Extracts From the Records of the Burgh of Glasgow Vol. 3, 1663-1690. Originally published by Scottish Burgh Records Society, Edinburgh, 1905.
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THE two previous volumes of Extracts from the Burgh Records of Glasgow, published in 1876 and 1881, contain selections from these records, so far as known to exist, (fn. 1) from January 1573–4 till 20th December, 1662. This volume brings down the series from 17th January, 1663, till the Revolution Settlement in 1690.
In 1894 a volume of Charters and other Documents relating to the City was issued, containing the charters from that of William the Lion to the Bishop of Glasgow in 1175–8 to that of Charles I. in favour of the Magistrates and Council of the City in 1648—the Latin charters being accompanied by translations. A preface to that volume was issued in 1897, and in it—drawing upon the two volumes of extracts above referred to—an attempt was made to sketch what may be regarded as the constitutional history of the burgh from its foundation till the end of the reign of Charles I. on 30th January, 1649.
In view of the importance to the city, both in an historical and business aspect, of having the charters brought down till the latest date, arrangements may, it is to be hoped, be made by the Corporation for having this work completed, even should no further progress be made with the publication of extracts from the records. The position which the city now claims to occupy among the municipalities of the kingdom, may well lead the corporation to deal with the matter, in view, especially, of what is being done by other public bodies.
Apart from much that is of interest otherwise as to the general history of Glasgow during the period between the restoration of Charles II. and the Revolution Settlement in 1690, the present volume deals with the final relief of the city from subordination to the archbishop of Glasgow, or to the lay successors of the archbishop, in the election of its own magistrates.
The development of the city—from its original subordination to these superiors till it acquired its present position of independence as a royal burgh—has passed through four successive stages—first, as a burgh of barony, in the enjoyment of many of the rights and privileges of a royal burgh; second, as a burgh of regality, with regality rights; third, as a royal burgh holding of the crown, but subject to the right of the archbishops to select the magistrates; and fourth, as a royal burgh emancipated from that subjection, and entitled to elect its own magistrates. To these successive stages reference has to be made, and specially to the stages third and fourth above mentioned. (fn. 2)
The charter by William the Lion to Joceline, Bishop of Glasgow, circa 1175–8, authorised the bishop and his successors to have a burgh at Glasgow and a market there on Thursdays, "with all the freedoms and customs which any of my burghs in my whole land best, most fully, quietly, and honourably has." The charter of James II. to Bishop William, of 20th April. 1450, again, confirmed to the bishop and his successors the city of Glasgow, barony of Glasgow, and lands called Bishopforest, (fn. 3) "in free, pure, and unmixed regality." But whatever privileges the citizens may have had under these charters, the right to elect their magistrates belonged to the bishop, and one illustration of the way in which it was exercised is recorded in the year 1553. On the Tuesday next after the feast of St. Michael the Archangel, when the new bailies used to be elected, the provost and the whole council presented to Archbishop Beaton, in the inner flower garden of the palace, where he was conversing with some of the canons of the chapter, a schedule containing the names of some of the most worthy and substantial men of the city, and, from it, he selected the bailies for the following year. Before the municipal election of 1561 came round, however, the Reformation had occurred, and the archbishop had gone to France. Nevertheless, the town council did their accustomed part. They proceeded to the Bishop's Palace to obtain the prelate's choice, but, finding that he had disappeared they proceeded to elect the magistrates themselves. Owing to the loss of council records, further particulars regarding elections are not available till 1574; but it is probable that during the absence of the archbishop, and before the appointment of his successor, the procedure was similar to that of 1561.
In 1560 the Scottish Estates approved of the Confession of Faith, revoked all acts authorising any form of belief or worship other than was set forth in that document, and abjured the authority of the Pope. (fn. 4) But the old spiritual estate still subsisted, and its dignitaries remained one of the estates of the realm. The only secular difference effected by the Reformation of 1560 was the substitution of protestants, and these frequently laymen, for the old church dignitaries. For a short period the temporalities of the archbishopric appear to have been held by John Porterfield, minister of Kilmarnock, the licence for whose election was issued on 8th February, 1571–2. Matters, however, were altered by the concordat of Leith in 1572, which provided for the maintenance of the titles of archbishops and bishops, and the existing boundaries of dioceses. Under this new form of episcopacy, archbishops were appointed to the sees of St. Andrews and Glasgow, and bishops to the other sees. This concordat was approved by the General Assembly at Perth in 1572, and James Boyd, of Trochrig, minister of Kirkoswald, was promoted to the archbishopric. The licence for his election was dated 30th September, 1573, and when the earliest extant records of the city commence he was archbishop, and his kinsman, Robert Lord Boyd, of Kilmarnock, was provost of the city. These relations between the archbishop and his kinsman continued till the General Assembly, held in Edinburgh, on 24th October, 1578, when the archbishop was accused by the presbyterian party of neglecting his duties, and was required to make submission. This he did on 7th July, 1579. (fn. 5) He was succeeded as archbishop by Robert Montgomery, from Stirling, who was deposed on 24th April, 1582, by the General Assembly, which had previously decided against the continuance of bishops. The privy council, however, supported him, and a conflict between the civil and ecclesiastical authorities took place. The parliament, which met in Edinburgh in May, 1584, annulled the proceedings of the ecclesiastical courts against Montgomery, and ordained that he might enjoy all honours, dignities, and benefices, as if these ecclesiastical proceedings had never been taken. (fn. 6) Against this action by parliament the kirk protested, as an invasion of its rights, but Montgomery resumed his functions, nominating the provost and bailies at the election in October of that and the subsequent year. In 1585 he seems to have entered into arrangements with the King and William Erskine, parson of Campsie, the latter of whom was vested in the archbishopric by a charter under the great seal, dated 21st December, 1585. (fn. 7) On 29th July, 1587, the parliament then held at Edinburgh annexed to the crown, to remain therewith in all time coming, all lands, lordships, and other rights and properties which at that time belonged to any archbishop, bishop, or other ecclesiastic or beneficed person, save such as were specially excepted, including the castles, mansions, and gardens of archbishops and other prelates. This act was ordered to receive effect as at Martinmas, 1587, and by a charter, dated 3rd November of that year, the king conveyed to Walter Stewart, commendator of Blantyre, the lands and barony of Glasgow, the city and burgh of