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History of the Burgh of Dumfries
Chapter XXXIX


MOVEMENT FOR ERECTING NEW TOWN BUILDINGS-FULL DETAILS REGARDING THE ERECTION OF THE MID-STEEPLE -PORTIONS OF THE BURGH LANDS ENCLOSED AND PLOUGHED-ALTERATIONS ON THE RIVER: MILLS AND A CAUL CONSTRUCTED-THE UNION WITH ENGLAND STRENUOUSLY OPPOSED IN DUMFRIES-A BAND OF ARMED MEN ENTER THE BURGH, BURN THE ARTICLES OF UNION, WITH THE CORDIAL APPROVAL OF THE POPULACE, AND PUBLISH A DECLARATION AGAINST THE MEASURE-THE PROCEEDINGS ARE DISCUSSED IN PARLIAMENT; THE DECLARATION IS ADJUDGED TO BE BURNT, AND THE PRINTER OF IT TO BE PROSECUTED - NEWS-LETTERS CIRCULATED IN THE TOWN-BENEFICIAL EFFECTS OF THE UNION-CONTRABAND TRAFFIC IN THE SOLWAY AND THE NITH-COLLISIONS BETWEEN THE REVENUE OFFICERS AND SMUGGLERS.

SOON after the beginning of the next century, a great building scheme absorbed the attention of the Dumfries public, the money available for which was obtained in a very singular way. In the year 1697 the tack or lease of the Customs and Foreign Excise of Scotland was exposed by public auction, and taken by a committee of the Convention of Royal Burghs for 33,300 sterling. Each burgh having been offered a share of the lease in proportion to the amount of the tax paid by it, the Town Council of Dumfries engaged in the speculation, and then sold their share to Sir Robert Dickson of Inveresk, and Mr. John Sharpe of Hoddam. At this transaction the inhabitants were indignant. They held a public meeting, at which it was thoroughly repudiated; and, with the view of getting it annulled, legal proceedings were instituted by them against the civic authorities. An internecine war, involving the loss of much money and temper, seemed about to be declared, when, at the instance of Mr. Sharpe, a truce was agreed to, and the question at issue was wisely left to arbitrators; who decided that the tacksmen should be permitted to retain their bargain on condition of paying 20,000 merks into the burgh purse.

Here was a windfall, great and unexpected; and what to do with it, became an interesting question. The burgesses and "burden bearers" who had taken a lead in arraying the commonalty against the magnates of the Tolbooth, wished the compensation money to be spent on something that would be both useful and ornamental-which idea was, as may be conceived, highly acceptable to the latter body; and, as the result of several public meetings, it was unanimously resolved that a new town-house, overtopped by an imposing steeple, should be erected to benefit and adorn the Burgh. It was on the 30th of April, 1703, that a definite arrangement was made to this effect, at a meeting of " the magistrates, members of council, the most eminent and considerable heritors, burden-bearers, burgesses, and haill community," and that after receiving an overture subscribed by ninety-three influential persons, the principal passages of which we subjoin "We doe hereby propose and offer to the magistrats and council, . . . that whereas the toun is not at present provided with sufficient prisones, whereby several malefactors guilty of great crimes, and others for debt, have made their escape, to the dishonour and iminent perill of the Burgh; as also that there is not ane steeple in the whole toun, nor ane suitable council-house and clerk's chamber for keeping the charter chist and records of the Burgh, nor ane magazine house, nor room for the sure keeping of the toun's arms and ammunition thereto belonging ; therefore it is our opinion and unanimous advice, ... that the said sum of twenty thousand merks be disposed of and employed for the uses foresaid, which we judge may be conveniently done for the money; and that the same be built on the waist ground at the back of the Cross, being in the middle of the toun and highest place thereof." [Town Council Minutes.]

A committee was appointed to carry the wish of the meet ing into effect, consisting of John Sharpe of Hoddam; Thomas Rome, ex-Provost; William Craik of Duchrae; John Irving of Drumcoltran; John Irving, younger of Logan ; Alexander M'Gowan, writer, Edinburgh; and Walter Newall, late Convener of the Trades: to whom were added by the Council, John Coup land of Colliston, Provost; Bailies Crosbie and Barclay; Captain Robert Johnston of Kelton, ex-Provost; John Irvine of Logan, ex-Provost; James Milligan, dean; John Gilchrist, merchant; John Brown, ex-treasurer; John Irving, deacon-convener; and Robert Newall, deacon of the wrights. John Moffat, a Liverpool architect, was employed by the Committee to come to Dumfries and "furnish a modall " for the proposed fabric. He arrived in due time; and, that he might obtain the requisite architectural inspiration, he proceeded to the city of St. Mungo, as is shown by an item in the Treasurer's account: "To Mr. Moffat, architect, and Dean Johnston, 24 lbs. [Scots] to bear their expenses in their journey to visit Glasgow steeple." According to another entry in the same account, dated 10th April, 1704, Mr. Moffat was paid 104 Scots "for drawing the steeple scheme, and in name of gratification for his coming to Dumfries." For some reason or other he backed out of his engagement with the Committee; and they, in January, 1705, "considering how long the designed building is retarded for want of an architect," resolved "to send for one Tobias Bachup, a master builder now at Abercorn, [Bachup was then engaged in building a house at Abercorn House; but he resided in Alloa, his native town.] who is said to be of good skill." [Minute-book of the Steeple Committee. This book, consisting of nearly sixty pages of beautiful manuscript, is preserved in the Record Room of the Town Hall.] What Moffat left at an incipient stage, Bachup cordially agreed to complete-he coming to the Burgh for that purpose in the following month.

