The Act of Union with England was the last Act of the old Scottish parliament. A similar Act, Act of Union with Scotland, was the last Act of the old English parliament. But there could be no Acts without a treaty first between the countries, an international treaty called the Treaty of Union. The Acts ratified and approved the treaty and made it into law in both countries.
The Treaty of Union is still there (you can see it) and Scotland and England are still separate sovereign countries that happen to be in a union it created. The British State would have you believe that the UK is a ‘country’ and a ‘nation’ but the reality is that there is no country that can be called the UK. Scotland can leave the union anytime it likes. We don’t have to ask.
(Notes: there are actually two acts here, the Act of Union itself and the Act For Securing The Protestant Religion and Presbyterian Church Government, to which the Act of Union was and still is inextricably linked. The opening text or ‘preamble’ of the Act of Union is just a big block of text, as is the entire Act for Securing the Protestant religion, so I’ve split them up to make it easier to read. All emphases are also mine.)
Act ratifying and approving the treaty of union of the two kingdoms of Scotland and England
The estates of parliament, considering that articles of union of the kingdoms of Scotland and England were agreed on 22 July 1706 by the commissioners nominated on behalf of this kingdom, under her majesty’s great seal of Scotland, bearing date 27 February last, passed in pursuance of the fourth act of the third session of this parliament, and the commissioners nominated on behalf of the kingdom of England, under her majesty’s great seal of England, bearing date at Westminster, 10 April last, passed in pursuance of an act of parliament made in England the third year of her majesty’s reign, to treat of and concerning a union of the said kingdoms, which articles were, in all humility, presented to her majesty upon 23 July, and were recommended to this parliament by her majesty’s royal letter of the date 31 July 1706.
And that the said estates of parliament have agreed to and approve of the said articles of union, with some additions and explanations as is contained in the articles hereafter inserted.
And likewise, her majesty, with advice and consent of the estates of parliament, resolving to establish the Protestant religion and presbyterian church government within this kingdom, has passed in this session of parliament an act entitled, Act for securing of the Protestant religion and presbyterian church government, which, by the tenor thereof, is appointed to be inserted in any act ratifying the treaty and expressly declared to be a fundamental and essential condition of the said treaty or union in all time coming.
Therefore, her majesty, with advice and consent of the estates of parliament, in fortification of the approbation of the articles as above-mentioned, and for their further and better establishment of the same, upon full and mature deliberation upon the foresaid articles of union and act of parliament, does ratify, approve and confirm the same, with the additions and explanations contained in the said articles, in manner and under the provision after- mentioned, whereof the tenor follows.
The next 25 clauses of the Act simply repeated the Articles of the Treaty.
Act for securing the Protestant religion and presbyterian church government
Follows the tenor of the foresaid act for securing the Protestant religion and presbyterian church government.
Our sovereign lady and the estates of parliament, considering that by the late act of parliament for a treaty with England for a union of both kingdoms it is provided that the commissioners for that treaty should not treat of or concerning any alteration of the worship, discipline and government of the church of this kingdom as now by law established, which treaty, being now reported to the parliament and it being reasonable and necessary that the true Protestant religion, as presently professed within this kingdom, with the worship, discipline and government of this church, should be effectually and unalterably secured, therefore, her majesty, with advice and consent of the said estates of parliament, does hereby establish and confirm the said true Protestant religion and the worship, discipline and government of this church, to continue without any alteration to the people of this land, in all succeeding generations.
And more especially, her majesty, with advice and consent foresaid, ratifies, approves and forever confirms the fifth act of the first parliament of King William and Queen Mary entitled, act ratifying the Confession of Faith and settling presbyterian church government, with the whole other acts of parliament relating thereto, in prosecution of the declaration of the estates of this kingdom containing the Claim of Right, bearing date 11 April 1689.
