Early Modern Scotland

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Early Modern Scotland

For the purposes of this article, Early Modern Scotland refers to the period between the death of James IV in 1513 and the Act of Union with England in 1707. It roughly corresponds to the early modern period in Europe, beginning with the Renaissance and Reformation and ending with the start of the Enlightenment.

James V

The death of James IV at the Battle of Flodden in 1513 meant a long period of regency in the name of his infant son James V. He was declared an adult in 1524, but the next year Archibald Douglas, 6th Earl of Angus, the young king's stepfather, took custody of James and held him as a virtual prisoner for three years, exercising power on his behalf.

James V finally managed to escape from the custody of the regents in 1528. He continued his father's policy of subduing the rebellious Highlands, Western and Northern isles and the troublesome borders. <ref> M. Nicholls, A History of the Modern British Isles, 1529-1603: the Two Kingdoms (Wiley-Blackwell, 1999), 82-4</ref>He also continued the French alliance, marrying first the French noblewoman Madeleine of Valois and then after her death Marie of Guise. <ref>M. Nicholls, A History of the Modern British Isles, 1529-1603: the Two Kingdoms (Wiley-Blackwell, 1999) 87</ref>

James's short and turbulent reign ended after a 'complete breakdown' in relations with Henry IIIV of England after he failed to show at a proposed meeting between the two kings in 1541. <ref>Hunt, Donnachie, Companion, 171</ref> The resultant Battle of Solway Moss was another major defeat for the Scots and James V died several weeks afterwards, a demise blamed by contemporaries on "a broken heart". The day before his death, he was brought news of the birth of an heir: a daughter, who would become Mary, Queen of Scots.<ref> M. Nicholls, A History of the Modern British Isles, 1529-1603: the Two Kingdoms (Wiley-Blackwell, 1999), 87</ref>

Mary, Queen of Scots

Once again, Scotland was in the hands of a regent. Within two years, the Rough Wooing began, Henry VIII's military attempt to force a marriage between Mary and his son, Edward. This took the form of border skirmishing and several English campaigns into Scotland. In 1547, after the death of Henry VIII, forces under the English regent Edward Seymour, 1st Duke of Somerset were victorious at the Battle of Pinkie Cleugh, the climax of the Rough Wooing, and followed up by the occupation of Haddington.

Mary was then sent to France at the age of five, as the intended bride of the heir to the French throne. Her mother, Marie de Guise, stayed in Scotland to look after the interests of Mary — and of France — although the Earl of Arran acted officially as regent.<ref>Dawson, Scotland Re-formed, 1488-1587</ref>

Guise responded by calling on French troops, who helped stiffen resistance to the English occupation. By 1550, after a change of regent in England, the English withdrew from Scotland completely. From 1554, Marie de Guise, took over the regency, and continued to advance French interests in Scotland. French cultural influence resulted in a large influx of French vocabulary into Scots. But anti-French sentiment also grew, particularly among Protestants, who saw the English as their natural allies. In 1560 Marie de Guise died, and soon after the Auld Alliance also ended, with the signing of the Treaty of Edinburgh, which provided for the removal of French and English troops from Scotland. The Scottish Reformation took place only days later when the Scottish Parliament abolished the Roman Catholic religion and outlawed the Mass. <ref>Wormald, Court, Kirk, and Community, 115-17</ref>

Meanwhile Queen Mary had been raised as a Catholic in France, and married to the Dauphin, who became king as Francis II in 1559, making her queen consort of France.<ref>J. E. A. Dawson, Scotland Re-Formed, 1488-1587 (Edinburgh University Press, 2007), 208</ref> When Francis died in 1560, Mary, now 19, returned to Scotland to take up the government. Despite her private religion, she did not attempt to re-impose Catholicism on her largely Protestant subjects, thus angering the chief Catholic nobles.

Her six-year personal reign was marred by a series of crises, largely caused by the intrigues and rivalries of the leading nobles. The murder of her secretary, David Riccio, was followed by that of her unpopular second husband Lord Darnley, and her abduction by and marriage to the Earl of Bothwell, who was implicated in Darnley's murder. Mary and Bothwell confronted the lords at Carberry Hill and after their forces melted away, he fled and she was captured by Bothwell's rivals. Mary was imprisoned in Loch Leven Castle, and in July 1567, was forced to abdicate in favour of her infant son James VI.<ref> D. H. Willson, King James VI & I (Jonathan Cape, [1956] 1963), 19</ref>

Mary eventually escaped and attempted to regain the throne by force. After her defeat at the Battle of Langside in 1568, she took refuge in England, leaving her young son in the hands of regents. In Scotland the regents fought a civil war on behalf of James VI against his mother's supporters. In England, Mary became a focal point for Catholic conspirators and was eventually tried for treason and executed on the orders of her kinswoman Elizabeth I of England.

