Speech against the Union
|Speech against the Union (1706)
|The famous speech by John Hamilton, 2nd Lord Belhaven and Stenton, arguing against the adoption of the treaty of union to surrender Scottish national soverignty and join the country in union with England. Given to the Scottish Parliament, Edinburgh in November 1706.|
'My Lord Chancellor,
'When I consider the Affair of an Union betwixt the two Nations, as it is expressed in the several Articles thereof, and now the Subject of our Deliberation at this Time; I find my Mind crouded with Variety of melancholy Thoughts, and I think it my Duty to disburden myself of some of them, by laying them before, and exposing them to the serious Consideration of this honourable House.
I think I see a free and independent Kingdom delivering up that, which all the World hath been fighting for since the Days of Nimrod; yea, that for which most of all the Empires, Kingdoms, States, Principalities, and Dukedoms of Europe, are at this time engaged in the most bloody and cruel Wars that ever were, to wit, a Power to manage their own Affairs by themselves, without the Assistance and Counsel of any other.
I think I see a national Church, founded upon a Rock, secured by a Claim of Right, hedged and fenced about, by the strictest and most pointed, legal Sanction that Sovereignty could contrive, voluntarily descending into a Plain, upon an equal Level with Jews, Papists, Socinians, Arminians, Anabaptists, and other Sectaries, &c.
I think I see the noble and honourable Peerage of Scotland, whose valiant Predecessors led Armies against their Enemies, upon their own proper Charges and Expences, now divested of their Followers and Vassalages, and put upon such an equal Foot with their Vassals, that I think I see a petty English Exciseman receive more Homage and Respect than what was paid formerly to their quondam Mackallamores.
I think I see the present Peers of Scotland, whose noble Ancestors conquered Provinces, over-run Countries, reduced and subjected Towns and fortified Places, exacted Tribute through the greatest Part of England, now walking in the Court of Requests like so many English Attorneys, laying aside their Walking Swords when in Company with the English Peers, left their Self-defence should be found Murder.
I think I see the honourable Estate of Barons, the bold Assertors of the Nation's Rights and Liberties in the worst of Times, now setting a Watch upon their Lips, and a Guard upon their Tongues, lest they be found guilty of Scandalum Magnatum.
I think I see the Royal State of Boroughs walking their desolate Streets, hanging down their Heads under Disappointmen, wormed out of all the Branches of their old Trade, uncertain what Hand to turn to, necessitate to become 'Prentices to their unkind Neighbours; and yet after all, finding their Trade so fortified by Companies, and secured by Prescriptions, that they despair of any Success therein.
I think I see our learned Judges laying aside their Practiques and Decisions, studying the Common Law of England, gravelled with Certioraries, Nisi Prius's, Writs of Error, Verdicts Indovar, Ejectione Firmae, Injunctions, Demurs, &c. and frighted with Appeals and Avocations, because of the new Regulations and Rectifications they may meet with.
I think I see the valiant and gallant Soldiery either sent to learn the Plantation-Trade abroad; or at home petitioning for a small Subsistance, as a Reward of their honorable Exploits; while their old Corps are broken, the common Soldiers left to beg, and the youngest English Corps kept standing.
I think I see the honest industrious Tradesman loaded with new Taxes and Impositions, disappointed of the Equivalents, drinking Water in place of Ale, eating his saltless Pottage, petitioning for Encouragement to his Manufactures, and answered by Counter-Petitions.
In short, I think I see the laborious Ploughman, with his Corn spoiling upon his Hands, for want of Sale, cursing the Day of his Birth, dreading the Expence of his Burial, and uncertain whether to marry or do worse.
I think I see the incurable Difficulties of the Landed Men, fettered under the golden Chain of Equivalents, their pretty Daughters petitioning for want of Husbands, and their Sons for want of Employment.
I think I see our Mariners delivering up their Ships to their Dutch Partners; and what through Presses and Necessity, earning their Bread as Underlings in the royal English Navy.
