In different ways the watershed events of the 1707 Anglo‐Scottish Treaty of Union, the Jacobite rising of 1745, and Britain's agricultural revolution transformed Scottish political economy. These transitional moments were rooted in the British Atlantic empire's contiguous system of mercantile exchange and its commonwealth defence. Scottish nationalism changed under this far‐reaching shadow of empire. This article examines the ways in which the jurist and polymath Henry Homes, Lord Kames's political economy of husbandry attempted to reform an Enlightenment version of Scottish national identity as a safeguard against the uncertainties of the British empire. Gentlemen farmers led Lord Kames's agricultural Enlightenment.