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Radical War

Radical War

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The Radical War, also known as the Scottish Insurrection of 1820, was a week of strike
Strike action
Strike action, also called labour strike, on strike, greve , or simply strike, is a work stoppage caused by the mass refusal of employees to work. A strike usually takes place in response to employee grievances. Strikes became important during the industrial revolution, when mass labour became...

s and unrest, a culmination of Radical
Radicalism (historical)
The term Radical was used during the late 18th century for proponents of the Radical Movement. It later became a general pejorative term for those favoring or seeking political reforms which include dramatic changes to the social order...

 demands for reform in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland was the formal name of the United Kingdom during the period when what is now the Republic of Ireland formed a part of it....

 which had become prominent in the early years of the French Revolution
French Revolution
The French Revolution , sometimes distinguished as the 'Great French Revolution' , was a period of radical social and political upheaval in France and Europe. The absolute monarchy that had ruled France for centuries collapsed in three years...

, but had then been repressed during the long Napoleonic Wars
Napoleonic Wars
The Napoleonic Wars were a series of wars declared against Napoleon's French Empire by opposing coalitions that ran from 1803 to 1815. As a continuation of the wars sparked by the French Revolution of 1789, they revolutionised European armies and played out on an unprecedented scale, mainly due to...

.

An economic downturn after the wars ended brought increasing unrest. Artisan
Artisan
An artisan is a skilled manual worker who makes items that may be functional or strictly decorative, including furniture, clothing, jewellery, household items, and tools...

 workers, particularly weavers
Weaving
Weaving is a method of fabric production in which two distinct sets of yarns or threads are interlaced at right angles to form a fabric or cloth. The other methods are knitting, lace making and felting. The longitudinal threads are called the warp and the lateral threads are the weft or filling...

 in Scotland
Scotland
Scotland is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. Occupying the northern third of the island of Great Britain, it shares a border with England to the south and is bounded by the North Sea to the east, the Atlantic Ocean to the north and west, and the North Channel and Irish Sea to the...

, sought action to reform an uncaring government, gentry fearing revolutionary horrors recruited militia and the government deployed an apparatus of spies, informers and agents provocateurs
Agent provocateur
Traditionally, an agent provocateur is a person employed by the police or other entity to act undercover to entice or provoke another person to commit an illegal act...

 to stamp out the movement.

A Committee of Organisation for Forming a Provisional Government put placards around the streets of Glasgow
Glasgow
Glasgow is the largest city in Scotland and third most populous in the United Kingdom. The city is situated on the River Clyde in the country's west central lowlands...

 late on Saturday 1 April, calling for an immediate national strike. On Monday 3 April work stopped in a wide area of central Scotland
Central Belt
The Central Belt of Scotland is a common term used to describe the area of highest population density within Scotland. Despite the name, it is not geographically central but is nevertheless situated at the 'waist' of Scotland on a conventional map and the term 'central' is used in many local...

 and in a swirl of disorderly events a small group marched towards the Carron Company
Carron Company
The Carron Company was an ironworks established in 1759 on the banks of the River Carron near Falkirk, in Stirlingshire, Scotland. After initial problems, the company was at the forefront of the Industrial Revolution in the United Kingdom. The company prospered through its development and...

 ironworks
Ironworks
An ironworks or iron works is a building or site where iron is smelted and where heavy iron and/or steel products are made. The term is both singular and plural, i.e...

 to seize weapons, but while stopped at Bonnymuir
Bonnymuir
Bonnymuir was a moorland area near the town of Bonnybridge in Scotland. Today, it has mostly become either housing or farmland.It was a significant location in the so-called "Radical War" of 1820...

 they were attacked by Hussars. Another small group from Strathaven
Strathaven
Strathaven is a historic market town in South Lanarkshire, Scotland. The town was granted a Royal Charter in 1450, making the Town of Strathaven a burgh of barony. The town's principal industry was primarily weaving in the 19th and early 20th centuries, however this declined when faced by...

 marched to meet a rumoured larger force, but were warned of an ambush and dispersed. Militia taking prisoners to Greenock
Greenock
Greenock is a town and administrative centre in the Inverclyde council area in United Kingdom, and a former burgh within the historic county of Renfrewshire, located in the west central Lowlands of Scotland...

 jail were attacked by local people and the prisoners released. James Wilson of Strathaven
Strathaven
Strathaven is a historic market town in South Lanarkshire, Scotland. The town was granted a Royal Charter in 1450, making the Town of Strathaven a burgh of barony. The town's principal industry was primarily weaving in the 19th and early 20th centuries, however this declined when faced by...

 was singled out as a leader of the march there, and at Glasgow
Glasgow
Glasgow is the largest city in Scotland and third most populous in the United Kingdom. The city is situated on the River Clyde in the country's west central lowlands...

 was executed by hanging, then decapitated. Of those seized by the British army
British Army
The British Army is the land warfare branch of Her Majesty's Armed Forces in the United Kingdom. It came into being with the unification of the Kingdom of England and Scotland into the Kingdom of Great Britain in 1707. The new British Army incorporated Regiments that had already existed in England...

 at Bonnymuir, John Baird and Andrew Hardie
Andrew Hardie (radical)
Andrew Hardie was second-in-command of the Radical Forces who marched on Scotland's Carron Ironworks in the "Radical War" of 1820.He was sentenced to death and was executed in Stirling on September 8, 1820 along with John Baird. In his speech on the scaffold he declared himself "a martyr to the...

 were similarly executed at Stirling
Stirling
Stirling is a city and former ancient burgh in Scotland, and is at the heart of the wider Stirling council area. The city is clustered around a large fortress and medieval old-town beside the River Forth...

 after making short defiant speeches. Twenty other Radicals were sentenced to penal transportation
Penal transportation
Transportation or penal transportation is the deporting of convicted criminals to a penal colony. Examples include transportation by France to Devil's Island and by the UK to its colonies in the Americas, from the 1610s through the American Revolution in the 1770s, and then to Australia between...

