On the 3rd of September 1760, James Wilson was born
in Kirk Street within the parish of Avondale.
The family of Wilson had long been weavers. Among
the best-known weavers of the name was Wilson of Bannockburn. For over
a century and a half their firm wove checks and tartans. They supplied
the Government with the tartan for the highland regiments, and following
the repeal of the Act of Proscription in 1782, they collected ancient
setts, designed others and were in the thick of the tartan revival of
the 19th century.
James Wilson of Strathaven was believed to be the
inventor of the stocking-frame, on which the pearl stitch could be
worked and due to this - was commonly known as "Perley Wilson".
James Wilson commenced business for himself around
1780. Although the industrial revolution had left little work for the
semi-independent handloom weaver.
From 1800 onwards "Perlie" was chiefly employed as a
tinsmith, or in repairing of clocks and guns, or rearing and training
pointer dogs and in shooting game in the proper season. He is known to
have Practised in the medical profession, composed scraps of poetry,
chiefly sarcastical, but with good effect.
He was a freethinker on religious subjects. He told
serious Christians "he was not of their religion". Nothing pleased him
so much as any small tract that either exposed the measures of the
British Government or the Christian Religion.
He procured a copy of Thomas Paines "Age of Reason" -
a work that chiefly condemned the established churches of the day - by
the famous radical Paine - who was surprisingly himself the son of a
quaker. Wilson also procured a pamphlet termed "The God of the Jews",
and some other deistical tracts. He read them and repeated their tenets
and lent them to all that would pursue them.
Perley Wilson commenced his political career around
1792, when some of the Whig members of parliament formed themselves into
a society named the "Friends of the People". A society, agreeable to
their recommendation was formed at Strathaven. It consisted at first of
the Commissioners of Supply, Heritors and respectable and intelligent
people of that parish; and James Wilson and others of his rank, seemed
to attend only as spectators.
When it was found that the Duke of Hamilton and the
noblemen and Gentlemen of the country were inimical to the visionary
reforms then projected, and after the society had published their
sentiments at large on that subject, most of the members withdrew. As
they did so, James Wilson, with some weavers and other mechanics of a
speculative cast, came forward, held frequent meetings and published new
The weavers, were revolutionary in their views - at
their meetings they read Cobbett's Register, the Black Dwarf and other
radical pamphlets. A Union society of which Wilson was Class leader,
met in his house and others were formed in different parts of the town
under his directions. James Wilson's house became the place of general
rendezvous from 1795 onwards.
In 1813, two years before the war with Napoleon, the
trouble began with a general strike of 40,000 weavers throughout
Scotland. With wages at 8s 6d. per week, and the pack of meal at 3s.,
their case was hard enough, but the strike did not make the times
better, and with the arrest of the leaders it collapsed after a couple
Following the Napoleonic wars in 1815, returning
soldiers faced unemployment. At the same time, among the starving and
unemployed people - the ideas of the French Revolution were at work, to
propagate discontent and instigate rebellion. The French satirist
Voltaire's famous quotation - "Work banishes those three great evils;
boredom, vice and poverty" was widely propagated.
The full blast of disaster descended upon Glasgow in
1816. In the first three months of that year the bankruptcies in the
city involved sums amounting to two millions sterling.
In October of that year some 40,000 persons assembled
at Thrushgrove, near the city, and passed resolutions demanding redress
of grievances; and so fearful were the magistrates of a riotous outbreak
that they had the 42nd Highlanders at the barracks in Gallowgate and the
dragoons in the cavalry quarters under arms in readiness for action.
That gathering marked the opening of the "Radical"
movement in the West of Scotland. In December some actual rioting did
occur, but was suppressed by the prompt action of the magistrates, the
sherrif-depute, and the justices of the peace.
On January 29th, 1817, the first edition of "Black
Dwarf" went on sale. The frontispiece of the first volume depicted, Pan
- holding the Black Dwarf's arm in the air - declaring his victory.
