A Union Broken? Restoration Politics in Scotland

Was power really devolved to Scotland in 1660, asks John Patrick, when the restoration of Charles II led to the recreation of separate Scottish institutions?

When Charles II was restored to the throne in 1660 he found England and Scotland united into one commonwealth. This union had been in de facto existence for nearly nine years, and there is a good deal of evidence to suggest that many Scots welcomed the firm and generally fair administration which resulted from it. None the less, it was taken for granted at the Restoration that Charles would re-instate a separate Scottish administration. There were, indeed, compelling reasons for such a step. First, the union was essentially a republican institution, and was therefore bound to be suspect to the restored monarchy. Next, it was very unpopular in England, largely because it cost the English taxpayer a formidable sum every year to maintain. Finally, whatever 'the meaner sort' of Scot thought of it, Scottish nobles, clergy and lawyers all found their rights and privileges diminished by the union and were eager to be rid of it.

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