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The work o' the weavers
Researched by David Cramb Wilson

On the 3rd of September 1760, James Wilson was born in Kirk Street within the parish of Avondale.

The family of Wilson had long been weavers.  Among the best-known weavers of the name was Wilson of Bannockburn.  For over a century and a half their firm wove checks and tartans.  They supplied the Government with the tartan for the highland regiments, and following the repeal of the Act of Proscription in 1782, they collected ancient setts, designed others and were in the thick of the tartan revival of the 19th century.

James Wilson of Strathaven was believed to be the inventor of the stocking-frame, on which the pearl stitch could be worked and due to this - was commonly known as "Perley Wilson".

James Wilson commenced business for himself around 1780.  Although the industrial revolution had left little work for the semi-independent handloom weaver.

From 1800 onwards "Perlie" was chiefly employed as a tinsmith, or in repairing of clocks and guns, or rearing and training pointer dogs and in shooting game in the proper season.  He is known to have Practised in the medical profession, composed scraps of poetry, chiefly sarcastical, but with good effect.

He was a freethinker on religious subjects.  He told serious Christians "he was not of their religion".  Nothing pleased him so much as any small tract that either exposed the measures of the British Government or the Christian Religion.

He procured a copy of Thomas Paines "Age of Reason" - a work that chiefly condemned the established churches of the day - by the famous radical Paine - who was surprisingly himself the son of a quaker.  Wilson also procured a pamphlet  termed "The God of the Jews", and some other deistical tracts.  He read them and repeated their tenets and lent them to all that would pursue them.

Perley Wilson commenced his political career around 1792, when some of the Whig members of parliament formed themselves into a society named the "Friends of the People".  A society, agreeable to their recommendation was formed at Strathaven.  It consisted at first of the Commissioners of Supply, Heritors and respectable and intelligent people of that parish; and James Wilson and others of his rank, seemed to attend only as spectators.

When it was found that the Duke of Hamilton and the noblemen and Gentlemen of the country were inimical to the visionary reforms then projected, and after the society had published their sentiments at large on that subject, most of the members withdrew.  As they did so, James Wilson, with some weavers and other mechanics of a speculative cast, came forward, held frequent meetings and published new resolutions.

The weavers, were revolutionary in their views - at their meetings they read Cobbett's Register, the Black Dwarf and other radical pamphlets.  A Union society of which Wilson was Class leader, met in his house and others were formed in different parts of the town under his directions.  James Wilson's house became the place of general rendezvous from 1795 onwards.

In 1813, two years before the war with Napoleon, the trouble began with a general strike of 40,000 weavers throughout Scotland.  With wages at 8s 6d. per week, and the pack of meal at 3s., their case was hard enough, but the strike did not make the times better, and with the arrest of the leaders it collapsed after a couple of months.

Following the Napoleonic wars in 1815, returning soldiers faced unemployment.  At the same time, among the starving and unemployed people - the ideas of the French Revolution were at work, to propagate discontent and instigate rebellion.  The French satirist Voltaire's famous quotation - "Work banishes those three great evils; boredom, vice and poverty" was widely propagated.

The full blast of disaster descended upon Glasgow in 1816.  In the first three months of that year the bankruptcies in the city involved sums amounting to two millions sterling.

In October of that year some 40,000 persons assembled at Thrushgrove, near the city, and passed resolutions demanding redress of grievances; and so fearful were the magistrates of a riotous outbreak that they had the 42nd Highlanders at the barracks in Gallowgate and the dragoons in the cavalry quarters under arms in readiness for action.

That gathering marked the opening of the "Radical" movement in the West of Scotland.  In December some actual rioting did occur, but was suppressed by the prompt action of the magistrates, the sherrif-depute, and the justices of the peace.

On January 29th, 1817, the first edition of "Black Dwarf" went on sale.  The frontispiece of the first volume depicted, Pan - holding the Black Dwarf's arm in the air - declaring his victory.  While a wig lay on its side by a set of shackles that had been cast off.  Elsewhere in the picture money and a wig is being burned on a bonfire, a jesters cap sits upon a crown, telling us plainly the "King is a fool".  Pans presence informing us the whole time - that it is a satirical publication. 

