« PreviousContinue »
give the publict quhat pistollis the towne hes, and the other to give Ritmaster Buntein ane thowsand merkis. To the first it was desyret to wryt that the towne knew not of ony pistollis in the place, and for the nixt it was fund that the towne had no money to give, but committit to the magistrates to doe their best with the Ritmaster to put him by, on easie terms if possible.” In May, King Charles writes from his Court at Stirling, desiring that the Magistrates, Council, and community of Glasgow would advance in loan £500 sterling, a portion of which was raised from the teinds and by advances from four private burgesses-William Home, James Armour, Thomas Campbell, and James Kincaid. The sad shifts to which the burgh was reduced between the exactions of Charles and Cromwell is brought out with much simple pathos in a resolution come to, we may well believe, reluctantly, to close Hutchesons' Hospital, completed only two years previously, "for the entertainment of poor, aged, and decripit men to be placed therein.” On June 3, 1652, "the Proveist, Balyeis, and Counsell, haveing seriouslie takine to their consideratioune the present estaite and conditioune of the foiresaid Hospitall, and finding that the haill sowmes of money now awine to the house will scairce pay the debt awine for its pairt of the Gorballis boght, and that there is no rent quhairwith to keep the boyes in the house or to hold the scoolmaister as he hes bein heirtofoir, seeing the haill rent, almost that the said Hospitoll hes to susteine any of these consistis most of the lands of Gorballis, quhilk has now beine eattine upe and destroyed these twa yeiris bygane. It is thairfor resolvit that the fyve poor boyes that is presentlie in the house be put home to thair parentis, and the maister of the hous to pay thair parents for thair enterteinment as he and they best can agree.” In like manner the DeaconConvener of the Trades' House, Manasses Lyle, made an appeal to the Council in November of the same year regarding the “poore decayit brethrein” impoverished through the wasting of Gorbals lands belonging to the Crafts. On Christmas Day certain skilled men were instructed to be chosen to divide the Gorbals barony among the three purchasing bodies—the Council, the Hospital, and the Trades House. Matters would appear to have mended with the town a little before the
Restoration, as in June, 1660, high public rejoicings were held in celebration of the event, and two hogsheads of wine provided for the use of the soldiers in town.
Next to exactions by Cromwell, Glasgow suffered grievously from pestilence and fire during the period embraced in the new volume of “Minutes," and referred to in many common histories of the City. The pestilence would appear to have been most virulent in the summer of 1648, quartermasters being appointed on 22nd July to inspect the town, to discharge the inhabitants from repairing to wine or alehouses, and to refrain from wandering about the streets. On 5th August the pestilence is described as "growne hotter nor hes beine seene heirtofoire," and ten new persons were appointed special inspectors, with magisterial power. Seven days later, when travelling to Edinburgh was prohibited, the disease is described as still increasing “in ane more hot maner than hes beine seene and knowne heirtofor to any now liveing, quhairby manie familees are removeit out to the Muir.” Two thousand merks were at this time voted by the Council for relief of the poor sufferers. Later in the season an additional surgeon was introduced into the City, “ Becaus of the neid the towne stands in of some qualified chirurgeonne, and that thair is ain large commendatioune gevine to Arthour Tempill, ane of that professione, tharfor ordaines the Deene of Gild and his brethrein to receave him burges and gild brother in hopes of his good service.” Under date 22nd June, 1652, it is recorded, “Forsameikill as it has pleased God to raise on Thuirsday last was the 17 of this instant, ane suddent fyre in the house of Mr. James Hamiltoune above the Croce, quhilk has consumet that close, the haill close on both sydes belonging to William Stewart, Thomas Norvell, and others,
the haill housis bak and foir upon bothe syds of the Salt. mercat," with houses on the west of Gallowgate and north side of Briggate, “quhairby efter compt it is fund that thair will be neir four scoir closses all burnt, estimat to about ane thowsand punds, so that unless spedie remidie be useit and help sought out fra such as hes power and whois hartis God sall move, it is lyklie that the towne sall come to outer ruein." Commissioners were at once
sent over the country for contributions in aid of the distressed; tradesmen were permitted to be drawn from any quarter they could be got, and in September Parliament made the welcome grant of £1,000 sterling, from the treasury of sequestra:ions in Scotland, for relief of the sufferers.
