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Commercial Relations of England and Scotland 1603 - 1707
The Union

The events of the forty years of commercial and legislative separation, between the Restoration and the accession of Anne, made it very clear that such a relationship could not continue. The interests of the two nations were not identical. England was at war with France, and regarded her as a dangerous commercial rival. England was also attempting to carry out a consistent economic policy, the protection of English commerce and the enlargement of her markets. Of this policy the Navigation Acts embodied an important aspect. On the other hand, one of the principal branches of Scottish commerce was her trade with France, and although it was checked by a war in which she had no interest, it continued to a certain extent in spite of English remonstrances. Scotland was thus the back door through which French influence and prohibited French commodities entered England, and through which, also, English wool was smuggled out of the country to supply the demands of French manufacturers. Then, too, Scotland required markets for the disposal of her manufactures, and therefore she traded with the Plantations, in spite of the Navigation Acts. Also she had a considerable trade with Holland, and England feared that, through her, the Dutch might share in the Plantation trade. The two countries were governed by different Parliaments, and were under different trade regulations. The Scottish Parliament might authorise trade with France, and the export of English wool; or might give to a Scots trading company more extensive privileges than any of the great English companies possessed. The results of such a grant to a Scottish company made the necessity for some change in the relationship of the two countries imminent early in the eighteenth century, although for some time thoughtful men on both sides of the border had realised that the existing state of affairs could not continue. At the same time the deaths of the little Duke of Gloucester and of William made the settlement of the succession in the two kingdoms necessary. In England a complete union was thought to be the only satisfactory solution of the difficulty. In Scotland opinion differed as to the form of relationship which should be established. Some desired an incorporating union, others talked of settling the succession with more limitations on the royal authority, but all alike desired commercial privileges from England. Some few contemplated an entire separation, and it was generally realised that this would mean a revival of the old connection and alliance with France.

From the time of the Darien disaster until the Union was actually accomplished, a stream of pamphlets dealing with the relations of Scotland and England issued from the Press. All alike declared that the Union had been unsatisfactory. "That there is a Necessity for Scotland, either to unite with England or separate from it, is evident by the Experience of 97 years. In which time this loose and Irregular Tye of the Crowns, in place of an Union of Hearts, Hands and Civil Interest, hath only given Occasion to ill disposed Persons in both Kingdoms to foment continual Jealousies and Animosities betwixt them: And to the English opportunity of crushing every thing that can make for the Interest of Scotland." "For ever since our King's Accession to the Crown of England the English have Always used the Scots, as the Ape did the Cat's clutch, to pull the Chestnuts out of the Fire." Almost all the writers complain of the "preclusions, Restrictions and Hardships which have been put upon them in Matter of Trade since the Restauration." "It is very hard, and ill neighbourhood, neither to allow us a share in their Trade nor to set up for ourselves." Through their union with England the Scots were said to have lost their privileges in France. "Why do we loss the Friendship of all our ancient Allyes for the quarrels betwixt them and England, whilst England gives neither Friendship, free Trade nor priviledges to us." It was said that "without an Inlargement of export it is simply impossible to save us from sinking into the greatest Poverty and Misery." Therefore freedom of trade with the Plantations was especially desired. "This Trade...has all the Advantages that can make a Trade valuable. As First, a Yent for our Home Commodities...Linnen Cloth now become such a drug on our hands, that not a third part is sold of what was formerly...our Stockings, Serges, and Fingrains." The advantages of union were not to be all on the Scottish side. England would be "secure within itself, which can never happen so long as the Interests of England and Scotland are different." The "Spacious bordering back-Door" would be "shut against the Evils that otherwise most fall out." French interference was recognised as being the principal of these "evils." The Dutch also would be weakened, for they could be excluded from the Scottish fisheries, which, for want of capital, the Scots could not properly work themselves. The result of a union, in fact, would be "the strengthening of this whole Island in Force and Riches."

