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-Ian McKay

Scotland's Parliament passed the Act of Security, in 1704. It provided that Scotland would not choose the same successor as England after Anne's death, unless substantial reforms were made to the regal union.53


England was furious over the Act of Security. They passed the Alien Act in 1705, providing that all Scots would be treated as aliens in England, with all their exports excluded from England and its empire unless Scotland embarked on negotiations for union or accepted the Hanover line for their throne.54 By this time, England had grown accustomed to having a neutral nation on their northern frontier, and decided they could not tolerate the possible return of a security threat on their own island.


It was the Alien Act that finally pushed the debate among the Scottish ruling class in the direction of union. No other option would be economically viable. Two years later, in a close vote, the Scottish Parliament voted to disband itself and form a political union with England. But the Scottish public was still dead set against union. There was wide-spread anti-union rioting throughout, Scotland and in the days before the vote, Scots were "coming to Edinburgh in considerable numbers, and tumultuous manner, from several corners of this kingdom."55 The Scottish Parliament passed a proclamation out of apparent nervousness that prohibited, "such unwarrantable and seditious convocating of our leidges."56


It is very apparent that the masses of Scotland remained very enthusiastic regarding their Scottish identity in these years, with a very strong drive for independence. However, the handful of powerful Scots reacted differently. The economic problems pushed them towards England to

53. Ibid.
54. Ibid.
55. Daily Currant. 4 January 1707. London: Printed by Sam Buckley at the Dolphin in Little Briton.
56. Ibid., 4 Jan. 1707.