages of our position be not aggravated by an apathetic concession of our just rights, and by resting contented with a most inadequate amount of representation in the United Legislature. Whether we look at the proportion which our population bears to that of England, or to the amount which we contribute to the revenue, the number of our Representatives ought to be one-seventh that of the sister kingdom; and as England sends 496 Members to Parliament, we ought to send at least 70. Nevertheless, we are only allowed to send 53! And so, by the jealousy of England, we are defrauded of seventeen Representatives, or nearly one-third of the whole number which we have at present! This injustice on the part of England is so glaring, and the hardship to ourselves so exceeding great, that if the Association had been originated for no other purpose than to right this particular wrong, we should hail its appearance as a national boon. Its appearance, moreover, is, in regard to this matter, peculiarly seasonable. A new Reform Bill is ‘looming in the future.’ With that must come a breaking-up of many of the old Constituencies, and a redistribution of the national Representatives. This is the very time we wait for. Let us be ready, then, when that time comes – nay, let us be ready beforehand – to insist calmly and steadily on having that most fundamental of all rights, an Equality of Representation, at length conceded to us. Surely we shall not be told by those journals who are so foolhardy as to oppose the present movement, and who have met the demand of justice for Scotland with sneers as idle as their spirit is paltry, that there is any unworthy agitation here. We despise all such agitation; and Scotland can afford to treat with contempt such aspersions as those which the Times and the Scotsman would fain fasten upon her. Unconstitutional agitation! – unworthy complaining! Why, we do but ask that the first principle of our noble Constitution be applied to Scotland as it is to England. We do but claim as our due that fundamental point in every treaty of union – that best if not sole guardian of our national privileges, – the right of being adequately represented. And if Scotland be but true to herself, not another change will eb permitted to take place in our Representative system without that right being conceded to us. 

   An inadequate representation in the Legislature is a radical grievance, – a grievance from which all others flow as naturally as streams from a fountain. We ought not to be surprised, therefore, that of the large sums which we contribute to the State, hardly a sprinkling even is allowed to find its way back to us. Upwards of six millions sterling do we yearly transmit to England, yet L400,000 is all we get in return. A national grant for us is as rare a thing as a phœnix. ‘Scotland,’ says the Mercury, ‘has not a Harbour of Refuge from the Forth to the Pentland Firth, – she has not a Free Library, or Museum, or Wash-house, or other municipal institution for the instruction, or morality, or cleanliness, of her people, – she has neither parks for her citizens nor palace for her Sovereign, – as regards geography, she is behind all the countries of civilised Europe, – she has not a ship-of-war, and scarcely a soldier, for her defence, – she has been robbed of her local institutions, – her Universities are threadbare and poverty-stricken, and she has not even a national mouth-piece in the British Parliament.’ The State has grown ‘deaf as an adder’ to any complaints from the apathetic North. Our noble Palaces, to which England could never show the like, may moulder and crumble away; and pigs may grunt unmolested within earshot of Majesty in the once royal precincts of Holyrood, – and yet the state purse-strings remain undrawn. Our Professors may starve, and Museums exist only in imagination; Literature and Art may go in sackcloth;- in fact, all classes alike are doomed to knock in vain at the doors of the Treasury, in the hope of seeing some fair portion of the solid millions they have contributed returning to them in the shape of national grants. It is as unjust as tantalising. The Scotch have helped well to fill the capacious reservoirs of the Exchequer, yet they see the fountain of Public Expenditure ever playing before their eyes, and hardly a drop even of its golden spray allowed to come near them! 

   The grounds upon which the ‘Justice to Scotland’ movement proceeds are too self-convincing to admit of serious dispute, and its object to important and patriotic to be regarded with indifference. It is a national, not a sectarian question. In our view it has nothing to do with wither politics or personalities. Therefore on this, as on previous occasions where Scottish rights were at stake, we willingly make common cause with the Mercury, to which journal belongs the credit of having first given voice to the national feelings of injustice. It may be very well for the Times to indulge in unreasoning sneers on a subject which so ill suits the interests of its English readers, and to treat the question of the Scottish Arms and the Scottish Rights as if Scotland were some ‘Isle of Dogs,’ that Providence had burdened England with the charge of. But it is disappointing to find some of our Scottish contemporaries turning their backs on their country, quoting the Times as if it were a great authority on such subjects, and making onslaughts of their own on the leaders of the movement marked by an unusual degree of acrimonious personality. It would be invidious to comment at length on so sore a point; but, so far as the Scotsman is concerned, we content ourselves with the belief that, however lightly our contemporary may regard the Earl of Eglinton and the eighty or ninety other names on the Committee-list of the Association, he will see, from the opinions expressed by the press in Scotland, that the movement has an infinitely wider basis than ‘the two or three people,’ who, in his not very correct phraseology, are said to have ‘constituted themselves as an aggrieved and indignant nation!’

(From the Alloa Advertiser.)

   Let the public not misunderstand the nature of this agitation. It is not got up by any political, ecclesiastical, party or sect, or by any class or section of our countrymen. It is confined to no party, creed, or class, but comprises all these, – laying aside all differences that may exist, and uniting in one common bond for restoring to their native country those rights and benefits secured to her by the Act of Union, many of which, by the centralising system that has prevailed in and guided the Imperial Administration of the empire, have been, by the apathy and want of national sentiment in the people of Scotland, gradually taken away. Neither is it the object of the promoters to maintain any of our institutions that have become, in the lapse of time, or the change of circumstances, useless and unsuited to the wants of the community, or to retain any abuses that may have crept into any of our national institutions. No; we only demand that the spirit of the Union be fairly and equitably carried out, so that Scotland may not be any longer treated as a mere province – ‘a sort of larger Yorkshire appended to England.’

– Caledonian Mercury, Thursday 14th July, 1853.





   SIR. – I have been induced to address you in consequence of reading your observations upon ‘An address to the People of Scotland from the Association for the Vindication of Scottish Rights.’ I am at a loss to discover what could have induced you to assign as one, if not the principal objects of this association, a repeal of the union between Scotland and England. So absurd an idea could not have been gathered from the address, or statement appended to it, as it is the true spirit, meaning, and intention of that treaty which we demand the fulfilment of. 

   The address is designed as an interpretation of the terms of the treaty. It shows that the union between Scotland and England was ‘union, free and independent, on equal terms, with equal duties, with equal responsibilities, and with equal rights;’ and that what ‘Scotland was to do England was to do, what England was to receive Scotland was to receive – all in just and due proportion.’ In detailing the benefits which result from union the address states, ‘union obviates war, encourages commerce, permits of free transit, abolishes national antipathy; union, provided it is union and not domination, brings equals together for common benefit, and throws down the barriers to brotherhood.’ You will permit me to say that there is good ground for supposing you had given but a cursory glance at the address when you arrived at the conclusion that it was a ‘repeal’ cry we Scots had raised. 

   The movement is, therefore, no ‘disgraceful imitation of the worst features of the Irish character.’ The address is no tirade of vituperation against the Sassenach, and there is not one word in it derogatory to the character of the English nation; no such sentiments would find an echo or support in Scotland. It is not against premeditated injustice and injury that a stand is made, but against injustice and injury arising from indifference to, and ignorance of, our constitution and country. We demand nothing for Scotland that has not already been given to England and Ireland; it is equality we demand, and it is equality we shall have – equality of taxation, equality of representation, equality of allowances. 

   Equality of taxation we already possess, and Scotland furnishes her proportional share to the united exchequer. 

   Equality of representation. – We demand that the number of representatives returned by Scotland to the British House of Commons shall be in the same relative proportion which her wealth and population bear to England. We complain that England returns 125 members more than her just proportion; that small English boroughs return two members each, while our burghs are grouped together in half dozens, and return but one member amongst them; that the Universities of England and Ireland are represented in Parliament, and that the Scots are not. 

   Equality of allowances. – The charitable institutions of England and Ireland are assisted by grants from the public exchequer. No Scottish charity ever received a farthing from this source. The police forces of London and Dublin receive annual grants to the amount of £167,000, while the police force of Edinburgh had never been so assisted. the constabulary of England and Ireland are, as regards the former partly, and as regards the latter wholly, maintained by Government. No such allowance is made to Scotland. Harbours of refuge have been built, and five are now in progress of construction in England; but there is not one n the stormy and rocky shores of Scotland. Large sums (£181,000 last session) are annually voted for the maintenance and repair of English palaces; while Holyrood, the only habitable Royal Palace in Scotland, is in such a state that when the Scottish peers meet to elect their representative in parliament, or her Majesty’s Commissioner holds a levee, the floor requires to be supported by wooden beams in case it should give way, and in many parts the pressure of a walking cane will penetrate the floor. It is surrounded by old and ruinous tenements, and the Royal garden, instead of being laid out in ornamental grounds, is let to a kitchen gardener. Remember, this is the palace of a capital. Museums of geology have been established in London and Dublin, and the Royal Engineers are now employed in a geological survey of England and Ireland, and transmit to those museums sections of the strata and specimens of the minerals of the different localities. No such museum had been established in Edinburgh; no such survey of Scotland has taken place. The Ordnance surveys of England and Ireland have been carried on with energy, and completed at an expense of £1,630,000. The survey of Scotland has been almost neglected, scarcely £100,000 having been spent upon it in 44 years. The annual cost of our naval, military, and Ordnance departments is about £18,000,000, one-sixth (or £3,000,000) of which is contributed by Scotland, yet almost no part of this sum in disbursed there; we receive no share in manufacturing anything for national purposes; we never see British ships of war, and only know the naval uniform from pictures. In violation of the Treaty of Union our Court of Exchequer, Court of Admiralty, and Mint have been abolished, and our arms degraded. The latter may appear a trifle, but any Englishman who would allow other arms than those of his native country to be supreme in England would be unworthy of that free soil he calls ‘home;’ and surely Scotsmen need not be ashamed of their own national symbols, hallowed as they are by the memory of the past. 

   You put the question, ‘To what other end does the Imperial Parliament sit every year than to redress such grievances?’ We are well aware that Parliament sits for such a purpose, but how little attention does that Parliament pay to Scots’ affairs! Is not the half-holy day of Wednesday the only day on which any Scottish question will be listened to for a moment? Is not every measure connected with Scotland postponed and delayed in order that other business may be brought forward? The Parliament sits to redress grievances, but, seemingly, not Scottish ones. We petitioned for a small grant for our universities, which have not advanced either in number, chairs, or funds for 150 years. We petitioned that the police of Edinburgh be placed upon the same footing as the police of London and Dublin. We have petitioned that Holyrood be made fit for the reception of Her Majesty. We have petitioned for the establishment of a museum of geology, similar to those established in London and Dublin. We have petitioned for the restoration of the office of Secretary of State. We have petitioned and petitioned until we are tired of petitioning. Our requests meet with no attention. Finding that addressing Parliament is useless and futile, can it be wondered at that we now address ourselves, and take counsel of one another as to what is best to be done? 

   Shall we send £6,000,000 of revenue to England yearly, and receive nothing in return save neglect – not only neglect, but, in some instances, aggression? We cannot forget that our admirable system of banking and currency has frequently been menaced with destruction; that our local boards are one after another being made subservient to English boards; that we have been denied local access to the plans and specifications of patents, even though that privilege was conferred upon us by act of Parliament; that an attempt was made a few weeks ago to remove our Gazette; that an attempt is now being made to place the whole funds and management of the Scottish lighthouses under the charge of the English Trinity-house. When such is the case, can it be wondered at that we form an association to vindicate our national rights, and that this association should gather the country around it as it is now doing? 

   I have the honour to be, Sir, your most obedient servant, 

   Edinburgh, July 9.                                                                                                          IAN.” 

– Cork Examiner, Monday 25th July, 1853.


   “There are three methods by which a nation acquires new territory – by Conquest, Cession, or Occupation as a Colony. But neither of these influenced the compact under which Scotland became united to England. The ‘two Kingdoms’ entered under the treaty of Union upon conditions of perfect equality:- 

   ‘These are the three methods by which a country is supposed to acquire new territory. But by none of these were England and Scotland united. Their union was not an occupation – for Scotland was already peopled by men who could maintain their rights against all comers; it was not a conquest, because England could not conquer, and because Scotland would not yield. It was Union – Union free and independent – on equal terms – with equal duties – with equal responsibilities, and with equal rights. Scotland was not more united to England than England was united to Scotland – she was neither absorbed, nor amalgamated, nor incorporated, nor annexed – any more than England was absorbed, amalgamated, incorporated, or annexed. The two were UNITED – brought together on equal terms – conjoined on a free footing. Neither laid down arms to the other, but both agreed to disarm simultaneously, and to shake hands after long hostility. Scotland, at the period of the Union, was neither suppliant, nor in debt, nor unable to defend herself. She was free and independent, and freely and independently she agreed to unite to England for the common advantage. She agreed to merge her own government for the purpose of forming part of a greater kingdom, on condition that England should form part on the same terms. What Scotland was to do, England was to do – what England was to receive, Scotland was to receive – all in just and due proportions. They were two kingdoms united into one, to be governed by the same rule and the same parliament. 

   Here are the provisions of the treaty, which were designed to preserve the self-control of the Scottish nation from the centralizing propensities of England:- 

   ‘By the 6th article of the Treaty of Union it is provided that “all parts of the United Kingdom for ever, from and after the Union, shall have the same allowances, encouragements, and drawbacks,” and also that they shall ‘be under the same prohibitions, restrictions, and regulations of trade, and liable to the same customs, and duties, and import and export.’ 

   ‘By the 16th article it is provided that the coin shall be continued in Scotland under the same rules as the mint in England. 

   ‘By the 17th article it is provided that the weights and measures shall be the same throughout the United Kingdom. 

   ‘By the 18th article it is provided, ‘that the laws concerning regulation, trade, customs, and such excises, to which Scotland is by virtue of this treaty to be liable, be the same in Scotland, from and after the Union, as in England, and that all other laws in use within the kingdom of Scotland do after the Union, and notwithstanding thereof, remain in the same force as before (except such as are contrary to the Treaty), but alterable by the Parliament of Great Britain, with this difference between the laws concerning public right, polity, and civil government, and those which concern private right, that the laws which concern public right, polity, and civil government, may be made the same throughout the whole United Kingdom but that no alteration may be made in laws which concern private right, except for evident utility of the subjects within Scotland.’ 

   ‘The 19th article provides that the Court of Session be continued in all time coming within Scotland, that the Court of Admiralty be continued, and that there shall always be continued a Court of Admiralty, and that all other courts do remain – and that all inferior courts remain subordinate to the supreme courts in Scotland, and that no causes in Scotland be cognisable by the Courts of Chancery, Queen’s Bench, Common Pleas, or any other court in Westminster-Hall. 

   ‘The 21st article provides, that the rights and privileges of the Royal Burghs in Scotland as they are, do remain entire after the Union, and notwithstanding thereof. 

   ‘The 24th article provides, that a seal in Scotland after the Union be always kept, and made use of in all things relating to private rights or grants, which have usually passed the great seal of Scotland, and which only concern offices, grants, commissions, and private rights within that kingdom. 

   ‘If written language have any meaning at all, these articles emphatically maintain the equality of Scotland, and the independence of her Administration, except only in those matters that concern the whole empire. In all that concerned the empire she was to be relatively equal – in all that concerned her local administration, she was to have local courts, local powers, and a local executive. It was provided that her local courts could be altered and revised by the United Parliament, but it was not provided that they could be abolished. England was to carry on her national business, through institutions that already existed in England – and Scotland was to carry on her national business by the institutions that already existed in Scotland.’ 

   The document winds up by invoking the Scottish people to make a unanimous assertion of their independence, as the only means whereby the ‘land of mountain and of flood’ may be prevented from sinking into the position of an English county:- 

   ‘Assuredly the time has come when Scotland must take one of two alternatives. She must either sink the question of her nationality, or she must resolve to maintain what legally and justly belongs to her. A united effort alone can save us from sinking into the position of an English county. It is not by squabbling among ourselves as to which grievance is the greatest that we shall achieve good. One grievance only makes another worse: we must have no sectarianism about grievances. Let each man devote his care to that particular evil which most arrests his attention – but let all together combine to mass the whole into one national grievance, and to make a calm, dignified, respectful, and resolute remonstrance.’ ” 

– Kilkenny Journal, and Leinster Commercial and Literary Adviser, Saturday 30th July, 1853.


   “… We would caution our countrymen against the Irish system of complaint, and would have them to go to work in a steady and temperate manner. In the first place, let us see k to get an increase of members, when the proper time comes – that, we think, may be contended for as an act of simple justice. Let our representatives be well selected, and well schooled after they have been selected, and then our affairs will be vigilantly seen to. But let there be no mistake in deciding as to what constitutes fidelity to Scotch interests – we should be sorry if this movement were to degenerate into a dirty scramble for money grants, and a trumpery agitation for the revival of sinecures – it were but degradation in the extreme, if every time that England draws a shilling, and Ireland sixpence, Scotland should be bawling out for its twopence. This would never do – we must rather move on – and the best way to do this, is not to raise Scotland to the height of England and Ireland, but to bring them down to the level of Scotland. Let the policy of our representation be to refuse sternly all places, pensions, and grants to others, that are denied to us; and this on the ground that, as we have been able to get on without them, so may they. Let them thus start light-weighted with us in the race, and let there be a generous contention, whether John, Alexander, or Patrick, shall at their own charge, produce the best police, the best physicians, the best philosophers, the best sculptors, the best painters, the best citizens, the best everything. And this will be ‘Justice to Scotland.’ ”

   “Her Majesty, like the rest of her intelligent subjects, is, we doubt not, quite aware of the weight that is due to the solemn talk about the Treaty of Union and Act of Security, and can fully appreciate the patriotic zeal which is ever ready to produce antiquated sanctions for modern abuses. She is not likely, therefore, to be much alarmed by the forced and absurd construction which Dr. Macfarlane would put upon the Royal Oath. Fortunately for the relief of her conscience, the Treaty of Union, like the British Constitution itself, has, according to the enthusiastic supporters of both, been so often infringed already that there should be nothing to destroy.”

– Aberdeen Herald and General Advertiser, Saturday 13th August, 1853.

N.B. This vast difference in representation between England and Scotland meant that any vetoing of expenditure in England by the Scottish representatives would have been overwhelmingly rejected. This lends to the argument regarding the inequality within Westminster.



[From the Legal Examiner.]

   Hitherto we have been accustomed to look upon the Scotch as a quiet people, who, under an unobtrusive exterior, united natural shrewdness of intellect and determined energy of character to a kind and hospitable disposition. Generous in their sympathies, but cautious in action. Swayed by reason and calculation, rather than creatures of sudden impulse or excitement. Yet, when once roused, firm and unflinching in the prosecution of the object on which they are bent. To a people so constituted we had thought that the acts of agitation and clamour were utterly incongruous; and that, however sensible of injury or insult, they would seek redress rather by dignified remonstrance than by mimicking the noisy nationality of our Milesian fellow subjects. If we may form any judgement, however, from the list of names attached to the document issued by the Association for the Vindication of Scottish Rights, we should be inclined to the opinion that this is one of those exceptions which confirm the general rule we have adopted in the estimate of our northern brethren, notwithstanding even the fact that the name of an amiable and deservedly popular nobleman figures as president of the occasion. We cannot forget that the noble lord is but fresh from the recent honours of Irish viceroyalty and Irish popularity. Of all the Scottish M.P.s, Mr Cowan’s name is the only one that appears on the Committee, and we can scarcely feel surprised, seeing that the largest portion of that Committee consists of Edinburgh gentlemen; although we might have expected that this Parliamentary experience would have led him to the conclusion that such a mode of advocating the redress of Scottish grievances was likely to meet with ridicule rather than with sympathy. 

   Let us not however be misunderstood. We would cast no ridicule on the objects of this association, but simply on the mode adopted for attaining them. No doubt some of the grievances named are deserving of redress. But we think that to start with the untenable assumption that the Treaty of Union was an irrevocable contract, tends much to weaken the case of the complainants. To charge our co-contractors with bad faith is an easy method of diverting on others the censure which our own negligence may deserve. If the articles of Union have been departed from, or as the phrase is – have been violated, they have been departed from or violated by the joint Parliament of England and Scotland – and if any injury has been thereby inflicted on the land o’ cakes, her own representatives have been to some extent at any rate consenting parties. A ready answer may then be given to those who found their case on the so called violation of the Articles of Union, since according to the well known legal maxim, Volenti non fit injuria [to one who is willing, no harm is done]

   The true means of obtaining redress for Scottish grievances is through the Scottish representatives; and certainly a proportionate increase in the number of these should be among the foremost objects of all the Scottish reformers. Let us however in passing remind those who stickle by the Union, that we have now a larger number of representatives than was stipulated for under that treaty. Still Scotland has not her fair proportion – and this she is entitled to demand whether by an increase in the number of Scotch members, or a decrease in the number of English, does not much signify, although we rather incline to the latter alternative. The House of Commons is already numerous enough, and we do not think it would suffer any slight reduction. 

   There is one thing in which we cordially agree with the statement in the address before us, and that is the absolute necessity of the appointment of a Secretary of State for Scotland. We have ourselves on former occasions adverted to this point, and as is very appositely remarked by the framers of the address, ‘The necessity for a Secretary of State must be apparent to all who understand that the Lord-Advocate is unable to attend to the treble duties of adviser to the Crown or public prosecutor, and superintendent of the whole proceedings of Scotland; of Secretary of State and framer of bills for a country daily increasing in wealth, population, and legislative business; and of attendance to his private practice as an advocate, which he cannot be expected either to forget or forego. It is absurd to conceive that the mere fraction of one man’s time, however able, is sufficient to govern the most industrious country in Europe, or that every Lord Advocate must infallibly be a statesman and fit to undertake the cast amount of legislation appertaining to such a country as Scotland.’ 

