Sunday, July 10, 2011

The Radical Laird

July 10 [1827]...Dined with John Swinton en famille. He told me an odd circumstance. Coming from Berwickshire in the mail coach he met with a passenger who seemed more like a military man than anything else. They talked on all sorts of subjects, at length on politics. Malachi's letters were mentioned, when the stranger observed they were much more seditious than some expressions for which he had three or four years ago been nearly sent to Botany Bay. And perceiving John Swinton surprised at this avowal, he added, "I am Kinloch of Kinloch." This gentleman had got engaged in the radical business (the only real gentleman by the way who did), and harangued the weavers of Dundee with such emphasis that he would have been tried and sent to Botany Bay had he not fled abroad. He was outlawed, and only restored to his status on a composition with Government. It seems to have escaped Mr. Kinloch that the conduct of a man who places a lighted coal in the middle of combustibles, and upon the floor, is a little different from that of one who places the same quantity of burning fuel in a fire-grate!

George Kinloch left Scotland in 1819, rather than face being sent to Botany Bay for seditious activities.  Kinloch was arrested on December 13th (1819), after he had addressed a crowd on Magdalen Green in Dundee, but he managed to escape, subsequently fleeing to Paris.   Scott mentions Kinloch, the “Radical Laird” as he was known, inciting weavers in his journal entry of July 10, 1826.  Kinloch's activity was part of the lead-up to the "Radical War".  After returning from France, Kinloch became the first MP for Dundee.

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