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The Anecdotage of Glasgow
Last whipping through Glasgow by the last Glasgow hangman


ON the afternoon of Sunday, 17th February, 1822, a most extraordinary riot took place in the city.

It was directed against Mr. George Provand, oil and colour merchant, who then occupied the handsome house in Clyde Street, not far from the jail, which had been the residence of the well-known city magnate, Robert Dreghorn, Esq., Laird of Ruchill, near to Maryhill and Possil, an estate recently purchased by the Corporation of Glasgow for a public park.

The house referred to had the reputation of being haunted; and in addition thereto, the mob had become possessed with the idea that its then occupant, Mr. Provand, a bold, tall, and vigorous man, was that obnoxious character, a resurrectionist; and it might be even worse, a burker!

As set forth in a proclamation issued by the lord provost and magistrates, the house was broken into and entered by a riotous and tumultuous assemblage of persons, who, besides breaking the windows, and destroying many articles of furniture in the house, were guilty of stealing and carrying away therefrom a number of gold, silver, and copper coins, silver plate, etc. Others of them who had not an eye to plunder, indulged their propensity for devastation and destruction, furniture being smashed, burned, or carried out and thrown into the river, which flowed past quite handy for the purpose. The police of the city were overpowered, pelted with stones, and forced to run for their lives; while about four o’clock, when the worshippers in the churches were coming out, the whole city was in a ferment. The magistrates, and Mr. James Hardie, master of police, and some well-known citizens, in vain sought to throw oil on the troubled waters. They were hooted, pelted, and driven away; Mr. Lawrence Craigie, acting-chief magistrate, having a most narrow escape for his life. In these circumstances he rushed over to the Cavalry Barracks, then in Laurieston; while one or other of his colleagues ran to the lnfantry Barracks, then in the Gallowgate, for military aid.

Mr. Craigie, mounted on a dragoon horse, soon appeared at full gallop over the old Jamaica Bridge, heading the cavalry, while the infantry soon also came forward in double quick order. The Riot Act was read; the dragoons charged with drawn sabres; and the infantry advanced with fixed bayonets; on which the mob, innocent and guilty, took to their heels and fled. Next morning the lord provost and magistrates offered— "A reward of two hundred guineas" to any persons, who, within one month, should give such information as would lead to the apprehension and conviction of the offenders.

In consequence of said proclamation and reward, various persons were apprehended, five of whom were brought to trial before the Circuit Court of Justiciary in April following. They were convicted; and one, Richard Campbell, weaver, who had been a police officer, in addition to the sentence of transportation beyond seas, which all received, was further adj udged to be scourged through the city, by the hangman, on the 8th day of May following.

Accordingly, on the day specified, at twelve o’clock a strong detachment of the 4th Dragoon Guards paraded in front of the jail; while, at the same time, a large force of police and civil officers attended. The culprit was brought out of the jail, and bound to the cart; parties of the dragoons were placed in front and rear to keep off the crowd; and when all was ready the cavalcade moved on to the respective places of punishment. The first halt was made on the south side of the jail; where the culprit’s back was laid bare by the hangman, who there gave him his first twenty lashes with a formidable "cat o’ nine tails."

The second act was gone through with at the foot of Stockwell Street; the third at the head of the same street; while the fourth, and last, making eighty lashes in all, were given at the Cross—the prisoner groaning and lamenting his hard fate. The executioner was old Thomas Young, the last permanent finisher of the law maintained by the magistrates of Glasgow, his house being within the jail, from which he but seldom issued forth.


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