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History of the Burgh of Dumfries


FROM a very early period, down till the Union with England, the Burgh, or rather its Council, as an electoral college, sent a Commissioner to the Estates, or Parliament, the Provost being often appointed as such. The name of the Burgh usually appears as the fifteenth on the Parliamentary roll, a place that indicated the period of its erection rather than its rank. An Act passed in 1701 in favour of Dumbarton, reserves the right of the members of Ayr, Irving, Renfrew, Dumfries, and several other burghs, to ride, sit, and vote, and take precedency in all national meetings before the representative of the said burgh. In the reigns of the Jameses, and for a century afterwards, Dumfries had a much higher relative position than that which it now occupies. Chalmers, writing in 1823, observes, that "Dumfries has gradually changed its place of precedence, as it has increased in people and prosperity. According to the tax roll of 1771, it stood the seventh on the scale of assessment of sixty-six Royal Burghs, there being only six higher, and no fewer than fifty-nine lower." By a reference to the tax roll of earlier years, we find that the town occupied a still higher grade than the author of " Caledonia" assigns to it. In the roll of 1695, Edinburgh stands first, and is rated at 35 Scots; Glasgow follows far behind, at a rating of 15, which, however, rose ten years afterwards to 20; Aberdeen ranks next, at 6 10s.; Dundee follows, at 5 6s. 8d.; then comes Montrose, at 2 8s.; and next Dumfries, at 1 18s. 4d. In 1705, the tax on Montrose had fallen to 1 13s. 8d., and that of Dumfries remained stationary, making it, in the last mentioned year, the fifth of the Royal Burghs, as tested by taxable wealth. The rate on Lochmaben in 1695 was 3s., on Annan 2s., and on Sanquhar 1s. The oldest tax roll extant, dated 21st February, 1578, makes Dumfries the eighth Royal Burgh: at that period its proportion of the general assessment was 1 7s. 6d.

A high degree of prosperity was enjoyed by the Burgh during the reign of James IV.: and though it was more populous at the date of the Revolution, it was relatively poorer, the various troubles through which it passed in the interval having operated discouragingly on its trade and commerce; [Appendix K.] while its landed patrimony had become much reduced through improvidence or neglect, and its fishings on the Nith, conferred by royal grant after the Reformation, had passed into private hands. We have no means of knowing what amount of revenue the Burgh derived from feus and leases before its common good began to be tampered with, about the beginning of the sixteenth century; but it must have been considerable as compared with the expenditure, and we know that, before the lapse of another hundred years, it had become very much reduced. Had that not been the case, the "re-edification" of the bridge in 1629 would not have been a very exhaustive effort; and a more favourable report could have been given of the public finances than the authorities were able to furnish to certain representatives from the Convention of Royal Burghs, who in 1692 visited the town to obtain information upon the subject. Provost Rome, Bailie Johnston, Bailie Irving, and Mr. Menzies, town-clerk, gave in a statement to the deputies which was the reverse of cheering. "To the best of their knowledge," the common good was worth yearly "2,666 lib. 13s. 4d., or thereby" - that is to say, about 222 sterling; and their debts "twentie thousand merks," or nearly 2,100 sterling. We learn from other sources that the bridge custom that year amounted to 122 sterling; the dues levied at the trone and three ports, to about 27 sterling; and the rent for the meal market to about 22 sterling: which sums make up within 9 of the whole reported revenue, leaving only that trifling balance to be received for rent of the mills, feus, and other small miscellaneous items not specified.

