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and 215 millions in 1777. La Rochelle also had an enormous trade. It was one of the greatest ports in France and the most frequented. Other ports were Dunkirk, the great free port of the North Sea, having a great trade with England in wines, brandy, salt, vinegar, groceries and cloth, taking in exchange coal, metals, hides, tobacco, ironmongery, butter and salt meats from Ireland ; Calais and Boulogne for direct commerce between England and France, the wines dutiable in England being exported under the English flag; Dieppe a great fishing centre for the Straits and to some extent for Newfoundland; Havre with an extensive trade with Africa and the Antilles; and Lorient, from which the Compagnie des Indes sent out their fleets. When the Company's monopoly ceased it became a depôt for merchandize for the Far East.
Havre and Dieppe were bombarded by the English fleet in 1694 with disastrous results; the trade of Bordeaux was for a time deeply injured by the Methuen treaty of 1703, and she suffered in the war of the Austrian Succession and in the Seven Years' War; the business of Marseilles was destroyed for several years by a plague in 1720. There was all round an enormous contraband trade.
Marseilles and Bordeaux were joined by the canal of Languedoc. The population of Bordeaux in 1700 was 43,000, in 1790, 110,000.
I put down these few statistics of French trade (taken in great part from Levasseur's History of French Commerce, 1911–12) at the opening of the century as helpful to the humble sense of proportion necessary for an appreciation of the British position at the time; without this, one trained in theories of race might ignore the real causes of our mercantile superiority, built up in the eighteenth century under a very stringent protective system. Our success and present supremacy are due to our insular position in the eighteenth century on the nearest point for trade to the western world and to the rediscovered East by the Cape ; to our freedom from the continental military struggle ; as a consequence to our superior care and the ultimate supremacy of our navy and merchant service; to the great services rendered by the merchant fleets of our East India Company in spite of the howl at home against its monopoly ; and lastly, the most important cause of our predominance, the
welcome given to the refugees from the belated persecution for religious opinions, a persecution too remote by a century or so from the days when Henry VIII. tortured the Friars Observant or the armies of Elizabeth made a desert of Ireland.
iii. The Union of England and Scotland.—Ever since the revolution of 1688 the question of the Union of Scotland with England had occupied the minds of the leading men of both countries as a matter for urgent settlement. Every tendency of the age pointed to a further unity of the two parts of the island which should avoid hostile tariffs or dangerous foreign connexions. The supporters of William saw a lasting menace from the North in favour of Stuart restoration and permanent division; the Scottish adherents of the Stuarts, leaning to their old alliance with France, resented the dominance of the Dutch alien in their country. But the difficulties of any Parliamentary Union were very great.
Scotland as the very much weaker country of the two was correspondingly aggressive and haughty in consideration of terms which might touch the national honour. Still sticking closely to the tribal independence which they had enjoyed under the Anglo-French-Norman Bruce, their national Scottish hero, the Scots nourished hatred much longer than the sluggish English who had defeated, snubbed and suppressed them for centuries.
The occurrences since the Union had increased the causes of mutual hatred and dislike. When William landed in Torbay in 1688 there began a great persecution of the Episcopal clergy in Scotland. A Proclamation that the clergy, on pain of deprivation, should pray for William and Mary led to a general expulsion, the Presbyters, deprived in 1662, coming back with great powers of oppression which they used against the old clergy on any kind of evidence. In 1694 the Scots Parliament interfered to stop the persecution, as in the Lowlands the ejections were so numerous that many parishes were left without a minister for want of men to replace them. North of the Tay, on the contrary, the Presbyterian Covenant was unknown. William, being indifferent in matters of religion, had agreed, after a short scuffle with the Scottish Parliament, to abolish Episcopacy, with the result that the Episcopalians, becoming identified later with the Jacobites, suffered from severe Statutes of repression throughout the eighteenth century.
Excluded by the English from trade with English possessions, the Scots in 1695 sent out an expedition to form a colony on the Isthmus of Darien with the view of breaking down the monopolies of the wealthier nations. Three ships filled with goods of all descriptions set out with a number of colonists, the money subscribed and spent, £225,000, being equal to half the money in circulation in Scotland. Two years later two more ships followed. The venture was a complete failure. Famine and its attendant fever, unsuitable cargoes which found no customers, want of discipline, and the jealousy of the Spaniards forbade success. William for his part did all he could to crush it, giving instructions to the Governors of the English colonies to oppose the colonists. Very few of the colonists came back. The failure meant desperate poverty to Scotland.