   We fully concur in these observations, and we would add to them a remark which a committee of Edinburgh gentlemen may fairly be excused for passing by. And the remark we would add is, that the Lord Advocate is far too likely to be linked closely with the interests of the Parliament House and the lawyers. He cannot therefore act with that freedom and independence, which are required for the administration of the interests of the whole Scottish community. Even our present Lord Advocate, with all his ability and ingenuity, is a striking instance in illustration of our remark.”

– Alloa Advertiser, Saturday 20th August, 1853.



   ANOTHER rag of intolerance has been swept away. Her Majesty, disregarding the unseemly and impertinent request preferred by the Established Church Commission, has given her sanction to the University Test bill; and now the lay chairs of the Scotch Universities are open to the most competent Professors, without reference to their religious creed. So far as Scotland is concerned, this is the greatest and best measure of the session. It is important as the public and legislative recognition of a sound principle – important as the settlement of a long agitated question – and equally important viewed in its bearing on other questions yet to be disposed of. The principle on which the bill is founded is, that the Scotch Universities are national, not denominational institutions – a principle which, if fully carried out, would lead to the abolition of the theological chairs. Meantime, it is restricted to branches of science and learning; and, thankful for even this partial recognition, it is probable that the Established Church may be allowed to teach her students their divinity for some time longer at the public expense. But one thing is self-evident: if tests are inexpedient and prejudicial to learning in the non-theological chairs of the universities, they are equally, and even more so in schools: what, therefore, has taken place with regard to the higher seminaries, must assuredly follow with the lower. Principal Macfarlane, however far wrong in some of his statements, was unquestionably right in saying that if the universities go, the schools must follow. And gratifying as it is to find denominational and sectarian barriers removed from the lay chairs of our universities, the full importance of the test bill is only realised when it is viewed as the initiative of a thorough-going educational reform. 

   We hope the clergy of the Established Church have learned a lesson from the manner in which this question has been settled. From the first, a majority of their number set their faces like a flint against any modification of the antiquated tests. No later than the week before last, the Commission gave forth its deliverance in very pompous tones. ‘The Commission take this opportunity to renew, in the most earnest manner, the expression of the mind of the church [i.e. clergy] against the bill, as an unmerited and unwarrantable aggression on her rights and Privileges, guaranteed by the Scottish Parliament, and by the Treaty of Union – as a flagrant infringement of a solemn international compact, and as involving a change in the constitution of the universities most prejudicial to the interests of sound education.’ The Lords spiritual and temporal paid no attention to the solemn remonstrance; but, following up the significant expression of opinion given by the House of Commons, passed the bill without even a division! Not content with remonstrating, the same reverend court asked the Queen to veto the deliberate act of both Lords and Commons.* This, too, was unheeded; so that the Church of Scotland nominally (but in reality her clergy) is forsaken in a matter which she declares to be absolutely essential to the national well being. The Queen, Lords, Commons, and almost the entire body of the people are on the one side; a majority of the clergy, and a few elders, who allow themselves to be tools in the hands of their ministers, are on the other. And thus the church which calls herself national, stands out from and opposed to the opinions of the great body of the population. There is not only no sympathy between her and them, but even the national representatives, who generally exhibit for this church at least a formal, theoretical respect, turned their backs upon her on this occasion. The natural result of taking up an untenable position, is loss of influence. It is so with individuals as well as with collective bodies; and it is peculiarly so when a church sets herself up against reason, common sense, and the unanimous voice of the people. What has happened to her in the case of the universities, will take place in regard to schools – unless she assume a very different mien in the one case than she has done in the other. The fulminations and protests of ecclesiastics are very harmless in these times; and whatever adventitious aid the Established Church may receive through her connexion with the State, she only makes herself a laughing stock when she sets up her dictum in opposition to what the public opinion of the country has pronounced to be ‘wise, just, and beneficial.’ It may not be immediately, but certainly at no distant day, the same public opinion, and, it may be, the same government, that have so successfully thrown open the universities, will also free the schools from ecclesiastical control, whether the Established Church will or no. This is not a prediction, but a legitimate inference from the history of the test controversy.” 

– Elgin Courier, Friday 26th August, 1853.

* The arguments from those of the Established Church of Scotland concerning the requirement of new professors to sign the Confession of Faith were numerous from about 1805 and their arguments regarding the proposed Test Act were touted in the newspapers often and for quite some time prior to the decision of Parliament and the Queen to outright ignore their arguments. See the last paragraph quoted from the Aberdeen Herald and General Advertiser, Saturday 13th August, 1853, which is related to Dr. Macfarlane’s appeal to her majesty.




(From Blackwood for September.)

   To say that Scottish nationality is a dream without an object, is to deny history, and to fly in the face of fact. The Union neither did nor could denationalise us. It left us in undisturbed possession of our national laws and of our national religion; and it further provided, as well as could be done at the period, and most anxiously, for the future maintenance of those institutions which the State is bound to foster and preserve. If it had been intended that in all time coming the Imperial Parliament of Britain was to have full liberty to deal as it pleased with the internal affairs of Scotland, certainly there would not have been inserted in the treaty those stringent clauses, which, while they maintain the institutions of the past, lay down rules for their regulation in the future. These were, to all intents and purposes, fundamental conditions of the treaty; and to that treaty, both in word and spirit, we look and appeal.

*   *   *   *   *

   The object of the Treaty of Union was to establish uniformity of trade and privilege, internal and external, throughout the United Kingdom; to equalise taxation and burdens; and to extinguish all trace of separate interest in matters purely imperial. But it was not intended by the Union to alter or innovate the laws and institutions of either country – on the contrary, these were strictly excepted and provided for. The previous acts, both of the English and Scottish Parliaments, remained in force, applicable to the two countries; but, for the future, all legislation was to be intrusted to one body, ‘to be styled the Parliament of Great Britain.’ Referring again to the Treaty of Union, we find anxious and careful provision made for the maintenance in Scotland of three national institutions, the Church, the Courts, and the Universities; all of which the united legislature was bound to recognise and protect. In short, the whole spirit and tenor of the Treaty is, that, without altering national institutions, equality should be observed as much as possible in the future administration of the countries.

   It cannot be pretended that the Union implied no real sacrifice on the part of the Scottish people. London, to the exclusion of Edinburgh, became the seat of Government. Thither the nobility and wealthier gentry were drawn, and there a considerable portion of the revenue of the country was expended. That was the inevitable consequence of the arrangement which was made, and the Scots were too shrewd not to perceive it. But, on the other hand, the advantages which the union offered, seemed, in prospect at least, to counterbalance the sacrifice; and it was understood that, though the Scottish Parliament was abolished, and the Great Offices of State suppressed, the remnant local institutions were to receive from the British Government that consideration and support which was necessary to maintain them in a healthy state of existence.

   It is almost to be regretted that the Treaty of Union was not more distinct and specific on those points; and that no stipulation was made for the expenditure of a fair proportion of the revenue raised from Scotland within her bounds. That such a guarantee would have been advantageous is now evident; for, instead of diminishing, the tendency towards centralisation has become greater than ever. No Government has tried to check it – indeed, we question whether public men are fully aware of its evil. 

   As a country advances in wealth, the seat of Government will always prove the centre point of attraction. The fascinations of the court, the concourse of the nobility, the necessary throng of the leading commoners of Britain during the Parliamentary season, are all in favour of the metropolis. To this, as a matter of course, we must submit, and do so cheerfully; but not by any means because we are ion the situation of an English province. It never was intended to make us such, nor could the whole power of England, however exerted, have degraded us to that position. London is not our capital city, nor have we any interest in its aggrandisement. We do not acknowledge the authority, in matters of law, of the Chief-Justice of England – we are altogether beyond the reach of the southern Ecclesiastical Courts. These are not accidental exceptions; they are necessary parts of the system by which it was provided that, in all things concerning our local administration, we were to have local courts, local powers, and a local executive. We complain that, in this respect, the spirit of the treaty has not been observed. Our Boards of Customs and Commissioners of Excise have been abolished; the revenues of the Scottish Woods and Forests are administered in London, and applied almost entirely to English purposes; and a like centralisation has been extended to the departments of the Stamps and Post-office. 

   But lest it should be said that these are grievances more shadowy than real, let us take the case of the Woods and Forests mentioned above. The hereditary revenues of the Crown in Scotland amount to a very large sum, all of which is sent to London, but hardly a penny of it ever returns. Holyrood, Dunfermline, Linlithgow – all our old historical buildings and objects of interest, are allowed to crumble into decay: because the administration of a fund which ought to be devoted to such purposes is confided to Englishmen, who care nothing whatever about the matter. By one vote in the present year, £181,960 were devoted to the repair and embellishment of Royal palaces, parks, and pleasure-grounds in England; but it seems by the statement of the Chancellor of the Exchequer that there are no funds available for the repair of Holyrood. Of course there can be no funds, if all our money is to be squandered in the south, and an annual expenditure of nearly £10,000 lavished upon Hampton Court, where Royalty never resides. Of course there can be no funds, if £40,000 is given for a palm-house at Kew, and upwards of £62,000 for Royal parks in England. But there are funds, if we may believe the public accounts, arising from the revenues of the Crown in Scotland, though most unjustly diverted to other than Scottish purposes. It may be, however, that, very soon, no such funds will remain. A large portion of the Crown property situated in Scotland has been advertised for public sale; and we may be sure of this, that not even a fractional portion of the proceeds will be applied to the north of the Tweed. Now, if the management of this branch of the revenue had been intrusted to a board in Edinburgh (as it formerly was, before the Barons of Exchequer were abolished), we venture to say that, without asking or receiving one shilling of English money, we could have effectually rescued ourselves from the reproach to which we are daily subjected by strangers, who are not aware of the extent to which centralisation has been carried. They look with wonder and sorrow at Holyrood, with her ruined chapel, and the bones of our Scottish kings and queens exposed to the common gaze, and ask whether they really are among a people famous for the enthusiasm with which they cleave to the memories of the past, and to the recollections of their former glories. Peering through the bars of that charnel vault where the giant skeleton of Darnley is thrown beside the mouldering remains of those who once wore the crown and wielded the sceptre of Scotland, they can recall no parallel instance of desecration save the abominable violation of the sepulchres of St. Dennis by the base republican rabble. And who are to blame for this? Not certainly the Scottish people, but those who have diverted the revenues applicable to purely national objects, to the maintenance of English palaces, and the purchase of London parks. 

   Centralisation has deprived us of several important offices which could have been filled quite as economically and efficiently for the public service in Scotland as in the south. We are by no means in favour of the extension of useless offices, but there is a vast difference between such and places of responsibility, where local knowledge becomes a very high qualification. It is impossible that a board, sitting in London, can give the same satisfaction to the people of Scotland, or conduct business so effectually, as if it was located among them. But, besides this, it seems to be a settled matter that Scottish official appointments are to be remunerated on a different scale from that which is applied in England and in Ireland. Why is it that our officials – in the Edinburgh Post-office, for example – are paid at a far lower rate than those who perform the same duties in London and in Dublin? Is it because Ireland contributes more than we do to the revenue? Let us see, the revenue of Scotland for the year ending 1852 was £6,164,804, of which there was expended in the country £400,000, leaving £5,764,804, which was remitted to London. The revenue of Ireland for the same period was £4,000,681, of which there was expended in Ireland £3,847,134; leaving a balance merely of £153,547. Have the people of Scotland no reason to complain whilst this monstrous inequality is tolerated? 

   Let us now turn to the Universities, which in the eyes of a Government so zealous as the present affects to be in the cause of education, and to Lord John Russell in particular, ought to be objects of considerable interest. Let us see how they have been treated. In the year 1826, a commission was appointed by George IV. to examine into the state of the Scottish Universities, and to report thereon. The commissioners, of whom the Earl of Aberdeen was one, made a report in 1831, to the effect that, in general, the chairs were scandalously ill endowed, and that adequate and complete provision should be made in all the Universities, so that the appointment to the chairs ‘should at all times be an object of ambition to men of literature and science.’ Four or five bulky blue-books of evidence, &c., were issued; but the only party connected with literature who derived any benefit from the commission was the English printer. Not a step has been taken in consequence by any administration, although two-and-twenty years have elapsed since the report was given in! Sir Robert Peel had no objection to found and endow Popish Colleges in Ireland, but he would not listen to the representations made on behalf of the Protestant Colleges of Scotland. In consequence, the emolument drawn from many chairs in Scotland is under £250 per annum, even in cases where the crown is patron. Such is the liberality of the British Government in regard to Scottish education in its highest branches, even with the most positive reports recorded in its favour. As for museums, antiquarian and scientific societies, and the like, they are left entirely dependent upon private support. We do not say that a Government is bound to expend the public money upon such objects as the latter; but it is at all events bound to be impartial; and really, when we look at the large sums devoted every year as a matter of course to London and Dublin, while Edinburgh is passed over without notice, we have a right to know for what offence on our part we experience such insulting neglect. This is a matter, moreover, which ought not to be lightly dismissed, inasmuch as, if Edinburgh is still to be regarded as a capital city, she is entitled to fair consideration and support in all things relating to the diffusion of arts and science. We do not desire to see the multiplication of British museums; but we wish to participate directly in that very lavish expenditure presently confined to London, for what are called the purposes of art. If we are made to pay for pictures, let us at least have some among us, so that our artists may derive the benefit. We have all the materials and collections for a geological museum in Edinburgh, but the funds for the building are denied. Nevertheless, a grant of £18,000 per annum is made from the public money to the geological museums of London and Dublin. 

   Passing from these things, and referring to public institutions of a strictly charitable nature, we find no trace whatever of State almonry in Scotland. Dublin last year received for its different hospitals £23,654 of state money. Edinburgh has never received the smallest contribution. Can any one explain to us why the people of Scotland are called upon to maintain their own police, while that of London receives annually £131,000, that of Dublin £36,000, and that of the Irish counties £487,000; or why half of the constabulary expense in the counties of England is defrayed from the consolidated fund, while no such allowance is made to Scotland. We should like very much to hear Mr Gladstone or Lord Palmerston upon that subject. 

   It is anything but an agreeable task for us to repeat the items of grievance, of which these are only part. there are others highly discreditable to the Government, such as the continued delay, in spite of constant application, to devote any portion of the public money to the formation of harbours of refuge on the east and northern coasts of Scotland, where shipwrecks frequently occur. But enough, and more than enough, has been said to prove that, while subjected to the same taxation, Scotland does not receive the same measure of allowances and encouragements as England, and that the system of centralisation has been carried to a pernicious and unjustifiable length. If these are not grievances, we are really at a loss to know what may be the true meaning of that term. To many of the English public they must be new, as we have no doubt they are startling; for the general impression is, that Scotsmen, on the whole know pretty well how to manage their own affairs, and are tolerably alive to their own interest. that is undeniable; but the peculiarity of the case is, that we are not permitted to manage our own affairs. England has relieved us of the trouble; which latter, however, we could not grudge to bestow, if allowed to do so. But our grounds of complaint are not new to statesmen and officials of every party. Representation after representation has been made, but made in vain. The press of Scotland has, year after year, charged the Government with neglect of Scottish interests, and warned it against persevering in such a course, but without effect. The unwillingness of the people to agitate has been construed into indifference; and now, when the national voice is raised in its own defence, we are taunted with previous silence…

   Another point, and it is one of vas importance, is to insist that, at the next adjustment of the representation, Scotland shall send its just proportion of members to the House of Commons. At present, whether the test of revenue or of population be applied, we are inadequately represented as contrasted with England. We pay more than a ninth of the whole revenue of the United Kingdom, but we have only a thirteenth part of the representation. It is quite necessary that this should be remedied, so that our interests may be properly and efficiently attended to in the Legislature. We care not what criterion is taken – whether that of revenue or that of population – but we have a right to demand and expect, that in this matter also we shall be dealt with according to the same measure which is applied to England. According to the last census, each of our Scottish members represents an average population of 54,166; whilst one member is returned for every 35,845 of the population of England. The apportionment ought to be made according to some clear, intelligible principle – not by a mere flourish of the pen, or an arbitrarily assumed figure. With a responsible minister, and an adequate representation, attention to the interests of Scotland would be secured; and it is the bounden duty of every man who wishes well to his country to bestir himself for the attainment of these objects.”

– Aberdeen Press and Journal, Wednesday 7th September, 1853.


   “Scotland has to complain not only of the appropriation of nineteen twentieths of her revenue for imperial purposes – of the utter neglect of her charitable institutions – were these all her grievances this agitation would never have been begun – but in every department of government it is the same. Every one of the boards for the management and regulation of home affairs, the Admiralty, the Board of Trade, Customs, &c., manifests the same glaring and outrageous partiality – neglects and overlooks Scotland. Each department is independent of and uncontrolled by each other, yet, instinctively, they have adopted the same mode of acting to Scotland. The object and purpose – not well-defined and avowed indeed – seems to be to obliterate Scotland’s nationality – to merge Scotland into England. It is very curious and instructive to remark the anomalous position Scotland now occupies, and the light in which she is regarded by statesmen. She is neither Scotland, a distinct kingdom, nor yet a province of England; but first the one and then the other, as it suits their purpose. Of a boon is to be conferred on England or Ireland, grants of money to be made to charities, universities, museums, libraries, parks, or for the building or repairing national buildings, harbours or quays, then Scotland is treated as a separate and independent kingdom, to which, by a separate act, to be passed at the Greek Kalends, these grants are to be extended. But when she is to be robbed of some right, or deprived of some hardly-won and dearly-cherished privilege, then Scotland is but a part of England, with common interests and rights, Scotland obtains none of the benefits she would receive as an English province, being a distinct kingdom when benefits are conferred; and suffers all the disadvantages of distant and unimportant provinces, being part and parcel of England when any wrong is to be perpetrated, or any privilege to be taken away; Scotland is thus deprived of those rights secured to her by the Treaty of Union, while she shares in none of the benefits that would belong to her as an English province. 

   We put it to every Scotchman whether this is as it should be? whether he is prepared to sink Scotland’s nationality, and see her become an English province? or whether he is ready, calmly and respectfully, yet resolutely, to demand Scotland’s just and lawful right? We must choose one of these alternatives. The time has come, assuredly, when Scotland must insist that justice be done her, or, ‘infamous and contented,’ sink into a neglected and unimportant province of the empire. She must assert her separate, distinctive, and independent nationality – her right to be governed by her own laws – to preserve her own customs – and to worship God after her own manner; or to have English laws, English usages, and the English form of worship substituted. Scotland is the more ancient kingdom of the two; the Queen takes precedence of every European monarch except the Pope, as Queen of Scotland; and Scotland, up to the time of her union with England, maintained her national independence. ‘Nature,’ says the eloquent writer of the address to the people of Scotland, ‘had sparingly accorded her a subsistence in return for honest and incessant toil; yet nature had endowed her with men – with men who stood in the presence of the great world, and gave place to none. She had an inheritance of patriotic history second to nothing that had appeared since the downfall of the Roman empire. She had succumbed to none – been conquered by none – enslaved by none. England, that had seen the fields of Agincourt and of Cressy in France – that could march at one time from the Tweed to the Pyrenees – had found in Scotland Bannockburn. Are the men of Scotland prepared to see their ancient kingdom blotted out from the map of nations – to witness without struggle that effected by crooked policy and cunning statecraft which force of arms failed to accomplish?’ We do not advocate – nor does the National Association advocate – the Repeal of the Union. What we demand, and what we shall have, is, that the terms of the treaty of Union be observed; and that Scotland shall share equally and impartially with England and Ireland in all the advantages of Imperial legislation; in all grants of money from the Treasury for education, charities, and every national institution; and that she shall be left free to regulate her own internal affairs as she chooses, and to ‘develop for herself such germs of excellence as Providence has endowed her with.’ ”

– Dumfries and Galloway Standard, Wednesday 21st September, 1853.



– The Examiner, 5th November, 1853.




   It is somewhat remarkable that the seaport of the metropolis, which has been supposed to be for years the peculiar care of successive Lord Advocates, has more grievances to complain of than any other port on all the coast of Britain. 

   For the present, we have to refer to a portion of that injustice which has resulted from the abolition of the Scottish Customhouse, in violation of the Treaty of Union; and what Sir Walter Scott mentions ‘as that sort of absolute and complete tutelage to which England seems disposed to reduce her sister country, subjecting her in all her relations to the despotic authority of English Boards, which exercise an exclusive jurisdiction in Scottish affairs, without regard to her local peculiarities, and with something like CONTEMPT for her claims as a country.’ 

   Certain inhabitants of Leith have forwarded the following documents to the office of the National Association:- 

‘Leith. 27th January 1854.    

   ‘As Scotsmen, we beg to draw your attention to one of the many grievances that Scotland has to complain of, viz., the Customs Department, and the pay of the officers in Scotland as compared with those of England.

   ‘As citizens of Leith, we are in a position to know that in the port every effort on the part of the officers themselves to have justice done them has failed, we therefore sincerely trust, that in the honourable position taken by the National Association for the Vindication of Scottish Rights, it will bring this subject before the nation, as nothing but the united voice of the people will ever gain for Scotland and for Scotsmen the rights of which they have been robbed.

