The Treaty of Union, 1707


  • Malcolm D. Broun


When James VI of Scotland also became sovereign of England as James I in 1603 he made an unsuccessful attempt at establishing closer links between his two countries. Over a century later, in the 1650s, Oliver Cromwell forced a union on England and Scotland but it was an unpopular arrangement imposed on a reluctant Scottish population.2 Towards the end of the reign of William III, who died in 1702, it became apparent that the two separate kingdoms needed to enter into a more comprehensive partnership as the only solution to the problems of theAnglo-Scottish relationship. William III, however, never succeeded in effecting the Union during his reign, the king's reputation in Scotland having plummeted in the late seventeenth century, particularly following the Glencoe massacre (1692) and the Darien disaster (1698-99). Ultimately, the more comprehensive partnership was worked out during the reign of Queen Anne. "We shall esteem it as the greatest glory of our reign" was the queen's message to the Scottish Parliament on 3 October 1706.3 By the time Anne came to the throne (1702) her last surviving child (William, duke of Gloucester) had died in 1700, and the Westminster parliament had already passed the Act of Settlement (1701) by which the succession to the English crown after Anne was settled upon the grand-daughter of James VI and I, Sophia and her husband George, Elector of Hanover, and their issue. Sophia, however, died in 1714 not long before Queen Anne, nevertheless, the German-speaking George was crowned king of Great Britain.

Author Biography

Malcolm D. Broun