An excerpt from the 1847 Gazetteer of Scotland
The Romans had a station on the river Clyde at this spot. The wall of Antononus, extending between the friths of Forth and Clyde, a few miles north of the city, embraced the province of Valentia in which Glasgow is situated. Though often harassed by the inroads of the Caledonians, the Romans did not abandon this station till sometime about the year 426, when they took their final leave of this island, to defend the Eternal city,' which was then assailed by the barbarous tribes which eventually overthrew the Roman empire.
History tells us little more of this locality till about the year 560, when the see of Glasgow was founded by Kentigern or St. Mungo. Upon this fact all historians are at one. Spottiswood further informs us that this Kentigern was the son of Thametis, daughter of Loth, King of the Picts; but it was never certainly known who was his father; that his mother endeavouring, in 516, to fly into the country of the Britons, in order to conceal her shame, was delivered of him near Culross. The care of his education was entrusted to Servanus, bishop of Orkney, and he very early gave tokens of extraordinary piety. Upon the death of Servanus he passed into Wales, where, living a solitary and abstemious life, he founded a monastery between the rivers Elwide and Edway. Having sojourned there a few years, he resigned his office, and returning to Scotland, made his abode at Glasgow, where he laid the foundation of "a stately church," in which he was buried at his death, on 13th Jan, 601.
We are not informed by what prince the see of Glasgow was endowed in favour of Kentigern; all that is known is that Baldred and Conwall were his disciples, the former of whom succeeded him in his bishopric, and founded a religious house at Inchinnan. For more than 500 years after this period there is no record of the see; and to account for the blank, it has been supposed that the church was destroyed by the Danes, who either slew or drove away the religious community who had settled in Glasgow.
About the year 1115, the see was refounded by David, Prince of Cumberland; and from this period downwards, the history of Glasgow, civil and ecclesiastical is generally distinct and authentic. Despite of this, however, the olden historic associations connected with Glasgow give place in interest and importance to those of many towns in Scotland whose present condition sinks into insignificance when contrasted with the commercial and manufacturing status of the capital of the west.
In 1124 David succeeded his brother Alexander I. as king of Scotland, and promoted his chaplain, John Achaius, to the bishopric in 1129. The new bishop rebuilt and adorned a part of the cathedral church, which he solemnly consecrated upon the 9th of July, 1136, at which solemnity the king was present, and gave to the church the lands of Perdeyc, now Partick. This prelate divided the diocese into the two archdeaconries of Glasgow and Teviotdale, and established the offices of dean, subdean, chancellor, treasurer, sacrist, chanter, and successor, and settled a prebendary upon each of them out of the donatives he had received from the king. He died on the 28th of May, 1147, and was buried at Jedburgh.
July 1190 the first Glasgow Fair
Joceline, the abbot of Melrose, was bishop in 1174; and rebuilt the cathedral, or rather made an addition to the church that was built by John Achaius. This prelate appears to have interested himself much in the prosperity of the small community of Glasgow; for it was by his interest that William the Lion King of Scots, erected the town in 1190 into a royal burgh, and granted a charter "for holding a fair every year, from the 8th of the apostle Peter (29th June), and for the space of eight days complete." This fair commenced on the second Monday of July, in each year and continued during the week; it still continues, but, with the exception of the horse-market on Wednesday, it is more regarded as a gaudeamus or holiday-time for the humbler classes of the citizens, than a civic institution for the transaction of business.
In 1272, Robert Wiseheart, archdeacon of St. Andrews in Lothian, was consecrated bishop of this see, at Aberdeen. He was appointed one of the Lords of the regency upon the death of Alexander III in 1286, which office he discharged with great integrity. When the national contest between Bruce and Baliol broke out, and King Edward, as umpire, had ordered the competitors to meet him at Norham, the bishop of Glasgow also attended.
On this occasion Edward told the assembled prelates and nobles that although he might justly claim the superiority of the kingdom of Scotland, as his by right, yet as a friend and arbiter elected by themselves, he would labour to compose the present controversy in the best manner he could; for the right, said he, although there are different pretenders, belongeth only to one, and for myself I determine to wrong no man; but to do that which is just, assuring myself you will all acquiesce, and take him for king who shall be pronounced so to be.
The king having concluded his oration, Robert, Bishop of Glasgow, arose and gave him hearty thanks, in the name of the rest, for the good affection be bore to their country, and the pains he had taken to come and remove their debates; assuring him at the same time, that it was from the good opinion they entertained of his wisdom and equity, that they had submitted to him, as sole arbiter, the judgment and decision of this weighty affair; but when it had pleased him to speak of a right of superiority over the kingdom, it was sufficiently known that Scotland from the foundation of the state, had been a free and independent kingdom and not subject to any other power whatsoever that their ancestors had defended themselves against the Romans, Picts, Britons, Saxons, and Danes, and all others who sought to usurp upon them; and although, said he, the present occasion hath bred some distraction in men's minds, all true-hearted Scotsmen will stand for the liberty of their country to their deaths.
When the war afterwards broke out on account of Edward's encroachments upon the independence of the kingdom, no one more vigorously withstood his tyrannic aggressions than Robert, Bishop of Glasgow: for which he was thrown into prison by the usurper, and only released after the battle of Bannockburn, when he was exchanged by the English for another person of quality. He died in 1316, after seeing Robert the Bruce firmly seated on the throne. This excellent old prelate entirely lost his sight during his captivity; he was allowed only 6d. per day for his own table; 3d. for his upper servant, one penny for his boy, and three halfpence for his chaplain, who celebrated mass for him during his confinement.
In 1300, Glasgow was the scene of a desperate conflict between the English and Scots, and this battle is the more interesting that the latter were led on by Sir William Wallace. Edward, it appears, had appointed one of his creatures, named Anthony Beck, to the see of Glasgow, during the captivity of Bishop Wiseheart. At this time Earl Percy governed in the western district, and it is probable resided generally at Glasgow. Sir William Wallace, being in possession of the town of Ayr, left the town and fortress to the care of the townsmen; and being joined by the laird of Auchinleck, and his uncle, Adam Wallace of Richardtown, and Boyd, they borrowed English horses after it was dark, forming a squadron of 300 cavalry.
They left Ayr at 10 o'clock, pm, and arrived at Glasgow at 9 o'clock next morning, and having crossed the bridge, which was then of wood, drew up their men where the Bridgegate is now built in two columns, one under the command of his uncle and the laird of Auchinleck, who knew the road by St. Mungo's lane to the north-east quarter of Drygate to attack Lord Percy in flank; while the main body, commanded by Sir William Wallace and Boyd, marched up the high-street to meet Earl Percy and his army, which consisted of 1,000 men in armour.
The scene of action seems to have been between the Bell of the Brae and where the college now stands. Adam Wallace and Auchinleck, with 140 men, who had made a running march round the east side of the town, when the battle was doubtful, came rushing in, from the road where the Drygate now stands, upon the English column, and divided it in two. At the same instant, on hearing the cheers of his friends, Sir William stepped into the front, and with one stroke of his long sword cleft Percy's bead in two. The route of the English now became general. The gallant Aymer Vallance led off Bishop Beck, and 400 of their men, by the Rottenrow port, being all that remained of the thousand men in armour brought out to oppose Wallace at the head of 300 cavalry. He, however, availed himself of his situation. In what might be then termed a street Percy could not bring his men to act upon this small squadron.
Notwithstanding of this victory, obtained by stratagem, surprise, and valour, it was not safe for Wallace and his followers to stay here, nor yet in the old Druidical groves about the Blackfriars church, nor in the forest beyond the Molendinar burn. They marched straight to Bothwell, where they arrived at one o'clock, pm, having performed a march of 36 miles in 11 hours, fought a battle with three to one of the men of Northumberland, the best soldiers in England, gained a victory, and marched 10 miles to safe quarters at Bothwell, in 15 hours.
