Charters and Documents Relating To the City of Glasgow 1175-1649 Part 1. Originally published by Scottish Burgh Records Society, Glasgow, 1897.
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Considering probably that the position of the national affairs afforded a favourable opportunity for promoting their claims to municipal independence, the town council, on 3rd February, 1641, commissioned the provost, with Gabriel Cunynghame, Patrick Bell, the bailies, dean of guild, and deacon convener, to consider as to the means of asserting the town's right to elect its magistrates. (fn. 1) Nothing further, however, appears in the records of the burgh as to the matter till 13th October, when Walter Stirling was appointed to proceed to Edinburgh with a commission to Patrick Bell to deal in regard to it, (fn. 2) and on the 26th of the same month Bell was authorised to do what he could "in accommodating the business." (fn. 3)
Meanwhile the negotiations between the Scottish commissioners and the English parliament were being proceeded with, and much disputation took place as to the sum to be paid to the Scots in respect of their war expenses. Ultimately on 12th January, 1641, the demands of the Scots were intimated to the parliament, (fn. 4) and were considered by the commons on the 23rd, when it was resolved that friendly assistance should be given, leaving the amount and the mode in which it was to be raised for subsequent discussion; (fn. 5) and on 3rd February the commons fixed the amount to be paid as "brotherly assistance" at the sum of £300,000. (fn. 6)
On 24th February articles of impeachment against Laud were passed by the commons, and on 1st March he was committed to the Tower. (fn. 7) The arrangements for the trial of Strafford were also being actively prosecuted, and on 22nd March, his trial by his peers commenced in Westminster Hall, and continued till 10th April, when a rupture between the commons and the lords having taken place, the court rose without appointing a day for its resumption. (fn. 8) The judicial impartiality of the peers did not satisfy the commons, who resolved to proceed against him by bill of attainder. In thus dealing with the matter they would no longer be mere accusers but judges, and the lords would simply be asked to concur in a sentence which the commons had pronounced. The bill was accordingly immediately introduced, but the lords proceeded with the trial on the 13th. Novertheless the commons read the bill a second time, and asked the lords to proceed no further with the trial. This, however, they refused to do, and the trial proceeded. But the commons, on the 19th, voted Strafford to be a traitor, read the bill a third time, and sent it to the lords. Four days later the king wrote to him to say that while, under the circumstances, he could not employ him hereafter, still he could not "satisfy (himself) in honour or conscience without assuring him now in the midst of (his) trouble, that, upon the word of a king, he should not suffer in life, honour, or fortune." (fn. 9) On the 27th a compromise between the two houses was come to, under which the bill was read a second time in the lords; and on the 29th they heard argument as to its legality. In anticipation, probably, of the issue, the king on 1st May pleaded with parliament for the life of Strafford; (fn. 10) but on learning this, Strafford, on the 4th, wrote Charles, beseeching him to give his consent to the bill, "for prevention of evils which may happen by your refusal . . ., and by this means to remove—praised be God I cannot say this accursed, but I confess—this unfortunate thing out of the way towards that blessed agreement which God, I trust, shall ever establish between you and your subjects. Sir," he added, "my consent shall more acquit you herein to God than all the world could besides. To a willing man there is no injury done." (fn. 11) On the 8th the bill of attainder was read a third time in a thin house, and on the morning of the same day the king was urged, by a deputation from the peers, to give his assent to it; on the following day the privy council advised him to yield; the judges supported that advice; and four bishops who were consulted—Juxon alone dissenting—concurred. Thus pressed, the unhappy king, after long mental conflict, yielded. "If my own person only were in danger," he said, with tears in his eyes, as he announced his resolution to the council, "I would gladly venture it to save Lord Strafford's life; but seeing my wife, children, and all my kingdom are concerned, I am forced to give way to it." (fn. 12) On the morning of the following day he signed the appointment of commissioners to give assent to the bill, saying, as he adhibited his signature, "my lord Strafford's condition is more happy than mine." One more fruitless effort the unhappy king made to save his servant by an appeal to the lords to commute the sentence to perpetual imprisonment, but the houses were inexorable, and on the 11th Strafford passed with firm step and erect port to the Tower Hill, where the blow of the executioner terminated his life of disappointed toil. (fn. 13)
