Ratification: October 1706-March 1707
In contrast to the abortive negotiations for union of 1702-3, the English this time had gone out of their way to accommodate Scottish demands, particularly over access to English trade. The fact that English ministers were at last prepared to compromise over trade showed how anxious they were about wartime security and the succession to the throne. The result was that both sides had obtained what they most needed. Next the Scottish Parliament had to agree to the Articles of Union. This turned out to be arduous and was accomplished against a background of protest, often violent, in many parts of Scotland.
- Scottish Kirk
The Church of Scotland. It is Presbyterian - governed by representatives of the congregation rather than by ministers and bishops.
- Country party
Scottish Parliamentary groupings. The Court party tended to support the monarch's ministers and the Country party tended to oppose them. Parties were looser groupings than they are now.
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Family tree of the English and Scottish royal dynasties.
• © Scottish National Portrait Gallery
Supporters and Opposers in the Edinburgh Parliament
The new session of the Scottish Parliament began on 3 October 1706. Its main business was to agree the Articles of Union and to signify this in a Scottish act of parliament. Queensberry was appointed the Queen's High Commissioner for the session and was responsible for a successful outcome. Honours, appointments, pensions and even arrears of pay and other expenses were distributed to clinch support from Scottish peers and MPs.
About 100 of the 227 members of the single-chamber Scottish Parliament were court supporters - on the side of the Queen and the ministry - and thus in favour of union. Many held government offices, or were attached to one of the senior Scottish ministers or magnates who were pro-court. For extra votes the court was able to rely on the 25 or so members of the Squadrone Volante led by the Marquess of Montrose and the Duke of Roxburghe.
Opponents of the court, generally known as the Country party, were a loose grouping of factions and individuals. They included leading anti-unionists, such as the Duke of Hamilton, Lord Belhaven and Andrew Fletcher of Saltoun, who spoke forcefully and passionately against the union, but they were not disciplined to attend and vote as members of the court party were. The Court party was thus able to maintain a steady majority over its opponents.