It was Aymer Vallance that planned and conducted the captivity of Wallace. It was in this forest the tryst was set, by Sir John Monteath, for his capture, which was brought to bear at Robroystown. The word, at the battle of Glasgow, was `Bear up the Bishop's tail,' spoken jeeringly by Sir William to his uncle when their men were drawn up at the end of the bridge." [History of Glasgow by Andrew Brown, 1797] - A portion of the above narrative has been disputed by some historians, in so far as it is averred by them that Earl Percy was not present at the engagement, but was absent at the time in the east of Scotland, or in Northumberland, and, of course; could not have fallen as is here alleged. That a battle took place, however, between Wallace and the English there can be no doubt, and the circumstances attending it long remained a most interesting subject in Glasgow oral tradition.
In 1387, when Matthew Glendinning was bishop, the spire of the cathedral was destroyed by lightening. In 1408, his successor, William Lawder, rebuilt the great tower of stone as far as the first battlement. In 1484, Robert Blackadder, the son of Sir Patrick Blackadder of Tullieallan, was translated to the see of Glasgow from that of Aberdeen. He was a liberal prelate, and expended vast sums on the church and alterages. During his incumbency the see of Glasgow was erected into an archbishopric. He was frequently employed in the public transactions with the English particularly in the year 1505, when he, in conjunction with the Earl of Bothwell and Andrew Forman, prior of Pittenweem. negotiated the marriage between James IV of Scotland, and Margaret, eldest daughter of Henry VII of England, which subsequently led to the union of the two kingdoms in the person of James VI.
About the year 1392, in the time of John Stuart, Earl of Carrick, afterwards Robert III, a mint was erected in Drygate-street, at which coins were struck. On one side was represented the King's crest crowned; but without a sceptre, with the motto, Robertus Dei Gratis Rex Scotorum; and on the other, on an inner circle, Villa de Glasgow; and on the outer circle Dominus Protector. In 1420, there was a convent for Grey friars in the neighbourhood of Greyfriars' wynd. They were patronized by the unfortunate Isabella Duchess of Albany, cousin to James I of Scotland. In 1431, she mortified the lands of Ballagan to the convent of the Grey friars at Glasgow, for "the salvation of our souls, and that. of Murdoch, Duke of Albany, of worthy memory, our dear husband; and also of Duncan, Earl of Lennox, our father, and of Walter, James, and Alexander, our sons." It is a painful feature in the history of those times that this excellent lady received from the King her cousin, as a present, the heads of her husband, her father, and two of her sons, - James having escaped by flight into Ireland.
In 1508, James Beaton, son of John Beaton of Balfour in Fife, was appointed archbishop of Glasgow. He enclosed the palace with a magnificent wall of ashler-work, and built a bastion and tower at a proper distance. This prelate was succeeded in 1522, by Gavin Dunbar, tutor to James V, and lord-chancellor. It was about this time that the doctrines of the Reformation began to be universally studied, and to take that hold on the minds of the people which eventually resulted in the complete overthrow of the Roman Catholic religion in Scotland.
It is said that the progress of the Reformation in the west of Scotland, was vastly aided by those very means which were intended to crush it, viz., the martyrdom of Russell and Kennedy. For the purpose of banishing those doctrines which caused the established clergy to tremble in their strongholds, many pious persons suffered death at St. Andrews and Edinburgh; but it was deemed expedient to make as example in Glasgow in order to intimidate the heretics of the West. Archbishop Dunbar, however, was regarded as a man who had such a thing as the heart of humanity about him; and John Lawder, Andrew Oliphant, and Friar Maltman were sent from Edinburgh, to assist and steel his feelings for the work. The men devoted to destruction were Jeremiah Russell, one of the Grey Friars in Glasgow, a man well-learned for the age in which he lived, and John Kennedy, a youth from Ayrshire, not more than 18 years of age. Upon being brought before their accusers, Kennedy evinced symptoms of trepidation, and seemed inclined to save his life by retracting his professions of attachment to the doctrines of the Reformation; but he was reassured by the gentle chiding of Russell, and remained firm to the last.
After a mock trial they were handed over - much against the will of Archbishop Dunbar - to the secular power for execution, and suffered martyrdom at a stake which had been erected at the east end of the Cathedral These were the only persons who suffered at Glasgow during the progress of the Reformation; and though their death intimidated the people for the moment it roused a spirit scarcely less ferocious than that of the persecution which evoked it, and which nothing could allay but the tearing up by the roots the whole establishment of the papacy. Dunbar, however, though gentle in spirit, appears to have been deeply tinctured by the bigotry of his order; for, upon the occasion of Lord Maxwell bringing a bill into parliament in 1542, to provide for liberty to read the Bible in the vulgar tongue, this prelate is found protesting most vehemently against it, both for himself and in name of all the prelates in the kingdom. The measure passed into a law notwithstanding.
James Beaton, the nephew of Beaton, archbishop of St. Andrews, succeeded Dunbar in the archepiscopal see; but he found the minds of men so much agitated upon religious topics, and his whole diocese split into factions so furious and uncompromising that, after many efforts to maintain his position, he at length came to the conclusion, when churches and monasteries were crumbling in every direction before the fury of the reformers, to retire from the kingdom. He accordingly passed into France in 1560, escorted by a party of the troops of that kingdom, and taking with him all the relics writings, documents, and plate which belonged to the see, and indeed everything valuable. In the eyes of a member of the mother-church these must have been highly prized, for we learn that when the bull of the Pope, which erected Glasgow into an archbishopric, in 1488, was promulgated, all the relics were exhibited in the cathedral before the Pope's nuncio, and among others there were - "the image of our Saviour in gold, - the images of the twelve apostles in silver, - a silver cross adorned with precious stones, and a small piece of the wood of the cross of our Saviour, - a silver casket, containing some of the hairs of the blessed Virgin, - in a square silver coffer, part of the scourges of St. Kentigern, our patron, in a crystal case, a bone of some unknown saint, and of St. Magdalene, - in a small phial of crystal, part of the milk of the blessed Virgin Mary, and part of the manger of our .Lord."
Beaton was afterwards appointed the ambassador of Queen Mary at the court of France, and he was continued in the same office by her son, who, in 1588, restored to him the temporalities of the see of Glasgow. He died at Paris, in August 1603, and left all he had taken from Glasgow to the Scots college at Paris, and to the monastery of the Carthusians, on the condition that they should be returned to Glasgow so soon as its people returned to the bosom of the mother church. The greater part of the documents thus taken away in 1560 were brought back to Scotland so late as last year (1831.9), and are now in the Roman Catholic college of St. Mary, at Blairs, in the parish of Maryculter, Kincardineshire, near Aberdeen.
The see of Glasgow was one of the most opulent in the kingdom; and its prelates lived in a style of splendour and exercised a sway scarcely inferior to that of the most potent nobles of the land. In the time of Bishop Cameron especially, it is recorded that "the great resort of his vassals and tenants, being noblemen and barons of the highest figure in the kingdom, waiting upon this spiritual prince, in the common course of business, together with the ecclesiastics that depended upon him, made his court to be very splendid - next to majesty itself."
After Bishop Cameron had built his palace adjacent to the high church, he caused each of the thirty-two rectors to build a manse near it; and ordained them to reside there, and cause curates to officiate in their respective parishes. He created commissaries, clerks, and fiscals, and established the two commissary courts of Glasgow, Hamilton, and Campsie, to be held three times a-week in the consistorial house at the west end of the cathedral. Their jurisdiction extended over parts of the counties of Dumbarton, Renfrew, Stirling, Lanark, and Ayr.
In reference to one of the thirty-two dignitaries of the cathedral, Ure mentions a circumstance which is not devoid of historical interest. He says : " The parson of Campsie, chancellor of the chapter, whose office it was to keep the seal and append it to all acts and deeds of the archbishop and his council, had his manse in the Drygate, in that place called the Limmerfield. Henry, Lord Darnley, lodged in his house when he came to meet his father, the Earl of Lennox, from Stirling."