.

It became evident that government agents had actively fomented the unrest to bring radicals into the open. The insurrection was largely forgotten as attention focussed on better publicised Radical events in England
England
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

. Two years later, enthusiasm for the visit of King George IV to Scotland
Visit of King George IV to Scotland
The 1822 visit of King George IV to Scotland was the first visit of a reigning monarch to Scotland since 1650. Government ministers had pressed the King to bring forward a proposed visit to Scotland, to divert him from diplomatic intrigue at the Congress of Verona.The visit increased his popularity...

 successfully boosted loyalist
Loyalist
In general, a loyalist is someone who maintains loyalty to an established government, political party, or sovereign, especially during war or revolutionary change. In modern English usage, the most common application is to loyalty to the British Crown....

 sentiment, ushering in a new-found Scottish national identity
Scottish national identity
Scottish national identity is a term referring to the sense of national identity and common culture of Scottish people and is shared by a considerable majority of the people of Scotland....

.

Background


In the 18th century, artisan
Artisan
An artisan is a skilled manual worker who makes items that may be functional or strictly decorative, including furniture, clothing, jewellery, household items, and tools...

s such as handloom
Loom
A loom is a device used to weave cloth. The basic purpose of any loom is to hold the warp threads under tension to facilitate the interweaving of the weft threads...

 weavers, shoemakers, smiths and wright
Wright
Wright is an occupational surname originating in England. The term Wright comes from the circa 700 AD Old English word "wryhta" or "wyrhta", meaning worker or shaper of wood. Later it became any occupational worker , and is used as a British family name...

s worked to commission and so could set their own hours of work which often left them time to read, and debate what they had read with friends. The national Presbyterian Church of Scotland
Church of Scotland
The Church of Scotland, known informally by its Scots language name, the Kirk, is a Presbyterian church, decisively shaped by the Scottish Reformation....

 was founded on egalitarian attitudes and rights of the individual to make principled judgements, and so encouraged disputatious habits and preoccupation with "rights" as well as continuing the Scottish education
Education in Scotland
Scotland has a long history of universal provision of public education, and the Scottish education system is distinctly different from the other countries of the United Kingdom...

 tradition which achieved more widespread literacy at that time than other countries. In Scotland only 1 in 250 people had the right to vote and these artisans were ready to join the Radical
Radicalism (historical)
The term Radical was used during the late 18th century for proponents of the Radical Movement. It later became a general pejorative term for those favoring or seeking political reforms which include dramatic changes to the social order...

 movement in welcoming the American Revolution
American Revolution
The American Revolution was the political upheaval during the last half of the 18th century in which thirteen colonies in North America joined together to break free from the British Empire, combining to become the United States of America...

 and the French Revolution
French Revolution
The French Revolution , sometimes distinguished as the 'Great French Revolution' , was a period of radical social and political upheaval in France and Europe. The absolute monarchy that had ruled France for centuries collapsed in three years...

, and be influenced by Thomas Paine
Thomas Paine
Thomas "Tom" Paine was an English author, pamphleteer, radical, inventor, intellectual, revolutionary, and one of the Founding Fathers of the United States...

's The Rights of Man. The Scottish Friends of the People society held a series of "Conventions" in 1792 and 1793. The government reacted harshly, sentencing successive leaders to penal transportation
Penal transportation
Transportation or penal transportation is the deporting of convicted criminals to a penal colony. Examples include transportation by France to Devil's Island and by the UK to its colonies in the Americas, from the 1610s through the American Revolution in the 1770s, and then to Australia between...

, and in 1793 Dundee
Dundee
Dundee is the fourth-largest city in Scotland and the 39th most populous settlement in the United Kingdom. It lies within the eastern central Lowlands on the north bank of the Firth of Tay, which feeds into the North Sea...

 Unitarian
Unitarianism
Unitarianism is a Christian theological movement, named for its understanding of God as one person, in direct contrast to Trinitarianism which defines God as three persons coexisting consubstantially as one in being....

 minister Thomas Fysshe Palmer was also given 7 years transportation for helping to prepare and distribute reform tracts. Dissent went underground with the United Scotsmen whose activities were curbed with the trial of George Mealmaker
George Mealmaker
George Mealmaker was a Scottish radical organiser and writer, born in Dundee, Scotland. Like his father before him he was a weaver by trade....

 in 1798.

Between 1800 and 1808 the earnings of weavers were halved, and in 1812 they petitioned for an increase which was granted by the magistrates, but the employers refused to pay and so the weavers called a strike which lasted for nine weeks with the support of a "National Committee of Scottish Union Societies", organised in a similar way to the United Scotsmen ("Unions" being area related, not Trade Union
Trade union
A trade union, trades union or labor union is an organization of workers that have banded together to achieve common goals such as better working conditions. The trade union, through its leadership, bargains with the employer on behalf of union members and negotiates labour contracts with...

s). The authorities were further alarmed and set up spies and informers to forestall any further reformist activity. Between then and 1815 Major John Cartwright
John Cartwright (political reformer)
John Cartwright was an English naval officer, Nottinghamshire militia major and prominent campaigner for parliamentary reform. He subsequently became known as the Father of Reform...

 made visits to establish radical Hampden Clubs across Scotland.

