ANNE—HOW THE UNION JACK WAS MADE
Edinburgh was rejoicing at the victory over the Spaniards,
when close upon the heels of that news came the news of
the utter ruin of the Darien Colony.
The whole land was filled with tears and anger.
Almost every family had lost some dear one, almost every
household was made poorer. All the money, which had
been so eagerly given towards the forming of the com
pany, had been thrown away. It had cost Scotland more
than three hundred thousand pounds.
Perhaps the Darien scheme would never have suc
ceeded. It was a dream too splendid, an undertaking too
great, for a poor country. The climate of Darien was one
in which it was almost impossible for men used to a cold
country to live. Although the Spaniards made no outcry
until they saw the Scots forsaken by their King, perhaps
they really had already claimed the country. But at the
time the Scots would allow no such defence. The feeling
from end to end of Scotland was that the failure of the
colony was due to English jealousy, and to that alone.
All the old bitter hatred between the two countries was
stirred to life.
Then it was that King William and many wise men
saw that the only way to end this bitter feeling was to
draw the two countries closer together—to make them
one. For although one King ruled the two countries
HOW THE UNION JACK WAS MADE 383
there was no true union between the peoples. But
neither Englishmen nor Scotsmen were ready for union,
and in 1701 a.d. King William died. Queen Mary had
died six years before him, and Princess Anne, Queen
Mary’s sister, now became Queen.
As Queen Anne’s children had all died before she came
to the throne, there was no near heir to the crown except
her brother, the young son of James VII. But he was a
Roman Catholic, and therefore could not reign. And in
case there should be quarrelling as to who should succeed,
the English decided that it would be better to settle the
question while Anne lived. So they passed an act called
the Act of Succession, giving the throne to the descend
ants of Elizabeth, the daughter of James VI., who had
married the King of Bohemia, or the Prince Palatine, as
he was perhaps more often called.
The Scottish Parliament, on the other hand, passed an
Act called the Act of Security, which left it very doubt
ful indeed as to who they would have to reign over them
when Queen Anne was dead. This frightened the Eng
lish, for they saw that if one King ruled over England, and
another over Scotland, the old days of war and bloodshed
would soon be back again.
Even as it was the two countries treated each other
badly. They seized each other‘s trading vessels, and
annoyed each other in every way. Many of the English
saw that it must either be union or war. It was cheaper
to let Scotland have a share in English trade than to
fight, so they became eager for union. But most of the
Scots still hated the thought of it. It meant giving up
their Parliament and joining the English Parliament. To
many that seemed like giving up freedom—the freedom
for which they or their fathers had fought for hundreds of
‘ What I shall we in half an hour yield what our fore
fathers maintained with their lives and their fortunes for
many ages ? Are none of the descendants here of those
patriots who defended the liberty of their country, who
helped the great King Robert ? Where are the Douglases
and the Campbells ? Where are the peers and the barons,
once the bulwark of the nation ? ’ asked one old lord, and
the tears came to the eyes of many who heard him, as
they thought of all the gallant struggles for freedom that
their country had lived through.
But the friends of the union saw clearly that whatever
Scotland might lose, she would gain much more, and that
in the long run union would not mean bondage, but a
truer freedom. So they would not give up their point
The Scottish Parliament met yet once more. For the
last time there was a solemn Riding. From every corner
of the kingdom the nobles and the people crowded to
Edinburgh. Up the High Street the lords and members
of Parliament rode, in all the splendour of their glittering
robes, each with his train of gentlemen and servants.
Trumpeters and heralds followed, then the crown and
sceptre carried before the Lord High Commissioner, who
took the place of the Queen. The streets were lined with
soldiers, and behind them crowded the people with angry,
anxious faces, cheering those who were against the union,
cursing those who were for it, as they passed. Then the
doors of the grim old Parliament Houses closed upon the
gay procession, and the streets were once more left to the
surging, passionate crowd.
Within the Parliament Hall there was noise and anger
enough while the question of union was debated. Tongues
said bitter things, hands were laid on sword hilts, eyes
flashed hatred. But at last, hard common-sense, helped on
by the glitter of English gold, broke down all resistance.
HOW THE UNION JACK WAS MADE 385
It was agreed that England should give Scotland a
large sum of money. This money was to help to repay
what had been lost over the Darien scheme—lost by
‘ misunderstandings and unkindnesses between the two
kingdoms,’ and also to make up to Scotland for having
now to take a share of England‘s national debt. But, it
is said, much of this money was used to bribe the lords,
and to buy their votes for the union. This was not very
grand or noble of the lords, yet money has often been put
to a worse use, for in the long run the union was a good
It was agreed that each country should keep its own
religion, and its own law courts, but that they should have
the same money, the same flag, the same Parliament, and
the same King. It was also agreed that the crown and
sceptre of Scotland should never be taken out of the
country, and, in case that the English should be tempted
to take them, the Scots locked them up in a strong box.
This box was put into a room in Edinburgh castle. The
window was barred, the heavy door was locked and pad
locked, and there, for many years, the famous Regalia,
the crown which had been placed upon so many wise and
so many foolish heads, the sceptre which had been held by
so many strong, and so many feeble hands, remained shut
away from sight, until its very existence was almost for
The patron saint of Scotland is St. Andrew, and the
flag of Scotland was a white St. Andrew‘s cross upon a
blue ground. The patron saint of England is St. George,
and the English flag was a red St. George‘s cross on a
white ground. To make one flag the two crosses were
placed one on the top of the other, and they made some
thing very like the Union Jack ; but not quite. The flag
that is known and respected all over the wide world was
SCOTLAND S STORY
not complete until about a hundred years later, when
Ireland’s red St Patrick’s cross was added to the other
James VI. used to sign his name in French—Jacques.
It sounds rather like Jack, and his flags came to be
called the Jacks, and when the two were made one it
was called the Union Jack, and has been called so ever
On the 22nd of April 1707 a.d. the Scottish Parlia
ment rose for the last time. ‘ That is the end of an old
song,’ said one of the nobles, and we may believe that he
said the jesting words with a heavy heart.
On the 23rd October of the same year the first British
Parliament met. And so at last the two nations who had
been enemies always, who had in three hundred and four
teen battles killed more than a million of each other, were
made one. You may be sure that they did not settle
down into friendship all at once. Indeed, a few years
later the Parliament of Britain proposed that the Union
should be broken, and the proposal was only rejected by
four votes in the House of Lords.
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