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History of the Town and Castle of Dumbarton
Part VI. History of the Town and Castle of Dumbarton


The Lochlomond Expedition In the Tear 1715, undertaken for effectually checking the progress of the Highland Marauders, composed chiefly of the Clan Gregor, headed by the notorious Rob Roy Macgregor, in the low country; in which expedition the Diunbartonians took a very active part--A Curious Statement of the Burgh and County's Extraordinary Expense on the Occasion--Election of a Member of Parliament for the Burgh—Brief Sketch of Exemptions on the River Clyde.

Tim great Rebellion which agitated all Britain had broken out in the year 1715, by the unfortunate Earl of Mar setting up the standard of the Stewart family, which, in an ill-omened hour, proved the ruin of many honourable families both of England and Scotland. This great public event seemed to have thrown into commotion the whole western Highlands, and gave to the notorious Rob Roy, who professed to be an adherent of the exiled Stewarts, a pretext for his unlawful depredations on the neighbouring Lowlands. As the bold leader of a rude Highland clan, be was one of the most daring freebooters who ever arose among the Highland mountains. Rob Roy Macgregor Campbell, which last name he bore in consequence of the acts of Parliament abolishing his own, was the younger son of Donald Macgregor of Glengyle (said to have been a Lieutenant-Colonel in the service of James II.), by his wife, a daughter of Campbell of Glenfalloch. Rob's own designation was of Inversnaid; but he appears to have acquired a right of some kind or other to the property of Craig Royston, a large track of rock and forest, lying on the east side of Loch Lomond, where that beautiful lake stretches into the dusky mountains of Glenfalloch. A large proportion of the clan Gregor also claimed the property of Balquidder and other Highland districts as having been part of the ancient possessions of their tribe, though the harsh laws, under the severity of which they had suffered so deeply, had assigned the ownership to other families. The civil wars of the seventeenth century had accustomed these half-savage men to the use of arms, and they were peculiarly brave and fierce, from the remembrance of their own sufferings. The vicinity of a comparatively rich lowland district gave also great temptations to incursion. Many belonging to other clans, habituated to contempt of industry and to the use of arms, drew themselves towards an unprotected frontier which promised facility of plunder. There was, therefore, no difficulty in Rob Roy, descended as he was of a tribe which was widely dispersed through the country we have described, collecting any number of followers whom he might be able to keep in action and to maintain by his illegal operations. He himself appears to have been singularly adapted for the profession which he proposed to exercise. His stature was not of the tallest, but his person was uncommonly strong and compact. The greatest peculiarities of his frame were the breadth of his shoulders, and the great and almost disproportioned length of his arms—so remarkable, indeed, that it was said he could, without stooping, tie the garters of his Highland hose, which are placed about three inches below the knee. His countenance was open, manly, and stern at periods of danger, but frank and cheerful in his hours of festivity. His hair was dark red, thick and frizzled, and curled short around his face. His singular Highland dress, and bold robust appearance, evinced him a man of great muscular strength. Such was the clan, and such was their undaunted leader, against whom the Dumbartonians nobly took the field.

"On Tuesday the 11th of Oct. 1715, about six o'clock at night, there came to the key of Dumbarton, from the men-of-war that were lying in the Firth of Clyde, four pinnaces and three large boats, with four pateraroes, and about one hundred men, well hearted and well armed, under the command of Captain Chariton, Captain Field, and Captain Parker, with four lieutenants and two gunners. About two or three hours thereafter, came up to them a large boat from New Port-Glasgow, with two large screw guns, under the command of Captain Clark; all these being joined by three very large boats belonging to the burgh of Dumbarton. Upon the morrow, about nine in the morning, they all put off from the key, and by the strength of horses were pulled the apace of five miles up the river Leven, which, next to the Spey, is reckoned the most rapid river in Scotland.

"When they were got to the mouth of the loch, the Pasleymen, and as many more as the boats could conveniently stow, went onboard; and, at the same time, the Dumbarton-men, the men of Easter and Wester Kilpatrick, of Rosneath, Row, and Cardrosa, marched up on foot along the north-west side of the loch; and after them, on horseback, the Honourable Master John Cainple of Mamore, uncle to his Grace the Duke of Argyle, attended by a fine train of the gentlemen of the shire, viz. Archibald M'Aulay of Ardencaple, Aulay M'Aulay, his eldest son, George Naper of Kilmahew, Walter Graham of Kilmardermy, John Colqu.houn of Craigton, John Stirling of Law, James Hamilton of Barns, with many others, all very richly mounted, and well armed.

"When the pennaces and boats, being once got in within the mouth of the loch, had spread their sails, and the men on the shore had ranged themselves in order, marching along for scouring the coast, they made altogether so fine an appearance as had never been seen in that place before, and might have gratified even a curious person. The men on the shore marched with the greatest order and alacrity. The pinnaces and the other boats on the waters discharging their pateraroes, and the men their small arms, made so very dreadful a noise through the multiplied and rebounding echoes of the vast mountains on both sides of the loch, that perhaps there was never a more lively remembrance of thunder.