Whilst the Committee were put to some little trouble in this matter, they had many other difficulties to surmount. There was no adequate timber, as in ancient times, in the vicinity of the town; and the first impulse of the Committee was to freight a vessel and send it for that material to "Noroway o'er the faem." Then there was no available lime lying nearer than Annandale; and though there were plenty of stones in the town's quarry at the foot of the Dock, men able to excavate and use them were exceedingly scarce in the district. The erection of a fabric that was to cost 19,000 merks (1,041 13s. 4d. sterling), was such an extraordinary enterprise for a small town of that day, like Dumfries, that the Committee were often at their wits' end; and they must have spent a vast amount of time and energy, and lost many a night's sleep, whilst engaged with their herculean task. At one of their sederunts, Provost Coupland reported "that he and Bailie Corbet, when they were at Edinburgh, had made search for a free Danish or Swedish bottom for fraughting for timber to Norway, and after dilligent search, they found that there can be none gotten at a easy rate." [Steeple Committee's Minutes.] A resolution to search for the article in this country was therefore come to; and, after an exploratory raid, trees of sufficient size were discovered at Garlieswood, in the Stewartry, which the proprietor was willing to dispose of. How to bring the Galloway oaks to the banks of the Nith-" Birnam Wood to Dunsinane" - was the next difficulty. The forest was some miles inland; so that the trees, after being felled, had to be transported by horses over wretched roads to the Dee, and then conveyed in a flat boat or gabbart, and in rafts, down Kirkcudbright Bay into the Solway, and thence up the Nith to Kelton or the Dock, where horse-power was again needed to take them to Dumfries.

These processes were extremely perplexing, laborious, and expensive to our ancestors; and when the Committee had, by means of them, laid in a considerable stock of timber, they were very glad to come to such terms with the new architect as rolled upon him a large share of their burden-he agreeing, at their urgent request, to supply all the remaining materials, as well as to erect the building. A sub-committee having met with Mr. Bachup on the 14th of February, 1705, reported to the "Grand Committee" the result of their interview as follows:-"That with great difficulty they had brought him to offer to furnish all materialls necessar for the said fabrick, and to construct the same conform to the scheme drawn, and the alterations of the dimensions which the Committee had made, so as the same may be complete both in mason and wright work, and in the doors, windows, roof, and other parts thereof, against Martinmas, 1707, and to carry the work on as followes, viz.: to build the first stories to the jests, in the first year (the work being to be begun in May nixt), and to cover the roof of the Council-house, and carry up the steeple as high the nixt year, and to complete the steeple, and all the other work, and ridd the ground betwixt and Martinmas, 1707 years, and then to deliver the keys, at that term, to the toun; and that for the sum of nineteen thousand merks Scots, with a complement to his wife, and another to himself, by and attour five hundred merks, which he refers to the toun's will, whither they will give it to him at perfecting the work or not." [Steeple Committee's Minutes.] All the terms having been duly settled and signed, the foundation-stone of the steeple buildings was laid on the 30th of May; and Mr. Bachup having brought a large body of masons from a distance, and vanquished all remaining obstacles as to the supply of materials, lie finished his undertaking at the appointed time, and to the satisfaction of his employers.

It was at first intended that the stair at the south end of the Council-house should be fenced with a stone wall; but, instead of that, it was supplied with a rail of wrought-iron (forged by an Edinburgh artificer), the existing remains of which prove it to have been a magnificent piece of workmanship.

In order that the lieges might be duly apprised of the time of day, a clock for the spire was commissioned from Mr. John Bancroft, Stockport, which cost 21 sterling, the four dial plates for the same having been painted by Mr. John Chandley, Cheedle, at an expense of 11; these sums being exclusive of the personal charges incurred by the contractors in visiting the town. Then, by way of furnishing a voice to the Burgh in seasons of festivity and triumph, and to announce the time for church-going, three bells were cast for the steeple by Mr. George Barclay of Edinburgh: one eight hundred pounds weight, another of five hundred pounds, and the third of three hundred pounds; the whole costing 1,698 14s. 6d. Scots, including the expense of "tagging, tongueing, transporting, and hanging of the said three bells." [lbid]

When all these items are taken into account, it appears very obvious that the cost of the Tron Steeple (as it was first called), the Council Chamber, and the rest of the buildings, with their furnishings, would much more than exhaust the original fund of 20,000 merks; and the probability is that the entire expense was not less than 1,500 sterling.

To Inigo Jones the credit of designing the Mid-Steeple is usually attributed ; but that, it now appears, must be shared between Mr. John Moffat and Mr. Tobias Bachup, the former having supplied the first sketch, the latter modifying it less or more before translating it into stone, lime, and timber. That Bachup had much more to do with the building than masonwork and superintendence, is evident from the terms in which he is spoken of by the Committee; these being, "Mr. Tobias Bachup, our architect," "builder and architect of the fabric and desyned steeple," " architect and builder of the steeple and Council-house." [We have been favoured by an Alloa gentleman with the following note: It It appears that the architect's father, Thomas Bachup, was mason to the Earl of Mar in the end of the seventeenth century. John Crawford, our local antiquary, has a curious document in his possession, a contract between John, Earl of Mar, and Thomas Bachup, 'masone in Alloway, for building a new arch at the Bridge of Tullibody, mending the pier and the calsie,' 18th January, 1697. The deed is signed by Tobias Bachup as a witness. There is an old house in Kirkgate here, which was built by Tobias. it has a sculptured stone on the front dated 1695, with the initials of himself and wife, ' T. B.' and 'M. L.' His wife, to whom he was married in 1684, was named Margaret Lindsay."]

