NQ Scottish History

The passing of the Act of Union

Despite the strong reservations of many of the Scottish people, Scottish parliament finally agreed to a Treaty of Union on 22 July 1706. They had agreed that Scotland and England would unify, but not without first establishing a number of conditions. Scotland needed to be compensated for losses taken as a result of English sabotage of the Darien Scheme, as well as given some reassurance that the implementation of a British tax system would not bankrupt Scottish nobles.

Scottish commissioners proposed a federal system, allowing for two separate parliaments but, still fearing a return of the Stuart monarchy in Scotland, the English would only consider complete unification with a single parliament. This would prevent Scottish parliament from making laws (such as the Act of Security) independently of parliament in England. In the end, there was really no choice for the Scots; Queen Anne was in charge of appointing commissioners from Scotland to negotiate the treaty with the English, and naturally she was advised to select individuals already amenable to unification. 

Once the Treaty was signed, the Act of Union was worked out over several months, setting the conditions of unification between the two kingdoms. Scottish parliament passed the Act of Union on the 16th of January, 1707. The English parliament took far less time to consider the Act, passing it with no opposition on the 4th of March, and it was approved by Queen Anne two days later. So it was that on the 6th of March, 1707, despite centuries of conflict and opposition, Scotland and England unified under a single parliament, forming the United Kingdom of Great Britain.