The Black Dwarf was the major reformist paper which was read aloud by Wilson and friends at their meetings  It was also very humorous, and reads well even today - which perhaps reflects the high standard of literacy of that time. 

One interesting correspondent is A. Wilson  of Bridgeton.  This is widely believed to be Andrew Wilson the Radical of Camlachie - who was the son of Thomas Wilson tenant of Pollewilling sic. (Polliwilline), Campbelltown. His son Andrew Wilson - bootmaker of Glasgow - lived at 44 Holywell Street (formerly East Hope Street) Camlachie - which was the house of his family well into this century.  He is survived today by his descendants - Alexander Wilson and his cousins Andrew Wilson of Bearsden and Andrew Wilson of Glasgow, and their respective families - who live within the city of Glasgow.  Andrew Wilson of Bearsden currently holds the radicals original Admiralty documents - dating from the 1790's on the HMS Impregnable - as well as Andrew Wilsons' actual trade indenture document drawn up in 1772.  In the Napoleonic wars the Camlachie radicals eldest son - Thomas Wilson had fought at the battle of Trafalgar.

Early in 1817 the events took an ominous turn, when an attempt was made on the life of the Prince Regent, as he returned from opening Parliament.

At the same time within Glasgow itself, serious conspiracies were said to be afoot.  The unemployed cotton spinners were known to be plotting lawless outbreaks, and a secret enquiry by the Government discovered  the existence of a treasonable oath by which certain persons had bound themselves to secure universal suffrage and annual parliaments, either by means or by force.

The Reverend Neil Douglas, a dissenting minister in the city, did what he could to inflame the crowds which went to hear him, by fierce invective against the King, the Prince Regent, and the House of Commons.

Earl Grey stated in the House of Lords that Glasgow was "one of the places where treasonable practises were said, in the report of the secret committee of both Houses, to prevail to the greatest degree".

Acts of lawlessness became more and more common throughout 1819.  A riot on the Kings birth night, 4th June 1819, did a considerable amount of damage.

The spirit of rebellion, nevertheless was becoming more evident.

Among the friends of the extremists it was afterwards argued that the troubles were stirred up by Government agents, who first fermented rebellion, and then profited by betraying the rebels.

Even the precautions taken by the authorities to maintain order were blamed as acts of repression which stimulated outrage.

Throughout the autumn of 1819 the Town Council had found it necessary, for the preservation of peace, to have cavalry stationed in the city of Glasgow.  A corps of special constables also was requisitioned.  Night after night the streets were crowded with an idle populace, ready for riot, and again and again cavalry was required to clear the thoroughfares.

Glasgow was believed by the Government to be the headquarters of the revolutionists in Scotland, and it was in Glasgow that the actual outbreak took place.

Towards the end of 1819, the working classes of the city of Glasgow were in great distress through want of employment and the state of matters was attributed to political causes.

It was usual to see thousands of workmen parading the streets in military order demanding employment or bread.  The magistrates projected public works for the benefit of many of them; and great improvements were effected on the aspect of the Glasgow green by the Labours of the unfortunate men.

The cry for reform arose again as people continued to demand greater liberty and a deeper interest in State affairs, but the British Government was determined to suppress what they considered rebellion against all constituted authority.

Government spies were engaged and paid to ferret out all ramifications of the suspected conspiracy and these spies, faithful only in their unscrupulousness, reported that deeply laid schemes were afoot for the overthrow of King and constitution.

Glasgow was believed by those in authority to be the Scottish centre of the revolutionary movement - based on information passed upwards from the spies.  It was in fact the centre of the Government spy-system and the centre of a profitable although disreputable conspiracy amongst the spies.

Richmond, the Government spy, resided in the city of Glasgow.  He is credited with every appearance of justice, as the fabricator of many treasonable documents, to which under false representation, he obtained the adhesion of a number of reformers,  whose simplicity enabled him to betray them.