Some other works of considerable importance were carried on contemporaneously with the steeple. When the century commenced the banks and braes on both sides of the river appeared very much as Nature had formed them. In Bridgend there was not a house further down than the one belonging to James Birkmyre ; there were no mills nor road in that direction, the only regular roads from the village being those leading to the parish church of Troqueer, Terregles House, and Lincluden College. Dumfries terminated a little below St. Michael's Church; and, save the excavations at the Castledykes quarry, and the road which swept round the west of Lochar Moss to England, there were few traces of man's handiwork in the southern vicinity of the Burgh. The Dock, the lands of Castledykes and Kingholm, all lay in pasture-their virgin soil unpierced by plough or spade, and unprovided with either road or fence. A portion of Castledykes, at the period to which we refer, was private property, but it having been acquired by the Burgh about 1707, a road was constructed from the foot of St. Michael Street to Kingholm, for the special use of carters doing business at the quarry or with the shipping; and at the same time an enclosure was formed on the east and south sides of the Burgh roods, the river itself being deemed a sufficient boundary on the west. A farther innovation was made when, in 1712, forty-two acres of Kingholm grass were converted by the plough into arable land, the same being let to John M'Nish, deacon of the weavers, for three years, at rather more than 10s. sterling an acre yearly. Two horses and eight oxen bought by the Council for this "clod-compelling " duty were resold - one horse for 3, the other for 3 10s., the cattle for 2 10s, each. More than double this rent was obtained in 1749, when the enclosed land at Kingholm was let on a nineteen years' lease. In the same year, the braes, of Castledykes were also let for nineteen years to one Robert Anderson, gardener. He became bound by the conditions of his tack to turn one half of the ground into a garden, the other half into an orchard, and to enclose the whole with a feal dyke and ditch at his own expense. As the ground was just about an acre in extent, it must have been reckoned of good quality, since the stipulated annual rent was 1 5s. sterling, a high rate for land at the period in question.

The Dock and "land belonging thereto and inclosed therewith," was let on a seven years' lease, at 23 sterling annually, in 1756. Their appearance then, so different from what it now is, is partly indicated by the articles of the lease. The tacksman was required to apply a sufficiency of manure or sea-sleitch to the high ground, to free it from brambles and thistles; to lay it down with bere or barley; to sow it with white clover and rye-grass during the fifth year of his lease, or soon after; to abstain from ploughing up the ground afterwards, and to keep all the dykes and ditches in good repair: the magistrates reserving to themselves the right of improving the bank of the Dock next the water, by sloping and planting it with willows; to keep clean the sewer from the pound-fold along the back of the Dock into the water, and reserving also a passage from the houses at Cats'-Strand to the river, for the use of the tenants.

When Dumfries was still but a very insignificant place, it possessed a grain mill, that being an indispensable adjunct of all towns great and small in ancient times. We read of Stakeford Mill, opposite the Castle, on the Galloway side, which belonged to the barony of Drumsleet; of a mill on the Upper Sandbeds; of two horse-mills in the same locality; and of a mill south of the Burgh, the water motive power of which gave its name to the property of Milldamhead. From 1685 till 1707, the main dependence of the Burgh seems to have been on the horse-mills ; but these having gone out of gear, the Council were led, in the following way, to erect others on quite a new site. For the purpose of correcting the tendency of the Nith to encroach on the Dumfries side, a small supplementary bed was cut in the opposite bank, through which a large flow of water was diverted. Thus a division was made in the river, a little below the bridge; one stream, the main one, continuing with an eastward bias to pursue nearly the old path, and the other narrow one passing over the newly formed channel for a hundred yards or more, and then mingling with the larger body.

As by this operation a water-course suitable for a mill was incidentally supplied, the Council, with the consent of a public meeting of the community, held on the 2nd of March, 1705, resolved to utilize it for that purpose. Accordingly, a contract was signed with Mr. Mathew Frew, who agreed, for three thousand merks and an adequate supply of stone, to build, " on the other syde of the water, ane sufficient miln, capable of grinding malt, meall; flour, and all other sorts of grain, with a sufficient caul and other pertinents." Ground for a road through the fields, or rather brae-side, lying between the bridge and the new building, was purchased by the Council; and in a short time kilns were erected, and a few dwelling-houses for millers and others sprang up in the neighbourhood-Bridgend thus obtaining an addition to its size, and new elements of progress, from which it received a lasting benefit. On the 27th of October, 1707, the new water-mill was let, in a completed form, for the first time, alongst with the existing one at Mill-hole, and two smaller branches of revenue, the whole bringing a rent of two thousand four hundred and fifty merks. A barley mill and a wheat mill were afterwards added, the latter in 1742. Such is the origin of the town mills, which, three in number, still yield a considerable amount of revenue to the Burgh-the rent in 1865-6 being 300, with an addition of 35 for a waukmill, built some time prior to 1790, and 19 for granaries. [A return, prepared by the Town Chamberlain, Mr. James H. M`Gowan, of the rents and profits of the mills and granaries, and the cost of maintaining the same and the caul for twenty years, ending 15th September, 1866, shows the following results:-A total annual revenue, varying from 343 11s., which it was in 1848-9 (the year of the second cholera visitation) to 499 3s., which it was in 1859-60; and a net yearly profit, rising from 119 11s. 1d., to 446 13s. 4d. An explanatory note is appended in these terms:- In addition to the mills and granaries, the [contiguous] property at Williesdale, belonging to the Burgh, includes the Millgreen, with the house thereon, and three gardens, the rents of which are not included in the above return. The public burdens cannot be easily divided, and the amount given above (an annual average of 35), is chargeable on the whole property. I estimate the proportion of those chargeable on the Millgreen and gardens at 4, which being added to the surplus each year, will make the total profits on the mills, granaries, and ca A, during the last twenty years, 6,000 or an average of 300 per annum." All these sums are, of course, in English money.]