While a wig lay on its side by a set of shackles that had been cast
off. Elsewhere in the picture money and a wig is being burned on a
bonfire, a jesters cap sits upon a crown, telling us plainly the "King
is a fool". Pans presence informing us the whole time - that it is a
The Black Dwarf was the major reformist paper which
was read aloud by Wilson and friends at their meetings It was also very
humorous, and reads well even today - which perhaps reflects the high
standard of literacy of that time.
One interesting correspondent is A. Wilson of
Bridgeton. This is widely believed to be Andrew Wilson the Radical of
Camlachie - who was the son of Thomas Wilson tenant of Pollewilling sic.
(Polliwilline), Campbelltown. His son Andrew Wilson - bootmaker of
Glasgow - lived at 44 Holywell Street (formerly East Hope Street)
Camlachie - which was the house of his family well into this century.
He is survived today by his descendants - Alexander Wilson and his
cousins Andrew Wilson of Bearsden and Andrew Wilson of Glasgow, and
their respective families - who live within the city of Glasgow. Andrew
Wilson of Bearsden currently holds the radicals original Admiralty
documents - dating from the 1790's on the HMS Impregnable - as well as
Andrew Wilsons' actual trade indenture document drawn up in 1772. In
the Napoleonic wars the Camlachie radicals eldest son - Thomas Wilson
had fought at the battle of Trafalgar.
Early in 1817 the events took an ominous turn, when
an attempt was made on the life of the Prince Regent, as he returned
from opening Parliament.
At the same time within Glasgow itself, serious
conspiracies were said to be afoot. The unemployed cotton spinners were
known to be plotting lawless outbreaks, and a secret enquiry by the
Government discovered the existence of a treasonable oath by which
certain persons had bound themselves to secure universal suffrage and
annual parliaments, either by means or by force.
The Reverend Neil Douglas, a dissenting minister in
the city, did what he could to inflame the crowds which went to hear
him, by fierce invective against the King, the Prince Regent, and the
House of Commons.
Earl Grey stated in the House of Lords that Glasgow
was "one of the places where treasonable practises were said, in the
report of the secret committee of both Houses, to prevail to the
Acts of lawlessness became more and more common
throughout 1819. A riot on the Kings birth night, 4th June 1819, did a
considerable amount of damage.
The spirit of rebellion, nevertheless was becoming
Among the friends of the extremists it was afterwards
argued that the troubles were stirred up by Government agents, who first
fermented rebellion, and then profited by betraying the rebels.
Even the precautions taken by the authorities to
maintain order were blamed as acts of repression which stimulated
Throughout the autumn of 1819 the Town Council had
found it necessary, for the preservation of peace, to have cavalry
stationed in the city of Glasgow. A corps of special constables also
was requisitioned. Night after night the streets were crowded with an
idle populace, ready for riot, and again and again cavalry was required
to clear the thoroughfares.
Glasgow was believed by the Government to be the
headquarters of the revolutionists in Scotland, and it was in Glasgow
that the actual outbreak took place.
Towards the end of 1819, the working classes of the
city of Glasgow were in great distress through want of employment and
the state of matters was attributed to political causes.
It was usual to see thousands of workmen parading the
streets in military order demanding employment or bread. The
magistrates projected public works for the benefit of many of them; and
great improvements were effected on the aspect of the Glasgow green by
the Labours of the unfortunate men.
The cry for reform arose again as people continued to
demand greater liberty and a deeper interest in State affairs, but the
British Government was determined to suppress what they considered
rebellion against all constituted authority.
Government spies were engaged and paid to ferret out
all ramifications of the suspected conspiracy and these spies, faithful
only in their unscrupulousness, reported that deeply laid schemes were
afoot for the overthrow of King and constitution.
Glasgow was believed by those in authority to be the
Scottish centre of the revolutionary movement - based on information
passed upwards from the spies. It was in fact the centre of the
Government spy-system and the centre of a profitable although
disreputable conspiracy amongst the spies.
Richmond, the Government spy, resided in the city of
Glasgow. He is credited with every appearance of justice, as the
fabricator of many treasonable documents, to which under false
representation, he obtained the adhesion of a number of reformers,
whose simplicity enabled him to betray them.