There was a strong Jacobite party opposed to any scheme of union. Then, too, Scottish antipathy towards England had been quickened by Glencoe and Darien into active resentment. Nor were the English sufficiently aroused to the possibility of danger from their neighbour. Therefore the Union projects could not be expected to be drawn up, adopted and welcomed, without much opposition and delay. The first four years of Anne's reign were occupied in fruitless negotiations and hostile Acts on the part of both Parliaments, culminating at last in a determination on both sides to end this state of affairs, and the preparation and final adoption of a treaty of Union.

In 1702 the Parliaments of both countries passed Acts empowering the Queen to appoint Commissioners to treat for a union. They met in November 1702, and their discussions turned on the subject of trade. The Scots demanded free trade between the two countries, equality of trade with the Plantations, the repeal of the Navigation Acts, the same import and export regulations and customs duties for both countries, that neither should be burdened by the debts of the other contracted before the union, and that the companies of each kingdom should be unaffected by the union. The English agreed to grant freedom of trade in all but wool, sheep, and sheep skins. They hesitated over the Plantation trade, but finally conceded it. Eventually an agreement was come to on all points but the last, the continuation of the Scots African Company. On this subject the Commissioners still differed when the meetings were adjourned in February 1703. They were never resumed, and in September the Scots Parliament declared the commission for the treaty to be "terminate and extinct."

In May of the next year a new Parliament met, the last, and the most important and active of the Scottish Parliaments. There was a general determination, both among the people and in Parliament, to make some change in the relationship of Scotland and England. The time was favourable for Scotland, for the state of affairs in England made possible an attempt to wring concessions from the English Parliament. The death of the Duke of Gloucester, Anne's child, in 1701, had made some settlement of the succession necessary. Accordingly, by the Act of Settlement of 1701, the crown was settled upon the Electress Sophia of Hanover and her heirs, after Anne's death without direct heirs. It was necessary for England's welfare that the crown of Scotland should devolve upon the same person as that of England. But as yet the Scottish Parliament had taken no steps to settle the succession. Here, then, was an opportunity for the Scots. The commercial interests of the two countries had, by the Darien episode, already been shewn to be conflicting, and many Englishmen were on this account inclined to union. The Scots had already regretted that at the Revolution they had not secured commercial equality from England, in return for their adoption of William and Mary. Now that the succession question was again brought forward, they did not intend to allow the opportunity to slip, "We make but a pitiful Bargain, if we throw away the present Occasions and Complement England with entering immediately into the Successions without the least Equivalent for them. We need not be at a loss to find out an Equivalent: A freedom of Trade in general is what we have all along aimed at." The legislation of the Scottish Parliament in 1703 was, accordingly, inspired by the idea of shewing England that Scotland could be independent in her choice of a sovereign, and in her arrangements of foreign relations, and thus of convincing her of the necessity of making commercial concessions.

At the end of William's reign steps had already been taken in this direction. The Act of 1663, "asserting the King's prerogative in the ordering of Trade," had been rescinded, as "prejudicial to the trade of this Nation." The Lord Chancellor Seafield, in his speech at the opening of the Parliament of 1702, pointed out the necessity of taking some action to promote trade: "Our manufactures," he said, "are very much improved and ought to have all encouragement but we have almost no Forraign Trade." Two of the Acts of 1703 and 1704 were aimed directly at the increase of trade, one allowing the import of foreign wines, while a second permitted the export of wool2. The "Wine Act" was equivalent to a declaration of freedom of trade with France, with whom England was at war. It was supported by the merchants, who suffered from the Act of 1701 forbidding the import of French wines; by the government, because the customs on wine were an important part of the revenue; and by the Jacobite party, as it gave more opportunities for communications with the King over the water. The export of wool was allowed, against the wishes of the manufacturers, to please the growers and the merchants. Scotland exported a good deal of her own wool, and also a quantity of English wool, to Holland and France. This Act therefore affected also the English manufacturers, a fact which was no doubt realised by its promoters. One of the pamphleteers of the time wrote: "Scotland by Allowing this Export may have a considerable Trade in English Wool....If we neglect this Opportunity we oblige the English more than we are sensible: If we make use of it, besides the Money it will bring into the Country, it may be one of the reasons will oblige them to drive an Equal Union."

