The second parliament of Queen Anne
Material relating to the Act of Union - begins 16/4/1706

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History of Parliament Trust

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Year published

1742

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474-479

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'The second parliament of Queen Anne: Material relating to the Act of Union - begins 16/4/1706', The History and Proceedings of the House of Commons : volume 3: 1695-1706 (1742), pp. 474-479. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=37671 Date accessed: 30 September 2014.


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Proceedings on the Union.

During this Recess the grand Affair of the Union of the two Kingdoms took place; the first meeting of the Commissioners for that purpose being at the Cockpit, April 16. at which were present for Scotland the Earl of Seafield LordChancellor, Duke of Queensbury, Earl of Mar, Earl of London, Earl of Sutherland, Earl of Wemyss, Earl of Leven, Earl of Stair, Earl of Rosebury, Lord Archibald Campbel, Lord Viscount Duplin, Lord Ross, Lord President of Session, Lord Justice Clerk, Mr. Francis Montgomery, Sir Alex. Ogilvie, Sir Patrick Johnston, Sir James Smollet, George Lockhart of Carnwath, William Seton of Pitmedden, John Clark, Daniel Stewart, Daniel Campbell.

Those for England, who appeared on this solemn Occasion, were the Lord Keeper, Lord High-Treasurer, Lord President, Lord Privy-Seal, Duke of Somerset, Duke of Bolton, Earl of Sunderland, Earl of Kingston, Earl of Orford, Lord Viscount Townsend, Lord Wharton, Lord Grey, Lord Powlet, Lord Somers, Marquiss of Hartington, Sir Charles Hedges, Mr. Harley, Secretaries of State; Mr. Boyle, Lord Chief-Justice Holt, Lord Chief-Justice Trevor, Mr. Attorney-General, Mr. Sollicitor-General, Sir John Cook, Doctor Waller.

When after the Lords Commissioners for both Kingdoms had taken their Places, the Commissions were opened, and read by the respective Secretaries, and then the Lord-Keeper of the Great-Seal of England, addressing himself to the Lords Commissioners for Scotland, spoke in these Words.

Lord Keeper's Speech to the Scots Commissioners of the Union.

'My Lords, We the Commissioners appointed by her Majesty, and authoriz'd by the Parliament of England to consult and treat with your Lordships, as empowered in like manner, by her Majesty and the Parliament of Scotland, concerning an Union of the two Kingdoms, and such other things as we, the Commissioners on both Parts, shall think convenient and necessary for the Honour of her Majesty, and the common Good of both Kingdoms, do apprehend there never was (in any Assembly of this nature) so little Occasion as at present, for the Commissioners of England to give any verbal Assurances of their Zeal to promote and complete (so far as in their Power) the great and good Design we are met about, since it cannot be doubted, but that we bring along with us the same Sentiments, which so lately appeared in the Parliament of England, when they took care to manifest, by a solemn Act, that they did postpone all other Considerations to their evidencing a good and friendly Disposition towards the Kingdom of Scotland.

The Parliament of England, in making that unexpected Advance, seem'd resolved, if possible to attain that Union, which hath been so long thought necessary, by all that wish well to the Prosperity of both Nations.

And we most sincerely assure your Lordships, that we accordingly meet your Lordships with Hearts fully resolv'd to use our utmost Endeavour to remove all Difficulties in this Treaty, to prevent all Misunderstandings, to cherish and improve the good Dispositions to one another we meet with, to have the general and joint Good of both Kingdoms solely in our View, and not the separate of either, but to act as if we were already united in Interest, and had nothing left to consider but what Settlements and Provisions are most likely to conduce to the common Safety and Happiness of this whole Island of Great-Britain.

'Which Measures, if pursued on both Parts, we hope may enable us to prepare such Terms of Union as may prove satisfactory to her Majesty and her Parliaments of both Kingdoms.'

To which the Earl of Seafield, Lord-High-Chancellor of Scotland, on the Part of the Lords Commissioners for that Kingdom, reply'd as followeth.

Answer'd by the Lord-Chancellor of Scotland.

My Lords, the Lords Commissioners for Scotland have desired me to assure your Lordships that they meet you on this Occasion, with great Willingness and Satisfaction, to treat of an Union between the two Kingdoms, and of such other Matters and Concerns as may be for her Majesty's Honour, and the maintaining a good Understanding between the two Nations.

