King's, Marischal and the Question of Union
The Union was not just a matter of national politics. Scotland's towns and universities had to adjust to the changes brought about by the new relationship with England.
With two well-established burghs (Old and New Aberdeen) and two university colleges, King's (founded 1495) and Marischal (founded 1593), Aberdeen was accustomed to dealing with complex questions of compromise and amalgamation. Many of Aberdeen's political leaders were hostile to the prospect of union. The provost of New Aberdeen in 1706-7, John Allardyce, represented the burgh at the last session of the Scottish Parliament. He failed to vote either for parliamentary union or the Hanoverian succession. Consequently, it is hardly surprising that the British authorities deemed Aberdeen to be a hot bed of disaffection and Jacobitism.
The two colleges had already been subject to an unpopular and ultimately unworkable union, the Caroline University, in 1641. Now, in 1707, the political and ideological divisions over the Union of the Parliaments were played out in the two colleges, and in the town.
Maces of King's College and Marischal College
King's College and Marischal College both have mid-seventeenth century ceremonial maces. While the silver-gilt mace of Marischal College (on the right) is probably one of a number made in London in the early 1660s to replace those that had been destroyed during the previous decade, that of King's College (on the left) is much more significant. It was made in 1650 by the Aberdeen silversmith Walter Melville for the visit of Charles II. The heraldic message of the College's loyalty to the Crown is emphasised by the motto "God Save the King".