Monday, August 4, 2014

An Independent Scotland : The history

Scotland formed as an independent country in the Early Mediaeval Period. Many experts believe it took place under the reign of Kenneth MacAlpin in AD 843. Border skirmishes were common with many English monarchs claiming Scottish territory with varied justification. To verify these claims and military aggression, the English monarchs usually asked the Pope and other foreign rulers to sanction their actions.

When King Alexander III of Scotland died in 1286 he left his 3-year-old granddaughter Margaret (the Maid of Norway) as his heir. The Guardians of Scotland signed the Treaty of Birgham in 1290 agreeing to the marriage of the Maid of Norway and Edward of Caernarvon, the son of Edward I. The new Treaty however prevented the two counties from union as Scotland was separate and divided from England and that its rights, laws, liberties and customs were wholly and inviolably preserved for all time. Sadly Margaret died shortly after landing on the Orkney Islands leaving 13 rivals for succession. The two leading competitors were Robert Bruce, 5th Lord of Annandale (grandfather of the future King Robert the Bruce) and John Balliol, Lord of Galloway. Fearing civil war between the Bruce and Balliol families and supporters, the Guardians of Scotland wrote to Edward I of England asking him to come north and arbitrate between the claimants to avoid civil war. Edward I had both Wales and Ireland under his control and desired to expand his influence over Scotland. He agreed to meet the Guardians at Norham in 1291 and brought an army with him.

As part of his role as arbitror he insisted he be recognised as Lord Paramount of Scotland and all the claimants to the crown agreed. This decision was driven mainly because most of the claimants had large estates in England and would have lost them if they had defied the English king. Acting as the Lord Paramount of Scotland, Edward I ordered every Scottish royal castle be placed temporarily under his control and every Scottish official resign his office and be re-appointed by him. Only Balliol and Bruce made credible contenders under the stewardship of Edward I. John Balliol was the weaker of the two, and Edward I named him king and crowned King of Scots at Scone Abbey. He swore homage to Edward I who soon made it clear he regarded the country as a vassal state. Plans were made to defy the orders of Edward I and Scotland negotiated a treaty with France (the Auld Alliance) to invade England if the English invaded France. The treaty was sealed by an arranged marriage of John's son Edward and Philip's niece Joan. As soon as Edward I became aware of the secret Franco-Scottish in 1295 he strengthened his northern defenses against a possible invasion. In response, King John Balliol summoned all able-bodied Scotsmen to bear arms and gather at Caddonlee. The first war of Independence began in earnest with Edward I's brutal sacking of Berwick in March 1296, followed by the Scottish defeat at the Battle of Dunbar and the abdication of King John Balliol. Edward was proclaimed King of Scotland thereafter and the Stone of Destiny was removed from Scone Abbey and taken to Westminster Abbey. Edward convened a parliament at Berwick, where the Scottish nobles paid homage to him as King of England.

Scotland had been all but conquered except resistance continued and several revolts broke out in early 1297, led by William Wallace, Andrew de Moray and other Scottish nobles. To deal with the rebellious Scots Edward send his army which was defeated at Stirling Bridge (The Battle of Cambuskenneth). In the foray Moray was fatally wounded and died soon after the battle. This was followed by Scottish raids into northern England and the appointment of William Wallace as Guardian of Scotland in 1298. Edward invaded Scotland again, intending to crush Wallace and his followers, and defeated the Scots at Falkirk, but failed to subdue Scotland completely before returning to England. The battle of Falkirk might have gone in favor of the Scots, had more of the Scottish nobles decided to fight for the Scots instead of the English. Wallace realized the futility of raising an army of commoners unsupported by the local barons and was eventually hunted down and hung drawn and quartered.

