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The History of Glasgow
Volume 2 - Chapter XXVII - Under the Merry Monarch


THE eight years of Cromwellian rule in Scotland must be regarded as the happiest the country had seen for a century. It is true that the Government was a military despotism, but it victimized no section of the community, and it fulfilled admirably the chief functions of a government : it defended the nation from its enemies abroad, and it kept the peace effectually at home. Neither Prelatist nor Covenanter was permitted to tyrannize over his neighbour, and the people enjoyed a period of peace which allowed them to increase their comfort and prosperity. A further advantage was that the practical union with England allowed of Scottish products being traded freely across the Border, and of Scottish vessels doing business in the Irish ports and even in the English colonies across the Atlantic. In their synods and kirk-sessions Remonstrants and Resolutioners might rail against the unholy doctrine of toleration, but they were effectually prevented from tearing each other's throats, and meanwhile the country was attending to industry, and presumably gathering wider views of life from increasing intercourse with foreign parts.

An interesting picture of Glasgow at this time is given by an English traveller, Richard Franck, in his Northern Memoirs. He describes the place as a city within whose flourishing arms the industrious inhabitant cultivated art to the utmost. The streets, he says, were "good, large, and fair," and the Tolbooth "very sumptuous" and "without exception the paragon of beauty in the west." Of the city merchants and traders he speaks as having their warehouses "stuffed with merchandise," while "their shops swell big with foreign commodities and returns from France and other remote parts." Further, "they generally exceed in good French wines, as they naturally superabound with flesh and fowl." The linen, he observed, was "very neatly lapped up" and "lavender proof," while the people were "decently dressed" and preserved "an exact decorum in every society," which reminded him closely of his own England. [Northern Memoirs, 104-107.]

With the death of Cromwell, however, on 3rd September, 1658—the anniversary of his victories over the Scots at Dunbar and Worcester—and with the consequent break-up of the Commonwealth, the period of enforced peace and quiet prosperity came presently to an end.

Strangely enough, as it was Scotland which, by the General Assembly at Glasgow in 1638, took the lead in the movement which resulted in the overthrow of Charles I., so it was from Scotland that the movement came which resulted in the restoration of Charles II. While the various successive packed and purged Parliaments at Westminster, and the Puritan army at their gates, were alternately attempting to destroy each other, General Monk, the commander of the Cromwellian army in Scotland, resolved on a master stroke—to settle all differences by recalling the exiled king. His ostensible purpose was to secure the establishment at Westminster of a Parliament freely elected by the people, and free from the dictation or domination of the army leaders. To prevent his action General Lambert with a body of troops hastened to the north. But before Lambert could effect his purpose Monk had called together the men of means and influence in Scotland, and, fortified with supplies of money and an assurance of support, was already on his way south. It was in November, 1659, that he crossed the Tweed at Coldstream. Everywhere he was met by the cry for a free Parliament, and by the time he reached London the whole situation lay in his hands. He removed all danger likely to arise from the army by dispersing it in detachments over the country. A new Parliament, to be afterwards known as the Convention, was called together, and while it was debating terms to be offered to the king, Monk had already opened negotiations with the exiled Court. Charles landed at Dover on 25th May, and amid boundless enthusiasm made his way to Whitehall.

In the official Glasgow records there is not much to connect the city with the outstanding event of that time. The project of the Restoration, however, was evidently well known by the Glasgow authorities. On 15th May, ten days before the king's landing, the Town Council invested the provost with emergency powers to act at once upon any proclamation regarding "his Majestie their lawfull King" which might reach the town, and on the 26th of the month it was agreed to send His Majesty "an address and supplicatioun," of which the provost submitted a scroll. The actual news of the king's return evidently reached Glasgow on 4th June, for on that day a sum of 54 shillings was "sent east to Johne Nicoll and William Rae for wrytting and sending intelligence to the toune"; on 18th June the town clerk issued a proclamation "for onputting of baill fyres and using the remanent solemnities" for celebrating the "happie returne," these "remanent solemnities" including the broaching of two hogsheads of wine by the town's garrison  [Burgh Records, ii, 443, 445, 447.]

