Tour Scotland
Home Page


Scottish Riots

Enclosure Riots.

In 1724 there were some popular discontents. Enclosures, as we saw, had scarcely been known in Scotland; when they were made, men, women, and children took pleasure in destroying them under cloud of night. Enclosures might keep a man’s cattle on his own ground, keep other men’s off it, and secure for the farmer his own manure. That good Jacobite, Mackintosh of Borlum, who in 1715 led the Highlanders to Preston, in 1729 wrote a book recommending enclosures and plantations. But when, in 1724, the lairds of Galloway and Dumfriesshire anticipated and acted on his plan, which in this case involved evictions of very indolent and ruinous farmers, the tenants rose. Multitudes of “Levellers” destroyed the loose stone dykes and slaughtered cattle. They had already been passive resisters of rent; the military were called in; women were in the forefront of the brawls, which were not quieted till the middle of 1725, when Lord Stair made an effort to introduce manufactures.

Malt Riots.

Other disturbances began in a resolution of the House of Commons, at the end of 1724, not to impose a Malt Tax equal to that of England, this had been successfully resisted in 1713, but to levy an additional sixpence on every barrel of ale, and to remove the bounties on exported grain. At the Union Scotland had, for the time, been exempted from the Malt Tax, specially devised to meet the expenses of the French war of that date. Now, in 1724-1725, Scotland was up in arms to resist the attempt “to rob a poor man of his beer.” But Walpole could put force on the Scottish Members of Parliament, “a parcel of low people that could not subsist,” says Lockhart, “without their board wages.” Walpole threatened to withdraw the ten guineas hitherto paid weekly by Government to those legislators. He offered to drop the sixpence on beer and put threepence on every bushel of malt, a half of the English tax. On June 23, 1725, the tax was to be exacted. The consequence was an attack on the military by the mob of Glasgow, who wrecked the house of their Member in Parliament, Campbell of Shawfield. Some of the assailants were shot: General Wade and the Lord Advocate, Forbes of Culloden, marched a force on Glasgow, the magistrates of the town were imprisoned but released on bail, while in Edinburgh the master brewers, ordered by the Court of Session to raise the price of their ale, struck for a week; some were imprisoned, others were threatened or cajoled and deserted their Union. The one result was that the chief of the Squadrone, the Duke of Roxburgh, lost his Secretaryship for Scotland, and Argyll’s brother, Islay, with the resolute Forbes of Culloden, became practically the governors of the country. The Secretaryship, indeed, was for a time abolished, but Islay practically wielded the power that had so long been in the hands of the Secretary as agent of the Court.



Tour Scotland
Tour Edinburgh
Tour Island Of Skye

Rent A Self Catering Hoilday Cottage In Scotland

Share This Tour Scotland Web Page

Top Destinations
Tour Europe