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Scotland in the Age of Two Revolutions

Scotland in the Age of Two Revolutions

Sharon Adams
Julian Goodare
Copyright Date: 2014
Edition: NED - New edition
Published by: Boydell and Brewer,
Pages: 240
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  • Book Info
    Scotland in the Age of Two Revolutions
    Book Description:

    The seventeenth century was one of the most dramatic periods in Scotland's history, with two political revolutions, intense religious strife culminating in the beginnings of toleration, and the modernisation of the state and its infrastructure. This book focuses on the history that the Scots themselves made. Previous conceptualisations of Scotland's 'seventeenth century' have tended to define it as falling between 1603 and 1707 - the union of crowns and the union of parliaments. In contrast, this book asks how seventeenth-century Scotland would look if we focused on things that the Scots themselves wanted and chose to do. Here the key organising dates are not 1603 and 1707 but 1638 and 1689: the covenanting revolution and the Glorious Revolution. Within that framework, the book develops several core themes. One is regional and local: the book looks at the Highlands and the Anglo-Scottish Borders. The increasing importance of money in politics and the growing commercialisation of Scottish society is a further theme addressed. Chapters on this theme, like those on the nature of the Scottish Revolution, also discuss central government and illustrate the growth of the state. A third theme is political thought and the world of ideas. The intellectual landscape of seventeenth-century Scotland has often been perceived as less important and less innovative, and such perceptions are explored and in some cases challenged in this volume.Two stories have tended to dominate the historiography of seventeenth-century Scotland: Anglo-Scottish relations and religious politics. One of the recent leitmotifs of early modern British history has been the stress on the 'Britishness' of that history and the interaction between the three kingdoms which constituted the 'Atlantic archipelago'. The two revolutions at the heart of the book were definitely Scottish, even though they were affected by events elsewhere. This is Scottish history, but Scottish history which recognises and is informed by a British context where appropriate. The interconnected nature of religion and politics is reflected in almost every contribution to this volume.SHARON ADAMS is Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the University of Freiburg. JULIAN GOODARE is Reader in History at the University of Edinburgh.Contributors: Sharon Adams, Caroline Erskine, Julian Goodare, Anna Groundwater, Maurice Lee Jnr, Danielle McCormack, Alasdair Raffe, Laura Rayner, Sherrilynn Theiss, Sally Tuckett, Douglas Watt

    eISBN: 978-1-78204-331-7
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Figures and Tables
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. List of Contributors
    (pp. xi-xii)
  5. Preface
    (pp. xiii-xiii)
    Sharon Adams and Julian Goodare
  6. List of Abbreviations
    (pp. xiv-xiv)
  7. 1 Scotland and its Seventeenth-Century Revolutions
    (pp. 1-22)

    Seventeenth-century Scotland saw two political revolutions. Along with these came intense religious strife culminating in the beginnings of toleration, and the modernisation of the state and its infrastructure. In this book we present some of the latest research on seventeenth-century Scotland, especially (though not solely) its political and religious history. In a period when political ideologies were presented so much in religious terms, it can be hard to separate the two.

    This book is distinctive because it focuses on the history that the Scots themselves made during the seventeenth century. One of the most seductive and sometimes misleading aspects of...

  8. 2 The Middle Shires Divided: Tensions at the Heart of Anglo-Scottish Union
    (pp. 23-40)

    On 7 April 1603, as James VI and I rode south to assume his English crown, he stopped at Berwick to proclaim that since ‘the pairt of baith the countreyes quhilk of late wes callit the Marchis and Bordouris’, is now ‘be the happie union … the verie hart of the countrey’; the former English and Scottish marches were to be rechristened the ‘Middle Shires’.¹ In doing so, he was attempting to create a cross-border entity out of two regions that had a month previously been divided by a frontier between two independent sovereignties. To accomplish this, James was to...

  9. 3 The Western Highlands and Isles and Central Government, 1616–1645
    (pp. 41-58)

    The key to understanding the influence of national politics on the Western Highlands and Isles lies in the very nature of the tenuous relationship between the Western Highlands and Isles and central government. The experiences of those in the Western Highlands and Isles differed from their Highland counterparts east of the central Druim Alban Range; this was the territory formerly under the Lordship of the Isles and for centuries had been fraught with bloodshed. The animosity in the region towards the Campbells of Argyll and the lingering ties to Ireland and Catholicism created a political situation that resulted in the...

  10. 4 The Scottish Bishops in Government, 1625–1638
    (pp. 59-78)

    In the Glasgow general assembly of November 1638, the Scottish episcopate was deposed in its entirety. With previous general assemblies declared null and void, the authority of the episcopate was abolished and the future of presbyteries was secured.³ All fourteen bishops were removed from their position as prelates, and nine of them were excommunicated. Charges levelled at the bishops included drunkenness, breaking the Sabbath, Arminianism,⁴ and responsibility for the hated Prayer Book of 1637. The words of Sir James Balfour quoted above, however, point to a further reason for the bishops’ downfall: their secular ambition and role as councillors to...