One immediate result of the Restoration was the dissolution of the Union of the Parliaments which had been arranged by Cromwell. For immediate attention to the affairs of the northern kingdom there was revived the Committee of Estates, to which the Scottish Parliaments had been wont to delegate their authority, and it was perhaps significant that on 31St August a letter was produced to the Town Council, by which the king himself nominated the provost to be a member of that Committee. The Council dutifully accepted the nomination, and ordered the provost to receive £20 sterling for his expenses in attending the meetings. [Burgh Records, ii. 451, 452.] This action was followed by a letter from the Chancellor, the Earl of Glencairn, through the Convention of Burghs, directing that, in the forthcoming election of magistrates, councillors, and office-bearers, no one should be chosen who had shown disaffection to the Royal cause. [Ibid. 449.] In agreement with this order the Town Council appointed a committee to scrutinize the records of candidates. Then, upon instructions direct from the earl, they elected for the coming year the provost and magistrates "that were most unjustlie thrust from their places in anno 1648." In this way Colin Campbell of Blythswood, who had been provost for a few months during Hamilton's "Engagement" in that eventful year, though somewhat reluctant on account of his advanced age, once more returned to office. [Ibid. ii. 449.]

By the end of October the last soldiers of the Cromwellian garrison had left the city. It was probably with a feeling of relief for their removal that the Town Council voted a sum of one hundred pounds sterling as a loan towards paying the debts owed by the soldiers to the citizens, and forthwith proceeded to appoint night-watchmen to take the place of the military sentries. [Ibid. 454, 455.]

But there were also other scores which were not so easy and pleasant to pay off. As already mentioned, George Porterfield, the keen and active Covenanting provost, was called to account for moneys he had collected for the help of the Protestants in Poland and Bohemia. On the recovery of the amount it was applied to purposes nearer home. Six hundred merks were given to Borrowstoness and four hundred to Crail, in name of help asked by these two places, and the balance was reserved for the use of the College. [Burgh Records, ii. 446, 452, 453, 463.] Complaint was also made to Parliament that Porterfield, when provost, had oppressed three score and twelve burgesses of the city, because they were Royalists, by quartering soldiers in their houses. [Ibid. ii. 461.] Patrick Gillespie, principal of the University, and previously minister of the Outer High Church, who, as a "Remonstrant" and "Protester," and leader of the extreme Covenanting party, had done his utmost to persecute men of moderate views, was arrested and imprisoned. [Supra, p. 315; Burgh Records, ii. 450. It was characteristic of Gillespie that, when deprived of office, he refused to give up the University writs and the principal's house, and not only left the College deeply in debt, but claimed goon merks as salary till Whitsunday, 1661.—Priv. Coun. Reg.,1st Oct., 1661.] And James Porter, clerk of the kirk-session, evidently a busybody of the narrowest and most intolerant sort, who had insistently prosecuted Gillespie's accusations against the moderate members of the Town Council and others, was similarly called to account for his behaviour. Complaint was made against him to the Committee of Estates that he had brought a hundred and fifty witnesses against the petitioners without giving them any accusation to meet, and had damaged and defamed them in his effort to bring them under fine and imprisonment. By the Committee of Estates he was remitted to the magistrates of Glasgow to be dealt with. The magistrates asked him to produce the indictment he had drawn up in his oppressive action, and on his persistent refusal to do so, they ordered him to remove himself, with his family and all his belongings, out of the burgh, and not to come within ten miles of it without their permission. [Ibid. ii. 458.]