Although a truce was declared in 1302 , Stirling Castle became a stronghold determined to resist English rule and held out until1304. By this time most of the remaining nobles had sworn homage to Edward and Scotland was all but part of the English union. William Wallace was executed in 1305. Robert the Bruce and John Comyn remained the two surviving claimants for the Scottish throne but quarreled over who would prevail. Bruce killed Comyn (The Red Comyn) at Greyfriars Kirk in Dumfries in 1306 and this sparked a new rebellion. Initially Bruce was defeated in battle and driven from the Scottish mainland as an outlaw. On his return in 1307 the Scots thronged to join him and resistance grew with success in a number of battles and after the death of Edward I in July 1307. The Battle of Bannockburn in 1314 was a critically important Scottish victory. In 1320, the Declaration of Arbroath was sent by a group of Scottish nobles to the Pope affirming Scottish independence from England. Two similar declarations were also sent by the clergy and Robert I. In 1327, Edward II of England was deposed and killed. The invasion of the North of England by Robert the Bruce forced Edward III of England to sign the Treaty of Edinburgh-Northampton on 1 May 1328. This recognised the independence of Scotland with Bruce as King and to further seal peace, Robert's son and heir David married the sister of Edward III. The idea that Scotland could and did stand against England, purely by force of indomitable will, was a source of great national pride in Scotland for generations thereafter. The war did not free Scotland from any further interference by England, nor did it provide her with particularly good government, but it established the Scots reputation as proud and unconquerable people, a legacy they embraced for centuries afterward.

Edward Balliol, the son of John Balliol, was a claimant to the Scottish throne and connived with Edward III, to break the Treaty of Edinburgh-Northampton. Balliol and a group of Scottish nobles, known as the ‘Disinherited,' were keen to repossess their old lands taken from them by Robert the Bruce. When the Earl of Moray died in 1332 and Domhnall II, Earl of Mar was elected the new Guardian, a small band led by Balliol set sail from the Humber. Edward initially refused to allow Balliol to invade Scotland from across the River Tweed but instead agreed to turn a blind eye to an invasion by sea. He made it clear he would disavow them and confiscate all their English lands should they fail. They landed at Kinghorn in Fife and marched towards Perth. On route they found a large Scottish army waiting but the invaders beat them at the Battle of Dupplin Moor. The Earl of Mar along with most of his nobles was slain and Edward Balliol crowned himself King of Scots. Fearing a double cross Edward III, moved his army north. Balliol issued two public letters, saying that with the help of England he had reclaimed his kingdom, and acknowledged that Scotland had always been a fief of England. He also promised land for Edward III on the border, including Berwick-on-Tweed, and that he would serve Edward for the rest of his life. With English help, Balliol briefly ruled the country from 1332 to 1336. Crowned at Scone in 1332, he was soon forced to flee half-naked back to England, following a surprise attack by nobles loyal to David II at the Battle of Annan. He was restored by the English in 1333, following the Battle of Halidon Hill. Balliol then ceded the whole of the district formerly known as Lothian to Edward and paid homage to him as liege lord. With no serious support in Scotland, he was deposed again in 1334 and restored again in 1335, and finally deposed in 1336 by those loyal to David II. All realistic hopes of Edward's restoration were lost when David II returned from France in June 1341. He eventually surrendered his claim to the Scottish throne to Edward III in exchange for an English pension. He spent the rest of his life living in obscurity and died in 1367.

David II (1324 – 1371) became King of Scots in 1329. He was the elder and only surviving sons of Robert I of Scotland and his second wife, Elizabeth de Burgh. In accordance with the Treaty of Northampton's terms, David was married to Joan of the Tower, daughter of Edward II of England and Isabella of France, at Berwick-upon-Tweed. During David's minority, Sir Thomas Randolph, 1st Earl of Moray was appointed Guardian of Scotland by the Act of Settlement of 1318. After Moray's death in 1332, he was replaced by as series of others. Meantime in 1332 Edward III appointed Edward Balliol as King of Scotland. During these turbulent times David and his young Queen were exiled in France. Once his representatives obtained the upper hand in Scotland, the young king was able to return in 1341. Five years later his army invaded England under the Old Alliance. He was wounded and taken prisoner and imprisoned in the Tower of London. Eleven years later the Scotland's nobility agreed to pay 100,000 marks as a ransom for their king. David returned to Scotland but when it became apparent it was found impossible to raise the ransom David secretly promised the thrown to an English heir. David was a strong King and left the country on his death more prosperous than might have seemed possible. He died without an heir and the Scot's insisted on crowning Robert II king, although naturally this was contested by England. Under Robert II, the war with England degenerated into periodic border raids. For the next century England was primarily occupied with the Hundred-Years War in France, and although Scottish-English relations were not good, and the Kings of England continually interfered in the affairs of Scotland, the Stuart line was not contested. Beginning with the reign of Robert II in 1471, the Stuarts ruled Scotland for over 217 years.