Post war unrest


The end of the Napoleonic Wars
Napoleonic Wars
The Napoleonic Wars were a series of wars declared against Napoleon's French Empire by opposing coalitions that ran from 1803 to 1815. As a continuation of the wars sparked by the French Revolution of 1789, they revolutionised European armies and played out on an unprecedented scale, mainly due to...

 brought economic depression. In 1816 some 40,000 people attended a meeting on Glasgow Green
Glasgow Green
Glasgow Green is a park situated in the east end of Glasgow on the north bank of the River Clyde. It is the oldest park in the city dating back to the 15th century.In 1450, King James II granted the land to Bishop William Turnbull and the people of Glasgow...

 to demand more representative government and an end to the Corn laws
Corn Laws
The Corn Laws were trade barriers designed to protect cereal producers in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland against competition from less expensive foreign imports between 1815 and 1846. The barriers were introduced by the Importation Act 1815 and repealed by the Importation Act 1846...

 which kept food prices high. The industrial revolution
Textile manufacture during the Industrial Revolution
The industrial revolution changed the nature of work and society. Opinion varies as to the exact date, but it is estimated that the First Industrial Revolution took place between 1750 and 1850, and the second phase or Second Industrial Revolution between 1860 and 1900. The three key drivers in...

 affected handloom weavers in particular, and unrest grew despite attempts by the authorities to employ the workless and open relief centres to relieve hardship. Government agents brought conspiracy trials to court in 1816 and 1817.

The Peterloo massacre
Peterloo Massacre
The Peterloo Massacre occurred at St Peter's Field, Manchester, England, on 16 August 1819, when cavalry charged into a crowd of 60,000–80,000 that had gathered to demand the reform of parliamentary representation....

 of August 1819 sparked protest demonstrations across Britain. In Scotland
Scotland
Scotland is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. Occupying the northern third of the island of Great Britain, it shares a border with England to the south and is bounded by the North Sea to the east, the Atlantic Ocean to the north and west, and the North Channel and Irish Sea to the...

, a memorial rally in Paisley on 11 September led to a week of rioting and cavalry were used to control around 5,000 "Radical
Radicalism (historical)
The term Radical was used during the late 18th century for proponents of the Radical Movement. It later became a general pejorative term for those favoring or seeking political reforms which include dramatic changes to the social order...

s". Protest meetings were held in Stirling
Stirling
Stirling is a city and former ancient burgh in Scotland, and is at the heart of the wider Stirling council area. The city is clustered around a large fortress and medieval old-town beside the River Forth...

, Airdrie
Airdrie, North Lanarkshire
Airdrie is a town within North Lanarkshire, Scotland. It lies on a plateau roughly 400 ft above sea level, and is approximately 12 miles east of Glasgow city centre. Airdrie forms part of a conurbation with its neighbour Coatbridge, in the former district known as the Monklands. As of 2006,...

, Renfrewshire
Renfrewshire
Renfrewshire is one of 32 council areas used for local government in Scotland. Located in the west central Lowlands, it is one of three council areas contained within the boundaries of the historic county of Renfrewshire, the others being Inverclyde to the west and East Renfrewshire to the east...

, Ayrshire
Ayrshire
Ayrshire is a registration county, and former administrative county in south-west Scotland, United Kingdom, located on the shores of the Firth of Clyde. Its principal towns include Ayr, Kilmarnock and Irvine. The town of Troon on the coast has hosted the British Open Golf Championship twice in the...

 and Fife
Fife
Fife is a council area and former county of Scotland. It is situated between the Firth of Tay and the Firth of Forth, with inland boundaries to Perth and Kinross and Clackmannanshire...

, mainly in weaving areas. On 13 December the "Radical Laird" Kinloch was arrested for addressing a mass meeting on Magdalen Green in Dundee
Dundee
Dundee is the fourth-largest city in Scotland and the 39th most populous settlement in the United Kingdom. It lies within the eastern central Lowlands on the north bank of the Firth of Tay, which feeds into the North Sea...

, but he escaped and fled abroad.

The gentry feared that the kind of revolutionary turmoil that had been seen in France
French Revolution
The French Revolution , sometimes distinguished as the 'Great French Revolution' , was a period of radical social and political upheaval in France and Europe. The absolute monarchy that had ruled France for centuries collapsed in three years...

 and Ireland
Irish Rebellion of 1798
The Irish Rebellion of 1798 , also known as the United Irishmen Rebellion , was an uprising in 1798, lasting several months, against British rule in Ireland...

 could take place in Britain, and there was a great recruiting of volunteer regiments through the Scottish lowlands
Scottish Lowlands
The Scottish Lowlands is a name given to the Southern half of Scotland.The area is called a' Ghalldachd in Scottish Gaelic, and the Lawlands ....

 and Scottish Borders
Scottish Borders
The Scottish Borders is one of 32 local government council areas of Scotland. It is bordered by Dumfries and Galloway in the west, South Lanarkshire and West Lothian in the north west, City of Edinburgh, East Lothian, Midlothian to the north; and the non-metropolitan counties of Northumberland...