These two Acts shewed the power of Parliament to regulate trade; the Act of Peace and War asserted its determination to control foreign relations. This Act declared that, after Anne's death, "no person being King or Queen of Scotland and England shall have the sole power of makeing War" without consent of the Scottish Parliament, and no declaration of war without their consent was to be binding upon Scottish subjects. The consent of Parliament was also to be given to all treaties of peace, alliance or commerce. English statesmen realised at once the possibility of danger from this Act. Godolphin wrote to Seafield saying: "The Act for putting the power of peace and war into the Parliament...might prove extreamly inconvenient both to England and Scotland.... England is now in war with France; if Scotland were in peace and consequently at liberty to trade with France would not that immediately necessitate a war betwixt England and Scotland." But the Act which raised most commotion, and excited most opposition in the English Parliament, was the Act of Security, which dealt with the succession. This declared that, on the death of Anne, the Scottish Parliament should nominate a successor, who should not be the same as the the English crown, unless "during her Majesties reign, there be such conditions of Government settled as may secure the honour and sovereignty of this Crown and Kingdom, the freedom...of Parliament, the religion, liberty and trade of the Nation from England or any forreigne influence." A proposed clause, that one of the conditions should be "that free Communication of Trade the freedome of Navigation, and the liberty of the Plantations be fully agreed to," was omitted in the final form of the Act. The Act of Security was passed in August 1704, and the English Parliament met at the end of October.

There was much uneasiness about affairs in Scotland. On 23 November Scottish affairs were taken into consideration by the Lords. Lord Haversham made a long speech, in the course of which he said that "there are two matters of all troubles: much discontent, and great poverty; and whoever will now look into Scotland will find them both in that Kingdom." He also declared that in Scotland "there will never be wanting all the promises and all the assistance France will give." The House went into Committee on the question, and addressed Her Majesty to the. effect that because of divers Acts recently passed in Scotland, and the "many pernicious and dangerous Effects which are likely to follow from thence, as well in respect to the Trade as to the present and future Peace and Quiet of this Kingdom," they considered themselves "indispensably obliged" to consider means for arresting "such great Evils." The House of Commons also discussed the matter. The result of the deliberations of the two Houses was "An Act for the effectual securing the Kingdom of England from the apparent Dangers that may arise from several Acts lately passed in the Parliament of Scotland." This Act provided first of all that Commissioners should be appointed by the Crown to treat for a "nearer and more compleat Union" with a body of Scottish Commissioners. It went on to declare that, if the succession was not settled in Scotland on the same person as in England, after 25 December 1705, all Scots, except those settled in England or the Plantations or those serving in the army or navy, should be considered aliens. Also, after the same date, no cattle, sheep, or linen should be brought into England from Scotland. Another Act permitted the export of Irish linen to the Plantations, at the same time prohibiting the import of Scots linen into Ireland. Suggestions were also made in the Lords that ships should be set on the coasts, to take Scots ships going to or coming from France. The English Parliament were determined that the Scots should settle the succession on the Hanover line, and that they should be completely united with England. "If we do not go into the Succession or an Union very soon, Conquest will certainly be upon the first Peace," wrote Roxburgh at this time.

The clause of the Act dealing with the import of Scots linen and cattle into England alarmed the Scots. These were their most important exports, and "unless our cattle and linen can be otherwayes disposed on, we are utterly ruined." Nor could these commodities be sent elsewhere, for the Scots were already producing more than they could find a market for. They had endeavoured to coerce the English into giving them commercial privileges. Now the English were putting pressure on the Scots to make them accept a complete union.

