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The History of Glasgow
Volume 3 - Chapter XXIV - Prince Charles Edward and Glasgow


INTO the midst of the peaceful community of traders and craftsmen going about their business in the Saltmarket, Trongate, and Briggate of Glasgow on 14th September, 1745, a thunderbolt dropped suddenly out of the blue. It was a letter signed "Charles P R," and dated on the previous day at Leckie, near Gargunnock, within twenty miles of the city. The letter ran as follows: "To the Provost, Magistrates and Town Council of Glasgow. I need not inform you of my being come hither, nor of my view in coming; that is already sufficiently known; all those who love their country, and the true interest of Britain ought to wish for my success, and do what they can to promote it. It would be a needless repetition to tell you that all the privileges of your town are included in my Declaration, and what I have promised I will never depart from. I hope this is your way of thinking, and therefore expect your compliance with my demands. A sum of money besides what is due to the government, not exceeding fifteen thousand pounds sterling, and whatever arms can be found in your city, is at present what I require. The terms offered you are very reasonable, and what I promise to make good. I choose to make these demands, but if not complied with I shall take other measures, and you must be answerable for the consequences." [Cochrane Correspondence, Maitland Club, p. 105.]

Prince Charles Edward Stewart, in his romantic attempt to regain the throne of his ancestors, had landed with seven cornpanions at Arisaig on 22nd July, had raised his standard in Glenfinnan on 19th August, and, evaded by General Cope at Dalwhinnie, had marched hotfoot upon the lowlands. Avoiding Stirling, where an arch of the ancient bridge had been broken to stop his passage, he had crossed the Forth at the Fords of Frew, below Kippen, and proceeded at once to requisition the prospering little city on the Clyde. Glasgow had everything to fear from the invading host. It had consistently supported the Revolution settlement and the House of Hanover, and at the Earl of Mar's rising in 1715 had raised ten companies to oppose the Jacobite campaign. In view of these facts something like panic seized the common townsfolk. On 14th and 15th September there was nothing but hiding of clothes and other goods. On Sunday, 16th September, the rebels were expected, and at a false alarm that they were entering the place, "almost all the inhabitants that were able to run fled out of the town in great fear, hurry, and confusion. Those at the foot of the town thought they saw the smoke at the head of it, and that the rebels were setting it on fire ; and some in the country that were in sight of Glasgow imagined that the city was all on fire, and they saw the smoke of it." [Contemporary MS. by John Scott of Heatheryknowe in Monkland parish.] The city in fact was totally without defence. A small force of some thirty Royal Scots Fusiliers with one officer had been quartered in the town, but had been ordered to Dunbarton Castle.

Nevertheless, the payment of £15,000 meant ruin to the finances of the city, whose entire annual revenue at that time was not more than some £3000. Fortunately the affairs of Glasgow were at the moment in charge of a particularly able provost, Andrew Cochrane. On receipt of the demand he convened a meeting of all the principal inhabitants of the city, along with the Town Council, in the new Town Hall, and it was resolved to send a deputation of four to treat with the Jacobite leaders. The deputation, however, went no further than Kilsyth, as it heard there that the Prince and his Highland host had already moved towards Edinburgh.

On the same day the provost wrote to the Lord Justice Clerk and the Lord Advocate informing them of the danger threatening the city. He referred to " our naked, defenceless state, without arms ... the distance of His Majesty's forces; the vicinity of the rebels, within twelve miles of us, with a force of at least 4000 . . . our reputation for wealth, and the great value of goods of various kinds must always be in a place like ours; the nature of our enemy—men under little order or discipline, who want nothing more than the plunder of such a town as ours; and the absolute stop our fears and the neighbourhood of the rebels have put to all manner of industry...This has thrown us into infinite disorder and confusion, which is far from being at an end.... Our case is extremely deplorable, that we must truckle to a pretended prince and rebels, and, at an expense we are not able to bear, purchase a protection from plunder and rapine." [Conternporary MS. by John Scott of Heatheryknowe, pp. 14, 15.]

Before this letter reached Edinburgh the authorities there were having enough to do in thinking of the safety of the capital. Gardiner's dragoons, hopelessly outnumbered, had fallen back from a movement to defend the Fords of Frew; on 15th September the Jacobite army reached Corstorphine, and on the 17th Prince Charles Edward slept in the palace of his ancestors at Holyrood.

On the same day, at Dunbar, General Cope began the disembarking of his army, which he had brought by sea from Aberdeen, and four days later, on 21st September, he was utterly routed by the clansmen in the few minutes' conflict at Prestonpans. Four days later still the Prince's demand on Glasgow was renewed, when the Jacobite quarter-master, John Hay, in private life an obscure writer, rode into the city at the head of a party of horse. The levy was now demanded in the form of a loan, for which the entire excise and tax duties of Clydesdale were assigned as security, and, as part of the sum asked for, the Prince stated his willingness to accept "two thousand broadswords, at reasonable rates." [Ibid. p. 133.]