"Against evening they got to Lusa, where they came ashore and were met and joined by Sir Humphrey Colquhoun of Luss Baronet, and chief of that name, and James Grant of Pluscarden, his son-in-law, and brother-german to Brigadier Grant—followed by forty or fifty strong stately fellows, in their short hose and belted plaids, armed each of them with a well fixed gun on his shoulder—a strong handsome target, with a sharp pointed steel of above an ell in length secured into the navel of it, on his left arm—a sturdy claymore by his side, and a pistol or two, with a dirk and knife, in his belt. Here the whole company rested all night. In the meantime, many reports reached them, contrived, or at least magnified, by the Jacobites, in order to discourage them from the attempt. One of the reports was, that M'Donald of Glengarry, who was indeed lying with his men about Strathilllan, sixteen miles from the head of the Loch, had reinforced the M'Gregors, so that they at least amounted to sixteen hundred men—whereas there were not full four hundred men on the expedition against them. That on account of the Loch being narrow at Inveranaid, where the rebels were lying, they might pepper the boats with their shot from the shore without any danger to themselves, being shaded by the rocks and woods. In a word, that this was a desperate project, and would be a throwing away of all their lives. All these fearful considerations could not, however, dishearten these brave men. They knew that the M'Gregors and the devil are to be dealt with after the same manner, and that if they be resisted they will flee away. Wherefore, on the morrow morning, being Thursday the 13th, they went on in their expedition, and, about noon, came to Inversnaid, the supposed place of extreme danger. In order to rouse these great thieves out of their dens, Captain Clark fired one of his great guns, and drove a ball through the roof of two huts on the face of the mountain, whereupon an auld wife or two came crawling out and scrambled up the face of the hill, but otherwise there was no appearance of any body of men on the mountains, only a few standing far out of reach on the craggy rocks looking down as them.

"Whereupon the Pasley-men, under the command of Captain Finlayson, assisted by Captain Scott, a half-pay officer, and of late a Lieutenant in Colonel Kerr's Regiment of Dragoons, who is indeed an officer, wise, stout, and honest; the Dumbarton-men, under the command of Baillie David Colquhoun and Baillie James Duncanson of Garshake, both magistrates of the Burgh, with several of the other companies, to the number of one hundred men in all, with the greatest intrepidity leapt on shore, got up to the top of the mountain, and there drew up in order, and stood about an hour, their drums beating all the while; but no enemy appearing, they thereupon went in quest of the boats, which the rebels had seized and carried away. They having casually alighted on some ropes, anchors, and oars, which were hid amongst the shrubs, at length they found the boats drawn up a good way on the land, all of which they hurled down into the loch: such of them as were not damaged they carried off with them, and such as were damaged they either sunk or hewed in pieces. That same night they returned to Luss, and thence next day (without the loss or hurt of so much as one man) to Dumbarton, from whence they had set out altogether, bringing along with them the whole boats they found on their way, on either side of the loch, and also in the several creeks of the islands, and moored them all under the cannon of Dumbarton Castle; and thus, in a very short time, and with little expense, were the clan of the Macgregors cowed, and a way pointed out how the government may in future easily keep them in awe."

The original tract from which the previous excerpts are taken was written at Dumbarton, and printed and extensively circulated throughout the Burgh and County in the years 1715 and 1716. Its original cost then was one shilling Scots, or about one penny sterling per copy. A rare solitary copy of this interesting tract was found; it was again reprinted and published, with an appendix, in the year 1833, by Alexander Dennistoun, Esq. advocate. Only one hundred copies were thrown off, and the little volume now costs 4:. Gd. and cannot be had. In a prefatory note prefixed to this dear little volume, Mr. Dennistoun seems to hint that the narrative "may have proceeded from the prolific pen of Mr. John Anderson, minister of Dumbarton, who was the incumbent of this parish at that period. But, from the matter and style of the tract, taken as a whole, our own convictions are, that if it is not the production of that celebrated minister and writer, its paternity must fall on one of the two baillies of the burgh—Messrs. Coiquhoun or Duncanson—both of whom bore such a noble, gallant, and conspicuous part in that hazardous enterprise, along with many others of the burgesses: indeed, the phraseology of the writer seems to import that he was a sharer in the triumph of the day. The following excerpts of letters, on this same interesting campaign, are culled from the appendix, taken from the Woodrow Correspondence, in the Advocates' Library, Edinburgh:-

"1775, Dec. 10.—Yesternight, about ten, I had express from Dumbarton, to advise that on Wednesday Rob Roy with eighty men came to Drymen—proclaimed the Pretender, and riffled the gauger's house. On Thursday he crossed the loch, and came to the minister of Luss's house, who escaped; they riffled it, and then they went to Auchengaun house, where Humphrey Noble of Kipperininshock lives—took a horse and a mare from him, and carried off his half-brother and his wife's brother, as reprisals for the four M'Gregor's now in Dumbarton prison. Afterwards they went to the town of Luss, where they took some linen and arms, &c. They were commanded by Rob Roy and M'Gregor of Marchfield. They threatened Darleith's house; but its pretty strong, and therefore the tenants run all into it. It appears that the boats were not all destroyed in the Lochiomond expedition." Initialed "A. P."

