31st December 1813

Sent Ten pounds Sterling to Edinburgh to William in part of payment of his board to Mr Lucas.

There has been an abundant Crop this year but the necessaries of life are still high.

That is it from Dr Lucas. May we thank eveyone who has posted on this blog and who has taken the time to read it. Happy New Year to everyone, may it be a good one for all of you.

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30th November 1813

The Town was Illuminated on account of the recent Victories gained in Spain by Lord Wellington and the Allies in Germany.  I was out of pocket 16 shillings for Candles on this occasion.  The Mob behaved tolerably well.  The Tar barrels were carried about as usuall but no riots were to be seen.

The Frost still continues.  Markets are rather Moderate.  Sugar is getting up on account of the Markets beginning to be open in some parts of the north of Europe.

The ‘tar barrels’ may refer to the practice of  carrying lit barrels as a spectacle of celebration – in this case because of the ‘recent Victories’ which caused the town to be ‘Illuminated’.  If that is correct, it appears the news from Europe was publicly celebrated throughout the town and Dr Lucas’ wording suggests it was a fairly common occurence at times of celebration.  Some parts of Scotland, particularly Aberdeenshire, continue to carry burning tar barrels at Hogmanay as part of the annual celebration so the practice is still known.

15th October 1813

Got all the potatoes lifted.  They turned out to be a good Crop.  Same day the Justiciary judges came into town.  They were escorted to and from the Justiciary Court Room by the Magistrates and a part of the Veterans who form the Garrison of the Castle.  One Munro was sentenced to six months imprisonment for altering a Minute of Tack of Land.  One O’Neal was sentenced to a twelve months imprisonment for resett of Theft.  Two others were sentenced to 18 months imprisonment for theft.

6th October 1813

On the second day there was also three races, which were tolerable good ones.  The company were not numerous but there was the ordinary number of Whiskey tents, Wheel of fortune men, blind fidlers, Ballad singers etc etc etc.  The weather was rather soft and inclined to rain.  In the evenings there were Suppers and balls at the two Inns, but none of the Ladies and Gentlemen belonging to the town went to them.

28th September 1813

Our Magistrates were chosen.  Deacon of the Taylors named Stirling received a very considerable sums in bribes to vote for the party of the town Council who favoured General Campbell of Monzie our present Member of Parliament.  One or two more of the Deacons were also suspected of receiving money for the same purpose.  General Campbell’s party have got into the Magistracy, and General Maitland’s party are completely out.  Wm Anderson the bookseller is elected Provost.

Our guest Blogger today is Mike Robbins, Provost of Stirling. Provost Robbins writes: –

Dr Lucas was not alone in his suspicions of corruption in Stirling’s local government at this time. 1813 was only 40 years after the notorious ‘Black Bond’ episode that darkened the name of Stirling Burgh Council in 1772. This bond or agreement was between three men in positions of trust and responsibility within the Town; the Provost, Dean of the Guildry and one of the Bailies or Magistrates. In it, the three men agree to run the Town for their own profit and that of their friends, to take bribes and to influence the outcome of parliamentary elections. When it was discovered, Stirling lost the right to govern itself for 6 years, the responsibility being given to Commissioners appointed by the Court of Session in Edinburgh. It is interesting that two of the Commissioners were local physicians, evidently trusted for their honesty. It is clear that in 1813 Dr Lucas believes that corruption still continued in the local corridors of power.

 

Documents relating to the ‘Black Bond’ and other aspects of local government at this time, all fascinating stuff, can be seen at the Council Archives.

27th September 1813

The Deacon of the Shoemakers, the Deacon of the Taylors and the Conveenor he being of the Butchers are sent to Campbells of Monzie (our Member of Parliament) to be out of the way, least they might be stole away by the other party and not able to Cote at the ensuing Michaelmas  Election of the Magistrates and town councill.

NB These Villains are the same men that took bribes at General Campbell’s election.

Fine weather, the harvest two thirds over.

Received a letter from London, from Uncle Walter.

13th September 1813

The lamps put up for the Season.