The bishops, and latterly the archbishops, were lords of the lordships of the royalty and baronies of Glasgow; in addition to this there were 18 baronies of land which pertained to them in the sheriffdoms of Lanark, Dumbarton, Ayr, Renfrew, Peebles, Selkirk, Roxburgh, Dumfries, and the then Stewartry of Annandale, including 240 parishes. Besides, there was a large estate in Cumberland, subject to their jurisdiction, which was termed "the Spiritual Dukedom."
From this period 1560 - till the revolution of 1688, there is a succession of the translation, death, demission, and expulsion of 14 protestant archbishops, who seem to have been mere minions of the party in power, and placed there to alienate to their patrons the princely domains of the Glasgow see; or, in other words, to act the part of "Tulchans" - a term in vogue in these days; that is, they were set up as the calves, while the great men of the state milked the benefices. In connection with the papal rule in Glasgow, there were many religious and charitable institutions which space will not allow us to notice at length.
Previous to the reign of James I of Scotland, the town was governed by bailies nominated by the bishop, who about this time appointed a provost in the person of Sir John Stewart of Minto; and this gentleman found the charge of so much importance that he removed to Glasgow with his family. The successors of Sir John continued in office till after the Reformation, when they suddenly fell from dignity and opulence to obscurity and poverty; and the last of the family went out an adventurer to the Darien settlement, in 1699, where, from the jealousy and inhospitality of the English and Dutch, he perished with some thousands of his countrymen. Though the share was so low as one hundred pounds, he was not a partner. The tomb of this ancient family - which was the only one spared at the Reformation, - stands on the west side of the door on the south side of the choir of the cathedral.
In 1450, Bishop Turnbull obtained from the King James II, a charter, erecting the town and patrimonies of the bishopric into a regality. This spirited prelate also procured a bull from Pope Nicholas V, for the founding of a university, which he endowed. Before this period the town was so contemptible as not to contain more than 1,500 inhabitants; but the establishment of the university subsequently contributed more than anything which had hitherto been done to the extension of the city and the general well-being of the inhabitants. The immunities and prerogatives granted to the university, however, had the effect of depriving the citizens temporarily of a portion of their political privileges; for the bishops, being now invested with vast political powers, assumed the distribution of those franchises which formerly belonged to the townsmen, and for the purpose of securing the obedience of their inferiors they appointed powerful noblemen as bailies of the regality. These offices remained long in the family of Lennox but eventually they resigned them to the Crown, and, at the Revolution, the right of election was placed in the hands of the magistrates and council; on which footing it remained till transferred to the electors by the recent burgh reform bill.
Subsequently to the foundation of the university the population began to creep slowly down the hill upon which the cathedral stands, and having reached the position of the present cross, it branched slightly east and west forming portions of the streets now called Gallowgate and Trongate, and as the craft of fishermen had sprung up among the people, Saltmarket-street was laid out for the means of easy access to the river.
Withal, however, Glasgow as yet presented scarcely the skeleton of a city, for the royal burghs of Scotland having been taxed by order of Queen Mary, it appears that Glasgow only rated as the eleventh in point of population and importance. It is somewhat remarkable, however, to find that, even thus early, Glasgow began to possess the germs of commercial eminence, in so far as it was not destitute of shipping, for there is an order of the privy council to the effect that vessels belonging to Glasgow should not annoy those belonging to Henry VIII., the Queen's uncle.
Mary Queen of Scots
During the minority of Mary, James Hamilton, Earl of Arran, the then heir to the throne, and the ancestor of the ducal house of Hamilton, was appointed regent. His appointment was opposed by the Earl of Lennox and the Queen dowager; and, finally, the hostile feeling became so potent that both parties flew to arms. The regent having gathered together a numerous army at Stirling, marched to Glasgow, and stormed the castle, which was held for Lennox with brass guns. After the siege had been maintained for ten days, the garrison agreed to surrender on condition of receiving quarter; but no sooner had they laid down their arms than the regent's troops fell upon them, and only two escaped alive. Lennox determined to revenge this treachery and loss by striking a desperate blow, and having associated with himself the Earl of Glencairn they intended to have marched into Clydesdale, and laid waste the lands of the Hamiltons. The regent heard of their intentions, however, and determined to counteract it by seizing Glasgow.
Glencairn, on the approach of the regent, drew out his forces, amounting to 800 men, partly composed of his own vassals, and partly of the citizens of Glasgow; and, at a place called "the Butts," near the site of the infantry barracks, and where the "weaponschaw" used to be held of old, he boldly attacked Arran. The onset of Glencairn was so furious that he beat back the first rank upon the second, and took the brass ordnance they had opposed to him; but in the heat of battle and while victory yet wavered, Robert Boyd of the Kilmarnock family, arrived with a small party of horse, and at once dashed into the thickest of the fray. His charge decided the engagement, for the little band of Glencairn, conceiving that a new army had come against them, fled with precipitation. Considering the numbers engaged, the battle was a very sanguinary one, and 300 men were slain on both sides, including two gallant sons of Glencairn. The regent immediately entered the town, and being deeply incensed against the citizens for the part they had taken, he gave it up to plunder, which his soldiery did so effectually, that they harried everything moveable, and even pulled down the doors and windows of the dwelling houses; in fact, they only spared the city in so far as they did not burn it.
The circumstances connected with the murder of Lord Darnley, the marriage of the Queen with Bothwell, her discomfiture by the confederated Lords, and subsequent imprisonment in Lochleven castle, are matters of too much historical prominence to need recapitulation here. In 1568 Mary effected her escape from Loch-Leven, and forthwith repaired to Hamilton, where she was joined by the Earls of Argyle, Eglinton, Cassilis, Rothes, and others. The Regent Murray happened at the time to be holding a court of justice at Glasgow, and, though taken by surprise, his usual fortitude and presence of mind did not forsake him. He was soon joined by the Earls of Glencairn, Montrose, Mar, and Monteith, with Lords Temple, Home, and Lindsay, and he speedily encamped on the lands of Barrowfield, in order to await the approach of the enemy.
Meantime the party who had joined the Queen resolved to place her in safety in the strong fortress of Dumbarton, which was held by one of their friends, till they had time to try the merits of the quarrel with the Regent by force of arms. To avoid meeting Murray on the Gallow-muir the royal army came down by Rutherglen, intending to cross the Clyde at Renfrew; but when he saw them from the opposite side he caused his cavalry to ford the river, which left the bridge open to his infantry. The possession of Langside hill, about a mile-and-a-half to the south of the city, was seen to be a point of much importance to either party in the fate of a battle, and the regent obtained it, as much almost by accident as by ability. The Earl of Argyle having been suddenly seized with a fit of epilepsy, the march of the Queen's troops was delayed for a time, which was improved to the best advantage by the Regent.
The battle soon began, and was continued for nearly an hour with the most determined bravery on both sides; so eager were they, indeed, that each party threw their broken spears, daggers, and stones in the faces of their adversaries. At a critical moment the Regent's second battalion joined the first, and this decided the fate of the day, and blasted the hopes of the unfortunate Queen, who stood upon a hill at some little distance, gazing upon the progress of the fight with an agony of anxiety. The queen immediately took horse for Dundrennan abbey, in the stewartry of Kirkcudbright, from which she fled into Cumberland, seeking succour from her crafty cousin, Elizabeth.
Nineteen years afterwards the sufferings of Mary Stuart were closed by her murder on the hill of Fotheringay. In the battle of Langside, the Regent killed 300 of the Queen's party, and took 400 prisoners. For his victory Murray was much indebted to the citizens of Glasgow, who had not forgotten the miserable sacking of their town by the Hamiltons after the 'Battle of the Butts,' and from their position on the Regent's left wing they did cruel execution upon the Queen's right.