House of Stewart/Stuart (1371–1567) saw periods of royal inertia, during which the nobles usurped power from the crown, followed by periods of personal rule by the monarch. He or she would attempt to address the issues created by their own minority and the long-term effects of previous reigns. Governing Scotland became increasingly difficult, as the powerful nobility became increasingly intractable. When James I (1406 - 1437) tried to curb the disorder of the realm but was eventually assassinated. James II (1437 -1460) was popular and responsible for freeing one of the last Scottish castles s held by the English after the Wars of Independence. During the siege of Roxburgh Castle, he died after a cannon exploded next to him. His son James III (1460 -1488) was killed in a civil war between himself and the Scottish nobility, led by his own son. James IV (1488 -1513) governed sternly and suppressed the aristocrats but died in the Battle of Flodden. He is generally regarded as the most successful of the Stewart monarchs of Scotland, but his reign ended with the disastrous defeat at the Battle of Flodden Field, where he became the last monarch from not only Scotland, but also from all of Great Britain, to be killed in battle. James V (1513 – 1542) ruled Scotland until his death which followed the Scottish defeat at the Battle of Solway Moss. His only surviving legitimate child, Mary, succeeded him to the throne when she was just six days old. War broke out with England in 1541. After winning the Battle of Haddon Rig in 1542 but later suffered a serious defeat at the Battle of Solway Moss. He took ill and died shortly after. James V was succeeded by his infant daughter Mary.

Mary Stuart, Queen of Scots (1542 – 1587) was the only surviving legitimate child of King James V of Scotland and was 6 days old when her father died. Her uncle King Henry VIII had hoped to have the infant Mary marry his own son, Prince Edward . The Treaty of Greenwich was signed and promised Mary, aged 10, would marry Edward and move to England, where Henry could oversee her upbringing. The Treaty of Greenwich was rejected by the Parliament of Scotland new hostilities broke out between France and Scotland as the prospect of the Old Alliance was resurrected. Mary's guardians became fearful for her safety and turned to the French for help. She spent most of her childhood in France while Scotland was ruled by regents. In 1558, she married the Dauphin of France, Francis and ascended to queen consort of France, until her husband’s death in 1560. Mary returned to Scotland in 1561 and remarried her first cousin, Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley. The union was unhappy and Darnley was murdered shortly after. Mary then married James Hepburn, 4th Earl of Bothwell but faced the surliness of the aristocracy and the intransigence of the population, who favoured Calvinism and disapproved of her Catholicism. Eventually she was forced to abdicate, and fled to England, where she was imprisoned in various castles and manor houses for eighteen years until she was finally executed for treason against the English Queen Elizabeth I. Upon her abdication, her son, fathered by a junior member of the Stewart family, became King.

In 1503 James IV, King of Scots, married Margaret Tudor, eldest daughter of Henry VII of England. The marriage was a merger between the Stuarts and the Tudors was an attempt to put a halt to Anglo-Scottish rivalry. Called the Treaty of Perpetual Peace, hostility did continue intermittently throughout the 16th century, but eventually led to the Union of the Crowns 101 years later. The treaty was broken in 1513 when James V declared war on England in support of the French who had lately been attacked by the English. James was acting according to Scotland's obligations to France under an older mutual defense treaty, the Auld Alliance. James was excommunicated by Pope Leo X and the English Cardinal Bainbridge for breaking his sworn treaty with England. The subsequent invasion by the Scots met defeat when James was killed on 9 September 1513 at the Battle of Flodden in Northumberland. Although the line of Margaret Tudor was excluded from the English succession, during the reign of Elizabeth I , the Virgin Queen, concerns were once again raised. In the last decade of her reign it was clear to all that James VI of Scotland, great-grandson of James IV and Margaret Tudor, was the only generally acceptable heir. In 1603 King James VI of Scotland became James I of England at the Union of the Crowns.