To those of us in a world with the benefits of electricity we have instant light and heat literally at the flick of a switch.  For Dr Lucas, and indeed everyone else until relatively recently, as the September evenings began to draw in, getting the lamps up and filled was an annual  event and no doubt marked the start of the autumnMany homes did not enjoy the convenience of gas lighting until the later 19th century and electricity was often installed as late as the 1950s in some rural areas.

3rd September 1813

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Fine weather, the Harvest is well advanced.

Having got the Medcines [sic] and shop fixtures inventoried and Valued the Copartnery betwixt George Anderson and myself was finally disolved.  I took possession of my shop as formerly and paid Anderson the Sum of 75 pounds nine shillings and sixpence as his share of the medicines, shop, utensils etc etc etc.

Received also thirteen pounds five shillings and sixpence out of the common stock as shop rent etc.

NB Anderson for the first year behaved himself with propriety, but during the last two and a half got puffed up with pride and entirely forgot himself, became proud, self conceited, Vain and boasted of his abilities, told lies in abundance, and would not even speak to his brothers or his own mother. His mother complained to me of it and wished that I should admonish himto [sic] alter his conduct. He entertained company, was extravagant in dress and got into debt out of which he will not soon extricate himself.Panasonic MECH=KV-S3065CL SIDE=F

12 July 1813

There has been a Schism or disagreement in this town council.  One  party met to choose a Provost and a Baillie in the Room of Provost Conel and Baillie Sutherland.  The other party would not attend however William Anderson Bookseller was chosen provost and Robert Gilles Craigs was chosen a Baillie.  The Town Clerk refused to act.  Stirling has a most pitiful low set of Magistrates and town council for several years past.  The more respectable citizens seem to despise being concerned with government of the Town.

New potatoes, Currants, pease, Gooseberries selling in the Hucksters shops.

The minutes of Stirling Town Council, including details of local elections, are available to search at the Council Archives.

14th March 1813

Mr Raeburn the Old Light Minister at Bannockburn was desired to preach a sermon for the relief of indigent Women and Widows, for which purpose the Old Light Meeting house here was bespoke, but on the Saturday previous Mr Willies the Old Light Minister here refused to allow it at the instigation of one of his managers.  Upon which the Magistrates were applied for the West Church which has been for upwards of 50 years vacant and not used as a parish kirk.  The Magistrates granted it but on Sunday evening when the door was about to be opened Somerville the Established Minister too the Key from the bellman and Keep the people out although it rained hard upon which access was given at the upper guild hall, but one half of the people could not get room however above £9 sterling was collected for the poor women.  This is another instance of the intolerant spirit of the Clergy!!!

Comment from Guest Blogger, Mr Andrew Muirhead:

The West Church had been separated from the Eastern half of what is now the Church of the Holy Rude in the 1650s.  The wall between  the two churches was only removed during the 1930s.  By 1813 the West Church had been largely unused since the deposition of Ebenezer Erskine in 1740, Erskine had been one of the founders of the Secession Church from which the Anti-burgers took their origins, so it is perhaps not surprising that Mr. Somerville did not want to let them back in.  The established church had allowed the Reformed Presbyterian Church to worship there in the 1770s,  but that congregation was formed in opposition to the Seceders so this may have been a factor.

Why the Seceder minister in Bannockburn (which was in St Ninians Parish) should have thought it would be acceptable to preach in Stirling is unclear; the Burgh did not like to recognise its suburban neighbours, and it is tempting to think that Mr Willis took it as a personal slight that his neighbour was asked to preach rather than him.

The other factor in this incident is the question of money and poor relief.  The established church was financially supported by the Burgh and those attending were only asked to contribute to poor relief.  But the established church had the responsibility for all poor relief in the parish.  The Seceders, on the other hand expected their members to dip in to their pockets to pay their ministers and to pay for the building and upkeep of their churches.  Such money as they gathered for poor relief purposes would only be disbursed to those who had a connection with the church. Mr Raeburn then, in seeking to raise money in Stirling for poor relief succeeded in stepping on his colleagues’ toes on several counts.