regality of Glasgow, and other lands therein specified, with all patronages which had belonged to the archbishop, and the offices of bailiary and justiciary of the whole regality; and under this charter the commendator exercised the right to nominate the provost and bailies. (fn. 8) Previous to 2nd January, 1595–6, the commendator denuded himself, in favour of the king, of certain lands which belonged to the archbishopric, and apparently also of the right to nominate the provost and bailies, as that power of nomination was in some unexplained way transferred to the Duke of Lennox. On 5th October, 1596, the town council applied to the duke as "having power by the king's grace to the nomination of bailies," and he selected the provost and bailies for the year. On 16th December, 1597, an act of parliament conveyed to the duke the superiority of the archbishopric for his lifetime. On 17th November, 1600, he got a formal grant of the right to elect the magistrates, and to exercise jurisdiction over the temporalities of the archbishopric, and on 7th April, 1603, he obtained a charter of the lordship of Glasgow. On 29th June, 1598, the Convention of Estates had passed an act whereby, in consideration of the great services rendered to Queen Mary and to King James by Archbishop Beaton, the king and the estates restored him to all the heritages, honours, dignities, benefices, and offices which had previously belonged to him, and declared that he should enjoy his whole heritages and benefices, though he had never made confession of his faith or acknowledged the religion then professed in Scotland. (fn. 9) From this restitution, however, the right of choosing the provost and bailies of the burgh of Glasgow was excepted. On 2nd October, 1599, the Duke of Lennox selected the provost and bailies, and in each of the two following years similar appointments were made by him. (fn. 10)
Archbishop Beaton died at Paris on 25th April, 1603, and on 20th July, 1603, the king appointed John Spottiswood, parson of Calder, to the See, but he was not consecrated till 21st October, 1610. After his appointment to the archbishopric, Spottiswood became the king's chief adviser as to the measures by which the hierarchy was re-established in Scotland, and it was at his earnest request that the king, on 8th April, 1611, granted a charter under the great seal, by which he not only confirmed to the burgh and city all the rights, privileges, and immunities which it had enjoyed, but erected it into a free royal burgh, with all the rights and privileges thereto belonging, to be held in feu farm heritage and free burgage for ever, for the service of burgh used and wont, and the annual payment to the archbishop and his successors of sixteen merks Scots (11s. 1⅓d. sterling). The grant was so restricted as to place the city in a position much less favourable than that of Edinburgh, Dundee, and the other royal burghs of the period. These had long enjoyed the right to elect their own magistrates, and to exercise jurisdiction, relieved from all control save the supervision of the Lord High Chamberlain. But, under the charter of 1611, this privilege was withheld, and it was declared that it should in no degree prejudice the freedoms and privileges granted by the crown to the archbishop, his power of electing the magistrates as then in use, and the privilege of regality, nor the emoluments, duties, maills, customs, or other commodities belonging to him and his successors. (fn. 11) An attempt had been made in 1606 to procure for the citizens the right to choose their magistrates, and the draft of an act to effect that object was prepared, but, in consequence of opposition by interested parties, the proposal did not receive legislative sanction. (fn. 12)
On the death of Archbishop Gledstanes of St. Andrews, Archbishop Spottiswoode was transferred to that see, and was installed on 6th August, 1615. Spottiswoode was succeeded in the archbishopric of Glasgow by James Law, bishop of Orkney, who was appointed by the king on 20th July and installed in September of that year. He held that office till his death in November, 1632.
On 7th August, 1621, Archbishop Law, "as lord of the barony of Glasgow," granted a charter to Ludovick Duke Lennox, therein designed Earl Darnley and Richmond, Lord Methven, Tarbolton and St. Andrews, Great Admiral and Chamberlain of Scotland, and his heirs male and successors, heritably, of the office of bailiary, regality, and justiciary within the lordship and barony of Glasgow, as well within as without the burgh of Glasgow, with special power to appoint deputes, hold courts in civil and criminal cases, and to repledge from other jurisdictions. This grant proceeded on the narrative that the duke and his predecessors had enjoyed those offices beyond all memory, and that by their assistance the tenants and inhabitants had been kept in steadfast service and obedience to the archbishop. The offices thus described were appointed to be held blench under the archbishop, for the yearly payment of a penny at the castle of Glasgow, and the duke and his successors were taken bound to have one of their deputes continually resident in the burgh, and ready on every occasion to apprehend, incarcerate, and punish transgressors according to the measure of their fault. (fn. 13)
Duke Ludovic died on 16th February, 1624, and was succeeded by his brother Esme, son of Esme, the first duke. Esme, the third duke, died on 30th July, 1624, and was succeeded by his eldest son James, then a minor.
Archbishop Law was succeeded by Patrick Lindsay, who was translated by Charles I. from the see of Ross, conform to Charter, dated 16th April, 1633. (fn. 14)
In May, 1633, King Charles visited Scotland, accompanied by the Duke of Lennox, the Marquis of Hamilton, the Earl of Morton, Dr. Laud, bishop of London; and Dr. White, bishop of Ely, and on 20th June he opened the Scottish Parliament at Edinburgh. By this parliament an act was passed in favour of Glasgow, confirming its several charters, without prejudice, however, to the rights of the Duke of Lennox and his successors, in their offices of bailiary and justiciary of the barony and regality, and to those also of the archbishop and his successors, as regarded the right to elect and nominate the magistrates of the burgh, and their right to lands and privileges. (fn. 15)
On 16th October, 1636, the king granted to the city another charter by which he confirmed all its previous grants and rights, and of new created it a royal burgh, to be held in free burgage for the yearly payment to the crown of twenty merks, and to the archbishop of sixteen merks. The charter, however, reserved to the Duke of Lennox and his successors the whole liberties and privileges within the burgh and regality of Glasgow, which he or his predecessors had used or possessed in any time past, including those to which they and their bailies and deputes were accustomed in relation to the fair of Glasgow. (fn. 16) The archbishop and chapter and the authorities of the college seem to have been apprehensive that the extensive grants conferred by this charter were prejudicial to their rights, and to remove these objections the town council granted a bond, dated 6th December, 1636, by which it was declared that the charter should in no respect prejudice either the see or the college and that the rights conferred by it should not, so far as these parties were concerned, extend beyond those granted to the burgh by James II. on 8th April, 1611, and 21st December, 1613. (fn. 17)
Archbishop Lindsay and others of the Scottish bishops were deposed and excommunicated by the General Assembly on 13th December, 1638. The archbishop left Scotland in consequence, and proceeded to England, where he died a few years afterwards.