The construction of the caul was opposed by Mr. Maxwell of Carnsalloch, and other fishery proprietors in the higher reaches of the Nith; they contending that it would prevent salmon from running up the river as formerly, and that it was clearly at variance with the existing law regarding cruives and similar obstructions. These objections were pleaded without effect in the Supreme Court. It was represented on the part of the magistrates that the town had formerly a mill a little above the bridge, the dam for which was on the opposite or Galloway side, and so easily sanded up, that it was of little service; wherefore the magistrates, taking advantage of the cutting already referred to, built a new mill on the Galloway side, and placed the dam dyke in such a position that it could not be sanded up by floods. This, it was argued, the magistrates had a perfect right to do. They were heritors on both sides of the river; the alveus of the water was therefore their property, though others claimed the fishing: and they could not be stopped from building their own dam dyke through their own water, upon the pretext of the erection being prejudicial to those who claimed the fishings above. The pleas-in-law for the town were: (1) Because mill-dam dykes are no prejudice to fishes going over, they being "not a foot and a half above the ebbest water." (2) The water being theirs, they may build as they please, though some accidental prejudice to a neighbour may arise; such as the building of a house may stop a neighbour's lights, and yet will not hinder the building. And (3) in the present case, the town had the like dam dyke formerly, and this shall be of the same height; and as the former dyke had a mid-stream open nightly by the space of six foot, so shall this, though no law requires the same, that being only in cruives and wears, which are of a huge height and thickness. And the town does not understand what argument can be brought from cruives and wears applicable to the mill-dam dyke, wherein there is no cruive made nor designed, nor any novum, opus, but only the former, which was failing, renewed, and with a greater ease to the fishing." It was urged, on behalf of the town, also, that the caul being pitched in much deeper water than the former dyke, and having a mid-sluice kept open nightly, shoals of fish would pass through with the utmost freedom.

A curious supplementary statement was made, as follows: "The great drought which hinders the going of burn-mills, and the stop put to the building of this mill, puts the town and inhabitants to a great hardship for want of the grinding of meal and malt; and besides this, Dr. Johnston having doled to the poor of the town 600 lib. sterl., which poor are infeft in thir milns for payment of their annual rent, which, if stopped, their provision fails, and the town must sustain the burden of them, which they cannot otherwise defray, and the inhabitants above measure straitned through their not getting their corn and malt grinded, they being thirled to the miln; and besides, there is no going miln near to the town, they being all standing by reason of the drought."

The objectors failed to do more than stop the works for a short time; and when they were all finished they gave a picturesqueness to the river which it did not formerly possess. ["The Caul," says a writer in the Dumfriesshire Monthly Magazine, "is generally recollected very forcibly by the wandering natives of our good town, and often forms an important subject of conversation when two or three of them chance to meet. Perhaps an infusion of our national predilection for the romantic in sound as well as show may mingle with the home-recollections of the Dumfriesian. We remember meeting, in a little town near London, with a woman 'bred and born in the Back-barnraws,' who, after some general conversation about Dumfries, turned of a sudden to the Caul. `I never sit doun by mysel',' said she, 'especially o' an afternoon, when the bairns are out, but I hear the sough o' the Caul as plain in my ears as when I was bleachin' claes on the island."'] It used to flow rather tamely past the town; but now, partially separated, a verdant peninsula-the Mill-green-rising up between the divisions, and a miniature cascade formed by the Caul crossing it angularly below the venerable bridge, it presents a view that is ever varying and never otherwise than attractive ; and the sound of the broken water, whether murmuring softly or swelled to tempest-pitch, is like music in the ear of all the genuine sons and daughters of St. Michael.

The papers from which we have quoted bring out a fact which must be new to most of our readers, that the Sandbeds mill was kept in motion by means of a caul erected above Devorgilla's bridge. There is a prevailing belief in Dumfries that the town mills, prior to the erection of those built on the opposite bank, stood below the bridge, near the head of the Whitesands; but in the preceding pleas put forth for the Burgh (a copy of which lies before us in a printed form), the explicit statement is made that the town of Dumfries had "formerly a miln a little above their bridge, whereof the dam dyke or water-caul was upon the other side;" and we have been unable to find in any document the faintest trace of a mill having ever existed below the old bridge on the Dumfries side. [In the action that arose out of the erection of the mills and caul, it was stated that "the stoups for the dam dyke were fixed in an rock that goes throw the water, being the very same rock whereupon the bridge is founded;" but for all that it has on at least four occasions been partially swept away, as if it had been built upon sand. An account of the first catastrophe of this kind, and how it was dealt with, is given in the subjoined Council minutes. 24th December, 1742.-" The magistrats and Council finding that there is a great breach in the caall of the miln-dam, in the Water of Nith, and that it will be necessary to have the same repaired as soon as possible, they appoint a committee of the magistrats, dean, and treasurer," with others, "to provide materials and employ workmen to repair and make up the said breach." 27th December, 1742. The magistrates, in name of the committee, report "that they had viewed the breach, and had considered several proposals for repairing thereof ; and, as the most probable, had taken in a proposal from John Baxter, wright, whereby he proposes to take up all the stones washen off from the caall that can be recovered, and to make up the said breach lately made therein by the frost and ice sufficiently, so as to continue in good order till Lambas next ; and to make and put in a sufficient frame of timber, fourteen foot long, for the gullet door to open and shutt upon, within fourteen days after this day inclusive, for ten pounds sterling-the town furnishing and laying down on the Sands what more stones shall be needful from the quarry, and furnishing timber for the frame: which being considered by the Council," they unanimously accepted the proposal. In 1800, in 132Q and lastly on the morning of the 24th of January, 1867, portions of the Caul gave way; the destructive agent having been each time the same, namely, huge masses of ice pressing against the dyke after being loosened by a thaw.]