The Regent having returned to Glasgow, and offered up thanks for his victory, was sumptuously entertained by the magistrates. He expressed his deep obligations to the citizens, and especially to the heads of the corporation, for the timely aid they had afforded him, and inquired if in any way he could be serviceable to them. Matthew Fawside, the deacon of the incorporation of bakers, replied, that as the mills at Partick belonged to the Crown, and the tacksman. exacted such exorbitant multures that it affected injuriously the price of bread to the community, a grant of these mills to the corporation would be regarded as a public benefit; and perhaps the bakers were not altogether undeserving of favour in another respect, as they bad liberally supplied the army with bread while it remained in the neighbourhood of Glasgow. Fawside's address had the desired effect, and the splendid flourmills at Partick, about 2 miles below the city, on the banks of the Kelvin, are possessed by the bakers till this day. Seeing the success of this corporation, the magistrates also put in their claim, which the Regent evaded by a promise, that when the King came of age they should have all they asked for.
Glasgow Cathedral - demolition order
By the year 1579, the zeal or rather fury of the Reformers had waxed so intense that it was considered sinful to permit one stone to stand above another upon those edifices which had formerly belonged to the Catholics, however serviceable they might be as Protestant places of worship, or beautiful as architectural triumphs. The cathedral of Glasgow had, up till this period, withstood the storm of the Reformation, and had been even left untouched by the besiegers of the bishop's castle. An act had passed encouraging this wholesale demolition, and Spottiswood thus describes its consequences :- "Thereupon ensued a pitiful vastation of churches and churchbuildings, throughout all the parts of the realm; for every one made bold to put to their hands, the meaner sort imitating the example of the greater, and those who were in authority; no difference was made, but all the churches either defaced or pulled to the ground; the holy vessels, and whatsoever else men could make gain of, as timber, lead, and bells, were put to sale; the very sepulchres of the dead were not spared; the registers of the church and bibliothecs cast into the fire; in a word, all was ruined; and what had escaped in the time of the first tumult, did now undergo the common calamity; and the preachers animated the people to follow these barbarous proceedings by crying out, that the places where idols had been worshipped ought, by the law of God, to be destroyed, and that the sparing of them was the reserving of things execrable."
The execution of this act for the west was committed to the Earls of Arran, Argyle, and Glencairn* but they, at the intercession of the citizens, had hitherto spared the cathedral. Mr. Andrew Melville, the Principal of the college, had, however, long importuned the
*The following is the copy of the original order issued to all magistrates and people in power at the Reformation, for the first dismantling of the Catholic churches :
To our Traist freindis:
Traist friendis, after maist harty commendacion, we pray you fail not to pass incontinent to the Kirk, (of Glasgow) and tak down the hail images thereof, and bring forth to the Kirkzyard, and burn thaym openly. And sicklyk cast down the altaris and purge the Kirk of all kynd of monuments of idolatrye. And this ze fail not to do, as ze will do us singular emplesur: and so committis you to the protection of God.
" Fail not, not ze tak guid heyd that neither the dasks, windocks, nor dorris, be ony ways hurt or broken, either glassin wark or iron wark."
magistrates to allow it to be pulled down, and they at length consented. The reasons urged for its demolition - which read rather curiously at this time of day - were somewhat to the following effect:- That they might build with its materials various little churches in other parts, for the ease of the citizens, - that it was the resort of superstitious people who went there to perform their devotions, - that the church was too large, and the voice of the preacher could with difficulty be heard by the congregation, - and above all, the propriety of removing an idolatrous monument, which was the only one of all the cathedrals in the country left undestroyed, and in a condition to be repaired.
A number of quarriers, masons, and other workmen were accordingly engaged by a special day to pull down this beautiful edifice; but while they were assembling, by beat of drum, the craftsmen of Glasgow, who justly regarded the cathedral as the architectural pride of their city, flew to arms, and informed Mr. Melville that if any one dared to pull down a single stone of the building, he should that instant be buried under it. So much incensed were they at the attempt to demolish this ancient building, that if the magistrates had not succeeded in appeasing them, they would have put Melville to death with all his adherents.
Upon this a complaint was made by the ministers, and the leaders of the insurrection cited to appear before the king, who was not yet thirteen years of age; but his majesty took the craftsmen under his protection, approved of the opposition they had made, and prohibited the ministers from following the work of demolition farther, - saying, that "too many churches had been already destroyed, and that he would not tolerate more abuses of that kind." And thus was saved from religious frenzy and mistaken zeal the venerable cathedral of Glasgow. It would appear that shortly after this period the university was nearly in equal danger of destruction; for amongst a list of grievances presented to the king after the 'Raid of Ruthven,' the magistrates are complained against for invading the college with a mob, and shedding the blood of many of the students, who prevented them from burning the university. The bailies, who acted the part of ringleaders, are even named, viz., Colin Campbell, William Heygate, and Archibald Heygate.
In 1581, the Confession of Faith was subscribed by 2,250 persons in Glasgow, women as well as men signing it, and it appears to have been carried about from house to house. Towards the close of the 16th and about the beginning of the 17th centuries, church-discipline amongst the Presbyterian burghers of Glasgow, appears to have been of a somewhat stringent description. In August 1587, it was decreed that harlots should be carted through the town, ducked in Clyde and put into the jugs at the cross on a market-day. Adultery was punished, by causing the culprit to appear six Sabbaths on the cockstool at the pillar, barefooted and barelegged, in sackcloth; and thereafter to be carted through the town, and ducked in the Clyde from a pulley fixed on the bridge.
It would appear, however, that the presbyters of old could be gentle with those of gentle blood, when it suited their liking; for we find that, in March 1608, the session agreed to pass the laird of Minto, a late provost, who was accused of a breach of chastity, with a reprimand, on account of his age and the station he held in the town. Those who were released from excommunication were required to pass through the following ordeal:-' A man excommunicated for relapse in adultery, was to pass from his dwelling to the Hie Kirk six Sundays, at six in the morning at the first bell, conveyed by two of the elders or deacons, or any other two honest men, and to stand at the kirk-door barefooted, and barelegged, in sackcloth, with a white wand in his hand, bareheaded till after the reading of the text; in the same manner, to repair to the pillar till the sermon was ended, and then to go out to the door again, and stand there till the congregation pass from the kirk, and then he is released."
The presbytery enjoined their ministers to be of sedate deportment, and not vain with long rubles and gaudy toys in their clothes. The session ordered that, the drum should go through the town, to intimate that there must be no bickerings or plays on the Sabbath; and games, golfs, bowls, &c. were prohibited on the same day. It was strictly enjoined that no person go out to Ruglen to see plays acted on the Sabbath; and in 1595 the bailies of that burgh were reprimanded by the presbytery for sanctioning and encouraging profane stage-plays on the Lord's day.
In 1588 the kirk-session of Glasgow, ordered a number of ash trees in the Hie Kirk-yard to be cut down to make forms for the folk to sit on in the kirk; women were not permitted to sit upon these forms, but were directed to bring stools with them. It was also intimated, that "no woman, married or unmarried, should come within the kirk-door to preachings or prayers with their plaids about their heads, neither to lie down in the kirk on their face in time of prayer; with certification that their plaids be drawn down, or they be raised by the beadle. The beadles were to have staffs for keeping quietness in the kirk, and comely order; for each marriage they were to get 4d., and 2d. for each baptism."