The inland trade, annually, is said to consist of "thretie packs of linnen cloath at twentie pounds sterline the pack, in neat twelve hundred pounds sterline, and other goodes of that nature, to the value of four hundreth and eighty pounds sterline; five thousand sheep skins at fyfty pound sterline the thousand, in neat two hundreth and fiftie pound sterline; sex thousand lamb skins, worth seventeen pounds sterline, which they sell yearly to merchants in Edinburgh and others." It may be inferred, from the silence observed respecting the manufacture of woollen cloth, that that branch of industry, once so flourishing in the Burgh, had little or no existence at the date of the report. In retail business, it is stated, there are "ten or twelve merchants' shops," whose staples are iron, tar, and lint; "two that sells cloath and London goodes;" three that deal in drugs; "some other shops of little accompt, that sell brandy, pipes, tobacco, candle, and such like wares;" and "there is vented within the burgh about three tunns of wyne yeirly;" but "they cannot condescend upon what malt they consume yearly, in regard their milns are rouped with the rest of their common good." As respects liabilities, it is stated that the minister draws the tiends of the Burgh acres for their share of his stipend, the rest being paid by the landward part of the Parish; that he is allowed 30 for half the rent of his manse; "as also, they pay to their schoolmaster, doctors, precentor, and other their public servants, 970 lib. Scots yeirly:" all which, with the interest on the debt of 20,000 merks, is drawn from the common good. But this is not all: they have out of it to maintain the fabric of the church, "also the bridge, consisting of nine large arches, tolbooth, prison-houses, milns, miln-dams, cluses, and school-houses," the expense of which is estimated at 500 Scots annually; "whereby, and by the expenses of their Commissioners to the Parliament, Convention, and other publict charges, their patrimonie is exhausted, and will necessarily endgadge them to contract debts; and by reasone of the inconvenience of the river, and the chairges of lighters, it's feared that trade will totally decay, even tho' there were peace."

Equally doleful is the account given by the reporters of two of the chief thoroughfares:-"About twentie tenements in the High Street ruinous, besides some houses in closses; and the wholl north syde of Lochmabanegate totally destroyed by fire about a twelvemonth since or therby, a great deal whereof is as yet unbuilt." Dumfries in 1692 must have been in a woefully depressed condition to have warranted such statements as these: though, as the magistrates at the close claimed "to be relieved of the fyve shilling they were heighted with in the tax roll" [The Convention of Royal Burghs, at their annual meetings in July, fixed the quotas of land-tax to be paid to the Crown by each burgh, according to its wealth; and had power to vary the proportion payable by them according to their prosperity or decay. Use and wont, rather than Acts of Parliament, authorized the Convention to exercise an almost inquisitorial oversight of the burghs in matters of finance. We quote the following illustrative minute from the Records of the Convention (vol. i., p. 191), dated at Linlithgow, 15th July, 1554:-" The samyn day, Symon Johnstoun, Commissioner for the Burgh of Dumfreis, made offer of the thrid penny mair to the customes of the said burgh, nor presentlie is payit be James Geddes, customer thairof, quhilk Commissioners, respecting his gude and profitabill offer, ordanis the said James to be chargit to compeir in Edinburgh upon the xviij. day of October nixtt, thair to mak his compte to the burrowis to be appoynted to the hering and allowing thairof, discharging him of any further using or exercing of the said office from the said day of Oct. ; and that at the said (lay of his comptis he delyver to the additouris of the samyn, the half seill or stamp being in his possession, and that the magistrates of the said burgh of Dumfreis, then present in Edinburgh, are sufficient customer and comptroller, for quhame they [the auditors] sal be answerabill for the dew executioun of thair office to the burrowis foirsaidis, the said auchtene of Oct. nixtt : quhairunto the said Symon consented." Rather sharp practice this on the part of the Convention-cashiering the " said James" in his absence, and appointing a new "customer" for Dumfries, because he had offered a trifle more for the customs than the old one.] a year previously, they perhaps deepened the shadows of the picture for the sake of giving effect to their request. We know that in several preceding years a much more cheerful report was given in by their own treasurer, showing a revenue varying from 300 sterling annually to 320; and that in 1699 some separate items of revenue that have been preserved warrant the supposition that the whole would amount to the latter mentioned sum at least. In 1699 the bridge customs yielded 118 12s. 2d. sterling; the dues at the other three entrances, 24 3s. 1d.; Milldamhead Park, 22 4s. 5d. If we add for other land rents and feus, say 50; for mills, 50; for burgess fees, 15; for meal market, E20; and for miscellaneous branches, E20; the aggregate will be nearly 320, which may be accepted as the annual worth of the common good in the closing decade of the seventeenth century.