But the person who was to suffer most severely from the turning of the tables was the redoubtable town clerk, John Spreull. As already noted, [Supra, chap. xxv. p. 292.] Spreull had absented himself from his post in the early days of Commonwealth rule, and, refusing to return, had been deposed by the Town Council; but two years later, by means of an order from the Court of Session, had forced the magistrates to reinstate him under the original agreement he had secured in 1647, conferring on him the office and its emoluments for fifteen years. In September, 1661, the Town Council again took up the matter. By the ordinance of the Committee of Estates, Spreull, as notably a disaffected person, and already incarcerated for his offences, was incapable of holding office, and the Town Council accordingly once more declared his place vacant. At the same time they rescinded all agreements made in his favour, forbade William Yair, who had acted as his depute, to pay over to him any of the fees accruing to the post, and unanimously appointed the latter to be clerk to the burgh. [Burgh Records, ii. 467.] A month later Spreull was summoned and required to produce his original lease of the clerkship, and also his agreement with Yair as his depute. On refusing, he was committed to prison till the documents were produced. Under this compulsion he gave way, and the Town Council proceeded to examine the documents. It was found that the original grant of the clerkship contained an express provision that if, upon trial, it was found that he had committed any fault worthy of deprivation, the agreement became null and void. Further, it was found that the decreet from the Court of Session by which he had forced the magistrates to reinstate him bore a date when that Court was not sitting, and was therefore of no effect. Also, although the decreet absolved William Yair from repayment of any of the dues he had received while acting as Clerk, Spreull had made him hand over a thousand merks. The Town Council, now examining the case, found that Spreull had again and again incurred the annulment of his agreement. He had appeared with Patrick Gillespie again and again in charges which placed the magistrates of the burgh in peril of their lives. He had been the chief mover in their being compelled to exhibit the Council books, a derogation never before experienced. And he was known to have been the main fomenter of the troubles among the burgh crafts, and of the insults offered by these crafts to the magistrates. By these many and divers faults, it was declared, he had many times forfeited his office. He was therefore ordered to refund all the fees and casualties he had received as clerk since the date when he appeared with Patrick Gillespie in the action against the magistrates, and also to sign a discharge for all fees he might have claimed in the future exercise of the clerkship. Failing to do this he was to enter his person in ward till he had obeyed the order. The experiences of Spreull's cousin as a prisoner in the island fortress in the Firth of Forth, from which he got the name of Bass John, are familiar to all readers of Covenanting literature; but the facts of the active participation of this older member of the family in the embittered politics of the time, as set forth in the actual records of Glasgow, are by no means so well known. [Burgh Records, ii. 469, 472. In 1696, after the Revolution, Spreull's son brought an action against the town.—Ibid. iii. 440, 453. A full account of the trial of Bass John Spreull, who was a merchant in Glasgow, is given by Wodrow, ii. 165. This was reprinted, along with several of Spreull's own writings, in a memorial volume by his representative, John William Burns of Kilmahew, in 1882. In the introduction it is stated that Spreull was one of the largest subscribers to the Darien Expedition, left a considerable library of Greek, Latin, and French works and English divinity, and that he was the greatest trader in Scotland in pearls. The writings include an elaborate address to the Government urging the exclusion of English manufacturers from Scotland by way of retaliation for the exclusion of Scottish products from England and Ireland, also a lengthy disquisition on the wrongs he had suffered in the year 1702 in not being duly allotted a seat as a heritor in several of the Glasgow churches, treatment which he characterises as "contrary to the Rule of God's Word, the Practice of present Churches, and the Acts of our General Assembly." Spreull was born in 1646 and died in 1722.]

These events in Glasgow were closely related to the main developments of Scottish history at the time. Three months after the king's return a small body of extremist ministers and elders had met in the house of Robert Simpson in Edinburgh to draw up a "supplication" to His Majesty. The supplication took the shape of a reminder that Charles on his first coming to Scotland had signed the Solemn League and Covenant, and it instructed him that he must establish Presbyterian Church government in his three kingdoms, and must extirpate Popery, Prelacy, superstition, heresy, etc. Should he fail in this he was threatened with " fearful wrath from the face of an angry and jealous God." [Wodrow, i. 68.] The "supplication" was never presented, but its authors, Gillespie, as above mentioned, and Simpson himself, were arrested by the Glasgow authorities, under a warrant from the Committee of Estates, and confined in Edinburgh Castle. Gillespie lay long in prison, and would have suffered more severely but for the interest of his relative, Lord Sinclair, and his own abject submission. [M'Ure, 1830 ed., p. 188.]