. Walter Scott
Walter Scott
Sir Walter Scott, 1st Baronet was a Scottish historical novelist, playwright, and poet, popular throughout much of the world during his time....

 urged his Borders neighbours to "appeal at this crisis to the good sense and loyalty of the lower orders... All you have to do is sound the men, and mark down those who seem zealous. They will perhaps have to fight with the pitmen and colliers of Northumbria
Northumberland
Northumberland is the northernmost ceremonial county and a unitary district in North East England. For Eurostat purposes Northumberland is a NUTS 3 region and is one of three boroughs or unitary districts that comprise the "Northumberland and Tyne and Wear" NUTS 2 region...

 for defence of their firesides, for those literal blackguards are got beyond the management of their own people."

The "Radical War"


As 1820 began the government, frightened by the "Cato Street Conspiracy
Cato Street Conspiracy
The Cato Street Conspiracy was an attempt to murder all the British cabinet ministers and Prime Minister Lord Liverpool in 1820. The name comes from the meeting place near Edgware Road in London. The Cato Street Conspiracy is notable due to dissenting public opinions regarding the punishment of the...

" in London, acted to suppress reform agitation and drew on its apparatus of spies and agents provocateurs
Agent provocateur
Traditionally, an agent provocateur is a person employed by the police or other entity to act undercover to entice or provoke another person to commit an illegal act...

 in Scotland. A 28 man Radical
Radicalism (historical)
The term Radical was used during the late 18th century for proponents of the Radical Movement. It later became a general pejorative term for those favoring or seeking political reforms which include dramatic changes to the social order...

 Committee for organising a Provisional Government elected by delegates of local "unions" elected officers and decided to arrange military training for its supporters, giving some responsibility for the training programme to a Condorrat
Condorrat
Condorrat is a village on the eastern edges of Dunbartonshire in Scotland. The village origins dates to around the 17th century. Over the past few decades it has been subsumed by the new town of Cumbernauld....

 weaver with army experience, John Baird. On 18 March Mitchell of the Glasgow
Glasgow
Glasgow is the largest city in Scotland and third most populous in the United Kingdom. The city is situated on the River Clyde in the country's west central lowlands...

 police notified the Home Secretary
Home Secretary
The Secretary of State for the Home Department, commonly known as the Home Secretary, is the minister in charge of the Home Office of the United Kingdom, and one of the country's four Great Offices of State...

 that "a meeting of the organising committee of the rabble.. . is due in this vicinity in a few days hence."

On 21 March the Committee met in a Glasgow tavern. The weaver John King left the meeting early, shortly before a raid in which the Committee was secretly arrested. Mitchell reported on 25 March that those arrested had "confessed their audacious plot to sever the Kingdom of Scotland from that of England and restore the ancient Scottish Parliament... If some plan were conceived by which the disaffected could be lured out of their lairs - being made to think that the day of "liberty" had come - we could catch them abroad and undefended... few know of the apprehension of the leaders. . . so no suspicion would attach itself to the plan at all. Our informants have infiltrated the disaffected's committees and organisation, and in a few days you shall judge the results." King, Craig, Turner and Lees would now be repeatedly involved in organising agitation.

At a meeting on 22 March the 15 to 20 people present included the weavers John King and John Craig, the tin-smith Duncan Turner, and "an Englishman" called Lees. John King told them that a rising was imminent and all present should hold themselves in enthusiastic readiness for the call to arms. The next day some of them met on Glasgow Green
Glasgow Green
Glasgow Green is a park situated in the east end of Glasgow on the north bank of the River Clyde. It is the oldest park in the city dating back to the 15th century.In 1450, King James II granted the land to Bishop William Turnbull and the people of Glasgow...

 then moved on to Rutherglen
Rutherglen
Rutherglen is a town in South Lanarkshire, Scotland. In 1975, it lost its own local council and administratively became a component of the City of Glasgow. In 1996 Rutherglen was reallocated to the South Lanarkshire council area.-History:...

 where Turner revealed plans to establish a Provisional Government, got those present to resolve to "act accordingly", then gave over a copy of a draft Proclamation to be delivered to a printer. Lees, King and Turner went round encouraging supporters to make pikes for the battles. On Saturday 1 April Craig and Lees collected the prints which Lees had paid for the previous day. By the morning of Sunday 2 April copies of the Proclamation were displayed throughout Glasgow.

Proclamation


The Proclamation, signed "By order of the Committee of Organisation for forming a Provisional Government. Glasgow April 1st. 1820.", included references to the English Magna Carta
Magna Carta
Magna Carta is an English charter, originally issued in the year 1215 and reissued later in the 13th century in modified versions, which included the most direct challenges to the monarch's authority to date. The charter first passed into law in 1225...

 and the English Bill of Rights.

"Friends and Countrymen! Rouse from that torpid state in which we have sunk for so many years, we are at length compelled from the extremity of our sufferings, and the contempt heaped upon our petitions for redress, to assert our rights at the hazard of our lives." by "taking up arms for the redress of our common grievances". "Equality of rights (not of property)... Liberty or Death is our motto, and we have sworn to return home in triumph - or return no more.... we earnestly request all to desist from their labour from and after this day, the first of April [until] in possession of those rights..." It called for a rising "To show the world that we are not that lawless, sanguinary rabble which our oppressors would persuade the higher circles we are but a brave and generous people determined to be free."

A footnote added: "Britons – God – Justice – the wish of all good men, are with us. Join together and make it one good cause, and the nations of the earth shall hail the day when the Standard of Liberty shall be raised on its native soil."

