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Old and New Edinburgh Vol. I


Parliament House.] TREATY OF UNION. 163 to regain the throne; for the proposed union with England had inflamed to a perilous degree the passions and the patriotism of the nation. In August the equivalent money sent to Scotland as a blind to the people for their full participation in the taxes and old national debt of England, was pompously brought to Edinburgh m twelve great waggons, and conveyed to the Castle, escorted by a regiment of Scottish cavalry, as Defoe tells us, amid the railing, the reproaches, and the deep curses of the people, who then thought of nothing but war, and viewed the so-called equivalent as the price of their Scottish fame, liberty, and honour. In their anathemas, we are told that they spared not the very horses which drew the waggons, and on the return of the latter from the fortress their fury could no longer be restrained, and, unopposed by the sympathising troops, they dashed the vehicles to pieces, and assailed the drivers with volleys of stones, by which many of them were severely injured. ?It was soon discovered, after all,? says Dr. Chambers, ? that only LIOO,OOO of the money was specie, the rest being iu 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 of, and which if lost or burned would be irrecoverable, were a pretty price for the obligation Scotland had come under to pay English taxes.?? In the following year, during the sitting of the Union Parliament, a terrible tumult arose in the west, led by two men named Montgomery and Finlay. The latter had been a sergeant in the Royal Scots, and this enthusiastic veteran burned the articles of Union at the Cross of Glasgow, and with the little sum he had received on his discharge, enlisted men to march to Edinburgh, avowing his intention of dispersing the Union Parliament, sacking the House, and storming the Castle. I n the latter the troops were on the alert, and the guns and beacons were in readiness. The mob readily enough took the veteran?s money, but melted away on the march ; thus, he was captured and brought in a prisoner to the Castle, escorted by 250 dragoons, and the Parliament continued its sitting without much interruption. The Articles of Union were framed by thirty commissioners acting for England and thirty acting for Scotland ; and though the troops of both COUTI? tries were then fighting side by side on the Continent, such were their mutual relations on each side of the Tweed, that, as Macaulay says, they could not possibly have continued for one year more ?? on the terms on which they had been during the preceding century, and that there must have been between them either absolute union or deadly enmity; and their enmity would bring frightful calamities, not on themselves alone, but on all the civilised world Their union would be the best security for the prosperity of both, for the internal tranquillity of the island, for the just balance of power among European states, and for the immunities of all Protestant countries.? As the Union debates went on, in vain did the eloquent Belhaven, on his knees and in tears, beseech the House to save Scotland from extinction and degradation; in vain did the nervous Fletcher, the astute and wary Lockhart, plead for the fame of their forefathers, and denounce the measure which was to close the legislative hall for ever. ? Many a patriotic heart,? says Wilson, ? throbbed amid the dense crowd that daily assembled in the Parliament Close, to watch the decision of the Scottish Estates oa the detestable scheme of a union with England. Again and again its fatetrembled in the balance, but happily for Scotland, English bribes outweighed the mistaken qeal ot Scottish patriotism and Jacobitism, united against the measure.? On the 25th of March, 1707, the treaty or union was ratified by the Estates, and on the zznd of April the ancient Parliament of Scotland adjourned, to assemble no more. On that occasion the Chancellor Seafield made use of a brutal jest, for which, says Sir Walter Scott, his countrymen should have destroyed him on the spot. It is, of course, a matter of common history, that the legislative union between Scotland and England was carried by the grossest bribery and corruption; but the sum actually paid to members who sat in that last Parliament are not perhaps so well known, and may be curious to the reader. During some financial investigations which were in progress in 1711 Lockhart discovered and made public that the sum of Lzo,540 17s. 7d. had been secretly distributed by Lord Godolphin, the Treasurer of England, among the baser members ot the Scottish Parliament, for the purpose of inducing them to vote for the extinction of thek country, and in his Memoirs of Scotland from the Accession of Queen Anne,? he gives us the following list of the receivers, with the actual sum which was paid to each, and this list was confirmed on oath hy David Earl of Glasgow, the Treasurer Deputy of Scotland . I .
Volume 1 Page 163
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