On 17th August, 1639, the General Assembly of the Kirk passed an act ordaining episcopal government and civil places and power of kirkmen to be held as unlawful in the kirk. (fn. 18) This act was ratified and confirmed by the parliament held at Edinburgh on 6th June, 1640; and all acts in prejudice thereof were rescinded and annulled. (fn. 19)
On 6th September, 1641, King Charles granted a charter under his privy seal, in which, after narrating 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, and referring 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 the 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, with all the powers that attached to that office. He further granted to the duke and his heirs male the superiority of the subjects so conveyed, and appointed the farmers, tenants, and possessors thereof to hold 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," to be held by the duke and his successors for the yearly 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. 20)
That act, passed on 16th November, 1641, proceeded on the narrative that, in the election of magistrates, the burgh had heretofore required the assent and approbation of the archbishop, and, during such time as episcopacy was not allowed, that of the then late Ludovick, Duke of Lennox and Richmond, who was heritably infeft in the archbishopric, with the privileges belonging thereto, and specially the nomination of the magistrates of the town of Glasgow. The burgh being then, however, "one of the best peopled and pryme burghes within the kingdome, it is most agreeable to reasone that they should have free liberty to elect and choyse such persones as should be most fit both to serve the Prince and governe the burghe itselfe, as other burghs of this kingdome." The king, therefore, with the advice of the estates, and the consent of James Duke of Lennox and Richmond, ordained that the burgh should, in all time coming, have as free liberty in the election and choosing of their magistrates, yearly, at the accustomed times, as any other burgh in Scotland, "with this speciall provisione and conditione"—a provision and condition absolutely inconsistent with the narrative and the intention therein expressed—"that the proveist, baillies, and counsell of the burghe and their successoures shall present yeirlie, in all tyme coming, ane leit of three persones to be proveist of the said burgh," to the duke and his successoures, "of the whilke nomber the said" duke and his successors "shall nominat one to be proveist for the yeir followeing, whom they shall be obleist to receive and admit to be their proveist the same year; provyding the said duke and his foiresaidis, be themselves or ther commissioner, be present yeerlie within the said burghe at the castle which belongs to the duke and his successoures the tyme of the electione of ther magistrates; and in case of ther absence, in that caise it shall be lauchfull to them to goe on in the election of their proveist for that yeir of ther absence allenerly." (fn. 21)
To give effect to the arrangement set forth in the charter of 1641 and the act of parliament of 1641, c. 103, the town council, by its minute of 4th October, 1642, set forth the procedure to be followed in the future election of the provosts, and having selected a leet of three for the provostship, sent it up to the castle in order that the duke or his commissioner might nominate the provost. There the council's deputation were received by a number of the duke's "freinds and servands," who produced a commission by the duke in favour of four persons, with power to them, conjunctly and severally, to choose the magistrates. The deputation, however, declined to recognise this commission, as being disconform to the act of parliament which bore "onlie ane commissionar, and power to nominat ane to be provest out of an lyt of thrie persones." Upon this "informalitie and disconformitie" the deputation took instruments, and having reported their proceedings to the council, William Stewart was elected provost, and two merchants and one craftsman were elected bailies. On the 7th, the town councillors were elected. A similar course was adopted in the elections for 1643 and 1644, and thereafter, till 1647, the condition of the city was such that the committee of the estates practically took the appointment of the provosts, bailies, and council into their own hands. Matters had, however, so far reverted to the old condition that, on 5th October, 1647, the commissioner for the Duke of Lennox nominated the provost, who was duly elected for the following year; but at the date of the annual election in 1648 neither the duke nor his commissioner was in Glasgow.
On 30th January, 1649, King Charles I. was executed, and his son, Charles II., landed in Scotland on 23rd June, 1650, to endure bitter humiliations as a condition of succession to the crown of Scotland. These accepted, however, he was crowned at Scone; on 1st January, 1651; was defeated by Cromwell on 3rd September; escaped to Normandy on 15th October; lived an exile, without character or means, for three years in France, nearly two at Cologne, and three in the Low Countries; and then, on the termination of the Protectorate, was recalled to England, to live a venal profligate life as its sovereign.
Reverting to the conditions under which the provost and bailies of Glasgow were appointed,—on 2nd October, 1649, the duke and his commissioner were absent, and the provost was elected by the magistrates and council. Under similar circumstances the provost was elected on 1st October, 1650, and on 30th September, 1651. But on 23rd March, 1652, the commissioners of the Parliament of the Commonwealth of England appointed the neighbours and inhabitants of Glasgow, "according to thair former rites and customs," to choose their magistrates, and they elected a provost and bailies to hold office till the ordinary time of election at Michaelmas following. On 5th October, 1652. the commissioner of the Duke of Lennox elected one of a leet of three to be provost, and he with three bailies were elected. No reference to an election in 1653 and 1654 appears.
On 30th March, 1655, Duke James died, and was succeeded by his son, Esme.