And her majesty, with advice and consent foresaid, expressly provides and declares that the foresaid true Protestant religion contained in the above-mentioned Confession of Faith, with the form and purity of worship presently in use within this church and its presbyterian church government and discipline, that is to say the government of the church by kirk sessions, presbyteries, provincial synods and general assemblies, all established by the foresaid acts of parliament pursuant to the Claim of Right, shall remain and continue unalterable, and that the said presbyterian government shall be the only government of the church within the kingdom of Scotland.
And further, for the greater security of the foresaid Protestant religion and of the worship, discipline and government of this church as above established, her majesty, with advice and consent foresaid, statutes and ordains that the universities and colleges of St Andrews, Glasgow, Aberdeen and Edinburgh, as now established by law, shall continue within this kingdom forever, and that in all time coming no professors, principals, regents, masters or others bearing office, in any university, college or school within this kingdom, be capable or be admitted or allowed to continue in the exercise of their said functions, but such as shall own and acknowledge the civil government in manner prescribed, or to be prescribed by the acts of parliament.
As also, that before or at their admissions they do and shall acknowledge, and profess and shall subscribe to the foresaid Confession of Faith as the confession of their faith, and that they will practise and conform themselves to the worship presently in use in this church, and submit themselves to the government and discipline thereof, and never endeavour, directly or indirectly, the prejudice or subversion of the same, and that before the respective presbyteries of their bounds by whatsoever gift, presentation or provision they may be thereto provided. And further, her majesty, with advice foresaid, expressly declares and statutes that none of the subjects of this kingdom shall be liable to, but all and every one of them forever free of, any oath, test or subscription within this kingdom contrary to or inconsistent with the foresaid true Protestant religion and presbyterian church government, worship and discipline as above established, and that the same within the bounds of this church and kingdom shall never be imposed upon or required of them in any sort.
And lastly, that after the decease of her present majesty (whom God long preserve) the sovereign succeeding to her in the royal government of the kingdom of Great Britain shall, in all time coming, at his or her accession to the crown, swear and subscribe that they shall inviolably maintain and preserve the foresaid settlement of the true Protestant religion with the government, worship, discipline, right and privileges of this church, as above established by the laws of this kingdom, in prosecution of the Claim of Right.
And it is hereby statute and ordained that this act of parliament, with the establishment therein contained, shall be held and observed in all time coming as a fundamental and essential condition of any treaty or union to be concluded betwixt the two kingdoms, without any alteration thereof or derogation thereto in any sort forever.
As also, that this act of parliament and settlement therein contained shall be inserted and repeated in any act of parliament that shall pass for agreeing and concluding the foresaid treaty or union between the two kingdoms, and that the same shall be therein expressly declared to be a fundamental and essential condition of the said treaty or union in all time coming.
Which articles of union and act immediately above-written, her majesty, with advice and consent foresaid, statutes, enacts and ordains to be and continue in all time coming the sure and perpetual foundation of a complete and entire union of the two kingdoms of Scotland and England under this express condition and provision, that the approbation and ratification of the foresaid articles and act shall be in no way binding on this kingdom until the said articles and act be ratified, approved and confirmed by her majesty, with and by the authority of the parliament of England, as they are now agreed to, approved and confirmed by her majesty, with and by the authority of the parliament of Scotland, declaring, nevertheless, that the parliament of England may provide for the security of the church of England as they think expedient, to take place within the bounds of the said kingdom of England, and not derogating from the security above provided for establishing of the church of Scotland within the bounds of this kingdom.
As also, the said parliament of England may extend the additions and other provisions contained in the articles of union as above inserted in favour of the subjects of Scotland to and in favour of the subjects of England which shall not suspend or derogate from the force and effect of this present ratification, but shall be understood as herein included without the necessity of any new ratification in the parliament of Scotland.
And lastly, her majesty enacts and declares that all laws and statutes in this kingdom so far as they are contrary to or inconsistent with the terms of these articles as above-mentioned shall, from and after the union, cease and become void.