An incident occurred about this time which further convinced statesmen of both countries of the necessity for union. A vessel belonging to the Scots African Company, bound for the East Indies, was seized in the Thames, at the instance of the English East India Company, and detained. A short time later, a vessel called the Worcester put into the Forth for repairs. The Scots believed that this ship belonged to the English East India Company, and some members of the African Company seized her in reprisal for the seizure of their ship, the Annandale. Some idle words of the crew gave rise to the suspicion that the Worcester had been a pirate, and had taken a ship, the Speedy Return, which the African Company had sent to the East Indies, and had murdered the crew. The captain and the crew of the Worcester were tried for piracy, amidst great popular excitement, and condemned to death. The Queen desired that the prisoners should be reprieved, but the Council gave way to the intimidations of the mob, and the captain and two others were hanged. The English were furious at such a sentence being executed on such scanty evidence. The Scots considered that the effort to reprieve the prisoners was a slight upon their African Company, and the relationship between the two countries was still further embittered.

About the same time an English man-of-war, anchored in Leith harbour, created great indignation by stopping and searching ships, both Scots and foreign, and also by forcing them to strike to her. A boat's crew was sent aboard a ship from Orkney. To the declaration of the skipper that the cargo consisted of beef, butter, oil and feathers, the Englishman retorted "that he would believe none of our Countrey And yl wee had sold our King for a groat, and were arrant knaves and villains." Thereupon a great part of the cargo, including the feathers, was dragged out of the hold and deposited on the deck, with the result that most of it was lost. Incidents such as this did not dispose the Scots to better feeling towards England.

The Scottish Parliament met at the end of June 1705. The Queen's message urged the Estates to consider the questions of succession and union, but they decided that matters relating to trade should first be discussed. Accordingly, proposals made by John Law for establishing a paper credit, and by Hugh Chamberlain for setting up a land bank, were considered. Also an Act was passed appointing a Council of Trade, with very extensive powers. Another Act, which, like the Act of Peace and War, asserted Scottish right to share in the regulation of foreign .affairs, provided that a Scots Ambassador must be present at every treaty made with a foreign power. This did not receive the royal assent. Not until the end of August was the question of union taken into consideration, but the business once begun was speedily completed. On 1 September, in spite of strong opposition, the "Act for a treaty with England" was carried. The government were successful in securing that the Commissioners should be appointed by the Queen. A resolution was passed that the Commissioners should not be allowed to meet until the clauses hostile to Scotland in the English Act were repealed. It was moved that this should be included in the Act for a treaty, but fortunately, after much discussion, it was carried that the resolution should form a separate address to the Queen. The objectionable clauses were repealed by the English Parliament in November.

The Commissioners did not meet until April of the next year. After some preliminaries, the English Commissioners proposed that the two kingdoms should be united into one as Great Britain; that they should have one Parliament; and that the succession in Scotland should be settled according to the English Act of Settlement. These were the fundamentals of an incorporating union. The Scottish proposals, made after a few days' delay, were that the succession should be settled according to the English Act, and that there should be free trade between the two kingdoms and between Scotland and the Plantations. The acquisition of trade privileges was in their eyes the most important consequence of the Union, while the English were chiefly anxious to secure, by the union of the Parliaments, the control over Scottish political and commercial relations. The Scots soon accepted the English proposals, insisting on their part on the grant of free trade, to which the English agreed.

Having decided upon the nature of the Union, it was necessary to settle the details of the treaty. The questions of taxation, and of the adjustment of export and import regulations required much discussion, but both parties were animated by a sincere desire to come to an agreement, and wise concessions on both sides greatly helped the negotiations. In the adjustment of the land tax, the Scots drove a favourable bargain for themselves. In England the total amount was £2,000,000, raised on the basis of 4s. in the pound. It was arranged that the Scots should pay £12,000 for each shilling per pound levied in England, the total therefore being £48,000. With regard to other taxation, it was decided that the customs and excise should be the same for both countries. This was of course necessary for a complete commercial union, but some difficulties arose because Scottish commerce was thus made liable for paying off the English National Debt, amounting to over £17,000,000. The total revenue of England was £5,691,803. 3s. 4d; and it was calculated that the Scottish revenue, increasing the land tax from £36,000 to £48,000, would amount to about £160,000. The liabilities of the country were estimated at about £160,000. Scottish customs and excise were farmed at £30,000 and £33,500 respectively; and the same branches of the revenue in England amounted to £1,341,559 and £947,602. Elaborate calculations were made as to the extent to which these two chief branches of the revenue would be burdened with the payment of the English debt. It was decided that Scotland, besides being exempted from some taxes which were shortly to expire, should receive an equivalent in compensation. This was fixed at £398,085. 10s., according to the proportion of the Scottish customs and excise to the several branches of the same revenues in England which were appropriated to the payment of the debt. Scotland's own debt of £160,000 was to be paid from this fund.