The Protestant Reformation

During the sixteenth century, Scotland underwent a Protestant Reformation that created a predominately Calvinist national kirk (church), which was strongly Presbyterian in outlook, severely reducing the powers of bishops, although not abolishing them. In the earlier part of the century, the teachings of first Martin Luther and then John Calvin began to influence Scotland, particularly through Scottish scholars who had visited continental and English universities and who had often trained in the Catholic priesthood. English influence was also more direct, supplying books and distributing Bibles and Protestant literature in the Lowlands when they invaded in 1547. Particularly important was the work of the Lutheran Scot Patrick Hamilton.<ref> J. Wormald, Court, Kirk, and Community: Scotland, 1470–1625 (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1991), 102–4</ref>

John Knox

His execution with other Protestant preachers in 1528, and of the Zwingli-influenced George Wishart in 1546, who was burnt at the stake in St. Andrews on the orders of Cardinal Beaton, did nothing to stem the growth of these ideas. Wishart's supporters, who included a number of Fife lairds, assassinated Beaton soon after and seized St. Andrews Castle, which they held for a year before they were defeated with the help of French forces. The survivors, including chaplain John Knox, being condemned to be galley slaves, helping to create resentment of the French and martyrs for the Protestant cause.<ref>M. F. Graham, "Scotland", in A. Pettegree, The Reformation World (London: Routledge, 2000), 414</ref>

Limited toleration and the influence of exiled Scots and Protestants in other countries, led to the expansion of Protestantism, with a group of lairds declaring themselves Lords of the Congregation in 1557 and representing their interests politically. The collapse of the French alliance and English intervention in 1560 meant that a relatively small, but highly influential, group of Protestants were in a position to impose reform on the Scottish church. A confession of faith, rejecting papal jurisdiction and the mass, was adopted by Parliament in 1560, while the young Mary, Queen of Scots, was still in France.<ref>J. Wormald, Court, Kirk, and Community: Scotland, 1470–1625 (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1991), 120–1</ref>

Knox, having escaped the galleys and spent time in Geneva, where he became a follower of Calvin, emerged as the most significant figure. The Calvinism of the reformers led by Knox resulted in a settlement that adopted a Presbyterian system and rejected most of the elaborate trappings of the medieval church. This gave considerable power within the new kirk to local lairds, who often had control over the appointment of the clergy, and resulting in widespread, but generally orderly, iconoclasm. At this point the majority of the population was probably still Catholic in persuasion and the kirk would find it difficult to penetrate the Highlands and Islands, but began a gradual process of conversion and consolidation that, compared with reformations elsewhere, was conducted with relatively little persecution.<ref>J. Wormald, Court, Kirk, and Community: Scotland, 1470–1625 (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1991) 121–33</ref>

James IV

James IV

James VI was crowned King of Scots at the age of 13 months on 29 July 1567. <ref>P. Croft, King James (Basingstoke and New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2003) 11</ref>He was brought up as a Protestant, while the country was run by a series of regents. In 1579 the Frenchman Esmé Stewart, Sieur d'Aubigny, first cousin of James' father Lord Darnley, arrived in Scotland and quickly established himself as the closest of the then 13-year-old James's powerful male favourites, he was created Earl of Lennox by the king in 1580, and Duke of Lennox in 1581. <ref>A. Stewart, The Cradle King: A Life of James VI & I (London: Chatto and Windus, 2003), 51–63</ref>

Lennox was distrusted by Scottish Calvinists and in August 1582, in what became known as the Ruthven Raid, the Protestant earls of Gowrie and Angus imprisoned James and forced Lennox to leave Scotland.<ref>A. Stewart, The Cradle King: A Life of James VI & I (London: Chatto and Windus, 2003), 66</ref> After James was liberated in June 1583, he assumed increasing control of his kingdom. Between 1584 and 1603, he established effective royal government and relative peace among the lords, assisted by John Maitland of Thirlestane, who led the government until 1592. <ref>P. Croft, King James (Basingstoke and New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2003) 2</ref>

In 1586, James signed the Treaty of Berwick with England, which, with the execution of his mother in 1587, helped clear the way for his succession to the childless Queen Elizabeth I of England.<ref>P. Croft, King James (Basingstoke and New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2003), 22</ref> He married Anne of Denmark in 1590, daughter of Frederick II, the king of Denmark; she bore him two sons and a daughter.<ref>D. H. Willson, King James VI & I (London: Jonathan Cape Ltd, [1956] 1963), 85–95</ref>

