Saturday, 28 July 2012
Scottish Independence is restoration NOT secession (Part 3)
The 19th century had started with a further expansion of the Union which brought Ireland into it. The failure of the planned risings in Scotland and Ireland had the effect of causing a cessation of Radical political activity - but only temporarily. The reaction of the British Government was still fresh in the memories of republicans. What political activity there was during the nineteenth century was mainly related to the Industrial Revolution. There was to be an event in 1820, details of which came to light in 1970, and even today in 2012 these details are still widely unknown.
'No full-length study of the uprising had ever been attempted; in fact, hardly anyone in Scotland had even heard of the event. It had been deleted almost entirely from Scottish historical consciousness.'
SOURCE: 'The Scottish Insurrection of 1820' by Peter Berresford Ellis and Seumas Mac A'Ghobhainn, from the Preface to the 1989 Edition, p. 1,
'Our knowledge of the event and the personalities involved has continued to expand. Prior to this volume's first appearance, the events of April 1820 had almost been deleted from Scottish history. Even after publication, the event was regarded with some discomfiture by certain sections of academia. Perhaps there was a feeling of guilt that such an important event had previously been ignored by historians. In an apparent attempt to justify this, a few scholars have tried to downplay the insurrection and its significance.
Two aspects of therising seem to particularly increase scholastic discomfiture.
Firstly, the fact that it was an aim of the Scottish Radicals to set up a separate parliament in Edinburgh has been met with sceptical posturing. Yet this aim was clearly spelt out by Glasgow Police Chief, James Mitchell, in his letters to the Home Secretary, Lord Sidmouth, of March 18 and 29 1820.
Secondly, a few scholars,...have baulked at accepting any widespread involvement of Government agents provocateur in instigating the rising. Again, this is simply a denial of clear primary source evidence.'
SOURCE: 'The Scottish Insurrection of 1820' by Peter Berresford Ellis and Seumas Mac A'Ghobhainn, from the Preface to the 2001 Edition, pp. xi-xii.
1803 - 1902:
Early 19th Century
In 1812 there was an industrial strike by weavers throughout Scotland. This industrial action came after weavers had proposed wage rates which were ruled by a court to be "moderate and reasonable", employers, however, decided not to accept that decision. This was the trigger for the emergence of the Scottish Radical movement.
'On October 29, 1816, it was estimated that 40,000 people attended this first massive Scottish Radical demonstration - which became known as the Thrushgrove Meeting.'
SOURCE: 'The Scottish Insurrection of 1820' by Peter Berresford Ellis and Seumas Mac A'Ghobhainn, p. 103.
'The Glasgow gathering in October 1816 at Thrushgrove on the outskirts of the city attracted an estimated 40,000 people, the greatest political assembly that had ever taken place in Scotland.'
SOURCE: 'The Scottish Nation 1700-2000' by T.M. Devine, p. 224.
'The swing to Scottish Radicalism was spectacular and Richmond and his fellow agents were busy trying to stir up some form of unconstitutional protest among the Radicals in order to give the Government a legal excuse for the suppression of the movement.'
SOURCE: 'The Scottish Insurrection of 1820' by Peter Berresford Ellis and Seumas Mac A'Ghobhainn, p. 105.
'After lying almost dormant for a year following the farcical High Treason trials in 1817, the Scottish Radical movement was growing stronger than ever before. Paisley, the centre of the weaving trade in Scotland, was also the main centre of Radicalism.'
SOURCE: 'The Scottish Insurrection of 1820' by Peter Berresford Ellis and Seumas Mac A'Ghobhainn, p. 115.
'The red cap of Liberty made a startling reappearance at a Paisley meeting for reform, and five thousand regulars were marched into the south-west. Young Radicals had begun their military training in 1819, but the movement was weak and ill-armed, and its leaders did not think a rising would be possible before 1821. The establishment could not wait this long and on March 21, 1820...it arrested all twenty-eight members of the hopeful Provisional Government...Since they had been careful to keep most of their names and much of their activities secret, the body of the movement was unaware that its head had been removed.'
SOURCE: 'The Lion in the North' by James Prebble, p. 319.