We are convinced that an Union will be of great Advantage to both; the Protestant Religion will be thereby the more firmly secured; the Designs of our Enemies effectually disappointed, and the Riches and Trade of the whole Island advanced.

'This Union has been often endeavoured, before and since the Kingdoms were united in Allegiance under one Sovereign; and several Treaties have been set on Foot for that End, tho' without the desired Success; but now we are hopeful that this shall be the happy Opportunity of accomplishing it; her Majesty hath frequently signified her good Inclinations towards it; and we are the more encouraged to expect Success in this Treaty, by the good Disposition which appeared in the Parliament of Scotland for it, and by the friendly Proceedings in the last Session of the Parliament of England, which gave general Satisfaction. We have great Confidence in your Lordship's good Intentions, and we shall be ready on our Parts to enter into such Measures with you as may bring the Treaty to such a Conclusion as may be acceptable to her Majesty, and to the Parliaments of both Kingdoms.'

At their next Meeting, The Lord-Keeper, in the Name of the Lords Commissioners for England, delivered to the Board certain Preliminary-Articles which were read as followeth, and afterwards agreed to:

Preliminary Articles of the Union-Treaty.

I. That all Proposals made by either side, be made in Writing, and every Point agreed on shall be reduced into Writing.

II That no Point, tho' agreed on, and reduced into Writing, shall be Obligatory on either side, till all Matters be adjusted in such Manner as will be proper to be laid before the Queen and the two Parliaments for their Approbation.

III. That there be a Committee appointed, consisting of a certain Number of each Commission to revise the Minutes of what passes, which are not to be inserted by the Secretaries in their respective Books, but by Order of the said Committee, having first made Report thereof to the respective Commissioners, and received their Approbation of the same.

IV. That all the Proceedings of the Commissioners of both Kingdoms, during the Treaty, be kept secret.

First Proposals by the English.

The Lord-Keeper also delivered to the Board the following Proposals, which may be look'd upon as the Basis of the Union. 'That the two Kingdoms of England and Scotland be for ever united into on Kingdom by the Name of Great-Britain; That the United Kingdom of Great-Britain be represented by one and the same Parliament, and that the Succession to the Monarchy of the united Kingdom of Great-Britain, in case of Failure of Heirs of her Majesty's Body, be, according to the Limitations mentioned in an Act of Parliament, made in England, in the 12th and 13th Years of the late King William, entitled, An Act for the further Limitation of the Crown, and the better securing the Rights and Liberties of the Subjects.'

May 9, Her Majesty came to the Meeting, and being seated in her Chair, spoke to the Lords Commissioners as followeth:

Queen's Speech to the Commissioners,

My Lords,

'I Am so much concern'd for the Union of the two Kingdoms, that I could not satisfy myself without coming, before I went cut of Town, to see what Progress you had made in the Treaty, and to recommend very earnestly to you the bringing it to a happy Conclusion, with as much Dispatch as the Nature of it will admit; not doubting of the general Satisfaction which my Subjects of both Kingdoms will receive in finding you overcome all Difficulties to attain so great and public a Good.'

When her Majesty had done speaking, the Lord-Keeper desired to know of her, if she would be pleased to hear the Proposals made on either side, and the Resolutions hitherto taken thereupon, read by the respective Secretaries; which her Majesty was pleased to allow of.

June 26, Her Majesty came again to the Meeting, and being seated in her Chair, spoke to the Lords-Commissioners as follows:

Queen's second Speech to the Commissioners.

'My Lords,

'I Am come hither once more to see what further Progress you have made in this Treaty, and to press a speedy Conclusion of it, in regard my Servants of Scotland cannot without great Inconvenience, be much longer absent from that Kingdom.'

After which, her Majesty was pleased to direct, that the Proceedings of the Commissioners for both Kingdoms (from the time of her being here) should be read, which was accordingly done by the respective Secretaries, and then her Majesty went away.

July 23d, The Treaty being happily finish'd the Lords Commissioners for both Kingdoms went from the Cockpit to attend the Queen to St. James's, where the Lord-Keeper, in the Name of the Lords-Commissioners for England made the following Speech, and presented to her Majesty one of the signed and sealed Instruments or Writings, containing the Articles of Union on the Part of England.

Lord-Keeper's Speech to the the Queen, upon presenting the Articles of the Union.

May it please your Majesty, We the Commissioners appointed by your Majesty, in pursuance of the Act of Parliament passed in your Kingdom of England, to treat concerning an Union of the two Kingdoms, with the Commissioners for Scotland, do (according to our Duty) humbly beg leave to present to your Majesty these the Effects of our continued and faithful Endeavours towards that End.