As regards the commerce of the port, an unfavourable account was also given in 1692; but before quoting from it, a few preliminary remarks are called for respecting the river and its estuary. The Solway, into which the Nith flows, has peculiar characteristics, that render it quite a topographical study. Numerous currents meeting near its mouth keep up a perpetual conflict; and twice in every twenty-four hours the tidal flow, suddenly raised above its ordinary level, and rendered fierce by the tumult, seeks an outvent at the estuary, through which it rushes with a speed that is nowhere rivalled in the United Kingdom, or perhaps in the world. It hurries on, carrying a head four to six feet high, filling up the tortuous channels, and sweeping over the broad level beds of the Frith with a rapidity that has earned for its foam-crested billows the title of the White Steeds of the Solway. [Appendix I.] Gradually, as the tide approaches Dumfries, its pace moderates, and its head is absorbed; and only on very rare occasions does the briny current surmount the Caul, though before that barrier was erected it must have frequently swept through and far beyond the arches of the bridge. The entire domain of the Solway, except the narrow channel of the Nith, and the waters that enter near its eastern extremity, is "alternately a surgy, brown sea-now misty with sand and now tinctured with silt, oscillating with the rebound of the tide; and a naked, flat, unrelieved expanse of sand interposing its dreary projection between the blooming slopes of Cumberland and the finely outlined and warmly tinted lands of Scotland. Much of its beach, or rather of its bed, even its broader and more seaward parts, is of the same character; so very much, indeed, that were the Frith estimated or measured only by the space it covers at low water, it would figure in extremely limited proportions." [Sketch of the Solway in the Builder.]

The singularities of the Solway, whether at high or low water, though very interesting as natural phenomena, are rather adverse to the prosaic purposes of trade; and the red sandstone which stretches athwart the southern shore of the Frith forms a rocky bar over the Nith at Kingholmbank, which has always operated discouragingly on the interests of the port and river.

For some time before the end of the sixteenth century, Dumfries was the seat of a considerable trade, which soon afterwards suffered a serious reduction. Mr. Tucker, a revenue officer appointed by Government to draw up an account of the Scottish ports in 1656, concludes his notice of those in the south as follows:- "Last of all," he says, "Dumfreese, a pretty mercat town, but of little trade-that they have being most part by land, either for Leith or Newcastle, the badness of coming into the river upon which it lyes hindering their commerce by sea; soe that whatever they have come that way is comonly and usually landed at Kirkcudbright. This town of Dumfreese was formerly the head port of these parts, the town of Ayre being then within the district of Glasgow; but there being nothing to doe, the Commissioners thought fit to remove the Collector to Ayre." [Tucker's Report upon the Settlement of the Revenues of Excise and Customs in Scotland] From the same authority we learn that "the accompt of the beere, ale, acque vitae lett to farme" in the several shires of Scotland during the year 1655 amounted to 35,054 8s. 8d., and that the proportion yielded by the port of Dumfries was 694.

In 1692, as we learn from the report to the Convention, the town owned one large vessel of 140 tons, named the "Elizabeth;" three of a smaller size-the "Adventure," thirty-six tons; the " Concord," twenty tons; the " Providence," also twenty tons; a boat of three tons, and a yawl. The estimated value of the whole fleet was about 300 sterling; but owing to the want of trade the ships were laid up in port, and out of repair. The commerce with other countries, once considerable, had fallen off to such an extent that during the five preceding years it could be summed up in this narrow compass: "Ane smale ship from France with eighteen tunns of wyne and sex tunns of brandie or thereby; item, ane other vestell from Noraway with fyve thousand daills; item, a small vestell from Stockholm, loaded with iron; item, ane other small vestell from Bristoll, of the burden of twentie tunns, loadened with cydar, botles, hopes," and some other small goods of inconsiderable value. At that period there was no quay or harbour on the river or port, and "there being but a small water and very shallow, and sand banks all down the water twenty miles from the town," the use of lighters from Kirkcudbright and Isle of Heston was rendered necessary: the outlay for which "consumed the profit of their trade." [General Report on Municipal Corporations in Scotland, Appendix, p. 43.]

Gradually the commerce of the port increased so as to require a large staff of officers for its supervision; and though the Union with England was, as we shall see, viewed with marked displeasure by the Burgh, the measure exercised a beneficial influence on all its business concerns. Consequent on that event, a large legitimate trade sprung up with the American colonies, which, added to that already carried on with the north of Europe, contributed much to the prosperity of the port.