"Dee. 13.—One hundred mariners came yesterday to Dumbarton, to be joined by some of the militia there, to go in quest of Rob Roy and his banditti, who, beside the two I mentioned in my last, have also taken M'Laughland of Auchentroig and his son, in the parish of Drymen, which is all the news I remember of. A. P."

"Dec. 17.—Rob Roy has dismissed Mr. Lecky and Boyd, whom he took in the parish of Luss; but he took the former's ready penny and watch. He has also returned forty-eight of Auchentroig's sheep, some cows, and four horse; and he has taken him bound to present himself before Rob Roy at four days' warning. Its said that Rob Roy and his gang are all summoned to Perth. Mr. Anderson of Dumbarton preached at Stirling, on the 14th chapter of Genesis, 5th to the 20th verses. A. P."

"Dumbarton, March 23, 1716.—Upon Wednesday night last, seven of the M'Gregors, under the command of Abater Dow M'Alester, came to the Aber of Kilmarnock, and extracted two shillings sterling and a peek of meal from every cottar in that place; and would needs have a bond, bearing interest, from one Margaret Anderson, a widow, who was obliged to compound with them for half..aerown."Eajtract from the Glasgow Courant of that date.

Extract of a Letter from Leslie, March 28,1716.—"I shall tell you another story in this paper, and so conclude; and its this. Some of the llighlandnien going through Kenevie, one of them went into a house a little above the town and sought some meat. The honest wife thought it was very much, he was so civil, and gave him bread and eggs. And so he rose to go off, and said, 'coed wife, tanks to you; will you puy a bonny pook?' and so he pulled out of his bosom a very beautiful gilded pocket Bible, and said, 'puy tat, coed wife.' Said the good wife, 'I have not so much money as to buy it.' Said he, 'faith, her nainsel will sell it fery sheap; will you hive me a shilling for it. Cood wife, tat is very sheap.' Said she, 'I have not so much.' Said ho, 'how mucklo hafe you?' She said, 'seven shillings Scots., Said he, 'hae, tare its; give me tat seven shillings.' So the goodwife got the book out of his hand, and gave him his money out of her purse; and indeed there was no more in it, as I suppose. So he took the money and put it up, and so he stood a little, looking to the goodwife with the book in her hand; and at last he said, 'coed wife, let her nainsel see to book.' The woman, thinking it had been only to look at it, gave it out of her hand; and so he took it and looked at it a little, and turned it over several times, saying, 'coed faith, its ower sheap; her nainsel will not sell it so sheap; faith, her nainsel will ket mair for it; her nainsel will sen keep it; it is a fery ponnypook: faith, she no sell it ava;' and with that heup with it into his bosom again, and out at the door he runs with the honest woman's money and all, and so scoured off.-.-..Your well-wisher, J. Row." Addressed to Alexander Archer, candlemaker at Hamilton.

The following is a copy of another original letter :-" Oct. 16. On the 14th current, the Earl of Mar wrote thus to the Earl of Breadalbine—.' I have just now heard from Monteith that the Earls Islay and Bute were certainly in Argyleshire, and that there were two men-of-war come into the Clyde, who were sending their long-boats to retake the boats on Lochlomond which Glengyle had seized: I wish, with all my heart, this could be prevented." (See Original Letters on Rebellion, Edinburgh, 1730.) "The expedition against Loohiomond was carried on thus :—Some flat-bottomed boats were drawn up the water of Leven by horses, and the ships' crews went on board of them. And though the captain of the men at Dumbarton got a letter with a great deal of discouragement, magnifying the numbers and strength of the rebels, yet he put that in his pocket and let none see it, but marched with his men, and covered the boats on Lochlomond, till they had burnt all the rebels' boats. I hear not of any they got prisoners, but they got some Highland paids, and banished the rogues out of the loch. Oct. 17.—Mr. Finlayson is just returned from the Highland expedition, and I heard him say that they brought out of the loch thirteen boats, had broke five, and taken security of the owners of other five, to be brought to Dumbarton, but which five the owners sunk. (Initialed) A. A."

The Burgh of Dumbartons Extraordinary Expenses on account of the Rebellion of 1715.

