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Scottish Review

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The Anecdotage of Glasgow
Mr. Peter Blackburn, and Sunday walking in the olden times


"A REMNANT of the old Puritan spirit long actuated our local authorities, and Sunday walking, especially during the hours of divine service, was reckoned a punishable offence. A band of functionaries, termed ‘compurgators,’ were employed to perambulate the streets and public walks during ‘kirk hours’ on Sundays, in order to compel strangers either to go to church or betake themselves to their homes. Those who refused compliance were at once taken into custody.

"This system continued in force to a period subsequent to the middle of the last century, when Mr. Peter Blackburn (grandfather of Mr. Blackburn of Killearn) was placed in durance vile for walking in the Green on Sunday. This public-spirited gentleman immediately raised an action against the authorities for such an unwarrantable interference with the liberty of the subject. The case was finally decided in his favour in the Court of Session, and the system, of course, speedily fell into destitude."


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