The Union of the Crowns

In 1603, James VI King of Scots, inherited the throne of the Kingdom of England, and became King James I of England, leaving Edinburgh for London, uniting England and Scotland under one monarch. <ref> Ross, David (2002). Chronology of Scottish History. Geddes & Grosset. p. 56. "1603: James VI becomes James I of England in the Union of the Crowns, and leaves Edinburgh for London"</ref>

The Union was a personal or dynastic union, with the Crowns remaining both distinct and separate—despite James's best efforts to create a new "imperial" throne of "Great Britain".<ref>D. L. Smith, A History of the Modern British Isles, 1603-1707: The Double Crown (1998), ch. 2</ref> The acquisition of the Irish crown along with the English, facilitated a process of settlement by Scots in what was historically the most troublesome area of the kingdom in Ulster, with perhaps 50,000 Scots settling in the province by the mid-17th century.<ref>Mitchison, A History of Scotland, 175</ref> Attempts to found a Scottish colony in North America in Nova Scotia were largely unsuccessful, with insufficient funds and willing colonists. <ref>Mitchison, A History of Scotland, 176</ref>

Religious Conflict

Riot in Edinburgh against the Anglican Prayer Book

The era of the Union of the Crowns was dominated by religious conflict and violence. In Scotland this was sparked by the attempts of the Stuart monarchs to achieve religious uniformity between Scotland and England. Although James had tried to get the Scottish Church to accept some of the High Church Anglicanism of his southern kingdom, he met with limited success. His son and successor, Charles I, took matters further, introducing an English-style Prayer Book into the Scottish church in 1637. This resulted in anger and widespread rioting.<ref>J. D. Mackie, B. Lenman and G. Parker, A History of Scotland (Penguin, 1991), 203</ref>

Representatives of various sections of Scottish society drew up the National Covenant in 1638, objecting to the King's liturgical innovations. In November of the same year matters were taken even further, when at a meeting of the General Assembly in Glasgow the Scottish bishops were formally expelled from the Church, which was then established on a full Presbyterian basis. <ref>Mackie, Lenman and Parker, A History of Scotland, 205-6</ref> Charles gathered a military force; but as neither side wished to push the matter to a full military conflict, a temporary settlement was concluded at Pacification of Berwick.<ref>Mackie, Lenman and Parker, A History of Scotland, 205-6</ref>

In 1640 open hostilities broke out between Scotland and England over religious practice, known as the Bishop's Wars. Charles's northern forces were defeated by the Scots at the Battle of Newburn to the west of Newcastle.<ref>Mackie, Lenman and Parker, A History of Scotland, 208-9</ref> Charles tried to raise an army of Irish Catholics, but was forced to back down after a storm of protest in Scotland and England. The backlash from this venture provoked a rebellion in Ireland and Charles was forced to appeal to the English Parliament for funds. Parliament's demands for reform in England eventually resulted in the English Civil War. This series of civil wars that engulfed England, Ireland and Scotland in the 1640s and 1650s is known to modern historians as the Wars of the Three Kingdoms. <ref>Mackie, Lenman and Parker, A History of Scotland, 209-10</ref>

The Covenanters meanwhile, were left governing Scotland, where they raised a large army of their own and tried to impose their religious settlement on Episcopalians and Roman Catholics in the north of the country. In England his religious policies caused similar resentment and he ruled without recourse to parliament from 1629.<ref>M. B. Young, Charles I (Palgrave Macmillan, 1997), 73</ref>

The War of the Three Kingdoms

James Graham, Marquess of Montrose

As the civil wars developed, the English Parliamentarians appealed to the Scots Covenanters for military aid against the King. A Solemn League and Covenant was entered into, guaranteeing the Scottish Church settlement and promising further reform in England.<ref>Mackie, Lenman and Parker, A History of Scotland, 211-2</ref> Scottish troops played a major part in the defeat of Charles I, notably at the battle of Marston Moor. An army under the Earl of Leven occupied the North of England for some time.<ref>Mackie, Lenman and Parker, A History of Scotland, 211-2</ref>

However, not all Scots supported the Covenanter's taking arms against their King. In 1644, James Graham, 1st Marquess of Montrose attempted to raise the Highlands for the King. Few Scots would follow him, but, aided by 1,000 Irish, Highland and Islesmen troops sent by the Irish Confederates under Alasdair MacDonald (MacColla), and an instinctive genius for mobile warfare, he was stunningly successful. A Scottish Civil War began in September 1644 with his victory at battle of Tippermuir.