Resistance was useless, as no Government force remained in Scotland except the garrisons in the castles of Edinburgh, Dunbarton, and Stirling, and in the three forts on the line of the Great Glen. All that could be done was to make the best bargain possible. At the first alarm Provost Cochrane had called another meeting of the Town Council and the principal citizens, at which commissioners were appointed to deal with the emergency. These commissioners, with much difficulty, induced Hay to modify his demand to £5500, and under the spur of stark necessity, the inhabitants produced their money, bank notes, and such bills as they could draw. A loan of £1500 was also, as already mentioned, secured from the Earl of Glencairn, and Hay departed with £5000 in cash and notes and £500 in goods. [Burgh Records, 15th, 26th, 27th and 30th Sept., 17th Dec., 1745; 8th Sept., 1746. Curiosities of Glasgow Citizenship, p. ii,]

So little were the citizens daunted by this experience that three days afterwards they celebrated King George's birthday with increased enthusiasm. In his "Narrative of Proceedings" Provost Cochrane says, "On the 30th we solemnized his Majesty's birthday with all manner of rejoicing, such as illuminations, bonfires, ringing of bells, convening all persons of distinction and the principal inhabitants in the town hall, and drinking the usual and some new loyal healths." [Cochrane Correspondence, p. 30.] At the same time, partly from the spirit of loyalty to the reigning house, and partly from a desire to prevent a repetition of the experience to which they had just been subjected, a movement was set on foot for the raising of an armed force in the city. A warrant for the purpose, dated 12th September, was received from King George, [Cochrane Correspondence, pp. 19, 20.] and Glasgow mobilized two regiments of six hundred men each. A subscription was raised among the principal citizens to pay the private soldiers, for two months, at the rate of eight pence per day, while the officers maintained themselves. [Ibid. p. 82, Burgh Records.] There was some delay in securing arms for these levies, as there was no means of getting stores out of Edinburgh Castle while the Highland army remained in the capital. The Jacobite forces, however, left Edinburgh for England on 31st October, and on 26th November, Captain Clark brought to Glasgow, from General Guest, 1000 firelocks, with bayonets and cartouche boxes, as well as eight barrels of gunpowder and ten of musket balls. [Burgh Records, 3rd December, 1745. ]

The Earl of Home, who had been with Cope's army at Prestonpans, was appointed to command the Glasgow forces, and as further parties of Highlanders, Lord Lovat's clansmen and others, were gathering at Perth, and threatening the fords of the Forth, the first Glasgow regiment of six hundred men was sent to guard the passage at Stirling. Bailie Allan, an officer of the regiment, sent home a graphic picture of the situation there. "They are," he said, "about three hundred Hilenders said to be at Doun and Dumblen. They keep a strong gaird at the Bridg of Allan, and some of them in small companies wer shouing themselfes yesterday but a miel of Stirling, upon a rock, and was said to be come to intercep a bark that was coming up the watter with meall and barlie. They are very opresife wheir they cum, they sufred non coming by the bridg of Allan pas for Stirling yesterday, which was the market day, but they caused pay six-pence, or ells behove to turn back. Their is of Stirling Malichie on companie stationed at Buckie burn, on at Leckie parks, and on at Kippen Kirk." [Curiosities of Citizenship, p. ii.] The presence of the Glasgow regiment, however, prevented the Highlanders from crossing the Forth and raiding the Lothians.

In the middle of December it became known that the

Jacobite army had stopped its southward march at Derby, and was in full retreat towards Scotland. Thereupon both of the Glasgow regiments were marched to the defence of Edinburgh, and the western city was left unprotected as before.

On Christmas Day the vanguard of the Highlanders reached Glasgow. On this occasion the citizens had even greater reason to fear reprisals than at the former alarm in September. There is a tradition, indeed, that the Highlanders actually intended to wreak a signal vengeance on the city, and that this was only prevented by the intervention of Lochiel, one of the most faithful supporters of the cause of Charles. For that service, it is said, though the tradition lacks confirmation, the citizens resolved that for ever afterwards, when "the gentle Lochiel" should visit Glasgow, the bells of the city should be rung. As a matter of fact the Highlanders must be held to have behaved with singular moderation during their stay in the town. They were billeted in public and private houses, mostly the latter, and lived at free quarters during their stay; but nothing in the way of serious plundering or personal ill-usage at their hands is on record. Robert Reid, who, under the name of Senex, in his old age, compiled the highly interesting collection of memoirs entitled Glasgow Past and Present, has put it on record that his mother, with her three sisters, aged from seven to sixteen, were then living alone with a servant in a house at the foot of the Cow Loan, now Queen Street. Two Highlanders were quartered in their house, but gave very little trouble. They were "poor ragged creatures, without shoes or stockings, who could not speak a word of English." All they required was "a bed, and liberty to dress their meals at the kitchen fire—which meals consisted almost wholly of oatmeal porridge and barley bannocks."