But above all, my Lord, I think I see our ancient Mother Caledonia, like Cæsar, sitting in the midst of our Senate, ruefully looking round about her, covering herself with her royal Garment, attending the fatal Blow, and breathing out her last with an Et tu quoque mi fili.
Are not these, my Lord, very afflicting Thoughts? And yet they are but the least Part suggested to me by these dishonourable Articles. Should not the Consideration of these Things vivify these dry Bones of ours? Should not the Memory of our noble Predecessors Valour and Constancy rouze up our drooping Spirits? Are our noble Predecessors Souls got so far into the English Cabbage-stock and Colliflowers, that we should shew the least Inclination that way? Are our Eyes so blinded? Are our Ears so deafned? Are our Hearts so hardened? Are our Tongues so faltered? Are our Hands so settered, that in this our Day, I say, my Lord, that in this our Day, we should not mind the Things that concern the very Being and Well-being of our ancient Kingdom, before the Day be hid from our Eyes?
No, my Lord, God forbid! Man's Extremity is God's Opportunity: He is a present Help in time of need, and a Deliverer, and that right early. Some unforeseen Providence will fall out, that may cast the Balance; some Joseph or other will say, Why do ye strive together, since you are Brethren? None can destroy Scotland, save Scotland itself; hold your Hands from the Pen, you are secure. Some Judah or other will say, Let not our Hands be upon the Lad, he is our Brother. There will be a Jehovah Jireh, and some Rem will be caught in the Thicket, when the bloody Knife is at our Mother's Throat. Let us up then, my Lord, and let our noble Patriots behave themselves like Men, and we know not how soon a Blessing may come.
'My Lord, I wish from my Heart, that this my Vision prove not as true as my Reasons for it are probable: I design not at this Time to enter into the Merits of any one particular Article; I intend this Discourse, as an Introduction to what I may afterwards say upon the whole Debate, as it falls in before this honourable House; and therefore, in the farther Prosecution of what I have to say, I shall insist upon few Particulars, very necessary to be understood, before we enter unto the Detail of so important a Matter.
I shall therefore, in the first Place, endeavour to encourage a free and full Deliberation, without Animosities and Heats: In the next Place, I shall endeavour to make an Enquiry into the Nature and Source of the unnatural and dangerous Divisions that are now on foot within this Isle, with some Motives shewing, that it is our Interest to lay them aside at this Time: Then I shall enquire into the Reasons, which have induced the two Nations to enter into a Treaty of Union at this Time, with some Considerations and Meditations, with relation to the Behaviour of the Lords Commissioners of the two Kingdoms, in the Management of this great Concern. And lastly, I shall propose a Method, by which we shall most distinctly, and without Confusion, go through the several Articles of this Treaty, without unnecessary Repetitions or loss of Time. And all this with all Deference, and under the Correction of this honourable House.
My Lord Chancellor, the greatest Honour that was done unto a Roman, was to allow him the Glory of a Triumph; the greatest and most dishonourable Punishment, was that of Parricide: He that was guilty of Parricide, was beaten with Rods upon his naked Body, till the Blood gushed out of all the Veins of his Body; then he was sewed up in a leathern Sack, called a Culeus, with a Cock, a Viper, and an Ape, and thrown headlong into the Sea.
My Lord, Patricide is a greater Crime than Parricide, all the World over.
In a Triumph, my Lord, when the Conqueror was riding in his triumphal Chariot, crowned with Laurels, adorned with Trophies, and applanded with Huzza's, there was a Monitor appointed to stand behind him, to warn him, not to be high-minded, not pussed up with over-weening Thoughts of himself; and to his Chariot were tied a Whip and a Bell, to mind him, that for all his Glory and Grandeur, he was accountable to the People for his Administration, and would be punished as other Men, if found guilty.
The greatest Honour amongst us, my Lord, is to represent the Sovereign's sacred Person in Parliament; and in one Particular it appears to be greater than that of a Triumph; because the whole legislative Power seems to be wholly entrusted with him: If he give the royal Assent to an Act of the Estates, it becomes a Law obligatory upon the Subject, tho' contrary or without any Instructions from the Sovereign: If he refuse the royal Assent to a Vote in Parliament, it cannot be a Law, tho' he has the Sovereign's particular and positive Instructions for it.