The poor of the Parish were maintained from the weekly church-door collections; a small allowance, the interest of 600 sterling, left for that purpose by a benevolent burgess, Dr. Johnston, [Dr. Robert Johnston was a gentleman of varied accomplishments and great professional skill. He was brother-in-law to George Heriot, and was at one time physician to James VI. By his will, dated in the parish of St. Ann, Blackfriars', London (where he died), he left benefactions to Glasgow, Dundee, Montrose, Kirkcudbright, and Moffat, as well as to Dumfries. A bursary connected with Moffat, and an endowment for the usher of the school there, are still in existence; but it is supposed that some of his injunctions were neglected by his executor, Lord Johnstone, during the turmoil of the civil wars.] in 1639, for which the rent of the mills was chargeable; ["1st June, 1678. - I, James Richardson, kirk treasurer, grants me to have received fra John Mairtin, town thesaurer, the soume of nine pund sterling for the hav quarter ; and that off the rent of the mylls, being for the use of the poor thereof, I grant the resait, and discharges the above named John of the foirsaid soume."-Treasurer's Accounts.] and an occasional tribute levied from the richer class of burgesses. A glimpse of its pauperism at the close of the seventeenth century is given in a minute of proceedings taken by a committee appointed to raise a special fund for indigent persons in the winter of 1698. After visiting the various quarters of the town, the committee gave in a list of thirty-eight individuals, constituting "the most creditable and honest sort of poor, fallen-back burgesses," whom they recommended to be paid nine pounds sterling quarterly out of Dr. Johnston's mortification; while, for the sustenance of ninety-four persons in a destitute condition, the committee proposed to exact from the well-to-do inhabitants such a sum as would amount to thirty-five pounds Scots weekly for the half year ending the following 1st of June-all which allowances were over and above the "collectiones at the kirk door and other church causualities." These figures do not suggest the existence of any overwhelming amount of pauperism: it seems, indeed, to have been lighter than the depressing influences, long previously at work, prepared us to expect.

When the magistrates reported on the state of the Burgh in 1692, they complained that staple commodities were sold to its prejudice in "several regalities, baronies, kirk-towns," and other country villages in the vicinity: one of these was the hamlet of Bridgend, which has been repeatedly mentioned in our pages. Soon after Devorgilla's bridge was built, a few dwellings, it may be supposed, would be planted down at its terminus on the right bank of the Nith; and we know that, at a very early date, the village, with the ground it occupied, belonged to the Abbey and College of Lincluden. In 1621, James VI. annulled the annexation of Bridgend to the Crown, that he might confer it and other heritages upon his favourite, Murray; the property being thus designated in the Act passed for that purpose:" The tenementis, housses, and yairdis lyand besyid the Brigend of Dumfreis, quhilk perteinit of auld to the sacristenes and prebendaries of the Colledge Kirk of Lincluden, and all and haill the fyve-pund land of Troqueir."

A contract of wadsett, dated 9th May, 1635, bears to have been signed at "Bridgend of Drumfreis;" and we have seen that the freemen of the Burgh recognized it as a suburb before the middle of the seventeenth century, and that in 1658 no fewer than twelve master shoemakers, belonging to the cordwainers' corporation, resided in the village-a proof that then it must have had a considerable population, amounting perhaps to four hundred at least. Its growth was fostered by the Maxwells,  its feudal superiors; but all the strenuous efforts put forth by them to make it a market town were foiled by the Dumfries Town Council, who could not bear the idea of having markets to rival theirs set up on the opposite bank of the river. [On the 16th of March, 1663, a minute was drawn up by the Council, showing that " the tacksman of the bridge and town officers were empowered by antient custom to go to the crofts in Bridgend holding of the town, and drive all cattle therefrom presented there to sale, and bring them to the Sands, the ordinary mercat."]

