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When he returned to Scotland in , he found a tense political climate. Marie de Guise, a catholic, was Regent , with the support of France. That same year an anti-French protestant party supported by John Knox assumed power. When Marie de Guise died the following year, the Scottish parliament decided to break with Rome and forbid the celebration of mass. John Knox and five others drew up the Scottish Confession of faith , a new liturgy , the Book of Common Order and a new book about Church government.

Acts of Union - Wikipedia

The Scottish reformed Church became a national Church, but it was separate from the State indeed, the sovereign was not the head of the Church as was the case for the Anglicans. John Knox, a devoted follower of Calvin, aimed at preserving the spiritual independence of the Church.

Nevertheless, the issue of the episcopacy continued to provoke trouble. Supporters of the Presbyterian model that is to say a Church made up of local communities who delegate representatives to regional and national bodies outweighed their opponents in and the Church of Scotland became Presbyterian. In spite of this decision the bishops were not dismissed but continued to have a seat in Parliament, although they did not really have any more power.

In the king imposed a return to episcopalism on Parliament.

When this new liturgy was first used in Edinburgh cathedral the congregation were furious and anger spread through most of the country. At the end of the year there was a general assembly of the Church where the fourteen Scottish bishops were deposed and the Church of Scotland returned to Presbyterianism. The rebels signed the Westminster Confession of Faith which is still used by the Church of Scotland today. The Scots were against the execution of Charles I and proclaimed his son to be king. From then on Scottish representatives had seats in the Parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain in London until an independent Scottish parliament was re-established in Indeed, by the act of tolerance in she allowed them to use the liturgy in the Prayer Book.

Not surprisingly, their numbers began to increase. When she died her crown passed to the House of Hanover by the Act of Succession was passed in which excluded Catholics from the British throne. The Episcopalian Church was particularly affected, with many buildings being burnt down and pastors imprisoned.

In fact, this weakened the Church considerably. The Revival movement came to Scotland at the end of the century. Many pastors and laymen, such as James and Robert Haldane traveled throughout the country, preaching in the open air, following the example of Wesley and Whitefield, the founders of Methodism. The disagreement was over the appointment of pastors. Though Scots were considered naturalised subjects of England — and vice versa — their economies were ferociously competitive. In the mids cold weather caused successive crop failures and famine in parts of Scotland.

So the company was funded entirely from the Scottish economy, diverting investment to one highly risky proposition. When its attempts to found a colony on the Isthmus of Panama failed, due to poor management, tropical disease and Spanish hostility, hundreds of Scots were ruined. It was a catastrophe — but it sparked calls for the relationship with England to be redefined.

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Both England and Scotland had their own distinct systems of law and justice, so long-established and jealously guarded that, at the Union of the Crowns in , few could imagine a union of laws. And by the late 17th century a union of English and Scottish law was widely considered impossible, Scots law having been systematically consolidated in the s by the lawyers Sir George Mackenzie of Rosehaugh and Sir James Dalrymple of Stair. This situation was reflected in the terms of the union treaty, which maintained Scots law, the Scottish Courts of Session and Judiciary and legal offices such as Lord Advocate.

However, the new British parliament was empowered to make new laws for Scotland, and to reform old laws where necessary. It was uncertain how the Scottish courts would relate to the British House of Lords after Some pamphleteers argued that appeals should not be allowed to pass from the Court of Session to the House of Lords, because few lords would have any expertise in Scots law. In the end, appeals were permitted, but the Scottish law courts remained vibrant cultural centres, exemplified in the Scottish Enlightenment.

On the eve of union, the national churches of England and Scotland were both Protestant but had different forms of government. The English church was governed by bishops, while the reformed Scottish church had developed a Presbyterian system of church courts. Though James VI restored bishops to the Scottish church, they were removed in the rebellion of —41, restored by Charles II and removed again in the —89 revolution. In many Presbyterians in Scotland baulked at the concept of closer union with Anglican England.

They feared that the Scottish church would be swallowed up by its Anglican counterpart, and they objected to the presence of bishops in the House of Lords.

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They also remained committed to the National Covenant and the Solemn League and Covenant, which affirmed the Presbyterian nature of the Scottish church and advocated the reformation of the English church. Yet the rising power of Catholic France and the Jacobite threat led some moderate Presbyterians to accept the idea of a stronger Protestant Great Britain.

This did indeed increase Presbyterian support for the union. Scotland on the brink of union was a fiercely patriotic nation cherishing a vivid concept of the realm as an ancient and honourable kingdom. Most Scots accepted that their nation was not a powerful or rich one, but they cherished its martial history, and the fact that it had maintained its independence for it was thought 2, years. Many more regarded the prospect of union as a dishonourable conquest by England.

History of Scotland in the Union

And to our ruine be now more unite? So how did unionists of counter this perception? Perhaps surprisingly, they did not articulate a compelling vision of a British kingdom. Instead, they saw Scotland as a once-proud but much-reduced kingdom for whom a bright future could come only from closer ties with England.

For unionists, independence represented poverty and ignominy whereas union offered shared strength and prosperity. In the end, his argument carried the day.


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Karin Bowie is lecturer in Scottish history at the University of Glasgow. Her research interests include the Union of