Strike and unrest


On Monday 3 April work stopped, particularly in weaving communities, over a wide area of central Scotland including Stirlingshire
Stirlingshire
Stirlingshire or the County of Stirling is a registration county of Scotland, based around Stirling, the former county town. It borders Perthshire to the north, Clackmannanshire and West Lothian to the east, Lanarkshire to the south, and Dunbartonshire to the south-west.Until 1975 it was a county...

, Dunbartonshire
Dunbartonshire
Dunbartonshire or the County of Dumbarton is a lieutenancy area and registration county in the west central Lowlands of Scotland lying to the north of the River Clyde. Until 1975 it was a county used as a primary unit of local government with its county town and administrative centre at the town...

, Renfrewshire
Renfrewshire
Renfrewshire is one of 32 council areas used for local government in Scotland. Located in the west central Lowlands, it is one of three council areas contained within the boundaries of the historic county of Renfrewshire, the others being Inverclyde to the west and East Renfrewshire to the east...

, Lanarkshire
Lanarkshire
Lanarkshire or the County of Lanark ) is a Lieutenancy area, registration county and former local government county in the central Lowlands of Scotland...

 and Ayrshire
Ayrshire
Ayrshire is a registration county, and former administrative county in south-west Scotland, United Kingdom, located on the shores of the Firth of Clyde. Its principal towns include Ayr, Kilmarnock and Irvine. The town of Troon on the coast has hosted the British Open Golf Championship twice in the...

, with an estimated total of around 60,000 stopping work.

Reports came in that men were carrying out military drill at points round Glasgow, foundries and forges had been raided, and iron files and dyer's poles taken to make pikes. In Kilbarchan
Kilbarchan
Kilbarchan is a village and civil parish in central Renfrewshire, in the west central Lowlands of Scotland. The village's name means "cell of St. Barchan". It is known for its former weaving industry.- History :...

 soldiers found men making pikes, in Stewarton
Stewarton
Stewarton is a town in East Ayrshire, Scotland. In comparison to the neighbouring towns of Kilmaurs, Fenwick, Dunlop and Lugton, it is a relatively large town, with a population of over 6,500. It is 300 feet above sea level.Groome, Francis H. . Ordnance Gazetteer of Scotland. Pub. Caxton. London....

 around 60 strikers was dispersed, in Balfron
Balfron
Balfron, is a village in the Stirling council area of Scotland. It is situated near Endrick Water on the A875 road, 18 miles west of Stirling and 16 miles north of Glasgow. Although a rural settlement, it lies within commuting distance of Glasgow, and serves as a dormitory town.-History:The name...

 around 200 men had assembled for some sort of action. Pikes, gunpowder and weapons called "wasps" (a sort of javelin) and "clegs" (a barbed shuttlecock to throw at horses) were offered for sale.

Rumours spread that England was in arms for the cause of reform and that an army was mustering at Campsie
Campsie Fells
The Campsie Fells are a range of hills in central Scotland, stretching east to west, from Denny Muir to Dumgoyne, in Stirlingshire. . The highest point in the range is Earl's Seat which is 578 m high...

 commanded by Marshal MacDonald
Étienne-Jacques-Joseph-Alexandre MacDonald
Étienne Jacques Joseph Alexandre MacDonald, 1st duke of Taranto was a Marshal of France and military leader during the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars.-Family background:...

, a Marshal of France
Marshal of France
The Marshal of France is a military distinction in contemporary France, not a military rank. It is granted to generals for exceptional achievements...

 and son of a Jacobite
Jacobitism
Jacobitism was the political movement in Britain dedicated to the restoration of the Stuart kings to the thrones of England, Scotland, later the Kingdom of Great Britain, and the Kingdom of Ireland...

 refugee family, to join forces with 50,000 French soldiers at Cathkin Braes
Cathkin Braes
Cathkin Braes, at over 200m in altitude, is the highest area in Glasgow. It is a site for mountainbikers and was a rallying point in the Radical War....

 under Kinloch, the fugitive "Radical laird" from Dundee.

In Paisley
Paisley
Paisley is the largest town in the historic county of Renfrewshire in the west central Lowlands of Scotland and serves as the administrative centre for the Renfrewshire council area...

 the local reformers' committee met under command of their drill instructor, but scattered when Paisley was put under curfew.

Government troops were ready in Glasgow, including the Rifle Brigade, the 83rd Regiment of Foot, the 7th and 10th Hussars and Samuel Hunter's Glasgow Sharpshooters. In the evening 300 radicals briefly skirmished with a party "of cavalry", but no one came to harm that day.

March on Carron


In Glasgow John Craig led around 30 men to make for the Carron Company
Carron Company
The Carron Company was an ironworks established in 1759 on the banks of the River Carron near Falkirk, in Stirlingshire, Scotland. After initial problems, the company was at the forefront of the Industrial Revolution in the United Kingdom. The company prospered through its development and...

 ironworks
Ironworks
An ironworks or iron works is a building or site where iron is smelted and where heavy iron and/or steel products are made. The term is both singular and plural, i.e...

 in Falkirk
Falkirk
Falkirk is a town in the Central Lowlands of Scotland. It lies in the Forth Valley, almost midway between the two most populous cities of Scotland; north-west of Edinburgh and north-east of Glasgow....

