Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

A brief VIEW of the late Scots Ministry; and of the

REASONS the Scots had to wish for a Deliverance

from them by the UNION. 1709. T N order to give you a better View of our present State, I must beg Leave

to put you in Mind, that ever since the Union of the Crowns in 1602,

we have had a continued Struggle with our Ministry, who were for most part either Tools to yours, or (if not mean enough to stoop so low) entirely at the Devotion of such of our Princes, as aim'd at an absolute Authority over us both. 'Tis well enough known, that the Invasion of our Constitution by those Ministers which led the way for the like Attempts upon yours, laid the Foundacion of the civil War, and of all the mischievous Consequences that attended it, till we and you were both swallowed up by a standing Army.

'Tis not unknown to you, that we made the first publick Step towards reco.vering ourselves and you both, from the Anarchy which ensued; and cho' we paid dear for it, were also the first who contributed to the Restoration.

'Tis needless to recount how ungratefully we were rewarded, and that we were so much disappointed of our Expectations, in recovering our Liberty under King Charles II. that we were more oppress'd than ever. ,

Being full freighted however with Loyalty, and bearing an inviolable Affection to the Royal Line, we settled the Duke of York's Succession, when you were for excluding him. Notwithstanding which, instead of our being more favour'd on that Account, he subverted our Conftitution at once, and by Despotical Proclamations, such as none of his Predecessors durst ever issue, he pretended to annull all the Laws that establish'd our Reformation. This, with the heavy Oppression we lay under in other Respects, made us chearfully concur with you in the late happy Revolution ; when, having found by Experience, that we could promise ourselves no Security in any thing, while we were in a separate State, our Convention did then make the first Motion for an Union of the Nations as well as of the Crowns.

But inftead of that, you know what Hardships we suffered in King William's Reign by the Influence of our Ministry, in the Matter of our African Company, Darien Colony, &c. which put us upon Endeavours to secure ourselves in a separate State, by obtaining Limitations upon the next Succeffor after the Determi. nation of the Entail, as 'twas settled by our Declaration of Rights at the Revolution,

I must beg leave to infist a little upon this, because it will set what follows in ja ,clearer Light, and help to discover the Temper of the then Scots Ministry, as also with what View they since fell in with the Union, and at the same Time will justify the honest Part of our Nation, for endeavouring to be delivered from such a Set of Men, which was one of the main Reasons that brought many of

them into the Union, tho hitherto they have been disappointed of their Ex· pectations.

Those

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

Vol. III.

Those of our Parliament-men, and others, who were true Friends to the Protestant Succession, being sensible of what we must suffer under a Popish, Prince, and knowing very well that such Limitations, as were necessary for securing our Religion and Liberty, would meet with great Opposition from our Courtiers, they thought it necessary in the first place to secure themselves against a Popish Succeffor, therefore, in the Session of Parliament, after King William's Death in 1703. they proposed a Bill for an Oath to abjure the Pretender, which carried a first Reading ; but how it came to be quash'd, and not to pass into a. Law, the D. of 9.- , then her Majesty's high Commissioner, and hisFriends, are supposed to be capable of giving the best Account. Besides other Reasons which our honest Patriots had to press that Bill, 'çis coo well known to be deny'd, that by the Change then made in the Scots Ministry, and other Proceedings, Things look'd with a very bad. Aspect for the Revolution Interest in Scoiland; infomuch that a Letter was procured from her Majesty in Favour of the Nonjurant Clergy, which embolden'd them to propose a Toleration in Parliament, to be establish'd by a Law, without obliging them to own her Majesty's Title ; and one of the principal Arguments they infifted upon for obtaining this Liberty, was, That they were her Father's Friends. At the same Time'cis observable that there was no Mention made of the Proteftant Succeßion during that Session of Parliament, in the Speeches of our Ministers, or otherwise, which added to our Jealousies, that they were not very fond of it. I doubt noc but you will be satisfied that our Suspicion was not ill founded, when you consider, that before the Meeting of the Şefion in 1703, such a general Indemnity was sent down by our Scots Ministry, and countersign'd by the D. of 2 , as many people from St. Germains came over upon it, to the great Terror of all the true Friends of the Revolution Interest; and 'tis to be. observed, that this Imdemnity pardon'd all Crimes past to those at St. Germains, without so much as a Condition in it, requiring them to leave the Place if they would reap the Benefit of it. This gave them an Opportunity to promote that Interest, as appear'd soon after by the Scots Plot. Nor is it to be denied that Captain Frazer, and others, who acted the Part of Plotters instead of Discoverers, as was pretended, were furnished with Paffes, and protected in going and coming betwixt Scotland and France by Means of the D. of I- ,E. of

L n , and others then in Trust with the Affairs of our Nacion.. . '. And as a Proof that the Conduct of our Ministry was all of a Piece, when the Earl of Marchmont, who was our Lord High Chancellor in King William's Time, but laid aside at his Death, had form'd a strong Party in that Parliament for settling the Protestant Succession,on Promise of the D. of

2 s Concurrence, the D- discovered the Concert which defeated the Delign, and the Earl's Draught of an Act, which he offer'd for settling the Succefsion on Limitations, was scandalousy treated and thrown out for Want of the Concurrence of our Courtiers.

