Protestation by [John Murray], duke of Atholl

Whereas by my protest given in 4 November last before voting the first article of the union, I did reserve liberty to renew protestations against any other articles of the treaty, and as I protested, for the reasons therein-mentioned, so I do now, for myself and all others who shall adhere, protest against any vote for approving the twenty-second article of this treaty of union and against all the parts of it for these reasons: Because the peers of this realm who are hereditary members of her majesty's great council and parliament do thereby become elective, and so her majesty deprived of her born councillors and the peers of their birthright, and whereas they are at present 160 in number, they are, by this article, reduced to sixteen, which sixteen are to be joined with the house of lords in England, whose number at present consists of above 180, whereby it is plain that the Scots peers share in the legislative and judicative powers in the British parliament is very unequal with that of the English, though the one be representatives of as independent and free a nation as the other, and is therefore a plain forfeiture of the peerage of this kingdom.

And as it is the height of injustice and against all the laws and practices of this and all other well governed nations to forfeit any person without a heinous crime, so it is against all law to forfeit either the peers that are now present, or those that are minors or absent, without being so much as called or cited for that end.

It is likewise contrary to the honour and true interest of her majesty and the monarchy to suppress the estate of peers who have formerly been the great supporters of the monarchy. And, it is dishonourable and disgraceful for this kingdom that the peers thereof shall only have rank and precedency next after the peers of the like order and degree in England, without regard to their antiquity or the dates of their patents as is stipulated by the following article of this treaty.

In the next place, each shire and royal burgh within this kingdom have the number of their representatives determined by acts of parliament, whose number at present, being 155, are by this article of the treaty reduced to 45, and to be joined to 513 members in the house of commons where they can have no influence by reason of the vast disproportion of their numbers, besides that the barons and burghs of this nation, by this way of uniting, are deprived of their inherent right of being fully and individually represented in parliament both with relation to their legislative and judicative capacities.

And they are not only highly prejudiced in lessening their representation, but also degraded from being members of the parliaments of this kingdom where they sit as judges in all causes civil and criminal, to be joined to the commoners of another nation who are accustomed to supplicate for justice at the bar of the house of lords.

The barons and burghs are also further prejudiced in this that, whereas now every shire and royal burgh has their own representatives, one commissioner will hereafter represent several shires or burghs who it cannot be supposed will understand the several interests and concerns of the said several shires or burghs whom he may represent. And further, for the present representatives of the barons and burghs in parliament to offer by any vote or deed of theirs to incapacitate their constituents or deprive them of any part of their inherent right, is that which their constituents may and do justly disallow, they only having their commissions with the ordinary powers of making or amending laws and giving supplies, but in no way to alter fundamental constitutions or to take away or diminish their representation, which is also a plain forfeiture of their constituents of their inherent rights and undoubted privileges, and is contrary to the fundamental laws of this nation which are the birthright of the people thereof.

From all which, it is plain and evident that this from a sovereign, independent monarchy shall dissolve its constitution and be at the disposal of England whose constitution is not in the least to be altered by this treaty, and where it is not to be supposed the Scots shall have any weight in the making of laws, even though relative to their own kingdom, by reason of the vast disproportion and disparity of their representation aforesaid.

And therefore, I do also protest that no vote may hinder nor prejudge the noblemen, barons and burghs, as now represented in parliament, to retain, bruik, enjoy and exercise all their rights, liberties and privileges, as fully and freely as hitherto they have enjoyed them. And since it evidently appears, not only from the many protests of the honourable and worthy members of this house, but also from the multitudes of addresses and petitions from the several parts of this kingdom, of the barons, freeholders, heritors, burghs and commons and from the commission of the general assembly, that there is a general dislike and aversion to the incorporating union as contained in these articles, and that there is not one address from any part of the kingdom in favour of this union, I do therefore further protest against concluding this and the following articles of this treaty until her majesty shall be fully informed of the inclinations of her people, that, if her majesty think fit, she may call a new parliament to have the immediate sentiments of the nation, since these articles have been made public, where it is hoped they may fall on such methods as may allay the ferment of the nation, satisfy the minds of the people, and create a good understanding between the two kingdoms by a union upon honourable, just and equal terms, which may unite them in affection and interest, the surest foundation of peace and tranquillity for both kingdoms. And this, my protestation, I desire may be received and inserted in the minutes and recorded in the books of parliament as a testimony of my dissent and the dissent of such as adhere to me.

  1. NAS. PA6/34, 'January 7 1707', r-v.