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that the treaty would be prolonged for years, and BOOK the succession deferred. But the settlement of we the crown was a question of which the event was 1705. the more doubtful, as the late ministers, who refused to adhere to the opposition that deserted, or, to the court that dismissed them, formed a distinct party, which acquired the cant name of the Squadroné Volanté, and affected to trim between, Squadroné
party: and to incline the balance to either side. Soon after the session commenced, the duke of Third ses
sion of Hamilton resumed bis motion, that the succession parliament. should be deferred till a commercial treaty were concludid with England, and the independence of the nation secured by proper limitations on the crown. His motion was carried, as formerly, by the aid of Queensberry's friends; and as no expedient but an union remained for the settlement of the crown, the Jacobites became unconsciously accessary to that event. They proceeded to frame limitations; to obstruct, if unable to prevent, the succession of the house of Hanover. On Queensberry's arrival they were deserted by his friends; but the Squadroné party concurred in an act that the judges, the privy-counsellors, and the officers of state, should be named in parliament after her majesty's decease. By another bill, ambassadors were ordered to attend, and provide for the interest of Scotland in foreign treaties, wherein the country had been uniformly overlooked and neglected since the union of the crowns. An act
BOOK for triennial parliaments was also introduced, but
the court party endeavoured to suspend its operation till the queen’s death; and in a bill to shorten the duration of parliaments, the Jacobites, apprehensive of their own seats, consented to prolong the present parliament for three years more. But these acts never obtained the royal
assent 29. Act for a The treaty with England, for which the settle. treaty
ment of the crown had been thus postponed, was resumed on the motion of the earl of Mar. The Jacobites concurred in a popular measure, suggested by themselves to retard the succession; but they endeavoured to limit, and to frustrate a treaty which was neither intended nor expected to succeed. The duke of Hamilton moved, “ that the “ union should no wise derogate from any funda“ mental laws, ancient privileges, offices, rights, 6 liberties, or dignities of the nation.” On former occasions, the same resolution had been invariably employed to prevent an union; but in popular assemblies it is the ostensible, rather than the real motives of parties that are discovered in their debates. The ministers durst not oppose the clause as inconsistent with an union; nor durst the opposition avow their design to obstruct its success. The former resisted the motion as expressive of an undue distrust of the queen; and as inconsistent with those ample powers which the
29 Lockhart, 145.
English parliament had conferred on her commis- BOOK sioners. The latter maintained that some things were too sacred to become the subject of a treaty; that the preservation of their national independence was the more necessary, from the present influence of English councils, and should neither offend the queen, who from her absence must be less acquainted with their constitution and interests, nor the English parliament, by whom the government of the church was expressly reserved. The question was decisive of the intended union; but by the absence of some, and particularly by the defection of the old earl of Aberdeen, the motion was rejected by a majority of two votes. Another clause was proposed by Athol, that the commissioners should neither leave the kingdom nor engage in a treaty, till the acts declaring the Scots aliens, and their trade illicit, were repealed in England. The Jacobites expected that the obsti. nacy of the English parliament might frustrate an union; and Fletcher, ever independent in his conduct, opposed the treaty as ignominious, unless these hostile laws were previously repealed. But the motion was artfully evaded by an address to the queen, to procure a repeal of the acts before the treaty should be suffered to commence 30.
The last hopes of the country party were placed of union in the choice of commissioners, which Hamilton, land. in the former session, had neglected to secure. The
30 Lockhart, 154. Minutes of Parliament.
BOOK: question was of the highest importance to the w kingdom. If appointed by parliament, the com
missioners might frustrate or retard an union ; if they were selected by the queen, the interest of the country might be betrayed to England; and so sensible was the English parliament of this advantage, that the Scots, although they should accede to an union, were to be reputed aliens unless the queen should be entrusted with the choice of commissioners. When the members, wearied with the preceding debates, had begun to retire, Hamilton, acting in secret concert with Queensberry, proposed unexpectedly, at a late hour of the night, that the nomination of commissioners should be referred to the queen. His motives were sufficiently obvious to his friends. From the late, frequent creations of peerages, a majority of the nobles was devoted to the crown. Apprehensive of being rejected by his own order, if the commissioners were chosen by their respective estates, he was content to sacrifice the interests of his party to a fallacious assurance of obtaining a personal share in the treaty, if the queen were empowered to appoint the commissioners. His party were struck with consternation. Some abandoned the house in despair and rage, exclaiming that it was in vain to stay where they were deserted and betrayed. Others retorted his own arguments, that to leave the nomination to the queen, what was it else than to surrender their country to the Eng
lish cabinet, whose ministers were thus enabled to Book appoint commissioners for both kingdoms, and to , dictate their own terms to Scotland? The court party, instead of answering their arguments, per. sisted in a vote. From the absence or the defection of their members, the queen was empowered by a slender majority of eight votes, to appoint.commissioners for a treaty of union, with the reservation of the governinent and the worship of the established church. Nothing remained for opposition but an unavailing protest; and Argyle returned with the credit of having surmounted and broken the factions in parliament, by a pru. dent management, unexpected from his years 3!. It may be necessary at the present conjuncture, State of the
country, to give a short explanation of the situation of the country, and of the motives of the statesmen in both kingdoms, previous to an incorporating union with England. The dependence of government upon the English cabinet, however unavoidable, was a just cause of complaint. The parliament was not unfrequently directed by its influence; and was never assembled except to grant supplies. The privy-council, however arbitrary, had, in consequence of the interposition of parliament,
31 Lockhart. Clerk’s Memoirs,-MS. Cunningham's Hist. i. 425. From the protests of the country party, including the squadroné, it appears that they consisted of twenty-five peers, thirty-five barons, eighteen burgesses, who were present in the former vote.