The first sign of what appeared to be a powerful
organisation against the government was the posting of a bill - a direct
incitement to rebellion - on the streets of Glasgow early on the morning
of Sunday, 1st April 1820.
"Friends and Countrymen," it ran, "Roused from the
state in which we have been sunk for so many years, we are at length
compelled... to assert our rights at the hazard of our lives". It
continued in glowing terms, urging the people to take arms to regenerate
their country. The document was signed "By order of the Committee of
Organisation for forming a Provisional Government".
The people read it on their way to church, and were
amazed and horror-struck; the magistrates were alarmed, and called upon
the aid of the military. The rifle Brigade, the 80th and 83rd Regiments
of Foot, the 7th and 10th Hussars, several Regiments of Yeomanry, and
the Glasgow Sharpshooters - a regiment of volunteers under the command
of Samuel Hunter editor of the "Herald" newspaper - were all ordered for
duty in Glasgow and its neighbourhood.
On Monday morning, 2nd April, Magistrates issued a
proclamation ordering "all shops to be shut this and every following
night, until tranquillity is restored, at the hour of six, and they
hereby enjoin all inhabitants of the city to retire to their houses as
soon as possible thereafter, and not later than seven o' clock. All
strangers are herby enjoined to withdraw from the city before seven o'
clock at night. Parties or groups of people standing together, or
walking on the streets after the hour of seven, will be deemed
disturbers of the peace, and will be dealt with accordingly".
On the 3rd of April, the municipal authorities
informed the public that the whole military force of the district would
be employed in the most decisive manner against those who assisted in
the rebellious movement. Here we see some evidence of the authorities
attempting to drive a wedge between the unemployed workers and the
educated more prosperous merchants and intellectuals, from where the
main leaders of the uprising had already come. Andrew Willson of
Camlachie is typical of this being himself a Merchant in the city, but
taking on the reigns of the Leading Glasgow Radical. This was precisely
the way the revolution had been fermented in France - with middle-class
merchant's and thinkers funding and leading the army of workers. The
Government recognised this and targeted the leaders, thus attempting to
prevent a repeat of what had occurred in Revolutionary France.
On the 8th of April, a Royal proclamation was read at
the Glasgow Cross, offering £500 reward for the detection of the authors
and printers of the treasonable document of 1st April.
Meanwhile, the government spies were busy preparing
their victims; and were endeavouring to rouse the lower orders to a
rebellious state, by telling them, at meetings called solely for the
purpose, that England was in arms for the cause of reform and that
troops where coming from France to assist them in their movement for
Liberty. Fifty thousand French soldiers were to encamp on Cathkin Braes
and that Glasgow and its wealth were to be seized in the name of the
Already it was claimed that a radical army from
England had advanced upon Falkirk and were about to take possession of
the Carron Iron Works, then famous for the manufacture of the cannon;
and the London mail was to be stopped before it entered Glasgow.
Such were the lies propagated by Government spies and
believed by the starving and unemployed workers of Glasgow.
The first arrest made was that of James Wilson the
Strathaven Radical - who on the Monday following the posting of the
treasonable proclamation, had been told by one of the Glasgow spies of
the glorious news, but Wilson was doubtful of the story he was being
told and sent a man to the Cathkin Braes to see for himself.
Some twenty of the village reformers then met in
Wilson's house and after being harangued by the spy from Glasgow and
being forced into a premature march, since the sent man had returned
after only a few minutes and said, that he had saw no sign of French
soldiers on the Braes, they started on a march to the city. With their
nine guns and as many pikes to overthrow the throne and the altar, and
to assume the reins of Government. One of them announced on the street
at their departure "to give no quarters".