On 2nd October thereafter a leet for the election of the provost was sent to the duke at the castle, whereupon Sir George Maxwell, of Nether Pollok, produced a "commissioune subscrivit be some of the said Duke of Lennox freinds." This, however, was held by the council to be "cleir contrair and disconforme to" the act of parliament of 1641, and was disregarded by the magistrates and council, who elected John Anderson to be provost for the year to come. On 30th September, 1656, a leet of three persons having been submitted to "Sir George Maxwell of Nether Pollok, knight, cled with ane commissioune granted to him be the Dutches of Lennox, quha is tutrix to the young duik, her sone," he nominated John Andersone to be reappointed provost for the year to come, and he was accordingly re-elected. On 29th September, 1657, the provost submitted to the town council a letter from the Lord Protector, desiring the election of the magistrates of the burgh to be deferred till he was more fully informed in regard to the matter. The election was, on 6th October, accordingly deferred, subject to a protest that the delay should not in future be prejudicial to the magistrates and council anent their ordinary election of magistrates as formerly, "conforme to the friedome and libertie grantit to this burghe thairanent and thair use and consuetude thairuntill of befoir." The letter of the Protector, it appears, caused considerable alarm, not only in Glasgow, but in the burghs generally, as leading possibly to an invasion of their constitutional privileges. In December, accordingly, the three former magistrates were commissioned to maintain and defend the liberties and privileges of the burgh in regard to the election of its magistrates and council. These commissioners appeared before a committee appointed by the council of state to investigate and report, and, after negotiation, they, on 4th January, 1658, reported that, in the interest of peace, they had consented that at the next election at Michaelmas nine persons of the existing council should be removed, and a similar number "of that pairtie quha ar awned be Mr. Patrick Gillespie, and sould be named be Lord Desbrowie," should be put in their places. This proposal was communicated by Lord Desbrough to Gillespie, and the town council also appointed it to be submitted to him, but he refused to receive their offer. The matter, therefore, appears to have been relegated to Edinburgh, and in obedience to an order of the council of state the town records for the years 1645 and 1648 were sent there, and certain persons were appointed to appear on the 23rd and 24th of February, 1658. The result of this hearing before the council of state was that, on 27th February, an order by them, dated 24th February, was received, appointing a new election of magistrates, to take place on the following Tuesday—the councillors to be chosen on the next Friday, and the dean of guild, deacon convener, and other members on the Wednesday thereafter, "conforme to old use and wont." On 2nd March, accordingly, a leet of three for the provostship was sent up to the castle, when Sir George Maxwell produced a commission by the duke of an old date, but the representatives of the burgh declined to recognise it, "it beiring to mak ane nominatioune as aforesaid at the ordinarie electioune of the said provest, and that this election was for ane tyme extraordinar." Returning to the council, and reporting what had been done, John Anderson was elected provost, three persons were elected bailies, and thirteen merchants and twelve craftsmen were elected councillors, all till Michaelmas following. On 5th October, 1658. Lord Cochrane, as commissioner for the Duke of Lennox, nominated John Bell, who was elected provost. On 4th October, 1659, John Bell was re-elected provost on the nomination of the commissioner for the tutrix of the Duke.
On 18th June, 1660, proclamation was ordered to be made of the "happie returne" of King Charles II., and his restoration to his throne and dignity.
Esme Duke of Lennox died on 14th August, 1660, unmarried, and was succeeded by his cousin Charles, sixth Duke.
On 2nd October, in the same year, a letter from the Earl of Glencairn, then high chancellor of Scotland, was produced to the town council desiring that the magistrates who had been most unjustly thrust from their places in 1648 might be made use of as magistrates for the following year. Obedience was agreed to be given to the desire, and Colin Campbell, elder, was re-elected provost—neither the duke nor his commissioner being found at the castle to exercise their right.
On 14th November, 1661, Andrew Fairfoul was nominated to the archbishopric by the king, and was consecrated at London on 15th December of the same year.
On 23rd September, 1661, the town council, apprehending that by the restoration of bishops the manner of electing the magistrates was likely to be inverted, otherwise than was set down in the act of parliament, 1641, c. 103, appointed a committee to consider as to petitioning the king to vest these elections in the hands of the council, as was done in regard to other free royal burghs. Under this remit Sir John Nisbet, advocate, prepared the requisite supplication to the king; but, if it was presented, it did not meet with success. On 1st October, 1661, the duke and his commissioner being absent from the castle, the council re-elected Colin Campbell to be provost.
On 30th September, 1662, the council having assembled to elect the magistrates for the following year, William Forbes, servitor to the archbishop, produced a nomination by the archbishop of John Bell of Hammilton Ferm, merchant, to be provost. The council, on a vote, accepted the nomination and elected Bell, but before he took the oath he protested that the archbishop's nomination "should not be prejudiciall to the toune heirafter anent their former right" to elect their magistrates. On 6th October, 1663, the archbishop and the provost appear to have been attending the parliament then sitting, but the bailies and council convened for the usual elections, when a letter from the archbishop, stating the cause of his absence, desired that the magistrates then in office should be continued for the following year. This request was agreed to, and the provost and bailies were continued in office, under protestation that this "should be nowayes hurtfull or prejudiciall to the townes liberties heirafter." The provost thus elected appeared and took the requisite oath, but at the next meeting the council renewed an act to restrain "the great abuses" which might take place in the election of the town council "through the unboundarie limit of the provost" in their election.
On 18th January, 1664, Alexander Burnet was promoted from Aberdeen to the archbishopric of Glasgow, and was installed at St. Andrews on the 11th of April of that year.
On 4th October thereafter, at the meeting of the town council for the election of the provost and magistrates, a presentation by the archbishop in favour of William Anderson, merchant, to be provost, was submitted. But Anderson was not a member of the council at the time, and three members were sent to the archbishop to represent that the custom had ever been to present for the provostship one of the merchant rank who was a member of the council, and to request him to issue a new presentation. The archbishop, however, declined to alter his presentation. Anderson was thereupon sent for to the council, was elected, and took the requisite oath. Leets for the bailies were then made up and sent to the archbishop, and he having chosen three, the persons so selected were appointed bailies. On 3rd October, 1665, 2nd October, 1666, 1st October, 1667, 6th October, 1668, and 5th October, 1669, a similar course was followed. William Anderson was re-elected in 1665 and 1666; John Anderson, of Dowhill, elder, was elected in 1667; William Anderson was re-elected in 1668; and James Campbell in 1669.