The Prince himself, during the week he spent in Glasgow, lodged in the Shawfield Mansion at the West Port, then the residence of Colonel Macdowall, the West India sugar magnate. During his stay, in order to gain the favour of the citizens, it is said he ate twice a day in public view at the house. His dress was usually of fine silk tartan, with crimson velvet breeches, but sometimes he wore an English court coat, with the ribbon, star, and other insignia of the Order of the Garter. Quite obviously, however, his cause was not popular in the city. According to Provost Cochrane, "He appeared four times publicly in our streets, without acclamations or one huzza; no ringing of bells or smallest respect or acknowledgment paid him by the meanest inhabitant. Our very ladies had not the curiosity to go near him, and declined going to a ball held by his chiefs."

Nevertheless the Prince was not entirely without friends in Glasgow. In particular, it was here that, as already mentioned, he met for the first time Clementina Walkinshaw, daughter of the stout Jacobite erstwhile Laird of Barrowfield. Whatever were the incidents, the beautiful nineteen year old girl, who was his mother's god-daughter, and who bore his mother's name, possessed a powerful fascination for the Prince, and to that meeting in Glasgow, in circumstances of hectic romance, remains to be attributed the relationship which played so notable a part in his later career. [See supra, p. 126.]

The memory of the Prince was long perpetuated in Glasgow by another curious tradition. The Rev. James Stewart, first minister of the Relief Church set up in Anderston by the founder of the city's cotton industry, James Monteith, was said to be a son of Charles. His quaint manse still stands in Argyle Street, a few doors east of Bishop Street. If the enemies of the Jacobite cause were to be believed, the "Young Chevalier" would be a not unsuccessful candidate for the reputation of his grand-uncle, Charles II, as, in rather too literal a sense, "the father of his people."

Another incident of Prince Charles's stay in Glasgow had an immediate effect on the spirits both of the royal adventurer himself and of his followers. It was here that the momentous news reached him that the French Government was at last actually preparing an invasion of Britain on a formidable scale. That news put fresh hope and vigour into the Jacobite enterprise, and it was not till months afterwards that this hope was extinguished by tidings that the French expedition had had its purpose frustrated before it crossed the Channel. [A force of 9000 foot and 1350 cavalry under the Duke of Richelieu was actually collected at the French Channel ports, but on the appearance of a strong British fleet under Admiral Vernon the project was abandoned.]

The most outstanding event of the Jacobite occupation of the city was the review of his forces which Charles held on Glasgow Green. The review was held on the Fleshers Haugh, at the eastern end of the Green, a low-lying area which has since had its level raised. According to the manuscript journal of one who took part in the review, "We marched out with drums beating, colours flying, bagpipes playing, and all the marks of a triumphant army, attended by multitudes of people who had come from all parts to see us." During the review Charles himself stood under a thorn tree on the north-western slope of the Fleshers Haugh, "about a hundred yards east of the Round Seat." Another eyewitness of the occasion has placed on record an interesting impression of the Prince's appearance. "I managed to get so near him," says this person, "that I could have touched him, and the impression which he made upon my mind shall never fade as long as I live. He had a princely aspect, and its interest was much heightened by the dejection which appeared in his pale fair countenance and downcast eye. He evidently wanted confidence in his cause, and seemed to have a melancholy forboding of that disaster which soon ruined the hopes of his family for ever." [Alison's Anecdotage of Glasgow, 167. Curious differences exist in descriptions of the Prince. Dr. Carlyle of Inveresk, who says he stood close to him in the courtyard at Holyrood, writes: "He was a good looking man of about five feet ten inches; his hair was dark red and his eyes black. His features were regular, his visage long, much sunburnt and freckled, and his countenance thoughtful and melancholy."—Autobiography, p. 153.]

Dougal Graham, the hunchbacked Glasgow bellman, pedlar, and chapbook writer who as a young man followed the Jacobite army throughout its campaign, has described, in his rhyming chronicle, the change which the week's rest and refurnishing effected in the appearance of the Prince's followers:

"The shot was rusted in the gun,
Their swords from scabbards would not twin,
Their count'nance fierce as a wild bear,
Out o'er their eyes hang down their hair,
Their very thighs red tanned quite,
But yet as nimble as they'd been white.
Their beards were turned black and brown,
The like was ne'er seen in that town.
Some of them did barefooted run
Minded no mire nor stoney groun';
But when shaven, drest, and clothed again,
They turned to be Iike other men."