   ‘Inclosed is a copy of a petition presented to the Treasury, by Mr Inglis, Lord Advocate, under the Derby Government, from the officers in the port of Leith, contrasting their pay with that received by those of Hull. By perusing the enclosed table, you will at once see how miserably short the pay of the officers in this port is, when compared with the pay of those at Hull. The lockers and weighers receiving L.12 14s., and the tidewaiters L.19 3s. per annum less at the former than the latter port.

   ‘Leith is a first-class port in Scotland; Hull is a second-class port in England; and for many years the revenue of the former has exceeded that of the latter by upwards of L.200,000 per annum. The duties of the respective officers are the same, yet an officer in a first-class port in Scotland must perform the same amount of Government work for a QUARTER less pay than an officer in a second-class port in England!

   ‘In the name of common justice, why should this be?

   ‘In July 1853, the port of Leith was arranged upon the same system as Hull and Liverpool, the officers were to perform the same duties, and wear a uniform dress, without receiving the same advance of pay.

   ‘As citizens of Leith, we have learned that a petition was submitted to the Board of Customs in November last, craving more pay to meet the extra expenses, but the usual reply was given ‘we cannot comply with the request‘ – NOTHING CAN BE GRANTED TO SCOTLAND!!

   ‘The ports of London and Dublin are more handsomely dealt with; a tidewaiter at the latter receives L.10 per annum more than any similar officer in Scotland. As the friends and relations of those employed by Government here, we have furnished you with these facts, for the truth of which we vouch.’

   The following tables prove the truth of the statements contained in the foregoing letter:-


   Such is the justice for Scotland! These weighers, lockers, tidewaiters, and boatmen have to perform the same amount of duty as their brother officials in England; but because they have the misfortune to be born in Scotland, or rather stationed in that most unlucky portion of the British empire, they must be glad to content themselves with a quarter less pay. No doubt the Honourable Board of Customs believe that the English officials require many comforts which the Scottish, in their simple hearts, never dream of; and that, while the former may dine on their proverbial beef and pudding, the latter may rejoice upon kail-blades and plain oatmeal. 

   At this time, when Government have it in contemplation to take away our Post-Office, with its secretary and other officials, and to strip our letter-carriers of their red coats – thus, as it were, insultingly throwing down a glove of defiance to Scotland, when she is engaged in an extensive system of national organisation – we cannot do better than close this article by the humble petition, a copy of which was forwarded to the office of the Association, by its friends in the neglected burgh of Leith.


   The Lords of the treasury referred this petition to the English Commissioners of the Board of Customs, whose answer was, that the Scottish officers should be severely reprimanded for daring to forward any such petition for equality of allowance; which reprimand was accordingly given by the collector.” 

– Caledonian Mercury, Monday 6th February, 1854.


With the rise of the National Association for the Vindication of Scottish Rights, in 1853, Scottish grievances as to how the country was managed under the Westminster government by dint of the Treaty of Union are numerous and all on the same vein as previously transcribed. The next article suggests the over-promotion of the cause perhaps led to the City Hall meeting of the association not having been well attended;


   “… The speeches, eloquent in many respects though they were, scarcely unfolded a single point that has not been times without number repeated, and with which every one must be quite familiar. The two following resolutions, which, with others, were heartily and unanimously approved of, will give some idea of the matters treated:- 

   ‘That in violation of the terms and spirit of the Treaty of Union, the Privy Council of Scotland, the office of Secretary of State for Scotland, the Scottish High Court of Admiralty, and Board of Customs, and Excise, and other branches of local administration, have been abolished or placed under English control, to the great loss and detriment of the people of Scotland. That Scotland is entitled to claim their restoration, and that the same should be restored accordingly.’ 

   ‘That the representatives returned by Scotland to the House of Commons, and as contemplated by the new Reform Bill, are not in the relative proportion of the number of the people or the amount of the revenue as compared with those of England; and that this meeting is of opinion that, in order to give the voice of Scotland its just weight in Parliament, their members should be increased to its fair proportion.’ 

   At the conclusion of the speeches a vote of thanks was awarded the speakers and the chairman, and the meeting retired, having occupied about three hours.” 

– Northern Warder and General Advertiser for the Counties of Fife, Perth and Forfar, Thursday 9th March, 1854.



   Mr. McLELLAN wished to bring under the notice of the Council, a measure of great importance to Scotland in its commercial relations and otherwise. Some two years ago, a bill was brought into Parliament, the effect of which would have been to subject the Scotch Law to the operation of English Common Law at Westminster – an instance of gross centralization, and highly detrimental to the commercial interests of Scotland. This clause was detected and deleted, and Scotland preserved from this infliction. Another instance was, in the case of a bill making some alteration in the system of transporting criminals – a bill hurriedly carried through Parliament, and in which there was a decided infraction of the 19th section of the treaty of union. That was actually the law at this moment; and its provisions were to the effect that the warrant of any criminal judge in England should supersede the warrants of judges in Scotland and in Ireland – superseding our criminal police and local control. Now, in addition to this, a bill had just been introduced into Parliament, under a plausible pretence, by a gentleman of the name of Craufurd, who represented the Ayrshire district of Burghs, which proposed to carry out some good provisions, by allowing validity to the indorsation of judges’ warrants in the three kingdoms. This was reciprocal, fair, and just. But the clause to which he objected, was one which took the same course as that proposed by the bill introduced two years ago, and which superseded in civil causes the control of the Scotch courts, high and low, and which swept the whole procedure from them, and centralized it in Westminster and the other courts in England. This was not only a breach of the 19th article of the Union, but if passed into law it would be everywhere felt as inconvenient, and it would place the Scotch law in a subordinate position to that of England. For the sake of example, he would take the case of a bargain between a Scotch trader and an English furnishing house. Well, the goods arrive; but they are found not to tally with the sample. Now, if the objections on this head are never so strong on the part of the Scotch receiver, he was to have no power, as at present, to object to the breach of contract in the Scotch courts of law, and at the place of his own residence, but his case was transferred entirely to the English law courts. This would be an immense inconvenience, besides being flagrantly insulting to the Scotch. It was partial to England, and unjust to Scotland, and altogether such a gross instance of centralization as could only have been introduced by ignorance or malice prepense.”

– Glasgow Herald, Friday 24th March, 1854.




(Edinburgh News.)

   … Of the sums voted, that of L.8300 for the new Edinburgh museum forms the most interesting item for our citizens, because that is but the beginning of a series of votes which must be granted to Edinburgh, as the metropolis of Scotland, for the commencement and completion of great national objects here as elsewhere throughout the country. For the obtaining of this grant the zeal of the Lord Provost has done much, but we unquestionably award the largest share of thanks to the Association for the Protection of Scottish Rights, without whose timely and upon the whole judiciously conducted agitation in favour of national interests this grant at the present moment might never have been listened to, either by Government or the House of Commons. Even in a time of war, demanding a double income tax, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, as well as the other members of Government, could not venture to overlook the glaring fact, that while London and Dublin were year after year receiving their ten or twenty or more thousands for objects of a strictly national character pertaining to the propagation of arts and sciences in their respective localities, Edinburgh, as the capital of Scotland, was left without a sixpence from that general fund to which Scotland was so large a contributor. That had gone on for years, and might have gone on for generations, had not the indignant spirit of Scotland found embodiment in this National Association; and through this combination our country’s wrongs have been made more patent to Government in a year than they could have been made through individual or isolated efforts for 30 years to come. This and the other ‘allowances’ which the Treaty of Union stipulated should be ‘equal,’ but which Scotland has this year for the first time obtained, we ascribe directly to the benefits arising from the agitation of the National Association; and it is to be hoped that the success which has so conspicuously attended their labours in other matters as well as this will only stimulate to renewed exertion on thier part to continue demanding for Scotland that which is just and equal until it be obtained, not in isolated instances, but in all matters considered necessary for the capitals of either England or Ireland. If through the existence of such an association Scotland derives benefits now which have always been denied heretofore, both the country and the directors of this association can afford to despise the ribald nonsense of a few hireling scribes ready to write up or write down anything according to the order of employers. If the nation gets the solid pudding now, which it never got before this association was started, Scotland may laugh at those who consider ridicule or abuse necessary as an antidote to the pounds sterling paid over. If it pleases them it does no harm to others, and if Government continue to show the same disposition to pay which they have done during the last year for things just and equal to the country, our people will not quarrel with their scribes for smearing the money with abuse. Before this National Association started, Scotland had its grievances rewarded with kicks without halfpence; since the association has become an organised power, our country has not received half the number of kicks, while the pounds sterling granted have been multiplied manifold. It has no doubt been subjected to a fire of paper bullets from the hacks of office; and if vulgar-minded, virulent, and time-serving abuse could have done it, a large portion of our countrymen would have been utterly consumed; but neither hard words nor froth have broken any bones, while Scotland is reaping the substantial rewards of the society’s operations in this and other kindred grants for purposes equally useful and national.”

– Caledonian Mercury, Monday 17th July, 1854.






(By Express – From our own Reporter.)

   Yesterday evening the National Association for the Vindication of Scottish Rights entertained the Right Hon. the Earl of Eglinton and Winton, at a Public Banquet, in the City Hall, Glasgow, under the distinguished presidency of His Grace the Duke of Montrose. 

   Mr BAIRD, M.P., said… Gentlemen, in that debate to which I have alluded, there was an argument used in answer to the noble lord, which I can scarcely venture to call an argument, but which, whether it be an argument or not, I think is one of the most paltry of arguments and of answers that could possibly be made, and one which I was surprised to hear in such an assembly from the noble lord who is connected with Scotland, and one of its most distinguished ornaments. He stated that he thought that Scotland had little to complain of – that Scotchmen were in all parts of the globe, and in every situation of emolument and power – (hear, hear). He stated that there was a Scotchman who was Governor-General of India, that there was a Scotchman Governor of Canada, and be turned round most pointedly and said that there was a Scotchman who was enjoying the most important legal office of England – The Lord Chief-Justice of England – (hear, hear). Gentlemen, I wish not to grudge to that noble Lord all his honours and all the rewards he has met with. He has raised himself from the ranks to eminence by his industry, by his patient perseverance, and by his legal skills. Entering the world with the multitude, he has joined himself to the few who attain eminence, having bravely scaled life’s professional ladder, and reached the fullest ambition of his early days – (cheers). But to say that, because such is the case – that because Scotchmen have met with the due deserts of their energies and talents – to say that the community at large should not give vent to their feelings – to say that justice should not be given to the country – to say that wants, which have long been felt, are not to be redressed, is no argument at all, and is certainly a most paltry answer to give to any statement of such importance – (hear, and cheers). Gentlemen, if Scotchmen were not permitted to attain these high honours in England, Scotland would then be no longer a portion of this country – it would be in fact merely a conquered country – (hear, hear). But, gentlemen, that is not the case – these preferments are all open to us; but what we wish is, that still though being an integral part of that country with which we are connected, we should not be humiliatingly reduced entirely into the condition of a province – that we should still have some of those feelings which we yet retain with us respected. We have laws different, we have institutions different, and in these circumstances, whatever the case, we feel that we have a right to insist that we should be treated as a country integral in itself – (cheers). Gentlemen, one of the great aims of this Association has been to declare against that principle which is not gaining strength stealthily but gradually, which is the principle of centralisation – (loud cheers). Gentlemen, that principle of centralisation is a principle entirely foreign to the constitution of this country – (continued cheering). It belongs to foreign lands – it belongs to a system of government, where the head of the country is autocratic – (cheers) – but it does not belong to a free constitution – a constitution which has been nursed by independence and by local government, which has found its municipal corporations in the earlier stages of its history to have some of the great and leading obstacles to a power that would rise above it – (cheers) and to have been the first pioneers in the way of liberty and commercial freedom, and which at this time is still a great ruling principle of our free, of our liberal institutions – (cheers). Gentlemen, if we survey that mighty river which flows now through your streets, and that mighty fleet of ships which every day may be seen floating upon its bosom; and when we consider that it was nothing but a small and paltry stream a few short years ago, and those changes which half a century have made – those changes that have been effected by the unaided exertions of the citizens of this town, we may fairly question when such results have been obtained, whether similar results would have been obtained if the management of that river had not been in your own hands, but had been in the hands of some nameless subordinate official of the Imperial Government:- (loud cheers). Gentlemen, I believe that such would not have been the case, and that a deep debt of gratitude is owing to those Clyde Trustees who have so improved the river, for their legislation is a most striking instance of the value of local self-government – (continued cheering)… 

   Earl of EGLINTON… said – … We know that since the union – with the exception of the commencement when the heart-burnings and difficulties which necessarily followed such a scene prevented it – Scotland has prospered at a rate unheard of in writing. We also know that we are bound to England by ties of friendship and affection. We know that many a Scottish hearth is cheered by the presence of an English help-mate. We know that English blood flows in the veins of many of our noblest and our best families. We know that, in concert with England, we have raised an empire such as the world has never seen, that in concert with her we have conquered by land and reigned triumphant over the sea, and that we are now gaining great glory in the defence of the oppressed against the oppressor in a war undertaken for the purpose of securing the ultimate tranquillity of Europe – (loud applause). But though we owe fealty to one Sovereign, – though we acknowledge one Parliament, and are united by one great Imperial interest, we never can and we never will lose our nationality – (loud applause). We may be merged in on3e empire, but we never can be blotted out as a nation – (renewed applause). We owe it to those ancestors who, whatever may have been their failings, were true to their country, and stood by her to the last, – we owe it to our children whose interests may be injured by our silence and apathy, to withstand all inroads on our rights, and to claim those rights as they have been guaranteed to us – (loud cheers). I have said that our demands have been moderate, and that they have been enforced in temperate and constitutional language; and I will ask any of our opponents to deny that assertion. Our demands are that we shall have an increase to the number of our representatives in Parliament – (cheers) – and I ask whether there is anything either ridiculous or intemperate in such a demand? I was told, however, in the House of Lords, by a noble Duke for whom I entertain the highest possible respect, that it was true that there had been some infraction of the Treaty of Union, but that everything that had been done had been for the benefit of this country! Now is that not a dangerous doctrine to inculcate? – (cheers) – because, if such a solemn treaty as that is to be altered according to the caprice or the wishes of Parliament or of the Prime Minister, how are we to know where it may end, and that what appears beneficial to them may not be totally prejudicial to our country – (loud cheers). Gentlemen, as I have said, the two points to which I would most particularly call your attention, and which, I trust, will never be lost sight of by this Association, are – that there should be a Secretary of State for Scotland, and an increase to the number of our representatives, – (applause) – because I am convinced that if some such responsible minister had existed, and if we had that number of representatives commensurate with our requirements, we should never have been treated with the neglect which we have received. As regards the first point, the experience of every Session shows more and more the necessity of some such appointment. Theoretically, it is impossible that a legal officer who has his own professional business to attend to, can properly administer the affairs of Scotland, and practically that has been found the fact… But even if the Lord Advocate had the leisure, he has not the power. He is not in the Cabinet. Now, I would ask what possible reason can be assigned why in England the Home Department is considered one of the highest offices represented in the Cabinet, in addition to several others which are exclusively devoted to English interests, with the Attorney-General and the Solicitor-General besides? Why what an outcry we should hear from out Southern friends if the interests of England were committed to the charge of the Attorney-General. Yet it is precisely the same case – (hear, hear). In Ireland, too, there is a separate Government – there is a Lord Lieutenant, there is a Chief Secretary frequently in the Cabinet, and an Under Secretary, an Attorney-General and a Solicitor-General, all exclusively devoted to Irish interests. God forbid that I should object to that separate Government. I am pledged by every feeling of gratitude, and by conviction too, to stand up against any such change or any such loss to Ireland. But I cannot understand why England and Ireland should have their separate staffs and Scotland should be so entirely left without such representation – (applause). But it is said, as the noble duke has remarked, that we have Scotchmen in the cabinet, that Scotchmen will poke their noses in everywhere, and, it is said, look at India and Canada, and the fleets, and Lord Campbell. But this, in the first place, is an entire accident. In the second place, none of them are entrusted with the management of Scotch affairs. In the cabinet which preceded this one, there was but a single Scotchman! and I very much question whether Lord Aberdeen has very much time on his hands to devote to Scottish interests. There is no doubt the Duke of Argyle, a worthy scion of a noble Lord – (cheers) – and well fitted to administer the affairs of Scotland, but they are not entrusted to him… Now, gentlemen, I know that we have arrayed against us a body strong in numbers and talent, who are, I believe, almost to a man in favour of the preservation of the present order of things – I mean the members of the legal profession in Edinburgh. Now, there is no body of men for whom I entertain a higher respect, but I cannot acquit them, nor can they divest themselves of partiality on such a subject. Some, no doubt, are influenced by the recollection that they have themselves held the office of Lord Advocate, others by the hope, perhaps not very vain, that they may, in their turn, hold it, and many, I know, by esprit de corps, and by a desire to uphold the portion of their profession in this country… As the noble Duke has said, within the last few months a fourth Secretary of State has been appointed in the shape of a Minister of War, and the appointment met with the universal approbation of the country, and the country has to pay several thousand pounds a year for the luxury… We all know there is a high office in Scotland, the Lord High Commissioner, but his duties are limited to sitting still for a certain number of hours in the course of the year – (laughter). I think, therefore, that this is another way in which this office might be combined with great advantage to the public, and it certainly appears to be a very easy manner in which to satisfy the complaints of the nation – (applause).”

– Caledonian Mercury, Thursday 5th October, 1854.


Regarding the decor for the above City Hall banquet;


   “The hall was beautifully and appropriately decorated under the superintendence of George Lamb, Esq., one of the associates. At the east end, over the Chairman’s table, there were suspended two royal standards of Scotland on blue coloured staves, with yellow tops, and tassels of yellow. This portion of the hall was also tastefully decorated with wreaths of evergreens and flowers. Over the Croupier’s chair, at the west end, and above the gallery, a union ensign was suspended on the wall, with wreaths of evergreens. On the north and south sides of the hall, the great windows were draped overwith curtains of the newly-arranged Scottish rights’ tartan, which does much credit to the taste of Mr James McKissock, 81 Wilson Street, Glasgow, the maker. Suspended from the curtains, and hanging over between the windows, were tastefully-arranged floral wreaths. On the north side, the St Andrew’s Ensign was suspended from a flag-staff, coloured blue with yellow top. The St Andrew’s Ensign is the Standard of Scotland, with the union in the corner. The English have their St George’s Ensign, and Scotland has her equal right to display her St Andrew’s, when and where she wills. On the south side of the hall there was displayed the Standard of Scotland. It is unnecessary, on Scottish ground, to describe the standard of our country. It is to be regretted that it is not oftener seen; it was the flag of our forefathers, and their descendants should be proud of it and its many glorious associations. In front of the chair were the Royal Arms of Scotland painted on canvass, and the Arms of the Earl of Eglinton, and Duke of Montrose; and below, festoons of evergreens and heather, &c.” 

– Glasgow Sentinel, Saturday 7th October, 1854.

N.B. With regards the “Scottish rights’ tartan” made by James McKissock, I was curious as to what this tartan looked like and had a look through the the ‘Scottish Register of Tartans‘ website and could not find it. Not with the creator’s name or the name of the tartan or the year in which it must have been made for this event. So I menailed them asking if they could help me out but for whatever reason they weren’t able to help me, which I found very strange, and referred me to enquire with the ‘Scottish Tartans Authority‘, which I did on 09/08/19, but I am, as yet, awaiting a response.


Regardless of the repetition of already made points this wee article clarifies what many still seem unable to grasp about the union of Scotland with England, e.g., there are those believe the monarchy is tied into said union, though the fact is that the present queen is Scotland’s queen despite the union – see What Happened to the Scottish Monarchy;




   Shakspeare says:-

‘He is well paid that is well satisfied,’

and the world at large is generally disposed to measure injury by contentment. Where there is no grumbling there can be no wrong; and it is argued still further, that where no discontent has prevailed none should be permitted to arise. It is, however, forgotten that right and wrong are entirely matters of proportion, and as there are no fixtures in political relations any more than in nature, a disproportion may gradually arise which may prove to be a real and legitimate wrong. A man might be perfectly contented in a private sphere with only the reputation and honour of his own good name, but if he suddenly discovered that he was heir to a fortune and a title which had long been in abeyance, he would be fully entitled to descant upon his wrongs if, through any legal delays, he was long kept out of them; and it is thus by a simple comparison of our rights with our conditions that a state of discontent arises. It is not Scotsmen alone, but Englishmen as well, who entertain an objection to a policy of centralisation. It is to the division of authority, the wide scattering of titles, honours, municipal and other forms of provincial government that so much of our national prosperity is owing; each locality having its offices and forms of respect, and being each dependent of the other; but strongly as we may argue in favour of an abstract principle opposed to centralisation, we have nothing more than a right so to argue and decide the matter according to the opinion of the majority. The Scottish nation, however, has another right, which all impartial persons must recognise. Queen Victoria is Queen of Great Britain only by virtue of a voluntary union on the part of the Scottish nation with England. This union was effected by a treaty, in which both nations were equally free and independent to act for the common advantage, but it was brought about by no occupation or conquest of Scotland by England. If the Sovereign of England were not Queen of Great Britain, she would still in her person unite the two crowns by virtue of her descent from James the First of England and Sixth of Scotland, so that the question of legislative union is one which affects merely the other estates of the Scottish realm. Any breach of the treaty cannot make the Sovereign of Great Britain less the supreme ruler of Scotland, but it may, and it does concern the position of those other estates of the Scottish realm whose rights were terminated or held in suspense by the Act of Union. The exact point at which prior rights revive, when the treaty by which they are waived is trampled on and disregarded, is a difficult question, but there can be no doubt that if every article of the Treaty of Union were as manifestly set at nought as some of them are, that the Scottish nation would be fully justified in reasserting the independence of the Legislature, and in returning to the exercise of those rights, the undisturbed possession of which they enjoyed in their distinct National Institutions before the passing of the Act of Union. What is fair for England is fair for Scotland. In their corporate capacity, and in behalf of the separate nations, their distinct Legislatures were the high contracting parties to a union from which they were, it is to be presumed, equally to benefit. It was a bargain struck, an agreement entered into; and a violation of its terms must result in the restoration of the previous rights of position. That it was necessary by that treaty to provide for the maintenance of some particular national institutions shows that some danger was apprehended, and that their sacrifice might be threatened; but when once secured by treaty, the Scottish Legislature of that date could little have dreamt of their being subsequently taken away in violation of the distinct articles without a further modification of the Treaty of Union between the nations. If it had so happened that after a lapse of time the people of Scotland had got a numerical superiority in both Houses of Parliament, and had transferred the seat of the Legislature and the Government Boards to Edinburgh, there can be no doubt that, although such a contingency is not provided against, the people of England would have exclaimed greatly at such a deprivation of their accustomed privileges. When, therefore, the people of Scotland see all their distinct officers of state unceremoniously abolished, their Boards of Customs and Excise absorbed, by the English establishments, their public buildings and the royal palaces permitted to fall into decay, their ancient courts of law and judges done away with, their public charities without any aid from the Imperial Legislature, and their country without proper naval and military establishments for their protection and benefit, – is it to be wondered at that, without the immediate means of self-assistance in the matter, they should examine the articles of the Treaty by which, as an independent and unconquered nation, they entered into an agreement with the English for their mutual advantage, and that, finding themselves at the mercy of the Imperial Legislature, with their rights of Treaty wantingly set at naught, – they should nurture a just and national discontent? – Civil Service Gazette.” 