On 29th May the town council passed an act in which, referring (1) to an act of the committee of estates, with consent of the burghs, ordaining the burghs to have in readiness 150,000 guilders due by the estates to the factors at Campvere for ammunition and arms provided by them during previous years "for the weill of the publict and guid of the common cases now in hand,"—the proportion of which sum payable by Glasgow was stated to be £8,910 Scots; and (2) to letters directed by the committee of estates to the provost and bailies for advancing and having in readiness the town's part of the amount required to pay these factors—the town council had desired a number of the burgesses to borrow or give security, each for £500, to make up the £8,910. Accordingly one hundred and eighty-seven burgesses had, each ten or more of them, become bound, pro rata, for payment of £500 to the several persons from whom the amount had been borrowed. The merchants by an act made in the merchant's hospital before the dean of guild, and the craftsmen by an act made in the craft's hospital before the deacon convener, had become bound voluntarily that if the sum of £8,910 should not be repaid by the estates, they would be content to be stented for the amount, each for his own part according to his rank, means, and estate. And the town council engaged, by stenting the inhabitants, to relieve the persons who had granted these bonds from their obligation to pay the amounts thereby due. (fn. 14) On 26th October a receipt by the factors for the sum due to them was produced to the council; (fn. 15) and on 18th July, 1644, the estates issued a precept commanding the collector general of excise, and the commissioners and intromitters with money borrowed for the use of the public, to repay the £8,910 so advanced, with interest after Martinmas, 1642. (fn. 16)
On 12th June, 1641, James Colquhoun was ordered by the council to be paid five dollars "for drawing of the portrait of the town to be sent to Holland. (fn. 17) Perhaps the "portrait" here referred to was a sketch for Bleau's atlas which was then being compiled at Amsterdam.
As the result of prolonged and keen discussion between the Scottish commissioners and those of England, an arrangement was arrived at on 7th August, and accepted by the king, under which he engaged to recognise as valid acts of parliament the enactments of the estates in 1640; the "incendiaries"—i.e., those persons who had been the authors of the recent troubles—were to be punished by parliament; all libels against the king's "loyal and dutiful subjects of Scotland were to be suppressed;" and "the brotherly assistance" to be paid by England to the Scots for their sufferings and services was fixed at £300,000. On the conclusion of this treaty the armies both of England and Scotland were to be disbanded. (fn. 18)
After the execution of Strafford, the king had to learn that he was little more than a mere puppet in the hands of the English parliament, but he indulged the hope that he might receive more consideration in Scotland, and even secure its aid in re-establishing his authority in England. But his desire to go north was specially obnoxious to the parliament, whose opposition was intensified by the information that Montrose was in communication with him, and was urging him to preside in person over a meeting of the Scottish parliament, and to offer his northern subjects such assurances as would conciliate and satisfy them. At this time Montrose undoubtedly regarded with dislike the curtailment of the royal authority both in England and in Scotland. He did not conceal his suspicion of Argyle, whom he charged with designs for deposing the king, and, before the committee of estates, he preferred that charge, and, along with three of his friends, was in consequence committed to custody in the castle of Edinburgh on the 11th of June. Meanwhile the Scottish commissioners in England were irritated at the opposition of the parliament to the king's visiting Scotland; and they urged him to adhere to his intention, assuring him of the aid of the Scots in the re-establishment of his authority. Accordingly, on 10th August, after giving his consent to a bill confirming the treaty with the Scots, and securing to their army in England, after they had crossed the Tweed, the payment of £220,000 which would still be due to them out of the "brotherly assistance," he set out for Scotland, followed several days later by commissioners appointed by parliament, ostensibly to see to the execution of the treaty with the Scots, but really to watch the king's proceedings. Reaching Newcastle on the 13th, he was entertained by Leslie, and reviewed the troops under his command there; on the 14th he entered Edinburgh; and on the 17th he attended the parliament then sitting, (fn. 19) and offered to ratify the various acts which he had previously refused to recognise. Anxious also, in every way, to conciliate his northern subjects, he diligently attended presbyterian services; received the constant ministrations of Henderson; (fn. 20) and on the 30th was entertained by the city at a grand banquet in the parliament house. (fn. 21) Ere many days passed, however, he found that, notwithstanding their professions of loyalty, Argyle and his party, representing the strength of the nation, were determined to retain in their own hands the substantial powers of government. They succeeded in obtaining the right to select, and present for the king's approval, the officers of state, (fn. 22) and Charles realized the fact that in Scotland, as in England, his powers were greatly restricted; and that he had to submit to humiliations which he was powerless to resist or resent. (fn. 23)
