Westminster debates the Articles

On 28 January 1707, 12 days after Edinburgh ratified the Articles of Union, the Queen formally presented them for ratification to Parliament at Westminster.

Two sittings in the Commons

The House of Commons debated the Articles from 1 – 11th February 1707. Only two sittings of the committee of the whole house were needed to go through all 25 articles.

Concern that the Queen’s ministers were hurrying the proceedings for proper consideration provoked sarcastic shouts of "post-haste, post-haste!" from MPs.

Tories stand firm in the Lords

Proceedings in the Lords began on 15 February, and the Tories, though no match for the combined forces of the Court and the Junto, were determined to dig in.

Although they generally favoured union, they found fault with many of the provisions, and voiced fears about the safety of the constitution and of the Church of England.

There were objections to almost every Article and votes were held on several but the opposition vote was never higher than 23. The Lords finished scrutinising the Articles on 27 February.

Ratification

In the meantime, the Commons approved a bill to ratify the Articles. It was debated in the Lords on 1 March, which provided a further opportunity for Tory peers to debate the wisdom of confirming the Scottish Kirk Act as part of the Union.

A last-minute attempt to have the Act removed from the Treaty was unsuccessful, and on 6 March 1707 the Queen attended the House of Lords to give her assent to the English bill ratifying the Union.

The English Act of Union was now law. Technically it was dated the Act of Union 1706, as England still used the Julian calendar, who's New Year's Day was 25 March.

Related information

Articles of Union

The paragraphs that made up the Treaty of Union.

Church of England

The Church of England (known as the Episcopal Church in Scotland) embraces a wide variation in practice and in the finer points of Christian belief, somewhere between Catholicism and Calvinism, with an episcopal hierarchy of bishops (‘episcopus’ in Latin).

Scottish Kirk

The Church of Scotland. It is a staunchly Presbyterian assembly based on the teachings of the reformer John Calvin and governed by representatives of the congregation rather than by ministers and bishops.

Ratification

Parliamentary approval of the proposed Articles.