William pledged, through his ministers, that he cared about their welfare and would work for their foreign policy, but did not have the intention to do so.15 In actuality he supported polices by the English government that hurt Scotland's commerce, such as denying Scotland access to England's mercantilist empire. Scotland's sovereign ruled them from a foreign capital, with foreign advisors. This frustration gave way to anger towards England, and as a result strengthened the idea of an independent Scotland. This pattern would repeat itself in the coming years.
An even greater problem for the Scottish economy had its roots in agriculture. Near the end of the 17th century the people were suffering through the worst famine in Scottish history.16 Four years of ruined harvests in the 1690's resulted in five percent of Scotland's total population dying of starvation.17 Another ten percent emigrated, and those that were left had trouble making ends meet.18 The economy was a total disaster as a result. These economic problems caused a feeling of self-doubt among the Scots. They looked to their wealthy neighbor to the south and couldn't help but compare it to their own miserable state. In addition to the degrading overseas trade and agricultural situation, there was widespread unemployment and a national treasury practically empty of funds. A great part of Scotland, particularly the merchant class, began to criticize itself for having chronic problems with its economic institutions.19 Some Scot