Whenever a befitting opportunity occurred the town council appear to have sought to have the elections of the provost and magistrates placed in their own hands, and such an opportunity presented itself when, on 24th December, 1669, Archbishop Burnet resigned the see and retired into private life. His resignation is said to have been caused by a desire to obviate proceedings against him by Lauderdale, then secretary of state, for revealing proceedings in the privy council, "so as to reach the ear of the sovereign through another channel, in behalf of the presbyterians, who had engaged in the rebellion and skirmish at Pentland."
Negotiations were then opened with Bishop Leighton, of Dunblane, to accept the see of Glasgow, but he was averse to the proposal, and his reluctance was only overcome by his being induced to believe that the articles which he submitted to the government, with a view to constitutional rule and toleration for the covenanters, would be carried into effect. While he remained Bishop of Dunblane, he acted for a time as commendator or administrator of Glasgow.
On 16th April, 1670, the provost reported to the town council that he had been thwarted by some persons in his endeavour to get the elections of the provost and bailies placed in the town's own hands. But on 10th May the dean of guild was commissioned to go to London and petition the king to grant this privilege, and also to obtain the right of the bailiary and barony of Glasgow. The provost, moreover, was appointed to go to Edinburgh "to advyse quhat is neidfull to be done therintill." As the result apparently of the negotiations in London, the dean, on 18th June, reported "that the duke of Lennox will be lyklie to quyt any priviledge he hes over the toune as bailie of the regalitie," and on this report he was authorised to "deall to gett that done if nocht the whoill."
Charles Duke of Lennox was present in the parliament which met in Edinburgh on 22nd July, 1670, and visited Glasgow in that year. As Bishop Leighton had not been invested with the bishopric in time for the election of the magistrates in 1670, the king, by letter dated 24th August of that year, required the town council to receive William Anderson to be provost for the ensuing year, and remitted to them to elect the other magistrates. Obedience was given to this letter. On 3rd October, 1671, a letter from Lord Lauderdale was submitted to the council, requiring them to reappoint William Anderson to be provost for the ensuing year, and this was done. On 1st October, 1672, a letter from Archbishop Leighton of that date was presented to the council, desiring to know, "as being himselfe impartiall," whom they would have to be their provost, and intimating that "the persone whom they should recommend (unless his grace upon very weightie reasons to the contrair) sall lykly be nominat be the archbishop." On receipt of this communication the council nominated William Anderson, and the archbishop having accepted that nomination, he was forthwith elected.
In October, 1672, Charles Duke of Lennox died at Elsinore, while acting as ambassador at the court of Denmark. As he had no issue, the dukedom, with the bailiary of the regality of Glasgow reverted to King Charles II., who on 6th July, 1680, was served nearest collateral heir in special of the duke his cousin, but the liferent of the Lennox estates was settled on the duchess, who survived till 1702. The bailiary was bestowed by the king on William Duke of Hamilton for his lifetime, and he was invested in the office in 1673, according to M'Ure, the local historian, who was present at the ceremony, and states that the office was held by him till his death in 1694.
On 2nd May, 1673, the merchants of the burgh having learned that Archbishop Leighton was in London, intending to demit his office, and fearing that, if his demission were received, great prejudice to the burgh and country would result, entreated the magistrates and council to apply to such persons at court as they might think proper on the subject. On 30th September, 1673, a leet of three persons for the provostship having been presented to the archbishop at the castle, he selected William Anderson, who was appointed provost for the following year.
About this time Archbishop Leighton resigned the see and subsequently retired to England. When on a visit to London, and resident in an inn, he died on 25th June, 1684. On his demission Alexander Burnet was restored to the see by the king on 7th September, 1674, and received his patent on 12th March thereafter. Thus restored, Burnet, who during his retirement had made himself more agreeable to the authorities, became the pliant tool of Lauderdale.
On 6th October, 1674, Archbishop Burnet nominated John Bell, formerly provost, for election as provost, and he was thereupon elected. Bell seems to have carried matters with a high hand from the time of his taking office, and to have assumed a position of hostility to William Anderson, his immediate predecessor. Anderson, and others who protested against the provost's action, accordingly withdrew from the council. On 26th October, the council disavowed the action of Provost Anderson as their commissioner at a previous convention of burghs, and authorised letters of disavowal to be issued, and assurances to be given of the readiness of the council to serve the king in all his commands. On 5th October, 1675. the archbishop having nominated John Bell to be continued provost, the council admitted him accordingly. On similar nominations, James Campbell was elected provost on 3rd October, 1676, and 2nd October, 1677. On 1st October, 1678, John Bell, former provost, was nominated by the archbishop to be reappointed provost, and was thereupon elected.
On 30th September, 1679, a letter from the king, dated 12th September, was produced to the council, in which, "seeing by the translatione of Alexander, lait lord archbishop of Glasgow to St. Andrews (in whom was the legell right of election) that archbishoprick is void" he required the then provost and magistrates to be continued in office for the following year. To this order the council gave immediate effect. The installation of archbishop Burnet to the see of St. Andrews, mentioned in the king's letter, does not appear to have taken effect till the 28th of October.
On 23rd October, Arthur Ross, bishop of Galloway, was appointed archbishop of Glasgow, and was installed at St. Andrews on the same day as that on which archbishop Burnet was installed as archbishop of St. Andrews.
About this time the Duke of Hamilton was sheriff of Lanarkshire and bailie of the regality of Glasgow, but on 20th August, 1680, King Charles granted the bailiary to his natural son, Charles Duke of Lennox and Richmond, to be held by him as vassal of the archbishop, under reservation of the liferent of William Duke of Hamilton. This grant was ratified by Parliament in the following year. (fn. 22)
On 5th October, 1680, and 11th October, 1681, John Bell was re-elected provost on the nomination of the archbishop. (fn. 23) On the 14th of the last mentioned month the magistrates of that and each of the two preceding years, elected thirteen merchants and twelve craftsmen to be on the council. The provost thereupon petitioned the privy council to approve of the election, but on 8th November the king's commissioner and the privy council, found it to be irregular, and ordered a new election to be made on the 18th instant, under certification that if this were not done the archbishop would be recommended to appoint new magistrates, and they would themselves nominate a council for the burgh. A new and formal election of the council for the following year was thereupon made, and on the 18th the provost, bailies, and council took the oath and test, and signed the same in presence of Lord Ross.