, Stirlingshire
Stirlingshire
Stirlingshire or the County of Stirling is a registration county of Scotland, based around Stirling, the former county town. It borders Perthshire to the north, Clackmannanshire and West Lothian to the east, Lanarkshire to the south, and Dunbartonshire to the south-west.Until 1975 it was a county...

, telling them that weapons would be there for the taking, but the group scattered when intercepted by a police patrol. By coincidence a detachment of Hussars was waiting in ambush with the intention of catching men marching off from Glasgow to Carron, but was disappointed. Craig was caught, brought before a magistrate and fined, but the magistrate paid his fine for him.

On the next day, Tuesday 4 April, Duncan Turner assembled around 60 men to march to Carron, while he carried out organising work elsewhere. Half the group dropped out, the rest accepted his assurances that they would pick up supporters along the way. Their leader Andrew Hardie
Andrew Hardie (radical)
Andrew Hardie was second-in-command of the Radical Forces who marched on Scotland's Carron Ironworks in the "Radical War" of 1820.He was sentenced to death and was executed in Stirling on September 8, 1820 along with John Baird. In his speech on the scaffold he declared himself "a martyr to the...

 was given a torn half card to be matched with the other half in the possession of a supporter in Condorrat
Condorrat
Condorrat is a village on the eastern edges of Dunbartonshire in Scotland. The village origins dates to around the 17th century. Over the past few decades it has been subsumed by the new town of Cumbernauld....

, on the way to Carron. There, John Baird was visited around 11 p.m. by John King, who gave him the other half card. At around 5 a.m. on 5 April Hardie arrived with 25 men, soaked through. Baird had expected a small army, but King urged them on, saying he would go on ahead to rally supporters. One of the men named Kean went with him, and Baird and Hardie set off with a total of 30 men. On the way they twice came across travellers, but let them go. The travellers passed the information on to authorities at Kilsyth
Kilsyth
Kilsyth is a town of 10,100 roughly halfway between Glasgow and Stirling in North Lanarkshire, Scotland.-Location:...

 and Stirling
Stirling
Stirling is a city and former ancient burgh in Scotland, and is at the heart of the wider Stirling council area. The city is clustered around a large fortress and medieval old-town beside the River Forth...

 Castle. King arrived again, though Kean was not with him. and told them that he had instructions that he had to go quickly to find supporters at Camelon
Camelon
Camelon is a large settlement within the Falkirk council area, Scotland. The village is in the Forth Valley, west of Falkirk, south of Larbert and east of Bonnybridge...

, while Baird and Hardie were to leave the road and wait at Bonnymuir
Bonnymuir
Bonnymuir was a moorland area near the town of Bonnybridge in Scotland. Today, it has mostly become either housing or farmland.It was a significant location in the so-called "Radical War" of 1820...

.

Sixteen Hussars and sixteen Yeomanry troopers had been ordered on 4 April to leave Perth
Perth, Scotland
Perth is a town and former city and royal burgh in central Scotland. Located on the banks of the River Tay, it is the administrative centre of Perth and Kinross council area and the historic county town of Perthshire...

 and go to protect Carron. They left the road at Bonnybridge
Bonnybridge
Bonnybridge is a small town in the Falkirk council area of Scotland. It is west of Falkirk, north-east of Cumbernauld and south-southwest of Stirling. The town is situated near the Bonny Water which runs through the town and lies north of the Forth and Clyde Canal...

 early on 5 April and made straight for the slopes of Bonnymuir. As the newspapers subsequently reported, "On observing this force the radicals cheered and advanced to a wall over which they commenced firing at the military. Some shots were then fired by the soldiers in return, and after some time the cavalry got through an opening in the wall and attacked the party who resisted till overpowered by the troops who succeeded in taking nineteen of them prisoners, who are lodged in Stirling Castle. Four of the radicals were wounded". The Glasgow Herald sniggered at the small number of radicals encountered, but worried that "the conspiracy appears to be more extensive than almost anyone imagined... radical principles are too widely spread and too deeply rooted to vanish without some explosion and the sooner it takes place the better."

During 5 April more regiments arrived in Glasgow, causing considerable excitement. Some signs of resistance being organised were reported and the army stood on the alert well into the night, but no radical attack materialised. In Duntocher
Duntocher
Duntocher is a village in Dunbartonshire, Scotland.Although it is a far older settlement and still considered a village in its own right, it is administratively part of nearby Clydebank along with the neighbouring village of Hardgate and is now part of the West Dunbartonshire local authority area...

, Paisley and Camelon people thought to be drilling or making pikes were arrested.

The march from Strathaven


On the afternoon of 5 April, before news of the Bonnymuir fighting got out, "the Englishman" Lees sent a message asking the radicals of Strathaven
Strathaven
Strathaven is a historic market town in South Lanarkshire, Scotland. The town was granted a Royal Charter in 1450, making the Town of Strathaven a burgh of barony. The town's principal industry was primarily weaving in the 19th and early 20th centuries, however this declined when faced by...

 to meet up with the "Radical laird" Kinloch's large force at Cathkin
Cathkin Braes
Cathkin Braes, at over 200m in altitude, is the highest area in Glasgow. It is a site for mountainbikers and was a rallying point in the Radical War....