The first sign of what appeared to be a powerful organisation against the government was the posting of a bill - a direct incitement to rebellion - on the streets of Glasgow early on the morning of Sunday, 1st April 1820.

"Friends and Countrymen," it ran, "Roused from the state in which we have been sunk for so many years, we are at length compelled... to assert our rights at the hazard of our lives".  It continued in glowing terms, urging the people to take arms to regenerate their country.  The document was signed "By order of the Committee of Organisation for forming a Provisional Government".

The people read it on their way to church, and were amazed and horror-struck; the magistrates were alarmed, and called upon the aid of the military.  The rifle Brigade, the 80th and 83rd Regiments of Foot, the 7th and 10th Hussars, several Regiments of Yeomanry, and the Glasgow Sharpshooters - a regiment of volunteers under the command of Samuel Hunter editor of the "Herald" newspaper - were all ordered for duty in Glasgow and its neighbourhood.

On Monday morning, 2nd April, Magistrates issued a proclamation ordering "all shops to be shut this and every following night, until tranquillity is restored, at the hour of six, and they hereby enjoin all inhabitants of the city to retire to their houses as soon as possible thereafter, and not later than seven o' clock.  All strangers are herby enjoined to withdraw from the city before seven o' clock at night.  Parties or groups of people standing together, or walking on the streets after the hour of seven, will be deemed disturbers of the peace, and will be dealt with accordingly".

On the 3rd of April, the municipal authorities informed the public that the whole military force of the district would be employed in the most decisive manner against those who assisted in the rebellious movement.  Here we see some evidence of the authorities attempting to drive a wedge between the unemployed workers and the educated more prosperous merchants and intellectuals, from where the main leaders of the uprising had already come.  Andrew Willson of Camlachie is typical of this being himself a Merchant in the city, but taking on the reigns of the Leading Glasgow Radical.  This was precisely the way the revolution had been fermented in France - with middle-class merchant's and thinkers funding and leading the army of workers.  The Government recognised this and targeted the leaders, thus attempting to prevent a repeat of what had occurred in Revolutionary France.

On the 8th of April, a Royal proclamation was read at the Glasgow Cross, offering 500 reward for the detection of the authors and printers of the treasonable document of 1st April.

Meanwhile, the government spies were busy preparing their victims; and were endeavouring to rouse the lower orders to a rebellious state, by telling them, at meetings called solely for the purpose, that England was in arms for the cause of reform and that troops where coming from France to assist them in their movement for Liberty.  Fifty thousand French soldiers were to encamp on Cathkin Braes and that Glasgow and its wealth were to be seized in the name of the Provisonal Government.

Already it was claimed that a radical army from England had advanced upon Falkirk and were about to take possession of the Carron Iron Works, then famous for the manufacture of the cannon; and the London mail was to be stopped before it entered Glasgow.

Such were the lies propagated by Government spies and believed by the starving and unemployed workers of Glasgow.

The first arrest made was that of James Wilson the Strathaven Radical - who on the Monday following the posting of the treasonable proclamation, had been told by one of the Glasgow spies of the glorious news, but Wilson was doubtful of the story he was being told and sent a man to the Cathkin Braes to see for himself.

Some twenty of the village reformers then met in Wilson's house and after being harangued by the spy from Glasgow and being forced into a premature march, since the sent man had returned after only a few minutes and said, that he had saw no sign of French soldiers on the Braes, they started on a march to the city.  With their nine guns and as many pikes to overthrow the throne and the altar, and to assume the reins of Government.  One of them announced on the street at their departure "to give no quarters".

The Government emissaries had succeeded in hocussing  the detachment of Strathaven radicals into a premature march - with their leading banner, "Strathaven, Liberty or Death !".  After a night of terrible disappointment - waiting for the battalions which never came; in the morning, their spirit broken and knowing they had been duped and were now fugitives, they wisely scattered for home.  James Wilson had carried a banner in the march with the words, "Scotland free or a desert! Strathaven Union" inscribed upon it.  Wilson was no sooner in his house than he was seized by the police and taken , first to Hamilton barracks, and afterwards to Glasgow on a charge of High Treason.   