Its oldest surviving house (occupied till lately as an inn) sits so near the bridge as to receive support from it. In a precept charter [Now in the hands of Messrs. T. and J. M'Gowan, solicitors, Dumfries.] granted by the Dumfries Council to the owner of the tenement, James Birkmyre, cooper, dated the 3rd of October, 1660, it is described as "that new house builded upon the far end of the Bridge on the south syde," which was to be held by him and his successors in feu farm and heritage for ever, "on payment theirfor yeirly the soome of ten merks Scots," and on condition of giving his attendance at the bridge to see that no draughts of timber be taken across it till the magistrates grant permission. The charter is signed by "Robert Graham, provist; John Cunynegham, bailie; Thos. Irvyne, bailie; Ja. Thomesone, bailie; Wm. Craike, deane; John Irving, thesarer; Jo. Coupland, counsellor; Edward Edgar, counsellor." Bridgend, as we shall afterwards see, was erected into a burgh of barony, under the name of Maxwelltown, in 1810.
Numerous other burghs of barony existed in Dumfriesshire before the seventeenth century was far advanced-Langholm in Eskdale, Lockerbie and Ecclefechan in Annandale, Thornhill and Minnyhive in Nithsdale, all of which remain in vigour; and the trio first named have grown into populous and flourishing seats of trade. Other baronial burghs that were once prosperous-Torthorwald, Ruthwell, and Amisfield-have fallen into decay; while Dalgarno, or Dalgarnock, whose merry market tryst lives in Burns's well-known lyric, "Last May a braw wooer,"

[" But a' the niest week, as I fretted wi' care,
I gaed to the tryst o' Dalgarnock;
And wha but my fine fickle lover was there!
I glowed as I'd seen a warlock, a warlock;
I glowed as I'd seen a warlock! "]

has disappeared, leaving no memorial save its romantic burialground, where "the rude forefathers of the hamlet sleep." Traces, more or less distinct, of other deserted villages, are visible in various portions of the County. Near Dumfries, that of Lincluden, which rose up under shelter of the College, left some remains up till a recent period; and the site of one on the farm of Terreglestown can be pointed out, though every vestige of it has long since passed away.

When agriculture was neither known as a science nor practised systematically, almost every substantial householder in the Burgh was his own grazier; and the wealth of some of them lay, like that of the Bible patriarchs, in herds and flocks. The large extent of the "communty," or town lands, gave full scope for this pastoral occupation. Even after the territorial patrimony was of small extent, as compared with the ground apparently laid claim to at the Riding of the Marches, it included Castledykes, Kingholm (now Hannayfield), Milldamhead, Barkerland, a large share of Lochar Moss, and several tofts on the Galloway side of the Nith. A large proportion of the whole was unfenced and used as a common, on which all who paid scot and lot had a right, for a trifling sum, to pasture their cattle.

Early every summer, a tuck-of-drum proclamation informed the lieges that the time for grazing had arrived, and that (to borrow from a Council minute, dated 30th May, 1709) " the whole inhabitants of this Burgh who have bestiall intended for the Kingholm and Barkerland grass," were to enter them on the following Friday, "conform to their interests in the stent and land rent-rolls, and at this entry to make payment of half ane crown to the treasurer for each soum. [A "soum" was as much ground as would pasture one cow or five sheep.] And the treasurer is to attend at the Kirk-ate port, at seven of clock in the morning, to receive the same at the entry of the said bestiall;" and appointing those who have beasts for pasture " to repair to the Tolbooth the morrow, to give in notes of their stents and fractions to the magistrates," declaring, at the same time, " that no person who is not on the stent-rolls, is to have liberty to procure fractions or any priveledge in the grass."

In 1642 the "soumes" of cattle pastured at Kingholm numbered fifty-nine - "Jon Corsane, Proveist," leading the list with an allotment of three; and those of Barkerland amounted to twenty-four. The list of "such of the bestial pertaining to the Burgh of Dumfries as were entered to Barkerland the 2nd of June, 1688," apprises us that a small charge was levied on each animal. Thus, John Allan pays 10s. Scots money for a cow; James Ritchie 14s. for "a naig;" [For the privilege much higher sums were charged in 1664, as is shown by the appended minute, dated 18th May of that year. " The Counsal, taking into consideration that many of the inhabitants who bear little or no public burthing, nor have not any grass nor land of ther awin quherupon to feid their cattle, nor evir payit for any soumes grasse either in the Kingholm or Barkerland, though on pretence of the common pasture [they] have eatin up the Barkerland grass ; thairfore for preventing such abuis it is enacted that besyd those horse and nolt quich sall be this yeir meyted for the Kingholm and Barkerland, for quich threttie shilling Scots is to be paid for ilk soume, all other hors and old nolt that sall be keipit within this burgh after Witsonday nixt, and pretendit to be fed upon the comon pasture therof, sall pay twentie shilling Scots; and all other stirkis within two years old and above one, ten shilling Scots."] the whole entrants numbering ninety-three, and paying for the season's grass 61 6s., which sum was probably spent in maintaining the fences of the pasture ground, in feeding a herd, and defraying other incidental expenses. A salaried keeper was regularly appointed to take charge of these burghal quadrupeds when cropping the grass and chewing the cud, and a bovine superior was provided for them, which was sold by public auction at the close of the season. The town lands not let out for grass were granted in feu for the benefit of the revenue; and it is more than suspected that in some instances the feuars conveniently forgot their obligations, and, becoming free squatters on the soil attached to them, were transformed from "puir tenant bodies, scant of cash," to petty lairds.

