Rev Kenneth Stewart

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Reasons for Protest

The grounds on which they protested were as follows:

  1. Union Involved Loss of God-given National Sovereignty

First, they considered the Treaty to be contrary to the fundamental constitutions, laws and liberties of the Kingdom of Scotland ‘which we, as a free people, have enjoyed for the space of about two thousand years without ever being fully conquered’.

The terms of union with England meant that the nation of Scotland is ‘debased and enslaved…its ancient independency lost and gone…the parliamentary power dissolved which was the bulwark and basis of all (Scotland’s) liberties’.

Furthermore, ‘the surrender of Parliament and Sovereignty deprive the people of all security (a security which is) daily in danger of being encroached upon, altered or subverted by the said British Parliament, managed entirely by the English, who seldom have consulted our welfare…and poor people made liable to taxes, levies and unsupportable burdens, and many other imminent hazards and impositions, all which we here protest against’.

There is a further warning that the kind of union agreed upon, with the loss of sovereignty entailed, was one which would inevitably yoke the nation of Scotland into ventures and wars at home and abroad which might be in the interests of England but not in the interests of Scotland.

Unmistakeably, then, even apart from the obligations imposed by Covenants of 1638 and 1643, which loomed large in their thinking as we shall see, there is a warning against the evils inherent in an independent nation effectively yielding its own God-given right to sovereignty to another nation.

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