Late on the night of Tuesday 3rd April, about seventy men - headed by a Glasgow weaver, Sgt. Andrew Hardie - met on the Fir Park, now the Necropolis, and having been furnished with pikes, swords, muskets and ammunition by the spies - who then made their excuses and departed - the men were directed to march to Falkirk, where they would meet their English radical comrades.

On the way a halt was made in the village of Condorrat, and a weaver named John Baird, with a small party of weavers - was persuaded to join the expedition.  The next day they neared Falkirk but no English Radicals were to be seen.

This disheartened many of them who left the company, fearing something was amiss - and the thirty who remained were resting among some enclosures at Bonnymuir in the vicinity of Castlecary, when a troop of the 7th Hussars came upon them.

The misguided men refused to surrender, hastily formed a solid square - as was employed in the recent battle of Waterloo - and attempted to withstand the overwhelming charge of the cavalry.  They were overcome, nearly every one of them was wounded - although they are said to have faired well - all were made prisoners.

Carts were procured for the conveyance of the injured and all were taken to Stirling Castle, where they were placed in military prison.

The news of all these doings created a great sensation throughout the country; and the King appointed a Special Commission for the trial of the rebels.  Scots law was pushed aside and an Englishmen, Sergeant John Hullock, supervised the prosecution according to the English law of Treason.

Hullock had been sent  up from London to see that Jeffrey and the other Whig counsel who might defend the radicals would be matched fully in legal subtlety, for Lord Castlereagh wanted a "lesson on the scaffold".

72 "wanted" rebels fled from the Bridgeton district of Glasgow - but under bogus names they shot up again in other districts, with a fiercer revolutionary temper, with new secret oaths, and with terrible threats upon spies and informers.  There so many parts of the story missing here since the British government purposefully destroyed important records - regarding radicals who were arrested and imprisoned and physically tore out several pages of records from the public records office, which effectively made people and their families non-persons!  The only other copy of these records remains tightly under lock and key and is the exclusive right of the Scottish Secretary of State. 

Due to the measures employed by the Authorities to wipe the events of 1820 from history - the story has survived mainly through the government biased newspaper accounts of the radicals trials and through the written work of the then radical historian Peter McKenzie - but mostly it has survived by being passed down by word of mouth, within the families of the Scottish Radicals, who rigidly maintained this tradition in defiance.  So effective was the Governments obliteration of the history of the Uprising, that only in the last 10 years has it become part of the History course taught in Scottish secondary schools - through public pressure - although it is still considered by 'the powers that be' to be an act of Sedition and is not discussed openly!
A special court of Oyer and Terminer met at Stirling on the 23rd of June and eighteen of the prisoners captured at Bonnymuir were brought up on a charge of high treason. Among the accused were John Baird, the Condorrat weaver and Andrew Hardie of Glasgow.  With the exception of Baird and three others, all of the accused belonged to Glasgow.

The trial was conducted in the English fashion, and the case was first of all put before a grand jury, who after two days' hearing found true bills against all the prisoners for high treason; and the Lord President fixed the trial for 6th July.

On 6th July - "trial commenced amid the greatest excitement" - eighteen of them were brought up for trial at Edinburgh on a charge of high treason and notwithstanding the eloquence of Francis Jeffrey, who was retained for their defence, all were convicted.

The celebrated Francis Jeffrey - later to become the Lord rector of Glasgow University - was retained for their defence, but his eloquence was unveiling.  Sentence of death was pronounced on Hardie and Baird as ringleaders and the day of doom was appointed for Friday, 8th September.

Extract from the Herald:


The court met this day at nine o' clock, consisting of the Lord President of the Court of Session, the Lord Justice Clerk, the Lord Chief Baron of the Court of Exchequer, the Lord Chief Commissioner of the Jury Court, and Lord Pitmilly.