The new Scottish Parliament met at the beginning of 1661, with, as its Lord High Commissioner, the soldier of fortune, General John Middleton, created Earl of Middleton for the occasion. Its first proceeding was to annul the Acts of all the Parliaments held since 1633. In this the Government followed the unwise and dangerous precedent set by the Covenanting Parliament of 1649, which first of all excluded all members who had voted for the Engagement, and then repealed all Acts of the Parliament which had authorised that undertaking. [Andrew Stevenson's History of the Church and State of Scotland, p. 610.]

Measures were next adopted against certain outstanding enemies of the Royal cause. Among these the Marquess of Argyll was one whose activities could not be overlooked. Besides his acts which had led to the overthrow and death of Charles I., he could not but be held responsible for deeds like the massacre in cold blood of the Royalist prisoners captured at Philiphaugh, and for the vindictive execution of the Marquess of Montrose. There could also be cited against him transactions like the massacre of the three hundred Macdonalds at Dunaverty in Kintyre, and the destruction of Gylen and Dunolly, strongholds of the Macdougalls—both families being hereditary rivals of his own house; along with the premeditated and cold-blooded murder at Dunoon of some two hundred and thirty of the Lamonts, a clan whom his family had been seeking for centuries to oust from Cowal. Any one of these deeds would have justified the bringing of his head to the block. The record of his trial has been lost, but he was beheaded on 27th May, 1661, on the spot in the High Street of Edinburgh at which Montrose had suffered a much more agonizing death at his instance ten years before.

At his death Argyll was owing Glasgow a great sum of money. A representation of the city attended a meeting of his creditors in Edinburgh, but there is no record that the money was ever recovered. [ Burgh Records, ii. 494, iii. 7.]

Only two other individuals suffered capital punishment in Scotland for the actions they had taken against the Royal authority in the recent troubles. One was Archibald Johnston of Warriston, Lord Clerk Registrar, who had helped Henderson to draw up the National Covenant, had taken a leading part in the trial of Montrose, and had sat in Cromwell's House of Lords. The other was James Guthrie, minister of Stirling. Hill Burton describes him as "the most vehement, active, and implacable of all the Remonstrants," and declares that his execution converted him "from an active, troublesome priest into a revered martyr." Women dipped their handkerchiefs in his blood, and legends about him became embodied in Covenanting literature. [Hill Burton, vii. 858-853; Wodrow, Analecta, i. 809.]

Meanwhile, in May, an Act had been passed ordering that the anniversary of the king's restoration should be kept as a holiday. Some extremists among the ministers objected to this as an idolatrous proceeding, and they were accordingly denounced as pretenders "to ane greater measure of zeal and piety, and no less loyalty, than others, but who, under that pretext, always have been, and are, incorrigible enemies to the present ancient and laudable government of Church and State." They were, therefore, declared to be incapable of holding any Church benefice. [Act. Parl. viii. 376.]

But the main bone of future contention was an Act passed on 27th May "for the restitution and establishment of the ancient government of the Church by Archbishops and Bishops." During his stay in Scotland in 165o, Charles had received a highly unfavourable impression of Presbyterianism from the behaviour of the Covenanting ministers and his treatment at their hands. Their bitter intolerance, and constant insistence on the public avowal of his own sins and the sins of his father, had filled him with a disgust at the whole system, which may or may not have found expression in the remark attributed to him by Burnet, that Presbyterianism was "no religion for a gentleman." Politically, at the same time, Charles and his Scottish ministers, Lauderdale and Middleton, must have regarded Presbyterianism as the chief instrument in the overthrow of the Royal cause under Charles I. Nothing else, therefore, could have been expected than that Episcopacy should be restored. The Act, moreover, was passed by a duly constituted Scottish Parliament, acting under no compulsion. Under this measure Andrew Fairfoul became Archbishop of Glasgow, and James Sharp, who had gone to London as agent for the Presbyterian party, returned to Scotland as Archbishop of St. Andrews. [Grub, Eccles. Hist. Scot. iii. 195.]

