Essays in Betrayal 3

 

1705

One of the earliest polemics against unionist lies, published in 1705

This is the third chapter extrapolated from James Anderson’s invocation to Scotland’s legitimacy as an independent nation, published in Edinburgh in 1705.

The intention is to show how, first time around, the same disinformation and black propaganda as now was the order of the day keeping Scotland docile and subservient.

Some of the similarities are astonishing. Take note of how Scots are described as “aliens,” and compare to today, under self-governance “foreigners overnight in a foreign country.” Or the claim of grabbing Lothian compared to Rosyth to ringfence Trident.

In addition, it gives us a great insight into the origins of the English sense of superiority over other nations. The “homage” he talks of goes back to when Edward forced Balliol to surrender Scotland and the homage of all its people. Edward hoped to dominate Balliol as a puppet king, but when Balliol and his nobles refused to serve in Edward’s army against the French, (the Scots already having an alliance with France) Edward deposed Balliol and invaded Scotland. He got as far as Elgin, returning home with the Stone of Destiny.

Here, our hero, James Anderson, takes the English lawyer, “Atwood” to task for claiming Scotland must pay “homage” to England, meaning subervience to the dominance of England as the superior nation.

It might be thought that all arrogant claim of homage claimed by England from Scotland was long ago laid aside, there merely for the student or the curious, no longer relevant, but one Mr. Atwood, a lawyer, takes upon himself to revive the debate in a new book full of bluff and bluster, entitled, “The Superiority and Direct Dominion of the Imperial Crown of England over Scotland” in which he argues only for England’s interests.

I don’t know Mr Atwood so I made enquiries about his character. He was lately Chief Justice of New York resigning from his post for reasons best known to himself. If the general sentiments of his learned countrymen about him were made public you’d render his book contemptible.

He also mentions me in his book in relation to Charters he cites so dogmatically, hence I feel justified in making public what I know of the matter. Before I enter upon the worth of the Charters it’s valuable to give a short hint at the intention of his book, some remarkable passages in it, that will justify my opinion of his character.

Anderson uses a word we use a lot ‘deluded”:

The audacity of this deluded man contends that by the Act of Settlement of the English Crown, we are predetermined to be governed by England, in that “whosoever succeeds to the Crown of England will be, ipso facto, the rightful king or queen of Scotland.”

He treats Scotland’s Crown as subordinate, annexed to the Crown of England. He gives our monarchs the undervaluing title of “Nominal Kings,” and is impertinent enough to insist subjugation is ours by right, and we should consider it an honour.

He goes further. He says impudently, Scottish patriots take a liberty to argue otherwise because, “It is God’s Law.” He adds, “We – the Scots – are required to submit to England’s Imperial Crown because God contends England’s interests are paramount, English being Christians, and so Scots cannot claim independence because it is impious to contradict God’s Law.” From this he claims submission flows; the Act of Parliament has “settled our (Scotland’s) Crown as an appendage to the English monarchy,” and we should stop being immoderate and saying Scotland is a separate nation.

What a fanciful author!

He is so conceited he thinks his “endeavours cannot fail to have an beneficial effect in both Kingdoms, and will tend to be the conviction of the Scotch (sic) nation who are not deeply engaged with France.”

Later, Anderson continues in a similar vein:

Fearful that his argument might fail to convince the Scottish public, Mr Atwood resorts to threats, such as laying claim to Lothian, or if London’s government feels so inclined, to get rid of the dependence of Scotland. And there is worse to come.

If Scotland dares to set itself up as an independent Kingdom “all who are born in Scotland would be aliens to England”, and any lands given to Scots by the English Crown will be taken back again. He is so unmannerly as to name a Scottish Peer who stands to lose a considerable estate in England.

This author, this lawyer, Atwood, bloats his extraordinary faculty in pontificating to Scotland by insinuating that to deny his doctrine is no less than high treason.

By all this he asserts Scotland is undoubtedly a member and an appendage of the English monarchy – so the consequences of dissention should be obvious to us.

