The Union of Parliaments in 1707
The National Library of Scotland has a rich collection of printed material relating to the Treaty of Union. This treaty united the parliaments of England and Scotland in May 1707.
Pamphlets and tracts
We hold many pamphlets and tracts arguing for and against the terms of the treaty. There are lots of examples in the collections with arguments from religious, economic and political viewpoints. Merchants, church ministers, politicians and landowners joined in the lively debate during the early years of the 18th century.
Minutes of meetings and proceedings
The minutes of the meetings of the Lords Commissioners are also in our collections. They debated the terms of the Treaty in London during the first half of 1706. The commissioners discussed in detail customs and excise, the legal systems, shipping and the succession to the crown.
Once the commissoners had agreed the terms of the treaty, it was the turn of the Scottish Parliament to examine it. The minutes of the proceedings in Parliament from the autumn of 1706 provide an insight into what the politicians were saying. The minutes also state who voted for and against each article.
Speeches, petitions and proclamations
Important speeches, such as that of Lord Belhaven were also published. Scots from every walk of life sent petitions, mainly against the Union, to Parliament. These show what the wider public thought of the Union.
Riots of protest against the Union broke out in a number of towns. In response, the authorities issued proclamations against 'irregular meetings'.
There are also other interesting proclamations. One marks the dissolution of the Scottish Parliament in April 1707, and another relates to a new flag for merchant ships.
Sermons in England
When the Treaty of Union came into effect in May 1707, Church of England ministers delivered sermons of thanksgiving. It is interesting to note that these sermons were all published in England. This is perhaps a reflection of the different moods and attitudes to the Union north and south of the border.
- For more information and images go to Documenting the Union of Parliaments.
- Patrick S Hodge (ed.). 'Scotland and the Union'. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1994. [Shelfmark: QP2.97.4203]
- Paul Henderson Scot. 'Andrew Fletcher and the Treaty of Union'. Edinburgh: Saltire Society, 1994. ([Shelfmark: HP2.95.1547]
- Paul Henderson Scot. 'The Union of 1707: why and how?' Edinburgh: Saltire Society, 2006. [Shelfmark: HP1.201.5215]
- Christopher A Whatley. 'Bought and sold for English gold: explaining the Union of 1707'. East Linton: Tuckwell Press, 2001. [Shelfmark: PB5.206.573/6]