In the Tolbooth of Dumbartane, the second day of June, 1716 years—The Magistrates and Counsil approves of the several accounts given in by the tresuerer anent the expenses disbursed be him since the 6th of June, 1715, to the deat hereof; relateing to the extraordinary charges the toun was put to during the leat Rebellione, in paying of the men hyred by the burgh for the reinforceing of the Castle of Dumbarton, and the party sent out by the burgh, and for paying of the expenses of employing men by the burgh for getting intelligence from the several parts of the country, and otherwise, as is more particularly mentioned in the minutes set down by the committee appointed for revising said accounts, which accounts being accumulat amount to the sum of 442: 19: 6d. Scots money.

"The Magistrates and Councell lykewise approve of the account due by them to Mrs. Calder, and spent by them at the election of the Magistrates, and other gentlemen present with them on that occasion; and at several tymes with the Deputy Leutenants and gentlemen of the Shyre when with them, anent the safety of the toune and countrey; and for wyne and other liquors furnished by her to the Magistrates, Deputy Liftenants, and uther gentlemen present with them at the several solemnities for the victories obtained by his Majesties forces over the rebels att Sherifmoor and Prestaune. Which account extends to the soume of 192: 10: 4d. pennies Scots,


Item.–.-Monga Buchanan's account, spent in his house with the half-pay Officers of Lord Mark Kerr's redgiment, and making several gentlemen Burgesses, and about uther affairs of the Burgh. Amount, 101 : I: 0d. Scots.

Jtem.The account given in by Mistres Colquhoun, since the 20th of August to the deat hereoff, for liquors and uther provisions furnished to the party of Burgesses sent from the toune to joyne and assist those employed for retaking the boats seased by the Maegregors in Lochiomond; and spent with the officers and men who came from Pasley to reinforce the toun, when they were threatened by the rebells; and in making of the officers pf the severall redgements that went thro' the town to Argyllshire Burgesses; including the allowance given by the Magistrates to the several guards kept in the toune during the continuance of the leat rebellion; which account extends to the sum of 146: 19:. Scots. Item.—Mistres Buchanan's account spent in her house att several times with the Earl of Glencairn, and with the captains of the men-of-war, who were made burgesses, they having assisted the burgh in retaking the boats from the Macgregors, and spent with Mr. Graham, sherif, and other gentlemen at several times anent the burgh's affairs, and with the officers of Cournal Edgertoun's redgement quartered in the toun; amount, 109: 10:. Scots.

Item.—The account given in by Mrs. Lindsay and spent in her house by the magistrates and justices of the peace and other gentlemen of the shyre employed in the militia, and spent by the magistrates on uther occasions; amount, 52 : 9s. Scots.

Item.—The account of David Hutcheson for ane guard-room in his house for the officers of the militia and Cournal Edgertoun's redgement keeping guard in the Tolbooth, and for coal and candle to them in his house; amount, 20: 9s.

Item.—Bailly Weir's account for powther, lead, and flint stance furnished be him; amount, 8: 8s.

Item.—Ane account by Alexander M'Farlane, spent in his house by the magistrates with the officers of Edgertoun's redgement and other detachments, in demanding bilgats for the detachment, extending to the sum of 4: 10s.

Item.—Ane account be Aulay M'Aulay, spent in his house by the quarter-master, in drawing bilgats to the forces, militiamen, and men-of-warr's crew; amount to 5: 19s.

Item.—Ane account to Mrs. Buchanan, spent in her house by the magistrates with the officers of the men-of-war, with the Pasley-men who came to assist the toun in the tyme of the late rebellion, and with the sheriff and other gentlemen of the shyre on several occasions; amount, 110: 19s.

Item.—To Andrew Graham, clerk, in consideration of his extraordinary pains and charges he was put to upon the town's account during the rebellion, 8.

Item.—The Magistrates and Council appoint Gilles Mitchell, the Threasurer, to pay to the several persons from whom the sax baggage horses were bought that dragged up the boats up the Leven, and were sent to the army; and to dispose of what of the said horses are now returned to the best advantage; altogether amounting to 1234: 12: 10d. pennies, Scots money."

We may remark here, in concluding the account of this extraordinary Rebellion, that the County appears to have got their expenses returned by government; but it does not appear from the record that the Magistrates ever applied for their quota, or that the poor Burgh was ever refunded a single shilling. Such has generally been the egregious remissness of the official gentlemen of the Burgh, during more than a century past, that we have been Involved in ruin and poverty, and our public finances thus often thrown away, for the want of a simple application for their reimbursement. My general remark, however, only applies to the century preceding the passing of the Reform Bill. Since that period, the gentlemen who have successively filled the office of the Town Council have honourably husbanded the finances of the Burgh with the greatest care, and managed the other affairs generally with the greatest credit to themselves and benefit to the community.

ELECTION OF A MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT FOR THE BURGH.

