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BOOK rating union, under the same legislature and line
XI. con of succession, was attended, of course, with a reAn incor- ciprocal communication of the rights of citizens porating union pre- and
e- and of a free trade 40. ' ferred.
But an incorporating union required mutual Equalizing
8 contributions ; a participation of commerce im
plied equalizing taxes; otherwise there was some reason to apprehend, that the manufactures and trade of England might be transferred to the north. The subject in every respect was important and difficult. To submit to the same imposts with England was unavoidable; but there were some which the poverty, or the impatience of the Scots was unable to sustain. When the finances of each state were examined, their commissioners were astonished at an immense, and increasing debt of eighteen millions, which was deemed not less enormous then, than insignificant at present, and little more than sufficient to defray the annual interest of our national debt. They were consoled, however, by the revenues of England, almost six millions, which promised, by the frugality of a few years of peace, to extinguish the national debt, however large its amount 41. Their own revenues, which scarcely exceeded an hun
40 Sir J, Clerk's Hist. Journal of the Treaty, MS. Observa. tions on Lockhart, f. 206. De Foe's Hist. 118.
41 Sir J. Clerk's Hist. MS. The funded debt amounted to 17,763,8421. but with the unfunded debt it was supposed to exceed 20,000,0001.
dred and ten or twenty thousand pounds, con- BOOK sisted of six monthly assessments, or a land-tax of thirty-six thousand pounds ; sixty-three thousand 1706. pounds, for which the customs and excise were farmed; and the crown rents and incidents of a precarious amount. These inconsiderable revenues however were neither anticipated nor appropriated to the public debts; and might be expected to increase when the same taxes were imposed as in England. But the Scottish parliament never Land-tax. would have submitted to the same land-tax, which, as the valued and real rents of estates had varied much less than in England, since the usurpation, would have more nearly amounted, at four shillings in the pound, to a fifth part of the actual rent 42. A new valuation was acceptable to neither kingdom. A proportional equality was therefore adopted, according to the highest rates established in each. When the land-tax in England was at four shillings in the pound, the proportion fixed for Scotland, at the rate of two months' assessment for each shilling, was forty-eight thousand pounds, as the utmost ever granted in preceding reigns. In assenting to the same imposts, the Scottish commis. Excise. sioners applied, through every avenue, to obtain an exemption from the excise in ale. The English were tenacious of their general argument, that without equalizing taxes, the manufactures of a
( 42 De Foe's Hist. 129. Essays at removing national prejudices, il. p. 14.
BOOK poor nation, where subsistence was of a cheap and
inferior quality, would be produced at a cheaper rate, to the detriment of theirs. A distinction was discovered and reserved by the Scots, to relieve their ale from the English excise 43; but they were careful to stipulate for an exemption from stamps, and from the, taxes on coals, windows, births, burials, and marriages, as oppressive or vexatious, that expired at farthest within four years. The taxes on malt and salt, from which they demanded a perpetual exemption, excited the chief dispute. The former tax subsisted from year to year; the latter was to be suspended in Scotland for seven years; and the Scots acquiesced in a temporary, exemption from both, on the assurance that a British parliament could have no temptation to impose on the kingdom when united, an unnecessary, or oppressive burden which it was unable to sustain 44, But the customs and excise of England were partly anticipated, or appropriated for some years to the public creditor ; and an Equivalent was proposed in money, for the application of the Scottish revenues to the national debt. As the same imposts required the same laws with England, for the regulation of trade, a new court of exchequer was necessary for questions of revenue; but the courts of session and justiciary were preserved entire. Heritable jurisdictions and offices were reserved; and the constitution of the privy-council, for which it was BOOK impossible directly to stipulate, was referred to the won queen, to be continued till altered by the British 1706. parliament. . While the equivalent remained to be calculated, Represen-, the English proposed, as a full and adequate representation, that thirty-eight members should be returned from Scotland to the united parliament. The Scots entertained no hope that the English would consent to diminish the number of their own representatives; much less that they would admit the whole parliament of Scotland to be conjoined with theirs. But an ignominious proposal, to admit scarcely a fifth part of its representatives to the English parliament, excited a loud and indignant burst of surprise 45, Four days were spent in private consultations before a conference was demanded. Under the pretext of guarding against national animosities, the treaty hitherto had been conducted in writing, to prevent public or free discussion; and the English, apprehensive of mu. tual altercation, were still unwilling to enter into a conference which it was impossible to decline. "They maintained that some proportion was to be observed between the share of legislature and the burdens of government, but that the Scots, who were to contribute less than a fortięth part of the land-tax, would obtain a thirteenth part of the re
43 Clerk's Hist. 44 Id. De Foe's Hist. 137.
presentation in return. They were told that po. pulation, not wealth, was the basis of representa. tion; that the Scots, whose contributions to government might be expected to increase, amounted at least to a sixth part of the inhabitants of Britain; but that regard should also be paid to their dig. nity, as an ancient nation proud of its indepen. dence, which they would never surrender, to be degraded by a representation less than that of a single county in England +6. Sixty-six members from Scotland would have furnished, without any detriment to the English parliament, an adequate representation for each county and county town. The commissioners were desirous of sixty, which, from their servile apprehensions of a refusal, they did not dare to propose 47. A greater proportion was absolutely necessary, not merely to gratify the ambition of Scottish statesmen, but to render
46 The population of England did not exceed six millions; that of Scotland, exaggerated by De Foe to two millions, was estimated by Seton of Pitmeddan at 800,000 before the Union. Three Essays. But the population of Scotland in 1755 amounted to 1,265,380. At present it is 1,526,692. A population of 800,000 at the union supposes an increase of 465,000 in fifty years; whereas, during forty years of far greater prosperity, the increase was only 261,000. At the union, therefore, the population of Scotland was probably a million, of which Fletcher supposes that two hundred thousand were common beggars; as if, said Adam Smith, there was even provender for such a number then.
47 Sir J. Clerk's Journal of the Treaty, MS.