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The Anecdotage of Glasgow
James Monteith of Aderston, and his son Henry - afterwards Provost


THESE successive Glasgow worthies, James Monteith, Esq., manufacturer, Anderston, born 1734, and his son Henry, Lord Provost of Glasgow (1814-16 and 1818-20), were descended from a Highland laird in the neighbourhood of Aberfoil who had been often harried, and at last ruined, by the raids of Rob Roy and the clan Gregor, on account of his sturdy and stubborn refusal to pay black-mail to MacGregor Mohr.

Mrs. James Monteith’s house was situated in Bishop Street one of those low-roofed old-fashioned but commodious houses so common at that period, full of comfort and kindly associations. It was the invariable custom in the family, even after they had separated and had got homes of their own, to meet in .the Bishop Street mansion every Saturday afternoon to dine with the old folks, and renew the old household intercourse. At these meetings the conversation often took a political tone when the stirring events of the time, especially those connected with the revolt of the American colonies, were warmly discussed. On that and other matters the old man strongly denounced the policy of the British Government, and his views were warmly supported by all his sons, with the exception of Henry, subsequently one of Glasgow’s most honoured men.

Henry defended the action of the Government with much energy and talent, greatly to the annoyance of his worthy father. One day when the discussion among the young folk had been more than usually warm and protracted the old man rose, and thus addressed his ambitious, and, as he judged, mistaken son:

"Oh! Harry, Harry, a’ things will be set right, man, when ye’re made Lord Provost o’ Glasgow, and, maybe, member o’ Parliament as weel !" The good old father did not live to see his bantering forecast realised, but it was remembered when his talented son had attained the highest honours that his fellow-citizens could confer upon him.


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