– Caledonian Mercury, Thursday 16th November, 1854.


Just above this article is one entitled “Scottish Rights” in which another super common, post-Union, occurrence, that always has Scots up-in-arms, is mentioned. It is a direct result of the “centralisation grievance” mentioned previously where, “Scotland may not be any longer treated as a mere province – ‘a sort of larger Yorkshire appended to England”;


   “With regard to the ‘form of speech; adopted by Lord Palmerston and Mr Macgregor, M.P., it might, perhaps, in courtesy be pardoned, as more familiar to the lips of the Home Secretary, being literally ‘unaccustomed’ to address a Scottish audience; but in the member for this city, who bears the homely patronymic of Macgregor, pleading an unfortunate facility in English idiom as an excuse for reducing his country to the level of a denationalised dependency, is not so easily explained, nor so patiently to be borne. Then with regard to Lord Duncan’s address to his constituents, we doubt if there ever was a more glaring or grotesque anti-climax between the language he used and the personal or patriotic memories which he invoked. We believe his Lordship to be incapable of offering anything like disrespect to those he immediately addressed; certainly not to the brave Scottish soldiers who led the van at Alma; least of all to the whole Scottish people. But it certainly was passing strange to hear Lord Duncan talk in one breath of his native country, and of the heroic blood that flowed in the veins of our forefathers: while, in the very next sentence, he described them all as Englishmen.”

– Caledonian Mercury, Thursday 16th November, 1854.



   Sir – I take the liberty of addressing you upon a subject which, it appears to me, should be equally interesting to the people of Ireland, as to those of Scotland. I refer to the decided movement that has lately begun here, against that system by which the existence of Ireland and Scotland, as component parts of a United Empire, is systematically ignored – by which, as a consequence, the position and interests of these Countries are subordinated, and sacrificed to those of England – and under which, all public functions and establishments for the Union, are centred in London. As an Irish Journalist, you may be supposed to feel an interest in this subject. 

   Of course you are aware that strenuous efforts have been made to extinguish the movement in Scotland, by all manner of misrepresentation and ridicule. But these cannot alter the true facts and principles involved. 

   There are, no doubt, peculiarities, somewhat distinguishing the cases of Ireland and Scotland. But in the one great point of opposition to centralization, they have but one interest. From the accompanying copy of a recent address by the Council of the Scottish Association, and relative Tracts, you will see that this is a leading feature in the Scottish movement. 

   To me, individually, it appears that much, if not all, of the complaints that have been urged here, may be traced to an assumption on the part of our English fellow-subjects, that England stands, somehow or other in a superior, and the Sister Countries in a subordinate position. And there is no shape in which this displays itself more remarkably than in the ‘form of speech’ so generally adopted, even by her Majesty’s Ministers, by which England is represented as entirely swallowing up the other parts of the Union – which ignores the very existence of our Natives Countries – and by which Irishmen and Scotsmen are held up to the world as Englishmen, wherever honor is to be derived from their actions. 

   In making this remark at such a time, I ask you to believe that I am far from being actuated by any feeling different from the most unreserved devotion, on the part of your or my Countrymen, to the assertion of the rights of Europe, and of this Empire, in the present great struggle. But the circumstances of that struggle only serve to bring out, in a more striking and demonstrative form, the thing of which I speak. Irishmen and Scotsmen have had their full share – some say more than their share – in the struggle; but in all this they are constantly represented as fighting the “battle of England,” or, as it was expressed lately in a General Order, ‘they have added fresh lustre to the military fame of England!’ In short, they are made to occupy the position of mere mercenaries in the English Army, while they should be engaged in a struggle for the honor of their own Countries and the safety of civilization. 

   Some of my views on this subject are given in the accompanying Pamphlet; and it is possible you may have seen how the first letter, there printed, was dealt with by the English Journals. It may have been, that my style of putting the question was open to criticism. Of that I do not pretend to judge. But, when English journalists can ostentatiously place Scotland in the same category with ‘the Channel Islands,’ and meet with applause in doing so, and when Ministers of the Crown give sanction to such assumptions, I think that my general idea is pretty well sustained. 

   You will observe that the only thing assuming even the form an argument, in the answers, to my remembrance, consisted in a reference to the position of Ireland. If, it was said, Scotland may refer to the Treaty of Union as ground for repudiating the imposition of the English name, why may not Ireland do the same? I might have replied, why not, if she sees it for honor or her interest? In the meantime, I may refer to my actual reply, in dealing with my English assailants. But it has been this reference to Ireland that has suggested the present communication. 

   Be so good as observe that I do not contend for the use of the words, Britain and British, from any abstract merit they possess. I seek to vindicate a principle, which is this – that, in a union of nations, whose histories and associations have, unfortunately, been antagonistic, the assumption of the old name of any one, for the whole, is necessarily offensive, degrading, and injurious to the others – representing them, at home and abroad, as mere dependencies, and encouraging the idea that their feelings, wishes, and interests must yield to those of the dominant nation; and that, consequently, in such a union, the adoption of some common name is essential towards affording fair play in the political and social relations of the parties, and in matters affecting honors and distinctions amongst them. 

   Now, this principle seems to be deliberately and systematically violated by England towards Scotland, in the face of the plainest stipulation. The plea that this must be insisted in, out of tenderness for Ireland, was a piece of gross humbug on the part of those who attempted to use it. I think, farther, that the principle is systematically violated towards Ireland also. What is there in the associations connected with the English name that may foster patriotic feelings in the bosom of an Irishman? Am I wrong in supposing that the men of Ireland (seeing anything at all in my principle) would infinitely prefer the general designation of British subjects, to having imposed on them a name antagonistic to every sentiment connected with their country’s history? It may, perhaps, be said that, literally speaking, even the British name is not to them that common ground I would desiderate; but, in a good degree, it is so. Antiquarian geographers, indeed, tell us the Isles of Britain comprehend your country as well as mine, and such an opinion is popular; but I do not dwell upon this. What I look to is, that we have here a name which, so far as history antecedents go, as regards Scotland, is entirely, and as regards Ireland, is comparatively, at least, free from such objections as I have referred to – which negatives the assumption of English superiority, and under which Irishmen and Scotsmen, alike, could cultivate a liberal spirit of nationality connected with their native countries, without having everything honorable, or of good report, produced by them, appropriated and stamped as English

   It is not possible here to dwell upon the many ways in which the neglect of the principle referred to may, and does, affect the honor and interests of Ireland and Scotland. These I must leave to yourself to observe, and I cannot suppose they are difficult of discovery. 

I am, Sir, your obedient servant,

A. N. B.   

   Glasgow, 2d January, 1855.”

– Waterford Chronicle, Saturday 6th January, 1855.


   “What’s in a name? Mutato nomine de te fabula narratur. [Change the name and the story’s about you] When, as occasion served, we drew attention to the practice, across the border, or regularly sinking the first article of the Treaty of Union between Scotland and England, and calling the United Kingdom of Great Britain by the diminutive misnomer, ‘England,’ we were met by such queries as these – ‘What’s in a name? why bother so much about trifles?’ In these practical days, it was said, people care nothing about such matters; and, when the point was brought out somewhat more prominently in the able letters of our correspondent, ‘North Briton,’ to Lord Palmerston and others, a deal of dull wit was expended on the subject by the London journals, as well as some of our friends nearer home. One contemporary spoke of the protest against the practice as ‘silly.’ Another assured his readers that ‘the term England was used for the empire, just as ‘grey hairs’ designated old age!’ And a third declared that sensible people cared not a straw ‘whether we were called Scotch or English, cannibals or Hottentots,’ provided we got rid of some pecuniary inequalities, or, otherwise ‘secured a share of the honest plunder!’ The London Examiner was one of those newspapers which saw nothing the people of Scotland should complain of in having their country dealt with as an appendage of England. Now, as an instructive commentary on all this, we shall quote from the Examiner, of Saturday week, the following paragraph – 

   THE KINGDOM OF PIEDMONT. – ‘To call this state by its legal title of Sardinia is about as absurd as it would be to include the British monarchy under the appellation of the kingdom of Alderney or Sark. At no time was Sardinia ever an independent kingdom; it is not the parent stock of the monarchy it is made to designate; it is not and never can become the seat of its government. It has neither hereditary nor traditional pretensions, nor present and actual importance to justify its pretensions, nor present and actual importance to justify its pretensions, In population the island of Sardinia does not contain one tenth part of the subjects of the King of Piedmont; it does not yield one twentieth part of the revenues of the state; its trade, its wealth, its intelligence, form but a small and insignificant part of the strength of the kingdom; its position is not favourable to their increase; and though its mineral resources are no doubt great, its fatal climate forbids, and prevents, the importation of foreign capital and skill, by which only they can ever be turned to account on a large scale. Titles in this, as in most cases, have not been arbitrarily or stupidly selected. The appellation of Sardinia to the new Piedmontese monarchy was selected, in the interests of Austrian supremacy in the Italian peninsula, to disassociate from the minds and hopes of Italians the notion of a native monarchy, to preserve and perpetuate their divisions and divided allegiance, to check the growth of nationality and freedom, and to refer the only monarchy to a barren, semi-barbarous, unimportant island, as the source of its power, and so to degrade and humiliate it.’ 

   Aye, soon as the scales of self-conceit and self-interest are removed from the eyes of our Southern contemporary, nobody can see more clearly, or feel more keenly, or protest more stoutly, that important consequences may result from the use of ‘a name.’ With regard to this said State of Sardinia, or Piedmont – which neither in revenue nor social importance exceeds Scotland – although it may be said to derive much of its present interest from the attitude it has assumed, assimilating it in a great measure to that of Scotland in the days of our Reforming ancestors, in the case of Sardinia or Piedmont, the Examiner would ignore the legal title, for the sake of the associations connected with another. For Scotland, on the other hand, we would retain the legal title, because the adoption of another is calculated – aye, and deliberately used – to ‘disassociate from the minds’ of Scotsmen the recollection of the true position of their country – calculated and intended to ‘check the growth of nationality,’ or rather to denationalize, and so ‘to degrade and humiliate’ our people. We gladly quote such an authority as the Examiner in favour of our principle of nationality.” 

– Glasgow Constitutional, Wednesday 14th February, 1855.


“Letter to the Editor.


   SIR, – By the demise of Mr Forbes of Callendar, on the electors of Stirlingshire will soon devolve the privilege of choosing his successor for Parliament; and it is to be hoped that those friendly to the national cause of Justice to Scotland will avail themselves of this opportunity to use their best exertions that no one be elected who will not stand up for Justice to Scotland, – a cause as just as it is honourable and expedient. Stirlingshire is of all others that county in Scotland which should make a stand on this national question. Bannockburn itself is within her borders; Stirling Bridge and Falkirk should remind her that the rights and immunities of Auld Albyn owed much, in former days, to deeds done in Stirlingshire; and that an opportunity now occurs to shew the people of Scotland that Stirlingshire is still true to Scottish rights, and will have no one for her representative who will not be prepared to stand up, on every fitting occasion, and advocate in Parliament those rights, guaranteed to us not only at the Treaty of Union, but gained for us by our  forefathers in days gone by. Let the Shibboleth of every leal Scotsman in Stirlingshire, at the coming election, be – Will you, at every fitting opportunity, be prepared to advocate the rights and privileges guaranteed to us, but hitherto evaded? If the candidate says Yes, he is your man; but if he quibbles or hesitates, reject him, – so shall you do honour to yourselves, and have the gratitude of every sound Scotsman in broad Scotland. – I am, &c.,


– Falkirk Herald, Thursday 22nd February, 1855.


   “… when the member for Bridport, Mr Murrough, moved, the other night in the House of Commons, for leave to bring in a bill to abolish the property qualification now applicable to honourable members for England and Ireland, the proposition was strenuously supported on the ground that no such qualification was required in Scotland… The premier, however, took up the matter rather more seriously, and, in opposing the motion, unwittingly homologated the objects of the National Association for the Vindication of Scottish Rights. The noble Lord admitted that there was no property qualification for members in Scotland, but that, he said, was ‘an exception to the rule applicable to England and Ireland.’ And why is it the exception? Let us give the Premier’s answer in his own words – ‘that arose out of the Act of Union!’ Such an admission on the part of the late Home Secretary, who ignored the claims of Scotland founded on this same international compact, may, we trust, be regarded as some indication of returning consciousness on the part of the noble Lord that there is such a kingdom as Scotland, and that her people have Rights which even a British Parliament may not impugn…” 

– Glasgow Constitutional, Wednesday 14th March, 1855.



   … An election is impending. Are the national party to be quiescent under the wrongs of our country? Is nothing to be done to return members to Parliament who represent the popular will? Is the country to be parcelled out between Whigs and Tories? and is Scotland to be governed by a faction, her interests to be bartered for the aggrandisement of a few, and her Government to continue to be a proverb for bungling and jobbery, merely because we are at war with Russia? 

   To this we think there can be but one answer. There can be no doubt that we are exposed to the degradation and demoralisation of the system of billeting. There can be no doubt that our Government is a contemptible nominality in the hands of a lawyer of hardly third-rate abilities. There can be no doubt that we have not a vestige of local administration – that the powers of the Convention of Burghs are suspended. There can be no doubt that Government has abolished office after office in order to centralise everything in London, in flagrant violation of the Treaty of Union. And these facts are as patent to the world after as they were before we began the war with Russia. 

   We were conversing only a few days ago with one who has been distinguished as an asserter of Scottish Nationality; and we asked him why he had not taken any part in the agitation upon Scottish Rights? His answer was – ‘He thought it so hopeless. Why,’ he said, and said truly, ‘take the Bar. I have seen it in its glory, and now I see it in its decline. The prizes have been gradually taken away; and the consequence is, that we now have a Bar with barely second-rate abilities. What can we do against the centralised power of England.’ 

   To this we have an easy answer. Take up the history of Scotland at any period. It has been the struggle of a minority against an overwhelming majority; and it was only when the minority were divided by internal dissentions that this minority were overcome. There is little doubt that if Scotland were united as a nation, this system of misgovernment would not long continue. Thirty years have only elapsed when we saw her resisting an aggression un paralleled in its audacity upon our banking system. We saw her under the skilful guidance of the last of the Scottish tribunes defying the whole resources of England, as developed through the machinery of a powerful Tory Administration. Not the prestige of the name of Dundas could then have corrupted the kingdom. She stood entrenched in that dogged obstinacy which carried the heights of Alma contrary to all military science, and which retrieved the fight of Inkermann in spite of the blunders of Generals. The Government gave way. The people of England were silent; and it was well they were so. We say, then, to the people of Scotland that the time has arrived when you should determine one of two courses, as opportunity will be soon open to you of showing whether you will do nothing to demand a redress of grievances by returning men to Parliament who will oppose any Government that refuses that attention to Scottish affairs which, as a free and independent nation, Scotland is entitled to. The other course open to the people of Scotland is to sink their nationality, ignore their national existence, and continue to be ruled by English factions. 

   Whatever course the people of Scotland may determine on, the present state of things cannot continue. The present movement has many difficulties to contend with, has powerful interests to oppose, but no movement has gathered together so many resources within so short a time. Indeed it has been tempered by the very largeness of these resources. Carrying with it the most intelligent and popular of our aristocracy of all parties. Representing the feelings and the opinions of the great bulk of the middle order. Identified with a principle which in former times guided the councils and ennobled the character of our country, it cannot but succeed. To doubt it – to suppose that Scotland is to sink into a mere appanage, and English county, is to give the lie to our history and is foul dishonour to our name. – Glasgow Constitutional.”

– Caledonian Mercury, Saturday 15th September, 1855.


   “… The Glasgow Provost and merchants appear to have been princely in their hospitalities, and one likes to see this blending of commerce and science in social union and interest. But some zealous Glaswegians I see complain of a grievous heraldic insult from the English – the royal arms over the new Glasgow Post-Office are all wrong, or are to be wrong, the English arms and symbols taking precedence of the Scottish on the soil of Scotland, in violation of the treaty of Union. A bold insult just now, with so many of the heads of English families also on Scottish soil! Why does not fiery Glasgow send out spear and jack and sweep the pockpuddings into the donjon-keep until reparation be made?”

– Inverness Courier, Thursday 20th September, 1855.



(To the Editor of the Glasgow Herald.)

Glasgow, 18th Oct., 1855.

   SIR, – the article in the London Times of Monday last on the Crimean Banquet lately celebrated here has naturally excited your notice and animadversion, as it must that not of Scotsmen alone, but of all who value patriotism and other noble aspirations of the human mind. The Duke of Hamilton is sneered at because he said he was proud of being a Scotsman. Sir A. Alison is charged with ‘paltry provincialism,’ and other choice figures of rhetoric, of which the Times is a better master than it is of plain reason or quiet common sense. Now what has roused the ire of this would-be dictator of the British nation? Is it the fact that Scotsmen will not somehow sink their nationality even at the dictation of the Times – call their country a ‘province,’ as the Times says it now only is – the allusion to the deeds of Scotsmen only ‘paltry provincialism,’ and as such only to be laughed at when alluded to, a certain Treaty of Union notwithstanding saying somewhat the contrary? One would really think that the Times is jealous of the industry and enterprise of Scotland, and Glasgow in particular; and yet, considering what Scotsmen have done in this war, and the very large sum raised by Glasgow to aid a noble purpose, we might expect more civil treatment. If the Times thinks to intimidate Scotsmen from speaking sometimes of nationality (they certainly have as much reason to be proud of their nationality as the English have of theirs) it mistakes the character of Scotsmen considerably. Though, no doubt, the fear of ridicule is our weak side; that fear has made us submit to much positive injustice; still it is pressing rather strong upon that weakness to make game of feelings hitherto generally respected. The poor Greenlander or Lap loves his icy home; and shall the Scotsmen be subject to ridicule for looking back, it may be, to the heroic deeds of his countrymen in days gone by, or glancing at the gallantry of Scotsmen of the present day? 

   Attacks such as that of the Times will do good, and not harm, if they but rouse, as it is not unlikely, the latent patriotism of Scotsmen, and incite them to stand up more manfully on all fitting occasions for the status of this ancient kingdom, notwithstanding the sneers of the would-be omnipotent dictator about ‘paltry provincialism.’ If praiseworthy deeds of Scotsmen are to be so insolently characterised, what shall we say of the modesty and legality of those who would monopolize all the gallant acts of the present war, and who talk habitually of the ‘English navy’ and ‘English army’ even at a time when the most brilliant incidents of the war are attributable to Scotsmen? I am, sir, your very obedient servant, G. L.” 

– Glasgow Herald, Friday 19th October, 1855.