During the period in which these public works were being constructed, the Commissioners appointed by England and Scotland to frame a treaty of incorporation between the countries, were holding their deliberations; and the object of them was viewed with dislike by many persons in Dumfries, as well as by the people of North Britain generally. Queen Anne, who succeeded to the throne on the death of William in 1702, appointed James, second Duke of Queensberry, [

This distinguished nobleman was born in 1662 at Sanquhar Castle, which, with the barony of Sanquhar, was purchased from the Crichtons by Sir W. Douglas of Drumlanrig in 1630. For his services in carrying the Union movement to a successful issue he received a pension of 3,000. a year, the entire patronage of Scotland was conferred upon him, and he was created a British peer, with the title of Duke of Dover, Marquis of Beverley, and Earl of Ripon. The Duke died in his forty-ninth year, just four years after he had realized the great object of his ambition. His wife, Mary, fourth daughter of Charles Boyle, Lord Clifford, predeceased him in 1709. They were buried in the family vault in Durisdeer churchyard, and a magnificent mausoleum, containing marble figures of the deceased, was raised over their remains. The contents of the vault, when examined in 1836, were, in addition to the dust of the Duke and Duchess, that of Isabella Douglas, wife of William, the first Duke; that of Lord George Douglas, son of the latter nobleman; of Charles, the third Duke; of his wife, Catherine Hyde, daughter of Henry, Earl of Clarendon, celebrated for her beauty and wit by Pope and Swift, and who was the bountiful patroness of Gay, who said of her,

"Yonder I see the cheerful Duchess stand,
For friendship, zeal, and blithesome humours known;"

of Charles, Earl of Drumlanrig, younger son of the third Duke ; of Elizabeth Hope, Dowager Countess of Drumlanrig; of Henry, Lord Drumlanrig; and of Elizabeth, daughter of the Union Duke. All these remains are in lead coffins. There is one also in which the bones of the early chiefs of the house are stated to have been placed; and there are also several other coffins without any inscriptions to indicate their contents.] the leading nobleman in Dumfriesshire, to be her High Commissioner in Scotland for promoting the Union; but all his influence in the County and its chief town failed to make them pronounce on its behalf.

The Presbyterian ministers there, and generally, were afraid that the Union would be the means of advancing Prelacy, if not of endangering the very existence of the Established Church; and on patriotic as well as religious grounds it was vehemently opposed by a majority of the nation. On the 3rd of October, 1706, the Scottish Parliament sat down to discuss the articles of the projected Union, as previously agreed to in London; and the General Assembly as representing the Church, and the Convention of Royal Burghs in name of the general community, sent in petitions against the measure-the petition in the latter case having been carried by a large majority, with whom voted the Burgh's Commissioner. The representative of the Presbytery in the Supreme Ecclesiastical Court took a similar course, as instructed to this effect:- "That in a calm and regular way ye move that the Commission [of Assembly] use what method they think fit for them in the capacity of Church judicature, for the preventing the passing of that article of the giving up of our Parliament: That ye do nothing in the Commission that may be accounted a compliance with the passing such an Act. If any such thing be likely to be conducted by the Commission that may be accounted such a compliance, or any other way endanger the present Church Establishment to the claim of right, and all Acts of Parliament made thereanent, ye shall in our name protest against it."

These instructions were given by the Presbytery on the 29th of October; and on the 20th of next month a more emphatic testimony on behalf of the independence of the nation was uttered at the Market Cross of the Burgh. The demonstration originated with the followers of Cameron, the remnant of the extreme Covenanting party, the successors of those who, in the same month exactly forty years before, captured the persecutor Turner, and celebrated their triumph over him at the Cross. [After the Revolution, the party was divided; a portion rendering substantial services to Government; others, like Sir R. Hamilton, maintaining a kind of passive resistance.] Matters were moving quietly within the town. There was a powerful feeling of discontent against the incorporating alliance with England ; but it had not been openly, or at all events violently, expressed. The merchants were selling their wares as usual, the workmen following their ordinary avocations ; and whilst the masons of Mr. Bachup were busy at the bartizan of the Mid-Steeple, they would, from their elevated position, be among the first to notice the incoming, at twelve o'clock, of a somewhat tumultuous crowd, including a force of nearly three hundred armed men. The latter had assembled in the neighbourhood of the town to arrange their mode of procedure; and as they entered within its precincts, numbers of the populace, aware of their object, joined heartily in the movement. Near noonday this formidable band-made up partly of resolute, high-minded, well-organized men, and partly of the Burgh mob appeared menacingly in High Street, and, making their way to the Cross unopposed by the authorities, many of whom sympathized with them, they in a calm deliberate manner proceeded with their work; and so exciting was it, that every other sort of work was abandoned in the town, even the great enterprise of the Steeple making no further progress on that eventful day.

"We must have a fire kindled!" said the leaders; and forthwith plenty of materials were supplied-the workmen at the adjoining building contributing, we may be sure, odd bits of the Gailieswood timber to swell the rising blaze. In order to foreclose any attempt at interruption, a double guard of horse and foot was placed in martial order round the anti-Union ring, outside of which stood the applauding populace. As the flames rose bright and high from - shall we say? - the altar of the Market Cross, one of the men stepped forward-the officiating priest of the ceremony-and, producing a copy of the detested Articles of the Union, announced to all present that he was about to commit them to the devouring element, in token that the measure to which they referred merited destruction. The paper was accordingly tossed into the angry fire, all the people by their acclamations saying Amen' to the deed, and cheering to the echo when the charred document was exhibited for a moment on the point of a pike and returned to the flames. Scarcely had it been consumed, when another leader of the party, holding up a roll, intimated that there were inscribed on it the names of those Commissioners who, by signing the Treaty, had sold their country; " and thus," added he, throwing it amongst the ashes of the other document, " may all the traitors perish!" Something still remained to be done, in order to make the demonstration complete; and this was the uttering of a declaration explaining and vindicating the conduct of the party. It was boldly and eloquently drawn. After a recital of some of the evils supposed to be involved in the measure, the protesters against it went on to say:- "But if the subscribers of the foresaid Treaty and Union, with their associates in Parliament, shall presume to carry on the said Union by a supream power, over the belly of the generality of this nation, then and in that case, as we judge that the consent of the generality of the same can only divest them of their sacred and civil liberties, purchased Ad maintained by our ancestors with their blood, so we protest, what ever ratification of the foresaid Union may pass in Parliament, contrar to our fundamental laws, liberties, and privileges concerning Church and State, may not be binding upon the nation, now nor at any time to come: And particularly we protest against the approbation of the first article of the said Union, before the privileges of this nation, contained in the other articles, had been adjusted and secured; and so we earnestly require that the representatives in Parliament, who are for our nation's privileges, would give timeous warning to all the corners of the kingdom, that we and our posterity become not tributary and bond-slaves to our neighbours, without acquitting ourselves as becomes men and Christians; and we are confident that the soldiers now in martial power have so much of the spirits of Scotsmen that they are not ambitious to be disposed of at the pleasure of another nation." [A broadsheet printed copy of this spirited protest lies before us, with which we were favoured by Mr. David Laing, and which bears intrinsic evidence of having been printed at the time. It is headed thus:-" An Account of the Burning of the Articles of the Union at Dumfries. These are to notify to all concerned what are our reasons for and designs in the burning of the printed articles of the proposed Union with England, with the names of the Scots Commissioners subscribers thereof ; together with the minuts of the whole treaty betwixt them and the English Commissioners thereanent." A note at the end says:- "A copy hereof was left affixed on the Cross, as the testimony of the South part of this nation against the proposed Union as moulded in the printed articles thereof. This we desire to be printed and kept in record ad futuram rei memoriam."]