Scottish agriculture, if one can call the runrig system by such a high name, was extremely backward, bad seasons causing famine. Such a period occurred from 1696 to 1705, when owing to the failure of crops there was such famine that the living could scarce bury the dead. Great tracts of land went permanently out of cultivation. The Privy Council tried to meet the distress by prohibiting export and allowing free import of grain and by fixing the price. But the remedy was only temporary. In 1709 there was a terrible famine, and in 1740 such severe distress that there grew up a regular trade of kidnapping for the American colonies, fathers selling their children for food. The population had outgrown the primitive production of food. Payment of rents in kind meant immediate consumption of much that might have protected against scarcity, used for a lavish and unnecessary hospitality and waste.
Scotland being a country of deadly poverty, the national debt of England was a great obstacle to the Union. So long as William was king no Union was possible.
In 1701, after the death of Anne's last surviving child, by the Act of Settlement settling the Crown on Sophia, the Electress of Hanover, the sovereign was to be a member of the Church of England, was not to leave the country without the consent of Parliament, and was not to go to war for defence of territories not belonging to the Crown of England. In 1704 the Scots protected themselves from any bad results of this settlement by passing an Act of Security, which provided that, unless the Estates and the Crown had nominated a successor, the successor for Scotland on Anne's death should be different from that of England, unless the English agreed to free trade and free navigation. Then they started out on negotiations, political union versus freedom of trade. In 1706 a joint Commission, which must have been composed of first-class business men bent on conciliation, sat in London and arranged terms, and in April, 1707, the two Parliaments ratified them in a final Act of Union.
England looked for satisfaction to the political side. Both countries were to be represented by the one Parliament at London, and the succession to the Crown was to be the same for both, resulting in great loss to Edinburgh by the absence of the Peers and Commons in London instead of in Scotland. The men of both countries were to enjoy the rights and privileges of both; the English standard of weights and measures and coin was adopted ; the laws relating to trade, customs and excise were to be the same. As an example of the difficulties which attended the settlement, the customs duties on salt destroyed the deep sea fisheries of the Scots in favour of the Dutch, so that (Graham, Social Scotland) in 1750 the Dutch had 150 ships fishing, the Scots had two.
The revenues and taxation represented the comparison of the very rich and very poor country. In 1707 the Scots' public income was £160,000, their customs £80,000, their excise £33,500; the English public income was £5,691,003, the customs £1,452,000, excise £677,765 ; England raised £2,000,000 by a land tax, Scotland £48,000. At the time of the Union all the coin in Scotland was probably under £600,000. The revenue of the Post Office was £1,194, of which the Postmaster of Glasgow took £25 a year. There were no post offices in the Highlands and no knowledge of events. Letters went only from Edinburgh to Glasgow and Aberdeen, and were easily lost. There were at the time no newspapers. The Scots were unwilling to enter the British armies to fight in Flanders the battles of her old enemy. The only professions open to the better classes were the law and trade. Into these they willingly entered.
Against the drawbacks to Scottish pride and her loss of independent action several important advantages were set. It was a time of much unifying of systems of law and political institutions. 7. 8 William III., c 22 had declared that “all by-laws, usages and customs which shall be in practice in any of the plantations repugnant to any law made or to be made in this kingdom relative to the said plantations shall be utterly void and of none effect.” A few years later 6 George I., C. 5 was to declare the dependence of Ireland upon Great Britain, and that the king, with the consent of the British Parliament, “hath power to make laws to bind the people of Ireland,” a provision which has resulted in abiding war between the two nations, and shameful oppression by England of Ireland. But except for the laws relating to customs, excise and trade men. tioned above, the mixed Roman and Customary laws of Scotland were to remain and have since remained in force, the English law not running in Scotland. It is a fact, I believe, of which many Englishmen are not aware to-day.
The second advantage which was given to Scotland by the Union, from which eventually she was to benefit enormously, was freedom to trade with the English colonies. Glasgow, for instance, beginning in a small way, absorbed the greater part of the Virginian tobacco trade and supplied the French with tobacco. But at first the Union, owing to the extreme poverty and backwardness of the country both in agriculture and trade, brought little help to Scotland. The increase of trade led to the use of foreign material in the place of homespun. Ladies dressed in French and Italian silks and men in English cloth. (Mackay's Journey through Scotland, 1729.)
It was not until the middle of the century that Scotland really started on her career of prosperity. Everything was against her. She had no shipping. The roads over a large part of the country prohibited wheeled traffic, and the inns corresponded. Owing to the state of the roads coal was little used. The last poor old woman who was burnt in the islands was burnt in a tar barrel at Dornoch for witchcraft in 1727. In 1758 there were in the Highlands 175 parishes without school or master, and very many in the Lowlands where an itinerant master taught in a shed. Of newspapers the Edinburgh Courant was first published in 1718 by the Whigs, the Caledonian Mercury in 1720 by the