The Government emissaries had succeeded in hocussing
the detachment of Strathaven radicals into a premature march - with
their leading banner, "Strathaven, Liberty or Death !". After a night
of terrible disappointment - waiting for the battalions which never
came; in the morning, their spirit broken and knowing they had been
duped and were now fugitives, they wisely scattered for home. James
Wilson had carried a banner in the march with the words, "Scotland free
or a desert! Strathaven Union" inscribed upon it. Wilson was no sooner
in his house than he was seized by the police and taken , first to
Hamilton barracks, and afterwards to Glasgow on a charge of High
Late on the night of Tuesday 3rd April, about seventy
men - headed by a Glasgow weaver, Sgt. Andrew Hardie - met on the Fir
Park, now the Necropolis, and having been furnished with pikes, swords,
muskets and ammunition by the spies - who then made their excuses and
departed - the men were directed to march to Falkirk, where they would
meet their English radical comrades.
On the way a halt was made in the village of
Condorrat, and a weaver named John Baird, with a small party of weavers
- was persuaded to join the expedition. The next day they neared
Falkirk but no English Radicals were to be seen.
This disheartened many of them who left the company,
fearing something was amiss - and the thirty who remained were resting
among some enclosures at Bonnymuir in the vicinity of Castlecary, when a
troop of the 7th Hussars came upon them.
The misguided men refused to surrender, hastily
formed a solid square - as was employed in the recent battle of Waterloo
- and attempted to withstand the overwhelming charge of the cavalry.
They were overcome, nearly every one of them was wounded - although they
are said to have faired well - all were made prisoners.
Carts were procured for the conveyance of the injured
and all were taken to Stirling Castle, where they were placed in
The news of all these doings created a great
sensation throughout the country; and the King appointed a Special
Commission for the trial of the rebels. Scots law was pushed aside and
an Englishmen, Sergeant John Hullock, supervised the prosecution
according to the English law of Treason.
Hullock had been sent up from London to see that
Jeffrey and the other Whig counsel who might defend the radicals would
be matched fully in legal subtlety, for Lord Castlereagh wanted a
"lesson on the scaffold".
72 "wanted" rebels fled from the Bridgeton district
of Glasgow - but under bogus names they shot up again in other
districts, with a fiercer revolutionary temper, with new secret oaths,
and with terrible threats upon spies and informers. There so many parts
of the story missing here since the British government purposefully
destroyed important records - regarding radicals who were arrested and
imprisoned and physically tore out several pages of records from the
public records office, which effectively made people and their families
non-persons! The only other copy of these records remains tightly under
lock and key and is the exclusive right of the Scottish Secretary of
Due to the measures employed by the Authorities to
wipe the events of 1820 from history - the story has survived mainly
through the government biased newspaper accounts of the radicals trials
and through the written work of the then radical historian Peter
McKenzie - but mostly it has survived by being passed down by word of
mouth, within the families of the Scottish Radicals, who rigidly
maintained this tradition in defiance. So effective was the Governments
obliteration of the history of the Uprising, that only in the last 10
years has it become part of the History course taught in Scottish
secondary schools - through public pressure - although it is still
considered by 'the powers that be' to be an act of Sedition and is not
A special court of Oyer and Terminer met at Stirling on the 23rd of June
and eighteen of the prisoners captured at Bonnymuir were brought up on a
charge of high treason. Among the accused were John Baird, the Condorrat
weaver and Andrew Hardie of Glasgow. With the exception of Baird and
three others, all of the accused belonged to Glasgow.
The trial was conducted in the English fashion, and
the case was first of all put before a grand jury, who after two days'
hearing found true bills against all the prisoners for high treason; and
the Lord President fixed the trial for 6th July.
On 6th July - "trial commenced amid the greatest
excitement" - eighteen of them were brought up for trial at Edinburgh on
a charge of high treason and notwithstanding the eloquence of Francis
Jeffrey, who was retained for their defence, all were convicted.
The celebrated Francis Jeffrey - later to become the
Lord rector of Glasgow University - was retained for their defence, but
his eloquence was unveiling. Sentence of death was pronounced on Hardie
and Baird as ringleaders and the day of doom was appointed for Friday,
GLASGOW, JULY 20
The court met this day at nine o' clock, consisting
of the Lord President of the Court of Session, the Lord Justice Clerk,
the Lord Chief Baron of the Court of Exchequer, the Lord Chief
Commissioner of the Jury Court, and Lord Pitmilly.