One of the taxes from which Scotland was to be exempted was that on home-made salt. There was much discussion on this point. The principal ground of exemption was the poverty of the Scots peasantry, and the great use they made of salted flesh and fish. As salt paid a duty in England, arrangements were made for preventing the export of Scots salt to England by land, and for charging a duty on that exported by sea. As foreign salt was used in the manufacture of all salted flesh and fish exported from Scotland, no further duty was charged on the exportation of these commodities, either to England, the Plantations or other foreign countries. The Scots Commissioners proposed that the exemption of Scottish salt from a duty should be perpetual, but the English insisted on limiting its duration to seven years. This article of the treaty was one to which great opposition was afterwards made in Scotland.

When the questions of taxation were settled, the Commissioners had still a few points relating to trade to consider. The existence of the African Company was one of these. It was, of course, impossible that the English Commissioners should allow the company to continue to hold the rights and privileges which had caused so much opposition in England. It was therefore arranged that the shareholders should be bought out, receiving their original capital, and five per cent, interest upon it up to date. This was to be paid out of the Equivalent.

As the Scots were now to come into the English commercial system, it was necessary that their shipping should be regulated in accordance with the English Navigation Acts. The Scots, therefore, proposed that all ships belonging to Scottish subjects, either foreign or native built, should be accounted ships of Great Britain, if they were registered as such within twelve months after the Union treaty was concluded. A large proportion of the ships of Scotland were built abroad, in Holland, Hamburg or the Baltic, and a number of these were part owned by Dutchmen. Therefore the English Commissioners were determined that only ships wholly owned by Scots should be admitted to the register, as they feared that the Dutch might thus thrust themselves into English trade, especially into that to the Plantations. They also insisted that twelve months' grace should not be allowed to the Scottish shipowners, as they might hastily buy more foreign ships, instead of purchasing them from English builders. They therefore fixed the time limit for registration to be the date of the signing of the treaty, afterwards changed by the Scots Parliament to the date of ratification. These were the most important of the points of the treaty dealing with commerce, and on the whole they were settled impartially and fairly. Nevertheless, a storm of indignation and opposition burst forth in Scotland, partly directed against the idea of union at all, partly against the scheme of an incorporating instead of a federal union ; and in those who approved of the Union and the form of it, against the arrangements of the treaty. .The commercial clauses in particular were misrepresented and exaggerated, both by public report and by the numerous pamphlets which were issued from the Press. The merchants were assured that no openings would be given them in the great English Companies, that trade to the Plantations was really of no value at all, and that all profitable trade was fully taken up by the English. They were told that they were giving up their freedom of trade with France for a mere shadow', their export trade in wool for a fancied favour, and that the last state of their trade would be infinitely worse than the first. A great deal of the agitation was engineered by the Jacobites; and to their influence, and to the general misrepresentation, must be attributed the address against the Union from the Convention of Royal Burghs, the representative assembly of the trading community. As a matter of fact, however, only twenty-four of the sixty-six joined in the address, and, with the exception of Edinburgh, these were generally poor and unimportant. Edinburgh opposed the Union chiefly because of the loss of her trade, through the removal of Parliament from the city.

As the different clauses became more fully known, were discussed in Parliament and a few alterations made, public opinion veered round, and gradually came to view the treaty with more favour. At bottom, the feeling of the country was really in favour of the Union. As Roxburgh wrote to Baillie in November, 1705: "That an Union will do in the Scottish Parliament I think very probable....The motions will be, Trade with most, Hanover with some, ease and security with others, together with a generall aversion at civill discords, intollerable poverty, and the constant oppression of a bad Ministry."