Less trouble might have ensued if the Act could have been allowed to take effect gradually, if the old ministers ordained by the presbyteries had been allowed to die out before new clergy collated by the bishops stepped into their places. But

this was not the method of the time. Twenty-four years earlier, when the Presbyterian and Covenanting party was in power, prelacy had been abolished, and the bishops themselves deprived of their benefices, at a single stroke, by the General Assembly which met in Glasgow Cathedral. Also, ten years after that proceeding, on the failure of Hamilton's Engagement, large numbers of Royalist ministers were by church judicatories deprived of their office, and by the Act of Classes of the Parliament of 1649 all judges, officers of State, and persons in public trust who had favoured the Engagement were similarly deprived. [Stevenson's Hist. of Church of Scotland, 609, 610.] We have seen also how, still later, in Glasgow itself, Principal Gillespie had insisted on the instant deprivation of half the members of Town Council because their views were not intolerant like his own. [Supra, p. 316.]

Strangely enough, it was in Glasgow that, as if by a nemesis the counterstroke now took place. By an Act of 1649 lay "patronage," or appointment of ministers, had been abolished. That Act had now been rescinded, and it was decreed that ministers who held their benefices without having been thus appointed must vacate them, unless theyobtained a presentation from the lawful patron and also collation from the bishop of the diocese. While many ministers complied with the law, and duly secured presentation and collation, a large number ignored the edict, and continued to exercise their ministerial offices in defiance of parliamentary authority. This attitude, for reasons which are difficult to make out, was chiefly adopted in the country of the "Westland Whigs," the counties of the south-west. Probably it was for this reason that the Privy Council, which met to enforce the law, held its deliberations in Glasgow. With Middleton presiding it met on 1st October, 1662, in the fore hall of the College, just then newly completed, in High Street. One of its Acts forbade the resisting ministers from exercising any functions of the ministry, declared their churches vacant, prohibited the payment of their stipends, and required them to remove themselves and their families out of their parishes within a month. The resisters afterwards declared that this meeting of the Privy Council was called by the citizens the "drunken Parliament," from the condition of its members; [Kirkton, 150; Wodrow, i. 283.] but whether or not this was merely a method of discrediting their political opponents, common even at the present day, is impossible to determine.

The month of grace was afterwards extended, but in the end some three hundred and fifty ministers, refusing to conform to the new law, abandoned their benefices. [Among the ministers thus turned out were Donald Cargill of the Glasgow Barony and Ralph Rodger and John Carstairs of the "Inner High" congregation at the Cathedral.—Burgh Records, iii. 2, note.] Numbers of their people went with them, and almost immediately serious troubles began. Acts were passed by Parliament and Privy Council to compel people to attend their parish churches, to forbid the holding of "conventicles," or unauthorized religious services, and to inflict penalties on all who did not comply with these edicts. Later writers on the side of the Covenant have characterized these Acts as intolerant and tyrannical, but they were identical with the orders of the Covenanters themselves when in power twenty years before, which directed the Searchers or Compurgators to pass into houses and "apprehend absents from the kirk." [Macgeorge, Old Glasgow, p. 184.] Two blacks, however, do not make a white, and to modern eyes all such compulsion must appear oppressive and intolerable, whether it is exercised by Covenanter or by Episcopalian. What followed was not a "religious" persecution, as is often stated, for both sides held the same Christian faith; but it was a persecution none the less, and was carried on with a relentlessness such as had not been known since the burnings of heretics which preceded the Reformation. The use of torture—the agony of the boot and the thumbscrew—alone must for ever place the authorities of that time beyond the pale of apology. The question at issue —whether a man should use the ministrations of a pastor ordained by a presbytery or a pastor ordained by a bishop—may seem a matter of minor importance to-day, but what the Covenanters of the south-western counties found themselves really fighting for was liberty of action and opinion, and the final triumph of their cause at the Revolution of 1689 was a victory for human freedom.