On the part of the Crown the Counsel are, The Lord
Advocate, the Solicitor - General, Mr. Hullock; Mr. H.H. Drummond and
Mr. Hope, the Lord Advocate's Deputes; Mr. Menzies, Mr. Knapp; and Mr.
James Arnott, W.S., agent.
On the opposite side of the table, Mr. J.K. Murray,
Mr Grahme, Mr Montieth, Mr. Pyper, Mr. Cullen, Mr. Miller, and Mr.
Sandford Advocates. Agents, Mr. Harmer, the English Attorney, who
conducted the trials which lately took place at Manchester, and Messrs.
Fleming and Strang of this city.
James Wilson was put to the bar, having been brought
The Clerk of Arraigns, then called over the list of
the petty jury, consisting of 200 names, which occupied a very
considerable time. After many challenges on the part of the prisoner,
and one on that of the Crown, the following Gentlemen were chosen to try
the case, viz.-
David Laird of Balornock,
Thomas Muir of Muir Park,
John Lochhead of Govan,
Robert Grandberry Baillie,
Thomas Sommerville, younger of Carnwrath,
Andrew Smith of Auldhouse,
James Howison of Douglas,
James Gilchrist of Gilfoot,
George Rowan of Holmfauldhead,
Thomas Douglas of Moss,
John Woddrop of Dalmarnock,
James Ewing, merchant, Glasgow.
The Lord President prohibited, in the most positive
manner, the publication of the evidence, or the speeches of the Counsel;
in the case of Wilson or any of the other trials which are to take place
in Glasgow or elsewhere, until the whole proceedings against the persons
accused of High Treason are finished; his Lordship observing, that the
cases were all in some degree connected together as one grand
conspiracy, and that it would be inconsistent with public justice, if
the witnesses in one trial could read in the newspapers, previous to
their own examination, the evidence of other witnesses.
His Lordship trusted his prohibition would be
attended to, as it's violation would bring down on the heads of
violators the severest penalties of the law.
The case for the prosecution opened on July 20th
1820. James Wilson was put to the bar. The Indictment was read by the
Clerk of Arraigns, charging the prisoner with sticking up in various
places, and acting upon the recommendation of, the Glasgow Treasonable
Address of the 1st April, which was read as part of the indictment; with
procuring arms and ammunition for the purpose of levying war against our
Lord the King, and, along with others, marching in military array, with
arms in their hands, for the purpose of making war on the soldiers of
the King; with appointing commanders to lead them against the troops of
the country, with imprisoning various subjects of the King, for the
purpose of forcing them to accompany them in levying war against the
government of the country, and arraying themselves in military order in
the parish of Avondale, on or about the 6th April, with Arms in their
hands, for the avowed purpose of assisting to overthrow the
constitution. The Indictment occupied two hours in reading.
Mr Hope then stated to the Jury the heads of the
several Counts of the Indictment, charging the prisoner with levying war
against the King and constitution. Wilson was charged also with the
further iniquity of imagining the death of the king.
Twenty-eight witnesses were examined on the part of
the Crown. The prisoner emitted two declarations. The court concluded
at twelve o' clock, to meet on Friday 21st at ten.
It is interesting to note that one of the chief
witnesses against Wilson was Sheriff Aiton of Hamilton, Aiton had
confessed to having attempted to bribe men into forging pikes so that
they should be liable for a charge of treason.
The court met at ten o' clock. The court was engaged
in the examination of ex-culpatory witnesses.
Thirty-two witnesses were examined in exculpation in
the case of James Wilson. The Jury retired at seven o' clock; and after
being absent two hours, they returned in to the court and delivered the
Finding him Guilty on the 4th count - and Not Guilty
on the other counts. The Fourth count on which the prisoner has been
convicted, is "compassing to levy war against the King, in order to
Compel him to change his measures".
The Foreman, Mr. James Ewing, merchant of Glasgow, in
the name of the Jury recommended him to the mercy of the crown.