On 25th April, 1682, a letter from the Marquis of Montrose to the magistrates and council was produced. In it he intimated that the king had appointed him bailie of the regality, and that, out of respect for the city and kindness to Bailie Nisbet, then dean of guild, he had appointed him depute bailie of the regality. The marquis further declared his intention to continue the office o the dean's successors in office, if there were no "indispensible caws to the contrary." In reply to this communication a letter of thanks was forthwith sent to the marquis. On 1st July of the same year a minute of the town council sets forth that "in respect it does not consist with the knowledge of the magistrates and council who is bailie of the regality," it was agreed that the fair of Glasgow for that year should be proclaimed in name of the king, the archbishop, and magistrates, without naming any bailie of the regality. What the grounds were of the dubiety thus expressed as to who was bailie of the regality does not appear. Possibly the town council were not able to reconcile the facts. William Duke of Hamilton, who survived till 1694, held a liferent appointment, and one of the king's natural sons, Charles Duke of Lennox and Richmond, held a grant of the office subject to the liferent. How, under these circumstances, therefore, the king could have appointed the Marquis of Montrose to hold the office needed explanation. It is curious to notice that, notwithstanding the doubt thus expressed, a deputation of the council was appointed on 26th August to thank the marquis for his favours and kindness to the town and "to think and try for something to be given to his lordship and his lady, by way of complement."
On 3rd October, 1682, John Barnes was appointed provost on the nomination of the archbishop, and thereupon he, notwithstanding the protest of John Bell, the former provost, proceeded, according to Bell's statement, to appoint councillors without the sanction of the town council, and contrary both to the provost's burgess oath and all previous practice. On 1st October, 1683, James Campbell, a former provost, protested against the misapplication of public funds, and was answered tu quoque. This controversy affords a curious illustration of the mode in which public funds were applied at that time. On the following day John Barnes was continued provost on the archbishop's nomination. On 27th September, 1684, the magistrates and council considering "the great pains and trouble the provest has been at in ryding and doing the touns affaires these twa yeirs, they ordain the thesaurer to delyver him wp his band of £1,706 12s. 6d.," due by him to the town, without payment, and declared him to be free of the same. Three days afterwards, on the nomination of the archbishop, John Johnston of Clachrie was elected provost.
On 31st October Archbishop Ross was translated to St. Andrews, and on 4th November the council passed an act by which they rescinded the act of 27th September, ordaining the bond for £1,706 12s. 6d. to be delivered up to Barnes without payment; they also declared that his accounts were exorbitant and far beyond any allowance given to former provosts. They caused the bond to be delivered up to the treasurer of the burgh, and instructed him to put it to execution against Barnes. This order seems to have been carried into effect, for the Court of Session, on 3rd March, 1685, gave decree against him. The magistrates and council appointed in 1684 also challenged, as embezzlement of the town's revenues and common good, bonds, and acts of council, granted by the former magistrates, and among them a bond for 20,000 merks granted to Archbishop Ross, then bishop of St. Andrews.
Alexander Cairncross, bishop of Aberdeen, was appointed archbishop of Glasgow, through the influence, it is said, of William Duke of Queensberry. Letters patent in his favour were issued on 3rd December. He was appointed on the 18th, and installed at St. Andrews on the 25th of that month.
On 6th February, 1685, King Charles II. died, and so ended what has been termed "the worst reign in English history." He was succeeded by his brother, James VII., to whom, on 28th February, the provost, magistrates, and council took the oath of allegiance. On 13th March they voted an address to the king.
On 19th September, 1685, the places of four councillors, who had failed to give attendance at the council, were declared vacant, and other persons were appointed. On 6th October Johnston was re-elected on the nomination of Archbishop Cairncross, but on 26th June, 1686, an order of the privy council, dated on the previous day, and following on a letter from the king, dated 19th March, directed the archbishop to require the town council to dismiss Johnston from the magistracy, and to install John Barnes, the former provost, in that office. The archbishop having communicated this order to the council, Barnes was appointed provost, and took the requisite oaths. Johnston's offence seems to have been against Archbishop Ross, and in obedience to an order of the privy council, dated 25th June, he appeared before the magistrates and council on 5th July and craved pardon "for his cryme and injurie done to his grace the Archbishop of St. Andrews." On 25th September a letter from the Earl of Perth, Lord High Chancellor in name of the privy council, intimated a letter from the king, dated 12th September, ordering all elections in royal burghs to be suspended till his royal pleasure was known, and authorising the magistrates and council then in office to continue till farther order. To this requirement the magistrates and council "consented with all humilitie and submission." On 18th November the archbishop appeared in the council chamber and produced a letter from the privy council, dated 11th November, by which they nominated and appointed John Barnes to be provost, three persons to be bailies, and other three to be dean of guild, deacon convener, and treasurer, respectively, with twenty-four councillors, a deacon of each of the eleven crafts, a visitor of the gardeners, and a visitor of the victual. In consequence of Archbishop Cairncross having refused, it is said, to agree to the measures of the court in regard to popery, and of the offence which he thereby gave to the king, he was deprived of the archbishopric on 13th January, 1687. He was succeeded by John Paterson, bishop of Edinburgh, who was recommended by the king on 21st January, elected on 24th February, appointed 23rd March, and installed at St. Andrews on 1st May, 1687.
