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Scotland and the Scots, 1707-2007

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Christian Auer

I. Union, 1707

2. A Necessary Union, 1706

Texte intégral

1James Hodges, a London Scot Presbyterian pamphleteer, wrote several essays, including The Rights and Interests of the Two British Monarchies (1703). He was read widely especially after June 1705 [“the enormously popular writings of James Hodges”, (Whatley, 2006, p. 277)], when his influential War betwixt the two British Kingdoms was reprinted.

2James Hodges, Essay upon the Union. Shewing, that the Subjects of both Nations have been, by the Union of the two Crowns, justly Intitled to all Manner of Privileges, which the Insuing Treaty can Give them, Edinburgh: 1706, p. 3-4.

The Design and End of all Societies is to provide for the Security, Benefit and Ease of Mankind; and no Society can subsist, unless its several Members are equally ingaged in the mutual Defence and Support of it, and are equally Intitled to its Benefits and Privileges.

The least Inequality, Restriction or Usurpation in these common Enjoyments, creates a Grudge, Uneasiness and Jealousie, which never fails to make way for an open Breach, when occasion offers. It hath been for some Years past the Opinion of thinking Men, that some unnatural and improper Distinctions, which one way or other have been advance’d betwixt these two Nations, in point of Interest, would at length tend to some fatal Separation. To prevent this, several Attempts have been made to promote a more near and express Union of both. These Attempts have been hitherto disappointed by the wicked Contrivances of some artful and designing Men. Both Nations seem to be sensible of this, and by the Steps lately made in the respective Parliaments of both, there appears at this time so universal an Inclination and Tendency to a thorow Friendship by such an Union, that it may seem altogether needless to offer any Motives to inforce the Necessity of it, or to explain the many good Consequences which will arise by it to both Nations.

I shall therefore only in a few Words point out one single, but very considerable Instance of Advantage arising to England by such an Union, and shall thereafter proceed to offer (with all humble Submission) some Considerations which may be of use to promote that Union.

The Instance I make is in the matter of Fishing. It is obvious to all Traders, that the Dutch Trade is chiefly founded upon the Herring-Fishing, there they have their Nursery of Seamen, and there they have a cheap and ready Commodity to go to Market with.

It is likewise obvious, that if the Scots (or any in Copartency with them) would follow this Trade, they would soon be entire Masters of it, and under many more Advantages than the Dutch do enjoy it at present.

It is no less obvious that the Scots have not followed this Trade to Advantage, for want of Stock and by reason of some other Discouragements (not here to be named) all which would be supplied by an Union betwixt these two Nations.

If upon such an Union some few Factories on the East and West Coasts were erected by joint English and Scots Stocks, the Dutch might be entirely wormed out of that Trade, and it would accrue to Britain.

This Trade would nurse up British Seamen in place of Dutch, and would make the English Masters at home of a great part of that Strength, for which they are forced sometimes to make very hard and precarious Bargains with their Neighbours abroad.

The English seem to entertain a very groundless Jealousie, that the Accession of Trade to Scotland, must in so far be a Diminution of the Trade of England.

But as this may be made appear to be a Mistake in general, with relation to all manner of Trade, there being a very large Field for both to go upon, especially where both are upon one and the same bottom of Interest, so in the Particular here mentioned, there is no room left for this Jealousie, for this Fishing-Trade, as it now stands, is lost to both Nations, and by an Union it will accrue to both, with all the Advantages mentioned. I proceed to the Methods of promoting and securing this Union, in which there occurs a Preliminary Difficulty, how to adjust the different Views of People, who seem to agree that a nearer and more solid Union betwixt these Nations is necessary, but differ about the Name or Nature of it.

© Presses universitaires de Strasbourg, 2013

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