In the palmy days of Toryism, and while the old rotten Scottish burgh system prevailed, many strange things were transacted in private, which the Burgh officials then in office would scarcely allow to see the light of day. Eventually, however, they were publicly exposed to observation, by the brilliant sun of the Reform Bill. With the other Burghs in Scotland, ours, for a long series of years, shared in misrule, mismanagement, and prodigality of expenditure, to even an excessive amount; so that when the Act passed for cleansing these Augean Burgh Stables, she was compelled to yield her-Eel! up in a state of insolvency. At the period referred to, our liabilities amounted to about 20,000, and assets to about 17,000. Besides other valuable property and fishings, we held an extensive moor of from four to five thousand acres, granted to us originally by Royal charter. This domain of land, being situated about five miles distant from the Burgh, was not so vigilantly guarded from the rapaciousness of the neighbouring proprietors as it ought. The consequence was, that many of the conterminous possessors of land took each a slice of it, without price or measurement. Such Vandal spoliation could not be tolerated. Nevertheless, having retained it for many years, they had the hardihood to fight the Burgh for this cheap land, at the Court of Session and the House of Lords, with great expense to all parties: the Corporation, however, finally triumphant. The first encroachment made on these lands was in April 1719 and the legal prose.. dure was ended in 1843; being a period of 124 years, during which It cost the Burgh, to defend it at Court, about the value of the whole land—l0,)0 sterling. Lying adjacent to the lands of James Ewing, Esq. this valuable piece of ground has been recently purchased by him; which forms a fine, addition to his beautiful estate of Strathieven. The above legal and other extravagant debts became at length an Inoubes on the sbolders of the Burgh, wider which she could scarcely stand; especially if there be added to these a little profuse public and private feasting, and an enormous expenditure in defending our "Exemptions on the River Clyde" from the grasping ambition of the "Glasgow River Trust,Mwhioh latter matter has cost this Town and other companies and commercial gentlemen connected with the Burgh, during the last twenty years, more than 10,000!

In bygone years, the head of our Municipal Corporation was a gentleman of wealth, influence, abd great courtesy; and, withal, possessed of deep political acumen, as the following interesting Parliamentary election manoeuvre will show:-

The Provost occasionally swayed Burgh matters like an autocrat or petty prince over the other Councillors, some of whom were so shallow in the understanding that they could scarcely give an opinion on any subject. Hence, on any important matter being discussed at the Council table, the interrogatory was often put—What does the Provost say? and all bowed obsequiously to his opinion.

Previous to the passing of the Reform Act, the City of Glasgow, with Dumbarton, Renfrew, and Rutherglen, unitedly sent a Member to Parliament. Glasgow generally wished to claim right, by her great wealth and influence, to monopolise the selection of the Member to herself. On the election of the candidate by the four Burghs, when there was a parity of votes, the casting vote went to each Burgh alternately. At the period we speak of, the casting vote fell to the Burgh of Dumbarton.

Archibald Campbell, Esq. of Blythswood, and Kirkman Finlay, Esq. of Castle Toward, both appeared as candidates. The City of Glasgow and Burgh of Renfrew were favourable to Mr. Campbell; Ruthergien was in rather a doubtful state between the two gentlemen. This state of things gave rise to the tug of electioneering war: Dumbarton set to work zealously to play her political cards in the matter. Our dexterous Burgh leader laid down and accomplished the plan of conferring a series of kindnesses on the good honest Rutherglen officials; and, being peculiarly well attended to, they were neither dry nor hungry for ten complete days. The result was, that a majority of the Town Council of Rutherglen were favourable for voting along with the Burgh of Dumbarton; and, in order to keep them secure from being tampered with by the City of Glasgow, it was proposed that they should take a "Highland jaunt." Two coaches were therefore speedily procured, and, without much ceremony, they left the Royal Burgh of Rutherglen for the Highlands.

The interesting tour extended to Drymen, Aberfoil, Loch Ketturin, Loch Lomond, and the top of Ben Lomond; which mountain they nimbly ascended, accompanied with servants bearing Champagne and "Mountain Dew;" and every other creature comfort for their honours' entertainment. On this lofty eminence, the Council being duly constituted, it was moved, seconded, and unanimously resolved, that they support an eloquent young gentleman, a branch of the family of the Provost of Dumbarton—in preference to either qf the other two candidates. Business being finished, they then adjourned from the top of lofty Ben to the low country. In due time they arrived at our Burgh, from the elevated mountain of their deliberations, and passed a happy night or two with our own officials, in fixing and maturing preliminaries for carrying the united decision of the two Burghs into effect.

In the midst of this triumph, when hilarity and joy prevailed, a poetical wag composed the following humorous lines on the occasion:-

Not a cheep was heard, nor the slightest noise,
When the Provost declared his opinion;
Not a Councillor raised his husky voice
To oppose our patron's minion.

We settled it all at the dead hour of night,
When the vulgar herd were dreaming;
When six wax candles were blazing bright,
And a glorious bowl was streaming.

No useless conditions clogged our votes,
Nor with pledge or promise we bound him;
But we sent him away to the Commons' House,
With all his independence around him.

Pew ani brief were the speeches we made,
And we spike not a word of sorrow;
But we steadfastly gazed on the ample bowl,
With the prospect of headaches to-morrow.

