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2 The Age of Islay 1746-1761 Scotland between 1746 and 1761 was a developing society, econom- ically, socially, and culturally. Its development was, however, pro- foundly conditioned by the fact that it took place within a relatively unchanging framework of political power derived in its forms from two main sources. The Act of Union gave Scottish politics new para- meters within which to work. The supreme prizes of the electoral system were the 45 seats in the House of Commons and the 16 places for representative peers in the Westminster House of Lords