On their part the magistrates appear to have been equally potent in those days, and equally ready to exercise their authority. Their jurisdiction seems to have extended to both civil and criminal cases, and they acted alike in a legislative and executive capacity. One of the most remarkable illustrations the extent of their authority, is a composition for the slaughter of one of the burgesses, which is entered 'on the burgh-books as having the " strength of ane decreit of the provest and baillies It would appear that about the year 1575, Ninian Syare murdered Ninian M`Litster; and the composition in question is a contract betwixt the widow and representatives of the murdered man, and David Syare, the son of the murderer, as taking burden for his father, by which the first party agrees, upon the performance of certain conditions, to pass from "any action, criminal or otherwise, that they may have against him for the crime." The contract goes on to mention these conditions in manner following: "For the quhilkis premiss to be done, and done in manner forsaid respective, the said David takand the burden on him for his father, sail cause the said Niniane, his father, to compere in the Hie Kirk of Glasgow, the XI. daye of December nixt to cum, and, thair mak the homage and repentance for the said slauchter with sick circumstances and cerymoneis as sall be ordanit and devysit be Coline Campbell and Robert Stewart, burgessis of Glasgow, chosin and admittit be baitht the parties for that effect. And farther, the said David, &c., (we omit a tedious list of names,) oblist them, their airis, executoris, and assignayis, to content and paye to the said Margaret and William M`Litster, for themselfis and in their name of the said umquhile Niniane, M`Litster's harries, the sowme of three hundredth merkis money, in name of Kynbute," (or reparation,) &c.
possession of offensive weapons made compulsary
But instances of what would now be considered an extraordinary stretch of power were by no means uncommon in these olden times; and the character of the population and state of the kingdom may be learned from the many strict orders to the citizens to provide themselves with arms, and be prepared for every contingency. In 1547, the bailies and council ordained "everilk buythhalder to have in reddines within the buytht, one halbert, jak, and steelbonet, for eschewing of sick inconvenients that may happen." And again, in 1577-8, we have the following, Quhilk daye it is condescendit be the prouest, baillies, counsale, and dekynes, that the act maid anent the hagbuttis be renewit, that every one, substantious and habill man sall have one hagbutt, with graitht, halder, and bullet effeiring tbairto, and that every wheris, nocht beand habil1 thairfoir, sall have one lang speir, by (besides) jakkis, steilbonetis, sword, and bukler," &c.
In 1638, the council authorized the master of works, then in Flanders to purchase for the town's use fifty muskets, with "stalfis and bandeleiris," and fifty pikes. Subsequently, in the same year, they ordered "three score young men to be elected and trained to handle arms, the driller to have for his pains 40 shillings each day for his coming out of Edinburgh, aye until he be discharged, with his horse hire, hame and afield."
The town appears in these times to have been sadly afflicted with a class of diseased unfortunates, called "lepers," and so early as 1350, Lady Lochow, daughter of Robert, duke of Albany, and mother of Colin, 1st Earl of Argyle, erected and endowed a leprosy hospital on the south side of the bridge near the river. It is recorded that on 7th October, 1589, there were six lepers in the Lepers' house at the Gorbals end of the bridge, viz. Andrew Lawson, merchant; Steven Gilmour, cordiner; Robert Bogle, son of Patrick Bogle; Patrick Brittal, tailor; John Thomson, tailor; and Daniel Cunningham, tinker. In 1610, the council ordained that the lepers of the hospital should go only upon the causewayside, near the gutter, and should have "clapperis" in their hands to warn the people to keep away, and a cloth upon their mouth and face, and should stand afar off while they receive alms under the penalty of being banished from the town and hospital.
kirk session orders daily whipping of dissolute women
In 1635, the magistrates purchased from the Earl of Glencairn the manse of the prebendary of Cambuslang - which had been gifted to him after the Reformation-which they fitted up as a house of correction for dissolute women, and the authority and vigilance of the kirk session proceeded so far as to order them to be "whipped every day during pleasure!"
Glasgow was occasionally honoured by being the seat of the ecclesiastical synods of the church; and from the character of the age for a long period subsequent to the Reformation, these were regarded as of more importance than the visits of royalty itself. The most remarkable of all these was that held in 1638, in the reign of Charles I, in which they fairly overturned the Episcopal system of the king, and asserted the perfect independence of the kirk. The magistrates looked upon this great convocation with some anxiety, and amongst others they made the very wholesome regulation that "no inhabitant expect more rent for their houses, chambers, beds, and stables, than shall be appointed by the provost, bailies, and council, and ordains the same to be intimated through the town by sound of drum, that no person may plead ignorance."
In the prospect of the great number of persons who were expected to attend this assembly, the town-council statuted and ordained, that there should be a guard of men kept through the day, and a watch at night under the orders of the provost and bailies. The treasurer was directed to purchase for the town's use 100 muskets with "stalks and bandeleiris," 30 pikes, 4 cwt. of powder, and 4 cwt. of match. This assembly - so much celebrated in the annals of the Church of Scotland - commenced its sittings on the 21st November, 1638, the well-known Marquis of Hamilton officiating as his majesty's commissioner. In the course of the preceding year, Laud, Archbishop of Canterbury, had introduced a service-book to be read in the Scottish churches, which the people regarded with abhorrence as smacking of the mass. Both on this account, and for the purpose of overturning the system of episcopacy, the Presbyterian party made extraordinary exertions, and according to the narrative of Dr. Robert Bailie, afterwards Principal of the University of Glasgow, they succeeded in gathering together the most celebrated and influential nobles and gentlemen in the kingdom.
On Wednesday the 28th November, during the seventh session or sederunt, when the Assembly were about to vote upon the question, whether they were the bishop's judges, the commissioner produced the king's instructions and warrant to dissolve the Assembly, which he accordingly did. But after "a sad, grave, and sorrowful discourse," the Assembly resolved to proceed, notwithstanding their dissolution by the King, and the departure of his representative. The Presbyterian party, having once passed the Rubicon, carried every thing according to their own liking, and with a spirit of independence which evinced the sincerity of their attachment to a covenanted kirk. They decreed the abjuration of Episcopacy; the abolition of the servicebooks and the high commission; they pronounced the proceedings of the preceding six assemblies null and void; the bishops and sundry ministers were tried, and deposed for professing the doctrines of Arminianism, Popery, and Atheism, - for urging the use of the liturgy, bowing to the altar, and wearing the cope and rotchet, - for declining the assembly, - axed for being guilty of simony, avarice, profanity, adultery, drunkenness, and other infamous crimes.
Amongst those deposed were the Bishops of Galloway, St. Andrews Brechin Edinburgh, Aberdeen, Ross, Glasgow, Argy1e, and Dunblane who were at the same. time excommunicated. The covenant being approved of, was ordered to be signed by all classes of the people, under pain of excommunication; and churchmen were incapacitated from holding anyplace in parliament. "Thus," to use the words of the historian Hume, "Episcopacy, the high commission, the articles of Perth, the canons, and the liturgy were abolished, and declared unlawful; and the whole fabric which James and Charles, in a long coarse of years, had been rearing with so much care and policy, fell at once to the ground."
In these proceedings the Assembly was much countenanced and assisted by the Earl of Argyle, whose conduct in remaining amongst them, says Dr. Bailie, "went much against the stomach both of the commissioner and king," the latter of whom never forgave him. The Assembly continued its sittings till the 26th of December inclusive, having in all 26 sessions or 18 after the commissioner's departure. The last day of the Assembly is stated to have been a "blythe day to all." At the opening the venerable Mr John Bell, minister of the Tron church of Glasgow, preached, and Mr Alexander Henderson was elected moderator, and officiated in this capacity during the sederunt.
Shortly thereafter the civil wars of Charles I broke out and desolated the kingdom from the one end to the other. The Marquis of Montrose who carried the standard of the king, raised an army in the north, and proceeding south gave battle, at Kilsyth, to General Bailie, at the head of 7,000 Covenanters, on 15th August, 1645. The Covenanters were entirely routed, and nearly 6,000 of them put to the sword, while of the remaining thousand, a vast proportion were suffocated in Dullater-bog. The city of Glasgow, having heard of Montrose's success, sent Sir Robert Douglas of Blackerston, and Mr. Archd. Fleming, commissary, to congratulate him upon his victory, and invite him and his army to spend some days at Glasgow. He accordingly marched next day to the city, where he was entertained with great cost and solemnity; but he only remained one night on account of the plague, which was then raging, though before be left it he made the inhabitants pay pretty smartly for his visit.