On 4th October, 1687, the privy council, acting under the order of the king, dated 8th September, prohibited any new magistrates or councillors from being elected during the year. But on 3rd January, 1688, the archbishop appeared in the town council, and produced an act of the privy council, dated 22nd December, 1687, whereby, in obedience to a letter from the king, dated 9th December, the archbishop was recommended to see His Majesty's instructions, as therein set forth, fully put to execution in every way. These instructions were, that the magistrates and council for the year to Michaelmas, 1688, should be chosen in the ordinary way. In accordance with this order the archbishop named Walter Gibson, merchant, to be provost, and from leets presented to him, he appointed Colin Bell and John Gilhagie, merchants, and John Waddrope, craftsman, to be bailies. Thereafter, on 4th January, thirteen merchants and twelve craftsmen were appointed to be on the council, and the dean of guild, deacon convener, treasurer, and other officers, were also appointed.
On 2nd October, 1688, the privy council, under instructions from the king, by letter dated 13th September, empowered the magistrates of all royal burghs to continue in their respective offices till His Majesty's further pleasure was signified. And, on 4th December, the privy council, again, under instructions from the king, by letter dated 12th November, authorised the election of the provost, bailies, and other office-bearers, to proceed as usual. Thereafter, the archbishop appointed Walter Gibson to continue provost till Michaelmas following, and from leets submitted by him appointed three persons to be bailies.
The manifold arbitrary acts of King James raised against him widespread popular indignation, and led to his expulsion from the throne. In response to formal solicitation from influential persons, his son-in-law, William Prince of Orange, landed with an army, in England, on 4th November, 1688, and the king fled to France on 23rd December. On 24th January, 1689, the provost submitted to the council an address to be presented to the Prince, which was approved and signed by the majority. With obvious caution, however, the provost was appointed to advise as to whether the address should be sent, and if sent, by what persons it should be presented. It was probably sent, for the citizens were in sympathy with it. King James returned to Ireland with a body of French troops, but was defeated at the Battle of the Boyne, on 1st July, 1690, and returned to France, where he died on 6th September, 1701.
On 13th February, 1689, a Convention Parliament in England, having declared the throne vacant, William and Mary were proclaimed King and Queen of Great Britain and Ireland. On 4th April the Scottish Estates also declared the throne vacant, and on the 11th of that month agreed to offer the crown of Scotland to the English sovereigns. This offer was accepted by them, and they took the coronation oath in a form prescribed by the Estates.
On 22nd July prelacy and all superiority of any office in the church above presbyters were abolished by an act of parliament which rescinded the acts in favour of episcopacy in the reign of Charles II., and all other acts inconsistent with that then passed.
On 24th June, 1689, the royal commissioner and the privy council, acting under orders from the sovereigns, directed a new and free election of the bailies, dean of guild, treasurer, and town council, on 2nd and 3rd July, by "a poll of habile burgessis bearing burden, scot and lot." The persons so elected were appointed to remain in office till Michaelmas following, and were required to send to the king a list of three persons, of whom one might be elected provost.
The king's letter granting this privilege to Glasgow appears to have excited discussion in the parliament held at Edinburgh in June. A letter, addressed by Andrew Kennedy, of Cloburne, to William Denham, of Westshiell, in London, dated 22nd June, states that the king's letter displeased the commissioner, the Duke of Hamilton:—
"It was said to be lyke the old tread of letters, bot uthers thought that Glasgow should have hade this liberty or now, and in effect it deserves better at King Williams hands then any toun in Scotland; and many think that the King will erect it in ane absolut burgh royal. But you know Duke Hamiltoun was made baillie of the regality for his life, when the King succeeded as aire to the Duke of Lenox; and it is pretendit that now, in the vacancie of the Bishoprick, the right made to the Duke of Lenox after the 38 revives. Bot this is thought a vaine pretence, because by the act 1662, restoring Bishops, the Dukes right was made void; so that now upon their abolishing, it is falen in the Kings hand, and the King, as come in the Bishops place, hes the only power of election; for the Duke of Lenox, as baillie, never had it, nor pretendit to it. However, the mater was remitted to be examined by the Kings advocat." (fn. 24)
The information thus given is supplemented by a letter from John Anderson, of Dowhill, and Robert Spreull to Lord Melville, the Secretary of State, dated 25th June, 1689. It is as follows:—
"My Lord,—By Saterday's poast I gave your lordship informatioune of what past in councell in relatione to his Majesties letter in favours of the towne of Glasgowe, his grace the Duke of Hamilton putteing a stope to that benefit his Majestie had given us, pretending that the King had not been rightly informed of his interest." [A petition to the lords of councill was accordingly put in] "desyring that in respect of the urgent necessite of the publick safetie, and the difficulties of the towne, their lordships wold be pleased to allowe them the benefitt of the act of the estates, conforme to his Majesties letter, always reserving his Majesties right untill his pleasure be known. After som debait in councell concerning it, they have allowed ane electione of the bayllies and councell, and that they should send up a list of thrie persons to the King, owt of whiche his Majestie may nominat on to be provest. Now, my Lord, this is nather confoirme to the Kings mynd, nor to the towns priviledge; for the Kings mynd is that we should have full and ample libertie to elect our magistrats as freely as any other brughe in the kingdome, and caries no restrictione, and also it puts the towne in a worse condition then it was; for all that the towne was obliged to doe according to the settlement by act of parliament to the Duke of Lennox (in whose place his Majestie now stands) [was] only to present a list of thrie persons to the Duik or his commissioner, especially commissioner for that effect, at the Castle of Glasgow. If his grace, or non from him wer there, they proceeded to the electione of there provest as the act of Parliament authorised them; and very frequently they have done, when either there was no commissioner at the castle, or that his commission did not exactly meet with the matter. Now, my Lord, by this act of councell, the towne is highly prejudged, and the end of his Majesties letter is frustrat. Wherfor I humbly crave that your lordship will be pleased to infoirme his Majestie heirof, that his Majestie may renew his letter to the councell, dispensing with this his right, and authorising the people to elect there provest as freely as any other brughe hath done. My Lord, the publick interest and safetie of the natione and of the place calls for this, and also the people hopes for his Majesties favour and goodness in it. My Lord, for your cleirer informatione I have sent to Mr. Nairne the copie of the act of councell, as alsoe the just double of the act of parliament, whereby your lordship will find wherein they disagrie. His grace the Duck of Hamiltone did mantaine this debait very hotly. My Lord, I humbly beg that this may not be delayed, both for the publick good and the privat concerne of the towne, for both can hardly admitt any delaye. I am, my Lord, your lordships oblidged servant, [Subscribed] Jo. Anderson. Ro. Spreull." (fn. 25)