Yet in this very Parliament our Ministers sufferid an Act of Peace and War to pass, by which • No Person, being King or Queen.cf Scotland and England, " should have Power to engage the Scots in War with any Prince or State, .. without Consent of our Parliament, and that no Declaration of War without

* such + such Consent, should be binding on this Kingdom ; ' which, though some honest Pacriots were drawn in to concur with, out of very good Intentions, yet it will appear by what follows, that the D. of 2- and his Friends had other Views in fuffering it to pass, and therefore that 'tis no uncharitable Conjecture to suppose that some of the then Scots Ministry were rather for einbroiling the Nations, to serve some Arbitrary Design, than for settling them under one and the same Protestant Allegiance,

It is very well known to you, that in the Parliament of England, this Act was taken Notice of as a Thing of the greatest Danger imaginable to your Nation; infomuch that if I be not misinform’d, a noted Gentleman of the Long Robe said in your House of Commons, . That if any Englishman advised or consented * to thai Act, he was guilty of little less than Treason ;' and some of your great Lords and Ministers were so apprehensive of this, that they declared in the Houfe of Peers they gave no Advice about it, or Consent to it.

The Designs of our Ministry will appear ýet more plain, if we consider that in the same Parliament an Act was pass’d by their Influence, Allowing the Im; portation of all Sorts of Wines, and other Foreign Liquors, tho' the Duke of Hamilton and the Squadrone protested' Against allowing the Importation of • French Wines and Brandy, as dishonourable to her Majesty, inconsistent with sche Grand Alliance, and prejudicial to the Honour, Safety, Interest, and Trade

of the Kingdom ; ' and iho' the Marquis of Twedale, in the Name of the Country Party, offered an Equivalent, if our Courtiers would drop the Bill.

A worthy Member charged this home upon our Ministry, in à Speech upon that Occasion, wherein he had those remarkable Expressions : "To repeal such • a Law in Time of War, will sound admirably well in England and Holland, • since it is no less than a direct Breach of our Alliance with those Nations, and

exactly calculated to inform the World of the Inclinations of our Ministers. No • Man in this House can be ignorant, that this Act will not only open a Trade • and Correspondence with France, contrary to the Declaration of War, and our • own standing Laws, but that the Design of those who promote the passing • this Act, is to have a Trade directly with France, and bribe Men to betray o our Liberty. If any Justice were to be found in this Nation,the Advisers of these Things bad been long since brought to the Scaffold."

And that our Ministry had as little Inclination at that Time to an Union, as as they had to the Protestant Succession, I think will appear plain from this, that in that same Parliament, they suffered a Resolve to pass • To make void the • Commission for treating of an Union with England, and discharging any other • Commission for that End, without the Consent of our Parliament ; ' but here again it is neceffary to observe, that our honest Members fell in with this Refolve, because they were unwilling to trust a Thing ot that Consequence in the Hands of the then Minitry, which our Ministers knew well enough, and therefore must have had some other End in suffering it to pass, as will appear by what follows.

The Protestant Succeffion met with another very remarkable Defeat in the Parliament of 1704, when the Marquis of Twedale was her Majesty's Commiffi. øner, tho' her Majesty recommended the same in her Letter thus :

Ff 2.

.The " The main thing we recommend to you, and which we recommend with all the Earnestness we are capable of, is the Settling the Succession in the Pro• testant Line, as that which is absolutely necessary for your own Peace and ' Quietness, as well as our Quiet and Security in all our Dominions, for the Re! pucation of our Affairs abroad, and consequently for strengthening the Prote• stant Interest every-where; this has been our fix'd Judgment ever since we • came to the Crown, and cho' hitherto Opportunities have not answered our ' Intention, Matters are now come to that pass, by the undoubted Evidences of • the Designs of our Enemies, that a longer Delay of Settling the Succession in • the Protestant Line may have very dangerous Consequences, and a Disap• pointment of it would infallibly make that our Kingdom the Seat of War, and ' expose it to Devastation and Ruin.'

The better to induce the Parliament to comply with this Desire, her Mjesty added afterwards,“ We have impowered our Commissioner to give the Royal • Asent to what in Reason can be demanded, and is in our Power to grant, for ' securing the Sovereignty and Liberties of that our ancient Kingdom.'

