[The following passage from the Chambers 1838 Gazetteer of Scotland appears on pages 465-66. — George P. Landow.]
On the restoration of episcopacy, under Charles II., several persons were hanged in Glasgow for nonconformity, which, with other circumstances, gave the town an earnest desire for the establishment of a more liberal government. In September 1662, the city was visited by the commissioner of parliament, the Earl of Middleton, and a quorum of the privy council, to support the introduction of episcopacy by their presence. The bishop appointed to fill the new charge was Andrew Fairfowl, who complained to the council of the nonconformity of his clergy, whereupon orders were given for them to come forward to receive collation and admission from him under certain penalties. From Glasgow the ambulatory council proceeded into other parts of the country in the west.
In 1677 the city suffered a second severe conflagration, whereby a hundred and thirty houses and shops were burned, and it had not well recovered this misfortune, when it was involved in the insurrection which ended so fatally at Bothwell Bridge. While this latter affair was in progress, the royal troops fitted the city by means of barricades to endure a siege; and, on its being attacked by the nonconformists, there ensued a conflict somewhat like those which took place at Paris and Brussels in 1830, and which, in a similar manner, ended in the repulse of the assailants. The city subsequently suffered for its adherence to the insurgent party; but this only made the people long the more intensely for a revolution, and consequently on the landing of William, Prince of Orange, they were among the first to congratulate him on his auspicious assumption of the sovereign authority. Since this time Glasgow has ever taken a lead in the advancement of liberal opinions. At the beginning of the eighteenth century, it suffered very severely by the failure of the Darien scheme, in which a number of its wealthy citizens had embarked their capital.
The Union of England and Scotland in 1707
On the occasion of the Union in 1707, the citizens showed great discontent, and committed the extravagance of rioting for the purpose of nullifying the articles of confederation between the two nations. The people were little aware of the immense advantages which their city was to derive from the Union. In consequence of the participation in the English colonial trade to which Scotland was then admitted the merchants of Glasgow were enabled to open a lucrative trade with North America, particularly with the provinces of Maryland and Virginia, to which they exported the woollen and linen manufactured by the Scottish peasantry, (which, from their plain and cheap character, were perhaps more suitable to the wants of the colonists than any English stuffs,) bringing home cargoes of tobacco in return.
As the city had hitherto carried on scarcely any other trade than an export of fish to France, bringing home brandy and wine in return, and as the Clyde had never been rendered navigable for vessels of any considerable size, the merchants opened this trade under the disadvantage of chartering English vessels, and shipping their goods at Port Glasgow, a small harbour belonging to them, near Greenock. Yet, in spite of all such impediments, the trade flourished exceedingly; and at length the merchants began to provide their own vessels.
About 1725, the prosperity and population of the city received a material increase from the establishment of the linen manufacture, which, for many years, was carried on with distinguished success, and only at last yielded to cotton, which became a staple article at Glasgow within the memory of the present generation. Henceforth the history of the city is little else than a history of successful industry.
In 1725, a remarkable riot took place in the city on occasion of the malt tax being first put into operation. The movement commenced on the 23d of June, the day on which the tax was to take effect, and was directed to the demolition of the house of Daniel Campbell, of Shawfield, Esq., the member of parliament for the city, who had voted for the extension of the odious tax to Scotland. The military, consisting of two companies of Delorain's regiment, under command of Captain Bushel, came to town for the preservation of order; but by the grossest indecision and pusillanimity of the magistrates, the rioters not only accomplished their design, but the soldiers were discomfited, though not till nine persons were shot and seventeen wounded. The government was exceedingly exasperated at the criminal remissness of the provost and bailies; and Duncan Forbes, Lord Advocate, ordered the whole body of magistrates to be carried prisoners to Edinburgh, by a military guard. The case terminated in the restoration of these personages to the city, the payment of L. 6400 to Mr. Campbell for the damage done to the property, and the whipping and banishment of several of the rioters. Captain Bushel was tried and condemned for firing on the people without leave, but he was pardoned and afterwards promoted in the service. Smollett relates this transaction, and gives it a colouring it by no means merits.
When the rebellion of 1745 broke out, the citizens were afforded an opportunity of showing their attachment to the principles of the revolution, by raising two battalions of 600 men each, for the service of government, one of which fought at Falkirk. In an earlier stage of this insurrection, when, the Highland army was advancing upon Edinburgh, Prince Charles made a demand upon the city fo r£15,000 sterling in money, all the arms in the city, and any arrears of taxes due to the government; and being shortly visited by a Mr. John Hay, W. S. in Edinburgh, with a party of horse, accompanied by Glengyle, the chief of the M'Gregors, the magistrates saw the necessity of treating, and compromised for L5000 in money and £500 in goods. Charles, upon the return of his forces from England, took Glasgow in his route, and exacted 12,000 linen shirts, 6000 cloth coats, 6000 pairs of shoes, 6000 pairs of hose, and 6000 bonnets. These outlays, and the expense of the two battalions, amounted to £15,000, two-thirds of which the city recovered from parliament.
A little before this era, Glasgow is found to have increased in population from the twelve thousand it possessed at the Union, to upwards of seventeen thousand; and it had new about two hundred shops. In 1752, the first theatre was erected in Castle Street. In the same year, the first four-wheeled carriage was started in the town. In 1754, the large markets in King Street were built.
The revolt of the American colonies in 1775, was to Glasgow a matter of most serious import, as it interrupted and threatened altogether to destroy the trade upon which the city had till now chiefly subsisted. It was probably for this reason that the citizens were induced to raise, at an expense of £10,000, a regiment of 1,000 men for the service of government, no other part of the United Kingdom, except Edinburgh and the Highlands, contributing in such a way to the support of a contest the most unjust and disgraceful that ever stained the annals of Britain. Previously to the war, Glasgow had nearly monopolized the import of tobacco, not only for Britain but for France, and the breaking up of such a trade produced, as may easily be imagined, a wide-spread scene of ruin, though happily one which the enterprising spirit of the people was able to repair by application to other objects.
In 1779-80, the lower classes of inhabitants of Glasgow, in common with those of Edinburgh and other places, were dreadfully excited by the repeal of certain penal statutes against the Roman catholics, and did considerable mischief to the property of individuals of that communion. In this town no fewer than eighty-five societies, consisting of at least 12,000 persons were formed to oppose the bill, and communicate with Lord George Gordon. It is gratifying to state that the inhabitants in the present day have looked upon the exclusion of Roman catholics from the common rights of British subjects in a very different light. The repeal of certain duties on French cambrics about the same period gave rise to another mob, but one of a less mischievous nature. Another riot for advance of wages took place in 1787, and on similar grounds of discontent there have been occasional disturbances till the present time.
Chambers, Robert. The Gazetterr of Scotland. Glasgow: Blackie and Son, 1838. Internet Archive online version digitized with funding from National Library of Scotland. Web. 30 September 2018.
Last modified 1 October 2018