   “… It is the fire of nationality burning in their breasts that inspires the dauntless heroism of our soldiery – as marked in the Highlander and in the Lowlander, and as evinced on the plains of Abraham as at Waterloo or the Alma. The sacred duty, therefore, of every sincere Scotsman is to preserve the nationalities of Scotland in spite of ignorant sneer or lame witticism; but it is not enough to preserve what we still have – we must retrieve those unjustly taken from us. Let any one take up the Treaty of Union, and – looking at each stipulation in succession – ask himself, Has this been preserved? From the first to the last he will find them almost all broken through, or suppressed altogether; and all this without the sanction of Scotland. Let us take the first, and by far the most important stipulation, and see how far it has been acted up to. That stipulation says, – “That the kingdoms of Scotland and England, being united, shall be called Great Britain.’ Let us ask, is the above acted up to? and without which, it is known, no union would have taken place – so far from it, that the only legal name of these United Kingdoms sounds almost strange from the rarity of its use. This, then, is the grand evil under which Scotland labours; it is the keystone of the arch of injustice which overshadows this ancient kingdom; dislodge it, and down it crashes the incubus pressing on the fame and honour of Scotland. When one sees a minister of state, an admiral in command of a fleet, or a general of an army deliberately using the illegal words England, or English, in what appertains as much to the rest of the Empire as to South Briton, he cannot help asking himself – can Scotland, on whom this illegality peculiarly presses – can Scotland really have representatives at all? and if so, of what use are they? thus tolerating, by their silence, so gross a breach of a solemn compact. And what can we think of the English, taking advantage of their pusillanimity, thus to set at nought their own deliberate and solemn stipulation, and to make the breach of good faith and honour more glaring? – a nation which makes a constant boast of its inherent love for fair play. What must the world think, and every man of honour or honesty say – that, with all their professions of fair play, they are in practice so notoriously the reverse, that the contrast is as marked as it is despicable. Let the Scotsmen generally, therefore, rouse themselves from their spiritless and un patriotic lethargy – as derogatory to themselves as it is ungrateful to the memories of their forefathers – rouse themselves, and demand, and in that tone that its justice deserves, that the Government not only use legal language themselves, but instruct British admirals, generals, and ambassadors, also all other official persons, to pay proper respect to the fundamental laws of the British empire. Were our so called representatives in the Houses of Peers and Commons to do their duty, this could soon be effected – backed as they would be, by the unanimous voice of Scotland. – Yours, &c., 

G. L.”   

– Glasgow Herald, Friday 26th October, 1855.


Billeting was the practice of having soldiers stay in the house of whoever had space. This was seemingly a practice reserved to Scotland. In England they were stationed in purpose-built barracks instead of annoying folk with unwanted guests for random durations at a time.







   … Not many days ago the House voted 1,750,000l. for barracks, but not a single farthing of that sum was allocated to Scotland. The hon. member concluded by moving ‘that, in the opinion of this House, the practice of billeting soldiers of the militia and of the line in Scotland upon private families is injurious to the comfort and discipline of the men, as well as oppressive to the people; and that it is the duty of the Government to take means permanently to abolish the grievance.’

   Mr. JOHN McGREGOR regretted that any allusion should have been made to the Treaty of Union of Scotland with England. Since that period two rebellions had occurred in Scotland, but the memory of which the loyalty of the people had subsequently effaced. During, however, such a period it became necessary to adopt a different system in Scotland from that which prevailed in England and Ireland. But at the present time nothing was more obnoxious to the people of Scotland than the billeting system in that country. Although he could not expect the system to be immediately altered, yet he did hope that it would be ultimately changed, and assimilated to that which was pursued in England and Ireland. 

   Mr. Ellice (Coventry) was aware that this system of billeting was felt to be a great grievance by the people of Scotland; but he begged the House to consider how any attempt to remedy it in the way in which his hon. friend below him had suggested would be perceived by the public in England, and especially how it would press upon the public purse of the united kingdom…” 

– Evening Mail, Wednesday 9th April, 1856.


Regarding the franchise in Scotland as compared to England. That in the one the right to vote comes with hassle, complications, and the need for a £10 annual rent on the property of said voter; while in the other, there’s almost no hassle or inconvenience and only a £2 rent is required on the property of the equivalent voter;



   … The Government assured the country that the principles of justice and freedom, and protection to the weak and helpless against the aggressions of the strong, were the high motives which induced them to enter upon open hostilities with an opponent so powerful; and that the course to be pursued by them as the friends of the rights of nations appeared clear for the attainment of the laudable objects contemplated. The people of this country, in a season of comparative dearth, and in some respects of depression of trade and commerce, ungrudgingly poured forth of their resources into the public treasury for the purpose of protecting and preserving the rights of a nation whose interests were dear to them in little else than that freedom and justice were alike the inalienable birthright of nations and individuals. To the part the Scottish people have acted in this as in all former enterprises of the federal Government for a century and a-half, are they not entitled, as an integral part of the United Kingdom, to share equally in the privileges and powers which are enjoyed by those with whom they have stood on an equivalent footing in sacrifice, and which they can claim in virtue of our stipulated rights guaranteed by the Treaty of Union? If the combatants of one of the three portions of the kingdom have borne more than a due proportion of hardship in the late campaign, or sustained more appalling sacrifice of life than the others, these combatants belonged to Scotland! If any one portion has paid more dearly for the maintenance of the struggle than another, that portion is Scotland! Ought she then to be compelled still to occupy an inferior position in the administration of her own affairs? How is it that, as a people, we are subjected to certain taxing impositions, from which our neighbours south of the Tweed are exempted, and deprived from many lucrative grants from Government which they enjoy? We are not a conquered people, bound over to pay an annual tribute to an Imperial Government. Our protection is not more expensive than that of England or Ireland in proportion; and our demands upon the national exchequer for the regulation of our internal affairs are fewer and less exorbitant than theirs are. In these circumstances, it is, we confess, rather aggravating and unjust that we should be made a plaything in the hands of a stronger brother of the national family, and made to do service to one with whom we have entered upon mutual relationships to share in everything upon equal terms. It is to be hoped that the mental excitements and mutual sympathies occasioned by the activities of the war, and the lessons which its disclosures have afforded, will instinctively transfer the latent dissatisfaction of the people of Scotland into an earnest and irrepressible demand for the acquisition of all their national rights and privileges. Never was there a more favourable opportunity presented, and never were the people of this country in a better position for demanding equal rights and the concession of all reasonable reforms. If this opportunity be allowed to pass, and the grievances exposed by the war permitted to fall back into oblivion, our country may quietly repose during another forty years of peace under a burden of galling and indefensible hardships. 

   … Dr. BEGG’s lucid and practical letters, addressed to the people of Scotland, are fitted to concentrate public attention on two important subjects connected with the northern portion of her MAJESTY’s dominions, which specially exhibit the inequalities which subsist betwixt our laws and those of the sister kingdom. The first anomaly to which he refers is the present system of franchise registration in Scotland, which occasions to the various constituencies serious expense and inconvenience, from which out English neighbours are exempted. Every voter in Scotland, besides having the legal qualification of a ten-pound rent, must repair to whatever distance, in person or by deputy, to a registration clerk, and lodge his claim, with documentary evidence of right, at the same time paying half-a-crown; and then he must attend a registration court in like manner to substantiate and defend his claim before he can possibly be placed on the register of voters for the burgh or county, or exercise the distinguished franchise privilege. No matter how wealthy he may be, or how indisputable his right, the vexatious routine must be observed, and the tax paid, else he remains disqualified for a year. Moreover, this must be repeated each time he changes his residence, which is an event of frequent occurrence with many in our large towns. In England, on the contrary, the names of the voters in every parish and township are obtained by reference to the tax-collector’s books, and are annually prepared and published, without trouble or expense to the electors themselves; and the satisfactory result is, that when an election takes place, few are found to have withheld their votes – a result which forms a striking contrast to the bare half of the ten-pound voters in Scotland who are theoretically qualified to give their votes. 

   The other matter to which Dr. BEGG directs attention is the want of a franchise in Scotland similar to the English forty shilling freehold. This anomaly has been loudly complained of in all recent schemes of reform, and we think justly. Dr. BEGG says this English franchise ‘has been a great encouragement to working men to expend their savings in the purchase of property, instead of the beer-shop, and it has served to preserve the spirit of British liberty in the rural districts.’ If so, why should not Scotland participate in the advantages of a measure so beneficial? If the men who possess property in England to the value of two pounds annually be worthy of the franchise, there is no possible reason why a man in similar circumstances in Scotland should not enjoy the same right. We hope that the hearty response which the inauguration of these suggestions of the reverend advocate of political reform has met in all quarters will not be allowed to slumber until the manifestly reasonable demands have been laid before Parliament, and the results, if not at first attained, at least decidedly fostered towards an ultimate realisation at no distant period.” 

– Montrose, Arbroath and Brechin Review; and Forfar and Kincardineshire Advertiser, Friday 11th April, 1856.


   “… It may be interesting to add, in reference to the above, that the ancient regalia of Scotland were carried off or destroyed by Edward First, in 1296. The present regalia were established by James Fifth, in 1536, secretly deposited after the treaty of union in 1707, and discovered by George Fourth, then Prince Regent, in the crown room of Edinburgh castle, in 1817, having been secured in an oak chest for 110 years.” 

– Wiltshire Independent, Thursday 12th June, 1856.

N.B. More on “Entombing the Regalia” can be read in Chapter 7 of James Grant’s Old and New Edinburgh (1880).


Three years on and the calls for a Secretary of State are still being made;



   The meeting of the Council of the National Association upon this question, was the most important meeting which that Council have held since the commencement of the movement.

   It was alleged at the beginning of our agitation, that our grievances were so petty that there was no use disturbing the country upon them. 

  Now let us calmly consider what are the leading questions which the national party have urged upon the consideration of the country. 

   There is first the question of billeting. Now is this a petty grievance? Let us hear the sentiments of the people of the towns upon it. Let us hear the opinions of the military authorities upon it. 

   Then comes the question of the appointment of a Secretary of State for Scotland, or of a responsible Government. Has any one newspaper in the country assigned an intelligible reason why Scotland should remain without a Government? Not one single voice has yet been heard to say that the Lord Advocate is capacitated to undertake the multifarious and complicated work before him. It is an insult to the common sense of the country to suppose so. 

   Then follows in succession the question of taxation upon the land, whereby it appears that 1s 3d in the pound is paid in Scotland for a property which, in England, would and does pay 7d. 

   Then there is the question of Registration of Voters Bill, the question of inequality of representation in the Imperial Parliament, and various others.

   We now come to the Appellate Jurisdiction question which, to our mind, is the most important of all.

   No sooner was the Treaty of Union signed than an attack was made upon our criminal and civil law.

   So unanimous was the Opposition against the innovations in the criminal law, in the establishment of English Courts to condemn political offenders, that it was abandoned.

   The attack upon the civil law was more successful, because more gradual.

   The appeals to the House of Lords were instituted in direct violation of the Treaty. No law was passed ever authorising such appeals; it was, in fact, a direct infringement of the law of the land. They could only be defended upon the ground of a court of arbitration, each party concurring in the decision. As decisions, they were, according to all law, null and void. Then it is argued the decisions have done much good. They have restrained the prejudices and tempered the opinions of our Judges…

HUGH SCOTT, of Gala.”

– Caledonian Mercury, Tuesday 24th June, 1856.





Edinburgh, October 6th, 1856.

   SIR, – Permit me, through the medium of your columns, to call attention to an innovation in the use of the national armorial bearings by the Inland Revenue department. In accordance, I believe, with a clause in the Treaty of Union, it was always customary, formerly, within the bounds of Scotland, to represent the royal arms quarterly, thus, 1st and 4th, Scotland; 2d, England; 3d, Ireland; the effect of which arrangement was, that it have in Scotland the same precedence to the national arms that the English arms have in England. Latterly, in some of the Government offices, it was thought proper to deviate from this arrangement, and to use the royal arms in Scotland as in England. This, as everybody knows, gave considerable offence to a large portion of the people of Scotland; and (by way of a compromise, I suppose) we are now treated to a different version of the arms, as shown in the embossed stamp of the envelopes recently issued from the office of taxes in Waterloo Place. In this stamp, the quarterings are placed thus – 1st, Scotland; 2d and 3d, England; 4th, Ireland – by which means England is still made to hold two quarters, and Scotland only one. I know not from whom this conception emanated, but surely, Sir, it is time that officials should understand that the people of Scotland will not submit either to compromise or innovation in matters of simple and indisputable right. 

                                                            I am, Sir, 

Your most obedient servant,


   P.S. – I beg to enclose one of the medallions or stamps to which I allude. [No illustration of stamps given.]

– Edinburgh Evening Courant, Thursday 9th October, 1856.

N.B. The version described as having England with “two quarters” is so wrong I’m not able to find a version of it online. It should’ve been as first described;

Scotland Royal Arms




   The third annual meeting of this association was held yesterday at two o’clock in Professor Kelland’s class-room. There was a numerous attendance. 

   Professor CHRISTISON then said that he was a very old and a very radical University reformer… He would not enter into the general question of University reform; but there were one or two points on which he would make some observations. He thought the exclusion of Scottish medical graduates from enjoying the right to practise in England, was unjust and extraordinary. If any one would take the trouble to look over the Treaty of Union, he would find it impossible to doubt that the commissioners of both countries entered on their task with an anxiety and determination to accomplish all that could be done to effect a brotherhood and copartnery between the two nations by introducing a reciprocity in all the ordinary walks of life, wherever, at least, there was no difficulty arising from the difference of the institutions of the two countries. In the theological department, he was afraid Dr Guthrie would tell them that the differences were too great to admit of reciprocity. In the department of law, he was also afraid their late president would inform them that the statutes of the two countries were too wide apart to admit of reciprocity there; but he was at a loss to discover where any such obstacle existed in the department of physic. And would it be believed by the medical historian who, centuries hence, might have to write the history of the past twenty-seven years, that, notwithstanding the most vigorous exertions had been made by many of the most enlightened men in Scotland and England, they were at this day not a bit farther forward, and that the graduates of the Scottish Universities and the licentiates of their incorporations were still incompetent to practise their profession in England.” 

– Edinburgh Evening Courant, Saturday 14th February, 1857.


   “… Adverting to the alleged statement of the Vice-Chancellor, to the effect that the Court of Session had neglected its guardianship, his lordship said that the facts, as appearing from the proceedings of this court, which were before the Vice-Chancellor, were are nearly as possible precisely the reverse of what was represented in the reported speech. It was further, he said, out of the question to receive as accurate a report which ascribed to the learned judge such a statement as this – that the Great Seal of Great Britain ‘is as much the Great Seal of Scotland as of England;’ for such a statement would imply ignorance of the terms of the Treaty of Union, which made it perfectly clear (in Article 24) that the Great Seal of Great Britain represents the whole United Kingdom of Great Britain in so far as regards all treaties and public acts, but has power within England alone ‘in all other matters,’ while the Great Seal of Scotland is to have effect in Scotland in all matters other than treaties and public acts of the United Kingdom.” 

– Dublin Evening Mail, Monday 25th February, 1861.


This occurred to me as being a particularly beautiful, maybe for its unexpectedness, sentiment from an Englishman;


   “Scotch and Irish Nationality. – Ireland was conquered. Irish nationality was overpowered. Centuries of disaster both to Ireland and to England followed, and at this day England dares not trust Irishmen with rifles in their hands. Scotland defended her nationality century after century against England, and at last concluded with her a treaty of union as one independent nation concludes a treaty with another. Scotland took care to preserve Scotch law, Scotch customs, Scotch Presbyterianism, – all in fact which distinguished the old Scottish nationality intact. This we English ought frankly to acknowledge. As no Scotchman is worth the down on his thistle who dares not regard the union with England as the consummation and crown of Scottish history, so no Englishman is true to the generosity of his race if he does not approve of the old vindication of Scottish independence, and rejoice that the spirit was not broken of that fiery and unconquerable little nation, who, under British standard, wherever they have floated from the plains of Belgium to the gates of Lucknow, have showed themselves the bravest of the brave. – From the Dial.”

– Montrose, Arbroath and Brechin Review; and Forfar and Kincardineshire Advertiser, 31st May, 1861.


We’re now treated to the ins and outs of England’s debts, and Scotland’s having taken on a portion of said debt, by dint of Ireland’s situation being discussed in the press;


   “… The Parliament of the United Kingdom have not, even to the present time, levied the same taxes indiscriminately in both Kingdoms. It is very true, that since 1853, parliament has, by piecemeal legislation, sought to annul and abrogate the Treaty of Union, under which Great Britain should raise £17,000,000 per annum to pay the interest of her own debt contracted previous to the Union; whereas, since Mr. Gladstone came into office she has avoided this, and only pays about £3,250,000 towards this sum. Thus acting most unfairly towards Ireland, and asking her to bear a portion of the charge of that debt to which she was not, and is not liable, in the most wanton disregard of this solemn treaty, which the Parliament of the United Kingdom is bound faithfully to observe, perform fulfil, and keep; and which every candid and impartial person must see, has been shamefully disregarded and broken.”

– Waterford Mail, Friday 6th March, 1863.

N.B. To that may I quote some earlier articles regarding Scotland & what they call here “[Great Britain’s] own debt”;

   “… By the 15th article of the union, a certain sum was agreed to be paid to this kingdom, by way of equivalent for that proportion of our revenues which were to be applied to the payment of the debts of ENGLAND. Out of this equivalent 2000l. were destined to be applied annually for seven years to the promoting and encouraging our manufactures and fisheries. As it was manifest, that, in consequence of the union, our revenues would be considerably improved, it was provided, that an account of the duties arising in SCOTLAND, should be kept. in order that the precise increase of these duties might be regularly ascertained; and for such proportion of that increase as should be applied to the payment of the English debts, a further growing equivalent was to be allowed. The overplus of these several sums, after answering the uses to which they were in the first place to be applied, was also destined to the improvement of our trade and manufactures.”

Scots Magazine, August, 1752.

   “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...”

Dublin Weekly Register, Saturday 17th May, 1834.

   “The two were UNITED – brought together on equal terms – conjoined on a free footing. Neither laid down arms to the other, but both agreed to disarm simultaneously, and to shake hands after long hostility. Scotland, at the period of the Union, was neither suppliant, nor in debt, nor unable to defend herself. She was free and independent, and freely and independently she agreed to unite to England for the common advantage…”

– Kilkenny Journal, and Leinster Commercial and Literary Adviser, Saturday 30th July, 1853.


   “I may mention here that on the Union between England and Scotland, the debt of England was £20,000,000, and the sum which Lord Castlereagh says was paid to Scotland for taking a portion of that debt, was £398,085; and were Ireland to have got the Union at an equivalent, she must have been paid £10,000,000; and it must be remembered that it was not the object of the Act of Union to do an injustice to Ireland; not to increase her taxation unfairly, but as stated on the preamble to that Act, ‘to promote and secure the essential interest of Great Britain and Ireland.’ 

   Thus, bearing in mind that Ireland was especially exempted from bearing any portion of the charge for the British debt, and that she had received no compensation for doing so, and remembering that the Treaty of the Union was forced upon her against her wish, we are the better able to appreciate the full force of the report of the Finance Committee of 1815, which seems to have been appointed for the purpose of finding some pretext for removing from Ireland the protection to which she was entitles under the Treaty of Union.” 

– Waterford Mail, Friday 13th March, 1863.


Why was there was ever a question over Edinburgh being Scotland’s capital? I can’t help the feeling this was in some way satire.


   “The Magistrates and Council will thus have the satisfaction of knowing that the precedence to which Edinburgh is entitled as the capital of Scotland under the Treaty of Union, and which has been recognised on the only two occasions on which that question has ever been previously raised – namely, at the State funeral of the Duke of Wellington and at the opening of the International Exhibition of 1862 – has now, after full investigation, been officially recognised at the presentation of the addresses to the Prince and Princess of Wales. The Lord Provost feels satisfied that in this matter the capital of Scotland has only got the position to which it is in every view fully and fairly entitled; and now that the question has been formally decided, he wishes to say that, while he has acted throughout this matter with the determination to uphold the rightful position of Scotland and of Edinburgh, he has deprecated the introduction into the discussion of any personal feeling, or elements calculated to give rise to irritation. The question is one purely of order and right, involving no comparisons between the cities of Edinburgh and Dublin which can derogate in the slightest degree from feelings of mutual respect and good-will.” 

– Caledonian Mercury, Thursday 21st May, 1863.


   “BOARD OF TRADE AND MANUFACTURES FOR SCOTLAND. – A Parliamentary return of the income and expenditure of this board for the year 1855 to 1862 – both years inclusive – has been obtained by our member, Mr Ewing, by whom a copy has been attentively forwarded. The income of the board for the seven years was L.52,595 1s 4d, or about L.7500 per annum on the average. Taking the account of the year 1861-62, we find the expenditure as follows:- On


L.568   7   0 

Royal Institution, 

   447  16   4½ 

Repairs, special or do., 

   715   7    0 

School of Art, 

 1014   1    3½ 

National Gallery, 

 1483   3  10 

Statue Gallery, Society of Antiquaries, and Art-Treasury Exhibition, 

   589   0    4 


 4817  15  10 

While the receipts were L.6213 8s 8d; there being therefore a balance of L.1395 12s 10d to carry to next account. Out of the whole expenditure, not less than L.2144 2s 8d were for salaries – nearly 50 per cent. And only L.30 for prizes or the encouragement of art! The rest of the expenditure was altogether of a miscellaneous description, stationary, paintings, &c., &c. But the important point is that this return completely establishes our townsman, Mr Robert Kerr’s statement, that the fund specially destined by the treaty of union for the encouragement of Scottish manufactures has been diverted from that object without lawful authority, and misapplied in every way. During the seven years embraced in the return, not one farthing appears to have been expended on the encouragement of manufactures. We trust Mr Kerr will persevere till he accomplish the restoration of the fund to its original purpose. He is entitled to great credit for so long flighting this battle single-handed, without support or co-operation from any of his brother manufacturers.”

– Paisley Herald and Renfrewshire Advertiser, Saturday 18th July, 1863.


Finally Wales gets a mention, though apparently the English journalist, this article is directed to, is pretty dismissive of the Welsh;



(To the Editor of the Spectator.)