We thought, as we drank our Member's health,
With a bit of a short oration,
That the storm without might rage and howl.
And the Member might go to his station.

Lightly they'll talk of him, now that he's gone,
Perchance they may even upbraid him;
But little he'll heed, if he gets a good berth.
And a snug little salary paid him.

But half of our tipple was hardly done,
When the clock told the hour for retiring;
And we saw the rays of the morning sun
Coming up the horizon skyring.

Sinuous were the erring paths we made
To the place of our dormitory;
Where we tumbled In with boots 'pon the bed,
And they left us alone In our glory.

EXEMPTIONS ON THE RIVER CLYDE.

We will shortly turn attention to a subject which has occupied the deliberations of this community during many years past, and which it would be unpardonable to omit, in concisely sketching the local history of our ancient Burgh. We refer to the exemptions on the River Clyde enjoyed by the resident burgesses of Dumbarton. The defending of these, in repeated contests before the British Parliament, from the rapacious hands of the Clyde trustees, has cost the burgh, with the shipowners and other merchants here, from 10,000 to 12,000 sterling. All we intend at present is to give an historical epitome of these invaluable immunities, from the earliest period to the present time, with the examination of Mr. Pollok, partner of the firm of Messrs. Pollok & Gilmour, timber importers, Glasgow, and also of Mr. Thomson, lessee of the river dues, before "a committee of appeal," in the Rouse of Commons, in the year 1830.

During the revolution of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries the commercial traffic of the Clyde was of minor importance, as it consisted chiefly in short voyages made in small craft to the several ports, lochs, and bays which lay scattered along its banks: these were undertaken for the supplying of the local wants and necessities of the inhabitants who dwelt in the towns, burghs, and villages which skirt its delightful shores. The foreign trade of North Britain in these early days, from its trifling nature, scarcely indeed deserves the name. Flanders was the principal port to which vessels went from the Clyde. Their cargoes were comprised of only a few articles of rude produce, such as "wool and wool fells," &c.; their imports were some articles of "haberdashery, cart-wheels, and wheelbarrows," which certainly show the very low state of mechanics in Scotland at this era. (See Nackluft's Voyages, 1599.) With France a little intercourse was held, but it could not be said to partake of commerce, strictly so called, being rather of a naval and martial nature. The Duke of Albany, who was apppointed Regent of Scotland in 1515, arrived at the Castle of Dumbarton, from France, with eight ships loaded with ammunition and other warlike stores.

By the Charters of Erection of the Royal Burgh of Dumbarton, and particularly by a Charter of Confirmation of King James VI. granted in the year 1609, the corporation and community of Dumbarton acquired right to levy rates and duties from all "ships and vessels, currachs and crearies," of every description, whether home or foreign, with goods therein, navigating the River Clyde, from the "water of Kelvin," near Glasgow, to the head of Lochlong in Argyleshire. For centuries no foreign or home vessel dared sail past the Castle— which was like the Dardanelles—for fear of its guns, without first "breaking bouk, tapping and Selling" of their cargoes to the favoured burgesses of Dunbriton, and taking "out cocquets," or clearances, and paying the dues and customs to the Burgh, before proceeding to Glasgow on their voyage.

We find a very old document amongst the Burgh records, referring to these privileges and immunities, purporting, we suppose, to be a kind of law paper, entitled "Informstione for the Toune of Dumbartane, contra the Toune of Glasgow, 1666"-181 years old—wherein it is stated "that by verteu of foirsaad chartors and evidents, Dumbertane has had continuall pos8essione past inemorie of man, and they hay undoubtted richt to thei particulars following, viz, entries, anchorag, measorag, weyag, tunnag, and assyse bola; to witt, a bol befoir the mast, and a bol eftiir the mast, of al vesselis loadent with salt belounging to strangers; as also sue hoggheid of wyne before the mast, and another eftir the mast, of all vessels loadent with wyne, belonging to strangers, as ad. is. Item, two daills of evrie hundred dahlia, and so of uther timber belonging to strangers," &c.

The customs, dues, and revenues from the River Clyde were held and enjoyed by Dumbarton for many centuries; till, in the year 1700, the City of Glasgow became envious of these invaluable immunities, and purchased them from the Burgh of Dumbarton, for the sum of 4000 merks Scots, or 250: 2d. sterling—under the expressly stipulated condition of Dumbarton reserving her burgesses' right of navigating the Clyde freely, with all their vessels and goods, and being exempted from all dues at the Broomielaw, and every other port belonging to Glasgow. A contract of sale was solemnly drawn out, sanctioned and approved of at the convention of Royal Burghs, 9th of July, 1700, and ratified by the Scottish Parliament in 1701, entitled "Ratification of a Contract betwixt the Burghs of Glasgow and Dumbarton, anent their rights and privileges to the River Clyde." Wherein it is "declaired that the hail vessels and boats belonging to the Burgesses, inhabitants of the Burgh of Dumbarton, of whatsomever size, are exempted from, and are no wise liable in, payment of any duties whatever at the said Burgh of Glasgow, l3roomielaw, Port-Glasgow, or any other port or harbour belonging thereto--,So that both Burghs are hereby declared free at each others' ports in all time coming."