The originators of the movement having in this way fulfilled their mission, withdrew, and soon disappeared. They came mysteriously, unexpectedly; and till this day the names of even the leaders among them remain unknown. Highly exaggerated accounts of their doings reached Edinburgh. It was reported there that 5,000 armed men had entered Dumfries; that 7,000 others had assembled on the neighbouring hills to support them; and that unless strong measures were promptly taken, there might soon be a dangerous anti-Union outbreak in the south of Scotland. The subject was brought before Parliament by the Duke of Queensberry on the 29th of November, in connection with other disturbances of a similar kind. His Grace, according to the minutes of the sederunt, stated that the Secret Council, at their last meeting, had under their consideration several accounts of irregular and tumultuary meetings, by some people of the common and meanest degree, in arms, and of abuses committed by them at Glasgow, Stewartry of Kirkcudbright, and Dumfries, and several places of Lanarkshire; and that there were papers dropt, inviting people to take up arms, and to provide ammunition and provisions, in order to their marching to disturb the Parliament : all which he was directed by the Right Honourable the Lords of her Majesty's Secret Council to lay before the Parliament, to the effect proper methods might be resolved for preventing the evil consequences of such practices. [Defoe's History of the Union, p. 98. ] His Grace then presented a letter from the magistrates of Dumfries to her Majesty's advocate, " bearing an account of the abuses and tumultuary meetings in that place, with a declaration emitted by those who met, which was affixt on the mercat cross of Dumfries:' both of which were read. Whereupon a draft of a proclamation to be emitted by the Parliament, "against all tumultuary and irregular meetings and convocations of the lieges," was presented and read; and after some discussion, it was objected "that it did not appear that there was a particular information of any tumultuary meetings or irregular convocations in any other part of the shire of Lanark than at Glasgow." Her Majesty's High Commissioner was thereupon pleased to notify " that he had information not only from Glasgow and Dumfries, but also from several places in Lanarkshire, of tumultuary and irregular meetings of men under arms, and of their giving out and publishing their design of marching to disturb the Parliament." Eventually, the draft of the proclamation, on being verbally amended, was carried by a majority. [Ibid., p. 99; and Acts of Scot. Parl., vol xi., p. 343.]

Defoe, commenting upon this minute, says:-"It is observable that even in the House there appeared some who were very loth to have these rabbles discouraged and discountenanced; and though I could give more particular instances of it, yet this of objecting against the certainty of the accounts is a clear proof of it: whereas the matter of fact was that the Lord Commissioner had real and direct information of this affair of Dumfries, and of- private emissaries gone abroad to excite the people to take arms; and the respective meetings of these agents or emissaries in the county of Lanark, and elsewhere, are more than sufficient to justify the precautions mentioned in the minute." [Defoe's History of the Union, p. 384.]

The proclamation thus passed by Parliament was issued in name of the Queen. The various statutes against the raising of tumults and the holding of disorderly meetings having been recited in the preamble, her Majesty proceeded to say:- "Yet, nevertheless, We and our Estates of Parliament are certainly informed that in several corners of the realm, and particularly in our burgh of Glasgow, and other places within the sheriffdom of Lanark, and in our Burgh of Dumfries, and other places adjacent, people have presumed, in manifest contempt of the foresaid laws, to assemble themselves in open defiance of our Government, and with manifest design to overturn the same, by insulting the magistrates, attacking and assaulting the houses of our peaceable subjects, continuing openly in arms, and marching in formed bodies through the country, and into our burghs, and insolently burning, in the face of the sun and presence of the magistrates, the articles of treaty betwixt our two kingdoms, entered into by the authority of Parliament; and such crimes and insolencies being no ways to be tolerated in any well governed nation, but, on the contrary, ought to be condignly punished conform to the laws above mentioned." Orders are then given in the proclamation to all persons so assembling to disperse; and certification is made that all who should henceforth "be guilty, actors, abettors or assistants, in convocating or assembling in arms, or those who shall convocate and commit these practices above-mentioned, shall be treated and pursued as open traitors." "Finally, our Lyon King-at-arms," and his brother heralds, with the sheriffs of counties, were charged to pass "to the mercat-cross of Edinburgh, and the mercat-crosses of Dumfries, Lanark, and Glasgow, and other places needful, and there make publication hereof, by open proclamation of the premises, that none pretend ignorance."