   SIR – In a Glasgow paper of Saturday last I observe an article under the above most appropriate title, as copied from the Spectator, in which my name appears somewhat conspicuously. If you are in use to open your columns for discussion, I shall be very well pleased to break a lance with you upon the quarrel referred to; but probably you follow the custom of other London journals – strike, and then shut the door? As you profess, however, to consider me ‘a reasonable and rather clever being, with some rather sound notions on modern history,’ perhaps you may find time to consider, and, it may be, to answer a few questions on the subject. 

   Passing over your personal remarks – which may be all very pretty, in their way, but cannot be very interesting to the general reader – what is the question betwixt us? It is this. How far the practice, among your countrymen, of using the terms ‘England’ and ‘English,’ as the proper names of the United Kingdom and its people, illegitimate in itself, or injurious to Scotland and Scotsmen? I affirm this practice to be illegal, injurious, dishonest, and, in the circumstances, historical and otherwise, of the two nations, a ‘swindle.’ You defend it. The issue is a plain one; and, notwithstanding your affected disposition to ‘laugh rather than argue,’ it is quite obvious that you feel it to be a grave one. Let us, then, see how the case stands. By the Treaty of Union between Scotland and England, it was solemnly declared that England, as a State, should cease to exist, on condition that the same rule was applied to Scotland; and it was formally covenanted that there should be a new United Kingdom, under the common appellation of ‘Great Britain,’ the Legislature whereof should be ‘called the Parliament of Great Britain;’ and provisions were carefully made for the preservation and protection of Scotland’s laws, judicature, ecclesiastical polity, and other institutions. At that time Wales was an integral part of the State of England, and Ireland was (unfortunately) what you and others call ‘a dependency of the English Crown.’ A century afterwards Ireland was admitted to the Union. Such is now the position. 

   You assure me you are ‘innocent of any wish to swindle the Scotch out of their nationality.’ But you profess to be surrounded by ‘difficulties.’ There are, you say, ‘three nationalities’ in the Union, the English, Scots, and Irish; and you create, for the nonce, a fourth one, the Welsh – or ‘Taffys’ as you are pleased to call them. In these circumstances, you profess to have great difficulty in finding an appellation to cover the whole; and, after figuring various combinations, made ridiculous on purpose, you come to the conclusion that the simple remedy is, to set aside history and geography, violate the Union Treaty, and make England, as the larger division, stand for the whole. All this is simply an echo of the Times, but let us test it by a few questions. I ask, then, 

    1. What difficulty is there in using the same phraseology in your writings as you find in Government treaties, despatches, and other authoritative documents?

    2. Wherein consists the difficulty of using such terms as the ‘United Kingdom,’ ‘Great Britain,’ ‘Britain,’ ‘British,’ rather than ‘England,’ and ‘English?’

    3. Is there any such superiority in the latter over the former, as to justify the breach of a national covenant of the most solemn character?

    4. As to the case of the Welsh – Are you prepared to exhibit any ‘Treaty of Union between Wales and the rest of England?

    5. Was not Wales a part of the State of England, which contracted with the state of Scotland, just as the Orkneys and Hebrides were parts of Scotland? And is so, what becomes of your fourth nationality?

    6. In what sense can it be said that ‘Britain’ fails to include Wales while ‘England’ does so?

    7. But did not ‘Britain’ embrace England, Wales and Scotland, long before these distinctions were known? Are not the modern Welsh historically ‘Britons,’ independently of the Treaty of Union? And, if so, what warrant have you for assuming that you must insult my countrymen, by insisting upon styling us ‘English’ rather than ‘Britons,’ out of tenderness to the Welsh?

    8. Then, as to Ireland – by what process of reasoning do you make out that ‘England’ embraces Ireland, and ‘Great Britain’ fails to do so?

    9. What is there in the ‘long agony’ of connection between England and Ireland, that should produce, in Irishmen, the desire to be known as English rather than subjects of the modern British empire, under which Irish disabilities have rapidly disappeared, and Irishmen become freemen?

    10. In connexion with this, when did your countrymen become champions of Ireland’s honour, so as to justify a breach of honour towards Scotsmen on the plea of tenderness for Irish feelings? and

    11. In what sense do you make England, as the greater part, stand for the whole, which does not apply a fortiori [from the stronger argument] to the use of ‘Great Britain?’

   When you have considered these questions, Mr Editor, I think you must see that the ‘difficulties’ referred to are but flimsy pretexts to cover that which your countrymen aim at, the absorption of one country in the other; and, in this way, the appropriation, by England, of Scottish energy, enterprise, and genius. 

   But you seek to salve you own conscience, and reconcile my countrymen to the wrong sought to be done them by making a tour throughout Europe and other countries, and showing that there are territories which have been conquered, ceded, annexed, or purchased, and their people merged in the conquerors, or purchasers. Here, again, I would ask – 

    1. What parallel exists between such cases as those of Finland and Poland annexed to Russia; the Tyrol to Austria; or Lorraine, Alsace, and Savoy to France; and the case of Scotland, giving a King to England, and entering into a voluntary national union, under a stipulation by which the specific thing in question was solemnly interdicted?

    2. How is it, sir, that any one allowed to write for the famous Spectator does not instinctively perceive that the very institution of such comparisons goes to prove my case, by furnishing a glaring instance of that whereof I complain – namely, the attempt to degrade my country from her legitimate position to that of a mere province or satellite of her sister kingdom? How is it that you cannot see that to compare Scotland to the conquered, ceded, annexed, or purchased provinces of continental despotisms is an insult which every Scotsman ought to resent?

   Nothing but a self complacency that shuts a man’s eyes, or a pampered egotism that cares nothing for the interests or feelings of others, could render any one blind to this. 

   But like Lord Palmerston and Mr Bright, you must needs rely upon the plea of ‘custom and convenience.’ In reply, I would ask – 

   1. Is not this very ‘custom’ the thing complained of? Has not that custom been introduced and maintained by those whom I challenge as the wrong-doers? And, if so, what does your plea amount to but this – ‘The “swindle” you complain of has been successful so far, ergo, we must be allowed to carry it out to completion.’ Pray, what do you think of logic? But –

    2. How can it ever be ‘convenient’ that popular language on such a subject should be placed in direct opposition to the fundamental constitution of the Union?

    3. How can it be convenient that the language of the senate, the platform, or the press, should be placed in such direct opposition to the language of statutes, treaties, despatches, and other authoritative documents?

    4. For example, in what sense can it be convenient that a treaty between the Emperor of France and ‘her Britannic Majesty,’ should, by you and others, be converted into a ‘Commercial Treaty between France and England?’

    5. In what respect is it convenient that, while the text of Earl Russell’s despatches to Paris, Washington, Berlin, or Copenhagen, as daily quoted in the newspapers, speak of ‘Britain,’ the ‘British Government,’ ‘British vessels,’ &c., you and your fellow-journalists in London should carefully substitute a different form of expression, converting the whole into ‘English?’

    6. How can it be otherwise than most ‘inconvenient’ that, in a debate on an address to the Crown (see the Times of 5th inst.), every alternate speaker should change the form of expression – thus demanding the ‘protection of British subjects’ ‘by the influence of England’ – seeking to place an efficient ‘British Minister’ in the ‘Foreign Office of England’ – in case of ‘war with England,’ proposing to send a ‘British squadron’ to vindicate the honour of the ‘flag of England’ – complaining that the ‘English Cabinet’ does not represent ‘the policy which the British nation prefers’ – and so on through the whole notes of a discordant gamut? Nay, that individual speakers should produce such sentences as this:- Mr Disraeli – ‘I believe the general impression in Germany, as well as Denmark, was that the bias of the British Government was in favour of Germany; and any one who happened to be in that country at the time must be aware that the despatch was look upon as indicating the policy of the English Government?

I could multiply such specimens of ‘convenience’ without end; but content myself, at present, with sending you some Glasgow papers, containing leading articles, extracts from London journals, including the Spectator, copies of despatches, letters from correspondents, and telegrams of latest news, in which you will find as beautiful a specimen of the Mosaic as the eyes of an artist could desire. In particular, in the Glasgow Herald of this date, you will find a leader from the Times, in which, marvellous to tell, everything is ‘British,’ our ‘Government,’ ‘ports,’ ‘colonies,’ ‘vessels,’ ‘sailors,’ ‘subjects,’ and ‘flags’- while in  a parallel column you have a leader from the Saturday Review in which ‘England’ and ‘the English’ once more take an entire possession of the stage. 

    7. When a union embraces territories geographically separate, ‘different nationalities’ with distinct histories, and, as regards England and Scotland, distinct institutions, requiring often separate legislation, and language in conformity, is it not, upon its face, a palpable inconvenience, to adopt an appellation for the whole, which must of necessity frequently mean only a part? and seek to discard an appellation that, without violence, covers the Union? Of this you have a specimen, also in parallel columns, in extracted matter in The Morning Journal of the 12th.

   Having thus ‘argued the point’ interrogatively, I must leave it for the present. That which you call convenient, I have ventured to christen as the ‘piebald style.’ I am aware there are those, even amongst ourselves, who seek to defend it on the maxim of the clown that ‘motley’s your only wear.’ But I can scarcely suppose the Spectator will deliberately adopt such a costume. So much for the plea of ‘custom and convenience.’ – I am, &c.,


   Belmont, Dowanhill, Glasgow, Feb. 13, 1864.

Glasgow Morning Journal, Wednesday 24th February, 1864.


An article regarding the southern states of the USA having the “constitutional right to secede” which was “favourable to slavery,” mentions Scotland within the treaty of union for comparison;


   “Now, the union that subsists between England and Scotland is one in many respects more intimate than that subsisting in America, yet circumstances might arise that would render it justifiable in Scotland declaring it null and void. For example, all know that English representatives have an overwhelming majority in Parliament. In the event of their abusing this numerical strength by passing measures inconsistent with the conditions of the treaty of union, Scotland would be fully justified in once more declaring its independence. Suppose, for example, that our civil and religious liberties as a nation were intefered with, who can say that we should not be justified in at once apprising England of our determination to become, as of old, an independent nation? We mention these things to show that there is nothing so sacred in a constitutional point of view but the people can meddle with it.”

– Renfrewshire Independent, Saturday 14th May, 1864.


Why Ireland’s Union with England was different from the Scottish, in regards to England’s debt;


   “Did Lord Castlereagh, in introducing the Union in the Irish Parliament, quote the Scotch Union, and can you briefly give his statement? – He said, that at the time of the Union between England and Scotland a sum had been paid in cash to Scotland for taking upon herself the liability to the English debt; that the British debt was so disproportionate to the Irish, that Great Britain could not afford in 1801 to pay the balance, and as that could not be done in lieu of it, the Union was based upon the principle that Ireland should never be called upon to pay the interest upon the British debt, and that her contribution to the general expenditure should be arranged according to her ability. He further estimated that Ireland would, by the Union, save a million a-year in time of peace, and he considered this would have been compensation for her not being paid for the responsibility to the British debt.”

– Waterford Mail, Friday 10th June, 1864.

N.B. In addition to this statement I’d like to add a quote from Grant’s Old and New Edinburgh, Chapter 17;

“ ‘It was soon discovered, after all,’ says Dr. Chambers, ‘that only £100,000 of the money was specie, the rest being in Exchequer bills, which the Bank of England had ignorantly supposed to be welcome in all parts of Her Majesty’s dominions. This gave rise to new clamours. It was said the English had tricked them by sending paper instead of money. Bills, payable 400 miles off, and which if lost or burned would be irrecoverable, were a pretty price for the obligation Scotland had come under to pay English taxes.’ ”



   The following letter appeared in the Glasgow Herald this week, from Mr William Burns, writer, Glasgow:- 

   SIR, – I read the account of the proceedings on Saturday with no small degree of pride and satisfaction, until I came to the concluding part of Colonel McMurdo’s address. 

   Colonel McMurdo, by name and reputation, is a Scotsman; he was addressing an army of Scottish Volunteers, Lowland and Highland, and he concluded a laudatory address, according to the Herald, as follows:- 

   It is a point that I have often remarked among the Volunteers, especially of Scotland, that the pastors of the people are attached to the Volunteer corps. There is seldom a review that I do not see the minister, as chaplain of the corps, marching past in its rear. There was once a time, a long time ago, when pastors assembled their armed congregations on these hill sides to protect their rights and liberties; but now the pastors of the people assembled on these hill sides with the Volunteers of England – (a voice, “of Scotland”) to show that they encourage the Volunteers to maintain the institutions of the country, the integrity of the dominions, and the honour and safety of the crown of England. (Loud applause.) 

You, Mr Editor, and many of your readers are aware that for some years past I have maintained a protest against the growing practice of using the terms ‘England’ and ‘English’ as representing the United Kingdom, its people and institutions – a protest founded upon the practice referred to being in violation of the Treaty of Union, and at the same time dishonouring to the people of Scotland, subversive of their historical traditions and associations, prejudicial to their position (political and social), and so injurious to their material interests. In support of this I sometimes tried argument and at other times ridicule, and I cannot allow the opportunity of Colonel McMurdo’s address to the so-called ‘Volunteers of England’ to pass unnoticed. Not to speak of the utter confusion of ideas exhibited in the passage quoted, no one can read it without seeing how it confirms the ground of my protest, as just stated. For this reason I would call to it the attention of your readers, and particularly those who themselves belong to ‘the service.’ When a Scottish officer can come to Glasgow and address an assembly of Scottish Volunteers in such fashion, amid ‘loud applause,’ or be, as another report has it, ‘rapturously cheered by the Volunteers,’ it is really time our gallant friends were making up their minds as to their real nationality. – I am, &c.,


– Paisley Herald and Renfrewshire Advertiser, Saturday 6th August, 1864.




   WE have the most thorough sympathy, many a time and oft expressed, with the protest inserted in our Town Council meeting report, against the injury and insult done to Scotland in the matter complained of. As we have often said, apart from the indignity offered to an independent nation, the terms of the Treaty of Union are violated by the use of the offensive term; and it is matter of surprise that Scotsmen who profess to have patriotic proclivities should not only submit to the insult, but condone and commit it.

   We trust this effort to obtain an expression of national sentiment on the question will be highly successful, and that at least all leal hearted Scotsmen will be induced henceforth to do justice to their country, and on all suitable occasions insist on others doing the same.”

– Northern Ensign and Weekly Gazette, Thursday 1st September, 1864.


   “… As respects many other things names are of immense importance. Nations have gone to war about a name, and we believe the Scottish people are so proud of their name, that had the English Parliament previous to the Union stipulated that the United Kingdom was to be called England they would never have agreed to it on such a condition. To meet this feeling it was stipulated and agreed to that the two kingdoms of England and Scotland should be for ever united ‘into one realm, by the name of Great Britain and in the Treaty of Union the whole people are spoken of as ‘the subjects of Great Britain.’ Notwithstanding of all this care to prevent Scotland from being absorbed by England instead of being united to it upon equal terms and under a common name there has been a persistent determination exhibited by Englishmen to ignore both Scotland and Ireland, and to have everything national called English, and there are many weak renegade Scotsmen to aid them in this design. Small poets sing of the ‘Queen of merry England,’ great historians write of the victories achieved in the Peninsula at Waterloo, and in India by ‘the armies of England,’ and some of our representatives sometimes speak of ‘the English Parliament.’ When Scotsmen themselves exhibit so little respect for their own country it is less to be wondered at, that Englishmen should glorify their own nationality as they do, to the derogation of Scotland, but still it is annoying to find the leading newspapers in England and the leading public speakers keep with so much unanimity to the phraseology referred to that abroad even more than at home the style and title of ‘Great Britain’ is becoming, if it has not already become, quite obsolete. Thus, there, less than here, is anything else heard, and foreigners cannot be expected to think or call anything British which they see everlastingly termed English. As an instance of how far the wretched habit has grown at home we find not only that within these few days an English member of Parliament – Mr Roebuck – in addressing his constituency used ‘England’ and ‘English’ fifteen times, as ‘Government of England,’ ‘name of England,’ ‘influence of England,’ ‘people of England,’ ‘English colonies,’ ‘English House of Commons,’ ‘commerce of England,’ &c., instead of Britain and British, but at the recent review of the Rifle Volunteers belonging to the West of Scotland, Colonel McMurdo, himself a Scotsman, addressed them as ‘Volunteers of England.’ But whatever the English and the would-be English may do it is the unquestionable duty of every true Scotsman to maintain the national name. If we are not Britons we are Scotsmen, and we never can by any possibility become Englishmen. No doubt if we had been English, we would have been proud of the name, but being Scotsmen we are content with the honour which that confers, and want no other national character. Such is the power of names that when Scotland comes to be regarded at home and throughout the world as a province of England, Scotsmen will be no longer what they have hitherto been. It is impossible that Scotsmen in general could ever have the same aspirations in reference to anything merely English as in reference to something Scottish or British, for when the former word is used as applied to the whole of the United Kingdom it is an insult his own nationality. With a right to the name of Scotsmen or of Britons, but with none to that of Englishmen, they will be a people without a recognised name. Think of our Scottish soldiers and seamen being obliged to maintain amongst their English comrades that they are Englishmen as well as them! In every point of view there is evident degradation in this sinking of the name of Britain as well as that of Scotland, and unless the practice meets with uniform and determined opposition from every one who loves and honours his country, and who does not want the name of England and English imposed upon the United Kingdom and everything connected with it, the object, however slowly, will be surely and certainly accomplished.” 

– Paisley Herald and Renfrewshire Advertiser, Saturday 10th September, 1864.


   “ ‘Notwithstanding of this solemn contract, the people of England – statesmen, legislators, historians, journalists, and others – have for these many years by-past, by the use of the terms ‘England’ and ‘English,’ for the United Kingdom, its people, and institutions, dominions, and colonies, and by representing the ‘Flags’ and ‘Ensign Armorials’ of the United Kingdom as those of ‘England,’ sought to set aside these articles of the treaty, and impose upon the ignorant and unthinking, and upon foreign nations, the belief that Scotland, in place of being a co-equal portion of the Union, stands in some subordinate and less honourable position, and that the Scottish nation has been merged in the English, as if by conquest, annexation, or otherwise. Such a representation is dishonouring to the Scots, subversive of their national traditions and associations, injurious to their position as a people, and by necessary consequence to their political, social, and material interests. The subscribers to this document, and all who may adhere to them, do, therefore, make this formal and solemn protest against the practice complained of, and request that the same shall be respectfully communicated to her Most Gracious Majesty the Queen and to the principal Ministers of State, and shall be published in the journals of Great Britain and the colonies, and of the principal nations of Europe and America – certifying all to whom it may come that the practice so referred to is illegal, unjust, and dishonourable; and should not be imitated or countenanced by any who hold in respect the ancient and independent Scottish nation, or the people of Scotland individually.’ ”

– London Daily News, Saturday 17th September, 1864.


   “There are no such things nowadays as an English monarchy, and English Parliament, or an English army and navy. England as a political entity ceased to exist at the Treaty of Union; and to speak of British institutions as ‘English’ is as egregiously erroneous as it would be to resuscitate the phraseology of the Heptarchy, and apply it to modern and altogether different circumstances. The very first article of the Treaty of Union expressly stipulates ‘that the two Kingdoms of Scotland and England shall upon the first day of May next ensuing the date hereof and for ever after be united into One Kingdom, by the name of GREAT BRITAIN, and that the Ensigns Armorial of the said United Kingdom be such as her Majesty shall appoint, and the crosses of Saint Andrew and Saint George be conjoined in such manner as her Majesty shall think fit, and used in all flags, banners, standards, and ensigns, both at sea and land.’ So that even the ‘flag of England,’ which is still said to wave triumphantly in every sea, must long ago have been committed to the Tower to take its place among the curious armours and the honourable but antiquated insignia of ancient warfare. To speak of the Union Jack as an English any more than a Scotch standard is so boldly ridiculous that it is a wonder those who indulge in it do not laugh at themselves; and then it might have been left to inference  that if the name of the country w to be Great Britain, it Legislature must necessarily be called by that name. But to show the sense entertained by the framers of the treaty of the importance of this matter of nomenclature, it is specially declared in a separate article ‘that the United Kingdom be represented by one and the same Parliament, to be styled the Parliament of Great Britain.’ There cannot thus be a particle of doubt as to what the proper terminology for the new kingdom and its adjuncts was meant to be, and to which both nations solemnly bound themselves. In all public and official documents it is of course faithfully observed, but this only makes its violation in other circumstances the more gratuitously offensive and irritating. We are reminded by it of that ceremonious politeness which shows itself only on grand occasions, but takes revenge for the restraints of etiquette by indulging in the most supercilious rudeness whenever these restraints are withdrawn, or of that kind of regard for what is due to others which consists only in rigid observance of what the law compels, and refuses not to gratify its interests and ambitions, and even its spites, at any cost short of penal consequences.” 

– Caledonian Mercury, Monday 4th December, 1865.



