Glasgow malt tax riots, 1725
Catalogue reference: SP 54/15, p. 204
Catalogue reference: SP 54/15, p. 216


Gentlemen.
Their Excellencies the Lords Justices have been pleased to Signifie Their High Resentment of the late Tumultuous and riotous proceedings of the Inhabitants of your City, which have been attended with the Circumstances of Rapine and Bloodshed, to the dishonour of Government and in Contempt and defyance of the Laws of the Kingdom; and They are of Opinion that all This, might probably have been prevented, if you had Acted with vigilence and Resolution becoming Magistrates.
I am therefore Commanded by Their Excellencys to March a Body of His Majesty's Forces into the City of Glasgow in Order to Support the Civil Power in restoring the Peace and Quiet of the City. And being informed that several of the Inhabitants have Armed themselves and keep a Guard in the Town; You are hereby required to cause Such Arms to be Lodged and Secured in some proper place or Magazin to prevent any Mischiefs that might otherwise happen between the Towns-people and His Majesty's Forces,
I am etc.
Signed George Wade
Falkirk 9th. July 1725
5 aClock in the Morning
To the Provost and Magistrates of the City of Glasgow.



 
Numb. 7407
 
216
The Daily Courant.
Tuesday, July 13. 1725.
Edinburgh , June 29.
 
THE Malt Tax in North Britain commencing on the 23d Instant, the Commissioners of Excise here received Information a Day or two before by Letters from several of their Officers at Glasgow, that they were threatened to be stoned if they should attempt to take an Account of the Stock of Malt in the Hands of any Person there; and that some of the Towns People had laid at the Door of every Malt-House great Heaps of Stones to convince the Officers they were in Earnest. Hereupon the Commissioners made Application for some Troops to Major General Wade Commander in Chief of His Majesty's Forces in this Part of the Kingdom; who in Complyance with their Request sent from hence Captain Bushel with two Companies of Delorain's Regiment of Foot, to aid the Magistrates of the Town in case they should demand his Assistance against any who should make a riot, and charging him strictly not to resent any abusive Language, or proceed to any manner of Violence unless he should be driven to Extremity. The two Companies marched from this City on the 23rd Instant, and notwithstanding very great Rains and the Distance of 40 Miles, they arrived in Glasgow about six in the Evening of the 24th, when they found a Mob got together, consisting chiefly of Women and Boys, who gave them the worst of Language and threw Stones at them. But the Officer desired them to be quiet, for that he was not come to do Harm to any Body. When he came into the midst of the Town, he applied to the Provost that he might lodge his Men, in the Guard-Room, the Provost answered, that the Mob had secured the Key of the Guard-Room; and he could only give him Billets for his Men. Whereupon the Officer, consented himself with hiring a publick House for his Men. Not long after, a Drum being beat about the Town by one of the Rioters, a vast Number of them drew together, and about 11 at Night they began to break into the House of Mr. Daniel Campbell of Shawfield, Representative in Parliament for the Town of Glasgow, and destroyed or took away the Furniture and whatever they found in it. Then they broke open his Cellars, drank themselves drunk, and slaved the rest of his Wines. Captain Bushel had timely Intelligence given him, that the Mob were going to plunder the said House; and therefore kept himself ready with his Men in Expectation of being called by the Provost to his Assistance; but not hearing any thing from him, he dispatched an Officer to the Provost, to let him know he was sent on Purpose to assist the Civil Magistrate on the Occasion, but the Provost returned Answer, That he did not think he had a sufficient Number of Men, and therefore he did not think fit to make use of them. Thus the Mob gutted the House, and not one Magistrate to discountenance their Violence; for some had withdrawn from the Town some Time before, and the rest were, (or pretended to be) intimidated. The Officers of the Excise had hid themselves, before and during the Riot; but some of them were found out by the Rabble, and were unmercifully beaten and abused.

to amuse him till the Mob should draw nearer. The Captain telling him he was not to be imposed upon, and bidding him dismiss his People of whom he seemed to be the Head, the pretended Woman ran away which was the Signal to fall on; For then came a Shower of great Stones and Clubs at the Soldiers Heads, with a Continual Cry of Drive the Dogs out of Town; They wounded several of them, broke the Locks of some of their Arms, and told the Officer they knew he durst not fire at them. The Captain with some Difficulty prevailed with a Constable (for want of a Superior Magistrate) to read the Proclamation against Rioters before any Harm was done by the Soldiers; but the poor Man seeing himself in Danger when he began to read it, threw the Proclamation down and ran away. Upon this the Captain caused some of his Men to fire over their Heads, in Hopes to terrify them without hurting them; but instead of his finding that Effect from his Tenderness towards them, they fell upon the Troops with redoubled Violence; so that the Captain was at last obliged to order his Men to fire in their own Defence, by which three or four of the Rioters were killed. Then the Mob retired a little, and the Provost sent a Messenger to the Captain, desiring him to retire with his Men out of the Town. The Officer complied; but this Retreat gave new Spirit to the Rabble, and they pressed upon him, he retiring in good Order, and sometimes firing, as Necessity required, by which about Ten of the Rioters were killed, and several wounded.

The Mob pursued him about six Miles, there being 3 or 400 of them armed with Firelocks, but durst not come near enough to him when he was in the open Country, to kill any of his Men. And perceiving he was making his Retreat towards Dunbarton Castle, they sent some Horsemen full speed to threaten the People at Dunbarton, that if they gave any Shelter to the Soldiers they would come and burn their Town. Two of the Soldiers fell into their Hands in Glasgow, one of whom they thought they had killed, but some time after a Woman dragged him into a House and in about two Hours time recovered him a little from the miserable Condition he was in by the Wounds he had received. They came to a Resolution to hang the other; but a Man, who was desirous to save him, told the Mob to amuse them, that the best Way was to carry him to Shawfield's House and hang him there. When they had dragged him thither, the Fellow told the Mob again, that it was almost dark, and that it would be better to hang him the next Morning by Day-light, for an Example to others. After which, in the Night, he got the Soldier out of their Way. Four others were missing by the Way in their Retreat, being fallen with the Fatigue of their long Marches and their Wounds, but two of them are since arrived at Dunbarton Castle: The other two cannot yet be heard of. These are the chief Particulars, which we have received by divers Letters, and by Persons come from Glasgow on this Occasion.

It was thought the Rioters were satisfied with the Mischief they had done that Night. But about Three in the Afternoon of the 25th, the Drum began to beat again by a Man in Woman's Cloaths. Captain Bushel was then at Dinner, and finding there was some Mischief in Hand, he began to suspect there was a Design against the Troops; in which he was not at all mistaken, for in a very little time the Bob were got together, to the Number of 2 or 3000. The Fellow in Woman's Cloaths advanced to the Captain, and endeavoured by kissing his Hand and other Submissions
EDINBURGH.
In the General Convention of the Royal Boroughs, holden at the Burgh of Edinburgh upon the Seventh Day of July, One Thousand Seven Hundred and Twenty Five Years, by the Commissioners therein convened.
THE which Day, the Convention of Royal Boroughs having been informed, that certain evil-minded Persons have taken upon them to pass to divers Royal Boroughs of this Realm, in order to incite them to refuse to give Obedience to the Law that enacts the Payment of the Malt Tax, and to induce the Malsters to come into this Piece of Disobedience, have falsely and villanously propagated reports, That the whole Royal Boroughs of Scotland had come to a Resolution to stand out against Payment of the said
 
Tax;

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