My Life in Pictures

By fotoflingscot

Robert Burns "Bought and Sold for English Gold"

Today we celebrate the life of Robert Burns who was born on 25th January 1759.
Burns wrote a song entitled "Such a Parcel of Rogues in a Nation" and the words from this song "Bought and Sold for English Gold" come to mind. The song was written as a protest against the Act of Union, 1707, which joined the parliaments of England and Scotland. Although initially against the Act, the Scottish parliament eventually agreed to the Union after certain personal payments were made to the 31 commissioners (government ministers and officials, businessmen and bankers) appointed to handle the negotiations. Daniel Defoe reported that "for every Scot in favour [of the Union] there is 99 against". However the Scots people had no say. England paid nearly £400,000 (approx £893 million in today's money) in compensation to those commissioners and MPs who had recently heavily invested in, but were nearly ruined by the failed Darien scheme. And, Sir George Lockhart a member of the Scottish Parliament and the Commission on the Union penned a detailed note on further bribes made to listed individuals amounting to £20,540 (approx £4.7 million in today's money).

Thus Today's Blip features a shot of the Burns Monument at the foot of Calton Hill in Edinburgh (modelled on the ancient Choragic Monument of Lysicrates in Athens) merged with Lockhart's list of alleged bribes to specified beneficiaries.

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