   SIR, – The Times has fallen, I see, on praising our Scottish Burgh members as the pink of perfection, ‘sober yet not reactionary,’ and so forth – in short, model members for all English constituencies to copy from in their choice, when they have any, of Parliamentary representatives. All well for the great organ of Cockneydom thus to belaud men who are sent up to represent Scottish interests, and yet not one of them, I make bold to say, deserves the name of a Scottish statesman. They and their newspaper organs in Scotland, one would think, must all be ion the pay of England, and resolved to give good service for their pay. What interest they take in the progress of Scotland, how little they possess of the patriotism of a Duncan Forbes or a Henry Dundas, may be seen from a single incident in the debate which took place about a year ago on Irish grievances. Two Scottish burgh members – the Lord Advocate and Mr Dunlop – rose and spoke very effectively against Irish discontent by pointing to the patient good behaviour of Scotland under far worse treatment than Ireland could allege her having received. The Lord Advocate gravely spoke of the taxation of Scotland as about 5½ millions. Mr Dunlop did not correct him; not  a single Scottish member seems ever to have asked himself the question, what material progress Scotland had made since the close of the great war in 1815. Had they looked into the Edinburgh Almanac’ they might, at the cost of a little trouble in summation, have found that Scotland was then paying, not five and a half but nine and a quarter millions into the imperial exchequer; that her revenue had more than doubled since 1815. And to this actual revenue of, say nine millions, we may fairly add another million which Scotland would unquestionably yield were the enormous proportion of her landed rental and of her imperial taxation, at present remitted to and spent in England, retained and spent among ourselves. One is within the truth in saying that the population of Scotland would at this moment have amounted to six instead of three millions, but for this enormous yearly drain upon her as the tributary province, which even the Lord Advocate seems quite content that she should be.

   … Now, that Scotland is really and truly taxed more than England may easily be proved. Not only may we insist that although Mr Gladstone told the Glasgow working men that in this country people paid overhead £2, 10s. of yearly imperial taxation, in Scotland, which, with a population of three millions, pays above nine millions of such taxes, the average is 10s. more. Not only may we point to the exemption of cider from any excise, and the enormous duties (very properly) paid on whisky, but we can point to the very obvious consideration once pressed by Lord Malmesbury on the people of Shrewsbury, that to tax a people without spending taxes amongst them is to punish them, and thus, his Lordship said, did the Emperor Louis Napoleon punish his disaffected cities. He withdraws troops from being placed in garrison among them, and thus takes their taxes without spending any among them. Now, we Scots are anything but disaffected, yet we are punished, severely punished. No, it will be said, for although England spends our millions, she has no objections to our going into England and having our share. Alas! this is poor consolation… How, for instance, is heritable property affected in the two countries by this expenditure? Were our nine millions all spent in Scotland, could the value of land in Scotland fail to be greatly enhanced, not only at all the arsenals, dockyards, and other centres of Government expenditure, but over the whole of Scotland? And is it possible to give any reasonably fair interpretation to the fourth article of the Treaty of Union, which provides that there shall be equal rights, privileges, and advantages for all her Majesty’s subjects, whether in South or North Britain, when the rule is that taxes shall be equally levied, yet unequally spent? I appeal to any one at all versed in such calculations to say whether it would not be a good bargain for Scotland to pay a considerable property and income tax to England on condition of having her own due share of imperial outlay, rather than go on as we are doing at present, having a mere pittance of the taxes we pay spent in Scotland; doubling our public revenue every half century, yet reaping no proportionate advantage; and seeing the Chancellor of the Exchequer year after year coolly applying a surplus which is purely and entirely Scottish, to the liquidation of an Irish deficit, and the relief of England and Ireland as well as Scotland.”

– Edinburgh Evening Courant, Friday 16th March, 1866.


A wee bit of dismissive and barely-hidden ridicule from an English journalist;




   In noticing the petition from Scotland praying that the United Kingdom shall not be called ‘England,’ Scotland being thus ignored, a London contemporary makes the following rather smart, if somewhat ‘Cocknified’ remarks:- 

   Geographers tell us of certain islands which, after forming a landmark to the mariner for centuries, begin in course of time, to sink beneath the waters, and at last leave no trace of their existence. An ancient kingdom, with traditions, a history, a character, and a creed, is, positively for the last time, about to disappear from mortal eye. On the map, it is true, Scotland has still a well-defined boundary; to Parliament she still sends representatives; to England she still despatches troops of invaders who spoil the Philistines; and wherever the sounds of controversy are heard, her musical accent falls pleasantly on the ear. But all these manifestations of vitality are deceptive. Scotland is doomed. Slowly but surely she is sinking beneath the waters of the English ocean. Her history, her legends, her heroes, her exploits, her prejudices, her theology, her language, her very existence, are all gradually fading into nothingness. In a little while only her topmasts will be visible above the waves, with Dr Guthrie on the cross-trees pronouncing the funeral oration; and Mr Cook will doubtless organise excursions to the Bass Rock to see the old kingdom make the final plunge. The news, we are aware, may start some people on both sides of the Tweed. Neither Daniel, nor St. John, nor Dr Cumming seems to have predicted so speedy a termination to Scottish history. Yet the fiat of destruction has gone forth; Professor Blackie has said so; P. Yule, major-general, London, has echoed the cry; and the country of Wallace and Bruce, Knox and Chalmers, Burns and Scott, can be saved from extinction only by a special Act of Parliament. Let us congratulate Lord Derby. He is coming into office in the nick of time. With the assistance of Lord Elcho, he may rescue an ancient kingdom from oblivion, and build himself a name that will endure when Ben Lomond shall be no more. Though momentous in its consequences, the feat is simple. He has but to decree that any Peer or Commoner who shall ignore the nationality of Scotland, by speaking of the United Kingdom as England, shall be condemned to listen to three Scotch sermons, of three hours; length, on predestination and reprobation, during each Sunday for twelve calendar months. that warning, we anticipate, will be an effectual call to repentance; should it fail, nothing will succeed, and Scotland is lost for ever. 

   Such is the burden of a memorial presented to her most gracious Majesty by certain citizens belonging to the ‘ancient kingdom’ of Scotland. We have taken the liberty of translating their language into plain English, since it bears traces of the confusing though inspiring influence of their national beverage. We trust, however, that in the operation the prayer has lost no force; for we are keenly alive to its immense importance. Though polite, it is plain; and the petitioners do not scruple to accuse her Majesty’s Ministers, the Parliament, the Press, and the English people of high treason. By the Treaty of Union, it was ‘solemnly contracted’ that the two countries should respectively cease to exist as separate States, and should become one United Kingdom, ‘under the name of Great Britain.’ Scotland had fought long to preserve her independence and nationality, and had, on the whole, succeeded: is it bearable, therefore, that only two hundred years after her union with the larger country, she should condescend to wear that country’s name? For what did Bruce fight, for what did Knox denounce Erastianism, for what did Jenny Geddes hurl her cutty stool if all Scotland’s past is to be forgotten, and the country included under the name of England, as if it were no better than Yorkshire or Ireland? Yet- the fact is undeniable – many statesmen, legislators, and authors habitually use the contemptuous appelation. Nay, when British and French fleets met at Portsmouth last year, the Duke of Somerset so far forgot his duty as to commit the unconstitutional sin. Nor does that error measure the intensity of the indictment. Royalty itself would not be exempt from blame, were it true that Royalty could do any wrong. Into the mouth of the Queen herself her Majesty’s Ministers were, on a recent occasion, so reckless as to introduce the treasonable form of speech; making her refer to the ‘meeting of the fleets of France and England’ – as if Scotland had no existence, as if no treaty of union had ever been framed, as if no whisky and no Calvinism had kept alive the Scottish nationality! And what is the consequence? Why, first of all, the ‘ignorant and the unthinking’ – in other words, all who do not regard Edinburgh as the first of cities, Burns as the first of poets, and Candlish as the first of theologians – form a false conception of the character of the Union, and the position held in that bond by the ‘ancient kingdom’ of Scotland. The custom is ‘dishonouring towards Scotland; injurious to her interests, social, political, and material; and offensive to the feelings of Scotsmen.’ It must be stopped. Sovereign, ministers, journalists, and after-dinner orators must be careful to say ‘Great Britain’ when they mean Scotland. If not they must be punished. And if they are not punished Scotland will soon disappear so completely from sight that the highest attic in the High-street of Edinburgh will be lost to the gaze of admiring Southrons.”

– Buchan Observer and East Aberdeenshire Advertiser, Friday 13th July, 1866.



(From the Morning Journal.)

   It would be idle probably to inquire what views Mr Disraeli, as a statesman, as the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and the leader of the House of Commons, entertains of the present status and future place of the ancient kingdom called Scotland in the British Empire. The truth is that statesmen, in this hurry scurry age of ours, think very little on such matters until they are forced upon their attention; and Scotland has been much too busy of late years multiplying her wealth, paying taxes, developing the Imperial revenue, and supporting far beyond her relative share the strength and prosperity of the United Kingdom, to have had much care for the exact adjustment of her political relations. We are a non-agitating, politically quiescent, and singularly modest people north of the Tweed. Mr Disraeli may be condoned, therefore, for having almost forgotten in his redistribution scheme that there is such a place as Scotland on the map of Great Britain. But the question is worthy of consideration, and cannot be consigned to oblivion, notwithstanding. What is Scotland, whence has she come, whither does she go? For one thing, it is quite clear from the Ministerial redistribution scheme that Scotland is not deemed in high quarters either a part of England, or part of a United Kingdom; but this flies in the face of the Treaty of Union, and the redistribution scheme may have been convinced without any reference to historical facts or international obligations. We are not included in the English Reform Scheme, and therefore would seem not to be a part of England. On the other hand, Mr Disraeli is of opinion that justice cannot be done to Scotland by taking anything from England, and so Scotland and England cannot be parts of a united kingdom. What the deuce, in these circumstances, can Scotland be? Is it a colony, a foreign dependency, a comet or a meteor, a ‘rebel’ North conquered but not yet reconstructed, a British Java yielding much to, but receiving nothing from the Sovereign State? Whatever Scotland may be, she is an excellent milch cow. there is no doubt about that. The revenue of Scotland paid into the national exchequer has increased by sixty-seven per cent. since 1832, while the revenue of England has increased only seventeen per cent. When taxes are to be imposed, or services are demanded, the Imperial Government knows no difference betwixt England and Scotland. The Tweed, which is almost ceasing to be a geographical, has long been totally disavowed as a fiscal boundary. Every new tax proposed in England is extended to Scotland as a matter of course, and from no tax or burden imposed on England has Scotland ever thought or dreamed of shrinking. She has a notion handed down through some generations that she joined England on equal terms, in circumstances of some glory and honour to herself, and when there was revenue to be raised or blood to be shed, she has never swerved from this sentiment of equality. On the contrary, always glad and proud when she accomplished more for the common partnership than England accomplished or could have accomplished for herself. The only fiscal distinction is when the Imperial Legislature thinks it expedient, for certain wise and moral reasons, lays a heavier burden on Scotland than would be borne in the present state of public morality in Scotland. Thus an excise duty is levied on the whisky of Scotland some three times greater than the duty of beer of England. When the Chancellor of the Exchequer can make money by the admission, he is quite willing to admit that Scotland is an entirely separate nation. When Scotland takes up this notion herself, and displays a pardonable pride in her ancient name, and in her treaty rights as an independent kingdom, all England scouts the assumption, and declares it to be absurd and ridiculous. When Scotland has anything to give, or any part to perform in the common cause and service of the Empire, England and she are one and indivisible; but when there is anything she is entitled to receive, when she has any right to assert, any power or privilege to claim, she is an alien and a hireling, and is thought well enough served with the crumbs which fall from the master’s table. The present question of representation goes to the root of all this contradiction of terms and all this practical injustice. Scotland is really a helot, and must remain a helot, if she cannot at this crisis make good her due share of representation in Parliament… The opinion of Mr Disraeli that Scotland should be redressed by the creation of entirely new seats does not concern us at all. This is a question for the House. Justice may be done in either way, since it is only because England has too many that Scotland can be said relatively to have too few…”

– Stirling Observer, Thursday 20th June, 1867.



Monday, May 18.

   Mr McLAREN then rose to move the following amendment:- ‘That no arrangement respecting additional members can be just or satisfactory which does not treat Scotland, as regards the number of its representatives in Parliament, as an integral part of the United Kingdom, entitled to be placed on a footing of perfect equality with England and Ireland in proportion to its present population, and the revenue which it yields to the national exchequer, as compared with the present proportion of revenue in England and Ireland, and that to establish this equality at least fifteen additional members should now be provided for Scotland… It had been proved a short time since that one class had a member for 36,000 votes, while another class had only a member for 40,000 or 46,000 votes. But what was the case with Scotland? Why, that the largest constituency it was about to enfranchise had 100,000 inhabitants and but one member; while the smallest had 107,000 and but one… A return recently made showed that Scotland contributed to the exchequer £8,289,000 annually, while Ireland contributed to the same only £6,800,000. The sums, however, voted during the same year for Scotch purposes amounted to only £552,000; while the sums voted for Ireland amounted to £2,250,000. In other words, while Scotland paid more to the exchequer than Ireland, Ireland got 400 per cent. more out of it than Scotland. Surely it could not be contended that the people of Scotland were to remain hewers of wood and drawers of water to bring in money to the public purse, but were to have no adequate or fair voice in the expenditure of that money. Taking the proportionate contribution to the national expenditure of the three kingdoms, Scotland was entitled to 35 members more than she has at present; while on the scale of population she was entitled to an addition of about eighteen members… It was one of the watchwords of English liberty, that representation and taxation should go together; but this principle was reversed in the case of Scotland…”

– Edinburgh Evening Courant, Tuesday 19th May, 1868.


   “WHEN a man has silenced all his enemies, and can count among his converts Queen Victoria, the late Lord Palmerston, the late and the present Premier of England – we beg pardon, of Great Britain and Ireland – Mr Bright, and Lord Napier, he has some reason to speak with assured confidence, and to look the whole world boldly in the face. Mr William Burns, the Vice-President of the Glasgow St Andrew’s Society, is the happy man – of all men of the time – who is in this proud position, No victory was ever more complete than that which Mr Burns has gained… We live in an era of unfinished national monuments, and it will surely be a crying shame on every leal-hearted man who boasts the name of Scot if some towering structure is not at least begun in honour of the patriot of the nineteenth century who has done so much for Scotland…

   A few years ago Scotland was ignored and degraded by her bigger sister beyond the Tweed. Her nationality was wilfully and maliciously written down. She was merely the northern province of England; her great men were Englishmen; her rivers that sing to the music of a hundred national songs were English rivers; her enterprise, her commerce, and her discoveries were all classed as English; and it was only when something shabby and mean was to be said of the northern province that our nationality was ever allowed. Whisky drinking, for example, was a Scotch vice; and Sabbath keeping, which was always joined with it, was allowed to be another national characteristic. The fact is that an attempt was made – an old underhand attempt – to cheat us out of our nationality altogether. The English in the 13th century demanded that Scotland should acknowledge their Kings to be Lords Paramount over the whole island; and in the 19th century the same spirit led these assuming Southerners to speak and write as if that demand had never been resisted, and as if they had swallowed us up when the Union was consummated as the boa constrictor swallows a rabbit. There did not fail great Scotchmen to take up the cause of their country in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries; and when all other hearts were faint in the nineteenth, one Scotchman [William Burns] resolutely buckled on his armour and took the field. History is always repeating itself, but the consolation is that when we find such an episode as that of Edward Longshanks’ claim upon Scotland repeated in the conduct of the statesmen and thunderers of England of the present day, we also find our Wallaces and our Bruces reproduced in our ‘North Britons’ and William Burnses.

   The campaign began by a correspondence with Lord Palmerston, and was continued by the indefatigable Burns till every public man in England was compelled to do justice to Scotland, and to speak of the united people of this island by their proper designation – Britons, and not Englishmen. It is singular that almost all Mr Burns’ correspondents commenced by laughing at him. They probably thought that he was the perpetrator of a good-humoured joke, and they answered him accordingly. They had evidently considerable difficulty in comprehending how any intelligent person could be in dead earnest about such a frivolous matter, or how he could possibly feel the nationality of his country insulted because in speech or in writing Englishmen used the words England and Great Britain as synonymous terms. They soon found out their mistake. Mr Burns was incapable of a joke of this kind, and he was perfectly unaffected by the raillery which his letters produced. He had a blessed immunity from the sentiment of the ludicrous; and while Englishmen roared, and his own countrymen decorously tried to hide their smiles, he solemnly wrote on, producing facts, arguments, and illustrations of the most prosaic but most convincing character. After one of those letters it was impossible to deny that Mr Burns was literally in the right, and feeling this neither quip nor crank nor wreathed smile, neither the banter of Lord Palmerston nor the humour of Mr Bright, had the least effect upon him. Is it not so and so stipulated in the Treaty of Union; and, if so, why not stick to it, and give Scotland her due? This attitude recalls the story which Charles Lamb tells of a Scotchman. Speaking of a dinner at which one of Robert Burns’ sons was present, Lamb said, ‘I wish that instead of the son it had been the father.’ ‘That is impossible,’ said the Scotchman – extinguishing poor Lamb as Mr William Burns extinguished Lord Palmerston – ‘for Burns is dead.’ All through the controversy Mr Burns shows the same downright literalness. He cannot understand why people should laugh at his letters, and what they call his little craze; for are not his letters true, and is not the subject of his craze embodied in the articles of Union?

   It is needless to say that letters written so perseveringly under such circumstances produced their effect… Palmerston, Gladstone, Disraeli, Bright, and even Sir Archibald Alison, who though a Scotchman was never very precise in his language, at last caved in, and acknowledged that Scottish nationality ought to be respected, and the word England, as applied to the United Kingdoms of Great Britain and Ireland, for ever discarded from the language. When the eminent English statesmen, who had felt the prick of the Scotch thistle as applied by Mr Burns, came down to Scotland to eat dinners, or to be feted, or to be enrobed in Rectorial gowns, they made amends for their former flippancies. The Scotch nation was applauded, and the maintenance of Scotch nationality was enjoined in a manner that must have gone to the heart of Mr Burns.”

– Glasgow Herald, Monday 8th February, 1869.




Kilcascan, 18th Nov., 1871.

   SIR – We frequently hear it said that the Irish people should rest contented with the deprivation of legislative independence, because the people of Scotland are contented with a similar deprivation. ‘You, Irish, should be satisfied with your Union; for the Scotch are satisfied with theirs.’ It would be about as reasonable to tell the Scotch that they ought to be dissatisfied with their Union, because we Irish are dissatisfied with ours. The Scotch would doubtless indignantly deny that they ought to regulate their judgment on their own national concerns by the judgment which Irishmen may happen to form on Irish affairs. Just so do we consider that we are competent to decide for ourselves the question of Irish Home Rule, without reference to the sentiments that Scotchmen entertain on the subject of the Scotch Union of 1707. 

   It is said that Scotland has prospered immensely since the extinction of her Parliament; and hence it is inferred that the Union has showered blessings over Scotland. Now, to tell a nation that her interests require the extinction of national self-rule, the transference to another nation of supreme control over her public concerns – to tell her this is extremely like saying, ‘You are a nation of fools, or knaves, or both; you are such blockheads that you are unfit to be trusted with the government of your own country. It is indispensible to your welfare that the supreme power should be wrested from your incompetent hands. Your country will go to ruin unless we consign you to the custody of a keeper better fitted than yourselves to take charge of your national interests.’ 

   All this is implied by the assertion that a country gains by the extinction of its separate legislature, and the absorption of its governmental functions into those of an assembly external to itself. I do not believe that the Scotch deserve the imputation of folly and incompetence involved in the assertion that they have been gainers by the destruction of the Scotch Parliament. I have so much faith in the general intelligence and the legislative capacity of Scotchmen, that I fully believe Scotland would have reached a great height of prosperity, even although her own nobles and commoners had continued to legislate in Edinburgh; exercising sole and unfettered control over Scotch concerns; and giving to their native metropolis and their native country the benefit of their residence, and of the expenditure of the annual millions which, thanks to the Union, they now withdraw from Scotland to London. 

   That Scotland has improved in many respects since 1707, is attributable, not to the Union which deprived her of Home Rule, but to the sagacity and industrial energy of her people. These qualities will achieve a large amount of general prosperity, in despite of exceedingly adverse circumstances. In the case of Scotland they have effected much, but not so much as they would have effected if the drawbacks of absenteeism, and of absentee legislation, did not exist. The beneficial force of persevering effort in defiance of formidable obstacles, is admirably stated by Lord Macaulay in his ‘History of England’:- 

   ‘In every experimental science,’ says his lordship, ‘there is the tendency towards perfection. In every human being there is a wish to ameliorate his own condition. These two principles have often sufficed, even when counteracted by great public calamities and by bad institutions, to carry civilisation rapidly forward. No ordinary misfortune, no ordinary misgovernment, will do so much to make a nation wretched, as the constant progress of physical knowledge and the constant effort of every man to better himself, will do to make a nation prosperous. It has often been found that profuse expenditure, heavy taxation, absurd commercial restrictions, corrupt tribunals, disastrous wars, seditions, persecutions, conflagrations, inundations, have not been able to destroy capital as fast as the exertions of private citizens have been able to create it.’ 

   It is quite true that a country may make considerable advance, notwithstanding great public calamities; but who will be so absurd as to assert that the advance is attributable to the calamities? or that the advance would not have been greater under favouring, instead of adverse, circumstances? Whatever advance Scotland has made under the Union, she would assuredly have made greater advance under Home Rule. Are we to suppose that if the Scotch Legislature had continued to sit at Edinburgh, the wheels of progress would have stopped? that in Scotland alone there would have been no tendency towards a perfection in experimental science? that Scotchmen alone would have made no effort to better themselves? Such a question needs no answer. The two principles which are truly pronounced by Lord Macaulay to be powerful agents of national prosperity would have actively operated to raise Scotland to a higher level of material greatness than she at present occupies; for their operation would not have encountered the obstacles which I shall place before you in quotations from Scotch authorities; while the public and private efforts of Scotchmen would have been ennobled and invigorated by the animating consciousness that Scotland was the sole arbiter of her own destinies. The first authority I shall cite is the Edinburgh Review for October, 1854. 