Among the more miscellaneous entries, several of great interest (only to be mentioned briefly here) will be found, relating to Hutchesons' Hospital and School, to Zachray Boyd and his “Mortifications,” to the University, to Principal Robert Baillie, translated from Kilwinning to Glasgow, and to nearly every craft incorporated within the burgh, the latter frequently complaining of the interference of non-freemen, and the injury of their patrimony by the English. Some notices also occur of the Grammar-school and Library-house, James Colquhoun receiving on 3rd January, 1634, one hundred and ten pounds for completing the latter, “casting the town's arms thairon, gilting of the Bischop's armis, for the pains taken be him at Robiestoun Loche, and in making ane of the lyoun's mouthis at the spoutis of the Tolbuith.” Sharp steps would appear to have been taken November, 1635, for raising the status of the Water Bailie, the Council having then considered “the great contempt the place of watter bailyearie within this burgh is fallen in be the admissioun thairto of divers decayed and depauperat persounes, quhilk tendis greatly to the prejudice of the haill inhabitants of this burgh and river, and thairfor they being most willeing to raise the same into the old worthie and laudable estait quhairin it once wes, they haif concluidet ane of the best sort and rank of the Counsell to be electit and choysen for dischargeing of the said place, and his electione, with the forme thairof, and his jurisdictionn to be set down on Settirday next.” The Fleshers are censured July, 1647, in so far as they had slighted the town by sending in no flesh to the market, and “becaus it is verie needfull that the towne be servit with vivers," it is ordained, &c., "to grant licence and libertie to all men in the countrey to bring in flesche, or beif and muttonne, and all other sort of flesche, all the dayes in the weik, and they sall have libertie to sell the same at all occasionnes frie of payment of any excyis till Lambes nixt." In January, 1651, attendance at Council came to be regulated
with greater strictness than formerly. It was then appointed that “all quha comes not in tymeouslie without lawfull reasone shall pay sax shillings, to be immediatlie put in the poores box.”
GLASGOW CHAMBER OF COMMERCE.
UNDER the somewhat unpromising title of “Curiosities," a contribution of great and permanent interest to local literature has just (1881) been made by Mr. George Stewart, librarian of the Chamber of Commerce, now within a short time of completing the hundredth year of its useful existence. “Curiosities of Citizenship” is not only apt by itself to convey an erroneous notion of Mr. Stewart's labours, but the phrase falls much short of doing justice to the contents of his book. It is in only a very remote sense a collection of “Curiosities” at all, whether the word is taken as applicable to individuals or to the manner in which they become vested with citizenship. Our early Buchanans, Glassfords, Stirlings, Monteiths, and Finlays were nothing of the nature of “Curiosities," and might rather have been inclined to resent the application to themselves of such a term. “Bob Dragon” was certainly a typical Glasgow “Curiosity” in person as well as in habits, but to run the risk of including such a character in a history devoted to men like David Dale, or the Tennants, or Orrs, besides those already mentioned, is apt to lead to serious misapprehension. It can only now be hoped that Mr. Stewart's work will not be judged by its title-page exclusively. Our early merchants, no less than the Chamber they had the far-seeing wisdom to establish, well deserved such a full, accurate, and appreciative record as has been put together by Mr. Stewart concerning them. If their rise was not curious in the sense of being odd, it must always remain wonderful ; and yet, apart from their exceptionally humble beginnings, their enterprise, thrift, and industry only secured the reward still daily
reaped in the shape of affluence, position, and power. Mr. Stewart has arranged his book on the most simple and obvious lines, admirably fitted to carry out the design contemplated in publication. Some time ago, he writes, the directors of the Chamber of Commerce suggested the preparation of a few notes descriptive of the circumstances giving rise to the Chamber, and of the early transactions forming subjects of deliberation and discussion. Mr. Stewart readily acted upon the suggestion, and confesses that he found the study one of great interest. It occurred to him, however, that many curious and complicated details might be rendered more attractive and interesting if, instead of being presented in a dry historical or statistical form, they could in some way be associated with the lives and labours of the most notable of those men who were the early directors and members of the Charnber, and to whom, it is no exaggeration to say, modern Glasgow owes a debt of honour and gratitude she can never pay. Preceded by a chapter on the condition of Glasgow at the Union of the Parliaments, there falls to be noticed in this way at considerable length the Buchanans of Drumpeller and Mount Vernon in connection with the great Virginia trade, Charles Tennant of St. Rollox, with the Macraes of Ayrshire, and bleaching chemicals; David Dale of Rosebank, and the rise of the cotton industry; George Macintosh of Dunchattan, and his cudbear works at the Craigs Park, Ark Lane; John Monteith of Anderston, and early weaving; the Stirlings of Cordale and Dalquhurn, famous for their calico printing and dyeing ; Henry Riddell, Virginia merchant, deeply concerned in the extension of the City westwards to George Square. J. C. Campbell of Clathick, John Robertson of Plantation, and Robert Carrick may be confidently accepted in illustration of such commercial enterprises as were represented in their day by the Thistle Bank, the Glasgow Arms Bank, and the Ship Bank. Following these, Mr. Stewart presents a facsimile list of the original subscribers to the Glasgow Chamber of Commerce, and a historical sketch, which might have been much enlarged to the advantage of the reader, concerning the origin and objects of the Chamber, followed up by a notice more or less minute of almost every merchant connected with it in early days