On the part of the Crown the Counsel are, The Lord Advocate, the Solicitor - General, Mr. Hullock; Mr. H.H. Drummond and Mr. Hope, the Lord Advocate's Deputes; Mr. Menzies, Mr. Knapp; and Mr. James Arnott, W.S., agent.

On the opposite side of the table, Mr. J.K. Murray, Mr Grahme, Mr Montieth, Mr. Pyper, Mr. Cullen, Mr. Miller, and Mr. Sandford Advocates.  Agents, Mr. Harmer, the English Attorney, who conducted the trials which lately took place at Manchester, and Messrs. Fleming and Strang of this city.

James Wilson was put to the bar, having been brought from Bridewell.

The Clerk of Arraigns, then called over the list of the petty jury, consisting of 200 names, which occupied a very considerable time.  After many challenges on the part of the prisoner, and one on that of the Crown, the following Gentlemen were chosen to try the case, viz.-

David Laird of Balornock,
Thomas Muir of Muir Park,
John Lochhead of Govan,
Robert Grandberry Baillie,
Thomas Sommerville, younger of Carnwrath,
Andrew Smith of Auldhouse,
James Howison of Douglas,
James Gilchrist of Gilfoot,
George Rowan of Holmfauldhead,
Thomas Douglas of Moss,
John Woddrop of Dalmarnock,
James Ewing, merchant, Glasgow.

 The Lord President prohibited, in the most positive manner, the publication of the evidence, or the speeches of the Counsel; in the case of Wilson or any of the other trials which are to take place in Glasgow or elsewhere, until the whole proceedings against the persons accused of High Treason are finished; his Lordship observing, that the cases were all in some degree connected together as one grand conspiracy, and that it would be inconsistent with public justice, if the witnesses in one trial could read in the newspapers, previous to their own examination, the evidence of other witnesses.

His Lordship trusted his prohibition would be attended to, as it's violation would bring down on the heads of violators the severest penalties of the law.

The case for the prosecution opened on July 20th 1820.  James Wilson was put to the bar.  The Indictment was read by the Clerk of Arraigns, charging the prisoner with sticking up in various places, and acting upon the recommendation of, the Glasgow Treasonable Address of the 1st April, which was read as part of the indictment; with procuring arms and ammunition for the purpose of levying war against our Lord the King, and, along with others, marching in military array, with arms in their hands, for the purpose of making war on the soldiers of the King; with appointing commanders to lead them against the troops of the country, with imprisoning various subjects of the King, for the purpose of forcing them to accompany them in levying war against the government of the country, and arraying themselves in military order in the parish of Avondale, on or about the 6th April, with Arms in their hands, for the avowed purpose of assisting to overthrow the  constitution.  The Indictment occupied two hours in reading.

Mr Hope then stated to the Jury the heads of the several Counts of the Indictment, charging the prisoner with levying war against the King and constitution.  Wilson was charged also with the further iniquity of imagining the death of the king.

Thursday 20th July 1820:

Twenty-eight witnesses were examined on the part of the Crown.  The prisoner emitted two declarations.  The court concluded at twelve o' clock, to meet on Friday 21st at ten.

It is interesting to note that one of the chief witnesses against Wilson was Sheriff Aiton of Hamilton, Aiton had confessed to having attempted to bribe men into forging pikes so that they should be liable for a charge of treason.

Friday 21st July 1820:

The court met at ten o' clock.  The court was engaged in the examination of ex-culpatory witnesses.

Thirty-two witnesses were examined in exculpation in the case of James Wilson.  The Jury retired at seven o' clock; and after being absent two hours, they returned in to the court and delivered the verdict.

Finding him Guilty on the 4th count - and Not Guilty on the other counts.  The Fourth count on which the prisoner has been convicted, is "compassing to levy war against the King, in order to Compel him to change his measures".

The Foreman, Mr. James Ewing, merchant of Glasgow, in the name of the Jury recommended him to the mercy of the crown.