In the year 1825, the Trustees of the River Clyde applied to Parliament for powers to increase the rates and duties on the said River, and at the said harbour of Broomielaw; and they at that period made a very dishonourable and flagitious but unsuccessful attempt to subvert entirely the chartered legal vested rights of the Burgesses of Dumbarton. These valuable privileges were nobly defended by the late Provost, Jacob Dixon, Sen. and were, by his exertions and influence in Parliament, recognised in a clause of the said Act, but greatly curtailed from their original extent. The defending of these rights, with the Parliamentary contest in getting them embodied in the bill at that period, cost the burgh and community of Dumbarton a large sum of money, which they could ill afford to spare, burdened as she then was, and still is, with a load of debt.

In 1829, the river Clyde Trustees again entered Parliament against Dumbarton, with the bold and unprincipled design of obtaining powers "to abrogate entirely the exemptions enjoyed by the burgesses of Dumbarton on the river Clyde!!" not deigning to ask whether she would sell them or not!! It is needless to remark, that, after another severe contest, the bill, by an enlightened legislature, was ignominiously thrown out, with a gentle philippic bestowed by the Chairman of the Committee on the then River Trustees. In the printed case for the River Trustees, laid before Parliament, they say "the exemption appears to people in general so unjust, unreasonable, and extravagant, that they are satisfied that it will not be allowed by Parliament longer to exist!!" The defeating of this bill cost the burgh 1500 sterling and upwards.

Next year, 1830, again the Trustees appeared in Parliament against Dumbarton, but they were by this time persuaded and convinced that it was far from honourable or just to deprive poor Dumbarton of her just rights and property, without a fair and adequate indemnification. They therefore gave notice of a "Bill to be introduced into Parliament for repealing the whole Acts relating to these exemptions, in so far as the said Acts or any of them grant, provide, or recognise any exemption or immunity in favour of ships, barges, lighters, steam-boats, or any other boats or vessels, with the cargoes thereof, belonging bonafide in property to burgesses, resident inhabitants of the towns of Dumbarton and Glasgow respectively, from the payment of river or harbour rates or duties payable upon the said river, in virtue of the said Acts, or any of them, or otherwise; and for enabling the Trustees, acting under the authority of the said first recited Act, to purchase up and acquire any such exemption or immunity from any person or persons, or body or bodies corporate, to whom the same does or may belong, or for otherwise relieving the said Trustees and the public of the effect of such exemption or immunity."

Our burgh had again to buckle on her armour, and meet again in Parliament her formidable foe. A corporation, possessing such an ample revenue at their command, were determined to crush the ancient Burgh under their feet, and drive her to frequent bankruptcy and ruin.

In the speech of Mr. Wynn, a member of the committee of the House of Commons, delivered on this occasion, in June 1830, he indignantly and eloqueutly remarks:- "See what prodigious advantages are given by a practice, such as this, to a corporate body having large funds at its disposal. They can say to a party of more limited means, 'we shall tire you out; year after year we will recommence the same system of litigation,' until at length the patience of their weakened opponent is at an end, and his funds are exhausted, and he has at length in despair to relinquish that which he believes to be his just rights." (See Speech of Mr. Wynn, in the House of Commons, 10th June, 1830.)

The Bill passed the Committee of the Commons, embodying the following clauses:—"That the amount and value of the exemption is declared to be 15,000, which sum is to be expended on the improvement of the harbour and quays of Dumbarton, and the present owners of vessels and steam-boats are to have the exclusive privilege of exemption during their lives."

A petition of appeal from the decision of the Committee on this Bill, in name of the Magistrates, was forthwith carried into execution, and presented to the House on the 26th June, which was granted, on a division, by a majority of 24 to 17. The Committee of Appeal consisted of seven members, who were ballotted for. The Committee met first day, but no business done; and having assembled second day, heard Mr. Harrison, on the part of the Corporation of Dumbarton, and Mr. Adam in answer, for the Trustees of the River Clyde. Adjourned, for the purpose of perusing the evidence at leisure.