On 6th September the king granted a charter under his privy seal in which, —referring to the fact that the temporality of the archbishopric of Glasgow had fallen to his disposal by the abolition in Scotland of the estate of bishops and archbishops, to the close connection which existed between him and the family of Lennox, and to the fidelity and service of James, duke of Lennox and Richmond,—he, with the consent of his officers of state, disponed to the duke and his heirs male, whom failing, to his heirs and assignees whomsoever, the lands and barony of Glasgow, with the castle, city, burgh, and regality thereof, and all lands which had in ancient times belonged to the archbishop, wherever situated, with the heritable right to nominate and annually elect the provost, bailies, and other officers of the city as freely as the archbishops had done. He also constituted the duke and his successors lords of regality of the barony of Glasgow and Bishops Forest, with all the powers which attached to that office. He also granted to the duke and his heirs male the superiority of the subjects so conveyed, and appointed the feu farmers, tenants, and possessors of the fee to hold it of the duke and his heirs in feu for the yearly payment of the fermes and duties specified in their infeftments. He, moreover, incorporated the lands, lordship, baronies, burgh, and regality, into a temporal lordship and regality, to be called "the lordship of Glasgow," and to be held by the duke and his successors for payment to the crown of two hundred merks Scots (£11 2s. 22/3d. sterling), but without prejudice to an act of parliament in favour of the burgh concerning its liberties. (fn. 24)
In the beginning of October it was rumoured that a plot was on foot to kidnap or murder Hamilton, Argyle, and Lanark (Hamilton's brother), to invade parliament, to regarrison the castle, to try by military tribunals obnoxious members of parliament and assembly, and to introduce borderers and highlanders into the city. This rumour created the wildest excitement, and the three noblemen concerned left the city on the 12th, on which day also the king personally informed the parliament of all he knew of the matter. A heated and prolonged discussion followed, in which the king, who felt that he was virtually on his trial for complicity with the plot, took an active part, and demanded a full public investigation, but he was overruled, and a committee of investigation was appointed to enquire and report on the whole matter. While this investigation was in progress, the three fugitive noblemen returned to Edinburgh, and confessed to the king that they had probably over estimated their danger. So the excitement subsided, and the matter was dropped; (fn. 25) —superseded in point of interest by the Irish rebellion of 1641. (fn. 26)
On the return to Scotland of the army from Durham and Newcastle, (fn. 27) the great bulk of it was disbanded, and it became obvious to the king that he was to receive no aid from it against the English parliament. This and the shifty policy by which he alternately endeavoured to secure support from the unbending parliamentary presbyterians and from the nobles, who equally hated parliament and presbytery, was carefully noted by Hampden, who was then in Edinburgh, and was reported by him to the leaders of the English parliament. In England, too, the growth of religious fanaticism and the dispersal of the disbanded soldiery had produced disorder which no power then existing seemed able to suppress. Puritanism and episcopacy were arrayed against each other in irreconcilable hostility, and, while awaiting the result, the king wrote from Scotland in October—"I command you to assure all my servants that I am constant to the discipline and doctrine of the church of England, established by queen Elizabeth and my father, and that I resolve, by the grace of God, to die in the maintenance of it." (fn. 28)