To trace and answer all the whimsies, inconsistencies and extravagancies of this confused author would take forever, so I shall touch upon only those issues relating to the Charters and Laws he adduces as proof of England’s pretendy superiority.

Next, Anderson bemoans the lack of Scots history taught in England:

Scotland’s “homage” to England has by degrees crept into English history. The most obvious assumption by England is, our Kings in ancient times, assisting the English against their cruel enemies the Danes, and by concessions and preferences bestowed on their “northern” territories in Northumberland and Berwick, caused the English Crown to assume mistakenly the Scots were expected to assist the English at times of war as a matter of automatic response. But when you look closely there is no evidence of homage whatsoever, in law or in document, until after the conquest by Edward. Even English historians – the respected ones – recount there is nothing disagreeable to that fact.

It is later historians, keen to show deference for reward,  either by design to stretch the truth to include encroachments on Scottish territory, or by lame information processed in England, who enlarged the homage to give it a more all-encompassing meaning. They evince by sophistry, drawing fallacious consequence, the specific from the general.

Into his stride, Anderson points up the lack of mutual respect:

After the conquest, the Kings of Scotland paid all homage due for any possessions held in England, but none ever voluntarily acknowledged the King of England as “superior” or an “overlord” to all of Scotland and all its people. None! It is a calumny still denied.

It was only the fate of some nobles under harsh persuasion or force when held in captivity who, as a way of attaining a pardon, offered homage, but later renounced their homage to the English Crown as released under extortions and injuries.

The silly endeavours to eclipse the Liberty of Scotland and our Crown and nation by a concocted and fictitous “homage” inflamed the zeal of the learned and judicious Sir Thomas Craig of Riccarton.

Mr Craig wrote a well-researched and elaborate treatise about the extensive fabrication. This brave patriot, resisting all jeopardy, refutes all pretences over Scotland for good, solid reasons, giving clear answers and evidence from historical documents. It was originally written in Latin, translated by our indigenous countryman, Mr. George Ridpath, who helps demonstrate the forgery of an official homage by King Malcolm the Third, commonly called Conmoir, of which more later.

Mr. Craig has had insult heaped on him for his work, his detractors claiming there are as many errors as lines.

Happily, our Craig, by his judgement and integrity, has acquired great respect both at home and abroad. As he himself says:

We Scotsmen are used to the heat of defamation heaped upon us when we make any defence of our sovereignty and the independence of our Crown.

To be continued …

(To get a feel of how the book is written in olde Scots, letter “s” is printed as if an “f,” for example, please read Essays in Betrayal 2.)

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6 Responses to Essays in Betrayal 3

  1. Helena Brown says:

    This so sums up what many in England think, they consider they bought Scotland even today. I have had the misfortune of meeting some of these online .
    I know that the feckless William the Lion had to kneel to the then King of England,that David the First was held by Henry the Second I think, the idea of importing Feudalism came from there. James the First was also a hostage in England, met his wife there.
    I think that has always been the problem that the Nobility in England always wanted their hands on the resources of Scotland and we should all remember they are ALL still there.
    I will have to go through your archives for the remainder of the book

  2. Grouse Beater says:

    Coming as soon as I can get my daily chores to one side … in the new year.

  3. Andrew says:

    Hello there. This is a great text to have. Edinburgh University lacks page (7) of it’s digital copy – is there any chance you could email me a readable image of page 7? It would be greatly appreciated!

    • Grouse Beater says:

      Might take me a day or two to photograph and them e-mail.
      I’ll get a colleague to scan and send it but please be patient…

      Are you a student there, Andrew, or an employed research assistant?

      • Andrew says:

        My wife is employed by the university – I’m a curious independent & book-dealer who happened to buy a copy of this book, and it’s lacking part of pages 7 & 8 (the Edinburgh University digital library has provided page 8).

        I can now see that Edinburgh University has a hard copy, so I am happy to look at theirs once they re-open after the holidays if it’s a faff for you to send a scanned image. Thank you for your time either way!

  4. jimnarlene says:

    “We Scotsmen are used to the heat of defamation heaped upon us when we make any defence of our sovereignty and the independence of our Crown.”

    No change there.

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