, and next morning a small force of 25 men followed the instructions and left at 7 a.m. to march there. The experienced elderly Radical James Wilson is claimed to have had a banner reading "Scotland Free or a Desart" [sic]. At East Kilbride
East Kilbride
East Kilbride is a large suburban town in the South Lanarkshire council area, in the West Central Lowlands of Scotland. Designated as Scotland's first new town in 1947, it forms part of the Greater Glasgow conurbation...

 they were warned of an army ambush, and Wilson, suspecting treachery, returned to Strathaven. The others bypassed the ambush and reached Cathkin, but as there was no sign of the promised army they dispersed. Ten of them were identified and caught, and by nightfall on 7 April they were jailed at Hamilton.

Other Radical disturbances occurred at weaver villages around the central lowlands and the west central Scotland, with less obvious activity in some east coast towns.

Prisoners to Greenock


On Saturday 8 April prisoners from Paisley
Paisley
Paisley is the largest town in the historic county of Renfrewshire in the west central Lowlands of Scotland and serves as the administrative centre for the Renfrewshire council area...

 were being escorted by the Port Glasgow
Port Glasgow
Port Glasgow is the second largest town in the Inverclyde council area of Scotland. The population according to the 1991 census for Port Glasgow was 19426 persons and in the 2001 census was 16617 persons...

 Militia to Greenock
Greenock
Greenock is a town and administrative centre in the Inverclyde council area in United Kingdom, and a former burgh within the historic county of Renfrewshire, located in the west central Lowlands of Scotland...

 jail when the militia were attacked by local people who fought the them in the streets and from the windows and doorways of their houses. The escort managed to get through and lodge the prisoners in the jail by 5 p.m., but then had to fight their way out again. In reaction to insults and stone throwing they opened fire, killing eight including an 8 year old boy and wounding ten others. The militiamen escaped, then angry Greenockians stormed the jail and freed the prisoners.

Trials and executions


In various towns a total of 88 men were charged with treason. At both Glasgow
Glasgow
Glasgow is the largest city in Scotland and third most populous in the United Kingdom. The city is situated on the River Clyde in the country's west central lowlands...

 and Stirling
Stirling
Stirling is a city and former ancient burgh in Scotland, and is at the heart of the wider Stirling council area. The city is clustered around a large fortress and medieval old-town beside the River Forth...

 a special Royal commission Court of Oyer and Terminer was set up to prosecute.

James Wilson was arrested and on 20 July was put on trial at Glasgow charged with four counts of treason The jury found him Not Guilty on three counts, Guilty of "compassing to levy war against the King in order to compel him to change his measures" and recommended mercy, but he was sentenced to death.

Five of his colleagues were found Not Guilty, another was discharged. On 1 August a jury ignored the abrasive judge and refused to convict two weavers.

At Stirling on 4 August the judge advised "To you Andrew Hardie and John Baird I can hold out little or no hope of mercy" since "as you were the leaders, I am afraid that example must be given by you."

James Wilson was hanged and beheaded on 30 August watched by some 20,000 people, first remarking to the executioner "Did you ever see such a crowd, Thomas?".

On 8 September Hardie and Baird were executed in Stirling
Stirling
Stirling is a city and former ancient burgh in Scotland, and is at the heart of the wider Stirling council area. The city is clustered around a large fortress and medieval old-town beside the River Forth...

, watched by a crowd of 2,000. The Sheriff of Stirling, Ranald MacDonald, required that they make no political speech from the gallows, but agreed that they could speak upon the bible. Baird concluded his brief speech by saying "Although this day we die an ignominious death by unjust laws our blood, which in a very few minutes shall flow on this scaffold, will cry to heaven for vengeance, and may it be the means of our afflicted Countrymen’s speedy redemption." Hardie then spoke of "our blood [being] shed on this scaffold... for no other sin but seeking the legitimate rights of our ill used and down trodden beloved Countrymen", then when the Sheriff angrily intervened he concluded by asking those present to "go quietly home and read your Bibles, and remember the fate of Hardie and Baird." They were hanged and then beheaded.

Thomas McCulloch, John Barr, William Smith, Benjamin Moir, Allan Murchie, Alexander Latimer, Andrew White, David Thomson, James Wright, William Clackson
William Clackson
William Clackson was born circa 1799. He was a shoemaker living in Glasgow at the time of the "Radical War" of 1820. He was sentenced to death for his part in the uprising, but this was subsequently communted to transportation to New South Wales. He left Scotland in the convict ship Speke on the...

, Thomas Pike, Robert Gray, John Clelland, Alexander Hart, Thomas McFarlane, John Anderson, William Crawford and the 15 year old Alexander Johnstone were in due course transported
Penal transportation
Transportation or penal transportation is the deporting of convicted criminals to a penal colony. Examples include transportation by France to Devil's Island and by the UK to its colonies in the Americas, from the 1610s through the American Revolution in the 1770s, and then to Australia between...

 to the penal colonies in New South Wales
New South Wales
New South Wales is a state of :Australia, located in the east of the country. It is bordered by Queensland, Victoria and South Australia to the north, south and west respectively. To the east, the state is bordered by the Tasman Sea, which forms part of the Pacific Ocean. New South Wales...

 or Tasmania
Tasmania
Tasmania is an Australian island and state. It is south of the continent, separated by Bass Strait. The state includes the island of Tasmania—the 26th largest island in the world—and the surrounding islands. The state has a population of 507,626 , of whom almost half reside in the greater Hobart...

. Peter Mackenzie, a Glasgow journalist, campaigned unsuccessfully to them pardoned, and published a small book: The Spy System, including the exploits of Mr Alex. Richmond, the notorious Government Spy of Sidmouth and Castlereagh.