On 5th October William Cochrane of Cowdoune appeared in the council and produced a commission from the king, dated at Holyrood on the 2nd, in favour of Sir Robert Gordon as his commissioner in relation to the election of the provost and magistrates for the following year. The council, who had agreed on the 4th to propose William Stewart for the provostship, thereupon appointed some of their number to proceed to the castle and submit his name to the commissioner. After they had done so, he inserted Stewart's name in the blank commission, and returned it to the deputation who presented it to the council, and Stewart was thereupon elected, and took the requisite oath. A leet of six merchants and three craftsmen was then prepared from which the commissioner might select two merchants and one craftsman to be bailies for the following year, and from it he nominated John Anderson and James Bell of the merchant rank, and Manasses Lyill of the craftsmen rank, who were received by the council, and took the requisite oath. In these elections, however, the council protested before the commissioner that what was done should not prejudice their former rights, old use and possession, nor what was competent to royal burghs. On the 8th thirteen merchants and twelve craftsmen were elected councillors, and on the following day the council ordained that in future no bailie should be received in office after he had completed the year for which he was elected until he had been two years out of office. On the 13th John Barnes was elected dean of guild; William Neilson, deacon convener; John Clark, treasurer; John Gilhagie, visitor; Archibald Faulds, water bailie; and William Hindshaw, master of work. (fn. 29)
The parochial arrangements of the city at this time engaged the attention of the town council. On 14th August, 1641, a commission was issued to Patrick Bell as to the division of the parish of Glasgow, empowering him to supplicate the king (1) to dissolve the parsonage from the bishopric; (2) to provide for the maintenance of the ministers out of the bishopric as formerly, and for the maintenance of a minister in place of the bishop; and (3) to grant a competent allowance out of the revenues of the bishopric for upholding the great kirk and the support of the poor of the bishop's hospital and grammar school. (fn. 30) On 9th October the town clerk was directed to prepare a letter to Bell, then in Edinburgh as the town's commissioner, instructing him to deal with the king "for the customers to the weill of the toune as other tounes dois." (fn. 31) On the 13th Walter Stirling was appointed to take the commission to Bell, in order that he might "deale for the tounes liberteis for electioune of thair magistrates and obtaining ministers stipends;" (fn. 32) and on the 26th Bell was authorised by letter to do the best he could as to "accommodating the business" in regard to the election of the magistrates—the town council engaging to approve of whatever he should do, with the advice of Stirling and any of the other commissioners of the town who might be in Edinburgh at the time. (fn. 33) The result of these negotiations appears to have been the obtaining from the king on 7th November of a Signature of Mortification in favour of the provost, bailies, councillors, and community of Glasgow, by which he assigned to them for the support of a minister to serve the cure in place of the archbishop, for the repair of the high church, and for assisting schools and hospitals, the teinds, parsonage and vicarage, of the spirituality of the archbishopric, and specially the great and small teinds of the parsonage and vicarage which had some time previously been united to the archbishopric, with the teinds, parsonage and vicarage, of the kirks of Drymen, Driffisdale, Cambusnethan, and Traquair. (fn. 34)
On 11th November the king also granted a charter, at Holyrood, under his great seal, by which, after narrating that the nobles and others appointed to inquire into the state of the university of Glasgow, had reported that the least sum required annually by that institution was £226 9s. 3d. beyond its then rental, he mortified to the university and its members the lands of the bishopric of Candida Casa (Whithorn or Galloway), with the abbacy of Tungland, the priory of Whithorn, the abbacy of Glenluce and others annexed to that bishopric; with the teinds and other duties of the churches and parishes of these benefices (except the deanery of the chapel royal of Stirling); but subject to the burden of the stipends of their ministers. (fn. 35)
Five days later, viz., on 16th November, an act was passed, by which, after setting forth the facts that in past times the approval of the archbishop to the election of the magistrates of the city was necessary, and that after the abolition of episcopacy, Ludovic, duke of Lennox and Richmond, had been infeft in the archbishopric, with all its privileges, including the nomination of the magistrates of the city, it declared that the burgh of Glasgow, being one of the best peopled and prime burghs within the kingdom, should have free liberty to elect such persons as were most fit both to serve the prince and govern the burgh as other burghs of the kingdom had. The king, therefore, with the advice of the estates, and the consent of James, duke of Lennox and Richmond, who had then the same right to the archbishopric and its privileges as had been granted to duke Ludovic, his uncle, ordained that the burgh should, in future, have as free liberty in the annual election of its magistrates, at the accustomed times, as any other burgh in Scotland, subject to this special condition, that the provost, bailies, and councillors should present yearly to duke James and his successors, or their commissioner, if then in the burgh, at the castle, a leet of three persons, of whom the duke, or his commissioner, should nominate one to be provost for the following year, and the person so nominated should be received and admitted and duly commissioned by the council to that effect. If, however, the duke or his successors or their commissioner were absent at the time of the annual election, then the council might elect the provost for the following year. (fn. 36)
