1707 Act of UnionThe Acts of Union were twin Acts of Parliament passed in 1707 (going into effect on 26 March) in the Scottish and the English Parliaments. The effect was twofold:
- to create a new Kingdom of Great Britain (though the name was used on occasion since 1604 to refer to the separate Kingdoms of England and Scotland, which since 1603 had a shared monarch, when speaking of the kingdoms together);
- to dissolve both parliaments and replace them with a new Parliament of the Kingdom of Great Britain.
The Acts of Union were not universally popular in Scotland, particularly amongst the general population. Many petitions were sent to the Scottish Parliament against union, and there were massive protests in Edinburgh the day it was signed. Many historians have since argued that the Scots Parliamentarians were co-erced into signing up for union by English bribery.
The poet Robert Burns wrote of the Acts of Union in his poem, A Parcel of Rogues:
"Fairweel to a' ou Scottish fame, Fareweel our ancient glory, Fareweel e'en to the Scottish name, Sae famed in martial story.
Now Sark runs o'er the Solway sands, And Tweed runs to the ocean, To mark where England's province stands, Such a parcel of rogues in a nation.
What force or guile could not subdue, Through many warlike ages, Is wrought now by a coward few, For hireling trators' wages.
The English steel we could disdain, Secure in valor's station, But English gold has been our bane, Such a parcel of rogues in a nation.
O would, or I had seen the day, That treason thus could sell us, My auld grey head had lain in clay, Wi' Bruce an' loyal Wallace.
But pith and power, till my last hour, I'll make this declaration, we're bought and sold for English gold, Such a parcel of rogues in a nation."