The changes made in the treaty were not of great importance. A suggestion was made that the export of wool should be allowed, as it was a source of profit to-merchants and growers; and the cloth manufacturers, with the competition of English cloth, would not be able to use all the home supply. Such an exception could of course never have been permitted by the English Parliament, and fortunately good sense prevailed, and the attempt to insert this provision into the treaty was given up. An agitation was made for a drawback to be allowed on oats exported from Scotland. The supporters of the motion argued that there was a bounty on the export of corn from England, that Scotland did not export corn, but a considerable quantity of oats, especially to Norway. They also wanted a duty to be imposed on the import of oats from Ireland, which had hitherto been prohibited. This was not incorporated in the treaty, but a bounty was promised on oatmeal exported, of 2s. 6d. per quarter when oats were at Ids. per quarter or under.

The question of the salt duty was another which was discussed at great length, and which aroused much ill-feeling. In the north, especially in Aberdeenshire, a flourishing trade had recently sprung up in the exportation of salted pork to Holland and to Italy. It was therefore urged that this trade should be encouraged by a drawback, and accordingly the eighth article of the treaty was altered, by a clause which gave 5s. on every barrel of beef or pork salted with foreign salt which was exported, and also of 10s. 5d. on every barrel of white fish. It was also added that Scottish salt, after the expiration of the seven years' exemption, should only be liable to the duty of 12d. per bushel, and not to that of 2s. 4½d. The tax on ale had been fixed by the Commissioners at the same rate as that on English strong beer. This was extremely unpopular, and attempts were made to reduce it to the same amount as the tax on English small beer. Pathetic pictures were drawn of the peasant and artisan being deprived of their mug of "tippeny," which naturally appealed to the heart of the lower classes. A compromise was finally effected, chiefly on Defoe's suggestion, and the Scottish tax was fixed midway between those on English strong and small beer. The Act was finally passed by the Scottish Parliament on 16 January 1707. The English Parliament made no changes in the treaty, and on 6 March the Queen gave the royal assent to the Act of Union in the Parliament of England; and the long chapter of partial union, with separate interests and authorities and many misunderstandings, was at last at an end.

But the conclusion of the treaty was far from being the immediate beginning of a golden period of prosperity and agreement. There was yet much mutual dislike and distrust, and there were to be many difficulties and connections of interest. The consummation of a complete union was in itself the immediate cause of a dilemma in commercial affairs. Already, in 1705, queries had been put to the English Privy Council as to the question of the import of certain goods to England from Scotland; commodities which were prohibited altogether in England; or which only paid a small duty in Scotland, and were liable to a heavy duty in England; or Plantation goods which were supposed to be brought straight to England from America. The decisions of the Council do not seem to have been made public, at any rate they were disregarded. They had declared that French goods might not be brought into England from Scotland under any circumstances. The Scots merchants, however, considered that it would be a paying transaction to bring large quantities of French goods into Scotland, paying a low duty, and, as soon as the Union treaty was concluded, to carry them over the border and get a good price in England. They therefore proceeded to import large quantities of wines. Defoe wrote in February 1707 to Godolphin, from Edinburgh, "Your Lordship knows well that in this place there is an open trade with France. And as this trade is very considerable so on the prospect of a Union I perceive there are several wheels at work to lay schemes of private trade from hence for England."

English merchants, too, soon saw the possibilities of gain in this trade, and hastened to share in it. Defoe in the same letter says, "But the main particular I give you this trouble upon is this, here are great commissions from London already for the buying up wines and brandies on the supposition that they shall be freely conveyed to England after the Union and that England will not so far disoblige Scotland at first as to obstruct it...if they are assured of a liberty...your Lordship will find the inconvenience very great and the quantity before the 1st of May incredible." Defoe was anxious that, if this trade was to be allowed, his patron Harley should profit by it. "If it shall pass into England why shall your honour not permit me to buy you a tun of rich claret here, which I may do as cheap as you buy a hogshead, and I'll take my hazard that it shall be extraordinary on my own risk." As 1 May, when the treaty was to come into force, approached, French commodities came in in still greater quantities. On 22 April Defoe wrote: "the foundation laid here for clandestine trade is beyond all this, fatal to both the revenue and to trade...nor do I see any possibility of wholly preventing it, without an army of officers."