On Monday, the third day, after mature deliberation, from which the parties were as usual excluded, the Chairman, on their being recalled, stated that the Committee consiiei'ed any remarks unnecessary; that they had passed a resolution to report "the preamble of the Bill not proved; and, further, that supposing a preamble had been proved, sufficient, to justify a Bill, they could not find, in all the minutes of proof; one title of evidence to show that 15,000 was a just compensation, or that it oould be beneficially expended on the harbour of Dumbarton; but if the counsel for the R. Trustees could point out any evidence in the minute; bearing upon that point, the Committee were willing to hear him." This opportunity Mr. Adam, counsel for the Trustees, at once declined; remarking to the Appeal Committee, "that he was not a candidate for the honour of leading 'a forlorn hope.'" The consequence was, that the Bill was thrown out, after it had cost the River Clyde Trustees nearly 4000—the Burgh of Dumbarton about 1950—the Dumbarton Steam-boat Company and Shipowners, about 1000—and also, the Dumbarton Glass work Company, about 1000: total, nearly 8000. The-following are a few brief extracts from the minutes of evidence taken before the Committee on the above bill; showing the importance and great value of these exemptions to the Burgh and Burgesses of Dumbarton. Mr. John Thomson was called, and examined by Mr. Heath, counsel for the promoters of the bill.

Immediately after the abandonment of the bill by the Clyde Trust, the writer of these pages was assured, by the late Provost Jacob Dixon, the late Mr. James Rankine, and others of the Town Council, that the Burgh and Burgesses of Dumbarton would have obtained about 50,000 from the River Trust for the entire abolition of these exemptions, so valuable and important did they then appear in the estimation of the "Trustees." For being the very active and efficient instrument in getting the Appeal Committee in the House of Commons, who gave the death-blow to this bill, Provost Dixon, on his arrival from London, was met in the vicinity of the Town by the great body of the Burgesses, with other gentlemen, and honourably escorted into the ancient Burgh, passing under a triumphal arch, formed of flowers and evergreens, erected for the purpose of thus doing him honour.

Again, in January, 1836, our formidable and wealthy opponents dragged the Burgh within the walls of St. Stephen's, by another Bill, empowering them "to purchase up, by jury valuation, the exemption of Dumbarton Burgesses on the River Clyde," and the jury to be composed of "Lanarkshire gentlemen" alone. The official gentlemen of the Burgh, and the general body of the Burgesses, seeing that the oft-repeated attacks made on these immunities by the Clyde Trustees were not only vexatious but absolutely ruinous to the burgh and corporation, resolved to effect with the Trustees a private sale, if a fair and adequate remuneration were obtained, and the necessary clauses on arrangement could be inserted in the Bill to be brought in. Several conferences were held by a deputation from Dumbarton with a sub-committee of the Trust. 16,000 sterling was talked of as being a fair equivalent for the privileges, under the express reservation of the life-rent right to all the existing resident burgesses of the Burgh; and 10,000 more for their life-rent right; making 26,000 for an out-and-out sale. Further conferences took place privately between the parties, with a variety of correspondence, embracing several important points, all of which finally ended in agreeing to give and accept of 15,000 in cash for these long-contended for privileges, under the express reservation of the life-rent right to all the resident burgesses of the burgh of Dumbarton then existing. The following are the most important clauses mutually agreed upon, and which were embodied in the Bill alluded to; In place of thso of the jury valuation clause in it originally :-

"And whereas it would be kbr the public advantage, and for the 6ene1t 6f the traders uponthe said river and Firth of Clyde, and resorting to the said harboth; if the said rights of exemption or immunity were repealed and done away with, compensation and indemnity being made and granted for the same to the body or bodies politic, corporate, or collegiate, or person or persons entitled thereto, to the extent to which the said exemptions at present exist.

"Be it therefore enacted, and. it is hereby enacted, That the said Trustees shall, within three months from the date of the passing of this Act, pay, and are hereby required to pay, from the funds under their management, the sum of fifteen thousand pounds sterling to, the Magistrates and Town Council of the Royal burgh of Dumbarton, for the bohoof of the burgesses and community thereof, as a fair ,and adequate compensation and indemnity to the 'corporation, burgesses, and community of the said burgh, for all the immunities and, exemptions enjoyed by them under the said recited. charters, contracts, and acts, under the express and understood reservation always of the rights of existing resident burgesses, as hereinafter provided for. And that the whole of the said immunities and exemptions recognised or granted by the said charters, contracts, and acts, shalt, under the reservation aforesaid, from and after the date of the said payment, be entirely abolished, extinguished, and for ever cease and determine."

The other clauses and provisions of this Bill having the more extensive deepening of the Clyde, purchasing property adjacent to its banks, forming wet docks, extending and otherwise improving the harbour, borrowing money to an euormois amount, augmenting the rates on tonnage of vessels, steamers, and goods; it therefore met with formidable opposition from a host of parties whose interests it affected. But happily it cost our Burgh little or no expense, she having previously arranged 'with the Trust, and guaranteed to petition in its favour, which was all her cost. It was, however, like some of its predecessors, sentenced to death by the legislature, executed, and dishonourably thrown out!!! The last contest with the River Trust is well known, for it is scarcely six months old. We are now happy to say, that, through the great exertions of a deputation of burgesses sent to London, who were nobly supported by our County and Burgh members of Parliament, we have now got a clause into the "River and Dock Bill" of the Trustees, recently passed, allowing our steamers a place at the Upper Wharf, which the Committee of the House of Commons stated we should always have enjoyed.



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