IN the early part of 1882 our attention was drawn to the subject of which this little work treats. The attempts of the English Courts to found jurisdiction over domiciled Scotsmen was creating some considerable stir in the country, and every now and then reference was made to the Treaty of Union. As they were all of a very vague and sometimes contradictory character we looked carefully into the question, and in the early months of 1883 we gave the result of our studies in the shape of a little pamphlet entitled ‘The Treaty of Union between Scotland and England,’ with an Historical Introduction. Up to this time we had only a suspicion of the fraud perpetrated upon the Scots, and accepted the general verdict that the Union, however corruptly brought about, had been of signal service to the Scottish people. We felt many a pang of regret at the loss of our Parliament, with all the pomp and circumstance of the Court and the offices of state which surrounded our ancient seat of Government; yet as our people were prosperous and contented we accepted without question the oft-repeated assertion that the Treaty of Union was the cause of all our happiness. This was the common opinion of Scotsmen; it was taught to them at school, shouted on the platform, dinned into their ears in newspaper articles, and constantly admitted and gloried in by our public men. The English looked upon themselves as the benefactors of Scotland, and no one from Scotland ever entered their country without being made aware of the interesting fact. This was a little galling to our pride, but what everybody admitted to be true could not be questioned. The little pamphlet above referred to, and which forms the opening chapter of this book, had created some suspicion in our mind that all was not as it should be; our studies had pointed to a very different conclusion from the generally received opinion, but the tumult of the political world over Home Rule for Ireland left us little leisure to prosecute our studies further, so for a time the question had to stand aside. The constant reference by both parties engaged in the political war of our times to the Union of Scotland and England as an example which pointed a moral in the case of the Union between Great Britain and Ireland, compelled us to look a little closer into the subject, and the result of our studies is now set before our readers in the following pages.
As the events recorded here cover a period of time of two hundred years, this work must be far from an exhaustive treatise; the average citizen has no leisure to peruse ponderous volumes relating in detail what happened during two centuries. We have only taken up the salient parts of our subject so as to remove from the public mind the false impression which ignorant or interested historians have laboured so long to produce. Those of our readers who have leisure will have no difficulty in filling up the picture from original sources.