After a series of victories over poorly trained Covenanter militias, the lowlands were at his mercy. However, at this high point, his army was reduced in size, as MacColla and the Highlanders preferred to continue the war in the north against the Campbells. Shortly after, what was left of his force was defeated at the Battle of Philiphaugh. Escaping to the north, Montrose attempted to continue the struggle with fresh troops; but in July 1646 his army was disbanded after the King surrendered to the Scots army at Newark, and the civil war came to an end.<ref>Mackie, Lenman and Parker, A History of Scotland, 217-8</ref>

The following year Charles, while he was being held captive in Carisbrooke Castle, entered into an agreement with moderate Scots Presbyterians. In this secret 'Engagement', the Scots promised military aid in return for the King's agreement to implement Presbyterianism in England on a three-year trial basis. The Duke of Hamilton led an invasion of England to free the King, but he was defeated by Oliver Cromwell in August 1648 at the Battle of Preston. <ref>Mackie, Lenman and Parker, A History of Scotland, 217-8</ref>

Cromwellian Occupation and Restoration

Charles II

The execution of Charles I in 1649 was carried out in the face of objections by the Covenanter government and his son was immediately proclaimed as King Charles II in Edinburgh. Oliver Cromwell led an invasion of Scotland in 1650, and defeated the Scottish army at Dunbar and then defeated a Scottish invasion of England at Worcester on 3 September 1651 (the anniversary of his victory at Dunbar). Cromwell emerged as the leading figure in the English government and Scotland was occupied by an English force under George Monck. The country was incorporated into the Puritan-governed Commonwealth and lost its independent church, government parliament and legal system, but gained access to English markets.<ref>Mackie, Lenman and Parker, A History of Scotland, 221-4</ref>

Various attempts were made to legitimise the union, calling representatives from the Scottish burghs and shires to negotiations and to various English parliaments, where they were always under-represented and had little opportunity for dissent. However, final ratification was delayed by Cromwell's problems with his various parliaments and the union did not become the subject of an act until 1657 (see Tender of Union).<ref>Mackie, Lenman and Parker, A History of Scotland, 225-6</ref>

After the death of Cromwell and the regime's collapse, Charles II was restored in 1660 and Scotland again became an independent kingdom.<ref>Mackie, Lenman and Parker, A History of Scotland, 225-6</ref> Scotland regained its system of law, parliament and kirk, but also the Lords of the Articles (by which the crown managed parliament), bishops and a king who did not visit the country. He ruled largely without reference to Parliament, through a series of commissioners. These began with John, Earl of Middleton and ended with the king's brother and heir, James, Duke of York (known in Scotland as the Duke of Albany).<ref>Mackie, Lenman and Parker, A History of Scotland, 239</ref>

The English Navigation Acts prevented the Scots engaging in what would have been lucrative trading with England's colonies.<ref>W. Ferguson, Scotland's Relations with England: A Survey to 1707 (Saltire Society, 1977), 153</ref> The restoration of episcopacy was a source of trouble, particularly in the south-west of the country, an area with strong Presbyterian sympathies. Abandoning the official church, many of the inhabitants began to attend illegal field assemblies, known as conventicles.<ref>Mackie, Lenman and Parker, A History of Scotland, 253</ref> Official attempts to suppress these led to a rising in 1679, defeated by James, Duke of Monmouth, the King's illegitimate son, at the Battle of Bothwell Bridge.<ref>Mackie, Lenman and Parker, A History of Scotland, 238</ref> In the early 1680s a more intense phase of persecution began, later to be called "the Killing Time". When Charles died in 1685 and his brother, a Roman Catholic, succeeded him as James VII of Scotland (and II of England), matters came to a head.<ref>Mackie, Lenman and Parker, A History of Scotland, 241</ref>

Deposition of James IIV and first Jacobite Rising

John Graham of Claverhouse, Viscount Dundee

James put Catholics in key positions in the government and attendance at conventicles was made punishable by death. He disregarded parliament, purged the Council and forced through religious toleration to Roman Catholics, alienating his Protestant subjects. It was believed that the king would be succeeded by his daughter Mary, a Protestant and the wife of William of Orange, Stadtholder of the Netherlands, but when in 1688, James produced a male heir, James Francis Edward Stuart, it was clear that his policies would outlive him. An invitation by seven leading Englishmen led William to land in England with 40,000 men, and James fled, leading to the almost bloodless "Glorious Revolution".

