An English View, p.39.

[Scotland’s Scrap Contents]

   G. M. Trevelyan, University of Cambridge, contributed an article on “The Parliamentary Union of England and Scotland, 1707,” to “The Listener” of November 20th, 1929. He writes:- “Fletcher of Saltoun and the Scottish patriots who opposed the Union complained that when once it had become law, Scotland would have no means left of defending her own rights. What security was there that many of those provisions which had been inserted in the Treaty of Union to win the adhesion of the Scots would not be over-ridden by future Acts of Parliament at Westminster?… 

   “Since Scotland was to be merged in England as one state, it was impossible to set up a Supreme Court, such as exists to interpret the Constitution of the United States and to guard the rights of the States composing that federation. In the United Great Britain constituted in 1707 there was no such court set up to decide whether or not a proposed law was ‘constitutional’ and in accordance with the Treaty of Union. The British Parliament was, by old English custom, omnipotent. That is to say, there was, and could be, no limit to its legalising powers. 

   In the last year of Queen Anne, there was much bad blood between the Nations on the question of the observance of the Union Treaty. The British Parliament passed certain Acts repugnant to large sections of Scottish opinions. For instance the Scottish Privy Council was abolished, the Scottish law of Treason was assimilated to the English, legal toleration was extended to the services of the Episcopal Church, patronage in the Church of Scotland was restored. These new laws – some good, some questionable – were regarded by indignant Scots as breaches of the spirit if not the letter of the Treaty… 

   “In 1713, the year before Queen Anne died, it was moved in Parliament to repeal the Union, on the ground that it had made the feeling between the two parties worse. The motion for the repeal was lost by 71 to 67 in the House of Lords. If it had come down to the Commons it would almost certainly have been carried. 

   “But the dangerous moment was tided over when, after the death of Anne, dynastic troubles broke out, the Scottish Presbyterians rallied in 1715 to the defence of the Union, because it was the only way of securing the Hanovarian Succession.” 

   The complacency with which Trevelyan views the disappearance of Scotland as a Nation is revealed by the phrase he let slip – “Since Scotland was to be merged in England” – not both merged in Great Britain. 

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