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The 1820 Rising
The Radical War
1993 Tribute to 1820 Radicals - Ian Bayne

In September 1993 - at the 1820 SOCIETY’s annual commemoration of the martyrs, JOHN BAIRD and ANDREW HARDIE in Sighthill Cemetery, Glasgow - a new plaque was unveiled on their Monument in memory of their 19 Radical comrades whose original death sentences imposed for their participation in the 1820 insurrection and specifically (in most cases) in the Bonnymuir incident, were commuted to sentences of transportation to BOTANY BAY in NEW SOUTH WALES. In 1835 they were all given a ROYAL PARDON - perhaps as a consequence of residual guilt on the part of the British (English?) Establishment at having set them up in 1820. (For the full list of the 19 names see the accompanying text of the inscription on the plaque.)

Subsequently most of the 19 ‘transportees’ remained settled in Australia where, as literate men - unlike the average group of convicts, many of them made significant contributions to the development of the then British colony of New South Wales. Their individual stories are told in a little book by MARGARET and ALASTAIR MACFARLANE, entitled THE SCOTI1SH RADICALS - Tried and Transported for Treason in 1820, first published in Australia in 1975 and re-issued in the U.K. (by SPA Books Ltd) in 1981.

Its co-author, ALASTAIR MACFARLANE, was himself a descendant of one of the transported Radicals, namely THOMAS McFARLANE, a Glaswegian by birth - who in 1839, already an old man in his late sixties, returned home to Condorrat in Dunbartonshire. According to a report in The Stirling Observer on 30 January 1840 McFarlane was subsequently feted by the Airdie Working Men’s Association on account not simply of his involvement in the 1820 affair but because of his long association with Radical politics which he could trace back to the days of ’MUIR, PALMER and GERALD‘ of the Friends of the People and the United Scotsmen in the 1790s.

Another of the transported men who eventually made it back to Scotland was ANDREW WHITE, a printer to trade, who at the time of the Rising was still only in his ‘teens. Alone among the Radical convicts he seems to have been fortunate enough to have secured an Absolute Pardon within three years of his arrival in New South Wales. He then accompanied his employer - a Dr. Douglass who had engineered his Pardon - back to the United Kingdom, though not immediately to Scotland.

It is recorded that he subsequently died in the Royal Infirmary, Glasgow, in 1872, and in accordance with his own wishes was actually buried in Sighthill Cemetery close to his old Radical comrades, BAIRD and HARDIE - whose remains had been transferred there in 1847 when the Monument was erected, having previously been interred in their original paupers grave in Stirling where they were executed. In the mid-1980s the young White’s participation in the ‘Battle of Bonnymuir’ was featured in a fine new banner designed for the print union SOGAT ‘82 - which has since amalgamated with other print unions to form the GPMU.

It is only fitting that the sufferings of these brave men who escaped the fate of their martyred comrades should be properly commemorated in their own country - just as, south of the border, the sufferings of the ‘Tolpuddle Martyrs’, as pioneers of the English Trade Unions, are aptly commemorated, though their years of exile were limited to two.

The new plaque in their honour on the Sighthill Monument was the brain-child of ALASTAIR MACFARLANE, the Radical descendant arid coauthor of the only published account of their lives. A native of Inverness, Alastair had himself settled in New South Wales after his marriage in the 1930s, and in his later years following the UK. publication of THE SCOTTISH RADICALS had campaigned by correspondence from his home there for the erection of the new Sighthill plaque. He died, aged 89, in April 1993, unfortunately without learning that his efforts had finally been successful. In a sense the new plaque is his memorial too.



For their part in the 1820 Rising the following, originally sentenced to death, were transported to New South Wales, Australia, and in 1835 were given a Royal Pardon.

John Anderson
John Barr
William Clackson or Clarkson.
James Clelland
Andrew Dawson
Robert Gray
Alexander Hart
Alexander Johnson
Alexander Latimer
Thomas McCulloch
Thomas McFarlane
John McMillan
Benjamin Moir
Allan Murchie
Thomas Pike or Pink
William Smith
David Thompson
Andrew White
James Wright

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