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5078

The Anecdotage of Glasgow
The Drunken Privy Council, Meeting at Glasgow

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THE Restoration of Charles II. as King and so-called Defender of the Faith sounded the knell of Puritanism of all kinds in England, and of Presbyterianism in Scotland. The bishops were restored throughout the three kingdoms as the governors of the Church, and it was again a crime to be present at any service where the Common Prayer Book was not used. The new Scottish bishops, Sharp of St. Andrews; Hamilton of Galloway; Leighton of Dunblane; and Andrew Fairfoul, who had been appointed to Glasgow, were consecrated in Westminster Abbey by several English bishops in December, 1661.

The royal mandate had gone forth from the former Covenanted King, that all persons, especially those holding office in the Church, were to acknowledge the bishops, under pain of the Kingís displeasure. Heavy fines were levied throughout the kingdom on those who were believed to have had complicity with Cromwell, and among those fined in Glasgow were John Spreul, the late town-clerk; John Graham, late provost; and George Porterfield, late provost. No fewer than 439 persons in the Glasgow diocese were fined, the total sum taken from them being £350,490 Scots (£29,207 10s. sterling).

So far as Glasgow and the West of Scotland were concerned, these measures failed to procure honour to Archbishop Fairfoul and his suffragans, and this nonconformity resulted in a meeting of the Privy Council in Glasgow. It was held in the college fore-hall, and was according to Wodrow, termed the drunken meeting of Glasgow, as it was affirmed that all present were flustered with drink, save Sir James Lockhart of Lee, who was the only dissentient."

This drunken meeting passed on 1st October, 1662, an Act of Conformity, and such as did not obey were to remove themselves and their families from their parishes within a month. The people were not to acknowledge such as their lawful pastors, by repairing to their sermons, under the pain of being punished as frequenters of conventicles. This was an act passed by men of whom it is said that afterwards they drank the devilís health at the Cross of Ayr about midnight, when they were in the midst of one of their debauches.

However, as a result of the Act, nearly four hundred ministers were cast from their charges, fourteen of them being of the Presbytery of Glasgow. The more prominent among them were Principal Gillespie, Robert Macwaird, John Carstairs, Donald Cargill, and Ralph Rogers. Three members of the same Presbytery conformed, their names being Hugh Blair and George Young of Glasgow, and Gabriel Cunningham of Kilsyth or Monieburgh.

Numerous complaints were made by the archbishop to the magristrates of Glasgow, that the citizens were not attending church as they ought to do, and that the collection for the poor was consequently diminishing. It was then intimated that the rate or contribution from the inhabitants would require to be increased. On the 21st February, 1663, the Town Council ordered John Bell, wright, and John Dunkieson, brass-smith, to he put in the stocks for their uncivil, bais, contemptable, and unchristian caraige" towards some ministers of the Gospel, and also for the indignities they had put upon the magistrates during Cromwell's visit to Glasgow. They were further to attend church according to the Acts of the Privy Council, under pain ot banishment from the city.


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