James Wilson found Guilty before the Court of the
High Commission was sentenced to be executed as a traitor on the 30th of
August. He has been recommended to the mercy of the King.
The following were found Not Guilty;
John Walters (husband of Lilly Wilson),
The death sentence passed on Wilson was as follows;
"The sentence of the law is - To be drawn on a hurdle
to the place of execution on the 30th August, and after being hung by
the neck till you be dead, that your head be severed from your body, and
your body cut in quarters at the disposal of the King; and the Lord have
mercy upon your soul."
After the sentence was passed. The prisoner was then
taken from the court without showing any signs of agitation and taken to
one of the iron rooms of Glasgow Jail.
September 1st 1820:
The day previous to the execution, he was visited by
his wife, daughter and grandchildren. The interview was short, all
parties conducted themselves in the most be-coming manner, but none of
that excess of feeling shown on these distressing occasions was
displayed by any of the parties.
It is worth noting that the jury who found Wilson
guilty likewise recommended him to the Royal Clemency; but notice was
shortly afterwards received that he was not considered a proper object
of mercy by the Government.
The fate of these unfortunate me excited the utmost
commiseration, and influential petitions in their favour were forwarded
to Government, but without success. It is believed that one or two
other applications were made, but they were equally ineffectual.
Friday September 1, 1820:
EXECUTION OF JAMES WILSON,
FOR HIGH TREASON.
Wednesday, pursuant to his sentence at the Court of
Oyer and Terminer, held here on the 24th July. James Wilson, hosier in
Strathaven, underwent full sentence of the law commonly executed found
guilty of High Treason.
On Wednesday 30 August 1820, the day was fine and the
crowd assembled was some 20,000 spectators. The ground was well
guarded; by a party of the rifle brigade, the 33rd regiment and a number
of the 3rd dragoon guards.
The passage over the wooden bridge was very properly
stopped during the execution, as was that over the old bridge, as it was
then undergoing repairs, and with the parapet wall having been taken
down, serious accidents might have occurred from the pressure of the
crowd, had it not been guarded.
Wilson was dressed in white trimmed with black.
After the customary prayer Wilson took a glass of wine and Dewar read
various passages of scripture, providing the love and forgiveness of the
Saviour for sinners, provided they confessed their sins and called upon
him for mercy. The Doctor beseeched him in an impassioned and earnest
plea to lay hold of the Saviour, and look only to him for forgiveness;
and hope that God in his infinite mercy would give him repentance of his
sins. Part of the 51st Psalm was sung again beginning in the 7th and
ending in the 12th verse, which Wilson appeared to join in with
considerable earnest - frequently making a slight inclination of his
head when the words appeared to suit his situation.
When he advanced a pretty firm step to the South door
of the Hall, where he waited about a minute for the headsman, who came
from the prison by the passage for the criminals dressed in a loose
black dress, his face covered with crepe, and carrying a large axe in
the right hand and a knife in the left.
The cavalcade then proceeded to the South gate of the
jail, where a hurdle, painted black, with seats in each side was waiting
inside of the iron railings to convey Wilson to the scaffold.
He was assisted into it by the officers, the headsman
was seated before him holding up his axe, and they were drawn along by a
horse attached to the car, to the foot of the scaffold; "Did you ever
see sic a crowd as this", he said carelessly to the executioner.
At 5 minutes to three he mounted the scaffold, when a
tremendous shout, mixed with hissing, was set by the crowd, and cries of
"Murder", and "He is a murdered man", were heard from all quarters.
The rope was speedily adjusted by the ordinary
executioner; and Wilson being told according to stature, when all was
ready, instantly gave the signal and the drop fell. Immediately amidst
disapprobation cries, the outer part of the crowd were seen flying off
in every direction, principally towards the Calton, and loudly bawling
that "the Cavalry were coming".