The lapse of half a century brought little change in the style of burghal government; the rulers in 1690-1700 being as prone as their grandfathers to the vice of over-legislation, and as ignorant as they of the natural laws which regulate supply and demand. We find them still guarding with unslumbering vigilance the chartered rights of the burgesses and freemen; endeavouring with laudable, but often unavailing zeal, to enforce morality, and at least the semblance of religion, by Acts of Council; and intermeddling with a multitude of petty concerns, which had better have been left alone.

On the 22nd of September, 1690, pestered by the children of the Grammar School petitioning for the vacation to begin sooner than usual, they actually passed a resolution rendering such refractory juveniles, and all who absented themselves from the classes before the 5th of September each year, liable to imprisonment. When the burghal senate could stoop to such trivialities, it is less strange to see them causing habitual drunkards and swearers to sign an obligation enforcing their perpetual banishment from the Burgh; or carrying out several stringent Acts of Parliament directed against intemperance and profanity, in accordance with which "persons convicted of drunkenness, and haunting of taverns and ale-houses after ten of the clock at night, or any tyme of the day except the tyme of travell or for refreshments," were liable to be put in the jugs or jail six hours; and " all persones whatsoever within this burgh or suburbes thereof" were enjoined " not to brew, or to work any other handie work or labour on the Lord's day, or to be found on the streets standing or walking, or to go in company, or vage [roam] to the Moat, Chappell, [St. Christopher's] Dock, or Grein Sands, or any other plaice whatsoever on that day, at any tyme thereof," under a penalty of 10 Scots; and all the inhabitants were "discharged from going to ale-houses or taverns, for eating or drinking the tyme of sermon, or unseasonably or unnecessarily, at any tyme on the Lord's day." For the administration of these edicts, eight unpaid special constables, consisting of influential burgesses, were appointed each year, with power to command the services of the Burgh officers, town guard, and the inhabitants generally, and to enter houses when requisite in the execution of their duty.

Nominally the magistrates were elected for one year; but as some of the provosts, preferring the sweets of office to the insipidities of private life, managed to occupy the burghal chair for five or more consecutive years, [Robert Graham, elected provost at Michaelmas,1655, remained in office till 1660; John Irving, elected as his successor, continued provost till 1665; and the latter afterwards obtained a longer lease of the provostship, dating from 1668 till 1673; William Graik was chief magistrate from 1674 till 1678, and it was under his rule that the above arrangement was put in force.] a popular cry was raised against this monopolizing practice, and it was put a stop to in 1676. At the annual elections held that year, and at every succeeding Michaelmas down till the Burgh Reform Bill was passed, the councillors were required to sign an obligation which rendered any of them who held the office of provost, bailie, dean, or treasurer "more than one year, or two at the most," liable to a penalty of 1,000 Scots. By the same agree ment, all persons who manufactured or sold intoxicating liquors of any kind were prohibited, under a similar penalty, from officiating as provost.

During the latter half of the seventeenth century, the Trades, though increased in numbers and wealth, were still without a public hall; and, it need scarcely be added, continued to maintain their exclusive privileges with unrelaxing vigour. All the internal affairs of each craft were regulated with a corresponding strictness. Before an apprentice could be articled or a journeyman engaged by a master, leave had to be obtained from the office-bearers of his corporation. On the 2nd of February, 1668, the rules as to shoemakers' apprentices were made more precise at a Trades' meeting in the " Orchard Neuk," where it was enacted, that after liberty had been given by the deacons, box-masters, and masters, to any freeman to take an apprentice, the name of the latter was to be entered in the Trades' books, and that the term of service should be fixed at five years, besides "a yeare for meat and fie, as use is." At a meeting of office-bearers, held on the 19th of September, 1673, for regulating the affairs of the same craft, it was enacted, ,(with consent from the whole traid," that a master's son on being apprenticed was to treat the freemen to a dinner instead of making a money payment; "uthers, not freemen's sons, to pay the traid fourtie punds Scots; apprentices in Bridgend, not being freimen's sons, to pay thirty punds."