This document reflects, as in a mirror, the alarm created by exaggerated reports of the anti-Union movements. No wonder that a powerful minority in Parliament opposed its adoption; misrepresenting, as it does, the design of the protesters, and accusing them of attacking private property, as if they had been a band of highwaymen, instead of being enthusiastic patriots, whose only error was that they adopted a somewhat boisterous and tumultuous mode of discharging what they believed to be a national and religious duty. Mr. Robert Johnston of Kelton, Provost of Dumfries in 1692-3-4-6, who sat for the Burgh in this Parliament, might have stated-and possibly did so-that the men who entered the town on the 20th of November, and his constituents who joined them, had no wish whatever to overturn the Throne, and that they neither pillaged the peaceable inhabitants nor insulted the magistrates. According to Defoe, the proclamation provoked the Glasgow populace, and "made them more furious than before;" but "generally it had a very good effect." The subject was again brought under the notice of Parliament on the 30th of November, a printed paper having been then given in, entitled, "An Account of the Burning of the Articles of Union at Dumfries," as "read and affixt at the mercat-cross thereof, by the tumult assembled on that occasion." It was then moved, "That inquiry shall be made who has been the printer and ingiver of the said scurrilous paper, and that the print be burnt by the hand of the hangman." [Acts of Scot. Parl., vol. xi., p. 344.] This motion was carried, and, in accordance with it, the Uniondenouncing manifesto was publicly burned at the Market Cross of Edinburgh; but the daring printer of the document-luckily for him-managed to elude the vigilance of the Government.

The opposers of the Union out of doors were represented by a resolute minority in Parliament, led by the Duke of Athole and Lord Belhaven; and when a motion was brought forward affirming the principle of the measure, it was, after much opposition, carried by a majority of thirty-three votes. It need scarcely be explained that, in this the last Scottish Parliament, Lords and Commons deliberated as usual together; so that by one testing division the opinion of both Estates was at any time readily ascertained. On this occasion there voted for the Union forty-six lords, including the Duke of Queensberry, the Earls of Galloway and Stair; thirty-seven barons, including William Maxwell of Cardoness; and thirty-three burgh members. Twenty-one lords, among whom were the Marquis of Annandale and the Earls of Wigtown and Selkirk, voted on the other side; also, thirty-three barons, including Alexander Fergusson of Isle, and John Sharpe of Hoddam, and twenty-nine burgesses, of whom Provost Johnston of Dumfries was one. When the die was cast, and turned up in favour of the measure, the Duke of Athole tabled a spirited protest against it, which was signed by the minority. The constitutional opposition given by Lords and Commoners, and the tumultuous displays which manifested the feelings of the populace, proved equally unavailing to stay the progress of the measure. Its passage through the House, too, was facilitated by bribery; several peers and burgesses, who stoutly opposed it at first, having been bought over or silenced by English gold. Provost Johnston was not one of these recreants : what influence he possessed was given against the Act all along; and, in accordance with his wish, it was inscribed on his tombstone that, as the Parliamentary representative of Dumfries, he asserted the liberties of Scotland and opposed the Union:- "Scoticae libertatis assertor, Unioni fortiter opposuit." [The monument is in St. Michael's churchyard. It is of a tabular form, with an upright slab or headpiece (the latter comparatively modern) screwed oil to it.]

It was probably by a local press that the proclamation published at the Cross against that measure was printed. We know that, at all events, a few years later, a "History of the Rebellion of 1715" was printed at Dumfries by Robert Rae; the book, a small quarto, forming a very good specimen of the typography of the period. There was no newspaper in Scotland till the Caledonian Mercury started, in 1660; and previously to that date letters containing the current news and town gossip of the day were written in Edinburgh, copies of them finding their way to the leading provincial towns, and thus keeping their inhabitants conversant with public affairs. So early as 1696 the people of Dumfries enjoyed the luxury of a newspaper; but then it was only at the rate of one copy weekly, which the Town Council with laudable enterprise commissioned for the edification of the lieges, the cost of each tiny sheet being no less than 4s. 21d. sterling. In the year above named, a complaint was made to the authorities that the weekly news-letter received from Edinburgh was frequently borrowed by neighbouring gentlemen, so that those for whom it was purchased lost the use of it; whereupon the Council ordered that " it should not be sent abroad out of the town, in all tyme coming," but that the same was "to ly in the clerk's office, there to be keeped by him for the use and benefite of this burgh;" it being, however, politely intimated that if any country gentlemen desired to take duplicates of the letters, they were to be allowed to do so. Some years later the Council acquired a news-room or coffee-house of their own-in the same building, we understand, that is similarly occupied at the present time. The range of which this edifice formed a part, was planted down on the east side of High Street, encroaching upon it just as the Mid-Steeple, farther up, encroached upon the west side. The ground floors of the newsroom, which are now occupied as shops, were at one time used as an Exchange, having been built with open piazzas for that purpose. [Manuscript Guide to Dumfries, by the late Mr. John Anderson, bookseller. A well-written production, upon which we might have drawn more largely, had not the MS. been unfortunately lost sight of, and only turned up when it was too late to be made available by us to any great extent.] By 1755, however, the Council, under the pressure of monetary difficulties, had given up this news-room luxury. The house itself was sold by them to Mr. George Lowthian (son of Prince Charles's landlord); and he was informed that they had discontinued the newspapers, so that he might, if lie thought fit, provide others for the room at his own charge.

Though the Union was viewed with marked displeasure, it soon exercised a stimulating influence on the commerce of Scotland; and of this benefit the port of Dumfries obtained its due share. A large legitimate trade sprung up with the American colonies, which, added to that already carried on with the north of Europe, contributed much to the prosperity of the town. A considerable addition was made to the officers of Excise and Customs; this being needed, however, not simply for the regulation of the lawful traffic, but to check smuggling, which, owing to the heavy duties imposed on various articles, had become a flourishing occupation along the coast of the Solway. The Custom-house officers of the port, with their regular quota of tide-waiters and boatmen, numbered fifteen in 1710: too few for the duties imposed upon them, as a large portion of the Galloway coast, including the port of Kirkcudbright, was now under their care. At this time Dumfries owned only two or three vessels; but the crafts engaged in the contraband trade-yawls, luggers, and wherries - which the Government officers had to cope with, were numerous, active, and defiant. The Isle of Man was their chief home or place of rendezvous; tobacco, brandy, rum, and wine were their principal cargo-to run which, under cover of night, or even in the glare of day, into some familiar creek, for their expectant customers, was their constant aim.