The Kingdoms of England and Scotland ended with the new Kingdom of Great Britain and were ruled under a Protestant ruler. Self-styled James VIII (Seumas VIII), also known as The Old Pretender was the younger son of James VII and lived in exile. He landed in Scotland in 1715 in an attempted to re-claim the throne in the name of the Stuart and restore a Roman Catholic monarch. His campaign failed and he was forced to flee to the Continent. James died in exile in 1766. A second attempt by his son, Charles III (Bonnie Prince Charlie) on behalf of his father, also failed in 1745. Both James's children died without legitimate issue, bringing the Stuart family to an end. The political movement was called the Jacobite risings (1688- 1746) and came from the Latin for James i.e. Jacobus.

Scottish Episcopalians provided over half of the Jacobite forces in Britain, and although Dundee's rising in 1689 came mostly from the western Highlands, in later risings Episcopalians came roughly equally from the north-east Scottish Lowlands north of the River Tay and from the Highland clans (the latter containing a large Catholic component). The Episcopalians were also described as Nonjurors which meant as Protestants they could take part in Scottish politics, but were in a minority. They were repeatedly discriminated against in legislation with favour going instead to the established Church of Scotland.

To the Gaelic-speaking Scottish Highland clans, to whom the supporters of Jacobitism were known as Seumasaich, the conflict was more about inter-clan politics than about religion, and a significant factor was resistance to the territorial ambitions of the (Presbyterian) Campbells of Argyll. There was a precedent for post-1689 Jacobitism during the period of the Wars of the Three Kingdoms, when clans from the western Highlands had fought for James's father Charles I against the Campbells and the Covenanters. Another factor in Highland Jacobitism was James VII's sympathetic treatment of the Highland clans. Whereas previous monarchs since the late 16th century had been antagonistic to the Gaelic Highland way of life, James had worked sympathetically with the clan chieftains in the Commission for Pacifying the Highlands. Some Highland chieftains therefore viewed Jacobitism as a means of resisting hostile government intrusion into their territories. The significance of their support for the Stuarts was that the Highlands was the only part of Britain which still maintained private armies, in the form of clan levies. During the Jacobite Risings, they provided the bulk of Jacobite manpower.

There were three previous attempts in, 1606, 1667, and 1689, to unite Scotland and England by Acts of Parliament, but it was not until the early 18th century that both political establishments came to support the idea. The Acts of Union were two Acts of Parliament: the Union with Scotland Act 1706 passed by the Parliament of England, and the Union with England Act passed in 1707 by the Parliament of Scotland. They put into effect the terms of the Treaty of Union that had been agreed in 1706, following negotiation between commissioners representing the parliaments of the two countries. The Acts joined the Kingdom of England and the Kingdom of Scotland (previously separate states with separate legislatures, but with the same monarch) into a single, united kingdom named "Great Britain". One main reason for the union was to allow Scotland to recover from the financial disaster wrought by the Darien scheme. This was an attempt by the Kingdom of Scotland to colonise “Caledonia” on the Isthmus of Panama on the Gulf of DariĆ©n in the late 1690s. Beset by poor planning and provision, weak leadership, lack of demand for trade goods, devastating epidemics of disease and increasing shortage of food it was finally abandoned after a siege by Spanish forces in1700. The Darien company was backed by 25%-50% of all the money circulating in Scotland and its failure left nobles, landowners (who had suffered a run of bad harvests), as well as town councils and many ordinary tradespeople almost completely ruined. Many Scots held the English responsible, whilst the King affirmed Scotland’s he refused to give support at the risk war with Spain. The continuing futile debate on the issue served to further increase bitter feelings. Eventually the Scottish establishment (landed aristocracy and mercantile elites) realised their best chance of being part of a major power was to share the benefits of England's international trade and the growth of the English Empire, their future lay in unity with England. Some Scottish nobility petitioned Westminster to wipe out the Scottish national debt and stabilise the currency. Although the first request was not met, the second was and the Scottish Pound was given the fixed value of an English shilling. Personal Scottish financial interests were also involved. Scottish commissioners had invested heavily in the Darien project and they believed that they would receive compensation for their losses. The 1707 Acts of Union, Article 15, granted £398,085 10s sterling to Scotland to offset future liability towards the English national debt.

1 comment:

  1. Warfare is a fascinating subject. Despite the dubious morality of using violence to achieve personal or political aims. It remains that conflict has been used to do just that throughout recorded history.

    Your article is very well done, a good read.