Broadside Printing and Town Politics

Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesParticipation in workshop, seminar, course


Dr Adam Budd - “Broadside Printing and Town Politics: Andrew Millar, George Drummond, and the Malt Tax Crisis” Historians of eighteenth-century Edinburgh have charted the celebrated career of its greatest Lord Provost, George Drummond (1688-1766), founder of the town's pioneering Royal Infirmary and the visionary behind its Medical School, North Bridge, and New Town. Similarly, historians of the book have discussed the great achievements of the London-based Scottish bookseller Andrew Millar (1705-68), whose authors included James Thomson, Samuel Richardson, Henry Fielding, Charlotte Lennox, David Hume, Adam Smith, and of course Samuel Johnson. This seminar will discuss newly-uncovered manuscripts that reveal a formative episode in the early careers of both men. During the summer of 1725, Millar was in the fourth year of his apprenticeship under James McEuen, the celebrated bookseller in Parliament Square. George Drummond was a financially-troubled town magistrate, deeply indebted to Duncan Forbes, the newly-installed Lord Advocate, who was himself beholden to Lord Argyll and his clients in Glasgow. When the violent Malt Tax riots broke out in Glasgow, with a mob destroying the home of Argyll’s cousin Daniel Campbell, Forbes acted quickly to prosecute the entire Glasgow town council. Both Millar and McEuen had deep roots in Glasgow, and were threatened by Drummond against printing defences of the Glasgow magistrates. This new research shows that despite these threats, Millar brought the documents to Leith, which lay beyond Drummond’s authority, printed them there, and circulated them within both Edinburgh and Glasgow. This instance of Millar's civil disobedience reflects important elements in the cultural history of censorship in eighteenth-century Scotland, as well as the political and religious elements that shaped the cultures of patronage and career-formation, both for Drummond and for Millar. This paper will be of interest to students and colleagues with interests in cultural history, bibliography, the book trade, and Scottish and urban life during the early eighteenth century.
Period19 Sep 2014
Event typeSeminar
LocationEdinburgh, United Kingdom