On the same day two acts of parliament were passed, the first ratifying the act 1567, c. 13, and ordaining that where any prebends, altarages, and other foundations of that nature existed within royal burghs, the magistrates and councillors, who had been formerly patrons of these foundations, should in all time coming be the superiors thereof, by whom the vassals and tenants should be entered; (fn. 37) and the second ordaining all superiorities of land and other properties previously held of bishops and their chapters to belong to and be held of the crown, subject to the infeftments and rights of the vassals. It was, however, declared that the act should not prejudice the rights, inter alios, of the duke of Lennox in the superiority of the lands and baronies which belonged to the temporality of the archbishopric of Glasgow, but that the vassals should hold their lands of the duke and his successors in time coming. It also declared that neither it nor the reservation should extend to the deanery or sub-deanery, nor to anything held of the dean or sub-dean. (fn. 38)
On the following day two acts were passed in favour of the burgh—(1) one confirming the several charters, privileges, and rights therein specified, and particularly the charter dated 16th October, 1636, (fn. 39) with the precept and instrument of sasine following upon it; (fn. 40) and (2) another ordaining a confirmation to be expede in favour of the provost, bailies, and council, ratifying the signature dated 7th November, 1641, (fn. 41) with the charter and infeftment to follow thereon. (fn. 42)
On 17th November the session of parliament which began on 15th July, 1641, was terminated, and the next parliament was appointed to meet in June, 1644. On the 18th of November the king returned to London. (fn. 43) But before leaving Scotland he conferred honours on men who had been his uncompromising opponents. The earl of Argyle was made a marquis; lords Loudon and Lindsay and general Leslie were created earls; lord Livingstone of Almond, who in 1640 had been Leslie's lieutenant-general, was also made earl of Calendar; Loudon was made chancellor; Argyle, Glencairn, and Lindsay were made jont treasurers; vacancies were created in the privy council and on the bench by the degradation of royalists; and among the changes in the court of session, Johnston of Warriston was made a judge, with a knighthood and a pension of £200. (fn. 44)
While in Scotland, the king received intelligence of the outbreak of the rebellion in Ireland, (fn. 45) and reported it to the estates, who appointed a committee of nine "to advise the best course for the present to be taken in this business." (fn. 46) The result was that it was resolved to send a strong force to that country; and, on 8th December, the marquis of Argyle appeared before the town council, and exhibited an order of the privy council upon them to provide boats and barks for the transportation of a force of 5,000 men. Arrangements were accordingly made to comply with that order, (fn. 47) and about 4,000 men, under the command of Leslie, then earl of Leven, with General Munro as his lieutenant, were landed at Carrickfergus. Taking possession of several towns and places, they held these as a security for their pay, and refused to recognise any orders save such as came from the privy council of Scotland. (fn. 48) Leslie had ere long to return to other duties in Scotland, and the chief command, not only of the Scottish troops, but also of the English soldiers who were associated with them, numbering in all 10,000 men, devolved upon Munro. (fn. 49) On 27th February, 1645, the committee of estates fixed the proportion of the Scottish soldiers of this force, who were to be maintained by the town, at 110, and their monthly pay at £990 Scots (£82 10s. sterling.). (fn. 50)
The relations between the town and the duke of Lennox, and his agents, at this time seem to have been most friendly, and the town council were careful to secure or to acknowledge the good services of those who could promote the interests of the city. Thus, on 1st December, 1641, some Holland cloth, Scotch linen, and plaids were ordered to be sent as a propine (gift) to Master Webb, the duke's servant, as a testimony of the town's thankfulness to him for his pains taken for the town's business." (fn. 51) Thirteen days later, a letter was ordered to be sent to the duke, thanking him "for byganes" and "entreating his favour in time coming;" and another letter to Webb, with a propine of sixty ells of linen cloth, two gallons of aquavitæ, four half-barrels of herring, and two pair of plaids. (fn. 52) On the 27th, the master of work was directed to send to the town's advocates and agents their fees and herring, and to Mr. Robert Bruce, the duke's agent, two halfbarrels of herring. (fn. 53)