We subjoin the substance of two other illustrative minutes, as furnished by the books of the same corporation:- "18th July, 1667.-Jon and Robert Lewars, cordinars, accused befoir the deacon, box-master, and masters, of using loose and idle speiches, and other scandalous language against the traid;" and they being anxious to give satisfaction, agreed to forfeit their freedom if ever they did the like again. On the 17th of December, 1674, the shoemakers at a general meeting resolved, on account of "the grate skaith that the traid sustains, by staying ovir lang on the gait on the mercat day, doe thairfore enact that every man of the traid that comes to sell on the mercat day, that he enter precisely at ten hours, and stay till one afternoon, and nae langer"-penalty, twelve shillings. Interesting muniments of the craft are specified in a list of articles consigned to the box-master's custody in October, 1666 ; these, including two Seals of Cause on parchment, with papers relating to the same, and King's letters; also the old books and flag. These would have supplied valuable information regarding the erection of the Trades: deep but vain is our regret that no trace of the venerable relics is left, except the minute from which we have quoted.

Just as the seventeenth century was drawing near a close, a great trading scheme, which promised to enrich the whole country, was sanctioned by the Scottish Parliament. This was the colonization of Darien, to be effected by an incorporated body named "The Indian and African Company of Scotland." Dumfries heartily encouraged the project; and it could scarcely do otherwise, seeing that its distinguished originator, William Paterson, was born in the farm-house of Skipmyre, [This point was, up till lately, a matter of some doubt; but it has been conclusively established in Mr. William Pagan's valuable little work, ' The Birth-place and Parentage of William Paterson," published in 1865.] within seven miles of the town, and was, there is every reason to conclude, numbered among its freemen. It has been often stated, that Paterson was so closely associated with Dumfries that he represented it in Parliament; but this is certainly a mistake. There is an inherent improbability in the idea that the son of a humble farmer should, before he rose to fame, and without wealth or aristocratic patronage, have acquired such a position; and it is sufficiently clear that, after he became distinguished as a great financier and projector, he did not sit as the member for Dumfries or any other place in Parliament. Had he really, at any time, officiated as the representative of the Burgh, his name as such would have appeared in the records of the period; and as it is not to be found there among the names of other members, this circumstance, in the absence of positive evidence to the contrary, ought to negative the statement.

The Burgh, however, and the district round about, looked with all the more favour upon the Darien scheme because of its being launched by a Dumfriesshire man. They showed their full faith in it by a liberal purchase of shares; the town itself, though its strength had been so recently overtasked by an exhaustive outlay on the bridge, taking stock to the extent of 5,000 sterling. This fact we learn from a curious document [Burgh Records.] relating to the equivalent money granted by Government after the failure of the undertaking, and which may be quoted entire, as follows:-" I, John Inglis, writer to the signet, clerk-depute to Sir James Murray of Philiphaugh, Lord Register, and specially constitute by him to the effect underwritten, do hereby certifie that the town of Dumfreis, as a proprietar in the Indian and African Company of Scotland, their joint stock, for the sum of five hundred pounds sterling subscription, hath due unto them for the several payments made thereon, and annual rents of the same to the first of May last, in whole the sum of three handered and two pound and one ninth part of a pennie sterling money, conform to their account, No. 173 in Folio 9 of the subscrived lists or accompt of the Proprietars of the Joynt Stock of the said Company, given into the Lord Register and signed by five of the Directors of the said Company, conform to the Act of Parliament, without any diligence affecting the same, the fourteenth day of June, 1707. This subsrived upon the nineteenth day of August, 1707.

"To the Honourable the Commissioners of the Equivalent.

(Signed) "JO: INGLIS."

