The Radical Uprising – 3rd April 1820

Unfortunately, I appear to have neglected to scan this letter, apologies. Now I am working from home, I can’t just go and retrieve it and put it through the scanner. I still feel that it would be useful to blog this letter written by James Davidson at Kilsyth to Major William Murray at Stirling. It gives some useful detail as to how things were at Kilsyth at this point: –

Letter James Davidson at Kilsyth to Major William Murray, 3rd April 1820

Kilsyth Inn ½ after 2 o’clock

3 Ap[ri]l 1820

D[ear] Sir

The state of Kilsyth is this. The Kilsyth group is assembled – all the weavers & some other descriptions of people have struck work & now women & children are going about in clusters – As yet they have shown no disposition to Violence – A vile printed address Was posted up during the night of Saturday. We got some of them taken down & have preserved one Under the circumstances as they stand & as it said the idleness is the continuance at least till Wed[nesda]y when it is talked the rising is to happen At

Glasgow I sh[oul]d think it right that a Group was sent here tonight if at all to be spared to join the Kilsyth Troop

Yours very sincerely

James Davidson

Clearly, the people of Kilsyth are preparing to join the revolt. The workers are on strike as had been directed by the Glasgow Committee and people are out and about on the streets. The printed address, prepared in Glasgow, has reached the town and been displayed. The military authorities also have cognisance of when the uprising was planned for, indicating that they did, indeed, have an informant within the ranks of the protesters.

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