They are Articles agreed upon between your Commissioners of both Kingdoms, as the Terms or Conditions upon which the intended Union is to take Place, if your Majesty, and the Parliaments of both Kingdoms shall think fit to approve and confirm the same.

In these we have come to an Agreement on every Point, we judged necessary to effect a complete and lasting Union, and we have endeavoured not to stir into any Matter we had reason to think was not so.

And altho' we have unanimously carried this Treaty thus far, purely from a Conviction, that we have done therein to God, your Majesty, and our Countries good Service; yet we are far from thinking, that what we have done will or ought to be of any Weight or Authority elsewhere; but do most entirely submit these our Labours to the high Wisdom of your Majesty, and both your Parliaments, to stand or fall by the Reason, Justice, and public Utility on which they are founded.

Your Majesty's Royal Presence and seasonable Admonitions to us at the fittest Junctures were (we most thankfully acknowledge) a very great Encouragement and Assistance to us in the Difficulties we met with.

Your Majesty's Glory is already perfect, and the finishing this Work is all that is wanting to complete as well as secure the Happiness of so great a People, as your Subjects may row without any Arrogance pretend to be.

May your Majesty live not only to give a Sanction of this universal Blessing to all your People, but also to see, in a long and prosperous Reign over us, the many immediate (or near) good Effects of it: But, as for that great and main Consequence of it, for which your Majesty is making, by a most gracious and charitable Foresight, this only effectual Provision, I mean the Continuance of Peace and Tranquility in this stand, upon a Descent of the Crown instead of that Blood-shed and Distraction, which would probably follow upon the fatal Division of it;

'May we be so happy, as never in our Days, to experiment the Fitness of these Measures your Majesty is now taking so that End? But may late, very late Posterity only, in that respect, reap the Advantage of them.'

This done the Lord Chancellor of Scotland in the Name of the Lords Commissioners for Scotland, made the following Speech, and presented also to her Majesty one of the sign'd and seal'd Instruments or Writings, containing the Articles of Union on the Part of Scotland.

Lord Chancellor of Scotland's Speech to the Queen on the same Occasion.

May it please your Majesty, the Commissioners appointed by your Majesty for the Kingdom of Scotland, to treat of an Union of your two Kingdoms of Scotland and England, have commanded me to return your Majesty their most humble and dutiful Acknowledgments, for the Honour your Majesty has conferred on them, in employing them to negotiate this most important Affair, which is of the greatest Consequence to all your Majesty's Subjects.

We have endeavour'd to discharge this Trust with all Fidelity, and are now come humbly to lay before your Majesty, the Articles and Conditions of Union which we have treated of, and agreed upon, and do submit them to your Royal Consideration.

It is a great Satisfaction to us, that what we have concluded in this matter, has been done with Unanimity; and we must own, that the Knowledge we had of your Majesty's great Concern for uniting your two Kingdoms, and the Earnestness with which your Majesty has been most graciously pleased to recommend it, hath enabled us to bring this Treaty to a happy and speedy Conclusion, to the mutual Satisfaction of the Commissioners on both sides; and we shall esteem it our greatest Happiness, if what we have prepared be acceptable to your Majesty, and ratified by the Parliaments of both Kingdoms, without which, what we have done can be of no Authority.

An Union of the two Kingdoms has been long wish'd for, it being so necessary for establishing the lasting Peace, Happiness and Prosperity of both Nations: And tho' it has been frequently endeavoured by your Majesty's Royal Predecessors, without the desired Success; yet the glorious Successes, with which God has bless'd your Majesty's Endeavours for the Happiness of your People, make us hope that this great Work is reserved to be accomplished in your Majesty's Reign.

After which, her Majesty was graciously pleased to make the following Speech.

Queen's Speech, in Answer to both.

My Lords,

'I Give you many Thanks for the great Pains you have taken in this Treaty, and am very well pleased to find your Endeavours and Applications have brought it to so good a Conclusion. The Particulars of it seem so reasonable, that I hope they will meet with Approbation in the Parliaments of both Kingdoms. I wish therefore, that my Servants of Scotland may lose no time in going down to propose it to my Subjects of that Kingdom: And I shall always look upon it as a particular Happiness, if this Union (which will be so great a Security, and Advantage to both Kingdoms) can be accomplished in my Reign.'