Subsequently, as is well known, Montrose fell into reverses from the desertion of his army which was little better than an undisciplined rabble and was surprised and defeated by Lesley, at Philiphaugh, on 13th Sept., 1645. Three of the prisoners taken there, viz. Sir William Rollock, Sir Philip Nisbet, and Alexander Ogilvy of Inverquharity, were executed at Glasgow - the first on the 28th, and the others on the 29th of October. Upon occasion of these executions, the Rev. Mr David Dickson, then Professor of Divinity in Glasgow, was heard to exclaim, "The guid work goes bonnily on!" which passed into a proverb. Lesley, the victorious general, treated the citizens with great civility, though he jeeringly borrowed from them the sum of £20,000 Scots, as the interest, according to his phrase, of the £50,000 which, it was alleged, they had lent to Montrose.
Charles I, as is well known, threw himself, in the days of his adversity, upon the protection of the Scots covenanting army, by whom he was, nine months afterwards, basely sold to the English parliament. Scotland, after having given the King's cause the first fatal blow, began to see that Presbytery would be in danger from the overthrow of the king, and the triumph of the Independent party in England; and they resolved, therefore, when too late, to arm in his defence and invade England. Levies were ordered throughout the various districts of the kingdom but the clergy opposed them in many instances from their dread of the restoration of monarchy; and Glasgow was found to be amongst the number of those contumacious burghs which declined to furnish its quota. The magistrates and council were in consequence summoned before parliament, imprisoned for several clays, and deprived of their offices. In addition to this, some regiments of horse and foot were sent to the town with orders to quarter on no other but the magistrates, council, session, and their friends. Some of the citizens were burdened with 10, 20, and 30 soldiers, who, in addition to meat drink, and wine, exacted their daily pay; altogether, says Principal Bailie, "our loss and danger was not so great by James Graham."
The army, however, was completed, being one of the most numerous which had ever left Scotland for the invasion of England. The division under the command of the Marquis of Hamilton was attacked by Cromwell, near Preston, in Lancashire, his forces completely routed, and himself taken prisoner. He was afterwards brought to the scaffold, and 10,000 of his soldiers were sold to the plantations at two shillings per head.
On the 3d September, 1650, CromwelL defeated the Scotch army at Dunbar - a battle which was forfeited by the ill-timed exhortations of the Scotch clergymen, who induced their countrymen to leave an unassailable position, where they fell an easy prey to the troops of Cromwell. In the course of the winter the Protector visited Glasgow, and took tip his residence and held his levees in Silvercraig's house, on the east side of the Saltmarket, nearly opposite the Bridgegate. While in this city, Cromwell acted the character of austere sanctity so well that some of the Scottish clergy, who had been honoured by him with an interview, averred that he must surely be one of the elect. Having learned that Mr Patrick Gillespie minister of the Outer High church, had the chief sway in ecclesiastical matters, the Protector sent for him, and after a long conference, gave him a prayer.
On the following Sunday he went in state to the cathedral church. Here it so happened that the celebrated Zacharias Boyd preached in the forenoon, and railed so bitterly against Cromwell that his secretary, Thurloe, asked leave, in a whisper, "to pistol the scoundrel." "No, no," said the general, "we will manage him in another way!" In the evening he asked the clergy to sup with him, and concluded the entertainment with a prayer, which is said to have lasted till three o'clock in the morning.
Cromwell's stay in Scotland was in the main extremely beneficial to the country, and to Glasgow in particular. Great part of his troops consisted of tradesmen, who had been spirited away from their peaceful callings by the frenzy and enthusiasm of the times. A number of these settled in Glasgow, and contributed to foster the spirit of trade, and bring the arts to a degree of perfection to which our rude forefathers had been formerly strangers. English judges were appointed to determine causes in the Scottish courts; justice was strictly administered; and the whole country was brought to a degree of perfect subordination under General Monk.
It is matter of traditionary fact that the decisions of the English judges were more agreeable to the spirit and principles of the law of Scotland, than the previous decisions of the judges of the country.
A young lawyer having made an observation to this effect to a Scots judge, who died in the early part of the 18th century, - " Deil mean (hinder) them!" replied the judge, "they had neither kith nor kin in this country. Take that, out of the way, and I think I could make a good judge myself."
a thousand homes destroyed in city fire
In its previous history, Glasgow had been frequently severely tried in the crucible of affliction by fire and pestilence; but about this time, on 17th June, 1652, a conflagration broke out, which exceeded all former visitations of the kind in its extent and in its temporarily painful effects upon the citizens. The greatest part of Saltmarket, Trongate, and Highstreet, was destroyed.
Contributions were made for the sufferers from all parts of the country. In the representation drawn up at the time by the magistrates, the following passages occur, descriptive of the appalling extremities to which the citizens had been reduced: "'This fire, by the hand of God, was carried so from the one side of the street to the other, that it was totally consumed on both sides, and in it the faire, best, and most considerable buildings in the town, with all the shops and warehouses of the merchants which were therein. This sad dispensation from the hand of an angry God continued near 18 hours before the great violence of the fire began to abate; in this space of time many of those who were wealthy before were extremely impoverished; many merchants and others almost ruined; a considerable number of widowers, orphans, and honest families were brought to extreme misery; the dwellings of almost a thousand families were utterly consumed, and many of those who had a large patrimony, and ofttimes had been a shelter to others in their straits, had not themselves a place to cover their heads, or knew wherewith to provide bread for them and their families."
The wretched inhabitants were for many days and nights compelled to encamp in the open fields, and altogether this calamity was regarded as the severest visitation which had afflicted Glasgow since the foundation of her cathedral. The loss was computed at £100,000, - no inconsiderable sum in those days. But like London, in a similar affliction, Glasgow rose purified and beautified from her ashes. The majority of the houses had been built or faced with wood, and these gave place to substantial stone erections which were constructed in that open and commodious manner which is now so generally characteristic of the city.
Subsequently, in 1677, another great conflagration took place in Glasgow, when 130 houses were burned. It originated at the head of the Saltmarket, near the cross; and was kindled by a smith's apprentice, who had been beaten by his master, and who set fire to his smithy during the night in revenge. Law, in his ` Memorials,' says: " 'The heat was so great that it fyred the horoledge of the tolbooth, there being some prisoners in it at the tyme, amongst whom was the laird of Caraldone. The people brake open the tolbooth doors' and set them free." Though this fire was painfully disastrous in its effects, yet the inhabitants were now in a position much better fitted to stand the infliction, and accordingly there was not experienced the tithe of the suffering which marked the former conflagration.
The Restoration took place in 1660; but it only brought an increase of suffering arid disaster to the people of Scotand. It soon became apparent that the policy of Charles II would be similar to that of his father in his efforts to force Episcopacy upon a reclaiming people; and as Glasgow was the headquarters of the Covenanters of the west, where the people were resolved to "suffer unto the death for conscience' sake," the city shared in all the pains and persecutions of that iron time.
