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Very Good in Very Good jacket. 8.5 x 5.5 x 1.1 inches. Peaceable surrender of independence by a country is a rare event, a parliament voting itself out of existence rarer still, yet both happened in Scotland in 1707. The Act of Union and the birth of Great Britain-the most important event in Scottish history and of incalculable significance for England's development-has little resonance but extreme relevance now when devolution is on everyone's lips. David Daiches tells the remarkable story of the debates and manoeuvres, the 'brisk speeches' and 'great heats' which electrified the last Scottish parliament for four years as the arguments over the crucial issue swayed back and forth across the great hall of Parliament House in Edinburgh. Scottish stubbornness was matched by English arrogance, appeals to patriotism countered by pointing to the grim state of the Scottish economy. Strange alliances were formed, even the Jacobites and the diehard Covenanting Cameronians finding common ground for a short time. As much as possible the powerful and emotive words of the participants themselves are used-Lockhart of Carnwath, Fletcher of Saltoun, the elusive Duke of Hamilton, Daniel Defoe, the Earl of Seafield. As well as this central concern of the book David Daiches goes into the I7th-century antecedents of the debate-the bitterness over the Darien disaster, the horrors of Glencoe-and still further back to the first stirrings of Scottish nationality. He also allows himself to speculate on the succeeding two and a half centuries in the life of North Britain, the gains and the losses, the considerable improvements to and insidious perversions of the Nation and national character. As the air is filled once more with debate on this theme it is imperative to view the arguments in some perspective and depth. David Daiches provides both and at the same time shows many of the arguments to be very much older than people realise.
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