Those London merchants who had nothing to do with the trade petitioned the House of Commons to interfere. They passed a bill to prohibit any French goods at all from being brought into England from Scotland, but this was rejected by the Lords, because of the clamour which it raised in Scotland. There they complained that the English did not intend to keep the treaty, and that those commercial privileges which had been held out to them were already being nullified. In June forty ships from Scotland with French wines and brandies arrived in the Thames, where they were seized by the customs officers. The outcry in Scotland was now redoubled. The petition of the merchants who owned the ships and cargoes expressed the popular feeling. They said they sent certain goods which were allowed to be imported into Scotland before the Union, having paid her Majesty's duties, to London, with the usual coquets in order. "But to our great surprise we have informatione that not only our ships and goods are seized but the goods themselves made havock of and imbaizled (expressly contrair to the articles of union) our seamen impressed and our Ships therby rendered useless, which treatment is so unsupportable that all those promised advantages of the union are like to be so many traps to ensnare us which in the end must turn to our inevitable ruine, for if our effects be seized and our ships laid up and taken from us by violence where shall we have any hopes left us for trade." After a good deal of discussion between the customs authorities the Attorney-General and the Judges, and Parliament, the proceedings were ultimately stayed by order of the House of Commons, the ships released and the cargoes restored; but nevertheless the incident caused much discontent in Scotland.

The adjustment of the fiscal relations of the two countries was a matter of considerable difficulty. The Scots custom and excise had been farmed out to individuals, who, as long as they made a comfortable profit for themselves, were not at all particular, either about the enforcement of regulations, or the exact collection of the duties. Therefore, when both branches of the revenue were assimilated with the English revenue and were managed by a body of English and Scottish Commissioners, who appointed many English officials to introduce the new methods, and to see that the new duties were properly collected, there was widespread alarm and disgust amongst the trading classes. Smuggling had always been a profitable occupation; it was infinitely more so since the introduction of the higher English duties. From the reports of the customs officials in North Britain it is evident that the trade in French wine and brandy had by no means come to an end. Large quantities were still imported all round the coast; and wool, under cover of being taken to other Scottish ports, was sent abroad. The Commissioners wrote that "the naturall situation of this Countrey doth very much perplex Us being so many and such large inletts which are as it were so many Seas, and scarce ever free of great Gusts and dark Cold nights, and by reason of the Mighty Ebbs most of the Shoars are dangerous. As hardship of weather wee doubt too often hinders the officers from watching the Coast so what terrifies them most, the Countrey people all side with the Smuglers." Smuggling was of course very common in England also at this time, but just after the Union it seems to have been even more prevalent in Scotland than was usual in the eighteenth century. The new and higher duties, the endeavour to exact them fully, organised attempts to put down smuggling, and the introduction of English officials, were all extremely unpopular.

A temporary source of misunderstanding was the delay in the payment of the Equivalent, and when it did arrive, although the payment of the African Company's stock was most welcome, it was a long time before any of the money was applied to the encouragement of manufactures. And industry certainly suffered from the immediate effects of the Union. The Scottish cloth manufacturers could not compete with the English cloth, which now came freely into the country, and some of the newly introduced manufactures suffered greatly from English competition. They had been reared under a strongly protective system, and the first blast of free competition caused them to wither for a time. Not even freedom of trade to the Plantations and a greatly enlarged market could at first compensate the manufacturers. Altogether, for several years after the Union the country did not appear to profit much by it, at any rate from an industrial point of view. But trade and shipping began very soon to improve—the amount of trade with the Plantations increasing very quickly. The development of the great trade of Scotland with the West, begun amidst difficulties, and carried on for a time in spite of English opposition, was one of the most important results of the Union. But the Union does not depend for its justification on the results of one or another provision, but on its consequences to the prosperity and welfare of the kingdom as a whole. Scotland obtained opportunities for industrial and commercial development. England gained security from France, and stability for her commercial system, but still more important has been the development and progress of both as the United Kingdom of Great Britain.

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