[Collected Writings, vol. i. p. 123. Dougal Graham remains facile princes in his own peculiar province of popular literature. A full account of his career is given in the introduction to his Collected Works and also in Strang's Glasgow and its Clubs, p. 90.]

The Jacobite demand upon the city on this occasion was for 12,000 linen shirts, 600 cloth coats, and as many pairs of shoes, tartan hose, and blue bonnets, and a sum of money. [Cochrane Correspondence, p. 62 ; Burgh Records, 8th Sept., 1746.] When the magistrates remonstrated, they were told by Quartermaster Hay that they were rebels, and that the Prince was resolved to make them "an example of his just severity, that would strike terror into other places." Under fear of a general sack of the city the Town Council exerted itself to comply with the demands, and when the Jacobite army marched out of Glasgow on 3rd February it presented a very different appearance from what it wore at the time of its entry. As security for the speedy delivery of some of the clothing which could not be supplied in time, the rebels took with them as hostages two Glasgow merchants, one of them a bailie. [Burgh Records, 8th Sept., 1164.]

A few weeks later, on 17th February, on the high ground of South Bantaskine, above Falkirk, the Highland army won its last victory, defeating General Hawley and the Government forces under his command. Among these forces were the two Glasgow regiments, and the clansmen are said to have visited special fury upon them, as not called upon by duty, like the regular soldiers, to take part in the conflict. As Dougal Graham puts it:

"Glasgow and Paisley volunteers,
Eager to fight, it so appears,
With the Dragoons advanced in form,
Who 'mong the first did feel the storm.
The Highlanders, seeing their zeal,
Their Highland vengeance poured like hail.
On red coats they some pity had,
But 'gainst militia were raging mad."

The 16th of April, 1746, saw the Highland army finally defeated at Culloden, and all fear of further invasion removed from the country. The event was duly "solemnized" with a cake and wine banquet by the city fathers on 21st April, and a deputation was sent to Inverness to congratulate the Duke of Cumberland, who was presented with the freedom of the city in a gold box; [Burgle Records, 1st Aug., 8th and 26th Sept., 1746.] but it was not till four years later that Glasgow received compensation from Parliament for the supplies and levies which had been exacted from the city by the Jacobite forces. Provost Cochrane and his brother-in-law, Bailie George Murdoch, were commissioned to go to London, to urge the town's claim, and for a full half year they were detained there, interviewing ministers and members of Parliament. A strong party in the House of Commons opposed the claim, which they termed "the Glasgow Job," and "The Duke of Argyll's Job." [Glasgow was at this time represented in Parliament by John Campbell of Mamore, who in 1761 succeeded his cousin as 4th Duke of Argyll.] Certain English members could not forget that Glasgow was the successful rival of their constituencies in the tobacco trade and the sugar trade. Provost Cochrane wrote home to his wife, "I am sure I am much to be pitied. I would rather have paid great part of what we expect than to have had this plague and vexation. I shall be away from my dearest wife and best affairs for an age, losing my time and spending the town's money, and vexing and fatiguing myself, and all to no purpose. God pity me and give an happy end to this vexing affair!" [Cochrane Correspondence, pp. 126-9.]

In the end a sum of £zo,000 was granted by Parliament to the city in repayment of the requisitions which had been made upon it by the Jacobite army, and the labours of the very capable provost and his brother-in-law were formally acknowledged: " The Magistrates and Council, for themselves and in name of the community, being sensible of the Provost and George Murdoch, their good services and diligence in procuring such relief to the town, do tender them their most hearty thanks." [Burgh Records, 14th June, 1749.] In further honour of the worthy provost the street in the city originally known as Cotton Street had its name changed to Cochrane Street. Cochrane refused to accept any tangible consideration whatever for his strenuous labour and anxiety, but the magistrates presented Bailie Murdoch with £50 sterling for his extraordinary expenses and £100 to be either in specie or plate as he might choose. [Ibid. 29th Sept., 1749. The expenses incurred by Provost Cochrane and Bailie Murdoch on their mission to London amounted to £472 11s. 8½d.—Ibid. Toth Aug. 1749. Cochrane has been called the greatest of the Glasgow Provosts. With his brother-in-law, Bailie Murdoch, he founded the Thistle Bank and was a leader in other chief business enterprises of the city. "Jupiter" Carlyle, the minister of Inveresk, who was a student at Glasgow University in his time, says he was a man of high talent and education, and that he was of great service to Adam Smith in collecting material for The Wealth of Nations. Among other social services, he founded a club which met weekly to discuss the nature and principles of trade in all its branches (Carlyle's Autobiography, P. 73)


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