The Lord Commissioner, and the Earl of Seafield, then Lord Chancellor, in their Speeches to the Parliament, recommended the Succession with the same Earneltness ; and the Earl of Cromarty, then Secretary of State, to obviate an Aspersion, as if the Queen had a secret Will contrary to her express Will which she had declared in her Royal Lecter, acquainted the Parliament, 'That he was certain of the contrary, becaufe her Majesty commanded him, and her other • Servants, exprefsiy to affure the House, That nothing in her Service could • please her better than to believe and obey her in what she proposed in her Ler• ter, and nothing cou'd displease her more than to do otherwife.'

I doubt not but you will grant, that it was impossible to make use of more forcible and pressing Arguments to shew the absolute Necessity of Settling the Protestant Succellion, than those insisted on by her Majesty, and that the danger of doing otherwise could not be better demonstrated than it was by that Letter.

And we must likewise do Justice to your House of Lords, that they declared to the World they were of the same Opinion as to the Danger of delaying it, and concurred with her Majesty's Sentiments, 'That the Settling of the Succession • was the readiest Way to an incire Union berween the two Kingdoms, for their • mutual Security and Advantage, as appears by their Lordships Address of the 29th of March, 1701, and her Majesty's Anfwer to it before the Meeting of our Parliament, which was in July after.

Yet notwithstanding all this, when the Succession came to be proposed there, ic was shamefully baffled and postponed by a Resolve For putting it off till the Scots had a previous Treaty with England, in relation to Commerce and other • Concerns.' And tho' her Majesty had press d her Servants with so much Earnestnefs to promote the Succession, yet 'tis very well known here, That (wo Officers of State, a Commissioner of the Treasury, a great many of the Council and Exchequer, with Colɔnels, Lieutenant-Colonels, Mijors, Captains, Farmers and Collectors of the Revenue, and Pensioners, who had scarce any Bread to eat but what they received from her Majesty, in all about thirty-three, not only tell in with the above-mentioned Kesolve, but folicited others to do the like. 'Tis

. also

to the Worldmust likewise not be better dcon by her Mai Neceflity of

concurred with

were of the same Opinion as to the scords, that they declared also to be observed, that some of those who appeared against the Succession had but a very little before got into considerable Pofts; and others of them had received Pensions by means of the D, of 2- , and could not conceal their Hopes of being further prefer'd and gracify'd for defeating the Succession in the Hands of the Marquis of Twedale ; upon which they assured themselves the D. of 9.would be restored, as he afterwards was; and this made all those, who had any Expectations from him, concur in the Design of baffling the Succession.

Some of their Friends did likewise boast of Assurances from London, that there would be mighty Concessions obtained in favour of Scotland, in case the Matter were refer'd to a Treaty; and this gave che finishing Blow at once to the Succes. fion, tho' che Marquis of Twedale and his Friends reckoned themselves sure of car: rying it, there being ninety-six whom they thought they might have depended upon, till the very Day it was put to the Vote, and the Number was much greater before ; but many well-meaning Gentlemen were deluded by this specious Pretext of great Concessions with relation to Trade, if the Matter were refer'd to a Treaty.

In order to satisfy you further, that the D. of Q and his Friends, by whose Means the Succession was baffled, did it not out of Respect to England, but from other Views, it is to be observed, that in this very Parliament they suffered the Ad of Security for arming our people to have the Royal Aflent, iho' they had Infuence enough to hinder it the Year before, when the D. of 2- and his Friends suffer'd it to pass the House, with a Clause of their own inserting,' That • a Communication of Trade should be one of the Terms of their coming into • the Succession ;' but this Clause was now left out. This, by the way, is another Proof of the Insincericy of the

D a nd his Friends in the Matter of the Succeflion,fince they knew England would never grant that Clause without an Union; but be that how it will, it was in the Power of the said

D a nd his friends to have hinder'd that Act, as well as the Settlement of the Succession, had their Affection for England been such as they pretended.

You know very well how much your House of Lords resented this Act of Security, that in their Address to her Majesty upon it in December following, they set forth the Dangers which might arise from it to England, and advised her Majesty to secure your Frontier Garrisons, to arm and discipline your Northern Subjects, and to quarter regular Troops upon the Borders of England, and in the North of Ireland : You remember likewise that a Law was made in your succeding Parliament to hinder the Importation of our Cattle into England, and that your Lords resolved your Ships should be appointed to hinder our trading with your Enemies; for which the D. of 2 and his Friends had procured an Act contrary to the Mind of the Squadrone, as they are now called, in the Parliament of 1703, as I have mentioned already.

This Session being over, the Squadrone, who appear'd zealously for the Succeflion, were laid aside, and the D. of 2- was again brought into the Adminiftration ; which proves that the Hopes of his Party, who, out of Respect to him, opposed the Succession, were not ill founded. What follow'd was a Change in the Privy-Council, and Matters being thus prepared, the next Session of Parliament was held in 1795 by the D. of Argyle, but before it met,

the

« ZurückWeiter »