Monday 24th July 1820:

James Wilson found Guilty before the Court of the High Commission was sentenced to be executed as a traitor on the 30th of August.  He has been recommended to the mercy of the King.

The following were found Not Guilty;
William McIntyre,
Mathew Boyle,
Alex. Graham,
John Walters (husband of Lilly Wilson),
John May,
William Campbell,
George Allen.

The death sentence passed on Wilson was as follows;

"The sentence of the law is - To be drawn on a hurdle to the place of execution on the 30th August, and after being hung by the neck till you be dead, that your head be severed from your body, and your body cut in quarters at the disposal of the King; and the Lord have mercy upon your soul."

After the sentence was passed.  The prisoner was then taken from the court without showing any signs of agitation and taken to one of the iron rooms of Glasgow Jail.

 Glasgow Herald
September 1st 1820:

The day previous to the execution, he was visited by his wife, daughter and grandchildren.  The interview was short, all parties conducted themselves in the most be-coming manner, but none of that excess of feeling shown on these distressing occasions was displayed by any of the parties.

It is worth noting that the jury who found Wilson guilty likewise recommended him to the Royal Clemency; but notice was shortly afterwards received that he was not considered a proper object of mercy by the Government. 

The fate of these unfortunate me excited the utmost commiseration, and influential petitions in their favour were forwarded to Government, but without success.  It is believed that one or two other applications were made, but they were equally ineffectual.

Glasgow Herald
Friday September 1, 1820:


Wednesday, pursuant to his sentence at the Court of Oyer and Terminer, held here on the 24th July.  James Wilson, hosier in Strathaven, underwent full sentence of the law commonly executed found guilty of High Treason.

On Wednesday 30 August 1820, the day was fine and the crowd assembled was some 20,000 spectators.  The ground was well guarded; by a party of the rifle brigade, the 33rd regiment and a number of the 3rd dragoon guards.

The passage over the wooden bridge was very properly stopped during the execution, as was that over the old bridge, as it was then undergoing repairs, and with the parapet wall having been taken down, serious accidents might have occurred from the pressure of the crowd, had it not been guarded.

Wilson was dressed in white trimmed with black.  After the customary prayer Wilson took a glass of wine and Dewar read various passages of scripture, providing the love and forgiveness of the Saviour for sinners, provided they confessed their sins and called upon him for mercy.  The Doctor beseeched him in an impassioned and earnest plea to lay hold of the Saviour, and look only to him for forgiveness; and hope that God in his infinite mercy would give him repentance of his sins.  Part of the 51st Psalm was sung again beginning in the 7th and ending in the 12th verse, which Wilson appeared to join in with considerable earnest - frequently making a slight inclination of his head when the words appeared to suit his situation.

When he advanced a pretty firm step to the South door of the Hall, where he waited about a minute for the headsman, who came from the prison by the passage for the criminals dressed in a loose black dress, his face covered with crepe, and carrying a large axe in the right hand and a knife in the left.

The cavalcade then proceeded to the South gate of the jail, where a hurdle, painted black, with seats in each side was waiting inside of the iron railings to convey Wilson to the scaffold.

He was assisted into it by the officers, the headsman was seated before him holding up his axe, and they were drawn along by a horse attached to the car, to the foot of the scaffold; "Did you ever see sic a crowd as this", he said carelessly to the executioner. 

At 5 minutes to three he mounted the scaffold, when a tremendous shout, mixed with hissing, was set by the crowd, and cries of "Murder", and "He is a murdered man", were heard from all quarters.

The rope was speedily adjusted by the ordinary executioner; and Wilson being told according to stature, when all was ready, instantly gave the signal and the drop fell.  Immediately amidst disapprobation cries, the outer part of the crowd were seen flying off in every direction, principally towards the Calton, and loudly bawling that "the Cavalry were coming".

A scene of great confusion was produced and some persons were severely bruised from the falls and the trampling they received.