The king having appointed Mr James Sharp, minister of Crail, to be archbishop of St. Andrews, and Mr Andrew Fairfoul, minister of Dunse, to be archbishop of Glasgow, they arrived in Edinburgh in April 1662, having been previously ordained in London. Despite the efforts of the new archbishops, and the regal power with which they were armed, the clergy and laity of
Glasgow, with trifling exceptions, refused to conform to the new order of things; and the Earl of Middleton, with a committee of the Privy council, came to Glasgow on 26th September, 1662, to enforce compliance with the new order of things. The council met in the forehall of the college, and it was long afterwards remembered as "the drunken meeting of Glasgow;" for with the exception of Sir James Lockhart of Lee, one of the senators of the college of justice, it was affirmed that every person present was flustered with liquor.*
Lord Middleton informed the committee that the Archbishop requested the royal mandate for uniformity to be enforced, which was acquiesced in by all, save Lord Lee, who assured them that it would not only desolate the country, but increase the popular dislike to the bishops. It was enforced notwithstanding, and consequent upon these proceedings, 400 ministers were ejected from their parishes, and took leave of their flocks in a single day. Wodrow says - "It was a day not only of weeping, but howling, like the weeping of Jazer, as when a besieged city is sacked." Amongst those who were ejected, we find Principal Gillespie Messrs. Robert M'Hard, John Carstairs, and Ralph Rogers of Glasgow, and Donald Cargill of the Barony parish, besides nine others, all in the presbytery of Glasgow. Then commenced the wild work of persecution, and the resistance of the covenanters, which has made their deeds and cause famous in all that is associated with heroic human endurance. Early in 1678, the committee of council returned to Glasgow, and had to sederunt of ten days. They sat on Sunday, during divine service, for the purpose of administering a bond which should prevent all intercourse with the (exiled ministers)
exiled ministers; and such was the terror which their proceedings had inspired, that the provost, bailies, and others of the citizens, to the number of 153 persons, signed the bond, although their consciences shuddered at its contents. The better to aid their proceedings, the council brought down upon the Lowlands, in the time of peace, an army of nearly 10,000 Highlanders, who seared the face of the country like a cloud of locusts, and after a stay departed from Glasgow, loaded with plunder. This body was known afterwards by the name of `the Highland host.' They marched into Ayrshire, plundering in all directions, and the loss sustained by the inhabitants from this new inroad of the Huns, was computed at the time to amount in that county alone to £137,499 6s. Scots. Upon their return, loaded with baggage, they continued to take free quarters; but the students at the college of Glasgow, and other youths in the town, stopped the bridge, the river being high, against 2,000 of them. They permitted the Celts to pass only in numbers of forty at a time, and so soon as they had eased them of their plunder, they showed these rapacious mountaineers the way to the Highlands by the Westport, without allowing any of them to enter the city.
After the victory of the Covenanters at Drumclog, a party of them marched to Glasgow, and attempted to take it from the king's troops; but though they fought with determined bravery on the streets, they were repulsed, and their dead bodies left exposed for many days to be devoured by the butchers' dogs. The battle of Bothwell brig followed, in which 400 of the Covenanters were killed, and 1,200 taken prisoners, and this was also followed by the most fearful pains and penalties - torturing of the person, and alienation of the property of those who either did favour or were suspected to favour, doctrines in opposition to those of 'Black Prelacy.' But it is not intended here to follow out this subject, deeply and painfully interesting though it may be, into minute details. Suffice it to say that many of the devoted 'Hill folk' were hanged at Glasgow, their heads stuck on pikes on the east side of the jail, and their bodies buried on the north side of the cathedral church. **The death of Charles II brought little or no mitigation of the sufferings of the Scottish people; or if it did, it was only the prospect of persecution for Popery being substituted for persecution for Episcopacy. Vast numbers of the people had emigrated to Holland, and amongst all classes, a liberal change of government was "a consummation most devoutly to be wished for."***
It is true that during his vice (royalty in Scotland)
"These nine, with others in this yard
Whose heads and bodies were not spared,
Their testimonies foes to bury,
Cans'd beat the drums then in great fury,
They'll know at resurrection day,
To murder saints was no sweet play."
royalty in Scotland, James VII, when Duke of York, had occasionally visited Glasgow, with all the accompaniments of outward splendour, and resided in the house of Provost Bell; but the measures of persecution of which he had been long the active agent, and the horror entertained by the people generally against the institution of `Black Prelacy' and Popery, caused the landing of the Prince of Orange in Torbay, on November 5th, to be regarded as a national blessing, and by no class in the kingdom was this great political event hailed with more heartfelt joy arid sincerity than by the citizens of Glasgow. As a proof of it, the city levied and armed, in the following year (1689), a battalion of men, who were placed under the command of the Earl of Argyle and Lord Newbottle. These were immediately marched to Edinburgh, to assist in guarding the convention of estates, then deliberating upon the settlement of the Crown in favour of William and Mary. It is still matter of traditionary fact in Glasgow that this regiment was raised in a single day.
The blessings of peace, which had been so long denied to the kingdom, now gave the Scots an opportunity of developing their taste for industry and enterprise; and the scheme of the colonization of Darien was entered into by them with enthusiasm. Glasgow contributed its full share of men and means to that unfortunate expedition; and it is recorded that the last reinforcement to that devoted colony sailed from Rothesay, on September 14th, 1699, consisting of four ships, with 1,200 emigrants, and amongst them - as has been already stated - the last of the Stewarts of Minto. The fate of this most unfortunate enterprise is well-known; the jealousy of the Dutch East India company, as well as of the English, prevailed on the government of William to interpose such obstacles, that after waiting several months for supplies, the wretched colonists either died from starvation or escaped beggared from the shores of Darien. The money and credit of Scotland were both embarked in this scheme; and suffered so much, that years elapsed before the shock was recovered; amongst others, the inhabitants of Glasgow had hazarded such a deep stake, that we find them without shipping of their own from this period till the year 1716. This treatment of the first attempt of the Scots to plant a colony, coupled with the massacre of Glencoe' were doubtless circumstances which for long afterwards gave the inhabitants of the northern portion of the kingdom, reason to look upon the government of the Prince of Orange with feelings of abhorrence, scarcely less intense than those with which they had previously regarded the rulers who planned, and the soldiery who conducted, the persecution.
The act of union of 1707, which at that time was generally regarded as the death-blow of Scotland's independence, was most bitterly opposed by the citizens of Glasgow, and the magistrates found it necessary to order that not more than three persons should assemble togetber on the streets after sunset. Being distant from the seat of government, however, the opposition expended itself in murmur and threatened tumult; and a very short period elapsed before the citizens saw the advantages which had been conferred upon them by the opening of the American trade, which they embraced with a degree of ardour which justifies us in regarding this as the epoch from which must be dated the rise of Glasgow, as the great seat of commerce and manufactures in Scotland.
In the year 1715, when the Rebellion broke out under the Earl of Marr, the city at once evinced the sincerity of its attachment to the principles of the Revolution of 1688, by raising a regiment of 600 men, at its own expense' which marched to Stirling, under the command of Mr Aird, the late provost, and joined the royal army under the Duke of Argyle. Meanwhile, the citizens prepared for their defence at home, by fortifying the town and drawing a trench round it twelve feet in width by six in depth. These were subsequently inspected and approved of by the Duke, who, during his brief stay in the city, lodged in the house of Mr. Campbell of Shawfield. On this occasion Glasgow fortunately escaped the horrors of civil war by the subsequent defeat of the rebel host at Preston, in Lancashire.
Within a few years after the Rebellion, however, viz. 1725, a riot broke out in the city, which was so painful and fatal in its consequences, that long afterwards it was regarded as one of the plague-spots in the local annals. Daniel Campbell. Esq. of Shawfield, who was at that period the member for the city, had rendered himself extremely obnoxious to the lower orders of the citizens at least, by his having voted for the extension of the malt-tax to Scotland. On the 23d of June, the day on which the tax should have been gathered, the mob rose, obstructed the excisemen, and assumed such a threatening attitude, that next day, Captain Bushell was brought into the town with two companies of Lord Delorain's regiment of foot. This did not prevent the crowd, however, from assailing the house of Mr. Campbell, which they completely gutted.
The magistrates, not dreading that the mob would proceed to such acts of violence, had retired to a tavern to spend the evening; and about 11 o'clock, pm, news was brought to them of the demolition which was in progress. Bushell despatched a sergeant to inquire if he would beat to arms, but the provost - who appears to have been a man averse to proceeding to extremities - declined the offer. Next day, the mob was still in an excited state, and having irritated the soldiers by throwing stones at them, Bushell, without any authority from the civil power, ordered his men to fire, when two persons were killed. The inhabitants, now thirsting for revenge and vengeance, assailed the town-house magazine, carried forth the arms, and rang the fire-bell to rouse the city. The provost being alarmed at the probable results of a collision between the military and the people, craved the former to depart, which they accordingly did in the direction of Dumbarton castle. The citizens came up with them in great force during their retreat, and commencing to act on the offensive, the Captain again ordered his men to fire, when several persons fell; and in all there were 9 killed and 17 wounded in this most unfortunate affair. The military reached the castle in safety.