A scene of great confusion was produced and some
persons were severely bruised from the falls and the trampling they
In three minutes all was quiet again, and many of
those who had fled returned to witness the conclusion of the horrid
About five minutes after the body was suspended,
convulsive motions agitated the whole frame, and some blood appeared
through the cap, opposite the ears, but on the whole he appeared to die
At half past three, after hanging half an hour, his
body was lowered upon three short spokes laid across the mouth of the
coffin. His head was laid on the block with his face downwards, and the
cap taken off, when there was again a repetition of disapprobation of
The person in the mask, who had retired into the Hall
when Wilson ascended the scaffold, was now called, he advanced to the
body, which was placed at the front of the scaffold, amidst the
execrations of the people, and after calmly feeling the neck for a
moment, he lifted the axe, and at one blow severed the head from the
body, which he held up, and proclaimed, "This is the head of a traitor".
Vehement cries of "It is false, he has bled for his
country!", were heard from different quarters.
The headsman appeared to be about 20 years of age, of
a genteel appearance, and executed his obnoxious task with the most
The whole ceremony of the decapitation did not occupy
above a minute, and at four o' clock the ground was clear, without any
material accident having happened.
Although spared the final barbarity of being
quartered, the weavers remains were buried in a paupers burying ground
in Glasgow's High Church.
The remains were recovered by his daughter and niece
and secretly transported back to Strathaven. He was then secretly
interred in a family plot in the parish graveyard, behind where the
current monument to him stands.
On the 31st August he was "interred in the 2nd
Breadth of the East length". This record in the parish register is
clearly inconsistent with the handwriting of the records immediately
before and after it.
The second breadth of the plot was used - due to the
fact the first could not be opened until a certain period of time had
elapsed since it's previous interment in 1818.
The following inflammatory Bill was on Wednesday
morning posted upon the walls in different parts of the city of
"May the ghost of butchered Wilson haunt the pillows
of his relentless Jurors. - Murder! Murder! Murder!".
In 1846, the monument at Strathaven was erected to
Perley Wilson. Among the crowd assembled was Edward Wilson - shoemaker
of Glasgow - son of Andrew Wilson the Camlachie Radical.
James Wilson's son also named James Wilson - born in
1801 is found in the census of 1841 then aged 40 - living in Kirk
Street Strathaven with his mother Helen then 70 and his Daughter Janet
aged 9 years. Other children of the Radical and his wife born in the
parish of Avondale were Robert born on July 3rd 1804, Thomas born on
July 13th 1797, William born on 15th February 1800 and Lilly christened
on 4th April 1790. These people are mentioned as previous writers
erronously believed that Wilson had only a daughter. Lilly (Lilias)
Wilson's marriage to John Walters in Muirkirk is found in the Avondale
parish registers dated 12th July 1807.
Even more affecting was the execution of Hardie and
Baird at Stirling on the 8th September. They died declaring that they
had come to the scaffold in the cause of truth and justice; and they and
old James Wilson were regarded as Scottish Martyrs to that cause.
The eighteen other prisoners who were transported for
life - out of Leith docks are as follows;
Twelve years later, during the general rejoicings
following the Kings assent to the Reform Bill, Andrew Hardie's poor old
mother placed in her window a card which read:
"Britons rejoice, Reform is won !
but twas the cause
Lost me my son."
POEM EXTRACTED FROM A COPY OF THE BLACK DWARF:
ALEXANDER THE GREAT AND TOM PAINE THE GREAT
TUNE OF THE OLD SONG BY GEORGE ALEXANDER STEVENS
- GLEE OF LIBERTY, FOR THE LAST BOTTLE -
ALEXANDER HATING THINKING,
HE SUBDUED THE WORLD BY DRINKING,
THOMAS PAINE HE LOV'D GOOD DRINKING,
YET SUBDUED THE WORLD BY THINKING,
PAINE SUBDUED THE WORLD BY THINKING!
All references were taken from information freely available at the
Mitchell library Glasgow.
Glasgow Herald - several editions.
The History of the Working Classes.
The Making of the Scottish Working Class, 1770-1820.
The Black Dwarf.
MacGregor's History of Glasgow.
Mackinnon, Social and Industrial History.
Avondale Parish Records.
Note: No material of any kind was taken from the book
"The Scottish Radical Uprising of 1820".