In three minutes all was quiet again, and many of those who had fled returned to witness the conclusion of the horrid business.

About five minutes after the body was suspended, convulsive motions agitated the whole frame, and some blood appeared through the cap, opposite the ears, but on the whole he appeared to die very easily.

At half past three, after hanging half an hour, his body was lowered upon three short spokes laid across the mouth of the coffin.  His head was laid on the block with his face downwards, and the cap taken off, when there was again a repetition of disapprobation of the crowd.

The person in the mask, who had retired into the Hall when Wilson ascended the scaffold, was now called, he advanced to the body, which was placed at the front of the scaffold, amidst the execrations of the people, and after calmly feeling the neck for a moment, he lifted the axe, and at one blow severed the head from the body, which he held up, and proclaimed, "This is the head of a traitor".

Vehement cries of "It is false, he has bled for his country!", were heard from different quarters.

The headsman appeared to be about 20 years of age, of a genteel appearance, and executed his obnoxious task with the most determined coolness.

The whole ceremony of the decapitation did not occupy above a minute, and at four o' clock the ground was clear, without any material accident having happened.

Although spared the final barbarity of being quartered, the weavers remains were buried in a paupers burying ground in Glasgow's High Church.

The remains were recovered by his daughter and niece and secretly transported back to Strathaven.  He was then secretly interred in a family plot in the parish graveyard, behind where the current monument to him stands.

On the 31st August he was "interred in the 2nd Breadth of the East length".  This record in the parish register is clearly inconsistent with the handwriting of the records immediately before and after it.

The second breadth of the plot was used - due to the fact the first could not be opened until a certain period of time had elapsed since it's previous interment in 1818.

The following inflammatory Bill was on Wednesday morning posted upon the walls in different parts of the city  of Glasgow:-

"May the ghost of butchered Wilson haunt the pillows of his relentless Jurors. - Murder!  Murder!  Murder!".

In 1846, the monument at Strathaven was erected to Perley Wilson.  Among the crowd assembled was Edward Wilson - shoemaker of Glasgow - son of Andrew Wilson the Camlachie Radical. 

James Wilson's son also named James Wilson - born in 1801  is found in the census of 1841 then aged 40 - living in Kirk Street Strathaven with his mother Helen then 70 and his Daughter Janet aged 9 years.  Other children of the Radical and his wife born in the parish of Avondale were Robert born on July 3rd 1804, Thomas born on July 13th 1797, William born on 15th February 1800 and Lilly christened on 4th April 1790.  These people are mentioned as previous writers erronously believed that Wilson had only a daughter.  Lilly (Lilias) Wilson's marriage to John Walters in Muirkirk is found in the Avondale parish registers dated 12th July 1807.

Even more affecting was the execution of Hardie and Baird at Stirling on the 8th September.  They died declaring that they had come to the scaffold in the cause of truth and justice; and they and old James Wilson were regarded as Scottish Martyrs to that cause. 

The eighteen other prisoners who were transported for life - out of Leith docks are as follows;

James Clelland,
Thomas McCulloch,
Benjamin Moir,
Allan Murchie,
Alexander Lattimer,
Alexander Johnstone,
Andrew White,
John McMillan,
David Thomson,
James Wright,
Andrew Dawson,
William Clarkson,
Thomas Pike,
Robert Gray,
Alexander Hart,
John Barr,
William Smith,
Thomas McFarlane.

Twelve years later, during the general rejoicings following the Kings assent to the Reform Bill, Andrew Hardie's poor old mother placed in her window a card which read:

 "Britons rejoice, Reform is won !
  but twas the cause
  Lost me my son."




All references were taken from information freely available at the Mitchell library Glasgow.

Glasgow Herald - several editions.
The History of the Working Classes.
The Making of the Scottish Working Class, 1770-1820.
The Black Dwarf.
MacGregor's History of Glasgow.
Mackinnon, Social and Industrial History.
Avondale Parish Records.

Note: No material of any kind was taken from the book "The Scottish Radical Uprising of 1820".

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