In 1707 Scotland became united with England, and this was motivated mainly by the idea that the parliamentary Union would promote its economic development (Whatley 1994; Whyte 1995:296-97; Whyte 1997:157-59). 1 In fact, the Treaty of the Union proves that England made economic and financial concessions to Scotland in exchange for political advantages that such a union would provide (Whatley 2000:50-51). But after a few decades, it was increasingly clear that the new Union had fallen short of Scottish expectations of being able to develop Scotland's economy with the assistance of the Union regime. On the contrary, as shown in the Jacobite expedition in 1708, the Jacobite Rebellions of 1715, the Malt Tax Riots in 1725, the Porteous Riots in 1736 and so on, the Union regime can be argued not to have worked particularly well (Devine 1999:17-24). In reality the economic effects of the Union were hardly able to manifest themselves in the eyes of the Scottish people.
In the meantime, the Scottish political class devoted their efforts to economic progress: they founded the Society of Improvers in the Knowledge of Agriculture in Scotland in 1723 and the Board of Trustees for Fisheries and Manufacture in Scotland in 1727. However, as historical evidence shows, no substantial economic development took place until the middle decades of the eighteenth century (for example see Devine 1999:58; Whyte 1995:299-300; Whyte 1997:160-65). Nevertheless, we should not underrate the importance of the 1720s and 1730s, during which there arose among Scottish writers a debate as to what policies the Board of Trustees should propose and implement, and on what grounds. 2 In particular, the writers had to face the fact that the economic agents of Scotland had not yet acquired the ethics and ethos of a market economy, despite the Union regime. In order to develop the Scottish economy, it seemed to be essential to solve this problem because it was supposedly the Scottish people themselves who could turn the possibility of economic growth triggered by the Union into a substantial reality (Whyte 1995:300, and an earlier work, Campbell 1974). In this sense a shaping of adequate economic agents could have meant that the Scottish economy changed in terms of quality during this period.
This chapter will review the policy debate from the 1720s to the 1730s in Scotland, focusing on how the debaters dealt with this problem and how they