  11. 5 The Scottish Revolution
    (pp. 79-96)

    To understand seventeenth-century Scotland it is essential to understand the revolution that occurred in the middle years of the century.² That revolution casts long shadows backwards and forwards through the period, with some of its origins readily detectable at the beginning of the century and even before, and with its effects working their way through the whole of the rest of it. As early as 1596, the attemptedcoup d’étatof that year has distinct parallels with the events of 1637–38.³ As late as 1707, there could have been no union of parliaments with England if the revolution had...

  12. 6 In Search of the Scottish Republic
    (pp. 97-114)

    On 30 January 1649, Charles I stepped out of the window of the Banqueting House of the Palace of Whitehall onto the scaffold on which his execution would take place, an event that brought to an end ‘One Act of our lamentable Tragedy’.² Notoriously, the Scots began the next act of their tragedy with the proclamation of his son, Charles II, not just as king of Scots, but as king of Great Britain and Ireland. This provoked an invasion of Scotland by Oliver Cromwell in the summer of 1650, which resulted in two humiliating Scottish defeats, first at Dunbar on...

  13. 7 Highland Lawlessness and the Cromwellian Regime
    (pp. 115-134)

    The issue of ‘lawlessness’ is central to the history of the Scottish Highlands in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. King James VI decried Highland lawlessness, justifying his policies towards the region on the basis that it was a troublesome area that needed to be controlled. Increased official interest in the Highlands eventually led to the assimilation of the region into the cultural and social norms of the rest of Scotland and Britain.¹ However, this lawlessness which justified government policy was not regarded only as a physical threat or as a problem of law and order. It symbolised the social and...

  14. 8 The Worcester Veterans and the Restoration Regime in Scotland
    (pp. 135-154)

    Charles II, famously, hated the year he spent in Scotland in 1650–51.¹ It was a curious year: a young and untried king, subjected at first to all sorts of humiliation, whose authority and influence grew in direct proportion to the military disasters suffered by the forces of the party that had brought him back to Scotland. On 31 July 1651, with Cromwell’s forces in control of Fife and about to occupy Perth, Charles, his ramshackle army and some members of the committee of estates left Stirling on the only road open to them: the road south. Charles was at...

  15. 9 The Political Thought of the Restoration Covenanters
    (pp. 155-172)

    The covenanting struggle of the Restoration period, between 1660 and 1688, was very different from the movement that had sought from 1638 to resist the episcopal innovations and absolutist ambitions of Charles I and to seek the extension of presbyterianism in England and Ireland as well as Scotland.¹ The National Covenant represented Scotland as a presbyterian nation, and in the 1640s, through military intervention in both England and Ireland, Scotland became a major player in the political and religious tumults of the three kingdoms. From this time until 1660, the established church of Scotland remained presbyterian, despite Scotland’s changing fortunes...

  16. 10 Scottish State Oaths and the Revolution of 1688–1690
    (pp. 173-192)

    How radical was the Scottish Revolution of 1688–90?¹ Until the 1990s, historians saw the overthrow of James VII and the settling of the crown on William and Mary as the actions of a cautious political elite. In this interpretation, the Scots were ‘reluctant revolutionaries’. They produced few or no innovations in political thought, and justified their actions in the conservative terms of feudal law.² Scholars depicted the Revolution settlement as a response to developments in England, and argued that the Claim of Right, a catalogue of the illegal practices of the former regime, was based on the English Bill...

  17. 11 The Tribulations of Everyday Government in Williamite Scotland
    (pp. 193-210)

    Challenges of the day in the 1690s in Scotland were indeed challenges. A decade that saw revolution and counter-uprisings, famine, emigration, currency shortages and war was never likely to be an easy one for those tasked with governing the country. Even dealing with just one of those challenges would have been difficult, but a decade facing all of the calamities put enormous pressure on those in power.

    Studies of this period have often been focused on the activities of the Scottish parliament during the reign of William and Mary, or, conversely, on activities at a local level. There has not...

  18. 12 The Company of Scotland and Scottish Politics, 1696–1701
    (pp. 211-230)

    The Company of Scotland Trading to Africa and the Indies was established by act of parliament in 1695, and between 1698 and 1700 attempted to establish a colony at Darien on the isthmus of Central America. The historiography of this well-known episode has focused on the company as an instrument of colonialism.¹ However, the abandonment of the Darien settlement was also central to the political crisis that developed over the period 1698–1701. There was vociferous opposition in parliament, and extra-parliamentary activity including two national addresses, a propaganda battle and popular protest on the streets.² One commentator in June 1700...

  19. Chronology of Seventeenth-Century Scotland
    (pp. 231-236)
  20. Further Reading
    (pp. 237-248)
  21. Index
    (pp. 249-254)
  22. Back Matter
    (pp. 255-257)