Letter: from the queen

Her majesty's letter to the parliament presented by her majesty's commissioner read, whereof the tenor follows.

The queen's letter to the parliament

Signed above thus: Anne Regina,

My lords and gentlemen,

Nothing has troubled us more since our accession to the crowns of these realms than the unsettled state of affairs in that our ancient kingdom.

We hoped that the foundations of the differences and animosities that to our great regret we discovered among you did not lie so deep but that by the methods we have proceeded in they might have been removed.

But instead of success in our endeavours, the rent is become wider, indeed divisions have proceeded to such a height as to prove a matter of encouragement to our enemies beyond the sea to employ their emissaries among you in order to debauch our good subjects from their allegiance, and to render that our ancient kingdom a scene of blood and disorder, merely as they speak to make you serve for a diversion.

But we are willing to hope that none of our subjects, but such as were obnoxious to the laws for their crimes, or men of low and desperate fortunes or that are otherwise inconsiderable, have given ear to such pernicious contrivances, and we have no reason to doubt of the assurances given us by those now entrusted with our authority, that they will use their utmost endeavours to convince our people of the advantages and necessity of the present measures, for we have always been inclined to believe that the late mistakes did not proceed from any want of duty and respect to us, but only from different opinions as to measures of government.

This being the case, we are resolved for the full contentment and satisfaction of our people to grant whatever can in reason be demanded for rectifying of abuses and quieting the minds of all our good subjects.

In order to this, we have named [John Hay], marquis of Tweeddale our commissioner, he being a person of whose capacity and probity or qualifications and dispositions to serve us and the country neither we nor you can have any doubt, and we have fully empowered him to give you unquestionable proofs of our resolutions to maintain the government both in church and state as by law established in that our kingdom, and to consent to such laws as shall be found wanting for the further security of both, and preventing all encroachments on the same for the future.

Thus having done our part we are persuaded that you will not fail to do yours, but will lay hold on this opportunity to show to the world the sincerity of the professions made to us and that it was the true love of your country and the sense of your duty to it and, therefore, not the want of duty to us, for we shall always reckon these two inconsistent, that was at the bottom of the late misunderstandings.

The main thing that we recommend to you, and which we recommend to you with all the earnestness we are capable, is the settling of the succession in the Protestant line as that which is absolutely necessary for your own peace and happiness as well as our quiet and security in all our dominions, and for the reputation of our affairs abroad, and consequently for the strengthening the Protestant interest everywhere.

This has been our fixed judgement and resolution ever since we came to the crown and, though hitherto opportunities have not answered our intentions, matters are now come to that pass by the undoubted evidence of the designs of our enemies that a longer delay of settling the succession in the Protestant line may have very dangerous consequences, and a disappointment of it would infallibly make that our kingdom the seat of war and expose it to devastation and ruin.

As to terms and conditions of government with regard to the successor, we have empowered our commissioner to give the royal assent to whatever can in reason be demanded, and is in our power to grant, for securing the sovereignty and liberties of that our ancient kingdom.

We are now in a war which makes it necessary to provide for the defence of the kingdom, the time of the funds that were lately given for maintenance of the land forces being expired and the said funds exhausted. Provision ought also to be made for supplying the magazines with arms and ammunition and repairing the forts and castles and for the charge of the frigates that prove so useful for guarding of the coasts.

We earnestly recommend to you whatever may contribute to the advancement of true piety and the discouragement of vice and immorality, and we doubt not but you will take care to encourage trade and to improve the product and manufactories of the nation, in all which and everything else that can be for the good and happiness of our people you shall have our hearty and ready concurrence. We shall only add that unanimity and moderation in all your proceedings will be of great use for bringing to a happy issue the important affairs that we have laid before you, and will also be most acceptable to us.

So we bid you heartily farewell. Given at our court at Windsor Castle, 21 June 1704, and of our reign the 3rd year.

By her majesty's command,

Signed thus: Alexander Wedderburn

Directed: To the noblemen and to the barons commissioners for shires and to the commissioners for burghs assembled in parliament in our ancient kingdom of Scotland.

  1. NAS. PA2/38, f.167-168.