The Act of Union was only contemplated, Craig (2011) suggests, because Scotland was bankrupt following the financial disaster that was the Darien scheme. Scotland's precarious economic situation gave England the opportunity to "finally neutralise the threats" posed by its "troublesome northern neighbour."
Now the Scottish members of the Commission that was drawing up the draft Treaty of Union hade all been chosen precisely because they seemed likely to support Queen Anne's desire for an "incorporating Union."
And sure enough the document they eventually produced -and which was put before the Scottish Parliament- was "nothing more than a suicide note awaiting signature." By virtue of its terms the Scottish Parliament would cease to exist (Oliver 2009).
Yet again though nothing was left to chance with money being paid directly to Scottish nobles to make sure "they voted their own country out of existence." They were indeed a "parcel of rouges" as Burns so aptly surmised!
The decision was almost universally unpopular. Ordinary people felt betrayed and Home Rule for Scotland was back on the political agenda "before the ink on the Treaty of Union had dried" (Craig 2011).
Craig (2011) argues in fact that a longing for Scotland's lost nationhood was a "powerful driver" of the Jacobite Risings of the first half of the 18th century.
The United Scotsmen in the 1790s included George Mealmaker amongst their number. They mobilised against the Militia Act and were for a democratic republic with annual parliaments.
Then there was the Radical Rising of 1820. Leaders such as James Baird, Andrew Hardie and James Wilson died for their ideals. Their call was "Scotland Free or a Desert!"
In 1852 the National Association for the Vindication of Scottish Rights was formed. It published a pamphlet, "Justice for Scotland", which credulously claimed that "it is only when the affairs of one nation are managed by the men of another or by an unpatriotic clique within itself that it is neglected or misruled (Scott 1997).
Later in the 18th century Scots asked, amidst all the talk of Home Rule for Ireland, why if it was desirable for one Celtic nation why was it not desirable for another? A Scottish Home Rule Association was formed in 1886. Robert Smillie, Cunninghame Graham and Keir Hardie were all Vice Presidents at various times.
The early labour movement -with the Independent Labour Party very much to the fore- said a "determined effort should be made to secure Home Rule for Scotland." The aim was to "secure the establishment of a Scottish Parliament upon a completely democratic basis." Govan MP Neil Maclean added that Home Rule meant "civilisation in Scotland, plenty and security for the Scottish people in the land of their birth."
Yet by the early 30s enthusiasm had begun to wane. Successive Home Rule bills had fallen by the wayside. Even the STUC withdrew support in 1931. So it was down to others to keep the "flame of self determination burning."
The SNP was formed in 1934 from the merger of the left leaning National Party of Scotland and the centre right Scottish Party. It wanted the "restoration of Scottish National sovereignty by the establishment of a democratic Scottish Government."
Post war there was John MacCormick and the cross party Scottish Convention. They launched the Scottish Covenant in 1948 at a ceremony at the Church of Scotland Assembly Hall on the Mound. Some two million signed a demand for a Scottish Parliament with "adequate legislative authority."
Which brings us closer to the present. For on 11 September 1997 74% voted YES in a referendum for a Scottish Parliament. On 12 May 1997 the MSP Winnie Ewing was then able to declare that the Scottish Parliament adjourned on 25th day of March 1707 is "hereby reconvened."