His Grace the Duke of Queensbary, who now represents her Majesty in this Session of Parliament, hath had the Honour of that great Trust, as often, if not more than any Scotchman ever had: He hath been the Favourite of two successive Sovereigne; and I cannot but commend his Constancy and Perseverance, that, notwithstanding his former Difficulties and unsuccessful Attempts, and maugre some other Specialities not yet determined, that his Grace has yet had the Resolution to undertake the most unpopular Measures last. If his Grace succeed in this Affair of an Union, and that it prove for the Happiness and Welfare of the Nation, then he justly merits to have a Statue of Gold erected for himself; but if it shall tend to the entire Destruction and Abolition of our Nation; and that we the Nation's Trustees Wall go into it; then I must say, that a Whip and a Bell, a Cock and a Viper, and an Ape, are but too small Punishments for any such bold unnatural Undertaking and Complaisance.
That I may pave a Way, my Lord, to a full, calm, and free reasoning upon this Affair, which is of the last Consequence unto this Nation; I shall mind this honourable House, that we are the Successors of our noble Predecessors, who founded our Monarchy, framed our Laws, amended, altered, and corrected them from time to time, as the Affairs and Circumstances of the Nation did require, without the Assistance or Advice of any foreign Power or Potentate, and who, during the Time of 2000 Years, have handed them down to us a free independent Nation, with the Hazard of their Lives and Fortunes: Shall not we then argue for that which our Progenitors have purchased for us at so dear a Rate, and with so much immortal Honour and Glory? God forbid. Shall the Hazard of a Father unbind the Ligaments of a dumb Son's Tongue; and shall we hold our Peace, when our Patria is in danger? I speak this, my Lord, that I may encourage every individual Member of this House, to speak their Mind freely. There are many wise and prudent Men amongst us, who think it not worth their while to open their Mouths; there are others, who can speak very well, and to good Purpose, who shelter themselves under the shameful Cloak of Silence, from a Fear of the Frowns of great Men and Parties. I have observed, my Lord, by my Experience, the greatest Number of Speakers in the most trivial Affairs; and it will always prove so, while we come not to the right understanding of the Oath de fideli, whereby we are bound not only to give our Vote, but our faithful Advice in Parliament, as we should answer to God; and in our ancient Laws, the Representatives of the honourable Barons, and the royal Boroughs are termed Spokesmen. It lies upon your Lordships therefore particularly to take notice of such, whose Modesty makes them bashful to speak. Therefore I shall leave it upon you, and conclude this Point with a very memorable Saying of an honest private Gentleman to a great Queen, upon occasion of a State-Project, contrived by an able Statesman, and the Favourite to a great King, against a peaceful, obedient People, because of the Diversity of their Laws and Constitutions. If at this time thou bold thy peace, Salvation shall come to the People from another Place, but thou and thy House shall perish. I leave the Application to each particular Member of this House.
'My Lord, I come now to consider our Divisions. We are under the happy Reign (blessed be God) of the best of Queens, who has no evil Design against the meanest of her Subjects, who loves all her People, and is equally beloved by them again; and yet that under the happy Influence of our most excellent Queen there should be such Divisions and Factions, more dangerous and threatning to her Dominions, than if we were under an arbitrary Government, is most strange and unaccountable. Under an arbitrary Prince, all are willing to serve because all are under a Necessity to obey, whether they will or not. He chuses therefore whom he will, without respect to either Parties or Factions; and if he think fit to take the Advices of his Councils or Parliaments, every Man speaks his Mind freely, and the Prince receives the faithful Advice of his People without the Mixture of Self-Designs: If he prove a good Prince, the Government is easy; if bad, either Death or a Revolution brings a Deliverance: Whereas here, my Lord, there appears no end of our Misery, if not prevented in time; Factions are now become independent, and have got footing in Councils, in Parliaments, in Treaties, in Armies, in Incorporations, in Families, among Kindred, yea, Man and Wife are not free from their political Jars.
