Double Agent Daniel Defoe Briefed His English Masters That The Union Would Remove The Threat of War from Scotland forever and gain for Westminster an Inexhaustible Treasury of Fighting Men and a Valuable New Market Greatly Increasing the Power of England.

 

 

 

“Prey tell me why everything in the past is glorious and everything in the future, in an independent Scotland will be fundamentally wrong”. I will confine my brief to the year’s 1701-1745.

 

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1701: The English Parliament, introduced the 1701, Act of Settlement, passing royal succession to the House of Hanover securing only Protestant succession to the throne, and to strengthen the guarantees for ensuring parliamentary system of government.

 

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1702: William III died, (without issue). Mary’s sister, Anne, became queen, (1702-1714). She had 17 children, none of which survived her.

 

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1704: Protracted and at times angry discussions, (between English and Scottish negotiators) broke down. England wishing to transfer royal succession to the, “House of Hanover”. Scotland insisting upon the successor to Queen Anne being of direct Scottish descent as contained in the right of succession, laws of Scotland.

 

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1704: The Scottish Parliament passed the, “Act of Security” threatening, (in the absence of agreement) to withdraw financial and military support to England, (fighting yet another war with Spain.)

 

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1705: The Alien Act was a law passed by the Parliament of England in 1705, as a response to the Parliament of Scotland’s Act of Security of 1704, which in turn was partially a response to the English Act of Settlement 1701.

The Alien Act provided that Scottish nationals in England were to be treated as aliens (foreign nationals), and estates held by Scots would be treated as alien property, making inheritance much less certain.

It also included an embargo on the import of Scottish products into England and English colonies – about half of Scotland’s trade, covering goods such as linen, cattle and coal.

The Act contained a provision that it would be suspended if the Scots entered into negotiations regarding a proposed union of the parliaments of Scotland and England.

Combined with English financial offers to refund Scottish losses on the Darien scheme, the Act achieved its aim, leading to the Acts of Union 1707 uniting the two countries as the Kingdom of Great Britain.

 

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1706: The vast majority of Scots, argued vehemently against the proposals, forcefully rejecting them and working hard to retain their independence opened up new markets reducing dependence on trade with England.

Scottish nobles, landed gentry and traders, who had borne much of the financial losses attributed to the, (Darien Project) were of a different mindset and led by the Duke of Queensberry, (the most senior noble in Scotland) they established a secret dialogue with Westminster politicians providing assurance an, “Act of Union” would be agreed, subject to a suitable financial settlement.

A  “sweetener”,  £400,000 was passed in secret to the Duke of Queensberry for distribution to the appropriate Scottish gentry.

 

 

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1706: Despite the assurances of the Duke of Queensberry that Scotland would be delivered as promised the majority of Scots were still opposed to any agreement with England and a hastily convened meeting of senior politicians in London decided that urgent measures would need to be taken, persuading the leader of factions opposed to the Union, (Duke of Hamilton) to switch sides. The ploy was successful, The Duke, together with enough of his close friends transferred their allegiance.

 

4thhamilton(c) National Galleries of Scotland; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation

 

1706: The English public voiced doubt that the proposed Union would bring benefits and their concerns were raised in Westminster.

To reassure  England,  Robert Harley, Spymaster in the Westminster Government, contracted William Defoe to write a thrice weekly review, (for the widest possible distribution in England) aimed at persuading English opinion to support the proposed Union.

The thrust of Defoe’s assertions claimed that it would end the threat from Scotland forever and gain for Westminster an “inexhaustible treasury of fighting men” and a valuable new market further increasing the power of England.

 

 

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1706 In the autumn, “Spymaster Harley” ordered Defoe to Edinburgh with the mission (as a secret agent) to do everything possible to help secure acquiescence in the Treaty of Union.

His first reports included vivid descriptions of violent demonstrations against the Union. Some time after, John Clerk of Penicuik, a leading Unionist, wrote, “He was a spy among us, but not known as such, otherwise the Mob of Edinburgh would have  pulled him to pieces.”