   It is well to remark that the reviewer is a Unionist, and that consequently his statements may be regarded as admissions: 

   ‘The immediate and palpable loss which she (Scotland) sustained by the removal of her parliaments was compensated by no perceptible advantage; on the contrary, many imposts were suddenly increased, and the inroad of a staff of English Revenue officers, wedded to forms and usages foreign to their habits, naturally became odious to her people. Nor was the abolition of her Privy Council, the introduction of an appeal from the Court of Session to the House of Peers, or the extension to the ‘ancient kingdom’ of English treason-laws and commissions of the peace, in technical language unintelligible beyond the Tweed, looked on otherwise than as a systematic abolition of all her most cherished juridical institutions… From the great expense attending their attendance, many of her representatives were absentees from the United Legislature, or, when present, took little part in proceedings conducted under forms new to them and little understood… Again, the equalisation of trading privileges entirely failed to bring that expansion of commercial activity which had been long and ardently anticipated. The old burghs became more stagnant than ever, and though individual Scotchmen made their way to England and the colonies, where by prudence and persevering sagacity, they generally succeeded to a remarkable degree, such instances only increased the jealousy and added pungency to the sneers of their Anglo-Saxon competitors. Pre-existing discontents were thus to some extent sharpened by disappointment, and the minds of the more impressionable were prepared for those Jacobite intrigues which it had been a main object of the Union finally to defeat. 

   ‘There was, however, a more enduring evil attending the arrangement.’ (The reviewer here quotes from Burton’s ‘History of Scotland.’) “Many of the calamities following on the Union had much encouragement, if they did not spring, soon that haughty English nature which would not condescend to sympathise in, or even know, the peculiarities of their new fellow-countrymen… The pervading historical character of the events immediately following the Union, is, that English statesmen, had they desired to alienate Scotland, and create a premature revulsion against the Union, could not have pursued a course better adapted to such an end. The position of the countries demanded a delicate and cautious policy. Scotland had to go through the immediate perceptible evils of a departed nationality, a decaying retail trade, and increased taxation; the countervailing benefits from extended enterprise lay in the future. A paternal Government would, on such an occasion, have carefully avoided everything that irritated national pride or prejudices, and seemed, however slightly, to sacrifice the interests or independence of the one country to the other… But in almost every one of the changes just enumerated, the offensive act was offensively done, and the country was ever reminded that she was in the hands of ungenial and uninterested, if not hostile strangers.” ’ – (Edin. Review, Oct. 1854; Article, Burton’s Hist. of Scotland from 1689 to 1748.) 

   The evils of the Scotch Union are here candidly admitted; but both Mr. Burton and the writer in the Edinburgh Review are of opinion that those evils were counterbalanced by the privilege of freely trading to every quarter of the globe with which England had commercial connection. It is true that the Union communicated that privilege to Scotland; but the question here arises, whether Scotland could not, in the progress of events, have obtained that privilege without paying such an exorbitant price for it as the surrender of her resident Parliament? I have not any doubt that she could have so obtained it. Ireland obtained the like privilege in 1779; and she obtained it through the action of the Irish Parliament, backed by the Irish Volunteer army. Shall we be told that Scotchmen could not do for their country what was done by Irishmen for theirs? 

   It is also to be borne in mind that half a century from the date of the Union had elapsed before Scotland availed herself to any considerable extent of the commercial privileges which that Act conferred upon her. The heart and soul of the nation were saddened and embittered by the extinction of their legislature; and the popular feeling, compounded of wrath, indignation, and depression, was in a high degree unfavourable to commercial enterprise. ‘At the period of the Union,’ says Sir Walter Scott, in his interesting paper on the Scottish Regalia, ‘every reader must remember the strong agitation which pervaded the minds of the Scottish nation, who could not for many years be persuaded to consider this incorporating treaty in any other view than as a wanton surrender of their national independence.’ 

   Coming down to our own time, the Edinburgh reviewer whom I have quoted says:- 

   ‘How far the Treaty of Union continues to be fairly observed in its spirit, or whether it has been gradually infringed in the letter, are questions again brought freely into discussion. It is alleged that the progress of imperial centralisation, or a niggardly parsimony, has absorbed many Scottish establishments which were reserved at the Union; that the business of that country is consequently neglected, or systematically overlooked, in Parliament and the government offices, where her laws, institutions, local peculiarities, and interests are ill understood and inadequately represented.’ 

   In Tait’s Edinburgh Magazine for December, 1838, there is at page 809 a remarkable article entitled ‘REPEAL OF THE UNION – NECESSITY OF LOCAL LEGISLATION,’ in which the writer thus delivers himself: 

   ‘No one, we imagine, will be so absurd as to pretend that the affairs of Scotland can be as efficiently managed by a legislative body sitting hundreds of miles from her territory, and having the interests of an empire dispersed over the whole face of the earth, and containing more than a hundred millions of beings, to attend to, as by a Parliament meeting in Edinburgh. The Imperial Parliament is, in truth, unfitted for that department of legislation called ‘local’ and ‘personal.’ Such legislation is best conducted on the spot, or as near as possible to the spot, which is to be affected. Witnesses are then at hand, information can be got with expedition and at little expense; the members of a local parliament can be dismissed and again called together with little inconvenience. The expense at present necessarily incurred for a Road, a Harbour, or a Railway Bill for Scotland is intolerable. The members of an Imperial Parliament, the great majority of whom must naturally feel indifferent regarding the failure or success of any such measure can with the utmost difficulty be got to attend, or even to remain in the House when the matter is under discussion; and it is even not easily accomplished to get a quoram of the committee to whom the bill is remitted to go through their routine duties. Then, all matters relative to Scotland are slurred over in the reports of the debates – first, because the reporters think a ‘Scotch’ bill, though vitally affecting Scotland, is of no public importance; secondly, because they cannot intelligibly report what they, in general, do not understand; and third, because ‘Scotch’ business is generally put off till past midnight, an hour at which, except on extraordinary occasions, the reporters, by a well-organised combination – Whig, Tory, and Radical reporters agreeing in this point –  retire from their labour. The consequence is, that there is hardly a measure, however important, affecting Scotland, of the grounds for passing which her population are duly informed… We have not, at this moment, out of eighty-nine Scotch nobility, one resident in Edinburgh, and very few of our considerable landed proprietors… What is meant by a Repeal of the Union with Ireland, we do not exactly understand; but if all that is intended is, that the Irish should have the management of their own exclusive concerns, we heartily wish them success; and we hope that when the people of Scotland shall see the necessity of a legislature in Edinburgh, the Irish will assist them in obtaining it.’ 

   So spoke Tait in 1838; and it is not an extravagant supposition that the sentiments I have quoted are held by large numbers of the Scotch people. Those sentiments are so consonant with national self-respect, with the national requirements, and with common sense. that it is hard to believe that they do not exist in the popular mind. They do not, indeed, find noisy utterance, probably because the difficulties in the way of recovering Home Rule for Scotland have hitherto appeared so great as to deter Scotchmen from embarking in an agitation for that purpose. The high Scotch aristocracy, familiarised with Scotch Provincialism, and habituated to the fascinations of a London life, would be likely to repudiate the notion of restoring to Scotland her resident legislature. So, also, would all Scotch officials connected with the Imperial Government. But whether the Scotch people as a whole are contented or discontented with their provincial condition, it is absurd and insulting to tell us Irishmen that our sentiments on Irish Home Rule should be regulated on the Scotch model. Our action will be guided, not by what Scotchmen think, but by our own knowledge of our own needs, of our own rights, of our own wrongs, and of our own condition. 

   It must be conceded that an Imperial reason could be urged in Queen Anne’s time for the Scottish Union, which did not apply to the case of Ireland. There was this important difference between the Scotch and the Irish case: The identity of the Sovereign of Ireland and England was an essential part of the Irish Constitution; whereas no such identity was required by the Constitution of Scotland. That Scotland and England were governed by the same monarch resulted from the circumstance of James VI. inheriting the English Crown in 1603. The Scotch Parliament, exasperated by some aggressive acts of England, passed the Act of Security in 1704, by which the Imperial connexion with England was to be severed on the death of the reigning Queen. This Act necessarily furnished an argument for legislative Union to all statesmen who desired to preserve the identity of the Crown of Scotland and England. I will not here inquire whether the influence that induced the Scotch Parliament to extinguish itself, could not with much greater ease have induced that assembly to modify the Scotch Constitution by making the identity of the monarch of both countries one of its essential principles. This, I conceive, could have been done by the Scotch legislature, and confirmed by treaty with England. The idea appears to have occurred six years after the Union had taken place, when the Earl of Finlater moved in the United Parliament a bill for its repeal. His lordship, on the 1st of June, 1713, introduced his motion by a speech representing the grievances of the Scotch 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 the entire unity and good correspondence between the two kingdoms.’ After an interesting and animated debate, Lord Finlater’s motion was supported by 54 peers, and opposed by 54; there were 17 proxies for the negative, and only 13 for the affirmative; so that the motion was defeated by the small majority of four peers. At subsequent dates, many Scotchmen took up arms to restore the House of Stuart, much more from a belief that their restoration would be followed or accompanied by the restoration of the Scotch Parliament than from love of the fallen dynasty. The insurrections of 1715 and 1745 were, to a great extent, attempts to Repeal the Union by force of arms. Thus the Union had its share in producing the horrors of civil war. 

   The facts and testimonies I have cited seem to render it somewhat questionable whether the great mass of the Scotch nation entertain that cordial and affectionate attachment to their Union which is confidently attributed to them. I wish Scotland well; I should be glad to see her self-governed; but we Irish should, I think, be guilty of an impertinence if we exhorted her to agitate for the restoration of her legislative independence. That is a matter of which she is herself the best judge. And Ireland is, in like manner, the best judge of her own vital need of domestic legislation, and of the course to be pursued for the recovery of her legislative rights. – A am, sir, your faithful servant, 

W. J. O’N. DAUNT.”  

– Dublin Weekly Nation, Saturday 25th November, 1871.





   SIR, – The Times and Telegraph may sneer at Sir David Wedderburn and Dr. Begg, but nevertheless it is a fact that of late there has arisen a universal feeling throughout Scotland, and which is daily gaining ground, that home rule is absolutely required to a certain degree. Dr. Begg’s able speech at Edinburgh on the treaty of union between England and Scotland has, I confess, done much to propagate this feeling; and yesterday Mr. Macfie, addressing his constituents at Leith, said, ‘There is at present a cry in Ireland for home rule. I wish we had something of the nature of home rule for Scotland, and I am willing to allow that there is a great deal of public business which would be much better done by a Scottish parliament than by an English one.’ 

   The studied neglect of Scotland by the government is now fast bearing fruit; and I am not surprised Mr. Gladstone hesitated to come to Glasgow, where he would have met with a very ‘warm’ reception. All Scotland is up in arms at the bare idea of banishing the Bible from her schools, for every Scotsman, and Englishman too, knows that the secret of their country’s greatness is the Word of God. As for placing the Scottish school board at London, it is a deliberate insult to the civil and religious liberty of Scotland, and no Scotsman would listen to it for a moment. – I am, Sir, yours respectfully, 


   Glasgow, Dec. 1871.”

– London Evening Standard, Wednesday 20th December, 1871.



Edinburgh, July 9, 1872.

   SIR, – I observe that the heather is already on fire upon this subject; but I should like just to say one or two more words. 

   It is now many years since the question as to the removal of the General Post Office of Scotland was fully discussed – the subject having been investigated by an authorised Committee, both with regard to the Edinburgh and Dublin establishments, when it was decided that it would be preferable that the head offices should remain in the capitals of Scotland and Ireland respectively. A suitable building for the Scottish office was accordingly erected at considerable expense, and the foundation laid in great state by the late Prince Albert, in conjunction with that if the National Scottish Museum – both on the same day – these constituting the last important public acts performed by Her Majesty’s esteemed consort. An establishment set on foot under such auspices, and after such an elaborate inquiry, ought not to be thrown down on the first complaint as to the working out of a few of the mere details. Besides, what guarantee is there that they would be better attended to in London, so far removed from the scene of operations? 

   There must be officials within the Edinburgh establishment quite competent to set matters right in any of these details, if invested with powers to do so. A general surveyor for Scotland, to be connected with the head office, and who could, if necessary, visit any district where his presence would be desirable, might be appointed; and ay his office all complaints and suggestions as to the expediting or altering the despatch and delivery of letters, &c., could be made, and these he should be empowered to attend to, without waiting to correspond with London. There ought to be more discretion left with our local authorities. What, for instance, can be more out of all character than that we have had to wait for fully three years regarding the complaints made about the deposits of gunpowder in the Castle and Leith Fort? And yet there these deposits still lie, it is said, to the extent of about one hundred tons in each, at imminent risk to the lives and properties of the inhabitants! 

   In conclusion, I think it should be thirled into the minds of the parties in authority at London that it is, I believe, the very decided desire of the people of Scotland that the spirit of the Treaty of Union as to the upholding of the establishment therein reserved should be adhered to, and even supplemented, wherever practicable, and that an end shall be put to those constant attempts to wrest from us what we are so unwilling to part with. – I am, &c. 


– The Scotsman, Thursday 11th July, 1872.


   “SCOTCH JUDGES IN THE NEW HIGH COURT OF APPEAL. – Mr McLaren has given notice that tonight he will ask the First Lord of the Treasury whether his attention has been called to those parts of ‘The Supreme Court of Judicature Act (1873) Amendment Bill,’ now before this House, by which judicial decisions in Scotland may be appealed to a new Court to be constituted in Westminster, called ‘Her Majesty’s Imperial Court of Appeal,’ in violation of Article XIX. of the International Treaty negotiated between the two independent kingdoms of England and Scotland, and afterwards ratified by the Sovereign and the Parliament of both kingdoms, as follows:- ‘That no causes in Scotland be cognosable by the Courts of Chancery, Queen’s Bench, Common Pleas, or any other Court in Westminster Hall; and that the said Courts or any other of the like nature, after the Union, shall have no power to cognose, review, or alter the acts or sentences of the judicatories within Scotland, or stop the execution of the same:’ And, whether, when the bill is in Committee, the right hon. gentlemen will be prepared to propose clauses by which Scotland will be directly represented in the new court of appeal by the appointment of one or more permanent Scotch Judges as it was represented in the House of Lords, according to the Treaty of Union, by which sixteen Scotch Peers were appointed to seats in that House, being the only competent court of appeal for the trial of Scotch causes.” 

– The Scotsman, Thursday 9th July, 1874.



   Mr Disraeli, in reply to a question put by Mr McLaren last night in the House of Commons, said the Supreme Court of Judicature involved no violation of the Treaty of Union between England and Scotland. He could not promise to propose in Committee that there should be two or more prominent Scotch Judges in the New High Court of Appeal. The great object of the bill was to secure the best men, and Scotchmen, he added, would be greatly altered if they did not have as good a chance of being appointed as others. The Home Secretary intimated that he expected to be able to introduce early next session a bill dealing with the question of police superannuation.”

– Edinburgh Evening News, Friday 10th July, 1874.



   Mr. DISRAELI, in reply to Mr. McLaren, said that the Supreme Court of Judicature Act (1873) Amendment Bill involved no violation of the treaty of union between England and Scotland. The bill provided that Scotch appeals should be referred not to the courts prohibited by the treaty, but to the New Imperial Court of Appeal. He could not propose in committee that there should be two or more permanent Scotch judges in the court. The great object was to secure the best men. He was not aware that the sixteen Scotch representative peers were appointed by the Act of Union for the purpose of hearing Scotch appeals, or had been in the practice of doing so.”

– Liverpool Mail, Saturday 11th July, 1874.

N.B. It surely can’t be just myself who feels as though this court was founded in order to circumvent article 19 of the Treaty of Union. How can the treaty have prevented a move of the Scottish courts to a court as yet unfounded at Westminster? It does, however, state all the courts there at the time of signing and that cases dealt with by the Scottish courts were not to be dealt with at Westminster, so you would think that would apply to any court established thereafter at the same place.



   SIR, – I request leave to state the grounds on which the Judicature Bill, now pending in the House of Lords, which proposes to extinguish the jurisdiction of that House in appeals, is objected to by those members of the profession with whom I agree. At the outset, I think I am safe in saying that five hands would not be held up in all Scotland in support of the bill as it is at present; and, although we had recently a division in the Faculty of Advocates, both the motions concurred in stating that the House of Lords was a better tribunal  than that which is proposed in its room. 

   This bill is the second audacious attempt to break the Treaty of Union – the first being that when the Parliament of Harley and Bolingbroke imposed upon Scotland the yoke of Patronage, which has had so disastrous a history. But that was not so clearly a violation of a solemn treaty as the present attempt of a Government which, if it does not inherit all the principles of the Administration of Bolingbroke, seems to inherit its traditions. The history of the appellate jurisdiction in Scotland and the way in which it was settled by the Treaty of Union, is important in the present discussion, and possesses somewhat of dramatic interest. 

   The right of appeal to Parliament from the judgments of the Court of Session was asserted by the Scottish Bar in the year 1674, and for so doing the whole members of the Faculty of Advocates were banished from Edinburgh by the authority of the Crown – Charles II. being then King. The people of Scotland would not submit to this, and accordingly, in the Claim of Right presented to King William and Queen Mary in 1689, this constituted one of the articles – ‘That it is the right and privilege of the subjects to protest for remeed of law to the King and Parliament against sentences pronounced by the Lords of Session.’ That Claim of Right was accepted as the condition upon which these sovereigns were to be recognised as King and Queen of Scotland. 

   So stood the matter until the Treaty of Union; and in the discussion of that treaty no subject occupied a more prominent place than the legal institutions that were to be left there for the administration of justice. We can trace clearly how every line of the 19th article of the treaty, which deals with this subject, was discussed, because the minutes of the Commissions of both countries have been preserved and printed. Several portions of the article are declared to be alterable by the Parliament of Great Britain. The rest of the article is not to be so alterable, and the important provision which bears upon the subject now under discussion is one of the latter. It is in the following terms – ‘That no causes in Scotland be cognosible by the Courts of Chancery, Queen’s Bench, Common Pleas, or any other Court in Westminster Hall, and that the said Courts, or any other of the like nature after the Union, shall have no power to cognosce, review, or alter the acts or sentences of the Judicature within Scotland, or stop the execution of the same.’ No power is here given to the Parliament of Great Britain, as is given by other provisions in the same article, to make any alteration or change upon this agreement. the Scottish Parliament upon this point were firm, although in regard to other provisions in the same article they yielded (after argument with the English Commissioners) to the granting of a power of alteration to the Parliament of Great Britain. Thus, in dealing with the Court of Session, the article declares that the Judges shall have certain qualification, and be capable of being appointed only from certain bodies, who are specified. As originally proposed, the clause was absolute, and contemplated no alteration by the Imperial Parliament. But on the 3d January 1707, at a meeting of the Scottish Parliament, this motion was made – ‘But before voting, it was moved that the qualifications made – or to be made, for capacitating persons to be named Ordinary Lords of Session shall be alterable by the Parliament of Great Britain, and after debate it was out to the cote, alterable or not, and it was carried alterable” (Acts of the Parliament of Scotland, vol. II, p.381); and accordingly the article finally agreed to contained this clause following the declaration as to what should be the qualifications of the Judges – ‘Yet so as the qualification made or to be made for capacitating persons to be named Ordinary Lords of Session may be altered by the Parliament of Great Britain.’ 

   … It will thus be seen that there were matters upon which it was contemplated alterations might be necessary, and in such cases the Treaty of Union expressly conferred the power – a power demanded with pertinacity by the English Commissioners, and conceded with reluctance by the Scotch. No power, however, was given to annul what constituted the cardinal provision of the article, that the English Courts of Law and Equity, as then constituted, or any other Court of a like nature, created by a Parliament in which there was an overwhelming majority of English members, should have no right to sit in judgment upon any cause coming from Scotland. That remains unalterable, if the sole authority for alteration be the Parliament of Great Britain. Clearly it never was in the contemplation of the parties to the Treaty of Union that those clauses which were not declared to be alterable might be annulled on the following week by a vote of the Imperial Parliament, against whose action to this effect so many anxious safeguards were taken, and whose power of alteration was jealously defined. 

   It is quite true that the present Parliament may pass an Act, as that of Harley and Bolingbroke did, abolishing an article of the Treaty; and as Scotland is not Ireland, it is probable enough that this will evoke no seditious speeches or give rise to tumultuary meetings. But Parliament have just as much power to annul the whole treaty from beginning to end as they have to annul the 19th article. The history of the violation of the treaty in 1712 gives little encouragement to a repetition of the experiment. We may not have the same riots, heartburnings, secessions, and disruptions which were the consequence of that famous measure, but we will have constant discontent with the administration of justice by a Court entirely ignorant of our laws. 

   It is in vain to say that in extinguishing the jurisdiction of the House of Lords, and compelling the people of Scotland to go to this new Court at Lincoln’s Inn, faith is still kept with them because the new Court is called an Imperial Court of Appeal. It is an Imperial Court only in name. It is to be composed almost entirely of English lawyers, the majority of whom have never known anything of Scottish law and Scottish procedure, and have never opened a book on Scottish law, except immediately to shut it, It is a Court of the ‘like nature‘ as the Court specially denounced in the treaty… – I am, &c.


– The Scotsman, Thursday 4th March, 1875.

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