To purchase a truss of the Virginian weed, or a keg of stimulating liquor, at a cheap rate, from these adventurous Manxmen, was looked upon as a light offence by the country people; nay, many of them were active partners in the business, ready to reset or carry the cargo into the interior, and to withstand the King's officers when the latter audaciously stepped in to seize the prize. Collisions of this kind are frequently noticed in the reports sent by the collector at Dumfries, M'Dowall of Logan, to his superiors in Edinburgh. Writing on the 16th of April, 1711, he relates, that two small boats having been seen hovering on the coast, all the officers were ordered to be on the look-out; that tracks on the sands at Ruthwell led to a search in that parish, resulting in the seizure of a secreted cask of brandy, which the tide-waiters, five in number, were ordered to bring to the Custom-house next morning; and that, when they were ready to set out with it, upwards of a hundred women broke the doors and windows of the place where it was kept, and carried off the liquor. "We humbly lay before your honours," continues the collector, " the necessity of prosecuting such abuses, as well for the security of the revenue as the protection of the officers, who are so discouraged that they dare not, without the hazard of their lives, go about their duty;" and he adds, that the Ruthwell folks are " such friends to the running," that they will not, for any money, give lodgings amongst them to a revenue officer. [Custom-house Records.]

A still more serious smuggling affray occurred in the following month, a few miles further down the coast. A waiter named Young, hearing of some suspicious circumstances, hurried early in the morning to Glenhowan. There he learned from a fisherman that a notorious native smuggler, Morrow of Hidwood, bad "come home" from the Isle of Man. Accompanied by the parish constable, he proceeded to Morrow's house, found in it a large pack, and two trusses of leaf tobacco, and was just preparing to return with the precious spoil, when a "multitude of women" pounced, vulture-like, upon the captors. The wrathful amazons first dispossessed the constable of the pack which he carried ; and whilst they were running away with it, Young, leaving the trusses to the care of his companion, foolishly set off in pursuit. The consequences may be readily guessed at. He might as well have sought to make a troop of wolves give up their prey, as these Glenhowan termagants surrender theirs. The bold, rash man of the revenue was soundly beaten by them, and lodged as a captive in the smuggler's stronghold, Hidwood House, till they had secured the whole of the tobacco ; after which, sore in mind as well as in body, he was set at liberty. On reporting himself at headquarters, he was sent back to the scene with a force of ten men. They searched all the houses, fields, and gardens-discovered at length a pack of tobacco in a dry ditch near "the town of Bankend" - were hieing homewards with it, when, lo! another "monstrous regiment of women," armed with clubs and pitchforks, waylaid the party. Young, thinking to terrify his assailants, shouted out that they would be punished with the utmost rigour for resisting the Queen's officers. "Punish us with those who deforced you at Arbigland and Rival!" (Ruthwell), was the scornful reply. After a smart conflict, the women were put to the rout, and the men carried their capture to Dumfries without further disturbance. [Ibid.]

In the report of this affair forwarded to Edinburgh, much emphasis was laid on the impunity with which the law was defied, and its representatives maltreated; and an urgent request was made for the prosecution of the offenders, and for a troop of dragoons to assist the revenue officers in the execution of their duty. Some of the women were tried at the Circuit Court of Justiciary in Dumfries on a charge of rioting and deforcing the officers; but the witnesses in the case intentionally neutralized their own testimony, by professing to entertain malice against the prisoners, and so the latter escaped punishment. [Custom-house Records.] Occasionally the Customs' warehouses were broken into by marauding parties, and their contents carried off. A gang of this kind, towards the close of 1711, assaulted the officer in charge at Kirkcudbright and rifled his premises; another, about the same time, effected an entrance into the warehouse at Dumfries by means of false keys, and made away with five hundredweights of tobacco; whilst, some years later, a crowd composed of smugglers and their friends mobbed the magistrates and collector there, in order that they might intercept four confiscated casks of brandy that had been forwarded from Annan.

If the legal commerce in tobacco and brandy bore any thing like a due proportion to the contraband trade in these articles, the importations of them must have been immense. The seizures alone might have gone far to supply the wants of the district, unless our forefathers' propensities for smoking and drinking were inordinate. We read of the collector getting hold of thirty-four rolls of leaf tobacco and a rundlet of brandy in one house, and of a hundredweight of the former commodity in another; of five hundredweights rewarding the officer's search in a third locality; of five tuns of brandy being pounced upon at Heston; of a hundred quarter-hogsheads of the same liquor being seized in Balcary Bay, and of four big casks of it and twelve hogsheads of wine being captured at Annan - such seizures as these being matters of weekly occurrence, and strikingly illustrative of the extent to which the "running" business was carried on.

Mr. Crosbie, Provost of Dumfries, and one of its leading merchants, owned in 1712 a vessel named the "James," which brought regular cargoes of tobacco from Virginia and Maryland, and sometimes tar, timber, or other products from the Baltic; and we find him in the summer of 1719 importing nearly 57,000 hundredweights of tobacco in another ship, the "Kirkconnell." There is every reason to believe that about this latter period, and for long afterwards, from 1,000 to 1,200 hundredweights of this, the great staple of the Dumfries trade, paid duty in the port every year. The monthly return of the Customs' revenue dated 21st November, 1717 - the earliest we have been able to discover-amounts to 116 6s. 10d. on all articles. In that year the staff of officers was composed of a collector, Walter Murray, at an annual salary of 50; a deputy-collector, at 25; a comptroller, at 40; a deputy-comptroller, at 20; a land surveyor, at 40; a land waiter and searcher, at 25; an overseer of boatmen, at 30; ten tidesmen and four boatmen, at 15 each: the whole numbering twenty-one, and maintained at a yearly expense of 440. [Custom-house Records.]


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