'It remains therefore, my Lord, that I enquire into the Nature of these Things, and since the Names give us not the right idea of the thing, I am afraid I shall have difficulty to make my self well understood.
'The Names generally used to denote the Factions, are Whig, and Tory, as obscure as that of Guelfs and Gibelins: Yea, my Lord, they have different Significations, as they are applied to Factions in each Kingdom; a Whig in England is a heterogeneous Creature, in Scotland he is all of a piece; a Tory in England is all of a piece, and a Statesman; in Scotland, he is quite otherwise, an Anti-courtier and Antistatesman.
'A Whig in England appears to be somewhat like Nebuchadnezzar's Image, of different Metals, different Classes, different Principles, and different Designs; yet take them altogether, they are like a piece of fine mixed Drugget of different threads, some finer, some coarser, which after all make a comely Appearance, and an agreeable Suit. Tory is like a Piece of loyal, Home-made English Cloth, the true Staple of the Nation, all of a Thread; yet if we look narrowly into it, we shall perceive diversity of Colours, which, according to the various Situations and Positions, make various Appearances: sometimes Tory is like the Moon in its full, as appeared in the Affair of the Bill of Occasional Conformity; upon other occasions it appears to be under a Cloud, and as if it were eclipsed by a greater Body, as it did in the Design of calling over the illustrious Princess Sophia. However, by this we may see their Designs are to outshoot Whig in his own Bow.
'Whig in Scotland is a true-blue Presbyterian, who, without considering Time or Power, will venture their All for the Kirk: but something less for the State. The greatest difficulty is, how to describe a Scots Tory: Of old, when I knew them first, Tory was an honest hearted comradish Fellow, who provided he was maintained and protected in his Benefices, Titles and Dignities by the State, he was the less anxious who had the Government and Management of the Church: But now what he is since jure Divino came in fashion; and that Christianity, and, by consequence, Salvation comes to depend upon Episcopal Ordination, I profess I know not what to make of him; only this I must say for him, that he endeavours to do by Opposition, that which his Brother in England endeavours by a more prudent and less scrupulous Method.
'Now, my Lord, from these Divisions, there has got up a kind of Aristocracy, something like the famous Triumvirate at Rome; they are a kind of Undertakers and Pragmatic Statesmen, who, finding their Power and Strength great, and answerable to their Designs, will make Bargains with our gracious Sovereign; they will serve her faithfully, but upon their own Terms; they must have their own Instruments, their own Measures; this Man must be turned out, and that Man put in, and then they will make her the most glorious Queen in Europe.
'Where will this end, my Lord? Is not her Majesty in Danger by such a Method? Is not the Monarchy in Danger? Is not the Nation's Peace and Tranquillity in Danger? Will a Change of Parties make the Nation more happy? No, my Lord, the Seed is sown, that is like to afford us a perpetual Increase; it's not an annual Herb, it takes deep root, it seeds and breeds; and if not timely prevented by her Majesty's Royal Endeavours, will split the whole Island in two.
'My Lord, I think, considering our present Circumstances at this Time, the Almighty God has reserved this great Work for us. We may bruise this Hydra of Division, and crush this Cockatrice's Egg. Our Neighbours in England, are not yet fitted for any such Thing; they are not under the afflicting Hand of Providence, as we are; their Circumstances are great and glorious, their Treaties are prudently managed, both at Home and Abroad, their Generals brave and valorous, their Armies successful and victorious, their Trophies and Laurels memorable and surprising; their Enemies subdued and routed, their strong Holds besieged and taken, Sieges relieved, Marshals killed and taken Prisoners, Provinces and Kingdoms are the Results of their Victories; their Royal Navy is the Terror of Europe, their Trade and Commerce extended through the Universe, encircling the whole habitable World, and rendering their own capital City the Emporium for the whole Inhabitants of the earth: And which is yet more than all these Things; the Subjects freely bestowing their Treasure upon their Sovereign; and above all, these vast Riches, the Sinews of War, and without which all the glorious Success had proved abortive, these Treasures are managed with such Faithfulness and Nicety, that they answer seasonably all their Demands, tho' at never so great a Distance. Upon these Considerations, my Lord, how hard and difficult a Thing will it prove, to persuade our Neighbours to a Self-denying Bill.