The Estates issued a Claim of Right that suggested that James had forfeited the crown by his actions (in contrast to England, which relied on the legal fiction of an abdication) and offered it to William and Mary, which William accepted, along with limitations on royal power.<ref>Mackie, Lenman and Parker, A History of Scotland, 241-5</ref>The final settlement restored Presbyterianism and abolished the bishops, who had generally supported James. However, William, who was more tolerant than the kirk tended to be, passed acts restoring the Episcopalian clergy excluded after the Revolution.<ref>Mackie, Lenman and Parker, A History of Scotland, 252-3</ref>

Although William's supporters dominated the government, there remained a significant following for James, particularly in the Highlands. His cause, which became known as Jacobitism, from the Latin (Jacobus) for James, led to a series of risings. An initial Jacobite military attempt was led by John Graham, Viscount Dundee. His forces, almost all Highlanders, defeated William's forces at the Battle of Killiecrankie in 1689, but they took heavy losses and Dundee was slain in the fighting.

Without his leadership the Jacobite army was soon defeated at the Battle of Dunkeld.<ref>Mackie, Lenman and Parker, A History of Scotland, 283-4</ref> In the aftermath of the Jacobite defeat on 13 February 1692 in an incident known as the Massacre of Glencoe, 38 members of the Clan MacDonald of Glencoe were killed by members of the Earl of Argyll's Regiment of Foot, on the grounds that they had not been prompt in pledging allegiance to the new monarchs.<ref>Mackie, Lenman and Parker, A History of Scotland, 287-8</ref>

Economic Crisis of the 1690s

The closing decade of the 17th century saw the generally favourable economic conditions that had dominated since the Restoration come to an end. There was a slump in trade with the Baltic and France from 1689–91, caused by French protectionism and changes in the Scottish cattle trade, followed by four years of failed harvests (1695, 1696 and 1698-9), an era known as the "seven ill years".<ref>Mitchison, A History of Scotland, 291-2 and 301-2</ref>

The result was severe famine and depopulation, particularly in the north.<ref>K. J. Cullen, Famine in Scotland: The “Ill Years” of the 1690s (Edinburgh University Press, 2010).</ref> The Parliament of Scotland of 1695 enacted proposals that might help the desperate economic situation including setting up the Bank of Scotland. The "Company of Scotland Trading to Africa and the Indies" received a charter to raise capital through public subscription.<ref>Mitchison, A History of Scotland, 314</ref>

Act of Union, 1707

William's successor was Mary's sister Princess Anne, who had no surviving children and so the Protestant succession seemed in doubt. The English Parliament passed the Act of Settlement 1701, which fixed the succession on Sophia of Hanover and her descendants. However, the Scottish Parliament's parallel Act of Security, merely prohibited a Roman Catholic successor, leaving open the possibility that the crowns would diverge.

Rather than risk the possible return of James Francis Edward Stuart, then living in France, the English parliament pressed for full union of the two countries, passing the Alien Act 1705, which threatened to make all Scotsmen unable to hold property in England unless moves toward union were made and would have severely damaged the cattle and linen trades. A political union between Scotland and England also became economically attractive, promising to open up the much larger markets of England, as well as those of the growing Empire.

However, there was widespread, if disunited opposition and mistrust in the general population.<ref>R. Mitchison, A History of Scotland (London: Routledge, 3rd edn., 2002) 314</ref> Sums paid to Scottish commissioners and leading political figure have been described as bribes.

The Scottish parliament voted on 6 January 1707, by 110 to 69, to adopt the Treaty of Union. The treaty confirmed the Hanoverian succession. The Church of Scotland and Scottish law and courts remained separate. The English and Scottish parliaments were replaced by a combined Parliament of Great Britain, but it sat in Westminster and largely continued English traditions without interruption. Forty-five Scots were added to the 513 members of the House of Commons and 16 Scots to the 190 members of the House of Lords. It was also a full economic union, replacing the Scottish systems of currency, taxation and laws regulating trade.[66] The Privy Council was abolished, which meant that effective government in Scotland lay in the hands of unofficial "managers", who attempted to control elections in Scotland and voting by Scottish MPs and lords in line with the prevailing party in Westminster, through a complex process of patronage, venality and coercion. Since the Tories were suspected of Jacobite sympathies, management tended to fall to one of the two groups of Whigs, the "Old Party" or "Argathelian", led by the John Campbell, 2nd Duke of Argyll and the "Squadrone" or "Patriots", initially led by John Ker, 1st Duke of Roxburghe, who became the first Secretary of State for Scotland. Roxburghe was replaced by Argyll in 1725 and he and his brother, who became the Archibald Campbell, 3rd Duke of Argyll on his death in 1743, dominated Scottish politics in the first half of the eighteenth century. Both wings of the Whig movement were forced together by the Jacobite rising in 1745 and the post of Secretary of State was abolished in 1746, but Argyll remained the "uncrowned king of Scotland" until his death in 1761.[70]