The Radical Rising
'THE SCOTTISH INSURRECTION OF 1820 was predominantly a gregarian Radical uprising born out of the social evils of the time...But as well as the Radical reform aspect, there was also a strong Scottish national aspect, for it was the intention of the 1820 Radicals, as well as that of The Friends of the People, in the early 1790's, and their successors, the United Scotsmen Societies, to dissolve the Union of Parliaments between England and Scotland of 1707 and "to set up a Scottish Assembly or Parliament in Edinburgh".'
SOURCE: 'The Scottish Insurrection of 1820' by Peter Berresford Ellis and Seumas Mac A'Ghobhainn, p. 36.
On 1 April, 1820 a proclamation, in the name of the 'Committee of Organisation for Forming a PROVISIONAL GOVERNMENT' was posted on the walls of buildings in Glasgow as well as in the towns and villages of several other counties.
'Reading the proclamation, Hunter made a mental note for the editorial jeader which he was to write in his newspaper the next day. He noticed that in one paragraph the proclamation referred to Magna Carta and the Bill of Rights, which were not part of Scottish history. To Hunter this seemed to suggest that the author was an Englishman, because a Scot would naturally refer to the Declaration of Arbroath in the place of the English Magna Carta. As later events were to show, this was a highly significant fact.'
SOURCE: 'The Scottish Insurrection of 1820' by Peter Berresford Ellis and Seumas Mac A'Ghobhainn, p. 25.
'ON MONDAY MORNING, April 2, 1820 , the effect of the call for a "Liberty or Death" uprising could be seen across the whole of South-West Scotland. In obedience to the command of the "Provisional Government" almost all the labouring population had abandoned their work and where any remained, agents from the various Radical Committees compelled them to stop. Even in Glasgow "this was done openly". From Stirling to Girvan, seventy miles from east to west, and from Dumbarton to Lanark, forty miles from north to south, all the weavers, mechanical manufacturing and labouring population became idle and the Radical Committees began to make preparations.'
SOURCE: 'The Scottish Insurrection of 1820' by Peter Berresford Ellis and Seumas Mac A'Ghobhainn, p. 146.
'The trials for High Treason were actually held under English Law and not Scottish Law, contravening the Treaty of Union of 1707.
These records are now held by the Scottish Record Office, referenced as "JC 21".'
SOURCE: 'The Scottish Insurrection of 1820' by Peter Berresford Ellis and Seumas Mac A'Ghobhainn, from the Preface to the 1989 Edition, p. 7.
'The trials for treason which followed were held in defiance of bitter protest, and in violation of the Treaty of Union, for they were conducted by English law and prosecuted by an English barrister. Of twenty-four men and boys sentenced to death, all but three were eventually transported for life. These three were weavers: James Wilson,,,Andrew Hardie...and John Baird...'
SOURCE: 'The Lion in the North' by James Prebble, p. 320.
Middle to late 19th Century
After the trials the aims of the Radical movement faded until later in the 19th century. There was a brief attemptin the 1850's when the National Association for the Vindication of Scottish Rights was formed in 1853.
'But the National Association also demonstrated how feeble political nationalism was in the 1850s. It lasted for only three years and was wound up in 1856:...'
SOURCE: 'The Scottish Nation 1700-2000' by T.M. Devine, p. 287.
'On the other hand, 1886 saw the foundation of the Scottish Home Rule Association. The agitation of the 1880s did not produce Home Rule, but it did produce a Secretary for Scotland in 1885...'
SOURCE: 'Scotland: The Shaping of a Nation' by Gordon Donaldson, p. 126.
'In 1885 the office of Secretary of Scotland was revived, the Scottish Office established in London and a Scottish Standing Committee was set up in 1894 to consider all Scottish legislation. In addition, a Scottish Home Rule Association was founded to campaign for a parliament in Edinburgh. Between 1886 and 1900, seven Scottish Home Rule motions were presented to parliament. Those submitted in 1894 and 1895 gained majorities but failed because of a lack of parliamentary time.'
SOURCE: 'The Scottish Nation 1700-2000' by T.M. Devine, pp. 307 - 308.