Tis quite otherwise with us, my Lord, we are an obscure, poor People, tho' formerly of better Account, removed to a remote Corner of the World, without Name, and without Alliances, our Posts mean and precarious; so that I profess I don't think any one Post in the Kingdom worth the briguing after, save that of being Commissioner to a long Session of a factious Scots Parliament, with an antedated Commission, and that yet renders the rest of the Ministers more miserable. What hinders us then, my Lord, to lay aside our Divisions, to unite cordially and heartily together in our present Circumstances, when our All is at Stake? Hannibal, my Lord, is at our Gates, Hannibal is come within our Gates, Hannibal is come the length of this Table, he is at the Foot of this Throne, he will demolish this Throne; if we take not notice, he'll seize upon these Regalia, he'll take them as our spolia opima, and whip us out of this House, never to return again.
'For the Love of God then, my Lord, for the Safety and Welfare of our ancient Kingdom, whose sad Circumstances, I hope, we shall yet convert into Prosperity and Happiness! We want no Means, if we unite; God blessed the Peace-makers; we want neither Men, nor sufficiency of all manner of things necessary; to make a Nation happy; all depends upon Management; Concordia res parvæ crescunt. I fear not these Articles, tho' they were ten times worse than they are; if we once cordially forgive one another, and that, according to our Proverb, Bygones be Bygones, and Fairplay for Time to come. For my Part, in the Sight of God, and in the Presence of this honourable House, I heartily forgive every Man, and beg, that they may do the same to me; and I do most humbly propose, that his Grace my Lord Commissioner may appoint an Agape, may order a Love-feast for this honourable House, that we may lay aside all Self-designs, and, after our Fasts and Humiliations, may have a Day of Rejoicing and Thankfulness, may eat our Meat with Gladness, and our Bread with a merry Heart; then shall we sit each Man under his own Fig-tree, and the Voice of the Turtle shall be heard in our Land, a Bird famous for Constancy and Fidelity.
'My Lord, I shall make a Pause here, and stop going on farther in my Discourse, till I see further, if his Grace, my Lord Commissioner, receive any humble Proposals for removing Misunderstandings among us, and putting an end to our fatal Divisions: upon Honour, I have no other Design, and I am content to beg the Favour upon my bended Knees.
'My Lord Chancellor, I am sorry that I must pursue the Thread of my sad and melancholy Story: What remains, I am afraid may prove as afflicting as what I have said; I shall therefore consider the Motives which have engaged the two Nations to enter upon a Treaty of Union at this Time. In general, my Lord, I think both of them had in their View to better themselves by the Treaty; but, before I enter upon the particular Motives of each Nation, I must inform this honourable House, that, since I can remember, the two Nations have altered their sentiments upon that Affair, even almost to down-right Contradiction, they have changed Head-bands, as we say; for England, till of late, never thought it worth their Pains of treating with us; the good Bargain they made at the Beginning they resolve to keep, and that which we call an incorporating Union, was not so much as in their Thoughts. The first Notice they seemed to take of us, was in our Affair of Caledonia, when they had most effectually broke off that Design, in a Manner very well known to the World, and unnecessary to be repeated here; they kept themselves quiet during the Time of our Complaints upon that head. In which Time our Sovereign, to satisfy the Nation, and allay their Heats, did condescend to give us some good Laws, and amongst others that of personal Liberties; but England having declared their Succession, and extended their Entail, without ever taking Notice of us, our gracious Sovereign Queen ANN, was graciously pleased to give the Royal Assent to our Act of Security, to that of Peace and War after the Decease of her Majesty, and the Heirs of her Body, and to give us a Hedge to all our sacred and civil Interests, by declaring it High Treason to endeavour the Alteration of them, as they were then established. Thereupon did follow the threatning and minatory Laws against us by the Parliament of England, and the unjust and unequal Character of what her Majesty had so graciously condescended to in our Favours. Now, my Lord, whether the Desire they had to have us engaged in the same Succession with them; or whether they found us, like a free and independent People, breathing after more Liberty than what formerly was looked after; or whether they were afraid of our Act of Security, in case of her Majesty's Decease; Which of all these Motives has induced them to a Treaty, I leave it to themselves. This I must say only, they have made a good Bargain this Time also.