The Duke of Hamilton, on the other hand, represented his views to Lord Melville in a letter dated Holyrood House, 4th July, 1689, in which he said:—
"Upon receiving the Kings letter to the counsill, it not appearing that the King had been informed of his right in choysing of the provest of Glasgow, and, having seen ane act of parliament ratefeing ane agreement betuixt the toune and the Duke of Lennox, that he should choyse out of a leet of three to be presented to him, the provost; the counsill therfore did appoynt them to goe choyse their magistrats, according to his Majesties letter, and to send a leet of three to his Majestie to choyse the provost. And accordingly thay took out their act, and I hear are about making their elections, and, his Majestie being now in the place of the Duke of Lennox, it is ane intrest I think so much for his service, that he should not departe from it, seeing he hes good right to it in law, which I hope your lordship will let him know. And, if your lordship at distance procure things from the King, that may relate to his service here, yow will find the inconveniency of not first advysing these matters with those the King trusts here; and why they should make any complaint I cannot understand, since they have taken out their act, and are proceeding in their electione." (fn. 26)
In virtue of the order by the privy council of 24th June, a free election of the bailies and council, by a poll of the burgesses, took place on the 3rd of July in presence of Sir William Fleming, of Ferme, and George Anderson, town clerk, and it was resolved to ascertain whether the king desired the leet for the provostship to be submitted by the council or by the burgesses. No reply appears to have been received to the letter which John Anderson and Robert Spreule wrote to Lord Melville on the 25th of June, and Anderson again wrote his lordship on the 6th of August intreating him to obtain—
"his Majesties allowance to the present magistrats and councell of Glasgow to elect there provest, signified to them by a line from his Majestie. The bearer, Mr. Sprule, who is goeing for London upon som particulare of his owne, can infoirme your Lordship how muche it tends to the hurt and prejudice of the towne that we have not a Provest. I knowe your Lordship is takene up about the great and weghtie concernes of the natione, to which this ought to give waye. But, my Lord, this being of soe much concerne to this poor place, I entreat your Lordships most convenient and spare hower to obtaine it." (fn. 27)
The result of this correspondence does not appear further than may be inferred from the fact, recorded in the town council's minute of 26th August, that on that day the double of a Signature or Letter of Gift was produced and read, which was to be presented to the King and Queen "for getting the election of the proveist and baillies in their owne hands (bishops now being abolished)." (fn. 28) This document was approved, and John Anderson, of Dowhill, was appointed to proceed to London and present it to their Majesties "for getting the same made effectual." With a view to this, a formal commission was given in favour of Anderson. As the result of this action their Majesties granted the privilege sought, and on Anderson's return he presented to the council an account of his expenses and necessary outlays, amounting to £424 19s. Scots. On 1st October, 1689, the ordinary day for the election of the provost and bailies of the burgh, a letter from the king, dated 19th September, was produced to the council, allowing them "to elect and choose as well your proveist as other magistrates for the ensuing year." Thereupon John Anderson was elected provost, and John Leckie, John Gibson, and George Nisbet were elected bailies. The temporary privilege thus conferred on the city was made perpetual by a Letter of Gift by the king and queen, which Provost Anderson produced to the town council on 18th January, 1690. By this letter a charter was ordered to be issued, under the great seal, confirming all charters, grants, and privileges by previous sovereigns in favour of the city, and farther their Majesties, as having come in place of the archbishop, granted to the city and the town council full power and liberty "to choise and elect their proveist, baillies, and haill other magistrats in the ordinar maner and at the ordinar tyme, as freelie as any other royall burgh in the kingdome doe or may choise their proveist, bailies, and magistrats," beginning the first election at Michaelmas following, and so to continue in all time coming. Having thus, at last, succeeded so far, the provost was appointed on 1st February to proceed to Edinburgh and get the grant passed the great seal. At the same time he presented an account of his personal expenses and disbursements, including the dues of the secretary and his servants and gifts to "persones of qualitie who were the touns freinds in dealling with his Majestie to procure the said Letter of Gift." That account amounted to £3,673 Scots, with £57 paid for the exchange of £215 sterling of that sum. This account was unanimously approved and ordered to be paid, and the provost was most heartily thanked. An address to their Majesties was also voted. The provost lost no time in executing the commission granted to him on the 1st, for on the 24th he produced to the council the confirmation under the great seal of the Letter of Gift above mentioned, (fn. 29) and the treasurer was directed to pay the charges connected with the gift, and the provost's personal expenses, amounting in all to £681 12s. Scots.
With a view to having the letter of gift confirmed by parliament it was ordered, on 21st April, 1690, to be sent to the provost in Edinburgh, and on 2nd June he submitted to the town council the draft of the requisite act which he was to endeavour to have passed. On 11th August he produced the act which had been passed on 14th June. Under the powers thus obtained the first free election of the provost and bailies took place on 30th September, and the councillors for the following year were appointed on 3rd October. 1690.
As regards the subsequent elections of the provosts, magistrates, and council of the city, these, like the corresponding elections in other royal burghs, were regulated by the sett of the burgh, till the introduction of a uniform system of election under the provisions of the Municipal Reform Act of 1833.
The preparation of this volume, which records the enfranchisement of the city from subjection to the archbishop, and its establishment with all the rights and privileges of the most favoured royal burgh, has been the work mainly of Mr. Robert Renwick, whose intimate knowledge of Old Glasgow is, I believe, unique. The elaborate Index, without which such a work as this is deprived of much of its value, has also been prepared by him. For such ungrudging gratuitous labour warm acknowledgement is due.
J. D. MARWICK.
19 Woodside Terrace, Glasgow, January, 1905.