THE following, said to be from a Manuscript
History of the Burgh, furnishes an account of a gentleman best known
to his contemporaries by the cognomen of Bailie Hunkers—a nickname for
which he was indebted to his obsequious and time-serving disposition.
The circumstances connected with its first application to him have been
The city of Glasgow, or, more properly speaking, the
members of the Town Council, had authorised the provost, who was going
to London on some business partly his own and partly connected with the
affairs of the town, to purchase a portrait of His Majesty Charles II.,
and also that of his predecessor, Charles I., to be hung up in the Town
Hall. It so happened that the pictures arrived during the absence of the
provost, and the duty of seeing them properly placed devolved on Bailie
Bunkers, as senior magistrate, who accordingly ordered them to be put up
in the Town Hall.
During the time that the master of works and his men
were employed in the operation, Bailie Hunkers, accompanied by Lord
Hilton, Mr. Gilbert Burnet, sometime Archbishop of Glasgow and
afterwards Bishop of Salisbury, with several of the professors, came in
to pay their respects to the shadows of sovereignty; and on seeing the
master of works and his assistants working in the presence of these
august semblances of royalty with their heads covered, and in the same
irreverent manner as if they had been putting up the pictures of men of
common mould, the wrath of the bailie burst forth in fiery indignation
against the offenders.