Defoe, a Presbyterian, had been accepted as an adviser to the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland and committees of the Parliament of Scotland.

Harley wrote that he was, “privy to all their folly”  but,  “perfectly unsuspected as with corresponding with anybody in England”. He was then able to heavily influence proposals that were put to the Scottish Parliament.

In manipulating Scottish opinion he used opposite arguments, to those he used in England,  for example,  unusually ignoring the English doctrine of the Sovereignty of Parliament, telling Scot’s that they could have complete confidence in the guarantees in the Treaty. 

He secretly wrote a many pamphlets praising the Union. These were then circulated throughout Scotland all purported to have been written by Scots,  misleading even reputable historians into quoting them as evidence of Scottish opinion of the time.

 

 

RobertHarley1710Robert Harley Spymaster

 

 

1707: The “Act of Union” was signed off.  Defoe,  (ignored by Westminster) was financially rewarded by,  “Spymaster Harley”.

Robert Burns scathingly wrote, “We’re bought and sold for English Gold, Such a Parcel of Rogues in a Nation”.

 

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1707:  The Scottish public infuriated by the betrayal by the Nobles and,  “hi heid yins” in Parliament,  generated a hotbed of unrest against the Union.

The Presbyterian minister of the Trongate church in Glasgow urged his congregation, “to up and anent for the City of God”.

The “Dear Green Place” that was Glasgow required government troops to put down the rioters tearing up copies of the Treaty,  an act that was repeated at almost every Mercat cross in Scotland.

Martial Law was imposed, (coupled with a dawn to dusk curfew) and maintained for some months after the signing of the, “Act of Union”.

 

Jacobite Retreat

 

 

1723: Defoe returning to Scotland many year’s later and (on viewing the abject poverty of the people) admitted that the increase of trade and population in Scotland which he had predicted as a consequence of the Union,  was  “not the case,  but rather the contrary”. 

He assessed hostility towards his party was,  “because they were English and because of the Union, which they were almost universally exclaimed against”.

 

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1745: In supporting the claims of the Jacobites,  Scots did so believing they had a much stronger right to the throne of Scotland than the recently crowned German king from the  “House of Hanover”.

The brutality at Culloden and the 30 year rape of Scotland, beyond Perth was a display of abject hatred of Scot’s, the effects of which are evident 270 years after.

Lessons learned, Scots heeded that it was the upper and middle classes of England,  who controlled Westminster and by result the UK and having staged a coup d’etat with a foreigner,  (William of Orange) in a pre-emptive strike getting rid of a potentially troublesome monarch, they would fight to retain their power.

 

The_Battle_of_Culloden(c) Brian North Lee; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation

 

Summary

At the start of the Eighteenth century Scotland a once prosperous nation, (had fallen on hard times due to the greed of bankers). But instead of being provided with support, it was sold out to England by a bunch of self interested rogues. 

300 year’s later Scotland is well placed, to return to the,  world’s “family of nations”, independent and free.

 

 

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26 thoughts on “Double Agent Daniel Defoe Briefed His English Masters That The Union Would Remove The Threat of War from Scotland forever and gain for Westminster an Inexhaustible Treasury of Fighting Men and a Valuable New Market Greatly Increasing the Power of England.”

  1. I want political freedom I want Scotland to be governed by its own independent government .I don’t hate or even dislike our English neighbours .they have a government that they voted for good for them.why can’t we have what enjoy ?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. That was then and this is now and it should plain to see that greetin aboot past wrangs will never benefit thee. So intertwined hae we become wi oor sasenach neebors, “Wi unity lies strength”
    the cry should be that’ll gie us Gods favours.

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    1. Unity implies that the people of Scotland were/are in full agreement with the concept of a merger of nations with England. That may be in the minds of politicians but has/will never be acceptable to the vast majority of Scots.