Then, mark how munificently individual inhabitants-though the population was a generation before self-represented "as ane handful of pure personis" - patronized the enterprise. Robert Paterson, merchant, Dumfries, subscribed for it the then princely sum of 400 sterling; John Crosbie and James Coulter, merchants, took shares jointly to the extent of 500; Robert Johnston and John Reid subscribed between them 400. Our old acquaintance, "Barncleugh," the Romanist ex-provost, now settled doucely down as a loyal subject of the new dynasty, bought 200 worth of Darien stock; so did John Irving, son of Provost Irving, and Thomas Irving, merchant; John Lanrick, writer, Robert Corbet, merchant, and John Crosby, severally subscribing 100. Some of the neighbouring lairds and noblemen also purchased largely, according to their means; the Burgh's patron, Charles, Duke of Queensberry, becoming a shareholder to the extent of 5,000. The entire capital raised for Paterson's scheme was 400,000 sterling, of which no less than 11,600, or fully a thirty-fifth part, was contributed by the district of his birth.

The auspicious commencement of the colony in 1698, and its disastrous failure, brought about mainly by the mean jealousy of the English and Dutch, more particularly the former, need not here be dwelt upon. It merited success, and with fair play it would have succeeded and its proprietors been enriched: "New Caledonia, which remains to this day a wilderness, might have become the emporium of half the commerce of the world," [R, Chambers's Scottish Biographical Dictionary.] and the poor mother-country, Scotland, have been made one of the wealthiest kingdoms of Europe. As we shall afterwards see, the people and rulers of Dumfries strenuously opposed the Union with England-the shameful treatment given to their favourite colonization scheme by the English having reawakened against them all their old resentment; and but for a promise that Scotland would be allowed to share in the commercial privileges of the sister kingdom, and receive from the English exchequer, repayment of the money lost by the Darien scheme, the Union could scarcely have been consummated.

A supplementary Act passed by the United Parliament in 1715, granted 18,241 10s. 10 2/33d. of compensation to the great projector himself, on account of the losses he had sustained in connection with the scheme; but he died without receiving a farthing of that amount.

By his will, written in his sixtieth year, and dated Westminster, 1st July, 1718, Mr. Paterson left to Elizabeth his stepdaughter, only child to his first wife, Mrs. Elizabeth Turner, widow of a New England clergyman, 500; to his eldest stepdaughter, Anne, by his second wife, Mrs. Hannah Kemp, 600; to his second step-daughter, Mary Kemp, 600; to his two other step-daughters, Hannah and Elizabeth, 800 each; to Jane Kemp, relict of Mr. James Kemp, his step-son, 300; to William Mounsey of Skipmyre, eldest son of his late sister Janet, 200; to the two daughters of the said sister, Elizabeth and Janet, 200 each; to John Mounsey, younger son of his said sister, 400; to his only sister, Elizabeth, married to John Paterson, younger of Kinharvey, in the the Stewartry of Kirkcudbright, 800.

The surplus of the estate, if any, was to be equally divided among the above-mentioned persons, in proportion to their specified legacies. Mr. Paul Daranda, of London, merchant, whom the testator calls "his good friend," and one to whom his family and himself had been under great obligations, was appointed sole executor of the trust, with 1,000 "for his care therein, over his expenses with relation hereto." "It was," says Mr. Pagan, "from the fund provided or secured to him by the Act of 1715, that Paterson, as may be supposed, was enabled to leave the several legacies specified in his will. The executor, Paul Daranda, stands high in the estimation of Mr. Bannister. [Author of a Life of Paterson.] But in that opinion the Scottish relations would not concur - at least the present survivors are under the distinct impression that the legacies never were paid ; and probably for this reason, that the executor had not been able to recover from the Treasury the full compensation money ordered by the Act of Parliament to be paid to Paterson or his heirs. At sundry times the Scotch relations made searching investigations, but entirely without effect. Mr. Stewart of Hillside has obliged us with the perusal of notes of a case drawn up for them in 1853, with a view to further inquiry. That document leaves little doubt that the compensation money so justly due to Paterson had not been realized - certainly that the Scotch relatives never received the legacies designed for them."

We may add to this statement, that the numerous Patersons in Dumfries and the neighbouring district, who claim connection with the projector through his sister Elizabeth, or otherwise, have a traditional idea amongst them that a large proportion of the compensation money was actually paid to Daranda, but never accounted for by him. This is a mere vague supposition, to which we attach no credit: rather would we believe that Paterson's "good friend" vindicated his title to be so called when the testator was dead and gone; and that if there was any wrong-doing in the matter, the blame of it rests with the Government of the day.

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