This matter being represented at head-quarters, General Wade took possession of the city with a large body of troops, consisting of horse and foot, with artillery and ammunition. He was accompanied by the Lord-advocate, Duncan Forbes, who immediately proceeded to make an investigation into the case, the result of which was, that 19 persons were apprehended, and were delivered over bound to Captain Bushell - who had come up from Dumbarton castle - to be conducted by him to Edinburgh. The magistrates were imprisoned at first in their own tolbooth, but subsequently they were committed to the castle, and then to the jail of Edinburgh. After the detention of a few days, the magistrates were liberated on bail, and on their return to Glasgow, were met six miles from the city by a large body of their townsmen, who conducted them home with every demonstration of attachment, the ringing of bells, &c. The magistrates were afterwards freely absolved; but it fared worse with the 19 inferior persons sent to Edinburgh, some of whom were whipped through the streets of Glasgow, some banished, and others liberated. Captain Bushell was tried for the murder of nine of the inbabitants, convicted and condemned to death; but instead of suffering the penalty of the law, he was not only pardoned, but promoted in the service. To aggravate this sufficiently distressing case, Mr. Campbell, upon his application to parliament, was allowed indemnity for his loss, and the community were taxed by it to the amount of £9,000 sterling.* The house, the demolition of which by the Shawfield mob led to those unfortunate results, stood in the neighbourbood of Glassford street.
*A historian of Glasgow - Mr. Andrew Brown - in detailing the unfortunate Shawfield affair' says:- "This gentlemau [Mr Campbell] had formerly farmed the customs of the whole frith of Clyde, by which he acquired a large fortune, and now chimed in with the Newcastle administration, who once thought of exterminating the Highlanders, and planting their mountains with cabbages."
The Shawfield slaughter, the imprisonment of the magistrates, and the exactions from the city, were long spoken of with peculiar bitterness by the people; but the recollection of it did not prevent them from coming forward with alacrity in defence of the reigning family in the rebellion of 1745. On this occasion they raised two battalions of 600 men each, for the service of government, and one of them was in action and behaved gallantly at the battle of Falkirk. It is recorded that the ardent loyalty of the inhabitants so much exasperated the rebels, that but for the friendly interposition of the devoted Cameron of Lochiel, the city would have been razed to the ground.
Charles Edward wrote to the magistrates, demanding from them, as the representatives of the corporation, the sum of £15,000 sterling in money, all the arms in the city, and the arrears of taxes which might be due to the government. The magistrates having hopes of relief from the troops of Sir John Cope, did not comply; and the demand of the prince was then enforced by a party of horse, under Mr John Hay, who had been a writer to the signet in Edinburgh, and who was accompanied by Glengyle, the chief of the M'Gregors. The magistrates now saw the necessity of exerting themselves and compromised the demand by the advance of £5000 in money, and £500 in goods.
Upon the return of the rebel troops, from their romantic but ill-fated expedition into England, Mr Hay again made his appearance in Glasgow with a body of troops; and as on this occasion their fortunes were desperate, and their necessities more urgent, the corporation was glad to secure their absence, by furnishing them with 12,000 linen shirts, 6,000 cloth coats, 6,000 pairs of shoes, 6,000 pairs of hose, and 6,000 bonnets. The levies of the Highlanders in money and goods, and the expenses of the two regiments, cost the town £15,000 sterling, for which the magistrates, in 1749, were voted £10,000 as a partial indemnification.
The next important public affair in which we find the citizens of Glasgow engaged, is the cordial assistance which they granted to the Government at the outbreak of the American war of independence, or the "revolt of the colonists," as it was then termed. At the present time, however, these exertions are rather to be attributed to a feeling of self-interest than pure patriotism; for Glasgow had long enjoyed a lion's share in the tobacco-trade, by which her citizens were enriched, and the very existence of this lucrative traffic was threatened by the war which then broke out. Upon the news of the defeat of the British by the Americans at Lexington, in 1775, reaching Glasgow, the magistrates convened a meeting of the inhabitants, when it was cordially resolved to support Government in her efforts to break the spirit of the colonists. Accordingly a body of 1,000 men was raised at an expense of more than £10,000, and placed at the disposal of his majesty.
It is curious to know that the determination to smite the Americans took so strong a hold of the Glasgow citizens, that many of the principal people formed themselves into a recruiting corps for the purpose of completing the numbers of the Glasgow regiment. Mr. James Finlay, father of Mr. K. Finlay of Castle Toward, played the Irish bagpipe in the service; Mr. John Wardrop, a Virginia merchant, beat a drum; and other wealthy and reputable citizens officiated as fifers, standard-bearers, and broadsword-men. Mr Spiers of Elderslie, Mr. Cunningham of Lainshaw, and other merchants, hired their ships as transports; but Mr Glassford of Dugaldston, who did not approve of the coercive measures that were in progress, laid up his vessels in the harbour of Port Glasgow.
In the year 1779-80, while the removal of the Catholic disabilities was under discussion in parliament, the citizens of Glasgow resolved to give the bill the most determined opposition. Eighty-five societies, embracing 12,000 persons, were leagued together for this object, and kept up a close correspondence with Lord George Gordon in London. At length their enthusiasm broke into open fury, and upon a day set apart as a royal fast in February, 1780 a large mob of the citizens assailed, and demolished the shop of a Mr Bagnall, a potter in King-street, for no other reason than that he belonged to the Roman Catholic persuasion. Subsequently, they destroyed his manufactory in Tureen-street; and for a time the city, despite the exertions of the authorities, remained in a state of perfect anarchy and confusion. Upon the termination of this effervescence, Bagnall of course instituted an action, and obtained indemnification i from the community for the amount of damage he had suffered.
In 1787, the manufacturers of the city proposed a reduced scale of wages to their weavers, upon which they struck work. The workmen proceeded to acts of annoyance and violence against those who like themselves had not "turned out" - cut their webs from their looms, and burned them on the streets of the suburbs. At length the rioters proceeded to such extreme acts of lawlessness, that on the 3d September, the magistrates called in the aid of the 39th regiment of foot under Col. Kellit. The military were assailed by the mob in the Drygate with stones, brickbats, and other missiles, and after the riot act had been read, they fired, and three persons were killed, and a number severely wounded. This measure, however painful, had the effect of quelling the riot, though no less than 6,000 persons assembled at the interment of the three men in the Capon burying-grounds. Subsequent to this unfortunate occasion, a number of the weavers left Glasgow, and several of them enlisted into the very regiment which had fired amongst them.
In the course of the long war which broke out during the French Revolution, and was terminated by the overthrow of Napoleon in 1815 Glasgow evinced almost an exuberant degree of loyalty, in the number of its corps of royal volunteers, which were clothed and equipped at the expense of the members, who served without pay. Fortunately the tide of invasion rolled not to our shores; and as the efforts of these worthy men are only remembered by their holiday-parades and patriotic intentions, it is unnecessary that we should here enlarge upon the subject.
In the Radical time of 1819-20, the peace of the city was much endangered from the feeling of discontent which pervaded the minds of large masses of the working classes, who in many cases had arrayed and armed themselves with the intention of openly resisting the Government. Opinion is still divided regarding the proceedings of this unhappy period, the causes which led to it, and the means which were taken for its suppression; and it is not the object of this work to reconcile sentiments which differ so widely. The execution of James Wilson - a poor thoughtless creature - was certainly an act of unnecessary severity.
Since then [i.e until publication of the Gazetteer in 1847] the history of the city is happily unmarked by either tumult, warlike preparations, or disaster, if we except the visitation of cholera in 1832, which severely afflicted this locality, in common with many others of the kingdom, and between February and November of that year cut off 3,005 persons. Its annals, however, are not the less interesting that they belong to the piping times of peace; for they mark the almost railroad speed with which the capital of the West has progressed in population, in intelligence, and in commercial and manufacturing wealth.
Copyright © 1997 Jimmy Powdrell Campbell