Of the acts of persecution during the next few years Glasgow and its neighbourhood had their share. Sir George Maxwell of Pollok was heavily fined for a conventicle held in Haggs Castle at the instance of his lady, and in the kirkyard of Cathcart and on the north side of Glasgow Cathedral are to be seen inscribed stones commemorating humble individuals who suffered for conscience' sake. But the main stream of the city's life seems to have flowed on little disturbed by the political ferment of the time. As Principal of the University the firebrand Patrick Gillespie was succeeded by Robert Baillie, a Glasgow man, descended from the ancient house of Lamington, whose Historical Letters and Collections throw much valuable light on the events of his day. [A very full account of Baillie's life is given in Wodrow's History, p. 288.] A few years later, in 1669, a still more distinguished man, Gilbert Burnet, was appointed Professor of Divinity in the College. Burnet was one of the most independent and impartial churchmen, statesmen, and writers of his age. Holding later a high position at court, he deprecated the persecution of the Roman Catholics, found places in England for the dispossessed Scottish clergy, earned the disapproval of all extreme parties, remonstrated with Charles II. for his evil life, took a leading part in the Revolution, and was made Bishop of Salisbury by William II. and III. His History of My Own Time is more often quoted than any other history of the period.

With such men leavening the spirit of the University the unseemly differences between the authorities of town and College came to an end. A chief bone of contention had been the appointment of a "bibliothecar," or librarian, to the College. The appointment lay with the town, but the Council's nominee had been fiercely resisted by Patrick Gillespie. Now, however, the town's presentation of James Bell, son of a Glasgow burgess, was accepted, and peace declared. [Burgh Records, ii. 471 ; iii. 14.] On the other hand, the town accepted the nomination of its provost, no longer from the Duke of Lennox or his commissioner at the castle gate, as in recent years, but from the Archbishop as before the overthrow of Episcopacy in 1638. In the absence of John Bell, the burgess thus installed in the provost's chair by Archbishop Fairfoul in 1662, Colin Campbell, was appointed to preside over the Council for a third term. [Ibid. 493.]

At the same time the Town Council did not relinquish its rights to the management of the city churches. Previously the congregations had sat on stools and forms mostly brought by themselves; but in 1661 the Council installed pews in the Laigh Kirk, and rent for these was charged for the first time. [Burgh Records, ii. 474.] The Town Council, further, nominated the ministers to be appointed to the city churches by the archbishop, and paid them their stipends. [Ibid. 494, 495 ; iii. I.]

Glasgow was also, in those years, steadily extending its bounds and improving its amenities. In 1661 an Act of Parliament was secured, annexing "the lands of Gorbals and town of Bridgend" to the city. [Act. Parl. Vii. 222; Burgh Records, ii. 465. The Act itself did not free the people of the annexed district from continuing to pay excise and other taxes in Lanarkshire. They therefore complained to the Privy Council, and the matter was referred to arbitration, and amicably arranged (Burgh Records, ii. 478, note).] Under this arrangement the appointment of a special bailie for Gorbals was no longer to be made, and the people of the new district were expected to attend the town's churches and the courts of the town's magistrates. [Burgh Records, ii. 474; iii. 60, 63.] Notwithstanding this, however, a bailie of Gorbals continues to appear in the later records of the Town Council. Further, on 1st January, 1662, the Town Council acquired from William Anderson, for six thousand merks, the lands of Linningshaugh. In order to meet the payment the magistrates proceeded to sell feu-duties and rents of properties in the town to the occupiers of these properties and others who cared to invest, and the town drummer was sent round to advertise the burgesses of the offer. [Ibid. ii, 480, 483; iii. 22, 30, 33, 39, 58, 59, 64.] This purchase began the New Green of Glasgow, which is still a public park at the present day. The lands of Kinclaith and others were afterwards added, and in 1664, at considerable expense, a bridge was built across the Molendinar, to afford access to the new possession. The town was now buying back the old "common lands" of the bishopric which it had so lightly parted with eighty years before. The Old Green extended along the riverside from the Broomielaw to the Molendinar, and was built over in the following century.