      Liked by 2 people

    1. Unionist, correct. Tory, never voted for them in my life and can’t abide them. Can’t stand the EU either as it has become a tool of the Americans in the antagonisation of Russia. I consider myself a Socialist in the true sense of the word and not the perverted separatist variety the SNP expound. The SNP are actually a fascist party masquerading as socialist. They embarrass true Scots in the grievance culture they have indoctrinated a lot of poor gullible Scots with.

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      1. So you are a Socialist – Unionist and not a supporter of the USA or the EU. You also believe Scots who support the return of Scotland independent of the rest of the UK to be supporters of a Party of fascist perverts. I expect life in Scotland must be a lonely existence for yourself given the vast bulk of Scot disagree with yourself

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Half of Scotland no longer have independent thoughts or opinions, as they have been consumed by a fascist cult that tells them what to think. The cult must be obeyed at all times and it will be believed at all times. So, the fact that I’m in a lonely place will not deter me from opposing them.
    How dare they oppose us! How dare they question us! We will destroy you! We will grind you into the dirt! You will regret standing up to us!
    Such is the way of Fascism. Such is the way of separatism. Such is the way of the SNP.

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    1. Back on your knees you fool before your “fascist” masters in London imagine you have an original thought in what passes for a brain

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  4. It really riles me that we still nurture back stabbing red torys who try to make out they are telling the truth,bad SNP,And we the sheep just get in line and are brainless morons that don’t know when we are better off in the union,wrong in all points,we are being led by a scottish government voted for by the people of Scotland,and if you don’t like it get out of our COUNTRY we will be free of the Westminster yoke once and for all praise be too god.

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  5. James Douglas was Duke of Queensberry (also “Queensbury”), not “Queensferry”, and was highly placed amongst the Parcel of Rogues.

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  6. Jock.

    Don’t take this to heart, but this piece would read much better if the grammar etc was improved. Commas plopped in willy-nilly, unneccessary apostrophes and brackets etc. Needs proof read before posting.

    Sorry, but it’s the kind of thing that unionists will pillory, and you can hardly blame them.

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  7. Such a pity Scottish history was not a subject of the corriculum in my time. Is it any wonder our own history has been hidden from us ? Instead we are subjected to 1066, magna carta, cromwell & waterloo as well as other noteable battles like those against the Spanish armada etc.
    Scotland’s own history swept under the carpet or retold to the inquisitive through English lips.
    All to keep Scotland in it’s place within the so called Union of Nations. Thanks for a historical view on some issues that are threatened on the Scotland of today, if they go down the path of Independence, a worthy read.

    Like

  8. It is time Scotland governed herself. She and her people have been unfairly treated since the start of the union by cheating corrupt Westminster.

    Like

  9. You forgot to mention that English ships blockaded Darien to prevent its resupply. They refused to rescue the settlers and left them to die. They caused the collapse of the Darrien Scheme.
    Then they massed troops on the border and frigates off Edinburgh and asked us to sign a Treaty of Union.

    I am so glad oor Nic stuck it up them with the referendum request. Now they cant sellout Scottish assets for English concessions to the EU like they did previous,y with Fishing rights.

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    1. The Darien disaster is often presented as a folly which brought about the demise of Scotland. But it doesn’t take a deal of effort to uncover the truth. King William and his ilk prevented any form of contact with Scot’s on Darien by asserting with other trading nations their control over the high seas. The blockade of Darien by the English is hidden away. Not for discussion. The military pressure, as you rightly say formed part of the process of intimidation. Scots were prepared to fight to retain their freedom from the controls of England but were sold out by a bunch of rogues who were determined to retain their rights wealth and privileges. In 2017 little has changed. The unionists still wield the power through the corrupt abortion that is Westminster. I wish Scots would act in unison and vote for independence

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  10. If you would like a “potted history” of Scotland I have just completed one by going through wikipedia and pulling it all together. I have no diea how to get it circulated perhaps you could assist. Send me an email as there is no “contact” info on your blog.

    Like

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