Eventually, on the 10th August 1835 an absolute pardon was granted.

Outcome


The effect of the crushing of this staged insurrection was to effectively discourage serious Radical
Radicalism (historical)
The term Radical was used during the late 18th century for proponents of the Radical Movement. It later became a general pejorative term for those favoring or seeking political reforms which include dramatic changes to the social order...

 unrest in Scotland
Scotland
Scotland is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. Occupying the northern third of the island of Great Britain, it shares a border with England to the south and is bounded by the North Sea to the east, the Atlantic Ocean to the north and west, and the North Channel and Irish Sea to the...

 for some time. Lord Melville
Robert Dundas, 2nd Viscount Melville
Robert Dundas, 2nd Viscount Melville KT, PC, FRS was a British statesman, the son of Henry Dundas, the 1st Viscount. Dundas was the Member of Parliament for Hastings in 1794, Rye in 1796 and Midlothian in 1801. He was also Keeper of the Signet for Scotland from 1800...

, the right hand man in Scotland of Lord Liverpool's government, saw the suggested Visit of King George IV to Scotland
Visit of King George IV to Scotland
The 1822 visit of King George IV to Scotland was the first visit of a reigning monarch to Scotland since 1650. Government ministers had pressed the King to bring forward a proposed visit to Scotland, to divert him from diplomatic intrigue at the Congress of Verona.The visit increased his popularity...

 as a political need, to engage the feelings of the common people and weaken the Radical movement. The event, largely organised by Sir Walter Scott
Walter Scott
Sir Walter Scott, 1st Baronet was a Scottish historical novelist, playwright, and poet, popular throughout much of the world during his time....

, succeeded brilliantly and brought a new-found Scottish national identity
Scottish national identity
Scottish national identity is a term referring to the sense of national identity and common culture of Scottish people and is shared by a considerable majority of the people of Scotland....

 creating widespread enthusiasm for the tartan
Tartan
Tartan is a pattern consisting of criss-crossed horizontal and vertical bands in multiple colours. Tartans originated in woven wool, but now they are made in many other materials. Tartan is particularly associated with Scotland. Scottish kilts almost always have tartan patterns...

  "plaid
Belted plaid
The belted plaid is a large blanket-like piece of fabric which is wrapped around one's body with the material pleated or, more accurately, loosely gathered and secured at the waist by means of a belt...

ed pageantry" that Sheriff Ranald MacDonald of Stirling was already enthusiastically engaged in as a Clan chieftain
Scottish clan
Scottish clans , give a sense of identity and shared descent to people in Scotland and to their relations throughout the world, with a formal structure of Clan Chiefs recognised by the court of the Lord Lyon, King of Arms which acts as an authority concerning matters of heraldry and Coat of Arms...

 at Ulva
Ulva
Ulva is an island in the Inner Hebrides of Scotland, off the west coast of Mull. It is separated from Mull by a narrow strait, and connected to the neighbouring island of Gometra by a bridge. Much of the island is formed from Tertiary basalt rocks, which is formed into columns in places.Ulva has...

 and member of various "Highland societies".

At the suggestion of Walter Scott, unemployed weavers from the west of Scotland were put to work on paving a track round Salisbury Crags in Holyrood Park
Holyrood Park
Holyrood Park is a royal park in central Edinburgh, Scotland about a mile to the east of Edinburgh Castle. It has an array of hills, lochs, glens, ridges, basalt cliffs, and patches of whin providing a remarkably wild piece of highland landscape within its area...

 adjoining Arthur's Seat, Edinburgh
Arthur's Seat, Edinburgh
Arthur's Seat is the main peak of the group of hills which form most of Holyrood Park, described by Robert Louis Stevenson as "a hill for magnitude, a mountain in virtue of its bold design". It is situated in the centre of the city of Edinburgh, about a mile to the east of Edinburgh Castle...

. The path is still known as the Radical Road.

The cause of electoral reform continued, and with the Scottish Reform Act 1832
Scottish Reform Act 1832
The Scottish Reform Act 1832 was an Act of Parliament that introduced wide-ranging changes to the election laws of Scotland. The act was passed at approximately the same time as the Reform Act 1832, which applied to England and Wales. The chief architects of the act were Francis Jeffrey and Henry...

 Glasgow
Glasgow
Glasgow is the largest city in Scotland and third most populous in the United Kingdom. The city is situated on the River Clyde in the country's west central lowlands...

 was given its own Member of Parliament
Member of Parliament
A Member of Parliament is a representative of the voters to a :parliament. In many countries with bicameral parliaments, the term applies specifically to members of the lower house, as upper houses often have a different title, such as senate, and thus also have different titles for its members,...

 for the first time. The event was largely overshadowed by English Radical events and forgotten by school history, but in the 20th century the Scottish National Party
Scottish National Party
The Scottish National Party is a social-democratic political party in Scotland which campaigns for Scottish independence from the United Kingdom....

 historian J.Halliday brought the event back into the curriculum. At an anniversary debate in the Scottish Parliament
Scottish Parliament
The Scottish Parliament is the devolved national, unicameral legislature of Scotland, located in the Holyrood area of the capital, Edinburgh. The Parliament, informally referred to as "Holyrood", is a democratically elected body comprising 129 members known as Members of the Scottish Parliament...

members of the various parties each found lessons for their different causes in the "Radical War".

External links


It should be noted that there are discrepancies between the various accounts. Dates above are taken from Halliday, but others show different dates.