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The Awakening of Scotland
A History from 1747 to 1797 by William Law Mathieson (1910)


In this book I have continued for another fifty years the narrative of Scottish history since the Reformation which is contained in my two previous works. The second half of the eighteenth century in Scotland owes much of its interest to the awakening of industry and to the brilliant, though expensive, victory won by liberalism in the Church; but the change from stagnation to the full current of life was no less remarkable in the political than in, the industrial sphere; and here perhaps the significance of the period is not so generally understood. In developing this branch of my subject. I have not hesitated to pursue its ramifications into British, or even into English, history; for all the chief conflicts of opinion during these years—the Militia and Anti Catholic agitations and the Reform movements of 1780 and 1792—originated in England; and, as the spirit of the Scottish Parliament, embodied in its election laws, survived till 1832, one has to consider, not only the original nature of this force, but its evolution as a factor in Westminster politics. In the following pages I have devoted considerable attention to such politicians as Oswald, Dempster and Bute, and have reviewed with more precision than has yet been attempted the character and early career of Henry Dundas. Moderatism, in accordance with its conjunction of repressive methods and liberal ideas, is studied, first as a system of ecclesiastical policy, and then as an intellectual force; and the material development of the country is sketched continuously under its several heads. I had intended in a concluding chapter to indicate the effect of expanding thought and industry on the daily life of the people; but this has been done fully, if not methodically, by the late Henry Grey Graham; and little of importance could have been added to his vivid, humorous and picturesque account.

Edinburgh : November, 1910.



The Constitutional element in Scottish history: a survey
The English representative system
The franchise in Scottish counties and burghs
Subservience of Scottish representatives at Westminster

Chapter I. Scotland at Westminster, 1747 - 1775

Scottish opposition to Walpole
Ministerial changes, 1742-1757
Argyll “the sole Minister” for Scotland
Hume Campbell; “annihilated” by Pitt
Oswald and Bubb Dodington
Murray; Lord Dupplin
Forfeited Estates and Sheriff-Depute Acts, 1752
Proposed Scottish Militia, 1760
Accession of George III.; his autocratic schemes
Influence a substitute for prerogative
Bute Premier; English antipathy to the Scots
Scotsmen in political and military office
Clannishness and subservience of the Scots
Career and character of Bute
Smollett’s Briton
Stuart Mackenzie
Oswald’s last years
Sir Gilbert Elliot
Scottish members as “King’s friends,”
Scotsmen in opposition

Chapter II. The American War 1775 - 1783

Outbreak of the American Revolution, 1775
Oppressive measures at home
Alexander Wedderburn
Henry Dundas and the war
Lord Mansfield
Scottish peers; Marchmont and Stormont
Election of peers merely nominal
Lords Buchan and Selkirk as electoral reformers
Scottish opinion on the war
Views of Robertson, Hume, and Adam Smith
The Quebec Act, 1774; Catholic Relief, 1778
No Popery agitation in Scotland
Militia again demanded; Paul Jones
Highland Regiments
Resignation of North, 1782
Second Rockingham, Shelburne, and Coalition Ministries, 1783
Dundas resumes his “independence”
Intrigues with Shelburne and Pitt; dismissed
Loughborough and Mansfield support the Coalition

Chapter III. The Political Awakening, 1783 - 1797

Supremacy of Pitt and Dundas
George Dempster
Sir Gilbert Elliot the younger
William Adam
Parliamentary Reform in England, 1780-1784
Scottish county reform movement
Municipal preferred to parliamentary reform
Irresponsibility and corruption of town councils
Municipal reform in Parliament
Opposed by Dundas and (1793) abandoned
Character and policy of Dundas
The French Revolution estranges Burke and Fox
Disruption of the Whigs
Loughborough becomes Chancellor, 1793
Jacobite disabilities repealed, 1784,
London democratic societies
Burgh reform riots
Activity of the Friends of the People
Spread of revolutionary opinions
Social discontent; riots and strikes
Convention at Edinburgh of the Friends of the People, 1792
Burgh reformers hold aloof
Anti-reform pamphlets and resolutions
Trials for sedition, 1793
Trial and transportation of Muir
And of Palmer
Grey’s petition rejected by the Commons
Proposed union with English societies
British Convention at Edinburgh; dispersed
Its imitation of French forms
Proposal to hold another Convention in England, 1794
Conspiracy of Watt and Downie
The Society of United Irishmen
Its ramifications in Scotland, 1797
Triumph of repression
Retrospect of the liberal movement

Chapter IV. Ecclesiastical Politics

The law of patronage more or less dormant
Heritors in place of patron; the Secession
Patronage comes into general use
Scanty stipends; proposed increase
Landowners hostile; the scheme defeated
Another crisis; the Torphichen case, 1747
The Inverkeithing case; Gillespie deposed, 1752
Moderate and Popular manifestoes; Robertson and Home
The Edinburgh Theatre, 1725-1756
Home’s Tragedy of Douglas
Play-going ministers prosecuted, 1757
Theatre question divides the Moderates
Progress of dissent
Movement to restore Gillespie; fails, 1752
Gillespie’s character; Relief Church founded, 1761
Robertson as leader; his policy reviewed
He estranges the Relief Church
The Schism Overture, 1765-1766
Reaction against patronage, 1768
Movement for its repeal, 1782
Patronage finally established, 1784
Augmentation of stipends again proposed, 1792
Proposed exemption from the Test, 1791

Chapter V. The Noontide of Moderatism

Moderatism from Leighton to Leechman
Orthodoxy discredited
Shaftesbury’s optimistic philosophy
Its influence on Scotland; Hutcheson
“Paganised Christian divines”
Leechman and theological reform
Conflict between the Old and the New Moderatism
Controversy as to Home’s Douglas
The literary revival
A brilliant epoch
Humanism in the Church
Witherspoon’s Ecclesiastical Characteristics
Carlyle as revealed in his Autobiography
Carlyle as a parish minister
Somerville’s Life and Times
Moderatism in the pulpit; Blair
Charters of Wilton
Taylor’s writings; heresy in the west
M‘Gill's treatise
His attitude towards the Confession
Robertson as a censor of faith; and of morals
“The Heathens” at Edinburgh
Orthodoxy at Aberdeen
How far Moderatism was indebted to patronage
Moderatism invades the Evangelicals
The Seceders
Rise of Voluntaryism; John Glas
The age of Voltaire
Moderatism outlives its greatness

Chapter VI. A Material Progress

Glasgow as a tobacco emporium
Growth of its manufactures
How affected by the American Revolution
Deepening of the Clyde
Forth and Clyde Canal
Carron Ironworks; Grangemouth
Revival in the east
Edinburgh; the New Town
The Fife coast
Decline of the fisheries
Herring-bounties; their partial success
Rise of Campbeltown and Wick
Staple manufactures; linen and wool
Extension of linen-making
Dundee and Perth
Revival of the woollen industry
Its principal seats
The cotton manufacture; machinery
The Border districts and the Solway
Gatehouse; Solway factories
Growth of Banking
Agriculture; primitive methods
Tendency to improvement since the Union
Rapid progress after 1760
Pioneers; Cockburn in East Lothian
Barclay and Lord Gardenstone in Kincardineshire
Lord Karnes in Perthshire
Relics of feudalism; personal services
Whisky supplants ale
Progress of agriculture unequal
Its stagnation in the Highlands and Hebrides
Development of the cattle trade; sheep-farming
Consequent depopulation
The Hebrides over-crowded; kelp
Rise of the crofters

You can download his previous book in pdf format here
Scotland and the Union; a History of Scotland from 1695 to 1747

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