An official who appears in those years for the first time is the town's postman. In June, 1660, the Master of Works was authorized to pay the "post" ten shillings sterling for all past services, and twelve shillings Scots weekly thereafter for carrying the town's letters. Seven months later £42 Scots were advanced to the man for the purchase of "a sufficient horse to serve the town." [Ibid. ii. 447, 457.] In 1663 it was arranged that the postman should have a wage of £3 Scots per week and a penny sterling for each letter carried. [Ibid. iii. 22.]

The comfort and convenience of the citizens were also met in other ways. In 1661 the Dean of Guild was recommended to set up leaping-on stones at four different places for the use of horsemen. In the following year bridges were built over the Molendinar at the foot of Saltmarket, to give access to Aiken's Well, and over St. Theneu's Burn, at the foot of the present Mitchell Street, to carry westward the main route to Partick and Dunbarton. The latter was ordered to be "ane handsome litle brige," and the road between it and the West Port at the head of the Stockwellgait was to be "calsayed" for the first time. [Burgh Records, 475, 487, 489.]

Perhaps most significant of all was an erection directed to be made in August, 1662. "For many guid reasons and consideratiounes," the minute of Council runs, "for the moir commodious laidining and landing of boats," the city fathers determined to build "ane litle key" at the Broomielaw. [Ibid. ii. 491.]

As a matter of fact, the harbour facilities for the sea-going trade of the city were then receiving serious attention. As mentioned in a previous chapter, the harbour from which Glasgow traders had originally shipped a considerable quantity of their goods had been Irvine on the Ayrshire coast, the traffic being carried on by means of pack-horses over the comparatively level neck of country through which the Eglinton Canal was at a later day designed to be made. But in 1656 Cromwell's commissioner, Tucker, reported that the harbour at Irvine had silted up. [Report (Baunatyne Club).] Glasgow then cast eyes on Dunbarton as a convenient harbour. But Dunbarton had always been hostile to the river trade of the bishop's burgh, and whether or not the tradition is true that on this occasion its authorities refused a definite offer from Glasgow on the quaint consideration that "the influx of mariners would raise the price of butter and eggs to the townsmen," the fact remains that Glasgow looked for another site on which to build a harbour of its own. The way to this was fully cleared by an important decision of the Supreme Court of 8th February, 1666, which declared finally that Dunbarton had no right whatever to interfere with the free passage of Glasgow's shipping and trade on the Clyde. [Burgh Records, iii. 72.] At first the thoughts of the city fathers turned to the bay of Inchgreen on the lands of Greenock, belonging to Crawford of Kilbirnie, who had already allowed the burgesses to erect huts and cure herring at the spot, and in 1667 a bargain was struck. [Burgh Records, ii. 379, 458, 465, 480 ; iii. 96.] Four months later, however, a feu contract was signed for the acquisition of "ane mark land" a little farther up the firth, from the Maxwells, elder and younger, of Newark. The price was 13,000 merks, and four merks annual feu-duty, Glasgow further relieving the Maxwells of "the king's taxatioune effeirand to a mark land." [Burgh Records, iii. 101.] Thereafter the building of Newport Glasgow, with houses, cellars or stores, quay, sea-wall, and other pertinents, was busily proceeded with, and Port-Glasgow, as it is now called, developed into a thriving harbour for the city's sea-borne trade. Ground at the new port was given in leasehold for thirty-eight years to burgesses of the city for the building of houses for their skippers and seamen. The harbour dues were fixed at a rix dollar for each Glasgow ship of over 100 tons, and 30s. Scots for those of less. Dunbarton ships were to be charged the same, and those of all other places double. [Burgh Records, iii. 203, 239.] The founding of the new harbour on the upper Firth of Clyde entailed a vast amount of additional care and labour on the provost, magistrates, and Council of the parent city, and almost every page of the Council's records, for more than twenty years, contains some note of Port-Glasgow matters to be attended to; but the project was carried out successfully, and the Piraeus of Glasgow only ceased to fulfil its purpose when, in the nineteenth century, the Clyde itself was deepened sufficiently to allow sea-going ships to come up safely and easily to the wharves of the city itself.


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