'For the particular Motives that induced us, I think they are obvious to be known; we found, by sad Experience, that every Man hath advanced in Power and Riches, as they have done in Trade; and at the same time considering, that no where through the World, Slaves are found to be rich, tho' they should be adorned with Chains of Gold; we thereupon changed our Notion of an incorporating Union, to that of a federal one; and, being resolved to take this Opportunity to make Demands upon them, before we enter into the Succession, we were content to empower her Majesty to authorize and appoint Commissioners to treat with the Commissioners of England, with as ample Powers as the Lords Commissioners from England had from their Constituents, that we might not appear to have less Confidence in her Majesty, nor more Narrow-heartedness in our Act, than our Neighbours of England: And thereupon last Parliament, after her Majesty's gracious Letter was read, desiring us to declare the Succession in the first Place, and afterwards to appoint Commissioners to treat, we found it necessary to renew our former Resolve, which I shall read to this honourable House:
- "That this Parliament will not proceed to the Nomination of a Successor, till we have had a previous Treaty with England, in relation to our Commerce, and other Concerns with that Nation. And further it is Resolved, that this Parliament will proceed to make such Limitations and Conditions of Government, for the Rectification of our Constitution, as may secure the Liberty, Religion, and Independency of this Kingdom, before they proceed to the said Nomination."
'Now, my Lord, the last Session of Parliament having, before they would enter into any Treaty with England, by a Vote of the House passed both an Act for Limitations, and an Act for Rectification of our Constitution, what mortal Man has Reason to doubt the Design of this Treaty was only federal?
'My Lord Chancellor, It remains now, that we consider the Behaviour of the Lords Commissioners at the opening of this Treaty: And, before I enter upon that, allow me to make this Meditation; that, if our Posterity, after we are all dead and gone, shall find themselves under an ill-made Bargain, and shall have Recourse unto our Records, and see who have been the Managers of that Treaty, by which they have suffered so much: When they read the Names, they will certainly conclude, and say, Ah! our Nation has been reduced to the last Extremity, at the Time of this Treaty; all our great Chieftains, all our great Peers and considerable Men, who used formerly to defend the Rights and Liberties of the Nation, have been all killed and dead in the Bed of Honour, before ever the Nation was necessitate to condescend to such mean and contemptible Terms: Where are the Names of the chief Men, of the noble Families of Stuarts, Hamiltons, Grahams, Campbels, Gordons, Johnstons, Humes, Murrays, Kers, &c? Where are the two great Officers of the Crown, the Constables and Marshals of Scotland? They have certainly all been extinguished, and now we are Slaves for ever.
'Whereas the English Records will make their Posterity reverence the Memory of the honourable Names, who have brought under their fierce, warlike and troublesome Neighbours, who had struggled so long for Independency, shed the best Blood of their Nation, and reduced a considerable part of their Country, to become waste and desolate.
'I am informed, my Lord, that our Commissioners did indeed frankly tell the Lords-Commissioners for England, that the Inclinations of the People of Scotland were much altered of late, in relation to an incorporating Union; and that therefore, since the Entail was to end with her Majesty's Life (whom GOD long preserve) it was proper to begin the Treaty upon the Foot of the Treaty of 1604 Year of GOD; the time when we came first under one Sovereign: But this the English Commissioners would not agree to; and our Commissioners, that they might not seem obstinate, were willing to treat and conclude in the Terms laid before this honourable House, and subjected to their Determination.
