The Politics and Society of Glasgow, 1648-74

Shepherd, William Scott (1978) The Politics and Society of Glasgow, 1648-74. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Abstract

This thesis sets out to study the Politics and Society of Glasgow in depth, utilising the MSS. burgh election returns and scattered information on the leading families. Glasgow has been fortunate in her rich heritage of local historians ranging from the extensive 'couthy rambles' school to scholarly and lucid works. All historians of Glasgow will be indebted to the pioneering work of the late Victorian Town Clerk, Sir James D. Marwick and his staunch assistant Robert Renwick - who incidentally appears to have undertaken much of the actual transcription of the burgh records and other documents. T. C. Smout has recently acclaimed the work of John M'Ure, an eighteenth century historian rather patronised by the Victorian sages. Early histories such as M'Ure's and Gibson's, augmented by the compendious works of the Victorian school, provide personal insights into Glasgow life often absent in formal records. The invaluable publications of the Maitland, Bannatyne and Regality Clubs, and the Scottish Burgh Records Society, Scottish History Society and a multiplicity of local groups, all add to our knowledge of early Glasgow. The most useful general history is probably the collaborative work of G. Eyre-Todd, R. Renwick and J. Lindsay. All these works are cited in the Bibliography. However academic analysis of seventeenth century Glasgow only really emerged with T. C. Smout's excellent work on the Glasgow merchants in the 1960's, and F. N. McCoy's study of Robert Baillie and Glasgow Kirk Politics. With the growing interest in seventeenth century Scottish history, and a reappraisal of the role of the Covenanters, a study of the key centre of the West should serve to augment knowledge of the localities. The pattern of local studies for the Civil War-Interregnum period has already been well established for England by the work of Roger Howell on Newcastle, David Underdown on Somerset, and a growing school. If fault can be found with the many published histories of Glasgow, it is that they are relatively uncritical - tending to eulogise the burgh. This study shows the ruthless power struggles and opportunism of burgh politicians, and the wretchedness of those outside the body of successful burgesses. It analyses the incessant in-fighting within the Kirk, and the struggles between Archbishops and burgh leaders for freedom of elections, throwing new light on the interpretations of Baillie and Wodrow. It confirms the views of Smout and I. B. Cowan on the practical nature of the Glasgow merchants vis-a-vis political and religious committment, and applauds Glasgow's enterprise after 1660, with occasional reservations. The main manuscript sources for any study of Glasgow are to be found in the Strathclyde Regional Archives, formerly the Glasgow City Archives. The Council Minutes are intact for the period, and are essential for Council election returns and domestic detail. They are more limited in political detail, but this can be gleaned from surviving commentaries by contemporaries such as Robert Baillie, John Spreule, James Burns and other diarists. Such aids are less plentiful for the Post- Restoration period in Glasgow, although Wodrow is invaluable for West Scotland generally. The other major source for this study has been the Glasgow Presbytery Records, which have been badly damaged by fire, and are missing from 1654-60. The Pollok Maxwell Papers in S. R. A. give interesting insights into the life and affairs of a prominent local laird and associate of Glasgow's leading men. The Register of the Committee of Estates and other Scottish Parliamentary Records held in the Scottish Record Office supplement our knowledge of Glasgow affairs both at national and local levels, as do the printed Acts of Parliament. Full details of manuscript and printed sources are provided in the bibliography. The Introduction outlines Glasgow's environment and constitutional development, together with the institutions of the burgh. The classes of burgh society are analysed, and statistics of office-holding between 1644 and 1690 are submitted. In the Prelude, the development of faction in Glasgow between 1645 and 1648, and the emergence of the leading figures of the next decade, prepares the ground for Part One of the thesis - an examination of the struggle for Kirk and King between 1649 and 1652. Part Two covers Glasgow during the Cromwellian Union in three chapters. After 1652 the old establishment reasserted itself, reviewing the works of the radicals and stabilising the burgh economy. (Abstract shortened by ProQuest.).

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: European history, Political science, Economic history
Date of Award: 1978
Depositing User: Enlighten Team
Unique ID: glathesis:1978-78777
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 30 Jan 2020 14:55
Last Modified: 30 Jan 2020 14:55
URI: http://theses.gla.ac.uk/id/eprint/78777

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