'If the Lords-Commissioners for England had been as civil and complaisant, they should certainly have finished a federal Treaty likewise, that both Nations might have the choice, which of them to have gone into, as they thought fit; but they would hear of nothing but an entire and compleat Union, a Name which comprehends an Union, either by Incorporation, Surrrender, or Conquest; whereas our Commissioners thought of nothing but a fair, equal, incorporating Union. Whether this be so, or no, I leave it to every Man's Judgment; but as for myself, I must beg liberty to think it no such thing: for I take an incorporating Union to be, where there is a Change both in the material and formal Points of Government, as if two Pieces of Metal were melted down into one Mass, it can neither be said to retain its former Form or Substance as it did before the Mixture. But now, when I consider this Treaty, as it hath been explained and spoke to, before us this three Weeks by past, I see the English Constitution remaining firm, the same two Houses of Parliament, the same Taxes, the same Customs, the same Excises, the same trading Companies, the same municipal Laws and Courts of Judicature; and all ours either subject to Regulations or Annihilations, only we have the Honour to pay their old Debts, and to have some few Persons present, for Witnesses to the Validity of the Deed, when they are pleased to contract more.
'Good God! What, is this an entire Surrender!
'My Lord, I find my Heart so full of Grief and Indignation, that I must beg Pardon not to finish the last Part of my Discourse, that I may drop a Tear, as the Prelude to so sad a Story.
[After having sat down, and some Discourses by other Members intervening, he continued his Discourse thus:]
'My Lord Chancellor, What I am now to say, relates to the Method of Proceeding in this weighty Affair: I hear it proposed by a noble Member of the other Side, that we should proceed in the same Order as the Lords-CommissionersTreaters did. In my humble Opinion, my Lord, it is neither the natural Method, nor can it be done without great Confusion and Repetition. To say, you'll agree to the Union of the two Kingdoms, before you agree in the Terms upon which they are to be united, seems like driving the Plough before the Oxen. The Articles, which narrate the Condition seem to be the Premisses upon which the Conclusion is inferred; and, according as they are found good or bad, the Success will follow. When a Man is married to a Fortune in England, as they call it, I suppose he is satisfy'd with the Thing before he determines himself to marry; and the Proposal I have heard of agreeing to the first Article, with a Proviso, That if the rest of the Articles shall be found satisfactory, and no otherwise, is of a Piece with the rest, and looks like beating the Air, and no ways consistent with fair and square Dealings. Besides, my Lord, if we were to go upon the first Article; are not all the rest of the Articles, besides many others not contained in the Articles, valid Arguments either Pro or Con. against concluding or not concluding the first Article? And no Vote in this House can hinder a Man from making use of what Arguments he thinks fit. Moreover, the searching the Records, and the revising the Statute-Books, comparing the Book of Rates, Customs, Excise, Taxes, of both Nations one with another, must all be previously considered ere we determine our selves in one single Article; add to this, that the prohibitory Clause with Relation to the Trade of both Nations, must be adjusted, left like Æsop's Dog, we lose the old, in grasping at the new; the State of the English Companies must also be exposed, how far we shall have Liberty into them, and what Advantage we may propose to ourselves, by trading to these Places where they are secured; and above all, my Lord, the Security of our national Church, and all that's dear unto us, must be previously established to us, if practicable, before we conclude the first Article.
'Therefore, my Lord, though my particular Opinion be, though we had a Cart-blanch from England; yet the delivering up of our Sovereignty, gives back with one Hand, what we receive with the other, and that there can be no Security without the Guarantee of a distinct Independency betwixt the Parties treating: Yet, my Lord, for further Satisfaction to this honourable House, that every Member may fully satisfy himself, I humbly propose, that, passing by the first three Articles, which appear to be much of a Piece, we begin the fourth Article of the Treaty; and if I be seconded in this, I desire it may be put to the Question.
|This work published before January 1, 1923 is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.|